Freedman’s 2019 NFL Mock Draft: How Many QBs Will Be Drafted in Round 1?

Freedman’s 2019 NFL Mock Draft: How Many QBs Will Be Drafted in Round 1? article feature image
  • With the 2019 NFL Draft a little over one week away, it's time to update The Action Network Round 1 Mock Draft.
  • Matthew Freedman breaks down each Day 1 pick and has quarterback Kyler Murray as his top overall selection.

The draft is less than two weeks, and for the first time ever it will be held in Nashville, TN.

Here’s the schedule for the seven rounds.

  • Thursday, April 25: Round 1
  • Friday, April 26: Rounds 2-3
  • Saturday, April 27: Rounds 4-7

In this piece, I run through my updated Round 1 projections. I haven’t included any potential trades in this mock draft, but I’ll do so when I release my final mock next week.

1. Arizona Cardinals

Kyler Murray (Oklahoma), Quarterback

  • Height: 5’10” | Weight: 207 pounds
  • 2019 Age: 22 | Class: Redshirt Junior

Murray was one of my combine winners thanks to his verified size, and he fits the offensive system of new head coach Kliff Kingsbury, who before he was hired said that he thought Murray was worthy of the first overall pick.

The Heisman Trophy winner led the nation with his 13.0 adjusted yards per pass attempt last season, and Baker Mayfield’s rookie success shows that an undersized spread-system quarterback can play in the NFL.

It’s not ideal for the Cardinals to select quarterbacks in the top 10 for two years in a row, but they should be able to offload Josh Rosen, who did little in 2018 (albeit in poor circumstances) to suggest that he’s superior to Murray.

Recently, there have been rumors that the Cardinals aren’t 100% sold on Murray and that he might slide out of the top spot. I’m not buying the noise.

Teams without a viable quarterback struggle in the NFL, and Murray looks like an upgrade on Rosen.

I expect Murray to be a top-two pick.

2. San Francisco 49ers

Nick Bosa (Ohio State), Edge

  • Height: 6’4″ | Weight: 266 pounds
  • 40-yard dash: 4.79 seconds
  • 2019 Age: 22 | Class: Junior

The 49ers have needs all over the roster, and just two months ago Bosa was the frontrunner for the No. 1 pick at -200 odds. He’s a pro-ready prospect with the athleticism and skill set to be an All-Pro pass rusher within a few seasons.

In maybe only one mock draft have I seen him outside of the top two.

3. New York Jets

Quinnen Williams (Alabama), Defensive Tackle

  • Height: 6’3″ | Weight: 303 pounds
  • 40-yard dash: 4.83 seconds
  • 2019 Age: 22 | Class: Redshirt Sophomore

Williams is highly unlikely to be selected No. 1 overall, but he’s the top player in the class, and the Jets have needs on the defensive line.

Williams led the nation with his 96.0 overall Pro Football Focus grade in 2018. He also led all linemen in defensive stops and quarterback pressures.

He can anchor against the run with his size, and he can get to the passer with his athleticism. The Jets are fortunate to land Williams, who could be an interior force on the defense for a decade.

4. Oakland Raiders

Josh Allen (Kentucky), Edge

  • Height: 6’5″ | Weight: 262 pounds
  • 40-yard dash: 4.63 seconds
  • 2019 Age: 22 | Class: Senior

Another year, another guy named “Josh Allen” selected near the top of the draft.

Allen put up great numbers in 2018 with 17 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss, and he flashed good athleticism at the combine. In almost every mock draft I’ve seen, the Bednarik Award and Nagurski Trophy winner is a top-four selection.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Devin White (Louisiana State), Linebacker

  • Height: 6′ | Weight: 237 pounds
  • 40-yard dash: 4.42 seconds
  • 2019 Age: 21 | Class: Junior

This is the first pick on the board where there’s a lot of uncertainty: The Bucs have so many needs, especially on defense, and there’s no clear-cut best player on the board. But they reportedly are sold on White.

New head coach Bruce Arians loves speed, and no linebacker is faster than White, who exhibited truly difference-making athleticism at the combine.

An unquestioned top-tier defender, White is a complete player capable of rushing the passer, stopping the run and defending running backs and tight ends in pass coverage.

Winner of the 2018 Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker, White has the potential to be a decade-long stalwart in the middle of a defense.

