Now that he’s gotten all of the Senior Bowl intel, it’s time for Luke Inman’s first mock draft of the season. Fasten your seatbelts.
1) Arizona Cardinals: Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
People want to make it seem like Bosa is the clear-cut number one prospect. However, as the process continues, keep a close eye on Quinnen Williams too. Either way, the Cardinals are going to add a blue chip, can’t-miss defensive lineman into the mix with super star Chandler Jones. Of course, the other option is trading back and stockpiling picks, which also will be enticing.
Best player in the country, Nick Bosa, with the strip sack pic.twitter.com/4loUJ6H8sS
— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) September 16, 2018
2) San Francisco 49ers: Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama
The more tape you watch, the more you ask yourself, “Who’s better than this guy?” While Bosa is likely to hear his name called first because of the league’s priority for edge rushers, Williams is equally dominant on the inside, creating internal pressure as well as soaking up double and even triple teams. Adding Williams next to three other first rounders could form the best young defensive line unit in the entire league.
3) New York Jets: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
You’ve found your young franchise quarterback. Now it’s time to protect your investment. The league is thirsty for good pass blockers and the Jets get their pick of the litter in the first great class of offensive line prospects in the last five years.
4) Oakland Raiders: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
You knew trading Khalil Mack would have its consequences. However, no one assumed things would get as bad as they did for the Raiders pass-rushing unit. The Raiders posted the least amount of sacks in the NFL (13) and it wasn’t even close (Patriots and Giants second worst with 30). This has to be Jon Gruden’s dream scenario as Allen is clearly the best pure edge rusher of the class and could easily go in the first three selections.
Kentucky Josh Allen is one of the most improved players in the country. pic.twitter.com/JDwTQ2JMFP
— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) October 3, 2018
5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma
The fact new head coach Bruce Arians took the job with other offers from NFL teams on the table tells me he still has loads of confidence in quarterback Jameis Winston. Knowing that, Arians will build around Winston in hopes of giving him ample time and protection in the pocket. Ford is a bulldozer that will add a physical presence to the Buccaneers trenches as their new right tackle. Ford offers great versatility too. If a need on the interior appears you’re talking about a Pro Bowl-potential guard. This gives Arians, Winston and the entire offense their best offensive line unit on paper they’ve seen in years. A great start to a new era.
Cody Ford’s feet are 🔥🔥…and he’s listed 346 pounds! This is dominance pic.twitter.com/hmfpClu1YQ
— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) December 10, 2018
6) New York Giants: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
Quick, name me two cornerbacks on the Giants roster. Way more difficult than it should be after the front office missed on Eli Apple, throwing away a top-10 pick. The Giants undoubtedly need to keep adding offensive linemen to help protect for pure pocket passer Eli Manning. However, after watching the top two tackles get plucked right before their pick, the front office won’t miss twice at cornerback with a stud in Williams. Long, lanky and explosive, Williams is the next defensive back to come from LSU and enter the league with Pro Bowl potential right out the gate. Greedy and Landon Collins give the G-Men a dangerous young core in their secondary to build around. They can now focus strictly on their offensive line on days two and three with plenty of legitimate options in a deep class of tackles and guards.
7) Jacksonville Jaguars: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
Will he stay or will he go? Whether its Murray or another top signal caller, it’s abundantly clear the Jaguars have no bigger need than at quarterback with a playoff talented roster. While the jury is still out on just how good Murray could be in today’s pass-happy league, the Jaguars seem like the team willing to swing for the fence in hopes of hitting a home run on the most important position in all of sports.
Kyler Murray QB1. -CS pic.twitter.com/KEm9b34swu
— Scouts Elite NFL (@ScoutsEliteNFL) February 1, 2019
8) Detroit Lions: Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
I’ve never been a proponent of watching teams let their highly touted drafted and developed player walk into free agency just to turn around and use their first pick to replace them. But, here we are. After speaking with my Detroit insider Jeff Risdon, it’s clear the Lions don’t plan on retaining former fifth overall pick defensive end Ziggy Ansah, which means the Lions will be back in the market with the eighth overall pick. Luckily for them, this front office should have a few serious options to replace Ansah including guys like Clemson’s Ferrell who racked up 50 TFLs along with 27 sacks for the Tigers. Big boy strength, explosion into the backfield and great bend around the edge, Ferrell would’ve been a top-10 pick last year, too, but decided to stick around and win a national championship before starting his NFL career.
Clelin Ferrell smoked Jonah Williams. Got damn. pic.twitter.com/w9e0BPmN6R
— Eric Robinson (@_Eric_Robinson) January 8, 2019
9) Buffalo Bills: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
There’s a sweet spot in the top half of the draft that could see a few big names and highly-touted prospects fall into the laps of some lucky team. While I’d love to see a tackle like Jawaan Taylor added to the Bills mix, prospects like Oliver, D.K. Metcalf and Greedy Williams seem too good to pass up at number nine. After losing Kyle Williams to retirement, the Bills will pounce all over a guy like Oliver who dominated at Houston for three straight seasons, including his freshman year when he tallied a ridiculous 22 tackles for loss. Oliver will help penetrate the pocket while helping open up holes for last year’s first round stud linebacker Tremaine Edmunds.
10) Denver Broncos: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
It’s a lackluster class of quarterbacks after being spoiled with five in the first round in 2018. However, that won’t stop a quarterback needy team to pull the trigger if the opportunity presents itself. Enter, John Elway, who is licking his chops with the 10th overall pick, knowing full well he should have a guy like Drew Lock drop right to him. Lock blew me away off the field and in his press conferences during the Senior Bowl, looking the part of a guy who is ready to challenge his teammates in the huddle and lead his new franchise. On the field, Lock possesses outstanding arm talent with strength and ball velocity similar to a guy like Matthew Stafford.
11) Cincinnati Bengals: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
The Bengals will have a new head coach on the sideline for the first time in what seems like my entire adult life. Zac Taylor and his working relationship with Sean McVay helped produce one of the most prolific offenses in the NFL. Taylor knows better than anyone how vital building a stout offensive line to help protect pure pocket passer Andy Dalton will be early on. With Jake Fisher, Andre Smith and Cedric Ogbuehi all set to hit free agency, adding a top tackle in a rich class will only help the already explosive cast including A.J. Green, Joe Mixon and a (hopefully) healthy Tyler Eifert if he is retained.
Look at Jawaan Taylor! pic.twitter.com/JG4jweDmwO
— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) September 24, 2017
12) Green Bay Packers: Brian Burns, EDGE, FSU
Hop on the Burns train now because after the combine he could be the talk of the town. With an outstanding blend of physical traits and football I.Q., Burns is NFL ready right now. The Packers get a huge spark and fill their last real missing piece with an explosive presence on the edge. With another first-round pick on deck, the Packers have a great chance of turning around their surprising sinking ship quickly and get back into the playoffs.
13) Miami Dolphins: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
The Ryan Tannehill project has been over for years, in my opinion. An unfortunate stroke of bad luck, the year the Dolphins finally draft a quarterback falls on a rare “weak class” of signal callers. For now, they grab the last of the big named QBs with Haskins, who threw for 50 touchdown passes and didn’t see many balls hit the ground. Don’t forget, new head coach Brian Flores comes from the New England Patriots defensive background, which means a serious chance for a defensive shift to a 3-4 too.
14) Atlanta Falcons: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
The Falcons were decimated with injuries this season, but when healthy they boast one of the better rosters on paper. Defensive tackle was one obvious area of needed improvement, however, and Wilkins is an instant impact player in the middle of Dan Quinn’s high-flying defense. With Grady Jarrett set to hit the open market, Wilkins is a no brainer.
