2019 Mock Draft 1.0
Updated: Apr 6, 2019
This is my first Mock Draft at What's on Draft, I couldn’t be more excited to get going here. It's been quite the learning process for me and getting started late in the year has been a challenge. This is the second attempt writing this mock, the first time I hadn’t really done the homework in terms of watching prospects. I learned from that mistake and took the last couple of months to learn the basic process and watch the players I will be talking about. I feel I am now better informed and have a more legitimate opinion.
I will be churning out draft content from when you’re reading this up until and beyond the draft. I’ve been used to sitting on the sideline and reading other people’s opinions on prospects but now I get to join those who do this on a regular basis. I will be able to voice my opinion in a way that hopefully helps all of you reading this become better informed on draft night and have a better idea of players that your team might choose. Throughout this mock, I will include some other players or positions that I think your team may choose in their draft selection. I hope this will help accomplish the goal of better informing my readers. Any comments and feedback are much appreciated, let me know what you think about your teams pick!
1st Pick: Arizona Cardinals
Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma: I want to preface this pick by saying this is not what I would do. In my opinion, Murray is not better than Josh Rosen and they will be setting their franchise back a year but all signs point to the Cardinals going this direction. Passing on a player like Bosa or Williams for Murray who isn’t even a top 10 player doesn't make sense to me. This doesn’t mean Murray isn’t talented, he is the best quarterback in a weak class. He is a game-breaking player and there has never been anyone like him. He is more explosive than most of the running backs in this class and on film he moves with grace and is able to avoid big hits. His arm strength does not look natural for someone of a 5’10 stature, he can fling it 60+ yards with ease. He will have to look to run less in the NFL and will be forced to get down instead of taking hits. There is the threat of him throwing in the towel and going to baseball if he doesn’t have success but as of now he seems committed to the NFL.
2nd Pick: San Francisco 49ers:
Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State: For me, unlike most people, Bosa is not my number one player but he is still a franchise-altering player. He is the prototypical edge rusher size and has ridiculous get off. He makes an impact on every play and you can’t help but be drawn to watching him. He is able to bull-rush defenders and collapse the pocket with ease. The only real concerns with him come from his injury history and he will need to develop more as a run defender at the next level to have even more of an impact on the game.
For the 49ers this is not necessarily a position of need as they have former first-round draft picks Arik Armstead (who finally began to show signs of development last year), Solomon Thomas, and newly acquired and signed Dee Ford on the edge. Thomas could be in for a switch to OLB or defensive tackle if the 49ers go the Bosa route but having a defensive line of Ford, Bosa, Armstead, and DeForest Buckner would be one of the scariest in the league. They could look to take a player like Quinnen Williams with this pick but Bosa is a pretty safe bet here.
3rd Pick: New York Jets
Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State: Burns is one of my favorite players in this class. His ability to bend and get around the edge is borderline generational. He is one of the most explosive athletes out of anyone at any position. The scariest part about him is he still growing as a player, he is adding moves to his arsenal and is only getting better. He has the potential with how he looks on film to be one of the best edge rushers in the league. The main concern I had with him was his playing weight but he squashed those concerns at the combine after he added about 15 pounds and didn’t seem to lose any athleticism.
For the Jets taking Burns would be a great pick for their defense but maybe not the best choice for their franchise. If I was them I would be calling every QB needy team in hopes they would trade up to secure said position. This could help them recoup the second round pick they lost in the Darnold trade last year. But if teams are not willing to surrender a large enough package they would be best served taking Josh Allen or Brian Burns.
4th Pick: Oakland Raiders
Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky: Allen has all of the perfect traits that you look for in an edge rusher. He is tall, lengthy, and a great athlete. He also had the production at Kentucky to back up the talent. He is relentless on film, he never takes a play off and is always at 100%. Depending on where a team chooses to play him he could play in pass coverage when needed. He does struggle in run defense which is not a huge issue considering he will be drafted for his ability to get to the QB, but he could become a better all-around player if he can make strides in this area.
For the Raiders they could go in a lot of different directions with this pick. Some think Dwayne Haskins is on the table here, but I think they will give Carr another year. Other players such as Quinnen Williams could be considered if they are using the best player available strategy but since Maurice Hurst and PJ Hall were drafted to play interior D-line last year I think they will go edge rusher with this pick and Allen is the best one left.
