After a week of mind-bending contracts and blockbuster trades, one of the more exciting NFL free agency periods in recent memory is winding down. With teams filling whatever needs they can with veterans, they and fans alike are turning their full attention to the 2019 NFL Draft. This mock considers what teams have addressed in free agency and where they should be looking in the draft.
This mock is about what I would do because prediction mocks this early are a bit silly and there are no trades because they end up being a deus ex machina for mock drafters.
Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama: The Cardinals have a handful of needs on both sides of the ball and thus benefit from taking the best player in the draft. Despite heavy speculation about the Cardinals moving on from Josh Rosen after a year, the team should give the former first round pick a chance on a stable, talented roster. Williams will make the Cardinals front hard to handle with him taking attention away from Chandler Jones.
Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State: Even with Dee Ford in the fold, the Niners defense could take a scary jump with Nick Bosa playing across from their new free agency acquisition. Bosa is a near-surefire star if he stays healthy.
3 - New York Jets
Jonah Williams, OL, Alabama: Jonah Williams has peculiarly fallen out of favor after being an elite offensive lineman since the moment he stepped onto the field for the Crimson Tide. Bad measurements have really hurt public view of Williams but it’s hard to ignore the level of play he put on tape week in and week out. The Jets have started to invest in protecting Sam Darnold and this continues that initiative.
4 - Oakland Raiders
Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky: The Raiders have made a lot of splashy upgrades in free agency and the first round of the draft is a huge opportunity for them to refurbish their roster. Starting out with a dynamic pass rusher is not a bad way to go.
Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State: The Bucs have a lot solid pieces on their defensive line but lack anyone who can truly take over a game. Adding a special athlete to a group that already includes Gerald McCoy and Jason Pierre Paul could really electrify the unit.
6 - New York Giants
Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma: In reality, the Heisman winner may already be gone by the time the Giants pick. Here, the dynamic Murray falls into the Giants lap and they get a mulligan after not taking advantage of last year’s rich quarterback class. Murray could start immediately or (more likely) wait a year behind Eli Manning. Anyway, building around Murray and Saquon Barkley is not a bad way to restart a franchise.
Brian Burns, EDGE, FSU: The Jaguars defense took a step back in 2018 after being a force the year prior. Doug Marrone and the Jags need to get back to what made them dangerous and invest in a deadly pass rush. Brian Burns is a productive, athletic defender who could make a lot of noise next to Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue.
8 - Detroit Lions
Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson: The Lions defense was mediocre at best last year and despite paying Trey Flowers in free agency, they’re still a long shot away from being scary on that side of the ball. Pairing Flowers with Clelin Ferrell would give the Lions a dynamic pass rushing duo they haven’t had in a while.
9 - Buffalo Bills
DK Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss: The Bills desperately need to arm Josh Allen with real weapons in the passing game. Metcalf could be a star if he stays on the field the Bills wouldn’t be happier.
10 - Denver Broncos
Ed Oliver, DL, Houston: There are a lot of directions Denver can go, but I have a hard time letting Ed Oliver sitting around for much longer. Oliver, like Jonah Williams, suffers from people getting bored with just how damn good they are. Oliver is still a blue chip level prospect and Denver would be thrilled to have him on a defense in need of some help.
11 - Cincinnati Bengals
Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State: The Marvin Lewis era has come to an end and with it, the Bengals should move on from Andy Dalton as well. Haskins is a plug-and-play starter but could wait some time if the Bengals prefer.
12 - Green Bay Packers
Noah Fant, TE, Iowa: The Packers offense has dipped in talent over the last few years and Fant gives Aaron Rodgers a potentially special mismatch nightmare at tight end.
13 - Miami Dolphins
Jawaan Taylor, OL, Florida: The Dolphins could reach for a quarterback here, but they’re better suited being patient for a real top level QB prospect while they upgrade the rest of the offense. Jawaan Taylor has a ton of upside at the tackle position the Dolphins could have a great tackle duo with him and Laremy Tunsil.
14 - Atlanta Falcons
Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia: The Falcons defense requires physical cornerback play and Deandre Baker is a physical, dependable cornerback who could provide an upgrade over the departed Robert Alford.
15 - Washington
Hakeem Butler, Wide Receiver, Iowa State: Washington was fortunate enough to find a decent stop gap quarterback with Case Keenum taking the reins for at least a year. With Jamison Crowder now in New York, Washington could add another dynamic pass catcher to their offense. Hakeem Butler couldn’t be more different than Crowder given that he’s a near 6’6” deep threat, but he will make for a favorite target of whoever is under center for years to come.
