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2018 NFL Mock Draft by Matt Queue - 4.25
Published at 4/25/2018 6:55:04 PM
Final Mock Draft of the draft season (probably). A few trades that would make sense to see. Feel free to let me know what you think, if you agree or disagree with my picks, or my reasoning for them. I put a decent amount of time into my research and I hope it shows.
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The truth finally comes out, Baker Mayfield will be the first pick of the NFL draft. The Browns get a true football player, one who knows how to win (something Cleveland needs). Mayfield will be hungry to install a new era of competitive football in Cleveland once he's ready to take over for Tyrod Taylor.
Three hours before the draft, I feel 51/49 that the Giants are going with Darnold over Saquon Barkley if he's available. I'm sticking to my gut, as Darnold has a high floor and high ceiling. Eli Manning's presence will allow Sam to work on his turnover issues. There is a huge fear in me that Darnold ends up like the last top-10 USC QB, but maybe that's just natural as a Jets fan.
The Jets are no longer in play for Baker Mayfield, as he will be going to Cleveland. In this mock, they do not get to take Darnold either, who sounds like the second choice at the moment. I think the Jets have Rosen and Darnold similarly rated, and would not think twice about taking either one. Rosen comes with character concerns that might be exemplified in a big market, but dude can throw well. The Jets would love to have the most pro ready QB in the draft.
All trades are off at number four if Saquon Barkley falls this far. The best player in the draft, the Browns are getting extreme value even at the fourth overall pick.
Bradley Chubb is constantly either mocked to the Browns at 4 or the Colts at 6, but the Broncos could possibly be the best fit for him at the fifth pick. With the character concerns coming up about Von Miller, Chubb gives the Broncos either a complement or an eventual replacement. The Broncos can target offensive line later in the draft, they can't do the same at pass rusher.
There's a part of me that believes Quenton Nelson slides in the draft simply for being a guard, but then again every report indicates the Bucs will grab him at the seventh pick if he falls to them. Indy could use this pick to trade down or grab a defensive stud, but they can't let Andrew Luck get the David Carr treatment for much longer. If they do, his career might go the way of David Carr.
I was going to have the Cardinals trade up here, but it might cost Arizona too much for them to go through with it. So, a team with more resources trades up and gets the last of the top 4 QBs. The tweets that came out this morning will knock him a tier under Darnold and Mayfield, but will be in competition with Josh Rosen for the third QB off the board. Allen will benefit from the reduced pressure in a small market like Buffalo and can replace A.J. McCarron eventually at some point this season.
This is the first chance for a real shocker in my opinion. I had Josh Jackson here in my last mock, but I'm starting to get the feeling the Bears are going to go with McGlinchey instead. Reunited with his old O-line coach, McGlinchey lands in his best possible situation. We will witness a higher emphasis on offensive-line prospects going forward after seeing teams like the Giants and Bengals get punished for ignoring their protection needs last year.
I think Roquan Smith is the better linebacker of the two, but Edmunds offers the 49ers a lot more versatility. A jack of all trades, Edmunds is the high-character athletic freak San Fransisco needs in the midst of the Reuben Foster saga. If Foster ends up being back, Tremaine can play outside. If not, he can man the middle.
The Raiders have added a lot of help in the secondary this offseason, but Derwin James sliding results in Oakland grabbing one more DB. James is the best DB in a deep class and can be an electric game-changer in the mold of Kam Chancellor.
So many teams early in this draft are infatuated with Roquan Smith, so maybe he doesn't end up being available at 11, but the Dolphins wouldn't complain if their guy without having to move up. This dude can be the captain of this defense for years to come and possibly remind some of Zach Thomas.
The Bucs trade down and still end up with the top CB in the draft. Some might argue Jaire Alexander is that guy (my personal favorite is Josh Jackson), but Denzel Ward can do everything well. Height concerns might drop him a bit, but he should still be the first DB off the board.
This pick is going to be between Payne, Vita Vea, and Minkah Fitzpatrick. Payne wins out over Vea due to his 3-down capability and offers a more dynamic skill set than Minkah Fitzpatrick. A plus, Payne and Jonathan Allen get to dominate next to each other again. I strongly believe Payne will be a better lineman than Allen at the next level.
Receivers always end up going higher than they should in drafts. The Packers seem more likely to grab the safer prospect in Calvin Ridley as opposed to D.J. Moore. Ridley gives Aaron Rodgers a reliable target that can contribute when Davante Adams or Randall Cobb inevitably get hurt this season. Jaire Alexander, Fitzpatrick, and the long-gone linebackers are all potential Packers to keep an eye on.
I honestly do not know for the life of me where Lamar Jackson is going to end up. I would joke that at least we know he's not going to the Pats but then it turns out he could actually end up in New England. New England's interest should be enough to push Jackson back into top-20 consideration. Arizona chooses a mobile gunslinger to pair with the two stiffs that the Cards currently have at the position.
A lot of people project Ozzie Newsome to go out with a bang. I think he will go out rolling with the Tide. Fitzpatrick is one of the safest picks in this draft, almost too safe. The Ravens benefit from Fitzpatrick's slide and sure up their secondary. The Ravens are another fun wild card in the draft, much like the Bears and Cardinals, as they can really improve any position on their team