Nashville, Tennessee hosted the 2019 NFL draft, where the 32 professional American Football franchises select newly eligible players from the American collegiate system. Teams select a player, in order, according to their standing from the past season, with the team with the worst record getting the first overall pick, all the way down to the Superbowl winners getting the 32nd. This happens across seven rounds, meaning 224 players are selected, although teams can trade their picks in order to get higher, more or future selections according to their needs.
It is a fantastic way to spread the multitude of talent available across the teams and this, coupled with a rigid Salary Cap structure, means the NFL is usually highly competitive and has much more of a level playing field – rather than be dominated by teams who simply have more cash available to them. Even the worst team of one season can bounce back to be challenging for honours next.
Being the number one pick of the draft is a highly prestigious and much sought after honour. Number One picks don’t always become NFL superstars – but there have been some of the top names in NFL history who entered the professional game by being the number one pick. Hall of Fame Quarterbacks John Elway and Troy Aikman, legendary running back O.J. Simpson…with more recently the likes of Eli Manning, Andrew Luck and Cam Newton all being drafted at number one.
This year, the Arizona Cardinals had the number one pick and again selected a Quarterback…Kyler Murray (above) out of Oklahoma was chosen, making Murray the 4th QB in the last five years to be selected, and the 32nd QB taken first overall – 9 ahead of the next best position, being a Running Back. The choice was never really in doubt…but some teams did have a much better draft than others
Here, lets take a look at some of the winners, and losers, of the 2019 NFL Draft :
WINNER – WASHINGTON REDSKINS
The Redskins endured a horrible 2018 campaign after a promising start – going through 4 Quarterbacks in the last half of the season with their #1 QB, Alex Smith, facing a potentially career ending injury. The need for a QB in Washington was great…but a #15 pick position meant they would likely need to trade to ensure they got one of the best available. Washington has been known for over reaching and paying for players in the past….but this time their War Room got it right….holding firm at #15 and then having stud prospect Dwayne Haskins fall to them. Not only that, but the Redskins THEN made a canny swoop and trade with the Indianapolis Colts to get another first round pick, taking Linebacker Montez Sweat – considered an elite player at his position. The Redskins also landed a fine Wide Receiver in Terry McLaurin out of Ohio State – who had played with Haskins at college, and then picked up a great RB in Bryce Love in Round 4 to boot. It isn’t often the Redskins have a great draft….but this year they really stepped up to the plate. Much needed as well.
LOSER – NEW YORK GIANTS
Another team in need of a QB…but a team who clearly panicked and stumbled into the trap of over reaching for a player that many believed wouldn’t even be a first round pick. The Giants could…should…have known that Duke prospect Daniel Jones was not on many teams radar, certainly not as high as the #6 pick position held – and could have traded down for him, gaining extra picks along the way or taken another player regarded as much better than Jones overall (hello Dwayne Haskins). The Giants also had three first round picks….but failed to set Big Blue fans hearts racing with any of them. Number 17 overall pick Dexter Lawrence is a fine, big run blocker…but with the passing game a problem, and Lawrence not known for his pass protection skills, it doesn’t feel like the pick gained for losing stud WR Odell Beckham Jr was just reward. The general consensus surrounding the whole NYG draft was one of confusion. Post draft, there are now more questions about the roster than there was before.
WINNER – LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
The Bolts were play off calibre in 2018/19 and boasted one of the most potent offenses in the NFL. Now, after the 2019 Draft, they arguably have about the best defence around as well. The Chargers added Defensive Lineman Jerry Tilley in Round 1, then followed that up with Safety Nadir Adderley in Round 2. Tilley is the disruptive influence the Bolts need in the D-Line, whilst Adderley will buddy up with the Chargers first round draft selection of last year Derwin James to give them a young but uber talented secondary. Adderley was considered a borderline first rounder, so for San Diego to be able to pick him up so late in Round 2 has to be considered a huge result. The Chargers were very very good last season. They could be great this.
LOSERS – DETROIT LIONS
Oh Detroit….when will you learn. Of the past 10 Tight Ends taken in the first round of the NFL Draft, Detroit had taken 2 of them…and both were considered busts. This year, the Lions will hope its third time lucky as they selected TE T.J. Hockinson from Iowa State. This with the 8th overall pick. No TE had gone before Hockinson. Yet many experts and analysts had Hockinson down as the sixth best TE available overall….not best player overall…sixth best Tight End overall. And yet the Lions selected him. Maybe they saw something everyone else missed…but much like the Giants, this was considered a reach of colossal proportions. Their second round pick, LB Jahlani Tavai had many people scratching their heads also. The Lions are one of four teams never to win a Superbowl. On this showing, the wait will be a while off yet.
It will be fascinating to see how all the draft picks work out when the NFL 2019/20 season starts in September…and which one of the 2019 NFL Draft Class will become rookie of the year.