A new Super Bowl champion has been crowned and the 2018 NFL season is officially history. All 32 franchises now have their sights set on Super Bowl LIV, but all roads to Miami first run through Nashville and the 2019 NFL Draft.
With draft season once again upon us, I am pleased to present my 2019 NFL Mock Draft 1.0. These first-round projections are based on the current draft order and my impression of team needs as of February 1, and do not reflect any potential trade scenarios.
1 | Arizona Cardinals — Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
Should the Cardinals elect to take a loss on last year’s first-round investment in Josh Rosen to give new head coach Kliff Kingsbury a clean slate, the diminutive, but dynamic Heisman Trophy winner could be the centerpiece of what is expected to be a high-octane offense.
2 | San Francisco 49ers — Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
The 49ers are desperate for a true edge rusher. Widely considered the best overall prospect in the 2019 NFL Draft, Bosa projects to be a plug-and-play starter on a front line stacked with first-rounders.
3 | New York Jets — Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama
With their QB of the future securely in the fold, the Jets should simply focus on getting better as a whole. Williams was the breakout superstar in college football this season and has the potential to wreck games from the interior.
4 | Oakland Raiders — Josh Allen, RSH, Kentucky
The Raiders are loaded with first-round draft capital and light on talent. With a number of roles to fill, Allen is an impressive, all-around defender who can make an impact in multiple ways for the silver and black.
5 | Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
An effort to retool their pass rush in free agency last offseason didn’t really pan out for the Buccaneers across the board, so they look to Ferrell to lock down the edge opposite a resurgent Jason Pierre-Paul.
6 | New York Giants — Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan
Despite passing on a quarterback from a stronger class the year prior, the popular opinion is that the Giants will be compelled to draft a successor to Eli Manning. But, they also lack an impact defender. Gary is an incredible athlete with incredible upside.
7 | Jacksonville Jaguars — Jonah Williams, OL, Alabama
Duval County is another potential destination for a first-round quarterback, but the Jaguars may opt to pursue a veteran in free agency to stabilize the position. In that case, they can allocate their top pick to upgrade the offensive line.
8 | Detroit Lions — Montez Sweat, RSH, Mississippi State
The Lions are strong on the interior of the defensive line, but the edge is an area of concern. Dominant during Senior Bowl week, Sweat is climbing draft boards and could help offset the expected departure of veteran pass rusher Ezekiel Ansah.
9 | Buffalo Bills — T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
The Bills may have mined a franchise quarterback in Josh Allen, but while the initial returns are promising, he’ll need a lot more help around him to continue making progress. Hockenson is on the rise with his prowess as a pass catcher and a blocker.
10 | Denver Broncos — Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
The Case Keenum experiment appears to be short-lived in Denver. With yet another new head coach and once again in the market for a new quarterback, the Broncos have been linked early and often to Lock.
11 | Cincinnati Bengals — Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
The Bengals moved on from long-time head coach Marvin Lewis and incumbent starting quarterback Andy Dalton could soon be next. Haskins has a limited resume, but a wealth of talent.
12 | Green Bay Packers — Devin White, LB, LSU
Drafting an outside pass rusher will be a consideration, but a sideline-to-sideline presence like White at the second level could allow the Packers to be more aggressive with their defensive scheme in order to generate pressure.
13 | Miami Dolphins — Jeffery Simmons, DL, Mississippi State
The Dolphins are rumored to be looking ahead to the 2020 NFL Draft for their next quarterback, so their focus here could simply be talent acquisition. Simmons is a disruptive defender who frequents the opposing backfield.
14 | Atlanta Falcons — Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma
Significant injuries to key contributors were the primary factor in the Falcons having a down year, but pedestrian offensive line play, at best, didn’t help. Enter Ford, a mauling goliath of a right tackle who could also slide inside to play guard.
15 | Washington Redskins — Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
After a relatively hot start, a catastrophic injury suffered by starting quarterback Alex Smith almost doomed the Redskins to a winless finish. With Smith’s future in doubt, Jones would bring youth, experience, and a similar level of athleticism.
