Well it’s the week before the Super Bowl and you know what that means, nobody has anything better to do than read meaningless January mock drafts, so here you are folks, Standing Room Sports Mock Draft 1.0. As a note I try to do my best to fit my talent evaluation with the needs on each team, this is not a prediction of what I think will happen, rather what players I think would be a good fit to each team in round 1. All that said let’s jump into it.
1) Arizona Cardinals: Nick Bosa, Edge, Ohio State
I want to get more creative here but it comes down to taking the best players available for Arizona. They are a team in a good position to trade back and acquire picks as a team with a ton of needs, but pairing Bosa with Chandler Jones is a terrifying proposition and will mask a lot of problems with the rest of this defense.
2) San Francisco 49ers: Josh Allen, Edge, Kentucky
Quinnen Williams is the better player, but that’s no knock on Josh Allen who has a rare combination of athletic ability and feel for the position. Quinnen will be tempting here, but I can’t pull the trigger for a team with no edge presence, and a stockpile of interior guys under contract. Getting Jimmy G back, this team is only a couple pieces away from a playoff run, and Allen gives this team the pass rush off the edge they desperately need.
3) New York Jets: Quinnen Williams, IDL, Alabama
Another team with a ton of holes, you have to just take good players and work the rest out later. Quinnen may be the best player in this draft, and Leonard Williams may be on his way out the door after next season. If Williams is gone you need a dynamic player on the D-Line, if you find a way to keep Leonard around you have two great pieces in the middle to allow Greg Williams to deploy his aggressive style. How many times can I say Williams in one pick?
4) Oakland Raiders: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
It’s simple, Oakland will be looking for a pass rusher to replace Khalil Mack, and the two guys who I believe are a tier above the rest in this class are off the board. Instead of reaching for a guy like Ferrell, Burns, or Polite, Gruden fills another big need with the best corner in this draft. I have Murphy as a top 10 player in this class, as a sticky, physical man corner, who, along with Gareon Conley will allow you to get more creative with blitz packages to manufacture pressure.
5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
Tampa hasn’t had a good offensive line in quite some time, and I think they’re going to give Jameis an honest shot to prove himself as the franchise QB in his contract year. Jonah should be a very good LT at the next level, but there are questions about his reach. Good news is that if tackle doesn’t work out for some reason, you just picked up an All-Pro guard.
6) New York Giants: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
If the Giants don’t pick a QB here New York may burn to the ground. I know next year’s class looks like it will be much better on paper, and I could hear an argument that says they should take another position player and wait it out, but Eli was brutal this year and this team needs to find a way to move on. Take Haskins, let him sit behind Eli for 6 games or a season depending on performance, and give this team a chance to move forward to the future. Haskins is far from a perfect prospect, but he has all the tools you look for in a potential franchise QB.
7) Jacksonville Jaguars: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
Jacksonville has been public in saying they’re moving on from Bortles, and I think they’re going to have a hard time ignoring what happened the 2nd half of the season in Baltimore. These two teams are built eerily similar, and Jacksonville will be smart to follow the template John Harbaugh laid down. Play great defense and control the ball with a strong running game lead by a dynamic play maker at QB.
8) Detroit Lions: Ed Oliver, IDL, Houston
Detroit will move on from Ziggy Ansah this off season, leaving a huge hole at the edge spot, and desperately needs a 2nd CB opposite Darius Slay. That being said this is a great edge class in free agency, and I think the best way for Detroit to move forward under Patricia is sign a veteran edge rusher, and take one of the best players in the 2019 draft class in Ed Oliver. On a team with Snacks Harrison, the best space eating DT in the league, Patricia could use an explosive, dynamic player that can move around and cause havoc in the backfield.
9) Buffalo Bills: N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
Josh Allen showed he has what it takes to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, now you need to give him some weapons. Robert Foster showed signs of being a speedy deep threat you can count on, but the cupboard is otherwise empty. N’Keal Harry is an alpha receiver you can put on the boundary and feed the ball; he’s a beast after the catch and has the size and athleticism to make plays in the red zone. Harry is my WR1 in this class and would give Allen a true threat he can count on early in his career.
10) Denver Broncos: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
Case Keenum is under contract for one more year, and in this situation John Elway should ride with him and wait for the 2020 class as the top 2 QBs are already off the board. In the meantime, adding a guy like Greedy Williams opposite Chris Harris would give Von Miller and Bradley Chubb the time they need to pin their ears back and cause problems for opposing QBs.
