AROUND THE NFL

NFC NORTH

 

DETROIT

The Lions have picked up the 5th-year option of T TAYLOR DECKER.

 

NFC EAST

 

WASHINGTON

What number will QB DWAYNE HASKINS wear?  Michelle Martinelli of NBCSports.com:

 

Minutes after the Washington Redskins selected Dwayne Haskins with the No. 15 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, legendary quarterback Joe Theismann welcomed him to the club.

 

Specifically, the Super Bowl champ highlighted the fact that he and Haskins — a former Ohio State quarterback and 2018 Heisman Trophy finalist — both wear No. 7. And it made fans wonder if Theismann would give Haskins the go-ahead to wear the number for the Burgundy and Gold.

 

@Theismann7

 Dwayne, welcome to the family. From one #7 to another.

 

Theismann joined Monday’s episode of Redskins Talk with JP Finlay, Mitch Tischler, Pete Hailey and Ben Standig, and our crew asked him if that tweet meant he was giving Haskins permission to be the first player after him to wear No. 7.

 

“I’m anxious to sit down and talk to Dwayne about that,” Theismann said on Redskins Talk.

 

“I’m not opposed to it. I’m not saying yes yet, but I really want to sit down and talk to the young man and get a chance to meet him. I know he’s reached out and said he wants to ask me, so as early as I can get back into town and be able to set up an opportunity when he gets into town to be able to sit down and talk to him about it.”

 

Theismann also noted that he wore other numbers throughout his playing career, but he’s obviously mostly associated with No. 7, which he wore during his 12 seasons in Washington and for the team’s Super Bowl XVII win.

 

He continued to explain why he wants to get to know Haskins before saying it’s OK for him to wear the number, which has sort of been unofficially retired.

 

“It’s what’s inside the jersey that makes a big difference,” Theismann said. “I’ve been very honored to have the Washington Redskins not have it issued to anyone over 30-plus years, and this is the first 7 that we’ve had come along, I think.

 

“So I really wanna sit down and have a visit with him and talk to him about it and then we’ll sort of decide going forward.”

 

This is what the Redskins passed on before taking Haskins:

 

According to a report from Sports Illustrated, a Washington executive laughed at Arizona’s ask of a first-round pick. The Cardinals reportedly engaged in talks with Washington just before they took Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray with the first overall pick.

 

“That’s really bold for someone who just took a QB,” the Redskins executive said in response to Arizona’s asking price, per the report.

 

With the Redskins passing on Rosen, the Cardinals traded the quarterback to the Miami Dolphins. Arizona only received the 62nd overall pick and a 2020 fifth-rounder for Rosen, who was drafted 10th overall in 2018.

 

NFC SOUTH

 

NEW ORLEANS

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com says that Saints fans have forgiven the NFL and its officials with their eyes, if not their hearts:

 

Time heals all wounds, a/k/a foosball’s not for the devil, after all.

 

In New Orleans, where football became a four-letter word after the NFC title game officiating debacle, fans have rediscovered the sport, apparently. According to the New Orleans Advocate, the 8.3 rating for the three-day draft made New Orleans the No. 2 market, behind only Nashville.

 

Given that the Saints didn’t have a first-round pick (they traded it to the Packers last year as part of the move up for pass rusher Marcus Davenport), the rating becomes even more impressive.

 

In 2015, New Orleans earned the title of the top local market in draft viewership. That was the first year the draft left New York City for a tour of other NFL locales. Maybe it’s time to put the draft in New Orleans, given that there’s a local passion for it — even if the guy who takes the podium for every pick made on the first night of the draft would hear the boos louder than in any city except Boston.

 

Anger regarding the bad call that contributing the Saints’ loss to the Rams resulted in a Super Bowl ratings nose dive in New Orleans, with the Super Bowl LII rating of 52.4 cut by more than half, to 26.1 for Super Bowl LIII.

 

NFC WEST

 

SEATTLE

DE ZIGGY ANSAH and  the Seahawks are courting.  Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com:

 

We noted yesterday that former Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah is among the pass rushers the Seahawks could consider, and now the Seahawks are taking a look.

 

Ansah is in Seattle today visiting the Seahawks, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

 

After trading away Frank Clark, who led the team in sacks last season, the Seahawks would like to upgrade at the position. Ansah could fit the bill.

 

The Seahawks would likely wait until after May 7 to sign Ansah, because signing him before then would count against them in the compensatory pick formula. Seattle is currently expected to get third-, fourth-, sixth- and seventh-round compensatory picks, but that would change if they signed Ansah before the deadline.

 

Ansah is recovering from a shoulder injury and managed just four sacks last year. But he had 12 sacks in 2017, and if he’s healthy in 2019 he could be due for a bounce back. He could end up being a good addition at a reasonable price for Seattle, or some other team.

 

AFC WEST

 

KANSAS CITY

Any team can have one bad apple slip through the cracks, but Jason LaCanfora of CBSSports.com takes the Chiefs to task for having an orchard of them.

 

Clark Hunt has a problem.

 

He has an abuse problem. He has a domestic violence problem. He has a culture problem. He has a leadership problem.

 

It’s not the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s Hunt.

 

When it comes to the sordid, horrible, disgusting string of events that have haunted this franchise since Dec. 1, 2012 – when linebacker Jovan Belcher murdered his 22-year old girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, and then shot himself in the head in the team’s parking lot – to the present, when the Chiefs held a press conference Friday to introduce a recently-acquired player who was arrested for domestic violence in college (Frank Clark) one day after the chilling audio was released strongly implicating receiver Tryeek Hill in the extreme abuse of his 3-year-old child – look no further than the owner of the team.

