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2018 NFL Nation Mock Draft: Darnold to Browns; Allen falls

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NFL Nation Mock Draft: Sam Darnold goes No. 1 overall (1:34)

In the NFL Nation mock draft the Browns pick USC quarterback Sam Darnold with hopes to solve their quarterback issues. (1:34)

You've read the latest 2018 NFL mock drafts from draft gurus Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay. Now it's time for our NFL Nation reporters to share their expertise.

They played general manager for the teams they cover and executed a first-round mock, which aired live on ESPN on Tuesday night. Trades were not allowed. Here are the results:


1. Cleveland Browns

Sam Darnold, QB, USC

The Browns have the chance to take the quarterback they want, and Darnold is the best of the options. He’s not perfect. He needs work and time to grow. But he’s a very mature 20-year-old. He has size, accuracy and arm strength, and he throws a catchable ball. He also does not seem in the least entitled. He will prosper by waiting a year, but in the long term he is the best fit for the Browns at the most important position on the field. -- Pat McManamon

2. New York Giants

Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

The Giants want a “gold jacket” player. They get a player who is atop many teams’ draft boards. Barkley is legit, with 4.4 speed at 233 pounds, incredible balance and a versatile skill set that will allow him to be a force out of the backfield. It’s too much for GM Dave Gettleman to overlook. -- Jordan Raanan

3. New York Jets (from Indianapolis Colts)

Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

After they traded three second-round picks to move up, it would be the draft shocker of the decade if the Jets don’t take a quarterback. Let’s face it: They’re desperate. The choice comes down to Mayfield or Josh Rosen. Both players have support within the building, but Mayfield gets the edge because of his accuracy, competitiveness and winning pedigree. -- Rich Cimini

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NFL Nation Mock Draft: Mayfield goes to the Jets

With the 3rd pick in the NFL Nation Mock Draft, the Jets go with Baker Mayfield over Josh Rosen to hopefully find a long term solution at quarterback.

4. Cleveland Browns (from Houston Texans)

Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State

This pick is simple: best available player. If Barkley were still available there would be a discussion. He’s not, so the easy answer is Chubb, who adds another pass-rusher to go with an impressive group that includes Myles Garrett and Emmanuel Ogbah. Chubb gives defensive coordinator Gregg Williams more options, and adds to the Browns’ ability to affect the opposing team’s passing game. Given the circumstances, it’s a no-brainer pick. -- Pat McManamon

5. Denver Broncos

Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

John Elway, the Broncos' president of football operations/general manager, has spent weeks fully vetting the top quarterbacks on the board and would have taken a long look at either Mayfield or Darnold in the No. 5 spot or even considered a move up. With the best edge rusher also gone in Chubb, Elway will go with the “best available player" who also happens to play the position he values as much on defense. -- Jeff Legwold

6. Indianapolis Colts (from New York Jets)

Quenton Nelson, OL, Notre Dame

The offensive line was a problem when the Colts selected QB Andrew Luck in 2012, and the inability to fix it has cost Luck a total of 28 games because of injury the past three seasons, including all of the 2017 season. The addition of Nelson gives the Colts another piece to build around along the line with left tackle Anthony Castonzo, center Ryan Kelly and hopefully guard Jack Mewhort, if he can stay healthy. -- Mike Wells

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Derwin James, S, Florida State

Some people might point to the highly versatile Minkah Fitzpatrick, who can play free safety, outside corner and the slot, and peg him to go to the Bucs. They like him, too. But James fits more of what they actually need. They’ve got their rangy center fielder already in last year’s second-round pick Justin Evans, and in James, they get a strong safety who can do a lot of dirty work in the box but is far from one-dimensional. I also wouldn’t rule out them trading down and recouping a lost pick from the Jason Pierre-Paul trade. They could still get some really good defensive back help in the teens and 20s -- Jaire Alexander out of Louisville or Josh Jackson out of Iowa -- and then address a position such as running back in the second or third round. -- Jenna Laine

8. Chicago Bears

Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

The Bears have a clear need at inside linebacker after the release of veteran Jerrell Freeman. Plus, veteran Danny Trevathan -- while talented -- has missed 11 regular-season games since he signed with Chicago two years ago. Smith is a talented, vocal leader who fits well in the middle of the Bears’ defense. Chicago defensive coordinator Vic Fangio understands the importance of solid play at inside linebacker from his days of coaching Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman in San Francisco. -- Jeff Dickerson

