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2018 NFL Mock Draft: Projecting the first 32 picks

An early look at next year's draft.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Draft cycle never really stops. A lot of outlets had their 2018 mock drafts out before the 2017 NFL Draft class really got to settle. I gave it a bit more time, but here you are reading a mock draft for something that will not happen for another 11 months. Alas, we all love these stupid things, right? At the least, these are a fun way to get an idea of the top talents in next year's draft. It's funny that people say next year's quarterback class is so great when everyone's top guys are someone who couldn't even complete more than 57% of his passes in the Mountain West and a redshirt sophomore quarterback with less than 11 starts under his belt. Call me crazy but neither really sounds like first round material right now. So what players are?

Draft order based on current 2018 Super Bowl Odds.

  1. Cleveland Browns- Mike McGlinchey, Tackle, Notre Dame: If the Browns are picking this high, there are probably still a lot of needs left they should address. However, the best player in the class could be Joe Thomas' eventual replacement. Mike McGlinchey has experience at both tackle spots and has the size and athleticism to be an immediate impact starter on the offensive line.

  2. San Francisco- Connor Williams, Tackle, Texas: The 49ers had a nice offseason but still could stand to upgrade a lot of roster spots. Connor Williams has been steady during his time at Texas and has the athletic profile to be a star in this league.

  3. New York Jets- Arden Key, EDGE, LSU: The Jets similarly have a lot of needs, including at quarterback, but they should also address the lack of premier edge pass rusher on their roster. Key is a bit light, but he is a dynamic athlete who has been wreaking havoc in the SEC since his freshman year.

  4. Los Angeles Rams- Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama: Minkah Fitzpatrick is an impact defender wherever he lines up in a secondary and that is the type of versatility the Rams desperately need. The Crimson Tide playmaker would be a huge boost to their defense.

  5. Chicago Bears- Derwin James, Safety, FSU: The Bears still have needs in their secondary they have to address. James missed most of his sophomore year due to injury but he looked the next generational safety prospect his freshman year. Can he continue to build on his immense talent?

  6. Buffalo Bills-Tyquan Lewis, EDGE, Ohio State: The Bills will need to add more depth to their front seven. Tyquan Lewis has less hype than his teammate, Sam Hubbard, for some reason, but he is the better player right now.

  7. New Orleans Saints- Christian Wilkins, Defensive Line, Clemson: If the Saints are picking this high, it hilariously means their defense is still horrific despite yearly additions to it using massive recourses. Christian Wilkins is a versatile and athletic defensive lineman who would boost their front seven so maybe they will be 29th in points allowed in 2018 instead of 31st.

  8. Jacksonville Jaguars- Mason Rudolph, Quarterback, Oklahoma State: The first quarterback off the board goes to the Jacksonville Jaguars. With Blake Bortles in the final year of his deal and signs indicating the current coaching staff wants him gone, the team finds his replacement in Oklahoma State's prolific passer. Rudolph is a smart, incredibly accurate passer which already makes him a massive upgrade from the guy he will be taking the reins from.

  9. Los Angeles Chargers- Billy Price, Guard, Ohio State: The Chargers offensive line is still in need of a boost. Price is an outstanding guard who may be kicking inside to center this year. His blend of athletic ability and toughness should make him popular among a lot of teams.

  10. Washington- Courtland Sutton, Wide Receiver, SMU: It is to be seen what happens with the Kirk Cousins situation, but Washington definitely needs to reload at the wide receiver position. Courtland Sutton is a big bodied, physical target who could make life easier for whoever is taking snaps in 2018.

  11. Cincinnati Bengals- Mitch Hyatt, Tackle, Clemons: The Bengals massively improved their offense through the draft this year but still need to repair the line. Hyatt has been starting since his freshman year and continues to get better. He could be the answer for a Bengals line where neither tackle position is settled.

  12. Tennessee Titans- Jaire Alexander, Cornerback, Louisville: The Titans have less holes than one would thing, but adding more youth and athleticism to a secondary is never a bad idea. Jaire Alexander is a smart, physical cover corner who could pair with Adoree Jackson to form quite the dynamic duo.

  13. Detroit Lions- Vita Vea, Defensive Line, Washington: The Lions defensive line is aging, especially in the middle Vita Vea is a massive athlete with surprising movement skills and ability to push the pocket on passing downs. He would be welcomed with open arms to a defense that still is missing Ndamukong Suh.

  14. Philadelphia Eagles- Saquon Barkley, Running Back, Penn State: This would almost be too good to be true. The Eagles still desperately need a lead back in their backfield and Saquon Barkley looks like one of the 2018 class' game changing running backs. I am sure the Eagles, and a lot of fans, would love to see Barkley stay in state and be Carson Wentz's partner in the backfield.

  15. Cleveland Browns- Lamar Jackson, Quarterback, Louisville: If the Browns are picking first overall, it probably means that they need a quarterback. Lamar Jackson is as dynamic a quarterback as college has seen since Cam Newton. He is one of the best mobile threat quarterbacks in the last 15 years and he is a very gifted passer. He needs to improve accuracy, but he has incredibly good arm strength and better decision making than given credit for. He would be a star in the Hue Jackson offense.

