2019 NFL Mock Draft 2.0
99 of 100 people reading this mock are going to skip right over this lede and head straight down to their favorite team’s pick and proudly declare how my projection is wrong, even though both they and I have the same odds of correctly picking what the pick will be one month’s time as my 15 lb. dog.
So with that caveat emptor in place (how’s that for fancy word usage?), on to my second mock of the season.
I spent way too much time curating each pick in this (ultimately pointless) mock, which is …
- 66% based on the latest intel on the team’s mindset and identified needs, and;
- 33% on best player available based on that information or what the team generally looks for in the type of player they draft.
In other words: there’s a lot of semi-educated guessing that’s going to look comically wrong about five weeks from now.
But you’re still reading this. So who’s laughing now?
1. Arizona — Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
In my stubborn attempts to argue against throwing away an extra 3rd and 5th round pick to move up and take Josh Rosen in the 2018 NFL Draft, and surrounded him with a bottom-three supporting cast in the NFL, only to pull the plug on said quarterback (and draft another quarterback), I forgot about one of my own sports maxims: if a move doesn’t make sense, 99% of the time, it originates from an impulsive owner making a short-sighted decision.
Specifically, team President Michael Bidwill seemingly likes the idea of Kyler Murray helping sell seats, and in the NFL — like in everything in life — it’s all about the money.
2. San Francisco — Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
San Francisco signing Dee Ford doesn’t quite force them to be as “desperate” in their hopes that Nick Bosa falls to them. But if he does? That piles on even more talent onto their defensive line — and more importantly, allows Solomon Thomas to play inside as a defensive tackle more often, where he’s clearly better suited to play.
3. NY Jets — Josh Allen, DE, Kentucky
Objectively speaking, the Jets didn’t have a single player on the team last year with more than seven sacks, so taking an edge pass rusher would seem to be a top priority. But any General Manager who’d pass on adding Quinnen Williams to their team should be flogged, then publicly tarred and feathered.
But then again, Mike Maccagnan is one of the most overrated GMs in the league anyway, so we shouldn’t be surprised if the Jets go in a different direction.
4. Oakland — Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
Even after giving wide receivers Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams over $52 million on guaranteed money, you’d have to give at least 10:1 odds that Jon Gruden strongly considers drafting a wide receiver here, right?
I’m probably giving his job role a bit more significance than it really has, but I’m betting General Manager Mike Mayock talks Gruden away from making yet another terrible draft decision, and into taking the guy who’s the second best player in this draft.
5. Tampa Bay — Devin White, LB, LSU
Simply put, there’s a lot of smoke out there connect Devin White to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That would probably imply that the Buccaneers’ new defensive staff, led by Todd Bowles, sees White as a replacement for the departed Kwon Alexander.
Personally, I think White compares very favorably to Myles Jack of the Jacksonville Jaguars (and yes, that’s a good thing).
6. NY Giants — Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan
For the New York Giants’ fans hoping they take a quarterback here: don’t get your hopes up; haven’t you seen who’s your team’s General Manager?
It seems like the Giants would rather upgrade the pass rush with this pick (going defensive line in the first round is a Dave Gettleman specialty), and probably use their other pick on a quarterback (more on that in a second). In taking Gary, Gettleman will try and sell you on the fact that he could be the next Julius Peppers, even though there’s just as a good a chance that he could be the next Mike Mamula.
7. Jacksonville — Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
You know Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone want to run back their formula that took them to the AFC Championship game in 2018 (you know, when they got absolutely hosed by the referees in their loss to the New England Patriots): run the shit out of the ball, get steady play from the quarterback position (even if they’re now paying their quarterback over $65 million over the next three years), and play stout defense.
But if they’re going to fulfill the first two parts, they’ll need (and currently want) to shore up their huge hole at right tackle.
