“With the 17th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select” just sounds a bit weird, right? Discounting trades, the Browns haven’t picked lower than 15th since 2003, when they selected Notre Dame’s Jeff Faine. But after the Browns finished the 2018 season with their best record since 2007, John Dorsey will make the 17th-overall selection. Instead of the Browns at the top of the draft, it’ll be the Arizona Cardinals making the No. 1 overall selection, followed by the San Francisco 49ers, New York Jets and Oakland Raiders, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rounding out the Top 5. So without further ado, here is my 2019 NFL Mock Draft 1.0: Post-Super Bowl Edition.
(All Offensive, Defensive and line rankings come via Football Outsiders DVOA)
- Arizona Cardinals: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama. The Cardinals’ offensive line ranked among the worst in the NFL in 2018, but there isn’t an offensive lineman worth taking with the No. 1-overall selection. Instead, Arizona can improve their interior pass rush and run defense with the selection of Williams. Williams will do wonders for a defense that has to face Jared Goff and Russell Wilson twice a year.
- San Francisco 49ers: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State. Though the 49ers have selected a defensive lineman with three of their past four first-round picks, San Francisco’s pass rush still ranks near the bottom of the NFL. Without a potent edge rusher, the 49ers’ defense suffered, ranking 23rd in the NFL, and 27th against the pass. Drafting Nick Bosa will certainly change that.
- New York Jets: Josh Allen, DE/OLB, New York Jets. The Jets have been searching for a premier pass rusher for a while now, having not ranked in the Top 10 in the NFL in adjusted sack rate since 2014. While New York also needs to improve the offense around Sam Darnold, another way to help their franchise QB is to give him an improved defense. Allen, who totaled 17.0 sacks and 21.5 TFL with the Wildcats in 2018, would finally give the Jets a badly needed pass rusher.
- Oakland Raiders: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson. It should come as no surprise that after trading away Khalil Mack, the Raiders finished with the worst adjusted sack rate in the NFL. Gruden traded away one of the best players in the NFL at one of the most important positions in the NFL, and now has to find his replacement. Ferrell is no Khalil Mack, but with 11.5 sacks and 20.0 TFL with the Tigers in 2018, he’d help begin to rebuild a Raiders’ defense that ranked 30th in the NFL.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU. If Bruce Arians is going to have any success with the Buccaneers, Tampa Bay must improve the worst defense in the NFL last season. Tampa Bay allowed opponents to complete 72.5 percent of their pass attempts, the worst mark in the NFL. Improving the Bucs’ defense starts with the secondary, and drafting Williams would give Arians a CB to build around.
- New York Giants: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State. The Giants would be crazy to stick with Eli Manning another year after the Giants’ QB posted the 27th-best QBR among 34 qualified QBs. And while none of the available quarterbacks compare to the four the Giants passed on in the 2018 draft, Haskins is the best of the bunch and a capable successor to Manning whenever the Giants move on from him.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke. After finishing 32nd out of 34 qualified QBs in Total QBR, the Blake Bortles era in Jacksonville should be over. And while Jacksonville may target a veteran QB like Nick Foles with their defense ready to win now, if not, Daniel Jones might be the next best option. With three years of tutelage under Duke’s David Cutcliffe, Jones is well prepared for the NFL.
- Detroit Lions: Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan. With Ezekiel Ansah most likely leaving Detroit via free agency, the Lions need to bolster and improve their pass rush. The Lions’ defense ranked 27th in the NFL and needs help in all three phases. While Gary’s production at Michigan might be a bit lacking, Gary has the potential to be a piece Matt Patricia could use all over the Lions’ defensive front.
- Buffalo Bills: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama. Buffalo hopes Josh Allen its franchise QB, and the next step is to better protect him. The Bills’ offensive line ranked 30th in the NFL in run blocking and 23rd in pass blocking. Whether it’s at guard, tackle or center, Buffalo’s line needs drastic upgrades, and Williams, a three-year starter at Alabama, could slide in at either tackle or guard and improve Allen’s protection.
- Denver Broncos: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri. Case Keenum isn’t the answer at quarterback for the Denver Broncos, and if John Elway wants to keep his job much longer, he’s going to have to hit on one soon. The lack of a franchise QB has held Denver back since Peyton Manning’s retirement, and while they are plenty of questions about Lock, teams will fall in love with his arm and physical tools.
