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ARTHUR: 2018 NFL Mock Draft 1.0; QB’s Own the Stage

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Five quarterbacks go in the first round of my first NFL mock draft of draft season.

CFP National Championship presented by AT&T - Alabama v Georgia Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

I made these picks based on what made the most sense to me. If there is news/rumors out there about things that are likely, I’ll go with that. Otherwise, I’m not putting together scenarios that probably won’t happen.

The very first thing that hits me when starting to put together a whole NFL mock is that trades are going to happen near the top. There are a handful of quarterbacks this year who could go in the first round, and five of the top six teams should be looking at the position. Those teams (and others further back) will want to jockey for position to get their guy.

Also, just know that most teams draft based on the best player available rather than strictly by what they need. Think about how often teams actually draft who you think that they need to.

Overall, best player available, value and needs all come into play based on how players are ranked.

Team needs via NFL.com Draft Analyst Lance Zierlein.


1. Cleveland Browns

Coaching staff: Hue Jackson (HC), Todd Haley (OC), Gregg Williams (DC)

2017 offense: 24th (308.9 YPG) | 2017 defense: 14th (328.1 YPG)

Main needs: QB, RB, CB

Pick: Baker Mayfield | Quarterback | Oklahoma

The Browns will be in the market for a quarterback this offseason, whether it’s Kirk Cousins, A.J. McCarron or a draft pick. Scot McCloughan has a personal consultant role with the Browns this offseason, and Mayfield is his guy. Rightfully so, because Mayfield is also the top quarterback in this draft.

2. New York Giants

Coaching staff: Pat Shurmur (HC), TBD (OC), James Bettcher (DC)

2017 offense: 21st (314.2 YPG) | 2017 defense: 31st (373.2 YPG)

Main needs: OT, QB, RB

Pick: Saquon Barkley | Running Back | Penn State

New Giants head coach Pat Shurmur really likes Eli Manning — who isn’t done yet — and we don’t even know what 2017 draft pick Davis Webb is yet. This could give Manning the best run game that he’s ever had.

3. Indianapolis Colts

Coaching staff: TBD (HC), TBD (OC), Matt Eberflus (DC)

2017 offense: 31st (284.6 YPG) | 2017 defense: 30th (367.1 YPG)

Main needs: ILB, OL, ED

Pick: Bradley Chubb | Edge Defender | NC State

The easiest pick that the Colts can make here is a premium pass-rusher in Chubb. It’s been their biggest need on defense for years, and this is the first year in a long while that they’re actually picking high enough to get one.

4. Cleveland Browns (from HOU)

Coaching staff: Hue Jackson (HC), Todd Haley (OC), Gregg Williams (DC)

2017 offense: 24th (308.9 YPG) | 2017 defense: 14th (328.1 YPG)

Main needs: QB, RB, CB

Pick: Minkah Fitzpatrick | Defensive Back | Alabama

Cleveland can put Fitzpatrick wherever they want in the secondary and he’ll do it at a high level. While his first projection to the NFL is as a free safety, Fitzpatrick could help the Browns most as a cornerback.

5. Denver Broncos

Coaching staff: Vance Joseph (HC), Bill Musgrave (OC), Joe Woods (DC)

2017 offense: 17th (324.1 YPG) | 2017 defense: 3rd (290.0 YPG)

Main needs: OG, QB, OT

Pick: Josh Rosen | Quarterback | UCLA

Quarterback play has been holding the Broncos back for couple of years now. Going 5-11 makes it seem like the team is awful, but the defense still finish third. Here, Denver gets their next franchise signal-caller.

6. New York Jets

Coaching staff: Todd Bowles (HC), Jeremy Bates (OC), Kacy Rodgers (DC)

2017 offense: 28th (305.2 YPG) | 2017 defense: 25th (352.2 YPG)

Main needs: QB, RB, OT

Pick: Sam Darnold | Quarterback | USC

The Jets got tremendous play from quarterback Josh McCown in 2017, but he is too old to invest in long term. Here, they get Darnold to take over when McCown leaves. Darnold would’ve benefited from returning to USC for one more year. In this scenario, he gets that “redshirt” year.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Coaching staff: Dirk Koetter (HC), Todd Monken (OC), Mike Smith (DC)

2017 offense: 9th (363.5 YPG) | 2017 defense: 32nd (378.1 YPG)

Main needs: DE, RB, CB

Pick: Quenton Nelson | Offensive Guard | Notre Dame

The Bucs could really use a pass rusher like Arden Key here, but Nelson still being available is too good to pass up here.

