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Ell’s NFL Mock Draft 1.0: Before the Combine

Ell’s NFL Mock Draft

1. Cardinals – DE/DT Nick Bosa, Ohio State

The Cardinals could be a possible trade down spot with so many needs, but someone has to fall in love with one of the QBs first. Nick Bosa has been the top rated player for a long time and if he’s a better version of his older brother Joey Bosa or even equal, then this pick makes too much sense. Pairing Bosa with pass rusher Chandler Jones makes the defense better immediately.

2. 49ers – LB Josh Allen, Kentucky

The 49ers have their pick of any pass rusher in the draft, while the D-lineman are tempting, taking the best pure edge rusher in the draft in Josh Allen makes too much sense. Allen exceled as a double digit pass rusher in college and always found his way around the ball, as a high motor defender with good size; he will be very tough to pass on for teasing hoping to trade up.

3. Jets – DT/DE Quinnen Williams, Alabama

The Jets could use help on defense and pairing rising young DE/DT Leonard Williams with Quinnen Williams makes them a very dangerous D-line pairing for double teams. Williams was a playmaker on one of the best defenses in college football, the football factory Alabama, especially in the championship game; he can play anywhere on the D-line which could cause match-up problems on passing downs.

4. Raiders – DE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson

The Raiders clearly have a need for a pass rusher and need to improve the D-line with some talent. While the potential of Rashan Gary is very tempting, with Mike Mayock as new GM, they will realize that Clelin Ferrell is the more consistent player and will bring a consistent pass rush that the team desperately needs. Ferrell fits the 4-3 DE mold and has gotten better each year; he is a blue collar player.

5. Bucs – DE/OLB Montez Sweat, Mississippi State

This spot will be a clear target for teams looking to jump the Giants for a QB, especially Dwayne Haskins. If the Bucs stay in this spot, Montez Sweat makes the most season as a pass rusher with good size who would be a much needed pass rusher to the 3-4 defense. Sweat has been a double digit sack rusher since his transfer to Mississippi State and after a good Senior Bowl teams are waiting to see him at the Combine.

6. Giants – QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State

The Giants have been linked to Haskins for a few months and grooming Eli Manning’s successor makes a lot of sense at this point; he wants to play for the Giants and he is the top QB in the draft. The Giants may need to move up to get Haskins, if any team falls in love with him after the Combine and Pro Day. Haskins has a solid arm and good playmaking ability; still young and for the NY media, it’s best that he learn behind Eli Manning for few weeks or the full year.

7. Jaguars – T Jonah Williams, Alabama

I believe the Jaguars will win the Nick Foles prize, as they are clearly a team with a roster that can win now with better QB play. However, the injury to LT Cam Robinson caused a problematic shift on the O-line last season and Jonah Williams is the top ranked Tackle in the draft. Some scouts see Williams as more of a Guard, but either way he is power run blocker with good technique. If Robinson heals, Williams can move to Guard helping the run game or vice versa; either way the O-line improves.

8. Lions -DE/DT Rashan Gary, Michigan

The Lions need help on the defensive end and Matt Patricia needs to find a difference maker. The top pass rusher and needed DE is Rashan Gary who is has been more potential than production, but his size and athleticism is worth an investment. Gary gives the Lions defense the ability to play him in different places easily as they switch between the 3-4 and 4-3 defensive formations where he could play outside or inside.

9.  Bills – DT Ed Oliver, Houston

Longtime DT Kyle Williams retired and the team will miss his consistent motor in the trenches, but Ed Oliver would be a solid replacement, as a slightly undersized DT, who knows how to get into the backfield. Oliver’s size is the only thing they may keep him out the top 5, but he would be next to huge NT Star Lotulelei.

10. Broncos – CB Greedy Williams, LSU

The Broncos have many needs and taking a QB may not even be off the board despite adding Joe Flacco, but with a defensive coach and a need in the secondary with CB Bradley Roby hitting free agency and not performing up to par. Greedy Williams has good size and coverage ability using his length to cause problems; he fits the mold that new HC Vic Fangio is used to in his secondary.

