- Arizona Cardinals – Quinnen Williams – DT (Mark Gill)
There are too many holes in Arizona’s roster to take a first round QB for the second year running. The Cards thought they had drafted their franchise QB last year in Josh Rosen and the lack of talent around him means they don’t know what he can do.
My preference, if I was Steve Keim, would be to trade down and pick up extra picks whilst being in prime position to address the O line and wide receiver position. Failing that, Williams is the pick as Bosa doesn’t fit the 3-4 scheme whilst the Alabama man can help disrupt the high-flying offences Arizona is likely to face in the NFC West. At the same time he’s a safe pick to develop into a top tier talent at the position.
- San Francisco 49ers – Nick Bosa – DE (Lizzie Fry)
A more interesting piece would be why not to select Bosa this high. The DL was the betting favourite from the National Title game through into the combine and the shift afterwards was no fault of his own, coming only because of the hype around Kliff Kingsbury’s Cardinals choosing Kyler Murray.
Although the 49ers have added some big names in free agency, a defensive line of Dee Ford, DeForest Buckner and Nick Bosa would be a terrifying thing to defend. Adding Bosa would allow them to streamline their roster up front, and they have enough picks lower down to collect the defensive back and wide receivers they need to kick above mediocrity.
- New York Jets – Josh Allen – OLB (Stephen Beavon)
I fully expect one of Williams or Allen to be available to the Jets at number 3 on draft night so either of the two would be great additions to the Jets roster. If I’m being fully honest here, I’d have liked Williams over Allen but that’s nothing against Allen, I just believe Williams is a little bit better.
Allen is a fantastic linebacker who can also do a little pass rush if needed. His skills pre-combine and Super Bowl were so good, that many had him going at number 1 before the whole Kyler Murray debacle.
Allen stands at 6 feet 5 and possesses excellent pass rushing skills off the edge, something the Jets could use as their defence is improving, but still nowhere near where they need it to be. Allen has excellent instincts that seem to put him a second or two ahead of the opposing offence and he never seems to be out of position in coverage. His ability to patrol sideline to sideline and produce some fantastic open field tackles sets him apart from the rest and I simply couldn’t pass up on him at three.
- Oakland Raiders – Kyler Murray – QB (Luke Conboy)
If Kyler Murray is still on the board at #4, then the Raiders will submit their selection card quicker than you can say ‘Where next for Derek Carr?’. Possessing three picks in the 1st round means new General Manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden can set the foundations for the next NINE years of the HC’s contract. Kyler becomes the face of the franchise and the poster boy for the impending relocation to Las Vegas.
The only way this pick becomes a bust is due to poor coaching and inept understanding on how to play to Kyler’s strengths. Heisman Trophy winners are rarely given the infamous bust label; expectations will be high if Murray becomes a Raider.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Devin White – LB (Jay Parker)
With Ryan Fitzpatrick heading to Miami this offseason and Jamees Winston’s ability to be a consistent success in the NFL still under scrutiny, it could be argued that quarterback was becoming a serious position of need for the Bucs once again. And it is.
But so too is their depleted defence and with former Jets head coach Todd Bowles now taking up the reins as defensive coordinator in Tampa, Winston will get another year to shine as the defence is rebuilt. With a switch to a 3-4 scheme under Bowles a foregone conclusion, a side-line to side-line modern day linebacker such as White, who displays freakish athleticism, would prove to be an invaluable cornerstone to the Buccaneers defence while this transition takes shape.
- New York Giants – Jawaan Taylor – OT (Michael Byrne)
New York further addresses their O-Line with this pick. Taylor is the best tackle in the class, and has the versatility to play in multiple spots along the line. Look for him to be a Day 1 starter at right tackle, opposite Nate Solder. With this addition, the Giants O-Line should be at a decent level for QB Eli Manning, and of course sophomore star RB Saquon Barkley. This paired with their pick at 17, help New York greatly.
- Jacksonville Jaguars – Andre Dillard – OT (Mark Gill)
The Jags have a championship calibre defence, so this draft should be all about improving the talent around new QB Nick Foles.
