2019-02-13 by W.M.
NFL Mock Draft 2019: Latest Predictions for Top-Tier 1st-Round Prospects | Bleacher Report
Cooper Neill/Associated Press
The NFL draft is the highlight of the offseason—both because it has a massive impact on the future of the league, and because it’s an ever-changing entity. While the crop of draft-eligible prospects doesn’t really change between the end of the collegiate season and the draft, the view of which players are at the top will.
Between all-star events like the Senior Bowl and the East-West Shrine Game, the scouting combine and pro days, there are plenty of opportunities for players to have their stocks rise or fall after their college careers have ended.
Sometimes, bits of news can impact the draft picture just as dramatically. Take Kyler Murray’s recent announcement that he plans to commit to football, for example:
The Oklahoma State product and reigning Heisman-winner has been one of the top quarterback prospects for some time, but his decision to commit to the NFL—he was taken in the first round of the MLB draft—should make prospective NFL employers feel better about taking a chance on him.
Murray should be considered a top prospect, along with the players in the following first-round mock. Along with these recent predictions, you’ll find a look at some of the latest draft-related buzz.
2019 NFL Mock Draft Round 1
1. Arizona Cardinals: Josh Allen, Edge, Kentucky
2. San Francisco 49ers: Nick Bosa, Edge, Ohio State
3. New York Jets: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
4. Oakland Raiders: Rashan Gary, Edge, Michigan
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
6. New York Giants: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
8. Detroit Lions: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
9. Buffalo Bills: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
10. Denver Broncos: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
11. Cincinnati Bengals: Devin White, LB, LSU
12. Green Bay Packers: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
13. Miami Dolphins: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
14. Atlanta Falcons: Clelin Ferrell, Edge, Clemson
15. Washington Redskins: Brian Burns, Edge, Florida State
16. Carolina Panthers: Yodny Cajuste, OT, West Virginia
17. Cleveland Browns: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
18. Minnesota Vikings: Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma
19. Tennessee Titans: Montez Sweat, Edge, Mississippi State
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
21. Seattle Seahawks: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
22. Baltimore Ravens: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Mississippi
23. Houston Texans: Greg Little, OT, Mississippi
24. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago): Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
25. Philadelphia Eagles: Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson
26. Indianapolis Colts: Jachai Polite, Edge, Florida
27. Oakland Raiders (from Dallas): Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
28. Los Angeles Chargers: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
29. Kansas City Chiefs: Taylor Rapp, S, Washington
30. Green Bay Packers (from New Orleans): T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
31. Los Angeles Rams: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
32. New England Patriots: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
Murray Hires a Football Agent
As previously mentioned, Murray has started his commitment to football. What teams will likely take seriously, though, is the fact that Murray has hired a football agent. According to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, he has signed with Erik Burkhardt of Select Sports Group:
Jason La Canfora @JasonLaCanfora
Kyler Murray has hired a football agent. He has signed with Erik Burkhardt of Select Sports Group.
This is significant because Burkhardt specializes in NFL contracts. While it may be easy to assume that sports agents are versed in all leagues—or that there isn’t a significant difference between them—this isn’t the case.
Contract language varies from league to league, as to negotiations tactics and goals. For example, Murray’s previous agent, Scott Boras, is a baseball specialist. He’s negotiated deals for top players like Max Scherzer and Bryce Harper, but he doesn’t have experience handling NFL contracts.
Whereas baseball contracts are, for the most part, fully guarantees, NFL contracts are not. There are incentives, injury-only guarantees and—in Murray’s case, as a rookie—offset language to sort out. Hiring Burkhardt represents a big step toward committing to Murray’s first NFL deal.
A’s Not Willing to Just Let Murray Go
While Murray appears to be working toward an NFL career, he still has the matter of his baseball contract to sort out. He was selected in the first round of the MLB draft by the Oakland Athletics, and he is under contract with the team.
According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, Murray will have to pay back nearly $1.3 million to the A’s:
However, Oakland may not be satisfied with just monetary compensation. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic has reported that the A’s are determined to still sign Murray and that the team could offer him more money than his current $4.6 million deal offers.
This means that an open commitment to football and hiring a football agent may not necessarily guarantee that Murray plays in the NFL. Oakland spent a first-round pick on Murray and would understandably like to see him play for it. Boras, who stands to make money off Murray’s baseball deal, would also like to see Murray play baseball.
While Murray’s plan may be to play football, there could still be a behind-the-scenes tug-of-war over Murray’s future throughout the draft process.
Is Haskins a Better Fit for the Giants?
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press
Murray should be a top option for quarterback-needy teams, but possibly not for the New York Giants. The Giants, who will at some point need a successor to Eli Manning, appear to be looking for a bigger signal-caller.
Murray is listed at 5’10”. According to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.com, a team source has described Murray as “a little too small” for New York.
This could mean the Giants are leaning more toward Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, another top quarterback prospect. The New Jersey native is keen on playing in New York, and he also happens to measure in at a more archetypal 6’3″.
Any quarterback drafted by the Giants would likely have to spend at least part of the 2019 season learning behind Manning. Fortunately for New York—if it does indeed have interest in Haskins—this shouldn’t be a problem.
“I would love it,” Haskins said of potentially backing up Manning, per Paul Schwartz of the New York Post.
While Murray may be off the table, Haskins appears to be pounding on it.