With the college football bowl season underway, NFL teams will be watching closely as the ‘draft season’ unofficially begins. While underclassmen have until January 14thto declare their intent, here’s a look at how the first round could pan out in a new mock draft that features all draft-eligible players.
1. Oakland Raiders – DE Nick Bosa, Ohio State:Times they are a changing in Oakland and head coach Jon Gruden gets his new defensive cornerstone to build around in Bosa, who scouts have said is a better prospect than his Pro Bowl brother Joey. Nick announced he was ending his college career prematurely, in order to prepare for the draft back in October. He had odds as high as +300 to be the first overall pick at the start of the season.
2. Arizona Cardinals – DT Ed Oliver, Houston:The consensus via My Top Sportsbooks suggests Oliver was the odds-on favorite to go first at -150, but an injury-plagued season — plus some recognition that interior defenders have less positional value than the guys flanking them — bumped him all the way down to +200, behind Ohio State’s Nick Bosa. After finding their franchise quarterback in last year’s draft, Oliver provides the Cardinals with a blue chipper on defense.
3. New York Jets – OT Jonah Williams, Alabama:While weapons are obviously much needed, protecting their most valuable asset in Sam Darnold should be the Jets top priority. Williams owns a battle-tested resume, along with size, strength and footwork to pair with his experience. He should be considered the current favorite to be the first offensive player off the board.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars – QB Justin Herbert, Oregon:It remains to be seen if Herbert will actually enter the upcoming draft but it would be hard not to, as he projects as the top quarterback prospect eligible, according to the NFL Draft Bible. The Blake Bortles experiment is over after five years, which was probably five years too long. Herbert possesses the ability to make all the throws and the mobility to extend plays in the pocket.
5. San Francisco 49ers – CB Greedy Williams, LSU:The 49ers have given up 30 passing touchdowns, second worst in the league, while making just two interceptions on the entire season, which is dead last in the NFL. Williams provides instant credibility and can help extinguish some of those flames that are burning up the San Francisco secondary.
6. Detroit Lions – DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama:Nobody has risen up draft boards more than ‘QW,’ who has devoured opposing lineman on his way to feasting in the backfield. His first step is as quick and explosive as any player in the nation and he possesses the immediate impact capability that would make he and ‘Snacks’ Harrison the top defensive tackle duo in the league.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – ILB Devin White, LSU:Placing White in the middle of Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander would give the Bucs a stout linebacker corps and added intensity. The LSU team leader is known for his fiery competitiveness, along with his ability to cover a bunch a ground and make plays in the backfield.
8. New York Giants – DE Rashan Gary, Michigan:Big Blue would be wise to consider a quarterback here but the organization has publicly held firm that they intend to move forward with Eli Manning. Bringing Gary back home to New Jersey would help boost the Giants pass-rush and help out with their run defense.
9. Buffalo Bills – WR N’Keal Harry, Arizona:It’s clear that the wide out position is a glaring hole on offense. While Buffalo has received pleasant play of late from some of the young wide outs on the team, there are in need of a clear cut number one receiver who is capable of busting loose for big plays.
10. Atlanta Falcons – DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson:An athletic freak, Wilkins possesses the versatility to play up and down the line and would create more one-on-one matchups for Tak McKinley and Vic Beasley on the edge. Don’t be surprised if he tests faster than some of the skill position players in Indianapolis at the NFL Scouting Combine.
11. Green Bay Packers – OLB Josh Allen, Kentucky:Returning to Lexington for his senior season paid huge dividends for Allen, who totaled 14 sacks through twelve games. The Packers will need to determine whether or not they would like to re-sign Clay Matthews during the offseason or replace him with a younger, cheaper version such as Allen.
12. Cincinnati Bengals – CB Deandre Baker, Georgia:The Bengals currently have the fourth worst passing defense in the NFL, allowing 271 passing yards per game. Baker is a true lockdown corner who can step in immediately and matchup against the opponent’s top wide out.
13. Denver Broncos – QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State:If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. VP/GM John Elway hasn’t been afraid to make mistakes and has failed to find a replacement for Peyton Manning. Draft picks such as Brock Osweiler, Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch and Chad Kelly have all flamed out, while the offseason signing of Case Keenum appears to be another swing and miss. Haskins has the potential to correct all the wrongs.
14. Miami Dolphins – QB Daniel Jones, Duke:We could be seeing Ryan Tannehill’s swan song in Miami, as head coach Adam Gase has been noncommittal about dubbing him ‘the guy.’ With Jones, he would have a polished pocket-passer able to compete for a starting job right away. The Dolphins have finished above .500 just once in the past ten years, they need to find a way out of mediocrity and Jones could be the answer.
