Welcome to my fifth mock draft of the 2019 NFL Draft season, this one a pre-Senior Bowl edition. This is the intro that nobody ever reads, explaining that most of this mock draft is predictive, with a heavy slant toward how I believe the NFL may see the current draft landscape.
No further ado. Now, enjoy.
1. *TRADE* San Francisco 49ers (Via ARI): Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
A trade within the same division? Come on, Ledyard!
Ask me if I care. No, seriously. Ask me.
Look at it this way. The Cardinals are going to get trade offers for no. 1, either by a team in need of a quarterback or a team trying to get Bosa (Oakland). The Cardinals have an elite edge rusher already in Chandler Jones, and another decent one in Markus Golden. Would Bosa be an awesome pick? Absolutely. Nothing in the world wrong with it.
But imagine getting a ransom for no. 1, being able to fill other CRYING needs over the next two drafts, and STILL getting maybe the best player in the draft at a huge position of need. It's a no-brainer.
As for the 49ers, they can afford to give up picks. Sure, they have obvious needs, but they should be able to fill some in free agency, and an elite pass rusher makes the whole defense SO MUCH BETTER. With Bosa off the edge, the 49ers have one of the best pass rush duos in the NFL in he and DeForest Buckner. Now all they need to do is stay healthy.
As for giving up assets to a division foe, somebody is going to do it. If you're San Francisco, it's get Nick Bosa or watch someone else do it. I think he's the player they are missing to go over the top.
2. *TRADE* Arizona Cardinals (Via SF): Quinnen Williams, iDL, Alabama
With the reasoning already explained, let's talk about the fit. Imagine Chandler Jones, arguably the best pass rusher in the NFL, paired with Quinnen Williams, arguably the best prospect in the draft? The Cardinals have a ton of needs, so getting more picks is another huge part of this. With the roster in shambles, find a way to get yourself in position to fix both lines and prosper.
3. New York Jets: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
Two things are true in New York that weren't true before: the head coach (Adam Gase) and the defensive coordinator (Gregg Williams) both care about pass rush, a lot. Just look at their track records. That's why I firmly believe the Jets are in the market for edge rushers first and foremost, and will make sure they come away with one at the top of the draft.
Allen has the size, speed and bend to rush the passer at a high level off the edge, as well as being able to drop and play with his hand down. He's an ideal remedy for the Jets primary illness.
4. *TRADE* Jacksonville Jaguars (Via OAK): Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
The Jaguars are in dire need of a quarterback, and it doesn't appear that there will be a strong option available in the offseason. With Doug Marrone and Tom Coughlin still in place, the Jaguars are bound to be a run-heavy team that thrives on the short-intermediate passing game. Haskins is a good fit for their system, but there will be questions about how high the ceiling is with the redshirt sophomore at the helm.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ed Oliver, iDL, Houston
With Gerald McCoy likely on the way out of town, the Bucs will be looking for another difference-maker on the interior defensive line to help out Jason Pierre-Paul. I don't care that they drafted Vita Vea with their first round pick last year; he'll be a good player, but he doesn't have close to the explosive skill set on all three downs that Oliver offers.
NFL games are won in the trenches, and while Tampa Bay could go with an offensive tackle here, I'm not sure they value Jonah Williams this high, and I can't give them Greg Little again (did in my last mock, almost died). I'd think about Cody Ford, but I've only seen him at right tackle. Tough to predict how he'll do moving to the left side. Oliver can make plays behind the line of scrimmage and at the point of attack. Can't pass on that given the Bucs need to get after the quarterback at a high level without McCoy.
6. New York Giants: Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma
The Giants have holes all over their defense, and on the right side of their offensive line. I love Ford as a pick for them, as he has the upside to be a stud right tackle opposite Nate Solder. If the Giants are unable to develop him at tackle, Ford could be a dominant guard in the NFL, where New York also has a massive hole. His traits and physical mentality are special.
7. *TRADE* Oakland Raiders (Via JAX): Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
If the board falls like this, the Raiders will be in a semi-tough spot if they were to stay at no.4. They need an edge rusher, but with so many to choose from, they might get overwhelmed inside the top five.
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As for the Raiders, Burns is the type of explosive edge rusher they need, bringing bend and a great pass rush plan to the table. The Raiders need a polished player in the first round, and Burns will offer that skill set right away.