6. New York Giants

Dwayne Haskins (Ohio State), Quarterback

  • Height: 6’3″ | Weight: 231 pounds
  • 40-yard dash: 5.04 seconds
  • 2019 Age: 22 | Class: Redshirt Sophomore

The Giants need a quarterback, and Haskins led the nation with 50 touchdowns last season. He has only 14 starts over the past three years, which gives him an unfortunate Mark Sanchez-Mitchell Trubisky type of vibe, but he can sit on the bench as a rookie and learn from Eli Manning.

There have been rumors that the Giants might prefer another quarterback over Haskins, maybe someone they can take at No. 17. That might be true, but I have doubts.

In a year with little top-end talent at the sport’s most important position, Haskins is a top-10 player. He’s almost always ranked ahead of all quarterbacks other than Murray. Additionally, if the Giants do prefer another passer, they’d be fools not to take him at No. 6, because he might not be available later.

But as of now I’m projecting them with Haskins.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars

Jawaan Taylor (Florida), Offensive Tackle

  • Height: 6’5″ | Weight: 312 pounds
  • 2019 Age: 22 | Class: Junior

The Jaguars need help along the offensive line to protect new quarterback Nick Foles, and they released right tackle Jermey Parnell this offseason.

I still have Alabama tackle Jonah Williams ranked higher than Taylor, but the latter is increasingly going off the board as the No. 1 overall tackle in the class even though he played mostly on the right side in college.

Taylor skipped most of the measurement drills at the combine because of a hamstring injury, but he did participate in the on-field workout and was praised by former offensive lineman Joe Thomas.

A three-year SEC starter, Taylor has some blindside potential but should start immediately regardless of which position he plays. And with pass rushers increasingly lining up all over the formation, the distinction between left and right tackles is less important than it used to be.

I’m yet to see Taylor mocked outside of the top 12.

8. Detroit Lions

Rashan Gary (Michigan), Edge/Defensive Tackle

  • Height: 6’4″ | Weight: 277 pounds
  • 40-yard dash: 4.58 seconds
  • 2019 Age: 22 | Class: Junior

Gary underwhelmed in his three years at Michigan, and there are questions about whether he’ll be best as a pure edge rusher, a 3-4 defensive end or a 4-3 tackle. But he was the No. 1 player in the 2016 recruiting class, and he’s an elite athlete at a position where athleticism is predictive of NFL success.

With Gary, the Lions will have a versatile player to line up all across multiple types of fronts for head coach Matt Patricia’s unit, and he could help replace the production lost from defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, who is currently a free agent member of the Green Dot City Action.

A boom-or-bust prospect, Gary provides Patricia with the type of player he likes at a position of need. That Gary is a Michigan product is just an added bonus.

9. Buffalo Bills

Ed Oliver (Houston), Defensive Tackle

  • Height: 6’2″ | Weight: 281 pounds
  • 40-yard dash: 4.73 seconds
  • 2019 Age: 22 | Class: Junior

Oliver’s draft stock has dropped over the past year, but at the combine he answered any questions about his size, and at his pro day he exhibited elite athleticism. There were previously doubts, but Oliver has the body and explosiveness to play as an NFL defensive tackle, where he’ll be a force as a rusher and run stopper.

A former five-star recruit who opted to play for his hometown college instead of a Power Five program, Oliver was an  immediate impact player as a freshman, putting together a first-team All-American campaign that made him a national name.

As a sophomore he somehow improved and won the Outland Trophy as the country’s best offensive or defensive lineman. But as a junior he suffered a knee injury and played just eight games. Still, he was fantastic in his final season, finishing with an overall PFF grade of 92.7.

With the retirement of Kyle Williams, the rookie will easily slot into the interior of the Bills defensive front.

10. Denver Broncos

Drew Lock (Missouri), Quarterback

  • Height: 6’4″ | Weight: 228 pounds
  • 40-yard dash: 4.69 seconds
  • 2019 Age: 23 | Class: Senior

I don’t think the Broncos should draft Lock in Round 1. I’d rather see them draft an offensive lineman. But they’re reportedly enamored with him, and quarterback Joe Flacco is unlikely to be anything more than a stopgap. Plus general manager John Elway has a history of drafting project quarterbacks far sooner than he should.

