Written By: Jake Leicht @Blitzalytics @McLeicht11
With the NFL season coming to a close, draft season is almost upon us. While the and the are getting ready for the Super Bowl over the next few weeks, the rest of the NFL world will be in Mobile scouting the nation’s top seniors. As my first mock draft is coming out before the Senior Bowl (and well before the NFL free agency begins), most of these picks are projected needs and fits for both the teams and players. It will be fun to come back to this mock draft in April and see how differently we view these prospects on draft night.
1. Cardinals- EDGE Nick Bosa, Ohio State
Reasoning: Bosa is simply the best player in the draft this year. Pairing him up with Chandler Jones will ensure that the Cardinals have one of the most explosive pass rushing duos in the NFL.
2. 49ers- EDGE Josh Allen, Kentucky
Reasoning: Quinnen Williams is probably the more polished prospect, but the 49ers need an edge rusher that can get after the passer. Adding Josh Allen to a group of defensive lineman that includes DeForest Buckner and Solomon Thomas will give the 49ers a potent defensive line.
3. Jets- DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama
Reasoning: The Jets will probably look to trade out of this spot, but for now, they will go with Williams, the best prospect left in the draft. Williams is the type of player that would make any defense better, given his ability to play the pass and run.
4. Raiders- DL, Rashan Gary, Michigan
Reasoning: Gary is one of the most intriguing prospects in the draft. He can play inside or outside, and has an innate ability to get after opposing quarterbacks. The Raiders would be adding a piece that could play anywhere on their line.
5. Buccaneers- DT Ed Oliver, Houston
Reasoning: The Bucs will probably be looking to move on from former 2nd overall pick Gerald McCoy, especially given the fact that this is such a heavy defensive line draft. Oliver is an athletic freak that can play in any defense.
6. Giants- QB Daniel Jones, Duke
Reasoning: It is no secret that the Giants need a quarterback of the future. They really need a quarterback that can play right now. Daniel Jones is the most pro-ready quarterback in this draft class. If he has a good week at the Senior Bowl, he will be shooting up the draft boards. He also fits the Giants’ offensive scheme very well.
7. Jaguars- QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
Reasoning: Like the Giants, the Jags are desperate for answers at the quarterback position. In this mock draft, they are able to obtain Dwayne Haskins, a quarterback that most people have atop their rankings. Haskins would immediately become the Jaguars starter.
8. Lions- CB Greedy Williams, LSU
Reasoning: The Lions have some playmakers in their secondary, but they also have a weak CB2. Greedy is a long, athletic corner that has a nose for the football. Adding him to the Lions secondary would do wonders for the team, especially since they have to play the potent offensive units of the NFC North six times a year.
9. Bills- OT Jonah Williams, Alabama
Reasoning: Some people believe Jonah Williams will have to slide inside to reach his potential. For now, I think that the Bills will target him to play right tackle, a position of great weakness for the Bills. They need to protect Josh Allen at all cost. Even if he doesn’t work at tackle, Williams could be a Pro Bowl center in the NFL.
10. Broncos- EDGE Brian Burns, Florida State
Reasoning: Burns is an athletic freak that will test out of this world at the Combine. He has fluid hips, and he has natural pass rushing abilities. I do think Burns needs some seasoning, but if the Broncos want to groom him for a year, he will be able to take over for Von Miller if his contract becomes too much for the Broncos to keep.
11. Bengals- LB Devin White, LSU
Reasoning: The Bengals have one of the least athletic defenses in the league. They are in need of a playmaker. Devin White is an inside linebacker that can truly play sideline to sideline. The Bengals could use White in a multitude of ways, and he could really help out second year linebacker Malik Jefferson.
12. Packers- EDGE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson
Reasoning: I like Ferrell more than most due to his high motor and his ability to get after the quarterback. Last draft, the Packers traded away the opportunity to get Marcus Davenport. Obtaining Ferrell will give the Packers a young pass rusher that they desperately need. Clay Matthews is getting older and older.
13. Dolphins- QB Drew Lock, Missouri
Reasoning: Recently, it was reported that the Dolphins are enamored with the 2019 quarterback class. They clearly need a quarterback of the future, and Drew Lock will be shooting up draft boards after the upcoming week in Mobile. It has already been reported that the Broncos are all over Lock, but the Dolphins could easily fall in love with his big arm and intangibles.
14. Falcons- DL Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State
Reasoning: The Falcons typically go with the best player available model during draft night. I love Simmons in terms of his pro prospects. He is physical and would bring some legitimacy to a Falcons’ defense which was a laughing stock in the NFL last season.
15. Redskins- S Deionte Thompson, Alabama
Reasoning: I do not believe that Thompson is currently a top 15 player in the draft class, but he has a ton of potential as a ball hawking safety. The Redskins have a hole in their defensive backfield after they cut D.J. Swearinger late in the season due to being outspoken about their coaching. The Redskins seem to love Alabama prospects, so Thompson is almost certainly on their radar.
16. Panthers- TE Noah Fant, Iowa
Reasoning: The Panthers need more playmakers on offense, especially since tight end Greg Olsen is pretty much done. Noah Fant will be a nightmare matchup for opposing defenses in the NFL. Although his numbers at Iowa were not gaudy, Fant will make an immediate impact in the NFL.
17. Browns- OT Yodny Cajuste, West Virginia
Reasoning: The Browns number one priority this offseason is to protect Baker Mayfield and give him weapons with which to play. Yodny Cajuste is an athletic tackle that could end up being the number one tackle in this draft class with a stellar pre-draft process. The Browns need a left tackle, as they relied on former first round bust Greg Robinson most of the season to man the position.
18. Vikings- OG Cody Ford, Oklahoma
Reasoning: Cody Ford is a polarizing prospect. Some draft pundits believe he is a top ten pick, while others see him as a late first round prospect. The Vikings need to get back to their roots and run the football better in 2019. Ford will solidify the Vikings’ offensive line.
19. Titans- WR A.J. Brown, Mississippi
Reasoning: The Titans need to figure out whether or not Marcus Mariota is their quarterback of the future. Getting him more weapons to play with is a great way to figure out the situation. A.J. Brown is a physical wide receiver that would complement Corey Davis, while also taking some pressure off of him as well.
20. Steelers- WR N’Keal Harry, Arizona State
Reasoning: I am not sure the Steelers will need to spend a first round pick on a wide receiver, even if Antonio Brown is traded. James Washington still has room to grow, and JuJu Smith-Schuster is quickly becoming one of the league’s most dynamic receivers. If they do choose to pick a wide receiver early, Arizona State standout N’Keal Harry would fit in nicely with their offense.
21. Seahawks- S Taylor Rapp, Washington
Reasoning: With the departure of Earl Thomas looking more and more likely, the Seahawks will be in the market for a free safety that can make plays. Taylor Rapp proved that he could make plays all over the field at Washington. He also just so happens to be a stone’s throw away from Seattle, so I am sure the Seahawks will have him well scouted.
22. Ravens- WR D.K. Metcalf, Mississippi
Reasoning: It seems like the Ravens are always being mocked wide receivers year in and year out. This season, the Ravens drafted Lamar Jackson to be their franchise quarterback. If he is going to hit his full potential, he will need big weapons that can make plays for him. Metcalf is a 6’4 wide receiver that can make plays above opposing defenders. This pick would help the development of Jackson immensely.
23. Texans- CB DeAndre Baker, Georgia
Reasoning: The Texans’ defense is stellar, but the Colts exposed their secondary during their playoff game this season. DeAndre Baker is a cornerback that has played against the top collegiate talent in the country for a couple of years. He is battle tested, and I believe he fits the Texans’ defensive scheme seamlessly.
24. Raiders (f/CHI): RB Josh Jacobs, Alabama
Reasoning: The Raiders need playmakers, and Josh Jacobs might be the best offensive weapon in this draft class. Jacobs runs with power, while also showing the ability to make plays in the passing game as well. He would step in and immediately be the best offensive weapon for the Raiders next season.
25. Eagles- EDGE Jachai Polite, Florida
Reasoning: Edge rusher Brandon Graham is an impending free agent, so the Eagles may be in the market for an edge rusher in this deep draft class. Jachai Polite is an interesting prospect. He shows an innate ability to get after the quarterback, but he does not particularly play the rush well. Polite would be a project, but he could be used in passing situations early in his career.
26. Colts- EDGE Montez Sweat, Mississippi State
Reasoning: The Colts were one of the biggest surprises in the league this season. They drafted well last season, getting Quenton Nelson and Darius Leonard with their first two picks. Their defense is getting better, but they still need pass rushers. Montez Sweat has a high motor, and Chris Ballard could fall in love with his skillset this week at the Senior Bowl.
27. Raiders (f/DAL)- CB Trayvon Mullen, Clemson
Reasoning: Not only do the Raiders need help on offense, they also need help on defense. The Raiders need to go best player on their board, as their roster as a whole is not good. Trayvon Mullen balled out during the National Championship game. His ability to make plays on the ball would serve the Raiders well.
28. Chargers- QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
Reasoning: It is no secret that Philip Rivers’ career is coming to an end sooner rather than later. Kyler Murray will probably go earlier than this, but he would be an interesting fit in the Chargers’ offense, especially with their weapons. Murray still may choose to play baseball, but if he comes out the pro scouts will be salivating over his playmaking potential.
29. Chiefs- CB Byron Murphy, Washington
Reasoning: The Chiefs were just eviscerated by the New England Patriots threw the air on Sunday. Byron Murphy has a ton of potential, and he has the ability to play in any scheme. If the Chiefs decide to not tage Dee Ford and he leaves through free agency, they may look to take a pass rusher here.
30. Packers (f/NO)- WR Marquise Brown, Oklahoma
Reasoning: The Packers need a deep play threat to play on the other side of Davante Adams. Marquise Brown has more potential than any other receiver in the draft, but his size may be a red flag to teams. If he is drafted by a team with an explosive offense, watch out. If Brown ends up going much higher than this on draft night, it would not shock me.
*31. Patriots- LB Mack Wilson, Alabama
Reasoning: Mack Wilson is a very interesting prospect. He has games in which he is the best defender on the field, then some games he looks average. The fact is, the Patriots need to get younger and quicker at linebacker. Bill Belichick is friends with Nick Saban, so if Saban gives the thumbs up, Wilson would be a nice get for the Patriots at pick 31.
*32. Rams- OT Jawaan Taylor, Florida
Reasoning: As of late, Taylor has quickly risen up draft boards. The Rams do not have many holes, but they will soon need a replacement for Andrew Whitworth at left tackle. Taylor has good feet, and he should be able to slide seamlessly into an NFL team’s offensive unit.
Picks that have an * are slots that are yet to be set in stone due to playoffs.