2018 NFL Mock Draft by James Fedewa (NationalFanatic.com)

By James Fedewa – 4/25/2018 @jamfed20180414_105240.png

This is my final mock draft of the 2018 season and this draft season was awesome. Normally, I have about twenty-five different mock drafts created (over four month span), but this season was less about content and more about team analysis and getting the pick correct. I would always publish a new draft every week or two (to get more hits on my blog) but this year was less click related and more research related. I researched a lot more about every team need and what their fans think, and of course I watched a ton of player game tape too.

Honestly, my favorite player in this draft is Josh Rosen and I think he should be the #1 overall prospect, but not everyone agrees, so I will mock him going #2 overall. Sometimes it not a guessing game based on ranking, or where I think players should go, but now I am trying to get the pick correct. Yet, mock drafts are always a guessing game, and one weird draft pick can skew a entire draft.

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Sam Darnold, QB, USC The twenty-year-old and red-shirt sophomore, Sam Darnold, goes #1 overall. Darnold’s skill-set, toughness and youth make him the premier QB prospect, with his improv skills and movement within the pocket are the best in class. Possibly the safest quarterback in the draft. Darnold can learn the position for a year before he takes the Cleveland QB reigns.


Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA Eli Manning has at least two solid more years in NYC (& the NFL), but with #2 overall pick for the Giants, it is the perfect time to find Eli’s replacement. There is no rush to start Rosen either, which will give him time to learn under Eli. Rosen could also have the “Brees-Effect” to Eli’s career as well (as Brees did not flourish until Philip Rivers became a Charger, then Brees became All-Pro).


Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming As soon as the Jets traded up with the Colts for the #3 pick, I slated Baker Mayfield as the selection here, hands-down. At first thought, Mayfield looked the perfect fit (and could take Gotham by storm). Then I thought what NYC stands for and who would be a better superhero for Gotham: Baker Mayfield or Josh Allen (and Allen won). Allen has the prototypical NFL QB size, tenacity and resourcefulness. More importantly, he also has a cannon for an arm, which is his super power. * I’m not calling Baker Mayfield Robin either, but size does matter in the Big Apple.


Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State What, not Saquon Barkley here? Nope… Chubb is the top edge prospect in ’18 and can easily go #1 or #2 overall. With quarterbacks being drafted with the first three picks, the Browns draft the smartest pick available. I’m not says that Barkley is not the best player overall, but quality pass rushers are just harder to find than running backs. Some of the highest paid players in the league are pass rushers, and great running backs can be found later in the draft (like the David Johnson’s and Alvin Kamara’s of the NFL). Plus, Cleveland has two good RB’s already on the team; Duke Johnson and Carlos Hyde.


Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State The Broncos signed quarterback Case Keenum in free agency, and they get a good one. So, drafting another quarterback in the first round can be postponed. Also, drafting the best offensive line prospect (Quentin Nelson) here at #5 to protect their new QB investment would be a good idea, but Elway would never draft a guard with a top 5 selection. Saquon Barkley falls into Denver’s lap and they can put more emphasis in the running game. Plus, signing Keenum buys the Paxton Lynch experiment a few more months.


Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame The Colts trade down, get three extra second round picks AND get the player they were targeting all along (that’s called winning, or solid negotiating skills). Frank Reich was going to the best draft offensive lineman as a top priority in the draft. I would not call Nelson a generational talent, especially at the guard position, but he is very good and is a 330 lbs. Taekwondo champion.


Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama The Bucs needs a quality free-lancing safety and is really a great match for the Tampa secondary. I wanted to put the top-rated CB here, but Denzel Ward is nearly identical in size to Hargreaves and Grimes. The 6′ 1″ Fitzpatrick has the ability to play any DB position, can play the nickel spot very well, and fill the FS position of need immediately. Best DB in the draft.


Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA Davenport performed remarkably at the Senior Bowl, and did outstanding at the combine. He has rare tools and size you look for in an edge pass rusher and he will be a great one. A wide receiver could also be a good target here, but at #8 could be a little too early for under-sided Calvin Ridley.


Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State The 49ers defensive secondary has potential, but lacks something. Weather it’s a safety or cornerback, either position is the top position of needed. San Francisco choose the best cornerback in this year’s draft and Ward can play outside or inside at nickel. Despite being a little small for the top CB in this draft (5′ 10″ @ 183 lbs.), he is every down talent, regardless of position. He can be a pro bowl outside cornerback in the NFL. Isaiah Oliver could also be the selection here, as the 49ers are trying to replicate the Seattle “BIG DB” coverage and defensive scheme. This defense is loaded with first round picks.


