2019 NFL Mock Draft: 1st-Round Projections and Prospects Impacted by Free Agency

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 02: Quarterback Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State in action during day three of the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 2, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

NFL teams have an opportunity to address roster holes during free agency, but how do those transactions change draft boards, if at all?

It's best to acquire veterans to fill shallow spots on the depth chart—that allows some flexibility during the selection process. General managers don't have to limit their targets to match specific needs.

The Cincinnati Bengals re-signed tight ends Tyler Eifert and C.J. Uzomah, yet team brass may still look for an upgrade at the position in April. The former has played just 14 games in three years. Last year, the latter started more than eight contests in a single season for the first time in four campaigns.

Conversely, the Oakland Raiders will need to rely on the draft for help on the edge. Arden Key, going into his second term, is the only primary defensive end on the roster. Josh Mauro can move to the edge, but he's a versatile 6'6", 290-pounder who's lined up primarily on the inside during his five-year career.

The New York Giants executed a blockbuster trade that sent wideout Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for first- and third-round picks along with safety Jabrill Peppers. Does general manager Dave Gettleman have a bigger plan in mind?

The first-round mock draft selections below reflect transactions made since the turn of the new league year. Trade moves are included for a realistic view of what could transpire April 25.


1st-Round Mock Draft 

1. New York Giants: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State (trade with Arizona Cardinals)

2. Washington Redskins: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma (trade with San Francisco 49ers)

3. New York Jets: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky

4. Oakland Raiders: Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State 

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama 

6. Arizona Cardinals: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida (trade with New York Giants)

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Mississippi

8. Detroit Lions: Devin White, LB, LSU

9. Buffalo Bills: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

10. Denver Broncos: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

11. Cincinnati Bengals: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

12. Green Bay Packers: N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State

13. Miami Dolphins: Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State

14. Atlanta Falcons: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

15. San Francisco 49ers: A.J. Brown, WR, Mississippi (trade with Washington Redskins)

16. Carolina Panthers: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

17. Arizona Cardinals: Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State (trade with New York Giants)

18. Minnesota Vikings: Chris Lindstrom, OG, Boston College

19. Tennessee Titans: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Devin Bush Jr., LB, Michigan

21. Seattle Seahawks: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington 

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

23. Houston Texans: David Edwards, OT, Wisconsin

24. Oakland Raiders (from Dallas): Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

25. Philadelphia Eagles: Joshua Jacobs, RB, Alabama

26. Indianapolis Colts: JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Stanford

27. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago): Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware

28. Los Angeles Chargers: Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State

29. Kansas City Chiefs: Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan

30. Green Bay Packers (from New Orleans): Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama 

31. Los Angeles Rams: Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida

32. New England Patriots: Dexter Lawrence, DL, Clemson         

New York Giants Move Up, Select Dwayne Haskins No. 1

Paul Vernon/Associated Press

Giants representatives took quarterback Dwayne Haskins out to dinner Tuesday and attended his Pro Day Wednesday, per New York Post's Paul Schwartz.

Haskins put on a show in front of spectators at Columbus, Ohio, and NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks raved about his performance: 

Bucky Brooks @BuckyBrooks

Thoughts on @dh_simba7 Pro Day workout.. 1. A+ arm talent 2. MLB pitcher with every pitch in the bag. Drive throws, touch, timing & anticipation. 3. Game/Arm talent fits old school systems DH is the classic drop back passer who has dominated the league the past 30 years

The Giants will eventually need to tab quarterback Eli Manning's successor. Gettleman could mimic Kansas City's quarterback transition between Alex Smith and Patrick Mahomes without having to trade his starting quarterback. The 38-year-old's contract expires at the end of the 2019 campaign.

Equipped with two first-round picks because of the Beckham deal, New York has the draft resources to move into the top spot for its ideal quarterback. Perhaps Gettleman had to sacrifice the star wide receiver to secure the future franchise centerpiece. 

Big Blue sends its first-round picks to the Arizona Cardinals—who ultimately decide to keep signal-caller Josh Rosen—in a blockbuster trade.

Haskins headlines the 2019 class as the No. 1 overall pick. The former Buckeye started one season on the collegiate level, but he'll have ample time to learn behind a two-time Super Bowl champion.

After he passed on Sam Darnold last year, Gettleman goes with a quarterback, who he hopes carries the torch for 15-plus years like Manning.


Oakland Raiders Select Nick Bosa at No. 4

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 03: Defensive lineman Nick Bosa of Ohio State looks on during day four of the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 3, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Silver and Black come into the draft with a major hole at strong-side defensive end, but two moves for quarterbacks at Nos. 1 and 2 leave top-level pass-rushing prospects on the board at No. 4. General manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden can take Nick Bosa or Quinnen Williams. 

It's a win-win situation for the Raiders, but according to The Athletic's Vic Tafur, there's a lean toward a specific prospect.

"[Bosa] is, I believe, the No. 1 player on the Raiders’ draft board," he wrote.

Between comparable high-upside talents with low bust potential, it's best to go with the prospect who strengthens a weak area versus a player who may take the field in a rotation—albeit a heavy one.

Bosa's collegiate numbers don't jump off the page, and he suffered a core muscle injury that limited him to three games last year. Furthermore, we have to consider how much of his buzz is tied to his brother Joey, who went No. 3 overall to the then-San Diego Chargers in 2016.

Based on Bosa's tape, the Raiders won't have to worry about subpar production if he stays healthy. The Ohio State product knows how to use his hands to swat and leverage himself against initial blocks.

The standout junior also plays with above-average strength and pumped 29 reps on the bench press at the NFL Scouting Combine. He won't have an issue moving NFL bodies in the trenches.

Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther would have an anchor for his defense—someone able to reach the quarterback and set the edge on early run downs.


Cincinnati Bengals Take T.J. Hockenson at No. 11

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 02: Tight end T.J. Hockenson of Iowa works out during day three of the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 2, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Bengals would have options at No. 11, but we could soon see the end of quarterback Andy Dalton in Cincinnati. The team doesn't owe him any dead money over the last two years of his deal, per Spotrac.

As Dalton plays to keep his job, the front office could add some help to ensure the 31-year-old performs at his best. The Bengals re-signed Eifert and Uzomah, which likely indicates their push to keep the tight ends active in the passing attack with new head coach Zac Taylor.

Hockenson would enter the starting lineup Week 1 to take pressure off of Eifert, who struggles to stay healthy. Uzomah didn't consistently flash his pass-catching skills until last season, and it's risky to rely on him to produce similar numbers within a new system.

The Bengals could add an ideal tight end who may not have to come off the field regardless of the down and distance. Hockenson recorded 73 receptions for 1,080 yards and nine touchdowns over the last two years at Iowa. Because of his willingness to block, he should become a fixture in the offense.

The dual-threat tight end can emerge in a sizable pass-catching role and supplement the pass protection on the ends.