Something about the NFL is so engaging and so engrossing that the second the season is over, all you want is more.
That might be especially the case this year, as Rams fans and people who bet on the Super Bowl (or just watched it) probably came away less than pleased.
Super Bowl 53 ended in anticlimactic fashion as the New England Patriots stumbled toward a 13-3 win and the explosive Rams, well, basically never showed up.
Props to the Pats on their record-tying sixth Lombardi Trophy, but my goodness, change the record already.
Regardless, it’s on to the next one, with the “one” being betting on the 2019 Oscars, paying more attention to the latest potential NBA trades, and wondering who might win the 2019 World Series.
There’s a lot to consider in the not-too-distant future, including more things to do with the NFL.
Heck, there are already Super Bowl 54 odds out there.
Whether you were simply hoping pro football would just die already or you can’t get enough of it, it’s hanging around via free agency and – in due time – the 2019 NFL Draft.
Thanks to NFL prop bets, you can even make some cash via both, depending on what your favorite pro football betting sites offer in regards to wagers.
For now, I’ll help you get acclimated with draft season as I look at the official draft order and gauge what teams could do via my first 2019 NFL Draft mock of the year.
Arizona Cardinals – Nick Bosa, DE/OLB, Ohio State
The talk about Kyler Murray going #1 overall was interesting for a second, and all the Kyler Murray prop bets definitely drew some interest. But the Cards supposedly have their franchise quarterback in place in Josh Rosen.
If that’s true, they need to let him develop and keep adding pieces to their defense. That, or just take the best player available. That’s arguably Nick Bosa, who looks like a complete defensive star with his ability to get after the quarterback and sniff out the run.
Just check out these Nick Bosa highlights, which display his burst off the snap, pursuit, and timing.
Bosa has few weaknesses, although he’s likely best suited to man the outside of a base 4-3 defense. Fortunately, that’s the scheme Arizona runs, and pairing him on the opposite side of Chandler Jones could instantly add juice to a defense that was already a top-five unit in sacks.
The real value here is Bosa’s run defense, which is going to be needed for a defense that ranked dead last in rushing yards allowed on the year.
San Francisco 49ers – Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama
I don’t know what to make of the 49ers going into the 2019 NFL Draft. They have major needs at wide receiver and cornerback, but reaching for either position with the #2 overall pick might be a mistake.
They might be better served adding another brute to their defensive line, which is already quite nasty. Williams can slide in and start from day one, and his presence should beef up their run defense and also help their other pieces move around a bit, which should enhance their overall versatility.
Personally, I’d trade down from this spot and acquire more assets. However, there’s nothing wrong with standing pat and bringing in one of the top prospects in the draft.
New York Jets – Josh Allen, DE/OLB, Kentucky
Todd Bowles leaves behind a pretty bare Jets defense that underperformed last season. They were merely a middle-of-the-road unit at getting after the quarterback and could probably stand to get some help in that department.
Allen posted an insane 17 sacks in 2018 alone and is absolutely going to be able to boost New York’s ability to get after the passer. The Jets can also consider reaching for a wide receiver or running back, but I’m not sure there’s a prospect that demands it.
The play here is to address that pass rush and move along. Allen’s production on the edge makes him the obvious pick here.
Oakland Raiders – Ed Oliver, DL, Houston
The Raiders have three picks in the first round, so they can (and should) aim high starting with the third overall pick in the draft. They have no shortage of needs and just need to bring as much elite talent onto their roster as they possibly can.
That could start with Oliver, who is such a menace that NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah once compared him to Aaron Donald. While that’s lofty praise, the big takeaway is that this guy is really good.
Oliver isn’t the most polished product, and he lacks ideal size, but his talent is of the top-five variety. Oakland has always been known for splashy moves that perhaps not everyone else would reach for, so don’t be shocked if they go against the grain a bit.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan
The Bucs are another team that was pretty ho-hum at getting to the quarterback, and in past years, they’ve been completely dreadful in that department.
Tampa Bay already has one of the most explosive offenses in football. They do need to piece together a running game, but their bigger concerns are on the defensive side of the ball.
Gary should boost their defense up front, and that could play a hand in correcting any woes in their defensive backfield. They should also look at safety and running back, but the fifth pick might be a bit early to pull the trigger elsewhere.
