We could think about the NFL all year. Despite the timing of this list, the rhetorical question "Too early?" doesn't apply when it comes to the upcoming NFL draft, because it's truly never too soon to take a look, or at least a sneak peak. The draft selection order on this list list was determined according to the predicted won/loss records of NFL teams in 2019. But to have realistic balance in this mock draft, there has to be six teams from each conference (AFC and NFC) making the playoffs and also occupying the last dozen positions on this mock board.
The order will go in how each team's win total projections are going into the season. It should come as little surprise that the Cleveland Browns are once again predicted to have the number one overall pick in 2019, though many feel they can earn four or five victories, which is pretty optimistic, considering they’ve lost 44 of their last 48 games dating back to 2015. Therefore, perhaps a couple of wins for the Brownies in 2018 would be a more realistic goal.
Another interesting thing about this draft is that although it may not feature the high-profile gunslingers as in 2018 like Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen, there may be still be as many if not more quarterbacks drafted in the first round in 2019 as there were in this past draft (there were five first-round QB's taken this year). Should a similar result occur in 2019, that would serve as a true signifier to the ever increasing pressure and necessity of having the right personnel at the position of quarterback, arguably the most important--and most difficult to excel at--in all of team sports. Now, let's get our first breakdown of the 2019 draft.
32 1st: Cleveland Browns - Ed Oliver
As previously noted, if the Browns manage to win only two games during 2018, it'll still be Cleveland's most successful season in three years. After passing on a defensive lineman with their two first round picks in 2018 (choosing quarterback Baker Mayfield and cornerback Denzel Ward), this time the Browns go with a DL, by far the greatest strength of this draft. Just as in 2018 when the Browns were faced with the dilemma of whether to choose Mayfield or another highly regarded quarterback, the question in 2019 will be, which defensive lineman should be selected---University of Houston's Oliver or Nick Bosa?
Either player could be a franchise-changer, but we have the Browns choosing Oliver, who exhibits exceptional speed and "lives in the backfield," according to Walter Football. where his supremacy was evident in totaling 38.5 tackles for loss in only 24 games.
31 2nd: Arizona Cardinals - Nick Bosa
Nick Bosa, of Urban Meyer's Ohio State, carries pretty much the same talent and capabilities as his older brother Joey, drafted by the Chargers 3rd overall in 2016. Nick Bosa could go one choice higher, and be the number two overall selection, as he would provide an instant upgrade to the Cardinals pass rush for the 2019 season as the team enters a quasi-rebuild mode after drafting Josh Rosen in 2018.
As noted, Nick currently plays for an "NFL junior team" in the form of the Buckeyes, and has already proven his adaptability and maturity, as he switched from defensive end to the interior line for his sophomore season in 2017, and it did nothing to dampen his production.
30 3rd: Miami Dolphins - Justin Herbert
Should the Dolphins end up with the 3rd overall pick next year, it'll mean a disastrous season this year, and a pretty good chance the Ryan Tannehill era is over in Miami.
Either the Dolphins will move on from Tannehill--or at least strongly consider replacing him with a high-profile pick for head coach and offensive guru Adam Gase to groom.
In the case of Herbert, it's more promise and potential as opposed to tangible results, as his first two seasons at Oregon saw him toss 34 touchdowns, certainly solid but not overwhelming. More encouraging stats have Herbert only throwing nine interceptions in those two years, indicating his propensity to hang onto the ball, while showing strong accuracy with a 65 percent completion rate.
29 4th: New York Jets - Clelin Ferrell
With New York having likely secured their quarterback of the future in Sam Darnold via the 2018 draft, their first-round priority next year should be to shore up their front seven. The Jets still need a pass rusher on the edge, and even though Oliver and Bosa would be already gone in this mock, Gang Green will still plenty of options at defensive line before them in 2019, including the talented Ferrell. For his sophomore and junior seasons--a combined 28 games--Ferrell totaled 111 tackles, including a whopping 30.5 for a loss. Clelin may wear uniform number 99, but he's top-10 material.
28 5th: Indianapolis Colts - Rashan Gary
Seeing as the Colts bolstered their offensive line by choosing Quenton Nelson in the first round in 2018, we project them building up the defensive line next year.
Indy's defense was indeed terrible in 2017, but improvements can begin should the franchise land the versatile Rashan Gary, who can provide an edge rush, while also causing havoc on the inside. Gary gave Indianapolis and the rest of the NFL a preview of his possible future with a breakout sophomore season for the Michigan Wolverines in 2017, in which he totaled 58 tackles, over 11 of which went for a loss. That's the kind of ability that shuts down opposing offenses right in their tracks.
