Mock drafts are a tool that we use to help predict what we think may happen during the NFL draft. Most of the time, we have no idea what is going to happen. Instead, mock drafts are used to play out certain scenarios, such as what a team may do if a player falls, isn’t available, etc.
However, what we don’t do often enough is create mock drafts based on what we believe should happen, rather than predicting what might occur. Today, I thought I would take my shot and do a full first-round mock draft acting hypothetically as the general manager of each team.
1. Arizona Cardinals – QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
I am a fan of Josh Rosen, but I think Kyler Murray is one of the best QB prospects of the last decade. With his arm and his legs, he could be a franchise changer in Arizona. Murray is the best player in the draft and should be an easy pick for first-year coach Kliff Kingsbury.
2. San Francisco 49ers – EDGE Nick Bosa, Ohio State
The 49ers added some pass-rush help this offseason by trading for Dee Ford, but they need someone opposite him to apply pressure. Nick Bosa is every bit as good as his brother and should make an impact right away. With Bosa on the roster, the 49ers suddenly have one of the better defensive lines in the NFL.
3. New York Jets – EDGE Josh Allen, Kentucky
The Jets have been searching for a premier edge rusher for years, and arguably the best one in the class falls into their lap. Josh Allen is a highly athletic rusher who was the 2018 SEC Defensive Player of the Year. He would provide New York with some juice off the edge. Expect him to be the pick at No. 3.
4. Oakland Raiders – DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama
Oakland doesn’t have a huge need for a defensive tackle after selecting Maurice Hurst and P.J. Hall last season, but Quinnen Williams is arguably the best player in this class. Hurst and Williams would give Oakland one of the best interior rushes in all of football.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – LB Devin White, LSU
Is Tampa Bay a linebacker away from being competitive? Probably not. But White is one of the best six or seven players in this class and would give the team one of the best linebacker duos in the entire league. It shouldn’t be long before White becomes a perennial Pro Bowl player.
6. New York Giants – QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
The Giants are going nowhere until they can solve their quarterback problem. Dwayne Haskins would be a fantastic pick for New York at No. 6, as he has the ceiling to be a Pro Bowl passer at the next level. Haskins would make sense in New York, where he could sit behind Eli Manning for a year before he is given the reins to the offense.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars – OT Jawaan Taylor, Florida
Grabbing Haskins here to pair with Nick Foles would be ideal, but he is off the board. Instead, I’m going with offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor, who can remain in the state of Florida. I considered Jonah Williams and Andre Dillard here, but Taylor is the best run –blocking tackle in the class. With his nastiness and his attitude, he fits in perfectly with the Jaguars.
8. Detroit Lions – EDGE Brian Burns, Florida State
With Ezekiel Ansah still on the market and Kerry Hyder off to Dallas, the Lions desperately need to add to their defensive line. Brian Burns is one of the most explosive defensive ends in the draft and would fit well in Detroit.
9. Buffalo Bills – OT Jonah Williams, Alabama
The Bills have added several offensive linemen this offseason, but it doesn't hurt to add another. Jonah Williams is arguably the best offensive linemen in the class and can play anywhere on the line. Grabbing him to protect Josh Allen seems like a home-run pick for the Bills.
10. Denver Broncos – LB Devin Bush, Michigan
After letting Brandon Marshall walk in free agency, the Broncos need to add to their linebacker unit. Devin Bush is every bit as good as Devin White and would be a steal at this point in the draft. Putting Bush on the same defense as Bradley Chubb and Von Miller would help get this unit back to elite status.
11. Cincinnati Bengals – OT Andre Dillard, Washington State
I debated adding a quarterback here, but I'm not a big fan of Drew Lock or Daniel Jones. Instead, I gave the Bengals the best pass protector in the class in Andre Dillard. He might lack power, but no one in the class has better feet than Dillard, who could instantly start at left or right tackle.
