It is with a deep exhale that I bring to you my final mock draft of the 2019 season.
Being able to cover the draft full-time for the first time in my life was a big adjustment this year, but with it came a lot of learning and an improved process. I was able to get closer to and form new sources within the league to get a better feel for how the league operates, took positive steps in the way I evaluate prospects in the ways I see them through my own eyes, and overall think I have a better grip on this process more so than I ever have before -- can't wait for this mock to totally bomb.
Thanks for all the reads, the comments, the tweets, the laughs, and the discussions over the last nine months. These next three days are for you. I hope you enjoy them as much as I know I will.
And maybe, just maybe, it'll look something like this.
1: Arizona Cardinals
Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
2: San Francisco 49ers
Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
Picture this: DeForest Buckner, Dee Ford, Arik Armstead, Solomon Thomas, and Nick Bosa. Who do you block? How do you block? Why do you block? I'll tell you: you don't.
Such a pass rush arsenal would launch San Francisco's group to one of the best in the league in a short period of time. Pair that with a returning Garoppolo and we might have somethin' out west.
3: Cincinnati Bengals (trade via NYJ)
Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
As of late, I've heard the Jets really like defensive tackle Ed Oliver. I've also heard that they could be a lock to nab Quinnen Williams.
Rumors, rumors, rumors.
Within the swirling conspiracies, in reality, the Jets current don't pick after this until No. 68 in the third round. That ain't gonna fly, and I think general manager Mike Maccagnon knows it. I think a deal with Cincy that sends NYJ No. 11, No. 42 in the second round, No. 111 in the fourth round and next year's second rounder makes this work.
On the flip side, Cincinnati gets their future quarterback. I don't believe the recent news saying Daniel Jones will be QB2 -- that's Lock.
4: Oakland Raiders
Quinnen Williams, iDL, Alabama
I've seen Devin White here and I've even seen Ed Oliver here, but I just can't convince myself Jon Gruden would pass on the best player in the draft for anyone not named Kyler Murray.
5: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Devin White, LB, LSU
Let me list for you the Buccaneers' current true linebackers on their depth chart right now -- in a defense that is going to go more linebacker-heavy in its scheme via Todd Bowles' arrival -- beyond Lavonte David: Riley Bullough, Kevin Minter and Jack Cichy.
Yeah, this one's a wrap.
6: New York Giants
Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
The Giants aren't taking Daniel Jones at No. 6. Stop trying to make Daniel Jones at No. 6 a thing.
Y'all know Dave Gettleman. He's picking a defensive lineman with his premium pick, and if Josh Allen is still on the board, I fully believe this is his floor.
7: Washington (trade via JAX)
Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
I've been told Dan Snyder is "taking over the first round." And by "I've been told" I meant I read it on Twitter.
There is, however, an underlying connection Washington has with Haskins that makes me believe he's the man they're targeting in a trade up. I don't think the trade up will be as drastic as getting to No. 3, as that would require a lot more capital, but I think that swapping first round picks while giving Jacksonville an extra second rounder this year and a second rounder next year could be enough to make the move. Maybe have to throw in one of Washington's third rounders this year, too. But I think this deal gets done one way or the other.
Jay Gruden said that the player they're going to select in the first round, regardless of position, is going to have to play right away. If that's a quarterback, which I think is the ideal target, they're not going to sit around and wait until No. 15.
8: Detroit Lions
T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
In this dream scenario where the Lions have the chance to pick both of their top realistic players, Ed Oliver and T.J. Hockenson, I have them going Hock as the preferred option. They could be a trade down candidate, though. But that risks Buffalo taking Hockenson right after this.
9: Buffalo Bills
Ed Oliver, iDL, Houston
If Buffalo doesn't move down themselves, I think they'll take whichever player between Hockenson and Oliver that the Lions do not take.
10: Denver Broncos
Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
Denver's a total wildcard for me. But with Drew Lock off the board, I don't think they take Daniel Jones over the likes of Devin Bush. They love them some Bush... DEVIN Bush... Devin Bush.
11: New York Jets (trade via CIN)
Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
Sweat's heart condition has crept up as a reason why he might be falling on some boards. Not sure how much I believe that seeing as how we already knew what his heart condition was a the Combine, but perhaps he went on some pre-draft visits and team doctors weren't too keen on investing millions of dollars into him.
No idea where Sweat goes, but I still think it's Top 20 somewhere. Jets need an edge rusher, so it fits.
12: Green Bay Packers
Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
Green Bay wants either Hockenson or Andre Dillard. Hockenson isn't on the board, so Dillard it is -- sometimes it's just that easy.
13: Miami Dolphins
Christian Wilkins, iDL, Clemson
Fun fact: Marion Hobby, Miami's defensive line coach, was Clemson's co-defensive coordinator from 2011-2016.
A funner fact: Christian Wilkins played at Clemson.
