DRAFT DAY OPTIMISM

Sometimes hope just springs eternal. Every year the cliché is tossed around in baseball’s spring training, that every team is undefeated, and for every team, THIS is going to be their year.

Most NFL team’s don’t harbor that excitement around labor day. Sure, there is the adage of “any given sunday”, but nobody seriously thought the Bengals or Dolphins seriously had any chance of making real waves last season.

The NFL does have it’s glass is half full season though, and that’s the NFL draft season. Every year fans and pundits pour over scouting reports, fall in love with youtube clips of prospects, or guys that played for their favorite college squad.

There will be grades handed out by publications and blogs around the country after next weekend on how teams fared in the draft. The reality though is that regardless of how deep a draft may seem in forethought, there will be a TON of flops. Guys drafted high that just didn’t pan out, and guys plucked out of no where that turn out to be Superbowl MVPs.

You think the Patriots got a high draft grade for selecting a quarterback into wide receiver project out of Kent State in the 7th round? No, but Julian Edelman made one of the most miraculous catches in NFL history.

Where there articles written and magazines published when the Broncos inked Chris Harris from the scrap heap as an undrafted rookie free agent back in 2011? No, but Harris has turned out to be one of the best slot corners in the league the last decade.

Remember when offensive tackle Jamarcus Russell was selected by the Raiders #1 overall instead of trying to improve their aerial attack with Calvin Johnson? The problem was that Russell was supposed to be a franchise quarterback, not spend all the franchise’s money on quarter pounders.

And I know EVERYONE needs a bit of good news right now. Everyone wants to feel good about their team’s draft results, well everyone except Jets fans, they’re gonna be miserable however the draft plays out, its in their DNA. But the reality is, as time bares out the results of the draft, there will be a lot of disappointment, and heart break.

So lets go, franchise by franchise and take a moment to review two bench marks drafts. We’ll review how their 2019 draft results look after just a single season. And we’ll also review their 2017 draft.

Its important to remember that context matters. Its more difficult for a rookie to make an impact on a well off team like the Chiefs, or Patriots than it is for a team looking to let their young pups grow like the Dolphins or Cardinals. Plus, of course its easier in theory to get immediate impact players at the top of the draft rounds than it is when you’re selecting in the back end.

To that end, the 2017 results should be more telling. The guys drafted in 2017 are coming up on the last year of their rookie deals if they were selected in the second through seventh rounds, and are eligible for contract extensions. If they were a first rounder we’re rapidly approaching the time when franchises will have to decide if they’re going to pick up the 5th year options of their young veterans.

So lets go through and give a brief synopsis on the highlights of each draft and how they’re looking. The future looks bright right now for all the 2020 draft classes. But as some of these results will show, the sun sets for everyone.

 

ARIZONA CARDINALS:

Hows the 2019 draft looking: All signs point to Kyler Murray being a franchise quarterback, which is always a good sign. The second round was a bit of a mixed bag. Corner Byron Murphy was a day one starter at corner, but receiver Andy Isabella was a bit more up and down. Zach Allen flashed a little before ending up on IR. Hakeem Butler went later in the draft than some expected, and couldn’t finish camp healthy. Safety Deionte Thompson showed enough for optimism, and 6th rounder KeeSean Johnson (yeah, not Keyshawn) flashed early before coming back to earth as the season went on. Overall there are some positive signs.

Hows the 2017 draft looking: Not good. Theres a reason the team had the #1 pick in the 2019 draft, they sucked. First rounder Hasson Reddick feels like a training camp cut, or someone used in a draft pick swap this week. Only second round safety Budda Baker could be labeled as a good pick.

ATLANTA FALCONS:

Hows the 2019 draft looking: The team used two first rounders to try and fortify the offensive line. Chris Lidstrom out of Boston College managed to start 5 games between the beginning and end of the year following a stint on IR, and when he was on the field faired well. Tackle Kaleb McGary started every game on the right side. He wasn’t an utter failure, but he didn’t look like the second coming of Anthony Munoz either. In the fourth round the team got a potential long term starter. The Ohio State corner Kendall Sheffield suffered through an injury in the pre-draft process that knocked his stock down a bit. As a recovered and got more comfortable as the season wore on, he looked more and more like he may be a day 3 steal. John Cominsky played sparingly and hopes to become more consistent in year 2. Firth rounder Jordan Miller is currently penciled in as a starting cornerback, but that doesn’t feel like a tenable situation.

Hows the 2017 draft looking: First rounder Takkarist McKinley has flashed, but has been way too inconsistent for what you would hope for in a first round selection. Fifth rounders Damontae Kazee a safety, and running back Brian Hill have been contributors. Kazee’s biggest issue primarily has been availability as he’s struggled to remain healthy, while Hill has been limited by opportunity.

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Hows the 2019 draft looking: A couple of rookie receivers look like keepers as Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin both had their moments. Justice Hill a running back struggled to see the field behind a couple of solid vets. Ben Powers a guard used 2019 as an apprenticeship year and seems poised to move into a 2020 starting gig. Jaylon Ferguson took a little bit after making the jump up from Louisiana Tech, but really flashed on the edge the later part of the year.

Hows the 2017 draft looking: First round pick, corner Marlon Humphrey is a STUD. A no brainer to get his 5th year option picked up. Their last selection, 6th rounder Chuck Clark is positioned to move into the starting spot vacated by Tony Jefferson. Otherwise it is a pretty barren looking return.

BUFFALO BILLS

Hows the 2019 draft looking: Ed Oliver looked like a draft day steal when he dropped into the Bills’ laps. He struggled at times, but still has plenty of upside and wouldn’t be the first guy where it took a little bit to have it click. Cody Ford was projected as a guard, but claimed the right tackle job. I imagine long term the plan is to have him kick back inside. Regardless, he’s proven a worthy selection. Devin Singletary took a bit to shake off wily vet Frank Gore in a platoon situation, but is looking like a potential 2020 breakout star. Dawson Knox showed the athleticism early that had the Bills enamored with him. The Johnsons, Jaquan and Darryl showed enough to earn rotational snaps on defense, and even last selection, tight end Tommy Sweeney from Boston College balled out in the season finale. Overall after one season this is looking like a foundational draft for the Bills.

Hows the 2017 draft looking: Tre’Davious White is one of the best corners in the league after being plucked from LSU in the first round. The hype on second rounder Zay Jones was just that, hype as he’s now on the Raiders. Linebacker Matt Milano is a starting linebacker, and second rounder Dion Dawkins is the starting left tackle. All in all, looking at the last three drafts for the Bills shows why their poised to possible end the Patriots’ reign of terror in the AFC East.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

Hows the 2019 draft looking: Brian Burns didn’t just hit the rookie wall, he went full Wil-e-Coyote with it, getting flattened like a pancake. Oh, he showed he belonged early, but needs to work to sustain the production over a full NFL season. Greg Little slipped to the second round, and struggled at left tackle. Enough so that it resulted in the acquisition of Russell Okung at the expense of stud guard Trai Turner. Will Grier showed in 2 games that the 3rd rounder is not likely the QB of the future. 6th rounder Dennis Daley is penciled in to start at right guard, but it shouldn’t shock if Greg Little is kicked inside. Christian Miller, an edge rusher out of Alabama showed a little, but was also brittle, a pre-draft concern that came to fruition.

Hows the 2017 draft looking: Well when you draft franchise icon Christian McCaffrey, owner of a nice big fat extension this month, you’re off to a good start. Second rounders Curtis Samuel and Taylor Moton have panned out as quality contributors at receiver and offensive tackle respectively. Corner Corn Elder has bounced from the bottom of the Panthers roster, to the Giants practice squad, back to the Panthers. Sure he’s bounced around, but he’s still kicking. Fullback Alex Armah, a 6th rounder out of West Georgia is still a Panther, and 7th rounder Harrison Butker is one of the best kickers in the league, unfortunately, its for the Chiefs.

CHICAGO BEARS:

Hows the 2019 draft looking: Whats the best way to describe the Bears’ draft in 2019? Remember when Leo DiCaprio faced off with the bear in The Revenant? Well, in this scenario the draft was the Bear, and the Bears were Leo. Sure third round running back David Montgomery looks like a keeper, though maybe not the stud they hoped for. And there is still hope for Riley Ridley, but that’s mostly because of his last name and pedigree, not based upon anything he showed on the NFL fields in 2019.

Hows the 2017 draft looking: Well, they traded up to draft Mitchell Trubisky to be their franchise quarterback. Passing over other quarterbacks you may have heard of like Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes. As far as how has Trubisky turned out? Well, they just traded for Nick Foles last month. Adam Sheehan is still on the team, but the former second round tight end is hanging in their by a thread. Tarik Cohen is a nice gadget player, a poor man’s Darren Sproles. The shinning star of the group is safety Eddie Jackson who has been a leader and play maker in the secondary.

