Mason Thompson | November 10th, 2019
We are over halfway through the NFL season, and we have gotten a chance to see some of the new talent that was acquired via the draft this past April. Some have been stars while, well, others haven’t. Let’s take a look back at the first-round picks and give some in-depth analysis as to how each of them has done.
1. Arizona Cardinals – Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
2,229 Passing Yards, Nine Touchdowns, Four Interceptions, 64.2% Completion, 313 Rushing Yards, Two Touchdowns
There were mixed emotions about the Cardinals giving up on the Josh Rosen experience after just one year. Murray and new coach Kliff Kingsbury were supposed to take the league by storm, and they haven’t. He has shown flashes similar to his college days at Oklahoma and has taken over games by himself at times. Murray has been the best at his position from the 2019 draft.
2. San Francisco 49ers – Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
21 Tackles, Seven Sacks, Forced Fumble, Fumble Recovery, Interception
Bosa was the surefire top prospect in the draft, and he has shown why. He and defensive coordinator Robert Saleh have turned the 49ers defense into one of the best units in the league in just a few months. Not only is Bosa the favorite to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award, but he is also in consideration for the Defensive Player of the Year Award.
3. New York Jets – Quinnen Williams – DT – Alabama
19 Tackles, 1.5 Sacks, Pass Deflection
Williams hasn’t lived up to his potential of being the second-best player in this April’s draft. The Jets, overall, have been a disaster thus far into the season and have even traded Leonard Williams to prepare for next year. Quinnen Williams will need the team to acquire some help around him to be the force he was at Alabama.
4. Oakland Raiders – Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
23 Tackles, 3.5 Sacks, Four Pass Deflections
Raiders General Manager, Mike Mayock surprised the football world when he took Ferrell fourth overall. He had shown throughout the first nine weeks that there were far better players worthy of the fourth selection over him. This past Thursday, Ferrell finally showed why the Raiders made him the selection. If he keeps that up, people will forget who he was taken over at the position.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Devin White – LB – LSU
35 Tackles, 1.5 Sacks, Two Forced Fumbles
White played great in the first game of the year against San Francisco but then got injured during week two and proceeded to miss the next three games. Against Seattle, he had his most productive game of the year totaling twelve tackles and forcing two fumbles. White has also taken a leadership role on the defensive side of the ball according to head coach, Bruce Arians.
6. New York Giants – Daniel Jones – QB – Duke
1,676 Passing Yards, 11 Touchdowns, Six Interceptions, 62.6% Completion, 188 Rushing Yards, 2 Touchdowns, Two Fumbles
The Giants were completely blasted by fans and draft analysts, as well as myself for selecting Jones with the sixth overall pick. Jones took over for Eli Manning in week three and led the Giants to wins against the Buccaneers and Redskins before regressing against the Vikings and Cowboys. He gets an easier shot this week against the Jets and needs to learn to limit his mistakes. This is a learning experience for Jones in a rebuilding year for the Giants, but the verdict is still out for the decision to draft him.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars – Josh Allen – EDGE – Kentucky
25 Tackles, Seven Sacks, Two Forced Fumbles
The Jaguars got a steal when Allen fell all the way to them with the seventh selection. Though Allen had been playing a rotational role early in the year, he has proven successful, recording seven sacks so far this year. He is showing why the Raiders should’ve chosen him instead of Ferrell with the fourth pick. Allen will be a star for years to come.
8. Detroit Lions – T.J. Hockenson – TE – Iowa
38 Targets, 22 Receptions, 296 Yards, Two Touchdowns
It might look as if Hockenson is having a great year when you look at the stats. Well, 131 of those 296 yards came in week one, leaving 165 yards since then. He has dropped more touchdown passes(two) than catching touchdowns in the last seven games. His blocking, which many saw as a strength coming out, has been lackluster. He needs more consistency for the grade to reflect and with Detroit struggling on defense, maybe this wasn’t the right selection.
