NFL Mock Draft 2019: Initial 1st-Round Projections Following Patriots vs. Rams

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2019

FILE - In this Dec. 29, 2018, file photo, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray throws a pass during the second half of the Orange Bowl NCAA college football game against Alabama in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Oakland Athletics remain hopeful of seeing Heisman Trophy winner Murray in their baseball uniform when spring training begins next month. While the Oklahoma quarterback declared for the NFL draft last week, the prized outfielder could report to A’s spring training in Mesa, Arizona--and he has an invite to big league camp. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)
Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

Super Bowl LIII served as a 60-minute testament to the "defense wins championships" theory.

It's fitting, then, that the incoming batch of NFL freshmen appear overloaded on the defensive side.

While team needs—and football trends that surfaced almost everywhere but the Super Bowl this season—may dictate that offensive prospects still hear their names called early and often, maybe defensive players will shine on draft night the same way they did during the New England Patriots' 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams.

Below is a full first-round mock and a closer look at three players who could jump into the top 10 between now and April 25.

          

2019 NFL Mock Draft

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

2. San Francisco 49ers: Josh Allen, DE/OLB, Kentucky

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

4. Oakland Raiders: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

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

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

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

8. Detroit Lions: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

9. Buffalo Bills: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida

10. Denver Broncos: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

11. Cincinnati Bengals: Devin White, LB, LSU

12. Green Bay Packers: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

13. Miami Dolphins: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

14. Atlanta Falcons: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State

15. Washington Redskins: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama

16. Carolina Panthers: Cody Ford, G, Oklahoma

17. Cleveland Browns: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Mississippi

18. Minnesota Vikings: Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State

19. Tennessee Titans: Brian Burns, DE, Florida State

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

21. Seattle Seahawks: Jachai Polite, OLB, Florida

22. Baltimore Ravens: Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan

23. Houston Texans: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

24. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago Bears): Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

25. Philadelphia Eagles: Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

26. Indianapolis Colts: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

27. Oakland Raiders (via Dallas Cowboys): Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

28. Los Angeles Chargers: Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame

29. Kansas City Chiefs: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

30. Green Bay Packers (via New Orleans Saints): T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

31. Los Angeles Rams: Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware

32. New England Patriots: Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina

               

Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

For all we know, Murray might be a top-10 prospect on the draft boards of quarterback-needy clubs. The diminutive passer doesn't even miss the mark by much here.

But the Heisman Trophy winner seems to land outside of it more often than not. He's going 13th in the mock drafts by ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. and Walter Football's Walter Cherepinsky. NFL.com's Bucky Brooks has Murray slipping all the way to 31st.

There might not be a more polarizing prospect in this class—assuming Murray is, in fact, part of this class and not bailing for baseball ahead of the draft. He's only listed at 5'10" and 195 pounds, and if he attends the combine, everyone will have a close eye on where his measurements officially land.

But all it takes is one team drafting in—or trading into—the top 10 to fall in love with Murray's incredible skill/athleticism combination. There wasn't a more electric player in football this past season, when he passed for 4,361 yards, rushed for 1,001 yards and totaled 54 touchdowns.

               

D.K. Metcalf, WR, Mississippi

A healthy Metcalf is a potential game-changer. He has size, speed and the ability to separate—basically everything you'd want in a No. 1 wideout.

But he wasn't healthy for a big chunk of his three-year tenure with the Rebels. A foot injury effectively erased his 2016 campaign, while his 2018 season ended in October with neck surgery.

He's since been cleared to resume football activities, though, and he has the tools to shine on the workout circuit.

The 6'4", 230-pounder flashed dynamic playmaking ability when he stepped inside the lines, both beating defenders downfield and turning short passes into big gains. He averaged a whopping 18.3 yards per catch and turned 14 of his 67 catches into touchdowns.

                

Jachai Polite, OLB, Florida

It'll be hard for any edge-rusher not named Nick Bosa—or Josh Allen—to clearly separate from this strong class of prospects.

But having an elite skill can get anyone noticed. And that might be the best way to describe Polite's explosive rushing ability off the edge.

"He's really explosive off the end," Florida coach Dan Mullen said, per SI.com's Andy Staples. "I've been around guys who had some different deals with power and length. [Former Gator] Carlos Dunlap had unbelievable length. I had Preston Smith [at Mississippi State] who had great length with explosion. But not just the pure quickness and the burst...that I've seen with Polite."

As long as Polite's weight doesn't scare off possible suitors—he's listed at 6'2" and 242 pounds—he could shoot up draft boards if he tests incredibly well. And it's not like he's merely a workout phenom. During his junior season, he tallied 45 tackles with 19.5 tackles for loss, 11.0 sacks and six forced fumbles.

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