These Live 2019 NFL Draft Grades will be posted minutes after each pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Follow @walterfootball
2019 NFL Draft Grades - Round: Picks 1-16
| Picks 17-32
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2019 NFL Mock Draft | 2020 NFL Mock Draft
Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma B+ Grade
One-Year Grade: A- Grade
The Cardinals were criticized by many for spending a second-consecutive first-round pick on a quarterback. As we've learned since, this was the correct decision.
Josh Rosen was given a chance to start in Miami, but he bombed. Ryan Fitzpatrick outplayed him by a wide margin, which was not a surprise in the slightest. Rosen has priorities beyond his NFL career, so it's not shocking that he has struggled thus far.
Kyler Murray, meanwhile, had his ups and downs in his rookie campaign, but he showed so much more promise than Rosen. Murray played behind a poor offensive line, yet was able to lead the Cardinals to five victories and one tie that included a great fourth-quarter comeback. It'll be interesting to see how Murray develops behind a presumably improved blocking unit.
I think the Cardinals are making the correct decision for multiple reasons. First, it's quite apparent that Josh Rosen is a sunk cost. This should've been obvious leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft when it was revealed that Rosen didn't have a strong passion for football and just wanted to party instead. Rosen predictably struggled as a rookie. Granted, he had very little help around him, but the same could be said for Josh Allen and Sam Darnold, both of whom showed signs of life in their first seasons. Rosen did not. Second, Murray loves football. Unlike Rosen, he has a passion for the game. He even gave up a very promising baseball career to be an NFL quarterback. He'll give it his all, and he won't alienate teammates like Rosen has. Third, by selecting Murray, the Cardinals have given themselves an extra asset, as they'll be able to trade Rosen for a second-round pick.
All of these factors earn the Cardinals a high grade. I don't think I can give them anything in the "A" range, as this is their second-consecutive first-round quarterback pick, but I believe they're doing the right thing, so a B+ is in order.
San Francisco 49ers: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State A Grade
One-Year Grade: A+ Grade
It's unusual to see an A+ grade for a non-value selection, but this pick has to warrant lots of praise. How can it not? In just his first year, Nick Bosa was one of the most devastating edge rushers in the NFL. He was part of the best defensive front in the league, and his presence was a big reason why the 49ers were able to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. There's no way San Francisco would do anything else. Even trading down for lots of picks would be a mistake.
If you ask any NFL personnel man who the best player in the 2019 NFL Draft happens to be, they'll give you one of two answers: Nick Bosa or Quinnen Williams. The 49ers, as a result, are getting arguably the best player in the class at the No. 2 spot, and that particular prospect happens to fill a huge need. San Francisco's edge rush has been non-existent in recent years, and Nick Bosa will definitely change that.
I think this pick deserves an "A" grade. The 49ers aren't landing a steal with this choice, but they could've done something stupid like trade down or pick a lesser player. Instead, they've helped themselves immensely as they make a run at the playoffs in 2019.
New York Jets: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama B- Grade
One-Year Grade: B+ Grade
The Jets were mostly a disappointment in 2019. It all began when C.J. Mosley was sidelined with an injury at the end of the third qaurter of the opener. Sam Darnold was then knocked out for several games with mono. We then got to see Adam Gase's futility in full force, as the inept head coach helped ruin what was once a promising season, all while his former players thrived elsewhere.
Quinnen Williams wasn't to blame for anything. He wasn't stellar, but he had a solid rookie campaign and showed enough promise to allow the Jets to deal Leonard Williams to the Giants.
Quinnen Williams is arguably the best player in the 2019 NFL Draft, so I won't grade this poorly. However, it's an odd selection in that the defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams, wanted someone else. Williams saw Ed Oliver as the player he desired on his defensive line, so why did the Jets pick another defensive prospect? That doesn't make much sense to me. It's also disappointing that the Jets couldn't trade down. Still, the Jets are getting a terrific talent, so I won't go below a B- for this grade.