5th Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Quinnen Williams, iDL, Alabama: I am confident that Williams is the clear cut number one player in the class. He has shown this year that he is the most complete player at his position. Williams is already a top tier run defender and is improving every game at getting after the QB. He dominated at Alabama, he was the focal point of their defense and used a rare blend of power, athleticism, and polished technique to get after the quarterback and dominate in the run game. Williams also has the production to back up the elite traits and with the NFL headed more towards an emphasis on interior pressure Williams is the number one prospect in the class.
The Buccaneers need to upgrade the interior of their defensive line. Gerald McCoy is aging and there was talk the team was going to move on from him this offseason. That hasn’t happened yet and having a player like Williams on the roster would allow them to either let McCoy go now or keep him for another year and play Williams and McCoy together. This would be the second year in a row that the Buccaneers will have addressed this position in the first round (Vita Vea last year) but Williams is a can’t miss prospect and it would be foolish to pass on him. Other moves the Buccaneers could consider here would be Devin White or trading out with a quarterback-needy team.
6th Pick: New York Giants
Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State: Sweat probably the most impressive athlete in this class. He ran a 4.41 40 yard dash at 260 pounds which is in the 99th percentile for his position. Sweat came on strong this year for Mississippi State and was one of the biggest factors in their defensive success. He has active hands in pass rushing and knows how to use his massive frame to get off or around offensive tackles. Sweat showed development in the run game but it will most likely never be a strong part of his game. He does seem to lack bend that you look for in elite defensive lineman but teams may be willing to overlook that due to his athleticism.
The Giants need a franchise quarterback but signs and reports are saying that they will address pass rusher with this pick. The mini-run on edge rushers with the firsts few picks does hurt the Giants as a player like Allen or Burns would not fall to them in this scenario. They traded away Oliver Vernon which leaves them with a massive hole on the defensive line. Adding Sweat gives them a high potential player with perennial double-digit sack seasons as a possibility. If the Giants want to address offense with this spot a player like DK Metcalf as an OBJ replacement could be in the cards or drafting a quarterback such as Dwayne Haskins.
7th Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars
DK Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss: Metcalf does not come without his concerns, he lacked production at Ole Miss and the neck injury he suffered last year could be concerning to some teams. But now that those concerns are out of the way I can start hyping him up. Metcalf is once in a decade type of athlete at the receiver position. Running a 4.33 at 233 pounds is flat out ridiculous. He could transform the offense that takes him. There are some concerns about his limited route tree at Ole Miss (this did show up on film) but NFL teams will overlook this as he could learn more complex routes or simply run the routes he has success at. At the combine, Metcalf ran a poor 3-cone and short shuttle, this has been blown up as a concern for him but he is a player that wins vertically and those times should not be a huge issue for him at the next level. The Ole Miss product can beat corners in all types of ways; he uses his physicality to break away, he can use his massive frame to go up and get the ball, and he can use his gifted speed to simply blow by defenders. Metcalf has the ceiling of top 5 receivers in the league.
Jacksonville addressed their biggest question when they signed Nick Foles to a massive deal. They should now, in the draft, go with the best offensive player available and in this case, that is Metcalf. The Jaguars receiving corps is led by Marqise Lee, Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook. None of those guys are inspiring options for Nick Foles. Adding Metcalf would not only give Foles a target down the field it would open up running lanes for Leonard Fournette who struggled last year. The offensive line would be the only other position that would make sense for them to address here.
8th Pick: Detroit Lions
TJ Hockenson, TE, Iowa: Putting Hockenson here was hard for me, he isn’t better than Noah Fant in my opinion, but they are both top ten players in this class. Hockenson is the most complete tight end in this class. His ability as a blocker is off the charts, he acts as almost a 6th offensive lineman when he is on the field. Also, did I mention he can catch? The Iowa tight end has some of the best hands in this class and is an excellent route runner for a tight end. My only concern with him is he is not explosive after the catch but his receiving ability and blocking prowess should overshadow that.
Hockenson, more than Fant fits the type of player Matt Patricia will draft. He comes from the Patriots school of thought who had Rob Gronkowski for most of Patricia’s time there. Gronk was an excellent receiver and also a great blocker, this is my main reason for placing Hockenson in this spot over Fant. The Lions addressed their most pressing need when they signed Trey Flowers this offseason so taking an offensive weapon like Hockenson will help their offense hopefully take another step forward.
