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  • SI partnered with Clemson University's Social Media Listening Center to track NFL draft conversations across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to attempt to get an appropriate representation of each fan base’s top draft targets leading into the NFL draft.
By The SI Staff
April 24, 2019

It’s the eve of the NFL draft, and mock drafts are everywhere—compiled by expert after expert.

But what are NFL fans saying? Which players do they want their favorite teams to select?

To gauge this, Sports Illustrated paired with the Robert H. Brooks Sports Science Institute and the Social Media Listening Center at Clemson University. The SMLC monitors social media conversations from across the web, utilizing its software to convey, measure and analyze trends, sentiment, geo-location data and more to provide an acute understanding of social chatter.

As part of this project, students and faculty at the university’s SMLC tracked NFL draft conversations across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for six weeks, monitoring fans’ usage of team hashtags, mentions and social media handles to attempt to get an appropriate representation of each fan base’s top targets leading into the draft.

The result? SI’s 2019 Social Media Mock Draft, powered by Clemson’s Social Media Listening Center.

The draft below works like a traditional mock draft—a team can't take a player already off the board. If the majority of the conversation about the Jaguars, for example, centered on players already selected, the next player on the list was tabbed. The methodology allowed some prospects who were popular among many teams—but never the most talked-about—to slide more than they otherwise might on draft day.

For the purposes of inclusion, the center also tracked conversations around the five teams without a first-round pick—the Browns, Saints, Chiefs, Cowboys and Bears—tied to their respective first selections in this year’s draft.

FIRST ROUND

1. Cardinals: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
There’s no surprise the majority of the social buzz surrounding the Cardinals centers on Murray.

2. 49ers: Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
Help at defensive line (Bosa, Josh Allen, Quinnen Williams and Rashan Gary) and wide receiver (A.J. Brown and Deebo Samuel) dominated the conversation with Niners fans.

3. Jets: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
Trading down was a popular sentiment with Jets fans, but if they hold firm at No. 3, Allen was the favorite.

4. Raiders: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
Kyler Murray actually led the way with Raiders fans, but aside from the QB Oakland chatter has most often focused on Williams.

5. Buccaneers: Devin White, LB, LSU
Nine of the top 10 mentions among Bucs fans have been defensive players, led by White, the draft's consensus top linebacker.

6. Giants: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
Think Giants fans want a QB? Their top four mentions are passers, led by Haskins.

7. Jaguars: Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
It’s clear Jags fans are thinking defense, with Bosa, Quinnen Williams and Allen leading their mention. Fourth in line is Sweat.

8. Lions: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
Fans in Detroit have their eyes set on the disruptive interior pass-rusher who has blown teams away with his athletic testing.

9. Bills: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
There are question marks surrounding Metcalf, but Bills fans are looking at him as the No. 1 receiver to grow along with Josh Allen.

10. Broncos: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
There are plenty of QB thoughts—the second through fifth mentions are quarterbacks—but more than that the Denver fanbase is thinking big with the 340-pound (and unusually athletic) Lawrence.

11. Bengals: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
Dwayne Haskins actually leads the way for Bengals fan mentions, but with the Ohio State QB already off the board in this mock draft they go to their second choice and stay in the Big Ten to get a much-needed linebacker.

12. Packers: Jonah Williams, OT/G, Alabama
The Packers miss out on their top choices—Devin White and Ed Oliver—but it's easy to see why Williams makes sense with a short-term need at right guard and a potential long-term need at right tackle (where Bryan Bulaga might be winding down).

13. Dolphins: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
Devin Bush leads Miami's mentions, but the thought of Taylor as a bookend across from Laremy Tunsil surely has Miami fans feeling good.

14. Falcons: Sean Bunting, CB, Central Michigan
Falcons fans are diving a little deeper, with chatter about the intriguing MAC DB—who has the kind of length Dan Quinn looks for in cornerbacks—leading the way.

15. Redskins: Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
Ferrell isn't their first choice (he's behind Haskins and Devin White), but he has his appeal as a replacement for departed free agent edge rusher Preston Smith.

16. Panthers: Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
For Panthers fans, it's all about keeping Cam Newton safe.

17. Giants: Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan
They got their quarterback with the No. 6 pick, and now the Giants land Gary, who has generated more chatter than any defensive player aside from Quinnen Williams.

