Ideal First Round Picks for NFL Teams (2019 Mock Draft)
Throughout the past few months, I’ve released five different mock drafts. Those mock drafts have been based on how I see the teams drafting and not necessarily my ranking of players. We all know that some organizations are more competent than others, but what would happen if I had control of all the franchises?
The purpose of this mock draft is for me to show you what I believe the best picks for each team would be, based on my cheat sheet. There are surely going to be some players you believe I’m reaching on, but I can assure you that the order they are drafted in the actual NFL Draft will not be the order of their actual talent. There’s a reason you can find steals in the third- and fourth-rounds of the actual draft – because scouting can range from team-to-team and player-to-player.
1. Arizona Cardinals – Nick Bosa (DE – Ohio State)
There’s no doubt in my mind that quarterback is the most important position on the field, but there’s also no doubt in my mind that Josh Rosen hasn’t gotten a fair shake in the NFL. Imagine if the Rams had given up on Jared Goff after an atrocious rookie year under Jeff Fisher. The second most important position is likely edge defender and Bosa is simply too talented to pass up.
2. San Francisco 49ers – Quinnen Williams (DT – Alabama)
When picking inside the top-five, you simply cannot miss on a player. Because that’s how I operate, Williams is the pick for the 49ers. Putting him alongside DeForest Buckner would create a nasty duo up the middle and they did snag Dee Ford to help on the edge. The secondary is a major concern, but there’s no cornerback worthy of going this high.
3. New York Jets – Clelin Ferrell (DE – Clemson)
If Gregg Williams stays true to his 4-3 defense, the Jets need someone who can play all three downs with their hand on the ground. Many believe Josh Allen is the best fit for them, but Ferrell is much better suited for a 4-3 defense and he’s been completely undervalued in early mock drafts. I really contemplated an offensive tackle here, but it’s too soon for anyone in this draft class. If anything, I’d be looking to trade back if I were the Jets. Maybe you could land Ferrell and a top-five offensive lineman.
4. Oakland Raiders – Dwayne Haskins (QB – Ohio State)
He’s the top quarterback on my board. Let me be clear when I say he’s no lock to become a star, because he still has to develop, but the tools are there. He only started for Ohio State one season, so playing behind Derek Carr for a bit would do him some good. The Raiders can’t afford to wait, as the Giants would be selecting him with the No. 6 pick. This is one of the weaker quarterback groups in some time.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Josh Allen (EDGE – Kentucky)
When playing against Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, and Cam Newton six times a year, the Bucs need to improve their defensive front. Their offensive line has a lot of problems, but they can land a top-five lineman with their high second-round pick. Allen is best-suited for a 3-4 defense, which is what Todd Bowles will run.
6. New York Giants – Devin White (LB – LSU)
For all the speculation around how the Giants need a quarterback (they do), it’s not a great time to select one. By taking one here, they’d be setting that prospect up for failure. They still need to solidify the offensive line and they need to add pass-catchers on the perimeter. Instead, they go with the BPA (best player available) strategy, which happens to work well because they could use another inside linebacker.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jawaan Taylor (OT – Florida)
The Jaguars need to understand the identity of their team, which should be to run the ball and play lights out defense. Whether their pick of him was right or wrong, they need to build around former No. 4 overall pick Leonard Fournette. Taylor is a monster when it comes to run-blocking and right tackle just happens to be a position of need.
8. Detroit Lions – Greedy Williams (CB – LSU)
The Lions can go in a variety of directions with this pick, but pairing Williams with Darius Slay is too good to pass up. Think about the Jaguars with Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. While Slay and Williams aren’t as talented, it’d be the “lite” version. The other player considered here is Montez Sweat.
9. Buffalo Bills – Ed Oliver (DT – Houston)
The Bills absolutely must build their offensive line in this draft, but fortunately, there should be a good one available at the top of the second round. So, they add some attitude to replace Kyle Williams on the defensive line. Oliver might be a top-five player in this draft but will likely fall to the Bills due to some off-the-field question marks.
