With the NFL Draft near, it’s time to publish our official 2019 mock draft. Unlike last year’s draft, this draft is actually clear on who the top two picks are going to be. After that, however, it’s anyone’s guess. In a draft filled with depth on the defensive side of the ball, will teams stick with their selection and take the best player available? Or will they move up to grab the few offensive centerpieces? Let’s discuss by going through each pick in the first round.
#1 Pick: Arizona Cardinals Select QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
Are the Cardinals really about to move on from quarterback Josh Rosen just one season after selecting him with the tenth overall pick in last year’s draft? All signs point to that being the case; the team will almost certainly select Kyler Murray with the first overall pick. There are plenty of rumors circulating between the team and the player. The fit is also there; Murray is an ideal fit in new head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s spread out offensive scheme. He’s also coming off of a season in which he won the Heisman Trophy, and his accuracy and mobility give him a ceiling similar to Russell Wilson. His game is tailored to today’s NFL, and although he may have not been successful in a previous era of football, he’ll be the Cardinals starting quarterback for years to come. As appealing as taking a defensive player would be, selecting Murray is probably the best idea if they are able to receive proper compensation for Rosen.
#2 Pick: 49ers Select EDGE Nick Bosa, Ohio State
Murray going #1 overall is a dream come true for the 49ers; they are able to select the most valuable defensive player in this year’s draft in edge rusher Nick Bosa. Though he missed almost all of the college football season last year due to a core injury, there are no red flags with the 21-year-old’s play on the field. Though his brother Joey has been a star for the Chargers, the younger Bosa is described as the better player, which is downright scary. The team has already met with Bosa several times, and he’ll establish one of the league’s best pass rushing duos with new addition Dee Ford, complementing interior defensive lineman DeForest Buckner. After finishing just 21st in sack percentage last season, that would be quite the turnaround for the team. Consider this a lock at this point.
#3 Pick: Giants Trade Up With Jets and Select QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
There have been so many conflicting reports surrounding quarterback Dwayne Haskins and the New York Giants, that it’s hard to decide whether the team actually wants to select him in this draft. The 21-year-old met with the Giants recently, yet there are plenty of reports that the team does not want to select a signal caller with the 6th overall pick. Could these reports be a smokescreen to prevent another team from trading up for Haskins? I believe so. The team can’t seriously believe that Eli Manning can continue to be counted on under center. It’s time to find the long-term answer at the game’s most important position, and the team selecting Haskins allows Manning to start for one more season and have a proper send-off before the Ohio State quarterback takes over. Haskins’ quick release will be able to negate some of New York’s offensive line troubles, and he’s able to make throws that few quarterbacks at his stage of progression can make. He’s a terrific fit for the Big Apple, and with him, Saquon Barkley, and more draft picks to come, the team could have the makings of a solid offense for the future. A trade up could be required to get Haskins, however, especially if rumors that the Raiders at #4 want him are true. The price wouldn’t be significant to land him, however; it would not cost a future first-round pick.
#4 Pick: Raiders Select DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama
Though there have been some rumors connecting the Raiders to a quarterback, what the team should and will do is draft the best defensive player available. Though an edge rusher to fill the void left by Khalil Mack would be the ideal pick here, there’s no reason to pass on a player of Williams’ caliber. Oakland’s defense is weak to the point where rather than draft by need, they need to find building blocks. Williams and Maurice Hurst would give the team an outstanding interior pass rush to make up for a lack of an edge rush. Williams is the type of do-it-all defensive tackle that could be a Pro Bowler right away. He’s worthy of the top pick in this draft and may be best overall prospect; the Raiders would be thrilled to land him with the 4th overall selection.
#5 Pick: Buccanneers Select LB Devin White, LSU
Teams are supposed to cover up who they covet in the draft, but unless it’s a huge smokescreen, it looks almost like a lock that the Buccanneers will select linebacker Devin White with the fifth overall pick in the draft. It’s reported that the team is in love with the LSU product; he’ll be able to replace Kwon Alexander, who left for the 49ers in free agency. Josh Allen is still on the board, but that probably won’t sway Tampa Bay’s draft approach; the team clearly is in search for a leader at the middle of new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles’ defense. This could be an identity changing pick for the team.
