The First Round

By Jared Stanger

I don’t do mock drafts. I just don’t. Years ago I was talking with a friend of mine and I was telling her how I don’t care much for small-talk…for BS’ing with people. She says to me, “that’s because you research your bullshit.” I mean, she nailed it. So, in order for me to do a mock draft that I would feel comfortable publishing and being accountable for, I would first want to do enough research on all 32 teams in order to trust that I’m not bullshitting or short-changing any fanbase. But that is an amount of work I just can’t do while maintaining my real-life day-job.

I also don’t really like giving a point by point listing of how I value players. I’d rather see how everyone else values them, and then steal who I think is undervalued. Nothing about a draft matters except who you pull the trigger on when you’re on the clock on draft day. It doesn’t matter if you got a player that “fell” on draft day, it doesn’t matter if you “reached” on your guy…all that matters is: one year, five years, a career later…did that player give you the best value for who was available when you picked.

This will be as close to a mock as I’ll ever come, but really it’s more of a “big board”, and it’s not even “mine”.

The other reason I wanted to write this is: we are well into December and something that I started noticing months ago about the 2019 draft class is still holding true: there is very little consensus about the first round.

Now, this can mean one of two polar-opposite things: 1) it’s not a great class and media is forcing players up into the first, or 2) it IS a great class and there are just too many legit possibilities that could end up in the first. I’m leaning towards the latter.

In order to survey the draft landscape, I looked at 10 different first round mock drafts. I used mostly bigger outlets, and I only used a mock if it had been published since December 1st. The mocks I ended up using: Sports Illustrated, Draftwire- Easterling, Walterfootball, Sporting News, ESPN- McShay, CBS- Trapasso, CBS- Wilson, Tankathon, PFF- Renner, Bleacher Report- Miller. I would have liked to use someone from NFL Network, but I don’t think any have been published in December.

I’ll start with the most general of numbers from the results, and work towards the specific 32 names that end up with the highest scores/best 1st round probability.

Across these 10 mock drafts; 65 unique players were named. That’s a lot. Literally two rounds of players that at least one of these writers put a 1st round grade on. Of the 65; 16 were only named on one ballot. So 49 unique players were named on multiple mocks. Still a lot.

POSITION BATTLE

Position breakdown of the 65 (I made some executive decisions on guys like Josh Allen who could fit multiple positions): Offense 28, Defense 37. So that fits with the overall feeling that this is a better defensive draft.

11 Defensive End
10 Cornerback
9 Defensive Tackle
7 Offensive Tackle
7 Wide Receiver
5 Quarterback
4 Safety
3 Offensive Guard
3 Linebacker
2 Center
2 Tight End
2 Running Back

To me, the one surprise here is Cornerback coming in 2nd. I don’t think the narrative all year has been that this is a good Corner class (*caveat to the CB group: a lot of the guys named are underclassmen that haven’t declared). But the DL numbers fit exactly into the season-long narrative. Low Safety numbers do not surprise me. Low Linebacker number is partly due to me defaulting most of the LB/DE tweeners to the DE side. I believe there will be good LB value in later rounds as this class has better depth than ceiling.

The OT number is decent with the asterisk that many of them are college Right Tackles. Low TE and RB numbers are just good common sense for a first round.

Now, the position breakdown of the names that made the top 32 for this exercise:

8 Defensive End
6 Defensive Tackle
5 Offensive Tackle
4 Quarterback
4 Wide Receiver
3 Cornerback
1 Linebacker
1 Safety

This list puts an even finer point on the top end of this class. CB falls off telling us that most of the CB named are late in the round and with little-to-no agreement of which guys will crack the top 32.┬áDL becomes the obvious strength of the class. RB and TE correctly fall completely out of the round (Noah Fant is the “first guy out” of any position on the outside of the 1st round).

It’s a pretty accurate snapshot of what I think this class feels like. Personally, I would steal a slot from WR to give to another position. Maybe LB, maybe IOL. And DT might be high by one; with teams looking to find a Jarran Reed dropping to the 2nd round.