12. Green Bay Packers – TE T.J. Hockenson, Iowa
The Packers brought in Jimmy Graham last offseason, but that didn’t work out. Green Bay needs an all-around tight end who can contribute all over the field. T.J. Hockenson might be the best offensive weapon in the class, and pairing him with Aaron Rodgers makes too much sense.
13. Miami Dolphins – EDGE Montez Sweat, Mississippi State
The Miami Dolphins are in the midst of a full-blown rebuild. They have dumped a lot of their big contracts, leaving them devoid of talent on defense. Mississippi State’s Montez Sweat would make for an interesting player in Brian Flores' defense, as he fits both a 4-3 and a 3-4. At No. 13, this would be an outstanding value.
14. Atlanta Falcons – DT Ed Oliver, Houston
Ed Oliver is arguably one of the five best players in this draft, but his best fit may come at pick No. 14 to the Falcons. Getting Oliver in Dan Quinn’s scheme would allow him to thrive as an under tackle. Oliver to Atlanta is one of the easiest picks to make in the first round.
15. Washington Redskins – OT Cody Ford, Oklahoma
Washington was decimated by injuries last season on the offensive line, and that unit could use some fresh blood. Oklahoma's Cody Ford can play both tackle and guard and could eventually replace Trent Williams at left tackle down the road. As for now, he would likely kick inside to right guard opposite Brandon Scherff.
16. Carolina Panthers – OT Dalton Risner, Kansas State
Like Washington, the Panthers could use some help improving their offensive line. Daryl Williams is on a one-year deal and the team needs a lot of help inside. Dalton Risner can play tackle or guard and would give the team more depth at the position.
17. New York Giants – EDGE Rashan Gary, Michigan
I'm not a big fan of Rashan Gary, but it's easy to see the appeal. There aren't many players of his size and athleticism available during the draft. With the Giants in an apparent rebuild, gambling on a player with his potential is interesting if nothing else.
18. Minnesota Vikings – C-OG Garrett Bradbury, NC State
You can make a pretty strong case that the Vikings had the worst offensive line in football last season. The team desperately needs help in the interior, and Garrett Bradbury would be a fantastic fit. Expect him to slide in right away at guard and be an instant improvement.
19. Tennessee Titans – WR D.K. Metcalf, Mississippi
The Titans had one of the league's worst pass offenses last season and need to get more explosive on the outside. Paring D.K. Metcalf with Corey Davis and Adam Humphries would give the Titans quite the trio of receivers.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers – CB Byron Murphy, Washington
Ideally, Pittsburgh would love to see one of the top two linebackers fall to pick No. 20, but I’m not sure that is realistic. So they grab one of the top cornerbacks in the draft in Byron Murphy. He doesn’t have great speed, but Murphy is an excellent zone cornerback who doesn't give up many passes.
21. Seattle Seahawks – CB Greedy Williams, LSU
With Russell Wilson signed, the Seahawks can go back to rebuilding their defense. Look for them to select a cornerback, and LSU’s Greedy Williams has the size, length and speed the team covets. He would make for an excellent fit in Pete Carroll's defense.
22. Baltimore Ravens – WR Hakeem Butler, Iowa State
The Ravens have arguably the worst receiving corps in the league, but that is partly by design. Still, the team needs a weapon that can stretch the field vertically, and no player in college football was better than Hakeem Butler at doing just that. Butler's huge catch radius and speed make him the ideal receiver in Baltimore.
23. Houston Texans – S Darnell Savage, Maryland
Ideally, the Texans would like to take an offensive lineman to help protect Deshaun Watson. But with most of the top linemen off the board, the Texans grab safety Darnell Savage to help replace Tyrann Mathieu. Like Mathieu, Savage is an undersized safety who has the athleticism and flexibility to play all over the field. His versatility makes him arguably the top safety in this class.
24. Oakland Raiders – TE Noah Fant, Iowa
With Jared Cook out of the picture in Oakland, the Raiders need to add a receiving option to their TE room. Iowa's Noah Fant's is the best pure receiving tight end in the class, and it would be a steal if Oakland could grab him here.