Jacksonville needs to add weapons in order to diversify the offence away from a throwback running attack built around Leonard Fournette. This pick though seems a little too high to take a tight end like TJ Hockenson or a wideout like DK Metcalf and instead lets tackle an issue the Jaguars have failed to consistently improve in recent seasons: the offensive line. Foles operated behind two elite tackles in Jason Peters and Lane Johnson in Philadelphia so I’d want to rebuild that in Florida. The Jags already have one bookend in Cam Robinson and would perhaps prefer Jawaan Taylor here as a true right tackle. Instead the top LT in the draft falls to Tom Coughlin and co, pushing Robinson to the right side.
- Detroit Lions – Ed Oliver – DT (Lizzie Fry)
Delighted Oliver is still on the board the Lions put their plans to trade down on hold and steal the big lineman out of Houston. Having collected awards left, right, and centre in college Oliver’s undoubted ability is apparently matched by a good attitude. He’ll need both as the lead interior rusher in Detroit, slotting in alongside big free agency signing Trey Flowers. The Lions need help in the secondary behind a good looking young linebacker corps, but this draft class has no obvious top 10 DB and a player of Oliver’s calibre cannot be passed on.
- Buffalo Bills – DK Metcalf – WR (Stephen Beavon)
I managed to get the most hyped up prospect in this year’s draft class and I landed him with the perfect team. Receiver Metcalf flew into stardom at the combine where he posted ridiculous times and heights, making him an instant 1st round pick.
One thing I must say before explaining my pick, I personally don’t rate Metcalf as highly as most do, mainly because his cone drills at the combine were one of the worst and I feel he is a one-dimensional receiver. However, the Bills should do everything in their power to draft Metcalf like I have because having a big strong target for Allen to throw to is crucial. Allen did pretty well in his first year, considering the severe lack of talent on both sides of the field, so imagine what he could do with a guy like Metcalf, big arm throwing to a physical beast is the dream for many NFL fans.
I can’t deny that the Bills have many more needs and they could easily take one of the very high-class defensive prospects, but if Metcalf is still there at nine, the Bills can’t afford to pass up a guy like DK.
- Denver Broncos – Dwayne Haskins – QB (Luke Conboy)
March 13th, 2019 was the day the Broncos officially acquired Joe Flacco from the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for their 4th round pick in the 2019 Draft. Fast forward to the Draft and Denver makes another addition to their QB room by selecting Dwayne Haskins out of Ohio State. Thus, setting up one of the most tedious stories of the offseason: Flacco vs Haskins.
Serious questions of GM John Elway will be asked if Dwayne Haskins is not an NFL calibre starting quarterback. Last time Denver went QB in the 1st round was in 2016, they wound up with Paxton Lynch, a guy not even on the team anymore…
- Cincinnati Bengal – Devin Bush – LB (Jay Parker)
With Haskins and Murray taken, the value to take Drew Lock or Daniel Jones simply is not there as the Bengals look for Andy Dalton’s long-term replacement. So attention swings to building a defence who last season were a sunken wreckage at the bottom of the yards allowed category in the NFL.
But with the recent contract extension of inside linebacker Preston Brown in the current offseason, both he and Devin Bush would have the potential to build an effective partnership in both pass coverage and run defence whilst the front office also attempts to figure out the horror-show that is the Bengals secondary.
- Green Bay Packers – TJ Hockenson – TE (Michael Byrne)
Aaron Rodgers has seen his receiving core depleted greatly in recent years, and now the only legitimate top threat is WR Devante Adams. However, there is good youth at the WR spot, so at the #12 pick; Green Bay select TJ Hockenson out of Iowa. For me, he’s the best receiving option in this draft, and a legitimate star in the making. The Packers upgrade at this spot in a crucial draft, where both sides of the ball need to be addressed.
- Miami Dolphins – Christian Wilkins – DT (Mark Gill)
As the Fins GM, I’m going to follow the plan of new head coach Brian Flores and GM Chris Grier in rebuilding the roster from scratch. I don’t like the talent of any of the QBs to rebuild the franchise around so I’m going to hope for a high draft pick next year to take the top signal caller available there. There aren’t really any positions that couldn’t do with an upgrade on Miami’s roster, but two areas in need of improvement are the offensive and defensive lines.
I could take a guard or center here but none of the available options are ranked higher than any of the available talents on the defensive side of the ball. The Dolphins have shed a lot of talent along the D line over recent offseasons so let’s reload there and get stouter against the running attacks of New England and New York.