Oakland Raiders: Clelin Ferrell, DE/OLB, Clemson FARMER FAIL, GRIGSON GAFFE, CERRATO SUCKAGE, BAALKE BLOOPER, CHIP TRAGEDY, KING CALAMITY, SASHI SUFFERIN SUCCOTASH Grade
One-Year Grade: F Grade
I've noticed a loser mentality on Twitter where some people scold draft graders because it's impossible to know how well a prospect will pan out in the NFL. "They should wait to do their grades, rahhh!" they cry behind their monitors. I never understood this thought process. What's the fun in waiting? Why can't we speculate? I, like everyone else, will be wrong sometimes, but it's entertaining to envision how the future will unfold.
Here, I, like many, were correct, at least thus far. Clelin Ferrell was considered a mega reach at No. 4 overall, and that's exactly what he was. He had a lackluster first season and was outplayed by fellow rookie defensive end Maxx Crosby. If the Raiders wanted Ferrell so badly, they should've traded down a half-dozen spots and obtained him while acquiring some resources. Picking him at No. 4 overall was just horrible value.
Oh no. OHHH NOOOOO. Mike Mayock, what are you doing?
This is insane. I joked that Clelin Ferrell could go this high in my live draft blog, but I was only kidding. Clelin Ferrell is a poor pick. This selection provides absolutely no value. The Bills are reportedly desperate to move up for Ed Oliver. Couldn't the Raiders have traded down to Buffalo's choice, accepting less in value to make the deal happen? No one in the top seven is taking Ferrell. That said, I don't think Ferrell will be a bad player. In fact, I think he'll be a good pass rusher for the Raiders. I could see him becoming an occasional Pro Bowler. The problem is that this is a horrible value selection for the Raiders, who could've obtained more resources for a player who was expected to be available in the teens.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Devin White, LB, LSU B+ Grade
One-Year Grade: C Grade
It's certainly possible that my 5-year re-grade I'll issue four offseasons from now will look radically different. However, Devin White didn't perform up to expectations in his rookie campaign. He struggled in all regards and was outplayed by the other Devin rookie linebacker. That said, there's lots of room for improvement from White, so he could emerge as a Pro Bowl-caliber player in the future.
We return to sanity, which is nice. The Buccaneers had their choosing of Devin White, Ed Oliver or Josh Allen, and they couldn't have gone wrong with either of the three. Bruce Arians said he wanted a "once in a generation-type player," and White could be a perennial Pro Bowler for the next decade. White fills a huge need in the middle of Tampa's poor defense, and he could finally bring some credibility and leadership to the stop unit. This is the right pick, though it's one of three "right picks" Tampa could have made.
New York Giants: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke D- Grade
One-Year Grade: C+ Grade
From the beginning of the preseason, Daniel Jones was highly impressive. He had a great debut versus Tampa Bay and then proceeded to play at a high level at times. He was inconsistent, but this was expected from a rookie quarterback. The important thing is that Jones has a very bright future ahead of him.
So, why the C+? The fact remains that the Giants could have obtained him at No. 17 overall, or at the very least, moved up from No. 17 to around No. 12. They had a chance to secure both Jones and Josh Allen, and they blew it. Instead, they ended up with Jones and Dexter Lawrence, which is far worse.
I had Daniel Jones slotted to the Giants with the sixth pick in my 2019 NFL Mock Draft, but I don't like this selection. Jones is not good enough to be the sixth-overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, especially when considering that the Giants also have the No. 17 choice. They could have waited and probably have gotten Jones at 17. If not, the 2020 NFL Draft class is loaded with better quarterbacking talent! There's no need to reach for a signal-caller with studs like Ed Oliver and Josh Allen available. This was almost an "F," but at least it makes some sort of sense, unlike the Oakland selection.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Josh Allen, DE/OLB, Kentucky A+ Grade
One-Year Grade: A+ Grade
Josh Allen was a monster in his rookie campaign. He logged 10.5 sacks despite a lack of experience. He would've won Defensive Rookie of the Year if it wasn't for Nick Bosa. This was an excellent draft choice that must retain an A+ grade.
