The NFL Draft is just a matter of days away. In the newest version of our mock, the top picks are shuffled around and a few teams take big chances. Here’s how things unfold in The Big Lead’s NFL Mock Draft 2.0.
1. ARIZONA CARDINALS- Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma- At this point, Murray to the Cardinals seems to be the only sure thing in this draft. The real question is about Josh Rosen and if the Cardinals can get some help for Murray at other points in the draft. Part of the reason Rosen had a disappointing first year was the complete lack of talent around him. Kingsbury will get his guy, though.
2. San Francisco 49ers- Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama- Nick Bosa might end up the best player in this class, but Williams won’t be that far behind, and is a better fit for the Niners defense right now. They traded for Dee Ford and signed him to a big contract to be the edge rusher of the future. Williams would absolutely wreak havoc on the interior with DeForest Buckner and could be a defensive cornerstone for the foreseeable future. Defense will be key with Jimmy Garoppolo coming back from a knee injury, and Williams fills out a formidable front seven.
3. New York Jets- Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State- The Jets leap at the chance to get the guy tagged as the top pick since August. The Jets need a pass-rusher to complete their young, talented defensive core, and a prospect like Bosa is can’t-miss at the No. 3 slot. Bosa is a perfect fit if circumstances unfold like this for New York.
4. Oakland Raiders- Ed Oliver, DT, Houston- Josh Allen seems like the logical pick, but we’ve seen where edge rushers sit on the totem pole for Jon Gruden (not very high). Instead, they choose a hyped prospect who can affect both the rush and pass game. Oliver had 53 tackles for loss to go along with 13.5 sacks at Houston; he’s an impact player who can disrupt whatever an offense is trying to do. As for his fiery personality (which is probably an overblown issue), Gruden is hand-made to deal with whatever Oliver can throw at him.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky- The Bucs have holes throughout their roster and Allen would be an immediate infusion of talent and youth to a defense that was one of the worst in football last year. Allen’s 17 sacks his senior year showed his full upside, and Tampa Bay needs a consistent presence on the outside. Allen has the potential to be a dangerous presence on the edge for years to come, and the Bucs have their first cornerstone of their new future.
6. New York Giants- Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State- Despite all the noise about Will Grier and Daniel Jones, the Giants will almost certainly go with their guy with their first pick, and don’t get it twisted: Haskins is their guy. The draft is deep on defensive ends and there’s no offensive prospect more tempting or with more upside than Haskins at the top of the draft. Dave Gettleman has been anything but predictable this offseason, but Haskins makes too much long- and short-term sense to go with anyone else.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars- Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida- If things don’t pan out this year for the Jags, they’re likely in the fast lane to a rebuild. So they take a guy who can immediately contribute at an important position in Taylor. Perhaps more importantly, Taylor missed virtually no time in three years as a starter at Florida. Nick Foles will be no good to anyone if he gets hurt, and Taylor would go a long way towards stabilizing that side of the line. They might be tempted to go defense, but protecting their $88 million investment is the priority.
8. Detroit Lions- Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan- If anyone can get the most out of the talented pass-rusher, it’s Matt Patricia. The Lions will know exactly what they have from the in-state product, and he won’t be under pressure to immediately produce with Trey Flowers coming over from New England. Gary will have an easy time of it with Flowers taking up most of the attention, and could reach his full potential quickly.
9. Buffalo Bills- D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss- The Bills need weapons around their physically talented quarterback, so they go with the most physically talented receiver in the draft. Metcalf has well-documented holes in his game, but he’s so big and fast that Buffalo won’t be able to resist grabbing him with the hope of making the Allen-to-Metcalf connection a career-long endeavor. Metcalf and Allen will go through many growing pains, but if they can get through it together, it’s a very dangerous combination of skill, speed, and size from both players.
10. Denver Broncos- Devin White, LB, LSU- The Broncos desperately need a future at quarterback, but Joe Flacco will get the job done for now. Instead, John Elway hops on a falling prospect in White to fully round out the dangerous Denver D. White is the speedy linebacker they’re missing on the back end, and has the talent level to be a big-time playmaker with Bradley Chubb for years to come.
11. Cincinnati Bengals- T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa- While Tyler Eifert had flashes of the dominant tight end he could be, injuries have put an end to any hope that he’s a long-term answer in Cincinnati. Enter Hockenson, the best tight end prospect to come around in some time. If the Bengals want to win this year, and they’ve made no effort to make us think otherwise, then success will begin on offense. Hockenson provides blocking and receiving at equal quality, and if Eifert comes back better than ever, the Bengals have a new 1-2 punch for Andy Dalton at tight end. If not, Hockenson is a good safety outlet for Dalton, who panics quickly when under pressure.
12. Green Bay Packers- Devin Bush, LB, Michigan- The Packers spent a lot of resources on defense this offseason, and Bush will complete the vision of what they’re trying to do. Preston and Za’Darius Smith are both good linebackers, but can’t hold down the middle of the field like Bush can. The Packers can use the rest of their draft capital on helping Aaron Rodgers, but selecting Bush will put them in the running for best defense of the Rodgers era before playing a down.
13. Miami Dolphins- Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State- It’s a complete reset for Miami, who still manage to snag one of the top overall defenders in the class. Cameron Wake is gone, Oliver Vernon has been gone, and Charles Harris hasn’t made much of an impact in his first two years. Sweat will bring immediate production and upside to a defense in desperate need of young talent up front, and Brian Flores is perfectly suited to put Sweat in situations where his talent will flourish.
14. Atlanta Falcons- Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida- Even if Takk McKinley pans out, the Falcons desperately need someone to complement their interior pass-rushing, which has been strong the last few seasons. Vic Beasley hasn’t worked out, and Burns is long and athletic, perfect for Dan Quinn’s system in Atlanta. This defense is coming back reloaded after a lost year to injury, and Burns would create a truly complete defense.
15. Washington Redskins- Will Grier, QB, West Virginia-Washington might’ve pulled off a trade for Case Keenum, but they’ll be looking to the future in the draft. There’s very little consensus about how the QBs fall after Murray, but Grier presents immense upside for a team looking for some measure of hope after the Kirk Cousins fiasco and Alex Smith’s tragic leg injury. Grier has the arm and the mentality to be that ray of sunshine, but still has a few areas to work on, and will benefit from at least one bridge year with Keenum at the helm.
16. Carolina Panthers- Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama- The Panthers’ first priority has always been to protect Cam Newton, but it should matter even more now that the quarterback’s shoulder is in questionable condition. Williams may end up being the best offensive tackle from this class when it’s all said and done, and he could start the year on the left side and allow Taylor Moton to kick over to the right side and give the team a pair of very talented tackles. Whatever side Williams ends up on, it’ll go a long way towards making sure their franchise player won’t be taking a beating.
17. New York Giants- Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson- A quarterback and an edge defender is too sensible a combo for New York to do much else, and Ferrell is at the top of the second tier for pass-rushers in this class. Ferrell was last year’s top college edge rusher for a reason, and would immediately become a building block for Big Blue.
18. Minnesota Vikings- Greedy Williams, CB, LSU- The Vikings need offensive line help more than anything in this world, but Mike Zimmer just won’t be able to help himself. Williams is a supremely talented ballhawk who needs some technical improvement, and Zimmer is the ideal mentor. Zimmer has always had his priorities on the defensive side of the ball, and grabbing a player like Williams at 18 is high value.
19. Tennessee Titans- Dexter Lawrence, EDGE, Clemson- Titans fans might see some similarities between Lawrence and wrecking ball Jurrell Casey, but it wouldn’t be so bad to have two of them. A pure edge rusher might be a better fit, but Lawrence’s versatility and pass-rushing upside would immediately give the Titans a top run defense and the ability to keep their superstar in Casey fresh. Lawrence has question marks in the character department, but head coach Mike Vrabel should get him straightened out quickly if those question marks are well-founded.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers- Byron Murphy, CB, Washington- The Steelers had a top pass rush last season, and just need some pieces on the back end to become the complete defense of Steelers lore. Murphy is a natural play-maker who will take every opportunity to capitalize on rushed throws as a result of pressure from T.J. Watt &Co. He’s a good fit with Pittsburgh, and may push their defense to levels not seen in Steelers territory for some time.
21. Seattle Seahawks- Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma- Presuming the Seahawks do the smart thing and give Russell Wilson whatever he wants, their first and biggest priority is protecting their franchise QB. Ford is a versatile lineman who could play either tackle or guard, and a mountain of a man who moves with shocking ease. Seattle needs to have a high-end talent to protect Wilson, and Ford’s ability to fill in along the line and his high upside makes him an obvious fit.
22. Baltimore Ravens- Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson- The Ravens must replenish their talent on defense, and Wilkins fits that bill. He’s somehow always around the ball, and versatile enough to be moved around the line. He’s also a high-character guy, something that will matter to new Ravens GM Eric DeCosta in his first draft at the helm. The defensive line rebuild will start with Wilkins.
