The talking goes on, there’s endless speculation about whether the unthinkable might actually happen and what happens next if it does, and there’s not long until the clock finally runs out.
But enough about Brexit. Let’s talk about the NFL Draft, where precisely the same situation is happening with the Kyler Murray/Arizona Cardinals connection. The unthinkable becomes the expected, whether you think it makes sense or not (with reasonable people disagreeing in each instance), but there’s a dizzying number of possibilities surrounding not just if it happens, but how.
I’ve done mocks with and without Murray going to Arizona at 1, but since then there has been even more reporting to suggest it’s happening.
1) Arizona Cardinals – Kyler Murray (QB, Oklahoma)
So let’s say it’s happening. What becomes of Josh Rosen? The Cardinals would presumably try and trade him, and there are reports that a team has offered a second-rounder for him while the Cards are holding out for a first.
Let’s split the difference, and say the Cards do get a first… ish.
TRADE: New England Patriots trade pick #32 to Arizona Cardinals for pick #103 and QB Josh Rosen
That gives the Patriots a plausible successor for Tom Brady, as well as injury cover in case his body finally breaks down this year; honestly, the latter alone might make this worth it for the Pats. They also get the first pick of day 3 of the draft, which could be a prime trade-down spot if someone wants to move up for someone who was never meant to fall that far, while the Cards get back-to-back picks at 32 and 33 which are also both prime trade destinations. (33 works the same way as 103 but for day 2, and 32 has been a trade-up spot for teams seeking a QB on a five-year rookie contract twice in the last five years.)
This trade probably takes place pre-draft, so Rosen can get in the Patriots building during OTAs.
And now, the rest of the draft.
2) San Francisco 49ers – Nick Bosa (EDGE, Ohio State)
Best player in the draft goes to a divisional rival of the team who had the #1 pick. If he lives up to expectations (and his brother) and Murray is a bust, Kliff Kingsbury will go down as a 49ers legend despite never being involved with the team.
3) New York Jets – Josh Allen (EDGE, Kentucky)
With the Jets still smarting from being spurned by Anthony Barr, it makes sense that they’d use this pick on someone who might be deluxe Anthony Barr anyway.
4) Oakland Raiders – Quinnen Williams (DT, Alabama)
You think Jon Gruden likes athletic linemen? Quinnen Williams ran a 4.83 40 at 303 pounds. Now that’s athletic. Plus, the tape will surely come Mayock-approved.
TRADE: Tampa Bay Buccaneers trade pick #5 to Cincinnati Bengals for pick #11 and 2020 first-round pick
5) Cincinnati Bengals (from Tampa Bay Buccaneers) – Dwayne Haskins (QB, Ohio State)
This is the third trade up for Haskins I have mocked, and the third different one. Consider this a statement that I think someone trades up for Haskins but have no clue who’s on either end of the trade.
I’ve mocked Tampa moving down and Cincy moving up, but not together until now. In this instance the motivation is getting ahead of the Giants – may or may not be necessary – and by getting compensation in the form of a 2020 first-rounder, the Bucs will be in position to make their move up for their quarterback in the 2020 class if they feel the need to move on from their crab-snatching incumbent.
I wouldn’t totally rule out the Bucs taking Haskins themselves, to be honest.
6) New York Giants – Devin White (LB, LSU)
Gettleman’s already ignored positional value to take an awesome talent once, why not a second time? Besides, his Panthers defense was built in large part around having awesome talent at off-ball linebacker.
7) Jacksonville Jaguars – T.J. Hockenson (TE, Iowa)
Speaking of taking talent over positional value, here’s Hockenson in the top ten. If the logic behind this pick is giving Nick Foles the best possible situation to succeed, adding Hockenson delivers with his ability as both blocker and receiver. The entire offense works better with him on the team.
