By The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson & Joe Zollo
It’s that time of year! Fantasy Football may be on hiatus, but that hardly means we stop working. For the last three years, I’ve done my own mock draft predicting how the 1st round will play out. Now I’m on my fourth year, and it certainly doesn’t get any easier. Last year, our own Chris Tyler joined me to make dueling picks. This year it’s my No Punt Intended co-host, Joe Zollo.
Because we don’t predict trades, we’ll be lucky if ten percent of these are right. Even if we could predict trades, I’m willing to bet we’d get even fewer right. Trying to pair value and need isn’t the easiest thing, but we do it for fun. Check out the picks below to see how we think the first round will play out come April 25th and be sure to join us for a special edition of No Punt Intended on Die Hard Sports Radio (www.dhsradio.com) at 7p EST as we cover this year’s NFL Draft!
So with the 1st pick–
1. Arizona Cardinals
- The Hudsonian – DE Nick Bosa, Ohio State
I’m not convinced the Cardinals select Kyler Murray, no matter how much new head coach Kliff Kingsbury likes him. By selecting Murray, they’ve effectively wasted three draft picks — the one on Rosen, and the third and fifth they traded to move up to get him. Good teams use picks for resources, and not the kind that helps you start bonfires. Bosa is the best player in this draft, and if they don’t make a trade with someone who wants Murray or Haskins or whichever QB they fancy in this draft, Bosa will be a Cardinal come April 25th.
- Joe Z. – QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
Simple. Kingsbury wants Murray. Kingsbury gets Murray. All of this “we haven’t made up our minds” talk and bringing in other prospects for visits is a terrible smokescreen and they will draft Murray. Even their schedule release didn’t feature Josh Rosen, so that really sealed the deal for me.
2. San Francisco 49ers
- The Hudsonian – DE/OLB Josh Allen, Kentucky
I actually think the 49ers end up with Bosa after someone trades up for a QB and no one offers them a ransom for a shot at another QB. That said, the 49ers have invested a ton of 1st round picks in their defensive line the last five years and only have DeForrest Buckner to show for it. Allen or Bosa on the opposite side should help a struggling defensive front put pressure on the likes of Jared Goff, Russell Wilson, and Josh Rosen (or Kyler Murray) for years to come.
- Joe Z. – DE Nick Bosa, Ohio State
If the team at #1 did not need a QB, Bosa would be first overall. Brother of Joey, Nick has the killer mentality that an edge rusher needs and he has been learning from his big brother and other NFL talent. He is ready for the next level and will help create a mean defensive line in San Francisco.
3. New York Jets
- The Hudsonian – DL Quinnen Williams, Alabama
In an ideal world, the Jets trade back and pick up the kind of picks they traded away to move up and get QB Sam Darnold a year ago. But predicting trades in a mock is messy, and I’m trying to make this easy and simple — which, let’s face it, mocks never are. Williams adds talent to the Jets defensive line and can penetrate the line of scrimmage to make life miserable for opposing quarterbacks in the AFC East.
- Joe Z. – DT Ed Oliver, Houston
A bit of a surprise pick. Greg Williams had Aaron Donald and he might want to clone that in Ed Oliver. He’s a somewhat undersized defensive tackle with the ability to disrupt in all aspects of the game. He’s also an elite athlete that was a five-star recruit out of high school and he will continue his dominance in the AFC East.
4. Oakland Raiders
- The Hudsonian – QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
Let me get this out in the open — I fully expect Murray to be the 1st pick in the NFL Draft. He is the most polarizing player in the draft, and you can argue the best QB prospect in this draft, regardless of his size. Until I see the Cardinals trade Josh Rosen, I think the Raiders are playing a wait and see approach and will strike with their bevy of picks to make a deal the Cardinals can’t refuse. With the Raiders moving to Las Vegas, they want flash and splash. Murray throwing to Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams will provide both the flash and the splash. Sorry, Derek Carr. You’re out, bro.
