Josh Rosen struggled immensely in 2018 and while he didn’t have much talent around him, including an offensive line that struggled immensely, it’s hard to imagine new head coach Kliff Kingsbury passing on the uber-talented Kyler Murray out of Oklahoma. It’s no secret that the Cardinals’ front office is in love with the dynamic, playmaking quarterback and Rosen will likely be used as a trade chip. After measuring 5-foot-10 at the Combine, the Cardinals will get the franchise quarterback they have been searching for since Carson Palmer.
Bosa is arguably the most athletic defensive player in this year’s draft class and will provide an immediate presence from the outside of Kyle Shanahan’s defense in San Francisco. Opposing offenses will have to game plan for Bosa, opening up holes for Solomon Thomas and DeForest Buckner.
Outside of Bosa, Allen is arguably the second-best pass rusher of this year’s prospects. After the Jets addressed the offensive side of the ball by adding RB Le’Veon Bell and WR Jamison Crowder, it makes a lot of sense for them to grab the Combine standout from Kentucky. While he may be a bit undersized to play defensive end, he will dominate as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL.
While the Raiders may be tempted to take Dwayne Haskins, Jon Gruden has always preferred veteran quarterbacks and will ultimately give Derek Carr a shot to work with Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams. After losing Khalil Mack last year to the Bears, Gruden will take the most talented player on the board in Crimson Tide defensive tackle Quinnen Williams. This kid will be an immediate playmaker due to the combination of his size and strength. Williams was dominant last season and beat double-teams as both a run stuffer and a pass rusher. This would be a huge upgrade for Oakland’s defense and quite frankly, a steal with the fourth pick of the draft.
White has pushed up the draft board after an absolutely outstanding performance at the NFL Combine. The linebacker-needy Buccaneers seem to love his talent and will select him with the fifth pick of the draft. White will provide immediate play-making ability for a defense that struggled in 2018.
It’s no secret that the New York Giants need a replacement for Eli Manning, who is likely entering his final year as an NFL quarterback. Although Manning’s talent has fell off pretty drastically, there aren’t many quarterbacks a rookie would rather learn from during his rookie season. While many scouts believe that the G-Men should wait until their seventeenth pick to snag a quarterback (potentially Daniel Jones out of Duke), there are simply too many teams with dire needs at quarterback for the Giants to risk losing out on a potential franchise signal caller. Dave Gettlemen finally makes his first good move in the offseason by drafting this incredible pocket passer.
Gary may not be in the same tier as Bosa and Allen but his upside is just as great. After Jacksonville failed to live up to “Sacksonville” expectations in 2018 after having the best defense in 2017, the Jags will grab the next best defensive player on the board. It will be a tough decision between Gary and Montez Sweat, but ultimately, Tom Coughlin decides to take the product out of Michigan.
Matt Patricia could decide to go with a pass rusher to address the Lions’ defenensive woes last season, however, in an AFC North with quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Mitch Trubisky, and Kirk Cousins, Detroit needs to beef up the secondary. There is no better way to do that than by adding Murphy, the most NFL-ready cornerback in the year’s draft class.
If Taylor falls this far, the Bills will pounce on him without hesitation. While there is a chance that the G-Men take Taylor, I expect him to be available when Buffalo is on the clock. The former Florida Gator has the versatility to play the blindside or right tackle for an offensive line that needs to do a much better job at protecting QB Josh Allen. Considering his six-foot-five, 340-pound frame, Taylor has incredible quickness and will be the first offensive lineman off the board.
John Elway could decide to take a shot on QB Drew Lock but I sense that the Broncos would like to improve their offensive line in order to create more holes for Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman. The Broncos will attempt to be a ground-and-pound offense in 2019 but they also need a big body to protect new acquisition QB Joe Flacco. Coming out of Nick Saban’s Alabama program, Williams should step into a starting role immediately.
The Cincinnati Bengals could go a lot of different ways with this pick. They have plenty of holes on both sides of the ball. That being said, Andy Dalton has always been his best when he has an elite tight end at his disposal. Despite the fact that Cincinnati re-signed Tyler Eifert to a one-year deal, Eifert is incredibly injury prone and well past his prime. Hockenson is one of the best tight ends to come out of the draft in recent memory due to his ability to block and catch contested passes all over the field.
Montez Sweat is a physical freak and an absolute steal at the No. 12 pick. The Packers have had a horrendous defense for several years now, but after acquiring Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith, this pass rush could be nasty in 2019 with Sweat coming from the outside. Although he has a slight heart condition, Sweat’s physical prowess is too good to pass on as the Packers look to build another championship team around Aaron Rodgers.
The Dolphins have a dumpster fire at the quarterback position with Ryan Fitzpatrick currently slated as the QB1 of the offense. Miami gets their quarterback of the future by selecting the hard-working, pass-happy Drew Lock. The Missouri Man may need to work on his accuracy and vision, but he has the potential to be a decent starting quarterback in the NFL. I can definitely see him being better than Ryan Tannehill ever was. If Lock isn’t picked by the Broncos, consider this a sure thing.