- Atlanta Falcons – Rashan Gary – DE (Lizzie Fry)
Mock draft analysts haven’t reached a real consensus on what the Falcons are going to do here, and neither have I. The Falcons offence looks pretty good when healthy, and even allowing for injuries their defence looked a little lacking last year. At number 14 they should be able to get a plug-in starter, probably on their defensive line or at DB.
Interestingly, R.J. White of CBS Sports reckons the Falcons will trade up with the Detroit Lions and match my pick at number 8 to bring Ed Oliver to Georgia. There is potential there, but if Gary, Montez Sweat, or Brian Burns are available I think they’ll keep their picks and take one at 14. Gary has his own website, even his own merchandise and takes a great focused photo, but will also knock his own helmet off in tackles; that feels pretty Falcons to me.
- Washington Redskins – Drew Lock – QB (Stephen Beavon)
The Redskins have needs on many fronts and this was the pick I was thinking about the most when preparing for the mock draft. I planned around the thought of Montez Sweat being off the board by now, however, as you can see, he wasn’t so I had a choice to make. In the end, I chose Drew Lock because of two reasons.
The first reason being that Alex Smith suffered a serious injury and the Skins still have no replacement ready. They are apparently in the race for Josh Rosen but I can’t see a deal being made until after the draft meaning they are forced into drafting Lock at 15. The other reason is the fact that the Skins made multiple big splashes on free agent defensive players, so the offence could do with a bit of TLC.
Lock isn’t the best quarterback of this draft class and that is a bad thing due to the QB class this year being so limited. However, Lock can still develop into a good NFL standard starter as he possesses the foundations that executives seem to be liking in the days leading up to the draft. Lock’s draft stock seems to be on an upward spiral and it would make sense to see the Skins take a QB at 15, with Lock being the most likely candidate.
- Carolina Panthers – Clelin Ferrell – DE (Luke Conboy)
The retirement of Julius Peppers leaves the Panthers with a gaping hole on the defensive line. Ferrell is a guy with some serious speed and strong hands, meaning he has the foundational skills to cause opposing offensive linemen nightmares. No doubt about it, Clelin is an instant starter.
He also brings championship winning success due to being part of the Clemson team who won the 2017 and 2019 College National Championship. It’s this sort of pedigree that the Panthers ownership will hope propels them back into Super Bowl contention.
- New York Giants – Marquise Brown – WR (Michael Byrne)
We all know how New York got this extra 1st round pick, as they dealt Odell Beckham Jr to Cleveland for this spot, among other compensation. To replace the star WR, I have them taking Marquise “Hollywood” Brown at #17. He’s a legit deep-threat, and has near unmatched speed at the position.
He would fit well into New York’s offence and would play alongside WRs Sterling Sheperd and Golden Tate; as well as tight end Evan Engram. That receiving core, coupled with their improved O-Line and generational running back, should give Eli Manning one last shot at success.
- Minnesota Vikings – Dalton Risner – OT (Jay Parker)
The 2018 season for the Vikings was almost a complete contrast to the 2017 season where the offensive line is concerned. A statement supported by the fact that they allowed more quarterback pressures than any other team in the NFL last season as quarterback Kirk Cousins struggled to find his groove in his first season away from Washington.
And with Dalton Risner receiving the award for the Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2018 whilst obtaining incredible experience due to the large abundance of snaps he played in his four years at Kansas State College, his projected talent would provide some much needed protection for Cousins, a player looking to live up to his hefty price-tag in his second season with the Vikings.
- Tennessee Titans – Noah Fant – TE (Mark Gill)
Much of Tennessee’s passing attack orientates around tight end Delanie Walker, who will be 35 by the time the season rolls around. I’d have preferred to add a wideout to operate alongside Corey Davis, but Metcalf and Marquise Brown have gone, though AJ Brown could have been an option.
In hindsight, someone like Brian Burns could have been a good call as an OLB to groom behind veteran Cameron Wake. Nonetheless, Fant’s pass catching ability is too enticing for me to pass up. Let’s run some two tight end sets with Walker and some exotic formations with runners Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis.
- Pittsburgh Steelers – Deandre Baker – CB (Lizzie Fry)
The Steelers arguably have no urgent needs, but they have plenty on the horizon. Mock drafts have a whole range of positions and players to the Steelers, from TE to LB. Linebacker makes sense, and on draft day they may have a shot at Brian Burns or Clelin Ferrel without having to trade up, but I’ve picked a corner back for them instead.
