Ladies and gentlemen, this is it. The last mock draft on this site.
...because we're launching Phase 2 next Monday, and the entire site will be reimagined, spruced up, and chock full o' fun features like the Build Your Own Big Board and Mock Draft Machine. It was that very Mock Draft Machine that helped me build out this first-rounder that you see here today.
So if you don't like it -- and let's be honest: you never do -- be sure to unleash your tirade on Twitter @BenjaminSolak. But also, get ready to build your own, competing mocks next week.
It's a great time to be alive, folks.
1. Arizona Cardinals: Quinnen Williams, iDL, Alabama
It's very unlikely that you will see me mocking anyone else, besides Quinnen, to the Arizona Cardinals. Either he has to vanish off the face of the Earth, or they have to move on from Josh Rosen. And the former is far more likely.
Quinnen is a blue-chip player, worthy of an illustrious "Top-10" grade on my grading scale and a first overall pick any day of the week. That upper echelon of grading didn't hit a single player last year; Myles Garrett and Reuben Foster two years ago.
Nick Bosa is also a blue-chipper for me, but Quinnen is a better overall talent and presents a solution to a larger need on Arizona's roster. No hesitation.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
It's very unlikely that, for as long as you see me mocking Quinnen Williams to the Cardinals, that you'll see me mocking anyone besides Bosa to the Niners. As Kyle wonderfully wrote this past weekend, the Jets are the fulcrum of this draft. The first two players off the board should be no-brainers.
As I'm sure San Fran fans are well acquainted by now with Nick Bosa and his strengths as a player, I'll take this space to address this: Bosa is a comfortably better prospect than Kentucky's Josh Allen, and I don't understand this burgeoning sleeper cell that has Allen > Bosa. While Allen has a more explosive first step -- certainly a key trait for any edge rusher -- Bosa is above him in almost every other category of play. And in no way is Bosa's first-step explosiveness deficient.
Allen is a better drop defender, if that really wets your whistle -- but if we're drafting pass-rushers, I'm taking Bosa without blinking.
3. New York Jets: Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
And guess what -- if we're drafting pass-rushers, not only am I taking Nick Bosa before Josh Allen; I'm taking Brian Burns, too. Dude can absolutely run under a table. His ankle flexion, ability to drop his hips? They're out of this world. He could develop his hands more, and he'll never win with length the way Allen sometimes can -- but he's a more impressive outside track rusher, and still has effective counters.
It surprises me, in a time in which football is getting smaller/quicker by the day, that people are still worried about undersized rushers. If modern football is about winning in space, and if pass-rushes need to arrive quicker than every because of the decreased time to throw, then Burns' skill-set becomes all the more valuable.
And for New York? Yeah, offensive tackle is absolutely a consideration here. I'm sure they'd like to trade back and take one around 10 overall (looking at you, Denver). But as it stands, Burns is the move.
4. Oakland Raiders: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
First big surprise? It doesn't have to be. When Byron Murphy starts running 90th percentile 3-cones and short-shuttles in Indy, and potentially comes in at 6-foot even, we're gonna start hearing more Top-10 buzz.
Murphy's tape has some high-risk, high-reward nature to it -- there's no avoiding that, given his tendency to ballhawk and freelance out of his zone. But Murphy's instincts are so often true, and his mentality and physicality attacking the catch-point lead to game-changing plays on the ball: INTs and PBUs. And in an NFL that's getting better and better at throwing the football, corners who can create interceptions are becoming more valuable.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
Hey, so the Tampa OL sucks.
I mean, their EDGE pool also sucks, but you can get pass-rush starters in Round 2 and Round 3 more easily than you can get starting offensive tackles, so that's where I'm going in the Tampa rebuild under Bruce Arians: offensive trenches first, then the defensive trenches.
And that's a big point: Arians wants to drop back and sling the pill, and Jameis Winston's freelancing ways can be nicely mitigated by a clean pocket. Time in the pocket should help him stabilize his high-variance play, and Jonah Williams slides into right tackle while providing some optionality at LT in the future.
6. New York Giants: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
I've spent a fair number of blurbs here ripping on Allen, which feels unnecessary -- I just don't think he's as high-level a player as some of other draft analysts do. That said, he has everything you can't teach: size, length, explosiveness, and bend. And his development from 2017 to 2018 spells a nice outlook for his rookie season and beyond: dude has really learned how to attack set points, run a tighter arc, and finish his reps.
