Joey B already hit everyone with an excellent Patriots-specific mock draft piece earlier today. Now, ya boy Mattes is here to flesh out predictions for the rest of the first round for all my fellow draftniks out there.
Yes, it’s definitely a long one, but as someone who spends hours on end scouring draft reports and all the incessant rumors this time of year, I promise this isn’t all based on simple guesses. (Yeah, it’s a little much, but I eat this stuff up and this is who I am. Wanna fight about it?)
Of course I’ll miss on many of them; what mock draft doesn’t? But at least mine isn’t afraid to make real predictions about scenarios and trades that others won’t (example: I don’t have NFL Combine hero D.K. Metcalf going at all on Day 1).
A little over 24 hours until we see how everything shakes out for sure! But for now, I present you with the always highly anticipated annual Mattes Mock Draft:
- Arizona Cardinals – Kyler Murray (QB, Oklahoma): Look, I’m not going to get too cute here. For a while, it was a foregone conclusion that the reigning Heisman winner would end up in the desert. But, as always, there are “rumors” that half the league is ready to offer their franchise in order to trade up to grab him. Not gonna happen. New head coach Kliff Kingsbury is an offensive mastermind, and after the Steve Wilks experiment failed miserably last year, the Cards aren’t going to stand in the way of letting Kingsbury run the ship however he wants. Kingsbury is IN LOVE with Murray. He’ll get his man, and Josh Rosen will get shipped somewhere else by Saturday afternoon.
- San Francisco 49ers – Nick Bosa (DE, Ohio State): Before suffering a core injury in the third game of the season last year, Bosa was unanimously regarded as the No. 1 prospect in this draft. Not only did he dominate in two-and-a-quarter seasons in Columbus, but a lot of people think he could be even better than his brother Joey, who is already a Pro Bowl defensive stud for the L.A. Chargers. Niners GM John Lynch also hasn’t been too shy about his interest in Bosa, even after going out and trading for Dee Ford this offseason. Bosa and Ford could form a pretty lethal pass-rushing force for years to come.
- **TRADE** Miami Dolphins [via New York Jets] – Dwayne Haskins (QB, Ohio State): The Jets have been doing everything in their power to move this pick, which is why they might actually make this type of trade with a division rival. After trading up to get Sam Darnold last year, they’ll be able to recoup some future capital from a Dolphins team which has eight picks in the first five rounds in 2020. (I know there’s a lot out there saying that Washington wants Haskins, too, but they just don’t have what the Dolphins have to offer.) And with the amount of pass-rushing talent available in this year’s class, the Jets won’t mind waiting 10 more picks to select one. The Dolphins get a true franchise signal-caller in Haskins, who completed 70% of his passes and tossed 50 TDs across 4,800-plus yards last season. He’s the best pure pocket-passer of any of this year’s prospects, a style which will fit perfectly with new coordinator Chad O’Shea’s offense. He’ll start off behind the recently signed Ryan Fitzpatrick at first, but the Dolphins will finally have their man.
- Oakland Raiders – Ed Oliver (DL, Houston): Like Bosa, Oliver was another guy who was getting hit with “No. 1 overall” chatter as late as this past fall, before he was only able to play in eight games last season due to injury. But the man still earned his third-straight First Team All-American honor, compiling 13.5 sacks and a ridiculous 53 tackles for a loss across just 32 collegiate games. He also did it primarily from the inside as a D-tackle, although he’s still quick, explosive, and versatile enough to play on the edge as well. Jon Gruden gets his defensive anchor with this pick.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Devin White (LB, LSU): I LOVE this pick for the Bucs. Most people would think that with an offensive guru like Bruce Arians now leading the way, the team will have to make a pick on that side of the ball. But they’re already loaded on O, and their defense was just terrible in 2018. White is a former running back who ran a blazing 4.42-second 40 at the Combine, and even the Tampa Bay Times thinks it’s a done deal if he’s still sitting at No. 5. He would provide a true sideline-to-sideline talent who would pair up nicely with Lavonte David.
- New York Giants – Quinnen Williams (DT, Alabama): The Giants cannot at all be upset with this one. While some are expecting a big move of some sorts, let’s not forget they already just traded away arguably the game’s most dynamic receiver for another first-rounder in an effort to address the various holes throughout the roster. They can’t get too cute and try to make a big splash. They HAVE to hit with their picks. So here they get a guy in Williams whom many feel could go No. 1 overall after being a dominant force down in Mobile over the past two seasons. He’ll be the leader of their defensive front for the next decade or more.
