2019 NFL Mock Draft: Debut
Round 1 Picks 1-16
The 2019 NFL Draft has a lot of under the radar talent. This offensive tackle class could be special.
Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Last Updated: November 10, 2017.
New York Jets: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
- In my 2018 NFL Mock Draft, the Jets got Minkah Fitzpatrick at cornerback, Will Clapp at center, Mitch Hyatt at left tackle, and Tyrell Crosby at right tackle due to Josh McCown playing well in 2017. If the Jets are picking this high in 2018 then it means McCown declined along with the fact that Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg still sucked after development.
- I'm not a fan of Darnold. If he goes back to school, the Jets fans could troll us with their Darnold jerseys for another year and still get their quarterback at the top of the 2019 NFL Draft once things settle down. All of New York's other weaknesses would become strengths and adding Darnold to New York may make them contenders if he fixes his mechanics because Darnold would be the face of the franchise for the new regime in New York.
Chicago Bears: Jonah Williams, RT, Alabama
- Chicago used the 2018 NFL Draft to bolster their pass rush with Arden Key in the first round by pairing him up with Leonard Floyd at 3-4 outside linebacker only to get Simmie Cobbs Jr. in the second round. I'd love to give Cobbs Jr. another receiver next to him, but this draft doesn't have a top 5 receiver that can force Simmie Cobbs Jr. into a #2 receiver role plus offensive line will be the issue for Chicago to address if Trubisky doesn't make progress with Cobbs even if the pass rushing tandem of Key and Floyd impresses.
- If Chicago is picking this high in 2019 they will address their offensive line in the post John Fox regime assuming he keeps his job after this season. Chicago cannot release Trubisky at any point during his rookie contract without losing cap space. I had a second round grade on Trubisky so even if they hit on both Arden Key and Cobbs, better protection will be needed.
- Chicago can save $6.2-million in 2019 if they cut Charles Leno at left tackle despite giving him a contract extension that lasts through 2022. Even if Chicago keeps Leno, right tackle Bobbie Massie will be thirty years old with an expired contract in 2019. Massie may even get cut in the 2018 Offseason to save cap space as well.
- The 6-5 301 lb Jonah Williams played right tackle next to Cam Robinson in 2016. He made the switch to left tackle in 2017. Pass rushers like Josh Sweat and Arden Key struggled versus Williams on tape. This makes Williams a great prospect for the 2019 NFL Draft that could give Trubisky confidence on the offensive line regardless of whether he plays left tackle or right tackle.
- I see Williams spending his rookie season as a right tackle. Once Chicago realizes Leno isn't the long-term answer they can move Williams to left tackle in 2020 and get another right tackle in Free Agency.
Cleveland Browns: Connor Wiliams, RT, Texas
- Cleveland should win a few games in 2018 from the picks they made in the 2017 and 2018 NFL Draft alone. Taking Baker Mayfield at 1 and Derwin James at 9 will be decisions that either allow the Browns to thrive or decisions that set them back. I think we could see A.J. McCarron, DeShone Kizer, and Baker Mayfield compete for the starting job kind of like how the Rams had their quarterback competition in 2016. Day 2 picks were spent on Nick Chubb at running back as well as raw underclassmen Auden Tate and Equanimeous St. Brown at the wide receiver position who will both do much better in year 2 as Baker's weapons. Baker could struggle as a rookie in Cleveland if they get Tate and St. Brown with neither making an immediate impact. Duke Dawson may be a third round replacement to Joe Haden at cornerback.
- Baker may not start right away in 2018 if McCarron goes to Cleveland. Mayfield could be the first number one pick since Jared Goff to not start right away if he gets picked first overall assuming Cleveland gets McCarron in Free Agency and decides to let Kizer develop for another year. If that's the case these raw receivers won't develop confidence until Mayfield starts. Once he does Cleveland's offense will take off.
- Connor Williams is a first round pick in 2018 if he declares, but he won't be the top 5 pick that people in the media hype him up to be if he declares for the 2018 NFL Draft. However if Williams stays in school, gets stronger, maintains blocks longer, and works towards getting his degree, he should go top 5 in 2019.
