How many QBs land in first round?
Mock draft puts Haskins and Lock among top 10 picks
The folly of attempting to orchestrate an NFL mock draft nearly four months before the event is self-evident.
One needs to look no further than the uncertain status of the draft order, the last 12 picks of which won’t be fully set until after the playoffs, to highlight the need for any guess at the first round to be written in pencil rather than in ink. Add in the incomplete list of early declarations and impending changes stemming from free agency and it becomes clear this is more of a thought exercise than an accurate forecast.
Nevertheless, a sketch of how the top picks might shake out can be fun even if not particularly prudent at this point. Just don’t point back to this in April (unless any picks are right):
1. Cardinals — Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State: With the franchise picking in the top spot for the first time since its move to Arizona in 1988, general manager Steve Keim could go in a number of directions. It’s hard to imagine him finding better value than Bosa. An accomplished pass rusher who has delivered on comparisons to his older brother Joey, the former top-five pick and current Chargers standout, Nick has demonstrated the athleticism and versatility to be a defensive cornerstone for years to come.
2. 49ers — Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama: While Bosa was sidelined for all but three games this season because of a core muscle injury, Williams emerged as the foremost disruptive force in college football. The Outland Trophy winner stymied the Southeastern Conference with his power and advanced array of moves. San Francisco’s defense has more serious needs than upgrading its interior line, but placing Williams next to DeForest Buckner would create one of the league’s most intimidating tandems.
3. Jets — Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama: New York has a pressing need to ramp up its pass rush, but GM Mike Maccagnan’s primary objective has to be equipping Sam Darnold with more support. Bringing on a savvy and strong protector in Williams, who didn’t allow a sack all season, is a good start.
4. Raiders — Josh Allen, OLB-DE, Kentucky: If Jon Gruden isn’t sick of jokes about the Khalil Mack trade, he’s surely tired of watching a pass rush that barely recorded more sacks (a leagueworst 13) than its discarded star did for Chicago (121⁄2). After showing significant improvement in a senior campaign that earned him Southeastern Conference defensive player of the year honors, Allen could be a building block for an Oakland defense nearly devoid of any.
5. Buccaneers — Greedy Williams, CB, LSU: To paraphrase Gordon Gekko, Greedy is good, especially for Tampa Bay. The 6-2, 182-pound All-American will bring advanced ball skills and closing speed to his next stop. Opposing quarterbacks had an NFL-high 110.9 passer rating when facing the Buccaneers, and a top-line corner is needed to join last year’s second-round tandem of Carlton Davis and M.J. Stewart.
6. Giants — Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State: Regardless of New York’s intentions for Eli Manning in 2019, a succession plan for the veteran quarterback is long overdue. GM Dave Gettleman won’t have the same assortment of options at the position he did last year when he instead chose running back Saquon Barkley at No. 2, but Big Blue still could be poised to land the top passer on the board. Haskins, who hasn’t announced whether he’s declaring, can thrive throwing to every level of the field and could form an electric connection with Odell Beckham Jr.
7. Jaguars — Greg Little, OT, Mississippi: Jacksonville finally reached its breaking point with Blake Bortles. But after owner Shad Khan said he was “far from content with the status quo” upon the year’s end, Tom Coughlin and the rest of the Jaguars’ leaders might prefer to find a veteran quarterback rather than rolling with a rookie in need of development. Little didn’t always play like a top prospect but has considerable potential for growth given his enviable physical tools.
8. Lions — Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson: As Ezekiel Ansah sputtered to four sacks in another injury-shortened season, Detroit’s deficiency in its outside pass rush became readily apparent. With the know-how to beat offensive tackles on more than athleticism alone, Ferrell looms as an enticing option.
9. Bills — D.K. Metcalf, WR, Mississippi: Now committed to bringing along Josh Allen, Buffalo has to supply the talented but raw gunslinger with more firepower at receiver than Zay Jones and Robert Foster. Metcalf would pair well with Allen and provide a potent downfield threat while he learns to run a full gamut of NFL routes.
10. Broncos — Drew Lock, QB, Missouri: John Elway said last February that he wasn’t done “swinging and missing” for a quarterback, and it appears the Broncos’ head honcho could find himself in the batter’s box again. Lock has tantalizing physical tools, including the arm strength to connect on even the most difficult of downfield throws. But his erratic accuracy and tendency to lock onto targets and predetermine his throws make him a highrisk, high-reward project.
11. Bengals — Mack Wilson, ILB, Alabama: Stumbling to a franchiseworst mark for yards allowed, Cincinnati’s beleaguered defense looks most desperate at linebacker, where Vontaze Burfict has perhaps finally worn out his welcome. Wilson has not declared for the draft and hinted in a tweet he could return next season, but his comfort operating sideline to sideline would make him an appealing option for Cincinnati should he decide to go.
12. Packers — Jachai Polite, DEOLB, Florida: Change could be coming for Green Bay’s defense. Clay Matthews has acknowledged the team might not bring him back as he prepares to enter free agency, and Nick Perry could be let go in a cap-clearing move after posting just 11⁄2 sacks in 2018. A late bloomer with impressive agility, Polite could help the pass rush start a new chapter.
13. Dolphins — Ed Oliver, DT, Houston: Seen by many in the offseason as a contender for the No. 1 pick, Oliver has drawn comparisons to Aaron Donald, though any such parallel is definitively unfair. The three-time All-American will face similar questions about his size, but few can shoot into the backfield as quickly as he can.
14. Falcons — Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan: After watching his defense get ravaged by injuries this season, Dan Quinn would likely relish bolstering his pass rush with a versatile asset such as Gary. He can be a threat both on the edge and the interior.
15. Redskins — Devin White, ILB, LSU: Washington might need to invest in a quarterback after a broken right leg left Alex Smith uncertain for 2019. Reaching for a passer at this point, however, would be irresponsible. Leadership and stability are needed in this organization, and the speedy White could help bring both.
16. Panthers — Brian Burns, DE, Florida State: Julius Peppers turns 39 in January and hasn’t indicated whether he plans to return. Carolina needs to rejuvenate its edge rush regardless of his decision. Burns will have to fill out his 6-5, 235-pound frame.
17. Browns — Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State: While young talent blossoms throughout Cleveland’s roster, there’s little brewing at defensive tackle beyond Larry Ogunjobi. Simmons’ evaluation will entail more than weighing his immense physical tools; he pleaded no contest to simple assault and was found guilty of malicious mischief after he punched a woman while he was a high school senior.
18. Vikings — Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma: Minnesota’s offensive unraveling began with its front, which left Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook under fire throughout the season. The 6-4, 338pound Ford, who could also fill a hole at guard, should become a quick favorite of coach Mike Zimmer for his mauling approach and finishing touch.
19. Titans — Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma: Tennessee’s plodding offense generated less than half as many pass plays of 20-plus yards (37) as the league-leading Chiefs (76). Though listed at just 5-10 and 168 pounds, the dynamic junior college transfer nicknamed “Hollywood” could provide a spark for Marcus Mariota on deep throws and quick hits alike.
20. Steelers — Byron Murphy, CB, Washington: Cornerback has long been a confounding position for Pittsburgh, which needs a stable presence opposite Joe Haden. Yet there might be a solution awaiting in Murphy, who should emerge as an immediate asset thanks to outstanding quickness and footwork.
*21. Eagles — Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama: The defending champions narrowly avoided finishing the year with the league’s worst passing defense, iranking 30th with 269.3 yards allowed per game. Philadelphia has invested sufficient draft capital at cornerback in recent years, but it’s time to find a safety who can take over for Corey Graham.
*22. Colts — Kelvin Harmon, WR, North Carolina State: A career year from tight end Eric Ebron and superlative production from T.Y. Hilton helped obscure the feeble state of Indianapolis’ receiving corps. With Harmon at his disposal, Andrew Luck would have a reliable and physical target.
*23. Seahawks — Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson: While Seattle’s defense weathered an offseason of upheaval, there’s room for improvement in the middle next to Jarran Reed.
*24. Raiders (via Cowboys) — DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia: A 14thranked finish in passing yards allowed belied how bad Oakland’s defense was against quarterbacks. The Raiders gave up a league-worst 36 touchdowns and 12.9 yards per completion.
*25. Ravens — Montez Sweat, DEOLB, Mississippi State: New GM Eric DeCosta will have to strongly consider an edge defender with the first selection of his tenure. Terrell Suggs is 36.
*26. Texans — Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State: After Deshaun Watson was sacked a league-high 62 times, something has to change up front. Risner is a rugged and technically sound blocker who could fare well at multiple positions, though his best fit might be at guard.
*27. Patriots — Noah Fant, TE, Iowa: Goodbye Gronk? Whether the four-time all-pro is back after a stark drop-off in production, New England must think about giving Tom Brady another bigbodied target, especially with Josh Gordon indefinitely suspended. Bill Belichick would savor the mismatches he could create with Fant’s blend of size and speed.
*28. Raiders (via Bears) — Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia: With Amari Cooper enjoying his star turn in Dallas, Derek Carr needs another threat outside. Ridley isn’t as polished as his older brother Calvin, a first-round pick of the Falcons last spring.
*29. Chargers — Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson: Despite the strides the Chargers have made against the run this season, the defense would benefit from an upgrade in the middle.
*30. Chiefs — Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware: Don’t be deceived by the level of competition — Adderley has a professional skill set. With extensive range and rapid recognition ability, he fits as the coverage presence needed for a secondary burned for more pass plays of 20-plus yards (65) than any other team.
*31. Rams — Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame: Los Angeles gave up a leagueworst 5.1 yards per carry and could use help for a disappointing defense, especially if Ndamukong Suh doesn’t return.
*32. Packers (via Saints) — T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa: As frustration mounted for Aaron Rodgers, so too did the throwaways and off-target passes. Adding the Mackey Award winner would provide the two-time MVP a trusted safety valve in a new scheme after Jimmy Graham’s subpar season.
*Order from 21-32 is based on current team records but will be determined throughout the playoffs
Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins throws against Washington during the first quarter at the Rose Bowl.
Four months before the draft, Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa is projected to be the No. 1 pick by the Cardinals.