Welcome Back to the Show
Welcome welcome one and all to my annual NFL mock draft! For me, this is the most exciting time of year – primarily simply because my team, Cleveland, has been the focal point of the draft for the last decade. That however is not the case this year, and my Browns have taken a bow out of the first round via trade. Nevertheless my drive to project remains, and I find pleasure in the hype of an ever-changing NFL landscape. With new players come exciting new moments and greater expectations for every team with a lot on the line. Those who have played roulette can understand the rush of hitting your number, and the NFL draft – is it really so different? At the end of the day these are real people with real lives and this is their big moment that they have been working their whole lives towards. It is a time of stories, of hopes and dreams, of drama, and of discussion on the philosophy of how to build an NFL roster.
As with years before the rules remain the same. This draft is not how I would pick, but what I think the 32 GMs across the league will write on their draft cards when the big day comes. This takes into account current roster analysis, known team philosophies, needs, and a healthy dosage of scouring the rumor mill. Trades can be mocked with explanation and fair compensation. And while I am no Adam Schefter or Chris Mortensen – my insiders are merely my own research paired with the input of my friends and fellow fans alike and what they think about their franchises.
So, without further ado, let’s wrap up the nitty-gritty and kick this snowball down the mountain. The Arizona Cardinals are on the clock.
- Arizona Cardinals -Kyler Murray – QB: At this point in time I think the real question at hand is not if Kyler Murray goes number one overall. While I am of the opinion he is going to get crushed by a wave of NFL-sized lineman game after game I am not going to blind myself to the sheer production that Murray does indeed possess. Any concerns about his numbers being a fluke because of Oklahoma’s offense were crushed due to last year’s number one pick of the same school: Baker Mayfield. No, the question here is whether Arizona can reap a kingly ransom by moving down and sticking with their guy from last year – oh Josh Rosen who shall ye play for next year? It’s a shame really, for both Rosen and Murray, as Arizona is simply not the place where a rookie quarterback can find success. The pieces simply aren’t there to support a player through the inevitable growing plains. And while Murray does have the playmaking talent to come away with a serviceable highlight reel I still doubt he can produce a high enough WAR stat that would give hope to the downtrodden Arizona fanbase. The unfortunate thing about this draft for the Cardinals is that the defensive talent far exceeds that of their offensive counterparts. At one, the only viable players worth the selection are Murray, Nick Bosa, and Quinnen Williams. This pigeonholes Kliff Kingsbury & Co. into one of two options: Roll the dice on Rosen and bank on a hefty trade or admit last season was pointless and start a new journey with a shiny new gunslinger. If it were me I’d go with option A. Yet all the talk about Kingsbury loving Kyler seems too hot to be just a smokescreen. Rosen can be moved for a third rounder or perhaps a player that can assist the newly tooled signal caller. At the end of the day, if Murray proves to be all he has put on tape, then the Cardinals will be in good shape. However, he has to survive his first few seasons behind one of the most offensive offensive lines in the league. That being said, Russell Wilson has managed to do so for a few years, and if Murray wants to be successful… well I’d venture to guess he has already started watching Wilson’s tape. In 2019, the Cardinals begin their hard reboot, and Murray is their first cornerstone.
2) San Francisco 49ers – Nick Bosa – Edge: The sheer amount of draft capital that San Francisco has invested into their defensive line over the past 4 years is astonishing considering the near criminal payoff that it has awarded them. While Deforest Buckner has become a solid cornerstone Arik Armstead has yet to come into his own, and Solomon Thomas is quickly proving his 3rd overall status was unwarranted. Still, the combination of those three paired with newly acquired Dee Ford is, on paper, enough for most teams to focus on their other needs. Therefore I would not be surprised if the Niners do end up trading down in search of a defensive back. That being said they suffer the same fate as the Cardinals in that the top tier players worthy of selection at this point are not a position of obvious need. This brings us to Nick Bosa.
A proverbial clone of his brother Joey, Nick has the bend and strength to work his way around any pocket and put consistent pressure on the quarterback. While his arms aren’t long enough to keep from getting locked out by more technically refined tackles he still has the potential to post double digit sack numbers even as a rookie. If indeed John Lynch wants to move on from some of his pieces up front – or slide Thomas inside – the Bosa would be the ideal compliment to Ford on the other side. He may not be able to keep Garoppolo upright, but Bosa will ensure that the opposing QB won’t be able to escape the ground either.
3) New York Jets TRADED to Detroit Lions – Quinnen Williams – DT: You know, Williams might just be my favorite player in this class. 6’3″ 300 lb players who run a 4.83 40 are stupidly rare, and when you have the tape to back up your physical prowess then teams are certainly going to take notice. Credit to Aaron Donald for showing the league that interior pressure is just as – if not more – valuable than edge rushing, and in a loaded class Williams is hands down the single-best player and causing havoc in the middle. His floor and ceiling are higher than both fellow ‘Bama alums Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen, and both of those players are forces in-and-of their own right.
While the Jets could pursue a desperately needed Edge rusher like Josh Allen I believe they think a Williams-Williams combo on their defensive interior is a better projection. That being said, Mike Maccagnan is open to moving back from three, which makes sense to me considering they’d probably like to recoup some picks they lost in trading up for Sam Darnold last year. The Lions haven’t had a truly forceful interior presence since Ndamukong Suh, and I’m sure Matt Patricia is trying to figure out how to free up Trey Flowers on the edge with the departure of Ziggy Ansah on the bookend. Now while Williams isn’t a perimeter player his ability to disrupt on the inside and draw double teams will make lives easier for everyone else, especially that of Flowers. If it costs 8, 88, a 6th, and next years’ 2nd to pull it off, then I think that is a fair price for a defensive coach who is trying to build up a formidable defense to lessen the pressure on a questionable O.
4) Oakland Raiders – Josh Allen – EDGE: As is tradition, I don’t think the Raiders have much of a clue as to what they are doing with their roster. Trent Brown (and any Patriot FA for that matter) was a gross overpayment for an average tackle. Vontaze Burfict is cancer incarnate. Tyrell Williams was a positive move but at a questionable price tag. Moving Cooper and Mack while gaining Antonio Brown and a few more first round picks will be debated until the cows come home, but if the Raiders are ready to rebuild it does seem like they now have the assets to do it. Speaking of Mack, his presence is long-missed on the Silver-and Black’s defensive edge… who would’ve thought?
Josh Allen has the size and speed to be a force on the outside. The quintessential LB prototype at 6’5″ 262 he can stand up or have his hand in the dirt and still make an impact on every down. Not to mention his 4.63 40, which should be more than a little terrifying for opposing signal-callers. He is admittedly a bit raw but does have some skills at the point of attack that can be refined and built upon. Jon Gruden is probably foaming at the mouth to try and coach this kid up and make him a signature piece.
5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Devin White – LB: The Bucs are in football hell it would seem. Their cap space is in dire straights as they sit on a little over 2 million to burn. Their “franchise QB” Jameis Winston apparently is colorblind on the field and will throw a 1:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio as long as he is in the league. Their offensive line is a mess with way too many dollars invested in mediocrity. Their receiving core is severely depleted. Their best defensive building block in Kwon Alexander left for greener pastures… things are not coming up Milhouse down by the bay.
Enter Devin White of LSU. Recruited as a RB there is zero doubt that his sideline to sideline speed is elite. He plays forceful and is perhaps the best raw prospect at the linebacker position since Patrick Willis. That being said he still as a lot to learn as far as the nuances of the position go. For every outstanding stick he makes he is just as prone to whiff on a juke move. Brett Kollman does an outstanding job of outlining these concerns here. Make no mistake – White is an investment player, and it may take some time for Tampa Bay to see their return come to pass, but if White can take the next steps and really come into his own then he is a better centerpiece than Kwon could’ve ever hoped to be.
6) New York Giants – Montez Sweat – EDGE: Yeah, I have no idea what the Giants are doing. While I can respect a team honoring its old guard, the NFL is a business and the fact of the matter is that Eli Manning is less than a shell of his former self. Perhaps the Giants believe that if they build a solid line and hand the ball to Barkley 40 times a game then they can put together a deceptively successful season for Manning. While Haskins is the obvious choice at 6, I can see how the Giants see better value at 17 or later than investing in a QB that they would sit behind Eli anyhow. Maybe they are pulling a Miami and tanking for Tua or Herbert. Who can say? In any event, if this is Eli’s ride into the sunset, then shifting focus to a severely depleted defense is a logical step.
Vernon is gone. JPP is in Tampa. I have no idea who is supposed to provide pressure for this team. Montez Sweat would be a good bet though. Talk about a physical freak. 6’6″ 260 and a 4.41 40. 4.41! Hell most wide receivers can’t even break that speed. Recruited as a TE this guy has a build that allows him to move fluidly in space and knife between all the gaps in opponents’ armor. Best part? With his frame he likely still has room to fill out, adding to an already impressive power rush game. The proverbial shotgun weapon coming off the side, Sweat’s speed and power make him a projected menace on a team that desperately needs a new enforcer.
7) Jacksonville Jaguars – Jonah Williams – OT: Some say that at 6’4″ with only 33 5/8″ arms that Williams is undersized. To that I somewhat agree. Admittedly a tackle needs to have the length to get first contact as well as garnering distance on their kickstep. Williams will have to be fast in order for his game to adjust. However, for a guy that modeled his game after Joe Thomas size should not be an issue. Like Thomas, Williams is an excellent technician on the line: he understands to to move his body, and his opponent’s, for maximum effect. Time and again he proved this at Alabama, and played a crucial role in keeping Tua Tagovailoa upright on a Heisman candidate season.
Jacksonville made it all the way to the AFC Championship on the back of Leonard Fournette and a tenacious defense. While the addition of Nick Foles was a positive step he still has hardly anyone to throw the ball to. Thus, the Jags need people to support Fournette and keep Foles upright as long as possible while routes take time to develop. Williams can surely assist in both, and therefore is a fantastic fit for what Jacksonville is trying to accomplish.