- Joe Z. – DE/OLB Josh Allen, Kentucky
The best guy on the board goes to Oakland. This will be where Allen goes due to his talent and the fact that Oakland needs to replace Khalil Mack with one of their three first round picks. This would be the perfect spot. He won’t be Mack, but Allen will wreak havoc and strike fear into opposing quarterbacks.
5. Tampa Bay Bucs
- The Hudsonian – LB Devin White, LSU
For the record, I’m not a fan of White here. Don’t get me wrong, I love the player. But with the Bucs switching to a 3-4 under new DC Todd Bowles, I’m not sure a middle linebacker is the best value for them. And they found LBs like Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander after the 1st round. Ideally, they trade back and extract more picks and better value. But if they stick around, they could obviously do worse.
- Joe Z. – DL Quinnen Williams, Alabama
Williams is a big guy that will clog lanes and be a viable second man to Gerald McCoy and could possibly be his fill-in when McCoy inevitably gets injured. Big men from Alabama always seems to work out in the NFL, and Williams will be Tampa’s next big man.
6. New York Giants
- The Hudsonian – DE Montez Sweat, Mississippi State
The Giants are dumb. Let me rephrase — GM Dave Gettleman is dumb. He wants to build a team around a running back and loves “hog mollies”. Nothing wrong with the latter, but when your starting QB is 38 and there are a couple of good QBs in this draft, it’d be smart to take one. But he won’t. He’ll take a lineman. And not even on the right side of the ball. Sweat is outstanding though. And after trading Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon in back-to-back offseasons, the Giants need a pass rusher. Sweat and his outstanding speed can help fill that void.
- Joe Z. – OT Jawaan Taylor, Florida
Should they take Taylor? No. Will they probably take him to build around Saquon? Yes. Gettleman will just continue to make dumb picks, loading up the line in front of Saquon. After this pick, here’s the Giants new line, from left-to-right: Nate Solder, Will Hernandez, Jon Halapio, Kevin Zeitler, Jawaan Taylor (replacing Chad Wheeler).
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
- The Hudsonian – OT Jawaan Taylor, Florida
The Jaguars are less of a passing team than a running team, so I think they’ll value Taylor over Jonah Williams, Cody Ford, and Andre Dillard. Taylor is a mauler and can help stabilize the Jags line in front of newly-signed Nick Foles and former top 5 pick Leonard Fournette.
- Joe Z. – TE T.J. Hockenson, Iowa
You just paid Nick Foles a stupid amount of money. Now go get him a weapon to throw to. You could argue that there are bigger needs for Jacksonville, but a playmaker for your new franchise QB should be a top priority. Hockenson is a scary threat and will be Nick Foles’ new Zach Ertz.
8. Detroit Lions
- The Hudsonian – DT Ed Oliver, Houston
Michigan DE Rashan Gary is a likely option, especially as a hometown pick, but I think he’s more hype than anything. There are good corners available, but I don’t think any are actually going to go in the top 10 this year, and the last time the Lions took a TE in the top 10, they misused him. So Hockenson is out. Oliver as an interior pass rusher next to Snacks Harrison and with Trey Flowers on the edge will have a nice look.
- Joe Z. – DE Montez Sweat, Mississippi State
Of all the quarterbacks in the NFC North, Detroit has the worst one. So what is one way to negate the opposition? Get a guy with 4.4 speed to get after the quarterback. Detroit has nobody that can truly rush the passer, and Sweat will be the perfect guy to compliment newly-signed Trey Flowers on the other side of the defensive line.
9. Buffalo Bills
- The Hudsonian – TE T.J. Hockenson
The Bills could be a landing spot for Gary, but they already have a good defense. This offseason has been about surrounding QB Josh Allen with offensive weapons. Charles Clay was finally cut loose and the Bills have a need on offense for a safety valve. Hockenson can be that and more. Now, if Allen can complete passes of only five yards…
- Joe Z. – OT Jonah Williams, Alabama
A need at tight end and a need at running back are on the list, but the offensive line is the biggest need to be addressed. Jonah Williams will be the best on the board, and he will be the newest Buffalo Bill, helping protect Josh Allen– the future of Buffalo. Take the word ‘future’ very lightly.
