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2019 NFL mock draft: There are some hard decisions to make during draft week

After months of buildup, we’re close to getting some answers.

After months of buildup, workouts, and annoying rumors, it is officially the week of the 2019 NFL Draft. We’ve almost made it. We are in the endgame now.

This draft has centered on Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray since he announced in the second week of February that he would pick football over baseball. Murray has gone from an intriguing athletic quarterback to perhaps the first overall pick in the draft by the Arizona Cardinals. Or by some team that trades up to No. 1. Don’t totally rule that out.

Murray’s decision injected a little bit of fun into this draft. I mean, who really wants to talk about defensive linemen for four months straight? Sure, Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa is great. Or at least the idea of him is great. After all, he started just 10 games in college. He’s like the football version of Kyrie Irving. Yet, he’s poised to be among the first three players taken, if not the first two.

This Monday’s mock draft once again features plenty of players on defense after Bosa. There’s some movement on players. Houston’s Ed Oliver, for instance, has been rumored in the top five for the past couple weeks and he gets there in this mock draft.

And don’t worry mock draft lovers. There will be one more 2019 first-round mock later this week before the draft starts on Thursday night.

1. Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

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

This would be so simple for Arizona if it didn’t have the first pick in the draft. Any other pick than No. 1 and the Cardinals could roll with Josh Rosen at quarterback and take someone like Nick Bosa or Quinnen Williams and have a nice foundation to build upon. But at No. 1, Murray is too tempting and too good to pass up.

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

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

It’s easy to forget because we haven’t seen him in so long, but there is no greater game changer in this draft than Bosa. He started the college football season as the draft’s top prospect, and that is where he stayed the entire time. He is the type of player who proves that a pass rusher is arguably the most important position in the NFL after quarterback.

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

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

I keep going back and forth even, this late into April, on this pick between Allen and Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams. Williams is a better player, but only barely so. Allen fills a greater position of need as an outside pass rusher. As good as Allen is, don’t be surprised if the Jets trade down. Without a second-round pick, the Jets could drop back, get more capital, and still draft a pass rusher like Brian Burns of Florida State.

4. Oakland Raiders: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

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

Unless the Raiders make a bold move and jump up for Murray, they’d be smart to hold at No. 4 and take the best player on defense that falls to them. In this case it’s Williams, the second-best player in the draft after Bosa. The combination of Williams and Maurice Hurst would give the Raiders an aggressive and athletic pair of young defensive tackles.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

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

Leading up to the draft, Tampa Bay has spent an abnormally large amount of resources getting to know the best defensive tackles, from Williams and Oliver to Christian Wilkins of Clemson and Jeffery Simmons of Mississippi State. That could be an indication of what the team wants to do with the fifth pick.

6. New York Giants: Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State

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

If not Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins, the Giants should go after one of the premier defensive players at No. 6. Sweat, it can be argued, is in that group. Linebacker Devin White is as well. But the Mississippi State pass rusher continues to get the nod. This is one of the hardest picks to figure out in the top 10.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida

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

My choice for the Jaguars would have been Alabama’s Jonah Williams. But the general consensus on this pick has become Taylor. He’s more of a power-blocking right tackle while Williams is better on the left.

8. Detroit Lions: Brian Burns, Edge, Florida State

Offseason needs: Defensive end, tight end, linebacker, guard, wide receiver

The Lions might prefer seeing Sweat or Allen at No. 8, but Burns should be an option as well. He’s a pure speed rusher off the edge, giving Detroit a different type of player compared to free agent signee Trey Flowers.

9. Buffalo Bills: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

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

If Quinnen Williams and Ed Oliver are taken in the top five, the Bills could look toward the offensive line. Washington State left tackle Andre Dillard is intriguing because of his pass blocking, but Williams is a player who can work at numerous spots on the line.

10. Denver Broncos: Devin White, LB, LSU

Offseason needs: Linebacker, tight end, cornerback, defensive tackle

Missouri quarterback Drew Lock is the popular choice for the Broncos. But if the Broncos are smart, they’ll go another direction at No. 10. White is one of the more dominant players in this draft and could slot in to the middle of Denver’s defense.

11. Cincinnati Bengals: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

Offseason needs: Linebacker, tight end, quarterback, offensive tackle

This connection won’t go away. With a new head coach in Zac Taylor, the time is easier than ever for the Bengals to make a change at quarterback. Andy Dalton can transition into being a bridge quarterback before Haskins takes over.

12. Green Bay Packers: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

Offseason needs: Tight end, safety, defensive line, offensive line

Michigan linebacker Devin Bush has become hot name at No. 12, but it will be hard to pass on Hockenson if he’s available. If there is continued uncertainty with Green Bay’s receivers, Hockenson can take a lot of the pressure off.

13. Miami Dolphins: Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State

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

Although he’s highly regarded for his pass blocking, Dillard is still about a year away from being a quality NFL starter at left tackle. It just so happens the Dolphins are at least a year away from being a quality NFL team.

14. Atlanta Falcons: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

Offseason needs: Defensive tackle, offensive tackle, cornerback, pass rusher

This is a pick I remain stuck on. The Falcons’ overarching need since the draft process began has been a defensive tackle. If Wilkins isn’t gone, he remains the smart pick for the Falcons.

