2019 NFL Draft Grades: Winners & Losers

Photo Credit: Kirby Lee (USA Today Sports)

Now that the dust has settled, let’s take a look at Luke Inman’s NFL Draft winners and losers, based on talent and value acquired.

NFL DRAFT WINNERS

Washington Redskins

Who’s running the show in the D.C. war room this year? A decade plus of watching this front office overspend and mortgage their future for boom-or-bust names seems to have finally come to an end. The Redskins stayed out and didn’t flinch as Dwayne Haskins fell into their lap, grabbing the second best quarterback in the draft without giving up any extra picks.

Trends in the NFL Draft show that if you want a big-name signal caller you have to trade up into the top 10, but not this year. Great name and even better value for their new franchise quarterback.

That was just the start, though, as they jumped all the way back into the first-round, moving 20 spots and found a way not to give up any current picks in the process. They netted Senior Bowl MVP Montez Sweat who will immediately add to the rotation on an already-stout Redskins defense.

Then it was all offense, giving Jay Gruden a handful of young talents to work with including speedster Terry McLaurin and the country’s best running back before his injury in Bryce Love. Not to mention, Kelvin Harmon, who might be the steal of the draft on paper considering his pre-draft projection.

Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State

Terry McLaurin, WR, Ohio State

Bryce Love, RB, Stanford

Wes Martin, OG, Indiana

Ross Pierschbacher, OG, Alabama

Kelvin Harmon, WR, North Carolina State

Overall Talent: A-

Overall Value: A-

Favorite Pick: Dwayne Haskins

Best Value: Kelvin Harmon

Tennessee Titans

Photo Credit: Christopher Hanewinc (USA Today Sports)

Some Nashville magic occurred while the streets were littered with a record-setting 600,000 fans in the draft’s host city. Like it typically goes, their entire draft hinged on nailing their first-round pick, but if Jeffery Simmons makes a clean return from an ACL injury like he is expected, then Mike Vrabel is one lucky man.

When healthy, Simmons was one of the top-five most dominant defensive players in the country. A.J. Brown was quietly one of scouts’ better receiving targets, who flashed dominant traits in the slot at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds.

Where you win the draft and take my heart, though, is the later rounds — the glue between every team’s roster. In the midst of a big offensive line run the Titans got a piece of the action before a big dip, grabbing Nate Davis who was regarded highlight on a lot of team’s boards, and possibly the Minnesota Vikings’. Iowa safety Amani Hooker was, too, as one of the best zone cover defenders in the entire class and just 20 years old. A rock solid first four picks that I see making a big impact both in the short and long term.

Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State

A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss

Nate Davis, OG, Charlotte

Amani Hooker, S, Iowa

Deandre Walker, OLB, Georgia

David Long, OLB, West Virginia

Talent: A-

Value: A-

Favorite Pick: A.J. Brown

Best Value: Amani Hooker 

Arizona Cardinals

If you believe in the system your new head coach is implanting into the team, then you have to love what they did in the draft. Up and down the board it’s all the same theme. Locking and loading young weapons in a pass-happy league is exactly what doctor Kliff Kingsbury ordered.

They started at the most important position in all of sports with the number one overall pick. The second straight Heisman winner from Oklahoma went first and new air-raid offense guru Kingsbury gets a game-changing player.

That set the tone for a pass-heavy draft as the dominoes fell with great value and instant impact in Byron Murphy, Andy Isabella, and everyone’s favorite steal, Hakeem Butler. It’s definitely the new way of thinking, but if it works they’ll be the king of the castle sooner than later.

P.S. The two receivers in the draft with the highest deep ball production? Butler and Isabella. Win or lose, bring your shades for all those fireworks in 2019.

Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

Andy Isabella, WR, UMass

Zach Allen, EDGE, Boston College

Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State

Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama

Keesean Johnson, WR, Fresno State

Lamont Gaillard, OG, Georgia

Talent: A-

Overall Value: B+

Favorite Pick: Byron Murphy

Best Value: Hakeem Butler

Denver Broncos

Photo Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski (USA Today Sports)

Right out the gate I loved the value, and for my money that’s what the draft is all about. Moving down 10 spots gave John Elway the ammo to steal Drew Lock after the beginning of the second round, two bold decisions that signaled he had his big boy pants on all weekend long.

Before Lock it was bang-bang on the offensive boards, injecting more much-needed young talent into their offense. The most athletic big-play potential in the draft, Noah Fant, gives the Broncos something they haven’t had in nearly a decade, a big weapon at tight end. Dalton Risner and Dre’Mont Jones are two of the more solid high-tier trench players while Justin Hollins gives them an athletic and versatile toy to develop up and down the defensive line.

Four potential rock-solid upper-tier starters in the league, including a new face of the franchise gunslinger. With Jay Cutler and Matthew Stafford arm talent, Lock seems like an ideal fit in the rocky mountains. I love how much pure value Elway rang out of his draft slot that could change the culture in Denver.

Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State

Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

Dre’Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State

Justin Hollins, EDGE, Oregon

Juwaan Winfree, WR, Colorado

Talent: A-

Overall Value: B

Favorite Pick: Drew Lock

Best Value: Dalton Risner 

Honorable Mention: Buffalo Bills

If we were grading on the first two picks alone, the Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars (Josh Allen and Jawaan Taylor) stole my heart. No teams found better value with their first two picks after grabbing two players who both, respectively, could’ve been plucked before their first selection regardless.

For the Bills, adding more home-run-hitting firepower with Devin Singletary and a new passing weapon in Dawson Knox is exactly how you protect your investment of a new young signal caller.

Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma

Devin Singletary, RB, FAU

Dawson Knox, TE, Ole Miss

Vosean Joseph, LB, Florida

Jaquan Johnson, S, Miami

Talent: B+

Overall Value: B+

Favorite Pick: Ed Oliver 

Best Value: Cody Ford

NFL DRAFT LOSERS

Kansas City Chiefs

Photo Credit: Dale Zanine (USA Today Sports)

From a prospect angle I really do like both Thornhill and Saunders’ potential, and think they’ll likely be solid contributors for a long time. However, I hate the overall value and the names they came away with top-to-bottom.

This front office had two second-round picks and failed to make a splash, grabbing a project safety and an insurance card to Tyreek Hill’s off-field issues. Unfortunately, this poor class now puts an unfair amount of pressure on newly-acquired Frank Clark.

Mecole Hardman, WR, Georgia

Juan Thornhill, S, Virginia

Khalen Saunders, DT, Western Illinois

Rashad Fenton, CB, South Carolina

Darwin Thompson, RB Utah State

Talent: C

Overall Value: C-

Least Favorite Pick: Mecole Hardman

Worst Value: Mecole Hardman

Cincinnati Bengals

What the hell were they doing?

When you’re picking that early it’s really hard to miss, and they got a great one in Jonah Williams who will be the true cornerstone in their trenches for a very long time. After that, though, it’s ugly. A massive reach on an average-moving tight end followed by an even bigger reach for a linebacker you could have gotten two rounds later. Far better talent at both positions were passed up for major head-scratchers.

I’ll never knock a franchise for taking swings on quarterbacks, so if you think Ryan Finley can be the guy, than by all means, punch it. Not much gets me out of bed after that except Michael Jordan, who should be good for a few double-doubles before he fouls out in the second half of the season.

Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

Drew Sample, TE, Washington

Germaine Pratt, LB, NC State

Ryan Finley, QB, NC State

Renell Wrenn, DT, Arizona State

Michael Jordan, OG, OSU

Trayvon Williams, RB, Texas A&M

Deshaun Davis, LB, Clemson

Rodney Anderson, RB, Oklahoma

Talent: C-

Overall Value: D

Least Favorite Pick: Drew Sample

Worst Value: Germaine Pratt

Seattle Seahawks

Photo Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski (USA Today Sports)

My new goal in life is to find out how much acid Pete Carroll laces in that gum he chomps on all day, because he was tripping out handing in some of these cards. Let’s preface this draft class first by saying the Seahawks have always gone rogue and done their own thing selecting players not even in the realm of proper value, and a handful of times you have to admit it worked.

However, until I see it with my own eyes I’ll continue to judge the lack of value and consistent reaching Carroll and the front office took part in. You had four picks in the top-88 to make some damage with, and you came out with three guys very few people have ever heard of.

I’l give them credit on pulling the pin to steal D.K. Metcalf where they did, and I’m a big fan of linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven. Top-to-bottom, though, this was a very weak haul especially when you consider the ammo they had after shipping away Frank Clark to the Chiefs.

“Turrible. Turrible. Turrible.” – Barkley Voice

L.J. Collier, DE, TCU

Marquise Blair, S, Utah

D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss

Cody Barton. LB, Utah

Gary Jennings, WR, West Virginia

Phil Haynes, G, Wake Forest

Ugo Amadi, CB, Oregon

Ben Burr-Kirven, LB, Washington

Travis Homer, RB, Miami

Demarcus Christmas, DT, FSU

John Ursua, WR, Hawai

Talent: C

Overall Value: D+

Least Favorite Pick: Cody Barton 

Worst Value: L.J. Collier 

New York Giants

Here’s the deal. We won’t know just how bad this was until we know if Daniel Jones is “the guy.” If you hit on your quarterback I don’t care how high you “over drafted” him. Finding a franchise signal caller will always be worth the risk.

But that didn’t mean they had to go nuts from there on out. Love Dexter Lawrence, but you just don’t take nose tackles high in this pass happy league anymore (see Vita Vea).

Baker, Ximines and Love are a nice little group of youth and talent to add to the mix, and if they hit on their quarterback then I’m eating crow. However, go watch Daniel Jones’ tape, and tell me if he was worth the sixth overall pick.

I’ll wait.

Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

Dexter Lawrence, NT, Clemson

Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

Oshine Ximinies, EDGE, Old Dominion

Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame

Ryan Connolly, LB, Wisconsin

Darius Slayton, WR, Auburn

Carey Ballentine, CB, Washburn

Talent: B-

Overall Value: D+

Least Favorite Pick: Daniel Jones 

Worst Value: Dexter Lawrence 

Honorable Mention: Oakland Raiders

I’ve been explaining their class like this: I love the names, but I hate the value. All three players could have been taken a large leap down in the draft, meaning Mike Mayock lost out on a ton of value, especially given what the fourth overall pick is worth.

Again, the players they bought in will immediately improve their team with a great mix of high-floor talent (Clelin Ferrell and Isiah Johnson) ready to contribute as rookies to major-ceiling prospects that will need coaching and development (Trayvon Mullen and Jonathan Abram).

With so many early picks it was going to be hard to screw up, but it’s clear to me Mayock needed one to dust the rust off as his track record speaks for itself. Just wish he would set himself up with some future ammo in 2020 when they host the draft in Las Vegas.

Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson

Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

Jonathan Abram, S, Mississippi State

Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson

Maxx Crosby, EDGE, Eastern Michigan

Isaiah Johnson, CB, Houston

Foster Moreau, TE, LSU

Hunter Renfrow, WR, Clemson

Quinton Bell, EDGE, Prairie View A&M

Talent: B

Overall Value: D

Least Favorite Pick: Jonathan Abram

Worst Value: Clelin Ferrell 

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