TRADE: Detroit Lions trade pick #8 to Tennessee Titans for pick #19, pick #51, and 2020 second-round pick
8) Tennessee Titans (from Detroit Lions) – Montez Sweat (EDGE, Mississippi State)
The Titans can tell themselves with some kind of plausibility that what their roster needs above all is one more big-time piece at a position of need. Sweat could be that piece, edge rusher (opposite Harold Landry) is certainly a position of need, and the Lions would be a logical trade partner for a move like this because they genuinely feel like a total mystery in this draft.
9) Buffalo Bills – Ed Oliver (DT, Houston)
Hilariously miscast as a two-gap nose tackle with the Cougars, Oliver is exponentially more valuable in the NFL on a team that asks defensive linemen to attack upfield instead of eating double-teams. Sean McDermott’s Bills are one of those teams.
10) Denver Broncos – Garrett Bradbury (C, NC State)
And another case of ignoring positional value to take a stud at a low-value position! To be fair, though, when you’re talking about a team led by Joe Flacco, maybe the interior offensive line isn’t a low-value position after all.
11) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from Cincinnati Bengals) – Greedy Williams (CB, LSU)
“Greedy Williams is getting overdrafted because he’s a size-speed specimen” is the hill I am dying on this draft season.
12) Green Bay Packers – Jawaan Taylor (OT, Florida)
This could have been Brian Burns, but they paid the GDP of a small country to two edge rushers who are not as good as Brian Burns.
Never mind, Taylor is an excellent future Bryan Bulaga replacement to help Aaron Rodgers potentially play deep into the 2020s.
TRADE: Miami Dolphins trade pick #13 to Oakland Raiders for pick #27 and pick #35
13) Oakland Raiders (from Miami Dolphins) – Brian Burns (EDGE, Florida State)
This would mean the Raiders don’t miss out on an immensely athletic edge rusher just because they got Quinnen Williams at 4. The Dolphins would rather have more picks anyway, and the Raiders would still have the 24th pick.
14) Atlanta Falcons – Rashan Gary (DE, Michigan)
In the context of landing in Atlanta, Gary might even be seen as a one-gap DT to plug in alongside Grady Jarrett, as well as a defensive end. He’s a high-ceiling option either way, and it’s easy to imagine Dan Quinn relishing the chance to unlock that potential.
15) Washington – Drew Lock (QB, Missouri)
Alex Smith may never play again. Colt McCoy was seen on crutches this offseason. Case Keenum is an upgrade on both in the sense that he has two working legs, and that may be it. Could Lock land here? Of course he could land here.
16) Carolina Panthers – Andre Dillard (OT, Washington State)
The second time I’ve put Dillard here. The edgy bit here is that I’ve put him above Jonah Williams, but hyper-athletic tackles get taken high on pure potential all the time.
17) New York Giants (from Cleveland Browns) – Jonah Williams (OT/G, Alabama)
The Giants won’t mind the value here though. The only question about this fit is which position the Crimson Tide product would upgrade on the Big Blue line.
18) Minnesota Vikings – Cody Ford (OT/G, Oklahoma)
Houston, you have a problem.
19) Detroit Lions – D.K. Metcalf (WR, Mississippi)
The positional streaks in this mock mean the Lions’ big trade down doesn’t stop them from getting one of the highest-upside prospects of the draft.
Metcalf might be a one-trick pony, but that one trick terrifies defensive backs and their coordinators alike. There would be no excuses for Matthew Stafford if he failed in 2019, and plenty of opportunities for the Lions to go get his replacement seeing as they’d have an extra 2020 second-round pick in this situation.
20) Pittsburgh Steelers – Devin Bush (LB, Michigan)
Maybe… some day… the Steelers might actually take good defensive prospects, rather than athletic ones?
Helpfully, Bush is both.
TRADE: Seattle Seahawks trade pick #21 to Indianapolis Colts for pick #26 and pick #89
21) Indianapolis Colts (from Seattle Seahawks) – Christian Wilkins (DT, Clemson)
The Colts have a surplus of picks, so why not use a couple to trade with a brutally pick-light team to catch a falling star? At a position of need, too.
