Josh Norris

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2018 NFL Mock Draft No. 1

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Friends, it is time.

I have not watched all of these prospects, and that will be apparent if you read the reasoning for each selection. And please do read, it’s the important part of this experiment. I mainly focused on potential needs or upgradable positions.

Next week I will be attending East-West Shrine Game practices. And seven days after that I will be doing the same at the Senior Bowl. So follow along @JoshNorris.

1. Cleveland Browns - QB Sam Darnold, USC - We all know this will be a quarterback, the only question is which one. We can only assume John Dorsey and Hue Jackson will work in tandem to identify the top passer. Jackson previously discussed his height threshold (6’2), potentially eliminating Baker Mayfield. Peter King cited a scouting source stating Dorsey would fall in love with Josh Allen… but I just can’t. The Darnold versus Rosen debate will rage on for months.

2. New York Giants - QB Josh Rosen, UCLA - With Dave Gettleman in charge, this could absolutely be an offensive lineman or defensive lineman. But Gettleman has been great at finding mid, late or undrafted talents at offensive line. The time is now for the Giants to take a quarterback. Teams need to take advantage of picking in the top two when quarterback is even slightly a need.

3. Indianapolis Colts - EDGE Bradley Chubb, NC State - The Colts have a number of non-guaranteed contract decisions to make on the defensive side of the ball. The goal of this pick is to find a prospect who creates big plays. Saquon Barkley does that on offense, and Jim Irsay insinuated he’d be in favor of this pick, but the perceived best edge rusher in the country would be ideal as well.

4. Cleveland Browns (from HOU) - RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State - The previous regime would not have spent a top-five selection on a running back. Dorsey might not either, after drafting Kareem Hunt outside of the top two rounds and signing Spencer Ware on a futures with the Chiefs. But these are “football guys,” right?

5. Denver Broncos - QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma - Paxton Lynch is not it. The Broncos will certainly be in the veteran quarterback market. With that said, there’s plenty of pressure on John Elway to nail a quarterback evaluation. When is the next time the Broncos will be drafting in the top 5? Take advantage of it if there’s a quarterback worthy of the selection.

6. New York Jets - CB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama - Fitzpatrick could absolutely be selected earlier. I would be surprised if he’s drafted early as a true safety. This is a similar conversation as Jalen Ramsey a few years ago. Corners are more valuable.

7. Tampa Bay Bucs - T Connor Williams, Texas - Self-evaluation needs to insert itself. I know Jason Licht drafted Donovan Smith in the early second round just a few years ago. But a left tackle with slow feet is a bad combination, especially when paired with a quarterback who can be slow to process/deliver/move at times.

8. Chicago Bears - LB Roquan Smith, Georgia - The Bears are a difficult team to project for. They are “good” at many spots. In this case, they update a spot that featured multiple players due to injuries over the last few years. Plus, Smith produces Patrick Willis vibes.

9/10. San Francisco 49ers *Coin flip* - G Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame - Joe Staley is still playing at a high level, but with his age it would not be surprising to see the 49ers draft a LT in waiting. Instead, Nelson instantly turns a weakness into a strength at one of the interior spots.

9/10. Oakland Raiders *Coin flip* - T Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame - Donald Penn is good. Donald Penn will be 35 years old next season. One purpose of the draft is to replace high priced, declining players on the roster. Perhaps that is the move here.

11. Miami Dolphins - S Derwin James, FSU - I polled Dolphins fans on Twitter on who they wanted to be picked here. Some said an edge rusher. Others said corner. But the overriding name was James. I guess the Dolphins want to run three safety looks. I wanted to give them Marcus Davenport, but this doesn’t appear to be a franchise that uses early round picks on smaller program prospects.

12. Cincinnati Bengals - T Chukwuma Okorafor, Western Michigan - Taylor Moton earned high praise last year, but that was at right tackle. Okorafor is the one who locked down the left side for the last two seasons and played at a very high level. The Bengals need to self-scout and realize they need offensive line help despite spending high picks on those spots.

13. Washington Redskins - C Billy Price, Ohio State - Daniel Jeremiah called Price one of the better prospects he’s seen at the position in the last decade. Center might not be a weakness, but why not turn it into a strength?

14. Green Bay Packers - EDGE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson - As of now, we don’t even know who the Packers defensive coordinator is. The Packers need to get younger on the edge

15. Arizona Cardinals - QB Josh Allen, Wyoming - The Cardinals do not have a quarterback on their roster. Allen could go earlier, he could go later. He could be ready, he could sit. Right now, I have no idea.

16. Baltimore Ravens - WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama - Every year we suggest Ozzie Newsome could select an Alabama player. Sometimes that statement is met with an eye roll. But then it happens, and this is a position of need.

17. Los Angeles Chargers - T Orlando Brown, Oklahoma - Brown is a mammoth. The Chargers have one of the better defenses in the NFL on paper and need help at right tackle.

18. Seattle Seahawks - S Ronnie Harrison, Alabama - The Seahawks are going through a significant change. After shifting from Marshawn Lynch to Russell Wilson carrying the offense, the Seahawks defense will be altered this offseason. Perhaps to the point of no Kam Chancellor, No Richard Sherman, no Michael Bennett and no Cliff Avril. The team seems set at defensive end, but not in the back half.

19. Dallas Cowboys - DL Da'Ron Payne, Alabama - You watched him in the CFP Championship. Payne picked the right night to have his best game. Anchor, heavy hands, backfield vision. The Cowboys need a player like this on the interior.

20. Detroit Lions - RB Derrius Guice, LSU - Guice dealt with a thigh injury this season, slowing him down in practice and multiple games. Once he returned, he was outstanding. His cuts, spins and balance on contact allow him to create yards. I love Ameer Abdullah as an individual player, but it is not working out with the Lions. He has yet to eclipse 600 rushing yards in a season with the team.

21. Buffalo Bills - DL Vita Vea, Washington - Brute strength. Vea can halt and toss offensive linemen. Clogging the middle and allowing linebackers room to run is important in Sean McDermott’s defense, which brings me to…

22. Buffalo Bills (from KC) - LB Rashaan Evans, Alabama - I know Preston Brown posted a ton of tackles. I’m not calling him bad. But I’m saying that McDermott’s scheme, at its best, features linebackers with range and speed, both against the run and pass. Evans has that speed.

23. Los Angeles Rams - T Kolton Miller, UCLA - The Rams were one of, if not the, healthiest teams in the NFL last season, especially at offensive line. I cannot stress enough how important a good, healthy offensive line is. Groom a player to take over for the outstanding Andrew Whitworth down the road.

24. Carolina Panthers - CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State - I have no idea if corner thresholds (arm length) will remain with Marty Hurney since Dave Gettleman is gone. Based on his history, I don’t think so. The Panthers need corner help after James Bradberry failed to take a step forward and Daryl Worley/Kevon Seymour rotated at points this season.

25. Tennessee Titans - EDGE Marcus Davenport, UTSA

26. Jacksonville Jaguars - WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M

27. New Orleans Saints - DL Maurice Hurst, Michigan

28. Philadelphia Eagles - T Martinas Rankin, Miss State

29. Atlanta Falcons - DL Taven Bryan, Florida

30. Pittsburgh Steelers - CB Josh Jackson, Iowa

31. Minnesota Vikings - EDGE Harold Landry, Boston College

32. New England Patriots - CB Carlton Davis, Auburn

Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for Rotoworld and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Josh Norris

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