Well, now that the 2019 draft is history it’s time to take an objective look at what this might mean for the forthcoming season. The NFC West was very polarised last year with the Rams Making the Super Bowl and the Seahawks also making the playoffs, while the Cardinals & 49ers ended up picking 1st & 2nd in the draft. Getting a high set of draft picks by no means ensures success – just look at how Cleveland struggled till lately and of course New England have shown that having a late (or even no 1st round pick) is no impediment. Anyway that aside its time to impartially review the picks and to see if the gap might close in 2019.
The Cardinals made no secret of the fact that they were going to start again on offense, and as expected they tool Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray 1st. They then shipped Josh Rosen off to the Dolphins for a second-round pick which went on a new toy for Kyler in the shape of Andy Isabella. They have gone for their own version of the little & large show small here given that Murray at 5-10 will be the shortest starting QB in the NFL, and Isabella is only 5-9. Their other WR pick was Hakeem Butler who is 6-5 this will be an interesting combination going forward with Isabella having blistering speed (as does Murray) and Butler offers a big threat on the edge. On defense they got a bargain with both Murphy who was in our opinion is 1st round talent (ok they were only a pick outside of this but its still surprising he was there) and Zach Allen could also easily have gone higher.
Their 2019 prospects rest firmly on how well Kyler Murray adjusts to the NFL. If he shows his Sooners form then they will be good. Overall we expect that this draft will improve the side – but the OL is still a concern.
1 1 Kyler Murray QB Oklahoma
2 33 Byron Murphy CB Washington
2 62 Andy Isabella WR Massachusetts
3 65 Zach Allen DE Boston College
4 103 Hakeem Butler WR Iowa State
5 139 Deionte Thompson S Alabama
6 174 Keesean Johnson WR Fresno State
6 179 Lamont Gaillard C Georgia
7 248 Joshua Miles T Morgan State Compensatory pick
7 249 Michael Dogbe DE Temple Compensatory pick
7 254 Caleb Wilson TE UCLA Compensatory pick
Los Angeles Rams
Last years Super Bowl runners up started the draft light on picks but managed to barter what they had into a decent number. They added some decent prospects but it’s hard to see an impact player among them. Taylor Rapp is a good safety but unlikely to start and adding a running back with one of their other 3rd rounders seems strange unless there are issues with Todd Gurley that we don’t know about. OT Bobby Evans is probably the only impactful pick we can spot, but given they have a strong starting corp this draft looks to have been for depth rather than impact.
2 61 Taylor Rapp S Washington from Kansas City
3 70 Darrell Henderson RB Memphis from Tampa Bay
3 79 David Long Jr. CB Michigan from Atlanta
3 97 Bobby Evans OT Oklahoma from New England
4 134 Greg Gaines DT Washington from New England
5 169 David Edwards OT Wisconsin
7 234 Nick Scott S Penn State from New England
7 251 Dakota Allen LB Texas Tech
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers started 2018 as trendy dark horse Super Bowl contenders, however, this was stopped dead in its tracks by the injury to QB Jimmy Garoppolo, hence they picked second overall. That was worrying as if they had a playoff calibre squad then losing your QB shouldn’t have tanked the season. Anyway, they did pick fairly well adding some essential pass rush and then gave Jimmy some extra weapons. Taking a punter in the 4th was a head-scratcher, given their 2018 performance and although they did add three established players by trading those later picks (see below), we were not overly impressed, and unless Jimmy G really is something special (bear in mind he has limited starts) then they could be looking at 4th place in the division this year.
San Fransisco Picks
1 2 Nick Bosa DE Ohio State
2 36 Deebo Samuel WR South Carolina
3 67 Jalen Hurd WR Baylor
4 110 Mitch Wishnowsky P Utah
5 148 Dre Greenlaw LB Arkansas
6 176 Kaden Smith TE Stanford
6 183 Justin Skule OT Vanderbilt
They traded their fifth-round selection to the Detroit Lions in exchange for guard Laken Tomlinson.
They conditionally swapped seventh-round selections with the Chiefs in a trade for wide receiver Rod Streater.
The 49ers traded a seventh-round pick to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for tackle Shon Coleman.
If you think the Rams were busy on the phones trading picks wait till you see what the Seahawks did! They like the Rams were light on picks but ended up with 11 and still managed to keep a 1st rounder. This was mainly due to getting a round one pick for Frank Clark, and they used this to draft his replacement L. J. Collier. Is Collier currently as good as Frank Clark – of course not, but he has potential and costs a whole lot less, a big consideration given Russell Wilson’s contract. Only one of their 11 picks was not the result of a trade and looking at what they added we can’t fail to be impressed. Two complimentary WR’s in Metcalf & Jennings fills a big area of weakness and Marquise Blair will strengthen the secondary post Legion of Boom. They have gotten better.
1 29 L. J. Collier DE TCU From Kansas City Chiefs
2 47 Marquise Blair S Utah From Carolina Panthers
2 64 D. K. Metcalf WR Ole Miss From New England Patriots
3 88 Cody Barton LB Utah From Philadelphia Eagles
4 120 Gary Jennings Jr. WR West Virginia From Minnesota Vikings
4 124 Phil Haynes G Wake Forest
4 132 Ugo Amadi CB Oregon From New Orleans Saints
5 142 Ben Burr-Kirven LB Washington From Detroit Lions
6 204 Travis Homer RB Miami From New England Patriots
6 209 Demarcus Christmas DT Florida State From Minnesota Vikings
7 236 John Ursua WR Hawaii From Baltimore Ravens
Overall we are very impressed with the Cardinals & Seahawks drafts and both have potentially taken forward steps in the division (and possibly the NFC). The 49ers season looks like being dictated more by Jimmy G than anything they have done in the draft, while the Rams were already strong so the draft was more about adding depth. Right now (and this is before the inevitable injuries which occur in pre-season training) we think that the Cardinals are the most improved and will make the largest stride forward – probably not big enough to challenge for the playoffs but they will win more than 3 games in 2019.
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