Although the playoffs just started, most teams in the NFL are in the offseason process. That means either looking for a new head coach or, for more, is looking ahead to the 2019 NFL draft.
This week’s mock draft features a few new names, especially in the back end. This week there’s a surprise third quarterback and even a running back. One name you won’t be seeing is Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown. He announced on Sunday that he would return for his senior season, despite likely being a first-round pick in April.
Even without Brown, there are plenty of defensive linemen, which you should come to suspect by now.
1. Arizona Cardinals: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
This week’s mock draft was going to explore the possibility of the Cardinals taking Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams with the first overall pick. The logic would be that Arizona already has one really good pass rusher in Chandler Jones. But The Broncos still took Bradley Chubb in 2018 after having Von Miller already and the Chargers look pretty content with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. Bosa and Jones should be able to co-exist just fine.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Josh Allen, OLB/DE, Kentucky
The 49ers should be figuring out how to get the Giants and Jaguars working against each other for a trade up for Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Moving back from the second pick to the sixth or seventh carries a risk, but the draft capital would help San Francisco accelerate its rebuild. If the team holds at No. 2, it will likely be choosing between Allen and Williams. Both have their merits. Allen just offers a little more than the 49ers don’t currently have.
3. New York Jets: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
You have to do some gymnastics to get to this choice. It starts with the next Jets coach moving the team from a 4-3 base defense. If that happens, the Jets need inside players. Veteran Steve McClendon is a free agent and Leonard Williams has been disappointing the last couple seasons. Williams, who creates havoc up the middle, could be the type of talent the Jets need.
4. Oakland Raiders: Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan
The Raiders had only 13 sacks this season, a shockingly low number. That’s the lowest number in the NFL since the Chiefs had 10 in 2008. But the Raiders could be in a tough spot if Allen, Bosa and Williams are all picked ahead of them. That’s one reason the Raiders should either look at a move up or hope a trade to get Haskins happens. Not that Gary is a bad option, though. The former blue chip recruit had 23 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks in his career at Michigan.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
This is the ideal for the Buccaneers. Williams could be a stalwart at left tackle considering current starter Donovan Smith is a free agent. Williams is a technician who comes into the NFL after three years of starting for Alabama.
6. New York Giants: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
The Giants should take Haskins, they just might not be able to with the sixth overall pick. Although Eli Manning returning still seems like a toss-up, general manager Dave Gettleman was noncommittal on the quarterback.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
The Jaguars could turn to a veteran quarterback this offseason if they miss out on Haskins. After that, Jacksonville could turn its attention to the offensive line. The team will get Cam Robinson back from a torn ACL, but he could shift to the right side of the line. Little, one of the most athletically gifted tackle in the draft, could slot in on the left. If the Jaguars don’t have a high grade on him, a trade down to target a wide receiver is possible.
8. Detroit Lions: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
Darius Slay and Quandre Diggs are obviously good cornerbacks for the Lions, but they clearly need another player on the outside. Williams profiles as the best cornerback in the 2019 draft thanks to his size and playmaking ability.
9. Buffalo Bills: Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma
Last year’s draft proved that teams are aggressive finding offensive tackles. Given the state of Buffalo’s line, they may be the team in 2019 that reaches a little bit on a blocker. Ford is a massive right tackle who plays with aggression.
10. Denver Broncos: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
Bradley Roby and Tramaine Brock are both free agents, and the Broncos may turn to the draft to replace them. A first-team All-American this season, Murphy excels at making a play on the ball. He finished the 2018 season with four interceptions and 13 pass breakups.
11. Cincinnati Bengals: Devin White, LB, LSU
White can be the player to cure Cincinnati’s long-standing issues at linebacker. He goes into the draft as easily the best off-ball linebacker available. Here’s a fun stat about White: In 2018, he had 123 tackles and 133 in 2017. Here’s the fun part. In 2018 he had 62 solo tackles and in 2017 he had 37.
12. Green Bay Packers: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
The Packers are still in search of a head coach, so it’s challenging to lock them into players based on system fit. If defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is retained by the next head coach, he’ll push for a pass rusher. Florida’s Jachai Polite is a logical choice, but Ferrell is closing his Clemson career strong.
13. Miami Dolphins: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
The Ryan Tannehill era, in all its mediocrity, is likely coming to an end for the Dolphins. If and when Miami trades him, the team’s biggest offseason priority becomes quarterback. Look for Miami to closely follow Lock and Duke’s Daniel Jones at the Senior Bowl.
14. Atlanta Falcons: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
Following Oliver’s draft stock over the next few months is going to be interesting. The negative in Oliver’s evaluation is that he didn’t progress much as a pass rusher. The combination of that and a lower value on run-stopping defensive tackles could land him in the teens.
15. Washington: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
Oh yes, another Alabama player injected into Washington’s defense. There’s some logic to Thompson fitting in Washington. The team badly needs a pure free safety, and Thompson is arguably the best cover safety in the draft.