CINCINNATI BENGALS

Hows the 2019 draft looking: Its tough to say as first rounder Jonah Williams missed the season after June shoulder surgery. Drew Sample showed a little at tight end. Linebacker Germaine Pratt moved into a starting role, which says more about the Bengals defense than it does of him being a stud. Quarterback Ryan Finley got an extended chance to show he was the man, which is why the Bengals will be making Joe Burrow the number one overall pick on Thursday. Defensive tackle Renell Wren developed enough to be a rotational piece up front. Michael Jordan, the interior lineman out of Ohio State was up and down, but ended the year up, and should be a piece for the next decade. Their sleeper, running back Trayveon Williams contributed mostly on special teams, but the team still has hopes he can push Joe Mixon as Mixon comes up on the end of his contract.

Hows the 2017 draft looking: John Ross looking like a complete bust the first two years of his career. He started to come on early in 2019, but then broke his clavicle. Second rounder Joe Mixon was a first round talent with a correctional facility mentality. He’s flashed the talent, but as he approaches the end of his rookie deal, he’s probably priced himself out of the Queen City. Carl Lawson is a piece on the defensive line, as is Ryan Glasgow. Oklahoma linebacker Jordan Evans emerged as a starting piece after being picked in the 6th, and 5th round kicker Jake Elliott has been very good for the Eagles.

CLEVELAND BROWNS

Hows the 2019 draft looking: Greedy Williams was the Browns’ first pick, which came in the second round. The LSU corner was a bit inconsistent, much like the entire Browns roster, but showed enough talent to be penciled in as a 2020 starter. BYU linebacker Sione Takitaki saw most of his impact on special teams. That’s also where safety Sheldrick Redwine made most of his mark, but he did flash some late in the season in a starting role. Mack Wilson emerged as strong 5th round selection, making 14 starts at linebacker. 5th round kicker Austin Seibert held onto the job all year. Overall not bad with 5 players contributing as rookies.

Hows the 2017 draft looking: As nice as the 2019 draft is looking for the Browns so far, the 2017 results are less flattering. Myles Garrett was the #1 overall selection in the draft and is a STUD edge rusher. And hopefully 10 years from now the incident with Mason Rudolph will be a blip in an otherwise illustrious career. But for right now, its a big ole black eye. The Browns had two other first round selections. Jabrill Peppers’ primary value is that he was part of the package sent to the Giants that saw Odell Beckham Jr. land in northeast Ohio. David Njoku is a physical freak who just hasn’t put it all together, hence making Austin Hooper a very well paid man in free agency this spring. DeShone Kizer was selected in the second round and is long gone. Larry Ogunjobi, a defensive tackle is really the only day 2 or 3 selection to make a positive impact on the team.

DALLAS COWBOYS:

Hows the 2019 draft looking: Theres an awful lot of “incomplete” marks for the 2019 draft class. Defensive tackle Trysten Hill flashed some. Third round guard Connor McGovern came highly touted out of Penn State, but was behind some stud lineman. If he can successfully slide to center to replace Travis Frederick that’d go a long way towards the Cowboys’ super bowl aspirations. Tony Pollard was fantastic backing up Zeke Elliott. Joe Jackson showed something early, but fizzled out.

Hows the 2017 draft class looking: They added a couple of decent secondary pieces in corner Chidobe Awuzie and safety Xavier Woods. Jourdain Lewis has seen time as a back up as well. Otherwise this class is bustier than Dolly Parton, including first round bust Taco Charlton, which is just sad because who doesn’t want to see a dude named Taco succeed.

Drew Lock

DENVER BRONCOS:

Hows the 2019 draft looking: Pretty damn good. Noah Fant looks like a nice find at tight end, especially as he moves past rookie year inconsistency. Guard Dalton Risner was a stud in the running game, and improving in pass protection. Drew Lock at the moment appears to be the franchise quarterback, though the Broncos have thought that before about others. Third round defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones proved capable rotationally for the Broncos, and even 5th rounder linebacker Justin Hollins showed a bit. Really only 6th rounder Juwann Winfree didn’t show out in the regular season, but if your only miss is in the 6th round, you’re not doing bad.

Hows the 2017 draft looking: Garett Boiles is the starting left tackle, but gets caught holding more often than Josh Gordon does at a drug test. The team expected more than a backup when DeMarcus Walker was selected in the second round. Jake Butt is still there, but has been injury plagued since his time at Michigan.

