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2019 NFL Mock Draft 3.0

How might the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft play out with this year’s NFL Scouting Combine officially in the books? Things won’t really begin to take shape until after free agency, but this is currently my best guess for how things might go down at the end of April.


1. ARI: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

Rumors linking the Cardinals to Kyler Murray only gained traction over the weekend, and it feels like a foregone conclusion that he’s the pick here. Arizona can’t afford to pass on the Heisman winner if they feel strongly about him as a franchise quarterback, and Murray is the perfect fit for Kliff Kingsbury’s spread attack. By draft night, Josh Rosen’s landing spot might be a bigger mystery than Murray’s.


2. SF: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State

The 49ers will get the top player on their board if Arizona goes quarterback, so this is a dream scenario for John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan. Adding another top-end talent to a defensive line that already includes Solomon Thomas (No. 3 pick in 2017), DeForest Buckner (No. 7 pick in 2016), and Arik Armstead (No. 17 pick in 2015) is unprecedented investment up front, and Nick Bosa would be the most promising of the group.


3. GB (mock trade w/ NYJ): Josh Allen, OLB, Kentucky

New York could take Josh Allen for themselves and be thrilled about it, but they sound very open to trading down, and the Packers have the ammo to move up and get a key piece for an emerging defense. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say Josh Allen (who turns 22 in July), Jaire Alexander (22), and Kenny Clark (23) have the makings of an all-time great trio.


4. OAK: Devin White, LB, LSU

Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden are expected to target productive players with their treasure trove of picks, and Devin White fits the billing as the SEC’s leading tackler over the past two years. When you combine his production, leadership, and speed (he ran a position-best 4.41 40-yard dash on Sunday), White might be locked in as a top-five prospect.


5. TB: Quinnen Williams, DE, Alabama

It will be interesting to see where Quinnen Williams lands if he falls out of the top three, as Oakland and Tampa Bay are both relatively strong on the defensive line. However, his talent might be too good to pass up for the Bucs, and they can simply pair Williams with Gerald McCoy and 2018 first-round pick Vita Vea to create a very formidable group in the trenches for defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.


6. NYG: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

The Giants sound like they’re open to the Kansas City plan of drafting a young signal-caller to sit for a year behind an established veteran, and that makes sense if they select Dwayne Haskins, who started just 14 games at Ohio State. The New Jersey native is an accurate distributor that would be in a great spot learning behind Eli Manning before taking the reigns of an offense that includes Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham Jr., Evan Engram, and Sterling Shepard.


7. JAX: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

I seem to be the last person that thinks Nick Foles might sign someplace other than Jacksonville, but the landing spots are certainly limited. Getting the former Super Bowl MVP would allow the Jags to look elsewhere in April, and T.J. Hockenson likely brings the physicality that Tom Coughlin wants on his roster. The Iowa standout is basically an extra offensive lineman at tight end.


8. DET: Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State

Detroit has been perhaps the toughest team to try to peg in mocks, but Montez Sweat might have forced his way into the top ten after recording the fastest ever 40-yard dash by a defensive lineman (4.41). Sweat also dominated the Senior Bowl practices a few weeks ago, so there probably isn’t a guy that’s made himself more money in the pre-draft process. He’d be a great replacement for Ezekiel Ansah.


9. BUF: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss

As stated in my pre-Combine mock, D.K. Metcalf could be an option for Buffalo if he blows up Indy, and that’s exactly what happened on Saturday with a 4.33 40-yard dash, 40.5” vertical jump, and 27 bench press reps at six-foot-three, 228 pounds. While the sub-par 3-cone (7.38) and short shuttle (4.50) times could be cause for concern, I don’t think the Bills would ask Metcalf to come in and run an expansive route tree from Day 1.


10. DEN: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

There has been a ton of smoke around Drew Lock to the Broncos both before and after the trade for Joe Flacco, but for now, I’m sticking with my gut by not giving them a quarterback. Deandre Baker is a shutdown, perimeter corner that can play press coverage to disrupt routes and allow Von Miller and Bradley Chubb to get home.


