On the Clock: Mock Draft 3.0

With NFL free agency, pro days and a rampant rumor cycle in full swing, the same is true for On The Clock.

The post-combine, mid-free agency Mock Draft 3.0 features dramatic player movement on the draft board, team needs and a healthy amount of trades. Team needs have changed; so has the opening round.

From pick 1 to 64, this two-round mock goes in-depth to predict who will be going where when all is said and done.

Note: “Proj. TRADE” denotes trades that have been projected. These have not occured… Yet.

For the most up-to-date draft coverage or questions or comments, follow me, @CKrisNorton on Twitter.

 

  1.    Arizona Cardinals (3-13) – Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

Team Needs: WR, CB, DE Mock 2.0: Kyler Murray

Is Arizona ready to bet their future on Kyler Murray? Are the Cardinals trying to drum up trade interest for the first overall pick? One week prior to draft day, smokescreen season is in full swing.

In this mock draft, the Cardinals fully commit to their second rebuild in as many years. Kliff Kingsbury seems intrigued by unleashing a Russell Wilson clone on the NFC West, alongside the original. With the first overall pick, Kingsbury completes step one in bringing his Air Raid offense to the National Football League, a competent quarterback with the ability to scramble and a rocket arm.

 

  1.    (Proj. Trade – SF) Oakland Raiders (4-12) – Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State

Team Needs: DE, OL, MLB, OLB Mock 2.0: (Trade) Nick Bosa

Oakland’s turbulent season comes full circle. Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden replace Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack with Antonio Brown and Nick Bosa, respectfully with an additional first round pick to spare. The Raiders send the 4th and 27th pick to the San Francisco 49ers in return for the 2nd overall pick.

With the 2nd overall pick, the Raiders select Bosa, a player who is almost unanimously the top ranked prospect in the draft. The re-tooled Raiders are ready to compete in the AFC West.

 

  1.    New York Jets (4-12) – Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

Team Needs: OL, DT, DE Mock 2.0: Quinnen Williams

At the NFL Combine, Jets General Manager Mike Maccagnan expressed the Jets interest in trading down to recoup trade assets from last year’s deal with the Colts to draft Sam Darnold. With Kyler Murray off the board and the Dolphins and Redskins willing to test their luck, the Jets are forced to stay put.

In one of the best player-team pairings in the first round, New York picks the most talented interior defensive lineman in a stacked class in one-man-wrecking-crew Quinnen Williams. Not a bad back-up plan for the J-E-T-S.

 

  1.    (Proj. Trade – OAK) San Francisco 49ers (4-12) – Jonah Williams, OL, Alabama

Team Needs: CB, OLB, WR Mock 2.0: (Trade) Josh Allen

Unusual for a team picking in the top three, San Francisco already has their $137.5 million quarterback of the future in Jimmy Garoppolo. The 49ers are more than happy to trade back, pick up an the 27th overall pick, and select a chess piece along the offensive front who may end up succeeding Joe Staley at left tackle.

If the draft plays out this way, 49er General Manager John Lynch will be acclaimed for “draft move of the year” by NFL analysts. If Lynch is able to find another trade partner, the 49ers may not be done moving down to collect draft capital.

 

  1.    Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11) – Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan

Team Needs: CB, SS, RG, DT Mock 2.0: Rashan Gary

Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy’s future in Tampa Bay is murky. If the Bucs opt to decline McCoy’s option, a new bully in the front seven is necessary. If McCoy’s option is picked up, Gary still makes sense. Michigan’s game plan for Gary was constantly in question last season. Is he a defensive tackle at the next level? Is he a defensive end?

Either way, the Buccaneers procure the self-proclaimed best prospect in the draft.

 

  1.    New York Giants (5-11) – Josh Allen, DE, Kentucky

Team Needs: OL, QB, DE Mock 2.0: Dwayne Haskins

No quarterback for the Giants? Not with this pick. Having a top-three talent fall into their lap a month removed from the Olivier Vernon-for-Kevin Zeitler trade is too tempting for New York to pass up. Allen’s 17.0 sacks in his final collegiate season would be more than welcome on a Giants defensive front that only forced 30 sacks in 2018.

The Giants are gearing up for one last run at the postseason with Eli Manning.

 

  1.    Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11) – T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

Team Needs: TE, OC, DL Mock 2.0: Jonah Williams

With an elite defense and incoming quarterback Nick Foles in the fold, Jacksonville is an offensive playmaker or two away from matching their 2017 run to the AFC Championship. Unquestionably the most highly-touted tight end in a top-heavy class, Hockenson has a chance to become the first top-ten tight end since Eric Ebron was selected 10th in 2014.

