Author: Carter Thomson
Mock Draft 1.0
*Note: These picks are made based on what I think the teams should pick from what I have been reading from many other NFL Insiders that have been talking to scouts and team personnel. These are my thoughts after compiling results from previous mock drafts from experts in the field. These are not necessarily predictions on what teams will do because I don’t have that kind of insider knowledge. Please still enjoy as my picks have been well researched.
This will be my first of two mock drafts, one before the NFL Draft Combine and then one after the combine. Picks are scheduled to change after watching how players perform at the combine as measurements and performances have some impact on how teams look at players but they take everything into consideration such as the combine, pro days, interviews and of course extensive tape review. Other forces may change teams needs such as players being released or signed once free agency begins in early March. My second mock draft will be released right before this year’s draft and their will also be a special episode on The Final Final where we will do a mock draft just hours before the draft begins so be sure to tune into that on April 25th from 5-6 p.m. on WSUM 91.7 FM Madison Student Radio and also on our website here at wsum.org/player/. This years NFL Draft begins at 8 p.m. on April 25th.
- Arizona Cardinals: Nick Bosa, DE – Ohio St.: Bosa has been the number one consensus pick even with his core muscle injury that sidelined him for all but 4 games this past season. Now he will be doing workouts at the combine where he will most likely show why he hasn’t dropped from the number one slot during the draft evaluation process.
- San Francisco 49ers: Josh Allen, OLB – Kentucky: The 49ers have a couple first round picks on their defensive line that haven’t really panned out yet and they need someone to get after the QB and that’s exactly what Allen does. He’s got long arms, speed and uses his crafty moves to get around blockers to get to the QB and he’ll likely get stronger in the NFL too.
- NY Jets: Quinnen Williams, DT – Alabama: This could be a spot for teams to try and trade up to as the Jets want back some of that capital that they had to give up last year to get Sam Darnold. They have money to spend in the offseason for big name free agents (Le’Veon Bell??) but with a draft full of great pass rushers they can pick up the best interior pass rusher in Williams out of Alabama which they will need as they lose some depth there and Leonard Williams is in the last year of his deal.
- Oakland Raiders: Rashan Gary, DE – Michigan: Oakland is looking to replace Khalil Mack with all the draft capital the acquired from the Chicago Bears and Gary is beast on the defensive front, watching him against other Big Ten competition. The question is his consistency and how much he wants it. He can be seen taking plays off and that is something NFL execs may knock him for. I think his combine athleticism will help him get back into the conversation of elite pass rushers in this draft.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jonah Williams, OT – Alabama: Tampa Bay new head coach Bruce Arians has said that they plan to stick with Jameis Winston for his final year of his contract. Williams has been a starter for Alabama since his freshman season and would start Day 1 protecting Winston on either side of the line.
- NY Giants: Dwayne Haskins, QB – Ohio St.: The Giants may have to trade up in the draft to get Haskins as I think Jacksonville, Miami and Washington may all be coming for him as well. Either way, I think its safe to say that New York needs to move on from Eli Manning and Dwayne Haskins is the best QB prospect in this otherwise weak QB class.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: D.K. Metcalf, WR – Ole Miss: Jacksonville needs a QB but I think they are looking for a veteran one as this team was a win away from the Super Bowl just a year ago so it is still a pretty solid roster. Say they get a veteran QB (Nick Foles??) he is going to need a weapon to throw to and none bigger than Metcalf out of Ole Miss. The viral photo sure was enticing to scouts and now he can show off at the combine after recovering from a couple of injuries in the past and move on from there.
- Detroit Lions: Clelin Ferrell, DE – Clemson: Detroit is losing Ziggy Ansah to free agency and has no pass rush on that defense. They have a number one corner, Jarrad Davis first round pick last year is a good 3 down linebacker so now they need to address their front 4. Clelin Ferrell was a possible 1st rounder last year but came back to be a part of a dominating defensive front to win a National Championship.
- Buffalo Bills: Jawaan Taylor, OT – Florida: Buffalo needs to find some help for Josh Allen. Help comes in the form of keeping him upright and pass rushers off of him. Taylor can play guard or tackle at the next level but he has the ability to rise even higher in the draft after the combine and be the first offensive lineman off the board. Look at a WR here as a possibility too as Buffalo has whiffed on those in the recent past.
- Denver Broncos: Greedy Williams, CB – LSU: Denver just traded for Joe Flacco so it looks like the have another year of a bridge QB so they can hold that off for another year but they can’t wait on their secondary. They traded Aqib Talib to the Rams last year, Bradley Roby is a free agent to be and Chris Harris is will over 30 by the time the season begins. Greedy Williams is a big lock-down corner who can give the pass rush time to get after the QB.
- Cincinnati Bengals: Devin White, ILB – LSU: Cincinnati could be a sneaky team that takes a QB in this year’s draft. New young head coach, Andy Dalton nearing the end of his contract so a rebuild around a quarterback but they need help on the defensive side and White is an exceptional linebacker. Sideline to sideline athleticism, 3 down linebacker who is also excellent in coverage. He can replace Preston Brown and Vontaze Burfict in the line-backing core and be a big rebuilding piece for their defense.
