2019 NFL Mock Draft: Jaguars, Dolphins trade into top five; Broncos snag QB at end of Round 1
Plus the Steelers and Raiders agree on an Antonio Brown trade and more mock madness
In, I had the Jaguars trading up to No. 4 to select Dwayne Haskins. Because mock drafts this early are nothing if not thought experiments to see how the board could fall come April, I wanted to switch things up this time around.
Instead, I had the Jaguars trade up to No. 3.
Who knows if they're going to fall in love with Haskins over the predraft process? But it's undeniable that they need to fix the QB position to return to contention, and if that means trading up to ensure they get their guy, that's what they should do.
Another key change for this mock: Rather than sending Josh Allen to the 49ers at No. 2, I had John Lynch just go BPA and take the guy I think is the only clear blue-chipper outside of NIck Bosa. With those changes at two and three, we'll see how the mock draft unfolds differently from there.
One guy you won't find below is Kyler Murray. I'm still not sure he's going to give up baseball to play football just yet, and without that 100 percent commitment from NFL teams, I don't expect any team to use a high draft pick on him. That, like everything else associated with mock drafting, is subject to change.
1. Arizona Cardinals
Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State. Bosa has been the clear No. 1 prospect for most, if not all, of the 2018 season, and he would be a great fit opposite Chandler Jones to give the Cardinals a dangerous pass rush. I could also see them auctioning off this pick and targeting offensive line help if they move down. But someone would have to blow them away to pass on Bosa.
2. San Francisco 49ers
Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama. The 49ers would certainly prefer an edge rusher here, but if Williams establishes that he's leaps and bounds better than the rest of the prospects available, will John Lynch really be able to pass on him for less of a sure thing? We're still a long ways away from determining who emerges as the cream of the crop, but right now I have a tier drop after Bosa and Williams, and if that's ultimately what happens, Williams should be in play for the 49ers if Bosa is gone.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars (NYJ mock trade)
Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State. If the Jaguars want to ensure they get their preferred quarterback, this is at least as far as they need to move. Each of the next three teams probably think they're set at quarterback for 2019, but if Haskins blows the doors off the predraft process, who knows? Unless every quarterback falls flat over the next few months, expect some jockeying at the top of the draft to grab the No. 1 option. With this trade, the Jets help offset the cost it took to move up for Sam Darnold last year.
4. Oakland Raiders
Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky. Allen could have entered the draft last year but the odds were slim that someone would have taken him in the first round. Now, unless he has a terrible predraft season, he's almost certain to go in the top five after a year where he doubled his sack total (to 14) after adding weight.
5. Miami Dolphins (TB mock trade)
Daniel Jones, QB, Duke. Jones beat up Temple in the Independence Bowl and should be ticketed for a pick in the top half of the first round, but he has the ability to tear up the predraft process and cause a QB-needy team to jump up the board for him. After the Dolphins saw the Bills and Cardinals trade ahead of them and get their quarterbacks last year, they could decide to take the plunge, no matter the report that they're eyeing 2020 to draft a QB.
6. New York Giants
Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama. The protection on the offensive line was nothing but a rumor for much of 2018, and if the team is going to put themselves in the best position to succeed, addressing those issues should be priority No. 1. Williams doesn't have the arm length many teams crave, but he makes up for it with his technique. The best part is he doesn't have to come in as a blindside blocker with the Giants, as he can adjust to the NFL at right tackle before an eventual move to the left side in 2020 if Nate Solder doesn't live up to his contract.
7. New York Jets (JAC mock trade)
Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson. The Jets would do well to sit at No. 3 and take Allen, but if a QB-needy team bowls them over with a trade offer, why not recoup some of the draft capital they spent trading up for Sam Darnold last year? Ferrell has 36.5 tackles for loss and 21 sacks over his last two seasons, but he's also an excellent run defender and would give New York a three-down talent on the edge.
8. Detroit Lions
Greedy Williams, CB, LSU. The Lions should have the opportunity to add an impact player to their defensive line, but they also need to boost their talent in the secondary, and one way they can do that is by taking the best corner prospect in this year's draft. Williams is an excellent man cornerback who still has room to grow, and teams thinking about taking him will hope he has a Patrick Peterson-type ceiling in the NFL.