With the Browns picking up OBJ and AJ Green back from injury there are enough concerning receivers in the division for Pittsburgh to need the help here. Baker is a strong player with good tackling ability and would be a good addition here.
- Seattle Seahawks – Byron Murphy – CB (Stephen Beavon)
This pick was probably the most intriguing one for me as we ended up drafting on the same day that a report came out suggesting Seattle was looking to move Frank Clark. This messed my thought process; however, I think I stole a stud here with Murphy.
Seattle lost a seriously key player in Earl Thomas during free agency and he leaves a massive hole in that Seattle defence, a hole no one will be able to fill for some time. However, Byron Murphy is a fantastic corner who I feel isn’t getting the attention he deserves by analysts. He’s coming from Washington, a college that seems to be producing defensive back studs year after year.
He’s a very competitive and hard-hitting player who loves to be extremely aggressive in the way he defends. He possesses incredible reactions and instincts; he never seems to be left behind and always finds himself in the best positions. He may not be the biggest corner but he has shown good enough strength to stand with the big receivers and he has great shiftiness to cover small running backs when needed. He seems to love defending running plays and is a great guy to have as the last man defending kind of guy, especially if a running back breaks through.
- Baltimore Ravens – Chauncey Gardner-Johnson – S (Lizzie Fry)
Okay, so this pick might be a little bit of a surprise. On paper wide receiver is the biggest need for the Ravens, especially if Michael Crabtree is not resigned. But Baltimore are going to keep running it, they know what they’re really good at.
Equally, Baltimore are a defence first team, and with some big losses in free agency I expect them to hold off until the second or third round for a receiver. Gardner-Johnson can play up close in the slot, happy to ball hawk and blitz in, that blended skill set would give the Ravens a playmaker who could help fill the voids left by Eric Weddle and Moseley, Suggs, and Smith. When you list it out like that, however, don’t be surprised if Baltimore trade back and look to really stock up in the second round instead.
- Houston Texans – Jonah Williams – OT (Michael Byrne)
This is a really simple pick, the Texans have the worst O-Line in the league, and Jonah Williams is the best OL man available at this spot. They can slot him in on day 1 as an immediate upgrade at LT, and help protect QB Deshaun Watson.
Him and veteran Zach Fulton are the building blocks for an O-Line that will need to be further addressed further as the draft goes on. If the Texans can keep Watson on his feet long enough to find the devastating trio of DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller and Keke Coutee; then their offence should be brilliant – this pick is the first step in that direction.
- Oakland Raiders – Montez Sweat – DE (Luke Conboy)
If Sweat is on the board at #24, consider this a STEAL for the Raiders. He certainly has the skills and athleticism to make an instant impact, however there are some concerns surfacing around his health. Reports are floating around that some teams have even taken Montez off their board entirely, such is the deep fear shrouding the prospect out of Mississippi State.
This is a guy who can massively help the Raiders pass rush – he ran a blazing 4.41 in the 40-yard dash at the Combine. Even if Montez cannot last the full 16 game season, it’s hard to pass on such raw talent this late in the 1st round.
- Philadelphia Eagles – Josh Jacobs – RB (Jay Parker)
There’s an argument to be made here that with the Eagles offensive line beginning to age, a tackle or centre to replace the exceptional talents of Jason Peters and Jason Kelce respectively would be a solid choice. But with a draft class steeped in offensive line talent, the decision to mature and develop a rookie offensive lineman for the future can patiently wait till the second round where the Eagles find themselves with two valuable picks.
But behind the offensive line is where the Eagles can really look to strengthen with a running game in desperate need of improvement despite the recent addition of Jordan Howard from the Chicago Bears. And with players like Josh Adams, Smallwood, Clement and an ageing Darren Sproles lacking consistent production in the absence of Jay Ajayi, Jacobs could provide a partnership with Howard similar to the one the Saints built with Kamara and Ingram as the Eagles look set to challenge for a second Superbowl in three years.
- Indianapolis Colts – Dexter Lawrence – DT (Mark Gill)
The Colts have done such a good job of acquiring talent through last year’s draft and through low cost free agency additions that this is almost an even trickier pick, with little absolute glaring areas of need. That being said, the defence needs to get to the quarterback more and the remaining first round calibre edge rushers aren’t quite the size the Colts need for them to play defensive end. Adding Lawrence upgrades the quality along the defensive line, which is where I would focus my first-round pick as Chris Ballard.
