There are a lot of people that get confused about NFL mock drafts. Do they represent what people think is going to happen on Draft night, or are they what people would actually do if they were each team’s GM? When I say ‘people’, I mean the person that wrote the mock draft. I’m not one of those people.
With just over a week until the 2019 NFL Draft, I figured, I’d put together a mock draft that would be structured around the concept of what I would do and not what I think is going to happen. In case you were wondering, I’ve only done one mock draft so far this year, and that was what I thought would happen.
However, that was back in February. Time has passed, all the players have declared, and we’ve gone through some of the most exciting times of draft season: free agency, the NFL Scouting Combine, and pro days. Inching closer to my favorite event in sports, here’s what I would do if I ran all 32 teams in the NFL, even if all 32 teams aren’t picking in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
1.) Arizona Cardinals – Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
I’ve been saying it for a while; he’s the best player in this class. That’s nothing against anyone else, but the rare blend of power, speed, and athletic ability makes him the most unique player in this class. If I were in this war room, I wouldn’t be trading Josh Rosen. I’d be building around him, but first, I’m plugging in this 6’3″ and 303-pound defensive tackle in the middle of my newly-established 3-4 defense to wreak havoc against my NFC West division rivals.
2.) San Francisco 49ers – Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
Going back to the defensive line doesn’t exactly sound ideal for a team that has spent three of their last four draft picks in the first round on that very group. However, Bosa is too good to pass up and gives the 49ers a real threat off the edge. This would allow him to pair up with Buckner, Armstead, and Ford, with Solomon Thomas having some type of role, too. Give me the edge rusher with the best pass rush plan of any player at the position.
3.) New York Jets – Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
Imagine being able to trade back and find a way to STILL make this happen. On the night of the draft, I think it’s likely we’ll see the Jets move back and acquire more picks. To save ourselves the headache, I’ll keep them where they’re at and just force their hand on Jonah Williams. There are two reasons for this pick, one being that you have to keep Sam Darnold upright, and two being that there’s a lot of money on the table for Le’Veon Bell. I’m going to make sure that my ROI (return on investment) pays off in a big way. The cleanest offensive lineman in this class makes too much sense and will help with both things I’m trying to accomplish.
4.) Oakland Raiders – Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
Do we know if Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden really want Derek Carr? No, we have no idea, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they take a look at Drew Lock or Kyler Murray. But I talk some sense into them and we’re taking Josh Allen. He’s the fourth-ranked player on my board and would help fill the void at edge rusher left by Khalil Mack. Only having 13 sacks in a season is abysmal, and that should be priority one for the Raiders in the 2019 NFL Draft.
5.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Devin White, LB, LSU
Another potential trade candidate in the top-10 could be the Buccaneers. All signs point to them selecting Devin White, in my opinion, and I can very much get on board with it. He needs to find ways to process faster and more efficiently, but I’m a fan of his game. We could see teams like Miami or Washington try to jump in front of New York, which could make the fifth pick of the draft a quarterback. For now, keeping everything in order, the Bucs take their replacement for Kwon Alexander.
6.) New York Giants – Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
Maybe Dave Gettleman will actually pull the trigger and take a quarterback with the sixth pick. I’ll believe it when I see it, but he should target the top quarterback in the draft. If I’m in the room, I’m talking with Dave and the staff and telling them about how we can move on from Eli Manning after this season. We have two receivers (Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard) who have both been recently paid, and we have one of the best young running backs in the league. Let’s hit reset at quarterback and prosper as we move into a new era.
7.) Jacksonville Jaguars – T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
If John DeFilipo and Nick Foles learned anything together in Philadelphia, it’s ‘put some value into your tight ends’, or at least know how to use them. By drafting Hockenson, you can use him a lot of ways. Whether it’s with his vicious ability to help establish the run or become a threat in the passing game. This pick makes too much sense regardless of how “rich” it might be for some people. Send your opinions to the moon, this is one of the safest picks in the 2019 NFL Draft.
