It is Mock Draft Monday! The first mock after the regular season for college football — a sad landmark, surely, but a big signpost on the road to Draft Town.
Two declarations stand out in this mock: that of Ole Miss WR D.K. Metcalf, who has officially entered the Draft as a redshirt sophomore; and of Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins, who has been rumored to be decided as well as a redshirt sophomore. Haskins feels like a Round 1 lock in a weak quarterback class, while Metcalf has big Combine questions to answer. You’ll find both in the Top 10 of this particular mock.
If you’re a Cowboy or Saint fan, never fear — there are Round 2 picks for you at the end of the mock. If you’re a Bears fan…just enjoy your great season and ask me for a Round 3 fit on Twitter @BenjaminSolak.
Let’s get it poppin’.
This mock draft order is updated with the Week 12 results besides that of SNF and MNF, because I ain’t staying up that late.
1. San Francisco 49ers
Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
This will be one of those drafts for which we know the first overall pick a month before the actual day, if San Fran remains the leadoff hitter. They need a Bosa-level talent badly on that defensive front, and Baby Bosa remains the best player in this class despite the fact he hasn’t played in over a month. Look for San Francisco to invest heavily in both trenches as they look to build a perennial winner with a healthy Garoppolo.
2. Arizona Cardinals
Quinnen Williams, iDL, Alabama
Arizona may not desperately need a defensive tackle, but it’ll be tough to complain once you watch Quinnen’s tape. I do not dispute that this team needs offensive help at a ton of spots, and I entertained Jonah Williams here, but Steve Wilks likely won’t pass up the opportunity to bring in a blue-chipper on the defensive interior. Quinnen provides a plug-and-play starter next to Corey Peters, with a greater pass-rush profile from Day 1. If you want to get excited about the offense, head on over to Round 2.
3. Oakland Raiders
Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
With the emergence of Maurice Hurst as a dominant force (who could have seen that happening?), you have to wonder if this Oakland team will go chasing an elite defensive tackle in Ed Oliver with their early pick. They’ve got bigger needs elsewhere.
It will be tough to shuck the Mack narrative come draft time, so I expect them to go EDGE early — Ferrell is the next man up, who has checked every box in his final season with the Tigers: burst, bend, power, and finishing ability. He doesn’t have a Mack ceiling, but he’ll produce in Year 1.
4. New York Jets
Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
Three EDGEs in the first four picks? Why not? Burns, like Ferrell and Bosa, has the potential for multiple double-digit sack seasons in his career if the fit and development turn out right. The Jets have some good interior disruption from young players like Nathan Shepherd and Leonard Williams, but they simply must get some explosiveness off the edge to step into the next level of modern defense. Burns offers elite pass-rushing tools, and will have the freedom to rush from wider alignments given New York’s personnel.
5. New York Giants
Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
It’s easy, when making a mock draft, to just give the Giants the top QB available and keep on truckin’. I won’t buck the trend here: to pick anything other than a quarterback would be truly flabbergasting for this front-office. With Haskins likely to declare and Herbert likely to return to school, the inside track for QB1 runs through Ohio State. I’m more bearish on Haskins than others seem to be, as he’s an inconsistent player still in need of years of development to be trusted — but he’s also New York’s best shot at a high-ceiling starter.
6. Jacksonville Jaguars
T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
I’m here for the madness with a Top 6 tight end. Let’s get weird.
Jacksonville desperately needs pass-catching help, but I don’t think they’re gonna shake their run-first identity any time soon (unless they move on from The Great Bortler). A true in-line tight end makes a ton of sense for how the scheme works — and that’s why I brought T.J. Hockenson to the table, the best in-line tight end in this class. Hock is only a redshirt sophomore, but with the way he’s dominated for the Hawkeyes and continued to become stronger and faster, I think he’s a future elite prospect at the position.
7. Atlanta Falcons
Jeffery Simmons, iDL, Mississippi State
It’s still tricky to peg a great fit for Atlanta in the first round, as their roster seems so much stronger than their play. I toyed with a corner but landed on Simmons, a Top 5 talent who will deal with character questions from a violent incident earlier in his college career. Simmons’ potential is sky high, and you’ve seen some truly dominant play this season. Ed Oliver falls beyond Atlanta, because he doesn’t really fit beside under tackle Grady Jarrett — Atlanta needs at least one big body somewhere on their defense…right?
8. Detroit Lions
Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
Two Iowa TEs going Top 8?! Well, when they’re the two best players at the position in the class, why the heck not? Hock beat Fant out because he offers more as a blocker, but Detroit is glad to introduce a middle of the field threat to run the seam between Golladay and Marvin Jones. I don’t think they’re going to move on from Stafford anytime soon, so you have to pour resources into the offense to try and win with him — Fant serves that mission, with an elite athletic profile and WR-esque tracking and high-pointing skills.
9. Buffalo Bills
D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
Last time I did a mock draft on this here site, I got shredded by #BillsMafia for mocking them a potentially elite DT in Ed Oliver. Well, my dear Buffalonians, Oliver is still on the board — but I’m a good listener.
As the news broke earlier this week that D.K. Metcalf would indeed declare for the 2019 NFL Draft, I wondered how high his ceiling was. This is probably it: working his way into Top-10 consideration with a clean bill of health and stellar Combine testing. Metcalf’s density-adjusted athleticism will top the charts, and his tape beats that of teammate A.J. Brown when put under the microscope. Buffalo needs WR help and shouldn’t shy away from any fit/style of play — so Metcalf unseats Kelvin Benjamin, thank the good Lord in heaven.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
Tampa benefits from a defense heavy Top-10, as Jonah Williams slides past the Bills, the Cards, and the Jets to land in Tampa. I considered Greedy Williams here, as that was another complaint I received in my recent mock draft — but because Greedy has struggled this season, I’m no longer positive he’s a Top 10 pick. Not so with Williams, a stellar mover with great patience and technical versatility on the outside. He offers tackle/guard versatility, but I’d start him at RT to replace the aging Demar Dotson.