2021 NFL Mock Draft: 1.0 Edition

Following an NFL season the likes of which we have never seen and perhaps may never see again, the 2021 NFL Draft process is likewise proceeding in an unprecedented fashion as the nation continues to recover from and adjust to the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In years past, where front offices, scouts, and the larger draft media community have all had access to a full library of game tape, a series of valuable touchpoints on the path to the draft, and a packed schedule both traveling to players and bringing them in to see and meet them in person and to further evaluate talent and character, this year is a notable exception.

Indeed, dozens of top prospects opted out for the full 2020 college football season or after a partial slate of games, while others played shortened seasons due to administrative decisions. Draft-eligible seniors joined underclassmen in announcing their intentions, finding themselves in the unusual position of having to declare whether they were entering the draft or returning for a super-senior season in 2021.

The East-West Shrine Bowl and NFLPA Collegiate Bowl were both cancelled, leading to a super-sized Reese’s Senior Bowl, supplemented by the College Gridiron Showcase and Hula Bowl. The NFL Scouting Combine as we know it was also cancelled, pulling arguably the second-biggest event of the NFL calendar year from the schedule. And while they press on, college pro days are limited in attendance and large on scrutiny, as they serve, for many prospects, as the one and only opportunity to be seen.

Beyond the circumstances affecting the league and the incoming draft class, it’s also uncharted territory for all of us who enjoy the NFL Draft and the exercise that is the mock draft, as these variables expect to make this perhaps the most difficult year, certainly in recent memory, to project who is going where. Which will make it even more of a challenge for me to try and do what to my knowledge has never been done by anyone before — be recognized as having the most accurate mock draft in the world for a second consecutive year and repeat as both The Huddle Report Mock Draft Scoring Champion and The Mock Draft Database HERC Score Champion.

With that being said, I am pleased to present — without a doubt, the most anticipated mock draft that I have ever put together — my 2021 NFL Mock Draft 1.0. These first-round projections are based on the current draft order and my impression of team needs as of March 24, and do not reflect any potential trade scenarios. Enjoy!


1 | Jacksonville Jaguars — Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
A selection more than two years in the making, the long-awaited entry of Trevor Lawrence into the professional ranks sees him report to Jacksonville as the Jaguars’ new franchise quarterback.

2 | New York Jets — Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
With Sam Darnold effectively heading into a contract year and having not panned out thus far, the Jets elect to reset at quarterback with Zach Wilson, who some teams reportedly view as the top prospect at the position over Lawrence.

3 | Miami Dolphins (via HOU) — Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
If this pick isn’t part of a trade package involving a team moving up for a quarterback, the Dolphins could very well make Kyle Pitts, a uniquely gifted athlete, the highest drafted tight end — or prospect generally classified as such — in NFL history.

4 | Atlanta Falcons — Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern
The restructuring of Matt Ryan’s contract complicates the idea of the Falcons drafting his successor here. While still a possibility, the Falcons may instead invest in protection for the veteran quarterback with the selection of Rashawn Slater, a cornerstone offensive lineman with five-position flexibility.

5 | Cincinnati Bengals — Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Reuniting quarterback Joe Burrow with his college teammate Ja’Marr Chase is certainly within play here, but a long-term solution at left tackle expects to still be the priority for the Bengals. Penei Sewell is the most promising candidate for the role remaining on the board.

6 | Philadelphia Eagles — Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
Depending on the day, the Eagles are planning to build around quarterback Jalen Hurts, draft his replacement, or put this pick up for auction to highest bidder. Assuming they stay put and move forward with their current QB1, Ja’Marr Chase would become their top weapon the second the commissioner says his name.

7 | Detroit Lions — Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
The Lions have a new coach and a new quarterback, but their wide receiver depth chart as it stands wouldn’t seem to offer Dan Campbell and Jared Goff all that much to get excited about. Drafting the electric Jaylen Waddle instantly changes that.

8 | Carolina Panthers — Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Carolina is a popular choice to take one of the top quarterback prospects off the board, either here or in a trade up. While the franchise has been linked to Trey Lance and the coaching staff worked with Mac Jones at the Senior Bowl, it is Justin Fields who gets the nod on draft night in this scenario.

9 | Denver Broncos — Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
In terms of need, cornerback has been a blinking red light for the Broncos all offseason. But after making moves to shore up the position in free agency, they can try their hand once again at finding their quarterback of the future with Trey Lance, who makes up for what he lacks in experience with prototypical tools and through-the-roof upside.

10 | Dallas Cowboys — Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
The Cowboys selected Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. You can trust they started doing their homework on Patrick Surtain II then and, after a strong season and stellar Pro Day, should now know all they need to know. As part of the team’s secondary rebuild, the college teammates find themselves back together in Dallas.

11 | New York Giants — Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
In recent years, the Giants have been shown to make draft night… well, interesting. Drafting Zaven Collins here would be another case of their board not necessarily aligning with the consensus, but they might see value in a big, versatile defender who could be deployed in multiple ways within their scheme.

12 | San Francisco 49ers — Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
While they’ve not jumped on to ride, the 49ers have seemingly had their ticket ready for every spin of the quarterback carousel this offseason. As it stands, Jimmy Garoppolo will be back for another go with San Francisco, but he could be looking over his shoulder at Mac Jones.