15. Carolina Panthers – WR A.J. Brown, Mississippi:When watching the Panthers, nothing is more apparent than the lack of weapons provided for quarterback Cam Newton. Brown is long, fast and explosive, not to mention he has very dependable hands. His presence on the perimeter would also open up the passing game underneath for Christian McCaffrey and Greg Olsen, if he can stay healthy.
16. Cleveland Browns – FS Deionte Thompson, Alabama:This team is finally starting to form an identity and injecting the fast and physical Thompson into the secondary to pair with Jabril Peppers at the safety positions would make for a great tandem. They are a few pieces away from being a playoff contender next season and this pick would keep them moving in the right direction.
17. Washington Redskins – OLB Jachai Polite, Florida:A well-established defensive front could benefit from having another edge rushing presence such as Polite, who brings burst and power. Both Pernell McPhee and Preston Smith will be free agents after the season, which means the Redskins could very well be in the market for an outside linebacker.
18. Tennessee Titans –WR D.K. Metcalf, Mississippi:Adding a wide receiver who can stretch the field would be the added dimension that the Titans are sorely lacking on offense. While Corey Davis has shown flashes down the stretch, Tennessee has struggled to find productive wide outs and Metcalf brings great size and speed to compliment Davis and Co.
19. Minnesota Vikings – DT Derrick Brown, Auburn:With so much money committed to quarterback Kirk Cousins, it’ll likely be difficult for the team to re-sign Sheldon Richardson, who is making eight million this season. Plugging in Brown would be a cost-effective alternative.
20. Baltimore Ravens – WR Kelvin Harmon, North Carolina State:It looks as if Baltimore is ready to move forward with the Lamar Jackson show. If so, they should equip him with some targets and selecting Harmon is a good place to start. Blessed with great height and speed, Harmon works the sidelines well and has to be accounted for at all times.
21. Philadelphia Eagles – CB Trayvon Mullen, Clemson:Injuries have taken a toll on the defending champs and their lack of depth in the secondary has been exposed along the way. Mullen possesses great length, along with the ability to play press man coverage, which would make him a perfect fit for the Eagles defense.
22. Indianapolis Colts – CB Byron Murphy, Washington:With Frank Reich and Andrew Luck, the Colts will always have a capable offense. If they want to take the next step and become serious contenders, continuing to improve the defense must be a priority and adding Murphy does just that.
23. Oakland Raiders (via DAL) – QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma:Would Murray be able to resist the persuasion of Gruden and the Las Vegas bound Raiders. This would setup Murray to earn more in football than he would in baseball and provide the franchise with an alternative to Derek Carr.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – ILB Mack Wilson, Alabama:Following in the footsteps of a storied tradition, Wilson would become the next great Steelers middle linebacker. Whispers have linked Wilson to returning to Tuscaloosa for another season, so we’ll have to wait and see if he decides to make himself eligible.
25. Seattle Seahawks – DE Brian Burns, Florida State:The Seahawks pass-rush has improved as the season has progressed and adding Burns to line up opposite of the emerging Frank Clark would make for a fantastic situation.
26. New England Patriots – OLB Vosean Joseph, Florida:A tremendous talent, Joseph may lack a true position at the next level but New England likes to play a variety of defensive sets and plugging Joseph into a ‘joker’ type role would allow them to move him around the field as their chess piece. His quickness and ability to get after the quarterback make him an attractive asset.
27. Oakland Raiders (via CHI) – WR Marquise Brown, Oklahoma:The sight of Amari Cooper making big play after big play in Dallas has been sickening to the Raiders fan base. The good news is that not many, if any, receivers are able to make bigger plays than the man they call ‘Hollywood.’
28. Los Angeles Chargers – DE Raekwon Davis, Alabama:Beefing up the line up front on both sides of the ball should be an area of focus for the Chargers and nabbing Davis this late in the first round fits both value and need.
29. Houston Texans – OT Greg Little, Mississippi:Every team is in need of offensive line help but this year’s lackluster class isn’t much to get excited about. Little possesses a plug-and-play skill-set to help stabilize the line play and keep Deshaun Watson off the ground.
30. Los Angeles Rams – DT Dexter Lawrence, Clemson:Adding Ndamukong Suh during the offseason was a luxury that the Rams will unlikely be able to afford again next season, making Lawrence a logical fit to replace him with.
31. Kansas City Chiefs – CB Kris Boyd, Texas:Adding Boyd would fill the void left by Marcus Peters, minus the off-field baggage. His size, speed and coverage ability make him a prime target for round one and one of the most talented players participating in the Senior Bowl.
32. Green Bay Packers (via NO) – WR Deebo Samuel, South Carolina:With Randall Cobb set to hit the open market, selecting Samuel makes sense whether Cobb returns or not. A physical wide out who endured streaky play from his quarterbacks, Samuel has the potential to be a better pro player than he was in college.
*Keep it locked for on location coverage leading up to the 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville.