Welcome to the third mock draft of the season. It’s draft eve, so basically it’s the best possible time to be alive. We have major changes in our new edition, so instead of droning on with an introduction you don’t care about, let’s just get to why you’re here.
#1 Arizona Cardinals – QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
This appeared to be a done deal.
Todd McShay said he is 99.9% sure the pick is Murray, and we also now have this.
[ Tangent: If Rosen is moved he will be involved in NFL history once he takes the field on his new team. Since the 1970 merger, 107 quarterbacks have been drafted in the first round. Precisely zero of those quarterbacks failed to make it to a second season with the team that drafted them. Rosen is poised to become the first such instance of a first round quarterback being on a second team by his second season.]
However, Pete Prisco, among others, said the Cardinals are not drafting Murray. The two camps are staunchly in opposite corners. YES THEY ARE vs NO THEY AREN’T. Typically, we know the first pick by now because it leaked or it’s a horribly kept secret. It took an hour for everyone to figure out Jared Goff was going #1 after the Rams traded up.
Other times it’s pretty obvious who is going to be the pick but it comes with a caveat of “it might still be this other guy.” We all knew Jadeveon Clowney was going to be the pick, but it “could be Khalil Mack.”
Last year, the Baker pick didn’t leak until the morning of, so we may still gain 100% certainty before the draft. But this is unusual.
#2 San Francisco 49ers – Edge Nick Bosa, Ohio State
The worst kept secret in the NFL right now appears to be the 49ers zeroing in on Nick Bosa, depending on how you view this whole Kyler Murray thing. The Bosa thing appears to be real, and news has reached San Francisco’s division rival.
All of a sudden, the Cardinals are claiming they’re in love with Bosa and will select him barring a trade down. The leaked rumor is a little too on the nose to be anything but a transparent smoke screen aimed at inducing the 9ers to trade up one spot in order to secure Bosa, who Arizona doesn’t plan to draft anyway.
Adding Bosa to the 9ers defensive line would be incredible. DeForest Buckner is already one of the most disruptive interior forces in the league, and adding Bosa will hopefully force the 9ers to stop messing around with Solomon Thomas and move him inside as well. Additionally, Bosa would be bookended by Arik Armstead, who has had a steady but unspectacular career for San Francisco thus far.
I also believe that Dee Ford was brought in to be a linebacker, so that trade shouldn’t affect this pick. Lastly, Kentavius Street can be a rotation player, which works best for someone with his injury history.
#3 New York Jets – DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama
The Jets have been open for business at this selection ever since they locked it up. For the past three and a half months I’ve been trying to find a trade for this spot. I have been unsuccessful the entire time.
It’s difficult in a weak class without sought after quarterbacks to get a blockbuster deal in the top three. Well, leave it until the day before for the rumor mill to pick up. There is a ton of talk that Washington is trying to get into the top five, and one team they’re linked to is the Jets.
Teams have become so leery of Oakland taking a quarterback at four that if you want to lock up your non-Kyler Murray quarterback you have to get into the top three. While I believe the ongoing talks are real, it’s hard to see a deal coming to fruition. To drop from #3 to #15 New York will demand a haul that Washington simply won’t pay to get the second best guy in a bad quarterback class.
Although, apparently Dan Snyder is personally running things now so, who the hell knows.
Anyway, you can no longer go a day without finding a new report linking the Jets to Ed Oliver. First it was centered around how much Greg Williams loves Oliver, which I didn’t put too much stock in since he doesn’t make the decision. But now Maccagnan is reportedly in on the love fest.
It makes sense for the Jets to draft an interior rusher here if Bosa is off the board, just not Oliver. While I believe both Williams and Mccagnan love Oliver, I have a hard time believing they would select him over Quinnen Williams. Williams is simply the better player. The team appears down on Josh Allen, so either a trade or Quinnen Williams figures to be what happens with the third pick.