- Jacksonville Jaguars – T.J. Hockenson (TE, Iowa): With each passing year, more and more teams seem to be catching on to how important the tight end position is. New Jags signal-caller Nick Foles, who benefited immensely from playing with Zach Ertz in Philly over the past couple seasons, won’t argue with that sentiment one bit. In a draft unusually loaded at the position, Hockenson is the best of the bunch due to his combination of pass-catching ability and solid blocking. Especially for a team with an unproven receiving corps and one which also wants to re-establish a dominant ground game, the former Hawkeye is almost too perfect of a match.
- **TRADE** Denver Broncos [via Detroit Lions] – Drew Lock (QB, Missouri): Although it may not seem necessary or logical to move up two measly spots to get a QB who definitely won’t be taken by either of the teams currently slated to pick at No. 8 and No. 9, it’s still an absolute must for Elway. Apparently, he loves Lock…but so don’t a lot of others. (I’m looking at you, Washington.) I mean, who wouldn’t love a rocket-armed, athletic four-year starter who’s drawn comparisons to Pat Mahomes? The Broncos pounce here in order to not let their guy slip away, and Joe Flacco will ultimately lose his job to a rookie for a second straight season.
- Buffalo Bills – Jawaan Taylor (OT, Florida): Josh Allen is the future of this team, and the Bills need to do everything they can to protect him for the long term. Though Taylor projects as more of a right tackle at the pro level, he’s widely regarded as the best O-lineman in the class. Known as an elite run-blocking monster, Taylor is still quick enough to handle most rushers at the pro level, especially on the right side. A lot of people are mocking a lineman on the other side of the ball to the Bills here, but again there’s plenty of D-line talent throughout the entire draft that the Bills can snag later.
- **TRADE** Washington [via Detroit Lions] – Daniel Jones (QB, Duke): A lot of people seem to think Washington is a lock to trade for Rosen if Murray goes No. 1. But this is Daniel Snyder after all, who will instead want to get the shinier, newer toy in Jones. The former Blue Devil is a lot like Rosen in terms of football I.Q., but he also possesses some underrated mobility that Rosen just doesn’t have. In today’s NFL, QBs who can also use their legs are kind of “in” at the moment, and Washington might actually be getting the steal of the draft here if he hits on his full potential. Plus, he can sit behind Case Keenum for a year and really soak in the playbook before being thrown into the fire.
- Cincinnati Bengals – Josh Allen (DE/LB, Kentucky): The slide finally ends for a guy who many out there have as a locked-in, top-five pick. Allen burst onto the scene as a First Team All-American last year with 17 sacks, after compiling a total of just 14 in his two prior seasons. Long and svelte (6’4″, 230 pounds), he has the potential to be an Aldon Smith-esque defender on the outside, who will terrorize opposing QBs for years. Yet he is not adept at setting the edge against the run (hence the drop). Still, this guy’s ceiling is pretty high, and the Bengals need some serious help in the pass-rushing department.
- Green Bay Packers – Rashan Gary (DL, Michigan): The Packers could go in a lot of directions this year with two first-round picks. Many will expect them to beef up the offense, especially with Matt LaFleur now at the helm. But Aaron Rodgers – especially a healthy one – will be just fine with the weapons already in tow, and the Packers D is just a couple pieces away from being really good again. Apparently, some teams are “concerned” about Gary’s shoulder, but I still think the Pack take a gamble on his talent here.
- New York Jets [via Miami Dolphins] – Brian Burns (DE, Florida State): The Jets still get the pass-rushing help they need – and then some. Just look at these numbers from Burns’s three years in college (for one of which he wasn’t even a starter): 24 sacks; 39.5 tackles for a loss; seven forced fumbles; seven pass breakups; three blocked kicks; and two fumble recoveries. OH, and he ran a 4.5-second 40 at the Combine. Way to go, Maccagnan. You actually nailed it this year.
- Atlanta Falcons – Clelin Ferrell (DE, Clemson): I could see Atlanta maybe reaching for a corner here, but the remaining pass-rushing talent is probably still much better at this point. A starter at one the nation’s top schools for the past three years, Ferrell is as consistent and reliable as they come, with 27 sacks, 50.5 tackles for a loss, 166 total tackles, and two national titles to prove it.
