2019 NFL Mock Draft: A Look Ahead Before the Regular Season Kicks Off
As the 2018 NFL season kicks off, 32 fanbases enter with hopes and dreams. For some, there are legitimate Super Bowl aspirations. Others might see their team ascending to playoff contention.
For the rest of us, there's the 2019 draft to look forward to.
Using the latest OddShark Super Bowl odds to determine the draft order (so please don't hate-tweet me about where your favorite team is picking), here's how the first round of the class could look.
If you're in the market for a defensive lineman, offensive tackle or quarterback, you'll like what the 2019 class has to offer. Teams looking for a running back, wide receiver or shutdown cornerback will need to look closely, as those positions currently look a little weak.
According to Vegas, the New York Jets are on the clock. Let's go!
1. New York Jets
The Pick: Nick Bosa, Edge-Rusher, Ohio State
You might be like me and think the Jets will be better than this, but oddsmakers see them as the least likely Super Bowl contender. That awards them the first pick in this mock draft.
The Jets probably wouldn't mind having the top overall choice as long as they see promise from rookie quarterback Sam Darnold. If Darnold looks good enough to keep the front office safe, this could be a blessing in disguise with the chance to draft the top edge-rusher in Nick Bosa with the first overall pick.
Bosa, the younger brother of Los Angeles Chargers pass-rusher Joey, is a monster defensive end prospect. He's fast, strong, agile, smart and tough on the field. His production, athleticism and technique all equal a slam-dunk top-five selection in the upcoming draft.
2. Miami Dolphins
The Pick: Justin Herbert, Quarterback, Oregon
The Miami Dolphins were a team rumored to be interested in Teddy Bridgewater when he was on the trade block. That might point more toward insecurity with the backup quarterback position, but there is no doubt starter Ryan Tannehill is on the hot seat.
If the Dolphins play poorly enough to be selecting No. 2 overall, there will be a house cleaning in South Beach that includes head coach Adam Gase and Tannehill.
Replacing Tannehill through the draft remains the best option if the Dolphins do end up drafting this early. Oregon's Justin Herbert is accurate and big (6'6", estimated 240 lbs), and he has the athleticism to make plays on the move. Depending on who the Dolphins would replace Gase with in this scenario—maybe it's Urban Meyer—Herbert is the kind of quarterback you can build a scheme around.
3. Arizona Cardinals
The Pick: Ed Oliver, Defensive Lineman, Houston
Former first-rounder Robert Nkemdiche is still looking to reach his immense potential, and while he figures things out heading into year three, the Cardinals could be poised to add the best defensive tackle prospect in college since Aaron Donald.
Ed Oliver is special. On and off the field, he's a high-class, high-performing player. He's so good that he's already declared for the 2019 NFL draft and told Bleacher Report's Adam Kramer he should have been allowed to declare last year.
Oliver is the kind of player you draft and then worry about if you have too much depth. Hell, you trade a player to make room for him if you need to.
4. Buffalo Bills
The Pick: Jonah Williams, Tackle, Alabama
Jonah Williams is the unquestioned top offensive lineman on my board. A three-year starter at tackle for the Crimson Tide, he's one of the five best players in the potential 2019 draft class as of this writing.
The Buffalo Bills offensive line has shown throughout the preseason it needs help. Dion Dawkins remains solid, but the rest of the line has been a question mark. Williams, as a top-five pick, could solidify the right tackle spot he held down as a true freshman or give Buffalo the flexibility to move Dawkins to another position.
There are already those in the NFL scouting community who feel the 6'5", 301-pound Williams best projects inside to guard in the pros, but his tape says left tackle all the way.
5. Cincinnati Bengals
The Pick: Rashan Gary, Defensive Line, Michigan
The Cincinnati Bengals made two significant moves this week: They locked up defensive tackle Geno Atkins and defensive end Carlos Dunlap to extensions. The two 2010 draft selections have been rock-solid for the Bengals defensive line since then, but it's high time to think about the future.
