GREG DEPALMA’S NFL MOCK DRAFT
Here is a look at my initial mock draft for the 2019 season broken down into four parts and concluding with picks, 25-32.
Click here for picks, 1-8.
Click here for picks, 9-16.
Click here for picks, 17-24.
Make sure to check out our ‘Mock Draft Podcast’ edition of Ourlads’ Guide to the 2019 NFL Draft. Dan Shonka and I go in-depth on every pick in the first round. A final ‘Mock Draft Podcast’ will air later this week.
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FIRST ROUND MOCK DRAFT (25-32)
25 Philadelphia DL Christian Wilkins, Clemson
It sure would be interesting to see how the Eagles respond from an injury-free season. The depth has been tested the last two years and most players have passed the test. What the Eagles need now though is to find some difference-makers at several spots including on both the offensive and defensive lines. If Wilkins were still available he would be an easy choice. He’s one of the best ‘can’t miss’ players in the entire draft.
EAGLES PRIMARY NEEDS
DE – The Eagles are getting old on the edge and their best & youngest player (Derek Barnett) missed the final ten games last season with a shoulder injury.
OL – It’s time for the Eagles to think about the future at left tackle without 37-year-old, Jason Peters. They appear to be intrigued with their ex-rugby star, Jordan Mailata, but he’s still a very raw prospect. They also have to build more depth on the interior with Brandon Brooks recovering from an Achilles injury.
WR – Nelson Agholor is a free-agent after the season and the depth behind their top three is very questionable. Mack Hollins missed last season with a groin injury.
RB – The Eagles acquired former Bear Jordan Howard for a 6th-round pick, but he’s in the final year of his current deal and the rest of the depth behind him still has room to grow. HC Doug Pederson likes to use a variety of rushers in his stable, but behind Howard he’ll have to count on later-round/undrafted talent. Maybe it’s time to invest a bit higher.
26 Indianapolis DL Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi St.
G.M. Chris Ballard is clearly the most underrated football executive in the NFL and his master plan of building from within is about to pay huge dividends. Not only do the Colts have the most salary cap space to spend in the league, but they quite possibly have the least amount of issues. That’s why I’m going with Simmons here. Ballard and the Colts are building towards a long-term goal, which is why they can afford to be more patient with Simmons - who tore his ACL in February - than most other G.M.’s.
My No. 2 choice would be RB Josh Jacobs while I’d also keep an eye on two players for pick No. 34, DE Jaylon Ferguson and DB Chauncey Gardner-Johnson.
COLTS PRIMARY NEEDS
DB – CBs Pierre Desir and Kenny Moore improved as much as anyone under first-year DC Matt Eberflus, while Quincy Wilson has been a solid pro. But the Colts really need a true ‘shutdown corner’ as well as some depth to compete with SS Clayton Geathers.
WR – TY Hilton is as consistent as they come and provides Luck and the offense with a game-changer. But he’s the only dynamic receiver on the team with down-the-field ability. They’re also in a good spot with the 26th pick to find their man as several impact players will certainly be available. And don’t think by adding a free agent like Devin Funchess means they’ll be content to stand pat at this position.
DL – Even after adding FA Chris Houston to the pass rush team, there’s a good chance the Colts will want to take advantage of the abundance of edge-rushing depth in this year’s draft class. There are also indications that last year’s second-round rookie, Tyquan Lewis, will be shifting to a three-technique role moving forward. Fellow rookie second-rounder Kemoko Turay has nice upside but he’s no sure thing.
OL – Ballard did a great job by potentially securing two starting spots for years to come after taking LG Quenton Nelson in the first round last year and RT Braden Smith in the second. But questions remain that might lead to adding even more bodies this time around. LT Anthony Castonzo has been this unit’s leader for several years now, but he’s turning 31 in August, missed five games last year with hamstring issues and will need a new deal soon. C Ryan Kelly is solid, but injury prone after missing four games last season and nine in 2017. Right guard is the weakest link with Mark Glowinski taking over for retired Matt Slauson. He’s a decent stop-gap, but nothing else.
RB – Frank Reich likes a full stable in his backfield and that alone should indicate a potential move here. Marlon Mack proved his worth by the end of last season, but he hasn’t been able to stay healthy while Nyheim Hines is more of a change of pace/Alvin Kamara type who notched a whopping 63 receptions as a rookie.
27 Oakland RB Josh Jacobs, Alabama
With four picks in the first 35 we started the Raiders draft by taking two defensive lineman. Now it’s time to address the offense and go with a player who can be plugged right into the starting line-up.
