The 2019 NFL Scouting Combine – a.k.a. the newest Marvel movie starring D.K. Metcalf – is in the books. And nothing shakes up ye old mock draft like the Combine.
NFL scouts and coaches are about to rack up the frequent flyer miles attending dozens of college Pro Days, where they'll watch players who just ran a 40-yard dash run another 40-yard dash. That's more data for the mock machine to churn. Free agency starts in a week and some teams will rearrange their depth-chart priorities with big signings. More data. A bunch of people will yell at each other about Kyler Murray. Data, sort of.
So the mock drafts will continue to evolve between now and April 25. Carmen Vitali and I will continue with our bi-weekly efforts to predict the first round, and each one will surely be different than the last. But, again, there is no single event that will do more to shape and edit the many, many, many mock drafts you run across.
Is Metcalf a new type of superhero or the latest workout warrior? Are Kyler Murray's hands big enough to somehow, possibly grip a football? Did we have to time to drool over one edge rusher's crazy numbers before another one topped him? We didn't necessarily get every answer at the Combine, which ended last Tuesday, but we certainly got a lot of exculpatory evidence. For instance, and you may be hearing this for the first time, D.K. Metcalf is ridiculously fast and strong.
That last bit is what we like to call foreshadowing, because Metcalf's performance has had an impact on what happens to the Buccaneers in our newest mock draft. Is the same true of Murray's measurements in Indianapolis and the eye-opening workouts of Quinnen Williams, Montez Sweat and other linemen? Read on to find out.
This is our third attempt at a mock, and since Carmen and I are taking turns at going first, that means Carmen is back in the pole position. That also means, barring a trade, she will be picking for the Buccaneers at number five. I'm not sure I envy her: There's a good half-dozen players I would like to take at that spot.
Cut-and-paste alert from Versions 1.0 and 2.0: Before we begin, we must repeat our usual caveat. Though you are reading this on Buccaneers.com, none of this is meant to reflect the strategy or thinking of Jason Licht, Bruce Arians or any others involved in the Buccaneers' actual draft decision-making. These are our guesses, Carmen and Scott. Blame us if you don't like them.
And with that, Carmen and the Cardinals are on the clock.
1. Arizona Cardinals: QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma (Carmen Vitali)
Buckle up, people. This Mock Draft 3.0 is going to be a wild ride rivaling that Mr. Toad guy and I’m starting it off by feeding into all the rumors swirling out of Indy after the combine. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, right? And this is a 5-foot-10-and-one-eighth-inch blaze that fits right in to a Kliff Kingsbury Air Raid system. They can get an edge rusher later. Those are easy to come by, right?
2. San Francisco 49ers: DE Nick Bosa, Ohio State (Scott Smith)
In our first mock, Bosa was gone by this pick, and in the second one we had the Niners trading back with Jacksonville so the Jags could de-Bortles their offense. I'm seeing Carmen's caller ID on my draft room phone, calling again on behalf of the Jaguars, but I'm going to stay put and grab the younger Bosa, who seems to be as good as the elder Bosa. Too good to pass up, that is.
3. New York Jets: DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama (CV)
Your caller ID is faulty this time – with Murray gone, the only other team at this point I see as a threat to take a quarterback isn’t until the Giants. The other team in New York is sticking with their first-round quarterback pick from last year. With their third overall pick this year, the Jets take a defensive tackle to shore up the interior of a now Gregg Williams’ 4-3 defense. Quinnen Williams managed somehow to up his stock at the Combine, too. He ran a 4.83 40-yard dash… at 303 pounds. More importantly, he had a 1.67 10-yard split. Opposing quarterbacks should be scared of this guy. Very scared.
