On our path to the draft, here’s the post-free agency and post-pro day edition of the mock draft 3.0 from D. Orlando Ledbetter, our Atlanta Falcons beat writer.
Falcons coach Dan Quinn shed some light on how the team is evaluating offensive linemen when he spoke at the NFL meeting in Phoenix on Tuesday.
He discussed how free agents James Carpenter (321 pounds) and Jamon Brown (340 pounds) were bigger offensive linemen, who could move and noted that their size wouldn’t preclude them from functioning in the Falcons’ outside zone system.
He also noted that the team was tweaking the rushing attack and that tight ends coach Mike Mularkey, who’s a noted power run-game proponent, is playing a key role.
Basically, Quinn is tired of getting cute on third-and-1 and plans to add some power to the offense.
This is important when determining who the Falcons are going in the draft with the 14th pick. The draft is set for April 25-27 in Nashville.
Under the traditional wide-zone scheme, 340-pound linemen were considered too big. That was one reason why the team moved away from Justin Blalock, after 125 straight starts, in 2015.
It’s also the reason why we didn’t put much stock in the Falcons drafting Oklahoma’s Cody Ford, until now. He’s 6-foot-4 and 338 pounds.
In the previous mock we wrote: “Some have him going to the Falcons, but he’s too big to be an outside-zone scheme guy.”
With the new information from Quinn, that is no longer the case. Ford would give the Falcons a blue-chip guard and potential future Pro Bowler.
While Carpenter and Brown have combined to play in 135 NFL games, neither has reached Pro Bowl status in the league.
While they are upgrades, they don’t appear ready to blaze a trail to Canton.
Ford, who has played tackle and guard for the Sooners, is a mauler in the run game. ESPN analyst Mel Kiper has him going to the Chargers with the 27th pick in his latest mock draft.
"My style of play is to get the job done no matter what it takes,” Ford said. “My mentality going into every game, every play is to finish everybody in front of me."
Ford is open to playing guard in the NFL.
"Personally, I feel better on the outside,” Ford said. “But talking to teams throughout the (combine) week it has pretty much been, 'Can we use you everywhere?' I'm alright with that."
Also, the big draft news out of the league meeting was that Arizona is planning to trade Josh Rosen and that they are three suitors in the Giants, Patriots and Chargers, according to Fox Sports analyst Joel Klatt.
That changes the top of the mock draft with former Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray going No. 1 overall to the Cardinals.
Here’s how the rest of the first round will shake out:
2019 NFL Draft Order
1. Arizona Cardinals (3-13) – Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma: Murray can’t escape the comparison to former Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield. “Bake’s success would be his success,” Murray said. “He did come from Oklahoma. That’s my guy. I wish him success, obviously. But again, I’ve got (to) do my thing. I’ve got (to) prove myself at this level.”
2. San Francisco 49ers (4-12) – Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama: 49ers general manager John Lynch has said they are taking the best player available. That’s Williams. Williams dazzled at the combine with a 4.83 time in the 40-yard dash. He didn’t bench press at the combine or at his Pro Day after having hand surgery. Williams was asked at the combine who had the toughest offensive line he faced last season. “Probably the Georgia offensive line,” Williams said.
3. New York Jets (4-12) – Josh Allen, DE, Kentucky: Allen caught the NFL’s attention by getting 17 sacks for the Wildcats last season. Allen had 21.5 tackles for losses last season.
4. Oakland Raiders (4-12) – Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State: The Raiders replace Khalil Mack with this pick in order to try to revive their pass rush. “You can make an argument that (the top player in the draft) is Nick Bosa, Quinnen Williams and Josh Allen, any one of those three you could argue are the best players in the draft,” Kiper said.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11) – Ed Oliver, DT, Houston: The folks in Tampa Bay are saying their good byes to Gerald McCoy. They’ll have a chance to replace him with Oliver. They can figure out how to replace linebacker Kwon Alexander later, but will be tempted to select Devin White in this slot, too. Oliver crushed his Pro Day. He was triple-teamed most of the season and still made a bushel of plays in the backfield.
