If mock drafts are just fanfics for NFL fans, as I have suggested, then my third mock draft is the equivalent of a fanfic that gets Rey and Kylo together to form Reylo. Josh Rosen joining the Patriots seems like a comparable pairing; the NFL's big bad somehow teaming up with the raw, undeveloped talent that gives them a shot at extending their reign by another decade.
More importantly, it's a pairing that actually could happen.
Kyler Murray even though they drafted Josh Rosen just a year ago. With the No. 1 pick in this year's draft, the Cardinals are in a position to take Murray. If Kingsbury feels like Murray is the better quarterback to build the team's future around, the Cardinals shouldn't hesitate to take him. The Cardinals went all in on a 39-year-old first-time NFL coach who lost more games than he won at Texas Tech because he's allegedly an offensive mastermind and quarterback whisperer. We can argue all day and night and day again if the Cardinals made the right decision to bring in Kingsbury. It doesn't matter. The Cardinals already hired Kingsbury. Now, they better give him the quarterback he wants. So if he wants Murray -- he said in October that he'd take him first overall if he ever had the chance -- he should get him.the Cardinals appear to have eyes for
And that means,. It sure sounds like he is:
With that in mind, I based my latest mock draft around the idea of the Cardinals taking Murray No. 1 overall after they find a way to move Rosen in the trade market.
The unfortunate reality for the Cardinals is that they're probably not going to recoup all of the value they parted ways with to grab Rosen a year ago. Not only did they use the 10th overall pick on him, they also gave up. Rosen proceeded to experience a horrific rookie season in a terrible offense. But it wasn't entirely his fault, similar to how Jared Goff's dismal rookie season wasn't his fault.
Some context surrounding Josh Rosen's 2018 rookie season:— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) March 5, 2019
•Switched OCs mid-season
•Played behind NFL's worst pass pro O-Line & was extremely inexperienced
•Extremely inexperienced receiving corps
•Of any rookie QB:
-Faced most top-15 pass Ds
-Faced least bottom-15 pass Ds pic.twitter.com/tEX0nnlGSL
Still, his rookie season won't help matters. According to Peter King,"a renowned NFL GM" told him that he thinks the Cardinals aren't likely to acquire more than a third-round pick for Rosen.
I'm not an NFL general manager, but I think the Cardinals might be able to get more. Put it this way, if Rosen was coming out in this year's draft class, he'd probably be regarded as the first or second-best quarterback in the draft by most teams. A dreadful rookie season in an even more dreadful situation shouldn't degauss his value to the point where he's worth only a third-round pick. The Cardinals might not be able to get a top-10 pick for him, but they might still be able to get a late first-round pick.
Which is how I ended up with the Patriots being the team to give the Cardinals that late first-round pick.
Tom Brady is 41. He Super Bowl window with Brady, the Patriots shouldn't overpay for a quarterback in any way that seriously diminishes their chances of winning another championship before Brady retires. But they shouldn't ignore tremendous value when it appears in front of them. With two second-round picks, the Patriots can afford to give up the No. 32 pick., but he could retire at any point after. The Patriots, after giving away and need to begin planning for the future at some point. Because they're still very much in their
Giving up that pick for a quarterback who would likely be a top-10 pick if he was coming out this year is tremendous value. It's the kind of move that would result in the 30 other teams around the league collectively groaning in despair as they envision a second Patriots dynasty immediately springing up from the ashes of the Belichick-Brady dynasty. And the Cardinals, while not getting a top-10 pick, would feel great about getting the quarterback they want in Murray and a second first-round pick -- having the 32nd overall pick means they would pick back to back at the end of the first round and the beginning of the second round snake-draft style.
So, there you have it. That's the idea my third mock draft is based around.
Reylo? More like Patrosen.*
*Currently accepting portmanteau submissions
| Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma |
Maybe the Cardinals stick with Rosen. I'm not writing off that scenario. But it certainly looks like the Cardinals want Murray.
| Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State |
The 49ers have to be praying that the Cardinals take Murray, because that suddenly frees up the best edge rusher in the draft. The 49ers happily take Bosa after the Cardinals go for Murray.
| Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama |
The Jets could very well take Josh Allen instead of Williams. They wouldn't be wrong in doing so. Both players are deserving of this spot. Here, the Jets beef up the interior of their line by taking Chris Trapasso's .
| Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky |
This works out nicely for the Raiders. A year after parting ways with both Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin, and finishing the season with a league low sack total, the Raiders see the second-best edge rusher in the draft fall to them. Not only do they get the best player available. They get one who fills their biggest need.