13 | Los Angeles Chargers — Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
Turning over much of their offensive line, the Chargers could look to round out the front five with Alijah Vera-Tucker or Christian Darrisaw, but cornerback is also a glaring need. With a new defensive-minded head coach in Brandon Staley, the pick just might be Jaycee Horn, who is firmly in the mix as the top CB in this draft.

14 | Minnesota Vikings — Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
If they don’t attempt to move down to recoup additional picks, expect the Vikings to prioritize either the offensive or defensive edge with their first pick. In this scenario, Christian Darrisaw steps in as the new starting left tackle following the release of Riley Reiff.

15 | New England Patriots — Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, S, Notre Dame
The odds are better than average that the Patriots won’t be picking here on draft night. They typically drop down, but after making a splash in free agency, they are rumored to be gearing up to climb the board for a quarterback. In lieu of movement here, they stand in and draft the versatile JOK, who can pair with a similar hybrid defender in Kyle Dugger to seek and destroy in space.

16 | Arizona Cardinals — Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
The Cardinals are among the teams most frequently projected to snag one of the top cornerbacks available, but with Patrick Surtain II and Jaycee Horn already spoken for, and with medical and durability concerns casting doubt over the draft status of the highly regarded Caleb Farley, they pivot to riser Greg Newsome II to fill a dire need.

17 | Las Vegas Raiders — Landon Dickerson, OL, Alabama
After building a vaunted offensive line over the past few years, the Raiders effectively dismantled the entire thing in one offseason. Looking to reconstruct yet keeping with their typical eyebrow-raising draft approach, they take Landon Dickerson, who is a first-round talent but comes with a lengthy injury history.

18 | Miami Dolphins — DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Back on the clock for the second time, the Dolphins will likely look to continue arming the offense, possibly at running back with Najee Harris or Travis Etienne. However, with Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith still on the board, they steal a player they expect to seriously consider drafting third overall.

19 | Washington Football Team — Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Washington is another team that could be in the market to move up to secure one of the top five quarterbacks. That’s not in the cards here, but bringing highly touted linebacker Micah Parsons into the fold would be a fine consolation prize — and make an already feared defense downright scary.

20 | Chicago Bears — Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
With the wide receivers they have seemingly not long for Chicago, the Bears expect to look long and hard at a pass catcher here. But, given the depth of this draft class at the position, they could instead consider an upgrade to the offensive line. Alijah Vera-Tucker makes sense as a plug-and-play blocker wherever they need him up front.

21 | Indianapolis Colts — Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
The Colts are in prime position to add a wide receiver, a pass rusher, or a cornerback, but left tackle could be the focus here. The experienced and highly decorated Alex Leatherwood tested out more athletic than expected at his Pro Day and is deserving of a crack at tackle. He should be just fine parked next to a perennial All-Pro in Quenton Nelson.

22 | Tennessee Titans — Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
With last year’s first-round pick Isaiah Wilson proving to be an epic bust and expected starter Dennis Kelly being released, the Titans are in need of an immediate answer at right tackle. Enter Teven Jenkins, a massive mauler with a nasty on-field demeanor who would help pave the way for the offense to do what they do best — run the football.

23 | New York Jets (via SEA) — Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
With the Jets adding Carl Lawson and Sheldon Rankins in free agency, GM Joe Douglas and new head coach Robert Saleh have made it clear that remaking the defensive front is one of the top items on their agenda. Drafting physical marvel Kwity Paye to line up opposite Lawson is another step in that direction.

24 | Pittsburgh Steelers — Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Leaning on a committee-based backfield approach, the Steelers put forth the least effective rushing attack in the league last season. Drafting a true load-bearing feature back in Najee Harris would go a long way towards righting the run game and bringing balance back to their offense.

25 | Jacksonville Jaguars (via LAR) — Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
The Jaguars’ second pick in the opening round is not nearly as predictable as their first. After ranking next to last in sack production, another pass rusher might be the target. The Texas connection with defensive staffer Chris Ash gives the relentless Joseph Ossai the edge here over the other edge defenders remaining on the board.

26 | Cleveland Browns — Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
The Browns could be a candidate to bail out of the first round if the right scenario meets the right offer. However, standing in to pick here, they could be in a position to draft the highest-rated player on their board. In this case, that might be Azeez Ojulari, a talented edge rusher who continues to build momentum heading into April.

27 | Baltimore Ravens — Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama
Edge, center, and wide receiver are all viable considerations for the Ravens here, but the organization typically subscribes to selecting the best player available early. Christian Barmore is a beastly inside presence who should only get better and would make sense for a team with a defensive front that deploys multiple starters over 30.

28 | New Orleans Saints — Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
In the mix as CB1 and possibly the top defensive prospect overall throughout the process, Caleb Farley is now fresh off back surgery, which follows his COVID-19 opt out in 2020 and being inactive for the final two games of 2019 due to injury. With his draft stock presently a mystery, it may now come down to whether a secure organization like the Saints is willing to absorb the inherent risk for him not to fall out of the first round.

