NFL Mock Draft 4.0: Big Trade For Big Blue?

Matt Citak
April 23, 2019 - 2:05 pm
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Well, folks, the week we have all been waiting for is finally here.

With the first few waves of free agency done, teams are now left with the NFL draft as the final chance to land a few potential starters before OTAs kick off next month.

For the last few weeks, I have been breaking down the top-10 players available at each position in this year’s draft class. Click here to find previews of the top quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, offensive linemen, defensive linemen, linebackers and defensive backs.

The start of the NFL offseason has already been pretty crazy. Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr. were both traded, Le'Veon Bell is now a member of the Jets, and Nick Foles is on the Jaguars. And that’s barely scratching the surface of the significant moves we’ve witnessed.

As we have seen in recent years, anything can happen on draft night. Chances are a team trades up in the first round in order to select a franchise quarterback. What team(s) might make that move up this year? With the amount of reports indicating various levels of interest from QB-needy teams in this year’s top signal callers, no one can truly say that they know what will happen once the Arizona Cardinals are on the clock Thursday night.

There are endless smokescreens being thrown around the league in the days leading up to the Thursday’s festivities. But that won’t stop me from putting together my best guess of how the first round might play out down in Nashville, Tennessee.

Without further ado, here is my fourth and final mock draft, with trades included for the first time. And yes, you will find a Josh Rosen trade in there.

1. Arizona Cardinals -- Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

In what is the draft’s worst-kept secret, the Cardinals land the ideal quarterback to lead new coach Kliff Kingsbury’s offense. Arizona had the worst offense in the NFL last season, and while their issues went well beyond the QB play, Murray will certainly provide the offense with a much-needed jolt.

2. San Francisco 49ers -- Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State

The 49ers will be tempted to trade down here. They would love to swap picks with Oakland at No. 4 and still walk away from the draft with one of the three premier defensive talents. When coach Jon Gruden can't strike a deal, the general manager John Lynch will happily settle for adding Bosa to the team’s already talented group of defensive linemen.

3. New York Jets -- Josh Allen, Edge, Kentucky

Jets GM Mike Maccagnan has been very open about his desire to trade down in the first round in order to recoup some of the lost draft capital used to get Sam Darnold last year. However, reports indicate he will only move down if he is offered a similar deal to what the Jets paid in 2018, and with teams unwilling to match his price, Maccagnan goes with the best edge rusher available in Allen. Allen is a perfect fit for Gregg Williams’ 3-4 defense and will help solidify New York’s D-line. Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver could also be in play here.

Josh Allen
Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Images

4. Oakland Raiders -- Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

Gruden and Raiders general manager Mike Mayock are undoubtedly the wild cards of the first round. Could they move up to No. 1 and take Murray? Sure. Could they swap picks with the 49ers to land Bosa? Wouldn’t surprise me. But after trading away Khalil Mack last year, Oakland knows it needs to find a new, elite pass rusher. The Raiders will be very tempted to take Oliver here, but at the end of the day, Gruden makes the right call (for once) and picks the DT out of Alabama.

5. *TRADE* Atlanta Falcons -- Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

Someone trades up to jump ahead of the Giants, but surprisingly, it’s not for a quarterback. Recent reports indicate that the Falcons would love to come out of this draft with Oliver. With the Giants showing him a ton of interest recently, Atlanta makes a blockbuster trade with Tampa Bay to land Oliver, giving up its second-round pick, another mid-round pick and its second-round pick in 2020 to snag the athletic defensive tackle.

6. New York Giants -- Devin White, LB, LSU

Devin White
Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Images

Giants GM Dave Gettleman is ticked off, as Oliver was the top player on his board prior to Atlanta’s move up. While fans clamor for the Giants to finally take their quarterback, Gettleman shrugs them off and goes with the top remaining defensive player available in the linebacker out of LSU. Gettleman loves his “gold jacket” prospects, and White is as close to one as you’re going to find at No. 6, leading to New York spending a first-round pick on a linebacker for the first time since Carl Banks in 1984.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars -- T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

After signing Foles to a monster four-year deal last month, the Jaguars are left to decide whether to provide their new QB with a shiny, offensive playmaker or extra protection up front. Hockenson checks both boxes. The Iowa tight end is a big, athletic, talented pass catcher and would also provide a significant boost to Jacksonville’s protection with his blocking abilities. Florida offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor is another possibility here.