Other potential options here include TE (Noah Fant), OG (Cody Ford), DE (Jaylon Ferguson) and corner (Deandre Baker).
RAIDERS PRIMARY NEEDS
DE - As soon as the Raiders traded Khalil Mack this position became a huge priority and is the clear top overall need. Good thing edge-rushers are available in spades this year.
RB - Even if Marshawn Lynch returns for another season the Raiders need to think of the future and get themselves a young starting caliber performer. Free-agent Isaiah Crowell was a decent depth signing.
CB - The Raiders already have some interesting options at this position who could ultimately play better than expected, but there are too many questions to pass on selecting at least one impact player here with one of their top four picks. Free-agent Nevin Lawson was signed for only one year to play the nickel while Carolina cast-off Daryl Worley has to prove himself for an entire season. And keep an eye on last year’s fourth-round pick, Nick Nelson.
TE - Oakland allowed their leading receiver (Jared Cook) to leave via free agency to New Orleans and it was a decision I fully endorse. While he performed better in Oakland over these last two years than he did with at his previous two stops (Green Bay & St. Louis), he’s still a bit inconsistent and turns 32 this season. Not a good recipe for a rebuilding franchise.
LG - With Kelechi Osemele traded to the Jets, the Raiders now have a big hole to fill here.
28 Los Angeles OT Kaleb McGary, Washington
As good as the Chargers were last season, they still have several key holes to fill with a right tackle, a defensive lineman and a safety being where their most likely top selection will come from.
Besides McGary, keep an eye on DBs Johnathan Abram & Juan Thornhill. Both players can offer the versatile defenders DC Gus Bradley looks for from the position.
CHARGERS PRIMARY NEEDS
RT – G.M. Tom Telesco hasn’t used a first-round pick on an offensive lineman since his first draft in 2013. What might explain that reasoning was D.J. Fluker’s failure here as the 11th overall selection that very same year. Telesco did use three picks in 2017 including a second and third to help re-build the line, but so far all three players still have to prove that they even belong.
S – Bradley utilizes his safeties in a variety of packages and players like Derwin James and Adrian Phillips excelled for him last season. Look for the Chargers to add a new safety to the mix after cutting Jahleel Addae in March. They also generally scheme a multitude of DBs on a regular basis, so the more talent here the better.
DL – The Chargers lost Darius Philon to Arizona and might not bring back Corey Liuget or Damion Square. That’s a lot of snaps to replace. They’re also relying on 34-year-old, Brandon Mebane and second-year man, Justin Jones. Jones has a long way to go to be trusted with more reps.
WR – Mike Williams looks ready to assume more responsibility with Tyrell Williams moving on to Oakland. That leaves a spot open on the depth chart to be filled at some point during the draft.
QB – Sooner or later the Chargers are going to have to prepare for life after Philip Rivers.
29 Kansas City DE Jaylon Ferguson, Louisiana Tech
On defense, new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is changing schemes to a 4-3 front. That’s why I’m going with the best remaining pass rusher on my list.
On offense, the Chiefs have to replace RB Kareem Hunt for the long-term and WR Chris Conley. There’s also the legal trouble hovering over star WR Tyreek Hill, as well as a potential contract issue. If the Chiefs are really concerned about giving him a long-term deal, then see if they go for Oklahoma playmaker Marquise ‘Hollywood” Brown here.
CHIEFS PRIMARY NEEDS
DE – The Chiefs parted ways with edge-rushers Justin Houston and Dee Ford and now switch to a four-man front. They’ll be relying on two free-agent signings (Alex Okafor & Emmanuel Ogbah) and two young unproven second-rounder’s (Breeland Speaks & Tanoh Kpassagnon). None of those players have proven to be anything close to the two departed vets.
DB – The continued makeover of the Chiefs defensive backfield has continued and even S Eric Berry wasn’t immune. Enter the newest additions, S Ty Mathieu and CB Bashaud Breeland. But the Chiefs need a true ‘shutdown corner’ as well as some additional depth.
WR – Following the big deal Sammy Watkins received last off-season, the impending contract issue coming with Hill and the loss of Conley to Jacksonville, the Chiefs definitely need to add another receiver in the draft.
RB – Damien Williams did a nice job taking over for Hunt late last season, but the former Miami Dolphins cast-off needs to prove himself over the long haul. The Chiefs added free-agent Carlos Hyde to the roster, but his production has tailed off over the past two seasons and shouldn’t put the team at ease. Veteran Spencer Ware also remains unsigned. The Chiefs do have three picks in the first two rounds, so they’ll have ample opportunity to upgrade this position. A runner like Trayveon Williams from Texas A&M could be a good fit here.
OL – You wouldn’t know it by the way the Chiefs offense torched opposing defenses last year, but the talent on the interior of their line needs to get better, especially with C Mitch Morse signing off to Buffalo. The Patriots stuffed the Chiefs running game early in the AFC Title game and it cost them a win.
30 Green Bay TE Noah Fant, Iowa
With Devin Bush going to the Packers with their first pick, we think the next two positions they’ll upgrade will be a wide-receiver, tight-end, offensive tackle or a defensive back. If they decide to wait past the first round on drafting a tight-end, I think they might consider WR Marquise Brown, CB Deandre Baker or S Taylor Rapp. If he were still available in the second or third-round, S Juan Thornhill would be a good fit here too.
PACKERS PRIMARY NEEDS
DB – The Packers have invested heavily in this area over the past two drafts and so far only CB Jaire Alexander looks like a solid long-term solution. I expect them to go down this well early once again to add another corner as well as another safety to compete with Josh Jones.
TE –Jimmy Graham is on the tail end of his career and only tallied two scores last year out of his 55 receptions. The Packers need to look towards the future and can’t lose by going with either Noah Fant or TJ Hockenson.
ILB – The Packers lost starter Jake Ryan before the season last year and it doesn’t appear like they’ve found a sure-fire starter opposite Blake Martinez yet. That’s why this would be a great landing spot for Bush.
OLB – Kyler Fackrell broke out last season with a team-leading 10 ½ sacks and the Packers added underrated free-agent Preston Smith from Washington. But in order to create more havoc from the outside, the team should probably try and acquire another player.
31 Los Angeles DT Dexter Lawrence, Clemson
The decision to go with Lawrence appears to be an easy one. If they pass on Lawrence or if he’s unavailable, I would look for an edge-rusher, some offensive line depth or a defensive back.
The Rams should also add some running back depth on the second or third day.
RAMS PRIMARY NEEDS
DT – With Ndamukong Suh still a free-agent this is an early priority position for the Rams.
OL – The Rams did not exercise the option on 33-year-old C John Sullivan and let LG Roger Saffold sign with Tennessee. G.M. Les Snead was proactive in last year’s draft by selecting OL Joseph Noteboom (3rd) and C Brian Allen (4th). Noteboom will take over for Saffold in 2019 and possibly LT Andrew Whitworth in 2020. That’s why the Rams should try and add one inside and/or one outside lineman in this year’s draft.
DB – After swapping 28-year-old FS Lamarcus Joyner for 34-year-old FS Eric Weddle in free-agency, and with contract decisions coming soon on CBs Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, Snead needs to be equally proactive this year for the defensive backfield.
LB/DE – The Rams used five picks last year on these two positions, so it’s not necessary to go all-in again, but each of those five picks were taken in the fourth-round or later. Look for them to consider a top pass-rush talent early and possibly an inside linebacker prospect after that.
32 New England WR Marquise Brown, Oklahoma
The defending champs own a league-high 12 draft picks and I suspect they’ll spend several of them on much needed receiving depth. They also need to add some pass rushers, find depth at safety and look for Tom Brady’s eventual successor.
If Brown is off the board, I’d look at WR Deebo Samuel, TE Irv Smith Jr., or safeties Johnathan Abram and Taylor Rapp.
PATRIOTS PRIMARY NEEDS
WR – The Patriots did not win the Super Bowl because of their receiving core. Julian Edelman was their receiving core. There should be several quality players the Patriots can select with this pick and that’s why Brown is the man. Samuel could be too.
TE – Gronk has supposedly retired while the addition of free-agent Austin Seferian-Jenkins can’t be the cure. There are several good prospects to choose from in the first-round including Noah Fant or they could wait until the third-round and take a look at someone like Jace Sternberger.
DE/OLB - The Patriots pass rush ranked 30th last season and they just lost their leader when Trey Flowers (7 ½ sacks) bolted for Detroit. With most of the top players at this position gone by the end of day-one, look for day-two and three prospects like DEs Austin Bryant, Anthony Nelson, Zach Allen, Ben Banogu and Chase Winovich as well as OLB Oshane Ximines. If DE Jaylon Ferguson drops, he also becomes a good option here.
S – They need to get younger here.
QB – Brady will be 42 to start the season and Danny Etling is their only young back-up.