NFL First Round Mock Draft – Post Free Agency Edition

Daniel Mosher with a full first round mock for the 2018 NFL Draft…

With the major moves of free agency already in the books, the draft picture is becoming clearer by the day. Dan Mosher is back with his second, full first round mock draft.

As expected, the free agency period threw a standard amount of curveballs into everyone’s draft analysis. However, what wasn’t expected was the trade between the New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts that sent massive shockwaves down the draft board. Take a look at my first mock draft here to see how different things are just three short weeks later.

The curveballs aren’t slowing down, and as you’ll see from this mock draft, there’s at least one more big trade that I see coming. So let’s jump in!

1.) Cleveland Browns – Sam Darnold, QB – USC

Somehow I feel like I’m in the minority by having Darnold as my QB1 this year, but to me, this is a no brainer. As Darnold slung it around the field at his rainy USC Pro Day, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam sat with his parents in the stands. Might as well turn in the card now.

2.) New York Giants – Saquon Barkley, RB – Penn State

For whatever reason, GM Dave Gettleman seems convinced that Eli Manning still has what it takes to win another Super Bowl. If that’s true, no player helps Manning more than Barkley. The Giants have had laughable players at running back recently, the addition of Barkley will force teams to stack the box, making Manning’s inevitably pedestrian last few seasons seem much better than they actually will be. Sure, there’s plenty of value at the RB position throughout the draft, but none of them can carry a franchise like Barkley. Out of all the elite running back prospects the past five years, Barkley is better than all of them.

3.) New York Jets – Josh Rosen, QB – UCLA

The Jets swung big to get their guy. I have Rosen as my QB2b (just a hair behind Baker Mayfield) because of his injuries.. they scare me a lot. However, if he stays healthy, Rosen could turn out to be the best passer in this class. His mechanics are flawless, he’s a true technician who throws a pristine ball. In many ways, attitude included, he is the opposite of Christian Hackenberg, Jets fans are surely hoping his career will be too.

TRADE: 4.) Buffalo Bills (from Cleveland) – Josh Allen, QB – Wyoming

If this happens I would bet my salary that you’ll hear Kiper say something to the effect of: “This is the guy you want throwing the ball in a windy December game in Buffalo.” — Look, at the end of the day, someone’s going to draft Allen top-5, he’ll take his lumps, but ultimately I see him being a decent pro. He has shown better footwork thorough the spring, but none of that matters if he folds in the fall. If he can clean up his mechanics he’ll be special, but that’s a huge “if”.

5.) Denver Broncos – Baker Mayfield, QB – Oklahoma 

With the addition of Case Keenum, the Broncos have turned into a bit of a wild card at this spot. If a top four QB remains, they could get some wild offers from teams like Miami and Arizona, but ultimately, I see them staying put and grabbing Broadway Baker, er, I guess.. Mile High Mayfield? Baker having the opportunity to sit behind a similar style player in Keenum is a huge boon for the Heisman winner. The only issue is what will that old roster look like when it’s time for him to take over?

6.) Indianapolis Colts – Bradley Chubb, DE – NC State

To me, there were already no losers in the Colts/Jets trade, and a result like this would really support that claim. The Colts grab a boat load of picks and still have the chance to grab of of their top rated players in Chubb or Quenton Nelson. Taking Chubb adds excitement onto a roster that may be the worst in the league.

7.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Quenton Nelson, OG – Notre Dame

The Bucs are one of the biggest beneficiaries of the early run on quarterbacks. They get arguably the best player in the draft at a major position of need. Nelson is honestly one of the more fun players in this class to study.. and he’s a damn Guard.

8.) Chicago Bears – Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB – Alabama

Fitzpatrick, who seemed like a Top-5 lock, falls to Chicago who would love to have a versatile piece in the secondary to complement Kyle Fuller and last year’s surprise Eddie Jackson. This would be the cherry on top of a stellar offseason for the new regime.

