For many football fans, the 2019 NFL Draft lived up to the immense hype created in the weeks leading up to the event. While the first round featured a few expected moves, it also showcased some surprises that many fans and analysts were not expecting.
It seemed that Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Kyler Murray was destined to become an Arizona Cardinal after reports of him going No. 1 overall began to leak months before Roger Goodell stepped up to the podium. Although many expected this move to happen, it was still a crazy way to start the draft because of Josh Rosen’s presence on the team.
General manager Steve Keim bit the bullet and received little in return when he traded Rosen, who was a top ten pick in last year’s draft, to the Miami Dolphins. Arizona was clearly comfortable with losing their franchise quarterback and a fifth-round pick in order to have Murray as their future signal-caller.
It certainly seems that Keim is confident in his decision. After appearing at Murray’s introductory press conference, he said, “Having the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft is certainly a game changer, and that’s exactly what we did. We selected a game changer.”
Many analysts named the Oakland Raiders as the team that would dictate the direction of the first round of the draft. The Raiders definitely made a surprise pick when they chose Clemson Tigers defensive end Clelin Ferrell fourth overall considering many analysts thought Ferrell would go later in the first round.
Along with taking Josh Jacobs in the first round, it’s clear that Oakland is trying to totally rebuild their secondary after taking defensive backs Jonathan Abram (first round pick), Trayvon Mullen (second round pick) and Isaiah Johnson (fourth round pick). This season will determine if head coach Jon Gruden is a genius or insane for trading away Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack for the extra draft picks that have resulted in these players.
The New York Giants grabbed a lot of attention this offseason due to a few noteworthy roster moves, including letting safety Landon Collins walk in free agency and trading star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns. They continued their questionable decision-making by grabbing Duke quarterback Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick in the draft. This move was met with a host of criticism from fans and analysts, who deemed that Jones was not as great of a prospect as Kentucky defensive end Josh Allen or Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins.
Nonetheless, general manager Dave Gettleman claimed that two teams would have selected Jones (pick No. 17) before their next first round draft pick, even though the Denver Broncos traded down and the Washington Redskins publicly stated that Gettleman does not know their draft board. New York selected Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence with the 17th pick in the draft and also traded back into the first round to take Deandre Baker, a cornerback from Georgia with a lot of potential.
While the spectacle of the draft is officially over, NFL fans will have to wait and see if their favorite team made the right decisions, or sent their franchise spiraling down the league’s power rankings.