The 2019 NFL Scouting Combine is behind us, free agency is ready to kick off and we now have seen the light at the end of draft season. This is everyone’s favorite time of the year. For the next couple months, fans will exemplify an unmatched level of optimistic for their respective teams 2019 success. With the 2019 NFL Draft now in plain site, there appears to be no better time than a first in a series of several mock drafts. The Arizona Cardinals are now on the clock!
1. Arizona Cardinals select Nick Bosa, Edge, Ohio State
The time right around the conclusion of the combine, working toward the NFL Draft, is always times of flux, rumors and smoke screens. This leaves draft evaluators to investigate the landscape in search for truth. This truth is that Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa is just simply the best player in the 2019 NFL Draft.
People will try to overthink it, create alternate realities and convince themselves of different but don’t overthink this Arizona. The team is starving for talent in multiple areas, so outside of possibly trading back for additional draft capital, always take the best player available.
2. San Francisco 49ers select Josh Allen, Edge, Kentucky
After Ohio State edge Nick Bosa, there is a crowded group in the next best available players. In a vacuum, I would probably pick Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams as the best player available. However, the 49ers have a ton of depth inside led by star Deforest Buckner. What they are starving for is a versatile edge defender who can fit well into a base 3-4 alignment. Enter Kentucky edge Josh Allen.
3. New York Jets select Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
With the top two edge defenders off the board for a Jets team that is also very needy in the department, we move to the other side of the ball. Florida offensive lineman Jawaan Taylor is selected to provide second year quarterback Sam Darnold with improved protection in a passing game that was seeming to hit a bit of a stride the ladder part of the 2018 season.
Jawaan Taylor has been one of the bigger draft risers so far this draft season. A great frame (6’5” 312 pounds, 35 ⅛’ arms) coupled with surprisingly quick feet and lateral mobility, Taylor possesses the talent to project favorably to either guard of tackle position. At worst, you are looking at a perennial pro bowl player at right tackle or guard.
4. Oakland Raiders select Devin White, LB, LSU
I have been mocking LSU linebacker Devin White to the Raiders in this spot for awhile now. Partly due to the ineptitude of the position for the Raiders since the early 2000s and partly due to my affinity for Devin White’s skillset/upside. This is a tad high for an off ball linebacker in today’s NFL, but the skill set White possesses isn’t good, it isn’t great, it isn’t even elite, it is rare.
We are looking at the best linebacker to come out of college since Luke Kuechly was coming out of Boston College. Save it, screenshot it, whatever you’d like. I am on record and I am not leaving the Devin White hive anytime soon.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Quinnen Williams, IDL, Alabama
There has been rumors flying around about pro bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy potentially leaving Tampa Bay this off season. Even without this possibility, Buccs fans should be jumping for joy to grab the second best football player in the 2019 NFL Draft with the fifth selection.
Williams is coming off a dominant redshirt sophomore season and combine performance. He represents possibly the safest bet in the entire draft class. He has showed rare movement skills for a 300+ pounder combined with an incredible anchor in the run game. Run to the podium Tampa.
6. New York Giants select Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
I have a ton of reservations about Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray. He is in line to potentially be the shortest first round draft pick at the quarterback position in NFL history. Aside from his small stature, Murray also has boasted some cringe worthy moments in interviews recently. Somehow he made listing what he loves about football a difficult question. Even more troubling coming from a player who is being examined closely to determine commitment to the sport.
Strictly as a football player, Murray displays a super entertaining skill set that I would personally love to see added to a Giants core that includes Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram. We’re bringing fun back to the Big Apple.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars select Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
There may be no team in the NFL that desperately needs a quarterback more than the Jacksonville Jaguars. Drew Lock’s NFL projection has been all over the place throughout the process. His size and arm talent pop off the screen, flashing plus ball placement on the intermediate to deep levels. Lock struggles to maintain a consistent platform in his drop, falling off his spot more often than any evaluator would like to see.
