After months of smokescreens and coded language to try landing players at a lower cost, the NFL Draft is finally here. This draft doesn’t appear to have the buzz of past years, but depth is there at key positions to help teams build the core of a roster. Like last year, the first player I mention is who I think the team will select with their pick. The “what I would do” section highlights what players I’d consider if the draft unfolded in this manner.
1. Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray, QB Oklahoma: The Cardinals have an interesting dilemma at number one. Despite trading up to draft Josh Rosen just last year, newly hired head coach Kliff Kingsbury has the chance to land Murray who he’s coveted since the high school recruiting trail. Nick Bosa makes a lot of sense here, but we all know there’s plenty of smoke screens this time of year. Unless the Cardinals are wowed in a trade to move down, it would be a surprise if they don’t take Murray number one.
What I would do- I’m a fan of Rosen, but if you’re going to hire the gourmet chef (Kingsbury) you need to let him chose his ingredients. So Murray would be the pick.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Nick Bosa, EDGE Ohio State: It’s rare that the best player available can often fit a need, but Bosa could very well meet the criteria. Quinnen Williams or Josh Allen may have garnered some consideration, but this pick makes too much sense.
What I would do- Unless the Jets want to trade up to get a guy the 49ers aren’t interested in (basically the Mitch Trubisky trade two years ago), I’d just stay put and take Bosa.
3. New York Jets: Quinnen Williams, DI Alabama: Considering the picks the Jets had to give up for Sam Darnold last year, a trade down would make sense if possible. If not, they do have some nice options to consider. Williams to many is a top two talent in this draft, and would also give the team insurance if Leonard Williams (in the last year of his rookie deal) leaves in free agency. Josh Allen and Ed Oliver are also likely to get consideration if the Jets stay put.
What I would do- Without a second round pick, I’d try to trade down given the defensive line talent in this draft. If not, I would go with Josh Allen who is seen as a top five prospect, but also fits the bill as an edge rusher which the Jets desperately need.
4. Oakland Raiders: Josh Allen, EDGE Kentucky: Now this is where things get really fun. The Raiders would love if Williams fell (this pick would likely be his absolute floor), but in this mock that seems unlikely. They’ve been linked to Ed Oliver, but Allen given the glaring need of a pass rush makes sense here. With the ammo to trade up, that is certainly an option if they really weren’t sold on Derek Carr or could stay put and take a quarterback. While it huge shock to many, I wouldn’t be surprised if T.J. Hockenson also got consideration.
What I would do- Williams if on the board would be the pick, but Allen’s not a bad consolation prize. If the Giants are considering a QB, I would entertain the idea of trading back two spots where two of a Williams, Allen and Ed Oliver trio would be available.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ed Oliver, DI Houston: Devin White is commonly linked here, but it’s extremely rare that we see an inside linebacker taken with a top five pick. The Buccaneers at this time are cap strapped, so there have been rumors about Gerald McCoy being available for trade. Drafting Oliver would give them McCoy’s heir apparent, and a player with rare physical gifts for the position. If Josh Allen were to fall, he could also be in play with this pick.
What I would do- If the Giants want a QB at six, I’d consider trading down if a team paid the price to jump them. White makes a lot of sense given the team’s linebacker need and so would an edge rusher (maybe Montez Sweat or Rashan Gary?). Assuming a McCoy trade is already being negotiated, Oliver has too much ability to pass up.
6. New York Giants: Daniel Jones, QB Duke: The good news is the Giants got a possible generational talent with the second pick last year. The bad news was, it was at a position that’s extremely expendable and they missed a golden chance to draft Eli Manning’s successor. With two first round picks, the Giants figure to do it this year and Jones is apparently the guy they’re smitten with. If they believe in Jones at pick 17, they might as well pick him here as there’s no telling if he’d be available. Other quarterbacks such as Dwayne Haskins and Drew Lock should be considered here, along with edge rushers such as Rashan Gary or Josh Allen if he falls.