- Connor Williams could begin his career at right tackle. He can move over to left tackle when Joe Thomas retires. With all of Cleveland's draft picks from 2017-2019 this Browns team is finally to put everything together like the New York Jets thanks to a new coaching staff taking over for Hue Jackson in 2019 as that staff works with Mayfield the way McVay worked with Goff.
San Francisco 49ers: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
- The 49ers drafted Saquon Barkley in the first round, Courtland Sutton who fell to the second round before getting center Mason Cole and Duke Ejiofor as a 4-3 right end in the 2018 NFL Draft.
- If San Francisco drafts that well in 2018 and Garoppolo sucks after getting extended the possibility of San Francisco getting a quarterback in 2019 is on the table. San Francisco's biggest need at this point would be cornerback, but with none worth taking here unless Josh Jackson returns to Iowa for his senior season, San Francisco will either get Trey Adams to be the successor to Joe Staley at left tackle or they would take a quarterback.
- It really comes down to whether Garoppolo gets a short-term or long-term extension that ultimately decides which route they go in. For now, I'll give the 49ers Justin Herbert while fans criticize or speculate this possibility as Kyle Shanahan enters his third year with John Lynch with both San Francisco's GM and head coach finally on the hot seat.
Washington Redskins: Dexter Lawrence, NT, Clemson
- The Redskins drafted Ronnie Harrison in the first round who showed flashes of brilliance when blitzing, but improving is ability in coverage will be something he has to work on in the 2019 Offseason at OTA's. Washington drafted for value in the second round getting Joshua Allen who is a bigger sack artist than Bud Dupree, but only weighs 230 lbs. His role will increase with Ryan Anderson getting Preston Smith's job in 2019 because Smith is set to a Free Agent. In the third round Washington got Cameron Smith out of USC.
- Washington made some great value picks. Even if Cousins gets extended this team will still have needs at wide receiver, left guard, nose tackle, and another 3-4 middle linebacker next to Smith. There is also the possibility that defensive coordinator Greg Manusky takes a head coaching gig which would also set Washington back. Losing McVay was a huge loss for Gruden and losing Manusky would have the same type of impact potentially. That's why I have Washington at 5 for now even though I doubt they are drafting this high in 2019.
- The 6-8 340 lb Dexter Lawrence is probably the best overall player in the entire draft. He can play in a 4-3 or 3-4 system. Pairing him with Jonathan Allen though just makes this Washington front defensive line one of the leagues best and with all the depth off the edge at 3-4 outside linebacker, along with all the depth Washington has at cornerback this will be an easy turnaround for whoever takes over for Jay Gruden because I just can't see Gruden keeping his job if Washington is picking at 5. The bottom line is Washington will be back if they take Dexter Lawrence in 2019 with or without Gruden coaching the team.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Trey Adams, LT, Washington
- Tampa Bay used the 2018 NFL Draft to get Bradley Chubb as a 4-3 right end in the first round and with Noah Spence coming back from a dislocated shoulder at 4-3 left end, Tampa Bay finally has a lethal pass rush. In the second round they got Boise State right tackle Archie Lewis to replace Demar Dotson. Lewis gave Winston protection on the right side of the offensive line and did a superb job opening up the running lanes for Tampa Bay's running back. I'll assume it's Doug Martin for now with his contract lasting through 2021, but Tampa Bay can release Martin at any point to save cap space. Devron Davis was a great third round pick out of UTSA. He came in and complimented both Vernon Hargreaves and Ryan Smith allowing Hargreaves to play well enough to earn a fifth year option.
- Tampa Bay's draft picks showed a ton of promise. The left side of the offensive line got ignored in the 2018 Offseason due to Tampa Bay choosing to improve their defense as well as Tampa Bay choosing to use a fifth year player option on Jameis Winston while giving Mike Evans the contract extension he deserves because Evans is a Free Agent in 2019 even with his fifth year player option set to take effect in 2018. Because of this Tampa Bay would bring in a new regime and that new regime would have get Winston better protection on the left side of the offensive line. Once the new regime does this Tampa Bay will be able to contend and it will only be a matter of maintaining the talent they have.
