2019 NFL Draft: Ideal top two picks for all 32 teams
With the 2019 NFL Draft just around the corner, teams are wrapping up their prospect evaluations and running through scenarios that could play out once picks start being made on April 25 in Nashville, Tennessee. Now, even with best-laid plans, sometimes the board just doesn’t fall a team’s way. But what if it did? Lance Zierlein and Chad Reuter are operating in that scenario as they identify the ideal top two picks for every club, using their own prospect rankings and assessment of team needs as a guide. Note that some prospects are connected to two different teams below — this is not a mock draft, and players can be perfect fits for more than one club.
To see every pick each team holds in the 2019 NFL Draft, click here.
» Round 1: No. 9 overall — Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
» Round 2: No. 40 — Greg Little, OT, Mississippi
The Buffalo Bills get to rebuild their fronts with an explosive, penetrating interior lineman who can rush the passer and one of the few true left tackles in the draft in this ideal scenario.
» Round 1: No. 13 overall — Jonah Williams, OL, Alabama
» Round 2: No. 48 — Jaylon Ferguson, edge, Louisiana Tech
The Dolphins have glaring holes on the offensive line and Williams’ potential to play tackle, guard or center would be advantageous. If Ferguson slips after his shaky pro day, Miami could find a starting edge rusher waiting of them in the second round.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
» Round 1: No. 32 overall — Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
» Round 2: No. 56 (from Bears) — Juan Thornhill, S, Virginia
In the Patriots’ ideal scenario, a run on tight ends, offensive linemen and defensive linemen pushes one or more of the top quarterbacks down the board. Yes, I know they would still need help at tight end, but Thornhill is an explosive safety with cornerback experience. He’d be too valuable to pass up at No. 56.
NEW YORK JETS
» Round 1: No. 3 overall — Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
» Round 3: No. 68 — Max Scharping, OT, Northern Illinois
It’s no secret that the Jets want to find a trade partner for their pick at No. 3, so moving down would actually be ideal for them. However, if they stay put, I believe a best-case scenario would be having Williams, my top-rated prospect in the draft, waiting for them. Adding a tackle with guard flexibility would be a great get if Scharping falls a little bit into the early third round.
» Round 1: No. 22 overall — Brian Burns, edge, Florida State
» Round 3: Nos. 85 — Terry McLaurin, WR, Ohio State
After years of having good/great pass rushers along the edge, the Ravens have a need there and Burns is an ideal candidate to fill it. They’re not scheduled to pick again until later in Round 3, but McLaurin would be a nice find if he’s still on the board.
» Round 1: No. 11 overall — Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
» Round 2: No. 42 — Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State
The Bengals have stuck with Andy Dalton through thick and thin, but Haskins presents them with a chance to hit re-set at QB1 (likely in 2020). Risner is a hard-nosed guard/tackle prospect with strong hands and high football character.
» Round 2: No. 49 overall — Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida
» Round 3: No. 80 — Jamel Dean, CB, Auburn
The Browns would have to be excited about the opportunity to add a player in Gardner-Johnson who can play slot corner or safety. Dean has a rare combination of size and speed that GM John Dorsey typically covets.
» Round 1: No. 20 overall — Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
» Round 2: No. 52 — Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State
Murphy plays a physical brand of football that fits in Pittsburgh. His short-area twitch and instincts help increase his ball production. Butler would give the Steelers a big field-stretcher and deep-ball winner to go along with their new WR1, JuJu Smith-Schuster.
» Round 1: No. 23 overall — Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
» Round 2: No. 54 (from Seahawks) — Tytus Howard, OT, Alabama State
Williams has good length and speed. He would have a year to learn under veteran Johnathan Joseph before Joseph hits free agency. Howard is a small-school tackle who may need a redshirt year to acclimate to NFL game speed, but he has the athleticism to handle the left tackle spot for a tackle-needy team like Houston.
» Round 1: No. 26 overall — Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame
» Round 2: No. 34 (from Jets) — Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina
The Colts would get their hands on a talented but raw interior defender with outstanding athletic ability and traits in Tillery. Samuel should still be on the board at No. 34 and he would offer a physical slot target with good ability after the catch for Andrew Luck.
» Round 1: No. 7 overall — Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
» Round 2: No. 38 — N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
Jacksonville could take care of a glaring hole at right tackle with the physical and talented Taylor. Harry has outstanding size and ball skills. He would benefit from having a veteran QB like Nick Foles, who can throw him open.
» Round 1: No. 19 overall — Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
» Round 2: No. 51 — Connor McGovern, OG, Penn State
Lawrence could be an instant run-stuffer alongside Jurrell Casey with future pass-rush potential. McGovern gives the Titans a starting guard or center candidate — he’s worn both hats.
