It is that time of the year again. Time for me to show that despite twelve years of doing this, and untold amount of hours watching games and highlights, I still have no idea what is going to happen.
1. Cardinals- Kyler Murray QB Oklahoma- I don’t like the pick, but I think they really do. Nothing against Murray, I just believe that when you have the first pick it should be used on as sure of a prospect as possible— a home run, if you don’t mind the mixed metaphor— and I don’t believe that can be said of Murray. First year coach Kliff Kingsburry is going to do things his way, regardless of risk. I respect that to an extent, and recognize that this attitude often results in success, though perhaps not as often as it results in a failure to adapt.
Cardinals get their franchise QB. Now they just need to find a team for last years rookie, franchise QB.
49ers- Nick Bosa DE Ohio State— this is a knock out of a pick for the 9ers as they finish the rebuild of their defense that started with some free agency splashes.
3. Jets- Ed Oliver DT Houston- there are a lot of mock drafts getting cute here with the jets trading down with one of the QB hungry franchises, but I don't see it. New York has had a big off season, most of which is focused one way or another on helping out San Darnold. Their new bell cow at running back will help with keeping the offense less predictable. Ed Oliver can provide a future super star as a pass rusher that will help the retooled defense keep games close, and keep the necessity of gunslinging from Darnold to a minimum. They could go with Ed Oliver or Josh Allen, but Oliver is a better scheme fit.
4. Oakland- DT Quinnen Williams DT Alabama- I really wanted to slot Dwayne Haskins here, not because I think it's a good pick, but because Oakland is rumored to like him a lot and Chuckie's return to the NFL has been followed by one head scratcher after another. I think however, Gruden answered enough questions about a pass rusher that he spends the first of three first rounders on an interior pass rusher that will make Pat Mahomes have to scramble outside of the pocket before he slings a fifty yard bomb from his hip.
5. Tampa Bay-Devin White LB LSU- Tampa Bay has been attached to White for most of the draft process. Of course the same could be said about them and and Derwin James last year, and he just made the All Pro team as a Charger. That being said he is a blue chip prospect at arguably their biggest need, so until they prove me wrong on draft night, it's the pick.
6. Giants-Dwayne Haskins QB Ohio State- this is probably the pick that is going to ruin most drafts one way or another. I think the Giants get their heir apparent to Eli and sit on him a year. They could just as easily go with one of the top prospects left on the D-Line but it's a historically deep draft there, and I think New York thinks there is a bigger gap between Haskins and the other QBs (Murray included) than they do between Josh Allen, Raashawn Gary and the rest of the pass rushers.
7. Jacksonville-- Jawaan Taylor OT Florida-- Jacksonville wants to see the Nick Foles that played for the Eagles, not the one that played for the Rams. The way to do that is by protecting him and helping him set his feet so he can get in a rhythm. Their rushing games will help, but protecting the edge is going to be critical.
8. Detroit- Josh Allen EDGE Kentucky- Detroit has made no secret of wanting to trade down, but their in a bit of a dead zone when it comes to this particular draft. There aren't many prospects at this point attracting teams with capital to trade up, and the teams that would trade up don't have the capital. If they trade down, it's someone jumping ahead of Denver for a QB. They weren't expecting Josh Allen to slide to them however, and quickly snag a pass rusher to replace Ziggy Ansah.
9. Bills-Jonah Williams OT Alabama- I think everyone was a bit surprised by Josh Allen's toolset last year. He's not a guaranteed super star by any means, but there is enough there to make the Bills feel pretty good about the power vacuum in waiting that is the Post-Tom Brady era. Allen got dinged up a lot last year however, and despite investing a lot of money in the O-Line the Bills still seem dedicated to creating competition in order to put the best line forward to protect their budding Franchise QB.
10. Denver- Drew Lock QB Missouri- I've seen mock drafts with Denver trading up as far as two to get Lock, who Elway is apparently drooling over. I don't think this is the best pick for the Broncos, and I really don't think trading up for Lock is the right move, but Denver doesn't seem to like anyone at their bigger positions of need as much as they like Lock as their next, next, next replacement for Peyton Manning.
11. Bengals-Devin Bush ILB Michigan- Cincinnati is another team supposedly set on drafting a QB in the first round. I don't think there is anyone at this point Zac Taylor wants to hitch his wagon to when he's got a roster talented enough to make the playoffs in his ever important first year with former pro bowler Andy Dalton, and an easy scapegoat to throw to the fans if they don't in, once again, Andy Dalton. Instead I think they pick a difference maker at a position of need, and one who ideally doesn't get suspended as much as Vontaze Burifict.