9. Buffalo Bills
Ed Oliver, DT, Houston. The Bills said goodbye to a fixture on the interior of the defensive line on Sunday in Kyle Williams, so why not use this pick on someone who can be the same thing for the next decade? Oliver is an absolute monster at blowing up inside blocking, as his 53 tackles for loss in three seasons attest. He's drawn the inevitable Aaron Donald comparisons, and while he has a ways to go to have that type of impact, that's a pretty nice ceiling on a ninth-overall pick.
10. Denver Broncos
Byron Murphy, CB, Washington. The Broncos will certainly be looking for quarterback help, but they showed last year that they won't force it if the guy they want isn't there. Murphy is a smart player capable of handling man-to-man or zone coverage, and his anticipation on routes should have him on the highlight reels often as he chases pick-sixes. Once teams get a good look at him, he could end up getting locked in to the top half of the first round.
11. Cincinnati Bengals
Devin White, MLB, LSU. The Bengals need to find a new piece to build around at linebacker, as Preston Brown is heading into free agency, Vontaze Burfict's career is in jeopardy due to his seventh concussion and 2018 third-round pick Malik Jefferson hasn't shown he can take over as "the guy." The athletic White has everything you want in a middle linebacker, and letting him man the middle while Jefferson tries to play the weak side could take this defense to the next level.
12. Green Bay Packers
Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida. The Packers are going through a coaching transition, but it looks like they'll be sticking with the 3-4, and that means Polite would be an excellent way to boost their pass rush on the edge. He had 11 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss as a junior before heading to the NFL, and while he probably isn't a three-down player initially, he addresses the biggest weakness of the Green Bay defense from Day 1.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (MIA mock trade)
Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama. The Buccaneers could try and auction off their pick to the QB-needy teams if they want to address multiple areas with premium picks, and if they move to the middle of the first round, Thompson is someone who makes sense for them. He has the opportunity to be one of the best centerfield prospects in the game, though he can man up when called upon as well. You're not going to find many with his range at the safety position.
14. Atlanta Falcons
Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan. Gary hasn't put up massive sack numbers at Michigan, but that's because that's not his job. He excels at setting the run on the edge but can still offer some pass-rush talent from the interior. He'd be a great addition to the Falcons defensive line, even if the team signs Grady Jarrett to a contract extension. With a guy as talented as Gary, you'd be wise to just take him and let the rotation shake out however it may.
15. Washington Redskins
Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma. Washington could very well decide to land their quarterback of the future with this pick, but I think it's more likely they sign an affordable veteran for 2019 and see where they are with Alex Smith next season before potentially diving into the 2020 QB class. Ford would be a massive upgrade at guard for a team that never seems to have enough healthy offensive linemen.
16. Carolina Panthers
Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss. The Panthers just saw what happens when you have major problems on the offensive line, as Cam Newton was limited by a shoulder injury in the second half that ultimately caused him to be shut down early. Daryl Williams and Ryan Kalil are free agents, and Matt Kalil has no business starting even when healthy. The Panthers have to go best offensive lineman available if they care about Newton's health at all moving forward.
17. Cleveland Browns
Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia. Baker has experience playing in all types of coverages, and while he didn't post gaudy interception totals at Georgia, his ball skills are top-notch and he's a disruptive force for receivers trying to make a play. The Browns hit a home run by taking Denzel Ward in last year's draft, and Baker gives them a nasty 1-2 punch at the position on what could be a dominant defense in 2019.
18. Minnesota Vikings
Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida. Taylor could rocket up boards if he tests well over the next few months, but at bare minimum I expect him to go in the middle of the first round with the crushing need for offensive line around the league. He could develop at tackle or move inside to guard but, surprise, the Vikings need upgrades in both spots. I'd give him a shot at right tackle to start and see how his athleticism translates.
19. Tennessee Titans
Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State. The Titans smartly started building for the future of their edge rush in the last draft by taking Harold Landry, and now they give him a running mate with Brian Orakpo retiring and Derrick Morgan a free agent. There's no question what you bring Burns in to do: get after the quarterback. He's an ideal fit for a 3-4 team at his size, but his explosiveness will make him difficult to handle for all but the most athletic of offensive tackles.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers
Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State. This isn't the Steelers' biggest need, but having Simmons fall out of the top half of the draft would be too big a steal to pass up. He's disruptive as a penetrator, and while he doesn't have the size to be a true nose tackle, he was used that way by Mississippi State and has experience dealing with double teams. And he still managed 27.5 tackles for loss in his last two seasons.
