Tony Mario's 2018 NFL Mock Draft: 2 Rounds
Round 1 Picks 1-16
The 2018 NFL Draft could be quite the quarterback class.
Tony Mario Last Updated: May 18, 2017.
New York Jets: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
- The Jets addressed safety in the 2017 NFL Draft, but still have glaring holes at quarterback, both offensive tackle spots, both cornerback spots, and center. The Jets have to be the front runner to pick first overall in 2018 for this sole reason.
- Josh Rosen is way more accurate on tape then the consensus top prospect Sam Darnold. Also if Rosen didn't get injured last season he would have finished with 3,500 passing yards in back-to-back seasons. Rosen is easily the best prospect to enter the NFL Draft since Jameis Winston if he puts together a strong junior season which is why he's my slight favorite to go first overall at this point in my second 2018 NFL Mock Draft.
Chicago Bears: Arden Key, 3-4 ROLB, LSU
- Chicago moved Leonard Floyd their 2016 first round pick to a 3-4 left outside linebacker role for depth. While you can certainly make a case for Notre Dame left tackle Mike McGlinchey here, I think the Bears would end up releasing Lamaar Houston at 3-4 right outside linebacker to save $8-million against the cap with Houston having a buyout option in 2018 only to draft Arden Key second overall. Key did a great job bullying Louisville left tackle Gerod Christian in that Bowl Game.
Los Angeles Rams: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
- The Rams get will keep Jared Goff unless they are in a position to draft Josh Rosen or Sam Darnold and both declare. Darnold may have some accuracy issues on tape, but they aren't horrible issues and unlike Ryan Mallett these issues are fixable.
- At 6-4 225 lbs he showed the leadership you look for in the 2017 Rose Bowl by leading USC to a comeback win trailing 49-35. That may be the only reason why Darnold is graded this high right now, but I'm going to give Darnold a top 5 grade for now at this point.
- Josh Rosen is the only quarterback I think you can make a case for picking ahead of Darnold at this point, plus moving Darnold out of the top 5 is sort of a knee jerk reaction, but at the same time Darnold could easily get jumped with a poor season. Right now Darnold gets a top 5 grade, but could move down boards if he struggles this season. If the Rams cannot obtain Rosen or Darnold who plays in the LA Coliseum just like the Rams, then they would probably take either Calvin Ridley or Mike McGlinchey to build around Goff on offense.
San Francisco 49ers: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
- Some mocks have Wyoming's Josh Allen going #1 overall which is crazy because he throws into coverage way too often. The 49ers are going to need help at quarterback, running back, and wide receiver. Quarterback is the biggest of those three needs at the moment, and with Allen receiving a consensus top 5 grade he makes a lot sense for the 49ers at 4.
Cleveland Browns: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
- The Browns released Josh Gordon and never replaced him in the draft. Cleveland may have an abundance of wide receivers at the moment, but Coleman may be a slot receiver at best and if they pick in the top 5 again, there is a good chance the Browns take a wide receiver. I have been hearing a lot of good things about Christian Kirk from Texas A&M, but Calvin Ridley should end up being the top receiver picked in 2018. With O.J. Howard gone and Jalen Hurts entering his sophomore season, Ridley may break out on tape to the point where he garners top 5 consideration.
Cincinnati Bengals: Mike McGlinchey, LT, Notre Dame
- Many will argue the Bengals had a great draft. They ignored a glaring need at left tackle and now have Cedric Ogbuehi who sucked at right tackle as the starting left tackle. Mike McGlinchey would make a much better replacement at left tackle.
Buffalo Bills: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
- Buffalo could get a right tackle here, but Dion Dawkins is emerging as the favorite to start at right tackle so I'll give the Bills the best player available at 7. At the same time, Barkley is arguably a top 5 prospect and the unanimous top running back in 2018. Buffalo has multiple first round picks and it felt like the Bills addressed all of their needs in the 2017 NFL Draft so they go Barkley here to give their running game life after LeSean McCoy since Buffalo failed to replace Mike Gillislee in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
- I think Jaguars will be a much improved team next year. At the same time if they end up picking this high and keeping Blake Bortles they will ignore need and take the best player on their board at 8 since no tight ends are worth taking in the top 10 this year. The 6-4 310 lb Christian Wilkins makes a lot of sense for Jacksonville at 8.
Washington Redskins: Derwin James, SS, Florida State
- Can Washington trust Su'a Cravens at strong safety or D.J. Swearinger at free safety. Both players are backup safeties in my opinion. Some have Derwin James going as high as the top 5. He suffered a season ending injury in 2016 so I'll say he's a top 10 talent right now, but could emerge into a top 5 talent with a strong 2017 campaign. He's easily Florida State's best safety since Jalen Ramsey.
Indianapolis Colts: Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama
- The Colts had an awesome 2017 NFL Draft. If they finish this poorly and end up with a top 10 pick then Chuck Pagano would be fired. I'm guessing Vontae Davis would also not be re-signed with Davis in a contract year meaning Minkah Fitzpatrick who has experience at field and boundary cornerback would be the top cornerback picked for the Colts here.
Baltimore Ravens: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
- The Ravens did everything except get Joe Flacco a #1 target. Christian Kirk is a great value pick at this point and can help Joe Flacco out a lot in the passing game at wide receiver.
Minnesota Vikings: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
- I was initially going to give the Vikings Courtland Sutton. Then I found out Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater, and Case Keenum are all Free Agents in 2018. The Vikings can draft the Heisman Winning quarterback Lamar Jackson here at 12.
Cleveland Browns: Tarvarus McFadden, CB, Florida State
- Cleveland can save over $11-million against the cap if they release Joe Haden in 2018. Unless Haden rebounds in a big way in 2017, the Browns will likely part ways with Haden and get another cornerback in Free Agency or the 2018 NFL Draft.
Carolina Panthers: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
- I think Panthers desperately need a # 1 target. Kelvin Benjamin is overweight and has the size of a defensive end. Devin Funchess is a tight end converted to wide receiver and Curtis Samuel is a running back turned wide receiver. Sutton gives Cam Newton a #1 target that he needs and covets.
Arizona Cardinals: Jarrett Stidham, QB, Auburn
- Another sophomore redshirt behind Sam Darnold is Jarrett Stidham. Stidham was a 5-star recruit in the same recruiting class as Josh Rosen and Blake Barnett who chose to transfer from Alabama. Stidham left Baylor because of the Art Briles incident, but did well with limited experience. Stidham could creep up boards like Cam Newton did seven years ago and end up sneaking into the first round with a breakout season at Auburn.
Denver Broncos: Mitch Hyatt, LT, Clemson
- If Garrett Bolles does not have an immediate impact at left tackle Denver may move him to right tackle. Donald Stephenson is the current projected starter at left tackle and Denver can save $4-million by releasing him. Denver can save over $5-million by releasing Menelik Watson. The 2018 NFL Draft looks a lot deeper at offensive tackle than the 2017 NFL Draft so if Denver does this bad and wants to keep developing their quarterbacks like Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, and Chad Kelly, I could easily see Denver drafting an actual blindside here and kicking Bolles over to right tackle where he'd be a lot better.
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