11) Cincinnati Bengals: Devin White, LB, LSU
While I’m not as high on Devin White as many in the draft world, the need is too big for Cinci to pass. White is tremendously athletic for the position, but needs to be more consistent with his effort to fulfill his potential. A guy like Vontaze Burfict should help him develop a “killer instinct” mentality.
12) Green Bay Packers: Jachai Polite, Edge, Florida
I thought about TE here, but Jimmy Graham, while being a failed project at the moment, is signed through 2021, so it’s hard to imagine investing much more money in the position at this point, so they take another position of need with Jachai Polite, a bendy pass rusher with a great 1st step. You have Kenny Clark in the middle, now deploy Polite opposite Nick Perry and get after those quarterbacks.
13) Miami Dolphins: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
It’s hard to imagine Miami passing on a quarterback here. They are ready to move on from Tannehill under a new coaching staff, and call me crazy, but I don’t think Brock Osweiler is the guy they’re going to turn to. Drew Lock has a live arm, can make every throw in the book, has improved his footwork in his final season in Missouri. He reportedly had a nice Senior Bowl week in front of NFL personnel in both on and off the field situations.
14) Atlanta Falcons: Jeffrey Simmons, IDL, Mississippi State
This pick will come down to their decision with free agent DT Grady Jarrett, who is likely to cash in with big money this off season wherever he ends up. If I’m Atlanta I let him walk and take advantage of one of the better IDL classes we’ve seen in some time. Simmons is an explosive disrupter in the middle, exactly what Dan Quinn likes inside with Tak McKinley and Vic Beasley under contract on the edges.
15) Washington Redskins: DK Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
The Redskins are in a tough position with this pick. There is a lot of uncertainty around Alex Smith, but with 3 QBs off the board, I don’t think it’s a good idea to reach for a Daniel Jones or Will Grier. We have no idea who will start the season at QB for Washington in 2019, but why not give him a monster weapon to help him out. Metcalf is the prototypical WR1 at the next level, but a lack of production and injury history leaves a bit of a question mark. His potential is limitless and I think you take a shot here on a team with no true threat on the outside.
16) Carolina Panthers: Clelin Ferrell, Edge, Clemson
Clelin would fit the Carolina defense like a glove. They have the linebackers, and have the presence in the middle to make life easy for an edge rusher, they just don’t have one on the roster. He has the size and athleticism to play with his hand in the dirt or standing up, and has a variety of pass rush moves to give the Panthers a complete, dynamic front 7.
17) Cleveland Browns: Christian Wilkins, IDL, Clemson
Honestly it sounds crazy, but Cleveland doesn’t have a whole lot of needs. One spot they could use is an interior presence next to Larry Ogunjobi. Christian Wilkins is a bad man who made a good decision to come back, improve his game, and win another national championship his senior year. He has racked up over 40 TFL and 16 sacks over his four years, and he will complete a devastating defensive line in Cleveland.
18) Minnesota Vikings: Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma
If the Vikings draft anything other than an offensive lineman here just go ahead and cancel the franchise. Cody Ford is a beast and will fill your right tackle spot for the next decade. He’s a phenomenal pass protector, with the strength, athleticism, and mentality to excel in the run game as well. Don’t overthink this pick, go with the sure thing in Cody Ford.
19) Tennessee Titans: Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina
Tennessee needs to give Marcus Mariota a chance to prove he’s the guy to lead this franchise. He hasn’t been given many weapons since he arrived outside of Corey Davis, who shown flashes of brilliance but has been inconsistent. Deebo Samuel is a big play waiting to happen and has the speed and footwork to get open and give Mariota an open man in short to intermediate routes, with a rare ability after the catch to take it the distance on any given play.
20) Pittsburgh Steelers: Brian Burns, Edge, Florida State
Defense, defense, defense. There’s a lot of positions and players to look at in the 1st round for the Steelers, but I think you simply take the best player available on that side of the ball, in this case Brian Burns. He’s a savvy pass rusher with a great feel for the position, though he plays at under 240 lbs which will cause him to fall to this point in the draft.
21) Seattle Seahawks: Nasir Adderley, Safety, Delaware
Picturing this kid in Seattle just warms the soul. He’s a phenomenal athlete, he’s extremely physical, and has the versatility to play really anywhere in the back end. The defensive backfield is a huge hole for this team right now, and Adderley has All-Pro potential at the safety position.
