2019 NFL Mock Draft: Predictions and Analysis for Most Exciting Prospects

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistApril 14, 2019

Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray (1) looks to pass the ball, during the second half of the Orange Bowl NCAA college football game against Alabama, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

The NFL draft is nothing if not exciting.

Teams are putting their present and/or future hopes into young 20-somethings with little more than an educated guess on whether these players will boom, bust or do something in between. It's an anxious art, sure, but also one potentially capable of unlocking a Super Bowl path.

The 2019 class might not match the excitement of its predecessor—ask Cleveland Browns and New York Giants fans how excited they are about Baker Mayfield and Saquon Barkley, respectively—but it's still loaded with potentially high-level playmakers.

After mocking our latest first round, we'll spotlight three of the most exciting prospects in this crop of freshmen-to-be.


2019 NFL Mock Draft

1. Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

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

3. New York Jets: Josh Allen, DE/OLB, 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: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

9. Buffalo Bills: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

10. Denver Broncos: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

11. Cincinnati Bengals: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

12. Green Bay Packers: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss

13. Miami Dolphins: Brian Burns, DE, Florida State

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

15. Washington Redskins: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

16. Carolina Panthers: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

17. New York Giants (via Cleveland Browns): Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan

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

19. Tennessee Titans: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

21. Seattle Seahawks: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida

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

23. Houston Texans: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

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

25. Philadelphia Eagles: Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

26. Indianapolis Colts: N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State

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

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

29. Kansas City Chiefs: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

30. Green Bay Packers (via New Orleans Saints): Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State

31. Los Angeles Rams: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

32. New England Patriots: Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabama


Most Exciting Prospects

Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

This is self-explanatory, no?

There wasn't a more exciting, electric, explosive, jaw-dropping, awe-inducing player in all of college football last season than Murray, who naturally picked up the Heisman Trophy on his way out of Norman, Okla.

Every inch of his stat sheet popped. The 69.0 completion percentage and 199.2 quarterback rating jumped off the page for the efficiency alone. But throw in the volume and the numbers shift toward absurdity. He passed for 4,361 yards, rushed for 1,001 yards and found the end zone a face-melting 54 times.

While discussing Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury and the quarterbacks he's had—Patrick Mahomes, Baker Mayfield, Johnny Manziel and Case Keenum—NFL Network's Bucky Brooks said Murray has a higher ceiling than all of them, via Pete Grathoff:

"You look at the potential of what Kyler Murray brings to the table, the arm talent, the pocket poise, the running ability, the playmaking ability as a runner and a thrower, all of those guys on the list can't match what Kyler Murray potentially could be at the next level, and that's saying something considering Pat Mahomes was the MVP in his first season as a starter."

That's as exciting as it gets, folks.


Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

Darron Cummings/Associated Press

We get it—interior defensive linemen aren't exactly the first players who come to mind when you're talking about excitement.

So, how does one break the mold? How about being dubbed "Gerald McCoy or Aaron Donald 2.0," which is how some in NFL scouting communities view Williams, per AL.com's Matt Zenitz.

Or what about reaching the top overall spot on the big board of Bleacher Report's Matt Miller, like Williams just did?

"With Williams there is no known ceiling," Miller wrote. "He has the athleticism, work ethic and strength to continue to improve. You hear the term "maxed out" in scouting. Bosa is maxed out. Williams is just getting started."

Still need more convincing Williams qualifies as exciting? This should do the trick—a first-year starter as a redshirt sophomore, he recorded 19.5 tackles for loss and eight stacks. And remember, he's not considered as anything close to a finished product.


Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State

Physically, Butler looks the part of an exciting wideout prospect. The 6'5", 227-pounder intimidates when he's standing still, and then when he isn't, he's an athletic—4.48 40-yard dash, 36" vertical and a 128" broad jump.

And he's not just a bag of physical tools. The guy can play.

As a redshirt sophomore, he erupted for 41 receptions for 697 yards (17.0 per catch) and seven touchdown in 2017. A year later, he rocketed those numbers even higher, hauling in 60 receptions for 1,318 yards (22.0 per) and nine scores.

"He's just a big, physical, strong dude," ESPN's Todd McShay told 247Sports' Alex Halsted. "He's like a power forward in basketball. He knows how to post guys up, he's really good in the red zone."

Butler is a bit on the raw side, as he needs more seasoning running routes and he doesn't consistently make concentration catches. But we're not talking safety, we're looking at excitement, and Butler's upside might be the highest in this receiving class.