6. New York Giants (5-11) – Devin White, LB, LSU: The Giants are going to pass on Dwayne Haskins and pick the latest speedy linebacker to come out of LSU in the Deion Jones mold.. “I’m a big Devin White fan,” Kiper said.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11) – Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida: He made 33 starts for the Gators and will be the first lineman taken in the draft.
8. Detroit Lions (6-10) – Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State: Sweat, who played at Stephenson High, is expected to be the first player from Georgia selected in the draft. He ran a ridiculous 4.41 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the combine. He started his career at Michigan State before transferring to junior college and resurfacing at Mississippi State. “I watch a lot of pass-rushers,” Sweat said when asked who he models his game after. “I think old-time pass-rushers like Jason Taylor has a lot of my skill set. He’s long, he’s fast. I watch him a lot.” The Lions have to replace Ziggy Ansah.
9. Buffalo Bills (6-10) – Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan: He’s 6-6 and 283 pounds. He can play end and slide down inside to tackle. “Rashad Gary is an enigma,” Kiper said. “You expect more than 10 sacks in a career for a guy with that kind of talent. You expect 20-plus career sacks with that kind of talent and you didn’t get it. Will the scheme allow him to get turned it loose in the NFL? Will that allow him to be productive as a pro than he was in college. That’s a roll of the dice.”
10. Denver Broncos (6-10) – Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State: The classic dropback passer would be the heir apparent to Joe Flacco. “I felt I was ready to be an NFL quarterback,” Haskins said about leaving Ohio State early. “I was pro ready and thought I showed what I needed to show on film to make that jump.”
11. Cincinnati Bengals (6-10) – Devin Bush, LB, Michigan: An active sideline-to-sideline player who’d add some teeth to the Bengals’ defense and help replace Vontaze Burfict. “I’m a tough player,” Bush said. “I play hard, and my film speaks for itself.”
12. Green Bay Packers (6-9-1) – Noah Fant, TE, Iowa: Fant ran the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds.
13. Miami Dolphins (7-9) — Drew Lock, QB, Missouri: The Dolphins decided to get Lock and have him learn under Ryan Fitzpatrick. “One of the best things I do is I’m able to make plays out of the pocket,” Lock said. “I’m not just the typical guy that’s going to stand in there and take shots. I want to be able to get out of the pocket when the pocket breaks down. I’m going to be a little more athletic than some people would peg me as in some of the (combine) drills.”
14. Atlanta Falcons (7-9) – Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma: He’s 6-4, 338 pounds and will help the running game. While the guards they signed are upgrades, neither has elite skills. Ford has a chance to blossom into a great one.
15. Washington Redskins (7-9) – D.K. Metcalf, Mississippi: Redskins can pass on a quarterback and get West Virginia’s Will Grier in the second round. Metcalf was the star of the combine, but projects as a one-trick pony. He can only run very fast in a straight line. His three-cone (change of direction) times were weak. He is the grandson of the great Terry Metcalf and nephew of Eric Metcalf, who both starred in the NFL. His dad, Terrence Metcalf, also played in the NFL with the Bears from 2002-08.
16. Carolina Panthers (7-9) – Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson: The Panthers need a replacement for Julius Peppers on defense. Ferrell can get after the quarterback. He had 21 sacks at Clemson and has the prototypical size at 6-5 and 265 pounds for a 4-3 defensive end.
17. New York Giants (5-11) (from Cleveland Browns) – Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware: The replacement for Landon Collins, Adderley had a strong Senior Bowl performance. He’s a cousin of Pro Football Hall of Famer Herb Adderley. “I talk to him all the time,” Adderley said of his famous cousin. “Actually, I just texted him right before I got (to Indianapolis), and he's just extremely excited for me and so supportive. It was a blessing to have him in my corner."
18. Minnesota Vikings (8-7-1) – Jonah Williams, OL, Alabama: Versatile lineman who could be a perennial Pro Bowl guard at the next level. He was short with the media at his pro day. He’s probably getting tired of the guard questions.
19. Tennessee Titans (9-7) – Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson: He’ll have to explain his suspension from the playoffs for using performance-enhancing drugs. The Titans are looking to upgrade the defense after speeding on offense in free agency.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-6-1) – Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia: Baker won the Jim Thorpe Award — given to the top defensive back in college football — as a senior. Baker bypassed the Sugar Bowl to start preparing for the combine. He can play opposite of last year’s fourth overall pick Denzel Ward.
