The Watch List: 2019 NFL Mock Draft, Picks 33-48

Updated: April 21st 2019

Welcome to The Watch List, a resource to help RSO owners identify the players from the college game that deserve your attention.  To view my observations, follow me on Twitter @robertfcowper.  Check back throughout the Spring and Summer as The Watch List will preview the top prospects and let you know who is fantasy relevant and worth your valuable draft capital.

For the first time in my mock draft career, I decided to do a mock NFL Draft using draft pick trades.  Let me tell you, it was incredibly fun!  In addition to doing a full two round mock, I included some “best of the rest” players that I expect to outperform their late round draft stock.   Over the next two weeks, you’ll see the full mock broken into four parts, released in reverse order.  At the end of this post I have included a number of important notes that you may want to read before diving in.  To view the other parts, click here.

2.16, Miami Dolphins | Erik McCoy, C, Texas A&M

I have the Dolphins drafting a quarterback in the first round, so I think it makes sense to add to the offensive line in the second. Center Daniel Kilgore is 31 and coming off a season-ending triceps injury. Per Spotrac, the Dolphins spend startlingly little on their o-line. Just 5.3% of their cap is currently devoted to the line, with the next lowest total being the Vikings with 11.79%.

2.15, Carolina Panthers | Jaylon Ferguson, DE, Louisiana Tech

Ferguson has been slapped with the “off field issue” label so his value has dipped a bit even though he’s the NCAA’s all-time leader in sacks. As a freshman he got into a fight and was convicted of simple battery; he also had a public intoxication citation. It may be unwise to compare transgressions from one player to the next, but these don’t seem like the type of incidents that will prevent Ferguson from being a second round draft pick. Three of the four projected DL starters for the Panthers this season are 30+ so they would be wise to inject some youth into the unit.

2.14, Arizona Cardinals | Irv Smith, TE, Alabama

In my mock’s narrative, the Redskins did well by acquiring QB Josh Rosen without giving up their first. This is the pick that the Cardinals received and I think they should use it to add a weapon for new QB Kyler Murray. Smith isn’t a traditional TE but I don’t envision the Cardinals running a traditional offense. I believe Smith will be best deployed in motion, from the slot or off the line of scrimmage where he can avoid the jam and use his speed to get past mismatched linebackers.

2.13, Atlanta Falcons | Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame

I have the Falcons going with defensive linemen with both picks in my mock. I think they should target an edge rusher with the first pick and wait on tackle. When I watched Tillery heading into 2018, I thought he could end up as a first rounder but I think the consensus now has him on Day Two. He can learn from DT Grady Jarrett and then take over the starting role next season if the team cannot sign Jarrett to a long term deal.

2.12, Detroit Lions | Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple

The Lions are pleased to net an extra mid-round pick by moving down a pick and still get their corner in Rock Ya-Sin. Ya-Sin’s stock has continued to grow over the last few months so I would not be surprised if he actually went 10-15 picks earlier than this.

2.11, Green Bay Packers | Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida

After a run at safety to start the second round, I think the Packers would consider moving up a pick or two to grab Chauncey Gardner-Johnson who is the last safety in this tier. The Packers just signed FS Adrian Amos but I think Gardner-Johnson can compete with Josh Jones for the starting SS spot.

2.10, Cincinnati Bengals | Tyree Jackson, QB, Buffalo

The Bengals need a lot of help so it made sense for them to trade back in the first and pick up some extra picks along the way. The hate on QB Andy Dalton has gone too far, I believe. He can still be a serviceable starter in the league but that doesn’t mean the Bengals shouldn’t invest in the future. Jackson has tremendous physical tools but needs some work to become a polished passer. He can sit behind Dalton for 2019 and maybe into 2020 until he’s ready to take over. The Bengals have a limited window with WR AJ Green (age and injury history) and RB Joe Mixon (running back shelf life seems to keep getting shorter). However, they conversely brought in a young and unproven coach, so it feels like they are in a weird win-now but rebuild mode.

2.09, Denver Broncos | Mack Wilson, ILB, Alabama

I have the Broncos drafting a new offensive signal caller in the first round so I thought there would be some nice symmetry in doing the same for the defense in the second round. Wilson could lineup next to sophomore Josey Jewell in Denver’s 3-4 and make for a young and talented duo between edge rushers Bradley Chubb and Von Miller.

2.08, Buffalo Bills | Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State

The Bills signed two corners in free agency: Kevin Johnson and EJ Gaines. Both were signed to one-year deals so it’s clear to me that Buffalo plans to address the position high in the draft. Lance Zierlein’s scouting report of Oruwariye suggests he’s best in a zone-heavy coverage scheme which the Bills employ with Sean McDermott.

2.07, Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Juan Thornhill, S, Virginia

The Buccaneers could use some help at both CB and S so I think they could reach a bit for a player like Juan Thornhill, who played both positions at Virginia. Recent Twitter rumors have circulated saying that Thornhill interviewed poorly but I decided to keep the pick as-is. At this point in the process it’s possible that a team that really wants him is putting out negative stories to ensure they get their guy.

2.06, Jacksonville Jaguars | Chris Lindstrom, OG, Boston College

If the Jaguars don’t go for a tackle at 1.07, I think they should look to the offensive line here at 2.06. Much of the Jaguars’ offensive salary cap is tied up in G Andrew Norwell. Per Spotrac, the Jags have a “potential out” after the 2019 season to avoid paying him nearly $50mil over the three subsequent seasons. Lindstrom has experience at both RG and RT which would be a good fit because Norwell and LT Cam Robinson line up on the other side.

