THIS IS NOT A 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT. Click the link to see my real 2018 NFL Mock Draft. This is a 2018 NFL Not Draft - a compilation of popular mock picks that, in my opinion, will not happen.
For the record, I was wrong about zero "not" picks in my 2012 and 2013 Not Mocks (which means I was right about none of my projections not happening). My 2014 Not Mock was less successful, as I "hit" (a bad thing) two of the picks. I also hit a pick in 2015, and then I "hit" two picks in 2016. As for 2017, I also "hit" one selection, which was Leonard Fournette to the Jaguars. Not that I didn't think Jacksonville would take him, but I didn't think he would be available at their selection. Oops.
Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
This is a tough one, because this pick could definitely happen. However, my guidelines for my "not" mock draft are to slot popular selections that I believe won't occur, and there are only two prospects currently being projected No. 1 overall: Josh Allen and Sam Darnold.
I think Allen will be the pick. Multiple outlets have been saying this, and that's what we're hearing as well. However, this selection is not set in stone, and the Browns could change their minds.
New York Giants: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Again, I'm going to take a stance on a pick that could happen because there seem to be just two options here. I will not discount the possibity that Darnold will go second after the Giants trade down, but it doesn't sound like New York will take him.
New York Jets: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
It sounds like the Jets want one of Sam Darnold or Baker Mayfield. The latter will be available, so there won't be any reason to consider Josh Rosen. It doesn't even sound like the Jets like Rosen anyway, which is a good thing because having him in New York is asking for trouble.
Cleveland Browns: Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C.State
I want to be bold with these "not" picks, so here we go. Many are mocking Bradley Chubb to the Browns - including myself! I slotted Chubb here in Wednesday's 2018 NFL Mock Draft update, which has changed. The more I thought about it, the more it didn't make any sense to me. If the quarterback the Browns choose at No. 1 overall (Josh Allen, presumably) and Chubb pan out, the Browns will have to hand out three $100 million-plus contracts all at the same time in 4-5 years. I can't emphasize enough how financially devastating that will be to a franchise. If Saquon Barkley is off the board at No. 4, I expect the Browns to trade down.
Denver Broncos: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
One could argue that Saquon Barkley is not a realistic pick for the Broncos, and I would agree with that. However, I had NFL Network on the other night, and it seemed like the panelists spent 10 minutes discussing if Barkley made sense for Denver. I think my 70-year-old uncle would have a better shot at scoring a date with Mandy Moore than Barkley being available at No. 5 overall.
Indianapolis Colts: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
I've seen some mock drafts slot Denzel Ward to the Colts. It makes sense, but I think this would be too early for Ward. Cornerbacks have been selected a bit later than expected in recent drafts, and I think that trend could definitely continue. Plus, Indianapolis has three second-round picks, and there will be plenty of cornerbacks to choose from on Friday.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S/CB, Alabama
Minkah Fitzpatrick is a popular pick for the Buccaneers in mock drafts, but I don't think Tampa takes him. We've reported that the Buccaneers favor Derwin James over Fitzpatrick, and I have to think James would be available at this juncture.
Chicago Bears: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
This is a tough one. It wouldn't completely surprise me if the Bears took Denzel Ward, but I don't think it'll happen. The Bears just handed out two substantial contracts to cornerbacks this offseason, and if they really want another player at the position, they can select one of the many second-round prospects early on Friday.
San Francisco 49ers: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S/CB, Alabama
I'm not in love with this "not" choice, but I don't think Minkah Fitzpatrick is going in the top 10. We've seen Alabama defensive backs slip in recent drafts, and the safety position just isn't valued very highly at the moment. Think about all of the safeties available on the open market right now, like Kenny Vaccaro, Tre Boston and Eric Reid.
Oakland Raiders: Vita Vea, NT, Washington
I've had Vita Vea slotted to the Raiders for several weeks before moving off him. The reason being is that having a two-down player in the top 10 seems unrealistic. Vea is a tremendous talent, but spending a top-10 pick on a player who can't be on the field on third down seems irresponsible. I think the Raiders will wait until the second day to quell their need for a defensive tackle.
Miami Dolphins: Any quarterback
I believe the Dolphins would take a quarterback if one of the top four fell to them. However, that's unlikely to happen, and it doesn't sound like Miami is interested in moving up for one. I expect the Dolphins to select someone like Luke Falk on Day 2.
Buffalo Bills: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Contrary to the Dolphins, the Bills will likely be moving up for a quarterback. So, which one will it be? I'd have to think it would be for one of the California kids, Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen. I don't, however, believe Buffalo is interested in Baker Mayfield.
Washington Redskins: Vita Vea, NT, Washington
Taking a nose tackle at No. 13 makes a bit more sense than No. 10, so I could see the Redskins taking Da'Ron Payne. I believe he would be the option over Vita Vea at this juncture, so I'm going to slot Vea as my "not" pick.
Green Bay Packers: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
I'd have to believe the Packers would absolutely love it if Tremaine Edmunds (or Roquan Smith, for that matter) fell to them, but I don't see either player slipping to this spot. The Packers would likely have to move up for either linebacker, but they'll probably stay put and take a cornerback, safety or edge rusher.
Arizona Cardinals: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
Calvin Ridley is a popularly mocked pick for the Cardinals, but I believe they will go in a different direction with this choice. Arizona could select a receiver in the second or third round, but I don't think Ridley is rated highly enough for them at No. 15.
Baltimore Ravens: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
The Ravens need help at right tackle, badly. Perhaps they'd trade up for Mike McGlinchey, but if they like him enough, they can't count on him being available at this spot. He's the top player at his position by a mile, and there's such a demand for tackles that I think there's a very good possibility that McGlinchey is chosen in the top 12.