*** 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT (4 rounds) updated Jan. 18. This mock draft will be updated occasionally. Check out old versions of this 2018 NFL Mock Draft in the archived mock section. Follow @walterfootball for NFL Draft updates. ***
Cleveland Browns: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
A quarterback appears to be the most logical choice, but which one? Sam Darnold had a down year. Josh Rosen has said that he doesn't want to play for the Browns. There have been rumors linking the Browns to Josh Allen, but I'm not sure I quite buy those yet.
I think it's more likely that the Browns address the position elsewhere, perhaps acquiring A.J. McCarron, Kirk Cousins or Alex Smith. If they do that, they'll want to pair that signal-caller with an elite play-making weapon, and the first-overall choice would be obvious then.
Saquon Barkley is the best player in this class, and he has a legitimate chance to be chosen first overall (or second, if the Giants and Browns flip selections). He's drawn comparisons to Marshall Faulk, and he's unlikely to get past the Colts at No. 3 overall.
New York Giants: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Eli Manning just turned 37, and he's in obvious decline. The Giants will have a new front office, so they'll want their own franchise quarterback.
Josh Rosen seems like he'd be the consensus top quarterback available, though Sam Darnold might have something to say about that. I could even see the Giants flipping picks with the Browns, like the 49ers and Bears did last year, so that the Broncos, Jets, Cardinals, etc. don't jump past them for Rosen. That said, it would be ideal if they love two quarterbacks equally so they don't have to move anywhere.
NFL coaches and owners are wary of the sort of things Rosen has discussed to the media, and his open views could hurt him. Scouts have told us that his teammates don't like him either, so that's a major strike against him. And for the cherry on top, even if his high school coach criticized him. However, Rosen has been prolific in some big games this year, so that could push him into the top spot.
Indianapolis Colts: Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C.State
Indianapolis has some nice edge rushers in Jabaal Sheard and John Simon, but neither is the elite talent Bradley Chubb happens to be. With Saquon Barkley off the board, Chubb is one of the two best players available. The Colts don't need a safety (Minkah Fitzpatrick), and it might be too early to select a guard (Quenton Nelson), so Chubb makes the most sense at No. 3 overall.
Chubb steadily moved up my mock drafts during the season. At 6-4, 275, Chubb has a great blend of size and speed, and he's been dominant this season. There's some talk that Chubb is viewed as the top defensive prospect in NFL circles.
Cleveland Browns: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S/CB, Alabama
Any team that can't stop Brett Hundley in the fourth quarter and overtime to achieve its first victory of the season desperately needs defensive back help. The Browns are desperate at both cornerback and safety, and Minkah Fitzpatrick can play both positions extremely well. Plus, he's arguably the best player available.
Denver Broncos: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Sam Darnold was considered to be the favorite to be taken first overall for a while, and that could still be the case. However, he struggled this past season, and there was speculation among teams that he would return to school. Darnold surprised them by declaring.
Darnold is still considered a top-10 talent, so he makes a lot of sense for the Broncos, who are desperate for a franchise quarterback. They would probably even have to trade up for Darnold, as some of the other quarterback-hungry teams - Jets, Cardinals, Redskins (if Kirk Cousins leaves) - will have major interest in him.
New York Jets: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
The Jets will be looking for a new quarterback this offseason. Perhaps they'll attempt to obtain Kirk Cousins - they certainly have the money to do so - but they could also target one of the quarterbacks in this class. Their preference could be Baker Mayfield.
I feel as though this will be a very polarizing pick. There are some ardent fans of Mayfield who will believe that I have the Oklahoma quarterback in the correct spot. There are others who dislike Mayfield as a prospect. We've spoken to team sources that have him as a second- or third-round player.
However, team sources pegged Deshaun Watson as a second- or third-round prospect last year as well, and he went No. 12 overall. If a quarterback is considered a Round 2-3 player, he will likely be chosen in the opening frame, and Mayfield, like Watson, could win teams over with his leadership ability and upside. He certainly has his flaws, like his mechanics and anticipation, but a team desperate for a franchise quarterback - i.e. the Jets - could pull the trigger much earlier than some expect.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Arden Key, DE/OLB, LSU
Robert Ayers is just a temporary solution for the Buccaneers at defensive end; he'll be a 33-year-old impending free agent in 2018. They'll need a long-term starter across from Noah Spence to help put pressure on Cam Newton, Matt Ryan and Drew Brees. And speaking of Spence, I don't know how much longer Tampa can wait on him to remain healthy. When will his shoulder issues go away?
