It is draft SZN! It is the Super Bowl of the off-season, one of the best weeks of the year. NFL mock drafts are fun. Readers and football fans disagree on 80 percent plus of the mock though. They are also extremely inaccurate as roughly 75 to 85 percent of the exact picks are wrong on average. Last year, Evan Silva from Rotoworld had the best mock draft as tracked by the Huddle Report. He nailed 28 prospects in the first rounds and hit on ten player-team pairings. That alone should tell you how hard it is to predict the NFL draft.
I created a first-round NFL mock draft without trades. But I am not a draft guru by any means. I read a lot of great content from the sharpest minds in the industry – such as Dane Brugler, Josh Norris or the guys from Pro Football Focus, to name a few. I tried to combine all the information on draft prospects with team needs, philosophies and draft buzz. For some folks out there, a mock draft might be a waste of time. However, thinking about how the draft pans out makes you study these 32 NFL teams even more than you do already. And that was worth it.
With the current state of the NFL and the direction this league is heading to, I expect a run for quarterbacks and offensive linemen. Even though this defensive line class is touted as one of the best in years. I wouldn’t be surprised to see four signal-callers go off the board in round one and maybe three in the top-10.
1. Arizona Cardinals – QB Kyler Murray QB, Oklahoma
The new coaching staff gets its signal-caller of the future. There are legitimate reasons for the Cards to stick to Josh Rosen. But the writing is on the wall, and I cannot refuse, either. Alternative: EDGE Nick Bosa.
2. San Francisco 49ers – EDGE Nick Bosa, Ohio State
Everything else than a trade-down or the younger Bosa-brother would shock me. Bosa is a blue-chip player and one of the consensus two best defensive players in this draft. Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh can pair Bosa with recently-acquired Dee Ford. Alternative: DT Quinnen Williams.
3. New York Jets – OT Jonah Williams, Alabama
I truly believe the Jets will find a way to trade down and draft a tackle. This team gave up three second-round picks for franchise quarterback Sam Darnold and installed an offensive-minded coaching staff to develop this guy. Now they are going to spend their 3rd pick on a defensive lineman? I don’t get that. After failing to sign a center in free agency, the Jets desperately need to improve this porous offensive line. The (consensus) best tackle would have a higher impact on this team than a Josh Allen or Quinnen Williams. Alternative: EDGE Josh Allen.
4. Oakland Raiders – QB Drew Lock, Missouri
Predicting where all these QBs land is a complete guessing game in this NFL mock draft. I think that Jon Gruden wants to draft a young replacement for Derek Carr and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him picking one here. Jon Gruden coached Drew Lock at the Senior Bowl, and there was some buzz that he “loves” Lock. Alternative: EDGE Josh Allen.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – EDGE Josh Allen, Kentucky
The Bucs get a dangerous pass-rusher who can fill multiple roles in DC Todd Bowles’ blitz-heavy scheme. Alternative: LB Devin Bush.
6. New York Giants – DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama
“Big guys allow you to compete” is a famous quote by Giants GM Dave Gettleman. Rumors are that Jones is the best QB on the Giants’ board. It would fit the work of GM Dave Gettleman – a prototype signal-caller who can sit and learn behind Eli “He still has it” Manning. But that’s also the reason why I believe that Gettleman would take Quinnen Williams over a quarterback. And Williams only falls because other teams trade up for a signal-caller. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if the G-Men trade up for a QB, either. Alternative: QB Dwayne Haskins.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars – OT Jawaan Taylor, Florida
The defense is good; now it is time to help new starting quarterback Nick Foles and OC John DeFilippo. Taylor makes the most sense as he can play RT opposite of Cam Robinson. After picking Dante Fowler, Jalen Ramsey, and Taven Bryan, the Jaguars draft their fourth first-round guy out of Florida since 2015. Alternative: TE T.J. Hockenson.
8. Detroit Lions – TE T.J. Hockenson, Iowa
Lions HC Matt Patricia puts a high emphasis on running the ball. Furthermore, he was an eight-year eye witness of the impact Rob Gronkowski had on the Patriots offense. Hockenson is a receiving threat, and he acts like a sixth offensive lineman in the run game – the perfect fit for the Lions. He also had a visit with them. Alternative: DT Ed Oliver.
9. Buffalo Bills – DT Ed Oliver, Houston
In my first version, I had DK Metcalf in this spot. I think Buffalo’s number one priority should be to help Josh Allen. However, I am trusting the reports that indicate the Bills want to boost their defensive line. Alternative: WR D.K. Metcalf.
10. Denver Broncos – CB Byron Murphy, Washington
I could pencil in a QB for Denver. Although they might draft one, I believe that John Elway trusts Joe Flacco as their starting quarterback for the next couple years. They might select a QB in the later rounds to sit and “learn” behind Flacco. Since 2018, the Broncos lost Aqib Talib, Bradley Roby and Chris Harris wants to get a new contract. Byron Murphy makes perfect sense to me: an excellent off-coverage cornerback according to draft gurus, who can play the Kyle-Fuller-role in Vic Fangio’s system. Alternative: LB Devin Bush.
11. Cincinnati Bengals – OT Andre Dillard, Washington State
The Bengals have one of the better skill position groups in the league and an average offensive line. RT is the weakest spot in their offense, and they cannot approach September with Bobby Hart plugged in at right tackle. With Dillard, they provide Andy Dalton with a good supporting cast and new HC Zac Taylor with a functioning offense. Alternative: CB Greedy Williams.
12. Green Bay Packers – LB Devin Bush, Michigan
The Packers could double-down on their pass rush after acquiring Preston & Za’Darius Smith in free agency. Brian Burns would fit the type of player DC Mike Pettine preferred over the years. However, LB is the weakest spot on their defense. They could take Devin Bush who covers a lot of ground. Alternative: EDGE Brian Burns.
