As the dust settles after an exciting and dramatic 2018 NFL Draft, attention turns to next year’s proceeding when teams will once again select top college talent to bolster their rosters. Next years draft will feature a number of can’t miss prospects on both sides of the ball, particularly on the defensive line and, like this year, at the Quarterback position.
Here are the players that could conceivably go first overall next April.
Ed Oliver, DL, Houston
The 2019 draft has the potential to be an all-timer in terms of defensive line talent. Houston’s Oliver, who has been a star since he stepped on the field as a freshman, is one of half a dozen or so d-lineman that could conceivably be selected first. Oliver has gained attention from scouts thanks to freakish athleticism and production in his two years as a cougar. In his college career so far he has recorded 138 total tackles, 10.5 sacks, a staggering 38.5(!) tackles for loss, nine pass deflections and four forced fumbles. Oliver appears to be a can’t miss prospect along the lines of Ndamukong Suh, Jadaveon Clowney and Gerald McCoy.
As of today, Todd McShay projects him as the top player in next year’s draft.
Nick Bosa, DL, Ohio State
Younger brother of San Diego Chargers star Joey Bosa, defensive end Nick Bosa is another clear-cut candidate to be selected first in the 2019 draft. There are some who say that Nick could be even better than his older brother, which would be no small feat, as Joey is an all-pro caliber talent that transformed the Charger defense this past year. In his two years at Ohio State, Nick has recorded 13.5 sacks and 23 tackles for loss, not quite as impressive as Joey was in his first two years at Ohio State, but it’s gotten the job done.
Nick has a rare combination of finesse and strength, and with an outstanding junior year could very well land himself in the first overall position, becoming the second Bosa in the league like the Watt brothers before them.
Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan
A product of Jim Harbaugh’s stout defensive at Michigan, defensive tackle Rashan Gary is the second Big Ten defensive lineman, with Bosa, who has a chance to be taken quite high. Gary is a big dude at 6 foot 5 and 287 pounds, excelling with elite athleticism and power. During his sophomore year with the Wolverines, Gary recorded 58 tackles, 11.5 of which were for loss, and 5.5. sacks.
Michigan is a team that could surprise some people, what with the addition of Shea Patterson from Ole Miss, and Gary will be at the center of whatever they accomplish in 2018.
Dexter Lawrence, DL, Clemson
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Clemson has two potential 1st round selections on their defensive line in the 2018 Draft. Interior lineman Christian Wilkins and edge rusher Clein Ferrell are expected to go in the Top 32, but another Tiger is getting more talk from scouts. Sophomore defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence is already getting 1st round hype and potential 1st overall hype from scouts. Some see Lawrence as an “Ndamukong Suh type player.” #DexterLawrence #TDR
As previously stated and should now be evident, next years draft will be a golden opportunity for rebuilding teams to bolster their defensive front for a long time. Lawrence is a key member of Clemson’s dominant defensive line which has played a large part in landing all the playoff appearances the last few years and winning the 2016-17 National Championship. After a productive freshman season during the championship year, Lawrence’s numbers were down in 2017 — but that is only because of constant double-teams he drew which opened things up for his teammates to dominate and succeed. Lawrence is an unselfish team player, who at 6-5 340 pounds is an athletic freak. He has the dual ability to stop the run and rush the passer, an invaluable skill in the NFL.
Quarterbacks: There are a number of Quarterbacks who could leap to the front and give a franchise a central building block at the sport’s most important position. These include Michigan’s Shea Patterson, Oregon’s Justin Herbert, Missouri’s Drew Lock, Northwestern’s Clayton Thorson, NC State’s Ryan Finley and Auburn’s Jared Stidham. Herbert, Lock and Stidham are also names to watch in terms of Heisman contention.