After months of studying film and waiting for the season to unfold, we’re officially 100% in Draft SZN! Now that the Super Bowl has come and gone, we have new world champions and the Draft order is set. Before we jump in, please note that we have a long way to go until the 2019 NFL Draft, so save your hate for another day.
Until then, enjoy my first mock draft of the season! Be sure to give me all of your feedback on Twitter @RussNFLDraft.
1.Arizona Cardinals – Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
This pick really shouldn’t surprise you, to be honest. Quinnen Williams is one of the few “blue chip” players in this class. Adding a player like Bosa makes a lot of sense to pair with Chandler Jones, but Quinnen Williams being plugged into the middle of this defensive line is exactly what this defense needs. Trying to stop the rushing attacks of the Rams and Seahawks should be important for the Cardinals, and Williams helps with his 19.5 tackles for loss from last year.
2. San Francisco 49ers – Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
Outside of maintaining good health on offense, there’s an obvious need for an edge rusher in San Francisco. If Nick Bosa is made available, it’s going to be tough for them to pass him up. He brings a great pass rush plan to the table and is the most refined edge rusher in this class. It’s not ideal for a franchise to spend four draft picks in the first round over the last five years on defensive line, but Bosa is too good to pass up.
3. New York Jets – Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
With the hiring Gregg Williams, I’d expect the Jets to move to a 4-3 base defense. With the opportunity to draft one of the best edge rushers in this class, it’ll be hard for them to pass on such an important piece. Josh Allen has become one of the more complete players in this class, and his ability to turn the corner and bend to the quarterback makes him worth the third overall pick. After this pick, the Jets should put plenty of focus on Sam Darnold and their offense.
4. Oakland Raiders – Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
Drafting the best player available is the best decision the Raiders can make. There aren’t many players that will get that “blue chip” label. On my board there are only three of them, and Ed Oliver is one. Pairing him with Mo Hurst would give the Raiders one of the most disruptive interior defensive line units in football and, only having had 13 sacks this season, Oliver will help them take the next step as a defense.
5.Denver Broncos (Trade with Tampa Bay) – Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
There won’t be many locks in my first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, but Drew Lock to the Broncos seems like one of them. Yes, give me all the puns, but also give the Broncos a quarterback. John Elway is in love with Drew Lock, and the Broncos have done plenty of homework on him. Case Keenum was an intriguing signing, but there’s no way he’s seen internally as the permanent fix. By adding Lock, the Broncos give themselves an opportunity to make one of the best deep ball passers in this draft more polished. This would be a great pick for them.
#DraftThoughts: An underrated part about Dwayne Haskins game is his ability to recognize blitzes pre-snap and adjust protections.
Only started 14 career games, but he sees fronts/blitzes very well for a player of his age.pic.twitter.com/1tKAeE6uGj
— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) January 7, 2019
6. New York Giants – Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
It’s hard for me to believe that the Giants are going to draft a quarterback. It just doesn’t seem like something Dave Gettleman would do. However, with one team already trading up to get a quarterback, the Giants will have to consider drafting the heir to Eli Manning. Haskins grew up a Giants fan and could easily sit behind Eli for half the season, or maybe the whole thing. There’s no need to rush him, but if he was needed to play right away, he does do a good job with anticipation and making the proper reads before and after the snap. Pairing him with OBJ and Barkley is a match made in heaven for him and the Giants.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars – T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
At one point, I mocked O.J. Howard to the Jaguars and they ended up with Leonard Fournette. Picking Hockenson at seven might sound crazy, but it’s clear the Jaguars have a need for a tight end. Hockenson is going to be the top tight end on plenty of draft boards, including mine. He’s one of the best in-line blockers in this class, displays strong hands, and can create after the catch. Though they may add a rookie quarterback on the second or third day of this draft or in free agency, the Jaguars will be looking to add another weapons, too, and this one makes a ton of sense.
Devin White has a tendency to over pursue or misreads a play and that takes him out of it completely. I've noticed he's been leaving his feet on a ton of tackles too. However, this is fantastic because he reads the left guard and knows exactly where the ball is going. pic.twitter.com/TcHCQJSILk
— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) December 4, 2018
8. Detroit Lions – Devin White, LB, LSU
Despite having a need for another edge rusher, the Lions are also very much in the market for another linebacker. Devin White is the top linebacker prospect in this draft, and pairing him with Jarrad Davis would be ideal for this defense. There’s plenty of edge rushers in this class, and even though it might not be smart to pass on someone like Montez Sweat or Clelin Ferrell, the Lions could use White. He’s an athletic player who processes quickly and flashes the range to play the position. It wouldn’t surprise me if this was their pick by the time we get into April.
