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Peter King Mock Draft - today 4/22

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G-Dawg comments:  Peter King is a very plugged in NFL reporter that had been the staple football reporter for Sports Illustrated and the writer of MMQB article every Monday for decades - King has tremendous sources and knows all the front offices - regardless, it's just a mock - but with some intel behind it.    King correctly projected 3 days before the draft 8 years ago that Falcons were brewing/stewing on a trade-up for either AJ Green or Julio Jones and then wrote the tell-all after the fact on how it all went down.   Falcons first preference/choice was actually AJ Green but the Bengals didn't want to trade out of #4 overall and selected Green for themselves.   As a Dawg fan, I loved AJ, but we got lucky there as Julio is having the better career.

Anyway, here's his draft and there is no trade prediction in it - which will please most of you.  Keep in mind, King only publishes one mock per year a few days prior to the draft and it is under his best guess given the things he is hearing around the league - not what he thinks the teams should do.   Given that the Falcons have been so connected w/ Ed Oliver, that the NY Jets have been hinted at "dying to get out of the #3 pick" - and now all of a sudden Ed Oliver is "their guy" - color me suspicious - that Jets are taking Oliver - maybe they are just trying to tempt Dimitroff to move up to #3.   I don't see it though - and if we did move up to #3, it would have to be for Quinnen Williams who is just a cleaner evaluation on and off the field - and also has the prototypical size without sacrificing speed.

Without further ado, here is his draft.

FMIA Mock Draft: Four Trades, Four QBs and the 2019 No. 1 Pick Will Be…

by Peter King, NBC - Monday, April 22, 2019

Interesting mock draft dropped Sunday morning in the Los Angeles Times. The paper’s redoubtable NFL beat man, Sam Farmer, had his annual sportswriter mock draft—he’s done it for 10 years—in which he asks longtime NFL writers he trusts in the franchise cities to make the pick of the team they cover. Kent Somers, now a sports columnist for the Arizona Republic, but a long-time Cards beat guy before that, knows the franchise very well.

This was Somers’ pick, and his explanation to Farmer:

Arizona: DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama. The Cardinals like Josh Rosen, and I don’t see them taking a quarterback in the first round two years in a row. They need help on the defensive line and Williams would immediately provide that. GM Steve Keim has made some mistakes in the first round by taking guys who weren’t that passionate about football (Jonathan Cooper, Robert Nkemdiche). So I can see them taking Williams.”

Interesting … and though I’m going to disagree with Somers in my projection, swept along with the Kyler Murray tidal wave, I do think there’s a good rationale for trading down or taking another player. Rosen can be 25 percent better in 2019 with Kliff Kingsbury coaching him than he was last year as a green rookie who was handed a new coordinator in mid-season. The Cardinals have done a good job in shutting up since it was reported at the combine seven weeks ago that Kingsbury let it slip that drafting Murray was a “done deal.” I’m sticking with my gut feeling.

Two other bits of light drama: I have four quarterbacks going, but lower than you think—at 1, 15, 23 and 31. And there is real competition to trade up for the only running back I hear will go in round one, Josh Jacobs of Alabama. Read on. And enjoy the draft, which will air on ABC, ESPN, and NFL Network. It’s probably better to say what channels the draft is not on.

1. Arizona: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

We live in a society (I sound like Costanza) that screams “Fake News!” when something seems just too obvious. We need to face reality, folks. When Cards GM Steve Keim walks into a meeting with club president Michael Bidwill today in Tempe to discuss the fate of the first overall pick, they could do a couple of things. They could decide to take Murray, the choice of head coach Kliff Kinsgbury. They could decide to take the best edge-rusher (Nick Bosa)—who I hear is the choice of many in the building—or the best player (Quinnen Williams) in the draft. I’ll be surprised, as will America, if the choice is anyone but Murray, particularly because the Raiders, at four, are not likely to want to trade up for what it would cost. I do want to give you one cautionary tale on Kyler Murray, assuming he is picked here. Over the last seven years of football—three years of varsity high school football, a short one-year stint at Texans A&M, sitting a year at Oklahoma after transferring, mostly sitting in 2017 behind Baker Mayfield, and starting last year at Oklahoma—Murray has started 60 games. He is 57-3. Who knows if he starts right away in the NFL? But in the NFL, he could lose more starts in a month than he lost in the previous seven years. It’ll be interesting to see how Murray adjusts to adversity. Not sure he’s ever had much of it, at least in football.

2. San Francisco: Nick Bosa, edge rusher, Ohio State

Niners have loved him since the Cotton Bowl in 2017, when Bosa’s 1.5 sacks led the marauding Ohio State defense in a 24-7 pummeling of USC’s Sam Darnold in the last game of the star QB’s college career. I hear the Cardinals think of Bosa as a “generational player,” which just speaks to their love of Murray if they’re willing to pass on Bosa and leave him to the Niners. Edge-rusher is the element San Francisco hasn’t gotten right. To fortify the defensive front, the 49ers chose Arik Armstead 17th in 2015, DeForest Buckner seventh in 2016, and Solomon Thomas third in 2017 … and still their biggest team need is pressuring the quarterback. Four picks in the top 20 in the span of five drafts along the defensive line—if Bosa doesn’t put the defensive front over the top, this is some bad drafting.