It's trickier to mock for the Giants, as we know they're not going QB in the Top 10 -- that's the need they really have to fill. But, like most teams who really struggle in any given season, they're wanting in the trenches. I don't think they're going to invest heavily in a right tackle, even though they should; EDGE is a more feasible approach for that front office.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
I think this is where Kyler goes.
Jacksonville brought in John DeFilippo as their offensive coordinator, and the media hopped on the Foles connection, from his time in Philadelphia. But DeFilippo isn't known around the league as the man who made Foles -- he's renowned for his ability with young quarterbacks, with developing rookies while creating an offense that they can be successful in despite having a limited skill set.
That's what he did with Carson Wentz in Philly, with Johnny Manziel in Cleveland, and with Terrelle Pryor in Oakland. And those three players? They all have plus mobility for the quarterback position. And unless you believe Stephen A. Smith, Murray is the mobile QB in this class.
You know who else I think is a big part of this pick? Jalen Ramsey. He's been pretty vocal about his feelings about Jacksonville's trajectory over his time with the team. They need to make a wave, a splash, to reinvigorate both the fan base and the locker room.
8. Detroit Lions: Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
Detroit fans were not big fans of my first-round pick for them in the seven-round mock I released for them yesterday. It was Jachai Polite, the wicked edge bender out of Florida, and my preferred player over Josh Allen and Clelin Ferrell.
Polite doesn't fit the typical mold of a Bill Belichick -- and, consequently, Matt Patricia -- EDGE, in that he's too small. From an outside perspective, I look at a team devoid of sack numbers and lacking in a wide-9, outside rusher. In general, you want pitchers with different speeds when you're building a defensive line -- but if the Lions, Bob Quinn, and Matt Patricia have their way, so be it.
As it stands, Ferrell makes more sense for their size threshold and play style preferences, and does fill their immediate need. He isn't the player Polite is, but he does warrant first-round consideration for his use of length, hand counters, and staunch run defense.
9. Buffalo Bills: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
Metcalf might be the truth, man. I dunno. If he does at the Combine what he's supposedly able to do in training, we're going to be talking about an elite physical prospect at the position. A once-in-a-decade tester.
And then, you throw on the film. We have a guy who knows how to use his size and quickness to release; to separate downfield; to win at the catch-point. I'm always skeptical of pre-Indy reports on how players will test, but Metcalf could enter Top-5 conversations if everything goes according to reports.
And for Buffalo, this could be a coup d'etat. Metcalf has the potential to be that WR who, in his dominance, completely elevates the entire offense, especially his quarterback. I couldn't be more excited about this pick.
10. Denver Broncos: Ed Oliver, iDL, Denver
I posed to Twitter in the immediate aftermath of the Joe Flacco trade this question:
And I got a shocking number of "Still Denver" responses. Color me skeptical.
I could see it, but moving for Flacco screams "Win now" for a team and front office that's fooled itself into believing it was just a quarterback away. If they want to add the QB for the future, they're likely to do it in a later round, with a player who's better recognized as a developmental QB.
Instead, we go for an impact pass-rusher on the defensive line who can fill in to a weak defensive tackle room for the Broncos. Domata Peko can be returned as a cheap option at that space-eating DT spot, but he and Adam Gotsis alike both offer little to no ability on 3rd down. Enter Oliver, who can penetrate from the interior at an elite level, and will benefit from the reps at 5-technique he would likely get on that defensive front.
11. Cincinnati Bengals: Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma
What to do, what to do, what to do when you need help at both offensive tackle and guard? How about draft a guy who can fit in at both spots? Easy money there.
The general idea of moving good offensive tackles to guard is quite a healthy heap of codswallop, but as an offensive line, you always want to "start the best five," as it were. When you're in Cincy's shoes, with multiple spots up for grabs in the upcoming camp, it's good to have bodies in the building that can start inside and outside. You try out various combinations and get the best out of what's available.
I'm a huge fan of Ford, my OT2 and a graceful beast at right tackle. Cincinnati is looking to transition to a rookie QB sometime soon, I'd imagine, and must begin building the offensive line necessary to keep him healthy and protected.
12. Green Bay Packers: Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida
Great fit here for Polite and Green Bay -- I'm sure this is a pick I've made before. Polite gives you versatility in terms of stance -- hand-in-the-dirt and stand-up -- and in how he wins as a rusher, as he has the quickness and hand technique to fight both inside and outside.