New York Giants – Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
Eli Manning is pushing 40 and has not played well, but he’s probably coming back next year to be the bridge for whatever quarterback the G-Men finally draft. That should probably be Haskins, who figures to be the best overall quarterback prospect this year.
Haskins reportedly loves the idea of going to the Giants, so there’s that.
New York is actually set up really nicely offensively, but they have issues on the offensive line and on defense. Still, now is a pretty good time to think about the future, as Manning has certainly regressed and no longer scares defense.
Even with Manning likely starting some games in 2019, Haskins is a must for Big Blue.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
Blake Bortles is bad, and he needs to be replaced, but the Jaguars have a lot of issues to address.
Given the number of viable veteran quarterbacks expected to be available in some capacity this offseason (Nick Foles, Ryan Tannehill, and Joe Flacco, to name a few), I’m not sure the Jags need to put all of their eggs in one basket here.
Instead, Jacksonville should ensure whatever veteran passer comes in to save the day can stay standing. It wasn’t all on Bortles last year, after all, as the Jags tied for the third most sacks (53!) allowed a year ago.
Jacksonville needs to get back to the running game and play sound defense. Bringing in a steady passer will help that, and getting o-line upgrades like Jonah Williams is the necessary foundation to allow it all to fall into place.
Detroit Lions – Clelin Ferrell, DE/OLB, Clemson
The Lions are somehow always void of superstar talent, but they at one point had Calvin Johnson and couldn’t consistently win, so who knows what will work for them?
Regardless, Detroit has some nice offensive pieces in place, so their main goal this offseason is to improve their defense. While the Lions actually had a pretty good pass rush in 2018, they are likely moving on from him in free agency.
Injecting some young talent into their pass rush is probably a good idea, and Ferrell (11.5 sacks this past season) is a logical addition.
Buffalo Bills – Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
The Bills are a young team with a lot of holes. They still need talent all across their offense and have to fill in their defensive line with Kyle Williams retiring. However, protecting franchise quarterback Josh Allen is pretty important.
There are a number of offensive tackles the Bills could consider here, but Taylor got better every year at Florida and projects as a rock-solid pass blocker at the next level. Blessed with power, size, and length, he has the upside to be a strong left tackle option for Buffalo.
Denver Broncos – Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
The Broncos have to get the quarterback position right eventually. Case Keenum proved last year that he’s nothing more than a stopgap solution, and if GM John Elway wants to keep his job, he needs to finally land a quality prospect at the position.
Elway has whiffed before, and in an arguably weak quarterback draft class, he’ll be at risk of doing so again. However, he’s reportedly a big fan of Drew Lock, who certainly has his flaws but has a rocket arm and a penchant for the big play.
I mean, seriously, the kid can sling it.
Denver has to decide if Lock is the next Patrick Mahomes or a bust waiting to happen.
We’ll see what happens, but nobody could fault Denver for falling in love with the Missouri product’s talent and plucking him off of draft boards here at pick #10.
Cincinnati Bengals – Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
Man, did the Bengals defense struggle last year. Things got so bad that head coach Marvin Lewis was finally pushed out the door, something nobody ever felt would actually happen.
It did, though, and one reason is Cincy’s atrocious defense (dead last against the pass). They can fill holes all over the place, and if they want to get really weird, they can even trump Andy Dalton with a new franchise quarterback.
But the Bengals aren’t that far away from the playoffs. If they fill the right defensive holes and if Sean McVay pupil Zac Taylor is everything he’s cracked up to be, there could be magic in the air.
For now, they’ll do just that by bringing in Greedy Williams to help patch up a leaky secondary.
Green Bay Packers – Montez Sweat, DE/OLB, Mississippi State
The Packers actually had a really good pass rush by the numbers last year, and it’s hard to scoff at the direction this defense is headed in with Mike Pettine leading the charge.
Green Bay needs to keep adding pieces to that side of the ball, though, especially with Clay Matthews likely gone in free agency and Nick Perry being a potential salary cap casualty.
The pass rush needs to get better, and the Packers luck into value here with Sweat falling into their laps. Green Bay could also make a splash at wide receiver or target a safety, but fortunately, they have another first-rounder to use later on.
