With the NFL Draft only a couple of weeks away, Senior Writer Nat L. Faybian and Editor Douglas Love alternate picks in this three round mock – Version 4.0. Nat will pick first.
Nat: Will Arizona take Murray or not? That storyline has held the draft captive for months now. Logically, they have a top 10 quarterback in Rosen, they don’t need one.
Doug: And Rosen was drafted by GM Steve Keim, who was just given a four-year contract extension in February. Certainly, Keim doesn’t believe he blew that pick.
Nat: Right. On the flip side. Give the new coach the quarterback he feels he needs to win. If that’s Murray, then give Kliff Kingsbury his man — and then there’s absolutely no excuses for not winning.
Doug: So, Nat, who will the Arizona Cardinals take with the number one overall pick in the 2019 NLF Draft?
1. Arizona Cardinals: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State (Nat L. Faybian)
Bosa appears to be the most polished of the elite talent, and we’ve said that numerous times. Yet, there’s all this talk the head coaches’ relationship with Kyler Murray. But, really, when you get down to it, this was GM Steve Keim’s team before it was Kingsbury’s team. Keim has been with the Arizona Cardinals since 1993, and he’s been GM since 2013. I don’t see him throwing Rosen out the window, unless he gets a trade offer he just can’t refuse – something crazy like the Ricky Williams deal. It’s got to be big, or no deal. I think it’s a smoke screen, honestly. Rosen has a year under his belt, and he should be better in his second year; while, Bosa is a day one starter and immediately improves the defense.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Josh Allen, OLB, Kentucky (Douglas Love)
This is a hard one. The 49ers have $22 million wrapped in up defensive linemen that were first round draft picks: DeForest Buckner, Solomon Thomas, and Arik Armstead. Plus they just added defensive end Dee Ford in free agency for another $14 million. That’s a $36 million dollar defensive line. The expectation is they should be able to get the job done. This team shouldn’t need to take a defensive lineman with the second overall pick. GM John Lynch could trade down. And that would make a lot of sense to me. They could move newly acquired ILB Kwan Alexander to weakside and go after a player like ILB Devin White – but that’s a reach at number two overall. Not that long ago, they made Garoppolo the highest paid QB in the NFL – although he’s only started a handful of games in the last two seasons – so, doubtful they go QB. If they stay where they are, it would seem most likely, they take the pass-rushing linebacker from Kentucky, Josh Allen.
3. New York Jets: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama (NLF)
Williams is coming off a season where he dominated. The Jets have an impressive history of taking top notch defensive linemen in the draft – Sheldon Richardson and John Abraham come to mind. Williams would make a great addition to the 2019 NY Jets.
4. Oakland Raiders: Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State (DL)
Gruden built his reputation on being a quarterback guru. The Raiders have David Carr, but Gruden inherited him. Is there a quarterback Gruden is infatuated with enough to draft at number four overall? I think they take a freak like Montez Sweat. Sweat can get after the quarterback, with enough athleticism to drop in coverage. Every team is looking for pressure off the edge, and Sweat would give the Raiders just that.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Devin White, ILB, LSU (NLF)
With the departure of Kwan Alexander, the Bucs need a middle linebacker. Plus with the team moving to more of a 3-4 scheme, they’re actually in need of several linebackers. White is built like a tank, runs a 4.4, and is a high character team captain kind of guy.
6. New York Giants: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri (DL)
The Giants just rewarded Eli Manning with a nice big contract extension, but he’s getting up there in age. Even if they plan to play Manning this year, they’ll need to start grooming a successor. Swirling rumor is that GM Gettleman likes Lock’s four years of experience over Haskins’ one year. Lock certainly has the stronger arm and would be a good fit in New York.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida (NLF)
Jacksonville is in need of help along the offensive line, no secret there, they gave up 50+ sacks last year. The team signed QB Nick Foles, so, doubtful they draft one here. Taylor is the best run blocking tackle in the draft. And I think they’ll look to take the pressure off Foles by running the ball more. So, Jawaan Taylor to the Jaguars.
8. Detroit Lions: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa (DL)
The Lions need weapons. I think they could go in several directions here. D.K. Metcalf and his 4.33 speed is one option. However, a player like Hockenson has more value for this team and their needs. He can inline block, adding value to the running game. He runs clean routes, gains separation, and has easy hands – adding value to the passing game. He’ll just be involved in more plays than a wide receiver.