I view Lock as a Day 2 quarterback, but he’s now a universal Day 1 selection in mock drafts.

A four-year starter, Lock never seemed to put it all together in college. As a junior, he had a respectable 10.2 adjusted yards per attempt (AY/A), but he completed only 57.8% of his passes. As a senior, he completed more of his passes (62.9%), but he still wasn’t especially accurate, and he was far less efficient (8.5 AY/A).

Throughout his career, he’s been plagued by inconsistency, but at the combine he reportedly flashed a strong arm and faster-than-expected speed, as a junior he led the nation with 44 touchdowns passing and as a recruit he was an Elite 11 participant.

Lock is the quintessential non-analytics pick, and Elway is an old-school guy who will place more value on what his eye sees than what the numbers say.

11. Cincinnati Bengals

Andre Dillard (Washington State), Offensive Tackle

  • Height: 6’5″ | Weight: 315 pounds
  • 40-yard dash: 4.96 seconds
  • Class: Redshirt Senior

The Bengals need help along the offensive line, and Dillard should be more than up to the task.

#Wazzu LT Andre Dillard:

* Top SPARQ among all OLs in Indy

* Top pass-pro OT in nation per @PFF_College in 2018

* Zero holding penalties as senior per @SportsInfo_SIS

* 41 straight starts; no injury history

* OL guru @LanceZierlein: immediate starter with Pro Bowl potential

— Evan Silva (@evansilva) March 5, 2019

Dillard flashed elite athleticism at the combine, and he has ample experience as a blindside protector with three years starting in Wazzou’s pass-heavy offense.

With his physical ability and pass-blocking chops, Dillard might end up being the best tackle in this class.

12. Green Bay Packers

Devin Bush (Michigan), Linebacker

  • Height: 5’11” | Weight: 234 pounds
  • 40-yard dash: 4.43 seconds
  • 2019 Age: 21 | Class: Junior

The Packers have a number of needs, but after free agency they might be weakest at inside linebacker: Blake Martinez is a league-average player in the last year of his contract, and Oren Burks did little last year as a rookie.

Although White has garnered attention as the top off-ball linebacker in the class, Bush might be just as good. He’s a little smaller, but he’s young, explosive and strong against the run, in coverage and as a blitzer.

A no-doubt first-rounder, Bush finally gives the Packers the impact linebacker they’ve been looking for ever since drafting A.J. Hawk No. 5 overall in 2006.

13. Miami Dolphins

Montez Sweat (Mississippi State), Edge

  • Height: 6’6″ | Weight: 260 pounds
  • 40-yard dash: 4.41 seconds
  • 2019 Age: 23 | Class: Redshirt Senior

The Dolphins need to replace free agents Cameron Wake and William Hayes, and Sweat is a high-upside prospect with truly difference-making athleticism.

A top high school tight end, Sweat transitioned to defense at Michigan State before transferring to Copiah-Lincoln Community College and eventually Mississippi State, where he put up 17.5 sacks in two seasons.

A two-time All-SEC first-teamer, Sweat is something of a steal for the Dolphins: In many mock drafts, he’s off the board in the top 10.

14. Atlanta Falcons

Brian Burns (Florida State), Edge

  • Height: 6’5″ | Weight: 249 pounds
  • 40-yard dash: 4.53 seconds
  • 2019 Age: 21 | Class: Junior

The Falcons need help along the defensive line, and Burns is a high-upside prospect with youth and elite athleticism.

A five-star recruit, Burns broke out as an 18-year-old freshman in 2016, leading all first-year players with his 9.5 sacks. He had 13.5 tackles for loss in 2017, and last year he progressed with 15.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks and ranked third in the nation with 67 quarterback pressures (per Pro Football Focus).

With his strong combine, Burns probably pushed himself into the top 20.

15. Washington Redskins

Daniel Jones (Duke), Quarterback

  • Height: 6’5″ | Weight: 221 pounds
  • 40-yard dash: 4.81 seconds
  • 2019 Age: 22 | Class: Redshirt Junior

I have finally capitulated. In my opinion, Jones doesn’t belong anywhere near the first round — but Jones has been invited to attend the draft, and he’s accepted, which means that the league and Jones’ agent believe he will be selected on Day 1.

