(WKBW) — With only one week remaining ahead of the ever-so-crucial 2019 NFL Draft, the angling and crazy rumors are merely getting started. If you've been paying close enough attention, there has been plenty of movement in the media circles over the past three-to-four days.
How much can we believe? How much of it is a course correction that was true all along, and what part of it is simply rumor to benefit teams in the biggest poker game going in the NFL?
With seven days to go, my latest look at how the draft could shake out:
1) - QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
- There was a bit more discussion about this pick in the past week than there has been since the NFL Combine. However, the lack of a firm vote of confidence from either the head coach or the GM for Josh Rosen keeps Murray as the pick. Perhaps that's their way of trying to increase the market for Rosen to get a better pick, now that we're only a week out.
2) - EDGE Nick Bosa, Ohio State
- He and Dee Ford will make a tremendous one-two punch, and the 49ers suddenly have one of the most promising defensive fronts in the NFL. That, and a healthy Jimmy Garoppolo could be a scary combination. The 49ers could look to trade down, but without a rush for a quarterback, they might not see what they want out of a trade package -- unless the Raiders get involved.
3) - DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama
- I looked for ways for the Jets to get out of this pick and trade down, but truth be told, without a quarterback sitting there as motivation for a team to move up, I don't know that a team would surrender the value necessary to move up and take someone like Quinnen Williams. For instance, it would take Tampa Bay giving up their second-round pick just to skip ahead of Oakland based on the trade value chart. That's a non-starter to me when there's still a chance that they can get Ed Oliver. Trades become a little more realistic when you get outside of the top three. If they're filling their biggest need, Kentucky's Josh Allen is probably the pick here, but Jets GM Mike Maccagnan is known for staying true to the value, which could lead to Quinnen Williams becoming a bit of a hybrid strategy piece that can line up all over the line of scrimmage in their odd-man front.
4) - LB Devin White, LSU
- GM Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden are complete wild cards with this selection. I could see them moving up to two to go get Bosa. I could see them moving down because after their onslaught of four picks in the top 35, they don't have another selection until 106th overall. And I could see them going for a defensive tackle or a linebacker here, as well. However, with Quinnen Williams off the board, the Raiders go for Devin White -- considering the perceived drop-off at linebacker after him and Devin Bush is a substantial one.
5) - DT Ed Oliver, Houston
- If the Bills want Ed Oliver, they're going to have to have some trade talks with Tampa Bay -- just as they did last draft to move up to get Josh Allen. I think this is the jumping off point for Oliver. With Gerald McCoy likely heading elsewhere in the coming months, they need a high-impact interior pass rusher -- with Oliver coming in as a tremendous fit for that role. If the Bills wanted to move up to get Oliver at this spot, they'd have to get comfortable with the idea of surrendering their third-round pick in addition to some other draft assets -- which I think might be a bit too rich of an asking price for Bills GM Brandon Beane. Instead, the Buccaneers hold steady and take Oliver -- an impact player in this draft.
6) - QB Daniel Jones, Duke
- I'm as surprised as you about this pick. However, the Giants have kept alluding to a "plan" all along, and the rumblings of Jones going higher than everyone believes is gaining steam. At 17, with the way things are setting up, the Giants will be able to get a defensive lineman to add to the equation. They might not be able to get the quarterback they love there, considering the emphasis on the position. So, Daniel Jones in the top ten? Well, he is attending the draft, if that's any indication.
7) **TRADE (from JAX) - EDGE Josh Allen, Kentucky
- Oh, Thomas Dimitroff being aggressive on draft day? You don't say. Vic Beasley is entering the final year of his contract and hasn't had the same impact as his second season in the league. So, rather than banking on an uneven player to big money for the long-term, the Falcons move up to secure an edge rusher that suits their style perfectly, and that will be on a rookie deal for the next four seasons. The Jaguars can afford to wait on their draft needs, especially while adding an additional top-50 selection in the process.
Trade Details: Atlanta receives 7th overall and 109th overall. Jacksonville receives 14th overall, 45th overall and 137th overall.
8) - TE TJ Hockenson, Iowa
- I have a few rules when it comes to draft season, and one of them is simple. Trust the beat reporters that have been around the team for a long time. In the case of the Lions, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press has been all over the idea of Detroit taking a hard look at Hockenson with their first round pick. Matt Patricia knows full well what an impact tight end can do for an offense and a quarterback, and finding an all-around one like Hockenson isn't the easiest of feats. While the ghost of Eric Ebron still likely lingers in Detroit, that matters little to none with the new regime in town.
9) - OT Jonah Williams, Alabama
- I'll admit, this player has grown on me after going back and watching him a bit more, learning a bit more about who he is and how he would fit into the Bills' vision of what they want their young core to look like. By all means Williams has the game, the demeanor, the work ethic and the measurables to become the left tackle that the Bills hoped Dion Dawkins would become two years ago. If the Bills were to miss out on both of the top defensive tackles, I believe the pick then comes down to offensive tackle, defensive end and tight end. With respect to defensive end, the Bills could be in position to add one a bit later in the draft, so there might not be as much of a consideration there, though Montez Sweat would be tempting. With Hockenson off the board, this pick comes down to Williams versus Andre Dillard of Washington State in my eyes, and while I might prefer Dillard as a true to form left tackle, it's hard to ignore that all the traits that the Bills believe in -- both on and off-the-field -- are exhibited by Williams. And after all, this is the Bills' selection, not mine. Not to mention, they have an advanced scouting report on Williams in the form of offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. This again begs the question, what then becomes of Dion Dawkins? Do they believe that he can move inside to guard? Would he battle Ty Nsekhe for the starting right tackle job? Does Brandon Beane try to flip him for a mid-round pick? There are a few options on the table, but Dawkins would be even more 'on-alert' than he is now. Either way, they clearly weren't happy with Dawkins' progress in his second professional season at a key spot on their offensive line.
10) **TRADE (from DEN) - LB Devin Bush, Michigan
- Sensing that Devin Bush won't get to 20th overall, the drop-off at a major position of need for them and that if they don't act quickly he could wind up in the hands of their division rivals, the Steelers make the move up the board to secure him.
Trade Details: Pittsburgh receives 10th overall and 237th overall. Denver receives 20th overall, 66th overall and 83rd overall.
11) - OT Jawaan Taylor, Florida
- The Bengals signed Bobby Hart to a contract that indicates a fringe starter, and it's one that they can get out of following the 2019 season as well. With Taylor drifting outside of the top ten, the Bengals scoop him up while having the flexibility to either sit Taylor for one season, or if he's ready enough, to make him the starting right tackle -- which would push Bobby Hart to a reserve role.
12) - WR Hollywood Brown, Oklahoma
- I liked this pairing so much last time around, that I'm going to do it again. Aaron Rodgers gets what is likely to be an impact slot receiver as soon as he's back to full health from his foot injury.
13) **TRADE (from MIA) - QB Drew Lock, Missouri
- Same pairing, different draft slot -- and it makes too much sense for both sides. The 'needs' on the Chargers side of things are not enough to dissuade them from making a move for their future -- a move that they need to make sooner than later, because you don't know how many more years Philip Rivers will either want to keep playing, or continue playing at a similar level. By making the deal now, they'll head into the 2019 season as Super Bowl contenders, and with a vision for the future with a quarterback they believe in. For Miami, they add a critical piece to their rebuilding efforts -- an additional 2020 first-round selection. While it might be a late first-round selection, it could make all the difference in their ability to maneuver for the quarterback they covet in 2020 if they win one or two too many games.
Trade Details: Los Angeles Chargers receive 13th overall, 151st overall. Miami receives 28th overall, 91st overall and the LA Chargers 2020 first-round pick.
14) (from ATL) - OT Andre Dillard, Washington State
- Some temptation to take Noah Fant here, but the overriding factor is to protect Nick Foles at all cost considering his lack of mobility.
15) - QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
- Washington takes a gamble and holds firm to their pick, and wind up with a quarterback to build around in Dwayne Haskins.
16) - EDGE Montez Sweat, Mississippi State
- This is a huge win for Carolina in getting a much-needed boost to their edge rushing group, and Sweat will factor into the starting lineup almost immediately.
17) (from CLE) - DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson
- This is such a Dave Gettleman selection it hurts. Defensive line, interior rusher, high character -- all the boxes are ticked. They hoped Sweat would last one selection longer, but they're still happy with Wilkins.
18) G Cody Ford, Oklahoma
- If the Vikings don't come away with an offensive lineman in the first round, their fans might riot.
19) - TE Noah Fant, Iowa
- Some consideration to an edge rusher here, but they take advantage of Fant drifting down the board a bit more than expected, and hope he can become the versatile piece to the offense that can help get Marcus Mariota back on his once extremely-promising track.
20) (from PIT) - C Garrett Bradbury, NC State
- The Broncos are in need of a replacement for Matt Paradis, and this is the perfect player and value to do just that in the first round.
21) **TRADE (from SEA) - EDGE Brian Burns, Florida State
- A simple motivation for Seattle with this move, who have only four picks total in the 2019 NFL Draft and sense value in Burns being available a bit later than expected. The Chiefs hold three picks in the top 64, so moving their third and fifth-round picks to bring in a potential impact pass rusher to replace Dee Ford is worth it in their eyes.
Trade Details: Kansas City receives 21st overall and Seattle's 2020 sixth-round pick. Seattle receives 28th overall, 92nd overall and 167th overall.
22) - IOL Erik McCoy, Texas A&M
- They would have liked to get Burns, but helping Lamar Jackson and their running game evolve along the interior is high up on their laundry list as well. McCoy has the flexibility to play all along the interior, and likely steps into a starting role.
23) - G Chris Lindstrom, Boston College
- Some consideration for Tytus Howard at this spot, but GM Brian Gaine plays it "safe" by picking a guard who he knows will help the future of their franchise, Deshaun Watson, immediately.
24) (from CHI) - EDGE Rashan Gary, Michigan
- Surprise! Gary goes way later than you'd think in this mock draft, but has the traits that both Mayock and Gruden won't be able to ignore. Can he become the productive player that his talent shows he can be? Will playing beside his Michigan buddy Maurice Hurst help? At this point in the draft, the Raiders are hoping so.
25) - CB Rock Ya-Sin, Temple
- With Ronald Darby only on a one-year deal, the Eagles take the first corner off the board and make it a local guy from their backyard at Temple.
26) - EDGE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson
- With Justin Houston and Jabaal Sheard as their primary pass rushers, they infuse some youth into the position with a player that could have went a lot higher had it not been for the talent at his position this year.
27) (from DAL) - CB Greedy Williams, LSU
- The trend for the Raiders' three first round picks? All three are defenders, and ones they hope start immediately to revamp their woeful defense.
28) (from LAC) - DT Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State
- What better way to echo that 2020 is their year to bring it back around than to take a highly-talented player that's coming off an injury, and one that likely won't be ready until that season, is there? The haul, as far as 2020 is concerned, is already looking quite prominent for the Dolphins.
29) (from KC) - CB Byron Murphy, Washington
- Now that the future of Russell Wilson is settled, it's time to rebuild the core with players that can bring them back to the heights they know Wilson is capable of -- becoming a Super Bowl contender once again.
30) (from NO) - T/G Dalton Risner, Kansas State
- He's likely to be more of a guard in this case, since that's where the need is for the Packers.
31) - OT Tytus Howard, Alabama State
- Drafting Howard gives the Rams a replacement for Andrew Whitworth when he decides to retire, and it gives a year of seasoning to Howard from a great player. The young offensive tackle is raw with loads of potential, and the Rams bet that they can get him to the level of play that he's capable of -- while hoping that he outperforms his draft slot.
32) - WR DK Metcalf, Ole Miss
- The addition of Demaryius Thomas doesn't make any difference to me with this pairing. If anything, it helps Metcalf by being able to work with Thomas -- a similarly built player. Metcalf needs to refine his route running to become more of a deceptive player, but the potential is hard to ignore.
33) - S Juan Thornhill, Virginia
34) (from NYJ) - WR AJ Brown, Ole Miss
35) - RB Josh Jacobs, Alabama
36) - WR Hakeem Butler, Iowa State
37) - EDGE LJ Collier, TCU
38) - TE Irv Smith, Jr., Alabama
39) - CB Deandre Baker, Georgia
40) - EDGE Jaylon Ferguson, Louisiana Tech
- I'm fully understanding of the fact that this is not a popular pick amongst Bills fans. Jaylon Ferguson, due to him slipping on three-cone drill after three-cone drill at his pro day, put up a horrendous time that has drawn cackles all throughout #DraftTwitter. Because of it, Ferguson is one of a handful of guys in this draft where, no matter what argument you provide, he's deemed a "horrible pick." However, I don't think that same court of opinion prevented the Bills from drafting Josh Allen last year, now did it? Even though I know I'm effectively screaming into a pillow, I'll make the case for why Ferguson makes a ton of sense for the Bills. First, I'd encourage you to watch him play. Simple, I know, but when you watch him you'll see a highly-productive impact pass rusher working off both the left and right side of the defensive line, so there's versatility. Here, I made it easy for you -- and take a look at the competition if you want to make the argument that he didn't play against anyone:
Turning the corner:
Change of direction and athleticism:
The talent is there. Is the athleticism ideal and where you want it to be? No, but I also think that three-cone time that everyone rides him for could also be a product of slipping on as many attempts in a row as he did. You factor in the slips, of course, but I don't think that's a true representation of him. You also have to remember that you're not going to get a perfect player at 40th overall. Ferguson has everything the Bills want from a height (6-foot-5), weight (271-pounds), length (34 1/2-inch long arms) and production standpoint, and he would immediately get into the defensive end rotation with starting potential. He puts pressure on the opposing quarterback, which is something the Bills lacked to a grand degree last year outside of Jerry Hughes. I think he's going to go a lot higher in the draft than people think, and as long as the Bills can get past his 2015 off-the-field issue, I wouldn't doubt whatsoever that he's in the discussion for their pick at 40th overall. The Bills are going to invest in their pass rush in this draft, because this regime has yet to do so at any point over the last two drafts.