» Round 1: No. 10 overall — T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
» Round 2: No. 41 — Erik McCoy, C, Texas A&M
Hockenson and the Broncos are one of the best prospect-team fits in this draft, as he immediately helps the run and passing games. If McCoy is still available at No. 41, the Broncos should pounce. He’d be a longtime starter at center for them.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
» Round 1: No. 29 overall — Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple
» Round 2: No. 61 — D’Andre Walker, edge, Georgia
Ya-Sin is a hard-nosed cornerback with agile feet and football character that will permeate the building. After parting with Dee Ford (who played at Auburn) and Justin Houston (Georgia), the Chiefs could go back to the SEC well for an explosive edge rusher with plus upside in Walker.
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
» Round 1: No. 28 overall — Kaleb McGary, OT, Washington
» Round 2: No. 60 — Justin Layne, CB, Michigan State
The Chargers could use a young quarterback to groom, but they are still in win-now mode, which means they need to find a right tackle to protect Philip Rivers. Their secondary is talented, but it could still benefit from some corner help. Layne offers a long, smooth option at the position.
» Round 1: No. 4 overall — Devin White, LB, LSU
» Round 1: No. 24 (from Bears) — Clelin Ferrell, edge, Clemson
How good would this duo look for Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock? The Raiders get a fast, physical inside linebacker while coming back at No. 24 with a highly accomplished edge rusher who brings a winning pedigree into the locker room.
» Round 2: No. 58 overall — Dawson Knox, TE, Mississippi
» Round 3: No. 90 — Damien Harris, RB, Alabama
Knox’s athletic upside is huge and the Cowboys are looking for a playmaker at the tight end spot to complement safety-valve returnee Jason Witten. Zeke led the league with 322 carries as a rookie and 304 last season, when shoulder/neck problems began surfacing. Harris would be a great fit for Dallas because he is already a fine pass protector and is used to being part of a rotation.
NEW YORK GIANTS
» Round 1: No. 6 overall — Rashan Gary, edge, Michigan
» Round 1: No. 17 (from Browns) — Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
With Josh Allen and Quinnen Williams likely off the board before the Giants are on the clock at No. 6, I’ll go with Gary as the ideal remaining option. He’s a nice fit as a five-technique and can play inside when the team wants a four-man front. I believe GM Dave Gettleman will move up a few spots to get Jones, and it’s worth the gamble with Eli Manning in the final year of his contract.
» Round 1: No. 25 overall — Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma
» Round 2: No. 53 (from Ravens) — Taylor Rapp, S, Washington
Jason Peters signed a one-year deal this offseason to stay in Philly, but his career is nearly at an end. Lane Johnson will likely slide to left tackle whenever Peters moves on, leaving a spot open for Ford. If Peters stays healthy throughout this fall, Ford could play inside as a rookie. The team reworked starting safety Rodney McLeod’s contract after he missed all but three games last season due to injury, but Rapp’s too heady a player to last too long in the second round.
» Round 1: No. 15 overall — Chris Lindstrom, OG, Boston College
» Round 2: No. 46 — Kelvin Harmon, WR, N.C. State
Lindstrom’s a sturdy lineman whose athleticism was underrated until he impressed at the NFL Scouting Combine. The team liked what it got from guard Brandon Scherff (the fifth pick of the 2015 draft), so Washington shouldn’t be afraid to take an interior O-lineman 15th overall. Harmon’s size, hands and agility make him a great pick for a team in need of difference-makers at receiver.
» Round 3: No. 87 overall — Ben Banogu, edge, TCU
» Round 4: No. 126 — Alexander Mattison, RB, Boise State
Depth behind Khalil Mack and Leonard Floyd is an issue, even with Aaron Lynch signing a one-year deal to return. Banogu could be a real value in the top 100 because he’s not only very athletic but plays with strength that you might not expect given his lean frame. Mattison’s powerful but elusive running style and ability as a receiver makes him a nice fit for a team that just traded Jordan Howard.
» Round 1: No. 8 overall — Montez Sweat, edge, Mississippi State
» Round 2: No. 43 — Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware
The Lions could pair Sweat with Trey Flowers to give themselves an excellent set of rush ends who also can control the edge in the run game. Adderley is a versatile safety who could play multiple positions in the secondary (which continues to be a big need area for Detroit) given his agility and physicality.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
» Round 1: No. 12 overall — T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
» Round 1: No. 30 (from Saints) — Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State
New head coach Matt LaFleur relied heavily on three-tight end sets during his season as the Titan’s offensive coordinator. If Hockenson is still available at No. 12 (and doesn’t go to the Broncos, as my colleague Lance suggested earlier in this piece), he’d be a nice get. Adding him to the mix with veterans Jimmy Graham and Marcedes Lewis gives LaFleur pass catchers and run blockers at the position. Abram is a defensive leader who will step into a starting role next to Adrian Amos immediately, allowing Josh Jones to play nickel.