8. Detroit Lions: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
The Lions need pass rush help, but the cornerback situation opposite Darius Slay is a nightmare, and there isn't an answer on the current roster. Williams isn't a finished product, but his length, instincts and fluidity in man coverage are an ideal fit for Detroit. Can he welcome Matt Patricia's culture and show more consistent effort and technique?
9. Buffalo Bills: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
Two things need to check out for Metcalf to be a top-tier pick: his neck and his Combine workout. If he's healthy and tests as elite as we all think he will, his stock will soar. His speed and catch radius are the perfect combination to develop alongside Josh Allen. The Bills haven't shied away from raw players, believing in their coaching staff to develop them. That'll need to be the case again with Metcalf, who isn't a finished product just yet.
10. Denver Broncos: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
I know it's January, but doesn't it just feel like this one is inevitable? Given what John Elway prefers at the quarterback position, the need the Broncos have at quarterback and Lock's upside for a team building their way back into a contender, this one makes sense on paper. I'm not sure I'd do it though. Lock has improved, but he still ain't worth a first round pick. Big risk for a guy who hasn't shied away form them.
11. Cincinnati Bengals: Devin White, LB, LSU
The Bengals have a couple of needs worth addressing here, but their linebackers are in desperate need of an upgrade. Not only that, the defense needs a second level leader with range and hitting ability, and White has at least shown that. How dynamic is he in coverage? Are his instincts good enough?
12. Green Bay Packers: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
We know the Packers love Iowa players, and the tight end position is a huge need for this team. Imagine getting Aaron Rodgers an outstanding weapon in the passing game and in the red zone while also enhancing your run blocking as a unit? That's what Hockenson provides already as a redshirt sophomore.
13. Miami Dolphins: Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
Ferrell isn't a super dynamic player, but he's well-rounded, physical and represents a lot of what Brian Flores has been around in New England. The Dolphins are probably going to be without Robert Quinn and Andre Branch next year, while Cameron Wake nears the end (and is a free agent) and Charles Harris tries to shake the bust label. Ferrell is a safe pick who will contribute right away.
14. Atlanta Falcons: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
Ryan Schraeder really struggled last season, and although I'm not ready to give up on him, Williams is terrific value at this spot on the board. Maybe Atlanta sees him as a guard and plugs him in next to Alex Mack. Or maybe Williams beats out Schraeder and starts at right tackle right away. He certainly has the technique and mental processing to be an impressive early contributor in the NFL.
15. Washington Redskins: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
Washington hasn't been able to replace Desean Jackson's speed since he left, and with Paul Richardson struggling to stay healthy his entire career, their wide receiver corps desperately needs someone they can count on. This is too high for Brown in my book, but Washington needs a field stretcher, and that's what he does best.
16. Carolina Panthers: Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
Little did improve this past season, but his tape does not show a player deserving of the top 10 love he's often getting. He's a talented player with room to grow and the tools to take a chance on, but the landing spot is going to be huge. Despite Carolina being a mixed bag with offensive line talent, Little's tools might make him worth the risk at no. 16 in their mind.
17. Cleveland Browns: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
The Browns are filling out a suddenly loaded roster, with needs existing at offensive tackle, cornerback, wide receiver and interior defensive line. The latter two position groups are deeper in the 2019 class, and three tackles are already off the board. Murphy is a versatile cover corner with the ability to excel in off coverage thanks to instincts and closing burst. He'll start early across from Denzel Ward.
18. Minnesota Vikings: Garrett Bradbury, iOL, NC State
Pat Elflein hasn't been a great pivot in Minnesota, so maybe a move to guard would do him well. Meanwhile, Bradbury has the agility and technique to be dominant in the run game, an offensive direction that will likely be paramount for offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski next season. Good fit at a position of need.
19. Tennessee Titans: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
I don't love Deandre Baker as a pick here, but I don't hate it either. He improved a lot this season and seems to have some of the traits to be a playmaker in an off-coverage or zone scheme. Baker's draft stock will depend on how he tests at the Combine, specifically in the 40, and how well he interviews with teams. The Titans have a huge need at cornerback, and Baker could be an answer.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama
I used to really want this pick to happen, but now I'm not sure how I feel about it. On one hand, Wilson is a good athlete with exceptional movement skills and terrific coverage instincts, but on the other hand he played his worst football down the stretch and missed too many stops in space. I love the tools, and I think Pittsburgh will too.
