Todd McShay wrote:
1. Cleveland Brownshttp://www.espn.com/nfl/draft2018/insid ... redictions
Sam Darnold, QB, USC*
I've had Darnold here in the previous two mocks as well. After the combine this past week, it's sounding as if this pick could come down to him or Saquon Barkley. Darnold is the best QB in this class, in my opinion. However, I also could see Josh Allen as the choice here, since he has more experience in the cold, the big arm and the hand size (10⅛ inches) to diminish fumbling concerns in bad AFC North weather. If Cleveland addresses its quarterback situation in free agency (AJ McCarron?), then I think Barkley is the pick here.
2. New York Giants
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State*
The Giants could go a lot of different directions here. If they are really looking to win now with Eli Manning at QB, then they should take the best player in the draft, Barkley. Give Manning a running game and a little more pass protection (via free agency or later in the draft) and Giants fans would argue they are a playoff team. Bradley Chubb and Quenton Nelson are in play here as well. And New York also could get a sweet offer to move back for a team looking to jump up and take a QB.
3. Indianapolis Colts
Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
Like the Giants, the big question will be if Indianapolis gets a worthwhile offer to move down from a QB-needy team. If that call doesn't come, then I believe this pick comes down to Chubb or Nelson. With so many holes on this team, including edge rusher, Chubb makes the most sense. He played his way into a top-10 pick this season at NC State and solidified it with a strong combine workout. A high-motor guy, he has good talent and is a very complete player. A plug-and-play
4. Cleveland Browns (from Houston Texans)
Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama*
2018 NFL DRAFT
There are teams that could be looking to move up to this pick to get ahead of Denver and the New York Jets (Miami, Arizona, Buffalo to name a few), so the Browns could cash in with the QB they want and now get additional picks to move down. Since we can't project trades, Cleveland goes with a difference-maker on defense in Fitzpatrick (Tremaine Edmunds would be another possibility). With needs at CB, WR, DE and offensive line (among others), this pick is also dependent on where Cleveland spends to upgrade in free agency.
5. Denver Broncos
Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame*
I keep hearing that the Broncos are looking to upgrade the QB position in free agency, but the name I keep hearing isn't Kirk Cousins -- it's Case Keenum. If Denver gets either guy, it needs significant help on the O-line, even after drafting offensive tackle Garett Bolles in the first round last year. Nelson had a terrific combine and is a plug-and-play, high-level starter. He's a guard, not a tackle, but he's also currently my second-ranked prospect in this class. If Denver doesn't address QB in free agency, Allen is the likely pick here.
6. New York Jets
Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming*
The Jets are another team in the Cousins sweepstakes, but assuming they miss out they'd be thrilled if Allen (or Baker Mayfield) were available here. Allen has the best arm talent in the draft and can make any throw. The concern over his 56.3 completion percentage last season at Wyoming is probably overblown, but there are some accuracy issues with multidimensional throws. He's more of a project than some other QBs in this class, but he definitely has the highest ceiling.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Derwin James, S, Florida State*
The Bucs were dead last in the NFL with 17 sacks last season, so they need an edge rusher badly. But the defensive end class this year lacks elite talent at the top, and this is a reach for someone like Marcus Davenport. Instead, Tampa Bay should take the best player available -- which is James. James is a versatile playmaker on the back end, and also a terrific athlete. His outstanding workout in Indy (40-inch vertical jump, 11-foot broad jump, 4.47 40-yard dash) wasn't surprising.
8. Chicago Bears
Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State*
Calvin Ridley is still my top-ranked WR, but he had a mixed combine workout. The Bears do need playmakers on the outside for second-year QB Mitchell Trubisky, but right now, there are simply too many higher-graded players on the board available. Even if Chicago keeps Kyle Fuller (it placed the transition tag on him), the Bears need a lockdown CB. Ward is that guy, and his blazing 4.32 40 cemented his spot as the No. 1 CB in this draft.
9. San Francisco 49ers
Tremaine Edmunds, DE/OLB, Virginia Tech*
The 49ers need another cornerback, but in this scenario Ward is gone at No. 8. The 49ers have invested heavily on the defensive line high in previous drafts, but I think they look to the second level of the defense here. And Edmunds is a gift at No. 9. At 6-foot-4, 254 pounds, he has elite speed (4.47 40) and athleticism -- and he's only 19. Edmunds has the ability to play off the ball on first and second downs and rush the QB on obvious passing downs.
10. Oakland Raiders
Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia*
Oakland has needs all over on defense (CB, LB, edge rusher) and not enough available cap room to make huge upgrades in free agency. Smith would be a good building block for the Raiders' defense, as a rangy weakside linebacker with fast eyes and terrific closing speed. He's also a great leader and possesses tremendous football character.
11. Miami Dolphins
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Smith could also be a great pick for Miami, but if he's off the board and Mayfield and Josh Rosen are both on the board, I think Miami takes a QB here. Ryan Tannehill is good enough to win when healthy, but his availability has been a problem in recent seasons. Adam Gase would be a good offensive mind to help utilize Mayfield's strengths.