*** 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT (6 rounds) updated April 19. 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: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Saquon Barkley may have been a legitimate option for the top pick at one point, but recent trades will apparently force the Browns into taking a quarterback first overall. I don't necessarily agree with this, however. Given the recent reports that the Giants will select Barkley, it would be logical of Cleveland to take Barkley here, then get one of Josh Allen, Sam Darnold or Baker Mayfield at No. 4 overall. The Browns will be doing themselves a huge disservice by gift-wrapping the best player in the class to the Giants when they can easily take him without any sort of repercussions.
The Browns have been linked to every quarterback not named Josh Rosen. Josh Allen has the biggest arm in this class, and he makes sense for Todd Haley's offense. Darnold is also a strong option. I think it comes down to one of them, and I think I'd give Allen a slight edge right now, per recent reports.
New York Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
I don't mind the Giants not selecting a quarterback. Why do so if they really don't like any of them, which is what the scuttlebutt happens to be? Not trading down, however, seems like it would be a big mistake, as New York would be able to secure an impressive haul for this pick. I have a Broncos-Giants potential NFL Draft trade posted via the link, for example.
The other part of the rumors regarding this selection is that the Giants will take Saquon Barkley. Perhaps this is a ruse by the front office to get the Browns to trade up from No. 4 to 2, and if so, general manager David Gettleman deserves a ton of credit. However, Gettleman's picks have been telegraphed through the media in the past; everyone knew the Panthers were going to take Christian McCaffrey last year.
If Gettleman was willing to take a runner who can't shoulder a complete workload like McCaffrey at No. 8 overall, he'll certainly be open to take Barkley with the second-overall choice.
Pick change; previously Sam Darnold, QB
New York Jets: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
The Jets will be looking for a new quarterback, and that is obvious in the wake of their trade to No. 3 overall (go here for my NFL Trade Grades.) Their preference could be Josh Allen, as Charlie Campbell pointed out in his Senior Bowl Rumor Mill. Allen, however, is off the board, but Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield are available.
Recent reports have linked the Jets to Mayfield, but that was assuming Darnold was going to be off the board. Darnold is available in this scenario, so I wonder if the Jets would select him over Mayfield, whom they love. I had Darnold here in my previous mock update, but I thought about it, and the Jets had an idea of whom they would select when they moved up to No. 3. They had to have thought that Darnold would be off the board, so it would make sense that Mayfield would be their primary target.
Pick change; previously Sam Darnold, QB
Buffalo Bills: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Trade! The Browns, losing out on the prospect they want the most in this class (Saquon Barkley), so they either have to select Bradley Chubb or trade down. Picking Chubb doesn't make much financial sense because in 4-5 years, they'd have to give out three $100 million contracts to him, Myles Garrett and the quarterback they choose. It'll be a financial nightmare.
The Bills, meanwhile, have to trade up. They don't have a viable starting quarterback, and they've already traded up once. They plan on following the Eagles' blueprint with a double trade.
Now, which quarterback will Buffalo trade up for? Speculation is that the Bills prefer the two California kids, and I'd have to think that Sam Darnold would be the choice over Josh Rosen.
Pick change; previously Josh Rosen, QB
Denver Broncos: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
Case Keenum signing with the Broncos does not take them out of the quarterback sweepstakes. Take a look at the Bears. They brought in Mike Glennon with a big contract last offseason, yet they moved up for Mitchell Trubisky anyway. However, it does make it more likely that Denver could wait until 2019 or 2020 for their franchise signal-caller because it may have to move up to No. 2 to get whichever quarterback it wants.
This may seem a bit too early for a guard, but Quenton Nelson is the best player in this class behind Saquon Barkley. Besides, the Redskins used the fifth-overall selection on Brandon Scherff several years ago, and that panned out. Denver desperately needs to improve its blocking, and Nelson is the only prospect worth taking at No. 5.
Indianapolis Colts: Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C.State
The Colts are the winners of this draft. They'll likely be in a position to select either Bradley Chubb or Quenton Nelson at No. 6 overall, and they'll get one of them after picking up three second-round picks in the trade with the Jets. Crazy.
Indianapolis has some nice edge rushers in Jabaal Sheard and John Simon, but neither is the elite talent Chubb happens to be. 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.
Pick change; previously Roquan Smith, LB
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Derwin James, S, Florida State
There's a ton of pressure on the Buccaneers to win this season, and for them to do so, they'll need Jameis Winston to finally play up to his potential. He'll be able to do that if properly protected, and Quenton Nelson is the top offensive lineman in this class by a mile. I believe he'll be the pick if he's available unless Saquon Barkley or Bradley Chubb slip by some miracle.
Chicago Bears: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
I could see the Bears trading down with the Dolphins, Bills or Cardinals. Here's a potential Bears-Patriots NFL Draft Trade. With the top three non-quarterback prospects off the board, there's not an obvious choice at No. 8 overall. Several players make sense, but there's not one prospect who sticks out as a potential great pick for Chicago.
In this scenario, I believe Tremaine Edmunds would be the choice. Edmunds fits the athletic profile of Ryan Pace's early-round selections during his tenure with Chicago. Edmunds also fills a need in the wake of Jerrell Freeman's release.
San Francisco 49ers: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
The 49ers wanted to obtain a No. 1 receiver this offseason. They pursued Allen Robinson, but failed to sign him. This is their chance to give Jimmy Garoppolo a top target.
This may seem a bit early for Courtland Sutton, but it sounds like he'll be the first receiver chosen in this class. Plus, recall that the top three wideouts from the 2017 NFL Draft class went earlier than expected. Given how much money receivers have been making in free agency this spring, I think it's very likely that players at that position are chosen before most anticipate once again.
Oakland Raiders: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
Todd McShay said that Roquan Smith is Oakland's guy, but I think the Raiders would be hard pressed to pass up the best cornerback prospect in this class at No. 10 overall. Corner is a huge need, and the ability to obtain the top player at the position is almost too good to be true.
Pick change; previously Vita Vea, NT
Miami Dolphins: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
The Dolphins have been linked to Baker Mayfield, but it doesn't sound as though they'll be trading up. They'll likely stay put and select the best prospect available, and from what it sounds like, they value Roquan Smith very highly.
Smith could go as high as No. 6 overall, so having him available is a dream come true for the Dolphins, who don't have a strongside linebacker on their roster.
Pick change; previously Minkah Fitzpatrick, S
Cleveland Browns: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
This is exactly why the Browns should select Saquon Barkley first overall. It's absolutely mind-boggling as to why they'd risk losing out on the best player in the class when they won't be missing out on one of the top three quarterbacks. I could understand it if they had the first and eighth picks, for example, but Nos. 1 and 4 allow them to do the logical thing and go with Barkley and then whichever quarterback is left over (Cleveland likes all three.) If they can't trade down from No. 4 overall, it'll be a complete disaster.
Fortunately for Cleveland, a trade is possible in this scenario. The Browns can take a player who makes more sense. Joe Thomas has retired, so the team has a massive hole at left tackle. I wouldn't even be surprised if the Browns select McGlinchey fourth overall, as neither Chubb nor Quenton Nelson is a logical choice.
Pick change; previously Bradley Chubb, DE
Washington Redskins: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S/CB, Alabama
I've had the Redskins taking Da'Ron Payne for a while, and I still believe he's a very likely selection. However, that would change if Minkah Fitzpatrick falls to them. Fitzpatrick is a stud defensive back, and it would be difficult for Washington to pass on him.
And yes, it's possible for Fitzpatrick to fall to No. 13. Teams will trade up for quarterbacks, and we've seen the safety market move very slowly in free agency. Plus, as Charlie Campbell reported in the NFL Hot Press, some teams have Derwin James rated above Fitzpatrick.
Pick change; previously Da'Ron Payne, NT
Green Bay Packers: Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa
The Packers had a huge need at cornerback going into the offseason. And then the Damarious Randall trade happened. Now, Green Bay is even weaker at corner after dealing the top player at the position.
Joshua Jackson improved on his 4.56 40 from the combine, running a 4.42 recently. Pro Day Results are available via the link.
Pick change; previously Denzel Ward, CB
Arizona Cardinals: Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
A variety of positions make sense for the Cardinals. Many mock drafts have them taking a receiver or trading up for a quarterback, but they could also address their defense. A cornerback would be logical, but the best player available also fills a need.
Arizona lost Xavier Williams this offseason. Robert Nkemdiche hasn't lived up to expectations. The Cardinals will need to bolster the interior of their defensive front, and I have to believe they'd be interested in one of the two stud nose tackles in this class.
Pick change; previously Mike McGlinchey, OT
Baltimore Ravens: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
Ozzie Newsome loves his Alabama players, and there happens to be a first-round prospect from that school who fills a huge need available at this juncture. Baltimore has major problems at receiver, so Calvin Ridley could potentially solve those issues.
Ridley, once projected to go in the top 10, has been projected as late as No. 29 in this mock draft. He tested extremely poorly at the combine. However, not all front offices are obsessed with metrics, and I recall many speculating that Clemson's Mike Williams would fall as well last year because he tested poorly. If Williams and his 107 SPARQ score can be chosen No. 7 overall, Ridley and his 98.6 metric can be taken 16th.