Today’s Mock Draft comes from Mel Kiper, Jr.
If we compare it to Peter Schrager’s yesterday, there are 24 names that appear in both. They agree on 4 of the first 5 picks – Murray, Bosa, Allen and White.
Schrager likes Ed Oliver at #4 to the Raiders, while Kiper has him at 14.
Schrager likes OT Cody Ford at #11, Kiper has him #28.
Kiper likes Edge Montez Sweat at #8, Schrager has him at #21.
Kiper likes LB Devin Bush at #11, Schrager has him at #24.
Schrager has OT Kaleb McGary going at #18, Kiper does not have him in First Round.
Kiper has OLB Brian Burns at #15, Schrager does not have him in First Round:
Can you believe we’re less than a month away from the 2019 NFL draft? The combine is over. Pro days are winding down. Most of free agency is done, although a few signings are still trickling in. And the complete draft order — all 254 picks — is set.
Let’s go 1-32 with a new Mock Draft, my third of the cycle. As always, I’ll project the first round and give my thoughts on each pick and prospect. Since the bulk of free agency is over, we have a good feel for the needs of every team. And we also have true heights, weights and athletic testing numbers for every prospect, which means you’ll see some new names based on combine risers — and notice a few players who have dropped out of Round 1.
Let’s start with the Cardinals, where I have changed my pick from my previous two projections …
1. Arizona Cardinals
Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
The buzz around Murray going No. 1 has only heated up since the combine. And here’s why it makes sense: New coach Kliff Kingsbury can start his tenure in Arizona with his guy. The 5-foot-10, 207-pound Murray can run the offense Kingsbury wants to run, with no limitations. Josh Rosen is a much different quarterback than Murray, and Kingsbury was going to have to fit his Air Raid concepts to Rosen’s strengths. Now, we can question the logic behind taking a quarterback in the first round in back-to-back drafts. It’s a terrible look to ditch a top-10 pick after a year. Can general manager Steve Keim get a first-round pick for Rosen in a trade, even if it’s in 2020? That might help the Cardinals save face. There’s a lot to like about Heisman Trophy winner Murray, even if we should expect some struggles early behind Arizona’s offensive line.
2. San Francisco 49ers
Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
The 49ers could be the big winners if Murray goes No. 1 because it means the top pass-rusher — and my top-ranked prospect — is still on the board here. Two potential options:
Take Bosa and put him on the other side of new addition Dee Ford, and the edge-rushing group — a major weakness in 2018 — immediately becomes a strength.
Put the pick up for sale and get more capital to improve a talented team that still has some holes.
We’ve seen San Francisco GM John Lynch trade down before; he did it in 2017, when the Bears moved up one spot to take Mitchell Trubisky, and the Niners got back two third-round picks and a fourth-rounder. Could Lynch do it again?
3. New York Jets
Josh Allen, OLB, Kentucky
This is simple: New defensive coordinator Gregg Williams says he’s sticking with a 3-4, and Allen is the best pass-rushing outside linebacker in the class. The Jets didn’t address the position in free agency — they did spend a ton of money at inside linebacker with C.J. Mosley — so this is a clear need. The 6-foot-5, 262-pound Allen had 17 sacks and five forced fumbles last season. It’s worth noting again that New York doesn’t have a second-round pick because of the Sam Darnold trade-up last year. This is an important selection for GM Mike Maccagnan.
4. Oakland Raiders
Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
Jon Gruden & Co. are the other big winners if Murray goes with the first pick. Instead of the top three defensive players coming off the board, at least one of them would be available at No. 4 in this scenario. And with a dire pass rush in 2018, we know the Raiders need help there. Williams (6-foot-3, 303 pounds) is coming off a stellar season and combine, and he’d be an impact player from Day 1 in the middle of the Oakland defense.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Devin White, ILB, LSU
White, a sideline-to-sideline linebacker who ran a 4.42-second 40-yard dash at the combine, is one of my favorite prospects in this class. And after the Bucs lost Kwon Alexander in free agency, White (6-foot, 237 pounds) can step in and fill the void at middle linebacker. As I noted in my Mock Draft 2.0, the No. 5 pick is a spot to watch for teams trying to move ahead of the Giants to draft quarterback Dwayne Haskins.
