2019 NFL Draft Awards: Best Draft Class

By Charlie Campbell.
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With the 2019 NFL Draft in the books, it is only fair to dish out some awards for a job well done by a number of teams across the NFL. It also doesn’t hurt to look at which teams may have made regrettable picks.

Pass along your thoughts on these awards and the 2019 NFL Draft. I may put together a mail bag that answers questions/comments sent via email [email protected] or on Twitter @draftcampbell.

Best Draft Class: Washington Redskins
This was a tough decision between the Redskins and the Giants. While the media has fallen all over themselves to criticize New York, I would be willing to bet that those same media members have watched very little or next to nothing of Duke football over the past few years. I think the Giants came away with at least five future starters and some solid depth, so that is a superb draft class. The Redskins did not get as many new starters, but I think they win the top draft class because they got amazing quality with their early selections and added very good depth to their roster.

Washington has received a lot of well-deserved praise for its draft. But, the media hasn’t been paying attention to the fact that this was keeping in the tradition of recent years, as Washington had some good drafts in 2018 and 2017. The organization is building a talented team of pure football players who are big, tough and physical. Washington’s new first-round quarterback and edge rusher are perfect fits.

In Round 1, the Redskins brain trust of President Bruce Allen, senior Vice President of Player Personnel Doug Williams, and Director of College Scouting Kyle Smith did a great job of not panicking and trading away unnecessary picks. They stood pat and landed their young franchise quarterback in Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins. Haskins has a cannon for an arm and was an accurate passer for the Buckeyes last season. He really had an excellent year and showed a ton of upside for the NFL as a pocket passer.

Washington wasn’t done on the opening night of the draft, moving back into the first round to get Mississippi State defensive end Montez Sweat. Sweat was one of the top edge rushers in the SEC over the past two years, displaying a dynamite skill set of speed, length, and some natural strength. He dominated the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine, only sliding into the 20s because of some medical concerns. If it weren’t for the medical issues, Sweat would have been a top-10 pick. He is a great fit for the Redskins’ defense as a 3-4 outside linebacker and also can put his hand in the ground to be an end. Sweat could form a lethal defensive front with Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne and Ryan Kerrigan.

In the third round, Washington got a steal with Ohio State wide receiver Terry McLaurin. The speedster averaged over 20 yards per catch in 2018, before having excellent performances at the Senior Bowl and the combine, including ripping off a 40-yard dash in the 4.3 seconds. On top of being a receiver with a ton of upside, McLaurin is superb on special teams, and some teams had him rated as the top special teams player in the 2019 NFL Draft. What makes the McLaurin pick even better is the comfort level and relationship he has with first-round pick Dwayne Haskins. Having a friend will help each other make the transition from college to the NFL. They also have years of playing together in practice and games to lean on for experience in the passing game. McLaurin is a good player and will help Haskins to pan out as a pro on and off the field. This was a brilliant pick on some many levels by Redskins Super Bowl XXII MVP quarterback Doug Williams.

I think the Redskins made another intelligent pick on Day 3 with Stanford running back Bryce Love. He looked like a future first-rounder after the 2017 season, but injuries in 2018, including a torn ACL, dropped him to the third day of the 2019 NFL Draft. Washington can stash Love for a year and let him recover due to Adrian Peterson returning. A year later, Love and Derrius Guice could give the Redskins two talented young running backs who have first-round skill sets.

After Love, Washington add some depth with guard Wes Martin, center Ross Pierschbacher and linebacker Cole Holcomb. Sixth-round pick Kelvin Harmon was a steal as a potential possessional receiver, while seventh-round corner Jimmy Moreland and defensive lineman Jordan Brailford could be good rotational backups as well.

I really love what Allen, Williams and Smith are doing in the draft over the past three years. They are taking pure football players who bring toughness, size, quickness, and physicality to the team. It might take some time to mature, but it would not surprise me at all if this Redskins draft class lays the foundation for the team to become a consistent playoff contender year-after-year for many seasons to come.

Honorable Mentions: New York Giants, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Denver Broncos.

2018 Winner: Denver Broncos
2017 Winner: Washington Redskins
2016 Winner: Buffalo Bills
2015 Winner: Jacksonville Jaguars
2014 Winner: Houston Texans
2013 Winner: Green Bay Packers
2012 Winner: Pittsburgh Steelers

Once again, pass along your thoughts on these awards and the 2019 NFL Draft. I may together a mail bag that answers questions/comments sent via email [email protected] or on Twitter @draftcampbell.

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