In a strange twist, rather than try to guess the selection (and be wrong most of the time), I am going to look at the potential available options for each team.
1. Arizona Cardinals
Option A: Kyler Murray, QB (OU)
Option B: Quinnen Williams, DT (Alabama)
Option C: Trade Down
After months of drama and speculation, this has got to be the biggest smokescreens (or non-smokescreens) in recent history. The Cardinals have so many holes in their roster that they should trade this pick to accumulate a collection of riches, but probably won’t. If they are able to trade Rosen for a late first/early second, while also acquiring their franchise QB, then this is as good as it gets. This is a matter of fit more than any other single factor. Even if Murray is objectively only slightly better than Rosen in a vacuum, the NFL isn’t a vacuum.
2. San Francisco 49ers
Option A: Nick Bosa, EDGE (OSU)
Option B: Quinnen Williams, DT (Alabama)
The 49ers are going to be in command of the direction of the draft here at #2. They would have to consider both Bosa/Williams. Even with the addition of Dee Ford, the 9ers need to continue to beef up the defensive line. I think this is a true coin flip between Nick Bosa and Quinnen Williams. Both are graded by PFF as the best EDGE and DT in the draft, either one is a huge upgrade. For the purposes of actually finishing the mock draft instead of waxing philosophically, If I had to choose, I’m rolling with Bosa. This has more to do with the relative value of EDGE rushers compared to interior defenders. More on that here.
3. New York Jets
Option A: Trade Down
Option B: Ed Oliver, DT (Houston)
Option C: Josh Allen, EDGE (Kentucky)
The Jets absolutely want to trade back, and there are several teams interested in moving up (ATL and WSH). Worst case scenario, I can guarantee that the Jets flip picks with the Raiders so they ensure they can land Williams. I’m not confident that they will be able to get a deal done unless Dan Synder has totally hijacked the draft board. The Jets should select Quinnen Williams if he is on the board at #3. However, the entire organization is smitten by Ed Oliver, so if they look to improve the interior of the line, I believe they will draft him over Williams. I also don’t know why they haven’t considered Josh Allen more seriously, Gregg Williams could utilize a versatile EDGE/LB in a variety of ways. Just a year ago, Oliver was being discussed as a top-3 lock. Just three-months ago, Oliver was being discussed as a 10-20 range pick. Just a week-ago, rumors are flying that he is back in the top-10 conversation. Nobody knows where he will end up, but his arrow is pointing upward.
4. Oakland Raiders
Option A: Best DL available
Option B: Dwayne Haskins, QB (OSU)
I don’t think that the Raiders should entertain moving back from this spot. They will have an amazing talent pool to choose, which most likely will include Quinnen Williams.
Quinnen Williams isn’t just the best interior defender in this draft class, he is the best player. Period. PFF graded Williams as the highest interior defender of the past 5 years. Some scouts have gushed that he is one of the best prospects in recent history at the position, echoing sentiments about Aaron Donald. He finished the 2018 campaign with 71 tackles (19.5 TFL) and 8 sacks.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Option A: Devin White, LB (LSU)
Option B: Josh Allen
I personally believe that this selection is going to come down to the evaluation of White vs. Allen. TB needs to improve both levels of their defense and Allen would be a huge improvement over Carl Nassib while White would replace Kwon Alexander, who they lost in free agency. I would probably shade towards Devin White, who looks like a potential pro bowl linebacker in a shallow class. As a two-year starter at LSU, White had 255 tackles, 26 TFL and 7.5 sacks. His combine numbers only bolstered his value, running a 4.42 40-yard dash. White is stout against the run, great in coverage and played in the SEC. What else is there to say?
6. NY Giants
Option A: Devin White
Option B: Josh Allen
Option C: Dwayne Haskins/Daniel Jones, QB (Duke)
I honestly feel bad for all the Giants fans out there agonizing over Gettlemen entertaining the idea of taking Daniel Jones this high in the draft. There are so many connections between Jones and the Manning family, it seems like this is a foregone conclusion. For their sake, I hope that they can hold off until the #17 selection before making this franchise altering decision. If the Giants are serious about landing a blue chip talent and White is already gone, Josh Allen seems like the best fit.
John Allen is the best pass rushing EDGE in the draft this year, even better than Nick Bosa. As a three-year starter on a good (but not great) team, he finished with 31 sacks and 39.5 tackles for loss.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
Option A: Jorah Williams, OT (Alabama)
Option B: Jawaan Taylor, OT (Florida)
Pick your poison here, both Williams and Taylor are fantastic blockers and could anchor multiple positions along the offensive line (with the exception of LT). After putting your faith in Nick Foles as your future franchise quarterback, you should probably consider giving him some weapons and protection. The Jags pass protection was atrocious last year and they have a new investment to protect.
