The 2019 NFL draft class has not been billed as a great one. The lack of elite quarterback prospects hurts the overall perception of the group, as does the lack of top-end skill position players at running back, wide receiver and tight end.
There is good news, though—the 2019 class is very deep on defense. Ridiculously so.
Of the 32 picks in this Round 1 mock draft, 22 are on defense. For comparison, only 15 of the 32 in the 2018 draft were on defense. One year before that, the 2017 class had 19 of the 32 picks on defense. To say that this year is an above-average group defensively would be accurate.
To be more specific, this is a great year to need a defensive lineman or edge-rusher. It's an unprecedented group, with 13 of the predicted picks going to the defensive tackle or defensive end group. And there were a handful of other players with a Round 1 grade that simply didn't make the mock draft. If your favorite NFL team needs a pass-rusher, this is the year to get one.
The downside to that is those teams in need of a franchise savior at quarterback or great left tackle could be on the outside looking in come draft night. Only three quarterbacks make the Round 1 cut, and two of those would be considered reaches if the draft were today. Of the teams needing a quarterback, the New York Giants have the biggest need and come up first on the clock.
Draft order courtesy of Tankathon.
1. New York Giants
Team Needs: QB, DL, OT
The Pick: QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
Justin Herbert isn't the top player in the 2019 draft class—that honor goes to Nick Bosa of Ohio State. But he is the top-ranked quarterback. The issue is that the junior might not be ready to leave Oregon for the NFL just yet.
There will be months of speculation and debate before the January 14 deadline to declare for the 2019 NFL draft; and it's unlikely anyone outside of Herbert's immediate circle knows what he'll do. Remember last year when many draft analysts claimed to have inside information that Sam Darnold would stay at USC only to see him declare for the draft? That's a cautionary tale for draft analysts. The allure of being the potential No. 1 pick in the draft could cause him to jump early.
If Herbert declares, he becomes the favorite to be a New York Giant. The team has a clear-cut need at quarterback, and he's the best in the class. The only argument would be for once again drafting the best player in the draft, but after the backlash from drafting Saquon Barkley with the second pick of the 2018 draft, fans may pressure the Giants to do the right thing and go after the quarterback.
2. Oakland Raiders
Team Needs: EDGE, S, WR
The Pick: EDGE Nick Bosa, Ohio State
The Oakland Raiders created a need at pass-rusher when they traded Khalil Mack and doubled down on it when they released Bruce Irvin. Heading into the 2019 NFL draft, there is no doubt in anyone's mind that finding a pass-rusher is the team's top need. The biggest question will be if the Raiders can lose enough games to find themselves in a position to draft Nick Bosa.
Bosa, the younger brother of Los Angeles Chargers star Joey, has already left Ohio State and is preparing for the NFL draft after suffering an abdominal injury early in the season. Sources close to Bosa say he'll be ready for the NFL Scouting Combine in late February and would actually be healthy enough to play in a bowl game, but he has chosen instead to rehab and be as healthy as possible for the combine.
The Raiders won't outright tank, but with head coach Jon Gruden trading away or releasing many of his best players, it does seem like the team is trying to get in position for a chance to select Bosa with one of its three first-round selections.
3. San Francisco 49ers
Team Needs: EDGE, CB, WR
The Pick: CB Greedy Williams, LSU
A year that began with playoff aspirations will end with a star quarterback (Jimmy Garoppolo) and featured running back (Jerick McKinnon) nursing ACL injuries. If there can be a silver lining to this lost season, it's that the 49ers will likely earn a top-five draft selection unless backup quarterback Nick Mullens can lead the team on a second-half comeback.
With an early selection, general manager John Lynch has a chance to redeem himself for what has been a poor return on investment from 2017 No. 3 overall pick Solomon Thomas. Many 49ers fans believe Thomas is nearing bust status given his lack of production throughout the first two seasons. Drafting a true edge-rusher here would be atop the wish list for the fanbase, but a true edge would be a reach.
