If 2018 was the year of the quarterback, then 2019 is the year of the defensive lineman. Expect a flurry of defensive lineman to be selected early and often, with a dozen projected to be taken in the first round.
It’s an explosive group with an abundance of talent, including Nick Bosa of Ohio State, who many evaluators feel is a better prospect than his brother Joey, who has totaled 28.5 sacks through his first 35 games. Like his brother, Nick comes with concerns about his durability.
Players such as Rashan Gary from Michigan and Ed Oliver of Houston have recorded rare measureables and were both once thought to be in the mix for the number one overall selection in the draft. However, it was Quinnen Williams of Alabama who soared up draft boards throughout the season with his disruptive play that could hear his name called first.
Many scouts believe that the defensive tackle position is the deepest of all in the 2019 class ,with prospects such as the dynamic duo of Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence from Clemson, along with Mississippi State talented but troubled star Jeffery Simmons, who was banned from the Combine.
There are several hand-in-the-dirt 4-3 edge-rushers in this year’s draft as well, including Simmons’ teammate Montez Sweat who dominated the Senior Bowl, along with Brian Burns of Florida State and Jachai Polite from Florida.
Not to mention small school standouts such as Jaylon Ferguson of Louisiana Tech and Oshane Ximines of Old Dominion.
It’s a good year if you need a defensive lineman.
1. ARZ: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
New head coach Kliff Kingsbury should have a strong grasp of the offense and Bosa would provide him with a blue chip player on defense to build around.
2. SF: Josh Allen, DE, Kentucky
By adding Allen to a beefy defensive front line in San Francisco, it would allow him to see some one-on-ones he can take advantage of as an outside pass-rush presence.
3. NYJ: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
New defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will be transitioning to a 4-3 defensive scheme and Williams is an explosive player on the interior of the line.
4. OAK: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
The quick and aggressive Oliver fits the Raiders profile with a feisty demeanor, to go along with outstanding lateral speed.
5. TB: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
Lining up Ferrell opposite of Jason Pierre-Paul would allow him to have the same kind of impact on the edge he made while at Clemson.
6. NYG: Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan
Not only would Gary provide a much-needed presence on the defensive front but selecting the local New Jersey product would also re-energize the fan base.
7. JAX: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
The Blake Bortles experiment has officially ended in Jacksonville and Haskins has flashed all the tools necessary to become the heir apparent.
8. DET: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
Its been five years since the Lions last used a first round pick on a tight end; Eric Ebron has since moved onto Indianapolis and the current regime in Detroit values strong tight end play.
9. BUF: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
After watching Patrick Mahomes chuck up so many deep balls to Tyreek Hill in Kansas City, one can only wonder what type of production an Allen-to-Brown connection could generate.
10. DEN: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
Possibly the worst-kept secret in the draft is general manager John Elway’s man crush on Lock, whom he scouted during the season and stalked at the Senior Bowl.
11. CIN: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
The Bengals gave up more passing yards than any team in the league last season and the selection of Williams would help extinguish some of the fires in the secondary.
12. GB: Devin White, ILB, LSU
One reason for Green Bay’s recent struggles has been their inability to find suitable replacements at the linebacker position; White gives them a new leader in the middle.
13. MIA: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
It sounds like it could be the name of a new sitcom but “Murray in Miami” would be the hottest player to hit the city since LeBron decided to take his talents to South Beach.
14. ATL: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
Envisioning Wilkins lining up between Tak McKinley and Vic Beasley would make Dan Quinn sleep much better at night.
15. WAS: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
Washington must begin the process of moving on from Alex Smith and Jones possesses the smarts to grasp Jay Gruden’s complex offense.
16. CAR: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
Protecting Cam Newton has to be a main priority during the offseason and Williams is an instant upgrade on the offensive line.
17. CLE: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
Browns general manager John Dorsey had no qualms selecting Tyreek Hill during his time with the Chiefs and would be willing to roll the dice on Simmons.
