Where did the time go? Seems like just yesterday Matt Prater was throwing touchdowns in Green Bay, Nick Foles was primed for another Super Bowl run, and #DraftSZN was only at its origins. Fast forward almost four months later, and we’re only several hours away from The Back Judge Podcast’s equivalent of Christmas: Draft night. I may have missed podcasts recently (turns out college classes require a tad more attention than I have paid them in the past), but in my limited free time, I was watching game tape in my room at 3 AM. Without further ado, here’s how I think the NFL General Managers will pick tomorrow.
- Arizona Cardinals
The Pick: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
The second Kliff Kingsbury took the Head Coaching job in Arizona, Kyler Murray at number 1 rumors began swirling. Kingsbury was quoted during his time at Texas Tech saying, “If I have the first pick in the draft, I’m taking Kyler Murray.” Since then, Murray has been dissected by the media, with scouts expressing some leadership concerns and some even saying that all of this is a smokescreen by the Cardinals to get trade offers. To hell with all of that. Cardinals QB Josh Rosen, though full of potential, had one of the worst seasons ever for a rookie quarterback last year and shouldn’t be enough to stop Kingsbury from making a splash and taking his guy number 1 overall.
- San Francisco 49ers
The Pick: Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
Bosa is widely regarded as the top prospect in the draft, and likely would have gone first overall had Kyler Murray chose to play baseball. San Francisco will gladly take Bosa at number 2, one of the most consistent players I’ve ever seen play at the collegiate level. Bosa has a nose for the ball and was virtually unblockable during his time at Ohio State. The 49ers have drafted three defensive linemen in the first round the past four years and added Dee Ford in the offseason, but Bosa is simply too good to pass up. Only concern I have is Bosa being a little bit of a homophobe (better delete those old tweets, buddy) and having to play in San Francisco.
- New York Jets
The Pick: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
Josh Allen is a freaky athletic hybrid player who can play on the defensive line and cover receivers in passing situations. He was very productive at Kentucky (17 sacks his senior year) and will give the Jets some much-needed pass rush opposite of Leonard Williams, who has always been more of a run stopper than a pass rusher.
- Oakland Raiders
The Pick: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
I think that the Raiders would love to get Josh Allen at this pick, as he’s maybe the closest prospect we’ve seen to Khalil Mack since, well, Khalil Mack, but Williams is a slam dunk player should they choose to pick the best player available. Williams is a brick wall on the interior of the defensive line, and despite consistently facing double teams in college, he still managed to rack up 8 sacks, 19.5 tackles for loss, and the Outland Trophy for the country’s best DT last year despite only being a redshirt sophomore.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Pick: Devin White, LB, LSU
After losing Kwon Alexander in free agency, the Bucs get his replacement (and perhaps upgrade) in the ultra-athletic White at number 5. White is the prototypical new age linebacker; he can blitz, he can stop the run, and he’s more than fast enough to have his way with slot receivers. Running a 4.42 40-yard dash, White will immediately be one of the most physically gifted linebackers in the NFL. If he can improve his tackling technique just a little bit, he’ll be a star.
- New York Giants
The Pick: Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan
When mock drafting the New York Giants, you have to ask yourself one thing: What Would Gettleman Do? New York Giants GM Dave Gettleman has had a less-than-stellar 2019 offseason to say the least, trading Odell Beckham Jr. for the 17thoverall pick and bringing back 38-year-old QB Eli Manning for another season. Rashan Gary, in my opinion the most polarizing player in the 2019 NFL Draft, would be the perfect controversial pick for Gettleman to make. After trading Damon Harrison and Olivier Vernon over the past calendar year, the Giants’ D-Line is putrid. Gary didn’t do anything noteworthy in college, but he’s scary athletic for his size and can play on the interior and outside, versatility needed with the group of defensive linemen the Giants currently have.
- Jacksonville Jaguars
The Pick: TJ Hockenson, TE, Iowa
After signing QB Nick Foles to a 4-year contract over the offseason, the Jaguars are desperate to give him some people to throw to. With arguably the weakest receiver/tight end group in the league (fun fact: Justin Blackmon is still technically on Jacksonville’s reserve list), Hockenson is an easy pick for Jacksonville in my opinion. Hockenson is still progressing, but he’s the best blocking tight end in the class and has shown enough flashes of athleticism to think he could become an elite TE in the NFL.
