While The 2019 NFL Draft is a strong three months away, mock drafts for the country’s best college football players have been releasing like hot cakes. Prognosticators and predictors alike have given takes on who they think will go in the first round, and who will be drafted first overall by way of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell when he makes the announcement come Thursday, April 25, 2019, at 8 p.m.
The Arizona Cardinals are the owners of the top pick, finishing at 3-13, and debates about who they will take will extend late into March and April. There is much agreement that the Cardinals will go towards the defensive side of the ball and draft a defensive lineman, with opinions varying on getting Kentucky’s Josh Allen or Houston’s Ed Oliver.
That’s where the mock draft comes in. No mock draft is completely accurate, but it does give insight on each team’s needs, and who your favorite team could draft come April.
The Quarterback class – compared to last year with the likes of USC’s Sam Darnold (Jets), Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield (Browns) and Wyoming’s Josh Allen (Bills) – is considerably weaker. Defense seems to be the trend this year, with a flurry of pass rushers, run stuffers, defensive backs and linebackers being on a lot of early draft boards as the 2018-19 college football season comes to an end Monday night during Alabama and Clemson’s national title game.
Here’s a look at who your favorite team could be drafting in April:
1. Arizona Cardinals – Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
This should come as a no-brainer. The brother of the LA Chargers’ exceptional defensive end Joey Bosa, Nick possesses all of the natural ability to be deemed the most dangerous pass rusher in the nation and a generational talent. Surprisingly enough, the Cards finished with the third-most amount of sacks with 49 on the year, tying the New Orleans and only trailing Chicago and Kansas City. The high motor, bendy frame, speed, and elusiveness are just some of the attractive features to boot, and with Chandler Jones who put up another monstrous campaign in 2018, a good pass-rushing defense could turn into a great pass-rushing defense in 2019.
2. San Francisco 49ers – Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
A player whom many would consider the most game-breaking player whenever Alabama’s defensive line steps on the field, the 49ers would be remiss to pass up a run-stuffing and pass-rushing dynamo in Quinnen Williams. The ever so elusive 6’4, 295-lb nose tackle is easily the best in the country at his position, accumulating over 67 tackles, 8 sacks and 18 tackles for loss.
Astoundingly effective interior pressure aside, the combination of athleticism, (which is alarming for a player his size) power and quickness, he can immediately boost the reputation of a growing defensive line with talents like DeForest Buckner, who had a monster 2018 season.
3. New York Jets – Josh Allen, LB, Kentucky
Arguably the most versatile edge rusher not named Nick Bosa heading into April’s draft, the multifaceted Kentucky defender got to the quarterback 17 times this year. He’s earned the right to be called a top-5 pick and has shown flashes of being able to cover tight ends one-on-one. For an overtly proficient edge-setter, he shows a bunch of prowess with his speed and good ball skills. Not to mention that he’s 6’5 and 260 pounds with quickness and bend like that.
4. Oakland Raiders – Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
The Raiders defense was a mess the entire year, and not just because of them giving away Khalil Mack to Chicago, making them the second-best defense in football. The Raiders had the 7th-worst defense in football, letting up an average of 29 ppg and an average of 381 yards a game. Giving DBs like Rashard Melvin help on the outside with a long, tall and physical corner at the line of scrimmage could certainly help reduce that number.
5. Tampa Bay Buccanneers – Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
Jonah Williams is pound-for-pound the best offensive lineman in the draft, plain and simple. Williams put on a blocking clinic whenever Bama’s offense marches down the field, allowing Alabama to have one of the most proficient passing and rushing attacks in the country. Tua’s blindside tackle is a plug-and-play Left Tackle, without question. If the Buccaneers still believe that Jameis Winston is the answer at QB, this draft choice can make the decision to keep the former Heisman winner a little easier on the eyes.
6. New York Giants – Dwayne Haskins, Jr., QB, Ohio State
Giants fans know their time with Eli Manning is coming to an end. For a year that ended with more questions about Eli’s ability to still be able to perform as a starting quarterback, the Giants can no longer afford to lobby around and think Eli is still the guy that can get it done. Dave Gettleman needs to draft Manning’s successor NOW. And what better guy to draft than one of the most efficient passers in College Football.
