Here we go again. The full court press has begun, and we've now entered a lull in the Draft cycle. The Senior Bowl has come and gone and now we're facing a four-week window of dead air before the next big event: the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine. To mark the end of Senior Bowl week, I've prepared my latest 2019 NFL Mock Draft.
Each of my first four iterations of a 2019 mock have been shockingly well received: an anomaly in this industry. Here's hoping we keep coming up roses.
1. Arizona Cardinals: Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
What do the Cardinals need? Elite football players.
What is Nick Bosa? An elite football player! Seems legit, right? Listen, if the Cardinals deem Quinnen Williams the proper choice, who am I to argue with them. Williams is a stud in his own right.
But for me personally? An elite edge rusher is the ticket. Bosa, like his brother, can play in any system you'd like to peg him to and can help totally reshape a defense.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
The good news? The 49ers don't need a quarterback (we think). The bad news? The 49ers don't really need a defensive tackle, either. Josh Allen, on the other hand, can provide the outside rush presence that the 49ers are lacking.
With DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead in house, the 49ers are set in the middle. Solving the pass rush problems will come with speed of the edge.
3. New York Jets: Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama
The Jets are welcoming in a new head coach this season...an offensive-minded one at that. So naturally the team is set to pick offense, right? NOT SO FAST, MY FRIEND.
There are rumors afloat that the Jets will part with DT Leonard Williams, a financial move that would make some sense for a team shifting in identity. Williams is due $14.2M this season and a franchise tag the following year would be worth approximately $18M.
The Jets flipping one Williams for another frees up long-term cash (and upgrades the position).
4. Oakland Raiders: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
The active receivers on the Raiders' staff to close the season: Jordy Nelson, Marcell Ateman, Seth Roberts, Dwayne Harris and Keon Hatcher.
That's a big ol' batch of "yikes" from me, dog.
D.K. Metcalf is the anti-thesis of "yikes", unless your perspective is an opposing cornerback. Go ahead and try to tell me Metcalf isn't the type of player the Raiders (regardless of who is running the show) have fallen for. He's flashy, an elite athlete and plays a sexy position.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
Regardless of whether or not OT Donovan Smith walks, this pick makes sense. Williams can step in at Left Tackle and replace Smith or push Smith to Right Guard in the team's effort to maximize their 2015 investment.
Williams will also battle the narrative to kick inside, but even if he's tasked with doing so he's going to be a successful player. The Bucs need better pass protectors to help compensate for new head coach Bruce Arians' deep passing scheme.
6. New York Giants: Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma
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Whether you like it or not, the Giants are ready to ride with Eli. Again. And to be quite frank, I'd rather deal with another season of Eli and a 2020 1st-round rookie than invest in any of these passers: there's no sure thing.
So why not continue to build the infrastructure on offense so that Eli's heir, whoever he is, will have as easy a life as possible?
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
While the Giants can be selective with their next quarterback, the Jaguars have no such luxury. Blake Bortles has got to go. So who makes sense? Dwayne Haskins has a pretty standard projection to the NFL.
There's plenty of rough edges, but Dwayne has a lot of NFL throws on his film resume. And the Jaguars receivers are built for run after the catch, just as the ones at Ohio State are.
8. Detroit Lions: Ed Oliver, iDL, Houston
This is a BPA selection just as much as it is anything else. Da'Shawn Hand was a successful rookie for the Lions in 2018 before ending the season on Injured Reserve. Putting him and Ed Oliver next to Damon Harrison is...enticing, to say the least.
For a team that doesn't rely on a lot of exterior speed in the pass rush, getting explosive rushers would go a long way in mending this Lions defense.
9. Buffalo Bills: Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
Talk about a doomsday scenario for the Bills. Cody Ford, Jonah Williams, D.K. Metcalf and Ed Oliver are all off the board.
Bills Mafia is going to tell me Buffalo should trade down here, but I disagree. The draft is seven rounds long for a reason: there's no need to force the issue at 9. A very talented pass rusher has fallen right into Coach McDermott's lap.
The Bills staff prefers prototype players, Ferrell's length, pass rush counters and run setting all fit the mold of a DE the Bills would covet.
10. Denver Broncos: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
Death. Taxes. John Elway drafting high risk quarterbacks.
These are the certainties in life. And with Drew Lock, the stakes have never been higher. There's a whole lot of smoke early on about Lock and Denver, suggesting that the team really likes the prototypical pocket passer from Missouri.
Lock was comfortably the best QB here in Mobile and won folks over with his demeanor and natural arm ability.
11. Cincinnati Bengals: Devin White, LB, LSU
Bengals fans, I wish I had more for you, my people. But this pick makes too much sense. The Bengals have a sore need for more athleticism and explosiveness at linebacker.
In White, the Bengals can add the ferocity of Vontaze Burfict but with much, much more athleticism. And fewer bonehead plays. Consider White a "plug and play" starter who has the upside to be an All-Pro in the NFL. Not much wrong with that, right?