18. Vikings: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, FS, Florida
Dillard and Jonah Williams rank 2-3 for Vikings fans, but surprisingly the chatter is about pairing the talented Gardner-Johnson with Harrison Smith in the defensive backfield.

19. Titans: A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
Tennessee fans are looking to get Marcus Mariota some help, with four wide receivers topping their mentions and Brown leading the way.

20. Steelers: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
Williams leads the chatter for Steelers fans, and would provide a higher-upside option than Steven Nelson or Artie Burns as Pittsburgh's No. 2 corner.

21. Seahawks: N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
Seattle fans got their wish with Russell Wilson signing a new deal, and now they'd like to see the Seahawks get Wilson a big, contested-catch specialist to throw to.

22. Ravens: Erik McCoy, C, Texas A&M
Receivers A.J. Brown and N'Keal Harry are generating the most chatter, but not far behind is McCoy, a plug-and-play center who would fill a need on the Ravens' front five.

23. Texans: Cody Ford, OT/G, Oklahoma
Houston fans prefer Andre Dillard, but in this mock draft are happy to settle for their second choice in Ford—the top seven players in their mentions are offensive linemen (for obvious reasons).

24. Raiders: Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama
It's all about the defensive rebuild to Raiders fans, though with their top five choices off the board they settle on Wilson who, along with Quinnen Williams, gives them another Alabama product to shore up the middle of their D.

25. Eagles: Devin Singletary, RB, Florida Atlantic
Being dubbed as a LeSean McCoy-like fit no doubt made Singletary a popular topic of conversation in Eagles circles.

26. Colts: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
Years of watching T.Y. Hilton might have programmed Indy fans to look to Brown, a similar undersized burner.

27. Raiders: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
Aside from Kyler Murray, Noah Fant drew the most mentions among offensive players from Raiders fans. And he'd immediately step into the void left by Jared Cook's departure.

28. Chargers: Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame
Chargers fans want to replenish the defensive line, and Tillery makes plenty of sense as his stock hovers on the first-/second-round fringe.

29. Seahawks: Darnell Savage, S, Maryland
There hasn't been a ton of draft chatter overall from Seahawks fans—the Russell Wilson contract negotiations might have distracted them—but after picking up a second first-round pick in the Frank Clark trade Seattle will be buzzing on Thursday night. Savage would fill the old Earl Thomas role in centerfield for the re-tooling Seahawks D.

30. Packers: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
Our Albert Breer reported in this week's Monday Afternoon Quarterback that the Packers' rumored interest in Lock is indeed real, which has surely put the Missouri QB on Wisconsinites' minds.

31. Rams: Jaylon Ferguson, EDGE, Louisiana Tech
Rams fans saw what having Dante Fowler alongside Aaron Donald can do, which might be why a borderline first-round edge rusher, Ferguson, leads their mentions.

32. Patriots: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
Patriots fans are used to their team being a step ahead, which is why Simmons, a top-five prospect who will likely miss all of 2019 after tearing his ACL in February, is garnering the most chatter among New England fans.

TEAMS WITHOUT A FIRST-ROUND PICK

49. Browns: Juan Thornhill, S, Virginia
Jabrill Peppers inclusion in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade opened a roster hole at safety, one that Cleveland fans wouldn't mind seeing the rangy, ball-hawking Thornhill fill.

58. Cowboys: Trysten Hill, DT, UCF
Thornhill leads the way in mentions from Cowboys fans. But with the UVa safety off the board, Dallas gets its second choice in Hill, a penetrating interior player who would fortify a suddenly thin defensive line.

61. Chiefs: Jalen Hurd, WR, Baylor
K.C. buzz has been devoted to Quinnen Williams, Daniel Jones and Marquise Brown, but Hurd is a fascinating name for fourth on the list. Pairing the multi-purpose offensive weapon—he once started over Alvin Kamara as a running back at Tennessee—with Patrick Mahomes would create one more headache for opposing defenses.

62. Saints: Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State
Saints fans might be hoping that Risner makes it to the late second round. They lost reliable center Max Unger to retirement this offseason, and some NFL scouts believe Risner's best position in the NFL will be at center.

87. Bears: Miles Sanders, RB, Penn State
After dealing Jordan Howard to the Eagles, the Bears are in the market for a back to pair with Tarik Cohen. It's easy to understand why Sanders, a savvy runner with an emerging three-down skill set, would be garnering the most buzz among Bears fans.

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