2019 NFL Mock Draft: Updated Order and Projections After Free Agency Week 1

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistMarch 20, 2019

2019 NFL Mock Draft: Updated Order and Projections After Free Agency Week 1

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    Tim Warner/Getty Images

    The NFL's free-agency period is always filled with excitement, drama and usually a few head-scratching decisions. This year's edition has been no different, and many of the moves have created even more of a spectacle than we're used to.

    Sure, the opening of free agency was an action-packed adventure, but the week's additions and subtractions will influence how teams approach the remainder of the offseason—especially the NFL draft.

    The Jacksonville Jaguars, for example, added quarterback Nick Foles, which takes them out of the quarterback market in Round 1. The New York Giants traded Odell Beckham Jr., creating a need at wide receiver but also adding an additional first-round pick to the team's draft capital.

    In short, the draft picture looks quite different than it did a week ago. Here's a first-round mock based on the current draft order, prospect potential and updated team needs.


1. Arizona Cardinals

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    The Pick: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

    The idea of Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray going to the Arizona Cardinals is an intriguing one for many reasons, including the fact Arizona already has 2018 Top 10 pick Josh Rosen under center.

    Would the Cardinals really move Rosen in order to bring in the reigning Heisman winner? It's possible, especially if the franchise is truly all-in on head coach Kliff Kingsbury and a push for offensive innovation. Murray can invigorate the fanbase and add an explosive element to the offense that Rosen simply isn't capable of bringing.

    "In terms of Murray, people are beginning to believe almost universally he will indeed be the No. 1 pick in this draft by the Arizona Cardinals," NFL Media's Kimberly Jones reported earlier this month.

    Adding Murray makes a ton of sense for Arizona, and if the Cardinals don't draft him, there's a good chance they trade out of the No. 1 spot so that someone else can. Extra picks would be very valuable for the ongoing rebuild in the desert.

2. San Francisco 49ers

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    The Pick: Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State

    The San Francisco 49ers upgraded their defense during free agency by trading for Kansas City Chiefs edge-rusher Dee Ford. Does this mean the 49ers are out on edge-rushers with the second overall pick? It definitely shouldn't.

    What the Ford addition does is give San Francisco some flexibility at No. 2. Edge-rusher isn't quite the dire need it was before the Ford trade, so if a team comes calling about the pick and a shot at Ohio State's Nick Bosa, general manager John Lynch can listen.

    It makes just as much sense, though, to stand pat and take the best edge-rusher on the draft board.

    San Francisco has several talented interior defensive linemen, including Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner. Putting Bosa opposite Ford on the edges would give the 49ers a defensive front that opponents will have to game-plan around.

3. New York Jets

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    The Pick: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

    The question at No. 3 for the Jets will most likely be whether to take the best pass-rusher available or potentially the best overall defensive prospect in Alabama's Quinnen Williams.

    Edge-rusher is a need, but Williams is a special talent who can wreck an opposing scheme in a variety of ways. He can shed blocks and make tackles (he had 71 of them in 2018 alone), collapse the pocket from the interior and get after the quarterback himself (eight sacks in 2018).

    It's hard to find good edge-rushers in the NFL. It's harder to find interior defenders who can do what Williams can do. He'll be able to play a variety of roles in Greg Williams' multi-look defense and completely replace Leonard Williams when his contract expires after the 2019 season.

    Therefore, Williams is the pick here, though it wouldn't be a shock if the Jets bypass him to fill their need on the edge.

4. Oakland Raiders

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    The Pick: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky

    The Oakland Raiders have plenty of needs, even after adding the likes of Antonio Brown, Trent Brown, Tyrell Williams and Lamarcus Joyner during the first week of free agency. Their biggest need, however, is at pass-rusher.

    As a team, Oakland amassed a league-low 13 sacks in 2018. That's the same number or fewer than 11 different individual players had.

    Fortunately, there are plenty of quality edge-rushing prospects in this draft class, and Oakland can use the first of its three first-round picks to grab the best available at No. 4. If Kentucky's Josh Allen is on the board here, Oakland should sprint to turn in his draft card.

    Allen is a big (6'5", 262 lbs), fast (4.63 40-yard dash) and physical edge-rusher who amassed an impressive 17.0 sacks in 2018. While he won't instantly make fans forget about Khalil Mack, he will immediately improve Oakland's pass rush.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

    The Pick: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

    Pass defense was a major issue for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018. Only six teams allowed more than the 259.4 passing yards per game Tampa gave up. Therefore, the Buccaneers should go in one of two directions with the fifth overall pick: Edge-rusher or cornerback.

    Given the depth along the defensive line in this draft—and that Tampa added pass-rusher Shaq Barrett in free agency—it makes sense to grab the best cornerback on the Buccaneers draft board. Without knowing who that actually is, we'll pencil in LSU's Greedy Williams.

    Williams has the potential to develop into a top-tier cover corner in the NFL, something the Buccaneers lack.

    Paired with second-year corner Carlton Davis, Williams would provide the Buccaneers with a young defensive duo to build around for the foreseeable future. He would also make dealing with divisional foes like Julio Jones and Michael Thomas a little easier on game days.

    No. 5 may be viewed as a bit high for Williams, but after watching the Cleveland Browns' gamble on Denzel Ward at fourth overall pay off last year, Tampa could be inclined to pull the trigger. 

6. New York Giants

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    The Pick: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

    By trading Odell Beckham and pass-rusher Olivier Vernon—and by letting safety Landon Collins walk in free agency—the Giants have made it fairly clear they're willing to embrace the pending rebuild. With Eli Manning entering the final year of his contract, a new quarterback is likely going to be part of the process.

    New York could package the sixth pick and the recently acquired 17th pick to move up and secure the quarterback of its choice. It could also wait until the 2020 draft and a chance at Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert.

    However, there's no guarantee the Giants will draft high enough to take a top quarterback next year, so if Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins falls to them at No. 6, it makes sense to grab him.

    Haskins isn't as electric as Kyler Murray, but he's a big (6'3", 231 lbs), accurate pocket passer who should fit right into Pat Shurmur's offense. He racked up 4,831 yards passing and 50 touchdowns in 2018 alone, which should give you an idea of just how well he can sling it.

    Haskins is also a New Jersey native who would bring a little hometown energy to a franchise in desperate need of a jolt.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    The Pick: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Mississippi

    The Jacksonville Jaguars have their quarterback after signing Nick Foles to a four-year, $88 million deal early in free agency. The next step in revamping the offense should involve getting him a No. 1 target.

    Mississippi receiver D.K. Metcalf has all the physical tools to become a legitimate No. 1 receiver in the NFL. He turned a lot of heads at the scouting combine by running the 40-yard dash in 4.33 seconds at a hulking 6'3" and 228 pounds.

    Metcalf isn't the most polished receiver in this draft, but he does possess a ton of upside. With the Jaguars willing to play the long game with Foles under center, adding a wideout who might not fully evolve for a year or two isn't an issue.

    The key is getting Foles a receiver he can develop chemistry with and rely upon. Foles showed a lot of trust in Philadelphia Eagles wideout Alshon Jeffery during the postseason over the last two years, and he could quickly form a similar bond with Metcalf.

8. Detroit Lions

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    The Pick: Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan

    The Detroit Lions addressed one side of their defensive front by adding former New England Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers. They can address the other side with the eighth overall selection by scooping up Michigan's Rashan Gary.

    Gary is very similar to Flowers in that he isn't a pure speed-rusher off the edge. At 6'4" and 277 pounds, he relies more on his strength and massive frame to push blockers back into the pocket and work sacks off of the bull rush.

    By pairing Gary with Flowers, the Lions would have two defensive ends capable of occupying blockers, setting the edge against the run and pressuring the quarterback. That both players are essentially interchangeable would also give Matt Patricia a lot of schematic flexibility up front.

9. Buffalo Bills

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    The Pick: Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State

    The Buffalo Bills attacked the offensive line in free agency, adding center Mitch Morse and right tackle Ty Nsekhe. That will help protect second-year quarterback Josh Allen. The additions of free-agent receivers Cole Beasley and John Brown will help develop him.

    It's time for Buffalo to turn to the other side of the ball in the draft. While the defense was good in 2018—it allowed just 294.1 yards per game, second-fewest in the league—a few additional pieces could make it great.

