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  • Quarterbacks typically rise as the draft process goes on. Our latest first-round projection has two passers going in the top 10, with another moving into the back of Round 1.
By Kalyn Kahler
December 19, 2018

1. Arizona: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Bosa is in a class all his own. No other prospect has his combination of talent and production, and as long as he’s able to perform athletically before the draft, he’s the front-runner to be the No. 1 pick.

KAHLER: What NFL teams think of Nick Bosa after his decision to leave school 

2. Oakland: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
The redshirt sophomore has had a breakout year in his first season as a full-time starter, proving himself against top-level competition in the SEC. Teams might question whether the 19-year-old is ready for the NFL from a maturity standpoint, and one scout said teams just don’t know enough about his character to check off that box, but his play on the field is a sure thing. At 300 lbs, he can be a three-down player in any scheme.

3. N.Y. Jets: Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan
Gary has as much raw talent as any player in this draft and the ability to play the edge or inside, which has pushed him into the top three of our mock. His combination of size and athleticism makes him a difficult matchup because he can win with strength or he can win with his athleticism.

NFL DRAFT BIG BOARD: Bosa No. 1, only one QB cracks top 20 

4. San Francisco: Josh Allen, OLB/DE, Kentucky
San Francisco is set with interior linemen, and pairing Allen with defensive tackle DeForest Buckner would give the 49ers defense a chance to get very good quickly. Allen’s decision to return for his senior season has paid off—e’s bigger, stronger, has improved his pass-rush technique and proven himself a run defender.

5. Jacksonville: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Jacksonville moves on from the Blake Bortles era with Herbert, who was drawing Carson Wentz comparisons earlier this season. It’s unclear whether the redshirt junior will declare for the draft—his younger brother will be a freshman tight end at Oregon next season, and several scouts have heard Herbert is thinking of staying in school to play with his brother. But Herbert is still the favorite to be the top quarterback off the board this spring.

6. Atlanta: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
Oliver may slide out of the top five—his heated sideline argument with Houston head coach Major Applewhite wasn’t a good look, and people took notice when Oliver was running around catching passes during pregame warmups while he was sidelined with a knee injury that kept him out of four of Houston’s final five games this season. Oliver and Alabama’s Quinnen Williams are in close competition to be the first interior D-lineman taken; some teams might like that Oliver has a larger body of work—three seasons as a starter compared to Williams’s one—but Oliver is undersized for an NFL DT. Still, his athleticism is rare for a near-300 pounder, and would likely appeal to a Falcons team whose defense struggled in 2018.

7. Detroit: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
Free-agent-to-be Ziggy Ansah might be done in Detroit, so the Lions will look to bolster the pass rush with Ferrell. Scouts say he’s a talented and productive pass rusher but not a truly special athlete, which could make this his ceiling.

SCOUTS TAKES ON THE D-LINE PROSPECTS: How NFL evaluators view 16 of the top D-line prospects, and one small-school sleeper 

8. N.Y. Giants: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
Wilkins is incredibly nimble for a 315-pounder, and some evaluators believe he could actually contribute on offense, too (Clemson has used him some as a goal-line tailback). Teams wish he was more physical, because there are questions on how he plays the run, but in the passing game, he consistently wreaks havoc.

9. Tampa Bay: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
Tampa Bay has a decision to make on Jameis Winston this offseason, though one choice would be to keep him on his fifth-year option year (2019) as a bridge guy, giving a developmental QB a year to grow before stepping in as an economical option under center. Haskins improved his stock with a late-season run that earned him a Heisman finalist spot. He has all the physical gifts NFL teams look for in quarterbacks—height, arm strength and accuracy. Because he’s a single season-starter, scouts agree that Haskins could benefit from one more year at Ohio State to improve. He looked rattled in performances against TCU and Penn State this season. He still hasn’t announced his decision yet, and likely won’t until after the Rose Bowl.

10. Buffalo: Jonah Williams, OL, Alabama
The Bills have their franchise quarterback in Josh Allen, and now they need to protect him. Williams might not be a left tackle prospect, but he could be a star at right tackle or guard.

11. Green Bay: Jeffrey Simmons, DL, Mississippi State
His background will be examined closely—as a high schooler he pleaded no contest to simple assault after striking a woman several times during a fight—and he’s at risk of being taken off many draft boards. But there’s no doubting Simmons’s ability on the field, “If he didn’t have [off-field red flags], he is a top-10 pick all day long,” one scout told us. Simmons is versatile and, between explosive athleticism and masterful hands, often unblockable.

12. Denver: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
Cornerback depth has been a problem for Denver all season. The long, ball-hawking Williams would upgrade one of Denver’s major weaknesses.

13. Cincinnati: Devin White, LB, LSU
The Bengals get a three-down linebacker and playmaker to contribute to a defense badly in need of a spark. He’s not as instinctive as Roquan Smith and may not be quite the college player Smith was, but his athletic traits are superior to Smith’s, which says a lot. And that’s why White is seen as a potential Pro Bowler as a middle linebacker.