Mock trade with the BuccaneersDwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
Bruce Arians is . That takes Tampa Bay off the quarterback market at No. 5. The Giants, lurking behind the Buccaneers, are solidly in the quarterback market. Knowing this, the Jaguars leapfrog the Giants in order to take Haskins. Even if they sign Nick Foles, that shouldn't change their approach in the draft. They still need to identify a long-term solution at the quarterback position.
| Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama |
The offensive line needs work. It's arguably their biggest need outside of quarterback. With Haskins off the board and the Giants seemingly OK with the idea of another season with Eli Manning, the Giants decide to take the best offensive lineman in the draft. Williams is actually , behind only Bosa.
Mock trade with the JaguarsGreedy Williams, CB, LSU
The Buccaneers, not needing a quarterback, are more than happy to slide down a couple spots to pick up much-needed draft ammunition. Jonah Williams would've been an enticing pick for them, but they did sign Donovan Smith to an extension on Tuesday, which makes tackle less of a need. Here, they go for the best corner in the draft, addressing their horrific defense.
| Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan |
Gary doesn't really have the statistics. At Michigan for three seasons, he finished with 9.5 sacks. But he does have the measurables (he ran a 4.58 40 at the combine). The Lions have a ton of areas that need addressing, including up front on defense.
| Ed Oliver, DL, Houston |
The Bills have a ton of needs on the other side of the ball, but they can't resist taking the best player available to bolster an already very good defense. With mainstay Kyle Williams retiring, the Bills have a need on the interior of their defensive line, which Oliver -- -- fills.
| Drew Lock, QB, Missouri |
Just because the Broncos traded for Joe Flacco doesn't mean they've solved their never ending quarterback problem. Flacco doesn't fix much of anything. And John Elway was supposedly fawning over Lock at the Senior Bowl.
| Devin White, LB, LSU |
A very popular selection, no doubt. The Bengals' defense was shambolic last season. Vontaze Burfict can't stay on the field. Vincent Rey is a free agent. The fit is obvious. NFL.com's Lance Zierlein's comparison for White? Myles Jack.
| T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa |
Another popular outcome, one that Aaron Rodgers certainly wouldn't mind. In today's NFL, versatile tight ends who can block and catch have taken on increased value. Hockenson has a chance to become one of the league's next great tight ends. It'd be fascinating to see him paired with Rodgers. Jimmy Graham shouldn't make the Packers pass on Hockenson.
| Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State |
As our draft writer Ryan Wilson wrote, , which should push him up into the top half of the first round. The Dolphins are in the beginning stages of a rebuild. Robert Quinn is entering the final year of his deal. Cameron Wake is a 37-year-old free agent. They need to get younger on the edge.
| Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson |
The Falcons' offense isn't the problem. They need to fix a defense that allowed over 26 points per game last season. Wilkins paired with Grady Jarrett, who , would form a formidable duo on the inside of the line. Wilkins also gives them some insurance should the Jarrett contract negotiations go south.
| Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson|
The Redskins would love for a quarterback to fall to them. They'd love to move up for one. Or they'd love to trade for Rosen. That doesn't mean it'll happen, though. There's a chance they'll be left without an option this late into the first round. But they could do way worse than Ferrell, who is one of the better edge rushers in a deep draft class. Ferrell had 21 sacks over his last two seasons at Clemson.
| Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida|
The Panthers need to make protecting Cam Newton a priority, which is something we're seemingly always saying. But it takes on even more importance after Newton suffered a shoulder injury this past season and . Taylor should start immediately.
| D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss |
Time to go get Baker Mayfield some more weapons. Metcalf is coming off , which establishes him as the best receiver in the draft, at least as of right now. After getting rid of Josh Gordon, the Browns need another receiver to play alongside Jarvis Landry (better suited for a secondary role) and Antonio Callaway (young and inconsistent).
| Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State |
Not much of a surprise here as the Vikings look to protect Kirk Cousins. They're stuck with his contract. The defense is still pretty good. The skill position players are awesome. Time to get better up front.
| Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia |
I just can't shake the idea of the Titans taking a cornerback. The Malcolm Butler deal looks like a huge misstep. Logan Ryan is entering the final year of his deal. Even with Butler, Ryan, and Adoree' Jackson in place, the Titans would benefit from another corner in a three-receiver league. And Baker is an incredible talent,
| Devin Bush, LB, Michigan |
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert has admitted that the team did not do a good enough job of replacing Ryan Shazier. So, while cornerback is another pressing need, the Steelers take a linebacker who is good enough to start from Day 1.
| Zach Allen, DL, Boston College |
Even after , the Seahawks need to get better up front. In the past calendar year, they've said goodbye to: Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, Sheldon Richardson, and Malik McDowell. Allen, , could play Bennett's role. But don't be surprised if the Seahawks trade down instead of picking here.
| Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma |
Offensive coordinator Greg Roman has talked about the importance of building a strong offensive line in front of Lamar Jackson. Ford should start immediately on the interior of the line.
| Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State |
I am required to mock an offensive lineman to the Texans. Dalton Risner is an offensive lineman.
From the BearsBrian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
The Raiders aren't done adding to their pass rush, and they shouldn't be. Last year, they finished with 13 sacks ... as a team. The next closest team had 30 sacks. Eleven individual players finished with as many sacks as the Raiders.
| Byron Murphy, CB, Washington |
The secondary was a major weakness down the stretch for the Eagles with Ronald Darby losing his season to a torn ACL. Darby is scheduled to become a free agent. If the Eagles add Murphy, they can still try to keep Darby on a cheap, prove-it type of contract. Add in Sidney Jones (also out of Washington), and the Eagles would have an intriguing group of corners with plenty of upside.
| A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss|
T.Y. Hilton needs help. There's an argument to be made that Brown is the best receiver of the draft considering he's drawn comparisons to JuJu Smith-Schuster. The Colts get Andrew Luck another dangerous weapon.
From the CowboysNoah Fant, TE, Iowa
Jared Cook, the Raiders' most-reliable pass catcher last year, is a free agent. The Raiders need to get better receiving options for Derek Carr and the quarterback that will eventually end up replacing Carr at some point in the near-ish future. The Raiders could draft a receiver or they could draft an incredibly athletic tight end who will make most of his contributions in the passing game. There will be good receivers available in the middle rounds. There won't be a tight end like Fant available in the middle rounds.
| Jerry Tillery, DL, Notre Dame|
The Chargers have the edge rushers in the form of Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa, but the interior of their defensive front could use some beefing up. The Chargers grab Tillery with the idea of playing him on the inside as an incredibly athletic defensive tackle, turning an already scary defensive front into a nightmare for opposing offensive lines.
| Dexter Lawrence, DL, Clemson|
The combine didn't go particularly well for Lawrence considering he suffered a quad strain during the 40-yard dash. A good showing at his Pro Day could cause him to surge up the draft board. The Chiefs would happily take him here. They could be parting ways with both Justin Houston and Dee Ford (a ). Their defense was terrible even with Houston and Ford. So regardless of what happens with them, they need to continue adding talent up front. Lawrence playing alongside Chris Jones would be terrifying.
From the SaintsDeionte Thompson, S, Alabama
There's a chance Thompson's stock falls The Packers would love to grab the best safety in the draft this late in the first round after getting rid of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix this past season.
| Garrett Bradbury, C, NC State |
In a somewhat surprising move, the Rams decided not to pick up John Sullivan's 2019 option. That puts them in the market for a new center.
Mock trade with the PatriotsJachai Polite, EDGE, Florida
After acquiring the final pick of the first-round for Rosen, the Cardinals address the exterior of their line by getting an edge rusher who racked up 11 sacks, 19.5 tackles for loss, and six forced fumbles last season. Instead of entering next season with Rosen and Bosa, they'll enter next season with Murray and Polite. Now, they're on the clock to begin the second round.