Tony Mario's 2018 NFL Mock Draft: 3 Rounds
Round 1 Picks 1-16
The 2018 NFL Draft could be quite the quarterback class.
Tony Mario Last Updated: September 16, 2017.
New York Jets: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
- The Jets addressed safety in the 2017 NFL Draft, but still have glaring holes at quarterback, both offensive tackle spots, both cornerback spots, both wide receiver spots, and center. The Jets have to be the front runner to pick first overall in 2018 for this sole reason.
- Right now the 6-4 225 lb Sam Darnold is the undisputed favorite to go first overall even Jim Mora the head coach out of UCLA likes him. He led USC to a comeback win after trailing 49-35 in the fourth quarter of the 2017 Rose Bowl. His leadership got him voted team captain at USC.
- As long as Darnold improves his accuracy and mechanics in 2017 there is no reason to think he won't be the top pick. Mark Sciubba has Darnold at 1. It's easy to see why his top 2 quarterbacks are the top 2 quarterbacks according to most experts with Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen both making a ton of NFL throws. Darnold also has a 74.6 completion percentage after two games displaying pinpoint accuracy on tape. He dominated versus a Stanford team that had two NFL cornerbacks showcasing #1 overall pick material.
- Darnold is way better than Mark Sanchez, but Sanchez thrived his first two years because a good supporting cast was in place. With Darnold he may break out by the third year, but would probably struggle in his first two seasons with the Jets due to a lack of a supporting cast unless rookies like wide receiver ArDarius Stewart, wide receiver Chad Hansen, and tight end Jordan Leggett all emerge into reliable starters as rookies before Darnold arrives. It's hard to see that with the current quarterback situation on the Jets, but either way they take Darnold first overall if he declares for the 2018 NFL Draft after his sophomore redshirt season like many expect him to.
San Francisco 49ers: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
- San Francisco will take a quarterback that plays in a Pro Style offense because the #2 quarterback in our rankings, Lamar Jackson is not a good fit. Josh Allen was terrible versus Iowa. I know Allen's favorite team is the 49ers. It's just Josh Rosen's 34-point comeback versus Texas A&M in UCLA's 45-44 victory over Texas A&M propels him in the #2 spot in my mock draft. Rosen seems like the most NFL ready quarterback after Sam Darnold.
Previous Pick: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Chicago Bears: Arden Key, 3-4 ROLB, LSU
- Charles Leno Jr. has improved his footwork at left tackle for the Chicago Bears and Chicago paid the man like I speculated for many weeks dating back to the beginning of Training Camp. Releasing Lamaar Houston and Pernell McPhee saves over $15-million in cap space.
- Chicago could save a lot of money. Then they could start Arden Key with Leonard Floyd their first round pick taken ninth overall in the 2016 NFL Draft next to Key after being a situational pass rusher during his first two seasons in Chicago. Not only is Key a sack artist, he is also a 250 lb linebacker with 4.4 speed which is why he is nicknamed "The Tiger".
Cleveland Browns: Derwin James, FS, Florida State
- The Browns need a blue chip prospect. Derwin James is off to a hot start. He gives the Browns someone who can anchor their secondary right now.
Previous Pick: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
Cincinnati Bengals: Trey Adams, LT, Washington
- Andy Dalton gets his blindside. Cincinnati's entire offensive line outside of their left guard is trash right now. Trey Adams fixed his issue with maintaining blocks. The foot speed and wing span is there. He should be a top 5 pick now.
Previous Pick: Chukwuma Okorafor, RT, Western Michigan
Cleveland Browns: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
- Cleveland's running game versus Pittsburgh was abysmal. A stud running back like Saquon Barkley who finally fixed his pass protection takes a ton of pressure off of DeShone Kizer and with that running game, Kizer can finally blossom into the franchise quarterback that the Browns need him to be.
Previous Pick: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
Los Angeles Rams: Mike McGlinchey, RT, Notre Dame
- The Rams traded left guard Greg Robinson. They also moved their right guard to right tackle while moving right tackle Rob Havenstein to right guard. So now the Rams have to take a right tackle to compliment Andrew Whitworth. Havenstein moved back to right tackle, but this is still a huge issue with the Rams.