For a talented team that has been a quarterback away from being a potential contender for the last couple of seasons, Lock represents an immediate upgrade for the Jaguars while working through a couple technical flaws with his position coach.
8. Detroit Lions select Brian Burns, Edge, Florida State
It is widely rumored that the Ziggy Ansah era in Detroit is finally going to come to a close this off season after a very inconsistent six seasons with the team. This leaves a huge hole at edge rusher for the Lions. Insert Brian Burns who had one of the better tapes I have broken down this past season.
Despite bulk concerns, Burns does a surprisingly good job anchoring/setting the edge in the run game. He showed up at the combine at a very solid 249 pounds without seemingly losing any athleticism (4.53 40 time, 36 inch vert, 10’9” inch broad). Don’t be surprised if Burns is challenging Josh Allen as the second edge off the board the time the draft rolls around.
9. Buffalo Bills select D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
This pick has been a recurring theme from me for awhile now. Despite some solid moments from wide receivers Zay Jones and Robert Foster, the Buffalo Bills need playmakers offensively in the worst way. Despite my skepticism of quarterback Josh Allen, he is the guy right now. They need to surround him with playmakers and see what they have.
D.K. Metcalf may be the best athlete of the wide receiver position to enter the league since Calvin Johnson, or at least Julio Jones. He had a huge combine performance, but his greatest undervalued moment from the week is being cleared from the neck injury that cost him the second half of his redshirt sophomore season. D.K. is another guy that could very well go much higher this. Don’t count out Oakland at 4. But as it stands, the Bills are able to draft perhaps the best athlete in the entire draft.
10. Denver Broncos select Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
Alabama offensive tackle Jonah Williams has remained one of the most scrutinized players of the off season, or since Clelin Ferrell straight armed him onto his backside in the National Championship game. Many talent evaluators believe that Williams lack of length severely limits his potential to last at the tackle position on the next level. This concern is not completely unwarranted. There are instances on film of Williams being susceptible to long arms, and being able to be locked out while attempting reach blocks on zone concepts. The plus for Jonah is he demonstrates a violent demeanor and anchor in the run game, that at worst will allow for a smooth transition to an interior position.
While the Broncos desperately need to add a potential franchise quarterback to the building, 2019 might be the wrong year to try and do so. Holding out until 2020 and beginning to build the offense until then may be the smartest option.
11. Cincinnati Bengals select Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
LSU linebacker Devin White has been the trendy pick to the Bengals at this slot. With White off the board, the Bengals go to the offensive side of the ball where the line has been a below average group for some time now.
Washington State’s Andre Dillard profiles well to the left tackle position. He demonstrates great balance and lateral mobility in the pass game, which will be very attractive for left tackle needy teams. Word is more than a couple teams have him above Jonah on their board, and a few have him at the top of the offensive line position overall.
12. Green Bay Packers select T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
Going into the season, Iowa tight end Noah Fant was the favorite pick to enter the 2019 NFL Draft as the first tight end off the board. After his combine performance, this may still hold to be true. However, for most of the 2018 season, Fant was outplayed by teammate T.J. Hockenson. Hockenson is an undervalued athlete, who demonstrates a smoothness in and out of breaks, and also doubles as a dominant run blocker.
T.J. has the ability to help the Packers in multiple areas, including a huge red zone target. He will also provide a big time safety net for Aaron Rodgers who will most likely lose long time slot receiver Randall Cobb in the off season.
13. Miami Dolphins select Ed Oliver, IDL, Houston
This is a dream scenario for the Miami Dolphins, and one that very well could happen. Ed Oliver was the consensus top 2019 NFL Draft prospect heading into the 2018 season, demonstrating incredible athleticism and strength at the position. After a mildly inconsistent junior season, talent evaluators were left to question Oliver’s size and character following a shouting match with former University of Houston head coach Major Applewhite on the sideline during a game this past fall.
