The NFL Draft comes to Nashville as the south gets to experience all the festivities for the first time. It’s too bad the Nashville Predators aren’t playing a game seven tonight, but the city still gets to have some fun this weekend. Last year I predicted the Baker Mayfield move way before it happened, and this year looks like we could see a quarterback go #1 overall yet again.
I think one big X-factor is the Giants and how they manage things at the #6 spot. They have an extra pick thanks to the Odell Beckham Jr. trade so they could wait until then to take a QB. If that happens, it throws Dwayne Haskins back in the mix for some teams behind them. TJ Hockenson is another name that could go as early as 7 or drop really far to the mid-to-late teens.
However, Lunce’s List only ever makes five selections, so here is my mock of the first five picks on Thursday night for round one (and instead of honorable mentions, I picked 6-10).
Also of note, I could see some trades happening depending on how things go, but I’m not going to predict that. It makes it too hectic so I’m sticking with the teams that are currently in the 1-5 and 6-10 spots.
1. Arizona Cardinals – Kyler Murray (QB, Oklahoma)
Kyler Murray just fits Kliff Kingsbury’s system. Kliff Kingsbury recruited Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield at Texas Tech, so if you are using those two as a guide at all (which almost everyone is using Baker Mayfield as a reason why Murray can be good), then you have to imagine the Cardinals will pair them together.
He can also fill a stadium early on so it’s a good PR move.
Could the Cardinals trade the pick? It’s possible. They could trade this to a team like Oakland who could give them #4 and another first rounder. Of course, Josh Rosen will most likely be traded if they do pick Murray, so you have to wonder what they can get for him. He was a first round pick last year, so is he worth a first round pick this year? Would the Bengals trade #11? Would the Dolphins trade #13? Washington at #15?
We’ll see if a crazy trade happens, you have to imagine something is getting shipped off – either Rosen or the #1 pick.
2. San Francisco 49ers – Nick Bosa (DE, Ohio State)
A trade could potentially happen here, but the 49ers have a chance to get the best player in the draft. Bringing in Dee Ford is a good start but they need another rusher to really ramp up the pressure on opposing quarterbacks, especially against really good teams like the Rams, Seahawks and potentially having to stop a mobile Kyler Murray.
I don’t think they will end up trading and this will take Bosa off the board right away.
3. New York Jets – Quinnen Williams (DT, Alabama)
Look, all I’m saying is, when I copied my mock format from last year over to this year, I didn’t have to change my #3 team. That shows what I think about Sam Darnold.
I do think you could see a potential trade right here. There is enough elite defensive talent that they could trade down in the top 10 and let someone jump up and maybe get a QB ahead of their cross-town rivals.
If a trade doesn’t happen, it’s down to three people: DT Ed Oliver, DT Quinnen Williams and LB Josh Allen
4. Oakland Raiders – Josh Allen (OLB, Kentucky)
If Quinnen Williams is available, he’s the choice, but since I have the Jets taking him, I’m going with Allen as the selection. I don’t think Ed Oliver creeps up to #4.
Bottom line – you have to replace Khalil Mack. That makes the logical pick Josh Allen and he can help get the Raiders sacks after having a league-low 13 last year. Allen had 17 alone at Kentucky and was one of the main reasons Kentucky had such a great season. Josh Gruden would be wise to get the best pass rusher available here (which means Allen if Quinnen Williams is gone) and then spend his next few early picks on offense.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Devin White (ILB, LSU)
If Josh Allen falls, then take him. If not, slide to the next best option from the SEC in Devin White. Kwon Alexander was signed by the 49ers so they need some help. White had 123 tackles at LSU last season.
Watch out for a potential trade affecting this pick. Since the Jets/Raiders have reason to trade, that could leave a player like Quinnen Williams or Josh Allen on the board and I would take both of those over Devin White.
6. New York Giants – Ed Oliver (DT, Houston) – This is a big question mark, but GM Dave Gettleman has made a point that he can’t pick based on position need, rather that he needs the best player on the board, and I think he will go with defense instead of quarterback.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jawaan Taylor (OT, Florida) – Another pick could have been tight end TJ Hockenson from Iowa, but I think they need to make sure there are good people in front of Nick Foles this season.
8. Detroit Lions – Montez Sweat (DE, Mississippi State) – I think Detroit might end up trading down, but if they don’t there are a number of players on the next tier past the top 4-5 defenders. If it’s not Sweat or a trade down, it will be edge rusher Brian Burns from FSU. However, they can still trade down some and still potentially get either Sweat or Burns.
9. Buffalo Bills – Jonah Williams (OT, Alabama) – The pick is either offensive line or tight end. Brian Daboll worked well with Irv Smith at Alabama so Hockenson could go here as the top tight end. Because I have Jawaan Taylor off the board already, I’m going with Jonah Williams. Could also be Andre Dillard, Cody Ford or any other top lineman.
10. Denver Broncos – Devin Bush (ILB, Michigan) – Denver is one of the bigger toss-ups because there are a number of directions they could go. Drew Lock is a big name mentioned here as the next in line QB, and since I don’t have Dwayne Haskins off the board yet, he could go if available. The question is – should Elway wait until next year and let Joe Flacco show what he has? Could you go offensive line to protect Flacco? TJ Hockenson was a choice I really thought about putting here, but most pundits seem to think Devin Bush is a big choice here to help a defense that has always been stellar.