Rang 2019 mock draft: Defenders soar to the top
NFL Draft Scout
Although the ink is barely dry on the 2018 NFL Draft, we at NFLDraftScout.com are already looking ahead to next spring.
The 2018 NFL draft was all about the quarterbacks, with five earning first-round selections, the most since five were selected in 1999. The next draft will counter with a load of QB-hungry linemen, led by a four-headed monster from Clemson.
The Tigers' first-round D-line prospects are Clelin Ferrell and Austin Bryant as edge players (DE/OLB), with insiders Christian Wilkins as a DT and Dexter Lawrence as a DT/NT.
Obviously, team needs and player stock will change over the course of the 2018 season so take this May mock draft as more of watch-list and fun peek ahead than set-in-stone declarations.
To keep the focus on the prospects rather than projecting which NFL might hoist the Lombardi Trophy in Atlanta next January, the selection order was created based on the inverse ranking of current Super Bowl odds as provided by Bovada.lv.
(For a comparison, check out Dane Brugler's 2019 mock draft, which has a different No. 1)
1. New York Jets -- Ed Oliver, DT, Houston*
A consistently dominant force over his first two years of college football, Oliver has already announced his intentions to leave for the NFL after the 2018 season, projecting as an Aaron Donald-like difference-maker.
2. Miami Dolphins -- Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
If the Dolphins are indeed selecting this high, Ryan Tannehill did not bounce back from last season's season-ending ACL tear as hoped. The strong-armed Lock led the country and set an SEC record with 44 touchdown passes a year ago.
3. Cincinnati Bengals -- Raekwon Davis, DE, Alabama*
Stop me if you've heard this before, but Nick Saban has another physical freak along the defensive line in Davis, who at 6-6, 303 pounds, might just be the most imposing player in college football.
4. Chicago Bears -- Clelin Ferrell, DE/OLB, Clemson*
Despite leading Clemson in tackles for loss (18) and sacks (9.5) as a redshirt sophomore last season, Ferrell has not yet generated as much national media attention as some of his teammates. His prototypical combination of length, burst and bend, however, could make him this year's most intriguing edge rusher.
5. Buffalo Bills -- Dexter Lawrence, DT/NG, Clemson*
GM Brandon Beane gambled heavily on the upside on quarterback Josh Allen and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds with bold draft day trades. At 6-3, 340 pounds, Lawrence boasts the size and power to warrant similar excitement for a defense line needing fresh bodies.
6. Arizona Cardinals -- Andraez "Greedy" Williams, CB, LSU*
Few produce NFL defensive backs like LSU, which saw Williams led the SEC in both passes broken up (16) and interceptions (six) in his first season of starting action. Pairing Williams with former LSU superstar Patrick Peterson would give the Cardinals a formidable 1-2 punch at cornerback.
7. Cleveland Browns -- Nick Bosa, DE/OLB, Ohio State*
A slightly smaller version of his older, Pro Bowl brother Joey, Nick Bosa is a legitimate No. 1 overall candidate with the chiseled physique, refined technique and hard-revving motor that virtually guarantee NFL success.
8. Washington Redskins -- Devin White, ILB, LSU*
The Bears nabbed Butkus-Award winning inside linebacker Roquan Smith at No. 8 overall in 2018 and White should earn similar attention if he can duplicate his terrific sophomore campaign.
9. Indianapolis Colts -- Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
An All-American at defensive end and defensive tackle, Wilkins offers terrific initial quickness, agility and versatility -- all traits in short supply for an Indianapolis defensive line that finished last in the AFC in sacks in 2017.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama*
With left tackle Donovan Smith entering the final year of his rookie deal and likely to earn big dollars, the Bucs may want to keep an eye on quality young blockers, like Williams, a starter on the blindside for the Tide each of his first two years of college football.
11. Detroit Lions -- Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan*
Finding a battery-mate (or potential replacement) for pending free agent Ziggy Ansah will be a top priority for the Lions. Gary has flashed top five ability throughout his career and could earn that distinction if he puts it all together in 2019.
12. Tennessee Titans -- Taylor Rapp, SS, Washington*
The Titans already boast one of the NFL's better young safeties in Kevin Byard but the club could still use some help in the deep patrol if it hopes to take the next step. Rapp, the top safety prospect in the country, possesses the agility to handle coverage duties as well as top-notch ball-skills and reliable open-field tackling.
13. Seattle Seahawks -- N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State*
After watching Jimmy Graham, Luke Willson and Paul Richardson walk in free agency, the Seahawks may be on the lookout for a playmaking pass-catcher early in the 2019 draft. Harry has the frame and physicality to remind of a young Dez Bryant.
14. Oakland Raiders -- Michael Jackson, CB, Miami
The Raiders finished last in the NFL in 2018 with just five interceptions. The prototypically-built Jackson has the size, speed and playmaking ability to be the "Thriller" this club is lacking in the deep patrol.
15. Denver Broncos -- Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon*
After dedicating a lot of attention to the 2018 crop of quarterbacks, Broncos GM John Elway ultimately opted to focus on other positions of concern in the draft. Similar to Josh Allen a year ago, Herbert boasts the raw traits to get scouts excited, but he needs a healthy, productive junior season to warrant top 15 consideration.
16. Baltimore Ravens -- Greg Little, OT, Mississippi*
Drafting Orlando Brown Jr. was a nice story, but his conversion to the right side is no sure thing. At 6-5, 325 pounds, Little is more of a lock, showing the athleticism, balance and power Baltimore has prioritized up front.