16 - Carolina Panthers
Andre Dillard, OL, WSU: The Panthers need to protect Cam Newton. While they finally have surrounded him with decent weapons, the team lacks adequate pass protectors. Dillard could start all over the offensive line but makes the most sense to replace Matt Kalil.
17 - New York Giants (via Cleveland)
Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama: After inexplicably letting Landon Collins walk, the Giants need to add some juice to their secondary. Deionte Thompson is a different kind of player than Collins, being more cover than hit, but would still be a welcome addition to the defense.
18 - Minnesota Vikings
Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma: The Vikings offense was stifled by its own lack of pass protection. Cody Ford brings a lot to the table in terms of talent and physicality.
19 - Tennessee Titans
Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson: The Titans do not have obvious and pressing needs on their roster but every team benefits from boosting its defensive front. Wilkins is not flashy, but he is a guy who can impact offenses on a down-to-down basis.
20 - Pittsburgh Steelers
Devin White, LB, LSU: Ryan Shazier’s tragic injury and subsequent absence left a noticeable hole in the Steelers defense. Devin White is a cruise missile at the linebacker position and could bring much needed speed and physicality to Pittsburgh.
21 - Seattle Seahawks
T.J. Hockenson, Tight End, Iowa: T.J. Hockenson is hugely popular among the draft community and is seen by some as a potential top ten pick. There is no doubt the Iowa product is talented the Seahawks would be thrilled to get his pass catching and blocking ability on their team. They’d also benefit from an offensive lineman, of course.
22 - Baltimore Ravens
Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan: Rashan Gary is a hard player to figure out. He was used all over the place at Michigan and never really played to his ceiling. However, he is talented as all get out. The Ravens love versatile defenders and Gary would be welcome after they lost Za’Darius Smith to free agency.
23 - Houston Texans
Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State: Deshaun Watson was sacked a whopping 62 times last season, which is the fifth highest single-season total of all time. The Texans direly need to upgrade their offensive line if they want their franchise quarterback to stay upright, healthy and making plays.
24 - Oakland Raiders (Via Chicago)
Greedy Williams, CB, LSU: Greedy Williams falling this far would be amazing luck for the Raiders. They need as much juice added to their defense as possible. Williams is a long, athletic playmaker and would really help their secondary.
25 - Philadelphia Eagles
Jaylon Ferguson, EDGE, Louisiana Tech: Despite bringing Malik Jackson on board to pair with Fletcher Cox and signing Brandon Graham to keep him in place, the Eagles should still consider deepening the defensive line. Jaylon Ferguson is one of the most productive college football defenders ever and is slowly getting put in the first rounds of mock drafts. The Eagles would get some security at defensive end as Derek Barnett returns from a shoulder injury.
26 - Indianapolis Colts
Dexter Lawrence, DL, Clemson: The Colts had a very nice first season under Frank Reich after having a great draft. They followed it up with adding some impact players in free agency and now they can keep boosting their up and coming defense. Dexter Lawrence is a true impact player and space eater. He will make life a lot easier for his fellow teammates on that line.
27 - Oakland Raiders (Via Dallas)
Devin Bush, LB, Michigan: Another defender? Damn right, they need it! Devin Bush is a special athlete at the linebacker position and plays like his hair is on fire. Jon Gruden would fall in love with his attitude and upside.
28 - Los Angeles Chargers
Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson: The Chargers defense has a lot of playmakers but adding another cover cornerback never hurt anyone. Mullen is an athletic playmaker who was crucial to Clemson’s title run this year.
29 - Kansas City Chiefs
Byron Murphy, CB, Washington: The Chiefs have huge holes all over their defense. They could add more talent up front but the board suggests Byron Murphy would be a great fit for a team in need of impact defensive backs.
30 - Green Bay Packers (from New Orleans)
N’Keal Harry, WR, ASU: It’s pretty unfair to think of N’Keal Harry catching passes from Aaron Rodgers and honestly it is hard to imagine the productive receiver falling this far. Harry would be a huge boost for the Packer offense and make a deadly duo with Davante Adams.
31 - Los Angeles Rams
Jerry Tillery, DL, Notre Dame: The Rams defense hinges on the play of its defensive front. While Aaron Donald is the clear cut superstar, the team could use some supporting cast for their leading man. Jerry Tillery would make for a monstrous coupling with Aaron Donald.
31 - New England Patriots
Greg Little, OL, Ole Miss: It would be a very Patriots thing to land Greg Little after winning a Super Bowl. After being atop mock drafts for months, Little’s hype dropped off during the offseason. However, he is still an extremely good tackle prospect that the Patriots would run to the podium for.