2019 NFL Mock Draft: Early Offseason Predictions for 1st-Round Prospects

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistFebruary 9, 2019

FILE - In this Sept. 29, 2018, file photo, Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen (41) rallies fans during the second half of the team's game against South Carolina, in Lexington, Ky. Allen was named to the 2018 AP All-America NCAA college football team, Monday, Dec. 10, 2018.(AP Photo/Bryan Woolston, File)
Bryan Woolston/Associated Press

One of the best aspects of the early NFL offseason is the sense of hope it brings to fans. Did your favorite team miss the playoffs in 2018? No worries, because everyone is 0-0 right now, and your favorite team can get better through free agency and the draft.

While free agency gets plenty of hype—and it is first up on the schedule—the draft is the real centerpiece of the offseason. Not only can it add missing pieces, provide franchise building blocks and supply quality roster depth, it can do all of it on the cheap thanks to the rookie wage scale.

The rookie wage scale also makes it financially feasible for teams to take risks, which can lead to some intriguing and unexpected early draft selections.

It's early in the draft process—and a lot will change between now and April 25—but here is an early look at how the first round might unfold along with a close look at some top pairings.

    

2019 NFL Mock Draft Round 1

1. Arizona Cardinals: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky

2. San Francisco 49ers: Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State

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: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

8. Detroit Lions: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

9. Buffalo Bills: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

10. Denver Broncos: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

11. Cincinnati Bengals: Devin White, LB, LSU

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

13. Miami Dolphins: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

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

15. Washington Redskins: Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State

16. Carolina Panthers: Yodny Cajuste, OT, West Virginia

17. Cleveland Browns: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

18. Minnesota Vikings: Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma

19. Tennessee Titans: Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

21. Seattle Seahawks: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama

22. Baltimore Ravens: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Mississippi

23. Houston Texans: Greg Little, OT, Mississippi

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

25. Philadelphia Eagles: Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson

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): T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

31. Los Angeles Rams: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

32. New England Patriots: Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabama

    

1. Arizona Cardinals: Josh Allen, Edge, Kentucky

The Arizona Cardinals aren't completely starting their rebuild from scratch. They drafted quarterback Josh Rosen last offseason, so at least one key piece is in place. However, they are beginning the Kliff Kingsbury era in need of several other pieces.

This means Arizona as options with the first overall pick. It isn't locked into any one position, and it can afford to trade the pick to a quarterback-needy team.

One thing the Cardinals could use, however, is a premier pass-rusher to play opposite Chandler Jones. Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, who coached the duo of Von Miller and Bradley Chubb with the Denver Broncos last year, knows exactly how effective a two-man sack squad can be.

While both Ohio State's Nick Bosa and Kentucky's Josh Allen are high-end pass-rushing prospects, the Cardinals may ultimately land on Allen because of his versatility at linebacker. He can get to the quarterback, yes, but Allen isn't a liability in coverage or against the run.

Since Joseph is planning to run a 3-4 base defense, Allen may be the edge player best suited for it. Joseph likes the 3-4 because it helps mask what the defense is doing.

"They have to guess, who's the fourth rusher?" Joseph said during an appearance with Arizona Sports 98.7 FM's the Big Red Rage.

Allen would provide Joseph with a player who can both rush the passer and drop out into coverage, depending on the play call.

    

11. Cincinnati Bengals: Devin White, LB, LSU

Like the Cardinals, the Cincinnati Bengals have a new head coach in Zac Taylor. However, they don't need quite as many pieces to get back into contention as Arizona. Cincinnati has a quarterback in Andy Dalton, an elite receiver in A.J. Green, a high-end running back in Joe Mixon and several strong pieces in the defensive secondary.

Where the Bengals are in dire need of help is at linebacker. Vontaze Burfict is no longer the tone-setter he once was, and the unit as a whole was underwhelming in 2018. It's a big reason why the defense finished 29th against the run (137.8 yards per game allowed) and 32nd against the pass (275.9).

Cincinnati had strong defensive linemen like Carlos Dunlap and good defensive backs like William Jackson III, but the second level of the defense was a mess.

This is why former LSU linebacker Devin White would be a perfect fit for Cincinnati. He is a tremendous all-around defender who could quickly become the leader of the Bengals defense. His head coach at LSU, Ed Orgeron, compared White to two of the top NFL linebackers in recent memory.

"I've been a part of Ray Lewis," Orgeron said, per Sam Spiegelman of Rivals.com. "I've been a part of Patrick Willis, and he's right there. He's one of the best I've ever been a part of as far as middle linebackers go. He's very talented, and I think he's still getting better."

If White is still getting better, it's a scary thought. He racked up 123 total tackles, 12.0 tackles for a loss, 3.0 sacks and six passes defended in 2018 alone. He would almost immediately improve both the run defense and the pass defense for Cincinnati.

    

13. Miami Dolphins: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

Butch Dill/Associated Press

Will there be an early run on quarterbacks? This is a question the Miami Dolphins would love to learn the answer to. While the new regime, led by head coach Brian Flores, has not confirmed that it is moving on from Ryan Tannehill, signs point in that direction.

"Other NFL teams I talked to Tuesday don’t believe the Dolphins will keep Tannehill regardless of what [general manager Chris] Grier said," Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald recently wrote. "They do not buy it for an instant. They do believe, on the other hand, the talk of Miami rebuilding. And Tannehill being present amid a rebuild makes zero sense to them."

It certainly feels like Miami is leaning toward drafting a quarterback this April. The question is which one—and that likely depends on which are left on the board at Pick 13.

With Dwayne Haskins, Kyler Murray and Drew Lock already off the board in this mock, the Dolphins settle on Daniel Jones. While Jones didn't have a good week at the Senior Bowl, he is still a quality quarterback prospect. He moves well in the pocket, has good touch on his passes and has ideal size at 6'5".

It doesn't hurt that Jones was coached at Duke by David Cutcliffe, the guy who coached both Peyton and Eli Manning.

This certainly doesn't mean that Jones is destined to be the next Manning (either of them). If he can come even close to that, however, the Dolphins will take it in a heartbeat after experiencing years of mediocrity at the position.  

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