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ARTHUR: My Final 2018 NFL Mock Draft

Here’s my best guess at the picks that unfold on Thursday.

Rose Bowl Game - Oklahoma v Georgia Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Alright, the 2018 NFL Draft is finally here tomorrow—we made it!

Barring any last-minute trades, I feel confident enough making my final picks now. In this mock, I didn’t project any trades because if they don’t happen, it can turn this thing into a garbage fire instantly. I’d like to at least match players/positions with teams accurately.


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: OT, QB, CB

Pick: Sam Darnold | Quarterback | USC

The logical decision here is Darnold. There’s also been rumblings about Baker Mayfield being the pick here, which I would be fine with because he’s my QB1. However, Darnold’s been the guy most of the pre-draft process, and I don’t see why that would change this late in the game.

2. New York Giants

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

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

Main needs: OL, ED, LB

Pick: Saquon Barkley | Running Back | Penn State

It feels odd having a running back this high, but unless the Giants are taking a QB or Bradley Chubb (neither of which has there been much smoke), then this makes the most sense.
It’s been said that Darnold would be the QB that the Giants would want if they are taking one, so it’s time to give Eli Manning another run with the best RB he’s ever had.

3. New York Jets (from IND)

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: OL, QB, DL

Pick: Baker Mayfield | Quarterback | Oklahoma

This pick just fits. Mayfield’s personality gels with New York, and he’s got the confidence to help turn around a franchise that’s been low for awhile like theirs. Having Josh McCown in the QB room would also be great for a rookie.

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: OT, QB, CB

Pick: Bradley Chubb | Defensive End | NC State

The idea of pairing Chubb with Myles Garrett is too good to pass up. The Browns could use a different non-QB like Denzel Ward, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Derwin James or Roquan Smith, but this pick meets value and sensibility. Sorry, Colts fans — kills me too.

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: QB, OG, RB

Pick: Josh Allen | Quarterback | Wyoming

It makes a lot of sense for the Broncos to wait for a QB and get an instant-impact position player instead, but I do think they’ll be interested in quarterbacks. They coached both Mayfield and Allen at the Senior Bowl, and there has been plenty of rumor about their continued interest in Allen.

6. Indianapolis Colts (from NYJ)

Coaching staff: Frank Reich (HC), Nick Sirianni (OC), Matt Eberflus (DC)

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

Main needs: LB, DL, OL

Pick: Roquan Smith | Linebacker | Georgia

Quenton Nelson would be a smart pick here as well, but everything tells me that the Colts would rather have a playmaker/game-wrecker than someone who is more of a contributor to a group. Smith has the potential to be the best LB that the Colts have had in the Indianapolis era. I can’t remember the last Colts LB with his blend of instincts, football IQ and movement skills.

*My final seven-round Colts mock draft, released this Monday.

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: OG, DB, RB

Pick: Quenton Nelson | Offensive Guard | Notre Dame

Any of the group of Fitzpatrick, James or Ward makes a lot of sense here, but Nelson is too good to pass up for a team that could already use an OG. Nelson gives an immediate boost to the run game and keeps pressure out of Jameis Winston’s face.

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: OL, LB, WR

Pick: Tremaine Edmunds | Linebacker | Virginia Tech

Jerrell Freeman and Christian Jones are out, and Danny Trevathan isn’t anything special. It’s time to get a stud LB back in Chicago, and Edmunds has the potential to be just that. He has a tremendous blend of size and athleticism.

9. San Francisco 49ers

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

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

Main needs: WR, LB, CB

Pick: Denzel Ward | Cornerback | Ohio State

Outside of size, Ward has everything you could want in a corner. He has both speed and quickness, moves really well to mirror receivers, and he’s always getting his hand on the ball. The 49ers need a player like that.

10. Oakland Raiders

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: Time machine LB, DL, WR

Pick: Derwin James | Safety | Florida State

Reggie Nelson is no longer a long-term option, and the prospect of pairing another stud safety with Karl Joseph is too much for Jon Gruden and Reggie McKenzie to pass up here. Oakland has lacked defensive playmakers outside of Khalil Mack for a while.

