NFL Mock Draft 2018: In quarterback-centric class, Pat Shurmur’s Giants could turn everything upside down

April 22, 2018 GMT

Quarterbacks and the teams in desperate need of them will set the drama Thursday night when the first round of the NFL draft is held in Dallas. ¶ Once the Browns make their pick of the Big Four — Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield — Pat Shurmur’s Giants are poised to wreck many a mock draft with the second overall pick. ¶ Do they trade the pick to Buffalo or another QB-needy team? Stay put and select the best non-QB on the board? Or take a QB to start grooming behind 37-year-old Eli Manning? ¶ This mock draft projects six QBs to be taken in the first round — two more than any other position.

1. Browns (0-16 in 2017)

Biggest need: Quarterback

The pick: Sam Darnold, QB, Southern California

The skinny: Tyrod Taylor will become Cleveland’s 29th starting quarterback since 1999 while this year’s best pro QB prospect (Darnold) is molded into No. 30.

2. Giants (3-13)

Biggest need: Guard

The pick: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

The skinny: The Giants can go many routes, including trading down. But the timing is perfect for the new Pat Shurmur- Dave Gettleman regime to groom 37-year-old Eli’s replacement.

3. Jets (5-11) via Colts

Biggest need: Quarterback

The pick: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

The skinny: They didn’t move up to No. 3 to play it safe. Allen is a classic boom-or-bust selection. The Jets gamble on boom.

4. Browns via Texans

Second-biggest need: Left tackle

The pick: Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State

The skinny: It’s hard to snub RB Saquon Barkley twice in four picks, but it’s easier when you get to team Chubb with 2017 No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett.

5. Broncos (5-11)

Biggest need: Offensive line

The pick: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

The skinny: RB Saquon Barkley, QB Baker Mayfield and a trade down are possibilities. They’d like DE Bradley Chubb, but will restock the secondary with the best cornerback.

6. Colts (4-12) via Jets

Biggest need: Pass rusher

The pick: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

The skinny: In desperate need of a pass rusher and DE Bradley Chubb gone, the Colts could trade down again. If not, Barkley is too tempting and will help Andrew Luck.

7. Buccaneers (5-11)

Biggest need: Cornerback

The pick: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame

The skinny: The Bucs would jump on RB Saquon Barkley if he falls. But their anemic run game will be helped by Nelson, who some believe is the best player in the draft.

8. Bears (5-11)

Biggest need: Guard

The pick: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

The skinny: The Bears wouls love to grab G Quenton Nelson and will consider Minkah Fitzpatrick, but Smith is an elite, instinctive playmaker in the middle of the defense.

9. 49ers (6-10)

Biggest need: Wide receiver

The pick: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

The skinny: Too high to take a receiver, but cornerback is a possibility. If there’s no trade down, the freakishly built Edmunds is too good to pass up.

10. Raiders (6-10)

Biggest need: Defensive tackle

The pick: Vita Vea, DT, Washington

The skinny: Value meshes with need as the 6-4, 347-pound Vea adds power and quickness to one of the league’s weakest interior lines.

11. Dolphins (6-10)

Biggest need: Linebacker

The pick: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

The skinny: Ryan Tannehill has missed 20 consecutive games. Miami had to pay Jay Cutler $10 million to unretire last summer. If Mayfield is here, the Dolphins bite.

12. Bills (9-7) via Bengals

Biggest need: Quarterback

The pick: Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

The skinny: What?!? QBs make teams without them do desperate things. With Rudolph on the rise, don’t be surprised if Buffalo or someone else makes the reach of the draft.

13. Redskins (7-9)

Biggest need: Defensive tackle

The pick: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

The skinny: Linebacker and safety are needs, too, but the league’s worst run defense (134.1) gets a powerful, massive anchor up front.

14. Packers (7-9)

Biggest need: Defensive back

The pick: Derwin James, S, Florida State

The skinny: The Packers need big defensive backs who can cover. They have 12 picks, so they have the ammo to move up. James is a good fit, if he’s still available.

