The 2019 NFL Draft is here and with more questions than usual, this year’s draft can bring plenty of surprises.
1. Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray, QB Oklahoma
The Arizona Cardinals have a decision to make this week in whether they are going to stand by last year’s first rounder, Josh Rosen or commit to this vision of new head coach, Kliff Kingsbury. Kyler Murray out of Oklahoma fits well with what Kingsbury likes to do on offense. Arizona has plenty of holes in their roster but I expect them to take a swing for the fences at the quarterback position.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Nick Bosa, DE Ohio State
The San Francisco 49ers have not done a very good job of drafting edge players over the last few years. They have invested three first round picks on pass rushers in the past four years, yet they still need to do a better job of getting to the quarterback. Nick Bosa is the best defensive end in the class and could be a franchise talent in San Francisco.
3. New York Jets: Quinnen Williams, DT Alabama
The opportunity to draft Quinnen Williams should only come for the New York Jets at pick number three if a quarterback is taken in the top two. Williams is easily one of the best players in this draft class and should be New York’s pick if he’s available. Defensive tackle probably isn’t a huge focus for them but Williams is too good to pass up if another team isn’t willing to trade up.
4. Oakland Raiders: Josh Allen, EDGE Kentucky
Nick Bosa is the top edge player in this years’ draft class but Josh Allen out of Kentucky is a close second. For a team desperate to improve it’s pass rush, like the Oakland Raiders, he will be very difficult to pass up. Allen has all of the physical tools teams look for on top of being one of the most productive college players in this class.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Montez Sweat, EDGE Mississippi State
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a hard team to project. They have desperate needs both in the secondary and rushing the passer but there really isn’t a good value left on the board for the fifth overall pick. They could be a candidate to move down if a team wants to jump the quarterback-needy Giants. Because I don’t project trades I have them going with the high upside edge rusher in Montez Sweat, perhaps the biggest riser through the offseason workouts.
6. New York Giants: Dwayne Haskins, QB Ohio State
There has been a lot of talk about the New York Giants waiting until their second pick at number 17 to snag a quarterback. That could be tempting if a top pass rusher like Nick Bosa or Josh Allen is still on the board but I don’t buy the talk. It seems more likely that it’s all a bunch of smoke to give the desperate Giants a chance to select the best pure pocket passer in the draft at number six.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jawaan Taylor, OT Florida
The Jacksonville Jaguars’ quarterback play last season likely held them back from a second straight playoff birth. It isn’t all on the quarterbacks, however. Their defense wasn’t as dominant as it was the season before and their offensive line play was shaky. They hope they have upgraded under center this season and need to help Nick Foles as much as they can. Adding the draft’s best offensive lineman would be a very good start.
8. Detroit Lions: Jonah Williams, OL Alabama
The Detroit Lions are another team whose needs don’t quite line up with the value available. They would likely like to add another pass rusher to pair with free agent addition Trey Flowers and should shore up their offensive line. Jonah Williams is a versatile player who could stay on the outside in the NFL or slide inside to play guard at the next level.
9. Buffalo Bills: T.J. Hockenson, TE Iowa
The Buffalo Bills should have one goal in mind this offseason and that is surrounding Josh Allen with talent. They added the reliable but not outstanding Cole Beasley this offseason, as well as a down the field threat for the strong-armed Allen in John Brown but that probably won’t be the end of it, however. T.J. Hockenson is the best all-around tight end prospect in years and should be a top ten pick on Thursday.
10. Denver Broncos: Devin White, ILB LSU
I find it hard to envision the Broncos passing up on Devin White out of LSU if T.J. Hockenson is off the board. Tight end is likely their biggest need but they would like to add an athletic coverage linebacker to complement Josey Jewell and Todd Davis. Offensive line is in play here but I think someone like Kansas State’s Dalton Risner is more likely early in the second.
11. Cincinnati Bengals: Devin Bush, LB Michigan
The Cincinnati Bengals need to get younger and more athletic in the middle of their defense. They obviously would like to get their choice of the two best linebackers in the class but it would be hard to be disappointed with Devin Bush out of Michigan. He falls behind Devin Bush because he isn’t very tall but he is a fantastic football player.
12. Green Bay Packers: Ed Oliver, DT Houston
The Green Bay Packers have more pressing needs than defensive tackle, but there isn’t another value like Ed Oliver out of Houston available. Once thought to be the best player in this draft class, Oliver is an incredible athlete and a disruptive force in the middle, as well as the best player available here for the Packers.
13. Miami Dolphins: Rashan Gary, DE Michigan
The Miami Dolphins will leave the draft with a quarterback, likely in the early rounds. Many draft experts have Dwayne Haskins falling into their laps here but I believe they will have to trade up to get a shot at him. Instead, I have them going with the best value, and player, still on the board in Michigan’s Rashan Gary.
14. Atlanta Falcons: Christian Wilkins, DT Clemson
The Atlanta Falcons defense should improve immensely next season, simply by getting key pieces healthy again. They were absolutely decimated by injuries in 2018 and should return to full strength this season, add in a disruptive force to their defensive line rotation in Clemson’s Christian Wilkins and they should jump up the rankings.
15. Washington Redskins: “Greedy” Williams, CB LSU
If Kyler Murray goes number one overall to the Cardinals, that means that Josh Rosen has been shipped out of town. Right now it seems that the Washington Redskins would be the most likely destination. If their quarterback needs are filled they have the freedom to take a long, athletic corner like Greedy Williams.
16. Carolina Panthers: Clelin Ferrell, EDGE Clemson
The Carolina Panthers need to retool their defense with young playmakers. Clelin isn’t the elite athlete that some of the players above him are, but he finds ways to make plays. Like all of Clemson’s defensive lineman, there are concerns that part of his success was due to the players around him but I’d feel very good about picking him up in the middle of the first round.
17. New York Giants (From: Cleveland Browns): Brian Burns, EDGE Florida State
In my opinion, getting Dwayne Haskins and Brian Burns with their two first round picks is almost the ideal situation for the New York Giants. They need to add an edge rusher early that has the potential to become a cornerstone for a defense. They appear to have embraced a rebuild and need to retool on both sides of the ball.
18. Minnesota Vikings: Cody Ford, OL Oklahoma
The Minnesota Vikings have invested a lot in quarterback, Kirk Cousins. At this point, they need to do everything they can to help him be successful after a disappointing finish in 2018. They have one of the best-receiving duos in the NFL but their offensive line needs work. I see them taking the best O-lineman available when they’re on the clock.
19. Tennessee Titans: Noah Fant, TE Iowa
At this point, I don’t see Marcus Mariota as the type of quarterback that can be successful with below average talent around him. The Titans need to put the best pieces around him possible to give him the best possibility of success. Noah Fant is not a great blocker at all but he is a great weapon in the passing game who is too big to cover for most defensive backs and too athletic for most linebackers.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Deandre Baker, CB Georgia
In my opinion, cornerback isn’t nearly as big of a need as an inside linebacker. In this mock draft, they’re going to have to wait until day two to look for a replacement to Ryan Shazier. The signing of Steven Nelson gives the Steelers the flexibility to wait on a corner but Deandre Baker is the best player remaining on the board. He doesn’t have the best physical traits in the class but the in-game production he displayed at Georgia is hard to pass up.
21. Seattle Seahawks: Byron Murphy, CB Washington
The Seahawks are faced with rebuilding a defense through the draft as a result of the cap percentage taken up by a franchise quarterback. They traded away one of their best defensive players in Frank Clark to avoid paying him, and they will be looking for impact defensive players on rookie contracts to repair their defense. They should be happy with Byron Murphy, a corner some consider to be the best in the class.
22. Baltimore Ravens: D.K. Metcalf, WR Mississippi
The Ravens have struggled in the draft with the wide receiver position. I can see them taking another swing here despite a huge need for a pass rusher. D.K. Metcalf has an incredible size/speed combination and could be gone before the Ravens get a shot at him. If he’s around however they will be very tempted to draft more help for Lamar Jackson.
23. Houston Texans: Andre Dillard, OT Washington State
The Houston Texans can not continue to allow Deshaun Watson to get hit at the rate he is. He was sacked almost four times a game which would be incredibly concerning even if Watson didn’t have an injury history. Andre Dillard is the best pure pass blocking tackle in this class, a value the Texans can’t afford to pass up.
24. Oakland Raiders (From: Chicago Bears): Josh Jacobs, RB Alabama
The Oakland Raiders added arguably the best receiver in the NFL when they traded for Antonio Brown. They don’t, however, have a game changer in the backfield. With three picks in the first round, they can afford to take the top running back in the class. The defense needs a lot of work but Jacobs has the potential to be the type of game-altering back that former first rounders, Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliot have been.
25. Philadelphia Eagles: Rock Ya-Sin, CB Temple
The Philadelphia Eagles did a lot of work in the offseason to fill some of the bigger holes in their roster. They still need to work on their secondary, however. Rock Ya-Sin has only played one year of big-time college football but he made the most of it. A very physical player, Ya-SIn, was outstanding in his one season playing for Temple.
26. Indianapolis Colts: Johnathan Abram, S Mississippi State
The rebuild of the Indianapolis Colts occurred much faster than I could have predicted. They have drafted well in recent years and have surrounded Andrew Luck with a solid young core, especially on the defensive side of the ball. I don’t know that safety is the biggest need they have but Johnathan Abram out of Mississippi State is the best player left on the board and I like the way he fits next to Malik Hooker.
27. Oakland Raiders (From: Dallas Cowboys): Amani Oruwariye, CB Penn State
The Oakland Raiders made a move to fill the biggest hole in their defense with the selection of Josh Allen at number four overall. They have an opportunity to fill the second with Amani Oruwariye from Penn State. He’s a late first/early second round player in my opinion. He isn’t someone who will immediately come in a play at an all-pro level but he has the ability to be a really good player for many years.
28. Los Angeles Chargers: Dexter Lawrence, DT Clemson
The Chargers have a very narrow window to win while Phillip Rivers is still playing at a high level. Dexter Lawrence out of Clemson could help them do that. He is an incredible athlete for a man his size and was a great player at Clemson despite fighting injuries. He is an outstanding run stuffer and has the ability to push a pocket even if he might never rack up huge sack totals.
29. Seattle Seahawks ( From: Kansas City Chiefs): Jachai Polite, EDGE Florida
The Seattle Seahawks pass rush was a concern before they traded away Frank Clark. Now they need to find a way to replace him. I expect them to draft at least one edge rusher maybe more this week in an attempt to find a cheaper solution to pressuring the passer. Jachai Polite isn’t a guarantee in any way but he is a very high upside player getting after the passer.
30. Green Bay Packers (From: New Orleans Saints): Irv. Smith Jr., TE Alabama
Jimmy Graham is 32 years old and isn’t the same player he was with the New Orleans Saints. He is still a serviceable player but isn’t the game breaker he used to be. Irv. Smith Jr. has the potential to have an immediate impact as a second tight end while developing into the long term replacement for Graham.
31. Los Angeles Rams: Garrett Bradbury, OL N.C. State
The Los Angeles Rams are keeping Dante Fowler Jr. around for another year to give them some flexibility early in the draft. They have needs on the defensive side of the football, most notably at edge rusher, but a team that lives and dies by Sean McVay’s offense would definitely like to repair the interior of their offensive line.
32. New England Patriots: Daniel Jones, QB Duke
Tom Brady isn’t going to play forever and the New England Patriots management is definitely aware of that. They have been willing to draft quarterbacks in the early rounds in the past although previously not in the first round. With Brady approaching the end of his career, however, it might be time to cross that line.