The 1 Prospect Each NFL Team Needs to Grab in the 2019 Draft
Everyone wants the next Baker Mayfield, Saquon Barkley, Darius Leonard or Derwin James.
Obtaining elite talents who take the league by storm is hard to do, though. Talent evaluation is a wonderful alchemy of science and magic with a little luck tossed in for good measure.
The perfect prospect for each franchise seems straightforward. Which top prospect best fits each individual situation? Yet several factors play into what seems like one simple draft selection.
What are the team's greatest need areas? How does an individual's skill set fit into a particular system? Is the prospect even projected to be available to match the ideal situation?
These are but a few of the surface-level questions that point toward the NFL draft's uncertainty. As a result, there is a distinction between the right performer vs. the best player available. The latter is often used as an excuse to build up arbitrary draft boards. The former is far more important and should be taken into consideration on a case-by-case basis.
The right prospect in the right situation is difficult to obtain, and the process falls on each franchise to identify who is the right talent to grab in the 2019 NFL draft.
Arizona Cardinals: LT Jonah Williams, Alabama
The idea of a franchise using a premium draft selection on an offensive lineman will never be sexy.
The Arizona Cardinals own this year's No. 1 overall selection after their 3-13 effort. Now, head coach Kliff Kingsbury's offensive-minded approach will drive the entire organization. With this in mind, life must become far easier for 21-year-old quarterback Josh Rosen.
According to NFL.com's Graham Barfield, no quarterback faced more pressure or had to throw into tighter windows. Kingsbury's scheme will help create more opportunities and easier throws. Rosen needs to remain upright to attempt those passes, though.
Alabama's Jonah Williams is a top-notch technician. His approach and mannerisms are Joe Thomas-like. He doubles as a pile-driver in the run game.
Williams' arm length will come into question. The 6'5", 301-pound left tackle might not have the longest reach, but he's a smooth operator with the skill to mirror and handle any pass-rusher.
Ohio State's Nick Bosa and Alabama's Quinnen Williams may have higher grades, but Williams is the protector Rosen deserves.
Atlanta Falcons: OL Cody Ford, Oklahoma
The Atlanta Falcons understand their offense lacks a strong foundation.
"I'm comfortable at center and left tackle in the same way as you said," head coach Dan Quinn said during a post-regular-season episode of The Dan Quinn Coaches Show (via 92.9 The Game's Knox Bardeen). "Past that, you scrub every bit of it."
Three of the team's five starters can be strewn aside since right tackle and both guard spots desperately require upgrades. Oklahoma's Cody Ford has a chance to address either of those positions.
Ford started seven games at left guard during his redshirt freshman and sophomore campaigns. He then bumped out to right tackle as a junior and started all 14 contests.
His rise as a prospect is predicated on a unique blend of size (6'4", 338 pounds), rare movement skills and a nasty disposition. The final point is particularly enticing to the Falcons.
"The identity of the physicality we'd like to play with," Quinn stated as the team's top offseason priority.
Ford enjoys burying defenders more than any other blocker in this year's class.
Baltimore Ravens: EDGE Montez Sweat, Mississippi State
A Baltimore Ravens linebacker overhaul may be forthcoming. Four starters—Terrell Suggs, C.J. Mosley, Patrick Onwuasor and Za'Darius Smith—are pending free agents.
At 26 years old with four Pro Bowl appearances, Mosley should be the team's top priority. Suggs doesn't "feel that itch" to retire, but it's only a matter of time. Smith could be the team's biggest offseason loss after leading the team with 8.5 sacks. Plus, Matt Judon is entering the final year of his rookie contract.
Mississippi State's Montez Sweat is a tailor-made outside linebacker for Baltimore's defensive scheme. At 6'6" and 252 pounds, Sweat has the length, athleticism, quickness and flexibility to bend and flatten the edge to be one of the class' most desired prospects.
Two concerns persist.
First, Sweat isn't the most physical defender. An inability to consistently set the edge could limit his usage. Second, Sweat is known as a speed-rusher. He's flashed the potential to convert speed to power, but he's yet to develop a full pass-rushing arsenal.
For Sweat, playing behind Suggs and Judon or Smith before moving into a full-time role is optimal.
