Greg's Take: The 2019 NFL Draft
Updated: Apr 14, 2019
The first tease of the NFL season is upon us: The Draft. In this post, I share my thoughts on why the Draft is the most important NFL recruitment event along with my analysis of the talent, what certain teams needs, and predictions for what the 2019 NFL Draft will bring.
The NFL Draft is the Great Equalizer
While some people would say that the combine is the better teaser for the Season, I don’t agree. It’s a spectacle and a giant waste of resources. I’d rather see all that money help our homeless veterans or the families of fallen police officers or firefighters. Hell, even clothing people’s pets would be a better investment than the combine.
The draft is our first taste of new hope for our teams. Every pick has the potential to be the next Jerry Rice, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, Charles Haley, or yes, even a Tom Brady.
While free agency allows a chance to upgrade a few key positions (or several key positions if the team is garbage), not every team has the resources to land a star in free agency. Even this year, there were only two star-players available, and one required a trade to acquire. The draft is different.
The draft is a fresh start. The draft is a new beginning. The draft is about as close to an even playing field as you are going to get. It’s like a pack of trading cards. You open it wanting a certain one: you may get what you want, or you may not get anything worth a damn.
No one knows how their pick will work: stud or dud… or maybe, just maybe, a serviceable player for three or four years until a better option comes along. Few rarely win big.
Free agency and the draft are why NFL general managers get paid so much money AND always have a tenuous hold on their jobs. A GM’s ability to secure for high-quality players at prices that don’t bust the budget can make or break a career. Even if a GM drafts a player with strong potential, there is no guarantee of success as the coach might not be able to make use of the talent.
Thoughts on the Talent Pool
There are some disturbing trends in player talent evaluation. The first being the thought that mobile quarterbacks are so incredible that they will make your offense unstoppable (Michael Vick – the incredible stand-up citizen that he was, Cam Newton, Lamar Jackson, etc.) I don't see it.
These "trends" tend to muddy the waters when teams are looking at college talent. Instead of drafting players who are good fits and solid players with good character, they want something new, fresh, and, exciting. In truth, there are no first-round quality QBs in the 2019 draft. Just a perception that top-tier QBs need to go in the first round
With that said, here are my thoughts on this year’s crop:
Kyler Murray is a crazy ass talent, but he’d be better off playing baseball. Any team that mortgages their future on him will probably end up with the short end of the stick. I don't think he will be another Mayfield (coming from the same system doesn’t necessarily guarantee success). Defenses are tougher, smarter and faster, especially when compared to the Big 12. While analysts say the Cardinals want him pretty bad, drafting a QB two years in a row isn’t smart, especially when the rest of your sucks too.
Rashan Gary is the most over-rated player in this draft. He’s had too many plays off. He’s not physical enough. Devin Bush is head and shoulders better.
Teams keep picking Alabama players in the first round, and they keep striking out. We’ll see two more this year: Quinnen Williams (who’s a beast) and Jonah Williams (not so much).
Devin White (LSU) and Montez Sweat (Mississippi State) are the two most valuable players in this draft. Josh Allen (Kentucky) is a half of a second behind them.
My Advice to the Teams:
To the Raiders, three words: Defense, Defense, Defense. If I were Derek Carr and the Raiders pick Haskins in the first round, I’d tell Gruden to fuck himself and ask him to trade me.
Same to you, Tampa. You need defense, just not a defensive tackle.
To Cincinnati, be smart. If you choose a QB with your 11th pick, you deserve a higher pick next year.
To the Bills, it doesn't really matter who you draft (you should pick up some wide receivers at some point), but anything will be an upgrade.
Jets, you intrigue me. You went nuts in Free Agency and signed some big names. You hired an offensive minded coach and got him some talent. So, the question is, “How are you going to fuck this up?”
Oh, Packers. As a team that has competed for a spot in The Bowl almost every year, you are total crapfest right now. Get as many upgrades as possible.
To the Cardinals, I call your bluff. You want a shitload of picks... not Murray.
In the Embarrassment of Riches Category:
The Chiefs and The Chargers better draft to bolster their defense.
The Patriots need speed and – no surprise - a tight end.
The Rams are still stacked, so anyone they pick will be gravy.
The Saints only need to do one thing: pay off the referees significantly more than the Rams do.
Things I Expect to See During the First Round:
The Steelers will pick offense, again (Despite the fact their defense is garbage.)
The Giants will mess up, TWICE!
Ten or more teams will draft the best available player, even if they don't need him.
There will be five trades; two will involve a QB.
No running backs will be taken.
Three tight ends will be picked.
And, In the Snowball’s Chance in Hell Category:
Florida State will not have a quarterback drafted in the first round.
The Browns will not pick in the first round.
No kickers will be picked in the first round.
Roger Goodell will not get booed.
No one can predict what will happen on Draft Day -- unless it stars Kevin Costner.(In that case, we can all predict it correctly: MEH!). Top 5 for Fighting’s 2019 NFL Draft Reaction Episode drops on Monday, April 29th. Listen in to see just how accurate my predictions were.