- Cincinnati Bengals: Devin White, ILB, LSU. Cincinnati began to revamp a defense that’s really fallen off since 2015 last year with the additions of Sam Hubbard, Jessie Bates III and Malik Jefferson, but still more help is needed. The Bengals’ defense ranked 28th in the NFL, and really needs an infusion of talent at linebacker, where they struggled both against the run and covering receivers. White projects as a three-down linebacker and could immediately contribute in both areas.
- Green Bay Packers: Montez Sweat, DE/OLB, Mississippi State. The Packers drafted two cornerbacks with their first two picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, yet their pass defense didn’t get much better. One reason why? Their pass rush. Defensively, the Packers got most of their pass rush from their linebackers, and need to add an edge rusher like Sweat, who totaled 23.5 sacks and 30.5 TFL with the Bulldogs.
- Miami Dolphins: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston. With the Dolphins already looking ahead to the 2020 NFL Draft class for a QB, Miami can instead draft a replacement for Ndamukong Suh. Without Suh, the Dolphins’ defense ranked 25th in the NFL, 24th against the rush and 23rd against the pass. Oliver, once regarded as the potential No. 1 pick, can help shore up Miami’s defensive line and replace Suh.
- Atlanta Falcons: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State. Atlanta’s defense has really fallen off since Super Bowl LI, with the defensive line ranking among the worst in the NFL. And with Grady Jarrett, the Falcons’ best lineman, set for a big payday in free agency, Atlanta needs defensive line help, whether or not they re-sign him. While Simmons does have some character concerns, his production at Mississippi State – 7.0 sacks and 33.0 TFL – speaks for itself.
- Washington: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma. Alex Smith’s career, unfortunately, might be over after a gruesome leg injury, and at the very least, Washington can’t count on Smith moving forward. Bruce Allen could target a veteran QB in free agency like Teddy Bridgewater or Nick Foles, or select a quarterback in the draft like Murray. While there are plenty of questions about Murray’s size, he’s an electric playmaker who has many of the tools to succeed in the modern NFL.
- Carolina Panthers: DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia. Carolina’s pass defense suffered a major drop-off in 2018, falling from the 11th-ranked pass defense in 2017 to 24th this past year. Donte Jackson performed well in his rookie season, but the rest of the Panthers’ secondary could use some help, especially in a division with Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Jameis Winston. Drafting Baker would give Carolina a solid corner to pair with Jackson and help the Panthers’ secondary return to their 2017 form.
- Cleveland Browns: Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State. With their franchise quarterback under center, the Browns’ attention now turns to the offense surrounding Baker Mayfield. Cleveland’ offensive line was impressive down the stretch but still finished 16th in pass blocking. The Browns never really replaced Joe Thomas and Greg Robinson was just average at best. Dillard established himself as one of the top linemen with his Senior Bowl performance and would be a great fit.
- Minnesota Vikings: Cody Ford, OT/G, Oklahoma. Minnesota’s offense has to get better in year two with Kirk Cousins and that starts up front with a much-maligned offensive line. Minnesota’ offensive line ranked No. 23 in the NFL in run blocking and four of the five Vikings’ starters graded as average or below average per Pro Football Focus. Improving Minnesota’s 17th-ranked offense starts up front, and Ford, who could play at guard or tackle, is mauler who’d make a huge difference.
- Tennessee Titans: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa. Without Delaine Walker, the Titans’ passing attack really suffered, dropping from No. 19 in the NFL in 2017 to 25th in 2018. But even with Walker, who’ll turn 35 in August, Marcus Mariota doesn’t have a ton of weapons that jump off the page. If Mariota’s going to take the next step, the Titans need to improve his arsenal and pass protection. Drafting a tight end like Hockenson, who caught 49 passes for 760 yards and 6 TDs in 2018, would help with both.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson. With Artie Burns looking like a bust, and Joe Haden set to turn 30 in April, Pittsburgh needs to add talent to a secondary that struggled in 2018, finishing as the 17th-best pass defense in the NFL. The 6’2”, 190 lbs. Mullen balled out in the National Championship game, leading to Defensive MVP honors, and could slide right in opposite Haden.
- Seattle Seahawks: Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss. For far too long, Seattle’s offensive line has been a disaster in front of Russell Wilson. The Seahawks’ offensive line ranked 30th in pass protection in 2018 and hasn’t ranked better than 20th since 2010. And with George Fant a free agent and Duane Brown turning 34 in August, the Seahawks could use some help at either tackle position, whether or not Fant re-signs. Though he’s a little inconsistent, Little has the potential to be an NFL starter.
