As the NFL season begins, some fans will already be looking for future stars for the 2018 NFL Draft. So it’s time to break out an early NFL mock draft.
The top of this year’s draft figures to be dominated by quarterbacks, with guys such as USC’s Sam Darnold and UCLA’s Josh Rosen. Penn State’s Saquon Barkley also figures to go early on.
Below is SEC Country’s NFL mock draft for the 2018 NFL Draft:
NFL mock draft 2018
- New York Jets: Sam Darnold, USC QB: The Jets figure to be the worst team in the NFL and desperately need a quarterback. In steps Darnold, who went 9-1 as the Trojans’ starter last year and led them to a Rose Bowl win.
- Cleveland Browns: Saquon Barkley, Penn State RB: While the Browns also have a number of needs, quarterback might not be one of them depending on how Notre Dame rookie DeShone Kizer looks in his first year. Instead, they take the most talented player on the board in Saquon Barkley.
- San Francisco 49ers: Josh Rosen, UCLA QB: Kyle Shanahan built the best offense in the NFL last year with the Atlanta Falcons. But to repeat that success with the 49ers, he’ll need a better quarterback. Rosen has some injury concerns, but he’s looked the part of an NFL quarterback since he was the consensus top high school prospect in 2015.
- Chicago Bears: Connor Williams, Texas OT: After selecting Mitchell Trubisky in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Bears need a left tackle to protect him. Williams figures to be the top offensive lineman in this year’s class.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Josh Allen, Wyoming QB: The Blake Bortles experience isn’t working out. The Jaguars have a number of talented pieces already in place such as wide receiver Allen Robinson and running back Leonard Fournette.
- Buffalo Bills: Arden Key, LSU DE: The Bills appear to be starting over and could contend with the Jets for the top pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. They take the most talented defensive player in the class in Key, who had 12 sacks last season.
- Los Angeles Rams: Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame OT: The Rams have drafted a quarterback and running back in the first round of the last two drafts, and also traded for Sammy Watkins, a former first-round pick. McGlinchey could’ve been a first-round pick had he entered last year’s draft, so he’ll be a huge addition to the Rams’ offensive line.
- Washington Redskins: Derwin James, Florida State S: James is a similar prospect to Jalen Ramsey, the former Seminole that the Jaguars took with the No. 5 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. If James can stay healthy, he should have a monster season for the Seminoles.
- Miami Dolphins: Sam Hubbard, Ohio State DE: Ohio State might have the most talented team in the country, and Hubbard projects to be the first Buckeye off the board. Cameron Wake isn’t getting any younger, so defensive line projects as an area of need for the Dolphins.
- Detroit Lions: Christian Kirk, Texas A&M WR: Kirk would be a perfect fit in the Lions offense, given how they like to spread the ball around. He just edges out Calvin Ridley as the top wide receiver in the 2018 draft class.
- Cincinnati Bengals: Harold Landry, Boston College DE: The Bengals have invested heavily on the offensive side of the ball in recent years, meaning it’s time to shift their focus to the defense. Landry was one of the most complete players in the country last year.
- New Orleans Saints: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama DB: The Saints still need a lot of help on the defense, especially in the secondary. Like James, Fitzpatrick projects as a plug-and-play guy anywhere in a secondary.
- Los Angeles Chargers: Trey Adams, Washington OT: After drafting Mike Williams and Melvin Gordon in recent years, the Chargers need some help on the offensive line. Adams may not be a known name now, but he figures to have a monster season for the Huskies.
- Indianapolis Colts: Da’Ron Payne, Alabama DT: The Colts could be in major trouble if Andrew Luck isn’t healthy this year. For the draft, they’ll need to take the best player available, and that’s Payne, who could grow into a Jonathan Allen-esque role.
- Philadelphia Eagles: Tarvarus McFadden, Florida State DB: While wide receiver could be a need, cornerback is still the biggest area of concern this year for the Eagles. McFadden projects as the top pure cornerback in this year’s draft class.
- Cleveland Browns (via Houston): Calvin Ridley, Alabama WR: Based on their 2017 draft, the Browns are looking for guys who have elite athletic traits. Ridley’s speed, along with his production at Alabama, qualifies him for this pick.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bradley Chubb N.C. State DE: Tampa Bay has put together a nice team and has star potential at every level. But you can never have too many disruptive edge rushers, and Chubb fits that mold.
- Baltimore Ravens: Courtland Sutton, SMU, WR: The Ravens might have the worst group of pass catchers in the league. Sutton would be a huge addition for Joe Flacco.
- Minnesota Vikings: Lamar Jackson, Louisville QB: Jackson has to take some steps forward, but his athletic gifts are just too much to keep out of the first round. Minnesota might be the perfect place for him, where there won’t be a lot of pressure on him.
- Denver Broncos: Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame OG: The Broncos’ offensive line was a mess last year. Drafting Nelson will help in the run game and keep either Paxton Lynch or Trevor Siemian off their back.
- Tennessee Titans: Cameron Smith, USC LB: Defensive back could be an area of need, but the Titans also need help at linebacker.
- Buffalo Bills (via Kansas City): Christian Wilkins, Clemson DT: Marcell Dareus will be on a short leash. Wilkins could be the perfect replacement if the Bills decide to move on.
- Arizona Cardinals: James Washington, Oklahoma State WR: Quarterback could be an option here, but given Larry Fitzgerald’s mileage, wide receiver is a bigger need.
- Carolina Panthers: Iman Marshall, USC CB: The secondary is one of the few areas of weakness on the Panthers. Marshall will look to follow in the footsteps of Adoree’ Jackson, who the Titans took in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
- New York Giants: Martez Ivey, Florida OG: The Giants’ weakest area is their offensive line. They’ll take the best lineman available, which happens to be the Florida standout.
- Atlanta Falcons: TyQuan Lewis, Ohio State DE/OLB: The Falcons need some help in terms of bringing pressure. Lewis would be a nice boost after the Falcons took Takk McKinley in the 2017 NFL Draft.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Malik Jefferson, Texas LB: The Steelers are getting old at the linebacker position. The Texas standout would bring some much needed youth to the position.
- Dallas Cowboys: Josh Sweat, Florida State DE/OLB: Sweat is poised to have a monster season for Florida State. Don’t be suprisied if he goes much higher than this come the 2018 NFL Draft.
- Seattle Seahawks: Derrius Guice, LSU RB: The Seahawks have had a revolving door of running backs since Marshawn Lynch’s dominance ended. Guice should have an excellent year for the Tigers in 2017 and make it two years in a row that an LSU running back goes in the first round.
- Oakland Raiders: Andrew Brown, Virginia DE/DT: The Raiders have invested heavily in their secondary. Brown was a 5-star prospect coming out of high school and has had a solid career at Virginia, so help up front would be appreciated.
- Green Bay Packers: Porter Gustin, USC DE/OLB: Gustin is the perfect player to pair opposite Clay Matthews in Green Bay. And as Julius Peppers nears the end of his career, edge rusher will become a position of need.
- New England Patriots: Donte Jackson, LSU CB: With Malcolm Butler likely gone next year, the LSU speedster could slide right into his place in the New England secondary.
*Order determined by preseason NFL Super bowl odds