12. Green Bay Packers: Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
The Packers quietly enjoyed a breakout season from OLB Kyler Fackrell (10.5 sacks) but you can't convince me the team doesn't need more reinforcements. First of all, Fackrell logged 6 of his sacks last season against Buffalo and Seattle in two games. Second, the rest of this pass rush group is aging...and expensive.
Florida State's Brian Burns would be neither. Burns is more flexible than Gumby and he's got the most diverse pallet of pass rush counters out of anyone in this year's class. Anyone.
Weight is the popular concern for Burns, but in an odd front Burns can play at wider angles and be assisted in his leverage in the run game.
13. Miami Dolphins: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
Tell me Murray isn't a Miami type of play. Go ahead, I'll wait. Miami has endured years of immobile quarterback play and terrible decision-making under pressure.
The Dolphins are a star-starved franchise who have been an essential league afterthought for years.
But with Murray? Everyone is paying attention to the Dolphins. And the Dolphins are committed to a long-term rebuild (finally). So Murray can grow into this role as the team grows into a competitor.
14. Atlanta Falcons: Christian Wilkins, iDL, Clemson
Here for this one, personally. Wilkins next to Grady Jarrett and alongside Takk McKinley and Vic Beasley? Be still, my beating heart!
The Falcons could certainly use another presence up front to help keep the chaos thriving on defense and keep their speedy linebackers clean. Wilkins can fill either role and really let this front seven pop.
15. Washington Redskins: Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State
The Redskins are in a bit of a pickle. The Alex Smith situation doesn't have a solution in sight, nor should it. Alex has bigger fish to fry than football.
But where does this team go from here? A free agent addition at quarterback feels likely for this team, given the QB class and Washington's positioning in the order.
So why not go get a potential volume pass catcher to add to the fray? With fragile WRs like Josh Doctson and Paul Richardson leading the receiver room, it is time for some fresh blood
16. Carolina Panthers: Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State
No one helped their stock more at the 2019 Reese's Senior Bowl than Kansas State's Dalton Risner. Risner was widely perceived as a guard convert entering the week. And heck, he still might be. But one that that's certain either way is this dude is mean as hell and he's got the kind of mauler mentality you absolutely love.
The Panthers are facing some changes up front and Cam Newton's health has been an area of concern in recent years. Investing up front to get the line right is a must. Risner can feasibly play Center, Guard or Tackle at a high level.
17. Cleveland Browns: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
The Browns' offense under Baker Mayfield and Freddie Kitchens last year: awesome. Rookie CB Denzel Ward last year: awesome. The Browns' opposing cornerback last year: not awesome. Byron Murphy: awesome.
Problem solved. The mold has already been set for Cleveland, they selected a smaller than ideal cornerback in the top five last year. What if I told you Murphy is nearly on the same level (in my personal opinion) as a player?
Murphy and Ward would be a phenomenal pairing in the secondary.
18. Minnesota Vikings: Chris Lindstrom, iOL, Boston College
The Vikings' offensive line is lingering as a bit of a sore spot. 2017 rookie Pat Elflein slipped after a strong second half of his rookie season and the Guard spots are both in need of upgrades.
Enter Chris Lindstrom. The Boston College product would immediately be the best player on the interior for the Vikings and would help kick-start their rushing attack.
19. Tennessee Titans: Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida
Polite is one of the darlings of Draft Twitter. And that's okay! Am I especially sold that Polite is going to be a rock star, especially fresh out the gate? No.
Polite has a potent first step and speed to burn off the edge. The Titans would put that to good use, he'd be a great replacement for Brian Orakpo as a rush OLB for the team. But Polite isn't as good of a run defender as some of his more enthusiastic fans would suggest, so Polite would benefit from the Titans' base alignments just as much as the Titans would benefit from Jachai's pass rush potential.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
Pittsburgh's hunt for an heir to Ryan Shazier continues for another off-season. Devin Bush has the goods to deliver. I'm a big fan of Bush's burst, explosiveness and range. And the last time the Steelers took an undersized Big-10 linebacker in the first round, it was *squints* Ryan Shazier.
Bush has sideline to sideline speed and would thrive in a system with the kind of horses up front that Pittsburgh features along the defensive line.
21. Seattle Seahawks: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
What? Not mocking an available Rashan Gary to the Seahawks is widely considered blasphemy -- BUT I DON'T CARE!!!
Thompson is an attractive fit for the Seahawks model of building defense. They have thrived under the prowling eyes of Earl Thomas as a single high free safety. And while Thompson struggled in the 2018 CFB Playoff, it doesn't change his value and role in the NFL.
I considered Greedy Williams here as well, but the emergence of Tre' Flowers as a viable NFL corner takes the urgency out of that projection.
22. Baltimore Ravens: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
The Ravens took a risk on QB Lamar Jackson last spring and Jackson's selection bore fruit immediately: he helped kick-start the Ravens to the playoffs.
But Jackson still needs help as a passer. And my best solution is Hollywood Brown. Why? Because Hollywood has speed to burn and runs really crisp routes. His separation skills will ease the need for Lamar to be a pinpoint passer, instead Lamar's general accuracy can get a wide open Hollywood Brown the football downfield.