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: IOL, TE, QB

Pick: Josh Rosen | Quarterback | UCLA

Rosen really shouldn’t be here, but unless someone trades up into the top 10, this is probably where the fourth of the top group of QB’s goes. There was already talk of the Dolphins looking past Ryan Tannehill before he tore his ACL last year. That obviously should be ramped up now.

12. Buffalo Bills (from CIN)

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

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

Main needs: QB, OL, LB

Pick: Courtland Sutton | Wide Receiver | SMU

Apparently, Buffalo is trying everything they can to move up near the top of the draft to get a QB, and they’ve got the ammo to do it. However, if they pick at 12 then it’s probably not the place they want to take Lamar Jackson or Mason Rudolph (whoever they may be interested in). The Bills lack depth at WR, as well as a true No. 1. Zay Jones is also a wild card after that weird naked incident he had this offseason. Teams already liked Sutton’s size, but testing well athletically probably locks him into the first round.

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: S, CB, DL

Pick: Minkah Fitzpatrick | Defensive Back | Alabama

Fitzpatrick is too good to be going in the teens but it looks like a very real possibility now. The Redskins need help at CB and S, and Fitzpatrick can do both. However, with needs at both, they can let him loose at FS.

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: OG, CB, LB/ED

Pick: Harold Landry | Edge Defender | Boston College

Clay Matthews and Nick Perry are not putting up sack numbers for the Packers, and the defense need them. Matthews moves around a bit anyway, so this could establish him inside while Landry mans the outside with Perry and rushes the passer.

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, WR, DB

Pick: Isaiah Oliver | Cornerback | Colorado

The Cardinals have a rough-looking roster, so they could use help in several spots. However, pairing Oliver with Patrick Peterson could help establish this defense again.

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: OL, WR, TE

Pick: Mike McGlinchey | Offensive Tackle | Notre Dame

The Ravens have had some turnover on the line this offseason, and Joe Flacco already isn’t very fleet of foot. Here, Baltimore gets Notre Dame’s old book-end of tackles with Ronnie Stanley and McGlinchey.

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, S, LB

Pick: Vita Vea | Defensive Tackle | Washington

This isn’t a need but it’s more about Vea being available to the Chargers. Putting him next to Corey Liuget in the middle of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram? Yeah.

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: ED, DB, WR

Pick: Josh Jackson | Cornerback | Iowa

This pick just feels right to me. Jackson is a lengthy CB who sticks in coverage and has great ball skills. Sound like any other recently-former Seahawk?

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: WR, S, LB

Pick: Calvin Ridley | Wide Receiver | Alabama

Sutton would be the ideal pick for them here (at least it seems like it), but they get arguably the draft’s best WR instead. Ridley’s ability to run routes, separate and make plays will get him on the field immediately.

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: DL, IOL, LB

Pick: Marcus Davenport | Edge Defender | UTSA

The Lions need help all over the line, but with Ezekiel Ansah playing on the franchise tag and them not having any other reliable DE, that has to be the pick if the value is there. Davenport probably won’t be a game-wrecker right away, but Detroit’s system should be pretty friendly for a guy like him who will need time to acclimate to the NFL. Ansah did as a rookie also.

21. Cincinnati Bengals (from BUF)

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, LB, S

Pick: Isaiah Wynn | Offensive Lineman | Georgia

I’ve seen Bengals fans that don’t want an offensive lineman in the first, but that’s what makes the most sense. When the exodus happened last offseason, I had a feeling it would kill them in 2017, and it did. Time to fix it.

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, OL, LB

Pick: Lamar Jackson | Quarterback | Louisville

At this point, the QB picture is clearer for Buffalo and they can finally strike. If any team is going to finally unseat the Patriots in the AFC East, they need to make bold moves like this. Jackson can compete with A.J. McCarron and Nate Peterman right away. If Buffalo doesn’t take Jackson here, they may gift him to the Pats right after their pick.