These 23 prospects will attend the 2019 @NFLDraft in Nashville! #NFLDraft

— NFL (@NFL) April 9, 2019

Unless they want to depend on Alex Smith, Case Keenum and Colt McCoy for the next few years, the Redskins need a quarterback, and Jones is now routinely being mocked in the top 20.

The quintessence of the first-round reach, Jones had just a 6.9 AY/A in his final season — and that was somehow his best year.

16. Carolina Panthers

Jonah Williams (Alabama), Offensive Tackle

  • Height: 6’4″ | Weight: 302 pounds
  • 40-yard dash: 5.12 seconds
  • 2019 Age: 22 | Class: Junior

There’s nothing special about Williams’ athleticism, but he’s a strong player who shouldn’t fall out of the top half of Round 1.

The Panthers have failed to protect quarterback Cam Newton adequately ever since losing left tackle Michael Oher in 2016, and Williams played as a three-year starter for one of the best teams in college football.

A versatile player, Williams has been talked about as a potential guard, where he would likely dominate. But he played on the outside in college, first on the right side as a freshman and then on the left in his two final seasons. If for some reason he doesn’t work out as a tackle, he probably will still be able to contribute on the interior.

But I see him as an NFL tackle: Despite facing strong SEC edge rushers, he didn’t allow a sack last year.

17. New York Giants

Clelin Ferrell (Clemson), Edge

  • Height: 6’4″ | Weight: 264 pounds
  • 2019 Age: 22 | Class: Redshirt Junior

With 11.5 sacks last year, Ferrell won the 2018 Hendricks Award as the top defensive end in the nation, and he’ll help the Giants replace the recently traded Olivier Vernon.

Ferrell didn’t flash as much at the combine as some of the other edge rushers, but he was a three-year starter for a two-time national champion and is expected to be a rock-solid professional.

Ferrell is an unanimous first-rounder in every mock draft I’ve seen.

18. Minnesota Vikings

Cody Ford (Oklahoma), Offensive Tackle

  • Height: 6’4″ | Weight: 329 pounds
  • 40-yard dash: 5.21 seconds
  • Class: Redshirt Junior

Opinions are split on Ford, who was outstanding at right tackle in 2018 but is regarded by some draftniks as a guard, where he played early in his college career.

Regardless, the Vikings need significant offensive line help, and Ford is a versatile player who can plug in wherever needed.

Even with his positional uncertainty, Ford is a top-20 pick in most mock drafts.

19. Tennessee Titans

Christian Wilkins (Clemson), Defensive Tackle

  • Height: 6’3″ | Weight: 315 pounds
  • 40-yard dash: 5.04 seconds
  • 2019 Age: 24 | Class: Graduate Student

The Titans need help with their pass rush — outside linebackers Brian Orakpo (retirement) and Derrick Morgan (free agency) are no longer with the team — and Wilkins should be able to provide assistance.

Although he’s not an edge player, Wilkins is a force. He was incredibly disruptive in 2018, recording 46 quarterback pressures and 39 defensive stops and racking up a 93.0 PFF grade, the third-highest mark for any college player.

Capable of rushing the passer on the interior and honoring his responsibilities in the run game, Wilkins will be a strong contributor in head coach Mike Vrabel’s defense.

Wilkins is a locked-in first-rounder.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers

Byron Murphy (Washington), Cornerback

  • Height: 5’11” | Weight: 190 pounds
  • 40-yard dash: 4.55 seconds
  • 2019 Age: 21 | Class: Redshirt Sophomore

Many analysts have Greedy Williams as the No. 1 corner off the board, but I think the Steelers might prefer Murphy, who is more of a complete player thanks to his ability to play press-man and zone and support in run defense.

At the combine Murphy exhibited subpar athleticism for a small corner, but everyone raved about his technique and footwork in the on-field drills. Most big-name analysts actually considered him a combine winner despite his slow 40-yard dash.

The Steelers don’t have an obvious need at corner, but Joe Haden is in the final year of his contract, Artie Burns has failed to live up to his 2016 first-round draft pick and Steven Nelson is a replacement-level player.

Murphy led all corners last year with his 91.9 PFF grade, holding quarterbacks to a 54.4 passer rating when targeted. Murphy is a late first-rounder in almost every mock draft.