- Detroit Lions
The Pick: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
Let’s go!!!! The Lions picking up Ed Oliver would be a home run pick. After bolstering the edge of the line by signing former Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers in free agency and drafting Da’Shawn Hand last year, the transformation of the Lions defensive line will be complete once Ed Oliver slots next to Damon Harrison on the interior of the line (sorry A’Shawn, I still love you). Oliver is underweight for a defensive tackle at just 287 pounds, but his height (6’2”) and strength (32 bench press reps at the Combine) make me confident he won’t have too much trouble transitioning to the NFL.
- Buffalo Bills
The Pick: DK Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
After swinging and missing on Antonio Brown over the offseason, the Bills added to their weak receiving corps by signing free agents Cole Beasley and John Brown. Spoiler alert: that’s not enough. Metcalf is another polarizing player, setting the Combine on fire with his 4.33 40-yard dash and an eye-popping 27 reps on the bench press. However, his 20-yard shuttle and 3-cone drill times were worse than Tom Brady (!) With few elite receiver prospects in this draft, I’d roll the dice on Metcalf as he has all the tools to become a number 1 wide receiver, he just needs to become a more versatile route runner.
- Denver Broncos
The Pick: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
The Denver Broncos quarterback situation has been hilarious since Peyton Manning retired. Brock Osweiler, Trevor Siemian, Case Keenum, and now Joe Flacco are the QBs John Elway has brought in to lead his team the past few seasons. What do they all have in common? They suck. Dwayne Haskins set virtually every Ohio State passing record this season while leading the Buckeyes to a 13-1 record. Haskins has one of the prettiest deep balls out of any quarterback recently drafted, and has shown incredible poise both on and off the field. I would love to see Dwayne tossing 60-yard bombs in the thin Mile High air, it’s just up to Elway to finally make the pick and get a real franchise QB.
- Cincinnati Bengals
The Pick: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
After cutting Vontaze Burfict over the offseason, Devin Bush is the perfect guy to bring in and replace him. Bush plays a lot like Burfict; he hits hard, goes 110% every play, and will let you know how good he is by talking trash on the field the entire time. The difference between the two is Devin Bush has zero off the field concerns. Bush is a natural born leader, and after he got injured during the Ohio State game, the Michigan defense went from number one in the country to one of the worst in the country.
- Green Bay Packers
The Pick: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
With the aging but still elite Aaron Rodgers under contract until he’s 39, the Packers number one priority should be protecting him. Rodgers has dealt with injuries the past two seasons that have ultimately prevented the Packers from making the playoffs. Jonah Williams is the top offensive line prospect in this draft, and one of the most versatile. I see Williams being able to play both the guard and tackle spot in the pros.
- Miami Dolphins
The Pick: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
Where do you even start with this team? Going into the 2019 season with a new head coach and consistently inconsistent veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starter, the Dolphins should be a dumpster fire this coming season. This is a pick for the future. After being Kyler Murray’s favorite target all season, the short but speedy Brown will do Tua Tagovailoa a lot of favors when the Dolphins select him first overall in the 2020 draft.
- Atlanta Falcons
The Pick: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
The Falcons don’t have many glaring needs, and are my favorite out of teams who didn’t make the postseason in 2018 to make it back in 2019. The Falcons are thin at the offensive tackle position opposite of former first round pick Jake Matthews, so picking Taylor would solidify their offensive line and help the not-so-mobile Matt Ryan spend less time on his back next season. Taylor is an agile pass blocker, which will come in handy going against elite NFL speed rushers.
- Washington Redskins
The Pick: Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
The Redskins need playmakers on both sides of the ball, and Burns is without a doubt a playmaker on the defensive side. Standing at 6’5” and running a 4.53 40-yard dash, Burns has the best speed rush on the edge and the best bend going up against offensive tackles out of any EDGE prospect I watched play. His elite physical tools were on display this past season at Florida State, as Burns racked up 10 sacks. The one knock on Burns is his light weight, only 249 pounds, but if putting on weight gets rid of his elite speed rush, it won’t be worth it.
- Carolina Panthers
The Pick: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
Let me get this straight: I love Greedy Williams. If I’m Bob Quinn, I have no problem taking him at number 8 overall for the Lions. Williams is 6’3”, runs a 4.37 40-yard dash, and played man coverage throughout his career at LSU, shutting down receivers like DK Metcalf, who I have getting drafted 7 slots ahead of Williams. So why is Greedy getting picked at 16? Tackling. He’s not a great tackler. I couldn’t care less about that. Cornerbacks are asked to make solo tackles in the running game 1 or 2 times per game at the most. So, while the Lions look for “good tackling corners” (may I remind you Teez Tabor was known as a tackling corner), the Panthers will gladly take the shutdown corner they’ve lacked since parting ways with Josh Norman.
