The 2019 NFL draft is one month away, and a consensus is growing about what the Arizona Cardinals will do with the No. 1 overall pick.
First-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury has to determine if he wants to stick with Josh Rosen or build his offense around Kyler Murray. If the Cardinals go with the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Rosen's future immediately becomes a hot topic of conversation that could have ripple effects around the NFL.
In addition to the usual hype around quarterbacks like Murray and Dwayne Haskins, this year's draft class is loaded with defensive linemen and edge-rushers with the potential to make an immediate impact for their new teams.
2019 NFL Mock Draft
1. Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
2. San Francisco 49ers: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
3. New York Jets: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
4. Oakland Raiders: Josh Allen, DE/OLB, Kentucky
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan
6. New York Giants: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Mississippi
8. Detroit Lions: Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State
9. Buffalo Bills: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
10. Denver Broncos: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
11. Cincinnati Bengals: Devin White, LB, LSU
12. Green Bay Packers: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
13. Miami Dolphins: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
14. Atlanta Falcons: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
15. Washington Redskins: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
16. Carolina Panthers: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
17. New York Giants (via Cleveland Browns): Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
18. Minnesota Vikings: Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
19. Tennessee Titans: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Brian Burns, DE, Florida State
21. Seattle Seahawks: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida
22. Baltimore Ravens: Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State
23. Houston Texans: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
24. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago Bears): Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
25. Philadelphia Eagles: Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
26. Indianapolis Colts: N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
27. Oakland Raiders (via Dallas Cowboys): Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
28. Los Angeles Chargers: Cody Ford, G, Oklahoma
29. Kansas City Chiefs: Jachai Polite, OLB, Florida
30. Green Bay Packers (via New Orleans Saints): Irv Smith, TE, Alabama
31. Los Angeles Rams: Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson
32. New England Patriots: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
Is Kyler Murray-to-Arizona a Lock?
Until the pick is in, there are no guarantees in a draft. But everything seems to be pointing toward Arizona drafting a quarterback in the first round for the second consecutive year.
Murray used Oklahoma's pro day this week to show teams what he's capable of doing from the pocket. It seemed to work, as he received rave reviews for his performance:
During the NFL Scouting Combine, Murray was asked about the possibility of playing in Kingsbury's offense.
"If I were to play under him, I think it’d be a great deal," Murray told reporters. "Me and him being together, it'd be nice."
Even though Rosen is just 22 years and was drafted No. 10 overall last year, Arizona fired the head coach who was with the team when he was picked (Steve Wilks).
Since the Cardinals have gone all-in on Kingsbury, he should have a lot of say on the quarterback he's going to build around. Even though it could be Rosen, Murray is the new kid on the block who is getting all the buzz.
It would be an upset at this point if the Cardinals didn't draft Murray with the top pick.
Do the Giants have a plan?
As difficult as it is to see right now, there is a way for the New York Giants to come out of their current mess in a good position for the future.
General manager Dave Gettleman isn't exactly earning his money. He let one excellent box safety leave for nothing as a free agent (Landon Collins), then replaced him with two players who aren't as good in Antoine Bethea and Jabrill Peppers.
Trading Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns, followed by signing Golden Tate to a four-year deal, seemed to be the final straw that broke everyone.
Continuing to employ Eli Manning with a $23.2 million cap number in 2019 is also baffling, but let's play devil's advocate for a moment.
The Giants weren't winning games with Beckham anyway, so adding a second first-round pick this year gives them the potential to bring in two impact players they will have on rookie deals for at least four seasons.
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller noted sources around the NFL feel like the Giants will draft a defensive lineman with their pick (No. 6) and use Cleveland's pick at No. 17 for either a quarterback or offensive lineman.
Based on how things have gone for the Giants, passing on Dwayne Haskins if he's available at No. 6 overall would feel appropriate. But they have to find Manning's long-term replacement in this draft.
Haskins is the No. 2 quarterback in this class and still has more potential to unlock after starting just one year at Ohio State.
There will be plenty of great defensive linemen worth drafting at No. 17. The Giants can't afford to pass on their biggest need with their first choice, especially if Haskins is still on the board.
Which first-round picks make the most sense?
There are certain pairings between player and team in every draft that make too much sense not to happen.
Looking ahead to this year's draft, there are a vast number of first-round picks in which both parties will be happy with the end result.
Starting at No. 2 overall, the San Francisco 49ers should be shouting to the heavens that the Cardinals seem poised to take Murray, leaving them with Ohio State star Nick Bosa.
Per Michael Renner of Pro Football Focus, Solomon Thomas ranked 90th out of 109 qualified defensive linemen in pass-rushing productivity.
The 49ers bolstered their pass-rush by acquiring Dee Ford from the Kansas City Chiefs for a 2020 second-round pick. In theory, that move could open San Francisco up to drafting another position of need.
But playing in the same division as the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks means the 49ers need a dominant defensive line to keep Jared Goff and Russell Wilson in check. There also isn't an obvious cornerback worth selecting that high to boost a pass defense that allowed the second-most touchdown passes in 2018 (35).
Putting Bosa on the same defensive line as Ford, DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead suddenly makes San Francisco look formidable heading into next season.
With three first-round picks, the Oakland Raiders can do virtually anything they want. After spending most of last season complaining about his team's lack of pass-rush, head coach Jon Gruden shouldn't overthink things if Josh Allen is on the board at No. 4.
Allen would fill the role left unoccupied last season when Khalil Mack was traded to the Chicago Bears. That move left Oakland's defensive line in shambles. The Raiders finished 2018 with 13 sacks; every other team had at least 30.
Those struggles weren't lost on Allen, who singled out the Raiders as an organization he would like to play for:
At the end of the first round, the New England Patriots have to address the tight end position at some point. Rob Gronkowski teased retirement last year before deciding to return. He wasn't his usual dominant self, tying his career-low with three touchdowns and averaging just 52.5 receiving yards per game.
Following the Patriots' victory over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII, Gronkowski again said he would need time to decide if he wanted to keep playing football.
Even though NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported the Patriots are "tentatively" planning on Gronkowski returning in 2019, he's much closer to the end of his career than the beginning.
Looking at the draft-eligible tight ends, Iowa's Noah Fant would give New England an easy transition from Gronkowski:
The Patriots rarely do what is expected of them in drafts, but head coach Bill Belichick always takes a long-term view of things. If Gronkowski returns next season, Fant would still be worth drafting because of what he can add to the offense in a two tight-end system.