8.) Detroit Lions – Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
Bob Quinn has spent eight of his 25 draft picks on SEC players. Could he target someone like Greedy Williams or Montez Sweat with the 8th pick? Absolutely, but I remind him of the Lions not drafting a cornerback in the first round since 1998 and that pairing Ed Oliver with Damon “Snacks” Harrison would be a ton of fun. Have fun trying to double team both of these guys, NFL.
9.) Buffalo Bills – Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
Personally, I want to take D.K. Metcalf and trigger every Bills fan out there, but I’ll protect One Bills Drive . . . for now. Andre Dillard would actually be the pick I’d make and I’d move Dion Dawkins to guard. I valued Dawkins as a guard when he came out of Temple, but he stepped up in a big way when he started playing left tackle. However, he regressed a little bit in his sophomore season. Notably, it could have been partially because of the lack of talent around him. Either way, I’m adding the best pass protector in the draft and not just helping Dawkins, but also Josh Allen and the rest of this offense.
10.) Denver Broncos – Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
It wouldn’t surprise me if the Broncos selected a quarterback when we get to the real draft, but for now, how could they pass up Devin Bush? Selecting Noah Fant to give Flacco a security blanket is tempting, but after losing Brandon Marshall at inside linebacker, I’m convinced that Devin Bush would be a perfect fit for this defense. This front seven would look really good with Bradley Chubb, Von Miller, and Todd Davis.
11.) Cincinnati Bengals – Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
The secondary for the Bengals’ defense looks good on paper, but age and contracts are two factors to be considered. Dre Kirkpatrick and B.W. Webb are both 29 years old and are both signed to the team for the next three seasons. However, Webb has a potential out after this season, and it would only be $1 million dollars in dead money, so if it doesn’t work out there’s an easy way to move on. They also have William Jackson, but he’s not a guarantee to re-sign a new contract, and Darqueze Dennard only has a one-year contract. Regardless, this pick could pay off in a big way for the future. It protects the Bengals from the worst case scenario, and it allows them to bring in a really talented cornerback with excellent ball skills. It’s a win-win.
12.) Green Bay Packers – Garrett Bradbury, OC, North Carolina State
Not the flashiest pick, and I know that Montez Sweat and Noah Fant are on the board. To be honest, I’m going with a safer pick and my focus is protecting Aaron Rodgers. He’s battled through injuries and it’s time to get him some help. Bradbury can play guard or center and be an immediate plug-and-play guy for the Packers. He’s very effective as a reach blocker and plays with a chip on his shoulder. Putting him in this offense, which should incorporate some type of zone blocking, will be incredibly beneficial for Aaron Rodgers and the run game.
13.) Miami Dolphins – Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
Passing on a quarterback? I’m all for having Ryan Fitzpatrick as your bridge quarterback and finding out what to do from there, whether you go day two or three for a quarterback or wait until next season. There are plenty of ways to handle it, but forcing your hand in round one isn’t the smartest decision. There’s a need for the Dolphins to look at finding a right tackle, and the perfect fit is Jawaan Taylor. He’s got incredible grip strength, displayed solid footwork at the Combine, and has done a terrific job keeping himself in shape to maintain the ability to hold down the right tackle position for the Gators. He can do the same for the Dolphins.
14.) Atlanta Falcons – Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
We were all praying for Ed Oliver to be on the board, but he’s off and the Falcons will settle for a very good player. Christian Wilkins is one of my favorite players in this class. Pairing him up with Grady Jarrett would be a wise decision. Wilkins is going to play from day one, and he’s going to produce immediately. He’s smart and graduated from Clemson in under three years. This pick is a no-brainer for the Falcons.
