First Round Grades

Apr 26, 2019

1. Arizona Cardinals – Kyler Murray, QB

Murray is the best quarterback in this draft. He’s the same height and weight as Russell Wilson. In their final college seasons, Murray had 1,200 more passing yards than Wilson, 9 more passing touchdowns, 700 more rushing yards and 6 more rushing touchdowns. Murray has similar accuracy and a stronger arm than Wilson, while also being faster and more athletic. It’s a tough break spending a top 10 pick on Rosen last year, as they will probably only get a 3rd round pick for him at best at this point. Plus, the Cardinals have so many other needs. But, I can’t argue with taking a franchise quarterback like Murray with Pro Bowl potential. He will help make up for the Cardinals weak offensive line by scrambling and making plays. Having David Johnson to dump the ball off to is also a huge asset.

Grade: A

2. San Francisco 49ers – Nick Bosa, DE

The 49ers land the best pass rusher who should be a lock for double digit sacks. His combination of size, speed, bend, and strength is extremely rare to find all wrapped up in one package. His burst off the snap is some of the best you will see on tape and he also has excellent hands to keep linemen from getting anywhere near his body. He will just run right by any tackle that isn’t extremely light on his feet and when a tackle is quick, he has the rare ability to change direction and move in-and-out and combine it with a really nice swim move. He takes games over and can single-handedly win a game for his team. He has a high motor with bend and flexibility on the outside that doesn’t lose any speed when turning the corner. There are no hesitations with this guy and he’s a franchise player for the next decade.

Grade: A

3. New York Jets – Quinnen Williams, DT

Williams is my favorite player in this draft and the jets made the right move to lock him up, even if it doesn’t fill one of their top position needs. He’s a monster and freak of nature. His rare blend of strength and explosiveness is incredible. He dominates at the point of attack and rarely gives up an inch against double teams. Not only can he hold his own against double teams and stuff the run, but he can absolutely explode off the snap and has excellent feet and hands to beat his man consistently on the pass rush. He’s a dynamic playmaker and a staple for any defense for the next decade.

Grade: A+

4. Oakland Raiders – Clelin Ferrell, DE

Ferrell is a dominating edge defender who can do it all. He’s strong enough and has the awareness and instincts to set the edge and know where the ball is going. He can anchor well and doesn’t get pushed around. He can fight through blocks to plug the hole and is a very strong and solid tackler. He is also one of the most dynamic edge rushers I’ve seen this year (behind Bosa and Allen). He has an amazingly quick burst off the snap, especially for a man of his size. He has very quick and light feet to go along with the burst, and uses that combination of skills to win on the outside consistently. When he gains an advantage on the outside, it’s over, as his strength does not allow the defender to shove him off his feet and he has the unique ability to hug turns extremely well while running full speed. He also has excellent lateral mobility which allows him to stop on dime and then cut inside, where he usually displays a beautiful inside swim move to finish his man off. He’s a true playmaker and can do it all. Clelin Ferrell is a top 5 player on my board, but was probably lower on most boards. The reason I’m giving the Raiders a lower grade is because I think they could’ve traded back to the 10th pick at least and still landed Ferrell and also gain a second round pick to move back. If they traded down to 10 and got Ferrell, I would give the Raiders an A+. But, I can’t argue with his talent and think he will be a franchise defensive end.

Grade: B-

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Devin White, ILB

Devin White is listed as the top inside linebacker on most boards, however I’m not seeing it at all. Sure, he has blazing straight line speed. But, he has tight hips and bad lateral mobility which keeps him from being able to hug turns and change direction. His instincts and football IQ are also subpar as he rarely sniffs out or recognizes where the ball is going and unfortunately, even when he does read a play well and gets there in time, he takes poor angles, comes in with pad level too high or just whiffs on the tackle. He can’t use his hands or shed blocks to save his life. Doesn’t get to gaps consistently and is a big liability on run defense. Honestly, all I see is a guy who has elite straight line speed. He’s a great athlete with a ton of potential, but he’s not a top 5 pick in my book.

Grade: D

6. New York Giants - Daniel Jones, QB

Ew. Even if you love Daniel Jones, you could easily trade back to 14 or possibly the 20s, gain a second round pick, and still take Jones. He’s got some potential, but he’s not worthy of the 6th overall pick. Poor decision not to trade back. But this GM also just traded away OBJ, so are we really that surprised?