9. Buffalo Bills: Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan (DL)
The Bill finished with the NFL’s number two defense last year. In 2019, they return ten of the starting eleven, the lone loss being the retirement of DT Kyle Williams. Gary would give them a player with day one talent, and the ability to keep that defensive near the top of the rankings. Christian Wilkins would also be a consideration for the Bills. They could also trade down for Dexter Lawrence, who to me looks more like a Bills kind of guy.
10. Denver Broncos: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Mississippi (NLF)
The Broncos picked up OT Ja’Wuan James, CB Bryce Callahan, and CB Kareem Jackson in free agency. Those were their most pressing needs. They also signed a new offensive coordinator in Rich Scangarello – a supposed quarterback guru. Then they signed Joe Flacco – who Elway praised highly. So, do they go QB here? I think they role with Flacco. However, they still need a big play wide receiver. At 6′ 3″, 228 lbs, and 4.33 speed – Metcalf can be that big play threat Denver needs to stretch the field.
11. Cincinnati Bengals: Devin Bush, ILB, Michigan (NLF)
The Bengals address several of their biggest needs during free agency. However, they are still in need a leader in the middle of that defense. Michigan’s Devin Bush has long been considered the second best linebacker in the class. He’ll give them speed, range, and an explosive and physical hitter.
12. Green Bay Packers: A.J. Brown, WR, Mississippi (DL)
The Packers have two picks in the first round: picks 12 and 30. The Packers are looking for help on the OL and DL, along with a wide receiver, and a tight end. With Hockenson off the board, I doubt they take Fant this high. Njoku didn’t go until 29th overall, and Fant should be in that 20’s range. But, I could see them taking Mississippi’s A.J. Brown here. Brown is an incredibly effective slot receiver that could have a 100 catch season – that doesn’t seem far fetched to me, in the right system. Speedster Marquise Brown is another option, but this might be too high for him with the medical.
13. Miami Dolphins: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma (NLF)
With Tannehill being traded away, Miami must have felt confident in their ability to draft a starting quarterback at thirteen. Lock has the most arm strength the class, but he’s off the board. Murray has been to Miami for a private workout, so we know the interest is there. Unless, Fitz-Magic is the answer, they take a quarterback here.
14. Atlanta Falcons: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston (DL)
Oliver is the best player on the board at this point. He’s disruptive, quick as lightning, and as strong as an ox. Atlanta loves fast, athletic, guys. The biggest question with Oliver isn’t his ability, it’s where does the team plan to use him? I think Atlanta would probably keep him inside as a 3-technique or under tackle, similar to the way the Rams use Aaron Donald.
15. Washington Redskins: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State (NLF)
The Redskins have questions about their quarterback position. They’ve had just about every possible QB candidate on their radar. Depending on how the interviews go, and which QB GM Bruce Allen feels most comfortable with as a “fit”, that’s where they’ll go. I think Duke QB Daniel Jones will have a better x/o interview, just because of his time with David Cutcliffe. However, I think Haskins has more upside, more untapped potential.
16. Carolina Panthers: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama (DL)
The Panthers have concerns on both sides of the line. I realize Williams isn’t the trending pick, but I think he’s the right pick at sixteen. There was some debate about his 33 5/8″ arms. Let me just say, six-time Pro Bowl tackle Joe Staley only had 33″ arms. And Washington’s Andre Dillard only has 33 1/2″ arms – so I think that issue can come to rest. Anyway, the Panthers like a balanced attack, and Williams is the most well-rounded tackle in the draft. They could also go for Clemson’s Clelin Ferrill here.
17. New York Giants (via Cle): Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson (DL)
The Giants are a team that likes to snap up quality pass rushers. Ferrell is about as complete an end as there is in this draft. Quick enough to get the corner and stout enough to hold up against the run.
18. Minnesota Vikings: Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State (NLF)
The Vikings are looking for some help on the offensive line. Dillard is the most pass pro ready tackle in the class. He’s got light feet and plenty of athleticism to handle the edge.
19. Tennessee Titans: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson (NLF)
Wilkins won the “Academic Heisman” in 2018 – also known as the William V. Campbell Trophy. He shows a quick first step and is able to beat double teams. Wilkins can play anywhere on the line, adding to his value.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Darnell Savage, S, Maryland (DL)
The Steelers have always loved a tough-as-nails defense. Savage has some amazing game speed. He trusts his eyes, understands angles, and shoots gaps like he’s launched out of a rocket. He’s at his best when he’s asked to be a downhill, attack, player, but he can cover running backs and tight ends too. Johnathan Abram might hit harder, but doesn’t have Savage’s cover skills.
