The picks are in, from No. 1 (Kyler Murray to the Arizona Cardinals) through No. 254 (Caleb Wilson, aka “Mr. Irrelevant,” also to the Cardinals), and we have all of them broken down.
Here are our final team-by-team grades for the 2019 NFL draft:
Picks: Houston DT Ed Oliver; Oklahoma OL Cody Ford; Florida Atlantic RB Devin Singletary; Mississippi TE Dawson Knox; Florida LB Vosean Joseph; Miami S Jaquan Johnson; North Carolina A&T EDGE Darryl Johnson; Boston College TE Tommy Sweeney
Best pick: Ford
The Bills wanted to trade up even higher to take Ford, but they were lucky to get what we feel was first-round value early in Round 2. Couple him with the first-round pick of Ed Oliver, and the Bills appeared to make two rock-solid selections to kick off their draft. Ford can play tackle or guard and will help add great competition (they signed six free agents there this offseason) to an offensive line that needs it. His road-grading style fits in well with the Bills’ offensive system and helps keep QB Josh Allen protected.
Worst pick: Singletary
Singletary went about where we expected – 74th overall – based on conversations with NFL scouting folks, but we couldn’t quite warm up to him as an NFL prospect. With sub-par size and relatively tame testing numbers, he’s going to be swimming a bit upstream in the league, and we fear that Singletary’s knack for forcing missed tackles won’t quite translate as well at this level. His shiftiness is fascinating, and he lives up to his nickname of “Motor.” But we suspect Singletary might always have to be a bit player on offense and never a lead option.
Overall: It’s hard not to like what the Bills did, especially in the early rounds. Oliver has a chance to be a disruptor inside immediately. Ford should start very early on. Knox is a favorite of ours; even though he wasn’t productive in college, he has great upside and it’s a need position. Even Joseph and Johnson on Day 3 were very good values, we felt. It’s just a very nice, deep haul for a team that is building a strong defense and a more diverse offense.
Picks: Clemson DT Christian Wilkins; Wisconsin OG Michael Deiter; Wisconsin LB Andrew Van Ginkel; Ohio State OT Isaiah Prince; Auburn FB Chandler Cox; Washington RB Myles Gaskin
Best pick: Wilkins
Absolutely a tone-setting choice to kick off Brian Flores’ tenure. Wilkins has A-plus character and is an A-minus prospect as a versatile, athletic and hard-working defender who can factor in at multiple spots. Miami’s front is lacking in talent overall, but Wilkins should raise that quite a bit. We think he might not be a huge sack producer but absolutely will be a stalwart for years to come on that defense. A high-floor pick.
Worst pick: Deiter
We actually like Deiter and believe he’ll contribute at a need spot. But we also had a higher grade on Erik McCoy, who was selected with the pick the Dolphins traded down from to land in this spot. This is more about the trade down and loss of value than it is about Deiter himself. The Dolphins had a pretty solid weekend all told.
Overall: After not taking an offensive or defensive lineman last year, the Dolphins quickly rectified that by using their top two picks on bulk up front. But their most fascinating move might have come in trading a second-rounder for QB Josh Rosen, which gets factored into this draft grade quite a bit. In two deals, the Dolphins essentially gave up a second-round pick (No. 62 overall) and a 2020 fifth-round pick for Rosen, the pick that became Prince (No. 202) and a 2020 second-rounder from the Saints. That’s exceptional work right there. The rest of the haul this year was pretty blue collar, as we expected, but this was a nice start for the Flores-Chris Grier camp.
New England Patriots
Picks: Arizona State WR N’Keal Harry; Vanderbilt CB Joejuan Williams; Michigan DE Chase Winovich; Alabama RB Damien Harris; West Virginia OT Yodny Cajuste; Arkansas OG Hjalte Froholdt; Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham; Maryland DL Byron Cowart; Stanford P Jake Bailey; Mississippi CB Ken Webster
Best pick: Winovich
Frankly, we could have picked any of their first four selections, as they all felt like second-round talents in our minds. But we’ll single out Winovich, who absolutely fits the Patriots Way with his hustle and production – think Rob Ninkovich, which is easy to remember since they rhyme. We expect Winovich to be a fan favorite as a hustle/energy player, and in time he should grow into a playmaking role.
Worst pick: Stanford P Jake Bailey (Round 5)
Is Bill Belichick losing his touch by drafting a right-footed punter? Honestly, we can’t quibble too much with the pick – perhaps except that trading up for him likely means that Bailey is the guy and they’ll move on from the solid Ryan Allen. Bailey actually was given a draftable grade by more than one team, so the Patriots didn’t reach, per se. But we had to pick one draft choice as our least favorite. That’s how good their haul was. Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham (Round 4) might have been the other “worst pick” option, but he has talent to develop; he’s just not ready to play this year.
Overall: Not drafting a tight end was eye-opening but perhaps done by design. Anyone the Patriots drafted at that position was going to be cloaked with the unfair stigma of being Rob Gronkowski’s “replacement,” which just isn’t happening. But other than that, they did a good job of accumulating talent and great value, especially in the first three rounds, and came away with one of their more interesting drafts in a few years. Picking at the bottom of every round didn’t hurt at all, and they got Chicago’s fourth-rounder next year, too.
New York Jets
Picks: Alabama DT Quinnen Williams; Florida OLB Jachai Polite; USC OT Chuma Edoga; West Virginia TE Trevon Wesco; Minnesota LB Blake Cashman; Rutgers CB Blessuan Austin
Best pick: Williams
And it’s not even close. We might have taken issue with large chunks of this year’s Jets picks, but Williams was a three-run home run – our top overall prospect – in the No. 3 hole to kick off the draft. Wherever they line him up, Williams will be a major disruptor and should grow into a Pro Bowl-level playmaker. Gregg Williams needs these types of instigators on his defense, and Big Q should be special before long.
Worst pick: Edoga
We almost picked Polite here, but his tape alone was worth the character risk the Jets will be taking on him at the top of Round 3. But lower down in the round was too early in our opinion to take a similar risk on Edoga, who wasn’t known as a grinder with the Trojans and might need some time before he’s ready to be a pro. Both were need positions, and the talent gamble is understandable, but we just wonder if he ever will live up to his skill level.
Overall: The Jets started strong, hit a few potential roadblocks on Day 2 and then rallied for a solid finish. Williams is the centerpiece, and we think he will be a cornerstone for the defense for many years. Polite and Edoga are swings for the fence, which could pay off nicely or be sizable misses. We love Wesco and Cashman as versatile pieces on offense/defense and special teams, but overall this class was a little light for us, even taking into consideration the second-rounder they traded away for Sam Darnold a year ago.