16. Carolina Panthers: Jachai Polite, DE/OLB, Florida
If Thompson is gone when Carolina comes up in the draft, the team’s attention should turn to finding an edge rusher. Polite knows how to use leverage to get low and bend around the edge.
17. Cleveland Browns: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
Browns general manager John Dorsey was a semi-regular at Oklahoma games this season. He could pair Brown with his former teammate Baker Mayfield and help round out Cleveland’s wide receiver group.
18. Minnesota Vikings: Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State
In the first round, the Vikings should take whichever offensive lineman they have graded out the highest when they pick. The trouble for Minnesota is that there is no clear first round guard prospect. Forget a Quenton Nelson, there’s not even a guard who grades out close to players like Zack Martin or Mike Iupati. Risner probably comes the closest, and he gets a little extra bump in grade thanks to his versatility.
19. Tennessee Titans: Dre’Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State
The Titans need to add players this offseason who can create pressure, both from the interior defensive line and at the edge. Don’t forget, edge rusher Brian Orakpo is retiring to go into cupcake making. Jones isn’t know for stopping the run inside, but he does know how to use a swim move to get into the backfield.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
It certainly seems like the Steelers will be forced to make a move with Antonio Brown this offseason. If he’s traded away, the Steelers could turn to their first round pick for a replacement. Metcalf is an unfinished product coming out of Ole Miss, but no receiver in the draft his year has his combination of sheer size and athleticism.
21. Seattle Seahawks: Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson
The Seahawks go into the offseason with minimal money and just four draft picks. That means it’s likely the team will move down from No. 21 and accumulate more picks, which means more cheap players. If the Seahawks hold at No. 21, they need a player who can start immediately. Wilkins, who is playing in his 59th game for Clemson Monday night, should eat up snaps for the Seahawks on the defensive line next to Jarran Reed.
22. Baltimore Ravens: Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia
Receivers like John Brown, Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead are decent, but if the Ravens want to give Lamar Jackson a real chance as a wide receiver, they need a top target. Ridley, the younger brother of Atlanta’s Calvin Ridley, is a smooth route runner with good hands.
23. Houston Texans: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
Houston’s loss in the playoffs to the Colts proved that cornerback may be a bigger problem than offensive line this offseason. If Baker is on the board when Houston picks he should be an easy choice. He’s a technically sound cornerback with decent experience. Kareem Jackson is an unrestricted free agent, and at this point, Baker looks like an upgrade.
24. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago): Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
The Raiders, with a new front office manned by former NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock, could go for value over character by picking Simmons. The Mississippi State defensive lineman would the Raiders another building block on a defense that needs a few of them.
25. Philadelphia Eagles: Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State
Brandon Graham and Chris Long are both free agents after the season, so the Eagles could look for a new edge rusher with their first-round pick. Sweat is a lanky pass rusher who brings speed around the corner. He needs to bulk up a little in the NFL, but he should be productive straight away at getting after the quarterback.
26. Indianapolis Colts: Gerald Willis, DT, Miami
The Colts are coming off a sensational draft class that had two first-team All-Pro players in it. But they still have some holes to fill. Namely, the team’s defensive line is still filled with players who fit better in a 3-4 than the team’s current 4-3 system. Willis is a menace up front and can occupy blockers and create a push.
27. Oakland Raiders (via Dallas): N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
Ironically the pick that was acquired for Amari Cooper could end up being used on a wide receiver. Why? Because Oakland’s leading wide receiver last season was 33-year-old Jordy Nelson. Harry would give the Raiders a No. 1 wide out for Derek Carr, but he shouldn’t be the only receiver the team takes in 2019.
28. New England Patriots: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
Here is your quarterback surprise of the week. The Patriots desperately need a young quarterback behind Tom Brady, and Jones could make for an excellent understudy.
29. Los Angeles Chargers: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
Russell Okung has been a nice addition on the left side of the Chargers’ offensive line, but an upgrade over Sam Tevi could be used on the right side. Martez Ivey seemed to get more of the attention on Florida’s offensive line, but Taylor is the better player. He can handle speed rushers on the edge, and at 6’5 and 328 pounds, he has plenty of size and power.
30. Los Angeles Rams: Zach Allen, DE, Boston College
An edge player is clearly the Rams’ biggest need this offseason. Allen is a powerful defensive end who has good enough speed to create consistent pressure. At 285 pounds, Allen is also capable of setting the edge against the run.
31. Green Bay Packers: (via New Orleans): Brian Burns, DE/OLB, Florida State
It wouldn’t be the worst idea for the Packers to double up on edge rushers in the first round of the draft. Burns is more of a standup rusher than Ferrell, and can be moved around a little more.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
The Chiefs have good depth at running back, but Spencer Ware, Charcandrick West and Damien Williams don’t profile as a lead back. Jacobs is considered by many to be the draft’s top running back even though he was used sporadically this season.. He runs with power and has good vision, and can help eat up clock for the Chiefs.