 

  1.    Detroit Lions (6-10) – Montez Sweat, DE, Florida State

Team Needs: WR, OLB, CB Mock 2.0: Montez Sweat

Pairing Montez Sweat with Trey Flowers on the edge, anchored by Damon “Snacks” Harrison and A’Shawn Robinson in the middle gives 2nd-year head coach and former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia the defensive line of his dreams. Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins, and Mitchell Trubisky will have to find comfort outside the pocket.

The Lions defense will look much less like a doormat in 2019.

 

  1.    Buffalo Bills (6-10) – D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss

Team Needs: OL, WR, DT, OLB Mock 2.0: Greg Little

Quarterback Josh Allen can’t run for 631 yards again next year. The question for the Bills becomes: is Josh Allen running because of constant lapses in protection or because he doesn’t have anyone downfield creating separation? Both are correct and both will be addressed in the early rounds of the 2019 draft.

In this mock draft, Metcalf’s unparalleled combine testing vaults him up into the top ten and into a Buffalo Bills jersey. Metcalf will look to become the first Bills receiver to tally more than 700 receiving yards since 2015.

 

10.Denver Broncos (6-10) – Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

Team Needs: QB, S, OL Mock 2.0: Drew Lock

Call it a mini-slide for Dwayne Haskins, who some analysts still view as the top quarterback in the class. Through free agency moves and the Giants’ willingness to give  Eli Manning the keys to the offense for one more year, the rest of the top ten appears to be set at quarterback.

General Manager John Elway, always captivated with strong-armed prospects like Drew Lock, has a more polished player fall into his lap. Elway is ecstatic to let Haskins develop behind newly-acquired Joe Flacco in his first season as a pro.

 

11.Cincinnati Bengals (6-10) – Devin White, LB, LSU

Team Needs: MLB, RT, TE, QB Mock 2.0: Devin White

The marriage of the Cincinnati Bengals and Devin White made sense long before the Bengals decided to part ways with long-time linebacker Vontaze Burfict. A sideline-to-sideline thumper is now a necessity in an AFC North division with James Conner, Lamar Jackson, and the suddenly scary Cleveland Browns.

 

12.Green Bay Packers (6-9-1) – Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida

Team Needs: OLB, RG, SS Mock 2.0: Ed Oliver

Aaron Rodgers will retire some day. Each time the seven-time Pro Bowler sets foot on the field with the current offensive line, that day moves dramatically closer.

Taylor, the 6’5 mauler out of Florida, projects as the best right tackle in the draft. His 310-pound frame is a welcomed sight on the Packers offensive front in an attempt to keep pass rushers out of Aaron Rodgers’ face and tacklers out of Aaron Jones’ way.

 

13.Miami Dolphins (7-9) – Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

Team Needs: CB, WR, QB Mock 2.0: (Trade) None

The Dolphins have won between 6 and 10 games in every season dating back to 2008 and haven’t claimed a single playoff victory since Y2K. With Tom Brady’s stranglehold on the AFC East ending in the near future, Miami sees a window opening. Shipping off Ryan Tannehill, the team’s last first-round quarterback selection (8th overall in 2012), to the Tennessee Titans and signing Ryan Fitzpatrick signals the beginning of a full-scale rebuild.

Drafting a new quarterback is step No. 1. Though the Dolphins could push for a top-five pick for a loaded quarterback draft in 2020. Aside from Tannehill Lock would be the only quarterback selected by the Dolphins in the first round since Dan Marino in 1983.

 

14.Atlanta Falcons (7-9) – Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

Team Needs: DT, CB, TE Mock 2.0: Christian Wilkins

Steve Sarkisian’s tenure as offensive coordinator has turned a Super Bowl runner-up into a team drafting in the top half of the first round. While the offense hasn’t been firing on all cylinders, it’s still a strength. The defense, meanwhile, has been a sieve.

Adding a difference-maker who has drawn comparisons to Aaron Donald would go a long way in getting after Cam Newton and Drew Brees in the NFC South. The faster the Falcons can force the ball out of opposing quarterbacks’ hands, the more time Matt Ryan will have to orchestrate his offense.

 

15.Washington Redskins (7-9) – Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

Team Needs: QB, FS, CB Mock 2.0: Byron Murphy

Yes, Washington did trade for Case Keenum. But, that was before Arizona’s selection of Kyler Murray forced Josh Rosen onto the market. In this mock draft, the Redskins have sent a 2nd and a 3rd-round compensatory pick to the Cardinals for Rosen.

On the defensive end, Washington is surprisingly deep. In Josh Norman’s age-30 season, he tallied 64 tackles and three interceptions. But at 31 years old, how much does he have left in the tank? In Byron Murphy, Washington gets one of the premier cover corners in the draft and a potential successor to Norman.

