I have now done all my positional draft rankings, given in-depth analysis of about 150 prospects and put together my top 100 big board. Now it is time for my one and only mock draft of the year. I don’t like doing more than one since it’s all speculation and listening to reports, rather than actually being able to evaluate talent and where these young men should be selected. It is almost impossible to predict draft day trades and there could still be a major chess piece ruling the first round – where will Josh Rosen end up if the Cardinals do go quarterback at number one? Regardless, I tried to predict So to clear this up – This is what I think will happen, not necessarily what I would do.
1. Arizona Cardinals
Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
I am seeing all these reports about how the Cardinals are expected to pass up on the Heisman trophy winner, but I think this might just be a smokescreen. Last year reports came out very late in the process that the Browns would select Baker Mayfield first overall and they would proof to be true, but we have been hearing all long that the Cardinals would be going with Kyler Murray and I won’t just throw all that out of the window now at the last moment. This makes too much sense. New head coach Kliff Kingsbury has wanted to get his hands on this kid ever since he first tried to recruit him and he would be the perfect fit for his Air-Raid offense, even if Josh Rosen would probably do well in it too.
2. San Francisco 49ers
Nick Bosa, Edge, Ohio State
This is the second one that I think has been locked in pretty much since the combine. The 49ers have drafted three defensive linemen, that all are at their best at 3-technique in their 4-3 defense. They already traded a second-round pick for Dee Ford and now they get the most refined edge rusher in the draft to complete that front. Like his brother Joey, Nick Bosa uses his hands and power exceptionally well to dominate matchups and he will be a stalwart for the Niners for the next decade plus now. All of a sudden that San Francisco pass rush could go from being in the bottom third in terms of sacks to one of the most potent units in the league.
3. New York Jets
Josh Allen, Edge, Kentucky
The Jets are desperately looking for a trade partner because they already have their franchise quarterback in Sam Darnold and they need to put a better overall roster around him. The only teams I could see moving up here would be the Broncos or Bengals in case they fall in love with a quarterback. The asking price by Gang Green however would likely be their first-round pick, a second-rounder and a 2020 first-rounder. I don’t see either one going all out, so the logical choice was Josh Allen. The SEC’s reigning sack-leader had a monster 2018 season and could be the elite edge rusher this team has been trying to find forever.
4. Oakland Raiders
Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama
No way can the Raiders pass on who I think is the best player in the entire draft. Quinnen Williams is about as flawless a prospect as it gets outside of having just one full season of production. New Oakland GM Mike Mayock had another Alabama interior D-linemen in Jonathan Allen second on his big board only behind Myles Garrett a couple of years ago and I think Williams’ upside is definitely superior to Allen’s. The Raiders need pass rush help badly after finishing with a ridiculous 13(!) sacks last season. Big Q led all interior defenders with 55 total pressures in 2018 while also being one of the premiere run-stoppers, putting up 17 tackles for loss as well.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Devin White, LB, LSU
Another selection that makes too much sense for me to pass up. The Bucs just decided let Kwon Alexander walk in free agency and now have a void right in the middle of their defense. Lavonte David is one of the more underrated linebackers in the NFL, but he needs a running mate on that Tampa Bay defense. Devin White is one of the most freakish athletes we have seen come into the league in recent years. He ran a 4.42 at the combine and packs a ton of power. His instincts and reads are a little inconsistent at this point, but he could develop into a star at the next level.
6. New York Giants
Rashan Gary, Edge, Michigan
This is the first pick I really struggled with, because even though Eli Manning is not even starter material at this point to me, they decided to stick with him for one more year and I don’t see how they could grab a quarterback with the sixth overall pick and leave him on the bench for a full season, especially with the pressure the media and fans would be putting on the G-Men if they struggle early on. Therefore I went with the type of player GM Dave Gettleman tends to fall for. Rashan Gary didn’t nearly produce at the level you would want a top ten pick to do during his career at Michigan as a former number one overall recruit, but he is a monster when you at his physical tools and the size he brings to the table.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
I really only debated between two positions here for the Jaguars – either a tight-end in the mold of Zach Ertz like new quarterback Nick Foles had in Philadelphia or a right tackle to protect him. I went with the latter one because of Doug Marrone and Tom Coughlin’s history with offensive linemen and the consensus I am starting to get about who most teams around the league saw as the number one tackle in the draft. Jawaan Taylor would immediately upgrade the rushing attack, which Jacksonville is looking to feature heavily, while giving them a steady presence in the protection.
