2019 NFL Mock Draft: Matt Miller's Latest Picks Entering Final Month of Season
The race for the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NFL draft is on, with the San Francisco 49ers leading the pack with four weeks to go in the season. Many experts think they know what the 49ers would do with that selection, but how would the choice of John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan affect the rest of the league?
With jobs opening in Green Bay and Cleveland, players now declaring for the draft and rumors bursting from the phone lines of NFL executives, it's time to update a Round 1 mock draft. With the order based on Tankathon's database through Week 13, here's how things would shake out after Commissioner Roger Goodell puts the 49ers officially on the clock.
1. San Francisco 49ers
The Pick: EDGE Nick Bosa, Ohio State
The San Francisco 49ers' season fell apart when injury struck quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and running back Jerick McKinnon. The benefit of such a season could be earning the No. 1 overall selection and the chance to draft a special prospect in Ohio State's Nick Bosa.
Despite suffering a season-ending core muscle injury, Bosa is still the favorite from NFL scouts to be the top pick in the draft. He's big, physical, fast and has the technique to step right into the 49ers' scheme and make an impact as an outside pass-rusher.
There will be some who believe the 49ers shouldn't draft another defensive lineman in the first round, but Bosa's ability to play outside and get to the quarterback makes him the lock No. 1 pick.
2. Oakland Raiders
The Pick: DL Quinnen Williams, Alabama
The Oakland Raiders would be heartbroken to miss out on an elite pass-rushing prospect like Nick Bosa, but with the draft order currently favoring the 49ers and the draft lacking another edge-rusher worthy of Bosa's billing, Jon Gruden and Co. would need to turn away from their primary need.
A nice consolation prize is the ability to select an impactful interior rusher. The Raiders have solid young talents in Maurice Hurst and P.J. Hall, but neither player has the talent or potential of Williams. In his first season as a starter, the redshirt sophomore has owned the middle of the defense at Alabama.
With two more picks in the first round thanks to trades, the Raiders can afford to go "best player available" here and shore up the middle of the defense.
3. New York Jets
The Pick: EDGE Josh Allen, Kentucky
The run on defensive front seven players continues with the New York Jets drafting to fill a huge need while also adding a dynamic playmaker.
Josh Allen has been the most dominant defensive player in the SEC this season, notching 18.5 tackles for a loss and 14 sacks. For the Jets, with a massive need at pass-rusher, Allen is both a need and a fit.
At 6'5" and 260 pounds, Allen can play in any defensive scheme. That means whomever is coaching the Jets next season will be comfortable plugging him in as a Chandler Jones-like prospect off the edge.
4. Arizona Cardinals
The Pick: DL Ed Oliver, Houston
The run on front seven defenders continues.
Houston's Ed Oliver is among the most impactful players in the 2019 draft class, which is why he's an easy pick for the Arizona Cardinals as a force to plug into a promising defense. Oliver's undersized build (listed at 6'3", 293 lbs) has some in the scouting community comparing him to Aaron Donald. The Cardinals would gladly sign up for that impact.
The biggest issue with Oliver isn't his confrontation with head coach Major Applewhite over a coat or his injury-plagued 2018 season; but instead those who have studied him point to a lack of pass-rushing production and impact. Oliver is special against the run, but teams must be aware of what he is and isn't. The evaluation doesn't show Aaron Donald, even if it does point to a very good defensive lineman prospect with the skill set to start from Day 1 at a high level.
5. Detroit Lions
The Pick: CB Greedy Williams, LSU
When a 6'3" cornerback who shows smart coverage instincts and can run and attack the ball comes along, NFL teams move quickly to draft him. That's what LSU's Greedy Williams is.
As close to a shutdown cornerback as there is in college, Williams has the length and speed to lock up his side of the field. He's done so against the best competition in the country while facing Georgia and Alabama in the last two seasons. Now he's ready for the NFL.
The Lions have a need at cornerback, but the team also has to consider a best-player-available approach. Williams is both. He can fill an opening at outside cornerback and also allows head coach Matt Patricia to run his defense knowing one side of the field is locked down.
6. Atlanta Falcons
The Pick: DL/EDGE Rashan Gary, Michigan
Six picks in, six defenders selected.
The versatility of Rashan Gary is likely a major selling point to the Atlanta Falcons. He has an ability to line up either inside or outside of the tackle—and the 6'5", 282-pound Gary did both for Michigan.
Injuries slowed him down during his final season with the Wolverines, but Gary is the type of athlete that can win the predraft process with a great showing in private workouts for NFL teams and at the scouting combine. If he does as well there as expected by scouts, he could shoot into the top five picks of the upcoming draft. The Falcons would love him right where he is.
