We are officially in the New Year and what better way to start it off then a brand new mock draft? With the regular season officially over, the top 20 selections are all set but we’re still waiting to see how the other picks pan out. To pick the placements for the last 12 spots I went on and took the liberty of predicting how the playoffs would finish.
- Arizona Cardinals
EDGE Nick Bosa, Ohio StateThe younger Bosa brother has been my top player since the summer and it will not change the rest of the way. However, there is a chance he may not be the first overall pick. The Cardinals could probably use a player like Quinnen Williams over Bosa but the team is in no shape to be picking for need. They go for top player here and this way, they don’t allow their division rival to get the best player in the draft.
2. San Francisco 49ers
EDGE Josh Allen, Kentucky
After ruining their chance to pick first and take Nick Bosa they are relegated to take the next best edge rusher. They have already gone inside with Solomon Thomas, Deforest Buckner and Arik Armstead over the past few rounds so there is no need for Quinnen or Ed Oliver. They take the good Josh Allen who will instantly provide a pass rush presence on the outside who also has the versatility to move around a little bit in space.3. New York Jets
IDL Quinnen Williams, Alabama
I know this is not exactly what all you Jets fans are going to want to see, but hear me out. Leonard Williams is a possible trade candidate, Nathan Shepherd did not provide much in his rookie season as a 25 year old, Henry Anderson is a free agent who may not fit in the next coaches scheme. We may want a Jonah Williams or the top edge rusher but if they stay at three, they need to take the best player available and that easily happens to be an interior lineman. This Williams has blown everyone away with how he performed this season, constantly creating pressure whether it be against the run or pass. He would likely line up as a three technique but he should be able to play as a five if needed. If you still haven’t watched him for some reason, make sure you keep an eye on #92 during the championship on Monday night.
4. Oakland Raiders
IDL Ed Oliver, Houston
The Raiders officially traded away Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper to end with this pick as well as two picks between 21 and 32. Jon Gruden and new General Manager Mike Mayock will have their hands full making sure they make the most with these three selections. Just like the other teams ahead of them, they do not have the luxury of picking for needs. Ed Oliver is the best player available who could move around the line if needed. Rookies Maurice Hurst and PJ Hall did a nice job shoring up the interior this year but you can never have enough linemen, just ask the reigning Super Bowl champs.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
OT Jonah Williams, Alabama
After firing Dirk Koetter and not promoting from within, they will need to do what they can to help Jameis Winston in what is likely his last opportunity to prove himself to the franchise. Donovan Smith regressed a bit this past season leading me to believe they’ll try to replace him and there is no better option than Jonah. The three year starter doesn’t have the length some would like to play the position so if that proves to be a problem he can still move inside and turn out a successful career there.
6. New York Giants
QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
Thankfully, Dave Gettleman and company decided that it was for the best to pass on Sam Darnold last season leaving him for the Jets. But now they still need a quarterback and with Justin Herbert returning to school for his senior season, that leaves just one option. The Buckeye had his ups and downs this season as a prospect. Showing inconsistencies against pressure but showing great touch and accuracy to all levels. He is a big body, with a strong arm who can open up the Giants offense more than Eli can. Best thing for him is to not be forced to play right away and that happens to be the best thing for us to see Eli play in blue one more season.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
EDGE Brian Burns, Florida State
The Jaguars took a huge hit this season completely falling off after being so close to a Super Bowl just a year ago. Now they find themselves searching for a replacement at quarterback but there is nobody they should take here. Go the veteran route for a year or two instead and continue to build the foundation in which the contender was built in last season. Burns has been one of my favorites from the start and would squeeze in as Fowler’s replacement. The weight debate may soon be coming to a close as it’s been said he could be around 245 once the combine hits. Could be a riser on many boards if true.