8) Detroit Lions TRADED to New York Jets – Rashan Gary – DE: I’m sure the Jets have an affinity for bringing in D.K. Metcalf to help out Sam Darnold, but I can’t fathom how they take a WR when Enunwa, Anderson, and now Crowder are on the roster, especially when their defensive edges are in dire need of an influx of talent. Rashan Gary then is debatable as the best DE/EDGE defender on the board, and will fill a big hole for Gang Green.
His production is a bit of a red flag, but that I contribute to him being singled out by every single offense he faced, something readily apparent on tape. He has all the size you would want and looks to have no problem setting an edge or bullrushing inside. A momentum player, he can overshoot his target on occasion, but when he connects it is a fight that Gary will always win. No doubt he has room to improve but as a prospect he is certainly worth the investment if Gase thinks he can bring a bite to the increasingly louder barks being heard in the Meadowlands.
9) Buffalo Bills TRADED to Washington Redskins – Dwayne Haskins – QB: Unconvinced that the Broncos are going to pass on a franchise QB for Joe Flacco, the Redskins pull the trigger on moving up for a guy they probably thought the Giants would take at 6 in Dwayne Haskins. It’s no secret that John Elway has been drooling over Drew Lock for a while now, but Haskins certainly has more tools and a more impressive resume than the Mizzou product and if he did fall to 10 I have little doubt the Broncos would be quick to snap him up. The Redskins however are determined to not see that happen as they have QB needs of their own. Case Keenum is a fine bridge but he is just that – a bridge. The price to pick up their guy – in the form of Haskins – will not be cheap as QB is the premium position in the league, and in addition to 15 the Bills pick up Washington’s 2nd rounder in addition to a conditional 5th rounder. Nevertheless, if it does mean that they can solve their QB woes for a decade then I think the Redskins are ready and willing to make this move.
Haskins probably had the quietest 4,800 yd 50 TD season in college football history. No doubt, if you’re looking for production then this is the guy that you want on your team. Then again Jameis Winston was a production god too. However, unlike his crab-leg-loving counterpart Haskins has shown a greater ability to be more dynamic in the pocket and make some truly impressive throws that are more than just bombs from an air raid. He is rather limited to the pocket though, but opponents will be more than fearful of the Guice/Peterson combo behind a brutish (and hopefully healthy) offensive line. Like Mitchell Trubisky Haskins only has one season of starts under his belt, but all seems well in Chicago, no? No doubt, Haskins will take some lumps, and the Redskins would do well to pick up a few more weapons for him, but the important thing is that they have finally found someone who can, and should, take them to the playoffs once he’s up to speed.
10) Denver Broncos – Drew Lock – QB: Just as the Cardinals drafted Josh Rosen with Sam Bradford in tow, so too do the Broncos move for the guy who can sit behind Joe Flacco and hopefully lock down their QB position in the near future (haha…ha). With Haskins going one pick beforehand the Broncos are going to feel the pressure to reach and grab their guy before they risk letting him fall to QB-needy teams like Miami and New York. I think they cave, mainly because Elway is known for questionable decisions around the QB position, and the pressure is rising for him to prove he isn’t just a bumbling fool.
Perhaps that isn’t being fair to Drew Lock though. Certainly he has the arm and awareness to make all the throws necessary at the NFL level. He has size at 6’4″ 228, and has the times of a quality athlete. That being said, while he may have the right idea when making a throw he is only every locked in (THAT’S TWO) a portion of the time. Indeed, the guy is inconsistent, and his TD/INT ratio of 14:7 this year leaves nothing to write home about. If he can work out his mechanical issues, and then develop a better playmaking drive then the Broncos may have finally found the next guy to take them to the promised land. If not… well then it’s proof once and for all that Elway should’ve left his NFL career on the field. Indeed, it’s boom or bust time in Denver, and the stakes are a mile high.
11) Cincinnati Bengals TRADED to Carolina Panthers – Jawaan Taylor – OT: I do not envy Zac Taylor. Taking over a team after 16 fruitless years under Marvin Lewis has left the Cincinnati faithful craving a new regime that can win and win quickly. However, while the pieces are there on offense to put points on the board the defense is a putrid mess with the exceptions of Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap. Cincinnati simply has too many needs and the best players left at this point that fit those simply are not worth the value of pick 11. So, Taylor makes a smart decision and asks to punt, trading 11 and their 5th rounder to Carolina for 16 and 47.
The Panthers absolutely need to get help in keeping Cam Newton upright, and Jawaan Taylor may be the purest pass blocker in the class and arguably the greatest lineman overall. Quick, controlled, clean, strong. He is everything you could want as a starter for your offensive line. He may start at right tackle but has every bit of potential to transition over and be a team’s left tackle for a decade or more. In short – he’ll be a godsend in Carolina.
12) Green Bay Packers – Cody Ford – G: We all saw what happened when Aaron Rodgers went down do to lackluster protection, and he isn’t getting any more durable the further North he gets of thirty. As long as the Packers have A-A-Ron under center their Super Bowl window will be open, but 2018 proved just how vulnerable they are without 12 running the show. Billy Turner was a fine pickup to hold down one half of the guard duty, but interior help will be crucial against teams like Chicago who are going to be relentlessly pushing through the middle all game long.
Cody Ford is 6’4″ and 320+ on the scale. No doubt, he has the form to stall the Akiem Hicks’ of the world, but this comes at the cost of being a relatively raw prospect. He’s like the big lump of clay in art class that has all the potential, but just needs some help in getting molded down. Luckily a transition to Guard will help to hide some of his lacking nuance – his size at the very least makes him an immovable object and a bowling ball on pulling runs. If Matt LaFleur can strut his coaching ability and develop Ford in a timely manner then the Packers O-line just got a hell of a lot more formidable.
13) Miami Dolphins – Ed Oliver – DT: Unless the Dolphins move up they will be out of the running for the top 3 quarterbacks in this draft. If they are dead set on “tanking for Tua” or “hucking it for Herbert” or even the two year drama of “Losing for Lawrence” then some clarity on those matters will be brought on this upcoming draft. To that end I think it’s very much a possibility that the Fins try to trade down so as to garner more assets to move for their eventual pursuit of their new man under center. However, by being in the “tweener” spot in this draft – and the draft being so talented on defense as it is – someone of top quality is going to fall to Miami.
Greedy Williams would be a fantastic compliment to Xavien Howard, and Devin Bush would form a formidable trio next to Kiko Alonso and Raekwon MacMillan, but Ed Oliver is far and away the Best Player Available left for Miami to invest in at this point in time. At 6’2″ 287 some may consider him slightly undersized, but then again so was Aaron Donald. Oliver is stupidly athletic and strong – as showcased by his 32 reps on the bench. His game is built upon relentless pressure at the cost of being predictable as teams can see better his plan do to his shorter length. Still, his explosiveness is more than enough to bring opposing guards to heel. In an era where internal pressure is quickly becoming the more sexy move to make, Oliver can be the Dolphins’ coup de grace.
One more thing, if Miami is set on punting this year then Oliver is the wise investment to make. The offense will be repugnant (or electric?) behind Ryan Fitzpatrick for a year, but when the new guy comes in and Miami starts to build its offense they can feel good about the status of their defensive front to back up their efforts. Ed Oliver can be the focal point of that movement – what the Dolphins once thought they were getting in Ndamukong Suh. Nevertheless, it is going to be a long year in South Florida, but maybe Oliver and co. can make enough plays to stem the bleeding for a time.
14) Atlanta Falcons – Christian Wilkins – DT: I’m impressed that Atlanta was able to retain Grady Jarrett, but he alone doesn’t make up a solid D-line with an anemic Vic Beasley coming off of one end. While an Edge replacement is certainly on the table I feel as if the Defensive Tackle spot is far and away more talented in this draft. That paired with every NFL team trying to find the next Aaron Donald leads me to believe that the Falcons would look to solidify the interior of their line and provide another imposing force next to Jarrett.
Be it Dexter Lawrence or Christian Wilkins I think one of the two Clemson tackles goes here unless Ed Oliver falls past Miami. Both are equally viable candidates worthy of the number 14 pick, but Wilkins gets my vote due to his off-the-field nature. He was a classroom and community warrior in Clemson – a face-of-the-franchise that any team will be lucky to have. Hell, he even went back to Clemson for his senior season because he wanted to win a championship for the school and knew that he would be a huge part of that. I do not doubt that he will be in the running for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award sooner rather than later. Who knows, maybe he can inspire Beasley to get back to where he was a few years ago. That locker room presence makes Wilkins a valuable asset in addition to his ideal size, strength, smarts, and technique. The Falcons are big winners with this pick.
15) Washington Redskins TRADED to Buffalo Bills – T.J. Hockenson – TE: After years of having one Gronk in the AFC East the Bills ensure that a dominant TE will always have a place in the division. I really like D.K. Metcalf here as well as his height and speed compliment Josh Allen’s howitzer of an arm only too well. That being said investments in John Brown and Cole Beasley make me feel better about moving inside on their offense. Charles Clay was a bust, and Tyler Kroft does little to excite me – unlike, however, T.J. Hockenson.
If you’re looking for a complete tight end then T.J. is quite possibly the best prospect since Rob Gronkowski indeed. In a word, Hockenson is dominant, and he still has room to grow. He can block with ferocity and win contests on every catch. Simply, he is everything you could want in the middle of the field, and for a QB who was driven out of the pocket way too many times last year this just seems like a no-brainer. Bills Mafia may be disappointed that he doesn’t have the same flair as Gronk, but will never the less be jumping through tables with joy if he is indeed his next iteration.
16) Carolina Panthers TRADED to Cincinnati Bengals – Devin Bush – LB: The Vontaze Burfict era is done in Cincinnati, and while that departure is most likely a positive step for the Bengals, it also leaves them with arguably the weakest linebacker core in the entire league. Zac Taylor may want to focus on offense here to try and get something more than average out of Andy Dalton, but to completely ignore a farcical D when the draft is so loaded with talent on that side of the ball would be a mistake. They need a player to build around who can take on that challenge – A captain to rally the troops.