8. Detroit Lions
Option A: Trade Down (Washington)
Option B: Devin Bush, Jr., LB (Michigan)
Option C: BPA EDGE
The Lions are another prime candidate to trade back and the ‘Skins might be a prime target. They are quite interested in Haskins and should be concerned about the Denver, Cincinnati and Miami that draft ahead of them. If a deal cannot be had, it isn’t the worst position to be in as this draft class is loaded with plenty of significant upgrades in the front-seven. Linebacker has been the bane of the Lions existence, Devin Bush and Jarrad Davis would make a formidable combination for years to come. The Lions just shelled out $90 million for Trey Flowers, but I don’t think it excludes them from selecting another EDGE player here.
9. Buffalo Bills
Option A: Montez Sweat, EDGE (Miss St)
Option B: Jawaan Taylor/Jorah Williams
Wildcard: T.J. Hockenson, TE (Iowa)
I personally believe that the rest of the draft is going to hinge on the selection of the Bills. They will have their choice of offensive linemen Taylor or Williams (whichever one Jacksonville doesn’t select), along with EDGE Sweat (who was medically cleared this morning) and Hockenson (the best TE prospect in years). It really comes down to their evaluation of Taylor/Williams, neither of which project to be a blind-side protector. Shaq Lawson hasn’t developed into the game-wrecker that they hoped, coupled with the medical clearance of Sweat puts him at the top of the list.
10. Denver Bronos
Option A: T.J. Hockenson
Option B: Drew Lock, QB (Missou)
There are plenty of other potential options, but I envision John Elway either (A) drafting a QB of the future or (B) giving his current QB more weapons to be successful. Hockenson is the highest touted QB prospect since Vernon Davis (2006). He can run, he can block, he is athletic. The Broncos may wait to select a QB until the next round, but a player of Hockenson’s caliber isn’t going to be available then.
11. Cincinnati Bengals
Option A: Devin Bush, Jr.
Option B: Dwanye Haskins
Option C: ???
The Bengals could throw darts blindfolded at a board of the top-20 prospects and they would all be an upgrade over their current roster. Of all their glaring holes, the release of Burfict leaves them shorthanded at the linebacker position. It would be fortunate for them if Detroit trades back, because it would open a pathway for them to select Devin Bush, Jr. If Mike Brown is more interested in selling tickets and gives new head coach Zac Taylor a new QB to groom to replace Dalton. It just so happens that the played down the road at Ohio State.
12. Green Bay Packers
Option A: T.J. Hockenson
Option B: Jeffrey Simmons, DT (Miss St)
The Packers invested heavily in their pass rush through free agency, they will probably go in a different direction here. If for some reason Denver decides to opt for a signal-caller over a security blanket, Hockenson will not make it past this pick. If he is off the board, they go BPA with Simmons, who had one domestic violence offense from his past that doesn’t sound as serious as originally thought.
13. Miami Dolphins
Option A: Jawaan Taylor
Option B: Christian Wilkins, DT (Clemson)
If Jawaan Taylor is still on the board at 13, I find it hard to believe that the Dolphins would pass up on his talent. Just for reference, their starting RT today is Zach Sterup. If you haven’t heard of him, that’s because he has been on four different teams in three years, waived twice. It would be nice to build the offensive line before Tua arrives next year.
14. Atlanta Falcons
Option A: Christian Wilkins
Option B: Clelin Ferrell, EDGE (Clemson)
Option C: Cody Ford, OG (OU)
The Falcons are desperate for a trade up to snag Oliver or Wilkins to fall into their lap here. If both are off the board, I still expect them to stay in the trenches. Vic Beasley hasn’t materialized into the expected pass rush specialist they had hoped; Ferrell would form a solid tandem with McKinley. If they opt to bolster the offensive line, Ford is a better option than either one of their current starting guards.
15. Washington Redskins
Option A: Trade up for Haskins
Option B: ????
At this point, all signs point to Dan Synder going full RG3 and moving up the board to select his preferred quarterback of the future. Everyone knows that Case Keenem is a stop-gap solution and Haskins could develop into a quality starter. It’s hard to envision Dan Synder making any other pick here.
16. Carolina Panthers
Option A: Andre Dillard, OT (Wash St)
Option B: Brian Burns, EDGE (Fla St)
This pick is either going to be an offensive lineman to try and prolong Cam Newton’s career or a much-needed pass rusher. Mario Addison and Bruce Irvin are hardly a daunting tandem to pass against, Burns would at least provide some positional depth.
17. NY Giants (again)
Option A: Daniel Jones
There is no other option here. The Giants have flirted with the idea of drafting this kid 6th overall. They could also move up a few spots if that makes them feel better, but realistically he should still be on the board at 17.