18. MIN: Darnell Savage, SS, Maryland
By adding the speedy and versatile Savage to the Vikings secondary, it’ll allow them tremendous flexibility with his ability to also play nickelback.
19. TEN: Mack Wilson, ILB, Alabama
The Crimson Tide product possesses a prototypical frame for the NFL and would help shore up some of the issues up the middle on defense.
20. PIT: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Mississippi
While JuJu Smith emerged as a star, the Steelers have very little depth behind their current starters.
21. SEA: Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State
Injecting Sweat into the Seahawks defensive front rotation would add an extra level of viciousness and create mismatch nightmares.
22. BAL: N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
As the Lamar Jackson Era rolls on, he’s going to need some additional big play weapons to help his development; Harry could emerge into the WR1 the Ravens so desperately need.
23. HOU: Greg Little, OT, Mississippi
It would appear that Little could challenge Julien Davenport for the starting left tackle in Houston or serve as a solid addition on the right side as an alternative option; the two could serve as interchangeable parts.
24. OAK (via CHI): Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
A strong cover corner capable of lining up inside, outside or any side of the field, Murphy has huge upside and there are a handful of teams who view him as the top corner in this year’s class.
25. PHI: Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
The Eagles have continuously attempted to shore up the running back position without much ado; Jacobs solves this problem and could feed off the stable of backs much like he did at ‘Bama.
26. IND: A.J. Brown, WR, Mississippi
Nobody accomplished more with less than Andrew Luck last season; he might as well be wearing a help wanted sign around his neck.
27. OAK (via DAL): Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
Rarely does opportunity present itself to nab two top-tier cornerbacks in the same draft but Oakland is in a unique position to do just that.
28. LAC: Andrew Dillard, OT, Washington State
Keeping Phillip Rivers upright is vital and Dillard seemed up to the task at during his time at the Senior Bowl with an eye-raising performance that caught the attention of NFL scouts.
29. KC: Brian Burns, DE, Florida State
He could thrive as a pass-rusher under new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo with his size, speed and athleticism.
30. GB (via NO): Kelvin Harmon, WR, North Carolina State
With the innovative offensive scheme expected to be installed by new head coach Matt LaFleur, plus Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball, this could be a match made in heaven.
31. LAR: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
A cost-effective plug on defense who can sustain a high level of play, Lawrence could help replicate some of the stout play on the interior that benefitted the Rams during their Super Bowl run.
32. NE: Jachai Polite, DE, Florida
No Patriots player had more than seven and a half sacks this past season; Polite would be a welcome addition as a disruptive edge force.
33. ARZ: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
An anchor on the offensive line to compliment their young franchise quarterback, if Josh Rosen is to succeed, he’s going to need more time to throw.
34. IND (via NYJ): Lonnie Johnson, CB, Kentucky
A lengthy, fast, physical corner who can strengthen the Colts defense, Johnson shows excellent recovery speed and can also help out in the run game.
35. OAK: Johnathan Abram, FS, Mississippi State
Gruden finally gets the safety he wanted in a total remake of the secondary unit; remember his Bucs defense featured a loaded group of defensive backs.
36. SF: Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina
Sharp route running and dependable hands would be a great asset for Jimmy Garoppolo; more ammunition needed by the Bay.
37. NYG: Garrett Bradbury, C, North Carolina State
Offensive line has been the Giants’ weakest link for a long time now and the center spot has been a revolving door; Bradbury is a huge stabilizer.
38. JAX: Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma
The versatile Ford has the tools to compete at tackle but could also make a suitable guard. Whoever is taking snaps behind center for Jacksonville would benefit from better line play.
39. TB: Devin Singletary, RB, FAU
Look for Bruce Arians to push for offensive playmakers during the draft weekend, Singletary removes the current question mark that surrounds the backfield.
40. BUF: Chris Lindstrom, OG, Boston College
Nastier than Brian Knobbs in the trenches, Lindstrom brings the key elements of toughness and durability to the offensive line.