    Enter Mississippi State edge-rusher Montez Sweat. He's a big, fast and physical defender with the kind of athletic traits you just don't see in players his size. He ran a ridiculous 4.41-second 40 at the combine at 6'6" and 260 pounds.

    Adding Sweat would give Buffalo the sort of defensive force opponents must account for.

10. Denver Broncos

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    The Pick: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

    The Denver Broncos traded for quarterback Joe Flacco, which gives them an answer at quarterback in the short term. However, this doesn't mean the Broncos won't or shouldn't draft a quarterback to take over for him within the next year or two.

    Missouri's Drew Lock could be the right man for the job. While he isn't a particularly polished signal-caller, he's flashed all the physical traits a team could want in a future starter. He has archetypal size (6'4", 228 lbs), above-average arm strength and enough mobility to be an occasional threat on the ground.

    The chance to sit behind Flacco for a season or two would greatly benefit Lock's development. At the same time, Denver could move forward knowing it has a succession plan in place at quarterback. The Broncos have been linked to Lock for some time, as Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com pointed out in early February.

    "Everything I've heard since the Shrine Game has the Broncos selecting Lock," Pauline wrote.

    The addition of Flacco shouldn't suddenly thrust Lock out of Denver's draft plans.

11. Cincinnati Bengals

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    The Pick: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida

    The Cincinnati Bengals have made it relatively clear they want to upgrade their offensive line. 

    "I think it's a priority in the draft," offensive line coach Brian Callahan said, per Laurel Pfahler of the Dayton Daily News. "We don't have enough players on the roster currently, especially at tackle, so we need to find them."

    Cincinnati didn't go after any of the top tackles in free agency, only re-signing Bobby Hart at the position.

    Fortunately, Florida's Jawaan Taylor is on the board here. While he is viewed primarily as a right tackle—the same position Hart plays—Taylor is a blue-chip prospect and an immediate upgrade. He would give Cincinnati a Pro Bowl-type talent on one end of the line, something it doesn't get in Hart.

    Hart, meanwhile, could stick around as a backup swing tackle, which it never hurts to have among the depth on your roster.

12. Green Bay Packers

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    The Pick: Devin White, LB, LSU

    LSU linebacker Davin White is a special talent. He's fast (4.42 40), physical and has a knack for flowing to the football. In 2018 alone, he racked up 123 total tackles, 12.0 tackles for loss and six passes defended.

    White is the kind of sideline-to-sideline playmaker the Green Bay Packers could use in the middle of their defense. Green Bay did a nice job of addressing the pass rush (Preston Smith, Za'Darius Smith) and the safety spot (Adrian Amos) in free agency. Slotting White into the middle would improve the defense as a whole and provide fans with some excitement when Aaron Rodgers is on the sideline.

    "He's going to be a Rookie of the Year candidate who's going to record a ridiculous number of tackles and explosive plays," NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said, per Brooks Kubena of the New Orleans Advocate.

    If the Packers pass on White at No. 12, he won't be there when they pick again at the bottom of Round 1.

13. Miami Dolphins

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    Michael Wyke/Associated Press

    The Pick: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

    While the Miami Dolphins could still reach for a quarterback at No. 13, it seems unlikely after the team signed Ryan Fitzpatrick to a two-year deal in free agency. Fitzpatrick isn't the long-term answer for the Dolphins, but he can guide them through what is quite possibly going to be a tanking season.

    It would make sense to go edge-rusher here—the Dolphins parted with Cameron Wake—but Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver is too talented of a prospect to pass up.

    Oliver moves extremely well for a 6'2", 287-pound defensive lineman. He's capable of holding the point of attack and pursuing ball-carriers on his own. He's also able to get after the quarterback when given the opportunity.

    Oliver had 54 total tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss and three sacks in 2018.

    Pairing Oliver with Davon Godchaux would give the Dolphins a young, lethal duo that could anchor the defensive front for years to come. 

14. Atlanta Falcons

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    The Pick: Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson

    Despite a disappointing 7-9 record in 2018, the Atlanta Falcons don't have a ton of glaring needs. In a division with Cam Newton and Drew Brees, though, it can never hurt to upgrade the pass rush.

    Yes, the Falcons have two former first-rounders in Vic Beasley and Takkarist McKinley on the roster, but neither has emerged as a consistently dominant sack artist. Beasley is also entering the final year of his rookie deal, and barring a major turnaround, he may be gone next offseason.