#6 Pick: Jets Select EDGE Josh Allen, Kentucky
This is the definition of a perfect situation for the Jets; they trade down and secure more draft capital, and are able to select the player they would have selected had they stayed put. New York desperately needs a versatile 3-4 edge rusher in Greg William’s defense, and they have shown a lot of interest in the Kentuck pass rusher. The 21-year-old is not a flawless player, but he had 17 sacks playing in a tough SEC and has terrific speed and explosiveness off the edge. He’s a very similar player to Anthony Barr, who the club actually had a deal with in free agency at one point; they are clearly searching for the type of hybrid linebacker that Allen is. In this world, general manager Mike Maccagnan will able to turn in his draft card the very second the Jets are on the clock.
#7 Pick: Broncos Trade Up With Jaguars To Select QB Drew Lock, Missouri
After trading for Joe Flacco, it may seem like the Broncos will pass on selecting a quarterback in this year’s draft. Don’t be fooled, however; with or without Flacco, Drew Lock has been John Elway’s desired pick since day one. According to multiple reports, Elway has made his love for Lock known since the Senior Bowl, and his interest clearly hasn’t tampered down even after trading for Flacco. With no guaranteed money left after this season on his contract, Flacco can essentially be a one-year stopgap before Lock takes over in the mile high. When he does, he’ll be able to showcase his stellar arm and playmaking ability that makes him a very promising quarterback prospect. He also has great anticipation, a quick release, and has the upside to be a better version of Matthew Stafford. With both Murray and Haskins gone, any team searching for a quarterback early in round one will be left with one option in Lock; Denver may have to trade up to make certain no other team does. This has been a perfect match from the beginning, and it remains one as the draft nears.
#8 Pick: Lions Select CB Byron Murphy, Washington
The Lions have done a terrific job in filling major holes this offseason. They added an impact pass rusher in Trey Flowers, a slot corner in Justin Coleman, and a tight end with some upside in Jesse James. Though Coleman helps the secondary, a true #2 corner opposite of Darius Slay is still not present on the roster. Byron Murphy is one of, if not the best cornerback in this class and profiles as a tremendous ball-hawk in the NFL. Detroit is missing a true playmaker in the secondary, and Murphy is the type of aggressive corner that should do well in Matt Patricia’s defensive scheme. The team hosted Murphy on a top 30 visit; with pass rusher not a huge need and with obvious no trade down partner in this scenario, selecting an impact corner in Murphy could elevate the team to another level after teams constantly picked on whoever was lining opposite of Slay last season.
#9 Pick: Bills Select DT Ed Oliver, Houston
Though the Bills had one of the league’s best defenses last season, it’s clear that they’d like to upgrade the interior of the defensive line; they’ve shown an extensive amount of interest in defensive tackle Ed Oliver, and have met with him several times. The team has two defensive tackles in Star Lotulelei and Harrison Phillips, but neither can be utilized as pass rushers. Oliver may be slightly undersized at 287 pounds, but he has incredible range for a defensive lineman, a consistent motor, and could instantly become one of the league’s better interior pass rushers. After spending big in free agency to upgrade the offensive line and wide receiving corps, it’s time for the team to get younger on defense; with Oliver in the fold, the Bills should be significantly improved if quarterback Josh Allen progresses.
#10 Pick: Jaguars Select OT Jawaan Taylor, Florida
After trading down with the Broncos, the Jaguars are still able to select the player they would have if they kept the 7th overall pick. Jawaan Taylor will be an instant starter at right tackle, a position that the Jaguars must upgrade after releasing Jeremy Parnell. Taylor’s nasty demeanor and run-blocking ability match up with the team’s offensive identity, and he also projects well as a pass blocker. If the team wants the best return from their $88 million investment Nick Foles, then they need to put him in a position to succeed. Adding a player of Taylor’s caliber on the offensive line would be a tremendous pick; he’s one of safest bets in this draft class. Jacksonville has indeed shown a lot of interest in the 21-year-old Florida product; this match looks to be inevitable.