9th Pick: Buffalo Bills
Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama: This would be the ideal pick for the Bills if Metcalf is off the board when they pick. The team took steps to address the offensive line but they still need help. Williams could solve any problem they have on their offensive line. He is as versatile as it comes. He played left tackle in college but some have concerns about his lack of arm length. This does not show up as an issue on film as he is technically sound and minimizes the effect of his length. He shows great ability to get to the second level when asked. He could play either guard or either tackle spots for the Bills.
The Bills need help on the offensive line. They signed Mitch Morse to play center and signed Ty Nsekhe and LaAdrian Waddle to play tackle. Neither of those guys are franchise right tackles seeing that Dion Dawkins will play left tackle for at least another year. Williams could come in immediately at right tackle or guard. If Dawkins doesn’t pan out Williams could be moved to left tackle in the future. They could consider a receiver at this spot although it is too high to take any of the ones that are left or they could take Jawaan Taylor to play right tackle but Williams is the superior prospect and is far more versatile.
10th Pick: Denver Broncos
Devin White, LB, LSU: White is the best linebacker in the class by far. He has off the charts athleticism and can do anything that is asked of him. He is a natural pass rusher from the second level and used his athleticism to keep up with tight ends and running backs. He does go for the big hit too often something he will have to do less in the NFL in order to avoid missed tackles but otherwise, he is a great three down linebacker that can either play in the middle of the defense or could play one of the outside linebacker spots.
With the release of Brandon Marshall, the Broncos are in need of starting caliber middle linebacker. White would be an upgrade from Marshall due to his off the charts athleticism. He could be the final piece that could help the Broncos defense return to its former glory. They don’t have any massive offensive needs that could be filled at this spot. The trade for former Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco should hold off the drafting of a first-round quarterback until next year. John Elway could fall in love with Drew Lock at this spot due to his arm talent but having Flacco will keep them from addressing the position this early.
11th Pick: Cincinnati Bengals
Devin Bush Jr., LB, Michigan: I thought long and hard about Dwayne Haskins at this spot but I don’t think they could pull the trigger on him. I think they are content to let Andy Dalton have a year in Zac Taylor’s offense and then draft a quarterback in next year’s loaded class. Devin Bush would inject some much-needed athleticism into a very poor defense. The Bengals defense was atrocious last year especially in the middle of the field. In this scenario, they would miss out on Devin White by one pick which would hurt but Devin Bush is still a great selection. He is one of the most versatile players in the class. Michigan deployed him all over the field even at cornerback in some scenarios. This shows the great athleticism in addition to his coverage skills. Bush is an above average run defender but was not asked to rush the passer very often which could scare some teams. He may have the untapped ability but a team would have to risk that he could improve this part of his game.
As I mentioned earlier Dwayne Haskins was considered here but I don’t think the Bengals are ready to move on from Andy Dalton. Other positions of need are along the offensive line particularly the right tackle spot. Jawaan Taylor would be a solid pick but they signed Bobby Hart to a rather large deal which could signal they will not go in this direction. The team has so many needs on defense (mainly in the secondary and linebacking corp) that picking the best player available should be the strategy.
12th Pick: Green Bay Packers
Noah Fant, TE, Iowa: Fant is my number one tight end, he is an elite athlete who ran a 4.51 40 yard dash at the combine. The way the NFL is trending the ability to get downfield is critical at the tight end position. Fant is not the complete player that his teammate TJ Hockenson is but he is still a high effort blocker and this shows on film. He will never be a dominant blocker but he can hold his weight in that area. Fant is physically imposing, in addition to his athleticism he has solid hands and will be a great red-zone target with his ability to go up and get it. He was used all over the field at Iowa and will play a similar role in the NFL. He will be used as an inline tight end, in the slot, and on the outside. His speed allows him to beat linebackers and some corners in coverage.
The Packers thought they had their tight end when they signed Jimmy Graham last year but he is a shell of his former self and it is time to find a replacement in a loaded tight end class. The Packers were very aggressive in free agency this year and were able to fill a lot of their defensive holes which could allow them to take the best player available approach. They could take a player like Ed Oliver here but I see Fant as a better fit and is a top ten player overall.
