College football is around the corner and soon NFL Draft analysts and NFL front offices will begin building their 2018 NFL Draft big boards as college football's best and brightest show their wares on the gridiron.
The 2018 NFL Draft class has already been lauded as a quarterback-heavy group, giving QB-starved NFL teams a chance at their potential quarterback of the future.
So how will the 2018 NFL Draft shake out? It's obviously way too early to say, but we'll take a stab at it anyway. Plenty of college football players will work their way up rankings or come crashing down, and unknown gems will be unearthed as the season progresses.
But this mock draft will give you a good idea of what the general consensus is on current college football stars, as well as what current NFL teams need heading into the season.
If Deshone Kizer shows promise the Browns may hold off on drafting a quarterback and try to trade down instead. In a quarterback-rich draft, many teams could be itching to move up the board, giving Cleveland even more ammunition after trading down once last year. If Cleveland does decide to go with a QB, they have their pick of the litter.
San Francisco will definitely be looking for quarterback help come 2018. Brian Hoyer is not a long term option. Matt Barkley and C.J. Beathard likely won't be long term options, either. Unless San Francisco lands Kirk Cousins or another QB in free agency, it feels like quarterback is the pick here.
Just as in San Francisco, New York is desperate for quarterback help. Unless Christian Hackenberg grows by leaps and bounds this year or a free agent quarterback is handed a huge contract, New York will lso be looking for quarterback help next spring.
Buffalo may also be looking for quarterback help, but with pick No. 4 they might need to trade up to get their guy. At pick No. 4 they should be able to select one of the best defensive players in the draft at this point, Florida State safety Derwin James.
The Rams are probably still another year away from giving up on Jared Goff, and can help him out by strengthening the defense with what looks like the best defensive lineman in the draft, Clemson's Christian Wilkins. Some early mock drafts suggest he could be the No. 1 overall selection.
The Bears drafted their quarterback of the future in Mitchell Trubisky in 2017, so in 2018 they make a move to keep him protected by drafting Connor Williams out of Texas, who many suggest is the best lineman in the draft.
The Jaguars finally concede that Blake Bortles won't be the man in Jacksonville moving forward and take a chance on Luke Falk out of Washington State. He has a huge arm and could make use of the many targets in the Jaguars receiving room — like Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee.
After two straight seasons of a running back taken in the top 5, we still see a top 10 RB in Saquon Barkley out of Penn State. Barkley is the kind of versatile back the Dolphins could pair with Jay Ajayi as they hope to bring Ryan Tannehill back from an ACL tear.
Jefferson has had two very strong seasons for the Longhorns and a third could solidify his spot as a top 10 pick. You can never have enough pass rushing on a defense and the Lions would benefit from Jefferson's abilities on the outside.
Washington could be without quarterback Kirk Cousins in 2018 if they can't reach a deal, but whoever the quarterback is, they could have a shiny new toy in SMU receiver Courtland Sutton. For the second straight season a non-power-five receiver is the first WR off of the board.
The Chargers continue to strengthen their defense with a big-play defensive back out of Alabama. He has four defensive touchdowns, eight interceptions, 17 passes defended and a forced fumble through his first two seasons.
The Saints are closing in on the final years of Drew Brees. This would mark the second straight yer drafting an offensive linemen in the first round, proving they want to solidify their line as they transition to the next QB.
The Vikings grabbed Dalvin Cook in 2017, and will hopefully have Teddy Bridgewater back in the mix if he can get healthy. Drafting a solid offensive linemen early would help the team build for the future.
LeGarrette Blount signed a one-year deal before the 2017 season to become the Eagles featured back, and behind him on the depth chart are the aging Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood. Not a lot to inspire hope for the future. Insert Derrius Guice.
After back-to-back offensive players from Clemson, we have back-to-back defensive players from Florida State selected as the ACC shows its strength. The Panthers could lose Star Lotulelei in free agency, and FSU's monster Derrick Nnadi could step in.
Ferrell was a wrecking ball for the Tigers in the 2016 College Football Playoff run and with another strong season should definitely be a first-round selection. The Giants could use some fresh blood on the edge.
The Cowboys defensive line could use an extra body, and Da'Ron Payne provides one in a 6-foot-2, 309-pound box. He's going to get a lot of opportunities this year after Alabama saw a bunch of front seven players drafted.
The Patriots haven't drafted in the first round since 2015, so there's a very realistic chance they trade out of this selection. But they could use help on the edge, and Tyquan Lewis is a versatile rusher.
HERO Sports is dedicated to college football, with an emphasis on FCS coverage. We are proud to be the go-to site for comprehensive FCS analysis for fans across the country. HERO Sports also publishes betting odds and insights for FBS games.