IT has been way too long since my last NFL mock. The AFL Fantasy season has consumed me in the last few months, but with my head squarely back on my shoulders, it’s time to talk NFL Draft. After three weeks of combine action, pro day performances and free agency fallout, we have a bit more of an idea as to what each team needs come draft night. Here are my updated projections for the first round.
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Pick #1 Arizona Cardinals – Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
THERE is still plenty of doubt at the top of the draft as to whether the Cardinals are serious about drafting Murray, or if it’s all an elaborate smokescreen. Where there’s smoke there’s usually fire and until I hear otherwise, I’m pencilling in Murray to the Cards.
Pick #2 San Fransisco 49ers – Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
DON’T overthink this one San Fran. Bosa is shaping up as a true superstar at the next level and has rich footballing history in his blood. His brother, dad and uncle have all played in the NFL and with their need for more elite pass rushers, this makes too much sense.
Pick #3 New York Jets – Josh Allen, DE/LB, Kentucky
JOSH Allen was a dominant player for Kentucky last season and his talents make him almost a certainty to be drafted inside the top-5. If the first two picks pan out this way, then the Jets will happily add him to their core that now boasts the likes of Le’Veon Bell and C.J. Mosley.
Pick #4 Oakland Raiders – Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
OAKLAND are tough to peg down at pick four. They could go in a variety of ways, with the three selections above them likely to dictate how their draft unfolds. With three first rounders up their sleeve, if Bama defender Quinnen Williams is still there at four, he’ll likely be snapped up.
Pick #5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Devin White, LB, LSU
ONE of the big risers in recent weeks is LSU linebacker Devin White. Considering he is still learning the position his production last year is quite remarkable and even with all the pass rushers available, the Bucs won’t be unhappy to take White in the top-5.
Pick #6 New York Giants – Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State
THERE is strong speculation the Giants plan to take a quarterback at six. I have them addressing their defensive depth chart though, with Montez Sweat their man, despite being medically flagged for a heart condition at the combine. His Senior Bowl and combine performances have seen him climb plenty of mocks and pick six feels like the right spot for him to come off the board.
Pick #7 Jacksonville Jaguars – Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
NOW they have their QB in Nick Foles, they need to find players to keep him upright. Enter Jawaan Taylor, who can not only protect their new shiny toy but open up holes in the running game for Leonard Fournette.
Pick #8 Detroit Lions – Rashan Gary, DE/DT, Michigan
A versatile defender in Rashan Gary is a good choice for the Lions here. They’d love for White to slide to their slot and don’t rule out a move up the board for him. Should things hold to form this way, Gary’s potential will entice Detroit at eight, even though he produced just 3.5 sacks a season ago.
Pick #9 Buffalo Bills – Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
THE same selection as my first mock sees the Bills secure Ed Oliver in the top-10. His upside is enormous and while addressing their offensive line is probably the priority for Buffalo, they can’t pass up on a talent like Oliver.
Pick #10 Denver Broncos – Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
WE had to wait until pick 10 for the first quarterback to fly off the board. Come draft night I wouldn’t be surprised if he and the next player were both taken earlier, with history suggesting someone will trade up and snag a QB. If things pan out this way then Denver would likely bypass Dwyane Haskins and instead draft Drew Lock and his cannon of an arm to be their future franchise guy.
Image from mutigers.com
Pick #11 Cincinnati Bengals – Dwyane Haskins, QB, Ohio State
NEW York at pick six could very well swipe Haskins, who I think is the best quarterback in this class. Andy Dalton’s days are numbered in Cincinnati, so the Bengals need a succession plan. If Haskins is still here at 11, then he won’t slide any further. Don’t rule out a move up for the Bengals to land the former Buckeye either.
Pick #12 Green Bay Packers – T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
THERE are two Iowa State tight-ends that could end up hearing their names called in the first round, but I think T.J. Hockenson will be the first one drafted. After uncharacteristically spending up to upgrade their defense this offseason, the Packers need to find some pass catching support for Aaron Rodgers, which is where Hockenson will come in handy.
Pick #13 Miami Dolphins – Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
WILLIAMS slipping down the board to 13 doesn’t encapsulate his true talents. Arguably the best offensive lineman talent in this draft, the Bama big man will be a great blue chip addition for the Dolphins rebuild.
Pick #14 Atlanta Falcons – Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
NATIONAL champ Christian Wilkins was just one of Clemson’s supreme talents on the defesnive line. After failing to secure an upgrade for their line in free agency, adding Wilkins to partner with Grady Jerrett is a smart play for Atlanta in the middle of the first.
Pick #15 Washington Redskins – D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
METCALF appears set to be over-drafted no matter where he gets picked following an eye-popping combine performance. A supreme athlete, Metcalf is far more than an impressive physical specimen and with Josh Doctson currently the best WR on Washington’s depth chart, drafting Metcalf addresses a position of desperate need.
