2018 NBC 7 Mock NFL Draft

A look at how the 1st round might go this year

The Pittsburgh Steelers went to the playoffs in 1972 and 1973. But then in 1974, they drafted wide receiver Lynn Swann (first round), linebacker Jack Lambert (second round), wide receiver John Stallworth (fourth round), and center Mike Webster (fifth round).

That’s four Hall of Famers in one draft class, one for every Super Bowl they’d bring to Pittsburgh.

Sometimes a dynasty can be built in one weekend. Sometimes it takes a few years, like the way the Cowboys did it when from 1988-1990 their first-round picks were WR Michael Irvin, quarterback Troy Aikman, and running back Emmitt Smith (and the next year they added defensive tackle Russell Maryland and wide receiver Alvin Harper in the first round for good measure).

But that is proof that teams that miss on their first rounders too often have an awfully hard time competing (see Browns, Cleveland). It’s always fun to speculate on what will happen in the NFL Draft so let’s take a run at it with a little bit of tongue-in-cheek humor.

1)    Browns: QB Josh Allen, Wyoming
It’s very likely down to Allen and Sam Darnold for Cleveland. I’m looking at Head Coach Hue Jackson’s history as a quarterback developer and his best work came with Joe Flacco, another huge arm talent that came into the league a little unrefined. Jackson gets Flacco 2.0 in Allen, who can throw a football through a wall made of Vibranium.

2)    Giants: RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State
I’m sure New York is looking for Eli Manning’s replacement but I don’t think they’re ready to give up on him yet. Plus giving him a long-needed running game would go a long way to seeing how much Manning still has in the tank and Barkley is one of the best RB prospects in years.

3)    Jets: QB Sam Darnold, USC
I know, it didn’t work out real well the last time the Jets took a Trojans signal caller but Darnold is a superior prospect to Mark Sanchez in just about every way except the ability to date supermodels. It will take him a bit and New York had better put the right kind of system around him but if they do they’ve likely solved their QB problem for a decade.

4)    Browns: Defensive End Bradley Chubb, N.C. State
This is shaking out so nicely not even the Browns can muck it up. After taking Myles Garrett a year ago they complement him with the best quarterback hunter in this year’s class and all of a sudden the team that has gone 1-31 (thanks Chargers!) the last two seasons has a scary-good pair of pass rushers.

OK, so Broncos General Manager John Elway has said he’s up for trading this pick because he signed Case Keenum to a 2-year deal to patch the QB hole. However, he’s also said he’s not opposed to taking a QB to groom behind Keenum. There are two teams he’s baiting to come up and make him an offer: the Dolphins and the Bills (with MAYBE the Cardinals as a dark horse). Josh Rosen and Baker Mayfield are the guys to consider. The next five teams that are picking don’t really need quarterbacks and then it’s Miami at 11 and Buffalo at 12 so they could wait to see if anyone else makes a move or call Elway’s bluff and see if he really takes a passer. My gut tells me the team with the most trade chips is the one that makes the move and that means a deal is done, leading up to …

5)    Bills: QB Josh Rosen, UCLA
Bills General Manager Brandon Beane is on the record saying “You’ve got to have a franchise quarterback.” Nathan Peterman is not that guy. So Buffalo, who has a pair of first-round picks, sends their 12th overall plus one of their two second-round picks (53rd overall) and one of their two 3rd-round picks (65 overall) to Denver for the chance to move up to 5th and grab Rosen, a guy some scouts have compared to Aaron Rodgers in both talent and mentality (I’ll let y’all determine if that last bit is good or bad).

6)    Colts: Offensive Guard Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
Indy needs all kinds of help all over the field and nobody seems to be really sure about the health of Andrew Luck’s shoulder. But if they’re set on going into the year with Luck at QB they need to protect him. Nelson is basically a can’t-miss prospect and a nice piece to help new Head Coach Frank Reich get the offense going.

7)    Buccaneers: Cornerback Denzel Ward, Ohio St.
Tampa Bay is in desperate needs of help throughout the secondary. While they will seriously consider one of the top safeties in the class, they go with a top-notch cover corner that’s separated himself as one of the best defensive football players available.

8)    Bears: LB Roquan Smith, Georgia
Chicago has another Bulldog in Leonard Floyd at OLB but could use another high-impact starter on the other side of him. Smith is the kind of sideline-to-sideline playmaker that can make an immediate impact.

9)    49ers: LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
San Francisco General Manager John Lynch is trying to build another dominant defense by the Bay. Edmunds is a massive (6’5”, 254 pounds) human who, when he’s drafted, will still only be 19 years old. Plus with Reuben Foster facing legal issues, the Niners are thinking about the possibility of filling a big hole in the middle of their front.

10)    Raiders: Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
The Oakland secondary didn’t get a whole lot better after taking Gareon Conley and Karl Joseph in the 1st round the last two years. They think they can get it right with Fitzpatrick, a Swiss Army Knife who can play multiple positions and is good in both coverage and run support.

11)    Dolphins: DT Vita Vea, Washington
They will be severely tempted to take Baker Mayfield here but with Ryan Tannehill coming back from his knee injury I think they’ll address a different need, replacing Ndamukong Suh with one of the best interior lineman available.

12)    Broncos: DE Marcus Davenport, UTSA
The Broncos need offensive line help but this seems a bit early to take another guard. Elway knows he they won Super Bowl 50 because their defense scared quarterbacks to death. Denver tries to rebuild some of that pass rush with a raw but incredibly talented end.