Glad we all had fun.
14: Atlanta Falcons
Jerry Tillery, iDL, Notre Dame
Do the Falcons want Ed Oliver? I'll answer that question with another question. Do I want a luxurious boat to use at my leisure on a summer lake house all 2019? Yeah, but neither are going to happen.
Jerry Tillery isn't a boat, but he's a good interior pass rusher.
15: Jacksonville Jaguars (trade via WAS)
Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
When the Jags get on the clock at No. 7 and all of the offensive linemen are still available, I think they'd be more than happy to swap with Washington while picking up a handful of other selections later. They'd take Williams at No. 7, so getting him at No. 15 would be a dream.
Side note: they'd also take Jawaan Taylor in the first round, if they happen to trade down and Williams is gone.
16: Carolina Panthers
Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma
Ford's the perfect fit for Carolina's run-based scheme. It's right here, Panthers. Don't eff it up.
17: New York Giants
Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
Replacing an old wet blanket at quarterback with a new wet blanket at quarterback seems pretty silly, and yet, the New York Giants.
I don't really get the Daniel Jones craze. The things most people boast about him are either intangible or not even something about him (more his coach or his background). The accuracy and decision-making just were not there for him on tape, if you ask me, and if you're getting picked in the first round, you're playing in year one. Jones is a third round kind of quarterback, for me. But the NFL is clearly not on that wavelength.
18: Minnesota Vikings
Garrett Bradbury, iOL, N.C. State
Bradbury makes a lot of sense for Minnesota because it's a big talent at a big need. Bradbury played center at N.C. State, but he could play any interior position. He played a lot of zone blocking concepts and his presence could allow the Vikings to run more of the same with regularity and consistency.
19: Tennessee Titans
Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
To me, this one should be easy. I could see the Titans going offensive line, but if Burns is here I expect them to pull the trigger.
20: Pittsburgh Steelers
Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple
It has come to my attention that Rock Ya-Sin is the No. 1 cornerback on many teams' boards. I have also been told that the belief is that No. 20 is the floor for him with Pittsburgh.
I don't know how we got here, but we're here.
21: New England Patriots (trade via SEA)
Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
Pats have like 200 draft picks right now -- they have 12. They can't use all of those picks; they just won't have enough roster spots to even make it justifiable. Because of that they're going to likely be overly aggressive, perhaps in the first round, to move up for the guys they want.
If Fant makes a slide to the early 20's, he's theirs in a trade up.
22: Baltimore Ravens
Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
Ravens have a big need at receiver, but I still believe they'll prioritize edge rusher as the more valued position. They can get a good wide receiver late on Day 2 with their two third round picks.
Trade down could also be a thing here, as they'll look to get back the second round pick they lost last year to go up and get Lamar Jackson.
23: Houston Texans
Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
24: Oakland Raiders
Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
Oakland needs help in the secondary. They could go safety, but why not take a chance on the best man coverage cornerback in the draft? With Quinnen already in hand, I think they will.
25: Philadelphia Eagles
Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
Oh, wow, look, another mock draft with Marquise Brown to the Eagles.
Take the hints.
26: Indianapolis Colts
Jeffery Simmons, iDL, Mississippi State
This has become an increasingly popular pick over the last week or so, and I think there is a reason for that. General manager Chris Ballard believes in a process over immediate results. Here he gets a Top 10 player in the class. He just has to wait a few extra months for him to get on the field and prove that.
27: Oakland Raiders
D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole MIss
I don't think the Raiders will be taking a running back in the first round, even with Josh Jacobs on the board and Marshawn Lynch's retirement imminent. I think Gruden would much rather get his hands on a player he himself said was one of the most physically impressive prospects he's ever seen.
28: New York Jets (trade via LAC)
Chase Winovich, EDGE, Michigan
Doubling up on edge rushers? Yeah, I could see it. The Jets are switching to a 4-3 base, so having both Winovich and Sweat can still make sense and not take away from each other.
29: Seattle Seahawks
Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan
It makes sense, right? Seattle now desperately needs edge rush help after telling Frank Clark to hit the road and even with Gary's shoulder injury, lack of production, lack of bend, potential tweener position -- ok wow now I'm listing a lot of things maybe this is bad.
Gary can't do it alone, but he can be a good piece for them moving forward as they rebuild their defense.
30: Green Bay Packers
Darnell Savage, S, Mississippi State
I have been told that Darnell Savage is the safety to watch for in this first round *eye ball emoji*
31: Houston Texans (trade via LAR)
Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State
More offensive line.
32: Denver Broncos (trade via SEA)
Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
I expect the Broncos to get some trade suitors for cornerback Chris Harris. He's a great cornerback but he's older and it just doesn't seem, like the Broncos want to pay him the money he is worth. Instead they can trade back up into the final spot of the first round, getting Seattle some extra pick they want, and grabbing a replacement player for Harris.