DETROIT LIONS

Hows the 2019 draft looking: I may be a bit biased as I was at the first game of the season when Hockenson looked like a STUD, but I think he’s a star in the making. Linebacker Jahlani Tavai was a big piece of the defense. Not sure if that’s a compliment though. Will Harris was given every chance in 2019, so the team traded for Duron Harmon. Austin Bryant pushed through rehab and came out looking like a potential steal towards the end of the year. Amani Oruwariye was inconsistent to start the year, but showed well enough that he’s in line to be a starter in 2020… for right now (looking at you Jeffrey Okudah). Ty Johnson showed well enough as a back up to Kerryon Johnson, but not well enough to threaten for the job.

Hows the 2017 draft looking: Jarrad Davis is a solid linebacker, the question is, is he solid enough to warrant picking up his 5th year option? That’ll be a tough call, and may lead to him being on the trade block. Teez Tabor was given every opportunity to emerge opposite of Darius Slay, but all he did was tease before he was let go. Jalen Reeves-Maybin has carved out a role, as has Jamal Agnew. But the real steal was Kenny Golladay in the third. The receiver is easily the prize of the 2017 draft for the Lions.

GREEN BAY PACKERS:

Hows the 2019 draft looking: It looks solid with the potential to be really good. Safety Darnell Savage Jr. and interior lineman Elgton Jenkins are already solid starters. A couple of edge players, first rounder Rashan Gary, and fifth rounder Kingsley Keke played well rotationally. Even seventh rounder Ty Summers became a core special teamer. The draft could grade out even better if tight end Jace Sternberger can stay healthy and reach his potential.

Hows the 2017 draft looking: With ten selections the Packers walked away with four players. Corner Kevin King has been solid opposite Jaire Alexander, and Montravious Adams has been part of the defensive tackle rotation. The prizes though have been in 2 of the 3 running backs selected as Jamaal Williams has proven to be a capable platoon back, while Aaron Jones was a revelation in 2019.

HOUSTON TEXANS:

Hows the 2019 draft looking: The results look a bit uneven thus far. Tytus Howard was a bit up and down before going down injured for the season in November. Second rounder Max Scharping was also a bit uneven, but good enough to hold the starting gig for most of the season. Lonnie Johnson emerged at corner just long enough to get 3rd degree burns in the playoffs from being toasted so often. Longhorn defensive end Charles Omenihu showed a little something something, and it wouldn’t shock to see him emerge further this year. The team used a third round selection on San Diego State’s Kahale Warring who ended up on IR before camp broke.

Hows the 2017 draft looking: Anytime you can nab a legit franchise quarterback, its a good draft. That’s just what the team did in the first round when they submitted a card with Deshaun Watson’s name on it. Anything after that was just gravy, which is what linebacker Zach Cunningham is. Toss in the fact that tackle Julien Davenport was part of the package that landed Laremy Tunsil and it wasn’t a bad weekend’s work.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS:

Hows the 2019 draft looking: The Colts had no day one selections, but then made three picks in the second round. Corner Rock Ya-Sin out of Temple was the prize of that group. Ohio State wide receiver Parris Campbell wasn’t just bitten by the injury bug, he was swallowed whole. He still possesses the talent and potential that made him a high pick, but will now be free to progress without pressure. A couple of front seven picks flashed as rookies and can be expected to be strong contributors in 2020, Ben Banogu and Bobby Okereke. Khari Willis and Marvin Tell III, a couple of safeties provided solid depth and some special team abilities, which is about what you hope for in your 4th and 5th round selections.

Hows the 2017 draft looking: First round pick Malik Hooker has been a starter since day one, while 4th round running back Marlon Mack took a bit of time to get his legs under him. Both are primary parts of the team’s core. Their last selection, 5th round linebacker Anthony Walker out of Northwestern has developed into a starting linebacker. Overall, not an awful return when comparing to the rest of the league.

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

Hows the 2019 draft looking: Edge rusher Josh Allen out of Kentucky looked like the steal of the first round in year one. In spite of coming off the bench as a situational player most of the year he posted double digit sack numbers. With Nobody in front of him now, expect pro bowl type production. Florida tackle Jawaan Taylor was surprised to slide to the second round. In spite of that label, he provided first round type production as an every game starter at right tackle. Third round linebacker Quincy Williams was the talk of training camp, and provided a nice glimpse of upside as he played through injuries most of the year. Third rounder Josh Oliver missed most of the year with injury but hasn’t been written off. In spite of all these positive performances though the high point was the selection of quarterback Gardner Minshew in the 6th round. He stepped in for Nick Foles when Foles was injured, and performed so well that he again replaced Foles even with Foles was healthy. He heads into the 2020 draft as the presumptive starter.

