NFL and College Football Lead Writer
In the coming weeks the draft buzz will grow quicker than the buzz of the average patron at a Nashville honky-tonk bar (buh dum tiss). Trades will undoubtedly be the loudest part of that draft buzz. So this edition of the mock draft will include some of those potential trades that could create some buzz, and change the fortunes of some franchises.
1. Arizona Cardinals Kyler Murray QB Oklahoma
Recent reports claim the Cardinals are content to keep Josh Rosen as their signal caller. Yeah right, if you believe that I’ve got a beach front property in Tennessee to sell you. Yet, it does show that the Cardinals aren’t happy with the offers they’ve received thus far for Rosen. Eventually, I think they’ll settle for a 3rd round pick for Rosen and take Kyler Murray, the QB that makes too much sense for Kingsbury’s offense.
2. San Francisco 49ers Nick Bosa DE Ohio State
More recent reports explained the 49ers had interest in trading for Odell Beckham, but they were unwilling to move from their number two slot in the pecking order. Must mean they have their sights set on someone and I’m betting that someone is still Nick Bosa.
3. New York Giants (Trade w/NYJ) Dwayne Haskins QB Ohio State
A rare inner-city trade between the Giants and Jets to kick off the draft fireworks in Nashville. The Giants can’t afford to keep waiting on a franchise QB, so they trade ahead of the unpredictable Raiders and outbid the other QB needy teams to take Haskins. Haskins can use a season learning behind Eli Manning.
4. Oakland Raiders Quinnen Williams DL Alabama
As I mentioned, the Raiders have been unpredictable since Gruden took over. Yet, one thing’s for sure, they badly need someone to rush the passer after trading away Khalil Mack. Quinnen Williams is versatile enough to play anywhere along the line, and he fits the style that Gruden likes.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jawaan Taylor OT Florida
Tampa bay opts to go with a local talent to fill an obvious need. Taylor has all the makings of a bookend tackle. There’s no denying the Bucs struggled on defense last season, but this is presumably the make or break season for Jameis Winston, so look for them to give him every opportunity to succeed.
6. New York Jets (Trade w/NYG) Josh Allen Edge Kentucky
The Jets come out looking like geniuses after trading back and still getting their guy at number six. Looks like they’re taking a page out of the Colts draft book from last season. Josh Allen is my favorite edge rusher in this class due to his bend on the edge. Plus, I believe his strength is vastly underestimated.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars Jonah Williams OL Alabama
The Jaguars might have preferred Jawaan Taylor slide to them, but Jonah Williams is a fine consolation prize for them. The recent knock on Williams is that his arms measure shorter than what’s desired for a typical OT. He also consistently dominated SEC competition, so I don’t buy that his stock is dropping that much.
8. Cincinnati Bengals (Trade w/DET) Drew Lock QB Missouri
The Bengals win the second trade bid as they move up to take Drew Lock as their future face of the franchise. This signals the end of an era of mediocrity with Andy Dalton for Cincy. Lock appears to have all the tools to be a high-quality NFL QB and provides a higher ceiling than they have with “The Red Rifle”.
9. Buffalo Bills Ed Oliver DT Houston
Ed Oliver’s path to the draft reminds me a lot of what happened to Aaron Donald in 2014 when he dropped out of the top ten. Some teams may have been scared off by the size factor and missed out on a beast. However, Oliver was much less productive against weaker competition in college so take it for what it’s worth. The Bills may see him as a perfect fit to replace the beloved Kyle Williams.
10. Denver Broncos Greedy Williams CB Louisiana State
Bronco fans may feel cheated after watching the Giants and Bengals trade up for their future franchise QBs, but the organization could decide to see how Flacco does before they turn to drafting another QB in the first. Greedy Williams would make sense to play opposite of Chris Harris. Greedy’s stock seems to be dropping among draft analysts, but I’ve yet to see a convincing argument against him.
11. Detroit Lions (Trade w/CIN) D.K. Metcalf WR Ole Miss
Metcalf has drawn comparisons to Calvin Johnson, so maybe the Lions are interested in taking a shot on the physical specimen. Historically it makes sense given their propensity to take WRs in the high in the draft. Unfortunately, Calvin Johnson was basically the only successful pick among them (sorry Charles Rogers, Roy Williams, and Mike Williams). Detroit also gets the bonus of taking a potential target from their division rival. Will Metcalf be another Megatron or another mega bust?
12. Green Bay Packers T.J. Hockenson TE Iowa
One recent opinion of mine that has been swayed is the Hockenson vs. Fant debate. My initial thought was that modern NFL offenses would opt for a dynamic receiving TE such as Fant. After further review I’ve realized Hockenson may be the better receiving TE between them, and he’s easily the better blocker. In fact, Hockenson doesn’t really have any weakness. Seems like a no-brainer for the Cheeseheads.
13. Miami Dolphins Montez Sweat Edge Mississippi State
In this scenario I’m assuming the Dolphins are the team that won the bid for Josh Rosen, so they can focus elsewhere with their first-round pick. Sweat would be a nice new toy for new coach Brian Flores to utilize on his defense. He’s another insane athlete on the edge in this class.
14. Atlanta Falcons DeAndre Baker CB Georgia
The Falcons select a local product to help their pass defense that allowed 33 passing touchdowns last season. Baker hasn’t allowed a single touchdown the last two seasons and has five interceptions in that time period. He’s a physical press corner which bodes well in the NFL.