9. Buffalo Bills – Ed Oliver – DL – Houston
20 Tackles, Sack, Pass Deflection
The Bills, like the Jaguars, got a steal as Oliver fell to them with the ninth pick. Last week against the Redskins, the Bills started Jordan Phillips over Oliver. With the Bills having a bundle of players they can substitute in on the defensive line, Oliver will still have plenty of opportunities to disrupt opposing team’s plans.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers(From Denver) – Devin Bush – LB – Michigan
66 Tackles, Sack, Two Interceptions, Four Fumble Recoveries, Four Pass Deflections
I’ll admit that I wasn’t the highest on Bush in the draft process and he has definitely proven me wrong. He has filled the void that has been missing since Ryan Shazier went out with his scary injury. Bush is a huge factor in the Pittsburgh defense going from the middle of the pack to carrying the team.
11. Cincinnati Bengals – Jonah Williams – OL – Alabama
Williams hasn’t played a snap this year due to having surgery on a torn labrum during the off-season program. Williams being out has caused the Bengals to shift all along the offensive line the whole year. There’s not much else I can give this pick considering he hasn’t played a snap, although not his fault.
12. Green Bay Packers – Rashan Gary – EDGE – Michigan
12 Tackles, Sack, Fumble Recovery
When Gary was selected, it was known this move was for the future as the Packers had spent the majority of the off-season rejuvenating the pass rush with Za’Darius and Preston Smith. He has been in a rotation along with Kyler Fackrell as well. With time, Gary could take over and make the Packers’ defense even more special.
13. Miami Dolphins – Christian Wilkins – DT – Clemson
28 Tackles, Sack
While his stats might not depict much, his stats fall right in line with the other defensive tackles selected in this class. Wilkins might not be flashy, but he will make enough plays in games.
14. Atlanta Falcons – Chris Lindstrom – OL – Boston College
Lindstrom went on IR after week two and isn’t eligible to return until week ten. The Falcons need any kind of hope they can get on offense to protect Matt Ryan and form any kind of run game they can find.
15. Washington Redskins – Dwayne Haskins – QB – Ohio State
284 Yards, 4 Interceptions, 61.4% Completion
The Redskins have been a complete mess this year, and so has their quarterback situation. Haskins made his first start this past week against the Bills and didn’t do much to help or hurt the team. The fact that the team won’t commit to Haskins as the starter for any given week isn’t a great sign, and neither is the team around him.
16. Carolina Panthers – Brian Burns – EDGE – Florida State
15 Tackles, 4.5 Sacks, Forced Fumble, Fumble Recovery
Draft analysts were all over the board with Burns. Some had him as a top-five prospect, others had him as a second-round prospect. He got off to a fast start with the Panthers and hasn’t slowed down. On a team without their starting quarterback, the defense needs to step up and it has, and Burns has been one of the main reasons.
17. New York Giants – Dexter Lawrence – DT – Clemson
24 Tackles, 2.5 Sacks, Force Fumble
When the Giants selected Lawrence, many thought Gettleman had gone insane. The team already had multiple run-stuffing defensive tackles which were what a lot of people thought Lawrence was. He has shown that he impacts the game outside of being a run-stopper as he has shown the ability to rush the passer as well.
18. Minnesota Vikings – Garrett Bradbury – OL – NC State
No Stats Available
Bradbury was a main source for Pro Football Focus to bash on during the early part of the year. He was the lowest-rated center according to them for most of the early season but has since picked up the slack. Minnesota’s offensive line has improved this year and Bradbury is a main force in that.
19. Tennessee Titans – Jeffery Simmons – DT – Mississippi State
Ten Tackles, Sack
Simmons was a potential top-ten selection before an injury at his pro day caused his draft stock to fall with teams knowing he’d miss time to start the year. He got a sack in his first game against the Chargers a few weeks ago but hasn’t played much with the depth on the Titans defensive line.
20. Denver Broncos (From Pittsburgh) – Noah Fant – TE – Iowa
37 Targets, 23 Receptions, 300 Yards, Two Touchdowns, Fumble Lost
Fant and fellow Iowa Tight End, Hockenson have similar stats to start their careers. He is coming off the best game of his career and will look to continue that moving forward with Brandon Allen under center. Fant will likely be Allen’s best friend as he gets acquainted with life in the NFL.
21. Green Bay Packers(From Seattle) – Darnell Savage Jr. – S – Maryland
31 Tackles, Forced Fumble, Interception, Three Pass Deflections
The stats don’t tell the story with Savage. He has been an absolute force in the Packers defense alongside Adrian Amos this year. When Savage was out, the Packers pass defense struggled and has since returned to full form since he has returned. The Packers’ defense has been vastly improved and Savage, along with the remade secondary, is a strength for the team now.