41) - WR Deebo Samuel, South Carolina
42) - LB Mack Wilson, Alabama
43) - CB Lonnie Johnson, Kentucky
44) - S Nasir Adderley, Delaware
45) (from ATL) - WR N'Keal Harry, Arizona State
46) - WR Parris Campbell, Ohio State
47) - CB Justin Layne, Michigan State
48) - OT Kaleb McGary, Washington
49) - S Johnathan Abram, Mississippi State
50) - DT Dre'Mont Jones, Ohio State
51) - EDGE Jachai Polite, Florida
52) - EDGE Chase Winovich, Michigan
53) (from BAL) - LB Jahlani Tavai, Hawai'i
54) (from SEA) - OT Greg Little, Ole Miss
55) - CB Julian Love, Notre Dame
56) (from CHI) - DT Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame
57) - RB Miles Sanders, Penn State
58) - S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Florida
59) - CB Amani Oruwariye, Penn State
60) - DT Dexter Lawrence, Clemson
61) - CB Sean Bunting, Central Michigan
62) - C Elgton Jenkins, Mississippi State
63) (from LAR) - LB Germaine Pratt, NC State
64) - TE Kahale Warring, San Diego State
65) - G Nate Davis, Charlotte
66) (from OAK via PIT) - QB Will Grier, West Virginia
67) - S Taylor Rapp, Washington
68) - EDGE D'Andre Walker, Georgia
69) - RB Damien Harris, Alabama
70) - Darnell Savage, Maryland
forfeited pick, used in 2018 NFL Supplemental Draft
71) - TE Dawson Knox, Ole Miss
72) - DT Rennell Wren, Arizona State
73) (from DET) - IOL Connor McGovern, Penn State
74) - CB Joejuan Williams, Vanderbilt
- I considered a wide receiver here as well, but by the end of it, the value of Joejuan Williams and how well he fits the scheme might be too tempting to pass up for the Bills. While it's true that they have a few cooks in the kitchen at cornerback, the starting spot opposite Tre'Davious White is still in question. The moves to sign both Kevin Johnson and EJ Gaines showed me that as solid as Levi Wallace was last season, they aren't settled at that position. The pick of a cornerback at this spot is more about value above all else. Williams, to a T, is Sean McDermott's style of cornerback. He's huge for the position at 6-foot-3 and 5/8, 211 pounds, and has the long arms that the head coach yearns for in his cornerbacks. Williams is a strong tackler which is a prerequisite of the job, he moves really well for a cornerback his size and he has long-term starting potential -- which is what you're looking for in the third round. If the Bills are anything like how the Carolina Panthers were built, they don't believe in breaking the bank for cornerbacks, rather believing in their scouting and coaching to develop players to spend the money elsewhere. Tre'Davious White has three years remaining on his rookie contract (with the fifth-year option), so having another starting-caliber player in place should White exit after that time, is always a good business practice. And if Williams develops like he has the potential to, then the Bills could have one of the better starting cornerback duos in the NFL on their hands. As for the offensive side of the ball, the way this draft is setting up, the Bills should be able to get two skill players in a talent-rich fourth round, whether it be at running back, wide receiver, or tight end. I think that could be the sweet spot for them with those three positions.
So what about defensive tackle for the Bills?
- If the draft shakes out this way and they can't get a three-technique defensive tackle in the first two or three rounds, I would not at all be surprised to see the Bills make a move for Tampa Bay's Gerald McCoy. They have the cap room, they have the spot on the roster for it, and they can walk away from his deal whenever they want to. As long as the cost isn't extreme, I'm thinking a pick or two from rounds five through seven, then I could see the Bills being extremely motivated to add someone like McCoy as a short-term solution. Not only would he be an upgrade and a starter right away, but his effect on the locker room as another leader might be too good to pass up for McDermott and Beane. So, if they strike out on getting a defensive tackle in the first two days of the draft -- or the value is just never worth it, keep your eyes out for the Bills seeing what it will cost for McCoy.