Michigan's Rashan Gary is a top-five player in this class. He displays his athleticism by playing all around the Wolverines defensive line and has shown natural tools as an interior pass-rusher with a skill set similar to that of Atkins.
At just 30 years old, Atkins probably won't drop off completely in 2018, but with a top-five pick, the Bengals can't afford to overlook a potentially special prospect at a future position of need.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Pick: Trey Adams, Offensive Tackle, Washington
There is a mess in Tampa that might cause the entire football staff to lose their jobs—both coaches and the front office. If so, the next general manager should solidify an offensive line that's never been that good at protecting Jameis Winston.
Using the No. 6 selection on Washington left tackle Trey Adams would make the Bucs immediately better in the run game, tougher up front and much cheaper for the future. Given his skill set and technique, Adams is an ideal player to make a move similar to those of Jack Conklin or Mike McGlinchey and ultimately play right tackle.
With Adams and Donovan Smith on the line, Jameis and Co. could finally open up this offense.
7. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago)
The Pick: Greedy Williams, Cornerback, LSU
The trade that sent Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears netted the Raiders two first-rounders. As of now, at least one of those is projected to be a top-10 pick.
The Raiders might be a team many expect to draft a pass-rusher here to replace Mack, but they believe in edge-rusher Arden Key and think they can use the already promising rotation there to get production off the edge. Using the pick gained from Chicago should be about making the entire roster better. Up first with that is fixing a bad secondary.
Greedy Williams lives up to his name. The LSU product is a little lean (6'3", 184 lbs) but is energetic, agile and has shown the instincts to be a strong pro cover man. He's the unquestioned top cornerback on the board.
8. Indianapolis Colts
The Pick: A.J. Brown, Wide Receiver, Ole Miss
If the Indianapolis Colts have a healthy Andrew Luck, they should build up the offense. The front office, led by general manager Chris Ballard, did that in the 2018 draft by selecting offensive linemen Quenton Nelson and Braden Smith, but it's time to do more at the skill positions.
The Colts have one of the weakest wide receiver corps in the league. No. 1 receiver T.Y. Hilton will turn 29 years old this season, and the rest of the cast—Ryan Grant, Chester Rogers, James White—doesn't inspire much confidence.
A dream scenario would have No. 1 wide receiver A.J. Brown on the board here. Brown, a 6'1", 230-pound dynamo at Ole Miss, is the type of physical threat the Colts lack. Teamed with the speedy Hilton and good tight end play, Brown can be a Michael Thomas-like threat.
9. Cleveland Browns
The Pick: Greg Little, Offensive Tackle, Ole Miss
Cleveland's offensive line underwent a massive change this offseason with left tackle Joe Thomas' retirement. That move caused offensive guard Joel Bitonio to slide to left tackle. It also made the right tackle spot a battle between free agent Chris Hubbard and holdover Shon Coleman.
Needless to say, an upgrade at right tackle could help rejuvenate the entire unit.
Greg Little plays left tackle at Ole Miss, but the 6'6", 325-pound junior also projects well on the right side thanks to his size and power. He would be a great asset in the run game from day one and take pressure off the front side of quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Tyrod Taylor in 2019.
Defense could still be a deficiency—especially in the secondary—but Little's impact and the team's need are too big to overlook.
10. Washington Redskins
The Pick: Jarrett Stidham, Quarterback, Auburn
If the Washington Redskins are drafting in the top 10, there is a serious argument for taking a quarterback to eventually replace the 34-year-old Alex Smith.
Auburn's Jarrett Stidham is a tough dude. He's also accurate, athletic and has shown remarkable improvement since he transferred to the Tigers from Baylor in December 2016. As long as he's healthy after a shoulder injury that limited him this spring, Stidham has the tools to become the top signal-caller available by next April's draft.
The Redskins have more immediate needs than a quarterback of the future, but this is the type of move they should have been thinking about with Kirk Cousins on the roster. If they'd done this in the 2017 draft, the defense would still have Kendall Fuller and they'd be one year into the rebuild instead of just beginning it.
