Five non first-round picks who will be NFL stars

Every NFL Draft season, there tends to be a thought among fans that only first-round players will be NFL stars. Every single year, that thought gets proven wrong. Some of the most recognizable names to not be drafted in the first-round of previous drafts are QB Russell Wilson, CB Richard Sherman and WR Antonio Brown.

NFL Stars
Stanford vs. UC Davis 2018” by Daniel Hartwig is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The 2019 NFL Draft likely won’t be any different, as several players who weren’t drafted in the first-round will emerge as NFL stars. After looking over the results of the NFL Draft, I compiled a short list of players who weren’t drafted in the first-round who I believe will be NFL stars.

 

WR J.J. Arcega Whiteside, Philadelphia Eagles (Round 2, No. 57 overall)

Standing at 6’3″, 225 lbs, J.J. Arcega Whiteside has the build of an elite red zone threat. His build is similar to that of his new teammate, Alshon Jeffrey. Arcega Whiteside proved his red zone presence by recording 14 TDs in his final season at Stanford. He recorded a total of 28 TDs over his three college seasons.

Arcega Whiteside only had one season of 1,000+ receiving yards at Stanford, but he improved every year he was there. I believe that makes him a perfect fit for the Eagles. It may take a little while for Arcega Whiteside to be among NFL stars, but he’s in the perfect situation to have time to develop.

WR Alshon Jeffrey and TE Zach Ertz will be huge red zone threats to every defense they play. While they’ll be getting all the attention, Arcega Whiteside will be seeing single coverage on less talented DBs. He can play that role until Alshon Jeffrey eventually moves on, whenever that may be. When Jeffrey does leave the Eagles, they will be able to easily replace him with Arcega Whiteside. J.J. Arcega Whiteside may not have the best stats over his first few seasons, but when he gets the chance to play a greater role, I believe he’ll put up huge numbers.

 

S Juan Thornhill, Kansas City Chiefs (Round 2, No. 63 overall)

What’s one of the most important things for a defense to do in today’s NFL? Get takeaways. What does Juan Thornhill do best? Getting takeaways. In three seasons as a starter at Virginia, Thornhill recorded 13 INTs. Six of those INTs came in his final season, proving he’s continuing to become a ball hawk in the secondary.

Thornhill will instantly provide the Chiefs’ secondary with something they desperately lacked last season. The secondary for the Chiefs gave up a lot of yards and points last season, which was their downfall in the biggest moments. Juan Thornhill won’t fix all their problems in the secondary, but he will provide an instant boost.

With Patrick Mahomes on the other side, the Chiefs’ defense has to find ways to get him on the field as much as possible. Thornhill and his ability to take the ball away will do just that for the Chiefs, making him one of the next NFL stars.

 

WR D.K. Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks (Round 2, No. 64 overall)

Does anyone else remember D.K. Metcalf, the shredded 6’3″, 228 lbs WR who ran a 4.33 40 yard dash, put up 27 bench reps, had a 40.5 inch vertical and a 134 inch broad jump at the NFL Combine? Yeah, I thought so. Metcalf was widely considered a first-round talent, at least we thought.

The Seahawks got their star WR of the future when he fell to them at No. 64 in the second-round. Metcalf never really had great production at Ole Miss, but he’s also never had a QB like Russell Wilson. Metcalf has the ability to be Wilson’s go to guy. It might take a little bit of time, but he’s got the talent to do it.

Russell Wilson has the ability to place the ball in the perfect spot, while Metcalf has the ability to blow past and jump over defenders. He’s also stronger than probably any WR in the NFL right now. Metcalf needs to work on his fluidness and route running, but that will come in time. The Seahawks have their star WR of the future.

 

RB David Montgomery, Chicago Bears (Round 3, No. 73 overall)

I loved this select by the Bears in the third-round. Montgomery is a big RB who can be effective as both a runner and receiver. In three seasons at Iowa State, Montgomery recorded 2,925 rushing yards. He went over 1,000 rushing yards in each of his last two seasons. In addition to those two seasons of 1,000+ rushing yards, Montgomery record 10+ TDs in both those seasons.

Montgomery recorded 71 receptions for 582 yards during his three seasons, proving he can impact the game in multiple ways. Now he steps in to a Chicago team who needed to get better at running the ball. Montgomery will step in as the starter right away, and will play a big role in leading the Bears’ offense.

How many times in recent history have we seen a rookie RB lead the league in rushing yards? I’m going to go out on a limb and say David Montgomery has a legit chance at being the next rookie RB to do so.

 

EDGE Jaylon Ferguson, Baltimore Ravens (Round 3, No. 85 overall)

There was a time when Jaylon Ferguson was mocked in the first-round of the NFL Draft. Unfortunately for him, he fell to the third-round because of poor workouts during the pre-draft process. While that may have been unfortunate for him, it was fortunate for the Baltimore Ravens.

Jaylon Ferguson holds College Football’s all-time record for sacks (45). Yes, he played against lesser competition while at Louisiana Tech, but I don’t care. If you can get sacks, you can get sacks. Jaylon Ferguson can get sacks. He may not become the NFL’s all-time leading sack artist, but he will be a guy who can consistently get after the QB.

I think Ferguson landed in the perfect spot in Baltimore. He feels like a player who belongs on the Baltimore defense. He fell because of poor workouts, and now the all-time leading sack artist in College Football gets his chance to prove everyone wrong.

 

NFL Draft review: Green Bay Packers

The 2019 NFL Draft has come and gone. As a die hard fan of the draft, I’m now left with a void until next draft season when I can feel this excitement all over again. Time to start prepping for the 2020 Draft, I guess.

Packers
NFL Draft, Chicago 2016” by swimfinfan from Chicago is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

All kidding aside, let’s talk about the Green Bay Packers. The Packers came in to the draft with 10 picks and left with eight, trading up nine spots in the first round while losing both fourth rounders. On paper – like every team in the NFL likes to believe after making their selections – the Packers added talent. They filled some needs and added some depth. It’s the recipe of a good draft. It now becomes a matter of did they hit on their draft picks, or are these just promising names on paper?

Let’s take a look at the Packers’ draft picks. I’ll give what I like about each pick, what I don’t like about each, and a grade for each pick. Enjoy.

 

ROUND 1, PICK 12

  • Rashan Gary – LB/DL – Michigan – 6-4/277 LB

What I like: Gary is an athletic freak based upon his combine numbers, and the Packers need athleticism on defense. The Packers get a near 280-pound human who can run as fast as many NFL receivers. A Packers scout made an interesting point that in studying film, Gary was double and triple teamed a lot during his time at Michigan, so having better players around him should help alleviate those double teams. The Packers get another pass rusher, and Gary could fill the Julius Peppers role the Packers had a few years back. Gary likely made players around him at Michigan better just by his presence on the field.

What I don’t like: Gary’s lack of production in college. Was it a result of the aforementioned double and triple teams? Maybe. Or maybe he’s just overrated. Also, speculation of a labrum tear in his shoulder. Gary claims he’s fine, but so did Shaq Lawson from the Buffalo Bills before he was selected in the first round of the 2016 draft. Same injury as Gary, and Lawson required surgery just a month after being drafted. Something to monitor. And taking him 12th? I really hope the Packers knew what they were doing here, especially since Clemson DL Christian Wilkins – who I was way higher on than Gary – was taken on the very next pick.

Summary: Where will Gary play? Will he be a stand-up rush linebacker? Or will he play with his hand in the dirt? I am hoping Gary isn’t a “project” for the coaching staff. I’m also hoping the lack of production is a result of seeing a lot of attention from opposing offenses focused on stopping him. All I know is, all this hoping I’m doing is starting to scare me. Prove me wrong, Rashan.

