The biggest news to come out of the NFL Annual Meeting in Phoenix last week was the successful vote to add pass-interference calls and non-calls to the list of reviewable plays in a game. The push by a couple teams to change the league's overtime rules did not pass, however. Meanwhile, a number of largely procedural rule changes and bylaws were put in place, such as the "permanent" adoption of last year's changes to the kickoff.
These were the biggest items on the actual agenda in Phoenix, but of course when you gather all of the league's owners, general managers and head coaches in one mountainside resort you're going to generate plenty of news on the side. Or if not actual hard news, at least some juicy rumors. For instance, New York Jets General Manager Mike Maccagnan seemed to be dangling the third-overall pick to any interested parties, saying his team would be "very intrigued" by a worthy trade-down offer.
Every head coach in the league spent an hour talking to the media at the coaches' breakfast on Tuesday morning. That meant Arizona's Kliff Kingsbury was once again, inevitably, questioned about his current quarterback, 2018 10th-overall pick Josh Rosen, and the quarterback many think will be running Kingsbury's offense in 2019, potential first-overall pick Kyler Murray. Kingsbury continued to speak highly of Rosen, didn't shy away from heaping praise on Murray and reiterated that the Cardinals are still well away from deciding for certain what they will do to open the draft. So…if that clears up your mock draft for you, you're better at reading between the lines than I am.
Still, we won't have to wait too much longer. The mystery for the first pick will be largely erased if the Cardinals end up trading Rosen in the next couple of weeks. Even if that doesn't happen, however, we are now within a month of the 2019 draft, which begins with the first round on the evening of April 25. Overall, things should be getting clearer, right? Right?
Well, we'll see as Carmen and I combine our thoughts once again for the fifth version of our mock draft here on Buccaneers.com. Once again, we'll be alternating picks, and we will consider the possibility of trades.
Like a police officer reading Miranda rights off a card, we say this because we have to: Though you are reading this on Buccaneers.com, none of what follows 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.
Carmen, you're back in the pole position for 5.0, so give us the definitive word on whether Arizona is Josh Rosen's Cardinals or Kyler Murray's Cardinals, and we'll be off.
1. Arizona Cardinals: QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma (Carmen Vitali)
Nope, still don’t entirely understand it. But we won’t have to wait much longer to find out. If this is actually happening and the Cardinals are getting rid of Rosen, he’ll likely be moved in advance of the draft, which, as noted above, is already less than a month away.
2. San Francisco 49ers: WR D.K. Metcalf, Ole Miss (Scott Smith)
So, for the second time in the last three versions, I'm getting crazy with Metcalf, the possibly extraterrestrial receiver out of Ole Miss. I know the 49ers have the full smorgasbord of defensive linemen available to them now and the safe pick would be Nick Bosa or Quinnen Williams. But the 49ers have spent three of their last four first-round picks on defensive linemen and they also nabbed Dee Ford in a trade with Kansas City. I think John Lynch was busy enough in March to put the 49ers in a position in which they can go in any direction they want here. It's hard to pass on a blue-chip D-Linemen, but then again how often do you get a shot at a player with the potential of Metcalf? Really, the 49ers' defensive line is a lot deeper than its receiving corps, which is front-lined by Marquise Goodwin and Jordan Matthews.
3. New York Jets: DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama (CV)
You sir, have absolutely one-upped my love of Devin White with your outrageously bold predictions of Metcalf’s ‘extraterrestrial’ ceiling. Point taken. I’ll hold your beer. While I think the fact that Bosa is now available for the Jets certainly makes them think twice about this pick, I’ll go with the shocker of inaction and say they still take Williams, valuing interior presence to help the pass rush over an edge defender.
4. Oakland Raiders: DE Nick Bosa, Ohio State (SS)
Sometimes this isn't complicated. If Bosa were to fall to four – which, admittedly, is the product of my unconventional pick for the 49ers – the Raiders' rep in Nashville will be sprinting to the podium with this card.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DT Ed Oliver, Houston (CV)
It’s all coming up Gruden, now. If Bosa pans out, of course. Initially, I had toyed with the Bucs trading down here. However, after Oliver’s Pro Day at Houston, I’m not quite so sure he’s getting out of the top 10. He’s fast – as he proved with his 4.71 40-yard dash at 281 pounds – which would help out the interior of a defense that thrives on flexibility. A lot of analysts and even our own mocks have had White in this spot too, which I still think is a possibility, but for the sake of the unconventional I’m saying the Bucs take an interior d-lineman for the second consecutive year.
