2019 NFL Mock Draft: Broncos land their franchise quarterback, Quinnen Williams rockets up draft board
Another week, another round of questions about what Justin Herbert’s future holds. Will the Oregon quarterback declare for the 2019 NFL Draft, or will he return to school for his senior season. While there’s a lot to like in Herbert’s game, plenty of questions remain. Unlike last year’s quarterback draft class, Herbert might be the only bona fide first-rounder, at least from the perspective of early November, but he’s not wart-free.
You have to go back five games, to Sept. 29, to find the last time Herbert completed more than 56 percent of his throws. And in three games this season, Herbert has completed fewer than half his throws. Those numbers will get NFL teams’ attention. But Herbert can also do everything expected of a franchise quarterback; he’s 6-6, has a strong arm, moves well in the pocket and can be on time and accurate.
As for all the other concerns, well, that’s what NFL teams have to weigh in the coming weeks and months — again, assuming Herbert even comes out. Because at this stage of the proceedings, every college quarterback has flaws. What general managers, scouts and coaches have to determine is whether those flaws can be corrected or will they be exacerbated at the next level.
Alright, let’s get to it.
If you’re wondering, the picks below are ordered based on winning percentage, playoff seedings and strength of schedule (via Tankathon.com).
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1. New York Giants
Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State. Same as last week. The Giants have needs just about everywhere and Bosa is the best player in this draft. If Herbert decides to return to school, or New York addresses the position in free agency, Bosa is as close to can’t-miss as there is. If you’re interested, we’ve previously written about which veteran quarterback the Giants could target to succeed Eli Manning.
2. Oakland Raiders
Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama. Williams has been so much fun to watch this season and he seems to get better each week. This isn’t a case of Ed Oliver doing anything to hurt his stock but simply Williams playing out of his mind for two months straight.
3. San Francisco 49ers
Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia. Greedy Williams is undoubtedly more athletic, but has he been more consistent this season? Coming into Saturday’s game, opposing offenses threw at Baker on just 12 percent of passing plays, and of those, only six percent went for completions. According to PFF, the passer rating when targeting Baker: 31.3.
4. Buffalo Bills
Ed Oliver, DT, Houston. The Bills desperately need help on their historically bad offense but they’ll certainly settle for Ed Oliver, who could very well be the second-best player in the draft. With 35-year-old Kyle Williams in the final year of his contract, Oliver makes sense here.
5. Arizona Cardinals
Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama. The Cards have bigger needs along the offensive line but it’s hard to pass on Thompson, who has the ability to be a game-changing centerfielder for the next decade.
6. Cleveland Browns
Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama. Here’s all you need to know:
It’s gotten so bad that Baker Mayfield is lobbying for Greg Robinson to see more time at left tackle.
7. New York Jets
Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State. Sam Darnold needs a lifeline. He’s coming off what we have to imagine is the worst performance of his football career — he threw four interceptions in a loss to the Dolphins — and the Jets offense (not the defense, coach Bowles!) is stagnating.
8. Denver Broncos
Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon. First, we don’t know if Herbert will declare for the draft or return to Oregon. Second, it’s been five games since he’s completed more than 56 percent of his throws. That’s a concern. That said, the Broncos are desperate for a franchise quarterback.
9. Indianapolis Colts
Greedy Williams, CB, LSU. Williams didn’t have his best game last Saturday against Alabama, but a lot of really good players can say the same thing. From the perspective of early November, Williams could very well be the top cornerback off the board but there’s also room for guys like Baker to make their case too. Either way, Williams would be welcome in Indy, where the defense has quietly improved in Frank Reich’s first season.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars
Drew Lock, QB, Missouri. Lock was impressive against the Gators in Gainesville on Saturday, throwing three touchdowns and looking every bit the first-round pick. His biggest issue has been consistency but if he can put it all together, the Blake Bortles era will officially be over.
11. Detroit Lions
Josh Allen, OLB, Kentucky. Sit up straight so you don’t miss this: The Lions are not very good. And despite hiring a defensive coach in Matt Patricia, the unit has been wholly underwhelming. Allen is having a breakout season and could be an immediate difference-maker.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Brian Burns, DE, Florida State. The Bucs need help everywhere but if they’re sticking with Jameis Winston for 2019, finding a first-rate pass rusher is at the top of the to-do list.
13. Tennessee Titans
Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State. Simmons is one of the nation’s best interior defenders but teams could be concerned about an off-field incident from his high school days that could affect his draft stock.
