NFL Mock Draft: Packers Get Rodgers a Weapon, Patriots Get Fortunate

The NFL Draft is on April 25th, meaning it is the final stretch of the offseason. No more combines, Pro Day’s and free agency is over, so teams must now look to improve through the draft for the upcoming NFL season. Let’s take a look at how the first-round could play out in this mock draft:

  1. Arizona Cardinals: QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma

Kliff Kingsbury gets the quarterback he coveted since Murray was in high school. The 2018 Heisman Trophy winner, is the perfect quarterback to run Kingsbury offense with his ability to push the ball down the field and escape the pocket. Tough luck for Josh Rosen, who was a top-10 pick for the Cardinals just the season prior.

2. San Francisco 49ers: EDGE Nick Bosa, Ohio State

After taking an interior defensive lineman with there first pick in three of the last four drafts, the 49ers select an edge rusher. They ranked 22nd in the league with 37 sacks, but the addition of Bosa will surely improve the teams total sack numbers as he is arguably the best pass rusher in the draft.

3. New York Jets: EDGE Josh Allen, Kentucky

In his senior season, Allen set Kentucky’s single-season sack record with 17, which also ranked second in college football. With Greg Williams being named the Jets new defensive coordinator, the Jets will look to make life uncomfortable for the opposing quarterback.

4. Oakland Raiders: DL Quinnen Williams, Alabama

Williams is somebody who can wreck a game from a run stopper and pass rush standpoint in the interior. Getting him at four is a steal and improves the Raiders defense in a way they badly need it. They ranked 30th in run defense (140.6 yards allowed per game) and only totaled 13 sacks last season.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: LB Devin White, LSU

Now that Kwon Alexander departed to the 49ers, the Bucs replace him with another LSU linebacker in White. At the NFL Combine, White ran a 4.42 40-yard dash, showcasing he has the speed to play sideline-to-sideline. That type of speed  is needed in a Todd Bowles 3-4 defensive system.

6. New York Giants: EDGE Montez Sweats, Mississippi State

Sweat is a nice selection here for the Giants after they traded Oliver Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul in the last two seasons. In 2018, Sweat had back-to-back double-digit sack totals in the SEC (10.5 and 12) and ran an impressive 4.41 at the NFL Combine. That speed is dangerous coming off the edge.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: OT Jawaan Taylor, Florida

This is not a sexy pick, but a pick the Jaguars would be happy they made to protect their newly signed quarterback Nick Foles. Last season, the Jags allowed 53 sacks, tied third most in the league. Taylor only allowed one sack in 2018 according to Pro Football Focus.

8. Detroit Lions: TE T.J. Hockenson, Iowa

With no longer having Eric Ebron and Golden Tate on their roster, the Lions need to find a player to control the middle of the field for Matthew Stafford. Hockenson can do that. He led Iowa in receiving yards (760) and was second in receptions (49) while winning the Mackey Award (best TE).

9. Buffalo Bills: EDGE Brian Burns, Florida State

Burns is an explosive pass rusher who had 10 sacks his last season at Florida State. He will provide an immediate upgrade to the Bills pass rush as they ranked 26th in the NFL in sacks with 36.

10. Denver Broncos: DL Ed Oliver, Houston

Quarterback is an option here, but the Broncos should not pass up the opportunity to add Oliver complement Von Miller and Bradley Chubb on their front-seven. With Derek Wolfe entering a contract year and his health being a concern, Oliver provides stability for the interior defensive line and is a steal at 10.

11. Cincinnati Bengals: QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State

With a new head coach in Zac Taylor and only a year left on Andy Dalton’s contract after 2019 season, the Bengals should look to the future and select Haskins. He set an Ohio State and Big Ten record in 2018 after throwing for 50 touchdowns and 4,831 yards in his lone season starting.

12. Green Bay Packers: WR DK Metcalf, Ole Miss

In 2018, Aaron Rodgers did not have many weapons at receiver outside of Davante Adams. Metcalf is an athletic freak and has the ability to take the top off opposing defenses. While he is not ready to become a number one option for an offense, Rodgers throwing him the football will surely speed up the process.

13. Miami Dolphins: OT Andre Dillard, Washington State

Reports have surfaced saying the Dolphins are looking toward the 2020 draft to get their franchise quarterback, so it makes sense to get one of the best pass blocking tackles in the 2019 draft. In 2018, PFF rated Dillard as the second best offensive tackle in college football with a 91.9 grade.

14. Atlanta Falcons: DL Christian Wilkins, Clemson

Wilkins will be a nice fit alongside newly extended Grady Jarrett. Wilkins makes the opposition focus on him with his disruption of the line of scrimmage, which allows other teammates to make plays. He can help keep blockers from reaching the second-level, which will allow Deion Jones to play freely.

15. Washington Redskins: QB Drew Lock, Missouri

After Alex Smith suffered a gruesome injury to his leg in 2018, the Redskins need a quarterback. Lock has talent, enough athleticism to run Jay Gurden’s offense and could be their answer at quarterback for years to come if he is able to play with more consistency. The tools are there.

16. Carolina Panthers: EDGE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson

Now that Julius Peppers is retired, the Panthers need to find his replacement. In a stacked defensive line at Clemson, Ferrell was arguably the best as he totaled 11.5 sacks and 20 tackles for loss in 2018.

17. New York Giants (from Cleveland Browns): QB Daniel Jones, Duke

The Giants find Eli Manning successor in Daniel Jones and both quarterbacks have something in common—Duke head coach Daniel Cutcliffe coached both players when they were in college. Jones will have to learn under for Manning possibly for the full NFL season, but it should benefit him when it is his turn to takeover.

18. Minnesota Vikings: OT/OG Jonah Williams, Alabama

Whether he plays offensive tackle or guard, Williams improves the Vikings line. Williams earned an 88.6 pass blocking grade and 83.6 run blocking grade from PFF in his final season at Alabama. His all-around great blocking will help the Vikings where they need the most help on their talented roster.

19. Tennessee Titans: TE Noah Fant, Iowa

Delaine Walker, 34, is not getting any younger. He suffered a season-ending ankle injury in week one last season and the Titans struggled to replace his production. In 2018 at Iowa, Fant was named to the Associated Press third-team after catching 39 passes for 519 yards and a team-leading seven touchdowns.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: LB Devin Bush, Michigan

The Steelers need corner help, but Bush is too talented to pass up here at 20. Bush can do it all– he is solid in the run game and has the ability to stay in on passing downs. Placing him in the middle of the defense makes the Steelers that much better defensively.

21. Seattle Seahawks: EDGE/DL Rashan Gary, Michigan

Standing at 6’4”, 277 pounds and with a 4.58 40-yard dash, Gary is an athletic freak. He did not put up big sack numbers at Michigan, but Gary has the type of game that translates to the NFL. He played most of his final college season with a shoulder injury, but now healthy, Gary should be able to showcase his full ability.

22. Baltimore Ravens: WR Marquise Brown, Oklahoma

Michael Crabtree and John Brown are gone, so Lamar Jackson needs a new receiver to throw to. Brown has the type of rare speed that gets him behind a defense almost as he pleases. With the expected improvement in Jackson’s throwing, the Ravens may have their QB-to-WR duo for the foreseeable future.

23. Houston Texans: CB Greedy Williams, LSU

The Texans ranked 28th in passing yards allowed per game (260.4) and Johnathan Joseph, 35, is in the final year of his contract. Williams is the type of corner who can mirror the opposing team number one receiver and take him out the game. An example is when Williams went up against DK Metcalf last season and he held him to only three catches for 37 yards.

24. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago Bears): CB Byron Murphy, Washington

After addressing the defensive line with their first pick, the Raiders now address the secondary. Gaeron Conley had a good year last season for the Raiders at corner, but the Raiders need somebody on the other side of the field that can hold their own. Murphy is a ballhawk and that can help a struggling team like the Raiders get some wins.

25. Philadelphia Eagles:  OT/OG Cody Ford, Oklahoma

The Eagles are talented up front, but they are getting older and Brandon Brooks tearing his Achilles in the NFC Divisional round is the reason why selecting Ford makes sense. Ford was a good tackle, but he may be better suited to play guard in the NFL.

26. Indianapolis Colts: DL Dexter Lawrence, Clemson

Darius Leonard was an absolute steal for the Colts last season and with somebody like Lawrence eating up blockers in front of him it can only make him better. At 6’4” and 342 pounds, Lawrence has a huge frame that forces teams to double team him when they run the football.

27. Oakland Raiders (from Dallas Cowboys): TE Irv Smith Jr., Alabama

Jared Cook is gone, so Carr needs a new tight end. Smith Jr. will be a nice replacement as he good in the passing game and is a better blocker than Cook. He comes from a winning culture at Alabama, something the Raiders will like in their locker room.

28. Los Angeles Chargers: DL Jerry Tillery, Norte Dame

Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram make up one of the best duos on the edge in the NFL, but now the Chargers need to find talent on the inside to complement the two. Tillery still needs to play with more consistency, but with time he can turn into a very good pro.

29. Kansas City Chiefs: CB Deandre Baker, Georgia

The Chiefs did not have a good defense last season and losing arguably their best cornerback in Steven Nelson does not help them improve. Since 2017, Baker has not allowed a touchdown and has five interceptions in that span. If Baker can bring that type of production to the Chiefs he could be the piece to get them to the Super Bowl.

30. Green Bay Packers (from New Orleans Saints): S Johnathan Abram, Mississippi State

Abram is a fiery player with the type of swagger that rubs off on a team. He still needs work in coverage, but he makes up for it with his hard hitting ability and run defense from the safety position.

31. Los Angeles Rams: C/OG Garrett Bradbury, NC State

John Sullivan and Rodger Saffold are no longer with the Rams, so taking Bradbury here is a good get for the NFC Champions. In the Rams zone-blocking scheme, Bradbury is a nice fit with his athletic ability. They will need to decide if he fits better at center or guard, but whatever position he plays he should be the day one starter.

32. New England Patriots: DL Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State

It is very much like the Patriots to get arguably a top-15 talent in the draft with the last pick of the first-round. Simmons tore his ACL while training for the draft, but he will end up in a great situation with the Patriots as they do not need to rush him back.

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