Super Bowl 53 was a culmination of the 2018 NFL season as the New England Patriots knocked off the Los Angeles Rams, 13-3. The game officially concluded the 2018-19 season as teams are now preparing for the 2019 NFL Draft. The Arizona Cardinals are on the clock with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft and are looking to make a splash with new coach Kliff Kingsbury
How could this year’s draft play out? Let’s take a look.
1. Arizona Cardinals – Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
The thought of putting Kyler Murray at the top spot was intriguing, but ultimately the decision for the first pick is between Nick Bosa, Quinnen Williams and Josh Allen. While Bosa’s talent level is evident, he missed the majority of the season with a core muscle injury. Williams, on the other hand, dominated college football from the interior, winning the Outland Trophy and earning First Team All-American honors. His ability to shed blocks combined with his agility makes him one of the best interior linemen prospects to enter the draft in the past couple of years.
Williams should provide an immediate impact to a defense that had 49 sacks last season. He is the player that the Cardinals expected Robert Nkemdiche to be and Williams will start right away for Kingsbury on the defensive line.
2. San Francisco 49ers- Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
With Williams off the board, the San Francisco 49ers take the best player available to help improve the team. Bosa is considered by many to be the best player in the 2019 class and is the easy choice for the 49ers. The former Ohio State Buckeye has an array of moves to get to the quarterback and impacts games almost every time he steps on the field.
While he only played in three games in 2018, Bosa still recorded six tackles for loss and four sacks. The 49ers will plug him right onto the defensive line next to Deforest Buckner. Bosa will be the impact player for the 49ers that Solomon Thomas was supposed to be.
3. New York Jets- Josh Allen, OLB/DE, Kentucky
The biggest area of concern for the New York Jets is giving young quarterback Sam Darnold another weapon on the perimeter, but taking a wide receiver at number three is a reach. The defense allowed 27.6 points per game, good for fourth worst in the NFL. The Jets need someone other than Jamal Adams to make plays for them defensively.
Josh Allen is the best player on the board and he gives the Jets the defensive versatility that they desperately need. His 17 sacks were the second most in college football last season and he is capable of dropping back into coverage. Allen will provide the Jets a pass rusher that they have not had since John Abraham.
4. Oakland Raiders- Ed Oliver, DL, Houston
The idea of Jon Gruden taking a quarterback here is not out of the question, but the Raiders are in desperate need of a pass rusher. They were dead last in the NFL in sacks with a paltry 13 sacks and could not apply any pressure on the quarterback. The Raiders would love for a pass rusher like Bosa or Allen to fall to them, but Houston’s Ed Oliver will be a solid consolation prize.
Coming into the 2018 season, Oliver, not Bosa, was considered the best prospect in the 2019 class. His size, speed, agility, and disruption have drawn comparisons to two-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald. While Oliver is not quite at Donald’s level, he will provide an immediate impact on the Raiders’ defense, who desperately need someone to fill Khalil Mack’s spot.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Devin White, LB, LSU
New head coach Bruce Arians could go in a multitude of directions with this pick. The Buccaneers have stated that Jameis Winston is their quarterback and they have issues all across the board. Simply put, the Bucs are in best player available mode and that is Devin White.
The LSU linebacker won the Butkus Award last season with his ability to diagnose plays and run sideline to sideline. Linebacker is not a major need for the Bucs, but Kwon Alexander tore his ACL and Lavonte David is not the player he used to be. White should immediately bolster a Bucs defense that struggled stopping people last year and is an immediate contender for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
6. New York Giants- Dwayne Haskins Jr., QB, Ohio State
Eli Manning had the highest completion percentage of his career in 2018, but he turned 38 in January and his contract expires after 2019. The New York Giants need to start thinking about his replacement sooner rather than later. While GM Dave Gettleman will consider taking Jonah Williams, Dwayne Haskins Jr. is the clear selection for the Giants.
