After three exciting days and 254 picks, the 2019 NFL Draft is officially over.
Now comes the fun part – judgement, criticism, praise. Here’s a look back at my thoughts on some of the big highlights and major moments of this year’s draft.
Biggest winners of 2019 Draft
Cowboys, Browns, Bears, and Chiefs are the 4 biggest winners of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Every player picked this past weekend is unproven and there is no way of knowing for sure who will actually succeed. But the Cowboys won the NFC East in 2018, thanks largely in part to WR Amari Cooper. Big reason why the Bears won the NFC North was because of their pre-season trade of Khalil Mack from the Raiders. During the 2019 off-season. Browns acquired Odell Beckham Jr and the Chiefs acquired Frank Clark.
A fifth winner is the Dolphins. Miami adds an exciting young QB, with tons of potential in Josh Rosen to a QB room that only consisted of Ryan Fitzpatrick. They gave up a very late second round pick to get Rosen. Maybe Rosen is the QB of the future and the Dolphins can move forward with building a playoff contender. Maybe he really is a bust and they go get Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, or Jake Fromm in 2020 Draft. But for a guy with this much hype out of college, who went #10 last year, this move was a homerun by the Dolphins, no matter how it works out. Because he’s cheap enough to move on from if it fails and it shows players and fans that they are trying to win in 2019.
Favorite first round picks
Josh Allen 7th to Jaguars – Some had him pegged as high as 3rd to the Jets or as low as 6th to the Giants. Instead he falls to a team he’s biggest strength is defense. Allen is the perfect fit for Jaguars
Jonah Williams 11th to Bengals – I know some people wanted a QB or a LB here, but Cincinnati gets the top OT in the draft and a guy to protect Andy Dalton in 2019 and whomever the QB may be long term.
Dwayne Haskins 15th and Montez Sweat 26th to Redskins – Washington gets #1 QB on my board who could play week 1 and Sweat was one of the top pass rushers in the draft and they got him late in the round.
Least favorite picks
Daniel Jones 6th to Giants – I would have taken LB Josh Allen and addressed QB later. I also would have taken Dwayne Haskins over Jones.
TJ Hockenson 8th to Lions – Detroit has so many needs, mostly on defense. This is the second time in 5 years they take a tight end in the top 10 (Eric Ebron). I love Hockenson the player, but felt the Lions should have taken Oliver. Last time they took a TE over a DT was Ebron over Aaron Donald.
Rashan Gary 12th to Packers – Maybe Gary will be the best DE from this draft. Maybe he will be a huge bust. I don’t think there’s an inbetween. I would have preferred Montez Sweat or Brian Burns over him.
Five favorite non-first round picks
Jawaan Taylor, Jaguars – Many had Taylor mocked to Jaguars at 7 (such as my colleague in our mock draft). I thought TE (Hockenson) made sense at 7 because it adds a receiver and blocker all in one, but coming away with Josh Allen at 7 AND Taylor at 35 is an absolute steal.
Drew Lock, Broncos – I thought he would be a first round pick, if for no other reason than teams value QB so highly that someone would have traded up. Broncos managed to get TE Noah Fant, OT Dalton Risner and walk away with Lock, getting a first round QB in the second round.
Justin Layne, Steelers – Steelers needed to come out of this draft with defensive reinforcements. They passed on CBs in round one to trade up and get LB Devin Bush and in round three, managed to snag Layne, one of the draft’s top corners who should help immediately.
Andy Isabella and Hakeem Butler to Cardinals –Life after Larry Fitzgerald is coming soon. Adding these two rookies to the Cardinals new air raid offensive system with a rookie QB allows everyone to learn together. These are two of my favorite WRs in the entire draft.
Michael Jordan, Bengals – 6 NBA championships and never lost in the Finals. Bengals got the greatest player of all-time. Huge win.
But seriously, any time you can add offensive line reinforcements and a future starter in round three, you did well.
5 more – Byron Murphy to Cardinals, Deebo Samuel to 49ers, Cody Ford to Bills, Taylor Rapp to Rams, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson to Saints
3 Teams who moved the needle
Cardinals – Say what you want about choosing Murray over Bosa or how they handled the whole Josh Rosen thing, there’s no doubt the Cardinals are a much better team today than they were pre-draft. They added Murray, Butler, Isabella and Byron Murphy on defense. After going 3-13 in 2018 with the 32nd (out of 32) ranked offense, Cardinals ceiling is raised and they should be much more exciting to watch and much more competitive.
