1. Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals
While this may not be the best move for the team from a team-building perspective, the belief is that new head coach Kliff Kingsbury will use this pick to begin to make his mark on this team. He has stated that Josh Rosen is a fit for his system, but that hasn’t stopped the endless flood of rumors coming out of the building that Murray will be the pick. From a football perspective, this is intriguing, because the success of this pick will hinge on the Cardinals ability to build an offensive line capable of giving Murray enough early protection to do what he does best and create down the field. The problem, of course, being that the ideal situation would be to take a top offensive lineman in this draft. You can’t have both in this scenario, so it looks as though the Cards will be going into the season with many of the same issues that plagued them last year, unless they trade back out of this pick.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
This is the ideal scenario for John Lynch, and 49ers fans everywhere. Nick Bosa is a well-developed and pro ready edge defender, who will be able to pair up with DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, Solomon Thomas and new addition Dee Ford to wreak havoc on the offenses of the NFC West. Bosa still has some growing to do in his game, but he has incredible tools and a mature, technique-sound approach.
3. New York Jets: Josh Allen, DE, Kentucky
This fit just feels inevitable. The Jets are trying to rebuild their 3-4 with special talents at all 3 levels. With Jamal Adams in the secondary and CJ Moseley manning the middle, the outstanding pass rusher is the next piece and Josh Allen gives them that and more. Allen is a very well-rounded prospect who was a more traditional coverage linebacker first, but became a pass rushing force as his college career went along. His athleticism and prowess will bring needed juice to a Jets pass rush that had only Leonard Williams and Henry Anderson to scare opposing offenses.
4. Oakland Raiders: Devin White, LB LSU
Adding Brandon Marshall and Vontaze Burfict is nice, but neither is a long-term answer at a position that has too long been the black hole on the Raiders. Devin White brings a young stud into the position for potentially five years, and maybe more than that, for which the entire defense can be built around. This is an intelligent, forward-thinking move for Jon Gruden and has a very Mike Mayock feel to it.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
The Bucs must be pinching themselves with Williams falling to them at fifth, Gerald McCoy is on his way out and though they just spent high draft capital on Vita Vea, he doesn’t bring the incredible game-wrecking ability and insane athleticism that Williams does. The two could form a special duo to kickstart a young and ascending Bucs defense, provided they solve their issue at safety, opposite Justin Evans.
6. New York Giants: Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan
Though Haskins could be the pick here, GM Dave Gettleman’s MO is to build the trenches first. He’s done some great work on the offensive line so far, with the recent addition of Kevin Zeitler transforming the unit. The defensive line, however, has bled talent, losing JPP, Snacks Harrison and Olivier Vernon since he took over. Rashan Gary is not a fully realized player, but figures to be a moldable chess piece that will fill holes that need to be plugged. He’s a great piece to the puzzle on this Giants defensive rebuild.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
Though the Jags need to continue to build the O-line, it’s hard to imagine them passing up the chance to give QB Nick Foles his big weapon. Metcalf fills the role Allen Robinson vacated last offseason, and has much higher physical upside. With his absolutely eye-popping measurables, it’s hard to believe some team in the top ten won’t fall in love with the potential.
8. Detroit Lions: Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State
Trey Flowers is a great addition and a great piece to be the glue on this Lions defense, however, he is not an adequate replacement to what Ziggy Ansah brought at his peak. Montez Sweat could be, and it’s hard to imagine the Lions passing up the chance to draft such a unique talent as this 6’6 255 lb pass rusher that runs a 4.4 and actually has very solid tape. Sweat will go in the top 15, and probably in the top ten.
9. Buffalo Bills TRADE to New York Giants: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
I find it highly suspicious that people have speculated seemingly every quarterback but Drew Lock to the Giants. This is especially considering that Lock would have a fairly ideal scenario here in which the regime continues to voice its unwavering support of Eli Manning as the starting QB. Lock absolutely needs to sit and develop with NFL coaching, and he could do worse than sitting behind a highly intelligent and accomplished veteran like Manning. Once he is ready to take over, he’ll have the benefit of one of the most dynamic young running backs in the game and what’s shaping up to be a very solid offensive line. Of course, Elway is in love with Lock, the latest version of himself, so the Giants have to leapfrog the Broncos to make this happen. The Bills, meanwhile, see far more value in sliding back and picking up extra draft capital, waiting for better value later in the round. They have the unique position of having their franchise quarterback in place, and having few glaring holes on the roster after a highly active offseason.
