NFL Mock Draft 2.0

It’s April and that means — not Spring, not sunnier days, not that Summer is that much closer — it means it’s NFL Draft month!! The league is full-blown smokescreens and conjecture right now so good luck deciphering what any team truly plans on doing on Draft Night in Nashville. As I made a point of saying in my previous mock, I go with my gut and I try to make sense of what different experts are reporting. Sometimes I look smart, and most of the time I look like I don’t even know what the game of football is. So without further ado — on to the ramblings of an idiot. Enjoy.

1.  **TRADE** Raiders (from Cardinals)

I’m going to keep saying this until I feel otherwise — Arizona is being too “open” with their phony commitment to Josh Rosen. The “he’s our quarterback….for now” quote seems like something you’d say to get other teams talking. So, then, the question becomes  “Is another team infatuated with Kyler Murray to the point they will trade up to 1?”.  Jon Gruden did not like the roster Reggie MacKenzie left him. Get the QB you want and ship Derek Carr out for more picks in another deal.

The PICK: Kyler Murray, Oklahoma, QB

2. 49ers

Adding a pass rusher to all those interior DLs they have stockpiled in San Fran would be a smart move. So the question is — Nick Bosa or Josh Allen? Both should be awesome, but I’d argue the Niners are taking the wrong guy.

The PICK: nick bosa, ohio st., edge

3. Jets

Everyone will be expecting the Jets to trade out here or take the beast in the middle of Alabama’s defensive line, Quinnen Williams, in this spot. Do they have the guts (or the smarts) to take the best player in the draft in my opinion? It’s the Jets — so that should answer that question.

The PICK: Quinnen Williams, Alabama, DT

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. But the Cardinals are like the Jets — they don’t exactly instill confidence in their fans with their front office decisions.

The PICK: jawaan Taylor, Florida, OT

5. Buccanneers

Tampa Bay needs a lot of help of the defensive side. It comes down to which player best fits what DC Todd Bowles wants to establish. If the draft falls this way, Bowles will be salivating.

The PICK: Josh Allen, Kentucky, EDGE/OLB

6. Giants

I’m convinced this won’t be a quarterback. Maybe at 17, but not here — nor will Dave Gettleman trade up into the top 3 for one. What I do know about Gettleman is he likes his linemen, but he also knows the importance of having a linebacker who can head up your defense. He had Luke Kuechly in Carolina. Maybe he tries re-creating that with this selection.

The PICK: Devin White, LSU, LB

7. Jaguars

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. I’ve heard Rashan Gary is like Myles Jack. This pick fits.

The PICK: Rashan Gary, michigan, edge

8. Lions

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

9. Bills

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. At the same time, this team gutted its offensive line an offseason ago and has not replenished it. They might try protecting their QB.

The PICK: jonah williams, Alabama, OT

10. Broncos

If John Elway likes a QB here (and the rumors swirling say he like Drew Lock), he needs to take him. But I get this feeling that he is perfectly content to go with Flacco for this year (and beyond). But that shouldn’t matter. To make sure you do have your guy, you’ve got to over-invest. That’s the formula. It’s no secret.

The PICK: drew Lock, QB, Missouri

11. Bengals

This defense was atrocious last year so whatever moves can be made to fix it would be wise. Linebacker is a position of need — they’d fall over themselves to land Devin White. The Bengals also need major help along their o-line. I’d say QB, but ownership says they want to give Andy Dalton a year to see what he does in new head coach Zac Taylor’s offense. If so, why not protect him?

The PICK: Andre Dillard, OT, Wash. St.

12. Packers

No team filled their holes in free agency as well and as comprehensively as Green Bay. If T.J. 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: T.J. Hockenson, iowa, TE

13. Dolphins

Miami needs a quarterback in a bad way. But they also don’t seem all that interested in being uber-competitive in 2019. If they like one, they’ll be able to pick one here. If not, new head coach Brians Flores can begin putting his imprints on this roster.

