With the 2018 NFL trade deadline having passed Tuesday, we have a good early idea of where teams might be picking in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
The Raiders have three picks among the first 32 to use in their rebuilding process under coach Jon Gruden. The Packers also are sitting on a pair of first-round picks.
Here’s an early look at the picks teams should be pondering for April, with the order based on a combination of reverse Super Bowl 53 odds and Sporting News’ projected rankings.
NFL Mock Draft 2019
1. Oakland Raiders: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
The Raiders will decide between Oliver and Nick Bosa, assuming they don’t part ways with Derek Carr for 2019. Oliver can be the next great inside disruptor in the NFL, and it will be hard for Gruden or anyone picking at No. 1 not to believe that.
2. New York Giants: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
The 2019 QB class is still sorting itself out, as there are no surefire first-rounders like there were in 2018. Herbert might return to the Ducks, but if he does not, the Giants will want his big arm, big frame (6-6, 231 pounds) and big-time athleticism to replace Eli Manning.
3. San Francisco 49ers: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
The 49ers did not expect to free-fall this hard because of injuries, but now they can take advantage of it and pair the now-resting and healing Bosa with Solomon Thomas, a freakish edge pass-rush combination John Lynch can’t resist.
MORE: If Bosa’s decision isn’t for you, then college football won’t be, either
4. Buffalo Bills: A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
The Bills have a remedial receiving corps during a passing boom era in which most teams are loaded three or four deep. Brown can help them catch up in a hurry with his physicality and innate playmaking skills to be a go-to guy for Josh Allen, all the way through the red zone.
5. Arizona Cardinals: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
As the Bills must give Allen wideout help, the Cardinals desperately need to give Josh Rosen better protection. Arizona has let its front crumble, and Williams (6-5, 301 pounds) can be an instant remedy as the best of a good class at the position.
6. Cleveland Browns: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
We don’t know if interim head coach Gregg Williams (no relation) will run the defense again next year, but regardless, the Browns won’t be showing avarice at the position to pair Greedy with 2018 first-rounder Denzel Ward.
7. Denver Broncos: DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia
The Broncos still have Chris Harris Jr. manning the slot, but they have struggled to make plays on the ball outside. Baker is the aggressive ballhawk they need after they passed on Ward in 2018.
8. New York Jets: Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
The Jets are pretty good inside and in the secondary, but they need a game-changing pass rusher. Ferrell (6-5, 260 pounds) is big, long and mean, made to engulf QBs as the best of several stud Tigers up front.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
The Buccaneers can make up for passing on Derwin James in 2018 by addressing their glaring defensive weakness in covering the middle of the field. Thompson (6-2, 196 pounds) is the rangy playmaker they need to clean up against the pass, and he’s solid in run support, too.
10. Tennessee Titans: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
The Titans have seen Marcus Mariota struggle without go-to tight end Delanie Walker, and Jonnu Smith has failed to prove he can be a replacement. Walker turns 35 next year as he tries come back from a major ankle injury. Fant is a special receiver and matchup nightmare in the Zach Ertz-Travis Kelce mold.
11. Jacksonville Jaguars: Ryan Finley, QB, N.C. State
Drew Lock, Will Grier, Daniel Jones, Jarret Stidham and others are in the mix to emerge as first-round QBs through the draft process, but not one of them has as much pro-style appeal as Finley has at the moment. He checks all the boxes with the “it” factor coming more from his smarts and efficiency than one standout tool.
12. Miami Dolphins: Joe Jackson, EDGE, Miami (Fla.)
The Dolphins need to rebuild at defensive end with 36-year-old pending free agent Cameron Wake on one side and fading veteran Robert Quinn on the other. They don’t need to look far to find someone who projects to be an explosive pass-rusher in a 4-3 defense.
13. Detroit Lions: Rashan Gary, DT, Michigan
The Lions have excelled in fortifying their offensive line, and now they need to work on their defensive line with Ziggy Ansah going to free agency before his age-30 season. Gary has the versatility as an inside-outside pass rusher and run stopper that should appeal to Matt Patricia.
14. Indianapolis Colts: N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
The Colts are humming in the passing game with Andrew Luck throwing to T.Y. Hilton, Chester Rogers, Jack Doyle, Eric Ebron and their backs. But they could use a big, strong outside No. 2. Harry carries an impressive catch radius at 6-4, 216 pounds, and he matches it with great hands and leaping ability.
15. Oakland Raiders (from Dallas): Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
If the Radiers can get Oliver early, their focus will turn to a pass-rusher who can help them recover from the Khalil Mack trade. Allen has many of Mack’s qualities as a hybrid end/outside linebacker who can take over games with his relentless disruption of QBs and RBs alike.
MORE: Each team’s worst-ever draft pick
16. Atlanta Falcons: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
The Falcons have addressed the edge in recent first rounds with Vic Beasley and Takk McKinley, but they could use more beef inside to flank Grady Jarrett. Atlanta would do well going back to ‘Bama after for a stud interior player rising up draft boards.
17. Seattle Seahawks: Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama
He’s right there with his teammate Williams in being a near surefire first-rounder. The Seahawks should see the potential in him to be another Michael Bennett with his combination of power and quickness to make big plays at both end and tackle.
18. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago): Devin White, ILB, LSU
After getting Oliver and Allen to change the outlook of their pass rush, the Raiders can focus their attention on getting a much-needed, high-flying playmaker to make an impact all over the field for Paul Guenther. White is the kind of exciting athlete Oakland loves.
19. Baltimore Ravens: Jalen Jelks, OLB, Oregon
The Ravens need to find their true successor to Terrell Suggs. At 6-6, 245 pounds, Jelks has a variety of explosive moves to get to the QB, but he might be an even stronger force against the run.
20. Washington Redskins: Anfernee Jennings, ILB, Alabama
The Redskins have improved their run defense with former Crimson Tide defensive linemen Jonathan Allen and Da’Ron Payne. Getting Jennings to line up with Zach Brown would be a coup.
MORE: All-time biggest NFL draft regrets
21. Houston Texans: Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
With Jonah Williams off the board, the Texans shouldn’t fret too much, because they can still find a potential stud left tackle here. Little (6-5, 325 pounds) has the agility and athleticism to improve Deshaun Watson’s blindside pass protection.
22. Cincinnati Bengals: Te’von Coney, OLB, Notre Dame
The Bengals have been struggling to stop the run and cover backs and tight ends, as the second-level play has been mostly bad and has gotten worse with Vontaze Burfict not able to stay on the field. Coney can shore up both areas with his ranginess.
23. Carolina Panthers: Dre’Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State
Bosa’s absence at Ohio State has given Jones more of a spotlight for his inside pass-rush skills; he even showed off his great big-man athleticism with a pick-six against TCU. Kawann Short is locked up with a contract in Carolina, but an NFL team can never have enough disruptive defensive linemen. Jones might line up as the best player available with this pick.
24. Green Bay Packers: Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame
The Packers have done a lot of secondary drafting in recent years with mixed results. Jaire Alexander looks like the real deal, but Green Bay could use another fluid athlete in coverage to allow Mike Pettine to be as aggressive as he would like to be with the front seven.
25. Philadelphia Eagles: Bryce Love, RB, Stanford
The Eagles have tried to make it work with a backfield committee without draft pedigree, but they should like the idea of bringing Bryce to the City of Brotherly Love.
26. Pittsburgh Steelers: T.J. Edwards, ILB, Wisconsin
The Steelers go back to the Badgers for another T.J. to put in their linebacker corps, this time to help replace Ryan Shazier’s hard-nosed play against the run and active coverage skills.
27. Minnesota Vikings: Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame
At 6-7, 305 pounds, Tillery has been an absolute beast working as three-technique. He has matured with his play and temperament to unleash his pass-rush skills. (See his four-sack game against Stanford.) Mike Zimmer loves front-seven depth, and Sheldon Richardson will be a free agent in 2019.
28. Los Angeles Chargers: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
Lawrence might not drop this far in the draft, but the possibility shows just how deep this interior defensive line class is. Brandon Mebane is a 33-year-old pending free agent, and Lawrence can do a lot more than run-stuff to complement Corey Liuget and Joey Bosa.
29. Los Angeles Rams: Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
The Rams rely on Aaron Donald to lead the pass-rush charge, but Wade Phillips needs a young stud who can get to the QB consistently from the edge. At 6-6, 245 pounds, Sweat has great upside and can potentially pair nicely with just-acquired Dante Fowler Jr.
30. Kansas City Chiefs: Taylor Rapp, S, Washington
The Chiefs have been injury-ravaged at safety in 2018, with Eric Berry and Daniel Sorensen yet to play a down and with rookie Armani Watts out for the season. Rapp can be a long-term, all-around answer at either safety position, and Berry turns 30 in December.
MORE: Biggest steals in NFL Draft history
31. New England Patriots: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
He’s a versatile, disruptive lineman from a pedigreed championship program. That sounds like a player who should beeline from Dabo Swinney to Bill Belichick.
32. Green Bay Packers (from New Orleans): Zach Allen, EDGE, Boston College
Clay Matthews is slowing down, and Nick Perry has not lived up to his contract. The Packers need to revamp at outside linebacker, and Allen would be ideal rushing the passer in Pettine’s scheme.
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