The tank war is officially on. The ability for the top ten to shake up is as close as ever, not to mention the fight for Nick Bosa being the main event.
Where will the quarterbacks fall? Can the Raiders rebuild their defense in one round? How will a weak wide receiver free agent class effect the draft?
Let’s make all 32 picks of the first round for the 2019 NFL Draft.
1. San Francisco 49ers
Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
This pick has become an alley-oop. Not only is Nick Bosa the best player in this draft, San Francisco needs help on the edge. As we broke down on Stick to Football this week when fixing the 49ers, he can make the type of impact on their defense that would quickly turn things around.
Every few years a special pass rusher comes along: the Von Millers, Khalil Macks or Myles Garretts of the world. I think Nick Bosa is close to that group and the no-brainer choice here.
2. Oakland Raiders
Ed Oliver, DL, Houston
Second place for the Raiders in the tank race is less than ideal, but coming out of it with Ed Oliver as one of their three picks is far from a poor consolation.
The spotlight was on Oliver at the end of Houston’s season for the wrong reasons: injury and a bizarre incident involved him, his head coach and a fight over a jacket. Somehow, that has taken away the special talent he is on the interior of the defensive line.
He’s an elite athlete at his position winning with explosiveness off the snap that leaves him in the backfield in the blink of an eye. Scouts are going to raise questions about his size (sound familiar?), which I’ve heard projects to come in between 6-0 and 6-1, 275-285 pounds during measurements.
Don’t overthink this one. Oliver is a phenomenal talent that should thrive at the next level, giving Oakland much-needed help on defense against the run and pass.
3. New York Jets
Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
The Jets would love to get Sam Darnold an elite playmaker with their projected top five pick, but that doesn’t exist in this class right now. They could still explore the trade market for that, but at this point of the draft the value is at pass rusher.
Enter Clelin Ferrell who essentially checks every box coming out of Clemson. He’s been productive for multiple seasons, has plenty of pro traits (athleticism, bend, power) and would solve a decade long issue for Gang Green.
The Jets need to go into the offseason targeting edge pass rush help, but they are so thin there it’d be wise to double dip. Heading into the 2019 season with one of Trey Flowers, Dante Fowler or Dee Ford along with Ferrell would round out the defense.
4. Arizona Cardinals
Jonah Williams, OL, Alabama
The Cardinals have questions across their offensive line and must protect quarterback Josh Rosen next season. Jonah Williams started at right tackle as a freshman and has held down the left side for the past two seasons. On top of that, he could easily slide inside and thrive as well.
The point? Arizona needs to stockpile help on the offensive line. Williams is a plug and play starter at multiple positions that could keep Rosen upright for the next decade.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars
Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
I’m not expecting Oregon’s Justin Herbert to declare, which turns all of the quarterback attention to Haskins. He has an important decision to make for himself: stay one more year as Ryan Day takes over the Ohio State program or make the jump to the pros now while his stock is soaring.
If he opts for the latter, the Heisman Trophy candidate has a very realistic chance of coming off the board in the top ten picks. His ability to operate from the pocket is unmatched in this class, hitting throws at every level of the field this season.
Haskins won’t blow anyone away with athleticism, but he has the required arm to run a high powered aerial attack at the next level. With only one college season as a starter under his belt it may take time, but he’s worth the gamble for a Jacksonville team desperately needing better play at the quarterback position.
6. Detroit Lions
Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida
Ziggy Ansah is simply unreliable, leaving edge help a pressing need in Detroit for Matt Patricia’s defense. Picking in the top five gives them a tremendous opportunity to solve that issue, especially with Florida’s Jachai Polite on the board.
After losing 20 pounds in the offseason and kicking outside he’s blossomed into a star: 11 sacks and four forced fumbles in 12 games this season. Even crazier is that Polite is nowhere close to his ceiling, displaying pass rush traits that can make him a force at the next level. He’s very similar to Melvin Engram, but without the injury concerns.
7. Atlanta Falcons
Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama
I’m not sure there is a player this year that has been as unblockable as Quinnen Williams. He dominated for the Tide defense, putting guards and centers on the ground week after week.
An eight sack season for an SEC interior defensive lineman is an impressive accomplishment for anyone, but especially for a first-year starter. The Falcons are most likely losing Grady Jarrett to free agency this offseason, making Williams a tremendous add.
8. New York Giants
Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
Picking outside of the top ten presents an interesting scenario for the Giants: will they once again remain patient on taking a quarterback early or will they aggressively move up?
Either way, if they stay this far back Greedy Williams adds to a key position of need. They moved on from Eli Apple this year and the future of Janoris Jenkins in New York is unclear.
Williams gives them a long, feisty press corner that would bring a lot attitude to a secondary already including Landon Collins.
9. Buffalo Bills
Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
Josh Allen has put together a decent stretch in recent weeks, but he’s working with very little in the Bills offense. Noah Fant is more than a tight end, often lining up in the slot as a seam stretching target. He’s simply too fast for linebackers to cover, but too big for defensive backs.
Buffalo should jump at the chance to get a mismatch weapon for their young quarterback, making Fant an ideal fit here.
10. Green Bay Packers
Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
The Packers haven’t picked in the top ten since 2009 when they took B.J. Raji out of Boston College. As frustrating as their season has been, selecting this high gives them an opportunity to fill a dire need up front.
It’s rare to see a player return for their senior season and improve their draft status in the dramatic fashion Kentucky’s Josh Allen has. He had 14 sacks this season with four forced fumbles, arguably the most dominant singlehanded effort from any defender in the country.
Green Bay has the ammo to move up for a premier player such as Ferrell or Polite, but if they stay pat Allen’s floor would most likely be too good to pass up. He’ll make an impact and come as one of the more pro-ready defenders in this class.