11. Detroit Lions
The Pick: Clelin Ferrell, Edge-Rusher, Clemson
One look at the Detroit Lions' defensive end play and you realize the front office will address the position early (and maybe often) in the 2019 draft. If Clemson end Clelin Ferrell is on the board, he's a no-brainer pick to plug into Matt Patricia's defense.
The Clemson D-line receives a ton of praise for its talented starters, but Ferrell, more than his star teammates, has the NFL's eye. Defensive tackles Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence are seen as nice prospects with Round 2 grades. One NFL scout called defensive end Austin Bryant "just a guy" last year. But No. 99 is potentially special.
The 6'4" Ferrell is the type of long, athletic, versatile rusher the NFL generally falls in love with. If he can match his 2017 impact and learn another pass-rush trick or two, he could be a top-10 pick.
12. Seattle Seahawks
The Pick: Zach Allen, Edge-Rusher, Boston College
One of my favorite players in the 2019 draft class is Boston College defensive lineman Zach Allen. He posted 100 tackles last season—unheard of for a lineman—and has shown the ability to play anywhere on the defensive line at 285 pounds.
Allen is exactly the type of player the Seahawks have loved in the past. He can line up as a 4-technique, or he could be a powerful defensive end in a role like the one Michael Bennett filled for the team. Allen and Frank Clark would give Seattle the fierce defensive line it had when it looked like it could turn into a dynasty with Russell Wilson at quarterback and a loaded defense.
13. New York Giants
The Pick: Devin White, Linebacker, LSU
A two-way star in high school, Devin White settled into his role at middle linebacker for the LSU Tigers and has seen steady improvement. Now he's seen as a potential top-10 prospect with All-American impact on the college side.
White might be seen as a Roquan Smith- or Myles Jack-type talent in nine months; he's that good. His ability to run down backs and chase in coverage is rare. That would be an ideal fit with the New York Giants now that the team prioritizes linebackers under new general manager Dave Gettleman.
The Giants could be in the market for a quarterback of the future, but word from the scouting department is they like Davis Webb and Kyle Lauletta as long-term options.
14. Tennessee Titans
The Pick: Anfernee Jennings, Edge-Rusher, Alabama
Here's a sleeper name to remember at pass-rusher: Anfernee Jennings.
It's hard to fly under the radar at Alabama, but Jennings has done that outside of hardcore SEC circles. A big breakout year is expected, though, as he takes on a more active role as a pass-rusher after a scary leg injury suffered in the playoff against Clemson.
The 6'3", 262-pound Jennings is just a redshirt sophomore this season, but he has the power and quickness to be especially appealing to a team running a 3-4 defense like the Titans. It's obvious the decision-makers in Nashville like the Crimson Tide after selecting linebacker Rashaan Evans in the first round last year. Perhaps while seeing his tape, general manager Jon Robinson saw No. 33 making plays.
If Jennings' 2018 looks anything like his dominant performance against Clemson in his last game (3 TFL, 5 tackles, 1 sack), we'll be talking about him in the top 10.
15. Denver Broncos
The Pick: Raekwon Davis, Defensive Line, Alabama
Another pick, another Alabama defender coming off the board.
Raekwon Davis is a mauler at defensive end in the team's 3-4 scheme, but he's shown the athleticism to be considered a premium interior pass-rushing prospect in the NFL. In a draft class without Ed Oliver and Rashan Gary in it, Davis would be garnering DL1 attention.
The Broncos are a roster in a weird transition—and Vegas odds putting them at No. 15 overall seems a little optimistic—but the ability to plug in a true pass-rushing interior presence could make the defense downright scary on passing downs. Von Miller coming off one edge, Bradley Chubb off the other and Davis in the middle?
Good luck, quarterbacks.
16. Carolina Panthers
The Pick: David Edwards, Offensive Tackle, Wisconsin
The Wisconsin offensive line is a special group, with all five starters looking like future NFL starters and potentially high draft picks. The best of the bunch right now is right tackle David Edwards—a 6'7", 306-pound redshirt junior starting at right tackle.
