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NFL Mock Draft 2019: Round 1 Projections for Class' Pivotal Prospects

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistMarch 26, 2019

North quarterback Drew Lock of Missouri (3) throws a pass during practice for Saturday's Senior Bowl NCAA college football game, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, in Mobile, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Butch Dill/Associated Press

There are plenty of reasons to love the NFL draft. It provides hope for struggling franchises and opportunities for potential future NFL stars. For most fans, though, it's the drama and unpredictability that makes it so appealing.

It's the same reason even casual sports fans follow the NCAA men's basketball tournament so vivaciously. The individual storylines are awesome, but it's the surprises that make the moments.

The draft is always full of surprises, too, as the entire event can pivot on one unexpected selection. So, who are the pivotal picks who could change the course of the draft? We'll examine some of the top ones here, along with an updated first-round mock.

        

2019 NFL Mock Draft Round 1

1. Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

2. San Francisco 49ers: Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State

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

4. Oakland Raiders: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

6. New York Giants: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State

8. Detroit Lions: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

9. Buffalo Bills: Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan

10. Denver Broncos: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

11. Cincinnati Bengals: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida

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

13. Miami Dolphins: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

14. Atlanta Falcons: Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson

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

16. Carolina Panthers: Yodny Cajuste, OT, West Virginia

17. New York Giants (from Cleveland): Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State

18. Minnesota Vikings: Jonah Williams, OL, Alabama

19. Tennessee Titans: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Mississippi

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Brian Burns, Edge, Florida State

21. Seattle Seahawks: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama

22. Baltimore Ravens: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

23. Houston Texans: Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma

24. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago): Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

25. Philadelphia Eagles: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

26. Indianapolis Colts: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

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

28. Los Angeles Chargers: Dre'Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State

29. Kansas City Chiefs: Jachai Polite, Edge, Florida

30. Green Bay Packers (from New Orleans): Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabama

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

32. New England Patriots: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

       

Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

There's been plenty of talk about the Arizona Cardinals taking Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray with the first overall pick and then trading away Josh Rosen. Whether or not this comes to fruition, Murray is going to go within the first few selections. Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins is likely to follow.

The quarterback who could really make mock drafts look silly is Missouri's Drew Lock.

Lock tends to be viewed as the third-best quarterback in this draft behind Murray and Haskins, but this doesn't mean he won't be a successful pro. He's strong-armed, athletic and has the mental makeup of an NFL signal-caller.

"Kid truly loves the game and carries himself much different than others," one NFL evaluator said of Lock, per Terez Paylor of Yahoo Sports.

So what happens if a team falls in love with Lock and he, Murray and Haskins are all gone within the first six or seven picks? For one, it's going to push some top-tier defensive talent down, leaving some incredible value in the middle of Round 1. It could also move quarterbacks like Duke's Daniel Jones and West Virginia's Will Grier into the first round, as teams begin scrambling to secure a signal-caller.

       

Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

Darron Cummings/Associated Press

There is a lot of defensive line talent in this draft class. From Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams to Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa and Michigan defensive lineman Rashan Gary, defensive linemen are going to go early and throughout the first round.

When, though, does the run on defensive backs begin? It could start with West Virginia cornerback Greedy Williams—a prospect with length (6'2", 185 pounds), elite speed (4.37-second 40) and excellent coverage skills.

" Williams has the instincts and tools to play a variety of coverages, but his length and pattern-matching talent will likely get him drafted to handle press-man duties," NFL Media's Lance Zierlein wrote of Williams. "... he has the talent and traits to become a CB1."

Whenever Williams does come off the board, it could cause other teams to consider defensive backs sooner rather than later.

           

T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

Michael Conroy/Associated Press

There aren't many offensive prospects as intriguing as Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson. He's a fluid pass-catcher with almost as much downfield ability as any of the wide receivers who could go in Round 1. Kalyn Kahler of SI.com even labeled Hockenson a "perfect replacement" for recently retired tight end Rob Gronkowski.

"Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson is the rare collegiate tight end who is both an athletic pass-catching threat and a physical—at times mauling—blocker," Kahler wrote. "He has drawn comparisons to Gronk, and one scout I spoke to said those comparisons aren’t unrealistic."

While it might be a bit premature to compare Hockenson to perhaps the most complete tight end of the modern era, Hockenson does look like a special player. If he's even close to as dominant as Gronkowski was, what is his value?

If teams had the benefit of foresight, they probably would have taken Gronk ahead of wide receivers like Demaryius Thomas and Dez Bryant during the 2010 draft. If teams really do believe Hockenson is the next Gronkowski—or a reasonable facsimile—someone might make him the first pass-catcher off the board, and early. 

If this happens, it could spark a run on both tight ends and offensive skill players in general.

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