NFL mock draft: Predicting selections for all 32 first round picks

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — After months of research, film study, testing, interviews and speculation, the NFL Draft is nearly upon us. The event kicks off Thursday, with the first round beginning at 8 p.m. Beyond watching college athletes see their life-long dreams become reality, the draft is where championship teams are built. Last year, Colts fans witnessed first-hand how critical the draft is after an impressive group of rookies, which included two first-team All-Pros, helped propel the team from 4-12 the season before, to 10-6 in 2018.

This mock draft attempts to predict the selections of all 32 first round picks by weighing team needs against the best player available, while taking into consideration recent trends and rumors. Trades are excluded from this mock due to their erratic and unpredictable nature. Player comparisons are based off body type, athleticism and play-style.

1-Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray – QB – Oklahoma

NFL Comparison – Michael Vick

The Cardinals fired head coach Steve Wilks after just one season, and appear poised to move on from 2018 first round quarterback Josh Rosen as well. Murray eased some size concerns by measuring in at 5’10”, 207 lbs at the NFL Combine. The small but speedy quarterback couples his unique playmaking ability with a dynamic arm.

Other Considerations – Nick Bosa (EDGE), Quinnen Williams (DT), Josh Allen (EDGE)

2-San Francisco 49ers: Nick Bosa – EDGE – Ohio State

NFL Comparison – Joey Bosa

Arizona’s infatuation with Murray leaves the best player in the draft for San Francisco. Bosa has all the makings of a great pass-rusher, including burst, power, and excellent hand-use. His presence will greatly benefit a 49ers defense that accumulated the eighth fewest sacks (37) last season.

Other Considerations – Quinnen Williams (DT), Josh Allen (EDGE), Devin White (LB)

3-New York Jets: Josh Allen – EDGE – Kentucky

NFL Comparison – Anthony Barr

After being spurned by Barr in free agency, New York drafts a player with similar size and traits. Allen is an explosive athlete, who used his speed and burst to rack up 31.5 collegiate sacks, including 17 last year alone. The Jets hope they’ve finally found their franchise edge-rusher with this pick.

Other Considerations – Quinnen Williams (DT), Ed Oliver (DT), Montez Sweat (EDGE)

4-Oakland Raiders: Devin White – LB – LSU

NFL Comparison – Myles Jack

You’ll see why the Raiders feel comfortable passing on Quinnen Williams later in this mock. Instead, they take White, who brings much needed speed and leadership to Oakland’s defense. White profiles as an ideal linebacker for today’s NFL, with the elite athleticism needed to cover and pursue sideline to sideline.

Other Considerations – Quinnen Williams (DT), Ed Oliver (DT), Montez Sweat (EDGE),

5-Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Quinnen Williams – DT – Alabama

NFL Comparison – Fletcher Cox

In this scenario, the draft’s second-best player falls into Tampa Bay’s lap. The Bucs are likely to move on from 31-year-old Gerald McCoy in a cap-saving measure. Williams is a sudden athlete, who used his quickness, strength and instincts to terrorize opposing backfields in his lone season as a collegiate starter.  

Other Considerations – Ed Oliver (DT), Montez Sweat (EDGE), Jawaan Taylor (OT)

6-New York Giants: Dwayne Haskins – QB – Ohio State

NFL Comparison – Philip Rivers

Giants fans have to hope New York’s proclaimed disinterest in drafting a quarterback at six is an effort to prevent teams from trading ahead of them for Haskins. The Ohio State signal caller could benefit from sitting behind Eli Manning for a year, after just one season of starting experience. Haskins is an accurate pocket passer who wins with intelligence and precision.

Other Considerations – Montez Sweat (EDGE), Daniel Jones (QB), Drew Lock (QB) 

7-Jacksonville Jaguars: Jawaan Taylor – OT – Florida

NFL Comparison – Cordy Glenn

On offense, the Jaguars want to be a power-run football team that occasionally beats you deep with play-action passes from newly signed quarterback Nick Foles. Solidifying the offensive line is crucial in achieving that vision. Taylor is a nasty right tackle with long arms and quick feet. He has the potential to protect Foles’ blindside if he continues to polish his technique.

