Well, the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft wasn’t without its drama. The Cardinals and the 49ers made the moves everyone expected in taking Kyler Murray and Nick Bosa respectively. The Cards still have Josh Rosen, whilst the Giants picked Daniel Jones. The Washington Redskins made great moves, and there were multiple pick trades.
With a lot going on, and thirty-two players off the board going in to tonight’s second and third rounds, let’s pick out some of the better selections.
Quinnen Williams – New York Jets
Whilst he may sound like his head is filled with straw, with his southern accent and his laid-back attitude, it is anything but, and Quinnen Williams is one of the best football players (arguably the best) in this class.
The gigantic 300Ib, 6’3” mountain of a man is an unbelievable addition, bringing strength, might, and speed to the Jets’ defensive front. He has been compared to Steelers legend Joe Greene by some. In 24 games, the Alabama player racked up great numbers including 54 solo tackles, 35 assisted tackles, and 10 sacks.
It’s hard not to like Williams, too. Whilst he could have gone down the wrong path after losing his mother, he used it as motivation to one day succeed and make his mother proud. His mother, on her death bed, charged him with being the protector and the provider for the family, and he’s doing just that. On GMFB, Williams told hosts that the first thing he plans to do with his cheque is buy his grandma a car.
Jets fans will be happy to see that Williams is a hungry, humble, and exceptionally talented young man, and he has a great future in the NFL.
Devin White – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
With the fifth pick the Tampa Bay Buccaneers picked their outstanding LB prospect Devin White, who will fill a gap in their defence, and I picked Devin for this list because I like him as a player and I think he’s a top talent.
That’s not to say that this pick was without its doubters, because whilst he fills a gap, some people would argue that Josh Allen or Ed Oliver, who were still on the board at the time, would have been better picks. Considering that someone off the edge is a need for Tampa, and most of the best prospects are now gone, it’s hard to argue with them.
But that’s not to say that Devin White isn’t a stellar player. He really is. He could go on to have a Hall of Fame career, and I really think he will. Labelled an “unquestioned leader” by GM Jason Licht, White is also a thoughtful and clever player with unmatched determination, and the ability to become the “quarterback of the defence.”
He is an upgrade to Kwon Alexander, who was a great player for Tampa himself except when in coverage. Coverage is not a problem for White.
Put it this way; when White was off the field, opposing quarterbacks had a QB rating of 63.0, but when he was on the field, that rating plummeted to 28.7. That’s quite an impact. He’s also second in pressure percentage among players with 100 pass rushes or more.
Expect to see a lot of White terrorising offenses.
Devin Bush – Pittsburgh Steelers
After fellow linebacker and namesake Devin White shipped out to Tampa, the Steelers made strong moves to get their man, and that man was Michigan’s Devin Bush.
A big play defender that will bring back a sense of leadership after the loss of Ryan Shazier, Bush is a tone-setter, and has some insight in to the league from his father who played in the NFL for seven years. He also boasts Derrick Brooks and Ray Lewis amongst his mentors. Not bad, huh?
Bush is an incredible athlete with strong instincts, unbelievable tenacity and an intensity to his game. He has no issues dropping in to coverage or alternatively smashing through the offensive line. Trading up to tenth cost them their twentieth overall, their second rounder, and a future third, but it’s worth it, and obviously the Steelers agreed.
One of Bush’s great strengths is attacking the line of scrimmage and bringing down runners or a loss. Michigan often lined him up right along the line and he caused chaos.
He’s a scary man, and judging by his draft attire he is looking for a side career in Mortal Kombat. I wouldn’t put it past him winning that, either.
Deandre Baker – New York Giants
The best Giants pick of the draft was their third one, selecting the number one cornerback in this class: Deandre Baker out of Georgia.
Whilst he’s not an incredible athlete by any stretch of the imagination, but he is incredibly competitive, tough, tall, physical, and reads the plays well. He makes great plays on the ball and should slot straight in to the team, bringing a reeling Giants secondary back from the brink and making it competitive again.
On top of his physicality, he has a great mentality, something the Giants really need back in their locker room after the last few years’ antics. He will definitely instil a bit of solidarity, and a lot of confidence.
Overall, he’s a project that needs to improve, but don’t expect him to fail in that regard. He’s just not of that mindset.
N’Keal Harry – New England Patriots
He’s a playmaker, a quality punt returner, and can line up essentially anywhere, all of which convinced Bill Belichick to draft a wide receiver with their first-round pick for the first time in his history with the Patriots.
Harry has the ability to find yardage in spots where other players just simply wouldn’t, and to make tacklers miss at the very last second, even when there seems to be no room to manoeuvre.
He’s a crisp route runner, and an expert at taking short passes and converting them in to big yardage (which we all know the Patriots like), but his main skill in my eyes is his ability to go up and get the ball. His physique is impressive; he’s strong, agile, quick, and with a 38.5 inch vertical, he likes to go up and get the ball. He loves contested catches, and comes up with them more often than not.
Brady loves his back-shoulder fades, Harry loves his back shoulder fades. What’s not to love about this combination?