10. Denver Broncos
- The Hudsonian – QB Drew Lock, Missouri
The Broncos pulled the trigger and traded for Joe Flacco — a lateral move from Case Keenum, I might add — but still need a QB of the future. Lock has been linked to Elway, and I’m buying the hype. Lock throws a great deep ball, and with Flacco in tow, has some time to work out some of his developmental flaws.
- Joe Z. – QB Drew Lock, Missouri
The Broncos Super Bowl odds actually went down when they traded for Joe Flacco. John Elway is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, yet cannot assess the position. Lock will be the best guy available at that position and Denver needs to take a leap of faith. Lock needs some work, but he has skills you cannot coach.
11. Cincinnati Bengals
- The Hudsonian – QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
Andy Dalton has been okay, but hardly spectacular. When the Bengals finally cut ties with Marvin Lewis, they finally decided mediocrity was enough. When you bring in a new coach, he usually wants to get his own QB. The Bengals have a nice array of offensive weapons to help out a young QB. While they could easily take an offensive lineman, if you’re going for a fresh start, go for a complete fresh start.
- Joe Z. – QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
I have no clue. Cincinnati could go 0-16. It’s time to drop the Red Rifle off at the fire station and let him be someone else’s problem. Bringing in a new regime with Zac Taylor, I’m going to assume he will want his own choice at quarterback. The best one on the board is Dwayne Haskins. I am not a fan of his, but I think this is where he goes.
12. Green Bay Packers
- The Hudsonian – DE Rashan Gary, Michigan
Kind of feels redundant to draft a high-ceiling pass rusher when you just signed two pass rushers in free agency, right? But in a passing league, can you really have enough pass rushers? All this talk about the Packers taking a WR makes little sense to me as they spent three draft picks last year on the position. Receivers take time to develop, and both Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown showed flashes. Gary can work as a developmental pass rusher and help take pressure off the Packers young secondary.
- Joe Z. – LB Devin White, LSU
Clay Matthews left, so it’s time to get a speedy, versatile linebacker to replace him. Devin White brings blazing speed and incredible athleticism to a team whose defense is anything but great. White has the raw talent that will need some work, but tough to pass him up when linebacker is a need.
13. Miami Dolphins
- The Hudsonian – OT Jonah Williams, Alabama
The Dolphins need help everywhere. Seriously. How this team won 7 games last year is beyond me. But if they’re not going to trade up to take a QB this year, they need to focus on rebuilding the roster for when they do decide to draft a young QB. After losing RT Ja’Wuan James to the Broncos, they need a tackle to pair with Laremy Tunsil. Williams is arguably the best all-around tackle in this draft class and would be an unsexy pick, but a great addition for the Dolphins.
- Joe Z. – DL Christian Wilkins, Clemson
Get Brian Flores a fat guy. Wilkins is a smart guy who can learn a playbook quick and fill one of the many areas of need for Miami. The best thing for Miami is to begin rebuilding their defense with this pick and focus on offense in the mid-rounds. Get yourself some great talent so Tua Tagovailoa can be your franchise centerpiece next season.
14. Atlanta Falcons
- The Hudsonian – DL Christian Wilkins, Clemson
After franchising Grady Jarrett, Wilkins would be great insurance if they can’t reach a long term deal. And even if they do, it never hurts to have talent. The Falcons could look at Brian Burns if they go for an edge rusher, but an interior pass rush is just as important these days.
- Joe Z. – LB Devin Bush, Michigan
Speed and athleticism. That is what Devin Bush will bring to Atlanta. Yes, they already have Deion Jones and De’Vondre Campbell, but why not add a weak-side linebacker into the mix that has blazing speed and the ability to do it all? He is undersized but will be a force at the next level.