- New York Giants (from Cleveland)
The Pick: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
Gettleman’s back again! Who needs Odell Beckham when you can take a quarterback who struggled to complete 50% of his passes in college? The Giants are reportedly enamored with Jones, and Gettleman is rumored to see him as the “next Eli Manning.” (Is that a good thing?) Jones didn’t do one thing on tape that really jumped out to me, and although he had some success at Duke, a lot of people contribute that to head coach David Cutliffe’s system. There are better QBs still on the board than Jones, like my boy Drew Lock, who continues to fall in this mock draft.
- Minnesota Vikings
The Pick: Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma
Anyone who watched the Vikings last season knows that they need help on the offensive front. Kirk Cousins had virtually no time to make throws, especially late in the season, and the Vikings inability to pass protect left them watching the playoffs on the couch after a 13-3 season in 2017. Ford is another versatile lineman prospect who spent the past two seasons protecting Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, and can play either guard or right tackle.
- Tennessee Titans
The Pick: Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
The Titans don’t have a bad defensive line, but they could use consistency on the edge opposite of Jurrell Casey. Clelin Ferrell’s middle name is consistency. While not a spectacular prospect, lacking the strength and speed of elite EDGE prospects, Ferrell has the ideal frame (6’4”, 265 pounds) for an NFL defensive end, and showed during his time at Clemson that his biggest strength was his technique, having some of the best hand moves and footwork out of any pass rusher in this year’s class.
- Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pick: Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama
The Steelers may be on verge of total implosion. The Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown sagas that dominated headlines this offseason showed that there is something not quite right with the Steelers right now, and the team has consistently had QB Ben Roethlisberger’s back while pushing the needs of the rest of the team to the side. Struggling to find a linebacker since Ryan Shazier’s devastating injury, Mack Wilson would fit the Steelers’ virtually “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” system well. Wilson disappointed at the combine running a 4.7 40-yard dash, but he looked faster on tape and was very good at defending the middle of the field on passing downs. I also see Mack Wilson as one of the best tacklers in the draft.
- Seattle Seahawks
The Pick: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
The second tight end taken in the draft is another former Hawkeye. You’d think they would have had a better season last year than 9-4. Fant is almost like the opposite of Hockenson; he’s known solely for his athleticism and struggled blocking. Fant makes scouts salivate with his 6’4” height and 4.50 40-yard dash time, and he reminds me of an Eric Ebron who can actually catch. He will be a welcome target for the $140 million man Russell Wilson.
- Baltimore Ravens
The Pick: N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
Another team in contention for worst receiving corps in the league, it is absolutely imperative the Ravens add threats in the passing game to avoid defenses from stacking the box against run-first QB Lamar Jackson. Harry would immediately become the best receiver on the Ravens, and his physical tools (6’2”, 27 bench press reps) combined with college production (1,000+ yards each of the last two seasons) make him a great pick for Baltimore. My one concern is his speed (4.53 40-yard dash), but when you watch the tape on Harry, he’s the most competitive and aggressive receiver in this class, two things that matter a lot in the NFL.
- Houston Texans
The Pick: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
Wilkins could very well be picked before this, but I see him falling to the Texans at number 23. The Texans are in need of an elite nose tackle in their 3-4 system, and Wilkins would be the ideal player to put in that spot, especially if the Jadeveon Clowney contract dispute isn’t taken care of soon and their defensive line gets thinner. Wilkins is an incredible athlete for 315 pounds, running a 5.04 40-yard dash and a 4.55 in the 20-yard shuttle. With 15 passes defended in his career, Wilkins next to JJ Watt would be a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks whether they get the pass off or not.
- Oakland Raiders (from Chicago)
The Pick: Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
One of the better overall prospects in the draft, Sweat is expected to fall in the draft due to an undisclosed heart condition, but he’s not making it past Oakland, who would have drafted him #4 overall were he fully healthy. Admittedly, I’m not in love with Sweat like many scouts are, but the physical tools are staggering. Sweat’s 4.41 40-yard dash is the fastest all time for a defensive lineman, and faster than a lot of the best running backs in the NFL. On tape, Sweat looked a bit like a one-trick pony speed rusher with subpar technique, but he’s still raw, and I’ll be rooting for him to develop into the player he can be in Oakland.
