2019 NFL Mock Draft: 1st-Round Predictions and Top Prospects on the Rise

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistApril 24, 2019

Houston Cougars defensive tackle Ed Oliver during warm ups before the start of a NCAA college football game against the Rice Owls Saturday, Sep. 1, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Michael Wyke/Associated Press

After months of film study, social media debating and mock drafting, the real thing is almost here.

It's NFL draft week, and by the end of Thursday night, 32 prospects in this class will learn their official landing spots.

Some mock selections feel more certain than others—Kyler Murray and Nick Bosa have held our Nos. 1 and 2 spots for several weeks, respectively—which is a good reminder that helium exists even at this late stage.

The stock of prospects continues rising and falling, so we'll spotlight three enjoying the former after laying out our latest trade-free mock first round.


2019 NFL Mock Draft

1. Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

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

3. New York Jets: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

4. Oakland Raiders: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Josh Allen, DE/OLB, Kentucky

6. New York Giants: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

8. Detroit Lions: Devin White, LB, LSU

9. Buffalo Bills: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida

10. Denver Broncos: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

11. Cincinnati Bengals: Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan

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

13. Miami Dolphins: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

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

15. Washington Redskins: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

16. Carolina Panthers: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

17. New York Giants (via Cleveland Browns): Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

18. Minnesota Vikings: Chris Lindstrom, G, Boston College

19. Tennessee Titans: Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

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

22. Baltimore Ravens: N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona 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: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

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: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State

32. New England Patriots: Darnell Savage Jr., S, Maryland


Top Prospects on the Rise

Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

This feels inevitable.

No, Oliver isn't as big or long as some would like for an interior defensive lineman. And no, he didn't exactly set the world on fire at Houston, recording just 13.5 sacks in 32 games.

But the same physical gifts that had many pegging him as this class' top prospect last summer are again wowing evaluators and moving him back up the draft board.

"He's an alien," one Jets source told Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.

Oliver is incredibly explosive and draws some comparisons to two-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald. Oliver's ceiling will be too high to ignore, even if a large segment of Jets fans might yearn for an edge-rusher like Josh Allen with the No. 3 pick.


Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

Michael Conroy/Associated Press

It took Wilkins just 2.5 years to earn a degree at Clemson and even less time to make a major impact on the field. He was a freshman All-American in 2015 (4.5 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks and a forced fumble) and continued building off that breakout campaign.

By his senior year, Wilkins was both a unanimous first team All-American (14.0 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble) and recipient of the William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes academic success, football performance and community leadership. In other words, he's an asset in creating chemistry and delivering big-time plays.

"He makes the most of every opportunity he gets," Clemson defensive line coach Todd Bates said, per MassLive.com's Matt Vautour. "He takes nothing for granted. ... He's not a me-guy, he's a we-guy. He brings everyone along with him. One of his greatest qualities is he makes everyone around him better."

Wilkins moves like a linebacker in tight spaces, and he explodes off the snap. His combination of athleticism, production and character should ensure he doesn't slip outside of the top 10.


Chris Lindstrom, G, Boston College

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. dubbed Lindstrom "a big riser since the combine" with "upper-tier athleticism" and "is extremely consistent on tape."

Sounds like lofty praise, right? Well, peruse through more of Lindstrom's scouting reports, and you'll find much of the same elsewhere.

"I've watched a good bit of Lindstrom tape over the past two years, and there really isn't much to dislike," The Draft Network's Jon Ledyard wrote. "He has no major flaws in his game, is extremely consistent in his approach and has the experience needed to make an easy transition to the NFL. Few guards offer his combination of size, movement skills and technique."

Lindstrom started 49 consecutive games at Boston College, playing both right guard and right tackle. That's a ton of film, and, as Ledyard noted, almost all of it is positive. Tack on impressive testing at the combine—second-fastest 40 (4.91 seconds), sixth-fastest three cone (7.61 seconds) among offensive linemen—and you have a draft stock that likely shot up into the first round.