Edwards is powerful, a beautiful technician, and the rare right tackle who could slide to the left side if needed and play well there. For the Carolina Panthers—a team trusting Matt Kalil at left tackle—anything is an upgrade. Edwards, with his Pro Bowl potential, would be welcomed as a savior.
17. Baltimore Ravens
The Pick: N'Keal Harry, Wide Receiver, Arizona State
It's widely discussed among NFL scouts that the 2019 wide receiver class might not be that good, but Arizona State's N'Keal Harry is a player the league loves..."as long as Herm [Edwards] doesn't screw him up," as one scout put it.
Harry is a stud. He's 6'4", 215 pounds only 20 years old. He went off last year to the tune of 82 catches, 1,142 yards and eight touchdowns. With his physical gifts—he looks like the Los Angeles Chargers' Mike Williams—and ability to beat defenses with both his size and speed, Harry is a player scouts are already flocking to Tempe to check out.
The Ravens are rolling with a wide receiver corps that would have looked awesome in 2015. As the team prepares to transition to an offense led by Lamar Jackson, it only makes sense to give him a go-to target to grow with.
18. Kansas City Chiefs
The Pick: DeAndre Baker, Cornerback, Georgia
The Kansas City Chiefs are making the move from an aggressive defense to an aggressive offense, but as part of the team's transition to a younger squad, there is room for major improvement and also to find better fits for the scheme.
Georgia cornerback DeAndre Baker is the type of player general manager Brett Veach loves. He's a physical cornerback with well-coached technique and the ball skills to make plays to flip the field. The biggest question is his speed—one scout thought he was a mid-4.5 guy in our talks this summer—but his tape last season was special enough to warrant first-round grades this summer.
As long as the Chiefs see the promise from pass-rushers Tanoh Kpassagnon and Breeland Speaks that they expect, cornerback will be the team's biggest need entering the offseason.
19. Oakland Raiders
The Pick: Deebo Samuel, Wide Receiver, South Carolina
The needs of the Oakland Raiders today could be wildly different depending on what new head coach Jon Gruden does in the next nine months. Now that they've traded Khalil Mack, where will they use the $23.5 million he would have earned? Will Amari Cooper get an extension? Can Gareon Conley and Karl Joseph become breakout stars? There are a lot of questions for a team projected to be a playoff contender.
One area that definitely looks to be a need is more depth and playmaking at wide receiver. Cooper is the star of the group, but the team is counting on veterans like Jordy Nelson to make plays. Getting younger here has to be a priority of Gruden and whomever he hires to run the front office.
Deebo Samuel had a potential Round 1 grade before hurting his ankle last season. He almost rehabbed in time to enter the 2018 draft but instead headed back to school for another run with quarterback Jake Bentley and a chance to be a top-20 pick in 2019.
20. Dallas Cowboys
The Pick: Taylor Rapp, Safety, Washington
Oh, boy. If you haven't watched Taylor Rapp yet, get on YouTube and prepare to lose hours watching his highlights and game cut-ups. And if you're a fan of the Dallas Cowboys, you'll find yourself hoping No. 21 for Washington would be willing to pick a new number on a roster featuring Ezekiel Elliott holding down that jersey.
Rapp is a hitter at safety who also shows the hips and feet to be an asset in coverage. He's at his best coming downhill to make plays—almost like a Jamal Adams-type player—but he's able to match up from the slot with receivers or tight ends.
The Cowboys could go wide receiver here, but continuing to add talent to the secondary would be the best route to take with Rapp available.
21. San Francisco 49ers
The Pick: Jamal Peters, Cornerback, Mississippi State
The San Francisco 49ers believe they have an answer at cornerback in Richard Sherman, but he can't be seen as a long-term option at 30 years old and coming off an injury-plagued 2017 season that saw him miss seven games. Sherman is a perfect fit in Robert Saleh's defense, but he's a Band-Aid. The team needs a cure. That could come in the form of Mississippi State's Jamal Peters.
Peters hasn't hit the national radar as a top prospect yet, but the 6'2", 213-pound cornerback has the size the 49ers want, and he's shown the ball skills to excite fans. His 90-yard pick-six against Texas A&M last season showed his potential. Now that Peters is settling in at cornerback after moving around the Bulldogs secondary, he has a chance to flourish.
22. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Pick: Ryan Finley, Quarterback, North Carolina State
The Jacksonville Jaguars must believe they have something in quarterback Blake Bortles; otherwise the team's lack of attempts to find a challenger or potential replacement would seem careless. The 2018 season will be one final test for Bortles. If he can't get it done as a passer, the Jaguars have to think about replacing him given the rest of the roster looking Super Bowl-worthy.
In a conversation with an NFL scout this summer, he told me North Carolina State's Ryan Finley is the most intriguing player to watch at the position. A 6'4", 212-pound senior with three years of starting experience, Finley is definitely underrated on the national scene. His accuracy and tools have him carrying a Round 1 grade on my board heading into the NFL season.
23. Atlanta Falcons
The Pick: Lavert Hill, Cornerback, Michigan
On paper, it's not easy to find needs for the Atlanta Falcons without projecting major roster shakeups or attrition. That leads to looking at future needs or areas where more depth is needed. Right now, cornerback is that spot.
Michigan's Lavert Hill is another corner in a loaded depth chart for the Wolverines. The junior doesn't have amazing size at 5'11" and 181 pounds, but he's solid in coverage and can bang at the line of scrimmage when pressed up against receivers. The Falcons have Desmond Trufant, rookie Isaiah Oliver and Robert Alford, but it's always great to have depth there.
Because this is the Falcons, there's always a chance this will be a pass-rusher—especially if Vic Beasley can't increase his production.
24. Houston Texans
The Pick: Isaiah Prince, Offensive Tackle, Ohio State
The offensive line continues to get a makeover for the Houston Texans with first-round pick Isaiah Prince coming down from Ohio State to protect Deshaun Watson and open holes for D'onta Foreman.
Prince, who is the starting right tackle for the Buckeyes, has the size (6'7", 315 lbs) to be a mauling presence in the run game. He's also shown the athleticism to be an asset in the passing game with his agility and balance. Prince shouldn't have much trouble competing with Seantrel Henderson to lock down the right tackle job. He comes to the NFL game-ready and at a position that's a major need for the Texans.
The Houston defense is set on paper, but addressing the offensive line is a key for Brian Gaine and his staff.
25. Los Angeles Chargers
The Pick: Drew Lock, Quarterback, Missouri
Quarterback-of-the-future time has arrived in Los Angeles as the Chargers have to find an eventual successor for Philip Rivers. Apologies to Geno Smith and Cardale Jones, but they aren't the answer.
Strong-armed Drew Lock has to address some accuracy issues—he was at around 58 percent last season in an offense that didn't ask him to push the ball vertically as often as that number would indicate. But like Josh Allen this past season, if Lock can win over scouts with his arm strength, athleticism and character—and sell them on the idea that his ball placement can be fixed—he could be a top quarterback pick.
The Chargers could invest in a player not quite ready to get onto an NFL field at quarterback because of Rivers. Drafting Lock now and then preparing him to take over for Rivers in two seasons is the type of smart move the franchise should make.
26. Green Bay Packers (from Saints)
The Pick: Elgton Jenkins, Center, Mississippi State
Other than the Raiders, the only team with two first-rounders at this time is the Green Bay Packers—thanks to a draft-day trade with the New Orleans Saints last year.
With the first choice, the Packers can make a move to solidify the interior of the offensive line. Mississippi State's Elgton Jenkins is the top center on my board with excellent power and balance in the middle of the line. His football IQ and poise naturally stand out when he's getting upfield in the run game or when he's in pass protection.
Jenkins is the type of athletic center the Packers need locking down the anchor of the line.
27. Minnesota Vikings
The Pick: Kaleb McGary, Offensive Tackle, Washington
Washington offensive tackle Trey Adams is considered the top tackle on his own team, but right tackle Kaleb McGary is also someone NFL teams like as the season heats up.