15.) Washington Redskins – Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
Before you rip me to shreds, you need to understand that I don’t have a first-round grade on any quarterback in this class. Not Haskins, not Murray, not the dude named after a hockey stick. There’s nothing intriguing about the Redskins’ quarterback room, and it doesn’t look promising. Putting Kyler Murray with Jay Gruden should lead to some positive results. After all, Murray has some incredible arm strength and maneuvers well in and out of the pocket. This would give the Redskins two young pieces to build around in their offense with Derrius Guice and Murray.
16.) Carolina Panthers – Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
Finding a replacement for Julius Peppers should be a priority for the Panthers in this draft. Passing on players like Dalton Risner and Cody Ford will be hard to do, but Sweat makes the most sense. He’s a pro-ready edge rusher who wins with length and a blend of power and speed. He’s going to be good for the Panthers for a long time if he can stay healthy. This is a perfect fit for Ron Rivera and this team.
17.) New York Giants – D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
Oh, yes, we’re going to make this happen, QB1 and WR1 on the same team. Haskins and Metcalf would be boat loads of fun. You’d get a true number one receiver and you’d have Shepard and Tate for everything in the short areas of the field. Throw Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley into the mix and, in the words of Donnie Brasco, “it’s a beautiful thing.”
18.) Minnesota Vikings – Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma
It wouldn’t be surprising if the Vikings took the best defensive player available like they normally do, but I think the offensive line is a huge need for them. Cody Ford is my top-ranked offensive lineman on the board, and he can come in and play right tackle or guard. He’s got some of the best footwork of any offensive tackle in this class and would help right away.
19.) Tennessee Titans – Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
Brian Orakpo retired and the Titans should look early in this draft to find his replacement. Brian Burns has had weight concerns, but he checked into the combine at 249 pounds and put together a great performance. He looks like a fluid athlete and checks a lot of boxes. My biggest question marks are whether can he hold up in the run game, whether his motor will run high through most of the game, and whether he can maintain that weight at 249 pounds. For now, he’s going to be brought into the league as a pass rusher, and it should bode well for the Titans.
20.) Pittsburgh Steelers – Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
I’m not sure what to think of the Pittsburgh Steelers anymore. They’re one of my favorite teams to watch, but my goodness is this one a crapshoot. They should certainly find ways to build around Juju Smith-Schuster and James Conner, but it wouldn’t be surprising if they took a look at their defense. I’ve said that their offensive line could use some help, but let’s go with the best player on the board, Noah Fant. He’s an athletic tight end who is a natural receiver and a solid blocker.
21.) Seattle Seahawks – Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
Like I told Danny Kelly this week, I can’t help but think of Greedy Williams in Seattle. He’s a long cornerback with good coverage skills and is a pretty good tackler. There are some concerns with overall work ethic, and he tends to get too aggressive downfield. Meanwhile, I’ve noticed a tendency for him to get flat-footed when in his backpedal, but overall, he’s a good prospect and should be able to fix his flaws in Seattle.
22.) Baltimore Ravens – Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State
The kid that was born in Baltimore returns home. This would be an incredible story for Hakeem Butler. He was born in Baltimore and moved to Texas after his mother passed away. He went onto Iowa State, where he carved out a solid career and would be a great addition to the Ravens’ offense. He’s got serious size and athletic ability and I view him as one of two receivers in this class that can develop into a true number one receiver.
23.) Houston Texans – Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State
Another one of my favorite players in this class is Dalton Risner. On the field, he plays with a nasty side, but off the field, he’s an awesome person and has his own charity that benefits kids. With the Texans adding Risner, it would benefit Deshaun Watson and this entire offense. The Texans need to pay attention to the team that beat them in the playoffs, the Colts, and realize that neglecting your offensive line can take literal years off your quarterback. Risner can help at right tackle or move inside to play guard with his ability as a powerful run blocker and efficient pass blocker.
24.) Oakland Raiders – Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
Double dipping into these edge rushers is far from a bad idea. Essentially, I’m looking at adding four starters to the Raiders’ roster within the top 40 picks of this draft. Josh Allen is clearly going to be a day one starter, and I’m actually quite high on Ferrell. I think he’s a pro-ready edge rusher who can help set the edge with his length, experience, and blend of power and speed. This defensive line would be Allen-Hurst-Hankins-Ferrell, and if that doesn’t generate 13+ sacks, nothing will.