Devin Bush is the natural fit here unless Devin White happens to fall. I have no idea that both Devins are in the top 5 on the Bengals draft board, and while White is the preferred option Bush certainly is better than a mere consolation prize. A true 3-down linebacker, Bush reminds me of Roquan Smith in that he is an ideal WILL and will likely need an enforcer to take on blocks so that he can knife in for a tackle. At 5’11” 234 he certainly has the weight and leverage to stonewall any running back and compete with pulling guards. Additionally this guy is FAST. 4.43 fast. Sideline to sideline there is nowhere that Bush cannot cover and no one he cannot catch up to. To that end he probably is more akin to a thicker Darius Leonard, and if he proves to be as productive as the Defensive Rookie of the Year… then the Bungles will have taken the first step back to being the Bengals.
17) New York Giants – Daniel Jones – QB: If the Giants are dead set on having Eli play one (or two) more years then Jones is quite possibly the best option for them in this draft to groom as Eli’s replacement. I see Jones as Josh Allen-lite in that while he has the size and physical tools to be an NFL QB he could use a year (or two) on the bench to refine and develop his arm before he takes the field for Big Blue. Manning hopefully sees the writing on the wall and is willing to mentor the young gunslinger as his days as the sheriff in town finally come to a close.
Jones may have only completed 59.9% of his passes in his career, but when you considered that his receivers dropped a considerable portion of those – 38 in this last year alone – then context becomes kinder to the Duke product. At 6’5″ he has the frame to bulk up a bit more and increase his arm strength, something a full offseason in an NFL locker room will help him with. He needs to learn and gain confidence as he isn’t quick to pull the trigger. All signs point to a man who simply needs a clipboa-err-tablet for a time before getting his shot. The Giants can rest easy knowing they have their heir apparent in the wings, and can focus on making sure Eli can stand for one more year.
18) Minnesota Vikings – Andre Dillard – OT: The Vikings made their bed when they… err… invested in Kirk Cousins. They will have to live and die by KC until his contract is up. Therefore it is paramount that they keep him upright, which is something they had serious deficiencies in in 2018. Riley Reiff will be a fine OT on the right side, but that leaves a glaring hole on Cousins’ blindside.
In comes Dillard, who is quickly becoming one of the media darlings at Tackle – if there is such a thing – for this class. The redshirt Senior from Washington St. stands at 6’5″ 315 and was a four year starter for the Cougars. A smart guy with high character and solid athleticism, Dillard’s experience makes him a plug-and-play guy right from the get go for anyone needing a LT. He’s not particularly a mauler in the run game, but that’s not the primary reason why Minnesota needs him. His only job will be keeping Kirk alive for two more years, and if that whole experiment doesn’t work out then Dillard will be a welcome sight to whomever happens to step into that QB spot. While there’s no such thing as a sure thing, it sure feels like Mr. Dillard is as close as they come within this draft class – on par with Nick Bosa and Jonah Williams.
19) Tennessee Titans – Brian Burns – EDGE: Harold Landry was a coup for the Titans last year, but he and Jurrell Casey cannot hold down the defensive front for Tennessee all on their lonesome. While the brass likely is hoping that Cody Ford falls to 19 – Mariota needs help, y’all – they find themselves instead in a position to bolster a front that doesn’t do much to scare an opponent at this point in time.
Few players have capitalized on their offseason like Brian Burns. After watching his combine performance I walked away WOWed by his athletic potential. There is no question about it – he is one of the premiere athletes in this class. A former basketball player, Burns is agile and fluid with a high burst to boot. He looks thin a la Leonard Floyd but has room to grow into his 6’5″ frame. If he can put on 20 pounds he could become the next Dee Ford – something which I think the Titans will not complain about. I do worry about the size of his lower legs, he could get injured more easily if he gets rolled up/landed on. That being said, he’s high on my board and I think high on the Titans’ as well.
20) Pittsburgh Steelers – Andraez “Greedy” Williams – CB: I really, really, really hate that I have to mock this pick (for it directly hurts my beloved Browns), as Williams is a top ten player that by virtue of an uber-strong D-line class falls to pick twenty and is the first CB off the board to the Steelers. Though they signed Steve Nelson and have Joe Haden, Pittsburgh also now has to contend with A.J. Green, Lamar Jackson, and Odell Beckham Jr. twice a year – they need help in the secondary. Top brass in the Steel City will be jumping for joy if the LSU product does fall, for he has all the tools to be one of the best young corners in the league.
While a little underweight at 185 that’s nothing that should prevent Williams from filling out his 6’2″ form over time. At 4.37 his 40 suggests that he can hang with everyone who lines up against him. Simply, he is the prototype for a modern NFL corner. Fluid, twitchy, long, athletic, balanced, productive… the list of traits goes on and on. Just watch his freshman highlights and try not to be impressed. This. Kid. Can. Ball. If and when the Steelers finally cut Haden lose, they won’t lose much as they will already have a CB1 who is more than greedy for INTS.
21) Seattle Seahawks – Dalton Risner – OT: As T’Challa once exclaimed on the battlefield, “Get this man a shield.” Someone get Russell Wilson a f’n shield please? Please?! For the love of god how has Seattle allowed their Super Bowl winning quarterback to be pummeled for years now. If he wasn’t a Houdini in the pocket Wilson might’ve been knocked out of the league at this point with how many times he’s been taken to the turf. While there are certainly better prospects left on the table than Risner the ‘hawks have no choice but to swallow their pride and reach a bit for the Kansas St. tackle. However that’s not to say that Risner isn’t worthy of a first round pick. That being said Seattle can’t trade down lest they lose a chance at a prospect of Risner’s caliber. It’s not a lose-lose situation, but it isn’t going to stop the draft pundits from questioning this choice on draft day. The cards are dealt for Seattle though and Risner becomes the Kolton Miller of the 2o19 Draft.
Risner is a bit of a tweener lineman at 6’5″ 312. He could reasonably fit into any spot along the line, and while his frame lends itself to being a guard there’s no reason he cannot succeed as a tackle – the position he’s entering as. Strong, and firm with a nasty edge, Dalton can mow over people if Wilson scrambles out as well as simply be an asset in the run game. His punches are solid, his kick steps long, and his patience is rather remarkable. However, he is a bit lumbering and heavy footed. Longer games will take their toll on the big man; his momentum gets him out of a lot of jams. Still, he is a quality pick if not a sexy one, and Wilson will surely toast his presence.
22) Baltimore Ravens – Marquise “Hollywood” Brown – WR: The Chargers proved to the NFL world that Lamar Jackson is a gimmick in a purple jersey, and while the Ravens did make the playoffs last year the NFL now knows how to beat them – make Lamar throw. I can’t imagine that the Ravens are ignorant enough to know that they are in precarious territory know that everyone knows how to scheme against them. Therefore, if Lamar is going to have to throw it probably is wise to get him someone to throw to.
Hollywood Brown has the genes to play in the NFL – his cousin is Antonio Brown. Size also does not equal success in the League, and Brown is only 5’9″ 166. Regardless of lacking physical gifts there is no doubt that Brown is simply the most electric receiver in this year’s class. The next coming of DeSean Jackson, Brown is poised to light up the league on deep 9 routes and big YAC catches underneath. With Jackson’s arm all you have to do is tell Brown to run straight and plays will happen. No doubt, if LamJax can adjust his game then these two are going to be an intimidating combo for years to come. It also doesn’t hurt that Brown does exceptionally well with Heisman QBs. Mayfield, Murray, and maybe Jackson? It’s a good omen I think, and Hollywood might just get his own star in Baltimore.
23) Houston Texans – Byron Murphy – CB: Kevin Johnson never panned out. Tyrann Mathieu is a Chief. Bradley Roby is a fine addition, but the Texans’ secondary needs some help. Behind Greedy Williams the next best corner in the draft is up for debate. Deandre Baker is certainly worthy, but Byron Murphy simply has a better projection as a true man-coverage corner.
An All-American as a receiver in high school, Murphy certainly exhibits all the football IQ necessary to discern the motives of his opponents and counter them properly. A twitch corner, he relies on his instincts more than his athleticism, which is all fine and good but can be a negative when opponents show him as being more quick than fast. He is also a little undersized at 5’11″190″ but again – he plays smart enough to counteract what he lacks physically. He leaves college as a redshirt sophomore, so there is hope he can fill out and develop into his frame. Altogether though Murphy is a teachable project who has the foundation to revitalize a cornerback-core in Houston that has taken some hits this offseason.
24) Oakland Raiders – Deandre Baker – CB: The Raiders have three picks in the first round following the trades of Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper, and I’ll be damned if they don’t intend to utilize them. There are an awful lot of holes left to fill in the future Las Vegas squad – most notably on the defense. While Josh Allen is a great start on a defensive rebuild there are also considerable gaps in the secondary that could stand to be plugged. Gareon Conley can’t do it all alone.
Enter Deandre Baker, a senior Georgia Bulldog who is not wont for experience in his career. He was easily the best defensive back on a team that has routinely made it far in the college football rankings the past few years, and in no small matter his consistency and confidence immediately stand out as the focus of his game. Baker can compete with anyone and is not likely to get intimidated by larger receivers – even if he is only 5’11”. It is evident that he knows when to pursue and when to time his contest on jump balls. Simply, he just has a good feel for the position and has the attitude to back it up. Paired with Conley the duo can begin to make the Oakland pass coverage a feared force to be challenged, and when you have Antonio Brown to practice against… well… it certainly can’t hurt.
25) Philadelphia Eagles – Garrett Bradbury – OL: The Eagles have trouble with their secondary just as the Redskins have trouble with their OL: they can’t stay healthy. Certainly I think Doug Pederson is hoping that someone like Deandre Baker or Byron Murphy falls, but if not, they have other needs to fill – notably at interior O-line.
