Pittsburgh filled a large hole in their defense by trading up to take Michigan LB Devin Bush
All 254 picks have been made and the 2019 NFL Draft is officially in the books for all 32 franchises. Ask any executive or coach around the league at this point, they’ll be sure to tell you they found that missing piece and are thrilled with the group they got getting them over the hump to the Super Bowl.
While it’s too soon to say exactly how every draft pick will pan out, we can look at the value teams got from certain picks and which ones caused a few head scratches around the league. With that in mind, here are the best picks from each team and, of course, their worst.
Best pick: Zach Allen, DE, Boston College (Round 3, Pick 65 overall)
Worst pick: Andy Isabella, WR, UMass (Round 2, Pick 62 overall)
The Cardinals’ draft will be defined largely on the franchise going all-in with head coach Kliff Kingsbury and No. 1 overall selection Kyler Murray. It’s pretty clear the front office wanted to give the pair as many weapons as possible in the draft and spent accordingly on offense. That said, Isabella was a bit of a reach in the second round given his size (at 5-9, 188 he can still be dynamite in the desert, but the draft value wasn’t quite there). Allen was a steal in the third round after coming into the draft with a much higher grade.
Best pick: Kendall Sheffield, CB, Ohio State (Round 4, 111th overall)
Worst pick: Marcus Green, WR, ULM (Round 6, 203rd overall)
There was a clear priority to remake the offensive line with the Falcons’ first-round picks but the selections of Chris Lindstrom (No. 14 overall) and Kaleb McGary (No. 31) could both be seen as a bit of a reach. It’s tough to spend a top-15 pick on a guard and then trade back up in the first round to land another tackle when the team could have had somebody like Andre Dillard with their initial pick and then landed Lindstrom later on. In Sheffield, the team got a very high upside corner outside the top 100 who can contribute right away. Green was the team’s only pick from the fifth round on and probably could have been signed as a UDFA. Instead, he’s a selection that is at a position of excess in Atlanta and will have to be a special teams maven to make the roster.
Best pick: Justice Hill, RB, Oklahoma State (Round 4, 113th overall)
Worst pick: Iman Marshall, CB, USC (Round 4, 127th overall)
General manager Eric DeCosta hit his first draft out of the park, landing a terrific talent in Marquise Brown in the first round to team with Lamar Jackson and later plucking Jaylon Ferguson to provide some pass-rush help late in the third. Hill is just terrific value outside the top 100 given everything he can do in the pass and run game, and the rest of the team’s picks makes sense all the way down the board. Marshall has a chance to contribute but never quite lived up to his potential in college and probably would be better served sliding over to safety at the next level.
Best pick: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston (Round 1, 9th overall)
Worst pick: Devin Singletary, RB, Florida Atlantic (Round 3, 74th overall)
The Bills Mafia has to be thrilled at this draft haul, headlined by Oliver falling to them in the first round. A college football fan favorite, he’ll be able to step into Kyle Williams’ shoes on and off the field. The team also scouted well in later rounds with Vosean Joseph and Jaquan Johnson providing a nice boost on defense out of the Sunshine State. It’s hard to make sense of spending a top-75 pick on Singletary though, who is a good player but enters a situation where carries will probably be hard to come by given all the names at tailback in Buffalo.
Best pick: Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss (Round 2, 37th overall)
Worst pick: Terry Godwin, WR, Georgia (Round 7, 237th overall)
Only seven picks for the Panthers, who didn’t do much trading around in the draft but still landed some quality pieces to help the roster. Some will question the pick of Will Grier but he’s got a chance to be a great understudy to Cam Newton and become a reliable backup that can still win you games. Little’s upside is obvious and he has a chance to become a top-tier left tackle with all the tools he’s got. Godwin will have an uphill battle making the roster out of the slot given the options the team already has on hand plus the catches Christian McCaffrey tends to steal.
Best pick: David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State (Round 3, 73rd overall)
Worst pick: Kerrith Whyte, RB, FAU (Round 7, 222nd overall)
It was a quiet draft for the Bears with only a single top-100 pick and just five total. Montgomery is a straight-up steal however and should make Chicago forget quickly about Jordan Howard. It’s hard to see the reasoning behind spending one of those limited selections on Whyte though, who does bring plenty in the return game but might have been had as a free agent after being a backup with the Owls.
Best pick: Trayveon Williams, RB, Texas A&M (Round 6, 182nd overall)
Worst pick: Renell Wren, DT, Arizona State (Round 4, 125th overall)
It was an interesting draft for the Bengals, who addressed a lot of needs through solid picks but there’s nobody that really jumps out at you when scan through their class. Williams might be an exception given how good he was in the SEC. He can be a nice complementary back to Joe Mixon and provide a bit of a younger replacement for Gio Bernard too. Wren has a lot of upside and physically looks like a potential starter but he’s a project and will have to work hard to crack the Bengals’ defensive line rotation.
Best pick: Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama (Round 5, 155th overall)
Worst pick: Austin Seibert, K, Oklahoma (Round 5, 170th overall)
This year must have felt so strange for the Browns given that their team didn’t have a ton of picks nor were they major players on any of the three days. They got value out of their second-rounder in Greedy Williams and continued to reinforce the secondary on Day 3. Wilson had a great career with the Crimson Tide and is an instinctive player who could push Joe Schobert down the road. We have to question John Dorsey spending a fifth-round pick on a kicker though, even one as good as Seibert is.
Best pick: Jalen Jelks, EDGE, Oregon (Round 7, 241st overall)
Worst pick: Trysten Hill, DT, UCF (Round 2, 58th overall)
A very quiet draft by Cowboys standards that, if nothing else, helps upgrade the team speed in Big D. The addition of Connor McGovern to the interior line could help boost depth and Tony Pollard has a chance to be a special return man and third-down option. Jelks is great value in the final round and has the athleticism to help out rushing the passer in various packages. It was interesting to see Jerry Jones use his first pick in the draft on Hill, who has the physical talent to show up on Sundays but has plenty of questions about his game.
Best pick: Dre'mont Jones, DT, Ohio State (Round 3, 71st overall)
Worst pick: Juwann Winfree, WR, Colorado (Round 6, 187th overall)
The Broncos made only six picks but they nailed tremendous value out of five of them and could have landed multiple starters from this group. Lots of people will bring up picking a falling Drew Lock late in the second round and trading down out of the top 10 but still landing Noah Fant. Still, Jones is a really good steal in the third and could help make that front seven even nastier. It was a bit puzzling to see them grab the local kid in Winfree with their final selection when there were better options available.
Best pick: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa (Round 1, 8th overall)
Worst pick: Jahlani Tavai, LB, Hawaii (Round 2, 43rd overall)
The Lions have to be ecstatic that Hockenson was there for the taking early on as he’s a TE1 as a rookie and much-needed insurance policy for Matthew Stafford in the middle of the field. The coaching staff has to like his blocking ability too as they look to get tougher in the run game. Austin Bryant was an unsung member of that Clemson team and was a steal in the fourth round but their second-rounder Tavai was quite a reach for a player who likely starts out as a backup.
Green Bay Packers
Best pick: Jace Sternberger, TE, Texas A&M (Round 3, 75th overall)
Worst pick: Ka’dar Hollman, CB, Toledo (Round 6, 185th overall)
This might have been a foundational draft for the Packers as they improved their depth tremendously with numerous high-upside players along the way. Sternberger is a gem at No. 75 overall and will quickly become Aaron Rodgers’ new best friend as the other veteran tight ends move on after this season. Otherwise, it’s easy to like what the organization did with all their other picks. We’re nitpicking with Hollman because he’s worth taking a chance on given the measurables, but he’s yet another young corner in the mix for a suddenly deep secondary.
Best pick: Max Scharping, OT, Northern Illinois (Round 2, 55th overall)
Worst pick: Cullen Gillaspia, RB, Texas A&M (Round 7, 220th overall)
You have to be a little surprised that the Texans didn’t make a move up in the first round to land Andre Dillard as he started to fall and instead had to go with Tytus Howard to help protect Deshaun Watson. Scharping might be just as good of a prospect at tackle even if he doesn’t have first-round-caliber athletic ability, however. The selection of Gillaspia made for a great story (he’s the 12th man for the Aggies and from the Houston area) but he doesn’t have a set position and probably was better off signing as a UDFA.
Best pick: Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State (Round 2, 59th overall)
Worst pick: Bobby Okereke, LB, Stanford (Round 3, 89th overall)
Another great draft for GM Chris Ballard, who continues to add depth to the roster and plug a few holes while he’s at it. Campbell has a chance to really put up some big-time numbers in the Colts offense alongside T.Y. Hilton and company while Rock Ya-Sin forms a nice nucleus with Malik Hooker in the secondary. Okereke is a fine player but is a bit of a reach in the third round given that he’s on the smaller side.
