Foothill Technology High School

You are on the clock: 2018 NFL Mock Draft

The wait is finally over. Whether you are a fan of a contending team that may only be one piece away from a championship, a team that is looking to end its drought of winning or a fan of a team somewhere in between, this time of year signifies the start of a brand-new season. On April 26, the 83rd annual National Football League (NFL) Draft began in Arlington, Texas. The entire draft spans three days (April 26-28) and consists of seven total rounds, with the first two rounds taking place on April 26.

This infographic includes regarding the NFL draft. Credit: Nick Zoll / The Foothill Dragon Press
This infographic includes regarding the NFL draft. Credit: Nick Zoll / The Foothill Dragon Press

The NFL is quickly evolving into a quarterback-first industry. Will this year’s draft reflect these sentiments? With what is projected to be a star-studded first round of draft picks, who will stand out from the rest? So many speculative questions are raised, but one thing that is certain is that the next generation of talent has arrived.

Read below to see who your team’s first round pick will be in the first ever Foothill Dragon Press NFL mock draft.

ROUND 1

  1. Cleveland BrownsJosh Allen, Quarterback (QB), Wyoming
    • A hit-or-miss pick by Browns general manager John Dorsey at this point, but quarterback is an absolute necessity for Cleveland. Allen has a powerful arm and definitely has one of the more promising futures in the league if he fulfills his potential.
  2. New York GiantsSaquon Barkley, Running Back (RB), Penn State
    • With Eli Manning hopefully serving as a bridge at QB for New York next year, the Giants will go with the best player available in Barkley. Compared to All-Pro RB Le’Veon Bell by scouts, Barkley can truly do it all and should be viewed as a generational talent.
  3. New York JetsSam Darnold, QB, USC
    • After trading up to the third spot in March, the Jets will be pleasantly surprised to land Darnold at that position. Similar to Cleveland, picking a QB here is the only option.
  4. Cleveland Browns: Bradley Chubb, Defensive End (DE), NC State
    • Cleveland, now having fulfilled the QB position, will complement last year’s #1 overall pick, DE Myles Garrett, with another fantastic playmaker at defense in Chubb.
  5. Denver BroncosJosh Rosen, QB, UCLA
    • With QBs flying off the board, Denver won’t hesitate to take their QB of the future at slot five. The Broncos’ signing of Case Keenum should only be looked at as a short-term move. Denver has lacked strong play at the signal-caller position ever since Peyton Manning departed after winning Super Bowl 50 in 2016.
  6. Indianapolis ColtsQuenton Nelson, Offensive Guard (OG), Notre Dame
    • At this point, protecting franchise QB Andrew Luck should be priority number one for Indianapolis. Selecting the top offensive lineman in this year’s draft is a step in the right direction.
  7. Tampa Bay BuccaneersMinkah Fitzpatrick, Defensive Back (DB), Alabama
    • The offensive pieces are there, but the defense needs some strengthening with the departure of a few key players. A dynamic player like Fitzpatrick will immediately make an impact on Tampa’s secondary.
  8. Chicago BearsDenzel Ward, Cornerback (CB), Ohio State
    • The consensus 2017 All-American adds to a Bears secondary of Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara, which could become one of the more underrated defenses in the league.
  9. San Francisco 49ersJosh Jackson, CB, Iowa
    • Even following the addition of All-Pro CB Richard Sherman this offseason, the Niners are surely going to need better pass protection to succeed in the offensively-talented NFC West.
  10. Oakland RaidersTremaine Edmunds, Linebacker (LB), Virginia Tech
    • One of the more talented playmakers in the draft, Oakland would be wise to grab the best available player in Edmunds at this point in the draft and strengthen their inside LB position.
  11. Miami DolphinsBaker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
    • The quarterback situation in Miami is just too uncertain to pass on Mayfield, who won the 2017 Heisman Trophy with the Sooners. He would get plenty opportunities to run the ball, as the Dolphins’ RBs aren’t that impressive aside from Kenyan Drake.
  12. Buffalo BillsLamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
    • The addition of QB A.J. McCarron in the offseason is simply not enough for Buffalo at the quarterback position. Depth is what they need, and Jackson has the potential to translate into a high-level starting QB in the NFL. The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner would fit well in head coach Sean McDermott’s offense, which found success this past season while snapping a 17-year playoff drought.
  13. Washington RedskinsMarcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
    • With UTSA not being a household name for college football, Davenport has flown under the radar in terms of national spotlight. Those times will quickly evaporate once the DE has the opportunity to showcase his talent in the NFL.
  14. Green Bay PackersJaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
    • After trading Damarious Randall to the Cleveland Browns, Green Bay should attempt to restock their secondary with this mid-round pick.
  15. Dallas Cowboys (mock trade with Arizona): Calvin Ridley, Wide Receiver (WR), Alabama
    • After Dez Bryant was released, the Cowboys desperately need a wideout. RB Ezekiel Elliott can’t do it all in the backfield and Dak Prescott needs more playmakers surrounding him. By trading up and selecting Calvin Ridley, he can step in immediately and produce at a quality level for a Dallas team that is trying to make it back to the postseason after last year’s disappointing campaign. It would likely only require a low-tier draft pick along with their own first-rounder to swap picks with the Cardinals.
