This week’s mock draft takes a look at things before the rumor mill takes off and players start moving all around the place. There are also a couple quarterbacks who could sneak into the top 10 if they impress in the Senior Bowl.
1. Arizona Cardinals: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Bosa remains the player likely to be taken first overall in the draft. It’s hard to see that changing unless Arizona trades the pick. Whether or not that should happen will be debated over the next few months.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Josh Allen, OLB/DE, Kentucky
It’s difficult to move off this pick if Bosa is gone. Allen announced last week that he was pulling out of the Senior Bowl. The last top-five edge rusher to do that was Khalil Mack in 2014. That’s probably Allen’s best comparison too. Like Mack, he can impact the game with his ability to pressure the quarterback and play three downs.
3. New York Jets: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
As much as the Jets need offensive line help, there are legitimate concerns about whether there is one good enough for the third overall pick in the draft. If the Jets doubt there is, they should take the best player available, which is Williams. He didn’t have the best national title game against Clemson, but he can still dominate games.
4. Oakland Raiders: Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan
The Raiders would love to see Allen or Williams available with their first pick. So much so, you have to wonder if they’ll consider moving one of their extra first-round picks this year to get an elite pressure defender. If they can’t move up, holding at four could lead them to Gary. He’s as talented as players like Williams or Allen, but he never fully put it together at Michigan.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
Two distinct narratives about Williams have already formed early in the draft process. One is that Williams is the best offensive tackle in the draft and a true technician. The other is that he’s not particularly athletic and more likely to play guard in the NFL. If the latter ends up being true, he won’t be taken in the first five picks.
6. New York Giants: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
Presumably, Giants general manager Dave Gettleman is currently in the process of deciding if he wants to draft a quarterback in the first round this year. It’s a decision that will make or break Gettleman as New York’s top football executive. Haskins is the best quarterback in this draft, but he could give Gettleman pause. He’s not overly experienced, and who knows how he’ll handle the drama of New York. But if Gettleman wants a rookie quarterback this offseason, he may as well take the best one available.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
There is no player who needs a bigger Senior Bowl week than Lock, the talented but inconsistent Missouri quarterback. Lock has a big arm and athleticism, though he completed just 56.9 percent of his throws in four seasons for the Tigers. If he has a great week in Mobile, he could elevate inside the top 10.
8. Detroit Lions: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
It seems like this pick should be a defensive end or a cornerback. If the Lions use free agency to address end, taking Williams at No. 8 makes sense. He’s a ballhawk of a cornerback who makes a lot of plays. Darius Slay is an excellent cornerback for Detroit, but the Lions need help in the secondary.
9. Buffalo Bills: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
The Bills need to add talent to both sides of the line, so this pick will likely be a player like Oliver, Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, or Oklahoma offensive tackle Cody Ford. Oliver gets the highest grade out of the three.
10. Denver Broncos: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
Jones, like Lock, needs a great week at the Senior Bowl to get quite this high. Is this too high for him and Lock? Maybe. But teams can press to get a quarterback, especially at the low price on a rookie contract for five years.
11. Cincinnati Bengals: Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma
Right tackle is sneakily a big need for the Bengals. This pick has often been LSU linebacker Devin White, but the truth is, an offensive tackle has much greater roster value than a linebacker. Ford is a powerful blocker who will open up holes in the run game and help keep Andy Dalton clean.
12. Green Bay Packers: Jachai Polite, DE/OLB, Florida
Polite is the player the Packers need to get in the first round. He’s just behind Allen in terms of versatile edge rushers in this draft. Polite is speed and aggression around the corner, which is the type of player the Packers sorely lack.
13. Miami Dolphins: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
Murray landing here is less about his ability, and more about the teams drafting ahead of Miami that need a quarterback. Would Tom Coughlin in Jacksonville, John Elway in Denver, and Gettleman in New York really consider an undersized and athletic quarterback over a traditional pocket thrower? Maybe not. That could lead Murray to Miami.
14. Atlanta Falcons: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
If Oliver is gone, the Falcons will have plenty of good options at defensive tackle. Simmons has the strength to bull rush his way through the offensive line. But he also possesses a decent array of moves so he’s not always relying on his power.
15. Washington: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
There are a number areas Washington could address with the No. 15 pick. Cornerback is one of them, and Murphy is pro-ready corner thanks to his instincts and ability to play the ball in the air.
16. Carolina Panthers: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
The Panthers would be happy to see Ferrell last this long in the draft. He would immediately be the team’s best defensive end and help improve a lackluster pass rush.
