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The Pitt News NFL Mock Draft 1.0

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The Pitt News NFL Mock Draft 1.0

Duke redshirt junior quarterback Daniel Jones (17) at October’s matchup with Pitt.

Duke redshirt junior quarterback Daniel Jones (17) at October’s matchup with Pitt.

Thomas Yang | Assistant Visual Editor

Duke redshirt junior quarterback Daniel Jones (17) at October’s matchup with Pitt.

Thomas Yang | Assistant Visual Editor

Thomas Yang | Assistant Visual Editor

Duke redshirt junior quarterback Daniel Jones (17) at October’s matchup with Pitt.

By Adin Link, Staff Writer

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The 2019 NFL draft is just around the corner — sort of. We won’t actually find out the No. 1 overall pick or which team will take Heisman winner Kyler Murray until April 25, over two months away, but most NFL draft specialists from Mel Kiper Jr. to Todd McShay are finalizing their draft boards with the conclusion of the college and NFL seasons. The Pitt News’ own Adin Link weighs in with his prediction of how the first round will shake out.

1. Arizona Cardinals (3-13)

Selection: Joey Bosa, Edge Rusher, Ohio State

Thought to be the unanimous best prospect in this year’s draft class, the rebuilding Cardinals will likely add their key defensive piece of the future.

2. San Francisco 49ers (4-12)

Selection: Josh Allen, Edge Rusher, Kentucky

A dark horse to become the eventual No. 1 pick, Allen is the prototypical fast-twitch edge rusher that all NFL teams are searching for.

3. New York Jets (4-12)

Selection: Quinnen Williams, Defensive Tackle, Alabama

After drafting the future of their offense last year in Sam Darnold, the Jets now look to add a blue-chip prospect on the defensive side of the ball.

4. Oakland Raiders (4-12)

Selection: Devin White, Linebacker, LSU

White is a big, strong, space-covering linebacker who appears to be the exact mold of a player Jon Gruden would love on his defense.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11)

Selection: Ed Oliver, Defensive Tackle, Houston

Adding a player like Ed Oliver and allowing him to not only grow with a young team, but also learn from an NFL veteran like Gerald McCoy, could be a match made in heaven for Tampa.

6. New York Giants (5-11)

Selection: Dwayne Haskins, Quarterback, Ohio State

The Giants could add their quarterback of the future and allow him to learn for a season behind Eli Manning before handing the reins to Haskins.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11)

Selection: Kyler Murray, Quarterback, Oklahoma

Assuming Murray sticks with football rather than choosing professional baseball, the Jaguars will jump on the opportunity to add an exciting player like Murray in favor of incumbent starter Blake Bortles.

8. Detroit Lions (6-10)

Selection: Clelin Ferrell, Edge Rusher, Clemson

After likely losing Ezekiel Ansah in free agency, the Lions need to add a defensive end in the draft to chase down opposing quarterbacks and wreak havoc in the backfield.

9. Buffalo Bills (6-10)

Selection: Jonah Williams, Offensive Tackle, Alabama

For the Bills to have future success, they’ll need to protect quarterback Josh Allen. Williams is the best offensive lineman prospect in the draft and could slot right in to play one of the tackle positions.

10. Denver Broncos (6-10)

Selection: Drew Lock, Quarterback, Missouri

Drawing some comparisons to Patrick Mahomes, Lock will be a hot commodity in this part of the draft. Broncos general manager John Elway will be ecstatic to add a strong-armed, improvisational player while pushing Case Keenum to the curb.  

11. Cincinnati Bengals (6-10)

Selection: Rashan Gary, Defensive End, Michigan

While Gary could easily be a top-10 pick on draft day, he’ll likely go to the Bengals here and help them regain their gritty defensive mentality from a few seasons ago.

12. Green Bay Packers (6-9-1)

Selection: Montez Sweat, Edge Rusher, Mississippi State

Sweat, a star so far in the draft process, will allow the Packers to add a player on the defensive side of the ball that can bring pressure and take some of the workload off quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

13. Miami Dolphins (7-9)

Selection: Jeffery Simmons, Defensive Tackle, Mississippi State

If the Dolphins decide to stick with Ryan Tannehill at quarterback, the Dolphins will almost definitely select a defensive prospect at this position. Simmons is a big defensive tackle that could help the Dolphins tremendously in stopping opposing running attacks.

14. Atlanta Falcons (7-9)

Selection: Brian Burns, Edge Rusher, Florida State

With a fairly loaded offense, the Falcons will undoubtedly look for several different ways to upgrade their defense. Burns will instantly provide an impact to an otherwise lackluster Falcons pass rush.

15. Washington Redskins (7-9)

Selection: Daniel Jones, Quarterback, Duke

Redskins quarterback Alex Smith suffered what could very well end up becoming a career-ending leg injury last season. If the injury is indeed as bad as some suggest, Washington will need to use this pick for its signal-caller of the future. Jones fits the prototypical image of an NFL quarterback as a 6-foot-5 athlete who played a pro-style offense at Duke.

16. Carolina Panthers (7-9)

Selection: Andre Dillard, Offensive Tackle, Washington State

The Panthers struggled all last season to protect Cam Newton, and adding one of the hottest names on the NFL draft scene can certainly remedy that issue. Dillard was a standout from the Reese’s Senior Bowl and is now almost a surefire top-20 pick.

17. Cleveland Browns (7-8-1)

Selection: Yodny Cajuste, Offensive Tackle, West Virginia

The key to the Cleveland’s future is to keep Baker Mayfield upright and healthy at all costs. Cajuste is a technically sound tackle who has a great combination of mobility and power.