 

On matters such as this, there is no “team.” There is no “Kansas City Chiefs.” There is one individual who pays everyone else and decides who stays and who goes, and when they get kicked out. In the last six-plus years, coaches and general managers and front office executives have come and gone. Hunt is the constant. He is the authority. And he has not come close to showing an ability to steward his franchise with a modicum of class or sensitivity when it comes to domestic violence and abuse.

 

Hunt oversaw the decision to play football one day after Belcher’s murder/suicide. He oversaw the drafting of Hill – a player many of his peers refused to include on their draft boards because of Hill’s sentencing for a heinous assault of his pregnant girlfriend, Crystal Espinal, in college, that police say included hitting her in the face, choking her and punching her in the stomach. Hunt oversaw the team’s inquiry into Kareem Hunt’s assault of a female last offseason and the subsequent decision to allow him to practice and play as normal as the NFL botched another “investigation” into the assault of a woman.

 

Hunt oversaw the decision to allow Hill to report for offseason work despite the ongoing investigation into his role in the assault of a 3-year old. Hunt oversaw the mealy-mouthed press releases pledging how “deeply disturbed” the organization is about all of this, while the authorities said they believed a crime was committed by one of the parents and removed this child from Hill’s custody. Hunt oversaw the decision to send Hill home indefinitely, but not release him, after audio was released on Thursday of the receiver making threats to Espinal and admitting to routinely punching that 3-year old and of a child saying “daddy did it” and despite Hill being denied even supervised visitation with his son.

 

When the District Attorney’s office announced it was re-opening its investigation of Hill following the release of those tapes, Hunt did nothing. He signed off on a press conference welcoming Clark, who was prosecuted on domestic violence charges in 2014, to Kansas City on Friday, but didn’t bother to sit up there and actually take any questions himself, allowing coach Andy Reid and general manager Brett Veach to try to deflect inevitable questions about Hill’s situation. And then Hunt seemingly focused on the more important business of the NFL draft, and now another week begins with his franchise embroiled in an ongoing debacle.

 

One might think that a crime as extreme as what Belcher, a player with no history of prior violence, perpetrated would lead to take a stronger position on domestic abuse. One would expect that some tangible changes in the workplace would be enacted by those in charge, and that any inference of previous history of abuse might be a disqualifier for working for the Kansas City Chiefs. Perhaps, out of a calling of sorts, but, at the very least, for the sake of public relations and brand savviness.

 

Hunt, repeatedly, has opted to go in the opposite direction. It’s truly appalling when you think about it. A zero-tolerance policy on domestic violence would have been the expectation long before now, yet the Chiefs take as many character risks as any organization in football and it goes way beyond former general manager John Dorsey. It runs much deeper than that. No one could blame Hunt for what these men have done, but the fact it keeps happening in this locker room is beyond a coincidence now. Hunt’s franchise hasn’t shunned known abusers; it has embraced them and stood by them and been willing to pay them over and over again.

 

Sure, the owner eventually cut Kareem Hunt, but only after video of the star kicking a woman in the hallway outside of his apartment was released, and even then not merely for the act itself, but because “Kareem was not truthful” to Chiefs management about his actions, the owner said in a statement at the time. And not a thing changed since then. According to the league’s own media arm, Hunt was going to pull out his checkbook for a record-setting extension for Hill prior to him being investigated for another assault. And four months after releasing Hunt, the owner, desperate for pass rush, gave Clark, whose interactions with a female reporter on Twitter just two years ago drew national attention for all the wrong reasons, over $60M in guarantees at the very moment Hill’s actions were still being sorted out by the law. He couldn’t even bother to wait until there was closure or certainty with Hill.

 

This is what owners who are “deeply disturbed” about domestic violence and child abuse do? Really? In the aftermath of the Belcher’s grizzly acts, these are the lessons learned? This falls at Hunt’s desk. These are his calls to make. And he has failed. Miserably. Consistently.

 

Say what you want about the way the Ravens handled the Ray Rice situation overall (and the Ravens botched most of it, badly, including owner Steve Bisciotti’s press conference), but at the very least, in the aftermath of that video surfacing, the team has avoided players who have any known history of domestic abuse. In Baltimore, and several other franchises, in a post-Ray Rice NFL, it became much more difficult to bring such players into their building.

 

In Kansas City, despite a murder/suicide at the team facility, that is not the case. Once Hill is eventually released – even for Hunt, that seems inevitable by any measure – after being placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List or whatever mechanism the NFL applies, Hunt and the league will move on.

 

I’m probably not the only one dismayed by how Roger Goodell and the NFL continue to address these matters, basically ignoring Hill’s situation over the weekend until after the draft, lest those distractions get in the way of that huge party in Nashville. We already know the NFL is adrift in trying to investigate and adjudicate these cases, from Greg Hardy to Ray Rice to Adrian Peterson to Josh Brown to Zeke Elliott to Kareem Hunt to Hill. So hiding behind the league office and waiting for Park Avenue to sort it out will do you no favors, and it’s not a salient excuse. And, I’m sorry, but TMZ isn’t going to secure video evidence of every high-profile NFL assault case, lest that be the threshold for real action.

 

So your guess is as good as mine as to where Hunt goes from here. Trying to enact some sort of tough talk or zero-tolerance policy on domestic violence even after Hill’s departure seems implausible, given the financial commitment he literally just made to Clark. Whenever he does take questions next – one would assume after Hill is released – selling anyone that the Chiefs are suddenly tough on abusers seems impossible to me. Taking known criminals off the draft board might be the very least they can do moving forward. Getting away from a win-at-all-costs mentality might make some sense as part of an inward-thinking reboot.

 

But save that “deeply disturbed” stuff. What’s deeply disturbing is how Hunt has responded to these issues since 2012. Actions speak louder than words in the face of repeated crisis. And Hunt’s recent silence is even more damning than the hollow words in his press release.

 

The DB admits that things don’t look good for Hill – but that is based solely on media reports including a tape of what may be Hill.  Again, we’re not defending him.  But in Hunt’s defense, he would feel pretty silly if he cut Hill loose today as the media would demand, only to find out that the tape was a fake.

 

AFC NORTH

 

CINCINNATI

Like Giants GM Dave Gettleman, the DB was at the Senior Bowl.

 

We saw QB DANIEL JONES win the MVP Award.  We thought he was okay, but unlike Gettleman we didn’t fall in love.

 

Comparable to Jones, with a lot less buzz, in the DB’s eyes was QB RYAN FINLEY.

 

Like Jones at Duke, Finley was a three-year starter at North Carolina State. 

 

We wondered how they did head-to-head, and found out to our amazement that although Duke and North Carolina State are less than 25 miles apart, and in the same “conference”, they have not played each other since 2013.  Only one meeting since 2009. Only three meetings since 2003.  That after playing every single year (except 1944) between 1924 and 2003.  One is in the Atlantic, the other is in the Coastal and rarely shall the two meet.

 

They next meet in 2020. 

 

So back to Finley and Jones.  Both are tall, Jones at 6-5 being an inch taller.  Both weigh around 220.

 

Finley was the First Team All-ACC quarterback, not Jones.  He started his college career at Boise State, was injured and fell behind Brett Rypien – SO HE GRADUATED IN THREE YEARS and played at NC State for three years as a graduate student.

 

In 2018, his numbers were 67.4% (326-484) for 3,928 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions.

 

By contrast, in 2018, the numbers of Daniel Jones were 60.5% (237-392) for 2,674 yards, 22 touchdowns, and nine interceptions.

 

Jones at 4.81 in the 40 is said to be fast, but Finley ran a 4.73 (Jones jumped 3 inches higher, both had comparable times in the cone drill).

 

The knock on Finley is his arm strength. 

 

Chris Trapasso of CBSSports.com compared both QBs to existing models.

 

Ryan Finley, NC State

NFL comparison: Ryan Tannehill

 

Finley and Tannehill are stylistically so similar it’s scary. From their throwing motions to their strengths and weaknesses, Finley is a Tannehill clone. At NC State, Finley had elite-level outings in which he made a handful of high-degree-of-difficulty tosses that needed plenty of anticipation and accuracy. He also had his fair share of stinkers, games in which he looked completely out of sorts against blitzes and/or complex coverages and his lack of arm strength was very apparent. Both Finley and Tannehill are quietly effective as scramblers too.

 

Daniel Jones, Duke

NFL comparison: Josh McCown

 

I don’t know if Jones will ultimately stick around for as long as McCown has, but they seem like similar quarterbacks. Smart, good arms, decently accurate to all levels but antsy under pressure and can be somewhat easily baited into making bad decisions. Jones is a plus scrambler, yet the team that drafts him likely won’t be installing designed runs for him, although he was used on those at Duke. Anyway, Jones is a West Coast Offense signal-caller who you don’t want holding onto the ball for too long.

 

Anyway, the point here isn’t that Jones was a bad value pick at #6 – although there is some evidence that may be true.  We’re just saying that fourth-rounder Finley has an objective resume that is at least the equal of Jones.  We will be interested to see how they develop.

 

Todd McShay of ESPN.com had this to say of Finley who he cited as one of his favorite picks of 2019.

 

I think Finley can be an NFL starter. He has very fast eyes and reads the defense better than any of the other quarterbacks in the class. But even if he doesn’t materialize into a franchise guy, this pick was still very good. The worst case here is the Bengals drafted a good backup QB at No. 104 overall. The best case? Finley has the talent to potentially win the starting gig as soon as 2020 for Cincinnati. Andy Dalton has two years left on his deal, but the Bengals could cut Dalton before the 2020 season with no dead money attached if Finley is ready to be the guy.

 

Finley is a tough kid with some mobility and poise in the pocket. You won’t see him panic in the face of pressure. He senses and maneuvers all while keeping his eyes downfield. He’s not a gunslinger, but he’s a smart quarterback with touch and accuracy. However, the Bengals will want him to cut down on the two to three poor decisions he makes with the football per game. Outside of snagging a potential future starting quarterback, I also liked the late grabs of running backs Trayveon Williams and Rodney Anderson. There’s plenty of injury history for Anderson, but the talent was worth a flier in the sixth round.

 

 

CLEVELAND

The Browns may have their eye on DT GERALD McCOY of the Buccaneers per Steve Doerschuck of the Canton Repository:

 

Browns GM John Dorsey is believed to have a post-draft interest in former All-Pro DT Gerald McCoy, who led Tampa Bay with 21 QB hits in 2018, and Bucs are in need of a RB

 

Now that the Browns have coursed through the early trading, free agency and draft cycles, the sense of whether 2019 is the time to “go for it” has changed.

 

Twice in an interview after becoming the team’s top draft pick last week, cornerback Greedy Williams predicted the Browns are going to Super Bowl 54 (that’s the next one).

 

If you ask general manager John Dorsey about “going for it,” his response might be coy. Behind the scenes, Dorsey might not be finished trying to microwave a contender.

 

Pre-draft reports out of Tampa Bay said the Buccaneers would gladly trade veteran defensive tackle Gerald McCoy if the price was deemed right. The draft came and went with McCoy still on the roster.

 

Dorsey’s interest in McCoy is believed to be ongoing, and the Buccaneers likely still have an appetite for getting value from him for the program new pilot Bruce Arians is building.

