Every year the NFL Draft throws us a few curveballs. In 2019, some might include the selections of Clemson DE Clelin Ferrell and Duke QB Daniel Jones within the top 6 picks, the fall of several high-end defensive backs within the first few rounds, and the heavy investment of some offense-needy teams into high-profile defensive players, especially the first few rounds. However, this draft was unique, because elite prospects on both sides of the ball were selected to fit important holes on many rosters. So many teams saved their franchises, others improved both sides of the ball with generational talent, and there were a select few who may have traded too much to transition into “win-now mode”.
Over the course of each season, there are rookie duos that completely transform the identity of some teams. Some examples in recent years include QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott in Dallas, RT Ryan Ramczyk and RB Alvin Kamara on the Saints, and QB Baker Mayfield and RB Nick Chubb for Cleveland. In some years, especially this year, duos on both sides of the ball have taken over the league, just based on their fit and potential in that team’s offensive or defensive scheme. Below are my top 10 rookie duos, with 2 honorable mentions that couldn’t quite make the list. They’ll be ranked from honorable mentions and then the top ten from lowest to highest. I assigned number values to each duo based on value, fit, potential, and talent, and then averaged them out to rank.
The Jets were in a horrible position even before the free agency period began. Both their offensive and defensive lines were downright horrific, and new head coach Adam Gase knew that the lack of talent and depth would only doom the Jets’ chances in the future, especially with a spark like Sam Darnold, who showed flashes of brilliance in his rookie season even with the most talent-starved team in the NFL. While one can question the Jets’ willingness to trade back, no one can question the rebuild of the Jets defensive line. Williams was a top-3 lock after his all-time great sophomore season at Alabama, where he earned Unanimous All-American honors after compiling 8.0 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss. He already is the best player on the Jets defensive line, and this was a team starving for talent after the decline of Pro Bowler Leonard Williams and the lack of production from 2018 rookie Nathan Sheperd. His versatility against the pass and the run will make the jobs of inside linebackers C.J. Mosley and Avery Williamson a lot easier, and Williams will definitely be an All-Pro in 2-3 seasons max. He will provide an impact from Day 1, as well as anchoring the Jets defensive line for the next decade. Polite may still be a project, however the potential and the talent far exceed the downside. His unbelievable first step and burst will be assets against the pass, and like Quinnen, he will also be a fixture on the Jets front-7 as their new Dwight Freeney. As Polite develops as a run defender, his maturation will once again make the lives of his other front-7 teammates much easier, especially with the disruptiveness he provides. The ideal Jets 3-4 lineup would be Leonard Williams and Nathan Sheperd at DE with Quinnen anchoring at DT. Polite and 2016 first rounder Darron Lee would start at OLB, with C.J. Mosley and Avery Williamson playing inside linebacker. While the Jets’ draft may not have been the most eye-opening, the duo of Williams and Polite will solidify two key positions on the Jets’ defensive line for years to come.
This cornerback duo may just be the most underrated rookie tandem in the NFL. Despite the Giants front office’s horrible lack of judgement on full display throughout the 2019 NFL Draft, they hit a grand slam on these two picks. At the beginning of the draft process, Baker was arguably the consensus for the best corner in this class. His unique press coverage and competitive fire are what caught my attention, along with his exceptional ball skills. The 2019 Thorpe Award winner is elite in man coverage, not giving up a single touchdown over his final two seasons at Georgia. He just challenges everything, and is a very willing tackler in the run game. So, to recap this, Baker is virtually schemeproof and excels in both off and press-man coverage, while not being a liability in the run game. He has literally no flaws, and the Giants may have just drafted their #1 corner for the next 15 years. Love, on the other hand, is just a fantastic off corner. Everything he does is extremely fluid and technically sound. Feet, arms, hips, pedal, you name it, Love is good at it. He, like Baker, made the All-American team and was a Thorpe Award finalist because of his ball skills and route anticipation. Both of these defensive backs have extremely high floors and ceilings as prospects, making them slam dunk cornerstones for the next few years. These selections also show the Giants’ willingness to move on from their previous corner tandem of the declining Janoris Jenkins and the already-traded Eli Apple. The pairing of these two corners is so perfect, because Love can just freelance in off-man coverage and Baker can be that hard-nosed, competitive press-man corner that locks down the top receiver on every opponent, similar to the Bears’ elite corner tandem of Kyle Fuller, who excels primarily in off coverage, and Prince Amukamara, who is mainly a bump and run corner. While corner wasn’t the largest priority for the Giants, considering they were just as deficient on both lines as the Jets were, they addressed a prolonging weakness and may have just cemented potentially the best corner tandem in the NFL for the next decade.
