THE PINE NEEDLE
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PEMBROKE, NC 28372

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Contact the Pine Needle Office:

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Email: pineneedle@uncp.edu 

NFL Draft Talk Volume LXIV

The 2019 NFL draft is officially in the books and there were some teams that knocked it out of the park and made the most of nearly every pick and there were others that did a decent job or hardly moved the needle after the three-day event was concluded. Here are the draft grades for each team by division: NFC West
•    Arizona Cardinals: A+
     They absolutely killed the draft from start to finish and is arguably the most improved team in the league now that it has concluded. They started off with the no brainer at No.1 overall when they took Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray and were fortunate enough to have tremendous talent fall to them at the top of the first six rounds.
     The top-rated corner according to many pundits fell to them at the top of the second at No.33 overall in Washington’s Byron Murphy who will line up across from eight-time Pro Bowler Patrick Peterson. They also selected a pair of future defensive starters at the top of the third and fifth rounds in Zach Allen from Boston College at No.65 overall and Deionte Thompson of Alabama at No.139 overall.
     With the greatest receiver in franchise history, Larry Fitzgerald going about the back nine of his career on a year to year basis General Manager Steve Keim drafted a trio of young dynamic receivers for Murray to throw to for years to come. 
     They selected speedy slot receiver Andy Isabella of UMass in the second at No.62 overall, big bodied run after catch receiver Hakeem Butler of Iowa State at the top of the fourth round at No.103 overall and finesse route runner KeeSaean Johnson of Fresno State at the top of the sixth round at No.174 overall. They also picked up a starting caliber center five picks later in the sixth round in Lamont Gaillard of Georgia at No.179 overall. Even their last pick which was the last pick of the draft in the bottom of the seventh tight end, Caleb Wilson of UCLA, has the potential to become one of the most impactful Mr. Irrelevants considering the team’s lack of quality depth at the position.
•    Los Angeles Rams: B-
     The reigning NFC champions had a pretty solid haul by drafting for quality depth now while keeping an eye towards the future. They traded out of the first round and selected Washington safety Taylor Rapp in the second round at No.61 overall. He’ll be able to grow and learn under the tutelage of six-time Pro Bowler Eric Weddle and eventually take over for him when he retires or when the two-year contract that he signed this offseason expires.
     They used their two third-round picks on a pair of complementary pieces on both sides of the ball. At No.70 overall, they selected Memphis running back Darrell Henderson who is one of the most dangerous home run threats in this entire draft to back up and complement All-Pro Todd Gurley who the team would like to spell more since his degenerative arthritis in his knee became a problem late last season. At No.79 overall, they took the versatile corner from Michigan David Long who can play outside as well as the slot.
     With left tackle Andrew Whitworth nearing the end of his career, they drafted a pair of tackles in middle round to groom to be his eventual replacements. They selected Oklahoma’s Bobby Evans in the bottom of the third at No.97 overall and doubled down with Wisconsin’s David Edwards in the fifth round. Both hail from offensive line powerhouse programs and either could succeed the four-time Pro Bowler or slide into the line up in the case of an injury to either starting tackles.
•    San Francisco 49ers: B+
     Since Murray went No.1 overall to Arizona, the No.1 overall prospect in the eyes of many scout and experts defensive end Nick Bosa of Ohio State fell to them at No.2 overall as they continued their trend of taking defensive linemen with their top pick for the fourth time in the last five drafts. 
     They used both of their day two selections of a pair of wide receivers that have the potential to flourish in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. With their second-round pick, they took South Carolina’s dynamic Deebo Samuel at No.36 overall and followed that up with Baylor’s Jalen Hurd in the third at No.67 overall. They also selected the first specialist of the draft in the fourth round in Utah’s Mitch Wishnowsky.
•    Seattle Seahawks: C+
     They came into the week of the draft with just four picks but after trading defensive end Frank Clark to the Kansas Chiefs and trading back multiple times they were able to parlay a total of 11 picks over the three-day event. While they believe they selected players that fit their system, many experts believed they reached for their first-round pick L.J. Collier at No.29 overall on day one and barely addressed their offensive line by not taking one until the middle of the fourth round when they selected Wake Forrest guard Phil Haynes at No.124 overall.
     With star receiver Doug Baldwin’s playing career in serious jeopardy due to injury, General Manager John Schneider did select a pair of receivers with high potential ceilings for Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson to throw to. They traded up to select physical specimen D.K. Metcalf of Ole miss with the last pick in the second round at No.64 overall and took West Virginia’s Gary Jennings in the middle of the fourth round at No.120 overall. 
     The next “Legion Of Boom” is currently under construction and they added two new pieces to the new formula when they took hard-hitting strong safety Marquise Blair of Utah in the second round at No.47 overall and versatile defensive back Ugo Amadi who played both corner and safety for the Oregon Ducks at No.132 overall. 

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