We are a week away from the real thing, so we thought that we needed a 2018 NFL Mock Draft with Fantasy implications!
I’ve been joined by a few other writers from different Fantasy websites as we try to predict how the draft might fall from each team’s point of view. We will then give our Fantasy analysis (where relevant).
This 2018 NFL Mock Draft is a slow draft, so we will be updating the picks on this page.
2018 NFL Mock Draft With Fantasy Implications
I’ve given my thoughts on each pick but have also added a link to each writer’s page so that you can see their thought process as well.
1.01 Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Tomlin’s Take: Well we know that Cleveland is taking a quarterback; it is just a matter of which one. It seems to be between Darnold and Wyoming’s Josh Allen. Old Cleveland would definitely take Allen: all upside, no substance. Darnold is more polished and ready for action.
Fantasy-wise, whichever quarterback the Browns take will not have any impact this year. Tyrod Taylor should start the majority, if not all of the season. In dynasty formats, the signal-caller that goes number one will be a sought after commodity. There are weapons galore in Cleveland now.
1.02 New York Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn St.
Tomlin’s Pick: So this was my first selection in the draft. Most draft analysts have another quarterback going here and I could definitely see the Giants trading down with a QB-needy team. I just feel like New York believes in Davis Webb more than people think. They did not want to throw him to the wolves last year at the end of the year and shake his confidence.
With Barkley, they get (what I think is) the best player in the draft: a running back that is stronger than Joe Thomas, faster than Devin Hester and can jump higher than Julio Jones (per NFL Combine results). He’s not just a workout phenom either. The kid had over 3,800 yards rushing and almost 1,200 yards receiving with 54 total touchdowns in three years of college. The franchise has seen how Ezekiel Elliott was able to change Dallas’ future, and now they can get a more explosive player with less off-the-field issues.
Barkley should be a Top-20 pick in all Fantasy formats next year, no matter where he ends up. With the Giants, he might sneak into the end of Round 1 in larger leagues.
1.03 New York Jets: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Tomlin’s Take: As much as I think Mayfield is a little punk, he will undoubtedly be drafted highly Thursday night. With that said, there cannot be a worse situation for him to go to than the Jets. They are light years from competing, have no solid top receiver or running back, and have offensive line issues. Mayfield would not be on my radar at all, even in dynasty formats, should he go to the Jets.
1.04 Cleveland Browns: Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State
Tomlin’s Take: Cleveland’s dream scenario is getting Barkley here, but I screwed that up by taking him with the Giants. I just feel like the fact that everyone thinks the Giants are going quarterback is a smokescreen so that Cleveland doesn’t take Barkley at the top spot.
Chubb would give Cleveland a bookend pass rusher with last year’s top pick Myles Garrett. Depending on how the rest of their draft shakes out, they would be on my radar as a great team defense streaming option with plenty of sacks to come.
1.05 Denver Broncos: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Tomlin’s Take: Case Keenum is the epitome of a stop-gap quarterback. I am going to delve into his season more at a later date, but a quick snippet is that he had a great 4-game stretch last year. Besides that, he was quite below-average.
The Broncos have struck out with multiple quarterbacks in the past few years (Brock Osweiler, Paxton Lynch, Trevor Siemian) but have yet to take a shot this high in the draft. However, John Elway recently said that the fifth pick is “for sale” so we will see how that shakes out.
John Elway announced the fifth overall pick is for sale.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 19, 2018
1.06 Indianapolis Colts: Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame
Tomlin’s Take: This feels a bit high for me, but it is a great fit. The Colts have to be all-in still on Andrew Luck and for that plan to have success they need to keep him on the field. Nelson has the look of his fellow Golden Domer Zack Martin as a future All-Pro interior lineman.
This would definitely boost Andrew Luck’s value to me, providing he can show that he can throw an actual football again. I also think that whomever starts at running back for Indy (I do not think this player is on the roster at the current moment) will get a slight boost as well.
1.07 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Derwin James, S, Florida St.
Tomlin’s Take: This fit makes almost too much since. As Gonos pointed out, it is a local kid filling a huge need for the team. There had been talk that the Cowboys might package a couple of picks to move up for James, but with the Dez Bryant release that seems to be put on the back-burner.
