2019 NFL Mock Draft: Ideal Landing Spots for Top College Prospects

Ryan McCrystal@@ryan_mccrystalFeatured ColumnistJanuary 21, 2019

FILE - In this Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018 file photo, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray (1) before the start of an NCAA college football game against Kansas in Norman, Okla. Kyler Murray suddenly has a bunch of new fans in the Oakland Athletics organization, even if they cringe watching Heisman Trophy winner play quarterback for Oklahoma. The A's don't want their prized first-round draft pick hurt on the football field because they are counting on him wearing an Oakland jersey come spring training. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams, File)
Alonzo Adams/Associated Press

The Super Bowl LIII matchup is now set, with the Los Angeles Rams taking on the New England Patriots in Atlanta on February 3. 

With the Rams and Patriots advancing, that means the Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints are headed home for the offseason, locking two more spots into the 2019 NFL draft order. The Chiefs will occupy the 29th slot, while the Green Bay Packers, owners of the Saints' first-round selection, will pick 30th. 

Based on the current draft order and the finalized official list of eligible underclassmen, here's an updated look at how April's draft may unfold:

          

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

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

3. New York Jets: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

4. Oakland Raiders: Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State

6. New York Giants: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

8. Detroit Lions: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

9. Buffalo Bills: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

10. Denver Broncos: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

11. Cincinnati Bengals: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

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

13. Miami Dolphins: Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State 

14. Atlanta Falcons: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

15. Washington Redskins: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

16. Carolina Panthers: Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma

17. Cleveland Browns: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State

18. Minnesota Vikings: Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss

19. Tennessee Titans: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Devin White, LB, LSU 

21. Seattle Seahawks: Taylor Rapp, S, Washington 

22. Baltimore Ravens: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss

23. Houston Texans: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida

24. Oakland Raiders (from CHI): Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

25. Philadelphia Eagles: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

26. Indianapolis Colts: Dre'Mont Jones, DL, Ohio State

27. Oakland Raiders (from DAL): Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

28. Los Angeles Chargers: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

29. Kansas City Chiefs: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama

30. Green Bay Packers (from NO): Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabma

31. New England Patriots: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

32. Los Angeles Rams: Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame

       

Where Does Kyler Murray Fit?

Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

When Oklahoma quarterback, and Oakland Athletics draft pick, Kyler Murray announced he would enter the 2019 NFL draft, he immediately became the biggest storyline of the NFL offseason. 

Murray's decision to enter the draft, however, doesn't necessarily mean he's headed to the NFL. It's possible he still intends to play baseball, but he felt he could take advantage of his NFL interest as negotiating leverage against the A's. If so, this is a smart business decision by Murray and an issue that will likely resolve itself in the next month or so when Oakland will expect Murray to report to spring training. 

We may know more about Murray's intentions when the NFL combine rolls around in late February, at which point Murray will need to make a decision to report to spring training or attend the NFL combine in Indianapolis. 

If Murray announces his intention to stick with football, the fascination with him as a prospect won't end there. 

As a quarterback under 6'0" but with blazing speed, Murray is a unique prospect. His lack of size will immediately force some scouts and front-office executives to write him off. Others may be fascinated by his potential in the rapidly-evolving offensive landscape of the NFL. 

Teams more inclined to gamble on Murray may be those who already have a veteran quarterback in place. These teams wouldn't be forced to immediately restructure their offensive scheme around Murray's strengths and weaknesses but could slowly develop both him and their offensive strategy before he's ready to take over in a year or two. 

Some potential suitors that fit that description would be the Los Angeles Chargers, Washington Redskins, New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints (although New Orleans does not own a first-round pick).

          

The Year of the Tight End

IOWA CITY, IOWA- SEPTEMBER 15:  Tight end Noah Fant #87of the Iowa Hawkeyes runs in for a touchdown during the first half against the Northern Iowa Panthers on September 15, 2018 at Kinnick Stadium, in Iowa City, Iowa.  (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Image
Matthew Holst/Getty Images

It's rare for any draft class to have more than one or two elite prospects at the tight end position. Over the past 30 years, there have been only two draft classes which featured three tight ends in the first round:

2017: O.J. Howard (Buccaneers), Evan Engram (Giants), David Njoku (Browns)

2002: Jeremy Shockey (Giants), Daniel Graham (Patriots), Jerramy Stevens (Seahawks)

This year's class appears to be loaded with talent and may add another trio of names to that list. Iowa's Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson and Alabama's Irv Smith Jr. all appear to be viable first-round targets for teams. 

Further helping their cause is the fact that many teams drafting in the mid-to-late first round are in the market for a tight end. 

In this mock draft the Bengals, Titans and Packers all add tight ends to their arsenal. However, there are many other teams potentially in the mix. The Panthers are another team who could target a tight end, if they're starting to search for Greg Olsen's eventual replacement. The Steelers, who have yet to adequately replace Heath Miller in their offense, could also be a landing spot for one of these tight ends. And due to Rob Gronkowski's long injury history and uncertain future in New England, the Patriots could also be looking for a new tight end this offseason

With so many teams in the market for a tight end and a rich class of prospects, it appears likely we'll see a run on the position earlier than usual this year.   

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