Hows the 2017 draft looking: Well this is an interesting question. First round running back is rumored to be on the trading block. His bruising running style would seemingly lend itself towards the Jaguars trying to replicate the success Tennessee had last year with Derrick Henry, but apparently they don’t see it that way. Second rounder Cam Robinson the tackle out of Alabama is the starting left tackle. Fourth round receiver Dede Westbrook is a good second or third receiver when healthy, which has been his primary issue. Third rounder Dawuane Smoot has stuck around as a reserve edge player. Both in terms of position on the field, and as being on the edge of the roster.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Hows the 2019 draft looking: Considering the team had no first round picks, selected towards the end of the rounds, and had only 6 selections (half of which came in the 6th and 7th rounds), they could’ve done a lot worse. Second round receiver Mecole Hardman was spectacular on special teams, and showed exceptional field stretching ability. Third round defensive tackle Khalen Saunders flashed, but was a bit inconsistent, not surprising considering the jump in competition coming from Western Illinois. 6th rounders Rashad Felton and Darwin Thompson appeared in 12 games and chipped in when given opportunities. The prize of their draft haul though was safety Juan Thornhill out of Virginia. Its not hyperbole to say that the Chiefs defense did exceptionally well to overcome the loss of Thornhill who tore his ACL in week 17.

Hows the 2017 draft looking: Well, they selected Patrick Mahomes in the 2017 draft. Do I need to say anything else? No? Good, because aside from Mahomes, only second round defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon is still around. In all fairness, Kareem Hunt did make a major impact on the field for the Chiefs, but he also made a major impact on a girl’s rib cage when he kicked her on camera.

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

Hows the 2019 draft looking: The early returns aren’t looking promising. First round defensive tackle struggled as a rotational piece. Second round safety was struggling to see the field after making the jump from Delaware before landing on IR. Trey Pipkins from Sioux Falls was expected to be a development prospect and showed why when pressed into duty. Really it was 4th round linebacker Drue Tranquill who showed the most, and that was on special teams.

Hows the 2017 draft looking: Not bad, solid selections from all three days of the draft. First round receiver Mike Williams has taken a little bit to develop, but he’s emerging as the Chargers next #1 receiver. Guard Dan Feeney, the 2nd guard the Chargers selected emerged as the starting left guard. Sixth round tackle Sam Tevi is the starting right tackle, and fourth round safety has managed to cling to his starting gig. Throw in the contributions from defensive back Desmond King and its a better than average haul.

LOS ANGELES RAMS

Hows the 2019 draft looking: Second round pick Taylor Rapp, the safety out of Washington showed a lot of potential and is a strong building block piece of their secondary moving forward. The team drafted running back Darrell Henderson in the third round, but he struggled to move ahead of Malcolm Brown on the depth chart, let lone push the now jettisoned Todd Gurley. Rookie linemen Bobby Evans and David Edwards added some much needed youth to an offensive line that needed an injection of youth. Safety Nick Scott displayed some special team skills, while Greg Gaines and David Long struggled to find consistent snaps.

Hows the 2017 draft looking: Gerald Everett is part of the Rams’ dual threat combo with Tyler Higbee at the tight end position. Cooper Kupp has developed into one of the most reliable slot receivers in the game. Safety John Johnson from Boston College forms a nice safety combo with Rapp (trio when those two and Weddle were around). Edge player Samson Ebukam has produced when offered a chance, while receiver Josh Reynolds has provided decent depth.

Christian Wilkins

MIAMI DOLPHINS

Hows the 2019 draft looking: Lets just say the team was looking more towards the 2020 draft. Armed with six selections the team walked away with 2 starting quality players. Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins is a keeper, while guard Michael Deiter wasn’t exactly surrounded by stellar offensive line talent, he showed well in a tough position. While he wasn’t drafted, we’re gonna give credit to them for scooping up Preston Williams from the undrafted free agent crop.

Hows the 2017 draft looking: Cordrea Tankersley showed some promise at corner, and is now a luxury item with high priced corners Xavien Howard and Byron Jones in town. A couple of young defenders have managed to hold on to starting gigs, but that has more to do with the competition. Davon Godchaux and Raekwon McMillian are primed to be replaced by upgrades in the next couple of off seasons.