4. Oakland Raiders: WR D.K. Metcalf, Ole Miss (SS)
[UPDATE: Yes, this mock was completed prior to the trade of Antonio Brown to Oakland late Saturday night. And yes, that probably makes this pick far less likely. Rather than shake up the whole first round, we'll address that change in Version 4.0.] I'm not too familiar with Disney; are their wilder rides than Mr. Toad's? Cuz I'm going off the rails here. Am I overreacting to Metcalf's Combine showing? Possibly. I know for every mock drafter that makes this sexy Metcalf-Raiders connection at #4 there is going to be another pushing back with Cordarelle Patterson comparisons or Metcalf's relatively slight production at Ole Miss. Well, for right now, I don't care. This is just too tempting for Jon Gruden and the Raiders who, lest we forget, traded away Amari Cooper last year. (As for the caller ID argument, just because the 49ers, Jets or Raiders won't take a QB doesn't mean teams won't be calling to try to jump ahead of other QB-hungry squads. Just sayin'.)
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DE Josh Allen, Kentucky (CV)
Oh, I’m fully aware – I just didn’t want to give away anything for this pick because I feel like the Bucs’ phone will be ringing off the hook with teams trying to jump ahead of the Giants. However! Now that TWO non-defensive players have gone within the top four picks, the Bucs all of a sudden have A TON of options that are too good to pass up and they stay put to nab Josh Allen. The former Kentucky Wildcat (the other Wildcats, for the record) could end up as the best pass rusher to come out of the draft in years. Imagine a rotation in an unpredictable and complex defense where you’re dealing with some combination of Allen, Jason Pierre-Paul, Carl Nassib and even Noah Spence off the edge. I wouldn’t want to be those offensive tackles - my head’s already spinning.
View photos of Daniel Jeremiah's 2019 mock draft 2.0.
6. New York Giants: QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State (SS)
I swear I didn't jury-rig the Metcalf pick in order to make Allen fall to the Buccaneers, but it sure would be nice if that or something like it occurred. Same thing here for the Giants; maybe their decision on whether or not to draft Eli's successor will depend upon whether they have to trade up to get him or he falls into their lap. Here, Haskins falls into their lap and Dave Gettleman has to pull the trigger. I actually wonder if New York might trade down here, because Jacksonville is apparently going to sign Nick Foles, the Lions have Matt Stafford and the Bills just drafted a QB last. The next QB-needy team is at #10, maybe, (the Broncos) and if the Giants feel good about Drew Lock, too, they could gamble a bit.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: T Jonah Williams (CV)
Assuming the Nick Foles deal does go through, Jacksonville now looks to protect their next ‘quarterback of the future’ by selecting arguably the best offensive line prospect in the draft. Williams has expressed his desire to stay at left tackle despite his shorter-than-ideal arm length (the horror!) but also said he’ll play anywhere NFL teams need him to. I like his self-aware attitude. I think he’ll fight to stay as a tackle, so the Jags end up keeping him where he’s comfortable – and effective – and give Foles’ blind side the protection it needs.
8. Detroit Lions: DE Montez Sweat (SS)
This is a great outcome for the Lions, who really need an edge rusher. And even if Sweat is gone, they could opt for a home state favorite in Rashan Gary or even address the interior line with Ed Oliver. Really, Detroit is in a great spot no matter what plays out ahead of them, as they could also use a cornerback like Greedy Williams. Sweat probably moved uptown to the top-10 district with his amazing – but not really unexpected – performance at the Combine.
9. Buffalo Bills: DL Rashan Gary, Michigan (CV)
Far be it from me to pump a prospect out of Michigan, but Gary really impressed at the Combine. He was no sleeper going into it, either. Gary’s explosiveness was apparent during on-field drills and various tests, where he had the top vertical jump at 38.0 inches (by the way he’s already 6-foot-4) and the best 40-yard dash at 4.58 seconds. He can play all along the defensive line and the Bills need help wherever they can get it up front.
10. Denver Broncos: QB Drew Lock, Missouri (SS)
In Version 2.0, you wrested control of the Broncos from me, Carmen, and gave them another defensive lineman. Now, to be fair, Quinnen Williams had crazily slipped to 10 in that mock and that, indeed, might have been too hard to pass up. In this version, the choices are more like Ed Oliver, Clelin Ferrell and Brian Burns. Still very tempting, to be sure, but not enough to keep me from going back to what I gave Denver in our first mock: the quarterback of the future in Lock. Yes, the Broncos traded for Joe Flacco, but I think they want a young, long-term arm to develop at the same time.