11. Bengals – QB Daniel Jones, Duke

While new coach Zac Taylor praised veteran Andy Dalton, finding his replacement would be the key to starting a new era. Daniel Jones is an accurate QB who impressed during the Senior Bowl after playing in a pro style system. Jones would be best spending a year or most of the year behind Dalton, which would be best for all parties involved.

12. Packers -TE T.J. Hockenson, Iowa

Despite keeping veteran TE Jimmy Graham, the other Packers TEs are free agents and Graham has been on the injury report often. T.J. Hockenson is the best TE in the draft and scouts love his willingness to block, while also contributing in the passing game. Hockenson would give Aaron Rodgers another target and blocker, while being the long term replacement for Graham; they may be able to trade down.

13. Dolphins – QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma

The Dolphins need someone to excite the fan base and have a huge need at QB, which points heavily at adding Kyler Murray which they may need to move up to do after the Combine. Murray is a small QB with good accuracy and playmaking ability, while baseball may be his best fit, it will be exciting to see him run around the football field after a Heisman winning season.

14. Falcons – DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson

The Falcons need a DT even after they bring back Grady Jarrett which should be on the agenda. A big DT would allow Jarrett to be more active, help the other pass rushers, and help stop the run, making Christian Wilkins the pick. Wilkins is a huge, active DT who plays with a chip on his shoulder; he would instantly upgrade the front 7.

15. Redskins – QB Drew Lock, Missouri

The Redskins are desperate for a QB with QB1 Alex Smith in a career threatening injury situation and QB2 Colt McCoy recovering from a late season ending injury. QB Drew Lock has impressed teams with his size and athleticism at the Senior Bowl, but he will need some work coming out of the spread offense.

16. Panthers – T Jawaan Taylor, Florida

The Panthers have had ineffective play, injuries, and retirement tear apart their O-line, so adding a nice RT would be a good start. Jawaan Taylor has risen up boards as the 2nd best Tackle in the draft with good size to possibly play LT, but best fit as a run blocking RT which fits this scheme well; expect Taylor to be able to step in from day 1.

17. Browns – WR D.K. Metcalf, Ole Miss

The Browns could go a few ways in this draft, but I believe they try to build off the offensive success by trying to find a #1 WR and replacement for Josh Gordon. D. K. Metcalf is a freakishly strong athlete with good explosiveness who knows how to use his body as a possession WR; he would give Baker Mayfield a WR who can go up and get it.

18. Vikings – T Greg Little, Ole Miss

The Vikings continue to have problems along the O-line so finding a LT will be the key for protecting Kirk Cousins. Greg Little was once considered the top tackle in the draft with his size, experience, and athleticism, but inconsistent film has him graded as a mid-1st round pick which is perfect for the Vikings as he can come in and immediately compete for the LT job to solve a revolving door.

19. Titans – DT Dexter Lawrence, Clemson

The Titans need some help in the trenches and need to replace NT Bennie Logan, adding huge NT Dexter Lawrence makes the most sense. Dexter Lawrence was a huge run stuffing presence on one of the best D-lines in college football and would allow Jurrell Casey to take on more 1 on 1 while freeing up the LBs; a failed drug test may be the only thing that keeps him from going top 10. Lawrence is mammoth player with good mobility; he will be tough to pass on.

20. Steelers – LB Devin White, LSU 

While many people have White higher, I think he will have to have big combine to move up the board as he doesn’t have good size and will need to show off his speed and athleticism. No other team loves picking LBs more than the Steelers and Devin White makes sense as a nice sideline to sideline tackler than haven’t had since ILB Ryan Shazier’s injury.

21. Seahawks – DE/LB Jachai Polite, Florida

The Seahawks may have to franchise pass rusher Frank Clark, so finding a sidekick and grooming a possible replacement makes sense. Jachai Polite is considered one of the best pass rushers in the draft, but his size limits him and he will probably have to play with from a stand-up position at LB after mostly playing DE. Polite would be a good fit in Carroll’s Leo rusher position and send a nice pass rush across from Clark.

