The NFL draft may be the greatest spectacle in all of sports. The embodiment of hope springs eternal, the draft provides 32 franchises and millions of fans a chance to believe that their rebuild won’t last forever or that they can finally find the final piece to put them over the top. Before all the fun begins on Thursday night, here is one final no trades, mock draft.
- Arizona Cardinals- Kyler Murray QB Oklahoma
Murray is the perfect fit for the Air Raid offense that new coach, Kliff Kingsbury, plans on implementing. Murray’s elite athleticism will help him with that porous offensive line out in Arizona, and his experience in the Air Raid at Oklahoma should help with his transition to the NFL. Now if only the Cardinals could find a trade partner for Josh Rosen – that would make this pick all but a guarantee, but I do think no matter what, Murray is going to be the number one pick.
- San Francisco 49ers- Nick Bose Edge Ohio State
When Bosa falls, the 49ers will be running the card up to the commissioner. Bosa is the number one ranked player in this class and has all the tools to be the next great pass rushing star in the NFL. As long as he stays healthy, he is going to be a star, and for the 49ers, adding Bosa opposite newly-acquired Dee Ford gives them one formidable pass rush.
- New York Jets- Josh Allen Edge Kentucky
The Jets have a massive hole at edge rusher, and after missing out on free agent Anthony Barr, they fill that need with the versatile Josh Allen. Allen had 17.5 sacks a season ago at Kentucky, and his production, tape, and size, 6 feet 5 inches tall and 250 pounds, show that he has the ability to be an excellent edge rusher from day one. He also can drop back and play a bit of outside linebacker in Gregg Williams’s 3-4 Scheme, increasing his value to the Jets.
- Oakland Raiders- Quinnen Williams DL Alabama
Anyone who tells you they know what Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden are going to do in the draft are lying to your face. These two unconventional men could go a number of ways in this draft, and don’t be surprised by a QB; we know how Jon loves his offensive players. However, I have to believe that they’ll go with the best player available, and that is Quinnen Williams. The Bama Star is an elite interior presence who would transform the Raiders’ anemic pass rush and help Gruden and Mayock set a foundation for this team heading into their move to Las Vegas in 2020.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Devin White LB LSU
If the board plays out this way, the Buccaneers will be thrilled. They have major holes all along their defense, but after losing Kwon Alexander in free agency, they are able to fill their need at LB with the best player available on the board. White is as good of a middle linebacker prospect as you will find. He has the speed to make any play, and he is a leader, something this Buccaneers defense absolutely needs.
- New York Giants- Ed Oliver DL Houston
What, no QB at 6? Yep, Giants fans. David Gettleman’s crusade against common sense continues as he ignores the team’s biggest need to take a pass rusher. Reports state that Gettleman is obsessed with getting a pass rusher with the sixth pick, and while I can also see Montez Sweat going here, I think Ed Oliver’s potential is too much for Dave to pass on. Oliver was a one man wrecking crew during his first two years on campus, and with his rare blend of athletic traits and technique, we could be looking at an Aaron Donald lite type of player.
- Jacksonville Jaguars- Jawaan Taylor OL Florida
The Jags need to protect their new franchise QB, Nick Foles, and Taylor is the best Tackle prospect in this class. He moves very well for a man of his size, and has excellent power in his punch. He can slide into the Right Tackle position for the Jags and help to keep the pocket clean for Foles while also improving the running game.
- Detroit Lions- Jonah Williams OL Alabama
My beloved Lions could go a number of ways with the 8th pick. While I think their primary goal is to trade back, if they stay put at 8 in this scenario, I think they’ll go with Jonah Williams. The Lions have a massive hole at right guard, and Williams’s versatility allows him to play that spot for a season or two. If they want, they can slide him over to replace Rick Wagner. Bob Quinn also has an affinity for drafting SEC players early, as out of his six first or second-round picks, he has taken five SEC players. Plus, the draft is deep on the D-line and at Corner, so the Lions fill their biggest hole here, and then can fill their other needs later on.
- Buffalo Bills- Montez Sweat Edge Mississippi State
The Bills, unfortunately, miss out on their top options in Oliver and Jonah Williams with the way the board has played out. Montez Sweat is not a bad consolation prize, though. WIth Jerry Hughes at 30 and Shaq Lawson yet to live up to his first round pedigree, Sweat would come in day one and provide this pass rush with the elite edge presence they need to complete their defense. With Tre’davious White, Tremaine Edmunds, and now Sweat, the Bills would have an elite young talent at all three levels of their defense. They can find help for Josh Allen with all the rest of their picks.
