2019 NFL Mock Draft: First-Round Predictions (post-free agency edition)

Less than a month away from the draft and Kyler Murray continues to be one of the top storylines

Free agency has come and gone with a bang in the NFL and teams are finally ready to firm up their boards after a raft of pro days from prospects far and wide. With the calendar turning to April, we're about to hit the home stretch for the final path to the draft so there’s no better time to take stock before it’s time to pack up and head to Nashville for the annual festivities.

 

So who is going where? Here’s a stab at how the draft could wind up shaking out:

 

1. Arizona Cardinals — Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

All signs have been pointing toward the Cardinals making the bold move and going with Murray unless the team is blown away with a trade offer. The Heisman Trophy winner draws plenty of opinions from scouts but he’s still the type of electric player that can go atop the draft.

 

2. San Francisco 49ers — Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State

Nobody benefits more from Arizona going with a QB than the 49ers, who can continue to invest in their pass rush by going with baby Bosa.

 

3. New York Jets — Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

Upgrading Sam Darnold’s weapons is still a priority in this draft but the defensive talent is still too good to pass up for the new gang green brain trust. That includes the terrific Crimson Tide defender that can help anchor things up front.

 

4. Oakland Raiders — Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky

It’s no secret that the team is gearing up with young talent to make a big splash as they move to Las Vegas. Allen could be a building block on defense and turn into a star the team has been lacking since they traded a certain defender to the Bears.

 

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State

The needs for the Bucs are vast but making a long-term decision on Jameis Winston is the most pressing franchise need. The front office won’t be able to do a proper evaluation with the new staff unless the QB is upright so solidifying that tackle spot with Dillard could go a long way in Tampa.

 

6. New York Giants — Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State

Signs have been pointing toward Dave Gettleman upgrading the pass rush in some form for weeks now, even if the team would be able to grab a QB with this pick. Sweat can keep his impressive rise going by landing in the Big Apple.

 

7. Jacksonville Jaguars — T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

Nick Foles had a reliable target to go to in Zach Ertz and gets somebody in that vein with Hockenson, who can help boost the run game as much as he can make a living in the middle of the field.

 

8. Detroit Lions —  Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson

Matt Patricia needs production now off the edge and Ferrell is as accomplished and polished as they come in this draft at the position. The ceiling for the Tigers' star isn’t quite as high as others but he does so many things at a high level that Detroit will fall in love with him.

 

9. Buffalo Bills — Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

The team is already fortifying the offense around Josh Allen and now they find their quarterback a new best friend. Fant has the athleticism to beat just about everybody who tries to cover him and could be even better in Buffalo than he was his final season with the Hawkeyes.

 

10. Denver Broncos — Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

Teaming Oliver with Von Miller might be unfair to opposing quarterbacks and he’d solidify the spine of the Broncos defense that isn’t quite what it should have been. There’s talk that he could play linebacker at the next level and Vic Fangio would be a perfect head coach to make that transition under too.

 

11. Cincinnati Bengals — Devin White, LB, LSU

The Bengals brought in an offensive-minded young head coach but they very much need to build around a new leader on defense. White is the kind of tough-minded player who can also do everything in space that could be just that guy to lead the team.

 

12. Green Bay Packers — Jawaan Taylor, OL, Florida

The team did bring in Billy Turner to help things up front but there’s still more to be done. Taylor can start out by helping inside but has the potential to take over for Bryan Bulaga at right tackle long term and boost athleticism at the position at the same time.

 

13. Miami Dolphins — Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson

It has to be mighty tempting for the Dolphins to go with a QB here but the new staff wants to be disciplined in building the roster up. That means finding somebody who can get after Tom Brady and Sam Darnold up the middle and Wilkins fits the bill.

 

14. Atlanta Falcons — Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan

Dan Quinn has to be drooling over getting an athlete like Gary to plug into the lineup. He’ll be able to form a nice tandem with Grady Jarrett for teams to deal with while also helping boost a pass rush that has trailed off recently.

 

15. Washington Redskins — Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

The team seems insistent on not taking a QB in this draft but Haskins falling is just too good to pass up, especially given that he’s a former DMV star. Questions abound about Alex Smith's future, but Haskins still won't need to be rushed into the lineup with Case Keenum around.