12. Green Bay- T.J Hockenson Iowa- Hockenson is not the recently retired Gronk, but he is the best TE prospect to come around in a long time and will be a deadly chess piece in the new Packers offense.
13. Trade-- Giants trade 1st and 3rd Round pick to Dolphins. Giants select Montez Sweat EDGE Mississippi State- Dolphins could go QB or stay and draft Sweat or the sliding Rashawn Gary, but I actually expect them to trade for Josh Rosen, and be looking down to replace some of the Day 2 and 3 picks they lost. Giants move up a little and grab a dynamic pass rusher after passing on the first wave of them to grab their future QB.
14. Atlanta Falcons- Greedy Williams DB LSU- Greedy gets the best name of the draft award and a new home in the deep South where he can take on the home state New Orleans passing attack led by superstars Drew Bree's and Mike Thomas.
15. Washington- QB Daniel Jones Duke- I actually respect the roster Washington was able to put together last year, and loosing Alex Smith is a very unfortunate and tough situation for both the franchise and Smith himself. The unfortunate thing about having that solid of a roster unled by a Franchise QB is that they manage to win enough games before and after injury to not draft very high. That being said, they like Jones, and feel that if they give him the right support he can become a franchise QB for them.
16. Carolina Panthers- EDGE Brian Burns FSU- The Panthers remain in win now mode despite last years disappointing finish. Burns provides a healthy dose of pass rush to take the pressure of the secondary and give Cam some opportunities to hand the ball of to Christian McCaffery instead of passing it to him.
17. Dolphins- EDGE Rashawn Gary Michigan- The Dolphins got their new Franchise QB from Arizona in the form of Josh Rosen, and traded down to 17 to restock on picks. They grab Gary here, stopping his slide due to a recently reported shoulder injury, and address a need that they would have probably done at 12 anyway. They also don't care if Gary takes a year to heal, because they aren't going to be good next year anyway, and Tom Brady is still a thing.
18. Vikings- Andre Dillard OT Washington State-- I am a long time fan of Kirk Cousins and I think behind the right line and play calling Dalvin Cook can look more like the lightning strike at RB he looked like as a rookie than the 3 yards per carry back that he was last year. Dillard will help with both investments, and return Minnesota to the run first team that can pass if it suits them that got them to the NFC championship two years ago.
19. Tennessee- Jeffery Simmons DT Mississippi State-- I've seen some ridiculous mock drafts having Tennessee select a QB here. I think Tennessee like Marcus Mariota a lot more than the average couch QB, and I also think Ryan Tannahil was brought in as insurance for the often injured former first round pick. A fringe play-off team the last few years, I think they need to continue to ask how they can help Mariota turn into the player they thought they were drafting, rather then looking to move on. Unfortunately, a hurt defensive linemen is their selection. Simmons is likely to be a all-pro caliber player in the upcoming years, but its probable he won't contribute much this year, which won't help Mariota at all. Even still, the rumor is that this top fifteen talent before injury doesn't slip past them.
20. Pittsburg- Rock Ya Sin-- First off, if he goes after Greedy Williams then the next guy might has well be Dan Smith because his name will be so vanilla compared to the last two picks. Secondly, Pittsburg gets a physical young corner who will compete for a starting job day one. There are a lot of obvious rumors about them drafting skill position players here because of the exodus of superstars they experienced this past year, but that isn’t the Pittsburgh way. They will draft and develop, and they will stick to their board.
21. Seattle— Noah Font TE Iowa— Trying to guess what Seattle is going to do on draft day is the sports equivalent of trying to to explain Schroeder’s Cat to a kindergartener. Will they give their hundred dollar man a weapon, and if so, will he be someone anyone has going in the first two rounds? Will they finally address the offensive line needs that have been an issue since Shawn Alexander was toting the rock? Or will they pick a defensive player that no one feels they need? I have no idea, so I’m having them pick a weapon for Russel Wilson that fits into the offensive scheme a little better than a traditional receiver.
22. Baltimore— Clelin Ferrell EDGE Clemson-- Baltimore might go with a wide reciever to groom alongside new franchise quarterback Lamar Jackson. Most mocks have them going this route. But I have been doing this for twelve years and I am pretty sure the Ravens are predicted to draft a WR every single year, and they’ve only done it once. I don’t see that changing this time around, instead they will draft an instant pro capable of stepping in and producing double digit sacks thanks to his motor and technique.
23. Houston- Cody Ford OT Oklahoma— Houston needs to protect DeSean Watson and give him a weapon. Despite having their pick of any WR in the draft, I think they take a long hard look at themselves and make the non-sexy pick.