2.05, Oakland Raiders | Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

Jon Gruden has showed us that he’s willing to buy and sell his draft capital so I have him making two consecutive trade-backs to gain even more pieces to play with. The cherry on the sundae would be having speedster Marquise Brown fall this far because of his recent foot injury. Al Davis famously loved drafting receivers with blazing speed. If Brown is still on the board, Mark Davis makes this pick in honor of his late father.

2.04, San Francisco 49ers | Taylor Rapp, S, Washington

Like the Giants and Colts, the 49ers need help at safety too. They may be disappointed not to get Thompson or Abram but Rapp will appeal to them for his durability. Rapp played all 13 games in each of his three seasons at Washington. Meanwhile neither 49ers starter, Jimmie Ward nor Jaquiski Tartt, played more than 9 games the last two seasons. San Francisco did resign Ward to a one-year deal but it’s inevitable that they add a safety.

2.03, Arizona Cardinals | Dalton Risner, OG, Kansas State

After drafting QB Kyler Murray, the Cardinals focus should be protecting him. Risner is an interesting prospect because he has experience at both tackle and center. Risner performed well at the combine in the shuttle, 3-cone and broad jump drills. Adding a versatile and athletic linemen to the depth chart would be a boon for Murray.

2.02, Indianapolis Colts | Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi St

The Colts are set at FS with Malik Hooker but adding a run supporting box safety would greatly improve the defense. Abram fits the bill if he lasts this long. The offense and front seven are looking solid so the Colts should concentrate on shoring up the middling secondary. If they do, the Colts could be a sneakily complete Super Bowl contender.

2.01, New York Giants | Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama

The Cardinals continue their wheeling and dealing by moving back two spots so the Giants can grab their replacement for Landon Collins. Thompson struggled down the stretch but is my pick for the best free safety on the board. The Giants did acquire Jabril Peppers in the OBJ trade but he’s on a team-friendly contract and the Giants can move on after 2019 without a cap hit. Peppers has been a bit of a disappointment so maybe a return to the rover position that made him so successful at Michigan would help – having Thompson in the fold would make that possible.

 

A few housekeeping notes:

  • The full mock draft was written between April 4-10.  Any moves or news released after that point would not be taken into account.
  • To help me track my mock draft, I used a very useful tool I found on Reddit called RST’s 2019 Draft Tracker.
  • This spreadsheet lets you easily trade draft picks and uses a pick value chart so you can try and keep trades fair.  All of the trades except for Washington/Arizona were pick for pick and I required that the team moving up offer more value than the value chart suggested was fair.
  • Since the trades all included late picks not covered in this mock I didn’t bother noting each individual trade.  Instead, I described my general thinking for the trade.
  • For each pick, I tried to put myself in the shoes of the GM.  If given the chance, I would not necessarily make all of the same picks as I value some players and positions differently.
  • Keep in mind that my predicted draft order does not necessarily correspond to my personal positional rankings.
  • I could not have put together the roster and contract notes without the help of two invaluable sites: Our Lads and Spotrac.

Notes: In an effort to standardize the description of key positional traits, I frequently use the following adjectives: elite, good, above average, average, below average, poor.  Heights listed are using a notation common among scouts where the first digit corresponds to the feet, the next two digits correspond to the inches and the fourth digit corresponds to the fraction, in eighths.  So, somebody measuring 5’11” and 3/8 would be 5113.  This is helpful when trying to sort players by height.  When writing a full report for a player, I typically pick two games of film to watch.  When time permits, I may add a third game. If game film is not available I will search for highlight reels, but keep in mind these are the best plays that player had so they really need to jump off the screen. I do not necessarily want to watch games where they did very well or very poorly as that may not be a great illustration of their true ability. If possible, when comparing players at the same position I also like to watch film against common opponents. Full disclosure, I am not watching film of every single game any player plays, instead I am looking for a representative sample.  There are a lot of analysts out there who have a deeper depth of knowledge about certain players but I pride myself in a wide breadth of knowledge about many players.  When researching my articles I use a number of valuable resources, I would recommend bookmarking the below sites:

  • Stats: espn.com, sports-reference.com, pro-football-reference.com, cfbstats.com, herosports.com, fcs.football, foxsports.com, mcubed.net, expandtheboxscore.com, washingtonpost.com
  • Recruiting: 247Sports.com, espn.com, sbnation.com, rivals.com
  • Film: 2019 NFL Draft Database by Mark Jarvis, youtube.com (but be wary of highlight only reels)
  • Draft info and mocks: draftcountdown.com, draftscout.com, mattwaldmanrsp.com, draftek.com, thedraftnetwork.com, nfl.com
  • NFL rosters and contract info: ourlads.com, spotrac.com
  • Draft history: drafthistory.com
  • Combine info: pro-football-reference.com, espn.com, nflcombineresults.com, mockdraftable.com
  • Season preview magazines: Phil Steele, Lindy’s, Street and Smith’s, Athlon Sports
  • Podcasts: ESPN’s First Draft, Strong as Steele with Phil Steele, The Audible by Football Guys (specifically episodes w/ Matt Waldman), UTH Dynasty, Draft Dudes, 247Sports College Football, College Fantasy Football: On Campus, Underdog Pawdcast, Saturday 2 Sunday, Locked on NFL Draft, Cover 3 College Football
  • Logos & Player Media Photos: collegepressbox.com (the media home for FWAA members)
  • Odds & Gambling Stats: vegasinsider.com

Robert F. Cowper is a freelance writer who lives in New Jersey.  He is a proud member of the Football Writers Association of America and the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.  Robert works as a recreation professional, specializing in youth sports, when he isn’t acting as commissioner for his many fantasy sports leagues.

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