AWB Sports is back with its 2018 NFL Mock Draft from Andrew and Bill. Here is our co-mock draft, switching off picks for each NFL team, Bill with the odd picks and Andrew with the even. For some background on our authors, Andrew and Bill both received their certificates as draft experts during college after many late nights studying film and hydrating appropriately. We hope you enjoy our thoughts.
- Cleveland Browns
Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
JR.| 6’4” | 218 lb
— JustBombsProductions (@JBP_Official) November 28, 2017
I hope the Browns have the stones to take the consensus best player in the draft, Saquon Barkley, but the book says to avoid RB this high in the draft. Instead the Browns take the classic pick here and nab their QB of the future. Rosen is by far the most NFL ready QB in this class. Unlike the others, he’s not all about the potential. He’s not about what he might become. He’s about the here and now. Rosen can step in on day one and lead this team; however, with the trade for Tyrod Taylor, he still has the benefit of not being rushed onto the field. The Browns get their first choice at QB, and with two QB needy teams behind them, they still have a shot at Barkley three picks from now.
- New York Giants
Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
SR. | 6’4” | 275 lb
Yes, I realize this is not a popular opinion — and no, this is not a joke. Bradley Chubb has been underappreciated behind all of the QB talk and behind Barkley. As some scouts have said, he would have been ranked higher than Myles Garrett from last year’s draft, and I think he could make a huge contribution to a team, who just traded one of their top DEs this offseason. Is it possible the Giants traded JPP because they knew they wanted to grab Chubb? Only time will tell.
- New York Jets
Sam Darnold, QB, USC
SO | 6’4” | 220 lb
It was pricey moving up just three spots in this draft, especially when there is no guarantee which QB might still be here at pick #3. This indicates the Jets are confident in multiple QBs from this class. In Darnold they get arguably the top QB talent in the draft. He’s mobile, but still comfortable in the pocket, has a big-time arm and has shown great leadership at USC. Going to the Jets is a nice situation as the youngster, who made just 24 starts at USC can now sit behind Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater until he is ready.
- Cleveland Browns
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
JR | 6’0” | 234 lb
PLAYER HIGHLIGHTS: Saquon Barkley (@saquon), Running Back from Penn State #PSU #PennState #psufootball #nittnaylions #NFL #NFLDraft #NFLDraft2018 #nfldraftscouting #nflscout18 #NFLDraftNews #collegefootball #CFB #NFLCombine #saquonbarkley #pennstatefootball #HappyValley pic.twitter.com/ilydKcEbKf
— Scouting Insiders (@S_Insiders) April 13, 2018
You’ve seen all the talk about “in a perfect situation for the Browns…”. Well, here it is. Not only do the Browns get their pick of the QB they want, but they also get the #1 ranked player for the year. Scouts who prefer game film, have plenty to watch with Barkley. For scouts who prefer measurables, you have one hell of an athlete in this running back. Don’t believe any of the knocks from writers, who are just trying to make a story. He has what it takes.
- Denver Broncos
Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
JR | 6’5” | 233 lb
Call me a doubter in the young gunslinger, but in games against power five opponents in his career, he holds an 0-3 record, 1-8 TD to INT ratio and just a 50 percent completion rating. Yet one of these teams will still justify their pick because of his cannon arm and the lack of surrounding talent at Wyoming. The Broncos have been searching for a signal caller since Peyton Manning retired. They found a temporary solution in Case Keenum, who they signed as a two-year stop gap for someone to learn under. I could also see them taking a long look at Quenton Nelson, the best OL in this draft, but QBs are just too tempting for teams like this at the top of the draft.
- Indianapolis Colts
Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
SR | 6’5” | 325
The Colts in recent years have shown how poor organizational management can ruin a team and hinder promising young talent. The franchise has been awful with their draft picks, as shown by trading a first-rounder for Trent Richardson, reaching on a small WR when the team didn’t need any help at the position and ignoring pivotal parts of the team including both the offensive and defensive lines. In turn, by ignoring the offensive line, the promising young talented QB, Andrew Luck, has faced the worst of the consequences through his injury. The front office needs to focus on the big men in the trenches, and here they get one of the best players in the draft. It might seem a bit early to take a guard with this pick, but Nelson could be a cornerstone for an offense for the next decade. This would help keep Luck or Brisset healthy moving forward.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
JR | 6’1” | 202 lb
The Buccaneers need help on defense at multiple levels. With no true elite pass rusher they elect to go with my top-rated defensive back. Fitzpatrick’s NFL track reminds me a lot of Jalen Ramsey. Both were the best defenders on top-rated NCAA defenses and both can play either corner or safety at the NFL level. For Ramsey it was corner, but I see Fitzpatrick projecting better as a free safety with the Buccaneers. Either way, Tampa could use help at both positions and get a stud with the 7th pick of the draft.
- Chicago Bears
Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
JR | 6’0” | 236 lb
At this point, the Bears are a little disappointed they missed out on Quenton Nelson, so they go with the best player available approach. Roquan Smith is a special player who can cover anywhere the offense is trying to attack. He is an outstanding tackler both in the backfield and in open space, he can rush the quarterback and he has shown incredible range in coverage. Watching his tape really shows how he can help at every stage on this defense, as he uses his speed to track down runners from sideline to sideline.
- San Francisco 49ers
Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
JR | 6’1” | 190 lb
Most would tell you there isn’t a receiver worth a top-10 pick in this draft, but that doesn’t mean a team won’t reach for one. The 49ers are better off trading down in this situation, but if no suitors are found, they can still go with their guy. Ridley didn’t test well at the combine and he’s not all that tall, but all you need to do is watch the game tape to realize Alabama produced another stud who was underutilized in a run heavy offense. The 49ers could use help on their defense as well, but I expect them to try to surround Garoppolo with as much talent as they can.
- Oakland Raiders
Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
JR | 5’10” | 183 lb
I imagine having Jon Gruden in Oakland will have a huge impact on its draft process. Gruden has proclaimed he will lead the team in an “old school” mentality, which will center around running the ball. So I wouldn’t be surprised if the Raiders spend this pick on a big lineman or a linebacker. However, Oakland needs to upgrade at corner and Ward falling to them here would make drafting him an easy decision. Ward follows a strong line of Ohio State defensive backs. The question remains; Will Ward be more like Marcus Lattimore, or Eli Apple?
- Miami Dolphins
Derwin James, S, Florida State
SO | 6’3” | 211 lb
Miami doesn’t have a whole lot going for them right now, coming off a 6-10 season and losing arguably their three best players this offseason. They could look to fill one of those spots (WR, C, DT) but I don’t see a reason to reach this high in the draft. Instead they snag James, who came into the season as most teams’ top-rated prospect. James, coming off an injury, did nothing to help his case to stay at that rank. Still, the big safety looks like he could be the next Kam Chancellor, and should be a top pick. Though don’t be surprised if the Dolphins take a serious look at replacing Ryan Tannehill at this spot.
- Buffalo Bills
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
SR | 6’1”| 215 lb
With Baker Mayfield still on the board, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Bills choose their future signal caller here. I doubt the Bills have any plan of going into the season with AJ McCarron as their long term answer under center. Moving up in the draft was an obvious sign they were looking to snag one of the high end QBs, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up moving even higher before draft day. Mayfield was a walk on at Oklahoma, who turned into a star. Despite talks of off-field issues, I don’t see any areas for concern with his character. Mayfield is extremely competitive and accurate throwing the ball, which is the perfect mentality for the NFL.
- Washington Redskins
Vita Vea, DT, Washington
JR | 6’5” | 340 lb
Vea can help shore up this horrible run defense, which ranked dead last in the league last year. All he has to do is use his huge 6’5” frame to eat up room and he’ll be an improvement. Playing next to last year’s first round pick Jonathan Allen, who was injured for most of the year, should immediately make this weak unit into a strength for Washington.
- Green Bay Packers
Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
JR | 6’4” | 253 lb
Last year the Packers showed just how important Aaron Rodgers is to their team. Once they lost their star quarterback to injury, they went from a playoff contender to a below average team. They especially need help on defense, so taking the best defender available would be a smart decision. Edmunds is flexible, with the ability to play anywhere from inside linebacker to an edge rusher. Note: Iif Calvin Ridley were to fall here I could see the Packers pulling the trigger on him.
- Arizona Cardinals
Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
JR “| 6’3” | 211 lb
The Cardinals signed Sam Bradford this offseason to a one-year $20 million deal, but conventional wisdom and track record says Bradford won’t play in all 16 games this season. In his eight-year career, he’s been fully healthy just twice and the last time it happened was back in 2012. Even with that, his one-year deal says the team doesn’t plan to use him as anything more than a stop gap. Jackson lit up scoreboards the past 3 seasons at Louisville, but there are quite a bit of concerns on how his athleticism might transfer to the NFL. My two biggest concerns with him are his light frame holding up against NFL hits and his lack of ability to throw accurately down field. Still, with that, I think he deserves a look in the first round, and he’ll likely get it with this many QB needy teams.
