clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Ringer’s NFL Mock Draft, Version 3.0

Team needs have changed since free agency opened early this week. Kyler Murray has risen to the top of the board—who has joined him there?

Getty Images/Ringer illustration

With the majority of NFL free agency in the books, we now have a better grasp of what team rosters will look like for 2019 and their actual needs going into the draft. With that in mind, let’s reshuffle the deck and take a post-free-agency look at how the big event could shake out. Here’s The Ringer’s NFL Mock Draft 3.0.

1. Arizona Cardinals: QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma

This is a daring move for the Cardinals—they picked Josh Rosen in the first round just last year—but as the saying goes, fortune favors the bold. Murray is a rare prospect: He’s got franchise-changing upside, combining uncommon playmaking skills with a big arm; accuracy at all three levels; and elite speed and agility as a scrambler and runner. Murray doesn’t come without risk, but he’s got the skill set to transform the Cardinals offense under new head coach Kliff Kingsbury.

2. San Francisco 49ers: EDGE Nick Bosa, Ohio State

This is a no-brainer for the Niners, who can pair Bosa with the newly acquired Dee Ford to provide a massive upgrade to the team’s anemic pass rush. Bosa combines an explosive first step with powerful hands, a nonstop motor, and a well-rounded repertoire of pass-rush moves. He’s a day-one starter with the potential for double-digit sacks.

3. New York Jets: DL Quinnen Williams, Alabama

The Jets were aggressive in adding big-ticket pieces to their offense in free agency, inking running back Le’Veon Bell and receiver Jamison Crowder while trading for offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele. Now it’s time to look to the defense, and they could grab this slippery and powerful pass rusher out of Alabama. Williams is an incredibly disruptive and versatile defensive tackle who’s capable of wrecking pockets and stopping the run from several spots on the line. Edge rush is a need, but with Bosa off the board, Williams is the best available player.

4. Oakland Raiders: EDGE Montez Sweat, Mississippi State

We’ll call this the Al Davis Memorial Pick. Davis was obsessed with elite athletic traits, and Sweat has plenty. The Mississippi State product blew up the combine with an absolutely absurd 4.41-second 40-yard dash time at 260 pounds, adding impressive tests in the vertical jump (36 inches), short shuttle (7.0 seconds), and broad jump (125 inches) to go with his unbelievable wingspan (84¾ inch). More importantly, it’s not hard to see both Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock falling in love with his tape, either. Sweat has an explosive first step and packs a forceful punch; he’ll need to add a few counters and refine his technique, but he’s got the skill set of an elite rusher.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: WR D.K. Metcalf, Ole Miss

Metcalf is a dangerous deep threat with elite size and speed, and he’s tailor made for Bruce Arians’s aggressive “no risk it, no-biscuit” deep passing offense. With DeSean Jackson traded away to the Eagles, the Buccaneers need another deep threat to line up opposite Mike Evans. Adding Metcalf into a group that already includes Evans, Chris Godwin, and O.J. Howard would give Tampa Bay one of the most dangerous pass-catching units in the NFL.

6. New York Giants: QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State

It’s tough to guess what the Giants will do with their first pick in the first round come April 25, because, frankly, it’s tough to discern whether GM Dave Gettleman even has a plan for rebuilding this team. Above all else, though, it’s clear that this team needs to plan for the future at the quarterback position; and with Kyler Murray off the board, Haskins is the easy pick. The former Buckeye is a prototypical pocket passer with a big arm and the confidence to sit back and pick apart a defense. Odell Beckham Jr.’s gone, but with Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram, and Saquon Barkley around him, there’s a nucleus in place that makes taking a quarterback here the logical move.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: OT Jawaan Taylor, Florida

The Nick Foles era is underway in Jacksonville, and the Jags should waste little time in upgrading their new quarterback’s protection. Taylor is a massive, mauling tackle who can start on the right side from the jump but who brings the athleticism and versatility to line up at guard, too. He’s nasty in the run game, which fits Jacksonville’s philosophy like a glove, and is sound in pass protection. If Foles is going to live up to his four-year, $88 million deal, he’s going to need time to throw the ball.

