Believe it or not, we’re less than a month away from the 2019 NFL Draft. Time flies when you’re having fun, or in my case, grinding tape and evaluating prospects. I’ll grind away on what I think a player can do, and inevitably he won’t go to that team. But that’s what makes this fun!
More often than not, something that all of us evaluators like to do is run through a mock draft. Those are always fun, but they can get repetitive. How many times can we really run through Kyler Murray or Quinnen Williams as the top pick of the 2019 NFL Draft? It’s exhausting at times, so I’ve thought of a new idea. It’s similar to a mock draft, but it expands through the entire 2019 NFL Draft.
This idea stems from opening day in baseball. Whether you’re a Yankees fan or a Cubs fan, it doesn’t matter, there are players on your team that you may or may not want on the roster. When we get to football season, the same thing is going to happen.
It doesn’t matter if your football team has five picks or 12 in the NFL Draft. There is one player that can help contribute for years to come. More often than not, it happens. But who are they? They’re not always the first pick; it varies. In this exercise, I want to provide one player that your team NEEDS by the time we get to kickoff for the regular season. (Yes, this will be in multiple parts. First up, the NFC!)
Really like that the #Lions have interest in Nate Davis (OG from Charlotte). Think he managed well at RT but believe he's an OG at the next level. Aggressive player that packs power behind him pic.twitter.com/yJsgPZJus3
— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) March 26, 2019
Detroit Lions – Nate Davis, OG, Charlotte (89th Pick)
There’s no doubt that the Lions have a need for a starting right guard on their offensive line. There’s a chance they give Tyrell Crosby a look, but in case they don’t, they should give this pick plenty of consideration because it creates plenty of competition for the starting right guard spot, but it also gives them a plug and play right guard from day one. The competition would belong to Davis if he was the selection here.
He’s a mauling right guard who carries plenty of power behind him. He struggles against speed rushers but provides plenty of versatility along the offensive line. At Charlotte, he had 37 career starts with 30 coming at right guard. With the Lions transitioning to a run-first offense, Davis makes a ton of sense and is a realistic option with the 89th overall pick.
Green Bay Packers – Dru Samia, OG, Oklahoma (76th Pick)
To put this into perspective for you, the Packers have three picks before this. Having four picks in the top 76 spots of the 2019 NFL Draft is pivotal. This could lead to plenty of success for the Packers over the next few years and possibly beyond. One of those reasons would be that they selected Dru Samia with the 76th overall pick in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
When your quarterback is sacked the third most in the NFL, it’s time to change the way you handle your offensive line. I’d be all for the Packers taking an offensive lineman before this pick, but with the way they’ve handled it before, they’re going to wait. If they’re going to wait, then getting Samia would be ideal. He’s an experienced player (48 career starts) and is the most aggressive offensive lineman in this draft. Meanwhile, he shows the fluid footwork, angles, and hand placement when running in zone. By packaging Samia in the Packers’ offensive line, it would be what every cheesehead needs to see when the season kicks off.
Minnesota Vikings – Amani Hooker, S, Iowa (50th Pick)
Hey Vikings fans, how fun would it be to free up Harrison Smith and let him do whatever he wants? I know, right? Sounds too good to be true. Whether he’s playing as a free safety or in the box, it seems like Smith is always around the football. That being said, how can we ensure that this defense isn’t getting beat over the top? Add one of the better safeties in this class.
Believe it or not, Amani Hooker is actually from Minneapolis. While playing at Iowa, he proved that he can be a dynamic piece in their defense. He had 65 tackles with four interceptions and seven pass deflections. One of the biggest defensive playmakers in the Big Ten, he flashed consistent range, ball skills, and hip fluidity. To back that up, he had a great Combine with a 3-cone drill of 6.81 seconds and a 40-yard dash of 4.48 seconds. This will be too early for some people, but I think Hooker has the chance to be a top 50 pick, so this just seems right.
Chicago Bears – Lonnie Johnson, CB, Kentucky (88th Pick)
I’m sorry, Bears fans, but I can’t get excited about your team having only five picks in the 2019 NFL Draft. They couldn’t even get a draft pick for this year’s draft after trading running back Jordan Howard to the Eagles. Instead, they received a draft pick next year. So sticking with the five picks they have, it’s pivotal to get this first pick right. Who’s going to be there? Your guess is as good as mine, but with the quarterbacks in their division, it’s important to try and stop the pass.
Lonnie Johnson the corner from Kentucky displays good coverage skills. He’s 6’3! pic.twitter.com/LGwYNiJnja
— Barroom Network (@BarroomNetwork) January 24, 2019
At the Senior Bowl, Lonnie Johnson stood out with his length. I watched him go through drills, and he was certainly one of the longer defensive backs there. To further my point, he checked into the Combine with an arm length of 32 5/8 inches (87th percentile). Despite bringing the physicality and having ideal athletic ability for the position, he lacks the ball skills you want to see out of a starting cornerback. However, he’d provide the Bears a future at cornerback, and with some time spent in training camp, he could improve alongside Kyle Fuller, Prince Amukamara, and Buster Skrine. The biggest question is if he’ll be there.