Mock Draft 10.0: Kyler to Cards, Giants Acquire a Third First-Round Pick
Doing a second mock draft is difficult, especially if you liked the vibe of your first. Feel free to toggle back and forth a bit, as I went a little deeper into explaining my thought process on some of the picks that remain the same. As we get closer to the draft, the quarterback question looms. Duke’s Daniel Jones is going to the green room. A few weeks earlier, his college coach, David Cutcliffe, all but guaranteed we’d see him in the first round. Drew Lock and Dwayne Haskins have to go somewhere. How do we make room for it all?
1. Arizona: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
The closer we get to the draft, the closer we come to either of the following: One of the greatest, coordinated subterfuge campaigns in recent history directed at getting another team to trade up to No. 1... Or, one of the most telegraphed picks in recent memory, which also happened to torpedo any leverage the Cardinals had in trading last year’s first round pick, Josh Rosen.
2. San Francisco: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
I can’t imagine the 49ers passing on Bosa here despite all the recent draft equity they’ve poured into their defensive line. Bosa is an instant upgrade in a division where two teams—Seattle and the Rams—utilize field-widening plays and jet motion looks so effectively. He’s fast and smart enough to blow it all up.
3. N.Y. Jets: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
A bit of a flip-flop for me here, but only because we saw what the Jets were trying to establish when they had Anthony Barr on the hook in free agency; they want edge rushing ability, but also positional versatility. One stat, courtesy of the Sports Info Solutions rookie handbook that caught my eye: Allen logged a pressure on more than 25 percent of snaps on which his only directive was to get the quarterback. I like those odds if I’m Gregg Williams.
4. Oakland: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
The more I look at the roots of Paul Guenther’s defense, the more tempted I am to give him a high-IQ linebacker like Devin White here. I think I would have, had the Raiders not poured rocket fuel on their rebuild and signed a horde of veteran talent including Vontaze Burfict and Brandon Marshall. Williams rushes well from different spots, and is an essential player when facing Phillip Lindsay and Melvin Gordon twice a year. I just can’t buy a QB here. Historically, when Jon Gruden has had developmental talent, his eye has always wandered toward someone who is further along.
5. Tampa Bay: Devin White, LB, LSU
I’m not changing my mind here. I think Todd Bowles would pound the table for a 10-year defensive signal caller who, according to SIS stats, was on the field for significantly more passing downs (450) than run snaps (344) in 2018, but still created QB pressure on almost 25 percent of his straight rushes. He is a player you can build a unit around. If Alvin Kamara and Christian McCaffrey are in your division, you arm yourself appropriately.
6. N.Y. Giants: Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
I think the pre-draft process has done well to ease Giants fans into realizing that their QB of the future will not be taken here. Dave Gettleman comes from the old school, where you don’t trick yourself into creating artificial value. Sweat gives them a presence on the edge, which Gettleman has admitted needs to improve. I would be stunned if they went into 2018 with their defensive front as threadbare as it is now.
7. Jacksonville: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
I think when you’re at a certain point in the roster construction cycle—in this case, bursting with veteran talent, foot firmly on the gas pedal—you go for the cleanest, most instant-impact player on the board. It’s not that I don’t think the Jaguars need an offensive tackle more, it’s that I think Hockenson is better than any offensive tackle in this draft, and his blocking makes him a dual purpose pick.
8. Detroit: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
A player I just can’t shake here. I admittedly like him more than most, but he fits the bill of a versatile defender who can ultimately squeeze into the defense Matt Patricia wants to build. While the division isn’t necessarily going to torture you with top-flight No. 1 wide receivers, Baker makes life difficult on opposing offenses. As we noted in our previous mock, he had a fairly even split between man and zone responsibilities. There is some comfort in the Georgia pipeline. And, another interesting nugget: Baker was third in the country this year in yards allowed per man coverage snap, and fourth in passer rating allowed.
9. *PROJECTED TRADE*: Washington (from Buffalo): Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
After the Giants pass on Haskins, Washington makes a move. Fearing the Broncos and John Elway steal their man, they play it safe and take the kid who played his high school ball in nearby Potomac, Md. I don’t think they’re going to find themselves bad enough to get a top QB soon, but also not good enough to legitimize a rotating series of replacements behind Alex Smith.
10. Denver: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
I don’t think John Elway can leave this draft without a legitimate succession plan behind an injury-prone Joe Flacco. They stay patient, and allow the board to work in their favor. A lengthy pre-draft visit to Denver seals the deal in early April.
11. Cincinnati: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
Long-term insurance at the defensive tackle position, and a short-term boost to a defensive line that has some veteran talent under their belt. While the Bengals remain on the rumor list for quarterbacks, I think first-year head coach Zac Taylor is encouraged to see what he can do with Andy Dalton, who isn’t exactly breaking the bank at the QB position.
12. Green Bay: Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
I think there is probably a temptation to hand Aaron Rodgers a receiver here, which would signify a full departure from the Ted Thompson era. Still, I don’t see it. Burns is a pure pass-rushing threat who can patch his deficiencies against the run during a learning year, while wreaking havoc on the division’s slate of (mostly) stationary passers.
13. Miami: Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
This has to be a pick that makes sense a year from now. I don’t think Miami is taking a quarterback. I don’t think it makes sense for them to spend heavily at the wide receiver position. I do think it makes sense for them to draft a QB high in 2020, and have two very adequate offensive linemen ready and prepped for when they make that decision.
