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Three-round 2019 NFL mock draft 1.0: QB for Patriots in Round 3

My first mock of the year is a reflection of the draft stock for top-100-level prospects after the all-star game circuit and before the NFL Scouting Combine (March 1-4 on NFL Network).

Teams will set their own draft boards before heading to the combine so that they attach values to players before the athletic testing begins. While the combine results are an important part of the evaluation process, establishing a grade for players based on their game tape is key, lest those fast 40-yard dashes supersede what we've seen from guys during their college careers.

The 95 selections listed here (the Giants used their third-round selection on former Western Michigan cornerback Sam Beal in the 2018 supplemental draft) take into account team needs prior to free agency, as well as the talent of the prospects. Free agency, which begins on March 13, will obviously alter the outlook for team needs.

Round 3

Greg Little
Mississippi · T

School: Mississippi | Year: Junior

Little needs a great combine to win over some scouts, but I think he'll eventually become a starting tackle.

Bobby Okereke
Stanford · LB

School: Stanford | Year: Senior (RS)

Okereke is athletic and instinctual. The Raiders need to improve at the second level of their defense.

Anthony Nelson
Iowa · DE

School: Iowa | Year: Junior (RS)

Nelson's size and hustle should allow him to flourish for the Niners.

Yodny Cajuste
West Virginia · T

School: West Virginia | Year: Senior (RS)

Jets OT Kelvin Beachum's cap number is $9.5 million in 2019 and there's not much depth behind him.

Damien Harris
Alabama · RB

School: Alabama | Year: Senior

Leonard Fournette's had his issues, Carlos Hyde seems to be in decline and T.J. Yeldon's contract is expiring, so the Jags may need to find depth at the running back position.

Tytus Howard
Alabama State · T

School: Alabama State | Year: Senior (RS)

Tampa was willing to take small-schooler Ali Marpet four years ago and that has worked out, so maybe they'll give Howard a shot.

Khalen Saunders
Western Illinois · DT

School: Western Illinois | Year: Senior (RS)

Saunders and Shelby Harris should form a strong duo in the middle of the Broncos' defense.

David Long
West Virginia · LB

School: West Virginia | Year: Junior (RS)

LBs Preston Brown and Vincent Rey are due to become free agents, and the Bengals will move on from Vontaze Burfict one day, so Long makes sense here.

Ryan Finley
N.C. State · QB

School: N.C. State | Year: Senior (RS)

Finley's efficiency could make him a nice fit behind Tom Brady for the next couple of years -- or more.

J.J. Arcega-Whiteside
Stanford · WR

School: Stanford | Year: Junior (RS)

A strong combine could push Arcega-Whiteside up draft boards, but he'll be at least a strong WR2 no matter how his workout goes.

Ben Powers
Oklahoma · G

School: Oklahoma | Year: Senior

The Packers have not invested enough in their offensive line in recent years. Powers will start for them for a decade.

School: Alabama | Year: Junior (RS)

Thompson reminds me of former Alabama safety Ronnie Harrison, who went in the third round (to the Jaguars) last year. Washington has a need for a thumper in the secondary.

Oshane Ximines
Old Dominion · EDGE

School: Old Dominion | Year: Senior (RS)

The retirement of Julius Peppers leaves a hole at defensive end for the Panthers. Ximines could be a Charles Johnson-type find in the third round.

Devin Singletary
Florida Atlantic · RB

School: Florida Atlantic | Year: Junior

Singletary stays in South Florida to take over for impending free agent Frank Gore.

Wes Hills
Slippery Rock · RB

School: Slippery Rock | Year: Senior

With Tevin Coleman due to become a free agent, Hills' power and striding style would be a nice complement to Devonta Freeman.

Mitch Hyatt
Clemson · G

School: Clemson | Year: Senior

Hyatt is not the strongest or longest of tackles, but he was a reliable four-year starter at Clemson.

School: Florida | Year: Junior

With George Iloka due to hit free agency, Gardner-Johnson's a good combo safety worthy of a Day 2 (Rounds 2-3) selection.

Darnell Savage
Maryland · S

School: Maryland | Year: Senior

The Titans might need a new starter next to Kevin Byard if Kenny Vaccaro and/or Kendrick Lewis leave in free agency and they decide to part with Johnathan Cyprien, who missed all of last season (ACL tear) and six games in 2017 (hamstring).

School: USC | Year: Senior

Coty Sensabaugh is ticketed for free agency and a rejuvenated Joe Haden is in the last year of his deal. It's a good time to pick a corner.

B.J. Autry
Jacksonville State · G

School: Jacksonville State | Year: Senior (RS)

D.J. Fluker and J.R. Sweezy are impending free agents, so why not bring in another guard with initials in his name? Oh, and Autry's also a brute on the line of scrimmage.

A.J. Brown
Mississippi · WR

School: Mississippi | Year: Junior

A deep receiver class should allow the Ravens to fill a void here if they part with free agent-to-be John Brown and/or potential cap casualty Michael Crabtree.

Jalen Jelks
Oregon · EDGE

School: Oregon | Year: Senior (RS)

Even if the Texans re-sign or apply the franchise tag to Jadeveon Clowney, they may still be interested in a value pick like Jelks.

Terry McLaurin
Ohio State · WR

School: Ohio State | Year: Senior (RS)

McLaurin's always had speed, but a big Senior Bowl week showed that he might now be a reliable enough receiver to go in the top 100.

Corey Ballentine
Washburn · CB

School: Washburn | Year: Senior (RS)

Ballentine's cover skills should allow him to find the field in sub packages.

Amani Hooker
Iowa · S

School: Iowa | Year: Junior

Clayton Geathers played well in 2018 and could land a big free-agent deal, leaving an opening for Hooker.

Anthony Johnson
Buffalo · WR

School: Buffalo | Year: Junior (RS)

Johnson, Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup could form an excellent triumvirate at receiver.

School: BYU | Year: Senior (RS)

Takitaki would be an excellent addition to the Chargers if Denzel Perryman and Kyle Emanuel depart in free agency.

Darrell Henderson
Memphis · RB

School: Memphis | Year: Junior

The Chiefs may not re-sign Spencer Ware to run with Damien Williams. The team picked Kareem Hunt in the third round and he provided great value until his release. Henderson could make a similar impact.

Miles Sanders
Penn State · RB

School: Penn State | Year: Junior

The Jets need an upgrade in their running game and Sanders is just scratching the surface of his potential.

Nate Davis
Charlotte · G

School: Charlotte | Year: Senior (RS)

A.J. Cann and Patrick Omameh have expiring deals. Davis' athleticism makes him worth a look here.

Justin Layne
Michigan State · CB

School: Michigan State | Year: Junior

GM John Dorsey adds depth at corner with E.J. and Phillip Gaines (not related) due to become free agents.

Follow Chad Reuter on Twitter _@chadreuter_.

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