Other Considerations – T.J. Hockenson (TE), D.K. Metcalf (WR), Montez Sweat (EDGE)

8-Detroit Lions: Montez Sweat – DE – Mississippi State 

NFL Comparison – Danielle Hunter

Pairing Sweat with free agent acquisition Trey Flowers could spell trouble for NFC North rivals. The All-American dominated the Senior Bowl and became a household name after posting record breaking Combine numbers. Sweat matches on-field production with elite physical traits.

Other Considerations – Ed Oliver (DT), T.J. Hockenson (TE), Rashaan Gary (EDGE)

9-Buffalo Bills: Ed Oliver – DT – Houston

NFL Comparison – Geno Atkins

The Bills were active in free agency and added several targets and blockers for their young quarterback. This allows them to draft the best player available in round one. Though undersized, Oliver is a quick-twitch athlete with tremendous burst, change-of-direction skills and strength. It’s up to Buffalo’s coaching staff to unlock the three-time All-American’s uncapped upside.

Other Considerations – T.J. Hockenson (TE), Rashaan Gary (DL), D.K. Metcalf (WR)

10-Denver Broncos: Drew Lock – QB – Missouri

NFL Comparison – Jay Cutler

Anyone who considers Joe Flacco a long-term answer is kidding themselves. General manager John Elway has a soft spot for strong-armed quarterbacks who have size and can get outside the pocket. Lock fits that profile, and Flacco’s presence buys the rookie time to work on decision making and accuracy before becoming the starter.

Other Considerations – T.J. Hockenson (TE), Devin Bush (LB), Jonah Williams (OL)

11-Cincinnati Bengals: Rashaan Gary – DL – Michigan

NFL Comparison – Jason Pierre-Paul

Though they hired an offensive-minded head coach, Cincinnati must address a defense that surrendered the most yards in the NFL last season. Their 34 sacks were fifth fewest league-wide. Gary possesses elite physical traits but is extremely unrefined. The Bengals are betting on the 21-year-old’s immense pass-rushing upside.

Other Considerations – T.J. Hockenson (TE), Jonah Williams (OL), Devin Bush (LB)

12-Green Bay Packers: Devin Bush – LB – Michigan

NFL Comparison – Ryan Shazier

Back to back Wolverines come off the board as Green Bay takes the rangy Michigan linebacker. The Packers added pass-rushers and a quality safety through free agency, but Bush gives the middle of their defense an enforcer with sideline to sideline speed. Devin White received much attention for his 4.42 40-time, but Bush was right behind him at 4.43.

Other Considerations – T.J. Hockenson (TE), Brian Burns (EDGE), D.K. Metcalf (WR)

13-Miami Dolphins: Daniel Jones – QB – Duke

NFL Comparison – Alex Smith

The buzz has been soft, but Miami is certainly in play for a quarterback. Jones is a three-year starter who benefitted from his time under David Cutcliffe, a coach known for his work with the Mannings. Though Jones appears to be a game manager rather than a franchise carrier, his football I.Q., accuracy and mobility give him the tools to consistently win games.  

Other Considerations – Clelin Ferrell (EDGE), Brian Burns (EDGE), Jonah Williams (OL)

14-Atlanta Falcons: Jonah Williams – OL – Alabama

NFL Comparison – Rodger Saffold

With so much invested on the offensive side of the ball, Atlanta would be wise to shore up the offensive line, and allow their playmakers to do their thing. Williams started at Alabama from the time he was a true freshman, and can play all five positions on the line. Whether he plays guard or tackle, Williams fills a hole on the right side of the Falcons’ line.

Other Considerations – Brian Burns (EDGE), Greedy Williams (CB), Cody Ford (OL)

15-Washington Redskins: D.K Metcalf – WR – Ole Miss

NFL Comparison – Martavis Bryant

While this pick could ultimately be sent to Arizona for Josh Rosen, Washington will have a hard time passing on Metcalf if they retain pick 15. Most of Metcalf’s combine numbers are mind-blowing, but a poor 3-cone raises change-of-direction concerns. His injury history and lack of experience are troublesome as well, making Metcalf the ultimate boom-or-bust prospect.

Other Considerations – Brian Burns (EDGE), Greedy Williams (CB), T.J. Hockenson (TE)

16-Carolina Panthers: Clelin Ferrell – EDGE – Clemson

NFL Comparison – Trey Flowers

Carolina’s 35 sacks last season were the sixth fewest league-wide. Julius Peppers’ retirement doesn’t help, and signing 31-year-old Bruce Irvin to a 1-year deal isn’t going to fix the issue. Ferrell is a high-floor player who can start from day one. He’ll provide 7-10 sacks per season and consistently set the edge against the run.