There are 11 players that were named unanimously to all 10 mocks, plus 2-3 named on 9/10 ballots creates a very obvious first tier. I think the second tier is only 3-5 players long. There is a no-man’s land where it will be extremely hard to find correct value that sits between roughly #15-19 overall. And then the third tier is close to 40 players deep. That’s 40 players for 12 draft spots. If you can flip one pick between 16-25 into two picks between 20-60…I’d do it.

TOP 32

For each player in the top 32 players I will give their cumulative average score, ballot percentage, and pick range:

#1 – Nick Bosa, Ohio State DE

NICK BOSA
SCORE % BALLOTS HIGH LOW
1.1 100% 1 2

#2 – Quinnen Williams, Alabama DT

QUINNEN WILLIAMS
SCORE % BALLOTS HIGH LOW
4.9 100% 2 15

#3 – Josh Allen, Kentucky DE

JOSH ALLEN
SCORE % BALLOTS HIGH LOW
5.2 100% 3 10

#4 – Ed Oliver, Houston DT

ED OLIVER
SCORE % BALLOTS HIGH LOW
6.7 100% 2 12

#5 – Justin Herbert, Oregon QB

JUSTIN HERBERT
SCORE % BALLOTS HIGH LOW
6.8 100% 2 14

#6 – Greedy Williams, LSU CB

GREEDY WILLIAMS
SCORE % BALLOTS HIGH LOW
7.5 100% 3 12

#7 – Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State QB

DWAYNE HASKINS
SCORE % BALLOTS HIGH LOW
8.1 100% 5 12

#8 – Jonah Williams, Alabama OT

JONAH WILLIAMS
SCORE % BALLOTS HIGH LOW
9 90% 1 33*

#9 – Clelin Ferrell, Clemson DE

CLELIN FERRELL
SCORE % BALLOTS HIGH LOW
10.5 100% 4 22

#10 – Devin White, LSU LB

DEVIN WHITE
SCORE % BALLOTS HIGH LOW
12.5 100% 4 24

#11 – Deandre Baker, Georgia CB

DEANDRE BAKER
SCORE % BALLOTS HIGH LOW
16.6 100% 7 24

#12 – Rashan Gary, Michigan DE

RASHAN GARY
SCORE % BALLOTS HIGH LOW
16.9 80% 2 33*

#13 – Deionte Thompson, Alabama FS

DEIONTE THOMPSON
SCORE % BALLOTS HIGH LOW
18.3 90% 5 33*

#14 – Jachai Polite, Florida DE

JACHAI POLITE
SCORE % BALLOTS HIGH LOW
19.8 100% 11 26

#15 – Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State DT

JEFFERY SIMMONS
SCORE % BALLOTS HIGH LOW
20.1 80% 11 33*

#16 – Dalton Risner, Kansas State OT

DALTON RISNER
SCORE % BALLOTS HIGH LOW
20.3 50% 8 33*

#17 – Greg Little, Mississippi OT

GREG LITTLE
SCORE % BALLOTS HIGH LOW
20.6 90% 14 33*

#18 – Christian Wilkins, Clemson DT

CHRISTIAN WILKINS
SCORE % BALLOTS HIGH LOW
22.3 70% 7 33*

#19 – AJ Brown, Mississippi WR

AJ BROWN
SCORE % BALLOTS HIGH LOW
22.7 70% 5 33*

#20 – Brian Burns, Florida State DE

BRIAN BURNS
SCORE % BALLOTS HIGH LOW
23 70% 6 33*

#21 – Dexter Lawrence, Clemson DT

DEXTER LAWRENCE
SCORE % BALLOTS HIGH LOW
23.1 70% 5 33*

#22 – N’Keal Harry, Arizona State WR

N’KEAL HARRY
SCORE % BALLOTS HIGH LOW
23.1 60% 11 33*

#23 – Byron Murphy, Washington CB

BYRON MURPHY
SCORE % BALLOTS HIGH LOW
23.4 80% 11 33*

#24 – Montez Sweat, Mississippi State DE

MONTEZ SWEAT
SCORE % BALLOTS HIGH LOW
24.2 70% 15 33*

#25 – Derrick Brown, Auburn DT

DERRICK BROWN
SCORE % BALLOTS HIGH LOW
26.1 40% 6 33*

#26 – DK Metcalf, Mississipi WR

DK METCALF
SCORE % BALLOTS HIGH LOW
26.1 40% 10 33*

#27 – Will Grier, West Virginia QB

WILL GRIER
SCORE % BALLOTS HIGH LOW
26.2 40% 6 33*

#28 – Cody Ford, Oklahoma OT

CODY FORD
SCORE % BALLOTS HIGH LOW
26.3 40% 13 33*

#29 – Drew Lock, Missouri QB

DREW LOCK
SCORE % BALLOTS HIGH LOW
26.4 40% 14 33*

#30 – Jawaan Taylor, Florida OT

JAWAAN TAYLOR
SCORE % BALLOTS HIGH LOW
26.5 40% 8 33*

#31 – Kelvin Harmon, NC State WR

KELVIN HARMON
SCORE % BALLOTS HIGH LOW
26.8 50% 19 33*

#32 – Zach Allen, Boston College DE

ZACH ALLEN
