Todd McShay has Ferrell #7, Wilkins #16 in first mock draft

CUTrevor 2017-12-13 14:29:49

From ESPN's Todd McShay:

Yes, it's that time again already.

Below is my first 2018 NFL mock draft, which projects all 32 first-round picks. Obviously, a ton will change between now and April 26, including the final draft order, team needs, free agency and grades on many of our top prospects as they go through the postseason process. Some of the players included here are underclassmen who haven't yet decided whether they'll enter the 2018 draft, and some teams will inevitably undergo regime changes in the coming weeks.

Two important notes:

1. We used ESPN's Football Power Index to project what the order will be at the end of the season, with the two traded first-round picks accounted for. You can read more about how FPI projects the order here.

2. All juniors or redshirt sophomores are noted with an asterisk.

1. Cleveland Browns
Sam Darnold, QB, USC*

The Browns have a really good chance to have two picks in the top 10 of this draft. With the No. 1 pick, they must address their QB situation. I believe Rosen is the more polished quarterback right now, but Darnold has the higher ceiling at the next level. We've spent a lot of time focusing on Darnold's questionable decision-making and poor footwork (as well as his being turnover prone), but that was behind a porous offensive line and with a pass-catching corps with a lot of youth. Darnold played very well down the stretch, with nine TDs and only two INTs in his final five games. It isn't easy to turn down guaranteed money and the potential of being the No. 1 pick, but most talent evaluators think he'd benefit long-term from another year at USC. Darnold will have to make a difficult decision after the Cotton Bowl.

2. New York Giants
Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA*

This is another team with a lot of holes, but none is more glaring than at QB. Eli Manning will be 37 at the start of the next season, and the Giants' offense hasn't scored 30 points in a game since the 2015 season (30 straight games). Davis Webb hasn't been able to get on the field, and Geno Smith isn't the long-term answer at the position. Rosen outplayed Darnold in their recent matchup, and I came away impressed from watching him from the sideline. Rosen is the most NFL-ready QB in this class. The biggest challenge for him will be selling teams on his love/need for the game and his "coachability."

3. Indianapolis Colts
Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State

This team has needs all over, but it is one of the few in the top 10 that should be set at QB, with a (presumably) healthy Andrew Luck coming back next season. Without an offensive tackle worthy of such a high pick, I'm looking for edge help here. Chubb has a great skill set and a nonstop motor, and he has played his way into being a top-10 pick. He is a plug-and-play starter.

4. San Francisco 49ers
Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama*

Saquon Barkley could make sense here, but the 49ers have Matt Breida and could re-sign pending free agent Carlos Hyde. Just like his dad did throughout his career, Shanahan has always believed in his ability to identify RB talent that fits his system in later rounds; I'm guessing he and John Lynch will employ a similar strategy. The 49ers have invested heavily on the defensive line in recent drafts, but they need an infusion of talent in the secondary. Fitzpatrick is a true shutdown cornerback who has the versatility to play safety as well.

5. Denver Broncos
Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming*

Even after taking Paxton Lynch No. 26 overall in 2016, the Broncos are clearly still in need of a franchise QB. Lynch has thrown only 97 passes in two seasons, and he was beaten by Trevor Siemian for the starting QB spot this season. If Denver doesn't address the position in free agency, Allen should be the pick. There's no question that he struggled this season at Wyoming and needs to improve his decision-making, but he lost four of his skill position players from 2016 to the NFL. Allen has an elite arm and is a physical freak in terms of his skill set. His stock should rise in the postseason process.

6. Cleveland Browns (from Texans)
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State*

The Browns have plenty of needs but can afford a luxury pick after taking their QB at No. 1. While Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson are a nice pairing, Barkley is a far superior player to both. My No. 2 overall prospect, Barkley is clearly the best running back in college football. He's also the best running back to come out of college since Adrian Peterson, and he would do well behind Cleveland's strong offensive line.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson*

There is still some hope for an edge rush in Tampa Bay with Noah Spence (on injured reserve), but the Bucs are dead last in the NFL with 17.0 sacks this season, and the defense has been porous (31st in total points). Ferrell is a hard worker, and the light has come on recently. He has been steadily rising up my board after a terrific performance against Syracuse (3.5 sacks, 5.5 TFL) and is explosive off the edge. A third-year sophomore, he could also return to Clemson.

8. Chicago Bears
Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

Mitchell Trubisky has had an inconsistent rookie campaign, but the Bears have been plagued by injuries at the wide receiver position in recent years. Ridley is the clear top wideout in this class, with outstanding foot speed and good acceleration. He has averaged 16.2 yards per catch this season, but his stats in Alabama's run-heavy offense don't reflect his true talent.

