The numbers are in, the times have been clocked and the arms have been measured… The underwear olympics is over. For someone like me who loves the NFL Draft, the combine is a really cool event, it really shakes up the prospects in terms of how they’re ranked and viewed by everyone. When reading or writing draft materials and mock drafts in particular, between the senior bowl and the combine, everyone is kind of mocking the same guys to the same teams and it is getting kind of stale… And then the combine comes along.
Certain guys helped themselves and unfortunately, some did not. Of course, this happens every year and don’t get me wrong, not performing at the combine isn’t a death sentence, it can sometimes be a blessing in disguise and players can use how it affects their draft stock to give themselves a chip on their shoulder…
So in honour of the combine shaking things up, I will follow suit and shake things right up in my mock draft. For the first time this year I will be mocking some trades and having some fun with it… So, let’s get into it…
1. 49ers (Mock trade with the Cardinals) – Nick Bosa, Edge, Ohio State
Nick Bosa is the best player in the draft class. The San Francisco 49ers need an edge rusher to really vault their defense to the next level. Yes, there are players like Josh Allen and other edge rushers in this class but none are (almost) sure fire, blue chip hits like Bosa is.
The 49ers go up and get there guy and don’t leave anything to chance here. Add another offensive playmaker, such as Antonio Brown, and I think San Francisco are Superbowl candidates.
2. Cardinals (Mock trade with the 49ers) – Quinnen Williams, IDL, Alabama
The Cardinals have a lot of holes on their team, on both sides of the ball. So even though it’s a divisional rival they’re trading with, they shouldn’t care; they’re not really in direct competition with the 49ers next year in terms of each teams aspirations.
Here they trade back, pick up another first next year and a couple of other picks this year to help with their rebuild over the next couple of seasons and by only moving back one spot they still get an unbelievable player in Quinnen Williams. He’ll help the run game and give some inside pressure to Chandler Jones’ outside pressure.
3. Jets – Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
Jawaan Taylor is big, we knew that but the combine showed that he’s surprising long with arms over 35 inches and he’s dropped even more weight and is now a very healthy 312 lbs. His college number was 334 so he’s now a lean, mean, pass blocking machine and he looks like he’s moving very nicely. For this reason he’s now my OT1.
4. Dolphins (Mock trade with the Raiders) – Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
This would cost a lot but Miami absolutely must go and get a QB this off season; Miami has to get aggressive as there aren’t enough quarterbacks to go around this year and as we all know, if you don’t have a QB then you don’t have a team.
Murray gives the Dolphins some x-factor and will capture the imagination of Dolphins fans and it’ll be fascinating to see how he does in the NFL and everyone will be watching.
5. Washington (Mock trade with the Buccaneers) – Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
Washington aren’t the kind of franchise that are scared of making big moves and after the trade for Murray, Washington would be forced into action to get ahead of the Giants and also the Jags so they go big and give Tampa Bay a call. Again, this would take an awful lot of compensation maybe too much, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
Haskins is actually pretty similar to Alex Smith in a lot of ways so the fit with the offense is there and next year Washington should have Derrius Guice back to take the pressure off.
6.Giants – Josh Allen, Edge, Kentucky
The Giants seem set to stick with Eli, so the coming season so I feel that because of that, they’re going to be in win now mode and that means acquiring top players in key positions.
This leads me to think about edge rushers and the Giants certainly need some reinforcements in this area and will likely need to double dip the position, either in free agency or later in the draft due the fact they are trying to find a team to take Olivier Vernon off their hands.
Josh Allen is the best pass rusher not named Nick Bosa in this draft. Job done.
7. Jags – D.K Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
D.K Metcalf destroyed the combine, everything but his 3-cone was off the charts. Yes, that’s an important drill for wide receivers, yes he played in a college offense that was very simple and no, he didn’t run the most diverse route tree in said offense but if you’re a wide receiver coach or an offensive coordinator and your GM drops this ball of clay in your lap and you can’t make him an extremely productive, elite wide receiver, then you have no place in the National Football League.
8. Lions – T.J Hockenson, TE, Iowa
It might not be the most pressing need but Detroit needs blue chip players and Hockenson is exactly that. He can block, he can catch and he can run you over, all of which he showed this weekend in the combine and regularly on film at Iowa.