SCORE % BALLOTS HIGH LOW
27.6 60% 12 33*

Something that I didn’t include for each player, but that could be an interesting sidenote with inferences of player buzz; was the average inclusion score. Which is to say, of the mock drafts that included the player; how high was his average placement? Could also be considered the “bang the table” score. For example: where Cody Ford was included; his average placement was #16.3. If a single team/GM gets a specific draft crush on a player; this could be closer to where they’re drafted.

A few more inclusion scores:

Dalton Risner 7.6
Will Grier 16.0
Trayvon Mullen 16.0
Cody Ford 16.3
Daniel Jones 18.5
Marquise Brown 21.7
Raekwon Davis 21.8
Mack Wilson 23.6

SEAHAWKS

The Seahawks currently hold the #22 overall pick. Which, theoretically, would put them close to the range for a DE like Brian Burns or Montez Sweat. Certainly in line for one of a few RT options. Those would be the smart money positions to look at should Seattle not trade back.

If they prefer to trade back; some of the names that didn’t make this first round projection include a couple intriguing 3-Tech options in Dre’mont Jones and Jerry Tillery, small-school DE’s Oshane Ximines and Jaylon Ferguson, OG’s Michael Deiter and Terronne Prescod, and the second-highest rated Safety: Taylor Rapp. There were also a handful of CB names that scored very similarly (towards the 2nd round), but that don’t feel like a “need” right now for Seattle.

Senior Bowl: Offensive Line

By Jared Stanger

Most of the roster for the 2019 Senior Bowl were announced last week, so I’ll be spending some time working through many of the position groups. I’m beginning with Offensive Line.

The announced/accepted invites currently break down with 9 players at OT, 5 players at OG, and 2 players at OC.

Tackle

Yodny Cajuste, WVU

I’ve been watching Cajuste since his sophomore tape, and recently he’s become a consistent presence in 2019 mock draft first rounds. I think this is an overdraft. I don’t think he sticks at LT. I have him in the 2nd round.

Dennis Daley, South Carolina

I haven’t cut tape of Daley, but I did watch two games earlier in the fall. I didn’t see much there. He’s a bit of a waist-bender that projects as a backup for me.

Nate Davis, Charlotte

This is the only announced OL that I haven’t seen tape of. But with listed height at 6’3″ I have to wonder if he won’t spend time at Center, where the roster is currently pretty shallow.

Andre Dillard, Washington State

I first watched Dillard over the summer from his 2017 game tape and kinda dug it, and I’ve recently watched a couple more games from 2018 and it’s really impressive tape. This is now a guy that I’m really looking forward to see at the combine; in addition to the Senior Bowl. My only criticism as of now is that I’d like to see him add some weight (just, like, 4-5 lbs) to his 6’5″/306 current size.

Dillard really feels like the only college LEFT tackle on the roster that I could see sticking at LT. His footwork will catch your eye first, but he’s been one of the more advanced guys I’ve watched with his hand usage.

Chuma Edoga, USC

This is one of a few of the invitees I hadn’t studied before they were announced, but he’s the one I’m most-excited about now that I have. Unlike many of the guys playing LT for their college teams but look like pro RT; Edoga is playing RT for USC, but might be able to play LT in the league.