15. Baltimore Ravens (Trade w/WAS) Devin White LB Louisiana State
After a rough off season on the defensive side, Baltimore jumps at the opportunity to move up and select one of the better defensive prospects in the draft. They look to replace pro bowler C.J. Mosely with the top inside linebacker available in the class. White is an athletic and physical player, who should be a leader on the team for years to come.
16. Carolina Panthers Byron Murphy CB Washington
Byron Murphy could be the lockdown corner for the Panthers they have missed since Josh Norman left. He has outstanding coverage ability and prides himself in being a ball hawk for the defense. Carolina could go several routes at this pick, but Murphy would help a middle of the pack pass defense.
17. New York Giants Marquise Brown WR Oklahoma
With the pick they obtained in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade the Giants attempt to select his replacement, while also finding a favorite target for their new QB. Hollywood Brown is my personal favorite receiver of the draft. With his speed and agility, he’s a threat to score anywhere on the field. I’ll admit his small frame lends to him being injury prone, but his playmaking ability is worth the gamble.
18. Kansas City Chiefs (Trade w/MIN) Brian Burns Edge Florida State
Everyone knows the defense held the Chiefs back last season. With the loss of Justin Houston, they need someone to come in and rush the passer. If Burns is still hanging around at this point of the draft, they would be crazy to not trade up for him.
19. Tennessee Titans Christian Wilkins DT Clemson
Christian Wilkins is one of the most proven defensive players in the draft. So, if he fell to this point in the first-round it would be hard for any team to pass him up. As fate would have it, Wilkins would work perfectly to help free up some attention from Jurrell Casey for the Titans. He would also improve a run defense that didn’t always execute when depended upon.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers Devin Bush LB Michigan
Bush is another rangy player that fits the mold of modern middle linebackers that can perform just as well in pass coverage as they can against the run. Pittsburgh needs a standout player to lead their defense. It’s a solid unit, but it lacks the star power the Steelers usually have on defense. Bush has potential to become a star.
21. Seattle Seahawks Nasir Adderley S Delaware
Adderley is still my pick for the Seahawks. Seattle has a big need to fill at both safety positions. Nasir is my favorite safety of the draft class. He has ball skills reminiscent of Earl Thomas, and he isn’t afraid of contact.
22. Washington Redskins (Trade w/BAL) Daniel Jones QB Duke
The Redskins decide to take a different approach to selecting their guy at QB by moving down and collecting draft picks along the way. Jones is gaining some buzz heading into the draft so it may turn out to be too risky to trade back on draft day. This scenario could create a lot of drama if another team decided to move up in front of Washington to snag Jones away.
23. Houston Texans Cody Ford OL Oklahoma
Houston must find a way to keep Deshaun Watson from taking a beating. Their star QB seemingly played injured more often than he played healthy. Cody Ford would go a long way in protecting Watson. He was a leader among the o-line at Oklahoma and he had a nasty streak about him that scouts love.
24. Oakland Raiders Rashaun Gary Edge Michigan
All the concern about finding a pass rush could go away real quick if the Raiders were able to add Quinnen Williams and Rashaun Gary in the same round. Gary probably has the talent of a top ten pick, but concerns center around his lack of production at Michigan. He has all the tools, but can he turn a corner at the next level?
25. Philadelphia Eagles A.J. Brown WR Ole Miss
The Eagles are all in with Carson Wentz after allowing Nick Foles to leave (not that there was much debate in my eyes). They should look to add to his arsenal in the passing game with a possession slot receiver in A.J. Brown. He could be a first down machine for them and take some pressure off Ertz on third downs.
26. Indianapolis Colts Clelin Ferrell DE Clemson
Colts had the best rookie class by far last year. They enter this draft in a position to take the best player available, so they take Clelin Ferrell as a steal at this point in the draft. He fits perfectly in their 4-3 system as a DE.
27. Oakland Raiders Josh Jacobs RB Alabama
Josh Jacobs might have been one of the lowest rated recruits on the Alabama roster, but he turned out to be a five-star talent. Jacobs is the first RB off the board, going to an offense in need of some fresh legs in the backfield. Gruden will love this kid carrying the rock.
28. Los Angeles Chargers Dexter Lawrence DT Clemson
Dexter Lawrence was a big hoss in the middle of the defensive line at Clemson allowing teammates to flourish on defense. He’s great at run defense, and an adequate pass rusher as well. Though his biggest contribution for the Chargers defense might be preventing linemen from doubling Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram so often.
29. Minnesota Vikings (Trade w/KC ) Garrett Bradbury OL North Carolina State
The Vikings were expected to be a contender last season especially with the expensive addition of Kirk Cousins, but inconsistency on offense (mostly offensive line) prevented them from making the playoffs. Minnesota trades back knowing the talent for interior linemen is strong. Bradbury would be a day one starter for the Vikings.
30. Green Bay Packers N’Keal Harry WR Arizona State
With their second first-round selection the Packers add yet another weapon for Rodgers. Harry is known as a physical receiver that will win more than his fair share of 50/50 balls. Rodgers would enjoy throwing jump balls in his direction.
31. Los Angeles Rams Erik McCoy OL Texas A&M
The Rams have some holes to plug in the middle of their offensive line so look for that to be addressed with their first pick. McCoy could play either Center or Guard in the NFL, which gives Los Angeles some the option to replace Roger Saffold or John Sullivan.
32. New England Patriots Noah Fant TE Iowa
Gronk has announced his retirement, and even if he doesn’t follow through, I think the Partriots would still make this pick. Fant isn’t the complete TE that his Hawkeye teammate Hockenson is, but the day he is drafted he becomes one of the most athletic TEs in the league. Feels like a case of the rich get richer.