NFL mock draft 2019: Where does top QB Dwayne Haskins land in first round?

The folly of attempting to orchestrate a 2019 NFL mock draft nearly four months before the actual event takes place is self-evident.

One needs look no further than the uncertain status of the draft order itself, the last 12 picks of which won't be fully set until after the playoffs, to highlight the need for any guess at the first round to be written in pencil rather than ink. Add in the incomplete list of early declarations and impending changes stemming from free agency and it becomes clear that this is more of a thought exercise than accurate forecast.

Nevertheless, a sketch of how the top picks might shake out can be fun even if not particularly prudent at this point. Just don't point back to this in April (unless any picks are right).

1. Cardinals — Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State: With the franchise picking in the top spot for the first time since its move to Arizona in 1988, general manager Steve Keim could go in a number of different directions. But it's hard to imagine him finding better value than Bosa. An accomplished pass rusher who has delivered on comparisons to his older brother Joey, the former top-five pick and current Chargers standout, Nick has demonstrated the athleticism and versatility to be a defensive cornerstone for years to come.

2. 49ers — Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama: While Bosa was sidelined for all but three games this season due to a core muscle injury, Williams emerged as the foremost disruptive force in college football. The Outland Trophy winner stymied the Southeastern Conference with his power and advanced array of moves. San Francisco's defense has more serious needs than upgrading its interior line, but placing Williams next to DeForest Buckner would create one of the league's most intimidating tandems.

3. Jets — Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama: New York has a pressing need to ramp up its pass rush, but general manager Mike Maccagnan's primary objective this season has to be equipping Sam Darnold with more support. Bringing on a savvy and strong protector in Williams, who didn't allow a sack all season, is a good start. 

4. Raiders — Josh Allen, OLB/DE, Kentucky: If Jon Gruden isn't sick of jokes about the Khalil Mack trade, he's surely tired of watching a pass rush that barely recorded more sacks in 2018 (a league-worst 13) than its discarded star did for Chicago(12½). After showing significant improvement in a senior campaign that earned him SEC defensive player of the years honors, Allen could be a building block for an Oakland defense nearly devoid of any.

5. Buccaneers — Greedy Williams, CB, LSU: To paraphrase Gordon Gekko, Greedy is good, especially for Tampa Bay. The 6-2, 182-pound All-American will bring advanced ball skills and closing speed to his next stop. Opposing quarterbacks had an NFL-high 110.9 passer rating when facing the Buccaneers, and a top-line corner is needed to join last year's second-round tandem of Carlton Davis and M.J. Stewart.

Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Dwayne Haskins (7) celebrates with teammates after throwing a touchdown pass against the Northwestern Wildcats in the first half in the Big Ten conference championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium.

6. Giants — Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State: Regardless of New York's intentions for Eli Manning in 2019, a succession plan for the veteran quarterback is long overdue. GM Dave Gettleman won't have the same assortment of options at the position he did last year when he instead chose running back Saquon Barkley at No. 2, but Big Blue still could be poised to land the top passer on the board. Haskins, who hasn't announced whether he's declaring and could turn this draft on its head if he returned, can thrive throwing to every level of the field and could form an electric connection with Odell Beckham Jr. Haskins might be in for an extended transition given his lone season of experience as a starter, but sitting behind Manning might be an advantageous starting point. 

7. Jaguars — Greg Little, OT, Mississippi: In a disastrous follow-up to last season's AFC Championship Game run, Jacksonville finally reached its breaking point with Blake Bortles. But after owner Shad Khan said he was "far from content with the status quo" upon the year's end, Tom Coughlin and the rest of the Jaguars' leaders might prefer to find a veteran quarterback rather than rolling with a rookie in need of development. Little didn't always play like a top prospect during his time at Mississippi, but he has considerable potential for growth given his enviable physical tools.

8. Lions — Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson: As Ezekiel Ansah sputtered to just four sacks in yet another injury-shortened season, Detroit's deficiency in its outside pass rush became readily apparent. With the know-how to beat offensive tackles on more than athleticism alone, Ferrell looms as an enticing option for coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn at this point in the draft.