Oliver is easily a top-ten talent, but due to certain team needs, the Falcons scoop him up with the No. 14 pick. The Falcons need a pass-rushing defensive lineman badly. Oliver’s ability to play both tackle and defensive end make him an extremely valuable pick for an Atlanta defense that ranked in the bottom half of the league against both the pass and the run.
If the Redskins do not trade up to take a quarterback, D.K. Metcalf seems like the most logical pick. Washington lacks an aerial attack and Metcalf has the ability to spread the field and open up opportunities for both the running game as well as other receivers such as Josh Doctson. The ‘Skins need a true WR1 and Metcalf will step into that role and excel at the next level.
Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey are still the primary focal points of the Carolina Panthers’ offense. The line needs some significant upgrades so the Panthers decide to select a guard who can open up holes while protecting the franchise quarterback.
The Giants used to be a team that had pride in their pass rush. Not so much anymore. Big Blue will try to establish the scary defensive line that helped them win two Super Bowls. Burns would be a great addition to this defense after the Giants traded Oliver Vernon this offseason.
Minnesota was expected to make the postseason in 2018 but their offensive line failed to open holes for the running game and gave QB Kirk Cousins absolutely no time to scan the field. Dillard is a big body who would immediately step in as an impactful starter. This is a dreamy situation for the Vikings.
The Titans need a big athletic presence in the middle of their defensive line who can play all three downs. They will be thrilled to get the product out of Clemson with the No. 19 pick of the NFL Draft.
Most scouts were anticipating the Steelers selecting an inside linebacker to take Ryan Shazier’s place, however, after the addition of Mark Barron, Pittsburgh’s next greatest hole may be in their secondary. Williams is a ball hawk and a true playmaking-talent who the Steelers will feel extremely fortunate to get if he falls this far down the draft board.
I think the Seahawks will be tempted to select a defensive back but the combination of Frank Clark and Clelin Ferrel playing opposite each other on this defensive line is too juicy to pass up.
Many scouts expect the Ravens to snag a wide receiver here and while I think N’Keal Harry would be a solid choice for the Ravens, they are a run-first team with Lamar Jackson under center and will look to address the other side of the ball with their first pick. Baltimore is in dire need of replacing LB C.J. Mosley so they take the next best linebacker on the board in Devin Bush. Since the Ravens do not have second-round pick and the wide receiver position is deeper than the linebacker position, Bush seems like the most obvious choice.
There are several offensive lineman that the Texans could select with the No. 23 pick, ranging from Garrett Bradbury and Dalton Risner, among a few others depending on availability. However, I expect Houston to go with Texas A&M standout Erik McCoy. McCoy’s versatility and ability to play center, guard, or tackle will help DeShaun Watson avoid the massive hits he took last season. McCoy will start for the Texans in Week 1, the only question is where he will line up on the offensive line.
With three picks in the first round, Gruden can go many directions. While Oakland improved their offensive infinitely by adding two dynamic receivers, the running game is still something that needs to be addressed. With the No. 24 pick, the Raiders select the first running back off the board in Josh Jacobs.
Baker had an excellent 2018 season for the Bulldogs, holding opposing receivers to the lowest catch-rate in all of college football. The Eagles may not have to deal with Odell Beckham Jr. anymore, but they still need cornerbacks to cover Amari Cooper and perhaps D.K. Metcalf in the NFC East.
It’s rare to see a four-year player coming out of the SEC being undervalued, but that seems to be the case with Gardner-Johnson. He is a hard-hitting safety with the ability to attack the line of scrimmage and also cover slot receivers and tight ends. The Colts need to improve on defense a little more than they need a wide receiver. Expect them to get a wideout at some point in the draft, just not in the first round.
With Jared Cook out of the picture, the Raiders need a starting caliber tight end to begin the 2019 season. I know Gruden will be tempted to address with the defense with this pick, however, Fant’s combination of size and speed will blend in perfectly with Antonio Brown. The Raiders need a pass catcher who attacks the middle of the field and that is exactly what they get with the product out of Iowa.
An interior defensive lineman with a high-ceiling towards the end of the first round is exactly what the Chargers need.
The offense is all set with Patrick Mahomes under center so the Chiefs look to bulk up their secondary by adding the former Nittany Lion to the defense. He is a tough player with great technique and has a high-floor along with upside.
With Randall Cobb off to Dallas and Davante Adams the only proven wide receiver for Aaron Rodgers to target, the Packers will take a chance on a wider receiver with the No. 30 pick. If Harry is available, he has the most talent and is most NFL-ready to help Green Bay compete for another Super Bowl while Rodgers is still in his prime.
Although he is injured and out with a torn ACL, Simmons still gets selected in the first round by a Los Angeles Rams team in need of a defensive lineman, but not in need of a player to contribute right off the bat. The Rams still have the weapons to get back to the Super Bowl for many years to come so they take a chance on Simmons, who was expected to go towards the start of the first round prior to his injury.
Brown has been overshadowed by his teammate Metcalf since the NFL Combine, but the Patriots know that Brown can dominate the slot and help Tom Brady continue to move the chains. Brown has the speed, quick feet, and route running ability to get open both on the inside and on the outside. With Rob Gronkowski out of the picture, the Patriots could use another solid pass catcher.