Standing at 6 foot 3, Haskins clearly showed his skillset to the entire country as the most polished pocket passer, showcasing accuracy, a rocket arm, exemplary football IQ and play extendability. In a blowout victory against Ohio State’s greatest foe Michigan (who had the country’s best defense at the time), Haskins put up numbers north of 600 yards, and in the process broke Drew Brees’ Big Ten single-season passing touchdown record. This guy has franchise quarterback written all over him, regardless if he’s only showed one year of performance.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars – Ed Oliver, DE, Houston
Much of the talk surrounding the esteemed Houston edge rusher dealt with talks about him being the first overall pick coming into the season. Since then, we’ve seen a flurry of defensive talent unleashed with the likes of Quinnen Williams, Dexter Lawrence and Josh Allen, just to name a few. There are so many exceptional linemen to pick in this year’s draft that everyone taken in the first round will give your football team a jolt, and Ed Oliver is no exception to that rule.
In fact, Oliver is exceptional. Maybe generational. The pass rusher accumulated 13.5 sacks in a three-year collegiate career and has a burst off the snap that draws comparisons to Aaron Donald. With a defense that faltered in 2018 after reaching a conference final a year earlier, drafting Oliver will not only give Calais Campbell help on that line but re-legitimize the once-ferocious Jags defense that terrorized offensive coordinators in 2017.
8. Detroit Lions – Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
Another participant in Monday’s National Champion, Ferrell contributed to one of, if not the most, disruptive defensive lines in the country. Assuming that Lions stud edge rusher Ziggy Ansah is playing elsewhere before the new season begins, the defensive-minded Matt Patricia will need someone to fill that void that Ansah would leave. He will have some help with standout interior rushers Da’Shawn Hand and Damon “Snacks” Harrison but would ultimately give the Lions defense something they’ve longed for: a consistent edge rush.
9. Buffalo Bills – N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
So far, Harry is the best receiver in the draft, and Josh Allen would certainly accept having a WR1 to deliver the ball to on Sundays. The Arizona State product provides an instant spark to the offense, giving Sean McDermott an entirely new dynamic of speed and height. Harry is 6’4 and 215 pounds, and his 40-yard dash clocks out at 4.55.
10. Denver Broncos – Jachai Polite, DE, Florida
It couldn’t hurt John Elway to use another first-round draft selection for their defensive line for the third time in nine years. Jachai Polite, who is another speedy and flexible edge rusher in this packed defensive draft class who is a natural at getting to the quarterback, though he could use some work against the run.
11. Cincinnati Bengals – Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
If you’re Bengals owner Mike Brown, there are three major gaps that need filling in the coming months: you’ll need a new GM, a new head coach, and a new Quarterback. While it is unclear who the Bengals will hire for the first two needs, a blatantly clear answer lies in the potential of Daniel Jones. The Duke quarterback entered himself into the conversation of the top QBs declaring for the draft, and reasonably so.
Jones threw north of 2,600 yards, while also getting the ball in the end zone 22 times, his career high in his Junior year. If Brown is looking to discontinue the Andy Dalton era and look elsewhere, Daniel Jones is their guy. The Junior showed good touch and accuracy on the deep ball. He displayed his ability to make lightning-quick reads but made hasty decisions when blitzes came.
12. Green Bay Packers – AJ Brown, WR, Ole Miss
The possibility of Randall Cobb’s departure looms over Aaron Rodgers, Brian Gutekunst, and the Packers fans altogether. Therefore, the Packers GM will have to dig deep in the Wide Receiver market to draft a new wideout to not only replace Cobb but add additional help to an already thin and help-needy receiver core. Fortunately, D.K Metcalf’s companion at Ole Miss – who proved to be good at catching those high and contested balls at 6 foot 1, 230 pounds – could be just the piece Aaron Rodgers needs to get back to the postseason.
13. Miami Dolphins – Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
No other way around it – the Dolphins must draft Ryan Tannehill’s replacement. Luckily, they can confide in Drew Lock, a four-year starter for the Mizzou. A huge arm and play extendability out of the pocket could be something Miami fans could enjoy in the sunshine state.
14. Atlanta Falcons – Rashan Gary, DT, Michigan
Yet another member of this loaded draft class of defensive linemen, Rashan Gary fits perfectly in Dan Quinn’s scheme. At 6 foot 5, weighing about 280 pounds, he is both dangerous inside the gaps and outside the edge. Also, he knows a thing or two about making a defense great over time. After all, Gary was one of the upperclassmen and leaders on the best defense in College Football throughout 2018.
15. Washington Redskins – Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
Yes, the Redskins are quarterback-needy, but they may not see another quality QB that is worth using their pick over until the second round at best, so it might be a good idea to draft on the defensive side of the ball. Recently confirming his eligibility for the draft, Byron Murphy was one of the best DBs in the country coming out of Washington. Though he is barely 6 feet tall, his awareness, ball skills, and acceleration to close off space between receivers and himself makes him a top corner in this draft.
