We're smack dab in the middle of NFL mock draft season. The 2019 draft isn't until the end of April, and you're going to hear an awful lot about guys like Nick Bosa, Quinnen Williams, Dwayne Haskins and Ed Oliver. They are players frequently linked to the top of Round 1.
While it's fun to discuss the prospects most likely to end up in the top 10, these players aren't important to everyone. Teams like the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams—you know, the two playing in Super Bowl LIII—aren't going to sniff these guys without a significant trade up. They will likely spend the time ahead of the draft focusing on prospects who are receiving a little less fanfare.
That's what we're going to do here. While it's tough to consider any potential first-round pick as overlooked, some just aren't going to command the attention of the top-end prospects. We're going to examine some of them here.
First, though, here's an updated mock of Round 1.
2019 NFL Mock Draft, Round 1
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: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
6. New York Giants: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
8. Detroit Lions: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
9. Buffalo Bills: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
10. Denver Broncos: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
11. Cincinnati Bengals: Clelin Ferrell, Edge, Clemson
12. Green Bay Packers: Devin White, LB, LSU
13. Miami Dolphins: Brian Burns, Edge, Florida State
14. Atlanta Falcons: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
15. Washington Redskins: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
16. Carolina Panthers: Yodny Cajuste, OT, West Virginia
17. Cleveland Browns: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
18. Minnesota Vikings: Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma
19. Tennessee Titans: Montez Sweat, Edge, Mississippi State
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
21. Seattle Seahawks: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
22. Baltimore Ravens: N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
23. Houston Texans: Greg Little, OT, Mississippi
24. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago): Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson
25. Philadelphia Eagles: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
26. Indianapolis Colts: Jachai Polite, Edge, Florida
27. Oakland Raiders (from Dallas): Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
28. Los Angeles Chargers: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
29. Kansas City Chiefs: Taylor Rapp, S, Washington
30. Green Bay Packers (from New Orleans): Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
31. Los Angeles Rams: David Edwards, OT, Wisconsin
32. New England Patriots: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
Because of guys like Bosa and Allen, the focus of the 2019 draft will largely be on pass-rushers. However, teams looking to solidify the back ends of their defenses have plenty of premium prospects to choose from.
One player who hasn't been getting nearly enough buzz is Washington cornerback Byron Murphy. According to Christian Caple of The Athletic, Murphy didn't even receive a first-round grade initially:
However, if you've watched even a limited amount of Murphy's game tape, you're going to see pro potential. Though a smaller corner at 5'11" and 170, Murphy is physical, fast and glue-like in coverage. He also has tremendous ball skills, as evidenced by his 13 passes defended and four interceptions in 2018.
Much like last year's fourth overall pick, Denzel Ward, Murphy also hits a lot harder than his size might imply. He won't be a liability in run support at the next level.
If Murphy is being overlooked because of his size, he shouldn't be.
Jachai Polite, Edge, Florida
One good thing about the defensive depth in this class is that teams in need of an edge-rusher don't have to sell out to get a guy like Bosa or Allen at the top of the draft. There are quality sack artists who will be available at the bottom of Round 1 as well.
Florida's Jachai Polite is just such a player. While not everyone expects Polite to drop to the bottom of the first round—NFL Media's Bucky Brooks recently mocked him to the Green Bay Packers at No. 12—it's quite possible an early run on quarterbacks at least pushes him into the second half of the round.
"Polite isn't a polished rusher at this point, but his first-step quickness and closing burst could allow him to be a difference-maker as a rookie," Brooks, a former scout, wrote about Polite.
The Florida product does indeed show a lot of burst coming off the line, and he's quick to close on the quarterback once he has a blocker beat. His tremendous physical skills allowed him to rack up 17.5 tackles for a loss and 11.0 sacks despite being listed at just 6'2" and 242 pounds.
While Polite doesn't possess the natural length most teams want out of a pass-rusher, he has the tools to improve an NFL team's pass rush almost immediately.
David Edwards, OT, Wisconsin
The 2019 draft class is shaping up to be rather strong at offensive tackle. Guys like Jonah Williams and Greg Little look like future franchise cornerstones who will be battling some of this year's other first-round picks for years to come.
Wisconsin's David Edwards hasn't garnered quite as much attention, likely because he plays on the right side. There are still plenty of folks who wrongfully believe that the left tackle spot is significantly more important to a line's success.
The reality, though, is that the league's best pass-rushers don't only attack the blind side. A strong right tackle is a key component of a dominant NFL offensive line.
Edwards has everything you could want in a right tackle. The former tight end has athleticism to spare, even at 6'7" and 319 pounds. He can mirror even the most nimble of edge-rushers, and he's a mauler at the point of attack in the run game.
There is a ton of upside with Edwards. He's still growing into the tackle position, and while this makes him a raw prospect, it also means that there is plenty of room for technique improvement and better play.