Get ready to be surprised and disappointed! Every NFL Pundit will have a mock draft and they will all be horribly wrong. Even if Pundits knew what each team’s needs were and weighed them against the best players available (“BPA”), a correct mock draft would still require the individual team GMs to be rational thinkers. So if you’re asking “what makes you qualified to do a mock draft”, the answer is that I’m not, which makes me equally as qualified as anyone else. And with that…
QB – Kyler Murray – Oklahoma
The cardinals have no edge rusher and needs along both lines as well as at WR. The value here is at DL, where the Cards have their choice at any number of first-round-quality talents to fill their gaping need, so of course they take a quarterback. Why would they draft another quarterback having already spent a first rounder on a QB? Because of this guy:
The Cardinals saw the success that Sean McVay brought to the Rams and tried to emulate it with Ryan Gossling. Never mind that Sean McVay has a photographic memory and an NFL pedigree, the Cards’ main takeaway is that their head coach needs to be a dreamboat. So, they took a guy that was recently fired at Texas Tech and was lucky to land a college OC job, and turned him into a first-time NFL head coach. Gossling is in love with Murray, and seems to have convinced himself that Murray is the missing key to run his offense.
EDGE – Nick Bosa – Ohio State
He pulled the ripcord on his junior season in order to focus on the draft. He put up good (but not freakish) numbers at the combine (4.79 forty, 29 reps, 4.14 shuttle). However, he has the highest floor of any of the edge rushers due to his high motor and advanced rush techniques. I don’t think he has the highest ceiling of the rushers in 2019, and anyone drafting him expecting to get his brother (Joey Bosa) will be disappointed to see he is not as fluid. The draft is like buying a stock, though, and certainty equates to value. The 49ers know they are getting starter with a Pro work ethic and motor.
EDGE – Josh Allen – Kentucky
If Allen’s last name was Bosa, he would probably go one pick earlier. He has the size (6’5 262), combine measurable (4.63 forty, 28 reps, 7.15 cone, 4.23 shuttle) and production (17 sacks in the SEC). He will move into the OLB slot in the Jet 3-4 defense and provide much needed edge rush.
EDGE – Montez Sweat – Mississippi State
This is where my mock probably diverts from most mocks, that have sweat seven spots lower. But, when you trade away the best edge rusher in the league like the Raiders did with Khalil Mack, you need his replacement to be a freak in order to justify it. Sweat has the highest ceiling of any pass rusher in this draft, and perhaps the highest ceiling in the past decade. At 6’6 260, he managed to run a faster forty time than Odell Beckham Jr. (4.41) and posted similarly freakish cone (7.0) and shuttle (4.29) times. He also dominated the senior bowl. He needs to work on his hands to set a harder edge and play with more fluidity, explaining his lower floor and the reason why most mocks have him going much lower. However, GM Mayock and John Gruden already swung for the fences trading Amari Cooper and Mack, and they cannot rationalize those moves with “high floor” guys. They need picks that are potential all-timers to avoid looking like assholes.
EDGE – Rashan Gary – Michigan
The Bucs might be considering a QB in this spot with Winston’s contract winding down and the writing on the wall that he will never live up to that No. 1 pick. However, new coach Bruce Arians is savvy enough to know that picking a QB is the “give me another year” card of NFL head coaches. He can rationalize losing the first year while building the talent pool by arguing “I had to play with the QB the last guy left me.” The 2020 QB class will be vastly superior with Fromm, Herbert and Tagovailova, so the Bucs will probably ride out another year of Winston stealing crabs, surviving rape accusations and throwing darts into CBs.
Having said that, I doubt that the Bucs think the addition of Noah Spence was enough to bolster an unproductive set of rushers. In a division with Matt Ryan, Drew Brees and Cam Newton, they won’t have long-term success without pressure. Gary is 6’4 277, and ran a 4.58 forty. Had Sweat not been here, he would be the class freak. He is a big bigger than a normal 3-4 OLB and his production in college did not match his traits. Still, he is the best rusher available for a rush needy team.