8. Chicago Bears

Coaching staff: Matt Nagy (HC), Mark Helfrich (OC), Vic Fangio (DC)

2017 offense: 30th (287.4 YPG) | 2017 defense: 10th (319.1 YPG)

Main needs: WR, OL, CB

Pick: Calvin Ridley | Wide Receiver | Alabama

The Bears already barely had any receivers, but now who they did have are almost all due to hit free agency. Here, they get a for-real lead receiver. By re-signing Cameron Meredith and pairing him with Ridley, it gives Mitchell Trubisky a nice pair of receivers to grow with.

9. San Francisco 49ers (pending coin flip with OAK)

Coaching staff: Kyle Shanahan (HC/OC), Robert Saleh (DC)

2017 offense: 12th (349.2 YPG) | 2017 defense: 24th (351.6 YPG)

Main needs: WR, OL, CB

Pick: Denzel Ward | Cornerback | Ohio State

There is no consensus top corner in this draft, but Ward is mine so far. San Francisco needs some top talent in the secondary.

10. Oakland Raiders (pending coin flip with SF)

Coaching staff: Jon Gruden (HC), Greg Olson (OC), Paul Guenther (DC)

2017 offense: 17th (324.1 YPG) | 2017 defense: 23rd (350.1 YPG)

Main needs: CB, ILB, OT

Pick: Roquan Smith | Linebacker | Georgia

Linebacker has been one of the Raiders’ weakest positions for awhile. Smith erases that in an instant. The Raiders defense will look promising with Smith, Khalil Mack and Karl Joseph at each level of the unit.

11. Miami Dolphins

Coaching staff: Adam Gase (HC), Dowell Loggains (OC), Matt Burke (DC)

2017 offense: 25th (307.7 YPG) | 2017 defense: 16th (335.7 YPG)

Main needs: OG, ILB, RB

Pick: Arden Key | Edge Defender | LSU

Miami needs a plan to eventually replace the aging Cameron Wake, and Charles Harris isn’t good enough yet to not add another top pick to the position.

12. Cincinnati Bengals

Coaching staff: Marvin Lewis (HC), Bill Lazor (OC), Teryl Austin (DC)

2017 offense: 32nd (280.5 YPG) | 2017 defense: 18th (339.1 YPG)

Main needs: OL, QB, LB

Pick: Orlando Brown Jr. | Offensive Tackle | Oklahoma

Cincinnati let their offensive line whither away last offseason and it went poorly, as you can imagine. They somehow finished dead last while having A.J. Green, Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard. Here, the Bengals get a new franchise blindside protector. Gotta start somewhere.

13. Washington Redskins

Coaching staff: Jay Gruden (HC), Matt Cavanaugh (OC), Greg Manusky (DC)

2017 offense: 16th (324.9 YPG) | 2017 defense: 21st (347.9 YPG)

Main needs: LB, DL, S

Pick: Derwin James | Safety | Florida State

Washington needs help all over the place, and they dealt with a ton of injuries last year. James is a solid, dependable defender to plug in right away in the secondary.

14. Green Bay Packers

Coaching staff: Mike McCarthy (HC), Joe Philbin (OC), Mike Pettine (DC)

2017 offense: 26th (305.7 YPG) | 2017 defense: 22nd (348.9 YPG)

Main needs: CB, OL, WR

Pick: Rashaan Evans | Linebacker | Alabama

As long as Aaron Rodgers is on the field, offense won’t be a problem. Defense, though, has been Green Bay’s bugaboo. Evans is an alpha linebacker that they can build around.

15. Arizona Cardinals

Coaching staff: Steve Wilks (HC), Mike McCoy (OC), Al Holcomb (DC)

2017 offense: 22nd (314.1 YPG) | 2017 defense: 6th (310.9 YPG)

Main needs: QB, OL, WR

Pick: Josh Allen | Quarterback | Wyoming

This would feel more appropriate as a Bruce Arians pick, but Arizona still needs a quarterback regardless. Someone’s taking this project in the first round, and it could very well be Arizona. Unless they make a play for a big-name, up-and-coming quarterback like Cousins, McCarron or Jacoby Brissett, you can count on the Cardinals using an early pick on a quarterback.