- Detroit Lions [via Washington] – Byron Murphy (CB, Washington): Somewhere, a proud Bill Belichick weeps… Matt Patricia is able to trade down twice, ultimately dropping only seven spots, while at the same time acquiring a bunch of capital AND still landing the top corner in the draft. That’s a freakin’ haul. Pairing a guy like Murphy, a true ballhawker (and no, I’m not just using draft buzzwords), with a shutdown corner like Darius Slay and new slot man Justin Coleman could give the Lions a pretty solid secondary for the first time in like ever.
- Carolina Panthers – Jonah Williams (OT, Oklahoma): While selecting the last of the top edge talent on D could make sense, Williams is too good to pass up here. A three-year starter at Bama, Williams has drawn comparisons to the great Joe Thomas due to his intelligence, flawless technique, and relentless work ethic. Even though they re-signed Daryl Williams, it was only for one year. And while Taylor Moton played well last season, the Panthers still need to upgrade the position if they want Cam Newton to last in this league.
- New York Giants – Montez Sweat (DE, Mississippi State): The top-four QBs are all gone, and the offensive line is still a need. But instead the team will take a guy who not only produced huge numbers in the SEC but also blew away people at the Combine (4.41-second 40 as a DE!!!). Sweat also has incredible size (6’6″, 260 pounds), with the ability to add even more bulk. There is apparently concern about a heart condition, hence the slide, but the talent is definitely worth the risk here. He and Williams will work to bring back the dominant Giant D-lines of old.
- Minnesota Vikings – Cody Ford (OL, Oklahoma): The Vikings are in desperate need of help all along the offensive line, so they take the most versatile one available. Ford, who played both guard and tackle in college, gives the team flexibility as well as an athletic player who can pull out on sweeps and outside running plays the team likes to run with Dalvin Cook. He’ll also help to protect Kirk Cousins, whose Vikings career didn’t get off to the best of starts last year, with much of that being due to the poor play up front.
- Tennessee Titans – Christian Wilkins (DT, Clemson): There’s a chance Wilkins is long gone before this pick, as he is that talented. Like Ferrell, he was also a long-time starter with All-American honors and two national titles to his name. Wilkins can truly do it all, and he’s also widely regarded as a champion off the field for his charity/community work as well. He’s exactly the type of guy Mike Vrabel wants in his locker room (and the both apparently have a previous relationship). This is a great get here for Tennessee.
- Pittsburgh Steelers – Greedy Williams (CB, LSU): The Steelers’ secondary has long been in need of an upgrade, particularly at corner. Joe Haden is quite long in the tooth, and Artie Burns is hardly impressive. Williams would give the Steelers a speedy (4.37 40-time), athletic cover man who always seems to be around the ball, with eight picks and 20 passes defensed over the past two seasons.
- Seattle Seahawks – Noah Fant (TE, Iowa): After investing a ton of money in Russell Wilson, the team should also give him some weapons. Especially with Doug Baldwin’s recent injury issues (which I think are a lot more serious than people think), Wilson could use some more help. With Tyler Lockett, David Moore, and Jaron Brown, the team already does have some talent at receiver, so instead they take the best pure pass-catching TE in the draft. His INSANE athleticism and ability to run and get open will also pair well with Wilson’s playing style.
- Baltimore Ravens – A.J. Brown (WR, Ole Miss): My favorite receiver in the draft is a perfect fit for the Ravens. Don’t buy into the hype of his teammate D.K. Metcalf, who was the darling of this year’s Combine. Brown is the MUCH better player, with the numbers to prove it (160 catches, 2,572 yards, and 17 TDs over the past two seasons). Most importantly, his physicality and ability to play in the short passing game will be vital in the development of the still very raw Lamar Jackson.
- Houston Texans – Andre Dillard (OT, Washington): Talk about having things just fall into your lap. To say left tackle is a glaring need for the Texans is an understatement, as Deshaun Watson got KILLED by the sieve he played behind last season. I’m shocked the team didn’t go hard after a guy like Trent Brown in free agency this offseason, but I guess being able to select the draft’s best pure pass-protector this late in Round 1 will be their saving grace. Watson will be very happy about this one.
