McShay's way-too-early 2018 NFL mock draft

ESPN Illustration

Let's start by emphasizing the first part of the headline above: way-too-early. There's a reason we use that terminology for this piece. I have not studied tape on most of these players. I've simply done my best to match up many of the top players on my preliminary list with teams that make sense.

A few more important notes:

  • Most of my evaluations below came from what I've been able to see watching players in person or on TV. We still have a ton of work to do on everyone in the 2018 class.

  • Last year, 14 players who were featured in my way-too-early mock draft ended up going in the 2017 first round, and 20 total went in the first two rounds. As we saw with Jake Butt, injuries are impossible to predict and certainly impact a player's draft stock.

  • The draft order below was generated by Football Outsiders, using its early projected records for the 2017 season.

Here is my way-too-early NFL mock draft for 2018. Underclassmen are noted with an asterisk.

1. Cleveland Browns

Sam Darnold, QB, USC*

Watching WR JuJu Smith-Schuster in preparation for the 2017 draft, it was hard not to notice Darnold. He has the mental makeup, poise and arm strength you look for in an NFL quarterback.

2. San Francisco 49ers

Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming*

Allen is very physically gifted, but he needs to improve his decision-making and be a little more consistent with his footwork. He has good mobility and the arm strength to make any throw in the book.