21. Seattle Seahawks (10-6) – Garrett Bradbury, C, N.C. State: Bradbury was the Dave Rimington Award winner, which goes to the nation’s top center.
22. Baltimore Ravens (10-6) – T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa: He’s 6-5 and 250 pounds. He can run routes and projects well as an in-line blocker.
23. Houston Texans (11-5) – Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson: His physical style of play would fit nicely with the Texans, who released former first-round pick Kevin Johnson.
24. Oakland Raiders (4-12) (from Chicago Bears) – N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State: A big and physical receiver. He’d be a big target (6-2, 228 pounds) to go along with Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.53 seconds and lifted 225 pounds 27 times on the bench press..
25. Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) – Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson: At 6-4 and 312 pounds, he was a disruptive force for the Tigers. “He’s the most disruptive player (of the Clemson defensive line players),” Jeremiah said. “He gets caught in the run game sometimes. You’ll see him get washed and flat-backed. You just have to stomach some of that. It’s going to happen.”
26. Indianapolis Colts (10-6) – Byron Murphy, CB, Washington: Is the latest in the line of strong corners from Washington that was started with Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant followed by Marcus Peters and Kevin King. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.55 seconds.
27. Oakland Raiders (4-12) (from Dallas Cowboys) – Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama: Jacobs was dazzling at times last season for the Crimson Tide. “His attempts, his carries for his career, his yards for his career are basically like one season for a lot of running backs, which means he’s got a lot of tread left on the tires,” Kiper said. “He hasn’t been beaten up. He waited his turn.”
28. Los Angeles Chargers (12-4) – Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State: Started his career at Georgia before transferring to play at his home-state school. He visited with the Falcons. His stock is rising after a strong combine. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds and has range.
“I just loved his tape,” Kiper said. “He’s 5-11 and half, 211 pounds, he ran 4.45. He can be in the box. He’s a guy who can make plays down the field. He’s got tremendous range. Real good instincts. Great blitzer. I just think he’s one of the best 20 to 25 football players in this draft.”
29. Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) – Andre Dilliard, OT, Washington State: The Chiefs need to re-stock the offensive line.
30. Green Bay Packers (6-9-1) (from New Orleans Saints) – Terry McLaurin, WR, Ohio State: He’s a speedster. Ran the 40-yard dash in 4.35 seconds at the combine.
31. Los Angeles Rams (13-3) – Rock Ya Sin, CB, Temple: The former standout at Presbyterian and Southwest DeKalb High has been climbing up the draft boards. Teams like his toughness and agility. “He’s got great athletic ability,” Kiper said. “He’s got real good feet. Smooth hips. He almost had a 40 (inch) vertical (jump). He’ll support the run. He gets interceptions.” Played for new Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins at Temple.
32. New England Patriots (11-5) – Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabama. The Patriots have to get a replacement for Rob Gronkowski, who announced his retirement.
ON THE FRINGE: Players who dropped out of Mocks 1.0 and 2.0:
Greedy Williams, CB, LSU: He’s long and fast, but his tape doesn’t show that he’s a willing tackler. The Steelers will believe they can remedy his tackling issues. “Sometimes you can miss a tackle here or there, but he hasn’t been interested,” NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said. “Hanging on blocks and not really making an effort at times.”
Tyree Jackson, QB, Buffalo: Has a big arm.
Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma: Had Lisfranc surgery on his foot and did not take part in the combine. He’s expected to be ready for training camp.
Daniel Jones, QB, Duke: Mechanics are sound. Well-trained. Arm didn’t look special during first quarterback session at the combine. He’ll be a value pick for the future.
Jachai Polite, LB, Florida: A speedy run-and-hit linebacker who can cover backs out of the backfield. Had bad interviews.
A.J. Brown, WR, Mississippi: Has first-round talent at a position that under-valued.
Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia: Younger brother of Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley. Ran a slow 4.58 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Calvin Ridley ran a 4.43 seconds last season to secure a spot in the first round.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism. AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.
With the largest team in the state, the AJC reports what’s really going on with your tax dollars and your elected officials. Subscribe today. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.
Your subscription to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.