16 | Carolina Panthers — Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
The Panthers seem to have a perpetual need at offensive tackle. Taylor could step in immediately at right tackle, allowing the Panthers to bump the emerging Taylor Moton to the blindside.
17 | Cleveland Browns — Ed Oliver, DL, Houston
A year removed from drafting first overall, the Browns now have playoff aspirations for 2019. Oliver could help them get there. He’s undersized, but lives beyond the line of scrimmage and would be a steal if he slips beyond the top ten.
18 | Minnesota Vikings — Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
After a trip to the NFC Championship last year, the Vikings failed to make the playoffs this season. To right the ship, they could look at adding an offensive weapon like Fant, who is less of a conventional tight end and more of a modern matchup player.
19 | Tennessee Titans — Brian Burns, RSH, Florida State
It will be a complete changing of the guard on the edge for the Titans, who will look to pair the explosive Burns with last year’s second-round pick Harold Landry to replace veteran starters Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan.
20 | Pittsburgh Steelers — Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
While the offense makes headlines on and off the field, expect the Steelers to turn their attention to defense at the top of the draft. Provided that another team isn’t greedy for a cornerback, they could make Williams the first boundary defender off the board.
21 | Seattle Seahawks — Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State
Largely fueled by an impressive rushing attack, the Seahawks earned a playoff berth in what was expected to be a rebuilding year. But, the same offensive line powering a productive run game also surrendered 51 sacks. Risner allowed only one in his entire college career.
22 | Baltimore Ravens — Kelvin Harmon, WR, North Carolina State
The Ravens overachieved with a run-first rookie quarterback and a receiving corps comprised of journeyman veterans and late-round draft picks. Harmon is a well-rounded, pro-ready receiver who can start right away and grow with Lamar Jackson.
23 | Houston Texans — Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
Since trading All-Pro Duane Brown to the Seahawks during the 2017 season, the Texans have been relying on a series of stopgaps to anchor the offensive line. Dillard could be the long-term solution at left tackle.
24 | Oakland Raiders (via CHI) — Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
The Raiders were able to squeeze moderate production on the ground from their aging tandem of Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin. Bursting onto the draft scene during the second half of the season, Jacobs would give the Raiders an explosive feature back with a ton of tread on his tires.
25 | Philadelphia Eagles — Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
The Eagles might elect to invest more resources in a suspect secondary, but with middle linebacker Jordan Hicks unable to stay healthy and no longer under contract, drafting Bush would make sense to strengthen the heart of the defense.
26 | Indianapolis Colts — Jachai Polite, RSH, Florida
With a high-scoring offense and an attacking defense, the Colts were the surprise of the season going two rounds deep in the tournament. Adding a speed rusher like Polite would force opponents to account for another dimension with their offensive game plan.
27 | Oakland Raiders (via DAL) — Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware
Safety would hardly be considered a position of strength for the Raiders. The versatile Adderley made an impression with their staff at the Senior Bowl, earning captain status and three Raider shield stickers from head coach Jon Gruden. He just might get one for real.
28 | Los Angeles Chargers — Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
With the oft-injured Jason Verrett’s tenure with the Chargers likely coming to a close and Trevor Williams unable to maintain form starting in his place, Murphy could be an option to solidify the cornerback position.
29 | Kansas City Chiefs — Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
Kansas City’s explosive offense might have been done in this season by a lackluster defense that ranked near the bottom of the league in many categories. Drafting Baker would be one step toward improvement.
30 | Green Bay Packers (via NO) — Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
The Packers may target a dynamic receiving threat to replace free agent Randall Cobb. Brown is blazing fast and would give new head coach Matt LaFleur a dangerous weapon to deploy along both axis.
31 | Los Angeles Rams — Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson
The Rams wheeled and dealed to outfit their defense to compete for a Super Bowl, but they will need to reload their front seven from within sooner rather than later. Wilkins would make a suitable sidekick for all-world defensive tackle Aaron Donald.
32 | New England Patriots — Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabama
Another season, another Super Bowl victory for the Patriots. But, while Tom Brady may be ageless, time and injury has taken its toll on tight end Rob Gronkowski. The second-generation Smith would make a fine choice to complement or ultimately succeed Gronk.