Each year, Acme Packing Company readers put our heads together to predict the first round of the NFL Draft in the days leading up to its start. This year, we did the same, with eight writers contributing to the mock.
APC’s writers were assigned teams and made the picks for those teams accordingly. Below are APC’s selections, with context and analysis added by Managing Editor Evan “Tex” Western, who did not participate in the picks themselves.
1. Arizona Cardinals (Kris Burke): Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
There isn’t much to say here. It seems like Murray is the Cardinals’ guy, which likely means that Josh Rosen is in a new city by the end of the second day of the draft. Murray will fit in well for Kliff Kingsbury and his Air Raid offense.
2. San Francisco 49ers (Wendi Hansen): Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
This pick seems to be down to Allen or Bosa. Both look like great prospects on the edge, and Bosa might be a slightly better scheme fit now that the Niners are back to a 4-3 system. Still, Allen has plenty of size to play with his hand in the dirt, so this will probably just come down to whichever player the Niners prefer after interviews.
3. New York Jets (Kris): Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
See above. With Allen gone, Bosa is probably a no-brainer pick for the Jets.
4. Oakland Raiders (Shawn Wagner): Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
Williams is undoubtedly one of the best defensive tackle prospects in years, and the Raiders could use an impact player in the middle of their line. This would give Oakland a ferocious interior group, matching up Williams with Maurice Hurst and Johnathan Hankins.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Jon Barnett): Devin White, LB, LSU
The Buccaneers have been connected to White for a while now, and for good reason. He could be a solid strong-side or middle linebacker in a 4-3, and could be a great pairing with Lavonte David.
6. New York Giants (Jason Hirschhorn): Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
With the news today that Sweat’s heart condition is not as problematic as initially thought, he makes sense as a top-ten pick. In New York, he’ll give the Giants a dynamic edge rusher that they no longer have after trading Olivier Vernon to Cleveland.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars (Shawn): Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan
Gary is a high-ceiling, low-floor prospect, and his fit in Jacksonville would be interesting. They already have two excellent defensive ends in Yannick Ngakoue and Calais Campbell, but either Campbell or Gary could shift inside on passing downs. That would allow them to work Gary in gradually as he acclimates to the NFL.
8. Detroit Lions (Owen Riese): T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
An early tight end for Detroit? It didn’t work out that well last time with Eric Ebron (though he’s doing fine in Indy now), but Hockenson would probably be a day-one upgrade over projected starter Jesse James.
9. Buffalo Bills (Mike Vieth): Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
One of my favorite prospects in the draft, Oliver is a monster who would make a good Bills defensive line even better. This is a pure best player available pick, and for good reason.
10. Denver Broncos (Peter Bukowski): Jonah Williams, OL, Alabama
Denver signed Ja’Wuan James in free agency to play right tackle, so Williams probably plays guard for the Broncos if he comes off the board at 10. A quarterback is still a possibility here — it’s a bit surprising we have only seen one go in the top ten.
11. Cincinnati Bengals (Wendi): Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
This pick seems to be pretty commonly-predicted lately as well, as Bush would give the Bengals an impact player at linebacker that they haven’t had in a long time. With his range and coverage ability, he’s probably a perfect fit on as a weak-side linebacker.
12. Green Bay Packers (Peter): Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
Finally we get to the Packers’ pick here, and Peter has given the team its right tackle of the future in Dillard. Since the team has another pick later in round one, Green Bay can afford to get a player who will spend 2019 as a backup before moving into the starting lineup when Bryan Bulaga presumably leaves next spring. Williams being off the board means that Dillard is almost certainly the best remaining offensive lineman. The other option I could see here is Brian Burns, who could be a rotational pass-rusher as a rookie.
13. Miami Dolphins (Shawn): Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State’
Finally, we get quarterback number two. Miami would likely be ecstatic with this scenario, though in reality we’re probably much more likely to see someone move up into the top ten to grab him. If they didn’t take one of the remaining QBs in this situation, that’s a clear sign that they’re tanking for Tua in 2020.
14. Atlanta Falcons (Jason): Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
The Falcons need pass-rush help, and Burns is a nice fit here. Vic Beasley hasn’t cut it in the last two years or so, and he’ll likely be gone after the season. Enter Burns, whose testing and tape as a pass-rusher give him a great ceiling, though he’ll need to learn to play the run before he becomes a full-time starter.
15. Washington (Mike): DK Metcalf, WR, Mississippi
A quarterback is possible here as well, but Metcalf would give Jay Gruden a pair of deep threats (Paul Richardson being the other) along with Josh Doctson, who has yet to really break out.