Both concerns have been quieted after a solid showing in the weigh in at Indianapolis, and in team meetings. It’s possible that Oliver may recapture some pre season momentum, and break back into the top ten. For now, the Dolphins secure one of the premiere talents in the 2019 NFL Draft at pick thirteen.
14. Atlanta Falcons select Rashan Gary, Edge/IDL, Michigan
The Falcons have needs at both edge and interior defensive line, especially if they have to let Grady Jarrett walk this off season. So what better move than to add a player who can help in both departments? Rashan Gary is an elite athlete who never quite put it all together at Michigan, due in large to some nagging injuries.
I’m not sold on Gary playing edge in a full capacity, but he can be an inside-outside chess piece that I’m sure head coach Dan Quinn would love to work with.
15. Washington Redskins select Cody Ford, IOL, Oklahoma
The Washington Redskins can go almost any direction with their first round selection… safety, quarterback, wide receiver, cornerback, it could go almost anywhere. At this point though, it might just be a spot to take the best player available. Offensive lineman Cody Ford had a huge season for the Oklahoma Sooners, demonstrating surprising foot quickness and aggression in the run game at the right tackle position.
There will be some questions about what his best spot might be at the next level, mainly due to body type. Whether it’s inside at guard or at right tackle, Cody Ford is a plug and play piece that can help a team in all facets of the game. You can never have enough quality trench players.
16. Carolina Panthers select Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida
It’s hard to come up with an impact safety that has dawned the Panthers blue since Mike Minter roamed the secondary in the early-mid 2000s. The 2019 NFL Draft has several safety prospects who will make a large impact at the next level. This pick was a tough one between Delaware safety Nasir Adderley and Florida’s Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. In the end, Chauncey won out with his versatility to play deep safety or as a slot defender in the nickel. With the increased level of passing in today’s NFL, the more a defensive back can do, the better.
17. Cleveland Browns select Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
Last NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns hit a homerun with their selections of quarterback Baker Mayfield and cornerback Denzel Ward. The ladder quickly became one of the better defensive backs in the league. The cornerback spot opposite Ward is pretty barren and could use a nice running mate in order for the team to make the next big step towards a playoff berth.
LSU’s Greedy Williams came into the 2018 season as a consensus top ten draft prospect. Williams did not have the season many expected, having far too many valleys along with several peaks. Greedy demonstrated at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine that talent that so many draftniks were salivating over, recording a 4.37 forty yard dash at nearly 6’2”. At this point in the first round, adding a talent like Greedy Williams is a tremendous value.
18. Minnesota Vikings select Garrett Bradbury, IOL, NC State
This pick has been pretty consistent among most draft pundits, but it just makes so much sense. The Vikings are heavily favoring an outside zone running scheme to fit the skill set of running back Dalvin Cook. This puts a value for offensive lineman who possess good-elite lateral movement skills.
Time and time again on film, Bradbury shows just how rare of an athlete he is. There is constant evidence of him showing the ability to reach 3 techs from the center position. I mean who does that? Well Bradbury for one. If available at this point, I’d be shocked if the former N.C. State offensive lineman isn’t the selection.
19. Tennessee Titans select Montez Sweat, Edge, Mississippi State
Many mock drafts are going to have Montez Sweat much higher than this after he just blew up the combine (4.41 40 time, 36 inch vert, 10’5” broad). That testing didn’t tell the whole story of the tape. Montez shows a great ability as a speed to power converter that can give offensive tackles fits attempting to anchor on a vertical set up the arc.
However, Sweat shows an inconsistent ability to flip his hips to win the edge with that speed he put on display. Even if he is never quite able to improve his bend, Sweat is still a good bet to be a more than capable edge setter who is able to win with power as a rusher and inside counters. You bet on upside here, especially when Sweat’s floor is also relatively high.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers select Devin Bush Jr., LB, Michigan
Michigan’s Devin Bush Jr. just put on a show in Indianapolis. He was a standout of a very impressive linebacker group athletically. Bush plays with his hair on fire on film, and is an excellent athlete that makes up for many length limitations he has in coverage.