8. Detroit Lions
S Deionte Thompson, Alabama
This happens to be great value from my board but top safeties seem to be falling into the teens for some reason. Still, the Lions take Thompson here to get their Devin McCourty for Patricia. Not to say he is the same player as McCourty but Thompson is as reliable as they come on the back end. The range mixed with the ability to come up and make a tackle in the box is coveted in today’s game. Glover Quin is getting up there in age, so here’s his eventual successor.
9. Buffalo Bills
WR Kelvin Harmon, NC State
Josh Allen came in for Buffalo and showed why so many people loved him in last year’s draft process but also showed why even more didn’t. Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll did a good job getting creative to allow Allen to make some plays but sooner or later they’re going to have to get some talent for him. Zay Jones shined a bit and undrafted free agent Robert Foster had some great games down the stretch but here they get their #1, big bodied target. It may be a bit of a reach but it’s not unreasonable for him to go late in the top 10.
10. Denver Broncos
CB Byron Murphy, Washington
Now the top cornerback on my board stays out West. The Broncos had arguably the best secondary just a couple years ago, but now Aqib Talib is gone and both Bradley Roby and Chris Harris will be free agents in the next two off seasons. Murphy comes in looking like Denzel Ward who has the ability to play in the slot or outside. He has ball skills to go along with his stickiness in coverage. It would’ve been nice to see him play more man coverage but when he did he still stood out.
11. Cincinnati Bengals
LB Devin White, LSU
I’m not quite sure if there will be any other player projected here for the rest of the draft season. With Mack Wilson likely going back to school, no other linebacker will contend with White for the positions top spot. The former running back is still learning the position making his ceiling even higher. He has the athleticism that this defense really needs. They’re old and slow, outside of a couple players, and bringing in a player like White would be a nice change of pace from Vontaze Burfict.
12. Green Bay Packers
EDGE Jachai Polite, Florida
The Packers are unfortunately out of the playoffs again this year meaning there is no Aaron Rodgers to watch. In order to get there, they’re going to need more help outside of Rodgers. The defense for one could use some help off the edge. Clay Matthews is a shell of himself and Nick Perry is a JAG. Polite could come in day one and be the guy they need right away. He’ll need some time developing his game against the run but he isn’t absolutely useless there. But in today’s game, they need someone who can just pin their ears back and get after the passer.
13. Miami Dolphins
IOL Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin
The Dolphins are one of the eight teams to fire their head coach after the season. So there are questions about what they’ll run on offense and defense but no matter who they hire they absolutely need a center. We all know Wesley Johnson and Travis Swanson from their days on the Jets. Those two just happened to be the two centers on their roster. Biadasz is the best one in the draft and that probably includes free agency too. Build the offensive line for whoever you get to play quarterback next season.
14. Atlanta Falcons
IDL Rashan Gary, Michigan
Obviously Dan Quinn is known for coming from the Seahawks and that amazing defense. What they will need is some extra help up front just like those defenses had. Tak McKinnley has been a nice player but Vic Beasley has struggled since his 15 sack season and Grady Jarrett is an impending free agent. In comes Rashan Gary to help fill a void. He can play the Michael Bennett role for this defense moving all around the line. If he can just put on some weight, Gary can dominate the interior with his elite athleticism.
15. Washington Redskins
QB Drew Lock, Missouri
Alex Smith had that scary injury earlier in the season and that could potentially end his career. With his status up in the air, they’re going to have to consider every option. Drew Lock doesn’t sit nearly this high for me at the moment but it’s not hard to see someone really like him after the draft process. He has a big build, strong arm and some athleticism. The beginning of the season was a struggle for Lock but from the Florida game on, he looked like a different player. Jay Gruden will get his chance to groom a young quarterback after all this time.
16. Carolina Panthers
EDGE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson
Panthers get some good value here with my fifth edge rusher coming off the board. The team has seemed to try to keep their guys for as long as possible but now is the time to grab a younger guy at the position. Ferrell looks like a better fit in a 4-3 front making this a clean match. He has one more chance to prove himself as the best edge rusher behind Nick Bosa, facing off against Jonah Williams. If he can get to Tua a time or two from that side, that’ll look really good to draft evaluators.