15) Washington Redskins: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
Straight up, Metcalf should be long gone by now, assuming his medicals check out during the combine. At 6’3”, 225 pounds he can often resemble Houston Texans great Andre Johnson with his long strides and physically imposing demeanor. Jay Gruden could make a serious play for a quarterback, too, so a trade up should be on the forefront of everyone’s mind when projecting this likely outcome from Cincinnati’s front office.
Ole Miss WR DK Metcalf – First play of his film that I’ve watched.. Release doesn’t seem to be an issue ✍️- pic.twitter.com/wCoDahtsX7
— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) December 29, 2018
16) Carolina Panthers: Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State
I’ve seen Risner projected all over the map. Whether it’s a day one or day two pick, or whether Risner is drafted as a tackle, guard or center, he’s done it all at a high level for four straight years. When I spoke with him down at the Senior Bowl, Risner admitted if he had to pick one he’d choose to start his pro career at the right tackle position. However, Risner has serious potential and a high ceiling at both guard positions as well. On top of that, with current right tackle Daryl Williams set to test free agency, the Panthers could have immediate holes at multiple offensive line positions, making the reliable Risner all the more important to their offseason plans.
17) Cleveland Browns: Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
Greg Robinson gave his best effort, but ultimately it wasn’t enough to retain him exiting his contract year. Little is a former five-star recruit and at one time was the third best prospect in the country after his high school career. Browns get a huge upgrade at tackle to form a young and ultra-talented group of players on their offensive line. Fans couldn’t be more excited and optimistic after finding their first franchise quarterback in decades. Now it’s time to protect him in the pocket.
18) TRADE: Houston Texans (Via Vikings): Yodny Cajuste, OT, West Virginia
Exactly one-third of our draft has been offensive lineman, showing not only how deep of a group it is at the top, but also how many teams are in play for at least one of the five positions. The Texans were a legitimate offensive line away from heading deep into the playoffs and after a serious run on tackles are forced to trade up to go get their guy. Cajuste protected the blind side of Mountaineers gunslinger Will Grier and one of the nation’s most prolific offenses. With two second-round picks the Texans are willing to part ways with the later of the two to assure they’re able to end up with a premier offensive tackle. Cajuste gives Deshaun Watson and the Texans offense a monster upgrade at the position. The Vikings get Pick 23 and an extra second.
19) Tennessee Titans: Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida
While cornerback is in play, I’m a firm believer in building up front first. Adoree Jackson did his part and looks like he’s going to be a real player in the league. However, the Malcolm Butler we once knew has completely disappeared. I say let’s see what happens with an electric pass rush first. Harold Landry is going to be a serious threat on one edge, so adding Polite opposite of him could be downright dangerous. A defensive back’s best friend is a good pass rush, and the Titans could quickly form one of the best combinations for Mike Vrabel to play with when scheming against Andrew Luck and Deshaun Watson.
Man Jachai Polite’s bend is freaky. He can continue to develop staying flat when turning the corner. But he is extremely flexible. pic.twitter.com/dDKD8nP7WH
— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) January 31, 2019
20) Pittsburgh Steelers: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
This guy is an absolute stud and should fit perfectly in a Mike Tomlin style of defense. Even though he will need refinement in press coverage, Murphy possesses off the charts instincts for the position and toughness, two things that Steelers defense is built from. The front office has swung far too many times in the secondary over the past half decade. However, they can sleep easily after day one, knowing they finally have a foundational piece to build around in the back end.
21) Seattle Seahawks: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
A rocky history and background, but on the field Simmons is a animal in the middle of any defense. Big, strong, powerful, yet quick hands and feet allow him to chop and bully his way into the backfield with 30 tackles for loss, seven sacks, five pass deflections, three forced fumbles and of course one touchdown over his final two years. The Seahawks have quietly rebuilt their secondary and are one powerful playmaking defensive lineman away from becoming the Seahawks of old under Pete Carroll. Simmons next to Frank Clark and Jarran Reed, while opening even more lanes for superstar Bobby Wagner, already sounds exhausting for opposing offenses walking into CenturyLink Field.