DT – Ed Oliver – Houston
The Giants have so many needs. The Nate Solder experiment has been underwhelming, leaving a need at OT. They could use an edge rusher after dealing Olivier Vernon but the value is not there for this pick (unless they reach on Ferrell). CB is certainly an option and most mocks have the Giants drafting Eli Manning’s successor in Haskins. They also need a WR after dealing the best in the game to Cleveland.
They want an edge man, but the top edge men are already taken and 6 is too high to gamble. Oliver put on a show at his pro day, with a 4.24 shuttle that matched Le’Veon Bell and Julio Jones. This 281 pound lineman also ran an unofficial 4.73 forty. Anyone watching his tape sees Aaron Donald, and that is just too much rush for the Giants to pass up.
OT – Andre Dillard – Washington State
The Jaguars signed Nick Foles to an $88 million contract with $50 million guaranteed, and they need to keep him alive. The offense was atrocious last year and, though the defense could use some help, it’s the offense that sent them tumbling from a playoff team to a dumpster fire. The Jags could go with Taylor or Jonah Williams due to their preference for power football, but Dillard inspires the most confidence in terms of footwork for pass protection.
EDGE – Brian Burns – Florida State
The Lions have needs at TE and WR, which they could fill by trading back and still getting their man. However, if they stick in this spot, I think they go with an edge rusher. Burns is too light to set the edge against the run in a 4-3, but he would thrive as an outside edge rusher. His 4.53 forty is great, but his long thin frame limit his utility against the run game. The Lions acquired Trey Flowers but are dyo;; missing a speedy OLB.
DT – Quinnen Williams – Alabama
This is the Bills dream scenario, being able to replace Kyle Williams (retirement) with who is widely viewed as a top-3 talent in the draft. He can stuff the run and push the pocket up enough to affect the passing game.
QB – Drew Lock – Missouri
How much money/draft capital is Elway going to invest in the QB position? Whatever he has to. Joe Flacco is not the long term answer and all reports suggest that Elway has been in love with Lock for over a year now. He reads the whole field and identifies the right target but often lacks the accuracy to deliver it. His arm talent is above average but his size and quick release make him an Elway favorite.
LB – Devin White – LSU
The Bengals need to replace Vontaze Burfict’s production. The former LSU LB ran a 4.42 forty and put up an impressive 39.5 inch vertical. His speed and athleticism will allow him to stay in the game on passing downs to cover tight ends and H backs. He is still learning how to shed blocks but in today’s “pass first” NFL, that skill has been relegated to a secondary trait when assessing traits.
TE – T.J. Hockenson – Iowa
Aaron Rogers deserves a break. It seems that the Packers are constantly losing his most trustworthy weapons. They could use some help at tackle and safety, but the value is simply not there at 12. Hockenson is routinely compared to Jason Witten, and his presence could improve both the running game and the passing game.
QB – Dwayne Haskins – Ohio St.
Having traded Ryan Tannehill to Tennessee, the Dolphins find themselves desperate for a QB. Haskins is a classic drop back QB, with a huge arm. He threw for 4,831 yards and 50 touchdowns in his one year as a Buckeye starter, completing at over 70%. Some scouts question whether his eye-popping numbers were the result of the superior talent on his team, that resulted in wide-open receivers. That, along with his lack of mobility and his relative inexperience give rise to some question marks.
CB – Greedy Williams – LSU
The falcons could use some help at DT, but CB is more of a premium position. Williams is a long, underweight WR that ran a 4.37 at the combine. He is athletic enough to be a press corner in addition to zone duties, but will need to put on weight to keep from getting manhandled by bigger WR. Murphy is the more polished corner but the Falcons will lean towards Williams’ superior physical traits.
15. Washington Redskins
QB – Daniel Jones – Duke
Jones is not a first-round talent but the Redskins are in a dire position at QB. Alex Smith may never play again and Colt McCoy is a stopgap. He is accurate, with good mechanics and good decision making but lacks elite arm talent.
OL – Jonah Williams – Alabama
I had originally put Noah Fant here, as the Panthers need to find an exit strategy for aging Greg Olsen. However, as with the Texans, the bigger need is to keep their start QB alive. Williams is a former 3-star recruit that does his business more with technique than with physical abilities. His lack of arm length is not ideal for a LT, but he looked more comfortable in his pass sets his senior year.