Grade: F
7. Jacksonville Jaguars – Josh Allen, OLB

Josh Allen is still a bit raw, with the ability to still get much better. He needs to get stronger at the point of attack and use his hands better and more consistently. He needs to develop the swim and inside counter moves even more. The crazy part is, even with all of the things he could still improve on, he is a top 10 pick right now and if he masters those skills, he could end up being the best player in this draft and be the next Khalil Mack. He has that kind of upside. He has a ridiculous first step and burst off the snap and displays incredible lateral mobility, change of direction, bend and flex. Because of his speed and lateral mobility, he has excellent range and can fly all over the field and get the job done in pass protection in addition to the obvious skill he has as a pass rusher. Allen is a winner and plays hard every snap with an extremely hot motor. His production backs up the film as well. When a top 3 player falls to 7, you take him, regardless of other needs that might be higher for the Jags.

Grade: A

8. Detroit Lions – TJ Hockenson, TE

Hockenson can do it all as a tight end. His blocking skills are outstanding and he is a playmaker in the passing game. Super athletic. He could be the next Gronkowski.

Grade: A

9. Buffalo Bills – Ed Oliver, DT

Ed Oliver has obvious potential and upside with his ridiculous athleticism, speed and range (linebacker-like at times). His explosiveness off the snap and the power he flashes at times really impress. He also has excellent pad level and a high motor. However, he seems to only have a bull rush and his spin and swim move are not good or effective. His hands are not great and he relies on his speed, athleticism and power to beat his man. He played some pretty weak competition this year, so I wonder if he translates to an NFL stud. I think his potential is through the roof. Not sure about spending a top 10 pick on him though.

Grade: C+

10. Pittsburgh Steelers – Devin Bush, ILB

The Steelers traded up to get the best inside linebacker in the draft. His sideline to sideline speed will allow the Steelers to keep tabs on Lamar Jackson, Kareem Hunt, Joe Mixon and other playmakers in the AFC North. The Steelers lack that speed an instinct at linebacker now. Very good pick. They did have to give up their second round pick and a 2020 third round pick to move up 10 spots to land Bush, so that is a steep price to pay, but they did land a stud.

Grade: B+

11. Cincinnati Bengals – Jonah Williams, T

Williams shows good strength overall and has excellent footwork, great hips, lateral agility and is light on his feet. He has the speed to get to the second level quickly and gets great angles and seals off the lane pretty consistently. Williams did get exposed badly in the Clemson game against Clelin Ferrell though. He got caught leaning and lunging too often, which resulted in Ferrell making a quick swim move or dip to get right by him and a clear path to the quarterback. He also let his pad level get too high on a few occasions and got knocked straight on his back. After watching the tape, I think he may be better suited at guard. What concerns me a bit is that I don’t see the aggressiveness or nastiness in him that I want to see out of a lineman. He plays too “nice”. Certainly has the tools to be a good player in the NFL, I just wouldn’t reach to draft him at 11th overall thinking that he’s going to be a shutdown left tackle.

Grade: C

12. Green Bay Packers - Rashan Gary, DE

Rashan Gary is one of the most overrated prospects in this draft. He doesn’t have the lateral agility to be a playmaking pass rusher. He has one move and that’s a bull rush. Even when he wins on the bull rush, he has a very hard time at turning the corner and getting to the quarterback without slowing way down, at which point he’s too late and the QB just steps up and easily avoids him. He hugs turns about as slow as an 18 wheeler. His awareness isn’t great and he isn’t anything special on tackles, and whiffs on occasion. I think he might do better as a 3 technique defensive tackle, but he needs to bulk up to be able to take on strong NFL guards. He’s an excellent athlete, but he’s just not a good football player. Great as a second round flyer based on upside, but 12th overall is outrageous.

Grade:: F

13. Miami Dolphins – Christian Williams, DT

Wilkins has good size, strength and pad level, He’s quick and light on his feet for a big man. His jump off the snap isn’t always great, but he picks up speed nicely after the first step and is very effective on stunt moves because of his lateral agility and the ability to pick up steam after 2nd gear. His anchoring, awareness, and hands are all inconsistent and need development. He’s raw in a lot of areas, but has tons of potential and shows great flashes of playmaking ability and talent. He was more of a late first round pick for me, but certainly a talented prospect.