The PICK: brian burns, Florida st., EDGE

14. Falcons

I’m very confident this pick is CB or defensive line. Fourteen might be a bit early for any of these corners, though.

The PICK: ed oliver, houston, dt

15. Redskins

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. Don’t even count Dan Snyder out of trading up to make sure he gets the QB he wants.

The PICK: dwayne haskins, ohio st., QB

16. Panthers

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. They’ll have to figure out if waiting on an offensive lineman until the second round is the wise choice. I think it is.

The PICK: Clelin Ferrell, clemson, edge

17. Giants

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. If they don’t love Jones, they’re definitely a candidate to move up somewhere in this round to get Haskins or Lock.

The PICK: daniel jones, duke, QB

18. Vikings

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. If they fail to fix that line, Kirk Cousins will face another year being under fire on and off the field.

The PICK: cody ford, Oklahoma, Ot/G

19. Titans

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. Expect a WR to be the pick here, even if they are better players at valuable positions.

The PICK: marquise Brown, oklahoma, wr

20. Steelers

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. They haven’t replaced Ryan Shazier — another Big 10 linebacker might be the choice to fill those shoes.

The PICK: devin bush, michigan, ilB

21. Seahawks

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: chauncey gardner-johnson, florida, CB/S

22. Ravens

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. But knowing Lamar Jackson’s limitations at QB, putting capable playmakers around him should be a priority. 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.

The PICK: N’Keal Harry, Arizona St., WR

23. Texans

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. There’s a good chance there’s not a great lineman here. Giving Watson another playmaking pass catcher could prove beneficial as well.

The PICK: noah fant, iowa, te

24. **TRADE** Cardinals (from Raiders)

I’m sure Kliff Kingsbury could be talked into a playmaking WR here for his young QB. There are plenty of needs to fill on this Cardinals roster, though.

The PICK: D.K. Metcalf, Ole miss, WR

25. Eagles

Philly added Jordan Howard so my original mock of Josh Jacobs here is in need of an adjustment. And that’s good because the Eagles need to shore up that secondary that was depleted last year.

The PICK: byron murphy, washington, cB

26. Colts

Indy could go WR here. But Chris Ballard seems to understand the idea of roster-building. Adding a defensive lineman is the right move in this spot. And if Christian Wilkins is in fact available, that’s a huge get.

The PICK: Christian Wilkins, Clemson, DT

27. Raiders

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, and he can contribute immediately.

.The PICK: Deandre Baker, Georgia, CB

28. Chargers

The Chargers o-line struggled at the end of the season and in the playoffs. They’ll have some good options here. There’s an outside chance they select their QB of the future, if a guy they like is available.

The PICK: erik mccoy, Texas A&M, G/C

29. Chiefs

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. I’ve read reports that the Chiefs love Jaylon Ferguson.

The PICK: Jaylon Ferguson, LA Tech, Edge

30. Packers

Green Bay did themselves a lot of favors by adding so much on defense in free agency. That decision should please Aaron Rodgers during the draft. While they could go WR here (out of character, perhaps, but this is a new regime in Green Bay) or maybe grab Brian Bulaga’s eventual replacement, they’ll fill the Mohammed Wilkerson spot on the defensive line with a mountain of a man.

The PICK: Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame, DT

31. Rams

Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters were not without their missteps in 2018. In fact, Marcus Peters was downright bad for stretches. A new athletic, playmaking corner could be in the cards here for Wade Phillips’s defense.

The PICK: Greedy Williams, LSU, CB

32. Patriots

I have no idea what Bill Belichick will do here. Does he package a couple of his 6 picks from the top 100 here and go up to get someone — a tight end, a wide receiver, a pass rusher? If he stays put, I think WR is not happening and no edge rusher stands out here. The offensive line could use some depth, but having Dante Scarnecchia as your position coach there gives you some freedom to find those players later. So that leaves interior defensive line — which Belichick covets — and the tight end spot. Give Tom Brady a weapon for crying out loud!!

The PICK: Irv SMith, Jr., Alabama, TE

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