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2019 NFL mock draft: The 1st round would make more sense if Kyler Murray goes No. 1

After all the buzz at the combine, a Kyler Murray domino effect could take place in April.

Another scouting combine is in the books, and it’s not just changing the landscape in the NFL. It’s also changing the shape of the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

The combine this year birthed a debate over the first overall pick. Should the Cardinals give up on 2018 first-round pick Josh Rosen after just one season and take Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray? Or should Arizona take advantage of the elite defensive talent in the draft?

This week’s mock draft explores how the first round could play out with Murray going first overall. Quite honestly, if that happens, it maps out the first five picks better than if it doesn’t. For instance, Ohio State pass rusher Nick Bosa may be a better fit with the 49ers than the Cardinals. Kentucky pass rusher Josh Allen is a better fit with the Jets than the Raiders. And for Oakland, Quinnen Williams is the exact type of player they need on defense.

This week also features a few new names in the first round mix. Most come into play in the back half of the first round.

1. Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

Offseason needs: Offensive line, interior defensive line, wide receiver, tight end

The speculation about Murray and the No. 1 pick in the draft seems to vary by the hour. At the combine, it went from an after hours rumor at the bar to a full-blown possibility. We may not have certainty about it until the day of the draft. Let’s consider it for now and watch as the story continues to develop.

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

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

The 49ers would love nothing more than to see Murray get taken with the first pick. It would dramatically increase the value of the second overall pick if San Francisco wants to trade down. It would also mean the team can take whomever it considers to be the best player in the draft.

Bosa made his triumphant return to a football field in Indianapolis, and he looked like the superstar prospect we remember. For the 49ers, he’s a far better player than Kentucky’s Josh Allen and a much better system fit than Alabama’s Quinnen Williams.

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

Offseason needs: Running back, offensive line, edge defender, cornerback

Like Bosa with San Francisco, Allen is a better match with the Jets than the other prospects at the top of the draft. With New York sticking with the 3-4, Allen’s strengths can be utilized. He’s a good athlete in space, can attack the quarterback, and is solid dropping back in pass coverage. He needs to get better shedding blocks and playing the run, but those issues can be masked some by the scheme.

4. Oakland Raiders: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

Offseason needs: Edge defender, cornerback, running back, wide receiver

Although the Raiders are a still a fascinating team in terms of a quarterback, both coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock were adamant Derek Carr is a franchise signal caller. If that really is the case, choosing Williams is an easy move. He helps the team’s awful pass rush from up the middle, and gives Oakland a player teams will have to scheme around.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Devin White, LB, LSU

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

With the news that Tampa Bay will use the franchise tag on Donovan Smith, that lessens the need for a left tackle this offseason. That would allow the Buccaneers to take advantage of the draft’s strength on defense. In this mock draft, it was between White and Mississippi State pass rusher Montez Sweat. If the Buccaneers decide to let Kwon Alexander walk, White is an easy choice.

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

Offseason needs: Quarterback, offensive tackle, safety, linebacker

Plenty has been made of potential connection between the Giants and Haskins. It’s almost too perfect to actually come to fruition. New York is an ideal spot for Haskins. Although he only started a season of college football, he can learn for a year behind Eli Manning before taking over in 2020.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

Offseason needs: Quarterback, offensive line, tight end, safety

The Nick Foles to Jacksonville thing is going to happen. When it does, the Jaguars need to prioritize making sure their offensive line is as good as it can be. Although Williams did enough at the combine to show he’s an offensive tackle in the NFL, he would give the Jaguars some versatility to line up the five best blockers up front.

8. Detroit Lions: Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State

Offseason needs: Edge defender, tight end, linebacker, guard

Sweat continued to ride a wave of momentum at the combine that he started at the Senior Bowl in January. He’s asserted himself as a top-10 pick with perhaps the draft’s most impressive combination of size and athleticism. Even if Ziggy Ansah leaves Detroit, Sweat could be an upgrade.

