If the Chiefs-Rams legendary game to end Week 11 taught NFL fans anything besides that the league is morphing into the Big 12, it’s that both of those clubs need some semblance of defense.
No, it’s not the be-all, end-all of defensive statistics, but no club has allowed more yards than Kansas City. Los Angeles has surrendered the fourth-most.
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Up front (for pass-rush) and at corner (to cover), both clubs could use more young, first-round talent.
The draft order for this mock is based on SportsLine’s current win projections. As surprising as this may read, I haven’t had very many “no way my team picks that low” gripes on Twitter recently. Amazing.
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1. Oakland Raiders
Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State. Jon Gruden delivered the most baffling (sarcastic?) head coach line of the season when he said it was really hard to find great pass-rushers in the NFL after the team traded Khalil Mack to the Bears. For the Raiders, if Nick Bosa falls into their lap, they have to pick him. Watch the Raiders take on the Ravens on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on CBS (stream on CBS All Access or fuboTV, try it for free).
2. Arizona Cardinals
N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State. After mocking an offensive lineman to the Cardinals like 46 times, I’m changing it up for fans in Arizona. Harry would formulate a fun, complementary duo with Christian Kirk out wide for Josh Rosen. Watch the Cardinals take on the Chargers on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. ET, Fox (stream on fuboTV, try for free).
3. San Francisco 49ers
Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama. The 49ers just took Mike McGlinchey in the top 10 of the 2018 draft, but Joe Staley is in the twilight of his career. Williams could even start at guard at the outset of his time in the NFL, then play left or right tackle in San Francisco. Watch the 49ers take on the Bucs on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on Fox (stream on fuboTV, try for free).
4. Buffalo Bills
A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss. Right now, if this is how the board fell, I believe the Bills would waver back and forth between Ed Oliver and Brown. The defense is one of the best in the NFL, and if Kyle Williams retires, Buffalo would need to address pass-rushing defensive tackle. But the offense needs vast improvements for Josh Allen. Brown is a legit No. 1 receiver with impeccable yards-after-the-catch skills. Watch the Bills take on the Jaguars on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on CBS (stream on CBS All Access or fuboTV, try it for free).
5. New York Jets
Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson. At 6-foot-4ish and 260-plus pounds with long arms and athletic movements, Ferrell is the prototypical NFL defensive end. He is comfortable using his hands at the point of attack and can charge the quarterback with plenty of speed. He’s the type of player the Jets need. Watch the Jets take on the Patriots on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on CBS (stream on CBS All Access or fuboTV, try it for free).
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Greedy Williams, CB, LSU. I keep going back to this prospect-team match. Because … it’s glorious. Williams is a long, fluid athlete playing the cornerback position. He’s the exact type of defensive back Tampa Bay has to add to its secondary this offseason.
7. New York Giants
Drew Lock, QB, Missouri. The Giants have to take a quarterback here after passing on the most hyped group of first-round signal-callers in 15 years. Lock has a monster arm and loads of SEC experience. There’s a lot of Matthew Stafford to his game. Watch the Giants take on the Eagles on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET, Fox (stream on fuboTV, try for free).
8. Jacksonville Jaguars
Ed Oliver, DT, Houston. I mocked Oliver to Jacksonville a few weeks back, and that’s the pick again because he’d simply be too talented for the Jaguars to pass up here, especially with an older defensive line that’s getting very expensive.
9. Cleveland Browns
Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State. Like Harry and Brown, Harmon has great size and athleticism for the receiver spot. He’s a smooth mover while running his routes and dominates in the high-point department. Watch the Browns take on the Bengals on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET, CBS (stream on CBS All Access or fuboTV, try it for free).
10. Detroit Lions
Zach Allen, EDGE, Boston College. The Lions have to add more edge-rushing talent to their defensive line, even if Ziggy Ansah is retained in free agency. Allen is as complete of a defensive end as there is in this class.
11. Atlanta Falcons
Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama. The Falcons have a star three technique in Grady Jarrett, and they picked Deadrin Senat in the third round of the 2018 Draft. But Williams is a supreme talent and can carry out multiple responsibilities on the inside for Dan Quinn.
12. Philadelphia Eagles
Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss. The Eagles have to plan for the future along their offensive line, especially at the tackle spot. Little has the inherent skills to be a franchise left tackle in Philadelphia. He just needs some fine tuning with his footwork.
13. Denver Broncos
Daniel Jones, QB, Duke. Jones has the size, arm talent, and collegiate schooling from David Cutcliffe, to be a quality quarterback at the NFL level. He could sit behind Case Keenum to begin 2019, but the Broncos probably need to take a signal-caller in the first round. Watch the Broncos take on the Steelers on Sunday at 4:25 p.m ET on CBS (stream on CBS All Access or fuboTV, try it for free).
