2018 NFL Mock Draft: Top Ten With and Without Trades

Joe Malfa with a top ten mock for the NFL Draft, one with trades and one without trades

The dust is beginning to settle on free agency as teams scour the free agent heap to find remaining role players at a bargain price. It is time to shift the focus to the NFL Draft, which is only a bit over a month away. Joe Malfa will put together a full 1st-round mock draft every week starting March 29th. For now, he gets the juices flowing with a mock of the top-10 picks with and without trades:

Without Trades:

1) Cleveland Browns — QB Sam Darnold, USC

Last week, I was on the “take Barkley first, grab a quarterback fourth” bandwagon for the Browns. It made sense. Between the Giants and Colts, Barkley would not be there at the 4th pick, but neither the Giants nor the Colts would be taking a quarterback so the Browns would still have their pick of the litter. The Jets trading up to the 3rd pick complicated things because they will be taking a quarterback, and that move could impel another team (Buffalo? Arizona? Denver?) to trade up with the Giants to get a quarterback as well. Now, all of a sudden, the Browns would not have the full allotment of quarterbacks from which they could make a selection. With that being said, grab the quarterback first and leave nothing to chance. Darnold is the top gunslinger on my board, and it seems like the Browns may be high on him as well.

2) New York Giants — RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State

For all the talk about the Giants getting a quarterback to prepare for life after Eli Manning, I think the right move would be to select a generational talent like Barkley to help make one last run with Manning. Worry about the quarterback a couple of years from now. Who knows — maybe Davis Webb is the answer anyway.

3) New York Jets — QB Josh Rosen, UCLA

This should not be difficult. The hardest part about this pick, as a fan, will be waiting the millisecond between Roger Goodell announcing the pick’s first name and last name.

“With the 3rd overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the New York Jets select — Josh…” There may be a march on Florham Park if that last name is “Allen” instead of “Rosen.”

4) Cleveland Browns — S Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama

If the Browns do opt for a quarterback with the 1st overall pick, I think there is a very good chance they go ahead and trade this one. For the purpose of a mock draft without trades, however, I will go ahead and say they draft Fitzpatrick to pair with Peppers on the back end of that defense.

5) Denver Broncos — QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

Signing Case Keenum does not mean the Broncos are content with their quarterback situation. John Elway gets more leeway than someone like Mike Maccagnan when it comes to hitting on a quarterback because he has recently won a Super Bowl, but he is starting to look bad for not being able to find a long-term solution at his own position. Keenum is nothing more than an expensive Band-Aid, while Mayfield could be the antidote.

6) Indianapolis Colts — EDGE Bradley Chubb, North Carolina State

The Colts have more holes in their roster than Bill Polian’s argument about Lamar Jackson being a wide receiver. The best way to start fixing it — like the Browns last year with Myles Garrett — is by drafting a stud pass rusher who seems to be a sure thing. It will not fix every issue, but it is a step in the right direction.

7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers — CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State

Chubb is the dream pick for a defense in dire need of generating a pass rush from the outside to go complement Gerald McCoy’s rush from the inside, but a shutdown corner is need 1-b if an edge rusher is 1-a.

8) Chicago Bears — ILB Roquan Smith, Georgia

As we get closer to draft day, we will see a lot of debates about the draft’s top inside linebacker. Despite being undersized, Smith is my pick. He is lightning quick, does nothing but make big plays, and would fill one of the Bears’ biggest needs.

9) San Francisco 49ers — OG Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame

Arguably the draft’s best overall player behind Barkley. The Niners get an absolute steal at the back end of the top-10, and Jimmy Garoppolo gets some protection.

10) Oakland Raiders — ILB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech

The Raiders, like the Bears, are also in the market for an inside linebacker with NaVorro Bowman very unlikely to return to Oakland. Fortunately for Jon Gruden and company, this draft has a few solid options at this position and the linebacker passed on by the Bears will be the selection for the Raiders.

With Trades:

1) Cleveland Browns — QB Sam Darnold, USC

No change from the mock without trades.

2) Buffalo Bills (Trade with Giants) — QB Josh Allen, Wyoming

The Bills did not make all of those moves just to sit back at the 12th pick and watch all of the top quarterbacks walk across the stage wearing another team’s baseball cap. The Giants are in a position to acquire a handful of valuable assets for the 2nd overall pick. If they are content with passing on a quarterback, acquiring the 12th and 21st overall picks from the Bills would allow them to add two blue chip players to round out the roster and attempt to make another run at a Super Bowl with Manning.

3) New York Jets — QB Josh Rosen, UCLA

No change from the mock without trades.

4) Denver Broncos (Trade with Browns) — QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

No change in the selection from the mock without trades, but the Broncos will make the pick one slot sooner after a trade with the Browns. We saw the Bears do this last season, moving up from the 3rd pick to the 2nd in order to select Mitchell Trubisky. Making this swap with Cleveland ensures a team like the Dolphins or Cardinals will not jump one spot ahead of them and steal their quarterback of the future.

5) Cleveland Browns (Trade with Broncos) — RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State

Could there be a more perfect scenario for the Browns? They get Darnold with the 1st pick, acquire a couple more picks by swapping with the Broncos, and end up pairing Darnold and Barkley in the backfield.

6) Indianapolis Colts –EDGE Bradley Chubb, North Carolina State 

No change from the mock without trades.

7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers — CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State

No change from the mock without trades.

8) Chicago Bears — MLB Roquan Smith, Georgia

No change from the mock without trades.

9) San Francisco 49ers — OG Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame

No change from the mock without trades.

10) Oakland Raiders — ILB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech

No change from the mock without trades.

Photo Credit — NFL.com