Sam Darnold favored in Daniel Jeremiah’s first 2018 mock draft

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images /

USC quarterback Sam Darnold is the top overall pick in Daniel Jeremiah’s first 2018 mock draft for, edging out Josh Rosen and Josh Allen.

Mock draft season for the 2018 NFL Draft is in full swing, with the first mock from’s Daniel Jeremiah giving Sam Darnold some love as the No. 1 pick of the Cleveland Browns.

That vote of confidence for Darnold comes on the heels of ESPN’s Mel Kiper sliding the Trojan quarterback down to No. 5, behind Wyoming’s Josh Allen and UCLA’s Josh Rosen.

In Jeremiah’s view, Darnold will be the first player and quarterback off the board, with the New York Giants spurning the chance to take a QB themselves by taking Penn State’s Saquon Barkley at No. 2. Nor would the Denver Broncos address the quarterback spot at No. 5, preferring Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson.

Rosen lands at No. 6 to the New York Jets, while Allen falls out of the Top 10 at No. 11 to the Miami Dolphins in Jeremiah’s mock draft.

The debate between those quarterbacks is likely to go back and forth as winter stretches into spring. For now, mock drafts are simply educated guesses. The real movement will come when teams get a closer look at all three top pick candidates in workouts and interviews.

Still, it’s worth wondering how long until a mock draft takes a crack at putting Rosen No. 1.

While Kiper had defensive lineman Rasheem Green sneaking into the first round with the final pick to the New England Patriots, Jeremiah sees Darnold as the lone USC first rounder at this stage.

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USC has four underclassmen eligible for the draft this year, including Darnold, Green, running back Ronald Jones II and receiver Deontay Burnett. Besides Darnold the remaining four have fringe first round potential which could depend on their performance in the lead up to the draft.

Jones II must contend with a stacked running back class including Barkley, LSU’s Derrius Guice, Georgia’s Sony Michel, Notre Dame’s Josh Adams and more.

Burnett is one of USC’s most intriguing prospects. USA Today’s Draft Wire ranked him 13th among wide receivers for this year’s draft and his physical attributes are unlikely to flash in workouts at the NFL Combine or USC’s Pro Day. However, his worth ethic and understanding of the game could help a team fall in love with him.

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Graduating seniors Uchenna Nwosu, Chris Hawkins, Josh Fatu, Viane Talamaivo, Nico Falah, Steven Mitchell and Matt Lopes should also get a look as draftable players, though Nwosu is the one most likely to rise up draft boards this spring.