16. Carolina Panthers – Zach Allen, DE, Boston College
A majority of the first-round defensive linemen will be noticeably off of the board. That still leaves a couple, especially sufficient edge rusher Zach Allen. At 6 foot 5 and 285 pounds, he’ll be a much-needed complement to a defense that struggled down the final stretch of the season. With an array of pass rushing moves, he can certainly provide some help for talents like Kawann Short and Mario Addison, while also helping fellow Boston College alum Luke Kuechly in getting to the quarterback.
17. Cleveland Browns – Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
Well, this is odd. For the first time in what feels like decades, the Cleveland Browns don’t have a top-3 pick! While this is a revelation, the Browns are looking to prove how serious they can be next year, so it only makes sense to bolster the offensive line protecting Cleveland’s potential savior in Baker Mayfield.
Greg Little can be a franchise left tackle if Cleveland’s offensive line makes some little tweaks, namely moving either Desmond Harrison or Greg Robinson to the right tackle slot. At Ole Miss, the standout tackle was a brick wall competing in the physical SEC, squaring up edge rushers. If he could make some subtle improvements against the run, He’ll be a perfect addition to a borderline dangerous offense.
18. Minnesota Vikings – DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia
If we are looking at the issues as to why the Vikings collapsed when it came down to the wire before the end of the season, many would point fingers at Kirk Cousins and the down-on-their-luck offense. Yet, Xavier Rhodes, Harrison Smith, and Andrew Sendejo could use some extra assistance in the secondary. Other than Greedy Williams, the case could be made for Baker as the best corner in the SEC, and perhaps the country. The 5 foot 11, 185-pound senior snatched away 7 interceptions, batted down 23 passes and got 83 tackles throughout his four years in Athens.
19. Tennessee Titans – Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State
Marcus Mariota could use some help in his receiver core with a consistently effective and speedy outside receiver in Kelvin Harmon. Widely known as Ryan Finley’s No.1 threat on medium and deep ball connections, expect Mariota to get a 6 foot 3 possession receiver who can make some pretty contested catches with exceptional body control. He’ll benefit Corey Davis and Tajae Sharp almost instantly with his ability to beat the press and get open as well.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers – Cody Ford, OT/G, Oklahoma
If the Steelers still want to make noise in the AFC North, and find a way to make it back to the Super Bowl with how their window with Big Ben is closing due to his age, (and this little fiasco he’s got going on with the now ex-communicated Antonio Brown) It wouldn’t hurt for the Steelers to make their offensive line stronger. Drafting Cody Ford out of Oklahoma – one of Kyler Murray’s trusty offensive linemen who made it possible to win the Heisman – can possibly add a couple of years to Big Ben’s career. He is a decent run blocker but a mauling guard when it comes to the passing game. Ford has proven to get it done on the outside as a tackle as well.
21. Philadelphia Eagles – Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
The Philadelphia Eagles could definitely use some secondary depth, especially after what has happened this season. When a majority of your starters and second stringers go down and all you are left with is your practice squad guys, depth is a must going into the 2018-19 offseason for the defending champs. Deionte Thompson out of Alabama does just that. He has the talent to roam all over the field and can make a significant impact if he is needed.
22. Indianapolis Colts – Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
For a Colts team that got hot with not only the return of their captain under center Andrew Luck this year, but a young and impressive defense that proved to be effective in disrupting offenses (especially this past weekend against the 3rd-seeded Houston Texans during Wild Card weekend), continuing to build a pass rushing and run stuffing defensive line can help the young Colts go even further. Jeffery Simmons out of Mississippi State was one of the best Defensive tackles in the country, but will probably go late because of some off-the-field issues involving a previous incident regarding him punching a woman several times. An incident which nearly cost him his football career.
23. Seattle Seahawks – Brian Burns, DE, Florida State
Seattle’s pass rush was pretty good, and with the sudden stardom of pass rusher Frank Clark, Pete Caroll’s defense has seemingly put on a new mask and new persona, one largely different than the legion of boom persona that prioritized a suffocating secondary over an average pass rush. This new persona of toughness up front could be solidified even more by getting some more speed on the edge. Burns, though a little undersized, has the speed and bendiness to make his presence felt.
24. Los Angeles Chargers – D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
The offseason and free agency could deal a considerable blow to the Chargers’ receiver core. It’s appearing more than likely that the Bolts are going to be without Tyrell Williams after the season is over, and LA could save themselves about $5 million in cap space if they release Travis Benjamin this offseason. Getting Ole Miss’s coveted and featured speedy deep threat – standing at 6 foot 3 and weighing at 225 pounds – could fix one of the wideout holes for Philip Rivers’ offense.
25. Oakland Raiders (from Dallas) – Devin White, LB, LSU
The result of the Amari Cooper trade may just be beneficial in the long run for the Raiders. Of course, that sounds kinda crazy, considering what Mark Davis and Jon Gruden had to give away. But, it may not be. With two first-round selections, the Raiders could snag the most talented Linebacker in the entire draft in Devin White. He is freakishly athletic at 240 pounds and showed vast levels of improvement when it came to tackling and dropping back in coverage in his last year at LSU. Do not be surprised if his name is called earlier on the first draft night.
26. Baltimore Ravens – Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State
There is talk around the Ravens needing to strengthen their receiver core, but the offensive performance against the Chargers’ vaunted defensive line on Sunday’s Wild Card matchup said otherwise. For Lamar Jackson to be successful, they need some changes up front. Risner can help defend against power rushers, as he consistently dropped anchor and stopped bull rushers in their tracks. His footwork could use some work, but he is a rock when going against strong edge rushers.
27. Houston Texans – Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama
Yet another prospect who participated in Monday’s national championship, Mack Wilson has been one of the many bright stars in Bama’s front 7. His dual ability to sniff run gaps and sift through offensive linemen spelled trouble for any offensive coordinator when they tried to scheme against him during his time with the Tide. If Wilson is still on the board at pick No. 27, Houston will gain yet another piece to an already solid linebacking core complete with the likes of Benardrick McKinney and Zach Cunningham.
28. New England Patriots – Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
The graduating senior – and now 2-time National Champion – was the vocal leader in the locker room of this championship defense. On top of that, while accumulating 94 tackles, 16 sacks and over 40 tackles for loss, he has proven himself to be a multifaceted threat on any defensive line. It’s Bill Belichick’s choice to put Wilkins where he fits the best, whether it be in the nose tackle spot, or in a three-technique against double teams in the effort to clog up running gaps.
29. Oakland Raiders – Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
Newly-appointed Raiders General Manager Mike Mayock made it clear that the goal was to not go shopping for another man under center, but build around the one they already have. Marquise “Hollywood” Brown – the cousin of superstar (and now troubled) wideout Antonio Brown – is an exact sentiment to Mayock’s word. A clean and shifty route-runner with reliable hands and game-breaking speed which he used to help Kyler Murray win this year’s Heisman will be automatic offense when plugged in Gruden’s system while taking pressure off of Jordy Nelson on the other side.
30. Los Angeles Rams – Yodny Cajuste, OT, West Virginia
The time for Andrew Whitworth’s replacement is fastly approaching, but it’s clear as day it isn’t tomorrow. He is still more than capable – he’s playing at a pro bowl level, if we’re keeping it real – but at 37 years old, the time to look for a new offensive tackle is just about here. Cajuste will be a late pick in this draft and certainly will not start right away, but will indeed gain the right coaching and leadership from the 12-year veteran out of LSU. As Will Grier’s blindside tackle for the past couple of years, Cajuste displayed an impressionable combination of power and athleticism on the edge.
31. Kansas City Chiefs – Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
Lawrence was the highest-rated defensive tackle on Matt Millen’s draft board before the College Football Playoff started, and would have proven that Millen was right had he gotten the opportunity to show it. His sudden and random suspension from the team from a substance called Ostarine – which, according to Clemson coach Dabo Swinney in a press conference days before their matchup against Notre Dame, “can appear in a hair product or a cream” – may prohibit him from wearing Clemson Orange for a majority of next year as well, so him declaring for the draft is inevitable.
The Chiefs front seven has been the bright spot in an otherwise dim year for the rest of Bob Sutton’s defense. Drafting Lawrence gives you immediate interior leverage, similarly to how Chiefs fans remember how Dontari Poe was against the run, though Lawrence is much more stout and developed as a pass rusher.
32. Green Bay Packers – Beau Benzschawel, G, Wisconsin
The Green Bay Packers are in obvious need of a new guard duo since the pro bowl combo of Josh Sitton and TJ Lang separated. Replacements or challenges for Lucas Patrick and Lane Taylor’s spots are much needed. If the Packers full their draft needs in the first round, Beau Benzschawel is their guy. The 6-6, 240-pound guard is clearly massive, using his size with a blend of power, athleticism and recovery skills to his advantage.