It’s finally Draft Day, where the next crop of college athletes will be selected over 3 days and 7 rounds and all the months of chatter and smokescreens will finally be proven true or false. It also signals the end of the endless Mock Drafts, which is kind of ironic since this is what I’ll be giving you right here.
It will be a Round 1 Mock Draft for all 32 selections to give my prediction of how Thursday nights action(?) will go. There will no doubt be a number of trades happening in the real world but to make it a bit easier for myself, there will be none in this particular Mock.
The Rams are due to select at Pick #31, so you’ll have to wait a while for that pick, but we start with a familiar divisional foe at Pick #1:
KYLER MURRAY, QUARTERBACK, OKLAHOMA
Since Murray committed his future to Football, this marriage has been all the NFL Draft world has been talking about. New Cardinals HC Kliff Kingsbury recruited Murray while he was still at High School and is a huge admirer of the Heisman winning QB. Despite the fact that Arizona took QB Josh Rosen in Round 1 last year, there is just too much chatter to ignore here, and Kyler Murray makes it back-to-back Oklahoma QB’s going #1.
NICK BOSA, EDGE, OHIO STATE
Bosa has been widely regarded as the best player in this Draft for some time despite missing most of the 2018 season through injury. The former Buckeye will be looking to make a similar impact as his older brother, Joey, who went #3 overall to the then San Diego Chargers in 2016. The 49ers recently traded for and then signed Dee Ford to an extension to play off the edge, and pairing Bosa with him is sure to give opposing offenses a lot to think about when they play the Niners in 2019 and beyond.
QUINNEN WILLIAMS, DEFENSIVE TACKLE, ALABAMA
Williams is rumoured to be the top player on a few teams’ boards, and the Jets make him their selection here to pair him with his namesake, Leonard Williams. The Jets, of course, meet Tom Brady and the Patriots twice a year and one of the ways that teams try to beat them is pressure up the middle, which the two Williams’ should with.
DEVIN WHITE – LINEBACKER – LSU
The Raiders select the best Linebacker in this class and hope he will be able to anchor their defense for the next 10+ years. He is an extremely rangy defender who can cover sideline-to-sideline and will be an immediate starter for the Raiders and potentially grow into a star in the league.
JOSH ALLEN – EDGE – KENTUCKY
The Bucs will operate in more 3-4 looks on the defensive side of the ball under new DC Todd Bowles and add help off the edge for a squad that had 38 sacks last year. Allen can operate with his hand in the dirt if needed to as well, so will add much needed versatility to Tampa Bay’s defense.
DWAYNE HASKINS – QUARTERBACK – OHIO STATE
Eli Manning’s career is coming to an end and some would argue that it should have been over a year or two ago. The Giants finally address the position for the long term with a QB who had only one full year as a starter, although he did pass for 50 TD’s in that season. Haskins might have to sit for a year as Manning has a farewell tour, but it sets the Giants up at the position for years to come.
TJ HOCKENSON – TIGHT END – IOWA
The Jags spent a lot of money to convince former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles to come and play QB for them. In order for that to work out for them, they desperately need to upgrade their pass catching options. Hockenson is the best Tight End in the class and can play a role in the run game as well due to his blocking skills, which should in turn take some pressure off Foles.
ED OLIVER – DEFENSIVE TACKLE – HOUSTON
Oliver is an undersized DT in the mold of a certain Aaron Donald, and 5 years after passing on Donald, they try to make up for it here. Matt Patricia loves versatile pieces along the defensive line and Oliver could probably fill every role, making him too good to pass up here.
JONAH WILLIAMS – OFFENSIVE TACKLE – ALABAMA
Williams becomes the first offensive lineman off the board here and could be an immediate starter. Although he played Tackle at Alabama, he could easily slot in at Guard in Buffalo and play a huge role in protecting Josh Allen from Week 1.
