Mock Draft 1.0 – Lee Wakefield

It’s new years eve, it’s end the of the regular season and therefore it’s Black Monday in the NFL. At the time of writing there had already been four head coaching casualties in the wake of the regular season; Dirk Koetter and Todd Bowles were first to go and then Steve Wilks and Vance Joseph followed them on to the scrap heap and now they’re all looking for their next opening.
With this in mind, we now have out twelve playoff contenders and twenty teams who have come up short this season already. Twenty teams who are now looking at what went wrong and how they can make it better in 2019. So that makes it mock draft time, right?
Note; teams 1-20 are now locked in, however 21-32 will be decided by their playoff performance. To decide the order of those teams I have decided to use the Las Vegas odds of winning the Superbowl for the purpose of this mock.
Note 2; at this early stage, I’m not including trades in my mocks and if underclassmen haven’t announced they’re going back to school, I’m mocking them until I know better.
1.Cardinals: Nick Bosa, Edge, Ohio State
This is one of those years where barring something catastrophic, we all know who the first pick of the draft will be. Nick Bosa, the little brother of Chargers’ pass rusher Joey Bosa, is the best player in this class. He’ll team up with Chandler Jones to give the Cardinals an identity on defense as they rebuild their team; a ferocious pass rush.
Baby Bosa is actually a better prospect coming out of Ohio State than his brother was at that stage of his career but like his older sibling, he’s a complete edge defender, excelling in both the run and pass game. Even though he’s not yet in the league, he’d be my heavy favourite to win Defensive Rookie of the Year.
2. 49ers: Brian Burns, Edge, Florida State
This is probably a reach for Burns at this stage but since I’m not allowing myself trades, I’ll plump for the Florida State rusher. Burns isn’t the next best player in the class but since this class is loaded with defensive tackles and San Francisco need more of of edge guy having invested in Solomon Thomas and DeForest Buckner in the last couple of seasons.
A trade down is certainly in the mix here since the 9ers are set at QB and with a premium at that position this year, teams will be looking to move up.
3. Jets: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
After securing their franchise quarterback in last year’s draft, it’s now time to lock down his blindside for the next decade. That’s where Alabama tackle comes in; Williams has the pedigree and ability to be a rock solid starter in the NFL for a long time. Williams possesses the strength and guile to excel in both pass protection and in the run game, he’ll be an unsung hero in New York but it’s something they’ve missed since the days of D’Brickashaw Ferguson. You’re welcome, Jets fans.
4. Raiders: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
In this scenario, the second best player in the draft actually drops into the Raiders laps at number 4. Having drafted P.J Hall in the second round and Maurice Hurst thus may seem like a strange pick, a bit of a luxury pick but my god, Williams is some luxury. 12 months ago, only the biggest of Alabama fans would have even seen Williams enough to predict his rise over this college season. Williams has been simply unstoppable for the Crimson Tide this year and has drawn comparisons to a certain Aaron Donald.
5. Buccaneers: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
The Bucs invested on defense last year in both the draft and in free agency but evidently it did not work since they’re picking in the top 5. The Bucs did invest at corner too, drafting Carlton Davis and M.J Stewart but one thing the Bucs lack on the boundary, is a ballhawk, a playmaker, someone who can change a game… that pretty much describes Huskies corner, Byron Murphy.
Murphy scored the only touchdown of this year’s Pac-12 title game against Utah to hand Washington the title. See what I mean? Game changing ability.
6. Giants: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
So by virtue of being ahead of the Jaguars in this scenario, The New York football Giants land land their passer of the future, Dwayne Haskins. Rumour has it, Eli Manning is going to start for Big Blue in 2019 and that should suit Haskins down to the ground. In my opinion after just one year of starting experience, the Buckeyes QB isn’t ready to start in the pros just yet. Young Simba is certainly talented and can make all the throws, he just needs to work on his consistency so he can make them more frequently. When he does crack the starting line up, he’ll be in a position where he’ll have some premier weapons at his disposal, which always helps young passers… just ask Josh Rosen or Josh Allen.