Josh Allen could have been the third-overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft with no criticism. He probably should've been the fourth-overall choice with Quinnen Williams off the board. Yet, the Jaguars obtained an absolute steal with Allen. I wondered if Jacksonville would choose Jonah Williams over Allen, whom I had sliding in my 2019 NFL Mock Draft, as the Jaguars have to protect Nick Foles. However, you can't pass on a blue-chip prospect like Allen. He'll take their defense, which declined a bit in 2018, to another level.
Detroit Lions: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa C Grade
One-Year Grade: C- Grade
T.J. Hockenson had an amazing debut to his rookie season, torching Arizona's horrible pass defense. No one realized it at the time, but the Cardinals would surrender career performances to most tight ends this year. That would explain why Hockenson didn't do very much after the 2019 opener.
I still feel the same way about this pick as I did last April. It seems unnecessary to use a top-10 selection on a tight end, especially when a stud like Ed Oliver is available.
This pick will be hailed as a great selection by the media because T.J. Hockenson is a big name, but I'm not a huge fan. Tight ends typically go later than anticipated, so using the eighth-overall selection on one seems questionable, especially with a stud player like Ed Oliver still on the board. Hockenson will be a terrific player for the Lions, so I won't grade this poorly, but they should've either chosen Oliver or moved down a few spots to get more value than this.
Buffalo Bills: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston A+ Grade
One-Year Grade: A+ Grade
Ed Oliver wasn't exactly Nick Bosa-type dominant in his rookie season, but he still performed on a very high level. He was a force in the trenches, notching five sacks and plugging the run well. He helped Buffalo's stellar defense get the team to the playoffs for just the second time this millennium. There's no way the Bills would do anything a second time around, so the Oliver choice has to be re-graded as an A+.
It took an unreasonable agent, a reach on a quarterback and a mediocre top-eight pick used on a tight end, but the Bills won the draft. Congrats, Buffalo! Oliver could end up being the best player from this entire class. He's drawn Aaron Donald comparisons for a reason, and he'll be a great replacement for Kyle Williams. Buffalo wanted to trade up for Oliver, yet didn't have to at all. This is an easy A+ grade.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan A Grade
One-Year Grade: B+ Grade
As mentioned earlier, the superior of the Devin rookie linebackers played in Pittsburgh. Devin Bush wasn't great as a rookie, but he played relatively well overall. He was a key piece in a stellar Pittsburgh defense that nearly got the team into the playoffs despite the severe problems the team had at quarterback.
I love this move. The Steelers have needed a replacement for Ryan Shazier ever since he suffered his horrible spinal injury on that fateful Monday night. There was no way in the world Devin Bush was going to fall to No. 20. Pittsburgh recognized that and made the jump for Bush. The Michigan product is extremely athletic and was highly productive at Michigan. He was also a team captain. He'll instantly establish himself as a team leader for Pittsburgh. I know the Steelers gave up resources to get Bush, yet the 2020 first-round pick wasn't included, which is huge. This was a move the Steelers had to make to restore their defense to its former dominance.
Cincinnati Bengals: Jonah Williams, OT/G, Alabama C+ Grade
One-Year Grade: Inc Grade
It's impossible to re-grade Jonah Williams at the moment because he has yet to play in the NFL. He missed his entire rookie season with an injury, so we'll see how he performs in 2020 and beyond.
I had Jonah Williams higher than this in my 2019 NFL Mock Draft, but only because that's what I thought would happen. Some teams graded Williams in the bottom half of the opening round. The problem with Williams is that his arms are too short for a tackle, yet he's not strong enough to be a guard. This is the problem Connor Williams had entering the 2018 NFL Draft, but to a lesser extent. I don't think Jonah Williams will be a bust like Connor Williams, but Jonah doesn't seem to have the upside to warrant a selection at No. 11 overall. I get why the Bengals drafted a lineman, but they probably should have gone in a different direction with so many talented defensive players on the board.
Green Bay Packers: Rashan Gary, DE/DT, Michigan D Grade
One-Year Grade: F Grade
It's still unclear why the Packers chose Rashan Gary at No. 12 overall. He performed poorly as a rookie, playing more than 20 snaps just twice. This happened prior to Week 6, and Gary was barely seen in the playoffs. He did nothing well, and his lackluster work ethic will likely prevent him from ever reaching his potential.