23. New England Patriots (from LAR)

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

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

Main needs: OL, S, LB

Pick: Leighton Vander Esch | Linebacker | Boise State

With Dont’a Hightower’s injury issues, the Patriots could use another stud LB. Teams love Vander Esch’s ceiling, as he attacks and has sideline-to-sideline range.

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, DB

Pick: Josh Sweat | Edge Defender | Florida State

Julius Peppers should be nothing but a nice cherry on top right now, not a part of the plan. The Panthers definitely need more help on the edge, and Sweat’s got a huge ceiling. His athleticism is comparable to Jadeveon Clowney, and Clowney was occasionally compared to Peppers coming out of college.

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, LB, IOL

Pick: Frank Ragnow | Interior Offensive Lineman | Arkansas

Guard Quinton Spain is playing on a restricted free-agent tender, and Ben Jones, Josh Kline and Xavier Su’a-Filo are expendable. The Titans can continue establishing their run-first identity and bulking-up that offensive line by adding one of the best interior linemen in Ragnow.

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: WR, OL, DL

Pick: Da’Ron Payne | Defensive Tackle | Alabama

There’s an opening on the line with the departure of Dontari Poe. Payne is a potentially highly productive tackle prospect who has a knack for getting off the line quickly, which should go great in Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

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: TE, LB, DL

Pick: Mike Gesicki | Tight End | Alabama

The Saints have almost nothing going on at TE, and Gesicki has Jimmy Graham-like potential if playing with someone like Drew Brees. It would be nearly impossible for defenses to deal with Michael Thomas, Cameron Meredith and Gesicki in the red zone.

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: LB, QB, CB

Pick: Jaire Alexander | Cornerback | Louisville

The Steelers are a pretty balanced team without a ton of needs, but you can never have too many corners. Alexander is perhaps the best corner in the draft but should be available near the end of the first. He has swagger, man-coverage skills and is tougher and plays bigger than his size (5-10, 196) would indicate.

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: OL, DB, QB

Pick: Connor Williams | Offensive Lineman | Texas

Whether it’s RT or RG that the Jaguars are looking for, Williams could play either for them. If they’re going to commit to being a ground-and-pound team and win with Blake Bortles at QB then they’ll need to reinforce the offensive line as much as possible.

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: OL, CB, LB

Pick: James Daniels | Interior Offensive Lineman | Iowa

I’ve been enamored with the idea of pairing a high-level interior lineman next to Pat Elflein all offseason. Elflein’s former teammate Billy Price makes a ton of sense here also, but Daniels gets the nod due to his movement skills.

31. New England Patriots

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

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

Main needs: OL, S, LB

Pick: Kolton Miller | Offensive Tackle | UCLA

It’s a pretty good likelihood that Miller goes before this, but he shouldn’t, so it’s not easy finding a place for him. After Nate Solder left in free agency, I can’t imagine that Belichick would rely on LaAdrian Waddle or Antonio Garcia—who was drafted last year but was on IR/NFI the whole time—to protect Tom Brady’s blind side. Miller is comparable to Solder when he was a rookie.

32. Philadelphia Eagles

Coaching staff: Doug Pederson (HC), Mike Groh (OC), Jim Schwartz (DC)

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

Main needs: LB, OL, WR

Pick: Rashaan Evans | Linebacker | Alabama

It’s hard to find many weak spots on the Eagles roster, but they do have a lack of depth in some places. At LB, it seems like they’ve been ready to move on from Mychal Kendricks for a couple years, and Jordan Hicks has dealt with his fair share of injuries. Najee Goode also left in free agency. Hicks, Corey Nelson and Paul Worrilow are all set to be free agents next offseason. Evans is a rock-solid player who they can pair up with Nigel Bradham for years to come.

For more on the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft, buy the very first Stampede Blue Draft Guide! Tons of information about this year’s draft including position-by-position scouting reports, needs for all 32 teams, an extended look at the Colts’ needs, mock drafts, seven-round Colts mock drafts and much more!