It doesn't happen every year, but every so often, a seemingly sure-fire first-round quarterback experiences a stunning fall on draft day.
Last year,until the Ravens traded back into the first round to end his slide serves as one of the most memorable images of the draft, even if his slide wasn't that stunning given just how polarizing of a prospect Jackson became during the never-ending draft process. Of course, one cannot talk about draft-day slides without mentioning what happened to Aaron Rodgers way back in 2005, when he went from the possible top pick to the 24th pick of the Packers, but slides of that magnitude rarely happen.
The beauty (or horror, I guess) of draft-day falls is that they're virtually impossible to predict. Sure, once they happen, we can figure out how and why they happened. But until they do, there's no way to know they're coming. With that in mind, in my latest mock draft, I decided to look at how a quarterback could fall to the end of the first round in this month's draft.
The quarterback? Drew Lock, the strong-armed, but somewhat erratic passer who has been compared by some to and Matthew Stafford. Lock, depending on who you to talk to, is either the second- or third-best quarterback in the draft, but he's definitely a member of the Big Three, a group made up of Lock, Dwayne Haskins, and Kyler Murray. In this mock, I have Lock falling all the way to the Raiders at the end of the first round. It might not be likely, but I decided to explore how it could happen.
The way I see it, the following teams could be in play for a quarterback in the first round:
- The Cardinals (No. 1)
- The Raiders (No. 4, No. 24, No. 27)
- The Giants (No. 6, No. 17)
- The Jaguars (No. 7)
- The Broncos (No. 10)
- The Bengals (No. 11)
- The Dolphins (No. 13)
- The Redskins (No. 15)
That's probably it. At first, that appears to be a ton of teams in the mix for three quarterbacks. But once you begin to break it down, it certainly doesn't seem that unlikely that one of the Big Three could fall into the 20s.
Let's assume the Cardinals take Murray No. 1 overall, which is what I have them doing in this mock draft. That means they're almost certainly trading away Rosen to one of those quarterback-needy teams. In this mock, I have the Redskins acquiring Rosen for the cost of a second-round pick. That takes the Redskins at No. 15 out of the running for a rookie quarterback. At No. 4, the Raiders could take Haskins or Lock, but they also might feel like No. 4 is way too early for either quarterback when a premier pass rusher like Josh Allen is still on the board. At No. 6, I have the Giants taking Haskins (but that's no sure thing either,).
So that leaves the Jaguars, Broncos, Bengals, and Dolphins, all of whom would need to pass on Lock.
TheIt's likely they also won't waste a top-10 pick on a quarterback. The Broncos That shouldn't prohibit them from taking a quarterback, but it does make it less likely. The Bengals could use a new franchise quarterback, but with Andy Dalton still on a cheap contract, they don't need to rush it. If Zac Taylor doesn't love the quarterback sitting there at No. 11, he's better off waiting around for next year's draft. The Dolphins, while not having a long-term quarterback in place, are also in a position to pass on a quarterback and wait for next year's class. Lock won't turn them into immediate contenders. They still need a ton of pieces in place around the quarterback. If they don't love Lock, a very flawed prospect, they should just wait to pick near the top of the 2020 draft. The Redskins traded for Rosen. And the Giants already took Haskins. Both of them would be out on Lock already.
And that's how Lock could fall to the back end of the first round, where the Raiders would be foolish to pass on a quarterback who could go as high as the top 10. At some point, even if they didn't want him at No. 4, Lock would represent tremendous value for the Raiders.
Again, I'm not saying it will happen. But every once in a while, a quarterback is forced to wait much longer than anyone expects. Would it really be that shocking if a strong-armed quarterback with accuracy issues is passed on by teams that have the freedom to be both patient and selective when it comes to picking their next franchise quarterbacks?
Onto all the picks.
