Welcome to our first mock draft of the season. We are less than four weeks from the opening round, which makes it a very exciting time of year. Instead of droning on with an introduction you don’t care about, let’s just get to why you’re here.
#1 Arizona Cardinals – QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
This appears to be a done deal.
Time move Kyler Murray to AZ at #1 from pencil to pen.
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) March 27, 2019
Allbright is a pretty reliable reporter. The day he tweeted this out is the same day that Joel Klatt went on FS1 and said the Patriots, Giants, and Chargers are all interested in Rosen, and that Rosen is going to get moved.
Despite all the evidence this is inevitable, I still think there is a non-zero change the Cardinals stick with Rosen. Not only could this whole thing be a smokescreen to try to coerce a huge trade, but there is no precedent to a Rosen trade. Since the 1970 merger, 107 quarterbacks have been drafted in the first round. Precisely zero of those quarterbacks failed to make it to a second season with the team that drafted them.
Clearly, come draft night, I believe this will happen. I just want the legal disclaimer, which undermines the entire premise of making a prediction anyway.
#2 San Francisco 49ers – Edge Nick Bosa, Ohio State
If Murray goes first, barring a trade the next three picks figure to be Bosa, Williams, and Allen in some order. There are reports that the 9ers love Williams. It makes sense, and could easily be true. I’m just banking on someone, somewhere, in the organization realizing they need to stop messing around with Solomon Thomas and move him to the interior to maximize him. Hopefully the selection of Bosa here bumps Thomas inside and forms one of the most fear inducing defensive fronts in the NFL.
As for Dee Ford, I believe he was brought in to be play the Bruce Irvin role in Robert Saleh’s defense.
#3 New York Jets – Edge Josh Allen, Kentucky
The Jets are all set on the defensive interior, so they elect for Allen over Williams. New York will actively shop this pick, and the trade market they find will depend on a lot of variables. In this mock draft edition, the team stays put and addresses debatably their biggest need.
#4 Oakland Raiders – DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama
I have to imagine if Murray goes first, Oakland will just sit here and take whoever falls to them between Bosa, Williams, and Allen. There is a chance Gruden or Mayock falls in love with Gary or Sweat due to their athleticism on the edge if Williams is the one that remains. However, Williams is universally a top three prospect in this draft and still hits an area of need for Oakland.
#5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Edge Rashan Gary, Michigan
If you look at Jason Licht’s first round history, there is evidence to suggest he values athleticism. So far he has nabbed Mike Evans, Jameis Winston, Vernon Hargreaves, O.J. Howard, and Vita Vea. With the exception of Hargreaves, all those players are athletic, especially for their sizes.
Gary blew up the combine, as was anticipated. Edge is also a major need for the Bucs. Shaquil Barrett was only signed to a one year deal, while Tampa can move on from Jason Pierre-Paul clear and free after this season as there will be no more dead money on his deal.
#6 New York Giants – Edge Montez Sweat, Mississippi State
Here we have another example of a general manager that covets athletes. Since 2013, Gettleman has spent his first round picks on Star Lotulelei, Kelvin Benjamin, Shaq Thompson, Vernon Butler, Christian McCaffrey, and Saquon Barkley. Honing in on his past two drafts, Gettleman doubled down on shift athletic weapons by taking Curtis Samuel, and then following Barkley with two picks in the trenches – Will Hernandez and B.J. Hill – along with athlete Lorenzo Carter.
Plus, Gettleman loves drafting hog mollies.
As with Gary, Sweat blew up the combine. At 260lbs, Sweat posted a 4.41 40, a 36″ vertical, a 10’5″ broad jump, and a 7.00 three-cone. For good measure (pun intended), Sweat had the longest arm length and wingspan among all edge defenders in Indianapolis.
The theory of this pick is also bolstered by the recent report that the Giants are “likely” to select a pass rusher here.
#7 Jacksonville Jaguars – OT Andre Dillard, Washington State
This is more need based than taking the best player available, but good lord is this a need and Dillard is the best left tackle in the draft. After two years of, let’s call it subpar play, from Cam Robinson, the Jaguars should look to another option on the left side. Moving Robinson over to the right side may help him as well. Besides, what’s the point in drafting a running back 4th overall and overpaying Nick Foles if your offensive line sticks?
Per ProFootballFocus, Dillard had the best pass blocking grade in college football last season among all left tackles.
#8 Detroit Lions – TE T.J. Hockenson, Iowa
The Lions never replaced Eric Ebron, plus this feels like a Patricia pick. There are many reasons why Gronk was absolutely unstoppable, but the least measurable is how he broke defenses. Other tight ends are mismatch nightmares for defenses as a receiving weapon. Too fast to be covered by a linebacker, too big to be covered by a safety. But if they’re in the game you only fear them as a weapon, and can game plan all week on who will draw the coverage duties.
Gronk was equally as dominant as a blocker, so his presence on the field wouldn’t tip the Patriots hand. If the defense went lighter with more DB’s for better coverage, New England had a sixth offensive lineman on the field and would run the ball down your throat. Make it a stacked box with a heavier package and good luck covering Gronk.
I’m not saying Hockenson is the next Gronk. I’m just saying he is easily the best tight end in this class because of his effectiveness as both a blocker and a receiver. Detroit has already brought in former Patriots Trey Flowers and Danny Amendola this offseason, so Patricia, along with fellow former Patriots employee Bob Quinn, may be trying to build something similar in the motor city.
#9 Buffalo Bills – WR D.K. Metcalf, Mississippi
You don’t need to search far to find another mock with this selection. Therefore, I won’t waste your time going too in depth here. I will just point out this seems like a Brandon Beane pick. Last year, Beane couldn’t resist the upside that Josh Allen’s legs and arm represented, nor could he resist the upside of Tremaine Edmund’s ridiculous athleticism and youth. Here is a freak straight line athlete that can maybe go run under all those scatter shot bombs from Allen.
#10 Denver Broncos – QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
Does John Elway seem like the type that is self-reflective to you? If you’re tall and have a howitzer for a right arm, Elway probably thinks you’re destined to be a hall of fame quarterback. Elway has spent draft picks on Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch, and just traded for Joe Flacco. Very common thread; tall, strong arm, not good.
This isn’t a declaration as to whether or not Haskins will be good in the NFL. But he is nearly 6’4″ with the arm strength Elway covets. Also, given the way Elway has handled his quarterback situation in the past, it does appear to be his strategy that he wants his young guy to sit and learn behind a veteran starter for at least one season. Haskins can sit behind Flacco before taking over in 2020.
#11 Cincinnati Bengals – OL Jonah Williams, Alabama
This seems almost too logical to not happen. Cincinnati fielded one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL last season. While their starting tackles are either 50%-100% bad, they’re entrenched in their positions.
That leaves the interior. Jonah Williams is either a tackle or guard prospect, depending on who you ask. Regardless, he is viewed as a really good prospect. Andy Dalton and Joe Mixon simply need more help up front if they’re going to be effective in Zac Taylor’s new offense.
#12 Green Bay Packers – LB Devin White, LSU
White is debatably the best player available and hits a need for Green Bay. The Packers desperately need help at linebacker next to Blake Martinez. With the addition of White, Green Bay’s revamped defense would have the ability to be a surprise unit in 2019.
#13 Miami Dolphins – Edge Brian Burns, Florida State
Given the position Burns plays, his athleticism, and natural bend, he should find himself going in the top 20. The Dolphins seem like a fit. The roster is barren in terms of edge rushers, as Cameron Wake is gone and Charles Harris hasn’t flashed much in two seasons. Drafting any offensive lineman here will also be under consideration, but the idea is that Burns has the highest grade on Miami’s board.
#14 Atlanta Falcons – DT Ed Oliver, Houston
There’s rumors the Falcons want to move up to secure Oliver, so getting him here at 14 is ideal. Oliver is also a steal this far down the board. He is a disruptive force when he gets to play the three technique, and he just destroyed his pro day workout. Atlanta also seems poised to look beyond the “size concerns,” as Dan Quinn’s defense is based on speed and they deploy undersized players at multiple positions.
#15 Washington – CB Greedy Williams, LSU
While Washington desperately needs a quarterback and a receiver, they can’t bring themselves to pass on Williams. The burner allowed only 27 catches this season on 74 targets thrown into his coverage. Williams is perhaps the best player on the board and hits a major need across from Josh Norman.
#16 Carolina Panthers – CB DeAndre Baker, Georgia
While the Panthers don’t have the pressing needs at receiver and quarterback that Washington does, this is essentially the same logic as the Greedy pick. Baker is perhaps the best player on the board, as he allowed 10 first downs all season and hasn’t allowed a touchdown since 2016.
This once again hits a need as well. The Panthers need a starter across from Bradberry. Jackson had a solid rookie season, but moving him into the slot may be the best way to maximize his talents.
#17 New York Giants (F/CLE) – OT Jawaan Taylor, Florida
Another hog mollie. Gettleman paid Nate Solder a billion dollars so it helps that Taylor played right tackle in college and is the best tackle available. Taylor also fits the draft range as well. If the Giants “aren’t kidding,” about rolling with Eli in 2020, then they desperately need to improve his protection.
#18 Minnesota Vikings – DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson
With Sheldon Richardson leaving in free agency, Minnesota has a need for an interior disruptor. Of course, the biggest need on the team is along the offensive line. However, with Taylor going off the board right before this pick, it may be hard to find a fit to draft here.
Additionally, with the selection of Mike Hughes in the first round last year, it may be the case that the Vikings will look to select the best player available according to their board. They could view that someone as Wilkins who, again, hits a need.
#19 Tennessee Titans – TE Noah Fant, Iowa
You can make a strong argument Tennessee has a bigger need at wide receiver. However, Delaine Walker isn’t going to play forever and just had his season cut short by injuries. That, coupled with the free agent addition of Adam Humphrey, may push the Titans in the tight end direction.
Regardless of position, there is a good chance this pick is a weapon for Mariota. Mariota will be a free agent in 2020, so the team should do everything possible to put him in the best environment for 2019 to obtain the best evaluation it can ahead of a franchise altering decision.
#20 Pittsburgh Steelers – LB Devin Bush, Michigan
The Steelers never really replaced Ryan Shazier. While what happened is tragic, the team still lost its best linebacker. Additionally, dating back to the drafting of Shazier, the front office has shown an affinity toward athleticism in the first round. Since Shazier, Pittsburgh has selected Bud Dupree, Artie Burns, T.J. Watt, and Terrell Edmuds in the first round of the past five drafts. Devin Bush posted a 4.44 40, 40.5″ vertical, 10’4″ broad jump, and 6.93 three cone at 234lbs in Indianapolis.
*TRADE* Kansas City Trades #29 & #93 to Seattle for #21
#21 Kansas City Chiefs (F/SEA) – Edge Jachai Polite, Florida
Regarding the trade, it makes sense would happen from both sides. I’ll cover the Seattle side in their pick capsule.
As for the Chiefs, Andy Reid has never been hesitant to “over” draft a player he likes or move up for a player he likes. For example, in 2014 Reid took Dee Ford with the 23rd pick despite Ford being viewed as a top of the second round prospect, and in 2015 he took Marcus Peters 18th despite Peters being viewed as a 25-32 type prospect.
The opinions on Polite are split, but it only takes one team to fall in love with him. The Chiefs have traded away Ford and cut Justin Houston this offseason. Their edge rushers are non-existent. They desperately need to fill the position. Furthermore, the Chiefs have an extra second round pick this year from the Rams due to the Marcus Peters trade, so they may be willing to part of their own third rounder in order to move up the board.
#22 Baltimore Ravens – C Garrett Bradbury, N.C. State
While the needs at receiver, linebacker, and edge get all the press for the Ravens, center is a big need as well. If Ozzie Newsome taught Eric DeCosta anything during their time together, it was presumably to stick to your board and take the best guy. Bradbury could easily be DeCosta’s top rated guy at this juncture, and he hits a need, in addition to providing Lamar Jackson more protection.
