Welcome to draft week, where college football’s best begin their NFL journey.
With an exciting draft class eagerly waiting for Thursday night, some teams will surely find a diamond in the rough, others, not so much. Whether your team is searching for an immediate impact player or just looking to fill roster depth needs, here at the Daily Nexus, we’ll quickly sum up all the important storylines you’ll need to be up to date and ready for the 2019 NFL Draft.
So Many Quarterback Needs, So Little Quarterbacks
This draft is going to be very crucial for the various teams in the market for a franchise quarterback. Specifically, teams like the Broncos, Bengals, Dolphins, and Redskins will all hope to be in a spot where they can land their guy at the quarterback position.
However, this year doesn’t seemingly offer a multitude of quarterbacks that scream ‘franchise’, as compared to previous years. Plus, when you factor in teams like the Patriots with Tom Brady and the Giants with Eli Manning, both of who may be vying for a future replacement to their veteran stars, the demand for this particular position may not necessarily meet the supply. Still, Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray, the projected first overall pick in the draft, and Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins are the two names that stand out in the first round. Don’t be surprised if a team trades up past their competitors in order to secure one of these two players.
Don’t Sleep on the OL
Speaking of franchise quarterbacks, someone’s got to protect them. Although selecting an offensive lineman in the first round may not be the flashiest choice to go with, it’s still vastly important nonetheless. This is particularly true for my Eagles, who like to believe future Hall of Fame tackle Jason Peters can play for an eternity. For the love of all that is holy, he can’t protect Carson Wentz forever, no matter how much we want him to.
For this year’s draft, especially, there’s plenty of talent to go around at the tackle and guard positions; teams would be wise to pay particular attention to these players that just might be defending their trenches for years to come. To name just a few: Alabama guard Jonah Williams, Florida tackle Jawaan Taylor, and Washington State tackle Andre Dillard are all worthy of an early first-round selection.
The Year of the Defensive Lineman
Of all the positions in this year’s draft, the depth of talent is most noticeable amongst defensive linemen. I’m not just talking a few scattered picks here and there, but there’s a distinct possibility that a quarter of all the first round picks may go to just pass-rushers and run-stoppers alike.
Although I can write a long list of immediate-impact players: Ohio State DE Nick Bosa, Michigan DE Rashan Gary, Alabama DT Quinnen Williams, and Kentucky EDGE Josh Allen, all seem to be consensus top-10 picks. Besides the quarterback position, the defensive linemen in this draft are the next likely to warrant a trade up from teams on Thursday night.
Running Backs Running Into the 2nd Round
Spoiler alert: It is not the year of the running back. That being said, the dearth of big names shouldn’t take away from the excitement surrounding the prospects at this position, it’s just one of those years where none particularly standout and the majority of them may fall to later rounds. Regardless, don’t expect your team to address any of these backfield needs this early on into the draft.
Although the running back position tends to be undervalued at times due to durability concerns, various teams will still be in the market for these offensive playmakers. If a running back does happen to go in the first round, the Raiders seem to be the most likely suitor in most mock drafts.
The Good, The Bad, and The Media
When it comes to the Raiders, the media is at it once again. Days before the draft, drama is being stirred up as rumors are circulating concerning Oakland’s draft day plans. Specifically the rumor is that they’re planning “surprise picks with their three first-round selections”. Whether or not you believe this is a ploy purposely leaked from the Raiders’ brass, we recommend you don’t look to deep into it and just wait for the Draft regardless.
On a more blatant note, the Cardinals are also taking part in these pre-Draft shenanigans by suggesting their first overall pick isn’t quite settled just yet. Throughout the offseason reports have constantly assured that Kyler Murray will be taken at first overall, mainly because of his ties to Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Along with these last-minute ‘adjustments’ that honestly may just be a ruse to drive up their current quarterback Josh Rosen’s trade value, it has also been reported that Murray doesn’t like watching film in preparation for game day. Stop it. He’s got all the tools to be great in the NFL and his college tape only supports his dedication to the process. So, dear media, let him play and stop trying to ruin his chances at securing the bag.