NFL Mock Draft: The Lock-it-in Edition
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Time to get out the 973espn.com dart board one more time and try the impossible, sifting through the misdirection and subterfuge to try to get inside the minds of 32 decision-makers around the NFL.
For better or worse, it's time to lock it in with 973espn.com's final mock draft ahead of Thursday's first round in Nashville:
1. Arizona Cardinals - QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma - A lot of late-game disinformation coming out of the desert with Steve Keim trying to make people believe Nick Bosa is the guy. The problem is you hired a coach in Kliff Kingsbury who really does love Kyler Murray so the assumption here remains that Keim raffles off Josh Rosen -- with Washington in a race which also includes Miami, the LA Chargers and New England -- and gets his guy.
2. - San Francisco 49ers - Edge Nick Bosa, Ohio State - Bosa and Alabama's Quinnen Williams are battling for the best prospect in the class and the even though the Niners dealt a second-round pick to Kansas City for Dee Ford they also possess DeForest Buckner and Solomon Thomas inside. With Bosa and Ford, San Francisco should fix the pass rush quickly.
3. - New York Jets - DT Ed Oliver, Houston - The Jets have reportedly fallen in love with the interior wrecking ball who brings John Randle-level disruption to the dance.
4. - Oakland Raiders - DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama - Jon Gruden wants Murray but he's not going to be able to get him. It isn't the Raiders reputation to play it safe but when Williams falls into your lap, smile and hand in the card.
5. - Tampa Bay Buccaneers - LB Devin White, LSU - The Bucs need a pass-rusher as well but people in Central Florida say Jason Licht has become fixated on the best LB in the draft and the heir apparent to Kwon Alexander. You can argue value but three-down LBs are arguably a bigger part of NFL defenses than ever before.
6. - New York Giants - Edge Josh Allen, Kentucky - The Giants will roll the dice and hope they can get the quarterback later in the first round, always a gamble. The second biggest need for the Giants is edge rusher and Allen might be the most finished product in a deep class at the position after playing a ton at Kentucky.
7. - Jacksonville Jaguars - OT Jawann Taylor, Florida - The Jags are going to help Nick Foles, either with a tackle or Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson. There is more value in left tackle so why not keep Taylor in-state on the First Coast?
8. - Detroit Lions - TE T.J. Hockenson, Iowa - Hockenson will not drop far with Detroit and Buffalo following the Jags. The Lions might want out from this spot if someone is willing to jump ahead of the Bills for a left tackle but the status quo means Matthew Stafford gets the best tight end prospect to come along in years.
9. - Buffalo Bills - OT Jonah Williams, Alabama - With Hockenson off the board the Bills go about helping Josh Allen a different way by fortifying things up front.
10. - Denver Broncos - LB Devin Bush, Michigan - The talk in the Rockies has been that John Elway is smitten with Drew Lock but there are late whispers around Bush, a three-down LB who will bring great energy to the defense.
11. - Cincinnati Bengals - QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State - The Bengals could use an edge rusher as well but start the clock on Andy Dalton as the Buckeye stays home.
12. - Green Bay Packers - OT Andre Dillard, Washington State - The Packers have more immediate needs but the skinny is that GM Brian Gutekunst is enamored with Dillard.
13. - Miami Dolphins - DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson - The Dolphins are making a serious run at Josh Rosen and want to give new coach Brian Flores, a defensive-minded guy, a new toy.
14. - Atlanta Falcons - OL Cody Ford, Oklahoma - Matt Ryan was hit way too much last season and Ford should be ready to go from Day 1 with the ability help the right side, either inside or out.
15. - Washington Redskins - QB Drew Lock, Missouri - The belief is that Daniel Snyder would rather have Haskins but Lock isn't the worst consolation prize is Rosen isn't brought in to compete with Case Keenum and Colt McCoy.
16. - Carolina Panthers - DL Rashan Gary, Michigan - Medical issues have pushed guys like Montez Sweat and Gary down the board a bit and the Panthers have been suffering attrition on the defensive front for a number of years now. Gary might be the most versatile of the deepest position in the draft.
17. - New York Giants (from Cleveland) - QB Daniel Jones, Duke - Start your engines on the "Kansas City Model," albeit without a QB who wins like Alex Smith and without one with the upside of Patrick Mahomes.
18. - Minnesota Vikings - OC Garrett Bradbury, North Carolina State - Pat Elflein was the worst part of the disaster that was the Vikings' O-line last season and Bradbury offers some Jason Kelce traits when it comes to athleticism, exactly what new OL coach Rick Dennison wants.
19. - Tennessee Titans - DT Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame - A late change for me due to intell from Music City. Had Tillery doing to the Eagles in my team-only mock yesterday but some around the Titans believe Mike Vrabel wants help for Jurrell Casey inside and Tillery is the best fit.
20. - Pittsburgh Steelers - CB Byron Murphy, Washington - The Steelers are desperate for help on the outside of their defense and should have their pick of the litter at cornerback. Murphy seems to be their favorite.
21. - Seattle Seahawks - WR D.K. Metcalf, Ole Miss - With few picks, the Seahawks definitely want to trade out and should have options with Oakland [Josh Jacons] and Houston [if an O-Lineman is there]. If forced to stay put a weapon for the $35 million QB is a good option and perhaps the boom or bust Metcalf land here.
22. - Baltimore Ravens - Edge Montez Sweat, Mississippi State - A top-10 talent to replace a Hall of Famer in Terrell Suggs.
23. - Houston Texans - OG Chris Lindstrom, Boston College - Deshaun Watson was sacked an NFL-high 62 times last season and the Texans will almost assuredly go up to get a tackle. If not, it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to get a prospect like Lindstrom for the interior.
24. - Oakland Raiders (from Chicago) - RB Josh Jacobs, Alabama - Isiah Crowell and Marshawn Lynch aren't good enough.
25. - Philadelphia Eagles - DT Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State - The more I think about it the over-the-top praise both Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas heaped upon Sidney Jones last week may have been laying the groundwork for another redshirt season. A torn ACL likely cost Simmons a top-10 spot but the Eagles have enough talent to wait for the next Ndamukong Suh and Roseman is all about value.
26. - Indianapolis Colts - Edge Clelin Ferrell, Clemson - The Colts need an edge rusher and things will fall quite nicely for them.
27. - Oakland Raiders (from Dallas) - TE Noah Fant, Iowa - Jon Gruden practically wept over losing Jared Cook in free agency so here's the replacement.
28. - Los Angeles Chargers - S Darnell Savage, Maryland - There has been a lot of buzz around Savage and that points to the Chargers or Packers late in the first round.
29. - Seattle Seahawks (from Kansas City) - Edge Brian Burns, Florida State - The move of Frank Clark solves the edge issue in Kansas City and creates one for the Seahawks.
30. - Green Bay Packers (from New Orleans) - S Nasir Adderley, Delaware - Savage or Adderly would give the Packers a talented last line of defense along with Adrian Amos.
31. - Los Angeles Rams - DT Dexter Lawrence, Clemson - A big run-stuffer would enable Wade Phillips to do even more with Aaron Donald and that's kind of scary.
32. - New England Patriots - TE Irv Smith, Alabama - No Gronk means tight end has to be a priority in New England.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen