Evaluating the depth of the 2019 NFL Draft: Offense | Steel City Underground

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Evaluating the depth of the 2019 NFL Draft Class: Offensive Edition.

Every draft class has a theme. There are always positions that are deep and positions not so deep. You ask yourself going into the draft every year, ‘if my team needs position x to fill a need this year, do we have to take them in the first round? Or if we miss out on the top players is there good value at the position in later rounds?’.

Of course, outliers exist. A JaMarcus Russell can be taken first and a Tom Brady can be taken 199th. There’s no exact science to the draft. That’s what makes it so fun. The good thing is that a players draft position does not determine his career, he does. However, every year we are overloaded with hundreds of analysts offering us their pre-draft rankings, ratings, and grades to give us an idea of what to expect in the upcoming draft. So what are the strengths and weakness in the 2019 class? Now that we have taken a look at the biggest positions of need on each side of the ball, let’s break down the entire offensive side of the ball.

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Quarterback

  • Top Prospect: Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
  • Biggest Riser: Daniel Jones, Duke
  • Sleeper Potential: Brett Rypien, Boise State
  • Bust Potential: Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
  • Players With a First Round Grade: 4

Overall this is one of the weakest QB classes in recent memory. Each of the top players in this class has questions surrounding them. Will Kyler Murray’s size hinder him? Is he dedicated to football? Can Drew Lock handle pressure from NFL rushers? Is Dwayne Haskins accuracy going to hurt him? Or what about Daniel Jones’ level of competition he played against?

There is a massive drop after the top four. Brett Rypien, Will Grier, Tyree Jackson and Gardner Minshew all have favorable traits and could be good day two picks, but none project as top of the line starters.

Ultimately, teams in search of a franchise QB may be better suited waiting for the 2020 class. Especially if they miss out on the top players.

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Running Back

  • Top Prospect: Miles Sanders, Penn State
  • Biggest Riser: Justice Hill, Oklahoma State
  • Sleeper Potential: Devine Ozigbo, Nebraska
  • Bust Potential: Devin Singletary, FAU
  • Players With A First Round Grade: 0

“Buzz’s girlfriend! Woof!” Not a first round worthy back in this year's class. That’s not to say one won’t be taken if a team has a need and they want the top guy they can absolutely take on. Nobody expected Rashaad Penny to go in the first last season. The top two backs this year are Miles Sanders and Josh Jacobs (Alabama). So if you’re looking for someone to go top 32, those are your likely candidates.

The good news is that this class has a gluttony of prospects that offer varying talents to the team that takes them. Darrell Henderson has the speed to transition favorably to an outside zone rushing scheme. Justice hill, my top riser, offers the best one-cut ability in this class. Keep an eye on Devine Ozigbo as a late day two pick that could make some waves with his tremendous balance. He showed up to the senior bowl and impressed. There’s also Bryce Love, who if he did not get injured would be a top 3 back in this class.

All in all, I have 10 players worthy of a pick the first two days.

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Wide Receiver

  • Top Prospect: N’keal Harry, Arizona State
  • Biggest Riser: JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Stanford
  • Sleeper Potential: Dillon Mitchell, Oregon
  • Bust Potential: Paris Campbell
  • Players With A First Round Grade: 7

Wide Receiver is among the deepest of positions in this class. I have a whopping 7 players With first-round grades! The biggest riser of the group is JJ Arcega-Whiteside. He comes from athletic bloodlines, as both of his parents played professional basketball in Spain. He tested well at the combine, showing off plus athleticism with a 4.49 40, 7.15 three-cone and a 4.32 short shuttle.

Dillon Mitchell is the big sleeper in this group. He’s a slippery player who projects as a bigger slot receiver. Excellent in space, can find the soft spot in the zone, and was Herbert’s favorite target to go to when needing a first down. On the other side, Paris Campbell’s tape didn’t impress me. Great straight line speed, good size, but doesn’t run a crisp route and can be a bit of a one trick pony. In the right system, he can put up numbers, a la Mike Wallace in Pittsburgh.

Overall, I have 16 players with grades falling on day one or two.

Note: For more in-depth coverage on this year's wide receiver class view my 2019 NFL Draft WR evaluation article.

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Tight End

  • Top Prospect: T.J. Hockenson, Iowa
  • Biggest Riser: Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M
  • Sleeper Potential: Dax Raymond, Utah State
  • Bust Potential: Irv Smith Jr, Alabama
  • Players With A First Round Grade: 2

My next article may just be titled “Iowa: Tight End University”.

After George Kittle burst onto the scene last season, the top two tight ends this year are both from Iowa. TJ Hockenson and Noah Fant. Hock gets the nod as the top guy due to his blocking ability.

They aren’t your only options though. Jace Sternberger’s smooth hands can help a team year one. He projects as an excellent safety valve in the NFL. If he can improve his blocking he will be a top of the line NFL starter. Irv Smith jr is a big name that does everything well, but nothing great. He will be a starter for a team as early as year one but could lead to a career that doesn’t stand out.

Overall on day two, you are looking at players such as Irv Smith Jr, Jace Sternberger, Dax Raymond, Foster Moreau, Dawson Knox, Kahale Warring, and Alize Mack all wish the ability to contribute year one. That’s not a bad class.

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Tackle

  • Top Prospect: Jawaan Taylor, Florida
  • Biggest Riser: Cody Ford, Oklahoma
  • Sleeper Potential: Greg Little, Mississippi
  • Bust Potential: Jonah Williams, Alabama
  • Players With A First Round Grade: 4

The tackle position goes from starter Potential to fringe player very quickly. The top players, Taylor, Ford, and Williams all project as pro bowl caliber players. The knock of Jonah Williams having short arms is ridiculous as it never stopped Joe Thomas, whose arms are just as short. Cody Ford is a nasty blocker with a mean streak in the same vein as Quinton Nelson last season.

On day two you’ll find some players who need some work, but could be above average starters in the NFL. If you can land an Andre Dillard, Yodny Cajuste, or a Dalton Risner, your team may be set. All in all, I have 9 players worth a pick on the first two days.

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Interior Offensive Linemen

  • Top Player: Chris Lindstrom, Boston College
  • Biggest Riser: Eric McCoy, Texas A&M
  • Sleeper Potential: Conner McGovern, Penn State
  • Bust Potential: Nate Davis, Charlotte
  • Players With A First Round Grade: 3

Between guard and center, there are quality players all over the board. Not to mention there’s talk that Cody Ford Maybe better suited inside at the next level.

On day one, Lindstrom is a polished lineman that can play in any scheme in the NFL. You get him inside, flip him right or left, and he will anchor your line for years to come. Eric McCoy is possibly the most athletic lineman the NFL has seen since the Pouncey twins. He ran a 4.89 40 at the combine, better than some tight ends. He projects as the best pulling guard in this class and can play either side.

Nate Davis, however, needs to work on his mechanics a little, such as his hands and feet. If he can figure that out he has all the skills needed to be successful at the next level. But keep an eye on Conner McGovern, another athletic lineman that just needs some polish. Get him with the right OL coach and he can flourish.

IOL has the potential to see at least 11 players go on the first two days of the draft.

Conclusion

Overall, on the offensive side of the ball, if you need a receiver, tight end or lineman, you may not need to grab the top guy in round one. Each position has players further down the list that can step in year one and contribute. But if you’re looking at running back or quarterback, you may need to reach for that top guy or pass altogether.

Comments? Find me on Twitter to interact and ask any questions you have on my scouting of this class at https://twitter.com/doverly34.





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