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Recapping the 2019 NFL Draft: Biggest winners, losers, steals and reaches

ANALYST
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254   //    02 May 2019, 19:22 IST

Biggest Losers

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Giants fans

This wasn’t very hard. I think it is a little over the top how everybody is criticizing the Giants for selecting Duke quarterback Daniel Jones, when most people probably never even studied his tape, but still Daniel Jones at 6?! I have nothing against the kid, and I want him to succeed in the league, because from what I’ve heard he is really hard worker and does it the right way – but I didn’t even think he was a top six quarterback in the draft. I actually had him right after that, in between Boise State’s Brett Rypien and Buffalo’s Tyree Jackson, who both went undrafted.

I understand that, if he is your guy, you go grab him in first round, but there are two things I certainly don’t agree with. First of all, when you have two guys in Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen and Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver on the board (who I had three and four on my board), you grab one of those special prospects and figure out how to still get Jones. And secondly, GM Dave Gettleman said he “knew for a fact that two teams were going to take him”. Not only is that a big claim when you never have definitive answers around draft time with everybody using smoke screens, but when you think of who the teams could have been there was the option of still trading up from 17 in front of those teams.

It couldn’t have been anybody in the top ten and you saw how willing the Broncos were to trade out of that tenth spot before the next QB-needy team in the Bengals was on the clock. This all just doesn’t make sense. Neither does the selection of Clemson D-tackle Dexter Lawrence, who I think moves in a special way for a 340-pounder, but the Giants just drafted Dalvin Tomlinson as a nose tackle in the second round two years ago and another guy next to him in B.J. Hill last year.

In fact, with them trading back into the first to grab Georgia cornerback Deandre Baker, they could have still gotten Missouri signal-caller Drew Lock, who would be a much better fit as a developmental QB behind Eli, who Gettleman said himself might play for another three years (which is ridiculous). If you take a player at six overall instead of some really special guys, that guy better be perform – and not a few years down the road.

Joe Flacco

This has to feel like déjà vu for Flacco. A year ago, the Ravens added the dynamic Lamar Jackson, trading back up into the final spot of last year’s draft, Flacco got hurt leading into the team’s bye week and from then on it was the Lamar show. Therefore, trading him to Denver made a lot of sense for Baltimore, which gave the Broncos an upgrade over Case Keenum with the type of big-body strong arm QB John Elway likes and Flacco would return to be a starter.

While I still believe the veteran signal-caller will be under center week one, if he gets banged up or has a couple of bad games, the fans and Elway will want to see the new kid – Drew Lock from Missouri, who fell to the Broncos in the second round, as they traded up to pick him Kansas State offensive lineman Dalton Risner back-to-back. The young man is certainly way more athletic and at this stage of their careers might have a stronger arm than Joe, who came into the league with quite a howitzer.

Flacco even said that he was all for drafting a quarterback with him understood as the starter and while Lock is “only” a second-round pick, I can’t really see how the rookie will stay on the bench all year long. Lock might be a bit of a project and would benefit from a season of refining his mechanics and learning how to let the game slow down for himself. Therefore, a year of seasoning would definitely help the youngster and give Flacco a chance to convince the team of being more than a one-year starter, but there is definitely a lot of pressure on him now and he could lose his job mid-season once again.

Deionte Thompson

Deionte Thompson
Deionte Thompson

This kid was projected to be a first-round pick by around the middle of the college football season, but he wound up being the 15th safety of the board as the first selection of the fifth round. This was reportedly largely due to questions about a degenerative knee condition, but I think the way his play tilted the wrong way towards to the end of the year was a reason that he fell.

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There is a heavily overblown playoff run for Thompson, highlighted by being crossed up in the open field by Clemson freshman Justyn Ross in the National Championship game, which really hurt his draft stock and he had no chance of helping himself in the pre-draft process because of a hand injury, which left questions about his speed. When you combine that with the medical reports on his knee, you have a talented guy like this fall.

Thompson probably lost millions of dollars due a few bad plays and the fact he couldn’t do anything on the field leading up to the draft. If his knee checks out fine a few years down the road and he can play with the confidence he did for most of 2018, the Cardinals could have a huge steal at their hands. The one-year starter at Alabama has the combination of range and instincts to be a true playmaker as a free safety.

I could see him play in that single-high role with D.J. Swearinger in the box and Budda Baker in the slot. However, he will not see the money he should for his services until his rookie contract runs out and at that point those medical issues could actually be a problem for him. I’m definitely rooting for this young man and I could see him excel in a secondary that suddenly looks outstanding.

Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans

The Texans went into this draft needing to put some protection around their young quarterback and they did – under any condition. They were sitting at 23rd overall and almost had the right guy fall to them. However, the Eagles traded up one spot in front of them to grab Washington State offensive tackle Andre Dillard, who everybody knew they wanted.

While it is unfortunate for them to be jumped by a single pick, I think their front office should have understood the board a little better – the Ravens didn’t have any other pick inside the top 100 and really wanted to trade back and acquire some selections on day two and the Seahawks were more than willing to move back, as they exchanged picks for the Packers, who acquired Maryland safety Darnell Savage.

In the end Houston was stuck with no true left tackle prospect whose value would fit that range and even though I really like Alabama State’s Tytus Howard, he is definitely more of a developmental tackle prospect and so is 55th overall pick Max Scharping out of Northern Illinois, as I had them both ranked around 50 spots lower than when they were actually drafted.

I thought the price was right for Kentucky cornerback Lonnie Johnson at 54 overall, I like San Diego State tight-end Kahale Warring and even Central Michigan corner Xavier Crawford, who didn’t get any love because his teammate Sean Bunting was a top 40 selection ultimately, but both those guys were first-team All-MAC selections. With that being said, the main focus on this draft was to get quarterback Deshaun Watson offensive line help right now and they reached on a couple of guys, who might not be able to play right away after all or will struggle at the very least.

Cam Newton

If you are Cam and you came into this draft, you thought your team would grab at least one impact contributor on the offensive and at least one playmaker on the outside. However, the Panthers selected just one offensive linemen within the first five rounds in Ole Miss tackle Greg Little, who I really liked when it comes to potential but needs to come into an NFL training program and with an O-line coach who will push him into being more aggressive, and the only receiver they selected came in the seventh round in the form of Georgia’s Terry Godwin.

Newton can only hope that Little is ready to start right away, and Taylor Moton makes a smooth transition inside, because I don’t think a lot of casual names know the name Greg Van Roten, who seems to be slotted in at left guard at this moment. With that being said, what should scare the 2015 league MVP even more is the 100th overall selection in West Virginia signal-caller Will Grier. I really liked Grier in my pre-draft evaluations, and I could seriously see him push Cam for the starting job in a year or two, especially with how banged up Cam has been in recent years.

The kid is a local hero in Charlotte after what he did in high school and he is guy a team and the fans can rally behind. So, the combination of not getting a lot of help around him and the Grier pick really made this a bad weekend for Newton, who I had critized quite a bit for years now.

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