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With the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine behind us, it’s now time to mock. The Combine brought some attention new crop of elite athletes looking to become franchise cornerstones. Athleticism across all position groups is being valued more and more each year.
It’s becoming clearer which players teams have their eye on, and the drama will ramp up as we get closer to Draft Day.
1st Overall Pick: Arizona Cardinals select Kyler Murray – QB – Oklahoma
As Texas Tech’s head coach, Kliff Kingsbury said that he would take Kyler Murray first overall. When he took the job with the Arizona Cardinals in January, he had to have that opportunity in the back of his head. The Cardinals will do whatever it takes to improve after having the league’s worst record and provide Kingsbury the talent he wants to succeed, and last year’s 10th overall pick Josh Rosen may not vote of confidence after an unconvincing rookie season behind center.
2nd Overall Pick: San Francisco 49ers select Nick Bosa – DE – Ohio State
The 49ers will be praying that Bosa remains on the board. The consensus best player in this draft, Bosa would give San Francisco an elite edge rusher for the first time since Aldon Smith. San Francisco has recently whiffed on picking pass-rushers in the first round, with Arik Armstead in 2015 and Solomon Thomas in 2017, but Bosa is the closest thing to a slam dunk for General Manager John Lynch will get this year.
3rd Overall Pick: New York Jets select Josh Allen – Edge – Kentucky
Allen made substantial development in 2018 at Kentucky, improving his totals in tackles, tackles for a loss, sacks, and forced fumbles from the year prior. With numerous National Defensive Player of the Year awards under his belt and gradual improvement from year to year, the Wildcat’s ceiling is very high.
4th Overall Pick: Oakland Raiders select Quinnen Williams – DT – Alabama
The chances of landing a Khalil Mack in any draft are slim, but why not get the next Aaron Donald? Quinnen Williams was a dominant 3-tech on the Alabama line; his burst at 300-plus pounds is incredible. Gruden would be more than happy to a piece like Williams to hold down trenches while the Raiders try to rebuild.
5th Overall Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Ed Oliver – DT – Houston
The Bucs would also be getting an explosive tackle off the line. With Gerald McCoy likely gone with a huge cap hit, they get their replacement. Oliver’s amazing burst on the snap makes up for being slightly undersized.
6th Overall Pick: New York Giants select Dwayne Haskins – QB – Ohio State
Haskins raised his stock enormously at the end of the 2018 season, after slamming 62 points on Michigan and throwing 8 touchdowns in the following Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl victories. The first-year starter at Ohio State totaled 50 touchdowns to just 8 picks in his only season. The Giants would be replacing one pocket passer with a much younger one who can fling it with ease.
7th Overall Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars select D.K. Metcalf – WR – Ole Miss
Having 1.9% of body fat should say enough about one’s work ethic. DK Metcalf showed up to the combine in far superior form than his counterparts. A red-zone monster in the making, standing at 6’3, with lethal 4.33 speed, not many defensive backs will want to face him. Jacksonville has to develop his route tree to limit the number of times he has to physically dominate opposing defenders. But they have the opportunity to give Nick Foles a fantastic weapon going forward.
8th Overall Pick: Detroit Lions select Clelin Ferrell – DE – Clemson
The most consistent of Clemson’s stacked defensive front, Ferrell looked to have the most impact in creating pressure for himself and allowing others to generate pressure in the process. Consistency over the last 3 years in the ACC should lead to double-digit sacks for the Lions.
9th Overall Pick: Buffalo Bills select Montez Sweat – DE – Mississippi State
Posting the best 40-yard dash of all defensive linemen is definitely going to skyrocket your value. The Bills could add some youth on the outside, and if they polish the long and freakishly athletic Sweat into a more well-rounded pass rusher, the AFC better look out.
10th Overall pick: Denver Broncos select Jawaan Taylor – OT – Florida
Joe Flacco is an immovable object in the pocket and he’ll need protection to avoid injury. Step in Jawaan Taylor, the best offensive lineman in this year’s draft. Taylor will move people out of the way in the run game without breaking a sweat too.
11th Overall Pick: Cincinnati Bengal select Devin White – ILB – LSU
The Bengals could use speed on defense, and Devin White has been displaying explosive sideline-to-sideline play the last two seasons in Baton Rouge. Registering over 120 tackles in consecutive years, he could play every snap on defense for Cincinnati.
12th Overall Pick: Green Bay Packers select Rashan Gary – DE – Michigan
Despite not registering many sacks this past year at Michigan, the physical tools of height, weight, and speed have always been there for Rashan Gary. At the point of contact, he’s so physically imposing he relies on his bull rush. Green Bay will need to improve his technique so that he doesn’t have to always rely on his size.
13th Overall Pick: Miami Dolphins select Jonah William – OT – Alabama
No matter who’s under center, it seems like they can’t stay healthy for Miami. Jonah Williams spent the last three years keeping his quarterback upright for Alabama, while the Dolphins have been shuffling through backups the last two seasons.
14th Overall Pick: Atlanta Falcons select Christian Wilkins – DT – Clemson
The Falcons decided to franchise-tag Grady Jarrett, but they wouldn’t have to extend him big bucks if they line him up with Wilkins this season. He could start from day one, and he knows what it takes to close out the big game – beating Alabama twice in the National Championship.
15th Overall Pick: Washington Redskins: Cody Ford – OT – Oklahoma
A flexible lineman, Ford will be able to start and move around the Redskins line if they get hit with injuries again. He got plenty of experience starting games the last 3 years and helped keep a clean pocket for Kyler Murray.
