With the hype surrounding the Draft just a few weeks away from its culmination in Nashville, it’s time for our final 2019 NFL Mock Draft of the season.
Many pressing questions, such as how many quarterbacks will go in the first round, whether or not the New York Giants finally select a successor to Eli Manning, and who goes first overall will be addressed momentarily.
Buckle up folks, get excited, and please keep your hands, feet, and football brains inside the ride at all times. With that we are away! With the first pick in this final mock draft, the Arizona Cardinals select…
1. Arizona Cardinals-Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
Just a year after spending an early first round pick on former UCLA star Josh Rosen, the Cardinals jump ship to select the Oklahoma superstar. Kliff Kingsbury has the reins now, and he is looking to the dual-threat Murray as the cornerstone to his new regime.
Murray and ex-Ohio State pivot Dwayne Haskins are the top two signal-callers available. However, Kingsbury has long been tied with Murray thanks to praise he heaped upon the quarterback as a rival college coach at Texas Tech, and the first-year coach now gets to have Murray as his own.
2. San Francisco 49ers-Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio St
The 49ers have a need to address their defensive line, and Bosa is their man. The Buckeye defender has talent worthy of being the top pick in this draft, and he would be the first man off the board if the team at the top had a stable quarterback running the show.
In Bosa, John Lynch gets a generational pass-rusher to constantly wreak havoc around the edge. Bosa put concerns regarding last season’s injury that ended his college career prematurely thanks to a solid showing at the NFL Combine, cementing his top-three status across all draft boards.
3. New York Jets-Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
Another team in need of a marquee trench-warrior, the New York Jets opt to take Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams. Steve McLendon is currently listed as the starting nose tackle for Gang Green. Though he’s coming off of a season in which he played all 16 games, he registered a paltry 21 solo tackles and failed to record a sack. For that reason, Williams is a more important add as a tackle than the runner up for this pick, an edge rusher in Josh Allen.
4. Oakland Raiders-Josh Allen, Edge, Kentucky
Jon Gruden kept on preaching to the choir about his team’s absence of a game-changing pass-rusher. Well, thanks to the Jets going with Williams, that need can finally be addressed. Allen is the best edge-rusher in this draft and will be the first one off the board, going no later than Oakland here at number four.
Allen can serve as an outside linebacker and as an edge rusher, something former Raider Khalil Mack did prior to his shipment to Chicago. Oakland saw just how important Mack was after they struggled mightily all season while watching the Bears serve as one of the league’s top defenses. Allen is the big step to help jumpstart a defensive renaissance on Chucky’s team.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Devin White, LB, LSU
The departure of Kwon Alexander will hurt the Bucs a lot in the middle of their defense, as Lavonte David loses his partner in crime after Alexander got a bag of cash from the 49ers. The defensive line isn’t perfect, but with Vita Vea dealing with injuries in his rookie season, Tampa will likely give him a shot at redemption alongside veteran stalwart Gerald McCoy.
The offense can put up points in bunches but the defense lets returns the favor to opponents just as easily. In Devin White, Tampa gets themselves a general-in-training next to David, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Deone Bucannon. He would be a vital building block to make this unit more formidable.
6. New York Giants-Montez Sweat, OLB/DE, Miss St
There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Giants need to draft a quarterback in the near future. However, thanks to the departures of Olivier Vernon and Landon Collins, GM Dave Gettleman has vowed to address the defensive side of the ball with this pick. Montez Sweat is a younger and more capable pass rusher than Vernon, and is the best available on the board at this point.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars-D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
After penning Nick Foles to a long-term deal to guide their offense, the Jags need to get him some targets. Metcalf is the best offensive skill player in this draft, and he’s built to be a top threat in a receiving corps. In Jacksonville, he’ll have the bulk of Foles’ attention thanks to his lack of competition; Dede Westbrook, Keelan Cole, and Marqise Lee are the lackluster depth pieces he’ll fend off as the top dog.
8. Detroit Lions-Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan
Without Ziggy Ansah in the fold, Detroit needs to get an electric pass rusher to fill the void. Ansah was dominant as a younger player but injuries and inefficiency when healthy spelled the end of his tenure in the Motor City. The Lions will consider moving back from this spot, but Gary is exactly what they need in the first round.
9. TRADE ALERT:
Washington Redskins: acquire #9
Buffalo Bills: acquire #15, 2020 2nd round, 4th round picks
The first move of the draft comes just before a slew QB-needy teams get on the clock. Washington made a move to acquire Case Keenum for a very late draft selection, though that doesn’t mean the gig will be his. With Alex Smith’s football future looking murky, the Skins make the move to get their potential franchise signal-caller.