Picks: Oklahoma WR Marquise Brown; Louisiana Tech OLB Jaylon Ferguson; Notre Dame WR Miles Boykin; Oklahoma State RB Justice Hill; Oklahoma OG Ben Powers; USC CB Iman Marshall; Texas A&M DT Daylon Mack; Penn State QB Trace McSorley
Best pick: Brown
We’re still a tad leery of a 166-pound receiver in Round 1, but other than that it’s hard to argue with the choice. Brown should be a do-it-all playmaker for Lamar Jackson, able to catch the ball behind the line of scrimmage or 50 yards downfield as a big-play threat from the opening kickoff. If Jackson is the lead singer in the band, then Brown is the wah-wah guitar player who might steal the show. The Ravens also were able to trade down three picks and get Brown, picking up two Day 3 picks in the process. Win-win transaction.
Worst pick: Marshall
There wasn’t a pick we disliked in the litter, but our least favorite was Marshall, who comes with questions about his athleticism, lack of playmaking and possible position fit. Some teams believe he only can play safety in the league, so we’ll see what the Ravens’ plans are for him. Again, it’s nothing we hated, but Marshall probably isn’t getting cut as a fourth-rounder and might have to spend a year primarily as a special teamer before he’s ready to contribute on defense.
Overall: GM Eric DeCosta’s maiden draft running the show was heavy on pieces to help out QB Lamar Jackson, which was a sound strategy. Each of the first three offensive selections bring one similar quality: big speed. The Ravens did lose a lot on defense in the offseason, and we’re not sure how much immediate help they’ll get from this class on that side of the ball. But there was thought and purpose to most of what they did, with even the McSorley making sense as insurance for Jackson. Ferguson has a bust quotient to him, but getting him in Round 3 made it well worth the gamble for his massive college sack production.
Picks: Alabama OT Jonah Williams; Washington TE Drew Sample; North Carolina State LB Germaine Pratt; North Carolina State QB Ryan Finley; Arizona State DT Renell Wren; Ohio State OG Michael Jordan; Texas A&M RB Trayveon Williams; Auburn LB Deshaun Davis; Oklahoma RB Rodney Anderson; South Dakota State CB Jordan Brown
Best pick: Williams
The Bengals got some great value on Day 3 of the draft, but we’d be hard-pressed to go against their first-rounder as their best selection. Williams is an absolutely rock-solid addition to a trouble spot on the offensive line and will start from Day 1. If we had to bet, he’ll still be starting in the league when we’re talking about the 2029 draft, too. Forget the size concerns – he’s almost a sure bet to succeed.
Worst pick: Sample
He’s a nice player with two-pronged potential, but Sample just isn’t established as a receiving option to this point, so they essentially drafted a blocking tight end in the middle of Round 2. We saw him as more of an early Day 3 option, as did other teams we spoke to. We feel that there were some playmaking receivers and defensive backs who would have provided much better value at that point. Sample could be effective, but it was a major reach.
Overall: Duke Tobin does a good job every year collecting talent in the draft, and this year was no exception. Outside of the Sample value, the Bengals did very well for themselves – a nice mix of safe choices and upside picks. Finley might be Andy Dalton 2.0, but they got him in a good spot. Pratt and Wren will join the defensive rotation right away, and Anderson has starter ability if he’s healthy (and they can wait on him). An underrated haul.
Picks: LSU CB Greedy Williams; BYU LB Sione Takitaki; Miami S Sheldrick Redwine; Alabama LB Mack Wilson; Oklahoma K Austin Seibert; Southeast Missouri State OG Drew Forbes; Tulane CB Donnie Lewis
Best pick: Williams
And it’s not close. Sure, he didn’t tackle against Georgia and Texas A&M, and it cost him dearly in the pre-draft process. But the feeling we’ve gotten on Williams – our No. 19 overall prospect – was that he’ll play with more purpose and passion in the NFL, more like what we saw in a brilliant 2017 season. The Browns wanted to land a long-levered playmaking corner in this draft, and it’s amazing who they got when they got him. His draft landing spot could look absurd in a few years.
Worst pick: Takitaki
We’re not convinced he’s going to be much more than a special teamer and energy guy. The league was really lukewarm on him as a prospect, as his tape the past two years didn’t match his tremendous play earlier, and his size and position fit are big questions right now. Perhaps his character issues are in the past, as others have suggested, but we’re just not seeing a three-down defender.
Overall: It was a typical mix of character risk and fascinating upside that has become something of a trademark for GM John Dorsey, but this draft class really boils down to one player: Odell Beckham Jr. Landing the elite receiver for the cost of a first-round pick (and more) really makes this class a hit overall, and Williams is the cherry on top, even with the handful of choices we were ambivalent about.
Picks: Michigan LB Devin Bush; Toledo WR Diontae Johnson; Michigan State CB Justin Layne; Kentucky RB Benny Snell Jr.; Michigan TE Zach Gentry; Northern Illinois OLB Sutton Smith; Alabama DT Isaiah Buggs; Akron LB Ulysees Gilbert; Maryland OT Derwin Gray
Best pick: Bush
This is exactly the type of move the Steelers should have made in a fertile draft crop of inside linebackers, many of whom were rookie standouts. They admitted they waited too long to replace Ryan Shazier, and it cost them in a long, painful season. Enter Bush. One of our favorite players to watch the past few months, Bush came in as No. 9 overall in our rankings. So it’s not as if the Steelers got some insane value – and they traded a third-round 2020 pick to move up – but they just got a heck of a defensive centerpiece to fill a massive void.
Worst pick: Johnson
Look, this is just unfair. First there’s the issue of trading away Antonio Brown for dimes on the dollar. And with the third-round pick they got from Oakland, they selected Johnson … who is an undersized MAC receiver with big numbers, a small build and some middle-of-the-road athletic testing numbers. They’re basically categorical copies, but Johnson hasn’t yet displayed Brown’s rare playmaking knack. Look, the Steelers draft and develop wideouts as well as almost anyone; that’s hard to dispute. But we think the unfortunate expectations Johnson will be levied so soon after Brown was sent away – as well as Johnson’s high draft position – will be asking a little too much. We saw Johnson as more of an early Day 3 prospect.
Overall: Bush was an “A” selection, and Snell is a central-casting Steelers back. Layne was a bargain where they got him, and maybe one of the Day 3 Senior Bowl prospects – Smith or Buggs – turns into something. But overall, the bad-taste Brown trade cast a pall on this class before a pick was ever made, and there wasn’t a ton of inspiration after Day 1’s selection.
Picks: Alabama State OT Tytus Howard; Kentucky CB Lonnie Johnson; Northern Illinois OT Max Scharping; San Diego State TE Kahale Warring; Texas DE Charles Omenihu; Central Michigan CB Xavier Crawford; Texas A&M RB Cullen Gillaspia
Best pick: Warring
There’s just something about him that kept me wanting to know more about him. We were slow to get on the Warring Express early, but his athleticism is intoxicating as a projection pick. Maybe he’s not a Year One standout, but check back in 18 months and this dude could be something fairly special. His raw, projectable upside might make him a 60-catch, eight-TD receiver in time, and Warring’s passion for the game – which he’s extremely new at – is pretty clear. And we just love that his full name is Kahale Kuio Kalani Michael Wodehouse Warring. To his friends, he just might be the most underrated tight end in this entire class.