13)    Redskins: DT Da’Ron Payne, Alabama
Washington could use a big presence in the middle of their defense. Payne, at 6’2” and 310 pounds, is certainly big. Just watch how often he wrecked the Georgia offensive line in the national championship game and you see the ceiling for Payne.

14)    Packers: CB Josh Jackson, Iowa
Green Bay has been in need of secondary help for a while now and Jackson is not only one of the most physically imposing defensive backs in the draft; he’s one of the best playmakers, as well.

15)    Cardinals: QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Arizona thanks the Football Gods for allowing a QB to slip all the way to them. Mayfield will get the chance to learn from starter Sam Bradford for about three games until the fellow Sooners QB gets hurt. The biggest obstacle Mayfield will have to overcome will not be his height or off-the-field issues or perceived personality problem. It will be having Mike McCoy as his offensive coordinator. Good luck, kid.

16)    Ravens: WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama
Baltimore added Michael Crabtree in the off-season but they still need guys who can catch the ball and Ridley is the best wideout in this class. The Ravens are super stoked they get a big-play threat for Flacco’s big arm.

17)    Chargers: Kicker Daniel Carlson, Auburn
The Chargers missed the playoffs because they botched the kicker position so completely in 2017. Well, John Spanos is not going to let THAT happen again! Carlson is the SEC’s all-time leading scorer and has 13 career field goals of 50-plus yards. And 17th overall is the exact same spot the Raiders took one Sebastian Janikowski so the Chargers have history on their side with this selection.

18)    Seahawks: S Derwin James, Florida St.
Injuries have taken their toll on Kam Chancellor so when a guy who might be an even better version of Chancellor is there Pete Carroll jumps on him. At 6’3” and 220 pounds James is a monster who can be described as a “freakish athlete.” Oh, and when fellow Seminole Jalen Ramsey was asked about James he said the new kid will probably go down as the greatest safety in FSU history.

19)    Cowboys: WR D.J. Moore, Maryland
With Dez Bryant gone Dallas needs to replenish the wide receiver position. After Ridley, there are a lot of good WR in this class so it’s going to be up to each team’s personal preference. Moore is tenacious and has a nice combination of hands and speed.

20)    Lions: RB Derrius Guice, LSU
Detroit seems to draft like three running backs every year and none of them pan out. The Lions added LeGarrette Blount but as we saw last year in Philly he’s now more effective when paired with another back. Guice offers versatility and production.

21)    Bengals: OG Will Hernandez, UTEP
Cincinnati would be smart to run the ball more and take it out of the hands of Andy Dalton. A blocker like Hernandez is a smart play here.

22)    Bills: WR Courtland Sutton, SMU
They got their QB already, might as well get him a deep threat. Sutton is a big (6’3”) receiver with the ability to make plays down the field, exactly what the Bills need to finally get their offense to stretch the field.

23)    Patriots: LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise St.
I know they need someone at tackle to protect Brady but this guy just screams to me “BILL BELICHICK FOOTBALL PLAYER.” He makes plays all over the field and has a huge motor. Plus Belichick is not shy about drafting linebackers so when he has a chance to add a plug-and-play starter he does it.

24)    Panthers: TE Mike Gesicki, Penn State
He’s not a great blocker but his combine performance was eye-popping. Greg Olsen is not getting any younger and while he’s still around Carolina can use Gesicki almost strictly in the passing game to give Cam Newton another dynamic target.

25)    Titans: LB Harold Landry, Boston College
I could see them going offensive line here but Tennessee would have a hard time passing up one of the better edge rushers in this class, who at 25 would be what some call a good “value pick.”

26)    Falcons: DL Taven Bryan, Florida
Atlanta is looking for versatility on the defensive line and Bryan has that. He’s incredibly athletic but still raw. The hope is more reps help him progress to the point his feel for the game match his physical skills. The son of a U.S. Navy SEAL, Bryan has a work ethic that is second to none.

27)    Saints: TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina
New Orleans had as much balance on offense as they’ve had in the Drew Brees/Sean Payton era. If they add another good tight end to the mix they’ll be even more deadly. Hurst, a former baseball player who spent two years in the Pirates organization before walking on the Gamecocks football field, has tremendous hands and makes plays all over the field.

28)    Steelers: LB Rashaan Evans, Alabama
Pittsburgh has to beef up the linebacker position and the ability to nab an All-American this late in the draft is a steal. The wildcard choice here would be Louisville QB Lamar Jackson if the Steelers are really concerned about Ben Roethlisberger’s immediate future.

29)    Jaguars: CB Jaire Alexander, Louisville
Ball skills and cover ability are good things to have. Alexander is probably going to start off as a slot corner, which just so happens to be what the Jags need after the loss of Aaron Colvin in free agency.

30)    Vikings: OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
Minnesota is pretty much loaded at most places so this is your typical “best player on the board” pick. Plus if you’re going to give Kirk Cousins all that cash you’d better have as many guys around to protect him as possible.

31)    Patriots: OT Kolton Miller, UCLA
Nate Solder is gone so New England has a need at tackle. The draft experts at NFL.com say the best NFL comparison for Miller is: Nate Solder. This seems fairly straightforward to me.

32)    Eagles: OG Isaiah Wynn, Georgia
The defending Super Bowl champs grab themselves a guy who can play multiple positions along the offensive line to help protect Carson Foles.

Contact Us