Tremaine Edwards, LB, Virginia Tech Linebackers in the first round are very rare. And if they are drafted in the first round, they have either elite speed (Darron Lee / Ryan Shazier 34ILB) or tremendous playmaking ability (Luke Kuechly 43MLB). Tremaine Edwards has both speed, playmaking ability, and elite size (6′ 5″ 250). He can play inside or outside, and can turn this Raiders defense into a formidable force. Tremaine is very raw, but he is an athletic freak and a great 1st round LB talent, based on athletic freakiness. Day one starter at Strongside linebacker. **Gruden should trade-down with whomever wants Lamar Jackson or Baker Mayfield. The Raiders defense could also use a DT and two more cornerbacks.


Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia Roquan Smith is fun to watch and is a tackling machine, but the Miami defensive already has three descent linebackers, but none of them are as flashy, fast and amazing Smith. Even with losing Nadomican Suh, with the new additions on the Miami defense, they look very talent and possibly the team’s strength. Smith is a day one starter at SAM linebacker. **I had Smith falling in this draft to the Lions at 20, as linebackers tend to fall in the NFL Draft.


Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma Mayfield’s lack of height will cause him to slide out of the top 10. He is accurate and he does show his passion, but he is still undersized. The last 6′ QB to be drafted in the first round was Johnny Manziel, but JFF’s combine and pro-day were phenomenal. Both Manziel and Mayfield did win Heisman trophies, but they are two completely different types of QB’s. Mayfield will slide a bit in this draft, just like Drew Brees, Derek Carr, Jimmy Garoppolo and even Jake Plumber – who were all very good second round draft picks (none of whom were very tall). **This just feels like Doug Flutie 2.0 – Buffalo will NOT have to trade up to get their desired QB. I still think this is way too early for an undersized quarterback.



Derwin James, S, Florida State James is very fluid, smooth and a big hitter, he is an instant upgrade for the Redskins defense. Many fans believe a DT would be ideal at this spot, but with DE Johnathan Allen returning from injury, the DL should be improved (and played great, when he played). The Washington defense looks very good (on paper), with the addition of Derwin James.


Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College Landry looked great at the Senior Bowl and shows superior bend as an edge rusher (especially as a 34 OLB). Clay Matthews may have to shift in an ILB permanently. His stock has been rising very quickly, from 2 months ago.


Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville Sam Bradford is the new QB in Arizona this season, but his knees have problems, which means his backup QB needs to be very good. Mike Glennon is the current backup QB, which makes Arizona a very pocket passing oriented team. However, the Arizona O-Line better than you would expect, but they are very thin and if injuries occur (and they will), Lamar Jackson could see some playing time this year. Jackson has quick feet and lightning speed, and could probably flourish behind any offensive line (a lot better than Bradford or Glennon might). Jackson will start several games this season, and could develop into a long-term franchise quarterback.


Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama The Ravens and Joe Flacco need some quality wideouts and Ridley looks like an (GM) Ozzie Newsome type of selection. The Ravens have already signed WR’s Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead (and none are WR1’s). Adding a forth new WR is not out of the picture, considering Mike Wallace and Jeremy Maclin are gone, and 2015 first round selection Perriman could be released.


Vita Vea, DT, Washington The Chargers roster looks pretty good right now, and they do not have too many pressing needs. They rush defense could use some improvement, so DT and LB could be the target. Capitan Brandon Mebane is getting older and his play did decline last season, so the Chargers target Vita Vea. Vea has the size and anchor of a classic nose-tackle, with good speed, power and pass-rush of a 3-tech DT. He is the best DT prospect in the draft. Vea can go as early at #10 to the Raiders, but watching Danny Sheldon get traded from Cleveland (for a ham sandwich) shows the NFL’s current value of first round nose-tackles. Vea is better than #17.


Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado Size Matters, especially within the Seattle secondary. has freakishly long arms, elite size, length and speed. Oliver is better than you think, and this is a pure Legion of Boom (LOB) pick. Day one starter and star.


DJ Moore, WR, Maryland Releasing Dez Bryant had to be done, and the Cowboys always have high expectations and playoff asperations. But every playoff contenders need that true WR1. DJ Moore has the top end speed and size to become that WR1 and can demand double coverage outside, opening lanes for the Cowboys run game. Without a doubt, the Cowboys will draft a WR in the 1st round, just to keep the passing game relevant, to help open lanes in the running game.


Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan Hurst looks like a terrific 3-tech DT draft prospect and should go a lot higher, but an irregular heartbeat will cause his draft stock to slip a bit. Hurst has excellent pass rushing skills and is a quality leader. New head coach Matt Patricia could go RB or CB here too, but a pass rushing DT is a great first pick.


Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama Drafting and investing into your defensive line is always a good thing. You can never have too many defensive tackles either and ever since Domata Peko left, a quality nose tackle needs to be found. Andrew Billings is the current NT, but he was average and missed several games with injuries (plus he was a 4th rounder). Geno Akins with Da’Ron Payne looks and feels even more intimidating. A center could also be a target here, but the O-line has already been upgraded with Cordy Glenn.


Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame In many mock drafts, McGlinchey is being shifted to right tackle, when he played left tackle in college. But being drafted to Buffalo, he’s staying put at left tackle (a current need since trading Cordy Glenn). Plus, he is better than he gets credit for. A 6′ 8″ quick footed tackle can get much better, add some additional weight, and is the best offensive tackle in this draft.


Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa Jackson has the desired size and upside you look for in an NFL cornerback, and could go as early as #14. *A timing error occurred at the combine changed his unofficial clocked time, possibly causing his stock to slip. Last season, Jackson led the nation in interceptions (8), passed defensed (26) with two interception/touchdowns. He’s more of a zone CB, but at 6′ 1″ he’s a taller zone CB, which is very desirable (most zone CB’s are on the smaller size, so he’s a quick reading and twitchy DB with length).


Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville SPEED! Alexander lit up the combine with 4.38 40-yard dash and the Panthers needs some speed in their secondary. Ever since Josh Norman left in free agency, Carolina have been looking for his replacement. A 4.3 forty could also vault him even higher, as I could see the Raiders at #10 draft him too.


Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama The Titans inside linebackers need a complete overhaul and new head coach (and ex-linebacker) Mike Vrabel knows it. The Titians have not draft a defensive player in the first round since 2010 (7 straight years). Evans is a thumper at ILB, and he is also very mulit-dimensional. He can play every LB position in a 3-4 defense. He is also a thinker, very cerebral and a quality leader. He could go as early as #14 to the Packers


Taven Bryan, DT, Florida This seems like a popular spot for Bryan. Bryan has the size, power and speed to play up and down the defensive line, which is a nice fit for Atlanta’s defense. He is the Michael Bennett of Dan Quinn’s defense.


Mike Hughes, CB, UCF Saints could go many directions here. An edge rusher with speed seems to make the most sense to the D-line, but, when rookie sensation Marshon Lattimore when down for a couple of game last year, the Saints were exposed. Signing Patrick Robinson will help the secondary, but Hughes’ will help long term. Plus, Hughes’ extra bonus is his special-team’s ability, as he is a potential pro-bowl punt returner too.


Connor Williams, OT, Texas The Steelers are a complete mystery with this pick. They have an outstanding roster, but can address some depth as they do have some aged veteran (including Ben Roethlisberger / i.e. Mason Rudolph? – no). Williams could be their left tackle, but he could also play left guard, and upgrade from Ramon Foster.


Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU Jacksonville’s wide receivers need some new talent and lot of help, but so does the quarterback play. Mason Rudolph could be an excellent selection here too. Sutton is a big WR and looks like he can develop into a WR1. Sutton is also a tremendous blocker, ideal for a run first team.


Isiah Wynn, G, Georgia The Vikings spent a lot of money on free agent offensive tackles last offseason, yet the O-Line still needs to improve. Isiah Wynn is projected to play guard, has amazing feet for lineman his size and can start day one in Minnesota.


Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State The Patriots can use some new edge pass rushers. Hubbard is not the fastest guy and he does not have a lot of bend, but he is all motor and all heart. He can begin aa very good rotational defensive line player and develop into a great pass rusher (and he looks like a Patriot type of player). Sure Mason Rudolph or a left tackle can be drafted here, but I do not think Bill Belichick drafts out of need, but he drafts as best player available.


Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State When mock-drafts have the Eagles drafting a running back, their fans snap. The Eagles RB’s are will well above average, but the linebacking crew can use an upgrade. LVE will become a fan favorite in Philly.

About National Fanatic

Sports Opinionist, NFL Draftnik, Brand Identity Professional, Golfer, Home-Brewer, Father & Husband (Son & Brother) - Chargers, Padres & Lakers Loyalist & Fan

Posted on April 26, 2018, in NFL. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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