Many teams have given a glimpse into how the rest of their year will play out at the quarter point in the NFL season. Teams have shown the strengths and weaknesses of their rosters while also giving an idea of how they will play out the remaining 12 games. With that in mind, here is a mock draft projection. Nothing is set in stone at this point, but these always serve to give a good picture of who the top players are in the draft at this point. (Draft order dictated by current records.)
1. Arizona Cardinals: Ed Oliver, Defensive Tackle, Houston
In a class crowded with talented defensive talent, Ed Oliver remains the top dog. The Cardinals are best suited to pick the best player on the board and putting Oliver on a line with Chandler Jones, Markus Golden and an emerging Robert Nkemdiche will give Steve Wilks a truly menacing unit to get after the passer with.
2. New York Jets: Jonah Williams, Offensive Tackle, Alabama
Sam Darnold is clearly the future for the New York Jets and they need to prioritize surrounding him with talent. The Jets offensive line leaves a lot to be desired right now and giving Darnold a franchise left tackle for the next 15 years should be the priority.
3. San Fransisco 49ers: Nick Bosa, EDGE Defender, Ohio State
Some may view this as a weird pick due to the dominance of Deforest Buckner and Solomon Thomas’ presence on the roster, but you can never have enough pass rushers. Bosa will be in heavy consideration for number one overall pick this year and the 49ers would have an embarrassment of riches in the trenches if Bosa fell to them.
4. Buffalo Bills: Marquise Brown, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma
The jury is still out on Josh Allen but it is hard to judge a rookie quarterback with no supporting cast. The Bills need to add dynamic playmakers to this anemic offensive roster the Marquise Brown’s speed paired with Allen’s arm could be a match made in heaven.
5. Indianapolis Colts: Greedy Williams, Cornerback, LSU
The Colts are likely to turn around their fortunes with Andrew Luck back and Frank Reich looking like a solid head coaching option for them. The next step is adding more physicality to a clearly rebuilding roster. Greedy Williams is the best defensive back in the nation and would bring speed, playmaking and physicality to a young secondary.
6. Detroit Lions: Jeffrey Simmons, Defensive Lineman, Mississippi
The Lions need more dynamic players in their front seven. Ziggy Ansah is their only true pass rusher and the rest of the players are plus run defenders at best. Simmons is an all around player who can play all over a defensive line to create pressure and elevate the play of the entire defense.
7. Houston Texans: DeAndre Baker, Cornerback, Georgia
The Texans have star power on their roster but seemingly no depth and that is particularly evident on defense. DeAndre Baker has been incredibly steady over the last two years and looks like a real playmaker this season. He would provide an immediate boost to their secondary.
8. New York Giants: Justin Herbert, Quarterback, Oregon
The clear problem on the Giants roster is the guy taking snaps. It’s obvious that, at this point in his career, Eli Manning is a bugaboo to the Giants offensive success. Justin Herbert is a big, strong-armed passer with great confidence and athleticism. He could provide an immediate shot in the arm to the New York offense and a long term answer at signal caller.
9. Atlanta Falcons: Deionte Thompson, Safety, Alabama
The Falcons need no more help on the offensive side of the ball and have struggled this year largely due to injuries on defense. The absences of Keanu Neal and Deion Jones have made a once stout defense very vulnerable. The Falcons could add a speedy safety to their defense to pair with Keanu Neal in 2019, solidifying the back end of their defense and giving Dan Quinn a true centerfielder.
10. Oakland Raiders: Rashan Gary, EDGE Defender, Michigan
The Raiders have a problem rushing the passer. I wonder why! Anyway, adding an athletic edge defender to a rebuilding defense should be a huge priority for the raiders. Gary is a young, raw player with a lot of upside that defensive coordinator Paul Guenther could do a lot with.
11. Minnesota Vikings: Greg Little, Offensive Tackle, Ole Miss
The Vikings have been plagued by poor defensive play this year, but that has overshadowed the liability of their offensive line. The Vikings have too much firepower on offense to be neutered by constant pressure on their quarterback or an inability to get consistent push in the run game. Greg Little is an athletic mauler who could be a huge boost for an offense that is already very explosive.
12. Cleveland Browns: Dexter Lawrence, Defensive Tackle, Clemson
The Browns could go in a lot of directions here, mostly because their roster has few holes that seemingly need to be filled. God, that was a weird sentence to type. The Browns would have the luxury of adding Dexter Lawrence to a line that features Myles Garrett, Larry Ogunjobi, Emmanuel Ogbah and Genard Avery. Music to Gregg Williams’ ears.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers: Devin White, Linebacker, LSU
The Steelers defense is lacking a lot of necessary pieces, but seem particularly soft in the middle. Devin White is an athletic tone setter who could bring necessary physicality back to a reeling Steelers defense.
14. Dallas Cowboys: N’Keal Harry, Wide Receiver, ASU
The Cowboys anemic passing game desperately needs a receiver who isn’t short or slow. N’Keal Harry is a rare blend of size, speed and physicality who could give the Cowboys a whole new dynamic in their passing game and help Dak Prescott get out of his funk.
15. Seattle Seahawks: Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State
Among the Seahawks’ many problems is their year in, year out inability ot protect their franchise quarterback. Dalton Risner would finally give the Seahawks some real physicality on their line and give Russell Wilson more than the blink of an eye before pressure gets to him.
16. New England Patriots: Dwayne Haskins, Quarterback, Ohio State
The Patriots need to be thinking about life without Tom Brady. The future Hall of Famer is inching closer to hanging it up and the Patriots could have an opportunity to groom his replacement. Haskins has limited starting experience, but he has been breathtakingly efficient this season for Ohio State while showing off all the tools of a franchise quarterback. Letting him sit behind Brady for a season before he takes over could set the Patriots up for another decade.