22. Ravens – DE/OLB Brian Burns, Florida State

The Ravens could go a few ways in this draft, but they are generally good at picking up free agents to fill immediate needs. The Ravens will most like lose Za’Darius Smith in free agency and Terrell Suggs isn’t getting any younger. Burns is another undersized rusher who can get after the QB, but he needs to add a lot of weight to his frame. He could spend time as a situational rusher and understudy to Suggs.

23. Texans – T Andre Dillard, Washington State

The Texans need to fix the O-line to give Deshaun Watson more time to throw the ball and Andre Dillard is considered one of the best pass blockers in the draft. Dillard pass blocking has caught the eyes of scouts, but he needs to improve his strength and run blocking. Dillard could fit as a Guard or Tackle so teams love his versatility and athleticism.

24. Raiders (via Bears) – RB Josh Jacobs, Alabama

The Raiders need to find a new RB with the only RB possibly returning being Jalen Richard and Josh Jacobs is the best RB on the board.  Jacobs has a complete skillset and the ability to stay on the field all 3 downs, but he wasn’t a workhorse back in college and doesn’t have blazing speed. After using veterans Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin as power backs, Jacobs could easily help take up those carries.

25. Eagles – CB Byron Murphy, Washington

The Eagles could use help at CB with Ronald Darby set to hit free agency and his price tag expected to grow with the constant need for starters. Byron Murphy is a solid cover CB who plays with good toughness, speed, and ball skills, while also being a willing hitter in the run game which scouts love. Due to his size Murphy may fit best in the nickel, but with all the 3WR sets that is a very important position.

26. Colts – WR N’Keal Harry, Arizona State

The Colts could add help on defense, but I think that will mostly happen in free agency so adding a playmaker for Andrew Luck makes sense for an offense heavy scheme. N’Keal Harry is a huge WR who knows how to go up and get the ball and use his body to get good separation as a prototypical #1 possession WR. Playing Harry across from T.Y. Hilton and the other WRs who are good in space makes sense as another big target for Luck like TE Eric Ebron provided last season in the red zone.

27. Raiders (via Cowboys) – WR Marquise Brown, Oklahoma

The Raiders could use an explosive playmaker on offense after a very plain offense and a lot of relying on someone to step up outside of Jared Cook in the passing game. Marquise “Hollywood” Brown is an exciting, but small playmaker with good speed and quickness allowing him to make plays in space or break a big play. Despite his size, Brown could go higher in the draft after his Pro Day since he can’t run at the Combine due to injury.  

28. Chargers – G Chris Lindstrom, Boston College

The Chargers continue to need help on the offensive line and it is never a bad investment to find lineman to protect Philip Rivers. Chris Lindstrom is a solid lineman with not many flaws to his game and a very good pass blocker who also holds his own in the run game, as well; he should be a plug and play starter.

29. Chiefs – CB DeAndre Baker, Georgia

The Chiefs have a need in the secondary and need to add a starting CB, making DeAndre Baker the pick. Baker is a solid press cover corner who knows how to get physical and does a good job of mirroring his assignments. He’s not the biggest CB and his lack of speed will keep him from going high in the draft, but he has all the skills to be a starting CB.

30. Packers (via Saints) – DE/OLB Jaylon Ferguson, Louisiana Tech

The Packers need to develop a pass rusher as Clay Matthews is getting older and Nick Perry was ineffective before getting injured. Ferguson is a small school pass rusher with good size and athleticism, but past off the field problems could prevent him from going higher in the draft. At this point, he is worth the risk and could be a good situational rusher with a chip on his shoulder, as he has the talent.

31. Rams – S Nasir Adderley, Delaware

The Rams will possibly lose safety Lamarcus Joyner after franchising him for the past season, but he was an important piece as a player who could double down as a CB and coverage safety. Nasir Adderley is a similar Safety who impressed at the Senior Bowl showing his coverage skills and ability to make plays all over the field; worst case scenario, he shines as a returner until bulks up some for a starting safety job.  

32. Patriots – TE Noah Fant, Iowa

The Patriots will need to add a pass catching TE to help ease the blows on Rob Gronkowski or possibly even replace him. Noah Fant is the pass pure pass catching TE in the draft who stretches the field and knows how to get in the endzone. Fant is not much of a blocker and could add strength, but what better team will know how to get him open than the Patriots.

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