Check out all our mock drafts here.
|Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma |
In this scenario, the Cardinals send Rosen to the Redskins, freeing them to take Murray, the quarterback new coach Kliff Kingsbury appears to want.
|Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State |
The Cardinals' desire for Murray results in the best player in the draft falling to the 49ers, who only finished with the second-worst record last season because they lost their starting quarterback to a torn ACL. The 49ers should be dangerous in 2019 after adding Bosa and a healthy Jimmy Garoppolo.
|Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama |
I could see the Jets going in a number of different ways. Williams might be the best player available regardless of position, but if the Jets feel that an edge rusher is more valuable than an interior defensive lineman, they might make Josh Allen their pick. In this mock, I have the Jets taking Williams to beef up their defensive line. Williams paired with Leonard Williams gives the Jets a real strength at the position.
|Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky |
The Raiders desperately need to fix a pass rush that was virtually nonexistent a season ago after trading away Khalil Mack and letting go of Bruce Irvin. Allen (and his 17 sacks) addresses a huge need.
|Montez Sweat, EDGE, Miss. State |
The Buccaneers can go in a number of different ways. That's how bad they are on defense. A year ago, they ranked dead last in defensive DVOA. Here, they address their pass rush. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Sweat has a pre-existing heart condition. But according to The Athletic's Dane Brugler, a NFL team source told him that it's considered a low-risk condition.
|Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State |
The Giants watch Haskins fall to them as no other quarterback-needy team decides to leap in front of them. With Haskins there for the taking, the Giants make him their future franchise quarterback. They can sit him behind Eli Manning for a full season or start him immediately. Given how loyal they've been to Manning, it seems more likely that Haskins would begin his career on the bench. But that shouldn't last long.
|Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida |
The Jaguars overpaid Foles to be their new starter. Now, they need to try to place him in a friendly environment. Bolstering the offensive line would be a good start since it's way too early to take a receiver. Taylor's the best tackle in the draft and can start immediately.
|Greedy Williams, CB, LSU |
Before free agency, I had the Lions going with a pass rusher. After signing Trey Flowers, the defensive line is less of a need. The Lions also signed cornerback Justin Coleman, but in today's NFL, you need at least three good cornerbacks. Williams, Coleman, and Darius Slay would give the Lions exactly that.
|Ed Oliver, DT, Houston |
With Kyle Williams retiring, the Bills have a need on the interior of their line. It's a need Oliver fills. He's coming off a three-year college career that saw him record 53 tackles for a loss. He might also be the best player available regardless of position.
|Devin White, LB, LSU |
Vic Fangio's defenses typically feature very good inside linebackers, from Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman in San Francisco to Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith in Chicago. White's the best linebacker in this draft class and the Broncos have a hole at linebacker after letting Brandon Marshall leave.
|Devin Bush, LB, Michigan |
The Bengals would've loved to have been able to get White. But they'll settle for Bush, the second-best linebacker in this draft. Bush should start immediately for a terrible defense that finally moved on from Vontaze Burfict .
|T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa |
Hockenson's a capable pass catcher and blocker, making him the best tight end in the draft. How high he'll go is one of the draft's most intriguing questions. The Packers still have Jimmy Graham , but the two can coexist until Hockenson takes over as the team's primary tight end. Plus, Graham's not much of a blocker. Hockenson is.
|Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan |
The Dolphins, after trading Ryan Tannehill and missing out on Teddy Bridgewater, need a quarterback. Ryan Fitzpatrick's arrival doesn't change that. So with Lock still around, the Dolphins have to be tempted. But just because Lock is still available doesn't meant the Dolphins have to take a quarterback. If they think next year's class is better, they might as well take the best player available regardless of position and then take a quarterback next year. They're going to be bad in 2019. They can afford to be patient and pick a quarterback next year. And Gary could be a force up front for years to come.
|Byron Murphy, CB, Washington |
Murphy joins a secondary that already features one former Washington cornerback in Desmond Trufant. The Falcons could also use some help up front on the interior of their line, but assuming Grady Jarrett doesn't hold out, they can also afford to take a cornerback here. Murphy picked off four passes and defended away 13 passes during his senior season. In 2018, the Falcons' defense allowed the sixth-most passing yards.
|D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss |
The Redskins fixed their quarterback problem by trading for Rosen. Time to get him some weapons. As it stands, their receiver room is very unreliable with Paul Richardson and Josh Doctson leading the way. After a great combine, Metcalf might have the highest ceiling of any receiver in the draft.
|Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson |
The Panthers lost Julius Peppers to retirement and Mario Addison, 31, is a free agent next year. They need to get better and younger on the edge. Ferrell had 21 sacks over his final two college seasons.