Haskins Jr. only started one year in college for Urban Meyer, but that should not deter the Giants from taking him. He has all the tools to be a potential franchise quarterback with his combination of arm strength, accuracy and football IQ. Haskins Jr. played his best on the biggest stage, which is perfect for any starting quarterback in New York.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars- Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
The Jacksonville Jaguars started 2018 like potential Super Bowl contenders, only to implode halfway through the season. The main reason for their collapse is quarterback Blake Bortles, who has been inconsistent throughout his NFL career. The Jaguars have talent throughout the field but are missing the quarterback to make them contenders.
With Haskins Jr. off the board, Murray is the clear choice for the Jaguars. In his Heisman trophy winning season, he showed the necessary accuracy, arm strength and mobility to succeed in the NFL. His size and potential of playing baseball will hurt his draft stock, but the Jaguars are in desperate need of a quarterback.
8. Detroit Lions- Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan
Matt Patricia’s first season in Detroit did not go as planned as the Lions dominated the Patriots early in the season, but struggled for long stretches and lost top receiver Golden Tate to the Philadelphia Eagles. A wide receiver to replace Tate is an option, but the Lions need to upgrade their defense. They could go a multitude of ways to improve the defense, but Rashan Gary is the top option at number eight.
The Michigan product does not have the gaudy stats of some of the other top pass rushers, but he faced constant double and triple teams in college. Gary is an elite athlete that will shoot up boards after he performs at the NFL Combine. The Lions need someone to help Ziggy Ansah along the defensive line, which Gary can provide right away.
9. Buffalo Bills- Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
The Buffalo Bills ended the 2018 season on a high note, winning four of their last seven games. Josh Allen proved that he is a capable NFL quarterback, but he simply did not have enough protection from his offensive linemen. Alabama offensive tackle Jonah Williams is the best linemen in the draft and will be a great addition for the Bills.
Williams is solid in both pass protection and run blocking, but he lacks the desired length to play tackle. Even with his short arms, Williams is an immediate starter for the Bills across the offensive line. He is a potential All-Pro who can solidify the Bills offensive line for a decade.
10. Denver Broncos- Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
The Case Keenum experiment in Denver did not work last season. He is good journeyman quarterback but is nothing more than a backup capable of winning a couple games each season. Drew Lock is the top quarterback on the board, making him the clear choice for GM John Elway.
The Missouri product had a terrific Senior Bowl week, as he proved to scouts that he had all the physical tools to be a good NFL quarterback. The Broncos are one of the NFL’s most complete teams but lack the quarterback to take them over the top. Lock might not start right away, but he has the potential to be a quality starting quarterback in the NFL.
11. Cincinnati Bengals- Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
The Cincinnati Bengals are in desperate need of a linebacker and will try to get White at all costs. With him off the board, they will look to bolster their offense. While taking a quarterback to compete with Andy Dalton would be smart, the offensive line is in need of an upgrade.
Andre Dillard had a tremendous Senior Bowl week as he was considered to be the best linemen throughout the week. His footwork combined with his length makes him an ideal NFL offensive linemen. Dalton needs protection to be successful and Dillard provides the Bengals the draft’s best available linemen.
12. Green Bay Packers- Clelin Ferrell, DE/OLB, Clemson
The Green Bay Packers have multiple needs to address in the draft, but their first priority is to upgrade the pass rush. Clay Matthews is a free agent, while Nick Perry has regressed over the past couple of seasons. The Packers need to take the best available pass rusher, which is Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell.
While he is more of a defensive end than outside linebacker, Ferrell has the quickness and athleticism to be an impact player off the edge. His motor never stops and is one of the top run stoppers in the draft. Ferrell can cause havoc in an NFC North division that contains quarterbacks like Mitchell Trubisky, Kirk Cousins and Matthew Stafford.
13. Miami Dolphins- Brian Burns, DE, Florida State
The Miami Dolphins are in need of a quarterback as the organization is looking to move on from Ryan Tannehill. They could address that issue in the 2019 NFL Draft. Outside of quarterback, the Dolphins need a pass rusher as Cameron Wake is 37 years old and Charles Harris has failed to meet expectations in his NFL career.