8. Detroit — Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
After going dumpster diving in free agency when signing guys like Danny Amendola, Justin Coleman, and Jesse James, Detroit’s big-ticket signing offseason was former New England Patriots’ defensive end Trey Flowers. That now brings the Lions’ list of impact pass rushers to … former New England Patriots’ defensive end Trey Flowers. And that’s it.
Translation: they still need more impact pass rushers.
9. Buffalo — Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
Word out of northwestern New York is that, in the wake of Kyle Williams’ retirement, Buffalo is taking a long-term view of their defensive line. So yeah, they’ve got Star Lotulelei under contract and will plug in Harrison Phillips (their third-round pick last year) in Williams place at defensive tackle, but they’re still very much looking at bolstering the position through the draft.
It would be really hard for them to pass on Ed Oliver, who has the athleticism to do a multitude of things along their front.
10. Denver — Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
While Drew Lock doesn’t fit John Elway’s quarterback type of being obnoxiously tall (Lock is listed at 6'3 and 3/4), he’s got the superior arm strength (and startling lack of accuracy) that Elway clearly covets.
And let’s not fool ourselves: Joe Flacco reverted back from a stagecoach (in the 2012–2013 playoffs) to a pumpkin (everything ever since), and at this point in his career, is probably closer to one of those rotten, deflated Halloween pumpkins that you see your lazy neighbor still has out on their front porch in mid-December.
11. Cincinnati — Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
The thinking around the Cincinnati Bengals is that while the team does have several positions of need (like replacing the now-departed Vontaze Burfict at linebacker), new head coach Zac Taylor will want to improve what was one of the league’s five worst offensive lines last season, which could bolster both the running game and the protection for whoever plays quarterback over the long-term in Cincinnati (because it aint gonna be Andy Dalton after this season).
12. Green Bay — T.J. Hockensen, TE, Iowa
After devoting a bunch of their resources to improve the defense, you have to think Green Bay is going to do the same on the offensive side of the ball through the draft, with the goal of giving Aaron Rodgers teammates who can actually hold up their end of the bargain.
While I hate the clichéd narrative of “Rodgers needs a tight end,” the position still seems to be on Green Bay’s to-do list, and virtually everyone would agree that T.J. Hockensen would add a dynamic presence to the Packers’ offense.
13. Miami — Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
From many accounts, Miami is walking into this draft with the expectation that one of the top quarterback prospects won’t be available when they pick. But if Dwayne Haskins is available at #13, it’s hard to see Miami passing on him, considering they still have a gaping hole in terms of their future at quarterback.
Haskins is really starting to feel like the Teddy Bridgewater of this draft: the quarterback everyone else is talking them out of because he doesn’t generate the same “buzz” of the other guys at his position, but he’ll end up being the best one of the group.
14. Atlanta — Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State
Everything out of Atlanta suggests that edge rusher is at the top of their “still have to address this position” list, and given that they ranked among the bottom 11 teams in quarterback sacks last year, you can’t blame them for thinking this way.
You can convince yourself that Takk McKinley and Vic Beasley are “good enough” for them, but their 12 sacks combined last year tells you a different story (especially if they let Beasley — who’s a free agent at the end of this season — walk in free agency next year).
15. Washington — D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
I’m finally ready to sell my duplex on Josh Doctson Island, recognizing that i’m going to get back 40 cents on the dollar in return.
With Washington’s receiving corps being headlined by Doctson and the immortal Paul Richardson, it’s not unfair to say they might have the worst group of pass catchers in the NFC East — even worse than that of the New York Giants. So in theory, D.K. Metcalf would make sense here.
But the questions have to be asked: is Metcalf a poor man’s Calvin Johnson, a facsimile of Dez Bryant, or a glorified version of former USC wide receiver Mike Williams (but in much better shape/with a much better body)? Who’s the last wide receiver from Ole Miss to pan out in the NFL? And should we worry about the fact that Metcalf has the lateral agility of an 18-wheeler?