Redskins – IF Dwayne Haskins comes in and has an immediate RG3 impact on this team, than the sky is the limit. They also took Montez Sweat who should greatly benefit the defense. Some of the moves Redskins made could put them in position to compete for a Wild Card spot, if not NFC East
Jaguars – Josh Allen was the 2nd or 3rd best defensive player in this draft. Jaguars are built around defense and they were able to boost their OL in the second round, with a guy many had mocked to them in round 1 (Jawaan Taylor).
Player who went higher than expected
OT Tytus Howard to the Texans at #23
Howard was not on my pre-draft radar and I never watched him play at Alabama State. With other more established Offensive Linemen on the board (Kaleb McGary, Jawaan Taylor, Greg Little, Dalton Risner) this felt like a reach.
Player who went lower than expected
Hakeem Butler to the Cardinals on day 3
He was my WR1 pre-draft. Butler was the first pick in the 4th round and goes to a perfect situation in Arizona. He gets to learn the new playbook at the same time as the rest of the team and couldn’t ask for a better mentor than Larry Fitzgerald.
Player who deservingly went lower than expected
DK Metcalf, Seahawks
Seattle ended the second round by taking Metcalf 64th overall. Metcalf is a workout warrior, combine freak, insane physical specimen. None of those facts can be refuted but what can be debated is how good of a football player Metcalf actually is. I don’t think he is very good. I like his Ole Miss teammate AJ Brown much better than him. We’ll see how Metcalf develops and adjusts to NFL life but staying healthy is a huge part of NFL success as is running more than one or two routes.
Right fit, wrong pick
Raiders were heavily scrutinized and critized for drafting Clelin Ferrell 4th overall. And maybe rightfully so. However, I love the player and I love the fit with the Raiders. Even if they could have had Oliver or Allen or someone else at 4, Raiders got a potentially really good player, even if it was 23 spots higher than I had originally mocked him at.
2 Storylines to Follow
Dwayne Haskins vs Daniel Jones – when both QBs eventually take the reigns as full-time starting QB for the Redskins and Giants, respectively, they will face off twice a year and you know that game will have extra juice for Haskins
Nick Bosa vs Cardinals – The decision to move on from Josh Rosen and pass on defensive studs Nick Bosa and Quinnen Williams will be discussed for a long time. Especially when the 49ers face the Cardinals and Bosa comes after Murray.
College Football Notes
Bowl games with most draft picks:
- Orange Bowl: Alabama vs Oklahoma included 18 draft picks – 10 from Alabama, 8 from Oklahoma)
- Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs Washington included 17 draft picks – 9 from OSU and 8 from UW. Among the 9 Buckeyes, 4 played huge roles on offense (QB, 2 WR, RB)
- National Championship: Alabama and Clemson included 16 draft picks – 10 from Alabama (5 offense, 5 defense and 6 from Clemson (5 defense, 1 offense). 4 of those players were drafted by the Raiders (Jacobs, Ferrell, Hunter Renfrow, Trayvon Mullen)
Dwayne Haskins, of THE Ohio State, became the first QB from the Big Ten drafted in the first round since 1995! (Kerry Collins, Penn State)
Oklahoma had 8 draft picks – 7 on offense and a kicker. 4 of their 5 Offensive Line starters were drafted (OTs Cody Ford, Bobby Evans and OGs Dru Samia, Ben Powers)
Georgia had 7 players drafted, including 3 WRs and TE
Ole Miss had both starting WRs (DK Metcalf, AJ Brown) and starting TE (Dawson Knox) drafted
Utah had both their kicker (Matt Gay) AND punter (Mitch Wishnowsky)
Iowa had two tight ends drafted in the top 20 (TJ Hockenson at 8 and Noah Fant at 20). Iowa’s offense finished 91st in the country.
Mississippi State had 3 of their 4 Defensive Linemen drafted, from their top ranked defense in 2018.
