With only a couple weeks left in the 2018 NFL season and the college football bowl season already under way, it’s time to start looking forward to the 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville on April 25th.
The big story this year will be the amount of defensive talent taken on the first day, specifically along the defensive front. Headlined by Nick Bosa, this group could quite possibly one of the deepest we’ve seen in the last 10-15 years. Offensively speaking, it looks average. There isn’t going to be four quarterbacks drafted in the first 10 picks like last year, but there could be four within the first round depending on whether the likes of Dwayne Haskins Jr. and Justin Herbert decide to officially declare for the draft.
The draft order is subject to change throughout the rest of the 2018 NFL season, but as it stands currently, this is certainly one way the upcoming NFL Draft could shape out:
Early NFL Mock Draft 1.0
1) San Francisco 49ers: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
The easiest pick in the entire draft. San Francisco needs help in just about every position on defense, and what better way to improve it by selecting the best player in the entire draft to come off the edge. Bosa is an elite pass-rusher with a nonstop motor that will bring constant pressure just like his brother, Joey. Even coming off an injury that lead to a decision to cut his junior season short, Bosa is undoubtedly the obvious choice at #1.
2) Oakland Raiders: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
In a draft that is loaded with stud interior defenders, Williams is the best of the bunch. With seven sacks and 16 tackles for loss on the season, he has cemented himself as one of the top prospects in this year’s draft. Williams brings with him consistency and a high ceiling that could turn him into an elite athlete at the next level sooner than not.
3) New York Jets: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
Josh Darnold has been subpar to say the least during his rookie season, and some of that might be due to his offensive line’s poor performance from week to week. The Jets need to give their franchise quarterback protection to be successful. That starts this year by selecting the best offensive line talent in the draft. Williams, 6-5 and 301 pounds, has started 30 games since his freshman season in 2016 and is capable of making the switch to guard in the NFL.
4) Arizona Cardinals: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
The offensive line is a problem in Arizona, but with a need for a defensive stud and Williams coming off the board with the previous pick, it is Ed Oliver coming in at #4. Oliver is a bonafide game-wrecker that fills the interior of the defense. Missing three games this year with a knee injury could concern some teams, but the talent he possesses is undeniable. Drawing comparisons to Aaron Donald, take those how you will, Oliver will be a defensive juggernaut in the league.
5) Detroit Lions: Devin White, LB, LSU
The Detroit Lions desperately need help in the middle of their defense for the 2019 season. White will give them both size and athleticism at the linebacker position. He is also very versatile as well, having the ability to play both inside and outside ‘backer. Registering 133 total tackles as a sophomore and 115 this year with a bowl game still upcoming, White is the hound that Detroit most definitely needs.
6) Atlanta Falcons: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
With the injury bug plaguing the Falcons all season and a couple of impending free agents at the position, Atlanta must invest in a young edge rusher, and they find one here in Ferrell. Ferrell is the top prospect on the best defensive line in college football, and arguable one of the best of all time. He has a combined 20 sacks over the last two seasons, which is a testament to his aggressive play and hard work. Ferrell will bolster the edge on the Falcons line and take some pressure off Tak McKinley to create everything.
7) New York Giants: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
Eli, the clock starts now. Dwayne Haskins is the best quarterback in college football and only needed one year as a starter to prove such. Throwing for 47 touchdowns and just under 4,600 yards, Haskins possesses the strongest arm in this year’s draft. Additionally, he was able to show more later in the season what he could do as a runner. The Giants have waited a little to long to find Eli his replacement, but the buck stops here. A potential trio of Haskins, Barkley, and OBJ spells trouble for future NFC defenses.
8) Buffalo Bills: Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
It’s hard to do much as an offense in the NFL with one of the worst offensive lines in football, so this is an issue that needs to be fixed ASAP. Greg Little is the best offensive linemen on the board here at #8, and could make the argument as the best O-Lineman in the draft. Little is an absolute boulder at the left tackle position and will have no trouble acclimating to the NFL. This is a big step in Josh Allens progression as a quarterback and the future of Buffalo’s run game.
9) Jacksonville Jaguars: Will Grier, QB, West Virginia
Jacksonville does not have a franchise QB in Blake Bortles, but they do in Will Grier. Posting a 37-8 TD:INT ratio in his senior season, Grier has taken the college football world by surprise. After transferring to West Virginia from Florida after some off the field issues at the conclusion of his freshman year, Grier was reborn and recaptivated the eyes of NFL scouts all over again. Grier is still vastly underrated, but will show his value at the Combine and his Pro-Day.
