Monday night's College Football Playoff championship game between Clemson and Alabama wasn't just a culmination of the 2018 college football season. It also happened to be a really nice preview of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Though Trevor Lawrence can't be drafted yet, there are a LOAD of guys on both sides of the ball for Clemson and Bama -- although mostly on defense for each team -- that will be taken early in this offseason's draft.
I'll be doing mock drafts once every two weeks this year but if you want to dive in on some deeper draft talk and catch up on the Clemson-Alabama matchup, check out the discussion between Ryan Wilson and I on the Pick Six Podcast, CBS' daily NFL show, hosted by yours truly and featuring Wilson once a week to break down the NFL Draft. Subscribe here and check out below as I make Dexter Lawrence, who didn't even play in the game, a top-10 pick.
1. Arizona Cardinals
Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State. Ideally Arizona would like to figure out a way to get some protection for Josh Rosen and maybe even some weapons. But at the end of the day, you can't overthink things and really just need to take the best player available. Bosa is that player and the Cardinals need to take him first if they don't trade down.
2. San Francisco 49ers
Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan. The 49ers are in a weird spot here, because they don't have an immediate need that necessarily matches up with their roster. They have plenty of interior linemen and they have a quarterback. They could use some additional help at edge rusher however. Is Gary too similar to Solomon Thomas? Maybe. I just don't see them reaching.
3. New York Jets
Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama. The Jets have shown a willingness to load up on defensive linemen and Williams is a STUD. Plug him on the line with Leonard Williams and you can start cooking pretty easily. Williams is a mammoth, muscular man who has uncanny speed and impressive hands.
4. Oakland Raiders
Josh Allen, OLB, Kentucky. Not sure if you heard, but the Raiders traded an All-Pro defensive lineman in Khalil Mack before last season and then Jon Gruden spent all year complaining about a lack of edge rush. He produced 31 sacks in the last three years, including 17 in his final season with Kentucky.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Devin Bush, LB, Michigan. The Bucs are such a weird team. What do they even need? Besides a time machine to go back and draft Derwin James? How are they not better? Bruce Arians' influence on this pick will be extremely interesting.
6. New York Giants
Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson. I'm firmly in the camp that we'll see Lawrence go in the top 10 when all is said and done and I could see Dave Gettleman deciding that Lawrence is the best player on his board and grabbing him here regardless of their depth on the defensive line.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State. Jacksonville, as of this mock, doesn't have much of a choice at the quarterback position. We don't know what they're going to do in free agency, so we have to give them a quarterback while we can. Haskins looks like the best option to replace Blake Bortles.
8. Detroit Lions
Clelin Ferrell, DL, Clemson. The Lions traded for Snacks Harrison during the season, but don't be shocked if Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn continue to stock defensive linemen, especially in this draft, which is loaded with them.
9. Buffalo Bills
Jonah Williams, OL, Alabama. There might be interest in adding a weapon for Josh Allen here, but if Williams falls to the Bills at nine, they might be hard-pressed to pass up on the draft's best offensive lineman.
10. Denver Broncos
Greedy Williams, CB, LSU. Man is this an impossible projection, considering the Broncos don't have a coach in place right now. Chris Harris is headed into the final year of his deal and we don't know if he'll stick around to pair up with Bradley Roby. Adding Williams now gives them some flexibility.
11. Cincinnati Bengals
Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson. The Bengals are also in the market for a new coach with Marvin Lewis gone. Lewis' departure, after 16 years, means there could be wholesale changes to whatever is happening in Cincinnati. So for now I'm just going to give them the best player on the board.
12. Green Bay Packers
Ed Oliver, DT, Houston. This feels like a terrible fit! But I don't know what the Packers are doing these days and I could see them trying to get some splash and add an impact, value guy like Oliver here after loading up on defensive backs the last two years.
13. Miami Dolphins
Will Grier, QB, West Virginia. We don't know who is coaching the Dolphins yet, but there's a good chance whoever it is will be interested in acquiring a new quarterback to replace Ryan Tannehill. Grier showed a lot of flash last season as a guy who can make NFL throws. Bonus: he has the same last name as Dolphins GM Chris Grier. If there was a Bill Brinson in the draft and I was a GM I would totally draft him.
14. Atlanta Falcons
Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida. The Falcons fired all their coordinators after a disappointing season, and you best believe that there will be an emphasis on improving the defense this year. With Dan Quinn having roster/personnel control, I would expect him to draft some more defensive help.
15. Washington Redskins
Daniel Jones, QB, Duke. Mark this as my "I mock it every single time I do a mock" mock draft pick. I think the Redskins are going to need to a draft a quarterback early if they want to compete this year and over the long haul. Jones just fits for them where they are I think.
16. Carolina Panthers
Greg Little, OL, Ole Miss. The Panthers have to get some more protection for Cam Newton, even if drafting an offensive lineman in the first round doesn't necessarily fit with what Marty Hurney's done so far in his drafting career.
17. Cleveland Browns
Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State. What do the Browns need? This is a pretty solid roster right now, and my guess is John Dorsey drafts in a way that will fortify the defensive presence up front as opposed to going strictly need.
18. Minnesota Vikings
Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma. Fascinated to see what the Vikings do with this pick, because Mike Zimmer would just keep drafting defensive players. But Rick Spielman is the GM and he probably wants to protect his $84 million quarterback Kirk Cousins. We'll see how it works out.
19. Tennessee Titans
D'Andre Walker, OLB, Georgia. This defense was outstanding for the Titans last year, but they're going to need to find some more pass rushers at some point in time, so why not do it at the draft and grab a guy with 24.5 sacks the last two years.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers
Byron Murphy, CB, Washington. The Steelers offense will be just fine for the foreseeable future, but Pittsburgh needs to add more juice to the secondary by getting some cornerbacks. They take a dip into DBU here.
21. Seattle Seahawks
D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss. Good luck ever guessing what the Seahawks will do in the first round of the draft. I don't think they need help in the passing game necessarily, but they might want to develop a big, speedy target for Russell Wilson.
22. Baltimore Ravens
N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State. Lamar Jackson drew more attention for his rushing, but the Ravens need a long-term answer to pair with the quarterback as he develops as a passer. Given Ozzie Newsome's struggles with wide receivers in the early rounds, it'll be curious to see how Eric DeCosta handles it in his first draft.
23. Houston Texans
Jawaan Taylor, OL, Florida. How on earth is this anything other than an offensive lineman? The Texans could go with a pass rusher if Jadeveon Clowney walks, but they badly need to give Deshaun Watson some protection after seeing him sacked 62 times last year.
24. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago)
Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama. Get VERY familiar with the Raiders roster if you're interested in mock drafts, because Oakland has three freaking picks in the first round this year. They could shoot their shot at a quarterback here, but I think they might just keep piling up defensive guys and hope something can break in a couple of years. Thompson would be a steal here if he fell this far.
25. Philadelphia Eagles
Zach Allen, DE, Boston College. Only 16.5 sacks for Allen the last three years at BC, but the Eagles are a team that needs to get some help rushing the passer with Chris Long and Brandon Graham both potentially leaving after 2018.
26. Indianapolis Colts
Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State. Harmon is a DUDE and I could actually see him go earlier if a team needs a wide receiver. He'd be a perfect pairing with Andrew Luck, not to mention an excellent complement to T.Y. Hilton.
27. Oakland Raiders (via Dallas)
Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State. MORE EDGE? The Raiders need more pass rushers and have to keep stocking the defense. It would be shocking if Jon Gruden didn't load up on defensive help in this draft. Hopefully Mike Mayock releases his annual rankings ahead of the draft so we can figure out who they'll take.
28. Los Angeles Chargers
Devin White, LB, LSU. The Chargers played seven defensive backs on more than 90 percent of their snaps against the Ravens and it was a really smart move, but it was also because they didn't have many healthy linebackers. They could certainly use a player like White this late in the first round, but he could fall because of positional value.
29. New England Patriots
Dre'mont Jones, DL, Ohio State. When in doubt give the Patriots the powerful guy up front who can make an impact in Bill Belichick's scheme. It's too early to be trading down in a mock draft (maybe in two weeks).
30. Los Angeles Rams
Jaylon Ferguson, EDGE, Louisiana Tech. The Rams have a pretty good defense but still need help on the edge, and adding someone in this spot -- assuming they don't trade their first round pick for a player in the offseason -- would give them a little juice off the edge.
31. Kansas City Chiefs
Jeffery Simmons, DL, Mississippi State. Whatever the Chiefs do with this pick, it needs to involve defense and when it involves defense it better involve someone who can help stop the run.
32. Green Bay Packers (via New Orleans)
Joshua Jacobs, RB, Alabama. The Packers need more weapons for Aaron Rodgers? Sure they do! Matt LaFleur is going to be tasked with making this offense go and making it go fast. Why not add a running back who do some of the wildcat stuff LaFleur had Derrick Henry doing last year with the Titans to make converting first downs a little bit easier.