McGary is a stout pass protector and has the power to anchor against big outside rushers. He's also shown the agility to handle speedy edge-rushers who come to attack offenses off the right side. In today's NFL, that's valuable, as the Von Millers and Khalil Macks play more on the left edge of a defense.
The Vikings have made moves toward improving their offensive line, but better play at the tackle spots is still needed. McGary could be the long-term fix at a right tackle spot that's been patched together over the last several years.
28. Green Bay Packers
The Pick: Josh Allen, Edge-Rusher, Kentucky
With the team's second pick in Round 1, the Packers can continue a job they started in the 2018 draft by adding athletic playmakers to the defense. For a team that was in on the Khalil Mack sweepstakes, drafting a pass-rusher early is a premium need.
Josh Allen out of Kentucky is the type of long (6'5") linebacker teams will see as a work in progress who can be molded into anything. The hope is he'll turn into a Whitney Mercilus-type player with NFL coaching and added bulk to his frame. The potential is there, but Allen needs to get stronger and play better at the point of attack.
29. Philadelphia Eagles
The Pick: Dre'Mont Jones, Defensive Tackle, Ohio State
The defending Super Bowl champions keep getting better along the defensive line with the pick of Dre'Mont Jones. And for the Eagles, this is all about future need and getting younger (and cheaper) along the defensive line.
Jones was set to be a first-round prospect in last year's draft before missing games with injury and deciding to return to school for his senior season and a chance to play on a great defensive line. He has the tools to be a 3-technique penetrator or play more as a head-up tackle to stuff the run. While much of the attention goes to Nick Bosa or Chase Young, Jones is a playmaker in his own right.
The Eagles could go offensive line or wide receiver here, but Jones is by far the best player on the board.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pick: Rodney Anderson, Running Back, Oklahoma
After posting a five-carry, 100-yard, two-touchdown rushing day in the season opener against FAU, Rodney Anderson should be on the radar of every college football fan or NFL scout. For the Pittsburgh Steelers and the future of the running back position, Anderson is a perfect fit.
No draft-eligible running back is a better mix of runner and receiver than Anderson. He's a true dual-threat with a powerful build to make plays between the tackles. In ripping off long runs against the Owls, Anderson also showed he has the long speed to make defenses pay when he gets loose.
With Le'Veon Bell's future a major question in Pittsburgh, drafting his replacement at the end of Round 1 is a likely situation. Even if the Steelers did draft James Conner in the third round of the 2017 draft, he doesn't figure to be a featured back long term.
31. Los Angeles Rams
The Pick: Montez Sweat, Defensive End, Mississippi State
It's amazing that the Los Angeles Rams probably have the most talented defensive line in the NFL but have no defensive ends to speak of that scare offenses. Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh, Michael Brockers and Dominique Easley are just that good.
That said, the Rams have to head into the offseason all about getting a defensive end with some speed to threaten the edge of the defense.
The Mississippi State defense is loaded this year with Jamal Peters, Jeffrey Simmons and the pick here: defensive end Montez Sweat. He has the length, agility and foot speed to be a dangerous player off the right edge of an absolutely loaded defensive line.
With the interior rush getting so much attention, the fluid bend of Sweat crashing the corner in space could get plenty of one-on-one looks and set him up for a huge rookie season.
32. New England Patriots
The Pick: Jake Bentley, Quarterback, South Carolina
The quarterback of the future for the New England Patriots isn't on the roster right now. The Patriots have to head into the 2019 offseason with the mentality of going all-in on the quarterback class. Drafting a franchise quarterback is hard when you're projected to win another Super Bowl, but that's where the Patriots are.
Jake Bentley, a junior, has a chance to shoot up boards this season. He's poised, smart and accurate to all levels of the field. His connection with receiver Deebo Samuel is special and allowed Bentley to show off his ball placement and touch in setting Samuel up for yards after the catch. Another big season could see Bentley heading to the NFL as a first-rounder.
Bentley has the personality to handle being tabbed as the quarterback of the future and replacement for Tom Brady. That's an important aspect of the evaluation for the Patriots and one reason I'm told they liked Baker Mayfield so much.