- Baltimore Ravens: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss. If the Ravens want to succeed with Lamar Jackson under center, they’ve got to give him more talent at wide receiver to work with as Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead aren’t going to cut it. Before he went down with an injury, Metcalf was a massive weapon for Ole Miss at 6’4”, 225 lbs., catching 26 passes for 569 yards and 5 TDs. As long as his medicals check out, Metcalf has the potential be a nightmare to cover at the next level.
- Houston Texans: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida. Houston’s offensive line rated as the worst in football in terms of pass protection, and 27th in run blocking. Unless the Texans want DeShaun Watson to continue to have to run for his life, they must improve their pass protection this offseason and replace two tackles that ranked average and below average per PFF. Taylor, at 6’5” 340 lbs. could slide right in at either tackle spot for the Texans and vastly improve Watson’s protection.
- Oakland Raiders (via Chicago): Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama. With Doug Martin getting the bulk of the carries, the Raiders’ rushing offense finished fourth-worst in the NFL, averaging just 4.2 yards per carry. Martin and Marshawn Lynch are free agents and neither should be retained. Instead, Jon Gruden can find his running back via the draft in Jacobs, who’s got lots of physical talent, and not a whole lot of miles on him coming from a timeshare at Alabama under Nick Saban.
- Philadelphia Eagles: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington. It was no secret the Eagles had all sorts of secondary trouble, finishing the season with the No. 15-ranked pass defense in the NFL, allowing more than 4,300 passing yards. And while the Eagles’ pass defense did improve down the stretch, Philadelphia still needs help at CB. In a similar mold to Denzel Ward, Murphy was the best of a top-notch secondary at the University of Washington, with 4 INTs and 13 passes defended last season.
- Indianapolis Colts: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson. With Andrew Luck under center, an up-and-coming defense and a top-tier offensive line, the Colts have all the makings of a contender for years to come. One area they could improve in though? Their rush defense, which ranked 20th in the NFL. Wilkins was dominant against both the run and the pass over the past four seasons at Clemson and can help shore up the interior of the Colts’ defensive line.
- Oakland Raiders (via Dallas): Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware. The Raiders’ defense finished the season ranked 30th in the NFL, and 32nd against the pass. Mike Mayock and the Raiders need to improve all three levels of their defense, and after adding a pass rusher, Oakland can turn to their secondary. The Raiders tried to trade Karl Joseph, but couldn’t find any takers. With just one year left on his contract, Mayock and co. can select his replacement in Adderley, who may have locked up to the top safety spot with his performance at the Senior Bowl.
- Los Angeles Chargers: Dre’Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State. The Chargers’ biggest weakness this season was its run defense, specifically its defensive line against the run. Los Angeles’ defensive line ranked 17th against the run, and with Brandon Mebane and Darius Philon headed to free agency, it’s not going to get any better. Drafting Jones would give the Chargers another disruptor they could pair with Justin Jones, giving Los Angeles one of the most fearsome defensive lines in football.
- Kansas City Chiefs: Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State. The Chiefs had the best pass offense in the NFL and the worst pass defense in the NFL. Kansas City desperately needs help all over their secondary, especially with Eric Berry’s future possibly in question. Enter Abram, a physical defender who tallied 2 INTs and five PDs for the Bulldogs, and could control the middle of the field for Kansas City.
- Green Bay Packers (via New Orleans): Noah Fant, TE, Iowa. Even with Aaron Rodgers back under center, the Packers’ passing attack dropped off, ranking 12th in the NFL. And outside of Davante Adams, Rodgers doesn’t really have any reliable targets that can consistently stay healthy. Fant, who caught 18 TDs over the past two seasons with the Hawkeyes, would give Rodgers and Matt LaFleur a reliable target over the middle of the field, and a tight end that can line up and block as well.
- Los Angeles Rams: Jachai Polite, DE/OLB, Florida. Aaron Donald is a monster in their interior of the Rams’ defense, but outside of Donald, Los Angeles’ pass rush was very lackluster. Donald totaled 50 percent of the Rams’ sacks, and Dante Fowler Jr., whom the Rams traded for at the deadline, is a free agent. The Rams need to add young, cheap talent if they want to get back to the Super Bowl, and Polite would give them a replacement for Fowler who will also help the Rams’ run defense.
- New England Patriots: Zach Allen, DE, Boston College. The Patriots had one of the worst pass rushes in the NFL, totaling just 30.0 sacks with an adjusted sack rate that ranked 30th in the NFL. And with Trey Flowers, arguably New England’s best defender, set to hit free agency, the Patriots could use some help up front. Versatile enough to play anywhere on the defensive line, and tough against both the pass and the run, Zach Allen is a player that Bill Belichick would absolutely love.