Florida State’s Brian Burns is the top pass rusher on the board as he has the length and quickness to be a perennial double-digit sack guy. His lean frame will be an issue for teams, but Burns has the ability to set the edge and get after the quarterback. It might take time for him to make his mark in the NFL, but Burns has the tools to be one of the NFL’s premier pass rushers.
14. Atlanta Falcons- Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State
The Atlanta Falcons are only two years removed from appearing in the Super Bowl and have the offensive pieces to make another run. Their problem is on the defensive side of the ball as Vic Beasley Jr. is a shell of his 15.5 sack season in 2016. Montez Sweat impressed scouts at the Senior Bowl with his play and would fit in perfectly with Dan Quinn’s system.
His explosion and athleticism off the edge allows him to get to the quarterback with ease. Sweat’s off-field issues could catch up to him as he left Michigan State due to disciplinary issues. If he interviews well in the pre-draft process, Sweat will give the Falcons the pass rush that they lacked in 2018.
15. Washington Redskins- Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
Alex Smith is most likely not playing in 2019, but the team needs to find a replacement for the 34-year old quarterback. While the Redskins will try and move up to get Haskins or Lock, Daniel Jones is still available at 15. Jones has started at Duke for the last three years and has been mentored by David Cutcliffe, a coach with a reputation for developing quarterbacks.
He has the size and mobility to succeed at the next level and was named the MVP of the Senior Bowl. Jones has ideal mechanics and might be the most pro-ready quarterback in the class. Jay Gruden needs to find a quarterback for the future and Jones can be that guy in Washington.
16. Carolina Panthers- Jachai Polite, DE, Florida
The Carolina Panthers could go a number of different ways with their first-round selection. They could go after an offensive lineman to protect Cam Newton, a tight end to replace Greg Olsen in the future or a pass rusher to give Mario Addison help off the edge. The offense might be a more pressing need, the best talent available is in Florida pass rusher Jachai Polite.
He has a small frame for a defensive end at 6’2″ and less than 250 pounds, but he has great length and can get around the edge. Polite has a great combination of speed and power off the edge, forcing six fumbles last season. The Panthers just lost team legend Julius Peppers to retirement and Polite can fill the void he left.
17. Cleveland Browns- Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma
Baker Mayfield was a revelation for the Cleveland Browns last season, breaking the rookie record for touchdown passes with 27. He showed the ability to extend plays last season, but he needs a permanent solution at left tackle. His college teammate Cody Ford is still on the board and is one of the top linemen in the draft.
He has an excellent balance of power and athleticism as Ford protected Murray’s blindside last season. Ford is an excellent run blocker as he excels at getting to the second level. The rookie backfield of Mayfield and Nick Chubb need an offensive tackle to pave the way, which Ford will provide the Browns.
18. Minnesota Vikings- Jeffrey Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
The Minnesota Vikings have a couple of needs that they need to address in the offseason. Their offensive line was simply not good enough to protect franchise quarterback Kirk Cousins, while Anthony Barr and Sheldon Richardson are both becoming free agents. Jeffrey Simmons is the most talented player on the board and the Vikings should not hesitate to pull the trigger.
He is a top-10 talent with his ability to create a pass rush from interior combined with his size and athleticism. Simmons is not allowed to attend the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine after he was caught on video hitting a woman trying to break up a fight involving his sister. The Mississippi State product will have to impress teams at his pro day and personal workouts, but he is a potential game changer on the defensive line.
19. Tennessee Titans- Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
Simply put, the Tennessee Titans need to give Marcus Mariota more weapons in the passing game. Corey Davis had a solid second season, but the Titans have limited options after him. Marquise Brown has the speed and bloodlines that NFL teams covet.
He has excellent speed, which he uses to create separation and yards after the catch. A foot injury late in the season might hurt his stock, but Antonio Brown’s cousin is the best playmaker in the 2019 Draft. Brown has a slight frame at 5’10” and 170 pounds, but Tyreek Hill’s success makes him an easy choice for the Titans.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers- Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ first draft selection is directly tied to the future of their star wide receiver. If they trade Brown, the Steelers will target a wide receiver in the first round. With him currently on the team, cornerback and linebacker are the two biggest needs that need to be addressed. Greedy Williams and Devin Bush are both still on the board, but the LSU corner is what the Steelers need right now.
Williams has the length and size to be a lockdown cornerback in the NFL. If the 6’3″ corner runs well in Indianapolis, he’s a top-10 lock. The Steelers need help at cornerback and Williams has the instincts and ball skills to help the Steelers get back to the playoffs.
21. Seattle Seahawks- Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
The biggest priority for the Seattle Seahawks this offseason is keeping defensive end Frank Clark. Even with him resigning, the Seahawks could get younger along the defensive line. Christian Wilkins is the best defensive linemen available at pick 21 and is the easy selection for the Seahawks.
An Outland Award Finalist last season, Wilkins has been a consistent presence for Clemson during his four-year tenure. He excels at stopping the run but is capable of generating an interior pass rush. The Seahawks need to add talent along the defensive line and the addition of Wilkins gives them an immediate starter.
22. Baltimore Ravens- D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
Lamar Jackson helped lead the Baltimore Ravens back to the playoffs for the first time since 2014. While they could add a pass rusher to help Terrelle Suggs, the Ravens need to add a weapon for Jackson on the perimeter. D.K. Metcalf is one of the best athletes in this class and has the potential to be the best receiver in the 2019 class.
He has a great combination of size and speed, using his 6’4″ 230-pound frame to make spectacular one-handed catches. A neck injury in October will hurt his stock, but Los Angeles Chargers receiver Mike Williams suffered a similar injury and was selected seventh overall. If Metcalf passes his medicals at the combine, he is a steal for the Ravens at 22.
23. Houston Texans- Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
Simply put, the Houston Texans need to upgrade their offensive line. They allowed quarterback Deshaun Watson to be sacked a league-high 62 times this season. The Texans need to use more than one pick on the offensive line if they want to keep Deshaun Watson healthy.
Greg Little is the best offensive linemen on the board and provides an immediate upgrade at the tackle position. He has quick feet and great hands, making him an ideal candidate to play left tackle in the NFL. Little played high school with Murray in Allen, Texas, so a return to the Lone Star State would greatly benefit the Texans.
24. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago)- Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
The Raiders are picking again in the first round because of the Khalil Mack trade. They upgraded their pass rush with Oliver at number four. Now, the Raiders get the cornerback they desperately need in Deandre Baker.
The reigning Thorpe Award winner can do it as he is capable of stopping the run and can jam receivers at the line. Baker is an elite cover corner with tremendous instincts and ball skills. His size and speed are not ideal for a NFL corner, but Baker is a playmaker on the perimeter that the Raiders need in their defense.
25. Philadelphia Eagles- Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
The Philadelphia Eagles need to find a permanent solution at running back as they did not have a true bell cow in 2018. Undrafted rookie Josh Adams led the team in rushing with a measly 511 yards. Josh Jacobs gives the Eagles an immediate upgrade in the backfield and should be the selection if he’s available.
The Alabama product can simply do it all as he can run between the tackles and split out wide as a receiver. His all-around ability makes him one of the best playmakers in the draft. Jacobs was part of a system at Alabama, so he has the ability to carry the load for a NFL offense right away. He is a steal for the Eagles at number 25 due to his versatility.
26. Indianapolis Colts- N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
The Indianapolis Colts knocked the 2018 draft out of the park, selecting two First Team All-Pros in Quenton Nelson and Darius Leonard. They need to upgrade the wide receiver unit because Andrew Luck has no one to throw to outside of T.Y. Hilton. N’Keal Harry is the best receiver on the board with a great combination of size and speed.
