Phil Perry's NFL Mock Draft 3.0
Now that teams have gotten busy in free agency, tossing money at their roster deficiencies, their needs have changed. That means mock drafts have to change as well. Here's our third mock of the pre-draft process, the first we've published since the start of the new league year. Changes abound, including at No. 32, where the Patriots jump at the chance to draft a player who has some similarities to one of the best first-round picks Bill Belichick ever made.
Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
If the Cardinals stick with Josh Rosen by telling themselves that he worked behind the worst offensive line in football last year -- and that feels like a big "if" -- then they should go with the closest thing to Aaron Donald in this year's class. Along with Nick Bosa, Williams feels like the safest player in the class. He'll create chaos on the interior with Chandler Jones on the outside.
Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
The Niners have absolutely loaded up on the interior of their defensive line in recent years. Now they have a certified stud to get after the quarterback from the edges. This is a relatively simplistic scheme, but it requires impactful rushers, and Bosa gives them just that. They just signed Dee Ford to a long-term contract, but Bosa could give San Francisco one of the best one-two pass-rushing punches in the league.
Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
This is a top-heavy draft where after the first handful of picks, the talent level is relatively even across the board into the second round. By selecting Allen, the Jets ensure that they're getting one of the few players who make this class as top-heavy as it is. He has the chance to be special as a pro with his both his pass-rush and rare coverage abilities off the edge.
Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
It was nice and all that Antonio Brown went out of his way to stop over to Derek Carr's home to get a head start on 2019, but the Raiders know Carr isn't the answer for the long term. By selecting Murray here, the Raiders rebuild makes a lot more sense. If they don't get him, they seem like a team destined for long-term mediocrity with some bloated contracts.
Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
The Bucs have needs all up and down their roster. They could go with Devin White here to run their defense from the middle of the field. Instead they roll with Taylor, who will be a staple on their line for years to come even if he ends up as a long-term right tackle. There's plenty of value there, and Tampa could make the argument that he's worth a top-five pick. That is . . . if there isn't a team desperate for a quarterback that wants to leapfrog the Giants.
Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
The Giants can talk up Eli Manning as much as they want. They can say over and over again that he still has plenty left in the tank. The truth is that this is a full-fledged roster makeover that's underway in New York at the moment. They dealt away a premier pass-rusher. They dealt away a premier receiver. They're building up their offensive line and centering their offense around a running game. Even with that in mind, they'll need someone who can run an effective passing game sooner rather than later. Haskins is that guy.
Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan
Gary is one of the most outstanding athletes in this draft class, regardless of position. Since the Jags have already signed Nick Foles, they're out of the quarterback mix. Instead they add to a defense that's already loaded with talent up front. If Gary can master his athletic gifts, if the Jacksonville coaching staff can harness his skill set, he could be a force on third downs.
8. REDSKINS (via Detroit)
Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
With the Cardinals holding onto Rosen in this scenario, Washington remains desperate for an arm. Desperation equals trades up. That's what they do here, making a deal with the Lions to move up from No. 15 in order to nab Drew Lock before the Broncos can get him at No. 10. Lock has all the tools to succeed in the NFL and his final collegiate season showed signs of improvement that should be encouraging to Jay Gruden and his staff.
D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
Josh Allen has a huge arm. He's also erratic. The best way to allow him to succeed? Surround him with sprinters and let them run under his bombs. Metcalf is one of the most impressive sprinters to ever hit the NFL Scouting Combine with ridiculous size and a sub 4.4-second 40-yard dash time. If Allen is off the mark, Metcalf is athletic enough to adjust. He'll provide a strike zone that will put Allen at ease if and when he's a little sideways with his accuracy.
Devin White, LB, LSU
The Broncos are still looking for their quarterback of the future in this scenario, but they get a new quarterback for their defense. White is an off-the-ball monster with good athleticism and instincts to track down ball-carriers from sideline to sideline.
Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma
The Bengals haven't been able to replace Andrew Whitworth in two years. They tried Cedric Ogbuehi. They tried Cordy Glenn. Now it's up to Cody Ford to solve the problem. He was a force on the best offensive line in the country last season and should prevent Andy Dalton from running for his life on a snap-to-snap basis.
Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
The Packers solidified their edge spots a bit in free agency by signing Preston Smith and Zadarius Smith so they'll be looking for talent elsewhere. Fant is one of the most striking talents in this draft. He tested as one of the most athletic tight ends to hit the combine in recent memory and could provide a Jimmy Graham-style option for Aaron Rodgers and new coach Matt LaFleur.
Jonah Williams, OL, Alabama
The plan in Miami seems fairly simple. They just signed Ryan Fitzpatrick. They're among the least-talented rosters in the league with a brand new coaching staff that will be focused in on the long-term process of building a winner. That means stockpiling long-term pros with high floors. And that's where Williams comes in. Whether he's a tackle or a guard, he's going to be a staple on the Dolphins line for years and by all accounts he'll be the type of leader around which Brian Flores and Co. would like to build.
Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
This just fits. The Falcons want to get up the field at all costs. Oliver is built to be an interior pass-rushing fiend, who should make things difficult on the NFC South for the foreseeable future. With the value of interior rushers skyrocketing in recent years, with the Falcons scheme capitalizing on those types of players, and with some considering Oliver a top-10 talent, this qualifies as a steal for Atlanta.
15. LIONS (via Redskins)
T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
This looks like some fairly adept asset-management on the part of Bob Quinn and the Lions. They moved down from No. 8 to No. 15, picked up some draft capital in the process, and still got the player they might've taken at No. 8 to begin with. Hockenson is the most well-rounded player at his position in this year's class.
Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
The Panthers have some moving parts along their line at the moment. They just signed Daryl Williams to a one-year prove-it deal. So they may need a tackle to be ready to replace him if he rediscovers his second-team All-Pro form from 2017. They also might need someone to outright replace Matt Kalil, who probably isn't a starting-caliber talent at this point but is making so much money that he probably can't be cut. Dillard, a pro-ready pass-protector, is the smart play here.
Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
Out goes Olivier Vernon. In comes a much cheaper rookie with some eye-popping athletic traits. Sweat might go higher than this based on his combine testing, but he is reportedly dealing with a heart issue that might worry clubs around the league. How does that kind of information leak at this stage in the pre-draft process? Could be a team looking to kill his draft stock to ensure that they land him. Sweat was medically cleared to participate in the SEC, Senior Bowl and the combine.
Garrett Bradbury, OL, NC State
Bradbury was one of the biggest winners of the combine with the way he tested. He was already considered by many to be the best interior line prospect in the class, but he lit it up in Indy with a 4.92-second 40 (third among offensive linemen), 34 reps on the bench (second) and a 7.41-second three-cone (first). The Vikings need offensive line help however they can get it.
Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
Burns is a twitchy athlete who gives Tennessee another screamer off the edge to play opposite last year's second-round pick Harold Landry. If he can keep his weight up -- there were rumblings he might've played in a receiver's weight class in college but he checked in at the combine at 249 -- then he should be able to handle the duties thrown his way by Mike Vrabel in Year 1.
Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
Remember when the Steelers cut Chris Hogan loose and made him the most wide-open receiver on any snap in the entire 2018 season? How could you forget. Well, chances are the Steelers haven't forgotten that either. They need cornerback help and land arguably the best of the bunch in this year's class with the scheme-versatile Murphy.
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, DB, Florida
He doesn't have the size of Kam Chancellor. And he doesn't have the ability to cover ground of Earl Thomas. But Gardner-Johnson might be the most versatile defensive back in this year's class. In 2017, he played the deep middle of the field effectively. In 2018, he played down around the box and showed a knack for finding the ball and finishing plays with sound tackling. For a club that could use some help in a variety of spots on their defense, Gardner-Johnson is an intriguing fit.
Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State
Lamar Jackson might never be a pinpoint passer. And the Ravens seem resigned to running an offense straight out of the 1930s. But there are points at which they'll want to throw. No receiver in the class looks like a mistake-eraser quite like Butler. The 6-foot-6 wideout has 35-inch Go-Go-Gadget arms that will make life easier on Jackson and keep the chains moving for Baltimore's offense.
Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State
The Texans and Deshaun Watson are desperate for capable players up front, and they had one drop into their laps here. If Risner, who may be the last tackle off the board in the first, goes off before No. 23, then Houston might have to trade up. It's getting that dire for them along the offensive line.
Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
Williams looks like he has all the makings of a shut-down man-to-man corner. He was so inconsistent in college, though, that one has to wonder if he has the ability to push himself often enough to star at the next level. If the Raiders hit here, though, they could end up with a top-10 talent in the bottom half of the first round.
Nasir Adderly, S, Delaware
Time to start thinking about life after Malcolm Jenkins? Not necessarily. The Eagles could use some certainty at the strong safety spot and Jenkins is versatile enough to play in the box more often. Whether that happens this year or next, it would free up Adderly -- the top centerfielder in this year's class -- to get starting reps.
Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
The Colts came into free agency with more cap space than anyone else. That remains the case after they sat out the initial wave of high-end signings. Even if they start to spend on second- and third-tier players, Wilkins could end up being their best offseason addition. He's a pro-ready interior defender who showed at the highest level of college football that he can excel in all situations.
Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
Nothing sexy about taking a "base" end -- someone who will be stout against the rush -- but the Raiders get value here in Ferrell. He's a high-motor player who looks like he'll be able to get after quarterbacks with his length and his power as opposed to his ability to bend the corner. But the Raiders will be just fine with that. They simply need people who can pressure quarterbacks. It doesn't matter how they get there.
Erik McCoy, OL, Texas A&M
The Divisional Round game at Gillette Stadium in January made the entire football-watching world aware of the issues plaguing the Chargers offensive line. They couldn't protect up the middle. They couldn't protect on the edges. It'd be nice to add more talent to their defense, but they have an emergency situation on their hands up front. McCoy, a center, seems to be a late-rising prospect who can help L.A.'s line function much more effectively with his ability to communicate from the middle.
Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
Bush doesn't have the size typically coveted at the linebacker spot by 3-4 defenses, but under Steve Spagnulo, the Chiefs could be shifting to more of a 4-3. Bush will have more help up front to be free to blitz, run and chase -- his specialty -- in that type of scheme. Though there are questions surrounding Tyreek Hill's availability, Kansas City needs whatever help it can get on the defensive side of the ball.
Taylor Rapp, S, Washington
The Packers have been adding and adding and adding to their cornerback position in recent drafts, and now they could use an upgrade at safety. Especially since Josh Jones, a second-rounder two years ago, has not worked out as planned. Rapp is a sure tackler and could give Green Bay a Patrick Chung-type presence if that's what they're looking for.
DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia
The Rams seem to have one of the wiser front offices in football. They're still going to be all-in on pursuing a championship in Jared Goff's rookie-contract window. But they're also going to have to be smart about preparing the team for the inevitable big-time extension Goff will be handed. If they can get other premium positions, like corner, filled on the cheap then they'll be better off. That's what they do here with the selection of Baker, one of the best corners in the best conference in America last year.
Jerry Tillery, DL, Notre Dame
The Patriots were left with all kinds of choices here at No. 32. So many choices, in fact, it wouldn't be a surprise to see them trade down. They could've gone with any number of receivers; N'Keal Harry of Arizona State, A.J. Brown of Ole Miss and Deebo Samuel of South Carolina were all available in this scenario, but Belichick has never taken a receiver in the first round. Though it's a real hole on the roster at the moment, I'm not sure there's a wideout left that the Patriots would want this early. Alabama tight end Irv Smith was here, but he may be more of a Day 2 prospect. Clemson nose tackle Dexter Lawrence is available as well, though the Patriots just inked Mike Pennel, who should start alongside Lawrence Guy. Tillery, to me, qualifies as the best player available here. At 6-foot-6 and a shade under 300 pounds, he's long (34-inch arms, 10.5-inch hands) and is an impressive athlete (4.93 40, 4.33-second short shuttle). In some ways, his build is reminiscent of Richard Seymour's (6-6, 299, 34-inch arms, 4.95 40).
Tillery is a refined pass-rusher -- he had the highest interior pass-rushing grade handed out by Pro Football Focus last season -- but is stout enough to hold up in all situations and could play a variety of techniques. Making Tillery even more intriguing? He said he played with a torn labrum last season that might've hindered his production. Help along the interior of the defensive line isn't a screaming need at the moment in New England, but Belichick loves drafting those players early, making Seymour, Ty Warren, Vince Wilfork, Dominique Easley and Malcom Brown first-rounders during his Patriots tenure. Tillery said at the combine that he had a formal interview with the Patriots.