I have to admit that I have always been a bit obsessed with NFL roster building. Something about how team’s go about accumulating talent and the endless possibilities just fascinates me. One thing that has always separated the team’s that consistently win from those who don’t is how the Evaluators handle the draft after the first round. With that in mind, let’s take a look at who won Friday night and who whiffed on their opportunities.
Winner: Houston Texans
Houston needed a win today. After the Philadelphia Eagles took Andre Dillard from then in round one they swerved to one of the bigger projects of the draft in Tytus Howard. As I said yesterday.
23. Houston Texans - Tytus Howard - OFFENSIVE LINE Howard is one of those guys you take in the first round because you want that fifth year option if he pans out. You’re not going to know if he’ll get there until his second or even third training camp because he has so far to go. For that reason I had him as a Day 3 option for Denver, only moving him up to 2 because there was no way he’d slide that far. Deshaun Watson was sacked by everyone last year. Howard doesn’t necessarily help that issue in 2019. I suspect Houston wanted Dillard and swerved when Philly sniped their guy.
Joe’s Grade: C
Max Scharping is another one of those guys who will be thrown into the fire early. He’s making a big jump from Northern Illinois to the league, but what will help is that he’s been an exceptional player at NIU for his career. With Houston’s other second round pick they grabbed Lonnie Johnson who should help them start the rebuild of their secondary. Jonathan Joseph is 35 years old. Kareem Jackson’s a Bronco. Bradley Roby is Bradley Roby.
Then late in the 3rd the Texans came up with my sleeper tight end. The word on Kahale Warring is that he’s raw because he was late to football. That’s true, but this last year he really blew up in a very conservative offense. His upside is someone like Todd Heap at his peak. That’ll help Watson when he’s running for his life.
Loser: Cincinnati Bengals
It’s not often I hate a team’s draft when they moved down and collected a ton of capital, but you got to hit the picks. Cinci grabbed Drew Sample who looks like he’ll be the second best blocking tight end in this class. He is completely unproven as a receiver. He is a better athlete than he’s been given credit for, but most had him as a Day 3 value. This seems like a pretty big reach.
Then in the 3rd round the Bengals went out and grabbed Germaine Pratt. Down the road that pick could really work out for them as Pratt brings a lot of speed to a defense that needs it. As a rookie he’s going to have a really tough time with the physicality of the game because he needs a lot of work at dealing with blocks. I had him as a 4th round value.
Winner: Philadelphia Eagles
I’m one of those people that loved J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. He’s an acrobat with the ball in the air and is one of the best contested catch receivers in the league. On the surface it doesn’t look like Philly needs more receivers with Desean Jackosn, Alshon Jeffery, and Nelson Agholor locked up but any and all could be gone next year. JJAW means Carson Wentz will continue to have one of the better supporting casts moving forward, regardless.
Loser: Seattle Seahawks
I have a friend who considered Marquise Blair the best Safety in this class. He is versatile and brings a very physical play style to the league. I still had him as a Day 3 guy. That’s ironic because I had L.J. Collier down there too. Cody Barton too.
I did like one pick of theirs. I can’t confirm it, but there were rumors circulating about D.K. Metcalf and PED use. Maybe that’s why he slid. Regardless if he can stay on the field he could help Russell Wilson in a big way... if only the Schotty offense wasn’t run 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.
Winner: Indianapolis Colts
Chris Ballard has quickly become my favorite General Manager in the league. He’s quietly done the perfect thing to rebuild the talent base around Andrew Luck very quickly, capitalizing on another team chasing a franchise QB and then manuevering down whenever someone is looking to move up for their favorite guys. Because of that the Colts are starting to look like one of the most talented young teams in the league.
Rock Ya-Sin needs some time to develop but gives them a guy who should be able to handle the DeAndre Hopkins types in the AFC South. Parris Campbell is the kind of gadget player Percy Harvin was, but I love him. He’ll need to refine his route running after spending his collegiate career in the Urban Meyer offense, but Indy is one of those teams that will find ways to get him the ball as they help him learn to play receiver at the NFL level. If they’re as patient with him as I expect, they’ll get a guy who looks like a running back with the ball in his hands, but also has the kind of vertical speed to take the top off the defense.