21. Seattle Seahawks: Rashan Gary, iDL, Michigan
Remember Malik McDowell? The Seahawks have another shot at that type of player by adding the versatile Gary, who has the athleticism and violent hand usage to be a contributor as a rookie. His pass rush plan and lack of elite cornering ability combined with his size will probably push him inside, where Gary could become an extremely disruptive player with proper development.
22. Baltimore Ravens: Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State
The Ravens have been taking swings on unpolished wide receivers with traits or aging veterans in free agency for a long time, so now it's time to switch gears. Harmon is a pro-ready route runner with outstanding ball skills and the ability to win vertically without great speed. He'll also block the crap out of you, which is perfect for Baltimore's run-heavy offense.
23. Houston Texans: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
It really doesn't matter which tackle spot Houston addresses, both of them are a train wreck right now. Taylor took a big leap in year two under improved coaching at Florida, developing into a solid right tackle after moving over from the left side where he had struggled the year before. The NFL will love his quick feet, but his technique still needs plenty of work.
24. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago Bears): N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
The Raiders wide receiver corps is basically non-existent, with not a single desirable starter or long term piece certain to return for 2019. Harry is big and strong with high-point and post-catch ability, but how he tests will be critical. His athleticism appears decidedly average in space, and separation could be an issue that haunts him.
25. Philadelphia Eagles: Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware
I don't even know what the Eagles need because their entire roster was basically on injured reserve this season, but Rodney McLeod is coming off a season-ending injury and Malcolm Jenkins is getting up there a little bit. Adderley can play cornerback and both safety spots, bringing much-needed flexibility and play-making ability to an Eagles secondary that lacked both far too often this season.
26. Indianapolis Colts: Christian Wilkins, iDL, Clemson
The Colts defense is improving, but they need pass rush help badly, as well as difference makers on the interior. Wilkins can provide leadership and high character right away, while also bringing improved technique, a legit rush plan and good athletic tool to a defensive line without many of those things. With the Colts still hoping their young edge rushers develop, Wilkins makes a lot of sense at no. 26.
27. Oakland Raiders (via Dallas Cowboys): Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
Just add playmakers, man. Fant isn't a great blocker, but he can stretch the field, track down a vertical ball and separate from man coverage. His skill set is that of a more consistent and polished Jared Cook, who is about to hit free agency in his 30s. Fant can replace him immediately, joining Harry to start to give the Raiders some semblance of a dynamic attack.
28. Los Angeles Chargers: Jeffery Simmons, iDL, Mississippi State
I'll give the Chargers a dominant interior defensive lineman with pass rush skills every year until they take one. Simmons with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram could wreck the league, as the Mississippi State defensive tackle has the burst, hand usage and improved technique to be a monster at the 3-technique spot.
29. Kansas City Chiefs: Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame
Love isn't an elite athlete or a very big cornerback, but he's smart, improving technically and has made a ton of plays on the ball over the past two years despite modest interception numbers. The Chiefs have such a dire need at corner that Love might need to start right away, which is another reason why a pro-ready guy makes sense at no. 29.
30. Green Bay Packers (via New Orleans Saints): Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida
Polite has outstanding speed and bend for a pass rusher, as well as a more developed rush plan than he is often given credit for. There are whisperings out there about his character and work ethic however, which combined with his smaller frame could push him down the board a good bit. If he's on the board for Green Bay here, they'll have an excellent opportunity to land a really good football player who can act as a situational pass rusher while his frame and technique develop.
31. New England Patriots: Charles Omenihu, iDL, Texas
Before everyone loses their mind, the Patriots are only at no. 31 because the rankings are currently off regular season records. I don't think they are going to lose the Super Bowl. Regardless, Omenihu is the exact type of player they should be looking to add at this point in the draft. The Texas defensive lineman reminds me a little bit of Demarcus Lawrence, showing strong hand usage, a quick first step and the ability to corner without elite bend. He's perfect for New England's defense.
32. Los Angeles Rams: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida
The Rams simply won't be able to bring back all of their free agents, and Lamarcus Joyner really didn't play well enough to be retained this offseason. Gardner-Johnson is a bigger, more talented version of Joyner, capable of playing in the slot, perhaps even on the outside, or at single-high free safety, where I personally think his ceiling is probably the highest.