While the release of Avengers: EndGame has ran rampant all over news sources and social media, there was the NFL draft last night. The draft may not have had as many twists and turns as the latest MCU film, but there were plenty of surprises for fans last night. Here is a recap and prediction of how each pick from last night’s first round will fit in with their new team.
- Arizona Cardinals, Kyler Murray (Oklahoma), QB
Not much of a surprise here from the Cardinals who are seemingly pushing all their chips in the middle and going all in with their new head coach Kliff Kingsbury. We know the athletic ability of Murray given he was the ninth overall pick in the MLB draft last year. The Cardinals are not thrilled with using the number one overall pick on a quarterback a year after using the 10th overall pick on Josh Rosen. However, the pairing of Murray with Coach Kliff Kingsbury seems too perfect to pass up. Kingsbury will most likely be installing an Air Raid-style offense, and besides for Baker Mayfield or Patrick Mahomes, there are not many quarterbacks suited for this system than Murray.
- San Francisco 49ers, Nick Bosa (Ohio State), DE
Nick Bosa comes from an established football family, with his father, John, having played for the Dolphins and his brother Joey currently playing for the Chargers. An all-around strong player, Bosa generates interior power like a tackle while still possessing the skill and speed of a defensive end. The 49ers already have a star defensive tackle in DeForest Buckner, and added Dee Ford in a trade with the Chiefs to bolster their defensive line. However, they needed at least one more edge rusher and Bosa is one of the best in this draft.
- New York Jets, Quinnen Williams (Alabama), DT
It seems like every NFL team has a dominant interior lineman out of Alabama. Williams has a chance to be the latest in a long line of players who fit that general description. That shouldn’t take away from how effective he could be from day one if the Jets play to his strengths. The Jets’ top need was an edge rusher, but decided to go with an interior lineman instead. They must believe that Williams can put on the bulk necessary to dominate from the tackle position alongside Leonard Williams
- Oakland Raiders, Clelin Ferrell (Clemson), DE
Ferrell is about as versatile as they come at defensive end. He has the ability to be effective against the run while also finding his way to the quarterback with ease. There’s no reason to believe he couldn’t start right away, and try to help Oakland replace Khalil Mack. With this being the first of three first-round picks, the Raiders already showed themselves to be, well the Raiders. Instead of picking Josh Allen, they reached down to Ferrell, who was ranked in the mid-20s on many boards. He can be good quickly, but there is little reason to believe he will be great.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Devin White (LSU), LB
White was the 2018 Dick Butkus Award winner as college football’s best linebacker. His size may not be ideal, he is still raw enough at the position. Tampa Bay targeted White the whole time, as he fills the team’s biggest need at inside linebacker since they lost Kwon Alexander in the offseason. The Bucs likely sweated out the last few minutes trying to decide if they should take Josh Allen instead, but stuck with their guts. Passing up on what many think is the top player on the board couldn’t have been easy, but a player like White who can truly run a defense made a lot of sense. White gives new Head Coach Bruce Arians an anchor on that side of the ball.
- New York Giants, Daniel Jones (Duke), QB
Jones is pro-ready in several ways. His throwing mechanics are already in line with what teams look for thanks to his work with David Cutcliffe, and there is no question he can handle the mental aspects of the position. With that being said, there is concern that he simply doesn’t have the arm to be something special. The Giants have Eli Manning’s successor, or at least they hope they do. Jones never stood out while he was at Duke, but his stock has been soaring over the last few months. New York needed a graceful way to move on from Eli Manning, and they just placed an enormous bet on a player whom many had rated as the fourth-best quarterback in this draft.
- Jacksonville Jaguars, Josh Allen (Kentucky), DE
Allen can outrun offensive lineman, but also has the strength to power through them as well. He could still use some work in adjusting his attack when his first move doesn’t work. Everyone thought Jacksonville would have went with T.J. Hockenson based on the terrific fit with Nick Foles, but no one thought Allen would fall this far. Allen filled a need for the team and was by far the top player available on nearly every draft board. He is not a natural fit as a coverage linebacker, and he may not contribute much outside of pass-rush.