    The Falcons should take full advantage of Clemson prospect Clelin Ferrell's availability here.

    Ferrell, who amassed 11.5 sacks in 2018, can be a three-down defensive end in Atlanta's 4-3 base front. Yes, he can pressure the quarterback, but he's also solid against the run—something that can't always be said about Beasley.

    Atlanta could use the 2019 season to ease Ferrell into action while also evaluating Beasley's future with the team.

15. Washington Redskins

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    Ralph Freso/Associated Press

    The Pick: N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State

    As is the case with Miami, the Washington Redskins could surprise and reach for a quarterback in the first round. However, after trading for Case Keenum, there isn't a real reason to do so unless Washington is 100 percent sold on a prospect.

    It is necessary to upgrade the receiving corps, however. If Keenum—or Colt McCoy, if Keenum struggles—is going to succeed, he needs more weapons than Paul Richardson, Josh Doctson and Jordan Reed.

    This is where Arizona State's N'Keal Harry enters the picture. He has both the proven production—he had 1,088 yards receiving in 2018—and the physical tool set of a future No. 1 NFL wideout. While D.K. Metcalf has drawn tons of attention for his combine performance (4.33 40, 27 reps on the bench press), Harry's wasn't far off.

    Like Metcalf, Harry threw up 27 reps of the 225-pound bench press. While his 4.53-second 40 was a little underwhelming compared to Metcalf, it's solid for a 6'2", 228-pound pass-catcher. If he can improve his 40 time at Arizona State's pro day (March 27), Washington may find him too enticing to pass up at 15.

16. Carolina Panthers

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    AJ Mast/Associated Press

    The Pick: Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State

    It would behoove the Carolina Panthers to focus on the offensive line in this year's draft. No matter how quickly quarterback Cam Newton recovers from shoulder surgery, protecting him should be priority No. 1. In eight seasons with Carolina, he has been sacked a whopping 285 times.

    Carolina did bring in Daryl Williams on a one-year deal and appears poised to move Taylor Moton to the left side for the season, but this isn't a long-term solution. Washington State's Andre Dillard just might be.

    While Dillard lacks power at the point of attack in the run game, he's a tremendous pass protector—arguably the most polished in this draft class. He's a three-year starter at left tackle with enough strength and athleticism to step in and protect Newton's blind side as a rookie.

    Panthers fans might fancy a better run-blocker at the position, given the offense's traditionally run-based mentality. However, Carolina seems determined to unlock Newton's potential as a downfield passer, hence the hiring of Norv Turner as offensive coordinator last offseason. If this is indeed the plan, then grabbing the draft's best pass-blocker is the prudent move.

17. New York Giants (from Cleveland)

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    Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

    The Pick: A.J. Brown, WR, Mississippi

    With Dwayne Haskins on board as the future franchise signal-caller, the Giants next need to focus on getting him some weapons. Yes, they added Golden Tate on a four-year deal, but they can get out of that deal after two years with just $5 million in dead money remaining.

    Tate is not the dynamic, explosive receiver who will ease Haskins' transition to the NFL. Mississippi's A.J. Brown, on the other hand, could be.

    Brown has an excellent combination of size (6'0", 226 lbs) and quickness (4.49 40), plus he's a tremendous route-runner. He isn't quite the burner Haskins had in Parris Campbell at Ohio State, but he is a receiver defenses will have to account for.

    If Eli Manning plays out his contract, he'll get to spend his final season with a receiving corps of Brown, Tate, Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram. That's not too shabby. When he passes the torch to Haskins, Brown can become the former Buckeye's go-to guy.

18. Minnesota Vikings

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    The Pick: Jonah Williams, OL, Alabama

    Minnesota Vikings fans can't be too happy with how Year 1 of the Kirk Cousins experiment worked out. While Cousins himself has to take blame for underachieving in some of the season's biggest games, inconsistent offensive line play was also a big factor.

    "Outside of left tackle Riley Reiff—who himself had some ugly outings, most notably Buffalo—the Vikings didn't have a single offensive lineman with a top-80 grade this season," Michael Renner of Pro Football Focus wrote.