13th Pick: Miami Dolphins
Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida: Taylor has been pegged as a top ten pick by many, he could sneak into the top ten because of how teams view the tackle positions and how many teams need it. Personally, I don’t see him as a top ten player. He is locked into the right tackle spot for me as that is where he played at Florida this year and looked most natural there. He moves wells laterally and is able to bully smaller edge players. He will need to develop technically in order to develop further in the NFL but he has the size and athleticism to eventually be able to succeed.
Ja'wuan James left in the offseason to sign a contract with the Broncos, this leaves a gaping hole at right tackle across from former first-round pick Laremy Tunsil. Securing a player of Taylor’s caliber would be a great move for a Dolphins team that is lacking talent. They are playing for one of the quarterbacks in 2020 so having a player like Taylor to shore up the offensive line and make the team more ready for the insertion of a rookie quarterback next year. They could try to secure a defensive lineman like Ed Oliver but if Taylor is still on the board this should be the direction that they go.
14th Pick: Atlanta Falcons
Ed Oliver, iDL, Houston: I am still unsure about Oliver, on one hand, he is an immense talent and on the other, he has not shown any ability to develop past his reliance on his athleticism. He was a five-star recruit that signed with Houston and was immediately one of the best defensive players in the country. In this class outside of Quinnen Williams he is probably the best run defender, he shows elite ability to escape blockers and find the ball carrier. He is still developing as a pass-rusher but his burst and get off signal that he could get better in this area.
Oliver is tailor-made for the Falcons, they need another interior presence to pair with Grady Jarrett. He would be the perfect complement and would give them one of the best interior defensive lines in the league. They could go many different directions with this pick as they are a team with very few holes. They could take an offensive tackle but there are none that should be considered with this pick. Oliver is a risk they can and should take due to the depth they have at the position.
15th Pick: Washington Redskins
Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State: This would be quite the fall for Haskins and his most likely won’t happen come draft night. If Haskins ends up slipping past the Giants at six, someone would most likely try to trade up to get him. This would be the ideal scenario for the Redskins as they are able to hold tight and get one of the best quarterbacks in the draft. Haskins was not impressive on film to me. He plays in an offense that allows the receivers to get wide open. He consistently missed tight window throws and didn’t show a great ability to push the ball downfield. Many of his gains came on dump-offs over the middle that his receivers turned into big gains. He is not without positives though. He is excellent in short and intermediate throws for the most part and he has prototypical size for the position. He’s not athletic but does have a great ability to move and escape the pocket. He has above average mental processing as he never seemed to make questionable decisions.
For the Redskins they are currently sitting with an injured Colt McCoy and a recently acquired Case Keenum on their roster. Neither of these guys are franchise quarterbacks and are both backups at best. Being able to grab Haskins in the middle of the first round would be thrilling for them. While Haskins is not a prospect I like very much NFL teams will most likely value him due to his size and positional value. If Haskins is off the board in this spot the Redskins could target a wide receiver like Hakeem Butler or AJ Brown but they would stick with Haskins or Drew Lock if they were still there.
16th Pick: Carolina Panthers
Cody Ford, OT/iOL, Oklahoma: When watching Ford it is apparent immediately that he is one of the most physical linemen in this class. He knows how big he is and uses it to his advantage, but for me, a move to guard would be most beneficial. He seems stiff at times and doesn’t move as well on the edge as I would hope from a potential left or right tackle. If a team needed him to play one of the tackle positions he could be an average starter but his potential could be fully realized at guard with potential All-Pro seasons. He has the size and power to thrive on the interior of the offensive line.
The Panthers need some offensive line help to protect the injured Cam Newton and to continue creating rushing lanes for superstar Christian McCaffrey. The Panthers resigned Daryl Williams who is coming off a serious injury to a prove-it deal and have Taylor Moton who performed well last year. Both of these guys are entrenched at tackle. This leaves holes at guard where Ford could step in. If Williams regresses due to injury than a move back to tackle next year could be discussed for Ford. The Panthers could also consider an edge rusher like Rashan Gary or Clelin Ferrell but it may be too early to take one of those guys.