 

16.Carolina Panthers (7-9) – Clelin Ferrell, DL, Clemson

Team Needs: DE, OL, FS Mock 2.0: Clelin Ferrell

Carolina has had a busy past month. The franchise replaced center Matt Kalil with Matt Paradis, re-signed All-Pro Daryl Williams to a one-year deal, and watched quarterback Cam Newton announce his short-term retirement from sex. Lost in this shuffle and celibacy-induced mind improvement was the retirement of franchise-leading sack artist Julius Peppers.

 

Versatile defensive lineman Clelin Ferrell won’t be able to fill Peppers’ shoes immediately, but will help the Panthers’ defense maintain quarterback pressure for years to come.

 

17.New York Giants (5-11) – Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

Team Needs: OL, QB, WR Mock 2.0: N’Keal Harry

After foregoing their choice of incoming quarterbacks not named Kyler Murray with the sixth overall pick, the Giants can’t afford to wait much longer. New York reaches to select a quarterback who has garnered comparisons to their current signal-caller.

At the NFL Scouting Combine in February, Jones even spoke to what it would mean to him to play alongside Eli Manning. New York obliges and selects their quarterback for 2020 and the foreseeable future.

 

18.Minnesota Vikings (8-7-1) – Greg Little, OL, Ole Miss

Team Needs: OG, DT, OLB Mock 2.0: Jawaan Taylor

In signing former Tennessee guard Josh Kline, the offensive line will already be more stable in 2019 for year two of the Kirk Cousins experiment. Adding a pro-ready tackle will further aid the Viking’s journey back to the playoffs.

 

19.Tennessee Titans (9-7) – Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

Team Needs: OLB, TE, DL Mock 2.0: Brian Burns

Tennessee, like Washington, has underperformed considering the strength of their roster on defense. Also like Washington, the Titans have questions at quarterback. Between Marcus Mariota and newcomer Ryan Tannehill, the Titans should have their answer and be free to fortify their defensive line. Since linebacker Brian Orakpo’s retirement, keeping the defensive front seven strong is priority No. 1.

 

20.Pittsburgh Steelers (9-6-1) – Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

Team Needs: MLB, WR, CB Mock 2.0: Devin Bush

Though Pittsburgh lost two former All-Pro skill players in 2019, neither wide receiver nor running back is the biggest need. With Juju Smith-Schuster and James Conner taking over, respectively, in these roles, the Steelers can focus on the one loss they never accounted for: linebacker Ryan Shazier.

Despite being slightly undersized (5’11” and 234 pounds), Bush’s 4.43 40-yard dash and 40.5-inch vertical jump certainly looks the part of a sideline-to-sideline enforcer at the next level.

 

21.Seattle Seahawks (10-6) – Cody Ford, OG, Oklahoma

Team Needs: OG, FS, DE Mock 2.0: T.J. Hockenson

The Seahawks have not spent a first-round pick on a lineman since they took Germain Ifedi out of Texas A&M in 2016, and it shows. After allowing 51 sacks of Russell Wilson last season, it’s time to address the need.

But will Seattle make a pick from the 21st spot? The Seahawks have had both their 1st and 2nd-round picks twice since the 2012 draft. Due to a trade for Houston’s tackle Duane Brown, this year is no exception. Expect Seattle to explore trading down. Indianapolis? New England?

 

22.Baltimore Ravens  (10-6) – A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss

Team Needs: WR, DE, FS Mock 2.0: A.J. Brown

The Lamar Jackson era is underway and it’s time to surround him him weapons. Free agent running back Mark Ingram has signed, wide receivers are next. After cutting Michael Crabtree, the Ravens are in the market for a new No. 1 target. Whoever they see as the top-rated receiver will come off the board here. In this case, it’s A.J. Brown out of Ole Miss.

 

23.Houston Texans (11-5) – Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State

Team Needs: OL, OT, WR Mock 2.0: Chris Lindstrom

The highest priority needs in Houston lie along the offensive line. One year removed from a season-ending ACL injury to franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson, the Texans allowed a league-high 62 sacks.

Dillard, a 3rd Team All-American, has been rising up draft boards after posting a sub-5.0 40-yard dash at 6’5”, 315 pounds. With the 23rd pick, Houston may have found Deshaun Watson his new best friend.

 

24.Oakland Raiders via CHI (4-12) – Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

Team Needs: DE, OL, MLB, OLB Mock 2.0: Parris Campbell

If the draft was based strictly on athletic talent, Williams would be a shoo-in as a top ten pick. If a team ‘falls in love with him’, he still may be. Due to his slender 6’2”, 185-pound frame and below average tackling ability, he slides in this mock draft. If he does, you won’t see the Raiders complaining.

Pairing  Williams with Gareon Conley gives Oakland a young core in the defensive backfield and a fighting chance in the AFC West “spread offense” arms race.

 

25.Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) – Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

Team Needs: RB, OT, DE Mock 2.0: Josh Jacobs

It’s true that trading for a 1,000-yard rusher and former Pro Bowler in Jordan Howard may shift Philadelphia’s priority in the draft. However, the one constant in the Doug Pederson era has been a backfield by committee. With Jay Ajayi entering free agency, Corey Clement in danger of missing offseason workouts due to injury, and Darren Sproles pondering retirement until May, it may be time to retool the backfield.

Adding the top running back in the class to Jordan Howard immediately forms one of the most daunting backfield duos in the league.

 

26.Indianapolis Colts (10-6) – Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

Team Needs: WR, DT, CB Mock 2.0: Dexter Lawrence

With nine picks overall and six coming in the first four rounds, it’s conceivable to think that General Manager Chris Ballard may explore packaging some of his war chest to move up in the first round. But as Ballard will tell you, he “likes them picks”. The Colts stand pat to have a top-15 caliber talent fall into their laps.

Though Lawrence was never able to repeat his Freshman All-American season (79 tackles, 9.5 for loss, 7 sacks), he was a mainstay on the best defensive line in the NCAA. Lawrence drops slightly in the first round due to a failed drug test that kept him out of the NCAA championship playoffs in 2018.

 

27.(Proj. Trade – OAK) San Francisco 49ers (4-12) – Dre Baker, CB, Georgia

Team Needs: CB, OLB, WR Mock 2.0: (Trade) Josh Allen

In trading down with the Raiders from the second spot to the fourth, San Francisco adds an additional first round selection. With Garoppolo and the two-headed monster of Coleman and McKinnon in the backfield, the 49ers can turn their attention to adding playmakers on the defensive side of the ball.

Cornerback Richard Sherman is in the twilight of his prime and will not be a lockdown corner for much longer, maybe not even in 2019. Adding another technically sound cover corner will go a long way for a rebuilding secondary.

 

28.Los Angeles Chargers(12-4) – Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame

Team Needs: DT, OL, OLB Mock 2.0: Dre’Mont Jones

Another year of Chargers hype; another year left out of the AFC Championship. Even though 37-year-old  Philip Rivers is still plugging away at a Pro Bowl level, many analysts have already began lobbying for Los Angeles to select their quarterback of the future.

Instead, the Chargers opt to take advantage of their open window and continue to build around Rivers. Tillery has been hovering around the end of the first round and trending upward. Los Angeles finds another piece for their already-brutal front seven.

 

29.Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) – Brian Burns, DE, Florida State

Team Needs: CB, DE, S Mock 2.0: Greedy Williams

The 2018 Kansas City Chiefs were a revelation. By selecting overlooked, talented players with “red flags” during the draft process, the Chiefs reaped the benefits of having Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill. Now they are dealing with the repercussions. Depending on the outcome of Tyreek Hill’s legal investigation, wide receiver may become a need for part, or all, of 2019.

But, if Brian Burns is still on the board this late in the first round, he will not fall past the Chiefs. Adding a defensive presence  after the team moved on from both Dee Ford and Justin Houston is a no-brainer.

 

30.Green Bay Packers via NO(6-9-1) – Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware

Team Needs: OLB, RG, SS Mock 2.0: Irv Smith Jr.

After losing Haha Clinton-Dix, Green Bay’s secondary has backpedaled this offseason. With their second first round pick, the Packers match need with opportunity in selecting the top-rated safety in Nasir Adderley.

Coming from a football family, the Adderley’s are familiar with Green Bay. Nasir’s distant cousin, Herb Adderley, sealed Lombardi’s Packers win in Super Bowl II with an interception return for a touchdown. Adderley to the Packers would be a great pick and a better story.

 

  1. Los Angeles Rams (13-3) – Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama

Team Needs: MLB, OLB, OG Mock 2.0: Mack Wilson

For the most complete team in football, this is a luxury pick. As it stands, the weakest group on the roster is the linebacking corps; Mack Wilson would bolster it. Los Angeles could be considered prime landing territory should one of the premier defensive linemen or linebackers fall.

 

  1. New England Patriots (11-5) – Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

Team Needs: TE, DT, WR Mock 2.0: Noah Fant

As far as Super Bowl Champion rosters go, the Patriots have as many holes as any in recent memory. New England will likely go the “best-player-available” route. In this scenario, it’s Noah Fant. Fant joins T.J. Hockenson to make the first tight end tandem from the same school to ever be drafted in the first round. Out goes Gronkowski, in comes Fant.

 

  1. Arizona Cardinals (3-13) – N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State

Team Needs: WR, CB, DE First Round:  Kyler Murray, QB

Josh Rosen or Kyler Murray, whoever finds himself under center in Arizona in 2020, is going to need help in the trenches. Unfortunately for Rosen, Murray, and the Cardinals, there isn’t an offensive tackle left on the board worthy of the 33rd pick.