 

16. Carolina Panthers —  Jonah Williams, OL, Alabama

Williams could play either tackle or guard and help upgrade an offensive line that is aging rapidly in front of Cam Newton. The Crimson Tide product is pretty polished after all those high-level reps under Nick Saban and would be a nice young blocker who brings added flexibility.

 

17. New York Giants (from Cleveland) — Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State

It goes without saying that the general manager likes his big boys in the trenches and Simmons has the kind of talent that makes him a value pick at this point. No, this won’t excite the fan base but after Damon Harrison and others were traded away, finding impact players along the line is a priority.

 

18. Minnesota Vikings — Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

Mike Zimmer made no secret about wanting to run the ball better and that message will come in loud and clear with this pick. Yes, the club has Dalvin Cook but Jacobs can bring another element while also being a bit of an injury hedge.

 

19. Tennessee Titans — Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State

The coaching staff knows that finding somebody to pair with Harold Landry is a priority given recent roster changes and Burns has tremendous upside down the road. Mike Vrabel will be able to get the most out the former Seminoles star.

 

20. Pittsburgh Steelers — Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

There will be plenty of Steelers fans hoping for an Antonio Brown replacement here but finding another linebacker is far more pressing. The Michigan man is a perfect fit for the organization and a huge boost to the front seven.

 

21. Seattle Seahawks — Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

The foot surgery might scare some teams off but the Seahawks don’t mind getting top-10 value this late in the first round. Provided the medicals check out, Brown could be a nice hedge against Doug Baldwin’s return from surgeries while also giving Russell Wilson another dangerous weapon.

 

22. Baltimore Ravens — D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss

Lamar Jackson needs weapons, weapons, and more weapons. Yes, the defense has a ton of holes after getting picked apart in free agency but Metcalf could be the guy to solidify the outside of the receiving corps for several years.

 

23. Houston Texans — Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma

The Texans have needed to upgrade their offensive line since their franchise began. Ford can help protect Deshaun Watson while having no issue adjusting to his style of quarterbacking.

 

24. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago) — Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

Williams has tremendous upside and is the kind of ball hawk that the Mike Mayock-Jon Gruden brain trust will love. Given that they have extra capital in the first round, there’s less risk with a pick like this and the potential for a big payoff while also addressing a pressing need on defense.

 

25. Philadelphia Eagles — Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple

The Eagles can stay local while trying to find a long-term answer in the secondary. Ya-Sin’s flexibility in the back end will only help as the team tries to make another Super Bowl run.

 

26. Indianapolis Colts — Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

GM Chris Ballard has done a tremendous job re-tooling the Colts' defense with top-end athletes and Lawrence fits that mold to a T. Not only will the former Tigers star represent a man-eater in the middle, but he can help free up lanes for guys like Justin Houston and Darius Leonard.

 

27. Oakland Raiders (from Dallas) — Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

There are concerns over Jones’ accuracy but he’ll get the thumbs up from a QB-whisperer and has all the size that Gruden and company look for. He won’t be rushed into service but will represent the future of the Raiders on offense.

 

28. Los Angeles Chargers — Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State

Risner is a plug-and-play guy along most offensive lines and allows for depth in one area where there hasn’t been with the Chargers. Long term he could be the answer at shoring up the right tackle spot too.

 

29. Kansas City Chiefs — Garrett Bradbury, OL, NC State

Mitch Morse may have got his payday elsewhere in free agency but the Chiefs can get his long-term replacement with Bradbury. There will be some question as to whether the team will need to trade up and get this perfect fit but there are few better player-needs matches than this one.

 

30. Green Bay Packers (from New Orleans) — Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabama

Jimmy Graham is on the wrong career slope at this point and signing Marcedes Lewis seems like a short-term stopgap. Smith can be a go-to guy for Aaron Rodgers now and down the road while also being able to flex out and take some pressure off some of the young wideouts too.

 

31. Los Angeles Rams — Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame

There are questions about Tillery becoming consistent enough to justify being a first-rounder but his measurables are so unique that the Rams can believe that lining up next to Aaron Donald on every play will address that.

 

32. New England Patriots — Jaylon Ferguson, EDGE, Louisiana Tech

Bill Belichick seems perfectly content to auction off this pick to a QB-needy club as he does every year and add even more top-100 ammo. If the Pats stay put though, Ferguson can help fill the void left behind by Trey Flowers and others.

 

— 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.

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