27 6th: Buffalo Bills - Raekwon Davis
Raekwon Davis, the outstanding defensive tackle for Alabama, represents yet another chess piece for Crimson Tide chieftain Nick Saban to obliterate the hopes and schemes of opposing offenses.
We think the lucky team to acquire Davis will be the Bills, as oddsmakers sure don't like Buffalo to repeat their 2017 success.
If they slip considerably, the Bills could have a rather high pick in 2019, customary to their usual drafting position during all those previous non-playoff seasons. Raekwon's unique first name has origins from Africa and means "one who is gifted with words." In Davis' case, he certainly is gifted when it comes to disrupting opposing backfields, as he registered 69 tackles for the Tide in 2017, with 8.5 sacks.
26 7th: Cincinnati Bengals - Drew Lock
Much like the aforementioned Miami Dolphins, if the Bengals are indeed mired in top-10 draft status in 2019, they could begin to look to a future beyond Andy Dalton. Dalton can take a good team to the playoffs, but not necessarily advance beyond that, as his 0-4 career postseason record versus a 63-44-2 regular season mark attests to. Therefore, it might be time for another pair of hands to go under center for the 2019 season.
Unlike the top-rated quarterback Justin Herbert, Lock has already more than produced with tangible results on the field, raiding the air with 44 touchdown passes for the Tigers in 2017. Lock's accuracy could use some improvement though.
25 8th: Chicago Bears - Trey Adams
The first offensive lineman to be selected in 2019, will be tackle Trey Adams out of Washington, with Chicago seeking to better protect Mitchell Trubisky. The mediocre Bears could certainly use depth and proficiency in a number of areas, especially on both sides of the interior line. Adams would've likely been the first offensive lineman chosen in the recently completed 2018 NFL Draft, had he not tore his ACL in October 2017.
Assuming Adams demonstrates a full recovery and return to form, he should be a high first-round choice. Adams is the first true freshman to start on the Huskies' offensive line, establishing his capable-beyond-his-years standing.
24 9th: Washington Redskins - Greedy Williams
It's fitting that a team owned by Daniel Snyder would draft a player named "Greedy," which also happens to be one of the most fitting nicknames ever for a ball-hawking defensive back. Beyond the flashy name, there’s quite a player here in LSU's Andraez Williams, as NFL.com ranked him as the number one cornerback coming out of college next year.
Washington should definitely 'get Greedy', given the opportunity.
The only issue with Williams--and one that might cause him to slip this low--is his relatively light weight of 175 pounds, as more meat on his frame is probably required for him to make plays and withstand the rigors of the brutal NFL season.
23 10th: Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Marvell Tell III
If you think "Greedy" Williams has the best moniker going into next year's draft, here's another worthy entry, the poetically named Marvell Tell III, the senior safety for the USC Trojans. Tell's physicality will play well with Tampa's rebuild into a stout defensive unit that promises to bring the punishment. Despite FSU safety Derwin James being available as a value pick at no.12 in the 2018 draft, the Bucs passed on him. Acquiring top talent at safety could remain a need for the Bucs heading into 2019.
Tell is certainly a talent, amassing 88 solo tackles and 76 assisted during his three year stint in South Central L.A. Marvell also showed an ability to be more of a ball-hawk in 2017, as he snagged three interceptions, which he returned for a total of 64 yards.
22 11th: New York Giants - Shea Patterson
Eli Manning isn't getting any younger...or any better. Another playoff-less season in the Big Apple will further ferment fears that the younger Manning is indeed done. Through his first two seasons at Ole Miss, statistically combined, Shea Patterson did not light up the college football universe, with 23 touchdowns versus 12 interceptions, while completing 61% of his passes.
However, Patterson has displayed playmaking abilities in his two seasons in Oxford, and now that he has transferred to Michigan and quarterback guru Jim Harbaugh. He should have an even stronger junior season
. A more skilled and developed Patterson will then certainly be in contention to be snatched in the first round by a passer-hungry team in 2019.
21 12th: Denver Broncos: Jarrett Stidham
Sense a pattern? Here we have another quarterback who transferred between major college football programs and is projected to be a high choice in the 2019 draft. In this case, it's Stidham, who played his freshman season at Baylor before moving to the more competitive and hostile environs of Auburn, where a yearly showdown with Alabama always awaits at season's end. If Stidham can handle that pressure--both from the fanbase and the Tide's de facto professional defensive front-seven, he can surely handle the milder Mile High city.