Tytus Howard, Alabama State

Another guy I hadn’t watched before this week, but my first impression was more moderate. The first tape I watched he was playing LT and didn’t stand out. The second tape I watched he was playing RT. I’m not sure when or why he made the switch, or if he flipped back and forth all year, but I, personally, preferred his tape at RT.

Kaleb McGary, Washington

I haven’t cut tape on McGary, but being at Washington I’ve seen most of the games he’s ever played. I’ve also been able to see him test athletically at UW combine’s. I think Kaleb is going to make a ton of money at the combine.

Dalton Risner, Kansas State

Risner is an interesting evaluation. He’s playing RT this year, with some expecting a move to Guard or Center. I’m not sure if that projection is based on “athleticism”, expected arm length, or ability at Tackle. To my eye; I think his athleticism is pretty good. I’m more worried about his ability. The first game I watched on Risner this year was vs Mississippi State and DE Montez Sweat.

Sweat is potentially a first round pick himself, so it’s an important game to evaluate.

Max Scharping, NIU

Scharping is the kind of OT that I always find myself liking. Similar to Jack Conklin or Ryan Ramczyk…super solid, non-flashy, lunch-pail kinda guys. Both of those guys have ended up in the first round (#8 and #32), but then moved to right tackle as pro’s.

Personally, I don’t love stamping a guy as a probably right tackle and in the next breath putting him in the first round. I don’t think that’s great business. But clearly the league will pay a 1st for a RT. So maybe Scharping will hit some helium in Mobile and/or Indy.

Like with Risner, Scharping had a 1v1 matchup with potential first round DE Brian Burns. Burns is a super-smooth, athletic mover and Scharping honestly won the day vs him.

Guard

Beau Benzschawel, Wisconsin

Michael Deiter, Wisconsin

Of the five announced Guards; four of them are respective duos from the same schools. Two Wisconsin, two Oklahoma. I’m on record that I prefer the Wisconsin pair. I especially like Badger LG Michael Deiter.

Deiter has a similar profile to Dalton Risner. He’s played multiple positions, and there’s varied opinion of which spot he ends up at. I’m in favor of keeping him where he’s currently playing: LG. But there would be more value if he ended up at Center. He comes across like he’d have a good mind for Center, I just wonder how many teams want a 6’6″ Center.

Benzschawel also has good tape, but at Right Guard with less position versatility…less value, for me.

Chris Lindstrom, Boston College

I briefly watched some of his tape about a month ago and really wasn’t that impressed.

Ben Powers, Oklahoma

Dru Samia, Oklahoma

The Sooner pair feel overrated to me. Their tape looked like 3rd-4th round tape. I know this is the opposite of the popular opinion, but it’s where I’m at. It’s not bad tape, just not as special as what I’ve read from others.

Terronne Prescod, NC State

Prescod isn’t currently on the roster, but watching tape of his linemate at Center who IS on the Senior Bowl roster; I couldn’t help but wonder if Terronne will be joining him soon.

Prescod is a really thick, well-anchoring, great run-blocking LG. If the current Seahawks’ OL configuration is how Solari prefers his line; then Prescod would be more of the RG profile, with a guy like Samia (who reads athletic on tape) playing at LG for Seattle.

Center

Garrett Bradbury, NC State

There might have been other years that I would have like Bradbury’s tape more. He reads very athletic for a Center, but listed at 6’3″/300lbs I just didn’t feel he was consistently strong enough anchoring.

Elgton Jenkins, Mississippi State

Jenkins, in a sense, is the opposite of Bradbury. He’s 100% anchor. If Elgton every gave up yardage to a bull-rush this year; I didn’t see it. It’s a little ironic that Jenkins is such a solid pass-blocking Center, but he plays for a team that is so heavy on QB running. I think he’ll hit more upside once he finds a legit, NFL passing scheme offense.

Jenkins also has position versatility to play Guard, if desired.

In terms of Seattle’s likely interests; JR Sweezy is on a one-year contract, so any of the LG’s should be a focus, with Deiter as my favorite. Germain Ifedi has another year after this, but Seattle sometimes drafts a replacement a year early to allow a redshirt. I’d love a 2nd rounder to spend on Scharping and let him backup both Duane Brown and Ifedi.

The Senior Bowl takes place in Mobile, Alabama Saturday, January 26th, with practices beginning Tuesday, January 22nd.