Buffalo Bills: OT Greg Little, Ole Miss
The Buffalo Bills organization must help quarterback Josh Allen by providing him with a solid offensive front. Unfortunately, Buffalo's front five isn't settled, particularly left tackle.
"I'm not going to slot anybody in," general manager Brandon Beane told reporters when asked about Dion Dawkins' future. "If we feel Dion is our best left tackle, then that's where he'll play."
Dawkins is talented and an integral part of the team's future, but he could move to right tackle or even guard.
"My second season, I feel like that I have put some doubt in my coaches' eyes, just because I feel like I took the foot off the gas pedal a little bit, which comes with growing as a player," he told the Buffalo News' Vic Carucci.
Ole Miss' Greg Little is a former elite recruit who quietly put together a very good season despite his team's disappointing performance. The 6'6", 325-pound tackle has all of the physical tools to excel on the blind side. Or, the Bills can move him to the right side if Dawkins regains his form.
Carolina Panthers: DE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson
Derwin James fell to the 17th overall pick a year ago. Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell could be this year's top talent who people forget is an elite prospect.
This seems to happen every year. A well-regarded individual doesn't test quite as well as expected or suffers from mitigating circumstances that pushes him down boards despite outstanding on-field performances.
James didn't play a premium position. Ferrell isn't quite as explosive or bendy as other edge-rushers. Yet, both showed how effective they can be.
The Tigers featured college football's best defensive front. Ferrell, Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence are potential first-round picks. A fourth, Austin Bryant, is a Day 2 possibility. Ferrell led the group with 19.5 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks. The Ted Hendricks Award winner as the nation's best defensive end registered 50 career tackles for loss and 27 sacks as a three-year starter.
His top performances came in Clemson's biggest games, and his battle against Alabama left tackle Jonah Williams is a must-see for any general manager, scout or draftnik.
The Carolina Panthers, who own this year's 16th overall pick, are simply old at defensive end.
Chicago Bears: S Darnell Savage Jr., Maryland
The Chicago Bears will be forced to exhibit patience once the upcoming NFL draft begins. The Bears don't have a first- or second-round pick thanks to the Khalil Mack and Anthony Miller trades.
The Bears front office didn't need a first-round pick to draft standout safety Adrian Amos or acquire nickel corner Bryce Callahan. Amos was a fifth-round selection, while Callahan never heard his name called during the 2015 draft.
Now, they're set to become free agents, and the Bears may not be able to re-sign both.
Maryland's Darnell Savage Jr. can fill either vacated role. Savage started three seasons at safety yet presents position flexibility after covering the slot on a regular basis. The 5'11", 200-pound defensive back is heady in coverage and a more-than-willing tackler when asked to play the alley.
The Bears, as a whole, don't have many areas to address with a young up-and-coming roster. How negotiations with Amos and Callahan go will determine just how patient they can be on draft day.
Chicago may need an aggressive approach to move up and land Savage or another option so the defensive backfield remains stocked.
Cincinnati Bengals: LB Devin White, LSU
LSU linebacker Devin White to the Cincinnati Bengals is the most obvious pairing of the entire draft class. White is the class' top off-the-ball linebacker, and the Bengals own the league's worst linebacker corps.
When the 11th overall pick is announced, anyone else would be a surprise (with the caveat White is available).
White, who is 20 years old, won the Butkus Award as the nation's best linebacker. If recent history is any indication, the honor knows how to project future NFL stars. Roquan Smith, Jaylon Smith, C.J. Mosley, Luke Kuechly and Von Miller all won the award in the last nine years.
Play, not awards, translate to the professional ranks, though.
Those mentioned were all highly instinctive and athletic defenders. White is a little rawer in comparison. He isn't quite as quick diagnosing plays, but his ability to be a physical downhill defender coupled with sideline-to-sideline range at 6'1" and 240 pounds provide the raw material for him to one day be a difference-maker in the middle of an NFL defense.
Cleveland Browns: DT Ed Oliver, Houston
After owning the No. 1 overall for two straight years, the Cleveland Browns own the 17th overall draft pick. Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver, meanwhile, has been considered an elite prospect since his freshman season.
