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The NFL Draft often creates a flurry of headlines, but 2019 will surely be one of the most active drafts of all time. With rumors flying around the league, it was difficult to narrow this down to just 10 headlines. That being said, here are 10 headlines we need to pay attention to when speculating the 2019 NFL Draft:
10. Are teams better off waiting until 2020 to draft a quarterback?
The quarterback class of 2019 is particularly thin, with Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins and Missouri’s Drew Lock as the headliners. After Kyler Murray recently declared for the NFL Draft, that makes only 3 quarterbacks that will be projected in the first round, unless you count West Virginia’s Will Grier and Duke’s Daniel Jones as candidates.
The following year, we will see Oregon’s Justin Herbert, Georgia’s Jake Fromm, Michigan’s Shea Patterson, and Washington’s Jacob Eason all on the board. In addition, we will also see Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa in the 2020 NFL Draft as well.
The Miami Dolphins are likely to wait until the 2020 NFL Draft to select a quarterback, and other teams will likely hold a similar strategy. After Haskins, Lock and Murray, there isn’t much appeal to a franchise seeking a successor.
9. How much longer will the New England Patriots wait to draft an heir to Tom Brady?
We previously mentioned how thin the quarterback class was in 2019, so would the New England Patriots gamble on a mid-round prospect to sit behind Tom Brady? The team previously selected LSU QB Danny Etling in the 7th round of the 2018 NFL Draft, but he will not be the answer post-Brady.
Tom Brady is signed through the 2019 season, and turns 42 in August. How much longer do Patriots fans truly expect for Brady to play in the NFL? His 11 interceptions are 15th among QBs, but is Brady’s highest since the 2013 season.
New England likely won’t look to an heir at the quarterback position until 2020, where more favorable prospects are on the market. Tom Brady is still playing football at a high enough level to lead his team to the postseason, and considering the rest of the AFC East is currently rebuilding, this is not an immediate concern.
8. Which 1st-round projected player will boom?
As for one player that should be considered a “boom”, I will go with LSU CB Greedy Williams. During his time in college, Williams picked up 8 interceptions, and specialized in man-to-man coverage. In 2018, he allowed a completion percentage of 40.3% and a passer rating of 58.1. Viewed as a late top-10 pick, Williams could be valued closer to the top 5.
7. Which 1st-round projected player will bust?
One player I’m not so sure about is Clemson DL Dexter Lawrence. The 340-pound National Champion was forced to miss the finale against Alabama due to testing positive to a banned substance. Sure, kids will be kids, but can Williams maintain a professional lifestyle when it’s called upon most?
6. Is Nick Bosa the outright #1 pick for the Arizona Cardinals?
Pending any trades, it seems as though Ohio State edge rusher Nick Bosa will be the #1 overall pick for the Arizona Cardinals. Viewed as a complement to Chandler Jones, it almost seems like this move is too easy.
That being said, plenty of teams are desperate for a prospect such as Bosa, or perhaps will reach to grab a quarterback like Dwayne Haskins. Teams seeking a quarterback addition include the New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Washington Redskins.
I don’t expect for this to take place, but crazier events have occurred within the NFL Draft.
5. Will the Oakland Raiders boom or bust with their 1st-round picks?
The Oakland Raiders have an inconsistent history of 1st-round picks, with hardly any flash attached to their franchise. The 2018 Draft saw the front office draft OT Kolton Miller, a year in which the Raiders offensive ranked 28th, per Pro Football Focus.
The two years prior, Oakland took gambles on their secondary in CB Gareon Conley and S Karl Joseph. Dating back even further, the Oakland Raiders selected WR Amari Cooper in 2015 and LB Khalil Mack in 2014, both of whom are no longer on the team.
With three 1st-round picks and an entirely new staff, the Oakland Raiders need to capitalize in the 2019 NFL Draft in order to establish the future. While future isn’t on their side, Jon Gruden and company will look to begin a new chapter.
4. Will Nick Foles be traded by the Philadelphia Eagles?
On January 15th, Philadelphia Eagles HC Doug Pederson claimed that Carson Wentz would be the starting quarterback moving forward. With that, it leaves veteran Nick Foles as the odd man out. Prior to the draft, or even on Draft Day, could we see Foles shipped off to another franchise?
The contract of Nick Foles is more complicated than it seems, and because of that, he will not be traded. Instead, I see a route in which the Eagles exercise their $20M option on Foles, and he then pays $2M to become a free agent. From there, the most likely suitors include the Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins, Jacksonville Jaguars, and perhaps the Denver Broncos as a dark horse.
3. Is this the year the New York Giants select the successor for Eli Manning?
With the #6 pick, the New York Giants are the first team on the board that could use a quarterback addition. The 2018 4th-rounder Kyle Lauletta was recently forced to plead guilty to a disorderly charge back in October, and 2017 draft selection Davis Webb is now part of the New York Jets roster.
Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins has been vocal about his desire to be part of the New York Giants, and the concept of “speaking matters into existence” may place some pressure on the Giants to draft the 21-year old. The Giants will look into a quarterback in the 2019 NFL Draft, but Eli Manning’s job is not in trouble for the time being.
2. Is Kyler Murray going in the 1st round?
By now, just about everyone in the sport industry is aware that Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray has declared for the NFL Draft. In result, he immediately becomes the 3rd-most attractive prospect, behind Dwayne Haskins and Drew Lock.
The potential suitors are clear: New York (Giants) at #6, Jacksonville at #7, Denver at #10, Miami at #13, and Washington at #15. With Kyler Murray on the board, it makes sense that some franchise will reach on the two-sport athlete. His future success in the NFL is unknown, but he will be a 1st-round draft pick.
1. Will Antonio Brown be dealt? If so, at what cost?
Antonio Brown has been vocal about departing from the Pittsburgh Steelers, and even removed them from his social media accounts. According to Jerry Rice, it seems as though Brown’s top priority is to play alongside the San Francisco 49ers.
There are two types of analysts when it comes to Antonio Brown: One side believes Brown will be dealt for a package of high draft picks, while the other insists that the Steelers will settle for a 2nd-round pick and just move on. In this instance, I’m with the latter, as the Steelers will eventually settle and focus on what is in their control.
Featured Image: Tim Tai, Philadelphia Inquirer