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» Round 1: No. 18 overall — Jonah Williams, OL, Alabama
» Round 2: No. 50 — Amani Hooker, S, Iowa
Williams could play guard for the Vikings right away and eventually slide out to either tackle spot if needed. The O-line must continue to be improved if Kirk Cousins is to meet fans’ high expectations. Finding a safety who’s able to handle his responsibilities opposite Harrison Smith is a high priority for the Vikings. Hooker was used in the box at Iowa in 2018, but he possesses the short-area quickness to be useful in coverage.
» Round 1: No. 14 overall — Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
» Round 2: No. 45 — Jachai Polite, edge, Florida
Lawrence’s combination of power and agility would make him a great fit here. The Falcons already have a need at the position, and it will only become more glaring if they can’t get a long-term deal done with the franchise-tagged Grady Jarrett. Polite, on the other hand, may end up being a second-round bargain after disappointing showings at the combine and Florida’s pro day. The Falcons could view him as a Vic Beasley/Bruce Irvin type who’s worth the investment.
» Round 1: No. 16 overall — Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
» Round 2: No. 47 — Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida
Dillard is an excellent pass protector, which is key as Cam Newton must be kept upright in the pocket after undergoing shoulder surgery this offseason. Gardner-Johnson will pair well with Eric Reid, giving Carolina a couple of athletic and tough safeties for the next few seasons.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
» Round 2: No. 62 overall — Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia
» Round 5: No. 168 — Mark Fields, CB, Clemson
The Saints signed Dez Bryant at midseason last year due to their lack of depth at receiver, and addressing that area still should be on the to-do list after an injury kept Bryant from taking a snap for New Orleans. Ridley would be a Michael Thomas-type bargain at the end of the second round for them. Fields is a sentimental pick, as he’s the son of a former Saints first-round selection of the same name. Like his dad, Fields is a tough competitor, and he would add needed depth at cornerback.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
» Round 1: No. 5 overall — Josh Allen, edge, Kentucky
» Round 2: No. 39 — Juan Thornhill, S, Virginia
As the Bucs transition to a 3-4 defense under coordinator Todd Bowles, Allen’s ability as a stand-up rusher will be coveted. Allen’s an excellent all-around player, able to perform in coverage when needed or put his hand on the ground to come off the edge if required. Finding a safety in the second round should be a high priority for the Buccaneers, whether it’s Thornhill or another top prospect at the position who’s available at No. 39.
» Round 1: No. 1 overall — Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
» Round 2: No. 33 — Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
If head coach Kliff Kingsbury believes in Kyler Murray, then Arizona should pick him first overall and not look back. What better way to make the Heisman winner feel at home than to select Brown, who made a lot of big plays with Murray at Oklahoma? Now, it’s very possible that Brown will go in the first round, but I won’t be shocked if his thin frame (166 pounds) scares some teams off and he’s still available at No. 33. Remember, DeSean Jackson went in Round 2 after weighing 169 pounds at the 2008 combine, and things have worked out well for the three-time Pro Bowler on Sundays.
LOS ANGELES RAMS
» Round 1: No. 31 overall — Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
» Round 3: No. 94 — Elgton Jenkins, C, Mississippi State
Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters are talented, but both of them are due to become free agents after the 2019 season. The team’s cornerback depth behind them is lacking anyway, which means finding a talent like Williams available at the end of the first round would be a godsend. Losing center John Sullivan and guard Rodger Saffold could allow Brian Allen and Joe Noteboom to step into the starting lineup, but picking up a versatile interior lineman like Jenkins provides a backup plan.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
» Round 1: No. 2 overall — Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
» Round 2: No. 36 — Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina
Adding Williams would give the Niners arguably the top defensive player in the draft and allow them to let Arik Armstead leave as a free agent next offseason. Samuel’s a powerful receiver with the ability to win inside or outside. The Niners’ receiving corps needs an infusion of talent in the worst way if Jimmy G. is to be effective upon returning from his ACL tear.
» Round 1: No. 21 overall — Darnell Savage, S, Maryland
» Round 3: No. 84 — L.J. Collier, edge, TCU
You might not see Savage coming off the board so early in many mocks, but I won’t be shocked if he goes to Seattle and we hear Pete Carroll say that Savage reminds him a bit of the recently departed Earl Thomas. Carroll’s defense needs a new leader in the back end, to be sure. Collier probably won’t last to No. 84, but the Seahawks are not afraid to go get a player they like — even if they have to trade a future pick to do so. Collier would be an absolutely perfect fit for a team that likes strong, powerful guys on the edge.
Follow Lance Zierlein on Twitter @LanceZierlein.
Follow Chad Reuter on Twitter @chad_reuter.
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