So, how do these two parties fit together?
First, the Cleveland Browns have a crying need at 3-technique. Defensive end Myles Garrett and 1-technique Larry Ogunjobi are essential building blocks. However, they have a gaping hole between the two. Another disruptive defensive lineman can make the Browns' front nearly impossible to handle.
Oliver's draft status, on the other hand, doesn't quite hold the same value. The defensive lineman is an exceptional athlete. However, some organizations might not be comfortable with his size. The Houston Cougars listed Oliver at 6'3" and 293 pounds. He may be even smaller.
Plus, the junior, who declared before the 2018 season began, dealt with a knee injury and missed four regular-season contests. Oliver still registered 14.5 tackles for loss in eight games, though.
In a class loaded with defensive line talent, legitimate alternatives are available despite Oliver's prodigious talent.
Dallas Cowboys: TE Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M
The Dallas Cowboys used their 2019 first-round pick to acquire wide receiver Amari Cooper from the Oakland Raiders. Now, it's time to complete the team's offense.
With Jason Witten's departure, the offense lost a skilled tight end and consistent threat in the passing game. Witten knew how to create separation even though he wasn't the most athletic target. He worked the middle of the field and provided a security blanket for Dak Prescott.
Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz are solid contributors, but they're far from difference-makers.
Texas A&M's Jace Sternberger developed into a dynamic downfield threat during his only season with the Aggies program. The early entrant led all FBS tight ends with 10 touchdown receptions and an average of 17.3 yards per catch (among those with 30 or more catches). Sternberger finished second with 832 receiving yards.
The Cowboys can utilize 12 personnel, keep Jarwin or Schultz on the field as the offense's in-line option and develop Sternberger as another weapon to pair with Cooper.
Denver Broncos: QB Drew Lock, Missouri
Denver Broncos general manager John Elway is still searching for a franchise quarterback. The search began when Peyton Manning retired after the 2015 campaign. The end isn't in sight, either, though his best option may be to select another quarterback in the first round.
A year ago, Missouri's Drew Lock displayed the potential to be the No. 1 overall pick after shattering the SEC record with 44 touchdown passes, but his skill set needed refinement.
The 6'4", 225-pound quarterback has tremendous natural arm talent to squeeze balls into tight windows, utilize different arm angles and work off-platform. His downfield passing is special.
A transition occurred between his junior and seasons, though. Derek Dooley became the Tigers offensive coordinator after serving as the Dallas Cowboys wide receivers coach and brought more traditional elements to Missouri's spread attack.
Lock's numbers suffered. His overall accuracy improved to 62.9 percent, but the rest of his production decreased. Even so, his adaptation to a system more representative of what he'll be asked to do at the professional level is a positive.
Detroit Lions: DT Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State
The Detroit Lions can complete their defensive front by sitting tight with the eighth overall pick and selecting a defensive tackle. The front office will likely be in a position to choose from multiple appealing options.
Mississippi State's Jeffery Simmons makes the most sense.
First, he's been a wrecking ball the last two seasons, making All-SEC both years. Simmons registered 29 tackles for loss during that span. His rock-solid 6'4", 310-pound frame is exactly what every team wants in an interior defender.
Second, he's disruptive enough to play 3-technique alongside Damon Harrison while Da'Shawn Hand handles 5-technique. Once head coach Matt Patricia utilizes his sub-packages, Simmons can slide over center with Hand at 3-technique.
Simmons won't be on some draft boards, though. Mississippi State allowed Simmons to enroll after a videotape surfaced of him hitting a woman multiple times. How teams reconcile his past will determine his status.
"Jeffery has checked all the boxes," athletic director John Cohen said of Simmons' time as part of the Bulldogs program, per Mississippi Today's Rick Cleveland. "He really has been the model for what you want in a student-athlete."
Green Bay Packers: EDGE Jachai Polite, Florida
New Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur decided to retain defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. The Packers improved from 22nd to 18th overall in total defense under his supervision. Yet, the unit lacks what Pettine refers to as a "b---h kitty."
The term came to light in the 2013 novel Collision Low Crossers: A Year Inside the Turbulent World of NFL Football when Pettine worked under then-New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan.