7. New York Giants
The Pick: QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
Will he or won't he enter the 2019 NFL draft? That's the biggest question surrounding Oregon junior quarterback Justin Herbert. If he's in, he's expected by NFL sources to be the first quarterback taken. In this mock draft, he's the first offensive player.
It's no secret the New York Giants need a young quarterback, and Herbert is the top passer in this year's class if he decides to enter. For the front office of the Giants, the decision by Herbert to enter could be a lifesaver given the lack of sure-fire top quarterback prospects in the class.
No matter how many games the Giants win down the stretch, quarterback is the team's biggest need. No long-term answer will come in free agency, so barring a trade, this is the best possible scenario.
If Herbert enters, expect his selection to start a domino effect as other teams rush to get their passer. Jacksonville, Miami and even Washington could all look to secure their future at the position in this draft.
8. Buffalo Bills
The Pick: CB Trayvon Mullen, Clemson
The rebuilding process in Buffalo will hinge on the success of quarterback Josh Allen, but the front office can help itself by drafting well now to build the talent around the rookie quarterback. Last year it selected linebacker Tremaine Edmunds in the first round, and it should look to add more pieces to the defense in the 2019 first round.
Trayvon Mullen is rarely thrown at on an underrated Clemson defense, but he's shown on tape the traits of a potentially great cornerback. Mullen's size (6'1", 195 lbs), length and quickness in his transitions and space make him an easy selection in the first round if he declares early for the draft.
With needs at many spots, the Bills would be wise to shore up premium positions like cornerback, offensive line and pass-rusher. With Mullen, they get the top player among those areas.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Pick: QB Daniel Jones, Duke
The last time Tom Coughlin selected a quarterback who had played for David Cutcliffe, he won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants.
Daniel Jones comes from the same mentor Eli Manning had—although this time Cutcliffe is the head coach at Duke and not coaching at Ole Miss. Jones is pro-ready with good size (6'5", 220 lbs) and an upgrade in athleticism from what the younger Manning had in college that will allow him to excel in a modern NFL offense.
The Jaguars must sell out in this offseason for a quarterback. That might mean signing Teddy Bridgewater in a weak class of free agents, attempting to trade for a Manning or Derek Carr, or pulling the trigger on a Round 1 quarterback. With a top-10 selection and Justin Herbert off the board, this is the only pick that makes sense.
10. Green Bay Packers
The Pick: EDGE Brian Burns, Florida State
Brian Burns is among the more polarizing prospects in the 2019 draft class, but those who like his game point to excellent burst off the line of scrimmage on a 6'5" frame. Those who don't often look at the lack of muscle and power on a 235-pound build that hasn't gotten much stronger at Florida State. If he can't bulk up at a major program like FSU, can he in the NFL?
Those questions will be answered in due time, but for now Burns' athleticism is eye-opening. He has the natural length and quickness scouts get excited about at defensive end. He's also shown the production (15.5 TFL, 10 sacks) to match his athleticism—which usually results in an early Round 1 selection.
That's perfect for Green Bay, where a stand-up pass-rusher is desperately needed. Much of the Packers' draft plans will be unclear until a new head coach is hired, but high on the team's wish list has to be a pass-rusher.
11. Cleveland Browns
The Pick: OT Jonah Williams, Alabama
The first offensive lineman in a defense-heavy draft goes to the perfect spot for his play—Cleveland.
Since losing Joe Thomas to retirement, the Browns have drafted projects to replace him and actually seen decent play from Desmond Harrison. With their first-round pick in 2019, the Browns can solidify the left tackle position by looking at Alabama's solution to the left side.
Jonah Williams' size (6'5", 305 lbs) has been mentioned by scouts as a concern, but his technique is nearly flawless. He has the strength, timing and intelligence to man the edge of the Browns offense and keep Baker Mayfield clean and happy in the backfield.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Pick: QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
The Jameis Winston era should come to an end in four weeks, no matter what the product on the field looks like, if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are smart. That means the starting quarterback job is open.
Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins is expected by league sources to declare for the 2019 NFL draft following strong showings against Michigan and Northwestern to end the (non-bowl) season. He has the arm talent and accuracy to shoot up the board and potentially enter the conversation as QB1 with a strong predraft showing.
For Tampa Bay, the potential to add a legitimate starting quarterback to pair with superstar wideout Mike Evans and a stud tight end in O.J. Howard should be an easy call for whomever is running the front office this spring.
13. Cincinnati Bengals
The Pick: LB Devin White, LSU
Adding speed to the defense has been on my Cincinnati Bengals offseason wish list for several years now. Even after adding Malik Jefferson and Sam Hubbard in the 2018 draft, the Bengals must continue to get younger, faster and more versatile.