23. Houston Texans- Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State- If the Texans can bring him along properly, Dillard could be their stalwart at left tackle for years to come. He didn’t miss a game when he started at Washington State for three years, and exhibited a prowess in pass protection not often seen in college prospects. The franchise will live and die with Deshaun Watson, and having Dillard protecting his blind side would make everyone’s life a lot easier down in Houston. Dillard could come out as a lifelong Texan and consistent presence, a must for a team who has their franchise cornerstone at QB.
24. Oakland Raiders- Drew Lock, QB, Missouri- Jon Gruden has said that he plans to keep Derek Carr around, but given how he’s handled every other remaining player from former GM Reggie McKenzie’s roster, it’s a good bet that Gruden doesn’t see Carr as his guy. Enter Lock, a very solid QB prospect who rose quickly because this year’s class is not very good. He would benefit from spending a year on the bench, but has the size and arm to succeed in the league. Oakland is looking towards the future, and with the right mentorship Lock could be their guy.
25. Philadelphia Eagles- DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia- Both starting corners, Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills, are slated to be free agents in 2020, so an influx of youth at the position would do the Eagles well. Baker is a touch undersized but always seemed to be in the right position, and he’s a physical corner who won’t let the likes of Amari Cooper or Sterling Shepard get off the line clean. Baker is talented and could flourish once he adjusts to NFL speed.
26. Indianapolis Colts- Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State- Butler is a physical specimen who can catch anything thrown in his general direction. The Colts have their offensive line rounded out, and it’s time to give Luck a weapon like he’s never had in Butler. He does need to work on his route running, but being in the same receiver room as T.Y. Hilton should help with that. Butler is stronger and faster than almost any corner he’ll come across, and can make an immediate impact in the red zone while he works on the finer points of being an NFL wideout.
27. Oakland Raiders- Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama- The Raiders desperately need a running back and didn’t seem interested in testing the waters of free agency, so presumably they’ll turn towards the draft. Jacobs is the top running back in his class and is tailor-made for today’s game, with the ability to steadily churn out yards on the ground and catch swing passes out of the backfield. He’s not a big-play threat, but he’s consistent, which will be a luxury as the Raiders endure a tumultuous series of years with Gruden’s rebuild and moving to Las Vegas.
28. Los Angeles Chargers- Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame- There are some non-football related issues to work out with Tillery, but if they can keep him on track and work on his consistency, he could be huge for a team weak on the interior defensive line right now. Tillery is athletic enough to be a force pass-rushing while powerful enough to hold his ground down low and impact the run game in a big way. Tillery could be a huge part of another potential playoff push in LA.
29. Kansas City Chiefs- Deionte Thompson, DB, Alabama- Thompson is an extremely versatile safety who would pair perfectly with free-agent prize Tyrann Mathieu. Similar to Mathieu, he can cover both slot receivers and tight ends with equal skill, and can drop back in the back end and play a zone when requested. The Chiefs need help everywhere on defense, so getting as many multi-faceted players as possible would be a good strategy in order to put together a competent defense that will keep KC in the game when Mahomes stumbles.
30. Green Bay Packers- N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State- Harry is a jump-ball specialist who could come in and immediately make an impact for the Packers. He posted consistently great numbers in his three seasons at Arizona State, and while he isn’t particularly fast, he doesn’t need a lot of separation when Aaron Rodgers is throwing the ball. He’s perfectly suited to catch whatever Hail Mary Rodgers might throw, and will be a quality no. 2 option behind Davante Adams.
31. Los Angeles Rams- Garrett Bradbury, C, NC State- The Rams declined their option on 2018 starting center John Sullivan for next year, so they’ll be looking for a replacement. It’s hard to do much better than Bradbury, the best interior line prospect in the class and an excellent fit in Sean McVay’s zone run scheme. There will be a needed period for adjustment, but Bradbury could be their center for the next decade and can protect Jared Goff like few other centers in this draft.
32. New England Patriots- Noah Fant, TE, Iowa- Fant isn’t nearly as talented as his former running mate at Iowa in T.J. Hockenson, but he possesses similar potential in his abilities as a blocker and a receiver. He doesn’t quite have the size to be a force in the blocking game, but he holds his own with good strength and a competitive attitude. On the flip side, he’s unusually fast for someone his size, and there’s a significant amount of untapped potential in his route-running and overall receiving skills. Fant is no Gronk, because no one will be, but he’ll be a good start towards helping replace the big tight end’s impact on the game.