The holiday of Halloween is an important mile marker on the year. It signals the coming cooler weather, that Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner, that the current year is coming to a close, but most importantly, it reminds us that the football season is halfway done, and the chances are your team probably sucks and isn’t going to win anything this year.
Halloween is all about spooky illusion. It’s about dressing up. It’s about being something you’re not — in a fun way. So far, in 2018, we’ve seen NFL teams do their best impersonations of teams that were actually worth a damn, only to wake up to an early Halloween hangover and realize it’s time to get back to reality.
But thankfully for all NFL fans, no matter the costume, with the NFL draft in sight there’s still a chance to get a treat instead of a trick, in the end.
Here are 32 of the best treats the college football world will have to offer your team come next spring.
P.S. Reese’s is the best Halloween candy. It’s not close.
1. New York Giants
PICK: Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
The Giants need a quarterback; that has become very clear. However, even the player who I believe has the best chance to be the first quarterback taken, Oregon’s Justin Herbert, has not done enough to overtake what seems to be one of the most sure-thing draft pick we can find in this class, pass rusher Nick Bosa.
Bosa can play any spot on the defensive line and can play it well. He has similar athletic traits to that of his brother, Joey, and those traits allowed him to go No. 3 overall in the 2016 draft. Nick might have even better hands and might be even further along than his brother was, at this time in their careers.
As New York has begun to fire sale their team, they cannot afford to pass on a dynasty roster piece like Bosa.
2. San Francisco 49ers
PICK: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
It wasn’t long ago that the 49ers were riding one of the league’s longest winning streaks into the 2018 season, and everything was looking up for them with a young, charismatic coach and a quarterback to match.
Then Jimmy G got hurt, and it exposed a lot more holes on the roster than the team thought they had.
The 49ers could go a few different directions here, but if picking this high in the draft, I believe giving them a young, lockdown cornerback would be the most beneficial for their scheme long-term, if Bosa is not available.
3. Oakland Raiders
PICK: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
It’s been a little over a month since my last mock draft, and since then the Raiders have positioned themselves to have three selections in the Top 20. Their own organic pick is the one that is selecting right here, and with it they should choose a player who possesses a skillset that doesn’t exists in every draft.
Deionte Thompson is truly a rare player. His instincts and his abilities give him one of the most complete games for his position. As a single-high type safety, Thompson has the potential to be a building block for a defense for years and years, no matter the scheme or the coach.
4. Arizona Cardinals
PICK: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
A Cardinals defensive line selection that isn’t Ed Oliver? Gasp!
Now that your cliche black-and-white movie reaction is through, it’s time to face the facts of Quinnen Williams. Oliver is a great talent, no doubt, but the fact of the matter is he’s only 275-280 pounds. Williams is 6-foot-4, 295 pounds and has a lot of the same traits Oliver does, just at a safer size for the NFL. He’s stout in run blocking, but he’s also one of, if not the, best interior pass rusher in the class.
That’s the potential pairing this team is looking for with Chandler Jones off the edge.
5. Buffalo Bills
PICK: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
The Bills could honestly pick a quarterback here, and not only would I not mind it, I’d applaud the stones it would take to do it.
But, they won’t.
Instead, they’re likely going to remain invested in quarterback Josh Allen for another year or two. If that’s the case, they’re going to need to do everything they can to make sure the big boys in front of him are as skilled as they can be.
Williams has been locking down the left side of the line for Alabama for years now, and he’s done it against some of the best competition college football has to offer. Some rumors are floating around that the NFL might view him more as a guard. I don’t see why that would be necessary, but no matter where you put Williams, the kid can block his ass off.
6. Cleveland Browns
PICK: Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State
“Hakeem Butler? Is he serious? He can’t be serious.”
Oh, I’m serious.
The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Butler is proving to be one of the best mismatch receivers in college football. Not only does he win with his size, but he also does so with balance and strength, often running for many yards after the catch, which is why he’s averaging over 22.0 yards per catch for the season, with six touchdowns to boot.
At his size, Butler’s style of dominance over cornerbacks, at times, reminds me of A.J. Green. I think Green was more explosive of an athlete laterally, but I do think their play styles are similar, and I believe their ability to win one-on-one matchups can come in a lot of the same ways. Butler has never had a 1,000-yard receiving season in college, but neither did Green. Both were underutilized, but when targeted, were difference makers consistently.
For that, I think Butler’s a future No. 1 in the NFL, as long as he works to perfect what his craft can be.
7. Indianapolis Colts
PICK: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
Slowly but surely Indianapolis general manager Chris Ballard is getting this Colts roster back to contention caliber when it comes to picking up wins week-in and week-out. Luck seems to be back for good (thank God), and they have two nice defensive pieces in Malik Hooker and Darius Leonard.
Oliver would complete the quest to have a dominant, young player at all three levels of the defense. On a defensive line that is searching for an impact player, Oliver would be able to move inside and out to contribute and get the most of his talents.
8. New York Jets
PICK: Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
I think the Jets could go a handful of directions here, but I think edge rusher would be their best bet, especially with the board falling like this.
Ferrell isn’t as quick-twitch as some of the other pass rushers in the class are, and for that he’s not as flashy of a pick. But the ideal size and ability to both stop the run and rush the edge at high levels makes him a complete defensive end, perfect for what the Jets are trying to do to compliment their interior and make their defensive front “whole”, if you will.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars
PICK: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
All that defense needs is just a little bit of help and the Jaguars could be back where they were last year competing for a playoff spot and maybe even an AFC title, but as long as Blake Bortles is the quarterback, that isn’t going to happen — and the morale of the defense will affect their performance, as we saw in London this past week.
Herbert isn’t perfect, but he’s the best quarterback this class has to offer.
10. Denver Broncos
PICK: Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama
In an ideal world, I think the Broncos would love the chance to trade up for Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert. But, unless they plan on losing a lot more games, I’m not sure they’ll be able to pick high enough in the draft to do it.
So, they’ll do the next best thing.
There’s a chance Brandon Marshall could be let go next season, as his contract is a team-option for 2019, and Todd Davis isn’t a guy you’re trying to build your core around. Mack Wilson is. Wilson’s athletic ability, reliability and his instincts in the middle are cornerstone-like traits.
11. Tennessee Titans
PICK: Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama
The Titans have their future edge rusher in Harold Landry. They just need to surround him with the right cast to let him do what he does best each week.
That starts with getting stronger up front, specifically when stopping the run and taking up blocks on the interior. Davis is one of the best in the class at that. At 6-foot-7, 300-pounds, Davis moves so well for his size. He truly controls A and B gaps with brute force, and would be just what the doctor ordered for the Titans’ defense.