29 | Green Bay Packers — Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
Will this be the year the Packers finally draft a wide receiver in the first round? It remains to be seen, but should they pass, it certainly won’t be for lack of options. Assuming they break from convention, Kadarius Toney would be a fun fit in the Green Bay offense and would give Aaron Rodgers a different type of weapon with which to work.

30 | Buffalo Bills — Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami
While the Bills have a solid collection of edge defenders, they lack a true stud pass rusher. Fortunately, they should be within striking distance of several prospects who can get after the quarterback. Jaelan Phillips might actually be the best of the bunch in terms of talent and potential and, if he checks out medically, would be a steal at the back of the first round.

31 | Kansas City Chiefs — Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
Offensive tackle has been far and away the most popular projection for the Chiefs here and understandably so. While there are compelling options down the board, the fear of missing out and the subsequent fear of compromising Patrick Mahomes might force their hand. Liam Eichenberg is the latest rock-solid blocker to launch from the Notre Dame o-line factory and a fitting selection late in the first.

32 | Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
The reigning Super Bowl Champions have done an incredible job at retaining talent this offseason. However, one player not currently re-signed is receiver Antonio Brown. The Buccaneers may still run it back with the veteran, but if they don’t, you can bet Bruce Arians would certainly entertain the idea of adding the firecracker that is Rondale Moore to his offense.


Jason Pruett
DRAFTPLEX

Drafting Dallas 2020: 7-Round Mock Draft

What a difference a year makes.

For the Dallas Cowboys, the dreams of building upon the dramatic turnaround and postseason run that capped the 2018 season were dashed by the end of the 2019 calendar year. Despite a promising 3-0 start, America’s Team was ultimately defined by maddening inconsistency, inexplicably alternating between cruising and trudging through a disappointing 8-8 campaign.

Failing to reach the playoffs in the face of such high expectations, the organization was inevitably thrust into perhaps the most uncertain offseason they have experienced in some time.

Out was long-time head coach Jason Garrett, succeeded by former Green Bay Packers sideline general Mike McCarthy. The majority of the incumbent coaching staff was also allowed to walk, most notably defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli and top assistant Kris Richard. Now in their place, a collection of well-traveled, experienced NFL staffers like Mike Nolan, Jim Tomsula, Joe Philbin, and John Fassel, and highly respected voices like Rob Davis and George Edwards.

The tabling of contract talks during the season with franchise quarterback Dak Prescott and star receiver Amari Cooper would also come to a head in the offseason. The signing of an eleventh-hour deal expects to see Cooper in silver and blue for his prime years, but Prescott’s future with the team is yet to be determined. The Cowboys used the franchise tag to secure his rights for the upcoming season, but it remains to be seen if he will sign either that or a potentially record-breaking contract that is rumored to make him the highest-paid player to date in the history of the NFL, let alone the Cowboys.

In the midst of these high-profile decisions, the Cowboys also must navigate through significant roster turnover. More than 30 players who wore the star entered the new league year as free agents, and Dallas has already seen a number of names sign with other teams, including Byron Jones, Robert Quinn, Maliek Collins, Jeff Heath, and Randall Cobb. Even future Hall of Fame tight end Jason Witten bid farewell (again) to join the Las Vegas Raiders. That’s not to say the Cowboys aren’t welcoming some of those free agents back. Emerging tight end Blake Jarwin, veteran linebacker Sean Lee, and fan favorite offensive lineman Joe Looney will all be returning, along with a few others.

However, one unexpected departure also comes with the retirement of center Travis Frederick. While making a miraculous return this past season after being diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome in 2018, the Cowboys’ Pro Bowl pivot made decision to leave the gridiron for life after football in March.

With a coaching staff, roster, and salary cap situation that will look markedly different in comparison to the last few years, knowing what to expect from the Cowboys moving forward is anyone’s guess. But, when it comes to the 2020 NFL Draft, I do feel like there are a few things becoming clear, which leads us to this exercise.

In this one and only edition of Drafting Dallas 2020, I’m assuming front office duties to mock draft the full seven rounds for the Cowboys using my DRAFTPLEX Board and the current official draft order. For context, this isn’t a prediction or projection of what the actual front office will do, nor is it a fantasy draft where the best players just happen to conveniently fall to the Cowboys. I will be making my selections as realistically as I can based on my evaluations and how I think the board could fall.

That all being said, let’s go on the clock with Drafting Dallas 2020.

Round 1 | Pick 17
K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
Effectively priced out of retaining defensive end Robert Quinn and cornerback Byron Jones—and doing virtually nothing thus far in terms of replacing them through free agency—the Cowboys would seem to be narrowing down their first-round draft considerations to the edge and the boundary. Should that hold true, their draft-night decision may come down to choosing between high-ceiling pass rusher K’Lavon Chaisson or toolsy cornerback C.J. Henderson. Given the relatively pedestrian edge class and the depth of the cornerback class by comparison, I gave the nod to Chaisson. The former LSU Tiger doesn’t come without questions, but his flashes are incredibly compelling and his upside as a potential game-wrecker is undeniable.

