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 the team that makes sense to me. 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. What I’ll do is 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 Mets fan or Red Sox fan, it doesn’t matter, there are players on your favorite baseball 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 10 in the 2019 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 team’s first-round pick. It varies, and 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. I’ve already done the NFC, now I focus on the AFC)
New York Jets – Isaiah Johnson, CB, Houston (68th overall)
In a perfect world, the New York Jets would trade down from the 3rd overall pick to the 10th pick. Why would the Broncos move up? If they really want Drew Lock (like they’ve been rumored to), then it would make sense to get in front of Jon Gruden, the Raiders, and anyone else that’s thinking about drafting him. With that, the Jets could move back and gain some extra draft picks because not having a second round pick this year is a real bummer.
But rolling with what they have and not making any trades, they need another cornerback on this roster. They spent a ton of money on Le’Veon Bell and C.J. Mosley, which is fine. However, there are still some issues with their secondary. Trumaine Johnson will work fine on the outside, but Brian Poole just doesn’t move the needle for me, and it shouldn’t for Jets fans. Getting a player like Isaiah Johnson would do wonders for the future of this secondary, and it would give the Jets a legitimate option outside of Trumaine Johnson.
I was reminded today that the size/speed/explosion/agility score boxes on the #RAS cards have been blank forever, and I put it off because of…reasons…but it's an easy fix, so here you go! pic.twitter.com/ord25V85zO
— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 30, 2019
Isaiah Johnson has some incredible athletic ability and his length pops off on film. He can get a bit flat-footed in his backpedal, but overall, he’s a fluid mover and should be able to match up against any receiver that plays across from him. There’s a chance we see his name called in the second round, but if not, the Jets would be foolish to not pull the trigger when the third round gets going.
Buffalo Bills – D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss (9th Overall)
Let’s make Bills Mafia mad, shall we? It’s not my intention, but it kinda is with all the dislike of Metcalf going to the Bills. Sure, his agility drills aren’t as good as others, but he’s a big receiver and the projection for him to become a number one receiver that can match the production of a Julio Jones bodes well.
What else doesn’t bode well? Josh Allen not having a true number one receiver. “But they spent money on Cole Beasley and John Brown!” My point exactly, friends.
— Cover 1 (@Cover1) March 2, 2019
He’s not fully developed into the receiver you want him to be yet, but there’s not a receiver that is in college. Year one will be important for him to stay healthy and work through some of the issues with drops. Other than that, he has the size and speed to create an incredible amount of mismatches on any team he lines up against. Not only should the Bills be focused on winning games and building a complete team, they also need to focus on building it around their quarterback, Josh Allen. Don’t get mad when this is the pick. Get excited and be glad that you have a potential number one receiver on your roster, finally.
Miami Dolphins – Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma (13th Overall)
Could the Dolphins consider an edge rusher with the 13th pick? Absolutely, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they ended up going in that direction and then settling for Greg Little in the second round. But something that should be considered is that they have a much bigger need a right tackle, and they need a player who can play right away. It’s clear they’re not going quarterback in the first round with the signing of Ryan Fitzpatrick; he’s their bridge quarterback for the next year or two.
Ja’Wuan James signed a massive deal to be the right tackle for the Denver Broncos, and that creates an opening for the Dolphins. By the time the Dolphins are on the clock with the 13th pick, I predict that Jawaan Taylor will be off the board, but Cody Ford should be there. He’s been projected to move inside, but I think he’s a right tackle. He’s shown the foot speed to match speed rushers and has really good grip strength and the ability to climb to the second level. By the time the season opens, it would be thrilling for the Dolphins to have Ford holding down their right tackle position.
New England Patriots – Jace Sternberger, TE, Texas A&M (64th Overall)
This has to be the pick, right? The Patriots aren’t going to spend a first-round pick on Irv Smith Jr., are they? Or will he even be there? Either way, I’d have to think the Patriots will go in a different direction for the first round and settle with a tight end in the second.
This is actually a pretty good block from TE Sternberger. pic.twitter.com/to27myVy7Q
— Cover 1 (@Cover1) March 15, 2019
One of the players that makes the most sense is Jace Sternberger from Texas A&M. Last season, he had a breakout year for the Aggies and has shown the ability to get vertical up the field. Meanwhile, he also does a good job as a blocker. When playing for New England, he’ll be asked to carry out multiple responsibilities for this offense, and he should develop nicely for the Patriots. Pats fans, you need to get excited about this one.
Be sure to give Cover 1 | The NFL Draft Podcast a listen, and if you like what you hear, feel free to subscribe to it. While you’re at it, give me a follow on Twitter @RussNFLDraft!