2018 NFL Mock Draft analysis 3.0: Slide in store for top QB

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Editor's note: Each week leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft (April 26-28 on NFL Network and FOX), Chase Goodbread will delve into the most recent NFL.com mock drafts for a closer look at what might transpire once teams are officially on the clock, continuing this week with his takeaways from the mocks of analysts Daniel Jeremiah, Bucky Brooks, Maurice Jones-Drew, Charley Casserly and Chad Reuter.

There could a feeding frenzy on quarterbacks at the top of the 2018 NFL Draft, but there's also a chance that at least one of the four top-rated quarterbacks -- USC's Sam Darnold, UCLA's Josh Rosen, Wyoming's Josh Allen and Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield -- will slip to a second tier of clubs that need a quarterback and hold six of seven picks from Nos. 11 through 17.

For three of five NFL.com analysts, Mayfield is that guy.

Analysts Bucky Brooks and Charley Casserly project the former Sooners star to land with the Miami Dolphins at No. 11 in their latest mock drafts, while Maurice Jones-Drew projects the Denver Broncos to take Mayfield after trading down to the No. 12 selection. However, the analysts with the most recent mock drafts posted to NFL.com -- Daniel Jeremiah and Chad Reuter -- see a much shorter draft wait for the Heisman Trophy winner, projecting him to the New York Jets at No. 3. Jeremiah, instead, sees Rosen as the slider.

It comes down to how many teams at the top of the draft will pull the trigger on a quarterback. New York Giants GM Dave Gettleman scoffed Thursday at the notion that his team is compelled to spend the No. 2 pick on a successor for the aging Eli Manning. Will the Denver Broncos take one at No. 5, or are they content for now with Case Keenum? The answers could go a long way to determine whether a top quarterback slips out of the top 10.

Here are eight other takeaways from NFL.com's latest mock drafts:

2) The Buffalo Bills might not be interested in waiting around for the above scenario to play out. They hold the No. 12 pick after already trading up once -- from No. 21 with the Cincinnati Bengals -- and three analysts project them to move up yet again. Casserly, Jones-Drew and Reuter all have Buffalo trading with Denver for the No. 5 pick to select either Allen or Darnold.

3) Only two quarterbacks -- USC's Darnold and Wyoming's Allen -- are consensus top-5 picks among all five analysts.

4) If pass protection is the need, this is not the draft. Three of five analysts project the top 20 picks to go by without an offensive tackle selected. Jones-Drew has Notre Dame's Mike McGlinchey going No. 8 to the Chicago Bears, while Casserly has the Ravens taking McGlinchey at No. 16. UCLA's Kolton Miller is a consensus first-rounder across all mock drafts, but is projected no higher than No. 23 to the Patriots.

5) In all three mock drafts that project Buffalo to trade up with Denver to No. 5, the price will include not only the No. 12 pick but Buffalo's second pick -- No. 22 overall -- as well. Those mock drafts see the Broncos taking either UTSA DE Marcus Davenport, Texas A&M WR Christian Kirk or Alabama DT Da'Ron Payne at No. 22.

6) There are no consensus picks for the same player to go to the same team, but Taven Bryan came close. The former Florida defensive lineman, per four of five mock drafts, is headed to the Atlanta Falcons at No. 26 overall.

7) The best two fits for FSU S Derwin James are clear, albeit 10 selections apart. All five analysts predict the versatile underclassman to land with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 7, or the Los Angeles Chargers at No. 17.

8) Reuter's seven-round mock draft projects only one team to devote its first six selections to the same side of the ball: the Minnesota Vikings, with an emphasis on offense. The picks: McGlinchey (No. 30 overall), Ohio State C Billy Price (No. 62), UCF WR Tre'Quan Smith (No. 94), Stanford TE Dalton Schultz (No. 167), Northwestern RB Justin Jackson (No. 204) and Marshall QB Chase Litton (No. 213).

9) Mock-drafting first-rounders is tricky business, but calling a mock shot on Mr. Irrelevant is far tougher. Reuter, who provided a seven-round mock draft, projects the Atlanta Falcons to close out the draft with Limestone College WR Vyncint Smith at No. 256 overall.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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