15. Washington: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

Offseason needs: Quarterback, edge rusher, left guard, wide receiver

Lock is one of the more controversial players in the first round of the draft. He’s almost certainly going in the first 32 picks, but where is difficult to peg. Washington makes sense because of Alex Smith’s injury and Case Keenum and Colt McCoy are average, at best. Lock can be the team’s future.

16. Carolina Panthers: Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan

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

The Panthers have never been averse to gambling on potential high in the draft. Sometimes it works (Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey), and sometimes it doesn’t (Vernon Butler). Gary is a big risk, but one the Panthers could take because they desperately need pass-rush help.

17. New York Giants (via Cleveland Browns): Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

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

Jones at No. 6 — which some expect — is impossible to explain. It’s even hard to defend at No. 17. But it looks like this is what the Giants want to do.

18. Minnesota Vikings: Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma

Offseason needs: Guard, defensive tackle, tight end, offensive tackle

If two offensive linemen go in the top 10 picks, the Vikings might start to get a little antsy at No. 18. That doesn’t mean they’ll trade up, but they could be choosing between players like Ford, Dalton Risner of Kansas State, or Chris Lindstrom of Boston College. Ford remains the best option, but none of those players would be a stretch.

19. Tennessee Titans: Garrett Bradbury, OL, North Carolina State

Offseason needs: Guard, tight end, nose tackle, edge defender

The Titans gave a big contract to left guard Rodger Saffold this offseason, but they could still use help on the inside of their offensive line. Bradbury can play center or guard at a high level and help push Tennessee toward being more of a run-first team.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

Offseason needs: Cornerback, tight end, safety, wide receiver, linebacker

If Bush is available at No. 20 — perhaps an impossibility — he could be the play for Pittsburgh. He can finally fill the spot that was unfortunately vacated by Ryan Shazier and give the Steelers of a big boost of athleticism on defense.

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

Offseason needs: Defensive line, guard, safety, wide receiver

Some are predicting that Seattle won’t be making a picking on Thursday night because of a big trade back to accumulate more picks. If the Seahawks stay at No. 21, or maybe somewhere else in the first round, Tillery could be their guy. He’s a movable defensive lineman who, while inconsistent, has some impressive tape out there.

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

Offseason needs: Edge rusher, wide receiver, linebacker, offensive line

In last year’s draft, the first wide receiver wasn’t selected until Carolina took DJ Moore at No. 24. That could come close to happening again. There’s not an amazing superstar wide receiver in this draft. Metcalf, because of his traits, comes the closest.

23. Houston Texans: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

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

If all the best offensive tackles are gone, the Texans will be forced to look elsewhere in the first round. Fortunately they should have their choice of the draft’s best cornerback at No. 23. One of the issues Houston had last season was a lack of athleticism on the outside. While Williams leaves plenty to be desired from a physical standpoint, he’s a superb athlete the Texans can mold.

24. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago): Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

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

Ferrell can be a little difficult to peg in the draft. He’s only a decent athlete while most fall in love with super athletes at pass rusher. He’s also pretty limited to a 4-3 team schematically. That works well for the Raiders, who badly need pass rushers.

25. Philadelphia Eagles: Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware

Offseason needs: Safety, offensive line, running back, defensive line

Move aside, Rodney McLeod; Adderley could be the new free safety for the Eagles. Adderley provides a level of pass coverage from the deep half that the Eagles don’t have right now.

26. Indianapolis Colts: A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss

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

The Colts would love to see a pass rusher drop. If that doesn’t happen, they could get a wide receiver to pair with T.Y. Hilton to help Andrew Luck. Brown can play the slot or on the outside, and is physical after the catch.

27. Oakland Raiders (via Dallas): Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

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

Three defensive players in the first round for Jon Gruden may be unlikely, but it sure is necessary. And this is a pretty good haul too. Murphy is arguably the best cornerback in the draft. He may not be the biggest, but he has great instincts and can play the ball.

28. Los Angeles Chargers: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

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

The Chargers could reach for an offensive tackle at No. 28, but it might be a smarter play to sit back and take a sure thing defensive tackle like Lawrence. He’s a big, gap-plugging defensive tackle who can help further bolster a pretty decent run defense.

29. Kansas City Chiefs: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

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

Although the Chiefs signed Bashaud Breeland this offseason, they still need plenty of help at cornerback. It’s hard to ignore Baker if he’s around at No. 29. He’s a physical cornerback who won’t hesitate to come up and play the run.

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

Offseason needs: Tight end, safety, defensive line, offensive line

A tight end and offensive lineman has been the classic maneuver for the Packers since they doubled up on pass rushers in free agency. This week it’s Hockenson and Lindstrom, the latter of whom is a stout, run-blocking guard.

31. Los Angeles Rams: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State

Offseason needs: Linebacker, guard, cornerback, defensive line

This risk is a gamble for the Rams. It would be throwing away a first-round player for 2019, but give them a potential top-10 player for 2020 and beyond.

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

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

After the top 15 or so, it can be hard to find a great spot for Fant. That could benefit the Patriots. In fact, with 12 draft picks, he is the one player you could see them actually move up on. They probably won’t, because the Patriots never trade up, but he makes sense.