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2019 NFL mock draft: Free agency altered teams’ plans in the 1st round

The Giants now have two first-round picks. Can they get their next franchise quarterback this year?

A whirlwind first week of free agency has changed plans for plenty of teams in the 2019 NFL Draft. Maybe none more so than the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets. Both bottom-dwelling AFC teams spent big, slashing several needs off their offseason shopping lists.

But perhaps no bigger headline was made than the New York Giants shipping Odell Beckham Jr. in a massive deal with the Cleveland Browns. The Giants now have two picks in the first round and are at the start of a rebuild. That should mean a quarterback is more probable than ever. Whether it’s at No. 6, or via a trade up, the Giants can get their franchise quarterback this year.

1. Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

Offseason needs: Interior defensive line, wide receiver, tight end, slot cornerback

The Cardinals have smartly added pieces on their offensive line in right tackle Marcus Gilbert and guard J.R. Sweezy. And they’ve cut out linebacker from their needs with Jordan Hicks, one of the steals of free agency, and veteran pass rusher Terrell Suggs.

Really, Arizona’s needs fall more in line with what it could get from trading the No. 1 pick. That’s especially true if you don’t think the team should give up on quarterback Josh Rosen already. The Cardinals could drop back a number of spots and still land a quality defensive tackle or wide receiver and load up on picks.

But the buzz around the first pick continues to be about Murray, who had the type of pro day you’d expect from a top quarterback prospect.

2. San Francisco 49ers: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State

Offseason needs: Safety, edge defender, wide receiver, cornerback

San Francisco has made some of the biggest splashes of the offseason. The 49ers tabbed $140 million on Kwon Alexander and Dee Ford, and brought in running back Tevin Coleman, a perfect fit in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. But a pass rusher like Bosa could still help the defense. He and Ford could finally solve San Francisco’s longstanding need to fix the pass rush.

3. New York Jets: Josh Allen, DE/OLB, Kentucky

Offseason needs: Offensive tackle, edge defender, cornerback, center

One of the more interesting developments of free agency was linebacker Anthony Barr verbally agreeing to a deal with the Jets, only to rebuke them and return to Minnesota. Sure, the Jets got Le’Veon Bell, as expected, and smartly traded for guard Kelechi Osemele. But it’s the things that don’t happen that can sometimes reveal the most truth. And the truth is that the Jets want a linebacker who can do a little bit of everything. That player at the top of this draft is Allen.

4. Oakland Raiders: Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State

Offseason needs: Edge defender, cornerback, running back, linebacker

The Raiders have been exactly what everyone expected in free agency. Oakland is burning through its available cap space as much or more than any team in the NFL. There’s the four-year, $66 million contract given to offensive tackle Trent Brown. The team handed out two more four-year deals to safety Lamarcus Joyner ($42 million) and wide receiver Tyrell Williams ($44 million). Then there was the blockbuster deal for wide receiver Antonio Brown, and a guaranteed restructure of his deal. The Raiders are showing they know how to spend money, if nothing else.

The re-signing of Johnathan Hankins, though, is what makes Oakland’s draft intentions a little fuzzy. Theoretically, the Raiders could pass on Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams because they have Hankins and 2018 draft picks Maurice Hurst and P.J. Hall. The preference would be Allen, but Sweat has been moving up draft boards.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

Offseason needs: Safety, edge defender, linebacker, offensive line

Although Williams doesn’t address Tampa Bay’s key offseason needs, his value as a prospect is too great to pass up at No. 5. With Vita Vea, last year’s first-round pick, Williams could be lined up inside and outside for the Buccaneers.

6. New York Giants: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

Offseason needs: Quarterback, offensive tackle, linebacker, edge rusher

In the wake of the trade of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., the Giants are in the beginning of a rebuild. It helps having two first-round picks. But the best way to accelerate out of a rebuild is by landing a franchise quarterback. In this draft, that player is Haskins. In Haskins, the Giants would get a physical pocket passer with a strong arm and plenty of football smarts. More importantly, behind an offensive line with questionable tackles, Haskins can handle getting roughed up.