- Oakland Raiders – Rock Ya-Sin – CB (Luke Conboy)
It’s no secret the Raiders need to address the secondary. At pick #27 they will have a plethora of options, Rock Ya-Sin being one of them. He’s a former two-time state champion wrestler so there is no question he will bring fight and toughness to the sorry looking Oakland cornerback situation.
Raiders should also address the running back position, but outside of Josh Jacobs, the position is dearth of talent. This is a need best addressed on Day 2 of the Draft.
- Los Angeles Chargers – Will Grier – QB (Stephen Beavon)
Before I explain myself I want to quickly say something, the Chargers have the best roster in football so it was really hard to think of someone who would suit them perfectly. I was thinking of choosing Savage the safety to partner him and James up but instead, I used to pick so I can talk about West Virginia QB Will Grier.
Personally, I’m a Mountaineers fan so I could be biased on this one but I think Grier is being completely overlooked in this draft and deserves much more credit and praise than he’s getting. A report last month came out saying Grier put on a clinic in the combine and in every private meeting he has had so NFL execs love him.
I’ve obviously watched every single snap of Grier’s since he transferred over to WV and he has some very high-level skills. His footwork and pocket presence is outstanding, his short to medium range passing ability is probably the best in the draft and in his last year, he showed he can fling the ball a fair distance if needed.
Obviously, there are some negatives to his play. He has that Allen type trait where he will try to make everything into a play and his reads could be better but overall there’s not much downside to Grier as a QB. Having him sit behind an ageing Rivers for a year and a half makes a lot of sense and it’s not too far out there due to the Chargers having a stacked upon stacked line up.
- Kansas City Chiefs – Greedy Williams – CB (Lizzie Fry)
KC have had a clear out on defence. Perhaps unfortunately it is their best players in Dee Ford and Justin Houston who left.
That leaves the Chiefs with two major areas for improvement, up front in the trenches, in the secondary. Secondly, protecting golden talent Patrick Mahomes now Mitch Morse has moved on is also a concern. The Chiefs are one of the most likely teams to move around in the draft, with some analysts moving them up to snag Garrett Bradbury. Without trades, I’ve pinned them to take Greedy Williams, one of the top CBs in this class who will provide day one competition alongside Tyrann Mathieu. Their following picks will probably come at EDGE and safety now Eric Berry is gone.
- Green Bay Packers – Cody Ford – OG (Michael Byrne)
The Packers always pride themselves on top level Offensive Line play, in an effort to establish the run and keep Aaron Rodgers safe. Last offseason, they lost TJ Lang; and now are starting Lane Taylor and Billy Turner at the position. GB can do better than that, and upgrade at the spot with this pick. The Free Agent period saw heavy spending on D, but little on O; and so these first two picks should both be addressing the offence. This pick is a toss-up between an interior offensive lineman or a wide receiver, but I’ll trust their youth at wideout; and take the upgrade on the line.
- Los Angeles Rams – Jeffrey Simmons – DT (Mark Gill)
My initial choice here was centre Garrett Bradbury given the need to replace John Sullivan. However, the Rams currently already have three young centres on the roster and Bradbury is not necessarily considered a first-round talent.
So instead I’ve made another defensive lineman pick, which indicates the depth of talent at the position. Ndamukong Suh has left LA, and the Rams had well publicised issues with their run defence for large portions of last season. Simmons may have fallen because of a workout injury in February and character concerns from an incident in 2016. As Rams GM though I’m clearly happy of taking a player other teams may shy away from, as shown by the signings of Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters and Suh.
- New England Patriots – N’Keal Harry – WR (Jay Parker)
With Rob Gronkowski’s decision to announce his retirement from the NFL this offseason, Josh Gordon spending time away from football for well-documented personal reasons, and Chris Hogan signing with the Panthers via free agency, Tom Brady is in desperate need of a receiving threat this upcoming season.
With Metcalf and Hollywood Brown unsurprisingly taken by other NFL teams also in need of talent in the wideout positions, the next best receiver is a must at the end of the first round for the Patriots. And with Harry recording two 1000 yard receiving seasons in succession for Arizona State, the Patriots could do much worse with this pick whilst providing Brady with some much-needed firepower on offence.
Note: This mock draft took place before Frank Clark was traded to the Chiefs.