Happy Mock Draft Season!!! We’re about a month out from the NFL Draft so I figured I better get this going. Full disclosure: this is based on team needs, my gut, and the uncanny ability to cut through all the smokescreens that teams, GMs, PR staff, and owners are putting out there for us all to eat up. That said, bon a petit!!
1. **TRADE** Raiders (from Cardinals)
This comes down to two things — and we have no idea what is true and what is not: (1) are the Cardinals really ready to move on from last year’s top-10 pick, Josh Rosen, and take Kyler Murray; and (2) is there interest from another team to trade up to select Murray? At this moment, I feel like Arizona is being too “open” with their fake commitment to Rosen. The “he’s our quarterback….for now” quote seems like something you’d say to get people and other teams talking. New head coach Kliff Kingsbury was hired for his ability to work with quarterbacks. If I’m in the Arizona front office, I’m telling him to figure out how to maximize the guy we took last year. And the Raiders would probably jump all over this. Jon Gruden did not like the roster Reggie MacKenzie established so why stop with Derek Carr? Get the QB you want and ship Carr out for more picks in another deal.
The PICK: Kyler Murray, Oklahoma, QB
A couple months ago we’d all have guaranteed that if Nick Bosa wasn’t off the board here, the Niners would grab him in a heartbeat. I feel less adamant about that now. It’s easy to make the case that Quinnen Williams is the best player in the draft — I don’t feel that way, but I also don’t feel like Bosa’s the best either. (That’s called a tease.)
The PICK: Quinnen WIlliams, Alabama, DT
If the Jets could trade this pick, it’d be ideal. They need to recoup as many of those lost picks from last year’s draft when they traded up for Sam Darnold. But in the event the keep the pick, Nick Bosa fills a huge need at edge rusher, and the Jets would be thrilled.
The PICK: nick bosa, ohio state, edge
4. **TRADE** Cardinals (from Raiders)
The Cardinals have a gazillion needs so take your pick here. I am fully in love with Josh Allen, and I believe he’s the most explosive player at the edge position. I like his leadership and the competition he faced in the SEC.
The PICK: josh allen, kentucky, Edge/OLB
This is tough. A playmaking WR, who’s stolen the headlines this draft season, sits here in D.K. Metcalf. That’d be an enticing option to pair with Jameis Winston in Bruce Arians’s offense. And the options on defense at this spot don’t come without their warts.
The PICK: d.k. Metcalf, ole miss, wr
After all the things GM Dave Gettleman has done, your guess is as good as mine here. A quarterback seems logical, but he’s also gutted the team and made a financial commitment to Eli Manning. The o-line still stinks so you can’t go wrong there.
The PICK: jawaan Taylor, florida, ot
This team was constructed the right way when they were eight minutes from beating the Patriots and going to the Super Bowl a year ago. Add to the lines and get playmakers on defense.
The PICK: Rashan Gary, michigan, edge
Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia should have some nice options available to them at 8. A tight end for Matt Stafford, another lineman up front to bolster an offensive line that might be slipping? Or maybe an edge guy to put opposite of Trey Flowers — something they never could do when they had Ziggy Ansah.
The PICK: montez sweat, miss. state, edge
Buffalo needs weapons for second year signal caller Josh Allen. Former Patriots’ tight ends coach Brian Daboll is the OC. I think he’d love to get this draft’s version of Gronk.
The PICK: t.j. Hockenson, iowa, TE
If John Elway likes a QB here, he needs to take him. But I get this feeling that he is perfectly content to go with Flacco for this year (and beyond). The defense is aging a bit and giving new HC Vic Fangio a toy to play with on that side of the ball would be useful. But holes exist on the line as well — and Flacco is a statue in the pocket.
The PICK: andre dillard, oT, wash. st.
This defense was atrocious last year so whatever moves can be made to fix it would be wise. Linebacker is a position of need.
The PICK: Devin White, LSU, ILB
No team filled their holes in free agency as well and as comprehensively as Green Bay. If Hockenson falls here, I like that pick for a team that could get younger at the position. If he’s off the board, I could see them adding to their linebacking corps or offensive line.
The PICK: jonah williams, Alabama, OT
Miami needs a quarterback in a bad way. Do they like any of them enough to pull the trigger here (or trade up)? The thing is that they still have so many other needs to fill that a QB here doesn’t fix everything.
The PICK: Dwayne haskins, ohio st., QB
I’m very confident this pick is CB or defensive line. Fourteen might be a bit early for any of these corners, though. An edge guy really helps this defense that struggled badly for most of last season.
The PICK: brian burns, fsu, edge
Alex Smith may never play football again, Colt McCoy is not a starter in the NFL, and Case Keenum is not any sort of a long-term solution. If Washington does not go QB here, I’d be stunned.
The PICK: drew lock, missouri, QB
Carolina needs help on the offensive line. Despite re-signing tackle Daryl Williams, the team released left tackle Matt Kalil. Now, they could certainly go after a pass rusher — that’s another major need area. But after Cam Newton played the second half of last year hurt, it’s a priority to keep him upright and untouched.