- Baltimore Ravens
Connor Williams, OT, Texas
JR | 6’6” | 315 lb
It will be interesting to see what GM Ozzie Newsome does in his last year. I’ve read a lot of analysts taking an OT or WR here, and unless Ridley falls, I think they’ll go with the best OT. Connor Williams may be the best tackle in the draft if he can stay healthy. Williams and former first-round pick Ronnie Stanley would make for quite the duo at offensive tackle.
- Los Angeles Chargers
Rasheen Evans, LB, Alabama
SR | 6’3” | 234 lb
The Chargers ranked second to last this past season in run defense. With a team ready to compete right now in just about every other department, they’ll likely look to improve here no matter who is left on the board. For me the debate was between two Alabama studs, Evans or DT Da’Ron Payne. I would take Evans here because the Chargers seem to need a bit more help at LB than at DT; however, Alabama has had a better track record of producing D-lineman than linebackers. The only other position I see them taking a long look at is QB if it falls to them, since they’ll have to look for Rivers’ replacement eventually.
- Seattle Seahawks
Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
SR | 6’7” | 309 lb
Seattle lost a lot of players this offseason, including some huge names in Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett. This leaves the Seahawks with a bevy of options at this pick, including CB, DE, or even WR. However, they have ignored their offensive line for too long, and need to address this position early if they want to get back into the playoffs. Mike McGlinchey is considered by some to be the top tackle in this draft. I believe Connor Williams has the potential to be better, but since he has an injury history, McGlinchey would make for a safer pick. Seattle can use the offensive line improvement to get back to its old way of running the ball and having a clean pocket for Wilson.
- Dallas Cowboys
DJ Moore, WR, Maryland
JR | 5’11” | 215 lb
The Cowboys are a pretty solid team from top to bottom, even if their record didn’t reflect that last year. However, receiver was arguably their biggest need before they moved on from Dez Bryant. With Bryant leaving a void behind him, Prescott is going to need some sort of talent to throw to this year.
- Detroit Lions
Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
SR | 6’7” | 255 lb
Detroit should be thrilled if Marcus Davenport were to fall to them. Although, the Lions have Ezekiel Ansah, he’s only on a franchise tag, meaning he could be gone as soon as next year. However, even if he was signed long-term, the Lions could always stand to improve at this position. Marcus has exceptional pass rushing skills, even if his 8.5 sacks last year didn’t light up the scoresheet. Davenport had a great combine, which rocketed him up on draft boards. The Lions would get a good fit for their team without having to reach for a position of higher need that might be thin on top-level prospects at this point in the draft.
- Cincinnati Bengals
Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia
SR | 6’3” | 313 lb
The Bengals traded down to this selection while picking up OT Cordy Glenn from the Bills to help shore up their porous offensive line. After adding Wynn as well, they could get a two-for-one on the offensive line with this selection. Wynn, a senior tackle with the Bulldogs, has shifted into guard and has excelled in pre-draft events, including a dominant Senior Bowl performance. The Bengals could also look at tackles in order to shift Jake Fischer inside to occupy a guard spot.
- Buffalo Bills
Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP
SR | 6’3” | 330 lb
With the dreadful news of center Eric Woods passing away and the departure of guard Cordy Glenn in free agency, the Bills are in desperate need of interior lineman. After grabbing a QB earlier in the draft, Buffalo can start building a team around him. Will Hernandez excelled at both the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine, moving himself into the first-round conversation. Hernandez is a strong and athletic guard, who should make a huge impact in the Buffalo Bills’ running game.
- New England Patriots
Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
JR | 6’8” | 310 lb
The Patriots seem to be losing bodies left and right this offseason, but none bigger than LT Nate Solder. With Brady trying to play into his 40’s, there’s one thing we know this organization must do to be successful: protect Brady. Miller is my favorite tackle in the class and the Patriots could be getting a steal here.
- Carolina Panthers
Mikes Hughes, CB, UCF
JR | 5’10” | 189 lb
It seems like the past few years, the Panthers have come into the draft with the same needs at OT, WR, and DB. However, every year it seems the Panthers find stopgap solutions that keep them competing at a high level. So far in this draft, we have already seen multiple tackles and wide receivers come off the board, so there are still several good corners that could fall in Carolina’s lap. Hughes is extremely fast and will help both the receiving core and the special teams unit.
- Tennessee Titans
Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State
JR | 6’5” | 265 lb
With their playoff win, the Titans showed they are ready to compete. However, looking closely at this roster reveals a few major holes. They still look thin at WR, but I think they will bank on a breakout season from last year’s first round pick Corey Davis to improve their pass catching unit. Thus, they’ll decide to add an elite player to their deep defensive line that lacks a top end rusher. Hubbard has been one of the best pass rushers in college football over his three-year career. Now the lanky rusher will look to emulate former teammate Joey Bosa and make an immediate impact for an NFL team.
- Atlanta Falcons
Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
SR | 6’1” | 292 lb
Atlanta does not have a lot of holes in their roster, but they did lose some key players along the defensive line over the offseason. Pending a medical examination, Hurst would be a high value to get this late in the draft. At the NFL Combine, Maurice Hurst was sent home for a heart issue. Because of this, Hurst has seen a drop in his value, often falling out of the first-round in other mock drafts. Before the combine, Hurst was seen as a mid to late first-round draft pick. It would be a steal for Atlanta to get him here, so hopefully Hurst can get any medical issues cleared up before the draft.
- New Orleans Saints
Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
SR | 6’5” | 255 lb
Since Jimmy Graham’s departure, Drew Brees and the Saints have lacked a truly elite pass catcher at the tight end position. Similar to Brady and the Patriots, the Saints will be doing everything they can to help Brees continue his high level of play into his twilight years. Goedert is one of the most polarizing players in this draft. Coming from a small school, he lacks game tape against high level competition. Yet, there is no denying the numbers he put up (2404 yards & 18 TDs) over the last two seasons playing in the MIssouri Valley Conference.
- Pittsburgh Steelers
Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
SR | 6’5” | 230 lb
With how big of a price teams are putting on QB’s, I would expect to see a sixth quarterback taken in the first round. Pittsburgh has a lot of needs, mainly on defense, and I could see them potentially using this selection to fix them. However, the Steelers need to address the QB position in the next few years. This could be a perfect match for Rudolph, as scouts believe he still has a few years of development before he will be ready to take over an offense. Once he is ready, he can join a team that has the likes of Antonio Brown and Le’veon Bell to lean on… or maybe he won’t, who knows what will happen with these big contracts.
- Jacksonville Jaguars
Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
SR | 6’4” | 215 lb
With arguably the best defense in the NFL heading into this season, it looks as if the Jaguars will put their primary focus on offense. With a newly extended Blake Bortles coming back, the Jaguars will do their best to help him excel with this organization. Yet, so far all that’s consisted of is losing top-reciever Allen Robinson and former 1000-yard receiver Allen Hurns. Receiver is a definite need, and Sutton has been debated as being the best receiver in a class that doesn’t have a clear front runner.
- Minnesota Vikings
James Daniels, OG, Iowa
JR | 6’3” | 306 lb
It’s not often a team can go from one of the worst offensive lines to best offensive lines in the league in a year, but the Vikings found a way to do so last offseason. As a result, Minnesota had a first-round bye and were a game away from the Super Bowl. With that being said, Minnesota has a lot of work to do to rebuild the offensive line once more. James Daniels can play both guard and center in the NFL, but the Vikings would immediately move him to guard. This would mean bigger holes for Dalvin Cook and more time for Kirk Cousins. The Vikings should be a scary team again in 2018.
- New England Patriots
Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa
JR | 6’1” | 192 lb
I believe the Patriots will move one of these two picks, if not both, to go up in the draft and grab Brady’s eventual successor, as they have tried to do so many times before. But with trades prohibited in this mock draft, the Patriots simply decide to sit and wait for Mason Rudolph to fall into their lap with this pick, and lose on that bet. With the Steelers grabbing him right out of their laps, Belichick decides to wait to pull the trigger for one more round and instead looks for a replacement for their other major departure this offseason, CB Malcom Butler. Jackson was the best college corner this past season and many believe the success will translate to the NFL. It looks like Belichick might not have to be so angry after all.
- Philadelphia Eagles
Leighton Vander Esch, ILB, Boise State
JR | 6’4” | 256 lb
Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch (@VanderEsch38) Highlights
LVE is one of the most dominant linebackers in this draft class. The 2017 MWC Defensive Player of the Year finished the season with 141 tackles, 8.5 TFL, 4 sacks & 2 INT.
— JustBombsProductions (@JBP_Official) March 28, 2018
The Eagles may have one of the best, if not the best, rosters moving into 2018. However, Philadelphia only holds one draft pick in the first three rounds of the draft, so it will be important for them to capitalize on this pick. It would be hard to see the Eagles pass on a guy like CB Jaire Alexander this late in the first round, and they could also take OT Orlando Brown out of Oklahoma. However, with both CB Sidney Jones and OT Jason Peters coming back from injury, they can afford to take a chance at another position of need. Vander Esch could be a steal in this year’s draft, and there are rumors Philadelphia is very interested in him with this pick. Vander Esch was the Mountain West defensive player of the year in 2017, and he can do everything from open field tackles, to pass coverage and pass rush. The Eagles could fill a position that has been a question mark for a long time.