9. San Francisco 49ers

Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama

With Smith off the board and only two quarterbacks gone in front of them, the Niners would probably be happy to host a bidding war for teams looking to move into this spot. If not, they could stay where they are and land one of the best players in the draft. Fitzpatrick’s versatility means he could compete for a starting job at outside corner opposite Richard Sherman, push for the starting free safety job or even work as the nickel corner while providing depth at every spot in the secondary. With Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt set to be free agents after next season, Fitzpatrick can provide immediate impact as well as a building block for the future. He also fits into general manager John Lynch’s best player available philosophy. -- Nick Wagoner

10. Oakland Raiders

Vita Vea, DT, Washington

Tom Flores once told me that teams drafting in the top 10 did not have the luxury of drafting for a specific need because, well, if you’re drafting in the top 10, you have A LOT of needs. And yet, here are the Raiders, a year removed from a 12-win season and embarking upon a new era with the returning Jon Gruden. Now, if the board really fell this way, there’s no doubt in my mind the Raiders would try to trade back. Alas, trades are not allowed in this forum. And still, Oakland not only has the opportunity to pick the best available player but also address a real and specific need. Because remember, Gruden said the key to unlocking Khalil Mack’s full potential is to get him help with an interior push. Think Warren Sapp and Simeon Rice. That help arrives in the next Haloti Ngata, the freak athlete that is Vea. -- Paul Gutierrez

11. Miami Dolphins

Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

Potential trades make it unlikely the Dolphins will have the option of taking one of the top four quarterbacks in this draft, let alone two. They have more urgent needs on their roster, but in this scenario, it will be difficult for them to pass on Rosen and Josh Allen. Starter Ryan Tannehill has no guaranteed money due after this season, and Rosen might be the best fit for coach Adam Gase. -- Kevin Seifert

12. Buffalo Bills (from Cincinnati Bengals)

Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

This would probably be a dream scenario for the Bills, having one of the draft’s top four quarterbacks fall to them at No. 12. Taking a chance on Allen and his big arm would be much more palatable if it did not require trading up and giving away some of the Bills’ stash of six picks in the first three rounds. Allen would become only the fourth quarterback Buffalo has ever chosen in the first round, and the highest ever selected by the team. -- Mike Rodak

13. Washington Redskins

Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

The Redskins want to improve every aspect of their defense, and in Edmunds they get a linebacker with tremendous athleticism and room to develop. He can help them in the running game on first and second down inside and provide an impact on third down with his ability to rush the passer, possibly off the edge at times. The Redskins don’t have an immediate need at inside linebacker with Mason Foster and Zach Brown, but both have contracts that make it easy to move on from them after this season. -- John Keim

14. Green Bay Packers

Marcus Davenport, DE, UT-San Antonio

The Packers desperately want one of the top three defensive backs -- Ward, James or Fitzpatrick -- and might be willing to trade up to get one of them. But if they stay at 14 and all three are gone, they’d have to take the best remaining pass-rusher over the next group of DBs because the edge class is so weak, there’s not one in the second round who could help right away. So it came down to Davenport or Harold Landry. -- Rob Demovsky

15. Arizona Cardinals

Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

The Cardinals need a quarterback and one of the most dynamic options in this year’s draft class was sitting at No. 15. Jackson will bring a unique dynamic to Arizona’s offense, which can capitalize on his arm strength, poise in the pocket and ability to make plays on the move. On top of that, Jackson might be an ideal match with offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, who has found success with quarterbacks from Peyton Manning to Tim Tebow and everyone in between. Jackson also will benefit from learning behind Sam Bradford until he’s ready to start. -- Josh Weinfuss

16. Baltimore Ravens

Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame

The Ravens are going to look to trade down to the bottom third of the first round, where there is better value for wide receivers and pass-catching tight ends. If Baltimore stays at No. 16, history will repeat itself. In his first draft, Ozzie Newsome took an offensive tackle. In his final one as Ravens general manager, Newsome addresses the same position. -- Jamison Hensley

17. Los Angeles Chargers

Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

The Chargers allowed a league-worst 4.9 yards per carry last season, and a primary reason for the defense’s struggles against the run was uneven play at the second level on that side of the ball. Evans is a versatile, plug-and-play linebacker who plays with swagger and offers versatility because of his pass-rush skills. With teams employing three-receiver sets 57 percent of the time, the Chargers need another rangy linebacker who can cover and make tackles in space. -- Eric D. Williams

18. Seattle Seahawks

D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland

There's an excellent chance the Seahawks trade back from No. 18, particularly if they hang on to Earl Thomas and are still without picks in the second and third rounds. Either way, their offense needs more weapons for Russell Wilson after losing a combined 20 touchdowns from 2018 with Jimmy Graham, Paul Richardson and Luke Willson departing in free agency. Moore has nice speed and athleticism and he's the type of big target the Seahawks have been looking for. -- Brady Henderson