  16. Carolina Panthers- Tavarus McFadden, Cornerback, FSU: Tavarus McFadden was one of the interception leaders in the country last year. He is a ballhawking cornerback with awesome length and the Panthers could covet given their patchwork secondary.

  17. Miami Dolphins- Iman Marshall, Cornerback, USC: The Dolphins could continue to upgrade their cornerbacks and may be intrigued by Inman Marshall. The Trojan has great length and ball skills with six interceptions in his first two seasons.

  18. Arizona Cardinals- Sam Darnold, Quarterback, USC: I don't love the anointing that Sam Darnold has gotten after only a few games, but there is no doubt that he is talented. The big, strong armed passer will need a lot mechanical work in the NFL if he decides to declare early, so he is best suited in a situation like Arizona where he will have the luxury of waiting.

  19. Minnesota Vikings- Orlando Brown, Tackle, Oklahoma: The Vikings need to improve their woeful offensive line. While they gave it some bandaids this offseason, there is a desperate need for a long term cornerstone. Orlando Brown has been outstanding at Oklahoma and has massive potential to be even better.

  20. Baltimore Ravens- Derrius Guice,Running Back, LSU: The Ravens need to take pressure off of Joe Flacco on offense and there is no better way to do that than by giving him a bell cow back to hand off to. Guice has everything you would want in a running back and the Ravens would be lucky to get him this late in the first round.
  21. Indianapolis Colts- Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College: The Colts did a good job in Chris Ballard's first offseason acquiring talent to improve a woeful defense. Harold Landry was one of college football's best pass rusher's last season and could ascend to be even better this year. The Colts would welcome that type of pass rush.

  22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Armani Watts, Safety, Texas A&M: The Buccaneers added Justin Evans to their young secondary in the 2017 draft and it only makes sense to reunite him with his teammate next year. Watts is a tackling machine who does a great job covering underneath and acting as another linebacker despite his size. That young pair of safeties will help Tampa's youth movement on defense.

  23. Buffalo Bills- Nick Chubb, Running Back, Georgia: With LeSean McCoy getting older and Mike Gillislee out of town, the Bills may need a new playmaker in their backfield. Nick Chubb flashed in his first season back from injury and the further he gets from it, the better he hopefully will be. At full health, Nick Chubb can be a special player.

  24. New York Giants- Malik Jefferson, Linebacker, Texas: The Giants have done a good job rebuilding their defense but still desperately need linebacker talent. Jefferson is a rangy player who can play the run and cover very well. If he continues to improve; it is hard to see him fall this far so the Giants should count their lucky stars if he does.

  25. Denver Broncos- Lowell Lotulelei, Defensive Tackle, Auburn: The Broncos need to rebuild their defensive trenches. Lowell Lotulelei is as tough a player as there is and is one of the best run defenders in the country.

  26. Atlanta Falcons- Derek Nnadi, Defensive Tackle, FSU: The Falcons signed Dontari Poe as a one year player for the middle of their defense. They could get younger and cheaper by pairing Derek Nnadi with Grady Jarrett to give the defense two stout interior players.

  27. Seattle Seahawks- James Washington, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma State: While there is a lot of potential among the Seattle Seahawks receiving corps, no one has really seized the number two role behind Doug Baldwin. James Washington has absolutely outstanding ball skills down the field and would give the Seahawks a deep threat to complement Russ Wilson's arm.

  28. Oakland Raiders- Josh Sweat, EDGE, FSU: The Raiders need pass rushers to complement Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin. Josh Sweat flashed big time potential this year and will step into a bigger role next season with Demarcus Walker out of town now.

  29. Pittsburgh Steelers- Da'Ron Payne, Defensive Lineman, Alabama: The Steelers may want to continue the youth movement in their front seven. Da'Ron Payne was a versatile and disruptive player for Alabama's front seven last year and will be depended on to be an even bigger piece this year.

  30. Green Bay Packers- Richie James, Wide Receiver, MTSU: Who? The small school, small bodied receiver might not have the name recognition, but with over 200 catches in his first two years, almost 3,500 yards of total offense and 25 touchdowns, Richie James is a name you need to know. The Packers will need to eventually find a production replacement for Jordy Nelson as he gets older and James has the game breaking ability that Green Bay loves from their receivers.

  31. Dallas Cowboys- Mike Gesicki, Tight End, Penn State: With Jason Witten getting older than the planet itself, the Cowboys may eventually be interested in adding a tight end to take over for him. Mike Gesicki is an athletic receiving threat and a very good blocker. He would be a nice piece to an already loaded offense.

  32. New England Patriots- Sam Hubbard, Edge, Ohio State: The Patriots really do not have too many holes, but adding an athletic pass rusher never hurt anybody. Hubbard has room to improve, but also has the upside to be a very solid defender in this league.

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