23. Houston Texans: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
The Texans need offensive line, no matter what. I don't even care if it's a reach. The good news? Jawaan Taylor isn't a reach. Holy smokes. I just did this guy's film over the weekend in Mobile, AL and I was not disappointed!
Taylor is a mammoth offensive tackle and his mobility is stunning to see in action. Yes, Taylor needs to clean up his hand placement and punch. But there's ample tools to work with and Taylor's grip strength allows him to clamp down on pass rushers of all shapes and sizes.
24. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago Bears): Rashan Gary, iDL, Michigan
The Raiders' slew of picks need to accomplish a few things but it can be centered around a central theme: add play-makers. And with the earlier addition of D.K. Metcalf, Raider Nation can rest easy knowing there's a new Sheriff in town as a weapon.
Rashan Gary can help amplify the disruption on the defensive side of the football. Gary can play defensive end and then kick inside to rush the passer alongside Maurice Hurst on third downs. Gary's potent hands and ability to defend the run make him a diverse player with explosive qualities...he's a rare "high ceiling" guy with a firm skill set in other aspects of the game that should allow him to grow as a starter.
25. Philadelphia Eagles: Jeffery Simmons, iDL, Mississippi State
The Eagles had success their first time dipping their bucket into the Mississippi State iDL pool (Fletcher Cox). Why not go again? The Eagles' defensive system under Jim Schwartz calls for chaos up front: the defensive line is designed to get into the backfield and make a mess of things.
Putting Simmons between Fletcher Cox and Derek Barnett/Michael Bennett/Brandon Graham (Graham is a free agent) would certainly free up everyone on the line to make a mess of opposing backfields.
26. Indianapolis Colts: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
I would have loved to slot a 3T here for the Colts but the Eagles and Falcons had other plans for Indy. No worries. Indianapolis invested heavily at DE last spring, so how about a little love for the secondary? Deandre Baker is one of the best cornerbacks in the country, adding him to a secondary that will need to be on their A-game to battle Houston each year will come in handy.
Baker has tremendous ball skills and plays a physical brand of football, perhaps he can be the ball hawk CB to compliment FS Malik Hooker on the back end.
27. Oakland Raiders (via Dallas Cowboys): T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
Don't say I never do anything for you, Raider Nation. Landing Hockenson and Metcalf in the same class? This is a tremendous pairing to go with QB Derek Carr in Coach Gruden's second season. Hockenson is a throwback at heart: he's a mauler in the ground game but a receiving threat in his own right.
The Raiders should be thrilled to target a potential replacement for free agent TE Jared Cook and know he's more versatile than the incumbent.
28. Los Angeles Chargers: Dexter Lawrence, iDL, Clemson
The Chargers' defensive front is getting a little long in the tooth, but the mammoth Lawrence can go a long way in getting this squad to anchor more effectively. The Chargers saw their season end at the hands of the Patriots, thanks in large part to their inability to stop the run.
Lawrence's specialty? You guessed it. Stopping the run.
29. Kansas City Chiefs: Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware
Speaking of poor performances from 2018, shouts to the Chiefs secondary. How do you combat such a poor showing, despite finishing first in the league in sacks (52) last year? You have to upgrade the secondary.
Senior Bowl standout Nasir Adderley would be a welcomed addition for the Chiefs. Adderley's showing at the 2019 Senior Bowl suggests he's a true safety: his man to man skills are frustrating and ineffective, but that's just fine.
Let Adderley acclimate to life in the NFL as a Safety and he will prosper. Adding him to the Chiefs secondary gives the team much needed reinforcements on the back end.
30. Green Bay Packers (via New Orleans Saints): Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
Sure, Hockenson would have been a terrific add. But let's not act like Noah Fant is some scrub, either. Fant has elite receiving traits and quietly got better as a blocker this past season for the Hawkeyes before leaving early for the 2019 NFL Draft.
The Packers, having already addressed the pass rush at 12 with Brian Burns, need to give QB Aaron Rodgers someone new to throw the ball to. Fant can be a big factor in the middle of the field, up the seam and in the red zone.
31. New England Patriots: Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
One of the standouts from last week's Senior Bowl practices, Sweat makes sense for the Patriots when considering their tendencies and situation. The Pats like guys who can stack up the line of scrimmage: check. The Patriots like to invest their early picks on trench players: check. The Patriots like guys with length: check.
The Patriots are potentially losing Trey Flowers to free agency this off-season, so the time to consider an heir is now. With a little luck (Patriots get a ton of it, to be honest), maybe Sweat can be the guy.
32. Los Angeles Rams: Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama
The Rams won't have Brockers, Suh and Donald forever. So it's time to consider upgrading elsewhere (with cheap labor) to help keep the defense operational. The Rams watched Corey Littleton get abused in coverage by Alvin Kamara...perhaps a cover linebacker could help?
Wilson can do both, he's a great athlete but also effective knifing into the line of scrimmage to challenge the play.