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2018 NFL Mock Draft: Broncos trade back and build for the future

Things will get rather interesting during the first-round of the NFL Draft.

Big Ten Championship - Ohio State v Wisconsin Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The day is finally here, it’s draft day!

After all the arguing over taking a quarterback, taking Quenton Nelson, taking Saquon Barkley, trading up, trading back, we will finally get our answers tonight. Which way does Broncos General Manager John Elway go in the first-round? It all depends what the three teams do ahead of him.

I have accurately picked the Broncos last two first-round picks in my past two mocks (2017 and 2016) but I think that streak ends this year. Too many scenarios in play, plus potentially mocking two first-round picks correctly won’t be easy. However, I’ll give it my best try.

1. Cleveland Browns - Quarterback Sam Darnold, USC

The Browns make the correct pick and take USC quarterback, Sam Darnold. By the time this is posted, it is possible this pick might be Josh Allen or Baker Mayfield, but it should be Darnold.

2. New York Giants - Running back Saquon Barkley, Penn State

The Giants will bypass the quarterback and take arguably the best non-QB in the draft. Pairing Barkley with Eli and OBJ will give the Giants an explosive offense.

3. New York Jets - Quarterback Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

This pick has been rumored to be “Broadway Baker” for weeks and despite some rumors about Rosen, I think it is still Baker. His attitude and swagger would fit well in that town...if he is successful.

4. Cleveland Browns - Defensive End Bradley Chubb, North Carolina State

There are talks the Browns could trade this pick, but they have a chance to get their top quarterback and top defensive player in the draft. Pairing Chubb with Myles Garrett should give the Browns a dynamic pass rushing duo.

5. Buffalo Bills (Trade via Denver) - Quarterback Josh Allen, Wyoming

TRADE ALERT!

With the Broncos top three targets(Darnold, Baker, and Chubb) all off the board, the Broncos trade back with the eager Bills. They get their two first-round selections(12 and 22) and then some.

The Bills get their guy. The hard-throwing Josh Allen has the arm to deal with the cold and windy Buffalo winters.

6. Arizona Cardinals (Trade via Indianapolis) - Quarterback Josh Rosen, UCLA

TRADE ALERT!

Back to back trades for quarterbacks. The Colts get a 2019 1st-round pick from Arizona along with multiple 2018 picks.

The Cardinals get their quarterback of the future in Josh Allen. He will compete with the $20 million dollar man, Sam Bradford.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Safety Derwin James, Florida State

The Bucs add the playmaking Derwin James to their secondary. James has been reportedly telling those close to him that he will be a Buc.

8. Chicago Bears - Guard Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame

The powerful Quenton Nelson joins his former Notre Dame offensive line coach in Chicago. He will be opening up running lanes for Jordan Howard.

9. San Fransisco 49ers - Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech

The 49ers reportedly covet linebacker Tremaine Edmunds so I’m going with him here. General Manager John Lynch gets him a young, but a talented linebacker who has the chance to grow into a damn good player

10. Oakland Raiders - Offensive Tackle Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame

The Raiders have been linked to McGlinchey a lot lately and it makes sense. Watch out for Kolton Miller here as well.

11. Miami Dolphins - Linebacker Roquan Smith, Georgia

The Dolphins have other need but Roquan is just too good here to pass up. He’ll be the face of their defense for years to come.

12. Denver Broncos (Trade via Buffalo) - Cornerback Denzel Ward, Ohio State

The Broncos trade back and get the top cornerback in the entire draft. Ward may be a tad undersized, but he can cover and has elite speed.

After trading away veteran cornerback Aqib Talib this offseason, the Broncos will look to add depth to the cornerback position. Ward can step in as the Broncos number three corner and be a longtime fixture in the Broncos secondary.

13. Washington - Defensive Tackle Vita Vea, Washington

Vea has been long linked to Washington and would help stop the strong run attacks in the NFC East.

14. Green Bay Packers - Cornerback/Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama

The Packers need help in their secondary will turn to Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick. He is a corner or safety depending who you ask, but he will instantly help the Packers secondary.

15. Indianapolis Colts (Trade via Arizona) - Edge Rusher Harold Landry, Boston College

After trading back, the Colts get themselves one of the top pass rushers in the draft. They have holes all over that roster and you gotta start somewhere. A high-end pass rusher is a good start.

16. Baltimore Ravens - Quarterback Lamar Jackson, Louisville

Shocker! The Ravens have been dealt with Joe Flacco’s long enough and go with Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson as his future replacement. General Manager Ozzie Newsome goes out swinging in what will be his final draft as GM of the Ravens.

17. Los Angeles Chargers - Defensive Tackle Taven Bryan

The Chargers struggled against the run last year so they go and get Bryan who is one of my favorite players in the draft. A solid addition to Bosa and Ingram.

18. Seattle Seahawks - Cornerback Josh Jackson, Iowa

The Seahawks need to replace corner Richard Sherman in their defense, Josh Jackson is a perfect fit for their defense and would step in as a starter.

19. Dallas Cowboys - Wide Receiver Cortland Sutton, SMU

After releasing Dez Bryant, the Cowboys need another receiver for Dak Prescott and Sutton is their guy. D.J. Moore and Calvin Ridley will be considered, but Sutton appears to be their guy.

20. Detroit Lions - Defensive End Marcus Davenport, UTSA

The Lions reportedly love Davenport and this pick makes sense. They hired a former defensive coordinator, so this pick makes a ton of sense. Davenport would pair nicely with Ansah.

21. Cincinnati Bengals - Center James Daniels, Iowa

Like Derwin James, James Daniels has been reportedly been telling friends and family that he was getting picked by the Bengals so I’m going with this here.

22. Denver Broncos (Trade via Buffalo) - Guard Will Hernandez, UTEP

The Broncos reportedly love Will Hernandez and will take him with their second first-round pick. He’ll add some nasty to the Broncos o-line and be a people mover.

This pick makes a ton of sense because they hired former UTEP Head Coach Sean Kugler to be their interior offensive line coach and he recruited and coached Hernandez. This is better value than getting Nelson at 5.

23. New England Patriots - Offensive Tackle Kolton Miller, UCLA

The Patriots need tackle help after losing Nate Solder and Kolton Miller is compared to him by some so this makes sense. His tape isn’t great, but he’s 6’8” with quality movement skills.

24. Carolina Panthers - Center/Guard Frank Ragnow, Arkansas

The Panthers lost Andrew Norwell and could turn to Ragnow to play guard for them. Lots of late hype for Ragnow so I think this is a solid landing spot for him.

25. Tennessee Titans - Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State

The Titans need some linebacker help with Wesley Woodyard getting older and Vander Esch is a tackling machine. He has some reported injury concerns so how they come back will be key for him.

26. Atlanta Falcons - Defensive Tackle Da’Ron Payne, Alabama

Payne is a damn good run defender and will pair nicely with Grady Jarrett in the middle of the Falcons defensive line.

27. New Orleans Saints - Wide Receiver Calvin Ridley, Alabama

I had a hard time placing Ridley somewhere, but here makes a ton of sense. Would give Brees another young weapon to lean on in their explosive offense.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers - Linebacker Rashaan Evans, Alabama

With Ryan Shazier’s career in doubt, Evans makes a ton of sense for Pittsburgh. He flies around the field, is a good tackler, and can blitz for a defense. The Steelers defense missed Shazier and Evans will help fix that.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars - Guard Isaiah Wynn, Georgia

The Jaguars love to run the ball and adding Wynn will help with that. Pairing with him Norwell in the middle of their offensive line will give them a nasty run blocking unit.

30. Minnesota Vikings - Center/Guard Billy Price, Ohio State

The Vikings continue to build their offensive line by adding the now healthy Billy Price. His combine injury does not end up costing him very much.

31. New England Patriots Cornerback Jaire Alexander, Louisville

The Patriots let Malcolm Butler walk in free agency so they turn to talented Louisville cornerback Jaire Alexander to replace him. I hate mocking good players to the Patriots.

32. Philadelphia Eagles Running Back Derrius Guice, LSU

After losing Blount, the Eagles will turn to the powerful Derrius Guice to pair with Jay Ajayi in the Eagles backfield. This will make the already explosive Eagle offense even more explosive and powerful.