When it comes to the NFL draft, teams are looking for three things: needs, talent and value. That last one is the trickiest to get. You know your needs. You can spot talent. But figuring out when to take the talented player you need takes skill — and some luck.
When a team lands a player based on needs and talent much later than they expected that player to be around, we call that a "steal." After combing through the 2019 NFL Draft pick by pick, I'm confident that I have found the 10 biggest steals of the draft.
10 Biggest Steals of the 2019 NFL Draft
Chris Slayton, DT, New York Giants
The former Syracuse star is was a three-year starter for the Orange who nabbed honorable mention All-ACC honors in 2018. He had 30.5 tackles for a loss during his college career and is a high-character guy who will be an asset in the locker room. You can't do much better for a seventh-round pick.
Myles Gaskin, RB, Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins went into the draft with needs everywhere, including running back. Somehow, some way, the all-time leading rusher in Washington history fell to them at pick No. 234 in the seventh round. Gaskin is a three-time All-Pac 12 selection and one of only two players in NCAA history to rush for 1,200 yards in all four college seasons.
Derwin Gray, OL, Pittsburgh Steelers
You can never have too much quality depth on the offensive line, and that's exactly what the Steelers got with the former Maryland star in the sixth round. Gray is a two-time All-Big Ten honorable mention selection who was the best lineman for one of the most explosive run games in the conference during his tenure. He's athletic enough to fill in at guard if need be.
Kelvin Harmon, WR, Washington Redskins
Harmon caught 150 passes during the last two seasons of his collegiate career. When you watch quarterback Ryan Finley's highlights, they could double as a highlight reel for the big-bodied receiver. Harmon is one of the strongest receivers in the draft and a true red zone threat built to play immediately. Incredible value in the sixth round.
Dexter Williams, RB, Green Bay Packers
The Packers' running back depth chart is currently full of guys who can't stay healthy or consistently produce. Enter Williams. Despite only playing in nine games due to a violation of team rules, Williams toted the rock for 995 yards and 12 touchdowns for Notre Dame in 2018. He's an absolute game-breaker, and nobody should be stunned if the sixth-round selection is the primary back in Green Bay by season's end.
Mack Wilson, LB, Cleveland Browns
The do-it-all linebacker out of Alabama was pegged at a top-five player at his position by most experts. He fell to the Browns in the fifth round and gives Cleveland yet another elite athlete on the defensive side of the ball. Don't be shocked to see him rise up the depth chart and join fellow tackling machines Christian Kirksey and Joe Schobert as a starter this season.
Jarrett Stidham, QB, New England Patriots
Patriots fans have been on edge for the last couple of drafts, waiting for Bill Belichick to draft the heir apparent to Tom Brady. There's a real good chance they got their guy in Stidham in the fourth round. The former Auburn star has been one of the more prolific and efficient passers in the nation's best conference for the better part of the last two years. He has the physical tools, football IQ and maturity to be the perfect apprentice to Brady.
Ryan Finley, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
You knew that new head coach and quarterback guru Zac Taylor wouldn't wait long to bring in a guy he could mold and develop. There's not much more developing needed when it comes to Finley — one of the most seasoned passers available in the draft. He makes all the throws and came out of the Scouting Combine with the highest Wonderlic score of any quarterback. All Taylor needs to do is hand him the playbook to study and wait for the fourth-round pick to take over the starting role in 2020.
David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears
When you think of what a Chicago Bears running back should look and play like, Montgomery is the image that should pop into your head. He's a grinder. He runs with violence. He can catch passes. And of interest to Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, the third-rounder is an elite pass blocker. He's the perfect complement to Tarik Cohen in the Bears' backfield and an asset to an already dangerous offense.
Greedy Williams, CB, Cleveland Browns
Williams had a first-round grade by many experts and publications. Be that as it may, he fell into the second round, where the Browns scooped him up with the 46th overall pick. With the three- and four-receiver sets that are now common in NFL offensive schemes, Williams is a Day 1 starter for the Browns. He has shutdown corner potential and could find himself going one-on-one on an island against the opponent's best receiver by season's end.
— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. His work has appeared on SI.com, FoxSports.com, Yahoo!, SBNation and Bleacher Report. He is a three-time FWAA writing contest award winner. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.