What I would do- Still going quarterback, I would opt for Haskins over Jones assuming both are available.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jawaan Taylor, T Florida: To this point, the Jaguars as a franchise have made 26 first round selections. Five of them have been from the University of Florida. Despite the track record, only one of those picks has amounted to an above average player in team uniform (the criminally underrated Fred Taylor). That pick occurred in the Clinton administration. The Jaguars front office needs a tackle to protect their Nick Foles investment, and tends to double down despite what numbers tell them. Therefore, Taylor seems like the logical piece as Tom Coughlin tries to make football great again. Other top tackles like Jonah Williams, and Andre Dillard could also be considered here. T.J. Hockenson and Ed Oliver (if available) also are names to keep in mind.
What I would do- The idea of drafting Hockenson without a plan is enticing, but tackle makes sense. Jonah Williams is seen by many as the premier lineman in this draft, and with his versatility would be my pick here. However, the idea of drafting Devin White or Devin Bush is extremely enticing as it could give the Jaguars the most athletic linebacker trio we’ve seen to date.
8. Detroit Lions: Jonah Williams, T Alabama: Bob Quinn and the Lions have not been shy saying they’d be willing to trade down for the right price. If they’re unable to find a trade partner, Williams makes sense here. Quinn has put an emphasis on spending resources along the offensive and defensive lines so far in his tenure, and Williams is viewed by many as the premier offensive lineman in this draft. Combining potential versatility with countless praise for his work ethic/attention to detail only help the cause. If they stay put, an edge rusher such as Brian Burns or a rangy linebacker such as Devin White could also be considered.
What I would do- In an ideal world, the Lions could nab Williams even after trading down a few spots. If not, there’s nothing wrong with staying put and taking a potential ten year starter. Brian Burns could receive plenty of consideration here to line up opposite Trey Flowers however.
9. Buffalo Bills: T.J. Hockenson, TE Iowa: With this pick you’d assume the Bills will either draft a player who can help Josh Allen’s development or select one of the edge rushers available. With two straight tackles off the board, Hockenson makes sense at this point. Not only would he help upgrade Allen’s supporting cast, but he showed in college he can make a difference as a blocker as well. It’s too early to take a receiver here, so if it’s not Hockenson, the remaining tackles of Taylor, Williams and Andre Dillard will likely be considered. Along with edge rushers such as Rashan Gary and Montez Sweat (pending his the franchise’s medical review).
What I would do- While Hockenson is viewed very highly by the draft community, history shows us it could take some time for tight ends to adjust to the league. I would go with Dillard, but Brian Burns would also receive some consideration here.
10. Denver Broncos: Devin White, LB LSU: Drew Lock would be the ultimate John Elway pick here, but the Broncos have the chance to pair value with need if White is available. Since their Super Bowl run four years ago, linebacker depth has been a problem for the Broncos. White could come in and make an immediate impact in Vic Fangio’s defense, and would be in a great spot having both Von Miller and Bradley Chubb rushing off the edge. Quarterback, offensive line help or Hockenson if available could be in play, but White makes too much sense.
What I would do- If both Devin’s (White or Bush) are available, those would be the two players this pick is between. I mocked White as he’s generally been rated above Bush throughout the process. Ultimately it comes down to who is rated higher on the board, but I don’t think they can go wrong with picking either.
11. Cincinnati Bengals: Devin Bush, LB Michigan: Things can get interesting as it would make sense for the Bengals to go quarterback here. Zac Taylor is an offensive minded coach, and he could take Dwayne Haskins or Drew Lock to have “his guy” at the position. Considering this is his first draft and the Bengals were bit hard by the injury bug in 2018, Taylor might not want to make that commitment just yet. With Vontaze Burfict out of the picture, Bush makes plenty of sense here and would give the Bengals a linebacker who makes plays from sideline to sideline. It wouldn’t be surprising if the team considered an edge rusher here as well.
What I would do- Bush makes a lot of sense, but Haskins would be my pick for the Bengals if available. With Andy Dalton serving as the bridge, the luxury would be there for Haskins to be eased into the league and Taylor’s plans for the offense.
