With only a day remaining until the NFL draft, teams, coaches, and players continue to break down and decide on who they will select to become major cornerstones of their respective franchises. With so many options on the table, here are my selections for the first ten picks of the 2019 NFL Draft:
1. Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
One of the most electrifying and fascinating players in this year’s class, Murray’s rare combination of speed and throwing ability make him worthy of the top selection. He fits new Cardinals’ head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s scheme perfectly. All signs point towards Arizona taking the Oklahoma standout to run a brand-new system on a young offense. The Heisman winner has untapped potential that may allow him to develop into a dual-threat superstar in the NFL.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
Arguably the most talented defensive prospect in the draft, Bosa decided to skip much of his 2018 season at Ohio State in order to prepare for the NFL. With this pick, the 49ers receive an extremely formidable pass rusher that fits perfectly on their young defensive line. Soloman Thomas, who the franchise selected with the 3rd overall pick in 2017, has not panned up in his first two years, so Bosa will look to replace him and make an immediate impact.
3. New York Jets: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
Coming off of a season in which he put up 17 sacks for a surprisingly successful Kentucky squad, Allen has all of the tools to play a significant role on a championship-caliber defense. At 6’5” and 260 pounds, Allen can be a menace as an outside linebacker next to C.J. Mosley, or he could play defensive end and add another force next to Leonard Williams on the Jets’ defensive line.
4. Oakland Raiders: Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan
An athletic freak who wowed at the NFL Combine, Gary will have plenty of room to grow once he enters the league. While only putting up 3.5 sacks last year at Michigan while battling through injury, and compiling a mere 9.5 over his three years in college, he causes a ton of disruption in the face of the quarterback, a talent that does not show up on the stat sheet. On a Raiders team that mustered only 13 sacks in 2018, the fewest in the NFL, the Ann Arbor product will have an opportunity to bolster their pass rush and become a piece of the future in Oakland.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama
With the Buccaneers looking to move on from all-pro defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, Williams will look to fill the void and play a pivotal role on a rebuilding Tampa Bay team. Already performing on a pro-level defense in college, the Alabama star can pressure the pocket and fortify the team’s horrible run defense.
6. New York Giants: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
While Giants GM Dave Gettleman has said that the team will select the “best player available” with their top-10 pick, I believe that all of it is a smokescreen for the team to select their quarterback of the future. Haskins, coming off of a season in which he threw 50 TDs at Ohio State, has the arm talent and ability to thrive in Pat Shurmur offensive-minded system.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jawaan Taylor, OL, Florida
After locking up free agent quarterback Nick Foles, Jacksonville needs to be able to put a solid line in front of him. Last season, the Jaguars gave up 53 sacks on the quarterback, good for the third-most in the NFL. Taylor, a pro-ready tackle, can play a huge part in an offense that needs to be physical and run-heavy in order to be successful.
8. Detroit Lions: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
One of the most complete tight ends to come out of college in years, Hockenson has a unique skill set, being a terrific pass catcher and run-blocker, especially for such a young player. With plenty of room to grow, the Iowa product has an opportunity to become a consistent target for Matthew Stafford for years to come.
9. Buffalo Bills: Ed Oliver, DL, Houston
After the retirement of DT Kyle Williams, Buffalo is in desperate need of a powerful interior presence on their defensive line. Oliver fits the bill perfectly. The Bills should be lucky enough to select the Houston product with the ninth pick and will allow him plenty of time to develop and improve his game on a young team.
10. Denver Broncos: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
After trading for Super Bowl XLVII MVP and veteran quarterback Joe Flacco, the Broncos are clearly in win-now mode. However, Flacco is in his waning years, and if John Elway wants to keep his job for the next stage in the Broncos franchise, he needs to make the correct decision for his young signal caller. Drew Lock is a dual-threat quarterback that showed all necessary signs to succeed at the next level in his four years at Missouri. This seems like the obvious selection for a team that has missed on drafting the right quarterback over in the past few years.