- Philadelphia Eagles
The Pick: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
The Eagles’ Achilles heel last year was injuries in the secondary. Their top three cornerbacks, including Ronald Darby, were all lost for the season during the 2018 year, and had to be replaced by practice squad players. While the replacements did an admirable job, it’s important this doesn’t happen again. Murphy is a consistent and gritty corner prospect. The best tackling corner in the draft, Murphy does best in zone coverage and has great ball skills, including a game winning pick-6 in the Pac 12 Championship game this past year. Murphy isn’t a transcendent athlete, but the Eagles’ strong safety play should make him an effective corner.
- Indianapolis Colts
The Pick: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
The Indianapolis Colts were the NFL’s most improved team last season. With an incredibly young but still talented core, the Colts are in shape to compete for years to come. However, they’re weak at safety, so landing Thompson, the top safety prospect in a relatively weak class, would be huge for them. Thompson has great instincts and ball skills, and when he sees that it’s a run play, he’s not afraid at all to run into the trenches and lay a big hit.
- Oakland Raiders (from Dallas)
The Pick: Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
This is why I waited so long to do my mock draft! Marshawn Lynch retired the other day so now the Raiders have no running back, and I think Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock would be ecstatic to land the top RB prospect in the draft this late in the first round. Jacobs didn’t impress at his Pro Day like I thought he would, running a solid but not elite 4.52 40-yard dash, but Jacobs runs violently with the ball, and his 220-pound frame is hard to bring down. In my opinion, Jacobs was the key to Alabama’s victory over Oklahoma in the CFP semifinal this year.
- Los Angeles Chargers
The Pick: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
Dexter Lawrence is a big boy, and after failing a drug test for PEDs before the College Football Playoff, now we may know why. Because of this failed drug test, Lawrence has dropped in the draft and become one of the biggest high-risk, high-reward prospects in the draft. The Chargers are really strong on the edge of the D-line but weak on the interior, making Lawrence a great fit for them. Lawrence is a spectacular athlete for his size and an effective pass rusher even as a nose tackle, one of the hardest positions to pass rush from, but he struggles a bit against the run.
- Seattle Seahawks (from Kansas City)
The Pick: Zach Allen, EDGE, Boston College
After trading Frank Clark this past week, the Seahawks will attempt to make up for the lost production by taking another defensive end in the draft. Allen is the most unspectacular EDGE prospect in this first round by far, and I hesitate to really call him an EDGE because he exclusively has to play in a 3-point stance on the line. He’s slow (5.0 second 40-yard dash) and not very strong (24 bench press reps), but when you watch him on tape, it’s hard not to root for him. He gave consistent effort every single play, which was evident by his whopping 100 tackles his junior year, something I’ve rarely seen any defensive linemen achieve.
- Green Bay Packers (from New Orleans)
The Pick: Darrell Henderson, RB, Memphis
Most mock drafts have Darrell Henderson going in the 2ndor 3rdround. Why? I have no idea. This would be a home run for the RB-thin Packers so I really hope they don’t actually make this pick. Henderson was a one man wrecking crew in college, averaging an unheard of 8.9 (!!!!!!!!) yards per carry in both of his last two seasons, and Henderson backed it up at the combine by running a 4.49 40-yard dash. Whoever picks Darrell Henderson is getting a bona fide stud running back.
- Los Angeles Rams
The Pick: DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia
The Rams are one of the most stacked teams in the league, but last season proved that CB Marcus Peters is more of a name than an actually effective player right now. Peters got exposed by receivers such as Michael Thomas, and while I still like Peters and his instinctive ball skills, it would be in the Rams’ best interest to add another corner. Baker was a great press corner in the tough SEC in college, and he went the entire 2017 and 2018 seasons without allowing a touchdown.
- New England Patriots
The Pick: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
Can Tom Brady retire right now? I had to do it! Ever since I watched a 15-minute video of Drew Lock escaping pressure in the pocket and avoiding sacks over Christmas break, I’ve been in love with this guy, poor footwork and technique be damned. Lock has a rocket arm and is a great decision maker, and although his team wasn’t incredibly successful in college, Lock was, throwing for 44 touchdowns in his junior season. Put Lock in the Belichick system and in twenty years we’ll be debating whether he’s the GOAT or just a system QB.