2019 NFL Mock Draft: Pre-Divisional Round Projections for First-Round Prospects

Michelle Bruton@@michelle_nflFeatured ColumnistJanuary 12, 2019

Ohio State defensive lineman Nick Bosa plays against Rutgers during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

The NFL playoffs are still ongoing, but if your team isn't one of the eight still vying for a chance to represent its conference in the championship round next weekend, you've likely already turned your attention to which young talents could help it get there next year. 

That's right; mock draft season is officially underway. The draft order isn't finalized, and underclassmen still have until Jan. 14 to officially declare for the NFL draft.

Even so, it's worth using this early stage to not so much try to accurately predict which teams will target which players in the first round of this year's draft, but rather assess each team's needs. 

Below is an example of a player who satisfies a need for every team with a pick in the first round. Not every team will draft by need, but it's a useful tool to assess which holes have to be filled. After the mock draft, we'll look closer at three of this year's hottest prospects. 

                 

2019 Round 1 NFL Mock Draft

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

2. San Francisco 49ers: Josh Allen, LB, Kentucky

3. New York Jets: N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State

4. Oakland Raiders: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

6. New York Giants: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

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

8. Detroit Lions: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

9. Buffalo Bills: Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss

10. Denver Broncos: Rashan Gary, DT, Michigan

11. Cincinnati Bengals: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

12. Green Bay Packers: Jachai Polite, DE, Florida

13. Miami Dolphins: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

14. Atlanta Falcons: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston 

15. Washington Redskins: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss

16. Carolina Panthers: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

17. Cleveland Browns: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

18. Minnesota Vikings: Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma

19. Tennessee Titans: A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn St. 

21. Seattle Seahawks: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama*

22. Baltimore Ravens: Devin White, LB, LSU 

23. Houston Texans: Yodny Cajuste, OT, West Virginia 

24. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago): Zach Allen, DE, Boston College

25. Philadelphia Eagles: Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State

26. Indianapolis Colts: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State

27. Oakland Raiders (via Dallas): Damien Harris, RB, Alabama

28. Los Angeles Chargers: Dre'Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State 

29. New England Patriots: Jaylon Ferguson, DE, Louisiana Tech

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

31. Los Angeles Rams: Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama

32. Green Bay Packers (via New Orleans): Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas St. 

         

Is Nick Bosa a Lock at No. 1?

There's a lot of draft season left before the first round goes down on April 25, but at this stage in the game, Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa seems to be a virtual lock to go first overall to the Arizona Cardinals. 

This is a match made in heaven for the Cardinals, who could make their edge rush downright deadly by pairing Bosa with Chandler Jones.

Arizona piled up 52 sacks in the 2018 season, which was good for a tie with the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders for fifth in the NFL, but aside from Jones' 13, most of the Cardinals' pass rush came from their safeties or interior defensive line.

Of course, there's always the possibility that another team with its sights set on the No. 1 quarterback in this year's class and fellow Buckeye Dwayne Haskins makes Arizona an offer it can't refuse.

There's an even wilder possibility that new sheriff in town Kliff Kingsbury decides he wants his own guy under center and explores a trade for Josh Rosen so he can draft a quarterback. 

But assuming the Cardinals hang on to this pick and don't make a rash choice about Rosen, this one feels etched in stone. 

        

What About Deionte Thompson?

Safety Deionte Thompson sure would be a nice pick for the Seattle Seahawks at No. 21, huh? The issue, however, is that he might not be available—not just at that pick, but at all.

The Alabama safety technically has until Monday's deadline to declare for the NFL draft, but as The Draft Network's Jon Ledyard pointed out, his Crimson Tide teammates Jonah Williams, Quinnen Williams, Josh Jacobs and Irv Smith all officially declared on Friday, while Thompson was mum. 

It may have been an ugly end to the season for 'Bama, but Thompson can be proud of his efforts.

In 14 games, he totaled 78 total tackles with 3.5 for loss, two interceptions and three forced fumbles. However, he disappeared a bit in the National Championship Game against Clemson, and his final few games for Alabama showcased the areas of his game he still needs to improve, including the angles he takes on his tackles. 

Returning to the Crimson Tide for another season should help Thompson make his draft case even stronger for the 2020 season. 

        

Is N'Keal Harry a Reach at No. 3?

TUCSON, AZ - NOVEMBER 24:  Wide receiver N'Keal Harry #1 of the Arizona State Sun Devils warms up prior to a game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on November 24, 2018 in Tucson, Arizona.  (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
Ralph Freso/Getty Images

There's no question about it; the New York Jets need weapons for young quarterback Sam Darnold. There are plenty of talented wide receivers to go around in this year's draft, but don't expect the first round to be littered with them. 

So when we pose the question of which receiver deserves to be the first taken overall, and how high he should be drafted, is Arizona State's N'Keal Harry a smart choice on both fronts?

The Jets need an edge rusher, too, and if either Nick Bosa or Josh Allen, for some reason, fall to No. 3, all bets are off. But with the board falling the way it did above, the Jets have the freedom to go a lot of different directions at No. 3. 

Robby Anderson and Quincy Enunwa make up part of what would be a nice arsenal, but the Jets are in need of a big threat on the outside. Harry could be a true No. 1 receiver for Darnold. He already has the size, at 6'4" and 213 pounds.

What he needs to prove to warrant consideration at this high of a selection is that he has the speed, burst and athleticism to pair with that size. 

After the NFL Combine, the ordering of wideouts Harry, D.K. Metcalf and A.J. Brown will likely shift, and we'll have a better idea of who could go first overall. All three have great size, giving teams in need of an outside receiver plenty to think about this spring. 

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