Everyone loves the next big thing. This is part of the reason why the NFL draft is such an intriguing and attention-grabbing event. Future stars are coming into the league and hopefully will be changing the fortunes of a few franchises along the way.
The draft is also a gamble because there's no telling whether these incoming players will be successful. For every Patrick Mahomes, there's a Blake Bortles. For every Michael Thomas, a John Ross. Everyone knows that players come with bust potential, but the allure of the unknown is just too difficult to resist.
Ideally, though, the players taken in the first round of the draft represent less of a gamble than those taken on Day 2 and Day 3. Below, you'll find a few of 2019's top prospects and a look at why they are safer picks than most.
First, though, is an updated mock draft based on player potential and team needs.
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: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
8. Detroit Lions: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
9. Buffalo Bills: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
10. Denver Broncos: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Mississippi
11. Cincinnati Bengals: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
12. Green Bay Packers: Devin White, LB, LSU
13. Miami Dolphins: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
14. Atlanta Falcons: Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
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: Dre'Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State
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): Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
25. Philadelphia Eagles: Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson
26. Indianapolis Colts: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
27. Oakland Raiders (from Dallas): Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
28. Los Angeles Chargers: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
29. Kansas City Chiefs: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
30. Green Bay Packers (from New Orleans): Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida
31. Los Angeles Rams: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
32. New England Patriots: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams was as dominant as any interior defender in college football last season. He racked up an impressive 71 tackles and 8.0 sacks in the talent-rich SEC, and at 6'4" and 295 pounds, size isn't a concern.
Given the attention players like Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh and Grady Jarrett have brought to interior defenders, there's even a chance that Williams ends up coming off the board ahead of edge-rushers like Josh Allen and Nick Bosa.
However, Williams isn't worried about his draft position. He recently said the following on SiriusXM Radio (h/t Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk):
"It's not really important to me to go No. 1. I just really want to go. I'm just blessed to be in this draft class with these guys and meeting these top athletes and stuff like that. I'm just really not thinking about going No. 1, No. 2. I just want to be the best player that I can be for that team that I'm on and just create my craft."
On film, Williams looks as much of a can't-miss prospect as you're going to find in this draft. One thing that could derail a successful pro career would be a lack of focus, but it doesn't seem to be an issue for Williams.
Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
Joey Bosa entered the NFL three years ago and immediately dominated. He amassed 10.5 sacks in 12 games as a rookie and had 23 sacks in his first two seasons. Even after missing nine games in 2018, he's averaged just under 10 sacks per season.
Now, the younger Bosa brother, Nick, may be an even safer prospect than Joey was. He appears just as athletic and just as dominant on film, and his numbers are difficult to argue with. Despite playing just three games before injury last term, Bosa racked up 11 tackles. 4.0 sacks and 6.0 tackles for a loss.
Bosa looked like a top-five lock since before the 2018 season even began.
While the 6'4", 263-pound Bosa played defensive end at Ohio State, Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph believes he's athletic enough to play linebacker at the NFL level.
"4-3 college ends, they grow to be outside 'backers," Joseph said, per Kyle Odegard of the team's official website. "It's a learned ability. ...You have to figure out what guys do best."
If the Cardinals view Bosa as a schematic fit, it's important. They also happen to own the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. It would be a shocker if he fell much further than that.
T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson is a prospect on the rise. Once the underclassman declared for the draft and scouts began poring over his game tape, it quickly became apparent that the 6'5", 230-pound pass-catcher isn't much of a risk.
"[He] has emerged as the best [tight end] in this class," Bleacher Report draft analyst Matt Miller recently wrote. "Hockenson has it all. He's more powerful and complete than teammate Noah Fant (while not as athletic) and is a better route-runner and more versatile than Alabama's Irv Smith Jr."
What pops off Hockenson's tape is his fluidity when running routes and his power when blocking—both in-line and downfield.
Hockenson might not be a true burner, but he looks natural as a receiver, and he shouldn't struggle to find separation in the NFL. At the same time, he's an efficient, if undersized, blocker. Teams may not want to ask Hockenson to go one-on-one with elite pass-rushers at the next level, but he will be perfectly capable of stonewalling off-ball linebackers and defensive backs.
With a strong combine performance, it wouldn't be a shock to see Hockenson end up a top-10 draft selection.