Anything NBA or NFL? Sam is your man!
Anything NBA or NFL? Sam is your man!
The 2019 NFL Draft is less than a month away and I’m behind on my draft articles. Usually, I’ve done two or three mock drafts by now, but things have been going by quickly this spring. I’m finally getting to draft content though and with any luck, there will be a whole flood of it over the next four weeks.
To kick off draft season coverage, here’s a breakdown of my top five players at every position.
The Murray to Arizona rumors are growing and it’s looking like the Cardinals might take him with the first pick in the draft just a year after taking Josh Rosen in the first round. Haskins is another guaranteed top ten selection. He has great arm strength and the professional body scouts look for, which makes up for his lack of mobility in part. Lock is my favorite quarterback in the draft, and I think he has the best pure passing ability this year. Jones’ stock rose after the season but has started to dip back down again. Still, knowing how valued quarterbacks are in the NFL, he could go in the top 12 selections. Grier had a great college career and I think he’s an underrated passer who could eventually grow into a starter. That’s probably not a popular opinion though and most people prefer Ryan Finley or Jarrett Stidham at the fifth spot.
After two years of great running backs coming out in the draft, there will be a significant drop off this year. Jacobs is the top-rated running back despite not putting up big rushing totals in college. He seems like a lock for the number one running backs spot. There are a handful of other runners who will get taken in the second through fifth round, most notably Miles Sanders and Justice Hill. Besides the five backs on this list, Benny Snell, Bryce Love, Darrell Henderson, Devin Singletary, Elijah Holyfield, Mike Weber, Myles Gaskin, and Rodney Anderson will all get significant looks from NFL teams and will be contributors on teams in 2019. Love would be higher on the list if not for injuries and a poor final college season.
The top four receivers in this draft could all go in the first round. At the same time, there’s no guarantee that A.J. Brown and Ridley will be taken that early. It’s pretty safe to say that Metcalf and Marquise Brown will go in the first, but there’s a slight drop off after them. Both Browns had great production in their final college seasons while Metcalf and Ridley are riding more on their potential since they did not put up monster college numbers. Campbell caught 90 passes for over 1,000 yards last season and he raised his stock at the combine. He could be a sneaky good pick in the second round.
Fant and Hockenson are as close to being guaranteed first round selections as possible. Fant had an incredible combine that possibly vaulted him over his college teammate, Hockenson, for the top tight end position. Hockenson had the better college numbers as far as receptions and yards, but Fant had far more touchdowns. Smith Jr. put up similar college numbers to Hockenson in his final season with Alabama, but he seems to be a consensus for the third tight end spot. After that, there seems to be a sizable gap in draft stock even though Sternberger had incredible numbers with A&M last year.
We could see as few as three but as many as five offensive tackles taken in the first round this year. Taylor and Dillard are pretty much 1a and 1b at this point. Ford is the other tackle who I think will definitely hear his name called in the first round. Risner had perhaps the best college career of any tackle in this draft and could be a late first round, early second round steal. There are concerns about Little’s consistency and that could cause him to fall into the late second round or even be surpassed by Kaleb McGary.
Williams’ stock has dropped since the end of the college season, but he’s still the top rated interior offensive lineman in the draft. Meanwhile, Bradbury’s stock has skyrocketed and he’s looking more and more like a first round selection. The other three will likely be more spaced out through the next few rounds. McCoy could go in the second round, but I don’t see him sneaking into the first.
Jeffery Simmons form Miss. St. deserves an honorable mention here. The only reason why he isn’t on the list is that he recently tore his ACL, which makes it hard for me to see him going in the first round, especially when there are so many other great defensive tackles available. All five of the listed defensive tackles can be first round picks, but I’m confident the first four will all go for sure. Williams might be the best defender in the draft and Oliver is one of the most naturally talented. The two Clemson DTs were dominant in college last year and will carry that success to the pro level.
Between the EDGE players and the defensive tackles in this draft, the NFL will be getting a revolutionary defensive makeover in 2019 that could match the talent on that side of the ball brought in by the 2011 NFL Draft. Bosa has been hyped up as the best player in the entire draft this year and there are hopes that he’ll turn out like his brother, Joey Bosa. Allen is another one of the top players in the draft and will likely hear his name called in the top five selections. Gary and Sweat raised their stocks with great combine performances and will go within the top 13 picks. Sweat might jump Gary because he’s faster and built more like a speed rusher while Gary is built more like a traditional defensive end. Sweat also had better college production than Gary. Ferrell is just one of a number of great Clemson defenders who will hear their names called this year. Brian Burns, Jachai Polite, and Jaylon Ferguson could all also hear their names called in the late first or early second round.
The top three linebackers here have chances to go in the first round, but White and Bush are the only two who I’d be willing to bet on going that early. Both are a little undersized at first glance, but they more than make up for it with freakish athleticism that helps them always be around the football. Wilson has large upside, but he showed inconsistencies in his final year at Alabama. Lamar is a big dude, at 6-3, 253 lbs., but that size puts him at a disadvantage when it comes to covering or keeping up with faster players. He’ll probably be a late second to late third round selection.
This year’s cornerback class is interesting and frustrating at the same time. The five guys listed above had some great games that made them all look like first round selections at times, but there’s no Jalen Ramsey or Patrick Peterson in this class. I’m not even sure there’s a Denzel Ward or Marshon Lattimore. Throughout the whole pre-draft process these guys have been rising and falling. We might even see Justin Layne from Michigan St. or Trayvon Mullen from Clemson leapfrog into the top five soon. I think the top four corners on this list are very close together and will shift around even more before the draft. Murphy and Ya-Sin rose after the combine while Baker and Love lost ground. I still like Williams the most out of this bunch though as he’s been the most consistent throughout the whole process.
Thompson’s draft stock has fallen quite a bit since the start of the college season as he was the most well-known safety in the game at that time. However, Adderley and Rapp have locked up their spots as two of the most sought after safeties in the draft. Abram has some conflicting reports. He could be the best safety in this draft, or he could be closer to the fifth spot. This is one situation where we’ll just have to wait and see. In all likelihood, two safeties at most will go in the first round, but they could all fall to the second since there were so many free agents at the position this offseason. Thornhill could fall off of this list before the draft as Chauncey Gardner-Johnson is hot on his tail for fifth place.