Most likely alternative:
C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida

Not expected to be there:
Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina


Watch out for:
CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

Round 2 | Pick 51
Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
Following the projected pick of Chaisson, I would expect the Cowboys to then lean in on finding a replacement for Byron Jones. While the cornerback room returns Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and Anthony Brown, the experience and continuity that they bring back is offset by the reality that none reside at or expect to reach the CB1 level of their former teammate. The contracts of Awuzie and Lewis are also up following the 2020 season, increasing the urgency of reloading the position. Igbinoghene is far from a finished product as a pass defender, but his rapid development in just two years at the cornerback position and room for continued growth could make him a more intriguing option than some of his more battle-tested draft counterparts.

Most likely alternative:
Justin Madubuike, DL, Texas A&M

Not expected to be there:
Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota

Watch out for:
Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

Round 3 | Pick 82
Jason Strowbridge, DL, North Carolina
The Cowboys’ defensive line rotation expects to look a lot different this season compared to years past, with what appears to be a greater emphasis on size, strength, and pedigree and less reliance on the coaching staff squeezing every last ounce of talent and production out of late-round draft choices and unheralded free-agent finds. Look no further than the signings of former first-rounders Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe to man the interior. But even with those reinforcements, the nonexistent contribution from second-round selection Trysten Hill and the tentative return of veteran Tyrone Crawford from injured reserve could lead the Cowboys to look for more help. Strowbridge showed out during the pre-draft process and flashes starter-quality tools at strongside end along with the flex to reduce inside as a sub-package pass rusher.

Other possible options:
Troy Pride Jr., CB, Notre Dame
Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas

Round 4 | Pick 123
K.J. Hill, WR, Ohio State
With Amari Cooper signed and the emergence of Michael Gallup, the Cowboys are set on the outside at receiver. But, with veteran slot Randall Cobb moving on to Houston after a productive year in Dallas, the Cowboys are in need of a reliable receiving option to work underneath and across the middle. Hill leaves Ohio State as one of the most accomplished pass catchers in the program’s storied history, including being the holder of the school’s all-time record for receptions. If not for his average size and lack of a defining physical trait, he’d probably be off the board much earlier, but with his crafty route-running and ability to create separation, he should certainly be in the conversation to receive a call from Dallas early on Day 3.

Other possible options:
Michael Ojemudia, CB, Iowa
Quartney Davis, WR, Texas A&M

Round 5 | Pick 164
Josiah Deguara, TE, Cincinnati
After a year in retirement followed by one-season swansong in the silver and blue, Jason Witten and the Cowboys seem to have finally put each other in the rear-view mirror, at least in terms of his time as a player. Meanwhile, the tight end torch appears to be officially passed to Blake Jarwin, who should be a more featured part of the offense in 2020. Offseason acquisition Blake Bell also expects to figure into the active roster, likely as an in-line blocker. But, adding an H-back type like Deguara would provide an added dimension from the position for the Cowboys to work with in deploying their offense.

Round 5 | Pick 179 (compensatory)
Geno Stone, S, Iowa
The departure of the polarizing Jeff Heath coupled with the arrival of former first-round pick turned journeyman Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has the feeling of a break-even situation at safety where the front office is concerned. Between this and the team’s recent history of not investing significant resources into the position, I once again don’t expect the Cowboys to address the last line of defense early. That said, they could look later in the draft to bring in another name to add to a depth chart that also includes Xavier Woods, Darian Thompson, and Donovan Wilson. Stone is a scrappy, undersized defender with plus ball skills and play-making ability, and he carries a chip that could also help him make a name for himself on special teams.

Round 7 | Pick 231
Tanner Muse, LB, Clemson
The Cowboys love to draft linebackers and they love to draft from big-time programs. With 59 games logged for a perennial NCAA powerhouse, Tanner Muse certainly fits that bill. Not really thought of much as a prospect coming into the pre-draft process, a strong showing at the NFL Scouting Combine has put Muse firmly in consideration for a late-round selection. Likely transitioning from college safety to NFL linebacker, his in to a roster spot would expect to be as a core special teamer as he works to do more than just round out the linebacker depth chart.

Validated using the DRAFTPLEX Board with the Fanspeak On The Clock Mock Draft Simulator
https://fanspeak.com/ontheclock/sharedraft.php?d=yfzirk


Jason Pruett
DRAFTPLEX

2019 NFL Mock Draft 4.0: Final Edition

After months of evaluation and speculation, click-bait and hot takes, the 2019 NFL Draft will finally go live from Nashville on Thursday night. As much as we all want to think we know heading in, we all understand that once teams officially go on the clock, the entire game changes. There will be prospects that unexpectedly rise and slide, trades that make perfect sense and none at all, and selections that surprise no one and shock everyone. It’s what makes the draft fun as a fan and compelling as an evaluator.

With that being said, I am pleased to present my 4.0 and final 2019 NFL Mock Draft. These first-round projections are based on the current draft order and my impression of team needs as of April 23, with consideration given to potential trade scenarios.

Enjoy the draft!

FIRST ROUND


1 | Arizona Cardinals — Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
I started the process projecting Kyler Murray to the Cardinals when virtually no one else was and despite recent reports that the Arizona front office is still weighing its options in the eleventh hour, I will finish the process with that projection.

2 | San Francisco 49ers — Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama
The 49ers may consider Nick Bosa here, but I think the Raiders might make a play to move up for the Ohio State end. That said, whether they sit at #2 or bump down to #4 in a trade, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that San Francisco prefers Quinnen Williams regardless.

3 | New York Jets — Ed Oliver, DL, Houston
I’ve liked the fit, but I’ve hesitated projecting Ed Oliver to the Jets because I couldn’t confidently say they would draft him at #3. I still can’t say for sure, but I could see a trade-back situation where they drop down a few spots and are still able to land him.

4 | Oakland Raiders — Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
With scenarios on the table that include them standing in to draft the third of the three top defenders, taking the first LB off the board, and potentially coveting a QB, the Oakland war room has gone dark at #4. I’ll venture that the Raiders will attempt to work a deal with the 49ers, jumping up to #2 to draft their pass rusher.

5 | Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Devin White, LB, LSU
The Buccaneers could look at drafting Josh Allen here, but I feel like they might make a go of it with their edge defenders as they are. Instead, I’ll follow the smoke that’s been wafting around Tampa Bay all draft season and project them to take Devin White.

6 | New York Giants — Josh Allen, RSH, Kentucky
There’s no way to tell if the Giants are truly interested in drafting a QB at #6 — until they don’t. If Josh Allen remains on the board after the top five cards have been turned in, I think there’s a strong chance he goes from one Big Blue to another.

7 | Jacksonville Jaguars — Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
Jawaan Taylor to Jacksonville has been a popular prospect-team projection. The fit and value makes sense, so I’m maintaining the pick I made for the Jaguars in my seven-round Super Mock.

8 | Detroit Lions — Jonah Williams, OL, Alabama
I’m not sure the Lions don’t look for defensive help or possibly trade out of #8, but Jonah Williams to Detroit has been gaining steam in recent days. He’d be an immediate upgrade and long-term solution for an offensive line in need of both.

9 | Buffalo Bills — Brian Burns, RSH, Florida State
The Bills spent millions of dollars in free agency to improve their offense, which leads me to believe this pick will be on defense — specifically a pass rusher. Brian Burns has the tools and traits to develop into an incredibly disruptive force off the edge for Buffalo.

10 | Denver Broncos — Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
While they traded for former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco, John Elway and the Broncos clearly love Drew Lock — they might even trade up to guarantee they get their latest QB of the future. That said, if they choose to ride with their veteran signal caller, expect one of the next two picks to become a Bronco instead.

11 | Cincinnati Bengals — Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
I think Dwayne Haskins would make sense for the Bengals with Andy Dalton as the bridge, but Cincinnati might not have the opportunity to draft the former Buckeye if Miami or Washington moves up. Devin Bush would make an excellent alternative for a team that seemingly has an annual offseason need at LB.

12 | Green Bay Packers — T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
The Packers have veteran options at tight end in Jimmy Graham and Marcedes Lewis, but both are past their prime and neither is long for Lambeau for more than a season at best. If T.J. Hockenson lasts until #12, I expect him to be bound for Titletown.

13 | Miami Dolphins — Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson
Christian Wilkins would be a quality player, leader, and locker room presence for a franchise starting over. I could also see the Dolphins trading back, as they desperately need picks to help rebuild a roster that might be the most devoid of talent in the league.

14 | Atlanta Falcons — Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma
The Falcons will look hard at adding another edge rusher, but I don’t think Ty Sambrailo is their first choice to fill the vacancy at right tackle. I do think they like Cody Ford, though, and I think he steps right into the starting role.

15 | Washington Redskins — Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
The Redskins appeared to be a suitor for Josh Rosen and they still might be. However, they might be content to draft a QB and I think their guy, if available, is Dwayne Haskins. I’d venture they’d even consider chasing him up the board into the top ten if they could strike a deal.

16 | Carolina Panthers — Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
Drafting an edge rusher like a sliding Montez Sweat or high-floor Clelin Ferrell is a definite possibility for the Panthers, but I think it’s time they finally drafted a left tackle. Andre Dillard would be the target.

17 | New York Giants (via CLE) — Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
The word is that the NFL likes Daniel Jones more than those of us in the draft community and that the Giants covet him the most. That’s enough for me to assume that if he’s on the board at #17, he will be drafted as the eventual successor to Eli Manning.

18 | Minnesota Vikings — Chris Lindstrom, OL, Boston College
The Vikings offensive line has the potential to be a game of musical chairs before the season begins and they project to introduce another player early. I would expect Chris Lindstrom to come in and start at guard or possibly right tackle.

19 | Tennessee Titans — Jeffery Simmons, DL, Mississippi State
I feel like the Titans are one of the hardest teams to read in the first round because they can realistically go in any direction. That said, they were linked to Jeffery Simmons before his ACL injury and might still value him enough to draft him at #19.

20 | Pittsburgh Steelers — D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
Everyone expects D.K. Metcalf to be drafted in the first round and I think Pittsburgh is a potential landing spot. He has the size and straight-line speed that they tend to employ outside and he would enter into a situation where he can develop instead of dealing with the pressure to be WR1 right out of the gate.