Memphis only had 2 players drafted – both RBs (Darrell Henderson and Tony Pollard)
For the first time since 1962, no Nebraska player was drafted
UCLA’s recruiting classes in 2014-16 were ranked 18th, 12th and 13th nationally. Bruins had 1 player selected this week (Via Jon Wilner)
Schools with more draft picks than Tennessee – Tarleton State, Valdosta State, Washburn, Western Illinois, Sioux Falls, Prairie View A&M, Morgan State, Elon
Rutgers and Old Dominion each had the same number of total picks as Texas (2)
Kyler Murray is the third Oklahoma Sooners QB drafted #1 since 2010 (Sam Bradford 2010, Baker Mayfield 2018). All three QBs won the Heisman Trophy and all three had a chance to win a National Championship and saw their opportunity ruined by an SEC team (Bradford ’08 team lost BCS Championship to Florida; Mayfield ’17 team lost Rose Bowl/CFB Playoff Semis to Georgia; Murray ’18 team lost Orange Bowl/CFB Playoff Semis to Alabama)
Iowa is Tight End U? No thank you
Many folks are calling Iowa “tight end U” after both TJ Hockenson and Noah Fant were drafted in the top 20. Iowa all produced George Kittle, one of the league’s top players and previously Dallas Clark. But in my opinion, Miami owns the title of TE U having produced active players like Jimmy Graham, David Njoku, Chris Herndon, and Greg Olsen and former players like Kellen Winslow Jr and Jeremy Shockey
7 best quotes from draft weekend
1. David Gettleman has become a quote-machine, but in a very, very bad way
Gettleman says he saw the other QBs play during the regular season. Did not see Daniel in person until the Senior Bowl. “He walked out there and I saw a professional QB after the three series that I saw. That’s when I was in full bloom love.”
Really? So you’re just going to draft guys based on a three drive performance in an All Star game?! I guess Gettleman must have missed those Ohio State games vs Michigan, Northwestern, Penn State. Guess he must have missed that Duke vs Wake Forest game where Duke lost 59-7 in their final home game.
2. Freddie Kitchens, an Alabama alum, saw the Browns drafted LSU CB Greedy Williams on Friday, after adding Odell Beckham Jr to pair with Jarvis Landry, who played together at LSU.
Kitchens joined ESPN’s Trey Wingo on Saturday during draft coverage and when asked if he might nto be welcomed back in Tuscaloosa, Kitchens offered up this gem –
“If they would have played a little better in high school, they could have went to Alabama.”
3. One of the fun traditions of the draft has become who announces the picks beyond the first round. On Friday, former Colts WR Reggie Wayne announced the Colts pick at #34 and he had something to say to the Titans fans in attendance
4. Enough with the “Green Bay model”
Drew Lock is the Broncos’ quarterback in waiting. It is, as John Elway is calling it, a “Brett Favre/Aaron Rodgers-type situation.”
“We may be the Green Bay model where Rodgers sat for three years.”
Do you know why the “Green Bay model” worked? Because at the time, Brett Favre was still very much in his prime and Rodgers was the 24th pick in the draft. For the Giants, Eli Manning stinks, and Jones was picked 6th, putting immense immediate pressure on him. For the Broncos, Joe Flacco might one of the few QBs definitively worse than Eli Manning at this point and I would expect second round pick Drew Lock to start by October.
5. This might have been the moment of the draft…
6. Dolphins drafted Clemson DT Christian Wilkins 13th overall. Wilkins is already loving his new home.
“I know they got no state income tax there! You all just lost D-Wade too, so you all need someone to fill that void, so hopefully Miami will love me like they love D-Wade.” (Via @5reasonsports)
7. Bruce Arians appeared on ESPN during the draft coverage and made it clear what his expectations are for 5th year QB Jameis Winston.
“Stop throwing it to the other team.” – (via @ProFootballTalk)
WR Fantasy Thoughts
I saw people complain about the fit of N’Keal Harry with the Patriots, that he doesn’t fit their scheme. If anyone has ever heard of Bill Belichick or Josh McDaniels, they would know the Patriots scheme around their own players. Patriots WR depth chart is not that impressive, with Demaryius Thomas (coming off injury) and not Hall of Famer Julian Edelman at the top, Harry should certainly get plenty of chances to thrive, catching passes from Tom Brady.
Deebo Samuel is one of the favorite WRs in this class and he will have a major impact as a playmaker for Jimmy Garappolo. I love the player and the fit.