GRADE: D+

 

ROUND 1, PICK 21 (TRADE UP FROM 30)

  • Darnell Savage, Jr. – S – Maryland – 5-11/198 LB

What I like: I’ve been high on Savage during the entire pre-draft process. I mocked him to Green Bay in the 4th round of my first mock, and at pick 30 in my final mock. Savage was flying up boards in the weeks leading up to the draft, separating himself in a weak safety class. Savage is extremely fast and athletic, had seven INTs over the past two seasons, and can play all over the field. HC Matt LaFleur described him as “an eliminator.” He has production and played in a conference known for playing defense.

What I don’t like: There isn’t really a whole lot I don’t like about Savage as a player or the pick itself, but if there was anything, it would be losing both fourth round picks to move up to get him. There’s a chance he would have been there at 30, but sources said the Ravens at pick 22 and the Colts at pick 26 were high on Savage. I can’t really be mad at the selection, since it filled a need and Savage was the highest rated at his position.

Summary: Savage should step in and start immediately. Paired alongside free agent signee Adrian Amos in the secondary, I believe the Packers have solidified their safety position for the next four years.

GRADE: A-

 

ROUND 2, PICK 44

  • Elgton Jenkins – C – Mississippi State – 6-4/310 LB

What I like: Jenkins fills a need for a high-quality offensive lineman in the Packers’ rotation. Jenkins will compete for a starting spot at one of the guard positions and will likely be a starter in week one. Jenkins only allowed 19 QB pressures over the last three seasons and is a paver in the run game. Can play all three interior line positions. A safe and solid pick.

What I don’t like: As a selfish fan, I was hoping for something a little more…sexy. There were some big name skill players still on the board here, and I thought Green Bay would go that route. Not disappointed by the pick, but the selfish part of me wanted something more exciting.

Summary: Elgton (pronounced “Elton”) will be a mainstay on the Green Bay line for the next eight seasons. He played in the highly competitive SEC and didn’t allow many of the high-powered pass rushers in the conference to get to his QB. With Aaron Rodgers under center, Jenkins is exactly the kind of guy you need up front protecting the face of the franchise.

GRADE: B+

 

ROUND 3, PICK 75

  • Jace Sternberger – TE – Texas A&M – 6-4/251 LB

What I like: Sternberger was an All-American at the tight end position last season, putting up a 48-832-10 (17.3 avg) stat line; the production is there. Picking Sternberger in the third gives the Packers a player who doesn’t have the pressure of having to be “the guy” immediately at tight end, where Sternberger can learn behind veterans Jimmy Graham and Marcedes Lewis. He’s a good route runner and should be a very good match-up tight end in LaFleur’s offense. The pick was a perfect union of value and need, as Sternberger was expected to go somewhere in this area of the draft.

What I don’t like: Sternberger needs work on his run blocking, but like I mentioned above, he doesn’t have to step in immediately and can ease into the position. He’s a bit slow, but makes up for it in precise route running. Again, the selfish fan in me would have liked one of the more complete Iowa tight ends, but you can’t get everything you want. I was really hoping Memphis running back Darrell Henderson fell here, but he was swooped up five picks earlier after the Rams traded up to snag him.

Summary: A very solid pick in terms of value and need, Sternberger could have a lengthy career in Green Bay. Green Bay had visited with Sternberger twice pre-draft, so they were obviously pretty high on the kid. If he works on his run blocking, he already has above-average receiving skills and could morph into a top-tier tight end in the NFL.

GRADE: B+

 

ROUND 5, PICK 150

  • Kingsley Keke – DT – Texas A&M – 6-3/288 LB

What I like: Keke provides another big body on the defensive line. Keke led the Aggies with seven sacks in 2018. Projected to go in the third or fourth rounds, getting him midway through the fifth was a great value. Keke – like the two earlier defensive picks – provides the Pack with a highly athletic defensive player. Keke ran a sub-5.00 40 (4.95), which for 288 pounds is pretty dang good. Keke should see snaps early on.

What I don’t like: Keke played defensive tackle at A&M, but looks to transition to end in the NFL. Learning new gap techniques and line positions could slow his growth. Another potential Packer “project.”

Summary: Drafting Keke and Gary likely signals this will be Mike Daniels’ last season in Green Bay, and likely that Muhammed Wilkerson will not be re-signed. Keke, Gary, Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, Tyler Lancaster, and Montravious Adams will all be under age 26 after next season, giving the Packers plenty of hope in the defensive trenches for the future.

GRADE: B-

 

ROUND 6, PICK 185

  • Ka’Dar Hollman – CB – Toledo – 6-0/190 LB

What I like: Following a trend for the draft, Hollman is crazy athletic for the CB position. Hollman tore up his pro day, running a 4.39 40 with a 38″ vertical and 6.81 three-cone. The forty time would have been fourth fastest, three-cone would have tied for fifth, and vertical would have been in the top-12. Projected as a fifth rounder, the value is there. I love that Hollman had 27 passes defended in three years as a starter and allowed just a 40% completion rate in 2018. Hollman received no scholarship offers out of high school and worked his way into a sixth round pick. I love a guy who plays with a chip on his shoulder and worked to get where he’s at.

What I don’t like: Two career interceptions. With all the passes defended, it’s surprising he didn’t have more. Also, Hollman will be a 25-year-old rookie. Not that that’s a terrible thing, but most rookies are finishing their first rookie contract at age 25. Also after using first and second round picks on three CBs over the previous two drafts, a bit surprising the Packers added another corner to the already crowded CB room.

Summary: Hollman has a knack for knocking down passes and finding the ball. If he can put together a nice camp over the summer and maybe pick off Aaron Rodgers a few times, his play could spell the end for Tramon Williams. His selection leads me to believe the Packers are looking for a back-up plan to the Kevin King experiment, which could be entering its final season.

GRADE: B 

 

ROUND 6, PICK 194

  • Dexter Williams – RB – Notre Dame – 5-11/212 LB

What I like: Williams has very few “miles” in terms of usage in college, with just 257 carries while at Notre Dame. He averaged 6.4 YPC over four years (6.3 as a senior) and had 22 career rushing touchdowns (12 as a senior). Has good size for the position and provides Green Bay with an above average replacement behind starters Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. Plays faster than his 4.57 40 time. Was expected to go higher than sixth round, so getting him here is an extremely good value.

What I don’t like: Has an arrest (2016) and four-game suspension (2018) in his background, a possibly reason for falling to sixth round. Also, his small sample size. He was just a one-year starter, so can he handle a possible larger role in the NFL?

Summary: This may be my favorite pick. The Packers didn’t have a dire need at RB, but getting Williams is a superb value and insurance policy if Jones or Jamaal Williams get hurt. The Packers felt strongly enough to see past his earlier character issues and draft him. If you haven’t heard the story of Williams’ relationship with his ailing mother, take a minute to look that up – it’s one of the better feel-good stories from the draft. Williams should be an impact player for Green Bay when called upon.

Grade: A

 

ROUND 7, PICK 226

  • Ty Summers – LB – TCU – 6-1/241 LB

What I like: The Packers get a solid player to play on special teams and possibly compete for playing time at a thin position. Yet again, Summers is another athletic player drafted for the defense. The production is there too, as Summers had eight sacks over his final two collegiate seasons from the inside linebacker spot with 317 tackles over four years. With Blake Martinez the only sure-fire player in the middle, Summers is a solid need/depth pick. A good value in the seventh, too, as he was projected in the fifth.

What I don’t like: The Packers waiting until the seventh round to address the middle linebacker position. This isn’t a knock on Summers, because we don’t know what he’ll bring, but the Packers haven’t addressed a high pick on the middle in quite some time. I’ve read he’s not great in coverage, so being a liability in that department could limit him to a two-down role to start his career.

Summary: Summers should be an instant special-teamer due to his athleticism. Time will tell, but due to the lack of bodies at the inside position, Summers could get playing time by default. I just hope that doesn’t come back to haunt the Packers should Martinez get hurt and Summers is relegated to a larger role.