21. Seattle Seahawks
Devin Bush, LB, Michigan. K.J. Wright is heading into free agency, leaving the Seahawks with a massive need at the position next to Bobby Wagner. Enter Bush, who can play on all three downs and is a great mover in open space who can chase down the ball-carrier.
22. Baltimore Ravens
Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State. Sweat might not be a prototypical 4-3 defensive end at his size, but that's where he plays his best and that's how his NFL team will likely use him. Sweat has posted double-digit sacks in back-to-back seasons and is also a quality run defender, so if you look past his size and slightly advanced age (he'll be 23 as a rookie), there's plenty to love.
23. Houston Texans
Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama. With Jacobs declaring for the draft, he should be considered the favorite to be the first running back off the board. The Texans need to do something about their offensive line, but with linemen getting snapped up in the teens in this mock, they'll fall back on adding the talented Jacobs, who can do everything you need at his position, to an offensive core of Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers (OAK mock trade)
Yodny Cajuste, OT, West Virginia. I think Antonio Brown is getting traded this offseason, and the Raiders seem as good a fit as any. He's not nearly the salary commitment of an Amari Cooper extension, as the Raiders would be responsible for just $38.9 million over three years. He'd give them a superstar to bring to Las Vegas as well. For Pittsburgh, getting a first-round pick could be worth the huge dead cap hit, especially if they can add a talent like Cajuste who can start at guard and eventually move to tackle.
25. Philadelphia Eagles
N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State. The Eagles could go in a few different directions, but one area of concern is at wide receiver, where they traded for Golden Tate during the season to give them a boost despite him hitting free agency this offseason. Harry is in the mix to be the first player at his position off the board as a potentially dominant outside receiver with great hands. If he has a big combine, he could shoot up the first round projections.
26. Indianapolis Colts
D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss. The Colts surprised some people with their run in 2018 behind a healthy Andrew Luck and an outstanding 2018 draft class. But one place they need to get better is at receiver, where it's T.Y. Hilton followed by not much else in terms of reliable options. Metcalf's season was ended early by a neck injury, but his upside as an outside receiver makes him one to watch during the predraft process.
27. Oakland Raiders (from Dallas)
Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabama. Who could have guessed when the Raiders traded for this pick that it would end up being so low? Smith is a complete tight end prospect who should be in the mix to be the first guy at his position drafted. Jared Cook seemed to help unlock the Raiders passing game early in the season, but he's heading into free agency, and adding Smith as his replacement could be a big step toward getting better on offense.
28. Los Angeles Chargers
Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama. The Patriots exposed the Chargers' defense in the divisional round of the playoffs, and the Chargers desperately need to get better at linebacker so that doesn't happen again. Wilson should boost the run defense while also offering the ability to cover running backs out of the backfield.
29. New England Patriots
Noah Fant, TE, Iowa. I think this is going to be the last year for Rob Gronkowski, and even it is isn't the Patriots must know they can't count on him as a receiving weapon in 2019. Fant would be the future for New England at the tight end position as a 6-foot-5 matchup nightmare who should blow up the combine.
30. Los Angeles Rams
Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson. The Rams only signed Ndamukong Suh to a one-year deal last offseason, and if he leaves in free agency, they should be on the lookout for Lawrence at the end of the first round. He has the size of a pure nose tackle but is able to do more than just occupy space, and he'd join Aaron Donald in giving offensive lines fits on the interior.
31. Kansas City Chiefs
Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson. Wilkins put together another fine performance as a senior to solidify his stock in the first round. Dexter Lawrence may be a more physically imposing presence at his size, but I think teams will value Wilkins' versatility and technique a little more, and he could go much higher than this. The Chiefs are in danger of losing Allen Bailey in free agency, and replacing him with Wilkins would be a best-case scenario.
32. Denver Broncos (GB mock trade)
Drew Lock, QB, Missouri. If a first-round caliber quarterback is still around as Day 1 draws to a close, you start to see teams angling to trade into one of those late picks and grab him so that they'll get the benefit of the fifth-year option on his rookie contract. The Broncos are a candidate to take Lock at No. 10, but if they pass and he's still around late in the first round, I can see them making a move up to get him. They have extra ammunition on Day 3 after trading Demaryius Thomas and Trevor Siemian.
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