21. Seattle Seahawks

Greedy Williams (Louisiana State), Cornerback

  • Height: 6’2″ | Weight: 185 pounds
  • 40-yard dash: 4.37 seconds
  • 2019 Age: 22 | Class: Redshirt Sophomore

With his speed and ability, Williams has the potential to be a top-10 pick, but he’s fallen in mocks the closer we’ve gotten to the draft. Even so, he’s a strong player who could help to stabilize the Seahawks secondary in short order.

Greedy has the name, swag and skillz to develop into a shutdown corner. Hailing from CBU, Williams is a typical LSU press-coverage player. Last year, he held quarterbacks to a 58.1 passer rating on targets in his coverage.

Comparable to former Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman in size and style of play, Williams isn’t as physical as his potential predecessor, but he’s much more athletic.

It would be a shock if Williams fell out of Round 1.

22. Baltimore Ravens

D.K. Metcalf (Mississippi), Wide Receiver

  • Height: 6’3″ | Weight: 228 pounds
  • 40-yard dash: 4.33 seconds
  • 2019 Age: 22 | Class: Redshirt Sophomore

The Ravens are without wide receivers Michael Crabtree and John Brown, so they seem likely to address the position.

The draft community is divided on Metcalf: He’s big, fast and explosive, and he comes from a family of NFL veterans, but he has limited stop-start agility, struggled to stay healthy and never had a true breakout campaign.

But Metcalf was on pace for a 1,000-yard, 10-touchdown season in 2018 before a neck injury cut his year short, and his catch radius makes him an intriguing option for quarterback Lamar Jackson.

What the Ravens hoped Breshad Perriman would be when they drafted him No. 26 overall in 2015, Metcalf actually could be. He has the most upside of any receiver in the class.

23. Houston Texans

Deandre Baker (Georgia), Cornerback

  • Height: 5’11” | Weight: 193 pounds
  • 40-yard dash: 4.53 seconds
  • 2019 Age: 23 | Class: Senior

Like Byron Murphy, Baker didn’t flash great athleticism at the combine, but scouts came away impressed with his on-field workout, and he could certainly provide an immediate boost to a Texans secondary that needs help at corner.

A first-team All-American and the Thorpe Award winner as the nation’s best defensive back, Baker is versatile enough to play in man and zone coverages, and he held quarterbacks to just a 40.2 passer rating last year (per PFF).

For his two final college seasons, Baker allowed zero touchdowns in his coverage.

24. Oakland Raiders

T.J. Hockenson (Iowa), Tight End

  • Height: 6’5″ | Weight: 251 pounds
  • 40-yard dash: 4.70 seconds
  • 2019 Age: 22 | Class: Redshirt Sophomore

Tight end Jared Cook led the Raiders last year in receiving, but he’s now with the New Orleans Saints. And given Cook’s 46.5 PFF pass-blocking grade, Hockenson might actually be an upgrade.

Winner of the 2018 Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end, Hockenson has Rob Gronkowski-esque potential as a mismatch weapon in the blocking and receiving game. Entering the NFL from the same institution that produced George Kittle, C.J. Fiedorowicz, Tony Moeaki, Scott Chandler and Dallas Clark, the young tight end will be a solid professional right away.

Over the past 12 years, only 10 tight ends have been selected in Round 1, but the position is strong in this class, and Hockenson is a locked-in first-rounder in every mock draft I’ve seen.

Given his two-way skill set, Hock could realistically be selected as early as No. 8.

25. Philadelphia Eagles

Garrett Bradbury (North Carolina State), Center

  • Height: 6’3″ | Weight: 306 pounds
  • 40-yard dash: 4.92 seconds
  • Class: Graduate Student

The Eagles don’t have massive problems on the offensive line, but center Jason Kelce could retire soon, left guard Isaac Seumalo had a mediocre 62.1 PFF grade last year and right guard Brandon Brooks is recovering from a torn Achilles suffered in the playoffs.

A first-team All-American and Rimington Trophy winner as the best center in college football, Bradbury provides great value and could help the Eagles strengthen the interior of the line.

A vaunted tight end recruit, Bradbury moved to the offensive line in 2015, playing one season at left guard before finishing his college career with two years at center. With his interior versatility, Bradbury offers the Eagles great flexibility. At one position or another, Bradbury will be an immediate starter as an inside lineman.