Also, taking Haskins at No. 6 is infinitely smarter than taking Duke’s Daniel Jones at No. 17.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

Offseason needs: Offensive tackle, tight end, safety, guard

If Le’Veon Bell being signed by the Jets was the most expected move this free agency period, the Jaguars signing Nick Foles was right behind it. The Jaguars also signed Cedric Ogbuehi, but he’s not a starter-level player at right tackle. Williams could be, and he’d help keep Foles upright.

8. Detroit Lions: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

Offseason needs: Tight end, linebacker, guard, wide receiver

Tight end may not seem like a pressing need for the Lions after they signed Jesse James. But Detroit is a team that needed to add multiple tight ends this offseason. James is a nice second tight end. Hockenson can be an excellent lead at the position. He has a well-rounded game, and his hands might be a little underrated because people are so impressed by his blocking.

9. Buffalo Bills: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

Offseason needs: Defensive tackle, cornerback, tight end, offensive tackle

The Bills smartly added to their offensive line with center Mitch Morse and offensive tackle Ty Nsekhe, a journeyman who could start on the right side. Buffalo also upgraded its wide receiver group with Cole Beasley, John Brown, and Andre Roberts. That leaves the Bills to potentially target the strength of the first round with the No. 9 pick. Oliver is a playmaker at defensive tackle, and would pair nicely with second-year player Harrison Phillips.

10. Denver Broncos: Devin White, LB, LSU

Offseason needs: Linebacker, tight end, cornerback, guard

After signing defensive backs Bryce Callahan and Kareem Jackson and right tackle Ju’Wuan James, Denver’s needs are apparent. New head coach Vic Fangio could see a lot of Roquan Smith in White, and build the back seven of his defense around the LSU tackling machine. More importantly, Colorado would be a great home for White’s horses. That’s what really matters here.

11. Cincinnati Bengals: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

Offseason needs: Offensive tackle, linebacker, tight end, quarterback

We all probably think the Bengals should’ve upgraded over right tackle Bobby Hart. The Bengals disagreed, and re-signed him on a three-year contract. That might eliminate an offensive tackle from the discussion in the first round. Maybe we should be talking more about the Bengals and a trade up to get Haskins. If not, taking Bush here is smart. He’s an active and athletic linebacker who flies around the field.

12. Green Bay Packers: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

Offseason needs: Tight end, guard, defensive line

By signing a pair of edge rushers in Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith, the Packers no longer have a glaring need there. That opens them up to taking Fant with the No. 12 pick. They’ll have to pick him here if they want him. Chances are he won’t last until the team’s selection at No. 30.

13. Miami Dolphins: Brian Burns, Edge, Florida State

Offseason needs: Quarterback, offensive tackle, edge defender, defensive tackle

The tank in Miami is real. The team has mostly stayed out of free agency, traded quarterback Ryan Tannehill to Tennessee, and then brought in Ryan Fitzpatrick. Does that mean the team won’t take a quarterback like Drew Lock of Missouri with the 13th pick? That could be the case as the team looks to a 2020 draft that will feature Justin Herbert of Oregon and Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama.

That brings the 13th pick this year between a right tackle like Jawaan Taylor of Florida and a pass rusher like Burns or Clelin Ferrell of Clemson.

14. Atlanta Falcons: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

Offseason needs: Defensive tackle, cornerback, tight end

Atlanta continued reworking its offensive line after re-signing right tackle Ty Sambrailo and adding guards Jamon Brown and James Carpenter. That leaves general manager Thomas Dimitroff to turn to the draft to fill some holes on defense. With Oliver gone, Wilkins is the next man up at defensive tackle, but the Falcons sure are giving a lot of attention to teammate Dexter Lawrence.