Other Considerations – Brian Burns (EDGE), Cody Ford (OL), Greedy Williams (CB)

17-New York Giants: Brian Burns – EDGE – Florida State

NFL Comparison – T.J. Watt

This may be the best-case scenario for the Giants, as they draft Eli Manning’s successor at six and still land a premier pass-rusher at 17. Burns is a freak athlete with a long, thin frame and elite burst and bend. While his traits as a speed-rusher are enticing, concerns regarding Burns’ lack of strength and power are warranted.

Other Considerations – Andre Dillard (OT), Garrett Bradbury (C), Cody Ford (OL)

18-Minnesota Vikings: Andre Dillard – OT – Washington

NFL Comparison – Ryan Clady

Addressing the offensive line should be top priority for Minnesota, as last year’s unit held back what could have been a prolific offense. Though he needs to add strength and play with more power, Dillard is the top pass-protecting left tackle in this class. He’s a smooth, easy moving athlete with the feet to mirror speedy edge rushers.

Other Considerations – Garrett Bradbury (C), Cody Ford (OL), Christian Wilkins (DT)

19-Tennessee Titans: T.J. Hockenson – TE – Iowa

NFL Comparison – Jason Witten

This is a bit of a fall for Hockenson, who could go as high as seven to Jacksonville, but we’ve seen talented tight ends slide in the draft before. Hockenson dominates both as a pass-catcher and run-blocker, and doesn’t get enough credit for his exceptional athleticism. He fills a need for Tennessee, whose Delanie Walker turns 35 in August.

Other Considerations – Marquise Brown (WR), Christian Wilkins (DT), (CB) Byron Murphy

20-Pittsburgh Steelers: Greedy Williams – CB – LSU

NFL Comparison – Antonio Cromartie

Joe Haden is on the wrong side of 30, and 2016 first round pick Artie Burns hasn’t panned out, making cornerback an area of need in Pittsburgh. Williams has the size (6’2”) and speed (4.37 40 yard dash) to matchup with NFL receivers on the outside. He must prove he’s tough enough to hold up in run-support at the next level.

Other Considerations – Marquise Brown (WR), Noah Fant (TE), Byron Murphy (CB)

21-Seattle Seahawks: Noah Fant – TE – Iowa

NFL Comparison – Jared Cook

It’s about time Seattle gives Russell Wilson better weapons to work with. Fant can be a mismatch terror for the Seahawks, who want to pound the rock and set up big plays down the field. College teammate Hockenson is the more well-rounded player, but Fant is a superior athlete with the speed to take it the distance.

Other Considerations – Christian Wilkins (DT), Johnathan Abram (S), Lonnie Johnson (CB)

22-Baltimore Ravens: Garrett Bradbury – C – N.C. State

NFL Comparison – Ryan Kalil

A strong offensive line is critical for a team that would ideally run it down your throat every play. Bradbury has the intelligence, movement skills and strength to become an All-Pro center. Whether clearing running lanes or providing Lamar Jackson time to get through his reads, Bradbury allows Baltimore to play the brand of football they desire.

Other Considerations – Cody Ford (OL), Marquise Brown (WR), A.J. Brown (WR)

23-Houston Texans: Cody Ford – OL – Oklahoma

NFL Comparison – Brandon Scherff

Keeping Deshaun Watson upright has to be the number one priority for Houston, who gave up a league-high 62 sacks in 2018. Ford is the best offensive lineman available and has the versatility to play right tackle or guard. He is a big, powerful mauler who moves well for his size and will continue to refine his game after playing just one season at tackle in college.

Other Considerations – Byron Murphy (CB), Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (DB), Deandre Baker (CB)

24-Oakland Raiders: Josh Jacobs – RB – Alabama

NFL Comparison – Frank Gore

After rebuilding their offense over the offseason, Oakland still lacks a difference maker at running back. Jacobs is the top ‘back in this class, with the size, power, burst, vision and hands to be an every-down player. Don’t look now, but the Raiders appear to have a very formidable offense.