- Detroit Lions, T.J. Hockenson (Iowa), TE
Hockenson won the John Mackey Award for the nation’s top tight end of 2018 even though he split time with another top prospect at his position, Noah Fant. He has the ideal frame for a tight end, however there is some work needed in his blocking. He will now spend his days controlling the middle of the field for Matthew Stafford. This gives Stafford a big weapon in the red zone that has been missing since Calvin Johnson retired. Hockenson should be ready to contribute from day one.
- Buffalo Bills, Ed Oliver (Houston), DT
Oliver, who snubbed Alabama to play with his brother in Houston, showed a lot of skill in his 32 college games before a knee injury ended his junior year. Effectively playing defensive tackle at his size is a rarity, so there is reason for being unsure that he can handle the NFL. This was a good pick for the Bills. Buffalo needed help on the interior of their defensive line, and Oliver was the best tackle on the board. Oliver has a big personality, and should develop into a star. He can prove to be Aaron Donald-ish with the skill and intensity definitely being there.
- Pittsburgh Steelers, Devin Bush (Michigan), LB
Some teams overlooked the younger Bush for being smaller than a typical three-down linebacker is, but with elite speed and the ability to drop back into coverage, he effectively adds to Pittsburgh’s front-seven. This pick originally belonged to Denver, but Pittsburgh wanted to move up for a chance to beat everyone else to Bush, a player who brings a truly rare combination of skills to the middle of the field, and can fill a void with Ryan Shazier still recovering from his neck scary neck injury.
- Cincinnati Bengals, Jonah Williams (Alabama), OL
Is Williams a guard or a tackle? He looked strong playing left tackle in 2018, and there is a lot about his game that reminds me of Joe Thomas, but he’s small for the position and doesn’t have the extra-long arms that helps overcome being a tad shorter. The Bengals needed a linebacker to replace the released Vontaze Burfict, but offensive line was also a need. Williams’s ceiling is a top left tackle and his floor is a solid guard. There were exciting players on the board, but Williams was a safe and smart pick for a team that needs to figure out how to keep its quarterback healthy.
- Green Bay Packers, Rashan Gary (Michigan), DE
Gary is huge, fast, strong, and able to jump. He is disruptive and he seems like he should be dominant. But on his way trying to bullrush through the line it is safe to say that his technique could use some work. The disparity between what it seems like he should do and what he has done created a rift in which some evaluators considered him a top-10 player while others had him in the late teens or early 20s. Gary, who was a combine star has never played as well as people have expected him to, and Green Bay will have to find a way to coach Gary in a way that unlocks his enormous athletic potential.
- Miami Dolphins, Christian Wilkins (Clemson), DT
Wilkins is constantly found in the right spot where he can make an enormous impact, often making head’s-up plays to swat down passes. The Dolphins, a team that badly need a long-term solution at quarterback passed up on Dwayne Haskins, chose to go with Wilkins, a terrific interior defender who is a worthy selection in the first half of the night but doesn’t fill nearly as big of a need as Haskins would have.
- Atlanta Falcons, Chris Lindstrom (Boston College), G
From a family of offensive linemen, Lindstrom is big enough to handle life in the pros but is far more athletic than a typical guard is. He has experience as a tackle, adding some versatility. Did Atlanta really need a guard? Well, every team can use a great guard. There were some players who may have been a better fit for the Falcons. For example Jeffery Simmons at defensive tackle or Montez Sweat as an edge rusher, but Lindstrom is the kind of pick who carries almost no downside long-term.
- Washington Redskins, Dwayne Haskins (Ohio State), QB
This could have possibly been the steal of the first round. Haskins tends to be statuesque in the pocket, and has only played 22 games in college, but his right arm is a cannon and he is not afraid to use it. Predicted by many to go off the board at No. 6, and with the arm talent to be No. 1 most years, Haskins steps into a great situation where Case Keenum will start, but can be moved aside easily once the rookie is ready.
- Carolina Panthers, Brian Burns (Florida State), DE
Tall and lanky, Burns glides around less athletic tackles, taking unorthodox but pretty paths to the quarterback. Against college linemen that translated to twenty-three sacks over three seasons. Carolina passed on Montez Sweat, who was the top edge rusher available, to draft the potential of Burns. He is a hard player to figure out. Carolina will have to find creative ways to use him. Burns is such a physical freak that Coach Ron Rivera and his staff should have a lot of fun trying to use him in their defense.
