6. New York Giants- Devin White, LB, LSU- Given Dave Gettleman’s comments this week about Eli Manning having a few years left in the tank, it’s growing more and more plausible that the Giants will not take a QB with their first pick. Whether it’s a justifiable strategy is up for debate, but for the purposes of this mock draft, we’ll take Gettleman’s statement to heart and assume they’re holding back on QB for now. Who do they take? Ideally, they end up with one of the top defensive talents in the draft, and White checks that box. New York has had a gaping hole at linebacker for years, and White would be the leader of the newest generation of Giants defenders; Gettleman is presumably going to rely on that side of the ball heavily after trading away Odell Beckham Jr. and giving his vote of confidence to Manning. White would be a great building block and can step in as a starter and leader immediately.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars- Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State- Let’s say you’re Tom Coughlin. Can you really justify passing on Haskins if he falls to the seventh pick? Bortles is gone, and while Nick Foles certainly can play well, it’s a good bet that he will occasionally play poorly, and he definitely can’t be considered a long-term answer. An offensive lineman would be nice, but when a quality QB prospect falls into your lap, you take him, and the Jaguars can allow Hasksins sit for a season or two before giving him the keys. If notoriously picky Coughlin likes Haskins, he’ll take him here without a second thought, and the Jags have their franchise QB.
8. Detroit Lions- Byron Murphy, CB, Washington- Darius Slay is the real deal, but the Lions need to find him a running mate to round out the defense, and Murphy could be that guy (Teez Tabor, unfortunately, is definitely not that guy). Murphy’s technique is as impeccable as it gets for a guy straight out of college, and he’ll quickly become a favorite of Matt Patricia because he was always where he was supposed to be at Washington. He isn’t the greatest athlete and will lose many a jump ball, but his ability to play within the defense and make plays allows him to come in on day one and make an impact- a rarity for rookie corners.
9. Buffalo Bills- Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama- Josh Allen needs weapons around him, but keeping him on his feet will always be the top priority, and Williams will help them do just that. He can step in and start at either guard or tackle, and didn’t miss a game while starting for three seasons at Alabama. He’s consistent, a monster in the run game, and serviceable with room to grow in pass protection. Allen will never reach his potential if he’s constantly running for his life, and Williams is a foundational player for what could be a dominant offensive line.
10. Denver Broncos- T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa- John Elway does love his defense and big-bodied QBs, but the current Broncos D is already very good. The offense, on the other hand, is still in flux after trading for Joe Flacco, and Elway decides to help him out with Hockenson. He’ll be an excellent safety outlet for Flacco while providing quality blocking for last year’s breakout star, Philip Lindsay. Denver could fix their linebacker problem here, but the Broncos want their offense to be good enough that the defense doesn’t have to win every game, and Hockenson will be a step in the right direction in that regard.