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3. New York Jets: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

Imagine Josh McDaniels, Chad O’Shea and Brian Daboll—the offensive brains of the AFC East—designing protections to keep Leonard Williams and Oliver from wrecking games over the next three or four years. I realize that with new coordinator Gregg Williams staying with a 3-4 defense that this isn’t the perfect fit for Oliver, but Williams once bragged about being able to play 42 different defenses with his scheme, and he’d figure out how to make Oliver work. For a long time, I’d penciled in Josh Allen here because of the Jets’ edge-rusher need, but when you do a mock, you go by your gut. And someone I trust told me the Jets don’t love Allen. So those are the kinds of scale-tippers that change the board—and, most often, make me look like a dope Thursday night about 8:45 ET. We shall see. Oh, and the Jets would like to trade down too, if they can get a ransom. I don’t see it.

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4. Oakland: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

My guess after talking to multiple teams is that Williams is at the top of more boards than any player. One of the smartest guys in our business, ESPN’s Jeff Legwold, has Williams atop his Top 100 list that dropped Saturday. Since the Raiders have a crying need at tackle—their top-rated DT was not in the top 50 of the 2018 Pro Football Focus DT rankings—Jon Gruden, who has ultimate say in Oakland, will greenlight this pick, and GM Mike Mayock gladly will take Williams here as the first pick of his NFL GM career.

5. Tampa Bay: Devin White, LB, LSU

Lots of people love White, a tackling machine who, at 237, tackles with the force of a 260-pounder. I’m taking my best guess of what GM Jason Licht would do if he was staring at White and Josh Allen here … because the Bucs need a pass-rusher too. Jason Pierre-Paul is 30, and other than possibly the precocious Carl Nassib, I don’t think there’s an eight-sack guy on the roster. But White can step in for the departed Kwon Alexander and be the sideline-to-sideline presence coordinator Todd Bowles would love. Plus, White might be the best defensive leader in this draft.

6. New York Giants: Josh Allen, edge rusher, Kentucky

A veteran personnel man who knows Dave Gettleman said the other day, “Dave wants a pass-rusher in the worst way. He won’t reach for one, but he’ll get one with one his first three picks.” Giants pick 6-17-37, and if they have their heart set on one of the young quarterbacks—Gettleman, as usual, has been a good poker-player here, because even those who know him do not know which quarterback he likes—they should be able to get him at 17. Or, perhaps, if they play their cards right, to trade back up into the low first round with that fifth pick in the second round as bait. (The Rams would love to dump out of the 31st pick.) One other thing Gettleman would figure to love in Allen: No top-prospect rusher is more experienced: He played in 51 college games.

7. Jacksonville: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

Daniel Jeremiah said the other day he thinks Hockenson could be the reincarnation of Jason Witten. He’s the best blocking/receiving tight end to come out in several years, and he’ll need to be good so the Jags don’t regret passing on a desperately needed long-term tackle like Jawaan Taylor. My feeling is the Tom Coughlin/Dave Caldwell decision comes down to Hockenson or Taylor, and they go with the best tight end to come out in years—to support their new quarterback, Nick Foles, who had a great tight end in Zach Ertz in Philadelphia.

8. Detroit: Jawaan Taylor, T, Florida

I will be surprised if the Lions pick Taylor here. The Lions want to trade out, and this is the area for the first offensive lineman—Taylor or Jonah Williams or, in what may be a stretch, Andre Dillard—to be picked. Could be Jacksonville, could be Buffalo, or it could be whoever picks at eight. (Man, I’m really selling Taylor to the Lions!) I just can’t figure out which team will jump up here. For a while I thought it was Atlanta, but the Falcons seem inclined to use all their picks, not trade a fairly high one to move from 14 to eight.

9. Buffalo: Jonah Williams, T-G, Alabama 

Bills love Quinnen Williams, but I can’t see the Raiders parting with him if he’s there at four. Bills could also trade up for Josh Allen, or pick T.J. Hockenson if he falls to them. But if they stay, Jonah Williams could be an upgrade to Spencer Long at right guard or possibly, eventually, Ty Nsekhe, at right tackle. Lots of differing opinions in the scouting community on Williams. I would ask Bills Nation to look up “quixotic” in the dictionary. This is a good player, a better-than-Cordy Glenn player, but Williams is not Walter Jones. Having said that, it’s a smart choice by Bills GM Brandon Beane, who is trying to build a playoff team one solid player at a time.

10. Denver: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

There’s not a perfect player on the board for Vic Fangio’s defense, but so many teams need a rangy sideline-to-sideline linebacker (Pittsburgh would love for him to drop to 20, but I don’t see it), and many think Bush would be a great compliment to edge-rushers Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. Four or five teams between 10 and 20 would have serious interest in Bush if he falls past 10.

11. Cincinnati: Brian Burns, edge rusher, Florida State 

In the last week, Burns has gotten very hot … because he runs in the low 4.5s and there aren’t enough edge-rushers for this voracious market. He has some weaknesses, like his size (he’ll probably play around 248), but I think he’ll be gone by pick 20. I think his floor is Tennessee at 19.   

12. Green Bay: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

Scouts who went into Iowa City over the past few months told me the staff there raved about T.J. Hockenson and were nice but not Hockenson-like about Fant. Might be unfair, because Hockenson is so pro-ready. Over his last two seasons at Iowa, Fant average 14.7 yards per catch and had 18 receiving touchdowns. Contrast that to teammate Hockenson’s 14.8-yard average over the last two years, with nine touchdowns. Very interesting. And Fant runs better, in the 4.5-second 40- range. This is probably 10 picks too high for Fant, and it wouldn’t surprise me if GM Brian Gutekunst picks long-term offensive tackle Andre Dillard here instead. But in any case, I can’t see Fant making it out of the first round.

13. Miami: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

Falcons, on deck here, cry. Wilkins slipping to 13 would be a gift for rookie Dolphins coach Brian Flores, who learned under Bill Belichick that quick 315-pound people-movers in the defensive interior are to be collected and valued. Dolphins have so many needs, and if an offensive tackle they like falls here, that could be the pick too. Regarding QB? No team in the league—from what I’ve heard—has spent more time researching Josh Rosen in recent weeks than Miami. Suppose my mock is correct, and Washington and the Giants use the draft to take young quarterbacks, and Miami and the Chargers are the only teams with even some interest in Rosen, and GM Chris Grier tells Arizona GM Steve Keim on draft night: “We’ll give you our third-round pick—78 overall—for Rosen. That’s it.” Tough call for Keim, but knowing Rosen would be an unhappy camper behind Kyler Murray, and figuring this is a good depth draft in the first three rounds … well, that’s a lot to think about right there.

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14. Atlanta: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

Four players from Clemson and ‘Bama in the first 14 picks … with more on the way. Atlanta needs size and power, and at 6-4 and 342, with a 5.05 40-yard time, Lawrence is exceedingly rare. He seems to have convinced NFL teams that he did not knowingly take a banned substance that caused a positive PED test, disqualifying him from Clemson’s two playoff games. This is another spot to watch the best-available offensive lineman fall too.  

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15. Washington: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State 

Dan Snyder gets to pick the quarterback of the future from his backyard in Maryland. Haskins’ family moved to Maryland from New Jersey at the start of his high school years, and Snyder’s son and Haskins both went to high school at the Bullis School in Potomac, Md. Picking Haskins could give Snyder the local-guy-makes-good story the franchise obviously would love. I found this piece of footage from for NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky quite helpful and revealing about Haskins.

 
16. Carolina: Montez Sweat, edge rusher, Mississippi State 

“Don’t put him in the first round,” one smart guy told me Sunday afternoon. “So many teams are afraid of him.” Some teams are worried about a heart condition discovered in Sweat after the season, and NFL Network reported Sweat has been taken off some teams’ draft boards. One GM told me Saturday: “We think it’s an issue, but we’ve been told if we keep a close eye on it, he can play. This is the kind of thing that different teams will have different opinions on.” Another GM told me he thought Sweat’s upside, if healthy, is better than Nick Bosa’s. With the retirement of Julius Peppers, Sweat would be a perfect addition to an edge-rush-needy team—if GM Marty Hurney can get past the worry over Sweat’s ticker.

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17. Houston: Andre Dillard, T, Washington State

PROJECTED TRADE: Houston sends 23rd and 55th picks to Giants for this choice.

No team in the NFL needs a radical upgrade at tackle as much as the Texans. Per Pro Football Focus,the starting Houston tackles last year, Julie’n Davenport and Kendall Lamm, allowed 101 quarterback disruptions (sacks, hits, hurries) on Deshaun Watson, which is downright abominable considering Watson’s one of the most mobile quarterbacks in the league. Think how many pressures he avoided just by being Deshaun Watson. Dillard’s the top tackle on Houston’s board, from what I hear, and teams think he’s got a chance to be a good left tackle.

18. Minnesota: Garrett Bradbury, C, North Carolina State

Speaking of PFF, the lowest-rated NFL center in the league by far last year was Minnesota’s Pat Elflein. The Vikings pick at 18, 50 and 81, and the perception on the scouting trail is that two of those three picks will be offensive linemen. They’d better be. Bradbury’s a pugnacious guy, a Jason Kelcetype, with more quickness than most centers in the league now. He could start day one. No, let me amend that. With Elflein still in-house, Bradbury had better start day one.

19. Tennessee: Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan

Here’s what funny about mock drafts. Sometimes, I hear from a smart GM who says something like: Drew Lock is way too low! Okay, I text back. Who should I give him to? Tennessee. No way, I text. You can’t draft Mariota’s successor yet. So I thought and thought and made one extra call, and some said, of all the players I had left on the board, “Rashan Gary is Mike Vrabel’s kind of player. Give them Gary.” See the science I use here?

20. Pittsburgh: Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple

Imagine the first cornerback off the board being a guy who played one year at Temple after transferring from the Presbyterian (S.C.) College Blue Hose, and who will have one of the great names in the history of whatever team drafts him. Word on the scouting street is that Mike Tomlin loves Ya-Sin, and with White and Bush off the board at a position of great Steeler need (linebacker), Pittsburgh opts for a physical 6-2 corner who made tremendous plays in his one season of (fairly) big-time football.

21. Oakland: Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

PROJECTED TRADE: Oakland sends 24th and 106th picks to Seattle for this choice.

So, the best running back in this draft will probably be picked somewhere in the twenties, and three teams—Philly at 25, Indy at 26 and Oakland at 24 and 27—are quite interested. The Raiders would have to move only three spots ahead to make it happen, and probably wouldn’t have to denude its mid-round picks to do so. I could see Seattle at 21 or Baltimore at 22 do this kind of deal, because Schneider and rookie Ravens GM Eric DeCosta love dealing. I met with Jacobs last week, by the way. Delightful fellow. Hungry to be a great NFL player, and he’s a versatile back too. Jon Gruden could turn him into a 1,700-total-yard back as a rookie.

 

22. Baltimore: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson 

New England hopes Ferrell falls 10 more spots, but he won’t. The Ravens also could trade—rookie GM Eric DeCosta would love to accumulate more picks. But Ferrell is an ideal building block on a defensive front that needs a new star. I won’t be shocked if Ferrell is gone if the Ravens take a 10-year center like Erik McCoy of Texas A&M; 38 career starts at a very high level, and the Ravens value the offensive line as much as any franchise in football.

23. New York Giants: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

PROJECTED TRADE: New York gets this pick and No. 55 from Houston for No. 17 overall.

The Giants could just sit at 17 and pick Jones, or Drew Lock, too. In my scenario, the Giants get their QB for 2020 and beyond after trading down with Houston … and they pick up a late second-round pick to go after a long-term safety to pair with Jabrill Peppers, or maybe take a shot on the right tackle Gettleman knows he needs. As for Jones the player, there’s a wide disparity in opinion in the man who went 17-19 as a college starter. Very smart, but he doesn’t have the deep arm of the three other first-round candidates. In Bob McGinn’s annual deep dive into the top draft prospects, the veteran scribe quotes a NFL scout saying of Jones: “He reminds me of Ryan Tannehill. There’s just something missing with him.” ****ing, but the four first-rounders seem to all have zits this year.

24. Seattle: Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State

PROJECTED TRADE: Seattle gets this pick and No. 106 from Oakland for No. 21 overall.

This is GM John Schneider’s 10th draft with Seattle, and he has traded his first-round pick seven straight years. No question he wants to again this year, and so I have him moving from 21 to 24 and getting an early day-three pick in return. At 24, he needs to pick a player who can be a tone-setter right away. Abram’s that kind of player. More about Frank Clark later, but the pressure will be on Schneider if he moves Clark to find another edge-rusher with the production of Clark. Look for the Seahawks to pick a rusher either low in the round here or with their third and fourth-round loot.

25. Philadelphia: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

Some love him. Some think he’s too wispy at 166, and they’re worried that he enters the NFL nursing a foot injury, and he might be prone to injury in the big-boy league. But he is one big threat. Instinctive and fearless too. Could be that DeSean Jackson gives the Eagles one last season, and then Brown steps in as the deep threat Carson Wentz can grow with into middle-age. Two cautions: GM Howie Roseman struck out on the free-agent he wanted, running back Tevin Coleman, and he could steal his RB1, Josh Jacobs, from the Raiders and Colts in trade. And Roseman is not fearful of drafting a guy (Sidney Jones, round two, 2017) who has to sit most or all of his rookie year with an injury. So I’d watch Jeffery Simmons here too.

26. Indianapolis: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU 

He’s 6-2 and runs a 4.37 time in the 40-yard dash. What’s not to like? Tackling, perhaps. But the Colts need two things badly: an edge-rusher and a shutdown cornerback. Williams is better at corner than the remaining edge guys are at sacking the quarterback. However, keep one thing in mind with Colts GM Chris Ballard: He’s not going to change his board to fit his needs. If there’s a significantly higher-rated player here, Ballard will take him.

27. Oakland: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

Touchdowns allowed in coverage over his last two college seasons: zero. He might drive defensive coordinator Paul Guenther crazy with his practice habits, but his game production, at least in college, made up for that. If the Raiders can come out of this first round with the best defensive tackle in the draft, the best running back in the draft, and a corner who should push for playing time immediately, it’s going to be a successful first draft for the rookie GM Mayock.

28. Los Angeles Chargers: Cody Ford, T, Oklahoma

Could be a strange change for Ford. He protected for the fleet Kyler Murray at Oklahoma last year, and, if this happens, he’d be protecting for the statue-esque Philip Rivers in L.A. The Chargers have to start planning for the future up front; Russell Okung enters his 10th season and turns 31 this year. Ford’s a good building block for GM Tom Telesco.

29. Seattle: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

PROJECTED TRADE: Seattle sends DE Frank Clark to Kansas City for this pick and the 63rd choice.

The run on corners continues. Murphy’s an interesting prospect. Very savvy, but he played just 20 college games, and his speed is in the barely acceptable range (4.55) for corners. The Seahawks continue the quest in this draft for Legion of Boom II. (More on Clark after the 32nd pick.)

30. Green Bay: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Mississippi

This would be very anti-Packer. Last wideout taken in the first round: 17 years ago, Javon Walker. They haven’t taken a receiver in the top 50 in 11 years (Jordy Nelson, 2008, 36th overall). I could see Andre Dillard here too, but Brian Gutekunst is trying to stock up for one last multi-year run with Aaron Rodgers, giving him the kind of weapons that will allow him to be Aaron Rodgers again. I might go Marquise Brown here if I were Green Bay, but I realize a 166-pound burner may not have the shelf life of a Sterling Sharpe-big-bodied player like Metcalf.

31. Denver: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

PROJECTED TRADE: Denver sends the 41st pick and a 2020 second-rounder to the Los Angeles Rams for this choice.

Feel bad about predicting this. Sometimes in mock drafts, you want to get a player in the first round because you think he’s going to be a first-round pick, and you wedge him in and make the logic fit after that. I do not think the Rams want to pick at 31, and feel they can use a trade-down to get a two or three back after dealing fourth and second-round picks to Kansas City in 2018 for cornerback Marcus Peters. Denver likes Lock, and might be able to snag him as a two-year learner behind Joe Flacco while retaining the ability to use the 71st pick this year on a potential starter at a need position, like Texas A&M tight end Jace Sternberger. A move like this wouldn’t surprise me, but I also think the way Denver GM John Elway’s talking, he could punt on a young quarterback until the richer QB draft of 2020.

32. New England: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State

I don’t think this is the likely Patriots pick, but I don’t know who is, and I wanted to get this great player in the first round. The second-best best DT in the draft (behind Quinnen Williams) till tearing his ACL earlier this year won’t be available to play until 2020, and he’s also got some personal rehab to do after a past physical altercation with a woman. Simmons could have the kind of impact Jaylon Smithhad for the Cowboys after a serious knee injury in his last college game—and the team that picks him will have to wait only one year for Simmons, not the two seasons Dallas afforded Smith to get physically right. Smith was the 34th pick overall in 2016. We’ll see if a team near the bottom of round one or top of round two takes a shot on Simmons.


In the end, I struggled mightily with the Frank Clark trade from Seattle to Kansas City. I had the trade in my first draft of the mock on Friday, then took it out for 48 hours, and just put it back in Sunday night. The waffling came before I sent Clark to the Chiefs because of the Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hillincidents. And I will not be surprised at all if the Chiefs don’t do it. But I’m taking the gamble, because the Kansas City need for edge-rush is so pronounced. Hunt was cut by the Chiefs last year after video surfaced of him kicking a woman in a Cleveland hotel last offseason. The league and local authorities are now investigating whether Hill may have been involved in a child abuse case with his three-year-old son. Clark was cited in police reports in 2014 for a domestic abuse case against his then-girlfriend. It could be the Chiefs (or Colts or Jets) have done a lot of due diligence and believe such accusations are in Clark’s past. But it was tough for me to predict that and it came down to a gut feeling Sunday night.

10 Things I Think I Think

 

1. I think there was a lot of buzz Friday when NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted that the Raiders would send home their scouts for the weekend, and for the days leading up to the draft, preventing them from leaking any of the information on the team’s draft board. “The belief is they [Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock] don’t know who to trust and wanted to clear the room,” Rapoport reported. A few thoughts:

• Understand that when Mayock was hired by Gruden and Mark Davis, Mayock took a staff of scouts that had preceded him into the job. For these first few months on the job, Mayock, essentially, was told to trust the scouting reports and counsel of scouts who in many cases he didn’t know. These scouts understand the business. Mayock and Gruden are likely to populate the new scouting staff with scouts who will be loyal to them after the draft. Those on the staff now in many cases were brought in by Reggie McKenzie, dismissed in December.

• Although there is generally good camaraderie between GMs and scouts, some teams do not allow scouts to see the draft board. When Al Davis ran the Raiders draft, according to former Raider employee Mike Lombardi, he didn’t keep an ordered draft board; he kept his list of players in order in a notebook, to keep it away from anyone else. The Patriots, another Lombardi employer, do not open the draft room to scouts unless Bill Belichick wants to see one of them to talk about a player. Coaches and scouts are in the building, but not in the room. “If you’re not a decision-maker,” Lombardi said, “you’re not in the room. Scouts are nearby and coaches are in the building, but the only people in the draft room are the ones who have business in the room. It’s like what Bill says, ’Do your job.’ “ Scouts are not picking the players, so they don’t have to be in the room when the players are picked, in other words.

• But I’ve had access to or knowledge of the inner workings of other draft rooms—Dallas and San Francisco most recently—in which the GMs or owners allow a wide swath of team employees and certainly the scouts to be in the room. So it varies.

• Re Mayock: One of his friends in the league told me the other day he felt this was Mayock’s attempt to take control over a process that he’s running for the first time in his life. “Wouldn’t you think it’s fair for Mike, with three picks in the first round, to close the circle and keep it as tight as he can?” this friend said.

• Mayock’s daughter Leigh tweeted over the weekend that she went out to dinner with her dad recently and when he went to the bathroom, he took his draft notebook with him rather than leave it at the table, where only his daughter was. “Don’t take it personal scouties,” she said.

2. I think for all of you, particularly in Packer Nation, who wonder why in the world Green Bay has never played in England or Mexico, you may not have to wonder that much more. I think Green Bay’s time is coming, likely as soon as 2020, to finally go on the road to play a game in London. The reasons why Green Bay has never had to make the trip are predictable—the Packers don’t want to give up one of eight sold-out home games, and no team hosting the Packers wants to give up that gate because the Packers travel so well and fill the stadium and local hotels with fans. But I think the NFL is conscious of not giving a prized franchise special treatment.

3. I think now, after the Russell Wilson deal in Seattle, there’s only one quarterback contract I expect to see soon: Ben Roethlisberger’s in Pittsburgh. He’s entering the last year of his current deal, he’ll likely sign only one more NFL contract, he’s on record as wanting to play three more years, and the Steelers want him for as long as he wants to play. I expect him to retire playing nowhere but Pittsburgh.

4. I think this is the time of year it is: I had an NFL coach whose team needs a quarterback tell me last week he didn’t like Daniel Jones of Duke, because though he was a smart quarterback, he wasn’t as accurate or as advanced with his decision-making as he’d like. Then I heard Gil Brandt, prepping for his 61st draft, say about Jones: “When you watch him and you go back [20] years and watch Peyton Manning, you are watching the same guy.” So who’s right? The coach who wouldn’t draft Jones even in the second round? Or the draft guru of all draft gurus, who has been at this as long as I’ve been alive?

5. I think that’s why the draft is so compelling. So many people. So many opinions.

6. I think, however, I haven’t talked to many people in this pre-draft period who have compared Jones to Peyton Manning. Like, zero.

7. I think the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette will not be the same without veteran Steeler beat man Ed Bouchette, who departed for The Athletic last week. I value what Bouchette does so much, and I wish him the best to him in his new job.

8. I think my favorite quote of the spring, and nothing is close for second place, is Giants GM Dave Gettleman responding to a question about the strengths of the 2019 draft by saying, in part, “The wides are thick.” Meaning there are a lot of wide receivers on the Giants board. I just love the way he said it.

9. I think this was an interesting point, from ESPN’s T.J. Quinn on the Robert Kraft case, during an appearance on “Mut and Callahan” on WEEI: “There are people around him who have said to me they can’t believe he doesn’t just take this plea agreement, this diversion agreement that they offered and say, ‘OK, fine, I did this. I am sorry.’ And then move on with it. They are pretty amazed that he’s going to continue to fight it like this.” Man, I could not agree more. This story continues to be in the headlines, and it could have disappeared four weeks ago, when Kraft apologized for the incident. Why apologize if you didn’t do it, and why keep fighting it for four weeks and keeping it in the public eye when you’ve already apologized? It’s baffling.

10. I think these are my other thoughts of the week:

a. God help our country.

b. Important Columbine Story of the Week: Aaron Ontiveroz of the Denver Post, chronicling the voice of Columbine—the people and families who have been most impacted, with the more powerful messages.

c. The photos by Ontiveroz might more powerful than the words.

d. Profile of the Week: ESPN’s Baxter Holmes on the erudite Gregg Popovich, who might know more about wine than basketball, and that is saying something.

e. Story of the Week: The Rise and Fall of a New York Shock Jock, by Nick Paumgarten of the New Yorker. Great story about the downfall of Craig Carton, who teamed with Boomer Esiason on New York sports station WFAN’s morning show. Man, gambling is a one-way street to ****. Just read this piece. And an excellent job of taking us deep inside the story by Paumgarten.

f. “Are you Craig Carton?”

g. “Yes I am.”

h. “You’re under arrest.”

i. My wife and I watch “Jeopardy” most nights. We’ve been riveted in the last couple of weeks by James Holzhauer, the incredibly intelligent, lighning-fast-with-the-buzzer champion who already has the five most lucrative winning shows of all time. Holzhauer is a professional sports gambler, according to the show.

j. Joe Pinsker of The Atlantic with an interesting story about how Holzhauer, essentially, is so brilliant his games are not fair fights.

k. When the challengers get introduced at the start of the show, they’re lambs led to the slaughter. I’ve never seen anything like it.

l. Coffeenerdness: For some reason that is foreign to me, because it’s never happened in my 61 years on earth, I have been getting allergy attacks. And the only thing I want is orange tea packed with lemon and a dot of honey. Three times a day. Marvelous.

m. Good morning. It’s April 22, and Christian Yelich has 13 home runs on the 26th day of the season.

o. The Red Sox won Saturday night on a walkoff pickoff, catcher Christian Vasquez to first baseman Steve Pearce, nailing Tampa Bay’s Tommy Pham. Now there’s something you don’t see every day.

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I have seen a lot of mocks with Christian Wilkins going to Miami Dolphins right in front of Atlanta.   Outside of QB, it is their greatest need and - by all accounts,  the Dolphins appear willing to wait until 2020 which looks to be a better QB class at the top.

As we all have been watching, no one has much connected Christian Wilkins to the Falcons - although his style of play, what he's good at and his off-field profile appear to match-up w/ the Falcons like hand-in-glove.

I am not aware of private meetings/workouts w/ WILKINS but the Falcons have a good ability to hide those sometimes as we have seen in the past.

IF the Falcons truly have dialed in on Christian Wilkins,  I could see them hopping Miami to a team like the Packers and maybe giving up our 4th rounder (#117) and maybe a 5th rounder in 2020 - it's only a 100 point jump so it wouldn't take much.

I know we believe the Falcons may covet Dexter Lawrence more, and apparently Peter King must see the connection as well as no mock anywhere has Dexter Lawrence going in the top 20.

I would like to see the Falcons maybe try and trade down 4-5 spots if Lawrence is the pick - definitely believe he will be available at #20.

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8 minutes ago, g-dawg said:

definitely believe he will be available at #20

im not so definitive.  at this point if Dex is highly rated on our board and if we are not gearing up for a move up, then big Dex might be the safe pick.

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Just now, VTCrunkler said:

im not so definitive.  at this point if Dex is highly rated on our board and if we are not gearing up for a move up, then big Dex might be the safe pick.

I guess for me,  Dex feels like a WANT but not a MUST HAVE - so I would be willing to gamble a little.  If someone not to far behind our pick at #14 offered me a 3rd or early 4th rounder, and I had someone I liked almost as much - I would gamble there - it's a good spot in the draft to gamble if Dex is your guy.

Directly behind the Falcons at #14 is:   Washington(#15 - no DT need), Carolina(#16 - no DT need), Giants(#17 - could take a DT but doubt it - depends on what they do at #7), Minnesota(#18 - they MUST take an OT),   Tennessee(#19 - they could take a DT).

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Just now, g-dawg said:

behind the Falcons

i can see that dex is a want..im not exactly sure what our biggest need..CB, OT, DE, or DT in no order.  at this point id be happy to stay put and go BPA in an area or need..

 

thats a good point.  the ones below dont have the need.  but another team could trade back up in the first (including falcons).  

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I just don’t see this being our pick. We are so focused on guys who are explosive and get to the qb. I really think we only trade up if Williams is available at 3. If we don’t do that, I wouldn’t be shocked to see us trade down and take a cb.

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16 minutes ago, g-dawg said:

I have seen a lot of mocks with Christian Wilkins going to Miami Dolphins right in front of Atlanta.   Outside of QB, it is their greatest need and - by all accounts,  the Dolphins appear willing to wait until 2020 which looks to be a better QB class at the top.

As we all have been watching, no one has much connected Christian Wilkins to the Falcons - although his style of play, what he's good at and his off-field profile appear to match-up w/ the Falcons like hand-in-glove.

I am not aware of private meetings/workouts w/ WILKINS but the Falcons have a good ability to hide those sometimes as we have seen in the past.

IF the Falcons truly have dialed in on Christian Wilkins,  I could see them hopping Miami to a team like the Packers and maybe giving up our 4th rounder (#117) and maybe a 5th rounder in 2020 - it's only a 100 point jump so it wouldn't take much.

I know we believe the Falcons may covet Dexter Lawrence more, and apparently Peter King must see the connection as well as no mock anywhere has Dexter Lawrence going in the top 20.

I would like to see the Falcons maybe try and trade down 4-5 spots if Lawrence is the pick - definitely believe he will be available at #20.

HOU trade would be ideal....

He didn’t have Lindstrom in 1st round....

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Big question. I like dexter lawrence and wont cry if we draft him at 14. Why draft Lawrence when we signed davidson and hageman. And we have senat that can play that position? Im thinking they go oline or draft bush. He can play beside debo and fill in for him at mlb.

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3 minutes ago, Jpg428gggg said:

I just don’t see this being our pick. We are so focused on guys who are explosive and get to the qb. I really think we only trade up if Williams is available at 3. If we don’t do that, I wouldn’t be shocked to see us trade down and take a cb.

good luck selling season tickets this year if we draft another corner in the 1st round.

I agree that corner is a huge need but EVERYONE knows the biggest problem w/ the Falcons defense is we aren't stout against the run and we cannot get to the QB.   Taking a corner in the 1st round just doesn't address either of those top three issues (run-stop, pocket pressure, box office).

We will take a corner on Day#3 but don't see it on Day#1.

Name me who you think the #1 cornerback is?    Greedy/Byron/DeAndre - there is no universal agreement there - Greedy may have the most upside but he doesn't seem to want to be a complete corner.   Byron and DeAndre are sub six footers.    It is certainly possible that the projected 2nd round corners - Owariyue, Mullen, Ya-Sin(who may sneak into 1st), Bunting - wouldn't shock me if a 2nd round corner ends up being the prized corner of this draft.    Cornerback is very deep in this draft but no elite guys at the top.

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This would be a great way for the draft to go.

We would be in prime position to move up to 8 for the top OT.

Even though I really would want to have Bush.....OT is of higher value. 

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Just now, RazorWing said:

Big question. I like dexter lawrence and wont cry if we draft him at 14. Why draft Lawrence when we signed davidson and hageman. And we have senat that can play that position? Im thinking they go oline or draft bush. He can play beside debo and fill in for him at mlb.

Hageman is a camp body and more likely a cut than even making the team.   just a low-risk bet on upside if he has gotten his crap together.

Davison is a designated run-stopper - we signed him to a 1-yr deal which means he wants to re-make his value.  Probably not even on the team in 2020.

Lawrence is a unicorn with his size/athleticism and a bet on huge upside - at worst, he is your starter and run-stopper and maybe rotational pass pocket collapser - could be a little more than that if DQ can unlock his passrush ability (had 6.5 sacks as Frosh at Clemson).

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42 minutes ago, g-dawg said:

For a while I thought it was Atlanta, but the Falcons seem inclined to use all their picks, not trade a fairly high one to move from 14 to eight.