However, the Cardinals’ quarterback will get help in the top of the 2nd round. Arizona finds the long-term successor to future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald in N’Keal Harry.

 

  1. Indianapolis Colts via NYJ (10-6) – Jonathan Abram, S, Mississippi State

Team Needs: WR, DT, CB First Round: Dexter Lawrence, DT

Though starting strong safety Clayton Geathers is only 26 years old and on a team-friendly one-year contract, his health is a constant question mark. The Colts forego needs at wide receiver and cornerback to find his replacement.

Like Geathers, Abram doesn’t shy away from contact. With a reputation as one of the hardest hitters in the SEC last season, Abram adds a new, much-needed, alpha in the Colts’ secondary.

 

  1. Oakland Raiders (4-12) – Chris Lindstrom, OG, Boston College

Team Needs: DE, OL, MLB, OLB First Round: Nick Bosa, DE, Greedy Williams, CB

The basis of Jon Gruden’s offensive master plan was to bring football back to 1998 with a ‘smashmouth’ style. But we didn’t see much of the newly installed run game last year, or a passing game, or defense.

 

Parting ways with Donald Penn opens a spot at offensive tackle, but Oakland is in a position where they can afford to select the best offensive lineman available outside center. Chris Lindstrom’s run-heavy approach at Boston College makes him suited to slot in next to center Rodney Hudson and into Gruden’s vision.

 

  1. San Francisco 49ers (4-12) – Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

Team Needs: CB, OLB, WR First Round: Jonah Williams, OL

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is back, but who will he throw to in 2019? Outside of Marquise Goodwin and maybe Dante Pettis, the cupboard looks bare. In adding Tevin Coleman to the backfield with Jerick McKinnon, San Francisco is looking to build a potent offense. They’re missing a dynamic catch-and-run receiver… Until now.

One of the most electric receivers in college football last season, Brown’s draft position takes a hit due to his foot injury late last season as well as his diminutive size (170 pounds). “Hollywood” Brown lands on a roster that made a compelling offer to Pittsburgh for his cousin, Antonio.

 

  1. New York Giants (5-11) – Garrett Bradbury, OC, N.C. State

Team Needs: OL, QB, DE First Round: Josh Allen, DE, Daniel Jones, QB

Three of the past five drafts have not seen a center drafted in the opening round. 2019 is not the year to buck the trend. New York is ready to capitalize by selecting the top-rated center in the draft with their third selection of 2019.

Whoever is under center, Eli Manning or Daniel Jones (in this draft), the signal caller needs help badly. Bradbury is an able pass-blocker but his expertise lies in getting to the second level in run-blocking. For a team looking to become a run-first attack behind Saquon Barkley, the Giants finds a perfect match in Bradbury.

 

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11) – Eric McCoy, OC, Texas A&M

Team Needs: TE, OC, DL First Round: T.J. Hockenson, TE

For the second year in a row, the first two centers off the board go back-to-back (Frank Ragnow and Billy Price in 2018). Jacksonville’s opening two picks are spent along the offensive line to give newly-acquired Nick Foles the help he’ll need to contend in the AFC South.

 

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11) – Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama

Team Needs: CB, SS, RG, DT First Round: Rashan Gary, DL

After giving up a 34 touchdowns to just 9 interceptions and 8.2 yards-per-attempt in 2018, it’s time for changes in the Bucs’ defensive backfield.  Adding Rashan Gary bolsters the pass-rush, whether defensive tackle Gerald McCoy returns or not.

Tampa Bay did sign safety Kentrell Brice from Green Bay, but his upside is nowhere near Thompson’s. A young tandem of Thompson and Justin Evans behind Vernon Hargreaves has potential to turn around the Buccaneers’ secondary.

 

  1. Buffalo Bills (6-10) – Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State

Team Needs: OL, WR, DT, OLB First Round: D.K. Metcalf, WR

Another round and another chance for Buffalo to surround second-year quarterback Josh Allen with talent. This time, the Bills choose to fortify their floundering offensive line. At 6’5”, 300 pounds and an exceptional pass-blocker, Risner figures to be a strong right tackle at the professional level.

 

  1. Denver Broncos (6-10) – Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State

Team Needs: QB, S, OL First Round: Dwayne Haskins, QB

General Manager John Elway secured this year’s ‘quarterback of the future’ in Dwayne Haskins in the first. Cutting Demaryius Thomas lead to the emergence of Courtland Sutton in 2018; Emmanuel Sanders’ age may cede responsibility to Parris Campbell in 2019. The 6’1” burner out of Ohio State ran a 4.31 40-yard-dash at the NFL Scouting Combine and is trending towards the end of the of the first round. If available, the Broncos have an easy choice to make.