9. Washington Redskins-Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio St
With Kyler Murray gone to start the draft, Washington selects Haskins to become their franchise cornerstone. The big-bodied Buckeye brings a tremendous deep ball and a rocket launcher of an arm with surprisingly solid accuracy to D.C. The knock against him is his supposed inability to produce quality throws on the run, though his ability to perform in the pocket is hardly scrutinized.
10. Denver Broncos-Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
Denver needs a defensive tackle to stick between Bradley Chubb and Von Miller. Ed Oliver will be that defensive tackle if he makes it this far down the board.
Denver needs an upgrade from Shelby Harris, who managed just 1.5 sacks through 16 games, an unacceptable number given Denver’s massive success elsewhere on the line. Oliver’s talent isn’t the question; his health and motivation are the red flags keeping him out of the top five, but he’s just so damn good that he’s worth the risk in the top half of the first round.
11. Cincinnati Bengals-Clelin Ferrell, Edge, Clemson
Cincinnati managed just 34 sacks as a team last year, coming in at 28th in the league. Carlos Dunlap, Sam Hubbard, and Geno Atkins accounted for 24 of those 34 sacks. The Bengals have problems galore across the roster but getting pressure in the backfield is a pressing concern, one that Clelin Ferrell can assist with right out of the gate.
12. Green Bay Packers-Brian Burns, Edge, FSU
Green Bay is in a similar place to Cincinnati, as shocking as it sounds. Just a few years ago, Aaron Rodgers was leading this team through the NFC gauntlet to the playoffs, but now, they are coming off a 6-9-1 campaign that saw longtime head coach Mike McCarthy lose his job.
Defense wins championships, and the Packers lack a lot of firepower on the side of the ball Aaron Rodgers cannot control. With veteran Clay Matthews moving to Los Angeles, a youth movement is on the horizon. Burns is the best player left at a position the Packers need to improve at, making this pick the first of many to reinvent this defense.
13. Miami Dolphins-Jonah Williams, OT, Bama
Miami needs to keep whoever is in the pocket this year on their feet for as long as possible if they hope to win considering the lack of talent that is presumptively there for the next few years (Ryan Fitzpatrick). The “Tank for Tua (Tagovailoa)” movement appears to be very real, hence why Fitzmagic was signed to a 2-year deal (one to do poorly for prime draft position, the second to serve as a mentor for the quarterback drafted next year).
Jonah Williams will be key in at least looking like they’re trying to win games by giving Fitzpatrick just a bit of time to operate, and when they draft their future QB, he’ll be instrumental in protecting them for years to come. If it indeed is Tua they are after, getting his college teammate is a good start.
14. Atlanta Falcons-Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
With Robert Alford now a member of the Arizona Cardinals, the Falcons are in the market for a new corner. Greedy Williams is the top corner in this draft and is widely viewed as such by a wide margin. He’s physical, fast, intelligent, and well worth this pick.
Williams has elite talent, but in this defensive heavy draft, he’s buried beneath the defensive lineman that will own the early half of the first round. Atlanta got lucky if he falls to them, and they waste no time in ensuring he drops no further.
15. Buffalo Bills (via WAS)-Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
After trading back with Washington, Buffalo lands an offensive weapon they need for young quarterback Josh Allen. After grabbing John Brown and Cole Beasley to beef up their receiving corps, tight end becomes the next necessary upgrade in Western New York. Tyler Kroft cannot be the starting tight end for a team with limited weapons and a second-year signal-caller with much to prove.
Fant and college teammate T.J. Hockenson are both virtual locks to come off the board, but Fant’s tape jumps out above Hockenson’s due to his unique ability to get separation down the field. He has speed that Hockenson just doesn’t have, and in a league focused on receivers that have a combination of size and speed, Fant is a commodity. Especially with a cannon-armed quarterback in Allen, Fant is the better fit in Buffalo.
16. Carolina Panthers-A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
With the departure of Devin Funchess, Cam Newton needs a new receiver. Second year wideout DJ Moore is currently slated to be the team’s top option with Jarius Wright lining up opposite the former Maryland Terrapin. If the Panthers hope to remain in playoff consideration (largely hinging on Newton’s health too, by the way), they need an upgrade from Wright opposite Moore.
Brown is the best receiver left on the board once Metcalf lands in Jacksonville, though there still may be another receiver or two going later in the opening round. Brown (6-foot-1) brings size that Wright (5-foot-10) doesn’t have and showed he has plenty of wheels to go with the height advantage. He’s a very easy pick for Carolina to make here.