Grade: B-

 

Overall summary: 

Defense- One thing was obvious for the Packers in the 2019 draft: get faster and more athletic on the defensive side of the ball. They did just that while also filling valuable needs at safety and the front seven. With Mike Pettine entering his second year running the defense, the pressure to succeed is on as he’s loaded with plenty of young players at his disposal, from this year and previous drafts. The foundation is in place, now let’s see if the results translate.

Offense- The Packers filled two needs with Sternberger and Jenkins and got a luxury pick with Williams. All three were safe and solid, and each provided good value where they were selected. Gutenkunst felt comfortable with the receiver position by not selecting one this year after taking three in last year’s draft. In what is a loaded 2020 receiver class, maybe Gutey is waiting until next year to take one. It’s now on LaFleur to use what the offense already has and get the them back to elite status.

Overall draft grade: B+ After two drafts in the books, Gutekunst has done a very good job making the picks. I like this year’s version better than last, and time will tell which one produces; as Packer fans, hopefully they both do. All-in-all, a very solid 2019 class.

 

 

What you may have missed this weekend: NFL Draft

This was a big weekend for the National Football League, and I want to make sure nobody missed the significant moments of it. That’s why this week we will have two different “What you may have missed” articles. This one is only going to reflect on the NFL draft. There were a lot of moves that shocked us all. Let’s take a look.

“Eli Manning” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

 

How about those trades that impacted the draft?

We already know about the Odell Beckham Jr., Amari Cooper and Antonio Brown trades, but other trades impacted draft picks throughout the weekend.

  • Pittsburgh Steelers received 66th, 141st pick for Antonio Brown. Those picks were WR Deionte Johnson and TE Zach Gentry.
  • Oakland Raiders’ 27th pick (Safety Jonathan Abram) was received from the Amari Cooper trade to the Dallas Cowboys.
  • Oakland Raiders’ 24th pick (RB Josh Jacobs) and 196th pick (trade to New York Jets) were part of the Khalil Mack trade to the Chicago Bears.
  • New York Giants’ 17th pick (DL Dexter Lawrence) and 95th pick (LB Oshane Ximines) were part of the Odell Beckham Jr. trade to the Cleveland Browns.
  • Denver Broncos trade for QB Joe Flacco with the Baltimore Ravens for 113th pick (RB Justice Hill).
  • Seattle Seahawks trade EDGE Frank Clark and 84th pick (DT Khalen Saunders) to Kansas City Chiefs for 29th (DE L.J. Collier), 92nd (trade to New York Jets) and 2020 second rounder. Chiefs extended Clark’s contract to 5 years, 105.5 million dollars.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers traded up to 10th (LB Devin Bush) with the Denver Broncos and gave up the 20th (TE Noah Fant), 52nd (trade to Bengals) and 2020 3rd round pick.
  • Denver Broncos traded with Cincinnati Bengals to move up. Broncos received the 42nd pick (QB Drew Lock). Bengals receive No. 52 (TE Drew Sample), No. 125 (DT Renell Wren) and No. 182 (RB Trayveon Williams).
  • The Bengals moved up later to draft QB Ryan Finley with the 104th pick. They traded with the San Francisco 49ers, who received the 110th (P Mitch Wishnowsky) and 183rd (T Justin Skule).
  • After drafting EDGE Rashaan Gary with the 12th pick, the Packers moved up from 30 to 21 and selected DB Darnell Savage. The Seattle Seahawks received multiple picks which they used to trade later on in the draft. Those picks were No. 30 (trade to Giants), No. 114 (trade to Minnesota), No. 118 (trade to New England).
  • That Packers trade sparked several trades late in the first round as the Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens swapped picks. The Eagles drafted OT Andre Dillard 22nd overall. The Ravens drafted WR Marquise “Hollywood” Brown with the 25th pick. They also received the 127th (CB Iman Marshall) and 197th picks (QB Trace McSorley).
  • The Washington Redskins traded back into the first round after drafting QB Dwayne Haskins 15th overall.  The Redskins received the 26th pick (Edge Montez Sweat) from the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts receive 46th pick (traded to the Browns), and a  2020 second-round pick.
  • The New York Giants also traded back into the first round and selected CB Deandre Baker with the 30th pick. The Seahawks received even more picks, No. 37 (trade to Panthers), No. 132 (S Ugochukwu Amadi), and No. 142 (LB Ben Burr-Kirven).
  • The Atlanta Falcons weren’t done either. After a surprising pick with the 14th overall (OG Chris Lindstrom), they wanted to trade up and draft another surprising OL with the 31st pick (OT Kaleb McGary), they also received the 203rd pick and selected WR Marcus Green. The Los Angeles Rams got a few picks back in return. The 45th (trade to Patriots) and the 79th (DB David Long)
  • After the Jacksonville Jaguars landed EDGE Josh Allen with the 7th overall pick, they were looking to get the guy they wanted all along, and they traded up earlier in the 2nd round. With the 35th pick, the Jaguars got OT Jawaan Taylor (1st round projected). They also added the 140th (Ryquell Armstead) and 235th (DT Dontavius Russell). The Raiders received the 38th, and 109th picks which were later traded.
  • With all the news about QB Cam Newton’s health being in question, the Carolina Panthers look to help protect him.  They did so by trading up in the 2nd round to take OT Greg Little at 37. The Seahawks received the 47th pick (DB Marquise Blair) and 77th (trade to Patriots). The Panthers also drafted QB Will Grier in the 3rd round in late of Newton’s health and maybe ended of a career with Panthers.
  • As part of a big run of drafting offensive linemen, the Buffalo Bills had their eyes on trading up to draft OT Cody Ford with the 38th pick. The Raiders would receive the 40th pick (DB Trayvon Mullen) and 158th (trade to Dallas).
  • The Cleveland Browns had a quiet draft this year after the trade to get WR Odell Beckham Jr. and adding RB Kareem Hunt to the team, but they wanted to get “greedy” and traded up to get CB Greedy Williams with the 46th pick. The Colts received the 49th (LB Ben Banogu) and 144th pick (S Marvell Tell III).
  • The Kansas City Chiefs and LA Rams made a desperation trade as the Chiefs moved up to take WR Mecole Hardman with the 56th after finding out about WR Tyreke Hill’s video that leaked. The Chiefs may be in trouble if Hill is found guilty, but Hardman is a poor man’s Hill, and the two could play off one another if Hill can play. The Rams received the 61st (DB Taylor Rapp) and 167th pick (traded to Philadelphia).
  • The Rams would later trade up to take RB Darrell Henderson with the 70th pick. That is a move that could prove to be valuable with the status of RB Todd Gurley up in the air right now. In return, the Buccaneers received the 94th (DB Jamel Dean) and the 99th picks (S Mike Edwards).
  • After both QB Kyler Murray and Daniel Jones were taken in the top six, Miami passed on QB Dwayne Haskins and drafted DL Christian Wilkins with the 13th overall pick. They also traded for former 1st rounder QB Josh Rosen later in the evening on Thursday to secure their QB spot. The Miami Dolphins received Rosen from the Arizona Cardinals for the 62nd pick (WR Andy Isabella) and 2020 fifth-round pick.

 

Players who fell in the draft?

