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  • As happens every draft season, the quarterbacks continue to rise as April draws closer.
By Kalyn Kahler
February 20, 2019

The NFL scouting combine kicks off next Tuesday when the first group of players (kickers, punters, running backs and offensive linemen) arrives in Indianapolis. The annual talent inspection will provide loads of new info and data based how prospects perform and interview, and as a result the next mock draft will likely change more than this one did. Since our last mock draft, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray officially committed to an NFL future and Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffrey Simmons tore his ACL, both of which are reflected here. New faces in this edition are Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson, Ole Miss receiver D.K. Metcalf, Alabama running back Josh Jacobs and Tide linebacker Mack Wilson. I ran this mock draft past several NFL scouts, who provided input and feedback, though they still think it’s early to be projecting the first round with much accuracy.

1. Arizona: Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
Nothing to see here—Bosa is still the likely No. 1 overall pick of this draft. At the Senior Bowl, Ohio State receiver Terry McLaurin said that when he spoke to Cardinals personnel, they asked him if he would draft Bosa. McLaurin said, “Yes, as the No. 1 overall pick.” Bosa has said he is healthy again and will be a full participant at the combine. Performing athletically before the draft might be the only thing he needs to do to hold on to his spot as the No. 1 pick.

2. San Francisco: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
Allen, this season’s most-improved player, would complement their strong group of interior pass rushers.

3. N.Y. Jets: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
The redshirt sophomore 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 Williams’s level of experience, 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 pounds, he can be a three-down player in any scheme.

4. Oakland: Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan
The Raiders’ pass rush was nonexistent after the Khalil Mack trade, putting up a league-low 13 sacks. Oakland will need a pass rusher, and Gary has the ability to play the edge or inside. There are few prospects with his combination of size, strength and explosive athleticism. His collegiate production doesn’t match up with his traits—one scout said he can be a bit inconsistent for his talent level—so the coaching staff will be important in getting Gary to reach his full potential.

5. Tampa Bay: Jonah Williams, OT/G, Alabama
With Bruce Arians in as head coach, Tampa Bay will continue to rely on the deep passing game, putting a heavy burden on their pass protectors. Williams is a versatile athlete who can succeed at guard or tackle.

6. N.Y. Giants: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
Haskins is the No. 1 quarterback in this draft. There is real concern over his limited experience—one season—as a starter (play the TCU, Penn State or Purdue tape), but he bounced back from midseason struggles and finished the year strong.

7. Jacksonville: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
I think Jacksonville is more likely to go the veteran quarterback route with Nick Foles or Teddy Bridgewater because the roster has been built to compete now, but I could also see the Jaguars taking Lock, who had the best week among QBs at the Senior Bowl. He has impressive arm strength, probably the best of the 2019 class, but he’s still inconsistent and could improve his footwork.

8. Detroit: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
Detroit has more pressing needs than cornerback (edge rusher, tight end), but if Williams is available at 8, he’s the most talented prospect at an area the Lions could improve. They tied for second-fewest interceptions in the league with seven, and the long, ball-hawking Williams would be a significant improvement.

9. Buffalo: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
The Bills might look to replace 13-year stalwart Kyle Williams in this draft, and Oliver is a disruptive interior player with a high ceiling. His 2018 season was disappointing compared to his ’17 tape, but Oliver’s athleticism is rare for a near-300-pounder and teams see his potential.

10. Denver: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
The Broncos have another temporary veteran quarterback solution in Joe Flacco. They could still pick a quarterback here if there’s a prospect they really love, but cornerback depth is a problem in Denver, and scouts love Baker’s instincts.

11. Cincinnati: Devin White, LB, LSU
New Bengals head coach Zac Taylor has yet to hire a defensive coordinator, so the direction of the defense is still up in the air. But middle linebacker Preston Brown is a free agent and coming off a knee injury, and Vontaze Burfict could be released. White has great athleticism and a nose for the football, and could anchor a new linebacking corps.

12. Green Bay: Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
Clay Matthews is in decline, and it’s time for Green Bay 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 spot his ceiling.

13. Miami: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
I wouldn’t be surprised if a team falls in love with Murray during this pre-draft process and trades into the top 10 to make sure they get him. It’s too early to say that now, so we’ll leave him at 13 with Miami. There’s no way he isn’t a first-round pick, and the fuss over his height is overstated. Murray’s agent, Erik Burkhardt, said on a Barstool Podcast that his client weighs 205. If he does weigh in at over 200 in Indianapolis, that would put some concern about Murray’s durability to rest.

14. Atlanta: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
I had Jeffery Simmons here in the last version of this mock, but he may drop to the second round because of a torn ACL. If the Falcons don’t bring back free agent Grady Jarrett, Wilkins could step in. He was a four-year starter at Clemson and is consistent and incredibly nimble for a 315-pounder. Some evaluators believe he could actually contribute on offense, too (Clemson has used him some as a goal-line tailback). Teams wish he was better against the run, but in the passing game, he consistently wreaks havoc.