8. Detroit Lions
Montez Sweat, Edge, Mississippi State
Matt Patricia is looking to build a beast in Motown in New England fashion and I think he sees his version of Willie McGinest in this young edge rusher from Mississippi State. Montez Sweat is another athletic phenom, running a 4.41 at 6’6”, 260 pounds while being one of the most physical players on the edge. The Lions head coach already brought over Trey Flowers from his former team, but he might slide inside for Detroit on third downs and they still need a true outside guys with letting Ezekiel Ansah still on the open market.
9. Buffalo Bills
Ed Oliver, DL, Houston
If this kid is still on the board when the Bills are on the clock, they should be running up to the podium and announce the selection themselves. Ed Oliver is the biggest phenom in the draft for me. I have him as my number four overall prospect because the three guys ahead of him are more “sure things” than the Houston defensive tackle, who played out of position, but I said two years ago that if you made me choose any player in college football first overall it would be the freshman sensation. His athletic profile and disruptiveness off the snap are just stupid. With Kyle Williams retired, the Bills need to find an impact 3-technique for their scheme and Oliver could be just that.
10. Denver Broncos
Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
It took a while because there was no real threat to select a quarterback after the Giants at number six overall, but Drew Lock is my second signal-caller off the board. Just imagine a 6’4”, 230-pound Gunslinger with a huge arm and excellent athleticism, who came one touchdown short of 100 in college football’s toughest conference and tell me how John Elway can pass on that guy. I personally have Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins as my number two quarterback and Lock as more of a fringe first-rounder, but I could easily see the Mizzou QB be the top passer in their rankings and Joe Flacco is not the long-term answer.
11. Cincinnati Bengals
Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
With this the Bengals have their potential franchise signal-caller sitting right there for them. It is really hard to project how new head coach Zac Taylor looks at Andy Dalton and the type of quarterback he covets, but I think we all know by now what Dalton is and Dwayne Haskins could have tremendous success under the former quarterback whisperer. The Ohio State standout loves to operate over the middle, where he will have Tyler Boyd and Tyler Eifert to go along with a forgotten superstar in A.J. Green. If they don’t pull the trigger here, I see them going linebacker with Michigan’s Devin Bush.
12. Green Bay Packers
T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
Complete overhaul in Green Bay. The front office needed to be rumbled out and they needed a new face to work with Aaron Rodgers. Matt LaFleur’s offense will try to take pressure of one of the most talented quarterbacks I have ever seen by running the ball more frequently, incorporating play-action and coming up with more creative pass concepts. Adding a highly versatile tight-end in T.J. Hockenson, who brings a ton of a value as a true Y on running downs, while being a natural route runner to go along with it would be an important step.
13. Miami Dolphins
Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
So the Dolphins need a new quarterback, assuming that Ryan Fitzpatrick can not possibly be in for more than spot duty. I don’t want to use the “t-word” to describe what they are doing and I have never actually seen somebody lose on purpose and that actually working out in the NFL, but with the top three signal callers gone at this point and not a lot of noise about them trading up to get their future guy, they have to look at the offensive tackle position. Jonah Williams was as consistently great at Alabama as it gets. He allowed just one sack and three quarterback hits over the last two years and could be perennial Pro Bowler from the start.
14. New York Giants via Atlanta Falcons
Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
We have a trade to announce! The Giants decided to skip on a quarterback with their first selection, but with all the connections between them and Daniel Jones, I think they will not let Washington at 15 decide for them if they get the Duke signal-caller. We all know by know about him having played under David Cutcliff, who also coached the Manning brothers, and there has been so much stuff coming out of the New York camp that I had to come up and grab him here. I definitely don’t agree with it, since I didn’t have him make the cut for my top 100 prospects in the draft, but I think it will happen.
15. Houston Texans via Washington Redskins
Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
And another trade! With the big four quarterbacks off the board and nobody that really fills a huge need for the Redskins at this point, I see them trading back with the Houston Texans in exchange for the 23rd overall selection and one of their two consecutive second-round picks. Houston might have the worst starting five on the offensive line in the entire league and I already talked about that before the 2018 season even started. So they get in front of another tackle-needy team in the Panthers to grab their franchise guy on the left side. Andre Dillard probably has the most athletic feet in this class and they need to protect Deshaun Watson, who was sacked more than anybody in the league last year.
16. Carolina Panthers
Clelin Ferrell, Edge, Clemson
Without a true left tackle available and Julius Peppers retiring, the Panthers have to look at edge rusher at this point of the draft. I was debating between Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell and Florida State’s Brian Burns, but ultimately went with Ferrell because he fits their scheme better. Burns is an underrated run-defender and I actually have him ahead between the two because of his ridiculous bend and burst off the line, but Ferrell is a true defensive end in a four-down linemen front and a more accomplished player overall when you look at his performances in the big games for the reigning national champs.
