Within seconds of the 2018 NFL Draft finishing the mad rush for 2019 mock drafts flooded our lives. This is the 24/7/365 swirling world of college and professional football. Throwing out a mock so early is part fun and part hilarious. I looked at CBS Sports’ Will Brinson’s recent effort as the launching pad for discussion on players to buy or sell in the first round 11+ months before the big show.
Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
In a defensive line heavy mock drafts from all across the country Bosa is legitimately worthy of being the No. 1 overall selection. The competition for top D-lineman is going to be fierce but he checks most of the boxes. He has the bloodlines, plays at a major power, and has been super productive early in his career. He’s the type of player who test so-so in off-season workouts but most NFL personnel types are going to love him too much to care.
Bryce Love, RB, Stanford
Admittedly this could be a tall task–all Love has to do is stay healthy and he has a very good shot at being a first round selection and even the first running back off the board. You could make the case that Christian McCaffrey–who went 8th overall in the 2017 Draft–has already been converted into a receiver-sometimes-tailback and Love has more pure running back talent, skill, and speed.
Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
Notre Dame hasn’t had a defensive lineman picked in the first round in 20 years. Clemson is projected to have 4 of their players go in the first round which really doesn’t seem crazy. The Irish program has to go back to Ross Browner in the 1978 Draft to get to 4 selections in the first round from this position. Ferrell gets overshadowed a little bit which is absurd for someone coming off 18 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks.
Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
Like many, I was so impressed with the Dawgs defense up close last year and Baker could’ve come out last year following his junior campaign and from all accounts he would’ve been a high pick. With another year learning from Kirby Smart give me all the stock in Baker being one of the top corners and a first round selection.
Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina
This looks and smells like your typical mock draft reach based on potential. Samuel missed most of last year with a broken leg and currently has 86 career receptions to his name. He’s an elite college receiver with major impact ability in the run game and special teams, I’m just not sure he’s quite up to par with the receivers we typically see going in the first round.
Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
It feels like 5 years ago that Oliver began his college career. He still has another full season at Houston to get through! That’s my only concern, honestly. I don’t know if he’ll be a workout warrior but he set the bar so high in 2016 that we could see his production and impact regress in each of his last 2 seasons. He’s like the lock Top 5 pick who came back for another year, except it’s going to be 2 years. He should still be a Top 15 pick but I’ll sell him being in the Top 5 like many think.
Anthony Johnson, WR, Buffalo
Right now, the 2019 receiver crop looks really, really weak. That could open the door to Johnson (2nd nationally in receiving yardage per game last year) to sneak into the first round although 10th overall is ridiculously high. We very rarely see non-Power 5 wideouts drafted in the first round and especially not in the first half of the first round.
Ryan Finley, QB, NC State
This quarterback class is looking wretched at the moment which could lead to some big time reaches by NFL clubs this time next year. There’s nothing about Finley that says first round quarterback, though. He’s a nice college quarterback with a decent set of skills. He’s not productive enough or naturally skilled enough to walk into the Combine and blow scouts away. Sell all day.