Football doesn’t sleep.
With both the college and NFL seasons over, it’s time to turn our attention to the NFL Draft, which takes place April 25-27 in Nashville. The University of Michigan has a number of prospects that are hoping to hear their name called at some point in the draft. This mock draft will project the entire first round, as well as project where each Michigan player will be drafted. Every few weeks we’ll release an updated mock, with version 2.0 coming after the NFL Drafty Combine, which takes place later this month.
Vailliencourt’s 2019 NFL Mock Draft 1.0
1. Arizona Cardinals: Quinnen Williams - DT, Alabama
I don’t think there’s a “wrong” choice here for the Cardinals, both Williams and Bosa are extremely talented and would start day one. However, when it comes to risk, Williams has less, considering he put up insane numbers and didn’t miss most of the season like Bosa did.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Nick Bosa - DE, Ohio State
This is a perfect scenario for the 49ers, who need an edge rusher.
3. New York Jets: Josh Allen - Edge, Kentucky
The Jets took their quarterback last year, so now it’s time to give their defense some help.
4. Oakland Raiders: Rashan Gary - DE, Michigan
Going into the draft, I expected to put Gary somewhere in the 9-15 range, but given the needs at the edge the Raiders have, this pick comes down to Gary and Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell. Jon Gruden seems to like Michigan players, and might fall in love with how good of a physical specimen Gary is, even though his production didn’t match the hype. I’m not sure how good of a pro he’ll be, put putting Gary next to Mo Hurst at the next level can only help.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Greedy Williams - CB, LSU
The Bucs nab the draft’s top cornerback. This pick could be traded should a team that is in need of quarterback want to jump the Giants.
6. New York Giants: Dwayne Haskins - QB, Ohio State
This is a dream scenario for the Giants. They don’t need to trade up, but still get the top quarterback on the board.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Kyler Murray - QB, Oklahoma
It’s time for the Jaguars to move on from Blake Bortles. Murray gives this team some excitement and should fit into the run-first type of offense the Jags run.
8. Detroit Lions: Ed Oliver - DT, Houston
The Lions have so many needs that it’s hard to find a player that would be a bad pick here. However, Detroit takes one of the best disruptors in the draft class to plug next to Snacks Harrison. There are size concerns, but smaller players seem to be excelling in the NFL across the board (see: Aaron Donald), and this move gives the Lions the potential to have one of the better defensive lines in football - especially if the team signs an edge rusher in free agency or picks up another rusher later in the draft. LSU linebacker Devin White received a lot of consideration here and might come with less risk, but Oliver has better home-run potential.
9. Buffalo Bills: Jonah Williams - OT, Alabama
After taking quarterback Josh Allen in last year’s draft, the Bills add the top offensive lineman to protect him.
10. Denver Broncos: Drew Lock - QB, Missouri
The Broncos haven’t had an answer at quarterback since Peyton Manning retired. They try again with Lock.
11. Cincinnati Bengals: Devin White - LB, LSU
Despite offensive line needs, this is a pretty easy pick. White could easily go in the top five and should be viewed as a steal outside the top 10.
12. Green Bay Packers: Clelin Ferrell - DE, Clemson
The Packers pick up the best available edge rusher with Ferrell, who was outstanding at Clemson.
13. Miami Dolphins: Montez Sweat - Edge, Mississippi State
It’s been well advertised that Sweat had a great Senior Bowl. He lands with new coach Brian Flores, who came from New England. The Dolphins need to figure out their quarterback position, but there are no good options at this stage in the draft.
14. Atlanta Falcons: Christian Wilkins - DT, Clemson
Atlanta will have a hole to fill at defensive tackle regardless of whether the team is able to re-sign Grady Jarrett. Wilkins was a beast for Clemson and can start from day one.
15. Washington Redskins: D.K. Metcalf - WR, Ole Miss
The could opt to take quarterback Daniel Jones here, but I don’t view him as talented enough for a top-15 pick. Instead, the Redskins grab the top receiver to help whoever plays quarterback for the Redskins next year.
16. Carolina Panthers: Cody Ford - OL, Oklahoma
The Panthers need to protect quarterback Cam Newton, and Ford can play multiple spots along the line.