- Denver Broncos- Devin Bush Jr. LB Michigan
While I think the Broncos need to get a QB (and no, I don’t believe in Joe Flacco), all reports coming out of Denver seem to be that Elway is not going to force a QB pick at 10. With that being the case, I think he placates new head coach, Vic Fangio, by finding his Raquon Smith clone in Devin Bush. The speedy undersize LB out of Michigan is a sideline-to-sideline presence, and he can be a 3 down force at LB, which Fangio is going to love.
- Cincinnati Bengals- Dwayne Haskins QB Ohio State
Haskins falls a bit in this draft, and that’s OK for Cincinnati, as new coach, Zac Taylor, would love to get his QB of the future. The Bengals can let Haskins sit and learn for a season under Andy Dalton, who has no more guaranteed money left on his deal, which means they can cut him and not take any dead money on the cap next season. The key for Haskins reaching his potential will be for him to learn how to be effective when things break down. When the pocket is clean, Haskins looks like a star; it’s when teams get pressure on him and he has to improvise that he struggles immensely. For the Bengals, give Taylor his guy and let the QB guru do what he does best and hopefully develop their next franchise QB.
- Green Bay Packers- T.J. Hockenson TE Iowa
The Packers were aggressive in free agency, and the signings of Preston smith, Za’Darius Smith, and Adrian Amos helped shore up their much maligned defense. That allows the Packers to get Aaron Rodgers some help in this draft, and Rodgers should love the do-it-all TE Hockenson. Yes, they have Jimmy Graham already on the team, but he is on the wrong side of 30 and didn’t look great in his first season in Green Bay. With Hockenson, the Packers get Rodgers some help and a potential replacement for Graham in the future.
- Miami Dolphins- Rasean Gary Edge Michigan
The Dolphins seem content to skip this year’s QB class early on, as they have their sights set on next year’s star-studded class. Due to that, I think they have to continue to rebuild this D-line, and the versatile Gary is an excellent value at 13. While he never really lived up to the hype at Michigan, Gary has all the tools to be an inside/outside force in the NFL and is a perfect fit for new coach Brian Flores scheme.
- Atlanta Falcons- Christian Wilkins DL Clemson
While the Falcons do have holes on their O-Line, I think the value and need fit of Wilkins is too good to pass up. He can slide in right next to Grady Jarrett on the D-line and gives the Falcons an excellent front four, while also providing Atlanta insurance in case they don’t resign Jarrett, who is playing on the franchise tag this season.
- Washington Redskins- Drew Lock QB Missouri
Washington needs a QB desperately, and Dan Snyder has never been one to shy away from making bold moves. While I do believe they are a team to watch out for in the Josh Rosen trade stakes, in this mock, I have them taking the strong-armed Lock out of Missouri. Lock can make all the throws, and while he needs to work on his mechanics, footwork, and accuracy, he would be a high upside option for Jay Gruden to mold into his potential franchise QB.
- Carolina Panthers- Cody Ford OL Oklahoma
The Panthers need to do a better job of protecting Cam Newton, and Cody Ford has the versatility to play multiple spots on the O-Line. Ford has excellent footwork and size, and while he needs to work on his technique, he projects as a solid right tackle prospect who can also kick in to guard. He should be able to help keep Cam upright while also opening holes for Christian McCaffrey in the running game.
- New York Giants- Daniel Jones OB Duke
With their second first-round pick, Gettleman finally gives the fans what they want and drafts Eli Manning’s successor at 17. Jones has prototypical size and very good athleticism, but watching his tape, he lacks arm strength, and his lack of accuracy (59% in college) is concerning. However, he comes from the David Cutcliff tree (the same one Eli and Peyton come from) so we know he is well-coached, and his work in a pro style system in college should help him in his transition to the pros. I see Andy Dalton type upside with Jones as a guy who can be a solid starter in the right system.
- Minnesota Vikings- Andre Dillard OL Washington State
The Vikings must take an Offensive Linemen in this draft, or preferably, multiple ones. At 18, Dillard is the best tackle prospect left on my board, and while he may not develop into a good run blocker, his pass blocking is excellent, and he should be able to help keep Kirk Cousins clean whether he is on the blind side or the right side of the line.
- Tennessee Titans- Brian Burns Edge Florida State
The Titans lost two starting edge rushers this past offseason, and while Cameron Wake and Harold Landry can help fill the void, in this scenario they get value and need by adding the dynamic Brian Burns. Burns is long, 6 feet 5 inches, and has the speed to bend the edge, as he showed with his excellent tape at Florida State. While he can struggle at times defending the run, he has great upside and is easily worth the pick here at 19.
- Pittsburgh Steelers- Greedy Williams CB LSU
The Steelers have needed to fix their secondary for years, and while they have a hole at LB, they can fill that in the later rounds. Here they take the top-ranked boundary corner on my board, and that’s Williams. Williams has the length and speed to be a solid corner and is very good in man-to-man coverage. He seems allergic to tackling, but so was Deion Sanders, and he turned out all right.