The term, as author Nicholas Dawidoff understood it, meant "a defensive end or, in a 3-4 alignment, an outside linebacker who would smell a warm quarterback and become an insatiable, unblockable, pocket-infiltrating force of war-daddy bedlam."
Clay Matthews isn't that caliber of player anymore. Plus, he's set to enter free agency. Kyler Fackrell turned into a pleasant surprised with his team-leading 10.5 sacks, but he doesn't quite fit the definition of what Pettine wants.
Florida's Jachai Polite comes screaming off the edge with exceptional speed, balance and nonstop hustle. Fackrell (6'5", 245 pounds) is bigger the 6'2", 242-pound former Gator, which makes the two ideal complements.
Houston Texans: LT Andre Dillard, Washington State
The Houston Texans organization should have one primary focus: Protect quarterback Deshaun Watson at all costs.
Defenders sacked Watson a league-high 62 times this season. The second-year signal-caller reportedly played through a broken rib and partially collapsed lung at one point. The number of sacks and severity of injuries could have been even worse if Watson wasn't one of the league's most mobile quarterbacks.
A complete offensive line overhaul may not be necessary, but more than one or two pieces need to be replaced.
The Julie'n Davenport experiment should end—which makes left tackle the team's No. 1 priority.
However, Houston owns the 26th overall pick. So, the team may not be in a position to land a premium offensive tackle prospect. Thus, an emphasis should be placed on pass protection, where Washington State's Andre Dillard is the most natural and experienced blindside blocker.
Washington State's 677 pass attempts led the nation by a wide margin. Dillard allowed only 15 quarterback pressures, according to Pro Football Focus.
Indianapolis Colts: DT Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame
Matt Eberflus worked wonders this season as the Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator. His zone-heavy approach meshed well with the team's available talent, but the unit is far from complete.
The coaching staff converted a pair of defensive ends, Denico Autry and Margus Hunt, to serve as defensive tackles alongside traditional options in Al Woods and Hassan Ridgeway. Hunt and Woods are free agents, which could deplete the unit's depth at 1-technique.
Notre Dame's Jerry Tillery made the transition from 1- to 3-technique as a senior and excelled when allowed to be more disruptive. The 6'7", 305-pound defensive tackle tied for the team lead with eight sacks. More importantly, he consistently drove blockers into the backfield.
Even though Tillery excelled as a 3-technique, he can move back over the nose and excel in the Colts' penetrating scheme, because the one-gap approach will provide enough freedom to capitalize on his size, strength and athleticism. Plus, he adds some flexibility to provide different personnel packages.
The organization placed a heavy emphasis on improving its offensive line last season. Now, attention should shift to the defensive line.
Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Will Grier, West Virginia
The Jacksonville Jaguars are in a bit of a predicament. The roster is built to win now, yet the team owns the seventh overall pick with a chance to address quarterback.
The organization should hedge its bets.
First, a veteran option can keep the team afloat in the short term. Joe Flacco (once released), Teddy Bridgewater and Tyrod Taylor are logical options. The team can then secure its long-term future by drafting a quarterback with its second pick.
West Virginia's Will Grier is the top senior prospect, but he lacks the physical tools of the top underclassmen and could realistically be available in the second round. Grier is a natural passer with 7,354 passing yards, 71 touchdowns and 20 interceptions over the last two season.
Eventually, he can help open up the offense if/when the Jaguars realize a ground-and-pound approach without a supporting passing attack isn't sustainable.
By taking this approach, the Jaguars will be less inclined to force a move out of desperation since they own the seventh overall pick and sit directly behind the quarterback-needy New York Giants.
Kansas City Chiefs: CB Rock Ya-Sin, Temple
The man with the best name in this year's draft class, Rock Ya-Sin, has everything the Kansas City Chiefs need: He's a ball-hawking cornerback who competes on every down.
Ya-Sin spent one season with the Temple Owls after transferring from Presbyterian College.
In a short period of time, Ya-Sin established himself as a leader in the program, as evidenced by a coveted single-digit jersey—an indication of Temple's toughest players.
The transfer led the Owls with 14 defended passes. He's not afraid to tackle, either. Ya-Sin is physical in both phases of the game.