15. Washington Redskins
- The Hudsonian – WR D.K. Metcalf, Ole Miss
I do think the Redskins will be in the QB market. Maybe they reach for Will Grier or Daniel Jones, but before Alex Smith got hurt, the Redskins were on the verge of winning the NFC East. With QB Case Keenum now at the helm, and Jamison Crowder now a Jet, the ‘Skins need a dominant WR. Josh Doctson hasn’t been the WR1 they envisioned, and Paul Richardson was a bust in Year One of his new 5-year deal. Metcalf has a WR1 ceiling.
- Joe Z. – DE Rashan Gary, Michigan
They could use a receiver, but more importantly, they need someone to get to the quarterback. They lost Preston Smith in free agency and it is just Ryan Kerrigan rushing off the edge. Gary can set the edge and bully his way to the QB. In a division with great running backs, Gary will be able to showcase all aspects of his game.
16. Carolina Panthers
- The Hudsonian – OT Andre Dillard, Washington State
The Panthers released Matt Kalil two years too late. (Yes, I’m implying they never should have signed him to begin with.) The Panthers offensive line needs work, and Dillard can pair with Taylor Moton to form a set of bookends Cam Newton can appreciate.
- Joe Z. – OT Andre Dillard, Washington State
They need a tackle. Simple as that. Dillard is the best on the board, and that is exactly what Cam Newton and Carolina need.
17. New York Giants (via Cleveland Browns)
- The Hudsonian – DE Brian Burns, Florida State
When you’re a team in dire need of a pass rush, this is the draft to load up at the position. Burns combined with Sweat brings serious speed off both edges. Prescott, Wentz, and whatever young QB the Redskins draft in the next year or two will not be pleased. If the Giants double down on edge rushers, I can almost forgive them for passing on a QB. Almost. I’m still going to troll them, though, because it’s what I do.
- Joe Z. – QB Daniel Jones, Duke
New York will pick the wrong guy. That is all. Nothing else to see here.
18. Minnesota Vikings
- The Hudsonian – OT Cody Ford, Oklahoma
The Vikings have clear issues on the offensive line. If Mike Zimmer wants to run the ball, they need linemen to pave the way. Ford can play Tackle or Guard and should provide a versatile piece for the Vikings.
- Joe Z. – OT Cody Ford, Oklahoma
Issues on the offensive line plagued the Vikings last year, and if they want to run it down opposing teams’ throats, they need to address those issues. Ford blocked for one of the most unpredictable quarterbacks in college football and can play across the entire line. He can adapt to most situations and will help raise Dalvin Cook’s fantasy draft stock.
19. Tennessee Titans
- The Hudsonian – DT Dexter Lawrence, Clemson
As one of the few 3-4 defenses in need of a mountain of a man to clog the line of scrimmage, Lawrence is an ideal fit. After signing Adam Humphries, their need at wide receiver isn’t as glaring.
- Joe Z. – DT Dexter Lawrence, Clemson
A big boy to clog the running lanes. Out of all things, this is their biggest need. The Titans could add another cornerback, but adding depth and beef to the defensive line is the best thing for them at 19.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers
- The Hudsonian – LB Devin Bush, Michigan
I was all set to peg a cornerback here, but once the Bengals opted to go for a QB, Bush didn’t have an ideal landing spot. Until now. The Steelers have lacked a presence at linebacker since Ryan Shazier suffered his career-threatening injury. Bush has great speed and instincts and should help fill the void and solidify the Steelers defensive front.
- Joe Z. – CB Byron Murphy, Washington
To put it lightly, Pittsburgh’s defense sucks and it has since Troy Polamalu left. They need a young corner since Artie Burns hasn’t worked out. Enter Byron Murphy. Not the exact build some teams may be looking for, but he brings a Brent Grimes attitude to the NFL. If he can be like Grimes, he will be a good, underrated CB for years to come.
21. Seattle Seahawks
- The Hudsonian – DE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson
I think an offensive lineman would be ideal here — either Chris Lindstrom or Erik McCoy — to help stabilize a shaky offensive line so they can control games with Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny. However, with franchise tag recipient Frank Clark still not under a long-term contract — and reportedly on the trade block — a pass rusher makes sense to take the pressure off a young secondary. It’s a passing league. You gotta hit the quarterback early and often. Ferrell and Clark will help that mission.
- Joe Z. – WR D.K. Metcalf, Ole Miss
Seattle wants to build their run game and defense, but for God’s sake, can we get Russell Wilson a legitimate threat over 5’11”? Metcalf is not my favorite receiver, but his combine numbers and Statue of David-like build makes him the best eye-candy at wide receiver and it just feels like a Pete Carroll pick.
22. Baltimore Ravens
- The Hudsonian – DE Chase Winovich, Michigan
Winovich is the best edge rusher left on the board. Some might think he’s a reach in the first round, but when you look at his tackles for loss, he belongs in the conversation. The Ravens lost Za’Darius Smith and Terrell Suggs in free agency and need to replenish their pass rush. Winovich is a step towards accomplishing that.
- Joe Z. – WR Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, Oklahoma
Back-to-back wide receivers. Baltimore really needs one after seeing Crabtree and John Brown leave. Willie Snead is the current number one receiver, so they need another threat. Hollywood Brown comes from a team with a mobile quarterback, so adapting to Lamar Jackson will not be difficult. He is inexplicably tiny with small hands and he is related to Antonio Brown, so who knows?
23. Houston Texans
- The Hudsonian – OT Dalton Risner, Kansas State
If the Texans aren’t targeting a lineman, Deshaun Watson is doomed. He was sacked more than any other QB last year. Risner marks five offensive tackles in this first round mock and he can make a claim at being the best pass blocker in this class. Watson should be ecstatic with this pick.
- Joe Z. – OT Dalton Risner, Kansas State
Watson needs some protection. No other way to put it. Risner can provide that. He is a stud pass blocker and should be the top guy on Houston’s radar.
24. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago Bears)
- The Hudsonian – CB Greedy Williams, LSU
Oakland drafted Gareon Conley a few years ago, and now get a partner in crime for him. Williams was outstanding his freshman year and certainly has the type of swagger the Raiders are seemingly acquiring these days. Williams may be allergic to tackling, but as long as he’s batting down passes, Gruden will be fine with him.
- Joe Z. – DT Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State
Beef up that line. Josh Allen at 4, and Jeffery Simmons 20 picks later. He shows flashes of immense power and knows how to play under the opponents’ pads with a strong punch. Gruden had Warren Sapp in 2002, so it’s time to have Jeffery Simmons in 2019.
25. Philadelphia Eagles
- The Hudsonian – DT Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame
The Eagles are predictable. They draft in the trenches. I personally would love for them to add a top corner or safety, but they build from the inside out. Tillery can be a standout rotation piece with Fletcher Cox and newly-signed Malik Jackson.
- Joe Z. – DE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson
Ferrell is a 4-3 defensive end with prototypical size and strength. He can set the edge and get to the quarterback. The defensive line may not feel like a big need for Philly after their impressive performances the past couple years, but you can never have enough fat guys.
26. Indianapolis Colts
- The Hudsonian – CB Deandre Baker, Georgia
Even after re-signing breakout Pierre Desir, the Colts need to continue adding talent to their defense. Baker locked down everyone and would pair well with Desir. I could see them making a play at WR, but with the Jets 2nd rounder in tow, they can still land a premium option to pair with T.Y. Hilton.
- Joe Z. – CB Greedy Williams, LSU
Adding a receiver could be an option here, but they can wait and still find a gem in the 2nd or 3rd round. Getting another solid corner is best for Indy as one of their worst attributes is defense — especially the secondary.