13. Miami Dolphins – EDGE Brian Burns, Florida State
Dolphins might look to trade down or take a quarterback. But I got a feeling they would rather gain more assets and not trade up to take the second or third signal-caller on the board. Burns could instantly upgrade their pass rush, and he fills a position of need. Alternative: CB Greedy Williams.
14. Atlanta Falcons – DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson
The Falcons want to add talent to their defensive line to improve the pass rush. Dan Quinn also publicly said that a priority would be to improve the run defense. Wilkins alongside Grady Jarrett looks to be a great marriage through the eyes of the Falcons. Alternative: iOL Garett Bradbury.
15. Washington Redskins – QB Daniel Jones, Duke
Alex Smith might not play again, at least for the Redskins. Case Keenum is not the solution which makes me believe the Skins are going to trade up to draft a QB. It’s just guessing-work, but they might like Jones who had a top-30 visit with them. Alternative: QB Dwayne Haskins.
16. Carolina Panthers – CB Greedy Williams, LSU
There is a lot of talk about pass rush and pass protection for the Panthers which makes sense. However, their pass defense was atrocious last year, and their secondary was a major reason. Williams should be an instant upgrade. Alternative: OG/OT Cody Ford.
17. New York Giants – QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
The Giants need a successor for Eli Manning, but no one can look behind the mind of Dave Gettleman. Brett Kollmann explained why Haskins is a great fit for the G-Men, and the latter had dinner with Eli Manning. Does that mean anything? Probably not, but it’s some buzz worth keeping in mind. They might be looking at Jones and Haskins and settle with the latter. Alternative: EDGE Montez Sweat.
18. Minnesota Vikings – iOL Garrett Bradbury, NC State
No-brainer. Bradbury is exactly what the Vikings should be looking for in Gary Kubiak’s outside-zone scheme. Alternative: OG/OT Cody Ford.
19. Tennessee Titans – OG/OT Cody Ford, Oklahoma
The Titans have two premium tackles, a decent center and signed Rodger Saffold as their new LG. If they can find a quality player for the RG position, this offensive line can be top-10 material easily. Alternative: TE Noah Fant.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers – LB Devin White, LSU
Kevin Colbert has a recent history of drafting athletic defensive players in the first round. With the ongoing absence of Ryan Shazier, Pittsburgh needs a guy who can cover sideline to sideline. Alternative: WR D.K. Metcalf.
21. Seattle Seahawks – EDGE Montez Sweat, Miss State
Considering Sweat gets cleared, this is the perfect landing spot. Seattle just traded away DE Frank Clark and are left without a real edge rush. Alternative: OT Kaleb McGary.
22. Baltimore Ravens – WR D.K. Metcalf, Ole Miss
The best WR on the Ravens depth chart is Willie Snead – enough said. The Ravens need to provide Lamar Jackson with outside weapons. Alternative: iOL Chris Lindstrom.
23. Houston Texans – OT Kaleb McGary, Washington
The Texans desperately need to improve their offensive line, and it starts at tackle. Alternative: OT Dalton Risner.
24. Oakland Raiders – RB Josh Jacobs, Alabama
I assume that Jon Gruden wants to fix the offense first and provide a young QB with as much talent as possible. Though I have the opinion that you shouldn’t draft a running back in the first round. With Marshawn Lynch retiring or at least not coming back to the Oakland, Gruden might look at Jacobs. Alternative: EDGE Clelin Ferrell.
25. Philadelphia Eagles – iOL Chris Lindstrom, Boston College
Philly doesn’t have a lot of holes, but they can address their left guard spot. With a hit on an interior lineman, the Eagles offensive line could be on a top-5 level once again. Alternative: DT Jerry Tillery.
26. Indianapolis Colts – DT Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame
The Colts defense looked decent last year, but they played the easiest schedule in the league. To counter the inevitable regression, they boost their defensive line. Alternative: S Darnell Savage.
27. Oakland Raiders – TE Noah Fant, Iowa
If the Raiders take a young QB, Jon Gruden might want to clean up the one side of the ball. With Brown, Williams, Nelson, Fant, and Jacobs, Oakland would have some intriguing talent at their skill positions. Alternative: EDGE Clelin Ferrell.
28. Los Angeles Chargers – OT Greg Little, Ole Miss
The Bolts have a great roster, but they need some help at DT and RT. Alternative: OT/OG Dalton Risner.
29. Seattle Seahawks – S Darnell Savage, Maryland
John Schneider and Pete Carroll might spend their second first-round pick on defense, too. There is some buzz that Savage will be the first safety off the board. His profile seems to match well with what Pete Carroll does on defense – a box safety with coverage skills. Alternative: S Nasir Adderley.
30. Green Bay Packers – OT/OG Dalton Risner, Kansas State
The Packers need to upgrade their interior line, and RT Bryan Bulaga has one year left on his contract. According to draft gurus, Risner can play at tackle, but also inside. He could play guard and kick outside as the successor for Bulaga. Alternative: WR Marquise Brown.
31. Los Angeles Rams – iOL Elgton Jenkins, Miss State
With the departure of Rodger Saffold and John Sullivan, the Rams have a glaring need along their interior offensive line. Also, Jared Goff is one of the worst quarterbacks under pressure. An offensive lineman seems like a no-brainer to me. Alternative: iOL Eric McCoy.
32. New England Patriots – DT Jeffery Simmons, Miss State
The Patriots don’t have a lot of needs, and Bill Belichick could take a shot at Simmons. The latter will most likely start the season on PUP or IR, but New England has the luxury to wait for him. Alternative: EDGE Clelin Ferrell.