Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 at 11:41 PM
THE 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT - JIM HURLEY FORECASTS ROUND I
Ladies and gents, it's finally here: The 2018 NFL Draft - yes, the most anticipated draft in the last three-and-a-half decades - has arrived and we'll take you through a wild Round I with trades, shockers and all the rest in this jam-packed edition of Jim Sez.
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Okay, so here goes ...
2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT
1. CLEVELAND - Sam Darnold, QB, USC: The Browns actually have not gone quarterback with their first overall pick since 1999 (see Tim Couch ... ugh) but were "sold" on this Trojans' slinger when he threw it well in rotten weather.
2. NEW YORK GIANTS - Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State: New G-men GM Dave Gettleman just wasn't entirely sold on any of these "name" QBs and so he goes with best overall talent/playmaker here.
3. NEW YORK JETS - Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA: All the talk in NYC is that the J-E-T-S will go for Heisman Trophy-winning QB Baker Mayfield but we ain't buying it. We say Rosen will be the best buy in Round I.
4. BUFFALO (draft night trade with Cleveland) - Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming: The Bills swap their #12 overall pick and some other goodies to move up here and insiders say they'll try hard to get to #1 pick 'cause they really wanted Darnold.
5. SEATTLE (draft night trade with Denver) - Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State: The Seahawks' defense is in need of help and so NFC West squad can't wait till pick #18; they deal that choice with 2019 draft goodies for best defender in this man's draft.
6. INDIANAPOLIS - Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame: No need to rehash all the Colts' O-line woes in recent years and so this South Bend stud is being counted on as instant savior for QB Andrew Luck.
7. TAMPA BAY - Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama: A heart-and-soul player on last year's national championship team, this dude has great leadership skills and so Bucs can't pass 'em up even if there's other needs.
8. CHICAGO - Derwin James, S, Florida State: If the Bears want to accomplish anything in this draft, it's to get more physical and this former Seminoles' star can really rock 'ya.
9. DALLAS (draft night trade with San Francisco) - Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia: Wanna hear AT&T Stadium go bonkers? Well, when the draft host Cowboys trade with old rival San Fran 49ers here it should nutty and this move up to land best 'backer in draft is genius.
10. OAKLAND - Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville: The Raiders are crushed 'cause they wanted to draft LB Smith and so it's onto Plan B for Jon Gruden's club which stays with defense as the theme here (this would make it five defensive players in last six picks).
11. MIAMI - Taven Bryan, DT, Florida: So much for the Dolphins landing a "quarterback of the future" here as Fish decide they better bone up the D-line and they stay in state for this 300-pounder.
12. CLEVELAND (aforementioned draft night trade with Buffalo) - Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa: The Browns could stockpile more picks in the event New England or Atlanta (among others) looks to trade up here but odds are Cleveland knows it can get top 10 talent and thus opt for Jackson over Ohio State CB Denzel Ward who's rated a tad lower.
13. WASHINGTON - Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan: 'Skins consider him a top 10 talent here and so thrilled to get 'em even though they allegedly have sights on CB Jackson.
14. GREEN BAY - Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU: Gotta believe that Packers' front office wants to appease QB Aaron Rodgers after releasing best buddy WR Jordy Nelson.
15. NEW ENGLAND (draft night trade with Arizona) - Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State: Now it's the Patriots who get into the swing of things trade-wise and can't resist dealing off pick #31 and other 2019 stuff in order to land best available cover corner.
16. BALTIMORE - Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame: Conventional wisdom says the Ravens will go O-line here though some folks might call this a "reach" ... but we like the pick a lot!
17. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS - Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma: Surprise, surprise! Last year's Heisman Trophy winner really slides down the charts and what's equally stunning is the Bolts grab 'em even though QB Philip Rivers likely has two or three good years left in 'em. Hey, told 'ya there would be some shockers!
18. DENVER (aforementioned draft night trade with Seattle) - Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma: Funny thing is the Broncos traded down some 13 spots and still almost got their mitts on Mr. Mayfield! This 6-foot-8, 365-pounder will block out the moon, sun and stars.
19. SAN FRANCISCO (aforementioned draft night trade with Dallas) - Frank Ragnow, C, Arkansas: The Niners could turn in a billion different directions here but want more O-line help for QB Jimmy Garappolo.
20. DETROIT - Derrius Guice, RB, LSU: Slam dunk pick, if you ask us as Motowners need someone to revive this long-lost ground game.
21. CINCINNATI -- Vita Vea, DT, Washington: This 350-pound force must be instant impact player for a Bengals' defensive line that's lost its bite the last two years.
22. BUFFALO - James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State: The Bills (we say) trade up to nab QB Josh Allen with the fourth overall pick and then give him some pass-catching help here with former Poke star a real stretch-the-field threat.
23. ARIZONA (aforementioned draft night trade with New England) -- Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville: The Cardinals gamble ... and win! NFC West crew had eyes on this 2016 Heisman Trophy winner but thought he might last and so get extra picks from Patriots to boot.
24. CAROLINA - Tremaine Edwards, LB, Virginia Tech: Can you hear the Panthers' brass cheering? No doubt this is a top 15 talent in this draft but Edwards slides down and Carolina grabs him instead of much-needed wide out.
25. TENNESSEE - Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama: Maybe the Titans will also use this former Tide star as a goal-line receiver too ... remember?
26. ATLANTA - Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama: Funny thing is the Falcons will be trying to move up into the top 10 and will wind up with a player that didn't think they could get at #26.
27. NEW ORLEANS - Harold Landry, DE, Boston College: There's some talk about Saints getting a tight end here but this kid shows plenty of flash.
28. PITTSBURGH - Rashaan Evans, ILB, Alabama: The Ryan Shazier injury triggered this pick although some Steelers' insiders wanted an heir apparent to QB Ben Roethlisberger. Wait till next year.
29. JACKSONVILLE - Michael Gallup, WR, Colorado State: The Jaguars could grab any of five or six different receivers here but like Gallup's elusiveness/hands.
30. MINNESOTA - Will Hernandez, G, UTEP: If the Vikings go anywhere but O-line than we'll ask for an investigation.
31. NEW ENGLAND - Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State: Ahh, so there will be six quarterbacks taken in Round I, after all!
32. LOS ANGELES RAMS (draft night trade with Super Bowl champion Philadelphia) - Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, DE, Oklahoma: The Rams have been wheeler-dealers this off-season and they continue here while sending future picks for this final Round I choice. Never enough pass rushers on a team, right?
NOTE: NBA Playoff news plus NFL Draft goodies in the next Jim Sez.