  • The Washington Redskins drafted Dwayne Haskins at 15th and Montez Sweat at 26th. Haskins was a projected top 10 pick with several teams having interest in trading up for him. Sweat’s late injury put a bit of worry on the faces of some teams. But the Redskins saw the opportunity and grab it.
  • One of the top five offensive linemen fell to the second round and drafted by the team that mocked him going. That was Jawaan Taylor and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
  • One of the top five WRs wasn’t even the top 10th picked in the draft. The Seattle Seahawks traded up into the second round to draft him. That player was D.K. Metcalf, and the Seahawks drafted him in light of whether this may be WR Doug Baldwin’s farewell after battling injuries over the last couple of seasons.
  • OL Cody Ford also dropped out of the first round after being a possibility for the Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons who surprised us with other picks.
  • DB Taylor Rapp was likely a late first to an early second rounder, but he fell to the Los Angeles Rams in the late second.
  • WRs Hakeem Butler and A.J. Brown were expected off the board earlier than where they ended up. Both of these could likely be stars in the NFL and their teams right away. The Arizona Cardinals drafted Butler and Brown was drafted by the Tennessee Titans.
  • Let’s also not forget to mention this year’s Mr. Irrelevant, TE Caleb Wilson from UCLA. Wilson was selected as the last pick of the 2019 draft by the Arizona Cardinals.

 

Players who rose in the draft?

  • As certain players fell, others raised, and QB Daniel Jones was the biggest one of them. With the 6th pick in the draft, the New York Giants selected Jones as the potential heir to Eli Manning. Now I saw them drafting Jones at some point in the draft because he has ties to the Manning family, but I didn’t think it would be 6th.
  • The Oakland Raiders selected DL Clelin Ferrell instead of drafting EDGE guys like Josh Allen, Rashaan Gary or even Ed Olivier. Ferrell was also surprised about the pick at 4th overall. The Raiders continued to select players from both Alabama and Clemson for most of the night.
  • The Atlanta Falcons surprised us all by going with OG Chris Lindstrom at 14, but trading back into the first round to take OT Kaleb McGary was a big shock. Although, after listening to an interview by Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff, it was the guys they wanted and felt that if they waited too long for McGary in the second or third, he wouldn’t have been able. So let’s see how this one plays out.
  • The Green Bay Packers wanted to be “Savage” on defense and traded up to get DB Darnell Savage in the 1st round. For the sake of the Cheese heads, I hope this pick works out.
  • Also, DL Jeff Simmons, he was drafted by the host city, Tennessee Titans in the first round and he wasn’t on the board as a first rounder. The Titans did make up for it with other picks like A.J. Brown later in the draft, but let’s see how this one works.

 

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What do you think about the NFL draft? How did your team’s draft go? Do you approve? Let us know in the comments!

Winners and losers of the 2019 NFL Draft

The 2019 NFL Draft officially wrapped up yesterday. Now that we know where these new NFL players will be playing, we can take a look at which teams won or lost this draft. After evaluating the picks for every NFL team over the last day, I’ve put together my list of three winners and three losers of the 2019 NFL Draft.

NFL Draft, Chicago 2016” by Mary is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Winners

Arizona Cardinals

Draft Picks

  • Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray(No. 1)
  • Washington CB Byron Murphy (No. 33)
  • Massachusetts WR Andy Isabella (No. 62)
  • Boston College DE Zach Allen (No. 65)
  • Iowa State WR Hakeem Butler (No. 103)
  • Alabama S Deionte Thompson (No. 139)
  • Fresno State WR Keesean Johnson (No. 174)
  • Georgia C Lamont Gaillard (No. 179)
  • Morgan State OT Joshua Miles (No. 248)
  • Temple DT Michael Dogbe (No. 249)
  • UCLA TE Caleb Wilson (No. 254)

After going 3-13 last season, the Cardinals had a lot of work to do in this draft. Well, their worked seemed to pay off. Starting with QB Kyler Murray, the Cardinals were able to walk out of the draft with several probable day one starters. CB Byron Murphy, WR Andy Isabella, DE Zach Allen, WR Hakeem Butler and S Deionte Thompson are all potential starters for the Cardinals this season. When you throw Murray in that mix, the Cardinals got six players with their first six picks who could start right away.

In addition to getting several potential starters, the Cardinals got great value with several of their picks. Byron Murphy was arguably the top CB in this draft, and the Cardinals were able to get him in the second-round. Isabella and Allen went right about where they should have, but getting Hakeem Butler at No. 103 and Deionte Thompson at No. 139 are great value picks.

This draft class might not get the Cardinals to compete in the NFL right away, but they’ve got a ton of potential in this draft class. This draft by the Cardinals could end up being the best in this class when we look back on it in a few years.

 

New England Patriots

Draft Picks

  • Arizona State WR N’Keal Harry (No. 32)
  • Vanderbilt CB Joejuan Williams (No. 45)
  • Michigan DE Chase Winovich (No. 77)
  • Alabama RB Damien Harris (No. 87)
  • West Virginia OT Yodny Cajuste (No. 101)
  • Arkansas OG Hjalte Froholdt (No. 118)
  • Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham (No. 133)
  • Maryland DE Byron Cowart (No. 159)
  • Stanford P Jake Bailey (No. 163)
  • Mississippi CB Ken Webster(No. 252)

When I look at the first five picks for the Patriots, I see five guys who can make an impact for this team right away. N’Keal Harry is their new big red zone target, Joejuan Williams is a big corner who will get a ton of time opposite Stephon Gilmore, Chase Winovich will play significant time on the defensive line, Damien Harris will add to a strong backfield, and Yodny Cajuste will get a good amount of time in the Patriots’ offensive line rotation.

Skipping down to QB Jarrett Stidham, would anyone be surprised if he ends up being the guy to take over for Tom Brady when he finally decides to retire? He has the opportunity to learn from one of the greatest QBs in the history of the NFL. Stidham didn’t really fit well in Auburn’s system, but Belichick is one of the best at getting his system to adapt to his players.

I’m not sure how the Patriots did it, but they ended up with a bunch of guys who just seem to be players the Patriots can get the most out of. These guys may not be stars in the NFL, but they’re for sure guys the Patriots will turn into productive NFL players.

 

Chicago Bears

Draft Picks

  • Iowa State RB David Montgomery (No. 73)
  • Georgia WR Riley Ridley (No. 126)
  • Kansas State CB Duke Shelley (No. 205)
  • Florida Atlantic RB Kerrith White (No. 222)
  • Valdosta State CB Stephen Denmark (No. 238)

For not having a pick until the third-round, the Chicago Bears did really well in this draft. I love the selection of RB David Montgomery. Getting him at No. 73 is great value. I believe he’s one of the best RBs in this class. Don’t be surprised if Montgomery ends up being the next rookie RB to lead the NFL in rushing.

At pick No. 126, Riley Ridley is another great value. I thought he would go in the second-round. He didn’t put up a ton of production in college, but his potential is far greater than where he was selected. He should only add to a group of WRs who were pretty strong last season, helping Mitch Trubisky even more.

Their last three selections were great depth pieces. I think we also have to look at which UDFAs the Bears signed after the draft. Some notable players the Bears signed are WR Emmanuel Hall and TE Dax Raymond, who are both players I expected to be drafted.

Finally, I factored in the Bears’ trade for Khalil Mack last season. They may not have had a first-round pick in this draft, but Mack is far better than anyone the Bears would have selected. Mack will be far more productive than any player selected in this draft in 2019.

 

Losers

Houston Texans

Draft Picks

  • Alabama State OT Tytus Howard (No. 23)
  • Kentucky CB Lonnie Johnson (No. 54)
  • Northern Illinois OT Max Scharping (No. 55)
  • San Diego State TE Kahale Warring (No. 86)
  • Texas DE Charles Omenihu (No. 161)
  • Central Michigan CB Xavier Crawford(No. 195)
  • Texas A&M RB Cullen Gillaspia (No. 220)

I liked the position the Texans drafted with the No. 23 pick, but I hate the player. Tytus Howard is not a player who should have been selected in the first-round. I would have been okay with them selecting him in the second-round, but not the first. There were far better lineman available at the time. I’m not sure he’s the answer to protecting Deshaun Watson.

When I look at the selections of Lonnie Johnson, Max Scharping and Kahale Warring, I don’t see any of them being instant impact players for this team. I thought the Texans made a lot of reach picks in this draft. They may end up proving me wrong, but I didn’t like the value of these guys where the Texans drafted them.