 

  1. Cincinnati Bengals (6-10) – Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State

Team Needs: MLB, RT, TE, QB First Round: Devin White, LB

Trending the opposite direction of Parris Campbell is defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons. The Mississippi State product was a near-lock to be a top-ten pick until he tore his ACL during an offseason workout Feb. 12.. Facing a long road to recovery, Simmons will likely not be available until 2020.

For the rebuilding Bengals, time is a small price to pay for an elite talent. The former Freshman All-SEC, All-SEC, and Third Team All American lead the Bulldogs with 17 tackles for loss, including two sacks, in 2018.

 

  1. Detroit Lions (6-10) – Jachai Polite, DE/OLB, Florida

Team Needs: WR, OLB, CB First Round: Montez Sweat, DE

Yes, Detroit just signed Trey Flowers. Yes, this mock draft has the Lions taking Montez Sweat with the eighth pick. But, with former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia at the helm, pass rush is the top priority in a stacked NFC North. Starting Flowers and Sweat with Polite coming in as a reliever is a daunting ask of any offensive tackle.

Polite looked like a 15-25 selection early in the year. In a breakout 2018, Polite garnered All-American honors with 17.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and an NCAA-high 6 forced fumbles. However, no one has done a better job of tanking his draft stock since the combine. After a sluggish 4.84 40-yard dash, Polite came off as annoyed with his combine interviews. He believed that the teams he met with were picking on the faults in his game.

 

  1. Green Bay Packers (6-9-1) – Jaylon Ferguson, DE, Louisiana Tech

Team Needs: OLB, RG, SS First Round: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Nasir Adderley, S

For Green Bay, this draft is about filling as many holes as possible to give 35-year-old Aaron Rodgers the pieces he needs to compete for one last shot at a Super Bowl. Having already satisfied needs along the offensive line and the secondary, pass rush is next in line. After not receiving an invite to the Scouting Combine, Ferguson has been busy. With 22 scheduled top-30 visits, he may not last 43 picks.

 

  1. Atlanta Falcons (7-9) – Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State

Team Needs: DT, CB, TE First Round: Ed Oliver, DT

Owners of the NFL’s 5th-worst passing defense (260 yards per game), the Falcons also gave up a second-highest completion percentage of 68.0 as well as 33 touchdowns to 15 interceptions.

That has to change in 2020. In an attempt to bounce back into playoff contention, Atlanta selects the best defensive back available with Amani Oruwariye.

 

  1. (Proj. Trade – WSH) Arizona Cardinals (3-13) – Michael Jordan, OL, Ohio State

Team Needs: WR, CB, DE Picks: Kyler Murray, QB, N’Keal Harry, WR

Three picks, three chances for first year head coach Kliff Kingsbury to reshape his offense in his image. The Josh Rosen era netted Arizona the first overall pick in the draft and this second round selection from Washington as trade compensation.

Left guard J.R. Sweezy turned 30 earlier this month. Right guard Justin Pugh has been bounced from right tackle to left guard, then to the right side, in addition to only being healthy for 15 games in the past two seasons. A fresh body on the offensive line would go a long way in Kyler Murray’s development.

 

  1. Carolina Panthers (7-9) – Taylor Rapp, S, Washington

Team Needs: DE, OL, S First Round: Clelin Ferrell

The Panthers are a difficult team to predict in this position. Having filled a defensive line need with Ferrell in the first round as well as watching four offensive linemen come off the board in the last nine picks, this is not the way Carolina wants to see Friday play out. General manager Marty Hurney would have two options: safety or wide receiver.

In this mock, he chooses the latter. Taylor Rapp’s game perfectly complements safety Eric Reid’s. Whereas Reid is a coverage free safety, Rapp is better suited for the box and is an instinctive run supporter. A strong centerfield is a must with a schedule that sees the Saints and Falcons twice per year.

 

  1. Miami Dolphins (7-9) – Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State

Team Needs: CB, WR, QB First Round: Drew Lock

In this mock, Miami has replaced Ryan “this is his year” Tannehill with Drew Lock to stash behind Ryan Fitzpatrick. If the Dolphins are in fact looking to stay competitive, I’ll set the over/under of games started by Fitzpatrick at 7.5.

Jarvis Landry, the only Dolphins wide receiver to post a 1,000 yard season since 2010, is also no longer with the club. Not a single Miami wide receiver surpassed 575 yards last season, a paltry mark of 38.1 yards per game.

 

  1. Cleveland Browns (7-8-1) – Tre Lamar, LB, Clemson

Team Needs: OL, LB,  S First Round: None (Traded #17, #95, Jabrill Peppers for Odell Beckham Jr.)