Bradbury projects as a center in the league. Being 6’3″ makes him the ideal height so as to be not too tall that the QB can’t see over. Still, his skills make him a possible candidate to succeed at either guard spot in addition to being the middle-man. As it happens Philly could use someone with this skill set as keeping Carson Wentz healthy should be priority numero uno. A tight end coming out of high school he has the athleticism that most O-Line coaches covet: agile, reactive, twitchy. Paired with strong hands and good punch placement Mr. Bradbury certainly is one of the best interior lineman in this entire draft. A solid pick for the Broad Street Bullies.
26) Indianapolis Colts – Dexter Lawrence – DT: What happened in Indy last year was nothing short of remarkable. The miraculous winning streak down the stretch to eek into the playoffs and actually win in the Wild Card was nothing short of pulling a massive rabbit out of a hat. As long as Andrew Luck is healthy no one can bet against this team to make a deep run in the playoffs this year. That being said, they need some help along their defensive front.
While Justin Houston will come in and provide some help in the pass rush the Colts still lack a big body in the middle to clog up rushing lanes and move the pocket back on passing downs. There may be no better big man in this class that can do that (who isn’t named Quinnen Williams) than Dexter Lawrence. Where Christian Wilkins was the more penetrative on the Clemson front Lawrence was the mountain who could be both the immovable object and the unstoppable force. Standing at 6’4″ and a mammoth 342 pounds this guy is not going to be a pushover anytime soon. He will command double teams like no one’s business, and be a true standout on Sundays in Lucas Oil Stadium. Additionally he possesses sneaky agility for a man his size, and has the capacity to surprise an unsuspecting guard or center off the snap. A 1-tech/nose tackle in any scheme, Lawrence will be the anchor for a Colts team that is ready to win now.
27) Oakland Raiders – Noah Fant – TE: Oakland is in a rare position that it can add multiple playmakers early in this draft, and while they spend some time shoring up their defense with their first two pick in the first round it is hard for me to believe that Mike Mayock will ignore a glaring need on offense at tight end with one of the premiere players available at that position.
Jared Cook was one of the few bright spots on a lackluster Raiders attack in 2018. He is in New Orleans now however, and while Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams will hold down the X and Z spots handily a good Y is much needed as a safety valve for Derek Carr. Noah Fant is the second Hawkeye TE coming off the board in the first this year along with T.J. Hockenson (seriously, Iowa, what’s your secret?). Where Hockenson is more of a do-it-all type player like Gronkowski on the line Fant was the slot guy who acted as a mismatch specialist – think Jimmy Graham. With a basketball background there is no doubt that Fant can be the next iteration of athletic freak in the middle of the field, and with a 4.5 40 and a 39.5″ vertical he certainly becomes an instant red zone threat for an offense that is quickly becoming one of the most improved in the League.
As a side, this is the perfect spot for a team to take a stab at Jeffery Simmons. There will be more on him soon (spoiler alert), but he is most definitely a top-10, maybe top-5 talent if not for a recent ACL tear. The Raiders have luxury in their three first round picks, so Simmons is a definite possibility here.
28) Los Angeles Chargers – Jerry Tillery – DT: I think the Chargers are going to be seriously tempted to draft Philip Rivers eventual replacement – as they should. However their window with him is not quite over and they brought in Tyrod Taylor to serve as a quality backup and potential bridge as they bring along a new guy. So, with that in mind they take a step to capitalize on perhaps their last chance with 17 to win a Lombardi and draft a very talented player to fortify the interior of their defensive line: Jerry Tillery.
Tillery is another player who is likely a top-20 pick in any other draft but falls due to the sheer volume of talent on defense that is coming out this year. While he has more the frame of a DE in a 3-4 he nevertheless possesses the strength to be stuck right smack dab in the middle of the party. Once you get past his apparent sluggishness – which is rare but still apparent – it becomes clear that his power is something to be reckoned with. Call him a lumbering giant, but his ability to take on double teams and smack people out of the way is going to be a godsend for a team that needs to take some pressure off of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram as well as build a wall in the run game.
29) Seattle Seahawks – Clelin Ferrell – DE: Both teams should have an opportunity to possess the ball in overtime. There. Now that that’s out of the way it’s no secret that Kansas City, for all its monumental successes on offense, were absolutely atrocious on the opposite side of the ball. Now Steve Nelson, Justin Houston, and Dee Ford are gone. The Honey Badger Tyrann Mathieu is in, but he alone is not enough to save this awful defense. While they severely need a some new corners the first round is all about trying to find the right combination of talent and value at the right time in positions of need. In KC’s case, the player that fits these criteria is Clelin Ferrell.
Dee Ford’s absence is perhaps the most notable loss for the red squad, and finding someone to replace his pass-rush potential should be a high priority. Luckily Ferrell can do that and then some – his run game is a strength as well. Consider this quote from his nfl.com draft profile: “Highly productive 4-3 defensive end with prototypical size, length and strength to offer early help against both the run and pass”. Yeah, that’ll do it. A stat monster with prototypical size who you can build around for the next 5 years? I think the Chiefs are going t0 run to the podium to get this guy unless a top corner falls. It’s time to bring some more firepower to Arrowhead.
That’s what I had written before the Chiefs up and traded for Frank Clark. I’m not sure if you realize just how much of a house of cards these mock drafts are, but as with dominoes so too just a draft crumble down the line if a team makes a late trade in the draft process. They may be exciting, but that didn’t stop me from audibly swearing out loud at work thinking I would have to re-do a good chunk of the draft. However, it turns out that Seattle now has a need at defensive end, and Clelin Ferrell is someone that I think Pete Carroll would be happy to have on his squad. He certainly doesn’t cost 105 million just yet.
30) Green Bay Packers – A.J. Brown – WR: The Packers took considerable measures to buff up their defense in free agency. Not so much for the other side of the ball. Cody Ford gave Aaron Rodgers some protection, but now he needs a weapon.
A.J. Brown is a bona-fide stud. I see him as an Amari Cooper clone, but where Cooper played on the outside, Brown was relegated to primarily the slot. There he wasn’t challenged as much in press coverage, and he took full advantage with his exceptional twitch and quick stops. Good feet, good hands, and aggressive blocking are the names of the game with A.J., and teams are going to love his willingness to put up a fight at the line of scrimmage. Really, the biggest question mark with Brown is how he will match up to NFL competition, but if he can continue to fool with his footwork and be willing to take on a battle then the Packers are going to have one hell of a new weapon to play with.
31) Los Angeles Rams – Jeffery Simmons – DT: How does one go about replacing a player such as Ndamukong Suh? Simple: you draft the next Ndamukong Suh. The Rams find themselves in a spot where they don’t have many needs other than to replace fill those spots of players that have left the organization this offseason. For the Rams, they now have a gaping hole next to Aaron Donald to fill, and as it happens the best player on the board just so happens to be exactly who they need.
Jeffery Simmons is a top 10, maybe even top 5 pick if he didn’t tear his ACL while training for the Combine. Nowadays though that injury is so commonplace that readily established rehab programs can get players back as soon as next season, if not sooner. There is thought that Simmons’ injury will keep him out until the later part of the season, but if and when L.A. makes the playoffs again he should be ready to go. Character concerns will also cause Simmons to fall, as a tape of him punching a woman early in his Mississippi State career will immediately take him off some draft boards. Nevertheless, the NFL has not shown a definitive stance against drafting players with off-the-field concerns and I doubt they start now – especially with a player as talented as Simmons.
As a player, Simmons might be everything you want as an enforcer. Massive, strong, aggressive. Instincts? Eh… this is a guy that you point where you want him to go and have him fire off again and again and again. Where Donald uses his technique and leverage to dominate, Simmons simply roars through and breaks down the door instead of picking the lock. Together they may be the most intimidating interior duo in the NFL, and I’m sure Sean McVay & Les Snead are eager to see whether or not that is true.
32) New England Patriots – Irv Smith – TE: Other than Julian Edelman I honestly don’t know who the Patriots have on their roster to catch passes. Well, there is Josh Gordon… but… c’mon. Losing Gronk might be the single biggest offensive loss any team has had… maybe ever. If you needed a first down – Gronk. If you needed a TD – Gronk. If you needed someone to slam a box of wine on a duckboat and make 69 jokes all day erryday – Gronk. Sa La Vie. While I’m sure Belichick has a plan to run the ball 40 times a game and throw 20 screen passes to boot the team still needs a new pass catcher in the middle.
Irv Smith is a bit like T.J. Hockenson Lite. He can do just about everything rather well, but does not possess the game breaking dominance that Hockenson provides or Gronkowski had. Still, in New England’s system a JAG can look like a Pro-Bowler, so it would not surprise me if Irv Smith produces a fairly impressive stat line this season. Moreover, the Patriots should start to think about a successor at QB, and Smith can develop over the next 2-3 years and become an optimal safety valve for the next guy who comes in. It is another classic quality pick by the Fellas from Foxborough, and the Super Bowl champs end the first round by picking up a key piece on their road to try and repeat.
33) Arizona Cardinals – N’Keal Harry – WR: The Cardinals got their guy in Kyler Murray to kick off the draft; now they get him a weapon who can take over WR1 duties once Larry Fitzgerald decides to hang up his cleats. At 6’2″ 228 N’Keal Harry has the size to be effective all over the field and his tape doesn’t lie – the man can produce. He might be a bit tight in the hips but a certain future HoF’er on the roster can help Harry figure out the nuances of the spot before he leaves. Solid hands, solid size, solid film. Solid way to kick off the second round.
34) Indianapolis Colts – Jaylon Ferguson – EDGE: The Colts drafted a mountain in Dexter Lawrence to solidify the interior of their D-line, but they still need someone dearly who can come in an crash down off the edge. Jaylon Ferguson was an extremely productive rusher off the edge for Louisiana Tech during his career – he led the nation with 17.5 sacks his Senior year – though he is a pit of a project. He could use some weight and needs to figure out how to win leverage battles, but is a hard-nosed project that the Colts can get some serious stats off coming around the edge.