9. Buffalo Bills: DK Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss

Offseason needs: Offensive line, defensive tackle, wide receiver, cornerback

Metcalf was the darling of Indianapolis with the body of a superhero action figure and unfathomable testing numbers. The Bills need some talent on the offensive line, but they’re in desperate need of playmakers. With his speed and ability to go up and high-point the football, Metcalf would be a perfect fit for Josh Allen.

10. Denver Broncos: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida

Offseason needs: Offensive line, cornerback, tight end, linebacker

Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson should still be in play here, but Taylor would be an excellent bookend with Garett Bolles. If the Broncos want to maximize whatever Joe Flacco has left, it’s imperative they keep him upright.

11. Cincinnati Bengals: Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma

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

Cincinnati has been pretty bad at drafting and developing offensive tackles. So much so that former second-round pick Jake Fisher is converting from tackle to tight end. Well, maybe the Bengals will get it right this time with Ford. It would be hard to mess him up. His game isn’t flashy, but he’s refined and an absolute mauler on the right side.

12. Green Bay Packers: Brian Burns, Edge, Florida State

Offseason needs: Edge defender, tight end, guard, defensive line

Burns did enough at the combine to separate himself from some of the other pass rushers Green Bay will consider with the 12th pick. Most importantly was his size, weighing in at 249 pounds and breaking 4.55 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Burns needs to get better against the run, but he’s pro-ready as a pass rusher.

13. Miami Dolphins: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

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

Lock didn’t have a stellar combine showing, and his 9-inch hands are cause for concern for some. But in desperate times, teams force the issue at quarterback. Maybe the only thing that could save Miami from over-drafting a quarterback in the first round to replace Ryan Tannehill would be to make a play for Teddy Bridgewater or Josh Rosen.

14. Atlanta Falcons: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

Offseason needs: Defensive tackle, offensive tackle, cornerback, guard

Even after the combine, it’s still hard to find a higher spot in the draft for Oliver than Atlanta. Buffalo and Detroit are possible, but those two teams have greater needs and the value is negligible. That’s good news for the Falcons.

TRADE: Washington sends the 15th pick to Arizona for quarterback Josh Rosen and the 65th pick.

15. Arizona Cardinals: Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State

Offseason needs: Offensive line, interior defensive line, wide receiver, tight end

I don’t really buy into the rumor that all Arizona could get for Rosen is a third-round pick. Rosen had almost no talent around him in Arizona as a rookie, except for running back David Johnson. His cap number the next four years is also ridiculously low, which should make him more valuable in a deal. That’s why Rosen and a third-round pick for a first-round pick in the teens makes sense to me.

For the Cardinals, having a second first-round pick would help the team to reshape its offensive line. Dillard is a natural at left tackle and had a standout combine.

16. Carolina Panthers: Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan

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

Gary had himself a fine combine with testing numbers similar to Bradley Chubb, the fifth pick in last year’s draft. But his draft placement is varied because he didn’t put up big sack numbers at Michigan. He fits Carolina’s biggest need for an edge player, and on some plays he could move inside.

17. Cleveland Browns: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

Offseason needs: Defensive tackle, offensive tackle, linebacker, cornerback

The Browns can’t go wrong with a Clemson player at No. 17, whether it’s Wilkins or defensive end Clelin Ferrell. Wilkins would give Cleveland the three-technique tackle the defense badly needs. Ferrell would get plenty of snaps, but an end is much lower on the Browns’ list of needs.

18. Minnesota Vikings: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

Offseason needs: Offensive tackle, guard, defensive tackle, running back

With rumors swirling that the Vikings might move on from end Everson Griffen, a pass rusher could emerge as a big need for Minnesota. If Griffen is moved, this is the offseason to do it. Ferrell could go as high as the top 10, so at No. 18 he’d be a steal.

19. Tennessee Titans: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

Offseason needs: Wide receiver, edge defender, guard, quarterback

Brown going this high will be wholly dependent on teams being comfortable with his size and health. A Lisfranc injury to his left foot had Brown in a walking boot at the combine, and he’ll likely miss Oklahoma’s pro day on March 13. And he’ll go into the NFL as one of the league’s smallest receivers.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

Offseason needs: Linebacker, cornerback, tight end, safety, offensive tackle

Here’s your big combine riser. Bush has vaulted himself from the second round potentially into the 20s following a strong performance in Indianapolis. He flies around the field in games, and his combine numbers back up the film. He would add a level of athleticism the Steelers need in the back seven.