- Seattle Seahawks- Taylor Rapp S Washington
With the first of their two first round picks, the Seahawks find their replacement for the departed Earl Thomas and the retired Kam Chancellor by getting the aggressive, versatile Rapp. He can play either Safety spot and has the size and tool combo to be a 10 year starter at either position.
- Baltimore Ravens- DK Metcalf WR Ole Miss
The Ravens need to add weapons for new QB Lamar Jackson, and while Metcalf tore up the combine, if you go back and watch his tape, he leaves a lot to be desired. Hence, I do not believe he will be a top 15 pick. He needs to work on his footwork and route running and can disappear at times. He has all the traits to be a top receiver, but he reminds me a lot of Devonte Adams, who took three years before he finally broke out, and I expect Metcalf to take some time to develop.
- Houston Texans- Chris Lindstrom OL Boston College
The Texans have got to protect their franchise QB in Deshaun Watson, who was sacked an NFL high 62 times last season. Enter Lindstrom, who has been a late riser up draft boards. The 6-foot-4-inch, 308-pound guard out of Boston College has elite athleticism and excellent technique and would help at either guard or tackle on the Texans line.
- Oakland Raiders- Josh Jacobs RB Alabama
With their second of three first-round picks, Jon Gruden gets his offensive guy in Alabama running back Josh Jacobs. Jacobs is the top back in this class and is as solid a prospect as you can get at the position. He profiles as an every down back, and with the retirement of Marshawn Lynch, can step right into the offense and be the grinder that Gruden loves.
- Philadelphia Eagles- Dalton Risner OL Kansas State
Jason Peters can’t play forever, and with Risner the Eagles get his potential replacement and a versatile tackle who can fill in all over the line. Risner played center, guard and tackle in college, and he is an absolute mauler. He has to work on his lateral movement and his ability in the passing game, but the value and fit is almost too perfect for the Eagles.
- Indianapolis Colts- Jeffrey Simmons DL Mississippi State
A consensus Top 10 talent in this draft, Simmons falls due to a torn ACL he suffered before the combine. Provided he comes back healthy, Simmons has all the tools to be a menace on the interior. He has excellent movement, and his ability to work on the inside and penetrate the B gap especially is next-level. He is an excellent value for the Colts who can wait for him to return healthy and help them in 2020, or maybe even at the end of this season.
- Oakland Raiders- Byron Murphy CB Washington
The Raiders have filled many of their needs but still have a massive hole opposite Gareon Conley. Enter Byron Murphy, who may have the best technique of any of the corners in this year’s class. While he is undersized, Murphy is scrappy and aggressive, two traits Jon Gruden is notorious in his love for.
- Los Angeles Chargers- Dexter Lawrence DL Clemson
The Chargers don’t have many needs, but one gaping hole on this roster is the interior of the D-Line. Dexter Lawrence is a massive man, 6 feet 4 inches and 342 pounds, and is the best nose tackle in this class. His presence can help allow sack artists Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa more one-on-one opportunities in the pass rush and help make this defense one of the best in the game.
- Seattle Seahawks- Clelin Ferrell Edge Clemson
The Seahawks got this pick in the Frank Clark deal, which created a gaping hole on their pass rush. What better way to fill it than by taking one of the safest picks of this class in Ferrell? While he doesn’t have the upside of the guys taken ahead of him, Ferrell has all the traits to be a solid NFL starter for the next decade and can help replace some of the lost production of Frank Clark.
- Green Bay Packers- Darnell Savage Jr. S Maryland
Savage is exploding up draft boards due to his excellent combine, 4.36 40-yard dash, and that, coupled with his production at Maryland, where he had eight interceptions, makes him one of the more interesting prospects in this class. He would fill out the Packers’ revamped secondary and help give the team a potential ball hawk in the back four.
- Los Angeles Rams- Erik McCoy OL Texas A & M
The Rams lost two stalwarts on their O-line in Rodger Safforld and John Sullivan and need to find a way to replace them and keep their incredible offense humming. That’s where McCoy fits in perfectly. The former Aggie can play anywhere on the interior and showed he is an excellent run blocker in the tough SEC. His pass blocking needs some work, but other than that, he can fill a major need for the Rams at 31.
- New England Patriots- Noah Fant TE Iowa
I do not believe the Patriots will be making this pick at 32, as Belichick is notorious for moving around during the draft. That being said, if the Pats stay Pat and he is on the board, they have to take Noah Fant. The dynamic athlete from Iowa is one of my favorite players in this class and can help replace the great Rob Gronkowski. He is a matchup nightmare with solid size but excellent speed and the ability to run past linebackers and the size to make life miserable for safeties.