25.) Philadelphia Eagles – Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida
After the arrest of Jalen Mills, I considered taking a cornerback for the Eagles, but I went with my highest rated player in the defensive back group. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson can do a little bit of everything and is a smooth operator in space. I think he flashes solid range and I love his ability to diagnose in the run game. Putting him in this defense can be extremely beneficial with the defensive line they already have in place.
26.) Indianapolis Colts – Charles Omenihu, DL, Texas
It’s no secret that Omenihu is one of my favorite players in this class and I think he’s a surefire first rounder. I could be higher on him than just about anyone, but one team that has some significant interest in him is the Colts. His versatility provides plenty of value for teams that want to have a player that can plug and play in a variety of spots. He’s comfortable as a 5-technique but can also play inside in a 4i-technique or stand-up off the edge. He prefers to put his hand in the dirt and would be terrific for the Colts with his length and high motor.
27.) Oakland Raiders – Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabama
There’s plenty to like with Derek Carr, Antonio Brown, and Tyrell Williams, but honestly, have you seen the tight ends on the roster? Losing Jared Cook hurts this team, but they can easily fix it by drafting Irv Smith Jr. He can help immediately as an in-line blocker, but he’s also got the ability to contribute as a pass catcher, whether he’s helping in the red-zone or becoming a security blanket underneath for Carr. He’ll have to get more fluid as a route runner, but overall, this would be an immediate upgrade over the tight ends that are on the roster.
28.) Los Angeles Chargers – Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
I’m all for Justin Jones being one of the starters on the interior defensive line for the Chargers. Preparing for life after Brandon Mebane is what the Chargers should be doing. Simmons would be a top-5 player in this class had he not torn his ACL, but here we are. He’d be a great fit for the Chargers paired up with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. This should pay off in a big way and is well worth the risk for the Chargers.
29.) Kansas City Chiefs – Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan
I’ve been very critical of Rashan Gary throughout the draft process, and to be honest, since his arrival to Ann Arbor. Regardless of how I feel, the upside for Gary is far too high for him to not get a first-round look. He’s explosive off the edge and has the athletic ability that’s coveted among edge rushers. He needs to become more consistent with his motor and hands for me to fully buy in on him as a prospect. For the Chiefs, they lost Dee Ford and Justin Houston; they need someone like Gary, and hopefully, he can meet his potential.
30.) Green Bay Packers – DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia
Despite having players like Josh Jackson and Jaire Alexander in the mix, the secondary needs to improve for Green Bay. DeAndre Baker has some questions in regards to his long speed, but overall, he’s solid in man coverage and also has shown consistency when closing to the football in zone coverage. He’ll struggle against bigger receivers, but he’s got too much upside for the Packers to pass on for this spot in the draft. Putting him in their secondary would be a huge upgrade and would make their pass defense a bit more dangerous.
31.) Los Angeles Rams – Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
It doesn’t get talked about enough, but Dexter Lawrence has been relatively consistent for the Tigers. He’s not the best pass rusher, but he’s certainly a powerful defensive tackle and is disruptive as hell on the interior. Had he not been suspended for the college football playoffs, we’d be talking about him a little bit more. The Rams could pair him up with Michael Brockers and Aaron Donald and boy, would this defensive line be a little bit more fun. Sign me up.
32.) New England Patriots – Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina
Not my highest-ranked receiver at this spot, but I can’t help but think about how awesome it would be to have Deebo Samuel and Tom Brady on the same field. Samuel has already visited with the Patriots, and I’m in agreement that he’d be an ideal fit for them and their offense. He can play underneath coverages but also has the speed to get vertical up the field. Health will be the biggest concern for him, but overall, I’d be more than okay with this being the selection if I were the Patriots.