With the winners already identified, it’s time to focus on the losers of last month’s NFL Draft. Looking back we can identify who handled the fanfare appallingly when dealing away players, who got usurped by better franchises and which team downright reached like crazy.
Elsewhere, which quarterback in the NFC South should be looking over their (hurt) shoulder?
Also, what group of fans got dealt a blow as a result of the Draft?
Let’s dive in.
It’s possible to argue either way if the Cards should be considered a winner or loser. Their most notable headline from 2019 Draft was of course the selection of Kyler Murray first overall. More crucially however, is the story of how Arizona came to be the owners of that pick.
No one needs reminding of what they did in the 2018 edition of the Draft. All seemed well at the time, the long-term successor to Carson Palmer was found and hopes were high. Those dreams were soon dashed and when December 2018 rolled around, it was clear the Cardinals were closer to having #1 pick than reaching the playoffs. Head coach Steve Wilks was fired the day after the season ended. Just as it was confirmed Arizona did indeed have the league’s worst record and subsequently the top pick.
So in comes the new coaching reign and thus a new offensive scheme. It was no secret Kyler Murray was seen as a better fit than the incumbent Josh Rosen, so the latter was kicked to the curb. They should be slammed for their treatment of Rosen during his doomed tenure. This is where the dark history of the Cardinals 2019 Draft all stems from.
GM Steve Keim is incredibly fortunate to still be in the job. Especially as reports are beginning to surface that Keim has failed to reach out to Rosen since trading him. Is this how the GM of a successful franchise should be treating players – whether or not they are former or current?
Whilst they remain a loser right now, perhaps Kyler and the new HC Kliff Kingsbury can rapidly change the fortunes of this team. Only then will the selection of Murray and the abandoning of Josh Rosen make sense.
Seen by many as trade up candidates due to possessing two selections in the 2nd round, the potential was there for the Texans to land a top prospect. Instead, they were outfoxed by a better organised franchise who traded into the pick just before them. Namely, the Philadelphia Eagles. With Houston getting ready to select Andre Dillard, a promising tackle out of Washington State, Philly stole him from right under their nose.
Then it was back to the drawing board in the war room of the Texans. With a considerable amount of the best OL already drafted, Houston would have been better off improving other needs. With a lot of cornerbacks slipping down the draft, this would have been a much smarter move compared to what the Texans ended up doing. Instead, they selected the relatively unknown Tytus Howard, a tackle out of Alabama State. A classic example of when drafting for need instead of best available is a losing strategy.
Double trouble for the Houston Texans you might say. Not only did they miss out on their first choice, they then responded by reaching for a guy who many experts described as “developmental prospect”. Hardly the plug in-and-play guy the offensive line of the Texans needed.
Reviewing their 2019 draft class, it’s hard to see Deshaun Watson not getting sacked a near record amount of times again. With the rest of the AFC South having a strong off-season, the Texans face a tough task returning to the playoffs. They needed to respond to the challenge they would inevitably face, judging by their 2019 draft performance, they have failed.
Being the owners of three picks in the 1st round, it was hard to imagine the Raiders being a loser of the draft. Eyebrows were raised as they used their 1st pick (4th overall) to select Clelin Ferrell. Perhaps it was a power move by new GM Mike Mayock to impose his philosophy on the team. For the moment, it’s a big reach. For sure a need was addressed with this pick, but Josh Allen would have been the better choice.
Oakland’s next selection was pick #24. Just about every mock draft had the Raiders taking Josh Jacobs, they did not disappoint. This is a vanilla selection. Jacobs was seen by most as the best running back available and Oakland were the team who needed an RB the most. Put two and two together and you draft Marshawn Lynch‘s replacement. If it were not for the Raiders’ glaring need at the position, it’s easy to imagine that Jacobs would have fallen out of the first round.
With their third pick in the 1st round, redemption was achieved when Oakland snagged the best safety in the class. Johnathan Abram should become an instant starter and soon the cornerstone of the Raiders secondary. Nonetheless, we should think twice before praising this franchise, the bigger picture should take precedence.
Of the three picks discussed, questions marks hang over two. Oakland had an opportunity to make a statement to the league and lay the foundations for the relocation to Las Vegas. However, they simply attempted to plug some of the holes that appear all over this roster.
Perhaps, the big move for a quarterback will come in the 2020 draft. A new face of the franchise for the new city the Raiders will call home. For now, they will being leaving Oakland a loser.
The signal caller of the Carolina Panthers will enter 2019 fresh off shoulder surgery. This is no small matter, it’s the second procedure for Newton in less than two years. While it’s possible this is natural wear and tear of an NFL quarterback, the concern for Cam’s long-term health will continue to grow. It seems like the front office of the Panthers isn’t guaranteeing on Newton being around in five years time. With the 100th pick in the draft, they selected the highly touted QB Will Grier.
It can be seen drafting Grier was more of a move to secure a strong backup. But it can also be said that this pick may have been better spent on getting Newton the tools he requires to succeed. Instead all they did was take an RB and a WR in the 5th and 7th rounds respectively. Not exactly heavy capital being spent here.
Two more years remain on Cam Newton’s current contract. At the culmination of this deal, you can bet your bottom dollar he will be asking for mega bucks. The question will be when the time comes however, will the Panthers fold to his demands? Two key points will most likely determine this. In what sort of shape will Newton’s shoulder be in and just how much of a starting quarterback Will Grier has developed into.
If a third shoulder surgery comes to pass, he will be damaged goods. If Will Grier shows promise and starting capability, it may well spell the end of an era in Carolina. When asking for his next big pay day, Cam Newton could be left cursing the day the Panthers picked Grier.
The NFL Fantasy Dynasty Player
From a fantasy perspective, this was a dire draft. With just eight players in skill positions going in the 1st round, those hoping for a breakout talent may be left wanting, especially those in dynasty leagues. Compared to previous years where huge talents such as Christian McCaffrey and more recently Saquon Barkley were up for grabs, this year we’re left with the aforementioned Josh Jacobs. The only running back taken in the 1st round.
Gazing upon the wide receiver class, it’s difficult to pick out a potential dynasty star. Pre-draft none of the experts out there could make a strong case for whoever they deemed as the best WR available. We had to wait until the Ravens picked Marquise Brown (25th overall) for the first wide receiver pick. It was beginning to look like there would be just one RB and one WR in the 1st round until the Patriots made N’Keal Harry their man with the 32nd pick.
Perhaps there’s solace in the form of the tight ends. TJ Hockenson and Noah Fant look to be week 1 impact players. Maybe these are the first names off 2019 dynasty drafts. However, their landing spots of Detroit and Denver respectively haven’t exactly produced fantasy studs at the position. The current state of the TE market in fantasy terms is porous. Outside of Kelce, Ertz and Kittle, the drop off in talent is alarming. Can Hock and Fant bridge the gap?
So then, dynasty players out there may have to trawl through some tape. If they were hoping for a saviour for their ailing roster, it will have to come in the form of a later round selection from the 2019 NFL Draft.