mock drafts are just fanfics for NFL fans— Sean Wagner-McGough (@seanjwagner) February 6, 2019
When I tweeted that two weeks ago, I didn't really mean it as a slight. I'm a giant Star Wars and Game of Thrones nerd, and a fan of pretty much anything tangentially related to science fiction and fantasy. If I looked down on fanfics, I'd be looking down on a significant portion of the communities that I like to engage with online. I don't write or read fanfics, but I can certainly understand their appeal.
Similarly, I understand the appeal of mock drafts. I think they hold value -- not necessarily as predictions, but as thought exercises.
If [insert team] decides to trade for [insert player], how will that shape the rest of the draft? How will the other 31 teams respond? How will that change their strategies?
At this very moment, this offseason appears to be especially conducive to such thought exercises. Le'Veon Bell is going to hit the market as an unrestricted free agent. Rob Gronkowski could retire. Kliff Kingsbury and the Cardinals could want Kyler Murray instead of Josh Rosen. The Steelers are willing to trade Antonio Brown.
It can be both fun and valuable to consider the ramifications across the league of, say, the Jaguars making a move for Brown. For the purposes of this mock, let's say the Jaguars find a way to trade for Brown before the draft that doesn't involve surrendering their top-10 pick. If that's the case, the Jaguars will be forced to find an upgrade at quarterback either in free agency or the draft. You don't trade for a 30-year-old superstar receiver unless you're in win-now mode and you don't win now unless you have a quarterback better than Blake Bortles.
The Jaguars could sign a quarterback in free agency, but the best of the bunch is expected to be Nick Foles. They can aim higher than that in the draft considering they own the No. 7 pick. Then again, No. 7 might be too low to get the top quarterback in the draft, which, as of right now, is probably Dwayne Haskins. The last time the first quarterback was drafted after the No. 6 pick? 2013, when EJ Manuel was the first quarterback taken at No. 16.
With that in mind, in my second mock of draft season, I have the Jaguars moving up to No. 4 to take Haskins. The Jaguars -- regardless if they make the Brown trade or not -- need a quarterback. So do the Raiders, but unlike the Jaguars, the Raiders aren't in win-now mode. That's why the Raiders can afford to move down a few spots, acquire even more draft ammunition, and then take a quarterback later in the first round.
Let's get to the rest of the
| Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama |
At this point in the draft process, an argument can be made that the Cardinals should draft Nick Bosa, Quinnen Williams, or even Kyler Murray if they decide to move on from Josh Rosen. It's early. The combine, pro days, and how the Cardinals proceed with Rosen will impact how they approach the first-overall pick. In my last mock, I had them taking Bosa. This time around, I have them sticking with Rosen (despite the buzz around Murray) and making a move for Williams over Bosa.
| Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State |
That means Bosa, the best edge rusher in the draft, falls to the 49ers, who will eagerly scoop him up and add him to a defensive front that already includes 2016 first-round pick DeForest Buckner and 2017 first-round pick Solomon Thomas.
| Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky |
The draft is loaded with front-seven defensive players. The Jets are more than OK with settling for Allen after watching Williams and Bosa get taken ahead of them. Allen is coming off a ridiculous 17-sack season and bolsters a pass rush in need of help.
Mock trade with RaidersDwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
Let the mock trading begin. There's no doubt the Raiders also need a franchise quarterback, but they don't need one in the same way the Jaguars need one a year after they foolishly stuck with Blake Bortles and watched him torpedo their season. They move ahead of the Giants, who are in the market for a new quarterback, to take the best quarterback of the draft.
| Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama |
Bruce Arians and his deep passing game have arrived in Tampa Bay. Arians appears to be committed to Jameis Winston. So, it's time for the Buccaneers to provide Winston with an offensive line that can hold up in Arians' offense.
| Drew Lock, QB, Missouri |
With Haskins off the board, the Giants can pick either Kyler Murray or Drew Lock to replace Eli Manning. Murray, who is under the 6-foot threshold that most old-school general managers demand of quarterbacks, doesn't seem like a Dave Gettleman quarterback. So, the Giants take the quarterback with the strongest arm in the draft in Lock.
