NFL Mock Draft 2019: Projections for Most Enigmatic 1st-Round Prospects

Ryan McCrystal@@ryan_mccrystalFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2019

Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray (1) throws in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against UCLA in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

The 2019 NFL draft is a little over a month away, and the first-round picture is starting to take shape. 

The final weeks are all about pro days and predraft visits, as teams get their last looks at all the top prospects. This allows each team to put the finishing touches on their grades and step closer towards completing their draft boards. 

Most of the prospects in the first round will have high grades from the majority of teams, but a few prospects always remain divisive throughout the process. After running through a first-round mock draft, let's take a closer look at the draft stock of two of those controversial prospects. 


1. Arizona Cardinals: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State

2. San Francisco 49ers: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky

3. New York Jets: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

4. Oakland Raiders: Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Brian Burns, DE, Florida State

6. New York Giants: Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State

8. Detroit Lions: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

9. Buffalo Bills:  D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss

10. Denver Broncos: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

11. Cincinnati Bengals: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

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

13. Miami Dolphins: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

14. Atlanta Falcons: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

15. Washington Redskins: N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State

16. Carolina Panthers: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

17. New York Giants (from CLE): Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

18. Minnesota Vikings: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson 

19. Tennessee Titans: Garrett Bradbury, OL, NC State

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa 

21. Seattle Seahawks: Taylor Rapp, SS, Washington

22. Baltimore Ravens: Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State

23. Houston Texans: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida

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

25. Philadelphia Eagles: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

26. Indianapolis Colts: Justin Layne, CB, Michigan State

27. Oakland Raiders (from DAL): Noah Fant, TE, Iowa 

28. Los Angeles Chargers: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

29. Kansas City Chiefs: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

30. Green Bay Packers (from NO): Chase Winovich, EDGE, Michigan

31. Los Angeles Rams: Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware

32. New England Patriots: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan


How High will D.K. Metcalf Go?

Ole Miss wide receiver D.K. Metcalf is one of the most fascinating prospects in this draft class due to his blend of size and speed. At the NFL Scouting Combine, Metcalf measured 6'3", 228 pounds and ran the 40-yard dash in a blazing 4.33 seconds. 

However, Metcalf also posted poor times in the three-cone drill and the 20-yard shuttle—two drills that test change-of-direction ability more than straight-line speed. 

His performances in these drills matched up with his performance at Ole Miss, where he was almost exclusively used on vertical routes that required minimal lateral movement. So now NFL teams must decide: Is Metcalf a one-trick pony on the deep ball, or can they develop other parts of his game?

One of the teams that may not care is the Buffalo Bills, who are in need of a deep threat to pair with Josh Allen, who throws downfield at the highest rate in the league:

Evan Silva @evansilva

Per @PFF, a league-high 19.7% of Josh Allen's rookie-year pass attempts traveled 20+ yards downfield. And there was a big gap behind him. Next closest was Mitchell Trubisky at 16.8%.

The Bills already have some smaller speedsters on the roster, but Metcalf would give Allen a much-needed bigger target to find downfield. 


Could Kyler Murray Go No. 1?

Matthew Putney/Associated Press

Everywhere you look there are pundits speculating that Kyler Murray is headed to the Arizona Cardinals with the No. 1 pick. The NFL draft is wildly unpredictable, so no one should rule out that scenario, but there are a few reasons to be skeptical. 

The first reason to doubt the Murray/Cardinals connection is general manager Steve Keim's history. As a longtime Cardinals front office exec he's played a role in the team acquiring Carson Palmer, Blaine Gabbert, Kurt Warner, John Skelton, Ryan Lindley and Logan Thomas, just to name to a few. All of these are strong-armed, traditional pocket passers, which also describes his 2018 first-round draft pick Josh Rosen. 

For Keim to draft Murray, he'd not only have to abandon the quarterback he drafted a year ago, but also the entire prototype of quarterback he's believed in throughout his career. Opinions can change, so the move is possible but unlikely. 

The other reason to doubt Murray going No. 1 is the connection to head coach Kliff Kingsbury. While Kingsbury's style of offense does fit Murray well, it's unlikely that a first-year head coach will have a significant say in the draft process. Even if Kingsbury tells Keim he wants Murray, if Keim disagrees, Kingsbury isn't going to get his way. 

Arizona is likely showing interest in Murray to create the perception that they might take him No. 1 overall, which could drive up the price for a trade. For example, they could tell an interested trade partner: "as of now, we're taking Murray, but if you add in another first-round pick we could be persuaded to stick with Rosen."

If the Cardinals do pass over Murray, it's difficult to pinpoint an obvious landing spot. The most quarterback-needy teams immediately following the Cardinals—Giants and Broncos—have extremely traditional front offices and are unlikely to even consider a 5'10" quarterback. 

If Murray slides past Arizona, he may need a team to trade up in order to land in the top 10.  


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.