  16. Baltimore RavensDJ Moore, WR, Maryland
    • Leading receiver Mike Wallace left for the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason, so the Ravens have no option other than to select a receiver here.
  17. Los Angeles ChargersMike McGlinchey, Offensive Tackle (OT), Notre Dame
    • The window of opportunity for Los Angeles is closing quickly when it comes to 36-year-old QB Philip Rivers. It makes so much sense to add extra protection to the Chargers’ front line and increase their chances of winning in the short term.
  18. Seattle Seahawks: Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia
    • QB Russell Wilson played through multiple injuries last season and his health was constantly at risk due to the shaky Seattle offensive line. The Seahawks’ best chance at winning squarely lies on the shoulders of Wilson, so drafting protection for their star player is the only option unless they want to risk another injury that would derail their season.
  19. Arizona Cardinals (receive Dallas pick in mock trade): Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
    • Even though the Cardinals are in need of a WR with Larry Fitzgerald approaching retirement, trading down suggests that they would rather settle for Sutton and collect a few extra assets rather than taking Calvin Ridley straight up. It’s a popular opinion, anyways, that there isn’t a huge talent differential among this year’s WR class.
  20. Detroit LionsDerrius Guice, RB, LSU
    • With the Lions’ current backfield performing inconsistently, selecting an explosive, three-down back in Guice would expand the possibilities of Detroit’s offense.
  21. Cincinnati BengalsWill Hernandez, OT, UTEP
    • RB Joe Mixon, Cincinnati’s second-round pick last year, didn’t find much success running the ball in his rookie season. A big part of that was the lack of space created by the offensive line. For the Bengals, it’s essential that Mixon reaches his full potential.
  22. Buffalo Bills: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
    • Jordan Matthews is gone. Sammy Watkins is gone. And even with those two receivers present, the Bills wideouts weren’t very effective. A smart move would be to grab a young WR (along with their franchise QB at pick 12) and let the chemistry develop over the next few seasons.
  23. New England PatriotsRoquan Smith, LB, Georgia
    • With CB Malcolm Butler departing in free agency, New England can upgrade their defense immediately by selecting Smith. A popular belief is that the Patriots would select a CB here, but true talent at the LB position is much harder to find on the free agent market.
  24. Carolina PanthersJames Washington, WR, Oklahoma State
    • It’s a real possibility that, with Carolina’s current roster, RB Christian McCaffrey would likely be the team’s leading receiver. It certainly speaks to McCaffrey’s talent, but the Panthers need more stability at the wideout position.
  25. Tennessee TitansVita Vea, ILB, Washington
    • Vea is definitely more talented than the 25th selection suggests, but similar to other drafts, it all depends on team needs. Tennessee would be thrilled to see the former University of Washington LB be available late in the first round.
  26. Atlanta FalconsDa’Ron Payne, Defensive Tackle (DT), Alabama
    • Da’Ron Payne is a strong man. Don’t believe me? Check out this video of him bench pressing 400 pounds in high school. Impressive, right? Atlanta’s defensive line would be transformed by bringing this Alabama alumnus into the NFL.
  27. New Orleans SaintsHayden Hurst, Tight End (TE), South Carolina
    • The TE position for the Saints last year produced disappointing results. As New Orleans is one of the more complete teams in the NFL right now, they can afford to spend a pick on another asset for quarterback Drew Brees in hopes of making the offense even more dangerous.
  28. Pittsburgh SteelersSony Michel, RB, Georgia
    • This one all depends on the Steelers’ willingness to pay Le’Veon Bell superstar money. If they decide to place the franchise tag on the frustrated Bell once more, drafting their future RB would be a nice backup plan.
  29. Jacksonville JaguarsKolton Miller, OT, UCLA
    • As he is one of the top offensive lineman in the draft, Miller’s presence would go a long way in making sure star RB Leonard Fournette stays healthy, ensuring the Jaguars’ success to try and replicate last year’s AFC Championship Game appearance.
  30. Minnesota VikingsConnor Williams, OT, Texas
    • It’s simple: When you pay quarterback Kirk Cousins a fully guaranteed contract worth $84 million, keeping him safe is the only option. I repeat: The. Only. Option. Extra protection on the offensive line should help that cause.
  31. New England Patriots: Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
    • With Tom Brady’s future looking uncertain, New England desperately needs a quarterback as insurance. Although they’d like to have Jimmy Garoppolo back, any QB that has the chance to be mentored by Brady has the possibility to be an All-Pro level player. Oh, and Rudolph was the top passer in Oklahoma State’s history.
  32. Philadelphia EaglesDallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
  • With the departure of tight ends Brent Celek and Trey Burton, the defending champions have a void to fill in the slot. Although offense isn’t a huge priority right now for the Eagles, having another big-bodied target to go alongside Zach Ertz would create matchup nightmares for opposing defenses.

It is important to note that the Draft does not make or break players’ careers. A perfect example of this can be found in Ventura, California, where Saint Bonaventure High School alumnus Troy Hill was not drafted in 2015, yet eventually made his way to an NFL roster.

-Nick Zoll

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