2019 NFL Mock Draft
Last Updated: December 21, 2018
Lou Pickney, DraftKing.com
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Note: The order of the teams still alive in the NFL playoffs is subject to adjustment depending on game outcomes.
2019 NFL Mock Draft
1. Arizona Cardinals - Nick Bosa, DE/OLB, Ohio St. (6'4" 270) *
Odds are that the Cards will trade down from the top spot as they work to retool at several positions. But, in the event they don't, a sure-fire prospect like Bosa would provide an instant upgrade to Arizona's front seven.
2. Oakland Raiders - Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama (6'4" 290) *
The Raiders have three 2019 first-round selections, which is rather unusual. Williams won the 2018 Outland Trophy, given to the nation's best college interior defensive lineman. He really came on strong down the stretch, recording at least one sack in each of the final five games of the regular season.
3. New York Jets - Josh Allen, DE/OLB, Kentucky (6'5" 250)
What the Jets do at this spot will likely be impacted considerably by the key players signed in free agency. Part of the rebuilding process for the Jets including taking some harsh salary cap hits, particularly with signing bonus acceleration.
If the Jets find themselves still needing a top-flight pass rushing prospect, they should have several options. That includes Allen, who has emerged as a very dangerous outside pass rush threat, but stands out in comparison with other top prospects at the spot with his ability to drop into coverage effectively.
4. San Francisco 49ers - Devin White, LB, LSU (6'1" 255) *
This would be rather high for a traditional linebacker, meaning not a 3-4 scheme OLB, also referred to at times as an EDGE rusher. Don't ask me why you see EDGE written in all caps like a Japanese pro wrestler; that's just how it is.
White is an exceptional run stopper, and he's overall one of the more polished prospects in the draft.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars - Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon (6'6" 235) *
Coming off of a season where they had a fourth-quarter lead in New England in the AFC Championship Game, expectations for the Jags were high coming into 2018. But between injuries, incumbent QB Blake Bortles struggling to the point of being benched, and the mid-season firing of offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.
If Herbert opts to declare for the 2019 NFL Draft, he could easily end up being the top quarterback taken. But at this point that's far from a given.
6. Atlanta Falcons - Ed Oliver, DT, Houston (6'3" 290) *
Oliver, much like Nick Bosa, should have been in the NFL this season, or at the very least have had the opportunity to appeal for special consideration. I know the NFL loves its free minor league system, though that also is creating problems, like a glut of offensive lineman who aren't used to blocking in NFL-style schemes. More on that later.
Oliver is one of my favorite players in the draft, just a dominant interior force who would seem to be a good fit with the Falcons.
7. Detroit Lions - Greedy Williams, CB, LSU (6'3" 185) *
Big Play Slay has developed into a quality NFL cornerback in Detroit, but the Lions being able to build on that with their top choice out of every defensive back in the draft could prove to be the most tempting choice at this spot.
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama (6'5" 300) *
Quite the opportunity here for the Bucs with Williams, an extremely athletic offensive tackle who has been a three-year starter for the Crimson Tide. He's exceptionally talented at pass-blocking, which won't hurt his cause any.
9. New York Giants - Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio St. (6'3" 220) *
It will be interesting to see what Haskins decides to do for 2019. As a redshirt sophomore, he will be draft eligible. Haskins, with only one year as a starter under his belt, might not a good fit for a team needing a QB to work into the lineup right away.
But what really helps Haskins' case is his 70%+ completion percentage. Being 6'3" with a strong arm helps, but accuracy is crucial in the modern NFL. Having a year to learn behind Eli Manning would seem to benefit Haskins, though it's entirely possible that the Giants would have to trade up to get him.
10. Buffalo Bills - Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss (6'6" 325) *
Much like Alabama's Jonah Williams, Little was a five-star recruit out of high school who has lived up to the hype. Offensive line is a need for the Bills, and Little would seem to be a good fit.
11. Green Bay Packers - Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama (6'2" 195) *
The Packers have two first-round selections in 2019, and after trading Ha Ha Clinton-Dix earlier this year, safety is a need spot for Green Bay.
Thompson has outstanding range in pass coverage and has the size to match up well against larger receivers and tight ends. It wouldn't surprise me to see Thompson be the first safety to come off the board in 2019.
12. Carolina Panthers - Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma (6'4" 340) *
A versatile prospect, Ford had a breakout 2018 for the Sooners. He's still somewhat raw and needs experience to reach his full potential, but much like Jonah Williams of Alabama, Ford is a remarkable athlete.