17th Pick: New York Giants (Via Cleveland Browns, Odell Beckham Jr. Trade)
Drew Lock, QB, Missouri: This would be a massive steal for the Giants. Lock is about even with Haskins for me. They are almost polar opposites but are 2A and 2B for now on my board. Lock is the prototypical gunslinger. He has a massive arm and showed it very often at Missouri. He does have some issues with mechanics and tends to throw off of his back foot which can lead to some very ugly throws. He makes poor decisions that lead to easy interceptions he will need to correct this first if he wants to succeed at the next level. He does, on the other hand, have decent athleticism. He will never run designed runs in the NFL but he shows some ability to escape the pocket and pick up yards when needed. He isn’t afraid of taking hits in the pocket either, he is able to stand in survey the field and let the ball rip. When he is in rhythm he looks like he is one of the best prospects in the class as he can hit guys in stride and make throws that make your jaw drop to the floor.
Eli Manning is the Giants quarterback for next year, it is pretty safe at this point to assume that. This would be the best landing spot for Drew Lock if that is the case. He needs a year or two to sit behind an established veteran like Eli Manning to learn how to adapt his game to the NFL. He is not ready to come in and start immediately. The Giants would be taking a risk, Lock may not pan out and the coaching staff would have to be able to stand firm when the calls to put in the rookie began. If Dave Gettleman stands firm in his idea to not take a quarterback here the Giants could consider a linemen lineman like Andre Dillard or Garrett Bradbury.
18th Pick: Minnesota Vikings
Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State: Dillard is one if not the best pass blocker in the class. If he was judged solely on that he would most likely be the best offensive tackle in the class. His refinement and technique in that area pop on film. He has the measurables and athleticism that translate to left tackle at the next level, a position the Vikings need to address. He played in Mike Leach’s air raid scheme at Washington State which did not allow him the chance to develop as a run blocker. I also want him to be more physical on film, that was one of the biggest things I noticed. If he can make the effort to be a more physical blocker he could most likely hold his weight in the run game.
The Vikings have to address the offensive line in some way in the draft. It would be beneficial for them to take the best offensive lineman available. Dillard is the best one that is left and would fill a huge hole for them. This would help to protect their franchise quarterback Kirk Cousins. There are not very many other positions they should consider here maybe a player like Garrett Bradbury to play on the inside but Dillard is the superior prospect when it comes to what the Vikings need.
19th Pick: Tennessee Titans
Rashan Gary, EDGE/iDL, Michigan: Let me start this one by saying Gary is an insane athlete and I get that he is a potential top 15 player but mocks putting him in the top 10 or top 5 don’t make sense to me. He is one of the least impressive players on film, he doesn’t make splash plays. He doesn’t have great technique and doesn’t get to the quarterback with any regularity. He does hold his own in the run game but even that isn’t that impressive to me. My last main criticism is he lacks bend on the edge, he looks stiff for a player out on the edge and may benefit from a switch to interior defensive line. A switch to the interior would allow him to maximize his athleticism and possibly make more of impact on the game.
For the Titans they don’t have a ton of holes, a receiver is a need as Corey Davis hasn’t really panned out but it would be hard to justify spending another first round pick on the position. Tight end is also a need a Delanie Walker is aging and will most likely retire soon but Fant and Hockenson are off the board. Gary is a very high upside player, I see him as the Josh Allen (last year) of defensive lineman. He has all of the traits to be one of the best in the league but never really showed the production in college to back up his talent. The Titans could move him to the inside to pair him with Jurrell Casey.
20th Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers
Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State: Butler is one of my favorite players in the class. We could look back on this class in 5 years and say that Butler was the best receiver to come out of it. He is 6’5” making him one of the biggest receivers in the class and squashed any speed concerns when he ran a 4.48 40-yard dash. On film, he is one of the most explosive players after the catch and the way he moves is insane for a guy of his size. He uses his size to go up and get the ball and can catch almost everything that is thrown to him. He may benefit from some added weight as he is pretty slim. He is not the best route runner in the class, this may hurt his stock slightly but his massive upside should help teams take him in the first round.
The Steelers lost a lot of weapons this off season in Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. Their top receivers are currently JuJu Smith-Schuster and (checks notes) James Washington, Ryan Switzer, and Donte Moncrief. Behind JuJu there is no one that inspires confidence. Butler would immediately take over the number two role and would be the perfect compliment to JuJu’s skillset. If the Steelers want to wait to address the receiver position until later in the draft they should consider a corner like Byron Murphy or possible Greedy Williams if they think he can play their scheme.