22) Baltimore Ravens: Chris Lindstrom, IOL, Boston College
The Ravens have made it clear in their switch to Lamar Jackson, this team will be a run heavy team that will try to beat you into submission on both sides of the ball, only problem is their interior offensive line is, well, not good. Marshall Yanda is a staple but he’s 34 years old, their tackles are among the top position group in the league, but the rest of their interior needs help. Lindstrom is an experienced, dominate run blocker with a ton of good tape.
23) Houston Texans: Yodny Cajuste, OT, West Virginia
It’s no secret that the Texans need help on the offensive line, specifically at both tackle spots. Cajuste is a big ole’ bully, and while he is inconsistent at times in pass protection, he has the tools to make you think you can coach him up. He’s the best pure tackle available at this point and Houston has to take a chance.
24) Oakland Raiders (Via Chicago): Montez Sweat, Edge, Mississippi State
We went corner at the top of the draft, but the Raiders have to come away with an edge prospect in one of these three day 1 picks. Sweat is a long, athletic, powerful edge rusher who has the body and physical tools to excel in the NFL. He’s a bit stiff, and isn’t going to be the bendy pass rusher that someone like Jachai Polite is, but he can beat you in a variety of ways, and has the power to step in from day 1.
25) Philadelphia Eagles: Charles Omenihu, DL, Texas
The Eagles have a great front, but they lack any depth, have a decision to make with Brandon Graham, and are getting up there in age. Charles Omenihu is a versatile guy who can give you a pass rush from the edge or slide inside and make plays. He’s a pterodactyl with crazy long arms that he uses well to set up his rush, and would give the Eagles another year with a dominate defensive front.
26) Indianapolis Colts: Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia
This is a pick I’m going to mock over and over again. Ridley feels like a perfect piece to give Andrew Luck to allow him and this team to take the next step on offense. TY Hilton is a big play machine, now they need a guy like Ridley opposite him who knows how to get open. He’s a savvy route runner with a great release off the line of scrimmage, and has tremendous body control to make acrobatic plays on the sideline when you need him to.
27) Oakland Raiders (Via Dallas): Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
CB, check. Edge, check. Jon Grudon fills another hole with what was a top 5 prospect the first half of the CFB season. Thompson had a rough end of the year, but there’s no doubt he has the traits and mentality to be a play maker at the next level. Has the athleticism and mentality to excel in man coverage, and the physicality to make plays in the run game.
28) LA Chargers: Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama
Man the Chargers are loaded. There’s truly only a couple needs for this team as they are already one of the best, and most balanced teams in the NFL. Linebacker is one of those needs. Wilson is an instinctive, athletic linebacker who is super intelligent and rarely gets caught out of position. He fills a hole at the LB spot the Chargers have had for some time now.
29) Kansas City Chiefs: De’Andre Baker, CB, Georgia
Physicality, toughness, experience, ball skills. Baker isn’t the most athletic corner in this draft, far from it, but he makes up for it by being extremely tough in press coverage. He’s shown that he will be beat deep from time to time, but with the pass rush KC generates, they ideally don’t need him to cover for more than a couple seconds, and he has shown the ball skills KC looks for at the position.
30) Green Bay Packers (Via New Orleans): Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State
As of today, Green Bay is solid in both tackle spots with Bakhtiari and Bulaga. That said their interior is a joke, and Bulaga might be on his way out. Risner is a guy who can play basically anywhere but LT and excel. He’s incredibly smart, he uses his hands better than probably anyone in this class, and can fill a need for GB, be it RT or on the interior.
31) LA Rams: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
The Rams have a clear template on defense under Wade Phillips; acquire play makers, and create a scheme around their strengths. Devin Bush is a freaky athletic linebacker who plays like his hair is on fire from start to finish. He has a great mentality for the position and, while undersized, will be a plus starter in this league from day one.
32) New England Patriots: Dexter Lawrence, IDL, Clemson
The Patriots have two DTs currently signed through next season, and neither are very good. I expect them to resign Danny Shelton, but they could use another body in the middle. Lawrence is a guy I think suffering from “prospect boredom”. He was once seen as a clear 1st round pick, who by no fault of his own play, has started to slide down boards. He’s a tremendous player with the size and strength to play right away.