Hello, draft fans. Welcome back to the journey.
If this is your first time on The Draft Network, let this mock draft serve as a welcoming into the 2018 college football and NFL seasons, and of course an on-ramp to the highway that will end with the final pick of the 2019 NFL Draft.
I’ve been tasked — or honored, however you want to look at it — with providing the very first mock draft for TDN, one that will certainly have quite a few shifts by the time the first team goes on the clock next spring. Though the picks might shift positions or change names completely between now and then, mocks are still a good exercise to get the imagination flowing and to give both college football and NFL fans a heads up for which college football names might be headed their NFL team’s way a year from now.
The order of the draft below is via the latest odds to win the Super Bowl from lowest to highest, so you can’t say I hate your favorite team — blame Vegas. More important than the prospect fits, though I believe I’ve chosen some nice fits for certain teams, is the recognition of the players’ names. These are some of the top names going into the college football season, both from a national media perspective and from some of my own scouting that I’ve done over the summer.
But enough small talk. Let’s get to it.
Here’s my version 1.0 mock draft for the 2019 NFL Draft season.
No. 1 – New York Jets
PICK: Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
Much like his brother, Joey, was just a few years ago, Nick Bosa is the prized edge defender of this draft class. His size, motor and talent are just about everything you could ask for in an age where defenders are rotating all along defensive lines. Bosa can line up inside and out for 3-4 and 4-3 alignments, and with health on his side he has the potential to dominate the next level for years to come.
No. 2 – Miami Dolphins
PICK: Brian Lewerke, QB, Michigan State
If the Miami Dolphins are going to be picking No. 2 overall in next year’s draft, they can’t have much faith in Ryan Tannehill, either due to performance or lack of health. That means they’ll likely be in the quarterback market. If you ask me, the best one on my radar right now is Brian Lewerke from Michigan State. Our resident Big10 analyst, Kyle Crabbs, turned me on to Lewerke and I like a lot of what I see. He has a pretty strong arm, but even better than that is his natural touch and accuracy on passes. He thrives in a lot of the “can’t teach” areas of playing quarterback.
No. 3 – Chicago Bears
PICK: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
If Ed Oliver isn’t going No. 1 of No. 2 overall, it doesn’t matter what the order of your mock draft is, he has to be a lock to go No. 3.
Oliver has been on the NFL’s radar for a long time now after recording 22 tackles for loss as a true freshman two years ago. He’s a smaller defensive tackle at just 280 pounds, but if he can get his weight up and stay pretty close to as explosive and as quick as he is now, we all know interior pressure is being emphasized in the NFL more and more for good reasons. Oliver will be next as the talk of the league.
No. 4 – Cincinnati Bengals
PICK: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
Much like the Dolphins, if the Bengals are picking this high, they’ll likely need a franchise-type piece. It probably won’t be at quarterback, as they seem to have trust in Dalton, and with Bosa and Oliver gone I would expect them to keep the trench theme of this draft going with the top offensive tackle in the class.
Jonah Williams has gone up against some tough competition over the last two years and he’s stood his ground against basically all of them. He has the size, strength and quick feet to potentially be an impact right away at left tackle in the NFL.
No. 5 – Buffalo Bills
PICK: Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State
Risner is one of the most versatile offensive linemen in this draft, it seems. He’s played center, offensive guard and offensive tackle already during his K-State career, and the expectation is for him to play out at tackle again in 2018 after a stellar 2017 campaign.
He’s a mean interior offensive lineman who knows hows to anchor well and shows good feet when moving around the line. There’s a bit of a consistency risk due to him never really starting in the same spot for very long, but each position change has been an upgrade to a higher-ceiling spot, almost as if he’s climbing the positional ladder along the offensive line. He’s been up to the challenge each time thus far. I expect it to continue in 2018.
No. 6 – Arizona Cardinals
PICK: Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
This is the part of the mock draft where we start to identify prospects who are raw in terms of how much game film they have and even the kind of game film they’ve produced, but within that film lies some serious flashes of potential.
At 6-foot-5, 231 pounds, Burns shows good size an speed around the edge. His weight being that low is a concern, but he’s put on decent weight each year while at Florida State, and if he comes into the season more around the 235-240 mark with even more production on the edge, then we’re talking about a guy who could get drafted in this kind of range. The NFL covets pass rushers of Burns’ mold.
No. 7 – Cleveland Browns
PICK: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
The Browns have solidified the depth on their defense in almost every spot other than cornerback (though Denzel Ward will help), and if they’re picking this high in 2019 they’ll likely have a chance to grab the best one in this class.
At 6-foot-1, Williams has the ideal length to play as an outside cornerback in the NFL. As just a redshirt freshman in 2017, he showed savviness and intelligence for the position that usually only comes with years of experience. Williams has the instincts to play man coverage tight and has the mindset and ball skills to grab takeaways. That’s the total package as an outside cornerback.
No. 8 – Washington Redskins
PICK: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
Let me just go ahead and address the narrative now because I’m sure you’ll hear it a million times this draft season. Drew Lock and last year’s Josh Allen both have big arms yet lower accuracy totals, and thus you’re going to hear their names linked together for many months.
What Lock does have similar to Allen is that arm potential that will be highly coveted come draft time. Lock’s system at Missouri is very predetermined, so you wont see him scan the field much. He has plenty of tape showing he can make just about every throw in the book, but making them at a more consistent level is a negative that will follow him all the way until draft day if we don’t see better accuracy in 2018.
If we do, he’s a Top 10 lock (ha) because of what he can do.
No. 9 – Indianapolis Colts
PICK: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
Here we are years later and the Colts will likely go into the 2019 offseason still cleaning up from the mess general manager Ryan Grigson left for the now general manager Chris Ballard. Ballard has done a nice job putting pieces in place, but without Andrew Luck no one really knows how the plan is coming along.
Regardless, the Colts will still need a top pass rusher come next year and Ferrell is about as consistent as they come for a 4-3 system like the Colts run. He has the frame, size and speed to be a force on all three downs, just not as high of a ceiling as guys like Bosa and Oliver.
No. 10 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
PICK: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
I’m a guy who covers the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and even I couldn’t tell you where the Bucs are going to be come 2019. Everything is on the table for assets they may need. They may need a new coach, a new quarterback, a new offensive line. But they have addressed all of those things somewhat recently.
What they haven’t addressed is a safety to play next to Justin Evans. If the Bucs can get their hands on Deionte Thompson, they’ll have two of the most versatile, range-y safeties in the league at young ages. Thompson isn’t being talked about enough right now, mostly due to the fact that he barely played in 2017. But when he came in he showed flashes of a safety who can cover deep and come up and lay hits — the total package.