TOP 10 ROOKIE DUOS FOR 2019:
Out of all the incredible draft narratives in the AFC North, this rookie receiver tandem may be the most underrated one of them all. One of Baltimore’s main problems, ironically their greatest strength, was a substantial reliance on their rushing attack due to a lack of true wide receivers, which they have lacked since the days of Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith in their recent deep-postseason runs. Led by rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson and rookie runner Gus “The Gus Bus” Edwards, the historic Ravens rushing attack transformed from the bottom 15% of the league to the 94th percentile in the entire league over a span of 8 weeks. However, this historically efficient run-heavy offense would be Baltimore’s downfall in the playoffs, as the LA Chargers’ ability to stuff the run with 7 defensive backs on the field forced Jackson to beat them through the air, and he failed to do so due to a lack of experience and solid threats. However, Lamar’s motivation to come back from this deficit and make Baltimore’s game competent showed real potential from the future, if only he was given some better weapons. Enter the 2019 rookie receivers, and the second-best receiving tandem in the AFC North. If Baltimore’s plan was to build a 4x 100-meter relay team around Jackson, they might’ve just accomplished that. Hollywood’s past 40 time (not at the 2019 Combine or 2019 Pro Day) was clocked at 4.33 seconds, and his lack of size (5″9, 166 pounds) just makes him the perfect player to work with Lamar underneath, especially when teams stack the box against the Ravens run game. When defenses commit to stopping Lamar Jackson’s short passing game, Brown’s deep speed will be an asset for the Ravens offense, especially with all the bump and run coverage Brown will see after being such a dynamic weapon underneath. In the case of Boykin, he perfectly complements the rest of the Ravens offense. The Notre Dame WR still ran 4.42 40-yard dash, even while being 54 pounds heavier than Brown. Boykin is also 6″4, 220 pounds, and he is probably the Ravens’ largest mismatch threat in 2019. A red zone threat and an elite jump ball receiver, Boykin compensates for the lack of size in the rest of Baltimore’s offense. While it may sound sacrilegious, I do believe the Ravens could compete for the best offense in the AFC North, as long as they fully utilize their insane rushing attack while scheming their offense around the strength of these two rookie receivers.
The Panthers may have just drafted their future this year. While many scouts believed Carolina would build their offensive line in order to protect Cam Newton’s prolonging shoulder injuries from worsening, Panthers GM Marty Hurney decided to pass on highly-talented Washington State tackle Andre Dillard for Florida State edge rusher Brian Burns. Burns was regarded as such a high draft prospect because of his elite bend, insane get-off, and very explosive feet. He is also very refined in terms of technique, and is wonderful as a pursuit defender. Burns was a fantastic selection for the Panthers, as linebacker Luke Kuechly and defensive tackle Kawann Short could not have carried the Panthers defense forever. Brian Burns is a perfect fit in the Panthers 4-3 system as their franchise pass rusher alongside the aging Bruce Irvin. The 2019 first rounder will make life so much easier for Luke Kuechly and Shaq Thompson, as his fantastic run defense adds to an already top-tier run defense, and his pass rush not only strengthens depth, but also provides disruptiveness, sacks, and pressures to a defensive line whose previous best player was Mario Addison. The selection of extremely underrated Alabama edge rusher Christian Miller was fantastic, and it once again echoed Hurney’s mentality to develop the trenches and address a prolonged need. Miller is another pass rusher entering the NFL under Nick Saban’s tutelage, so the tough, hard-nosed culture that most Alabama players enter the NFL with will be an asset during practice and in the locker room. The 2019 4th-round pick is also known for an incredible work ethic, once again an asset to the Panthers front-7. Miller is a fantastic athlete period, with solid burst and fantastic hand techniques. However, his best ability by far is the way he uses pass-rush moves to get around the edge rapidly. This insane ability was on full display as Miller dominated Ole Miss, using his arm-stab moves to easily get around whatever offensive tackle was blocking him, regardless of size. The Alabama linebacker should start, but if the Panthers choose to start Bruce Irvin over him, Miller will contribute quality snaps to a fantastic rotation led by Brian Burns. Eventually Miller will start opposite Burns as the other 4-3 defensive end, and for the next few years, maybe, just maybe, they might have a chance to be the best pass-rush tandem in all of football.