Exhibiting elite athleticism at the combine, Bradbury is a strong pass protector and capable run blocker. His addition should benefit both phases of the head coach Doug Pederson’s offense.

While Day 1 centers are relatively rare, Bradbury has All-Pro potential and is regularly mocked as a first-rounder.

26. Indianapolis Colts

A.J. Brown (Mississippi), Wide Receiver

  • Height: 6′ | Weight: 226 pounds
  • 40-yard dash: 4.49 seconds
  • 2019 Age: 22 | Class: Junior

This season, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton will turn 30: The Colts need to find a supplementary receiver for the short term and maybe even someone to replace him in the long term. Brown fits the bill.

Brown isn’t a universal first-rounder in mock drafts, but he should be. Big-and-athletic SEC receivers with back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns don’t come around too often.

He has the size and skills to line up out wide and in the slot, and he dominated in his two final seasons, averaging 111.8 yards receiving per game over that span.

Metcalf is the Ole Miss receiver everyone is raving about, but Brown is almost his rival as an athlete. And unlike Metcalf, Brown actually produced against elite competition on a consistent basis.

27. Oakland Raiders

Jeffery Simmons (Mississippi State), Defensive Tackle

  • Height: 6’4″ | Weight: 300 pounds
  • 2019 Age: 22 | Class: Junior

Before tearing his ACL in February while training for the combine, the former five-star recruit was a top-10 pick in almost every mock draft thanks to his stout play as a run defender and pass rusher.

The Raiders need help all over the roster, and they are unlikely to compete for a playoff spot this year anyway, so they can afford to let Simmons redshirt for a season. And by selecting him in Round 1, they get the benefit of having him on a fifth-year option, which should lessen the sting of his first-year absence.

Given that his knee injury is not expected to have any long-term impact on his ability, Simmons offers tremendous value at No. 27.

28. Los Angeles Chargers

Dexter Lawrence (Clemson), Defensive Tackle

  • Height: 6’4″ | Weight: 342 pounds
  • 40-yard dash: 5.05 seconds
  • 2019 Age: 22 | Class: Junior

The Chargers suffered last year without defensive tackle Corey Liuget (quad), who is no longer with the team, and nose tackle Brandon Mebane is a 34-year-old rotational player. The Chargers have a significant need on the interior of their defensive line.

A coveted five-star recruit, Lawrence broke out immediately as a freshman with seven sacks and has the size to impose his will against the run. And he flashed elite athleticism at the combine for a prospect of his size.

He was suspended for his two final college games because of a positive performance-enhancing drug test, and he failed as a sophomore and junior to match his first-year production, but he still has the physical attributes and skills teams crave, and he has the versatility to play in the middle of a 4-3 or 3-4 front.

An interior presence on the Chargers defense will make edge rushers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram even more difficult for offensive lines to stop, and Lawrence is a low-end first-rounder in many mocks.

29. Kansas City Chiefs

Marquise Brown (Oklahoma), Wide Receiver

  • Height: 5’9″ | Weight: 166 pounds
  • 2019 Age: 22 | Class: Junior

Brown has been unable to work out for scouts in advance of the draft because of a Lisfranc injury he suffered in the Big 12 Championship Game, but he’s assumed to have elite speed — which he’ll need to have at his size.

Often compared to DeSean Jackson because of his size, athleticism and style of play, “Hollywood” enters the NFL with three consecutive seasons of good production.

  • 2016 (College of the Canyons): 50-754-10 receiving, two return touchdowns in 10 games
  • 2017 (Oklahoma): 57-1,095-7 receiving in 13 games
  • 2018 (Oklahoma): 75-1,318-10 receiving in 13 games

As the draft has approached, Brown’s status as a first-rounder has seemingly solidified …

I do feel good about this WR going in 1st round👇🏻

— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) April 10, 2019

… and Antonio Brown’s cousin could be a fantastic receiving threat on the Chiefs for quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

The Chiefs theoretically don’t need another wide receiver, but Brown would be a significant improvement on No. 3 option Demarcus Robinson. And he would provide insurance on Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins: The former is at risk of being suspended this year for domestic violence issues, and the latter missed six games last year with injury.

30. Green Bay Packers

Noah Fant (Iowa), Tight End

  • Height: 6’4″ | Weight: 249 pounds
  • 40-yard dash: 4.50 seconds
  • 2019 Age: 22 | Class: Junior

The Packers need a long-term replacement to Jimmy Graham, who will turn 33 in November, and Fant is an NFL-ready receiving tight end similar to those on new Packers head coach Matt LaFleur’s previous teams (Owen Daniels, Jordan Reed, Austin Hooper, Gerald Everett and Delanie Walker).

Despite sharing the field with Hockenson, the supremely athletic Fant led his team with 11 and seven touchdowns receiving over the past two seasons.

Fant doesn’t have Hockenson’s strength as a blocker, and he dropped 11 of 80 catchable passes in his two final seasons (per PFF). But he has a real chance to be drafted ahead of Hockenson and could be the more productive NFL player.

31. Los Angeles Rams

Dalton Risner (Kansas State), Offensive Lineman

  • Height: 6’5″ | Weight: 312 pounds
  • 40-yard dash: 5.30 seconds
  • 2019 Age: 24 | Class: Redshirt Senior

The Rams don’t have massive needs on the offensive line, but they are subtly vulnerable.

Left tackle Andrew Whitworth turns 38 this season and is on the last year of his deal. Left guard Rodger Saffold left the team via free agency. Center John Sullivan had his 2019 option declined. And right guard Austin Blythe is in his contract year.

The Rams need an offensive lineman, and Risner is an NFL-ready player whose seemingly non-elite ceiling is likely outweighed by his high floor.

A four-year starter with experience at center and right tackle, Risner might be dependable enough to replace Whitworth on the blind side one day: He allowed just one sack in his entire college career. In the meantime, he could likely slot in at center or left guard.

With his positional flexibility, Risner is reminiscent of Kansas State predecessor Cody Whitehair, who started two years each at guard and tackle in college before playing 16 games at center as a rookie in 2016. Last year Whitehair made his first Pro Bowl.

In 2018, Risner was PFF’s No. 2 offensive lineman with an 89.9 overall grade, and he had an elite 93.2 pass-blocking grade. Most draftniks consider Risner a first-rounder, and he’d be a strong long-time contributor in head coach Sean McVay’s offense.

32. New England Patriots

Irv Smith Jr. (Alabama), Tight End

  • Height: 6’2″ | Weight: 242 pounds
  • 40-yard dash: 4.63 seconds
  • 2019 Age: 21 | Class: Junior

Although people will think of any tight end the Patriots select as a successor to Rob Gronkowski, the truth is that Smith is much more comparable as a prospect to former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, based on his athletic profile, age and production.

Even with his smaller size, Smith is a strong run blocker, and he has the versatility to block or catch passes out wide, in the slot, in line and even out of the backfield.

Last year, Smith set the Alabama single-season touchdown record for the position with seven, and he led all tight ends in the nation with 2.56 yards per route (per PFF).

The NFL history of tight ends to play as 21-year-old rookies is very strong: They often go on to have multiple seasons of high-end production. Smith is something of a steal at the bottom of Round 1.

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Potential Round 1 Players 

  • RB Josh Jacobs (Alabama): Round 1-caliber player at a position with ample supply and diminishing demand.
  • WR N’Keal Harry (Arizona State): Big-bodied receiver with five-star pedigree and underappreciated route-running technique and versatility.
  • WR Hakeem Butler (Iowa State): Man among boys with elite length and size/speed combination and strong final-season production.
  • OT Greg Little (Mississippi): Five-star two-year SEC starter with subpar Orlando Brown-esque athleticism.
  • DT Jerry Tillery (Notre Dame): Athletic interior presence with strong pass-rushing skills and adequate run-stopping ability.
  • Edge Jachai Polite (Florida): 21-year-old upside pass rusher coming off a disappointing combine.
  • S Nasir Adderley (Delaware): Small-school prospect with lingering questions about athleticism and level of competition.
  • S Johnathan Abram (Mississippi State): In-the-box safety with strong run-stopping skills and sufficient coverage ability as a nickel linebacker.
  • S Taylor Rapp (Washington): All-around defensive back without any elite qualities.
  • CB Rock Ya-Sin (Temple): Aggressive press-man three-year starter with good ball skills and explosive athleticism.

Matthew Freedman is the Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs. He has a dog and sometimes a British accent. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he’s known only as The Labyrinthian.

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