The Chiefs don't have cornerbacks worthy of their pass rush. Kansas City tied for the league lead with 52 sacks despite a suspect secondary. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady picked the Chiefs apart when they couldn't generate any pressure.
Starting cornerbacks Orlando Scandrick, who turns 32 next month, and Steven Nelson are both free-agents-to-be. The organization can't let Nelson walk since he's been the unit's best defensive back, but he's primarily a nickel corner. Ya-Sin can immediately step in as the Chiefs' top outside corner.
Los Angeles Chargers: RT Dalton Risner
The Los Angeles Chargers don't need any projects along their offensive line.
The Chargers moved on from Joe Barksdale even though Sam Tevi wasn't ready for a starting role. The 24-year-old allowed a massive amount of pressure. The Chargers can't go into next season hoping Tevi will develop since the team now operates at a Super Bowl standard.
The organization should do everything in its power to maximize quarterback Philip Rivers' final years. The offensive front needs to be fortified for the approach to work.
Kansas State's Dalton Risner is a plug-and-play blocker.
Other offensive tackles may present better natural gifts, but Risner is steady. He won't be rocked by a bull rush. Speed-rushers struggle to gain an edge because Risner is patient and plays his angles well. He didn't allow a sack this past season, according to Pro Football Focus.
Some projections have the 308-pound lineman as a guard or center. His 34¼-inch arms indicate he can stay at tackle.
Plus, he's a three-time team captain and someone every organization should want in its locker room.
Los Angeles Rams: EDGE Jaylon Ferguson
The Los Angeles Rams finished 15th overall during the regular season with 41 sacks. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald accounted for 20.5. The unit's edge-rushers managed nine.
Donald needs help. The emphasis will increase if fellow defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and outside linebacker Dante Fowler Jr., whom the organization acquired at the trade deadline, leave as free agents. Furthermore, Ethan Westbrooks and Matt Longacre have the option to sign elsewhere as well.
Obviously, the Rams can collapse the pocket. Shrinking its width is far more difficult with the team's current personnel.
Louisiana Tech's Jaylon Ferguson leaves college football as the FBS career sack leader. Ferguson's 45 sacks broke Terrell Suggs' 16-year record of 44. The Baltimore Ravens chose Suggs 10th pick in the 2003 draft. In a deep class of defensive line talent, Ferguson isn't expected to go nearly as high—which plays into the Rams' favor.
Even if the Rams don't view Ferguson as an every-down defender, he knows how to get after opposing quarterbacks. That's more than can be said about the team's current crop of edge-rushers.
Miami Dolphins: QB Daniel Jones, Duke
The Miami Dolphins already started their rebuild by moving on from previous head coach Adam Gase. Quarterback is the next step.
The Dolphins can release Ryan Tannehill and save $13.2 million in salary-cap space.
New England Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores is expected to become Dolphins' next head coach. Flores plans to hire Jim Caldwell, who once coached Peyton Manning, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
Duke head coach David Cutcliffe mentored Manning at the University of Tennessee. Daniel Jones is Cutcliffe's latest product.
"This guy can flat-out play, incredible presence in the pocket," Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said before the Tigers faced the Duke Blue Devils, per the Raleigh News & Observer's Steve Wiseman. "He's big and strong. He can fly. ... He makes some really, really tight throws against contested coverage."
The 6'5", 220-pound signal-caller didn't post eye-popping numbers (8,201 passing yards in three seasons), but his combination of prototypical size, arm strength and athleticism (1,323 career rushing yards) on top of being mentored by Cutcliffe makes him an intriguing developmental option.
Minnesota Vikings: OL Michael Deiter, Wisconsin
Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer wants a "nasty, we're-going-to-win-no-matter-what-the-situation-is mentality." His vision of doing so includes a prominent rushing attack. A lack of commitment to the ground game cost John DeFilippo his job as offensive coordinator.
But a team requires a reliable offensive front to achieve Zimmer's goals.
The Vikings offensive line isn't good enough as it's currently constructed. A couple of young pieces are in place with center Pat Elflein and right tackle Brian O'Neill, but neither is considered a physical blocker with the ability to consistently win at the point of attack. A potential road-grader is needed between the two.