This part is what I liked reading. I truly believe they will only move to #8 if it's Oliver. They aren't just trading up for fun. If not, Lawrence is starting to make more sense than anything else. Nasty. Big. Tough. Powerful. All things that align with what DQ said he wants, with the players they signed in FA, and how Lawrence plays. 

The other thing is you need a guy at #14 who is going to attract extra attention. Lawrence requires a double team on every single snap. No ifs ands or buts about it. At that point, you've got Grady, Takk, and Vic fighting single blocks or forcing a TE or RB to help, which helps the defense in coverage. It also makes Debo better by keeping him clean. 

I can see it happening the closer we get. 

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Been on the Dex @ 14 train for a while now. He checks several boxes and is one of the most unique players in the draft. If he drops a few pounds and cleans up his techniques he's a game changer. 

Maybe a slight trade back to #17 if NYG wants to get Haskins and we want to pick up an extra 3rd,  but he's tailor made for what we need.  He and Davidson (and Hageman if he makes the team)  will bring an end to the days of easily running the ball on us. 

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5 minutes ago, g-dawg said:

Hageman is a camp body and more likely a cut than even making the team.   just a low-risk bet on upside if he has gotten his crap together.

Davison is a designated run-stopper - we signed him to a 1-yr deal which means he wants to re-make his value.  Probably not even on the team in 2020.

Lawrence is a unicorn with his size/athleticism and a bet on huge upside - at worst, he is your starter and run-stopper and maybe rotational pass pocket collapser - could be a little more than that if DQ can unlock his passrush ability (had 6.5 sacks as Frosh at Clemson).

Cool. I knew there was some logic behind this. I feel a little better about the pick now.

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5 minutes ago, g-dawg said:

Hageman is a camp body and more likely a cut than even making the team.   just a low-risk bet on upside if he has gotten his crap together.

Davison is a designated run-stopper - we signed him to a 1-yr deal which means he wants to re-make his value.  Probably not even on the team in 2020.

Lawrence is a unicorn with his size/athleticism and a bet on huge upside - at worst, he is your starter and run-stopper and maybe rotational pass pocket collapser - could be a little more than that if DQ can unlock his passrush ability (had 6.5 sacks as Frosh at Clemson).

Agreed. I think too much is being made about the Hageman signing. At best, he's stashed as a DE before DT in terms of numbers. At worst, he's cut. 

Davison and Senat are de facto DTs. Grady and Crawford are your de facto pass rushing DTs. But Crawford has SDE potential and is another guy not long for the DT spot beyond this year. 

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2 minutes ago, vel said:

Agreed. I think too much is being made about the Hageman signing. At best, he's stashed as a DE before DT in terms of numbers. At worst, he's cut. 

Davison and Senat are de facto DTs. Grady and Crawford are your de facto pass rushing DTs. But Crawford has SDE potential and is another guy not long for the DT spot beyond this year. 

yep.   Crawford is also on the last year of his deal and is oft-injured.   If Takk or Vic slide this year, we have Crawford and Clayborn to pick them up.   I could see us just ignoring the edge rushers in this draft altogether this year - clearly it might be our top need in 2020 but we have a lot of options for 2019 and edge rusher - we are two deep there.   I realize Takk/Vic are more speedy and Craw/Clay are more powerful and sometimes kick inside.

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23 minutes ago, duckhoa said:

This would be a great way for the draft to go.

We would be in prime position to move up to 8 for the top OT.

Even though I really would want to have Bush.....OT is of higher value. 

We should not be moving up for any OTs in this draft. There isn't one sure thing AND I have many great reservations about every last one of them.

The best of the bunch for our team is better at Guard in Cody Ford. The best thing for our team combined with the spot in the draft we are at is one of those 4 top DTs (Williams, Oliver, Wilkins, Lawrence)

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3 minutes ago, ATLFalcons11 said:

We should not be moving up for any OTs in this draft. There isn't one sure thing AND I have many great reservations about every last one of them.

The best of the bunch for our team is better at Guard in Cody Ford. The best thing for our team combined with the spot in the draft we are at is one of those 4 top DTs (Williams, Oliver, Wilkins, Lawrence)

What's with folks and wanting to move up for any and everything?  

Look, you don't move up for guys that aren't significantly better than folks that will be around later. There's isn't a single OLine prosoect worth trading up for. None. Zero. 

If you must draft one early sit at 14 and get the best available. There's isn't much separation between these early round Lineman. 

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1 minute ago, MD-FalconFan13 said:

What's with folks and wanting to move up for any and everything?  

Look, you don't move up for guys that aren't significantly better than folks that will be around later. There's isn't a single OLine prosoect worth trading up for. None. Zero. 

If you must draft one early sit at 14 and get the best available. There's isn't much separation between these early round Lineman. 

Quinnen at #3

or

Oliver at #8

Those are the only two players and as high as I would go on the slots for either of those guys.  Yes, I would pay trade value chart for both - maybe a little less than trade value chart for Quinnen at #3.    I would test the theory about how bad the Jets really wanted to get out of the pick and make them a "take it or leave it kind of offer".

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Very insightful mock. Ultimately, I don't believe we are trading back. I think if we stay at 14, Dex will be a Falcon. I'm happy with that but personally, I've still got my fingers crossed that Oliver makes it to 8. 

 

 

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