NFL Mock Draft 2019: Predictions for Top Prospects Ahead of Week 17

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 24, 2018

Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins (7) throws during the first half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game against Northwestern, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Darron Cummings/Associated Press

Half of the teams in the NFL have shifted their focus to the 2019 season.

One of the first steps in preparation for the new campaign is evaluating the talent coming out of college football. 

The majority of the high-profile prospects in the draft class come from the defensive side of the ball, and there's a chance each of the top 10 picks could be defensive players. 

As it always is, the quarterback class is under a microscope, but don't expect a wave of signal-callers in the first 15 picks like we saw a year ago. 

Before some NFL teams embark on their regular-season finales, they'll have an opportunity to watch some of the prospects in person, or from afar, in the College Football Playoff and bowl games.


2019 NFL Mock Draft

1. Arizona Cardinals: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State

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2. Oakland Raiders: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

3. San Francisco 49ers: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

4. New York Jets: Josh Allen, LB, Kentucky

5. Detroit Lions: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU 

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

7. Buffalo Bills: N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State

8. New York Giants: Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan

9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

10. Atlanta Falcons: Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss

11. Carolina Panthers: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State

12. Cincinnati Bengals: Devin White, LB, LSU 

13. Denver Broncos: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

14. Green Bay Packers: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama

15. Miami Dolphins: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

16. Washington Redskins: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

17. Cleveland Browns: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss 

18. Philadelphia Eagles: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

19. Pittsburgh Steelers: Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State

20. Tennessee Titans: Dre'Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State

21. Minnesota Vikings: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

22. Indianapolis Colts: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

23. Seattle Seahawks: Brian Burns, DE, Florida State

24. Baltimore Ravens: Jachai Polite, DE, Florida

25. Oakland Raiders (from Dallas): Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

26. Houston Texans: Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma

27. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago): Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

28. Los Angeles Chargers: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

29. New England Patriots: Zach Allen, DE, Boston College

30. Los Angeles Rams: Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama

31. Kansas City Chiefs: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

32. Green Bay Packers (from New Orleans): Noah Fant, TE, Iowa


Top Quarterbacks Preparing for Bowl Showcases

The 2019 quarterback class won't receive as much hype as last year's group, but there are still some intriguing prospects. 

A majority of the top names at the position take to the collegiate gridiron one final time in the next week, with the exception of West Virginia's Will Grier. 

Duke's Daniel Jones is the first of the serious quarterback prospects to play his bowl game, as the Blue Devils face Temple in the Independence Bowl Thursday. 

If Jones performs well against one of the better passing defenses in the FBS, he'll create some momentum for himself going into the draft process.

New Year's Eve is the big day for prospective NFL signal-callers, as Oregon's Justin Herbert plays in the Redbox Bowl, Drew Lock of Missouri participates in the Liberty Bowl and Ryan Finley leads NC State into the Gator Bowl. 

Timothy J. Gonzalez/Associated Press

Scouting personnel will have to split up if they want to see both Herbert and Lock, as their games take place at the same time. 

On New Year's Day, Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins faces off against a tenacious Washington defense in the Rose Bowl. 

Haskins could be the most intriguing prospect at quarterback, and the interest in the Ohio State signal-caller is only expected to grow after he received a first-round projection from the NFL's college personnel advisory board, per ESPN's Chris Mortensen

The players mentioned above won't be selected based off a single performance in a bowl game, but a strong showing could make a world of difference mentally as the endless workout schedule in front of NFL teams begins in earnest.


All Eyes on Defensive Players in CFB Playoff Games

Since the quarterbacks competing in the College Football Playoff semifinals either aren't eligible yet for the selection process, or are opting not to play in the NFL, defensive prospects should be the focus of scouts attending the Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl.

Clemson's defensive line of Clelin Ferrell, Dexter Lawrence, Christian Wilkins and Austin Bryant could all land in the first round, while Alabama's Quinnen Williams has skyrocketed up draft boards with his play this season. 

Richard Shiro/Associated Press

Notre Dame's Jerry Tillery is another interior prospect to watch in a draft class that's going to be heavy on defensive linemen. 

How each player impacts their respective games could change some of the opinions starting to form on them inside NFL front offices. 

Clemson's experienced quartet has been in focus of NFL scouts for quite some time, so they could be seen as the most reliable prospects when the evaluations ramp up with April on the horizon.

Williams might be the most dynamic defensive lineman of the group, and because of his ability to take over games by himself, he could go as high as the top five. 

Williams' teammate Raekwon Davis is also worth watching in the Orange Bowl, as he could join the defensive tackle in the first round.

Other prospects worth keeping an eye in the playoff are Alabama offensive tackle Jonah Williams and safety Deionte Thompson, Clemson defensive back Trayvon Mullen and Oklahoma guard Cody Ford. 


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.