CAPACCIO: 10 things I think about the 2019 NFL Draft

April 24, 2019 - 9:30 pm

Here are 10 things I think about with this year’s NFL Draft:

  1. Two wide receivers - at most - will be drafted in the first round. D.K. Metcalf will be one of them, but maybe not even the first one. Oklahoma’s Marquise “Hollywood” Brown may go before him if a team covets his speed. Those may be the only two. There’s just too much “very good-not-great” talent at the position. Teams know they can draft a solid guy later and won’t need to grab one in Round 1. Rounds 2-4 are the sweet spot for wideout.
  2. I don’t think the Oakland Raiders should draft a quarterback in the first round, even though they might. Derek Carr actually played pretty well in the second half of last season, throwing 12 touchdowns and no interceptions from games 7-15 before throwing two picks in the team’s finale. Jon Gruden traded away his No. 1 weapon last year, too. Now they have Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams, and I think Gruden should give it one more year to see where they are with Carr before deciding if they should start over with a rookie.
  3. With the signing of T.J. Yeldon last week, there’s just no need for the Bills to draft a running back now, even though the prevailing thought (including from yours truly) has been that they needed to do that and get younger at the position. Yeldon represents exactly that. He’s only 25. In fact, he was the youngest of all the unrestricted free agents in this year’s running back group. That means the Bills signed the oldest free agent running back in Frank Gore (soon to be 36) and the youngest in Yeldon. They still have LeSean McCoy, Marcus Murphy, Keith Ford, Senorise Perry, and former rugby player Christian Wade, who doesn’t count against the roster since he was allocated as part of the International Pathways Program. They also have Patrick DiMarco at fullback. Counting Wade and DiMarco, the Bills have eight total running backs and fullbacks currently on the roster. That’s exactly the same number they brought to training camp last year.
  4. Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen is one of the best players in this draft, but he fits much more in the NFL as a 3-4 outside linebacker than he does a 4-3 defensive end (although he can play that spot). To be clear, I’d be fine with the Bills drafting him, because he’s a special talent and it would just be up to Sean McDermott and Leslie Frazier to figure out the best way to use him. However, his best chance for success in the NFL, especially early in his career, is to go to a team that runs a 3-4 and let him rush the quarterback from there.
  5. Michigan defensive end Chase Winovich will have a longer and more productive career than his teammate and fellow end Rashan Gary, even though Gary gets most of the accolades and will almost certainly be a higher draft pick. A lot of people contributed to Michigan’s defense and the numbers were spread out, but I still wonder why Gary wasn’t more productive than he was. If you’re going to be considered a top-10 drat pick, I think you need to have shown you can dominate other collegiate players who are not nearly as good as the NFL linemen he will see. He didn’t do that enough. Winovich, on the other hand, did have that kind of production, without as much fanfare or the incredible athletic traits Gary has.
  6. The Miami Dolphins shouldn’t draft a quarterback in the first round, and they absolutely shouldn’t trade draft picks to move up to do it. They’ve made a commitment to overhaul their roster and should just stay the course and build as many pieces as they can around whoever they select next year, which is when they should grab their quarterback. By most accounts and projections, next year’s quarterback class is supposed to be stronger at the top and deeper than this year’s class. By the looks of it, Miami will be picking even higher than No. 13, where they are now. Why grab the third or fourth quarterback in this class when they may be able to get the top guy next year, and then already have some nice young players around him?  
  7. I don’t know if the New York Jets will be able to trade out of the No. 3 hole, but I don’t see how they wouldn’t be trying like heck to do it to accumulate more picks. They only have six selections headed into this draft, and after No. 3 they don’t pick again until No. 68 overall, in the third round. Sure, they did a nice job of adding some pieces to their roster with running back Le’Veon Bell and wide receiver Jamison Crowder on offense and linebacker C.J. Mosely on defense, but they still need help on the offensive line and a pass rusher and cornerback on defense. I’m aware they’d be passing on a player like Josh Allen or Quinnen Williams by moving down, but they can address those areas much more efficiently still with good value by trading out.
  8. Cornerback is still a sneaky need for the Bills, and maybe even early. Levi Wallace had a nice season as an undrafted free agent, but he has to add more strength and bulk and be more physical. They signed Kevin Johnson and E.J. Gaines, but between the two of them they played a total of seven games last year. Slot cornerback Taron Johnson had season-ending shoulder surgery and also missed five games. Unless one or more stay completely healthy, they have to find another young guy who can be a solid starter opposite Tre’Davious White. Not to mention both Gaines and Johnson signed only one-year deals. Even if a young cornerback learned behind them, it would be great for the Bills to have someone under contract for another three years. If Washington’s Byron Murphy happens to be available in the second round (I don't think he will be, for the record), I think general manager Brandon Beane may jump all over him. He’s a ball hawk and the best zone cornerback in this year’s draft, fitting the Bills’ scheme perfectly.
  9. So many different scenarios could play out in the top-four picks, but after that, it looks like one player and team are a perfect match - the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and LSU linebacker Devin White. White is the best inside linebacker in this draft, and he very well may be the best overall athlete. He was a 5,000 yard rusher as a running back in high school, is a student of the game, and plays really fast both downhill and sideline-to-sideline. With Bruce Arians running an already good offense with lots of talent, the Buccaneers can add White to a defense led by Todd Bowles and plug him in right away, and probably for a long time.
  10. The Bills go into this draft with 10 scheduled selections. I’d be surprised if they used all 10. They may even trade down and grab more. If that happens, I think they either use some of them to trade back up later, add more picks next year, or both. Right now, they have 73 players on the roster. They are allowed 91 since Wade is roster exempt. It will be hard for the later picks to make the roster, given the construction Beane did to it over the last couple months. So there shouldn’t be much difference in those players or undrafted free agents, where the Bills did really well last year to find Wallace and wide receiver Robert Foster. 

Follow me on Twitter @SalSports

Comments ()