The NFL Draft — the grandaddy of all drafts, if we’re being honest — is finally upon us.
And the uncertainty starts at the top. What will Arizona do with No. 1? Will they really grab Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray after trading up to No. 10 to draft Josh Rosen just last year? And in a draft light on elite offensive skill-position players, will we even see a wide receiver or running back selected in the first 32?
To make sense of it all, we collected six of the most highly regarded first-round mock drafts — NFL.com (Daniel Jeremiah), CBS Sports (Will Brinson), USA Today (Nate Davis), Bleacher Report (Matt Miller), Walter Football and ESPN (Mel Kiper) — and came up with an average draft slot for each player. (Note: If a player wasn’t listed in the first round of a mock draft, we assigned him a 33 to make the math work.)
So which prospects were rated highest by NFL insiders, and how should fans make sense of these rankings? We’ve laid it all out in the table and takeaways below.
|1. Kyler Murray, QB||1||4||1||1||1||1||1.50|
|2. Nick Bosa, DE||2||2||2||2||2||2||2.00|
|3. Quinnen Williams, DT||3||1||3||4||4||3||3.00|
|4. Ed Oliver, DT||4||3||4||3||3||6||3.83|
|5. Devin White, ILB||5||5||6||5||5||5||5.17|
|6. Josh Allen, OLB||6||6||5||6||8||4||5.83|
|7. T.J. Hockenson, TE||7||7||7||7||10||7||7.50|
|8. Jonah Williams, OT/G||9||8||17||8||7||9||9.67|
|9. Devin Bush, ILB||10||10||10||10||14||11||10.83|
|10. Jawaan Taylor, OT||12||9||14||16||9||12||12.00|
|11. Christian Wilkins, DT||13||12||13||9||13||13||12.17|
|12. Dwayne Haskins, QB||15||15||8||15||15||10||13.00|
|13. Brian Burns, OLB||11||16||21||13||16||8||14.17|
|14. Andre Dillard, OT||8||18||11||24||11||16||14.67|
|15. Daniel Jones, QB||17||32||12||11||6||17||15.83|
|16. Cody Ford, OT/G||14||11||19||30||23||14||18.50|
|17. Rashan Gary, DE||21||24||15||14||21||19||19.00|
|18. Noah Fant, TE||32||14||9||12||27||30||20.67|
|19. Garrett Bradbury, C/G||18||13||31||18||18||31||21.50|
|T20. Jeffery Simmons, DT||26||25||24||19||12||26||22.00|
|T20. Clelin Ferrell, DE||25||21||16||21||17||32||22.00|
|22. Marquise Brown, WR||19||27||22||25||25||25||23.83|
|23. Byron Murphy, CB||23||20||20||—||28||20||24.00|
|24. Chris Lindstrom, G||31||23||18||22||—||18||24.17|
|T25. Greedy Williams, CB||14||—||24||24||—||23||25.17|
|T25. Rock Ya-Sin, CB||20||—||25||20||20||—||25.17|
|27. Dexter Lawrence, DT||—||17||28||28||19||28||25.50|
|28. Montez Sweat, DE||16||19||—||—||—||21||25.83|
|29. Drew Lock, QB||30||29||32||17||—||15||26.00|
|30. Josh Jacobs, RB||24||30||—||27||24||24||27.00|
|T31. Erik McCoy, C/G||—||31||23||—||31||22||28.83|
|T31. Jonathan Abram, S||29||—||26||26||26||—||28.83|
Consensus NFL Mock Draft Takeaways
Murray goes No. 1, followed by three more QBs
Much of what has been said about the 2019 draft surrounds the talent of the quarterbacks — or lack thereof. Outside of Kyler Murray, who is a near-unanimous No. 1 pick among these mocks, this QB class has been widely categorized as much less “NFL-ready” compared to last year’s crop.
Despite the underwhelming scouting reports at the position, our mock still sees four quarterbacks going off the board in the top 29 picks, which is just one less than 2018’s draft. Of course, each of the five pivots selected in the first round last April ended their rookie seasons as their team’s starter, including Lamar Jackson who played in the post-season. We’d be surprised if that was the case with this group.
Does this indicate the 2019 quarterback class may be better than initially expected, or will we see QB-needy teams reaching in hopes of making a franchise-altering pick?
Two TEs, One WR, One RB in top-32
Maybe the thing that stands out most about the mock draft above is the lack of offensive skill-position players going in the first round. This was a trend we saw last year as just three running backs, two receivers and one tight end going in the top 32.
But this year’s mock sees just four offensive skill-position players projected to be taken Thursday night, and two of them are tight ends from the same school. Iowa’s T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant are mocked to be selected over any wide receiver or running backs, with Oklahoma WR Marquise Brown and Alabama RB Josh Jacobs slotted in at Nos. 22 and 30, respectively.
Obviously, Thursday’s first round could play out much differently, but the lack of offensive skill-position players in Round 1 is a growing trend – and one to keep an eye on in years to come.
Defensive players are the majority
According to this mock, six of the top 10 and 17 of the top 32 prospects taken will be defensive players. For comparison, last season saw six offensive players in the top 10 and 16 of the top 32 overall on that side of the ball.
The large number of defensive players is notable, but isn’t all that odd. We’ve seen plenty of defence-heavy drafts in the past. What is interesting about the above mock draft, however, is the defensive positions being selected.
Defensive linemen have long been considered the class of the 2019 draft, but in this mock three linebackers (Kentucky’s Josh Allen is more of a pass rusher, to be fair) land in the top 10 – something we haven’t seen yet this century. Seeing two inside linebackers near the top of the draft is unusual, but the drop-off at the position after the two Devins (White and Bush) is reportedly considerable.
Also interesting – and it reminds us a little of the offensive skill-position player situation – is the lack of cornerbacks and safeties in the top-20, as those positions are normally coveted if the talent is there. We haven’t seen a corner or safety not selected in the top 10 since 2015, and that year Minnesota selected CB Trae Waynes at No. 11.