- The top players heading into April’s NFL draft remain the same, but with the NFL coaching carousel nearly stopped and the Senior Bowl in the rearview mirror, how do the remainder of the picks shake out below the top four?
Since our last NFL mock draft, Clemson took down Alabama in the College Football Playoffs National Championship, the deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft has passed, plenty of NFL head coaches have been fired and hired and the Senior Bowl has come and gone. How does all of this impact our latest NFL mock draft?
1. Arizona Cardinals: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Nothing to see here—Bosa is still the top pick in this draft. At the Senior Bowl, Ohio State receiver Terry McLaurin said that when he spoke to Cardinals personnel, they asked him if he would draft Bosa. McLaurin said, “Yes, for the No. 1 overall pick.”
2. San Francisco 49ers: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
To no one’s surprise, the redshirt sophomore declared for the NFL draft after the Crimson Tide lost to Clemson in the national championship. Williams had a breakout year in his first season as a full-time starter, proving himself against top-level competition in the SEC. Teams might question whether the 19-year-old’s maturity level, and one scout said teams just don’t know enough about his character to check off that box, but his play on the field is a sure thing. At 300 pounds, he can be a three-down player in any scheme.
3. New York Jets: Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan
Gary has as much raw talent as any player in this draft. His ability to play the edge or inside pushes him into the top three of the mock, and his combination of size, strength and athleticism makes him a difficult matchup.
4. Oakland Raiders: Josh Allen, OLB/DE, Kentucky
Allen’s decision to return to the Wildcats for his senior season last year paid off—he’s bigger and stronger, has improved his pass-rush technique and proven himself as a run defender. Oakland needs fresh talent on defense, particularly at pass rusher, and Allen will prove to be a valuable playmaker at the next level.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jonah Williams, OT/G, Alabama
With Bruce Arians as head coach, this Tampa Bay team will look very different next season. In our last mock draft, we had the Bucs selecting a quarterback, but since then, general manager Jason Licht said the team will be sticking with Winston as its quarterback for next season, the final year of his contract. Tampa Bay has work to do in improving its offensive line, and Williams is a versatile athlete who can succeed at guard or tackle.
6. New York Giants: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
When Oregon’s Justin Herbert decided to put off entering the NFL for another year, Haskins became the No. 1 quarterback choice. Despite real concern over his limited experience as a starter, Haskins has all the physical gifts NFL teams look for in quarterbacks—height, arm strength and accuracy—and he has true franchise quarterback potential.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
I polled scouts about Jones vs. Missouri’s Drew Lock, and it’s a toss-up. Lock had a stronger week of Senior Bowl practice, but Jones played better in the Senior Bowl game, winning the MVP award. One scout said the two quarterbacks are a close 2a and 2b in this draft, and it will just depend on what a team is looking for in their quarterback. Jones gets the edge here because he’s been coached at Duke by David Cutcliffe, who is known for coaching great quarterbacks and preparing them well for the NFL. Cutcliffe coached both Peyton and Eli Manning in college, and teams will expect to be able to throw more at Jones than your average rookie quarterback.
8. Detroit Lions: Devin White, LB, LSU
Head coach Matt Patricia could improve at many positions on this Lions defense, and White has great instincts, athleticism and a nose for the football. Pairing Lions linebacker Jarrad Davis with White could make for a dominant duo, because both are three-down linebackers who can make plays in the backfield.
9. Buffalo Bills: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
The Bills might look to replace 13-year stalwart Kyle Williams in this draft, and Oliver is a disruptive interior player with a high ceiling. His 2018 season was disappointing compared to his ’17 tape, but Oliver’s athleticism is rare for a near-300-pounder and teams see his potential.
10. Denver Broncos: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
Lock had an impressive week of practice at the Senior Bowl, where he showed off his athleticism, arm talent and strong personality. Elway admitted to Peter King that Case Keenum is a “short-term fix,” so the Broncos will be looking again for that franchise quarterback in this draft, and Lock certainly has that potential.
11. Cincinnati Bengals: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
The Bengals pass defense ranked dead last in the league in 2018, so the long, ball-hawking Williams would upgrade one of the Bengals major weaknesses.
12. Green Bay Packers: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
Clay Matthews is in decline, and it’s time for Green Bay to bolster the pass rush with Ferrell. Scouts say he’s a talented and productive pass rusher but not a truly special athlete, which could make being drafted at this spot his ceiling.
13. Miami Dolphins: Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State
Sweat is one of the biggest risers from Senior Bowl week—he had several great days of practice and impressed teams with his interviews. The feeling I got from talking to several scouts is that Sweat’s production on the field outweighs that question about his character—Sweat was dismissed from Michigan State in 2016 after being suspended for undisclosed reasons for the majority of the ’15 season—and his interviews at the Senior Bowl helped him in that regard.
14. Atlanta Falcons: Jeffrey Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
If Grady Jarrett leaves in free agency, the Falcons will need another interior force, and Simmons fits that bill. His background will be examined closely—as a high schooler he pleaded no contest to simple assault after striking a woman several times during a fight—and he’s at risk of being taken off many draft boards. But there’s no doubting Simmons’s ability on the field, “If he didn’t have [off-field red flags], he is a top-10 pick all day long,” one scout told us. Simmons is versatile and, between explosive athleticism and masterful hands, often unblockable.