16. Carolina — Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma
Carolina walked into last season with question marks (yet again) about their offensive line, and walked out of the season watching Cam Newton spend most of the fall and early winter getting his brain beat in, behind porous blocking (yet again). Bringing in Matt Paradis helps shore up the interior of the line, it’s still been a stated need for the team to get bigger and younger up front.
That’s why it would make sense for them to draft someone like Cody Ford, who can either help out at right tackle (if Daryl Williams doesn’t recover from his injury) or simply provide depth.
17. NY Giants (from Cleveland) — Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
Despite the fact that Daniel Jones is appearing less and less on even most people’s list of the top fifty players in this year’s draft, the New York Giants’ interest in Daniel Jones continues to generate some buzz.
Should we really be that surprised, though, considering Jones is basically a homeless man’s version of Eli Manning, and happens to be coached by David Cutcliffe, who happened to coach both of them over the course of his career?
18. Minnesota — Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
Doing my best to withhold the jokes about “Kirk Cousins” and “buyer’s remorse,” the Minnesota Vikings brilliantly put a 34-cent line in front of their 84 million-dollar quarterback last season.
And since they were pressed up the salary cap this offseason, they couldn’t compete with the other teams throwing wads of cash at free agent offensive linemen, so they still have significant questions at both guard spots. And yet, this pick could end up being an offensive tackle, followed by moving incumbent Riley Reiff inside to guard.
19. Tennessee — Brian Burns, OLB, Florida State
The Tennessee Titans still desire adding another edge pass rusher to the group of guys that includes veteran Cameron Wake (acquired from the Miami Dolphins) and Harold Landry.
Adding a crazy athletic and super-bendy edge pass rusher like Brian Burns would give them an element of speed and explosiveness that they really don’t have at the moment (although I wouldn’t be surprised if Burns is selected long before this pick takes place, come draft day).
20. Pittsburgh — Chase Winovich, DE, Michigan
To borrow from the great Cal Naughton, Jr.: Pittsburgh’s main need (an edge pass rusher) and the available selections at the position go together like Chinese food and chocolate pudding.
Would it be a reach for Pittsburgh to take Chase Winovich in the first round? Probably. But given the picks that Pittsburgh has made in the past, and given that — at least as of right now — the Steelers have little (if any) interest in bringing back Bud Dupree, it’s not a totally unreasonable selection.
21. Seattle — Taylor Rapp, Safety, Washington
Before any fan of the Seahawks — a concept that didn’t even exist until after 2012 — gets perturbed by this pick, just remember: Seattle isn’t going to pick at this spot anyway. The Seahawks have traded down from their original pick five times in the last seven drafts, and the two times they didn’t, they traded their first round pick outright for a player.
But for the purposes of this completely fictional mock draft world, Taylor Rapp would fit what they need: an athletic, Tasmanian Devil-esque in-the-box safety.
22. Baltimore — Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
Baltimore’s collective group of linebackers took a massive hit this offseason, when they lost C.J. Mosley, Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith.
While their current duo of outside linebackers (Tim Williams and Matt Judon) is quietly underrated, they’ll still probably look to the draft for more depth at the position (especially since they don’t have a replacement for Mosley, and you can’t trust as far as you can throw him) Bush is exactly the type of guy they’d draft, at a position of recognized need.
23. Houston — Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
Houston’s offensive line was an unmitigated tire fire last season, evidenced by them giving up an NFL-high 62 sacks last year (that’s just about four sacks per game). Thankfully, they addressed their piss-poor situation at offensive tackle by … oh wait, they did absolutely nothing to address it. Hence, here’s Greg Little.
Little is something of a polarizing figure: some people love the athleticism and natural talent he brings, and some people wonder why a guy that’s 6'5 and 310lb plays a little too soft for their liking.
24. Oakland (via Chicago) — Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
Of the two heralded tight ends from Iowa, it was actually Noah Fant who put on more of a show at the NFL Combine, as opposed to T.J. Hockensen, running the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds and putting up a vertical leap of just under 40 inches.