6. New York Giants
Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
I’ll stick with my top-ranked signal-caller here, with the Giants taking Haskins, who grew up a fan of the team. But, again, there’s no guarantee Haskins (6-foot-3, 231 pounds) will be available at No. 6, and GM Dave Gettleman might have to move up to get him. The team now has the No. 17 overall pick from the Odell Beckham Jr. trade, which could be used in another deal. It’s no certainty that the Giants take a quarterback with this pick, however; they are clearly rebuilding, have several needs (offensive tackle and edge rusher stand out) and could instead use the 17th pick for a QB.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
The 6-foot-5, 312-pound Taylor is likely to be the top tackle off the board, ahead of Alabama’s Jonah Williams, and I also pegged him to Jacksonville in my Mock Draft 2.0. With Nick Foles taking over, he’s going to need protection on the right side. That’s where Taylor has experience, as he started 33 games there at Florida.
8. Detroit Lions
Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State
I really liked Sweat’s 2018 film, as he had 11.5 sacks and was a terror off the edge for the Bulldogs. And after running a 4.41 40-yard dash at 260 pounds at the combine, he has likely locked in a spot in the top 10. There is a fit in Detroit, which just added big-money signing Trey Flowers as a replacement for Ezekiel Ansah but needs help on the other side. Sweat could be an impact pass-rusher in the tough NFC North.
9. Buffalo Bills
Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan
Gary had a strong combine — he ran a 4.58 40-yard dash and tested well in every workout — but we already knew he was gifted physically. The interviews were more important for him there. He was undoubtedly asked about why he had just 10.5 sacks over three seasons. This pick is a bet for his ceiling, which is extremely high, and coaches will try to get the best out of him consistently. The Bills added receivers John Brown and Cole Beasley in free agency, but don’t rule out a tight end for second-year quarterback Josh Allen here.
10. Denver Broncos
T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
This is probably too high to go for an interior offensive linemen, and Denver addressed its need at cornerback in free agency with Kareem Jackson and Bryce Callahan. So I’ll give the Broncos the top tight end in the class in Hockenson, a complete player who will be able to start immediately. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Hockenson has been compared to Rob Gronkowski, and you can see the similarities on film. I’m not sold Denver has a No. 1 tight end on its roster, even as it has used draft picks in recent years on Jeff Heuerman, Jake Butt and Troy Fumagalli.
11. Cincinnati Bengals
Devin Bush, ILB, Michigan
I have gone with the other Devin in previous Mock Drafts — LSU’s Devin White — but Bush isn’t far behind White as the best middle linebacker in this class. One of the prospects I picked out as a combine riser because of his workouts, Bush is always around the ball on film. The Bengals just brought back Preston Brown in free agency, but Bush could play any of the linebacker spots at the next level. He’s a three-down player.
12. Green Bay Packers
D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
GM Brian Gutenkunst was aggressive in free agency, addressing holes at edge rusher, safety and guard. But the Packers didn’t add a wide receiver, and I expect them to use one of their two first-round picks on one. Metcalf lit up the combine with a 4.33 40-yard dash and 40-inch vertical at 6-foot-3, 228 pounds, but there are some concerns about his lateral athleticism and health (he had a scary neck injury last season). Still, if Metcalf is 100 percent, he can be a true weapon for Aaron Rodgers.
13. Miami Dolphins
Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
I thought about Lock for Denver at No. 10 and Cincinnati at No. 11, but Miami also makes a ton of sense. The Dolphins are clearly in the beginning stages of a rebuild, and they need a new face of their franchise after parting ways with Ryan Tannehill. Lock (6-foot-4, 228 pounds) is inconsistent, but he has a strong arm and can make every throw. There have been some rumblings that Lock could be the second quarterback off the board, before Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins. Miami could go also go offensive line with this pick, or it could try to trade down to pick up assets.
14. Atlanta Falcons
Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
The Falcons were devastated by injuries on defense last season, but this is still a talented roster. They’re not far away from being back in the playoffs. Adding another interior disruptor next to Grady Jarrett makes sense here. Oliver’s weight was a hot topic last season, and he weighed in at 287 at the combine, quieting concerns that he didn’t have the size to play defensive tackle at the next level. Oliver is a tremendous athlete who could also move outside to rush the passer from the edge.