17. New York Giants (via CLE)-Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
As a result of the league shaking Odell Beckham Jr. trade with the Browns, the Giants landed this mid-first round pick. In obvious need of a quarterback to replace Eli Manning as soon as possible, drafting Missouri’s Drew Lock with their second pick in the opening round carries little risk with the potential for massive reward. Gettleman claims to have a plan for the future and this would be a giant (pun intended) step towards executing said plan.
In his final two seasons in Columbia, Lock amassed 7,462 passing yards and 72 passing touchdowns against just 21 picks. His completion percentage rose from 57.8 in 2017 to 62.9 in 2018 after completing 33 more passes in just 18 more attempts than the prior campaign.
Lock is by no means expected to usurp the former 2-time Super Bowl Champion Manning in his rookie campaign, but drafting him here gives New York time to allow Lock to grow under Manning’s wing this season before taking over to start the 2020 season.
18. Minnesota Vikings-Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
The Vikings have been considering moving highly-paid left tackle Riley Reiff to guard, opening up a need at that tackle spot. Jawaan Taylor, who rivals Jonah Williams atop the available tackles in this draft, spent time at both tackle spots as a member of the Florida Gators. Taylor was able to consistently hold down the fort on both sides of the line, making him a logical fit to assist in keeping Kirk Cousins upright.
This all hinges on Minnesota’s desire to move Reiff to guard but considering there are not many talented guard prospects in this draft, moving Reiff over for a highly touted new tackle makes more sense. Selecting Taylor, or any other tackle on the board, would signify that intention.
19. Tennessee Titans-T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
With Delanie Walker coming off a serious injury and Jonnu Smith compiling a paltry 258 receiving yards while starting 12 games in Walker’s absence, the Titans need a new tight end for the long haul. With Fant coming off the board a few picks earlier, Hockenson is the undisputed top option remaining at the position.
Tennessee’s passing game has been rather lackluster throughout Marcus Mariota’s career, so much so that the Titans acquired Ryan Tannehill for damage control should Mariota fail to produce or get injured (the latter is more likely of the two), though Tannehill has similar concerns from his time with the Miami Dolphins. Whoever is under center will need a security blanket over the middle and a solid blocker at the tight end position, and Hockenson can effectively carry out both of those roles.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers-Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma
Marcus Gilbert is now a member of the Arizona Cardinals and the Steelers need to fill his shoes, so who better than Kyler Murray’s personal bodyguard to do so? The Steelers need the position filled to get whatever good is left out of Ben Roethlisberger and Ford is the best player at that position remaining at this stage of the draft.
After a tumultuous offseason in which Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell both skipped town for greener pastures, Pittsburgh finally gets something right this offseason.
21. Seattle Seahawks-Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
With Earl Thomas staging a public spectacle by flipping the bird on his way off the field for the last time as a member of the Seahawks on an injury cart last season, Thomas made it crystal clear he wasn’t coming back. He signed with the Baltimore Ravens, leaving Seattle with a Hall of Fame-sized hole at safety.
If there is a safety that can fill those shoes in this draft, it’s Alabama’s Deionte Thompson. He does not have the chiseled frame that Thomas does, but he’s ball-hawking, athletic, and can make tackles in the open field, something necessary at his position at the NFL level.
22. Baltimore Ravens-Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
Pairing Lamar Jackson’s speed and Mark Ingram’s bruiser mentality together will work wonders for the Baltimore backfield. If the Ravens add “Hollywood” to their paper-thin receiving corps, the passing game would be significantly proved to round out the offense.
Brown possesses blazing speed and proper footwork, a dangerous combination that generally presents itself in terrifying deep threats. Baltimore needs to find ways to stretch the field through the air to create room for the running game, making this pick a great one to aid a currently weak dimension of the Raven offense.
23. Houston Texans-Andre Dillard, OT, Washington St
Deshaun Watson has proven himself as one of the game’s best young quarterbacks in his brief time in the NFL. However, he’s been plagued with injuries and is constantly under pressure, spelling out a similar problem the Seahawks see every game as Russell Wilson runs for his life. If the Texans can give Watson a bit more time to work with in the pocket, this offense would reach new heights, a scary thought for a team boasting two of the league’s best deep threats in DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller (health permitting).
The Washington State product provides an instant upgrade in the trenches, something the Texans need to take the next step in their divisional conquest. Dillard won’t revitalize the entire line, but he’s the key building block that Houston needs to begin the reconstruction up front.
24. Oakland Raiders (via CHI)-Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
With their second pick in the first round, the Raiders get their hands on the second best corner in the draft. Gareon Conley has shown positive signs when he’s healthy but they need help opposite the former Ohio State standout, and Baker would be an instant upgrade. He’s not Greedy Williams, but he’s going to be a starting corner in this league for a long time, something Oakland hasn’t had since Nnamdi Asomugha left in 2010.
