Now that the NFL Combine has come to a close and free agency has somewhat settled, GM’s and other NFL professionals can start narrowing down specific needs for their respective teams. As you take a look into my complete first round mock draft (2.0), here are the players that I believe will secure a spot in the first round.
Arizona Cardinals, Pick 1: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
Many NFL experts and analysts firmly believe that new head coach Kliff Kingsbury and GM Steve Keim have unanimously decided to select Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray #1 overall in April. Murray weighing in at 205 pounds and measuring in at 5’10,” only further enhanced his draft value. If that’s not convincing enough, his unique skill sets and rare combination of speed, accuracy and arm talent should be more than enough to convince Kingsbury and Keim to select the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner with the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
San Francisco 49ers, Pick 2: Nick Bosa, Edge, Ohio State
Adding Bosa to a young and impressive front seven that already consists of Soloman Thomas, DeForest Buckner, with newcomers Kwon Alexander and Dee Ford, seems like a no-brainer for GM John Lynch and company. Opposing NFC West QBs beware!
New York Jets, Pick 3: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
The Jets addressed the defensive side of the ball in a multitude of ways during the first wave of free agency and I don’t expect that to stop anytime soon, either. Adding a one man wrecking crew in Alabama’s Quinnen Williams seems like an easy choice, as he’ll fit in perfectly with a front seven that already consists of Leonard Williams, Henry Anderson and former Baltimore stud linebacker C.J. Mosley.
Oakland Raiders, Pick 4: Josh Allen, Edge, Kentucky
After choosing to stay at Kentucky for another season, Allen more than doubled his 2017 sack total (7), with 17 in 2018. He will wreak havoc on opposing NFL offenses for seasons to come. Newly hired GM (and former NFL Analyst) Mike Mayock knows a game-changing pass rusher when he sees one, especially considering he covered the Combine for over the last decade. Oakland needs a new “Khalil Mack,” and Allen might just be Mack 2.0.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pick 5: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
Re-signing left tackle Donovan Smith to a 3-year, $41.5M deal was a great move by GM Jason Licht, as he’ll be able to protect Jameis Winston’s blindside for at least the next three seasons. However, Demar Dotson is 33, and he doesn’t seem to be their long-term solution, either. Jonah Williams could immediately start opposite Smith, giving the Bucs a nice one-two punch at both respective tackle spots.
TRADE: (From Giants) – Arizona Cardinals, Pick 6: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
The Giants find a way to “travel back in time” as they’ll trade for last year’s 10th overall pick in Josh Rosen, solidifying their quarterback of the future. The Cardinals, meanwhile, address a major need at offensive line with Florida’s Jawaan Taylor. The 6’5″ 328-pound tackle is an anchor who would instantly be an upgrade to any offensive line, especially one like Arizona’s, who surrendered 45 sacks last season.
Jacksonville Jaguars, Pick 7: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
Jacksonville addressed their desperate need at quarterback by giving former Eagles’ QB Nick Foles a 4-year, $88M deal in free agency. However, despite addressing their need at QB, the Jags are still in dire need of a true #1 wideout. Selecting the 6’3,” 228-pound athletic freak from Ole Miss who ran a 4.33 40-yard dash at the Combine a few weeks back, in D.K. Metcalf, seems almost too perfect for the former Super Bowl MVP.
(And yes, Metcalf’s performance at the Combine earned him a selection in the Top 10. Don’t believe me? Go watch his Combine workout. Seriously. This dude has Julio Jones 2.0 written all over him!)
Detroit Lions, Pick 8: Rashan Gary, Edge, Michigan
Gary would pair very well with a defensive front that already consists of Damon “Snacks” Harrison, rookie sensation Da’Shawn Hand and former Patriots’ stud defensive end Trey Flowers. Although Gary’s numbers from 2018 don’t necessarily jump at you, he’s got more than enough speed and power to get to opposing QBs coming off the edge. This kind of pick has former DC Matt Patrica’s name written all over it!
Buffalo Bills, Pick 9: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
The Bills addressed several needs offensively during the first wave of free agency, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them take a defensive player in the first round. Williams is a 6’3″ plug-and-play corner with very impressive and rangy ball skills. He’d be the perfect compliment opposite Tre’Davious White.
Denver Broncos, Pick 10: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
This is almost a too-good-to-be-true scenario for the Broncos– more specifically, GM John Elway. (True Broncos fans know what I’m talking about.) After all, a 34-year-old Joe Flacco, who’s best years seem to be behind him, is their current starter. Since Denver shipped Case Keenum to Washington, they currently have no successor for Flacco–at least not a decent one. That said, Haskins would be the perfect fit, as he tossed 50 touchdowns in just 14 starts for the Buckeyes in 2018. If he falls to Denver at #10, Elway and company would be foolish NOT to take him.