15. Washington Redskins
Brian Burns, OLB, Florida State
If Washington wants Missouri quarterback Drew Lock, it might have to trade up. And since I can’t project trades here, Lock isn’t on the board at No. 15. So with a void left by Preston Smith signing with the Packers in free agency, the Redskins go with the best edge rusher on my board in Burns (6-foot-5, 249 pounds), who is rising after the combine. He can bend the edge as well as any pass-rusher in this class.
16. Carolina Panthers
Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
The Panthers signed pass-rusher Bruce Irvin to a one-year deal to help replace the retired Julius Peppers, but they need some more help now and for the long term. Ferrell is a fit as a classic 4-3 defensive end with a big frame (6-foot-4, 264 pounds). He’s not flashy on film, but he gets to quarterbacks and is strong against the run. Safety is another position to watch for Carolina.
17. New York Giants (from CLE)
Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
This selection ends a run on edge rushers, with six going in my top 16 picks. The Giants need help there, too, especially at outside linebacker in James Bettcher’s 3-4, but Wilkins (6-foot-3, 315 pounds) is a different kind of defensive lineman who could play tackle in a 4-3 or end in a 3-4. He has been underrated on a loaded Clemson defense, but he had 15 tackles for loss last season.
18. Minnesota Vikings
Jonah Williams, OT/G, Alabama
The Vikings would be thrilled with Williams, a tackle in college — he made 43 consecutive starts for the Crimson Tide — who could play guard at the next level. If Minnesota moves Riley Reiff inside to guard, Williams (6-foot-4, 302 pounds) could stick at left tackle. As always, don’t be shocked if coach Mike Zimmer and GM Rick Spielman target a pass-rusher here.
19. Tennessee Titans
Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
Lawrence is the best true nose tackle in this class, a massive 6-foot-4, 342-pound rock who would be an ideal complement next to Jurrell Casey, one of the most underrated defenders in the league. The Titans have upgraded at guard and wide receiver in free agency, so this pick should be to help improve their defense, which lost a few pieces this offseason.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers
Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
Pittsburgh signed former Chiefs corner Steven Nelson in free agency, but the team could still target a defensive back in the round. As I wrote in my Mock Draft 2.0, former first-round pick Artie Burns had a rough 2018 season, and the Steelers need more depth at cornerback. Baker (5-foot-11, 193 pounds) had a solid combine workout, although he’s not an elite athlete. The Steelers are another team that could target an edge rusher early.
21. Seattle Seahawks
Chris Lindstrom, G, Boston College
The Seahawks’ offensive line was one of the most improved units in 2018. And while Seattle re-signed D.J. Fluker and added Mike Iupati in free agency, the guard position isn’t solidified for the future. Lindstrom (6-foot-4, 308 pounds) is rising after his combine workout — he ran a 4.91 40-yard dash and tested well athletically — and he’s getting some first-round buzz.
22. Baltimore Ravens
Erik McCoy, C/G, Texas A&M
Another post-combine riser, McCoy ran the fastest 40-yard dash of any offensive lineman (4.89 seconds) in Indianapolis. And when you turn on the tape, you see a consistent player with great feet. The 6-foot-4, 303-pound McCoy started all 38 games of his Texas A&M career, including a few at guard. The versatility is a plus, and the Ravens could play him at left guard or center. Baltimore’s defense took a hit in free agency, so GM Eric DeCosta could try to upgrade at a few spots.
23. Houston Texans
Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
As I wrote last time, the Texans’ biggest weakness in 2018 was their offensive line, as they gave up a league-high 62 sacks. And I don’t have a lot of faith that Matt Kalil is the answer. So let’s give them Dillard (6-foot-5, 315 pounds), one of the best pass-protectors in this class and a true left tackle. Houston could also address its secondary, which lost several impact players in free agency.
24. Oakland Raiders (from CHI)
Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin, the Raiders’ top two backs last season, are both unsigned free agents, and the position is a huge question mark for Jon Gruden’s team in 2019. Could the best running back in the draft fall to them here? It’s possible. Jacobs has limited tread on his tires — just 300 career touches for the Crimson Tide — and is a receiving threat out of the backfield. Oakland has had a nice offseason, and with three first-rounders, these are important picks to get the franchise back on track.