9.) San Fransisco 49ers – Denzel Ward, CB – Ohio State

Ward is this class’ best cover corner who makes up for his smaller size with elite speed and ball skills. The Niners need a shutdown corner to help their ever increasing set of pass-rushers eat.

10.) Oakland Raiders – Roquan Smith, ILB – Georgia

Smith is the very model of a modern middle linebacker; incredible burst, sideline to sideline speed and top flight instincts. Jon Gruden won a super bowl with an elite front seven, Smith would be a key pick up if he’s looking to re-create his Tampa Bay magic.

11.) Miami Dolphins – Derwin James, S – Florida State

The Dolphins choose stay out of the quarterback frenzy when the price gets too high and it serves them well. James is one of the few blue chip prospects in this draft; he’ll have instant impact on a barren Dolphins secondary.

12.) Cleveland Browns (from Buffalo) – Tremaine Edmunds, LB – Virginia Tech

Cleveland makes the big trade down with Buffalo, picking up their 12th and 22nd pick, and giving them three first round picks in back to back years. Edmunds is an absolute specimen who needs to be coached up heavily if he wants to truly unlock his potential. At only 19 years old, he could grow into a terrorizing force for a defense that’s looking better and better these days.

13.) Washington – Vita Vea, DL – Washington

If you follow the incomparable former Jets beat writer Kimberly A. Martin, you’ve probably seen the true thirst of Washington fans for another impact player on the defensive line. Vea is the top interior lineman in the class and would be disruptive down in D.C.

14.) Green Bay Packers – Calvin Ridley, WR – Alabama

The Pack could go in a number of different directions, but you can never go wrong with giving Aaron Rodgers another target. I’m not as high on Ridley (or any WRs in this class) as the masses, but he’s a smooth route runner who will likely step into the offense on day one. Ridley and Davante Adams would be the perfect duo for the back nine of Rodger’s career.

15.) Arizona Cardinals – Lamar Jackson, QB – Louisville

To go into the season without a real backup option behind the glass knees of Sam Bradford would be GM malpractice. The Cardinals would likely have to mortgage their future to get into the top five, but by staying where they are, they could end up with the most electrifying player in the draft. Don’t be surprised to see a lot of GM’s with egg on their face for passing on Jackson. He’s a rare talent, likely the best dual threat quarterback prospect we’ve seen.

16.) Baltimore Ravens – Marcus Davenport, DE – UTSA

The senior bowl star has all the physical tools to excel at the next level, but some GM’s will surely be concerned with his lack of consistency at UTSA where he faced a lower level of competition.

17.) Los Angeles Chargers – Leighton Vander Esch, ILB – Boise State

While this mock has been largely different from my previous version, some picks just make too much sense to change. The Chargers’ defense was dreadful against the run last year. Vander Esch is an every down backer who can fill the huge inside holes created by LA’s elite outside rushers.

18.) Seattle Seahawks – Isaiah Wynn, OG – Georgia

Wynn is another exciting lineman to watch (or do I just get overly-excited watching lineman), with the versatility to play any position across the front. The Seahawks have been so strapped on the line for years now, I’m sure Russell Wilson would approve.

19.) Dallas Cowboys – Mike McGlinchey, OT – Notre Dame

There are some players on the board who could fill some of the bigger holes on this roster, wide receiver and linebacker depth, but I think the Boys address the biggest hole on their biggest strength, the O-Line. After Doug Free retired, the line play definitely regressed. McGlinchey would step into the starting Right Tackle spot on day one allowing the team to move La’el Collins back to guard and letting this unit re-claim it’s place atop the league.

20.) Detroit Lions – Taven Bryan, DL – Florida

Bryan is an absolute dog! You can read my in-depth scouting report of him here. He is a versatile piece who would likely wind up inside in the 43 scheme run by new head coach Matt Patricia. Bryan has obviously gotten the JJ Watt comparisons that come with being a real glue-guy with deceptive speed. You know.. a real sneaky fast, gym rat..