10) Green Bay Packers: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
The Packers have holes everywhere you look in their defense and needs a talent that can drastically change the identity of it. Queue Josh Allen. Allen is arguable the most athletic and versatile player in the whole draft, with the ability to dominate both as an edge rusher and an outside linebacker. With 14 sacks and five forced fumbles this year, Allen has everything needed to be a star.
11) Cleveland Browns: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
Cleveland takes the first receiver off the board in the draft in D.K. Metcalf. Metcalf is a tall, lengthy receiver at 6-4 and will add a whole new dimension to Cleveland’s already decent offense. As a third-year sophomore, Metcalf was averaging 21.9 yards per catch and had five touchdowns before a season-ending neck injury cut his eye-popping season short. Although this injury is worrisome, Metcalf has all of the tangibles required to be a top-tier receiver one day. He should be the first receiver taken off the board in a stacked draft class.
12) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
An absolute steal at #12, Greedy finds a home in Tampa Bay where they are desperate for an elite cornerback in a division with dangerous quarterbacks. Standing at 6-3, Williams is tall and lean and his ability to challenge receivers in the air makes him special. Far and away the best cornerback in this draft class, Williams will showcase his talent in the league in no time.
13) Cincinnati Bengals: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Listed as the #1 QB in this class to many people, Herbert slips to #13 and finds a home in Cincinnati. With Andy Dalton battling injuries in recent years and an offense with weapons, the Bengals will look to revamp for the near future with this pick. Herbert, although inconsistent, has shown us flashes of brilliance this season that make them believe he can be the next great young QB in the NFL. However, the possibility still remains for Herbert to stay for his senior year.
14) Miami Dolphins: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
With the top three QB options off of the board, the Dolphins will look to the defensive interior in the draft. Simmons is a monster on the inside at 6-4 and 300 pounds. This move makes sense for the Dolphins with Cameron Wake a question mark for the 2019 season. Simmons has had legal trouble in the past, a 2016 arrest for a simple assault, but his athleticism, versatility, and raw talent makes him an intriguing pick here at #14.
15) Indianapolis Colts: DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia
The Colts secondary is very weak, plain and simple. There could be an argument made for a receiver to compliment T.Y. Hilton, but the need for a solid cornerback is greater. Baker is just under six-feet tall and weighs 185 pounds, which isn’t anything special. However, his aerial ability, 18 PBU’s and five INT’s over the last two seasons, makes him one of the most elite corners in the nation.
16) Philadelphia Eagles: Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State
Jason Peters is fighting the injury bug as well as he can, but father time catches up to everyone eventually. Risner at #16 finds himself to be Peters’ replacement. The senior from Kansas State has exceptional pass protection and run blocking skills, but he will need to improve his footwork to become an elite tackle for Philadelphia. His aggressive demeanor will prove to benefit him more times than not when paired with his exceptional strength and technique.
17) Carolina Panthers: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
The 6-5, 328 pound tackle will come to Carolina to help address their issue at tackle. The Panthers have overlooked the issue at the tackle position for too long and they just can’t pass up on Taylor here. His athleticism and quickness pairs well with the speed and tempo of the Carolina offense and will allow Taylor to show his versatility in many different situations.
18) Tennessee Titans: Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida
Mike Vrabel will have an embarrassment of riches to choose from to bolster his defensive front here at #18, but will ultimately go with Polite. Polite is a versatile edge rusher who has the athleticism to rotate to OLB when needed. With 11 sacks on the season thus far, Polite will make an instant impact for the Titans alongside last years pick, Harold Landry.
19) Denver Broncos: N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
With the departure of Demaryius Thomas and Courtland Sutton having not been able to produce, the Broncos must address the issue they have on the outside. At 6-3, Harry would be able to give Denver plenty of height and size to go up in the air and attack the ball. Having Harry as a vertical option would be a great compliment to Emmanuel Sanders as well. The tight end position could be argued here, but I feel as if the wide receiver talent at this spot in the draft is too good to pass up.
20) Minnesota Vikings: Cody Ford, G, Oklahoma
It’s amazing how far the Vikings have been able to come with such an average offensive line. With a great plethora of weapons on offense and a stout defense, it’s time to upgrade the line. Cody Fort is the starting right tackle at OU, but will likely make the switch to guard. Wherever placed however, he has incredible athleticism for being 335 pounds. Minnesota will find their rock on the line in the first round this year, and it will be Cody Ford.
21) Washington Redskins: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
Alex Smith suffered one of the most gruesome leg injuries a quarterback could experience, which will most likely end his impressive career. With a young running back in Derrius Guice waiting in the backfield, it is the right time to make the change at the quarterback spot as well. Lock’s value has been fluctuating, but his NFL caliber talent is undeniable. Drawing comparisons to Jay Cutler, Lock is the right pick here for Washington.