9. Bills — D.K. Metcalf, WR, Mississippi: Now committed to bringing along Josh Allen, Buffalo has to supply the talented but raw gunslinger with more firepower at receiver than Zay Jones and Robert Foster. As another dynamic yet developing offensive prospect, Metcalf would pair well with Allen and provide a potent downfield threat while he learns to run a full gamut of NFL routes. 

10. Broncos — Drew Lock, QB, Missouri: John Elway said last February he wasn't done "swinging and missing" for a quarterback, and it appears the Broncos' head honcho could find himself in the batter's box yet again. Even if Case Keenum wasn't a full-blown whiff, the veteran hasn't resolved long-term questions at the position as he heads into a contract year. Lock has tantalizing physical tools, including the arm strength to connect on even the most difficult of downfield throws. But his erratic accuracy and tendency to lock onto targets and predetermine his throws make him a high-risk, high-reward project for any coaching staff.

11. Bengals — Mack Wilson, ILB, Alabama: Stumbling to an all-time franchise worst mark for yards allowed, Cincinnati's beleaguered defense looks most desperate at linebacker, where Vontaze Burfict has perhaps finally worn out his welcome and there's little talent in the pipeline. Wilson has not declared for the draft yet and hinted in a tweet he could return next year, but his comfort operating sideline to sideline would make him an appealing option for Cincinnati should he decide to make the jump.

12. Packers — Jachai Polite, DE/OLB, Florida: Change could be coming for Green Bay's defense, and not just in the coaching staff. Clay Matthews has acknowledged the team might not bring him back as he prepares to enter free agency, and Nick Perry could be let go in a cap-clearing move after posting just 1½ sacks in 2018. A late bloomer with impressive agility, Polite could help the pass rush start a new chapter.

13. Dolphins — Ed Oliver, DT, Houston: Seen by many in the offseason as a contender for the No. 1 pick, Oliver has drawn comparisons to Aaron Donald — though any such parallel is definitively unfair. The three-time All-American will face similar questions about his size, but few can shoot into the backfield as quickly as he can. That ability would come in handy for the rebooting Dolphins, who mustered just 31 sacks last season.

14. Falcons — Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan: After watching his defense get ravaged by injuries this season, Dan Quinn would likely relish bolstering his pass rush with a versatile asset like Gary. He can be a threat both on the edge and the interior, where he could form a disruptive duo with Grady Jarrett — or, at minimum, replace him if Jarrett signs with a new club in free agency.

15. Redskins — Devin White, ILB, LSU: Washington might need to invest in a quarterback after a broken right leg left Alex Smith's status uncertain for 2019. Reaching for a passer at this point, however, would be irresponsible. Leadership and stability are needed in this organization, and the speedy White could help bring both.

16. Panthers — Brian Burns, DE, Florida State: Julius Peppers turns 39 in January and hasn't indicated whether he plans to return. Carolina needs to rejuvenate its edge rush regardless of his decision. Burns has the burst and bend to leave opposing tackles flustered, though he'll have to fill out his 6-5, 235-pound frame.

17. Browns — Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State: While young talent blossoms throughout Cleveland's roster, there's little brewing at defensive tackle beyond Larry Ogunjobi. Simmons' evaluation will entail more than weighing his immense physical tools, as he pleaded no contest to simple assault and was found guilty of malicious mischief after he punched a woman while he was a high school senior. But Browns GM John Dorsey has been willing to take a chance on players who have had off-the-field incidents. 

18. Vikings — Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma: Minnesota's offensive unraveling began with its front, which left Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook under fire throughout the season. The 6-4, 338-pound Ford, who could also fill a hole at guard, should become a quick favorite of coach Mike Zimmer for his mauling approach and finishing touch.

19. Titans — Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma: Tennessee's offense tended to be plodding even when at its best, as the unit generated less than half as many pass plays of 20-plus yards (37) as the league-leading Chiefs (76). Though listed at just 5-10 and 168 pounds, the dynamic junior college transfer nicknamed "Hollywood" could provide a spark for Marcus Mariota on deep throws and quick hits alike.

20. Steelers — Byron Murphy, CB, Washington: Cornerback has long been a confounding position for Pittsburgh, which needs a stable presence opposite Joe Haden. Yet there might be a solution awaiting in Murphy, who should emerge as an immediate asset thanks to outstanding quickness and footwork that allow him to thrive in both zone and man coverage.

* 21. Eagles — Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama: The defending champions narrowly avoided finishing the year with the league's worst passing defense, instead ranking 30th with 269.3 yards allowed per game. Philadelphia has invested sufficient draft capital at cornerback in recent years, but it's time to find a safety who can take over for Corey Graham. Thompson is the most promising prospect at the position this year and should only grow better as he hones his man coverage and recognition skills.

* 22. Colts — Kelvin Harmon, WR, North Carolina State: A career year from tight end Eric Ebron and superlative production from T.Y. Hilton helped obscure the feeble state of Indianapolis' receiving corps. With Harmon at his disposal, Andrew Luck would have a reliable and physical target capable of overpowering defensive backs at the catch point.

* 23. Seahawks — Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson: While Seattle's defense weathered an offseason of upheaval, there's room for improvement in the middle next to Jarran Reed. The versatile and crafty Wilkins has a relentless motor reminiscent of past Pete Carroll favorites.

* 24. Raiders (via Cowboys) — Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia: A 14th-ranked finish in passing yards allowed belied just how bad Oakland's defense was against opposing quarterbacks. The Raiders gave up a league-worst 36 touchdowns and 12.9 yards per completion. Baker, this year's Thorpe Award winner, might draw Jon Gruden's eye with his aggressive approach.

* 25. Ravens — Montez Sweat, DE/OLB, Mississippi State: New GM Eric DeCosta will have to strongly consider an edge defender with the first selection of his tenure. Terrell Suggs is 36 and, even if he's back for another season, could become a professor emeritus at Ball So Hard University in the near future.

* 26. Texans — Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State: After Deshaun Watson was sacked a league-high 62 times, something has to change up front for Houston. Risner is a rugged and technically sound blocker who could fare well at multiple positions, though his best fit might be at guard.

* 27. Patriots — Noah Fant, TE, Iowa: Goodbye Gronk? No matter whether the four-time all-pro is back in 2019 after a stark drop-off in production, New England must think about giving Tom Brady another big-bodied target, especially with Josh Gordon indefinitely suspended. Bill Belichick would savor the mismatches he could create with Fant, who was underutilized at Iowa but confounds defenses with his blend of size and speed.

* 28. Raiders (via Bears) — Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia: With Amari Cooper enjoying his star turn in Dallas, Derek Carr needs another threat outside. Ridley isn't as polished as his older brother Calvin, who was a first-round pick of the Falcons this year, but his sizable catch radius can make life easier for Carr.

* 29. Chargers — Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson: Despite the strides that the Chargers have made against the run this season, the defense would benefit from an upgrade in the middle. Even if the 6-4, 350-pound Lawrence never becomes a consistent threat as a pass rusher, he'll pose problems at the point of attack for almost any offensive line.

* 30. Chiefs — Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware: Don't be deceived by the level of competition — Adderley has a professional skill set. With extensive range and rapid recognition ability, he fits as the coverage presence needed for a secondary burned for more pass plays of 20-plus yards (65) than any other team.

* 31. Rams — Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame: Los Angeles gave up a league-worst 5.1 yards per carry and could use some help for a disappointing defense, especially if Ndamukong Suh doesn't return. Tillery could serve as a hammer while working on the same line as Aaron Donald.

* 32. Packers (via Saints) — T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa: As frustration mounted for Aaron Rodgers last year, so too did the throwaways and off-target passes. Adding Hockenson, the Mackey Award winner, would provide the two-time MVP a trusted safety valve in a new scheme after Jimmy Graham's subpar season.

* Order from 21-32 is based on current team records but will be determined throughout playoffs


Follow Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz on Twitter @MikeMSchwartz.