Arden Key is the best player available, so the Buccaneers would be thrilled to land him at No. 7 overall. The downside? Check out the NFL Hot Press for character concerns for Arden Key.
Chicago Bears: Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa
Calvin Ridley has been slotted here for several weeks, and he could still be the pick. However, Chicago may opt to take a slightly superior prospect and go after some receivers later. The Bears need some youth at cornerback, as Prince Amukamara doesn't seem like he's in the long-term plans. He's an impending free agent anyway.
Team sources have raved about Joshua Jackson, and there's a chance he's the first cornerback selected in the 2018 NFL Draft.
San Francisco 49ers: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
Jimmy Garoppolo looks like he's going to be one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL in the near future, but the 49ers will need to add talent around him. This includes a No. 1 receiver, so Calvin Ridley is a possibility if he's available. However, Garoppolo needs better protection as well. The 49ers have a pair of great tackles, but they need to bolster the interior of the offensive line.
NFL teams and scouts absolutely love Quenton Nelson. He's viewed as an elite prospect. He's a guard, so he may have trouble being chosen in the top five, though it's not completely impossible. He's viewed as the next Logan Mankins, so I'll be surprised if he's not taken in the initial 10 selections.
Oakland Raiders: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
The Raiders need to upgrade every area of their defense. Cornerback and defensive tackle are seen as the big problem areas, but linebacker is probably the worst position on the entire roster. NaVorro Bowman strengthened the group, but he wasn't nearly enough.
Jon Gruden could see Roquan Smith as his next Derrick Brooks. Smith compares favorably to another Buccaneer linebacker, Lavonte David. Smith had an incredible season; he's both fast and instinctive, and he thrives in both coverage and run support.
Pick change; previously Da'Ron Payne, DT
Miami Dolphins: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
A quarterback will be debated here if there is a worthy one available, but I think the Dolphins will continue to start Ryan Tannehill next year. They'll focus on another position, and perhaps that'll be cornerback. Byron Maxwell was released, so Miami will need to find a replacement.
Cincinnati Bengals: Derwin James, S, Florida State
Tackle Mike McGlinchey is a strong possibility, but Derwin James seems more like the sort of pick the Bengals would make. Besides, it's not like James wouldn't fill a need. Cincinnati's defense has not been the same since losing Reggie Nelson, so an upgrade at safety would take the stop unit back to a playoff-caliber level.
Washington Redskins: Vita Vea, NT, Washington
The Redskins looked completely helpless trying to stop Alfred Morris in a must-win game the week after Thanksgiving. They need to bolster their defensive front, and Vita Vea happens to be one of the best players available.
Green Bay Packers: Marcus Davenport, DE, Texas-San Antonio
The Packers had a big need at outside linebacker entering the draft. They didn't address the position aside from selecting Vince Biegel in the fourth round, however, so that's something they could target early in the 2018 NFL Draft. Clay Matthews is a famous star because of the commercials, but he really hasn't played consistently in several years, as it appears as though all of the injuries have taken a toll on him.
Marcus Davenport is a highly athletic edge rusher who has been generating tons of buzz lately. He could be a top-15 pick with a strong pre-draft process.
Arizona Cardinals: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Bruce Arians has retired, but Josh Allen is the sort of quarterback he would've wanted. Allen has to really work on his accuracy and field vision, but he has top-five overall physical talent, and Arians may have believed he could coach him up.
Still, the Cardinals could take Allen depending on whom they hire to succeed Arians. They are desperate for a quarterback in the wake of Carson Palmer's retirement.
Baltimore Ravens: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
The Ravens are desperate for receiving help. Breshad Perriman has been a bust; Jeremy Maclin and Joe Flacco have never clicked; and Mike Wallace, an impending free agent, is very inconsistent. Baltimore has to find a No. 1 wideout.
Calvin Ridley wasn't productive this past season because of some poor quarterbacking, but he's still considered likely to be chosen in the top half of the first round.