NFL Draft 2019 – My Favorite Picks by Round
Despite the fact that the 2019 NFL Draft has come to an end I continue to find myself breaking down every teams’ draft class. Every pick and every round and I couldn’t help but formulate my “Favorite Picks” by Round. Which I will now share with you… Feel free to comment and share your favorite picks and compare them to mine.
BUFFALO BILLS – 9TH OVERALL PICK – ED OLIVER – HOUSTON
With the loss of Kyle Williams to retirement, the Buffalo Bills roster had a huge hole in the middle of their defense. Looking at the depth chart in the off-season there were names like Harrison Phillips, Jordan Phillips, and Star Lotulelei as defensive tackles, but what was missing was a guy that can penetrate and disrupt up front. Although some draft analysts mysteriously wondered what would be the best role for Oliver at the next level, it was unequivocally clear to me that Oliver would serve best as a three-technique where he can one-gap on his way to the backfield and quarterback. At the University of Houston, Oliver was asked to play out of position constantly (nose tackle/defensive end) which gave some folks doubt about how he would fit on an NFL defensive line. Oliver uses his elite athleticism, quickness, and high effort to penetrate pass offensive linemen and make plays from sideline-to-sideline. There were talks before the draft that Oliver would be a Top 5 pick but the Bills stayed at 9 and got one of the biggest steals in the 1st round. Oliver is one of the top talents in the draft with an incredible ceiling. The Bills defense is a lot better with Ed Oliver bolstering their front four.
Notables for “Favorite Pick” in Round 1 – LB Devin Bush Pittsburgh Steelers; OT Jonah Williams Cincinnati Bengals; EDGE Brian Burns Carolina Panthers; OL Garrett Bradbury Minnesota Vikings; OT Andre Dillard Philadelphia Eagles
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS – 36TH OVERALL PICK – DEEBO SAMUEL – SOUTH CAROLINA
The 49ers had many needs on the defensive side of the ball entering the NFL Draft. They addressed their biggest one in the 1st round by selecting Nick Bosa to pair with Dee Ford who they traded for in the off-season (for a 2020 2nd round pick). While they still had many holes to fill on defense, the biggest need for the 49ers on the offensive side of the ball was acquiring a number one receiver. The Niners have a solid offensive line, a plethora of running backs, and one of the best tight ends in football but they were missing a go-to wide receiver. Enter Deebo who’s my WR2 in the 2019 NFL Draft class. Samuel is a dynamic weapon that plays with top notch intensity and separates easily from defensive backs due to his route running. He’s a yards after the catch beast that should shine under the tutelage of Kyle Shanahan’s system that designs plays to get their playmaker the ball in space. Injuries are the only concern with Samuel, if he can stay on the field, this selection will go a long way into getting the Niners back in the playoffs.
Notables for “Favorite Pick” in Round 2 – OT Jawaan Taylor Jacksonville Jaguars; OL Cody Ford Buffalo Bills; OL Dalton Risner Denver Broncos; OL Erik McCoy New Orleans Saints; DT Trysten Hill Dallas Cowboys; S Nasir Adderley Los Angeles Chargers
CHICAGO BEARS – 73RD OVERALL PICK – DAVID MONTGOMERY – IOWA STATE
While evaluating college prospects you’ll fall in love with what players can potentially bring to a football team from a skill-set standpoint, but often times the team/coaching staff that drafts that player is pivotal in determining if a player will thrive in the NFL. So when my RB1 David Montgomery was drafted by the Bears, it excited me thinking of how well he fits in Matt Nagy’s system. Nagy is an Andy Reid disciple that mirrors a lot of the same formations and philosophies of his former boss. Reid does have an issue at times getting his backs enough touches but when he commits to get his running back(s) involved it is done beautifully. Montgomery has the skill-set to play on all three downs, catch the football effectively out of the backfield, and run hard inside alluding tacklers with his elite change of direction ability. Think Kareem Hunt like ability. Nagy has a good problem in Chicago as he has many weapons to get the ball too. Tarik Cohen will still be a factor for the Bears but adding Montgomery to pair with him makes the Bears 1-2 punch in the backfield presents a very scary predicament for NFL defenses.
Notables for “Favorite Pick” in Round 3 – EDGE Jachai Polite New York Jets; RB Devin Singletary Buffalo Bills; TE Jace Sternberger Green Bay Packers; EDGE Chase Winovich New England Patriots; EDGE Oshane Ximines New York Giants
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS – 105TH OVERALL PICK – CHAUNCEY GARDNER-JOHNSON – FLORIDA
One of the biggest fallers in the 2019 NFL Draft, Gardner-Johnson might be a blessing in disguise as he gets to play for a football team that’s ready to compete for a Super Bowl. Not only did they scoop up a steal in Gardner-Johnson in the 4th round but the Saints also drafted a notable “favorite pick” of mine Erik McCoy in the 2nd round. The Saints continue to draft well and as of right now are a favorite to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LIV in Miami. Back to Gardner-Johnson, I’m hearing that his fall was in large part due to bad interviews and meetings with NFL teams but on the field he is outstanding. In 2017 he predominately played deep safety for the Florida Gators and showed nice ball skills and closing ability but his play was inconsistent due to bad tackling technique resulting in a lot of missed tackles. He cleaned that up in 2018 while also changing positions playing closer to the line of scrimmage at slot corner. In his junior season (final season) Gardner-Johnson showcased his competitiveness, blitzing ability, instincts, and physicality time after time beating up on slot receivers. The Saints didn’t necessarily need another defensive back due to their roster being stacked in the secondary, but the value Gardner-Johnson represents in the 4th round could result in one of the biggest steals in the draft.
Notables for “Favorite Pick” in Round 4 – WR Hakeem Butler Arizona Cardinals; RB Bryce Love Washington Redskins; RB Justice Hill Baltimore Ravens; OL Dru SamiaMinnesota Vikings; S Amani Hooker Tennessee Titans
HOUSTON TEXANS – 161ST OVERALL PICK – CHARLES OMENIHU – TEXAS
You can criticize some of the selections made by the Texans front office, Tytus Howard in the first or the Kahale Warring selection when you drafted two tight ends last season, but the Omenihu selection was a shrewd pick in the 5th round. Omenihu may not make an immediate impact for the Texans in 2019 due to the veteran players along the front seven, but he was a day two talent that hasn’t fully reached his potential. The Texas Longhorns often times played Omenihu as a five-technique due to his size but his skill-set and length screams edge pass rusher in my opinion. The Texans employ a similar base 3-4 defense and will probably line Omenihu up as an inside pass rusher; but coaches get paid a lot of money to figure out where Omenihu belongs if they want him to reach his true maximum potential. Omenihu is a versatile defender that can hold up just fine wherever you insert him, but his best reps on tape are when he utilizes his long arms and hand technique to win his one-on-one matchups on the outside. He does need to develop more pass rushing moves but playing along a defensive front with J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney will go a long way in his development. He has improved every year at the collegiate level and the Texans faithful are anticipating him doing the same in the league as he has the traits to be a dominant pass rusher.
Notables for “Favorite Pick” in Round 5 – CB Amani Oruwariye Detroit Lions; WR Hunter Renfrow Oakland Raiders; LB Mack Wilson Cleveland Browns; DT DaylonMack Baltimore Ravens; OT David Edwards Los Angeles Rams
ARIZONA CARDINALS – 179TH OVERALL PICK – LAMONT GAILLARD – GEORGIA
The Cardinals did an excellent job in the 2019 NFL Draft improving their offense by drafting a new signal caller in Kyler Murray and surrounding him with a plethora of receiving weapons. However, the biggest question in Arizona still remains if their offensive line can protect Murray and open up running lanes for David Johnson. Yes, Kliff Kingsbury’s offensive system should help alleviate some of those concerns with a rhythm based offense that focuses on getting the ball out of the quarterback hands quickly, but the most important position group in the NFL is still the offensive line. The addition of Marcus Gilbert in the off-season coupled with getting the unit back healthy gives fans some optimism, but 6th round pick Lamont Gaillard could end up being the biggest bargain selection in their draft class. On tape Gaillard demonstrates an understanding of defensive philosophies and what a defensive line is trying to do on any given play. He brings the fight consistently and utilizes his hands effectively which keeps rushers away from his chest. Gaillard is also versatile enough to play all three interior offensive line positions and what really opened my eyes up to him was how effective he was against my number 1 overall prospect Quinnen Williams.
Notables for “Favorite Pick” in Round 6 – WR Keesean Johnson Arizona Cardinals; RB Dexter Williams Green Bay Packers; WR Kelvin Harmon Washington Redskins; RB Rodney Anderson Cincinnati Bengals
WASHINGTON REDSKINS – 227TH OVERALL PICK – JIMMY MORELAND – JAMES MADISON
The Skins got great talent and value throughout their entire draft class. Not moving up and still getting Dwayne Haskins, getting a productive pass rusher in Montez Sweat after losing Preston Smith, teaming up Haskins with his college teammate Terry McLaurin, beefing up their offensive line, getting a steal with Bryce Love and Kelvin Harmon on day 3, and to top it off selecting Jimmy Moreland in the 7th round. Moreland is an instinctive corner that fits perfectly in their zone defense. He showcased his ball-hawking ability with 18 career interceptions at James Madison six of which he took to the house. Moreland in not a one trick pony however as his play in the Senior Bowl practices showed that he can play man coverage effectively due to his feet and physical press ability. My “favorite pick” in the 2nd round Deebo Samuel said he was his hardest matchup throughout Senior Bowl week. The Redskins got themselves a guy that they can develop into a future starter.
Notables for “Favorite Pick” in Round 7 – TE Alize MackNew Orleans Saints; WR Dillon Mitchell Minnesota Vikings; Edge Jalen Jelks Dallas Cowboys; TE Caleb Wilson Arizona Cardinals