17. Cleveland Browns
OT Yodny Cajuste, West Virginia
This is an odd sight. It seems like it’s been 15 years since the Browns have picked outside of the top ten. Baker Mayfield and the other young guys really helped improve this team, bringing them within one game of being .500. The one young guy that failed to make an impact was offensive lineman Austin Corbett. He looks like he’ll ultimately move inside so they need to bring in a legitimate left tackle. Cajuste is an athletic lineman who moves really well, making that even better when you have a mobile guy like Baker behind him.
18. Minnesota Vikings
IDL Raekwon Davis, Alabama
It was honestly an embarrassing feat for this team to miss the playoffs. On paper, it doesn’t seem like they need all too much but what they can do is bring in more help up front. Sheldon Richardson will likely walk and Linval Joseph isn’t getting younger turning 31 this year. Davis is a monster at 6’7 310 who will play the three technique on this defense. Maybe this will help them dominate up front like 2017 and get back to the playoffs next season.
19. Tennessee Titans
TE Noah Fant, Iowa
The Titans were a weird team to watch this season. One week they dominate the Patriots and the next they struggle against the Jets. Sure, the injuries for Marcus Mariota are a concern but they should try one more season with him but just have to make sure there is a more capable backup than Blaine Gabbert. Whoever is under center will need some more help. Delanie Walker is almost done in his mid 30s, Jonnu Smith is a quality player but not a TE1, leaving this spot available for the best tight end in a couple years. Don’t look at the stats for Fant because they don’t quite do him justice. Wait for him to get legitimate looks and his skills will take over.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers
CB Greedy Williams, LSU
Absolute steal for the Steelers here. Not expecting him to fall this far but in this particular mock here he is. The Steelers whiffed on Artie Burns a couple drafts ago and Joe Haden won’t be around forever. They can take the long corner in Greedy and make him their top corner right away. His ball skills weren’t exactly there this year but it’s partially because he wasn’t targeted all that much. This should be his floor come draft time.
21. Philadelphia Eagles
CB DeAndre Baker, Georgia
The Eagles somehow found their way back into January football but it doesn’t look great for them after the first round. If they win they will travel to New Orleans and that first matchup did not go very well for them last time around. A huge part of that big loss was the lack of cornerback help. Yes, there were injuries but all of them have injury concerns. Even with them healthy, the play hasn’t been anything special. Baker will play alongside Sidney Jones with Ronald Darby being a free agent and Jalen Mills being mediocre at best.
22. Indianapolis Colts
WR DK Metcalf, Ole Miss
The Colts front office has done a fantastic job building this roster so quickly. The defense played better than expected, they gave Andrew Luck the protection he has needed since 2012, Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines provided much needed help in the running game and Eric Ebron finally showed what made him a top 10 selection in 2014. Now, they bolster that offense for Luck bringing in a big target on the outside. TY Hilton has been great with Luck but that speed isn’t going to stick around forever and once that depletes, who knows how long he’s got. Metcalf seems like he’ll be okay after the neck injury and if so, his large catching radius will be vital for Luck.
23. Oakland Raiders (from Dallas)
EDGE Montez Sweat, Mississippi State
This is another common pairing as Oakland will definitely go edge rusher in the first round. With Oliver already selected and now Sweat, they have the makings of a very solid, young front. He has the production and skill set but it’s top heavy at the position. Sweat will be at the Senior Bowl later this month and will have a good chance to showcase his skills in front of every team. If he dominates like he can, this might even be a stretch for him falling this far.
24. Los Angeles Chargers
IDL Christian Wilkins, Clemson
Every time the Chargers pick has come around I’m always thinking one of two positions; quarterback and defensive line. I want to give them a quarterback but the team is so close to finally getting Rivers to that Super Bowl. If he can perform like he did for one more season, they’ll have two legitimate shots of making an appearance. An interior lineman will definitely help the front as Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram are garnering all of the attention. A presence of Wilkins up front will open up more opportunities for those two guys.