Mock trade with JaguarsBrian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
This works out fantastic for the Raiders, who already own three first-round picks. By trading back three spots, they acquire even more draft ammunition from the Jaguars. With the first of their three first-round picks, they address the pass rush, which ranked dead last in sacks a year ago. Burns racked up 10 sacks this past season. The Raiders had 13 sacks as a team.
| Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson |
The Lions need to upgrade their pass rush and Ezekiel Ansah is expected to depart in free agency. The Lions take the best available edge rusher in Ferrell, who racked up 21 sacks over his last two seasons at Clemson.
| Ed Oliver, DL, Houston |
The Bills have a myriad of holes to fill on offense. But Ed Oliver is too good for them to pass up here. Their offense will likely remain problematic in 2019 regardless of how they approach the draft, but the Bills quietly own one of the league's best defenses.
| Greedy Williams, CB, LSU |
They got rid of Aqib Talib a year ago and Chris Harris could be on his way out soon. It's time for the Broncos to reset at cornerback and Williams is the perfect cornerback to build around. The Broncos addressed their defensive front last year by drafting Bradley Chubb. They focus on the back end here. With Vic Fangio coaching them up, the Broncos' defense could return to greatness in 2019.
| Devin White, LB, LSU |
After the Bengals finally manage to convince someone to take the defensive coordinator job, they'll need to supply that coach with some younger bodies up front. Vincent Rey is a free agent. Vontaze Burfict can't stay on the field. The Bengals have a need at linebacker and White is the best one in this draft.
| T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa |
Even if Jimmy Graham comes back, the Packers would benefit by giving Aaron Rodgers a weapon like Hockenson, who can both block and catch. In other words, he's the perfect tight end for today's NFL. I love the idea of Hockenson falling to the Patriots as their Gronk replacement, but it feels like Hockenson won't last until the back end of the first round. Expect his stock to continue to rise in the months to come.
| Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma |
The Dolphins are about to embark upon a rebuild. It'd be great if they can find a quarterback, but with a multi-year project looming, they don't need to force it this year. Luckily for them, Murray -- due to his height -- falls to them.
| Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia |
The Falcons' defense ranked 28th in yards allowed, 25th in points allowed, and 31st by DVOA. It's difficult for them to go wrong here by taking a defensive player. Baker might be the best cornerback in the draft.
| Montez Sweat, EDGE, Miss. State |
They'd love a quarterback, but with the big three off the board already, they look to add another capable pass rusher to pair with Ryan Kerrigan. With 22.5 sacks over the past two seasons, Sweat can be that guy.
| Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida|
Julius Peppers retired. The Panthers ranked 27th in sacks last season. So, they need reinforcements on the edge. Polite is coming off an 11-sack season at Florida.
| Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan |
The Browns could use a receiver, but Gary is too good to pass up and they'd be adding another quality player to a defensive front that already features Myles Garrett. Some mocks have Gary going much higher. Here, I have him falling as his lack of college production gets called into question during the lengthy draft process. He had 9.5 sacks in three seasons at Michigan.
| Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida|
For better or for worse, the Vikings are tied to Kirk Cousins for two more seasons. They might as well build around him to maximize their chances of winning with him. As his first season in Minnesota made clear, he's not good enough to win entirely on his own. With the Vikings' defense mostly coming back, and two good receivers and a young running back in place, the Vikings address their offensive line.
| Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson |
I still think the Titans could target a cornerback here, especially after Malcolm Butler struggled mightily in Year 1 of his expensive contract. But the Titans would also be entirely correct to bolster their defensive line. Wilkins is a disruptor up front. In his last season at Clemson, he recorded 14 tackles for a loss and 5.5 sacks.
| Byron Murphy, CB, Washington |
Cornerback has been a problematic position for the Steelers in recent years. Their selection of Artie Burns a few years ago did not work out. CBS Sports draft writer Ryan Wilson, who also happens to be a fan of the Steelers, told me a few weeks ago that he likes Murphy better than Williams, who went to the Broncos at No. 10.