I was lower on Ben Banogu and Bobby Okereke than Ballard was, but can see why they’d take them both where they did. Both have high ceilings. Banogu should grow into a strong edge rusher who can also play in space when called upon. Okereke is a rangy, long backer who does a good job with his assignments but could improve against blocks and in coverage.
Loser: Detroit Lions
Some people were really high on Jahani Tavai and I get it. He has an exciting game. I had Will Harris as a mid Day 3 prospect. I think once again that the Lions had bigger needs at corner, and along both lines.
Winner: Los Angeles Chargers
Nasir Adderley’s ceiling is a poor man’s Earl Thomas and his floor is decent corner. He was a guy who most pegged for the first round for the longest time, so the value seems really good. Then you consider how pairing him with Derwin James with Tillery, Bosa, and Ingram in front of him is pretty dang scary. The Gus Bradley defense has no excuses this year.
Trey Pipkins was a bit rich in the late third to me, as I had him for Day 3. That said his ceiling is really high and the Chargers badly need a long term plan for their offensive line. He shouldn’t play this year if LA is serious about protecting Rivers though.
Loser: Jacksonville Jaguars
This is not meant as an indictment to Jawan Taylor, who was great value so long as his knee checks out.
The first player not on the Thor 500 has been taken.— Thor Nystrom (@thorku) April 27, 2019
Congrats Quincy! And congrats Jacksonville! pic.twitter.com/edLa1o90C4
Winner: Kansas City Chiefs
Simply put, this is only based on the picks as I think everything outside of the Draft was a huge loss for KC. I can’t ding them for Mecole Hardman and Juan Thornhill though.
Hardman will be remembered as the Tyreek Hill replacement but gives Patrick Mahomes a stupidly fast blink and he’s gone burner. He’ll need to improve at his route running, but can step in day 1 as the closest thing this draft had to Devin Hester.
Where Reid really took the thing home is Juan Thornhill. I had him as my third safety on the board but he was th_is close to Darnell Savage who went in the first. He’s an exceptional athlete and should grow into a great free safety for them. That will free up the Honey Badger to play in the intermediate zone, the slot, etc.
Later in the third round the Chiefs came away with Khalen Saunders. He’s a dancing bear. A Nose tackle who can do back flips at 320 lbs. A disruptive wardaddy.
Loser: New York Jets
The Adam Gase era kicked off with Quinnen Williams, a pick that anyone could have made without trouble. Beyond that it’s been a bit of a head scratcher.
Chuma Edoga is an athletic mover who could develop into a stud offensive lineman, and the Jets need help protecting Sam Darnold. I had him lower than New York did because he didn’t do great in interviews and there was a lot of talk coming out of USC that he was lazy and not a great locker room guy. Maybe Edoga’s old QB vouched for him. That would help alleviate some of the concern. Here’s the thing, he wasn’t even the scariest pick.
If you do nothing but watch the 2018 tape Jachai Polite was a great pick. If you pay attention to the everything else it’s one of the riskiest picks in recent memory (since Christian Hackenberg, maybe?)
I wouldn’t have touched him.
Winner: Super Bowl teams
Loser: Josh Rosen
Rosen got drafted by a dumpster fire franchise that was favored for the first overall pick last year. He just got traded to a team in total rebuild mode that looks favored for the first overall pick this year.
It’s a bit complicated: Arizona Cardinals
I loved the Byron Murphy selection so this has nothing to do with that, but let’s be honest. If you’re picking 33rd in the second you better get a first round slider.
Then they grabbed Andy Isabella with the pick they got in the Josh Rosen trade. I love him as a choice for them. He’s a slot machine in the Wes Welker (with more speed) mold. Murray gets a guy who can bail him out when he has to run around behind that sieve of an offensive line.
Zach Allen was a great pick. I saw him as baby Derek Wolfe so he makes a ton of sense in the Vance Joseph defense. He’ll need to get stronger, but gives the D a standout 5 technique on base downs and a pass rusher in nickel personnel from the 5 or 2i.
There’s one thing that puts a big damper on their great picks. The way Steve Keim handled the Josh Rosen process was baffling, to say the least.