8. Detroit Lions: EDGE Josh Allen, Kentucky

NCAA Football: Citrus Bowl-Kentucky vs Penn State Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Lions should run to the podium for this pick and add to an already-talented defensive line group. The versatile edge defender brings a complete skill set to Detroit: He’s got an explosive first step, top-tier athleticism as a pass rusher, and a natural feel to drop back into coverage. Head coach Matt Patricia would have little trouble finding creative ways to deploy the former Kentucky star, and he’d be the perfect complement to the Lions’ new big-money free agent, Trey Flowers.

9. Buffalo Bills: OT Jonah Williams, Alabama

The Bills were aggressive in bolstering their ragtag offensive line in free agency, signing center Mitch Morse, guards Jon Feliciano and Spencer Long, and tackle Ty Nsekhe. But outside of Morse, that group is more made up of stop-gap options than long-time starters—so Buffalo could add blue-chip, 10-year-starter-type talent to their line by by grabbing Williams here. The first-team All-American tackle from Alabama can line up at both tackle and guard spots and would be an instant impact player at any of those places in providing quarterback Josh Allen with something he desperately needs: a clean pocket.

10. Denver Broncos: LB Devin Bush, Michigan

Bush quietly had one of the most impressive combine performances of any player in Indianapolis. The former Wolverine came in heavier than expected at 234 pounds and still ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash and recorded a 40.5-inch vertical jump. That athleticism shows up on the field; he’s explosive as a blitzer and rangy in coverage, and while some project him as a weakside linebacker, Bush has the skill set to play in the middle in Denver’s 3-4 scheme. Plenty of mocks project LSU star Devin White to be the first linebacker off the board in April, but Bush could surprise some people. He’s a three-down linebacker who’d be a nice fit in new head coach Vic Fangio’s scheme.

11. Cincinnati Bengals: EDGE Brian Burns, Florida State

There’s no such thing as too much pass rush. Cincy’s defensive line already boasts established stars in Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap, an up-and-coming talent in Carl Lawson, and 2018 third-rounder Sam Hubbard, but the chance to add an explosive edge presence like Burns would be tough to pass up. The former Seminole blew the doors off the combine, measuring in the 94th percentile in athleticism among NFL edge rushers with a 4.53-second 40-yard dash time and a 36-inch vertical jump at 249 pounds. He’s got a quick first step and rushes with rare bend, giving him the chance to develop into an elite rusher in the NFL.

12. Green Bay Packers: TE T.J. Hockenson, Iowa

Whether Jimmy Graham is back in Green Bay or not in 2019, the Packers offense could get a massive boost from a throwback-Y tight end like Hockenson. Unlike Graham, the Iowa product is an excellent blocker in pass protection and an absolute monster in the run game, regularly pancaking opponents. He’s no slouch as a pass catcher either, and would give Aaron Rodgers another big, sure-handed target over the middle of the field and in the red zone.

13. Miami Dolphins: OT Cody Ford, Oklahoma

After letting Ja’Wuan James walk in free agency (the former first-rounder signed with the Broncos), the Dolphins need to address the right tackle spot. Ford is a massive, athletic lineman with length and light feet in pass protection and plenty of power in the ground game. Whoever ends up playing quarterback for the Dolphins in 2019 is going to need some protection, and Ford has the potential to develop into a top-tier tackle at the next level.

14. Atlanta Falcons: DL Ed Oliver, Houston

Atlanta’s a perfect landing spot for Oliver. The explosive pass rusher could line up at the nose tackle and three-technique spots in Dan Quinn’s aggressive, one-gap scheme. He’d create a fearsome interior duo with Grady Jarrett (who got the Falcons’ franchise tag), and the two could create plenty of pressure from the inside, getting quarterbacks off their spot and affecting their ability to operate in the pocket.

15. Washington Redskins: LB Devin White, LSU

The Redskins gave their secondary a massive boost by signing safety Landon Collins to a six-year, $84-million deal, and should now look to bolster their linebacker corps by adding this former Tigers star. White is the definition of a modern linebacker, capable of playing in coverage, blitzing, and defending the run. He’ll overpursue or get drawn away by misdirection at times, but he flies around, delivers big hits, and can start from day one.

16. Carolina Panthers: EDGE Rashan Gary, Michigan

NFL Combine - Day 4 Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Panthers badly need to add young talent to their pass rush unit, and the former Wolverine defensive lineman does just that. Gary tested out in the 95th percentile in SPARQ among NFL edge rushers at the combine, running a 4.58-second 40-yard dash and jumping 38 inches in the vert at 277 pounds. He will be an impact run defender from day one and brings elite upside as a pass rusher—but he’ll also have to develop some counter moves in his rush repertoire and refine his technique to reach that potential.

17. New York Giants (From Browns): EDGE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson

This pick was acquired in the trade that sent Odell Beckham Jr. to the Browns, so the Giants would be behooved to make it hit. Ferrell, at the very least, would start paying dividends early in his contact: He’s a game-ready three-down defensive end who’s strong against the run and highly disruptive against the pass. Mixing an explosive first step with a collection of trusty pass rush moves, the former Clemson star has a high floor—and with a little refinement in his technique, he could develop into a double-digit sack producer.

18. Minnesota Vikings: OT Andre Dillard, Washington State

The talk of moving left tackle Riley Reiff out of his spot only makes sense if the Vikings have a capable replacement, and Dillard’s got the skill set to step in and start on day one. The former Cougar lineman brings great footwork and top-tier mirroring skills in pass protection, and while he’s still raw as a run blocker, he’s got the rare athleticism to quickly develop in the wide-zone run scheme the team is expected to lean on under OC Kevin Stefanski and assistant head coach Gary Kubiak.

19. Tennessee Titans: DL Christian Wilkins, Clemson

The Titans upgraded their edge-rush group with a three-year, $23 million deal for former Dolphin Cameron Wake, and could add to the interior with the selection of Wilkins here. The former Clemson star is an athletic and versatile pass-rusher who can play on all three downs. By pairing him with Jurrell Casey, Tennessee would have the chance to feature one of the top interior defensive line duos in the NFL.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: WR Hakeem Butler, Iowa State

After trading away Antonio Brown to the Raiders, the Steelers should look to upgrade their pass-catching corps with the massive former Cyclones playmaker. Pittsburgh’s two-year deal for Donte Moncrief won’t stop them from investing in a high-upside playmaker like Butler, who boasts a similar skill set to former Steeler Plaxico Burress. He possesses the speed to get behind a defense and the size to be a factor in the red zone.

21. Seattle Seahawks: DB Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Florida

After losing safety Earl Thomas and nickel corner Justin Coleman in free agency, Seattle’s secondary is in need of reinforcements. Gardner-Johnson has the versatility to help fill in for both departed players: He played almost exclusively in the slot in 2018 but has experience playing the deep centerfield from previous seasons. He’s a compact, highly athletic ball hawk who has the fiery on-field persona we associate with the Seattle secondary.

22. Baltimore Ravens: WR N’Keal Harry, Arizona State

NCAA Football: Arizona State at Arizona Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Edge rush is a big need for Baltimore after it lost Za’Darius Smith and Terrell Suggs in free agency, but with six players at that position already off the board, Baltimore should go with a pass catcher here instead. Harry is a physical receiver with size, strong hands, and the ability to line up everyone on the field. He’d be a excellent slot weapon for sophomore passer Lamar Jackson and is a beast as a blocker in the run game—a crucial trait for the run-heavy Ravens.

23. Houston Texans: CB Andraez “Greedy” Williams, LSU

Offensive line remains a major need for Houston, but even after signing former Broncos corner Bradley Roby to a one-year, $10 million deal, the Texans still need reinforcements at the cornerback spot, too. Williams provides that: He’s a playmaking outside corner with speed, length, and an aggressive mentality.

24. Oakland Raiders (From Bears): CB Deandre Baker, Georgia

Oakland upgraded its secondary when they signed former Rams safety Lamarcus Joyner to a four-year, $42 million pact, and it could bolster that unit even more with the selection of one of the top corners in this draft. Baker’s a fiery, aggressive cover corner with versatility, ball skills, and football IQ. He’d compete with Daryl Worley for the spot opposite 2017 first-rounder Gareon Conley and would help give the Raiders a foundation for a very good young secondary.