#23 Houston Texans – OT Greg Little, Mississippi
The Texans had the worst offensive line in the NFL last year, and a massive problem was left tackle. This should come as no surprise, since they traded away Duane Brown and never replaced him. Little is a fringe first round prospect with similar movement skills to Brown, so if the Texans have any interest in not letting Deshaun Watson get murdered this pick will most likely be an offensive lineman.
#24 Oakland Raiders (F/CHI) – CB Byron Murphy, Washington
The Raiders get an absolutely massive steal here at a major position of need. Murphy allowed a 47.7% completion percentage into his coverage this past season and forced 17 incompletions. He excels in a zone scheme, so fit may be very important for the Washington corner. However, he is right on par with Williams and Baker as the best corners in the draft.
#25 Philadelphia Eagles – CB Rock Ya-Sin, Temple
Ronald Darby returns, but it’s a one year contract, and the team suffered last season from his injury. Philadelphia is simply too thin at the corner position. Ya-Sin looks the part and tested well at the combine. He is also getting a lot of talk as a back end of the first corner, so he fits the range while hitting a need.
#26 Indianapolis Colts – DT Dexter Lawrence, Clemson
This is a steal. Lawrence is a tremendous athlete for his size and provides more pass rush than you would expect. Lawrence ran a 5.05 at 342lbs in Indianapolis, along with putting up 36 reps with his 84″ arms. The combine isn’t everything, but those numbers are ridiculous. The Colts already have a good run defense, but can still use help on the interior of their defensive line, where they can upgrade next to Margus Hunt.
#27 Oakland Raiders (F/DAL) – RB Josh Jacobs, Alabama
This feels like a pick Mayock and Gruden would want to make. They hit their two biggest needs on defense and now want to turn their attention to balancing out the offense. The running back position in Oakland last year was a mess after Marshawn Lynch’s injury. At his age, Lynch cannot be relied upon anyway. This is the Gruden/Mayock tandem adding Jacobs to Carr and Brown to convince themselves they have their very own triplets.
#28 Los Angeles Chargers – OL Cody Ford, Oklahoma
Is Ford a tackle, is he a guard? Whichever the Chargers decide, they simply need to protect Philip Rivers more as he ages into his late 30’s.
#29 Seattle Seahawks (F/KC) – CB Justin Layne, Michigan State
Regarding the trade for Seattle, Schneider and Carroll love trading down. Since that list was published, the team traded down twice in 2017, which resulted in them landing outside the first round all together, and traded down in the first round again in 2018.
Part of the reason behind the trading is that Seattle is continuously short on draft capital. This is the case again in 2019, as their second rounder is the property of Houston, due to the Duane Brown trade.
Seattle has a pressing need at corner. We also know the covet athleticism in general and length at the corner position. Layne ran a 4.50 at nearly 6’2″, to go along with a 6.90 three cone drill. Layne also was tied for the longest arm measurement at the combine and had the second longest wingspan, among corners.
#30 Green Bay Packers (F/NO) – WR Marquise Brown, Oklahoma
A playmaker to go on the opposite side of Davante Adams. While Rodgers may not want another young receiver, Brown is a good value with this pick and hits a major need. Brown can flat out fly and will add a field stretching dynamic that this offense simply lacks at the moment.
*TRADE* Cincinnati Trades #42, #111, #212 to Los Angeles for #31
#31 Cincinnati Bengals (F/LAR) – DT Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi
This, clearly, is what I believe will happen with Simmons. Someone will move up in the late first in order to secure the 5th year option on his contract. The Bengals are never a franchise shy of taking character risks, and there is a chance Simmons can get back to the field this season. Additionally, regarding the trade, the Bengals have three comp picks at the end of the 6th round they can use as a sweetener to move up, while the Rams are without their second rounder and could be looking to move down to acquire more picks.
#32 New England Patriots – Edge Clelin Ferrell, Clemson
The Patriots simply sit back and take the best player that falls to them. While New England fans may be upset this isn’t a receiver or tight end, Ferrell is just better than anyone available at those positions. Additionally, the Patriots still have a need at edge. While Michael Bennett was brought in to replace Trey Flowers, the team parted ways with Adrian Clayborn. Deatrich Wise has flashed at times in his career, but that shouldn’t stop the team from bringing in a talent like Ferrell.