#11 Pick: Bengals Select LB Devin Bush, Michigan
The Bengals desperately need to upgrade a defense that ranked dead last in yards allowed. There are some pieces present in the secondary with William Jackson, Darqueze Dennard, and Jessie Bates, as well as on the defensive line with Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap. However, the linebacking core is a mess and is in desperate need of an overhaul, which started with the release of Vontaze Burfict. Cincinnati should continue this process through the draft by selecting Michigan linebacker Devin Bush with the 11th overall selection. Bush possesses rare athleticism and range for a linebacker that the team currently doesn’t have, uses his instincts well, and his a sneaky pass rusher as well. If he pans out, he could a difference maker for this defense, and his upside is well worth a selection in the top 15. Cincinnati may also feel this way as well; they recently hosted Bush on a top 30 visit and the release of Burfict may signify that they are looking for a linebacker early in the draft.
#12 Pick: Panthers Trade Up With Packers and Select EDGE Montez Sweat, Mississippi State
With Julius Peppers officially retiring, the team needs to acquire its next franchise pass rusher to fill the void that has been there since Peppers left for the Bears in 2010. Montez Sweat wowed the football world by running an incredible 4.41 40 yard dash time and will be coveted by many teams thanks to that speed and his length off the edge. There are legitimate issues with Sweat that do make him a boom or bust prospect, but his ceiling is enough for a team to gamble an early pick on him. The Panthers have met with Sweat on numerous occasions, and look to have serious interest in selecting the Mississippi State product. However, with the Dolphins seeking a high-end pass rusher with the 13th overall pick, Sweat likely won’t still be on the board for them if they stick with the 16th selection. With the Packers having no clear prospect to select with this pick, it makes sense for Carolina to make the small jump to select the prospect they desire. We’ll see if Sweat realizes his ceiling, and it’s a risky move for a team to select him early in the draft. Still, his upside is off the charts, and the Panthers clearly want him.
#13 Pick: Dolphins Select DE Rashan Gary, Michigan
The Dolphins are a clear trade down target; they seem to be tanking in 2019 and could look to acquire more picks for the 2020 draft. However, there is one player that could stop them from doing so. The team is doing “extensive work” on Michigan defensive lineman Rashan Gary, according to the Miami Herald; owner Stephen Ross has familiarity with Gary since he supports the University of Michigan and spends a lot of time in that area. Gary’s ability to play inside and outside gives him the type of flexibility that a Bill Belichick disciple in head coach Brian Flores should value, and his freaky athleticism, quickness, and strength give him the upside to be a star at the next level. Gary’s lack of production in college has concerned some, while he’s clearly not a finished product. That’s fine with the Dolphins, however; there will be no pressure for Gary to produce right away if they are indeed punting on the 2019 season. If Gary falls to #13, which it looks he will, it should be expected that Miami snatches him up right away.
#14 Pick: Falcons Select OL Cody Ford, Oklahoma
Armed with a great skill position talent and a solid quarterback in Matt Ryan, the Falcons have one of the most talented offenses in football. Still, the offensive line is a major weakness, specifically at right tackle; the team released Ryan Schraeder and currently would go into the season with Ty Sambrailo starting at the position. Luckily for them, Cody Ford is available in this scenario, and he makes perfect sense as the pick here. The Oklahoma product can play guard or tackle, giving him tremendous versatility, but he’s a more than capable right tackle; he possesses an excellent combination of power and athleticism. He’d also add a nasty identity to this offensive line and is a good fit in this zone blocking scheme. This is a perfect match for Ford and the Falcons, who have “strong interest” in him, per Vaughn McClure of ESPN.
#15 Pick: Redskins Select WR DK Metcalf, Ole Miss
The Redskins are in desperate need for a long-term answer at quarterback, but with the three main signal callers already off the board, it would behoove the team to address their other main need: wide receiver. There may be no prospect, at least on offense, with as much of a difference between floor and ceiling as DK Metcalf. The Ole Miss product has a ridiculous combination of strength and speed, and wowed scouts at the combine. However, he has an extensive injury history and isn’t a polished prospect by any means. Still, some team is going to take a chance on him, and the Redskins definitely look to be that team. No matter who is under center, they won’t be successful unless the team acquires a new top receiver, which Metcalf would be if he realizes his potential. This is kind of a shot in the dark, but the Redskins are the type of desperate team that would gamble a pick on Metcalf; they need to bring excitement and optimism to a roster that provokes neither at the moment.
#16 Pick: Packers Select TE TJ Hockenson, Iowa
After trading down four spots with the Panthers, the Packers are still able to select the player they should covet: TJ Hockenson. The 21-year-old tight end is a complete product; he has the potential to become an elite receiver and already is a terrific blocker. Moreover, he’s drawn comparisons to Jason Witten and even Rob Gronkowski, and is projected to become one of the league’s best tight ends right away. The Packers currently have Jimmy Graham on the roster, but after he produced just a 59.4 grade from Pro Football Focus, the team would likely release him and save a huge chunk of the $10 million he’s due next season if they have the chance to land Hockenson. Hockenson is a terrific fit for the Packers, in that he’d provide another receiving option for Aaron Rodgers up the seam, while his blocking would help Aaron Jones and the rushing attack. Hockenson’s positional value may drop him a bit in this draft, but he’s a dynamic player, and won’t fall past the Packers, whether they trade down or still possess the #12 pick. DK Metcalf would’ve received consideration here had he been available, but even then, Hockenson would be too difficult for the Packers to pass up on.
#17 Pick: Giants Select EDGE Clelin Ferrell
Now that the Giants have their franchise quarterback in this scenario by selecting Dwayne Haskins, the team can now shift to their next priority: finding a franchise pass rusher. Though he may not have the highest ceiling amongst pass rushers in this draft, Clelin Ferrell may have the highest floor; he projects to be a consistent 8-10 sack type of edge rusher. The 21-year-old Clemson product is a polished pass rusher with a variety of pass rushing moves and could fit in either a 4-3 or 3-4 defensive scheme. The Giants have to figure that they have to get a contributor with this pick since they received it in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade; they’ll prefer to take Ferrell rather than gamble with a low floor, high ceiling type of prospect. If they do choose that route, I can’t blame them; Ferrell is a legitimate first-round talent that makes sense for the Giants if they feel he’s a fit in defensive coordinator James Bettcher’s scheme.
#18 Pick: Vikings Select OL Jonah Williams, Alabama
If Jonah Williams is indeed available with the #18 pick, the Vikings won’t have to think about this pick at all; Williams is the player they should, and probably will crave. The Alabama product is a polished offensive lineman with the ability to play tackle, but with the versatility to shift inside if needed. Williams has outstanding technique and balance, and also is an effective pass and run blocker. Other than his measurements, he doesn’t look to have a clear weakness. Whether he ends up at tackle or guard remains to be seen, but the Vikings desperately need to protect their $84 million investment Kirk Cousins, which they failed to do last season. By selecting Williams, the team either has a huge upgrade at guard or could insert Williams at left tackle and move Riley Reiff inside. Either way, there’s no doubt that Williams would be Minnesota’s selection if they are able to.
#19 Pick: Titans Select EDGE Brian Burns, Florida State
With the loss of Brian Orakpo and Derek Morgan, the Titans are changing their identity on defense, and look to be getting younger. The team has a strong defense already, but they lack a pass rusher opposite of Harold Landry. Brian Burns is not a finished product by any means, but his upside is through the roof with rare explosiveness off the edge. Tennessee has enough talent up front to allow him to develop, something they clearly have an interest in doing, considering the number of times they’ve met with the Florida State prospect. The team does need some offensive reinforcements, but Burns is too good of a prospect to pass up, making this an easy selection for them.
#20 Pick: Steelers Select CB Greedy Williams, LSU
Despite cutting ties with star receiver Antonio Brown, the Steelers still possess one of the best offenses in the NFL. They need to complement it with an improved defense; both linebackers and cornerbacks are needed. With Devin White and Devin Bush long gone at this point, cornerback Greedy Williams is the pick by default. The LSU product has tremendous length and ran an impressive 4.37 40 yard dash at the NFL combine. He also has terrific ball skills, does a good job identifying routes, and moves well laterally. His lack of strength is an issue; he sometimes is overmatched by more physical receivers and is a poor tackler. That makes him likely to not be the first cornerback taken, but his coverage ability would be of huge benefit for a Steelers time that struggled at times to defend the deep ball last season. He’d also be able to be the team’s #2 or #3 corner behind Joe Haden and Steven Nelson next season, and could take over for Haden, who is a free agent after next season, as the #1 corner by his sophomore season. Williams may not be a good fit for all teams with his lack of tackling ability and strength, but his coverage ability does make him a fit for Pittsburgh at pick #20, both short-term and long-term.
#21 Pick: Seahawks Select WR N’Keal Harry, Arizona State
Unless the Seahawks are wowed by a certain prospect, they almost seem like a guarantee to move down since they only have four picks and almost always do so anyway. However, with Doug Baldwin undergoing multiple surgeries, Seattle may feel inclined to snatch up another weapon for $140 million investment Russell Wilson to utilize. The team is lacking a big target in the passing game, which is exactly what N’Keal Harry is. Harry is described as a fearless and relentless player not afraid to catch balls in traffic and be physical. I have concerns over his lack of separation, which is something that has been a theme amongst draft busts at receiver recently. Still, Seattle must like what they see from Harry, since they recently hosted him on a top 30 visit. If Harry pans out, he’d be the exact player Seattle needs desperately; a catch in traffic specialist that can become an effective option in the Red Zone. With the Ravens picking behind them and in need of a receiver as well, they won’t be able to select him if they do indeed trade down, which may cause them to feel obligated to hold onto this selection.
#22 Pick: Patriots Trade Up With Ravens To Select TE Noah Fant, Iowa
After Rob Gronkowski retired, the Patriots have a clear need at tight end. The team did sign tight end Austin Seferian Jenkins, but he’s better served as the team’s number two option, which makes sense since the team usually likes to have two capable tight ends. While the team won’t be in position to land TJ Hockenson, they still can select the other outstanding Iowa tight end by trading up ten spots with the Ravens. Noah Fant is an athletic freak with tremendous speed, size, and jumping. He’s practically a receiver in a tight end’s body, and considering New England’s need for a more athletic receiver anyway, he makes even more sense than Hockenson. He can work up the seam or in the slot, and is an underrated blocker as well. Plus, with multiple third round picks at their service, trading up won’t be as costly for them as it would be for any other team. This would be an unusually aggressive move for the team, but after they broke the norm by taking a running back in Sony Michel last season, it looks as though they’ll go outside the box to address important needs. One thing is for certain: the match of Fant and the Patriots would be scary, to say the least.
#23 Pick: Texans Select OT Andre Dillard, Washington State
After allowing 62 sacks last season and not making any moves in free agency, the Texans will likely select the best offensive lineman available with their first-round selection. Luckily for them, Andre Dillard is the best fit for them, and he remains on the board for their selection in this scenario. The 23-year-old is arguably the best pass blocker in this draft class, and profiles as a starting left tackle. He is athletic, has outstanding length, and is powerful. He does need to work on his run blocking, but Houston needs him to do one thing: protect Deshaun Watson at all costs. He’s more than capable of doing that, and could be the missing piece on the Texans offense. If he’s available for their selection, Dillard might as well pack his bags for Houston before the pick is even made.