25. Philadelphia Eagles-Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
The Eagles will once again compete with the Dallas Cowboys for NFC East supremacy, but the middle of their defense currently looks like Swiss cheese. According to Ourlads, the Eagles are rolling with a linebacker trio of Kamu Grugier-Hill, LJ Fort, and Nigel Bradham at the moment. That cannot be the case Week 1.
Michigan’s Devin Bush will instantly put some ice on the wound, though a later draft pick in addition to Bush at another LB spot could stop the bleeding. Bradham has proved himself valuable in this league, but the other two have not showed they deserve more than a rotational role, making Bush one part of Philadelphia’s solution over the middle.
26. Indianapolis Colts-Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
The Colts are one of the best teams at keeping the pressure off their quarterback, but they are rather pedestrian at applying pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Defensive tackle Denico Autry and nose tackle Margus Hunt COMBINED for 14 sacks, a number better suited for one dominant player on a defensive line rather than split between two players. Autry’s nine sacks led the team, while Hunt’s five were rather lackluster and he’ll be 32 when the season starts, so his numbers can drop further.
Christian Wilkins could help Indy deliver more pressure up the middle, proving capable as Clemson’s gut-stuffer during his time in South Carolina. He’s not going to come out of the gate with double-digit sacks but reaching that level of production one day is not out of the question.
27. Oakland Raiders (via DAL)-Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
Though the Raiders managed to grab Isaiah Crowell from free agency, he’s not going to be a long-term answer in the backfield. Alabama’s Josh Jacobs, however, could hold down the fort for the foreseeable future. Jacobs dominated in his final collegiate season, and he’s far and away the top running back in this draft class.
Oakland can use another bruiser with Marshawn Lynch’s window closing. He can serve as a three-down workhorse thanks to his proficiency as a receiver out of the backfield. He needs to be able to pump the breaks a bit better once his motor is turned on to find better holes through the line, but he’s more than capable of swiping the main gig in Oakland as a rookie. His ceiling is even higher after some polishing at the NFL level.
28. Los Angeles Chargers-Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
With Corey Liuget gone, the Chargers could use another head in the middle of their line next to Brandon Mebane. Lawrence was effective next to Christian Wilkins at Clemson and he showcased the ability to be just as effective in the league.
The concerns around Lawrence aren’t mainly tied to his talent. His positive drug test for Ostarine caused him to be suspended for both of the Tigers’ College Football Playoff games en route to a National Championship victory. The NFL has dealt with numerous suspensions for banned substances, and if Lawrence is indeed using the substance rather than him unequivocally denying dosing, he’ll have a short run in the NFL. If he is indeed clean, however, he’ll be a steal for the Chargers.
29. Kansas City Chiefs-Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
The Chiefs had such a good offense last year plagued by equally poor defense. The Chiefs were fully capable of putting up 40-50 points a game under Patrick Mahomes, but they need help keeping opponents off the scoreboard. Washington’s Byron Murphy can help neutralize opposing receivers and makes a great case to be the third corner off the board. He’ll immediately become a starter for a team screaming for help in the secondary.
30. Green Bay Packers (via NO)-N’Keal Harry, WR, ASU
After addressing the defensive line with the addition of edge rusher Brian Burns, the Packers opt to get Rodgers some help on offense. Next to Davante Adams, the Packers are set to trot out Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Geronimo Allison or Equanimeous St. Brown thanks to the departure of Randall Cobb. Harry is an instant upgrade over most of, if not all, of those aforementioned three possibilities and will start opposite Adams at some point next season.
31. Los Angeles Rams-Jeffery Simmons, DT, Miss St
Ndamukong Suh is gone and Aaron Donald is missing a right hand man, though it’s not like he needs much help after dominating any and all in his way. Simmons has serious potential and made a case to be a top-ten pick in this draft before tearing his ACL while training before the combine. If the other teams in need of defensive tackles opt for health over potential and Simmons lasts this long, the Rams will have a steal if he returns to his pre-injury form.
32. New England Patriots-Irv Smith Jr., TE, Bama
Rob Gronkowski’s storied career came to an end this offseason, and he walks away from football with a locker in Canton awaiting him. Tom Brady has done no such thing, however, and the Patriots need someone else who can serve as Brady’s go-to guy over the middle and in the red zone.
While Irv Smith Jr. has showcased his physical gifts at Alabama, he is a very raw prospect as a receiver. He showed the size and speed combination everyone desires but catching the ball is the key, and the former Crimson Tide star struggled a bit in that department. However, if anyone can turn him into the next star tight end in the league, it’s Bill Belichick, and he gets this enticing project to close out the first round.