James is good enough that he will be an option on Day 1 in IDP leagues and could bring the Bucs back into the teens-range as far as Team Defense rankings go for Fantasy purposes.
1.08 Chicago Bears: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
Tomlin’s Pick: I was torn between Smith and Tremaine Edmunds on who the Bears will take, but I think they SHOULD take Smith in this scenario. I would argue that Smith is the third best overall player in the draft. He was the best defensive player on the field in the National Semifinal against Oklahoma and held his own against Alabama with 13 tackles, 2.5 TFL and a sack.
The Bears simply need as much talent as they can get on the defensive side of the ball. Smith can play inside or outside giving them flexibility on their roster path going forward. While he would help their defense immediately, I do not see the unit being Fantasy relevant in 2018, even as a streaming option.
1.09 San Francisco 49ers: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
Tomlin’s Take: Edmunds shot up draft boards this spring and looks like he could be the second-best pass rusher to Chubb. I went with Smith over him because of versatility as well as I think Edmunds has the most bust-potential of any likely high pick that is not a quarterback.
With that said, San Francisco should focus on their defense with this draft. Their offense looks safe with Jimmy G saving the day and a possible Dez Bryant addition. Edmunds helps, but they are still not on my radar in Fantasy Football.
1.10 Oakland Raiders: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio St.
Tomlin’s Take: The Raiders can get the best corner in the draft at the tenth pick which is not common. Ward has elite athleticism even though he is a bit on the small size. I’m sure Jon Gruden will hope that Smith slips to him, but you cannot be mad about getting the best corner this late in Round One.
The Raiders’ defense needs help on the back end after giving up the seventh most passing yards in the league last year. With Khalil Mack still providing elite pass rushing, Ward can help solidify the secondary putting the Raiders and their weak quarterback division squarely in the draft-able territory.
1.11 Miami Dolphins: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama
Tomlin’s Take: I think it would be tough for Miami to pass on Josh Allen if he was still available. I actually think they will trade up to assure themselves of one of the Top-4 signal callers. Ryan Tannehill has not shown that he can stay healthy.
Should they take Fitzpatrick, they get a plug and play starter for a defense that badly needs it. The Dolphins gave up the fourth-most points in the league last year. They would need a lot more than Fitzpatrick to become Fantasy relevant.
1.12 Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Tomlin’s Take: The Bills are the likeliest team to trade up for a quarterback. They let Tyrod Taylor walk, which I still think was a bad decision. Whatever the case may be, they need a future quarterback because A.J. McCarron is not the long-term solution.
With Allen, they get a prospect in every sense of the word. He has a huge arm and frame, but has had trouble with accuracy and beating inferior competition. The Carson Wentz comparisons should probably stop. Wentz dominated the lower level and had better accuracy and efficiency numbers his whole career.
I doubt Allen takes a single snap before December, if at all. He is only a factor in dynasty formats, and depending on where he ends up, there are probably four or five other quarterbacks I would feel better about taking than him.
1.13 Washington Redskins: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
Tomlin’s Pick: The Redskins gave up the most rushing yards in the league last year and need some interior defensive line help. Vea provides that with a massive body(6’4” 347 pounds) and the strength (41 reps at 225 on bench press) to be the two-gap nose tackle they need.
Between Vea and Jonathan Allen from last year’s draft, Washington would have a great start to an elite offensive line. With the elite offensive lines in their division, they would not be a draft-able group just yet for Fantasy purposes, but could creep into the streaming territory.
1.14 Green Bay Packers: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
Tomlin’s Take: Green Bay gave up the sixth-most Fantasy Points to opposing wide receivers last season so cornerback is a definite need. Kevin King looks like he could be a useful starter but they still need to fill the void of trading Damarious Randall.
I do have some concerns about Jackson. He does not possess elite or even above-average speed and he has just 14 starts at corner in his life after switching from wide receiver. His ball-hawking was dominant (nation-leading 8 interceptions last year) but he will have to prove he can hang with the speed of NFL receivers. He does not move the needle for the Green Bay defensive unit for Fantasy Football.
1.15 Arizona Cardinals: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Tomlin’s Take: The Cardinals are the latest team to fall into the trap of paying Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon money. Obviously neither one of those two is a long-term solution at quarterback. Jackson should need a year or two to learn before he is ready to take on the starting role.