7. Jaguars: D.K Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
I’m giving the Jags my current wide receiver 1 in this class. The really lack a playmaker in the passing game on the outside as their current crop of pass catchers are all speedy number two types.
Metcalf is pretty raw and will need to expand his route tree but his ceiling is sky high and I’d say it was the highest of all the pass catchers in this impressive class.
8. Lions: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
Prior to the season, Ed Oliver was the number two player on a lot of people’s boards behind Nick Bosa. However the rise of platers like Quinnen Williams and injuries to the Houston man, Oliver is now more of a top 10 prospect… which still isn’t bad.
Snacks Harrison isn’t in Detroit for the long haul but the Lions will need a presence up front alongside him and then to be the torch bearer in future; Oliver can be that guy. Super strong and hyper athletic, Oliver is going to destroy the scouting combine in Indy, in a few months. Then be a problem for interior offensive linemen for years to come.
9. Bills: Kelvin Harmon, WR, N.C. State
Since they dumped Kelvin Benjamin mid season and since they need to give Josh Allen someone to throw to, I feel like Kelvin Harmon to Buffalo seems like a pretty nice marriage.
After logging back to back 1000+ yard seasons both with a minimum of 5 TD’s at N.C State, Harmon has shown he can produce at the college level, something I put great value on when looking at receivers in college. Harmon is 6’3 and has strong hands, a physical style and good route running ability. He isn’t going to run away from many people with his speed but does get a good amount of separation and with that he uses his body well and catches away from his body and that of his opponent.
10. Broncos: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
Bradley Roby gas struggled in Denver recently and Chris Harris Jr. just finished the season on IR. So I think it may be time for a new CB1 at Mile High. The AFC West has a lot of good wide receivers and with the Raiders looking to bolster their ranks, it’s only going to acquire more talented pass catchers.
Greedy hasn’t been quite at his peak this past season at LSU but he’s still very talented and has all the measurables you’d want in an outside corner in today’s NFL. Chris Harris would do well to take Williams under his wing and teach him how to be a pro, since effort and concentration are things are two areas of improvement for Williams.
11. Bengals: David Edwards, OT, Wisconsin
The Bengals have tried to invest in tackle for a while now and are still suffering from the setback of neither Cedric Ogbuehi or Jake Fisher working out. Last offseason they acquired Cordy Glenn from the Bills and despite the fact he’s approaching his 30th birthday, he’s still a decent left tackle. What they do need, However, is a replacement for Bobby Hart on the right side of the line, who can then fill a swing tackle role. That’s where Wisconsin’s David Edwards comes in. Wisconsin has had the most talented line in college football his year and Edwards has been their stalwart right tackle. A former tight end who is a monster in the run game and plays with a nasty streak through the whistle. Joe Mixon should be a fan.
12. Packers: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
The Packers have a gaping hole at free safety since the traded Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix to the Redskins on deadline day and Tramon Williams is almost 40. Thompson fills that nicely as Green Bay continue to recent their secondary after the picks of corners, Kevin King, Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson in the ‘17 and ‘18 drafts.
Thompson is a true MOF (middle of the field) defender with the range to play alone in the middle allowing the other safety to play closer to the line of scrimmage or allowing another corner to play, which gives the defense much more flexibility.
13. Dolphins: Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama
We’re not even out of the top 15 and we’re on our fourth Alabama player.
Before the season started, Davis was the better known of the Alabama defensive tackles, then Quinnen Williams became a star, don’t let that detract from Davis though, who is a fantastic prospect in his own right.
At 6’7 and a tick over 300lbs, Davis is an imposing figure and plays with the power that a man of his size should. He barely gets moved my guards and centers but he does need to work on his pass rush abilities; an area he didn’t really kick on in this past year. Had he have done that, he’d have been a top 5 player.