    This is a problem the Vikings must look to mitigate early in the draft, seeing as how they've yet to address it in free agency.

    While there are concerns about Jonah Williams' athleticism (5.12 40, 28-inch vertical) and arm length (33 inches), the Alabama product is the best tackle prospect on the board here. What he lacks in raw physical tools, he more than makes up for with technical prowess, strong footwork and experience.

    Williams also has versatility, having played both right and left tackle. Minnesota can draft Williams without hesitation and figure out where to plug him later. 

19. Tennessee Titans

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    The Pick: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

    The Tennessee Titans already added wideout Adam Humphries to the receiving corps in free agency. However, they should use the draft to continue improving the weapons at Marcus Mariota's disposal.

    Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson is one of the most intriguing weapons in the draft. While he isn't a liability as a blocker by any stretch, the Titans should be interested in his dynamic receiving skills. Hockenson, who amassed 760 yards receiving and 15.5 yards per reception in 2018, will be difficult to cover one-on-one, even at the pro level.

    Tennessee does have three-time Pro Bowler Delanie Walker at tight end, but he's 34 years old, coming off a broken ankle and has just two years remaining on his contract.

    Adding Hockenson would fortify Tennessee's passing attack in the short term and for the foreseeable future.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    The Pick: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

    The Pittsburgh Steelers defense hasn't been the same since inside linebacker Ryan Shazier suffered a serious spinal injury late in the 2017 season. Shazier was the versatile pressure in the middle that made the rest of the defense hum. Without him in 2018, defensive breakdowns occurred far too often.

    This is why Michigan inside linebacker Devin Bush makes a ton of sense for the Steelers at No. 20.

    Pittsburgh signed inside linebacker Mark Barron to a two-year deal in free agency, but he is neither an adequate replacement for Shazier or a long-term solution. He can help fill the void, but he is more of a light safety-linebacker hybrid than a true sideline-to-sideline linebacker.

    Bush, on the other hand, is a compact 5'11", 234-pound thumper with 4.43 speed. While he doesn't possess ideal length, Bush can do just about anything a defense could ask of him. In 2018, he amassed 79 total tackles, 9.0 tackles for a loss, 5.0 sacks and six passes defended.

    Would Bush make Steelers fans forget about Shazier? No, but he could make Keith Butler's defense functional again.

21. Seattle Seahawks

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    The Pick: Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State

    The Seattle Seahawks used the franchise tag on pass-rusher Frank Clark before the start of free agency. While this means Seattle doesn't need to take an edge-rusher early in the draft, it also doesn't mean that it shouldn't.

    With Florida State's Brian Burns still on the board here, it makes sense for the Seahawks to pull the trigger. The Seahawks reside in a division with some good young quarterbacks—Jared Goff, Jimmy Garoppolo, either Rosen or Murray—and they just can't have too many young pass-rushers.

    Burns, who had 15.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks in 2018, is an explosive edge-rusher with 4.53 speed. He and Clark would be a terror for whom opposing offensive coordinators would have to scheme. With defensive tackle Jarran Reed (10.5 sacks in 2018) playing in between them, Seattle would quickly have one of the most feared fronts in football.

22. Baltimore Ravens

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    Eugene Tanner/Associated Press

    The Pick: Jaylon Ferguson, EDGE, Louisiana Tech

    The run on pass-rushers continues with the Baltimore Ravens, who lost Terrell Suggs and Za'Darius Smith in free agency. Here, they take a chance on Louisiana Tech's Jaylon Ferguson.

    In many ways, Ferguson is similar as a prospect to Khalil Mack when he came out of Buffalo. Both are small-school products. Both had obscene production at the college level—Ferguson actually holds the NCAA all-time record for career sacks with 45.

    The question, as it was with Mack, is whether Ferguson's skills will translate to the pros. This means there is some risk involved, but the allure of adding a potential premier pass-rusher this late in Round 1 could be too tough to pass up.

    Baltimore has its quarterback in Lamar Jackson. Ferguson can be its young franchise pass-rusher on the other side of the ball.

23. Houston Texans

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    The Pick: Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma

    The Houston Texans have taken steps in free agency to solidify the back end of their defense, adding Tashaun Gipson, Briean Boddy-Calhoun and Bradley Roby. They haven't, however, addressed their offensive line at all, which feels like gross negligence.

    "This is a huge area of need for Texans after allowing an NFL-high 62 sacks last season, endangering star quarterback Deshaun Watson's health multiple times," Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle wrote. "The Texans will pay close attention to the incoming draft class at offensive tackle and offensive guard while keeping an eye on veteran free agents."

    Allowing that many sacks shouldn't happen, and it cannot happen again if the Texans hope to have Watson longer than they had David Carr.

    This is why Houston can't afford to pass on Oklahoma's Cody Ford at 23. While Ford is unpolished and could take time to develop into a starting-caliber tackle, he has the size (6'4", 329 lbs) and the tools to step in right away at guard. Houston shouldn't be afraid to address either position, though the hope would be for Ford to move to tackle sooner than later.

24. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago)

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    The Pick: Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

    With their second pick in Round 1, the Raiders should address another notable need: running back.

    So far, Oakland hasn't brought back Marshawn Lynch or Doug Martin. This leaves the team with complementary backs DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard and little else. A bruising early-down runner could help round out the backfield, and that's exactly what Alabama's Josh Jacobs can be.

    Though Jacobs didn't see an extensive workload in Alabama's crowded backfield, he did show enough flashes to get himself into the first-round conversation. At 5'10" and 220 pounds, Jacobs can batter a defense from the interior, but he also has enough speed and elusiveness to hit the edge and make defenders miss in space.

    With receivers like Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams stretching the field, Jacobs could add a dangerous dynamic to Jon Gruden's offense while still allowing Washington and Richard to thrive in support roles.

25. Philadelphia Eagles

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    The Pick: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

    The Philadelphia Eagles managed to re-sign cornerback Ronald Darby and add strong safety Andrew Sendejo in free agency. They can continue strengthening their secondary by scooping up Washington cornerback Byron Murphy at pick No. 25.

    Philadelphia allowed the third-most passing yards in the NFL last year, 269.2 per game, so adding him would be a wise move.

    Murphy isn't the fastest straight-line runner in the draft (4.55-second 40), but he possesses elite short-area quickness and change of direction, and he flashed them at the combine.

    "He showed in the drills why many people think he's the top guy in the class," R.J. White of CBSSports.com wrote. "...As long as you don't expect him to stay with burners deep, he has everything you want at the position."

    In Murphy, the Eagles could have their No. 1 corner for the next six to 10 years.

26. Indianapolis Colts

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    Richard Shiro/Associated Press

    The Pick: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

    Often, when a team heads into free agency with the most cap room in the league—as the Indianapolis Colts did this year—it is in a rebuilding phase and looking to fill holes on the open market. This wasn't the case with the Colts, who were a playoff team in 2018.

    Indianapolis' one big external move in free agency thus far has been signing wide receiver Devin Funchess to a one-year deal.

    If a standout prospect falls, the Colts can afford to take him, pretty much regardless of position. Here, they land Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins.

    Wilkins actually makes a lot of sense for Indianapolis' defense. He's a big (6'3", 315 lbs) interior defender with enough quickness and burst to pressure the quarterback when he gets the chance (6.0 sacks in 2018).

    Partnering Wilkins with Denico Autry (9.0 sacks in 2018) and Margus Hunt (5.0) would give Indianapolis a dangerous three-man rotation in the middle of its defensive front.

27. Oakland Raiders (from Dallas)

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    The Pick: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

    It wouldn't be a surprise to see Oakland target a tight end with its third first-round pick, especially since the team hasn't brought back Jared Cook. However, the Raiders have already invested a lot of resources in the offense this offseason.

    Adding a quality cornerback along with edge-rusher Josh Allen would really help boost the other side of the ball.

    While Georgia's Deandre Baker doesn't possess elite speed (4.52-second 40), he is a fluid runner who can change direction quickly to shadow receivers. He's also physical for a corner his size (5'11", 193 lbs). He's excellent in press coverage and could help out the secondary by jamming divisional speedsters like Tyreek Hill and Keenan Allen at the line.

    Pairing Baker with Gareon Conley would give the Raiders a solid young cornerback tandem to build around for the next few seasons.