And after the struggles of the Panthers offensive line against the Steelers last month, a talent like Ford should be given strong consideration at this spot.
13. Denver Broncos - Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan (6'6" 283) *
A preseason All-American going into this season, Gary overcame shoulder injury issues to have another strong season for the Wolverines. His lack of polish might keep him out of the top ten, but Gary has tremendous potential and is arguably more well-rounded than other comparable talents.
If Gary is able to learn the techniques to match his top-flight athleticism, he could become an absolute menace on Denver's defensive line.
14. Cincinnati Bengals - Jeffery Simmons, DL, Miss. St. (6'4" 300) *
Explosive and possessing a very quick first step, Simmons has recorded more than 30 tackles for loss during his three seasons in Starkville, including 15.5 TFL in 2018 alone. Simmons should be a disruptive force for whichever team ends up drafting him.
Simmons does come with some baggage from his high school days. But from all indications Simmons has stayed out of trouble in Starkville, and he seems poised to join Fletcher Cox and Chris Jones as former Mississippi State defensive linemen who became star players at the pro level.
15. Cleveland Browns - Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn (6'5" 325) *
It's really something to watch highlights of Brown, this huge player who can collapse an interior offensive line who is also ridiculously athletic. 325 pound guys typically don't come flying into the screen to block a kick or make a tackle, but Brown is anything but typical.
To be clear, Brown is not a finished product. But, particularly if he is able to refine his skills to match his perceived potential, Brown could develop into a truly special player.
16. Miami Dolphins - Clelin Ferrell, DE/OLB, Clemson (6'5" 265) *
In some ways this feels like a very low projection for Ferrell, who has collected a cumulative 26 sacks and 48 TFL over the past three seasons. A standout on a front seven defense that is absolutely stacked, Ferrell benefits greatly from his tremendous closing speed.
Ferrell won the 2018 Ted Hendricks Award, given yearly to the nation's best defensive end. If Ferrell actually slides this far, I could see several teams scrambling to trade up to be able to draft him.
17. Washington Redskins - Drew Lock, QB, Missouri (6'3" 225)
What happens here with the Redskins might depend in large part how Alex Smith's recovery goes from a gruesome broken leg (and subsequent infection after multiple surgeries.) Furthermore, Washington will be financially hamstrung by Smith's contract even if he's not able to return.
In short, the Redskins would be well-served to target a quarterback in the 2019 NFL Draft. Lock's accuracy has been a concern, though he showed improvement to that end this season, finally posting a season with a completion rate above 60%.
18. Philadelphia Eagles - Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia (5'11" 185)
The injury bug bit the defending Super Bowl champions this season, particularly in the secondary. But even when healthy, there have been concerns about the Eagles' corners, a situation that could be remedied to at least some degree by selecting Baker.
19. Indianapolis Colts - Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson (6'4" 310)
Wilkins is a bit of a whirling dervish in Clemson's front seven defense, able to attack opposing offensives from a variety of positions and schemes. With 39 TFL over the past three seasons, including 12.5 TFL for 2018 going into the mini-playoff, Wilkins has demonstrated a knack for hunting down opposing players behind the line of scrimmage.
20. Tennessee Titans - Jachai Polite, DE/OLB, Florida (6'2" 245) *
The Titans have a pair of 33-year-old 3-4 OLBs in Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan, who are both slated to become free agents after the season. And while Tennessee landed a steal with Boston College OLB Harold Landry sliding to the second round in the 2018 NFL Draft, that shouldn't preclude them from going with a breakout star like Polite.
In 2018, Polite recorded 11 sacks and 18 TFL for the Gators. He cut 25 pounds from 2017, and he would appear to be well-suited for a 3-4 base formation with his capacity to drop back into coverage when need be.
21. Minnesota Vikings - Devin Bush, LB, Michigan (5'11" 235) *
It's perhaps a sign of the times that a 5'11" linebacker would be a serious contender to be a first-round selection. But, to be sure, Bush is no ordinary linebacker.
Remarkably quick, Bush can cover sideline-to-sideline exceptionally well. Bush can just as easily drop back into coverage as he can bring the heat on the blitz.
22. Seattle Seahawks - Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama (6'7" 315) *
Trying to figure out what the Seahawks are going to do is typically rather difficult, just ahead of New England in that respect.