22. Philadelphia Eagles(From Baltimore) – Andre Dillard – OT – Washington State
4 Sacks Allowed
Dillard didn’t earn much playing time through the first five weeks of the season. Since week five though, he has been starting at left tackle while Jason Peters recovers from injury. He has faced off against the likes of Jerry Hughes, Danielle Hunter, Robert Quinn, and Khalil Mack in his first few starts. He has gathered valuable playing time in a short time against some elite edge rushers and any playing time is valuable to a rookie offensive lineman.
23. Houston Texans – Tytus Howard – OT – Alabama State
No Stats Available
Many blasted Houston for the selection of Howard, including myself. Yes, he was an immediate starter but there were far better players at the position available. Fast forward seven months and he is starting at right tackle and has helped reinvent Houston’s offensive line. He ranks second in ESPN’s Pass Block Win Metric as well.
24. Oakland Raiders – Josh Jacobs – RB – Alabama
168 Rushing Attempts, 811 Rushing Yards, 4.8YPC, Seven Rushing Touchdowns, 14 Receptions, 132 Receiving Yards
Jacobs has been a dominant force this year. Whenever the Raiders win, it’s because they had given Jacobs enough opportunities and it has paid off in a big way. Jacobs is running away with the Offensive Rookie of The Year Award at this point and could potentially help the Raiders ride into the Playoffs.
25. Baltimore Ravens(From Philadelphia) – Marquise Brown – WR – Oklahoma
43 Targets, 24 Receptions, 374 Yards, Three Touchdowns
Brown was one of the most explosive players in this year’s draft and he has shown that explosiveness this year. The biggest knock on him? Injuries, which have come up often during his rookie campaign. Brown has found a rapport with Lamar Jackson that could be one of the league’s premier tandems for years to come. He needs to stay healthy in order for that to happen though.
26. Washington Redskins(From Indianapolis) – Montez Sweat – EDGE – Mississippi State
13 Tackles, 2.5 Sacks, Pass Deflection
Sweat fell dramatically after there was a heart condition found during the combine. He went from a potential top-ten pick to falling to the 26th pick to the Redskins. Sweat has shown flashes of dominance while also undergoing growing pains. He is graded low by PFF as most of his pressures have come on miscues by the offensive line he is facing. The Redskins should look to getting him as many reps as possible.
27. Oakland Raiders – Johnathan Abram – S – Mississippi State
Five Tackles, Pass Deflection
Abram was a star on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” series but hasn’t seen the field due to being placed on injured reserve after week one.
28. Los Angeles Chargers – Jerry Tillery – DT – Notre Dame
11 Tackles, 1.5 Sacks
The Chargers have gotten the least amount of production from their rookie class this year. Tillery has been lackluster this year and hasn’t played many snaps.
29. Seattle Seahawks – L.J. Collier – EDGE – TCU
Collier has only had three games where he has played ten or more snaps in his rookie year. With Seattle’s biggest need being pass rush, this might mean that he wasn’t as pro-ready as many thought.
30. New York Giants(From Multiple Trades) – Deandre Baker – CB – Georgia
37 Tackles, Three Pass Deflections
Many were surprised to see New York trade back into the first round to select Baker. Well, as seen on Monday night, he is still going through growing pains and needs time to adapt.
31. Atlanta Falcons(From LA Rams) – Kaleb McGary – OT – Washington
No Stats Available
Atlanta has been a disaster this year and the offensive line is still a problem even though they spent two first-round picks on linemen. Obviously, the two need snaps to improve but it should’ve been known there would be growing pains.
32. New England Patriots – N’Keal Harry – WR – Arizona State
Harry has been on injured reserve all year and should return to action soon. Harry is playing catch-up in a Patriots offense that is filled with weapons. He needs to get in multiple practices to have any sort of impact on the field over the next few weeks.
Obviously, this is a small sample size of what is to come for all 32 of these players. Players like Williams and Harry haven’t played a single snap and will likely have an impact on their respective teams. Players like Bosa and Jacobs have gotten off to fast starts and are favorites to win Rookie of the Year Awards. No one can be labeled a bust just yet.
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