GM John Elway will surely appreciate the quarterback's ability to hold onto the ball, a must when you have a superior defense like Denver.
In his two year college career thus far, Stidham has connected on 30 touchdowns against only eight interceptions, a solid near four-to-one TD-vs-INT ratio.
20 13th: Detrot Lions - Dexter Lawrence
Next year's draft will take place after Lions' head coach Matt Patricia has commanded an entire season, and can full analyze his personnel. For the 2018 campaign, Detroit's offense engineered by Matthew Stafford should prosper once more, so it seems in 2019, the Patriots former DC Patricia will probably work towards constructing a top-notch defense going forward. It starts with the players on the line, and Lawrence is a monster among men at 6-5, 340. But Dex is no lumbering lout; in only 25 games for the Tigers, Lawrence registered 95 tackles and 8.5 sacks, though his freshman numbers are superior to his sophomore totals, and he could use a strong junior season to ensure he gets selected as high as possible.
19 14th: Tennessee Titans - Joe Jackson
Many are predicting the Titans to have a setback season in 2018, missing out on the playoffs after they went to the divisional round for the first time in 15 years last season. Of course, the one caveat to having a bad regular season and missing the playoffs is having a high draft pick the following year.
With his length at 6-5, 258, the Miami Hurricanes' Jackson can provide the Titans with good length on the defensive line. With quarterbacks like Andrew Luck and Deshaun Watson in the same division, the Titans need all the long-limb lineman they can unfurl. The Titans will go with an edge player, and Jackson is an excellent weak-side defender.
18 15th: Kansas City Chiefs - Deandre Baker
Walter Football has University of Georgia's Baker ranked as their no.3 corner coming out of college in 2019, comparing him favorably to former Ohio State University cornerback Denzel Ward, who just happened to be the number four overall pick in 2018.
If Baker's upcoming 2018 season for the Bulldogs furthers those comparisons, then don't expect him to last very long in the 2019 draft.
Like the previously noted Titans, the oddsmakers see the Chiefs regressing in 2018, and missing out on the postseason. But hey, like the meme goes, you can't disappoint your fans with another playoff meltdown, if you don't even make the playoffs at all!
17 16th: Seattle Seahawks - Trayvon Mullen
Why predict the Seahawks will select an offensive lineman in the first round of this mock--despite a glaring need--when Pete Carroll and Co never pick them anyway? Besides, if the Seahawks miss the playoffs in 2018, the defense will be the likely culprit that keeps them home once again come January. To remedy that in April, Seattle will look to shore up a secondary and Clemson's star cornerback Mullen could well fit the bill.
Mullen has size at 6-1, 186, and he's actually faster than the aforementioned Greedy Williams (Trayvon running a 4.45/40 versus Greedy's 4.48). Mullen could be the first piece as coach Carroll begins to rebuild the secondary.
16 17th: Baltimore Ravens - Jonah Williams
With this pick, Baltimore continues their process of building up a strong offensive line for Joe Flacco or perhaps eventually, Lamar Jackson. The Ravens did snatch up offensive tackle Orlando Brown out of Oklahoma, but he was a third-round selection. In 2019, the Ravens may look to bolster the line with first-round talent. We project the selection of yet another prize out of Alabama, in the guise of tackle Jonah Williams. The Ravens could consider targeting Williams, whose 6-5, 301-pound frame serves as an impenetrable wall. Williams has displayed versatility starting at right tackle as a freshman, but has also exceeded protecting the blind side for the Crimson Tide.
15 18th: Carolina Panthers - A.J. Brown
The Panthers appear to be one of those NFL teams "on the cusp" in 2018; capable of making the postseason, but in all reality just missing out in favor of more complete teams. If such a scenario rings true, coach Ron Rivera and the Carolina braintrust will have to acquire the required pieces to return the Cats to the playoffs. The Panthers could target another wideout for Cam Newton; and it stands to reason they'll at least consider Brown, the prime receiver that helped bolster the career of Shea Patterson, already drafted in this mock by the Giants.
In 2017--Patterson's final season in Oxford--Brown hauled in 75 passes for 1,252 yards and 11 TDs for the Rebels.
That kind of production in the NFL's "minor league"--the SEC--translates into probable success in pro football.
