Thor Nystrom

Mock Drafts

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2019 NFL mock draft

Monday, April 30, 2018

Note: The order of this mock draft was derived from the inverse of Mike Clay’s pre-Draft record projections.


1. Buffalo Bills- Houston DT Ed Oliver


The Bills will still badly need a No. 1 receiver at this time next year, but 1.1 might be a tad early for A.J. Brown. It’s not too early for Oliver, who has been dominating at the collegiate level since becoming the rare five-star recruit to sign with a Group of 5 team (16.5 TFL last year despite constant double teams). Oliver is a special prospect. Had he been allowed to declare for this past draft, he would have been a top-10 pick... and maybe even a top-five pick. They don't make them any more disruptive.


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2. Miami Dolphins- Ohio State DE Nick Bosa


The Dolphins still need help all over. If Ryan Tannehill returns to the promising pre-injury form he showed in 2016, perhaps they’ll be able to use their premium 2019 pick to continue to shore up the defense after snagging the do-everything Minkah Fitzpatrick on Thursday. In Ohio State’s loaded defensive line rotation where he didn’t play every snap, Bosa still managed 8.5 sacks and 16 TFL last year. He’s a similar prospect to his brother... and he may even turn out to be a tick better due to slightly better athleticism.


3. New York Giants- Oregon QB Justin Herbert


The Giants opted not to address the quarterback position in the 2018 NFL Draft until they popped Kyle Lauletta in Round 4. I project him as a long-term backup. They'll get another shot to draft the quarterback of the future in 2019 if they finish as poorly as Clay projects. Pairing Herbert with Saquon Barkley sure would be fun. When Herbert got hurt last year, Oregon’s offense went into the tank, Royce Freeman went into the tank, and the program as a whole went into the tank. The kid is really, really talented. Right now, however, he’s more tools and promise than he is finished product. But with Freeman out the door, Oregon will build Mario Cristobal’s first offense around Herbert. If Herbert takes off, he'll be a top-10 pick.


4.  New York Jets- Ole Miss T Greg Little


Kudos to the Jets for acquiring their franchise quarterback in Sam Darnold. I wish they would have drafted an offensive lineman or two to keep defensive linemen out of his grill—Darnold is a great prospect, but his hitchy delivery makes it especially important to keep him clean because he needs a split second longer to release the ball. Little, a former all-world recruit, would provide for a nice long-term anchor. The 6-foot-6, 325-pounder pairs outstanding size with light feet and smooth lateral agility to mirror athletic edge rushers.


5. Arizona Cardinals- LSU CB Greedy Williams


With the quarterback position taken care of, Arizona can turn their attention elsewhere next year. They still need a No. 2 cornerback to pair with Patrick Peterson, and Williams enters the 2018 season as the 2019 class’ top corner. Peterson would no doubt be tickled to be playing across from LSU’s next great corner prospect. A tall, skinny corner (6’2/182), Williams is extremely difficult to shake in coverage due to his combination of long speed and quick-twitch agility, and he shows natural ball skills on the rare occasions that SEC quarterbacks decide to test him.


6. Washington Redskins- Georgia CB Deandre Baker


The Redskins did a nice job of plugging holes at DT and RB during the 2018 draft. They failed to address their cornerback need, and that position may be at the top of their 2019 shopping list. Baker is Williams’ top competition for CB1 honors next spring. The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder led the Bulldogs with nine pass breakups last year. The last of his three interceptions came in the title game against Alabama. Baker, who didn't allow a single touchdown last season, briefly considered opting into the 2018 draft before deciding at the last minute to return to Athens. Good decision.


7. Oakland Raiders- LSU LB Devin White


I thought the Raiders might take a linebacker on Thursday night. They opted for Kolton Miller instead. White would look good in black and silver. He’s a game plan wrecker who went off for 133 tackles, 14 TFL, 4.5 sacks and an interception last year. I wouldn't quite put White in Roquan Smith territory as a prospect, but he's safely in the tier below that. White was probably the SEC's No. 2 LB behind Smith last year. He heads into the new season as one of the country's five-best defenders.


8. Denver Broncos- Clemson DT Dexter Lawrence


The Broncos added to their embarrassment of edge rushing riches when they took Bradley Chubb on Thursday night. You know what would make that defense front even scarier? A monster block-eater on the interior. That would be Lawrence. A behemoth freak athlete, the 6-foot-5, 340-pounder is a former five-star recruit who contributed immediately as a true freshman to Clemson’s national championship team. I think he’s a better prospect than Vita Vea.