Cleveland General Manager John Dorsey is on a spending spree and has given the Browns franchise a seven-win season for the first time in five years. No stranger to shopping picks, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Browns move up or down on draft day.

Should Cleveland stay put at No. 49,, they’ll look to bolster their linebacking corps after letting Jamie Collins become a cap casualty. Though he isn’t the most gifted at sifting through blockers and diagnosing plays early, he would feel right at home behind Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon.

 

  1. Minnesota Vikings (8-7-1) – Renell Wren, DT, Arizona State

Team Needs: OG, DT, OLB First Round: Greg Little, OL

It only takes one team to fall in love with a prospect to see him come off the board sooner than anticipated. Despite a modest 4.5 tackles for loss, one sack and two pass deflections in 2018, it’s not his production that will have teams interested. But a 6’5”, 318-pounder who runs a 5.01 40-yard dash will drum up attention. Wren put up 30 reps on the bench press in addition to showing quick feet in individual drills at the combine.

Putting Wren on a defensive line with Linval Joseph and Danielle Hunter would almost be unfair.

 

  1. Tennessee Titans (9-7) – Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabama

Team Needs: OLB, TE, DL First Round: Christian Wilkins, DT

Tennessee’s Mariota vs. Tannehill quarterback battle will be an interesting one to watch in preseason. Whoever comes out on top is going to need a security blanket. 34-year-old Delanie Walker, coming off a gruesome lower leg injury in last year’s season opener, is not long for this league. As Jonnu Smith has come along slowly, it is time to add another pass-catcher to the mix.

 

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-6-1) – Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State

Team Needs: MLB, WR, CB First Round: Devin Bush, LB

Whether they intended to be or not, the Steelers were prepared for the departures of Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. With the #1 wide receiver and running back roles in good hands with Juju Smith-Schuster and James Conner, respectively, it’s time to work on refilling depth.

Behind Smith-Schuster, James Washington produced an underwhelming 217 receiving yards in his rookie campaign. After that, the cupboard is bare. Giving quarterback Ben Roethlisberger a 6’5” target with sub-4.5 40-yard dash speed is an interesting enough prospect for General Manager Kevin Colbert to pull the trigger.

 

  1. Philadelphia Eagles via BAL (9-7) – David Edwards, OT, Wisconsin

Team Needs: RB, OT, DE First Round: Josh Jacobs, RB

The dynamic running game lost its magic in 2018, and so did the Eagles. Adding the top-rated running back in the draft to field the lion’s share of carries is a good first step in righting the ship and stabilizing the running back room, but adding to the trenches may be just as important.

Jason Peters may be the most accomplished left tackle in the NFL (2x All-Pro, 9 Pro Bowls), but at 37 years old it is past time to have a back-up in place. Edwards may not be the most polished pass protector, but he was an integral part of the Badger offensive line that powered Jonathan Taylor to more than 4,000 rushing yards over the past two seasons.

 

  1. Houston Texans via SEA (11-5) – Terry McLaurin, WR, Ohio State

Team Needs: OL, OT, WR First Round: Andre Dillard, OT

The 2019 draft is all about making life easier on Deshaun Watson. Houston addressed the offensive line in the first round of this mock, but outside of superstar DeAndre Hopkins, the wide receivers aren’t doing Watson any favors.

Despite spending a first round pick on Will Fuller V in 2016, Fuller has only played in 31 of a possible 48 regular season games since 2016. His starts have dropped in each season since his rookie year. In McLaurin, the Texans get a burner with 4.35 speed and 20.0 yards per reception. Opposite Hopkins, he would be able to stretch the field.

 

  1. Houston Texans (11-5) – Elgton Jenkins, OL, Mississippi State

Team Needs: OL, OT, WR Picks: Andre Dillard, OT, Terry McLaurin, WR

Three picks, three assets for Deshaun Watson. At Mississippi State, Jenkins saw time at four out of five offensive line spots, though most of his experience came at center. More than anything, the Texans need stability up front. Need matches availability and Houston is well on its way to rebuilding the offensive line.

 

  1. New England Patriots via CHI (11-5) – Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia

Team Needs: TE, DT, WR First Round: Noah Fant, TE

Ideally, New England would be able to add a defensive lineman in the second round but,at this point, the draft’s deepest position has been tapped out.

The reigning Super Bowl champions have drafted a wide receiver in the second round or higher just once since 2006 (Aaron Dobson in the 2nd round, 2006). With a starting duo of Julian Edelman and Phillip Dorsett, it’s time for an infusion of talent. Ridley, the younger brother of Falcons’ receiver Calvin Ridley, projects as a WR2 at the next level. Historically, a group of WR2’s hasn’t been a problem for Tom Brady.

