Word on the streets is new Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Klingsbury loves him some Kyler Murray. Of course, I’m sure coach Klingsbury didn’t expect to be the man holding the number one pick when he said rather definitively he’d take Murray - with the number one overall selection in the NFL Draft.
Yet, here we are. Klingsbury is the head man in Arizona and Murray is a quarterback waiting to find out which team he’s going to lead onto the 2019 NFL stage. The only problem? Josh Rosen. The 2018 first-round draft pick by the same franchise has, by all accounts, not gotten a fair shake or even opportunity to show he can be the man of the future for the Cardinals.
Rather than debate the craziness, let’s just embrace it. In this mock, we’re diving right into the deep end of the Murray hype-pool. No reason to delay it anymore. Let’s see how this shapes up!
PICK 1 - ARIZONA CARDINALS: QB, KYLER MURRAY (OKLAHOMA)
Shocking gasp and awe stricken eyes be damned, this is happening. Moving on!
PICK 2 - SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: EDGE, NICK BOSA (OHIO STATE)
When I think of John Lynch in this year’s draft class, I imagine he’s played by Kevin Costner and his sticky note says “Nick Bosa.....No Matter What.”
So, unless Bosa is moving to Arizona, he’s moving to California. Either way it’ll be better weather than he’s had in Ohio. And no, ‘Draft Day’ references will never get old.
PICK 3 - NEW YORK JETS: EDGE, JOSH ALLEN (KENTUCKY)
Edge or interior defensive line? Where do the Jets go? Well, they can’t really get this wrong, which is good news for fans of the franchise.
Both men only have one year of real success at the collegiate level, but it’s Allen who looks like the true impact player from day one. Which is what the Jets want.
PICK 4 - OAKLAND RAIDERS: EDGE, MONTEZ SWEAT (MISSISSIPPI STATE)
I really want to execute a trade here, and if the board falls this way I feel like Oakland will have all lines open and ready for negotiations.
That being said, we aren’t trading just yet in this mock world, so the Raiders have to pick. With Johnathan Hankins inked to a deal and Maurice Hurst emerging last season, the team looks to be good there. Which leads them to reaching just a bit on Sweat who’s edge presence could really help elevate their defense.
Obviously, everyone will be keeping an eye on the reported heart condition with Sweat, but as of now he’s a high riser in this year’s class.
PICK 5 - TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: DT, QUINNEN WILLIAMS (ALABAMA)
This is the real reason most of you are here. It is Bucs Nation after all. There’s no secret the Buccaneers have loved linebacker Devin White out of LSU for some time now. But, winning in the trenches is and always will be the first key to winning in the NFL.
Perhaps Gerald McCoy can play inside and on the edge. We know Williams can, and he has the added bonus of forming perhaps the most devastating push up the middle once he and Vita Vea really get going.
PICK 6 - NEW YORK GIANTS: WR, D.K. METCALF (OLE MISS)
If we’re going to believe the rumors in Arizona they are in fact targeting Murray, let’s go ahead and believe the Giants when they say they are moving forward with Eli Manning for 2019.
Now, of course, you could draft a quarterback in the first round and still keep your veteran in as the starter but do we really see New York being the place a sixth-overall selection can be allowed to sit on the sideline?
The Giants’ top three receivers on the roster currently are all under six feet tall. So drafting Metcalf gives Manning a weapon to diversify his receiver portfolio a bit, and gives New York a new star to obsess over.
PICK 7 - JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: TE, T.J. HOCKENSON (IOWA)
Nick Foles is the quarterback for now and time will tell if he can get any traction towards building some staying power.
If he’s going to be successful he’s going to need a reliable tight end to make plays for him when he needs him.
Hockenson is still the best tight end in this class and could really ease Foles’ re-entry to starting for an NFL team not named the Philadelphia Eagles.
PICK 8 - DETROIT LIONS: EDGE, RASHAN GARY (MICHIGAN)
The Lions aren’t close, so the fact Gary needs time to reach his ceiling is ok for them as long as the ceiling he reaches is really high.
PICK 9 - BUFFALO BILLS: DT, ED OLIVER (HOUSTON)
Buffalo needs to bolster their defensive line and Ed Oliver brings them what they need. Nabbing the second-best defensive tackle in the draft is a win at pick nine, and the fact he presents a lot of versatility is even better.