From the BrownsJonah Williams, OT, Alabama
First they grab a quarterback. Then they make sure that quarterback will be well protected when he's ready to start. Williams should start immediately on one side with Nate Solder locked in on the other.
|Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma |
The Vikings desperately need to get better up front. Ford can play on the interior of their line. He'll start immediately.
|Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia |
The Titans' secondary is crowded, but it could stand to get better. The Malcolm Butler deal appears to have backfired, though Butler could always right the ship in his second season with the Titans. Logan Ryan is a free agent next year. The point being, the Titans could use another corner in a league that often requires three cornerbacks to defend three-receiver sets.
|Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State |
Cornerback and linebacker are both needs, but both linebackers went earlier and so did the top three cornerbacks. After trading away right tackle Marcus Gilbert, the Steelers could use a replacement. Dillard is a good pass-blocking tackle.
Mock trade with the SeahawksNoah Fant, TE, Iowa
The Patriots need their Gronk replacement. While Fant isn't as complete of a prospect of Hockenson, he's a gifted pass catcher who can develop into a strong blocker. The Patriots have a ton of picks. So they're able to move up here.
|Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma |
The Ravens' top receiver at the moment is Willie Snead. That needs to change. Brown would immediately become their most explosive and dangerous playmaker.
|Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss |
The Texans nearly got Deshaun Watson killed last year. They have to take an offensive lineman in the first round.
From the BearsBrian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
Another edge rusher for the sack-strapped Raiders. With Burns and Allen on either side of their defensive front, the Raiders could make a big improvement in the pass-rushing department.
|Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama |
The Jordan Howard trade doesn't completely solve the Eagles' woes at the running back position. Howard is a power runner, not a multidimensional threat who can reliably catch passes. If anything, Howard should be joining a committee in Philadelphia. That committee could include Jacobs, the best running back in this draft that can do a bit of running and pass catching. With Howard also on an expiring contract, Jacobs would also give the Eagles long-term stability.
|Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson |
They should be in the market for a receiver, but the . With two second-round picks, they can wait to grab a receiver. Here, they take a player who can immediately make an impact in the middle of their defense. Wilkins is coming off a 5.5-sack season that also included 14 tackles for a loss.
From the CowboysDrew Lock, QB, Missouri
Lock's fall stops. The Raiders can't afford to pass up on this sort of value. They need a long-term quarterback unless Derek Carr magically fixes all of his problems that have plagued him to this point in his career. Lock can sit behind Carr until he's ready, which should happen at some point before they move to Las Vegas.
|Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame |
Despite re-signing Brandon Mebane, the Chargers could stand to improve on the interior of their line and get younger seeing that Mebane is 34 years old. Tillery with Mebane, Melvin Ingram, and Joey Bosa would give Chargers the best defensive front in football.
|Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson |
The trade for Emmanuel Ogbah makes EDGE less of a need, although after parting ways with both Justin Houston and Dee Ford it is still very much a need. However, the Chiefs could also use help on the inside of their line. Lawrence should bolster the Chiefs' defense against the run, a major weakness a year ago when they allowed 5.0 yards per carry.
From the SaintsNasir Adderley, S, Delaware
Finally, the first safety comes off the board. He goes to a team that needs a new single high safety after trading Ha Ha Clinton-Dix last year. Newly signed safety Adrian Amos is a box safety, so the two players would fit well together.
|Garrett Bradbury, C, NC State |
After letting John Sullivan leave, the Rams are in the market for a new center. Bradbury is probably the only one worth a first-round pick and there's a very good chance he'll be off the board well before No. 31. But if he's there, the Rams can't afford to pass on him. Jared Goff isn't the kind of quarterback who can survive intense, constant pressure. The Rams need to make protecting him a priority so he can step into his throws.
Mock trade with the PatriotsJustin Layne, CB, Michigan State
The Seahawks lost Justin Coleman, so they're down a corner. Layne is the kind of cornerback the Seahawks seem to like: long and tall.