Mock trade with SeahawksD.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
Sensing that the Ravens are in the market for a wide receiver, the Patriots move up 11 spots with a team that loves trading down to take Metcalf, who might be the best receiver in the draft. According to Evan Silva of Rotoworld, the Patriots are expected to have six picks in the top-100, making a trade up like this feasible. The Patriots desperately need a deep threat with Josh Gordon likely out of the equation and Gronk no longer looking like Gronk. Julian Edelman is good, but he's not a downfield threat. The Patriots need to be all-in on winning right now with Tom Brady nearing retirement.
| Cody Ford, G, Oklahoma |
Yes, the Ravens need to add some receivers for Jackson. But they can get receivers in the mid-to-late rounds. New offensive coordinator Greg Roman has indicated that he'll prioritize the offensive line when he tries to build an offense around Jackson. Ford should start immediately at guard, a position of need for the Ravens.
| Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State |
No team needs offensive linemen more than the Texans, who allowed Deshaun Watson to become the most sacked quarterback in football last season.
From ChicagoZach Allen, EDGE, Boston College
The Raiders aren't done adding to their pass rush. After all, they didn't just lose Khalil Mack last season. They also parted ways with Bruce Irvin. According to Chris Trapasso, Allen is the third best edge rusher in the draft, one spot ahead of the other Allen, who went No. 3 overall.
| Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama |
The trade for Jay Ajayi didn't really work out. Darren Sproles could retire. Corey Clement is coming off a serious knee injury. The point being, the Eagles could use a long-term solution at running back. Jacobs might be that guy.
| Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma |
A couple of things that could prevent the Colts from taking Brown: 1) The Colts could end up being the team that lands Antonio Brown considering their early second-round pick could be exactly what the Steelers are looking for and 2) Marquise Brown suffered a foot injury that will keep him out through the draft process. But just because the Colts trading for Antonio Brown is an enticing idea doesn't mean it'll happen. And Marquise Brown is expected to be ready in time for training camp, so he still has the potential to be a first-round pick. What we know for certain is that the Colts need to add another receiver to help out T.Y. Hilton. And Brown is talented enough to be a first-round pick.
From DallasDaniel Jones, QB, Duke
The Raiders addressed the pass rush with the first two of their three first-round picks. Now, they acquire their new franchise quarterback in Jones, who can sit behind Derek Carr at the beginning of the 2019 season and become the face of the franchise when they move to Las Vegas. At the Senior Bowl, Jon Gruden called Jones a first-round pick.
| Dexter Lawrence, DL, Clemson |
Lawrence might be a top-10 talent. In his mock draft on Wednesday, Will Brinson has Lawrence going sixth overall. But Lawrence's failed drug test at Clemson could cause him to fall down draft boards. If that's the case, the Chargers could be eager to scoop him up this late in the first round.
| Dre'Mont Jones, DL, Ohio State |
Everyone on the planet knows the Chiefs need to provide Patrick Mahomes with a halfway decent defense if they're going to overcome the Patriots in the AFC. Jones paired with Chris Jones could be downright scary in the years to come, assuming the Chiefs work out an extension with Chris Jones.
From New OrleansDeionte Thompson, S, Alabama
The Packers watched the Bears take an Alabama safety and turn him into a superstar. Why not try the same thing with Thompson? Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is no longer around.
| Jaylon Ferguson, EDGE, Louisiana Tech |
Dante Fowler and Ndamukong Suh are hitting free agency. Ferguson had 17.5 sacks last year. The Rams should continue to add to their pass rush during their Super Bowl window.
Mock trade with PatriotsNasir Adderley, S, Delaware
This worked out well for the Seahawks, who traded down and still found their Earl Thomas replacement in Adderley. It's not clear if Adderley is better than Thompson, but he has a clear knack for taking away the football evidenced by his nine picks over his final two college seasons.