Grade: B-

14. Atlanta Falcons – Chris Lindstrom, G

Lindstrom has decent size and strength but he’s not overwhelming by any means. He has quick and excellent footwork in the passing game with great pad level and great lateral mobility, all of which combine to make him excellent in pass protection. He’s very consistent and always plays hard. He pulls quickly and is fast in space and at the second level. The one concern and downside to his game is that he doesn’t have elite strength and really struggles against big and strong defensive tackles who can drive and bend him backwards. He also leaves a lot to be desired in the run game where he should plow through linebackers and defensive backs easily and will either get knocked off balance or really not move them the way he should. If I’m investing a 1st round pick in a guard, I need a guy who can make things happen on the ground to open holes up. He is excellent in pass protection, so that makes sense for a pass heavy offense like the Falcons. Even so, he could struggle with big and strong defensive tackles in pass protection because of his lack of pure strength.

Grade: C+

15. Washington Redskins – Dwayne Haskins, QB

Haskins needs an elite offensive line to hold a pocket and give him plenty of time to throw. His awareness and pocket presence is subpar and he has zero ability to scramble, avoid pressure, or roll out in the flat to buy time. He’s shown some great flashes in big games, but has also looked poor at times. I’m not a huge Haskins fan and there are so many holes in the Redskins offense that I don’t think Haskins will succeed there.

Grade: C-

16. Carolina Panthers – Brian Burns, DE

Burns has pure athleticism, explodes off the snap, has a long body with long arms and knows how to use his hands well. He has excellent bend and flexibility as he gets to the corner and hugs turns extremely well. He has impressive spin and swim moves as well. He tackles and wraps guys up well. He’s super small at 249 pounds and needs to bulk up to maximize potential in the NFL. Because of his size, he is also weak and has a hard time anchoring or shedding blocks and often gets pushed around. Burns is strictly a speed rusher and there’s no guarantee that he will be more than that. He certainly could be if he bulks up and learns to use his body, but he’s a raw project and needs to develop a good bit first. If/when he develops, he will be a scary man to guard. Solid pick for the Panthers, who need a pass rusher.

Grade: B+

17. New York Giants – Dexter Lawrence, DT

Giants could’ve had Daniel Jones here with this pick. Anyway, moving on from that horrible pick, Lawrence is a huge dude who fits the ideal nose tackle description. He anchors well and absorbs double teams easily. He penetrates gaps consistently and has great awareness and knack for where the ball is going. His ability to shed blocks and use his hands to get to the gap is impressive. He doesn’t get much pass rush and is only going to get a sack if he straight bull rushes and overpowers his man, but he does do that on occasion. In the NFL, he’s an ideal nose tackle to stuff the run and shutdown running lanes. He does not get thrown out of the way or provide any easy runs.

Grade: B+

18. Minnesota Vikings – Garrett Bradbury, C

The Vikings biggest need is offensive line and they got the best center in the draft. Bradbury is strong with the ability to handle defensive tackles in pass protection and on the run. He is also very quick and athletic, with great lateral mobility and is dangerous on screens and in the open field because of his speed and athleticism. He’s a consistent blocker up front and doesn’t get beat very often.

Grade: A

19. Tennessee Titans – Jeffery Simmons, DT

He’s coming off of a torn ACL and a 2016 assault charge against a woman that caused the NFL to not allow him to attend the combine. A big gamble at 19.

Grade: C-

20. Denver Broncos – Noah Fant, TE
Fant is a big, athletic target with great hands. He has good footwork and can run some good routes. He shows great effort on blocks and sometimes makes some really impressive blocks, but most of the time his technique is poor and he gets beat. He really need a lot of work to be an all around tight end and you’re drafting him solely for his receiving potential. He doesn’t have blazing speed but he’s quick. He’s not a freak jumper or insane athlete, but he is athletic enough to make some plays. He can make it in the NFL, but I don’t see him being a superstar. I also think the Broncos have much bigger needs and I probably would’ve addressed offensive line issues to protect Joe Flacco.