10. Denver Broncos: Jonah Williams, T/G/C, Alabama
With the temptation of Lock gone, the Broncos can focus on building around Joe Flacco and waiting for next year’s superior crop of QBs. In that vein, a player like Jonah Williams, who is very intelligent and had great interviews at the combine, to go along with dominant tape, figures to plug right in wherever the Broncos need him. That may be at left tackle, where he played well for Alabama the last two years. The concern of short arms with him is viable, but the Broncos are betting on a player with an extremely high floor, similar to the departed Matt Paradis.
11. Cincinnati Bengals: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
It seems like the Bengals always need secondary help, but drafting a player like Baker could add a physical edge to a secondary, and defense overall, that scared no one last year in the second half of the season. The offense for the Bengals is a mess, but the new regime needs to hit on this pick, and Baker has the mentality of a lockdown corner. This addition could unlock the entire defense and allow the Bengals to shift to a more Ravens-esque type of squad (tough, physical defense and running game).
12. Green Bay Packers: Andre Dillard, T, Washington State
With David Bahktiari in place, drafting a tackle may not make sense on the surface, but Dillard has special measurables that indicate his ability to be incredibly effective on the right side, where incumbent Byran Bulaga will soon need to be replaced. For a team with few holes after a strong defensive free agency, improving Aaron Rodgers’ protection is paramount for success under new coach Matt LaFleur.
13. Miami Dolphins: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
They never really replaced the departed Ndamokung Suh, and continue to build a young, talented defense. They have Jerome Baker manning the middle, Xavien Howard and Minkah Fitzpatrick are patrolling the secondary, but adding a dynamic athlete like Ed Oliver could be a boon once this team is ready to compete in a year or two. Oliver will probably take some time to reach his potential, I expect him to begin to reach his prime around year three.
14. Atlanta Falcons: Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
Surprise! The Falcons know they can’t afford to go into the season with just Devonta Freeman, and they have very few holes on the roster as it stands. Jacobs fills the Tevin Coleman role with a bigger, stronger Alvin Kamara-type back in Jacobs. He has fresh legs with under 300 college carries, but shows an excellent all-around game, with notably stunning balance, something that has been the calling card of young stud backs Kamara and Ezekiel Elliott.
15. Washington Redskins: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
It’s hard to imagine such a talent as Haskins to fall this far, but I’ve heard very little hype about Haskins in NFL circles so far. I wouldn’t be surprised if a team like Cincinnati tried him out, but in this scenario, the Redskins stand pat and get my favorite QB prospect in the entire draft at 15. Haskins has a rare, vintage pocket passing style to go with solid functional athleticism. He’s a perfect replacement for Alex Smith, and adds more juice at this point in their respective careers.
16. Carolina Panthers: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
It seems like the Panthers have been trying to fix their mess of a secondary for years now, but quietly they’re really only one or two pieces away with James Bradberry, Donte Jackson and Eric Reid in place. Adding Byron Murphy locks down the ever-important Nickel slot, while also giving them excellent insurance, should one of their starters be injured or underperform. I could also see a tackle or edge rusher here, but there’s no great left tackles left available. Brian Burns, however, is a real option here as well.
17. Buffalo Bills: Jawaan Taylor, T/G, Florida
The Bills have an excellent young left tackle in place with Dion Dawkins, and got their stud center in free agency in Mitch Morse, With Jon Feliciano and Ty Nsheke also in place, they can afford to slide Taylor wherever he fits on the offensive line. What they’ll get is a massive human with excellent anchor and solid movement skills for his size. He’s still learning the game, especially the leverage aspect of it, and where he should set up his blocks on the edge, so starting at guard could be the way to go. Either way, continuing to invest in Josh Allen’s protection is a great idea and fits the profile for coach Sean McDermott.
18. Minnesota Vikings: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
The Vikings must allow Anthony Barr to be more of a Jack linebacker (pass rusher primarily on the edge) if he is to reach his potential and hide his weaknesses in coverage. With that, they need a true off-the-ball dynamic athlete at linebacker, who can run with the speedy slot receivers and tight ends of the NFC when called upon. Devin Bush is that athlete, and boasts solid instincts in the run game as well.