AJ Brown is the best WR from Ole Miss in this draft and was one of my favorites but I’m not sure I love the fit with the Titans. Corey Davis struggled to put up major numbers in 2018. They signed Adam Humphries as a free agent. They have Tajae Sharpe and Taywan Taylor, plus TE Delanie Walker and RB Dion Lewis, who is a solid pass catcher. There’s a lot of options for a run first offense with a QB who has struggled to consistently put up huge numbers.
Parris Campbell is the perfect WR for Andrew Luck and Frank Reich. He will start out as #3 behind TY Hilton and Devin Funchess but with Funchess only signed to a 1-year deal, Campbell is no doubt a future starter for Indy.
Mecole Hardman is not a guy I was super high on coming out of Georgia, but he is now in the perfect fantasy situation after being drafted in the second round by the Chiefs. With Tyreek Hill’s status HIGHLY questionable, Hardman could come in and immediately fill that void.
New Broncos QB Joe Flacco loves throwing the ball to tight ends, which makes Noah Fant the perfect addition for Denver. Even more so, TEs usually serve as security blankets for rookie QBs so whenever Drew Lock enters the lineup, he should benefit greatly from Fant’s presence as well.
RB Fantasy Thoughts
Joshua Jacobs, the only RB drafted in the first round, has the potential to be a top 10 fantasy running back. Only Isaiah Crowell and Jalen Richard stand in his way. After upgrading their WRs and OL in free agency and the defense through the draft the Raiders should be improved all around and help open up the run game a little more.
David Montgomery is in a perfect situation with the Bears. Outside of Joshua Jacobs he is probably in the best position to play right away with only Tarik Cohen and Mike Davis in the way of touches. He will likely supplant Davis and split carries with Cohen, as the replacement for Jordan Howard.
Don’t be surprised if Ryquell Armstead (out of Temple) ultimately takes over the #2 spot in Jacksonville. All that stands in his way is Alfred Blue, Thomas Rawls, and Benny Cunningham. The #2 role is important because Leonard Fournette is not a receiver and has not proven to be durable through two seasons, missing time.
Eagles have a number of average running backs – Jordan Howard, Corey Clement, and Josh Adams are all solid. Nothing special, nothing bad. Perhaps Miles Sanders could separate himself and prove to be special, taking over this backfield.
I love Devin Singletary the player but I hate the fit with the Bills, who have LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore, TJ Yeldon. Not sure where Singletary fits in in this offense.
Biggest loser(s) of NFL Draft weekend
Imagine having your bachelorette party in Nashville, not realizing that the NFL Draft was taking place and dominating Broadway Street and all of the bars?
I imagine majority of women go to Nashville dreaming of meeting a nice country guy, with a cowboy hat (not the Dallas version) and plaid shirts. Not drunk 300 pound men wearing Case Keenum jerseys.
My Mock Draft Results
5 completely correct (team and pick) – Kyler Murray (1 to AZ), Nick Bosa (2 to SF), Quinnen Williams (3 to NYJ), Devin White (5 to TB), Joshua Jacobs (24 to OAK)
- 5 draft slot and team correct is one less than ESPN’s Mel Kiper and Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller
7 correct teams – in addition to the above 5, these two players were mocked to the right team, in the wrong draft spot – Rashan Gary to Packers (went 12, had 30), Clelin Ferrell to Raiders (went 4, had 27)
- 7 correct team ties me with Mel Kiper, is one more than Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller (one less than Todd McShay and two less than Daniel Jeremiah from NFL Network)
24/32 first rounders – guys I missed on include Drew Lock, Jawaan Taylor, Cody Ford, Greedy Williams, Hakeem Butler, Byron Murphy, Dalton Risner, Irv Smith
- 24 first rounders is same as Matt Miller and one less than McShay, Jeremiah, Kiper
13 right position (meaning teams took someone else at the position I anticipated) – in addition to the 7 above – Chargers took DT, Texans took OT, Vikings took OL, Ravens took WR, Redskins took QB, Falcons took OL
1 player right pick, wrong team – Darnell Savage #21 (had Seahawks drafting him there, but they traded down and Packers took him 21)
1 player right team, wrong round – had Drew Lock 10th to Broncos, he went 42nd in round two
Worst whiff for all four of them was Jawaan Taylor (who fell out of first round). Mine was Drew Lock who I had going 10th to Broncos. For comparison’s sake, I had Taylor going 13 (McShay had him 9th, Jeremiah and Kiper both had him 12)