#24 Pick: Raiders Select RB Josh Jacobs, Alabama
Though the Raiders may, and probably should use all of their three first-round picks to address the defense, head coach Jon Gruden will likely be too tempted by Josh Jacobs to bypass the chance to select him. Gruden is notorious for wanting to establish the rushing attack, but currently, his top two options at running back are Isaiah Crowell and Jalen Richard. Jacobs is a do-it-all type of running back; he’s a tremendous runner and receiver. His patient and elusive on outside runs, but also is effective on short yardage downs as well. Plus, Jacobs’ did not have a lot of carries at Alabama, meaning he’s fresh and can be a workhorse at the NFL level. I’m not a believer in taking a running back in the first round; it’s been proved over and over again that starters can be found in the later rounds. Still, Jacobs has a chance to be a special offensive weapon, and since this is a mock draft on what teams will likely do, I don’t see a way that Gruden passes on the chance to add a dynamic weapon to his offense.
#25 Pick: Eagles Select DT Jeffrey Simmons, Mississipi State
The Eagles have a pretty sound roster and don’t have any glaring holes. Therefore, they can take a long-term view in this draft, and select defensive tackle Jeffrey Simmons. Simmons suffered an ACL injury that will likely cause him to miss all of the 2019 seasons, but before that, he was a trendy top ten pick. The Mississippi State product is powerful, explosive, rangy, and has serious upside as both a pass rusher and a run defender. Though the injury and some off the field concerns from a 2016 incident lower his stock, there isn’t an obvious weakness to his game. The Eagles have two aging defensive tackles in Fletcher Cox and Malik Jackson, and should look to get younger up front soon. Their current talent gives them the flexibility to let Simmons heal his knee and sit out this season, but they still have plenty of room for a player of his caliber once he returns. This is an amazing match for both the player and the team, and guessing from the fact they’ve met with him multiple times already, it looks Philadelphia also feels this way.
#26 Pick: Colts Select EDGE Jaylon Ferguson, Louisiana Tech
The Colts are in an excellent position heading into the draft; they don’t have any pressing needs, and with so many picks in this draft, can move up for a player they want or sit on their selection and take the best player available on their board. They’ve shown some interest in pass rusher Jaylon Ferguson, hosting him on a pre-draft visit, which makes sense. While pass rusher isn’t a huge need at the moment with Justin Houston and Jabaal Sheard on the roster, both are aging players; edge rusher will be a need in the future. With tremendous length, Ferguson has a lot of promise as a pass rusher but will need to develop and add strength to be a 4-3 defensive end for Indianapolis. However, as mentioned, he’ll be given time to do just that since Indianapolis has enough talent on defense to get by on the short-term, allowing them to benefit greatly in the future. Assuming Ferguson has cleared up any off the field concerns teams may have about him, he’s a sneaky candidate to be a late first-rounder, and trough Indianapolis could try to snatch him with their first second round pick, it doesn’t make sense to take the risk with teams like the Raiders and Ravens showing interest in Ferguson as well.
#27 Pick: Ravens Trade Up With Raiders and Select WR Hakeem Butler, Iowa State
After trading down to the #32 pick, the Ravens trade back up to make sure they get the player they covet: receiver Hakeem Butler. Butler’s ceiling is through the roof a 6’5” receiver with solid speed and is excellent at coming away with 50-50 balls. However, he’s a raw product who struggled with drops in college; selecting him in the first round comes with risk. However, he’d give the Ravens a vertical threat, which they lack, and his big catch radius makes him a fit with Lamar Jackson, who isn’t super accurate. Butler is even from Baltimore, and if a team is going to take a chance on his upside, why not let it be the Ravens, who currently have a run-heavy offense anyway. The trade up is necessary, however; the Chiefs and Packers are potential matches for Butler, while a team such as the 49ers or Bills could make a move to trade back into the first round to select him if Baltimore doesn’t take the initiative first.
#28 Pick: Chargers Select OT Kaleb McGary, Washington
The Chargers are one of the league’s most talented teams, but they do have a short-term need at right tackle and a long-term need at left tackle. They could kill two birds with one stone by selecting Washington tackle Kaleb McGary with the 28th overall pick. McGary was a right tackle in college and could either be an option at left tackle or guard in the future. He’s competitive, powerful, and has a solid frame at 6’7” and 317 pounds. The team has shown interest in McGary, and if they don’t select him with this pick, the Packers at pick #30 or the Rams at pick #31 likely will; Los Angeles will almost certainly select him if available, considering he’s the best remaining offensive tackle at this point of the draft. Fixing the only remaining need could prove to be critical for the team this season.
