NFL draft: Kyler Murray shouldn't be the lone Sooner to be selected in first round
There were 1,371 touchdowns scored during the 2018 NFL regular season, the most in its 99-year history.
The league also set records for touchdown passes (847), completion percentage (64.9) and passer rating (92.9).
Indeed, the league becomes more offensive with each passing season. Perfect timing for a draft class front-loaded by defense — 16 of my top 25 prospects are defensive players.
Here’s an updated version of my 2019 NFL draft big board:
1. Josh Allen, Edge, Kentucky, Sr.: The consensus SEC defensive player of the year — by both the Associated Press and conference coaches — is capable of making a Khalil Mack-like jump at the next level.
2. Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama, So.: The 21-year-old was a revelation last season and put together an impressive performance in Indy — his 4.83 40-yard dash was the fourth fastest by a 300-pounder since 2003, according to NFL.com.
3. Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio St., Jr.: When healthy, Bosa is a wrecking ball to an offensive game plan. Durability and attitude concern me.
4. Ed Oliver, DT, Houston, Jr.: Minor injuries plagued him last season, and some scouts questioned his attitude, but his performance in Indy and highlight-reel pro day has helped him build momentum towards draft day.
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5. Devin White, LB, LSU, Jr.: The Butkus award winner (top linebacker) was every bit as good as Roquan Smith and Rashaan Evans last year — both were drafted in the first round last April.
6. Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson, Jr.: A likely first-round selection had he left school after his sophomore season, Ferrell only got better in helping lead the best defensive line in college football to a national title.
7. Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi St., Sr.: Sweat has almost aced the draft process — dominated Senior Bowl week and ran a silly 4.41 40-yard dash in Indy — with only a pre-existing heart condition causing concern. It’s an extremely good sign he didn’t have to return to Indy for a medical re-check.
8. T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa, So.: Hockenson is the first sophomore ever to win the John Mackey Award (given to the nation’s top tight end), and would help elevate both the pass and run game.
9. Rashan Gary, DT, Michigan, Jr.: Gary is a rare physical talent. He’s bigger and faster than Bosa or Ferrell, but a lack of consistency and disappointing production will likely keep him out of the Top 5.
10. Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama, Jr.: Doesn’t feature elite athleticism, but will succeed in the NFL whether he plays tackle or guard.
11. Drew Lock, QB, Missouri, Sr.: The Mizzou signal caller shares some traits with the college version of Patrick Mahomes. Both have elite arm talent, can extend plays with their athleticism and are overaggressive with their decision-making.
12. Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson, Sr.: My dark horse to be the best player of this draft class. Wilkins is the perfect combination of production, talent and character.
13. Brian Burns, Edge, Florida St., Jr.: Aldon Smith comparisons are fair (on-field that is). He’s an explosive edge rusher who is surprisingly strong — he ran a 4.53 40-yard dash in Indy after adding 14 pounds of muscle.
14. Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi St., Jr.: Simmons features a freaky combination of power and quickness when healthy. He’s currently rehabbing an ACL injury and there are off-field concerns that necessitates a character deep dive. He’ll likely slide to day two, but he’s a top-10 talent if everything checks out properly.
15. Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio St., So.: Haskins is a classic drop-back passer with a strong arm and the ability to throw receivers open, but overall skill-set remains raw.
16. Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma, Jr.: Murray would be the first person ever drafted in the first round of both the NFL and Major League Baseball drafts, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
17. Devin Bush, ILB, Michigan, Jr.: Bush doesn’t have the ideal height (5-11), but he plays fast, is a ferocious hitter and a great tackler. He’s capable of making plays from sideline to sideline.
18. DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia, Sr.: The Jim Thorpe award winner — the nation’s top defensive back — hasn’t allowed a touchdown since 2017.
19. Greedy Williams, CB, LSU, So.: Williams features the best combination of size (6-2, 185) and athleticism in this defensive back draft class. According to Pro Football Focus, opposing quarterbacks had a passer rating of zero when targeting him on third and fourth down. Just don’t ask him to tackle anybody.
20. Byron Murphy, CB, Washington, So.: Murphy is an athletic playmaker with great instincts and an active tackler, especially against the run. His skill-set isn’t scheme specific — he can play anywhere in the defensive backfield on any down.
21. Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma, Jr.: The word “bulldozer” is often overused to describe offensive lineman, but all Ford needs is to be equipped with an actual blade and ripper.
22. N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona St., Jr.: Harry has elite size (6-2, 228) and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better play-maker at the position with better hands.
23. A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss, Jr.: Brown is capable of thriving inside or outside with his elite size-speed combination.
24. D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss, So.: Two season-ending injuries (foot and neck) in three seasons are concerning, but no other receiver in this draft class can match his athleticism or ceiling.
25. Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson, Jr.: A PED suspension during the College Football Championship is the only reason Lawrence is this low. He is a traditional run-stuffer who possesses an elite combination of size (6-foot-4, 342 pounds), power and athleticism.
JUST MISSED: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa, Jr.; Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma, Jr.; Andre Dillard, OT, Washington St., Sr.; Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida, Jr.; Jonathan Abram, S, Mississippi St., Sr.; Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame, Sr.; Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida, Jr.
When: April 25-27
Where: Nashville, Tenn.