17. Atlanta Falcons via New York Giants
Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson
The Falcons worked the board perfectly in this scenario, because they traded back three spots for the Giants earlier pick in the fourth round (108th overall) and still ended up with the guy I think they have had their eyes on all along. Will you can argue the scheme fit, this seems to make the most sense out of any of these selections. Christian Wilkins has turned himself into one of the most productive pass rushers in the nation (47 total pressures) and has the versatility to move all over the defensive line, plus he would be paired up with two other former Clemson stars in Grady Jarrett and Vic Beasley. Just because of that and how crazy the draft always is, I might be surprised once again.
18. Minnesota Vikings
Cody Ford, OT/G, Oklahoma
The Minnesota Vikings need help on the offensive line – at multiple spots. They overpaid for Riley Reiff coming over from Detroit a couple of years ago and they just saw starting left guard Nick Easton walk out the door. I still believe Pat Elflein could be the long-term solution at center and I thought Brian O’Neill, who they selected in the second round out of Pittsburgh last year, could develop into a franchise tackle, but their guard spots look very flawed to me. I have Cody Ford as my third-highest rated tackle, because I think his feet are good enough to stay on the right outside, but he is such a powerful dude that I think he could shine inside to start his career before the Vikes move over O’Neill to the left side and let the Oklahoma kid take over that spot down the road.
19. Tennessee Titans
Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
Delanie Walker will turn 35 before the start of the season and while I like Jonnu Smith, who they selected in the third round out of FIU last year, I think he will be a really valuable TE2. Fant is a different kind of cat. There are only very few 250-pound tight-ends who run a 4.5 flat and jump 39.5 inches on the vertical – and I mean ever. The second guy out of Iowa will give them a different element to go along with Corey Davis at X, now Adam Humphries in the slot and several quality Z receivers.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers
Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
Man, if the Steelers are on the clock and this young man is still available, they have to thank god and just hand in the card. Ever since Ryan Shazier had his horrifying injury (and thankfully the progress he has made in his recovery) the Steelers defense has not been the same without that dynamic leader in the middle. Devin Bush is the type of linebacker, who could immediately turn this thing back around. He is fast, he blows up opponents, he brings energy to the field and he is as feisty as a competitor as it gets – perfect for the AFC North.
21. Seattle Seahawks
Brian Burns, Edge, Florida State
Even though the Seahawks still need some help on the offensive line and I don’t understand how Germain Ifedi is still a starter in this league, I think they added enough at the guard spots with Mike Iupati and D.J. Fluker that they can address a different area. I think the rumors about trading Frank Clark, who is unwilling to play under the franchise tag, are true and that would leave them with very little pressure off the edge. Brian Burns actually is my number 11 overall prospect and I think he could be a difference maker for whoever selects him.ss he has made in his recovery) the Steelers defense has not been the same without that dynamic leader in the middle. Devin Bush is the type of linebacker, who could immediately turn this thing back around. He is fast, he blows up opponents, he brings energy to the field and he is as feisty as a competitor as it gets – perfect for the AFC North.
22. Kansas City Chiefs via Baltimore Ravens
Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
This was the most logical trade for me. The Ravens are without a second-round pick at this point, the Chiefs have two of them and they need help on the perimeter in a major way. Greedy Williams is the most talented prospect at the cornerback position out there. He has 4.37 speed and elite length, which both are desperately lacking among the guys in Kansas City’s defensive backfield. I have questions about his competitive toughness and physicality overall, but his upside is through the roof.
23. Washington Redskins
D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
When I first put together this mock draft, I didn’t expect the freakiest athlete out there to fall this far, but with the Redskins trading down originally and all teams after that having bigger needs in other areas, the Ole Miss wideout lands in the nation’s capital at 23rd overall. D.K. Metcalf looks like a superhero and while his production never was there all the way because of injuries, inconsistent quarterback play and offensive play-calling, he is a size/speed absurdity and Washington is still waiting for Josh Doctson to break out for them.
24. Oakland Raiders
Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
I have the Raiders going right back to the defensive side of the ball and grabbing my top prospect at another position of need. Even with Gareon Conley starting to show flashes of why he was a first-round pick, Nick Nelson more than a year away from a torn meniscus and some other guys on the roster, Oakland still needs that number one corner they can rely on and I think they find him here. Byron Murphy is the top zone- and off-man cornerback in this draft. His change-of-direction is outstanding, he plays with rare instincts and he does not shy away from tackling.