The 6’4″ wide receiver from Arizona State excels at picking up yards after the catch and is an excellent red zone target. His lack of speed could hurt his draft stock, but he can make plays with the ball in his hands. His excellent catch radius gives Luck a big target on the outside to pair with the speedy Hilton.
27. Oakland Raiders (via Dallas)- A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
The Raiders are back on the clock due to the Amari Cooper trade. They fixed their defense with a pass rusher and a cornerback with their first two picks. Now, Gruden has to help Derek Carr with this pick as the Raiders have limited options in the passing game.
A.J. Brown might not be as freakishly athletic as teammate Metcalf, but he is one of the most complete receivers in the draft. He has good size at 6’1,” 230 with excellent hands and good body control. His lack of speed could be an issue, but the Raiders need to give Carr more weapons.
28. Los Angeles Chargers- Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
Philip Rivers is not getting any younger and the Chargers need an insurance plan moving forward. While there is no quarterback available worth taking at this spot, the Chargers should give him some protection up front. Jawaan Taylor is the top offensive linemen on the board and is an immediate plugin on the right side of the line.
His 6-foot-5 328-pound frame might be more suitable for a guard, but Taylor has the length and foot speed to survive at tackle. He excels in the run game as he is able to get to the second level with consistency. Taylor is one of the most talented linemen in this draft and he should keep Rivers safe for the remainder of his career.
29. Kansas City Chiefs- Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
The Kansas City Chiefs were one of the league’s worst defenses last season. Despite tying with the Bears for a league-high 52 sacks, the Chiefs were the second worst pass defense in the league, allowing 273.4 yards per game. Byron Murphy is an immediate upgrade for a Chiefs secondary that needs a ball hawk.
The Washington corner lacks the size of some of the other corners in this class, but he makes up for it with his ball skills. Murphy excels at closing on the football and has experience playing with other NFL caliber defensive backs during his time at Washington. The Chiefs desperately need to upgrade the secondary and Murphy is the perfect guy to do it.
30. Green Bay Packers (via New Orleans) – Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
The Packers are picking again in the first round due to the Marcus Davenport trade from the 2018 Draft. They upgraded their pass rush with their first pick in Ferrell out of Clemson. The Packers should address the offense with their second pick as Aaron Rodgers needs a little more help.
A complementary receiver to Randall Cobb would be nice, but Noah Fant is the best offensive playmaker on the board. He is an incredible athlete with a vertical jump over 40″ inches, despite weighing around 240 pounds. His combination of size and speed makes him a great understudy to Jimmy Graham as the Packers can utilize both tight ends in passing situations.
31. Los Angeles Rams – Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson
The Los Angeles Rams are one of the most complete teams in the NFL, but they need help in the trenches and in the secondary. Ndamukong Suh, Dante Fowler, Sam Shields, and Lamarcus Joyner are all free agents next season. While the defensive line might be a bigger hole, Trayvon Mullen is too good of a value to pass up at 31.
He has the size, length and ball skills to be a starting cornerback in the NFL. Mullen is not the fastest corner in the draft, but he is technically sound and has tremendous coverage instincts. Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters are free agents after the 2019 season, so picking their replacement is not a bad idea.
32. New England Patriots – T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
The New England Patriots won their sixth Super Bowl and are more looking for future replacements more than immediate starters. They could add a pass rusher to aid a defense that got only 30 sacks, but the Patriots had 10 sacks in the playoffs. Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are nearing the end of their Hall of Fame careers and T.J. Hockenson is the perfect replacement for Gronkowski.
The Mackey Award winner is one of the most talented tight ends in this draft as he can stretch the seam, make defenders miss after the catch and run almost every route. Hockenson is not the athlete that his teammate Fant is, but he is a superior blocker and is a little more versatile. He can learn from Gronkowski in 2019, giving Brady one of the NFL’s best tight end duos.