Will Kyler Murray be the first player to hear his name called Thursday night in Nashville?
After months upon months of talk, hours upon hours of film, pages upon pages of scouting reports, the 2019 NFL Draft is finally upon us. Teams have spent forever dissecting prospects, adjusting their boards and talking with coaches. Now it’s time for all 32 teams to face the clock and try to find that missing piece that gets their franchise the Lombardi Trophy.
So who is going where? Here’s a stab at how the draft could wind up shaking out when the commissioner steps to the stage in Nashville:
1. Arizona Cardinals — Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona
We’ll see if a trade for Josh Rosen develops leading up to this pick (and an hour or two after) but the buzz has been the Cardinals taking Murray for a few months now. While it would be a franchise-energizing move to pick the Heisman winner, there would also be zero surprise if the Cardinals wound up going with the player they actually like best on the other side of the ball in Nick Bosa.
2. San Francisco 49ers — Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
General manager John Lynch is sitting pretty here with a chance to get an impact pass rusher. If not for his injury history, we’d be hearing a lot more about Baby Bosa being the best player in the draft by a solid margin.
3. New York Jets — Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
Nobody is hoping Arizona bypasses on Murray more than the Jets, who would love to trade down and recoup some picks. Signs have been pointing toward Oliver lining up next to Leonard Williams in some form if New York stays put.
4. Oakland Raiders — Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
New GM Mike Mayock is going to flash his grin from ear to ear in turning in the card for this pick, even if Jon Gruden was hoping Murray falls to No. 4. Taking positional impact out of the equation, Williams is the top prospect for most teams this draft and a much-needed boost to Oakland’s interior line.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
When Bruce Arians was with Arizona, he used a top 100 pick on an EDGE player every single draft. Something says he’ll convince the Tampa front office to do the same and grab Allen, who can develop into Jason Pierre-Paul’s long-term replacement and help begin the overhaul of the front seven.
6. New York Giants — Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
This would be a fantastic year to have the draft back at Radio City Music Hall with the potential for this pick. Dave Gettleman isn’t going to reach for an edge rusher but will go from one David Cutcliffe protege to another at QB.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars — T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
Nick Foles finds his new Zach Ertz, only with Hockenson being able to contribute quite a bit in the run game. There’s been a ton of interest in the Iowa product and the Jags have to like their ability to get secondary and offensive line help on Day 2.
8. Detroit Lions — Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
The front office did a lot of due diligence on EDGE rushers so it wouldn’t be shocking to see them trade back to find a running mate for Trey Flowers. If the Lions stay put though, it will be hard to pass up on the best pass blocker in the draft.
9. Buffalo Bills — Jawaan Taylor, OL, Florida
Building around Josh Allen is going to be a driving force behind this draft for GM Brandon Beane. Taylor is the kind of road-grader that can help with that and take a spot along the right side of the line. That said, the Bills are in a great spot ahead of QB-needy Denver to auction this pick off for a king’s ransom if somebody wants to come up.
10. Denver Broncos — Devin White, LB, LSU
Vic Fangio had Roquan Smith to work with last year in Chicago and has to love the thought of bringing in a monster like White to team up with Von Miller and company.
11. Cincinnati Bengals — Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
The local fans will shout loudly for the Ohio State quarterback to be the pick here but this will be a rebuild that needs many moving pieces. Bush would be a nice building block in a tough division where quality linebackers are a must.
12. Green Bay Packers — Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
The Packers need more depth along the offensive line and Williams’ ability to kick inside if needed will be a big plus for 2019 before eventually taking over for Bryan Bulaga on the right side.
13. Miami Dolphins — Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
New head coach Brian Flores was in New England when Bill Belichick drafted a host of defensive linemen but few had the talent Wilkins does coming from the defending national champs. There are needs all over the board in Miami but with a QB decision likely kicked down the road a bit, building up both lines will be a focus.
14. Atlanta Falcons — Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
This is the kind of position and draft where you wonder if GM Thomas Dimitroff pulls off one of those megatrades to move up and get somebody. If the Falcons stay put though, Burns’ talent is too intriguing to pass up as he becomes the guy the team thought they had in Vic Beasley.