35) Oakland Raiders – Josh Jacobs – RB: The Marshawn Lynch experiment was fun, and he may still have some gas left in the tank, but the Raiders would do well to bring in a running back. I’ve watched Isaiah Crowell from his time on the Browns, and he’s nothing to write home about. Credit to the Raiders – they’ve taken care of much of their needs in free agency, but with 4 picks in the top 35 they are set for a monster haul this year, and with their fourth pick they can take the first – and best – running back in the draft in Josh Jacobs. Some may worry about his sample size since he was only a part timer at Alabama, but the film shows a complete three down back who is just as likely to bowl you over as he is to juke you out of your shoes. In an extremely defensive heavy draft he happens to fall out of the first round, and if he makes it to 35 I foresee the Silver and Black already having their pick in before it even becomes their turn – it’s that telegraphed.
36) San Francisco 49ers – Johnathan Abram – SS: Like the Raiders, the Niners have a shot to claim the first player at a position of need who happened to fall thanks to a very deep class. Abram is a heat-seeking missile in the backfield, and is probably the best gunner I’ve seen since Landon Collins. Is it a coincidence they both went to Alabama? Perhaps. In any event, San Francisco really could use some help in their secondary. While the corner spots are held – loosely – by Richard Sherman and Jason Verrett they need someone to act as a safety net in the run game and bring another blitz threat over the top. Abram is the top option in this draft to do that and is the pick at 36 for that reason.
37) New York Giants – Parris Campbell – WR: The Giants have found their edge rusher, and their QBOTF, now they find a burner to stretch the field for Eli and the passing game. Strange… it seems as if they had someone to do that but for some reason gave him away… Anyway, Parris Campbell is certainly worthy of a first round selection. 6’0″ with 4.3 speed? Yeah, have the man run fast and return kicks. Extremely explosive and twitchy to boot, I have faith that Campbell will quickly find success all over the field. The Giants have found a true steal at 37 that has a chance to fill some enormous shoes on the offensive side of the ball.
38) Jacksonville Jaguars – D.K. Metcalf – WR: We’ve all seen the photos; we’ve all seen the times, Metcalf is a freak of nature. I don’t hesitate to think he could be the next Josh Gordon or Calvin Johnson, but that rests on the pretense that the Jaguars will use D.K. as to what his skillset allows. There is no question that his size and speed are the ultimate compliment to the other receivers that Jacksonville possesses, and that should provide something that the Charlotte locals have dearly missed lately. Metcalf immediately steps in as WR1, and quickly should be a focal point of the Jaguars’ offense. He might be an athletic freak, and the potential is certainly there – but then again, Corey Coleman was also fast and ran a limited route tree. Metcalf is bigger, sure, but he is more even more clunky and might be the biggest risk in the draft. For that reason he falls out of round one, and even past players like N’Keal Harry and Parris Campbell who may have a lower ceiling, but are more of a sure thing. Moreover, Metcalf has a scary injury history and has struggled with drops over his career. He could be an all-pro, but there’s a long and uneasy road to get there.
39) Tampa Bay Buccaneers TRADED to Los Angeles Chargers – Will Grier – QB: Tampa has more problems than pick 39 can fix. If they can even afford to bring in more than 5 players given their salary cap hell I’ll be impressed. While they do hit a home run with Devin White in the First, sometimes its better to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, know when to run (thank you, thank you).
The Chargers know that they can make a run with who they have on staff, but they also know they need to start grooming a successor to Philip Rivers. By trading their second and third this year plus their third next year to the Buccaneers they can move up to the spot of the last team not in the AFC before it becomes the Bengals turn to possibly draft a replacement to Andy Dalton. The Bucs, meanwhile, can start to stack and load assets for when they can fix their money problems and/or trade up for a QB if an when the Jameis Winston project comes to a close.
As for Grier, he has the top arm out of any of this years QBs after showing a 59 mph reading on the radar gun. Apparently he had a phenomenal pro day and many teams are now starting to consider him a late-first round pick for a team looking to put him on a five year option. While the Chargers are set with a 4 year contract that should be enough time to facilitate the upbringing of Grier in the offense and work out his kinks for the eventual transition onward from Rivers. Drafting Grier may not help the Chargers this year, but they gain peace of mind on their future, and that is a hard commodity to come by.
40) Buffalo Bills – Rock Ya-Sin – CB: The Bills were second best in the league with only 294.1 yards allowed per game. That being said, they lack a true starter outside of Tre’Davious White to hold down one side of the field. Rock Ya-Sin may only hold one year of football experience but his athletic potential is off the charts. The Bills showed a willingness to take on projects when they selected Josh Allen last year, and Ya-Sin is no different. All the tools are there, but it will be on the Bills to help this guy take the next step in his development. If Ya-Sin finds his mojo then he will be a Rock for the Buffalo defense for the next 7 years.
41) Denver Broncos – Erik McCoy – IOL: Elway does right by his new QB Drew Lock and finds some help to fortify the middle of the O-line. Where Erik McCoy ends up playing on that line… well that’s the question. His athleticism won’t wow anyone but his strength is above average and his frame is thick enough to really cause problems. He’s more of a brick wall than a bulldozer, but there is still room for him on an NFL roster as his talent on tape speaks for itself. It isn’t a sexy pick by any means but the Broncos make a necessary move in solidifying their foundation.
42) Cincinnati Bengals – Kahale Warring – TE: Zac Taylor is an offensive minded guy and I don’t particularly have a lot of faith that Tyler Eifert can stay healthy for more than 8 games. Warring is an exciting mismatch in the middle that can out-athlete most other players. A swiss army knife in blocking and YAC, Warring possesses a unique skill set that made him a multi-multi sport athlete throughout his high school and college career. His concentration drops are a concern, but his floor is still that of a very productive TE2.
43) Detroit Lions – Mack Wilson – LB: The Lions go full ‘Bama in this year’s draft, moving up for Quinnen Williams in the first to anchor their defensive front. Now they grab another member of the Crimson tide to act as a general in the middle in Mack Wilson. As is tradition with Alabama linebackers, Wilson is plug-n-play and forget. A true three-down guy, Wilson has everything you want to stimulate a defensive revival. He won’t make eye popping plays consistently, but he’s solid to do his job and make tackles when you need him to. I can’t imagine Matt Patricia wanting to pass up the chance to take a player that you can trust to do their duty on every single down. If the Lions are trying to copy the Patriots’ model of team building then Wilson is simply a no brainer.
44) Green Bay Packers – Dawson Knox – TE: Before you say, “But Cam, the Packers have Jimmy Graham!”, so too do the Bengals have Tyler Eifert. The Graham era is coming to an end rather fast due to injury, and the Pack could certainly use another weapon on offense in tandem with their addition of A.J. Brown. Despite the fact that Dawson Knox never scored a touchdown in college you can look at the guy’s frame and tape and he just screams “NFL success story.” A complete package in his ability to find space, make plays, and also block – something Jimmy Graham has never been able to do effectively – makes Knox an heir apparent to the TE1 spot and a fundamental piece in Green Bay’s ability to run the ball and conduct play action in 12-set formations.
45) Atlanta Falcons – Trayvon Mullen – CB: The Falcons would certainly like to add more to their defensive front even after the addition of Christian Wilkins, but their secondary is severely lacking when it comes to depth. A good team never is lacking for good cornerbacks, and so Atlanta drafts Trayvon Mullen to fill a perceived need. Mullen himself is framed as a new-age CB. Long and built like a receiver, he specializes in press coverage and can hang tough with both the taller, faster receivers. He can be tasked to blanket specific guys all game long, and that’s something that I think the Dirty Birds could use.
46) Washington Redskins TRADED to Buffalo Bills – David Montgomery – RB: Once upon a time, LeSean McCoy and Frank Gore were top flight backs in the league. I’m sure that the tandem can rack up some stats between them, but Shady is slowing down and Gore is running on fumes. Buffalo needs a successor. David Montgomery can be that successor. At 5’10” 222 he possesses the ideal size for the position, and while his 4.63 40 won’t knock anyone’s socks off it forces him to be patient and deliberate in his movements. Calm and confident are the names to his game – plus it doesn’t hurt when your pro comparison is Kareem Hunt. Personally I like this David better than Josh Jacobs; hopefully the Bills agree with me because if they do they are gaining one hell of a weapon.
47) Carolina Panthers TRADED to Cincinnati Bengals – Kaleb McGary – OT: If the Bengals are going to roll with Andy Dalton for a bit longer they would do well to shore up some of the glaring holes on their offensive front. McGary has ideal size for either tackle spot at 6’7″ 317, but that size also leads to a lack of control due to momentum. He readily overcommits on his blocks, but with some coaching up it’s easy to see this guy bookending an O-line for a long while. For the Bengals that’s a huge win at a huge need.
48) Miami Dolphins – Tyshun “Deebo” Samuel – WR: While the Dolphins can’t realistically hope to compete until they find someone to lock it down under center it doesn’t mean that they can’t start preparing for that person’s arrival by stacking talent at skill positions. Deebo Samuel is a fierce competitor sourced from South Carolina. He might not be the biggest guy around, nor the most healthy, but the tape doesn’t lie: the kid can ball. Kenny Stills and Devante Parker won’t be enough to make the Fins O run smoothly, for they sorely miss the presence of Jarvis Landry. Adding Samuel would be a fantastic attempt to replace the playmaker.
