“It’s the most wonderful time of the yeeeeear. Oh, the coaches are packing, and teams they are tanking, as draft picks appeeeeear. Yes, the most wonderful time of the yeeeeeear.”
Welcome, fellow bad-team watchers. Take a seat. Stay awhile.
The longer the NFL season goes the more we tend to realize, “you know, I’m starting to think my team just isn’t that good.” If you’ve reached that point, we’re proud of you. Admission is the first stage of draft fever.
With just three weeks to go in the NFL season, the final draft order is almost set, at least of non-playoff teams. The picture is becoming more clear on what teams will need and where they’ll be selecting, and with college football players declaring for the draft left and right, it’s time for an updated mock draft.
This mock draft contains 64 selections, so if I didn’t give your team a player from the position you think they need the most in the first round, make sure you read the second round before you yell at me — then you can yell at me.
1. San Francisco 49ers
Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
Well, San Francisco, you tried to screw it up, you really did. You just had to go and beat the Denver Broncos this weekend and nearly soil everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
Luckily, though, you do still own the tiebreaker over the Cardinals via wins (or lack thereof) over conference/divisional opponents.
So, for that, you still get the grand prize of the 2019 draft class, for now. But you better hold onto him. He’s the best player in the class, Nick Bosa, is at your highest need.
2. Arizona Cardinals
Quinnen Williams, iDL, Alabama
Even though the Cardinals haven’t leaped the 49ers in the mock draft order yet, there is still time, and they are still very bad.
One of the reasons they’re bad is because they need a lot of help on the defensive line. Chandler Jones has been wreaking havoc on the edge for years, but he has yet to really be complimented with an interior piece that matches his talent and production. They thought that could be Robert Nkemdiche years ago, but it hasn’t been.
Williams has been the most dominant defensive player in college football this season. Don’t overthink it.
3. Oakland Raiders
Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
Oh boy, a cornerback in the first round and in the Top 5 that ISN’T Greedy Williams?
Byron Murphy is the real deal. He’s smaller in size at 175 pounds, but his 6-foot frame suggests he can still get a little bigger and stronger at the next level. He’s a top-tier man coverage cornerback who wins with good technique, great quickness and good hand usage. He can be played in a variety of different coverages, and the more aggressive your defense wants to go, Murphy can match.
4. Atlanta Falcons
Ed Oliver, iDL, Houston
I wrote this sentiment in a previous article insinuating the Atlanta Falcons must lose the rest of their games this season to maximize what will surely be just a down year with that talented roster. And so far so good since I wrote that piece after their loss to the Green Bay Packers.
By making the most of their off year, they’ll have the chance to pick up a guy like Ed Oliver. I think the Falcons would more enjoy the Quinnen Williams’ type of interior defensive lineman with his size, but Oliver’s talent won’t make this a tough decision. Smaller than normal interior defensive linemen, Oliver wins with some of the best speed the position has seen in a long time. How he holds up with smaller size in the league is yet to be determined.
5. New York Jets
Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
The Jets’ biggest needs lie on both sides of the trenches, but here I have them going with a defensive aid over an offensive one.
Ferrell is having the most quiet 10-sack season I can remember, and the reason for that is likely because he’s been consistently dominating college football for so long, we’ve just become bored with saying his name.
His talent has always been there, and it appears to be getting better. The Jets would be wise to see him in green.
6. Buffalo Bills
D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
Even though the Bills could stand to improve on the defensive line, their defense has been a great story this year; it’s their offense that needs the most help.
Quarterback Josh Allen has been fine, and even though the media loves to beat up on Allen because it’s low hanging fruit, he has progressed. What would allow him to take the next step is if the Bills’ second best wide receiver wasn’t Robert Foster.
D.K. Metcalf would not only be Buffalo’s second best wide receiver, he’d be their first best wide receiver — Trevor, you don’t have to say “first best,” best is implied.
Metcalf missed the last portion of Ole Miss’ season with a neck injury. As long as the neck checks out, this 6-3, 225-pound outside wide receiver was just starting to scratch the surface of what he’s capable of.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
Every Jags fan in America must have been stuffing the ballots (that’s not a thing here) trying to get Dwayne Haskins to win the Heisman, because if he had won, you figure he would have for sure declared for the NFL Draft. He may anyways — he may have already shortly after this mock draft publishes, but Lord knows I’m not going to put in an ounce of extra mile work here to simply delete this sentence — and if that’s the case, he won’t get past Jacksonville.
The biggest question mark with Haskins is you just don’t know how much of what we’re seeing is the baseline or the ceiling. Haskins has the size at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, but as just a red shirt sophomore in his first season of action as the starter, who knows how much of what we’ve seen is consistency, and what is naturally repeatable?
He’s a risk, but one the Jags will surely take.
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
As someone who covers the Tampa bay Buccaneers, I’m not sure exactly how we got to this point, but the Buccaneers have one of the worst offensive lines in football. Not that it’s one of the least talented, but wholly moly could they not block a soul against the New Orleans Saints. And on top of that, they had a ton of penalties, too.
It’s becoming clear that their current left tackle Donovan Smith isn’t going to be worth the money he’s going to command this offseason, as he is in a contract year. The Bucs should honestly let him walk, and if they do, they’ll certainly be in the market for one come draft time. If they can get their hands on Jonah Williams, one of the most reliable left tackles in college football over the last few years, they should.
9. New York Giants
Will Grier, QB, WVU
Oh, New York, you’re blowing it. You had a Top 5 pick wrapped up for you under the Christmas Tree, and you ruined it by trying to open it early.
If the Giants aren’t picking in the Top 5, I think they’ll be the ones taking the second quarterback in this draft class. Regardless of the streak this Giants team will go on to finish out the year, and even if they think Eli Manning is their guy for 2019, they can’t let themselves have another draft go by without addressing the quarterback need with a high pick.
10. Detroit Lions
Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
The Lions do have a few needs on the defensive side that they could go with, but if Greedy Williams happens to make it to pick No. 10, I think they would take their chance on him.
Williams doesn’t come without his faults as a prospect. He’s still raw with how he plays the position, but the size, the length and the athleticism is all there. If he can get the technique and the film study background down, he could be a strong lockdown cornerback for years in this league.