We’re tantalisingly close to the draft now, and if you listen carefully you can almost hear the boos for Roger Goodell. This is my first and last mock draft of the year and has each team staying where they are to get the player that best suits their needs.
- Arizona Cardinals – Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
I’ll start by saying I’m a big fan of Josh Rosen, and I fully expect him to be a long-term starting QB in the NFL for someone. That someone, however, is not the Cardinals. There’s too much buzz around trades, the new Head Coach has previously expressed his love for Murray and quite simply if I was Rosen, I’d be annoyed that no-one has come out definitively to back me.
That means I can’t see anything but Murray to the Cards with the first pick of the draft. He’s an explosive playmaker that, if everything falls into place, can help fellow Sooner, Baker Mayfield, rewrite the narrative on short QBs.
Murray threw 42 TD passes and 4361 yards last year, whilst also rushing for more 1000 yards and 12 TDs. That stat line, alongside his ability to create plays out of nothing and a strong arm means the Steve Keim swallows his pride and gives Kliff Kingsbury the QB he wants.
- San Francisco 49ers – Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Incredible football IQ, already a pass rush specialist and fantastic athleticism – there’s not a lot to dislike about Bosa. If we weren’t in such a QB hungry time he’d be first off the board seven days out of seven, instead he drops to the 49ers who line him up alongside Deforest Buckner to create havoc in the NFC West.
- New York Jets – Josh Allen, DE, Kentucky
In reality, I can see the Jets trading down here in order to recoup some of those picks they gave up as part of the Sam Darnold move last year. However, for the purposes of this draft I think they take Josh Allen here, to give Greg Williams a versatile piece and a huge boost to the D-line.
Allen has risen on boards at a ridiculously high rate this year as his hard work helped turn potential into game changing ability. His speed and burst helped him to 17 sacks and 5 forced fumbles in 2018 and I think it’d be a huge surprise if he drops outside the top 5.
- Oakland Raiders – Devin White, LB, LSU
The Raiders steal White from under the Buccaneers here. Quinnen Williams is, of course, an option – but with Maurice Hurst and Jonathan Hankins already in at DT, I think John Gruden opts to firm up his Linebacking core.
As has been widely reported, White has prototype ability to cover ground and make plays sideline to sideline. His hard-working and studious nature will of course go down well in the NFL and he projects to be a future franchise leader when the Raiders make the switch to Vegas.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
All through the off-season the Buccs have been touted to take Devin White here, but their former coach pulls the rug from under them in this draft. However, that is by no means a bad thing for Bruce Arians as the new look Tampa snap up the best interior-defensive force in the draft.
Williams is another Alabama product who will play in the league for many years to come, his short burst hits and athleticism will give the Buccs something slightly different to last year’s first-round pick Vita Vea’s brute force. Combining Williams and Vea will also likely see the end of Gerald McCoy in Tampa, with rumblings all off-season that he is a potential candidate to be cut.
- New York Giants – Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
How long have we been talking about the issues with the Giants O-line? It’s been long reported that the Giants aren’t keen on taking a QB here, even if there is a clear need to find Eli’s successor. So, I think they take Taylor here, providing long term quality at RT opposite Nate Solder.
Taylor is a premier pass blocker, who faced a plethora of high-quality pass rushers in the Gators D this past season. He needs a bit of polishing to help open up the run game, but when you’ve got a generational talent like Saquon Barkley lined up behind you, there’s probably a little room to improve that.
- Jacksonville Jaguars – Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan
The Jags are an intriguing one in this draft as before the off-season started they were firmly in the hunt for a franchise QB. However, with the addition of Nick Foles they will more than likely wait a year or two before returning to the draft for a new one.
Gary gives an aging D-line a bit of kick, adding a set of skills, which if utilised right, will be make the Michigan star an NFL player to be reckoned with, no matter where Jags choose to use him. I also think the Jags might trade back here, if someone like Washington wants to come up and get their guy.
- Detroit Lions – Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State
Peter King reported earlier this week that the Lions are desperately trying to trade back from the 8th spot as they seek to add a few more pieces to what, on paper, looks like a very solid team.
In the offseason the Lions added Trey Flowers on a big contract to play Defensive End and thus Sweat might not be the obvious pick here. But, with only Romeo Okwara of note behind Flowers, the addition of the Mississippi State star does make sense to me. I highly doubt the Lions are still here come draft day, however.
- Buffalo Bills – T.J Hockenson, TE, Buffalo Bills
The Bills give Josh Allen the best Tight End in the draft to play with here. Hockenson has received a lot of hype, but it’s hype that he justifies with a skill set that has him as an immediate NFL starter.
Hockenson can catch in traffic, block and knows how to lose his coverage, all traits that make him a cut above what the Bills have to offer at the moment. Alternatively, they might go O-line here as we all saw Allen running around like a maniac last season
- Denver Broncos – Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
The Broncos surprised everyone with a trade for Joe Flacco in the summer and I think they give him a year or two to make a difference in Denver. Instead, they opt to take Oliver here and recreate one of the things that won the Broncos a Super Bowl in 2016, a frightening defensive line.
With Von Miller and Bradley Chubb rushing the passer, Oliver gives Vic Fangio that extra sprinkle of star dust in the middle of the line. His ability to break through the line and his quick hands make him a scary proposition for opposition linemen, who will presumably be focusing on double teaming Miller on the outside.