#4 Oakland Raiders – QB Dwayne Haskins Jr., Ohio State
In case you haven’t heard, Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock sent all of their scouts home because they don’t trust anyone not to leak their surprise pick. This *screams* they plan to draft a quarterback. They’ve recently been linked to Ed Oliver as well, and Ian Rapoport speculated it could be Devin White or an offensive lineman. I don’t buy it. Do you really love an off ball linebacker THAT much that you send everyone in your organization home to make sure the Jets don’t take him just to spite you?
No. They know New York is open for business for a trade and they know teams will get aggressive for a quarterback if they love the quarterback. This is what I wrote in my last mock draft:
“When Jon Gruden got hired, I believed there was no way he could go two drafts without taking a quarterback. Forget Gurden’s QB Camp, did you ever watch the draft live when he was on set? There isn’t a quarterback prospect to enter the draft in the history of the world that Gruden didn’t think was destined to become a Hall of Famer. Gruden wanted every single team to select a quarterback with every single pick when on the clock. He was slamming the table in 2014 for the Texans to take Johnny Manziel first overall. Johnny Manziel!
Leading up to my first mock draft, there was no buzz surrounding the Raiders and a quarterback here. Additionally, it just made sense for them to sit here and take whoever got to them between Bosa, Allen, and Williams.
Forget all that. Oakland has spent an “extensive amount of time” with Haskins and worked him out. It could just be due diligence, but I can’t see Gruden spending that much time with a quarterback and not getting to a point where he thinks said quarterback is destined to become the best ever.
“Boy I tell ya, this Haskins kid, woo-baby he can sling it. Six foot three, nearly six four, 235lbs, rocket arm. He can make all the throws. He’s young, he’s athletic, and he’s a grinder. I love grinders. Someone needs to go get this kid because he is going to end up a franchise guy.”
I’m more convinced of this now than ever. If I’m wrong, I’ll admit I was way off base. If Washington usurps Haskins by flying up to three then I’ll call it a push. Gruden has never resisted a quarterback in his entire life. Why would he start now?
#5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DE Josh Allen, Kentucky
This is another hot spot for a trade. If Oakland doesn’t take Haskins, or if Murray falls to four and Haskins is available at 5 that way, Washington, for example, could jump up to this spot. Tampa was willing to move down last year when Buffalo wanted to go up and secure Josh Allen. History could repeat itself.
It appears Oakland may do something insane, which will hand the Buccaneers Josh Allen. As mentioned above, there is still a chance the Raiders just take Quinnen Williams if he is available, but at this point that looks dependent on the Jets doing the insane thing of taking Ed Oliver at three. The point is, the combined ineptitude of New York and Oakland is going to wind up handing Josh Allen to Tampa.
#6 New York Giants – DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson
Gettleman is an idiot.
Anyway, Todd McShay says the Giants are all about the defensive line here. The two names he said he keeps hearing are Ed Oliver and Christian Wilkins.
I don’t remember which podcast I was listening to the other day, but apparently Ed Oliver has the ability to rub certain people the wrong way. Doesn’t Gettleman just seem like the type of curmudgeon that gets rubbed the wrong way by the damn kids these days? I’m really projecting here, but I feel like Gettleman talked to Oliver and ended up hating him, and I’m basing this on literally nothing.
Point being, I think the Giants are going to take Wilkins.
#7 Jacksonville Jaguars – OT Jonah Williams, Alabama
I’ve previously talked about how I believe Coughlin will have an issue with all three top tackles in this class. As a result I said Dave Caldwell will convince Coughlin to go with Andre Dilliard, as Dilliard is the most athletic of the bunch and Caldwell’s track record points to a combined emphasis on athleticism and the trenches.
Scratch that. This team wants to win, and they want to win now. There is still projection to Dilliard given the system he played in college, and Jawaan Taylor commits too many penalties. Jonah Williams is a plug and play starter with positional versatility. The smart move would be to give him a chance at left tackle and see how it pans out, but with Williams Jacksonville can just throw their five best lineman out on the field.
#8 Detroit Lions – TE T.J. Hockenson, Iowa
The Lions never replaced Eric Ebron, plus this feels like a Patricia pick. There are many reasons why Gronk was absolutely unstoppable, but the least measurable is how he broke defenses. Other tight ends are mismatch nightmares for defenses as a receiving weapon. Too fast to be covered by a linebacker, too big to be covered by a safety. But if they’re in the game you only fear them as a weapon, and can game plan all week on who will draw the coverage duties.
Gronk was equally as dominant as a blocker, so his presence on the field wouldn’t tip the Patriots hand. If the defense went lighter with more DB’s for better coverage, New England had a sixth offensive lineman on the field and would run the ball down your throat. Make it a stacked box with a heavier package and good luck covering Gronk.
I’m not saying Hockenson is the next Gronk. I’m just saying he is easily the best tight end in this class because of his effectiveness as both a blocker and a receiver. Detroit has already brought in former Patriots Trey Flowers and Danny Amendola this offseason, so Patricia, along with fellow former Patriots employee Bob Quinn, may be trying to build something similar in the motor city.
#9 Buffalo Bills – WR D.K. Metcalf, Ole Miss
If we learned anything from how Brandon Beane mishandled last year’s draft, it’s that he is willing to aggressively move up the board for someone he loves, overpaying along the way, especially if that someone is athletic. This is why in my last mock draft edition I had Buffalo moving up with the Jaguars to secure Metcalf. This time around, the Metcalf hype train seems to have cooled down a little bit, but Beane still can’t resist himself.
Metcalf certainly checks off the athletic criteria. Doesn’t this just feel like a Buffalo move to you? Go get that tall guy that runs a 4.33 in hopes he can track down Josh Allen’s inaccurate deep balls in the instances where they even land in bounds.
#10 Denver Broncos – DT Ed Oliver, Houston
There is a ton of Oliver buzz leading up to the opening round. He is getting linked to every team from #3 to #9. Apparently all of a sudden most of the top ten is infatuated with him.
Sure, it’s possible, and I bumped him up here in relation to my previous iteration, but I still couldn’t find a home for him above 10, clearly. Anyway, Mr. Elway stops the slide and adds a penetrating interior defender to create an absurd trio of Von Miller, Bradley Chubb, and Oliver.
#11 Cincinnati Bengals – LB Devin White, LSU
This is a chalk pick I don’t like making but it just is too logical. In previous iterations I had the Bengals taking Jonah Williams due to his ability to play guard. But with him off the board and Cincinnati having way too much confidence in their starting tackles they go another direction. White hits a massive need and is arguably the best player available.
*TRADE* Houston Trades #23, #54, #162 for #12
#12 Houston Texans (F/GB) – OT Andre Dilliard, Washington State
We can cover why Green Bay did this trade in their capsule. As for the Texans, they have an extra second rounder from the Duane Brown trade and may feel comfortable flying up the board for the last of the top three offensive tackles, sneaking right in front of the Dolphins.
Why not just sit back and take a bunch of offensive lineman with their four picks in the first three rounds? Good question, as that would be wise. However, Houston may want to maximize this roster. Deshaun Watson is still on his rookie deal, and after this season Jadeveon Clowney, Bradley Roby, and Johnathan Joseph will all be unrestricted free agents.
But Albert Breer recently said that the Panthers and Texans are the two teams most likely to move up. The Texans might survey the AFC and see and opening. The Patriots survived to win the Super Bowl last season, while the Chiefs watched their two best pass rushers leave town before sacrificing their first round pick to get Frank Clark.
The AFC is wide open. The Texans could see a blocker like Dillard as the missing piece for a Super Bowl run.
#13 Miami Dolphins – OT Jawaan Taylor, Florida
This is pretty similar to how the Dolphins handled the draft in 2018. Miami simply sat there, let everyone else duke it out for the quarterbacks, then took the best guy on their board.
You can make the argument Taylor is the best player available in the draft at this juncture and he hits an absolutely massive need.
#14 Atlanta Falcons – CB Byron Murphy, Washington
The Falcons are really thin at corner behind Desmond Trufant and Byron Murphy is an exceptional zone corner. He fits the defensive scheme and provides another cover guy in a division with the Saints.
#15 Washington – WR Marquise Brown, Oklahoma
There’s talk the quarterback Washington wants to move up for is Daniel Jones. I don’t buy it. There’s another report that they’re out on Rosen and “all in” on Haskins. That makes more sense. I don’t think they want Jones at all, and they’re just trying to get Arizona to lower the price on Rosen.
Anyway, if Washington can’t get a quarterback they may as well get a weapon. Brown is a big time field stretcher who is an underrated route runner. Brown and Metcalf appear to be the only locks at receiver to go in the first round, so they may end up getting over drafted, similar to Corey Davis and Mike Williams in 2017.
#16 Carolina Panthers – DE Rashan Gary, Michigan
The Panthers need reinforcements on the edge. It is getting really difficult to project where Gary will land. After the hype train left the station following his exceptional combine performance, it seems his stock is coming back to reality based on the fact he produced nothing in college.
The middle of the first round makes sense for where he will end up going, as someone will be willing to roll the dice on his upside.
#17 New York Giants (F/CLE) – QB Daniel Jones, Duke
Daniel Jones attended the Manning passing camp and kicks his feet pre-snap eerily similar to Peyton Manning, so obviously he is the next coming. Gettleman is a moron, so Giants fans should pre-order their Jones jerseys now.
#18 Minnesota Vikings – OG Chris Lindstrom, Boston College
You don’t need me to tell you the Vikings have a serious weakness on the offensive line. This regime, however, seems to target the best player available. I’m unsure if they will view Lindstrom, or perhaps Bradbury, as the best player available, but it’s certainly possible. Lindstrom is a plug and play guard that immediately makes both Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook better.
#19 Tennessee Titans – TE Noah Fant, Iowa
You can make a strong argument Tennessee has a bigger need at wide receiver. However, Delaine Walker isn’t going to play forever and just had his season cut short by injuries. That, coupled with the free agent addition of Adam Humphrey, may push the Titans in the tight end direction.
Regardless of position, there is a good chance this pick is a weapon for Mariota. Mariota will be a free agent in 2020, so the team should do everything possible to put him in the best environment for 2019 to obtain the best evaluation it can ahead of a franchise altering decision.
#20 Pittsburgh Steelers – LB Devin Bush, Michigan
The Steelers never really replaced Ryan Shazier. While what happened is tragic, the team still lost its best linebacker. Additionally, dating back to the drafting of Shazier, the front office has shown an affinity toward athleticism in the first round. Since Shazier, Pittsburgh has selected Bud Dupree, Artie Burns, T.J. Watt, and Terrell Edmuds in the first round of the past five drafts. Devin Bush posted a 4.44 40, 40.5″ vertical, 10’4″ broad jump, and 6.93 three cone at 234lbs in Indianapolis.
*TRADE* Denver Trades #41, #71, 2020 2nd rounder for #21
#21 Denver Broncos (F/SEA) – QB Drew Lock, Missouri
Does John Elway seem like the type that is self-reflective to you? If you’re tall and have a howitzer for a right arm, Elway probably thinks you’re destined to be a hall of fame quarterback. Elway has spent draft picks on Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch, and just traded for Joe Flacco. Very common thread; tall, strong arm, not good.
The Broncos are spending two days with Drew Lock this week. Lock is 6’4″ and has a cannon. He throws a pretty deep ball and has some good athleticism, evidenced by his 4.69 40, 1.65 10-yard split, and 7.03 three-cone. Lock’s accuracy is inconsistent and he is getting a lot of Matthew Stafford comparisons. Given the arm strength and mobility, Elway might even see a little bit of himself in Lock.
As for the Seahawks, they still trade down to acquire more draft capital despite fleecing the Chiefs in the Frank Clark trade. The Schneider/Carroll regime LOVES trading down. They do it every year, sometimes more than once. Given the depth at the edge position in this class, Seattle can still get someone to replace Clark at #29.