- New York Giants, Dexter Lawrence (Clemson), DT
Lawrence is more of an athlete than you would think based on his size. The tools are there for him to consistently draw double-teams, but he has yet to show that he can break through and get to the quarterback himself. The Giants once again reached down the draft boards a bit to pick up Lawrence, a fine player who was projected to go in the mid-to-late 20s. Considering the Giants’ needs on the edge, they passed up on Montez Sweat, an edge rusher with top-10 talent. Was this because of his heart issues or was this Gettleman being Gettleman?
- Minnesota Vikings, Garrett Bradbury (NC State), OL
Bradbury has the overall strength to power through bigger defensive tackles, he can adjust and recover far better than a typical center. Adding some weight would be ideal. Minnesota’s biggest need was its offensive line and Bradbury is a terrific fit even if there were some higher-rated players available at other positions. Minnesota still has holes to fill on its offensive and defensive lines, but they got what they needed most.
- Tennessee Titans, Jeffery Simmons (Mississippi State), DT
On talent alone, Simmons is one of the five or 10 best players in this draft class, but he has some red flags. The red flags come in two varieties. The first is his health, he tore his ACL in February and it’s unknown when he’ll be back to full speed. The second, which is far more serious, is his 2016 arrest on assault charges in which he was accused of repeatedly hitting a woman in an incident that also involved several other people. He has not tried to hide from the incident from teams, and he has worked to make up for it. However, considering the recent backlash from players like Reuben Foster and Tyreek Hill, it is not surprising that some teams chose to look elsewhere. From a football standpoint, Simmons is a good selection, but at this point teams truly need to consider more than just football.
- Denver Broncos, Noah Fant (Iowa), TE
How unusual is it for a school to have two tight ends drafted in the first round? Considering only one tight end (from
any school) was drafted in the first round last year. No tight ends were selected in the first round in 2011, 2012, 2015 or 2016. It shouldn’t be a surprise that Fant and his teammate, Hockenson, who went to the Detroit Lions with the eighth overall pick, made history as the first pair of tight ends from one school being first-rounders in the same year. This pick was part of the deal that allowed Pittsburgh to move up to select Devin Bush. The Broncos get a hell of an athlete. Fant does not have the all-around game of Hockenson, but he will be a red zone nightmare for defenses, while having the speed to succeed in the open field as well.
- Green Bay Packers, Darnell Savage Jr. (Maryland), S
Savage is on the small side, but he has shown strong coverage skills and can handle himself like a larger player. Being an every-down safety seems like a stretch, but he could be a contributor if the Packers pick the right spots to use him. In a trade with Seattle, the Packers moved up to pick Savage, one of the best safeties in this draft, but one who was expected by many to be a second-round pick. His tackling needs work, but he is more accomplished than Green Bay’s other first-round pick, Rashan Gary.
- Philadelphia Eagles, Andre Dillard (Washington State), OL
Dillard started four years at Washington State, and the adjustment to the NFL may take a bit of time, but the tools are there for Dillard to be a blind side anchor for years to come. To move up to the 22nd pick, Philadelphia gave Baltimore the 25th pick along with picks in the fourth and sixth round. The Eagles made the move to get ahead of other offensive line needy teams. Philadelphia not making a move to strengthen the team’s secondary was shocking.
- Houston Texans, Tytus Howard (Alabama State), T
Howard gained nearly 90 pounds while in college and was a late bloomer. As he worked to improve his technique he quickly moved up draft boards. With Dillard off the board, Houston had to go to a second option. They chose Howard, a player who didn’t get nearly as much hype as Florida’s Jawaan Taylor, but is thought to have more potential once he gets fully developed as an offensive lineman.