Grade: C+

21. Green Bay Packers – Darnell Savage Jr, S

I’m ok with trading up 9 spots and giving up a couple 4th round picks to do so, but only if you’re landing a stud. I like savage and think he has a ton of potential, but he is more of a late second round value and there is no need to trade up to get him. Savage has excellent speed with impressive burst and his range is outstanding. Athleticism is evident through all of his games. He is a good tackler who closes in quickly and can makes some crushing hits. He shows great instincts and ability to read plays. Coverage is solid and he is twitchy and able to mirror receivers well and not fall behind on quick cuts. He does get caught gambling and staring down the QB at times, which results in him losing track of his assignment and letting his man get behind him by a step or two. He will also be just slightly off on his angles at times, but I don’t believe it’s anything that can’t be coached or fixed. I’d feel more comfortable with him as a strong safety and he should make a great special teams player with his speed, pursuit, and freakish range.

Grade: D

22. Philadelphia Eagles – Andre Dillard, T

The eagles gave up their 4th and 6th round picks to go get Dillard. I have no issues with this, as I’m sure they felt there was a good chance that the Texans were going to take him if they didn’t trade up. Eagles needed a replacement for Jason Peters and they got the best pass blocking left tackle in the draft. His excellent and quick feet, combined with his excellent lateral mobility and low pad level, allows him the skill set to dominate in pass protection. He has the speed and footwork to match speed rushers with just enough strength to hold off big and strong bull rushers. He bends at the knees and not the waist and when combined with his excellent and quick feet, means he rarely gets caught reaching or lunging. He is very smooth against spins, swims, and shoulder dips and sustains blocks well. While he won’t plow over anyone or bully them on running plays, he did show the ability to get the job done in the run game. He takes nice angles and is able to seal off the lane.

Grade: A

23. Houston Texans – Tytus Howard, T

Why? You have Cody Ford and Dalton Risner still on the board and you reach for a kid from Alabama State who is unproven? Terrible pick. If you really wanted Howard, go get him in the 2nd or 3rd. I guarantee you nobody else had Howard on the first round of their boards.

Grade: F

24. Oakland Raiders – Josh Jacobs, RB

With the news of Lynch retiring and there already being a well-known need of the Raiders needing to find a playmaker, this shouldn’t come as a surprise with him still being on the board at 24. I love Jacobs and he’s by far my favorite running back in this draft. He has an amazing combo of speed and strength. He’s got speed, great lateral agility and footwork with impressive acceleration and burst. Jacobs also has great vision to go along with his size and speed. He runs hard on every play, always looking to lower his shoulder and keep his legs driving forward for yards after contact. He’s also a great receiver and can do a lot of damage in the open field, especially when he lowers his helmet and trucks over safeties. He can do it all. Excellent pick.

Grade: A+

25. Baltimore Ravens – Marquise Brown, WR

I believe the Ravens were trying to trade back again, as the clock was running low and they made their pick at the last minute. My guess is that there weren’t enough buyers that were willing to pay a price that made sense for the Ravens, so the Ravens just decide to go get DeSean Jackson 2.0. The Ravens are banking on Lamar Jackson taking a huge leap with his accuracy and overall passing game this year. Brown is by far the fastest receiver in the league and can be a dynamic player, but only if Lamar can deliver a deep ball in stride. John Brown got open plenty of times last season and Lamar missed the throws by at least 10 yards every time. What I do love about this pick is that the Ravens are all in on Lamar taking his game to the next level this season and are providing him with a huge home run threat if he can make the throws consistently. Brown also has zero ability to block in the running game, so that is a concern in this run heavy scheme. He’s not known for his route running and isn’t going to run many hitches or catch any balls in traffic or at the sticks. He’s a deep ball threat or a guy who they can get it to in the flat on screen passes or quick drags over the middle. We’re truly banking on this coaching staff developing Lamar and using Hollywood Brown correctly in a way that they couldn’t do with John Brown last year. I don’t love this pick, but I love the confidence in Jackson and the coaching staff to try to make a splash. Ravens must get a big WR later in the draft who can block and be the possession receiver we desperately need. I would’ve drafted Cody Ford here and locked up the left guard spot that we need while waiting on WR and getting someone like Hakeem Butler later on.

