2019 NFL Mock Draft: Three Quarterbacks Picked in Top 10
The moment when months of speculation turns into real players selected to real teams is nearing. But first our resident fantasy football expert takes a stab at mocking the first round….
1. Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
A year ago the Cardinals traded up to take Josh Rosen with the No. 10 pick in the draft. Then they stuck Rosen with bewildered offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and let the rookie get his ass kicked behind a dreadful offensive line. Now they’re set to defenestrate Rosen and put Murray behind the wheel of new coach Kliff Kingsbury’s offense. Murray is an exciting prospect, but the opportunity cost for the Cardinals to pull the plug on one highly drafted quarterback just a year into his career and spend even greater draft capital to replace him is a potentially transcendent defensive lineman. And Murray isn’t foolproof. He’s small. He’ll have a big adjustment to make as he goes from arguably the most QB-friendly offense in college football to a talent-starved NFL offense. He could make a living playing baseball if he decided to make a career change. And his dad is, um, not exactly a wallflower when it comes to the management of Murray’s football activities. The Cardinals better be sure about this one, because if this pick backfires, they’ll be in the gutter for five years at least.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
Most mocks have Nick Bosa here, but Williams is the best player in this draft, and he might cause fewer headaches for the 49ers. Bosa is a Trump/MAGA guy. He tweeted that Colin Kaepernick is “a clown.” In liberal San Francisco, some of his viewpoints would go over about as well as a fart in church. Williams is an explosive, freakishly athletic play-wrecker who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.83 seconds at the Combine despite carrying 303 pounds. The kid is damn near unblockable. Bosa would be the better lineup fit because the Niners already have DeForest Buckner as a 3-technique tackle and have been lining up DE Solomon Thomas inside on passing downs. But Quinnen is freaking awesome, and maybe the 49ers go with cultural fit over lineup fit.
3. New York Jets: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio St.
Remember all those times when the Jets would make some godawful first-round pick (Roger Vick! Jeff Lageman! Kyle Brady!) and the boos would rain down from the rafters at Radio City Music Hall? How cruel would it be if the Jets had a gifted pass rusher fall into their laps at No. 3 and Jets fans weren’t able to roar their approval because the draft is being held in Nashville? But then, the Jets might not take Bosa anyway because they’re apparently hell-bent on trading down to acquire more picks. And if the Jets trade down with Bosa on the board, Jets fans are going to be furious. We need to have cameramen posted at a sports bar in Queens to get the reactions.
4. Oakland Raiders: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
No one seems to have any idea what Raiders GM Mike Mayock is up to in this draft, and he wants to keep it that way, which is why he drove his own scouts from the building the way Jesus drove the money changers from the temple. But it’s hard to see Mayock turning down the chance to take an edge rusher as talented as Allen.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Devin White, LB, LSU
Buccaneers GM Jason Licht took a two-down run stuffer (Vita Vea) and a flawed running back (Ronald Jones) with the first two picks of his 2018 drafts. Licht doesn’t recognize the value of compensatory picks, and he’s left the Bucs with less salary cap space than any other team in the league. The Bucs should take DT Ed Oliver in this spot, but don’t bet on Licht doing the right thing. That’s not to disparage White, a wonderful LB prospect, but in a draft with this sort of defensive line talent at the top, it probably isn’t worth taking a linebacker this early unless he has Lawrence Taylor pass-rushing upside.
6. New York Giants: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
There’s been speculation that the Giants have Daniel Jones ranked higher on their boards than Haskins. It’s hard to fathom that any talent evaluator could prefer Jones to Haskins, so could it be a smokescreen? Is Giants GM Dave Gettleman capable of using a smokescreen? (I picture Gettleman accidentally detonating a smokescreen in his car.) There’s also been speculation that the Giants might take a defensive lineman with this pick and address quarterback with pick No. 17, but I don’t think they’ll wait to find a replacement for Eli Manning, who’s aging as gracefully as Gary Busey.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
The Jaguars need offensive linemen, but they also need a tight end. They could improve their pass catching and their run blocking by taking Hockenson, a hard-nosed two-way tight end who’s drawn comparisons to Rob Gronkowski. There will be good offensive linemen available in the second round, but there won’t be another tight end who can do all the things Hockenson can do.
8. Detroit Lions: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
A trade-down is a distinct possibility here, but the Lions would have to think twice about that with a top defensive lineman still on the board. Some say Oliver wouldn’t be a great systemic fit for Matt Patricia’s defense, but I think Patricia would love to plug in a relentless attacker with the versatility to raise havoc from several different positions.
9. Buffalo Bills: Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida St.
Burns has had a terrific lead-up to the draft, and I think he’ll be taken ahead of Montez Sweat due to concerns about Sweat’s heart condition. Buffalo had an anemic pass rush last season, and Burns could immediately help the Bills turn up the heat on opposing quarterbacks.
10. Denver Broncos: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
Maybe the Broncos go with Devin Bush here, gifting new head coach Vic Fangio a rangy linebacker and putting off the QB hunt until next year, when Tua Tagovailoa, Jake Fromm and Justin Herbert all figure to be available. But John Elway doesn’t leave the impression that he’s playing the long game. Besides, the Broncos would probably have to tank this year to be positioned to take a top quarterback in 2020, and their roster isn’t quite bad enough to be tank-worthy. The Broncos have shown interest in Lock for months, and if the Mizzou QB is still available at No. 10, that’s probably where Elway will go.
11. Cincinnati Bengals: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
The Bengals could go for a quarterback here, but Bush would be a great fit for a team that could really use a speedy linebacker, and there’s a steep drop-off at the position once the two Devins are gone.
12. Green Bay Packers: Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi St.
Sweat had a great week at the Senior Bowl, then put on a show at the NFL Scouting Combine, running the 40 in 4.41 seconds. But medical testing at the Combine revealed a pre-existing heart condition, and some teams are said to be getting skittish about Sweat despite his prototypical DE size and game-changing speed off the edge. With two first-round picks and a number of needs but no single screaming need, the Packers’ Thursday-night plans are hard to peg. They’ve been light on edge-rushing talent for a while now and might be happy to grab Sweat at a discount.
13. Miami Dolphins: Andre Dillard, OT, Washington St.
The Dolphins seem committed to a “Tanking for Tua” campaign, so forget about a quarterback here. It makes more sense for the Fins to grab a bodyguard for their next QB. Dillard isn’t a road-grader in the running game, but he became a sophisticated pass-blocker in Pullman while playing in Mike Leach’s wide-open offense, where Dillard was rarely given help protecting the edge and spent more time on an island than Mr. Rourke. Some people think Jawaan Taylor or Jonah Williams will come off the board first, but Dillard is so freakishly athletic and so perfectly suited to be a blind-side protector at the NFL level that it seems silly for any other offensive lineman to be drafted earlier.
14. Atlanta Falcons: Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan
It just doesn’t seem conceivable that he could be a top-10 pick when he wasn’t even Michigan’s best defensive linemen the last two years. That’s not necessarily a slam, since fellow Wolverine Chase Winovich is a promising DE prospect in his own right, but Gary’s production hasn’t matched his physical abilities. Gary’s performance at the Combine confirmed his freakish athletic ability, which is potentially game-changing for any team that can harness it. The Falcons have shown interest in him, and Gary would be a good for an organization that values athleticism up front.
15. Washington Redskins: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
A lot of people think Jones isn’t a first-round talent, which is why it’s so easy to see a front office led by the ham-handed Bruce Allen taking Jones in the first round. God help the fans of this organization.
16. Carolina Panthers: Jonah Williams, OL, Alabama
Mock drafters tend to overvalue offensive linemen with positional versatility, and Williams is the bannerman for this year’s tackle-guard hybrids. He’s a safe, high-floor prospect, and the positional flexibility is certainly appealing, especially for a team like the Panthers, who have multiple O-line holes that need plugging. Athletically, Williams is pretty ordinary, and it’s hard to see any team taking him over a cheetah like Andre Dillard. If Carolina doesn’t take Williams here, Minnesota will almost surely grab him two picks later.
17. New York Giants: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
The Giants could use an edge rusher, and after addressing quarterback with pick No. 6, they have a chance to take the last available edge rusher with a unanimous first-round grade.
18. Minnesota Vikings: Garrett Bradbury, C, North Carolina St.
It will be a stunner if the Vikings don’t take an offensive lineman in the first round, and they won’t go wrong with Bradbury, who didn’t allow a single QB pressure last season (!) and also packs athleticism and intangibles into his duffel bag. Here’s betting Bradbury goes earlier than most of the drafterati are anticipating.
19. Tennessee Titans: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
Wilkins was a defensive tackle at Clemson but seems perfectly suited to be a 3-4 end at the next level. He can’t match the athleticism of some of the other defensive linemen in this class, but Wilkins is absolutely relentless and has an infectious joie de vivre that earned him a co-captaincy for college football’s national champions. Titans head coach Mike Vrabel will love him.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
It’s unusual for a draft class not to have an elite CB prospect, and there isn’t a clear consensus on the order in which the top cornerbacks will go. My money is on Greedy Williams, whose name belies his generosity to ballcarriers in his vicinity. As a tackler, Greedy is the envy of Spanish matadors. But he’s a good-sized cornerback who checks pretty much all the boxes with his coverage. The Steelers could take a wide receiver here, but they’ll get better value with a quality cover corner.