Michael Deiter may not have been the best pure run-blocker from a stacked Wisconsin Badgers offensive line. However, the 6'6", 328-pound offensive lineman plays with excellent pad level, takes good angles and will bury opponents. More importantly, he's reliable.
Deiter started a school-record 54 games. Furthermore, he can play all five offensive line positions.
The Vikings will be tempted to take an offensive lineman in the first round. They might not have to if they target Deiter a little later in the process.
New England Patriots: QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
Tom Brady can't play for forever, and the New England Patriots don't have a succession plan.
More often than not, the ultra-successful Patriots aren't in a position to select a top quarterback prospect. They could be depending on how organizations view the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Kyler Murray.
Many will look at his size (5'10", 195 pounds) and assume he can't win from the pocket. That's a mistake. According to Pro Football Focus, Murray ranked first in passer rating (143.9) and overall grade (94.7) and second in touchdowns (36) and big-time throws (26) when kept clean. In fact, Murray surpassed Baker Mayfield's previous efficiency record with a 199.2 quarterback rating.
Once his ability to extend plays, while adding a significant running threat (1,001 rushing yards), is factored into the equation, a team should be able to see how he fits the modern game—which is now catered toward certain collegiate concepts and mobile quarterbacks.
Brady's contract expires after the 2019 campaign. A better coaching staff can't be found to maximize Murray's natural gifts.
New Orleans Saints: QB Ryan Finley, North Carolina State
New Orleans Saints Drew Brees turned 40 years old last week. Even though he's a potential MVP candidate, the Saints must start looking for his eventual replacement.
The franchise traded for Teddy Bridgewater, but he's a pending free agent. Taysom Hill may be a Sean Payton favorite, but he's more of an all-around weapon than a quarterback option.
Thus, New Orleans will almost certainly enter this year's draft looking for Brees' potential replacement. The organization doesn't own a first-round pick after last year's Marcus Davenport trade, though, and it's not a particularly deep quarterback class. The Saints can use a second-day selection to solidify the position.
North Carolina State's Ryan Finley gets overlooked because of average physical tools as an older prospect (24). What Finley does well should draw New Orleans' interest: He's a facilitator. His Matt Ryan-like approach shows a quarterback with strong anticipatory skills and above-average ball placement coupled with excellent pocket movement.
Finley finished his North Carolina State career with a 60-to-25 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He improved his senior season in completion percentage (67.4), passing yards (3,928) and touchdown tosses (25).
New York Giants: QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
A philosophical debate raged (and still does) about whether the New York Giants should have used the second overall pick in the 2018 draft to select running back Saquon Barkley when the organization had an opportunity to choose Eli Manning's heir apparent.
Barkley dazzled during his rookie campaign with an NFL-leading 2,028 total yards from scrimmage. Still, quarterback hasn't been satisfied.
Fortunately, the fallout of a disappointing 5-11 campaign provided the Giants with this year's sixth overall pick. Usually, that's not early enough to select the top quarterback prospect. However, all of the teams ahead of the Giants are set.
Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins enters the predraft process as QB1. Haskins is the class' most natural thrower with an uncanny ability to lead his receivers. He set Big Ten Conference records with 4,831 passing yards and 50 passing touchdowns this past season.
Having only 14 career starts and a tendency to struggle against pressure is concerning, but the New Jersey native is a perfect fit to play behind Manning for a year and then alongside Barkley.
New York Jets: DE Nick Bosa, Ohio State
Defensive end Nick Bosa has a very good chance to be the No. 1 overall pick. He's already considered the top prospect for the 2019 class despite missing the majority of the 2018 campaign after requiring surgery on a core muscle.
The New York Jets own the third overall selection and may not be in a position to select the Ohio State product. If the opportunity presents itself, Bosa and the Jets are an ideal marriage of talent, need and value.
Gregg Williams is now the team's defensive coordinator under head coach Adam Gase. Williams relied on Myles Garrett and Robert Quinn to collapse the edge at his previous two stops. But the Jets lack a consistent edge-rusher.