- Green Bay Packers: Montez Sweat, DE – Mississippi St.: Green Bay is picking in the top 15 for the second straight year so with 2 first rounders they hope to not be picking this high come next year. It starts with the pass rush as they seem to hit on Jaire Alexander last year, if he can stay healthy, and now they need to get to the QB. Fackrell had a really nice year but can that be sustained this next year? Clay Matthews may be moving on and Nick Perry has disappointed since his big contract. Sweat had a big time Senior Bowl and has had 22 sacks over the past two years. Sweat would be a great start for the Packers and he may keep rising after the combine is all said and done with his acceleration off the snap of the ball.
- Miami Dolphins: Kyler Murray, QB – Oklahoma: I think its time for Miami to go full rebuild. They got a new coach so why not get the new QB, who by the way is a two-sport athlete, former Heisman and all everyone is talking about so he can sell tickets since this team has multiple holes it needs to fill and could struggle this season. Murray may have size issues but once he throws at the combine and shows his athleticism, I think a lot of those worries will go away and the Dolphins will find their franchise QB.
- Atlanta Falcons: Christian Wilkins, DT – Clemson: Atlanta could use a cornerback to help its defense as well but if they lose Grady Jarrett to free agency, defensive tackle will become an immediate need for this team. Wilkins was a force and a leader on a stacked defensive line at Clemson and he is a good penetrator who can be a disruptor on the defensive line for Atlanta.
- Washington: Drew Lock, QB – Missouri: Alex Smith may be out for the entire 2019-2020 season so they need another option as Colt McCoy, Mark Sanchez and Josh Johnson won’t get the job done. Drew Lock was the best QB at the Senior Bowl and has the size and athleticism that teams will like to see. He is aggressive to with the throws he makes which can lead to big plays and turnovers so the combine will be important for him to separate from the second pack after Dwayne Haskins and Kyler Murray.
- Carolina Panthers: Ed Oliver, DT – Houston: Carolina needs a replacement to Julius Peppers after he announced to retire and Oliver was once considered a top 5 prospect but has fallen a little since but Carolina would be getting an excellent prospect at the 16th He is a quick twitch player, fast first step but he’s also coming off of injury so he could be a really big riser at the combine is he is healthy and performs like a former top 5 prospect.
- Cleveland Browns: Dexter Lawrence, DT – Clemson: Last year I said Cleveland needed to nail its number one overall big and the draft and boy did they. Baker Mayfield continues to prove everyone wrong, Denzel Ward looks like a really good corner in the making and even Nick Chubb will be their go-to running back. You saw the improvement to a 7-8-1 season. Lawrence will be able to swallow double teams and make room for their play makers all over that defense from Myles Garrett, to the linebackers, to Jabrill Peppers. Lawrence can really improve this young dynamic defense.
- Minnesota Vikings: Greg Little, OT – Ole Miss: Minnesota has the quarterback, now they need to protect him as their biggest weakness on the roster is the offensive line. Greg Little is very smooth in pass protection and that is something the Vikings will be looking for as Kirk Cousins drops back to deliver to his multitude of weapons. The defense is ready, the weapons are plentiful, now its just time for the QB and O-Line to get up to speed to make this team Super Bowl bound sooner rather than later.
- Tennessee Titans: T.J. Hockenson, TE – Iowa: Delanie Walker is coming off a major knee and turning 34 this coming season. Marcus Mariota loves throwing to tight ends too so this seems like a perfect match here as Hockenson is the best all around tight end in this class. Great hands and by far the best blocking tight end as Tennessee will still be a run heavy team as we saw the resurgence of Derrick Henry as a workhorse back.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Devin Bush, LB – Michigan: Last year I thought the Steelers should have taken a middle linebacker to replace Ryan Shazier, who continues to make miraculous progress on his scary spine injury, but the didn’t. This year they should have the opportunity to solidify that spot with Bush. Watching Bush firsthand against the Wisconsin Badgers this year showed me what kind of player he’ll be at the next level. Athleticism and a sure tackler make him a 3 down play maker even if he is a little undersized. That shouldn’t be a problem in today’s NFL though.
- Seattle Seahawks: Cody Ford, OG – Oklahoma: The Seahawks could also go safety here as they are expected to lose Earl Thomas to free agency but they still need to work on that offensive line especially now that they have converted to a run first team. They may be losing two starting interior offensive linemen as well so Seattle will need to replenish this position and Ford is most likely a right tackle can likely move to guard as well with his athleticism.
- Baltimore Ravens: Jachai Polite, OLB – Florida: Baltimore may also go receiver here as Lamar Jackson is going to need weapons on that offense but they are also getting much older at the edge rusher position and losing key contributors to free agency, mainly Terrell Suggs. Polite may be undersized but he is fast and uses quick moves to get around blockers so he will be a nice addition to an aging Ravens defense.
