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2019 NFL Mock Draft lays out landscape for the next path to the draft

Mock in, mock out.

Clemson DT Dexter Lawrence chases down Troy QB Kaleb Barker, September 10, 2016.
Clemson DT Dexter Lawrence chases down Troy QB Kaleb Barker, September 10, 2016.
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Goodbye, 2018 NFL Draft. Hello, 2019 NFL Draft!

We’ve got our first 2019 NFL Mock Draft courtesy of Mocking the Draft’s Dan Kadar. His one-round, 2019 mock goes through the major prospects as we sit a year out that helps set the baseline stock for the 2018 college season and outlines one option for the Los Angeles Rams. Yes, a ton will change between now and season’s end.

Last year with the team coming off of a 4-12 season, most mocks were forced to plug us in to pick early. Kadar had us taking Florida State Seminoles S Derwin James at #4. Of course, many of the prospects Kadar had in that mock went back to school and should feature in the 2019 NFL Draft like Clemson Tigers DT Christian Wilkins, USC Trojans DE Porter Gustin, Ohio State Buckeyes RB Mike Weber and Clemson OT Mitch Hyatt.

Surprised to see two Clemson prospects in the mix this early? You might want to sit down.

Kadar uses the Westgate Superbook win projections to create the draft order, so don’t worry about that. Just take in some names and schools to track over the summer as the college season gets ramped up. For the Rams, Kadar goes with:

26. Los Angeles Rams: Marvell Tell III, S, USC

Lamarcus Joyner is playing on the franchise tag this season, and may price himself out of Los Angeles. Tell, who is about to begin his third season starting at USC, has a nose for the ball.

Unlike this year’s draft where the Rams didn’t have the capital to draft for need, next year will be different as long as General Manager Les Snead doesn’t go shopping by shipping picks all over the place (which is obviously something he could well do). So a needs-based pick early on shouldn’t really upset too many. The question will be shaped by which players the Rams don’t re-sign whether by choice or not. RG Jamon Brown, WR Brandin Cooks, DT Aaron Donald, DE Dominique Easley, RT Rob Havenstein, Joyner, OLB Matt Longacre, QB Sean Mannion, LG Rodger Saffold and DL Ndamukong Suh are all scheduled to be unrestricted free agents next offseason. There’s a good chance a handful of them aren’t Rams in 2019. So simply by their departures, we’ll have a host of needs to address.

As for the rest of the draft and the early landscape, look at those two defensive tackles leading things off. Is it the Aaron Donald Effect (#paytheman)? Clemson DT Dexter Lawrence, who Kadar mocks #1 overall, is a beast, but for my money Houston Cougars DT Ed Oliver is the more unstoppable player. He’s a phenomenal talent who’s a bit on an island on Houston’s D-line. Lawrence is surrounded by NFL talent. Clemson DT Christian Wilkins is himself a first-round caliber prospect whom Kadar includes at #6. Clemson’s defensive ends? DE Clelin Ferrell, mocked at #7, and DE Austin Bryant, mocked at #27. So yeah, you might want to just go ahead and peep their D-line this year since they’re all coming to the league.

Ohio St. DE Nick Bosa, the younger brother of Los Angeles Chargers DE Joey Bosa, could end up being the #1 overall pick gets him in at #6. The tackle and wide receiver classes? I could see them getting completely turned upside down this season. And no, the 2019 QB class won’t likely measure up to this year’s. Keep an eye on Michigan Wolverines QB Shea Patterson. He got cleared to play this season after transferring from Ole Miss and could tear up the Big Ten this year en route to an early selection.

Yes, it’s too early. Who cares. It’s the internet.

But just like the NFL season, the college football season is looming just over that summer horizon.