The Colorado Buffaloes are in the midst of an embarrassing 3-game losing streak, so it’s time for a distraction from that. Here’s a mock draft that isn’t really Buffs-related, but there is a note* that includes four seniors, so I guess it counts?
1. New York Giants — Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
The Giants could reach for a quarterback here, but there’s a dearth of quality throwers this year, so it’s prudent for them to shore their defense with Bosa, the best overall player in this draft class.
2. San Francisco 49ers — Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
The 49ers would probably be smart to trade back, but if not, they could target Baker, who appears to be the best defensive back in a class with no other surefire shutdown corners.
3. Oakland Raiders -- Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan
You’re going to see a lot of defensive lineman in the first round and you’re going to see two or three go to the Raiders. After trading Khalil Mack and with Bruce Irvin on the brink of free agency, Oakland absolutely needs to be drafting dynamic rushers like Gary.
4. Arizona Cardinals — Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
The Cardinals might have the worst offensive line in the NFL. Little is considered the best OL prospect in this draft, so I figure that’s reason enough for the Cards to target their Josh Rosen insurance.
5. Buffalo Bills — Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
The Bills are stuck with Josh Allen, for better or for (far) worse. If they want to put him in a better position to succeed, having an elite offensive tackle like Williams would be a step in the right direction.
6. Cleveland Browns — Ed Oliver, DL, Houston
Ed Oliver is a spectacularly disruptive defensive lineman who has put together a legendary career at Houston. There’s doubts as to whether his dominance can career over to the NFL, but Cleveland need a difference maker inside to take attention away from Myles Garrett and Genard Avery.
7. Indianapolis Colts — Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
Montez Sweat has a combination of athleticism and production that rarely makes it out of the top 10. The Colts have a need on the edge for a difference maker and Sweat would be a nice fit.
8. New York Jets — Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
The Jets have the making of what good be an excellent defense, they just need a bit more talent. Williams is supremely talented and could develop into a terrific corner.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars — Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
As good as Jacksonville’s secondary is, they need work at the safety spots. If they don’t take a quarterback, Deionte Thompson would be in a position to thrive immediately.
10. Denver Broncos — Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
At 10th overall, Herbert becomes the first skill position player go come off the board. The Oregon QB isn’t an elite prospect and should go back for his senior year to continue his development, but he seems virtually guaranteed to go top 10 because there’s so few options at QB. Denver would pick him and let him redshirt behind Case Keenum, then let him take over starting in 2020. I don’t want this to happen, because I’m a
Phillip Lindsay Broncos fan, but he’s certainly better than Paxton Lynch.
11. Tennessee Titans — Jeffrey Simmons, DL, Mississippi State
Assuming they keep Marcus Mariota, Tennessee has few glaring holes on its roster, so they may just pick the best player available. Here that would be Simmons, who has been an essential piece on a ferocious Bulldogs defense.
12. Oakland Raiders (via Dallas) — Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
Josh Allen may be the most underrated player in the country (depending on how you feel about David Montgomery). He’s been the star for Kentucky as they have made a surprising run to No. 11 in the AP poll. The Raiders, I’m sure you know, are lacking a playmaker on the edge and Allen could be that solution.
13. Detroit Lions — Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama
In a stacked defensive line class, Williams has had the best college season to date. Even competing with players like Gary and Oliver (I’m imaging two ordinary guys named Gary and Oliver, lol), Williams has dwarfed them with his ridiculous 95.6 rating, the highest rate defender in the nation, according to Pro Football Focus. Detroit would be wise to shore up their run defense with him.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State
Tampa Bay’s defense has been shredded by any offense with so much as a half-decent QB. They absolutely need help in the secondary and the uber-athletic Oruwariye is the best option, even if he is somewhat of a reach here.
15. Atlanta Falcons — D’Andre Walker, EDGE, Georgia
The Falcons have an elite offense, but scoring 35 points doesn’t matter if you’re allowing 40. It seems like they’re going to move on from Vic Beasley and Walker would be necessary to alleviate their pass rushing issues.
16. Miami Dolphins — Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
If the Dolphins realize that Ryan Tannehill sucks, they could target a QB in the first round. There’s bound to be one (or more) QB who gets taken a round early and I’m guessing that will be the prolific Haskins.
17. Philadelphia Eagles — Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
The Eagles built an elite defense, but that has been undone by their struggling secondary. Murphy is a physical corner whose press ability is essential in Philly’s defensive gameplan.
18. Baltimore Ravens — N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
Perhaps this is surprisingly late, but with so many teams needing defensive help in a defense-heavy draft, Harry becomes the first receiver to come off the board at 18th overall. The Ravens seem to have found a weapon in John Brown, but they still need more to make their Lamar Jackson-led offense as dynamic as their elite defense.
19. Green Bay Packers — Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
With Clay Matthews aging, the Packers need to be looking for someone to replicate his impact. Burns has been extremely productive for the Noles and would likely be an instant starter.
20. Minnesota Vikings — Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State
If Minnesota has any one weakness, it’s their mediocre offensive line. Risner may be the best offensive lineman in this class; he’s a mauler who should immediately make a difference in the NFL.
21. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago) — Dexter Lawrence, DL, Clemson
With Gary and Allen (two friendly accountants) already taken by Oakland, they may as well overhaul their entire defensive line and take Lawrence (from human resources).
22. Seattle Seahawks — Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
The Seahawks haven’t exactly put Russell Wilson in a position to be the best QB he can be. They could draft a defensive lineman or defensive back, but Brown would be the best option as an electric receiver to add big-play ability to an otherwise moribund offense.
23. Houston Texans — Mitch Hyatt, OT, Clemson
If you have watched Houston for all over three seconds, you probably saw Deshaun Watson take a sack. They have one of the worst lines in the NFL and they absolutely need to take a big boy here.
24. Cincinnati Bengals — Devin White, LB, LSU
Cincinnati was just flambeed by Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, but they actually have a solid defense with stars abound. They can always draft for potential and depth, but if they’re looking for an instant starter, Devin White has a lot of Lavonte David in his game as a do-everything playmaker.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers — Anfernee Jennings, LB, Alabama
Pittsburgh has been needing an interior presence since the devastating injury to Ryan Shazier. They drafted Terrell Edmunds last year, but they still need more. Jennings is a physical inside linebacker who adds value as an elite pass rusher.
26. Washington — J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Stanford
Just throw the ball up to Arcega-Whiteside and he’s going to come down with it. Washington has a possession receiver in Jamison Crowder, a field stretcher in Paul Richardson and a power runner in Derrius Guice, but they don’t have a primary option to elevate everyone else’s game. Arcega-Whiteside would be the star that Josh Doctson never became.
27. Los Angeles Chargers — Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama
The Chargers wish they could draft better luck, but otherwise they don’t have many needs. They can then go with a luxury pick, and that would be Davis, a noted monster on the Bama front line.
28. Carolina Panthers — Clelin Ferrell, DL, Clemson
You can never have too quality defensive lineman, so with a talent like Ferrell still available in this unbalanced draft class, Carolina shouldn’t overthink this pick.
29. New England Patriots — Yodny Cajuste, OT, West Virginia
The Patriots could work to improve their defense, but their offensive line has been mediocre this season. Cajuste is a versatile player who can play either inside or out, so he makes sense for New England even with quality defenders available.
30. Green Bay Packers (via New Orleans) — A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
Aaron Rodgers could use another weapon to turn this into an elite offense. With Davante Adams drawing attention to the outside, Brown is an elite slot receiver who could be a monster underneath.
31. Kansas City Chiefs — Beau Benzschawel, OT, Wisconsin
The Chiefs could look to add to their average defense, but like the Pats’ offensive line issues seem more pressing here in the first round. At 31st overall, Benzschawel is great value as someone who can protect Mahomes for the next 12 years.
32. Los Angeles Rams — Oshane Ximenes, EDGE, Old Dominion
For the best team in the NFL, the Rams do have a weakness, and that’s on the edge. They traded Robert Quinn over the offseason and never really replaced him, so the Monarch Ximines could be that luxury pick unless something more urgent comes along.
33. New York Giants — Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
34. San Francisco 49ers — Jachai Polite, DE, Florida
35. Oakland Raiders — Anthony Johnson, WR, Buffalo
36. Arizona Cardinals — Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin
37. Buffalo Bills — Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
38. Cleveland Browns — Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame
39. Indianapolis Colts — Taylor Rapp, S, Washington
40. Indianapolis Colts (via Jets) — Dre’Mont Jones, DL, Ohio State
41. Jacksonville Jaguars — Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina
42. Denver Broncos — Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson
43. Tennessee Titans — Te’Von Coney, LB, Notre Dame
44. Dallas Cowboys — Joe Jackson, EDGE, Miami
45. Detroit Lions — Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
46. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Ryan Finley, QB, NC State
47. Atlanta Falcons — Jalen Jelks, EDGE, Oregon
48. Miami Dolphins — David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State
49. Philadelphia Eagles — Trey Adams, OT, Washington
50. Philadelphia Eagles (via Baltimore) — Bryce Love, RB, Stanford
51. Green Bay Packers — Jerry Tillery, DL, Notre Dame
52. Minnesota Vikings — Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson
53. Chicago Bears — Michael Deiter, OG, Wisconsin
54. Houston Texans (via Seattle) — Calvin Throckmorton, OT, Oregon
55. Houston Texans — Damien Harris, RB, Alabama
56. Cincinnati Bengals — Jace Sternberger, TE, Texas A&M
57. Pittsburgh Steelers — Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
58. Washington — Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Missouri
59. Los Angeles Chargers — Zach Allen, EDGE, Boston College
60. Carolina Panthers — Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
61. New England Patriots — Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
62. New Orleans Saints — Collin Johnson, WR, Texas
63. Kansas City Chiefs — Austin Bryant, DL, Clemson
64. Kansas City Chiefs (via Rams) — Cody Ford, OG, Oklahoma
*Note: Evan Worthington goes in the 4th round, Juwann Winfree in the 6th, and Drew Lewis and Travon McMillian in the 7th. Rick Gamboa goes undrafted, but has a 12-year career with the Chargers.