25. Philadelphia Eagles
Joshua Jacobs, RB, Alabama
This is a perfect match. The Eagles need a true number one back and this kid is the top guy available at the position. Josh Jacobs might not have blazing speed and he only had one year of real production, but he is a really complete player. He can run zone or power for them, catch the ball out of the backfield and protect Carson Wentz. Philadelphia just added Jordan Howard and they have other guys who can do some of that stuff, but Jacobs can do everything that they can better. He is a violent runner, who understands how to set up his blockers and the defenders.
26. Indianapolis Colts
Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State
I talked about how Colts were coming for the Patriots throne over the AFC if they had another one or two good offseasons to add talent. With Andrew Luck healthy, maybe the best offensive line in front of him and difference-makers on the defensive side of the ball they have the foundation to be a perennial championship contender, but they still need to add some playmakers. I though hard about adding cornerback help here, but instead I went with the wide receiver that I thought would fit best what the Colts need. There is some steam building for Hakeem Butler going in the first round and while I have him right on the edge to round two because of his drops, he is a matchup problem at 6’5”, who has experience at every receiver spot.
27. Oakland Raiders
Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
It took us a while to get to the wide receivers, but this is the third one of the board within five selections. The Raider already added two big pieces on defense in my version of the draft, so they could add another weapon to the offense. They already signed Tyree Williams and no move was bigger than the Antonio Brown trade, but why not bring in AB’s cousin as the premiere deep threat in this draft. Marquise Brown was a star at Oklahoma these last two years after transferring from junior college and he would give those other guys even more room to operate with that kind of speed.
28. Los Angeles Chargers
Jerry Tillery, DL, Notre Dame
We saw in the Divisional Round that two premiere edge rushers can’t always change the game with Tom Brady getting rid of the ball in a matter of two seconds, so the Chargers add one the guy who finished third among interior defensive linemen in total pressures only behind Quinnen Willliams and Ohio State’s Dre’Mont Jones. Corey Luiget is not under contract at the moment and Jerry Tillery has all the tools to be a dominant force on the inside for Los Angeles. They should be able to trust those guys around him to play with the effort and control he did last season for the Irish.
29. Baltimore Ravens via Kansas City Chiefs
Garrett Bradbury, OL, N.C. State
Eric DeCosta is picking up right where Ozzie Newsome left off and works the board beautifully here. The Ravens are without a second-round pick at the moment in a draft that has a lot of meat in the 20 to 60 range, so that 61st overall selection provided by the Chiefs could be a huge pick-up for them. At the same time I think they get the best prospect out there for what they need. Baltimore had to let Ryan Jensen walk last offseason and they really struggled to fill that spot which influenced what they did around it as well. Garrett Bradbury is my number one center and he will open up Greg Roman’s running schemes due to his ability to get on the move and reach-block defenders.
30. Green Bay Packers
Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State
First the Packers grab someone who can exploit defenses down the seams and underneath, now they get someone who will punish anybody coming into those areas against them. Jonathan Abram is smashmouth safety, who plays full speed all the time and really sets the tone for the game with his style of play. The addition of Adrian Amos was one of the best under-the-radar moves this offseason, but I still believe Green Bay could add somebody who can jump in at safety and bring some attitude to that side of the ball, especially without long-time star Clay Matthews.
31. Los Angeles Rams
Chris Lindstrom, OL, Boston College
The Rams just were embarrassed offensively in the Super Bowl because of how much more physical the Patriots were than them and so they go right back into the trenches. Chris Lindstrom was a mauler in the run game at Boston College, but he still needed to prove to me that he can win one-on-one consistently in the pure drop-back passing game and he did so at the Senior Bowl. With Rodger Saffold leaving in free agency, I think he would be an excellent fit, especially considering how much play-action Sean McVay runs anyway.
32. New England Patriots
Dexter Lawrence, DL, Clemson
We have reached the final pick of the first round and once again we see a familiar face in the New England Patriots. Once again, they would not be dismissive towards trading down if a team wanted to jump back up into the first round for a quarterback, but with no team over the next 14 picks really looking to address that position anymore, I think they stay put and get another absolute steal. Dexter Lawrence has not received the type of hype you would expect because he tested positive for PEDs ahead of Clemson’s playoff run, but we are talking about a 340-pound dancing bear who could end up looking like a top ten pick a few years from now.
Bonus: Washington Redskins trade 46th and 96th pick for Josh Rosen from Arizona Cardinals
So with most teams finding their future guys at the quarterback position, this came down to the Redskins and Chargers in the Josh Rosen sweepstakes. I went with Washington, because I think they are more desperate to find the answer now and they have the capital to make a move with a mid-second rounder and two picks in the third. Finally Rosen is free and he can turn into the savior for a franchise that is waiting for Case Keenum and Colt McCoy to take them to the playoffs with a strong rushing attack and defense.