6. New York Giants: DE Josh Allen, Kentucky (SS)
So we've given the Giants either Murray or Haskins in each of the last four versions. Why change now? Well, since Carmen took Murray for the Cardinals up above, that means this mock draft exists in a universe in which Arizona has traded Rosen, or will shortly. The team trading to get Rosen? The Giants, who get him either for their #17 pick or (as assumed here) a second-round pick rather than having to use #6 on Haskins or Drew Lock. As such, they are suddenly freed to hit another big need, which is edge rusher. And, well, Allen is just right there, sticking out like a copy of The Godfather in the bargain DVD bin at Walmart.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: OT Jawaan Taylor, Florida (CV)
They made them an offer they couldn’t refuse huh? Ok, so let’s come back down to earth a little bit here now that most of the predictable players are off the board finally. Though, Dwayne Haskins is still sitting there but the Jags no longer have a need at quarterback after signing Nick Foles. The last time around you had D.K. Metcalf to the Jaguars to help out that new quarterback. Well, this time I’m also taking a guy to help Foles, but instead in the form of protection with the in-state tackle.
8. Detroit Lions: DE Montez Sweat, Mississippi State (SS)
I like that pick for Jacksonville a lot, but I like this one even better for Detroit. Like roughly 31 other teams, the Lions could use pass-rushing help and Sweat could end up being as good as any of the linemen taken ahead of him. Last time around, you had the Lions trading back to pick #13 so that the Dolphins could take Rashan Gary but this time I'm going to hang up that call with Miami and just take the defensive end here.
9. [TRADE] Miami Dolphins: QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State (CV)
The Dolphins don’t trust the Broncos to not take Haskins for the fun of it since he’s still there and no one can actually think Joe Flacco solves their quarterback problems, right? With both Ed Oliver and Quinnen Williams gone, Buffalo is open to trading down for more capital, too. The difference in point value between the ninth pick and the 13th pick is an even 200 points, according to the Jimmy Johnson Value Chart, and would you look at that! Miami’s third-round pick at No. 78 overall is worth EXACTLY 200 points. So the Bills get the No. 13 and No. 78 pick and Miami solves their quarterback issues by nabbing Haskins just inside the top 10. Seems pretty ideal all around.
10. Denver Broncos: LB Devin White, LSU (SS)
Oh, yeah? Well, I wasn't going to take Haskins ANYWAY, so you wasted that third round pick. /kicks rock sullenly
Anyway, this is the second time you've swung a Phins-Broncos deal and this time Miami got Haskins instead of Drew Lock, so I'd say things are getting better in South Florida. As for Denver, they will stop White's mini-slide. Linebacker is a position of need for the Broncos and White comes from a 3-4 defense at LSU so he should fit right in. He's not really a direct replacement for the departed Shaq Barrett, as Barrett was more of a rotational player and edge rusher. Rather, White should play every down and when he rushes the passer it would be from a deeper middle position than off the edge. Also, this means you can't have him, Carmen.
11. Cincinnati Bengals: T Jonah Williams, Alabama (CV)
That’s just mean-spirited. The Bengals think so too, because they ALSO need linebackers. UGH. What makes this worse is that I’m now defaulting back to their needs along the offensive line and I’m being forced to agree with what you did last week in taking tackle Jonah Williams out of Alabama. He wants to play tackle, but he may be better at guard once gets into the NFL. Cincinnati needs both, so this helps either way.
12. Green Bay Packers: DE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson (SS)
A lot of mock drafts have the Packers taking one of the two Iowa tight ends here, and that is indeed a position the team would like to upgrade. That said, I have a hard time justifying using the 12th overall pick on a tight end when there are still spoils to be gained from this incredible class of defensive linemen. The Packers grab the pass-rush help they also need here and then try to land one of the tight ends with their second first-round pick.
13. [TRADE] Buffalo Bills: DL Rashan Gary, Michigan (CV)
I could see the Bills going offensive line here but as Scott mentioned, there are still spoils to be had along the defensive line and Gary is a big one. Literally. He probably fits more on the inside than on the edge but he’s kind of proved he has the athleticism to do both. The Bills need both so they’re thrilled to get Gary. Whether or not Gary is thrilled to go to probably the only place colder and snowier than Michigan is another story.
14. Atlanta Falcons: T Cody Ford, Oklahoma (SS)
We had really settled in with Jawaan Taylor here in the last couple versions, but now Taylor's off the board and so is my fallback, Jonah Williams. I really think Atlanta would be looking to trade down if this scenario unfolded because they can still choose from Ford, Andre Dillard and Dalton Risner, among a couple others. But I couldn't find a motivated trade partner, as Washington is probably the only team drooling for Drew Lock at this point and they pick next. (Hint, hint.) Ford may be better inside, Dillard may be better on the left side…I'll take Ford and hope he can fit at the Falcons' glaring spot of need, right tackle.
15. Washington Redskins: QB Drew Lock, Missouri (CV)
Hint taken. And it does make sense. Washington is the most needy quarterback team outside of the Dolphins now while they wait to see if Alex Smith gets healthy prior to the start of the season. Even if he does, it doesn’t hurt to have a successor waiting in the wings. We saw how Smith groomed his former backup in Kansas City two seasons ago. No, I’m not saying Drew Lock is Patrick Mahomes, but having Smith as a mentor seems to work out well.
16. Carolina Panthers: LB Brian Burns, Florida State (SS)
The Panthers seem to have done a nice job addressing some of their most obvious needs (unfortunately), particularly with the additions of edge rusher Bruce Irvin and center Matt Paradis, plus the re-signings of tackle Darryl Williams and safety Eric Reid. Now they're talking about being free to go BPA in the first round. That's best player available. That could apply to a couple of guys here, but even with Irvin I think the Panthers would like to juice up their rush off the edge and so they get in right on the tail end of the run at that position with the intriguing Burns, who looked great at the Combine.
17. New York Giants: T Andre Dillard, Washington State (CV)
Well, now that the Giants have gotten their quarterback of the future, they still want to preserve Eli for at least another season I’d have to think. To do that, they need more help along the offensive line. Also, I know running back Saquon Barkley is a phenom and still managed to accumulate an astounding 2,028 yards from scrimmage but could you imagine if he ALSO had the help of a solid offensive line? Sheesh. Dillard can help make that happen.
View photos of Lance Zierlein's latest mock draft.
18. Minnesota Vikings: G Chris Lindstrom, Boston College (SS)
As Carmen noted in Version 4.0, my choice of Devin Bush in 3.0 came before Anthony Barr decided to spurn the Jets and return to Minnesota. She reacted to that by moving on to a position of great need for the Vikings: interior offensive line. Sound logic, which I will now parrot. Depending upon where Ford and Williams line up as pros, Lindstrom could be the first interior lineman off the board, and that's good value right here for the Vikings.
19. Tennessee Titans: TE Noah Fant, Iowa (CV)
Look at me, doin’ that logic thing. Last time around you had Fant’s college teammate T.J. Hockenson to the Titans. Well, Fant is still on the board this time and I do think Tennessee needs a tight end first and foremost. They get the best one in the draft with a guy who can block, no matter what you’ve heard, and has great hands. He’ll be an instant starter, which the Titans will need when Walker finally runs out of gas.
20. [TRADE] Los Angeles Chargers: T Dalton Risner, Kansas State (SS)
There's been a real run on offensive linemen in this version, and I actually think that's a reasonable possibility on draft night. The Chargers had been sitting put and getting a tackle at #28, but now they see their board thinning out and they make a move to make sure they get the one that's sticking out as the best option left. Pittsburgh wants a cornerback but none have come off the board yet, so they feel comfortable sliding down eight spots and still having one of their top three available. The Chargers give up their third-rounder (#91), but there's still a bit too much gap in the value on the Johnson chart so they also have to swap their #60 pick in Round Two for #66 in Round Three, which Pittsburgh acquired in the Antonio Brown trade.
