Friday, March 1, 2019

2019 NFL Mock Draft

Predicting how a draft will play out minutes before it begins is virtually impossible so naturally it's even more difficult almost two months out.

Over the next couple of months, the one certainty is that this 2019 NFL mock draft will change -- perhaps considerably -- with the NFL Scouting Combine underway this weekend and both Pro Days and the start of NFL Free Agency still ahead of us.

As we move closer to the actual draft, we will add rounds to eventually mock all seven rounds.

MORE: Check out our way-too-early 2019 Fantasy Football Mock Draft

For now, here's how the first round of the 2019 NFL draft could play out:

1. Arizona Cardinals (Draft History): Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State Buckeyes

Past comments from new head coach Kliff Kingsbury may lead some to link Kyler Murray to the Cardinals, but it's too soon to throw in the towel on the Josh Rosen era. More than likely, this pick comes down to Bosa, Kentucky's Josh Allen or Alabama's Quinnen Williams. Per PFF College, no edge defender had a higher grade in their history (since 2014) than Bosa did in 2017. With first-round pedigree from his father (John) and brother (Joey), Nick gives the talent-deficient Cardinals a blue-chip prospect.

2. San Francisco 49ers (Draft History): Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky Wildcats

Speaking of PFF grades, Allen tied for the third-highest amongst edge rushers (from 2014-2018) as he recorded 17 sacks, 21.5 tackles for loss and five forced fumbles in 2018. As many high picks as the 49ers have spent on their front seven over the past few seasons, edge rusher remains the team's biggest need.

3. (Projected trade with NYJ) Jacksonville Jaguars (Draft History): Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma Sooners

Except for the 2013 NFL Draft (the Jags took Luke Joeckel second overall that year), there has been a quarterback selected in the top three in 17 of the other 18 NFL Drafts from 2001 to 2018. By trading up to third overall last year (for quarterback Sam Darnold), the Jets should be a willing trade partner for a QB-needy team. Perhaps the Jags will sign Nick Foles in free agency, but if that doesn't happen, the Jags will likely look to replace Blake Bortles with their 2019 first-round pick.

- MORE: Consensus 2019 NFL Free Agency Rankings

4. Oakland Raiders (Draft History): Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama Crimson Tide

Perhaps the Raiders use this pick to move on from Derek Carr, but this is an ideal scenario with Williams, a top-two prospect in this year's draft class, slipping to fourth overall.

- MORE: 2019 NFL Draft Big Board: Top 100 Prospects

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Draft History): Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan Wolverines

More projection than production, the former No. 1 high school recruit in the country has rare athletic gifts with sky-high upside.

6. New York Giants (Draft History): Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State Buckeyes

After passing on a quarterback last year and given the widely-held belief that next year's crop of quarterback prospects is better than this year's, I'm not convinced that Gettleman will pull the trigger on a signal-caller in 2019. That said, there's no denying that Eli Manning's play is holding the team and offense back. If Haskins is still available here, which is far from a lock given the propensity of teams to trade up for QBs, the Giants should at least strongly consider addressing their biggest need here. If they don't, however, I could see the G-Men adding a pass-rusher as Olivier Vernon has been disappointing and only the Raiders (13) recorded fewer sacks than the Giants (30) in 2018.

7. (Projected trade with JAX) New York Jets (Draft History): Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama Crimson Tide

Now that the Jets have their franchise quarterback in place, they should use free agency and the draft to improve his odds for success. A three-year starter (first at RT, then two seasons at LT), Williams may ultimately kick inside at the next level, but there's a good chance that he'll be the first offensive lineman off the board.

* For purposes of this mock, the Jags send their first-round pick this year and next year to the Jets to move up to No. 3. Based on the draft trade chart, the gap between the two picks is 700 points, comparable to the 26th overall pick.

8. Detroit Lions (Draft History): Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State Bulldogs

Over the past four seasons, Ezekiel Ansah has 12-plus sacks twice and four or fewer in the other two seasons. Not only has Ansah missed multiple games in three consecutive seasons, but the soon-to-be 30-year-old edge rusher is about to become an unrestricted free agent. The Lions could go in a few different directions here, but adding a pass-rusher like Sweat or Clemson's Clelin Ferrell would make sense.

9. Buffalo Bills (Draft History): Ed Oliver, DT, Houston Cougars

Many mocks will have the Bills using this pick to help their young quarterback by bolstering their offensive line or receiving corps. If Oliver is available here, however, he would be a great fit as a long-term replacement for the now-retired Kyle Williams.

10. Denver Broncos (Draft History): Greedy Williams, CB, LSU Tigers

I've gone back-and-forth with a pair of LSU Tigers -- Williams and Devin White -- in this spot. And even though there's a trade in place for Joe Flacco, it would be foolish to think that their quarterback problem is solved so perhaps someone like Drew Lock should still be considered here. Cornerback Bradley Roby is set to become a free agent and the ball-hawking Williams will help fill the void.

11. Cincinnati Bengals (Draft History): Devin White, LB, LSU Tigers

Positional value may allow White to slip a little bit, but the Bengals get a nice value here (White is fourth on my top-100 big board) and he fills a position of need for the club. The Butkus Award winner (given to the nation's best collegiate linebacker), White has sideline-to-sideline range and led the SEC in tackles in 2018.

12. Green Bay Packers (Draft History): Jachai Polite, OLB, Florida Gators

About to turn 33 years old (in May), Clay Matthews is an impending free agent that has recorded 7.5 sacks or less in four consecutive seasons. Meanwhile, Nick Perry is a release candidate. With two first-round picks, an edge rusher double-dip could even make sense for the pass rush-needy Packers.

13. Miami Dolphins (Draft History): Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida Gators

Could indirect tanking be in the plans for the 2019 Dolphins in order to target one of the perceived-to-be better 2020 signal-callers? If so, Taylor could fill the void of impending free-agent right tackle Ja'Wuan James to bookend Laremy Tunsil for their future starting quarterback.

14. Atlanta Falcons (Draft History): Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson Tigers

Starring on the nation's best defensive lines, Ferrell is the first of what could/should be three Clemson defensive linemen drafted on Day 1. The ACC Defensive Player of the Year and First-Team AP All-American, Ferrell had 20.0 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks for the national champs last season.

15. Washington Redskins (Draft History): Drew Lock, QB, Missouri Tigers

What will Washington get, if anything, from Alex Smith in 2019 and beyond? In terms of prototypes, Lock has the size, big arm and mobility to make him a first-round quarterback. There was some inconsistency at Mizzou, but some even believe that Lock is a better prospect than Ohio State's Haskins.

16. Carolina Panthers (Draft History): Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State Cougars

Not only is center Ryan Kalil retiring after last season, but right tackle Daryl Williams is currently headed towards unrestricted free agency. Kalil's brother, dubbed Speedbump McGee by Cam Jordan, was a disappointment at left tackle in 2017 before missing all of 2018. It wouldn't be a surprise if he turned out to be a cap casualty, but it should be a priority to better protect Cam Newton, who underwent offseason shoulder surgery.

> Continue to 2019 NFL Mock Draft: Picks 17-32
> For more NFL mocks, check out our NFL Mock Draft Database