17. Carolina Panthers -- Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State*
Ideally, the Panthers would find another pass rusher to boost its defensive line but at this point in the draft, beggars can't be choosers. Simmons has not generated the national media attention of fellow defensive tackles ... yet.
18. New York Giants -- A.J. Brown, WR, Mississippi*
A third consecutive pick from the Magnolia State? It could happen. The Giants won big here recently, of course, nabbing former Ole Miss star pass-catcher Evan Engram in the first round. With Odell Beckham Jr. a pending free agent and no guarantee to return, New York could look to reunite Engram with Brown, a 6-1, 225-pounder who set the school record with 1,252 receiving yards as a true sophomore.
19. Kansas City Chiefs -- Shaquille Quarterman, ILB, Miami*
Replacing a legend like Derrick Johnson (now a member of the rival Raiders) is not easy, but Quarterman possesses the instincts and physicality to help immediately.
20. Dallas Cowboys -- Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina
Free agent Allen Hurns and rookie Michael Gallup leave the Cowboys in better position to handle the losses of Dez Bryant and Jason Witten than some believe but that does not mean the club should allow a talented pass-catcher like Samuel to slip down the board. Dynamic as a returner as well as a receiver, Samuel would provide immediate impact ability.
21. Atlanta Falcons -- Kaleb McGary, OT, Washington
The Falcons have not used a top 100 draft pick on a blocker since investing the No. 6 overall selection on Jake Matthews back in 2014. McGary offers the size, toughness and consistency that could force GM Thomas Dimitroff to re-think that strategy in 2019.
22. Los Angeles Chargers -- Martez Ivey, OT, Florida
The Chargers' track record at tackle is even spottier than the Falcons, a real concern given their relatively immobile veteran quarterback Philip Rivers. The aptly-named Ivey possesses the long arms, versatility and experience against top competition that the Chargers have prioritized in the past.
23. Houston Texans -- Mitch Hyatt, OT, Clemson
Who better to protect the health of Deshaun Watson than the nationally underrated Hyatt, a former teammate at Clemson with the light feet and balance to potentially remain outside in the NFL despite less than imposing size.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Nick Fitzgerald, QB, Mississippi State
A confidence-building 2018 season and new contract has quieted speculation that Blake Bortles is on his way out in Jacksonville but that didn't stop the team from investing a sixth-round pick in Tanner Lee in 2018, keeping the pressure on. While reinforcing the line of scrimmage is more Tom Coughlin's style, Fitzgerald possesses the raw traits to build around if Bortles fails to take the next step.
25. San Francisco 49ers -- D.K. Metcalf, WR, Mississippi*
The 49ers expect rookie second-round receiver Dante Pettis to provide immediate help for Jimmy Garoppolo, but the depth chart remains thin at the position. Metcalf is just a redshirt sophomore but the 6-3, 225 pounder (and NFL legacy) boasts the raw talent to earn top 32 consideration if he can duplicate last season's impressive debut.
26. Green Bay Packers (from NO) -- Michael Deiter, OL, Wisconsin
Deiter checks in as NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated left tackle for 2019 but it is his versatility that may intrigue the Packers most, given the troubling lack of durability shown thus far from many of their top blockers. The Packers received this selection from the Saints in the Marcus Davenport trade.
27. Green Bay Packers -- Austin Bryant, DE/OLB, Clemson
With Clay Matthews Jr. aging and Nick Perry struggling with injuries and inconsistencies of his own, Green Bay would be wise to continue supplementing its pass rushers. Bryant feasted on one-on-one coverage in a splashy breakout 2018 campaign and possesses the agility to handle rushing the passer out of the two-point stance.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers -- Christian Miller, OLB, Alabama
It appears as though the Steelers' plan to keep surprise 2018 first-round pick Terrell Edmunds at safety though at 6-1, 217 pounds it would not take much for him to bulk up a bit to potentially be able to move into Ryan Shazier's old spot at linebacker. If Pittsburgh opts to wait on a potential replacement, the athletic and physical Miller could prove an ideal candidate, assuming he recovers from a relatively minor torn biceps that ruined his 2018 campaign.
29. Minnesota Vikings -- Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State
The Vikings boast one of the NFL's strongest rosters on paper but keeping the band together could be difficult in 2019 with several key defenders entering the final year of their contracts, including edge rushers Danielle Hunter, Anthony Barr and Brian Robinson. The long-armed Sweat exploded onto the SEC as a junior college transfer, earning first-team all-conference honors with a league-leading 9.5 sacks.
30. Philadelphia Eagles -- Damien Harris, RB, Alabama
Like the Vikings, the reigning Super Bowl champions will be looking for younger, cheaper talent at positions of concern in the 2019 draft, including at edge rusher and running back. With Jay Ajayi thought unlikely to sign a long-term extension, general manager Howie Roseman could be intrigued by Harris' similar blend of vision, power and deceptive burst.
31. Los Angeles Rams -- Trey Adams, OT, Washington
With all due respect to flashy skill position players Todd Gurley and Jared Goff, one of the primary reasons for the Rams' ascent a year ago was the steady play of veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth, who signed with the club after spending his first 11 seasons in Cincinnati. At 6-7, 327 pounds, Adams offers a similarly imposing frame as the 36-year old Whitworth, who tips at the scales at 6-7, 333 pounds.
32. New England Patriots -- Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State
Surprisingly, the Patriots opted not to immediately replace the speed lost at receiver with the pre-draft trade of Brandin Cooks to the Rams. Campbell boasts the electric athleticism to fly up draft boards and potentially fit in New England but he has only flashed to this point, scoring just five touchdowns scored (three receiving, two rushing) over his career.