 

New York Giants

Draft Picks

  • Duke QB Daniel Jones (No. 6)
  • Clemson DT Dexter Lawrence (No. 17)
  • Georgia CB Deandre Baker (No. 30)
  • Old Dominion DE Oshane Ximines (No. 95)
  • Notre Dame CB Julian Love (No. 108)
  • Wisconsin LB Ryan Connelly (No. 143)
  • Auburn WR Darius Slayton (No. 171)
  • Washburn CB Corey Ballentine (No. 180)
  • Kentucky OT George Asafo-Adjei (No. 232)
  • Syracuse DT Chris Slayton (No. 245) 

Let’s start with Daniel Jones at No. 6. The Giants drafted Jones because he has similar traits to Eli Manning. I hate to break it to the Giants, but Eli Manning’s style of play doesn’t win games in the NFL anymore. This is a new age in the NFL. I’m not sure a QB who can’t even complete 60% of his passes is the answer. Huge reach with the sixth pick.

I like Dexter Lawrence and Deandre Baker as players, but I really hated how the Giants didn’t address their WR need with one of those picks. Instead, they waited until pick No. 171 to grab Darius Slayton. Slayton is not going to replace Odell Beckham Jr.

If I had to say one nice thing about the Giants’ draft, it’d be that they have a nice new pair of CBs in Baker and Julian Love. I think Love could have gone a lot higher than No. 108, so that was a great value. Overall though, I don’t believe the Giants made the right moves in this draft.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Draft Picks

  • LSU LB Devin White (No. 5)
  • Central Michigan DB Sean Bunting (No. 39)
  • Auburn CB Jamel Dean (No. 94)
  • Kentucky S Mike Edwards (No. 99)
  • Iowa OLB Anthony Nelson (No. 107)
  • Utah K Matt Gay (No. 145)
  • Bowling Green WR Scott Miller (No. 208)
  • Missouri DT Terry Beckner Jr. (No. 215)

I loved the pick of LB Devin White at No. 5. I think he’s going to be a great NFL LB. However, pass rusher Josh Allen was still on the board. If Allen ends up being a big time sack artist, Bucs fans may end up hating the pick of White. Still a good pick, though.

After the pick of White, I didn’t like what the Bucs did. Sean Bunting was taken too early, as well as Jamel Dean. Skip down to K Matt Gay, and you’ve got another guy who was taken too early. He is a K after all. The Buccaneers had the opportunity to draft players who were higher ranked, as well as who fit their team needs.

Not addressing their biggest team needs is another major reason why the Bucs were losers in this draft. They didn’t grab an offensive lineman or RB, which were two positions they really needed to address for this upcoming season. Not sure what happened after the selection of Devin White.

Fourth Quarter Sports’ final 2019 NFL mock draft

Tomorrow is officially the biggest day in the NFL offseason. It’s draft day baby! It’s time of the year we finally get to see just what our favorite teams are planning on doing for the 2020 season! The internet has been flooded with mock drafts and opinions on who is taking who from fans and experts alike. Here at Fourth Quarter Sports, we wanted to join the party!

With most of the smoke screen’s up, and all the rumors out there, Joel, RahimAli and myself put together our thoughts on tomorrow nights first round! Below you’ll find our picks for each team, along with a breakdown of some of our most notable picks.

 

Mock Draft breakdowns

IX8A4449” by Maize & Blue Nation is licensed under CC BY 2.0
RahimAli

I think it’s obvious Kyler Murray will be the No. 1 overall pick at this point. It’s going to be amazing to see what new Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury can do with a talented quarterback like Murray. The question that remains is, what are they going to do with second-year quarterback Josh Rosen?

For the Niners, this pick makes perfect sense. They didn’t do as good as they had hoped for last year with the additions of Jimmy Garappolo and Jerrick McKinnon, but both of those guys got injured and missed the rest of the season. So the Niners should leave the offense alone for now, especially after drafting to protect their quarterback last year.

The Jets’ offense is still a question, but they did find ways to stay in games with the offense they did have, so let’s get them better on the defensive line. The Raiders, oh Raiders! We could honestly go anywhere with this first pick, but they have three picks in the first round thanks to the Amari Cooper to Dallas and Khalil Mack to Chicago trades. The fourth pick belongs to the Raiders, and with that pick, they will try to find their replacement for Khalil Mack in edge rusher, Josh Allen. The Raiders will then draft TE Noah Fant to replace the loss of Jared Cook to the Saints, and add RB Josh Jacobs to add more depth at a position they just couldn’t get a handle on over the past few years.

Now I know the pick for Dwayne Haskins may surprise you for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but they could probably get their guy at 10, so they trade with the Denver Broncos. Let’s be honest, the Broncos are completely lost at QB and are looking for anything and everything that will get them back on the right side of things. They signed Case Keenum last year, and then traded him to Washington after trading for Joe Flacco, but Flacco isn’t the best option either. Tampa Bay is looking for a guy who could help them with the weak defense they had last year. That guy could be linebacker Devin White.

The New York Giants and Jacksonville Jaguars are also two teams who could’ve used a QB with their pick, but it appears that neither one will get one. The Giants actually take wide receiver D.K. Metcalf to replace their loss of Odell Beckham Jr. They also did go with QB Daniel Jones in hopes that he could potentially take over for Eli Manning.

With Haskins and Metcalf already off the board, the Jaguars would settle for an offensive linemen to both protect newly acquired QB Nick Foles, and help the run game of RB Leonard Fournette. That offensive linemen is Jawaan Taylor, and he will be asked to do more earlier on the season, as they try to reclaim the division.

The Detroit Lions’ biggest struggle wasn’t on offense, but instead it was on defense. They could honestly use a lot of help in different areas, but we’ll have them take an EDGE like Rashan Gary.

The Buffalo Bills used free agency to help them improve themselves with the offensive weapons, and their defense is fairly decent, but they need to worry about one thing. That one thing is protecting second year QB Josh Allen, who will be one of the young bright stars in the league if he can stay healthy. Hopefully drafting an OT like Andre Dillard will help with that.

The Cincinnati Bengals are like the Lions in the fact that they need more than what they can get. Though the offense took a big hit with injuries to the QB, WR, TE and RB, all those guys are expected back ready and healthy, so the Bengals will focus on getting themselves an EDGE in Montez Sweat.

The Green Bay Packers are going to be a totally new looking team. They will have a new head coach and several different players. The one constant is QB Aaron Rodgers, and they will look to the draft to find him more offensive weapons. With the 12th pick, Green Bay will draft TE T.J. Hockenson as the future of Green Bay with the injuries and age of Jimmy Graham being in question. The late first round pick, 30th, will be a speedy receiver who will come in to take the place of Randall Cobb, who has moved on to Dallas.

The Miami Dolphins are most certainly looking for a QB in this draft, but don’t be surprised if they try to trade up to get Haskins or Murray. I think Drew Lock might be a better pick for how they like to run their offense. Let’s see how the Dolphins’ players around him can play though after being very inconsistent all of last season.

At 14, the Atlanta Falcons have their man. Okay, we all believe they should be trying to draft an OL to help protect QB Matt Ryan, but when one of the best defensive linemen falls to you, there’s no way you pass him up. Plus, the Falcons are known for going defense early in drafts, so that’s why Ed Olivier makes perfect season. Pairing him up with Grady Jarrett could be good for the Falcons, who struggled defensively last season.

Washington now has three different QB’s on the roster, and that’s why we can’t see them taking one in the first round. Whether it’s Colt McCoy, Case Keenum or Alex Smith who starts for the Redskins, they need to find a way to protect and keep them healthy, so the addition of an OT like Jonah Williams would help!