21 | Seattle Seahawks — Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
The Seahawks were able to flip Frank Clark to the Chiefs, the key piece in return being Kansas City’s first-round selection at #29, but that makes Seattle’s first order of business drafting his replacement at #21. Clelin Ferrell may not have Clark’s ceiling, but he’s ready-made for a starting role in the NFL.

22 | Baltimore Ravens — Garrett Bradbury, C, North Carolina State
The Ravens could pursue an edge rusher or wide receiver here, but I venture their priority will be protecting QB Lamar Jackson and strengthening their running game now led by Mark Ingram. Garrett Bradbury would project to be their new starter at the pivot.

23 | Houston Texans — Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
The two glaring weaknesses for the Texans are the offensive line and the secondary. The cornerback position should stretch until their back-to-back selections in the second round, but offensive tackle will not. If they don’t attempt to trade up for one of the top three tackles, Little is the consolation prize.

24 | Oakland Raiders (via CHI) — Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
The Raiders don’t have much in the way of a weapon at the tight end position and Fant is exactly that. The Iowa product would fit in nicely as a matchup player alongside their remade receiving corps that now includes Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams, and Ryan Grant.

25 | Philadelphia Eagles —Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan
With a lingering shoulder issue, questions about his positional fit, and his lack of college production, I expect Gary will be drafted lower than his athletic profile would suggest. But, I feel like the Eagles might be the team to swoop in, bank on his potential, and attempt to groom him into an impact professional.

26 | Indianapolis Colts — Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State
The Colts could be in the market for another front-line defender, but they’ve also been connected to Johnathan Abram, who would pair with Malik Hooker to give Indianapolis one of the better young safety tandems in the NFL.

27 | Oakland Raiders (via DAL) — Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple
I expect cornerback to be a target for the Raiders early, which could put any of the top prospects in play. While Mike Mayock’s voice as an analyst has been absent from draft coverage, I can just hear him raving about Rock Ya-Sin and jumping at the chance to drape him in the silver and black.

28 | Los Angeles Chargers — Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
If they don’t look to escape the first round with an offensive tackle, cornerback looks to be where need and value line up for the Chargers. Greedy Williams could be a steal for San Diego with his measurables and coverage skills.

29 | Seattle Seahawks (via KC) —Montez Sweat, RSH, Mississippi State
I have a feeling the Seahawks might elect to parlay the pick acquired from the Chiefs in a trade down to procure more draft assets. But if they stand in, I could see them double-dip at edge by taking Montez Sweat, whose stock is rumored to have fallen due to concerns about his known heart condition.

30 | Green Bay Packers (via NO) — A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
The Packers will probably give consideration to drafting an offensive or defensive lineman with their second first-round selection, but they could also choose to upgrade their pedestrian receiving corps by pairing A.J. Brown with Davante Adams.

31 | Los Angeles Rams — Dexter Lawrence, DL, Clemson
The Rams have multiple positions of reasonable need, including their offensive line and virtually every level of their defense. Seeing they’re short a second-round pick, trading out of the first round is also a possibility. If they stand in and pick, Dexter Lawrence makes sense to line up next to Aaron Donald, where he can draw double-team blocks and push the pocket with his power.

32 | New England Patriots — Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
The Patriots are loaded with draft capital, but I don’t expect them to make twelve picks over the course of seven rounds. Look for them to wheel and deal, possibly shooting up the board in the first round to draft a playmaker — perhaps the electric Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown.


Jason Pruett
DRAFTPLEX

Drafting Dallas 2019: 7-Round Mock Draft 3.0

Welcome to my 3.0 installment of Drafting Dallas 2019, where I’m assuming front office duties to mock draft the full seven rounds for the Cowboys using the current edition of my DRAFTPLEX Board.

Since my 2.0 installment was published, the Cowboys have made two significant moves to sustain and supplement an emerging defensive unit that finished seventh in total defense — breaking through in contract negotiations with defensive leader Demarcus Lawrence, signing the star end to a lucrative deal that makes him the highest-paid player in franchise history; and sending a sixth-round draft choice in 2020 to the Miami Dolphins for veteran pass rusher Robert Quinn, whom the team also signed to a new one-year contract. Dallas also struck a deal with veteran safety George Iloka, who at a minimum gives the team insurance at what is considered a position of reasonable need heading into the draft.

With less than two weeks remaining until the 2019 NFL Draft, further free-agent activity expects to be minimal at most, the Cowboys having filled every position of conceivable need with the exception of backup running back. Most interesting about their approach this offseason, however, is now they are not beholden to addressing any particular position at any point and can effectively move forward with taking the best player available on their board should they so choose. Which, of course, brings us to this exercise.

For context, this isn’t a prediction or projection of what the actual front office will do, nor is it a fantasy draft where the best players just happen to conveniently fall to the Cowboys. I will be making my selections as realistically as I can based on my own evaluations and the team’s pre-draft activity to this point. I will also not be repeating any previous selections, ensuring both a unique draft scenario and an original read.

That all being said, let’s go on the clock for the Cowboys for the final time this draft season with Drafting Dallas 2019 3.0.