21st Pick: Seattle Seahawks
AJ Brown, WR, Ole Miss: Brown was very impressive at Ole Miss. He is capable of being high volume receiver as Ole Miss once they lost Metcalf for the year ran their passing offense through him. He has great burst and release, tools that should help him to excel in the slot at the next level. He has great size and build for a slot receiver. He showed great ability as a route runner in the limited route tree that he ran. He can turn any short pass into a 20+ yard game and will be a great security blanket for a quarterback at the next level. He is most likely limited to a slot role in the NFL due to his size but also the success he had in that role at Ole Miss.
For the Seahawks, they need another playmaker on offense and that is exactly what Brown is. Doug Baldwin is getting old, he underwent multiple surgeries this offseason and there was talk that he was mulling retirement. Brown is a more athletically gifted version of Baldwin but not as good of a route runner. He would be a good compliment to the vertical threat of Tyler Lockett. Russell Wilson needs a player he can dump off to while he running for his life outside the pocket and Brown can be that player. The Seahawks could also consider addressing the secondary with this pick, a player like Greedy Williams, Nasir Adderley, or Taylor Rapp should not be off the table.
22nd Pick: Baltimore Ravens
N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State: It’s no secret that the Ravens need to address the wide receiver position at some point, most likely in the first round. Harry is the best receiver left on the board for them with this pick. He is an above average athlete who wins with physicality rather than with speed. He lacks that top-end speed and there are some questions about his ability to get separation in the NFL, although those concerns were lessened with the 4.53 40 yard dash time he posted at the combine. He is a very good runner after the catch and can be used on screens and short routes consistently. In my opinion, he will never be a true number one receiver but he can be the head of a group of receivers or at the worst a solid number two option.
Willie Snead, yes, Willie Snead is currently the number one Ravens receiving option. This is a problem for a team with a developing rookie quarterback who struggles to throw the ball at times. Lamar Jackson has shown that he is not accurate and would benefit from a player like Harry who is a pretty large receiver. There are not a whole lot of other directions the Ravens should go with this pick. Taking a linebacker or offensive lineman could be on the table but there are none that are worth taking with this pick. Even taking a player like Harry, I would consider a reach but this need has to be addressed.
23rd Pick: Houston Texans
Garrett Bradbury, iOL, NC State: Bradbury is easily the best interior offensive lineman in the class (not counting Jonah Williams or Cody Ford, who could move there eventually). He is a great athlete for the position and one of the most fluid movers in the class. He may be knocked for his lack of scheme development as he played in North Carolina’s zone scheme. Bradbury has all of the tools to succeed if a team is able to develop him. He shows great promise in both pass and run games, he is able to clear holes for running backs while also keep interior pressure off of his quarterback.
The Texans have to address the offensive line, they have one of the least talented groups in the NFL. Even a trade up for one of the top tier tackles in the class should not be off the table. In this scenario, they would lose out on a player like Andre Dillard as he went a few picks earlier. Bradbury would be a solid consolation prize. If the team is comfortable with his zone blocking background they should pull the trigger. He could help solidify the interior of their line while clearing holes for Lamar Miller and limiting the amount of time Deshaun Watson is on the ground. They could consider a cornerback or look at more of a sleeper pick, could they be in on Josh Jacobs? Lamar Miller has not been overly effective the past few years and if all the offensive lineman are off the board look out.
24th Pick: Oakland Raiders (Via Chicago Bears, Khalil Mack Trade)
Greedy Williams, CB, LSU: Williams is a polarizing prospect to me, on film he has flashes of being a lockdown corner and other times he does not look deserving of the first round label he has been given. There is no doubt that he has the body type and athleticism to be worthy of the first round hype. His long arms allow him to swat away balls and bail him out of times where he was in bad position. He is not a very physical corner and his leaner frame can allow him to get pushed around at times. The other big reservation I have about him is his tackling, he was not a good tackler at LSU. At times he seemed uninterested in making the tackles that were needed. If a team could get him to commit and grow in that area he could realize his potential at cornerback.
The Raiders could use another cornerback to pair with Gareon Conley. This is the second of their three first-round picks. Grabbing a player like Williams who has been pegged as a top 15 player by some could be a major steal. Having Williams start as the second corner on the team could alleviate some of the pressure of covering the best receivers in the NFL in his first year. The Raiders could try to add another receiver with this pick but all of the guys that are first round worthy are off the board and it wouldn’t be wise to reach for a guy like Kelvin Harmon or Parris Campbell.