8. Detroit Lions -- Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State

Sweat is another prospect rising up draft boards over the last month and a half thanks to a strong performance at the combine. He ran a 4.41 40-yard dash in Indianapolis, and despite some teams shying away from Sweat due to his heart condition, Lions coach Matt Patricia won’t be able to pass up the opportunity to pair Sweat on Detroit’s defensive line with the recently signed Trey Flowers.

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9. *TRADE* Washington Redskins -- Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

After failing to land Rosen in a trade with the Cardinals, the Redskins move ahead of the Broncos and Bengals to ensure they land the quarterback of their choosing. In Washington, Haskins would be under no pressure to start immediately, although he likely would end up getting a few starts over Case Keenum toward the end of the season.

10. Denver Broncos -- Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

New Broncos coach Vic Fangio would have loved to land a premier defensive talent with this pick, such as Oliver or White, but with both of them off the board, the Broncos take their quarterback of the future. Let’s be real: Joe Flacco is not their long-term plan at QB. Lock will benefit from learning under Flacco for a year or two before taking the reins. Devin Bush could also be a possibility here.

11. Cincinnati Bengals -- Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

With first-year coach Zac Taylor now running the show in Cincinnati, it would not come as a surprise to see him take a quarterback at No. 11. But with Murray, Haskins and Lock all off the board, the Bengals decide to stick with Andy Dalton under center for at least one more year. Instead, Cincinnati finds its new quarterback of the defense in Bush, the incredibly athletic linebacker out of Michigan.

12. Green Bay Packers -- Jawaan Taylor, OT, Washington State

The Packers would love to hand Aaron Rodgers a talented offensive playmaker here, but with Hockenson off the board, Green Bay decides to give its franchise QB the next best thing. Taylor is considered by most to be the draft’s best offensive tackle, and with tackle Bryan Bulaga only a year away from free agency, the Packers shore up the future of their O-line with Taylor.

13. Miami Dolphins -- Rashan Gary, Edge, Michigan

Unless the draft board falls perfectly for the Dolphins and one of the top three QBs is sitting there at No. 13, then it appears as if Miami is comfortable rolling with Ryan Fitzpatrick. And by comfortable, I mean tanking for Tua Tagovailoa, the early front-runner to be the first quarterback drafted next year. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is a Michigan alum, and with coach Brian Flores now steering the ship, Miami is willing to bet that its new head coach can bring the best out of Gary, an athletic freak whose production never truly matched his physical traits. (Miami is also a possible landing spot for Josh Rosen.)

14. *TRADE* Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Brian Burns, Edge, Florida State

Considering the amount of holes they have throughout their roster, the Buccaneers are more than happy to trade down to No. 14 and stockpile additional draft picks. After the move, coach Bruce Arians is thrilled to find Burns still sitting there at No. 14, who slides right in as an edge rusher in Arians’ 3-4 defense.

15. *TRADE* Buffalo Bills -- Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

Buffalo is another team with several glaring needs and a limited number of draft picks following last year’s trade up to land quarterback Josh Allen. This is just about the ideal scenario for the Bills, who move down six slots, pick up a few more picks and still land one of the top offensive linemen in the draft to protect their franchise QB.

16. Carolina Panthers -- Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State

The Panthers were hoping to see Burns drop all the way down to No. 16, but with no elite edge rushers available, Carolina decides to get Cam Newton some extra protection up front. The Panthers can’t win without Newton, and Dillard is considered by some to be the best pass-blocking tackle in this draft. Dillard would certainly provide a big upgrade to Carolina’s offensive line.

