Every year I like to do an “If I were GM” mock draft where I make the picks based on what I would do if I were the ultimate decision maker for each team. It’s always interesting to see how much my plans differ from the real thing. So without further ado:
1. Arizona Cardinals: Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio St.
Previous Mock: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
The Cardinals have a ton of needs besides quarterback. Josh Rosen was the top ranked player at the position on my board a year ago. I still believe he is that talented and is a good fit and can put up some great numbers in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense. That makes me move to take the best player available in Nick Bosa. He has solid athleticism and knows how to rush the passer. Putting him opposite of Chandler Jones would make for a great pass rushing duo.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Quinnen Williams, Defensive Tackle, Alabama
Previous Mock: Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio St.
The 49ers did well in the offseason to add Dee Ford to help fill their biggest need with an edge pass rusher. With that position filled, I would also go best player available here by taking Quinnen Williams. He is young, strong, and quick for a guy his size. He would give San Francisco a scary front four while providing a pass rush from the interior.
3. New York Jets: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
Previous Mock: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
The New York Jets added a lot of big name players in free agency. One key position they were unable to fill was at EDGE rusher. Josh Allen is my third ranked player in the class due to his production, quickness, speed, and motor. Here at number three he is the perfect example of best available player who happens to fill a major need.
4. Oakland Raiders: Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi St.
Previous Mock: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
The Raiders need pass rush help in the worst way especially after trading away Khalil Mack last season. Taking Sweat here is a little bit of a reach on my board, but his length, athleticism, and underrated strength in the run game make him a perfect fit in Oakland.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ed Oliver, Defensive Tackle, Houston
Previous Mock: Devin White, LB, LSU
I think the biggest need on the roster in Tampa is along the defensive line. Especially as the move to Todd Bowles’ 3-4 defense and even more so if they decide to move on from Gerald McCoy. Ed Oliver is arguably the biggest athletic freak of this draft class and, thus, I feel he can move around and play so many different positions in their defense.
6. New York Giants: Dwayne Haskins, Quarterback, Ohio St.
Previous Mock: Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan
It became painfully obvious last season that Eli Manning is nearing the end of his storied career; it’s time to find a successor in New York. Haskins is my top ranked quarterback in this draft class due to his very good accuracy, touch, and arm strength. He is not the most mobile, but we have seen many quarterbacks recently be successful without much mobility (Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Philip Rivers). With only one year as a college starter under his belt, having him start by sitting behind and learning from Eli would be ideal for all involved.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jawaan Taylor, Offensive Tackle, Florida
Previous Mock: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
I thought long and hard about taking a wide receiver or tight end here for Jacksonville, but liked the value more of taking Taylor with this pick. Taylor is an athletic and powerful tackle who can play either on the left side or right side of the offensive line. With a healthy Cam Robinson, that would be a big help to jump start what has been a disappointing offense in recent years.
8. Detroit Lions: Jonah Williams, Offensive Guard, Alabama
Previous Mock: Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi St.
I like almost everything the Lions have done so far this offseason. The only thing I had a problem with was releasing TJ Lang from an offensive line that wasn’t exactly spectacular last season. That’s why I like the pick of Williams here. There is a lot of talk about if he is a tackle or a guard. To me, he’s a freaking football player. He will be solid wherever you stick him along the line. That being said, I do think he has a higher ceiling at guard, but could make some spot starts at tackle if injuries pop up.
9. Buffalo Bills: TJ Hockenson, Tight End, Iowa
Previous Mock: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
Although I really like the thought of Ed Oliver in Buffalo, he is long gone in this scenario. That makes me look to add viable weapons for Josh Allen to throw to. Hockenson is by far the best all-around tight end in this draft class with his equally good ability as a blocker and receiver.
10. Denver Broncos: Devin White, Linebacker, LSU
Previous Mock: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
If Devin White is still on the board with this pick, I am running the card up to the podium if I’m Denver. He is a superb athlete who makes plays all over the field in the run game and in coverage. Denver has had a hole at inside linebacker ever since Danny Trevathan left and I would fill it emphatically here with White.
11. Cincinnati Bengals: Kyler Murray, Quarterback, Oklahoma
Previous Mock: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio St.
I like Kyler Murray‘s game a lot. His explosive athleticism and beautiful deep ball set him apart from most Quarterbacks you see in the NFL today — I just like Haskins’ overall arm talent more. But in Cincinnati with a new head coach and scheme, I really like the value and fit here. Murray would bring a level of excitement I don’t think Bengals fans have ever seen from the quarterback position.
12. Green Bay Packers: Devin Bush Jr., Linebacker, Michigan
Previous Mock: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
The Green Bay Packers had an impressive offseason so far after being aggressive in free agency for what seems like the first time ever. They were able to fill their gigantic holes at safety and outside linebacker. I would like to add an offensive weapon for Aaron Rodgers here, but the value just isn’t here with this pick. So I would upgrade the inside linebacker position with Bush. He is just as good of an athlete and play-maker as Devin White and I don’t think the gap between them is as large as people think.
13. Miami Dolphins: Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
Previous Mock: Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida St.
The Dolphins seem to be content entering full rebuild mode and skipping on taking a quarterback early this draft — and I am too. When you consider, what this roster looks like and how many holes there are throughout, plus the talent at quarterback likely coming out over the next few years, it makes sense to fill as many other holes this season as possible. One of the bigger holes is at pass rusher after Cameron Wake and Robert Quinn departed this offseason. I’m not sure why Ferrell has seemed to drop a little bit, but I still really like his game and NFL prospects. He has an explosive first step with the strength to play the run just as well.
14. Atlanta Falcons: Christian Wilkins, Defensive Tackle, Clemson
Previous Mock: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
The Falcons desperately need help on the interior of the defensive line alongside the franchise tagged Grady Jarrett. Wilkins has a similar game based on quickness and a smaller frame. He would create quite a duo this season while providing insurance in case they can’t retain Jarrett after this season.
15. Washington Redskins: Drew Lock, Quarterback, Missouri
Previous Mock: DK Metcalf, WR, Mississippi
There is a lot of speculation that Washington would be the team to trade for Josh Rosen should the Cardinals take Kyler Murray with the top pick. But, neither of those things happen in this scenario and I don’t want to go into the season with Case Keenum and Colt McCoy as my primary quarterbacks if I’m the Redskins. Lock has all the physical tools with good arm strength, solid accuracy, and good mobility, but he needs to put it all together more consistently and against the better competition. If he could sit and learn to begin the year, I like the upside of Lock as the franchise quarterback in Washington.
16. Carolina Panthers: Andre Dillard, Offensive Tackle, Washington St.
Previous Mock: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
I will be shocked if the pick for Carolina is anything other than an offensive lineman. The line in Carolina has been pitiful for years now and it finally caught up with them last season with Cam Newton suffering a serious injury. His mobility covers a lot of issues up front, but it’s time to truly protect your franchise player. So with the best pass blocker in this draft on the board in Dillard, this pick becomes a no-brainer.