While Green Bay got better EDGE play from Kyler Fackrell this year than they perhaps expected, and likely lack the cap mobility to move on from Nick Perry (at least this season), EDGE is still very much in play early. That defense desperately need to create more heat on the outside rush track; they have a strong interior defensive line and promising young secondary players. They're just that piece or two away from taking a nice step forward in Year 2 under Mike Pettine.
13. Miami Dolphins: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
Easy pick here, and one that doesn't require much explanation: the Dolphins need a QB and Haskins is the only one left who even remotely warrants a first-round selection. And I'm not even that convinced of that, but you gotta play the hand you're dealt, and Haskins is your high card.
Jim Caldwell and Chad O'Shea are the offensive minds running Brian Flores' Dolphins, who have a rather depleted roster and should be considered multiple years away from competing. Haskins will benefit from that time to develop, as well as premiere YAC weapons in RB Kenyan Drake and WR Albert Wilson. Miami's next big task on offense will be moving on from Devante Parker and pairing Haskins with a real WR1, though that may be an effort for 2020.
14. Atlanta Falcons: Chris Lindstrom, iOL, Boston College
I don't think the Jeffery Simmons ACL tear hurts anybody more than the Falcons: that pick made a ton of sense for their team philosophy, needs, and draft slot. Slotting him in to 14 was easy-peasy.
As it stands, they may hope Ed Oliver falls down their way -- but putting Oliver next to Grady Jarrett is really wanting for size on the interior. Perhaps they go a-reachin' for Clemson's Christian Wilkins, but 14 overall seems mighty rich for a player of Wilkins' caliber. They're stuck in a gap in the defensive tackle market here.
As such, I'm going for Lindstrom, who I find myself perpetually rallying for as a strong contender to go in this 10-20 pick range. He's got first-rounder written all over him for his consistency, technical refinement, and physical tools -- and he slides in at either guard spot, depending on how free agency goes for the Falcons.
15. Washington Redskins: Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State
If Washington doesn't go QB, they gotta go wideout -- and to be frank, I think the team that traded for Alex Smith last year will be more than willing to go shopping for a vet once again, if they feel like Smith's career has been ended by his leg injury last season.
So Harmon is the pick. Josh Doctson was once selected for his acrobatic, elevated catches downfield -- and while Harmon doesn't have that to his game, he has basically everything else. Physicality and quickness in the contact window to release; sharp routes at all three levels; catch-point wins with ball-tracking and leverage.
There will still be a role for Doctson, given the lack of WR depth, but Harmon is who you want as your primary downfield threat.
16. Carolina Panthers: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida
Ladies and gentlemen, your new first safety off the board: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson has enjoyed a meteoric rise given wildly improved 2018 tape, especially in a newly developed role as a nickel/box safety.
Now, Carolina just signed Eric Reid to an extended deal, and they have Rashaan Gaulden from last year's draft -- so Gardner-Johnson would have to step into the single-high role which he played with more mixed results over the last two seasons. He has the athleticism to win there, but it's a question of mental processing and maximizing his playmaking ability.
But Gardner-Johnson's versatility gives the Panthers' defense the freedom to rotate, spin, and work three-safety packages nickel packages that play to CGJ's and Gaulden's strengths. That's big versatility in today's NFL.
17. Cleveland Browns: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
Cleveland and first-round corners is really my favorite team-need marriage of this young draft season, as I think a foil to Denzel Ward really takes that defense to the next level.
Greedy isn't nearly as polished a player as Ward was coming out, but he does over a length profile that Ward doesn't have, while also showing the potential to wipe a man-coverage assignment from the ball-game. His fall out of the Top-10 is mostly due to effort questions, especially in the running game -- but it isn't hard to overlook those issues when you see the best coverage reps he has to offer.
18. Minnesota Vikings: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
Hock! My man is a bad sonuva gun, and potentially a huge boost to a Vikings passing attack that went south late in the season. And hey, the running game? He can be a big impact piece there as well.
I gave the Vikings Hock in my last mock draft, and they weren't super bullish on the idea -- but that was the Monday that NFL declarations were due, and I don't think his stock was as elevated as it is now. Maybe they'll be warmer to him now that others have gotten on the Hock Train.
