Mock draft: Will Vikings take an offensive lineman with NFL’s 18th pick?
Former Minnesota quarterback Tommy Kramer once was sacked 39 times in a season, one less than Kirk Cousins last year. He doesn’t hold back when asked if the Vikings should select an offensive lineman in the first round of the NFL draft.
“They better get three of them,” Kramer said. “The first round, the second round, the third round. They better get three offensive linemen in a row.”
This mock draft covers only the first round of the draft, which runs Thursday, April 25, through Saturday, April 27, in Nashville, Tenn. But you get the idea that the Vikings need help in protecting Cousins.
At least this is a good year for offensive linemen. At least half a dozen should be selected in the first round.
The Vikings have the No. 18 pick in Thursday’s opening round. They hope to land an impact blocker, although it’s not out of the question that they could instead take a tight end or defensive lineman and wait until the second round for an offensive lineman.
Here’s a look at how the first round could go:
1. ARIZONA CARDINALS: KYLER MURRAY, QB, OKLAHOMA
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will call Murray’s name first, and then the Cardinals can call incumbent quarterback Josh Rosen and suggest he pick up a change-of-address kit at the post office.
2. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: NICK BOSA: DE, OHIO STATE
Scouts are raving over this edge rusher, but perhaps his older brother, Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa, said it best, calling him “an absolute monster.”
3. NEW YORK JETS: JOSH ALLEN, DE, KENTUCKY
There’s already one Josh Allen in the AFC East: Buffalo’s quarterback. This one devours quarterbacks.
4. OAKLAND RAIDERS: QUINNEN WILLIAMS, DT, ALABAMA
Raiders coach Jon Gruden has nine years left on his contract, so there’s plenty of time to build the defense back up after last year’s trade of Khalil Mack. Getting Williams would help.
5. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: ED OLIVER, DT, HOUSTON
Despite being a dominant lineman, the biggest news surrounding Oliver last season was a sideline dispute with his coach about wearing a jacket. It’s always warm in Tampa, so there’s less of a risk of that being an issue.
6. NEW YORK GIANTS: DEVIN WHITE, LB, LSU
The Giants have four former linebackers in the hall of fame. Not that we’re not trying to put any extra pressure on White, but last year he did win the Butkus Award that goes to the nation’s top collegiate linebacker.
7. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: JAWAAN TAYLOR, T, FLORIDA
Let the parade of offensive linemen begin. And with the University of Florida just 70 miles down the road, Taylor won’t have to spend much on moving expenses.
8. DETROIT LIONS: MONTEZ SWEAT, DE, MISSISSIPPI STATE
Lion defensive end Ziggy Ansah is a free agent who seems likely to depart. No sweat. Montez Sweat would be a fine replacement.
9. BUFFALO BILLS: T.J. HOCKENSON, TE, IOWA
The Bills haven’t had a tight end make a Pro Bowl since Paul Costa in 1966, and that was the AFL Pro Bowl. Hockenson would give Josh Allen (the quarterback) a much-needed weapon.
10. DENVER BRONCOS: DEVIN BUSH, LB, MICHIGAN
Nope. It’s not a quarterback. John Elway might be calling the shots in Denver, but he chose a defensive-minded coach in Vic Fangio for a reason.
11. CINCINNATI BENGALS: BRIAN BURNS, DE, FLORIDA STATE
The Bengals brought in an offensive-minded coach in Zac Taylor, but he takes over a team that was last in the NFL in 2018 in total defense. Help is on the way.
12. GREEN BAY PACKERS: JONAH WILLIAMS, T, ALABAMA
Aaron Rodgers was sacked 49 times last season, including eight by Minnesota and seven by Chicago. Those defenses aren’t going anywhere, so the Packers better get some O-line help.
13. MIAMI DOLPHINS: DWAYNE HASKINS, QB, OHIO STATE
Since Dan Marino retired after the 1999 season, the Dolphins have had 19 different starting quarterbacks and won one playoff game. Your turn, Dwayne.
14. ATLANTA FALCONS: CHRISTIAN WILKINS, DT, CLEMSON
The Falcons needed defensive tackle help so much that they brought back ex-Gophers star Ra’Shede Hageman last week after he has been out of football for two years. But here’s the move that really will make a difference.
15. WASHINGTON REDSKINS: DANIEL JONES, QB, DUKE
Former Vikings QB Case Keenum lasted one year in Denver. His stay might not be any longer in Washington.
16. CAROLINA PANTHERS: RASHAN GARY, DE, MICHIGAN
Gary has started his own sports agency. Too bad he’ll likely have to wait five years to negotiate much for himself since rookie contracts are mostly predetermined.
17. NEW YORK GIANTS: DREW LOCK, QB, MISSOURI
Two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning won’t exactly be handed a clipboard when the games begin this fall, but he might want to get started on the mentoring process for his potential replacement.
18. VIKINGS: ANDRE DILLARD, T, WASHINGTON STATE
The Vikings’ best offensive lineman is left tackle Riley Reiff. If Dillard has the makings of a being a long-term solution at left tackle, Reiff just might have to move to left guard.
19. TENNESSEE TITANS: NOAH FANT, TE, IOWA
The Titans’ top receiving tight end, Jonnu Smith, caught all of 20 passes last season. Fant might top that number the first month of the season.
20. PITTSBURGH STEELERS: BYRON MURPHY, CB, WASHINGTON
One mock draft that has Murphy going to Pittsburgh is Murphy’s. He put on his Instragram account this week a simulated photo of him in a Steelers uniform.
21. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: CLELIN FERRELL, DE, CLEMSON
With Frank Clark, after a 13-sack season, going to Kansas City for $21 million a year, Seattle needs another pass rusher. How about Ferrell, who had 11 1/2 sacks in 2018, for an average of $3 million a year?
22. BALTIMORE RAVENS: GARRETT BRADBURY, C, N.C. STATE
The Ravens have been looking for a center since St. Paul native Matt Birk retired after they won the Super Bowl in February 2013. They might find their guy here.
23. HOUSTON TEXANS: CODY FORD, T, OKLAHOMA
NFL draft analyst Dane Brugler describes Ford as a “grizzly bear in pads.” He might even growl at J.J. Watt in practice.
24. OAKLAND RAIDERS: JOSH JACOBS, RB, ALABAMA
With the Raiders moving on after the failed Marshawn Lynch experiment, Jacobs has the makings of being a “Gruden Grinder.”
25. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: DEXTER LAWRENCE, DT, CLEMSON
The Eagles saw their defense drop from a No. 4 ranking during their Super Bowl season of 2017 to No. 23 last year. Help is on the way with this 6-foot-4, 342-pound behemoth.
26. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: CHRIS LINDSTROM, G, BOSTON COLLEGE
No team did better drafting a guard last year than the Colts, who took Quenton Nelson at No. 6 for the left side and saw him make the Pro Bowl. How about adding a right guard?
27. OAKLAND RAIDERS: ROCK YA-SIN, CB, TEMPLE
Another from cornerback factory Presbyterian. The tiny South Carolina school produced Baltimore’s Justin Bethel, and Ya-Sin played his first three years there before the school de-emphasized football.
28. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS: GREEDY WILLIAMS, CB, LSU
Andraez Williams got his nickname for his ravenous appetite as a youngster. Now, he can gobble up opposing wide receivers.
29. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: DEANDRE BAKER, CB, GEORGIA
Seattle is one year removed from Richard Sherman hitting the road. Baker won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back, something even Sherman didn’t do at Stanford.
30. GREEN BAY PACKERS: D.K. METCALF, WR, MISSISSIPPI
The Packers just hope this first-round Ole Miss receiver turns out a lot better than the last one, Laquon Treadwell, who went No. 23 to the Vikings in 2016.
31. LOS ANGELES RAMS: ERIK McCOY, C, TEXAS A&M
The Rams no longer have a center older than 33-year-old coach Sean McVay after releasing aging John Sullivan last month. The athletic McCoy would be an ideal replacement.
32 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS, JEFFERY SIMMONS, DT, MISSISSIPPI STATE
In the latest installment of Bill Belichick outsmarting everyone, he could take Simmons, a top-10 prospect until tearing his ACL in February, and unleash him upon the league in 2020.