Grade: C

26. Washington Redskins – Montez Sweat, DE

Sweat has tremendous upside, but his inconsistencies, combined with his health concerns, make him a risky pick. And giving up 2 second round picks to go get him is a steep price to pay.

Grade: C+

27. Oakland Raiders - Johnathan Abram, S

Not a fan of this pick at all. Sure, Abram can light it up in the box with highlight reel hits and tackles, but his poor coverage skills are deeply concerning and cause me to think he’ll be the next Matt Elam.

Grade: D

28. Los Angeles Chargers – Jerry Tillery, DT

Tillery has all the talent you could look for in a defensive lineman. He’s big and strong, can anchor down and plug the B gap as a 3 technique guy. He can also line up on the edge and has the quickness, strength and hands to set the edge or create some heavy pressure on the pass rush. He ran one of the fastest 40 times for a defensive tackle, with one of the fastest cone drill times, and he has the longest arms and biggest hands. His combination of explosion off the snap with the ability to extend his arms and use his strength and hands at the point of attack to shed a block is outstanding. He rarely gets latched onto and taken out of a play. He plays with excellent pad level and is always scrapping and trying to change direction, punch, slap and shake free. Once he does get free, he has the quickness to close and finish. He’s a playmaker and changes the game on many occasions.
With there being no question of his talents and abilities, I do have to point out that Tillery does have quite a few red flags. Many sources have noted character concerns and rumblings of teammates labeling him as a bad teammate. He’s known as a partier and locker room disruption. He has come a long way from his days of being suspended as a freshman from the Fiesta Bowl due to unspecified violation of team rules. He also posted on twitter and insinuated that another coach should replace his coach. He also kicked a defender in a game that year while also stomping on another’s leg.
I’m not a scout who gets into the nitty gritty of character issues and knows if these are real concerns still or if he’s grown up. If he has grown up, he could be a pro bowler.

Grade: B+

29. Seattle Seahawks – LJ Collier, DE

Again, why? If you really like him that much, you can still get him in the second or third round. No need to reach here. I don’t get it.

Grade: F

30. New York Giants – Deandre Baker, CB

Short and intermediate coverage is spectacular. He takes great angles, moves well, doesn’t bite on fakes, and sticks right on the hip of his man. Deep speed is the only concern, as he doesn’t look fast and doesn’t seem to have any ability to recover on the deep balls. Baker also doesn’t like to play run defense as he shies away often, hoping that someone else will make the tackle. With his concerns regarding deep speed and tackling, I don’t see him as a first round pick, but it’s not a super crazy reach.

Grade: C+

31. Atlanta Falcons – Kaleb McGary, T

No need to trade up to get McGary here. With Cody Ford and Dalton Risner still on the board here, I really don’t understand the trade to move up and take a lesser talent. You want to get excited about McGary because he’s a monster when you see his 6”8” frame with 325 pounds on him and long arms. But after you watch his tape, you just have to accept the reality that his footwork is poor, he can’t move laterally, and he lunges and lean constantly because he can’t match any rushers with speed. Even when he does engage his man, he struggles to sustain the blocks and gets shed off too easily. He’s also inconsistent on hips pad level and has poor hands. He got beat more times than I could count and most of the times he got beat so fast that defenders had a clear run at the quarterback. He can be a monster in the run game and just plow through and clear a lane, but he’s also inconsistent there and tends to get shed in the run game as well.

32. New England Patriots – N’Keal Harry, WR

I wanted the Ravens to land Harry or Butler. Harry is big, physical, breaks tackles often, has good hands, and is a great blocker. Unfortunately he only has average acceleration and speed. Speed isn’t everything, but it’s very important in today’s NFL. I believe Harry will still be a very good possession wide receiver and red zone target, especially with a quarterback like Tom Brady tossing the leather to him. He also makes ridiculous catches at times. He reminds me of Anquan Boldin in a lot of ways. He should thrive in New England and give them the possession receiver that they desperately need after losing Gronk. With Harry on the outside making catches at the sticks and Edelman making plays across the middle from the slot, the Patriots are looking scary again. I still think the Patriots will add Andy Isabella in the second or third round.

Grade: A