Dude's a Top-10 player, with great athleticism for his size, as always as the room to grow even stronger on his frame. A young player, Hock shows a developed understanding of running schemes and a natural feel for YAC with the ball in his hands. I think he's game-changing for the Vikings offense.
19. Tennessee Titans: Dalton Risner, iOL, Kansas State
As I said in the Bengals pick, I don't really get the whole "force really good college offensive tackles to play guard" thing that NFL teams love doing. Finding reasons to move a guy from a more important position to a less important position just seems silly.
But if that's going to be a thing, Risner -- whose biggest struggle is speed on the edge, and who has college experience and success at guard -- makes the most sense. Tackle flexibility is always a boon for a player's stock, which helps put Risner above other interior OL players like Garrett Bradbury and Elgton Jenkins.
Also: dude is hilarious. He and Taylor Lewan would be best buddies.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Devin White, LB, LSU
Ol' Jonny boy, our resident Steeler fan, said it very well on Twitter the other day:
Well, Greedy is gone, so here we go: despite my opinion on Devin White, who I think shouldn't sniff the first round, he's going to Steelers.
White plays with his head on fire and struggles to come to balance when approaching the tackle point. He's also guilty of over-pursuing plays away from him as a pursuit defender, which surrenders backside cut lanes.
But BOY, that young man can scoot for his size. And he brings a wallop when he tracks successfully, especially into the boundary. He reinvigorates that LB room that's been struggling to bounce back from the Ryan Shazier injury.
21. Seattle Seahawks: Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware
I have trouble riddling out the Seattle secondary: where the coaching staff thinks they have needs, and how they're going to distribute snaps to a lot of players who seem to fill certain roles well. I'm looking for complete players on their depth chart, and I"m struggling to find them.
So I'm going to give them Nasir and tell them to figure it the heck out. Adderley steps into the role of starting deep safety following the departure of Earl Thomas, which kicks Tedric Thompson down the starting roster, and give Brad McDougald the freedom to play up in the box exclusively. Seattle's going to love Adderley's range and natural ability to address the football on the fly.
22. Baltimore Ravens: Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina
A healthy Deebo Samuel could really make waves at the Combine, and he fills a really nice role in this WR class. He's got much better YAC ability than most of these big-body X and Z types, but he doesn't bring the same weight concerns of a Hollywood Brown.
Built like a running back in his squat, thick frame, Deebo is a wildly effective route runner and a surprisingly effective red zone threat because of his ability to separate off the line of scrimmage. He warrants shallow targets; high-percentage throws that will make life easier on second-year QB Lamar Jackson.
23. Houston Texans: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
Going offensive tackle for Houston, even though I still can't shake the feeling that they're going to find a way to neglect the position for yet another year.
Taylor comes in as my OT3, and a better player than 23 overall, so this is a nice little fall for the Texans. Dude's a huge body and great mover, with better hands than he's being given credit for. I love his recognition and discipline as well.
And honestly? Go offensive tackle with the next pick, too. Just go for it until you finally get the OL right.
24. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago Bears): Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan
I don't like Gary as an EDGE -- I have him as an iDL -- but a talent-starved defensive line will benefit from putting him anywhere and everywhere, which is his best path for NFL success anyway.
Gary's gonna blow up Indy, which will distract people from disappointing tape. What remains in his eval is impressive flexibility and explosiveness in massive frame, with elite length on the outside and elite quickness on the inside. Gary will have time to develop as a pass-rusher before Oakland is competitive enough to cash in on this pricy an investment.
25. Philadelphia Eagles: David Edwards, OT, Wisconsin
David Edwards was recently featured in a piece on overrated prospects from Bleacher Report, which I found mighty interesting -- because nobody really talks about him that highly in this class. He's a borderline Top-5 OT, and that's mostly on upside.
Philadelphia is fine with that trade, however: they need an OT to start in 2020, not 2019, the last year of Jason Peters' deal. Edwards has elite athleticism for the tackle position, and a good foundation of technical skills given his limited years playing offensive tackle for the Badgers.
Within a couple years of NFL ball, you expect him to be a starting-caliber player, with a sky-high ceiling.
26. Indianapolis Colts: Christian Wilkins, iDL, Clemson
Wilkins in Indy? That's the right value at a big position of need, and another high-impact culture selection for Frank Reich and the Colts. This makes all too much sense -- if Wilkins is able to last this far down.
