The Pitt News NFL Mock Draft 2.0

Byron+Murphy+returns+the+interception+66+yards+for+a+touchdown+in+the+third+quarter+against+Utah+Nov.+30%2C+2018%2C+in+Santa+Clara%2C+California.+The+University+of+Washington+beat+the+University+of+Utah+10-3.%0A
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The Pitt News NFL Mock Draft 2.0

Byron Murphy returns the interception 66 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter against Utah Nov. 30, 2018, in Santa Clara, California. The University of Washington beat the University of Utah 10-3.

Byron Murphy returns the interception 66 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter against Utah Nov. 30, 2018, in Santa Clara, California. The University of Washington beat the University of Utah 10-3.

Dean Rutz/Seattle Times/TNS

Byron Murphy returns the interception 66 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter against Utah Nov. 30, 2018, in Santa Clara, California. The University of Washington beat the University of Utah 10-3.

Dean Rutz/Seattle Times/TNS

Dean Rutz/Seattle Times/TNS

Byron Murphy returns the interception 66 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter against Utah Nov. 30, 2018, in Santa Clara, California. The University of Washington beat the University of Utah 10-3.

By Adin Link, Staff Writer

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With the NFL Scouting Combine in the books, it’s time to re-evaluate our first mock draft based on all that has taken place over the past month. The Pitt News’ Adin Link has adjusted his original projections — including quarterback Kyler Murray and edge rusher Jachai Polite moving in opposite directions — for the first round of the NFL Draft, set to take place on April 25.

1. Arizona Cardinals (3-13)

Selection: Kyler Murray, Quarterback, Oklahoma

With a new regime coming into Arizona, the Cardinals should give new head coach Kliff Kingsbury his quarterback of choice. Back in his Texas Tech days, Kingsbury actually said that if he were an NFL GM he would take Murray number one. So it only makes sense that the Cardinals find a trading partner for current quarterback and former first-round pick Josh Rosen in favor of the electric Murray.

2. San Francisco 49ers (4-12)

Selection: Nick Bosa, Edge Rusher, Ohio State

With Murray likely becoming the new No. 1 selection, the 49ers find Bosa falling right into their lap. With a younger defensive unit full of rising stars like Deforest Buckner and Fred Warner, it makes sense for them to add to this wealth of talent and snag arguably the best player in this year’s draft.

3. New York Jets (4-12)

Selection: Josh Allen, Edge Rusher, Kentucky

The Jets have already have a young stud providing quarterback pressure from the middle of their defensive line in Leonard Williams, so they’ll use this pick to complement Leonard and add pressure to opposing quarterbacks coming off the edge. Allen fits the exact prototype of edge rushers all NFL teams want to have on their squads. He could easily find himself going even higher than No. 3 with a solid performance on his pro day.

4. Oakland Raiders (4-12)

Selection: Quinnen Williams, Defensive Tackle, Alabama

Coming out of the combine last week, Quinnen has been one of the prospects causing the most buzz. Scouts commended him for displaying extraordinary speed for a 6-foot-3, 300-pound frame. Quinnen’s 4.83-second 40-yard dash was among the best for his position group and exemplified his athletic abilities, all but securing him a spot in the top five of this year’s draft. Head coach Jon Gruden loves athletic players on his roster, so Quinnen will fit like a glove in Oakland.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11)

Selection: Jonah Williams, Offensive Tackle, Alabama

With this selection, the Buccaneers are hoping to bolster their pass protection in a last effort for quarterback Jameis Winston to reach his full potential. Jonah is thought to be the best offensive tackle in this class and his Alabama pedigree only strengthens his case to be the first offensive lineman selected.

6. New York Giants (5-11)

Selection: Dwayne Haskins, Quarterback, Ohio State

Consistent with our last mock draft, the Giants select their future franchise quarterback. Despite posting the slowest 40-yard dash time of all quarterbacks at the combine, Haskins dazzled with his passing accuracy and high football IQ. Whether the Giants plan to utilize the “Kansas City Model” or play Haskins on Day 1, he will provide the Giants with a much needed change under center.  

7. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11)

Selection: D.K. Metcalf, Wide Receiver, Ole Miss

Every year there seems to be one prospect who benefits from a stellar performance at the scouting combine. This season, it was D.K. Metcalf. He impressed in almost every facet of the combine, posting a (likely miscalculated) 1.6 percent body fat, 27 reps on the bench press and a blazing 4.33-second 40-yard dash. With the Jags seemingly prepped to sign Nick Foles in the near future, giving Foles a No. 1 receiver in Metcalf is a no-brainer.  

8. Detroit Lions (6-10)

Selection: Clelin Ferrell, Edge Rusher, Clemson

If one thing is perfectly clear about this year’s NFL draft, it’s that defensive players will dominate the first round. The Lions will add Ferrell, a former two-time national champion and explosive, fast-twitch edge rusher, to replace Ezekiel Ansah and give their defense an extra boost.

9. Buffalo Bills (6-10)

Selection: Jawaan Taylor, Offensive Tackle, Florida

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen was forced to run around a lot last season due in some part to lackluster offensive line play. The rebuilding Bills will make it a priority this offseason to add pieces that can protect Allen and allow him to develop inside the pocket rather than outside of it.

10. Denver Broncos (6-10)

Selection: Rashan Gary, Defensive End, Michigan

There’s a large chance that Gary goes way earlier than the No. 10 selection and could even sneak into the top five by the time all is said and done. But if the Broncos can get their hands on Gary, pairing him with Von Miller and Bradley Chubb would create one of the most fierce front sevens in the league.

11. Cincinnati Bengals (6-10)

Selection: Devin White, Linebacker, LSU

Giving Andy Dalton one more chance to prove himself, the Bengals go with White here to regain a once fierce defensive identity. White is a big, athletic linebacker that would be a perfect piece to plug and play instantly on day one. Hopefully, White’s defensive prowess can aid the Bengal defense in preventing opposing teams from scoring so that their playmakers on offense like A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd can shine.

12. Green Bay Packers (6-9-1)

Selection: Brian Burns, Edge Rusher, Florida State

When a team has Aaron Rodgers playing quarterback, there’s not much else to worry about on the offensive side of the ball. Luckily for the Packers, their defense needs work and they can instantly remedy this issue with their two first-round picks. Burns has been flying up draft boards and will help the Packers pressure opposing quarterbacks tremendously.

13. Miami Dolphins (7-9)

Selection: Ed Oliver, Defensive Tackle, Houston

Similar to Cincinnati’s situation, this pick is assuming the Dolphins give quarterback Ryan Tannehill another chance to prove he’s capable of leading a franchise. With this in mind, the Dolphins dip into the wealth of defensive talent in this year’s draft and select a force for the center of their defensive line. Oliver should shore up the Fins’ front seven and provide a much needed run-stopping piece.

14. Atlanta Falcons (7-9)

Selection: Christian Wilkins, Defensive Tackle, Clemson

Even with the Falcons placing the franchise tag on defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, the rest of their defensive line and defensive unit in general needs work. Wilkins was a standout at Clemson and has all the tools to become an instant contributor, especially in Atlanta where he figures to join the main rotation.  

15. Washington Redskins (7-9)

Selection: Montez Sweat, Edge Rusher, Mississippi State

Sweat has been on the rise since the conclusion of the scouting combine, where he posted the fastest 40-yard dash time in his entire position group. He even outran many of the wide receivers and running backs at the combine with a 4.41-second time. With the Redskins’ need of a quarterback seemingly fading, one of their biggest priorities is getting a pass rusher. That need, combined with Sweat’s rocketing draft stock, makes this selection a perfect fit.

16. Carolina Panthers (7-9)

Selection: Andre Dillard, Offensive Tackle, Washington State

The Panthers are likely going to lose last year’s right tackle Daryl Williams in free agency, as if protecting Cam Newton wasn’t a problem even with Daryl in the lineup. If Carolina wants to return to the playoffs, drafting a player like Dillard who can keep Newton upright is crucial.

17. Cleveland Browns (7-8-1)

Selection: Greedy Williams, Cornerback, LSU

Discovering some offensive firepower last year, the Browns may look to build up their defensive unit to match the offense. One year after taking a corner in the first round, the Browns could reinforce their defensive secondary with another cornerback in this year’s draft. Greedy was the top cornerback in college football last season, so he should accordingly be the first corner taken and will fit perfectly starting opposite of Denzel Ward.

18. Minnesota Vikings (8-7-1)

Selection: Cody Ford, Offensive Tackle, Oklahoma

Minnesota’s most glaring need is evident throughout its offensive line. With multiple spots on the line needing upgrades, the Vikings take Ford — a player who’s had success in the college level at both tackle and guard. Ford should aid the Vikings in giving quarterback Kirk Cousins time in the pocket to find star wideouts Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs.

19. Tennessee Titans (9-7)

Selection: Deandre Baker, Cornerback, Georgia

Deandre Baker helped his draft stock at the combine and is competing with Greedy to be the No. 1 corner in the draft. The Titans need to add a lockdown corner that can effectively shut down an opposing team’s best receiver and give young quarterback Marcus Mariota more time with the ball.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-6-1)

Selection: Byron Murphy, Cornerback, Washington

The Steelers have been searching for a cornerback that can step up and shadow number one receivers week in and week out. After losing out on Baker and Greedy Williams, the Steelers jump all over the chance to secure former Washington Husky Murphy. He figures to start right away with the veteran Joe Haden not getting any younger.

21. Seattle Seahawks (10-6)

Selection: Dalton Risner, Offensive Tackle, Kansas State

The Seahawks franchise tagged Frank Clark, so one of their most glaring needs at pass rusher is suddenly gone. Seattle has struggled at their offensive line for some time and the team really needs to address that issue if they have intentions of going back to the Super Bowl.  

22. Baltimore Ravens (10-6)

Selection: Devin Bush, Linebacker, Michigan

After deciding to let linebacker CJ Mosley test the free agency market, the Ravens will need a player to provide consistency in the middle of the defense without Mosley. Bush is a quick linebacker who can go sideline to sideline and deliver big hits.

23. Houston Texans (11-5)

Selection: TJ Hockenson, Tight End, Iowa

The Texans’ roster is very deep and they have the potential to make a deep run into the playoffs this season. Hockenson has risen up draft boards and even surpassed Hawkeye teammate Noah Fant in most projections. He would be a great complement to Houston’s offense, giving quarterback Deshaun Watson a dangerous weapon.

24. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago Bears)

Selection: Drew Lock, Quarterback, Missouri

Raiders GM Mike Mayock has publicly committed to Derek Carr, but Oakland should still be actively searching for someone to take the reins when Carr’s time comes to an end. Lock had a great combine and showed off his natural passing abilities. If Lock has the opportunity to learn for a few seasons under Carr, his Patrick Mahomes comparisons may take on a whole new meaning.

25. Philadelphia Eagles (9-7)

Selection: Josh Jacobs, Running Back, Alabama

The Eagles would like to use this pick to improve their defensive secondary, but the trio of Baker, Murphy and Greedy will all be off the board already. So instead of looking to the secondary, the Eagles add the best running back in the draft and Jacobs has the chance to bloom into the next great professional back from Alabama.

26. Indianapolis Colts (10-6)

Selection: Dexter Lawrence, Defensive Tackle, Clemson

Lawrence impressed a lot of people at the combine, showing he’s not defined solely by strength and a 342-pound frame. He’s also capable of flashing quickness and finesse. The Colts need a big body on the defensive line to help stop the run and Lawrence will play that role perfectly.

27. Oakland Raiders (via Dallas Cowboys)

Selection: Kelvin Harmon, Wide Receiver, NC State

Having just selected their quarterback of the future with the No. 24 pick in Drew Lock, the Raiders now give Lock his number one receiver to grow with. Harmon is a big target that dominated the college level and fits the bill of a classic Gruden player.

28. Los Angeles Chargers (12-4)

Selection: Garrett Bradbury, Center, NC State

The Chargers have a very deep team with not many weak spots. However, their weakest link exists on their offensive line. They don’t have a solid starter at the center position and Bradbury separated himself from the other centers at the combine. If the Chargers have any hope of finally winning a Super Bowl with Phillip Rivers, Bradbury is the right pick here.

29. Kansas City Chiefs (12-4)

Selection: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Safety, Florida

Gardner-Jones is another big riser from the combine that may have put himself into the first-round conversation. The Chiefs cannot allow themselves to be weighed down by a weak secondary when their Super Bowl window is finally wide open.

30. Green Bay Packers (via New Orleans Saints)

Selection: Deionte Thompson, Safety, Alabama

If the Packers use their first pick for the defensive line, they very well might keep the defensive theme consistent with their next pick. Thompson already has a professional pedigree, having played his college football at Alabama. He also has the instinctive ball skills the Packers desperately need.

31. Los Angeles Rams (13-3)

Selection: Jachai Polite, Edge Rusher, Florida

Although Polite did not have the best showing in the combine, he still has time to salvage his draft value and stay in the first round. Polite has the game tape and natural skills to easily put himself in the first round conversation. As long as he doesn’t get hurt between now and the draft, Polite can become a great professional player.  

32. New England Patriots (11-5)

Selection: Noah Fant, Tight End, Iowa

Our last mock draft also had the Patriots selecting Fant as their current tight end, Rob Gronkowski, mulls retirement. Fant has the skill set and measurables to potentially become a Gronkowski-esque player later on in his career.

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