16. Carolina Panthers (Paul Noonan): Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
The Panthers drafted an LSU corner in round two last year, grabbing the blazing-fast Donte Jackson. Now Williams arrives to give them a deep, young core of corners along with James Bradberry.
17. New York Giants (Jason): Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
Another ideal situation here — the Giants find a quarterback without having to move. Jones over Drew Lock is all about evaluation, of course, so either one could be the pick in this spot.
18. Minnesota Vikings (Kris): Greg Little, OT, Mississippi
The Vikings drafting an offensive lineman here seems like an inevitability. They grabbed Pittsburgh’s Brian O’Neill in round two last year, but Little represents another great option there, and he might be able to move to guard if O’Neill locks down the right tackle job.
19. Tennessee Titans (Paul): N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
The Titans added a slot receiver this offseason in Adam Humphries, but Harry gives them a special quality they don’t have on the boundary: ability to win 50/50 balls. They’re in an odd spot in the draft given their roster — an offensive lineman might make sense here as well.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers (Owen): Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida
Pittsburgh’s secondary has been in pretty rough shape for a while, and despite some high draft picks there are still questions there. Gardner-Johnson could play a hybrid slot/safety role, which would be a great job of matching need to player here.
21. Seattle Seahawks (Peter): Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
Frank Clark is gone, headed to Kansas City via trade. Enter Ferrell to replace him in the lineup,
22. Baltimore Ravens (Mike): Garrett Bradbury, OL, NC State
Bradbury is likely to be the first true interior lineman off the board, and he would be an immediate starter at center or left guard.
23. Houston Texans (Jason): Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
This is another place where offensive line seems to be a no-brainer. Taylor could actually be a candidate to start on either side of the line on day one.
24. Oakland Raiders (Shawn): Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
The Raiders’ second of three picks bolsters their secondary after adding the top defensive lineman. If Jon Gruden wants to revamp his defense, this is a great way to go. Murphy has some concerns about his top-end speed — corners who run 4.55 don’t often get drafted in round one, but Murphy is an excellent prospect in every other way.
25. Philadelphia Eagles (Paul): Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
The Eagles just re-signed Timmy Jernigan to be their number three defensive tackle behind Fletcher Cox and new arrival Malik Jackson, but Wilkins is a best player available pick and gives the Eagles ridiculous depth at that position.
26. Indianapolis Colts (Owen): Jeffrey Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
Simmons’ ACL tear will almost certainly make him fall quite a ways in this year’s draft, but how highly he goes may be even more dependent on interviews and seeing how he responds to questions about his violent incident in high school. If teams are okay with him off the field, expect him to come off the board late on day one.
27. Oakland Raiders (Shawn): Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
With their third picks, the Raiders still find a way to get their quarterback of the future here. It’s not crazy to think that they would move up to take Lock if he slips into the teens, but this would be a best-case scenario
28. Los Angeles Chargers (Wendi): Andy Isabella, WR, Massachusetts
Isabella has been a fast riser since the college football season ended, but his production and athleticism put him in day two category. Could a team make a little bit of an extra reach for him despite his 5-foot-9 frame? The Chargers could make some sense, since pairing him with a bigger possession receiver like Keenan Allen would be a nice combination.
29. Seattle Seahawks (Jason): Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
Maybe the Seahawks take another first-round running back in Josh Jacobs; but in this case Jason has them going for secondary help after acquiring this pick from Kansas City in the Frank Clark trade. Baker might be an instant upgrade over second-year pro Trey Flowers, or else he could become the team’s slot corner while Flowers stays outside.
30. Green Bay Packers (Peter): Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
Fant’s athleticism should have Packers fans and NFL fans everywhere drooling. However, his skill set is similar to that of a young Jimmy Graham, though he’s probably more adept as a blocker than even Graham. Making this pick could very well be a sign that Graham would be heading out the door sometime on day two or three of the draft. And while Matt LaFleur doesn’t need a hyper-athletic tight end for his offense, I’m sure he and Nathaniel Hackett would be more than happy to find ways to use him.
31. Los Angeles Rams (Shawn): Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State
With question marks at guard, the Rams probably have an immediate starter in Risner, who could give them a long-term force on the inside of the line.
32. New England Patriots (Jon B): A.J. Brown, WR, Mississippi
Brown to New England seems to be gaining traction, as the big receiver is able to play in the slot or on the boundary — an essential quality for a Patriots wideout. Julian Edelman and Demaryius Thomas aren’t getting any younger, and Brown would be another big target over the middle to help make up for the loss of Rob Gronkowski’s production.