16th Overall Pick: Carolina Panthers select Greedy Williams – CB – LSU
Josh Norman was the last formidable cornerback the Panthers have had. The NFC South is filled with gifted pass-catchers, and Carolina will finally stop getting torched over the top thanks to Greedy’s sub-4.4 speed, although his slim frame limits his overall game.
17th Overall Pick: Cleveland Browns select Jeffrey Simmons – DT – Mississippi State
A torn ACL might cause Simmons to miss the entire 2019 season, but it shouldn’t stop the Browns from getting Myles Garrett a partner on the line to put pressure. Some considered him a top-5 prospect before the injury and a controversial video hurt his stock.
18th Overall Pick: Minnesota Vikings select Andre Dillard – OT – Washington State
Kirk Cousins will need a lot of pieces around him to succeed, and beefing up the O-line should help. Dillard has proved that he’s one of the more agile tackles in the draft, and he knows how to use his length in pass-protection.
19th Overall Pick: Tennessee Titans select T.J. Hockenson – TE – Iowa
Delanie Walker is only getting older; and with the clock ticking on a decision to extend Mariota, why not give him a well-rounded tight end in Hockenson to improve the offense? Hockenson would not only give Mariota another option with his natural receiving ability, but can make an impact with his blocking.
20th Overall Pick Pittsburgh Steelers select Devin Bush – ILB – Michigan
The Steelers will finally have to replace Ryan Shazier, who is still recovering from a career-threatening injury. Bush can provide the speed and range in the linebackers corps the Steelers have lacked since the end of 2017.
21st Overall Pick: Seattle Seahawks select Dre’mont Jones – DT – Ohio State
Jones fits the tweener mold, along with a lot of this years’ prospects, as a very quick player down the middle of the trenches. He lacks strength being undersized, but Seattle will gladly pair him with Frank Clark next year.
22nd Overall Pick: Baltimore Ravens select Jachai Polite – DE – Florida
The Ravens will soon need a pass rusher to replace Terrell Suggs. Jachai Polite has a few question marks surrounding him after the Combine, specifically his weight, but there’s no doubting his lightning-fast first step on the edge last season. Baltimore has had the reputation of fielding a good team defense every year, so I have faith in Harbaugh getting him right.
23rd Overall Pick: Houston Texans select Deandre Baker – CB – Georgia
The Texans had one of the worst passing defenses in the league last year, and they have a lot of pending free agents in their defensive backfield. Baker showed he has number one corner potential, with great natural instincts. His small frame could be a problem against bigger bodied receivers.
24th Overall Pick Oakland Raiders (via Bears) select A.J. Brown – WR – Ole Miss
If Carr’s the guy in the huddle, Jon Gruden needs to get him more some more weapons. He can start by picking up a strong, yards-after-catch slot receiver in Brown. Like his counterpart at Ole Miss, D.K. Metcalf, Brown is a physical specimen and his 40-time suggests he has the top-end speed to play on the outside, too.
25th Overall Pick: Philadelphia Eagles select Byron Murphy – CB – Washington
The Eagles were already struggling to defend the pass, and their top corner Darby is set to hit free agency. Murphy is a ball hawk outside the numbers with the ability to shadow receivers. His versatility and willingness for contact should make the Eagles overlook his size.
26th Overall Pick: Indianapolis Colts select Dexter Lawrence – DT – Clemson
Lawrence’s sack production fell in 2018, but he still was vital to the Clemson front. At nose tackle, his pass-rushing skills are more than good enough to compete at the next level, although his conditioning will need to improve if he wants to be more than just a rotational rusher. The biggest need for the Colts would get easily filled.
27th Overall Pick: Oakland Raiders (via Cowboys) select Josh Jacobs – RB – Alabama
Another offensive threat the Raiders can utilize in both the run and passing game, Jacobs is a 3-down back that knows how to finish plays. Adding some weapons on offense will lift the pressure off Carr, and Oakland could now get the passing game going by racking up easy checkdowns.
28th Overall Pick: Los Angeles Chargers select Greg Little – OT – Ole Miss
If Philip Rivers didn’t have an insanely fast release, he’d get sacked a bunch. The Chargers need to help extend Rivers’ career by protecting him from the likes of Von Miller and Dee Ford within his division. If Greg Little can maintain some consistency at the next level, Rivers will play as long as he likes.
29th Overall Pick: Kansas City Chiefs select Johnathan Abram – S – Mississippi State
The Chiefs need to replenish a depleted secondary, especially now that Eric Berry is only getting older and has been struggling to stay on the field the last couple of years. Adding Abram would be a quick fix. He’s a boom-or-bust player that could learn a thing or two from the veteran Berry.
30th Overall Pick: Green Bay Packers (via Saints) select Nasir Adderly – S – Delaware
The Packers just dumped Ha Ha Clinton-Dix last season, and could use the versatile Nasir Adderly at safety or cornerback if they wanted. A gambler of sorts with 11 picks in his collegiate career, Green Bay can get a disruptor for opposing offenses.
31st Overall Pick: Los Angeles Rams select Brian Burns – DE – Florida State
With multiple free agents on their defensive line, Burns could step in immediately and provide dividends. If the Rams wanted to, they could convert him to an outside linebacker due to his slender frame. They might want to keep his hand in the dirt, but it’ll take some tuna and a few dumbbell curls for him to hang with NFL offensive tackles.
32nd Overall Pick: New England Patriots select Noah Fant – TE – Iowa
The Patriots don’t know who Tom Brady will ultimately hand the keys over to, but Gronk now has his heir apparent. Fant blew up the combine and is the type of walking mismatch Belichick values. Fant has the receiving skills to beat a defense in multiple ways and compares favorably to Evan Engram.
The 2019 NFL Draft will take place in Nashville, Tennessee; and the first round will be broadcast on NFL Network and ESPN on April 25th.