Bosa isn't quite as big (6'4", 263 pounds) as his older brother, Joey, but he's more polished coming into the league. The younger sibling has enough strength to hold the point of attack, athleticism to rush passers and technique to defeat bigger offensive tackles.
With Leonard Williams, Avery Williamson, Darron Lee, Jamal Adams and Trumaine Johnson already in place, Bosa is the missing piece.
Oakland Raiders: DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama
Another interesting philosophical debate will ensue at the top of this year's draft when teams will have an opportunity to select an elite edge-rusher in Ohio State's Nick Bosa or a dominant interior defender in Alabama's Quinnen Williams.
Traditionally, the edge-rusher has held, well, an edge in value based on an ability to rush the passer. The game is changing, though. For example, a defensive tackle, Aaron Donald, led the league in sacks this season.
Williams isn't a traditional space-eater, either. He's a wrecking ball against ground and aerial attacks. Last season, the 6'4", 295-pound defensive lineman graded first overall in run-stop percentage, pass-rush productivity and total pressures (55) among interior defenders, according to Pro Football Focus.
The rarity of his skill set makes him an option with the No. 1 overall pick. The Oakland Raiders own the fourth selection, and their inability to rush opposing quarterbacks came to the forefront after trading away Khalil Mack. Oakland finished dead last with 13 sacks. Every other squad finished with at least 30.
Williams can immediately start at 1-technique alongside Maurice Hurst to form a disruptive defensive tackle duo.
Philadelphia Eagles: S Nasir Adderley, Delaware
Malcolm Jenkins' scheme flexibility is the glue that holds the Philadelphia Eagles defense together.
The 31-year-old veteran plays every role imaginable for a defensive back. He can line up in the box, play deep third, cover the slot and even slide to the outside and match receivers. However, with his age and salary-cap ramifications, the Eagles should look for a long-term replacement.
Jenkins holds a combined $22.3 million cap hit in 2019 and '20. The Eagles can draft a prospect with a similar skill set.
Delaware's Nasir Adderley may not come from a pipeline school, but his traits are ideal for the modern game. Adderley converted from cornerback to safety prior to his junior campaign. As a senior, the 6'0", 200-pound defender registered 10 or more tackles in four games and led the team with seven interceptions and seven broken up passes.
The range and ball skills from a former corner should be expected. The fact that Adderley is also a punishing tackler and special teams standout make him a complete performer.
Adderley can begin his professional role as a sub-package player before taking over for Jenkins.
Pittsburgh Steelers: CB Byron Murphy, Washington
A year ago, the Cleveland Browns selected Denzel Ward with the fourth overall pick despite his smaller stature (5'11", 190 pounds). The trend toward bigger and longer cornerbacks seems to be fading. Instead, a growing emphasis has been placed on coverage skills.
Washington's Murphy is a potential shutdown corner. The first-team All-Pac-12 performer allowed a minuscule 0.65 yards per coverage snap, according to Pro Football Focus.
But Washington listed Murphy at only 182 pounds—which means he's as slight if not more so than Ward. The Browns corner didn't help Murphy's case after suffering a pair of concussions during a Pro Bowl rookie campaign.
Murphy doesn't run quite as well, either. These reasons have the potential to take him from a top-10 pick based on his outstanding game-day performances to a little later in the opening frame.
The Pittsburgh Steelers won't complain if he's available with the 20th overall pick. The team's best cornerback, Joe Haden, turns 30 years old in April and enters the last year of his contract. Artie Burns on the other side is far too inconsistent.
San Francisco 49ers: EDGE Josh Allen, Kentucky
The San Francisco 49ers didn't expect to select among the top-10 picks for the fourth straight draft, but injuries destroyed any hopes the franchise had for a successful campaign.
Now, an opportunity sits in front of the organization to add another premium talent to an already improved roster.
Defensively, the 49ers are a bit of mess after drafting three straight first-round defensive linemen—Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner and Solomon Thomas—between 2015 and '17 without having a plan for each. None of them are true edge-rushers. All three are better working along the interior.
Kentucky's Josh Allen has the potential to serve as an ideal complement while providing more punch in the pass rush.
