Phil Perry's NFL Mock Draft 4.0
There's been a pretty significant retirement that has impacted the Patriots since the last time we did one of these.
Tight end could have been classified as a "need" for the Patriots even before Rob Gronkowski called it quits, but now that need looks even more pronounced.
How do the Patriots address it? Will they address it in the first round or wait until later in the draft? And how do the other 31 picks in the first round fall after the Cardinals trade Josh Rosen? (Spoiler: We think they're trading Josh Rosen.)
Let's find out . . .
Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
This is happening. Everyone seems to be in agreement. The Cardinals haven't done anything to stop the speculation. The only question now is where does Josh Rosen end up? New York? Washington?
Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
The Niners have loaded up on the interior of their defensive line. Now they have a certified stud to get after the quarterback from the edge. This is a 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 an impact one-two pass-rushing punch.
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.
Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
What a gift for first-year general manager Mike Mayock. Williams is one of the best players in the class, regardless of position, and even though Oakland has needs all up and down its roster, the Raiders can't go wrong by taking one of the top talents in the draft.
Devin White, LB, LSU
White is an off-the-ball monster with good athleticism and instincts to track down ball-carriers from sideline to sideline. The Bucs should be in re-build mode — would they ever part ways with Mike Evans to free up cap space? — and White can be the bedrock of their defense for years to come.
Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
There's a roster makeover underway in New York. The Giants 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. By selecting Taylor they give themselves a chance at having an upper-echelon line in front of their Quarterback of the Future . . . whenever they find him.
D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
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 Nick Foles is at all inaccurate, Metcalf is athletic enough to go up and get it. He'll provide a strike zone that will put Foles at ease as he deals with his new franchise-quarterback status.
Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
The Lions could trade down here. There are a handful of corners they could nab later in the first. And they have needs elsewhere. But Murphy seems to be scheme versatile — something Matt Patricia would appreciate — and he has big-time instincts to help him play the football.
Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
Combine tests revealed that Sweat has a heart condition, but he's been cleared to play by doctors in the past, and he was cleared to participate in the combine. He could slide out of the top-10, but he's so athletic — he ended up with one of the best-ever combine performances for someone his size — that the Bills shouldn't hesitate to get him here.
Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
The Broncos are in a tough spot. They just dealt for Joe Flacco, but he's not the future. Lock could be. Most mocks have Lock being taken after Dwayne Haskins, but Lock has more experience than the Ohio State passer and is a better athlete. If John Elway believes Lock's improvement last year is a sign that he's on the right trajectory, he could be worth a gamble here.
Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
With some talent along the Bengals defensive line, Bush should have help up front to blitz, run and chase — his specialty — in their scheme. He's a tad undersized, but he has more than enough in terms of movement skills and ability to anticipate to be productive in the AFC North.
Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
Oliver's value could vary wildly depending on the scheme. In Green Bay, he could potentially fill the Mike Daniels role — particularly if Daniels departs via free agency next offseason. He's the kind of disruptive interior defender that defenses across football now crave.
Jonah Williams, OL, Alabama
The Dolphins are among the least-talented rosters in the league with a new coaching staff that will be focused on the long play. Whether he's a tackle or a guard, Williams should be a staple on Miami's line for a decade. Are there splashier players who could make an immediate impact for Brian Flores and his staff? Yep. But Williams is a low-risk, can't-miss type with a very high floor.
Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
Burns is a twitchy athlete who gives the Falcons another screamer off the edge to play opposite Vic Beasley in 2019 and replace him in 2020. He could end up being the top pass-rusher in the class.
Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
Remember the question posed after the Murray pick by Arizona? Question answered. Josh Rosen, in this scenario, is headed to the Redskins for pick No. 46 overall. They're out of the Haskins mix, and able to address a top need with their top pick. Nothing sexy about taking a "base" end, but Ferrell should give them someone who can pick up the slack if attention goes to Ryan Kerrigan.
Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
Carolina had a disastrous situation on their hands at left tackle last season with Chris Clark taking the bulk of the reps there. Dillard is a great athlete and could play on the left side eventually if not immediately. The Panthers could roll with Daryl Williams and Taylor Moton as their top two until Dillard is ready to go.
Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan
Gary is one of the most outstanding athletes in this draft class, regardless of position. If he can master his physical gifts, he could be a force. The question is, will the Giants staff be able to get that out of him? His production was lacking in college, with teammate Chase Winovich checking in with the significantly better career.
Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma
He was a force on the best offensive line in the country last season and should immediately be one of Minnesota's top offensive linemen whether he's used at tackle or guard. The Vikings need as much help as they can get up front.
N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
The Texans desperately need another target for Marcus Mariota to pair with newly-signed Adam Humphries. Corey Davis had a day against Stephon Gilmore and the Patriots last year, but he's been woefully inconsistent over the course of his career. Harry would give the Titans a versatile option who can play both inside and out and should be a monster in contested-catch situations.
DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia
Baker has been one of the best corners in the best conference in America the last few years. He allowed a passer rating of 40.2 when targeted last year, and in a Steelers secondary that could use a variety of upgrades, he'll be an immediate starter.
We Have a Trade...
The Seahawks were on the clock here, but Roger Goodell has just announced a trade. But which team has nabbed pick number 21?
21. PATRIOTS (VIA SEAHAWKS)
T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
How badly do the Patriots need a tight end? Someone who's a dependable option in the passing game and can make an impact at the line of scrimmage in New England's throwback running game? Badly enough that in this scenario they trade up from No. 32 to No. 21 by giving up their top third-round pick (No. 73). The Patriots also receive Seattle's fifth-rounder (No. 159) as part of the deal. It's a trade that makes sense on multiple fronts.
The Seahawks have only four selections in the entire draft so they could be looking to trade down to add capital. The Patriots have 12 picks — including two seconds and three thirds — and not enough roster spots to keep a dozen draftees. Consolidating a few and moving up seems logical. Plus, Bill Belichick has traded up in the first round before. He did it twice (though not to this extent) in 2012. Belichick has drafted tight ends in the first round before. He understands the value of the position, especially if the player is a true mismatch for linebackers and safeties. That's Hockenson: He would give the Patriots a contested-catch option, something they're lacking at the moment with Rob Gronkowski retired and Josh Gordon suspended; he had only one drop on 50 catchable targets last year, per Pro Football Focus; and he's among the best run-blocking tight ends in the class.
Continued on next slide...
21. PATRIOTS (VIA SEAHAWKS)
T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
Hockenson won't replace Gronkowski, but if he can give the Patriots something similar to what Hockenson's Iowa teammate George Kittle has given the Niners, he'd be a worthwhile selection here. His size (6-4, 251) and athletic testing numbers (4.7-second 40, 37.5-inch vertical, 4.18 short shuttle) indicate he's more than ready to contribute right away physically. He also played under former Belichick assistants Kirk and Brian Ferentz, who've drilled into him fundamentals that should also translate quickly to the pro level.
Though there is upside in the class of tight ends throughout the draft class, Hockenson looks like the only one who is a hit-the-ground-running dual threat. The Patriots don't have much time for projects. Their championship window with Tom Brady is short, and trading up to get Hockenson would help them continue to make the most of it.
Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State
The Ravens go all-in on their old-school running attack by picking up a bruising, versatile offensive lineman. Risner is a mauler who has three years of starting experience at K-State.
Chris Lindstrom, OL, Boston College
This didn't go as the Texans might've liked. They would've loved to nab a tackle but Taylor, Williams, Dillard and Risner are all off the board. Lindstrom, though, is much more than a consolation prize. The Texans could use help just about everywhere up front other than center, and the latest in a long line of big-time BC linemen could play either guard spot.
Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
Haskins' slide finally comes to a halt here for the Raiders. If you're Oakland, this draft couldn't have gone much better. Williams — arguably the best player in the draft — at No. 4? Then a potential starting quarterback at No. 24? The position is so valuable, and Derek Carr's status as a legitimate franchise quarterback is enough in question, that snagging Haskins here is a steal for Jon Gruden's club.
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida
Given where the Eagles draft, and given their needs, safety has felt like the right move here in every mock we've done. Josh Jacobs, the running back from Alabama, could be the choice. But safety is the much more valuable position, and there are some good ones here. Gardner-Johnson is especially useful because he looks like he could play free safety, strong safety or even slot corner and do just fine.
Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State
Indy just signed Devin Funchess, but it was only a one-year pact. Andrew Luck could use a boundary threat for the next few years, and Butler provides him with a rare catch radius. Pair him with T.Y. Hilton moving forward and the Colts passing game could reach another level.
27. RAIDERS (VIA COWBOYS)
Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
The Raiders continue to draft premium positions, which is smart, but there is some risk with this one. Williams could be a premium No. 1 man-to-man corner, but he was so hot and cold with the Tigers that there are some questions as to how well he'll adapt to the NFL.
Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
The Chargers were a mess at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball in the Divisional Round last season. Wilkins is a rock-solid prospect who is as plug-and-play as they come. That he's lasted this long is a surprise, but the Bolts will gladly pounce.
Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State
The Chiefs could be looking to add to the edge, but here they add a corner who can help their pass-rush with his coverage. At 6-foot-1, Oruwariye has the size to match up on the outside with bigger-bodied receivers in the AFC. If he's a true No. 1, the Chiefs have one of their primary issues defensively — and there are a bunch at the moment — figured out.
Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
The Packers solidified their edge spots a bit in free agency by signing Preston Smith and Zadarius Smith. Fant 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.
32. SEAHAWKS (VIA PATRIOTS)
Nasir Adderly, S, Delaware
Adderly isn't an Earl Thomas replica. Far from it. He's not the same type of big-hitting threat who can impact the game in myriad ways. But when it comes to range and athleticism in the middle of the field? Adderly is among the best in this year's class.