NFL Draft Talk Volume LIX
Now that the 2019 NFL draft is officially underway and there were shakeups on day one from top to bottom with teams trading up, down and out if the first round. Here are some takeaways from round one on opening night: Biggest winners: • Denver Broncos: After jumping back 10 spots following their trade with the Steelers earlier in the night, new starting quarterback Joe Flacco will now have the most athletic tight end in this draft at his disposal in Noah Fant from Iowa at No.20 overall. • Washington Redskins: They were able to select two of the top 10 players in the eyes of many draft experts and pundits. By staying patient at No.15 overall, they didn’t have to trade up to select the future of their franchise in Ohio State’ Dwayne Haskins and they seized the opportunity to land an elite pass rusher when they traded with the Colts to get back into the first round to stop the free fall of Mississippi State’s Montez Sweat at No.26 overall. Best value: • OLB Josh Allen to the Jaguars at No.7 overall: Sacksonville just got major shot in the arm after arguably the best edge rusher and hands down most versatile linebacker in this class fell to them at this spot. Allen and Pro Bowler Yannick Ngakoue will now be looked at as one of the best pass-rushing tandems already. • OT Jonah Williams to the Bengals at No.11 overall: Cincinnati has been looking for former Pro Bowl blindside protector Andrew Whitworth for the past two season and contrary to popular belief among experts, they landed the best tackle in this draft here out of Alabama. • QB Dwayne Haskins to the Redskins at No.15 overall: Patience pays off in the nation’s capital, and I’m not referring to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW. Washington gets the quarterback that they and owner Dan Snyder were so enamored with late in the pre-draft process at their original draft slot. • DT Jefferey Simmons to the Titans at No.19 overall: While they likely won’t be able to reap any immediate benefits of this selection in the upcoming season because he suffered a torn ACL in February, he’s a top 10 talent that has the potential of paying major dividends once he recovers and returns to form. • DE Montez Sweat to the Redskins at No.26 overall: This is a double dipper but it warrants mentioning again because the only reason a top 10 talent like Sweat fell this far in the draft was because of a reported minor health concern that was raised following the combine where he showed up and showed out. He’ll now be able to take a lot of the pressure to apply pressure off of the shoulders of Pro Bowler Ryan Kerrigan. • S Johnathan Abram to the Raiders at No.27 overall: The Black Hole picked up the best box safety out of Mississippi State in this draft to pair with the versatile free safety that they acquired in free agency in Lamarcus Joyner. Projected first rounders still on the board: • WR D.K. Metcalf, Ole Miss: After having the most impressive showing at the Combine of any prospect, it was assumed that the physical specimen tested his way into not only the first round but as high as the top 10. Sadly, that did not come to fruition for the former Rebel. • OT Jaawan Taylor, Florida: Watching four tackles get selected before him and seeing him fall out of the first round entirely baffled a lot of experts who had him rated as the top prospect at the position in the pre-draft process. • QB Drew Lock, Missouri: Watching him fall out of the first round wasn’t all that surprising because pundits were all over the map and uncertain with his potential landing spots. He was rumored a dark horse top 10 pick and bubble first rounder. • OT Cody Ford, Oklahoma: The fact that Tytus Howard of Alabama State is off the board and Ford is not, rubs a lot of people the wrong way since Howard is viewed as a developmental prospect and the former Sooner is believed to be pro-ready who could start at either guard or tackle. • DE Jaylon Ferguson, Louisiana Tech: It was truly shocking and head-scratching that the all-time leader in sacks in college football wasn’t selected in the first round despite having more production in his collegiate career than some of the players taken before him combined. • CB Greedy Williams, LSU: He was once believed to be a potential lock to be selected in the top 10 pick early on in the pre-draft process but his stock rapidly cooled as concerns about his ability and willingness to tackle arose. • C Erik McCoy, Texas A&M: The versatile interior offensive linemen that can play center or either guard positions was generating a lot of late first round buzz in the months leading up to the draft but apparently the teams around the league didn’t get the memo. • CB Byron Murphy, Washington: Many experts thought that he would be the first corner off the board in the late teens or early to mid-20s but questions about his speed may have caused his unexpected drop. • WR AJ Brown, Ole Miss: It’s not really a huge shocker that he fell out of the first round since he was considered a fringe opening night selection in recent mock drafts anyways. • TE Irv Smith, Alabama: Many were absolutely dumbfounded when the reigning Superbowl champion New England Patriots did not opt to select the dynamic and well-rounded tight end out of Alabama with the last pick in round one. Especially considering the fact that the tight end position is considered one of their top needs following the retirement of Rob Gronkowski, even more so than wide receiver was when they selected N’Keal Harry of Arizona State. • CB Rock Ya-Sin, Temple: He was always considered to be among those prospects on the bubble of being a first rounder, but he’ll likely come off the board early in the second round on day two. Expectations for day two: • Expect a run on corners and skill position players: The strength and depth of this year’s draft class are on the defensive side of the ball and the first round reflected that with 19 of the first 32 picks of the draft being used to select defenders which included seven of the top 10. While this fact will ultimately be the story of the draft when it is all said and done, expect an early run on corners since many of the top prospects are still on the board and skill players, especially at wide receiver in the onset of the second round.