14. Carolina: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
Lawrence is primarily an early-down run-stuffer, but he has a rare combination of size and athleticism and has flashed upside in the pass-rush. His gargantuan body type is really hard to find (6' 4", 350 lbs.) which makes him an intriguing pick for Carolina’s defense.

15. Cleveland: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
Brown is a 325-pounder who explodes off the snap and consistently disrupts the backfield. He can really run for a big guy. One scout raved about Brown’s upside: “He is just scratching the surface. There is a lot of good football in front of him.”

16. Miami: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
Xavien Howard leads the league in interceptions, but the Dolphins are still thin at cornerback. Baker doesn’t have Greedy Williams’s length, but he might be the best pure cover man in this draft class.

17. Washington: Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
Little has the potential to develop into a franchise left tackle and in a draft short on offensive linemen, his stock will be rise. Washington could use a “Little” help for it’s injury-depleted offensive line.

18. Philadelphia: Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama
Where Quinnen Williams is the man creating havoc inside, Davis is the probably more experienced and complete player, stout against the run and capable of disruption as a pass-rusher. His ceiling may not be as high, but he should be a very solid pro.

19. Indianapolis: Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State
Despite overachieving this season, the Colts’ defensive roster is currently undergoing a rebuilding effort. Every position could be in play for an upgrade, though no one position stands out as a urgent need. If the Colts are looking for edge help, Sweat is a powerful pass rusher, but comes with character concerns after a rocky start to his collegiate career at Michigan State.

20. Tennessee: Dre’Mont Jones, DL, Ohio State
He’s still raw, but Jones can be molded a number of different ways as a 290-pounder who moves like a much smaller man. He’d be a nice, high-upside piece for Mike Vrabel and Dean Pees to develop.

21. Minnesota: Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma
The Vikings still need to improve the offensive line, and Ford is versatile and talented, the kind of capable run-blocker Mike Zimmer would advocate for.

22. Oakland (via Dallas): Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
The Raiders need to rebuild the defense at every level, and the instinctive Bush would be an immediate leader for the new-look defense. Bush’s performance, motor, leadership, athleticism … none of that is questioned. If he was bigger, we might be putting him in the same category as Devin White, as a three-down linebacker. As it is, he’s listed at 5' 11" and 230 pounds (and there’s suspicion among evaluators that he’s smaller than that).

23. Baltimore: A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
The first receiver off the board goes to Baltimore, who is looking for help for Lamar Jackson. The Ravens have been rotating in a series of veteran receivers, but haven’t had a true No. 1 in years. Brown can make tough catches in traffic and has the size and strength to develop into a physical, catch-and-run possession threat.

KAHLER: Another down year for draft wide receivers 

24. Pittsburgh: Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson
The Steelers have been looking for more consistency at cornerback, and Mullen has the size and speed to be developed into a top-flight corner.

25. Seattle: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
The best safety in the draft, Thompson is having a breakout season as a redshirt junior. Nick Saban defensive backs are always coached up, and Thompson has the kind of instincts and range to step into Earl Thomas’s old spot in Seattle’s secondary.

26. New England: Jachai Polite, DE/OLB, Florida
Aside from Trey Flowers, the Patriots have been rolling out a middling group of pass rushers. Polite would provide a more explosive presence coming off the edge, especially as he improves his technique.

27. Oakland (via Chicago): Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
The Raiders have a handful of first round picks and this one, from the Khalil Mack trade, gets Derek Carr an offensive weapon. Fant’s talent is hard to deny, and as a receiver it really is all there—if it was just about that, he’d be a slam-dunk first-round pick. But he clashed some with coaches, and hasn’t always been the most enthusiastic blocker.

28. L.A. Chargers: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
L.A. turns its eyes to the heir to Philip Rivers. Jones is a good-sized pocket passer who has been coached by David Cutcliffe, the same man who coached both Manning brothers. Other quarterbacks who could also contend as late first rounders are Missouri’s Drew Lock and West Virginia’s Will Grier.

29. Houston: Michael Deiter, C/G, Wisconsin
Deiter is a borderline first round pick, but the Texans are in desperate need of offensive line help and Deiter played the best of Wisconsin’s draft-eligible bunch this season. He is technically sound and has played all over the line, but is a best fit at guard or center in the NFL.

30. L.A. Rams: Brian Burns, DE/OLB, Florida State
Even if they retain Dante Fowler as a free agent, the Rams are in need of edge-rushing help. Burns is long, flexible, though he also might be a little too light (220 pounds) to set the edge in the run game. A scout told us, “If you draft him, you know he can be a factor right away as a sub-downs player.”

31. Kansas City: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
A versatile and aggressive corner, Murphy would brings ball skills and the ability to cover the slot to a Chiefs defense looking to solidify on the back end. He’s on the small side but more than willing to step up in run support.

32. Green Bay (via New Orleans): Zach Allen, DL, Boston College
The Packers have invested heavily in the secondary the past couple drafts (and were happy enough with the returns to trade Ha Ha Clinton-Dix). It’s time for Green Bay to attend to its front seven.

• Question or comment? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.

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