Enter Devin White.
The former prep running back star is now a hard-hitting, athletic linebacker. White has improved his reads and angles this year and turned himself into the nation's best at the position. With running back speed and agility plus the power and mentality of a linebacker, White is a special kind of player with the potential to be an early selection after the scouting combine.
14. Miami Dolphins
The Pick: DL Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State
Jeffery Simmons is one of the top 12 players in the 2019 draft class on my board, but there will be concerns about an incident in which Simmons was caught on video striking a woman multiple times while he was a recruit at Mississippi State. The school said Simmons was breaking up a fight, and he pleaded no contest to simple assault, but due to recent news surrounding Kareem Hunt and Reuben Foster, his stock is a question mark.
If Simmons is cleared by teams, his impact on the field can be huge from the jump as an interior pass-rusher.
The Dolphins have needs across the board, which puts the front office in a position to draft the best available player. Some may want a quarterback here, but until management moves on from Ryan Tannehill, it's safe to believe he'll be the 2019 starting quarterback.
15. Indianapolis Colts
The Pick: WR N'Keal Harry, Arizona State
General manager Chris Ballard has the Indianapolis Colts pointed in the right direction after two strong draft classes and the hire of Frank Reich to lead the team as head coach. To win a division title and get them back into the playoffs, Ballard needs another good draft.
The defense and offensive line have been the primary focus of the last two offseasons, which has given the roster a strong foundation. Now the needs shift to skill players. Arizona State's N'Keal Harry has the playmaking ability to warrant a Round 1 selection, especially as he offers a bigger frame (6'4", 213 lbs) opposite T.Y. Hilton.
The Colts are expected to be a major player in free agency, which could shake up the team's plans in the draft, but as of now going after a big receiver with No. 1 talent easily fills a need.
16. Washington Redskins
The Pick: QB Will Grier, West Virginia
A devastating injury to quarterback Alex Smith left the Washington Redskins without a short- or long-term plan at the game's most important position. Colt McCoy can get the team through the rest of the season, but a quarterback of the future was already high on the team's draft needs. Now the quarterback is needed much sooner.
Will Grier is among the biggest risers in the 2019 draft class thanks to a fantastic senior season that saw him become more accurate while getting rid of the ball faster in a West Virginia scheme that now closely resembles NFL offenses. Grier needs to do well throughout the predraft process, but if he does it should surprise no one to hear his name called on the first night of the NFL draft.
For Washington's front office, this is the only need that makes sense if a valuable quarterback is on the board.
17. Carolina Panthers
The Pick: OT Jawaan Taylor, Florida
Addressing the offensive line seems to be the need for the Carolina Panthers in most mock drafts you'll read, and yet the front office continues to pass on offensive tackles early in the draft or in free agency. This time around, the Panthers finally select a premium pass protector.
Florida's Jawaan Taylor is a big dude at 6'5" and 328 pounds but also has the athleticism to cut off pass-rushers and get after defenders in the run game. For an offense that relies so much on speed, the Panthers need a versatile offensive tackle, and Taylor has shown to be just that.
18. Tennessee Titans
The Pick: EDGE Montez Sweat, Mississippi State
The Tennessee Titans are the latest to take advantage of a class of great depth along the defensive line and edge continues, getting a complement to last year's second-rounder Harold Landry.
Sweat, unlike Landry, has excellent length (6'6", 245 lbs) on a lean frame. He's quick off the ball and uses his hands to keep blockers off his frame. Playing as a natural outside pass-rusher, Sweat is perfect for head coach Mike Vrabel's scheme. And with two young, fast, inexpensive pass-rushers, the Titans can build something special defensively.
There might be calls for tight ends or defensive backs here, but Vrabel is likely to focus more on the front seven and building the type of relentless pass rush he had with the Houston Texans. Sweat gets the team one step closer to that level.
19. Denver Broncos
The Pick: CB Deandre Baker, Georgia
What does the future hold for the Denver Broncos? The first question that must be answered is what John Elway will do at quarterback. If Case Keenum is at least the short-term answer, the scouting staff can move on to adding key pieces to the offense and defense.
Up first should be the secondary after Elway drafted Bradley Chubb in the first round last year to pair with Von Miller at pass-rusher. Bradley Roby is an impending free agent, and the team must have a plan on the outside opposite Chris Harris Jr.
Deandre Baker is the kind of physical cover man the Broncos will love. He's an active, smart tackler but also has the strength, agility and instincts to excel when locked up man-to-man. As the Broncos continue to load up the roster, Baker is the right kind of player to add.
20. Philadelphia Eagles
The Pick: FS Deionte Thompson, Alabama
The top safety prospect in the 2019 class falls into the laps of the defending Super Bowl champions, where he's an immediate upgrade at center fielder. Thompson's youth, speed, range and instincts are an unfair addition to a defense loaded with talent.
The major concern from scouts, and what pushes Thompson down the board, is his lack of bulk. Even when watching Alabama games on television, you can see that Thompson lacks bulk. He's a long, skinny player who has yet to fill out. Will it happen? That's a question every evaluator wants to know.
The Eagles would love to deploy the talents of Thompson at the back end of the defense. With tight ends and running quarterbacks all the rage, he's the answer to where offenses are evolving.
21. Minnesota Vikings
The Pick: OT Yodny Cajuste, West Virginia
The Minnesota Vikings have managed to become one of the NFL's better teams without investing much money or draft capital in the offensive tackle positions. That will have to eventually change, and with Yodny Cajuste on the board, it's a good year to address it.
Cajuste has excellent movement ability at left tackle and the power to really anchor and shut down pass-rushers. Critics may point to the lack of pass-rushers in the Big 12, but Cajuste's technique stands out any time he's on the field.
With a strong nucleus at quarterback, wide receiver, running back and still a dominant defense, addressing the offensive line in Round 1 is a huge win for Minnesota.
22. Oakland Raiders (from Dallas)
The Pick: EDGE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson
As one of the prospective top pass-rushers in the 2019 draft class before the season began, Clelin Ferrell is a name most draft fans know. For the Oakland Raiders—a team so desperate to replace Khalil Mack—finding him available near the end of Round 1 is too good to pass up.
Ferrell isn't Mack, but he's a long (6'5", 260 lbs) pass-rusher with the moves and power to go through or around offensive tackles. In a base 4-3 scheme, he has immediate value as a right or left defensive end but has proven himself to be at home on the right side while dominating at Clemson.
If the Raiders can add Quinnen Williams and Ferrell with the first two picks of their 2019 draft class, fans might not be as sad to see Mack dominating in Chicago.
23. Baltimore Ravens
The Pick: WR Kelvin Harmon, North Carolina State
Rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson's ability to adjust to the NFL game is still a work in progress, but one way to help aid his development will be adding weapons to bail him out. The team did this by drafting tight ends Mark Andrews and Hayden Hurst, but more help is needed on the outside at wide receiver.
North Carolina State junior Kelvin Harmon (6'3", 214 lbs) has the size and route-running ability to make Jackson's life a little easier. He dominates at the catch point and has enough speed to separate from cornerbacks even in the pros. With John Brown, Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead as the best targets now on the roster, the Ravens can't hurry the pick in fast enough if Harmon is on the board.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pick: LB Mack Wilson, Alabama
The middle of the defense took a major hit when Ryan Shazier suffered an injury that cost him at least the 2018 season. With the future in question, the Steelers must look to the draft to secure either a replacement or complement to the inside linebacker position.
Mack Wilson is accustomed to running the 3-4 defense at Alabama and could make an easy transition to the Pittsburgh base scheme. He also has the speed and agility to stay on the field and run with tight ends or take away crossing routes in passing situations. Unlike some Alabama linebackers in years past, he's not seen as a run-only thumper, but a more complete playmaker.
On a roster with few legitimate holes, Wilson is one of the most likely selections the Steelers will be considering in April.
25. Seattle Seahawks
The Pick: EDGE Jachai Polite, Florida
As the Seahawks seemingly reload on the fly and make another push for the postseason, general manager John Schneider will be looking to shuffle the talent at defensive end and add the type of fast, versatile defenders that made this team a Super Bowl winner.
Jachai Polite looks like Melvin Ingram in a Florida Gators uniform. He's a shorter (6'2") pass-rusher with very good balance, burst and agility. He can turn the corner, get underneath the hands of blockers and has enough pop in his game to stun unprepared offensive tackles. In a Seattle scheme that thrives on outside pressure, Polite is plug-and-play.
26. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago)
The Pick: TE Noah Fant, Iowa
With their third and final selection in Round 1, Jon Gruden goes offense and gets a middle-of-the-field threat that would be considered a draft-day steal by most fans: Noah Fant.
Fant, ranked inside the top 15 on my latest big board, is an exceptional three-down tight end. He has the technique and strength to be an effective blocker, but he also has the size and athleticism to be a threat in the red zone or up the seam. His numbers at Iowa weren't dominant in a run-first offense, but his film is the most impressive of any tight end target in the 2019 draft class.
