Mock draft 3.0 time!
1. This is your team's actual current draft position. Not how awful I think they'll be. Week 9 is almost over, time to start facing some inconvenient truths.
2. This mock is a combination of things I think will happen and things I think should happen. I've tried to identify the egregious examples of where the latter does not take place.
3. Enjoy this mock by tearing it to shreds in the places that deserve it, and @-ing me @LedyardNFLDraft.
1. New York Giants
PICK: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Nick Bosa is the best player in the draft. Justin Herbert isn't. It doesn't matter. You're nothing without a quarterback, and Herbert has the arm strength, fearlessness, athleticism and natural accuracy to be a stud at the game's most important position. He needs development, but that's what an offensive-minded head coach is hired to do.
2. Oakland Raiders
PICK: Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
If the consolation prize for trading away Khalil Mack is sucking enough to land Bosa, the Raiders may not be completely hopeless just yet. This might be the most no-brainer mock draft pick in the history of mock draft picks. Bosa will be a star anywhere he lands in the NFL, and few spots need him worse than Oakland.
3. San Francisco 49ers
PICK: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
Explain to me how Robert Saleh's defense reaches its' peak without a game-changing free safety, because I'm not seeing it. Thompson has unbelievable range and ball skills for the position, two things San Francisco desperately needs on the back end. In a deep edge defender class, they'll find help later in the draft.
4. Buffalo Bills
PICK: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
Williams doesn't come without some flaws, but the Bills desperately need another talented corner on the outside across from Tre White. Adding his former college teammate could complete a Bills secondary that will need to be a huge strength while the team's offense finds a way to climb out of the cellar.
5. Arizona Cardinals
PICK: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
The second-best player in the draft will instantly upgrade Arizona's defensive front, both with his prowess defending the run at the point of attack and his burst and violent hands as a pass rusher. Williams is a complete monster who will be an early impact type of player in the NFL thanks to his smart and technique.
6. Cleveland Browns
PICK: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
Oliver at no. 6?? I think it is more likely than many are imagining right now. This is a dream come true for Cleveland, as they get to pair Oliver with Larry Ogunjobi on the inside with Myles Garrett, Emmanuel Ogbah and Genard Avery on the outside. All of a sudden, the Browns might have one of the best defensive lines in the NFL.
7. New York Jets
PICK: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
I don't agree with Allen going this high, but I'm confident he's going to be a coveted player in the upcoming class. Allen can cover, set the edge and rush the passer, taking huge strides in his game and physical development over the past year. With his arrow pointing up and athletic testing sure to be on his side, Allen could blow up the pre-draft process and fill a huge need in New York.
8. Denver Broncos
PICK: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
What the Broncos really need is a quarterback, but in this class, that wouldn't be a good idea at no. 8. With Garrett Bolles struggling, the Broncos could try to move him to right tackle or simply play Williams there instead. Either way, Denver needs a second tackle and Williams is easily the best and most pro-ready option in the class.
9. Indianapolis Colts
PICK: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
The Colts have played better than I could ever have expected them too, but holes on the defensive line are real and concerning. Indy just doesn't have great talent up front, and adding an athletic and physical phenom like Simmons could give them a behind the line of scrimmage difference-maker up front.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars
PICK: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
I tried to justify giving them a quarterback from what's left of this class. Couldn't do it. They've gotta find one elsewhere. In the meantime, Fant fills one of their few other needs, providing the Jaguars with a mismatch threat at tight end that can line up all over the field and win vertically against linebackers and even defensive backs.
11. Detroit Lions
PICK: Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
How much will Matt Patricia be able to ignore his team's truly dreadful lack of pass rush? Like it or not, Patricia has to be able to impact the opposing quarterback off the edge more often, or the Lions won't be going anywhere next year either. Ferrell is a terrific run defender with an accomplished array of rush moves, but his lack of athleticism could hurt his value on draft day.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
PICK: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
Oh, hey there! Sorry, was just thinking about how the Bucs passed on drafting Derwin James to take a nose tackle with their first round pick a year ago. Crazy times!