14. Falcons: Clellin Ferrell, Edge, Clemson
Is Vic Beasley consistent enough? Even if he is, can Takk McKinley take a leap?
I think the answer is no to at least one of those questions, hence why I’m giving the Falcons another edge rusher and even then, if Beasley and McKinley become great, there’s no shame in having three good pass rushers coming off the edge as you can never have enough.
The future of Grady Jarrett could dictate this pick too. If they can persuade the tackle to stay around then the Falcons can go and get an edge guy, if not, then they’ll have to replace him. Either way, Atlanta is in a great position as they have an extremely talented roster and a top 15 pick.
15. Redskins: Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn. State
I sort of agree with Taylor Lewan… Josh Norman isn’t relevant anymore. The former Panther is a system guy who relies on his smarts and competitiveness to win reps, it’s just, he keep a getting burnt. I constantly see Norman giving up TD’s and big plays so it’s time to save themselves some cash and but bait in my opinion.
To compensate, I’ll give them Penn. State’s Oruwariye… a long and fluid corner with ball skills. Sounds perfect!
16. Panthers: Josh Allen, Edge, Kentucky
18.5 tackles for loss, 14 sacks and 5 forced fumbles in the SEC for one of the lesser schools in the conference. Yep, Josh Allen had a productive year to say the least.
The Panthers only managed 35 sacks this whole season and it’s safe to say Julius Peppers and Mario Addison could do with some freshening up.
Allen has insane speed and burst off the edge and around the corner but needs work on his hands and his counters when hand fighting with tackles. He also sometimes struggles to set an edge in the run game but if he can just tee off and go hunting quarterbacks he’ll be productive in year 1, you can teach technique later.
17. Browns: J.J Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Stanford
The Browns have been really fun to watch whilst Freddie Kitchens has been calling the plays so I really hope he’s given the OC job permanently. As a reward for being so fun, I’m giving him a new weapon, Stanford receiver, J.J Arcega-Whiteside. J.JAW plays like a basketball power forward playing wide receiver with the way he uses his body to box out corners and with his contested catch ability.
Arcega-Whiteside gives the Browns something they don’t have, that dominant X receiver who can burst by you in coverage or make that acrobatic catch in the end zone.
Giving Baker Mayfield a choice of Arcega-Whiteside, Jarvis Landry, Antonio Callaway and David Njoku to throw to makes the Browns very dangerous and should give Kitchens a lot of flexibility with what he can call. That group’s diversity will also give opposing defenses big headaches… oh, then there’s Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson out of the back field… enjoy the 2020 playoffs Browns fans!
18. Vikings: Devin White, LB, LSU
I have a sneaky feeling that Anthony Barr is on his way out of Minnesota in free agency, so Devin White is on his way there as a replacement.
White is your modern day linebacker who can tackle from sideline to sideline and whilst being a good tackler, he’s also decent in coverage.
This linebacker class us also way below average in terms of depth and it got worse when Alabama’s Mack Wilson said he’s going back to school. He’d have been a fifth Bama player in my top 20, if he came out.
White is a good prospect whose stock went up with that announcement; I wouldn’t be surprised if a linebacker needy team makes a move up to grab him earlier than anticipated.
19. Titans: Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame
Burrell Casey is great and has been a great player for the Titans for a long time, however he’s getting older and will need some help and someone to take over in the coming years.
The man for the job is Jerry Tillery of the Fighting Irish. Tillery is a power rusher on the inside who get after guards and centers quickly. He enjoyed a breakout year with the Irish recording 7 sacks, up from 4.5 the year before.
He’s a tough player who plays with a nasty streak and there are even some who say he goes a little too far in that sense and unfortunately, he’s had the “dirty” tag put on him by some opponents. I, for one, don’t think Mike Vrabel will care too much about that and will look to get some push up the middle to compliment Harold Landry off the edge.