9. Buffalo Bills – Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
At the Senior Bowl, the Bills spent plenty of time looking at the offensive line. They could be paying attention to players such as Andre Dillard or Dalton Risner, so we could very well see one of them at this spot. However, going with my top-ranked offensive tackle is what the Bills should do. He’s familiar with offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and gives the Bills a legitimate starting option on their offensive line. Williams’s hand placement is consistently inside, his pad level is low, and he shows ideal footwork against premier competition. There have been talks of him moving inside because he lacks ideal length for the position, but personally, I like him at tackle and so should the Bills.
10.Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Trade with Denver) – Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
It seemed like Ronald Jones was going to have some flashes during his rookie season, but that didn’t happen. Injuries have been a problem, and it’s probably not fair to give up on a player after one season, but Josh Jacobs is far superior. With an offensive-minded head coach (Bruce Arians), it wouldn’t be surprising if the Bucs went in this direction. Arians loved having David Johnson in Arizona, and he’ll certainly love the aggressive “do-it-all” type of player that is Josh Jacobs.
11. Cincinnati Bengals – Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma
Now that the Bengals are going to be hiring Zac Taylor as their head coach, he’ll be hiring Brian Callahan as his offensive coordinator. If you know the Callahan family tree, Bill Callahan could be coaching the offensive line for the Bengals sooner rather than later. Regardless of what’s decided, with two new offensive minds in the room, I’d expect this pick to be focused on the offensive line. The Bengals need to find ways to improve the run game that was ranked 21st in the league. Cody Ford is my top-ranked right tackle and my second-ranked offensive tackle overall. He’s got great footwork and hand placement and communicates really well along the offensive line. From pointing out blitzes and calling out who he’s going to block, he’s a pro-ready player.
12. Green Bay Packers – Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida
There will be some off the field concerns with Polite, but those should check out. Once they do, his draft stock will solidify within the top 15 picks. Polite has great burst and is a high motor player who works best standing up off the edge. He’ll have to improve in the run game, but he’s a true pass rushing specialist. There’s an obvious need for the Packers off the edge, and I think Polite would fill a huge need.
13. Miami Dolphins – Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
Montez Sweat is a very talented player and brings great length off the edge. At 6’6″ and 252 pounds, Sweat still looks like he can add some muscle to his frame. Regardless, his arm length is superb, and he wins with separation, burst, and violent hands. There’s some power behind him, but there are times that he looks too stiff when trying to turn the corner and flatten to the quarterback. This would be a great addition to the aging Cameron Wake-led Dolphins defense.
14. Atlanta Falcons – Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
One of my favorite players in this class is Jeffery Simmons. He’s got great size at 6’4″ and 301 pounds, plays with plenty of power, and wins with a great swim move. It’s unfortunate that he won’t be at the Scouting Combine because of an off-the-field issue from his past, but he’s still a highly talented player and should be highly touted. The Falcons have a need for a defensive tackle opposite Grady Jarrett. Playing it safe with my highest-ranked player on the board makes too much sense.
15. Washington Redskins – Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
Three quarterbacks in the top 15 of the draft shouldn’t happen this year, but it’s the premier position in the NFL. Alex Smith won’t be back in 2019, and there’s a chance he doesn’t return to football at all. Finding a bridge quarterback is very likely, but finding the future franchise signal caller is what’s most important. Jones would be a great fit for the Redskins with his ability to run a pro-style offense, but he does need time to refine his tools. Despite being built in a quarterback factory, Jones spends too much time staring down his initial reads and needs to improve his ball placement.
16. Carolina Panthers – Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
One of the more pro-ready players in this draft is Clelin Ferrell. He brings great length off the edge, good explosiveness, and can win with power and speed. Now that Julius Peppers has retired, they have to find a way to replace him, and with so many options in the first round, they should be able to take their pick. The best fit for Ron Rivera and their defense is Ferrell.
17. Cleveland Browns – Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
There’s an obvious need at left tackle for the Cleveland Browns. Their offensive line was far from terrible, but they can still get better. This would be the draft to find their replacement for Joe Thomas, who retired two seasons ago. Andre Dillard is one of the better pure left tackles in this class and doesn’t have any medical red flags. His footwork is great and his hand placement is consistently on the chest plate. He’s got to get better anchoring, but overall, he’s a left tackle that would be a great addition to the Browns.