10. Denver Broncos – Kyler Murray (QB – Oklahoma)
My take on Murray is that he’s not ready to play in the NFL just yet, so the placeholder Joe Flacco should work out perfectly. The Broncos have the best offensive line of the QB-needy teams, which I think is more important than most when it comes to Murray. He isn’t throwing with anticipation and is waiting until his receiver is open, so he needs some time/development. I would’ve held off on quarterback for them all together, but with their defense, it’s unlikely they’ll have a top-10 pick again next year.
11. Cincinnati Bengals – Devin Bush (LB – Michigan)
They’re another team who needs help on the offensive line, but there aren’t really any “can’t-miss” prospects in this draft. Instead, they snag a linebacker to help that poor run defense that allowed 137.8 rushing yards per game last year. Bush has the attitude and talent to help turn that around.
12. Green Bay Packers – D.K. Metcalf (WR – Ole Miss)
I’ve actually moved Metcalf out of the No. 1 receiver spot in my rankings, but he’s an excellent compliment to Davante Adams. Metcalf is raw but he can still stretch the field and change the way a defense approaches you. Aaron Rodgers has the arm to showcase his speed, too. While A.J. Brown would be a good fit as well, it’s harder to find a potential game-changer like Metcalf.
13. Miami Dolphins – Montez Sweat (EDGE – Mississippi State)
After losing essentially their entire depth chart of edge rushers, the Dolphins should be jumping for joy that Sweat falls to them here. Quarterback is obviously a need, but after signing Ryan Fitzpatrick to a two-year deal, they can afford to start rebuilding their roster.
14. Atlanta Falcons – Brian Burns (EDGE – Florida State)
I mocked Burns to the Falcons long before the buzz started, so why change now? The Falcons brought back Adrian Clayborn but he’s just a part-time player at this point and Vic Beasley is labeled as a disappointment. Burns can be eased into action while he adjusts to the weight he’ll be asked to put on (though he’s already started).
15. Washington Redskins – Drew Lock (QB – Missouri)
We’ve seen Jay Gruden get the most out of his quarterbacks, so why not give him a quarterback like Lock who has a big arm, even if he needs some development? If the Cardinals were indeed open to trading Josh Rosen for a third-round pick, they should do that instead, but in my scenario, they don’t.
16. Carolina Panthers – Jonah Williams (OT – Alabama)
The selection of Williams would give the Panthers some versatility, as they signed Daryl Williams to a one-year contract, and they could use an upgrade on the interior of the line as well. There are some whispers about Williams potentially playing tackle due to shorter arms, which is where he may start his career for the Panthers.
17. New York Giants (from Browns) – Rashan Gary (DE – Michigan)
After passing on quarterback at No. 6, the Giants are sticking to the rebuild process and adding Gary to the defensive line. He’ll work well in their 3-4 scheme and offers some flexibility. After a rock-solid performance at the Combine, his upside/potential is deserving of a first-round pick.
18. Minnesota Vikings – Cody Ford (OT/OG – Oklahoma)
By taking Ford, the Vikings bolster their offensive line immediately. He can play inside at guard or move out to right tackle if Brian O’Neill doesn’t pan out. The Vikings have too much talent on offense to let it go to waste because of a poor offensive line.
19. Tennessee Titans – Jeffery Simmons (DT – Mississippi State)
Are there some questions about Simmons off the field? Yes, but his talent alone is worth a top-10 draft pick. He did suffer a torn ACL during training, so he won’t be playing much – if at all – in 2019, but he’d be a force alongside Jurrell Casey for years to come. Yes, I like him better than Christian Wilkins.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers – A.J. Brown (WR – Ole Miss)
He’s not going to walk in and replace Antonio Brown, but him and JuJu Smith-Schuster would make for a great duo. Both can play on the perimeter and both are naturals in the slot, so they’d be able to mix-and-match in order to play the matchups. I’ve actually compared these players to one another, but is having two of them really a bad thing? Nope.