The next-biggest need remains at cornerback, where the Trent Baalke regime's decisions still plague the roster. LSU's Greedy Williams has the length at 6'3" to play in the team's press-zone scheme and has the ball skills to be worthy of the No. 3 selection in a top-heavy cornerback class that lacks depth.
4. Buffalo Bills
Team Needs: OT, WR, CB
The Pick: OT Jonah Williams, Alabama
The Buffalo Bills have to hope that rookie quarterback Josh Allen returns to action soon and can show the type of development to make the team's trade up for him in the 2018 draft worthwhile. The good news is that he can't be worse than backup Nathan Peterman has been in relief.
With quarterback locked down for the time being, the Bills must head into the offseason focused on addressing the league's worst offensive line. Despite being a class that's not heavy on top-end tackle talent, one player in the SEC stands out as a premium blocker.
Alabama's Jonah Williams will be questioned by scouts because of a perceived lack of length on his 6'5" frame, but the tape shows him to be a capable pass protector with the feet and power to hold up on the edge. He might not fit the 6'7" profile many teams are now moving toward, but Williams can flat-out play ball, and that's something teams will see as they dig into his tape.
5. Arizona Cardinals
Team Needs: CB, WR, OL
The Pick: DL Ed Oliver, Houston
An interior pass-rusher might not be near the top of the needs list for the Arizona Cardinals, but this roster simply has to add as many talented players as possible. Ed Oliver, the junior from Houston who has already declared for the 2019 NFL draft, is among the easiest evaluations in recent years.
For Arizona, 2016 first-rounder Robert Nkemdiche hasn't lived up to his draft stock. In his three seasons of play, the defensive tackle has just two sacks and will enter the final year of his rookie deal in 2019. The Cardinals could look to move on from the mistake and plug in Oliver as his replacement.
Best player available isn't always a fun strategy, but the Cardinals should avoid drafting for need this time around. The best move for general manager Steve Keim is to find as many good players as possible, regardless of position, and start building the foundation of his team.
6. Cleveland Browns
Team Needs: OT, WR, CB
The Pick: DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama
Joe Thomas' retirement after the 2017 season left the Cleveland Browns with an unfillable hole on the left side of the offensive line. With John Dorsey remaking the Sashi Brown roster he inherited, he will be tempted to fill the need at left tackle but knows it's smarter to draft for talent over need. Alabama's Quinnen Williams is the most talented player on the board.
Williams, a redshirt sophomore at Alabama, has been unstoppable in his first season as a starter. He's a 6'4", 285-pound pass-rusher with inside moves and the power to collapse the pocket. Against LSU, he had 10 tackles and 2.5 sacks while showing off the three-down talent to look similar to Ndamukong Suh.
The defensive line isn't the Browns' biggest need, but the possibility of pairing Myles Garrett and Larry Ogunjobi with Williams is too good to pass by.
7. New York Jets
Team Needs: EDGE, OL, WR
The Pick: CB Trayvon Mullen, Clemson
The New York Jets have an obvious need for an outside pass-rusher and should spend money in free agency addressing that need and also beefing up the offense around quarterback Sam Darnold. Those moves would free up the front office to keep finding stars on defense in the draft.
Clemson cornerback Trayvon Mullen is an under-the-radar star hidden on a defensive depth chart full of future NFL players. Mullen, a 6'2" cover man, has the ideal size and mentality to play on the outside and lock up No. 1 wide receivers. Mullen, Trumaine Johnson, Marcus Maye and Jamal Adams would be one of the best secondaries in the NFL.
Should the plan to buy a pass rush fall through, it would be prudent to spend an early draft choice on the position; but with Nick Bosa off the board, it might be a reach to select Montez Sweat or Jachai Polite.