18. Minnesota Vikings (8-7-1)

Selection: Jawaan Taylor, Offensive Tackle, Florida

Taylor was a three-year starter for the Florida Gators, where he not only solidified himself as a first-round pick but also showed the potential to become an impact player early on in his professional career. With a well-rounded roster for the most part, Minnesota’s weakest position group is its offensive line, so Taylor in this spot would make a lot of sense.

19. Tennessee Titans (9-7)

Selection: Greedy Williams, Cornerback, LSU

LSU has a reputation for producing great NFL talent at the defensive back position and there’s every reason to believe Williams will continue that reputation. He’s an aggressive, lengthy corner who shut down some of the best receivers at the collegiate level in the Southeastern Conference. Williams will help Tennessee’s defensive secondary tremendously.  

20. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-6-1)

Selection: Deandre Baker, Cornerback, Georgia

With speculation that Steelers cornerback Artie Burns could be on the trading block, and with Joe Haden entering the twilight of his career, Pittsburgh needs to bolster its defensive backfield. Baker is a ball-hawking corner that can press receivers at the line of scrimmage and contribute instantly for the Steelers.

21. Seattle Seahawks (10-6)

Selection: Jachai Polite, Edge Rusher, Florida

While Polite is a bit undersized for a typical NFL edge rusher, at 6 foot 2 inches, 240 pounds, he is an incredible athlete. Polite explodes off the line and NFL draft analysts believe he may be the fastest edge rusher in the draft. With Frank Clark possibly departing from Seattle in free agency the Seahawks need someone to get into the backfield and apply pressure.

22. Baltimore Ravens (10-6)

Selection: D.K. Metcalf, Wide Receiver, Ole Miss

This one is pretty simple. The Ravens have a young quarterback in Lamar Jackson and not a lot of weapons around him to aid in his success — the Ravens’ logical choice is to draft the best wide receiver prospect available.

23. Houston Texans (11-5)

Selection: Cody Ford, Offensive Tackle, Oklahoma

The Texans are an extremely deep football team with not a lot of weaknesses. Their most glaring need seems to be at the offensive tackle position, and if they can solidify that spot then they’re a Super Bowl contender next season. Ford helped protect last year’s Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray, and he’d serve well protecting Pro-Bowl quarterback Deshaun Watson in Houston.

24. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago Bears)

Selection: N’Keal Harry, Wide Receiver, Arizona State

Again playing into the narrative of Jon Gruden preferring big, strong athletes, the Raiders will likely get an athletic freak in N’Keal Harry, who will have the role of replacing Amari Cooper as a go-to receiver.

25. Philadelphia Eagles (9-7)

Selection: Byron Murphy, Cornerback, Washington

If you watched the last few weeks of the regular season into the playoffs, you saw the Eagles lose an unprecedented number of defensive backs to injury, forcing players with little experience into critical roles. The Eagles will likely address their depth issue by taking Murphy, who some consider the best corner in the draft.

26. Indianapolis Colts (10-6)

Selection: Kelvin Harmon, Wide Receiver, NC State

The Colts are ready to contend for a Super Bowl next season, and a player like Harmon could potentially put them over the edge. Harmon could be a nice complement to the speedy T.Y. Hilton, and would provide quarterback Andrew Luck with another weapon.

27. Oakland Raiders (via Dallas Cowboys)

Selection: Josh Jacobs, Running Back, Alabama

Yet again, Jon Gruden will likely get another player that he would love to have at his disposal. Jacobs burst onto the scene this season and if Alabama has taught us anything, it’s that they produce top-tier NFL talent. With the Raiders’ weak ground game, Jacobs will provide a much needed burst for their running attack.

28. Los Angeles Chargers (12-4)

Selection: Elgton Jenkins, Center, Mississippi State

Jenkins, widely considered the top center in the nation last season, could provide the Chargers with another valuable piece in their mission to get quarterback Philip Rivers a ring.

29. Kansas City Chiefs (12-4)

Selection: Deionte Thompson, Safety, Alabama

There is no question where the Chiefs are weakest — the defensive secondary. Some would argue that with some better corners and safeties, Kansas CIty would have been in the Super Bowl. The Chiefs will likely go out and grab Deionte Thompson to fill that void and provide some stability to an otherwise faltering position group.

30. Green Bay Packers (via New Orleans Saints)

Selection: Nasir Adderley, Safety, Delaware

The Packers could continue their defensive rebuild by selecting the first FCS player of the draft. Adderley suddenly gained national attention after a stellar performance at the Senior Bowl. There were questions as to how Adderley would handle a tougher level of competition, but he silenced the noise after being one of the best overall players during the game.

31. Los Angeles Rams (13-3)

Selection: Devin Bush, Linebacker, Michigan

Bush may not be the biggest linebacker at 5 feet 11 inches, but he provides enough speed and hitting power to make you forget about his size. The Rams already have depth on both sides of the ball, but Bush has the potential to overcome the stacked roster and find himself a starter Week 1.

32. New England Patriots (11-5)

Selection: Noah Fant, Tight End, Iowa

With speculation of Rob Gronkowski calling it quits in the near future, who knows if the Patriots system will take a step back without the presence of a big-bodied tight end that tortures opponents in the red zone. Noah Fant can potentially provide that if he is given a year or two as Gronk’s apprentice.

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The Pitt News NFL Mock Draft 1.0