2019 NFL Mock Draft: 1st-Round Predictions and Rising Impact Prospects

Andrew Gould@AndrewGould4Featured ColumnistApril 6, 2019

Josh Jacobs' stock continues to rise leading up to this year's NFL draft.
Josh Jacobs' stock continues to rise leading up to this year's NFL draft.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

It's strange to imagine how the NFL draft would unfold if conducted right after the season.

Even without any actual games to absorb, professional and armchair scouts alike will refine their opinions on prospects during the offseason. Studying film footage can unveil new insight, and groupthink often runs wild when the majority turns for or against a certain player.

The weeks leading up to April 25's first round are mostly spent overreacting about how high future pros can jump or how fast they run in shorts. If given less time to ruminate, perhaps some clubs would actually make wiser draft decisions.

Buzz surrounding the NFL Scouting Combine and team workouts, however, doesn't always translate to better draft positioning.

Teams occasionally follow the trending arrows, but sometimes they stay the course. While not all of the first-round risers highlighted below climbed significantly in this mock draft, they're gaining enough traction to climb even before the selection process commences in Nashville, Tennessee.

      

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: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky

4. Oakland Raiders: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Devin White, LB, LSU 

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

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida

8. Detroit Lions: Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan 

9. Buffalo Bills: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

10. Denver Broncos: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

11. Cincinnati Bengals: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

12. Green Bay Packers: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

13. Miami Dolphins: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

14. Atlanta Falcons: Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State

15. Washington Redskins: Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State 

16. Carolina Panthers: Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma

17. New York Giants (from Cleveland): Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson

18. Minnesota Vikings: Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State

19. Tennessee Titans: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU 

21. Seattle Seahawks: Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State

22. Baltimore Ravens: Chris Lindstrom, G, Boston College

23. Houston Texans: Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss

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

25. Philadelphia Eagles: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

26. Indianapolis Colts: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State

27. Oakland Raiders (from Dallas): Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

28. Los Angeles Chargers: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

29. Kansas City Chiefs: Jaylon Ferguson, EDGE, Louisiana Tech

30. Green Bay Packers (from New Orleans): Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple

31. Los Angeles Rams: Garrett Bradbury, C, NC State

32. New England Patriots: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

             

T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

T.J. Hockenson looks poised to surpass Iowa teammate Noah Fant as the top tight end off the board.
T.J. Hockenson looks poised to surpass Iowa teammate Noah Fant as the top tight end off the board.Michael Hickey/Getty Images

In a draft without a consensus top wide receiver, T.J. Hockenson could be the first pass-catcher off the board. He'll first have to beat out fellow Iowa tight end Noah Fant. 

While Fant deposited more touchdowns (18) during the last two seasons than Hockenson (10), Pro Football Focus graded the latter as a more effective receiver and blocker:

Instead of wondering if Hockenson will go in the first round, the real question may be how early the 6'5" prospect hears his name called.

In their latest mock drafts, ESPN's Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. have him snagged at pick No. 8 and 10, respectively.

In the right setting, Hockenson could emerge as a (not too) poor man's version of George Kittle. He's a prototype for a modern NFL tight end capable of lining up all across the gridiron and creating matchup fits.

While the Detroit Lions and Denver Broncos could use another explosive playmaker, the Green Bay Packers would especially benefit from choosing him in the opening round.

Jimmy Graham became the latest tight end who didn't make the expected red-zone impact alongside Aaron Rodgers, but a new scheme could orchestrate some ingenuity.

Davante Adams saw 26.4 percent of Green Bay's targets last season, so another big-play threat would go a long way toward reversing last year's misfortune.

                

Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

Ed Oliver could climb into the top 10 following an impressive pro day.
Ed Oliver could climb into the top 10 following an impressive pro day.Will Newton/Getty Images

Based on the growing hype, this projection might prove tame for Ed Oliver.

The defensive tackle caused a stir with an incredible team workout in late March. As Rams Wire's Cameron DaSilva noted, he performed similarly to Aaron Donald in several areas.

Yet his remarkable short-shuttle time especially captured onlookers' attention:

It's hard to see too many teams writing off such a sensational athlete because he's not sized (6'2", 287 pounds) like a typical nose tackle.

He could thrive in another spot if needed, a possibility Oliver addressed at his pro day:

Maybe he doesn't even last to the Miami Dolphins at No. 13. On CBS Sports' NFL Pick Six podcast, R.J. White said Oliver has assured a higher draft slot.

"If he meets your threshold, you could consider him a top-three, top-four prospect in this draft if you're willing to put up with (his) size," White said. "So I think he's a lock for the top 10."

NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah bumped up Oliver to No. 4 on his latest big board, so this mock projects the floor rather than the ceiling. While draftniks fall in love with workouts, NFL teams still place a premium on measurements.

      

Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

Jacobs could be the only running back selected in the first round.
Jacobs could be the only running back selected in the first round.Michael Hickey/Getty Images

This class features no running back on Saquon Barkley's level that will persuade a team to lunge for him early in the first round. Expect no rushers to get snagged inside the top 10 for the first time since 2014, when none went until the Tennessee Titans grabbed Bishop Sankey at No. 54. 

Josh Jacobs can at least extend the streak of running backs gracing the Day 1 festivities.

Buried down Alabama's depth chart before his junior season, Jacobs bolstered his stock by stockpiling 14 touchdowns for the Crimson Tide.

Although a low 40-yard-dash time threatened his first-round standing, the 5'10" bulldozer fared better in his second pro day:

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller slotted Jacobs fifth on his last big board and recently labeled him, "the unquestioned top back in the 2019 draft class." Citing his strong frame and patient running style, the draft expert compared Jacobs to Frank Gore.

Plenty of contenders picking in the 20s could use a physical three-down back of his caliber. Jacobs would have represented a perfect pairing with Lamar Jackson before the Baltimore Ravens signed Mark Ingram, but that move may give the Oakland Raiders two chances to fortify their backfield.

Also in dire need of secondary assistance, they gamble on Jacobs lasting to their third Thursday-night selection at pick No. 27. Don't expect him to dip further into the second round.

Related

    Are the Rams and Sean McVay 1-Year Wonders?

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Are the Rams and Sean McVay 1-Year Wonders?

    Brent Sobleski
    via Bleacher Report

    Vic Fangio Bans Music at Practice: 'There's No Music in Games'

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Vic Fangio Bans Music at Practice: 'There's No Music in Games'

    Tim Daniels
    via Bleacher Report

    Latest Buzz Around Every NFL Team as Camp Season Nears

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Latest Buzz Around Every NFL Team as Camp Season Nears

    Gary Davenport
    via Bleacher Report

    NFL Won't Suspend Tyreek Hill

    NFL logo
    NFL

    NFL Won't Suspend Tyreek Hill

    Adam Wells
    via Bleacher Report