Published On: Tue, Mar 6th, 2018

2018 NFL Mock Draft: Barkley's crazy combine workout pays off big-time

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Every month of the 2017 season, theScore’s Dane Belbeck and Mitch Sanderson project the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. With the NFL Scouting Combine in the books, their latest prediction is up to date with the current info on this year’s prospects.

1. Cleveland Browns – Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

There are very few people who would take a running back first overall in today’s NFL, but the Browns have demonstrated in the past that they are not your average front office. Taking the Penn State star will actually be a wise move, though, and he immediately gives the offense a terrifying weapon. Barkley‘s combine performance blew everyone away and moved him into the top slot. – Belbeck

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

The last time the Giants had a top-five draft pick they made sure to secure a franchise quarterback and that turned out pretty well. With hope that they won’t be back in this position anytime soon, New York grabs the face of the future in Rosen. – Sanderson

3. Indianapolis Colts – Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State


Chubb showed he’s an absolute freak with crazy testing numbers across the board at the combine. His pass-rushing ability fills a huge need for the Colts, as the club ranked second-last in the league with just 25 sacks last season. – Belbeck

4. Cleveland Browns (via Texans) – Sam Darnold, QB, USC

After risking missing on a quarterback by taking Barkley first overall, the Browns’ math works out and they still get one of the top passers available in Darnold – hopefully the last in a long line of rookie starters in Cleveland. – Sanderson

5. Denver Broncos – Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

Allen wowed everyone at the combine with his impressive arm strength and improved his draft stock drastically in the process. His physical tools are evident, and that will force the Broncos to make the leap and bring him aboard. It’s a risky pick, but John Elway is as safe in his job as anybody in the league and he will bet on the upside here. – Belbeck

6. New York Jets – Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma


The Jets answer the Giants’ pick with a star of their own, making Mayfield their highest-drafted quarterback since Mark Sanchez. After the Jets battled to a 6-11 record with extremely low expectation in 2017, the chip on their shoulders match up well with Mayfield. – Sanderson

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama

Alabama‘s brilliant defensive back showed he’s the real deal with an impressive combine performance. The Buccaneers certainly have the offensive unit to challenge in the NFC South and adding Fitzpatrick gives the defense a dangerous playmaker on the back end. – Belbeck

8. Chicago Bears – Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame

Bears general manager Ryan Pace is fan of building his team through drafting and development, regardless of position. As the top offensive line prospect available, the Bears go with the best player available in Nelson. – Sanderson

9. San Francisco 49ers – Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia


Smith‘s tape from his final season at Georgia is a masterclass in linebacker play, and the 49ers won’t hesitate to make him a top-10 pick. Smith is a tackling machine and will likely be a Day 1 starter for the rising NFC West club. – Belbeck

10. Oakland Raiders – Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

Payne’s phenomenal combine sees him become the top interior defensive line prospect. The Raiders have a lot of holes to fill on defense, but up front is priority No. 1. – Sanderson

11. Miami Dolphins – Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

Sutton didn’t come to the combine as the top receiving prospect but he impressed the scouts with incredible quickness at such a large frame. The Dolphins have numerous needs across the board, but with the potential Jarvis Landry trade, Sutton will instantly help the passing game. – Belbeck

12. Cincinnati Bengals – Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA


Davenport‘s supreme athleticism was on full display at the combine as he tore up the speed drills. The Bengals may have some positions in more urgent need of improvement, but will take potentially the best available player to pair with Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins. – Sanderson

13. Washington Redskins – Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

After throwing down a blazing time of 4.54 in the 40-yard dash, Edmunds is garnering as much buzz as anybody in the draft. The Virginia Tech standout will be an impact contributor from the opening whistle and will give the Redskins a formidable defensive weapon. – Belbeck

14. Green Bay Packers – Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

The Packers‘ secondary has yet to recover from losing Casey Hayward in 2016 and may be losing another starter in safety Morgan Burnett this year. They need to add a corner here and Ward might be the best of the draft. – Sanderson

15. Arizona Cardinals – Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama


Larry Fitzgerald is back in the fold for another season but the Cardinals know it’s likely his last before retirement. That gives Ridley the opportunity to learn from one of the best to ever do it, and step into the No. 1 receiver role when Fitzgerald does eventually pack it in. – Belbeck

16. Baltimore Ravens – Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

McGlinchey saw his stock rise mightily at the combine due to his ultra-professional interview style, convincing teams and media of his maturity. He’s a safe pick for the Ravens, who would get to pair him with former college teammate Ronnie Stanley. – Sanderson

17. Los Angeles Chargers – Derwin James, S, Florida State

College football fans knew James was among the best athletes in the sport for a few years now, but the Florida State safety announced himself on the NFL stage with an insane performance at the combine. The Chargers have one of the more dominant pass-rushes in the league, and adding a playmaker like James in the back end will terrify opposition for years to come. – Belbeck

18. Seattle Seahawks – Connor Williams, OT, Texas


This is the year. The Seahawks are finally going to do it. They’re going to address their most glaring weakness over the past five years and draft a top-rated offensive lineman in Williams. – Sanderson

19. Dallas Cowboys – Vita Vea, DT, Washington

The mammoth Washington star impressed people at the combine with his quickness at 347 pounds, and pushing up 41 reps in the bench press. Vea‘s combination of size and quickness is as rare as the draft has seen in recent years and he will be an immediate impact player for the Cowboys. – Belbeck

20. Detroit Lions – Billy Price, C, Ohio State

With a GM and head coach developed in the Patriots organization, the Lions‘ front office knows how important a good offensive line is to a consistent attack. Price suffered an injury at the combine, but it’s considered minor and he’s expected to be ready for training camp. – Sanderson

21. Buffalo Bills – James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State


The best deep threat in the draft heads to Buffalo to inject life in to the Bills‘ anemic passing game. Washington was virtually unguardable in college and will immediately open up the field for Buffalo to move the ball. Whichever quarterback ultimately is chosen to start will be very pleased with this pick. – Belbeck

22. Buffalo Bills (via Chiefs) – Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

For whatever reason, the Bills don’t seem too enamored by Tyrod Taylor as the future of the franchise, but they’re lucky enough to still have a top-five quarterback available at 22. Having hired Brian Daboll out of the college ranks to be the new OC, Jackson could fit nicely in Buffalo. – Sanderson

23. Los Angeles Rams – Harold Landry, DE, Boston College

Landry improved his draft stock as much as anybody at the combine as the Boston College star crushed both the 20-yard and 60-yard shuttle drills, as well as the three-cone drill. With the Rams having traded Robert Quinn to the Dolphins, Landry is a natural fit for Wade Phillips’ defense. – Belbeck

24. Carolina Panthers – Mike Hughes, CB, Central Florida


Since getting rid of Josh Norman, the Panthers have been missing a shutdown corner to help compete against the likes of Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, and Mike Evans. If they want to vie for another division title, they need a coverman like Hughes. – Sanderson

25. Tennessee Titans – Taven Bryan, DT, Florida

Bryan is a versatile option on the defensive line and can move around depending on the formation. His mix of speed, bulk, and athleticism should be a huge bonus to new coach Mike Vrabel’s defense as he hopes to keep the Titans near the top of the AFC South. – Belbeck

26. Atlanta Falcons – Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa

The Falcons don’t have any major positional needs so going with the best player available at a position that can never be too deep seems the way to go. Jackson could end up being the best corner out there, but his sloppy combine may drop his stock enough for the Falcons to scoop him up. – Sanderson

27. New Orleans Saints – Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama


Evans showed last season with Alabama that he can go sideline to sideline as well as anybody in the draft. He will likely be a contributor from Day 1 on an improved Saints defense that could use another weapon in the loaded NFC South. – Belbeck

28. Pittsburgh Steelers – Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado

The Steelers cornerbacks haven’t necessarily been the defense’s Achilles heel, but it certainly isn’t getting younger. At 6-foot-1 with ideal speed, Oliver brings more athleticism to pair with Artie Burns. – Sanderson

29. Jacksonville Jaguars – Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State

After signing Blake Bortles to an extension, the Jaguars add another weapon to the passing game by taking the Penn State star. Gesicki comes from a volleyball background and showed off his incredible athleticism at the combine, posting dominating numbers across the board. At 6-foot-5 with a 41.5-inch vertical, he’s going to be a handful for defenses going forward. – Belbeck

30. Minnesota Vikings – Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama


It is tough to say the Vikings need any help on defense, but if we want to nitpick, their strong safety spot could be better than Andrew Sendejo. Also, it would be really fun to have a safety duo both named Harrison. – Sanderson

31. New England Patriots – Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M

While many outlets have Kirk going in the second round, Bill Belichick will love the versatility of the Texas A&M star and grab him at No. 31. Kirk is a very dangerous option in the slot and will provide the Patriots with some needed receiver depth. He’s also a terror in the return game. – Belbeck

32. Philadelphia Eagles – Donte Jackson, CB, LSU

Without much cap room or picks in the second and third rounds, the Eagles are very likely to trade back for a collection of selections; however, Jackson’s blistering speed would be a welcome addition to the youthful secondary. – Sanderson

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)



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