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Hows the 2019 draft looking: 12 selections in the 2019 draft means they rolled the dice plenty of times. Their first and last selections were their most consistent contributors. Center Garrett Bradbury provided a nice burst in the run game while Austin Cutting, a 7th rounder out of Air Force was the team’s long snapper. Irv Smith Jr. was behind Kyle Rudolph, but that may change in year 2. With the talented Dalvin Cook showing a propensity for injury, the addition of Alexander Mattison as an insurance policy could prove to be fruitful. Otherwise the team got marginal (but more than expected) contributions from Kris Boyd and Olabisi Johnson.

Hows the 2017 draft looking: 11 selections in 2017 shows the Vikings believe in draft quantity. FSU running back is the star of the class, and the center piece of the Vikings offense. Guard Pat Elflein is solid in the interior. Otherwise its a bunch of whiffs, not exactly a great batting average.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Hows the 2019 draft looking: Well, after one season we’re looking at contributions from 2 out of 10 selections as Chase Winovich and punter Jake Bailey showed they’re NFL players. That being said there is hope that rookies N’Keal Harry and Jarrett Stidham can emerge during a pivotal season as the offense looks to retool. Young linemen Hjalte Froholdt and Yodny Cajuste spent the year injured and hope to emerge as much needed depth on the offensive line. We’ll learn a lot more about how the Patriots feel about their chance for development this weekend.

Hows the 2017 draft looking: Pretty shitty draft any way you cut it. Deatrich Wise Jr. and Derek Rivers are both still around as edge pieces for the Pats. Wise has had some moments while Rivers has been constantly injured. There’s still some holding out hope that Rivers can emerge as an edge rusher. Its also those same people that are holding out hope their 10th grade crush instant messages them on facebook declaring their undying love.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS:

Hows the 2019 draft looking: The optimist would say that the team hit on 40% of their selections. The realist would point out that means they hit on 2 out of 5 picks. Eric McCoy has the look of a future pro bowler at center, while safety Chauncey Gardner Johnson flashed more than a little.

Hows the 2017 draft looking: The team couldn’t have done much better. Left tackle Ryan Ramczyk was named an all-pro in 2019. Marshon Lattimore is a solid starting corner who flashed the ability to be more than that. Safety Marcus Williams is a starter. Alex Anzelone has been a starting quality linebacker, and Alvin Kamera has been one of the most dynamic, electric offensive pieces in the game today. Any team would LOVE to trade places with the Saints’ draft results.

NEW YORK GIANTS

Hows the 2019 draft looking: GM David Gettleman was VERY much maligned when he selected Daniel Jones with the 6th pick. After that the Giants went ahead and used two more first round picks, Dexter Lawrence and DeAndre Baker, both of whom were year long starters. Third round edge player Oshane Ximines is poised to be a breakout player in 2020. Defensive backs Julian Love and Cory Ballentine contributed on defense and special teams. Wisconsin linebacker Ryan Connolly emerged early as  starter before tearing his ACL. Lastly, 5th round receiver Darius Slayton is looking like a draft day heist as he showed a real ability to take the lid off a defense. All and all and outstanding draft haul.

Hows the 2017 draft looking: Well, not as nice as the 2019 draft is. The top two selections have made their mark. D-lineman Dalvin Tomlinson is poised to cash in on an extension. Evan Engram is an able receiving tight end who has had issues staying healthy. When he’s on the field he is a legit NFL starting tight end. He’s also been mentioned as a potential trade candidate as his 5th year option question is a real tough one to answer when balancing his health vs. production.

NEW YORK JETS

Hows the 2019 draft looking: The team got moderate production considering his stature in the draft as Quinnen Williams had some ailments effect his play. They used a 3rd round pick on edge player Jachai Polite who didn’t make it out of camp with the team, a giant blunder to cut a day 2 selection. Tackle Chuma Edoga was pressed into duty, and didn’t exactly light the world on fire. They also got some production from tight end/H-Back Trevon Wesco.

Hows the 2017 draft looking: Nine selections have produced 2 long term Jets, and of those two, Jamal Adams, the best player on the roster, is itching to get traded. He and safety Marcus Maye have been the only bright spots from this draft, and the only bright spots in the Jets’ secondary.