Pick #16 Carolina Panthers – Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
CAROLINA needs pass rusher’s and given the depth at the position in this draft, they’ll almost be happy to take whoever is still on the board at their pick. With Julius Peppers riding off into the sunset adding Clelin Ferrell as his ready-made replacement makes sense.
Pick #17 New York Giants (via Cleveland Browns) – Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
SHOULD the Giants go defense with their first choice, then there’s a good chance a quarterback will be in their sights at this spot. Daniel Jones might be unavailable, but if he’s here then drafting him as the heir to Eli Manning’s throne appears likely.
Pick #18 Minnesota Vikings – Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
OFFENSIVE line, offensive line, offensive line. It should be the flavour of Minnesota’s first-round pick and Andre Dillard is a great way to address their need. An ace pass protector for Kirk Cousins increases the likelihood of a deep Vikings run next season.
Pick #19 Tennessee Titans – Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
HOCKENSON’S Iowa teammate Noah Fant might turn out to be a better pro than the 12th selection, but they are both A-grade tight end talents. Fant was projected to be taken ahead of his peer earlier in the mock draft season, but the game-changing pass catcher will help the Titans if they draft him at 19.
Pick #20 Pittsburgh Steelers – Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
ADDRESSING their need for a linebacker is tempting with Bush still on the board, but Byron Murphy can’t be passed up here. With a gritty, competitive style of play that personifies the Pittsburgh Steelers, Murphy will be a solid contributor from day one.
Image from profootballfocus.com
Pick #21 Seattle Seahawks – Brian Burns, DE, Florida State
EXPLOSIVENESS is something that Brian Burns oozes. With a lack of it on their defensive line, Seattle would be wise to invest in Burns, despite buzz around the Seahawks dealing the pick. Should they hold onto it the potential of Burns is intriguing enough to warrant taking him.
Pick #22 Baltimore Ravens – Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State
WITH Lamar Jackson now the clear answer at quarterback for Baltimore, they need to find him some weapons. They won’t be able to survive with Jackson running the ball 15 times a game, so adding a speedy, jump ball receiver in Hakeem Butler makes sense.
Pick #23 Houston Texans – Garrett Bradbury, OG, NC State
OFFENSIVE line is the spot Houston needs to target with their first rounder and they’ll almost be happy to take the best prospect available at 23. It might be viewed as a bit of a reach, but they desperately need help at that position and Bradbury helps tick the box.
Pick #24 Oakland Raiders (via Chicago) – Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
A new lead back in Oakland is a must with Jalen Richard and Isaiah Crowell not exactly the answer. Enter Josh Jacobs, who can help Jon Gruden ‘pound the rock’ and recapture the vibe from his last head coaching tenure.
Pick #25 Philadelphia Eagles – Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
SHOULD Greg Little still be available at this pick it’s likely that Philly will take a long hard look at him. Tackle is an area of need for the Eagles and similar to Bradbury a few slots earlier it might be a bit of an overdraft, but it still helps them in the long run.
Image from bleacherreport.com
Pick #26 Indianapolis Colts – Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
A sexy pick in a lot of recent mock drafts, Dexter Lawrence to the Colts makes too much sense. His ability to impact games from the defensive line and help slow down the other AFC South running attacks will be paramount if Indianapolis want to return to the postseason.
Pick #27 Oakland Raiders (via Dallas) – Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
SIMMONS is undoubtedly a first-round talent, but he comes with question marks. He was arrested in 2016 and is only a few months removed from a torn ACL. If he overcomes these issues though then he can be an amazing ball player, making the gamble worth it in the late first round for Oakland.
Pick #28 Los Angeles Chargers – Dre’Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State
THE interior defensive line is an area that the Chargers will look to bolster in the draft and versatile Buckeye Dre’Mont Jones can help them do that. He burst into contention following 8.5 sacks this year and even ran an interception back for a TD. Tick.
Pick #29 Kansas City Chiefs – Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
GREEDY Williams has dramatically fallen since my first mock and it’s likely that he will come off the board earlier than this. However, the Chiefs would be rubbing their hands together if he fell into their laps.
Pick #30 Green Bay Packers (via New Orleans) – Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
LINEBACKER is one spot on defense the Packers didn’t address in free agency, making Devin Bush a logical choice at the back end of the first.
Pick #31 Los Angeles Rams – Jachai Polite, DE, Florida
WITH Ndamukong Suh’s future still in Limbo the Rams could target Jachai Polite as his replacement. The Florida edge rusher might pass through to the second round, but LA will happily take some help at the position.
Pick #32 New England Patriots – N’Keal Harry, WR, Ole Miss
IT’S no secret that New England needs help at receiver if they are going to defend their crown in 2019. I’m sure Belichick will have his eyes set on a fourth-rounder no one has heard of who can dominate from day one. For now, let’s give them N’Keal Harry
Banner from collegefootballtoday.org
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