24. Oakland-Byron Murphy DB Washington— I think all of John Gruden’s wild card decision making is a bit of actual forethought and strategy. I think he didn’t commit to anyone because he didn’t want to have any comfortable super stars. I think he traded Mack because the defense was mediocre with him, and he thought he could build a more well-rounded defense. I think all the hoopla about new QBs is jut that. I think he spends his second of three picks to address another defensive need and bets on Darek Carr looking a little more like the old Carr when he is throwing to Antonio “All-Around” Brown. I think I could be very wrong. Darn you Chuckie.
25. Philadelphia— Christian Wilkins DT Clemson— Let’s get this out of the way, I am a Philly fan. Okay, so with that being said I think Howie Roseman has done an excellent job of putting the Eagles into a position where they can draft best player available. Their biggest need is at linebacker but the guys they would like in the first are gone, and I think they like L.J. Fort more than people think. The trendy pick is for the Eagles to draft a WR or RB, but Philadelphia has always favored spending early picks on the trenches. They also typically seem to believe they can draft an offensive lineman in a later round and turn him into a stater (though I’m not convinced on the evidence of this as far as their roster goes). As much as I’d like to see a Josh Jacobs or Hollywood Brown in the Midnight (Kelly) Green I think the really decision here in the birds’s war room is Wilkins or Ole Miss’s A.J Brown. In the end I think they pick a DT to add to the stable of pass rushers they have across the defensive front as Philly likes to rotate line man a lot to keep them fresh.
Note: They did recently resign Timmy Jernigan, so it would make more sense to draft an EDGE rusher here if they are going to invest on the line, but I don't think they are afraid to make the rich richer, and I think they can't pass up the value of Wilkins here.
26. Indianapolis-Johnathan Abram DB Mississippi State- Colts could have addressed some D-Line needs, or perhaps added another weapon for Andrew Luck, but here they add the thunder to Malik Hooker’s lightning and create a very interesting and potentially dynamic secondary duo for the next five to ten years. The pieces continue to fall together for another deep postseason run for Indianapolis.
27. Oakland- Josh Jacobs RB Alabama— on the second retirement of Marshawn Lynch, Oakland goes and gets their replacement. Josh Jacobs has a bit of a small sample size, but he seems to be built for the modern NFL game and Oakland has been linked to him during the draft process even before Lynch decided to retire. He will give them a explosive rusher, and a pass catcher that can start in the backfield, or split out wide. If all goes well, he will be a strong candidate for offensive rookie of the year when it is all said and done.
28. Chargers- Kaleb McGary OT Washington— I’m not sure why people keep talking about the Chargers spending a first round pick on Philip Rivers’s replacement when the guy Phillip Rivers is still putting up MVP numbers in New Orleans. They have some time before they need to invest a draft pick on anything more than a late round developmental prospect, especially considering they are only a few pieces away from being a serious contender. I think they would have liked an interior defensive lineman to have fallen to them, but settle on shoring up the O-line to protect Rivers and ensure that star running back Melvin Gordon continues to see holes.
29. Seattle— Nasir Adderley S Delaware— See above post about Seattle’s last pick, duplicate, choose random position of need’s best available prospect knowing all along that it will be wrong.
30.Green Bay— D.K Metcalf WR Ole Miss— I see this as a bit of a statement pick. This is not a “Green Bay pick” at all and that’s kind of the point. A typical pick for Green Bay here would be someone like Dexter Lawrence, a solid, albeit likely safe prospect at a position of need. I think Green Bay used Metcalf to say, they are done being safe, they are done relying on Aaron Rodgers to do everything with whatever they give him, and they are done being a vanilla decision maker. D.K Metcalf is not a sure thing. Seemingly created out of the the late Al Davis’s dreams, Metcalf is like a my created player on Madden, but his out of this world athleticism hasn’t resulted in all that much production. I think Green Bay bets that the most talented QB in the league can turn Metcalf into an All-Pro.
31. Rams- Dexter Lawrence DT Clemson— the Rams are pretty loaded at every position, but they need someone to replace Suh opposite of Aaron Donald. This is a good fit for Lawrence, who has all the talent, but hasn’t always produced as expected. Next to Donald he will never see a double team and he can work on polishing his skills so that teams can’t afford to not double team either of them.
32. Patriots— A.J. Brown WR Ole Miss— I think the typical Patriots pick here would be Jeffery Simmons, a top fifteen talent that might need a red shirt year. The Patriots, unlike nearly any team in football, can always afford to not hit on a top pick. Another typical, less splashy but more likely to produce early for the team, would be Notre Dame’s Jerry Tillery. As of late however, the Patriots have tended to help Tom out a little more than they used to. They would love to draft someone to replace Gronk, but without moving up they are unable to do it and instead chose to pick a WR who can step in right away and produce like a number one while also fitting in with the Patriots locker room.