2018-12-27 by W.M.
NFL Mock Draft 2019: Examining Elite Prospects and Predictions for All 32 Teams | Bleacher Report
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We still have one week remaining in the 2018 NFL regular season. Does this mean it’s too early to look ahead to the 2019 draft? Of course, it doesn’t.
We already know who some of the top prospects in this year’s draft are likely to be. Guys like Ohio State’s Nick Bosa and Houston’s Ed Oliver have already been pegged as first-round talents. More are going to solidify their cases in the coming months.
The upcoming College Football Playoff and bowl games will showcase more talent, as will the Senior Bowl, East-West Shrine game and, of course, the scouting combine.
For now, we have to base our mock drafts based on what we’ve already seen—and on the current NFL draft order. With a week left to play, that still hasn’t been settled. However, the Arizona Cardinals currently hold the top slot, and it’s hard to envision them blowing it by beating the playoff-bound Seattle Seahawks in Week 17.
Let’s run down the current first-round draft order and make predictions for each team. We’ll also identify top targets for teams who don’t currently own first-round selections and take a closer look at some of the top draft-related storylines.
2019 NFL Mock Draft
1. Arizona Cardinals: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
2. San Francisco 49ers: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
3. New York Jets: Josh Allen, LB, Kentucky
4. Oakland Raiders: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
5. Detroit Lions: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
7. Buffalo Bills: N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
8. New York Giants: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
10. Atlanta Falcons: Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
11. Carolina Panthers: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
12. Denver Broncos: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
13. Cincinnati Bengals: Devin White, LB, LSU
14. Green Bay Packers: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
15. Miami Dolphins: Dre’Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State
16. Washington Redskins: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
17. Cleveland Browns: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
18. Philadelphia Eagles: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
19. Pittsburgh Steelers: Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State
20. Tennessee Titans: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
21. Minnesota Vikings: Chris Lindstrom, G, Boston College
22. Indianapolis Colts: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
23. Seattle Seahawks: Brian Burns, DE, Florida State
24. Baltimore Ravens: Jachai Polite, DE, Florida
25. Oakland Raiders (from Dallas): Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State
26. Houston Texans: Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma
27. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago): Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
28. Los Angeles Chargers: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
29. New England Patriots: Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan
30. Los Angeles Rams: Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama
31. Kansas City Chiefs: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
32. Green Bay Packers (from New Orleans): David Edwards, OT, Wisconsin
Outside Round 1
Chicago Bears: The Bears traded their first-round pick away in order to acquire Khalil Mack. They traded their second in order to draft wideout Anthony Miller. Targeting secondary or linebacker depth in the third round would make a ton of sense.
Dallas Cowboys: Dallas traded away its first-round pick in order to acquire wideout Amari Cooper from the Oakland Raiders. Adding another pass-catcher—specifically a top-tier tight end—should be the goal in Round 2.
New Orleans Saints: The Saints traded away their first-round pick in order to move up and select pass-rusher Marcus Davenport last April. Adding a complementary receiver or a pass-catching tight end would help balance out their offense.
N’Keal Harry Should Have Plenty of Suitors
Five teams selected quarterbacks in the first round of last year’s draft. All five rookies are now starting. All five can also use help at the wide receiver position.
Three of those teams are currently select to pick in the top 10 of this year’s draft. This is good news for Arizona State receiver N’Keal Harry, who is emerging as one of the top wideouts in this class. While he isn’t particularly polished, Harry has the size (6’4″), speed and physical traits of a future No. 1 NFL receiver.
“N’Keal is N’Keal. He’s one of those guys who you have to find ways to get him the ball,” Arizona State head coach Herm Edwards said, per Edward Aschoff of ESPN.com.
Harry should also come into the draft healthy, as he has signed with an agent and skipped the Las Vegas Bowl matchup with Fresno State.
With all of this said, it’s hard to envision the Arizona Cardinals or New York Jets passing on elite defensive talent at the very top of the draft. This leaves Harry available for the Buffalo Bills at No. 7.
Herbert Staying Put
Quarterback-needy teams probably wouldn’t mind if Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert decided to skip the draft, so long as he was actually eligible for it. According to Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman, however, Herbert will instead return to Oregon for another season:
Bruce Feldman @BruceFeldmanCFB
Big news for #Oregon and the NFL draft: Ducks QB Justin Herbert is returning for his senior season in 2019.
This may well work out for Herbert, who was considered by many to be the top option in this year’s draft class. However, it’s bad news for teams actually looking to grab a potential franchise signal-caller. New players are sure to emerge between now and draft weekend, but this isn’t considered a quarterback-rich class like 2018’s.
The New York Giants, for example, may have bypassed a quarterback anyway because Eli Manning has been playing well down the stretch. With Herbert out, though, it’s highly unlikely they’ll take a quarterback in the top 10.
This doesn’t mean some team won’t grab a quarterback early—possibly even in the top 10. That’s great news for quarterbacks like Dwayne Haskins and Drew Lock, who now become the draft’s top quarterback options.
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The Jets didn’t draft Josh Allen the quarterback last April, they opted for USC product Sam Darnold. However, they could still end up with a Josh Allen on their team—Kentucky’s Josh Allen, one of the top defenders in the country.
Allen, who has 14.0 sacks and 18.5 tackles for a loss, has the skill set of a top-tier NFL edge-rusher.
“You’re always looking for the biggest, the strongest, the most athletic guys that you can use in a variety of different ways,” Penn State head coach James Franklin said, per Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I think he’s a really good example of that.”
If not for the presence of Bosa, Allen would probably have a bigger presence in the first-pick conversation. He certainly would help the Jets’ chances in the AFC East. He would give them the coveted franchise quarterback and pass-rusher duo—much like the rising Cleveland Browns appear to have in Myles Garrett and Baker Mayfield.
Also, we’d likely get years of watching Josh Allen trying to sack Josh Allen twice a season.