The 5 Most Interesting Mock Drafts for the 2018 NFL Draft
Just What I Wanted! A Batch of 2018 NFL Mock Drafts!
While it’s cold out there, the takes are RED HOT on the mock draft circuit, as experts and fans alike are gearing up to make their own mock drafts for the 2018 NFL Draft. There’s going to be a lot of quality… but also a lot of noise. So my gift to you this holiday season? How about the gift of not needing to waste your time with other mock drafts until you’ve started smart, with these, the 5 Most Interesting Mock Drafts… in the world.
These mock drafts are tools for you to inform your own mock draft. You another another great tool for mock draft creation? Yup! The MockOut app.
Download it today and stay tuned, because we have an entirely new and updated version of the app coming soon. I’m talking a whole new aesthetic, I’m talking bug fixes, I’m talking private contests, and you KNOW I’m talking NBA Draft.
Until then… let’s stick to football.
The 5 Most Interesting Mock Drafts for the 2018 NFL Draft
Lost in the storm of the Twitter battle between Josh Rosen and Walterfootball’s Charlie Campbell, is the fact that Charlie created a mock draft listing Rosen, whose game he clearly respects, as the top-prospect and first overall pick. But that’s not so interesting. What’s interesting about this mock, specifically for ME, is that I’ve seen very few mock drafts that I so thoroughly disagree with on so many levels.
While some people will see a mock they disagree with and just make the case for why their mock is correct and this other mock is stupid and wrong… I like using mocks like this to challenge my assumptions and go through the important exercise of actually defending my opinions to myself. I don’t think there’s any chance the 49ers take Saquon Barkley. No way will Denver draft another first-round QB rather than grabbing an established starter in free agency. Arden Key should not be in the same discussion as Bradley Chubb, Derwin James should not be in the same discussion as Minkah Fitzpatrick, and no way should either of those be ranked ahead of the clearly-superior talent.
Yet this is what he’s got. I have no reason—no past history of success to suggest that I am right and he is wrong. So what I need to do is identify which of his picks make no sense to me. Think, why might he have made this prediction? Absorb it. Learn from it. Make my own mock stronger as I dig into my assumptions and either verify my belief in them or soften my stance. All because I’ve found a mock draft that completely counters my own.
4. Chris Trapasso, CBSSports.com
This mock draft is a little bit outdated, but that doesn’t matter for the reasons I’ve added C-Trap’s mock to my list. It is definitely a contrarian mock right from the get-go, sending Lamar to the Browns at #1 and predicting 2 WRs to go in the top-5. That kind of going against the crowd (especially this early in the process) is hugely important to identify the groupthink that is flawed (like Barkley to the 49ers) and the groupthink that you think is justified (Darnold as a top-3 pick.)
But what really sets a mock like this apart are all those names I read and ask, “Uhh, who?” This guy has a few players in his first round mock (like Marcell Ateman, Kolton Miller, Dorian O’Daniel, and Kameron Kelly) that until now were completely off my radar. Whether or not I end up agreeing with him on these prospects is a question for future Micky to answer, but just to get some new players like this into my field of consideration, this early in the process, will give me a leg up on the competition.
3. Dan Kadar, SBNation.com
The subtitle says it all. What happens if…? Pre-playoff mocks with trades are the choose-your-own-adventure of the mock draft world. When the Rams and Eagles traded up into the top-spots a couple years ago, we all knew those teams were going to be major players in the QB game. But they kept getting mocked players whose values aligned with their draft position. It made every mock draft before those trades totally useless, because a top-5 trade reshapes the entire round.
This is why we identify the teams who will trade up for a QB early. It’s so obvious, and yet not many mock draft experts are willing to predict a trade at this juncture. I follow the mock drafts that do, because they will be far more accurate in April. Of all the (way too many) mock drafts I’ve read so far, nobody has a top-5 that I believe will be closer to the truth than Kadar. Every pick feels right. Going forward from there, I think his mock gets a little shaky… but at least I know he is on good footing thanks to his top-5 trade prediction.
When predicting a top-5 QB trade, you learn more about actual player value and who may or may not be available to certain teams, and maybe… just maybe… you learn a little something about yourself.
2. Rob Staton, seahawksdraftblog.com
No, it’s not a full mock draft (why, Rob? WHY??? you’re three quarters of the way home! just finish it up!) but it is notable nonetheless, because Staton identifies first round talent earlier than everyone else. He was super early to recognize Garrett Bolles and Haason Reddick as first rounders last year, and Keanu Neal and Germain Ifedi the year before.
It’s interesting to see Josh Allen and Vita Vea as top-5 prospects, and Roquan Smith and Billy Price going in the top-12, but it’s his passion for a few DTs and RBs that really has my attention. I hadn’t seen DTs Tim Settle from VA Tech and Taven Bryan from Florida mocked in the first round by anyone else, and only rarely have I seen RBs Kerryon Johsnon from Auburn and Damien Harris from Alabama as top-25 prospects.
The fact that he has one of those players (read to find out which one!) mocked to the Hawks, who he covers as in-depth as anyone out there, makes it doubly interesting.
1. Todd McShay, ESPN.com
Hot off the presses today! It’s The Master of Mocks, the Draft Dominatrix! Todd McShay has finally released his first mock draft for the 2018 NFL Draft. Whatever you think of McShay, whenever he releases his first mock draft, everyone must listen. McShay had a really rough showing last year, ranking 36th out of 40 experts whose first round mocks I scored, and being the only one to miss the top overall pick. That said, most experts base their early research around what he says now. So what is he saying now?
Of course his mock draft is behind the ESPN paywall, and I am going to respect their business model by not sharing the entire thing, but there are a few picks of particular interest that have to be pointed out. Consider them teasers, meant to get you to pay for Insider and see the whole thing. Josh Allen in the top-5 is a bit of a shocker considering the season he’s had. Clelin Ferrell easily cracking the top-10 will cause some re-evaluations. Baker Mayfield’s landing spot is a shocker (that makes sense) as is Courtland Sutton’s. At the end of the day, he has provided a stock baseline from which most other mocks will be formed. Because of how influential this mock draft will end up being (contrarians, pay extra close attention) his leads the first list of Most Interesting Mock Drafts for the 2018 NFL Draft.
photo: Matt Gentry, The Roanoke Times