19. Tennessee Titans: Chris Lindstrom, G, Boston College
The number one goal for coach Mike Vrabel this offseason should be improving protection for his fragile starting QB. Lindstrom is a rock-solid prospect who should be a day 1 above-average starter, and certainly improve on the departed duo of Josh Kline and Quinton Spain.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Brian Burns, DE, Florida State
Burns would be a stand-up rush linebacker with the Steelers, and with his long lanky frame and arms, that may just be an excellent NFL fit for him. The Steelers lack pass rush juice off the edge, opposite TJ Watt, and it’s been a big problem with their recent defensive iterations. Burns has an excellent first step and constantly pops on tape, as a relentless and bendy edge rusher.
21. Seattle Seahawks: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
A reliable target, and dynamic athlete down the seam is something that has been notably missing throughout Russel Wilson’s career. The Jimmy Graham trade ultimately didn’t add this element, but the addition of Fant will, and suddenly would make this offense very difficult to stop, considering the power running game, and excellent route runners already in place at receiver in Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett.
22. Baltimore Ravens: A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
This is the rugged, tough wide receiver that John Harbaugh wants. Brown is a fluid route runner, who makes his hay in the short to intermediate range of the field. He presents a very friendly target for quarterbacks and has a great feel for finding holes in zones and creating early separation in man. He would become Lamar Jackson’s best friend instantly.
23. Houston Texans: Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
Greg Little is everywhere in the draft process, but he makes too much sense for the Texans, where he will be an improvement over their current situation, pretty much regardless, as Matt Kalil is slotted as the current starter. Besides that, he has an ideal body for the position, and reminds me of former Ole Miss stud Laremy Tunsil.
24. Oakland Raiders: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
This is the perfect tight end for Jon Gruden and his run-first offense. Hockenson will be a favorite of Derek Carr for his pass blocking ability, and excellent feel for leveraging himself open in coverage. His biggest strength, though, is as a stud run blocker, he can be an extra offensive tackle when needed, despite his relative small size. Hockenson is a rare throwback tight end in the mold of prime Jason Witten. It wouldn’t surprise me if he’s taken earlier than this.
25. Philadelphia Eagles: Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama
Wilson is an ideal replacement for Jordan Hicks, as a pass coverage-first linebacker. Hicks was even more raw coming out of college, so perhaps Jim Schwartz can give his magic touch to Wilson, who seems like he’s just waiting for someone to tap his enormous potential. At the moment, he’s a run and chase linebacker, with adept coverage skills, who needs to improve his understanding of running lanes.
26. Indianapolis Colts: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
Lawrence is a perfect addition to what is shaping up to be an incredibly well-rounded defense for Indy. A big anchor on the interior of the D-line who adds some pass rush juice as well, Lawrence is a player that can add a physical edge, especially to the Indy run defense, which will make them all the harder to bully.
27. Oakland Raiders: Taylor Rapp, S, Washington
All I keep hearing about Rapp is that he’s one of the safest and most intelligent players in the draft, safe is the key word here. The Raiders simply must hit with these first round picks. Mayock will be under the microscope and a player like Rapp should improve the Raiders defense regardless.
28. Los Angeles Chargers: Will Grier, QB, West Virginia
Some team is going to come after Grier at the end of the first round, there’s a lot of love for him around the league. Why not the Chargers? They’ve continued to recycle the talent under Philip Rivers and look capable of continuing their winning ways beyond his career, so long as they shore up the succession plan.
29. Kansas City Chiefs: Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware
Pairing a deep center fielder with a sideline to sideline playmaker like Tyrann Mathieu would be a great start for a fully re-tooled Chiefs secondary.
30. Green Bay Packers: Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabama
After shoring up Rodgers’ protection, the Packers could stand to add a tight end of the future and Irv Smith has as much upside as anyone in this draft that didn’t play college football at Iowa. He set receiving records for the position at Alabama, with over 700 yards and 7 TDs in 2018, so his receiving game comes fairly pro-ready.
31. Los Angeles Rams: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
The Rams are in a position in this round where they can afford to swing for the fences with a top ten prospect like Simmons. His fall comes primarily due to a predraft injury, but some teams are also concerned about a domestic violence incident his freshman year. His game profiles similar to Fletcher Cox, and pairing that with Aaron Donald long-term sounds like a great recipe for the Rams.
32. New England Patriots: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
The Patriots continue to bring in young quarterbacks behind Brady, and if Jones isn’t the one to finally take up the mantle, he’ll continue in a rich tradition of yielding draft capital a couple of years down the road. Jones profiles as a tantalizing pro-ready prospect, but with limited upside he tumbles to a very grateful New England.