11. Cincinnati Bengals: LB Devin White, LSU (CV)
Quinnen Williams may have slipped in our last draft but it seems Devin White has slipped here. The Bengals can’t believe their luck in grabbing the best linebacker in the draft – a position they pretty desperately need. White put up the best 40-time of any linebacker at the Combine with a 4.42 and look at me, I didn’t even take him in the top five. So much for that prediction, Scott.
12. Green Bay Packers: DE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson (SS)
At the Combine last week, a scout told us that sometimes you go into it hoping a guy you really like doesn'thave a great 40-yard dash. You don't want him to price himself out of your area of the draft. I wonder if the Packers will feel that way about Sweat, who would have been a good answer for their edge-rushing needs. If so, Ferrell is a pretty nice consolation price. Maybe he didn't put up freakish numbers in Indy, but he's a polished and productive pass-rusher with a high floor.
13. Miami Dolphins: DE Brian Burns, Florida State (CV)
In retrospect, I probably should have pushed harder for a trade for Miami. They need a quarterback in a bad way but I can’t bring myself to put Daniel Jones in the first round here. Instead, they also go edge. The concern with Burns was his playing weight – he was in the 220s at 6-foot-5. He showed up to the Combine 20 pounds heavier though and still ran a very respectable 4.53 40-yard dash. I think he’s kind of a sleeper in such a defense-heavy draft and Dolphins new Head Coach Brian Flores recognizes it.
14. Atlanta Falcons: T Jawaan Taylor, Florida (SS)
The last time I drafted for Atlanta Jonah Williams fell this far, and this time it's Taylor. I actually think this is a better fit for the Falcons. They are likely to move on from Ryan Schraeder and Taylor played right tackle for the Gators, so he could end up as the bookend to Jake Matthews. Taylor could step right in and at least be a very good run-blocker from Day One as he works to hone the rest of his technique.
15. Washington Redskins: CB Greedy Williams, LSU (CV)
Here’s another guy miraculously still on the board. Washington probably has more pressing needs at receiver, especially after they apparently traded for the Broncos’ Case Keenum (they have Joe Flacco now, they don’t need two nearly identical quarterbacks) but they could use another corner opposite Josh Norman since none of their younger guys have especially panned out so far. Williams is more than likely an instant starter for any team he goes to, which then puts opposing teams in a bind on which side to throw to – his or Norman’s. Should they choose Williams’ side – they’ll be taking their chances with a guy who had six interceptions in one season while at LSU.
16. Carolina Panthers: T Cody Ford, Oklahoma (SS)
I gave the Panthers DE Jachai Polite in our first version and Carmen upped the ante with Montez Sweat in the second one. Sweat has climbed the board since but Polite is still available, so why am I wavering on my initial thought? The more I look at it, the more I think the offensive line is a more pressing need for the Panthers and a better match with value at this point in the draft. Carolina needs help all over that line, and Ford could end up playing either tackle or guard. He might be better on the inside but his flexibility will help the Panthers as they plug multiple holes.
17. Cleveland Browns: T Dalton Risner, Kansas State (CV)
This is exactly what happened last mock draft when I was picking for the Vikings and Scott picked for the Browns. I wanted Ford for the Browns, now!!! But fine. Risner is a ‘riser’ anyway following a solid combine performance and the Browns need more help in protecting Baker Mayfield along with getting the run game up to snuff. Risner can help in both of those areas.
18. Minnesota Vikings: LB Devin Bush, Michigan (SS)
Yeah, poor Vikings. In the first draft we gave them a DT who subsequently tore an ACL (Jeffery Simmons) and in the last two they've barely missed out on Ford and then both Ford and Risner. I do think Ford would have been the perfect pick for them and they would have played him at guard. At this point, though, I think they can wait out their interior-line need because there's a lot of depth there. Instead, they get a replacement for the likely-to-depart Anthony Barr in Bush, who is fast and rangy and can even rush the passer.
19. Tennessee Titans: WR N’Keal Harry, Arizona State (CV)
Tennessee needs more weapons for Marcus Mariota and while I conceded that D.K. Metcalf should be the first receiver off the board after this weekend in Indy, I still think Harry is definitely first-round talent. He’s a solid 6-foot-2, 228 pounds and will fight for those 50/50 balls. He’s strong, too, benching the most reps of any receiver and tying with Metcalf at 27. And yeah, he’s a Sun Devil. My affinity for those is well-documented.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: CB DeAndre Baker, Georgia (SS)
We haven't executed a single trade in this version, and we know that's not how it will really go down. In the 43 years that the Bucs have been drafting, an average of nearly 11 of the first 32 picks have been traded per draft. I bring that up because I think the Steelers would be in a position to gamble here with a move down of three or four picks, believing they can get either baker or Byron Murphy. Those two corners are basically the same size and had very similar Combine performances. That doesn't mean they're the same player, but if the Steelers like them both they can take a bit of risk on a trade down. For now, though, I'm going to give them Baker to fill their biggest need.
21. Seattle Seahawks: S Nasir Adderley, Delaware (CV)
Though he didn’t participate in Combine drills, I’ll be interested to see Adderley’s pro day. He impressed at the Senior Bowl against the top talent in the country and he just seems like a guy Pete Carroll would want to take a chance on. Safety is arguably the Seahawks number one need, so I think Adderley fits nicely here.
22. [TRADE] Kansas City Chiefs: RB Josh Jacobs, Alabama (CV)
And we have our first trade of this mock! Kansas City figures Jacobs to be Kareem Hunt’s replacement as they’re conceivably in win-now mode after making it as far as the AFC Championship last season before falling to the pesky Patriots. It’s enough to eat the cost of a third-round pick in moving from the 29thpick up here into Baltimore’s slot at 22. We got there using the trusted Jimmy Johnson Draft Valuechart, which lists the difference between No. 22 and No. 29 as 140 points, equivalent to the 90thpick in the draft. The Chiefs’ No. 92 pick is pretty darn close, not to mention they have two second-round picks as it is. They make this deal no problem and fill the backfield hole.
23. Houston Texans: T Andre Dillard, Washington State (CV)
Look at me go. I’ve got this from here, Scott. Your services are no longer needed. Dillard is a prospect who has been on the rise since the Senior Bowl. A starter protecting quarterback Gardner Minshew’s blind side since 2016, Dillard is a sturdy left tackle who followed up his Senior Bowl with a great Combine outing and should be an instant starter at the next level. The Texans REALLY need to protect Deshaun Watson better, who was the most sacked quarterback in the league last year after he suffered 62 sacks at the hands of his offensive line, the worst mark in the league. Woof.
24. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago): DE Jaylon Ferguson, Louisiana Tech (SS)
After seeing how the rest of this draft fell out, I'm not so sure I'd take D.K. Metcalf for the Raiders at number four overall. Their top need is clearly an edge rusher, and a not-entirely-surprising run on that position leaves it fairly depleted by this second Raiders pick. Ed Oliver might be a safer pick but the Raiders could really use a productive end more and Ferguson was certainly that in college. It's a bit of a projection, though, and paired with the flyer on Metcalf this is a really risky way for the Raiders to spend all that hard-earned draft capital.
25. Philadelphia Eagles: DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson (CV)
There’s a Gruden-ism rationale in there somewhere, I’m sure of it. The Eagles need help for Fletcher Cox on the interior after locking up the end position and signing Brandon Graham to a three-year extension. Wilkins was a part of probably the best defensive line in college football last year and has a national championship to show for it. He should be an instant starter as an inside pass rusher at the next level which is good news for Philly at pick No. 25.