25th Pick: Philadelphia Eagles
Taylor Rapp, S, Washington: Okay, let me start this by saying, Rapp’s testing numbers are very poor, his 40 time is what most will point to as disappointing. But his ability on tape far outweighs his testing results. He showed amazing versatility and that is something teams will covet. Washington played him all over the field; traditional 20 yards of the ball safety, slot corner, he played in the box, and was even brought to play on the edge on some plays. He shows tackling ability that is much better than any other of the first round safeties. He is slightly undersized and the ball never really came his way at Washington. He will be knocked for his lack of athleticism (as mentioned earlier) but he should still be the number one safety off the board.
The Eagles were my prime Josh Jacobs landing spot until they made the trade for Jordan Howard. While he is most likely not a long term fix, this takes them out of the conversation for addressing the position in the first round. Grabbing a player like Rapp, he could play next to Malcolm Jenkins or wherever the Eagles needed him. They could consider one of the other safeties if they are scared off by Rapp’s testing numbers but the other safeties do come with their own concerns.
26th Pick: Indianapolis Colts
Christian Wilkins, iDL, Clemson: Wilkins is a very high floor player, he is a guy that you can draft and know he will produce at some level throughout his career. He thrives in run defense, he knows how to find ballcarriers and bring them to the ground. He is not a great pass rusher but is able to get in and collapse the pocket. He did play with other top prospects on Clemson’s defensive line but he stood out as the most consistent to me. He has great footwork that allows him to get around blockers and make an impact in the running game.
The Colts overachieved last year and are still left with one of the less talented rosters in the NFL. Wilkins would help to solidify their defensive line, his high floor prospect profile would be a perfect fit for their team as they need solid contributors to put around Darius Leonard who is now the heart and soul of their defense. The Colts are another team that could target a receiver like N’Keal Harry if he is available, but in this spot, Wilkins is the best fit for their defense. If the Colts aren’t in love with Wilkins they could try to trade down in order to recoup more picks to fill out their roster.
27th Pick: Oakland Raiders (Via Dallas Cowboys, Amari Cooper Trade)
Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama: Jacobs is rated as one of the top 10 players in the class for me. He is far and away the best running back in the class. The only concerns I have with him is he lacks top end speed and will never be a breakaway or homerun hitter and that he was part of a committee at Alabama which could mean he wasn’t good enough to win it but it also limited the wear and tear on his body. The positives on Jacob’s profile far outweigh the negatives. He is explosive in the short area and plays with power that helps to make him one of the most complete backs in the class. Also, did I mention he’s a great receiver? He is, one of the best in the class, he can be a true feature back by the team that drafts him.
The Raiders would be wise to address this position with their third first-round pick. Jacobs could complete the offensive renovation of the Raiders, they already added Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams at receiver and adding Jacobs would give quarterback Derek Carr the best supporting cast he has ever played with. As mentioned earlier they could consider a receiver in the first round but again there are none that are worth reaching for. Interior offensive line could be considered here, a player like Dalton Rinser or Chris Lindstrom could be on the board but a player like Jacobs will be able to make the most impact for the team.
28th Pick: Los Angeles Chargers
Jeffery Simmons, iDL, Mississippi State: Simmons has many concerns coming into the draft this year. He suffered a torn ACL while training that will hold him out all next season. On top of that, there are concerns about an assault charge from a couple of years back which teams have surely done their homework on. On the field, he is one of the most dominant players in the class and a possible top 5-10 talent if only the on-field product was considered. He is dominant in the run game and makes an impact on almost every play in the passing game. One thing that is always noticeable about Simmons is his hand usage, he is always moving them trying to break free. He understands that to win at his position he needs to use his whole body. It is hard to poke holes in his game, he may need some technical refinement in the NFL but will have a full year before he is put onto the field.
Simmons will fall in the draft there is no doubt about that mainly due to the injury concerns if the teams are willing to overlook the assault incident. For the Chargers they are a team without a lot of holes. One of the biggest holes they do have is in the interior of the defensive line. The ideal scenario would be to take Simmons knowing you now have one of the most talented players in the draft and sign Ndamukong Suh to a one year deal. This would allow Simmons to work back from injury and take over the starting job next year. If they do want a player that can make a year one impact a player like Dexter Lawrence could be considered here.
