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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 LXVII

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: AFC South
•    Houston Texans: B+
     They addressed their top two needs with their first three picks which were at cornerback and offensive line. They picked up a pair of offensive tackles in the first and second round respectively. They took Tytus Howard of Alabama State in round one at No.23 overall and while he is a bit of a raw prospect who hasn’t played the position for long, he shined in the week of practice and the game at the Reese’s Senior Bowl and has an extremely high ceiling. The other tackle they selected was Max Scharping or Northern Illinois at No.55 overall in round two.
     With their first selection in the second round, they took Kentucky corner Lonnie Johnson whose stock was on the rise late in the pre-draft process and is regarded as one of the purest cover corners in this class at No.54 overall. In the third round, they picked up San Diego State tight end Kahale Warring at No.86 overall who could be the starter come fall especially now that veteran Ryan Griffin is facing public intoxication and vandalism charges following his arrest over the weekend.
     They landed themselves a mid-round gem in the fifth round at No.161 overall in defensive end Charles Omenihu from Texas who many experts thought would come off the board on day two in the early to mid-second round. With Jadeveon Clowney’s massive contract looming, they might have just landed his inexpensive replacement.
•    Indianapolis Colts: A
     General Manager Chris Ballard hit a pair of home runs with the first two picks of his inaugural draft with the team last year when he selected guard Quintin Nelson in the first round and linebacker Darius Leonard in the early second. They would end up being the first pair of rookies on the same team to be named all two All-Pro in NFL history. It was a tough act to follow but he did a masterful job in his second draft as well.
     He understood that the value in this years draft would be on day two where several starters, key contributors and potential stars could be had so he traded out of the first round entirely and wound up with four selection on day two which included three in the second round alone. He selected Temple corner Rock Ya-Sin with the second pick of round two at No.34 overall who many pundits believed was going to be selected late in the first round.
     With his second pick on day two he drafted pass rusher Ben Banogu out of TCU at No.49 overall and 10 picks later at No.27 overall, he took the vertical threat receiver out of Ohio State Paris Campbell. Banogu will be able to learn from and line up across from four-time Pro Bowler Justin Houston and Campbell adds another speedster to pair with the blazing four-time Pro Bowler T.Y. Hilton.
     He used his next four picks on defensive prospects who will field starters and add quality depth to a young up and coming defense on one of the hottest teams in the league from last season. In the third round, he selected instinctive linebacker Bobby Okereke of Stanford at No.89 overall who will line up next to Leonard.
     He selected back to back safeties in the fourth and fifth round with Khari Willis of Michigan State who will line up next to 2017 first rounder Malik Hooker in the secondary at No.109 overall and Marvell Tell of USC who will be a key rotational piece in the backend at No.144 overall in the fifth. With his second pick in the fifth round, he selected another linebacker in E.J. Speed of Tarleton State at No.163 overall. 
•    Jacksonville Jaguars: A+
     They were able to address every position of need with promising and gifted prospects that fell to them at places where many experts believed they would have been long gone. It all started with their first-round selection when consensus top four pick Josh Allen of Kentucky fell right into their laps at No.7 overall so they pounced on the edge rusher who will be added to the already ferocious Sacksonville pass rush.
     In the second round, they traded up a couple of spots to fill their hole at right tackle with the prospect who many thought they would use their first-round pick on in Jawaan Taylor from Florida at No.35 overall. They used the first of their two picks in the third round to land the dynamic pass-catching tight end that they have been searching for since the failed Julius Thomas experiment when they took Josh Oliver of San Jose State at No.69 overall. 
     On day three they selected a pair of prospects that could prove to be starters in the years to come in the high profiled players in front of them on the depth chart don’t deliver. In the fifth round, they took the bulldozing running back out of Temple Ryquell Armstead at No.140 who could usurp the team’s top five selection from the 2017 draft Leonard Fournette as the team's starter in the backfield if he can’t stay out of trouble off the field or stay on the field because of injuries. 
     In the sixth round, they selected Washington State quarterback at No.178 overall who led the FBS in passing yards last season, has Baker Mayfield-like swagger and leadership, famous facial hair and could develop into a potential starter behind Superbowl MVP Nick Foles who they just inked to a four-year deal in free agency. 
•    Tennessee Titans: A+
     The team that hosted the 2019 draft had one of the best hauls of any team in the league as every one of their selections has the potential to and will likely become starters as soon as this season and at least within the next year or so. In the first round, they selected Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons at No.19 overall who would’ve been taken in the top 10 of this year’s draft if he hadn’t had suffered a torn ACL while training in February. While they won’t be able to reap the benefits of this pick this upcoming season, his potential to be a game wreaker once he fully recovers will prove to be a worthy investment.
     On day two they drafted a pair of plug-and-play starters on the offensive side of the ball by selecting versatile receiver Ole Miss AJ Brown at No.51 overall in the second round and mauling offensive guard Nate Davis of UNC Charlotte at No.82 overall in the third. 
     They went all in of defense in day three with each of their sections on the final day of the draft came on that side of the ball. They started off the day by taking the “do it all” defensive back from Iowa Amani Hooker at No.116 overall in the fourth round. 
     In the fifth round, they selected Georgia defensive end D’andre Baker at No.168 overall and stuck with the front seven theme in the sixth round and drafted West Virginia inside linebacker David Long Jr. at No.188 overall who could eventually replace Wesley Woodyard in the starter and lineup next to last year’s first-round pick Rashaan Evans.  

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