It’s April, and that means mock draft season is in full swing around the NFL. By now, you’ve surely seen enough mock drafts with enough theoretical trade scenarios and surprise picks to make your head spin, so why not one more? Today, I try my hand at what’s become an annual tradition among the football media. As you’re sure to disagree with most of my picks, be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments. If you have opinions that you believe in so passionately that I must see them directly, @HierJustin is the place to go!
And with the first pick in the 2019 NFL Draft...
1. Arizona Cardinals: QB Kyler Murray - Oklahoma
Virtually every analyst has the Cardinals taking Murray here, and it’s hard to see the team passing up on him at this point. If Arizona is truly just trying to inflate the value of this pick for a trade, it’ll be one of the most impressive smoke and mirror moves in recent draft history.
2. San Francisco 49ers: DT Quinnen Williams - Alabama
Williams is the best player in this draft. He’s extremely disruptive, can rush the passer, defend the run, and will be a center piece of whatever defense drafts him. The 49ers are more than happy to take him here.
3. New York Jets: DE Nick Bosa - Ohio State
Bosa doesn’t have a single weakness in his game, and in this mock, he’s selected in the same draft position as his older brother, Joey, was just a couple years back. The Jets end up being the beneficiary of a quarterback being taken first overall.
4. Oakland Raiders: EDGE Josh Allen - Kentucky
Allen is an elite athlete. He has the blend of speed, size, and quickness that make defensive coordinators salivate when watching his tape. The Raiders continue to retool the team’s d-line after letting Khalil Mack go this past season.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: LB Devin White - LSU
Tampa Bay lost Kwon Alexander this offseason and needs a playmaker patrolling the middle of the field. There’s nothing not to like about White’s game. He becomes the new face of the Bucs defense.
6. New York Giants: EDGE Montez Sweat - Mississippi State
Sweat’s stock has skyrocketed since his sensational combine, but deservedly so. He has great power and hand use at the point of attack, and his length allows him to take down quarterbacks when they begin to scramble. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few teams that have fallen in love, and in this case, I’ll say it’s the Giants.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: TE T.J. Hockenson - Iowa
If you follow the pre-draft process, you’ve heard by now that Hockenson is the ideal complete tight end. New Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles loves to throw to his tight ends, something that was made evident by his connection with Zach Ertz in Philadelphia. Hockenson steps into that role in Jacksonville. Oh, and he can block too.
8. Detroit Lions: DE Rashan Gary - Michigan
Gary is one of the scariest prospects to bank on as a first round pick. His potential is through the roof, but questions about his lack of production and awareness make his floor low as well. The Lions take the risk in this mock.
9. TRADE (BUF) Washington Redskins: QB Drew Lock - Missouri
Surprise! In the first trade of this mock draft, I have the Washington Redskins trading up for the team’s solution at the quarterback position. Alex Smith’s future is very much in doubt and Case Keenum is not a long term answer. In this hypothetical scenario, Washington’s front office is enamored with Lock and trade up to get ahead of the Denver Broncos who will also be looking for someone to take over at the position in the near future. Joe Flacco won’t be there forever.
10. Denver Broncos: CB Byron Murphy - Washington
The experts’ rankings for cornerbacks in this draft are all over the place, but I like Murphy’s IQ and production as foundations that teams can develop. Denver once had the most feared defensive backfield in the NFL, and they begin to rebuild the team’s defense in that mold under Vic Fangio.
11. Cincinnati Bengals: OL Jonah Williams - Alabama
Cincinnati is in need of a major rebuild on the offensive line. Williams was an elite tackle at Alabama, but some analysts have him playing guard in the pros. The Bengals are thrilled to put him in either spot as the team continues to hope Andy Dalton can be a Super Bowl caliber quarterback.
12. Green Bay Packers: TE Noah Fant - Iowa
Another weapon for Aaron Rodgers? That’s right. Yes, Jimmy Graham is still on the team, but he’s getting up there in age and having two top tier pass catching weapons at tight end is better than one. The Packers addressed the defense during free agency. It’s offense the team goes after here.
13. TRADE (MIA) New York Giants: QB Dwayne Haskins - Ohio State
Yes, Haskins falls. No, the Dolphins don’t take him. With Miami eyeing an elite crop of quarterback prospects in 2020 and needing to fill a litany of roster holes with more draft picks, the Dolphins elect to send this pick to the Giants, who are thrilled to be able to go for defense in the top 10 and still get Dave Gettleman’s quarterback of choice. Finally, for Giants fans, life after Eli Manning is being addressed.
14. Atlanta Falcons: DT Ed Oliver - Houston
Is Oliver undersized? Yes. Is he still immensely talented? Absolutely. The Falcons pair him with Grady Jarrett to create one of the most talented pairs of interior linemen in the NFL.
15. TRADE (WAS) Buffalo Bills: WR D.K. Metcalf - Mississippi
For the Bills, this is the ideal draft day scenario. They trade down six spots, get a haul of draft capital, and still get a player that they easily could have justified as the 9th overall pick.
16. Carolina Panthers: OT Jawaan Taylor - Florida
The Panthers would be absolutely ecstatic if Taylor falls this far. He’s arguable the best pure tackle prospect in the draft and will allow the team to fortify an o-line that has failed to adequately protect Cam Newton in recent years.