I can't really get behind this pick. Rashan Gary is insanely athletic and physically talented, but he was a huge disappointment as a player in Michigan. He also has some off-the-field concerns. There was speculation that Gary would fall to the 20s, which would've been a reasonable spot to select him. Not here, though. This is a major reach. If Gary couldn't produce in college, why would that suddenly happen when he has an NFL contract?
Miami Dolphins: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson A- Grade
One-Year Grade: C Grade
Christian Wilkins wasn't very effective as a rookie. He was barely noticeable in some games, and he didn't look like a first-round pick. However, Wilkins has talent and a tremendous work ethic, so it's possible that we'll see him make a big leap in 2020 or 2021.
The Rashan Gary and Christian Wilkins selections are just one spot apart, yet they couldn't be more radically different. The Packers took a guy who was a major slacker in college, whereas the Dolphins just picked a high-character player who was a team captain at his school. Oh, and Wilkins was pretty damn good as well! This is a great pick that must be in the "A" range, as Wilkins will be able to replace Ndamukong Suh's production. The only reason this isn't an A+ or an "A" is because I felt as though the Dolphins had so many needs that they had to trade down. Still, I'm a fan of this move.
Atlanta Falcons: Chris Lindstrom, G, Boston College D- Grade
One-Year Grade: C+ Grade
It's still fair to question the Falcons' decision to pick a guard at No. 14 overall, but as a player, Chris Lindstrom performed very well as a rookie. He missed some action with an injury, but the dropoff from the offensive line as a whole was very apparent when Lindstrom wasn't on the field.
Look, I understand why the Falcons didn't select Andre Dillard over Chris Lindstrom. Atlanta desires to be more physical, so Lindstrom would qualify as such over Dillard. However, the value here is zilch. Selecting a guard in the top half of the opening round is highly questionable, especially when considering that teams in the 20s believed Lindstrom would be available to them. I suppose this pick is a byproduct of Christian Wilkins being snatched off the board. It's a panic move for sure. I like Lindstrom, and he should turn out to be a solid protector for Matt Ryan, but once the Dolphins snatched Wilkins, the Falcons should have moved down six or so spots. They would've been able to obtain Lindstrom or someone comparable there.
Washington Redskins: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State A- Grade
One-Year Grade: B- Grade
Dwayne Haskins was abysmal in his first several starts. It was staggering how bad he was. However, he improved a bit as the year progressed, so there's definitely legitimate hope that he can become the Redskins' franchise quarterback in the future. I could see the 5-year re-grade being radically different than this one.
I've said all along that the Redskins trading up for Dwayne Haskins would be insanely stupid because there would be a good chance that he'd fall to the Redskins at No. 15 overall. Unlike the Giants, who needlessly reached for Daniel Jones, Washington smartly stood pat at its pick and landed Haskins after all. I'm not a huge fan of Haskins as a prospect, but I think he could end up being a solid quarterback in the NFL. At the very least, the Redskins had to make this move because they didn't have anything at quarterback beyond the pedestrian Case Keenum. Credit them for not panicking as all of the bogus rumors surfaced.
Carolina Panthers: Brian Burns, DE/OLB, Florida State A- Grade
2019 NFL Draft Grades - Round: Picks 1-16 | Picks 17-32 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | NFL Draft Team Grades | Supplemental
One-Year Grade: A Grade
There was some chatter than Brian Burns could be chosen in the top 10 in the 2019 NFL Draft. That didn't happen, but he performed like he should've been a top-10 pick, notching 7.5 sacks despite having no NFL experience. He was a potent edge rusher for the Panthers, and he was one reasons why the Panthers were able to begin the year 5-3, beyond Christian McCaffrey, of course.
I slotted Brian Burns as high as No. 8 in my mock draft at one point. I thought that was a bit too high for them, but the 16th-overall selection provides good value for the Seminole. The Panthers are moving to a 3-4 defense, and they needed to select one of the talented edge rushers. They certainly got one in Burns. He has explosive ability and high-character marks, as he was a captain at Florida State. This is the right move by the Panthers, though Andre Dillard could be argued for at this juncture.
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