14. Oakland Raiders (via Cowboys)
Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida. Former first-rounder Vic Beasley has just one sack in seven games this season. Polite has been unblockable at times this season and he would give a boost to the Falcons’ pass rush, which currently ranks 26th in the league.
15. Green Bay Packers
David Edwards, OT, Wisconsin. The Packers rank 21st in running the ball between the guards, according to FO, and the O-line is 23rd in pass protection. Aaron Rodgers is a lot better when he’s not running for his life.
16. Baltimore Ravens
J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Stanford. The Ravens HAVE to get a consistent playmaker for Lamar Jackson. John Brown’s the deep threat, Michael Crabtree reprises Anquan Boldin’s glorified tight end role, and Arcega-Whiteside does everything else.
17. Seattle Seahawks
Byron Murphy, CB, Washington. The offensive line has been shockingly good so that isn’t an immediate need. And while the defense has been a pleasant surprise too, it could stand some fresh faces in the secondary. By the time the draft process is said and done, Murphy could sneak into the top 10.
18. Philadelphia Eagles
Yodny Cajuste, OT, West Virginia. After dominating for much of last season, the Eagles’ offensive line could use an upgrade. The unit ranks 15th in run blocking and 24th in pass protection. Jason Peters is 36 years old and his contract is set to expire after the 2019 season.
19. Atlanta Falcons
Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson. The Falcons’ defense has been decimated by injuries but even if the unit was healthy the team could use more juice on the defensive line.
20. Miami Dolphins
N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State. Harry had his best game of the season last Saturday against Utah, hauling in 9 catches for 161 yards and three touchdowns. DeVante Parker hasn’t lived up to expectations in Miami and maybe Harry could be the big-play threat the Dolphins thought they were getting in Parker.
21. Minnesota Vikings
Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State. The Vikings are only going as far as Kirk Cousins takes them, which requires him to be upright. This pick is unchanged from last week.
22. Washington Redskins
Devin White, LB, LSU. Zach Brown is having a strong season and White would complement him nicely in the middle of that defense. One of the most athletic linebackers in college football, White is a thumper with sideline-to-sideline range.
23. Cincinnati Bengals
Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama. The Bengals’ defense ranks near the bottom of the league against the run and they’re not much better against the pass. Wilson would start from Day 1 and bring some much-needed athleticism to the middle of the field.
24. Houston Texans
Chris Lindstrom, G, Boston College. Deshaun Watson has taken a beating for much of the first half of the season. Protecting him has to be a priority.
25. Oakland Raiders (via Bears)
Daniel Jones, QB, Duke. There’s no guarantee Jon Gruden keeps Derek Carr around, even if the quarterback isn’t the biggest issue in Oakland. In fact, the Raiders might be better off taking a defensive back here, which is why we having them taking Jones. And for as much as Drew Lock looks like an NFL quarterback, he continues to struggle with consistency. Jones, meanwhile, can make all the throws, has the needed zip, and most importantly, makes good decisions with the ball.
26. Pittsburgh Steelers
Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State. Oruwariye is a rangy, physical corner, which is how Artie Burns was described after the Steelers drafted him in 2016. Burns has lost his job this season and it’s not clear if he’ll ever get it back.
27. Los Angeles Chargers
Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson. Lawrence is a 340-pound wrecking ball who is surprisingly quick for his size. He would bolster the Chargers’ interior defensive line that already includes Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa.
28. Carolina Panthers
Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State. Same as last week. Mario Addison leads the team with 4.5 sacks. Tied for second on the list (with three other players): Thirty-eight-year-old Julius Peppers. Sweat has 10 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss in nine games this season.
29. New England Patriots
Kaden Smith, TE, Stanford. He looks more like Zach Ertz than Rob Gronkowski but Smith is an athletic tight end who can stretch the middle of the field.
30. Green Bay Packers (via Saints)
A.J. Brown, WR Ole Miss. With the emergence of young pass catches like Davante Adams, Equanimeous St. Brown and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Randall Cobb could be phased out. Brown would give Aaron Rodgers another dynamic downfield weapon.
31. Los Angeles Rams
Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan. Gary can play anywhere along the defensive line, making him a valuable chess piece. Yes, the team just traded for Dante Fowler, Jr, but he’ll be a free agent after the season.
32. Kansas City Chiefs
Jerry Tillery, DL, Notre Dame. Tillery has been damn-near unblockable at times this season. Given the Chiefs’ issues on the defensive side of the ball, the Notre Dame standout would make an immediate impact.
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