WR – D.K. Metcalf – Ole Miss
The giants still need an edge guy but their WR room is woeful without Odell Beckham. Even with Saquan Barkley, this offense will not function without at least one competent receiver. There are no LT and they can find a RT in the second round. They cannot replace ODJ with this pick but they can take a WR with the tools necessary to develop into dominance. Metcalf lacks lateral quickness but he is 6’3 and ran a 4.33 forty. He looks like superman but his route running is not polished and his production did not match his physical traits.
OL – Cody Ford – Oklahoma
The Vikings could upgrade at safety but the value is not there at 18. The Vikings could improve at multiple spots on the offensive line and Cody Ford supplies that sort of flexibility. He is raw and inexperienced at tackle but has the physical traits to develop into an OT, but he already has the raw power to help at guard.
OL – Garrett Bradbury- NC State
The titans are a long way from making a run at anything consequential. Their edge rush needs to be bolstered but their offense is the weakness on this team. Their receiving core is still weak but the addition of Adam Humphries ostensibly bolstered it. The interior of their offensive line is atrocious and Bradbury has the highest floor of any pure-IOL in the draft. This isn’t a sexy pick but it is the right one.
CB – Byron Murphy – Washington
The Steelers offense took more than “a hit” with the losses of LeVeon Bell and Antonio Brown. It is tempting to assign a skill position pick to them but with Smith-Schuster and Connor, it is not a priority. The Steelers win championships on defense, and theirs needs a lot of help now. Devin Bush could shore up the Will LB spot, but Byron Murphy is the best cover corner in this draft. A DC’s gameplan gets a lot more exotic when he knows he can lock up the opposing the WR1 with one man. His size and combine numbers are not eye popping but his instincts and ball hocking nature make him a CB1.
DE – Clelin Ferrell – Clemson
The Seahawks’ defense needs to be rebuilt. Their edge rushers are about to take a hit (with the trade of Frank Clark appearing imminent) and the loss of Earl Thomas has made safety a priority. The top safety (Rapp) ran an OL-like 4.79 forty. Rapp’s film shows a player that is much faster than a 4.79 but it is difficult to draft a safety this high with doubts regarding their ability to cover the entire center field. They may consider Rapp or Williams but need will probably lean them towards Ferrell. Ferrell is being mocked far in front of this spot but his measurables do not reflect an elite physical talent. There is uncertainty as to whether his production was due to being surrounded by other first-round talents, or whether he carried the load. Uncertainty is the enemy of value, and that uncertainty allows him to last long enough for the Seahawks.
22. Baltimore Ravens
LB – Devin Bush – Michigan
The Ravens need everything, WR, LB, IOL and edge. There are no edge rushers left worthy of a first round pick and Metcalf is the only first round WR unless you think Hollywood Brown is the second coming of his cousin. There is a chance that the Ravens go with IOL McCoy to give Lamar Jackson some help but the rookie seasons for Leighton Vander Esche and Darius Leonard should have teams reconsidering the potential impact that a rookie linebacker can make on the team.
23. Houston Texans
OT – Jawaan Taylor – Florida
Everyone knows that Houston needs an OT so that they can finally open up the playbook and allow Deshaun Watson to look like the dynamic QB that was putting up 40 ppg his rookie year, and not the pedestrian QB that Texans fans watched in his second year. Given the fact that he has blown out both knees, they need conservative playcalling to protect him until they finally have a LT they can trust enough to slide protections right. Taylor is NOT that OT. He is a right tackle with the possibility of moving left in the future. The Texans should have been willing to trade up for Dillard but they will not.
If Bill O’Brian had his way, this pick would probably be a CB. He loves NOT drafting what everyone is clamoring for, because he thinks offensive success is due to his tactical genius and not personnel. Remember, this is the guy that didn’t draft a QB for several years because he felt he could turn anyone into Tom Brady. He only relented on his “smartest man in the room syndrome” when he faced imminent termination.
New GM Brian Gaine appears to be more pragmatic. He knows that they did not adequately address the tackle situation in free agency, and definitely not for the long haul. An OT pick in the first round would be a sign that Gaine, not O’Brian, is now the man calling the shots in the draft room.