 

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) – Zach Allen, DE, Boston College

Team Needs: RB, OT, DE Picks: Josh Jacobs, RB, David Edwards, OT

Zach Allen has been projected by most to come off the board in the early goings of the second round. But in this mock draft, he falls, to the benefit of the Eagles. Though the Eagles have Josh Sweat in the fold, Allen is a much more refined pass rusher and presents a better match with former first-round pick Derek Barnett moving forward.

 

  1. Dallas Cowboys (10-6) – Juan Thornhill, S, Virginia

Team Needs: TE, S First Round: None (Traded #27 for Amari Cooper)

The Cowboys make their 2019 draft debut after trading their first-round selection for Amari Cooper last season. It appears that the Cowboys may not be in on veteran safety Eric Berry, so they turn to the draft. Thornhill led the Cavaliers in both tackles (98) and interceptions (6) in his senior year, plus seven passes defensed.

 

  1. Indianapolis Colts (10-6) – Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina

Team Needs: WR, DT, CB Picks: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Jonathan Abram, S

The Colts need a wide receiver. Though Indianapolis signed Devin Funchess to start opposite of T.Y. Hilton, their recent history with free agent wide receiver acquisitions has been spotty. Even if Funchess does work out, giving quarterback Andrew Luck a third wide receiver in addition to tight ends Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron and one of the best offensive lines in football turns the Colts into a Super Bowl caliber offense.

 

The Colts could use toughness on the edge. In a game against Clemson, Samuel weaved through and bounced off of eight defenders on his way to a 50-yard gain.

 

  1. Los Angeles Chargers(12-4) – Oshane Ximinies, DE, Old Dominion

Team Needs: DT, OL, OLB First Round: Jerry Tillery, DT

With players from a small school, it’s always a relative unknown how they will adjust at the next level. That being said, the end of the second round may be slightly high for the red-shirt senior out of Old Dominion. In this mock draft, offensive linemen have flown off the board, meaning the Chargers can either reach for a need or experiment.

Having lead his team in sacks the past two seasons (33 career sacks), Ximines also ranked in the top ten in the NCAA in forced fumbles in each of the past two seasons, with four in each campaign.

 

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) – Damien Harris, RB, Alabama

Team Needs: CB, DE, S First Round: Brian Burns, DE

In the wake of Kareem Hunt’s dismissal from the franchise, the Chiefs are left with Damien Williams and newly-signed Carlos Hyde at running back. This may be strong enough to roll with to open 2019, but the Chiefs would do well to add another hard-nosed runner.

In terms of measurables, Damien Harris and Kareem Hunt had eerily similar numbers coming out of the combine. Both measured 5’”10, 216 pounds. Harris edged Hunt in the 40-yard dash, but Hunt put up two more reps on the bench. Harris beat Hunt in the vertical by just a half inch and by two inches in the broad jump.

 

  1. New Orleans Saints (13-3) – Michael Deiter, OG, Wisconsin

Team Needs: OL, DE, WR First Round: None (Traded #30 for Marcus Davenport)

Although he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down, Drew Brees will turn 41 years old during this year’s playoffs. With a closing window, you can bet New Orleans will be doing everything in their power to gear up for one last Super Bowl run (or two). The Saints traded up last year, giving up this year’s first rounder for Marcus Davenport. If the price is right, they may consider moving up again to give Brees his greatest chance for success.

In this draft, they stay put and select Michael Deiter, who garnered Second Team All-American honors as well as First Team All-Big Ten in his senior season.

 

  1. Kansas City Chiefs via LAR (12-4) – Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, DB, Florida

Team Needs: CB, DE, S Picks: Brian Burns, DE, Damien Harris, RB

With their move to bring in safety Tyrann Mathieu in the offseason, the Chiefs have realized that their woes in the secondary may be the most prevalent hurdle in their way to a Super Bowl appearance.

Gardner-Johnson’s true role on the defense will depend on the team. Kansas City finds itself a defensive chess piece who can be used alongside Mathieu or shifted, depending on matchups.

 

  1. New England Patriots (11-5) – Isaiah Buggs, DT, Alabama

Team Needs: TE, DT, WR Picks: Noah Fant, TE, Riley Ridley, WR

Having filled Rob Gronkowski’s position with Noah Fant and by signing Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, New England can focus on shoring up other holes throughout the roster. One  said holes lies on the interior of the defensive line. Currently manned by Lawrence Guy and Mike Pennel, the Patriots should look to bolster the unit.

Buggs’ combine numbers left more to be desired and he may not come off the board until early on Day 3. However, production in the best conference in the NCAA is hard to argue with. In his senior campaign, Buggs totaled 51 tackles, 13.5 for a loss, 9.5 sacks, three pass break-ups and two forced fumbles.

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