It’s that time of year again – you know, the non-football activity where the Oakland Raiders embarrass themselves. Yes, it’s the NFL Draft.
This might not seem as important as a big free agency splash on a big-named player, but Super Bowl winners are built from this process, and we’ve got the annual Paddy Power NFL Mock Draft for your eyes to feast upon.
1 Arizona Cardinals: QB Kyler Murray (Oklahoma)
Kliff Kinsbury gets his five-foot-ten quarterback to stand behind six-foot-five offensive linemen to run his all-go offence, despite the organisation desperately trying to trade out of this spot.
2 San Francisco 49ers: EDGE Nick Bosa (Ohio State)
The best edge player is off the board early, and if Nick can replicate his brother Joey, he’ll never leave the state of California for the rest of his career.
3 New York Jets: EDGE Josh Allen (Kentucky)
The most overrated edge player in the draft. Classic Jets.
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4 Oakland Raiders: DT Quinnen Williams (Alabama)
Is this the Oakland Raiders actually taking the best player in the draft? Yes, it is. Williams has elite drive and size to pass rush and run stuff, a la Aaron Donald.
5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: LB Devin White (LSU)
There are two good linebackers in this draft. Everyone else is so far behind the two Devins that both will go earlier than expected. Regardless, he’s the best linebacking prospect in five years.
6 New York Giants: EDGE Montez Sweat (Mississippi State)
This pick is controversial because he has a heart condition, but he did set the NFL Combine record for defensive lineman and is a freakish athlete. Good fit.
7 Jacksonville Jaguars: EDGE Rashan Gary (Michigan)
This is a reach. As is suggesting the Jaguars were ever close to landing a Super Bowl in spite of Blake Bortles’ lack of ability. Gary is a secondary pass rusher being taken seventh overall.
8 Detroit Lions: TE T.J. Hockenson (Iowa)
The most overrated player in this year’s draft – Hockenson might be a superb blocker and possess superb metrics, but he runs a 4.7 40-yard dash. Not for me.
9 Buffalo Bills: DT Ed Oliver (Houston)
Oliver’s draft stock is like cryptocurrency. A year ago, he was the first overall pick. Then, he was a day two selection. The truth is somewhere in between and this is a good fit for both.
10 Denver Broncos: LB Devin Bush Jr (Michigan)
Again, because they’re the only two good linebackers in the draft, they’ll go early than they should. Bush is a good player, but not worthy of this selection.
11 Cincinnati Bengals: OT Andre Dillard (Washington State)
Offensive tackles are very difficult to evaluate, so if you like one – take him. This begins the run of tackles, as four will be taken in the next eight picks.
12 Green Bay Packers: OT Jawaan Taylor (Florida)
Aaron Rodgers need something. Anything. Pairing him with David Bakhtiari is a good insurance policy.
13 Miami Dolphins: QC Drew Lock (Missouri)
Sigh. Okay, Miami – okay.
14 Atlanta Falcons: DT Christian Wilkins (Clemson)
He could be the best value pick in the entire draft, and this is exactly the type of 4-3 system he needs to be a part of. Wilkins was key to Clemson landing a national championship, alongside some other names you’ll see taken later.
15 Washington Redskins: EDGE Brian Burns (Florida State)
Burns is a bit of a mystery as he projects as a defensive lineman, but probably ends up playing as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 system over time.
16 Carolina Panthers: OT Jonah Williams (Alabama)
For my money, the most polished tackle prospect in the draft. Cam Newton’s career is hanging by a thread, so this is much-needed.
17 New York Giants: QB Dwayne Haskins (Ohio State)
Many would expect Haskins to go at #6, but the Giants pull off a masterstroke and land him at #17 instead.
18 Minnesota Vikings: OT Cody Ford (Oklahoma)
Ford might end up playing inside at guard because he’s more a mauler than a technical stopper, but either way, he’s a big upgrade for the Vikings.
19 Tennessee Titans: WR D. K. Metcalf (Ole Miss)
No other wide receiver has provoked as much debate as Metcalf and while the Titans do need weapons, they need more help in other areas. This feels like a reach.
20 Pittsburgh Steelers: CB DeAndre Baker (Georgia)
A big surprise – Baker becomes the first cornerback taken off the board. He might be shy of six-foot, but his ball skills are superb.
21 Seattle Seahawks: CB Byron Murphy (Washington)
It’s time to replace Richard Sherman. Murphy was made for the Seattle Cover 3 system as he’s the best pure zone corner in this draft.
22 Baltimore Ravens: WR Marquise Brown (Oklahoma)
You see, none of this is relevant because the Ravens have a quarterback who can’t throw the football.
23 Houston Texans: OG Garrett Bradbury (NC State)
Maybe a tad earlier than some expected, but Bradbury is the best lineman in this draft and he can play a multitude of positions if required.
24 Oakland Raiders: TE Noah Fant (Iowa)
A lot has been made of the tight end group in this class, but Fant has a very poor contested catch success rate.
25 Philadelphia Eagles: S Nasir Adderley (Delaware)
This safety class isn’t strong in terms of headliners, but there’s a lot of value towards this part of the draft and Adderley makes the Eagles a lot more difficult to go deep against.
26 Indianapolis Colts: WR N’Keal Harry (Arizona State)
The best receiver in the draft. Don’t even @ me. They need something to complement the soon-to-be 30-year-old T.Y. Hilton.
27 Oakland Raiders: DE Clelin Ferrell (Clemson)
The Raiders get an A grade for this draft. Ferrell is as pro-ready as any defensive player in this draft.
28 Los Angeles Chargers: DT Jerry Tillery (Notre Dame)
The Chargers didn’t have enough run stuffers last year and paid for it in the playoffs. So much so, that Gus Bradley played seven defensive backs against New England. They need this.
29 Kansas City Chiefs: CB Greedy Williams (LSU)
The Chiefs like a controversial corner – see Marcus Peters. Williams is the best man coverage corner in this draft, but there won’t a worse player against the run in the entire league.
30 Green Bay Packers: S Taylor Rapp (Washington)
Those value safeties again. A nice pick-up for a team who have invested in the secondary recently. This makes it that bit better.
31 Los Angeles Rams: OG Chris Lindstrom (Boston College)
Not a flashy pick at all, but they’re sorted outside at tackle, so Lindstrom can become a ten-year starter in this league under good guidance.
32 New England Patriots: DT Jeffery Simmons (Mississippi State)
The biggest boom or bust prospect in the entire draft. Enter Bill and co. You know how this goes.