22) Baltimore Ravens – Marquise Brown (WR, Oklahoma)
The Ravens lived by the Lamarball sword and died by the Lamarball sword last year. Their remarkably ground-heavy approach is inevitably going to lure defenders closer to the line if it’s even halfway retained in 2019, and the logic behind this pick is to send a message that every time a defense does that, they’re at risk of conceding six points to a deep shot. He likely wouldn’t light up the stat sheet, but just his threat could transform the offense.
23) Houston Texans – Dalton Risner (OT, Kansas State)
The Texans, in this scenario, might be left wishing they’d traded up. But Risner may not be a bad consolation prize, and would still be an upgrade on that line. There is no excuse for this team picking at literally any other position.
24) Oakland Raiders (from Chicago Bears) – Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (S/CB, Florida)
This team’s list of defensive needs is “yes.” Is it a position on the defense? It’s a need. Gardner-Johnson has proven his ability to play all over the back end of a defense, it’s just a matter of which current Raider he’s considered the best upgrade on.
25) Philadelphia Eagles – Nasir Adderley (S, Delaware)
The previous pick adds some urgency to this one. Adderley is the best deep safety in the draft, and with CGJ gone it’s not close.
TRADE: Seattle Seahawks trade pick #26 to Green Bay Packers for pick #30 and pick #114
26) Green Bay Packers (from Indianapolis Colts via Seattle Seahawks) – Noah Fant (TE, Iowa)
Fant is tremendous value outside the top 25 and might look even more of a steal in a world where Hockenson goes as high as he does here. The Packers have Jimmy Graham for one more year, and Fant is a great addition at this point at a position where – as anyone who’s played enough fantasy knows – rookies tend to struggle.
27) Miami Dolphins (from Dallas Cowboys via Oakland Raiders) – Dexter Lawrence (DT, Clemson)
Either of the first-round Clemson defensive linemen still on the board – Lawrence or Clelin Ferrell – would be a nice value and need combo here. Lawrence makes more sense though because Ferrell is a high-floor, low-ceiling pick who’s likely closer to the finished article, and that wouldn’t make him a good fit for the #FishTank.
28) Los Angeles Chargers – Jerry Tillery (DT, Notre Dame)
This is a pretty wretched board for the Chargers, with so many linemen and both quality safeties gone. Tillery is inconsistent, but he flashes devastating ability and could make big plays on a team with several more obvious threats on the defensive side of the ball.
29) Kansas City Chiefs – Erik McCoy (C, Texas A&M)
This is about the least “sexy” pick you will get, but this is a team that needs to replace Mitch Morse, and McCoy has faced off against some of the best defensive linemen in recent college history – several of them amongst the 28 names off the board earlier here – and held his ground just fine. Plug-and-play starter on a win-now team at 29? Yes please.
30) Seattle Seahawks (from New Orleans Saints via Green Bay Packers) – Jeffery Simmons (DT, Mississippi State)
Having traded down twice to restock the pick cabinet a bit, John Schneider can now indulge more readily in one of his most beloved pastimes – using a high draft pick on a big defensive lineman with big talent and big character concerns.
31) Los Angeles Rams – Chris Lindstrom (G/OT, Boston College)
Multi-positional O-line help with a background in using his mobility to help a diverse and dynamic run game. Like Simmons, the second time I’ve mocked this fit.
32) Arizona Cardinals (from New England Patriots) – Clelin Ferrell (EDGE, Clemson)
Maybe some sucker (read: the Giants) might trade up for Daniel Jones or Will Grier in this scenario. For now, we’ll say they don’t. Teams normally use their next pick after taking a QB at 1 on offensive help of some kind, but Ferrell is too good to pass up at this juncture, and the fifth-year option carries some bonus value at a high-dollar position.
Offensive help could be added at 33 instead, maybe one of the diverse WR options still on the board here.