LAS VEGAS RAIDERS

Hows the 2019 draft looking: Rookie GM Mike Mayock, fresh from the NFL TV broadcast booth had 9 selections to play with. Of those, 7 look to be keepers so far. Having three first rounders will help your batting average. Clelin Ferrell, Josh Jacobs, and Jonathan Abram looked good. Granted, Abram had a VERY limited amount of time to showcase himself before he went on IR. Additionally Trayvon Mullen, Maxx Crosby, Foster Moreau, and Hunter Renfrow are all counted on to be big pieces of the Raiders’ move to the Sin City.

Hows the 2017 draft looking: Well, there’s a reason Mike Mayock was brought in, the previous draft results were utter crap. 9 players, and only 2 are still on the team. One is a back up offensive lineman, David Sharpe. And linebacker Marquel Lee, who began the off season atop the depth chart, but is primed to be replaced.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

Hows the 2019 draft looking: The Eagles had 5 selections, and as of right now it looks like they’re batting .500. The first two picks, tackle Andre Dilliard and running back Miles Sanders are poised to be big parts of the Eagles offense in 2020. Wide receiver JJ Arcega Whiteside struggled in 2019, but is a player with upside at a position where the Eagles very much need someone to step up. As such, he’ll be given every opportunity to make an impact in 2020. Day 3 selections Shareef Miller and Clayton Thorson provided next to nothing.

Hows the 2017 draft looking: The early results looked pretty good. Derek Barnett is a starter along the defensive line while day two selections Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones are big parts of the Eagles secondary. That’s the positive spin. The flip side is that the Eagles secondary is in desperate need of an overhaul, so what does that tell you about their performance. Nebraska linebacker Nate Gerry proved to be a find in the fifth round.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Hows the 2019 draft looking: The first few picks showed some promise. Rookie linebacker Devin Bush showed that he is a long term answer in the middle of the defense. Dionate Johnson is a wide receiver drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers, as such its seemingly his birthright to be awesome. Running back Benny Snell saw spot action, between playing behind James Connor and some injuries , but when he was on the field, he showed the ability to be a solid NFL back. Third round cornerback Justin Layne out of Michigan State primarily made his mark on special teams. 6th rounders Buggs and Gilbert contributed in spots.

Hows the 2017 draft looking: Well, the ones they hit on, they hit big. No singles power for them. TJ Watt was a defensive player of the year candidate this year. JuJu Smith Schuster is one of the better receivers in the league. Third round running back James Connor is a solid, though not spectacular back, while third round corner Cameron Sutton provides depth in the secondary.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Hows the 2019 draft looking: Second overall pick Nick Bosa stepped in and was a star from day one as the defense was silly good. Deebo Samuel showed he belonged, especially in the second half of the year, and many expect him to be a breakout star in 2020. Linebacker Dre Greenlaw stepped into the linebacking core when Kwon Alexander went down, and his production is a big reason why Alexander’s name is now being tossed about in the rumor mill. Jalen Hurd was hurt in pre-season, but showed skills as a gadget player before his IR stint. Even using a 4th round selection on a punter doesn’t seem crazy as Mitch Wishnowsky handled punting chores exceptionally well, and even was a kickoff specialist.

Hows the 2017 draft looking: Armed with a pair of first rounders that were used on Solomon Thomas and Reuben Foster it could be looked at as having failed to live up to expectations. But 6th rounder D.J. Jones has proven to be a valuable piece of the defensive line rotation, and when healthy wide receiver Trent Taylor has been a contributor. The real feather in the cap though was the drafting of George Kittle in the 5th round out of Iowa. Kittle has developed into the best tight end in the game and is in line for a monster contract.

DK Metcalf

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

Hows the 2019 draft looking: Seven out of the eleven guys drafted received consistent work with varying degrees of success. The selection of L.J. Collier in the first round felt like a stretch to some at the time, and his production showed why. Reports are that he played through an ankle injury, so 2020 may be a different story. Marquise Blair and Ugo Imadi, a pair of young safeties did not erase the memory of Earl Thomas, but each acquitted himself well enough. Young linebackers Cody Barton and Ben Burr-Kirven also played well. The star of the show though was the Ole Miss wide receiver selected in the late second round, D.K. Metcalf who came on to go for 900 yards, and is poised to eclipse that 1K mark in 2020.