18. Minnesota Vikings
Option A: Garrett Bradbury, OL (NC St)
Option B: Cody Ford
The Vikings absolutely need to fix their offensive line. I don’t see how you could prioritize any other position at this point in the draft. If the rumors are true that they like Bradbury, I see him falling to them nicely.
19. Tennessee Titans
Option A: Brian Burns
Option B: Rashan Gary, EDGE (Mich)
Option C: Noah Fant, TE (Iowa)
The best case scenario for the Titans is that Burns or Gary are available. Their roster only has a few glaring holes and Burns/Gary would provide a spark to the defense. If they are really satisfied with Cameron Wake or Kamalei Correa starting each week, they could snag the successor for Delanie Walker, who turns 35 this season.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers
Option A: Rock Ya-Sin, CB (Temple)
Option B: Noah Fant
Option C: Trade up for White/Bush?
The Steelers really need a MLB since Shazier went down. Unfortunately for them, there are two premiere talents – White and Bush, Jr – who will most certainly not be available at 20. Rumors are flying that they may even entertain moving up to get one of them, which would be very uncharacteristic for the franchise. It is possible that they recognize their window is closing fast and they want to capitalize.
21. Seattle Seahawks
Option A: Rashan Gary
Option B: …
The best kept secret of this draft class is that it is loaded with defensive talent, especially on the line. For teams picking in the bottom half of the round, there must be some angst that all the top-tier options will be gone by the time they select. The Seahawks just shipped their sack leader (Frank Clark) to Kansas City, Rashan Gary is one of the last remaining top options and would be a nice replacement.
22. Baltimore Ravens
Option A: Trade back
Option B: A WR
We don’t know much about the Ravens draft process because this is the first draft for the new DeCosta regime. After losing half of their defensive front-seven in free agency, there’s quite a bit of work that needs to be done. They should trade back to the 30-40 range and collect more picks so they can try to fill the void. Speaking of a void, check out the starting WRs for the Ravens in 2019:
Based on the way this draft has gone so far, they would have their choice of all receivers. If DeCosta doesn’t mind waiting for one in the 2nd or 3rd rounds, he should collect as many picks as humanly possible.
23. Houston Texans
Option A: OL
Option B: Byron Murphy, CB (Wash)
I fully expect the Texans to beef up the interior of their offensive line. If I had to guess, I would think a Cody Ford or Erik McCoy would be in play here.
24. Oakland Raiders
Option A: Josh Jacobs, RB (Alabama)
There is no other option. The Eagles and Colts have been creating a smokescreen surrounding Josh Jacobs all week. They may have no intention of drafting him, but they want the Raiders to spend their 24th selection instead of waiting until their 27th.
25. Philadelphia Eagles
Option A: Marquise Brown, WR (OU)
Option B: AJ Brown, WR (Ole Miss)
Option C: Dexter Lawrence, DT (Clemson)
The Eagles have a lot of money committed to WRs in the short-term. This would give them some flexibility with Agholor in the coming months and a successor for DeSean Jackson in the coming years.
26. Indianapolis Colts
Option A: WR
Option B: Johnathan Abram (Miss St)
Outside of TY Hilton, the Colts are extremely thin at wide receiver. This could be a potential ceiling for D.K. Metcalf, who is a freak athlete but a questionable route runner.
27. Oakland Raiders
Option A: Noah Fant
Option B: Jachai Polite, EDGE (Florida)
The Raiders, who have been drafting according to their needs the entire draft, forget to deal with the biggest hole on their roster: EDGE. Just a friendly reminder that Khalil Mack finished with 0.5 sacks less than the entire Raiders roster. This is why I personally believe it is a mistake to take Williams and Jacobs in their respective positions. At this point, Polite is probably a reach, but a necessary one.
28. LA Chargers
Option A: Greedy Williams, CB (LSU)
Option B: Dre’Mont Jones, DT (OSU)
Option C: Deandre Baker, CB (Georgia)
The Chargers have three primary needs: interior run stuffer, cornerback and offensive tackle. It is hard to say which ones are going to be available at this juncture, but I suspect that plenty of quality BPA cornerbacks will still be available.
29. Seattle Seahawks
Option A: Juan Thornhill, S (Virginia)
This is pretty cut and dry: the Seahawks have no replacement for Earl Thomas and Thornhill has a bright NFL future.
30. Green Bay Packers
Option A: Noah Fant
Option B: OL
If GB wants to ensure that they get Fant, they should trade with Baltimore to move up to 22. If they leave it to chance, another team will most certainly pluck him before they have the chance.
31. LA Rams
Option A: Trade back
The Rams don’t have a second round selection and some team will want to take advantage of the fifth-year option.
32. New England Patriots
Option A: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
This is New England we are talking about. I’m not even going to try to guess their motivations or inclinations.