22) Baltimore Ravens: Devin White, LB, LSU
Questions remain around free agent C.J. Mosley and Terrell Suggs is likely to retire. White would be an ideal replacement this late in round one with outstanding sideline-to-sideline range. Adding a shot of youth to the defense needs to be a priority early on for John Harbaugh and the Ravens. The Butkus Award winner for country’s best linebacker posted 256 tackles, 25.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks and, maybe most impressively, nine pass deflections over two seasons, showing off his impressive range in coverage up the seam and out in the flats flying all over the field.
23) Minnesota Vikings (Via Texans): T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
Rick Spielman loves a good trade down, and with multiple spots to fill, will acquire as many extra selections as he can while still assuring the team an addition of a top tier-one prospect. Hockenson is the top tight end in the class, meaning there’s a good chance he’s taken in the first 22 picks. Cross your fingers, Vikings fans, Hockenson would be a dream in Gary Kubiak’s zone scheme with his off-the-charts blocking skills along with his ability to beat linebackers all day with great YAC production, too. Line him up in-line and watch him pancake defensive ends or line him out wide and let him attack the ball and make plays. No matter the position, the Vikings need a true number three weapon in the passing game, and while I’m not here to write off Kyle Rudolph, it is time for a restructure to his contract which may not be taken the right way. After adding an extra second-rounder, Spielman still has ammo to add two talented pieces to his offensive line in a deep class of blockers.
Oh that’s right, we have TJ Hockenson pic.twitter.com/sqAgsSrU2y
— HeavensBarstool (@HeavensHawkeye) January 1, 2019
— Wes (@wesfrdrk) December 27, 2018
24) Oakland Raiders: Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State
The loss of Amari Cooper was a head scratcher given just how young, untapped and explosive he still was. Nonetheless, the Raiders are now forced to address the position early on in what looks to be a better-than-expected wideout class. Harmon is your prototypical big-bodied soul snatcher. With his ability to high point and attack, Harmon could make best friends with gunslinger Derek Carr early on as they continue to rebuild by adding the best players available.
25) Philadelphia Eagles: Garrett Bradbury, C, NC State
This is hinging on the rumors of now current center Jason Kelce mulling retirement. If so, what a transition this would be, drafting the Rimington Trophy winner for best center in the country as Bradbury whooped up on his competition. Movement skills as a former tight end come naturally with his springy explosion to hit three-techniques before they can get out of their stance along with pulling out into space with ease. While the Eagles have other big questions remaining, including their quarterback spot, at least their offensive line continues to be a strength of the team.
26) Indianapolis Colts: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
The Colts bounced back from a 4-12 season in a big way thanks to a grand slam draft class and a healthy Andrew Luck. Pierre Desir stepped up looking like a legitimate number one cover corner towards the final half of the season, but adding more talent in the secondary with play-making safety Malik Hooker will be a top priority. Winning the Jim Thorpe Award for nation’s best defensive back is no joke, and the Colts would be ecstatic to add such a pure talent into the back end of the defense this late of round one with his long arms and fluid hips to chase downfield.
27) Oakland Raiders: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
Gruden and his front office cleaned house and created some serious holes, putting a full fledged three-to-five year plan in motion. With three first-round picks and multiple day two and three selections as well, the Raiders can do some major damage in year one of their rebuild by continuing to simply add the best players available. Thompson is getting dragged for a rough national championship night. However, his body of work screams “starting NFL safety.” Putting Thompson in the back end of the Black and Silver’s secondary gives them some fun toys to play with as they continue to add players that will help them close out close games.
28) L.A. Chargers: Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware
Derwin James turned out to be a g*d damn unicorn, playing more than just your prototypical safety position but instead lining up at nearly every position on defense on his way to a near Rookie of the Year performance. Now, they add a true center-field play-making safety like Adderley, who can smother tight ends, make plays downfield and crash down in the box when need be. Another exotic piece added to a youthful group of talented defenders.
— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) December 10, 2018
29) Kansas City Chiefs: Rashan Gary, DT, Michigan
Just a handful of plays away from reaching the Super Bowl, Andy Reid worked his magic on Pat Mahomes, who took down the MVP and Offensive Player of the Year after just his first season starting. Just sit back and think about that for a second. Now, bolstering a defense and teaching it how to close out these inevitable high scoring shootouts starts with winning in the trenches and getting after the quarterback. With his penetrating skills, Gary will do wonders in the middle next to Chris Jones, Justin Houston and Dee Ford, helping tear through the middle against pure pocket passers like Philip River and Derek Carr.
30) Green Bay Packers: Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State
Last year, the Packers traded down a handful of spots and stole an extra first-round pick in the process from the New Orleans Saints (who then drafted Marcus Davenport). With the extra selection the Packers front office has the luxury to start taking some shots on some high upside talent. Butler has rare size and strength on the outside and in the red zone. Aaron Rodgers and his new head coach are ready turn the switch back on, and adding a mismatch weapon like Butler to the mix could be the x-factor the offense has been lacking.
HAKEEM BUTLER SAYS NO 🖐
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 15, 2018
31) L.A. Rams: Chris Lindstrom, OG, Boston College
The Rams went for it this year, loading up on Pro Bowl talent and big named stars and stacking them up on short-term deals. The window was small, but the plan was efficient and played out better than some would have imagined. Now, it’s time to start preparing to replace some of the key fixtures that got them to the Super Bowl, especially in the trenches. Rodger Saffold may end up returning with a new contract, but for now I’m preparing to find his eventual replacement, a key component in protectin Jared Goff and giving him a clean pocket to win from.
32) New England Patriots: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
Well, well, well. What are you supposed to do? They continue to pick at the bottom of each round and never skip a beat. An offense that just won the Super Bowl with third, fourth, fifth, and seventh-round picks and an undrafted free agent protecting Tom Brady — in a league starved for foundational offensive line play — tells you everything you need to know. Rob Gronkowski’s future is uncertain, so when he does hit the old dusty trail, this offense is going to be losing a major playmaker up the seams and in the intermediate part of the field. The second best tight end in a rich class falls in their lap and will be next in line for possible greatness.
33) Arizona Cardinals: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
34) Indianapolis Colts (Via Jets): Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
35) Oakland Raiders: Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State
36) San Francisco 49ers: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
37) New York Giants: Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
38) Jacksonville Jaguars: Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia
39) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
40) Buffalo Bills: Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina
41) Denver Broncos: Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabama
42) Cincinnati Bengals: Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama
43) Detroit Lions: A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
44) Green Bay Packers: Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
45) Atlanta Falcons: Oshane Ximines, EDGE, Old Dominion
46) Washington Redskins: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
47) Carolina Panthers: Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame
48) Miami Dolphins: Jaylon Ferguson, EDGE, Louisiana Tech
49) Cleveland Browns: Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame
50) Minnesota Vikings: Dru Samia, OG, Oklahoma
51) Tennessee Titans: Ben Burr-Kirven, LB, Washington
52) Pittsburgh Steelers: Anthony Nelson, DE, Iowa
53) Philadelphia Eagles (Via Ravens): David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State
54) Houston Texans (Via Seahawks): Michael Dieter, OG, Wisconsin
55) Minnesota Vikings (Via Texans): Beau Benzschawel, OG, Wisconsin
56) New England Patriots (Via Bears): Andy Isabella, WR, UMass
57) Philadelphia Eagles: David Edwards, OT, Wisconsin
58) Dallas Cowboys: Gerald Willis, DL, Miami
59) Indianapolis Colts: Demarcus Lodge, WR, Ole Miss
60) LA Chargers: Dennis Daley, OT, South Carolina
61) Kansas City Chiefs: Darrell Henderson, RB, Memphis
62) New Orleans Saints: Dre’Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State
63) Kansas City Chiefs (Via Rams): Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson
64) New England Patriots: Charles Omenihu, DT, Texas