The 2018 NFL Draft
These are not my predictions, these are the players I think the teams should draft at their positions barring any draft day trades. Once again, not my predictions but who I think teams should take in the draft.
The Cleveland Browns
Minkah Fitzpatrick (S/LB/CB, Alabama)
The Cleveland Browns need a lot, but luckily they have a lot of draft picks, and hopefully, they’ll draft well. Whether ESPN wants to acknowledge it or not, their top need is not a QB it’s defense. Minkah is undeniably the best and most versatile player in this draft class (sorry Penn State fans but it's true). They shouldn’t be worrying about drafting a QB this early now that they have Tyrod Taylor and Drew Stanton, both solid QBs who, surrounded by good talent, can take a team to the playoffs. They also should not be worrying about drafting Saquon Barkley after bringing in Carlos Hyde. Drafting Minkah would add young leadership, intelligence, and powerful athleticism to this defense, all things that they need. Minkah will add to the strong defense they are building around Myles Garrett. Minkah Fitzpatrick will continue to be able to play multiple positions in the NFL, he’s similar to Mychal Kendricks, but will spend more time in the secondary and less as a cover linebacker.
2. The New York Giants
Saquon Barkley (RB, Penn State)
The New York Giants appear to believe that Eli Manning can still be a top-10 QB in the league for a few more years. They’re wrong of course, but with this mentality, this is not the draft for them to get a QB. Instead, you take Saquon Barkley, the undeniable second best player in this draft. [Just to clarify, I don’t think there’s that match of a gap between him and Minkah, to me Minkah is just slightly better because of his knowledge and leadership, just slightly better]. Barkley is the only RB in this draft that isn’t a gamble in the first round, in fact he might be the only running back in this draft that can be an every-down back. Do I really need to explain why they would/should take him?
3. The New York Jets (Via Indianapolis)
Bradley Chubb (DE, NC State)
The Jets need help in a lot of places, I mean, they are the Jets. And while yes I know, they traded up for this pick, I don’t think any Quarterback they’d pick here is as talented as or would make as big of an impact now or in the future as Bradley Chubb would make on the edge. And anyway they resigned Mccown and brought in Bridgewater surely they must like on of those two to start (hopefully it’s Bridgewater and not Mccown).
4. The Cleveland Browns (Via Houston)
Connor Williams (OT/G, Texas)
WIth Joe Thomas retiring, this offensive line has taken a hit and they will need to draft a tackle. While most people would probably say it’s too early to draft an offensive lineman, I don’t believe in that and I don’t care. While I don’t know if Connor Williams is gonna be as great as Joe Thomas, he should be good enough to protect Tyrod Taylor.
5. The Denver Broncos
Josh Jackson (CB, Iowa)
I know I bash the BIG10 a lot, in my defense the deserve it, I can’t deny that they have some very good talent in this draft, and Josh Jackson is at the top. This guy basically single-handedly beat Ohio State. The combination of size, athleticism and ball hawk mentality make him easily the best corner in this draft. I mean, look at that catch.
6. The Indianapolis Colts (Via New York)
Quenton Nelson (G, Notre Dame)
Wanna know why Andrew Luck hasn’t been able to play since the Bronze Age? Cause the colts had probably the worst O-line in the history of a group of 5 guys paid to protect somebody. Quenton Nelson who can play on either side should help, not fix, but help.
7. The Tampa Bay Bucs
Denzel Ward (CB, Ohio State)
Denzel Ward is very good, not Josh Jackson good but definitely good enough for this pick to not be that much of a gamble. Even though Grimes just resigned with the Bucs for a year, CB is still a need for the Bucs going down the line and Ward should be able to fill that need nicely.
8. The Chicago Bears
Da’ron Payne (DL/WR, Alabama)
The bears need defensive line depth badly. They also need a corner but its too early for any of the remaining CBs. Da’ron payne can line up at either the tackle or on the EDGE and be effective in both spots. Plus, the bears add some wide receiver depth by drafting him.
9. The San Francisco 49ers
Tremaine Edmunds (LB, Virginia Tech)
I still think Roquan Smith is the better player, but Edmunds is the better fit. Edmunds offers some more versatility than Smith which right now is more useful as the 49ers try to get back to being dominant as they search for an identity on defense.