11. CIN: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

A couple Hawkeye tight ends coming off the board this early would be pretty crazy (the only similar situation I can remember is Auburn running backs Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams going No. 2 and No. 5 respectively in the 2005 NFL Draft), but Noah Fant is a mismatch nightmare that would give Cincinnati one of the best skill-position groups in the league. We could also see the first offensive tackle come off the board here.


12. NYJ (mock trade w/ GB): Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

Trading down makes a ton of sense for the Jets to recoup some picks from last year’s move up to the No. 3 overall pick last year (which turned out to be Sam Darnold), and their top offseason priority should be protecting their franchise quarterback. Jonah Williams can immediately slot in as a starter at either left tackle (if the team releases Kelvin Beachum) or left guard.


13. CAR (mock trade w/ MIA): Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan

Because there are multiple high-upside “tweeners” in this class, a couple big-time talents could end up slipping. The Panthers can stop Rashan Gary’s fall by trading up to add him to a defensive front that is in dire need of young blood off the edge. And by implementing more 3-4 concepts in 2019, Carolina would have the option of playing Gary at the three-technique on early downs before kicking him out in obvious passing situations.


14. ATL: Cody Ford, G, Oklahoma

One of the top defensive tackle prospects still available (Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence, or Ed Oliver) could be the pick for Atlanta, but I think they want to get back to a power running game to help set up play-action passes. He played right tackle at Oklahoma last year, but Cody Ford can be a mauler inside at either guard spot.


15. WAS: Brian Burns, OLB, Florida State

I’ve been rattling off a bunch of 40 times from the past four days in this mock, but the on-field drills really helped some prospects, too. Overall, Brian Burns was arguably the most impressive player at the event, as despite bulking up to 249 pounds, he tested phenomenally and looked very comfortable in space. The Redskins could use a star outside linebacker to pair with Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen.


16. MIA (mock trade w/ CAR): Jawaaan Taylor, OT, Florida

If the Dolphins are going to “Tank for Tua” as some believe, they need to start thinking about getting a stud right tackle for the dynamic left-handed quarterback. Staying local with Jawaan Taylor would give Miami a couple bookends (along with LT Laremy Tunsil) to protect a potential 2020 draftee at quarterback—whether it’s Tua Tagovailoa or someone else.


17. CLE: Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State

The Combine numbers for Hakeem Butler (4.48 40-yard dash, 36.0” vertical, 128.0” broad, 18 bench press reps) are even better than A.J. Green’s from earlier this decade (4.50 40-yard dash, 34.5” vertical, 126.0” broad, 18 bench press reps), so the comp at least holds up in terms of build and athleticism. Butler’s confidence would do just fine in Cleveland.


18. MIN: Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss

Minnesota absolutely needs to improve the offensive line this offseason, and Greg Little would be a welcome addition for Kirk Cousins on the blindside. By drafting Little, the Vikings would hope they have their tackles of the future with he and 2018 second-round pick Brian O’Neill both eventually reaching their potential. This selection allows current left tackle Riley Reiff to play left guard.


19. TEN: Christian Wilkins, DE, Clemson

This mock might be too heavy on offensive prospects, but the strength/depth on the other side of the ball could end up pushing guys down the board. For me, Christian Wilkins is a top-five prospect, so this would be a steal for Tennessee. The two-time national champion would bring athleticism to the defensive line and leadership to the locker room.


20. PIT: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

A bulked-up Byron Murphy was as smooth as it gets in the on-field drills at the Combine, and Pittsburgh badly needs a starter opposite Joe Haden at cornerback. The Washington standout can play man or zone coverage and is a willing tackler, which should give him an edge over some of the less versatile options at the position.


21. HOU (mock trade w/ SEA): Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State

Even if the Texans invest significantly in the offensive line this month, it likely wouldn’t preclude them from taking a rookie to join the group. Not only is Andre Dillard very solid in pass protection, but he also can get out and lead the way in space. The big flaw I saw over the weekend was conditioning, but Bill O’Brien’s staff would quickly correct that.


