NFL Mock Draft 2019: 1st-Round Mock Draft and Top Storylines to Watch

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistApril 15, 2019

TEMPE, AZ - JANUARY 09:  Arizona Cardinals new head coach Kliff Kingsbury talks to the media at the Arizona Cardinals Training Facility on January 9, 2019 in Tempe, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Norm Hall/Getty Images

It is the time of year again when hypothetical NFL draft situations dominate the sports news cycle. 

With the 2019 NFL draft coming up April 25, teams are putting together their final assessments on potential draft picks and rumors will run rampant in the coming days about which prospects will land in certain spots. 

As it has been for the last few months, the focus is centered on the Arizona Cardinals and the franchise-altering decision they have to make with the No. 1 pick.

While Arizona's choice is the top storyline in the buildup to Nashville, there are some other intriguing headlines to keep an eye on as the first round inches closer. 

                          

2019 NFL 1st-Round Mock Draft

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: Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State

9. Buffalo Bills: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

10. Denver Broncos: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

11. Cincinnati Bengals: Cody Ford, OG, Oklahoma

12. Green Bay Packers: Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan 

13. Miami Dolphins: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

14. Atlanta Falcons: Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State 

15. Washington Redskins: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss

16. Carolina Panthers: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU 

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

18. Minnesota Vikings: Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson 

19. Tennessee Titans: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

21. Seattle Seahawks: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

22. Baltimore Ravens: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

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

24. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago): Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

25. Philadelphia Eagles: Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

26. Indianapolis Colts: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

27. Oakland Raiders (from Dallas): Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State

28. Los Angeles Chargers: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

29. Kansas City Chiefs: Garrett Bradbury, C, NC State

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

31. Los Angeles Rams: Jaylon Ferguson, EDGE, Louisiana Tech

32. New England Patriots: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

                     

Top Storylines to Watch

Arizona's Decision With the No. 1 Pick 

What the Arizona Cardinals do with the No. 1 overall pick will determine the course of the first round. 

The Cardinals could lay the Josh Rosen era to rest and select Kyler Murray, or they could keep faith in Rosen and improve their defense by bringing in Nick Bosa, Quinnen Williams or Josh Allen. 

If a decision has been made to go with Murray over Rosen, it hasn't reached the public, as Rosen was the first person to show up to the team's offseason conditioning program last week, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Murray also visited the Cardinals facility last week as part of his meeting swing to talk with teams in the top 10. 

MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 29:  Kyler Murray #1 of the Oklahoma Sooners scrambles with the ball against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium on December 29, 2018 in Miami, Flo
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Murray has been connected to the Cardinals since he chose football over baseball because he would be a great fit in Kingsbury's offense and shares the same agent as the new Cardinals head coach. 

But the Cardinals might not be willing to part with a second-year quarterback to take the risk with Murray, which is where the decision becomes incredibly tough. 

The decision could come down to how comfortable Kingsbury feels with Rosen in his offensive system, and if the head coach believes progress can be made offensively, the Cardinals could improve their defense at No. 1. 

Arizona needs plenty of help across the board on defense, which is why you could make a case for either one of Bosa, Allen or Williams to be taken first overall. 

The Cardinals could also surprise us all with a trade down from the No. 1 pick to gain more assets from a franchise in a less favorable quarterback situation. 

Regardless of what the final decision is, the Arizona front office will go over every possible scenario until it is time to make a decision on April 25. 

                             

How Oakland Uses its 3 1st-Round Picks

Once the Cardinals have made their decision, the majority of the draft spotlight will turn to the Oakland Raiders. 

Oakland is in possession of three first-round picks, starting with its natural selection at No. 4, and it is looking to make significant roster upgrades under first-year general manager Mike Mayock and second-year head coach Jon Gruden.

Ben Margot/Associated Press

The trades of Khalil Mack to Chicago and Amari Cooper to Dallas opened up a wealth of possibilities for the Raiders in the draft, and if all goes well, they will come away from Nashville as one of the draft's biggest winners. 

If Murray goes off the board at No. 1, the Raiders would be smart to add a dominant pass-rusher to their defense to replace the hole left by Mack. 

Of the three top defenders in the draft, Allen or Williams will likely be available with Bosa going No. 2 to the San Francisco 49ers. 

With their other two first-round selections, the Raiders should go after offensive pieces to add to newly-acquired wide receiver Antonio Brown.

There are expected to be plenty of wide receivers and tight ends available at the back end of the first round, and Iowa tight end Noah Fant is one of the potential fits for the offense.

Fant would bring an extra element to the Oakland offense as a pass-catcher down the middle, and he would help open up the field for Brown and the other wide receivers. 

An offensive line upgrade isn't out of the picture either since players like Kansas State's Dalton Risner and NC State's Garrett Bradbury should be available at either No. 24 or No. 27. 

Oakland is likely to use all three of its first-round picks, but there is an out-of-the-box situation in which it uses two or three of those picks to trade up.

If the Raiders covet Murray, they could throw the kitchen sink at the Cardinals in a trade offer.

Or if Oakland is a fan of other top prospects after the fourth pick, it could trade up in the first round by packaging No. 24 and No. 27. 

Nothing is entirely out of the realm of possibility with the Raiders, but some of their decisions will be dependent on Arizona's direction. 

                         

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

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