Wholesale changes are coming to Tampa Bay, and with it will come new talent. Carlton Davis figures to get an extended shot to stick and one corner spot, while M.J. Stewart should stay in the nickel for next season despite getting thrashed so far as a rookie. Adding Murphy at the other cornerback spot to compete with Vernon Hargreaves, Ryan Smith and the 36-year-old-to-be Brent Grimes would give the Bucs a chance to field a competent starting secondary if their current pieces can keep developing.
13. Tennessee Titans
PICK: Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama
I keep coming back to Tennessee needing more difference makers up front in their defense, especially with Jurrell Casey aging and Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan about to hit the market. Davis' athletic testing will be critical, but he's an anchor against the run and has flashes as a pass rusher that are scary good.
14. Oakland Raiders (via Dallas Cowboys)
PICK: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
The Raiders desperately need to add playmaking ability to their offense, and Metcalf is the best chance at that in this draft. Is his neck ok? We'll learn more in the coming weeks I'm sure, but if he's healthy, Metcalf's size, speed and catch radius would add something to Oakland that has been sorely missed over recent years.
15. Green Bay Packers
PICK: Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida
The Packers are painfully inept at getting to the quarterback off the edge this season, despite a terrific interior defensive line group that consistently creates a push between the tackles. Clay Matthews has been better than Nick Perry this season, and he's probably gone after this year.
Enter Polite, who offers speed/bend pass rush ability that few NFL edges have. He has to get stronger and play the run better at the point of attack, but Polite has the athletic traits to stand out in Green Bay.
16. Baltimore Ravens
PICK: N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
The Ravens could go a number of different directions depending on what happens with their roster this offseason, but I continue to come back to wide receiver as one of their top needs. Joe Flacco worked well with a player like Anquan Boldin in Baltimore, and I think Harry's raw talents share some similarities to the stocky receiver, even if he's more raw.
17. Seattle Seahawks
PICK: Jerry Tillery, IDL, Notre Dame
Man, this just feels like a Seahawks pick, huh? Tillery is big, long, athletic and has some crazy peak play, but developing consistency and technique will be important in the NFL. Seattle needs help on their defensive line, despite how well the group has played this season. Tillery can be that versatile piece on the inside, especially on passing downs.
18. Philadelphia Eagles
PICK: DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia
Ronald Darby could be gone next year, Jalen Mills needs to be upgraded and Rasul Douglas is too inconsistent to be relied upon as a future starter. The Eagles need help at corner, and Baker is one of the more pro-ready defensive backs in the class. I'm not sure he's a great athlete, but his ball skills, instincts and physicality will be very welcome in the Eagles off-man coverage schemes.
19. Atlanta Falcons
PICK: Gerald Willis, IDL, Miami
The Falcons need help up front on the defensive line, which could come in the form of an upgrade over Vic Beasley at edge rusher, or another running mate for Grady Jarrett and Deadrin Senat. Willis is an explosive, one-gap-and-go defensive tackle who is still mastering the finer points of the position. He's lived in opponents backfields this season, and certainly fits what Atlanta is trying to do up front.
20. Miami Dolphins
PICK: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
I've seen three games of Jones this year, and each time I've left the performance thinking to myself, "this is the quarterback y'all have chosen to save this dreadful class??". I don't get the allure, but I do need to see more. I also think he's the type of player who will rev Adam Gase's engine as a strong leader with good intangibles and average physical ability.
21. Minnesota Vikings
PICK: Kaden Smith, TE, Stanford
Minnesota needs help on the offensive line, but given their love affair with Nick Easton when healthy, the contracts given to Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers and the early draft selections of Pat Elflein and Brian O'Neill in the past two drafts, I'm not convinced they target the position in Round 1. Instead, the Vikings may look to upgrade the no. 3 spot in their passing attack by drafting Smith, the next Stanford stud tight end with exceptional ball skills and a balanced skill set as a capable in-line blocker and flex option.