 

McCoy, who turned 31 shortly after Super Bowl 53, was a big star at Baker Mayfield’s alma mater, Oklahoma, before becoming the No. 3 overall pick of the 2010 draft. McCoy made first team All-Pro in 2012, 2013 and 2014, and at one point went to six straight Pro Bowls, the last of them after the 2017 season.

 

In 2018, McCoy had six sacks and a team-high 21 quarterback hits, playing 70 percent of Tampa Bay’s defensive downs (732 overall).

 

AFC EAST

 

MIAMI

It’s not quite tanking, but the Dolphins are doing some smart things to build for the future.  Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com:

 

The Dolphins used a 2020 fifth-round pick as part of the package they sent to Arizona for quarterback Josh Rosen during the second round of the 2019 draft, but giving up that pick didn’t do much to thin out the cupboard for next year in Miami.

 

The team still has 10 picks at their disposal, including multiple picks in the second, fourth, sixth and seventh rounds, with expected compensatory picks to come. That surplus fits with the notion that the Dolphins are looking at this year as the first stage in a rebuilding effort, but General Manager Chris Grier has a slightly different take.

 

He called the picks an “added bonus” while remaining adamant that the team is trying to win now. He also notes that all those picks give them a chance to move in a variety of directions once they know what they need to do heading into the 2020 season.

 

“Obviously, the more picks you have allows you flexibility in any year,” Grier said, via Albert Breer of SI.com. “If there are players you really like in the current class, you can go get those players now. Or you build towards the future, and keep building the right way. If you acquire picks here and there, it allows you to do things in the future. It creates a lot of opportunity to stay very flexible in your approach in terms of what you want to do in the draft, free agency, everything.”

 

There are no guarantees that the Dolphins will turn into a winner under Grier, but their approach this offseason leaves him in position to build the team he wants and it will be interesting to see how that takes shape.

 

 

THIS AND THAT

 

 

STEVEN RUIZ’s DRAFT GRADES

Continuing our review of draft “grades” here are those of Steven Ruiz of USA Today:

 

The 2019 NFL Draft is now in the rearview mirror, but before we speed off into the dog days of the offseason, let’s look back at every team’s haul from over the weekend. We’re stacking each team’s draft class against one another, and ranking them one through 32. The rankings are based on three major factors:

 

1. Volume

NFL teams have all the resources in the world at their disposal when scouting a player, and even they have shown no ability to evaluate college prospects effectively with any consistency. The best way to bring in a good class is to make as many picks as possible.

 

2. Positional value

It doesn’t really matter how many draft picks a team hits on if it’s taking players at positions of lesser importance. Teams that focused on the premium positions — QB, WR, CB, Edge, OT — will get a more favorable evaluation than those that drafted running backs and linebackers. Or, in Tampa Bay’s case, a kicker … again.

 

3. Player evaluation

We don’t how these players will turn out in the pros, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make an educated guess based on what they put on film in their college careers.

 

Now, let’s get to the rankings…

 

1. Arizona Cardinals

PICKS: QB Kyler Murray, CB Byron Murphy, WR Andy Isabella, DE Zach Allen, WR Hakeem Butler, WR Keesean Johnson, C Lamont Gaillard, OT Joshua Miles, DE Michael Dogbe, TE Caleb Wilson

 

This is my favorite class of 2019 for two reasons: (1) The Cardinals brought in a ton of talent at the major positions, and (2) that Arizona didn’t draft a tight end and brought in three receivers to play alongside Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk means that we’re getting a full-fledged Air Raid offense from Kliff Kingsbury and not some watered down version adapted for the NFL.

 

2. Washington Redskins

PICKS: QB Dwayne Haskins, OLB Montez Sweat, WR Terry McLaurin, RB Bryce Love, G Wes Martin, C Ross Pierschbacher, OLB Cole Holcomb, WR Kelvin Harmon, CB Jimmy Moreland, OLB Jordan Brailford

 

The Redskins found a potential franchise quarterback, an edge rusher with top-10 talent, two receivers who could start in Year 1 and a game-breaking running back. Not a bad haul for Washington, which looked like it was ready to botch things based on pre-draft reports of discord between the front office and coaching staff.

 

3. Oakland Raiders

PICKS: DE Clelin Ferrell, RB Josh Jacobs, S Johnathan Abram, CB Trayvon Mullen, DE Maxx Crosby, CB Isaiah Johnson, TE Foster Moreau, WR Hunter Renfrow, DE Quinton Bell

 

Despite a poor use of resources, the Raiders’ draft ranks high because they did bring in a lot of talented players. As many as five of their picks could be in the starting lineup come September. And a lot of the guys they brought in are good players; they just happened to reach for them.

 

4. Baltimore Ravens

PICKS: WR Marquise Brown, OLB Jaylon Ferguson, WR Miles Boykin, RB Justice Hill, G Ben Powers, DT Daylon Mack, QB Trace McSorley

 

This is the only team that got a perfect GPA for its picks during the first two days of the draft. And all three picks were for players at premium positions. Hollywood Brown is the star of the class, but Miles Boykin has the potential to develop into a true WR1.

 

5. New York Giants

PICKS: QB Daniel Jones, DT Dexter Lawrence, CB Deandre Baker, OLB Oshane Ximines, CB Julian Love, ILB Ryan Connelly, WR Darius Slayton, CB Corey Ballentine, OT George Asafo-Adjei, DT Christopher Slayton

 

The Giants bombed the first day of the draft but did get back on track in the later rounds. Julian Love is the best pick in the class and may end up having a better career than the corner New York took in Round 1, Deandre Baker.