8. Denver Broncos
Team Needs: QB, OL, CB
The Pick: FS Deionte Thompson, Alabama
General manager John Elway has misplayed the quarterback position in Denver, leaving his team with another disappointing year by signing free agent Case Keenum, paying him starter money and not providing competition on the roster.
Elway needs to eventually draft a quarterback after missing on Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch, but he appears timid about failing again at the position. Quarterback remains the team's biggest need, but no passer is worthy of the selection at No. 8 overall. That could push Denver in another direction.
Alabama safety Deionte Thompson is one of the most impressive players in college football. He shows range, athleticism, instincts and a football IQ that allow him to make plays over the top of the defense or coming up to play the run. If he leaves the Crimson Tide early for the draft, he'll be the unquestioned top safety and maybe the top defensive back.
9. Indianapolis Colts
Team Needs: DL, WR, CB
The Pick: DL Rashan Gary, Michigan
General manager Chris Ballard has quickly turned the Indianapolis Colts into a contender in the AFC South with two strong draft classes and the return of Andrew Luck at quarterback. Now the task shifts to building a roster around Luck that can get him back in the postseason and eventually in the Super Bowl.
Among the biggest needs in Indianapolis is a pass rush upfront. The interior of the defensive line needs an upgrade, and Michigan's Rashan Gary is exactly the kind of player defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus can use all across the front to make plays.
Gary is a top-tier athlete at 6'5" and 280 pounds with the agility and coordination to often play on the edge of the Michigan defense. He's versatile and powerful, and he has room to still improve once in the pros while having enough Day 1 ability to see the field immediately.
10. Oakland Raiders (From Cowboys)
Team Needs: EDGE, S, WR
The Pick: LB Devin White, LSU
After stealing Nick Bosa with the No. 2 pick in this mock draft, the Oakland Raiders are on the clock again after trading wide receiver Amari Cooper for the Dallas Cowboys' first-round pick.
The Raiders' biggest remaining needs are at safety and wide receiver, but the decision-makers have to also look at the weakness in the middle of the defense and move to address it with linebacker Devin White. A former stud high school running back, White is a fast and instinctive linebacker with the skills to stop the run or be a playmaker in the passing game.
Given the Raiders' struggles defending the middle of the field, White is almost a necessity in Round 1. If he's on the board, Gruden and Co. have to make this selection. A rookie class featuring Bosa and White might even make fans forget they traded away Khalil Mack.
11. Detroit Lions
Team Needs: DE, CB, TE
The Pick: EDGE Montez Sweat, Mississippi State
The career of Ezekiel Ansah may be reaching its end in Detroit, which leaves the Lions with potentially two holes at defensive end. Addressing the pass rush should be the first step for the team this offseason. If the draft order holds and the Lions come up at No. 11 overall, the team is in prime position to capitalize on the second tier of pass-rushers in the class.
Montez Sweat is an athletic, long defensive end out of Mississippi State with the pass-rushing moves to excel in a stand-up role or with his hand down in the dirt. The Lions, like most NFL teams, will use edge-rushers in both, which makes him valuable to them.
The Lions could look at this wide receiver class and decide to replace Golden Tate or double down on the offensive line, but the best move for the roster is filling the already damning need for a pass-rusher.
12. Jacksonville Jaguars
Team Needs: QB, WR, OL
The Pick: QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
The Jacksonville Jaguars have regressed in 2018, and much of that blame goes to the quarterback. Blake Bortles can point to a lack of quality targets around him this year and injuries to running back Leonard Fournette—and both are valid—but the errors from early in his career are back haunting him this season. The time to at least add competition is now.
Dwayne Haskins is not a lock to enter the 2019 NFL draft as a first-year starter at Ohio State, but he's the type of player who traditionally benefits from entering the draft. He has a big arm, great production and enough athleticism to get excited about as a move-the-pocket passer. A team willing to potentially draft-and-stash him (ala Patrick Mahomes) could get an excellent value down the road.