21. Seattle Seahawks: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

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

Here’s Seahawks general manager John Schneider on trading down: “We don’t necessarily have to go down all the time. But it’s kind of fun.” With no second-round pick this year, expect the Seahawks to have some fun on draft day. But that’s only if they find a fair deal. If they can’t, and Hockenson is still around, he’s too good to pass up. Will Dissly is a promising player, but he’s coming back from injury. Nick Vannett hasn’t contributed much as a receiver in his three seasons in the NFL.

22. Baltimore Ravens: Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

Offseason needs: Edge rusher, wide receiver, linebacker, running back

Jacobs to Baltimore is a holdover pick from last week’s mock draft. He didn’t work out at the combine because of injury, but he’s still far and away the draft’s top back. A surprise wide receiver could be considered here too.

23. Houston Texans: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

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

Williams had a blazing fast 40-yard dash of 4.37 seconds, but didn’t do much else at the combine because of cramping issues. Still, he’s exactly what the Texans need in an outside cornerback. If the top offensive tackles are gone, cornerback has to be the first-round play for Houston.

24. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago): Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

Offseason needs: Edge defender, wide receiver, cornerback, running back

Even though Murphy had only decent 40 times, he was a standout in combine position drills. In fact, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Murphy be the first cornerback off the board in April. The Raiders have bigger concerns than cornerback, but Murphy is too good to pass up.

25. Philadelphia Eagles: Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame

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

Ohio State’s Dre’Mont Jones had an underwhelming showing at Lucas Oil Stadium, and Mississippi State’s Jeffery Simmons might miss the season after tearing his ACL while training. That opens things up for a player like Tillery to rise up. He could line up next to Fletcher Cox and make plays from the inside.

26. Indianapolis Colts: Zach Allen, DE, Boston College

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

Allen is the type of plug-and-play prospect that the Colts need to help take the next step from playoff team to Super Bowl contender. He’s a good all-around end who sets the edge nicely, and he has better movement skills than you’d expect for a 280-pound player.

27. Oakland Raiders (via Dallas): A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss

Offseason needs: Edge defender, cornerback, running back, wide receiver

Other than Metcalf, none of the top wide receiver prospects blew away the combine. Brown may have done enough, though, to sneak into the back part of the first round. Although Brown played in the slot often for Ole Miss, he could see more time on the outside in the NFL to take advantage of his size and athleticism.

28. Los Angeles Chargers: Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss

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

Little didn’t do much to help his stock at the combine, but he shouldn’t fall completely out of the first round. For the Chargers, he could compete for the right tackle job in 2019 and eventually take over as the team’s starting left tackle.

29. Kansas City Chiefs: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S/CB, Florida

Offseason needs: Cornerback, safety, defensive tackle, center

Gardner-Johnson is a player who gives the Chiefs options. He’s capable of working in the slot, back at safety or even outside at cornerback. His college career started at cornerback, but he eventually excelled playing a nickel role for the Gators.

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

Offseason needs: Edge defender, tight end, guard, defensive line

There are a few directions the Packers could go with the 30th pick. There will be good tight ends here, they could gamble on Simmons’ upside with what is essentially a redshirt year, or go for an offensive lineman. Lindstrom’s stock is on the rise after the combine, and he comes into the NFL with a lot of experience at guard.

31. Los Angeles Rams: Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State

Offseason needs: Safety, edge defender, guard, offensive tackle

It looks like the Rams won’t be using the franchise tag, leaving them with several possibilities in the first round. Risner is being viewed by most teams as a right tackle, but he could just as easily work on the inside. If Rodger Saffold departs in free agency, Risner is a capable replacement.

32. New England Patriots: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

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

At the combine, Fant sounded like a player who wanted to play for the Patriots. The issue is whether or not he’ll actually still be around at the 32nd pick to make that happen. Fant had one of the most impressive combine performances this year and would give the Patriots a successor to Rob Gronkowski.