The Falcons front-7 was a mess before the 2019 Draft, and I still think it is. They didn’t address it enough at all, and it may end up being their downfall in 2019. However, any Falcons fan should love the investment that GM Thomas Dimitroff made into their offensive line. Keep in mind that the Falcons’ offensive line was their weakest piece during their Super Bowl run, and that they are still one of the most talented rosters in the NFL when healthy. This team was held back by 4 things in 2018: injuries on both sides of the ball (especially defense), lack of talent on the offensive front, offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, and the lack of production from their defensive line. At the end of the 2018 season, the Falcons ended their two-year stint with Sarkisian, who weighed down one of the most powerful offenses in NFL history. He repeatedly refused to utilize the red-zone potential of one of the top 10 receivers to have ever played this game, and was blatantly unaware of situation, leading to many bad offensive playcalls, and the 2018 Divisional Round vs the Eagles had Sarkisian’s horrible playcalling on full display. Injuries prolonged the success of this team on defense, but studs like safeties Ricardo Allen and Keanu Neal along with Pro Bowl linebacker Deion Jones should be good to go for 2019. While Atlanta didn’t really invest in their defensive front this offseason, they chose to improve their offense under first-year coordinator Dirk Koetter through the trenches. The Falcons’ running game has not been the same after the departure of Kyle Shanahan in 2017, and injuries have contributed to the lack of success for the Falcons’ once-dynamic backfield. Lindstrom was one of the most versatile offensive linemen in all of college football, and his elite speed and athleticism only helps the Falcons’ right side of the offensive line, whose best players were Jamon Brown and Ty Sambrailo. If he gets plugged in at right guard on Day 1, he will instantly upgrade one of the sub-mediocre units on that team, opening up holes for Pro Bowl runner Devonta Freeman, who is in dire need of a bounce-back season. The trade-up for McGary also indicates how committed Atlanta is to cementing their trenches, which will make the lives of stars like Matt Ryan, Devonta Freeman, Julio Jones, and Calvin Ridley a lot easier. McGary and Lindstrom make a fantastic combination on the right side of Atlanta’s offensive line, and will definitely help rejuvenate an offense who can dominate the league at any time they want.
The Steelers finally found their Shazier replacement. That defense was pitiful to watch last year without the presence of a true mic linebacker and a #1 corner. Bush was worth everything that Pittsburgh traded up for. He is a fantastic athlete, and had by far the best instincts out of any player in the draft. Reading passing lanes, blitzing when required, feared tackling presence; to me, all of this screams Jaylon Smith when he came out of Notre Dame in 2016. Bush is an All-Rookie lock just because of the impact he will be for the Steelers, as a cover-and-chase middle linebacker with incredible speed and insticts. He’s just the whole package, and has everything a team desires from a rookie linebacker starting Day 1.With Pro Bowler linebacker T.J. Watt already a fixture on the Steelers 3-4 defense, Bush is their mic on Day 1. If Shazier returns from his horrific spinal injury, the Steelers may have one of the most dynamic linebacker quartets in all of football. The athleticism is just incredible, and Pittsburgh may return to its rightful reputation as a nasty, hard-nosed top-tier defense. While veteran Joe Haden is decent, he is old and isn’t a long term fixture in the Steelers secondary. Pittsburgh has tried for years to find a solid #1 corner to lock down the receivers in the AFC North. With the arrival of Odell Beckham Jr and Jarvis Landry in Cleveland, Marquise Hollywood-Brown and Miles Boykin in Baltimore, and AJ Green in Cincinnati. Pittsburgh’s lack of corner depth would doom them in the future, so Pittsburgh GM Kevin Colbert got fantastic value at corner with Layne, who should have gone a whole round earlier. Layne may be undersized (as is Bush), however his height and arm length are very valuable traits in a #1 corner. He has fantastic ball skills, quick decisiveness to jump routes, and above-average hip fluidity. Layne may not be an All-Rookie lock due to the overwhelming amount of #1 corners in this class, but he is a high-floor/high-ceiling prospect with All-Pro upside. These two selections represent the influx of top-tier defensive players into Pittsburgh, and this transformation may well keep them alive in the raging inferno of the AFC North.