29th Pick: Kansas City Chiefs
Byron Murphy, CB, Washington: While I have Murphy lower than Williams, I think he has the much higher floor. He showed great ball skills on tape and that can translate well to the NFL. He is very quick laterally and does well when asked to shadow receivers. In the game against Utah, he showed off his elite ball skills and was almost never beat. He is on the smaller side which could force teams to play him as a slot corner. He would only be forced to move to the slot if he shows that he is not able to play effectively on the outside.
The Chiefs did address the back end of their defense by signing Tyrann Mathieu but really only have Kendall Fuller to play corner. They also addressed their edge rush by trading for Emmanuel Ogbah who should come in and start immediately. This allows them to have more flexibility on who to take in the first round. Murphy is the best defensive player left available and that would be the best strategy for the Chiefs at this point. They need talented players to help them continue their dominance into next year. They could target a linebacker but there are none that are worth taking in the first round outside of White and Bush who were off the board a while ago.
30th Pick: Green Bay Packers (Via New Orleans Saints, Marcus Davenport Trade)
Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma: Brown is one of the most electrifying players to watch in the class. His straight-line speed is something that teams covet. He was the number one receiver at Oklahoma but he may not be a number one receiver in the NFL. He struggled with injury that may have resulted from his usage. He would be better suited for a number two role in the NFL where he would not have to face consistent high volume. There are legitimate concerns with Brown, he had lisfranc surgery this offseason, he should be ready for training camps but teams will have to make sure this doesn’t risk compromising his speed. Brown is also very small, he measured in at 5’9” and 166 pounds. There are not many receivers in the league who succeed at this size.
This offseason the Packers filled a lot of their defensive holes. This will allow them to possibly take a more offensive-minded approach. They do not have many solid options behind Davante Adams which could lead to them targeting a receiver. Marquez Valdes-Scantling is not a solid number two, he profiles a more of the third receiver on a team. If Brown fell due to his injury concerns the Packers would be wise to snag him with their second pick in this round. Being able to add Marquise Brown and Noah Fant as options for Aaron Rodgers would help boost the status of the Packers and continue their race to get back to the playoffs.
31st Pick: Los Angeles Rams
Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson: Ferrell has fallen off since the end of the college season. While he isn’t a poor prospect by any stretch is not overly impressive on tape. He seems to be maxed out physically and doesn’t show a lot of room for growth. Those concerns knock him down the board in a loaded edge class. Teams may be more willing to take a player that can develop into one of the best at the position, especially in the first round. Ferrell is a solid run defender and has a very high floor, while he will most likely never be a star he could be a solid contributor during his career.
The Rams though need players like Ferrell, he would be an excellent pairing with the athlete the Dante Fowler is. Having two capable rushers on the outside would allow more space for Aaron Donald to wreak havoc. If the Rams want to go edge rusher with this pick but want more upside than what Ferrell can offer they should look at a player like Jachai Polite. There is no doubt that his film says he is a first round player but his interviews and testing shows otherwise. The Rams are one of the few locker rooms in the NFL that may be able to handle the type of person that Polite seems to be. It would be a massive risk in the first round, but if they change his attitude it could be the steal of the draft. But if I was making the pick, I would take Ferrell as he will produce at some level for a long time.
32nd Pick: New England Patriots
Dexter Lawrence, iDL, Clemson: Lawrence, unlike his counterpart Christian Wilkins has a massive amount of untapped potential. Before the season started Lawrence was a consensus top ten prospect but fell off due to lack of production and lack of development. He is an off the charts athlete for a nose tackle. He moves well laterally for a player that is his size. He has great instincts in the run game and shows great ability to get to the ball carrier. He is making strides in pass-rushing but could use some NFL coaching in that area. He was suspended for PEDs in last year’s playoff, this could hurt his draft stock in terms of character concerns but most teams will likely be willing to overlook this.
The Patriots have lost multiple interior defensive linemen this offseason, the Patriots lost Malcolm Brown in free agency and Danny Shelton is a free agent. This leaves a hole in the center of their defensive line. Drafting Lawrence would give them a high upside player that Bill Belichick could develop. The Patriots are a hard team to predict, they may decide to take a receiver to alleviate the pressure on Julian Edelman. They also lost Rob Gronkowski to retirement and some think they could find his replacement in the first round. Reaching for a player like Irv Smith could pay off but in a deep tight end class, it would be better to wait until the later rounds.