14 19th: Dallas Cowboys - Caleb Wilson
The Cowboys could likely address the retirement of Jason Witten in the very first round of next year's draft. The Cowboys' need for a tight end with the departure of Witten will motivate the Cowboys to select someone like UCLA's Caleb Wilson. Playing his first two seasons with former Bruins' quarterback Josh Rosen, Wilson will now have a chance in fall '18 to catch passes within the dynamic system of new UCLA head coach Chip Kelly, the innovative offensive schemer. Even under Jim Mora's rather moribund offense, Wilson showed plenty flashes of brilliance in 13 total games over his first two seasons at Westwood, hauling in 54 passes for over 700 yards.
13 20th: San Francisco 49ers - Bryce Love
If these regular season projections ring true, the 49ers will be the "last team" to miss out on making the playoffs in 2018, which will necessitate improvements to rectify that situation in 2019. It could be that their running game may still remain an impediment to their overall success, thus we predict the 49ers will stay local and select Stanford's Love, the highest rated RB in a weak class for the position in the upcoming draft.
Love rushed for a spectacular 2,118 yards for the Cardinal in 2017, with an eye-popping average yards-per-carry of 8.1. Bryce also tallied 19 touchdowns, meaning he has the natural knack for putting the ball in the end zone. While Love won't duplicate such stats in the NFL, his potential portends well for pro success.
12 21st: Oakland Raiders - Deebo Samuel
The Raiders are the first projected playoff team on this list--but that doesn't mean they don't have improvements to make to take it to the next level. Gruden solidified their offensive line by selecting tackle Kolton Miller with Oakland's first pick in 2018. And this march towards a dominant offense continues next year, as the Raiders go with South Carolina receiver Deebo Samuel.
The key issue with Samuel is--can he remain healthy, especially in the brutal hitting NFL?
He only played in three contests for the Gamecocks in 2017, and only 18 combined in his three seasons at Columbia. However, when he has managed to get on the field, Samuel has excelled, snagging 59 passes during his most productive season in 2016 as a sophomore.
11 22nd: Green Bay Packers (From NO) - Derrick Brown
The Packers are a trendy Super Bowl pick, but if they fall short of their ultimate goal, it could be defense that lets them down once again. Green Bay failed to address their d-line deficiencies in the 2018 draft, but with two first-rounders in 2019--this initial one courtesy of the New Orleans Saints via trade--Green Bay has no excuse not to draft D-lineman. We have the Pack plucking Derrick Brown from the University of Auburn. Brown is described as a top-10 talent, and one who could certainly go higher than as a pick to a playoff team, but with all that prime defensive talent ahead of him to be selected, there's a good chance Brown will still be available in the late first round.
10 23rd: Jacksonville Jaguars - Parris Campbell
With this pick we're going against the grain, as virtually every spring and summer 2019 mock has the Jags picking a quarterback next year to replace the embattled Blake Bortles. But we're thinking that if the Jags in fact experience another playoff success in 2018, they may be actually inclined to build around Bortles, especially since Jacksonville gave him a three-year extension worth $54 million earlier this year, $26.5 million of it guaranteed. So, how about instead of replacing Bortles, the Jaguars build up the armaments at his disposal?
One such weapon could be the selection of a top talent wide receiver such as Ohio State's Campbell, who possess good height at 6-1, and speed that leaves defenders looking helpless. After letting Allen Robinson walk, then releasing Allen Hurns, the Jags will likely look to replenish their WR corps next year.
9 24th: Atlanta Falcons - Christian Wilkins
Wilkins should fit well with the Falcons' up and coming defense and he would satisfy a definitive need for the franchise.
Prior to the 2018 draft, the Falcons had a gaping hole on the defensive line, but instead elected to add to their receiving corps by selecting Calvin Ridley in the first round.
The Falcons addressed their DL by choosing defensive tackle Deadrin Senat in the third round of South Florida in 2018, who is a good player, but not one with the potential impact of Wilkins. During his three years thus far at Clemson, Wilkins has amassed 141 tackles, 26.5 of those for a loss; and with an even stronger senior campaign, he could go much higher than number 24 in 2019.
8 25th: Houston Texans - Greg Little
Now that Houston has seemingly found their franchise hurler in Deshaun Watson, they need to protect that investment. Offensive line should remain a need for the Texans heading into the 2019 draft. Greg Little, offensive tackle from the University of Mississippi, could provide such protection. Little kept defenders off of the aforementioned Shea Patterson when he was still throwing passes for the Rebels. For the upcoming 2018 season, Little will be blocking for new Mississippi signal caller Evan Engram, but then the 6-6, 325 pound tackle should turn his attention towards the pros, and cease playing at the kid's table.
