2019 NFL Mock Draft: 1st-Round Predictions and Overlooked Prospects to Watch

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistMarch 29, 2019

Texas A&M tight end Jace Sternberger runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Saturday, March 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Understandably, it can be hard to follow the NFL draft this year.

Stock adjustments from the aftermath of the combine continue to happen as teams and scouts go back to the film after notable performances, for better or worse. Pro days around the country complicate this process too.

This year's class isn't too flashy, either. There is a top quarterback and then the rest. There isn't a star running back. Wideout doesn't have a clear-cut superstar, and even the offensive linemen have a hard time standing out in a defensive-minded affair.

So yes, some prospects will be overlooked in the process. Here's a look at some of those guys probably not earning enough attention after a mock draft based on team need and the prospect stock market.


2019 NFL Mock Draft

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

2. San Francisco 49ers: Josh Allen, DE/OLB, Kentucky

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

4. Oakland Raiders: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State

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

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss

8. Detroit Lions: Brian Burns, DE, Florida State

9. Buffalo Bills: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

10. Denver Broncos: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

11. Cincinnati Bengals: Devin White, LB, LSU

12. Green Bay Packers: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

13. Miami Dolphins: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida

14. Atlanta Falcons: Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan

15. Washington Redskins: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

16. Carolina Panthers: N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State

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

18. Minnesota Vikings: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

19. Tennessee Titans: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

21. Seattle Seahawks: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama

22. Baltimore Ravens: A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss

23. Houston Texans: Garrett Bradbury, OL, NC State

24. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago Bears): Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

25. Philadelphia Eagles: Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

26. Indianapolis Colts: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

27. Oakland Raiders (via Dallas Cowboys): Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

28. Los Angeles Chargers: Cody Ford, G, Oklahoma

29. Kansas City Chiefs: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

30. Green Bay Packers (via New Orleans Saints): Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

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

32. New England Patriots: Jace Sternberger, TE, Texas A&M


14. Atlanta Falcons: Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan

Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Given the heights of the class, it isn't any surprise Rashan Gary could get a little overlooked.

After all, the Michigan product isn't generating the hype of an Ed Oliver or Montez Sweat. Nor is he on the same level as a Nick Bosa or Quinnen Williams.

That won't stop a team like the Atlanta Falcons, though.

Gary is a 6'4", 277-pound disruptor who flashed plenty on film, as NFL.com's Lance Zierlein noted:

"He's explosive out of the blocks and in closing to the quarterback, and is just waiting for hand development and additional rush moves. His size, strength and motor could make him a plus run defender in short order. He has elite potential if a defensive coordinator can harness the energy and focus his approach."

In other words, the 21-year-old is rawer than a prospect like Oliver, but with some patience, a team might be able to unlock his massive ceiling. And the Falcons shouldn't mind putting the effort in coming off a season in which they only recorded 37 sacks.

The front office retained inside man Grady Jarrett, but an explosive option on the edge could make all the difference for the unit.

The Falcons wouldn't mind Gary continuing to garner less attention than some of his other classmates, to say the least.


21. Seattle Seahawks: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama

Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

This class isn't a flashy one for the secondary, with the star-studded cast of pass-rushers not helping matters.

Yet Alabama's Deionte Thompson probably deserves more attention than he's getting. While a bit slender at 6'1" and 195 pounds, he has the range and suddenness of a deep safety who could excel at the next level.

Count Bleacher Report's Matt Miller as one who still holds the 22-year-old in high regard in this area:

Matt Miller @nfldraftscout

I still think it's Deionte Thompson. https://t.co/LKmtmiGOyQ

Rangy safeties aren't anything to scoff at, even if it seemed like droves of players at the position hit the open market this year. One of the teams free agency set back is the Seattle Seahawks, who predictably lost Earl Thomas.

While Thompson has a long way to go when it comes to filling in for Thomas' loss (as most rookies and pros would), he's a nice five-year reset at the position for a team already better than expected on defense despite a few years of notable losses. 

If Thompson can punish quarterback mistakes created by pressure from guys like Frank Clark, hindsight might have teams above the 21st pick kicking themselves for letting him fall. 


32. New England Patriots: Jace Sternberger, TE, Texas A&M

Darron Cummings/Associated Press

At tight end, which isn't any better in the hype department than wideout this year, Iowa's Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson dominate the discussion—and that means Jace Sternberger out of Texas A&M already looks like a steal.

Sternberger, 6'4" and 251 pounds, has one year of superb production to his name, during which he caught 48 passes for 832 yards 10 scores and an average of 17.3 yards per catch.

Perhaps more impressive was the usage itself:

Evan Silva @evansilva

#TexasAM TE Jace Sternberger an intriguing prospect; lined up everywhere from H-back to in-line to slot to X. Combine workout metrics only average but mega-production & some Dallas Clark on his tape: https://t.co/6ArHSlxZD5

Now imagine a coach like Bill Belichick and a player such as Tom Brady deploying Sternberger wherever they want.

This would be another draft case of the rich getting richer, which is something the New England Patriots tend to excel at most years.

No, Sternberger isn't going to adequately replace Rob Gronkowski, but his prowess at getting open on top of immense versatility is a weapon that opposing defenses will have a hard time shuttering.

Maybe the Patriots double up on tight end as they did all those years ago. Maybe not. Either way, Sternberger is the type of semi-sleeper they take, groom in their system and then reap the benefits from for a long time.