25. Seattle Seahawks
OL Cody Ford, Oklahoma
In my piece from Saturday, there was a small part on Cody Ford. In it mentioned that he can potentially sneak his way into the first round and after Saturday nights game, it looks even more promising. The Seahawks have failed hitting in their picks for the offensive line but that can’t stop them from trying again. Wilson needs help up front and Ford is more than capable of blocking for a mobile quarterback like him, having been used to Kyler Murray. Maybe he gets kicked inside or stays on the right side, either way it fills the need.
26. Baltimore Ravens
WR Hakeem Butler, Iowa State
Somehow the Lamar Jackson-led Ravens won the AFC North finishing 6-1 with him under center. Jackson played much better than expected but it cannot be a long term option for him to run as often as he does. The tight end position looks solid but they don’t have any long term options at the receiver position. Now, Butler is not my third receiver but it’s not crazy for someone to think he is the best one available at this point. Not only is his catching radius is unbelievable but using his size the way he does catching contested balls consistently makes him a quarterback’s best friend, something Jackson needs. He has his question marks but having someone like him will help out Jackson more often than not.
27. New England Patriots
LB Devin Bush, Michigan
A tight end was in consideration but the thought of them having another tight end right after Gronkowski is done is nightmarish. But I don’t think many fans would complain if they see Devin Bush instead. Bush is, as some would say, “thicker than a bowl of oatmeal”, but he also has the great athleticism to move sideline to sideline. His absence against Florida in the Peach Bowl was huge, showing how much he meant to that defense.
28. Los Angeles Rams
EDGE Jaylon Ferguson, Louisiana Tech
They won’t be bringing back Dante Fowler after only a half season with him. But if there is any draft to need a replacement, it’s this one. The roster is low on edge rushers but here they get the guy with the most active sacks in college football and the most since 2005 per Pro Football Reference, with 45 total. He’s from a small school but in attending the Senior Bowl, he could have a huge week and become more of a household name amongst draft fans.
29. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago)
CB Trayvon Mullen, Clemson
The Raiders continue to build their defense with the selection of the top cornerback left on the board. The secondary is a mess and could look at safety help but none are ranked ahead of Mullen. If there is one, look out for Nasir Adderley from Delaware. However, they get their corner to pair with Gareon Conley, even if Gruden isn’t his biggest fan.
30. Kansas City Chiefs
CB Amani Oruwariye, Penn State
As great as the Chiefs offense is, I’m not sure if their defense is good enough to win them a Super Bowl or in this case even make it. It was a good job getting Kendall Fuller from Washington in the Alex Smith trade last off-season, but the secondary is still not what they had hoped. Oruwariye is an older prospect being a redshirt senior, but only had one season as a starter, with dozens of appearances in his earlier seasons. Now with Bryce Hall deciding to stay in school, Amani was able to sneak into back end of the first round.
31. Houston Texans
OL David Edwards, Wisconsin
The Texans were my AFC representative going into the season and I’m sticking with it. With that being said, Deshaun Watson has been on the run ever since he first stepped on the field for Houston. We saw how it went when the Jets sacked him six times without any real threats up front. The Texans will need athletic guys up front to block and Edwards fits that mold. As a former tight end he moves well but will need to little better technique when he gets to the NFL but that’ll come with more experience and coaching. When it comes down to it, this is the best choice for the team and Watson.
32. Green Bay Packers (from New Orleans)
WR Marquise Brown, Oklahoma
First they took Jachai Polite to help the defense, which in turn will help Rodgers. But now they have to help Rodgers directly, whether it’s a lineman, tight end or receiver. Almost went with TJ Hockenson but with the depth at the position they can wait. Brown is the best deep threat in the class and the Packers are lacking that threat. Every time he touches the ball it has a chance to go all the way. He’s a Tyreek Hill type of playmaker, just a bit smaller frame.