17. Philadelphia Eagles: Raekwon Davis, Defensive Tackle, Alabama
The Eagles could go in a lot of directions here. Offensive tackle and wide receiver come to mind; but it feels like too good of an oppurunity to have a talent like Davis fall in the draft. The Eagles have a lot to work with on the defensive line, but Timmy Jernigan’s future is in limbo and the team does not have a long-term option next to Fletcher Cox. Davis would take an already phenomenal unit to a level of face-melting danger.
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Christian Wilkins, Defensive Tackle, Clemson
The Bucs invested a ton into their defensive line to seemingly get no pass rush in return. The defense has been flailing this year, due in part to the lack of pressure created. Christian Wilkins has somehow become an unsung hero on the Tiger defensive line, but he would be a huge boost to the struggling defense.
19. Los Angeles Chargers: Jerry Tillery, Defensive Tackle, Notre Dame
The Chargers have a very good defensive roster, but could make their line even more dangerous with the addition of an interior presence. Tillery has been an absolute force for the Irish this season and putting him next to Melvin Ingram or Joey Bosa would pay off big time.
20. Denver Broncos: Trey Adams, Offensive Tackle, Washington
The Broncos have a lot of promise from their 2018 rookie class. Royce Freeman, Bradley Chubb, Philip Lindsay and Courtland Sutton have all contributed enough to make the staff optimistic about the future. However, the team is in desperate need of protection on the offensive line. Trey Adams has been flying under the radar, but he is still a first round tackle prospect who could really help out in Denver.
21. Green Bay Packers: Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
The Packers may be one of the lead leaders in sacks, but they are still lacking a true threat at outside pass rusher. Clay Matthews is not his former self and Nick Perry has been quiet this season. Clelin Ferrell is a dynamic, athletic rusher who can destroy one on one-match ups. He would be a welcome addition to an emerging Packers defense.
22. Washington Football Team: Devin Bush, Linebacker, Michigan
Washington is enjoying a good season with Alex Smith at the helm of their offense. Despite few holes, the team could benefit from adding a speedy linebacker to their defense. Devin Bush is one of the nation’s more exciting defenders and could provide a sideline-to-sideline playmaker for Greg Manusky’s defense.
23. Baltimore Ravens: JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Wide Receiver, Stanford
The Ravens are enjoying an offensive renaissance this season with the addition of John Brown and Michael Crabtree. Despite the boost those two provide, they’re no doubt short-term options. Baltimore needs young pass catchers to set their offense up for when Lamar Jackson eventually takes over and JJ Arcega-Whiteside is exactly the type of playmaker who could be a quarterback’s best friend.
24. Tennessee Titans: Montez Sweat, EDGE Defender, Mississippi State
The Titans first season under Mike Vrabel is off to a strong start, but the team could use some help rushing the passer. Montez Sweat is an athletic pass rusher who can play standing up or with his hand in the ground. His versatility would be a huge plus for the Titans.
25. Carolina Panthers: Noah Fant, Tight End, Iowa
The Panthers have finally gotten into the habit of outfitting their offense with athletic pass catching options for Cam Newton to play with. As Greg Olsen gets older and more worn, the next step should be adding his replacement. Noah Fant is super athletic and could be a dangerous weapon in the middle of the field for the Panthers.
26. Oakland Raiders (From Chicago Bears) Byron Murphy, Cornerback, Washington
Oakland’s soft defensive remains the biggest impetus to them winning games. Washington continues to churn out defensive back prospects and Oakland should tap the pipeline for Byron Murphy. Murphy would bring needed length, physicality and ball skills to their young secondary.
27. Miami Dolphins Josh Allen, EDGE Defender, Kentucky
The Dolphins are a contender with Ryan Tannehill back and healthy, and their defense has played a big part in their early season success. However, adding a long term replacement for an aging Cam Wake should be an offseason priority. Josh Allen has been a force in the SEC for the last two seasons and the Dolphins should be thrilled to have him.
28. Jacksonville Jaguars: Ugochukwu Amadi, Safety, Oregon
The Jaguars don’t necessarily need help on defense, but upgrading a position on an already ferocious unit is never a bad thing. Tashaun Gipson is a fine free safety, but adding a rangy playmaker to the back end of the unit would make the defense impossible to pass on.
29. Green Bay Packers (From the Saints): Anthony Johnson, Wide Receiver, Buffalo
The Packers have a lot of solid pass catchers but no one truly game changing. Anthony Johnson has been a stud in Buffalo for the last few years and taking his talents to the great north would probably make Aaron Rodgers a happy camper.
30. Cincinnati Bengals: Amani Oruwariye, Cornerback, Penn State
The Bengals seem to always be investing in cornerbacks, but their passing defense remains susceptible to big plays. Amani Oruwariye has been a stalwart on the Nittany Lions defense and he could pair with William Jackson to give the Bengals a strong cornerback duo.
31. Kansas City Chiefs: Dre’Mont Jones, Defensive Tackle, Ohio State
The Chiefs offense has been breathtaking in their first four games with Pat Mahomes at the helm. However the defense has been as bad as Mahomes & Co. have been good. The Chiefs could stand to improve at any level of the defense and Dre’Mont Jones falling this far would be a steal for Bob Sutton.
32. Los Angeles Rams: Jalen Jelks, EDGE Defender, Oregon
It is hard to think of holes on the Rams roster. However, adding a true edge presence to a group of pass rushers that features Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh and Michael Brockers sounds too good to be true. Jalen Jelks ahs been a revelation for the Ducks and he would be an outstanding piece on the talented Rams offense.