Worst pick: Howard
It’s tough to beat this kid up too much because he’s a great story – going from high-school shrimp to imposing left tackle – and because we think he’s interesting as heck as a prospect. But third-round interesting, not top-25 interesting. There were other teams picking in the 15-20 selections behind Houston that likely would have pounced had they not taken him in Round 1, but we’re still not sure this is the immediate answer to help protect Deshaun Watson. Like Warring, he’s not a prospect we should grade after 12 months. But that level of risk so high in the draft leaves us a bit worried.
Overall: It’s a really strange crop. Scharping might be more prepared for NFL rigors now than Howard is, so there was a layer of insurance built in there. But Johnson is another high-variance prospect whom we were a little suspect on during the scouting process – promising but another big projection pick. Omenihu has nice value and Gillaspia – the 12th man – could be a feel-good training-camp story to pull for. But otherwise? We just weren’t too jazzed with the whole operation.
Picks: Temple CB Rock Ya-Sin; TCU OLB Ben Banogu; Ohio State WR Parris Campbell; Stanford LB Bobby Okereke; Michigan State S Khari Willis; USC S Marvell Tell; Tarleton State LB E.J. Speed; Mississippi State OLB Gerri Green; Utah OT Jackson Barton; Ole Miss OL Javon Patterson
Best pick: Ya-Sin
We almost went with Campbell, who is exactly the type of yards-after-the-catch receiver the Colts hoped to find this offseason, and they got him in a great spot. But the move to land Ya-Sin, sliding down twice (out of the first round entirely) and picking up a 2020 second-rounder in the process was GM Chris Ballard’s masterstroke. We mocked Ya-Sin 20th to the Steelers in our final mock (and Campbell late first, too, by the way), and it’s pretty surprising he didn’t go in the first 35-40 picks. It was a risky, but incredibly savvy move that comes with the detailed preparation this new Colts staff appears to be exceptional at.
Worst pick: Banogu
Far be it for me to question a Ballard pick a year after I meh-ed his draft class that ended up turning into a program changer. But I have to stick with my instincts here and say that I saw a flash player in Banogu who really didn’t consistently wow me in any one way. He’s got a feel for pass rushing, but I just have trouble envisioning a 600-snap, eight-sack player here. Maybe I am missing it, but he just wasn’t my favorite of their selections.
Overall: When you step back and look at the big picture, everything makes sense. The Colts came into the weekend with very clear goals, and it’s hard to say they didn’t accomplish the vast majority of them. That’s what Ballard has done in organizing one of the better scouting staffs in football, and they have a type now. Looking at these names, you see a bulk of hungry, physical, athletic and intriguing players. I bet eight of the 10 draft picks make the roster (of a team coming off the playoffs), with most of them helping sooner rather than later.
Picks: Kentucky OLB Josh Allen; Florida OT Jawaan Taylor; San Jose State TE Josh Oliver; Murray State LB Quincy Williams; Temple RB Ryquell Armstead; Washington State QB Gardner Minshew; Auburn DT Dontavius Russell
Best pick: Taylor
It’s a tossup between the first two selections, but Taylor is the better value as the second-rounder. Had his knee not been flagged, Taylor might have been in play for the Jags at No. 7. Instead, they got a likely starter at right tackle early in Round 2, only needing to move down 31 spots in Round 4 (and actually adding a late pick, too) to land him. Assuming he’s healthy, this is a really rock-solid pick, as was Allen at seven.
Worst pick: Williams
We’re admittedly a little behind on our Williams tape, as we first laid eyes on the brother of No. 3 overall pick Quinnen Williams (Jets). Quincy is a fun, compact hitter who clearly has a zest for the game – check out his sack and big-play first-pumps on YouTube – but when we polled three teams’ college directors on where they graded him, all three said they had undrafted grades. For the Jaguars to use the No. 98 overall picks on such a player feels like a colossal overreach. I mean, they couldn’t have grabbed Will Grier there? Hakeem Butler? Julian Love? For the love of R. Jay Soward, come on! We hope we’re wrong about Williams, but it just doesn’t feel right.
Overall: After a tremendous start, this class tapered down fairly precipitously. The Williams pick doesn’t spoil the milk entirely, of course, but the Day 2 and 3 picks mostly left us wanting more. Minshew is a system fit, which is nice, but Armstead is yet another monotone back drafted to a club that made an annual art of that. Find someone who loves you as much as the Jaguars love spending draft capital on backs. We say that when we look back, this will be in essence a two-man class. Two very good ones at that, but they’re all we can cling to for long.
Picks: Mississippi State DT Jeffery Simmons; Mississippi WR A.J. Brown; Charlotte OG Nate Davis; Iowa S Amani Hooker; Georgia OLB D’Andre Walker; West Virginia LB David Long Jr.
Best pick: Simmons
The Titans landed one of our favorite players in this class. Sure, his ACL will prevent his talent from being fully realized in Year 1. But in the long term, this feels like a home run. Had Simmons been healthy, we think he would have merited being taken in the top 10, just after Quinnen Williams and before Ed Oliver. Brown and Hooker were big hits for us, too, but Simmons is a rare dude. Credit GM Jon Robinson for having the conviction to draft him in what was a tricky spot mid-Round 1 for their immediate needs. We think this pays off in a major way in time.
Worst pick: Davis
And we didn’t hate the pick at all! It’s just more of a reflection of how much we loved the Titans’ picks for the most part. If we’re being nitpickers, Davis doesn’t read as an instant standout for us, even though – wildly enough – he should have a legit opportunity to start in Year 1 (or Year 2 at the latest). He’ll need a little work, but Davis is actually a nice prospect. Maybe they took him a hair too early? But we’re not even sure about that.
Overall: This has the makings of an excellent class. Simmons is a star in waiting to us. Brown could be the Week 1 starter as the “big slot” receiver. Davis could start or contribute now. Hooker, Walker and Long all have realistic chances to earn notable roles next year. Up and down, the Titans just kept uncovering talent and terrific value. It’s just hard to find much in the way of fault in what they did.
Picks: Iowa TE Noah Fant; Kansas State OL Dalton Risner; Missouri QB Drew Lock; Ohio State DT Dre'Mont Jones; Oregon OLB Justin Hollins; Colorado WR Juwann Winfree
Best pick: Lock
We figured they wouldn’t take him at 10, but we also felt that passing on him there – as well as at 20 after a trade down – meant they weren’t getting Lock. Wrong! John Elway has taken his fair share of guff in recent years for his quarterback decisions, and rightfully so, but maneuvering back up into the early second round to take Risner and Lock back to back felt like one of Elway’s shrewdest moves in recent memory. That could be your starting battery at center and QB in 2020. Lock might not be special, but he has some special traits and was absolutely worth the risk 10 picks into Round 2. Elway might have gotten this right.
