32 things we learned from the 2019 NFL draft
Lorenzo Reyes
Posted: 2019-04-30

The 32 things we learned from the 2019 NFL draft:

1. Drafts we loved: Colts, Eagles, Chargers, Ravens, Redskins. The Patriots would have made this list but trading up for an unproductive defensive end (Byron Cowart) and drafting a punter (Jake Bailey) in the fifth round had us scratching our heads. And if you look only at the picks the Cardinals made, they d be on here, too. But

2. Arizona really loves drafting QBs in the first round (welcome, Kyler Murray). So much so that in parting with last year s No. 10 overall selection Josh Rosen Arizona general manager Steve Keim mismanaged an asset and collected just pennies on the dollar.

3. Arizona paid Rosen $11 million guaranteed for one season. They had to trade up last year to pick him and gave up the No. 15 selection and a third- and fifth-round picks in 2018. In return, they got No. 62 overall in this year s draft which the team used to take Massachusetts wide receiver Andy Isabella and a 2020 fifth-round pick. The Rosen trade aside, though, the Cardinals did have a pretty nice draft, infusing speed and size into the offense for Murray.

4. Arizona s loss is Miami s gain. The Dolphins took a low-cost flier on Rosen and a fresh start should do the quarterback and Miami's rebuild plenty of good.

5. Drafts we didn t love: Packers, Rams, Bears.

6. Defense dominated the draft, especially early. Pass rushers were a priority, but four defensive linemen and linebackers went in the first five picks, and 15 players at the two positions were taken in the first round overall, the highest total in the common draft era.

7. When GMs fall in love with a player, it s tough to criticize apparent reaches. But both Mike Mayock of the Raiders and Dave Gettleman of the Giants each of whom made three selections in the first round appeared to miss on chances to trade down and bolster their draft capital. If their first selections pan out, Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell and Duke quarterback Daniel Jones, respectively, this will be forgotten. But if they don t live up to their draft billing, it could be costly.

8. Gettleman floated the idea of having Jones sit for THREE seasons before needing to play. If you feel convinced that a player will turn around a franchise, go ahead. But to spend the No. 6 overall selection on what could be a multi-year project? Woof.

9. Mayock clearly loves big-game players. Four of his first eight draft picks came from Clemson or Alabama who faced off in the most recent College Football Playoff championship, which Mayock attended. Three of those four went to Clemson.

10. It s unlikely extremely unlikely that Auburn s Jarrett Stidham will come close to enjoying anything close to the kind of NFL career Tom Brady has had, but the Patriots needed to continue trying to develop a passer. With Brian Hoyer being the only other QB on the roster, it makes sense to take a flyer on Stidham (No. 133 in the fourth round), who possesses many of the traits Bill Belichick loves in passers.

11. Speaking of Belichick, the additions of Stidham, Michigan edge rusher Chase Winovich (third round, No. 77), and Arkansas guard Hjalte Froholdt (fourth round, No. 118) are just the latest examples of the Patriots being certain in the traits they love and picking players who have them.

12. Another team that has a clear vision in what it wants to build is the Ravens. They re going to remain a physical, run-first team with Lamar Jackson at quarterback. And they gave the second-year threat some more weapons with Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise Brown and Oklahoma State running back Justice Hill. But adding dual-threat quarterback Trace McSorley late in the sixth round shows that Baltimore isn t shy about adding dynamic playmakers, even at positions that have already been established.

13. Another class we should mention is that of the Browns. Considering the No. 17 overall selection helped land Odell Beckham Jr. in a trade, it s hard not to consider Cleveland anything but big winners.

14. Likewise, Dallas sat tight in the first round after trading the eventual No. 27 overall pick to the Raiders, who used it to select Mississippi State safety Johnathan Abram. But because Amari Cooper, who turns 25 in June, and Dak Prescott have built a bond, the Cowboys should be perfectly happy with the way things turned out.

15. As far as their picks, the Cowboys were solid, finding a replacement for David Irving in UCF defensive tackle Trysten Hill and bolstering the O-line with Penn State guard Connor McGovern, a potential fill-in for center Travis Frederick).

16. After what was considered a top-heavy class that lacked viable depth in the middle rounds, 11 quarterbacks were taken in the draft, down from 13 last year.