- The 6-7 302 lb Trey Adams chose to return back to school in 2017 after suffering a season ending injury. Tampa Bay takes him here and finally gets Winston a blindside. With Trey Adams at left tackle and Archie Lewis at right tackle, Jameis Winston finally has the protection he needs to have a breakout season in 2019 which happens to be his contract year if Tampa Bay gives him a fifth year player option.
Los Angeles Chargers: Rashan Gary, DT, Michigan
- The Chargers may have ignored their dire need at safety, but they secured a lot of future pieces in the 2018 NFL Draft after dominating the 2017 NFL Draft with Mike Williams, Forrest Lamp, and Dan Feeney who all took huge steps with Rivers in 2018. Their 2018 NFL Draft featured Lamar Jackson who has one year of learning how to improve his accuracy and decision making under Philip Rivers. The Chargers also got Denzel Ward as a nickel corner allowing Casey Heyward and Desmond King to move to the outside at cornerback before getting Utah strong safety Chase Hansen who reminds the Chargers of Eric Weddle.
- There are two things the Chargers can do. They can draft for need by getting the top safety in this draft in Javon Hagan out of Ohio or they can draft for value by getting the best overall player in Rashan Gary.
- Rashan Gary is a 6-5 281 lb defensive tackle that has lined up everywhere on the defensive line except nose tackle. You are talking about someone who can play 4-3 right end, 4-3 left end, 4-3 defensive tackle, 3-4 right end, and 3-4 left end. I know Gary hasn't done much in terms of production, but the crazy thing is I like his rip and swim moves more than Dexter Lawrence or Ed Oliver. His 7.5 tackles for a loss, 3 sacks, and 6 quarterback hurries show promise though. Gary is a top 10 pick despite these numbers because he's commanding double teams while Maurice Hurst makes big plays this season.
- Putting Rashan Gary with Corey Liuget next to him at defensive tackle with Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa both as pass rushers makes Los Angeles extremely dangerous. With Anthony Lynn returning for his third season, the Chargers are ready to make a huge splash in the AFC West assuming they can land a big name free safety in Free Agency. If that doesn't happen this team will be ready by 2020 when the Chargers move into Inglewood with the Rams with Lamar Jackson finally ready to take over for Rivers after sitting behind Rivers for two seasons the same way Rivers sat behind Brees.
Houston Texans: Ed Oliver, 3-4 LE, Houston
- The Texans did not pick until the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. They got a starting left guard in Will Hernandez next to Julie'n Davenport as well as a right tackle in Damian Prince who can also kick inside to guard. Houston also got Carlton Davis with a compensation pick so why would they be picking this high?
- That's a great question. If Houston stays healthy they could easily reclaim this division. However if they end up picking at 8 due to not picking in the first two rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft, then that means J.J. Watt suffered a third consecutive season ending injury or Watson got injured again. Watt gets replaced by the 6-3 290 lb Ed Oliver who has lined up at 4-3 defensive tackle, 3-4 nose tackle, 4-3 right end, 4-3 left end, 3-4 right end and 3-4 left end.
- Oliver had 47 solo tackles, 19 assisted tackles, 66 total tackles, 22.5 tackles for a loss, 9 deflections from pass breakups, 7 quarterback hurries, and 5 sacks as a true freshman in 2016. Oliver even frustrated Orlando Brown one of our 2018 first round picks in his first career start.
- Oliver was talked about as the best player in College Football heading into 2017. Oliver already has 10 tackles for a loss and 2.5 sacks despite receiving double teams. The scary thing is that I like Lawrence and Gary slightly more on tape than Ed Oliver. The thing is Houston won't pass on Oliver if he falls to their pick, and if they are picking this high there is a good chance Watt got injured again.
Baltimore Ravens: Javon Hagan, FS, Ohio
- Baltimore drafted Bryce Love in the first round, Roquan Smith in the second round, and Michael Gallup in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Baltimore finally got a featured back in Love along with someone who can bolster the run defense next to Mosley in Smith. Gallup gives Flacco a big target with outstanding route running.