Worst pick: Winfree
It only cost them two seventh-rounders to move up to get him, so that wasn’t really the issue (although, did they have to?). The biggest concern is taking an injury-prone receiver with some character concerns from his past – although most of them have been cleared up – and little production for a player who will be a 23-year-old rookie. He’s the type of dart throw that can be excused later in the draft, but we’re not sure why Winfree is a more attractive prospect than most of the receivers who were still on the board at the time.
Overall: Passing up Devin Bush at 10 could haunt them, but adding 2020 capital (the Steelers’ third-rounder) and landing Fant might work out all right. Fant, Risner and Lock are three players who could have been taken in Round 1, and they added a pick next year in landing all three. That’s really solid work. And Jones and Hollins profile as intriguing pressure players who could be in good hands in a Vic Fangio-coached system. Not a mind-blowing haul, but the Broncos had a very nice draft this week.
Kansas City Chiefs
Picks: Georgia WR Mecole Hardman; Virginia S Juan Thornhill; Western Illinois DT Khalen Saunders; South Carolina CB Rashad Fenton; Utah State RB Darwin Thompson; Illinois OG Nick Allegretti
Best pick: Hardman
He could have gone to another team in this same range, and we might have been less enthusiastic with the pick. But Hardman in Andy Reid’s hands – with Patrick Mahomes getting the ball – feels somewhat unfair. Hardman is our Tyreek Hill replacement, or at least he should be if the Chiefs do the right thing and cut ties with their troubled star. If that happens, it steepens the adjustment period for a player who is still learning the art of the position. But his blinding speed can be utilized effectively until that happens. The Chiefs passed up on defense at that spot mid-Round 2, but it should work out well.
Worst pick: Fenton
Not a bad player, and the Chiefs only had to use the 201st pick to get him. Fenton projects as a nickel corner, and he has the toughness to hang on special teams even without great size. But overall, we’re guessing he’s a replacement-level player who could be exposed on a more thin defense. It’s hardly a bad pick.
Overall: The Chiefs suffered such a heavy pick loss in swapping out Dee Ford for Frank Clark, and even if it’s a one-for-one upgrade, we suspect it won’t be felt as much as the price they paid for it (along with the whopper contract he just received). That limited their firepower quite a bit, but the Chiefs did land immediate help in Hardman, Thornhill and Saunders, a fun player who will find his way into the defensive rotation.
Los Angeles Chargers
Picks: Notre Dame DT Jerry Tillery; Delaware S Nasir Adderley; Sioux Falls OT Trey Pipkins; Notre Dame LB Drue Tranquill; North Dakota State QB Easton Stick; Houston OLB Emeke Egbule; Cincinnati DT Cortez Broughton
Best pick: Adderley
Both of their first two selections could start or be heavy contributors right away, and Adderley going into the spot next to Derwin James feels like an ideal pairing. We’re fascinated with Adderley’s upside, even if we admit he’s a flawed player right now. Still, in time he could be a really nice center fielder with the versatility to cover the slot and even blitz. Defending Patrick Mahomes requires those type of defensive players, and the Chargers’ defense looks better now than it did last week.
Worst pick: Pipkins
It’s just the sheer projection factor that we are uneasy about, more than the prospect himself. Pipkins was a popular name later in the scouting process as we got closer to the draft. There were teams that certainly were intrigued with his measures and athleticism, so he had plenty of admirers out there. Round 3, however, was just a bit early for our liking of a possible developmental starter but one who might not be ready for showtime this year.
Overall: GM Tom Telesco and his crew year in and year out do a really nice job of accruing talent from interesting places, and this year’s class includes a few smaller-school (two FCS players) gambles. But there was a good mix of ready-made talent and moldable upside, and adding Stick can give the offense a Taysom Hill-like contributor while he develops as a QB. A fun group, even if it’s not a perfect one.
Picks: Clemson DE Clelin Ferrell; Alabama RB Josh Jacobs; Mississippi State S Johnathan Abram; Clemson CB Trayvon Mullen; Eastern Michigan DE Maxx Crosby; Houston CB Isaiah Johnson; LSU TE Foster Moreau; Clemson WR Hunter Renfrow; Prairie View A&M OLB Quinton Bell
Best pick: Jacobs
They got Jacobs right about where we expected him to be taken; it’s hard not to like what he offers, and it’s easy to see how Jon Gruden could feature him in his system. The Raiders added some juice to their offense that they lacked last season, and Jacobs is just going to be a fun power/slasher back who will open eyes with his receiving chops. Take all the best qualities of Charlie Garner and Cadillac Williams (a good player who was crushed by injuries) and you get something close to what Jacobs will provide – assuming he can handle a much bigger workload.
Worst pick: Ferrell
We understood what scouts meant when they called Kentucky’s Josh Allen a “finesse” pass rusher, but we still would have taken him over Ferrell. Both are relatively high-floor players, but Allen has the better sack potential in our eyes, and that’s what it’s going to take to move up in this division. Ferrell was our 15th-rated prospect, so it’s by no means a bad pick, but it was just the lesser of two options in our eyes, that’s all.
Overall: It’s easy to see that the Raiders leaned heavily on their Senior Bowl week experience, as they drafted four players who were in Mobile in January. Gruden and new GM Mike Mayock also put a heavy premium, using three of their first four selections (and four overall) on players who met in the national championship game. Mullen wasn’t our favorite pick, but Abram and Moreau also epitomize the culture they want and Johnson and Crosby were worthy investments on twitchy upside. Overall, the Raiders have to walk away feeling pretty solid about their class, even if it cost them Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper to get all of this talent. Don’t forget they’re still in good shape in the 2020 draft, too.
Picks: UCF DT Trysten Hill; Penn State OG Connor McGovern; Memphis RB Tony Pollard; Miami CB Mike Jackson; Miami DE Joe Jackson; Texas A&M S Donovan Wilson; Ohio State RB Mike Weber; Oregon OLB Jalen Jelks
Best pick: Pollard
None of their picks blew our hair back, but Pollard has a chance to be a spark plug immediately. He’s not going to be an advanced player right away, as he came from a simple, favorable offense at Memphis where he was often single-covered (or running through gaping holes) in a mismatch scheme. But his natural receiving and return ability are nice assets, and Pollard’s burst can give the offense a different look in one or two series a game while giving Ezekiel Elliott a breather.