15. Washington: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

Offseason needs: Left guard, wide receiver, edge rusher, offensive tackle

Washington may have added veteran Case Keenum, but last season showed his better days are behind him. He could function as a bridge quarterback — even if they’re mostly dumb and overpriced — to the franchise passer of the future. In this draft, after Murray and Haskins, that player is Lock. It’s for the best that Lock sits a bit anyway. He’s a gifted but erratic thrower. Learning from Keenum and backup Colt McCoy could do him good.

16. Carolina Panthers: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

Offseason needs: Edge defender, offensive tackle, safety, guard

Ferrell isn’t the quickest or most athletic pass rusher, which is why he could land in the middle of the first round instead of the top 10. But he was wildly productive at Clemson, finishing his college career with 27 sacks and 50 tackles for loss. He’s the type of player who should consistently get eight to 12 sacks a season and lock down a starting end spot for years.

17. New York Giants (via Cleveland Browns): Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan

Offseason needs: Quarterback, offensive tackle, linebacker, edge rusher

If New York doesn’t take a pass rusher with the sixth pick, it becomes imperative to get one at No. 17. Gary is raw, but loaded with potential thanks to his size and athleticism. He’s the type of player that defensive coordinator James Bettcher could move around the defense. Sort of like an NFC version of Jadeveon Clowney, creating mismatches depending on the situation.

18. Minnesota Vikings: Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State

Offseason needs: Guard, defensive tackle, running back, edge rusher

Dillard is arguably the best pass-blocking left tackle in this draft, and in Minnesota he’d push veteran Riley Reiff inside to guard. For the Vikings, Dillard would have to play with more power than he showed at Washington State. His pass blocking, though, is hard to pass up.

19. Tennessee Titans: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

Offseason needs: Nose tackle, edge defender, guard

Tennessee gave a three-year contract to 37-year-old Cameron Wake, which probably removes pass rusher as a choice at No. 19. That’s even if he’s only in a pass-rush specialist role. The same can be said for guard after the team gave a big deal to Rodger Saffold. The Titans could add a player like Lawrence to help one of the NFL’s more average run-stopping defenses.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

Offseason needs: Linebacker, cornerback, tight end, safety, wide receiver

If the Steelers hold at No. 20, a cornerback or wide receiver is the most likely option. That’s especially true with the signing of Mark Barron. Although Ole Miss wide receiver D.K. Metcalf would be interesting here, Murphy is the less risky choice. With Joe Haden only having a year left on his contract, Murphy could be Pittsburgh’s lead corner of the future.

21. Seattle Seahawks: Jerry Tillery, DL, Notre Dame

Offseason needs: Defensive line, guard, linebacker, tight end

For the Seahawks, Tillery would be a movable piece along the defensive line. He has a good initial burst at the snap, and the length and power to shed blockers. If the Seahawks stick at No. 21, they could swing big on traits and potential. If that’s the case, keep an eye on Ole Miss receiver D.K. Metcalf here. The venerable Doug Baldwin’s numbers were down again last season, and now that he’s 30, the Seahawks could be on the lookout for a big receiver to pair with Tyler Lockett.

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

Offseason needs: Edge rusher, wide receiver, linebacker

The Ravens are another team that would love to see one of the top linebackers drop in the first round after losing C.J. Mosley to the Jets. But if they’re gone, it’s imperative that Baltimore makes an upgrade at wide receiver. Metcalf is a risky pick. He runs a limited route tree and had a serious neck injury in college. But he can take the top off a defense and will simply out-body defensive backs in contested catch situations.

23. Houston Texans: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida

Offseason needs: Offensive tackle, cornerback, defensive line, tight end

After signing cornerbacks Bradley Roby and Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Houston lessened its need in the secondary. The hole at offensive tackle, though, is more glaring than ever. Because of that, the Texans should take whichever tackle they have graded the highest, whether it’s Taylor or Cody Ford of Oklahoma.

24. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago): Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

Offseason needs: Edge defender, cornerback, running back, linebacker

Of all the money they’ve spent, the Raiders have yet to add a cornerback to the roster. That makes taking one in the first round almost a must. Williams loves playing press coverage and uses it to disrupt the timing on passes. From there, his natural size and playmaking ability takes over. Sure, he has to get more physical and tighten up his backpedal, but there is too much talent to mold to let him fall much further in the first round.

25. Philadelphia Eagles: Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss

Offseason needs: Cornerback, offensive tackle, running back, defensive line

Little has as much pure talent as any offensive tackle in the draft, but the technical aspects of his game need work. Going to Philadelphia, where he can sit a year behind the great Jason Peters, would be the ideal scenario. Few blockers set their base as well as Peters, and that’s exactly where Little needs to improve.

26. Indianapolis Colts: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

Offseason needs: Defensive end, cornerback, wide receiver, defensive tackle

It’s a little strange that the Colts have only dipped a toe into free agency after starting the period with more than $100 million available under the salary cap. Anyway. If one of the better defensive ends or tackles drops to No. 26, but the value just isn’t there, it will be here for a cornerback. Baker isn’t a flashy player, but he’s reliable and plays with great competitiveness and instincts.

27. Oakland Raiders (via Dallas): Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

Offseason needs: Edge defender, cornerback, running back, linebacker

After not signing Bell, the Raiders should sit back at No. 27 and take Jacobs, the top running back in the draft. Jacobs doesn’t have a ton of experience — he carried the ball just 251 times at Alabama — but was clearly the Tide’s best back at the end of last season. He has very good vision and power, and he’s even pretty decent as a blocker.

28. Los Angeles Chargers: Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma

Offseason needs: Offensive tackle, defensive tackle, linebacker, quarterback

If I handed draft grades for my own picks, this would be the easiest A+ to hand out. Ford is exactly what the Chargers need at right tackle. For such a powerful player, Ford is an easy mover and will get out on the second level and just destroy defenders. He’s plenty good at holding his spot on the line as well, using his strength to bully linemen in the run game.

29. Kansas City Chiefs: Jachai Polite, edge rusher, Florida

Offseason needs: Edge rusher, cornerback, defensive tackle, center

The Chiefs are having an interesting offseason, aren’t they? They traded Dee Ford to San Francisco, and released Justin Houston and Eric Berry. Replacing Berry with Tyrann Mathieu is a nice move. But now it looks obvious that Kansas City needs help at pass rusher. That just so happens to be Polite’s specialty.

If something happens with Tyreek Hill and his off-field issues, a wide receiver like Marquise Brown of Oklahoma will be in play here.

30. Green Bay Packers: (via New Orleans): Chris Lindstrom, G, Boston College

Offseason needs: Tight end, guard, defensive line

If they Packers do land Fant at No. 12 it will be fascinating to see what they do with No. 30. Theoretically, an interior blocker could be found later in the draft. Maybe that would open general manager Brian Gutekunst to trading back and accumulating future draft capital. If a guard is picked in the first round, though, chances are that it will be Lindstrom.

31. Los Angeles Rams: Garrett Bradbury, OL, North Carolina State

Offseason needs: Linebacker, guard, backup quarterback, cornerback

The Rams brought back pass rusher Dante Fowler Jr. for another season, and managed to snag safety Eric Weddle on a two-year deal. Los Angeles might not do much more, unless a contract or two gets restructured. Bradbury is a player who could push for the starting center spot or take over for Saffold at guard.

32. New England Patriots: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State

Offseason needs: Edge defender, tight end, defensive tackle, wide receiver

It’s impossible to figure out where Simmons will land in the draft. If he were healthy and didn’t have off-field questions, he would absolutely be a top-10 pick in this draft. The dropoff from Quinnen Williams to him is small. The Patriots would be taking him with the 2020 season in mind.