American Football Expert & Columnist
Neil Reynolds' 2019 NFL Draft review: Winners and losers from Nashville
Last Updated: 30/04/19 4:10pm
The 2019 NFL Draft is in the books.
First off, it looked sensational in Nashville and the NFL has been further vindicated in taking its annual selection process around the United States.
Next up in 2020 is Las Vegas!
With all 254 selections having been made, everyone wants to know who "won or lost" in the draft.
The reality is that we won't really know for about three years but let's have a go anyway with some winners and losers from the three days of activity in Tennessee.
It's not ideal that the Cardinals went back to the quarterback well one season after trading up to take Josh Rosen. But they found Kyler Murray too good to ignore and managed to snag a second-rounder from Miami in getting Rosen off their books.
The Cardinals should field a vastly improved offense in 2019. Not only did they add Murray, they drafted three wide receivers in Andy Isabella, Hakeem Butler and KeeSean Johnson. Add in three new offensive linemen via free agency and the Cards are heading in the right direction.
Arizona also bolstered their defense with the second-round selection of cornerback Byron Murphy, who was the highest-rated cover defender in college football last year, according to Pro Football Focus.
The Redskins were absolutely crying out for a long-term answer at quarterback given that Alex Smith could very well be done and neither Case Keenum or Colt McCoy is considered the long-term answer.
That said, Washington stayed very patient indeed and resisted the temptation to trade up for a passer. Instead, they grabbed Dwayne Haskins with the 15th overall pick in round one. He might need some time to adjust to life in the NFL but it would not surprise me in the slightest if he is the opening day starter.
Washington added freakishly-athletic pass rusher Montez Sweat late in round one and two wide receivers worth monitoring in Ohio State's Terry McLaurin (round three) and North Carolina State's Kelvin Harmon, who was a steal in round six.
Many mock drafts had the Jaguars taking Florida offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor with their seventh overall selection. But Kentucky defensive end Josh Allen was considered a top four prospect and offered too much value to ignore at number seven.
The Jags then went out and boosted their offensive line by grabbing the aforementioned Taylor early in the second round, which offered excellent value at 35. The 6-5, 330-pound giant should offer some additional protection for Nick Foles.
Jacksonville needed help at tight end and addressed the position in round three with the drafting of San Jose State's Josh Oliver, who is at his physically-imposing best when competing for contested balls.
New York Giants
There was some significant head scratching when the Giants took Duke quarterback Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick. Only time will tell if this was a good move but it certainly feels like a reach. Would Jones not have been there at 17?
This one is going to have to be settled on the field because opinions are all over the place. Legendary scout Gil Brandt compared Jones to Peyton Manning, while others have suggested he is a "poor man's Eli Manning." Pro Football Focus felt that Jones was a third-round talent, which is pretty damning.
New York hardly set the pulse racing with their 17th overall pick, which they acquired by trading away superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. They grabbed 340-pound run-stuffing nose tackle Dexter Lawrence at a time when big space-eating linemen are going the way of the Dodo.
General manager Dave Gettleman bullishly insists there is a plan in the Big Apple - it's hard to see what it is right now.
In his first draft as general manager of the Raiders, Mike Mayock went in search of "tone-setters" and "leaders." But you need them to be good football players as well.
Defensive end Clelin Ferrell, running back Josh Jacobs and safety Johnathan Abram were all considered high-quality and high-character players. But each might have been taken too soon by Oakland in the first round - PFF did not rank any of that trio as a first-round talent.
The Raiders rightly used six of their nine selections on defenders to shore up a unit that has allowed a league-high 29.2 points per game over the past two seasons, but it feels like they reached for a few here and there. Of course, Mayock certainly knows his stuff when it comes to the draft and could well prove us wrong in the coming years.
For the second year in a row, Joe Flacco is going to have to look over his shoulder as a highly-touted rookie waits in the wings. Last season, it was Lamar Jackson in Baltimore. This year, it will be Drew Lock, who was taken in the second round by the Denver Broncos.
At 34, Flacco has plenty of playing days ahead of him, but he has to wonder why teams have been compelled to draft a significant competitor at his position in back-to-back seasons. Lock is talented but raw and that may buy Flacco some time.
But if Denver get off to a slow start - as Baltimore did last season - the calls for Lock are going to come in the same way as they did for Jackson in 2018.
Flacco was clearly peeved about the presence of Jackson in Baltimore and surely feels the same way in Denver. He has to deal with day to day questions about his future in Denver, which apparently is not going to be an overly-long one.