The NFL Draft will begin in just over 10 days. Dreams will come true and the futures of franchises will be set. It’s one of my favorite events in all of sports. In this mock, I tried to write about what happened in free agency as much as about what could happen in the draft. If you want to read more about the descriptions of these players, look back to my first two mocks. However, if you’re caught up, stay and enjoy the article.
- Arizona Cardinals – Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
No change of pick here. The Cards haven’t given any indication that they won’t draft Murray and they shouldn’t. Kyler and Kliff Kingsbury will be the next young coach/QB connection in the NFL. As I’ve wrote before, tickets will be sold to watch Murray, something the Cards haven’t had in awhile.
- Denver Broncos (from San Francisco 49ers) – Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio St.
This is a trade not commonly predicted by analysts. Not many people think the Niners want to trade down and miss the chance to draft Nick Bosa. However, San Francisco’s D-Line features first rounders Arik Armstead, Solomon Thomas, DeForest Buckner, and now Dee Ford. In my opinion, they should be looking to trade down. Denver won’t be able to survive on Joe Flacco for long, so they need their future sooner rather than later. Haskins is the typical QB John Elway wants. He has size and a strong arm, so I’d be Elway already has his eyes on this player.
- New York Jets – Nick Bosa, Edge, Ohio St.
The Jets would be ecstatic if Bosa falls in their lap. If this happens, forget the trading down rumors, N.Y. is staying put. Bosa is the best player in the draft. Period. After signing the likes of C.J. Mosley and Le’Veon Bell, the Jets need one more piece. Bosa is that piece.
- Oakland Raiders – Josh Allen, Edge, Kentucky
Same pick for the Raiders here. Allen is just a step below Bosa. He was a monster in college and he could be the Khalil Mack of Las Vegas. In fact, as long as we’re talking about Las Vegas, I’d bet on this guy becoming a star quickly. It feels like the Raiders, similar to the Jets, just need one more piece to put them in contention and that would be an edge rusher like Allen.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
Like last mock, this isn’t really a need for the Bucs. However, he’s way too talented to pass up on here. He moves extremely well for his size and DT Gerald McCoy will likely be out the door one way or another. Any team should be happy to pick Williams if he falls down to number 5.
- New York Giants – Devin White, ILB, LSU
If Haskins is gone, then the Giants have other ways to acquire a QB (keep reading). Taking a defensive general would be a great pick for NY. White is so dynamic I find it hard to project him out of the top 10. The Giants defense, which used to be a strength, is now depleted. After losing Landon Collins, they gain a ballhawk back here.
- Jacksonville Jaguars – Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
Instead of going for a receiver, say the Jags solidify their line instead. Taylor is a sturdy right tackle, which is a position of need for Jacksonville. They need their line to create space for Leonard Fournette and also to keep a clean pocket for Nick Foles when he drops back. Jawaan Taylor would be an immediate starter for this offense.
- Detroit Lions – Montez Sweat, Edge, Mississippi St.
The speedy Sweat would be a perfect counterpart to newly-signed Trey Flowers. Improving coach Matt Patricia’s defense should be the priority. The Lions haven’t had a premiere pass-rusher on their team in a long time, so having two will be a luxury.
- Buffalo Bills – T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
This pick makes all the sense in the world. Hockenson can block, go short, or go deep. The Bills loaded up on free agent wide receivers, so adding a tight end to their repertoire would complete a long process of adding pass-catchers to the roster. Also, since Hockenson can go deep, he’ll showcase Josh Allen’s cannon more than we’ve seen it so far in the NFL.
- San Francisco 49ers (from Denver Broncos) – D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
The Niners would benefit greatly from this trade. While adding a second rounder, they still would manage to grab a top receiver for years to come. Metcalf is a freak, and while the 49ers failed to get AB or OBJ, they should be happy with Metcalf. I’m sure Jimmy G would love having George Kittle and D.K. to throw to for years to come.