18. Minnesota Vikings – Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State
It certainly seems like there are needs on the defensive side of the football for the Vikings going into this draft. Finding another linebacker will be crucial, but also, what’s their status at defensive end? Everson Griffen shouldn’t be on his way out, but with how last season went, could they consider one of the edge rushers on the board? Based on Zimmer’s history in the draft, he does love the best players available on the defensive side of the football. However, there’s a serious need on the offensive line, and the Vikings need to make sure their $90 million man is protected. Risner has easily become one of my favorite players in the draft and should get some first-round consideration. He is involved in charities off the field and plays with a huge chip on his shoulder when on it. He brings versatility and some nastiness when in the trenches, and that should be important for the Vikings and their draft plans.
19. Tennessee Titans – Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
Despite drafting Harold Landry in the second round in the 2018 NFL Draft (still don’t know how that happened), the Titans still have a need for another edge rusher. Despite how deep this class is, Burns would be a great fit for them with his explosiveness off the edge. One of the biggest question marks about Burns is his playing weight. We’ve seen him listed between 230 and 240 pounds, so it’ll be interesting to see how teams value that. Overall, he’s a talented player who wins with length and explosiveness. Burns would be a great replacement for Brian Orakpo.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers – Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
One team that is always tough to pick for is the Steelers. They have obvious needs on defense, from linebacker to cornerback, to another edge rusher. This offense is also in a tough spot with its Antonio Brown drama and Le’Veon Bell being as good as gone. However, they have an opportunity to improve their secondary, and they should take it. More often than not, defensive back rankings are hard to put in order until you see where the player tests at the Scouting Combine. As of right now, Murphy is one of those players that seems like a lock to test well at his pro day or the combine. Meanwhile, his tape shows how talented he is. His ball skills are incredible, and the way he closes to the ball is what makes him such a difference maker. He’s listed at 5’11” and 170 pounds, so there will be questions about his frame, but overall, he’s worthy of being in the top-15 discussion of the Draft.
21. Seattle Seahawks – Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
Greedy Williams isn’t my top-ranked cornerback now and wasn’t when we entered the season, either. He has a tendency to grab too much cloth downfield, can get flat-footed, and mistimes his punch when in press. However, his length at 6’3″ really stands out, and he doesn’t look limited as an athlete. There’s no question that Williams would be a great addition to a secondary that needs some help, especially within a division like the NFC West.
Really like what I'm seeing from Charles Omenihu (#90). Aligned as a 4i and starts to lose ground but does a great job keeping his eyes in the backfield and reading where the RB is going. Then hits the RT w/push-pull technique, finds ball and makes tackle. pic.twitter.com/5EavI0PfAN
— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) August 8, 2018
22. Baltimore Ravens – Charles Omenihu, DL, Texas
One of my favorite players in this class is Charles Omenihu, and that’s been no secret. He lives and breathes football and really understands the game. With 36 1/2″ arms, his wingspan is longer than the average male’s pair of pants. Beyond that, he’s got tremendous size and wins with pure strength and speed. Brent Urban is set for free agency, so they’ll have a need on their defensive line. Omenihu would be a great fit to play as a 5-technique, 4i-technique, or a 3-technique.
23. Houston Texans – Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
How many sacks did Deshaun Watson take this year? Oh, that’s right, 62 sacks in one season is far too many. If you want Watson to stay upright and not lose years off of his career like Andrew Luck, the Texans need to take a similar route as the Colts. There’s an obvious need for an offensive tackle and plenty of other offensive linemen on this team. There’s a chance that Taylor could be one of the top offensive tackles off the board. He’s got an incredibly powerful punch and wins with torque and grip strength. He’s a day one starter at right tackle and has spent the last three or four years really focusing on his diet. With time, he’ll become more polished at right tackle and would be a huge upgrade for the Texans.
OT Jawaan Taylor can change the identity of an offense. He consistently re-establishes the line of scrimmage in his teams favor with powerful blocks. But can also go pound for pound with any pass rusher.