- Here the Rams take Notre Dame left tackle Mike MgClinchey who began his career as a right tackle to Ronnie Stanley at Notre Dame. McGlinchey would do the same, and become Goff's blindside when the Rams are ready to move on from Whitworth which would probably be around 2019 when the Rams can save nearly $11-million if they release Whitworth following the 2018 season even though Whitworth does have a buyout after this season despite being under contract until 2020 so the possibility of the Rams taking McGlinchey as a left tackle and getting another right tackle in this draft is certainly on the table. I'm thinking that the Rams will keep Whitworth for the next two seasons before making McGlinchey the blindside in 2019.
New Orleans Saints: Harold Landry, LE, Boston College
- The Saints ignored 4-3 left end for the second year in a row. Sam Hubbard got pushed around on tape versus Oklahoma left tackle Orlando Brown. Harold Landry can become a blue chip pass rusher off the edge once he develops a spin move because he's fast and has the rip and swim moves you want. You just want to see Landry develop that spin move and improve his acceleration. Everything else you want in an edge player is there. The 6-4 265 lb Landry compliments Cameron Jordan very well.
Arizona Cardinals: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
- Carson Palmer is no longer the leader Arizona needs. That was pretty evident based off of Sundays performance. Lamar Jackson would be a perfect fit for the Arizona Cardinals.
Previous Pick: Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
Washington Redskins: Quenton Nelson, LG, Notre Dame
- Washington has Trent Williams at left tackle, Spencer Long at center, Brandon Scherff at right guard, and Morgan Moses at right tackle. Quenton Nelson fills that final void on Washington's offensive line at left guard.
Miami Dolphins: Orlando Brown, LG, Oklahoma
- Miami needs a left guard to play next to Laremy Tunsil. Orlando Brown really impressed me on tape. His size may force him inside to guard, but pairing him with Laremy Tunsil on the left side of Miami's offensive line with Mike Pouncey at center and JuWuan James at right tackle gives Ryan Tannehill a ton of time in the pocket as well as a lethal running game.
Previous Pick: Derwin James, FS, Florida State
Los Angeles Chargers: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
- The Chargers take a blue chip defensive tackle in Christian Wilkins. Wilkins can compliment Corey Liuget perfectly at defensive tackle. Wilkins will blossom at defensive tackle when you consider that Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa will be on the outside at defensive end. With Ingram at 4-3 right end, Bosa at 4-3 left end along with a tandem of Liuget and Wilkins at defensive tackle, this defensive line for the Los Angeles Chargers becomes a force in 2018.
New York Giants: Connor Williams, LT, Texas
- The Giants get a left tackle that can be an upgrade over Ereck Flowers. Even with his short arms, Connor Williams is an upgrade over Flowers despite his bad game versus Maryland.
- The 6-6 320 lb Connor Williams lined up at left tackle, right tackle, left guard, and right guard at Coppell High School despite converting to left tackle full time at Texas. Having that versatility along with the pass blocking, run blocking, and zone blocking on tape makes Williams a pretty safe first round pick as well as a top 2 offensive tackle in my mock draft.
- There are scouts who believe Williams is a better run blocker and a more complete offensive tackle than Mike McGlinchey. The knocks on Williams are he needs to maintain blocks longer along with the fact that he has short arms. Williams shows more athleticism and foot speed than McGlinchey at times as well, but maintaining blocks is still a challenge for him.
Previous Pick: Mitch Hyatt, LT, Clemson
Indianapolis Colts: Tarvarus McFadden, CB, Florida State
- The Colts had an awesome 2017 NFL Draft. Vontae Davis is expected to miss time early in the season. Davis is in a contract year so unless he leads the Colts to the playoffs he's gone. It's not just that Malik Hooker and Quincy Wilson didn't start in the opener so McFadden who covered Calvin Ridley well goes to Indianapolis with Jaire Alexander injured.
Buffalo Bills: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
- Buffalo gets Tyrod a #1 target to replace Sammy Watkins. Christian Kirk barely maintains his edge over Courtland Sutton as the top receiver in the draft. A strong game against a TCU defense that Jake Wieneke torched in 2016 could give Sutton the skills to jump Sutton.
Previous Pick: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
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. There were reports about him going down from 240 to 233 lbs, but he's at 270 lbs now. 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.
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