25. Philadelphia Eagles
Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State
Philadelphia has done a nice job filling holes this offseason. DeSean Jackson can replace Golden Tate. Malik Jackson is an upgrade on Haloti Ngata & Co. at defensive tackle. Vinny Curry will help with Michael Bennett moving on. GM Howie Roseman hasn’t addressed the secondary, however, outside of bringing back Ronald Darby on a one-year deal, which means Philly could target a safety or corner in the first round or with one of its two second-round picks. Abram (5-foot-11, 205 pounds) is my top-ranked safety, a physical tackler who showed off 4.45 40-yard dash speed at the combine.
26. Indianapolis Colts
Terry McLaurin, WR, Ohio State
There are several wide receivers extremely close on my board, all with late Day 1 or early Day 2 grades. That includes Oklahoma’s Marquise Brown, who hasn’t been able to work out for teams because of a foot injury, and Ole Miss’ A.J. Brown, whom I had here in my Mock Draft 2.0. It also includes McLaurin, a true speed threat who averaged 20.0 yards per catch last season. The 6-foot, 208-pound wideout ran a blazing 4.35 40 at the combine. Andrew Luck needs better weapons at wideout, even after Indy added Devin Funchess in free agency.
27. Oakland Raiders (from DAL)
Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple
I really liked what I saw on tape from Ya-Sin in his lone season at Temple, when he broke up 12 passes and had two interceptions. He’s an easy mover with outstanding athletic traits. Let’s plug in Ya-Sin (6-foot, 192 pounds) on the other side of Gareon Conley and consider the Raiders’ top needs filled in this first round, with an interior game-wrecker at No. 4, a top running back at No. 24, and a starting-caliber corner here.
28. Los Angeles Chargers
Cody Ford, G/OT, Oklahoma
I thought about defensive tackle here, and Los Angeles could also target a corner. But in the 6-foot-4, 329-pound Ford, the Chargers could get a versatile offensive linemen who has started multiple games at both guard and tackle for the Sooners. He could step in at either position in L.A. Ford’s strength is in the run game — he’s a mauler.
29. Kansas City Chiefs
Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
With Dee Ford, Justin Houston, Eric Berry and Steven Nelson all gone, the Chiefs’ defense will look different in 2019 under new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. And Kansas City still has questions at linebacker and the other safety spot next to Tyrann Mathieu. And even after signing Bashaud Breeland on a short-term deal, the team also needs a cornerback. You’ll notice that Williams (6-foot-2, 185 pounds) has dropped a bit; there are questions about his willingness to tackle and about his fluidity in coverage.
30. Green Bay Packers (from NO)
Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
Let’s go all-in on helping Aaron Rodgers. After giving the Packers a receiver at No. 12, I’ll go with the best pure pass-catching tight end in this class here with the pick they got from the Saints in last year’s draft. Fant (6-foot-4, 249 pounds) is supremely athletic and naturally gifted as a receiver, but he’s not on the same level as a blocker as his former teammate T.J. Hockenson. Green Bay could use Fant as more of a slot receiver in the same lineup as Jimmy Graham until Fant improves as a blocker.
31. Los Angeles Rams
Garrett Bradbury, C, NC State
Bradbury had a fantastic week at the Senior Bowl in January, and he followed it up with a strong combine workout, which has him on the fringes of Round 1. With the Rams moving on from John Sullivan this offseason, this is a straight like-for-like replacement, as Bradbury (6-foot-3, 306 pounds) could step in and start on Day 1. Cornerback is another position to watch for L.A., with the futures of Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib uncertain.
32. New England Patriots
Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabama
What now for the Super Bowl champs? Bill Belichick always has a plan. Rob Gronkowski is retiring, and the Patriots also lost several big contributors in free agency, including Trent Brown, Trey Flowers, Cordarrelle Patterson, Dwayne Allen and Malcom Brown. They already have replacements for a few of these players, but tight end is another story. Smith is a notch below T.J. Hockenson, but he’s a solid, all-around player who can hold his own as a blocker. And we know Belichick has an affinity for Nick Saban and Alabama. This pairing makes sense.