17. Cleveland Browns: Dexter Lawrence - DT, Clemson
Lawrence has fallen a bit due to his positive drug test, but I think teams in the 15-25 range are going to bite if they have a need at defensive tackle, like the Browns do.
18. Minnesota Vikings: Jawann Taylor - OT, Florida
The Vikings need o-line help and Taylor falls right to them at 18.
19. Tennessee Titans: Jachai Polite - Edge, Florida
Another Florida player goes off the board as the Titans get their pass rusher.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Devin Bush Jr. - LB, Michigan
Bush to the Steelers just seems like a great fit. It’s an organization that is known for outstanding linebackers and Bush would have the chance to start from day one. His size may hinder his draft ceiling, but whatever team selects Bush will end up quite happy.
21. Seattle Seahawks: Nasir Adderley - S, Delaware
Adderley is another guy who starred at the Senior Bowl. He can fill Earl Thomas’ spot right away.
22. Baltimore Ravens: N’Keal Harry - WR, Arizona State
Harry gives Lamar Jackson the big-play receiver that he needs. He has great hands and is a deep threat.
23. Houston Texans: Greg Little - OT, Ole Miss
DeShaun Watson was sacked 62 times last year, Little should help bring that number down.
24. Oakland Raiders: Deandre Baker - CB, Georgia
This is pretty much a dream scenario for the Raiders. Baker probably should be gone by this point, but if he’s still available, expect the Raiders to pounce.
25. Philadelphia Eagles: Byron Murphy - CB, Washington
The Eagles secondary needs help and Murphy, the last of the three solid first-round corners, falls to them.
26. Indianapolis Colts: Brian Burns - Edge, Florida State
The Colts need a wide receiver to pair with the often injured TY Hilton, but they also need impact defenders, which is exactly what Burns can be.
27. Oakland Raiders: Marquise Brown - WR, Oklahoma
Derek Carr wasn’t very good last season, but he also didn’t have anyone to throw the ball to. Brown gives him a speedy pass-catcher.
28. Los Angeles Chargers: Mack Wilson - LB, Alabama
The Chargers have a big need at linebacker and Wilson can fill the void. I also considered Dre’Mont Jones here (DT, Ohio State), but decided linebacker was a bigger need.
29. Kansas City Chiefs: Deionte Thompson - S, Alabama
Alabama sees yet another player drafted. Thompson can provide a huge boost to the poor Chiefs secondary.
30. Green Bay Packers: T.J. Hockenson - TE, Iowa
The first of two star Iowa tight ends lands with the Packers, who will need a starter to replace Jimmy Graham as he ages. Hockenson is more of an all-around tight end compared to Noah Fant.
31. Los Angeles Rams: Dre’Mont Jones - DT, Ohio State
The Rams will likely be moving on from Ndamukong Suh is free agency, so Jones can step in and take his spot.
32. New England Patriots: Noah Fant - TE, Iowa
There’s a good chance that Rob Gronkowski will retire during the off-season, and even if he doesn’t, the Patriots will need to add his replacement this year. Fant is a a great receiving tight end that would give Tom Brady another red zone target.
Other Michigan Players
With Gary and Bush Jr. being selected in the first round, that leaves a number of other Michigan players wondering where they will be selected. Here are my projections:
Chase Winovich: 2nd round, pick 54 to the New England Patriots
Winovich had incredible production during his time at Michigan. He’d fit in with the Patriots, who do a good job developing their defensive ends. They also have two picks late in the second round, so using one on Winovich would make sense.
Zach Gentry: 4th round, pick 97 (first of the round) to the Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals don’t have much at the tight end position and need to give quarterback Josh Rosen some weapons. Gentry could be a nice pick for them just like Mason Cole was.
Karan Higdon: 5th round, pick 136 (eighth of the round) to the Detroit Lions
The Lions are in need of a No. 2 running back behind Kerryon Johnson and Higdon could be that guy. He’s a powerful runner that has a knack for the end-zone.
David Long: 6th round, pick 187 (27th of the round) to the Indianapolis Colts
Long is the toughest Michigan prospect to place. He doesn’t seem to be that highly regarded by scouts, citing his lack of size and speed. However, he was dominant in college, which means he’s going to be drafted somewhere, the question is when?
Give me your feedback in the comments. What picks do you like most? Hate most? Is there someone that you see as a great fit for a particular team?