Perhaps it'll change once I've done about three or four of these, but my biggest takeaway after completing mock draft 1.0? This sure feels like a meh crop of first-round prospects. The QB class has two riveting talents in Dwayne Haskins, who should be the shoo-in QB1; and Kyler Murray, the classic wild-card pick, like Haskins, coming off his own transcendent one-and-done year as a starter but lacking size and other prototypical tools.
But there aren't as many skill players as we're accustomed to seeing in the Round 1 equation, and fresh off a spectacular rookie class brimming with style and dynamism, this year's feels a lot more meat and potatoes, if not leaving a lot to be desired overall.
As always, my 1.0 doesn't include trades, but they'll appear in later mocks, and we'll get a bit more out-of-left-field with certain projections as mock draft #szn wears on. For now, my 1.0 offers an early glimpse into how I project prospects and teams' draft priorities.
1. Arizona Cardinals — Ohio State EDGE Nick Bosa
I think Arizona will ultimately trade out of this spot to the team that won't be denied Dwayne Haskins. But Bosa is the No. 1 consolation prize, an ideal Chandler Jones running mate who can wreak havoc on every down and provide Arizona what it's been missing from impending FA Markus Golden the past two years ... and a lot more.
2. San Francisco 49ers — Kentucky EDGE Josh Allen
The Niners' greatest need is a turnover-creator off the edge, and in Allen, they're banking on someone who can bring a bit more multiplicity to the equation with similar descriptiveness than Quinnen Williams. He had seven forced fumbles and an interception over the past two seasons alongside his 24 sacks, production simply not matched by Williams.
3. New York Jets — Alabama DT Quinnen Williams
He might not have the video-game numbers, but Williams is an ascendant player with dominant upside who can offer a layer of insurance with Leonard Williams potentially entering his walk season. We know it's only the third overall pick, but Quinnen's "fall" doesn't feel that different than Leonard fortuitously being available for Mike Maccagnan four years ago.
4. Oakland Raiders — Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins
I expect Haskins to be gone, but it wouldn't surprise me if the Raiders, despite what they're saying publicly, being in the Round 1 QB mix (owning three picks and all). The top edge rusher or blocker would be the most logical pivot from Haskins.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Michigan DL Rashan Gary
Gary has scheme-versatile traits, an important quality for Todd Bowles' multiple 'D.' Of course, what he does best is wreak havoc, and after mostly swinging and missing in his attempts to fortify the front seven over the past few offseasons, Jason Licht welcomes the input of Bowles and Bruce Arians.
6. New York Giants — Alabama OT Jonah Williams
Dave Gettleman doesn't subscribe to draft trades, and no one except Haskins and Kyler Murray (too short for a "football guy?") belong in this range. So Big Blue could squander a second consecutive ideal opportunity to land a franchise QB, though Eli Manning won't complain seeing the draft's best blocker as their consolation prize.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars — Florida OT Jawaan Taylor
It says here (and in myriad other places) that Nick Foles will be the Jaguars' top target to replace Blake Bortles, and this assumes they land him. Then, the Jags can stay in their own backyard to insure that addition with the impressive Taylor, an ideal Cam Robinson bookend whose best football is in front of him.
8. Detroit Lions — Clemson EDGE Clelin Ferrell
Opinions on Ferrell are varied, including that of PFW draft expert Greg Gabriel, who has a Round 2 grade on the former Clemson standout. But I think Matt Patricia sees a long, powerful and productive rusher and edge setter who can move up and down the line and provide the type of Alpha pass-rush production that was too rarely provided by Ziggy Ansah.
9. Buffalo Bills — Ole Miss WR D.K. Metcalf
Metcalf joins Josh Allen to give Buffalo one of the more impressive young QB-WR combos from a purely physical and athletic standpoint. The good news? Metcalf can already play and should step in on Day 1 as the coverage-dictating WR1 that the Bills for too long have searched near and far to procure without success.
10. Denver Broncos — Mizzou QB Drew Lock
John Elway told Lock at the Senior Bowl that he won't get out of the top 10. That Elway is the only one who views Lock as a top-10 QB is another story for another day. Yes, we'll be adding "left Kyler Murray on the board to draft Lock" to Elway's QB headstone.
11. Cincinnati Bengals — LSU CB Greedy Williams
Coin flip between Greedy and LSU 'backer Devin White. Landed on the former because Cincinnati pretty much addresses the CB position in Round 1 every other year, and Darqueze Dennard is a free agent.
12. Green Bay Packers — Iowa TE T.J. Hockenson
Too rich for a tight end? Hockenson is a special talent, and we saw in Year 1 that Brian Gutekunst really values the position. In Hockenson, he just might get the best blend of what he sought a few years too late last offseason in Jimmy Graham and Marcedes Lewis. Aaron Rodgers needs a between-the-numbers difference maker no more.
13. Miami Dolphins — Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray
The beauty of this pick is that the Dolphins get to turn over a new front-office leaf but still appease their owner who loves making a big splash. Why wait until 2020 when the future is right in front of your eyes?
14. Atlanta Falcons — Houston DT Ed Oliver
A D-line with Oliver, Grady Jarrett and Takk McKinley? Sign Dan Quinn up. I think he's the right coach to get the most out of Houston's hot-and-cold athletic phenom, and the Falcons' big year rushing the passer with Vic Beasley in 2016 clearly was fool's gold.
15. Washington — Duke QB Daniel Jones
After Lock, he's the most experienced of the Round 1 QBs, which is key with all of the flux in Washington's QB room. Jones has NFL starting traits, and Jay Gruden and Matt Cavanaugh, if not a woeful skill group, should give him a decent shot at harnessing them in a system that fits his skill set very well.
16. Carolina Panthers — Oklahoma OL Cody Ford
Carolina has needs all over the place, with a 'D' that suddenly appears closer to a rebuild than renovation, but it starts with protecting the franchise. Ryan Kalil's future in the middle is uncertain, and whether Ford plays guard or tackle from the jump, he'll offer the vinegar and versatility to help Newton immediately.
17. Cleveland Browns — Ole Miss OT Greg Little
This mini-OL run in the middle of Round 1 is fascinating, huh? Would Little make more sense in Carolina? Would John Dorsey prefer Ford or Dillard, if not, say, Yodny Cajuste, over Little? Baker Mayfield winds up with perhaps the best pure LT prospect of the bunch, and who better to ensure that motor stays revved?
18. Minnesota Vikings — Washington State OT Andre Dillard
Again, all we can say for certain is that Minnesota desperately needs a Day 1 starting blocker, and the good news is there are options abound, even bringing in the rear of this OL run. Dillard's experience and steadiness seemingly would make for a good match with the Vikings, who probably need two new starting guards and don't have a member in their front five who isn't replaceable.
19. Tennessee Titans — Mississippi State EDGE Montez Sweat
Sweat can pair with Harold Landry to give Tennessee an explosive bookend duo that maximizes the effect of Jurrell Casey's interior devastation. Having strong inside 'backers in Jayon Brown and Rashaan Evans should mitigate a bit of the concerns vs. the run without the stoutest flanks.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers — LSU LB Devin White
Is there a team that could use a bit of good fortune more right about now? We're not sure how White falls this far, but the Steelers will make this pick with the speed and urgency we see on the field from the LSU linebacker and this year's version of Roquan Smith.
21. Seattle Seahawks — Florida EDGE Jachai Polite
One team that doesn't worry as much about size, Seattle will love the speed Polite brings and the prospect of matching him with Frank Clark is too enticing to pass on here. The Seahawks need not only edge juice but improvement vs. the run, and Polite's production there far outweighs his size.
22. Baltimore Ravens — Arizona State WR N’Keal Harry
Harry feels like an ideal Michael Crabtree replacement: Ball skills, intermediate and red-zone prowess, terrorizing blocking and consistent production. Baltimore, like it tends to do, went the vet FA route to address this position last offseason, but it's back to the drawing board, this time with Eric DeCosta holding all the cards.
23. Houston Texans — Georgia CB Deandre Baker
Houston's pass 'D' completely fell apart late last season, and it's time to invest in a true CB1 with Johnathan Joseph entering his age-35 contract year, Kevin Johnson hardly a lock to return and Aaron Colvin clearly a slot-only. Baker's rounded skill set should appeal to Romeo Crennel, even if he might not have top-end vertical speed to stay in speed receivers' hip pocket downfield.
24. Oakland Raiders (from Bears) — Louisiana Tech EDGE Jaylon Ferguson
Gruden goes back to the Bayou one year after landing Arden Key for Ferguson, another long edge rusher who can bend and finish. Ferguson, like Key, might not be the cleanest off-field evaluation, but his ceiling is tough to ignore here for an Oakland team with a long-range view.
25. Philadelphia Eagles — Alabama RB Josh Jacobs
I'm not sure Howie Roseman will value the position enough to spend a first on Jacobs, but I didn't think Bill Belichick would draft Sony Michel in Round 1, either. Jacobs can do it all and comes with so little mileage on the odometer that he looks like the kind of player worth reaching a bit on and unleashing in a run game in need of a real jolt.
26. Indianapolis Colts — Clemson DT Christian Wilkins
After their breakthrough in the trenches, the addition of Wilkins helps ensure it has staying power with Margus Hunt and Al Woods ticketed for free agency. He'll be an ideal fit to cover up Darius Leonard, and Chris Ballard is a substance, not style, drafter, which fits this pick to a tee.
27. Oakland Raiders (from Cowboys) — Alabama TE Irv Smith
Did you see Jared Cook produce in that offense last season? Well, he's a 32-year-old free agent, and Smith has similar speed with which to attack the seams. Another ascendant player whose tools should really resonate with Gruden and new GM Mike Mayock. More than the other Iowa tight end, though? That's open for debate.
28. Los Angeles Chargers — Clemson DT Dexter Lawrence
They must fix their run 'D,' exposed in the divisional-round loss in Foxboro, and there are no linebackers that fit here. But Lawrence is a behemoth who will muddy up the middle, potentially covering up the LB deficiency a bit. Plus, he might not be a prolific pass rusher, but is that really necessary when you're flanked by Bosa and Ingram? He'll push the pocket, and that's enough.
29. Kansas City Chiefs — Washington CB Byron Murphy
Joejuan Williams of Vanderbilt also in play here if the Chiefs are more on the lookout for size and perimeter prowess, which they could be with Kendall Fuller in the slot. But Murphy's speed, instincts and versatility seem like a nice match for new DC Steve Spagnuolo.
30. Green Bay Packers (from Saints) — Mississippi State S Johnathan Abram
The Packers find their enforcer, which Ha Ha Clinton-Dix wasn't interested in being, Josh Jones hasn't grown into and Kentrell Brice can't stay on the field long enough to become. Abram has a nasty disposition, yes, but also some range and man-cover skills vs. backs and tight ends, against whom Green Bay has struggled.
31. Los Angeles Rams — Delaware S Nasir Adderley
Adderley is a playmaker with some positional flexibility and the speed and athleticism to fit well in Wade Phillips' 'D,' which really needs reinforcing up the gut in the back seven. Adderley looks like an ideal replacement for Lamarcus Joyner, a free agent who'll likely be too costly to retain.
32. New England Patriots — Iowa TE Noah Fant
Reminder: If they are enamored with the "other" Hawkeye tight end as a potential long-range Gronk replacement, they have a boatload of draft ammo to go get him. But this would still be stealing, which the Patriots pretty much do for a living.