2018 NFL Mock Draft: Latest Predictions Before Sunday’s Divisional Games

2018 NFL Mock Draft: Latest Predictions Before Sunday’s Divisional Games

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College football has crowned a champion, and the deadline for NFL draft declarations is Monday, which can only mean one thing: Mock draft season is heating up. 

And while the NFL Scouting Combine doesn’t get underway until February 27, we can start to make some more robust projections as to how things will play out come April 26. 

Here we have provided a first-round mock draft complete with a spotlight on players who could help out a few playoff teams that have glaring needs entering 2018. 

            

Updated 1st-Round Mock Draft

1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
2. New York Giants: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
3. Indianapolis Colts: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
4. Cleveland Browns (via Houston Texans): Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
5. Denver Broncos: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
6. New York Jets: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
8. Chicago Bears: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
9*. San Francisco 49ers: Derwin James, S, Florida State
10*. Oakland Raiders: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
11. Miami Dolphins: Arden Key, EDGE, LSU
12. Cincinnati Bengals: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
13. Washington Redskins: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
14. Green Bay Packers: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
15. Arizona Cardinals: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
16. Baltimore Ravens: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
18. Seattle Seahawks: Connor Williams, OT, Texas
19. Dallas Cowboys: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
20. Detroit Lions: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
21. Buffalo Bills: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, EDGE, Oklahoma
22. Buffalo Bills (via Kansas City Chiefs): Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
23. Los Angeles Rams: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
24. Carolina Panthers: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
25. Atlanta Falcons: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
26. Tennessee Titans: Marcus Davenport, EDGE, UTSA
27. New Orleans Saints: Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma
28. Jacksonville Jaguars: Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
29. Pittsburgh Steelers: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
30. Minnesota Vikings: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
31. Philadelphia Eagles: Chukwuma Okorafor, OT, Western Michigan
32. New England Patriots: Sam Hubbard, EDGE, Ohio State

The draft order is current through Wild Card Weekend. San Francisco and Oakland will flip a coin to determine the Nos. 9 and 10 picks. Pick Nos. 25-32 are based on playoff seeding.

                     

Los Angeles Rams: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

The Los Angeles Rams have a championship-caliber offense and a front seven that can wreck opponents around the line of scrimmage.

What they are lacking is a rock-solid secondary.

Fortunately for the Rams, this year’s draft class is loaded with quality cornerbacks—Ohio State’s Denzel Ward among them.

And while his stats don’t tell a big story—Ward had just two interceptions through three seasons with the Buckeyes—he’s a shutdown corner who could thrive in man coverage along the boundary or in the slot at the next level. 

"[Ward] just does his business," Ohio State cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs said, per Cleveland.com’s Bill Landis. "He shows up every day, works very hard, prepares himself very well."

Put simply, Ward is the kind of player who could change the L.A. secondary’s complexion. And with Trumaine Johnson an impending free agent, the Rams need all of the stability they can get on the back end. 

                    

Carolina Panthers: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M

The Carolina Panthers receiving corps, because of a blend of injuries and midseason departures, wasn’t exactly steady in 2017.

But if you look at the big picture, Carolina is only one piece away from providing quarterback Cam Newton with a dynamite arsenal of weapons.

For the time being, the Panthers boast a steady boundary receiver in Devin Funchess, a slot maven in running back Christian McCaffrey, a vertical field-stretcher in 2017 second-round pick Curtis Samuel and a safety blanket in veteran tight end Greg Olsen.

Add Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk to the mix opposite Funchess, and the Panthers should have no problem fielding one of the NFC’s more formidable passing games under new offensive coordinator Norv Turner.

During his three-year stay with the Aggies, Kirk racked up 234 receptions for 2,856 yards and 26 touchdowns—including 10 over 13 games as a junior.

"I set my goals high," Kirk told NFL Media’s Jeffri Chadiha. "I had high aspirations coming into college, and I wanted to be a player that people talked about. So I look at every day as a chance to get better. And I’ve seen that when you work hard, it definitely pays off."

                   

New Orleans Saints: Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma

At some point, the New Orleans Saints will have to be in the market for a successor to quarterback Drew Brees.

But if they aren’t in the mood to trade up and don’t feel like reaching for one of this year’s bigger unknowns toward the back of Round 1, the Saints could do far worse than select former Oklahoma Sooners tight end Mark Andrews.

A 6’5", 254-pound wrecking ball who can do damage out of the slot or on the outside, Andrews entrenched himself as this year’s top tight end by catching a career-high 61 passes for 958 yards and eight touchdowns.

Given the lack of production the Saints have received from Coby Fleener over the past two seasons, those numbers should have them salivating.

And if they can add Andrews to a cast of playmakers that already features Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, New Orleans should have a talent base that allows the offense to thrive once Brees hands the keys over to the franchise signal-caller of the future.

Breaking Sports News

via Bleacher Report – Front Page http://ift.tt/yO6Sgr

January 14, 2018 at 05:17AM

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