22. PHI (mock trade w/ BAL): Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

A run on offensive lineman forces Ed Oliver out of the top 20, but I would guess he ends up going somewhere in the 12-24 range rather than the borderline top-five range that many expect. This is a good spot for Philadelphia to trade up for the talented defensive tackle, as Oliver would benefit from plenty of one-on-one looks alongside Fletcher Cox.


23. SEA (mock trade w/ HOU): Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

He might not like lasting quite this long, but I think Clelin Ferrell would benefit from getting on a playoff team to start his career. The technician out of Clemson is the ideal Seattle Seahawk as someone that plays with a relentless motor and gets the most out of his abilities, so he can either team up with Frank Clark (assuming he remains in Seattle after getting franchise tagged) or become his immediate replacement on the edge.


24. OAK: A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss

What the Raiders decide to do at No. 24 and No. 27 will be interesting, but I think A.J. Brown is certainly worth targeting with one of the picks depending on the other moves made this offseason (including a potential trade for Antonio Brown, in which case the Ole Miss product is probably off the table). The college Brown has the size and natural receiving skills to come off the board on Day 1.


25. BAL (mock trade w/ PHI): Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see Josh Jacobs (groin) do anything in Indianapolis, and that could very well impact his stock because of how impressive the running back class looks in general. That said, power backs that can catch passes and make people miss don’t grow on trees, so this is an exciting pick to start the post-Ozzie Newsome era.


26. IND: Dre’Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State

I had the Colts trading up for Montez Sweat in my pre-Combine mock, but that doesn’t look like a realistic possibility anymore without making a huge leap. There are plenty of great prospects on the defensive line, though, and Dre’Mont Jones has shown flashes of the ability to get upfield and wreck an opponent’s game plan.


27. OAK: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

Can’t you just picture Jon Gruden saying, “I love that Greedy Williams, man”? The former LSU superstar ran a 4.37 in the 40-yard dash before struggling in the positional drills and shutting it down at the Combine due to cramps, but he was very productive for the Tigers, including six interceptions in 2017. The team that drafts Williams should let him play mostly press coverage.


28. LAC: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri 

I’m not sure we will see more than two quarterbacks come off the board on Day 1, but Drew Lock and Daniel Jones are the other options to keep an eye on besides Murray and Haskins. While the Chargers could be set for the next five years with Philip Rivers under center, their roster is strong enough that they can target a signal-caller here. Learning behind Rivers would allow Lock to possibly reign all his tools in.


29. KC: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

The Chiefs need to retool their front seven this offseason with the switch to the 4-3 defense, as Justin Houston is on the trade block, Breeland Speaks needs to make big strides in a scheme that hopefully fits his skillset, and Dee Ford—on the franchise tag—sounds like he could be an experimental option putting his hand in the dirt. Devin Bush is a twitched-up prospect that will at least have Kansas City set at an outside linebacker spot.


30. NYJ (mock trade w/ GB): Garrett Bradbury, C, NC State

Getting arguably the best offensive tackle and the best center in the draft would be quite the start for New York as they build around Sam Darnold, and I think they could turn things around quickly under Adam Gase. Besides being a “mover” that can seal defenders and get to the second level to open holes, Bradbury is said to be an excellent leader.


31. LAR: Jachai Polite, OLB, Florida

The funniest storyline to come out of the Combine was Jachai Polite revealing that several teams “bashed” him in interviews—with the lone exception being the Rams. Of course, it won’t be quite as funny if Polite tumbles in the draft based on poor interviews and a sub-par workout, but he showed enough at Florida as a slippery edge rusher. (Also, the video of Polite’s comments don’t come off close as badly as the transcript indicates.)


32. NE: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

Dexter Lawrence being available for New England would be crazy, but some teams might not view the monster prospect as more than a two-down player. However, Lawrence just ran a 5.05 40-yard dash at 342 pounds (despite injuring his quad), and I think he can get to the quarterback in obvious passing situations with pure power and underrated quickness.


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