Worst pick: Hill
He landed in the perfect system for his skills, but Hill enters the NFL as a confounding prospect in some ways. An inconsistent college career – capped by him losing his starting spot with the new staff at UCF – gives us the willies, and this is the type of player the Cowboys have missed on from time to time. We’ll see if Rod Marinelli can unlock Hill’s intriguing rush potential and nice get-off.
Overall: This class must be mentioned along with Amari Cooper’s contributions, and at age 24 he’s already an established difference maker. He proved to be well-worth the price Dallas paid last year and he’ll continue making that trade look smart. But after Cooper, the allure wears off some. Both Jacksons were nice picks where they got them, and McGovern and Pollard look like they can help immediately. Was it an amazing haul, even with Cooper? No. But it wasn’t too shabby either.
Picks: Duke QB Daniel Jones; Clemson DT Dexter Lawrence; Georgia CB Deandre Baker; Old Dominion DE Oshane Ximines; Notre Dame CB Julian Love; Wisconsin LB Ryan Connelly; Auburn WR Darius Slayton; Washburn CB Corey Ballentine; Kentucky OT George Asafo-Adjei; Syracuse DT Chris Slayton
Best pick: Love
We had a top-50 grade on Love, and the comparisons to Chargers CB Desmond King are shocking. Both were Thorpe Award candidates who knocked down a ridiculous number of passes at high-level programs. Both also lacked in physical stature and athletic ability, but the instincts are too good to ignore. The only thing more criminal than Love lasting until the 108th pick this year was King languishing until the 151st selection two years ago. Like King, Love should earn a role in time and prove his doubters how silly his slide was in retrospect.
Worst pick: Jones
First, the good: Jones is tough, mentally strong and surprisingly athletic. He fights through his limitations well and will go about his job with an Eli Manning-esque equanimity. The bright lights of New York might not crush Jones, and he has time to develop – maybe as much as (suppressed laughter) three years, if you ask GM Dave Gettleman! He’s also in a passing system that could be appropriate for his skills. But his arm talent is sub-par, and he doesn’t show special processing skills or grace under pressure in the pocket. If Jones can speed up the clock in his head and improve his arm strength, we’re willing to admit our evaluation error, but there’s good reason for why he was rated our No. 56th overall prospect.
Overall: Lost in all the hysteria is the fact that the Giants drafted three first-rounders, and all three rated below their drafting spot. In the cases of Lawrence and Baker, those numbers were fairly close together, and it appears the Giants added some solid defensive talent to the mix. But Lawrence is not that much different from the nose tackle they traded for a fifth-round pick (Snacks Harrison), and Baker is potentially Gettleman’s newest headache to deal with, as he received some negative character grades from other teams’ scouts. But Gettleman’s legacy hinges on the Jones pick, and he isn’t special, which mars this draft’s grade.
Picks: Washington State OT Andre Dillard; Penn State RB Miles Sanders; Stanford WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside; Penn State DE Shareef Miller; Northwestern QB Clayton Thorson
Best pick: Arcega-Whiteside
Perhaps his game mimics that of Alshon Jeffery, so it’s not as if he’s adding some new dimension to the passing attack. That’s about the only gripe here, as his skills fit what the Eagles want to do with Carson Wentz: surround him with big, agile receivers to go pluck jump balls and threaten the middle of the field. Here’s your Nelson Agholor replacement, and Arcega-Whiteside earns plus grades for character and work ethic, too. A very nice pick.
Worst pick: Sanders
Sanders could thrive in this offense as a counterpart to Jordan Howard as big additions to what was a dire backfield last year. But the reason it’s the Eagles’ worst pick is more of a reflection of Philly’s passing on quality defensive talent – including some good safeties – at this phase of the draft. Sanders adds some nice burst to the mix, but the Eagles could have gotten a slightly lesser RB talent later in the draft and gone for a bigger need on the other side of the ball. A small quibble.
Overall: One of the more interesting draft surprises was the Eagles going offense-offense-offense to kick off the draft, and we’ll see if they come to regret that. But the Eagles otherwise had a very solid draft top to bottom, with personnel guru Joe Douglas once again showing his strong eye for talent and fit. Dillard wasn’t a massive immediate need, per se, but he’s an excellent eventual replacement for Jason Peters in what could be his swan-song season. Thorson will be the Mike Kafka-esque insurance Wentz needs, and Miller was a decent find. Really solid picking throughout, even with the smaller, five-man class.
Picks: Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins; Mississippi State OLB Montez Sweat; Ohio State WR Terry McLaurin; Stanford RB Bryce Love; Indiana OG Wes Martin; Alabama C Ross Pierschbacher; North Carolina LB Cole Holcomb; North Carolina State WR Kelvin Harmon; James Madison CB Jimmy Moreland; Oklahoma State OLB Jordan Brailford
Best pick: Haskins
Picking your favorite 2019 Redskins draft choice is like picking your favorite child. Seriously, what is going on here? We loved the Sweat and McLaurin picks almost as much, but the positional value at quarterback makes Haskins the choice here. Will he ever be a star? That remains to be seen. But he’s a nice fit in Jay Gruden’s rhythm passing game that should have some Chip Kelly-ish elements to it with Kevin O’Connell as offensive coordinator. Haskins might be a programmatic player, but the system should translate to his skills. And not having to trade up from No. 15 to land him might have been the biggest win of all here.
Worst pick: Love
This really hurts, as Love is such an easy kid to root for. If he didn’t play football, he could become a doctor or a professor – and heck, he still could do those things. But what’s considerably worrisome is his health, and the last thing the Redskins seemingly needed was an injury-prone runner. Derrius Guice is coming off a lost season while hurt, Adrian Peterson is 34 and closing in on 3,000 career carries and Chris Thompson has been broken down, too. Love is coming back from a torn ACL and has a very slight frame. His 2017 was special at Stanford, so the risk is understandable. But teams must have some perspective on their roster to maximize value.
Overall: Credit where it’s due: The Redskins crushed the draft. We say that tongue in cheek, as if they somehow stumbled into this unintended result, but it’s clear they entered the week with a nice plan and executed it beautifully. They added depth to the front seven, the offensive line and at receiver. They received special teams help with McLaurin and Holcomb. And Harmon was theft late in Round 6. But this comes down to the two first-rounders, Haskins and Sweat, and both could prove well worth the risk involved, even with Sweat’s heart concerns. There’s little not to like here.
Picks: Iowa State RB David Montgomery; Georgia WR Riley Ridley; Kansas State CB Duke Shelley; Florida Atlantic RB Kerrith Whyte; Valdosta State CB Stephen Denmark
Best pick: Montgomery
As much as we loved the Ridley value late in Round 4, it’s hard not to choose the one clear impact addition in Year 1. Montgomery is the type of shifty back who thrives in Matt Nagy’s offense, an excellent facsimile of Kareem Hunt. The Bears kicked around the idea of signing the troubled Hunt and sitting him during a suspension for the potential long-term gain. Instead they traded up for Montgomery, who has exceptional character – a literal Eagle Scout – and will be a standout in their diverse system. GM Ryan Pace saw his man and once again traded up aggressively to land him. The Bears are confident in their scouting to make such a move, and they’re gearing up for another playoff run with this addition.