17. Cleveland Browns: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
By the end of last season, Cleveland’s group of starting defensive linemen wore out due to overuse. That was particularly true for tackle Larry Ogunjobi. Wilkins can line up next to Ogunjobi and take some of the pressure off of him.
18. Minnesota Vikings: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
The Vikings need to hit on some picks this draft to really get into contention in the NFC. One thing holding Minnesota back has been subpar offensive line play. Taylor is a standout run blocker who could get looked at either at tackle or on the inside.
19. Tennessee Titans: Brian Burns, DE/OLB, Florida State
This is another holdover pick from last week’s mock draft. It was enticing to go with Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise Brown as a field stretcher for Tennessee, but an edge player is just as big of a need. Burns may be a little lean, but if he can bulk up he’ll be an effective pass rusher who can stand up or play with his hand in the ground.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Devin White, LB, LSU
Because Ryan Shazier’s future is still unknown, the Steelers could turn to the draft to get a linebacker. White isn’t quite the player Roquan Smith was in last year’s draft, but he’s close. White excels at finding the ball carrier and making strong tackles.
21. Seattle Seahawks: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
Seahawks tight end Will Dissly is working his way back from a torn patellar tendon, and it was clear how much he was missed last season. Even if he comes back fully healthy, the Seahawks need to get better at the position. The project of moving George Fant from tackle to tight end should be over, and the rest of the depth is average. Hockenson is the draft’s top tight end who is a capable blocker and pass catcher.
22. Baltimore Ravens: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
Alabama safety Deionte Thompson is an intriguing option here, but the Ravens may have to put a lot of work into their wide receiver group. Leading receiver John Brown is a free agent, Willie Snead is locked in as a slot-only player, and Michael Crabtree is just average. Metcalf can be a star No. 1 wideout for Lamar Jackson.
23. Houston Texans: Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson
It’s evident that Houston needs to add talent in the secondary, and Mullen can be a difference maker. He has size at 6’1 and just under 200 pounds, and is decent enough at making a play on the ball. More importantly, he has speed, and that’s something Houston is desperately needs at cornerback.
24. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago): Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
The Raiders badly need speed at wide receiver to help take the top off defenses. That is Brown’s specialty when he’s healthy. To some degree, he can be for Derek Carr what Tyreek Hill is for Patrick Mahomes.
25. Philadelphia Eagles: Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
Jason Peters turns 37 this week, and time is running out on his outstanding career. It would be smart of the Eagles to draft his replacement now and make sure he’s ready to go. Little is a classic left tackle with size and athleticism to mirror speed rushers and the edge.
26. Indianapolis Colts: Dre’Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State
The Colts need an interior defensive lineman who is capable of getting through gaps and creating pressure up the middle. Considering that is Jones’ specialty, it’s hard not to like this fit in the first round. The Indianapolis defense under Matt Eberflus has bits of the old Tampa-2 mixed into it, and that scheme was reliant on defensive tackles who could split gaps. Jones can be that player for the Colts’ defensive coordinator.
27. Oakland Raiders (via Dallas): Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
Bush would give the Raiders speed at linebacker they just don’t have. He’s not the biggest linebacker at under 6’0, but he flies around the field, can cover, and can be used occasionally on the blitz.
28. Los Angeles Chargers: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
It’s been hard to find a spot for Lawrence in the first round of mock drafts. Massive run-stuffing defensive tackles don’t carry as much value in today’s NFL. He does, however, fit in Los Angeles considering how many defensive linemen are free agents for the Chargers.
29. Kansas City Chiefs: Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
As it stands right now, Jacobs is the only running back worth a first-round pick this year. Even that is debatable. But the Chiefs can’t go into next season with their current running back situation the way it is. Jacobs can take some of the pressure off Patrick Mahomes and help the team grind out games.
30. Green Bay Packers: (via New Orleans): Montez Sweat, Edge, Mississippi State
That’s right, the Packers doubling up on pass rushers in the first round again. This time it’s because Sweat is just too good to let fall out of the first round. Like Polite, he can play standing up or with his hand down. The combination of the two would open up a number of possibilities for defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.
31. New England Patriots: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
Meet your Rob Gronkowski successor. Fant excels when he’s lined up outside working up the sideline. But he’s also capable of playing the middle of the field gaining tough yards. He’s not the best blocker, but he would give the Patriots a big target as a receiver.
32. Los Angeles Rams: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
Like Sweat, Thompson is too good to let fall out of the first round. He’s an excellent coverage safety, especially when he can patrol the deep middle of the field. He can also come down and play the slot when needed.