The Browns’ 2019 offseason roller coaster continues. Cleveland, after being the joke of the NFL for the past decade, may have just added finishing touches to their team with this duo. Greedy Williams was the most athletic corner in all of college football before the draft. An All-American after his second year at LSU, Williams showcased lockdown coverage skills and fantastic ball skills as every receiver practically ran dry against him. He made All-SEC First-Team in both seasons, and led his conference in interceptions and passes defended his freshman season. Williams’s stats may have dipped his sophomore year, however there was significant substance around most that he would be a top-15 pick. His 4.38 40-yard dash further illustrated his explosiveness, and re-affirmed his status as one of the best corners in this defense-heavy class. Even though Williams’ incredible athleticism was fully highlighted on tape, tackling issues dropped him all the way to Round 2. The Browns had a lack of picks because of the trade for Giants All-Pro receiver Odell Beckham Jr, however GM John Dorsey saw the All-Pro talent and traded up for Williams in the mid-second round. Williams now joins a cornerback group that consists of 2018 rookie Pro Bowler Denzel Ward, free agents T.J. Carrie and Phillip Gaines, and former Chiefs starter Eric Murray. Redwine, drafted in the 4th round out of the U, can easily take over the free safety role for Cleveland as a rookie. He possesses wonderful speed between the hashes, is a very polished tackler, and can read quarterbacks like an All-Pro. His best attribute, however, is his poise. Redwine is one of the most controlled players in this entire class, and does not panic as he tries to track deep balls in the air, and this could lead to a lot of interceptions for the Browns, even from Day 1. He is by far the best free safety on Cleveland’s roster, and when preseason hits, Redwine will have done enough to dislodge Morgan Burnett as the starter for the free safety spot for the 2019 season. With Williams and Redwine starting in the secondary, Cleveland will have officially finished their rebuild. Improved secondary play will make the job of stalwart defensive linemen Myles Garrett, Olivier Vernon, and Sheldon Richardson a lot easier as they rush passers in the AFC North, arguably the strongest division in the AFC. With a secondary entirely based off speed, this duo may very well make the All-Rookie team, and maybe, just maybe, provide the final hoist to propel the Browns to their desired promiseland.
The Colts just keep getting better. With an appearance in the Divisional Round in 2019 and the league lead in cap space, it’s nowhere but up for Indianapolis. GM Chris Ballard and HC Frank Reich have done an exceptional job rebuilding the Colts’ roster, and with the defensive duo that they just selected, Indy might as well have the best defense in their division, if the AFC South wasn’t already a defensive powerhouse. Rock Ya-Sin was a projected first-round pick in 2019. He rose to the top 5 for cornerback prospect rankings as the draft approached, and the Colts obtained value from their trades with Washington and Cleveland, where they obtained two 2020 2nd-round picks and one 5th-round pick. The Colts got their corner 8 picks later from the trade with Washington, and he’s a perfect fit for their system. Defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus and zone coverage are best friends, and Ya-Sin is just a perfect fit in any zone scheme as an off-corner. He presents value against the run, possesses unique toughness, and has excellent feet to drive on passes, an asset for any zone corner. This is their #1 corner for the next decade, and his arm length will present problems for the best receiver on any team. I’ll admit I had never heard of Bobby Okereke until I was reading through draft picks trying to form the best duos for some teams, but in hindsight, the dude should’ve been a first-round pick. The tape just screams “Reuben Foster”, because the Stanford linebacker hits like a missile and would be a blessing for any front-7. A lot of people compared Okereke to current Colts All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard, however the toughness and the sideline-to-sideline speed make him a Day 1 starter next to Leonard, and would present the Colts with a strong group of linebackers for the near future. Okereke is also a very high-IQ player, who makes those scrappy plays against the run but harasses passing lanes. He and Ya-Sin are easily startable from Day-1, and it would be no surprise if both make All-Rookie. While this duo doesn’t cement the rebuild of the Colts defense, it gives Indy immediate blue-chip players to upstart their resurgence into win-now mode.
If any team rebuilt their culture overnight, it was the 2019 Green Bay Packers. Gone are the days where Aaron Rodgers was putting a 53-man roster on his back through the way to multiple conference championships and 1 Super Bowl. Gone are the days where dreadful cornerback play would doom the Packers in late playoff games. Gone are the days where Mike McCarthy’s outright refusal to run the ball would throw Aaron Rodgers into the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. Under new head coach Matt LaFleur, Green Bay’s entire identity has transformed to a style of play they’ve never had for years: dominating, game-wrecking defense. One of former head coach Mike McCarthy’s best decisions was the selection of Louisville corner Jaire Alexander in the first round, who showed All-Pro potential in his first season. LaFleur’s signings of edge rushers Preston and Za’Darius Smith fill two very important roles at outside linebacker in Green Bay’s 3-4 system. Adrian Amos Jr also fills a void at strong safety, and will definitely help the trio (Jaire Alexander, Josh Jackson, Kevin King) of Packers corners for the future. Blake Martinez is one of the best tackling linebackers in this league, and he’ll be the leader of that potentially-dangerous front-7 in 2019. The addition of Rashan Gary is perfect, because he lines up across Mike Daniels at 3-4 DE next to rising star Kenny Clark. While he is developmental, the presence of elite defensive talent next to him will allow Gary to do what he does best; be one of the most disruptive forces in league from Day 1. In my article about the San Francisco 49ers, I had this kid going 2nd overall to the 49ers, only because his development will be much faster due to the presence of elite talent. The Packers are a much better fit for Gary, because unlike San Francisco, they have a fantastic secondary that will help the Michigan star develop into the monster he was drafted to be. And speaking of the Packers secondary, they may have just come out of this class with a potential Hall-of-Famer. Darnell Savage Jr was one of the fastest players in this class, and he fits everything that the Packers want in their dream free safety for the future. He’s incredibly instinctive, he’s wonderful in coverage, and has the speed to make up a lot of ground in getting to each of the hashes, and just that ability made Bears safety Eddie Jackson a fixture in one of the most legendary defenses of all time this past season. Savage is also not afraid to hit like a truck, a trait valued in a tone-setter of any defense, and the former Terrapin can definitely take on that role, even as a rookie. Overall, the Packers just added two final pieces to cap off a defensive overhaul, and this defense may just surprise people in 2019.
The Chargers’ Super Bowl hopes just got better. Many expected the Chargers to make a deep playoff run in 2018 itself, labeling them as darkhorse Super Bowl contenders. With such young talent in the secondary in Casey Hayward Jr, Derwin James, and Desmond King, two of which made First-Team All-Pro in 2018, and the other an already established top-3 player at his own position, offensive firepower with a top 6 runner and a Hall-of-Fame QB, their predictions weren’t wrong philosophically. However, running Cover 3 for the whole game with 7 defensive backs on the field against the greatest quarterback of all time may not have been a good idea, a lesson the Chargers had to learn the hard way. However, this team isn’t going anywhere. Philip Rivers has a few playoff runs left in him, and the team around him is still stacked with talent almost everywhere. This team had very few things to address before the 2019 offseason, and they definitely took advantage of talent in this draft. Jerry Tillery was one of the most dominating defensive linemen in all of college football, with or without his shoulder injury. Tillery has wonderful upside, and is nothing but an asset to a team desperate for interior disruptiveness. He’s the starting 3-technique defensive tackle for the Chargers from Day 1, with insane lateral agility and downright scary upper-body strength. If he’s rushing inside and is coming with momentum, it’s over for offensive lines. Tillery is a bullet train, and the Chargers hit a home run on this pick, as he was arguably the best player available at 28th overall (except maybe a trade for Josh Rosen). Adderley, however, may end up being the biggest steal of this entire draft class. He’s starting for this defense from Day 1, confirmed by the release of Jahleel Addae. Just like Savage, Adderley is never afraid to hit, and his game speed is absolutely insane for any safety. He’s playing alongside hybrid rookie All-Pro safety Derwin James, who is the heart and soul of that defense. Adderley complements everything that James doesn’t have. While James plays in the box, Adderley can play 10-15 yards off the line of scrimmage and track down deep balls (which James can also do at an elite level). The Delaware product also provides a spark on special teams and can be another version of Tyreek Hill, with the speed and kick return ability he has. Overall, the Chargers completely crushed the first two rounds of this class, and I expect nothing except for an AFC Championship berth and a win in the hotly-contested AFC West.