10. The Oakland Raiders
Roquan Smith (LB, Georgia)
Roquan Smith is the best LB in this draft, he is a beast run stopper and will send running back and receivers catching screen passes running out of the stadium with their tails between their legs. While he is not as versatile as Edmunds his raw talent is undeniable and should help improve this incredibly underwhelming defense.
11. The Miami Dolphins
Sam Darnold (QB, USC)
I still hold that Baker Mayfield is the best QB right now and that Lamar Jackson is the best raw talent, but Sam Darnold probably has the highest potential and is the easiest QB to develop into a successful NFL quarterback. With Ryan Tannehill’s future as an NFL player unknown, now would be a good time to bring in a developmental QB that can spend a year behind Tannehill and then eventually mold into a solid QB while the Dolphins rebuild.
12. The Buffalo Bills (Via Cincinnati)
Calvin Ridley (WR, Alabama)
The Buffalo Bills do not need a QB, I repeat they do not need a QB, they have AJ Mccarron. And if you think that a quarterback who took over for Andy Dalton, and averaged 285 yards through the air, threw 6 touchdowns to 2 interceptions, had a completion percentage of 66.4%, and a QB rating of 97.1 is not good enough to be a winning and even contending quarterback in the NFL, then you don’t deserve to watch football. Buffalo needs receivers badly so why not pair up two Alabama alums? Calvin Ridley is easily the best route runner in this draft and should pair well into a Bills offense led by Aj Mccarron.
13. The Washington Redskins
Vita Vea (DT, Washington)
Washington needs help on the defensive line. Jonathan Allen (Roll Tide) can't do everything, particularly run defense help, and Vita Vea is the master. This guy is a freak athlete and it should take him no time at all to adjust to the NFL. There are other defensive players Washington could draft here, but Vea is the best fit.
14. The Green Bay Packers
Baker Mayfield (QB, Oklahoma)
As hard as it might be to accept, Aaron Rodgers’ career is coming to a close, one more injury filled season and he might be done. After all, he’s going to turn 35 this season. While this isn’t the best move immediately, long term this might be the best pick, and the best situation for Baker Mayfield. This pick would mirror the decision to draft Aaron Rodgers behind Brett Favre 13 years ago, allowing Baker to refine his pocket presence and drop back skills until he is ready to take over for Aaron Rodgers.
15. The Arizona Cardinals
Derwin James (S, Florida State)
It kinda feels word for Derwin James to be out of the top 10, but the need just wasn’t there for most teams. But for the Cardinals, the release of the honey badger has left a big hole in their secondary. Derwin James might even be an upgrade long term because of his size advantage.
16. The Baltimore Ravens
Rashaan Evans (LB, Alabama)
The Ravens need some help on defense specifically at the ILB position to pair with fellow Alabama alum CJ Mosley. Rashaan Evans, like many Alabama defensive players, is a beast at stopping the run and in rushing the passer. He should help fix a gigantic problem in this average Ravens defense
17. The San Dieg- I mean Los Angeles Chargers
Harrison Phillips (DT, Stanford)
The Chargers now have to good pass rushers in Bosa and Ingram. They should add to this young D-line by drafting an all around defensive tackle in Harrison Phillips who will help fill up any holes in the D-line and stop the run while also providing pass rush support.
18. The Seattle Seahawks
Marcus Davenport (DE, UTSA)
I think everyone can agree that the Seahawks are not interesting in going under a rebuild, and would much rather try and use this draft to reload their defense with young talent. Marcus Davenport while not as skilled as some of the other edge rushers in this draft has the strength and athleticism to succeed in the NFL and can hopefully replace Michael Bennett nicely.
19. The Dallas Cowgirls
James Washington (WR, Oklahoma State)
Whether he accepts it or not Dez Bryant dropped that ball… oh and he’s declining fast. The Cowgirls need to line up Dez Bryant’s replacement and give Dak Prescott some more weapons. So why not replace Dez Bryant with the guy who’s been compared to Dez Bryant his whole college career?