The Carolina Panthers offense wasn’t the problem at all, despite watching QB Cam Newton struggle to play through an injury all season. We aren’t focusing on the offense, because the defensive is the bigger priority. They too need an Edge rusher who can disrupt the opposing QBs, especially being in a division like the NFC South. That’s why Clelin Ferrell is the perfect pick here.

The Minnesota Vikings are one of those teams who are almost ready to get to the big game, they just need a few more pieces to help with that. Those pieces are on the offensive line, and an addition of Cody Ford could be a huge plus for the Vikings as they try to give Kirk Cousins more time to do what he does best.

The Tennessee Titans could go with many different positions here, but with an aging defensive line, it’s only fitting they go with a younger defensive linemen in Dexter Lawrence, as he hopes to lead the Titans in sacks and hopefully help them get back into the playoffs.

The Pittsburgh Steelers could go in any direction, but we know the offense will figure things out without having to worry about the drama of Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, so we’ll leave the offense allow for now. Instead, let’s help them get better on defense with one of the best linebackers available in the draft, Devin Bush!

Had the Seattle Seahawks and QB Russell Wilson not agreed to a deal, this pick might have happened earlier, and with different people involved. Fortunately, it was a done deal this past week, and now the Seahawks can turn their attention to the defensive side of the ball. There is always going to be the defensive first when it comes to the Seattle Seahawks and their draft picks. This year will be no different as they select DL Christian Wilkins.

The Baltimore Ravens pick is pretty obvious. They are going to go one of two ways with a receiver or a DB. Given the style of offense that the Ravens play with Lamar Jackson at QB, I am going to pass on them taking a wide receiver here. Instead, they will take safety Jonathan Abram to try to help feel the void that is left with Eric Weddle’s departure.

The Houston Texans have had some success with their offense and how things have been going for them! They will need to address the aging defense and having a young corner back like Greedy Williams could definitely help as they look to go even further.

The Philadelphia Eagles could also use the help at cornerback as they saw what Saints QB Drew Brees and WR Micheal Thomas did to them twice last season. An extra DB to help them cover the better receivers in the NFC could help them be a Super Bowl team again and I think Byron Murphy will be a good addition.

The Indianapolis Colts shocked the world last year the way they were able to make the playoffs. The good thing about this pick is that they know what direction they want to go in, but it’s a matter of which one they want to draft.  After watching the young defense hold teams down, the offense led by QB Andrew Luck would turn it up. They need to get him more weapons though and that’s where this pick comes in at. Marquise Brown will be a nice complimentary piece to the weapons like T.Y. Hilton, Eric Ebron, and Marlon Mack.

For the Chargers, it’s a pick that will help add a few more years onto QB Philip Rivers playing career. That pick is offensive guard Chris Lindstrom.

Had it been the Kansas City Chiefs pick , they would’ve taken a receiver because we know how important it is to have somebody who can catch the ball deep for the arm of QB Patrick Mahomes. It’s also a security blanket for if anything does go wrong with the investigation of WR Tyreke Hill. That’s why A.J. Brown would be a nice addition to the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Los Angeles Rams are probably the most stacked team on the defensive side of the ball and they don’t really need to go out and draft much, but they will need to think about the future of their offensive line and QB and that’s why this pick to grab Garrett Bradbury makes perfect sense. It will allow him a year or so to develop into one of the young offensive players.

But now it’s the pick that everyone is always interested in. That pick is the pick of the Super Bowl winning champions, New England Patriots. It’s a tough decision because you want to see them go for a tight end, but with both Hornsenon and Fant have already gone off the board this late, we could see the Patriots find a steal in a player like Brian Burns who has fallen in the draft because of other positions on the offensive side that needed to be addressed. So why not take advantage of another man’s treasure.

 

jac.fbc.vsColorado.09.17.16.0505” by Maize & Blue Nation is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Dennis

This draft is a polar opposite from last years draft. The year before was loaded with quarterbacks and offensive weapons while this one is loaded on the defensive side of the ball. All positions have crazy first round depth and all can be major play makers for their respected teams.

Arizona fans will see yet another quarterback took in the first round this year, this time a Heisman Trophy winner in the name of Kyler Murray. Murray going here is not that much of a surprise. The only question left is where Josh Rosen is going to go and how much are the Cardinals going to get for him.

I think the biggest surprise in the top ten is going to be TJ Hockenson, Tight End from Iowa going as high as eight to the Detriot Lions. Matt Patricia is a protege of Bill Belichick and I think he is going to try and model his offense around the great one. Though I think it is a stretch for a Tight End, but he is versatile and I think used well could produce for the Lions.

Another surprise to round out the top ten will be Drew Lock going to the Broncos. Rumors have it that Elway is in love with the quarterback out of Missouri and I think we can all say that Joe Flacco isn’t the long term answer for them. Expect them to sit Lock behind Flacco, learn a little and take over as early as this season.

A pick that I really love is Marquise Brown, a wide receiver from Oklahoma going to the Redskins at fifteen. The Skins have not seen a great receiver since the days of Art Monk running routes. With Derrius Guice getting healthy alongside Alex Smith and newly acquired Case Keenum, I think this is a great opportunity for them to add more weapons for the future.

RaShan Gary once considered a top ten pick, drops in the laps of Pittsburgh at twenty. I am a Michigan fan and I will be the first to say that Gary is highly overrated. Never produced the numbers many in Ann Arbor expected from a top recruit in the nation. Really is a workout warrior and I think tape really shows that. An environment like Pittsburgh could change that though.

At twenty-two, I think the Raven’s will go with EDGE rusher Brian Burns. To me, this is a typical pick for the Ravens who lost half their defense to free agency this year. Needing to replace the likes of Suggs and Preston Smith, Baltimore is going to need rebuild in that area. Burns will play a pivotal part in that process.

At twenty-four and twenty-seven, the Raiders add to their offense with weapons like RB Josh Jacobs from Alabama and TE Noah Fant from Iowa. The second TE took from Iowa, Fant will replace the missed Jared cook in the Silver and Black. A better pass catcher than a blocker, Fant will provide a safety blanket for Carr. With the news of Marshawn Lynch retiring, Oakland now has a need at running back and Jacobs is the best option. Built like a tank Jacobs was the best runner in the three-headed monster that formed the Bama backfield. He is also the best pass catcher the Tide had to offer as well.

All in all, I feel there will not be many shockers in this first round. I will say though I wouldn’t be surprised if the Saints trade up into the first round to take one of the premier defensive players this draft has produced.

 

Devin White, SELU vs LSU at Tiger Stadium, September 8th 2018” by Tammy Anthony Baker, Photographer is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
Joel

Despite the rumors we’ve heard about Kyler Murray not going No. 1 overall to the Cardinals, I still believe he’s going there. If he goes number one, Nick Bosa is a sure fire second pick. The next few picks of Quinnen Williams and Josh Allen coming off the board are pretty standard compared to most mock draft’s I’ve seen.

The biggest variation between the three of us starts at pick five, where I have the Bucs taking OT Jawaan Taylor. I believe the Bucs need to get better along the offensive line if Jameis Winston is actually going to be what he was drafted to be. The back and forth rumors of the Giants taking or not taking Dwayne Haskins at six hasn’t swayed my pick. I believe that’s where the Giants should go. At pick seven, the Jags need to get Foles a big target, which is why D.K. Metcalf comes off the board there.

Now let’s skip down a bit to where the Titans pick. You’ll notice I have them taking Rashan Gary. If you’ve seen a lot of mock drafts, you probably haven’t seen many where Gary is out of the top 10, if not the top five. I believe Gary will fall because he doesn’t stick out to me as being on the same level as the guys who are slated to go above him.

Another interesting pick I have comes right after the Titans. I have the Steelers selecting Antonio Brown’s cousin, Marquise Brown. I think a lot of people want to see that happen, mostly for the drama it will cause, although that’s a reason why it may not happen.