21. Seattle Seahawks: CB Greedy Williams, LSU (CV)
Seattle needs an edge guy but with everyone down to Brian Burns off the board, I think I wait until the later rounds to grab a player I can develop. Williams has been touted as the best corner in the draft and so I think Seattle gets a little greedy and moves to help out its depleted secondary with its first pick instead.
22. Baltimore Ravens: WR Parris Campbell, Ohio State (SS)
Man, I was really hoping you would take Devin Bush for Seattle because I didn’t want to have to decide between him and a receiver here. Yeah, I guess that’s more of a fantasy football way of thinking than what a real GM would do, but a mock draft is probably closer to the former than the latter anyway. Back to the Ravens: Bush seems to be rising up draft charts and would be a nice addition for a team that just lost C.J. Mosley, but the need at receiver is just too great. Campbell will be the next Michael Thomas – relatively underused at Ohio State but a star at the next level.
23. Houston Texans: S Nasir Adderley, Delaware (CV)
With the Honey Badger now departed to Kansas City, the Texans have a glaring need at safety and lucky for them no safeties have gone yet. I still like Adderley as the first safety off the board, though I think you could definitely make a case for Mississippi State’s Johnathan Abram, as well. Either way, Houston needs help all across the secondary so I think they start addressing it right away with their first pick in the draft.
24. Oakland Raiders: TE T.J. Hockenson, Iowa (SS)
Jon Gruden found the free agency defection of Jared Cook “sickening” (and since Cook went to New Orleans I have to agree). Here’s some medicine: The other athletic Iowa tight end with a high ceiling and good blocking skills. I think the Raiders are also tempted by Devin Bush here, as well as running back Josh Jacobs, but with another pick three spots later, they’ve got a shot at getting one of them, too.
25. Philadelphia Eagles: S Johnathan Abram, Mississippi State (CV)
I thought for sure you’d take Devin Bush there. Doesn’t matter much for the Eagles, who need secondary help. You had Byron Murphy here last go around and I think that is a strong possibility, but from everything I’ve heard from other folks, Abram is a special player and an even more special human. I think Doug Pederson makes a point to go after high-character players so I think Abram fits right in here.
26. Indianapolis Colts: DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson (SS)
Where will Devin Bush’s fall end? Not here. The Colts want to upgrade their defensive front and have their pick here of Wilkins and his Clemson teammate, Dexter Lawrence. Can’t go wrong either way and this is a really good development for Indianapolis.
27. Oakland Raiders: LB Devin Bush, Michigan (CV)
Here. The fall ends here. You had DeAndre Baker mocked here last version, Scott, but linebacker is still a need for the Raiders, too. They did sign former Bengal Vontaze Burfict but you have to figure that he’ll miss a few games throughout the course of the season due to suspensions and you’ll have to set aside some money to help pay his fines. Bush provides a cheaper option and a reliable guy to add to the linebacker room and between Bush and Bosa, their front seven is looking a lot better these days.
28. [TRADE] Pittsburgh Steelers: CB DeAndre Baker (SS)
I gave the Steelers Baker in Version 3.0, when they had their choice of him and Byron Murphy…and that was at pick #20. In other words, I think this trade down was a win (as most trade downs seem to be (just sayin’)).
29. Kansas City Chiefs: CB Byron Murphy, Washington (CV)
The Chiefs have a safety in the Honey Badger now but they still need a corner. Byron Murphy is a darn good one and I think he makes an instant impact in the secondary of a Steve Spagnuolo defense.
30. Green Bay Packers: WR N’Keal Harry, Arizona State (SS)
I think the Packers were hoping Hockenson would fall this far, but here they give Aaron Rodgers another weapon in a different way.
31. Los Angeles Rams: DT Dexter Lawrence, Clemson (CV)
I think this is the second draft in a row where you take Harry before I do. Admittedly, the Rams don’t really need a receiver and instead could use a partner in crime for Aaron Donald. A piece from the best defensive line in college football should suffice and they get it in Lawrence.
32. New England Patriots: DT Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame (SS)
The Patriots' biggest need is probably at receiver, but it's not a Bill Belichick kind of thing to do to take one in the first round. He's never done it with the Patriots, in fact. Meanwhile New England is lacking depth at defensive tackle and there are still some very good ones to be head at the end of the first round.