Miami Dolphins – Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
I actually picked the Dolphins as Murray’s landing spot when I broke down the Oklahoma quarterback’s odds to be taken in round one, so why go away from that now?
Miami is said to be prepared to move on from franchise passer Ryan Tannehill, and the odds are good new head coach Brian Flores will want to pick his own guy.
That could be Murray, who is undecided about his future but has the talent to be a star in the NFL. Murray lacks ideal size, but he’s a mobile quarterback who just got done dropping sick numbers in college football.
Miami has little to lose here, and they need a passer, so this marriage makes sense.
Atlanta Falcons – Jeffery Simmons, DL, Mississippi State
The Falcons seem pretty set offensively, but their defense has eroded over the past couple of years. Atlanta really had a tough time against the run last year, though (8th most rushing yards allowed), so addressing their front line could be wise.
Atlanta has said retaining interior defensive lineman Grady Jarrett is a priority, but what if they can’t? The team may want to bring in Simmons as a replacement option. He has an elite burst accompanied with great size, so he could be the perfect insurance plan.
Washington Redskins – Will Grier, QB, West Virginia
I personally don’t know if the Redskins have to draft a franchise quarterback in the first round, but the need is obvious. Alex Smith (leg) is probably sidelined for 2019 and may never play again (or be the same), so Washington really needs to think about their long-term prospects under center.
Right now, Colt McCoy is it, and that’s clearly unacceptable. I’m sure the Redskins will bring in someone to be their starter this year, but no matter who it is, it’s tough to buy them being the guy for years down the road.
Is Will Grier a lock to be the answer? No, but Washington can throw a dart at either him or Daniel Jones and hope for the best. Nobody will be able to say they didn’t try.
Of the two passing prospects, I slightly prefer Grier. He was more prolific and overall a bit more fluid. That may allow for a higher ceiling, although I’m not sure either player is a bad dart throw in the middle of the first round.
Carolina Panthers – Devin White, LB, LSU
This one is pretty simple for me. Carolina could consider a wide receiver here, but they’ve got some weapons and can always sign one off the streets. What they really need to do is rehab a defense that regressed in 2018.
Thomas Davis is also exiting this offseason, so the Panthers may want to bring in some fresh blood at linebacker. White is probably talented enough to be taken earlier, but needs elsewhere may push him down. It’s a perfect match for Carolina.
Cleveland Browns – Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
The Browns have been loading up on both sides of the ball and finally found their answer at quarterback, so the playoffs are in sight in 2019. They’re trending in such a positive direction, in fact, that Bovada has handed the Browns +3000 Super Bowl 54 odds.
You can get in on the action early and bet on the Browns to win the Super Bowl, but I’d still prefer the price to be a little more attractive.
I’ll also believe them winning a title when I see it, but there’s no denying Cleveland is no longer the laughing stock of the NFL. If they really want to get to that “super” level, however, they need to keep getting better on defense.
Cleveland still gave up the fifth-most rushing yards in 2018 and doesn’t appear to have much beyond Larry Ogunjobi.
Adding more talent to the middle of their defensive line may be a good idea for Cleveland, and someone like Clemson’s Christian Wilkins could be a solid fit.
Minnesota Vikings – Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
Anthony Barr is a free agent this offseason and may price himself out of town. He’s a great athlete and can be an impact defender, but it’s worth noting he wasn’t always consistent.
If Barr moves on, Minnesota needs to find a new body to plug into their defense. That could end up being Michigan’s Bush, who has proven to be an effective blitzer in the college ranks.
Tennessee Titans – Brian Burns, DE/OLB, Florida State
The Titans have been pretty competitive over the last two seasons, yet they have a lot of areas to address. Their offense remains incredibly shorthanded, while a surging defense could still use a few pieces.
If there is a tight end worth taking here, Tennessee should consider it, but I’d prefer to keep attacking a defense that was merely a middle-of-the-pack unit in terms of sacks. Tennessee could also use some added depth with the retirement of Brian Orakpo.
That could lead them to someone like Florida State’s Brian Burns, who showed his upside with 10 sacks during the 2018 college football season.
Pittsburgh Steelers – Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
The Steelers could be parting ways with superstar wide receiver Antonio Brown this offseason, as he’s had a very public spat with the front office and also has some domestic violence allegations against him.