PICK 10 - DENVER BRONCOS: QB, DREW LOCK (MISSOURI)
Joe Flacco will be a good mentor for Lock as he develops into the next starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos. After Flacco leaves, that is. And it may take a couple of years.
But I honestly believe John Elway is enamored with Lock and is willing to spend a Top-10 draft pick along with trading for Flacco to double-down and make sure he finds at least one capable quarterback for his team.
PICK 11 - CINCINNATI BENGALS: LB, DEVIN WHITE (LSU)
If you really like Devin White and don’t like the Bengals then you’re going to hate this pick.
Cincinnati never capitalized on the talent they had on their roster here and there over the past decade or two, and now they’ll need to start accumulating the next generation of Bengals greats.
White could be the first of this generation and might even be the start to helping A.J. Green feel some measurable success while he still has a chance.
PICK 12 - GREEN BAY PACKERS: DT, CHRISTIAN WILKINS (CLEMSON)
Green Bay has manufactured some solid paper growth on the defensive side of the ball. They can continue to do so here by drafting Clemson’s interior defensive lineman.
PICK 13 - MIAMI DOLPHINS: QB, DWAYNE HASKINS (OHIO STATE)
It’s almost like signing Ryan Fitzpatrick to a two-year deal this past weekend is having a ‘magical’ effect on the Dolphins.
With just a couple of surprises, Haskins falls into the laps of the Dolphins and Fitzpatrick’s two-year deal gives the Ohio State quarterback - who is better at throwing than running - time to acclimatize before he is forced into action.
PICK 14 - ATLANTA FALCONS: OT, JAWAAN TAYLOR (FLORIDA)
Atlanta brought back offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter after he was fired from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The intent is to get as much out of Matt Ryan while they still have him.
Drafting Taylor puts him in as an immediate starter at right tackle for the Falcons and allows them to move forward in the draft knowing they’ve significantly increased their quarterback’s pocket comfort ability.
PICK 15 - WASHINGTON REDSKINS: OL, JONAH WILLIAMS (ALABAMA)
After losing out on all of the first-round draftable quarterbacks, Washington isn’t going to be happy.
Rather than sulk too long about it, the Redskins draft Williams and find out if short-arm truthers are correct, or if the Alabama lineman is (he says he can play tackle). Either way, they win.
PICK 16 - CAROLINA PANTHERS: EDGE, BRIAN BURNS (FLORIDA STATE)
Having found their replacement for Ryan Kalil, Carolina can now look to some of their other needs. Namely, the edge.
Supposedly moving back to a 3-4 defensive front, the Panthers have two capable interior linebackers in the legendary Luke Kuechly and capably Shaq Thompson.
Adding an edge defender like Brian Burns will only help rejuvenate a defensive front which was formerly one of the best in the NFC South.
PICK 17 - NEW YORK GIANTS: S, JOHNATHAN ABRAM (MISSISSIPPI STATE)
The Giants opted not to pay Landon Collins to stay in New York any further. They did bring in Jabril Peppers in the trade for Odell Beckham Jr. but it isn’t enough. With the top edge defender pool depleted, New York will opt for a safety to help soften the blow of losing Collins.
Bonus points for not having to pay him a big contract for four years or so.
PICK 18 - MINNESOTA VIKINGS: OT, ANDRE DILLARD (WASHINGTON STATE)
Kirk Cousins isn’t going to get the job done with Minnesota’s offense in it’s current state.
Adding Dillard to the offensive line will give Cousins more time and allow him to get comfortable in the Vikings offense in year two.
PICK 19 - TENNESSEE TITANS: TE, NOAH FANT (IOWA)
Noah Fant really showed up at the combine this year and certainly helped his draft stock. Three years after the Buccaneers drafted O.J. Howard with the 19th pick, the Titans will do the same for their 2015 quarterback selection. Or Ryan Tannehill. Whichever.
PICK 20 - PITTSBURGH STEELERS: CB, BYRON MURPHY (WASHINGTON)
This is a popular player mocked to the Steelers, and I have to admit I like it as well. Murphy fits what the Steelers traditionally like in their secondary, and if he pans out will become a really solid defender for what fans of the franchise are hoping is about to be another ressurgance of their defense.
