The NFL Draft is unique. After months of evaluation, the success or failure of a player can be determined by the team that drafts him and the situation in which he is placed. Hindsight is always 20-20 when it comes to draft hits and misses. Quarterback Tom Brady and wide receiver Antonio Brown would not have been available on Day Three if teams had known what they would become.
247Sports takes a look at some of the best and worst picks of each round.
The San Francisco 49ers benefited from the Arizona Cardinals taking quarterback Kyler Murray No. 1 overall. Defensive end Nick Bosa, who many considered the nation’s best prospect, fell to them at No. 2 overall. Other questionable decisions in the Top Ten allowed outside linebacker Josh Allen to fall to the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 7 overall. He was almost unanimously considered a top three player. Defensive tackle Ed Oliver at No. 9 overall was great value for the Buffalo Bills. Finally, the Washington Redskins stole pass rusher Montez Sweat at No. 26 overall, who likely fell over a medical evaluation.
The worst picks in the first round started early. The Oakland Raiders selected a great player – Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell – at No. 4 overall, but it was a reach considering the talent that was on the board. 247Sports compared Ferrell to Frank Clark, who is now with the Kansas City Chiefs. If that comes to fruition, then this pick will turn out just fine. Two picks later, the New York Giants selected Duke quarterback Daniel Jones. Jones barely carried a second round grade from 247Sports. The reaches continued in the second half of the draft. The Houston Texans reached at No. 23 overall for offensive tackle Tytus Howard after the Philadelphia Eagles leapfrogged them to select offensive tackle Andre Dillard one pick earlier. The Atlanta Falcons reached for an offensive tackle with the very last pick, No. 32 overall, when they selected Washington’s Kaleb McGary. Finally, the Seattle Seahawks jumped to replace Clark with TCU’s LJ Collier. There was better value on the board.
In a surprising turn of events, the Jaguars and Buffalo Bills were able to snag coveted offensive linemen in the second round with offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor (No. 34 overall) and offensive guard Cody Ford (No. 38 overall) respectively. Four other players originally expected to be taken in the first round fell to the second as well. The Denver Broncos waited until No. 42 overall to get their quarterback – Drew Lock. The Cleveland Browns, despite not having a first round pick, nabbed arguably the best cornerback, Greedy Williams, at No. 46 overall. A pair of Ole Miss wide receivers fell to the latter half of the second round. AJ Brown was taken No. 51 overall by by the Tennessee Titans and DK Metcalf went No. 63 overall to the Seattle Seahawks.
On the flip side, No. 37 overall to the Carolina Panthers felt too early for offensive tackle Greg Little. The Detroit Lions and Seahawks took larger leaps with linebacker Jahlani Tavai at No. 43 overall and safety Marquise Blair at No. 47 overall. After making a great pick in the first round, the Bengals evened out by selecting tight end Drew Sample too early. The Cardinals used three selections on wide receivers. With No. 62 overall, they added Andy Isabella and that was too early.
At No. 68 overall, the New York Jets gambled on outside linebacker Jachai Polite but it could pay off immensely for them. The Broncos continued a good draft by selecting defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones No. 71 overall. He carried a borderline first round grade. Oshane Ximines had once been regarded as a first round choice. The productive college pass rusher continues his career with the New York Giants. The Pittsburgh Steelers landed cornerback Justin Layne with the No. 83 overall selection while their rival Baltimore Ravens selected defensive end Jaylon Ferguson No. 85 overall. Both were great picks. The New England Patriots continued stockpiling talent at the end of rounds with offensive tackle Yodny Cajuste.
There were a handful of reaches, however. The 49ers took wide receiver Jalen Hurd No. 67 overall. He is a project to be taken that early. The Green Bay Packers added tight end Jace Sternberger at No. 75 with better tight ends on the board. If they have a plan where he is a flexed out tight end, then it could work. The Los Angeles Chargers selected offensive tackle Trey Pipkins No. 91 overall, which was a reach. The Seahawks continued a questionable draft by adding linebacker Cody Barton No. 88 overall. Finally, the Jaguars added Murray State linebacker Quincy Williams No. 98 overall.
The Cardinals found great value with wide receiver Hakeem Butler at No. 103 overall. The New Orleans Saints selected safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson No. 105 overall. It was a good pick for a team without a first round choice. The Giants added a quality player with cornerback Julian Love at No. 108 overall. The Steelers landed running back Benny Snell with the No. 112 overall selection. In terms of rankings, it was probably a reach. However, it is a perfect marriage. The tough nosed team adds a tough nosed player. The Chicago Bears adding wide receiver Riley Ridley at No. 126 overall was a steal. The Patriots scored their quarterback late in the round with Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham.
In general, adding a punter in the fourth round, No. 110 overall, is bad practice. San Francisco applied that with Mitch Wishnowsky. The Browns reached a bit for safety Sheldrick Redwine at No. 119 overall. No. 121 overall was too early for fullback Trevon Wesco and the Jets. Two offensive guards were taken too early Phil Haynes (No. 124 overall to Seattle) and Wes Martin (No. 131 overall to the Redskins).
Free safety Deionte Thompson was once regarded as a first round selection. He has the talent. It is a matter of putting it all together on the field. The Cardinals added him No. 139 overall. The Lions stole cornerback Amani Oruwariye at No. 146 overall. The Browns and Texans got good value with linebacker Mack Wilson and defensive end Charles Omenihu at No. 155 overall and No. 161 overall respectively. The Los Angeles Rams added a quality offensive lineman with the No. 169 overall selection – offensive tackle David Edwards.
The Falcons reached for running back Qadree Ollison at No. 152 overall. The Indianapolis Colts reached for linebacker EJ Speed at No. 164 overall.
The Steelers landed a developmental pass rusher, Sutton Smith, with the No. 175 overall selection. Cleveland added a nasty offensive lineman, Drew Forbes, with the No. 189 overall selection. Those two may have some good meetings in the future. The Cardinals added a piece to their interior offensive line with center Lamont Gaillard. The Giants’ choice of cornerback Corey Ballentine at No. 180 overall was solid value. 247Sports was admittedly not as high on wide receiver Kelvin Harmon as others because of his inability to create separation. However, for the Redskins to get him at No. 206 overall was a steal. After losing running back Mark Walton to an arrest, the Bengals added a quality player with high upside at No. 211 overall – running back Rodney Anderson.
The 49ers reached for offensive tackle Justin Skule at No. 183 overall. Denver made a questionable choice, wide receiver Juwann Winfree, at No. 187 overall. Wide receiver Scott Miller was an odd pick for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 208 overall. Finally, the Packers gambled on cornerback Ka’dar Hollman at No. 185 overall.
The seventh round is about stealing players that may be unavailable as undrafted free agents. There are no reaches in the seventh round. It is a low risk round and there is little difference between a seventh round pick and undrafted free agents.
The Buccaneers adding defensive tackle Terry Beckner at No. 215 overall and the Minnesota Vikings adding cornerback Kris Boyd at No. 217 overall are the kind of picks that teams need in this round. They are high upside additions. Cornerback Jimmy Moreland to the Redskins at No. 227 overall was quality value. The same is true of wide receiver Dillon Mitchell to Minnesota at pick No. 239 overall. The Rams landed a linebacker project, Dakota Allen, at No. 251 overall. Tight end Isaac Nauta to the Lions and tight end Tommy Sweeney to the Bills at No. 224 overall and No. 228 overall respectively were great shots to take at the end of the 2019 NFL Draft.