Worst pick: Shelley
The Bears like him as a nickel corner, and that’s frankly the only spot he can play at a wispy 178 pounds. He’s not built for the rigors of the NFC North and will have a hard time dealing with the bigger receivers populating the interior at times these days (he’s not going to be able to cover, say, Adam Thielen inside). Using the 206th pick in the draft on a player who might not stick isn’t going to get us to hate what the Bears did. But they could have done a little better.
Overall: The team’s first two selections, Khalil Mack and Anthony Miller, helped turn the Bears into a playoff team after four straight seasons of 10 or more losses. Those already were home runs. Now the Montgomery pick – along with stealing Ridley – makes this an offense with depth at the skill spots, save for tight end. The Bears might also regret not selecting an offensive lineman, but they picked up two interesting Notre Dame blockers in Sam Mustipher and Alex Bars who have allies in OL coach Harry Hiestand (their former position coach with the Irish). And overall, even while being shorthanded on picks again next draft, there’s too much to like about how they have used their assets.
Picks: Iowa TE T.J. Hockenson; Hawaii LB Jahlani Tavai; Boston College DB Will Harris; Clemson DE Austin Bryant; Penn State CB Amani Oruwariye; Old Dominion WR Travis Fulgham; Maryland RB Ty Johnson; Georgia TE Isaac Nauta; Arizona DT P.J. Johnson
Best pick: Hockenson
The Round 1 tight end stigma some Lions fans remain mired in will wear off in time when Hockenson emerges as the ferocious blocker and effective receiver he’ll turn into. Picture Heath Miller, the unfailingly consistent two-phase contributor and former captain for the Steelers. He was Mr. Dependable for more than a decade in Pittsburgh, and we see the same type of contributor in Hockenson in Detroit. Is that worth the eight pick in the draft? Yes, even with Ed Oliver on the board. Hockenson makes this offense more dynamic.
Worst pick: Tavai
Tavai could be a very interesting piece for the defense in time, but injury and character risks make this pick feel shaky – along with the fact that they might have had a shot at drafting him a full round later. Can he beat out Jarrad Davis in time at the “Mike” LB spot? Can Tavai play the weak side or steal reps from Devon Kennard? He has the versatility to do that, but we won’t know where Tavai fits in until the pads go on. Spending the No. 43 pick on him was higher than we would have liked to see.
Overall: A solid class, top to bottom. Hockenson is a Day 1 impact player, Harris and Oruwariye thicken the competition in the secondary and Bryant could be the surprise addition to the front seven who ends up making the most sense. But there were some value questions with a few of the picks, and the lack of an offensive lineman in the class was eye-opening. That was a spot we felt they could have attacked along the way, but that’s just not how it worked out.
Green Bay Packers
Picks: Michigan DL Rashan Gary; Maryland S Darnell Savage; Mississippi State OG Elgton Jenkins; Texas A&M TE Jace Sternberger; Texas A&M DE Kingsley Keke; Toledo CB Ka’dar Hollman; Notre Dame RB Dexter Williams; TCU LB Ty Summers
Best pick: Savage
Using the 21st pick on him was early for us, but he was not lasting much longer had they not taken him there. Savage steadily grew on us during the draft process. Not especially flashy in a lot of ways, save for his top-end speed for the position, Savage nonetheless adds much-needed athleticism and instincts into a secondary that could turn out to be a team strength over time. It hasn’t been one in recent years, but the addition of Savage as a deep safety (and possible nickel corner) makes a lot of sense. Scouts praised his maturity and football IQ throughout the process.
Worst pick: Gary
It’s not so much that the Packers reached for him (he was our No. 17 prospect, and they took him 12th). It’s more that they took a player with a reported injury worry in the form of a torn labrum – although Gary denies this – some character concerns that turned off a few other clubs and production levels that didn’t match his draft status. Also, Gary mimics a lot of the skills the Packers added with more forceful edge players in Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith, so it remains to be seen if the Packers can heat up the speed rush all that much.
Overall: There’s nothing to gush over and nothing to hate here, despite Packers fans griping about how the first round worked out. The first four picks add depth and competition to trouble spots in recent years, augmenting what the team did in free agency, and Keke and Summers might have been nice Day 3 value picks. And though we would have liked to see a pass catcher and an offensive tackle added higher in the mix, the Packers did OK for themselves overall, even with this class lacking a hang-your-hat pick.
Picks: North Carolina State C Garrett Bradbury; Alabama TE Irv Smith; Boise State RB Alexander Mattison; Oklahoma OG Dru Samia; USC LB Cameron Smith; Arkansas DT Armon Watts; Wyoming S Marcus Epps; Elon OT Oli Udoh; Texas CB Kris Boyd; Oregon WR Dillon Mitchell; Colorado State WR Olabisi Johnson; Air Force LS Austin Cutting
Best pick: Bradbury
This fit was apparent a mile away. Bradbury instantly upgrades the offensive line as one of the best true centers featured in the past few drafts. He’s tough, mature, smart and athletic – a perfect fit in a system that should feature more zone runs and pocket movement in the passing game. Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook will look better because of this selection. If the offensive line isn’t better with the team’s three top-125 selections there, then something is wrong with the coaching.
Worst pick: Mattison
He’s a pretty sturdy, one-cut back with a good, thick build and some decent pass-catching skills. And giving Cook an understudy felt like a smart move, given the questions about depth and durability at the position. But it’s unclear if Mattison can be an overly effective role player, as he seemed to do his best work the more he received the ball. Perhaps we’re off-target on that, and Mattison is the power component the Vikings need. But it wasn’t our favorite pick at that slot.
Overall: The full commitment to bolstering the offensive line was evident, and that should pay immediate dividends. We liked the Smith pick, unlike some others, and believe he’ll give the team a sneaky-good middle-of-the-field operator. Watts also stands out as an underrated, blue-collar addition to a thin spot on the defensive line, and perhaps Smith shows what he can do in time. There are a few things we like (but don’t love) about this class on the whole.
Picks: Boston College OG Chris Lindstrom; Washington OT Kaleb McGary; Ohio State CB Kendall Sheffield; Charleston DE John Cominsky; Pittsburgh RB Qadree Ollison; Washington CB Jordan Miller; Louisiana-Monroe WR Marcus Green
Best pick: Lindstrom
Grabbing him at 14 gives us a question of value, as I had him as my No. 32 overall player. If there was an option to trade down and add a late Day 2 pick that they passed up, the Falcons might end up regretting that. But Lindstrom is a pro’s pro in the making and a likely starter for the next decade. He also bolsters a need position. Our second favorite pick here, Cominsky has the feel of a player who will outpace his Round 4 landing spot in time. He’s got the fiber to make it on this thin depth chart.