26. Indianapolis Colts: CB Byron Murphy, Washington (SS)
That selection of Wilkins is the sixth spot so far in which I had switched up the pick from your original choice in 1.0 to a new one in 2.0 and now you've switched it back. I get it: Don't mess with your stuff. As for the Colts, the secondary is probably their biggest need and Murphy is really good value here. He's instinctive, aggressive and a playmaker.
27. Oakland Raiders (from Dallas): S Johnathan Abram, Mississippi St. (CV)
You don’t mess with perfection, Scott flips hair. May I note though that you took Jaylon Ferguson for the Raiders last time, too, and this time around, you did it three picks earlier. Now that Oakland has that edge rusher, the Raiders need a safety/secondary and I really like this kid out of Starkville. A shoulder injury kept him out of the Senior Bowl practices unfortunately but he had a solid Combine outing and everything I’ve heard about this kid is top notch. I think he’s a solid later-round pick to round out the Raiders’ first rounders.
28. Los Angeles Chargers: DT Ed Oliver, Houston (SS)
Alright, your turn to take a break; I've got the next three picks. Oliver dropped 14 spots from our last mock draft, and while the Chargers probably need an offensive lineman just as much they just can't pass on this player, who at one point was considered the potential first-overall pick and might still land in the top 15. The interior defensive line is a big need for the Chargers, too, and Oliver has a huge amount of potential. This could end up being a steal for a team that believes it is in Super Bowl contention.
29. [TRADE] Baltimore Ravens: WR Parris Campbell, Ohio State (SS)
This trade worked out exactly as Baltimore had hoped. They were targeting a receiver at number 22 but knew there was enough depth in that tier of talent to have somebody last to 29. As it turned out, no wideouts went in the intervening picks, so the Ravens essentially picked up a third-round pick for free. As for Campbell, he ran a scintillating 4.31 40-yard dash at the Combine, which put him at the top of the remaining list. Oklahoma's diminutive Marquise Brown is intriguing, too, but Campbell provides the same sort of speed in a six-foot, 200-pound frame.
30. Green Bay Packers (from New Orleans): TE Noah Fant, Iowa (SS)
Here I'm following along with the prediction you made in 2.0, Carmen. Green Bay already got its pass-rusher with its earlier pick; this is the bonus selection they got for trading down with New Orleans in the first round last year. The Packers would seem to have a lot of flexibility here – they could also go with another wideout for Aaron Rodgers to pair with Davante Adams or if they wanted to stay on defense they could use a safety. Both wideout and safety are two positions they can also hit in free agency and new-ish G.M. Brian Gutekunst finally dragged Green Bay into the market last year. So let's give Rodgers a different type of weapon, a mismatch tight end to pair with veteran Jimmy Graham, who remains a good red zone threat.
31. Los Angeles Rams: LB Drue Tranquill, Notre Dame (CV)
You had Devin Bush here last go around and I do think the Rams go after a linebacker. They don’t really have a ton of pressing needs at all, which is I think why they can take a gamble on a lesser-known guy that can develop. Tranquill had a good Combine in what ended up being a more impressive crop of linebackers than was expected. Tranquill also has a background at safety so he could potentially fit in multiple places in the second and third levels of the defense.
32. [TRADE] Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Daniel Jones, Duke (SS)
"You know, it would be just like the Patriots to trade out of that 32nd spot," said Carmen in passing earlier today. Well, I'm gonna up and steal that idea. Here the Patriots trade down six spots with the Jaguars, who already got a much-needed offensive lineman earlier in the evening. Yes, we're expecting a Nick Foles signing, but he just turned 30 and, let's admit it, he's not an absolute sure thing as a long-term answer. That signing could conceivably go the same way that the Case Keenum deal went in Denver. So Jacksonville gets a young passer too, and one who could use some time being groomed behind a veteran starter. The draft value chart suggests the move from 38 to 32 is worth 70 points, which is equivalent to the 112th pick in the draft. Jacksonville holds pick number 109, in the fourth round. Close enough.