21. Seattle Seahawks – Byron Murphy (CB – Washington)
This is a match made in heaven. The Seahawks play more zone coverage than all but three teams in the league. Murphy is the cornerback I actually feel best about in this draft class, though he’s definitely one who’s best-suited for a zone defense.
22. Baltimore Ravens – Chris Lindstrom (OG – Boston College)
The Ravens desperately need some help on the edge and at linebacker, but it’d be a reach to go for someone like Tre Lamar here, as he’ll be available later (they’ll likely need to trade back into the second round). Instead of snagging a wide receiver, which they do need, they build on their strengths, which is running the ball. Lindstrom is the only guard (outside of the converted tackles) who should get first-round consideration.
23. Houston Texans – Andre Dillard (OT – Washington State)
The Texans had better use at least two of their three picks on offensive linemen because Deshaun Watson won’t make it through 16 games very often with the current state of it. Dillard is a phenomenal pass blocker, and though there are questions about his run blocking, he’s worth the investment here.
24. Oakland Raiders (from Bears) – Rock Ya-Sin (CB – Temple)
Having Gareon Conley and Nick Nelson on the roster is a decent start but they need to add some talent to the position, and no, I’m not going to say Nevin Lawson is that guy. Ya-Sin is a relatively safe pick and someone who can start out by covering the slot right away.
25. Philadelphia Eagles – Nasir Adderley (S – Delaware)
Adderley is a versatile safety and would fit right in alongside Malcolm Jenkins. He’s easy to mistake as a strong safety, as he’s able to play up in the box, but he also takes great angles to the ball, and makes tackles in the open field. I debated going with a running back like Josh Jacobs here, as Jordan Howard will limit their offense.
26. Indianapolis Colts – Hakeem Butler (WR – Iowa State)
Butler has a short resume, but from what he does have, it’s impressive. With Devin Funchess on a one-year deal, the Colts still need to find their future at the wide receiver position. After bolstering the offensive line last year, they can afford to take an upside receiver at the end of the first round.
27. Oakland Raiders (from Cowboys) – Chase Winovich (EDGE – Michigan)
This may seem like a reach, and it probably is, but Winovich is a talented edge rusher with a relentless motor. What he lacks in size, he makes up for with effort, as he never takes a play off. Considering they missed out on the top edge rushers, Winovich will have to do. He has a little Clay Matthews to his game.
28. Los Angeles Chargers – Dexter Lawrence (DT – Clemson)
Lawrence can be a run-plugger up the middle that would allow Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram to pin their ears back and go after the quarterback. The Chargers don’t have many holes on their roster and although an offensive tackle was tempting, they’d be taking a player less impactful than Lawrence.
29. Kansas City Chiefs – Deionte Thompson (S – Alabama)
There are no edge rushers who are worth taking here, so the Chiefs bolster the back-end of their defense, pairing Thompson with Tyrann Mathieu. He’s a good centerfielder who can help ensure teams don’t take too many deep shots down the field.
30. Green Bay Packers (from Saints) – Noah Fant (TE – Iowa)
I’m tired of watching the Packers not give Aaron Rodgers any weapons. The last pass-catcher they drafted early in the draft was Davante Adams. We all know how that’s working out. Fant could practically red-shirt his rookie year and learn from one of the best possession tight ends to ever play the game in Jimmy Graham.
31. Los Angeles Rams – Tre Lamar (LB – Clemson)
Most would have Mack Wilson here instead (I do in my mock draft), though I think Lamar is the better prospect. Knowing the Rams don’t have a second-round pick, they need to reach for their linebacker here at the end of the first.
32. New England Patriots – T.J. Hockenson (TE – Iowa)
Many have Hockenson going inside the top-15 right now, which seems crazy to me for a guy who had just 23 games of college experience and just over 1,000 yards. It’s not to say he’s a bad prospect, but if you’re taking a tight end that high, they’d better be a sure thing. Back here with the No. 32 pick, he’s worth taking a shot on, as they need to replace Rob Gronkowski.