#29 Pick: Chiefs Select C Garrett Bradbury, NC State
The Chiefs defense was atrocious last season, but with no obvious fit for them for a prospect on that side of the ball, the team can address another priority: replacing center Mitch Morse, who signed with the Bills in free agency. Garrett Bradbury is an agile and strong center who is an excellent pass protector. His pass protection and agility fits well with Kansas City’s offensive scheme, which tends to be quick-moving and pass-heavy. With this pick, the Chiefs would be able to shore up their one remaining offensive need. With two second-round picks at their arsenal, they still have plenty of time to find defensive upgrades in a draft full of depth on that side of the ball. This is the classic and correct move of picking the best player available.
*Edit: Chiefs Traded Selection To Seahawks For DE Frank Clark. SEA selects S Chauncey Gardner Johnson, Florida.
#30 Pick: 49ers Trade Up With Packers To Select WR AJ Brown, Ole Miss
It’s no secret that the 49ers are looking to find a top receiver for Kyle Shanahan’s offense; they’ve been linked to multiple receivers already this offseason. Though using the #2 pick on a receiver would be a massive reach, trading back into the first round to select a receiver such as AJ Brown would make a lot of sense. Brown is a terrific route runner, works well out of the slot, and is excellent in short yardage situations and running after the catch. He’s also a willing blocker, which works well in Shanahan’s scheme that emphasizes zone running. San Francisco desperately needs a possession, catch in traffic specialist to complete their offense. Brown could be that guy for them, which would explain why the team recently hosted him on a top 30 visit. They’d have to likely trade back into the first round to get him, however; the Cardinals and Colts possess the top two picks in the second round and also are looking to upgrade at receiver.
#31 Pick: Rams Select DT Dexter Lawrence, Clemson
After letting go of Ndamukong Suh in free agency (at least for the moment), the Rams need to find his replacement along the defensive line. In that case, Dexter Lawrence makes a lot of sense and is a perfect fit for their defensive scheme. For starters, the Clemson product profiles perfectly as a 3-4 defensive end and excels as a run stuffer. Considering the team already has Aaron Donald to rush the passer on the interior, the team would only need Lawrence to take attention away from Donald and stop the run. Don’t be fooled by his staggering 342-pound frame, however; the 21-year-old is also a relentless bull rusher who impresses with his athletic ability. Assuming the Rams go defensive tackle with this selection – there is enough interior offensive line depth for them to address it later – this selection comes down to Lawrence or other Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins. Considering they’ve already met with Lawrence, who is a better scheme fit for them, it’s likely that they select him with this pick if they choose to address the defensive front and if he’s still available.
#32 Pick: Redskins Trade Up With Raiders To Select QB Daniel Jones, Duke
Assuming a trade for Josh Rosen doesn’t happen, the Redskins are interested in selecting a signal caller in the first round, according to Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.Com. After passing on a quarterback at #15 for DK Metcalf in this scenario, the team would need to trade back into the first round to select the last remaining quarterback that teams have a first-round grade on Daniel Jones. Jones is an athletic and fundamentally sound quarterback who played in a pro-style scheme at Duke and is probably the best anticipator in this draft when it comes to reading blitzes and coverages. Still, he has a very low ceiling with average arm strength and a lot of inconsistency and is clearly a notch down from the top three quarterbacks in this draft. He’s basically a Ryan Tannehill 2.0 with the ceiling of Andy Dalton, making him destined to be a very mediocre quarterback. However, that’s the type of quarterback the Redskins are looking for; they need any sort of young talent that they can plug in under center and compete with Case Keenum. If Jones is available at the end of the first round, expect the team to trade to secure him and the fifth year option that comes with first round picks.