2019 NFL Draft: The 32 surprise picks that could shake up the first round, including no Kyler Murray at No. 1
The draft is filled with shocking developments every year, and 2019 won't be any different
The 2019 NFL Draft is just days away and if we're certain of anything it's that there are bound to be one, two -- five -- surprising developments in the first round, possibly among the first few selections. It's impossible to determine what every NFL teams are thinking, especially when it comes to how they value a decidedly weak quarterback class, but below we came up with 32 surprising picks that could shake things up.
When draft finally does arrive, you should join us right here on CBS Sports HQ (or download the CBS Sports app for free on any mobile or connected TV device) to stream our live coverage of all three rounds, where we'll break down the picks, trades and everything you need to know during draft weekend.
(Note: These 32 picks correspond with each pick in the first round, which means that the Cowboys, Saints, Bears and Browns aren't included. And since this isn't a mock draft, players can be used more than once.)
Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama
|Devin White, LB, LSU |
For months, the expectation has been that the Cardinals would take Kyler Murray and the 49ers would take Nick Bosa. But San Francisco has selected defensive linemen in three of the four previous drafts and while Bosa -- or even Quinnen Williams makes sense -- bolstering linebackers group would be, well, surprising with the No. 2 overall pick. But Kwon Alexander, signed this offseason to a four-year deal, is coming off an ACL injury. And despite his athleticism, he's been a replacement-level linebacker, according to Pro Football Focus' grades. White is a sideline-to-sideline thumper who ran a 4.42 40 at the combine, and along with Fred Warner would give the 49ers two young playmakers in the middle of that defense.
|Ed Oliver, DL, Houston |
Leonard Williams and Steve McClendon are in the final years of their contracts and while the Jets have need at edge rusher and offensive line, Ed Oliver is a difference maker. He lined up over the center in college -- and was unblockable -- but he'll primarily make his living as a three-technique in the NFL. He's also one of our favorite players in this draft class and is a legit top-five pick; don't forget, before Oliver missed time during the 2018 season with a knee injury he was regularly considered to be the first or second (after Bosa) name to be called in the 2019 NFL Draft.
| Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State |
We've been doing mock drafts since September and Nick Bosa has been the No. 1 or No. 2 pick 99 percent of the time. There is a scenario where he "falls" here to the Raiders: The Cardinals take Kyler Murray, the 49ers take Quinnen Williams, the Jets trade down and whomever trades up takes a quarterback. That leaves Bosa, who'd fill the biggest void on the Raiders' roster: pass rusher. The team traded Khalil Mack last offseason and then cut Bruce Irvin midway through 2018. Added bonus: Oakland wouldn't have to part with any picks to land him and it could continue to rebuild the roster with the 24th, 27th and 35th selections. Note to Jon Gruden: In order for this scenario to play out, you can't trade up to get Kyler Murray.
| Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky |
Jason Pierre-Paul's 12.5 sacks in 2018 matched his highest total since 2014 but he graded out as the No. 81 edge rusher, according to Pro Football Focus. Put another way: the Bucs would love to land another pass rusher. Allen is regularly off the board by the third pick in our mock drafts and for good reason: He's an physical marvel who gained 15 pounds of muscle last offseason, returned to Kentucky and regularly took over games, and by December he was not only considered a first-round pick but a top-3 talent. The pre-draft process has only confirmed as much, which is why Tampa Bay would love to see him on the board here. But just like Bosa above, a run on quarterbacks would push Allen down the board a few spots, right into the waiting arms of new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.
|Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama |
General manager Dave Gettleman loves big guys -- on both sides of the ball. And while the Giants really, really need a quarterback, we won't be surprised if they target help along the offensive or defensive line with this pick. Ed Oliver has been linked to the team but only because he might be available. Here's how New York could land Quinnen Williams: Kyler Murray goes to Arizona, Nick Bosa goes to San Francisco, a team trades up for Dwayne Haskins at No. 3, the Raiders take edge rusher Josh Allen at No. 4 and the Bucs grab linebacker Devin White, whom they've loved for some time, a pick later. All that's left for Gettleman to do is phone in Williams' name with the added bonus that he won't have to explain why the team passed on Haskins because he's already off the board.
|Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma |
Even if the Jaguars had the first overall pick, they probably wouldn't take Murray -- but that doesn't mean they shouldn't. Nick Foles isn't a long-term solution, and there's no guarantee he'll even be able to string together four good months of football. Plus, if the idea is to fill up the stadium, what better way to do that than with the most exciting player in this draft class? So how does it happen? The Cardinals take Quinnen Williams, the 49ers grab Nick Bosa, the Jets go with Josh Allen, the Raiders Brian Burns, the Bucs land Devon White and the Giants select Ed Oliver. Is it likely? But if teams truly aren't impressed with this quarterbacks class, there's a 25 percent chance Murray could slip to this spot -- and the Jags would be foolish to not seriously consider taking him.
|Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky |
The Lions would love to land a tight end, but probably not this high. That doesn't mean one won't already be off the board, and that would inform Detroit's decision at No. 8. The Jags, who have hitched their wagon to Nick Foles for 2019, need both a right tackle and a tight end. If they pass on the former, they could draft Iowa's T.J. Hockenson at No. 7 and it wouldn't be completely shocking. But that decision, coupled with a run on quarterbacks ahead of Jacksonville, could force Josh Allen down the board. Some combination of Murray, Bosa, Williams, Oliver, White, Haskins and Hockenson would put the Lions on the clock and Allen on the board. Done and done.
|Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma |
We had the Bills taking left tackle Andre Dillard out of Washington State in , and there's every reason to believe he'll be available here. But Cody Ford offers more versatility -- both because he's an accomplished run blocker and also because he can play guard or tackle. That said, Ford finding his way into the top 10 would be the surprise; he's typically been mock-drafted anywhere from 15 to 30. But Buffalo, who have needs on the defensive line (Kyle Williams retired and Ed Oliver, should he be around, or Christian Wilkins make a lot of sense) are reportedly interested in beefing up the offensive line. And it makes sense; second-year quarterback Josh Allen took a beating last season and if the plan is to promote his growth and maturation in Year 2 then keeping him upright should be a priority. It'll be interesting to see what the Bills do if Oliver is on the board here; do they pass on him for an offensive lineman or do they make the seamless transition from Kyle Williams?
|D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss |
The Broncos would be wise to target a quarterback -- except that John Elway, two-time Super Bowl champion and Hall of Fame quarterback -- is notoriously bad when it comes to identifying talent at the position. It's why we have little confidence that 34-year-old Joe Flacco will work out. But to give him every opportunity, the Broncos take explosive wide receiver D.K. Metcalf at No. 10, even with bigger needs along the offensive line, the defensive front seven and even the secondary. Second-year wideout Courtland Sutton is primed for a good 2019 but Emmanuel Sanders is coming off a late-season Achilles injury. Metcalf is a vertical threat who will stress secondaries with his top-end speed, and he'd pair nicely with Flacco, who loves throwing bombs when given time in the pocket.
|A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss |
Let's just say Bengals fans weren't pumped when the team signed right tackle Bobby Hart to a three-year deal. The implication, of course, is that moving swiftly to find his replacement would be a high priority. Oklahoma's Cody Ford would fill that need, as would Alabama's Jonah Williams. Other options at No. 11 include a linebacker to replace departed Vontaze Burfict, or a quarterback for new coach Zac Taylor to mold however he sees fit. But if Taylor is all in on Andy Dalton, at least for the 2019 season, why not give him one more playmaker? A.J. Green is still one of the 10 best wideouts in the league and Tyler Boyd is an exciting young player, but why not give Dalton a big middle-of-the-field target in Brown, whose size and speed reminds us of JuJu Smith-Schuster? Brown is a high-volume, yards-after-the-catch receiver who can provide Dalton the security blanket he long enjoyed with tight end Tyler Eifert (who has re-upped with the team but has been plagued by injuries).