9. New York Jets
Arden Key, DE, LSU*

The Jets are another QB-needy team, but in this mock, the top three QBs are all already off the board. This is a spot where Baker Mayfield could be considered (or Allen if he's still available). The pass rush needs help, though, and Key is the most talented natural edge rusher in the draft. He left LSU this summer for personal reasons and has been banged up this season (only 4.0 sacks), so his draft stock could slip a bit, but the talent is there.

10. Cincinnati Bengals
Connor Williams, OT, Texas*

The Bengals have had a disappointing season, and the offensive line is a big reason for that. Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher (out for the season with an irregular heartbeat) haven't played up to their draft potential, and Cincinnati is in the bottom third in sacks allowed (33) after giving up 41 last season. Guard Quenton Nelson could help here, but Williams is the best offensive lineman and is a better value proposition at No. 10.

11. Arizona Cardinals
Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

This is another potential landing spot for Baker Mayfield, as Carson Palmer's status for the 2018 season is unknown. But if it's not QB (or CB), offensive line makes sense for a Cardinals team that has allowed the second-most sacks (44) in the NFL this season and needs upgrades at several spots. McGlinchey doesn't have elite tools, but he has good experience and is a well-rounded player. He is a high-floor pick.

12. Oakland Raiders
Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State*

The Oakland passing defense has been a sieve this season, allowing 7.7 yards per attempt (27th), and 2017 first-round pick Gareon Conley is still an unknown after playing only two games this season. Ward lacks ideal starting experience but has been exceptional this season at Ohio State. He's the best pure man-to-man cover corner in this class.

13. Washington Redskins
Derwin James, S, Florida State*

This is one of the tougher picks to predict, as the direction will be dictated by what happens with Kirk Cousins. If he's back, the best player on the board is James, who is an extremely versatile safety and will likely test well at the combine. In a division with Alshon Jeffery, Odell Beckham Jr. and Dez Bryant at wide receiver, you can't have enough secondary help.

14. Miami Dolphins
Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame*

Guard is a glaring need for the Dolphins, who need to protect whomever is at QB and get more push in the running game. Nelson is the most NFL-ready offensive lineman in this class and a road-grader (listed at 6-foot-5, 235 pounds). He's ready to start right away.

15. Buffalo Bills
Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia*

Another team with potential QB issues, we'll know more about the Bills' commitment to Tyrod Taylor (and Nathan Peterman) after this season and free agency. Linebacker is another clear area of need, though, and Smith is the most athletic off-the-line linebacker in this class. A true sideline-to-sideline player, he can do it all and is a perfect fit for the modern NFL.

16. Dallas Cowboys
Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson*

The Cowboys have generated good pressure up front, thanks to DeMarcus Lawrence's 13.5 sacks, but he'll be a free agent. Last year's first-round pick, Taco Charlton, should help as well, but the Cowboys need to bolster the interior of that defensive line. Wilkins has experience both inside and outside on an outstanding Clemson D-line, but I believe his best fit is inside as a 3-technique. He has the foot speed and quick hands to slip blocks and is a stout run-defender.

17. Green Bay Packers
Harold Landry, OLB, Boston College

Depending on what happens with pending free agent Davante Adams, wide receiver could be a need here. I'm going defense for Green Bay, though. Landry was my No. 4 prospect going into the season, but he might fall in the draft a bit due to an injury-riddled senior season. He is a naturally gifted edge rusher who led the nation in 2016 with 16.5 sacks.

18. Detroit Lions
Tremaine Edmunds, DE/OLB, Virginia Tech*

Detroit has plenty of needs on defense but must be encouraged by the play of 2017 first-round LB Jarrad Davis. Regardless of whether the Lions re-sign pending free agent Ezekiel Ansah, Detroit needs more edge rushers. Edmunds has the versatility to cover and rush the passer, and he is a gifted athlete at 6-foot-5, 250 pounds. He'll likely test well at the combine.

19. Los Angeles Chargers
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

Orlando Brown is an option at offensive tackle here, but this is a good time for the Chargers to take a successor to 36-year-old Philip Rivers. Los Angeles passed on Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson last draft, but Mayfield is too intriguing to pass on here. Perhaps no prospect has improved his stock more in 2017 than Mayfield, who was my ninth-ranked QB coming into the season, with a midround grade. The Heisman winner is an exceptional leader and could play himself into the first round with a good showing in the College Football Playoff.

