NFL Draft Winners/Losers (2019 Fantasy Football)
With the NFL Draft completely wrapped up and the picks fresh in our minds, now is the perfect time for some reflection. Dynasty rookie rankings and discussions popped up on Twitter, Slack, and group chats almost instantly throughout the draft process, and fantasy implications of the picks made in seven rounds will be debated until opening kickoff of the regular season. Fantasy football employs primarily skill position players, so while talking about those players is certainly exciting, we fantasy football junkies can sometimes overlook the rest of the draft as a whole. Some teams went very light on offense, some loaded up on defensive talent, and others made improvements on both sides of the ball. Whatever the case, there were some teams who made some major upgrades and those who left us scratching our heads in disbelief (looking at you Dave Gettleman). Here are five teams who came out of the 2019 NFL Draft as winners and five who came away as losers.
The Jags came out of this draft with some major upgrades on both sides of the ball. Though they didn’t need another pass rusher inside the top-ten picks, they grabbed a phenomenal player in Josh Allen at No. 7 to add to what is now one of the fiercest defensive lines in the NFL. Jacksonville was able to get Jawaan Taylor with its first pick in the second round after eyeing the talented lineman as a potential first rounder. Taylor slipping that far was a stroke of great fortune for the Jags, and he’ll be needed to protect new franchise QB Nick Foles. Jacksonville didn’t select any WRs in this draft, but they did snag a TE in Oliver with great athletic abilities and strong hands. Armstead in the fifth round is a quality depth add behind Leonard Fournette, especially after Carlos Hyde and T.J. Yeldon hit the road in the offseason.
NEW YORK JETS
Quinnen Williams and Jachai Polite on the defensive line? Yes, please. This wasn’t a bad defense before, but it’s downright nasty now. Williams may be the best player in this year’s draft, and Polite is no slouch either. Those were the first two picks, but the Jets were just getting started. New York spent its next two picks addressing blocking with Edoga on the line and Wesco at the TE spot. Wesco could be a diamond in the rough with his after-the-catch abilities and great blocking. He fills a need at TE in what is one of the worst groups at the position in the NFL. The Jets upgraded in a big way on defense and got some protection for Sam Darnold and Le’Veon Bell. Home run.
The Colts traded back to load up on picks and made some big upgrades, doing all their damage in the second Round. Rock Ya-Sin is easily a first-round talent, but the Colts snagged him at the top of the second round. Banogu will be a great addition to the Colts’ defensive line which was surprisingly solid last season. Parris Campbell is a huge grab as he’ll add more depth and a great slot presence for Andrew Luck, who already has T.Y. Hilton and Devin Funchess. This was a great draft for the Colts.
The Seahawks turned one first-round pick and Frank Clark into some extra picks in the draft and addressed some roster needs. After forking over $140M to Russell Wilson, the team needed some cheap playmakers and depth adds. Mission accomplished, Seattle. The first two picks of Collier and Blair were selected to be the replacements for Frank Clark and Earl Thomas. They may not have the elite talent or ceiling that Clark and Thomas did, but they’re solid pieces to a rebuilding defense. D.K. Metcalf fills a huge need at receiver with sad news that Doug Baldwin may never play football again. Metcalf is still raw in his route running, but he’s a huge physical specimen and an athletic freak who should come in right away as a favorite target of Russell Wilson. Haynes at the back of the fourth round is a great value add, as he can contribute on an offensive line that still needs work and needs to be better at protecting the franchise QB.
The Titans didn’t reach for a receiver in the first round and ended up with arguably the best in the class when they selected A.J. Brown at No. 51. He and Corey Davis will pair well together, and Brown’s crisp route-running will be much appreciated by the often inaccurate Marcus Mariota. Simmons at No. 19 was a great addition from a purely talent standpoint. He has a documented incident of domestic abuse and tore his ACL just two months before the draft. His character and health caused him to fall to 19, but he’s a top-10 talent who the Titans can develop and unleash on Nick Foles, DeShaun Watson, and Andrew Luck when he’s ready to play again.
NEW YORK GIANTS
Just when it seemed like Dave Gettleman couldn’t make things worse, the Giants took Daniel Jones with the No. 6 overall pick. That was easily the biggest reach of the draft, and the Giants passed on Dwayne Haskins — one of the two best quarterbacks in this class. Jones likely would have been there at No. 17, and the G-Men could have wound up with Josh Allen (or another quality defensive talent) and Jones. It’s a disastrous situation in New York. The trade up for Baker back into the first round was a waste of picks when he (or another comparable corner) would have likely been there in the second round. The rest of the draft outside of the first round wasn’t bad for the Giants, and Ximines at the end of the third round was an excellent value. Missing so badly so early on caused the Giants to be the biggest losers of the draft.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
I love Nick Bosa, but the two picks taken after him? Meh. Taking Samuel at 36 was a huge reach with so much talent still available. Hurd at 67 feels like a reach too, no matter how much raw talent he has. The Niners defied all conventional wisdom with a fourth-round punter selection to make me really wonder what the plan in the Bay is. The Bosa pick is a slam dunk, but the adulation ends there, unfortunately.
Kyler Murray (QB) Rd. 1, pick No.1
Byron Murphy (CB) Rd. 2, pick No. 33
Andy Isabella (WR) Rd. 2, pick No. 62
Hakeem Butler (WR) Rd. 4, pick No. 103
Deionte Thompson (S) Rd. 5, pick No. 139
Selecting Kyler Murray at No. 1 after taking Josh Rosen at No. 10 last year wasn’t the greatest move, and Arizona would have been better served trading back to fill multiple holes in the lineup or taking Nick Bosa or Quinnen Williams. That’s the direction the team decided to go in, though, and they made some questionable moves after the first pick. The Cards failed to select an offensive lineman until the sixth round, failing to get much-needed protection for Murray. The Butler and Thompson picks so late in the draft were huge steals, but the draft as a whole wasn’t great. Arizona waited too long to trade Josh Rosen and caused his value to depreciate, further making me question Steve Keim’s managerial acumen.
Not happy with this draft — especially the first round. The Raiders traded transformational talent Khalil Mack and ultra-talented receiver Amari Cooper last season and turned them into Ferrell, Jacobs, and Abram. That’s a bit underwhelming considering all the hype around the three-pick first round and the backlash Jon Gruden faced for those trades. There weren’t enough huge upside and splash players, as better options were on the board at No. 4 — Ed Oliver or Josh Allen, for example. Abram and Mullen were reaches for the secondary. This whole Raiders draft fell very flat for me, and Oakland may be even bigger losers than the Giants given the expectations placed on the team.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
Green Bay decided to load up on defense early once again, but the Gary pick felt like a major reach. He carries some question marks regarding health and consistency, and there was so much talent left on the board here in Christian Wilkins, Brian Burns, Montez Sweat, and Jerry Tillery. Savage is a talented safety who will improve the secondary, but there were a lot of great safeties available late into the second round, and his pick felt like a reach too. Green Bay could have gone offensive line early or selected a safer option on the defensive line. I love the Sternberger pickup in Round 3, and the Packers didn’t have to reach for Noah Fant or T.J. Hockenson too early to get their next great TE. Still, they failed to draft an elite rookie WR for Aaron Rodgers, and he’ll likely be throwing passes to Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison as his two starting wideouts. Green Bay made some solid offseason moves to improve the defense, and they didn’t need to reach in the first round, especially with needs on offense that could have been addressed first. It’s a swing and a miss in Title Town.