17. TRADE (MIA) Houston Texans: OT Andre Dillard - Washington State
Yes, I have the Dolphins trading back twice in this mock. Why? Miami needs to accumulate as many extra picks as possible, and the Houston Texans are a good match here. After seeing the top two offensive lineman come off the board, Houston’s top brass wants to make sure they get their offensive tackle of choice before o-line needy teams like the Vikings take their pick.
18. Minnesota Vikings: OG Chris Lindstrom - Boston College
The Vikings desperately need to upgrade the offensive line, and Lindstrom will provide some stability on the interior here. One thing’s for sure, Kirk Cousins is happy with this pick after facing pressure all season.
19. Tennessee Titans: EDGE Brian Burns - Florida State
After picking up Cameron Wake in free agency, the Titans seek to further expand the team’s pass rushing repertoire with Burns. He’s versatile, has packed on some size since the end of last season, and will benefit greatly from learning from a legend like Wake.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: LB Devin Bush - Michigan
Yes, yes, I know. Bush is undersized. That doesn’t mean he can’t go sideline to sideline making impact plays. The Steelers have been searching for linebackers for a while now, and I think they find a stud in Bush.
21. Seattle Seahawks: WR Marquise Brown - Oklahoma
I’m throwing a bit of a wild card out there with this one. Most experts have Seattle going after defensive prospects, and while that’s a possibility, I think they like the potential Brown has to offer. With Doug Baldwin’s injury history causing some concern on the offensive side of the ball, the Seahawks choose to add another weapon for Russell Wilson to play with.
22. Baltimore Ravens: C Garrett Bradbury - N.C. State
The best thing the Ravens front office can do to help this team succeed is fortify the o-line. Baltimore is bound to be one of the most run-heavy teams next season, and that means having a strong front is of the utmost importance.
23. TRADE (HOU) Miami Dolphins: OL Cody Ford - Oklahoma
They did it! Miami finally makes its pick in this draft, and while the team doesn’t get the same star power or name recognition at pick 23 that it would have gotten at pick 13, the Dolphins still get a quality player at a position of need. Ford has experience at tackle and guard, but projects better at the latter position for the NFL. He’s a fantastic athlete with good size and will be a road grader for Miami up front.
24. Oakland Raiders: DT Christian Wilkins - Clemson
The Raiders continue to fortify a revamped defensive line. The entire d-line, which was a considerable weakness last season, is suddenly a strength with Josh Allen and Wilkins now in the fold.
25. Philadelphia Eagles: CB Greedy Williams - LSU
The Eagles front office will be throwing a party when they see Williams fall this far. He was consistently phenomenal in college and his length, agility, and natural feel for the position will be a boon for an Eagles secondary that needed some serious help last year.
26. Indianapolis Colts: Jeffery Simmons - Mississippi State
His ACL tear and off-the-field concerns will scare some teams away, but the Colts choose to be patient and take a top-10 talent with the 26th overall pick. Simmons was extremely disruptive when healthy at the collegiate level, and should he heal properly, there’s little reason to believe he won’t have similar success in the NFL.
27. Oakland Raiders: RB Josh Jacobs - Alabama
After spending the first two picks on the defensive side of the ball, the Raiders add some pop on offense. Yes, the team signed Isaiah Crowell and has Jalen Richard on the depth chart as well, but adding Jacobs into the mix to complement Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams gives Derek Carr all of the tools he needs to succeed.
28. Los Angeles Chargers: QB Daniel Jones - Duke
Philip Rivers can’t play forever. The Chargers know that. It’s been reported that the team is doing work on quarterback prospects, and it’s easy to see why. At 37-years old, Rivers is at the point in his career where it’s now fair to wonder how much longer he will be playing. As one of the best quarterbacks to play over the past decade, he can provide valuable insight to a prospect that certainly needs some time to acclimate to the professional level. A few years on the bench should do wonders for a player like Jones, while Rivers can continue to compete for a ring.
29. Kansas City Chiefs: CB Deandre Baker - Georgia
The Chiefs have holes all over the defensive side of the ball, but Baker is a great choice here to fill one. His production speaks for itself, as the Georgia prospect has allowed zero touchdowns and has snagged five interceptions since 2017. His confidence and competitiveness show on tape, and he should add some attitude to the Chiefs defense.
30. Green Bay Packers: WR Paris Campbell - Ohio State
Double down on offense? Sure, why not? It’s time to go all in on Aaron Rodgers and get the legend a second ring. Campbell is a speed demon and will provide a perfect complement to Davonte Adams on the outside. Adams, Fant, Graham, Rodgers, and Aaron Jones creates a scary picture for defensive coordinators.
31. Los Angeles Rams: DT Dexter Lawrence - Clemson
With Ndamukong Suh still unsigned and the Rams hoping to make another title run, giving Aaron Donald a running mate on the interior makes too much sense here. Lawrence has few flaws to his game and would make an immediate impact in L.A.
32. New England Patriots: TE Irv Smith - Alabama
Is this a lazy pick? Maybe. Does it still make a ton of sense? Absolutely. The Patriots are hurting at the tight end position with Rob Gronkowski’s retirement, and Smith would be a great replacement. He can block, catch, and was coached by a good friend of Bill Belichick’s in Nick Saban.