- Cincinnati Bengals – Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
Zac Taylor’s first pick as a head coach is the talented Bush, who gives becomes an immediate playmaker on a lackluster Bengals D. They also could go QB here.
- Green Bay Packers – Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
The Packers start life under Matt LaFleur by giving Aaron Rodgers some much-needed protection. This might feel like a slight reach, but with Rodgers feeling the impact of a couple of hard hits last year, it’s time to really invest and give him time in the pocket.
- Miami Dolphins – Brian Burns, DE, Florida State
The Dolphins skip over a QB this year in a sign they are fully invested in the 2020 class. Burns gives them an immediate high caliber replacement for Cameron Wake as they put the pieces in place to build a challenger under Brian Flores.
- Atlanta Falcons – Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
Extremely hard working and extremely talented, that’s the standard scouting report on Wilkins, who comes in to give the Falcons and Dan Quinn a bit more ‘boom’ on the D-line.
- Washington Redskins – DK Metcalf, WR, Mississippi
In this scenario, the Redskins have invested in Josh Rosen and therefore don’t need a QB. What they do need, is to surround Rosen with quality pass catchers and Metcalf comes in to fulfill that exact role.
- Carolina Panthers – Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
Can make a difference at either Tackle or Guard for the Panthers who are very keen to protect star QB Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey this offseason. An immediate starter in Charlotte.
- New York Giants – Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
We get confirmation that the Giants are rivaling the Dolphins for the 2020 QB crop. Williams is a versatile option at Corner, and will hopefully be the Giants long term option with Janoris Jenkins seemingly in decline.
- Minnesota Vikings – Cody Ford, Guard, Oklahoma
If anything seems like a lock in this first round, it’s surely that the Vikings draft an O-lineman. Ford is a beast with plenty of upside and will give Kirk Cousins a bit of time to pick his pass from the pocket.
- Tennessee Titans – Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
Delanie Walker isn’t getting younger and is coming off a major injury. Noah Fant is a rival for TE1 in this class and will be a long term hit in Nashville.
- Pittsburgh Steelers – Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State
We’ve all seen the Antonio Brown drama, and we all know that JuJu Smith-Schuster is good enough to replace him as the Steelers’ main receiver. That’s not enough for Big Ben though, and they add a young red zone threat in Butler.
- Seattle Seahawks – Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
Reports say that the Seahawks are also desperately trying to trade out of this slot and back into the 2nd round. If they don’t do that they could well pick up Murphy who seems to be the most plug in and play Corner in this year’s class.
- Baltimore Ravens – N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
The Ravens, like the Bills, need to give their young QB some targets to throw out. Harry has incredible athleticism and the ability to make catches in heavy traffic, he’ll be a good addition alongside Mark Andrews for Lamar Jackson.
- Houston Texans – Garrett Bradbury, IOL, NC State
Like the Vikings, the Texans are desperate to protect their prized QB. Bradbury fills an immediate need in Houston and will help gunslinger DeShaun Watson find an exciting WR corps downfield.
- Oakland Raiders – Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
I wholeheartedly believe that Gruden is behind Derek Carr, all the publicity they’ve done with him and Antonio Brown would look pretty silly if not. So, the Raiders fill another gap that they’ve got on the offensive side of the ball. Jacobs takes on his Alabama role of a very effective second back who will take on the main workload at some point in the season.
- Philadelphia Eagles – Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida
Gardner-Johnson gives an already A* Eagles defense an extra piece of the puzzle. He’s a field general and was a prominent figure in the locker room for the Gators, don’t expect that to change when he reaches the NFL.
- Indianapolis Colts – A.J Brown, WR, Mississippi
The Colts signed Devin Funchess in the off-season and have the iconic TY Hilton, so they’re not particularly short at WR. However, with Funchess on a one year ‘prove it’ deal they add another young pass catcher to develop into the long-term option for Andrew Luck here.
- Oakland Raiders – Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
Gruden gets his much-needed replacement for Khalil Mack. He might not be the physical dominator that Mack is, but Ferrell has a lot of technical ability when rushing the passer. With some guidance and some development of his burst speed, he’ll be another key piece when the team moves to Vegas.
- LA Chargers – Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State
Partnering Derwin James with Abram will make the Chargers’ safety room the most dominant in the league within a couple of years. What James has in terms of ball skills, Abram has in run defense, if this happens I’d be excited to be a Chargers’ fan.
- Kansas City Chiefs – DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia
Baker comes in to rival Bashaud Breeland for the CB2 spot in Kansas City, and with good press skills, it’s likely it won’t take long for him to win the job. Might need some discipline from Steve Spagnulo to get up and running, but a good pick up late in the round for the Chiefs.
- Green Bay Packers – Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware
The Packers get themselves a quality ball hawk with the 30th pick. Adderley hasn’t played a lot in man coverage, so that will need work, but the Packers need a safety and they use the pick they’ve got from the Saints to get a stud.
- LA Rams – Chase Winovich, DE, Michigan
The Rams defensive front was one of their main reasons for success last year, despite the fanfare about McVey’s offense. In Winovich they have a livewire who could arguably rival his Michigan teammate Rashan Gary in NFL production. This pick gives LA a stellar run stuffer.
- New England Patriots – Irv Smith, TE, Alabama
I don’t think anyone is taken aback by the signing of Austin Seferian-Jenkins, the Pats need a long-term replacement for Gronk, and Smith could be that guy. A seasoned pass catcher, I think Nick Saban has put in a good word with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady has a new go-to guy.
By Andy Moore – @AJMoore21 .