DREW LOCK – QUARTERBACK – MISSOURI
The Broncos may have traded for Joe Flacco already this offseason, but that won’t stop John Elway from trying to find his long-term solution here. Lock fits the bill in terms of what Elway likes in his Quarterbacks and will feel that with a year or two sitting behind Flacco, he will be ready to take over when the time comes for him to start.
DEVIN BUSH JR – LINEBACKER – MICHIGAN
When the Draft process was just kicking off, this was a player I hoped the Rams could pick, but he has shot up every board the last few months. This is a guy who will be a defensive captain for the next 10+ years and fills a big need for the Bengals.
JAWAAN TAYLOR – OT – FLORIDA
Taylor was a 3-year starter for the Gators and is the selection here to give Aaron Rodgers some more protection. Rodgers has been beat up in the last few seasons and if Matt LaFleur wants to succeed as the new HC, protecting his Hall of Fame QB should be a huge priority.
BRIAN BURNS – EDGE – FLORIDA STATE
The Dolphins traded away Robert Quinn and lost Cameron Wake to free agency so they have a huge need for a pass rusher. Burns had 23 sacks at Florida State and the Dolphins can’t afford to let that kind of production pass them by as they look to rebuild their roster.
CHRISTIAN WILIKINS – DEFENSIVE TACKLE – CLEMSON
The first of the vaunted Clemson d-line to come off the board, Wilkins fills a need for the Falcons on the interior of their defensive line. Having had 4 successful years at Clemson, Wilkins should come in to start alongside Grady Jarrett right away and provide solidity to the Atlanta defense.
DANIEL JONES – QUARTERBACK – DUKE
Alex Smith’s career might be over after a horrific injury and Washington’s current healthy QB’s are Colt McCoy and Case Keenum. You’re unlikely to win a lot of games with those two going forward, so the Redskins take the best remaining passer on the board in hopes that he can develop into their franchise QB.
MONTEZ SWEAT – EDGE – MISSISSIPPI STATE
With Julius Peppers retiring, the Panthers have a need for an edge presence on their defense. Sweat is an explosive player who had 22.5 sacks over his final two years in college. There is a minor health issue and previous character concerns with Sweat which means he falls this far, but the Panthers stop his slide here.
RASHAN GARY – EDGE – MICHIGAN
The Giants are back on the clock with the selection they received from the Browns in the Odell Beckham trade. GM Dave Gettleman loves his defensive linemen and won’t be able to pass up on Gary, who seems to have split many within the NFL as to how good he may or may not become.
CODY FORD – OFFENSIVE TACKLE – OKLAHOMA
Although Ford played tackle at Oklahoma, many people see him as a plug and play Guard at the next level which would suit the Vikings just fine. It’s no secret that the Vikings need the help along the offensive line if they want to try and get the best out of Kirk Cousins.
SELECTION – GARRETT BRADBURY – CENTER – NC STATE
Marcus Mariota has been pretty beaten up in his time as a Titan and if they want him to progress and take the franchise further in the playoffs they have to help him out. Bradbury is the best Center in the class and should be a Day 1 starter.
GREEDY WILLIAMS – CORNERBACK – LSU
It’s taken a while, but the first cornerback finally comes off the board. The Steelers only managed to conjure up 8 interceptions last year and will look for Williams to help boost that number. He can probably start opposite Joe Haden right away and has potential to be a star.
CLELIN FERRELL – EDGE – CLEMSON
The Seahawks just traded away their top pass rusher in Frank Clark away so take Ferrell who had 27 sacks across his 3 years as a Clemson Tiger. Ferrell will immediately go into the starting lineup as Seattle decide against paying Clark and hope that Ferrell can replicate his production at a fraction of the cost.
DK METCALF – WIDE RECEIVER – OLE MISS
I think we’ve all saw the picture that went viral of Metcalf looking absolutely massive in the lead up to the Combine. This is the selection as the Ravens need to help Lamar Jackson out in the passing game and Metcalf is a huge target for his QB to hit.