20. The Detroit Lions
Sony Michel (RB, Georgia)
The Detroit Lions need a better run game, and Ameer Abdullah is not gonna cut it as the feature back. A combination of the two, Michel and Abdullah, with Michel getting the bulk of the carries should balance out this offense and make play action plays much more viable for this team and take pressure off of Stafford
21. The Cincinnati Bengals (Via Buffalo)
Leighton Vander Esch (LB, Boise State)
This guy killed it at the combine, which generally I don’t think is that big of a deal, but after going back and watching some of his highlights, I believe that he could easily take that athleticism to the next level in the NFL. Hopefully the Bengals don’t continue to do typical Bengals things this season.
22. The Buffalo Bills (Via Kansas City)
Maurice Hurst Jr. (DT, Michigan)
The Bills traded Marcell Dareus last October. And they’ll look to Hurst to fill his void. Although it was brought up that he has a heart condition, he managed to play elite-level football throughout college with this condition, and he was cleared to play so hopefully it won’t be a problem.
23. The Los Angeles Rams
Jaire Alexander (CB, Louisville)
With Malcolm Butler gone the Patriots have a huge need for a CB, and Alexander should fit in very well. He should be able to step in immediately and replace Butler, and could even be an improvement in the long run.
24. The Carolina Panthers
Arden Key (DE/LB, LSU)
The Panthers have a wide open need for a wide receiver, but the opportunity and potential of Arden Key is too great pass up.
25. The Tennessee Titans
Mike McGlinchey (OT/G, Notre Dame)
For their future, the Titans need to improve their O-line in order to protect Mariota. Mike McGlinchey as far as talent goes is easily one of the best offensive linemen in this draft and should be able to start right away.
26. The Atlanta Falcons
Christian Kirk (WR, Texas A&M)
The Falcons need to get somebody to take pressure off of Julio Jones, especially now that the Falcons have lost Gabriel. Kirk will most likely never overtake Julio Jones but he will definitely be a large enough of a threat where teams can’t afford to double and triple team Jones on every play.
27. The New Orleans Saints
Mike Gesicki (TE, Penn State)
I normally don’t think the combine should be that big of a deal but for this guy it was huge. Gesicki showed that he has the strength and athleticism and some of the ball skills to turn into a great pass catching TE in the NFL, something the Saints have been missing ever since the Jimmy Graham trade.
28. The Pittsburgh Steelers
Malik Jefferson (LB, Texas)
Malik Jefferson should be able adjust to the NFL speed very quickly. He’s a great cover linebacker and can line up at either LB position and perform very well.
29. The Jacksonville Jaguars
Courtland Sutton (WR, SMU)
Another big combine guy. With Robinson and Hurns both leaving in free agency the Jaguars are in serious need of a wide receiver. While it will most likely take him some time, Sutton looks like he could mold into a solid WR in the NFL, the Jaguars will still need to address this weakness in the future.
30. The Minnesota Vikings
Isaiah Wynn (G, Georgia)
Isaiah Wynn had a great season this year at Georgia, successfully leading the Georgia O-line in protecting their freshman QB. While not a freakish athlete Wynn definitely has the speed and push to strive in the NFL, as well as the skill set.
31. The team that lost to the Nick Foles’ Eagles 41-33 in the Super Bowl
Orlando Brown (OT, Oklahoma)
Even though he recorded one of the slowest 40 times since 2003, he is still a very good tackle and managed to keep up in the high powered Oklahoma offense. The Pats need to replace Nate Soldier fast and they should be able to do so with Orlando Brown.
32. The Super Bowl Champs
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (LB/DE, Oklahoma)
Say that name three times fast. With Jordan Hicks deciding that he now has injury problems, and the future of Michael Bennet being unknown, drafting a guy like Ogbonnia Okoronkwo who can play both positions and play both of them very well would be perfect for the Eagles.
First Round totals:
- SEC: 8 players
- Alabama: 3
- BIG 12: 5
- BIG 10: 5
- PAC 12: 4
- ACC: 4
- Those other guys: 5
- Notre Dame O-Line: 2
2nd round coming soon...