22) Oakland Raiders (from Dallas): Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
At this point in the draft, the Raiders can take the best available player on the board. This pick just happens to also the best safety in the draft class. Thompson is an athletic freak that had great ball awareness skills. With 71 tackles on the season up to this point in addition to a five total forced turnovers, Thompson has both a high floor and high ceiling heading into the league.
23) Baltimore Ravens: Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
Baltimore finds an absolute gem here at #23. Burns has some of the best measurables in all of the 2019 class, but his failure to not bulk up since arriving at Florida State could question his non-game work ethic. However, with many of Baltimore’s key defensive players looking to hit free agency and a couple of injuries here and there, snagging one of the best edge rushers in the draft this deep in the first round is an easy decision.
24) Pittsburgh Steelers: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
With a fairly deep cornerback class this year, this is the right time for Pittsburgh to address their defensive back issues. Diggs, younger brother of Stefon Diggs, actually began his career at Alabama as a receiver before making the switch to the other side of the ball. He lacks some consistency, hence the reason he has dropped near the end of the first round, but possesses the tools to be successful. If he forgoes his senior season, look for Diggs to wind up in Pittsburgh.
25) Seattle Seahawks: Dre’Mont Jones, DE, Ohio State
If Seattle wants to get back to the defense of five years ago, they need that athleticism and speed back, and that’s what you get with Dre’Mont Jones. Jones lead Ohio State’s defense once Bosa was out for the season and improved his draft stock mightily in the process. Recording 8.5 sacks with a forced fumble, interception, and a touchdown on the year, Jones is still one of the most underrated players in the draft. Seattle will find a gem in Jones at #25.
26) Oakland Raiders (from Chicago): A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
With some defensive needs filled with the previous two picks, it’s time Oakland finds their replacement for Amari Cooper. Brown has decent speed, but separates himself of others when it comes to physicality and running after the catch. With just under 2,600 yards and 17 touchdowns over the last two seasons, Brown is fully capable of filling Cooper’s old role in Oakland.
27) Houston Texans: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
Having lost A.J. Bouye last year to free agency, Houston has yet to find a viable replacement at the cornerback spot. Murphy comes from a school who has breeded defensive backs in recent years, and this year is no different. Murphy is the best in a secondary that is arguably the best in the nation, which bodes well for his future. Although slightly undersized, 5-11 and 182 pounds, Murphy’s fundamentals and precise technique will allow him to match up with the best at the next level.
28) Los Angeles Chargers: Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan
Offensive tackle could be a shout here for the Chargers, but that can wait for the next round. Los Angeles has great talent on the edge, but they lack speed and power on the inside. Gary has the capability of playing anywhere along the defensive line, which is why this pick makes sense. Gary can rotate along the line and provide the Chargers with different matchups at will. Although he had an injury to his shoulder his senior year, his hustle and ability to bring pressure makes him special.
29) New England Patriots: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
Rob Gronkowski is beginning to wither away in front of everyone, and with how Belichick utilizes the tight end position, it only makes sense to grab the best one in the draft. Fant has recorded 18 touchdowns over the last two seasons, but still has not been used as much in the passing game for the Hawkeyes as much as he should be. Although a fantastic skill player, his blocking will need some work for him to excel.
30) Green Bay Packers (from New Orleans): Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama
Green Bay find themselves taking defensive playmakers with both first round picks in an effort to fill major holes. Wilson is one of the most well-rounded linebackers that has come through Alabama in some time, and will make his move to the NFL much smoother than most. Wilson has proved his ability to cut passing lanes and keep up with mobile tight ends in the past. Green Bay will look for offensive line help in the next couple rounds.
31) Kansas City Chiefs: Damien Harris, RB, Alabama
Kansas City has shown this year that you can win with offense, so offense it is. With the release of Kareem Hunt, the Chiefs run game has taken a serious blow. Harris is by far the best back in the draft this year and will allow Kansas City to get that style of play back that Hunt possessed. Kansas City could go with the best available defensive back here, but Harris is the choice at #31.
32) Los Angeles Rams: Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State
The Rams really don’t have any begging needs anywhere on the field, so why not take another explosive player to throw in the mix on the defensive line. Dexter Fowler Jr. could very well end up being a half season rental, and if that is the case, Sweat is the perfect replacement. Sweat has 4.6 speed and his ability to get after the quarterback is unmatched, posting 9.5 sacks on the year. Sweat also had a knack for the spotlight, with a three-sack game against Auburn and another excellent performance against Alabama.