21.) Cincinatti Bengals – Josh Jackson, CB – Iowa

Call me an ignorant football fan (or maybe Deion Sanders) but I can’t name a single person in that Bengals secondary other than Pacman Jones who has to be in his forties by now.. Jackson is a talented prospect looking to prove he’s more than a one year wonder. He’ll be a great asset alongside … *googles depth chart* … Dre Kirkpatrick?

22.) Cleveland Browns (from Buffalo) – Connor Williams, OT – Texas

There’s no elite left tackle prospect in this draft but Williams my favorite, I think he would likely start on the right side in his pro career before moving over in a couple years. The Browns have the weapons at tight end and receiver, and a few strong defensive pieces; they’d be smart to grab a lineman for their new franchise quarterback.

23.) Los Angeles Rams – Rashaan Evans, LB – Alabama

With Alec Ogletree out the door, the Rams should look to solidify their linebacker corps. Evans, when healthy, has the sideline to sideline range to be a menace on an already elite defense.

24.) Carolina Panthers – Isaiah Oliver, CB – Colorado

The Panthers get a lockdown bump and run corner with the ideal size, speed and length. If Oliver can work on his technique, he has the chance to be a very productive #1 corner.

25.) Tennessee Titans – Harold Landry, LB – Boston College

Another repeat from my last mock draft, the Titans grab an explosive pass rusher. If Landry makes it this far, it’s no fable that head coach Mike Vrabel would be pounding the table, if he’s able. (I know, I know.. I’m your least favorite TOJ writer.)

26.) Atlanta Falcons – Da’Ron Payne, DT – Alabama

Payne will step into Dan Quinn’s defense immediately as one of the best run stuffing DT’s in this draft class. If Payne can improve his pass rushing suite, this may be one of the best value picks of round one.

27.) New Orleans Saints – D.J. Chark, WR – LSU

Chark wowed everyone at the combine with his eye popping speed and I think Sean Payton and Drew Brees would love to add a premier deep threat element to their offense. The biggest beneficiary may be Michael Thomas who would surely see more open looks in the middle of the field.

28.) Pittsburgh Steelers – Justin Reid, S – Stanford

Often overshadowed by the elite safeties in this class, James and Fitzpatrick, Reid may be an even better safety than his Pro-Bowl brother Eric. Reid is a pro-ready prospect with the instincts, athleticism and versatility in his game to solidify the back end of the secondary for the next decade.

29.) Jacksonville Jaguars – Malik Jefferson, LB – Texas

I love Jefferson as a prospect, you can read a more in-depth report of him here. He has the range and explosiveness to be an instant contributor in the run game, but will need to shape up his instincts if he wants to survive at the next level.

30.) Minnesota Vikings – Will Hernandez, OG – UTEP

The Vikings would be wise to add in some pieces to the offensive line tasked with protecting their new prized quarterback. Hernandez is a people mover who owned the 1 on 1 drills at the Senior Bowl and should thrive in the pros.

31.) New England Patriots – Mike Hughes, CB – Central Florida

Bill Belichick needs solid play from his cornerbacks to make his defense work. With Malcolm Butler onto the Titans, I could see them targeting Hughes to man the spot opposite Stephon Gilmore. Hughes is a raw prospect but is likely to grow into a solid cover corner under Belichick’s tutelage.

32.) Philadelphia Eagles – Dallas Goedert, TE – South Dakota State

The world will be upside down when Dallas goes to Philly and North Dakota State is throwing end zone fades to South Dakota State. Goedert is my favorite tight end prospect in this class, I profiled him in-depth here. With the loss of Trey Burton, I’m sure Doug Pederson is looking for his next ascending combo tight end, and a two tight end set with Goedert and Zach Ertz would be a deadly package for the champs to employ.

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