Other Considerations – Jeffery Simmons (DT), Marquise Brown (WR), Byron Murphy (CB)

25-Philadelphia Eagles: Marquise Brown – WR – Oklahoma

NFL Comparison – DeSean Jackson

Cousin of NFL star Antonio Brown, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown is a big play waiting to happen. Though small (5’9”, 166 lbs), Brown’s elite speed and quickness allow him to score from anywhere on the field. He underwent LisFranc surgery in January, but should be ready for training camp. Brown gives Philly an explosive weapon who can line up on the outside or in the slot.

Other Considerations – Johnathan Abram (S), Byron Murphy (CB), Josh Jacobs (RB)

26-Indianapolis Colts: Christian Wilkins – DT – Clemson

NFL Comparison – Sheldon Rankins

Though passing on safety Johnathan Abram will be difficult, GM Chris Ballard’s continued emphasis on improving the defensive line gives Wilkins the edge. Wilkins is versatile but at his best playing three-technique, where he can use his quickness and hands to penetrate gaps. His character and leadership are raved about, making him a perfect fit for Indy’s strong locker room.

Other Considerations – Johnathan Abram (S), Byron Murphy (CB), Jeffery Simmons (DT)

27-Oakland Raiders: Jeffery Simmons – DT – Mississippi State

NFL Comparison – Gerald McCoy

Had Simmons not torn his ACL working out in February, he’d be a top ten pick. He possesses a rare combination of size, power and athleticism. Simmons gained attention when a video circulated of him in high school striking a woman while breaking up a fight involving his sister. He appears to have turned things around by staying clear of trouble during college and winning the Newsome Award for work on the field, in the classroom and the community. Pairing White and Simmons gives Oakland two All-Pro potential players in their front seven.

Other Considerations – Byron Murphy (CB), Deandre Baker (CB), Lonnie Johnson (CB)

28-Los Angeles Chargers: Byron Murphy – CB – Washington

NFL Comparison – Joe Haden

Any team facing Patrick Mahomes twice a year needs all the coverage help they can get. Murphy is a quick-twitch athlete with exceptional change-of-direction ability. He has a high football I.Q., good ball-skills and is strong against the run. Murphy has the skill-set to excel in L.A.’s cover three zone defense.

Other Considerations – Dexter Lawrence (DT), Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (DB), Dalton Risner (OL)

29-Seattle Seahawks: Johnathan Abram – S – Mississippi State

NFL Comparison – Jamal Adams

Kansas City traded this pick Tuesday to Seattle in exchange for disgruntled defensive end Frank Clark. While the team making the selection has changed, the player chosen hasn’t. Abram attacks ball-carriers like a missile and explodes on impact. He’s at his best playing in the box, but is far from a liability in coverage. Abram puts the boom back into a legion that once featured Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor at safety. 

Other Considerations – Deandre Baker (CB), Eric McCoy (C), Rock Ya-Sin (CB)

30-Green Bay Packers: A.J. Brown – WR – Ole Miss

NFL Comparison – JuJu Smith-Schuster

After losing Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb in back to back offseasons, it’s time for Green Bay to restock Aaron Rodgers’ arsenal of weapons. Brown runs crisp routes, has strong hands and is tough to bring down after the catch. He has the tools to win outside or in the slot, giving the Packers a flexible target they can move around the formation.

Other Considerations – Taylor Rapp (S), Paris Campbell (WR), Darnell Savage (S)

31-Los Angeles Rams: Eric McCoy – C – Texas A&M

NFL Comparison – Corey Lindsey

The interior of L.A.’s offensive line is a giant question mark after the team lost Rodger Saffold in free agency and declined John Sullivan’s option. McCoy has an impressive blend of power and movement skills. He was a three-year starter in college with experience at both center and guard.

Other Considerations – Deandre Baker (CB), Chris Lindstrom (G), Dalton Risner (OL)

32-New England Patriots: Dexter Lawrence – DT – Clemson

NFL Comparison – Dontari Poe

New England loves to utilize nose tackles, but lost two of them this offseason in Malcom Brown and Danny Shelton. Lawrence is a mountain of a man (6’4”, 342 lbs) whose strength and size allow him to dominate against the run. He has rare athleticism for his size, which gives him more pass-rushing upside than most nose tackle prospects.

Other Considerations – Jerry Tillery (DT), Deandre Baker (CB), N’Keal Harry (WR)

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