- Houston Texans: Andre Dillard, OT – Washington St.: Houston needs to protect Deshaun Watson who has a history of injuries and took on the most sacks in the league last year. He is one of the best pass blockers in this draft class and excelled at the senior bowl. Houston needs to keep Watson off the turf and Dillard is a really good start to that process.
- Oakland Raiders (via trade with Chicago Bears): Marquise Brown, WR – Oklahoma: Oakland has replaced Khalil Mack with its first, first round pick and now they can try to replace Amari Cooper with Marquise Brown with their next first round pick. Brown has incredible speed and can be a big deep threat for the Raiders and Derek Carr. Brown is a good start to rebuilding this offense and a weapon for Jon Gruden to utilize this season.
- Philadelphia Eagles: Deandre Baker, CB – Georgia: The main area of weakness on the Eagles defense this past season was their secondary whether it be from injuries or just lack of talent. I’m not sure if Baker will fall this far in the draft but if he does Philadelphia shouldn’t hesitate because he could easily be the first corner taken in this draft with his ball instincts and tackling ability to go along with it.
- Indianapolis Colts: AJ Brown, WR – Ole Miss: The Colts could use another play maker to go alongside T.Y. Hilton and give Luck more weapons as well. Brown is an excellent route runner out of the slot and could compliment Hilton’s deep threat ability really well. Luck could then have T.Y., Brown and the tight ends of Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron. Who knows, they may spend money on a big-name free agent running back with all the cap space they have too to make this offense unbelievably explosive.
- Oakland Raiders (via trade with Dallas Cowboys): Josh Jacobs, RB – Alabama: I’m not a huge fan of running backs in the first round like Mel Kiper Jr always says but I have been proven wrong a lot more than I have been proven right lately with running backs such as Todd Gurley, Melvin Gordon, Zeke Elliott, Leonard Fournette and Saquon Barkley. Oakland is relying on 33-year-old running back Marshawn Lynch who could be a free agent so Oakland needs more play makers for Carr and Gruden to work with. Jacobs is the complete back who catches passes out of the backfield very well which we see is being used more and more in today’s NFL.
- Los Angeles Chargers: Mack Wilson, LB – Alabama: If Jeffery Simmons out of Mississippi St. didn’t tear his ACL recently, we would have seen one of the top defensive linemen fall here to the Chargers who we saw need a run stuffer up the middle after what the Patriots did to them in the playoffs. Also, if Devin Bush were to fall here too, I think they could go that route but Mack Wilson is a middle linebacker piece they can work with given they have the pass rushers and the secondary settled now they need someone up the middle and Wilson is the third 3-down linebacker to go in the first round as the Chargers just a couple pieces away from a Super Bowl run. Mack Wilson could be one of those pieces.
- Kansas City Chiefs: Bryon Murphy, CB – Washington: The Chiefs need to upgrade their secondary as Eric Berry is no longer the answer as he can’t solve everything when or if he eventually comes back. Murphy has great ball instincts keeping his eyes on the QB and reacting when they release. The worry is that he may be a little undersized and slower but he surely makes up for it with his play making on the ball and could really improve this Chiefs secondary.
- Green Bay Packers (via trade with New Orleans Saints): Dalton Risner, OG – Kansas St.: Green Bay could go a couple different directions with this pick, offensive skill position such as WR or TE, they could double down on pass rusher as well but I think they need to focus on the O-Line and protecting Aaron Rodgers. The right guard spot has been less than adequate the past couple years and Bryan Bulaga is getting older at the right tackle spot. He has struggled with injuries for years so they need to continue to protect Aaron Rodgers. Risner could start at right guard until the Packers move on from Bulaga and slide him into that right tackle position there. Risner is strong and can push defenders wide or handle them one on one if they try to bull rush him. He would be a nice addition to protecting Rodgers.
- Los Angeles Rams: Jonathan Abram, S – Mississippi St.: The Rams are most likely losing starting safety Lamarcus Joyner to free agency this year and they are going to need to replace him for the back end of their defense as Marcus Peters really struggled at times this past season. Abram will have the chance to separate himself as the top safety in this class with Deionte Thompson out of Alabama most likely not participating in the combine due to injury so Abram has a chance to shine this coming week. Others such as Taylor Rapp and Nasir Adderley will be names to keep an eye on here as well if the Rams do go with a safety.
- New England Patriots: Irv Smith Jr, TE – Alabama: If Rob Gronkowski retires this offseason the Patriots most certainly will have to make a move at TE to replace him to bring another weapon in for Tom Brady. Irv Smith Jr is a better blocker I think than Noah Fant out of Iowa which is why he gets the nod here because the Patriots are starting to turn in to a running team with Tom Brady aging and Gronk was one of the best blocking tight ends in the game so I could see them wanting something similar in a new tight end this year. He is still a reliable pass catcher as well and could be a nice replacement if Gronk were to retire this season.