If you haven’t already scrolled to find your favorite team, I implore you to read this brief introduction. I know you want to be triggered by where your team is picking in the draft order, but direct that anger to the Vegas Super Bowl Odds which were used to generate the order. For teams that have the same odds, I placed them in a hat and pulled them at random.
Secondly, it’s August and the NFL Draft scouting process is fluid. Players will emerge while others illustrate notable flaws that heavily impact draft stock. A prospect’s game tape is his resume and there is a defining season ahead to play. Use this mock as a starting point to learn the way I perceive some of the top talent in the 2019 class, which players fit what teams and where the team needs could fall.
Without further ado, dig into my first mock of the season and be sure to let me know what you think!
No. 1 – Arizona Cardinals (Super Bowl odds: 100/1)
PICK: Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
With its franchise quarterback secured in Josh Rosen, Arizona would ideally love to start building around him with a skill player or offensive lineman. But if Arizona has the No. 1 overall pick, snatching up Bosa to rush the passer opposite Chandler Jones is a no-brainer.
Bosa is a technically-refined edge defender that illustrates advanced hand technique and nuance to beat blocks and make plays behind the line of scrimmage. Outside of having great quarterback play, affecting quarterback play is the second most critical aspect in fielding a winning team. Bosa and Jones would immediately be in the conversation as the best pass rushing duo in the NFL.
No. 2 – Buffalo Bills (Super Bowl odds: 100/1)
PICK: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
Just like Arizona at No. 1, Buffalo has its franchise quarterback and would ideally use its top pick on improving the offensive infrastructure around Josh Allen. With that said, picking at No. 2 and NOT picking Oliver is an unforgivable sin. Kyle Williams’ career is winding down, and a glance at Buffalo’s defensive tackle group does not reveal a penetration-style player to serve as a three-technique in Sean McDermott’s 4-3 defense.
Problem solved by drafting Oliver who offers rare burst, strength, block-shedding skills and agility for an interior player. He has the upside to impact a defense like we’ve seen from Aaron Donald in LA.
No. 3 – Chicago Bears (Super Bowl odds: 100/1)
PICK: Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
The Bears are a team on the rise and I love the work GM Ryan Pace did this offseason to improve the offense around Mitchell Trubisky. And the defense wasn’t forgotten by any means, adding Roquon Smith who has the makings of Chicago’s next elite linebacker. The next piece of the defense that needs to be solidified is edge rusher — Leonard Floyd needs a complement on the opposite side.
Ferrell offers a translatable skill set as a pass rusher and features excellent burst, footwork, vision, and hand usage. His variety of moves should make him a high impact pass rusher in the NFL.
No. 4 – Miami Dolphins (Super Bowl odds: 100/1)
PICK: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
If the Miami Dolphins are picking this high in the draft, then it’s unlikely that Ryan Tannehill is the long-term answer at the quarterback position. There were some rumblings that Miami could be in the QB market in last year’s draft and in this scenario, Miami has its choice of quarterbacks.
Lock needs to become a more polished passer, but his physical tools are exceptional and he’s shown steady improvement throughout his career to this point. He has plus arm strength and mental processing skills, with the ability to hit throws with anticipation.
No. 5 – New York Jets (Super Bowl odds: 100/1)
PICK: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
It’s time for the Jets to build the offense around Sam Darnold and this scenario is one where need meets value. Protecting Darnold should be a priority and Williams has the makings of a franchise left tackle.
I love Williams’ footwork, technique and tenacity as a blocker. He should be a high quality starter for a long time in the NFL and a pillar of his team’s offensive line.
No. 6 – Cincinnati Bengals (Super Bowl odds: 100/1)
PICK: Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama
Geno Atkins is in a contract year and Andrew Billings hasn’t proved to be a viable option starting next to him. While I think Atkins will remain in Cincinnati, pairing him with a player like Davis would solidify the defensive line.
In terms of athletic profile, physique and hand usage, there are numerous similarities between Davis and 49ers’ budding star defensive lineman DeForest Buckner. The best defenses in the NFL are those with a deep rotation of defensive lineman and Davis would help build that with the Bengals.
No. 7 – Cleveland Browns (Super Bowl odds: 66/1)
PICK: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
Gregg Williams loves to be aggressive with his pressure packages, which requires strong man corners to hold up behind them. After using a top-five pick on Denzel Ward in 2018, completing the corner tandem with Williams would give Cleveland two high upside guys that are strong pattern matchers.
Williams offers an exciting blend of foot speed, fluid hips, length and coverage instincts that profile him as a No. 1 corner in the NFL. He needs to be more consistent and play to his physical gifts, but his ceiling is considerably high.
No. 8 – Washington Redskins (Super Bowl odds: 66/1)
PICK: Kris Boyd, CB, Texas
Josh Norman has been okay since singing his massive contract, and Quinton Dunbar has grown as a corner, but Washington keeps investing in the secondary to try and find the right mix. I don’t see supplemental draft pick Adonis Alexander as a future starter and Boyd has the makings of a shutdown guy in the NFL.
Boyd is a long, athletic and physical corner that is ultra competitive at the catch point and working through contact in pursuit. He excels in nearly every technique including press, zone and off man, making him a universal scheme fit and a valuable piece in solidifying the Redskins’ secondary.
No. 9 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Super Bowl odds: 66/1)
PICK: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
The Bucs invested heavily on the defense last offseason and that must continue moving forward to get the right mix of personnel in the building. The best way to improve a defense is to get better up front, and Simmons would be a welcome addition to pair with 2018 top pick Vita Vea. I know Gerald McCoy is in the fray but he can be cut after the season with zero dead cap and Tampa would avoid paying him nearly $13 million per season in 2019, 2020, and 2021.
Simmons is an exciting prospect that plays with an unrelenting motor, outstanding play strength, technique and tenacity to get off blocks that will make him an impact interior player in the NFL.
No. 10 – Indianapolis Colts (Super Bowl odds: 66/1)
PICK: Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan
In Malik Hooker and Quenton Nelson, Indy has done well to start building a young nucleus of talent under GM Chris Ballard but it still has a long way to go. Gary is the type of player that can be that next young piece with major upside for Indy’s rebuild.
Gary is a versatile defensive lineman that finds success both on the edge and working on the inside. He has impressive burst, strength and tenacity to beat blocks but is still not a finished product which makes him all the more appealing given the impact he’s already making in the Big Ten.