19. Dallas Cowboys

Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State

The Cowboys would appear to need a playmaking wide receiver since cutting Dez Bryant and have Calvin Ridley and D.J. Moore staring them in the face. Linebacker, however, must be addressed. Sean Lee hasn’t been able to stay healthy. Anthony Hitchens left via free agency. Jaylon Smith is a mystery, despite the confidence the Cowboys profess. In Vander Esch defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli has a middle linebacker with the athleticism of Brian Urlacher, whom he coached in Chicago. The Cowboys can get a receiver in the second round. -- Todd Archer

20. Detroit Lions

Taven Bryan, DL, Florida

In one of his first meetings with the media, Matt Patricia talked about building the defense from the inside out. And the inside of Detroit's defensive line needs some work. Three players on the board are all fits for Detroit in the front seven: Bryan, Alabama's Da'Ron Payne and BC's Landry. So why Bryan? He offers versatility and athleticism and can play inside and outside on the defensive line. In a multiple scheme, that's incredibly valuable. -- Michael Rothstein

21. Cincinnati Bengals (from Buffalo Bills)

Billy Price, C, Ohio State

While the immediate reaction might be that Price is a first-round reach because of his pectoral injury at the NFL scouting combine, he's actually as reliable as they come. The Bengals always praised former center Russell Bodine for his starts streak, and Price had one of his own at Ohio State, setting a school record with 55 starts. While Iowa center James Daniels is still on the board in this mock, there are durability concerns there. With McGlinchey off the board, the Bengals pull a rare move and take an interior lineman in Round 1 instead of forcing the issue at tackle in this spot. If Price is their guy, there's no guarantee he'll still be there when they pick in the second round, injury or not. Unusual as it may be, the Bengals will both fill a need and get one of their top-rated guys at No. 21. -- Katherine Terrell

22. Buffalo Bills (from Kansas City Chiefs)

Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

The good news for Buffalo? Only one cornerback (Ward) has come off the board before this pick. The bad news is there does not seem to be a consensus second-best cornerback in this draft, which means the Bills must trust their gut in choosing from among Alexander, UCF’s Mike Hughes and Iowa’s Jackson. The Bills struck gold with Tre'Davious White in the first round last season but could use a short-term option in the slot and a long-term option to replace Vontae Davis, who is on a one-year contract. Alexander lacks size but offers athleticism and versatility to fill those roles. -- Mike Rodak

23. New England Patriots

Harold Landry, DE/OLB, Boston College

Bill Belichick recently said that he has noticed a higher number of prospects from New England-based schools in this year’s draft, and arguably the best falls into the team’s lap in Landry. As long as his knee checks out OK, Landry would add a high-upside pass-rusher to a defense that showed it needed all the help it can get in that area in Super Bowl LII. With top pass-rusher Trey Flowers entering the final year of his contract, and free-agent signing Adrian Clayborn more of a short-term investment, Landry could team up with 2017 top draft pick Derek Rivers (third round, No. 83) to form a promising pass-rushing combo in the present and into the future. While Landry doesn’t have the prototypical physical makeup for an edge player in the Patriots’ system, his uncommon explosion and ability to bend around the edge -- coupled with today’s game being played more in sub packages -- trumps that potential concern. -- Mike Reiss

24. Carolina Panthers

Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina

The Panthers could have had the top wide receiver (Ridley) or one of the top safeties (Justin Reid) or even one of the best center/guards (Daniels). All would have filled needs. But they have nobody behind Pro Bowl TE Greg Olsen, 33, who is entering the last year of his contract. Cam Newton had one of his best years throwing in 2011 when he had Olsen and Jeremy Shockey at tight end. Hurst will allow new offensive coordinator Norv Turner to recreate that and give Newton two big TE targets who can stretch the field. Hurst also gives Carolina leverage when it begins negotiating with Olsen on an extension. -- David Newton

25. Tennessee Titans

Sam Hubbard, OLB/DE, Ohio State

The Titans probably will want to trade back if the board plays out like this to increase their low draft capital, but in this scenario they nab Hubbard for immediate and long-term pass-rush help. Hubbard fits the Titans’ desires for versatility, intelligence, instincts and play speed over timed speed. Titans coach Mike Vrabel also recruited Hubbard to Ohio State when he was a Buckeyes assistant. Hubbard gives the Titans a talented understudy to be groomed by veterans Brian Orakpo (who will be 32 at start of the season) and Derrick Morgan (29), both of whom are entering the final year of their contracts. -- Cameron Wolfe