49) Cleveland Browns – Chauncey Gardner-Johnson – SS: The loss of Jabrill Peppers was a necessary measure in order to ensure the OBJ trade, and while Morgan Burnett is a fine stop-gap Cleveland needs a true successor to fortify the back end next to Damarious Randall. As a pure strong safety I like Taylor Rapp a little bit better that CGJ, but the Browns need someone a bit more fluid in coverage that will act more as a high-slot back than a striker – which isn’t to say that Gardner-Johnson can’t lay the hammer down. I love his ability to pursue, and that is going to be a valuable asset in tandem with the Browns’ box linebackers Schobert and Kirksey. It takes a while for the Browns to make their first pick, but in a loaded round 2 they still are able to acquire some quality talent at their most evident position of need.
50) Minnesota Vikings – Dre’Mont Jones – DT: Sheldon Richardson is gone for Cleveland, so Minnesota takes a Cleveland native to replace him. The Ohio State Buckeye Dre’Mont Jones is not so much a mauler as he is a spear that you can use to split a line in half. He may look a little small in his lower half but his sheer explosiveness compensates for his smaller stature. If he can find a wedge to break through his productiveness is limitless. However the opposite is true is well, and I fear he may easily get bogged down if he doesn’t win off the snap. Luckily for the Vikings, he almost always wins off the snap.
51) Tennessee Titans – Chris Lindstrom – G: Unfortunately for the Titans, they have missed out on the top-tier TE talents in this draft. Who knows how Delanie Walker will be coming back from injury – added to the fact that he is aging quite fast and their is no true heir apparent at the position. A good number 2 receiver would also be a good pick to compliment Corey Davis and Adam Humphries, but other than maybe J.J. Arcega-Whiteside I just don’t see the value there at 51. Therefore, Tennessee has to move on to another need at guard. Josh Kline is gone and someone is going to have to pave the way for Derrick Henry. Chris Lindstrom is an elite athlete that has experience at both guard and tackle. His size is ideal and his potential on pulls is something that will give linebackers nightmares. That, added to a Joel Bitonio comp, makes this a quick and easy decision to fill a big need in Mike Vrabel’s offense.
52) Pittsburgh Steelers – Taylor Rapp – SS: The addition of Greedy Williams is the start of a major overhaul to the Pittsburgh secondary, and now they look to continue that rebuild by finding a replacement to Morgan Burnett. As mentioned earlier, Rapp is a true striker that is eager to lay hit stick after hit stick on oncoming running backs. While not much of a cover guy, his calling card as a run support specialist will be something that cannot be overlooked. On a squad that desperately needs help at in the back 7, Rapp could be a revelation. Certainly, the Steelers are hoping so.
53) Philadelphia Eagles TRADED to Cleveland Browns – Justin Layne – CB: When Cleveland picked up Kareem Hunt it was readily apparent that Duke Johnson was the odd man out in the Browns’ backfield (not that he already wasn’t being heavily misused). The writing is on the wall for John Dorsey to move Duke after his asking to be traded, and it so happens that Philly could use another offensive weapon in the backfield. Duke is a true threat at both receiver and running back, and anyone who has paid even remote attention to the player knows that he was just scratching the surface on his potential. As for trade compensation the Browns offer a 6th rounder this year and their third next year in addition to Duke Johnson to move to 53.
So who did the Browns value so much to give up Duke? Justin Layne. Cleveland needs a true number 2 corner to compliment Denzel Ward, and Layne is not only the bigger player (6’2″) but possesses a history as a receiver which gives him a unique IQ on how to play against them. Where Ward can be tone-on-one with the opponents’ top threat, Layne can be situated as the back-third zone man to counteract whatever else is thrown at the Browns’ secondary. Oh, and one more thing: Layne is from Cleveland and wants to play for his hometown Browns. Truly, he seems ready and willing to buy into Freddie Kitchens’ “If you don’t where Brown & Orange, you don’t matter.”
54) Houston Texans – Greg Little – OT: It wasn’t too awful long ago that Little was considered to be a top-10 lock for this draft, but a lack of apparent domination this past season has caused him to fall drastically. Paired with a sub-optimal combine, Little now finds himself in the second round. That being said, he has a chance to stand out on a miserable Texans line that surrendered 62 sacks last year – the most in the league. He should immediately come in and fill one of the tackle spots, and with his class-leading 35+” arms I don’t doubt that Little’s floor is anything less than acceptable.
55) Houston Texans – Elgton Jenkins – IOL: Did I mention that the Texans gave up 62 sacks last year? Yeah, they need more than just Greg Little to save Deshaun Watson’s life. Elgton Jenkins is a versatile prospect who has experience at tackle but make his mark as Mississippi State’s center over the past year. His combination of athleticism and power makes him quietly one of the better O-line prospects in the class, but where he succeeds as a brick wall he leaves something to be desired in his ability to get to the second level and take on linebackers/safeties. With that in mind there is no reason why Jenkins cannot be coached up to fire out further, but it may take some time. That being said, the Texans’ double down in the second round to protect their franchise QB is going to be a welcome sight for both Watson and the Houston faithful.
56) New England Patriots – Zach Allen – DE: Allen screams “PATRIOTS.” Above all it is his malleability as a player and high football IQ that make his folding into New England’s plug-n-play system that just makes too much sense. Explosive and strong as all hell, Allen can rush with a hand in the dirt or as a stand up linebacker. He can set an edge and penetrate interiors. Run? Pass? Allen has a tool that can unlock any offensive scheme. He might be more of a straight line rusher, and his sideline-to-sideline time may be lacking a bit, but Belichick will know how to use this kid and it’s not hard to see a scenario where the Pats actually trade up to get this guy. A+ pick in the mid-second round.
57) Philadelphia Eagles – Julian Love – CB: Injuries galore wrecked havoc on the Eagles’ secondary, so they would do well to add another potential starter that can bolster that core. With 32 pass breakups in his last two years at Notre Dame, Julian Love is easily to love as a prospect when you look at his stat sheet. When you turn on the film his stock only rises from there. Technical and consistent, it is readily apparent that Love straight up just knows how to play cornerback. He may not be the most aggressive player but his is smart and instinctive and can probably start for any one of the NFL’s 32 teams from day one. A slot guy he may not be, but stick him on the numbers and watch this kid go to work. Another Eagle for the No Fly Zone.
58) Dallas Cowboys – Darnell Savage – S: The name of the game for the Cowboys and their first pick in the 2019 Draft is going to be relative value. While it is apparent that Jason Witten will need an heir (again) the value that Darnell Savage provides at 58 for another position of need in Dallas is too much to pass up. Savage is quickly rising as a favorite for many teams with a need on the back end due to his intelligence, twitch, and 4.36 speed. He is compact but lacks a few inches and pounds that many NFL teams find ideal in their centerfielders. Lamarcus Joyner is his comp due to their similar statures and measureables. Jerry Jones would like a Joyner-esque player, and taking Darnell this late in the second would be a savage pickup.
59) Indianapolis Colts – J.J. Arcega-Whiteside: This is hands down my favorite pick in this draft. If you don’t know the name Jose Joaquin Arcega-Whiteside, you will. 6’2″ 225 with career stats of 135 receptions for 2,219 yards and 28 touchdowns. 28!!! A monster in the red zone. Dominant on the boundary. Can you say Alshon Jeffery 2.0? I can, and I think Andrew Luck can too. Why does J.J. fall to 59? Well, he’s not a speed demon and he looks a bit tight in the hips – he is not long to make magic over the middle. He may be limited to the outside hash, but that doesn’t mean he can’t make a home for himself there. His character and motivations seem to be on the up and up as well, making him a natural fit to a Colts organization concerned with such things. This is such… a baller move by Indianapolis. If they can land this guy… man, A+++.
60) Los Angeles Chargers TRADED to Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Juan Thornhill – DB: The defensive bulk up continues in Tampa Bay; the Bucs add versatile DB Juan Thornhill at 60. I say defensive back because I could see them using him as an over the top safety or move him back to his original position of corner. No matter where they play him though the Bucs will nevertheless love Thornhill’s tenacity in his pursuits – his quick twitch and adjustments allow him to stay blanketed on whomever crosses his path. He’s a guy that you find a favorable matchup against and take away an opponent’s weapon. Basically, he’s the bane of teams like the Patriots who look to capitalize on said matchups and take away the strengths of a defense. Bruce Arians is going to have a ball putting this thorn into the side of everyone who crosses this motley crew.
61) Kansas City Chiefs – Lonnie Johnson – CB: Tyrann Mathieu can’t do it alone in the Chiefs’ secondary, and while the team would love to find a replacement to Mitch Morse at center the value just isn’t there at this point. Therefore, KC brings in Lonnie Johnson, who frankly reminds me of former Chief Marcus Peters. Hot-tempered, freakishly athletic, but maybe not as technically refined as you would like him to be. If Johnson can learn and adapt his potential is through the roof. His potential on special teams is nothing to be ignored either. It’s a project to take him on, sure, but the Chiefs have shown they are not afraid of developing players for the long haul.
62) New Orleans Saints – Mecole Hardman – WR: The Saints could use a replacement for Mark Ingram, but with only a couple of RBs off the board so fair I think they can stand to wait for another round. After all, they are merely looking for a compliment to Alvin Kamara. The wide receiver position though has to be manned by multiple individuals, and while the Brees-Thomas connection is magnificent, someone has to take the pressure off of it. Mecole Hardman may be the less refined of the Georgia receiver duo of this draft – the other being Riley Ridley – but his ceiling is so much higher. He can be the lightning to Thomas’ thunder. His 4.3 speed makes him dangerous in the return game just as it does make him a downfield threat. Where the Saints lost a step when Brandin Cooks left they can recoup that speed with Hardman in 2019. Another dynamic weapon for Brees suddenly makes another deep playoff run by the black and gold that much more likely.
