Phil Perry's NFL Mock Draft 5.0
The Patriots trade up more often than you think. They've made 21 draft-day trades to better their position during Bill Belichick's tenure, including four trades up in the first round. (We had the Patriots trading up in our last mock draft to nab Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson at No. 21 overall.)
But Belichick and Nick Caserio are no strangers to trading down, either. Belichick has made 24 draft-day trades to wiggle down the board and pick up additional assets since 2000. The number of times he's traded down from his place in the first round? Four. And in this mock draft, that's exactly what we'll have him doing once again.
Why? The talent in this draft class from the middle of the first round through the bulk of the second round, from what I've been told, is relatively similar. Why choose at No. 32 if the caliber of player at No. 43 won't be all that different? Plus, the pick the Patriots will add for 2020 could help them land the heir to Tom Brady.
Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
This is happening. There may be less certainty now than there was a week ago or so -- why visit a team like Washington if you know you're going No. 1 overall? -- but the likelihood that Murray ends up in Arizona seems overwhelming.
Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
Pretty chalky start to the draft here, but it makes all kinds of sense for the Niners to build up what they have on the edge . . . which at the moment isn't much beyond newly-acquired pass rusher Dee Ford.
Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
Gregg Williams will have a field day deploying Williams all over the Jets interior. That Leonard Williams is already in-house shouldn't deter the Jets from making this move. Quinnen Williams is arguably the best player in the draft, and pairing him with Leonard Williams will be the stuff of nightmares for opposing offenses.
Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
The Raiders shouldn't mess around here. The quarterbacks aren't good enough to go at No. 4. The linebackers don't have enough positional value to go here. Allen may just be scratching the surface of his potential as a do-it-all edge defender, and he's already incredibly dynamic.
Devin White, LB, LSU
It would make some sense for the Bucs to trade down here and pick up value for the future as they seem to be rebuilding. They're also incredibly tight against the cap and could use as many cost-effective pieces as possible. But if they stay here, there'd be no shame in taking someone to patrol the middle of their defense for the next half-decade.
Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
I believe the Giants are all over Daniel Jones, the quarterback out of Duke. But I'm having trouble envisioning any team seeing Jones as a top-10 choice. That requires some squinting. It's the Giants. Can't rule anything out. But I think they'll load up on the offensive line at No. 6 and then try to land a quarterback at No. 17.
T.J. Hockenson, TE, Jaguars
Even as a card-carrying member of the TJ Hockenson fan club, this seems a little rich for him. But Nick Foles worked well with his tight ends in Philly, and the Jaguars pair up their new quarterback with the best player at that position in this year's class.
Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi
The Lions might trade down, but Sweat makes some sense here. He's an athletic specimen, putting together one of the most impressive combine performances of any player at this year's event, and could give Matt Patricia his next Chandler Jones.
D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
The traits are simply too tantalizing for Buffalo to pass up at No. 9. Particularly given the skill set of their quarterback. Let Josh Allen drop back and rip it as far as he possibly can down the field. No one in this class -- thanks to his speed and his catch radius -- is better suited for Allen's style than Metcalf.
Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
The Broncos need a quarterback of the future, but instead, they roll with a defensive quarterback. Bush is a next-level athlete at the second level and has the sort of instincts that could solidify the middle of the Denver defense for years to come.
Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
Time for a change in Cincinnati. Lock's arm strength and athleticism give him the ceiling of a franchise-caliber player. If Zac Taylor believes the improvements Lock showed in his senior year are a sign of what's to come, then why not?
Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
It's feeling less and less likely that Oliver slips all the way to the Falcons -- where he'd fit perfectly -- a few picks later. In Green Bay, Oliver's fit would also be pretty ideal. Especially if Mike Daniels bolts for free agency.
Jonah Williams, OL, Alabama
Miami's in the quarterback market, even after signing Ryan Fitzpatrick, but they make the sensible move here to go with the best offensive lineman available rather than a quarterback they may not be too sure about.
Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
Burns isn't going to fit into a scheme where he's asked to set an edge and be a force against the run. Even if he's gained weight and carries it well. Luckily for him, the Falcons won't ask him to do much of that. They want their edge defenders to get up the field with speed, and Burns might be the best in the class when focusing in on that one particular skill.
Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan
Josh Rosen lands in Washington. Quarterback need off the board. Next up? Reeling in an edge defender. They have a choice here between two who are widely-considered first-rounders: Gary and Clelin Ferrell. Gary is the better athlete. Ferrell has had much more production in college.
Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
The Panthers could have gone any number of directions here. There are a handful of first-round tackles still on the board, but when the Redskins didn't take Ferrell, it made all the sense in the world for Carolina to scoop up the two-time All-American.
Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
This is why picturing Jones coming off the board at No. 6 is a little tough. It's fairly easy to see him dropping to No. 17 without issue. Maybe the Dolphins will want him? But after working with Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo, will they want someone with some accuracy concerns? Jones could land with the Redskins, but if they trade for Rosen, then it's perfectly reasonable to expect Jones could slide.
Andre Dillard, OL, Washington State
Minnesota needs help along the line. It's gotten dire. For Dillard, who might be the best pass-protector in the class, to land to them in the bottom half of the first round is a gift.
Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
Tennessee made a significant investment in Malcolm Butler last offseason, but they can't afford to keep the status quo at this position long term. Williams is the top man-to-man corner in the class and would be hard to pass up at this point in the first round.
Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
We've got ourselves a little run on corners here. Murphy might not have the man skills that Williams possesses, but he might be the most versatile corner in the class. The Steelers are trying to play more man these days, but Murphy might allow them to play more of the zone we've come to expect from them over the years.
A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
Best thing to do for the quarterback you just made the highest paid player in the game? Get him a weapon. Doug Baldwin is closer to the end than the beginning and Brown can be used anywhere within Seahawks formations.
Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma
Some believe Baltimore could go receiver here. But the Ravens are all in on their running game and John Harbaugh has promised an offense straight out of another era. Best way to do that? Keep building up the offensive line.
Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State
Like the Vikings, the Texans need he’ll wherever they can get it up front. Risner gives them positional versatility and a nasty streak that could have a trickle-down effect on the rest of the room soon after he’s added.
DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia
Baker isn’t blowing anyone away with his athleticism, but his effectiveness in the nation’s top conference is impossible to ignore. Two picks in, the Raiders defense has quickly become exponentially more talented.
Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
A 220-pound bruiser, Jacobs has the ability to make an impact as a receiver as well. The Eagles are pretty well-stocked offensively -- though drafting a tackle with Jason Peters getting toward the end wouldn't be a terrible idea -- and a dynamic back might help them find a new level. Jacobs is universally considered the top back in the class.
Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson
The Colts seem to be playing the game the way the best teams play it. They didn't overspend in free agency despite an abundance of salary cap space. Can they exercise the same level of patience in the draft? They may have greater needs elsewhere, but Wilkins looks like the best player available.
Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
After making a couple of selections on the defensive side, Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden nab perhaps the freakiest athlete left on the board. Dwayne Haskins could've been an option here, but the Raiders take a pass and will have their eyes open for passers in 2020.
Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
Haskins isn't mobile. He's not all that experienced. But at this point in the draft, it makes sense for the Chargers to try to grab The Next Guy. A pocket passer, like Philip Rivers, Haskins will have the opportunity to learn behind one of the best of the last decade and be ready to go whenever the Chargers need him.
Garrett Bradbury, C, NC State
Another team with a real need along the offensive line? Surprise, surprise. That's the Chiefs. Give Patrick Mahomes a player of Bradbury's ilk and he'll suddenly feel much calmer in the pocket knowing that pressure up the middle is going to have a hard time getting through.
Nasir Adderly, S, Delaware
Pressure. Coverage. They're inexorably linked. By taking Oliver with their first choice and Adderly with their second, that marriage has a chance to thrive for a long, long time.
Jeffrey Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
This is one where -- if Simmons' character checks out -- the rest of the NFL may eventually tip its cap to LA. Simmons is widely considered a top-10, if not top-five, talent in this class. Coming off a torn ACL, he may not see the field until 2020. Getting him in the first round, though, having the opportunity to keep him a fifth year, makes his absence easier to swallow.
32. PATRIOTS TRADE
Patriots trade No. 32 to Lions for No. 43 and a 2020 second-rounder
32. LIONS (FROM PATRIOTS)
Johnathan Abram, DB, Mississippi State
Could it happen? The trade seems fair, according to the reconfigured draft value trade chart deftly assembled by Pats Pulpit's Rich Hill a few years ago. It also seems fair based on recent history. The Eagles dealt No. 32 to the Ravens last year in exchange for a second-rounder and a future second-rounder. (The teams also swapped picks in the 130-range as part of that deal.)
Should it happen? For the Lions, this gives Matt Patricia a Patrick Chung type. Abram is a hard-hitting box safety with the athleticism to cover backs and tight ends. The Lions have reportedly had top-30 visits with Abram, Taylor Rapp and Joejuan Williams so they're in the market for a physical Chung-like DB. If they love Abram, they might be willing to jump from No. 43 back into the first round to make sure they get him. Abram is the draft's top-ranked safety, according to both Lance Zierlein and Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Media.
For the Patriots, this makes sense given the depth of this year's draft. There are similarly-talented players -- if not blue-chip franchise types -- to be found from the middle of the first through the middle of the second. After this deal, the Patriots will have plenty of ammo next year (when it looks like quality quarterbacks will be available). They're projected to have a first-rounder (their own), two seconds (their own, Detroit's) and three third-round picks (their own, two compensatory picks) next spring.
43. PATRIOTS (TRADE FROM LIONS)
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida
Don't cringe. It's another second-round safety for the Patriots. A Tavon Wilson or Jordan Richards-type you ask? Nope. Physically, Gardner-Johnson actually compares favorably to -- you guessed it -- Chung. Gardner-Johnson put together an impressive combine (5-foot-11, 210 pounds, 4.48-second 40, 36-inch vertical), as did Chung in 2009 (5-11, 212, 4.49, 34). Gardner-Johnson is a do-it-all type who played free safety in 2017 and served in more of a box role in 2018. Though Gardner-Johnson's tackling from the deep portion of the field left something to be desired two seasons ago, last year he was a hammer who played the run and blitzed like a banshee. If he can consistently combine the ball-hawking instincts and the aggression he's put on tape in flashes, he'll have the ability to fill either safety role for Belichick down the line. He has three years of very good production under his belt, and the Patriots should know his game well after studying Duke Dawson (2018 second-rounder). They'll appreciate Gardner-Johnson's motor, his versatility, his contribution in the kicking game. It'd come as no surprise if they called his name here. He looks like their type.