15. Washington Redskins: Jachai Polite, OLB, Florida
Polite fits well as a pass rusher in a 3–4 defense and would provide a more explosive presence coming off the edge, especially as he improves his technique. Washington could also certainly pick a quarterback here in this spot, after Alex Smith’s serious leg injury puts his NFL career in question.
16. Carolina Panthers: Brian Burns, DE, Florida State
Julius Pepper is 39 years old. The Panthers needs to start preparing depth at the position, and Burns has unique speed. At 6' 5" and 235 pounds, he’s smaller than the 280-pound-type of defensive end Carolina has played in the past, but he’s got the potential to develop into that.
17. Cleveland Browns: Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma
The Browns have their franchise quarterback in Baker Mayfield, and now it’s time to shore up protection around him with a study blocker like Ford.
18. Minnesota Vikings: Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
The Vikings still need to improve the offensive line, and Little will go a long way in achieving that goal.
19. Tennessee Titans: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
Wilkins is a four-year starter and an extremely consistent player. He had 15 tackles for loss in 2018, and is incredibly nimble for a 315-pounder. Some evaluators believe he could actually contribute on offense, too (Clemson has used him some as a goal-line tailback). Teams wish he was more physical, because there are questions on how he plays the run, but in the passing game, he consistently wreaks havoc.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
The Steelers felt Ryan Shazier’s absence this season, and Bush would be a great fit to fill that void. Bush’s performance, motor, leadership, athleticism … none of that is questioned. If he was bigger, we might be putting him in the same category as Devin White as a three-down linebacker. As it is, he’s listed at 5' 11" and 230 pounds (and there’s suspicion among evaluators that he’s smaller than that).
21. Seattle Seahawks: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
The best safety in this year’s draft, Thompson had a breakout season as a redshirt junior. Nick Saban’s defensive backs are always coached up, and Thompson has the kind of instincts and range to step into Earl Thomas’s old spot in Seattle’s secondary.
22. Baltimore Ravens: A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
The first receiver off the board goes to Baltimore, who is looking for help for Lamar Jackson. The Ravens have been rotating in a series of veteran receivers, but haven’t had a true No. 1 in years. Brown can make tough catches in traffic and has the size and strength to develop into a physical, catch-and-run possession threat.
23. Houston Texans: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
Deshaun Watson needs better protection—the Texans offensive line gave up a league-high 62 sacks in 2018—so Houston will look to improve the offensive line here with Taylor, who is a raw prospect but has all the right tools to be successful.
24. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago): Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
Head coach Jon Gruden will be looking for a new No. 1 receiver after he traded Amari Cooper to the Cowboys partway through the 2018 season, and Brown could be that player.
25. Philadelphia Eagles: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
Lawrence is primarily an early-down run-stuffer, but he has a rare combination of size and athleticism and has flashed upside in the pass-rush. His gargantuan body type is really hard to find (6' 4", 350 lbs.) which makes him an intriguing pick for the Eagles, whose recent success has come in large part from investing heavily in offensive and defensive lines.
26. Indianapolis Colts: N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
At 6' 4", Harry is a big target who has shown an ability to consistently make difficult, contested catches downfield. He’ll work well in the Colts offense opposite T.Y. Hilton.
27. Oakland Raiders (from Dallas): Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
With three first-round picks in this draft, Oakland has the flexibility to take a risk on the dynamic quarterback. We already know Gruden is open to drafting an undersized quarterback, and Murray’s size has forced him to rethink his previous idea of a quarterback prototype. As for incumbent quarterback Derek Carr, Gruden has shown a pattern of trading away Raiders best players as part of his rebuild, and according to Spotrac, Oakland would save $15 million against the salary cap in 2019 if Carr is released or traded before June 1, and $20 million after June 1.
28. Los Angeles Chargers: Dre’Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State
The Chargers’ performance in the AFC divisional round against the Patriots made it clear they need to get stronger in the interior. Jones is still raw, but he can be molded a number of different ways as a 290-pounder who moves like a much smaller man. He’d be a nice, high-upside piece for the Los Angeles defense.
29. Kansas City Chiefs: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
A versatile and aggressive corner, Murphy would brings ball skills and the ability to cover the slot to a Chiefs defense looking to solidify on the back end. He’s on the small side but more than willing to step up in run support.
30. Green Bay Packers (from New Orleans): Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina
Samuel had a strong week at the Senior Bowl, catching everything thrown his way and showing off his quickness in space. Free agent Randall Cobb may be done in Green Bay, so new head coach Matt LeFleur may call on a talented young receiver.
31. New England Patriots: Jaylon Ferguson, DE/OLB, Louisiana Tech
The FBS all-time sack leader (45) is a productive pass rusher with a variety of moves at his disposal. He hasn’t been talked about as much as the other edge rushers in the draft, but that’s just how New England likes it. At some point, the Patriots are going to have to think about Tom Brady’s heir, so there’s also a good chance they could go quarterback with this pick, depending on who is available at this spot in the first round.
32. Los Angeles Rams: Oshane Ximenes, DE/OLB, Old Dominion
Ximenes will be the first player from Old Dominion to be picked in the NFL draft. He had 12 sacks in 2018 and a dominant week at the Senior Bowl, and already has a variety of pass-rushing moves at his disposal.
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