The Steelers have had a huge hole at Inside linebacker since the unfortunately neck injury of Ryan Shazier. Look for Bush to quickly establish himself in the middle of the defense as a playmaker in both the run and pass game.
21. Seattle Seahawks select Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware
Nasir Adderley is the darling of the small school draft prospects this year’s draft class. While at the University of Delaware, we saw Adderley line up in a multitude of roles, from slot defender, to single high, to box defender and even as a dynamic return man. Nasir flashes as a dynamic athlete on film and could be a nice versatile piece for the modern NFL game.
The Seattle Seahawks are parting ways with the arguably still the premiere free safety in the league in Earl Thomas. Big shoes to fill but Adderley has everything athletically to make a significant impact up in Seattle for years to come.
22. Baltimore Ravens select Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State
The best part about the combine process is when athletic testing backs up what you see on film. Hakeem Butler has been one of my favorite prospects for some time. Standing nearly 6’6” 227 pounds with 4.48 speed, Butler exhibits a lot of rare traits for a wide receiver of that side.
Baltimore needs a way to jump start their passing attack with second year pro Lamar Jackson at the helm. What better to help than giving Jackson a 6’6” target that is able to box defenders out, while still being able to do things wide receivers of much smaller size can do? Butler is a high riser who is definitely in the conversation of best wide receiver off the board after D.K.
23. Houston Texans select Dalton Risner, OT/IOL, Kansas State
The Houston trotted out possibly the worst offensive line I have ever seen in 2018. You can argue that they can afford to upgrade at all five spots, specifically at the tackle positions.
Kansas State offensive lineman Dalton Risner is a prospect who has starting experience at center, guard and most recently at right tackle. He has more than enough length to last on the edge in the NFL, but his demeanor screams as a fit at a guard position. Either way, Risner’s versatility is a huge bonus for a Texans team that could stand an upgrade anywhere on their offensive line.
24. Oakland Raiders select Clelin Ferrell, Edge, Clemson
With the Raiders second pick of the first round, they select what is perhaps their biggest need at the edge position. The Raiders are coming off a season where they recorded 13 sacks after trading away one of the games premier pass rushers in Khalil Mack before the season.
With several other potential first round edge defenders posting dominant combine performances, Clelin Ferrell may end up the forgotten man at the position despite perhaps the cleanest tape. What Ferrell may lack in eye popping athleticism, he makes up for with length and technique to play the position. He’s a super productive player who will provide immediate help to a defensive end needy team.
25. Philadelphia Eagles select Christian Wilkins, IDL, Clemson
The Philadelphia Eagles have been very strong inside defensively in recent years, leaning on their stud defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. Cox has been the best defensive player on the team for several years now while having countless battery mates on the interior. The 2019 NFL class provides a great opportunity to find a dynamic partner, especially with the loss of injury plagued Timmy Jernigan to free agency.
University of Clemson’s Christian Wilkins is a dynamic interior player who has even showed the ability to provide reps as an edge in Clemson’s four man front. Athletically, he meets all necessary thresholds to play either the 1-shade nose of traditional 3 tech in the Eagles system. On top of Wilkins gifts on the field, he’s a culture guy who will bring a ton of leadership to whatever organization drafts him.
26. Indianapolis Colts select N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
In the running for second receiver off the board with Hakeem Butler is Arizona State’s own N’Keal Harry. Harry is a large receiver at nearly 6’3” 228 pounds, who possesses dynamic traits in run after catch situations. He is the perfect compliment to the Indianapolis Colts field stretcher TY Hilton.
The Colts have done a great job improving the offensive line in front of Andrew Luck, and now take the next big step providing him with a dynamic young wide receiver, who is a handful in any one on one situation, either in the slot or outside the numbers.
27. Oakland Raiders select A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
The Oakland Raiders struck gold defensively with their first two picks (Devin White and Clelin Ferrell). Now they are tasked with adding a playmaker on the offensive side of the ball.