22. Washington Redskins
PICK: Devin White, LB, LSU
Washington has not prioritized linebacker heavily in recent years, but they are building a potentially special group up front, and it would be nice to have a budding star on the second level to maximize the opportunities the havoc-wreaking defensive line creates. White is improved this season for LSU, but he'll need coaching to get him where he needs to be as an every-down starter in Washington.
23. Cincinnati Bengals
PICK: Kaleb McGary, OT, Washington
McGary has some footwork issues that will need to be fixed in the NFL, but he's big, long and athletic with a nasty streak coaches will love. Cincinnati desperately needs help at right tackle, as neither Jake Fisher nor Bobby Hart have proven to be the answer.
24. Houston Texans
PICK: David Edwards, OT, Wisconsin
Edwards is a converted tight end who has picked up his new position smoothly, but what exactly is his ceiling? I'm not sure I see a player who will lock down the edge with elite range against speed rush types, but Edwards is savvy enough with his hands and technique to give Deshaun Watson the time and space needed to survive in the NFL. Can he play left tackle, or will the right side always be his forte?
25. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago Bears)
PICK: Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
Jon Gruden apparently doesn't like any of his team's cornerbacks, which shouldn't really come as a surprise whether they are good or not. Hall has been a fast riser this season, with outstanding ball skills to go with his elite size and length. If he tests well, he might be able to work his way into the Round 1 conversation.
26. Pittsburgh Steelers
PICK: Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama
The Steelers have a crying need at cornerback, but four are already off the board in this scenario. Wilson is a pretty outstanding consolation prize, as his range, coverage ability and ball skills are reminiscent of Ryan Shazier in some ways. He should be a plug-and-play starter for Pittsburgh.
27. Los Angeles Chargers
PICK: Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan
Bulk this man up, play him at 3-tech and thrive. Gary isn't a great edge prospect, but he does have traits that will lend itself to more linear rush paths, including an explosive first step and violent hands. There will be some concerns about the intangibles pre-draft, but L.A could be the right landing spot for him given the opportunity to play alongside competitors like Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram.
28. Carolina Panthers
PICK: Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
The Panthers love their big edge defenders, and boy does Montez Sweat fit that billing. He's been compared to Jason Taylor by some, as Sweat wins in a unique fashion for the position. He's not the bendiest edge rusher, but his hand usage, rush variety and terrific get-off allow him to eat up the arc and win inside and outside regardless of his limitations.
29. New England Patriots
PICK: Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame
Love is smart and athletic, two things New England likes in their corners. Yes, he's still developing his all-around game, but it's hard not to love what he's done this season. Love plays hard, energetic football and competes in man and zone coverage. If he runs a great 40, he'll fly up draft boards.
30. Green Bay Packers (via New Orleans Saints)
PICK: Yodny Cajuste, OT, WVU
It's time to start thinking about life after oft-injured tackle Bryan Bulaga, and Cajuste certainly offers the traits worth developing at the position. He may be an even better fit inside, where the Packers also need a ton of help in their protection of Aaron Rodgers. I think Green Bay would be thrilled about a haul of Jachai Polite and Cajuste in Round 1.
31. Los Angeles Rams
PICK: Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
Burns has been a complete animal as a pass rusher this season, harassing the opposition for pressures and sacks on a per game basis. His bend, speed and array of finishing techniques make him one of my top prospects in the class, so why is he still available in the 30s? There is concern about Burns weight being only in the 225 range, which would obviously be ridiculously light for a 6-5 edge defender. Can he elevate that number and maintain his current athleticism?
32. Kansas City Chiefs
PICK: Dre'Mont Jones, IDL, Ohio State
It feels like cornerback will be the Chiefs first priority in the upcoming draft, but for whatever reason five are already off the board in this mock, leaving them to address other positions. It's a weak class for linebacker, which could push the team to fortify their front line with the addition of Jones, who has played better for Ohio State this season, but has some technical and strength concerns that are keeping him from reaching his lofty peak.