We’re now less than five days away from the 2018 NFL Draft in Arlington, TX so it’s time to take another look at what we think will happen in the first round of the draft, where the Denver Broncos currently own the fifth overall pick.
1. Cleveland Browns – Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Could Cleveland really take one of the draft’s biggest projects at one overall? If the rumours are to be believed this is the direction the Browns are now heading in rather than Sam Darnold, who we had going first in our first mock draft. Allen has a massive arm and all the physical attributes required to play quarterback in the NFL, however worries around his accuracy and his losing record against Power 5 competition raises questions about his prospects at the next level.
2. New York Giants – Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Saquon Barkley will be a star in New York. QB Eli Manning is at the end of the road and the Giants choose the player that will help them win now. Barkley is a versatile playmaker and with Odell Beckham Jr on the outside Barkley should see favourable numbers in the box.
3. New York Jets – Sam Darnold, QB, USC
In this scenario Darnold, who has been mocked first overall throughout the process by the majority of the football cognoscente slides to three and the Jets can’t pass him up, despite showing plenty of love to Baker Mayfield through the draft process. Darnold has all the traits you would look for in a franchise quarterback, however turnovers were an issue in college.
4. Cleveland Browns – Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
After selecting Myles Garrett first overall in the 2017 draft, the Browns double down on the defensive line selecting Chubb. The Browns now have one of the deepest and most versatile defensive line groups in the league.
5. Denver Broncos – Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
The Broncos are only really invested in Case Keenum for one year and still need to find a quarterback who can live up to John Elway and Peyton Manning. With two of their top targets off the board, this pick is a no-brainer for GM Elway. Mayfield may be the most accurate passer in the draft and has enough athleticism to escape pressure from behind a shaky offensive line. His leadership and passion will also translate well to an offense that has lacked both since Manning retired.
6. Indianapolis Colts – Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
The Colts can’t win without Andrew Luck on the field and healthy. Nelson, who is arguably the best player in the 2018 draft, has the potential to be a generational player at guard and will help solidify the middle of the Colts’ offensive line for years to come. An absolute steal for GM Chris Ballard and new head coach Frank Reich.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Derwin James, S, Florida State
Derwin James won’t have far to travel to Tampa. James has been compared to Seattle Seahawks star Kam Chancellor and his hard sitting style will help the Bucs find an identity on defence.
8. Chicago Bears – Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
Denzel Ward is one of the draft’s best cover corners. The Bears need to elevate their secondary to compete against the vaunted air attacks of the other teams in the AFC North.
9. San Francisco 49ers – Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
Edmunds is the type of sideline to sideline playmaker needed in San Francisco. Boasting the size and strength to help stop the run while being athletic enough to cover running backs and tight ends. Reuben Foster’s current legal situation may leave San Francisco thinking they need to reinvest at linebacker.
10. Oakland Raiders – Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
The Raiders have needed help at linebacker for several seasons. Smith plays the run and pass equally well and can play multiple positions.
11. Miami Dolphins – Vita Vea, DT, Washington
After cutting Ndamukong Suh, Vea fills an immediate need as an anchor on the defensive line. The big fella has all the talent and athleticism needed to become a star in the league.
12. Buffalo Bills – Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
The Bills will more than likely have to trade into the top six to ensure they get a quarterback they are comfortable with, but with Rosen expected to slide, they could get the most game-ready quarterback in the draft without giving up more picks.
13. Washington Redskins – Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
Minkah is a dynamic playmaker with the versatility to play anywhere on the backend. He would make an instant impact in Washington.
14. Green Bay Packers – Marcus Davenport, DL, Texas-San Antonio
Davenport is not polished but has all the tools to become a top pass rusher in what is mostly an underwhelming class at the position, and Green Bay desperately need help on defense.
15. Arizona Cardinals – Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Lamar Jackson will remain a Cardinal. One of the most polarising prospects in the draft, however with the right coaching the 2016 Heisman winner has all the talent needed to succeed at the next level, and has the seal of approval from former Cardinals coach Bruce Arians.
16. Baltimore Ravens – Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
Death, taxes and Ozzie Newsome drafting out of Alabama. Ridley is considered the most polished receiver in the draft and the Ravens are desperate for help on the outside.
17. Los Angles Chargers – Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
Evans is an excellent three-down hard-hitting linebacker with the ability to rush the passer.
18. Seattle Seahawks – Orlando Brown, OT, Notre Dame
The Seahawks won’t win again until they address the offensive line. With Duane Brown on the left side Orlando Brown will start at right tackle from day one.
19. Dallas Cowboys – Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
Christian Kirk is staying in Texas. The Cowboys need to surround Dak Prescott with talent if they’re going to win. After the addition of Allen Hurns and departure of Dez Bryant the Cowboys passing attack will look very different in 2018.
20. Detroit Lions – Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
Despite the addition of LeGarrette Blount, the Lions remain in need of an every-down back. Guice has the ability to run between the tackles as well as catching the ball out the backfield.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Will Hernandez, G, Texas-El Paso
Hernandez is excellent in the run game and will play a big role in the Bengals’ effort to get more production from Joe Mixon.
22. Buffalo Bills – James Daniels, C, Iowa
With three-fifths of their starting offensive line from 2017 not returning, the Bills could go in several directions. In this scenario the Bills pair their young quarterback with a young center.
23. New England Patriots – Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
In 2017 the Patriots defence was greater than the sum of its parts. The Boise State prospect can multiple positions on defence and would make an immediate impact as the Patriots start life without former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.
24. Carolina Panthers – Mike Hughes, CB, Central Florida
Hughes was a star at UCF, despite not excelling at the combine. He plays fast and can contribute on special teams, exactly what the Panthers need in 2018.
25. Tennessee Titans – Harold Landry, Edge, Boston College
Landry is a natural pass rusher with high upside who can help the Tennessee defense finally turn the corner.
26. Atlanta Falcons – Da’Ron Payne, DL, Alabama
With a previously record-setting offence still largely intact the Falcons spend draft capital bringing the defense up a level. Payne fills a gap left by the loss of Dontari Poe to free agency.
27. New Orleans Saints – Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
Goedert is a capable blocker and a versatile pass catcher with the ability to play as a roving tight end. Goedert gives Drew Brees another safety net, while his blocking prowess will aid the continued development of the Mark Ingram-Alvin Kamara tandem in the backfield.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers – Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
The Hawkeyes playmaker is a ballhawk. Jackson finished 2017 with eight interceptions and 27 passes defended including three interceptions against Ohio State and two pick-sixes against Wisconsin. Gives Pittsburgh a massively improved secondary.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
Why not build strength on strength? Alexander is regarded as the best nickel corner in the draft and fills a hole following the loss of Aaron Colvin. The trio of Alexander, Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye would be a dominant group for years to come.
30. Minnesota Vikings – Isaiah Wynn, OL, Georgia
Wynn played OT at college but his measurables may lead to him kicking inside at the next level. The Vikings are ready to win now so long they keep their shiny new quarterback upright.
31. New England Patriots – Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
McGlinchey has experience playing both left and right tackle. Following a free agency exodus the Patriots have a need across the line and McGlinchey’s versatility is appealing.
32. Philadelphia Eagles – Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
Hayden Hurst is a perfect compliment to Zach Ertz for what the Eagles want to do on offence. Hurst has the frame and is willing to improve as an inline blocker all whilst being a dynamic move tight end. Hurst has only one drop in 100 career catches