15. Washington Redskins — Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
The team has been trying to find that true top option at wideout for ages but can finally call off the search in landing Brown. With Washington seemingly in full rebuild mode in 2019, there’s no rush to get him back on the field right away either.
16. Carolina Panthers — Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
It seems like Greg Olsen has been threatening to retire for the past several years now and now the team has a succession plan in place.
17. New York Giants (from Cleveland) — Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
Polished pass rusher who can help beef up the front seven right away? The Giants seem like a lock to take an edge guy and Ferrell has plenty to bring to the table.
18. Minnesota Vikings — Garrett Bradbury, OC, NC State
Upgrading the line in front of Kirk Cousins is a top priority in this draft and Bradbury has 10 year veteran written all over him.
19. Tennessee Titans — Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan
Gary has tremendous upside and Mike Vrabel has to think he can unlock his full potential, which could be off the charts given all the physical tools the Michigan man brings to the table.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers — Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware
Antonio Brown’s replacement will be found later on as the Steelers opt to keep trying to find options that work on the back end. Adderley can start off as a nice option in nickel packages before eventually taking over for Sean Davis.
21. Seattle Seahawks — Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
With so few picks in this draft, it would be beyond shocking if Seattle stayed at No. 21. Even if the Seahawks do move down (or out of the first round) they could still add a top-10 talent in Simmons, whose landing spot is truly anybody’s guess.
22. Baltimore Ravens — Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
The Bulldogs go back-to-back as the Ravens try to replace some defensive production with the athletic Sweat. It might be tough for the new front office to stay put at No. 22 however.
23. Houston Texans — Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma
Don’t rule out the Texans making a big move up the board into the top 10 for Andre Dillard or one of the other top tackles. They do have the ammunition to get something done but if they stay put, grabbing Ford to help shore up the line isn’t a bad option at all.
24. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago) — Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
Jacobs is likely the lone first-round back in this year’s draft and will likely be graded higher than the mid-20s. There’s a need for the Raiders to find that guy to run the football behind and the Alabama tailback’s ability to contribute in the passing game will only help enhance his value for Jon Gruden.
25. Philadelphia Eagles — Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
Williams is such an enigmatic option in the draft, with tremendous natural talent but a host of questions. The Eagles need long-term options at corner and don’t mind taking a chance on the talented Tigers star.
26. Indianapolis Colts — Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
Another team that could move up in the first round to go after somebody, the Colts improving defense still lands a terrific talent in Lawrence. The Tigers tackle is such a rare combo of size and skill that he’d be hard to pass up.
27. Oakland Raiders (from Dallas) — Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple
Mike Mayock is an old DB himself and has to like what he sees in the prospect who played not far from his old house. Ya-Sin’s physical nature will be welcomed as Oakland re-tools their secondary.
28. Los Angeles Chargers — Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
Haskins may undergo a bit of an Aaron Rodgers-like slide but he still lands in the right spot as the eventual Philip Rivers successor. Tom Telesco knows value when he sees it and has no issue grabbing the QB of the future.
29. Kansas City Chiefs — Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
A potential Frank Clark trade could make this pick moot but with this Super Bowl window at the ready for KC, finding a polished corner who can step in right away is smart business.
30. Green Bay Packers (from New Orleans) — Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State
Abram and (Adrian) Amos: a top big city law firm or the start of a productive secondary in Green Bay? It’s the latter, of course, and a good reason why the defensive overhaul of the Packers secondary continues to land the hard hitter out of Starkville.
31. Los Angeles Rams — Erik McCoy, OL, Texas A&M
If Drew Lock or somebody similar is still on the board, it would be surprising if the Rams didn’t try to auction off this pick for a QB-needy team while still moving down to get McCoy. Either way, he can help boost the interior of the line right away and provide much needed depth.
32. New England Patriots — N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
Bill Belichick is usually in the mood to trade out of the first round but he’s got so many top-100 picks this year that you wonder if he’s got something planned to go and get somebody much higher on the board. Tight end is more pressing but there’s not a true outside, long-term threat on the roster for the defending champs.
— Written by Bryan Fischer, an award-winning college football columnist and member of the Athlon Contributor Network. You can follow him from coast-to-coast on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at @BryanDFischer.