2019 NFL Mock Draft: Top five stocked with D-linemen; Dillard, Sweat, Adderley leap after Senior Bowl
Plus the Jaguars and Broncos land quarterbacks and the Raiders get three impact defenders
We've known for a long time this was going to be a draft filled with top-end defensive line talent. And with the teams picking in the top five this year, I think there's a real chance we could see D-linemen go with each of the first five picks.
Nick Bosa, Josh Allen and Quinnen Williams are currently seen as the cream of the crop, and they are the favorites to go 1-3, in some order. Even after that, there are five more who are in the mix to go inside the top 10, though even I'm not brave enough to make a mock draft where the entire top 10 is nothing but defensive linemen.
Still, one other guy on the D-line that cracked my top 10 is one of the risers from Senior Bowl week: Montez Sweat. And he's not the only one from Mobile making a leap. Tackle Andre Dillard also makes a jump into the top 10, while Nasir Adderley is comfortably in the first round and could keep climbing if he continues to impress.
Let's get to the picks.
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. The Cardinals are moving back to the 3-4, but I don't think that should affect their decision to grab the best player in the draft.
2. San Francisco 49ers
Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky. I go back and forth between Allen and Quinnen Williams for the 49ers, and it'll ultimately come down to how each player performs during the coming months leading up to the draft. Either way, expect the 49ers to keep trying to find an impact defensive lineman if they keep this pick.
3. New York Jets
Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama. The Jets are in a great spot at No. 3 to get an impact defensive lineman, and here it's the disruptive Williams. He's capable of blowing up the pocket in the pass rush and playing excellent run defense as well. If Williams goes at No. 2, I can also see the Jets trading back with a team looking to pick up a quarterback.
4. Oakland Raiders
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 a Raiders defense that needs talent up and down the roster more than anything.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson. In most drafts, Ferrell would be getting more attention as maybe the top edge rusher of his class. He 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 Tampa Bay a three-down talent on the edge.
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 itself 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. Jacksonville Jaguars
Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State. It's finally time for a quarterback to come off the board. Everything we saw from Haskins in his breakout year at Ohio State suggests he should be ready to take over as an NFL starter at sometime in his rookie season. It'll be interesting to see whether the Jaguars land a potential fix at quarterback before we even get to the draft.
8. Detroit Lions
Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State. The Lions defense needs pass-rush help, even more so if Ziggy Ansah leaves in free agency. 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, especially after an excellent Senior Bowl week.
9. Buffalo Bills
Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State. The Bills need to fix the offensive line and give Josh Allen a chance to succeed, and here they get one of the stars of Senior Bowl week. Dillard is an excellent left tackle prospect who will keep edge pressure off Allen and allow the Bills to move Dion Dawkins to the right side, improving two spots at once.
10. Denver Broncos
Drew Lock, QB, Missouri. I think it's unlikely the Broncos add talent to the QB position before the draft, and they could be well-positioned to land Lock if GM John Elway is in fact . While Lock didn't have great numbers at Missouri, it's easy to fall in love with his potential, and he was at least the best quarterback at the Senior Bowl.
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
Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State. The Packers only signed Muhammad Wilkerson for one year, and they have the chance to land a supreme talent like Simmons to fill a spot on the defensive line long-term. 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.
13. Miami Dolphins
Ed Oliver, DT, Houston. 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, the Dolphins should love getting a guy of his talent at this value. I expect they'll be looking best player available as they start a rebuild.
14. Atlanta Falcons
Greedy Williams, CB, LSU. The Falcons could go in a few different directions with this pick, but the value with Williams might be too good to pass up. 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.
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
Yodny Cajuste, OT, West Virginia. 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 and undergo surgery. 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
Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma. As strange as it sounds, the Browns might the team with the fewest roster holes picking in the first round. If they bring back Greg Robinson after a solid second half or otherwise address the left tackle spot, they don't need much else. One possibility is a deep threat at receiver after pulling the plug on Josh Gordon, and who better for the role than Baker Mayfield's old running mate at Oklahoma? He's a playmaker who has everything you want except plus size.
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
T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa. The Titans could go in a few different directions with this pick, and while tight end isn't the most pressing need for this team, Hockenson might be too good to pass up. He's dynamite as a run blocker but also an excellent red-zone weapon in the passing game, and while this year's tight end class is loaded, he might establish himself as the best of the bunch by the end of the combine.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers
Byron Murphy, CB, Washington. 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. Pair him with Joe Haden and suddenly the Steelers have the talent to match up with any passing offense.
21. Seattle Seahawks
Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware. It's still early in the predraft process, but Adderley continued to impress during Senior Bowl week, and the Seahawks were quick to schedule a meeting with the small-school star. Pete Carroll's defense will need to find a replacement for Earl Thomas this offseason, and Adderley will give them the true center fielder they need to solidify the position on a defense that's gotten young in a hurry.
22. Baltimore Ravens
D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss. Metcalf's final season at Ole Miss was ended early by a neck injury, but after being cleared to resume all football activity, he should solidify himself as a first-rounder at the combine. If he tests well, he could be long gone by this pick, but if available he'll give the Ravens a huge target with No. 1 receiver upside to develop along with Lamar Jackson.
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 top 20 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. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago)
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. He'd be a great addition to a Raiders defense looking for impact players.
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
Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State. The Colts hit a home run in their last draft with decade-long starters Quenton Nelson and Darius Leonard, among others. Abram likely won't be at that level, but he's an outstanding in-the-box safety prospect to pair with Malik Hooker on the back end.
27. Oakland Raiders (from Dallas)
Devin Bush, LB, Michigan. The Raiders need to just go best player available with their picks because they have holes up and down the roster. Bush can play on all three downs and is a great mover in open space who can chase down the ball-carrier. He's also a quality pass defender in the middle of the defense.
28. Los Angeles Chargers
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 Chargers could also look to add talent at linebacker after New England torched that weakness in the playoffs, but either way, front-seven help should be the focus.
29. Kansas City Chiefs
Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson. The Chiefs have the personnel to excel with the switch to Steve Spagnuolo's 4-3, provided they can bring back Dee Ford and not have a pressing need for an edge rusher. But one area they must improve is at cornerback, where they were routinely exposed. Mullen can excel in press coverage and potentially give the defense a No. 1 corner to rely on.
30. Green Bay Packers (from New Orleans)
Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State. The Packers picked up a defensive lineman with their first pick in the draft, and here they continue to add talent to their defense. 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.
31. Los Angeles Rams
Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida. Polite would be an excellent way to boost the Rams' 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 one of the biggest weakness of the Rams defense.
32. 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.
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