14. Green Bay Packers
Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama. The Packers add more young talent to their secondary with this selection, as Thompson is the biggest difference-maker at the safety spot in the 2019 class. He’s a stellar run-defender because of his quickness and tackle reliability and can range from the deep middle to make plays in coverage. Watch the Packers take on the Vikings on Sunday at 8:20 p.m. on NBC (stream on fuboTV, try for free).
15. Cincinnati Bengals
Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State. The Bengals started to rebuild their offensive line with the additions of Cordy Glenn and first-round pick Billy Price in 2018. They continue that project with the selection of Risner, the premier right tackle prospect in the class.
16. Miami Dolphins
Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky. Another team that must infuse its defense with more productive players on the edge, especially considering Cameron Wake’s age. Allen is a high-motor speed rush who can also make plays in coverage. Watch the Dolphins take on the Colts on Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS (stream on CBS All Access or fuboTV, try it for free).
17. Minnesota Vikings
Ben Powers, G, Oklahoma. The Vikings want to pass the football frequently with Kirk Cousins and their stellar pair of receivers. Powers is the most impressive pass-blocking guard I’ve watched this season. Perfect match.
18. Washington Redskins
Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia. Baker could slip in the draft because he’s not tall and is rumored to not be a super-fast corner. In terms of fundamentals, the Georgia star might be the best in college football. The Redskins have to add an alpha player to their secondary with Josh Norman in the twilight of his career.
19. Tennessee Titans
Kaden Smith, TE, Stanford. The Titans should plan for the future at the tight end position given Delanie Walker’s age and the fact he’ll be returning from a serious injury next season. Smith’s speed and high-pointing ability will translate immediately.
20. Baltimore Ravens
Anthony Johnson, WR, Buffalo. The Ravens have to continue to construct a new receiver group for Lamar Jackson, the future at the quarterback spot in Baltimore. John Brown may bolt in free agency. Johnson is a big, downfield threat with impressive yards-after-the-catch ability.
21. Carolina Panthers
Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida. Polite can be a situational edge-rusher early in his NFL career, and with more weight and power to his game, he can be a scary three-down rusher in Carolina. Watch the Panthers take on the Seahawks on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on Fox (stream on fuboTV, try for free).
22. Seattle Seahawks
Amani Oruwariyre, CB, Penn State. The Seahawks had tremendous success with long, plus athletes at the cornerback position for years. Oruwariye looks like the ideal Seattle defensive back.
23. Indianapolis Colts
Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson. The Colts have proven to boast one of the league’s most underrated defenses this season and could get more versatile and physical up front. They’d get both of those attributes with Wilkins.
24. Oakland Raiders from Cowboys
Devin White, LB, LSU. Gruden will likely be drawn to White’s rare athletic ability and speed to the outside. The LSU star has played better of late but can look out of control at times.
25. Houston Texans
Bobby Evans, OT, Oklahoma. Evans dominated at right tackle in 2017 and has had a solid 2018 on the left side. The Texans simply need to give Deshaun Watson better protection up front.
26. Pittsburgh Steelers
Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame. Love is one of the most disruptive, ball-hawking cornerbacks in college football even if he isn’t a size, speed, athleticism specimen. He’d be a welcomed addition to Pittsburgh’s secondary.
27. Los Angeles Chargers
Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson. With Brandon Mebane in the final year of his contract, the Chargers may have to fill his gigantic spot on the inside. No prospect would be better to do that than Lawrence, a mammoth nose tackle with impressive burst and hand work.
28. Oakland Raiders from Bears
Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State. Regardless of who’s playing quarterback for the Raiders next season, he’s going to need a legit No. 1 receiver who can win down the field on the outside. At 6-foot-6 with freaky speed, balance, and a serious “my ball” mentality, Butler can be that guy for Oakland.
29. New England Patriots
Ben Burr-Kirven, LB, Washington. The Patriots have Dont’a Hightower, an established veteran off-ball linebacker, but that group has to get faster and more athletic. BBK is as refined as they come at the position and thanks to his speed and awareness, he thrives in coverage.
30. Green Bay Packers from Saints
Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State. Burns has the smooth athleticism and length to be an All-Pro type at the NFL level. He just needs to get stronger and add more weight. The Packers must address the outside edge-rusher spot. Great fit here.
31. Kansas City Chiefs
Dre’Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State. Monday night made it clear that the Chiefs need (a lot) more defensive talent. Jones is a similar prospect to Chris Jones, essentially the only Kansas City defender who showed up against the Rams.
32. Los Angeles Rams
Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia. A long, play-making cornerback would boost the Rams secondary. Hall isn’t a super-twitchy athlete but has a nose for the football.