Ole Miss wide receiver operated mostly out of the slot while at Ole Miss, but his combine testing makes one believe he may be able to also be moved around to multiple spots to take advantage of matchups. Brown was a very productive receiver while at Ole Miss and should provide an immediate safety blanket for quarterback Derek Carr.
Despite the recent aquisition of All-Pro wide out Antonio Brown, the Raiders would still not be wise to lean on Jordy Nelson or Marcell Ateman as the second option in the passing game.
28. Los Angeles Chargers select Jerry Tillery, IDL, Notre Dame
Notre Dame’s Jerry Tillery is coming off easily his most dominant season while at Notre Dame. The 295 pounder possesses incredible length, that is combined with outstanding athleticism (4.92 40 time) to provide a versatile piece to an already dynamic pass rush. The Los Angeles Chargers have two of the better edge defenders in the league in Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa, and now look to add a explosive interior rusher with Tillery. In a division with Patrick Mahomes slinging the rock, you can never have too much pass rush.
29. Kansas City Chiefs select Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
The Kansas City Chiefs defense was a mess in 2018, specifically in the secondary. Whether it’s at cornerback or safety, the Chiefs can afford to add as many valuable pieces as they can. Washington corner Byron Murphy is a solid all around football player, who shows advanced technique and eyes to make a ton of plays in zone coverage.
There are some limitations for Murphy in man coverage, but he is fully capable of making up for any of his shortcomings with an excellent feel for the game. He is a great start to improving the defense in the next step to take their team to a legitimate championship contender.
30. Green Bay Packers select Chase Winovich, Edge, Michigan
It is an end of the era in Green Bay. This off season Packers fans will say goodbye to Clay Matthews Jr., a player who has meant so much to their franchise over the years. We will no longer be fortuned with seeing a long blonde haired outside linebacker with a non stop motor fly around the field, wreaking havoc for the Packers.
Not so fast my friends! May I introduce you to Michigan edge defender Chase Winovich. While at Michigan, Chase was often overshadowed by his five star running mate Rashan Gary. However Chase is a dynamic player in his own right and demonstrates an undervalued athletic profile to make a immediate impact on the NFL level.
31. Los Angeles Rams select Jachai Polite, Edge, Florida
Things could not have gone worse for Florida edge Jachai polite at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine. He came into the week with a substantial increase in weight at 258 pounds. However, it was not good weight and appeared to be in pretty questionable shape. Before he ever stepped foot on the field to work out, he had some terrible media availability accusing teams of picking on him by showing bad clips during formal interviews. He followed that up with a pedestrian forty yard dash time and vertical jump (4.83, 32 inches) before shutting it down with an “injury”.
More than likely Polite will be a prospect that will not be touched in the first round after being a top twenty projected pick most of the off season. The Rams are another team that are in desperate need of edge help, and can stand to be aggressive to get a player like this who can potentially flourish under the right tutelage from players like Aaron Donald.
32. New England Patriots select Jeffery Simmons, IDL, Mississippi State
If we are just evaluating Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons for what he has done on the field over the last two seasons, he is one of the ten best players in the draft class. After news broke concerning Simmons exclusion from the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine due to an incident coming out of high school, things quickly got worse for the Bulldogs star.
During a pre draft workout, Simmons unfortunately suffered a torn ACL that will put most of, if not all of his rookie year in jeopardy. Luckily the now six time super bowl Champion New England Patriots can stand to take a gamble at pick thirty-two. Simmons provides a high upside projection, and position of need for a Patriots team that can afford to be patient.
Best Remaining players: Dwayne Haskins (Ohio State), Dexter Lawrence (Clemson), Kelvin Harmon (NC State), Chris Lindstrom (Boston College), Deandre Baker (Georgia), Deionte Thompson (Alabama), Taylor Rapp (Washington), Josh Jacobs (Alabama), Marquise Brown (Oklahoma), Trayvon Mullen (Clemson)