 

6. New England Patriots

PICKS: WR N’Keal Harry, CB Joejuan Williams, DE Chase Winovich, RB Damien Harris, OT Yodny Cajuste, G Hjalte Froholdt, QB Jarrett Stidham, DT Byron Cowart, P Jake Bailey, CB Ken Webster

 

I’m not all that high on what the Patriots did over the weekend. I don’t hate any of the picks; but I don’t really love any of them, either. Except for Chase Winovich. That was a steal for a New England team that needs more production off the edge.

 

7. Jacksonville Jaguars

PICKS: OLB Josh Allen, OT Jawaan Taylor, TE Josh Oliver, S Quincy Williams, RB Ryquell Armstead, QB Gardner Minshew, DT Dontavius Russell

 

Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell needed a good draft in the worst way. He came through with a great one. The highlights of the class are at the top, where the Jags came away with two players with top-10 talent.

 

8. Green Bay Packers

PICKS: DE Rashan Gary, S Darnell Savage, C/G Elgton Jenkins, TE Jace Sternberger, DE Kingsley Keke, CB Ka’dar Hollman, RB Dexter Williams, ILB Ty Summers

 

We gave the Rashan Gary pick a D on night one, but the Packers redeemed themselves with their next three picks. Darnell Savage makes plays all over the field, Elgton Jenkins is a versatile player and nasty block and Jace Sternberger is a perfect fit for Matt LaFleur’s system.

 

9. Indianapolis Colts

PICKS: CB Rock Ya-Sin, DE Ben Banogu, WR Parris Campbell, OLB Bobby Okereke, S Khari Willis, S Marvell Tell, ILB E.J. Speed, DE Gerri Green, OT Jackson Barton, C Javon Patterson

 

The Colts traded out of the first round and still ended up with four top prospects. I thought they reached for both Rock Ya-Sin and Parris Campbell, but both are good players who will contribute right away. Ben Banogu was the best pick in the class.

 

10. Pittsburgh Steelers

PICKS: ILB Devin Bush, WR Diontae Johnson, CB Justin Layne, RB Benny Snell, TE Zach Gentry, OLB Sutton Smith, DT Isaiah Buggs, ILB Ulysses Gilbert, OT Derwin Gray

 

I’m not crazy about the trade-up for an off-the-ball linebacker, but Devin Bush fills a need created by Ryan Shazier’s injury. Diontae Johnson is an Antonio Brown clone, and Justin Layne is one of my favorite corners in this class. Don’t sleep on Sutton Smith, either. Sure, he’s undersized, but he racked up a ton of sacks in the MAC.

 

11. Tennessee Titans

PICKS: DT Jeffery Simmons, WR A.J. Brown, G Nate Davis, S Amani Hooker, OLB D’Andre Walker, ILB David Long

 

The Titans didn’t have a whole lot of picks to work with, but they still came away with quite the haul. Jeffery Simmons would have gone in the top-10 if not for an injury during the pre-draft process. More than a few pundits had A.J. Brown as the best receiver in the class. Amani Hooker will play a lot of snaps during his rookie season. The same can’t be said for Nate Davis, but he’ll contribute eventually,

 

12. Buffalo Bills

PICKS: DT Ed Oliver, G Cody Ford, RB Devin Singletary, TE Dawson Knox, OLB Vosean Joseph, S Jaquan Johnson, DE Darryl Johnson, TE Tommy Sweeney

 

So much value. Ed Oliver was a steal at pick No. 9. The same can be said for Cody Ford, whom Buffalo nabbed in the second. The Bills have been killing it this offseason.

 

13. Carolina Panthers

PICKS: DE Brian Burns, OT Greg Little, QB Will Grier, DE/OLB Christian Miller, RB Jordan Scarlett, OT Dennis Daley, WR Terry Godwin

 

The Will Grier pick was a head-scratcher, but I suppose Carolina got good value. I gave him a second-round grade before the draft. Before that pick, the Panthers nailed their first two. Brian Burns has all of the tools to develop into a top pass rusher, and the same could be said for the athletic Greg Little, who should compete for a starting job in camp.

 

14. Philadelphia Eagles

PICKS: OT Andre Dillard, RB Miles Sanders, WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, DE Shareef Miller, QB Clayton Thorson

 

The Eagles could have done without the Miles Sanders pick, but Andre Dillard is the best pass protector in the class and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside should have been a first-round pick. He’s known for boxing out smaller corners in the red zone, but he’s much more than a big body.

 

15. Los Angeles Chargers

PICKS: DT Jerry Tillery, S Nasir Adderley, OT Trey Pipkins, ILB Drue Tranquill, QB Easton Stick, OLB Emeke Egbule, DT Cortez Broughton

 

I gave the Chargers A’s for their first two picks. I’m not overly impressed with the rest of the work they did over the weekend, but that won’t matter if Jerry Tillery and Nasir Adderley are what I think they are.

 

16. Seattle Seahawks

PICKS: DE L.J. Collier, S Marquise Blair, WR D.K. Metcalf, OLB Cody Barton, WR Gary Jennings, G Phil Haynes, CB Ugo Amadi, ILB Ben Burr-Kirven, RB Travis Homer, DT Demarcus Christmas, WR John Ursua

 

Not gonna lie: It wasn’t looking great for Seattle after their first two picks — though both will be solid contributors — but then they landed D.K. Metcalf with the final pick of the second round before bringing in another underrated receiver prospect in Gary Jennings. The Seahawks needed to find Russell Wilson more pass catchers, and they did so.

 

17. San Francisco 49ers

PICKS: DE Nick Bosa, WR Deebo Samuel, WR Jalen Hurd, P Mitch Wishnowsky, OLB Dre Greenlaw, TE Kaden Smith, OT Justin Skule, CB Tim Harris

 

This class may have ranked a bit higher if they didn’t waste a pick on a punter. Nevertheless, the 49ers did well with their first two picks. Deebo Samuel, a YAC god, is going to eat in Kyle Shanahan’s offense, and I had Joey Bosa as the best edge rusher (and worst tweeter) in the class.