25. Philadelphia Eagles – S Nasir Adderley, Delaware
The Eagles don’t have many holes on their roster, but they could afford to add some depth to their secondary room. Delaware’s Nasir Adderley can do a little bit of everything, including playing in the slot, in the box or as a single-high safety. Getting Adderley here would be a bargain for the Eagles.
26. Indianapolis Colts – WR A.J. Brown, Mississippi
One of my favorite marriages in the first round is A.J. Brown to the Colts. Andrew Luck needs another competent receiver, and Brown fits perfectly into the Colts’ offense. He can play in the slot and on the outside while T.Y. Hilton continues to be the team’s No. 1 receiver. Brown would instantly make the Colts’ offense more dangerous.
27. Oakland Raiders – EDGE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson
If Oakland can't address its DE need at No. 4 or 24, grabbing Clemson's Clelin Ferrell at the end of the first round would be a slam dunk. The 2018 ACC Defensive Player of the Year could step in and give Oakland a strong presence on the edge.
28. Los Angeles Chargers – DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson
The Chargers are a team without many holes on the roster, but they could stand to add some depth on the defensive line. Christian Wilkins is one of the best 25 players in this class and would step in as a starter for Los Angeles.
29. Kansas City Chiefs – CB Deandre Baker, Georgia
After losing Steven Nelson in free agency to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Chiefs need to add more depth at cornerback. Georgia’s Deandre Baker is the best cornerback left on the board and makes a lot of sense in Kansas City.
30. Green Bay Packers – WR Marquise Brown, Oklahoma
At pick No. 12, I gave the Packers T.J. Hockenson. So why not double down on weapons for Aaron Rodgers during their Super Bowl window? Marquise “Hollywood” Brown is one of the most explosive receivers in the draft and would make a lot of sense opposite Davante Adams.
31. Los Angeles Rams – DL Dexter Lawrence
While Ndamukong Suh is still a free agent, the Rams need to think about adding to their defensive line. I gave them Dexter Lawrence, who has the chance to become a star next to Aaron Donald.
32. New England Patriots – DT Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame
The Patriots aren't afraid to take chances on talented defensive linemen, and Notre Dame's Jerry Tillery fits the bill. He's one of the most gifted pass rushers in this class and has the size and athleticism to play all over the defensive line. Expect Bill Belichick to turn him into a Pro Bowl-caliber player.
TEAMS WITHOUT FIRST-ROUND PICKS:
49. Cleveland Browns – CB Justin Layne, Michigan State
The Browns have done an excellent job at filling their most pressing needs this offseason, so they are available to use their first pick on the best player available. Cornerback Justin Layne would also fill a need as the team’s No. 2 cornerback opposite Denzel Ward. If he falls to this spot, the Browns should be ecstatic.
58. Dallas Cowboys – S Taylor Rapp, Washington
The Cowboys are searching for a safety in this draft, and no player fits their need better than Washington's Taylor Rapp. He's not overly fast, but his quickness and ability to cover running backs and tight ends make him a perfect fit in Kris Richard's defense.
62. New Orleans Saints — WR Deebo Samuel, South Carolina
The Saints are in a Super Bowl window and can always use more weapons for Drew Brees. They likely will have a number of talented receivers available here, and one that would make a lot of sense is Samuel, who can play all over the field and contribute on special teams. He could step right in and be the Saints’ No. 2 receiver with toughness and separation skills to make him a perfect fit in Sean Payton’s offense.
87. Chicago Bears – RB David Montgomery, Iowa State
After the trade of Khalil Mack, the Bears don’t have much draft capital. However, even at pick No. 87, they should be able to find a player who can come right in and produce. After trading away Jordan Howard, David Montgomery seems like an ideal fit. He is a no-nonsense runner who excels at breaking tackles. Pairing him with Tarik Cohen makes too much sense.