Prior to the Giants’ selection at No. 17, it is announced that the Cardinals trade QB Josh Rosen and their third-round pick (No. 65) to the Giants for a second-round pick (No. 37), fourth-round pick (No. 132 via NO) and 2020 sixth-round pick.

17. New York Giants -- Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

After landing a stud linebacker at No. 6 and then trading for Rosen, Giants fans need not worry about Gettleman selecting Daniel Jones at No. 17. Instead, New York can continue to bolster its defensive line with the addition of Ferrell. The Giants won’t be able to win in 2019 without an improved pass rush, and Ferrell is coming off an 11½-sack campaign with the Tigers. Ferrell’s Clemson teammate Christian Wilkins or Boston College’s Cody Ford could also be possibilities here.

Clemson Tigers defensive end Clelin Ferrell (99) in action during the second half against the Norte Dame Fighting Irish in the 2018 Cotton Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at AT&T Stadium.
Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Images

18. Minnesota Vikings -- Cody Ford, OT/G, Boston College

The Vikings went out and handed Kirk Cousins a fully guaranteed $84 million contract last offseason, only to watch him run for his life all season behind a poor offensive line. With very little cap space to make moves in free agency, Minnesota adds a starting offensive lineman in Ford who could end up at either tackle or guard.

19. Tennessee Titans -- Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

Wilkins is one of the most athletic defensive tackles in this entire draft class, running a 5.04 40-yard dash at the combine while weighing in at 315 pounds. Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel has not shied away from showing his love for Wilkins. If the big defensive tackle is sitting there at No. 19, it’s hard to see the Titans passing on him.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers -- Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

The Steelers have lost some serious star power this offseason with the departures of Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, which could lead to them seriously considering a wide receiver here. However, the offense still has some great talent there, while the defense is lacking in that department. Baker will help make up for the struggles of former first-round pick Artie Burns, who had a disappointing 2018.

21. *TRADE* Oakland Raiders -- Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

Gruden loves to run the ball, and in this year’s draft class, there is one running back who clearly stands above the rest of the class. Jacobs is a power runner who shows some great athleticism, reminding many of Marshawn Lynch. Oakland strikes a deal with Seattle and moves ahead of Baltimore in order to secure its running back of the future.

22. Baltimore Ravens -- Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

Even after signing Mark Ingram, Baltimore will likely look to add more talent at running back in this draft. But with Jacobs off the board, the Ravens pivot elsewhere in the offense. Offensive line could certainly be the move here, with Texas A&M's Erik McCoy as the likely pick if they do go that route. But Baltimore ends up deciding to give quarterback Lamar Jackson an electric playmaker in Brown instead.

23. Houston Texans -- Erik McCoy, C/G, Texas A&M

With Baltimore passing on him, Houston runs up to the podium immediately to hand in its pick. McCoy would start at guard for the Texans, but could also serve as insurance in case starting center Nick Martin gets hurt. Houston surrendered a league-high 62 sacks last season, and Deshaun Watson cannot handle another beating like that in 2019. O-line will almost definitely be the pick for Houston.

24. *TRADE* Seattle Seahawks -- D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss

Other than the Jets, Seattle might be the team most open to trading down in the first round. With only five picks at the moment, the Seahawks could end up sliding down more than once. When Gruden calls offering the Raiders' fourth-round pick to move up three slots, Seattle takes the deal. I think another trade down here is possible, maybe with the Patriots, but if they stay here, the Seahawks take a new, big-bodied wideout for the recently extended Russell Wilson in Metcalf.

25. Philadelphia Eagles -- Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State

The Eagles could go a few different routes at No. 25. It wouldn’t surprise anyone to see coach Doug Pederson go with an offensive or defensive lineman here, as he knows that winning comes from building up the trenches. Philadelphia instead chooses to bolster the secondary with the addition of the physical Abram, who will eventually take over for Malcolm Jenkins.

26. Indianapolis Colts -- A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss

Indianapolis landed the Jets’ second-round pick from last year’s trade, so the Colts are confident they will come out of this draft with at least two Day 1 starters. Indy can shore up its secondary with the No. 34 pick, so it goes with the top wide receiver on the board at No. 26. The Colts have spent time with Brown in recent weeks, and drafting him would give Andrew Luck a nice 1-2 punch along with T.Y. Hilton.

27. Oakland Raiders -- Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

There is a decent chance the Raiders don’t end up drafting here, as this pick could be included in any possible trade up for Oakland. If the Raiders do stick with this pick, it’s hard to see Gruden not upgrading the secondary. Williams was once considered the top corner in this draft class, and although his stock has fallen recently, Oakland will happily take him here.

28. Los Angeles Chargers -- Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

Defensive tackle is a glaring need for the Chargers, and unless LA decides to give quarterback Philip Rivers more protection up front, D-line will likely be the move here. Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons could be the pick, but since he may have to sit out the entire 2019 season as he recovers from an ACL tear, the Chargers select the third D-lineman from Clemson to go in the first round. Lawrence is a true nose tackle with some surprising athleticism and will go a long way in helping Los Angeles clog the middle of the field.

29. Seattle Seahawks -- Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State

Following the trade of Frank Clark, the Seahawks pick up an additional first-round pick and use it on a prospect they hope will replace Clark on the defensive line. Before tearing his ACL in February, Simmons was considered a top-10 talent. He is a physical specimen at 6-foot-4, 301-pounds that offers both athleticism and strength. Once healthy, Simmons could be one of the stars of this draft class.

30. Green Bay Packers -- Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

Green Bay would have loved to add Hockenson at No. 12 but will happily settle for his Iowa teammate at No. 30. Fant isn’t a true tight end. In fact, he’s basically a big slot receiver. But he will prove to be a matchup nightmare for opposing defensive backs and linebackers, and it won’t take long for him to become Rodgers’ best friend in Green Bay.

31. Los Angeles Rams -- Garrett Bradbury, C/G, N.C. State

Even after reaching the Super Bowl, the Rams still have a few holes to address in the draft. Replacing Ndamukong Suh will certainly be a priority, and if Lawrence drops here, there is a decent chance he is the pick. But with the big defensive tackle off the board, Los Angeles opts to plug up another big hole along the interior of the offensive line. Bradbury could slot in at guard or center, thus helping to alleviate the pain of losing both Rodger Saffold and John Sullivan earlier this offseason.

32. New England Patriots -- Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

With the final pick of the first round, New England could go a few different routes. Replacing tight end Rob Gronkowski is a strong possibility, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Belichick move up in the first round to take Fant. If the Pats stay here, Irv Smith Jr. out of Alabama, also a tight end, could be the pick, or it could be a defensive tackle such as Simmons or Notre Dame's Jerry Tillery. But at the end of the day, the Patriots instead decide to pick Tom Brady’s eventual replacement in Jones, who will benefit from learning under the Hall of Fame QB for the next two to three years.

BONUS PICKS

48. New York Giants, Tytus Howard, OT, Alabama State

After trading No. 37 in a deal to land Rosen, Gettleman uses the third-round pick from Arizona (No. 65) to move back into the second round to select a right tackle. Howard has been one of the biggest risers over the last month, and could go as early as the end of the first round. Gettleman finally completes his reworking of New York’s offensive line with this selection.

68. New York Jets -- Elgton Jenkins, C/G, Mississippi State

The Jets badly need more help along the offensive line. After failing to trade down from No. 3, Maccagnan will have to wait 65 picks to make his second selection. This won’t sit well with Jets fans, but the Gang Green faithful will be happy to land Jenkins at the beginning of the third round. After missing out on Mitch Morse and Matt Paradis in free agency, the Jets land their future center in Jenkins, who could step right in and start on Day 1.

Matt Citak is a web producer for WFAN. Check him out on Twitter at @MatthewCitak.