PICK 21 - SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: CB, GREEDY WILLIAMS (LSU)
It’s a run on cornerbacks! Is Williams going to be the next Richard Sherman? We’ll have to see of course, but he has the requisite length, athleticism and coverage skills to be really good in Seattle’s defense. Seahawks fans will probably be hoping Murphy falls instead, but Williams is a solid consolation prize.
22 - BALTIMORE RAVENS: LB, DEVIN BUSH (MICHIGAN)
Replacing C.J. Mosley isn’t going to be easy, but landing Bush here will help. There’s still plenty of work to be done in Baltimore. Considering Bush is one of two interior linebackers in this class who look like solid starters as rookies, you can’t ask for much more twenty-two picks in.
23 - HOUSTON TEXANS: OT, CODY FORD (OKLAHOMA)
Whew! It must have been nerve racking for the Texans to watch all of those picks come off the board between the last tackle and now.
But they’re patience is rewarded as they land Ford to help keep Deshaun Watson on the field and healthy in 2019.
24 - OAKLAND RAIDERS: S, NASIR ADDERLEY (DELAWARE)
Adderley worked with the Raiders coaching staff at the 2019 Senior Bowl. Was named a captain on the team, and had a pretty good game. He did well in practices as well.
Oakland has already added Lamarcus Joyner to their secondary this off-season. Bringing Adderley in with him is an easy move to make if he’s there at twenty-four.
25 - PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: RB, JOSH JACOBS (ALABAMA)
The first running back off the board will be leaned on to help keep Carson Wentz healthy by establishing a strong and reliable running game.
Without Nick Foles to back him up, Wentz is going to need to remain healthy or risk the dreaded ‘bust’ label just two seasons after becoming a Super Bowl champion.
26 - INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: S, DEIONTE THOMPSON (ALABAMA)
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen back-to-back Crimson Tide prospects taken off the board in a first-round.
Thompson started the off-season as the top-rated safety in this year’s class, but he’s kind of fallen off the hype train lately.
The Colts defense was better last year than most expected. The addition of Devin Funchess allows Indianapolis to hold off on drafting another receiver for now.
27 - OAKLAND RAIDERS: CB, DEANDRE BAKER (GEORGIA)
To say the Raiders had an up and down year with their cornerbacks would be an understatement. This pick reinforces a dedication to getting right on defense and adding a second pass defender to go with their earlier pass rusher means Oakland’s defense officially has their makeover they were in need of.
28 - LOS ANGELES CHARGERS: DT, DEXTER LAWRENCE (CLEMSON)
Even with the return of Brandon Mebane on a new two-year contract, it’s time for the Chargers to target their defensive tackle of the future.
Lawrence will certainly fill a role in 2019, and could be groomed to replace Mebane completely when the time comes.
29 - KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: EDGE, CLELIN FERRELL (CLEMSON)
Kansas City’s defense wasn’t the greatest in 2018, and they’ve taken some solid hits in the 2019 off-season.
Grabbing Ferrell at the end of the first round is a positive step to getting the unit going in the right direction.
30 - GREEN BAY PACKERS: G/C, GARRETT BRADBURY (NC STATE)
The Packers addressed the middle of their defensive line with their first pick in this mock draft, so why not flip sides and do the same to the offensive line?
Bradbury versus Wilkins for the next four to five years is the very definition of iron sharpening iron.
31 - LOS ANGELES RAMS: G, CHRIS LINDSTROM (BOSTON COLLEGE)
How do you improve on a team who made a Super Bowl run this past season? Getting stronger up front and younger is always a plus.
32 - NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: TE, IRV SMITH JR. (ALABAMA)
Recent rumors have the Patriots planning for Rob Gronkowski to return in 2019 but at this point, I’m not even confident Gronk his self knows what’s going to happen.
The Patriots have always been good at staying one step ahead of their roster needs, so drafting Smith seems to be a New England thing to do. If they get Gronk back, then they have two very capable tight ends for this year while securing his replacement for 2020 or 21 or 22 or......