21. Seattle Seahawks: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State (NLF)
The Seahawks only have four picks, so I would expect them to trade down to accumulate some extra selections. Oakland might be the most logical trade partner here. However, since we aren’t doing trades. We know that the Seahawks have shown interest in athletic defensive tackles like Rashan Gary and Mississippi State’s Jeffery Simmons. Let’s go with Simmons to Seattle with pick twenty-one.
22. Baltimore Ravens: Jaylon Ferguson, DE/OLB, Louisiana Tech (DL)
The Ravens are looking for pass-rushing linebacker or a 3-4 rush end, which typically means a thicker bodied player with outstanding initial quickness. Ferguson didn’t workout like scouts would have hoped, but his stats tell the story. Ferguson has the third most career tackles-for-loss in NCAA history. He has an excellent understanding of momentum, balance, and angles.
23. Houston Texans: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU (NLF)
Williams has the traits and physically tools teams look for in today’s cornerback. He has 4.37 speed. He’s 6′ 2″. He plays with swag – that attitude that says, “You can’t beat me.” In a passing league, teams today need at least three starting quality cornerbacks.
24. Oakland Raiders (from Chi): Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma (DL)
Too good to be true? Antonio Brown teaming up with his little cousin, Marquise Brown in Oakland? Todd McShay recently remarked that he hadn’t seen a guy with Marquise’s kind of explosiveness since DeSean Jackson came out of Cal. And we all know, Gruden loves speed.
25. Philadelphia Eagles: Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama (NLF)
The Eagles are looking at D-line and also at running back. Josh Jacobs can do everything: lining up at wild-cat, in the slot, taking the pitch, taking the hand-off, catching the swing pass, running the wheel route, and staying at home to block.
26. Indianapolis Colts: Brian Burns, DE, Florida State (DL)
Lean and lanky with long arms and a nice bend around the corner. They’ll bulk him up at bit, and he’ll be a force off the edge. He ran a 4.53 forty at the Combine, he’s got some serious speed.
27. Oakland Raiders (from Dallas): CB Rock Ya-Sin, Temple (NFL)
One of the best names in the draft, Rock Ya-Sin. And he played at Presbyterian before transferring to Temple. A guy Gruden scouted at the Senior bowl. Sticks to receivers like glue. They also might consider Johnathan Abram and Taylor Rapp here, but they might wait on a safety until the 35th pick.
28. Los Angeles Chargers: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson (DL)
DT Brandon Mebane missed significant time last year. The Chargers could use a player that would make an impact on the interior of the defensive line. Lawrence comes into the NFL looking like the second coming of Vince Wilfolk.
29. Kansas City Chiefs: Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State (NLF)
Risner is the top senior offensive tackle in this class. He is pro ready. Doesn’t give up sacks. Plays with a combination of technique and tenacity. Takes pride in keeping his quarterback clean.
30. Green Bay (from New Orleans): Noah Fant, TE, Iowa (DL)
As I said earlier, Fant reminds me a bit of David Njoku when he came out of Miami – a very athletic tight end. Njoku ran a 4.64 forty and Fant ran a 4.58. Both would be considered big bodied wide receiver types that can play on the line or line up in the slot. Fant’s blocking improved in 2018, and he’ll continue to get better.
31. Los Angeles Rams: De’Andre Baker, CB, Georgia (NLF)
De’Andre Baker won the Thorpe Award for the best cornerback in the nation. I thought he was the best Senior corner in the draft. He’s not flashy or super fast. But he finds a way to get the job done. Might end up at nickel at the next level.
32. New England Patriots: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke (DL)
The New York Giants aren’t the only team with an aging quarterback. The Patriots have a lot of picks in this draft and can afford to use one on a future quarterback. Jones is cerebral, like Brady, and would learn much as an understudy.
Draft talk . . . draft picks, rounds, team needs, and prospects to watch.
AZ | SF | NYJ | OAK | TB | NYG | JAX | DET | BUF | DEN | CIN | GB | MIA | ATL | WASH | CAR | CLE | MIN | TEN | PIT | SEA | BALT | HOU | CHI | PHI | IND | DAL | LAC | KC | NO | LAR | NE
The 2019 NFL Draft will be held Thursday-Saturday, April 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn.