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2019 NFL Mock Draft: Predictions for Where Top 1st-Round Prospects Will Be Taken

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2019

Michigan defensive lineman Rashan Gary plays against Indiana in the first half of an NCAA college football game in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Associated Press

If there's one thing that can be gleaned from the past several years of the NFL draft, it's that the picture at the top is likely to change multiple times throughout the pre-draft process.

Just look back to the 2018 draft, when at various times the Cleveland Browns were linked to Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, USC quarterback Sam Darnold and Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen. Likewise, there was a mystery at No. 2, where the New York Giants might have taken Darnold or Allen or Barkley, depending on which player lasted past Cleveland.

Ultimately, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield and Barkley went No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, and based on their rookie campaigns, it's nearly impossible to fault either pick.

In fact, other 2018 top-10 picks such as Quenton Nelson, Denzel Ward, Bradley Chubb and Roquan Smith are looking like slam-dunk selections as well. Teams picking at the top of the 2019 NFL draft hope their choices are similarly successful.

Who might the top prospect in Round 1 be? Below, you'll find an updated pre-combine mock, along with a look at some of the best potential top-10 pairings.

                    

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: Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan

4. Oakland Raiders: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

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: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Mississippi

10. Denver Broncos: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

11. Cincinnati Bengals: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

12. Green Bay Packers: Devin White, LB, LSU

13. Miami Dolphins: Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson

14. Atlanta Falcons: Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State

15. Washington Redskins: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

16. Carolina Panthers: Greg Little, OT, Mississippi

17. Cleveland Browns: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

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: Yodny Cajuste, OT, West Virginia

24. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago): Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

25. Philadelphia Eagles: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

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: Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida

30. Green Bay Packers (from New Orleans): Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

31. Los Angeles Rams: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

32. New England Patriots: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

                    

Josh Allen to San Francisco 49ers

Bryan Woolston/Associated Press

The San Francisco 49ers need an edge-rusher. They have solid defensive linemen like DeForest Buckner, Solomon Thomas and Arik Armstead, but they do not have a true sack-artist coming off the edge.

By pairing one from this year's draft, San Francisco could almost immediately have one of the most feared defensive fronts in the NFC West. The 49ers have to jump on their highest-rated remaining edge-rusher at No. 2.

In this mock, Nick Bosa goes to the Arizona Cardinals at No. 1, leaving Kentucky's Josh Allen there for the taking.

"There's no question if you're looking for an edge rusher and you're the 49ers or the Jets, Josh Allen [is the pick]," ESPN's Mel Kiper said, per Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle.

If the Cardinals decide to take Allen or a different player at No. 1, then San Francisco should jump on Bosa or whichever other edge-rusher it has at the top. Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams is a tremendous talent and worthy of a top-two selection, but the 49ers don't have a dire need for an interior lineman.

                 

Rashan Gary to New York Jets

As Kiper stated, the New York Jets shouldn't let an edge-rusher get past them at No. 3. Again, Williams is worthy of a pick-up here, but he isn't the best fit for what the Jets are expected to run defensively.

New defensive coordinator Gregg Williams recently announced that he would be keeping New York's 3-4 base defense instead of installing the 4-3 base he ran with the Browns and the Los Angeles Rams. However, Williams has a history of utilizing multiple fronts and formations in which versatility is key.

This is why Michigan's Rashan Gary makes a ton of sense with both Bosa and Allen off the board.

Listed at 6'5" and 283 pounds, Gary is a similar player to Jets defensive end Leonard Williams. He can play opposite Williams in base packages while kicking inside to play next to him when the coordinator makes rotations.

Gary isn't a traditional pass-rusher off the edge, but neither is Leonard Williams—and he's been a valuable piece of New York's defense since being drafted.

                    

Greedy Williams to Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers need help on the back end of their defense. They ranked 26th overall in pass yardage allowed (259.4 yards per game), and they allowed an average of 8.2 yards per pass play.

When you consider that the Buccaneers, who led the league in passing, averaged 8.6 yards per pass play, that second number is alarming—it's also tied for worst in the league.

What the Buccaneers desperately lack is a true No. 1 cover corner. Vernon Hargreaves was supposed to be that guy, but the 2016 11th overall pick has largely disappointed. He was briefly benched in Year 2, played just one game in 2018 before suffering a shoulder injury and finished each of the past two seasons on injured reserve.

It's too early for the Buccaneers to give up on Hargreaves, but they cannot just expect him to rebound, either.

This is where LSU's Greedy Williams comes in. He isn't the most physical corner in the draft—and his willingness to tackle is questionable at best—but he can run with even the quickest of receivers.

"Greedy can cover," Kiper said, per Brody Miller of NOLA.com. "I think he struggled at times on throws down the field this year, but that was on rare occasions. Coverage is his strength, his length, his athleticism, all that, and LSU's had a history of producing really good defensive backs."

If another corner passes Williams at the combine, then he should be Tampa's pick. For now, it's Williams.

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