|Drew Lock, QB, Missouri |
This would be the biggest surprise of the draft. In 2005, the Packers settled for Rodgers (at least according former team executive Andrew Brandt) and in retrospect that worked out pretty well. In real time, things were rocky -- Brett Favre didn't appreciate being forced out of town and Rodgers didn't enjoy being stuck on the bench for three seasons behind Favre. But 14 years later, the Packers have a Lombardi Trophy and have been one of the league's best teams. Also worth noting: Favre was 36 when Green Bay took Rodgers. Rodgers will turn 36 in December. Plus, if new coach Matt LaFleur (who is just four years Rodgers' senior) wants his own quarterback, drafting one makes sense. And in this scenario, Drew Lock, the strong-armed former Missouri standout, wouldn't be forced into action; like Rodgers, he could learn from the sidelines and be eased into the job. This is another reason to take him in Round 1: the fifth-year option. Of course, Rodgers will take personally any attempt to replace him, which is something the team would have to weigh -- just like they did with Favre back in '05.
|Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida |
It sure sounds like the Dolphins won't take a quarterback in the first round and if that's indeed the plan, they better go to great lengths to protect Ryan Fitzpatrick. Other than replacing Ryan Tannehill long term, Miami also has needs at edge rusher, in the secondary and at wide receiver. Arguably their biggest need, however, is along the offensive line, particularly the right side. And they'd no doubt love to land Florida right tackle Jawaan Taylor, who very well could be the first offensive lineman to hear his name called. Here's the thing though: He could be gone by the No. 6 pick. But if these names go off the board No. 1-12, the Dolphins will find Taylor sitting there at No. 13: Kyler, Bosa, Allen, Williams, White, Oliver, Hockenson, Burns, Christian Wilkins, Lock, Devin Bush, Brian Burns. And if #TankforTua really is the quarterback strategy, the Dolphins will have on fewer issue to address with Taylor locking down right tackle for the next decade.
|Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State |
Jeffery Simmons tore his ACL in February, ahead of the combine, and instead of taking part in the pre-draft workouts with the rest of the 2019 NFL Draft class, he was relegated to surgery and rehab. But here's the thing: Simmons is legitimately a top-five talent and had he remained healthy he'd be long gone by then. We know the Falcons really like Ed Oliver but he won't make it this far down the draft board. But Simmons, whose injury could see him slip into Round 2, could be here. And while he won't be available to return to the field until November at the earliest, he's a bona fide game changer and well worth the risk.
|Noah Fant, TE, Iowa |
Everyone is expecting the Redskins to target either a quarterback or wide receiver, and for good reason. But if the quarterbacks are off the board at this point, Case Keenum may be the answer in 2019 by default. And while Marquise Brown could be an obvious candidate here, if the team has any concerns about his foot injury that kept him out of the pre-draft process, they could choose to go in another direction. In this case, that means adding another athletic, play-making tight end. Noah Fant reminds us a lot of Evan Engram and it may seem redundant to add him to a group that already includes Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis. But here's the deal: Davis is 35 and Reed has battled injuries in recent seasons. What better way to make Keenum's life easier than to give him a middle-of-the-field playmaker who can take a short pass to the house with regularity -- especially given that Washington's offense line ranked 24th in pass protection last season, according to Football Outsiders.
| Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma |
In 2017, the Panthers used a first-round pick on running back Christian McCaffrey. Last year it was wide receiver D.J. Moore. And in 2019, they take another skill-position player: Marquise Brown, who was the fastest player in college last season with the ball in his hands. He's only 5-foot-9 and doesn't even weigh 170 pounds, but Brown is reminiscent of Tyreek Hill and DeSean Jackson. Yes, Carolina needs offensive linemen and pass rushers but you can find both after Round 1. What you won't find, however, is someone who possesses all of Brown's skills. Imagine the rest of the NFC South trying to game plan for McCaffrey, Moore AND Brown, all while having a healthy Cam Newton under center?
|Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State |
Dalton Risner isn't a sexy pick but a) he fills a huge need and b) taking him here means the Giants aren't using the pick on Daniel Jones, who we like -- as a second-round pick. Going back to the fall, Risner has been mentioned as a pro-ready guard but he had a fantastic season at right tackle, including his strong showing against Mississippi State's Montez Sweat early in the season. We're convinced Risner can play right tackle at a high level in the NFL, and if needed, he can kick inside to guard, and even center. The Giants spent a lot of money last offseason on Nate Solder to play left tackle and they drafted Will Hernandez to play left guard. This offseason they acquired right guard Kevin Zeitler and in Risner they'd have the right tackle spot locked down for the foreseeable future. Because if New York is rolling with Eli Manning for 2018 and beyond, it's imperative to, you know, keep him upright. If the Giants come away from the first round with Quinnen Williams and Dalton Risner, that's a resoundingly successful first day.
|T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa |
Kirk Cousins had a forgettable 2018 season in part because the Vikings' offensive line was in shambles for much of the season. So it stands to reason that they should focus on fixing the line above all else. But what if Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson somehow makes his way to the middle of Round 1? It's definitely possible, especially if quarterbacks start flying off the board. Which could mean the Vikings will have a top-10 talent staring them in the face when they go on the clock. If we're Rick Spielman we're not even hesitating; for starters, Kyle Rudolph is in the final year of his deal. And even if Rudolph is re-signed (and it sounds like the team wants him back) what's wrong with two playmakers at the position? Hockenson has drawn comparisons to Travis Kelce, and while we wouldn't go that far, no one should be passing on that type of talent for an offensive lineman.
|Drew Lock, QB, Missouri |
This would truly be out of left field. In part because the Titans didn't spend any time with the top-tier quarterbacks during the pre-draft process and the ones they brought in for private workouts are Day 3-at-best prospects. That said, Marcus Mariota, the former No. 2 overall pick, hasn't lived up to expectations, mostly because he can't stay healthy. And if the organization is of the opinion that that won't change, preparing for life after Mariota makes some sense. There's also this: the Titans are paying Mariota $20.9 million in 2019 and they'll either have to give him a long-term contract or franchise him in 2020. If they're not inclined to do so, drafting a quarterback would be on the table. Lock has the best arm in this draft class and he's surprisingly athletic. He struggled early in 2018 -- mostly due to learning a new offense -- but played really well over the final month of the season. He also was the best quarterback at the Senior Bowl and for good or bad has drawn comparisons to Jay Cutler, who played at Vanderbilt, just down the road from Nissan Stadium.
| Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State |
The Steelers need a lot of help on defense, starting with trying to replace the irreplaceable Ryan Shazier at linebacker, followed by adding depth at edge rusher (Bud Dupree is in the final year of his deal) and cornerback (2016 first-round pick Artie Burns has not, to put it kindly, worked out). But the team also traded away Antonio Brown and even at 31 he's still one of the NFL's most productive players. Can JuJu Smith-Schuster handle the promotion to No. 1 receiver? We know what would ease that transition: A physical freak lining up along with him. Butler is 6-foot-5, can run by anybody you put in front of him and has a huge catch radius. He does occasionally suffer from concentration drops but when he's focused he is unstoppable.
|D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss |
The Seahawks' first-round needs have generally centered around defense -- particularly, either the defensive line or the secondary. In fact, in our last seven mock drafts dating back to early March we've had them selecting Christian Wilkins, Rashan Gary or Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Juan Thornhill and Nasir Adderley. But Russell Wilson just signed a contract that made him the NFL's highest paid quarterback and while Tyler Lockett is a proper deep threat, Doug Baldwin has battled injuries and it's unclear if he'll ever return to the form that made him one of the league's most underrated players. Metcalf is a huge downfield target with 4.33 speed. He's also extremely raw and durability is a concern, but in terms of sheer athleticism alone, Metcalf is the best wide receiver prospect in this class and explains why CBSSports.com's Jamey Eisenberg had the Seahawks taking Metcalf in on CBS Sports HQ.
|Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama |
The Ravens lost C.J. Mosley, Terrell Suggs, Za'Darius Smith and Eric Weddle to free agency and it would stand to reason that they would use their first-round pick to restock the defense. Plus, the offense already added Mark Ingram to bolster a run game that took off when Lamar Jackson became the starter. Wouldn't Josh Jacobs, the best running back in this class, be redundant? Not necessarily, especially since Jacobs is also an adept receiver coming out of the backfield and could serve as a safety valve for Jackson and he continues to grow in the passing game. Not only that but Ingram, 29, signed a three-year deal and there's no guarantee he's around that long.
|David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State |
Look, if an offensive lineman worth a first-round pick is on the board here the Texans HAVE to take him. Deshaun Watson was sacked a whopping 62 times last season and that is not sustainable. But what if all the first-round O-linemen are off the board, then what? Should Houston reach anyway? Of course not. They could choose to address cornerback, or even tight end. Or they could give Watson one of our favorite players in this class: Iowa State running back David Montgomery. As it stands, Alfred Blue has joined the Jaguars and Lamar Miller and D'Onta Foreman remain. Both are good, reliable players. Montgomery is a workhorse, one-cut-and-go runner whose style we'd best describe as "angry." Imagine an offense that featured DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller, Watson and Montgomery -- and the Texans could use their six remaining draft picks on restocking the offensive line.
Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
| Miles Sanders, RB, Penn State|
Yes, the Eagles traded for Jordan Howard, and yes, running backs have been devalued over the last decade or so. But much like the case for David Montgomery to the Texans above, Sanders makes the Eagles a better football team right now. And unlike Montgomery, Sanders, who sat behind Saquon Barkley in 2017, has very low mileage. He's also a more dynamic running back who can run patterns out of the backfield, line up in the slot, and when targeted he shows soft hands and the ability to make defenders miss in open space. Basically, he's a younger, bigger, faster version of Darren Sproles.
| N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State |
If we were general manager Chris Ballard we'd take Notre Dame defensive tackle Jerry Tillery here and call it a day. He's that good. But this is supposed to be a "shocking" selection and we've had Tillery to Indy in most of our weekly mock drafts over the last month. N'Keal Harry, meanwhile, would give Andrew Luck yet another dynamic weapon. Harry, who could be destined for Round 2 because there are questions about whether he can consistently get separation, reminds us of JuJu Smith-Schuster. He can line up anywhere, has a huge catch radius and is one of the best contested catchers in this class. Imagine an offense with him, T.Y. Hilton and Eric Ebron -- and a healthy Lock entering Year 2 -- and it's hard not to pick the Colts in the AFC South.
Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan
|Will Grier, QB, West Virginia |
As we head into 2019 NFL Draft week, it seems like four quarterbacks are destined for Round 1. Will Grier, who starred at West Virginia the last two seasons, isn't one of the four mostly because of questions about his arm strength and his consistency. But just because the draft media isn't sold on a player doesn't mean one NFL team has a diametrically opposing view. The Chargers met with Grier at the Senior Bowl, and they've met with several other quarterbacks in the weeks since so while it appears Philip Rivers could play forever, the organization is making contingency plans. And Grier, who does a lot of things well, could benefit from sitting for a season or two with little-to-no pressure to perform -- just like Rivers did more than a decade ago. The Chargers have bigger needs along the offensive and defensive lines but none of that matters if you don't have a franchise quarterback.
|Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State |
Here's the deal: We don't know what fate awaits Tyreek Hill. The Chiefs need a cornerback, an edge rusher and a linebacker, but they may also need to replace Hill. Campbell ran a 4.31 40 at the combine and while he ran mostly underneath routes at Ohio State, he has the raw speed to run by anybody. And if anybody can help him reach his potential, it's Andy Reid calling plays for Patrick Mahomes.
Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina
|Chase Winovich, EDGE, Michigan |
The Rams added Clay Matthews and re-upped Dante Fowler, but Winovich is an under-the-radar pass rusher who could end up going in the first round. If that happens, Michigan almost certainly will have three Wolverines defenders among the first 32 picks -- Winovich, Devin Bush and Rashan Gary. So what does the 6-foot-2, 256-pound defensive end bring to the table? A non-stop motor, a quick first step and unmatched tenacity. He also ran a 4.59 40 at the combine, and more importantly, he'd give the Rams something they lacked a season ago: An actual pass rush.
| Daniel Jones, QB, Duke |
Tom Brady will be 42 next season and he very well could play forever. But that hasn't stopped the Patriots from drafting quarterbacks in the past, including Jimmy Garoppolo in Round 2 back in 2014, whom they sent to the 49ers for a second-rounder during the 2017 season. Jones, who played for David Cutcliffe at Duke and whose game has drawn comparisons to Peyton and Eli Manning, does a lot of things well. He's a well-trained, intriguing prospect who feels like a New England Patriot. Whether that means sitting behind Brady for the next 2-3 seasons or actually replacing him at some point in the future is the big unknown. But the Pats have 12 picks in this draft, including six in the first three rounds, so they won't hesitate to take a player they really like, even if it's not an immediate need.
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