25. Philadelphia Eagles: OT Greg Little, Ole Miss

The Eagles restructured left tackle Jason Peters’s contract to keep him around through 2019, but the team needs to start planning for a future without the 37-year-old future Hall of Famer. Keeping with their strategy of building through the trenches, Philly grabs Little here; he’s a massive lineman with athleticism, left-tackle feet, and a natural feel for pass blocking. He’s still raw, but a season sitting behind Peters is a great way to learn some of the nuances of the game. The depth he provides at both tackle spots doesn’t hurt either.

26. Indianapolis Colts: S Taylor Rapp, Washington

After re-signing cornerback Pierre Desir to a three-year, $25 million deal in free agency, Indy could upgrade their safety spot with this Washington product. Rapp, who can line up deep in two-safety looks or come up and play in the box against the run, would pair perfectly with 2017 first-rounder Malik Hooker. He’s an outstanding tackler with excellent play-recognition skills and the ability to cover tight ends and backs out of the backfield.

27. Oakland Raiders (From Cowboys): TE Noah Fant, Iowa

Oakland has the right idea in building the most talented pass-catching corps possible around quarterback Derek Carr, but why stop with new acquisitions in Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams? Carr could still use some more weapons in the short and intermediate areas, and that’s where Fant comes in: He’s a strong route runner with soft hands and the ability to make people miss after the catch. He’ll be a speed mismatch for most NFL linebackers and have a size advantage over safeties and corners. With 4.5-second 40-yard dash speed, Fant can stretch the seam, too.

28. Los Angeles Chargers: CB Byron Murphy, Washington

In a division with Brown, Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Emmanuel Sanders, and Courtland Sutton, there’s no such thing as having too many good corners. Murphy comes in slightly undersized at the position but makes up for it with elite instincts and top-tier ball skills. With Jason Verrett leaving in free agency, Murphy would compete with Michael Davis and Trevor Williams for the outside starting spot opposite Casey Hayward and could play all three cornerback spots in a pinch.

29. Kansas City Chiefs: EDGE Jachai Polite, Florida

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Polite bombed combine testing, running a disappointing 4.84 in the 40-yard dash at 6-foot-3, 258 pounds. Plus he gave a few awkward interviews in media sessions, so his stock is tumbling. Thought of as a lock to be a top-15 pick prior to the combine, some now believe he could fall out of the first round altogether come April. In this mock, the Chiefs will step up to stop his fall. Why? Well, the former Gator’s college tape is still impressive. He boasts an explosive first step, flexibility to plant his foot and turn the corner, and a few trusty pass-rush moves. Polite could fill a big need for the Chiefs, who jettisoned Justin Houston and sent Dee Ford to the 49ers in a trade.

30. Green Bay Packers (From Saints): DL Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame

The Packers went big in free agency, inking a pair of edge-rushing outside linebackers in Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith. Adding Tillery to that defensive line would complete their overhaul at the position and give them a chance to field one of the most dominant fronts in the league. The former Notre Dame star could line up next to Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark on base downs and then move all over the line in passing situations. He’s got an explosive first step, plenty of length, and top-tier athleticism.

31. Los Angeles Rams: DL Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State

Ndamukong Suh is a free agent, and even if the Rams re-sign the 32-year-old lineman for 2019, the team needs a dynamic interior disruptor like Simmons to pair with Aaron Donald in the long term. Simmons will miss much of (or all of) his rookie year rehabbing from a torn ACL—which is why he’s available this late in the round—but would complement to Donald perfectly in 2020 and beyond. He’s a powerful and explosive defensive tackle in the mold of Philly’s Fletcher Cox: capable of blowing up the pocket to bring down the quarterback and anchoring against the run.

32. New England Patriots: TE Irv Smith Jr., Alabama

The Patriots value versatility on offense, and Smith Jr. brings utility as a blocker and pass-catcher. The dynamic H-back tight end can lead block like a fullback on one play and on the next, flex out to the wing and run routes like a receiver. Dropping Smith into a personnel grouping with tight end Rob Gronkowski and fullback James Develin would give New England some fun options in both the run game and passing attack.