9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Alabama T Jonah Williams


The Bucs addressed their defensive front last week. Now it’s time to bolster Jameis Winston’s cadre of bodyguards. Donovan Smith isn’t the answer at left tackle. Williams, who’s drawn raves from Alabama’s elite coaching staff since he stepped on campus (he started as a true freshman), is competing with Little and Washington T Trey Adams to be the first tackle off the board next April. Next year’s tackle class will be a lot better than this tackle class was -- as you'll continue to see below.


10. Cincinnati Bengals- Washington T Trey Adams


Speaking of Trey Adams! The Bengals acquired Cordy Glenn and drafted Billy Price this offseason, but they’re not quite done fixing the offensive line. A right tackle is needed, and boy would Adams look nice out there opposite Glenn. Adams may have been a first-rounder had he declared for the draft in January, but he opted to return to the Huskies for another year of protecting Jake Browning’s blindside. The 6-foot-8, 327-pounder is huge and athletic. He’ll be blasting holes open for Myles Gaskin again this fall.


11. Cleveland Browns- Michigan DL Rashan Gary


I thought the Browns made two mistakes during the draft when the bypassed Bradley Chubb at 1.4 and then passed on Harold Landry twice at the top of the second round. Adding the freak athlete Gary to play with Myles Garrett would be all kinds of fun. The 6-foot-5, 287-pound Gary, who logged 12 TFL as part of a rotation last fall, was the No. 1 overall recruit in his class. Gary could also bulk up and move inside at the next level. With athletic tools like he has, he'll produce wherever you want to play him.


12. Seattle Seahawks- Wisconsin T David Edwards


The Seahawks just submitted a puzzling draft in which they overdrafted a pass-blocking averse RB in Rashaad Penny and failed to bolster the beleaguered offensive line in any meaningful way. Edwards would sure help. He may not be Wisconsin’s only offensive linemen who hears his name called in Round 1 next spring (see below), but he'll probably be the first one out of the Green Room. Lemme tell you: Jonathan Taylor will be sad to see him go.


13. Baltimore Ravens- Clemson DE Clelin Ferrell


Last year, the Ravens drafted Tim Williams and Tyus Bowser in a plan-for-the-future play with Terrell Suggs’ career winding down. The jury is still out on Williams and Bowser, so a stud edge rusher would sure be nice in next year’s first round. That’s exactly what you’re getting in Ferrell, who had a shot to go in Round 1 had he declared for the 2018 draft. A long end who effectively converts speed to power, Ferrell is going to have a huge 2018 season on Clemson’s vaunted defensive line that's stocked with potentially four 2019 first-round picks.


14. Chicago Bears- Ole Miss WR A.J. Brown


The Bears signed Allen Robinson and drafted Anthony Miller, but with Kevin White looking like a bust, Chicago is still one stud receiver away from having a truly scary receiving corps to surround Mitch Trubisky with. If you put Brown across from Robinson and let Miller ply his trade in the slot, you’d immediately have one of the NFL’s best young receiving groups. The 6-foot-1, 225-pound Brown is a rocked-up, physical playmaker with star NFL potential. He won’t have Shea Patterson throwing him passes next year, but Jordan Ta’amu flashed in limited exposure last fall.


15. Kansas City Chiefs- Boston College DE Zach Allen


I didn’t love what the Chiefs did in last week’s draft. There’s still a big need for help on the edge. Allen would provide that. Harold Landry’s running mate also probably would have gone in Round 2 had he declared for the 2018 draft. Allen posted 15.5 TFL last year and he’s only getting better. He'll be a first-rounder next spring if that progression continues.


16. Detroit Lions- Alabama DL Raekwon Davis


The Lions prioritized improving the running game last week, zeroing in on OL and RB early. Now it’s time to fix the defensive front. Fortunately, the 2019 draft is ludicrously deep in defensive linemen. Davis is HC Nick Saban’s next stud defensive line pupil. He's a sight to behold on the field. Davis is listed at 6-foot-7, 306 pounds, and there’s plenty of room on that frame to add more muscle. Former Alabama C Bradley Bozeman calls Davis an “animal.” He'd know after having to go head-to-head with Davis in practice the past few years.


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Thor Nystrom is a former associate reporter whose writing has been honored by Rolling Stone magazine and The Best American Essays series. Say hi to Rotoworld's college football writer on Twitter @thorku.
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