20. Steelers: Bryce Hall, CB, West Virginia
Every man and his dog knows that the Steelers have suffered in coverage for a long while, ever since they started just drafting athletes on defense instead of guys who are actually good at football.
Hall is a taller corner who could compliment Joe Haden before taking over as Pittsburgh’s CB1. He’s quick and fluid with good recovery speed without being lightening fast. Hall holds his own in man coverage and has good ball skills in both zone and man. Hall has three years starting experience having started at WVU as a freshman; an intangible I am a fan of at a cerebral position such as corner.
21. Eagles: Yodny Cajuste, OT, West Virginia
Two in two for the Mountaineers here as Cajuste follows Hall to Pennsylvania.
Cajuste is a raw prospect at tackle but his ceiling is super high in my book as he has all the physical tools to be successful at the next level. He is tall, powerful and possesses a good anchor against power rushers. Cajuste is also nimble enough to deal with speed but does need refinement in his pass sets.
In the run game he’s another lineman with a nasty side to him and he just looks like he loves burying guys.
22. Colts: Jachai Polite, Edge, Florida
The Colts were this season’s surprise package and outperformed even the most ardent Colts fan’s wildest dreams. I thought they were a good couple of years away from competing again to be quite honest, but the draft brought them success this year and now we have to take them to the next level again.
That starts in one of the game’s premium positions; edge pass rusher. The answer is Florida’s Jachai Polite.
Polite is anything but with opposing tackles, blowing past with an unusually quick first step on his way to taking down the QB.
A pure speed rusher who needs to work on a pass rush plan but the tools are there to work with.
23. Seahawks: Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State
Duane Brown has been a nice pick up for Seattle ever since he arrived in town but the rest of the line has been a mish-mash of bodies and names, so it’s high time to start building a proper line in front of Russell Wilson.
Risner is a nice prospect who could also play guard in the pros, I see him as a tackle but it’s nice to have that versatility nonetheless.
Like many of the better tackle prospects in the 2019 class, Risner is a right tackle who will be solid if unspectacular and have a nice career without ever playing on the left side full time. That sounds like a knock but it certainly isn’t… there are a bunch of lines around the league who would kill to be solid.
24. Texans: Chris Lindstrom, IOL, Boston College
DeShaun Watson has taken far too many hits this year and it’s a miracle he’s not been injured more seriously after the punishment he’s taking this year.
The answer is to beef up the offensive line in front of him to take the heat off. I also feel like Houston will move on from Lamar Miller his year and find themselves another running back, maybe even having a run at Le’Veon Bell… so getting in one of the top guard prospects helps open up holes for a back too.
Chris Lindstrom is my favourite pure guard in the class. Excellent power and athleticism for his position which he showcased in Boston College’s run heavy scheme. That athletic ability will come in handy since Watson is such a mobile QB.
25. Raiders (via Cowboys): Montez Sweat, Edge, Mississippi State
Jon Gruden finds his Khalil Mack replacement; Sweat is another one of this very deep defensive line class. He’s been super productive since arriving in Mississippi from Michigan State posting over 10 sacks in both of the past 2 seasons as a bulldog.
What he lacks in flexibility he make a up for in length but this does make him very linear and may even mean he moves inside at times. He’s most certainly a defensive end in a base 4-3 defensive front because of this.
Quinnen Williams and Montez Sweat alongside Maurice Hurst give Oakland a scary front line for the next decade.
26. Ravens: Collin Johnson, WR, Texas
The Ravens need to give Lamar Jackson some targets that he can grow up with, so to speak, as they expand they’d offense and make is Jackson’s as opposed to Joe Flacco’s.
Johnson is a burner who can take the top off a defense and that will keep a defense honest enough to keep them from stacking the box too much to guard the Baltimore running game.
Johnson can also take over the role John Brown has played to good effect this season, as I don’t see him as a long term solution as their speedster.
27. Chargers: Jeffrey Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
This would represent an unusual direction to go for Tom Telesco, who usually steers clear of those with character concerns.