Worst pick: McGary
He has a chance to stick as a starting right tackle and be an upgrade over Ryan Schraeder, but the trade up and value of where the Falcons got McGary is a stretch. Moving up left the Falcons sitting on their hands on Day 2 of the draft, and this team really needed defensive help, especially up front. So there was some sense involved in the selection, but also some major concerns about what this means for the rest of the roster. McGary also has issue with handling edge-rush speed, and the division has some rushers who could tax him on the outside for a team that plays on fast turf more than half their games.
Overall: Doubling up on the offensive line happened for a reason, but the lack of impact defenders – outside of perhaps Cominsky, who is making a jump in competition. Sheffield is raw and coming off a pectoral injury suffered at the combine. The Falcons seemed to miss out on the strength of this draft, which came largely in Rounds 2 and 3, and they failed to add depth to the defensive line, which is one of our biggest gripes. Protecting Matt Ryan is important for sure, but can the Falcons stop teams well enough on the other side?
Picks: Florida State DE Brian Burns; Mississippi OT Greg Little; West Virginia QB Will Grier; Alabama DE Christian Miller; Florida RB Jordan Scarlett; South Carolina OT Dennis Daley; Georgia WR Terry Godwin
Best pick: Burns
GM Marty Hurney’s Round 1 slugging percentage is tremendous over the years, and he hit another home run in Burns. Our No. 5 overall prospect, Burns can mirror his FSU career by filling a pass-rush role in Year 1 and developing into an all-around impact defender over time as he puts on (and keeps on) weight and strength. Burns’ electric pass-rush ability is the type of skill that seldom makes it out of the top 10, so they got a steal here and a future star.
Worst pick: Scarlett
It’s hard to complain too much about a complementary back drafted well into Round 5, but Scarlett wasn’t our favorite study. He’s a straight-line, one-note power back in a compact frame whose skills are different from that of Christian McCaffrey, but Scarlett’s lack of receiving prowess and vision and his character concerns make him a tricky evaluation. He could be a contributor in the early going, but will Scarlett stick around for the long haul with a few things working against him? We have some justified doubt.
Overall: The Panthers selected five players who ended up in our top 100 prospects, which is tremendous. We were a bit higher on Daley than others, and he and Godwin – who just missed our century club – were tremendous values in Rounds 6 and 7, respectively. Doubling up at pass rusher (Burns and Miller) and offensive tackle (Little and Daley) made good sense, and Grier was such a smart choice to back up Cam Newton with the starter’s very real injury worries. This has a chance to be a very good collection for Carolina in a few years.
Picks: Texas A&M C Erik McCoy; Florida S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson; Rutgers S Saquan Hampton; Notre Dame TE Alize Mack; Idaho LB Kaden Elliss
Best pick: McCoy
Trading up for a Day 1 starter at a huge area of need was a wise decision. McCoy received Round 1 consideration, so pouncing on him in the middle of Round 2 – even at the cost of a 2020 second-rounder – feels worth it in a go-for-broke season in Drew Brees’ twilight. We loved McCoy’s competitiveness, toughness and smarts as well as the fit. There was no center below this point who could have checked all those boxes.
Worst pick: Mack
Billed as a top-tier talent coming into Notre Dame, and even through much of his tenure with the Irish, Mack nonetheless is a tease of a prospect who never put it together in college. Taking a flier on him in Round 7 is fine, but with the Saints so short of selections with all the ones they’ve traded, he might have been a luxury selection. Hampton was also a consideration here, as he might never ascend beyond special teams contributors and reserve safety. There were perhaps wiser options at both of those draft slots.
Overall: This grade is sullied by the incomplete grade earned from the Marcus Davenport selection a year ago, which cost the Saints their first-round pick this year. Spending so much forced the Saints to move up for McCoy this year at a costly price, and if they’re not careful they’ll be caught in a draft hamster wheel that could hurt the long-term health of the roster. That said, the first two picks of McCoy and Gardner-Johnson felt like wise choices at need positions, so there was purpose in their go-for-broke approach after coming off the disappointment of the NFC title game. The window is closing, and the Saints are trying to keep it open as long as possible.
Picks: LSU LB Devin White; Central Michigan DB Sean Bunting; Auburn CB Jamel Dean; Kentucky S Mike Edwards; Iowa OLB Anthony Nelson; Utah K Matt Gay; Bowling Green WR Scott Miller; Missouri DT Terry Beckner Jr.
Best pick: White
The only question of this pick comes with positional value and the decision to pass on the DL talent available. If the pass rush lacks juice, let’s revisit this pick. For now, White looks like a true difference maker and energy player who could be a star for a decade. He might look a little out of control at times, but White’s rare closing speed and infectious athleticism are a huge addition in a division loaded with shifty backs and big-play passing games. White can help in a big way on all three downs, and he just might be the natural-born leader this locker room needs, so we love the selection from that standpoint.
Worst pick: Dean
The exchange rate they received in shipping the No. 70 pick to the Rams for 94 and 99 was just tremendous; no matter which draft-value chart you consult, that move was a home run. But the return on investment they got on the two choices was questionable. We like Edwards and were pleased to see him drafted in this range, fearing his smarts and versatility might go overlooked until later. But the Dean pick is confusing. After passing up DL options at 70, there were not the same caliber of talents at that spot at 94, and it put the Bucs in a best-player-available conundrum. Even so, we’re just leery of Dean’s long-term health and fear he might be a better athlete than he is a player.
Overall: Ignoring the defensive and offensive lines, running back and wide receiver felt like missed opportunities. That’s putting a lot of pressure on Bruce Arians to reclaim 2018 second-rounder Ronald Jones and hope that the blockers up front can open holes for him and protect Jameis Winston better. With the future of Gerald McCoy uncertain, it’s surprising they couldn’t find DT help. And my goodness, a second drafted kicker in four years? At least it was a fifth-rounder and not a Round 2 pick, but we’re still confused by it. Hammering the secondary with talent is nice, and White looks like a stud, but there were questions all over the place otherwise.
Picks: Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray; Washington CB Byron Murphy; Massachusetts WR Andy Isabella; Boston College DE Zach Allen; Iowa State WR Hakeem Butler; Alabama S Deionte Thompson; Fresno State WR Keesean Johnson; Georgia C Lamont Gaillard; Morgan State OT Joshua Miles; Temple DT Michael Dogbe; UCLA TE Caleb Wilson
Best pick: Murphy
Clearly, Murray is the centerpiece of this class, and he has a chance to be special in this environment, but there has been enough ink spilled on his virtues. Now it’s wait-and-see mode for the potential paradigm changer at QB. In Murphy, the Cardinals landed tremendous value – our No. 13 overall player – who can be a Pro Bowl corner in time. As long as they don’t ask him to be a press-man corner, Murphy has the skills to be a longtime standout, and it gives the Cardinals the flexibility to consider a Patrick Peterson trade if they get the right offer. We loved this pick.
Worst pick: Isabella
This likely is a terrific landing spot for Isabella, where the Cardinals can feed him short passes and let his speed burn. But it’s also not going to surprise us one bit if Isabella has a career that is more like that of Taylor Gabriel than, say, Brandin Cooks or T.Y. Hilton. Isabella is a slight-framed body catcher who mimics some of the receiving and return skills that 2018 second-rounder Christian Kirk possesses, so doubling up there was confusing.
Overall: After months of wondering whether Murray would be the pick at one, that mystery ended – and the Cardinals sent a clear message that they’re giving new head coach Kliff Kingsbury exactly what he desires to run his “Air Raid” scheme. If you’re going to hire him as your cook, might as well let him shop for most of the groceries, as Bill Parcells might say. Not taking an offensive lineman until Round 6 feels like an awful risk for what was one of the worst units in the NFL last season. Perhaps the scheme and Murray can compensate for some of that. Butler was a Round 4 steal, Allen was a nice choice the round prior, and Thompson was well worth the gamble as late as he went. Clearly, this class hinges on Kingsbury getting the most out of Murray’s electric skills, but there were some other smart additions alongside him.
Picks: Washington S Taylor Rapp; Memphis RB Darrell Henderson; Michigan CB David Long; Oklahoma OG Bobby Evans; Washington DT Greg Gaines; Wisconsin OT David Edwards; Penn State S Nick Scott; Texas Tech LB Dakota Allen
Best pick: Rapp
It was a tossup here between Rapp and Long, but we’ll take a player – our No. 28 overall prospect – who fell surprisingly far following one bad 40-yard dash at his pro day. Running in the 4.7s took him out of first-round consideration, and he has a hip injury that is worth monitoring, but this is a Wade Phillips defender if we ever saw one. Lining up alongside Eric Weddle affords the Rams some tremendous versatility and playmaking with their safeties, so consider this an inspired selection late in Round 2. It was a shock he tumbled that far.
Worst pick: Henderson
And by worst, we just mean it was one of the few picks we didn’t love. Henderson in the hands of Sean McVay feels like a cheat code admittedly, as the big-play back can be schemed into success in this system. But perhaps the bigger story here is that the Rams now have invested quite a bit in the running back position with 2018 preseason standout John Kelly (a sixth-round pick), re-signing Malcolm Brown and giving Gurley a contract that still leaves the team with more than $25 million in dead money into the 2020 season. It’s perhaps more of an indication that Gurley’s long-term health remains a worry.
Overall: What a haul for the Super Bowl runners-up. GM Les Snead continues to pull rabbits out of hats with his free-agent maneuverings and his draft work, especially with the foresight a year ago to add Day 3 talent on the offensive line. Those picks, along with this year’s selections of Evans and Edwards, should patch a lot of holes up front. And adding Rapp and Long to the secondary was terrific. Long has the type of man-cover skills Phillips seeks and might be one of the better Day 2 sleepers. So much to like here, even without a full till of picks and no first-rounder.
Picks: Ohio State DE Nick Bosa; South Carolina WR Deebo Samuel; Baylor WR Jalen Hurd; Utah P Mitch Wishnowsky; Arkansas LB Dre Greenlaw; Stanford TE Kaden Smith; Vanderbilt OT Justin Skule; Virginia CB Tim Harris
Best pick: Bosa
There are no more excuses for this defense, and especially the front line. If the 49ers can’t rush the passer with all the assets they’ve poured into the line, then it’s a coaching issue. Bosa brings rare edge talent and could be a Pro Bowler before long, even if he hasn’t played a ton of football the past three years. He’s the total package to add the pass-rush juice this unit needs and will be bookended with Dee Ford, which will prevent constant double teams. Refusing offers to trade down for the No. 2 pick should prove to be the right decision, but the only question in our minds is whether they passed up a superior talent with DT Quinnen Williams.
Worst pick: Wishnowsky
Drafting punters isn’t the worst football affront, but it’s not far off. (That would be drafting kickers.) This was an area of need with Bradley Pinion leaving via free agency, but the value here left us irritated. Wishnowsky – who will be a 27-year-old rookie – was the first punter selected, but might not have been as good a prospect as Stanford’s Jake Bailey, who was drafted 53 slots later. The secondary was a spot they should have addressed prior to Round 7, and Iowa S Amani Hooker – a top-50 prospect for us – was still amazingly on the board.
Overall: Bosa is the crown jewel of the class, and Samuel was a great fit and a player the 49ers targeted since the Senior Bowl. Hurd is a fascinating prospect, and he gives them much-needed size at the position, but he still needs some positional refinement. After a strong start to the draft, this class leaves us wanting more. Will they get more than three considerable contributors out of the group? There were too many unanswered voids.
Picks: TCU DE L.J. Collier; Utah DB Marquise Blair; Mississippi WR D.K. Metcalf; Utah LB Cody Barton; West Virginia WR Gary Jennings; Wake Forest OG Phil Haynes; Oregon CB Ugo Amadi; Washington LB Ben Burr-Kirven; Miami RB Travis Homer; Florida State DT Demarcus Christmas; Hawaii WR John Ursua
Best pick: Metcalf
Was he a workout warrior with some questions about durability, versatility and production? Absolutely. Did Metcalf land in a spot that could be terrific for his skills? No doubt. Some evaluators are concerned that he could be the next Kevin White in some respects, but Metcalf has the vertical ability and blocking chops to be a home-run threat for Russell Wilson in this power-run/play-action/deep-shot offense. Metcalf’s risk quotient is high, but getting him at 64 mitigates that quite a bit.
Worst pick: Blair
Taking Collier in Round 1 was too rich for our blood, but his makeup is very consistent with what the Seahawks needed up front and in time he could be a one-for-one replacement for Frank Clark. The question with Blair isn’t with his fit, as he plays with fire and brimstone. It’s more with his lean frame and a style that could lead to more injuries. He’s already battled knee trouble over the years, and Blair never really has shown a knack for playmaking even with his good football IQ and his competitive spirit. He felt like a reach with the 47th overall pick and a player whom most teams were considering a round or two later.
Overall: Turning four picks – which is what they entered draft week with – into a whopping 11 selections (along with some 2020 draft ammo) deserves special mention. Whether that strategy pays off remains to be seen, and they took a very Seahawksian approach to their picks. What I respect immensely about this scouting staff is that it has a precise view of its type of players that seems to be in near lockstep with the coaching staff. There also was a clear emphasis on special teams, and we especially liked the later-round finds of Haynes and Homer. Passing up certain talents along the way is something that prevents us from giving the Seahawks a higher grade.
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