14. Atlanta: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
Wilkins fits well in a defense that conceptualizes itself as a 4-3 scheme. For years, I’ve had the perpetual feeling that Atlanta’s defense is one more special player away from unlocking it completely. Wilkins adds that extra ingredient.
15. *PROJECTED TRADE*: Buffalo (from Washington): Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
Not thrilled with the prospect of them passing on better defensive line talent here, but I don’t think the Bills would be able to rationalize leaving their running game and second-year quarterback without more help. Their director of college scouting has southeast ties and can get good information on Taylor, who struggled with some penalties in 2018 but really cleaned up his pass protection.
16. Carolina: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
Personally, a pick that scares me a little bit given his tendency to run so many deep routes. Still, the Panthers have preferred to pair Cam Newton with large, physical receivers through the years. Metcalf is a game-changer in that he uses his size better than any of their previous options.
17. N.Y. Giants (from Cleveland): Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
If Montez Sweat gives the Giants some instant credibility from a pass-rushing standpoint, Ferrell adds some beef as a run-stopping threat. With experience against high-level offensive tackles and the run game, Ferrell helps the Giants get into a position where they can handle the daunting running backs that now populate every depth chart in the division.
18. Minnesota: Jonah Williams, OT/G, Alabama
I’ll repeat a stat I loved from my previous mock: Alabama averaged 5.3 yards per carry when running to Williams's gap in 2018. That’s better than all but two gaps in Minnesota’s front five last year. Mike Zimmer wants to hammer the ball on the ground, and I think Kirk Cousins wouldn’t mind a little relief too. They have the backs, they have the receivers, and now, they have a valuable piece for the offensive line.
19. Tennessee: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
The Titans were a non-factor in the deep passing game last year. In a do-or-die season for Marcus Mariota, they pair former first-rounder Corey Davis with Marquise Brown who, according to SIS stats, ran 46.2 percent of his routes “deep” in 2018. He caught 83 percent of the catchable balls thrown in his direction, and has the ability to add some flavor to the Titans’ offense.
20. Pittsburgh: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
He probably won’t fall this far, but there’s no way Pittsburgh passes on the chance to inject some aggressive young blood into their secondary. It's wild that just 33 percent of the passes thrown in his direction got home in 2018. He also has some slot flexibility.
21. Seattle: N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
I think it would be wise to assume that the Seahawks should probably start thinking about life after Doug Baldwin, one of the most underrated receivers of his time. Should Russell Wilson remain in Seattle for the long haul, he’s going to need some help completing passes.
22. Baltimore: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
With C.J. Mosley gone, the Ravens need another versatile piece to plug into Don Martindale’s unpredictable defense. Bush did it all at Michigan, including 10 sacks and 43 quarterback pressures over two seasons.
23. Houston: Cody Ford, OT/G, Oklahoma
I love the idea of Houston getting a running back here as well, but it’s hard to pass on a good player at this position when your starting five theoretically looks like: Matt Kalil, Senio Kelemete, Nick Martin, Zach Fulton and Seantrel Henderson.
24. Oakland (from Chicago): Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
Long term, Oakland is going to need to establish a running game identity beyond Marshawn Lynch. Courtesy of Sports Info Solutions, some stats Jon Gruden might like: Jacobs averaged almost seven yards per carry on inside carries each of the last two years. And more than 30 broken tackles per season at Alabama.
25. Philadelphia: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
Post-Jordan Howard trade, I still think cornerback makes the most sense here. Murphy was fun to watch in the Rose Bowl game against an elite college QB and wide receiver talent.
26. Indianapolis: Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan
Gary will probably not be here, however, if the draft shakes out and certain teams prioritize production (he had 9.5 sacks in three years at Michigan) maybe the Colts get lucky. Indianapolis met with him during the pre-draft process, and their due diligence pays off.
27. *PROJECTED TRADE*: N.Y. Giants (from Oakland via Dallas): Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
His collegiate coach, David Cutcliffe, promised Sports Illustrated Jones is going in the first round. Jones doubled down by confirming he’d be in the green room on draft day. I think if the Giants see him hanging around, they use their stockpile of picks to slide ahead of another team with an aging QB who might also be in the market.
28. L.A. Chargers: Garrett Bradbury, C, N.C. State
Bradbury has played guard as well, so he can be the long-term solution for Mike Pouncey after 2019, and in the meantime, compete for a job somewhere inside during training camp.
29. Kansas City: Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State
One touchdown allowed in 2018, has experience at both safety spots and would theoretically complement Tyrann Mathieu well in Kansas City. This is a defense that needs smart, quick-thinkers in the secondary.
30. Green Bay (from New Orleans): Terry McLaurin, WR, Ohio State
Aaron Rodgers gets a target, but maybe not the one a lot of people expect. Noah Fant is also an option here, and could make some sense, though the Packers have both Jimmy Graham and Marcedes Lewis. A.J. Brown might work. At the moment, the Packers have Geronimo Allison and Equanimeous St. Brown as the other options outside of Davante Adams. They’ll need to try something.
31. L.A. Rams: Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame
Seven sacks and nine tackles for loss last year, and 38 quarterback pressures, according to SIS. Pray for an offensive line that has to figure out Aaron Donald and a defensive tackle who could one day grow into a suitable Ndamukong Suh replacement.
32. New England: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
It would feel too tidy to give the Patriots Noah Fant here. And really, can anyone be Rob Gronkowski? Simmons’s past off the field may concern teams, and he tore his ACL in February, which would mean New England is viewing this as a better value in 2020.
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