Mock season is upon us- with only about a month and a half until this year’s draft and free agency about to heat up, it’s a good time to look at some of the top prospects and team needs in round 1, and where teams might go with their first picks.
1. Arizona Cardinals: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Nick Bosa, going into this past college season, was seen as a no doubt 1st overall pick. His brother, Joey, has shown to be one of the most productive and dominant edge rushers/defensive linemen in the league- and from all accounts, he was projected to be the better of the two brothers. Despite a groin injury that ended his season (and Ohio State career) early, and despite the recent speculation that Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray has drawn interest from Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury, I believe the Cardinals will make the safe pick here and go with Bosa to develop their defensive line. It is too early to give up on Josh Rosen after one season, and for a coach in his first year, it will likely be smarter to go with the sure bet.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama
Williams was a monster in college football last year- playing at all positions on the defensive line- 71 tackles and 8 sacks while often fighting through double and even triple teams. The Niners, who already have crucial skill positions like QB and RB set, will go with the best player available here and take Williams as they head into a season where they will have expectations for the first time in years.
3. New York Jets: Josh Allen, DE, Kentucky
Josh Allen was one of the most dominant players, and arguably the best individual, player in college last year, and only was overshadowed due to the fact that he played at Kentucky and not a powerhouse like Alabama or Clemson, meaning he came into the season somewhat overlooked, but left the season with 17 sacks, leading the SEC, and winning SEC Defensive Player of the Year. Any team would be lucky to have a player like this and at 3rd, this is a good value pick for the Jets to pair with Jamal Adams for a defense.
4. Oakland Raiders: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Miss. St
The Raiders, fresh off their huge trade for Antonio Brown, have a solid offensive setup. Derek Carr, a former pro bowler, Brown, arguably the best receiver in the game, a solid TE in Jared Cook, and Jalen Richard who had a good season at RB. Their worst-ranked defense, though, has a lot of work to do, and the Raiders, for this reason, continue the run of D-linemen and take Jeffery Simmons, a dominant defensive tackle out of Mississippi State. Simmons can stuff the run and attack the QB, and can be a piece for the Raiders to rebuild their defense after losing Khalil Mack last year.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
With Bruce Arians coming in and appearing ready to give Jameis Winston a shot at continuing to be the franchise QB for the Bucs, I think we will see them go protection and take one of the most athletic tackles in this year’s draft- Andre Dillard.
Check back in later this week for part 2 of this series, which will be picks 6-15!