Here's my detailed scouting report: https://t.co/WZ9KO4CunQ pic.twitter.com/4HbyqDDlmi
— Cover 1 (@Cover_1_) February 5, 2019
24. Oakland Raiders (via Bears) – Kelvin Harmon, WR, N.C. State
Ever since losing Michael Crabtree and then trading away Amari Cooper, there’s been an obvious need for a wide receiver in Oakland. By adding Harmon, they get a receiver that’s dedicated to blocking in the run game. Meanwhile, he has strong hands, adjusts well to the football, and shows fluidity against press coverage. There’s no doubt that he has number one receiver qualities, and that’s exactly what he should turn into for the Raiders.
25. Philadelphia Eagles – Rashan Gary, DT, Michigan
In my opinion, the Eagles could go in a variety of ways with this pick. From their offensive line to the secondary, they could use a few players in this spot. Starting in the trenches, they’ll address their defensive line with the best player available. Many will consider Gary an edge rusher, and that’s fine because if Brandon Graham isn’t brought back, they could use Gary to replace him. Personally, I see Gary translating best inside as a 3-technique, and pairing him with Fletcher Cox could pay off in a big way.
26. Indianapolis Colts – D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
I’ve mentioned that I see this wide receiver class being similar to the 2016 NFL Draft. Plenty of people have different number one receivers on their big board, and D.K. Metcalf is one of them. He’s got the size and athletic ability that teams will covet, and there’s a chance that he gets taken much sooner than this. As of now, his neck injury that ended this past season has been cleared, but it’ll be interesting what teams say about it. On the field, he’s an explosive playmaker with strong hands, and pairing him with Luck, Hilton, and Ebron should lead to plenty of firepower on offense and should make them legitimate contenders in the AFC.
First play of the game, Jaylon Ferguson (45) already making an impact. Nothing fancy but finds a way to disengage and rush the passer. #NFLDraft #LaTech pic.twitter.com/yzrGZVvRAb
— Christian Page (@_ChristianPage) September 28, 2018
27. Oakland Raiders (via Cowboys) – Jaylon Ferguson, EDGE, L.A. Tech
It’s been a great haul for the Raiders thus far, and they could go with the best player available here. Addressing another need and adding a player to their defensive line is just as important. Jaylon Ferguson has first-round potential, and the Raiders got a look at him during the Senior Bowl. He is the FBS career sack leader and would instantly help turn around the Raiders and their dreadful 13 sacks last year.
28. Los Angeles Chargers – Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
Linebacker could certainly be an area of need for the Chargers, but primarily for depth purposes. Much of last year, they relied on Brandon Mebane to do their dirty work on the interior defensive line, and that’s asking for too much. He’s 34 years old, and they have to find a replacement for him. Wilkins can easily win as an interior pass rusher, but he’s also got versatility to play anywhere on the defensive line. That’ll be something the Chargers covet and will enjoy as they prepare to team him up with Bosa and Ingram.
29. Kansas City Chiefs – Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
Going into the season, my top-ranked cornerback was Deandre Baker. I’m still very much a fan of him, but I’m curious about where he tests at the Combine. The questions about his long speed are legitimate, but from a talent standpoint, he’s up there. I love the way he can play in and out of man and zone coverages. He plays under control, especially when pressing at the LOS. This would be a terrific fit for the Chiefs, who desperately need another cornerback on their roster.
Irv Smith running a corner route and does a great job getting his feet down, boxing out the defender and having the control & concentration to secure the pass. Certainly looks like a + weapon in the red-zone. pic.twitter.com/LfSENQzR9u
— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) December 31, 2018
30. Green Bay Packers (via Saints) – Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabama
It doesn’t sound like the Packers are going to move on from Jimmy Graham, but they still could. While we wait and see, the Packers should consider one of my favorite players in the draft. They’ll go ahead and take the tight end that they need with Irv Smith Jr. He can dominate as an in-line blocker and will create plenty of mismatches when running routes out of the slot. Pairing him with Aaron Rodgers wouldn’t be fair, but it would be a lot of fun.
31. Los Angeles Rams – Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
This first-round pick is their only pick within the first two days of the draft, and they only have four picks overall. The Rams really need to make this pick count, and I think it would be important to address their need at linebacker. Bush is a bit undersized (5’11” – 233 lbs), but he fits today’s game with his ability to flash his range and scrape. He’s got to get better at taking on blocks and has to show he can stay healthy, but this would be a good pick for the Rams.
32. New England Patriots – Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
Could Rob Gronkowski and Devin McCourty retire after the season? Both have hinted about it, but only time will tell. Regardless, the Patriots are in position to consider both positions at this point in the draft. Thompson shouldn’t be here, but if he is, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Super Bowl Champions decided to snatch him up.