#22 Baltimore Ravens – Edge Brian Burns, Florida State
If this ends up being Bradbury I’ll kick myself. I’ve had him here in my previous editions but Burns was off the board. I anticipate Burns going higher than this but I couldn’t find a spot for him with how this iteration played out.
Baltimore experienced a purge on the defensive side of the ball and needs help in the pass rusher department. Burns is a likely top-15 pick so this is good value.
#23 Green Bay Packers (F/HOU) – WR A.J. Brown, Ole Miss
I’ve seen a report that the Packers aren’t prioritizing the receiver position, but, like, they have to be lying. Green Bay went out and bought a defense in free agency so it only makes sense that the draft objective is to get Aaron Rodgers more weapons.
Brown is, in my opinion, the best receiver in this draft. He is a reliable receiver that has experience both in the slot and out wide. While it is fair to say he projects best to the slot, slot receivers are still valuable and heavily utilized. Brown can step in and immediately make an impact for Rodgers.
#24 Oakland Raiders (F/DAL) – RB Josh Jacobs, Alabama
This feels like a pick Mayock and Gruden would want to make. They grab their quarterback and a shutdown corner and now want to turn their attention to balancing out the offense. The running back position in Oakland last year was a mess after Marshawn Lynch’s injury, and Beast Mode recently retired. This is the Gruden/Mayock tandem adding Jacobs to Carr/Haskins and Brown to convince themselves they have their very own triplets.
#25 Philadelphia Eagles – CB Deandre Baker, Georgia
The Eagles need more corner talent. Every team needs more corner talent, but the Eagles really need it. Baker probably fits better in a zone scheme so him landing here is a good fit and it fits the range.
#26 Indianapolis Colts – DT Dexter Lawrence, Clemson
This is a steal. Lawrence is a tremendous athlete for his size and provides more pass rush than you would expect. Lawrence ran a 5.05 at 342lbs in Indianapolis, along with putting up 36 reps with his 84″ arms. The combine isn’t everything, but those numbers are ridiculous. The Colts already have a good run defense, but can still use help on the interior of their defensive line.
#27 Oakland Raiders (F/CHI) – Edge Montez Sweat, Mississippi State
Sweat, like Gary, is another difficult edge defender to gauge where he will come off the board. Apparently the Lions like him so he is in play at #8, but a huge slide is also possible. I don’t think he could possibly get past Oakland here though. Not only do they desperately need help in the pass rush department, but they’re the team that drafted Maurice Hurst last year despite his heart condition.
#28 Los Angeles Chargers – OL Cody Ford, Oklahoma
Is Ford a tackle, is he a guard? Whichever the Chargers decide, they simply need to protect Philip Rivers more as he ages into his late 30’s.
#29 Seattle Seahawks (F/KC) – Edge Clelin Ferrell, Clemson
With Clark gone edge is a massive need. Realistically it was a need before the trade. Ferrell is likely the best player available, depending on how you feel about Jerry Tillery and Greedy Williams.
#30 Green Bay Packers (F/NO) – TE Irv Smith Jr., Alabama
I don’t think Smith is worth a first round pick, but I also think it is “more probable than not” that he ends up in the first round. The athletic tight end is a potential matchup nightmare, and as stated with Green Bay’s earlier pick, the Packers need to just get Rodgers more weapons.
#31 Los Angeles Rams – C Garrett Bradbury, N.C. State
This is the best marriage of the entire first round. For whatever reason the Rams decided to move on from John Sullivan and now have a massive need at center. Getting Bradbury at this point in the draft is good value and he is a plug and play starter.
#32 New England Patriots – DT Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame
The Patriots never properly replaced Dominique Easley as an interior rusher once they moved on from the oft-injured defensive lineman. Mike Pennel does add disruption to their line, but Belichick will default to taking the best player available. Tillery is the best player left on the board, and can help generate a pass rush, an area where the Patriots were terrible during the regular season.