21. Seattle Seahawks: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi St.
If there’s one team that’s probably a lock to trade down in the first round, it’s the Seahawks. That said, the Seahawks seem to have a thing for athletic front-seven defenders with character concerns (Bruce Irvin, Frank Clark). Simmons was reportedly a good student at Mississippi State who was active in community service, but he was caught on video repeatedly striking a woman during an ugly dust-up between families, and that will undoubtedly scare away some teams. So will the torn ACL that is expected to keep Simmons sidelined until at least November. On talent alone, Simmons could be a top-10 pick. The other issues will cause him to slide, but probably not out of the first round.
22. Baltimore Ravens: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
This has been a popular player/team fit in mock drafts, but I don’t feel great about it. With Lamar Jackson at quarterback, the Ravens are going to have a run-pass split straight out of the 1950s. Maybe it’s possible to win with that style, but it will take a great defense. Baltimore might be better off plowing resources into that side of the ball. The Ravens’ front seven could certainly use a talent infusion. On the other hand, how can Jackson become a credible NFL passer if his wide receivers are Willie Snead, Chris Moore and Jordan Lasley? Metcalf is a polarizing prospect, but the size-speed combination he offers is intoxicating. As the son of former offensive lineman Terrance Metcalf and the grandson of former running back/return man Terry Metcalf, the bloodlines are pretty impressive, too.
23. Houston Texans: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
Taylor has frequently been mocked to the Jaguars at No. 7, but that seems a little rich for a guy who’s probably ticketed for right tackle and may not be savvy enough as a pass protector to play the left side (although he’s got great feet for such a big dude). As with the Vikings, the Texans have so many issues with their offensive line that it would be irresponsible not to address it in the first round.
24. Oakland Raiders: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
He isn’t the blocker that Iowa teammate T.J. Hockenson is, but Fant is a freaky athlete with the toolkit to become an exceptional NFL “move” tight end. Hockenson, Fant, George Kittle … Iowa is now cranking out tight ends the way Georgia cranks out running backs.
25. Philadelphia Eagles; Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma
He moved from guard to right tackle as a senior and earned All Big 12 honors, but can this 329-pound wildebeest play tackle in the NFL? If not, he should quickly become an above-average starter at guard, and the Eagles could use the interior line help.
26. Indianapolis Colts: Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame
Tillery was regarded as a head case early in his college career after being suspended for the Fiesta Bowl as a freshman and engaging in some regrettable head-stomping hooliganism against USC as a sophomore. But he reportedly turned over a new leaf as an upperclassman and gutted out most of his final season in South Bend with a torn labrum. Tillery is a terrific interior pass rusher and would be a value this late in the first round. Colts GM Chris Ballard is just the sort of shrewd dude who’ll recognize that.
27. Oakland Raiders: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
You know it’s draft season when you spend 40 minutes trying to decipher whether Mike Mayock would have Byron Murphy or Deandre Baker ranked higher on his CB wish list. The two corners have nearly identical size and speed, but Baker is more experienced. He played 36 games at Georgia, made the all-SEC team as a junior and won the Jim Thorpe award as a senior. Murphy entered the draft after his redshirt sophomore season and missed a good chunk of his freshman year due to injury.
28. Los Angeles Chargers: Chris Lindstrom, Boston College, OT
Tough, athletic and highly pedigreed (his dad was a Boston College stalwart who played in the NFL), Lindstrom can provide immediate help to a team that wants to help QB Philip Rivers age gracefully, with a minimum of unnecessary hits.
29. Kansas City Chiefs: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
I think it’s crazy to spend a first-round pick on an undersized receiver who’s dealing with a Lisfranc injury, but if there’s a team that could justify taking “Hollywood” this early, it’s the Chiefs, who might need to replace diminutive playmaker Tyreek Hill. Police are investigating possible child abuse involving Hill’s son, who reportedly sustained a broken arm. Hill pleaded guilty to punching and choking his pregnant wife in 2015, and if the new investigation leads to charges, Hill faces a lengthy suspension and a possible release. The Chiefs would have a major talent shortage at wide receiver without Hill, and Brown might help mitigate the loss of Hill’s speed.
30. Green Bay Packers: Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi St.
The Packers tap the Starkville pipeline, grabbing Mississippi State standouts Sweat and Abram in the first round. Green Bay needs offensive line and pass-catching help, too, but imagine how good Mike Pettine’s defense could be with a blazing-fast pass rusher and a jaw-rattling safety added to the mix. Abram would be the Packers’ hardest-hitting safety since Chuck Cecil.
31. Los Angeles Rams: Juan Thornhill, S, Virginia
Thornhill is a productive, uber-athletic playmaker who could play cornerback in a pinch. That sort of versatility might work well for the Rams, who could use Thornhill as a dime defender for a year and then move him to safety after 34-year-old Eric Weddle retires.
32. New England Patriots: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
Wouldn’t it be just like the Patriots to have this powerful, agile giant fall into their laps at the end of the first round? The Pats USDA prime-grade beef up front, and Lawrence could become their new Vince Wilfork. @#!&# lucky Patriots.