15. Washington: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
There were reports that Washington was also interested in trading for Joe Flacco. That obviously didn’t happen, and the team may be without Alex Smith for the 2019 season, so quarterback is a big need here. I polled scouts about Jones vs. Lock, and for most part, it’s a toss-up. Lock had a stronger week of Senior Bowl practices, but Jones played better in the Senior Bowl game, winning the MVP award. One scout said the two quarterbacks are 2a and 2b in this draft, and it will just depend on what a team is looking for in their quarterback. Jones was coached at Duke by David Cutcliffe, who is known for his work with both Peyton and Eli Manning in college, and teams will expect to be able to throw more at Jones than your average rookie QB.

16. Carolina: Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
Julius Peppers retired after 17 seasons, so the Panthers need to add someone on the edge. Sweat is one of the biggest risers from Senior Bowl week—he had several great days of practice and impressed teams in interviews. His combination of length (nearly 36-inch arms at the Senior Bowl weigh-in), explosive athleticism and high motor are appealing. The feeling I got from talking to several scouts is that Sweat’s production on the field outweighs questions about his character—Sweat was dismissed from Michigan State in 2016 after being suspended for undisclosed reasons for the majority of the ’15 season—and his interviews at the Senior Bowl helped him in that regard.

17. Cleveland: 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.).

18. Minnesota: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
The Vikings need to improve a porous offensive line to give Kirk Cousins a better shot at success. Taylor is a giant right tackle who actually lost weight over the course of his collegiate career to get into the 340-pound range. He dominates in the run game and could step in right away and contribute.

19. Tennessee: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
Delanie Walker, 34, broke his ankle in last year’s season opener, so Hockenson would bring depth and assurance to the position. He’s an athletic tight end who, unlike many collegiate stars at the position, actually blocks.

20. Pittsburgh: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
The Steelers felt Ryan Shazier’s absence this season, and Bush would be able to fill that void. If Bush 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).

21. Seattle: Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida
Polite is an explosive presence coming off the edge, racking up 11 sacks for Florida last season. The question is finding his ideal playing weight, as his body type is that of a third-down specialist at his current size (6' 2", 240), but he might lose his incredible speed if he adds weight.

22. Baltimore: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
The Ravens find help for Lamar Jackson in Metcalf (this is him, in case you missed the viral photo of him on Twitter last week). The dude is totally jacked, 6' 4", 230 pounds, and should put up some impressive numbers at the combine next week. Metcalf missed the majority of the 2018 season with a neck injury, but he’s been cleared for all football activity without limitations. He only caught 67 passes in his college career, but he’s a true big-play threat.

23. Houston: Cody Ford, OT/G, Oklahoma
Deshaun Watson needs better protection—the Texans offensive line gave up a league-high 62 sacks in 2018—so Houston will look to improve the offensive line here with Ford, a strong run blocker and sturdy pass protector who could play guard or tackle.

24. Oakland (from Chicago): Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
Head coach Jon Gruden will be looking for a new No. 1 receiver after he traded Amari Cooper to the Cowboys, and the diminutive but speedy Brown could be that player. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Brown underwent surgery for a Lisfranc injury last month that will prevent him from participating in the combine, but he’s expected to be ready for training camp, so this injury may not have much effect on his draft stock. Two years ago, Western Michigan receiver Corey Davis sat out the combine with an ankle injury and was still drafted fifth overall by the Titans.

25. Philadelphia: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
A versatile and aggressive corner, Murphy would bring ball skills and the ability to cover the slot to an Eagles secondary that was hurt by injuries in 2018. He’s on the small side but more than willing to step up in run support.

26. Indianapolis: A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
Andrew Luck gets another offensive weapon in Brown, who would complement T.Y. Hilton nicely. Brown can make tough catches in traffic and has the size and strength to be a physical, catch-and-run possession threat.

27. Oakland (via Dallas): Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
With the last of their three first round picks, Oakland adds another offensive weapon. Marshawn Lynch is 33 in April and a free agent. Jacobs is a solid replacement, able to revitalize the run game but also with a three-down skillset. With only 251 career carries in college, he is as fresh as a running back could be when entering the NFL.

28. L.A. Chargers: Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame
Teams are enamored with his size and length, and Tillery would help a Chargers team greatly in need of help on the interior. He was originally recruited as an offensive lineman and is still raw, but he showed flashes of dominance in college.

29. Kansas City: Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson
The Chiefs are looking to solidify on the back end, and Mullen has the size and speed to be developed into a top-flight corner.

30. Green Bay (from New Orleans): Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama
Green Bay could go receiver here, but I’m giving them an inside linebacker to replace Jake Ryan, a free agent who missed all of 2018 with an ACL tear. Wilson is a three-down inside linebacker with very good instincts when dropping into zone coverage.

31. L.A. Rams: Oshane Ximines, EDGE, Old Dominion
Ximines will be the first player from Old Dominion to be picked in the NFL draft. He had 12 sacks in 2018 and had a great week at the Senior Bowl. He already has a variety of pass-rushing moves at his disposal.

32. New England: Jaylon Ferguson, EDGE, Louisiana Tech
The FBS all-time sacks leader (45), Ferguson brings production and an advanced feel for rushing the passer. At some point, the Patriots are going to have to think about Tom Brady’s heir, so there’s also a chance they could go quarterback with this pick, depending on who is available this late in the first round.

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

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