- Oakland Raiders – Josh Jacobs (RB, Alabama): I think the Raiders should take a linebacker like Devin Bush here instead, but there seems to be a lot of people connecting them to the former Crimson Tide running back. Then there was the news this morning that Marshawn Lynch is going to (once again) hang ’em up for good. Often competing with other all-world running-back talent during his time in Mobile, Jacobs didn’t really get his chance until last season. Then, he not only averaged 5.3 YPC as physical runner in 2018, but he also displayed some ability in the passing game as well. He’s more than capable of taking over for Beast Mode.
- Philadelphia Eagles – Devin Bush (LB, Michigan): With the Raiders passing on the former Wolverine at No. 24, the Eagles will nab him instead. Especially after the departure of Jordan Hicks, Philly needs help at linebacker. Why not take a guy who produced at one of the nation’s top programs and ran faster than all but one RB at the Combine?
- Idianapolis Colts – Dexter Lawrence (DT, Clemson): The THIRD Clemson defensive lineman comes off the board here. While he might arguably be the third-best of the three, there’s no doubt that he’s the biggest at 6’4, 342 pounds. But don’t let that size fool you; while he’s definitely an ideal run-stuffer, the dude can push the pocket, too. The Colts made huge strides on D last year, and Lawrence can serve as the anchor up front that’s still missing.
- Oakland Raiders – Will Grier (QB, West Virginia): The smart move would likely be trading this pick away for future assets, as the team has already picked twice so far. And even though I think Carr should still get another shot, there have been rumors about the Raiders potentially looking to replace him for a while now – and where there’s smoke there’s usually fire. Grier could honestly be the most underrated player in this draft, overshadowed by guys who might not even be as good. This dude is incredibly accurate and threw over 70 TDs in just 22 career college games. He’s also got moxie and is loved by teammates. Gruden could have a field day with this guy. This is my big surprise pick of the first round.
- Los Angeles Chargers – Dalton Risner (OT, Kansas State): Risner is someone who has continued to get more and more press over the past few months. The Chargers can still get some good play out of Russell Okung at left tackle for at least a few more years, so the Second Team All-American could lock down things on the right side. Risner is also great at getting out and blocking at the second level, which will help only further aid stud running back Melvin Gordon. Plus, Philip Rivers ain’t no spring chicken anymore, so the team can’t be lax with it’s protection up front.
- Seattle Seahawks – Lonnie Johnson (CB, Kentucky): A big corner who likes to play physical with opponents on the boundary? (Calm yourself, Pete Carroll.) Some might say he’s still raw and this is a bit of a reach. But he was a stud at the Senior Bowl and seems almost tailor-made for Seattle. He could help bring back some of the nastiest in the Northwest we haven’t seen since the heyday of the Legion of Boom.
- **TRADE** San Francisco 49ers [via Green Bay] – N’Keal Harry (WR, Arizona State): Nope. Still no D.K. Metcalf. With not many pressing needs for the Pack, they trade down just a couple spots with San Fran, who has been looking to add receiver help for a while. After striking out on a deal for Antonio Brown, the Niners instead grab one of the most productive college receivers in recent memory (over 120 catches since 2017). Jimmy G gets another weapon to pair with stud tight end George Kittle.
- Los Angeles Rams – Chris Lindstrom (OL, Boston College): Like Risner, Lindstrom is another guy skyrocketing up draft boards lately. A great athlete, Lindstrom has the ability to handle pass-rushers and kick out from the interior on outside runs. He played both guard and tackle in college, so he could start on the interior immediately and maybe even serve as Andrew Whitworth’s eventual replacement at left tackle. Either way, the Rams get a true gamer.
32. New England Patriots – Marquise Brown (WR, Oklahoma): “Hollywood” comes to New England! The Patriots NEED someone like Brown in the worst way, and most of the very top OL and EDGE talent is already off the board. In Brown, the Pats get a truly explosive receiver with elite top-end speed. But he’s not just a one-trick pony, even if he is definitely on the small side (5’9″, 166 pounds). Brown can still serve as a weapon inside the numbers due to his smarts and pinpoint change-of-direction ability, and he can return kicks, too. He’ll fit into the system and give Brady a real PLAYMAKER once again, not just a chain-mover. If he turns out to be even half as good as his cousin, Antonio (yes, that one), then the Pats are getting an absolute steal.
So there ya have it! Be sure to let us know what you think in the comments or on Facebook.