12. Green Bay Packers: Rashan Gary, EDGE Michigan : With two first rounders, the Packers could very well try and trade up from this pick. With players such as Bush and Hockenson off the board, it would make sense for the Packers to take an edge rusher who many viewed as a top ten pick. That could go for either Gary or Sweat at this point. The Packers have brought in quarterbacks to speak with, but that might just be as a smokescreen to start potential trade talks.
What I would do- If Ed Oliver somehow fell here, he would make a ton of sense for the Packers at this point. I’d personally take Brian Burns over the other edge rushers available here if that’s the direction the Packers went in .
13. Miami Dolphins: Dwayne Haskins, QB Ohio State: The Ryan Tannehill era is finally over, and with the Dolphins finally committed to a true rebuild, they have the chance to get their quarterback. Even if their eyes were set on future quarterback classes, the team could use this as an audition year for Haskins to see if he’s the future, or face a situation like the Cardinals this season. As they continue to collect assets, the Dolphins could consider trading down, or a defensive lineman such as Christian Wilkins at this point.
What I would do- If Haskins is here, he’s the pick. Otherwise, I’d try and trade down and add a defensive lineman from this deep class later in the round.
14. Atlanta Falcons: Christian Wilkins, DI Clemson: Between some offensive line holes and needs within the defensive line, it would make sense the Falcons pick a player to bolster their play in the trenches. Wilkins makes sense to line up next to Grady Jarrett (who just signed his franchise tag), and he’s shown some improvements as a pass rusher. The top remaining edge rushers and Andre Dillard should also be in consideration.
What I would do- With this being a deep class along the defensive line, I’d emphasize protecting Matt Ryan. Dillard per PFF consistently graded out as one of the top tackles in pass protection throughout his college career. He’d be my pick at this point.
15. Washington Redskins: Drew Lock, QB Missouri: Unfortunately, with the Alex Smith injury the Redskins are in a bind at quarterback. Despite trading for Case Keenum and having Colt McCoy, it would make sense to have a signal caller with a rookie cap hit and projection in the fold. There are now rumors of the team considering trading up into the top five, but with the potential for 2019 to be ugly, any move involving the 2020 first could be a nightmare. Daniel Jones or Haskins are options if available, but Lock is the one remaining in this scenario. Cornerback or edge rusher are the other likely options if the Redskins opt to stay put and not pick a quarterback.
What I would do- Not thrilled with the remaining options, I would inquire to see what the Cardinals want for Josh Rosen (ideally you’d be giving up a second or third). Then with no cornerbacks selected, you can select whoever’s the highest rated on the board.
16. Carolina Panthers: Andre Dillard, T Washington State: Despite what seems like years of discussion, the Panthers still have struggled to find protection for Cam Newton. At this point, Dillard would represent a great value but an edge rusher could be in play as well.
What I would do- If Dillard is here, he makes too much sense to pass on. Otherwise, I’d consider the available prospects among Brian Burns, Sweat or Christian Wilkins.
17. New York Giants: Brian Burns, EDGE Florida State: The Giants get a pass rusher and a quarterback, just not in the order we’d expect. Burns could go much earlier, so if he got to this point there would be some value. A receiver would make some sense here, but the Giants would be happy getting out of the first round with two players they view as foundational players at key positions.
What I would do- Depending on how the draft unfolds, the Giants might not have selected a quarterback. If they took a pass rusher at six and Haskins somehow makes it here, I’d run the card in. If they have taken a QB, the best available pass rusher on the board should be the guy.
18. Minnesota Vikings: Garrett Bradbury, C North Carolina State: The Vikings offensive line has been an Achilles heel for a few years now, and the chance is there to address it here. Bradbury should be able to come in right away and be plugged in as the Vikings’ starting center. If not Bradbury, odds are the remaining offensive lineman on the board will be heavily considered.
What I would do- Dalton Risner would get some consideration here as a versatile lineman who has potential to play tackle. Some have Bradbury off the board before this point, so he could be a nice mix of value and filling a need if available.
