The arrival of bowl games is the start to Draft Season, as NFL decision-makers become more involved with their scouting staff. There is sure to be plenty of moving and shaking over the next five months, but below is a look at how the first round of the 2019 draft could shape up, if the season ended today.
Before we begin, there are a few things to keep in mind. The official date for underclassmen to declare is January 14. Many have already announced a decision, but for the sake of this mock draft, all draft-eligible players were taken into consideration.
Character is sure to be at the forefront of the evaluation process this year. The recent incidents involving Kareem Hunt and Reuben Foster directly impact the draft stock of Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, who is a first-round talent but also has a video floating around the internet where he can be seen kicking and punching a female. For that reason, he didn't make the first-round cut.
Here are some other tidbits about the positional strength of this year's class:
After a mini-resurgence at the running back position -- three backs went in the first round a year ago -- none made the cut for this first mock.
There is an abundance of quality tight ends this year and a big run is expected in the second round, if players such as Irv Smith (Alabama), T.J. Hockenson (Iowa), Jared Pinkney (Vanderbilt), Kaden Smith (Stanford), Albert Okwuegbunam (Missouri), Jace Sternberger (Texas A&M) and Caleb Wilson (UCLA) decide to toss their names into the fray.
Nearly every NFL organization can use an upgrade somewhere along its offensive line. There is a lack of supply for the demand around the league, so while there are just three offensive linemen in the first reveal, remember, not everyone on this list is going to declare, which will bump up more linemen into the first-round mix.
This is the most remarkable defensive tackle draft class we've seen since 2010, when five defensive tackles were chosen in the first round, including three in the top 10 (Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy and Tyson Alualu).
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Without further ado, here is my first mock for 2019 ...
(* Denotes underclassman)
1. Oakland Raiders -- Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State*: With the selection of Bosa, the Raiders have their new cornerstone to build around on defense.
2. San Francisco 49ers -- Greedy Williams, CB, LSU*: Playing opposite Richard Sherman for a season would help Williams' transition before he assumes CB1 duties.
3. Arizona Cardinals -- Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama*: Additional protection for prized franchise quarterback Josh Rosen will be critical.
4. New York Jets -- Ed Oliver, DT, Houston:* The franchise has lacked an explosive playmaker on the defensive front for quite some time now.
5. Atlanta Falcons -- Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama*: With Vic Beasley and Tak McKinley serving as bookends, QW can wreak havoc in the middle.
6. Buffalo Bills -- A.J. Brown WR, Mississippi*: It's apparent that quarterback Josh Allen needs some weapons to throw to, and the Bills can't afford to wait on the situation.
7. Detroit Lions -- Deandre Baker CB, Georgia*: The Lions' secondary is in need of stability on the edge and Baker is a bona-fide shutdown corner.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Daniel Jones QB, Duke*: Jones is pro-ready, plus the familiarity between Jaguars VP Tom Coughlin and Duke head coach David Cutcliffe makes a lot of sense.
9. New York Giants -- Greg Little OT, Mississippi*: It's been another atrocious season for the Giants' offensive line, as Eli Manning has already been sacked a career-high 41 times.
10. Cleveland Browns -- Devin White ILB, LSU*: With their quarterback position set on offense, the Browns nab their new quarterback of the defense.
11. Green Bay Packers -- Rashan Gary DE, Michigan*: It remains unknown who the head coach will be and what type of scheme the defense will employ, but Gary is too talented to pass up.
12. Cincinnati Bengals -- Trayvon Mullen CB, Clemson*: The Bengals own the second-worst pass defense in the NFL, and Mullen provides the size and skill-set to fill the CB1 role.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Mack Wilson, ILB, Alabama*: Reports have indicated Wilson may opt to return to Alabama, but the Bucs would love to employ him in the middle.
14. Carolina Panthers -- Clelin Ferrell DE, Clemson*: Father time has finally passed by Julius Peppers and the Panthers don't have much of a pass rush, so it's time to inject some youth.
15. Denver Broncos -- Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon*: The Broncos continue to search for stability at the most important position, and nobody knows it more than GM John Elway.
16. Indianapolis Colts -- N'Keal Harry WR, Arizona State*: Aside from star wideout T.Y. Hilton and emerging tight end Eric Ebron, quarterback Andrew Luck is throwing to palookas.
17. Miami Dolphins -- Jachai Polite DE, Florida*: With a nonexistent pass rush and Cameron Wake set to hit free agency, this fit could lead to a natural transition.
18. Philadelphia Eagles -- Deionte Thompson FS, Alabama*: Pairing Thompson with Malcolm Jenkins at the safety spots could give the Eagles a dynamic duo.
19. Tennessee Titans -- Raekwon Davis DE, Alabama*: Plugging in Davis as a bookend to Jurrell Casey in the Titans' 3-4 scheme would free up space for the linebackers.
20. Washington Redskins -- Josh Allen, OLB, Kentucky: With Preston Smith and Pernell McPhee set to hit free agency, Allen would help offset those potential departures.
21. Minnesota Vikings -- Derrick Brown DT, Auburn*: Brown appears suited for the Vikings defense and would be a cheaper alternative than re-signing Sheldon Richardson.
22. Baltimore Ravens -- Kelvin Harmon WR, North Carolina State*: No matter who the signal-caller is for the Ravens next season, a true No. 1 wideout is much needed.
23. Oakland Raiders (via Dallas Cowboys) -- D.K. Metcalf, WR, Mississippi*: Finding a suitable replacement for Amari Cooper should be a priority in Round 1 for the Raiders.
24. Seattle Seahawks -- Christian Wilkins DT, Clemson*: An explosive player who may lack a true position, Wilkins would be the ultimate chess piece to move around the D-line.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers -- Chris Lindstrom, OG, Boston College: With pending free agent Ramon Foster turning 33, the Steelers could look to fill his spot with a younger option.
26. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago Bears) -- Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State*: You get the feeling that coach Jon Gruden may seek an insurance policy behind Derek Carr.
27. Houston Texans -- Byron Murphy, CB, Washington*: The Texans pride themselves on defense, and Murphy can help cut down some of the big plays their defense has allowed.
28. Los Angeles Chargers -- Noah Fant, TE, Iowa*: You can only go back to the wishing well so many times, and Antonio Gates' gas tank is running on fumes.
29. New England Patriots -- Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State: The Bulldogs cross-train their defensive players, which makes Sweat a perfect fit for the Patriots' hybrid defense.
30. Kansas City Chiefs -- Brian Burns, OLB, Florida State*: Pending free agent Dee Ford is enjoying a career best season and is line for a big payday on the open market.
31. Green Bay Packers (via New Orleans Saints) -- Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma*: A speedy deep threat who should produce more than Randall Cobb and his $12M+ salary.
32. Los Angeles Rams -- Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson*: It was a nice luxury to acquire Ndamukong Suh this season, but it's unlikely they'll be able to afford to bring him back.
Coming Soon: NFL Draft Scout Presents Ric Serritella's 2019 NFL Draft Bible publication!