- Washington Redskins (from Cincinnati Bengals) – Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
The Redskins are the most QB-needy team in the NFL right now. They can always trade for Josh Rosen, but if Drew Lock makes it out of the top 10, this option could be cheaper. Plus, they’ll have Lock for more years than Rosen if they choose to execute this trade. The next order of business for the ‘Skins after taking the strong-armed Lock would be to get him some receivers.
- Green Bay Packers – Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
Nobody knows how much longer Aaron Rodgers will be in the league, so why not maximize his last years? Brown missed the Combine, but his play at Oklahoma is all you need to see to know he’s a top receiver. A-Rod can still sling it, but I could see Brown outrunning his throws from time to time. In all seriousness, despite his injury, Brown should be a top pick, and since the Packers filled defensive holes in free agency, it’s time to address the offensive needs.
- Miami Dolphins – Rashan Gary, Edge, Michigan
If Lock is gone, Miami might as well draft Rashan Gary. With players like Jake Fromm, Justin Herbert, Tua Tagovailoa, and Trevor Lawrence entering future drafts, why force a pick? I say ride out FitzMagic for a year and grab a top-flight edge rusher like Rashan Gary. I’m sure new defensive-minded coach Brian Flores would approve.
- Atlanta Falcons – Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
Oliver could easily jump far up draft boards, but let’s say he falls here. First of all, Atlanta would be ecstatic when they take the top-ranked defensive tackle of this class. Second, despite receiving less money than if he were drafted higher, I’d bet Oliver would be happy joining a talented team and playing alongside top-tier DT Grady Jarrett. If Oliver falls to number 14, this is a surefire pick.
- Cincinnati Bengals (from Washington Redskins) – Devin Bush, ILB, Michigan
The Bengals linebacking corps is very shallow. If Devin White is gone, they could certainly look at a quarterback like Drew Lock or an edge rusher. However, they need linebackers so bad that they should choose Devin Bush. Bush likely won’t be drafted until after the 15th pick, so this deal makes sense for the Bengals.
- Carolina Panthers – Brian Burns, Edge, Florida St.
Burns is a versatile D-Lineman who showed speed and good hands at the Combine. Julius Peppers retired, leaving the Panthers front in shambles. It’s no question that the Panthers need edge rushers and Burns is the best available here.
- Arizona Cardinals (from New York Giants) – Jonah Williams, OL, Alabama
In this fantasy trade, the Cards send the Giants Josh Rosen in exchange for the 17th pick. So, the G-Men acquire a former 10th overall pick for the 17th choice, while the Cards bolster an offensive line that will need to protect the draft’s top selection. Jonah Williams can play guard or tackle and Arizona needs both.
- Minnesota Vikings – Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma
(From my last mock) – This pick was also part of my last mock because it makes a lot of sense. The Vikes O-Line was straight up awful last year. Then they released last year’s starting guard Mike Remmers. Ford can play tackle or guard, so his versatility could come in handy to Minnesota. The Vikings need to protect Kirk Cousins, and Ford checks that box.
- Tennessee Titans – Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
The Titans addressed part of their D-Line needs in free agency. They signed Cameron Wake, making their edge more secure. Drafting Wilkins would boost the inside, making it an exceptionally productive offseason for the Titans D.
- Pittsburgh Steelers – Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
The Steelers signed Stephen Nelson to address their cornerback concerns, but they’ll need more than a decent veteran to complement Joe Haden. With AB traded, the Steelers brass could target a receiver, but offense shouldn’t be their first concern this draft. I would solidify the defense before potentially remaking the offense around Juju Smith-Schuster and James Conner in the coming years.
- Seattle Seahawks – Chris Lindstrom, OG, Boston College
Today is the deadline for Russell Wilson’s new contract from Seattle. This choice makes sense if Wilson signs or doesn’t. The Seahawks have needed to upgrade their line for years now. Lindstrom is quick and he can play pretty much any position on the line. Seattle needs that type of versatility on their front.