The PICK: greg little, ole miss, OT
This seems like the perfect spot for the Giants to pull the trigger on a QB. Daniel Jones likely is not going top-10 so Gettleman can employ the Kansas City strategy here that he referred to earlier this offseason. Why Jones? Don’t overlook the Manning-David Cutcliffe connection. This path could be a way of softening the blow when they do choose to move on from Eli……in 2022.
The PICK: daniel jones, duke, QB
Yes, the Vikings could use major upgrades at guard and tackle. And they very well may like the options that are available to them at 18. But if Ed Oliver is on the board here, his potential to be a disruptive force from the interior of the defensive line might be too much to pass up for defensive-minded head coach Mike Zimmer.
The PICK: ed oliver, houston, DT
The Marcus Mariota era in Music City might be coming to an end sooner rather than later. The QB has backed himself into a corner and if he doesn’t prove himself to be the guy who can elevate the Titans to the next level, look for HC Mike Vrabel to start eyeing a replacement. In all fairness, it’s not all Mariota’s fault, but the fact is the team is going to have to decide whether or not they want to invest significant money into the former Oregon Duck or move on to a cheaper option with upside. That said, you’ve got to give him as many pieces to play with as possible.
The PICK: marquise Brown, oklahoma, wr
Pittsburgh needs to get back to building a defense that teams are afraid to play against. The secondary stinks and the linebacking crew is weak. Just about any addition on that side of the ball will be viewed as an upgrade.
The PICK: devin bush, michigan, ilB
This will be an interesting pick. Seattle made the playoffs last season, but they have more holes to fill than people may think — offensive line, interior defensive line, playmaker in the secondary, and a WR who could ultimately push Doug Baldwin down to the two and Tyler Lockett to the three. For good or for bad, John Schneider and Pete Carroll have a history of thinking outside of the box in the draft.
The PICK: clellin ferrell, clemson, DT
It seems like every year Baltimore is searching for a big, fast, playmaking wideout. And every year they either go in a different direction or the selection doesn’t work out. Don’t count out an edge rusher here, though, either. After letting Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith go in free agency, the Ravens could look to replace them at 22. In this mock, I like Chauncey Gardner-Johnson — a versatile slot corner who can be a hybrid safety. His game seems to fit what the Ravens like on defense.
The PICK: chauncey gardner-johnson, florida, Cb/s
DeShaun Watson got murdered last year. He was sacked 60-something times — and that cannot continue if Houston expects to have long-term success with their QB. If they don’t fill the left tackle need, don’t expect that offense to fully flourish.
The PICK: cody ford, oklahoma, OT
24. **TRADE** Cardinals (from Raiders)
I’m sure Kliff Kingsbury could be talked into a playmaking WR here for his young QB, but if the board falls this way, they should be able to snag one at the top of the second round. Arizona has plenty of holes to fill.
The PICK: Greedy Williams, lsu, CB
People have compared Josh Jacobs to Alvin Kamara in the sense that both split time in their respective backfields in college. If Jacobs turns out to be in the same boat as Kamara, this is a huge win — and fills a big need — for the Eagles.
The PICK: Josh Jacobs, alabama, rB
Adding an interior presence on the defensive line could be the smart play here for Chris Ballard. The Colts don’t have a ton of needs so adding to key positions will be the order of the day.
The PICK: Christian Wilkins, Clemson, DT
The Raiders could use a playmaker on defense — edge rusher or shutdown corner comes to mind. Deandre Baker earned a reputation in the SEC as a CB that QBs didn’t want to throw on.
The PICK: Deandre Baker, Georgia, CB
Offensive line play towards the end of 2018 and into the playoffs was not great for L.A. Their guards were getting manhandled. With Phil Rivers not getting any more mobile or younger, the Chargers need to invest n some help protecting him and creating space for Melvin Gordon.
The PICK: Chris Lindstrom, Boston Coll., G
If you’ve listened to my podcast, you already know how I feel about the Chiefs gutting their pass rush this offseason. Fine. Here’s a chance to replace what they got rid of.
The PICK: Jachai Polite, Florida, Edge
Sometimes the draft board just falls a certain way. In this situation, a guy I could have mocked to the Packers at 12 falls to them at 30.
The PICK: Noah Fant, Iowa, TE
Why sign and pay Ndamakong Such all that money when you can draft an interior defensive lineman and put him right next to Aaron Donald? Seems a wise way to go, but don’t rule out CB, edge, or even a running back.
The PICK: Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame, DT
With a number of needs standing out — WR, edge, TE, OL — don’t be surprised if Bill Belichick goes after a space-eating defensive lineman to replace Malcolm Brown and Danny Shelton. Remember he got Brown at this same spot 4 years ago.
The PICK: Dexter Lawrence, Clemson, DT
Thanks for reading. Subscribe to the Sports Talk Center blog and you can receive emails when content is updated. Also, follow me on Twitter @brian22goodwin. You can also subscribe and download the Sports Talk Center Podcast, wherever you get your podcasts from: Apple iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play, or Spotify. Just subscribe, download, listen, and enjoy.
Listen to EPISODE 152 (“NFL Free Agency Frenzy and KylerMurray/Draft Buzz”) right here: