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Early April Mock Draft
Published at 4/5/2019 4:17:41 PM
Trades included in this three round mock.
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Brilliant is one word I can use to describe how the Arizona Cardinals have everyone guessing and spinning their heads. Nobody seems to really know what they'll do with this pick. They've looked at Kyler Murray, supposedly fielded trade offers for Josh Rosen and are now eyeing Nick Bosa. For now, I'll keep the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner in this spot because even if the Cardinals don't take him, they could trade with a team (Raiders?) who will move up to this spot to take him. If Murray does land in Arizona, the electric playmaker with a dynamite arm would fit very well into Kliff Kingsbury's offense. About 10 months ago, it was thought he was going to play baseball after the Oakland A's took him 9th overall in last year's MLB Draft. At the moment, I'm about 70-30 in believing Arizona takes Murray despite the meetings with Bosa.
Two most likely directions with this selection are probably Nick Bosa or Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams. Pairing Bosa with the newly acquired Dee Ford would give the Niners an excellent duo on the edge. The younger Bosa compares very favorably to brother Joey, who is a star pass rusher for the Chargers.
Assuming Gregg Williams is indeed sticking to a 3-4 defense, Josh Allen would be a very good fit with the Jets. The former Kentucky Wildcat is one of many freak athletes on the defensive side of the ball in this draft class. He recorded 17 sacks in his final college season, including three in UK's Citrus Bowl win over Penn State. One thing that would be fun if this happens is when the Jets play the Bills. Josh Allen the pass rusher would be trying to sack Josh Allen the quarterback!
Edge rusher and inside linebacker are definitely bigger needs for the Raiders, but Oakland certainly couldn't go wrong by taking the best player available in this scenario, which is Quinnen Williams. The Alabama defensive tackle might be the best defensive lineman the Crimson Tide have put out in recent years, which says a ton. This guy is gets it done both as a run stuffer and pass rusher. Put him next to Maurice Hurst and the Raiders have a pretty intimidating interior on their defensive line.
Tampa Bay's three most likely options appear to be staying put and taking Devin White, staying put and taking Montez Sweat or trading down. I'm going with Door #1, Vanna. The LSU middle linebacker would effectively be replacing Kwon Alexander, who departed in free agency to the 49ers. White would bring a different dynamic and tone to the Tampa Bay defense as he fits the prototype for today's NFL middle linebacker perfectly. White would also effectively be replacing Gerald McCoy as the new face of the Buccaneers defense if they select him.
Good luck slowing down the ascension of Montez Sweat up draft boards. The only thing that's been able to slow it down to a degree was a heart condition, but it doesn't seem like it's anything serious and shouldn't affect his draft standing much (if at all). Sweat is not just some player who has shined in Senior Bowl and combine settings. He's recorded double digit sack totals the last two seasons at Mississippi State. QB Dwayne Haskins could still be in play here, but if the Giants pass on a quarterback at this juncture, I expect they'll select a pass rusher.
Projections are all over the board here as the Jaguars could literally do just about anything other than perhaps draft a kicker or punter. New QB Nick Foles came from Philadelphia as did new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo. Tight end is such an important part of the Eagles offense that it wouldn't surprise me at all if they took Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson. I get that this wouldn't provide the best positional value, but this is a guy who is not only a receiving mismatch weapon, but he's also a great blocker.
Bengals get: Picks 8 and 88 (3rd round)
Lions get: Picks 11, 72 (3rd round) and 110 (4th round)
Cincinnati is a team that seems to be getting overlooked by some when it comes to drafting a QB, but it wouldn't surprise me very much. They just brought in a new head coach in Zac Taylor, and let's be honest, nobody thinks Andy Dalton is the guy who will take the Bengals to new heights. Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins is somebody who could. The former Buckeye QB has tremendous arm talent and also fantastic leadership skills. The Bengals will need to invest in both development and a quality offensive line since Haskins is not a very mobile QB and because I'm not sure he's a first day starter. Not that he'd have to be a first day starter in Cincinnati since Dalton is a very good placeholder for a year or two.
Long-time defensive tackle Kyle Williams retired after the 2019 season. The Bills could look to find a replacement for him early in Houston's Ed Oliver. I'll say it many times in this mock; Oliver is one of the amazing athletic freaks on the defensive side of the ball in this draft. While I don't think he will, there are some who believe he could also play linebacker, which is amazing at his size. He's also a tremendous pass rusher who played out of position at times during his college career. The only reason I could see Buffalo passing on him is because their head coach is Sean McDermott, who comes from the Carolina Panthers. Carolina typically prefers bigger defensive tackles, which Ed Oliver is the exact opposite of. Maybe they'd trade down and target a different defensive tackle, but they could make an exception for Oliver thinking he's too good to pass up.
Trading for Joe Flacco won't necessarily preclude the Broncos from taking a QB in the first round if they like one of them enough. GM John Elway does seem to like Mizzou QB Drew Lock quite a bit. I've seen some people mention him with Patrick Mahomes and seen others compare him to Jay Cutler. Certainly a wide range of opinions there. Lock does have a strong arm and some scrambling ability. If Denver feels like he can be a Mahomes type, they should take him. Should the Broncos not take a QB, I'd think Devin Bush, Devin White, T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant (the latter in a trade down) would garner the strongest consideration.
Steelers get: Pick 11
Lions get: Picks 20, 52 (2nd round) and 175 (6th round)
Pittsburgh seems to have resigned itself to the reality that they most likely won't be able to get LSU linebacker Devin White. The second half of Devin Squared in Devin Bush is more of a realistic possibility. He'd certainly be expensive, but the Steelers do have enough draft ammo this year to afford a move up like this. Steelers GM Kevin Colbert admitted he didn't do enough a year ago to try and find someone to take Ryan Shazier's place. A trade up like this would show major initiative on his part. Devin Bush also fits the modern day NFL linebacker description to a 'T.'
Hold up. Didn't the Packers just sign Za'Darius Smith and Preston Smith in free agency? They sure did, but keep in mind that neither of them has ever recorded a double digit sack season in their careers. It's why I wouldn't rule out that Green Bay takes another pass rusher at 12 if there's one they like. Florida State's Brian Burns was thought of as more of a late first/early second round selection early in the draft process. Then he balled out at the combine and it seems like there's no chance he makes it out of the first round at this point. It wouldn't be a total shock if somebody liked him enough to take him in the top 10. As far as the Packers are concerned, Burns would be a terrific fit in their 3-4 defense.
Shocker as it's Alabama's Jonah Williams who ends up being the first offensive tackle off the board in this mock draft. Miami's offensive line is an absolute mess with the exception of Laremy Tunsil at left tackle. The good news for them is Jonah could likely play any of the five positions on the O-Line. That would make him sort of a modern day Bruce Matthews, although I don't believe Jonah is quite that good. But regardless, he'll be a high-end starting offensive lineman for the next 10 to 15 years. You just put him wherever you want and don't worry about it. The defensive line (Rashan Gary, Christian Wilkins, Clelin Ferrell) could also be in play here.
Value play here for the Falcons as Rashan Gary could be off the board by this point. Another athletic freak in this draft on the defensive side of the ball, Gary does come with more risk than some of the other top flight defensive players in this draft class (Bosa, Quinnen Williams, Devin White), but he's got the same sky high potential and does offer plenty of versatility as he played at many different spots during his Michigan career.
Colts get: Pick 15
Redskins get: Picks 26, 59 (2nd round) and 129 (4th round)
High character player who's great in the locker room? Check. Fills a need as a defensive tackle who can create pressure up the middle? Double check. While it's definitely possible the Colts may not have a shot to get Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, I do think they'd consider a trade up for him if he were still around at about 15 or so. That happened in this mock draft, so they paid the high price to get their man.
Just from a pass protection standpoint only, there may not be a more NFL ready surefire left tackle in this draft class than Andre Dillard. That can't be surprising considering he played in Mike Leach's Air Raid offense at Washington State. He does need some work on his run blocking, but I think it can be corrected with coaching and as he's in an offense that runs it more than they did at Wazzu. Dillard is a freak athletically. He'll be a welcome sight for Cam Newton on the blind side.