- Baltimore Ravens – Clelin Ferrell, Edge, Clemson
Baltimore lost many key members from their front 7 to free agency. Za’Darius Smith, Terrell Suggs, and C.J. Mosley all left. Drafting Ferrell should make up for their losses on the edge. They need offensive upgrades, too, but they can run with Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram for at least another season.
- Houston Texans – Andre Dillard, OT, Washington St.
(From my last mock) – The Texans offensive line was pitiful last year, allowing Deshaun Watson to be sacked 62 times. Dillard would be an instant starter in Houston. If the Texans made the playoffs with that O-Line, then imagine what they could do with a replenished front.
- Oakland Raiders (from Chicago Bears) – Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
(From my last mock) – Sorry Marshawn Lynch, but the time has come for someone new. The experiment with Marshawn hasn’t gone as planned, so the next step to improving the Raiders should be focusing on Jacobs. He’s a powerful runner who could be the next rookie running back sensation.
- Philadelphia Eagles – Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
The Eagles did end up re-signing Ronald Darby, but only to a 1-year deal. This indicates they could be looking for a long-term replacement in the draft. Greedy Williams is a very polarizing player. He’s obviously very talented, but he’s inconsistent. The Eagles will have depth at cornerback, though, so they can afford to groom him to become a star.
- Indianapolis Colts – Johnathan Abram, SS, Mississippi St.
The Colts are an all-around solid team, but they’re secondary could use some work. Abram is a hard-hitting strong safety who would pair nicely with free safety Malik Hooker. Abram saw his stock rise after the Combine and a first round selection isn’t too lofty for the Mississippi State product. The Colts D needs some pop, and Abram provides some.
- Oakland Raiders (from Dallas Cowboys) – Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
After Jared Cook left in free agency, the Raiders have a hole at tight end. Fant is crazily fast for a player of his position. Oakland needs defensive players, but Josh Jacobs and Fant are so talented I find it hard to believe that if they’re available, Gruden and Mayock would pass up on them. A side note: Derek Carr would have to be jumping for joy if the Raiders haul in Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams, Josh Jacobs, and Noah Fant in a single offseason. That’s an insane upgrade from what he had last season.
- Los Angeles Chargers – Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
L.A.’s two positions of need are linebacker and interior D-Lineman. They signed Thomas Davis, which at least filled that hole temporarily. They have yet to solve their lineman problem, though. Lawrence is a good long-term solution, unlike the 1-year deal they’d likely ink a free agent like Ndamukong Suh to.
- Kansas City Chiefs – Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
The Chiefs had issues with their secondary last year and they’ve only gotten worse. They did sign Tyrann Mathieu, but Eric Berry and Stephen Nelson are gone. They are in dire need of a staunch cornerback. Murphy would provide these services with his dynamic ability to block passes. His ceiling is probably just under Greedy Williams’s, which is a real compliment to his potential.
- Green Bay Packers – Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabama
After the Jimmy Graham experiment failed, the Packers need to give A-Rod a solid tight end. I had them drafting Noah Fant in my last mock, but at this point, he has been taken. That leaves Smith, who is just a slight step under Fant. He was one of Nick Saban’s top receivers for the Crimson Tide in a season where they went to the National Championship. Irv Smith is accustomed to winning and Green Bay needs to re-accustom themselves to achieving.
- Los Angeles Rams – Garrett Bradbury, C, NC State
The Rams don’t seem to have any intention to re-sign veteran center John Sullivan, so it seems likely that they’ll find his replacement soon. Bradbury was had a breakout performance at the Combine. He can be a game 1 starter for L.A.
- New England Patriots – Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi St.
After Malcom Brown departed for New Orleans, New England doesn’t have many talented interior D-Linemen. With the top tight ends gone, Simmons would be a good pick. He has been said to be one of the top players of the draft, but injuries, off-field issues, and, as a result, no Combine performance have brought his stock down. Belichick is a coach of shrewd moves, and this, by all means, would be shrewd.
After a monumental offseason, brace yourselves for April 25th, where the action takes on another level.