However, I do think Jeffrey Simmons is worth it considering he gives the Chargers yet another young star on their defense, which would almost be complete if they generated some pass rush on the interior as well as on the edges with Bosa and Ingram. That’s exactly what Simmons brings; a relentless motor up the middle with exceptional work rate and hand usage.
Brandon Mebane is in the twilight of his career and Corey Liuget could be a cap casualty too so there’s at least one spot open at DT in Los Angeles next to Darius Philon with 2018 third rounder, Justin Jones also in the rotation.
28. Raiders (via Bears): Taylor Rapp, S, Washington
Another defensive back out of the University of Washington… how utterly shocking. I joke, of course, UW is the real DB U and I don’t care what LSU fans say.
Rapp is a feisty safety prospect who is an extremely good tackler in space and can hand out some bone jarring hits… he’s essentially everything the Raiders wanted previously benched strong safety, Karl Joseph to be.
Rapp isn’t particularly rangey and hasn’t had great ball production in college but his tackling and intelligence on the back end more than make up for that. Rapp needs to be deployed as a box safety with some assignments on running backs and tight ends, in a similar way to what Landon Collins is with the Giants.
29. Patriots: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
How old has Rob Gronkowski looked recently? Yep, it’s about time to find the heir to the tight end throne in New England.
I actually think Gronk calls it a day after this season, his body just seems like it’s giving up on his a little too much now after one too many surgeries.
Luckily for the Pats, this year’s tight end class is the best for a long, long time and Noah Fant is the best of the bunch.
The Iowa man will fit and in glove in New England’s offense and will fill that Gronk role with ease. Expect red zone proficiency from early on.
30. Chiefs: DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia
Keenan Allen wasn’t wrong when he referred to Orlando Scandrick and Kendall Fuller as “doo-doo” and “doo-doo two” after the Chargers recent win over the Chiefs. They are not good at the corner backing thing. Same goes for Steven Nelson…
Baker isn’t a big corner but plays much bigger than his 5’11 frame and is super feisty and snappy, both in his play and demeanour. A full time starter at Georgia for the past 2 seasons and started 8 games as a sophomore. In those 3 seasons where he’s had significant snaps he’s had at least 2 INT’s a year and 23 PBU’s (9 in each of the past 2 years); So experience and production both get big ticks in those boxes.  
31. Rams: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
If there’s one area of the Rams defense that lags behind the rest, it’s in the linebacking corp. As previously mentioned, this year’s class is sparse at the top so his may be considered a reach but needs must.
The Rams are also a team that won’t shy away from having another big personality in the locker room… if you remember, Bush was the player who was using his cleats to scuff up the Michigan State logo when Michigan visited their state rival.
Bush is a productive (172 tackles, 18.5 for loss, 10 sacks in his Michigan career) and intelligent player (shown ability to fill multiple linebacker roles) which will be useful at the next level as defensive Coordinators are always wanting players with versatility to nullify mismatches.
He needs to fill out his frame if he can but at 5’10, 222lbs he may be maxed out, so size is a potential banana skin but the NFL is gearing towards smaller and quicker defenders so he should be just fine.
32. Packers (via Saints): Tyler Biadasz, C/G, Wisconsin
Remember how I said Wisconsin has the most talented line in college football, well Biadasz is the best player on it in my view and he gets to stay in the state, moving a couple of hundred kilometres north east from Madison to Green Bay.
Biadasz is a center who could also fill in at guard for whomever drafts him. Biadasz is a power center who is built to bulldoze defensive linemen in the run game and is athletic enough to seek and destroy linebackers at the second level.
Another lineman who is a running backs best friend… Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor will attest to that.
There we have it folks. Mock Draft 1.0, the first of a few from me in 2019, right up til the eve of the draft. As always, all comments and criticism are welcomed. Hit me up on Twitter @Wakefield90 and you can rip me to shreds if you wish…
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