20. Tennessee Titans
Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa*

The Titans have spent a lot of recent draft capital on the offensive side of the ball, so I'm looking defense here. They need an edge rusher, but there isn't one to match the spot, so I'll look to the secondary. Adoree' Jackson has looked the part, but Tennessee needs more help on the outside. Josh Jackson is a long CB with natural cover ability and tremendous ball skills. He flashed with three INTs against Ohio State.

21. Buffalo Bills (from Chiefs)
Vita Vea, DT, Washington*

After trading Marcell Dareus to Jacksonville midseason, Buffalo's run defense has suffered. Listed at 6-foot-4, 346 pounds, Vea is a former high school running back and an absolute block-eater in the middle of Washington's defense. However, he also has the quickness and athleticism to get into the backfield. He could continue to rise with an impressive combine performance.

22. Baltimore Ravens
Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M*

Former first-round pick Breshad Perriman hasn't been able to stay on the field, and this offense really lacks playmakers. Kirk has been inconsistent, but he has the speed to take the top off a defense. He is also a great punt returner.

23. Atlanta Falcons
Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama

Help on the defensive line is an option with Dontari Poe and Courtney Upshaw both free agents and Derrick Nnadi and Mo Hurst still available. However, in today's NFL, you can't have enough playmakers in the secondary. Harrison is an underrated prospect and has star potential in the NFL at the free safety position. He has been all over the field for a very good Alabama defense.

24. Seattle Seahawks
Derrius Guice, RB, LSU*

Seattle has seemingly had a revolving door at RB and needs some stability at the position to take pressure off Russell Wilson. Guice definitely isn't Leonard Fournette, but he has great quickness and the ability to break tackles. He dealt with some nagging injuries but has been a workhorse for LSU down the stretch, averaging 22 carries and 132 yards per game in his past six. Offensive line is also an option here for the Seahawks.

25. Carolina Panthers
Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma*

Carolina is another team that is looking for an edge rusher, but it might struggle with value here. Brown is the son of the late Orlando "Zeus" Brown, and he played left tackle at Oklahoma, but I think he might be better suited at RT in the NFL. He has tremendous talent but will benefit from shedding some weight and improving his foot quickness. He would give Carolina some insurance for Matt Kalil.

26. Los Angeles Rams
Billy Price, G/C, Ohio State

A plug-and-play starter, Price will help an improved Rams offense line on the inside. A four-year starter, Price is playing center for the Buckeyes this season, but I see him at guard for Los Angeles. He should be a steady starter.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars
Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU*

The Jaguars need help at tight end and potentially quarterback, but there aren't any worthy of being drafted here, in my opinion. Sutton would offer another pass-catching weapon for Blake Bortles (or a new QB) to go with that ferocious defense.

28. New Orleans Saints
Mo Hurst, DT, Michigan

New Orleans could use more depth and versatility on an improving defensive line, and Hurst would be a good value at this point in the draft. The Saints could also go for Mayfield here if he's still available.

29. Minnesota Vikings
Martinas Rankin, OT, Mississippi State

The depth of this roster is showing this season, as Case Keenum has stepped in at QB, and the Vikings haven't missed a beat. There aren't many glaring holes on this team, but Minnesota could still use reinforcements on the offensive line. A former JUCO transfer, Rankin performed well against good SEC competition.

30. New England Patriots
Ben Banogu, DE/OLB, TCU

Bill Belichick loves to collect versatile edge defenders, and Banogu fits the bill. A former transfer from Louisiana Monroe, he didn't get much national attention this season but was always around the ball on the tapes I studied and was highly productive (15.5 TFL, 8.5 sacks).

31. Pittsburgh Steelers
Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State*

This is a bit of a reach for the top tight end in this class -- I have a mid- to late-second-round grade on him -- but Goedert is an underrated talent who has dominated his small-school competition. He has the athletic ability to give linebackers issues, and his size (6-foot-4, 258 pounds) is trouble for CBs. The postseason process will be big for him to prove he belongs.

32. Philadelphia Eagles
Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

The Eagles have one of the most complete rosters in the NFL, though offensive tackle could be an issue if 35-year-old Jason Peters isn't the same coming back from his knee injury. Another versatile linebacker such as Evans, who has had a strong senior campaign, is a good pick to help bolster an elite defense.

CUTrevor 2017-12-13 14:39:02

This would be the 3rd year in the last 4 the Tigers have had two 1st round draft picks and the 6th straight year they have had at least one 1st round pick. It would also give the Tigers 32 first round picks all-time, passing Auburn and tying UGA for #18 all-time.