19. Tennessee Titans: D.K. Metcalf, WR Ole Miss: The Titans could really go a bunch of different directions here. Some reports have indicated they’re high on Christian Wilkins if he falls, others have them going with an offensive lineman. Rather than that, I’ll give them the first receiver off the board. Metcalf and Corey Davis would give Marcus Mariota a dangerous receiver duo as he enters the season in yet another new offense. Other wideouts such as Marquise Brown could be considered, and Montez Sweat would also make sense given the Titans need for pass rush off the edge.
What I would do- While having a receiver opposite Davis is huge, this wideout class is deep enough where a first round pick isn’t needed for an impact player. With Sweat still on the board, he would be the pick here.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Byron Murphy, CB Washington: Despite corner being one of football’s premium positions, none have come off the board in this scenario. While the Steelers would love for someone like Devin Bush to fall, going with a corner would make a lot of sense. Murphy is considered to be one of if not the best cornerback in this class, so this would be a great value. An edge rusher could also be in play with this pick.
What I would do- With their choice of the board at corner, I would take whoever the Steelers have a higher grade on. Chances are Murphy, Greedy Williams and Rock Ya-Sin would all be in play at that point.
21. Seattle Seahawks: Montez Sweat, EDGE Mississippi State: With limited picks, the Seahawks would probably love to trade down from here. If they keep it, Sweat who was viewed a few months ago as a top ten pick would be a great get here. After extending Russell Wilson, it’s important the Seahawks get the most out of their cost controlled picks. Sweat offers plenty of upside now that the team decided to trade Frank Clark. Rashan Gary if he manages to fall here could also be considered.
What I would do- Sweat here would be tough to pass up, especially with Clark now off to the Chiefs. The Seahawks could also address the safety position, or choose to do that with their second first rounder.
22. Baltimore Ravens: Clelin Ferrell, EDGE Clemson: Losing Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith in free agency, the Ravens enter the draft with a need at edge rusher. Ferrell took a step forward rushing the passer in 2018, and with words such as “physical” and “tough” used to describe him, brings traits we’ve come to expect from the Ravens defense. Other edge rushers such as Chase Winovich and receivers could also be considered here.
What I would do- Receiver is a need for the Ravens, but in this deep class they’ll be able to find a talented wideout in the second round. Ferrell appears to be a good fit both on the field and within the team’s culture.
23. Houston Texans: Cody Ford, T/G Oklahoma: Entering their third year with Deshaun Watson at quarterback, the Texans haven’t done much to protect their prized asset. Ford might not be a tackle at the next level, but at the least he could step in and play along the interior of the line. If not an offensive lineman, a cornerback such as Greedy Williams would be a good fit here.
What I would do- More likely to stick at tackle, Dalton Risner would be my pick here. Greedy Williams and other remaining corners would get serious consideration. Assuming a tackle falls into the 12-15 range, trading up is an option depending on price.
24. Oakland Raiders: Noah Fant, TE Iowa: The Raiders have plenty of ways they could go here, but if Jon Gruden has the final say this will probably be spent on the offensive side of the ball. Fant has the upside to be a dangerous pass catching tight end, and we’ve already seen Gruden utilizes the position within his offense. Addressing the secondary would also make sense with this pick.
What I would do- Due to the learning curve, tight end scares me in the first round. With plenty of defensive backs available I would take the highest rated available with players such as Greedy Williams available.
25. Philadelphia Eagles: Marquise Brown, WR Oklahoma: Receiver isn’t the most pressing need for the Eagles, but it’s better to address it now. Nelson Aghlolor can hit free agency after this year, and while DeSean Jackson’s deep speed appears to be an ageless wonder, you never know if that changes. That’s where the big play threat known as “Hollywood” comes into play. A defensive interior lineman such as Jerry Tillery or Jeffery Simmons could also be considered here.
What I would do- A top ten talent, Jeffery Simmons is an intriguing option here. Although due to an ACL tear suffered during the draft process, this will be a redshirt year. Can the Eagles afford to do that while being “all in” with Carson Wentz at the end of his rookie deal? In this case, I’d opt for Tillery who would give Jim Schwartz yet another threat to work with on the defensive line.