RB – Josh Jacobs – Alabama
The raiders still need help at RB, OT and CB. They theoretically addressed OT last year by reaching on Kolton Miller, but he did not quite perform as expected. DeAndre Baker is available to improve their CB situation, but I suspect John Gruden is going with RB. He was hired for his offensive prowess, so he can afford to suffer defensive struggles more than he can offensive struggles.
Gruden has a weird hardon for running the ball. After winning the superbowl, he tried to start a “pound the rock” chant at the parade. The cringworthy spectacle lasted almost thirty seconds.
Reports are that the Raiders sent their entire scouting staff home because they could not build a consensus on a draft strategy. This likely means that the staff want something more pragmatic than RB, but Gruden wants his way.
Jacobs is the best RB in this draft and was productive in college. However, he is no Saquan Barkley and he does not present a first-round type of game breaking talent at the NFL level.
DT – Christian Wilkins – Clemson
The eagles need help at end, safety, running back and offensive tackle. Those positions do not present value at this stage of the draft. With the retirement of Haloti Ngata, their interior defensive line needs an immediate boost. In a division with Zeke Elliott, they know that there is no division title to be had without being able to disrupt the interior of the Cowboys’ offensive line. He is a slippery three technique, which does not replace Ngata at nose. But, he bolsters a rotation that is otherwise woefully lacking.
CB – Deandre Baker – Georgia
The Colts offense took a quantum leap forward last year after finally having invested in the offensive line. They could still use another receiver, as Funchess is a limited option. However, their defense needs help at DT, safety and corner. There will be safeties and DTs later in the draft capable of contributing, but there likely are no other immediate contributors after Baker and Rock Ya-Sin. Baker can play man, though he is not a burner. The Bulldogs secondary had trouble with speedy wide receivers, including 5’9 Andy Isabella from UMASS (219 yards). However, the Colts’ main concern is finding someone physical enough to harass DeAndre Hopkins. Baker is your consummate SEC corner, and should help in that respect.
CB – Justin Layne – Michigan State
Justin Layne or Rock Ya-Sin, that is the question. The Raiders need CB help and there is a huge dropoff after Layne and Ya-Sin. If they don’t take a CB here, they wont have one capable of contributing early. Even with a “best player available” mindset, there aren’t any prospects that are so talented that teams could afford to ignore needs. I suspect they go with Layne over Ya-Sin due to his size (6’2) and big-conference background.
DL – Jeffrey Simmons – Miss. State
Simmons would have been a top 8 talent had he not gotten injured. When healthy, he is a white hot knife cutting through the middle of offensive lines. The Chargers need help at DT and should probably be looking for a future replacement for Okung at LT. The Chargers could reach for Rock Ya-Sin but Simmons’ value is likely too much to pass at this point.
CB – Rock Ya-Sin – Temple
They need a safety still, but Rapp ran a slow forty and Adderly is a small school guy. Given the risk with those two, the prudent move would be to upgrade at CB. The risk is the same, but the upside of upgrading at CB is worth the risk, whereas the upside of a gamble at safety is limited. Ya-Sin is the last of the tier-two CB of this draft, and the Chiefs will likely need more help on the back end after having lost pass rusher Dee Ford.
S – Nassir Adderly – Delaware
The Packers gave away Ha Ha Clinton Dix to the redskins last year, leaving a gaping hole at safety. They could take offensive tackle Greg Little, but there will be several tackles available in round two that can provide similar traits. Adderly put together a strong performance in the senior bowl alleviating concerns that his production was the byproduct of small school competition. The choice between Adderly and Rapp depends on how much stock you put on Rapp’s 4.79 forty time. My guess is that it is too much to ignore.
OT – Greg Little – Ole Miss.
Current LT Andrew Whitworth is the oldest lineman in the league at age 37. Little has the athletic ability to perform the zone blocking scheme that Sean McVay likes to employ.
WR – Marquis Brown – Oklahoma
What if…What if Marquis Brown can perform like cousin Antonio. What if that was paired up with Tom Brady? Imagine how much production could result.