The Raiders could walk away from the first round with Quinnen Williams, Clelin Ferrell and Noah Fant. They might not be on par with Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper as immediate impacts, but the three rookies could signal the future of the franchise at vital positions.
27. Houston Texans
The Pick: SS Taylor Rapp, Washington
The safety position has long been a need for the Houston Texans, which is why Tyrann Mathieu was a pivotal signing in free agency. A void still remains, though, and if Taylor Rapp is on the board, he has to be considered as the missing piece in the secondary.
Rapp is a hard-hitting, rangy, active safety who can live down in the box or over the top of coverage. He's not a ball-hawking playmaker like the Honey Badger, but he will make his mark felt in the run game or when receivers and tight ends cross the middle.
As the NFL goes more spread, Rapp's versatility and range are more important than ever before. In the AFC South, with Andrew Luck and Marcus Mariota both threats to pull the ball down and take off, Rapp's ability to spy and chase could be a difference-making.
28. Los Angeles Chargers
The Pick: OT Greg Little, Ole Miss
The Los Angeles Chargers are the NFL's best kept secret as one of the truly dominant performers in the 2018 season. To keep the run alive and potentially challenge the Kansas City Chiefs in the division, the front office has to keep Philip Rivers upright and healthy.
The key to doing this: drafting offensive linemen. The Chargers did this in the 2017 draft by going heavy on guard prospects, but now the outside of the line needs work. Ole Miss' Greg Little has excellent length, size and power, and he has the foundation to play either left or right tackle. His impact in the run game would be felt immediately as he clears out second-level linebackers and opens up the middle of the field for Melvin Gordon.
With strong drafts now supporting a good roster, the Chargers have few urgent needs. Finding an offensive tackle with starting talent late in Round 1 is a steal they can't pass on.
29. New England Patriots
The Pick: CB Byron Murphy, Washington
No quarterback of the future for the New England Patriots?
Not with Byron Murphy on the board.
Murphy was the star of the Pac-12 championship game and showed the type of playmaking and shutdown coverage he's put on tape all season for the Huskies. A tad undersized at 5'11" and 182 pounds, Murphy is only still on the board because of his stature. His play and technique rank as some of the best in the class, which means if NFL teams can get on board with his lack of length and bulk, he could shoot up draft boards.
The Patriots won't have to think twice about passing on a project at quarterback if Murphy is on the board. This is the type of cornerback Bill Belichick lives for.
30. Green Bay Packers (from New Orleans)
The Pick: LB Devin Bush, Michigan
With the front office's second first-rounder thanks to a 2018 draft trade with the New Orleans Saints, the Green Bay Packers can shore up the inside of the defense after addressing the outside earlier in the round.
Michigan's Devin Bush would have been knocked in the NFL 15 years ago at 5'11" and 240 pounds, but in today's game, which puts a premium on speed and versatility, his lack of height isn't an issue as long as teams see the hand usage and quickness to slip blocks. That skill is prevalent on his game tape, which should ease the minds of fans in Green Bay.
Bush, teamed up with Brian Burns, would give the new Packers head coach speed that the team hasn't seen on defense in its storied history.
31. Kansas City Chiefs
The Pick: EDGE Oshane Ximines, Old Dominion
The recent release of running back Kareem Hunt may lead some to think a replacement could be selected here. The only issue with that logic is that the 2019 running back class doesn't currently feature a player with a Round 1 grade.
The Chiefs also have needs to address elsewhere. The pass rush is strong when Justin Houston is healthy, and free agent-to-be Dee Ford has looked good, but the team hasn't yet seen production from Tanoh Kpassagnon or Breeland Speaks. That could result in general manager Brett Veach looking for a plug-and-play option at outside linebacker.
Ximines is a small-school player with excellent speed and agility to turn the corner as an outside pass-rusher. Plugged into the Chiefs' 3-4 scheme, he would bring the burst of Ford with the upside of more consistency on a cheaper salary.
32. Los Angeles Rams
The Pick: EDGE Chase Winovich, Michigan
The Rams are renting Dante Fowler Jr. for one season until he becomes a free agent. That means if he leaves, as league sources expect, the team will be left with a hole at defensive end that could be filled in a very deep edge-rusher class.
Chase Winovich is one of the best pursuit players in college football. He uses his hands well, can shoot inside gaps or loop around tackles, and has produced well in the Michigan defense. In a Rams defense that loves to vary where Fowler lines up and how he attacks, Winovich is a natural fit.
There are other potential needs for a front office that must stay ahead of the curve when replacing older players and free agents on a roster that could get expensive very soon with Aaron Donald, Todd Gurley and Jared Goff all great foundation players with higher salaries.