That might be the best play for the Jaguars, as it's evident that Bortles has taken the team as far as it can go with him under center.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Team Needs: DE, CB, TE
The Pick: CB Deandre Baker, Georgia
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been criticized for opting to draft defensive tackle Vita Vea in the 2018 first round instead of going after a top-flight cornerback or safety prospect. With a top-15 selection again in 2019, the team could face a redemption scenario, albeit likely with a new front office and head coach running the show.
The direction of the team's first-round pick depends largely on what happens with quarterback Jameis Winston. If the front office isn't retained and a new group comes in, it could rescind his fifth-year option and move on. That would open the door to a quarterback selection here, but there isn't a passer on the board worth the pick.
The smarter move is to not reach for a position and instead look at a perfect blend of value and need. Georgia cornerback Deandre Baker offers that. He has ball skills and instincts to step right in as an outside cornerback and hopefully fill the position 2016 first-rounder Vernon Hargreaves hasn't.
14. Green Bay Packers
Team Needs: WR, EDGE, S
The Pick: EDGE Josh Allen, Kentucky
The Green Bay Packers got lucky in the 2018 draft when Louisville cornerback Jaire Alexander lasted too long on the board and fell into their laps. In this prediction, the team gets lucky again with Kentucky edge-rusher Josh Allen somehow still available.
Allen is dominating the SEC this season as a 6'5", 260-pound edge-rusher. A senior, Allen played as a true linebacker in previous seasons but now is asked to set and crush the corner and has been excellent in that role. He's the type of weapon the Packers need to replace Clay Matthews on the outside.
The Packers' former front office didn't seem in a rush to add a premium pass-rusher in the draft, but new general manager Brian Gutekunst is the type of aggressive decision-maker needed to put in the card on a talented, athletic outside linebacker.
15. Baltimore Ravens
Team Needs: WR, EDGE, LB
The Pick: WR N'Keal Harry, Arizona State
It might be Joe Flacco throwing to him or it might be Lamar Jackson, but the Baltimore Ravens need to draft a wide receiver in the first round. And unlike Breshad Perriman, the receiver needs to be able to run quality routes and make contested catches.
This will be general manager Eric DeCosta's first draft running the team after serving as Ozzie Newsome's chief lieutenant for many years. Will the lessons he learned under Newsome pay off when the Ravens are on the clock? Hopefully he will overlook the allure of raw speed at the position and instead look for a proven playmaker.
N'Keal Harry has dominated at Arizona State for three seasons while showing the size, route running and yards-after-catch ability to be a weapon in the NFL.
16. Tennessee Titans
Team Needs: TE, WR, OLB
The Pick: TE Noah Fant, Iowa
Tight end might seem like a luxury pick, but Iowa's Noah Fant is the type of offensive difference-maker that can open things up for quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Fant, a 6'5" and 241-pound athlete, is a mismatch waiting to happen in offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur's scheme. He can flex out at wide receiver, line up in the backfield, work in motion or simply play tight end on the end of the line. His ability to dominate up the seam and in the red zone is a perfect match for Mariota.
There are other needs here, including possibly a No. 1 running back, but drafting Fant helps Mariota, which in turn makes the entire team more competitive.
17. Seattle Seahawks
Team Needs: EDGE, CB, S
The Pick: EDGE Jachai Polite, Florida
The transition to a younger roster is going better in Seattle than many expected, but there are still needs that general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll must hit on to turn the roster over from the star-studded Legion of Boom days.
One position that needs a makeover is defensive end. Frank Clark has been solid, but team needs a long-term plan at the position. Going after a powerful, aggressive, quick pass-rusher would fit the team's mold.
Florida's Jachai Polite looks like Melvin Ingram. He's a stout 6'2" and has the bulk in his lower body to explode off the ball and make plays in the backfield. He's pro-ready coming out of Gainesville and would make an immediate impact in the Seattle pass rush.