63) Kansas City Chiefs – Connor McGovern – IOL: The Chiefs have to invest one of their first three picks into protecting Pat Mahomes. While they prefer a center, it is going to be tough to find one worth their salt past the trio of Bradbury, McCoy, and Jenkins. Therefore they move over to guard to find competition for Cam Erving. He seemed OK for the Chiefs, but I know this guy after his time in Cleveland, and can guess that many in KC feel the same doubt about him that I do. McGovern has experience at guard and center – a boon for the Chiefs – and has exhibited a penchant for run blocking. The pass rush defense will have to be further instilled in him, but the talent is there for a late second round selection. If nothing else, the tape shows him to be a stalwart, so while he may not be the greatest against technical d-lineman he can still compete with many a bullrush. It’s not ideal, but it’s a start, and it likely makes him a starter on a starting-to-be-questionable Chiefs O-line.
64) New England Patriots – Emanuel Hall – WR: The Pats need some more weapons on offense. Irv Smith was a good start in the first round but Demaryius Thomas is a shell of his former self and who knows if Josh Gordon will ever play again? Emanuel Hall fits the mold of a Belichick player – good at a few things but limited overall. That is fine for his system though, as there is a distinct lack of a true gunner – something Hardman can solve in spades. 6’2″ with a 4.39 makes him a dangerous combo of size and speed. Fly routes and kick returns is what he brings to the table, and that’s something the Patriots just do not have on paper. It’s not hard to see Hall becoming the next New England success story that becomes a compensatory pick once his rookie deal is up. Rinse and repeat for the fellas in Foxborough.
65) Arizona Cardinals – Tytus Howard – OT: An extremely athletic, extremely raw player who, with development, could be one of the best offensive linemen in the class. By pairing him with Murray Kliff Kingsbury can make a statement by developing the duo into Arizona focal pieces for the next decade.
66) Pittsburgh Steelers – D’Andre Walker – Edge: Bud Dupree has not lived up to expectations, so the Steelers draft another pass rusher to compliment T.J. Watt. A bit clunky, Walker is a true rotational pass rusher that needs time to develop into a complete starter off of either end.
67) San Francisco 49ers – JoeJuan Williams – CB: Standing at 6’4″ 211 Williams may be the most imposing corner in the class. A boom or bust player on the field he is most certainly wort ha third round flyer as his athletic traits make his ceiling just as high as the other top secondary prospects in the class. He joins Nick Bosa and Johnathan Abram on a 49ers defense that is completing a full face lift during this draft.
68) New York Jets – L.J. Collier – EDGE: I see the Jets’ first round pickup Rashan Gary as more of an interior player on the Jets’ D-Line to supplement Leonard Williams, but there is a hole that they tried to fill with Anthony Barr – who bailed on the team and went back to Minnesota. Collier is a true power rusher that has the capacity to stand up or keep his hand in the dirt. If he can learn some new tricks in his game then the Jets are going to find themselves an early steal in the third round.
69) Jacksonville Jaguars – Jace Sternberger – TE: The addition of Hakeem Butler is going to go a long way in the revitalization of the Jags’ offense under Nick Foles, but the team still has a glaring hole at the tight end position. Sternberger, while not much of a blocker, is a more-athletic-than-average prospect who could use a bit of bulk but offers versatility in his ability to line up from hash mark to hash mark. At the end of the day he may serve better as a TE2 but at this point in the draft he is the best value that money can buy at his respective position.
70) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Nasir Adderley – S: If the Bucs want to use Juan Thornhill as a corner then they still have a need to fill over the top. Adderley too has experience at both corner and safety and can be another swiss army knife on Arians’ defense. He may not be the most instinctive player but with the right coach he can definitely find a role doing a specific role.
71) Denver Broncos – Riley Ridley – WR: Past Cortland Sutton and Emmanuel Sanders the Broncos’ receiving core is in serious need of a bolster. Riley Ridley will be a slot dynamo for Denver as his hands and blocking acumen are way above average for this year’s crop of pass catchers. If he can be even close to the talent his brother Calvin is for the Falcons then the Broncos are sure to be jumping for joy once this kid hits the field.
72) Cincinnati Bengals – Tyree Jackson – QB: At some point the Bengals are going to have to decide if they want to continue rolling with the perennially average Andy Dalton under center. Consider this pick as them hedging their bets. Jackson is certainly the largest thrower in this class at 6’7″ 249 with a sneaky fast 4.59 40. A bit clunky in his movements and his reads alike I think that Zac Taylor would relish in the opportunity to try and build this kid up. If nothing else he can be a viable backup, but if he realizes his full potential I have little doubt that Jackson can start for a team – if not the Bengals – in the NFL. And, maybe if the whole QB thing doesn’t work out, he has a hell of a frame to be a stand out wide receiver.
73) New England Patriots – Ryan Finley – QB: I don’t think I’d blame the Patriots one bit if they draft a QB every year now until Brady decides to hang ’em up. They had their heir apparent with Garoppolo, but we all know how that turned out. Brady may have a revolutionary training program, but no matter what you put in your body father time will always win and 12 is one hit away from a broken rib or some other injury. Does Bill Belichick really have faith in Brian Hoyer as a backup? I doubt it. Finley reminds me of A.J. McCarron as a prospect. Pro-style game manager. Accurate. Smart. Does his job. In short: he’s a perfect fit for New England’s offense. So while he will hold a clipboard for now the foundation is there for him to one day maybe be the next guy up for the Pats.
74) Buffalo Bills – Chase Winovich – Edge: The Bills continue to hit home runs in this draft with the addition of Chase Winovich, who on the stat sheet wildly outproduced his fellow Michigan Wolverines – including Rashan Gary. A wolverine is also a good comparison for this guy, as his pursuit is powerful and unrelenting. Added to his fantastic locker room attitude and football IQ I think the ceiling for this kid can be as high as Clay Matthews. He needs to learn how to better contain runs and not overcommit, but Winovich is an immediate upgrade on the Bills’ D-Line, and will likely become a defensive cornerstone for the Buffalo squad.
75) Green Bay Packers – Renell Wren – DT: One of the truest project players in this draft, Wren is a gym rat with elite burst and explosiveness. Having that at 6’5″ 318 is sure to get him noticed, and Matt LeFleur might want to add anther feather to his cap of coaching success stories. If he can get Wren to overcome his inconsistencies – of which there are many – then the Packers get a wrecking ball to anchor their defensive front for the foreseeable future.
76) Washington Redskins – Myles Boykin – WR: While Boykin needs to learn how to separate from corners on a consistent basis there is no question in his ability to make plays on the football. Concentration drops aside, his size and length with fluid movements make him an enticing prospect to compliment any WR core. The Redskins definitely could use some help on theirs – the addition of a WR/TE for them is certain in the early rounds. But, since they moved up for Haskins in the first they don’t get to pick a target for him until the third.
77) Carolina Panthers – Max Scharping – OT: Scharping can come in and start at either tackle spot for the Panthers – Cam Newton needs as much support as he can get. While his fundamentals aren’t quite as developed as a team would like, Scharping is known to be a very teachable prospect and has all the size and power that an NFL tackle requires. While the Panthers could make a move for a flashy defensive player or a wide reciever, sometimes the least sexy pick is the best – and most important – one. In this case, Max Scharping can bookend with Jawaan Taylor and really help fortify a the wall in front of Cam Newton.
78) Miami Dolphins – Chuma Edoga – OT: Ja’Wuan James is gone and the Fins need a new RT who can run block but also keep Ryan Fitzpatrick somewhat upright. Edoga might look a little odd – thin in the legs – to be a tackle, but the power and movement skills are there. He’s a smart player, but needs to develop a nasty side to complete his blocks. Still, at 78 he is certainly a win in the value department.
79) Atlanta Falcons – Anthony Nelson – DE: Vic Beasley had one good season during his career, but has been nothing but disappointing since. The Falcons need someone to come in and produce off the edge, so they grab the Iowa monster Anthony Nelson. At 6’7″ 271 Nelson has ludicrous size and still has room to fill out and add some mass to his frame. He already played with great strength, and all signs point to him becoming even more dominant in that regard. However his bend around the edge suffers because of his stature, and he seems to be a bit of a one trick pony when it comes to his pass rushing moves. At 79 thought the Falcons will love his potential.
80) Cleveland Browns – Germaine Pratt – LB: Cleveland solved their secondary woes with additions of Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and Justin Layne, but a need on the defense still exists at linebacker in the place that Jamie Collins once held. Pratt is a safety-turned-linebacker who possesses ample size at 6’2″ 240 to take on all blockers at the SAM spot. Genard Avery was a revelation, but he is more productive as a rusher. Pratt can pair with Schobert and Kirksey to form a hyper-athletic trio in the middle of the field who can all cover in space and chase down running backs as quickly as possible.
81) Minnesota Vikings – Connor McGovern – G: The addition of Andre Dillard doesn’t end the rebuild of the Vikings’ O-line. Connor McGovern can play anywhere along the interior and has a pretty strong run blocking acumen. He has some issues in his general technique – mainly those of over-commitment – but the foundation is there for him to be a solid starter.
82) Tennessee Titans – Hakeem Butler – WR: Butler may be the tallest wide receiver in the class at 6’5″ and that makes him one of the stronger jump ball options in the draft. Still… he has stone for hands. Sometimes players just can’t overcome that, and that scares me in Butler’s case. Nevertheless the Titans need some more options for Mariota to throw to, and if Butler can figure it out then I like he can rack in high numbers of TDs every year with his imposing stature.
83) Pittsburgh Steelers – Miles Sanders – RB: James Conner is going to run the show for years to come in the Steeler backfield but could use some depth for when he gets gassed. Miles Sanders was the heir apparent to Saquon Barkley at Penn State and broke out when the OROY transitioned to the NFL. He has low-mileage – under 300 carries – on his resume, and exhibits the patience that made Le’Veon what he is today. Paired with Conner the Steelers suddenly have a scary one-two punch that may mark their transition into a run-first team.
84) Kansas City Chiefs – Deionte Thompson – S: The Legion of Boom is long dead, and the exodus of Earl Thomas marked the end of an era in Seattle. Thompson comes from the football factory that is Alabama and was charged with staying high over the top and bringing a thud when needed. He can excel in both pass coverage and run support, but isn’t built thick like Landon Collins was. Injuries will be a continuous threat every time Thompson engages in the open field, but the pure football talent is nothing to be denied.
