NFL mock draft 2018: Predicting top players, first round in 2018 NFL Draft (12/16/2017)

As the NFL season comes to a close, some fans are already looking for future stars for the 2018 NFL Draft. And NFL teams looking for a quarterback will have options such as Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield.

This draft figures to be quarterback heavy, with potentially four going in the top 9. Of the non-quarterbacks, Penn State’s Saquon Barkley and Texas’ Connor Williams could be selected in the top 5.

Below is SEC Country’s mock draft for the 2018 NFL Draft:

NFL mock draft 2018

  1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, USC QB: Darnold has hinted at staying, but if he comes out, the Browns have to use the pick on a quarterback.
  2. New York Giants: Josh Rosen, UCLA QB:  Rosen vs. Darnold will be an interesting debate. The UCLA quarterback might be wired to better succeed in New York than Darnold would be.
  3. Indianapolis Colts: Connor Williams, Texas T: For the Colts, it’s simple: They have to do a better job of protecting Andrew Luck (provided he can return in 2018). As long as Williams can stay healthy, he’ll be a top draft pick.
  4. San Francisco 49ers: Saquon Barkley, Penn State RB: With Jimmy Garoppolo looking like the quarterback of the future, San Francisco can draft the best player available, which is the superstar running back from Penn State.
  5. Denver Broncos: Josh Allen, Wyoming QB: Offensive tackle could be the pick here. Drafting Allen here is a risk, but the Denver quarterback situation might be worst in the league.
  6. Cleveland Browns (via Houston): Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama DB:  The Browns went quarterback with their first pick. Next up, they can grab the best defensive prospect in the class. Fitzpatrick is a queen on the chessboard type of defensive back.
  7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bradley Chubb, N.C. State DE: The Buccaneers have stumbled this season thanks to both Jameis Winston’s struggles and a poor pass rush. Chubb should help shore up the latter of their issues.
  8. Chicago Bears: Christian Kirk, Texas A&M WR:  The Bears almost have to pick a wide receiver. And while many will peg Alabama’s Calvin Ridley here, I think Christian Kirk is just a little bit better. But the Bears couldn’t go wrong with either.
  9. New York Jets: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma QB: The Jets are going to continue to toil in mediocrity as long as they don’t have adequate quarterback play. If anyone can handle the spotlight and attention that comes with playing for the Jets, it’s the Heisman Trophy winner.
  10. Cincinnati Bengals: Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame OT : The Bengals have skill players and a number of young and talented defenders. Where they most need help is on the offensive line. McGlinchey, or his teammate Quenton Nelson, could be an option here.
  11. Arizona Cardinals: Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame G:  If Mayfield were still on the board, he could be an option. Instead, the Cardinals will gladly take the best interior lineman in the class.
  12. Oakland Raiders: Roquan Smith, Georgia LB: A defense with Khalil Mack on it shouldn’t be as bad as the Raiders has been this season. Smith is maybe the best off-ball linebacker prospect since Luke Kuechly.
  13. Washington Redskins: Derwin James, FSU DB: What Washington does will largely depend on whether it keeps Kirk Cousins. If they do, look for them to take a player such as James, who is 95 percent the player that Fitzpatrick is. James has already declared for the draft.
  14. Miami Dolphins: Arden Key, LSU DE/OLB : The Dolphins would love to fix their offensive line, but instead they’ll take Key. While he might have some off-field concerns, the LSU product has the potential to be an elite pass rusher.
  15. Buffalo Bills: Calvin Ridley, Alabama WR:  While it needs to figure out its quarterback situation, the Bills really need to improve at the wide receiver position. Ridley could easily be a top 10 pick.
  16. Dallas Cowboys: Maurice Hurst, Michigan DT: Hurst might not be drafted this high simply because of his position. But the Cowboys need defensive tackles who can play, and Hurst is one of the best football players in this draft class.
  17. Green Bay Packers: Da’Ron Payne, Alabama DT: The Packers were a bit of a mess without Aaron Rodgers so look for them to go best player available. In this case, it’s Da’Ron Payne, who should make things easier for Clay Matthews.
  18. Detroit Lions: Clelin Ferrell, Clemson DE/OLB : The Lions could go in a number of ways here, but a pass rusher would be wise. Ferrell already has a strong résumé, but if he plays like he did in the College Football Playoff a year ago, his stock could skyrocket.
  19. Los Angeles Chargers: Josh Jackson, Iowa CB: The Chargers drafted Jackson’s teammate a year ago in Desmond King. But Jackson could really help improve the Chargers secondary, which is still the weakest part of their defense.
  20. Tennessee Titans: Denzel Ward, Ohio State CB: The Titans went with a cornerback in the first round last year and will look to continue to improve their secondary. The Titans could also target a pass rusher.
  21. Buffalo Bills (via Kansas City), Christian Wilkins, Clemson DT: The Bills traded Marcell Dareus earlier this season. And they’ll look to Wilkins, who can do a split, to fill his void.
  22. Baltimore Ravens: James Washington, Oklahoma State WR:  The Ravens might have the worst group of pass catchers in the NFL. Washington was the best receiver in college football this season. This makes too much sense.
  23. Atlanta Falcons: Harold Landry DE/OLB: The Falcons love athletic playmakers. Landry definitely fits that role, and it would not be a surprise to see him go much higher in the draft than this. Landry led the NCAA in sacks in 2016.
  24. Seattle Seahawks: Derrius Guice, LSU RB: The Seahawks have had a revolving door of running backs since Marshawn Lynch departed. Guice should make it two years in a row that an LSU running back goes in the first round.
  25. Carolina Panthers: Courtland Sutton, SMU WR: Offensive line could be the choice here, but Cam Newton needs some guys on the outside who can help him out. Sutton might be the most physically gifted wide receiver in the draft this year.
  26. Los Angeles Rams: Orlando Brown Jr., Oklahoma OT: Andrew Whitworth has been huge for the Rams this season. But he’s also 36 years old. Brown is a little raw, but he could become the Rams’ left tackle of the future.
  27. Jacksonville Jaguars: Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State QB: Blake Bortles isn’t the answer for Jacksonville. The Jaguars could look at Rudolph or Louisville product Lamar Jackson.
  28. New Orleans Saints: Vita Vea, Washington DT: While the Saints defense has made huge improvements, it could still stand to get a little better. Vea is an absolute monster and will make life much easier for the rest of the Saints’ front 7.
  29. Minnesota Vikings: Billy Price, Ohio State G/C: Quarterback could be in play here, but Price, like Pat Elflein did this season for Minnesota, could be a day 1 starter on the interior.
  30. New England Patriots: Sam Hubbard, Ohio State DE/OLB: Bill Belichick loves players who have ties to Greg Schiano. Pass rusher is a huge need for New England. And Hubbard’s defensive coordinator is in fact Schiano.
  31. Pittsburgh Steelers: Rashaan Evans, Alabama LB:  With the Ryan Shazier injury casting serious doubt onto his NFL future, linebacker becomes a position of need. Evans isn’t the prospect that Shazier was, but he, like many other Alabama linebackers, can be very, very good.
  32. Philadelphia Eagles: Ronnie Harrison, Alabama S:  The Eagles appear to be set at corner with Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills, but the secondary is still a weakness. Harrison could help turn that into a strength.

*Order is as of Week 15 of NFL season.

The post NFL mock draft 2018: Predicting top players, first round in 2018 NFL Draft (12/16/2017) appeared first on SEC Country.

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