26. Atlanta Falcons

Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

The Falcons need a big, athletic body on the defensive line alongside nose tackle Grady Jarrett, and the 6-2, 311-pound Payne fits the description. Although Taven Bryan might be the most disruptive and Mo Hurst might be the best scheme fit, the Falcons would settle for the former Crimson Tide star because he brings a massive, strong presence against the run and helps free up linebackers to make plays. The Falcons lost Dontari Poe (Carolina) in free agency, so Payne can step right into the rotation. They could live with Payne being more of a nose tackle because Jarrett is versatile enough to play the 3-technique and has the quickness and counter moves to pressure quarterbacks. -- Vaughn McClure

27. New Orleans Saints

Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

Receiver is no longer a “must” for the Saints after they signed Cameron Meredith and Brandon Coleman this month. But they could absolutely find room for a player whom ESPN’s Todd McShay called “the clear No. 1 wideout in this draft.” The Saints had the NFL’s No. 2 offense last year, but they ranked 19th on third downs and could use another reliable pass-catcher at receiver or tight end. Some of Ridley’s testing numbers at the combine could ding his draft stock a little bit, but he probably won’t fall all the way to No. 27. The 6-foot, 189-pounder showed some dynamic playmaking ability at Alabama and is widely considered a terrific route runner. -- Mike Triplett

28. Pittsburgh Steelers

Justin Reid, S, Stanford

The Steelers are eyeing inside linebacker or defensive line help, but the high-end playmakers at that position will be gone. They like LSU running back Derrius Guice but are still hoping for a long-term deal with Le'Veon Bell. So the Steelers go with value here, grabbing an uber-athletic center fielder who will bolster the secondary. They like this player and met with him during the pre-draft process. -- Jeremy Fowler

29. Jacksonville Jaguars

Will Hernandez, G, UTEP

The Jaguars led the NFL in rushing attempts (527), yards (2,262) and average per game (141.4), but their production dropped off significantly over the final six games. They averaged 51.3 yards rushing less per game in Weeks 12-17 than they did in the first 11 weeks and surpassed 100 yards rushing just twice in their final six games. Leonard Fournette ran for 1,040 yards as a rookie, but he only averaged 3.9 yards per carry. Inconsistency in the interior offensive line play was an issue the Jaguars needed to address and they did it by signing G Andrew Norwell in free agency. Hernandez is a powerful blocker who can take over on the right side.

-- Michael DiRocco

30. Minnesota Vikings

Frank Ragnow, G/C, Arkansas

It's possible the Vikings end up trading down with a quarterback-needy team eyeing their selection at 30. If they stay put, the 30th overall pick is essentially a second-round pick by virtue. Guard is the most pressing need for Minnesota entering the draft. While the Vikings certainly can fill that void when they pick in the second round given the strength of this year's class, a player such as Ragnow will be "so far gone" at that point, as one league source put it. Injuries have been a problem on the interior between Nick Easton and Pat Elflein, so going after a player with a similar build and potential durability issues is likely something the Vikings want to avoid. The elite offensive lines that run similar blocking schemes feature players that look like Lane Johnson. That's what Minnesota wants. Ragnow's 6-foot-5 frame and tremendous length is a huge sell for the Vikings as they look for Joe Berger's replacement at right guard. Ragnow was ranked one of the top centers in the draft but has the ability to swing over to guard and fill in as a Day 1 starter. -- Courtney Cronin

31. New England Patriots

Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA

The Patriots had starting left tackle Nate Solder depart in free agency, and while they have in-house options in LaAdrian Waddle, Antonio Garcia and Cole Croston, they still have a need for another layer on the depth chart. And if that player could become a long-term answer, it would be even better for them. Miller has drawn some comparisons to Solder in terms of his height and length, so he has some of the traits that the Patriots would view as worthy of a first-round choice. He was also one of the team’s 30 in-house visitors leading into the draft, which could be viewed as the team still having an interest in him at a late point in the draft process. -- Mike Reiss

32. Philadelphia Eagles

Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

Trading out looks mighty tempting right now. The Eagles are tied for a league low with six picks and don’t own a second- or third-rounder. With the likes of safety Justin Reid and wide receivers Courtland Sutton, D.J. Moore and Christian Kirk still on the board, executive VP of football operations Howie Roseman knows he can move back into the second round, acquire more draft capital and still land a good player. If the Eagles stand pat, Guice will be among the top options. He has fans in both the coaching and personnel departments and would make a backfield currently led by Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement downright scary. -- Tim McManus