I can only imagine how many times Jon Gruden said “I tell you what, man!” when watching Fant work out.
25. Philadelphia — Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
One of the biggest areas of need for the Philadelphia Eagles is a “workhorse”-type running back, and Josh Jacobs is the type of guy they could keep on the field for all three downs, giving them the versatility every NFL team now desires from running backs.
But all things considered, I could just as easily see the Eagles go their usual route, and draft a lineman with this pick.
Note: this mock was published just before the Eagles acquired RB Jordan Howard from the Chicago Bears
26. Indianapolis — Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
In a cornerback group that’s more about depth versus top-end quality, I really think Byron Murphy leap-frogs some of the more “brand name” cornerbacks and becomes the first guy at his position taken.
General Manager Chris Ballard has publicly called depth in the secondary one of his greatest concerns, and adding Murphy to the duo of Pierre Desir and Quincy Wilson would give the Colts one of the most underrated groups of cornerbacks in the AFC.
27. Oakland (from Dallas) — Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple
I’m putting a rather improbable pick here for the Oakland Raiders, because it’s very likely they trade out of this pick (and the first round altogether) with a team looking to make it back up in the first round.
As fans, we tend to forget the cap economics with draft picks — specifically, having to pay the (rather expensive) 5th-year option for guys taken in the first round.
But in a universe where Oakland does make this pick, I could see them taking a high-upside cornerback (an identified major position of need) with whom the draftnik types (like Mike Mayock used to be) have fallen in love.
28. LA Chargers — Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
“CHRISTIAN WILKINS IS NOT GOING TO FALL THIS FAR IN THE DRAFT, OMG THIS MOCK IS SO STUPID AND YOU’RE AN IDIOT!!!”
(Sorry, I was channeling my inner “I’m a football fan who’s going to grossly overreact to a mock draft published by some random dude on the internet a month prior to the the actual draft”).
While it’s admittedly improbable, it’s not totally impossible to have things unfold in such a manner (how many of you had Derwin James falling to the Chargers at #17 overall last year?).
29. Kansas City — Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
It’s not like Andy Reid will shy away from picking cornerbacks with elite ball skills and football instincts, combined with a total aversion to tackling and a penchant for frustrating coaches and fans; after all, Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs once selected Marcus Peters.
Greedy Williams doesn’t have the same knuckle-headed tendencies as Peters did, but he’s one of those guys with off-the-charts talents mixed with bouts of inconsistency (and a total refusal to tackling anyone).
30. Green Bay (from New Orleans) — Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
Right now, the group of wide receivers at Aaron Rodgers’ disposal includes Davante Adams … and then the pupu platter of mid-to-late round receivers the Green Bay Packers have drafted over the last few seasons. They were always mentioned among the potential landing spots for Antonio Brown, for good reason.
Point being, taking a wide receiver early on in the draft — even after grabbing a tight end in the same round — is still in play, especially one who has the speed to make the best use of Rodgers’ arm strength.
31. LA Rams — Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
In all honesty, while Ndamukong Suh is a free agent (again), I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him take another one-year deal and re-sign with the Los Angeles Rams.
But let’s say he does; both him and fellow defensive lineman Michael Brockers would be free agents at the end of this upcoming season. The Rams have a ton of free agents they’ll have to decide between next spring, so taking someone who can shore them up in the long term makes sense.
32. New England — Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
Would it surprise you, in the slightest, if the the New England Patriots “zigged” with this pick, when everyone expects them to “zag”? Because it shouldn’t; it should actually surprise you more if they end up making this pick (and not trading out of the first round as well), but that’s a separate matter.
Wouldn’t it fit right in with Bill Belichick’s M.O. to take a guy who most people had ranked as a top-10 prospect before tearing his ACL this spring, allowing him to effectively “redshirt” this year, and then turning him into Richard Seymour 2.0?