18. Philadelphia Eagles
Team Needs: OT, CB, RB
The Pick: CB Byron Murphy, Washington
Injuries have piled up in Philadelphia this season, but the team is still poised to make a run in the second half at the NFC East title. As good as the roster is now, there is obvious room for improvement in the secondary. That's where first-rounder Byron Murphy's ability as a feisty cover man should excite Eagles' fans.
Murphy doesn't have amazing size at 5'11" and 185 pounds, but his technique and ability to close down routes is exceptional. He has the speed to bait quarterbacks into mistakes and has the footwork to recover and get between the ball and his man.
The Eagles might look at the offensive line prospects and decide to draft one early, but if Murphy is on the board, they would be smart to grab one of the best cornerbacks in the class.
19. Atlanta Falcons
Team Needs: DT, OG, OLB
The Pick: DL Raekwon Davis, Alabama
The middle of the Atlanta Falcons' defense needs help in a bad way. With the front office preferring high-character, productive leaders from the NFL draft, it makes sense they would turn to Alabama's Raekwon Davis.
As a 5-technique defensive end in Alabama's three-man front, Davis is asked to break double-teams in the running game, get after the quarterback and control gaps. He's a three-down playmaker with the size (6'7", 306 lbs) to hold up well on the inside of a four-man front.
Many will look at Alabama's scheme and see that Davis isn't often asked to get after the quarterback, but in his traits you'll see that he has the quickness and length to be effective in that role. The Falcons, led by Dan Quinn, will know exactly how to use him.
20. Miami Dolphins
Team Needs: QB, DE, WR
The Pick: QB Drew Lock, Missouri
The Miami Dolphins are in contention for a wild-card berth, so why would they give up on Ryan Tannehill? The main reason is Tannehill hasn't been a big part of the team's success this season. He'll also have a $26.6 million cap hit next season. If the Dolphins have a chance to move on from Tannehill, they should do it.
Missouri's Drew Lock is a polarizing prospect. He has a big arm, good athleticism and has produced great numbers in a wide-open offense. He's also often struggled against better competition—last weekend's game against Florida being an exception to that trend. Lock could rise up draft boards with a strong Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine. And in a quarterback-needy class, that could push him into the range of the Dolphins.
21. Minnesota Vikings
Team Needs: OL, DT, LB
The Pick: DL Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State
The Minnesota Vikings already have one of the nastiest defenses in the NFL. Adding a pass-rushing ace like Jeffery Simmons is almost unfair, but if he's on the board, the Mississippi State star fills a need.
"Simmons could be a top-10 player in the 2019 class, but concerns over Simmons, caught on video, striking a woman multiple times while he was a recruit could keep him off the board for some teams. At the time, MSU said he was trying to break up a fight, and Simmons later pleaded no contest to simple assault." As seen in previous seasons, talented players will get drafted, and Simmons is indeed talented.
As a pure 3-technique pass rusher, Simmons is one of the best in a loaded 2019 class. If the Vikings are comfortable with his off-field history, he can be a steal at the end of Round 1.
22. Washington Redskins
Team Needs: CB, LB, WR
The Pick: LB Mack Wilson, Alabama
A surprise season in Washington has been fueled by the smart play of quarterback Alex Smith, the rejuvenation of Adrian Peterson in the backfield and a strong defense. As the team moves into 2019 with Smith under center, the Redskins would be wise to take a page out of his past and look to anchor the defense to capitalize on an offense that won't turn the ball over often.
Alabama's Mack Wilson is the ideal middle linebacker for today's game. He's capable of playing in a 3-4, 4-3, 3-3-5 or 4-2-5 defense and has experience in each of them for the Crimson Tide. Nick Saban's staff has done a great job coaching up Wilson's reaction time and football IQ while also using his athleticism and range to its advantage.
If needs at cornerback and wide receiver can wait, Wilson is the perfect add for Washington.
