Tuesday, April 30, 2019

2019 NFL Draft, Good vs. Bad Value

                The 2019 NFL draft was full of surprises. The beauty of surprises is they make it easy to figure out who the winners and losers of the draft are. I don't do draft grades because in order to assign grades we would need results which won't be in for at least 3 years. Therefore, I keep to good vs. bad value or winners vs. losers.

                As our first loser, Arizona did what I expected and made Kyler Murray the number one overall pick. As I explained last week, this was their only viable option because of the abundance of mistakes they have made in the last 4 years. What makes them the ultimate loser in this deal is the fact that they waited until minutes before the draft to begin seriously shopping Josh Rosen. Just to break down the entire situation involving Rosen, the Cardinals effectively traded the 2018 15th overall (1st round), 79th (3rd round), and 152nd (5th round) picks for this year’s 62nd (2nd round) and a 5th round pick next year. In the long run, the Cardinals end up with the coach and quarterback combo they want but gave up horrible value to get there. To quote Dodgeball “It’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for ‘em.” To be honest I think they would be much better off if they would fire GM Keim who has obviously spent too much time unsuccessfully trying to dodge a wrench.

                As a proud Las Vegas resident, I am doing everything I can to convince myself to root for the Raiders, but they continue to make it hard. With the 4th overall pick they took Clelin Ferrell who has the potential to be an impact player, but, the Raiders did not get good value for their drafting position. Ferrell was not even the most talented player at his position and definitely not the best player available. I would rather have seen them pick up Josh Allen, Ed Oliver, or Christian Wilkins with the 4th pick. If Ferrell was the player you wanted because of his personality, ethics, and scheme fit, finding a trade partner who wanted to move up from a mid first round pick to the fourth would have been smart. Even if they had traded with Tennessee at number 19 they could have still drafted Ferrell but had him on a cheaper rookie contract and most likely gained at least a 5th round pick out of the deal. If trades were not available, then they should have drafted Allen. Maybe then they would have had confidence in their pick and wouldn’t have had to take two more defensive ends in this draft. At 24 they turned around and took Alabama running back Josh Jacobs who was projected 2nd round. Most likely they could have drafted Jacobs with the 40th overall pick. Not taking Johnathan Abram at 24 was risky but they got lucky when he fell into their lap at 27. Had they followed my model they could have upgraded on Trayvon Mullen who they took 40th by using the 27th pick on a corner. At 27 not one corner had been drafted and they could have chosen whoever they felt was best in the class. All in all, I feel like they addressed their biggest needs by drafting three defensive ends, two cornerbacks, a running back, and a safety, but did so in a very inefficient manner and did not address their need at inside linebacker.

                The next loser in the draft is clearly the New York Giants. Going in we all knew Raiders and Giants news was going to dominate post-draft reactions for multiple reasons. First, they went into the draft with a combined six of the 32 first round picks. Second, the reason they had all those picks, including two of the top six, is because their management routinely does things in such an illogical fashion that they repeatedly have underachieving seasons resulting in said great draft picks. So to no one’s surprise with the 6th overall pick, the Giants took Daniel Jones, a quarterback with late first round value. What that draft pick did is set back their defense that needs a total overhaul. Just like the Raiders, the Giants left all the top defensive talent on the table.  Again, like the Raiders, they took their top player much too early because they could have had Jones at 17 and upgraded Dexter Lawrence to Josh Allen, Ed Oliver, or Christian Wilkins. In addition, if something had gone off the rails and somebody else was dumb enough to draft Jones in the top 16, they could have easily given Arizona their 17th overall pick and received Josh Rosen who has much more potential than Jones anyway. Again they just didn’t get good value for their multiple first-round picks but did help their defensive unit by drafting seven players on that side of the ball.

                By now you probably have guessed the teams I fell like turned their top level picks into great value, but, I will run through them just in case. San Francisco took Nick Bosa number two overall getting good value because he has number one overall talent. Jacksonville, by taking Josh Allen, even though he doesn’t address one of their top needs, received great value at number seven. Because of the failures of Arizona, Oakland, and New York, the third team that was able to exceed expectations was the Buffalo Bills who were lucky enough to draft Ed Oliver as the 9th overall pick. My ultimate good value award winner is the Miami Dolphins who not only managed to give their defense a major boost by getting Christian Wilkins in the 11 spot but later received a potential franchise quarterback in Rosen by taking advantage of Arizona’s mistakes.

                To round out my Congratulations tour, best wishes to six teams who will soon find out, if they don’t already know, anytime you get an Iowa Hawkeye or an Iowa state Cyclone on your team you are always adding leadership and competitiveness. Congrats to T.J. Hockenson (Detroit) and Noah Fant (Denver) for being the first two tight ends off the board in 2019 and putting Iowa in the history books as the first team to ever have two tight ends taken in the first round of the same draft. Next, congratulations to Amani Hooker (Tennessee) and Anthony Nelson (Tampa Bay) for working your butts off, resulting in being drafted into the NFL. Hakeem Butler (Arizona) and David Montgomery (Chicago) from the Cyclones also made the Hawkeye state proud by getting drafted and I wish them nothing but success at the next level.

                For a more in-depth break down you can listen to Aaron Peeples and me on his next podcast. We will record this weekend and it will be posted early next week on the California State Northridge (CSUN) newspaper’s web page at https://sundial.csun.edu/section/listen/. I will also give you a heads up from my twitter account when it is posted. I will be his guest for the duration of The Peeples Show.

(Follow me on twitter @Jake_Ruch for my real-time sports-related thoughts and updates on when I post new articles on my blog.)

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