Todays Punching the Clock consist of a review of the latest Last Dance episode, and a review of the NFL Draft!! I bring in my dear friends Garret and Shiquille to discuss both of these topics.
Today on Punching the Clock, we dive into the NFL draft and explore what teams may be thinking at each position. We also discuss the last dance and my takeaways from the first two episodes.
In today’s quarantine filled world, me and Josh Buckhalter dive deep into the class of 2011 for the NFL and redraft the first round. Let us know your thoughts on if we left someone out. Follow me @illiniRyan7 on twitter. Make sure to check us out at Clockersports.com
Making a Mock(ery) the Draft
The 2019 NFL Draft is today! By this point we are all mocked out. So, of course that means it is time for another. This is my take on how the first round will shake out Thursday. One note: I am merely operating from the standpoint of what I would do if I were making the call for these teams. Very little of this mock is based on the “latest” reports and there will be (almost) no trades made or considered. What there will be, in addition to the individual team picks, is an alternative option that the team could pivot to. That is enough rules for this exercise, let’s get right to it.
Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray – Quarterback – Oklahoma
The stars have been aligning for this to be the case for quite some time. So much so that Murray is the expected pick regardless of whether or not the Cardinals are the team making the selection. With a new coaching staff not married to the current QB (who was himself a first-rounder just last year) and an organization in need of a facelift. Alternate pick: Nick Bosa
San Francisco 49ers: Nick Bosa – EDGE – Ohio State
A prime candidate to trade back with a team looking for a QB (especially if Murray is not taken first), John Lynch opts for the top pass-rusher in the draft. His presence would give a lift to the 22nd-ranked team in terms of sacks. This pick also fits in with the overhaul of the pass-rush that has included the addition of Dee Ford. Alternate pick: Quinnen Williams
New York Jets: Josh Allen – EDGE – Kentucky
If for some reason Bosa makes it this far, he would be the choice. In this scenario, though, the Jets happily take the second-ranked EDGE player and add him to what should be a surprisingly feisty group next season. The position is one that has honestly been a bugaboo for the Jets since Calvin Pace. Yeah. They have other needs they could address, but need meets value here. Alternate pick: Jawaan Taylor
Oakland Raiders: Quinnen Williams – Defensive Lineman – Alabama
It is tempting to think of Jon Gruden packaging this pick with one from later in the first round and sending them to the Cardinals for the chance to take Murray. Instead, in this scenario the Raiders take a player that seems almost tailor-made for the Silver and Black. He has the makings of a 10-year mainstay for the Raiders in the trenches. Alternate pick: Ed Oliver
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jawaan Taylor – Offensive Lineman – Florida
Tampa will be hoping Josh Allen falls to them here or they could be seriously looking to move back. Should they stay put, attempting to solidify their offensive line makes a ton of sense. The Bucs are supposedly all in on Jameis Winston, at least for now, so it would behoove them to beef up his protection. If they move on from Jameis next year, they would already have a blindside protector for the next guy. Alternate pick: Greedy Williams
New York Giants: Dwayne Haskins – Quarterback – Ohio State
If we are to believe reports coming out of the Meadowlands, Eli Manning has found the fountain of youth and is set for his best season yet. Luckily, as stated above, no such reports exist here. The G-Men find the heir-apparent to Eli in the form of a rocket-armed, 6-3 pocket passer from THE Ohio State University. Haskins, in turn, gets to sit and watch from a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback. Alternate: D.K. Metcalf
Jacksonville Jaguars: Ed Oliver – Defensive Lineman – Houston
Injuries in 2018 hurt his stock, but as teams and scouts have gone back to his 2017 tape he has regained some of that buzz. It was really really tempting to put D.K. Metcalf’s name here and they should strongly consider adding a tackle as well. But getting Oliver down to Duval adds more teeth to that defense whose bite didn’t match its bark last season. Alternate pick: Jonah Williams
Detroit Lions: Montez Sweat – EDGE – Mississippi St.
GM Bob Quin hinted that the Lions could be looking to move back if a team wants to move up for a QB. And they ponied up to bring in Trey Flowers from New England, so perhaps they don’t view this as an option. But Flowers has never had more than the 7.5 sacks that he had last year and he is really the only threat off the edge for Detroit. Alternate pick: Rashan Gary
Buffalo Bills: Devin White – Linebacker – LSU
Once again, the temptation to place D.K. Metcalf here was very strong. But let’s assume Cole Beasley and John Brown are enough around Zay Jones (they aren’t). Another thing the Bills could do in this spot is take an offensive lineman to protect Josh Allen. But in this scenario, Sean McDermott gets the quarterback of his defense in the top-rated linebacker. Alternate pick: Rashan Gary
Denver Broncos: Drew Lock – Quarterback – Missouri
John Elway has to get this right. It is almost a comedy of errors that, aside from the gift of Peyton Manning, the QB spot has been the bane of Elway’s (a Hall of Fame QB) existence. Joe Flacco ain’t it despite the rhetoric coming out of the Mile High City. If they decide to pass (sorry, couldn’t help myself) on QB, maybe they go for the defensive equivalent. Alternate pick: Devin Bush
Cincinnati Bengals: Devin Bush – Linebacker – Michigan
No one will be hoping Denver takes a QB at 10, perhaps, then the Bengals if things follow the layout presented here. Assuming things fall this way, the Bengals fill one of their myriad of needs. This could be a pivot point if Washington decides it wants to jump Miami for a shot at a passer. Or, Cincinnati could look to add to either of their lines. Alternate pick: Rashan Gary
Green Bay Packers: Rashan Gary – Defensive Lineman – Michigan
Stick with me here. Green Bay already has Kenny Clark and Mike Daniels on the line. They also just signed Preston and Za’Darius Smith to boost the pass rush. So why Gary? Well, Daniels’ contract is up after this season, Mo Wilkerson is gone, and their only other pass-rusher with any juice is Kyler Fackrell. This would be an unorthodox move, but so was their head coaching hire. Alternate pick: T.J. Hockenson
Miami Dolphins: Jonah Williams – Offensive Lineman – Alabama
This was the toughest selection to peg. Miami needs a new everything so they could go with the ‘best player available’ model. They also are prime candidates to trade back with a contender (*cough* Houston *cough*) to recoup extra picks because, you know, they need everything. Whenever they make their choice, it should be in the trenches. Alternate pick: Brian Burns
Atlanta Falcons: Greedy Williams – Cornerback – LSU
The Falcons would do well to think long and hard about taking one of the Clemson interior d-lineman. But aside from the state of their linebacking group, which was decimated by injury, no other group needs reinforcements like their secondary. Williams gives them a long, rangy, physical corner to pair with Desmond Trufant. Alternate pick: Dexter Lawrence
Washington Redskins: Daniel Jones – Quarterback – Duke
Everything. That is what the ‘Skins need so there is really no wrong answer here, including trading down. Case Keenum will be under center after the gruesome injury to Alex Smith and we all saw how he performed with a better supporting cast in Denver. Enter Jones who, at least in some ways from working under the tutelage of QB-guru David Cutcliffe. Alternate pick: Brian Burns
Carolina Panthers: Brian Burns – EDGE – Florida St.
This should probably be an offensive lineman. I have personally stumped for the team to get Cam Newton better protection since he was drafted. But when your top two pass-rushers are 31, you need an injection of youth in the immediate future. Burns had ten sacks for the Seminoles last season. That’s one more than Mario Addison, who led the Panthers in 2018. Alternate pick: Andre Dillard
New York Giants: D.K. Metcalf – Wide Receiver – Ole Miss
Regardless of how the Giants’ quarterback situation actually shakes out, they have a gaping hole at wide receiver. Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate are very good in complementary roles but neither are lead dogs. Fitting New York lands its next top wideout with the pick gained from trading their last one. Of course, some will argue he wasn’t even the top guy on his college team. Alternate Pick: Clelin Ferrell
Minnesota Vikings: Cody Ford – Offensive Line – Oklahoma
I tried to convince myself that the Vikings should replace Sheldon Richardson with this pick. But perhaps the wiser play would be to protect the $84 million man, Kirk Cousins. Adding Ford’s size should also do wonders for a ground game that underwhelmed last season. But this is about Cousins and keeping defensive lineman out of his lap. Alternate pick: Christian Wilkins
Tennessee Titans: Clelin Ferrell – EDGE – Clemson
Neither of the Titans leading pass-rushers from 2018 remain on the roster. They have Harold Landry (4.5 sacks) but Jayon Brown actually led the linebackers with six. Landry needs a running mate and, for our purposes, they land one who had 21 sacks over his final two seasons in college. This could also be a spot where one of the premier tight ends go; Delanie walker is 34 and Jonnu Smith seems like just a guy. Alternate pick: T.J. Hockenson
Pittsburgh Steelers: Byron Murphy – Cornerback – Washington
There will be audible sighs in the Steeler war room if Greedy Williams is indeed selected before now. But in Murphy they get a good athlete and cover man. He is also capable of sticking his nose in the muck on run plays. Most important for Pittsburgh, he and Artie Burns give them a pair of bookends on the edges once they move on from Joe Haden. Alternate pick: A.J. Brown
Seattle Seahawks: T.J. Hockenson – Tight End – Iowa
Russell Wilson just got paid. The Seahawks now need to make sure they provide him with improved weaponry after their run-heavy approach got them bounced quickly from the postseason. They would have liked to replace Frank Clark here, but none of the remaining EDGE defenders offer the upside and value that the former Hawkeye tight end does at this spot. Alternate pick: Garrett Bradbury
Baltimore Ravens: A.J. Brown – Wide Receiver – Ole Miss
Some in NFL circles feel that Brown is actually the better of the two Rebel wideouts in this draft. The Ravens will covet his experience in the slot and as a lead dog when Metcalf went down. His ability to find soft spots in the zone and his run after catch ability will be huge with a quarterback in Lamar Jackson who will likely lean on the short passing game in his first full season starting. Alternate pick: Dexter Lawrence
Houston Texans: Andre Dillard – Offensive Lineman – Washington St.
Protect. Deshaun. Watson. That has to be the top priority for the Texans and if Dillard falls this far, they will run the pick to the podium. They spent money this offseason on Matt Kalil, and while he is not a long-term solution (ask Carolina), he will bide Dillard time to get acclimated to the League both physically and mentally. This pick was dangerously close to being Josh Jacobs. Alternate pick: Josh Jacobs
Oakland Raiders: Josh Jacobs – Running Back – Alabama
Gruden like his veterans on offense; that much we know. But we also know that running back is a young man’s position. After taking Williams with their first pick, Oakland goes back to the Crimson Tide pipeline and takes his workhorse. That is, of course, if they haven’t already sent this pick elsewhere to obtain a new signal caller. Alternate pick: Hollywood Brown
Philadelphia Eagles: Kaleb McGary – Offensive Lineman – Washington
To be clear, if they do not trade up, and there are no pass-rushers that fall this far, this pick is very likely to be traded. If the stay put, taking McGary gives them more insurance should Jason Peters show signs of aging or should anything happen to Lane Johnson. Current fill-in tackle, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, did an alright job when Peters went down in 2017 but is capped out as a backup. Alternate pick: Garrett Bradbury
Indianapolis Colts: Christian Wilkins – Defensive Lineman – Clemson
That sound you hear is the raucous celebration from the Colts war room. The two years, Indy (finally) invested in the protection of Andrew Luck. This time they get some much needed reinforcements along a defensive line that was, unitl now, comprised of cast-offs. Wilkins should have (and likely will be) long gone by now. But if he is still available, this is a no-brainer. Alternate pick: Dexter Lawrence
Oakland Raiders: Chris Lindstrom – Offensive Lineman – Boston College
Having found their defensive trench leader and workhorse tailback, Oakland now finds someone to open up holes for said tailback. Lindstrom has also been described as having tackle feet, something to note if Oakland decides like San Francisco that Trent Brown is not the answer. This is all for naught if this is the pick that ultimately gets packaged with another to move up for Murray. Alternate pick: Dalton Risner
Los Angeles Chargers: Dexter Lawrence – Defensive Lineman – Clemson
After watching his teammate go two picks earlier, Lawrence hears his name called by the Chargers. He will likely start as the backup to Brandon Mebane, but has the size and ability to be more than just a space-eater. He gets his hands in passing windows and even showed the athleticism to drop into coverage (in college). Alternate pick: Dalton Risner
Seattle Seahawks: Dalton Risner – Offensive Lineman – Kansas St.
Duane Brown will be 34 when the season starts. George Fant has been all right, but Germain Ifedi is a backup at best. Risner gives the Seahawks improved protection for their newly minted quarterback. He may even help immediately having displayed the versatility to play anywhere along the line. This pick could be a pass-rusher, though the expectation is that they would trade down if that is the target. Alternate pick: Jeffery Simmons
Green Bay Packers: Noah Fant – Tight End – Iowa
The Pack went defensive trenches with their first selection and could go offensive line here. They could go either line with either pick to be honest, but here they find a seam-ripping tight end. Aaron Rodgers hasn’t had a weapon like Fant at the position since Jermichael Finley. Jimmy Graham was the closest and he is a shell of his former goalpost-dunking days with the Saints. Alternate pick: Garrett Bradbury
Los Angeles Rams: Garrett Bradbury – Offensive Lineman – N. Carolina St.
The Rams, as a Super Bowl contestant, don’t have many gaping holes. Their line also struggled to open many holes when they really needed them. In comes Bradbury to enrich their interior. Where he plays (guard or center) remains to be seen, but L.A. needs help at both positions. Picks this late are always at risk of being traded for more capital. Alternate Pick: Nasir Adderly
Arizona Cardinals: N’Keal Harry – Wide Receiver – Arizona St.
Surprise! You didn’t think this mock would really have no hypothetical trades? Ha! After taking their real QB of the future, the Cards get their first-round pick bounty from the Patriots and take their new signal caller’s new favorite target. He’ll get to grow with Murray while being mentored by one of the game’s greats. Alternate pick: Jerry Tillery
Mocking the Draft
The excitement to see what happens during the draft is palpable. With luck the majority of my picks will be accurate. Otherwise, disregard this entire piece as the ramblings of someone who told you from the beginning that this was based on nothing. That, ladies and gentlemen, is what you call ‘covering your…tail’.