NFL mock draft 2019: Will the Cardinals take QB Kyler Murray first?
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The Bears are sitting out the first round of the NFL Draft later this month. The Sun-Times’ Patrick Finley is not. Here’s a look at his mock draft:
1. Cardinals — Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray. In the past year, Cardinals GM Steve Keim has fired head coach Steve Wilks after only one year; replaced him with Kliff Kingsbury, a college coach with a losing record; canned offensive coordinator Mike McCoy after seven games; drafted Josh Rosen, whose passer rating was worst among all first-round picks; and served two days in jail for extreme DUI. Taking Murray here would buy Keim another few years at the helm. It might also be the right decision.
2. 49ers — Ohio State edge rusher Nick Bosa. Pairing Bosa with former Chiefs edge rusher Dee Ford, for whom the 49ers traded a second-round pick, makes too much sense in a division with the Rams and Seahawks.
3. Jets — Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen. While Bosa had 17 ½ sacks in his college career, Allen had 17 last year alone. He graduated from Montclair (N.J.) High School, which is a 12-mile drive from MetLife Stadium.
4. Raiders — Alabama DT Quinnen Williams. Jon Gruden could take a quarterback here. But my hunch is that new GM Mike Mayock convinces him they can’t pass on Williams, perhaps the draft’s best player.
5. Buccaneers — LSU LB Devin White. Like Roquan Smith a year ago, White is a Butkus Award winner and plug-and-play starter. He replaces Kwon Alexander, who left the Bucs for the 49ers in March.
6. Giants — Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins. The Giants have to draft a quarterback, right? While they’ll surely debate waiting until next year’s more ballyhooed class, the guess here is that they’ll give Eli Manning a farewell tour with Haskins as his understudy.
7. Jaguars — Florida OT Jawaan Taylor. The Jags need a right tackle, and he’s a prototypical mauler.
8. Lions — Houston DL Ed Oliver. He might not be Aaron Donald, but he shares the same undersized build and otherworldly athleticism. In a spread-offense league, the fastest route to the quarterback is rushing up the middle.
9. Bills — Iowa TE T.J. Hockenson. The Bills need to give second-year quarterback Josh Allen some help, even if it means making Hockenson the highest-drafted tight end since 2006.
10. Broncos — Missouri QB Drew Lock. It’s tempting to give Vic Fangio a defender, but GM John Elway needs to find a long-term solution at the most important position in sports. That ain’t Joe Flacco.
11. Bengals — Duke QB Daniel Jones. New head coach Zac Taylor, the former Rams quarterbacks guru, gets a young quarterback to groom — even if picking Jones this early feels like a reach. Incumbent Andy Dalton isn’t owed any guaranteed money.
12. Packers — Ole Miss WR D.K. Metcalf. After signing three defensive starters in free agency, the Packers have the flexibility to pair Aaron Rodgers with a freak athlete on offense.
13. Dolphins — Mississippi State edge rusher Montez Sweat. Rather than trade up for a quarterback, Dolphins seem content to Tank for Tua. They’d likely be thrilled with Sweat — provided they’re comfortable with his medical records. He reportedly was found to have a pre-existing heart condition at the NFL Scouting Combine.
14. Falcons — Michigan edge rusher Rashan Gary. No defensive lineman ran a faster 40-yard dash at the Combine.
15. Redskins — LSU CB Greedy Williams. Daniel Snyder getting Greedy? You don’t say. With all four first-round quarterbacks off the board, the Redskins should take Williams and then offer a third-round pick to the Cardinals for quarterback Josh Rosen. Alex Smith might never play football again.
16. Panthers — Florida State edge rusher Brian Burns. I can’t believe the Panthers will rely on 31-year-old Bruce Irvin all year long. Someone else has to help replace the retired Julius Peppers.
17. Giants (from Browns) — Georgia CB Deandre Baker. The Giants get a Day 1 starter in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade.
18. Vikings — Washington State OT Andre Dillard. Kirk Cousins’ poor first season wasn’t all of his own making. The Vikings need to find a way to protect their big-money quarterback from Khalil Mack and others.
19. Titans — Clemson DT Christian Wilkins. Marcus Mariota needs some help, but the Titans bet that a top-tier receiver will be available in Round 2.
20. Steelers — Michigan ILB Devin Bush. Many think Bush will be drafted in the top 11. With him still around at No. 20, the Steelers finally find Ryan Shazier’s replacement.
21. Seahawks — Clemson DE Clelin Ferrell. He provides insurance in case the Seahawks decide to trade Frank Clark, whom they franchise tagged in March, or fail to sign him to a long-term contract.
22. Ravens — Arizona State WR N’Keal Harry. The Ravens are desperate for receiver help and are without a second-round pick.
23. Texans — Oklahoma OT Cody Ford. The Texans, who pick four times before the Bears make their first selection, need to protect quarterback Deshaun Watson.
24. Raiders (from Bears) — Iowa TE Noah Fant. Betting on a pass catcher to turn his off-the-charts athletic testing into superstar performance is oh-so-Raiders.
25. Eagles — Alabama OL Jonah Williams. I wrote this last year, too, but the Eagles, with few holes, have the luxury of planning for life once the 37-year-old Jason Peters retires.
26. Colts — Oklahoma WR Marquise Brown. Behind T.Y. Hilton, the Colts’ receivers are hold-your-nose bad: Devin Funchess, Chester Rogers and Zach Pascal.
27. Raiders (from Cowboys) — Michigan edge rusher Chase Winovich. The Raiders still haven’t found a decent edge rusher to replace Mack — they only have one 2018 sack returning at the position — so they’ll reach here.
28. Chargers — Delaware S Nasir Adderley. The Bolts turn to the Fightin’ Blue Hens and, somewhere, Delaware alum Matt Nagy smiles.
29. Chiefs — Temple CB Rock Ya-Sin. His ideal size belies his experience — only one year of Div. I-A football.
30. Packers (from Saints) — Alabama TE Irv Smith Jr. The Packers can get out from under Jimmy Graham’s contract after this season.
31. Rams —Kansas State OT Dalton Risner. After playing both center and tackle for the Wildcats, he’s drawn comparisons to the Bears’ Cody Whitehair.
32. Patriots — QB Will Grier, West Virginia. It’s always fun to give the Pats a quarterback. But who are we kidding? They’ll trade down.