This, again, was to be the Seahawks’ pick before the Clark trade. As it turns out, it seems that KC and Seattle have many a same need, including at safety. Thompson is the best over-the-top guy on the board, and both teams would love to have him playing center field. He’ll come in and form a solid 1-2 punch with Tyrann Mathieu over the top.
85) Baltimore Ravens – Jamel Dean – CB: Dean runs a 4.3 at 6’1″, making him a situational player than can contest with any gunner that an opposing team may throw on the boundary. Multiple knee injuries are definite red flags on Dean’s record, but he has bounced back time and again and still has elite speed. If a team wants to take the risk – and Baltimore might – then Dean could end up being a mid-round gem.
86) Houston Texans – Damien Harris – RB: A short-yardage back to compliment D’Onte Foreman, Harris isn’t going to wow you with his straight line speed. He will produce 6-8 touchdowns a year and will likely be the first look on 2nd/3rd and short. This is a smart pickup for the Texans who already have invested two earlier picks to fortify their o-line.
87) Chicago Bears – Dexter Williams – RB: At long last we come to the Bears’ first pick in the draft. With it I feel like they’ll want a 3-down back to stay in the backfield while Tarik Cohen moves all around the formation. Williams has all the traits one wants in a bell-cow back. Good size, fantastic burst, decent blocking ability, and solid commitment when picking a lane. The issue? Very limited tape. But, this was a team that drafted their franchise QB when he had 13 games under his belt. Sample size is a non-issue when the only tape you have shows a back as talented as Williams. It took a while, but the Bears make a strong move with their first selection.
88) Detroit Lions TRADED to New York Jets – Nate Davis – G: Gang Green needs a bowling ball to clear lanes for Le’Veon Bell, and Nate Davis has some excellent quickness that will create fast holes that Bell can punch through. There’s not a lot to nit pick about him. He doesn’t wow in any one trait, but doesn’t seem to be lacking in any either. A quietly great pick this late in the third round.
89) Indianapolis Colts – David Long – CB: Long is a consistent cover corner that shows no fear in his challenges and always seems to rise to the occasion. Teams may seem him as “short” at 5’11”, but then again Denzel Ward was short too. Long isn’t Ward, but does possess a tenacious attitude that Frank Reich and the Colts will fall in love with. He’ll win many a battle by being a gutsy player and that will endear him to the Indy faithful.
90) Dallas Cowboys – Christian Miller – EDGE: David Irving wants to smoke pot, and Randy Gregory is perennially suspended – same old, same old for the Dallas D-Line. Miller was a five star prospect coming out of high school and was one of the more quiet names to come up through the prodigious Alabama Crimson Tide. He needs to bulk up and his 6’3″ frame renders him a tad undersized for an NFL edge rusher. Still, he’s aggressive, fluid, and quick. Perhaps more importantly though I don’t anticipate he’ll leave the Cowboys out to dry with off-the-field drama.
91) Los Angeles Chargers TRADED to Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Darrell Henderson – RB: The Ronald Jones experiment was nothing but completely disastrous, and Andre Ellington is over the hill. Henderson, though only 5’8″, is electric. A pinball wizard if you will. The Bucs take him hoping they have just landed the next Tarik Cohen, which would be a pretty pickup and a good way to start rectifying their severe misstep at the postion.
92) Seattle Seahawks – Amani Oruwariye – CB: Oruwariye has the length and weight to play hard as a bump-and-run man cover guy for the Seahawks – something they had been lacking since the departure of Richard Sherman. He plays smart and trusts his instincts, for you will routinely see him pop up all over the field making plays on the ball. His acceleration and twitch need some work as does his top end speed, but if he trains hard enough he could be another top tier corner for the 12 man to oogle.
93) New York Jets – Sean Bunting – CB: Bunting plays the field like a wide receiver, and has garnered a bit of a ball-hawk reputation because of his many interceptions. He could stand to add some muscle and get some work in on the agility ladder, but as a late 3rd rounder he’s the type of prospect you can start in at sub-packages and special teams and see if anything catches on.
94) Los Angeles Rams – Yodny Cajuste – OT: Cajuste was once thought to be a top tackle alongside Dillard and Taylor. That is no longer the case. His fall mirrors that of Orlando Brown from last year, who has just a horrible combine and pre-draft process. Cajuste didn’t even make it to the combine however as he needed quad surgery following the season. Where his inconsistencies in overall technique leave much to be desired Cajuste certainly looks the part of a top-flight tackle. Long and Quick, athleticism won’t be his downfall. Hopefully Andrew Whitworth can coach him up to take over when he finally rides off into the sunset.
95) New York Giants – Iman Marshall – CB: A four year starter in college, Marshall brings experience to the Giants and their secondary. A developmental prospect and penalty-flag afficionado, he will have to develop a good deal of discipline, which thankfully is something that New York considers their calling card.
96) Washington Redskins – Josh Oliver – TE: Vernon Davis is well over the hill and Jordan Reed cannot stay healthy. Jeremy Sprinkle has show some talent but not enough to keep Washington from adding depth at the TE position. Oliver brings size at 6’5″ 250 and carries a reputation as both an effective in-line blocker as well as a Y option at receiver. He may not be the fastest guy out there and he probably won’t shed defenders easily early in his career, but by all accounts he is a hard worker and someone that you want on your football team even if he doesn’t initially come in on top of the depth chart.
97) New England Patriots – Isaiah Buggs – DT: For an Alabama defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs did not test well. Chief among the concerns around him are due to a lack of motor following his initial push. Still, when he is motivated he plays like a bat out of hell and offers versatility in his ability to be played all across the line. If Belichick can whoop him into gear and give him something to play for then just chalk this one up as another Patriot revolution for a player who isn’t getting the credit he deserves.
98) Jacksonville Jaguars – Justice Hill – RB: While Leonard Fournette has the starting job locked down for the running backs in Jacksonville it was readily apparent that no depth exists behind him, as the offense was severely neutered upon Fournette’s recurring injuries. Hill brings genuine 4.4 speed and is always looking for a hole to cut through. He may not be the biggest guy, but after Philip Lindsay lit up NFL defenses last year size is no longer a good argument to make against a player’s talent.
99) Los Angeles Rams – Bryce Love – RB: C.J. Anderson is gone and I’m not convinced that the Rams are convinced that Todd Gurley’s knee is ever going to be 100%, and while drafting Bryce Love may seem curious given his own injury history there is a reason that he was widely considered one of the best running back prospects if he came out a year ago. Bryce is a smart, high character guy that has hit more home runs than Christian Yelich, and I think the Rams are going to fall in Love with him.
100) Carolina Panthers – Austin Bryant – DE: The Panthers take a break from fortifying their O-Line to focus on their defensive front. Bryant is a high motor, high trait guy that was overshadowed on the absolutely loaded Clemson defensive front. He’s long and fast, but needs to find his balance and work out his inconsistencies. In short, he’s no Julius Peppers, but he’s better than nobody.
101) New England Patriots – Amani Hooker – S: You can never have too many defensive backs. I know that, and I’m sure Bill Belichick knows it. Hooker is the best defensive back left on the board and can be groomed as the heir apparent to either Devin McCourty or Patrick Chung. Even then he stands to find value as a sub-package guy. He may be the 6th(!) Patriot picked in the top 101, but he may be the best value pick out of all those selections.
102) Baltimore Ravens – Jalen Hurd – WR: Hollywood Brown gets a friend in Jalen Hurd as the Ravens double dip on wide receiver to help solve perhaps the worst receiving core in the league – on paper – before coming into the draft. Hurd brings huge size at 6’5″ and has the athletic acumen to back it up – think Terrelle Pryor. He might still be learning the position as he is a converted running back, but the potential is there for him to be a real steal at the end of the third round.
Day Before The Draft Bonus Mock
Let’s be honest, mock drafting is a crapshoot. Once one domino falls it cascades down through the rest of the draft. As I’ve gone through this process my thoughts on some prospects rise while it falls on others, and in the few hours left before the draft things start to come to light and a new perspective is gained. With that in mind, here is my knee-jerk reaction to what I’m seeing in the leading hours up to the first round.
- Cardinals: Kyler Murray
- 49ers: Nick Bosa
- Jets TRADED to Redskins: Dwayne Haskins
- Raiders: Quinnen Williams
- Buccaneers: Devin White
- Giants: Josh Allen
- Jaguars: Jawaan Taylor
- Lions: Ed Oliver
- Bills TRADED to Bengals: Drew Lock
- Broncos: Jonah Williams
- Bills: Christian Wilkins
- Packers: T.J. Hockenson
- Dolphins: Brian Burns
- Falcons: Montez Sweat
- Redskins TRADED to Jets: Rashan Gary
- Panthers: Andre Dillard
- Giants: Daniel Jones
- Vikings: Cody Ford
- Titans: Jeffery Simmons
- Steelers: Rock Ya-Sin
- Seahawks: Clelin Ferrell
- Ravens: Marquise Brown
- Texans: Greedy Williams
- Raiders: Noah Fant
- Eagles TRADED to Chargers: Dexter Lawrence
- Colts: Byron Murphy
- Raiders: Josh Jacobs
- Chargers TRADED to Eagles: Johnathan Abram
- Seahawks: Lonnie Johnson
- Packers: Devin Bush
- Rams: Garrett Bradbury
- Patriots: D.K. Metcalf
A Sincere Thank You
Wow, what a grind. If you have made it this far then I thank you for taking the time to read my work. It’s always tough to place value on people and still know that UDFA’s will still outperform a majority of them anyhow. But, it’s always fun to learn about the future of the league that I love, and my initial impression is that this class is going to make a major mark on the league going forward – it’s just that damn good. With that, it’s time I sign off, for it is Draft Day eve and the Cardinals are on the clock. Goodnight, and happy drafting.