Round 2 | Pick 58
Joejuan Williams, CB, Vanderbilt
Much has been made of the Cowboys inviting four of the top safety prospects in this draft class to The Star for official visits, but the expectation is that due diligence will inevitably be precautionary in nature. None of said four – Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Johnathan Abram, Juan Thornhill, or Taylor Rapp – is a lock to be on the board when Dallas goes on the clock at #58. I don’t think that scenario is for certain, but seeing that I mocked Abram here in Drafting Dallas 2.0, I will consider an alternative situation where the position is wiped out relative to value. With that in mind, I point toward the long-term future of the secondary and the report of a private workout with Commodores cornerback Joejuan Williams as the reasoning behind this projected pick.

Round 3 | Pick 90
Damien Harris, RB, Alabama
You can dispute the value of drafting a running back early, but make no mistake, this isn’t a luxury pick. In Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys have arguably the best running back in the NFL, but they’ve not been able to bring Zeke off the field without experiencing a significant drop-off in offensive production. Faced with running their prized bell cow into the ground or bringing drives to a grinding halt every time he heads to the sidelines, the Cowboys need to consider stabling a legitimate RB2. A quality, all-around back Harris may not make it to the late-third, but having brought him in on an official visit, you have to think Dallas is preparing for the possibility.

Round 4 | Pick 128
Daniel Wise, DT, Kansas

Round 4 | Pick 136 (compensatory selection)
John Cominsky, DL, Charleston

With the return of Tank, the addition of Quinn, and the signings of Christian Covington and Kerry Hyder, the defensive line rotation looks to be solid for next season. However, looking beyond, the forecast becomes a little less clear. Rather than face the prospect of a completely different core group up front, expect the Cowboys to begin reloading in the middle rounds, if not earlier. Wise is a prospect who likely caught the Cowboys’ attention initially when they evaluated fellow Jayhawk and last year’s fourth-round selection, defensive end Dorance Armstrong. The team also reportedly worked out the prospective three-technique privately. Meanwhile, Cominsky is a small-school standout who scouts have reportedly had eyes on for months. The Cowboys hosted him as one of their 30 official pre-draft visitors and could look at taking the developmental rushman off the board with their compensatory selection.

Round 5 | Pick 165
Will Harris, S, Boston College
Circling back to the position of safety, if they don’t have a top prospect slip to them early, I think it is a solid bet the Cowboys will still come out of the draft with a new name for the depth chart, at the very least to push the veterans on the roster. Harris is a middle-tier option who would bring a wealth of starting experience and considerable ability, along with the special teams value and the position flex the Cowboys covet from the members of their last line of defense.

Round 7 | Pick 241
Stanley Morgan Jr., WR, Nebraska
In terms of numbers, the Cowboys are loaded at receiver, but it’s fair to say at least half of the roster spots anticipated to be allocated to the position are up for grabs. Morgan is a prospect that the team has shown interest in and some reports suggest the Cowboys could consider drafting him as early as the fourth round. But, that is very rich to me considering the middle-round depth of this receiver class, the positional need, and my evaluation of the player. That said, I think the Cowboys could take a wait-and-see approach and potentially still land him as the draft draws to a close.


BONUS PROJECTIONS | Priority Free Agents

Chris Westry, CB, Kentucky
Cole Holcomb, LB, North Carolina
Dre Greenlaw, LB, Arkansas
Markus Jones, RSH, Angelo State
Xavier Turner, RB, Tarleton State


Westry is a late-draftable, height-weight-speed prospect the Cowboys hosted as a pre-draft visitor and would be a developmental project for Kris Richard… Holcomb is another visitor who has been rising as of late thanks to a combination of college production and exceptional testing and who could potentially find himself drafted on Day 3… Greenlaw is an undersized second-level defender who I’m not that high on, but the Cowboys seem to like… Jones is a dominant Division II pass rusher who deserves Day 3 consideration, but might not hear his name called… Turner is a Dallas Day participant who fits the profile of local, load-bearing back the Cowboys like to have during rookie minicamp.


Jason Pruett
DRAFTPLEX

2019 NFL Mock Draft 3.0: New League Year Edition

With college pro days winding down, prospect-team visits ramping up, and free-agent signings, trades, and releases changing the face of NFL rosters, I am pleased to present my 2019 NFL Mock Draft 3.0. This two-round edition is based on the current draft order and my impression of team needs as of April 5, and does not reflect any potential trade scenarios.

FIRST ROUND


1 | Arizona Cardinals — Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
In the two months that have passed since I boldly forecast Murray to Arizona at #1 in my Mock Draft 1.0, it’s become the consensus projection.

2 | San Francisco 49ers — Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama
The 49ers acquired Dee Ford from the Chiefs to man the edge, freeing them up to consider taking Williams to team with DeForest Bucker on the interior.

3 | New York Jets — Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Needing an edge presence, the draft gods smile upon the Jets once more, as Bosa, expected to be out of their reach even at #3, falls right into their lap.

4 | Oakland Raiders — Josh Allen, RSH, Kentucky
The Raiders handed out huge contracts to fill holes in free agency, but they still need an alpha edge defender. The do-everything Allen fits the profile.

5 | Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
After locking up left tackle Donovan Smith, the Buccaneers tap the pro-ready Taylor to be their bookend anchor on the right.

6 | New York Giants — Devin White, LB, LSU
It’s been a long time since the Giants have had a stud linebacker. With his speed, athleticism, and playmaking ability, White is exactly that.

7 | Jacksonville Jaguars — T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
The Jaguars have their new quarterback in Nick Foles. Having a do-it-all tight end like Hockenson would help him deliver.

8 | Detroit Lions — Montez Sweat, RSH, Mississippi State
Sweat’s epic draft process was nearly derailed by the detection of a heart condition, but it doesn’t expect to dissuade the Lions from pairing him with Trey Flowers.

9 | Buffalo Bills — Brian Burns, RSH, Florida State
The Bills were short on sacks this past season. Drafting a long, lean pass rusher in Burns should help them pressure the quarterback.

10 | Denver Broncos — Ed Oliver, DL, Houston
The Broncos choose to bet on their trade for quarterback Joe Flacco and draft Oliver to wreak havoc in the trenches as Von Miller and Bradley Chubb take the edge.

11 | Cincinnati Bengals — Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
Long-time starter Andy Dalton transitions to bridge quarterback for the Bengals as the new regime drafts his successor in Haskins.

12 | Green Bay Packers — Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
The Packers spent big bucks to overhaul the edge and deep middle of their defense in free agency. In Bush, they secure their new second-level centerpiece.

13 | Miami Dolphins — Jonah Williams, OL, Alabama
The cupboards are bare almost everywhere in Miami, so drafting a cornerstone blocker in Williams to help their rebuild could be a consideration.

14 | Atlanta Falcons — Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma
The Falcons have made offseason moves in an attempt to upgrade their offensive line, but right tackle remains a weak point. Ford resolves that issue.

15 | Washington Redskins — Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
The Redskins could consider moving this pick in a trade for Arizona quarterback Josh Rosen. If they don’t, Lock is the alternative to replace the injured Alex Smith.

16 | Carolina Panthers — Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
The Panthers signed free agent Matt Paradis to replace the retired Ryan Kalil at center. They draft Dillard to supplant his since-released brother, Matt Kalil, at left tackle.

17 | New York Giants (via CLE) — Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan
Gary’s athletic profile and upside could see him drafted higher, but his positional fit and limited production could see him settle in later — perhaps with the Giants at #17.

18 | Minnesota Vikings — Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
Upgrading the offensive line in some way, shape, or form needs to be a focus for the Vikings, but the promise of Fant may be too appealing to pass up.

19 | Tennessee Titans — Garrett Bradbury, C, North Carolina State
The Titans could go in a number of different directions here, but the plug-and-play Bradbury may present the best value as they continue shoring up their offensive line.

20 | Pittsburgh Steelers — Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
Signing free-agent cornerback Steven Nelson is a stop-gap move at best, so the Steelers grab Greedy to increase the difficulty level for opposing passers.

21 | Seattle Seahawks — Justin Layne, CB, Michigan State
With only four picks, the Seahawks would seem likely to trade out of the first round to acquire more assets. But if they stay, a long, tall corner like Layne could be an option.

22 | Baltimore Ravens — A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
Lamar Jackson doesn’t have much to work with currently if he is to continue developing as a passer. Brown brings a strong, all-around skillset and WR1 upside.

23 | Houston Texans — Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State
The Houston offensive line is comprised of spare parts and experiments. Risner is a pro-ready prospect who projects as a day-one starter at tackle or guard.

24 | Oakland Raiders (via CHI) — Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
The Raiders recently signed journeyman Isaiah Crowell, but he’s more committee back than bell cow. Jacobs, meanwhile, has feature back traits and potential.

25 | Philadelphia Eagles — Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware
The Eagles have injury concerns at safety with Rodney McLeod and Andrew Sendejo, and Adderley has been connected to his hometown team throughout the process.

26 | Indianapolis Colts — D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
Wide receiver might be rich for the Colts in the first round, but if the lottery ticket that is D.K. Metcalf indeed pays off, it would be well worth the price.

27 | Oakland Raiders (via DAL) — Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
Murphy is the highest-graded player remaining on the board and seems like a prospect Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden would both covet for their defensive backfield.

28 | Los Angeles Chargers — Kaleb McGary, OT, Washington
The Chargers don’t look like they have a long-term solution at right tackle on the roster. McGary’s stock is on the rise and might land him in the first round.

29 | Kansas City Chiefs — Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
Following the free-agent signings of Tyrann Mathieu and Bashaud Breeland, the Chiefs could add Baker to complete the total makeover of their secondary.

30 | Green Bay Packers (via NO) — Jerry Tillery, DL, Notre Dame
The Packers continue the offseason rebuild of their defense, further fortifying their front seven with the addition of Tillery.

31 | Los Angeles Rams — Dexter Lawrence, DL, Clemson
With their one-year rental of veteran Ndamukong Suh at its end, the Rams select Lawrence to be his long-term replacement along their formidable front line.

32 | New England Patriots — Jeffery Simmons, DL, Mississippi State
The Patriots currently have 12 picks. Would it really shock you if they gamble that a top-10 prospect recovering from a torn ACL could be ready in time for a Super Bowl run?

SECOND ROUND



Jason Pruett
DRAFTPLEX