ANDRE DILLARD – OFFENSIVE TACKLE – WASHINGTON STATE
Dillard has risen up the boards during the pre-Draft process and is too good of a value for the Texans to pass up on here. Houston desperately needs to start protecting Deshaun Watson a lot better than they have been if they want to see him grow into the star QB that he can be.
NOAH FANT – TIGHT END – IOWA
Fant becomes the second Iowa Tight End to be selected in the first round with the Raiders second pick in Round 1. Jon Gruden needs to give Derek Carr more pass catchers to aim for to if he wants him to succeed, and Fant will provide the short to medium range target that QB’s need.
DALTON RISNER – OFFENSIVE TACKLE – KANSAS STATE
Risner is an extremely versatile option, with the potential for him to play in any of the five spots along the offensive line. With starting LT Jason Peters approaching the end of his career, it makes sense for the Eagles to plan for life without him.
JEFFREY SIMMONS – DEFENSIVE TACKLE – MISSISSIPPI STATE
Simmons is probably a top 5 or 10 player in this class but slides all the way to #26 after suffering an ACL injury while preparing for the Combine. It means that he is unlikely to play this year, but the Colts are the type of team who can select him and let him recover for a season. With the five year contracts in play for first round picks, it means Simmons is probably a lock to be picked on Thursday night.
JOSH JACOBS – RUNNING BACK – ALABAMA
Oakland is back on the clock for a third time in Round 1 and select the best running back in the Draft to take some of the load off of Derek Carr. Gruden will now have Carr, Antonio Brown, along with earlier selection Noah Fant, and Jacobs to build his offense around.
MARQUISE BROWN – WIDE RECEIVER – OKLAHOMA
The Chargers lost their speed receiving option in Tyrell Williams via free agency so replace him with the quicker Marquise Brown here. He posted the fastest 40-yard dash time at the Combine and the Chargers will be hoping that he can go some way toward replicating what division rival Tyreek Hill has become for the Chiefs.
LONNIE JOHNSON JR – CORNERBACK – KENTUCKY
Seattle rarely takes Cornerbacks early in the Draft and normally finds guys who can fit their scheme on days two and three. They make an exception here because Johnson has the height and physicality that the Seahawks covet. At 6’3, he is a tall and imposing defender and fits the scheme in Seattle.
NASIR ADDERLEY – SAFETY – DELAWARE
Adderley is a versatile player on the back end of the defense who can play as a single high safety or even come down and match up against receivers or running backs from the slot. There are some good slot guys that Green Bay faces twice a year, so it makes sense to try and match up against them.
CHRIS LINDSTROM – OFFENSIVE GUARD – BOSTON COLLEGE
Finally, the pick you’ve all been waiting for. There are a few players who I considered putting here including Dexter Lawrence (DT, Clemson) and Erik McCoy (G/C, Texas A&M), but I went with a guy who could potentially come in and start right away at a position where the Rams have very little depth after losing Rodger Saffold in free agency. It’s not out of the question that when the Rams are on the clock on Thursday night that they trade out of this position. We all know that Les Snead loves a trade.
While Brian Allen is penciled in to start at Center in 2019, it wouldn’t shock me to see Austin Blythe slot into the position he played in college, which would leave the Right Guard slot open for someone like Lindstrom, giving you a starting offensive line of:
Whitworth – Noteboom – Blythe – Lindstrom – Havenstein
By all reports, Lindstrom seems like a solid prospect and one that Aaron Kromer can develop into a quality NFL starter to protect Jared Goff for years to come.
AJ BROWN – WIDE RECEIVER – OLE MISS
The Patriots have reportedly been in the market for a receiver and after failing to land Antonio Brown, they take his namesake AJ. A talented slot receiver, Brown is the type of pass catcher that the Patriots love and will become another solid target for Tom Brady.
So, there we have it. My prediction for all 32 picks on Thursday night. We’ll see how wrong I am when it all kicks off just after 1 am our time.
Let us know what you think will happen in Round 1, and tell us who you think your Rams should take at #31.
Jordan (Twitter – @ScottishRam)