No franchise needed more saving than the Washington Redskins. One of the most injury-prone teams in the league, this team lost their veteran quarterback midseason to a potentially career-ending leg injury. Near the end of this season, Washington was one of the most injured teams in football, not to mention a lack of quality depth at multiple skill positions, including receiver and running back. Even though GM Bruce Allen’s influx of the Alabama Crimson Tide culture (DE Jonathan Allen, DT Da’Ron Payne, MLB Reuben Foster, S Landon Collins) would inspire a compact locker room dynamic and work ethic in Washington with the winning mentality, this team would not go anywhere without offensive aid, and their future was in clear jeopardy before this draft. But boy, did Washington catch a break. While Dwayne Haskins didn’t fit the mold for a stereotypical quarterback (athletic, mobile), he was easily a clear-cut top 10 pick in this class, despite the overwhelming talent on defense. In his final year at Ohio State, Haskins’s quick passing game and playmaking ability resulted in the lead for passing yards (4,831) and touchdowns (50). He reminds me of Saints QB Drew Brees and 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo, due to his incredible accuracy on short, quick passes and his presence inside the pocket. Haskins is also a passer that relies on quick passing completion in order to develop a rhythm, allowing for more deep ball opportunities in any vertical passing scheme. He is unquestionably the future of this franchise, and the fact that Washington was lucky enough to snag him without trading up for any of the other high boom-or-bust prospects at quarterback really shows the luckiness of this situation. Washington also had a similar dilemma at the receiver position, with free agent wide receivers Brian Quick and Paul Richardson heavily underperforming, along with former 2016-first round pick Josh Doctson’s time in Washington coming to an end. Allen already helped Haskins in the 3rd round when reuniting him with former teammate Terry McLaurin, however the Kelvin Harmon selection may be the second-most impactful for this organization after Haskins himself. Many expected Harmon to go within the top 2 rounds, being a big-bodied threat with insane hands. To scoop up a big body to complement all of the speed on that Redskins offense in the 6th round was just an incredible value, due to his reputation as a safety blanket for any developing quarterback. His physicality and aggressive playstyle only enhances that role. This role essentially guarantees production and a new red-zone threat to go along with the Redskins’ powerful rushing attack in 2019. All in all, this was a make-or-break draft for Washington, and because of the potential of their new quarterback and his on-the-field chemistry with receivers, this team may have just rescued the fate of their franchise.
The Air Raid system will dominate the NFL. The 2018 Chiefs overused this offense this past season, and their record-shattering offense compared with some of the greatest offenses to have ever played this game, like the 2007 New England Patriots, the 2013 Denver Broncos, and the 2016 Atlanta Falcons. Even though Chiefs head coach Andy Reid created an MVP quarterback out of Patrick Mahomes with 50 passing touchdowns (3rd-most in NFL history), there is speculation that Cardinals rookie head coach Kliff Kingsbury can only do better. The former Texas Tech head coach immersed himself in this system and created so many talented NFL-ready quarterbacks (Patrick Mahomes, Johnny Manziel), and there’s no doubt that he will incorporate the philosophical pillars of this devastating offensive scheme into Arizona’s rebuild. The Kyler Murray pick was one of the most speculated picks in recent memory, especially with Cardinals GM Steve Keim trading up for UCLA QB Josh Rosen in 2018. Murray, despite his lack of size, possesses incredible mobility and unique arm strength better than most quarterback prospects to enter the league over the last 4 or 5 years. Kingsbury had seen enough of Murray in the 2018 season, and a viral video of him during his time with Texas A&M declaring that he’d select the future Heisman Trophy winner number one overall resurfaced over social media. Coincidentally, Kingsbury was hired by the team with the number one overall pick, and despite much speculation and concern, took Murray with the first pick. Murray will end up being the lifesaver of this franchise, and his familiarity with the system Kingsbury runs will be a guarantee for immense production in 2019. Murray was the most electric player in all of college football under Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley, who ran the exact same system as Kingsbury still does to this day. Kyler’s lack of mobility also makes up for a poor offensive line as well, which was and still is another glaring issue for this team down the road. Once again, he will light up the NFC West on fire from Day 1, and while the rest of the Cardinals roster probably will hold him back, Murray will be a unanimous pick for Offensive Rookie of the Year by the time December comes around. Kingsbury and Keim definitely did their best to help Murray out, drafting receivers Andy Isabella and Keesean Johnson in the 2nd and 6th round respectively, while shoring up the defense with Boston College defensive end Zach Allen in the 3rd round and Washington corner Byron Murphy in Round 2. However, the most underhyped and potentially impactful selection that no one is talking about is Keim and Kingsbury’s 4th round selection: wide receiver Hakeem Butler from Iowa State. Frame-wise, Butler is an incredible fit for the Arizona Cardinals. Contrary to the shorter, faster receivers on the Cardinals roster (Isabella), Butler has an extraordinary frame of 6 feet, 5 inches, similar to Hall-of-Fame receiver Calvin Johnson. Butler also ran a 4.48 40-yard dash at the combine, proving once again that he can provide the Cardinals with a deadly mix of size and speed. His frame also makes him a wonderful red zone target for this system, and the Cardinals offense should thrive with him as their big body. He will lead the team in receiving in his first year, and may even become Murray’s favorite target only because of his frame and the physicality with which he runs his routes. Overall, these two picks will definitely provide a franchise-saving resurgence to a team lacking offensive firepower for the last 3-4 years.