It's actually the Cardinals getting the 2020 fifth-round pick, not giving it up. Which makes this ... still an incredibly bad deal for the Cardinals.— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) April 27, 2019
Justin Layne is a strong scheme fit and some had him as high as the first round. I didn’t look too closely because I didn’t see him as a good fit for the Fangio D, but for Keith Butler and alongside Devin Bush, I like the upside.
I wouldn’t have even considered Dionate Johnson until the middle of Day 3, but at some point you can’t doubt Kevin Colbert with receivers.
In selecting WR Diontae Johnson, a reminder that the Steelers are the NFL's best WR-drafting team in the NFL the last 10 years https://t.co/tgsGj75CrO— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) April 27, 2019
Winner Denver Broncos
I mocked Dre’Mont Jones to the Broncos at 52 in my Day 2 Mock. Fangio is one of those guys who believes interior pressure is really, really important and this pick will help generate more of that. Jones stepped up when Nick Bosa got hurt last year and will give the defense a stud gap shooter in nickel personnel. He isn’t necessarily a perfect fit in the base run defense as he isn’t a true 5 technique, but the truth is the 2019 NFL is a nickel league. He’ll play. A lot.
If you read my Day 2 Mock draft I had Dalton Risner falling to Denver. It’s truly a match made in heaven. Risner has started his entire career at Kansas State so he brings loads of experience with him to the NFL. He’s a strong pass blocker and a perfect fit for the outside zone scheme that Rich Scangarello is installing this year. I had doubts he’d slide past the Texans at 23 because he’s so versatile. Glad he did. Great pick.
If you read my Day 1 prediction I had the Broncos Locked in. The rumors have circulated for months and in many ways I believe Elway sees himself in the Missouri tiger. Because the word has been out since November I’ve watched more tape on Drew Lock than any other player in this draft class. I watched his tape 3 times before I wrote my GIF Horse on him.
I believe Lock’s ceiling is someone like a Matthew Stafford level of player, a fringe top 10 quarterback who’s good enough to win if the supporting cast isn’t horrid. If Lock can reach that level of play, the Broncos are probably playoff contenders most years with a Fangio defense to bail him out on the worst days.
A. I think Drew Lock is going to be the Broncos selection at 10th overall.
B. I think he’s an exceptional fit in what I believe Scangarello offense is going to look like.
C. He still scares the hell out of me.
My biggest concern with Lock is that he’ll be rushed into action too soon. Media and fan pressure will be immense from the minute Elway calls him on April 25th. The PR team will sell us on Joe Flacco as the starter, but it’s not as if Lamar Jackson didn’t just supplant him in Baltimore. I strongly believe that the Missouri Tiger needs a redshirt year to reach his ceiling. Rushed into action he’ll resort to survival tactics, and many of the crippling inconsistencies you see in his college tape will linger into his pro career.
If he has the time to truly iron out his issues, I think he has a franchise arm. The good plays are hard to ignore, but they don’t erase the bad ones.
At 42, you can not pass on him. I was a bit frustrated on Twitch by the trade up to get him if only because the move leaves Denver with limited picks to address all their needs this year. In the end that hardly matters if Lock develops into a franchise QB. He was the best player on my board by a long shot and as a 2nd round pick the investment is not nearly as high. If he busted as hard as Paxton Lynch this or next year there’s nothing preventing Elway from pivoting to Justin Herbert or Trevor Lawrence.
My only fear you is Broncos Country. I mean this in the best possible way, of course. As fans we’re all want the next franchise quarterback. What I truly believe Drew Lock needs though, is to sit and learn behind Joe Flacco this year. He needs time away from the bullets flying to hammer out his mechanics. If Rich Scangarello can do that for him, Lock’s incredibly talented arm will shine like no one we’ve seen this side of the 2000’s. If Lock is forced into action too soon I think he’ll turn into Jay Cutler 2.0 on the field. The high’s will be Breaking Bad-esque but the lows will leave you wanting to pull your hair out.
There is no doubt the risk this far down the board was too good to pass on. A franchise quarterback covers a lot of sins. Finger’s crossed he can figure it all out.