Wilkins isn't a Round 1 grade for me, but he's close -- and he immediately becomes the highest impact pass-rusher on an Indy DL that rotated bodies and stunted them in a desperate bid to create pressure.
While the Colts could continue rushing with all those twists and games, they can also ask Wilkins to win one-on-one -- that's something they never had before. If Kemoko Turay takes a step forward in Year 2, we're really cooking with grease.
27. Oakland Raiders (via Dallas Cowboys): Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
I don't think Thompson has any business falling to 27, given his tape, but he's gonna come into the Combine a little small and a little slow on the radar gun, and that's usually enough to make NFL teams think twice.
Thompson fills a huge need on the defensive back end for the Raiders, and hopefully lets Karl Joseph either move into the box or move out of Oakland all together. He's at his most effective working a split-field deep zone, but he can also play centerfield and effect the catch point with great route recognition and a knack for baiting the quarterback.
Byron, Gary, and Deionte. We're really building a defense in Oakland, baby.
28. Los Angeles Chargers: Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama
What do you give the team that's trying to play all defensive backs at linebacker? How about a linebacker who could basically play defensive back?
Wilson has better coverage tape than most college linebackers I've ever evaluated, but he isn't nearly the liability against the run that the Chargers' seven DB defenses proved to be in the home stretch of the playoffs. While he isn't as physical as you'd like to see between the tackles, he has the true sideline-to-sideline range that a LB in that defense will need.
Wilson and Jatavis Brown is probably all the linebacking that LA thinks they need. Maybe they bring Denzel Perryman as a thumper? I'm not sold, but it'd make sense.
29. Kansas City Chiefs: DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia
This is probably the most mocked pick I've seen on the TDN site, but it's too easy to ignore: Baker is undersized, but has a great nose for the football and an admirable competitive spirit. That fits what Kansas City currently has on their roster to a T.
It's also a bit early for Baker, but there aren't much better CB options at this juncture beyond Amani Oruwariye, who I think is too volatile a man-coverage corner for KC's liking. New DC Steve Spagnuolo likes to run some wild match stuff behind his blitzes, and he needs the quickness and anticipation that Baker offers.
30. Green Bay Packers (via New Orleans Saints): Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
So it's EDGE at 12 and TE at 30 for the Packers -- as much as I'd love to see them go Hock at 12 and then pour resources into the defense later, that's just too decadent.
I considered a safety here (Juan Thornhill) or going interior OL (Garrett Bradbury), but I love what Noah Fant brings to the team that wanted New Orleans-era Jimmy Graham and was sorely disappointed. Fant as a seam-buster is huge for Mat LaFleur's play-action approach, and his performance in Indy will remind folks that's he's basically a super-sized tight end. The Titans ran the fifth-highest incidence of 12 personnel last year, so Green Bay gets a chance to replicate that deployment in Graham's last year with the team; his last chance to provide anything to the Packers offense overall.
31. Los Angeles Rams: Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
The Dante Fowler Ram era was fun while it lasted, but this team needs to get cheaper on the defensive line, so I don't anticipate them being able to out-bid other teams on Fowler's services this offseason. There's some interesting talent like Samson Ebukam, John Franklin-Myers, and the untested Ogbonnia Okoronkwo on the depth chart, but an impact starter is needed.
And because the purse is light, Los Angeles takes one of their precious few draft selections -- and their only early one -- and pushes the chips in on Montez Sweat, the long and powerful rusher from Mississippi State. A Senior Bowl darling, Sweat lacks the twitch and bend you'd like to see from a Round 1 rusher, but he developed his pass rush counters nicely throughout 2018, and should offer good Year 1 ability on both run and pass downs.
32. New England Patriots: N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
I could see this Patriots pick going eleven different ways, to be very honest. I still had Dexter Lawrence, Charles Omenihu, Amani Oruwariye, and Irv Smith Jr. on the board. Drew Lock and Jeffery Simmons as well, if you want some real wild cards.
I landed on N'Keal Harry, because why the heck not. I know we're all still holding out hope for Josh Gordon's return to a stable life, but that isn't something to bank on from a team-building perspective. Harry has the frame and physical tools of a true X-receiver, though not yet the technical skill -- but New England always finds a way to get something out of their wide receivers that other teams can't seem to. If Harry plays there long enough, maybe he too will get future Hall of Fame consideration.