The 2018 NFL Combine is from Tuesday, February 27 through Monday March 5. Every year, the NFL Combine is when the very best separate themselves from other players at their position. This year, the Combine should attract the most-hyped prospects on the board.
I always like to put together a Pre-NFL Combine Top 10. Like almost everyone who pays attention to the NFL off-season, my mock draft has 3 quarterbacks going in the Top 10 picks. I'm not even attempting to decipher what trades might go down. Instead, I'm assuming that everyone sticks to their positions in the Top 10.
With so much talent at the most important position on the field, it makes no sense for anyone to trade down, right? Check out my 2018 NFL Pre-Combine Mock Draft Top 10.
2018 NFL Pre-Combine Mock Draft Top 10
1. Cleveland Browns – QB Josh Rosen, UCLA
Most agree that Josh Rosen, a junior from UCLA, is the most pro-ready QB in the NFL Draft. Many have Josh Allen, Wyoming's quarterback, going to the Browns with the first pick. Some have Sam Darnold, USC's QB, heading to Cleveland. I believe the Browns pick Rosen. Yes, Rosen has stated that he doesn't want to play for Cleveland. Who cares? Draft him, show him the money, then have him decide he doesn't want to play for the Browns.
Also, if you're Cleveland, you must grab the best player at the most important position on the field. I think that's Josh Rosen. The Browns can always trade his rights to whomever picks up Allen later on in the draft. Or, if the kid decides he really doesn't want to play for Cleveland, let him sit out a season. See how that works for him.
2. New York Giants – QB Sam Darnold, USC
Darnold's got some nice intangibles. I'm not saying the Giants give up on Eli Manning. I believe they stick with Eli for a couple of more seasons. I do feel that it would be foolish to pass on one of the better quarterback prospects at #2 just because you have faith that Eli turns it around next season.
Darnold is 6′ 4″, 225 lbs. He can make most NFL throws. He's also got some legs. I think he could be a very good quarterback in the NFL. I do feel he needs more seasoning. He threw 13 interceptions last season while playing for the Trojans. That means he's not ready to start Day 1. Good thing if the Giants do draft him. They won't need Darnold to start Day 1.
3. Indianapolis Colts – RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State
If the Colts ever want QB Andrew Luck to get his career back on track, they must support the talented quarterback with a solid rushing attack. Saquon Barkley has the tools to be an every down back in the NFL. He's part Leonard Fournette, part Dalvin Cook. He can run over or run away from defenders. If Barkley's available at 3, the Colts had better grab him. Frank Gore is amazing because he's still effective. Marlon Mack has some talent. But, Saquon Barkley could be one of the best running backs in the NFL after Week 2. He's got that much talent.
4. Cleveland Browns – DE Bradley Chubb, North Carolina State
This year's can't miss player is North Carolina State DE Bradley Chubb. The Browns figure to keep the fourth pick in the draft. If they trade the first pick in the draft, they'll take one of the remaining Round 1 projected quarterbacks, either Baker Mayfield, or Josh Allen. If they draft Darnold or Rosen 1, there's a chance Chubb falls to the 4th pick.
Pairing Chubb on the other side of last season's can't miss pick, Myles Garrett, could make Cleveland's defense one of the best in the NFL. The Browns D should definitely rival the top defensive units in the AFC.
5. Denver Broncos – QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
I believe Mayfield's the best quarterback in this year's NFL Draft. He doesn't have the measurements that both Darnold and Josh Rosen have. Those guys are both 6′ 4″. Mayfield is only 6′ 1″. He also only weighs 218 pounds. That's okay, though. Mayfield completed 70.5% of his passes last season on his way to the Heisman Trophy. He's got some wheels. But, he'd much prefer to throw the football either on the run or from the pocket.
Denver needs a quarterback. They can't continue to waste a Top 3 NFL defense by playing Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler, or Paxton Lynch. Mayfield could start from the first day of practice. He's the sort of QB a guy like John Elway will love.
6. New York Jets – ILB Roquan Smith, Georgia
The Jets have a couple of decent starting inside linebackers in Demario Davis and Darron Lee. Davis recorded 97 total tackles last season. Lee recorded 67 total tackles. It's always a good idea to have as many ILBs that you can in a division where your opponents, the Patriots, Dolphins, and Bills, throw to their running backs, tight-ends, and slot receivers.
Smith can not only stuff the run and rush the quarterback, he's fast enough to cover a tight-end like Gronk. What could coach Todd Bowles do with Smith covering players like Gronkowski? He could free up strong-safety Jamal Adams, who's already one of the very best players at his position in the NFL.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers ranked 32nd in passing yards allowed last season. Opponents averaged 260.6 passing yards per game. Granted, the Bucs battled Drew Brees, Cam Newton, and Matt Ryan twice each, but, still, being ranked last in passing yards allowed is bad.
The Buccaneers' defensive line isn't terrible. A player like Fitzpatrick, who can play either safety position, or cornerback, could go a long way to help the Buc's pass defense ranking. Fitzpatrick could double as a dangerous punt returner.
8. Chicago Bears – SS Derwin James, Florida State
The Bears could take a huge leap forward this season. One of the reasons why I write that is because Chicago's offense appears set with Mitch Trubisky at QB, a couple of stud wide receivers, a decent offensive line, and Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen at running back.
Chicago's defense, amazingly, ranked 10th in the NFL last season. The Bears allowed opponents to throw for 211 yards per. That means the secondary is tight. One thing that Chicago could work on is getting their defensive backs to play better against the run. James will help Chicago do that. He's 6′ 3″. He weighs 211 pounds.
9. San Francisco 49'ers – LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
San Francisco must draft LB Tremaine Edmunds out of need. It's impossible for the Niners to count on last year's Round 1 pick, LB Rueben Foster. Foster was arrested a couple of weeks ago on suspicion of domestic violence. He also had a couple of AR-15s in his possession.
I'm not sure the 49'ers want to continue messing with Foster. I wouldn't. Edmunds is the top linebacker prospect in the 2018 NFL Draft.
10. Oakland Raiders – OT Orlando Brown, Oklahoma
The Raiders signed left-guard Keleche Osemele before last season. That allows the Raiders to bypass excellent Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson and instead draft offensive tackle Orlando Brown. Brown is a giant. He's 6′ 8″ and 360 pounds. He should have no trouble protecting Derek Carr whether they put him on the right side, or left side. He should also open up some massive holes for Beast Mode if he stays with the Raiders for another season.
Enjoy the 2018 NFL Combine!