With the end of the College football season, college players and NFL scouts begin the long and arduous process leading up to the eventual 2018 NFL draft. To continue our draft process we have teamed up with factor football (https://www.factorfootball.com/) and their lead writer Kurt Carlson. In this article, we break down the potential top-10 picks in the draft and stay tuned for the rest of our mock and more draft coverage coming this month!
Pablo Rosero, SportsRoutes: Minkah Fitzpatrick DB, Alabama
After posting the second 0-16 season in NFL history there are a lot of areas where Cleveland must fix. Many analysts and fans would go QB, but Minkah Fitzpatrick could be the next Jalen Ramsey and would be an immediate star on a defense lacking defensive backs.
Kurt Carlson, Factor Football: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
I’m a much bigger fan of the Browns taking Josh Rosen or Mason Rudolph here, but with Rosen apparently privately discussing his desire to not play for an organization that just finished the season 0-16. The Browns need their QB, so they go with a consensus top three prospects at the position with Darnold.
PR: Saquon Barkley RB, Penn State
Injuries and poor play held the Giants back this season. After a playoff appearance and appears to have one of the best defenses in the league, the Giants fell off. Adding Barkley to a core that includes Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram would give the Giants one of the most dangerous offenses in the league, assuming Eli Manning and the Offensive line can hold up.
KC: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
It looks like the Eli Manning era may be over soon in New York. That being said, the Giants must snag their quarterback of the future in this year’s draft. With the #2 pick, they are in great position to get a franchise talent, and with Josh Rosen likely available, he should be their pick.
PR: Bradley Chubb 4-3 DE, 3-4 OLB, North Carolina State
Protecting Andrew Luck or Improving one of the worst defenses in the league? Lucky for the Colts this draft is filled with O-line talent so it’s hard to pass on one of the best defenders in the draft. Chubb has a unique ability to get to the QB and fit in all sorts of defensive packages. Whoever inherits the Colts would be smart to build up this defense with a special talent.
KC: Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB/S, Alabama
After spending a first-round pick on safety Malik Hooker in last year’s draft, the Colts continue to spend draft capital on their secondary in hopes of improving their defensive unit. As one of the worst in the league in every stat, the Colts need help all over the place, and taking a top prospect like Fitzpatrick is the perfect way to jumpstart that effort.
PR: Conner Williams OT, Texas
With their second pick in the Browns will look to improve an O-line that struggled last season. Williams is an All-American and could play opposite Future Hall of Famer Joe Thomas until the time comes where he can replace him.
KC: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
After getting their quarterback of the future in Sam Darnold, the Browns pair him with the best running back prospect I’ve ever watched with the 4th overall pick, in an effort to help take some of the pressure off of Darnold’s shoulders. Barkley would instantly add a huge spark to the Browns offense and make this team one of the most fun to watch in 2018.
PR: Josh Rosen QB, UCLA
Denver has an amazing defense, great wide receivers, and a solid running game. Many fans and analyst see some similarities between Rosen and a Young John Elway, so if Elway makes this pick then who better to help him through his trek in through the league? Rosen would help make this team better and could lead them for years to come.
KC: Connor Williams, OT, Texas
Connor Williams has the most potential of almost any offensive linemen in this draft class as he can play on the outside with a wide frame and long arms, and thus could be the perfect piece for the Denver Broncos offensive line, after the team took Garrett Bolles to block on the right side in the first round of last year’s draft. He would block the blind side quite well for whoever Elway signs in free agency as his quarterback or selects in the next few rounds of the draft.
PR: Sam Darnold QB, USC
The Jets did not disappoint as poorly as many thought they would. If Todd Bowles stays the defense will continue to prove worthy, and Darnold will lead an offense that was shockingly good with Josh McCown. A return of Quincy Enunwa and a clear and hopeful addition of more weapons could help Darnold his rookie season.
KC: Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
Mason Rudolph is one of my favorite quarterbacks in this class, and I may have him a bit high up here compared to many others. But Rudolph showcased the talent and ability to make all kinds of throws and had no trouble against pressure compared to most college quarterbacks. In the NFL I believe his success will continue, and with a team in dire need of a franchise quarterback, the Jets should definitely take a guy like Rudolph, even though Josh Allen or Lamar Jackson may be alternatives.
PR: Denzel Ward CB, Ohio State
Ohio State is known for dishing out major NFL prospects. Ward could be as good as Marshon Lattimore and in a division loaded with major wideouts Tampa could shore up a weak corner room.
KC: Bradley Chubb, EDGE, NC State
The Buccaneers have a talented offense, but their defense is sub-par. Adding a pass rushing threat to put on the defensive line with Noah Spence, Gerald McCoy, and Chris Baker is very intriguing. Bradley Chubb is the best pass rusher in this draft and if he’s available at #7, the Buccaneers shouldn’t hesitate on pulling the plug.
PR: Calvin Ridley WR, Alabama
Year two of the Trubisky project will hopefully include more passing. Ridley could possibly be the next Amari Cooper and could help be a big play threat for a Bears team that lacked big plays from the perimeter.
KC: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
Calvin Ridley is a big play threat who can be the go-to guy for Mitch Trubisky in his sophomore campaign. Ridley had lots of success over his career at Alabama and would bring the Saban mentality over to the Bears and hope to continue his success.
PR: Joshua Jackson CB, Iowa
Josh Jackson is the best corner in college football and he proved that in his 3 interception performance against Ohio State. The 49ers have a stud QB in Jimmy Garapollo, an amazing front 4, and talented safeties, the defense is missing top flight corners and Jackson would fill that hole.
KC: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
Quenton Nelson is the best offensive lineman in this class and comes with immediate talent that can be utilized his rookie season. He has an All-Pro ceiling and is one of the best offensive guard prospects in a while. His short arms and frame will keep him on the interior and keep him limited from playing on the outside tackle positions, but he will still give you high-quality play from the inside spots. After already trading for their franchise QB last year, Kyle Shanahan can build around Garropolo by taking a guy like Nelson to help come in and repair San Francisco’s atrocious offensive line unit.
PR: Roquan Smith LB, Georgia
Oakland fell off this season after a playoff appearance last season and could use more athletic pieces on defense. Hiring Jon Gruden is a start and he is known for fielding some of the most physical defenses in the league. Smith is as athletic as he is talented so it’ll make an Oakland team that was last in forced turnovers into more of a threat.
KC: Derwin James, S/CB, Florida State
New Head Coach Jon Gruden is famous for his invention of the Tampa 2 defense in which he installed during his Super Bowl run with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Derwin James is my third highest ranked prospect in this draft class and comes with a lot of talent. He can play all over the field, which is exactly what Gruden looks for in his safeties for his Tampa 2. Yes, this would be the third consecutive pick spent on a safety in the top two rounds in the last 3 drafts, (Karl Joseph, 1/14, 2016, Obi Melifonwu, 2/56, 2017) but James is perfect for the Raiders and could wind up being one of the best picks of the draft.