- Baltimore has a pretty complete defense for the most part. Their strength of schedule in 2018 is the biggest reason I have Baltimore picking this high because the AFC North teams face the NFC South teams in 2018 plus John Harbaugh will be fired if Baltimore is picking this high after four consecutive seasons of missing the NFL Playoffs. The offense still needs upgrades at tight end and center if they don't take care of this in Free Agency. Baltimore may need another target as well at wide receiver. You also have to consider the possibility of Baltimore releasing Eric Weddle.
- Terrell Suggs, C.J. Mosley, Breshad Perriman, Jeremy Maclin, Z'Darius Smith, Maxx Williams, and Buck Allen are all Free Agents in 2019. You're telling me Baltimore won't release Weddle to extend Mosley to save cap space. I have a hard time believing that plus Hagan interviewed extremely well on our podcast. I think Hagan is someone Baltimore could consider at 9 if they release Weddle.
Tennessee Titans: Devin White, 3-4 MLB, LSU
- Tennessee used the 2018 NFL Draft to draft for value. They got Ogbonnina Okornkwo in the first round after seeing Kevin Byard and Adoree Jackson do better than most expected. Then the Titans used the second round to get Jamarcus King out of South Carolina in the second round and Hootie Jones for depth at strong safety in the third round.
- You'd think with all this depth, the Titans would be poised to make a Super Bowl run. Tennessee has to face the entire NFC East, New England, Pittsburgh, and Kansas City if they win the AFC South. Tennessee could easily lose all eight of those games as well as their three divisional games on the road after taking that next step in 2017. That's the only reason I have the Titans at 10 for now in my very first 2019 NFL Mock Draft.
- Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan both have expiring contracts. Luckily for Tennessee they got Ogbonnina Okornkwo ready to start at 3-4 right outside linebacker and Kevin Dodd ready to start at 3-4 left outside linebacker as Dodd enters his contract year. Now they get someone who can play 3-4 middle linebacker.
- The 6-1 240 lb Devin White can play 4-3 right outside linebacker, 4-3 middle linebacker, 4-3 left outside linebacker, or 3-4 middle linebacker. White has 22 solo tackles, 67 assisted tackles, 89 total tackles, 8 tackles for a loss, 3 sacks, and 3 deflections from pass breakups so far in in 2017. White could easily be a top ten pick in 2019 if he keeps improving.
Buffalo Bills: Khalil Hodge, MLB, Buffalo
- Buffalo drafted defensive tackle Christian Wilkins and cornerback Isaiah Oliver in the first round giving Buffalo a lethal cornerback tandem with White and Oliver who presses better than White despite not dominating in man and zone like White. Those pieces made their potent defense a lot stronger. Then Buffalo got offensive weapons like wide receiver Deontay Burnett and Washington running back Myles Gaskin in the second round. Burnett wasn't the only receiver target Buffalo added. They also got the 6-6 200 lb Jaleel Scott out of New Mexico State in the third round.
- There were three players I considered here for Buffalo. Those players were Deandre Francois out of Florida State. I think Nate Peterman is more likely to start if Buffalo sets themselves back like this after dominating early in 2017 because he made progress in the preseson as Tyrod Taylor's backup. I also considered left tackle Greg Little out of Ole Miss with Cordy Glenn's last 16 game season back in 2015. The player I ultimately chose to go with is a local player that could replace Preston Brown if Buffalo decides not to extend him with Khalil Hodge out of Buffalo.
- The 6-1 235 lb Khalil Hodge has dominated 2017 with 58 solo tackles, 71 assisted tackles, 129 total tackles, 3 tackles for a loss, 2 sacks, and 1 deflection from a pass coverage. I watched Hodge on tape versus Western Michigan and he was superb in coverage making plays everywhere at middle linebacker. If Buffalo is picking this high in 2019 it's not due to the offensive play, but rather due to the lack of leadership on defense. With Hodge that finally changes as Buffalo ascends into contention moving forward.
Detroit Lions: Nick Bosa, RE, Ohio State
- Detroit got Vita Vea at defensive tackle in the first round, Jerome Baker to replace Tahir Whitehead at 4-3 right outside linebacker in the second round, and Royce Freeman in the third round at running back. Detroit has a tough strength of schedule plus if Ziggy Ansah leaves and the Lions don't replace him after winning the NFC North in 2017, I could see Nick Bosa going to Detroit here if they pick this high.
- The 6-4 270 lb Nick Bosa has 10 tackles for a loss, 4 sacks, and 7 quarterback hurries. He's not the pass rusher Joey is, but he may be a better run stuffer plus the potential to develop him into a premiere pass rusher is certainly there. The one thing you have to consider is that Bosa is splitting reps with Sam Hubbard at defensive end this season.
- If Detroit gets Nick Bosa epect a quick turnaround in 2019. Detroit would reclaim the NFC North with the Green Bay Packers losing most of their star players to Free Agency in 2019.
New York Giants: Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame
- The Giants go from picking third overall in 2018 to picking thirteenth overall. Eli Manning finally gets a blindside at left tackle in Mike McGlinchey. Scouts question the decision to take him third overall he delivers though. New York has Josh Allen out of Wyoming as a backup/successor to Eli Manning along with an effective third stringer in Davis Webb who can be the future backup on this team. Tre' Williams showcases some talent and provides some stability as a starting outside linebacker.
- New York landed a couple of rookies that shape their future. They still need a weapon across from Odell Beckham Jr. even though all the targets are reaches at this point. I have New York taking a cornerback though since New York has suspended both of their top corners. Even Eli Apple and Landon Collins have looked suspect in coverage at times this year. Same with the free safety.
- At this point, New York may decide its time for an extreme makeover on the secondary. The 5-11 193 lb Julian Love has 14 deflections from pass breakups and 3 interceptions in 2017. Love showed elite man, zone, and press coverage versus USC as well. Ahmmon Richards a 2019 prospect on Miami FL will be a good test for Love tomorrow.
Arizona Cardinals: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
- Arizona got Josh Rosen as their quarterback of the future in the first round, Allen Lazard in the second round, and Amari Coleman at cornerback in the third round.
- If Arizona goes with a corner after taking Amari Coleman it's a clear indicator that they will limit Coleman to a nickel role. Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs is not a name you will hear a lot of right now, but the 6-2 207 lb corner is the little brother of Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs. Trevon is bigger and played both wide receiver and cornerback in High School. Diggs will become a household name on Alabama's secondary in 2018 with all the corners they are expected to lose to the 2018 NFL Draft.
Denver Broncos: Deondre Francois, QB, Florida State
- Denver drafted Holton Hill to replace Aqib Talib in 2018 in the first round even after his three failed drug tests. They also got a right tackle in Brian O'Neill. They used the third round to get a vocal player in Shaun Dion Hamilton before wrapping up the third round with Dre'Mont Jones on the defensive line to replace Jared Crick.
- We finally see Denver start Paxton Lynch and make Chad Kelly the teams backup. Trevor Siemian and Brock Osweiler are on the way out.
- Denver still has problems at quarterback despite getting great production from three rookies. They get Deondre Francois the quarterback coming off the season ending injury to Alabama in 2017 has a huge junior year in 2018 where he finally lives up to his potential and has great size.
- Dendre Francois is an upgrade over anyone Denver has. The real challenge for Francois will be outplaying quarterbacks like Derek Carr, Patrick Mahomes who replaces Alex Smith and dominates in 2018, and a Chargers team that has Philip Rivers ready to retire after the year with Lamar Jackson waiting in the wings like Aaron Rodgers did when he was on Green Bay.
Atlanta Falcons: Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma
- Atlanta addressed two needs at 4-3 defensive tackle with Da'Ron Payne and free safety with Armani Watts in the second round. Atlanta got Coleman Shelton in the third round as a center to groom behind Alex Mack.
- Atlanta still needs a guard. None are available so they get Mark Andrews out of Oklahoma and make Austin Hooper the #2 tight end giving Matt Ryan a two tight end set. I think Andrews has a chance to crack the top 10 if he returns to school without Baker Mayfield, but he may declare for the 2018 NFL Draft as well. With Steve Sarkisian gone and Atlanta no longer hosting a Super Bowl, Atlanta gets back to where they were a few years ago.
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