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. Redskins (Trade)- QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
Reasoning: The Redskins desperately need to make a move at the quarterback position this offseason. Alex Smith is hurt, and he is aging. Jumping up to grab the draft class’ QB1 would be a great addition for Jay Gruden’s offense.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- DT Ed Oliver, Houston
Reasoning: I expect the Bucs to move on from Gerald McCoy. This would allow them to grab one of the most versatile defensive lineman in the draft class in Ed Oliver. Oliver has a wide range in terms of where he could be drafted, but the guys can simply play.
6. Giants- OT Jonah Williams, Alabama
Reasoning: Most mock drafts that you will see right now have a quarterback slotted to the Giants and for good reason. If Haskins is already gone, I could see the Giants continue to build the offensive line and give Eli the opportunity to start one more season. Williams will be a good offensive lineman in the NFL simply because he can play literally anywhere on the offensive line. I would probably draft a quarterback if I were running the franchise.
7. Jaguars- QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
Reasoning: Like the Redskins, the Jaguars are desperate for answers at the quarterback position. In this mock draft, they are able to obtain Kyler Murray. Their offense would immediately get more explosive, and Murray would open up the running lanes for Leonard Fournette.
8. Lions- Edge Rashan Gary, Michigan
Reasoning: The Lions need a premier pass rusher in the NFC North in the worst way. Although his stats at Michigan were not completely stellar, Rashan Gary has the physical attributes to be a dominant pass rusher for years to come.
9. Bills- TE T.J. Hockenson, Iowa
Reasoning: This is probably the first major surprise in my mock draft, but it makes a ton of sense for the Bills. Buffalo needs to put playmakers around Josh Allen immediately, but there isn’t a wide receiver deemed worthy for the selection. Hockenson is shooting up draft boards as a complete tight end. I love the guy more every time I see him on film.
10. Broncos- QB Drew Lock, Missouri
Reasoning: Yes, the Broncos just traded for Joe Flacco. No, I do not think it was a good trade, nor do I think Flacco will last long in Denver. John Elway has expressed interest in Drew Lock, a quarterback that could use some seasoning before being hoisted in a starting job in the NFL.
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- EDGE Brian Burns, Florida State
Reasoning: Recently, it was reported that the Dolphins are enamored with the 2019 quarterback class. They clearly need a quarterback of the future, but there is not a player worthy of their selection here. The Dolphins do need a pass rusher. If Brian Burns tests well at the Combine, he could be a top ten selection come April due to his ability to get to the quarterback.
14. Falcons- CB Greedy Williams, LSU
Reasoning: The Falcons’ defense was a trainwreck last season. Atlanta could use a cornerback with some athleticism in their back 7. Greedy would present decent value here at pick 14, especially if he proves to have smooth hips in DB drills in Indianapolis later this month.
15. Raiders (trade)- EDGE Montez Sweat, Mississippi State
Reasoning: In this mock draft, the Raiders traded down to pick 15 to allow the Washington Redskins to move up to get their quarterback of the future. The Raiders need an edge rusher in the worst way to replace All-Pro Khalil Mack. Montez Sweat was a beast at the Senior Bowl, an event in which Raiders’ head coach Jon Gruden was front and center for.
16. Panthers- OT Yodny Cajuste, West Virginia
Reasoning: The Panthers need to protect Cam Newton after his latest injury. With Daryl Williams potentially departing via free agency, the Panthers could target an offensive tackle in the draft. Cajuste is the best athlete of the bunch, and he would be a great candidate to protect Cam’s backside.
17. Browns- CB Byron Murphy, Washington
Reasoning: The Browns number one priority this offseason is to protect Baker Mayfield and give him weapons with which to play. The problem is that I do not see any player that fits their offense at this point in the draft. Pairing Byron Murphy with Denzel Ward would give the Browns’ a lethal one-two punch in their secondary.
18. Vikings- OT 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 N’Keal Harry, Arizona State
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. N’Keal Harry is a big physical weapon that would match well with Corey Davis playing opposite of him. Mariota needs big targets.
20. Steelers- CB DeAndre Baker, Georgia
Reasoning: Many Steelers’ fans would probably like to see a linebacker or wide receiver here, but DeAndre Baker is a dynamic cornerback that would be a great Steeler. The Steelers will need a better secondary if they are going to compete with some of the prolific passing teams in the AFC.
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 Trayvon Mullen, Clemson
Reasoning: The Texans’ defense is stellar, but the Colts exposed their secondary during their playoff game this season. Trayvon Mullen was outstanding in the Nation Championship game, and he has the ball skills to make plays for the Texans early on in his career.
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- WR Marquise Brown, Oklahoma
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. Many Colts’ fans want them to make a big move to obtain a wide receiver, but in this mock draft they grab one of the most dynamic playmakers on the outside in Marquise Brown. Hollywood Brown fits the T.Y. Hilton mode, and Andrew Luck would have a new weapon to play with in Indianapolis.
27. Raiders (f/DAL)- LB Devin Bush, Michigan
Reasoning: Devin Bush is a big time playmaker that would give the Raiders some stability in their linebacking corps. At this point, the Oakland Raiders just need good football players. Bush will be a starter in this league for a long time due to his instincts and physicality.
28. Chargers- QB Daniel Jones, Duke
Reasoning: It is no secret that Philip Rivers’ career is coming to an end sooner rather than later. I had Kyler Murray here in my last mock, but I believe he will go much higher now that he has committed to football. Daniel Jones could easily slide down the board if the New York Giants decide not to take a signal caller. Jones would present decent value at this point in the draft.
29. Chiefs- Edge Rusher Oshane Ximines, Old Dominion
Reasoning: The Chiefs were just eviscerated by the New England Patriots threw the air on Sunday. They need to get after the quarterback, and they could be losing Dee Ford in free agency. Oshane Ximines is an intriguing prospect that could see a rise in stock in the next few weeks.
30. Packers (f/NO)- OL Jawaan Taylor, Florida
Reasoning: Protect Aaron Rodgers at all cost. That should be goal number one for the Packers’ front office. Bryan Bulaga has been a good pro, but he is starting to age. Grabbing a prospect like Taylor makes sense now and for the future for Green Bay. Taylor is a plug and play right tackle.
31. Rams- OL Andre Dillard, Washington State
Reasoning: You never know when the great Andrew Whitworth will hang the cleats up for good. I am not sure if Dillard will be able to play left tackle early in his career, but he is the type of prospect that teams will fall in love with during the draft process. Dillard would give the Rams depth early in his career and be an eventual starter for the franchise.
32. Patriots- TE Irv Smith, Alabama
Reasoning: No one ever has any clue what the New England Patriots are going to do. They are in a league of their own at this point. The Patriots will need a tight end if Gronk retires, and Belichick would have a great idea of how well Smith would fit into their system given his close relationship with Nick Saban.