16. Baltimore Ravens

Coaching staff: John Harbaugh (HC), Marty Mornhinweg (OC), Don Martindale (DC)

2017 offense: 27th (305.4 YPG) | 2017 defense: 12th (325.1 YPG)

Main needs: WR, TE, RB

Pick: Courtland Sutton | Wide Receiver | SMU

Joe Flacco’s not the type of quarterback that can carry a passing game by himself. Here, the Ravens finally get a wide receiver pick correct with Sutton.

17. Los Angeles Chargers

Coaching staff: Anthony Lynn (HC), Ken Whisenhunt (OC), Gus Bradley (DC)

2017 offense: 4th (376.6 YPG) | 2017 defense: 15th (328.4 YPG)

Main needs: OT, QB, LB

Pick: Mike McGlinchey | Offensive Tackle | Notre Dame

The Chargers got off to a great start in building their offensive line with Dan Feeney and Forrest Lamp last year, but they still need help on the edges to protect Philip Rivers.

18. Seattle Seahawks

Coaching staff: Pete Carroll (HC), Brian Schottenheimer (OC), Ken Norton Jr. (DC)

2017 offense: 15th (330.4 YPG) | 2017 defense: 11th (323.2 YPG)

Main needs: OT, CB, OG

Pick: Connor Williams | Offensive Lineman | Texas

For the love of God, will somebody give Russell Wilson a line? And the Colts get crap for not protecting Andrew Luck…

19. Dallas Cowboys

Coaching staff: Jason Garrett (HC), Scott Linehan (OC), Rod Marinelli (DC)

2017 offense: 14th (331.9 YPG) | 2017 defense: 8th (318.1 YPG)

Main needs: TE, DT, CB

Pick: Tremaine Edmunds | Linebacker | Virginia Tech

The Cowboys could build an elite linebacker corps by adding Edmunds with Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith, especially if Anthony Hitchens leaves in free agency. Dallas has more pressing needs, but this pick is about value.

20. Detroit Lions

Coaching staff: Matt Patricia (HC), Jim Bob Cooter (OC), Paul Pasqualoni (DC)

2017 offense: 13th (337.8 YPG) | 2017 defense: 27th (355.8 YPG)

Main needs: DE, OG, LB

Pick: Derrius Guice | Running Back | LSU

The Lions could go defensive line here, but Guice is a really good value at this spot. They also haven’t had a consistent run game in years. Not that running back committees are a bad thing, but Detroit may have too many cooks in the kitchen. If they can scale it back to just feature Guice and Theo Riddick for the most part, that would be a good thing.

21. Buffalo Bills

Coaching staff: Sean McDermott (HC), Brian Daboll (OC), Leslie Frazier (DC)

2017 offense: 29th (302.6) | 2017 defense: 26th (355.1)

Main needs: QB, LB, DT

Pick: Mason Rudolph | Quarterback | Oklahoma State

The Bills are noncommittal on Tyrod Taylor, and there’s a pretty good chance that Nathan Peterman’s not the guy.

22. Buffalo Bills (from KC)

Coaching staff: Sean McDermott (HC), Brian Daboll (OC), Leslie Frazier (DC)

2017 offense: 29th (302.6) | 2017 defense: 26th (355.1)

Main needs: QB, LB, DT

Pick: Maurice Hurst | Defensive Tackle | Michigan

After trading away Marcell Dareus last year, and Kyle Williams leaving at some point soon, the Bills need help at defensive tackle.

23. Los Angeles Rams

Coaching staff: Sean McVay (HC), TBD (OC), Wade Phillips (DC)

2017 offense: 10th (361.5 YPG) | 2017 defense: 19th (339.5 YPG)

Main needs: CB, OL, LB

Pick: Josh Jackson | Cornerback | Iowa

Even with Trumaine Johnson, the Rams need more help at cornerback. There is a good chance that he finds a new home in free agency, so then they’ll really need to fix the position. Like Johnson, Jackson is a lengthy corner with ball skills for days.

24. Carolina Panthers

Coaching staff: Ron Rivera (HC), Norv Turner (OC), Eric Washington (DC)

2017 offense: 19th (323.7 YPG) | 2017 defense: 7th (317.1 YPG)

Main needs: OL, WR, DE

Pick: Mike Hughes | Cornerback | UCF

The Panthers’ cornerbacks were not great in 2017. Their top four performers averaged a grade of 47.9, according to Pro Football Focus, which is far below average. Hughes has been a recent riser up draft boards, and that may go even further at the Combine.

25. Tennessee Titans

Coaching staff: Mike Vrabel (HC), Matt LaFleur (OC), Dean Pees (DC)

2017 offense: 23rd (314.0 YPG) | 2017 defense: 13th (328.0 YPG)

Main needs: ED, OG, TE

Pick: Harold Landry | Edge Defender | Boston College

At this point, it looks like the Titans aren’t going to get their return on investment from drafting edge defender Kevin Dodd a couple of years ago. Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan aren’t getting any younger either.

26. Atlanta Falcons

Coaching staff: Dan Quinn (HC), Steve Sarkisian (OC), Marquand Manuel (DC)

2017 offense: 8th (364.8 YPG) | 2017 defense: 9th (318.4 YPG)

Main needs: DT, OG, S

Pick: Isaiah Wynn | Offensive Guard | Georgia

I can imagine that Wynn would come in and start at guard for the Falcons from Day 1. There’s no one in that lineup that inspires much confidence outside of Andy Levitre.

27. New Orleans Saints

Coaching staff: Sean Payton (HC), Pete Carmichael (OC), Dennis Allen (DC)

2017 offense: 2nd (391.2 YPG) | 2017 defense: 17th (336.5 YPG)

Main needs: QB, TE, WR

Pick: James Washington | Wide Receiver | Oklahoma State

Willie Snead and Brandon Coleman are both restricted free agents this offseason, so we’ll see what happens there. While I like Ted Ginn Jr., I think the Saints need to bring someone else in to compete for a starting role at receiver as well.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers

Coaching staff: Mike Tomlin (HC), Randy Fichtner (OC), Keith Butler (DC)

2017 offense: 3rd (377.9 YPG) | 2017 defense: 5th (306.9 YPG)

Main needs: ILB, QB, S

Pick: Isaiah Oliver | Cornerback | Colorado

The Steelers were somewhat difficult to decide on because they don’t have many holes. However, they could use some added talent and insurance at corner. When I watch Oliver, I could definitely see him in a Steelers uniform.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars

Coaching staff: Doug Marrone (HC), Nathaniel Hackett (OC), Todd Wash (DC)

2017 offense: 6th (365.9 YPG) | 2017 defense: 2nd (286.1 YPG)

Main needs: TE, OG, WR

Pick: Mark Andrews | Tight End | Oklahoma

I so badly wanted to put Lamar Jackson here, but that seems too easy. It would be too awesome, therefore it probably won’t happen. The Jaguars haven’t committed to Blake Bortles long term, but he’s going to be there for the time being — at least 2018. If the Jaguars lose either Allen Robinson or Marqise Lee in free agency, they’ll need another dependable pass-catcher who can help move the chains. I really like Andrews to be the type of guy the offense can rely on.

30. Minnesota Vikings

Coaching staff: Mike Zimmer (HC), John DeFilippo (OC), George Edwards (DC)

2017 offense: 11th (356.9 YPG) | 2017 defense: 1st (275.9 YPG)

Main needs: OT, OG, DL

Pick: Billy Price | Offensive Lineman | Ohio State

The Vikings did a nice job building a usable offensive line in 2017, but they’re not done. Throwing Price in next to Pat Elflein would be a good move.

31. New England Patriots

Coaching staff: Bill Belichick (HC), Josh McDaniels (OC), TBD (DC)

2017 offense: 1st (394.2 YPG) | 2017 defense: 29th (366.0 YPG)

Main needs: CB, QB, ED

Pick: Marcus Davenport | Edge Defender | UTSA

For starters, just know that if I could’ve put green stink lines around Josh McDaniels’ name, I would’ve. Aside from that, the Patriots need more pass rush help. It certainly would’ve done them well in the Super Bowl. Derek Rivers was out all year, but Belichick isn’t going to depend on essentially a second-year rookie.

32. Philadelphia Eagles

Coaching staff: Doug Pederson (HC), Frank Reich (OC), Jim Schwartz (DC)

2017 offense: 7th (365.8 YPG) | 2017 defense: 4th (306.5 YPG)

Main needs: LT, LB, CB

Pick: Chukwuma Okorafor | Offensive Tackle | Western Michigan

Lucky for the Eagles, they didn’t fall apart up front by losing Jason Peters. The veteran is now 36 years old, and his backup, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, isn’t really someone you move forward with without looking to upgrade.