Related Tags: NFL Draft
It's less than three weeks away. National Football League fans around the country are chomping at the bit for the 2019 NFL Draft. The first round will begin on Thursday, April 25, promptly at 8:00 p.m. ET in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. All eyes will be on that top pick which currently belongs to the Arizona Cardinals. Will they keep it? Is quarterback Kyler Murray their guy? Or...
1. Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals will hold on to the top pick and do what everyone has believed they would do from Day 1 - draft Heisman Trophy winner Murray. New Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury is an Air Raid disciple and Murray just happened to run the same offense at Oklahoma where he piled up 4,361 passing yards, 1,001 rushing yards, and 54 total touchdowns.
The Cardinals have tried to mask their intentions by bringing in DE Nick Bosa and DT Quinnen Williams in addition to Murray to visit. General manager Steve Keim isn't fooling anyone though. The Cardinals are banking that Murray makes the successful leap to the NFL a la his predecessor at Oklahoma, Baker Mayfield.
2. San Francisco 49ers
Forty-niners head coach Kyle Shanahan has made it clear that the team's phone lines will be open on Day 1 of the draft, but expect teh franchise to grab the pass rusher it so desperately needs - Nick Bosa. Coming from outstanding stock - his brother was the 2016 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year as a defensive end for the LA Chargers - Bosa is a 6-foot-4-inch, 265-pound pass rusher extraordinaire.
Bosa suffered a groin injury early last season while at Ohio State and decided, because of the injury's severity, to drop out of school and prepare himself for 2019 and the NFL. Bosa has an NFL-ready body. He has great power in his hands and has a variety of pass rush moves. He possesses the speed (4.77 in the 40-yard dash), strength (28 bench press reps at 225 pounds), and athleticism (31.5-inch vertical jump and 10-feet-1-inch broad jump) to make himself an elite NFL defensive end.
The Jets got their quarterback - Sam Darnold - last year. This year, it's all about defense. Kentucky DE Josh Allen is simply too good to pass up. The Jets finished 26th in the league against the run last year and need a dominant edge rusher. Allen (6-4, 262) checks off all of the boxes. He totaled 18.5 tackles for loss last season and 14 sacks against the best competition in America. Jets GM Mike Maccagnan has to work hard to help the franchise rebuild its defense. Allen is the first step in that process.
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden has three first-round picks. With a quarterback already in place and WR Antonio Brown now wearing black and silver, Gruden will opt for defense and select Alabama DT Quinnen Williams. The 6-4, 295-pound Williams has Aaron Donald-type talent. As a redshirt sophomore last year for head coach Nick Saban, Williams recorded eight sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss. Those are pretty good numbers for a defensive end. Williams is more at home inside at defensive tackle where he should help restore a suspect Raiders defense.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs biggest need is a big-time safety, especially now that Todd Bowles has taken over as the defensive coordinator. Bowls loves big-hitting, rangy safeties, but none are worthy of a top-5 pick. That would enact Plan B for Tampa Bay, which is to select Mississippi State DE Montez Sweat.
At 6-6 and 260 pounds, Sweat set an NFL combine record for defensive linemen when he ran 4.41 in the 40-yard dash. He is an amazing combination of size, speed, and athleticism. Sweat totaled 22.5 sacks and 30 tackles for loss over the past two seasons against SEC competition. He will instantly upgrade the Bucs defense, which has struggled in recent years.