26. Indianapolis Colts: Greedy Williams, CB LSU: The Colts defense showed great improvement last season, but still could improve at cornerback. Projected as a top ten pick early on, Williams would likely be too hard to pass up if he made it here. The Colts could consider other corners such as Rock Ya-Sin or address the defensive line here.
What I would do- It’s hard to pass up Williams if he got to this point. A safety or defensive lineman such as Jerry Tillery and Jeffrey Simmons would also be considered.
27. Oakland Raiders: Josh Jacobs, RB Alabama: The Raiders could go a bunch of different ways here, but we know Jon Gruden loves to run the ball. Considered the top back in his class, this seems like the range Jacobs would go if he is selected in the first. If not addressed earlier, Secondary help and a tight end such as Noah Fant could also be considered at this point.
What I would do- I personally wouldn’t want to take a running back in the first, so defensive backs such as Deandre Baker, Greey Williams and Darnell Savage would be considered here. Savage is a safety whose received a ton of buzz of late, and could be in play at this point of the draft.
28. Los Angeles Chargers: Rock Ya-Sin, CB Temple: The Chargers have some very talented pieces in the secondary, but could still use a corner opposite Casey Hayward. If Ya-Sin or other top corners aren’t available, they could be in the market for a safety (Nassir Adderley or Abram), or a defensive tackle such as Simmons and Tillery.
What I would do- Adderley’s range and ball skills would make for an fascinating tandem with Derwin James. However, with the premium on cover corners Ya-Sin or a corner such as David Long would be the pick. In terms of scheme fit, Joejuan Williams is another corner to monitor for the Chargers.
29. Seattle Seahawks: Darnell Savage, S Maryland: Even after netting an additional first, the Seahawks could trade down to make-up for not having a second rounder. If they do keep the pick, Savage with his range and versatility would make plenty of sense with Earl Thomas leaving this offseason. An edge rusher if not addressed at pick 21 could also be considered.
What I would do- With Doug Baldwin dealing with injuries of late, I’d look into trading back and finding a way to add a receiver in the second. If forced to stay put, Savage or Nasir Adderley would be the pick having selected a pass rusher in Sweat at 21.
30. Green Bay Packers: Jerry Tillery, DI Notre Dame: If the Packers were truly intrigued by a QB in this draft, this would be a nice time to take them if they were available. Last year the Packers addressed cornerback and receiver throughout the draft. This year, they’d be addressing the defensive line. On talent alone, Tillery shouldn’t fall this far and would be quite the consolation prize for missing on an interior pass rusher earlier on.
What I would do- If available, Tillery would make for a great value here. With so much invested in Aaron Rodgers, I would take Dalton Risner if he does make it this far, but Tillery has the ability to be a steal at this point.
31. Los Angeles Rams: Dalton Risner, T Kansas State: Considering the Rams don’t have a pick between 31 and 94, trading down makes a lot of sense. If they do stay put, Risner could make a lot of sense as he has the versatility to play other positions along the line. If the Rams do trade down into the second, Greg Little could be a tackle they consider. With some older defensive backs, getting younger at safety and corner would also make sense.
What I would do- Trading down and selecting Risner in the early second would be the goal here. If forced to stay, Darnell Savage at safety could contribute early while also being the long-term solution.
32. New England Patriots: Jeffery Simmons, DI Mississippi State: With 12 picks, the Patriots could move up and down the board as they wish. If they stay put, Simmons is a very good investment. A prospect some saw as a potential top five talent, Simmons won’t be able to contribute this year but he will give the Patriots a cheap/valuable asset for the following three (or four if you count the option) years. A receiver could also be in play if the Patriots stay put.
What I would do- Taking Simmons here seems like a typical Patriots move, but I’d lean towards A.J. Brown with this pick. Brown can win outside and in the slot, and has the makings to be a valuable weapon for Tom Brady early on. Darnell Savage’s ability to play safety and cover the slot would make him enticing if he made it here as well.