I think the last really interesting pick I have in the first-round would have to be QB Daniel Jones going to the Chargers. Jones will become the next franchise QB for the Chargers. He’ll sit behind Rivers for a year or two, and then take over the starting role after watching and learning from a great QB.

Frank Clark trade

Frank Clark trade: Grades for the Chiefs and Seahawks

Frank Clark has been traded to the Chiefs! How will this impact both teams? Find out our grades for both teams involved in the Frank Clark trade!

Frank Clark trade
IMG_722” by M I K E M O R R I S is licensed under CC BY 2.0

After being franchised tagged by the Seattle Seahawks, it became quite clear Frank Clark was likely not signing the one year deal. He wanted to be paid like an elite pass rusher, but the Seahawks didn’t want to go that high on price, especially after just breaking the bank for QB Russell Wilson.

After no progress had been made on a deal to sign Frank Clark long term, the Seahawks have decided to send their star pass rusher elsewhere, facilitating a Frank Clark trade with the Kansas City Chiefs.

I’m going to give each team a grade for this trade which shakes up the NFL Draft, but first, let’s take a look at what each team received.

 

Trade Recap:

Seahawks receive: Chiefs’ 2019 first-round pick (No. 29), a 2020 second-round pick and a swap of a 2019 third-round pick.

Chiefs receive: DE Frank Clark and a swap of a 2019 third-round pick.

No that we’ve recapped what each team received in this trade, let’s get into some team grades for the Frank Clark trade.

 

Seattle Seahawks

In my opinion, the Frank Clark trade makes perfect sense for the Seahawks. Frank Clark was franchised tagged earlier this offseason, but the two sides had yet to come to an agreement to keep him around long term. The Dallas Cowboys signing DE DeMarcus Lawrence to a huge contract not too long ago probably had something to do with that.

Clark wanted to be paid about the same amount of money Lawrence received from the Cowboys. I think it’s safe to say the Seahawks didn’t see him as that type of player. After earning 13.0 sacks last season, it’s clear Clark can make a huge impact on a defense. It will be tough for Seattle to replace his production, but they now have the draft capital to replace him with production at a much cheaper cost.

In return for Frank Clark, the Seahawks receive the No. 29 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. They also get a second-round pick next year, in addition to swapping a third-rounder with the Chiefs this year. Getting that second-round pick in 2020 was nice, but let’s focus on the first-round pick this season.

Seattle already held the No. 21 pick in this draft, meaning they have two first-rounders now. The No. 29 pick was a huge get for this team, especially considering they don’t have a second-round pick and only had four picks total in this draft before the trade.

Now having two first-rounders, if the Seahawks wish to do so, they can trade up in this draft to get an elite player of their choosing. Or, if they choose to do so, they can stay put at No. 21 and No. 29 and select two top players in this draft.

To recap, losing Frank Clark hurts, but he’s not the type of player who makes this Seattle defense significantly worse if he’s not around. He wasn’t worth the money for the Seahawks. Instead, they can now focus their draft on filling some needs with cheaper players who can be just as impactful. The Frank Clark trade was a smart move by Seattle.

Grade: A

 

Kansas City Chiefs

I was just telling you about how it was a smart move for the Seahawks to not pay Frank Clark DeMarcus Lawrence type money. Well, the Chiefs did give him that money.

After trading for Clark, the Chiefs signed him to a five year, $105.5 million deal with $63.5 million in guaranteed money. His contract is larger than Lawrence’s overall, but with slightly less guaranteed. I personally don’t think Clark is on the same level as Lawrence, so I’m not a huge fan of this signing.

It’s not just about giving that contract to Clark though. It’s also about the salary cap. Before this trade, the Chiefs had $21.9 million in cap space. With this signing, most of, if not all of that cap space will be gone. That will only create problems for them in the future.

Although I’m not a huge fan of the deal the Chiefs gave Clark, I do think the Chiefs got a great player. He’s totaled 35.0 sacks in his first four NFL seasons. He’s been very productive rushing the passer, and should only help this Chiefs’ defense, especially after the movement they’ve had on that side of the ball this offseason.

In terms of the picks the Chiefs gave up, I think it may have been a little too much. Had they given up just a first-rounder, I think that would’ve been perfect. I believe the first-rounder and second-rounder next year were too much. With that being said, I do like that the Chiefs went and got a proven NFL pass rusher. That’s better than reaching for a guy at No. 29 who may or may not turn out to be a good NFL player.

To recap the Chiefs’ end of the Frank Clark trade, I love the player they got. Frank Clark is a legit NFL pass rusher. I think that’s better than reaching for a guy who may not pan out. The Chiefs got a great player, but I believe they gave up too much for him. They did that while paying him a crazy contract. Good move to get a talented player, but was it the best business decision?

Grade: C

Seven-round Green Bay Packer mock draft: 2.0

The NFL Draft is less than three weeks away, and I’m continuing my series of seven-round mock drafts focused on the Green Bay Packers.

Green Bay Packers” by Mike Morbeck is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

As I mentioned in my first mock draft, I will be using Matt Miller’s “big board” from Bleacher Report as the overall ranking of the available players. I used the same criteria for the second draft as I did in the first one, so without further adieu, let’s take a look at 2.0.

 

ROUND 1, PICK 12

  • T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
  • Previous pick: Unchanged

With potential pick DT Ed Oliver off the board, Hockenson falls to me at 12 again, and I can’t help but take him here, as he’s the highest-rated remaining player. Great in-line blocker and great receiver, Hockenson is the best all-around tight end in the draft and is a perfect fit in head coach Matt LaFleur’s new offense. I believe if Oliver is available here, GM Brian Gutekunst will have a tough decision.

 

ROUND 1, PICK 30

  • A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
  • Previous pick: Unchanged

Brown at 30 is a steal, as he rising up draft boards. He fits beautifully as Green Bay’s new slot option, as he is a monstrous version of departed receiver Randall Cobb. Brown had a private visit with the Packers at his pro day.

 

ROUND 2, PICK 44

  • Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, FS, Florida
  • Previous pick: Johnathan Abram, S, Miss St

Gardner-Johnson is a better fit for the Packers than Abram, as Gardner-Johnson is a more natural free safety. Gardner-Johnson would start from day 1 alongside newly signed Adrian Amos. Gardner-Johnson is an athletic freak and is a free safety with cornerback traits who had 71 tackles, three sacks, four INTs and two defensive touchdowns for the Gators in 2018.

 

ROUND 3, PICK 75

  • Max Scharping, OT, Northern Illinois
  • Previous pick: Darrell Henderson, RB, Memphis

The Packers pick up Green Bay-native Scharping in the third to be the successor to right tackle Bryan Bulaga. Scharping is a behemoth of a man at 6’6″/327 lbs, with college starting experience at both tackle spots. Scharping would instantly bolster the depth of the offensive line and give the Packers an insurance plan for if/when Bulaga gets hurt. Started all 52 possible career collegiate games.

 

ROUND 4, PICK 114

  • Darrell Henderson, RB, Memphis
  • Previous pick: Darnell Savage, Jr, S, Maryland

With two fourth round picks within four spots of each other, the Packers have the luxury of selecting an offensive skill player. I had Henderson slotted to the Packers in the third round in my previous mock, but he falls to the fourth here. The explosive Henderson would provide a new dimension to the backfield, while providing insurance to the potential injury-prone Aaron Jones.

 

ROUND 4, PICK 118

  • Cameron Smith, ILB, USC
  • Previous pick: Michael Dieter, OL, Wisconsin

Smith has drawn comparisons to current Packer linebacker Blake Martinez. Smith was a four-year starter at USC and averaged 89 tackles per season. Smith is said to have superb instincts, and could form a very good inside duo with Martinez. With the Packers very thin at inside linebacker, Smith would be a valuable addition in the fourth round with starting potential.

 

ROUND 5, PICK 150

  • Josh Oliver, TE, San Jose State
  • Previous pick: Dru Samia, OL, Oklahoma

Tight ends Jimmy Graham and Marcedes Lewis aren’t getting any younger, and Lewis provides very little athletically. After taking Hockenson in the first, Oliver would give the Packers another athletic, receiving tight end. Oliver isn’t as polished of a blocker, but could be a weapon over the middle in the passing game. Oliver’s 4.63-forty time was tied for third-best with Alabama’s Irv Smith from the tight end group at the Combine. Again, LaFleur’s offense relies on numerous two-tight end sets, so you can’t have too many bodies on the roster.

 

ROUND 6, PICK 185

  • Ross Pierschbacher, OL, Alabama
  • Previous pick: Renell Wren, DL, Arizona State

The Packers get a back-up interior offensive lineman after nabbing an offensive tackle earlier in the draft. Perischbacher was a four-year starter for the Crimson Tide, a team that went 53-5 over his four years. Pierschbacher played all three interior positions for Alabama, finishing his career at center as a senior. Playing in an NFL training ground under Nick Saban, Pierschbacher could step in and contribute if needed in his rookie season and would give the Pack fantastic depth on the line.

 

ROUND 6, PICK 194

  • Daylon Mack, DL, Texas A&M
  • Previous pick: Unchanged

I nab Mack in the sixth again. Mack has B.J. Raji-type size and could be a great rotational piece for the Packers, providing them with great depth on the defensive line.

 

ROUND 7, PICK 226

  • Maxx Crosby, EDGE, Eastern Michigan
  • Previous pick: Trey Pipkins, OL, Sioux Falls

The Packers get a developmental edge rusher with some athleticism with their final pick. After investing $118 million in two edge rushers in the offseason, the Packers have the luxury of waiting until the seventh round to address the position. Crosby was named a first-team all-MAC selection in 2018 after posting 70 tackles, 19 for loss, 7.5 sacks, and four forced fumbles in 12 starts. With some coaching and adjusting to speed of NFL game, Crosby could be a good find in the seventh.

 

************************

There you have it folks, my Packers mock draft: 2.0.

I went four-out-of-five picks on the offensive side of the ball to start, but I think providing Aaron Rodgers with more weapons is what this team needs. The defense was addressed in free agency for a reason (even though there is always room for depth). I think by getting two potential starters in Gardner-Johnson and Smith would go a long way in helping the defense improve even more in 2019.

Mock draft version 3.0 coming soon!

 

 

Five NFL teams who could unexpectedly target a first round QB

The Arizona Cardinals, Oakland Raiders, New York Giants, Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots. What do all these teams have in common? They’ve all been heavily linked to a first round QB in the 2019 NFL Draft. 

The teams mentioned above are the teams we all expect to target a QB in the first round of the upcoming draft, along with a few others such as the Saints, Steelers and Chargers.

While these teams have all been heavily linked to first round QBs, there are several others teams who could surprise us all by selecting a QB in the first round when their time comes. Let’s take a look at five of those teams who could surprise us with their first round selections.

First round QB - Detroit Lions
Matthew Stafford” by Mike Morbeck is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

 

1. Detroit Lions

Everyone believes the Lions are set at the QB position, but it actually might be time for them to move on. Since entering the league in 2009, Matthew Stafford has led the Lions to the playoffs three times. In every one of those playoff appearances, the Lions have lost. Stafford is 0-3 in the playoffs.

In addition to only leading the Lions to three playoff appearances, Stafford has led the Lions to a season of 10+ wins just twice (2011 and 2014). Stafford has never led the Lions to a division title. Not one time.

If I were the Lions, I’d seriously consider trading Matthew Stafford and his huge contract away to a team who’s looking for a QB. I’m sure several teams would be takers. It’s obvious the Lions aren’t going anywhere with Stafford under center, and it’s time for them to move on. Holding the No. 8 overall pick, the Lions are in a great position to get one of the draft’s top QBs. It honestly wouldn’t surprise me if QB is where they ended up going.

 

2. Jacksonville Jaguars

I know, the Jags just got Nick Foles to be their starting QB, but is he really the answer? Foles was great for the Eagles over the last two seasons, but I’m not sure he’s consistent enough to be a franchise guy.

If you look at his career stats, his QB rating has gone up and down throughout his entire career. He started with an 88.5, but then went to a 79.1. After that, he jumped back up to a 119.2, but then dropped back down to 81.4. He actually dropped again the next season, going down to 69.0.

He went back up to 105.9 in a brief stint with the Chiefs in 2016, but then dropped back down to 79.5 with the Eagles the next season. Last season, Foles was back up to 96.0. However, if his career pattern continues, he won’t have a great season this year. He’s scheduled for a down year.

I’m waiting for Nick Foles to prove me wrong, because I just don’t think he’s a franchise QB. I think he’s an upgrade over Blake Bortles, but I also think the Jaguars should be looking to add a fresh, young talent to be their official franchise guy for years to come. They’re in position to do so in the draft, so keep an eye on them even though nobody thinks they’ll go that way after acquiring Foles.

 

First round QB - Philadelphia Eagles
Carson Wentz” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

3. Philadelphia Eagles

Carson Wentz is the starting QB for this team, no question. Even when Nick Foles was around, the starting job always belonged to Wentz. When he’s healthy, Wentz can play at an MVP level. Had he not been hurt during their Super Bowl year, he likely would have been the league MVP, but him being hurt is the problem.

Wentz has missed time with injuries over the last two seasons. The Eagles are lucky they had Nick Foles as their backup to carry them, but that’s no longer the case. What will they do now if Wentz goes down? Get Nate Sudfield to lead them to the playoffs? I don’t think so.

Without Foles sitting behind Wentz, the Eagles will be in trouble if he goes down. Selecting a QB in the first round may be a steep price for the Eagles to pay for a backup, but if any team knows the value of a backup, it’s the Eagles. Drafting a QB in the first round would give them another capable backup in the event Wentz can’t stay healthy again this season or in the future.

 

4. Minnesota Vikings

Yes, Kirk Cousins is owed a lot of money, but that shouldn’t stop the Vikings from trying to get a QB who can lead them where they want to go. It wasn’t just Cousins’ fault the Vikings missed the playoffs last season, but it was obvious he isn’t the guy they thought they were getting.

Considering the money Cousins is owed, it may be a stretch for the Vikings to target a QB in the first round, but it’s something they should at least think about. It’s not like Cousins is a proven winner in the league. He’s made the playoffs just once as a starting QB, and he lost his only playoff game.

With the No. 18 overall pick, the Vikings likely won’t be getting Kyler Murray or Dwayne Haskins if they went QB. They probably won’t have Drew Lock available either, but if they feel a future franchise QB is available when they’re on the clock, don’t put drafting a QB past them.

 

First round QB - Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers, Da’Ron Payne” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

5. Green Bay Packers

Ever since the Packers let go of Mike McCarthy, all the talk has been about how this team can rebuild around Aaron Rodgers for another Super Bowl run before he retires. While I do think it’s important the Packers do everything they can to get another title with Rodgers, what if they decided to rebuild for a post Aaron Rodgers world?

Aaron Rodgers is 35, so he’s getting up there in age. It’s no secret he’s been hurt multiple times over the last two seasons. He played in every game last season, but that doesn’t mean he was fully healthy. Packers fans all remember how things went when Rodgers went down two seasons ago. By drafting a QB in the first round, the Packers could avoid that if something happened to Rodgers.

Having two first round picks, the Packers could draft a QB to sit behind Rodgers with one of those. With the other, they could still get a top talent to help their team. Nobody’s talking about the Packers drafting a QB early, but I actually think it’s not that unrealistic. Last time they drafted a first rounder with an already established starter, it turned out pretty well for them.