17. One sneaky-good draft was that of the Bills. They were patient, got the player they wanted in Ed defensive tackle Ed Oliver at No. 9 and filled needs at offensive line (Oklahoma guard/tackle Cody Ford) and running back (Florida Atlantic's Devin Singletary).

18. Tyreek Hill s time in Kansas City might be nearing an end. Hill now faces a reopened child abuse investigation, and the Chiefs used the No. 56 overall selection in the second round to pick a player Georgia receiver Mecole Hardman who has similar size, speed, and play-making ability.

19. The Seahawks also are clearly looking to potentially replace a wideout. With Doug Baldwin considering retirement due to multiple injuries, Seattle drafted three receivers: Mississippi s D.K. Metcalf (No. 64), West Virginia s Gary Jennings (No. 120), and Hawaii s John Ursua (No. 236).

20. We re all about selecting best player available, and the Jets did that for the most part, but one of the priorities of the offseason to get quarterback Sam Darnold some more help on the outside was neglected.

21. A lot of people saw the Rams selection of Memphis running back Darrell Henderson in the third round and figured it was a bad sign for Todd Gurley and the health of his knee. While Henderson should be an instant contributor in Sean McVay s offense (especially in the passing game), he should be more of a complementary piece.

22. The Falcons, trying to get back to the Super Bowl, are looking to do it up front. With its selection of Boston College guard Christopher Lindstrom at No. 14 overall and its trade back into the first round to get Washington tackle Kaleb McGary, Atlanta now has five players who were first-round selections at each of the spots on the O-line.

23. A wave of panic undulated across the Redskins fan base when reports emerged that owner Dan Snyder and president Bruce Allen took over the team s draft. Looking at their haul, if Snyder and Allen were the ones making their picks, quarterback Dwayne Haskins, linebacker Montez Sweat, running Bryce Love and wide receiver Kelvin Harmon all seem like solid pieces. Nice job.

24. It s clear the Steelers are looking to help replace a pair of their former expensive stars, receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le Veon Bell, with a few cheaper mid-round options in Toledo receiver Diontae Johnson and Kentucky running back Benny Snell.

25. Many were quick to criticize John Elway for passing on a quarterback (twice) in the first round, but his patience paid off. Missouri s strong-armed passer Drew Lock slipped to the middle of the second round and the Broncos pounced on him with the No. 42 pick. But Lock won t start right away and will have the chance to learn behind Joe Flacco. Solid draft all around by Elway.

26. The priority for the Texans was obvious: protect Deshaun Watson. Houston gave up 62 sacks and 126 QB hits both NFL worsts in 2018. The Texans used their first-round pick (Alabama State tackle Tytus Howard) and their third-round selection (Northern Illinois tackle Max Scharping) to bolster the outside of the line. But will that be enough?

27. One under-the-radar pick that just may pay dividends in the future: Bengals fourth-round selection Ryan Finley, a quarterback out of NC State taken with the No. 104 pick. Andy Dalton s run as the starter in Cincy will eventually wind down and Finley s accuracy and anticipation should give rookie coach Zac Taylor plenty to work with.

28. Salute to the Alabama Crimson Tide, which for the second season in a row had the most selections in the draft, with 10. They edged out the Ohio State, which had nine selected.

29. Even though the Buccaneers hired offensive-minded Bruce Arians as their head coach, it s clear Arians and GM Jason Licht wanted to improve their defense. Six of their eight picks were on D and they selected just one offensive player Bowling Green receiver Scott Miller with the No. 208 pick.

30. Mr. Irrelevant, the last pick of the NFL draft went to the Cardinals at No. 254 was UCLA tight end Caleb Wilson. The good news? Each of the last six Mr. Irrelevants have appeared in at least one NFL game.

31. But sometimes getting drafted isn t the best thing. Especially late in the seventh round, prospects who are drafted have no choice of where they go. Getting to pick as an undrafted free agent offers more control. So for players like Buffalo QB Tyree Jackson (signed with the Bills) and Georgia running back Elijah Holyfield (Panthers), there will be plenty of chances to prove yourselves.

32. Some draft sites are better than others. Nashville shined throughout the weekendand pulled off an electric scene even when the weather didn t cooperate. The NFL said more than half a million fans showed up over the weekend, a new record. Kudos.



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