Hockenson has the chance to quickly become one of the better tight ends in the league and given he’s a complete tight end he also helps the whole offense get better.
9. Bills – Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
No player had a bigger chip on their shoulder than Jonah Williams at the combine. You could see and feel that he hates all his talk about his arm length (which checked out fine despite being shorter than 34 inches) and about him potentially being a guard (which he should not be).
The Bills need to do two things in this draft, protect Josh Allen and give him some guys to throw to. One box checked off in the top 10.
10. Broncos – Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma
Joe Flacco’s arrive takes QB off the table and the Broncos have said they’d like to bring Case Keenum back too.
That’s that then…
On to tackle, of which there are plenty of good ones in this class. Ok… let’s have a look at Denver’s roster; hmmm… Jared Veldheer is out of contract and not very good… that would seem the logical place to go, especially because they’ve just acquired an immobile QB.
Cody Ford can come in and lock down the right tackle spot for a long time.
11. Buccaneers (mock trade with the Bengals) – Ed Oliver, IDL, Houston
After Oliver was measured at a hair under 6’2 and 290 lbs, he became incredibly valuable as size fears were laid to rest. Throw in a 36” vertical and 10’ broad jumps and we know this guy is a special athlete… more to come at his pro day in Houston where he’ll complete the full array of tests.
The Bucs trade back up after initially moving back, wanting to get ahead of Atlanta who would be a great place for Oliver to land. Oliver and Vita Vea would form some interior rush!
12. Packers – Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
Aaron Rodgers is on the back nine of his career so let’s give him some weapons and just outscore everyone. Think about defense the rest of the draft.
Noah Fant would be the weapon that Jimmy Graham should have been when he was brought to Wisconsin. Fant is the modern day, pure receiving tight end and an insane athlete. It would be sort of unfair to give the best quarterback in the league a tight end of Fant’s prowess along with Davante Adams.
13. Raiders (mock trade from Dolphins) – Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
I feel like Greedy’s feisty nature will appeal the Gruden and his old skool mentality that he wishes to instill in Oakland. They have a lot of needs and they can go in a lot of different directions with their first pick of the first round. A corner is certainly a possibility in Oakland and if the Raiders can pull off a nice move back and still grab one of the top players in one of the key positions, that’s a great start and a big win.
14. Falcons – Garrett Bradbury, IOL, N.C. State
Garrett Bradbury showed at the combine that he’s an unreal athlete for an interior offensive lineman. He’s also a fantastic player and the mixture of the two means he’s flying up the draft boards.
Look, guards and centers aren’t sexy picks but they getting guys are solid at those positions is imperative to having a top team… play him at guard as an upgrade over Andy Levitre and you have a ready made replacement for Alex Mack. That’s what the teams that consistently draft well do.
15. Bengals (Mock trade with the Buccaneers) – Devin White, LB, LSU
Linebacker, no matter what. End of. And to make it better, Cincy still get the best of available and pick up an extra mid rounder by virtue of their trade with the Bucs.
16. Panthers – Brian Burns, Edge, Florida State
Panthers need to get younger on the edge and they kind of strike hold here with Burns still being available at 16.
Burns is a better player than this, in this class but that’s the way it goes sometimes.
Burns showed on tape that he’s a top prospect and he cemented that with his explosive performance in the combine.
17. Browns – Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
Byron and Ward… Just think about that for the next 5 to 10 years for the Browns. That’s a pretty awesome partnership right there.
18. Vikings – Chris Lindstrom, IOL, Boston College
Minnesota must upgrade their line this spring. We all saw Kirk Cousins arguing with Adam Thielen at the end of last year and we now the Vikings line is hot garbage. 2 + 2 = 4… draft one of the best linemen in the draft.
19. Titans – Clellin Ferrell, Edge, Clemson
A move for Ferrell would add some pass rush that’s a little bit different to Harold Landry in the sense that Landry is a pure speed rusher whereas Ferrell is a bit more solid against the run too.
20. Steelers – Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida
The top 2 linebackers and the top 2 corners are off the board… This becomes a prime trade back spot but the Steelers find an alternative way to upgrade their secondary. CGJ can play in the box, he can play some nickel, he can play deep so he has the versatility that every DC craves.
21.Seahawks – Dre’Mont Jones, IDL, Ohio State
Dre’Mont has a big fan in fellow Buckeye, Nick Bosa who said,
“He’s the best interior pass rusher in the draft, I think,”
A big call but I do like what I see from Jones in this area. He’s also athletic for his size, hence why he was asked to work out at linebacker at the combine.
Give Jarran Reed a playmate in the middle of the D line now they’ve franchise tagged Frank Clark.
22. Ravens – N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
I cannot get enough of this matchup, I think Harry is perfect for Baltimore. He’s a QB helper with his leaping ability and catch radius, which helps out Lamar Jackson and I also invision Harry being really successful if he was worked into the running game on jet sweeps and fly routes; Harry isn’t the quickest but he’s slippery and really tough to bring down.
23. Texans – Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
O line, no matter what. Literally. Dillard is super athletic, running under 5 seconds in the 40 and he also demonstrated he’s a smooth mover on the on-field drills. Perfect.
24. Raiders (from Chicago) – Kelvin Harmon, WR, N.C State
The Oakland WR room is HORRIBLE, they probably need to dip into the wide receiver class a couple of times. Harmon is a prototypical X receiver and could go some way to replacing Amari Cooper.
25. Chargers (mock trade with Eagles) – Christian Wilkins, IDL, Clemson
Jump ahead of Indy and the Eagles in order to grab a great player… Telesco loves to spend 3rd rounder to jump up a couple of spots.
With all the top tackle prospects off the board, it’s between defensive line and linebacker in round 1 for the Chargers in my opinion.
As I’ve said above, the Chargers guarantee a top level player, who could have gone much earlier, by jumping up a few spots.
26. Colts – Dexter Lawrence, IDL, Clemson
Trench player for the Colts in this instance. Margus Hunt is gone and it’s a good that needs filling with a true nose tackle. Indy benefited greatly from upgrading the offensive line, now they switch to the other side. Especially given that they invested a couple of picks on the edge last year in Tyquan Lewis and Kemoko Turay.
27. Raiders (from Cowboys) – Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
A tone setter in the middle of the D here for Oakland. Bush is a feisty personality that Gruden will love on his football team. Bush is an insane athlete who will be a fixture in the middle of any defense that he gets drafted in to.
28. Eagles (mock trade with Chargers) – Jeffrey Simmons, IDL, Mississippi State
Simmons is the number 3 player on my board even though he’s injured but f there’s one team that won’t care that Jeffrey Simmons is injured, it’s the Eagles. He obviously won’t make his mark right away but he’ll be healthy eventually and by taking him in the 1st round, you get that 5th year option, so even if Simmons doesn’t play this year, that’s 4 years where he is going to make an impact (further injury permitting)…
29. Chiefs – Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware
Adderley can be a do-it-all DB for the Chief’s at first, learning his trade, being a pro before taking over from Eric Berry when he finally decides to hang them up.
KC just have to patch up the defense and hope their offense can keep running up the points on everyone; stage one is clearing house in the secondary and making that unit much better… Hello Nasir Adderley.
30. Packers (from Saints) – Montez Sweat, Edge, Mississippi State
After the Fant pick, I said Green Bay have to now concentrate on defense… Sweat could be step one of that process. Sweat had himself a great combine and brought himself right back into first round contention for me.
Selecting a tight end first and waiting on an edge player is a risky game as pass rushers are a hell of a lot more valuable but if the Packers came away with Fant and Sweat, they’d have hit the first day of the draft out of the park.
31. Rams – David Long, CB, Michigan
David Long leapt, almost literally, up the draft boards with his performance on Monday. The Michigan corner now he undersized but his speed and jumping ability which is off the charts.
The Rams may want to move on from Aqib Talib and/or Marcus Peters either this off season or next so it’s time to get ahead of the curve and replenish the cupboard. The Rams will also love his fiery nature too.
32. Patriots – Rashan Gary, Edge Michigan
Gary makes it 6 (six) edge defenders off the board in the first round for me and had it not been for a poor combine and worse interviews, it could have been seven with Jachai Polite in here somewhere… Alas no.
I strongly believe Gary will be better playing on the inside and would benefit from a more linear path to the QB but he wants to play off the edge and make more money… way to go after the bag, young man, however, there’s one team that won’t care about that and that’s the New England Patriots.
Gary would have a chance to be really special if he landed on a team where he’d get really good coaching; like New England.