With the 2019 NFL Draft all under wraps, it is official: no big football dates until preseason in June. Football fans anguish everywhere in this vacuum of NFL football, however fear not, for football is never dead at The Sports Wave. With that being said, it is quite proper to start off the season of “no football” (which as we’ve previously covered is not a thing for you die hard fans out there, and we love that), let’s reflect on the winners and losers of the 2019 NFL draft, shall we?
Winner: Literally everybody in the NFC East except New York
I mean Daniel Jones was literally pick six… that’s just bad energy being shot into the universe. The Giants adopted the philosophy round one of drafting decent players where there were better available. Haskins is a much better QB than Daniels with much higher upside and so is Drew Lock. Yet, the Giants went with Daniel Jones, who has blatant accuracy inconsistencies, panics under pressure, and turns the ball over in bunches. Essentially, the Giants drafted this year’s version of Eli Manning to replace Eli Manning. Furthermore, while Dexter Lawrence is a great football player, defensive tackle is not nearly as impactful as if the Giants went with an edge rusher in Montez Sweat or a right tackle in Jawaan Taylor. While Jones and Lawrence can end up being great players in the NFL, they just weren’t the best positions to address at those spots, let alone the best players at their positions (except Lawrence). In contrast, I do believe Deandre Baker was a great pick and should be a solid starter at the least for the Giants, who emanates a fiery aggression and competitiveness on the field. The fact that the Giants failed to grab the correct franchise quarterback, however, and then took a defensive tackle over different positions is too much to overlook.
On top of the Giants having a bad first round, the Redskins grabbed their electric franchise quarterback in Dwayne Haskins (yes, the one the Giants should have gotten) while the Eagles grabbed the future LT in Dillard round one while grabbing arguably the best running back in this draft round two. Dallas didn’t have a bad first pick (though it came in round two) either, grabbing an electric and explosive 3 tech defensive tackle at a position of monumental need. Really, every team in the NFC East had a great draft except the Giants, further widening the parity between the top and bottom of the division while narrowing it among the top three teams.
Winner: The Cardinals, Broncos, and Jaguars
These three teams (besides Washington) were my cut and clear winners of the draft. Arizona grabbed the best player in the draft number one, providing an electrifying franchise quarterback with hints of Russel Wilson at the number one spot. However, what’s more impressive came later when the Cardinals grabbed who seemed like a first round lock and possibly the top lockdown corner in the draft a la Byron Murphy with the first pick of round two. Arizona later went on to steal Hakeem Butler (a 6’5 wideout with “Megatron” comparisons) in round four after grabbing Andy Isabella my favorite sleeper receiver in the whole draft during round three.
Denver did their best attempt to outdo the Cardinals, however, by snatching an explosive tight end with 4.3 speed in round one just to address offensive line round two and grab their franchise quarterback in Drew Lock one pick later. Denver somehow, systematically addressed all three of their top needs in the draft with a Jordan Reed look a like at tight end, the final piece to an up-and-coming offensive line at center, and a top three quarterback in this draft during ROUND TWO. It is completely fair to state that Denver absolutely killed this draft and may even contend for an AFC wildcard with ferocity this season (no that is not an overreaction).
Finally, the Jaguars can adopt their previous namesake of “Sacksonville” again after getting one of the biggest steals in the whole draft when outside linebacker and edge rusher Josh Allen slid to them at number seven. Allen has drawn Von Miller comparisons and is joining a defense already crammed with talent. As if that wasn’t perfect enough of a situation for Jacksonville, Jawaan Taylor (my top right tackle in the draft) tumbled into their laps in round two, helping protect the future QB1 in Nick Foles. After those two picks, it really doesn’t matter what Jacksonville did later on. Jacksonville’s defense is still very much elite and was last season, but began to fatigue when Bortles kept throwing them back on the field. With that defense back with a new name in Josh Allen, Foles under center at the main culprit to Jacksonville’s woes last season, and more running lanes for Fournette and time in the pocket for Foles? I think Jacksonville will contend for a ring this season. Yes, I said it. Call me crazy, but just watch… this draft may have been what pushes Jacksonville back into relevancy.
Loser: Roger Goodell’s Limbs
I will now refer you to the cover picture of this article where a 315 pound defensive tackle decided to air bump the commissioner of the NFL. This ultimately led to one of the biggest “feel good” moments of the draft while illustrating just what this moment means for NFL hopefuls every April. However, Goodell definitely was hurting a little bit after that one no doubt. Watch out for an incoming suspension Dolphins fans…
Loser: Football analysts everywhere
What a weird draft. Greedy Williams, Jawaan Taylor, DK Metcalf, Nasir Adderly, and Dwayne Haskins were all known by a majority as the top of their position (we’re excluding Kyler Murray when talking about Haskins as Murray is in a class of his own). However, every one of those players had two or more players at their position picked before them and all except Haskins slid to the second round. As if that wasn’t weird enough, Clelin Ferrel went number four (before Josh Allen) and Darnell Savage was the first safety off the board. However, I will admit Savage was my biggest sleeper at safety this draft who I thought could be the best at his position and wasn’t recognized enough as such. It just didn’t seem like anybody else agreed. Overall, this draft was arguably the most peculiar and impossible to predict in recent years, making NFL analysts everywhere (myself included) look like fools with their mock drafts and prospect rankings all thrown out the window.
My largest predicted win increases based of teams’ draft
-Redskins (+5 wins; 5-11 to 10-6)
-Jacksonville Jaguars (+4 wins; 7-9 to 11-5)
-Cleveland Browns (+3 wins; 9-7 to 12-4)
Super Bowl drafts
In particular, there are two teams I believe their drafts solidified them as firm Super Bowl contenders instead of simply divisional challengers:
-Cleveland Browns (Greedy Williams was my top ranked CB and they snatched him round two to lineup across from Denzel Ward while grabbing the best linebacker in the draft besides the Devin duo in round five)
-Jacksonville Jaguars (Josh Allen will be an invigorating, rejuvenating addition to the Jaguars defense, bringing them back to former “Sacksonville” glory. Meanwhile, Jacksonville got the best right tackle and possibly best offensive tackle period in this draft to compliment young left tackle Cam Robinson and veteran left guard Andrew Norwell. This will build an offense to help Nick Foles thrive with Leonard Fournette behind him at all times, ready to tear apart defenses and create one on one coverage outside)