Allen led or tied all Power Five Conference defenders with 17 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss. He finished first among edge defenders with a 30.3 percent pass-rushing productivity, according to Pro Football Focus.
Furthermore, he's not just a hand-in-the-dirt defender. Allen played linebacker at Kentucky. He can play SAM linebacker for the 49ers and move to defensive end in sub-packages with Buckner and Thomas along the interior.
Seattle Seahawks: DE Rashan Gary, Michigan
Michigan's Rashan Gary has top-10 potential even though his play doesn't warrant a high selection.
Gary stands 6'5" and weighs 287 pounds with the ability to rush the passer from the edge and hold up along the interior. His size, length and natural quickness should have overwhelmed collegiate blockers on a consistent basis. Yet, the one-time elite recruit managed only 10.5 sacks in three seasons.
Of course, pressure can be just as effective. Gary had 25 quarterback pressures as a junior, according to Pro Football Focus. An average of under two pressures a game doesn't entail a top prospect.
Gary must learn how to use his physical tools play to his advantage by developing better technique and counters.
A team later in the process, like the Seattle Seahawks, can take the risk and place Gary in an established locker room around proven veterans and experienced staff.
The Seahawks must first address Frank Clark's future since he's scheduled to enter free agency. Gary can come in and play opposite Clark and also slide inside next to him and rush the passer.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB Greedy Williams, LSU
Head coach Bruce Arians and the new staff in Tampa Bay know exactly how to build a defense around a former standout LSU cornerback.
Greedy Williams' skill set is different than Patrick Peterson's, but the incoming cornerback can have a similar impact for Arians and Co.
The Buccaneers spent last year reconstructing their defensive front with the additions of Jason Pierre-Paul, Vinny Curry, Vita Vea and Carl Nassib.
On the other hand, the secondary is a disaster. Tampa owns the league's 24th-ranked pass defense. Vernon Hargreaves' last two seasons have been marred by injuries, and the team's top cornerback, Brent Grimes, didn't want to cover top receivers at his salary.
"It's just disrespectful," said Grimes, who made $7 million this past season, per ESPN.com's Jenna Laine. "People who follow receivers all the time, unless they're on a rookie contract or trying to get paid, are usually making $13-15 million a year."
The 6'3", 184-pound Williams has the length and fluidity to take over Grimes' role.
Tennessee Titans: WR A.J. Brown, Ole Miss
The Tennessee Titans named Arthur Smith their new offensive coordinator. Smith is Marcus Mariota's fifth coordinator since being drafted in 2015.
An added emphasis on obtaining playmakers to place around Mariota will help ease the transition. Corey Davis is the starting point. But they need more.
The Titans made a midseason transition from a scheme built around its quarterback—which wasn't successful—to a run-first approach with Derrick Henry leading the way.
Tennessee's offense is limited and requires targets who can open up the field. Ole Miss' A.J. Brown and Davis can be interchangeable pieces moving back-and-forth from outside receiver to the slot. Brown managed 160 receptions for 2,572 yards and 17 touchdowns in his final two seasons in college football's toughest conference, the SEC.
His teammate, D.K. Metcalf, should also be in the conversation, but the Titans can't use precious draft capital on another high-risk prospect, especially since Metcalf dealt with a neck injury this past year.
Washington Redskins: WR Hakeem Butler, Iowa State
Wide receiver Josh Doctson is about to enter the final year of his rookie deal, and the Washington Redskins are still searching for a top target. Iowa State's Hakeem Butler has the potential to become exactly what the organization originally wanted in its 2016 first-round pick.
Doctson astounded onlookers with his ability to beat any defense over the top by outmuscling or outjumping helpless defensive backs. His professional career has been marred by injuries that have stagnated his development.
Butler is even bigger and more physical. The 6'6", 225-pound target led all FBS receivers with 40 or more catches with an average of 22 yards per reception. He managed 10 plays of 40 or more yards, according to NFL Network's Ben Fennell. Butler's catch radius, ridiculous body control and subtle route running not only make him a top prospect, but they arguably make him the class' WR1. How well he runs at the combine in Indianapolis will determine how high he'll go.
Washington sitting at 15th overall may be situated perfectly to land a premier target and help whoever is starting behind center next season.