15. Cardinals (8-8)

Biggest need: Quarterback

The pick: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama

The skinny: QB is a possibility, but Arizona doesn’t appear to like Lamar Jackson. WR also a possibility. In this scenario, Cards leap at Fitzpatrick.

16. Ravens (9-7)

Biggest need: Tight end

The pick: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

The skinny: This seems too easy. Ravens need receivers. Ridley is the best. And this is the last draft for Ozzie Newsome, the Hall of Famer from Alabama.

17. Chargers (9-7)

Biggest need: Defensive tackle

The pick: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

The skinny: The Chargers have two of the best edge rushers, but they lack a force in the middle of their line. Hurst can push the pocket and split the gaps.

18. Seahawks (9-7)

Biggest need: Defensive end

The pick: Marcus Davenport, DE, Texas-San Antonio

The skinny: With no picks in the second and third rounds, Seattle wants to trade down. If the Seahawks stay put, this small-school pass rushing phenom is intriguing.

19. Cowboys (9-7)

Biggest need: Linebacker

The pick: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State

The skinny: Dallas also has needs at safety and receiver, but linebacker is a must. This will be viewed as a reach pick, but the Cowboys sound interested.

20. Lions (9-7)

Biggest need: Defensive end

The pick: Harold Landry, DE, Boston College

The skinny: Detroit needs an edge rusher, and new defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni was Landry’s position coach at BC the last two years.

21. Bengals (7-9) via Bills

Biggest need: Offensive line

The pick: James Daniels, C, Iowa

The skinny: Another case where value meets need for a team whose starting center the past four years, Russell Bodine, left for Buffalo.

22. Bills via Chiefs

Second-biggest need: Middle linebacker

The pick: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

The skinny: Buffalo also needs a quarterback for its defense now that Preston Brown is in Cincinnati. Evans would be a good pick at this point.

23. Patriots (13-3) via Rams

Biggest need: Left tackle

The pick: Mike McGlinchey, T, Notre Dame

The skinny: The Patriots need the next Tom Brady. But first they need to protect the current Tom Brady. With Nate Solder gone, left tackle seems like a no-brainer.

24. Panthers (11-5)

Biggest need: Defensive back

The pick: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

The skinny: Cam Newton needs targets, but there’s a greater need at corner after the deal for Bashaud Breeland fell through.

25. Titans (9-7)

Biggest need: Linebacker

The pick: Taven Bryan, DL, Florida

The skinny: Tennessee could use another receiver, but seven of its past eight first-round picks have come on offense. Bryan could be a rare disruptive force inside.

26. Falcons (10-6)

Biggest need: Defensive tackle

The pick: Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia

The skinny: Atlanta needs to replace Dontari Poe, but Wynn has better value. The Falcons’ only move to beef up the line was signing former Viking Brandon Fusco.

27. Saints (11-5)

Biggest need: Pass rusher

The pick: D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland

The skinny: The Saints need a pass rusher, but Drew Brees will settle for a versatile target that could be ideal in his four- wide packages.

28. Steelers (13-3)

Biggest need: Linebacker

The pick: Mike Hughes, CB, Central Florida

The skinny: Losing a playoff game 45-42 to Blake Bortles will make a team focus on the back end of its defense. Linebacker is their top need, but Hughes fits here.

29. Jaguars (10-6)

Biggest need: Wide receiver

The pick: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

The skinny: Jacksonville has shown some interest. They need depth at QB, protection from Bortles going backward and someone to raise the competition at QB.

30. Vikings (13-3)

Biggest need: Offensive line

The pick: Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama

The skinny: Sets up the likelihood that the Vikings open the season with four first-rounders under 30 starting in the secondary.

31. Patriots

Second-biggest need: Pass rusher

The pick: Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State

The skinny: Brady gets to show another young star the Patriot Way, while Bill Belichick gets the leverage to show another old star (Gronk) the Patriot Door.

32. Eagles (13-3)

Biggest need: Tight end

The pick: Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State

The skinny: The champs have an elite tight end in Zach Ertz, but prefer having two TE mismatches. Brent Celek (released) and Trey Burton (free agency) are gone.