Davis recorded 8.5 sacks in 2017, and while his numbers are down in 2018, the tremendous ability is still there.
23. Baltimore Ravens - D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss (6'4" 230) *
If Metcalf is able to show a fully recovery from the neck injury that prematurely ended his 2018 season, he could end up being the first receiver off the board in 2019.
Watching highlights of Metcalf at Ole Miss can be an almost comical experience, an absolutely matchup nightmare. 6'4" 230 with good hands and desert speed, able to adjust his routes for off-target passes and outleap defenders on 50/50 balls.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers - Montez Sweat, DE/OLB, Miss. St. (6'5" 245)
Sweat, a transfer from one MSU (Michigan State) to another MSU in Mississippi State, has made the most of his time in Starkville. After a breakout 2017 with 10.5 sacks, Sweat improved on that with 11.5 sacks this past season, with a bowl game still to go.
While Sweat is lighter than the norm for top prospects at the EDGE rusher position, his notably long arms and superb upper body strength work to his advantage.
25. Oakland Raiders (via Dallas) - Zach Allen, DE, Boston College (6'5" 285)
Allen isn't likely going to wow anyone at the combine, not with some of the freakish athletes who will also be there in Indianapolis. But Allen's performance on the field at BC speaks for itself: 16.5 sacks and 40.5 TFL total over the past three seasons.
26. New England Patriots - Will Grier, QB, West Virginia (6'2" 225)
Tom Brady is older than me and still manages to perform at a high level as an NFL quarterback. It's quite remarkable. Brady has a 65.9% completion rate through 14 games and nearly 4,000 yards passing, yet some are painting 2018 as a down year for him.
What the Patriots have done is absolutely remarkable. New England has made the playoffs every year since 2002 with only one exception, 2008, when Tom Brady's season ended in week one. And the Pats still managed to go 11-5 with Matt Cassel at QB, only missing the playoffs in an absolute fluke.
With that in mind, nothing lasts forever. I'm penciling in Will Grier here for now.
27. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago) - A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss (6'1" 225) *
Any receiver drafted by Oakland is going to inevitably be compared with Amari Cooper, the player Oakland traded to Dallas to get the Cowboys' 2019 first-round selection.
Brown had a very productive season despite Ole Miss having its struggles in its post-Hugh Freeze transition period. Brown finished his final college season with 85 receptions for 1,320 yards and six touchdowns. He has the potential to develop into a #1 wide receiver on the pro level.
28. Kansas City Chiefs - Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame (5'11" 195) *
The emergence of Patrick Mahomes as a top-flight quarterback has been one of the great stories in the NFL in 2018, and last month's 54-51 loss by the Chiefs to the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football was a game for the ages.
At the same time, it's hard to prosper in the NFL if you give up 54 points in one game. And, while there are a number of ways to achieve that goal, targeting a high-end cornerback prospect early on in the draft makes sense.
29. Houston Texans - Elgton Jenkins, C, Miss. St. (6'4" 305)
The Texans need an upgrade at center, and they would have a wide variety of options relative to that in this scenario. That includes players like Kansas State OL Dalton Risner, who played tackle in college but might be utilized as either a guard or center depending on where they go.
30. Los Angeles Rams - Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame (6'7" 305)
Presuming that the Rams lose Ndamukong Suh to free agency, a replacement will be needed to pair next to the great Aaron Donald. Though it's rather tough to gauge the Rams' needs for 2019 at this point with so many players slated for free agency after the season.
31. Los Angeles Chargers - Mack Wilson, ILB, Alabama (6'2" 240) *
A five-star recruit out of high school, Wilson possesses tremendous sideline-to-sideline range, has good cover skills, and is known as a hard-hitter on tackles.
Moreover, he has come up big in major games, including recording 12 tackles in the 2017 national championship game against Georgia.
32. Green Bay Packers (via New Orleans) - Noah Fant, TE, Iowa (6'5" 240) *
It's unclear if Jimmy Graham will be back with the Packers in 2019, though with a $5M roster bonus due in March we should get our answer before the draft.
Fant was poorly utilized by the Hawkeyes in 2018, and he won't be playing in Iowa's bowl game. But in 2017 Fant pulled in ten receiving touchdowns, and perhaps he would be a better fit in Green Bay's offense than Graham proved to be.
* indicates a player who entered the 2018 season with NCAA eligibility remaining for 2019