Cincinnati Bengals, Pick 11: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
Despite only playing eight games in 2018, Oliver still garnered 14.5 sacks. But make no mistake about it, Oliver is a dominant force that instantly improves any team’s defensive front. The Bengals instantly improve their defensive front that already consists of Geno Atkins, Carl Lawson and Sam Hubbard.
Green Bay Packers, Pick 12: Devin White, LB, LSU
White was a tackling machine while at LSU. He garnered 62 solo tackles and 61 assisted, for a total of 123 tackles in 2018. He’s everything you’d want in a linebacker. From height, speed, to rangy ball instincts and sideline-to-sideline play, he does it all. The Pack could use another solid linebacker to pair with Blake Martinez, and they’d get just that by selecting White here.
Miami Dolphins, Pick 13, Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
The Dolphins desperately need a starting QB, especially after trading Ryan Tannehill to the Titans. Missouri’s Drew Lock is the prototypical quarterback prospect standing at 6’4,” 225 pounds. In 2018, Lock completed a career high 62.9 percent of his passes, all while accumulating a TD:INT ratio of 28:8, too. Lock gives the Dolphins a fresh start at QB in several seasons.
Atlanta Falcons, Pick 14: Montez Sweat, Edge, Mississippi State
Sweat was a one man wrecking crew for Mississippi State in 2018, garnering 14.5 sacks. Most NFL experts don’t see him falling this far into the first round. But if he does, the Falcons shouldn’t hesitate to select him. GM Thomas Dimitroff already prioritized keeping DT Grady Jarrett on board for next season. Pairing him with a 6’6″ defensive end with a unique set of like Sweat would make Atlanta’s front seven even scarier going into the 2019 season.
Washington Redskins, Pick 15: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
With Alex Smith’s return for 2019 bringing about major concerns, Duke’s Daniel Jones would be a great selection for Washington here. Colt McCoy is a nice backup, but isn’t the answer long-term. Besides, Smith is getting up there in age, and may not play very much longer anyways. Jones gives Washington a quarterback for the future, who can sling the rock with the best of ’em. Smith would make a great mentor, too.
Carolina Panthers, Pick 16: Clelin Ferrell, Edge, Clemson
Why not add to an already loaded defense with one of the draft’s most dominant edge rushers? Ferrell’s dominance of opposing ACC teams didn’t go unnoticed in 2018. His 11.5 sacks last season was a career high. Besides, Julius Peppers just retired not too long ago, and paring Ferrell with Mario Addison would make for an interesting tandem of pass rushers for Carolina in 2019.
New York Giants (From Cleveland), Pick 17: Andrea Dillard, OT, Washington State
The Giants offensive line was one of the league’s worst in 2018, surrendering 47 sacks as a unit. Washington State’s Andrea Dillard is a 6’5″ 306-pound tackle who could intermediately come in and start opposite Nate Solder. After all, if they do indeed trade for Josh Rosen, he’s going to need protection.
Minnesota Vikings, Pick 18: Garrett Bradbury, OG, N.C. State
From 13 wins 2017, to just 8 in 2018, something isn’t right. Needless to say, Minnesota needs major improvements along the interior of their offensive line. After all, if you’re paying Kirk Cousins $84 million in guaranteed money, it might be a good idea to get the man some protection. Just saying. N.C. State’s Garrett Bradbury should be an instant starter who’ll help keep Cousins upright and open holes for Dalvin Cook in the running game.
Tennessee Titans, Pick 19: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
Trading for former Dolphins’ QB Ryan Tannehill was an interesting move, to say the least. Similar to Mariota, I don’t see Tannehill being the answer long-term, either. Maybe GM Jon Robinson sees things differently. Regardless, Mariota and Tannehill could use another strong receiver to pair with Corey Davis and newcomer Adam Humphries. Selecting Oklahoma’s Marquise Brown gives Tennessee a vertical threat that can stretch the field.
Pittsburgh Steelers, Pick 20: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
The Steelers need someone to pair with veteran cornerback Joe Haden. Washington’s Byron Murphy would be a great selection here. Murphy is a great corner who plays with great physicality at the line of scrimmage. The 5’11” corner was a ball hawk and tackling machine in 2018, as he recorded 37 solo tackles and 4 interceptions in 2018. Murphy would be a great fit in a Steelers’ secondary that has been somewhat suspect for the last several seasons.
Seattle Seahawks, Pick 21: Jachai Polite, Edge, Florida
Polite had his best season for the Gators in 2018, as he logged 11 sacks and 27 solo tackles. Adding a dominating pass rusher in Polite to a defense that played above and beyond everyone’s expectations last season certainly wouldn’t hurt. If anything, Polite would address a major need for the Hawks at #21.
Baltimore Ravens, Pick 22: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
The Ravens lost several key defensive pieces throughout the first wave of free agency, including two Pro Bowl linebackers in C.J. Mosley (signed with the Jets) and Terrell Suggs (signed with the Cardinals). That said, new GM Eric DeCosta should make it a priority to address their hole at linebacker. Michigan’s Devin Bush is the second-best linebacker in this years draft, and he would instantly address the need at linebacker for Baltimore.
Houston Texans, Pick 23: Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma
The Texans surrendered a league-high 65 sacks in 2018. So, it goes without saying that Houston desperately needs to address their offensive line issues this offseason. Selecting Oklahoma’s Cody Ford would be a major upgrade at tackle, who could immediately come in and protect Watson’s blindside for seasons to come. He’s 6’4,” and is extremely strong in both pass protection and run blocking.
Oakland Raiders, Pick 24: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
Here’s another NFL prospect who would be an instant upgrade to a Raiders’ defensive front that was lackluster at best in 2018. Although it would be shocking to see Wilkins fall this far in the first round, considering he had his best season for the Tigers in 2018. He logged 14 sacks and had a forced fumble, too. Selecting Wilkins here would be a steal for Oakland this late into the first round.
Philadelphia Eagles, Pick 25: DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia
Philadelphia addressed several positions on the defensive side of the ball through the first wave of free agency. Adding former Jacksonville DT Malik Jackson and extending cornerback Ronald Darby are just two moves made by GM Howie Roseman. Selecting Georgia’s DeAndre Baker here would be adding another piece to the puzzle for the Eagles. He would give them a real #2 corner, and pair nicely with Darby, too.
Indianapolis Colts, Pick 26: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
Clemson’s Dexter Lawrence is a big, physical DT who makes his presence felt when on the field. He completely fits the mold of what GM Chris Ballard and head coach Frank Reich want to build in Indianapolis. Lawrence would immediately come in and compete for a starting spot and only enhance a Colts’ front seven that consists of players like Denico Autry, Kemoko Turay, Tyquan Lewis, Darius Leonard and Anthony Walker Jr.
Oakland Raiders, Pick 27: Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama
Defense, defense, defense! Alabama’s Mack Wilson has rangy ball skills and great instincts. He instantly upgrades a position of need for the Raiders. Don’t sleep on Wilson in this draft, as he checks all of the boxes any GM looks for in a dominant linebacker.
Los Angeles Chargers, Pick 28: Greg Little, OT, Mississippi
The Chargers’ biggest weak spot during last seasons playoff run was their offensive line. Little is a 6’6,” 325-pound tackle who would immediately come in and contend for starting right tackle job. Phillip Rivers isn’t getting any younger, so reducing the number of hits/sacks he takes in 2019 should be of a priority.
Kansas City Chiefs, Pick 29: Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware
Adding Delaware’s Nasir Adderley is almost a no-brainer after the surprising release of star safety Eric Berry. Adderley was a ball hawk and recorded 11 interceptions throughout his time in college. Pairing him with former Texans’ safety Tyrann Mathieu, whom the Chiefs signed to a 3-year deal worth $42M recently, would make for an interesting combo heading into 2019.
Green Bay Packers, Pick 30: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
Iowa’s Noah Fant would give Aaron Rodgers a great redzone target at the tight end position. The 6’4″ athletic prospect made a statement during the NFL Combine, running a 4.5 40-yard dash and a 39.5 inch vertical. Seeing as how Rodgers already makes due with his current receiving corps, giving him Fant just seems unfair. Well, maybe for opposing teams.
Los Angeles Rams, Pick 31: Brian Burns, Edge, Florida State
Why not add Florida State’s Brain Burns to an already nasty defensive front with the likes of Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers and Donte Fowler Jr. Although experts seem to think Burns is somewhat “skinny” for his position, he certainly had no issues getting after the quarterback by garnering 10 sacks for the Seminoles in 2018.
New England Patriots, Pick 32: Dre’Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State
You can bet that the Super Bowl champs will continue to add to a defensive front that put on a show against the Los Angeles Rams’ offensive line, who many consider to be one of the elite units. Ohio State’s Dre’Mont Jones was a force to be reckoned with while playing for the Buckeyes. His presence and great physicality will only improve an already young and impressive defensive front in New England.