41. DEN: Elgton Jenkins, C, Mississippi State
After nabbing a new quarterback, Denver lands a new man in the middle to snap it to him for what they hope is the next decade-strong.
42. CIN: Will Grier, QB, West Virginia
A contingency plan should be in place if Andy Dalton continues to falter and Grier would benefit from not having to play right away.
43. DET: Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson
The Lions are in need of help at the corner spot and Mullen brings a great size/speed combo to help provide some stability.
44. GB: Deionte Thompson, FS, Alabama
A rangy safety who could help play up in the box and serve as a valuable addition, Thompson is one of the missing ingredients lacking from the Packers defense.
45. ATL: Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple
With his combination of size and athleticism, Ya-Sin shows the potential to be a CB1 at the next level with his lockdown tendencies and physical play.
46. WAS: Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State
After finding a new quarterback, the next item on the agenda should be to provide him with a new toy. Campbell can blow the top off of any defense.
47. CAR: Jaylon Ferguson, DE, Louisiana Tech
The Panthers have gotten away from their pass-rushing identity they used to be known for; Ferguson would help change that in an instant.
48. MIA: Dru Samia, OG, Oklahoma
A big, physical and agile pile mover, Samia would fit the style of play that new head coach Brian Flores would like to implement, while boosting the run game immediately.
49. CLE: Devin Bush, ILB, Michigan
Another tough, hard-nosed defensive piece to help strengthen the Browns identity and take a step closer to being a playoff contender.
50. MIN: Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame
Would fit in perfect to the scheme and help sure up a need; Tillery not only eats up space and opens up pass rush lanes but also flashes the ability to get after the quarterback himself.
51. TEN: Oshane Ximines, DE, Old Dominion
The Titans sorely lack a consistent pass-rusher on defense and Ximines possesses the skill-set to develop into that role at the next level.
52. PIT: Tre Lamar, ILB, Clemson
The Steelers have solidified their outside linebacker corps; now its time to match talent on the inside. Lamar would be the closest they’ve come to trying to replace Ryan Shazier.
53. PHI (via BAL): JoeJuan Williams, CB, Vanderbilt
A thin secondary was apparent down the stretch of the season; Williams is long, quick and possesses strong one-on-one coverage, the Eagles need all of the above.
54. HOU (via SEA): Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabama
Adding a playmaking tight end would allow Bill O’Brien to open up the offense some for DeShaun Watson. Smith Jr. would serve as a perfect compliment underneath to the dangerous DeAndre Hopkins.
55. HOU: John Cominsky, DE, Charleston (WV)
Projects as a great fit to anchor down one side of the Titans 3-4 defensive scheme; Cominsky can play contain end or get after the quarterback if needed.
56. NE (via CHI): Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame
The defending champs always seem to find a way to fill-in needs and Love would slide into a key role right away.
57. PHI: Nasir Adderley, FS, Delaware
Pairing Adderley with Malcolm Jenkins would setup a seamless passing of the torch in a couple seasons.
58. DAL: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, FS, Florida
The safety spot may be the position in biggest need of an upgrade on the Cowboys roster.
59. IND: Zach Allen, DE, Boston College
Indy needs to re-stock their defensive line much like the way they did to the the offensive line unit and Allen would seem to make sense.
60. LAC: Dre’Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State
The Buckeyes product would be re-united with his former teammate Joey Bosa to re-create havoc in the Chargers 3-4 defensive alignment.
61. KC: Darrell Henderson, RB, Memphis
A true speedster, Henderson would fill the void created by Kareem Hunt and blend into the Kansas City mantra of “need for speed.”
62. NO: Khalen Saunders, DT, Western Illinois
An EIU grad, Sean Payton would let loose the high-motor small school stud from WIU.
63. KC (via LAR): Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia
Adding an underneath route runner and possession wide out such as Ridley to compliment the Chiefs outside would be a luxury for Patrick Mahomes.
64. NE: J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Stanford
You could state a case for plenty of traits that fit the Patriots characteristics here.