As far as his physical talent, I think that is undeniable and people thinking he should play receiver need to get their eyes checked. While he may not be Tom Brady as far as his drop-back pocket presence, he is definitely more polished than Johnny Manziel. The way this draft has gone and with his dual-threat ability, he might be my top rookie quarterback in dynasty leagues.
1.16 Baltimore Ravens: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
Tomlin’s Take: As a Cowboys’ fan, I hope that Ridley is gone before Dallas’ pick. I am completely underwhelmed by the Bama wide-out. While his top-end speed is good, he is one of the least explosive receivers in the draft. He had the fifth lowest shuttle time of all wide receivers at the combine, the second worst vertical jump, and the worst broad jump.
He might fit better with Joe Flacco who can air it out better than Dak Prescott. The problem is they have already added Michael Crabtree and Jaron Brown. They are receiver-heavy at the moment. If Ridley was to end up in Baltimore, I’m not sure he would be worth drafting in redraft leagues.
1.17 Los Angeles Chargers: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
Tomlin’s Take: Payne is an absolute mammoth inside and is one of my favorite prospects in the whole draft. He is a great value in the second half of Round One. He will slide in next to Corey Liuget and eat up double teams so that Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram can get to the quarterback. I would move the Chargers up into the Top 5 for Fantasy defenses should they get Payne.
1.18 Seattle Seahawks: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
Tomlin’s Take: The Seahawks have struggled to fill the Fantasy role of Marshawn Lynch, but have gotten solid production from several guys. Whoever is starting and getting the majority of touches in the Seattle backfield is a Fantasy starter. The problem the past few years has been which back will get the workload that week.
They still have Chris Carson, C.J. Prosise, J.D. McKissic and Mike Davis on the roster, so I’m not sure they will go running back this early with so many holes elsewhere. If they do take the LSU Tiger Guice, he would definitely vault into the mid-rounds of Fantasy drafts. Should he win the job outright, he would become a Top-20 back.
1.19 Dallas Cowboys: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
Tomlin’s Pick: The Cowboys are probably hoping that Ridley, Vea, or Payne is still there at 19, but Evans might fill a bigger need. With both Anthony Hitchens and Kyle Wilber playing in the AFC West now, they literally have no strong-side linebackers on their roster. Seriously, look at their depth chart.
1.20 Detroit Lions: Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
Tomlin’s Take: The Lions had a sneaky good Fantasy defense season last year, finishing fifth at the position in most scoring formats. Taven Bryan is somewhat of a project pick with huge upside. With a decent defensive line already in place led by Ziggy Ansah, Detroit would not have to rely on Bryan to be a huge contributor immediately. However, he would be able to be part of the rotation and provide fresh legs.
1.21 Cincinnati Bengals: James Daniels, C, Iowa
Tomlin’s Take: The Bengals had one of the worst rushing offenses in the league last year (just 3.6 YPC) and need some help up front. James Daniels is a plug-and-play starter that should be manning the interior of their offensive line for a decade. Should they draft the Hawkeye and combined with the addition of Cordy Glenn, I would give both Bengals’ runners Gio Bernard and Joe Mixon bumps up in my rankings.
1.22 Buffalo Bills: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise St.
Tomlin’s Take: Vander Esch is an interesting prospect. I have seen him mocked to go as high as 19 to Dallas, and as low as out of Round Two. Toddy McShay has him ranked as the 45th best prospect in the draft. Buffalo is in need of another starting linebacker. Their defensive line and secondary are both strong, but there is a lack of a solid prospect in the middle.
Their Fantasy Team Defense season was just about average last year and even with the addition of Vander Esch I would keep it in that category. They are a great streaming option some weeks, but they are not good enough to start every week.
1.23 New England Patriots: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
Tomlin’s Take: With the departure of Nate Solder, the Patriots are in need of offensive line help. They could use both an interior presence as well as another tackle. However, this is the weakest offensive tackle class in recent memory.
In this scenario, they would get the best tackle on the board in McGlinchey. For Fantasy purposes, this does not change my thoughts much on any of the Patriots’ starters. I am more worried about the friction between their two stars (Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski) and the organization.
1.24 Carolina Panthers: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
Tomlin’s Take: After failing to sign Bashaud Breeland, the Panthers are in need of a corner. I would guess they go wide receiver here, but corner is still in the mix. I’m not sure that Oliver is the choice, as he is the 57th-best player ranked by ESPN in this draft.
Should they take him, he would most likely start in the nickel role and not move the needle for their Fantasy relevance.
1.25 Tennessee Titans: Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP
Tomlin’s Take: While the Titans do need massive help on the defensive side of the ball, this selection would give them an absolutely elite offensive line. Hernandez is a great guard prospect that would start from Day 1. Combined with their solid tackles and addition of Ben Jones, this would give Tennessee a road-grading line that is exactly what they are looking for in their run-heavy offense.
If Hernandez ends up in Nashville, I would bump both Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis up a notch.
1.26 Atlanta Falcons: Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia
Tomlin’s Take: While the Falcons don’t exactly have a glaring need at guard, this selection would solidify their offensive line. Wynn is similar to Hernandez in that he will walk on the field and be a starter for Atlanta. The analysis is similar as well: both Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman would get bumps.
1.27 New Orleans Saints: Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota St.
Tomlin’s Pick: Drew Brees has always been at his best with an elite, pass-catching tight end at his disposal. Alvin Kamara filled that role somewhat last year out of the backfield, but imagine how deadly the Saints’ offense will be with Kamara and Goedert to create mismatches.
1.28 Pittsburgh Steelers: Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma St.
Tomlin’s Take: Reimer said he wanted to shake things up and this sure would be a surprise! Every draft analyst keeps talking about the Top 5 quarterbacks, where they will go, and how it will all be in Round 1. Rudolph kind of slips through the cracks. However, I think there will be a team that likes him as much, if not more than, the other prospects.
So whether it is the Steelers or not, I would bet he goes in this late-first/early-second range. If he ended up on the Steelers, I would love his dynasty potential to build with Antonio Brown/LeVeon Bell once Big Ben retires in the next couple of years.
1.29 Jacksonville Jaguars: D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
Tomlin’s Take: There was a lot of turnover in the wide receivers’ room in Jacksonville this off-season. Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns are both gone, but they did sign Donte Moncrief. Marqise Lee is still there, but the Jaguars could use a more dependable slot option.
The consensus is that Moore will come off the board first, but I think Anthony Miller from Memphis is the far superior player (hopefully the Cowboys get him in Round 2). Should Moore end up in Jacksonville, I would actually lower all of the Jags’ wide-outs. There would be a ton of mouths to feed and I’m not sure that Blake Bortles is the type of quarterback to handle that kind of situation.
1.30 Minnesota Vikings: Billy Price, C, Ohio St.
Tomlin’s Take: Outside of the Eagles, the Vikings probably have the fewest holes on their roster currently. The biggest need is beefing up the interior offensive line and Price accomplishes that beautifully. The Rimington Trophy winner of 2017 as the best center in the country has experience at all three interior offensive line positions. He would start somewhere, it would be just a matter of which other two interior players step up.
The Vikings’ offense is already about as peaked as I would put them in my rankings. With Kirk Cousins at the helm, it should be one of the best units in the league and Price only solidifies that.
1.31 New England Patriots: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
Tomlin’s Take: James Harrison ended up playing the most snaps in the Super Bowl for New England. That alone should be the problem, beside the fact that they literally did not stop the Eagles once in that game. They need young pass rushers and Marcus Davenport is a good start.
The former Roadrunner showed some dominance over the lower levels of FBS. There were some questions about his motor, but put him in that vaunted Patriots’ system and he should straighten out. The Patriots’ defense would remain on the streaming level, but Davenport would be solid dynasty selection in IDP leagues if he ends up in the northeast.
1.32 Philadelphia Eagles: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
Tomlin’s Pick: The Super Bowl Champs do not have many holes to fill so they can basically pick the best player available. In this mock draft scenario, that player turns out to be Jaire Alexander from Louisville. He is the 15th-best prospect according to draft guru Todd McShay and Philly gets him with the 32nd pick.
Alexander was hurt for most of 2017 otherwise he would be in consideration for a Top-10 pick. He has elite athleticism and a nose for the ball (five picks and nine other pass breakups in 2016). He will add nickel depth to an already top-shelf defense that will further solidify them as a top Fantasy unit in 2018.
Be sure to keep checking back as we update the 2018 NFL Mock Draft with Fantasy implications!
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