7 26th: Los Angeles Rams - Josh Allen
Could we witness an all-L.A. Super Bowl this upcoming season? It's realistic, which would be astonishing, considering L.A. had zero football teams just three years ago. Should the Rams go deep in the 2018-19 playoffs, they will have the luxury of drafting to add to an already deep roster, rather than out of desperation to rebuild.
The Rams will likely go with a pass rusher, and Kentucky's Allen is a perfect versatile fit for a team that has everything--or just needs a little bit more "something" to put them over the top--or keep them there.
Allen is ranked as one of the top outside linebackers coming out of college next year, and he has been compared to the Chicago's Leonard Floyd in terms of rushing off the edge.
6 27th: Los Angeles Chargers - Tre Lamar
This Super Bowl dark horse could even be picking even lower in April 2019 if they go all the way to the Big Game in February. And if L.A.'s "other team" does indeed have a monstrously successful season, perhaps the Bolts indulge for some roster depth. If the Chargers do look to bolster their defense, then the college they may look to for help is--you guessed it, Clemson--to supply them with a top-notch athlete. And Tre Lamar is quite athletic, which makes Lamar a potential late first-round selection, so this match seems fitting. The Chargers could use a middle-linebacker, and look towards the deep 'backer corps the 2019 draft is set to offer.
5 28th: Green Bay Packers - Collin Johnson
This is the Packers' second pick in the first round in 2019, offering them a bit of indulgence, perhaps even "taking a chance." We think they could very well go receiver, to provide another weapon for Aaron Rodgers. While there is a cluster of very talented receivers from which the Packers could choose, especially in the first round, we project Green Bay going with Texas' massive 6-6 Collin Johnson, who has risen to first round status. Johnson hauled in 54 passes as a sophomore for the Longhorns, and looks to have a breakout season this fall in Austin.
4 29th: Minnesota Vikings - Dre'Mont Jones
Minnesota is a team like the aforementioned L.A. Rams and Chargers, with plenty of talent on both sides of the ball, perhaps to the point where the draft is more about providing depth to an already loaded roster.
The Vikings are already fearsome on defense, and a player like Jones can bring the franchise that much closer to warranting justified comparisons to the famed "Purple People Eaters" front four in the 1970s.
That iteration of the Vikings went to four Super Bowls, though lost them all. These Vikings could surpass that legendary squad if they can finally win the big one, and Jones is a player that could bring Minnesota closer to living that dream.
3 30th: Pittsburgh Steelers - Damien Harris
With the news on July 16 that running back Le'Veon Bell did not sign a long-term contract, and thus will most likely be playing his last season in Pittsburgh in 2018, the team could use another dynamic back to replace the superstar Bell. Enter: Damien Harris out of the University of Alabama, averaging a stunning 7.4 yards a carry for the Tide in 2017, with 11 touchdowns. Harris has a ways to go before matching Bell in the pass receiving category, but another strong season as a senior will see Harris taken sooner, rather than later, in 2019.
2 31st: Philadelphia Eagles - Anfernee Jennings
Jennings represents a "quiet force" at linebacker, allowing other players to excel as part of Alabama head coach Nick Saban's smarter-than-thou defensive chess moves, inevitably delivering victory to the sideline of the Crimson Tide. In fact, it may have been Jennings' injury versus Clemson in the semifinal that compromised Alabama's defense in the title game versus Georgia.
While other members of Alabama's defense may put up the more impressive numbers, it's Jennings' presence enabling them to make such plays.
Such an unselfish, team-first defender will fit in perfectly with the unique ethic of this Eagles' team that brought Philly its first Super Bowl crown.
1 32nd: New England Patriots - Will Grier
With the final first-round pick of this 2019 Mock NFL Draft, we suggest a glimpse into a post-Tom Brady NFL. In February, Brady suggested that his exit from football may be closer than expected. Will the 2019 NFL Draft then, be the one in which Patriots guru Bill Belichick finally addresses the "Brady Inevitability?" Eventually injury, time or other circumstances will render a finality to Brady's astonishing career.
Grier is another transfer, having started his college career with the Florida Gators before moving on to the West Virginia Mountaineers. He's already a mature age of 23. While no one can ever truly replace Tom Brady, like ever, someone else one day will have to play quarterback for the New England Patriots. And since the Pats inexplicably traded away Jimmy Garoppolo last year, perhaps Grier can be some kind of answer. Maybe.