 

18. Denver Broncos

PICKS: TE Noah Fant, OT Dalton Risner, QB Drew Lock, DT Dre’Mont Jones, OLB Justin Hollins, WR Juwan Winfree

 

I’m not nearly as impressed with the Broncos’ class as many other analysts seem to be. The Noah Fant pick was ‘meh,’ and I have Drew Lock as a bust. I do like the Dalton Risner and Dre’Mont Jones picks, however. Denver brought in some good players, just not enough at the major positions.

 

19. Chicago Bears

PICKS: RB David Montgomery, WR Riley Ridley, CB Duke Shelley, RB Kerrith White, CB Stephen Denmark

 

Low key one of my favorite hauls of the weekend. No, the Bears didn’t bring in any big names, but David Montgomery is going to play a lot early and only cost Chicago a third. Riley Ridley was one of the more undervalued receivers in the class, but the Georgia product is a professional route runner. And Duke Shelley was a steal in Round 6. I had the undersized, play-making corner in my top-50.

 

20. Minnesota Vikings

PICKS: C Garrett Bradbury, TE Irv Smith, RB Alexander Mattison, G Dru Samia, ILB Cameron Smith, DT Armon Watts, S Marcus Epps, OT Oli Udoh, CB Kris Boyd, WR Dillon Mitchell, WR Olabisi Johnson, LS Austin Cutting

 

I like a lot of the players the Vikings brought in — Garrett Bradbury and Irv Smith, in particular — but none of these picks really excite me. Minnesota reached for a center in the first round with a number of promising tackles on the board. Positional value matters.

 

21. New York Jets

PICKS: DT Quinnen Williams, OLB Jachai Polite, OT Chuma Edoga, TE Trevon Wesco, OLB Blake Cashman, CB Blessuan Austin

 

As a result of the Sam Darnold trade a year ago, the Jets did not have a lot of draft capital to work with, but they were efficient with the picks they did have. Quinnen Williams is the best defensive prospect in the class, and Jachai Polite was looking like a first-round talent before he tanked the pre-draft process. Though he claims a hamstring injury sabotaged him.

 

22. Cincinnati Bengals

PICKS: OT Jonah Williams, TE Drew Sample, OLB Germaine Pratt, QB Ryan Finley, DT Renell Wren, G Michael Jordan, RB Trayveon Williams, LB Deshaun Davis, RB Rodney Anderson, CB Jordan Brown

 

It started off with a bang with the Bengals landing the best offensive tackle (and biggest nerd) in this year’s draft. But then things went downhill quickly. Really, Cincinnati? A blocking tight end in the second round?

 

23. Los Angeles Rams

PICKS: S Taylor Rapp, RB Darrell Henderson, CB David Long, OT Bobby Evans, DT Greg Gaines, OT David Edwards, S Nick Scott, LB Dakota Allen

 

Pick-for-pick, one of my favorite classes this year. Taylor Rapp isn’t going to wow anyone with his testing numbers but he can ball. This was a dream landing spot for Darrell Henderson, who is the best zone runner in the class. And David Long should have gone at the end of the first round with his coverage skills.

 

24. New Orleans Saints

PICKS: C Erik McCoy, S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S Saquan Hampton, TE Alize Mack, LB Kaden Elliss

 

The Saints didn’t have a first-round pick but still came away with two players (Erik McCoy and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson) who had been mocked in the first round at various points during the pre-draft process. And both fill needs.

 

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

PICKS: ILB Devin White, CB Sean Bunting, CB Jamel Dean, S Mike Edwards, DE Anthony Nelson, K Matt Gay, WR Scott Miller, DT Terry Beckner Jr.

 

I don’t hate the Sean Bunting and Jamel Dean picks, but the Bucs are a team that does not seem to understand positional value. Taking a linebacker fifth-overall is inexcusable, and a few years after the Roberto Aguayo disaster, they went ahead and took another kicker. I don’t know what’s worse: the pick or GM Jason Licht’s defense of it…

 

“You’d like to see guys make big kicks in big moments, obviously. The kicker is a very important position. It’s one of the most important positions on the team.”

 

Good lord.

 

26. Cleveland Browns

PICKS: CB Greedy Williams, OLB Sione Takitaki, S Sheldrick Redwine, ILB Mack Wilson, K Austin Seibert, G Drew Forbes, CB Donnie Lewis

 

I’m still in shock the Browns ended up with Greedy Williams without trading up into the first round. The rest of this class, which includes a kicker, is underwhelming.

 

27. Atlanta Falcons

PICKS: G Chris Lindstrom, OT Kaleb McGary, CB Kendall Sheffield, DE John Cominskey, RB Qadree Ollison, CB Jordan Miller, WR Marcus Green

 

First the Falcons over-drafted a guard. Then they traded back into the first round to draft a raw tackle. It doesn’t matter what happened the rest of the weekend after those moves.

 

28. Detroit Lions

PICKS: TE T.J. Hockenson, LB Jahlani Tavai, S Will Harris, DE Austin Bryant, WR Travis Fulgham, RB Ty Johnson, CB Amani Oruwariye, TE Isaac Nauta, DT P.J. Johnson

 

Outside of Amani Oruwariye, the Lions got very little value out of any of their picks. Picking a tight end in the top-10 rarely, if ever, works out. Jahlani Tavai, a liability in pass coverage, was an even worse pick.

 

29. Kansas City Chiefs

PICKS: WR Mecole Hardman, S Juan Thornhill, DT Khalen Saunders, CB Rashad Fenton, RB Darwin Thompson, G Nick Allegretti

 

The Chiefs were never going to bring in a great class with only a handful of picks and none in the first round. But the Mecole Hardman and Juan Thornhill picks were winners in my book.

 

30. Houston Texans

PICKS: OT Tytus Howard, CB Lonnie Johnson, OT Max Scharping, TE Kahale Warring, DE Charles Omenihu, CB Xavier Crawford, RB Cullen Gillespie

 

The Texans spent their first two picks on superb athletes who don’t really know how to play football yet. They could turn out to be studs. Or they could bust. The Max Scharping picks is the saving grace of Houston’s class.

 

31. Miami Dolphins

PICKS: DT Christian Wilkins, G Michael Deiter, OLB Andrew Van Ginkel, OT Isaiah Prince, RB Chandler Cox, RB Myles Gaskin

 

Don’t feel too bad about this low ranking, Dolphins fans. Christian Wilkins and Michael Deiter are good players, you found a quarterback of the future for the low price of a second-round pick and you acquired future draft capital with some smart draft-day trades. Not a bad start to the rebuild.

 

32. Dallas Cowboys

PICKS: DT Trysten Hill, G Connor McGovern, RB Tony Pollard, CB Michael Jackson, DE Joe Jackson, S Donovan Wilson, RB Mike Weber, DE Jalen Jelks

 

Cowboys fans will say that Amari Cooper should be included in this class. Here’s the problem with that thinking: First-round picks are coveted because they can provide top talent at a low price. Cooper may be a top talent but he certainly won’t be cheap. I do like Trysten Hill as a prospect, but he’s not good enough to carry this class on his own.

 

 

2020 DRAFT

How about an early 2020 Mock Draft from Chris Trapasso of CBSSports.com?

 

The 2019 NFL Draft is in the books and to paraphrase Bill Belichick … we’re onto 2020. That’s right, less than 48 hours after UCLA tight end Caleb Wilson was announced as Mr. Irrelevant, it’s time to look ahead to next year’s draft class. This list will no doubt change a lot over the next 50 weeks, but consider this a good starting point with the college football season some four months away.

 

And also, this is important. A note about the draft order before you send your angry tweets and emails: It’s based off the current SportsLine projections, which came out Saturday. We started with projected win totals, made sure both conferences put six teams into the playoffs, then advanced the better team through each round. If you think we have your team picking too high, just take comfort in knowing this is the best projection we have this early in the process, and the final results are sure to differ.

 

1 -Miami Dolphins

Chase Young DE

OHIO STATE – SOPH – 6’5 / 265 LBS

The Dolphins didn’t address the position in the 2019 draft and Young, who played alongside Nick Bosa for three games last season, could be the next great Buckeyes edge rusher.

 

2-Arizona Cardinals

Walker Little T

STANFORD – SOPH – 6’7 / 313 LBS

It’s all about protecting Kyler Murray, the Cardinals’ second first-round quarterback in as many years.

 

3 – Oakland Raiders

Tua Tagovailoa QB

The Raiders are all in on Derek Carr in 2019 but if the team stumbles again, #TankingforTua will continue to be a thing.

 

4- Buffalo Bills

A.J. Epenesa DE

IOWA – SOPH – 6’5 / 277 LBS

The Bills had a great 2019 draft but didn’t take an edge rusher till Round 7. Epenesa playing alongside Ed Oliver would make Sean McDermott very happy.

 

5 – Cincinnati Bengals

Bryce Hall CB

VIRGINIA – JR – 6’1 / 200 LBS

Hall might’ve been a first-round cornerback if he came out in ’19 and he’ll only get better with experience. Plus, Hall adds secondary depth to a Bengals team that drafts CBs high every few years.

 

6 – Jacksonville Jaguars

Justin Herbert QB

OREGON – JR – 6’6 / 233 LBS

Nick Foles isn’t the long-term solution in Jacksonville and if they’re in position to draft Herbert that means the 2019 season was a bust. Herbert might’ve been the first player taken in this draft had he not returned to Oregon.

 

7 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jerry Jeudy WR

ALABAMA – SOPH – 6’1 / 192 LBS

DeSean Jackson returned to Philly, but Jeudy has that type of playmaking ability. If the plan is to build around Jameis Winston, Bruce Arians should continue to get him weapons, especially after such a defense-heavy 2019 draft.

 

8 – Carolina Panthers

Grant Delpit S

LSU – SOPH – 6’3 / 203 LBS

The Panthers were favorites to land a playmaking safety in the ’19 draft. It didn’t happen, but they don’t let Delpit get away next year.

 

9 – Washington Redskins

CeeDee Lamb WR

OKLAHOMA – SOPH – 6’2 / 189 LBS

More weapons for Dwayne Haskins! Terry McLaurin, Kelvin Harmon and now Lamb, who was unstoppable for Oklahoma last season. Washington could obviously go in another direction if Josh Doctson finally puts it together.

 

10 – New York Giants

Laviska Shenault Jr. WR

COLORADO – SOPH – 6’2 / 220 LBS

If Dave Gettleman has his way, Daniel Jones will be in Year 2 of his three-year plan to have the No. 6 pick in the 2019 draft to sit behind Eli Manning. But this is good news for Eli, who gets a big downfield target as New York tries to replace Odell Beckham.

 

11 – Detroit Lions

Kristian Fulton CB

LSU – JR – 6’0 / 192 LBS

Amani Oruwariye was thought to be a possible first-round pick, but he didn’t go off the board until Day 3. The Lions get their first-round talent in Fuller — plus, you can never have too many good defensive backs.

 

12 – Tennessee Titans

Julian Okwara DL

NOTRE DAME – JR – 6’5 / 241 LBS

The Titans find a bookend to 2018 second-rounder Harold Landry — this assumes, of course, that Marcus Mariota has a big season. Otherwise, Tennessee could be in the market for a quarterback.

 

13 – Atlanta Falcons

Raekwon Davis DT

ALABAMA – JR – 6’7 / 316 LBS

The Falcons reportedly loved Ed Oliver, who ended up in Buffalo. They land Davis, who doesn’t have Oliver’s athleticism, but may have been no worse than a second-round pick if he declared for the 2019 NFL Draft.

 

14 – San Francisco 49ers

Xavier McKinney DB

ALABAMA – SOPH – 6’1 / 198 LBS

The 49ers bolster their secondary after solidifying the defensive line with Nick Bosa, the No. 2 overall pick in 2019.

 

15 – Denver Broncos

Dylan Moses LB

ALABAMA – SOPH – 6’3 / 233 LBS

The Broncos let Brandon Marshall walk in free agency and traded out of the No. 10 pick with Devin Bush still on the board. They get their linebacker in ’20 with Dylan Moses, who was better than Mack Wilson last season.

 

16 – Houston Texans

Isaiah Simmons S

CLEMSON – SOPH – 6’2 / 230 LBS

Simmons is a safety/linebacker hybrid who looks like he could be a faster version of Kam Chancellor.

 

17 – Minnesota Vikings

Tee Higgins WR

CLEMSON – SOPH – 6’4 / 210 LBS

The Vikings got tight end Irv Smith Jr. in Round 2 of the ’19 draft and now they get one of the best wideouts in the 2020 class. With an improved O-line, Kirk Cousins is out of excuses.

 

18 – New York Jets

CJ Henderson DB

FLORIDA – SOPH – 6’1 / 191 LBS

The Jets didn’t draft a cornerback until late on Day 3 and Henderson would go even higher in the draft with a strong junior season.

 

19 – Dallas Cowboys

Albert Okwuegbunam TE

MISSOURI – SOPH – 6’5 / 255 LBS

Jason Witten is back but for how long? The Cowboys need to get younger and more athletic at tight end.

 

20 – Baltimore Ravens

Yetur Gross-Matos DE

PENN STATE – SOPH – 6’5 / 259 LBS

The Ravens lost Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith. Yes, they drafted Jaylon Ferguson in the third round but they need depth at defensive end.

 

21 – Green Bay Packers

Jake Fromm QB

GEORGIA – SOPH – 6’2 / 220 LBS

Fromm might be the best decision-maker in this class, but he doesn’t have the arm strength or athleticism of a Tua or Herbert. Plus, he could sit behind Rodgers for a season before taking over the job full-time.

 

22 – Seattle Seahawks

Jaylon Johnson DB

UTAH – SOPH – 6’0 / 190 LBS

The Seahawks got a playmaking safety in 2019 second-rounder Marquise Blair and now they get a first-round cornerback to add to the secondary.

 

23 – Indianapolis Colts

Derrick Brown DT

AUBURN – JR – 6’5 / 325 LBS

We loved the idea of the Colts taking Jerry Tillery — it didn’t happen; they traded down and he landed with the Chargers — but Brown allows them to wrong that right.

 

24 – Pittsburgh Steelers

Trey Adams OT

WASHINGTON – SR – 6’8 / 316 LBS

The team traded Marcus Gilbert and Alejandro Villenueva’s contract expires after the 2021 season. The Steelers could also target an edge rusher here since Bud Dupree is in the final year of his rookie deal.

 

25 –Philadelphia Eagles

Lorenzo Neal DT

PURDUE – JR – 6’3 / 315 LBS

The Eagles routinely dominate the line of scrimmage — in part because they’re able to rotate players and keep them fresh — and Neal adds depth and playmaking ability.

 

Round 1 – Oakland Raiders (from Chicago Bears)

Tyler Biadasz C

WISCONSIN – SOPH – 6’3 / 319 LBS

If Tua is the new franchise quarterback, it makes sense to protect him. Biadasz was a likely Day 2 pick, had he declared for the 2019 draft.

 

27 – Cleveland Browns

Andrew Thomas T

GEORGIA – SOPH – 6’5 / 320 LBS

This roster isn’t missing much. The Browns need a left tackle to protect Baker Mayfield and Andrew Thomas could be the final piece of the puzzle.

 

28 – Los Angeles Chargers

Henry Ruggs III WR

ALABAMA – SOPH – 6’0 / 183 LBS

Philip Rivers could play forever so why not keep getting him downfield weapons. Ruggs was overshadowed by Jeudy last season but he has a chance to be special.

 

29 – Los Angeles Rams

Anfernee Jennings ILB

ALABAMA – JR – 6’3 / 266 LBS

Jennings returned to Alabama for his senior season and it was probably the right move. The Rams get an edge rusher to potentially replace Dante Fowler, who is on a one-year deal.

 

30 – Kansas City Chiefs

Travis Etienne RB

CLEMSON – SOPH – 5’10 / 200 LBS

The Chiefs acquired Carlos Hyde and drafted Darwin Thompson in the seventh round, but Travis Etienne is a home run hitter who makes the Chiefs’ offense even more dangerous.

 

31 – New Orleans Saints

Curtis Weaver LB

BOISE STATE – SOPH – 6’3 / 266 LBS

Weaver has 20.5 sacks in just two seasons at Boise State and would give the Saints a bookend to 2018 first-rounder Marcus Davenport.

 

32 – New England Patriots

Paddy Fisher LB

NORTHWESTERN – SOPH – 6’4 / 241 LBS

Fisher had 116 tackles and four forced fumbles last season and if he continues to progress in 2019 he has a chance to sneak into the first round.