23. Cincinnati Bengals
Team Needs: TE, LB, OT
The Pick: TE Irv Smith Jr., Alabama
Starting tight end Tyler Eifert is 28 years old and has never played all 16 regular-season games in an NFL season. That's a concern for the Cincinnati Bengals, especially since Eifert's role as an up-the-seam target is exactly what quarterback Andy Dalton needs. With Eifert seemingly always on the injury report, drafting another tight end could be in play.
Alabama's Irv Smith Jr. is the right kind of prospect to replace Eifert. He's well-schooled as a route-runner and run-blocker and has been a safety valve over the middle in a complex offensive scheme. His ability to play in-line or flexed out highlights just how NFL ready he is.
Smith might not be the athlete that O.J. Howard was coming out of Alabama, but he's not far behind him as a prospect.
24. Houston Texans
Team Needs: OL, CB, WR
The Pick: OT David Edwards, Wisconsin
The defense is good. The quarterback is good and getting better. Now it's time for general manager Brian Gaine to start plugging the remaining holes and improving the team from the bottom up. In a division they can dominate for years with a few good drafts, the pressure is on to not only hit in the draft but to protect Deshaun Watson.
The 2019 offensive tackle class doesn't look great, but it would be helped if junior right tackle David Edwards enters. Edwards has exceptional length and has shown himself to be a dominant performer opening holes for the Badgers' run game.
As a pass protector and as an asset in the run game, Edwards is the type of plug-and-play offensive tackle the Texans should prefer over the low-budget boom-or-bust athletes the last regime favored.
25. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago)
Team Needs: EDGE, S, WR
The Pick: WR A.J. Brown, Ole Miss
Yes, the Oakland Raiders are on the clock. Again.
With another first-rounder, this one thanks to Khalil Mack, the Raiders can look to plug the hole created when Amari Cooper was shipped to Dallas.
Ole Miss wide out A.J. Brown is a thick individual at 6'1" and 230 pounds but has enough quickness to separate from defenders. He's been very productive in his time at Oxford and has the physical nature to be the perfect slant and comeback route-runner for Derek Carr.
Some will question Brown's speed or ability to beat man coverage on the outside, but in the slot he can be a dangerous weapon. Carr needs all the help he can get, and Brown has the goods to help in his first season.
26. Pittsburgh Steelers
Team Needs: CB, ILB, EDGE
The Pick: CB Julian Love, Notre Dame
The Steelers have tried to improve the secondary, but those moves haven't paid off. Signing Joe Haden was a Band-Aid. Drafting Artie Burns doesn't look like a good move almost three years in. Now's the time to draft a playmaker and not bank on an athlete that can be developed.
Julian Love has been phenomenal all season at Notre Dame and is showing the technique to warrant a first-round selection. He's not an oversized cornerback at 5'11", but his ability to break on the ball and locate are catching the eyes of scouts.
Pittsburgh needs a hit from the draft in the secondary after recent struggles. Love has the ability to get right onto the field and the upside to be a No. 1 cornerback for a long time.
27. Los Angeles Chargers
Team Needs: OT, DT, LB
The Pick: OT Greg Little, Ole Miss
Quietly, thanks to their crosstown neighbors the Rams, the Los Angeles Chargers have put together a very good season in the AFC West. With quarterback Philip Rivers continuing to defy the limits of age and play well into his late 30s, it's time for the front office to think about loading up for a chance at a Super Bowl.
Going all-in with Rivers means fixing an offensive line that's been good but not great. The wide receivers and running backs are in place if everyone can stay healthy, but the offensive line could use a boost. That's where tackle Greg Little enters the picture.
A left tackle for the Rebels, Little has tremendous power and can be a bully in the run game. He's also enough of an athlete to handle a potential move to the right side of the line if needed.
28. Carolina Panthers
Team Needs: S, DE, OL
The Pick: EDGE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson
The offense is rolling in Carolina with another strong season from Cam Newton and the emergence of Christian McCaffrey as an offensive weapon. For the front office, the job is to build a defense that can consistently shut down the Atlanta Falcons and Los Angeles Rams in the NFC.
Clelin Ferrell has seen some top-10 buzz at points this season but is likely more of a late Round 1 player once NFL teams test his athleticism. He has been productive at Clemson and is one of the most impressive college defensive ends, but concerns about how quick he is off the ball and how well he bends could cause a small stock drop.
That's not to say Ferrell isn't talented. In a classic 4-3 defense, he profiles well as a right defensive end and has the agility and power to play well with his hand in the dirt.
29. New England Patriots
Team Needs: S, LB, DT
The Pick: DL Dre'Mont Jones, Ohio State
The New England Patriots look to once again be poised to make a deep run in the AFC. The 2019 offseason could be a pivotal one, though, if there is any kind of shakeup in the coaching staff or if quarterback Tom Brady decides to retire.
Quarterback of the future is an obvious need, and we could see the Patriots using their stockpile of picks to trade up in the draft for one, but the biggest need and value match is to tap into this deep group of defensive tackles to improve the interior pass rush.
Dre'Mont Jones would be a top-15 player in most classes, but the depth at defensive line pushes him right into the laps of the Patriots. He's a classic 3-technique penetrator and has been rock-solid for the Buckeyes the last two seasons.
30. Green Bay Packers (from New Orleans)
Team Needs: WR, EDGE, S
The Pick: WR Marquise Brown, Oklahoma
After addressing the defense earlier in Round 1, the Packers should do something the old front office ignored far too often: give Aaron Rodgers some help.
Oklahoma's Marquise Brown is a smaller receiver (5'10", 170 lbs) but has excellent speed, balance and burst in the open field. He's able to turn the short catch into a large gain and would give Rodgers a short-to-intermediate target with the ability to make chunk plays.
Brown's size is the biggest concern. He's short and fast, but he's also thin. He doesn't yet have the bulk in his build like an Antonio Brown or Tyreek Hill. That alone could be enough for him to slip in the draft, even if he's one of the best playmakers in the class.
31. Los Angeles Rams
Team Needs: S, LB, OT
The Pick: EDGE Chase Winovich, Michigan
The Los Angeles Rams traded for pass-rusher Dante Fowler Jr. at the deadline to beef up the pass rush as they make a Super Bowl run. Fowler might just be a rental, though, with his contract set to expire at the end of the season.
Whether or not Fowler is brought back, the Rams have to continue to add outside pass-rushers to go with the awesome trio of Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh and Michael Brockers on the inside. The front office also has to start thinking about adding more inexpensive players instead of stretching the salary cap. It won't be long until Jared Goff needs to be paid, and when that time comes, the Rams need more players on rookie deals.
Chase Winovich is impossible to miss on the field with his long hair and relentless motor. He's a thick rusher who most likely projects best standing up at the next level, where his athleticism and instincts can beat offenses. For the Rams, he's an excellent fit playing outside the monsters in the middle.
32. Kansas City Chiefs
Team Needs: EDGE, CB, S
The Pick: EDGE Brian Burns, Florida State
It's no secret that the pass rush needs to be upgraded in Kansas City.
Dee Ford is having a career year, but he's also in a contract season and has been inconsistent in the past three seasons. The team might not be ready to sign him to a large deal in free agency given his inability to produce in the past.
With Justin Houston getting older and struggling to stay healthy, the Chiefs need a true stand-up pass-rusher. The front office did draft Breeland Speaks in the second round in 2018, but he's a power-rusher more in the Tamba Hali mold. If Ford is gone, a speed-rusher is needed.
Florida State's Brian Burns is all speed. He's built like a small forward, with long arms, a tapered physique and the first step to dominate offensive tackles. There are some injury and production concerns, but as a raw athlete and project, he's worthy of a first-round pick.