One way or another, the 30-year-old isn’t long for Pittsburgh, and the Steelers would be smart to make sure the offense doesn’t experience a steep decline at the wide receiver position. Pittsburgh largely seems set up for success with both JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington on the roster, but bringing in more help can’t hurt.
Oklahoma burner Marquise Brown should suffice, as he’s displayed big play ability and is rather fast. Should Brown last this long in round one, he just might be the perfect replacement for, er, Brown.
Seattle Seahawks – Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
The Seahawks could go in a few directions, as safety Earl Thomas is likely gone, the offense doesn’t have a star tight end, and they are always in need of a big-time wide receiver.
However, the Seahawks do not have a great offensive line, and their best pass blocker, Duane Brown, is going to be 34 when the 2019 season begins.
Seattle needs to invest in the long-term health of Russell Wilson and go get someone like Greg Little.
At worst, Little projects as a future starter, while he can round out the o-line as depth in the interim.
Baltimore Ravens – Kelvin Harmon, WR, N.C. State
Eric Weddle could leave, some don’t feel Lamar Jackson is worth sticking with at quarterback, and Baltimore doesn’t have a true feature back. These are all potentially big issues, but they’re fixed if Weddle stays in town and Jackson is the real deal.
Having a true featured rusher is overrated, anyways.
If Jackson is going to succeed, though, Baltimore needs to get him better weapons. John Brown is a fun speedster, but he’s not very consistent and is prone to injuries. Michael Crabtree is in decline and may end up getting cut, which would leave Willie Snead as the only other viable pass-catcher.
Baltimore needs to get serious here and give Lamar Jackson some help. Harmon has the big frame and ball skills to be an absolute monster. Just look at what he did in college.
Baltimore has a burner and a possession guy, but they lack a dude who can flat-out take over games. That could be Harmon if things break just right.
Houston Texans – Yodny Cajuste, OT, West Virginia
The Texans are mostly set with their offensive skill players, so they either need to add a new defensive piece or patch up their offensive line.
My guess would be they focus on improving the latter, seeing as prized franchise passer Deshaun Watson was obliterated to the tune of a league-high 62 sacks in 2018.
Live look at Deshaun Watson after taking all those hits:
Yeah, it wasn’t good.
Watson deserves better than that, and if Houston expects him to stay healthy, they need to protect him going forward. Bringing in a talented young tackle like Cajuste could help.
Oakland Raiders (from Bears) – D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
The Raiders made a splash with an athletic defensive star early in the 2019 NFL Draft mock, so here they go back to the offense to get Derek Carr a new weapon.
Metcalf could be Jon Gruden’s answer to the departed Amari Cooper. Cooper struggled with consistency and was due a massive payday, so Gruden traded him out of town and can turn one of his first-round picks into a cheaper (and possibly better) version.
Philadelphia Eagles – Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
The first running back taken in the 2019 NFL Draft is probably going to be Alabama’s Josh Jacobs. Lead rusher is a devalued position in the league, and this isn’t an amazing running back class, but I still think Jacobs will hear his name called in round one.
Some NFL mock drafts think it happens far earlier, but I don’t see the need until Philly picks here at the 25th spot. They do need help in the backfield, however, seeing as Darren Sproles is a million years old, and Jay Ajayi is both a free agent and returning from a brutal injury.
The Eagles could join the Le’Veon Bell sweepstakes, but if they don’t, they may want to think about adding this versatile monster to their roster.
Indianapolis Colts – N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
Indy is another team that will surely be in the market for an offensive weapon or two. The team does have T.Y. Hilton and Eric Ebron to lean on, but there’s little else behind them.
Wide receiver should be a problem area the Colts address, while running back and a couple of defensive spots are also in the running.
My vote is for wide receiver, though, especially if someone as talented as Harry can slide to them at the 26th pick. Harry has the size and ball skills to dominate at the next level and also provides an element to Indy’s passing game they simply lack right now.
Oakland Raiders (from Cowboys) – Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
The Raiders can add to their o-line, grab a stud running back, or keep piling on with other defensive positions. Pick your poison and argue it all day; I’ll still agree with you.
Oakland is simply starving for talent, and the idea is to address problems, but more than that, to just bring in guys who can make a big impact in a hurry. I think Baker does both, especially since the Raiders already struggle to defend the pass, and free agency could make that even harder.
Baker is one of the best defensive backs in an admittedly weak class for the position, but the Raiders need to take logical stabs when they have the chance.
Wrapping up the first round, Ed Oliver, D.K. Metcalf, and Baker could reel in three difference-makers for a team lacking much talent to speak of.
Los Angeles Chargers – Dexter Lawrence, DL, Clemson
The Bolts are a team loaded with really nice talent on both sides of the ball, so picking a weakness that aligns with available talent this late in round one may not be easy.
That being said, I suspect the Chargers will try to get better in the trenches. That could be either line, but for now, I like them to attack the defense, where Dexter Lawrence may be too good to pass up.
Corey Liuget missed most of last season and costs a ton of money, so it will be interesting to see if the Chargers opt to move on from him. That could save them cash, and if Lawrence is here, they could land his replacement at the same time.
Kansas City Chiefs – Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
The Chiefs need to get fresh talent on defense, and everybody knows it. KC is stacked on offense, and that’ll be the case for a few years. They were not good on defense in 2018, however, as they allowed the sixth-most rushing yards and the second-most passing yards.
Kansas City did a great job putting pressure on the opposing quarterback (tied for league lead in sacks), so just imagine the improvement they could see if they could cover anyone.
I think losing Marcus Peters and not having a completely healthy Eric Berry hurt this defense, so bringing in anyone that can help should do wonders. Murphy is one of the more talented corners available, so the Chiefs need to aim high here and make him their pick.
Green Bay Packers (from Saints) – Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
The Packers get to pick again thanks to a trade with the Saints last year, and I’d bet they again attack their defense. Green Bay has a few nice pieces, but they basically need two new safeties until proven otherwise.
Thompson could give them another Alabama product to replace one they traded away in Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Presently projected to be the top safety in this draft class, Thompson has the size and athleticism of a stud.
If Green Bay is patient, Thompson could be a massive steal.
Los Angeles Rams – Jachai Polite, DE/OLB, Florida
Dante Fowler Jr. and Ndamukong Suh could both exit in free agency, so one way or another, that stacked Rams defense is going to need to patch up some holes.
I would imagine one of those guys could be back, but considering Suh is closer to the end of his career, the odds are good Fowler will crave the big payday instead of him.
That leads me to a pass rusher on the outside, and someone like Polite may suit LA’s fancy. They could also take a look at the next edge rusher available, so mix and match these guys how you see fit.
New England Patriots – Jaylon Ferguson, DE/OLB, Louisiana Tech
The Pats have the luxury of having few glaring holes, and as Peter King noted on The Herd this week, they have a whopping six draft choices within the first 98 picks.
New England is going to keep building like a bunch of loons, but one thing they definitely need is more help in rushing the passer.
You wouldn’t have guessed it based on their insane pressure in Super Bowl 53, but their defense actually ranked 30th in getting after the quarterback in 2018.
That’s, um, not good.
New England is better than that, but the numbers obviously don’t lie. They could stand to inject some more explosiveness in their pass rush, and someone like Jaylon Ferguson could help a lot.
Just to be clear, the Pats could lose a slew of guys this offseason, most notably star tight end Rob Gronkowski. If he indeed retires, a tight end could be a popular staple of New England Patriots mock drafts.
The 2019 NFL Draft could go in a number of directions. For the first time in a while, though, there isn’t a can’t miss quarterback prospect or the immediate need for one to the point where anyone should mortgage their team’s future to chase one down.
There are some good ones available, assuming no surprises pop up. Dwayne Haskin, Drew Lock, and Kyler Murray feel like round-one locks. Daniel Jones and Will Grier could make it inside the first round, too.
How many quarterbacks get drafted and which one goes first are two NFL Draft prop bets you’ll surely see in due time. This first crack at mocking this year’s draft should do two things: eventually help prepare you for those NFL Draft betting situations and also help you gauge what your favorite team might do in late April.
This is my first mock of the draft season, and a lot can change. The Combine, Pro Days, and injuries can help fluctuate draft stock, while free agency can alter team needs.
A lot has yet to be decided, but there’s no time like now to look ahead to what the 2019 NFL season can bring. Thanks for stopping by, and feel free to comment on whether you agree/disagree with who I have slotted for your team.
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