- Oakland Raiders, Josh Jacobs (Alabama), RB
It was a long wait for a skill position to come off the board. And what other team to make that pick than Oakland? It’s easy to look at Jacobs’s college stats and wonder what makes him a first-rounder, but he has the ideal body for the NFL. He has shown glimpses of being able to fight for yardage inside, get around the corner on outside runs, and catch the ball like a wide receiver. If he can prove himself in pass protection, that would translate to the skills of an every-down back. After making an outrageous reach with their first of three picks, Oakland made only a mild one to select Jacobs, who is by far the best running back in this draft. The surprising retirement of Marshawn Lynch helped increase the team’s need at the position, and Jacobs could slide in well as a centerpiece in Coach Jon Gruden’s offense.
- Baltimore Ravens, Marquise Brown (Oklahoma), WR
Brown’s size is certainly not ideal, but DeSean Jackson, who weighs 175 pounds, has shown that a receiver can be fairly durable even at a smaller size. With the Ravens moving back as a result with the trade with Philadelphia, the Ravens get Hollywood Brown, a cousin of Antonio Brown who is an absolute burner. The first pick of the Eric DeCosta era is certainly exciting, but expectations should be tempered down. Lamar Jackson is still developing as a thrower.
- Washington Redskins, Montez Sweat (Mississippi State), DE
Even before the reports of a heart issue there was a belief that he could struggle to find the instant success of some other early first-round picks. The Redskins traded up with the Colts to get this pick, and after drafting their future franchise quarterback in Haskins, they took by far the best player on the board in Sweat. On talent alone Sweat was a top-10 or top-12 pick, with the Redskins trading up for him, it seems as if they have cleared him medically. He is one of the fastest defensive linemen, and fills a big need in Washington.
- Oakland Raiders, Johnathan Abram (Mississippi State), S
Abram is a beast in the box who uses his compact frame as a devastating weapon in the middle of the field. He can help the Raiders against the run, and is not a total liability in coverage. The Raiders may have to figure out if Abram is simply a box safety, but even if he is limited to that role, he can bolster up the defense. He seemed like a second-day player, but the Raiders decided to go with him rather than one of the cornerbacks available, who would have filled a more obvious need.
- Los Angeles Chargers, Jerry Tillery (Notre Dame), DT
Tillery’s inconsistency and questionable conduct on the field had him pegged as a second-day pick on most draft boards. The Chargers apparently decided the potential for Tillery to boom made his chance of being a bust is acceptable. He certainly has the physical traits necessary to excel, and he steps into a team with several veteran defenders to show him the path to success. He will need show consistent effort and figure out how to be more creative when a play doesn’t go well.
- Seattle Seahawks, L.J. Collier (TCU), DE
Collier does not have the burst or high-end speed of an edge rusher, but can be a solid contributor as a relentless end who wears blockers down through consistent effort and superior strength as a game goes on. The Seahawks have a history of developing quality defenders in recent years that they should be given the benefit of the doubt, but at the very least it should be a while before Collier will contribute much.
- New York Giants, Deandre Baker (Georgia), CB
This class of cornerbacks is fairly week according to experts, and Baker is reeling in the benefits of this. The skill is there to handle the NFL, but questions about his speed and size made him a second day pick on many boards. That being said, he has not allowed a touchdown in the last two seasons. The Giants had made some risky moves with their first two picks of the first round, but trading up with Seattle to select the best cornerback in this year’s draft is an easy pick for fans to like.
- Atlanta Falcons, Kaleb McGary (Washington), OL
McGary is an enormous human being, but his arms are fairly short and he may not be physical enough to stay at tackle in the NFL. Even if he has to move to guard he can help in the running game at either position. The Falcons traded up with the Los Angeles Rams to draft McGary following their selection of Chris Lindstrom. They went with another offensive lineman, though this one comes with far more question marks.
- New England Patriots, N’Keal Harry (Arizona State), WR
Harry, the Saint Vincent native, will not blow by any cornerbacks, but he can outfight most of them for a contested ball. Unlike many receivers coming into the NFL, he has already shown an ability to run block. This will help get him on the field as he adjusts to playing against stiffer competition. The Patriots had the chance to draft an heir for Tom Brady in Drew Lock, but instead they gave Brady a weapon in Harry. He does all the little things that will help him with Coach Bill Belichick. Harry is a classic Patriots pick as someone who can compete from day one.
Rounds two and three are tonight starting at 7PM EST
Source: New York Times