27. Oakland Raiders (via Dallas Cowboys)
- The Hudsonian – TE Noah Fant, Iowa
I could see the Raiders grabbing an RB here, but I don’t think there are any belonging in the first round discussion this year. Plus, they pick again at 35. Fant is a dynamic option and we saw what Jared Cook was able to do in this offense last year. Fant can work the middle while Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams dominate the outside.
- Joe Z. – CB Deandre Baker, Georgia
Three straight defensive picks for the Silver and Black, this one at corner. Oakland couldn’t cover an ant with a blanket, and Deandre Baker will help bring a solid presence across the way from Gareon Conley.
28. Los Angeles Chargers
- The Hudsonian – QB Will Grier, West Virginia
Grier could end up going way earlier, but I think he lands on a perennial contender. The Chargers need to start looking for the heir apparent to Philip Rivers, and Grier has a lot of similar traits. Learning for a year or two isn’t the worst thing for Grier, and the Chargers are in a good position where they don’t have a glaring role to fill on offense or defense.
- Joe Z. – OT Kaleb McGary, Washington
While a quarterback does make sense, adding a tackle seems more viable right now. Los Angeles is in “win now” mode with all the talent they have, and getting more protection for Rivers and run blocking for Melvin Gordon will help them make their push for the Super Bowl.
29. Kansas City Chiefs
- The Hudsonian – S Johnathan Abram, Mississippi State
The Chiefs need all kinds of help in the secondary. Taking a corner isn’t out of the question either, but pairing a hard-hitting safety like Abram with recently-signed Tyrann Mathieu makes all the sense in the world.
- Joe Z. – CB Rock Ya-Sin, Temple
The best name I have seen in the draft class thus far. Kansas City’s defense was laughable last season and one of the first places to start sewing it together is in the secondary.
30. Green Bay Packers (via New Orleans Saints)
- The Hudsonian – WR A.J. Brown, Ole Miss
I personally don’t think the Packers need a WR, but with a second first round pick and a secondary full of developing talent, adding a dynamic weapon for Aaron Rodgers to pair with Davante Adams will help ease the transition of losing Randall Cobb. Brown is probably the most pro-ready wide receiver in this draft, and Rodgers shouldn’t have a problem trusting him early and often.
- Joe Z. – WR A.J. Brown, Ole Miss
I think Green Bay might trade out of this pick because I just don’t see anyone other than A.J Brown that they could draft. They have great young talent at the receiver position, but they always seem to be injured. Brown has shown he can do it all, and when we look back on this draft, he will be the better of the two Ole Miss receivers in this draft class.
31. Los Angeles Rams
- The Hudsonian – C Garrett Bradbury, NC State
The biggest need on the Rams offensive line is at the Center position. Bradbury is dominant and should help anchor the line for the next decade.
- Joe Z. – OG Chris Lindstrom, Boston College
Entering Super Bowl 53, I said the thing Los Angeles should be most worried about is their Right Guard. Low and behold, he was god-awful in the game, and that is why I have Lindstrom being drafted here.
32. New England Patriots
- The Hudsonian – WR Andy Isabella, UMass
The Patriots spent last year restocking their offensive cupboard in the wake of Tom Brady’s twilight. I think they’ll continue that trend this year. Isabella can flat out fly, and he pairs that particular skill with outstanding route-running ability. Basically, he’s already what we hoped Phillip Dorsett would become. The Patriots can find a QB in Round 2 or later.
- Joe Z. – WR N’Keal Harry, Arizona State
Honestly, it won’t happen, but I really want it to. For those who don’t know, I am a Patriots fan. Harry is my favorite wide receiver in this class. New England needs a receiver, but they have never been known to take a receiver in the first round. I think the Patriots have to use this pick at either receiver or Tight End. If they don’t, it will go to the defensive line.