Hows the 2017 draft looking: Another class with eleven selections, this one hasn’t shown to be nearly as fruitful as 2019. Sure some of the guys are still around like Ethan Pocic, Tedric Thompson, and David Moore, but they’re depth players, when you’d have hoped they’d be in at least rotational duty. The saving grace for the class has been the contributions of corner Shaquill Griffin and running back Chris Carson.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Hows the 2019 draft looking: LSU rookie linebacker Devin White was everything the Bucs could have hoped for. Day two of the draft saw the secondary receive and injection of talent as Sean Murphy Bunting, Jamel Dean, and Mike Edwards all flashed ability. Matt Gay held onto the kicking job all year, but wasn’t exactly pro bowl caliber. Anthony Nelson, the 4th round linebacker out of Iowa, was in the mix with less than great results. And we shouldn’t forget about 6th round wide receiver Scotty Miller out of Bowling Green, who is one of my favorite fantasy draft deep sleepers for 2020 (heard it here first)

Hows the 2017 draft looking: First round pick O.J. Howard has been rumored to be on the draft day trading block. Justin Evans and Kendell Beckwith are still around, but haven’t lived up to their day 2 selection status. The saving grace for the class has been the emergence of third round selection Chris Godwin who has blossomed as one of the better wide receivers in the league.

TENNESSEE TITANS

Hows the 2019 draft looking: Really good so far. Defensive tackle Jeffrey Simmons slipped in the draft due to injury concerns as he was coming off a torn ACL. The Titans took a chance and were handsomely rewarded as he played the second half of the season and was a stud in the trenches. AJ Brown was the presumptive top draftable receiver by most pundits all college football season long. Then the draft process started and he somehow slipped into the second round. His paycheck’s loss was the Titans’ gain. He especially showed great chemistry with the re-signed Ryan Tannehill under center. Nate Davis moved into the starting right guard role, and will be counted on to anchor that right side with Jack Conklin gone. Rookie defenders Amani Hooker and David Long Jr. showed they belong in the league and will hopefully continue to emerge.

Hows the 2017 draft looking: The Titans came away with 2 first rounders. Adoree Jackson started out primarily as a special teams contributor but has emerged as a starting corner. Corey Davis was a top 10 selection who has been good, but not anywhere near expectations. They figured the young man out of Western Michigan may have a learning curve with the jump in competition, but the curve should be flat by now. Tight end Jonnu Smith is primed to grab hold of the starting job for his own with Delanie Walker now gone. The icing on the cupcake though is starting linebacker Jayon Brown’s emergence from a sub package role to a starting job.

WASHINGTON REDSKINS

Hows the 2019 draft looking: Armed with ten selections, the Redskins had holes everywhere on their roster (and still do). Dwayne Haskins showed some skill, but not enough that he has erased all doubts about his ability to be the franchise quarterback the team hopes he is. Fellow first rounder Montez Sweat also was a bit up and down playing off the edge. Third rounder Terry McLaurin was the star of the class, going over 900 yards in just 14 games. 5th round linebacker Cole Holcomb put up good tackling numbers as he was plugged into a starting gig early. 7th rounder Jimmy Moreland could end up being a find at corner, especially with Josh Norman and Quinton Dunbar now elsewhere. The name to keep in the back of your mind this fantasy draft season is Bryce Love, the running back out of Stanford who missed the season with a torn ACL from his college career. If he can bounce back, he’ll be a 4th round steal.

Hows the 2017 draft looking: Jonathan Allen has been a very good defensive lineman, though maybe not the dominant one some had anticipated. Ryan Anderson has been a decent situational player. Fabian Moreau has emerged as a starting corner. Those were the first three picks, then we get to skip running back Samaje Perine who didn’t provide much before moving onto Montae Nicholson, and Chase Roulier who emerged as starters (granted, they’re starters for a bad team), and depth piece, tight end Jeremy Sprinkle. All in all, not the worst draft for the Redskins, but they have also set the bar pretty low the last twenty or so years.

 

So as we review how much better the 2019 draft results appear the question that has to be asked, is, was the talent available in 2019 THAT much better than in 2017? Or is it that optimism still remains for guys that haven’t fully emerged from 2019, while that optimism is long gone for the 2017 class? Or is the answer some combination of both?

The bottom line is that while its fun to think about the possibilities. Its fun to provide knee jerk reactions when the draft is done, hell its fun to provide knee jerk reactions before the picks are even in. Just remember that only a small percentage of the guys chosen this weekend will pan out as hoped.

 

  • Written by Jason Sullivan
  • Find us and follow on Twitter at @TopDucker or on Facebook at You’re Ducking Right

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