28. Los Angeles Chargers

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    The Pick: Dre'Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State

    The Los Angeles Chargers re-signed defensive tackle Brandon Mebane to anchor the interior of their defensive line. By adding Ohio State defensive tackle Dre'Mont Jones with the 28th pick, the Chargers could give themselves the most dangerous defensive front in the league.

    The 6'3", 281-pound Jones is surprisingly shifty for a guy his size, which allowed him to excel as an interior pass-rusher in 2018 (8.5 sacks). However, Jones is very much a three-down tackle, capable of playing the run just as well as the pass.

    Opposing offenses wouldn't like the idea of running into the tandem of Mebane and Jones on early downs. They would like even less the idea of trying to pass on 3rd-and-long with Mebane, Jones, Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram all ready to rush simultaneously.

29. Kansas City Chiefs

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    The Pick: Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida

    Do the Kansas City Chiefs have to take an edge-rusher in Round 1? They most certainly do not, but it would make a heck of a lot of sense to do so. Kansas City parted with Justin Houston in free agency and then traded Dee Ford for the 49ers' second-round pick.

    Ford and Houston were responsible for 22 of the Chiefs' 52 sacks in 2018.

    Now, the Chiefs do still have defensive end Chris Jones (15.5 sacks in 2018), but they could use another edge-rusher opposite him. This is where Florida's Jachai Polite comes in.

    Polite, who had 17.5 tackles for loss and 11.0 sacks last season, could step in as a situational pass-rusher to complement Jones. While he isn't overwhelmingly special in the size (6'3", 258 lbs) or speed (4.84-second 40) departments, Polite possesses a variety of pass-rushing moves that should allow him to contribute as he adjusts to the pro game.

30. Green Bay Packers (from New Orleans)

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    The Pick: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

    With their second first-round pick—one acquired in last year's trade that brought Marcus Davenport to the New Orleans Saints—the Packers can grab a dynamic pass-catching tight end in the form of Iowa's Noah Fant.

    The 6'4", 249-pound Fant has special speed (4.5-second 40) for a player his size, and he'll give Aaron Rodgers a mismatch target in the red zone and in between the 20s.

    While the Packers do have Jimmy Graham under contract for two more years, he wasn't the difference-maker in 2018 that Green Bay expected him to be. By adding Fant, the Packers could have a dangerous two-tight-end package this coming season and then a replacement for Graham if they release him in the offseason, which the Packers can do with only $3.7 million in dead money remaining on his contract.

31. Los Angeles Rams

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    The Pick: Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware

    The Los Angeles Rams said goodbye to safety Lamarcus Joyner in free agency, which opened up a hole in the back end of the defense. They filled it by bringing in Eric Weddle on a two-year deal. This means safety isn't an immediate need, but it shouldn't preclude the Rams from taking a safety in the draft.

    Adding Delaware's Nasir Adderley at the bottom of Round 1 would benefit the L.A. defense in a couple of ways. It would give the Rams a Plan B should Weddle struggle and a potential replacement whenever the team decides to part with the 34-year-old.

    Since Adderley has experience playing safety and cornerback, the Rams could get him onto the field early in sub-packages or in the slot as well. As a result, he would provide immediate depth in the secondary while also giving Los Angeles a building block for the future.

32. New England Patriots

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    The Pick: Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabama

    Will tight end Rob Gronkowski play in 2019? It's the biggest question surrounding the Patriots this offseason, and it's one no one seems to have a definitive answer for. 

    "Rob has so many opportunities," his agent Drew Rosenhaus said on The Peter King Podcast. "It is a tough decision. I am sure he would love to play football, but at the same time he has to consider where he is from a physical standpoint."

    If Gronkowski decides to hang up his cleats, tight end becomes an immediate draft need. Even if he doesn't, though, Alabama's Irv Smith Jr. is a smart pick at the bottom of Round 1.

    Smith can contribute as a pass-catcher and a blocker, which is an underrated aspect of Gronkowski's game. Adding Smith would provide a contingency plan at tight end, and it's not like having two high-end players at the position would be a detriment to New England's offense. We saw how dangerous the Patriots were with a healthy Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez on the field together.

    Right now, New England's other tight ends are Stephen Anderson, who didn't see the field in 2018, former Broncos tight end Matt LaCosse and a mostly unproven Jacob Hollister.


    *All contract information via Spotrac.


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