Believe it or not, we’re less than a month away from the 2019 NFL Draft. Time flies when you’re having fun, or in my case, grinding tape and evaluating prospects. I’ll grind away on what I think a player can do, and inevitably, he won’t go to the team that makes sense to me. But that’s what makes this fun!
More often than not, something that all of us evaluators like to do is run through a mock draft. Those are always fun, but they can get repetitive. How many times can we really run through Kyler Murray or Quinnen Williams as the top pick of the 2019 NFL Draft? It’s exhausting at times, so I’ve thought of a new idea. What I’ll do is similar to a mock draft, but it expands through the entire 2019 NFL Draft.
This idea stems from opening day in baseball. Whether you’re an Angels fan or a Dodgers fan, it doesn’t matter, there are players on your favorite baseball team that you may or may not want on the roster. When we get to football season, the same thing is going to happen.
It doesn’t matter if your football team has five picks or 10 in the 2019 NFL Draft. There is one player that can help contribute for years to come. More often than not, it happens. But who are they? They’re not always the team’s first-round pick. It varies, and in this exercise, I want to provide one player that your team NEEDS by the time we get to kickoff for the regular season.
Oakland Raiders – Zach Allen, EDGE, Boston College (35th Overall)
The Raiders have three picks in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. We don’t know if they’re going to keep all three, but they should. Either way, this is one pick that I deem important to the direction they’re going with their defense. Certainly, the Raiders could use multiple first round picks on an edge rusher, but realistically, I view them using one of them on an edge rusher and the rest on other needs.
Zach Allen is really stout at DE. Not going to always win with speed but will with length and just overall size (6'5" - 285 lbs). He's going to make some money with his ability to read screens, swat passes and pursue upfield and back to the ball. pic.twitter.com/WcFtpwrPMZ— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) December 22, 2018
At the Senior Bowl, the Raiders coached the North roster and got a firsthand look at Zach Allen. Was he dominant? No, and in our Cover 1 War Room, we’ve talked about him being maxed out. However, that doesn’t mean that the Raiders don’t see the potential. Odds are, Allen is a plug and play defensive end and should see immediate results. He’s got a really strong punch and has the discipline to hold the edge or bend down the LOS to make plays. He’s not as fluid a mover as other players, but overall, he wins with a blend of power, good technique, and discipline. Gruden and his staff would be excited to add a player of Allen’s caliber, and the fans should be, too.
Denver Broncos – Drew Lock, QB, Missouri (10th Overall)
If there’s any team in the top 10 of the first round that’s going to be aggressive and move up, it’s going to be the Denver Broncos. Could they target just a quarterback at pick ten? Definitely, not but realistically. Joe Flacco isn’t the long term option for them, and it’s been rumored that the Broncos are very interested in Drew Lock. If they were to trade up, where would they go? The New York Jets could use a couple more picks for this draft, and the Broncos have the assets to make it happen. Importantly, they should think about moving up in front of the Raiders because they’re also rumored to like Drew Lock.
This CB didn't even try, my goodness. But Drew Lock with an absolute dart. pic.twitter.com/yVP0UaBMgz— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) September 18, 2018
By adding Drew Lock, the Broncos could easily let him sit for a season or two behind Joe Flacco. There’s no guarantee that Flacco has fully recovered from the right hip injury that he suffered last season, and to be honest, he hasn’t played very well for quite some time. To make sure that you have a quarterback of the future, the Broncos should strongly consider Lock. He’s got a strong arm that, outside of Tyree Jackson from Buffalo, may be the strongest in this class. His accuracy can get spotty, and most of that has to do with his lower body mechanics or rushing through progressions. Overall, if you’re going to take the risk on Flacco, you better consider taking a risk on a rookie quarterback with a much higher ceiling.
Los Angeles Chargers – Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State (28th Overall)
One way or another, the Chargers are going to look at rebuilding some of the holes they have in the trenches. Defensively, I really like Justin Jones for them, and I’m not too worried about his transition to the next level. One area that worries me more, though, is their right tackle spot. Sam Tevi has the spot now because of the injuries and release of Joe Barksdale. Last season, he earned a 53.7 ranking from Pro Football Focus. That’s not bad, but it’s far from great, and this offensive tackle class is really strong.
Dalton Risner only allowed pressure on 1.4 percent of his pass-blocking snaps, narrowly beating out Cody Ford. pic.twitter.com/FHPkRvPgEj— PFF College (@PFF_College) February 22, 2019
Passing on one of the offensive tackles in the first round will be tough for them to do, and personally, that’s how I view Dalton Risner: an offensive tackle. Many have suggested that he moves inside, but he should get a look at right tackle before playing guard. He’s shown consistency with a wide base, strong hands, and the ability to recover or rest after giving up his chest plate. He plays with a ton of energy and is an even better person off the field with his charities. He’ll have to get better in space, but overall, he’s a day one starter at right tackle. If Chargers fans can’t get excited about that, they won’t get excited about anything.
Kansas City Chiefs – Dillon Mitchell, WR, Oregon (92nd Overall)
Moving on from Justin Houston and Dee Ford is risky and doesn’t make a ton of sense. Sure, they may or may not fit the defensive scheme change, but it’s risky to let go of that much production. Realistically, they’ll add an edge rusher or two with their first two or three picks. The Chiefs should then put a focus on their offense.
Quarterbacks like Rodgers and Wilson can certainly extend plays but imagine Mitchell doing this for Mahomes. (Keep in mind, Herbert does great job w/progressions here). But put Mahomes extending right and Mitchell maneuvering through coverages to make something happen. pic.twitter.com/aa0ZXdGSS3— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) March 21, 2019
One of my favorite late day two or early day three wide receivers in this class is Dillon Mitchell from Oregon. He tested well with a 36.5″ vertical and a 40-yard dash time of 4.46 seconds at the Scouting Combine. Meanwhile, he posted career highs for Oregon this past season with 75 receptions for 1,184 yards and 10 touchdowns. He wins with hip fluidity and can operate on the outside or out of the slot. He can track the ball down and pluck it out of the sky while still being effective over the middle of the field. After the Chiefs lost Chris Conley, they do have a need at the receiver position. It may not be an immediate need, but Mitchell fits the Chiefs and he’d be a great weapon for Patrick Mahomes. If we get to September and Mitchell is on the Chiefs’ roster, you’d better get ready to adjust your fantasy football lineups accordingly.