Best pick: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida (Round 2, 35th overall)
Worst pick: Quincy Williams, S, Murray State (Round 3, 98th overall)
The Jags nailed their first two picks in the draft, benefitting from Josh Allen’s small slide to land an impact pass rusher at No. 7 and then grabbing Taylor, a guy many mocks had pegged with that pick in the second round. Both fit with what the team wants to do and were no doubt graded higher than where they went. Spending a third-rounder on Williams is a bit of a puzzling one though, as it’s doubtful anybody had him that high on their board, even if he is No. 3 overall pick Quinnen Williams’ brother.
Kansas City Chiefs
Best pick: Mecole Hardman, WR, Georgia (Round 2, 56th overall)
Worst pick: Darwin Thompson (Round 6, 214th overall)
The Chiefs were in the news during the draft for something that had nothing to do with any of their picks. Well, that’s not entirely true as Hardman seems like a tailor-made replacement for Tyreek Hill whenever the team cuts bait with the troubled wideout. It was a bit surprising to see them spend a sixth-round selection on Thompson considering there were more glaring needs and the fact that he is at such a surplus position.
Los Angeles Chargers
Best pick: Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware (Round 2, 60th overall)
Worst pick: Drue Tranquill, LB, Notre Dame (Round 4, 130th overall)
GM Tom Telesco is making a habit of landing great safeties much later than they should have gone in the draft, nabbing Derwin James last year and Adderley this year. That’s a heck of a complementary tandem in the secondary and they’ll benefit from the pressure that first-round pick Jerry Tillery brings to the table too. Fellow Irish defender Tranquill went a bit earlier than you would expect and will have to fight hard to crack that rotation at linebacker and stay on the field.
Los Angeles Rams
Best pick: Taylor Rapp, S, Washington (Round 2, 61st overall)
Worst pick: Nick Scott, S, Penn State (Round 7, 243rd overall)
GM Les Snead was wheeling and dealing during the draft and managed a number of great Day 3 finds, from Bobby Evans and David Edwards at tackle to an underrated stud of a defensive tackle in Greg Gaines. There’s little question that Rapp is the steal though, as he would have been a late first-rounder had he been fully healthy. Instead, he can become an early starter for the NFC champs. Fellow safety Scott is a bit of a project though and might have been better served as being a free-agent pickup.
Best pick: Josh Rosen, QB, Trade with Arizona Cardinals
Worst pick: Andrew Van Ginkel, LB, Wisconsin (Round 5, 151st overall)
Rosen wasn’t a true draft pick for the ‘Fins this year but he amounted to one with his trade from the desert. There’s no question about it, this was a swindling by Miami in landing a franchise guy at QB that went 10th overall last year for what amounts to just a Day 2 pick. Christian Wilkins is great too and there’s a lot to like about what else the Dolphins did the rest of the draft outside of taking Van Ginkel a little too early.
Best pick: Garrett Bradbury, OC, NC State (Round 1, 18th overall)
Worst pick: Austin Cutting, LS, Air Force (Round 7, 250th overall)
So much to like about what the Vikings were able to do in 2019 as they clearly got the message from head coach Mike Zimmer about running the ball better. Bradbury has 10-year Pro Bowler written all over him in this system and don’t discount the upgrade that Dru Samia provides the interior of the offensive line either. Even their later-round picks are quality values with the exception of spending one on a long snapper — a no-no regardless of need or how good they are at placing the ball.
New England Patriots
Best pick: Damien Harris, RB, Alabama (Round 3, 87th overall)
Worst pick: Jacob Bailey, P, Stanford (Round 5, 163rd overall)
Terrific draft for the Patriots, who seemed to have no qualms this year getting guys from major programs instead of trying to find the diamonds in the rough. It’s really hard to argue against any of their picks but spending a fifth-rounder on a punter is never great value all things considered. Harris might not be a need-based pick but he’s so good in every phase that he’ll contribute a lot and don’t be surprised if Bill Belichick unlocks Byron Cowart’s true potential on defense.
New Orleans Saints
Best pick: Erik McCoy, OC, Texas A&M (Round 2, 48th overall)
Worst pick: Saquan Hampton, S, Rutgers (Round 6, 177th overall)
Mickey Loomis and Sean Payton didn’t have much to work with (including a single top-100 pick, and just five overall when all was said and done) but still had a quality weekend in Nashville. McCoy is a plug-and-play replacement for recently retired Max Unger and they lucked out in landing Chauncey Gardner-Johnson as late as they did. Doubling up at safety with Hampton was a bit interesting as a result but at least seventh-rounder Alize Mack could be a nice option in the passing game.
New York Giants
Best pick: Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame (Round 4, 108th overall)
Worst pick: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke (Round 1, sixth overall)
Fans of the franchise are none too happy with GM Dave Gettleman taking Jones with the sixth pick and only time will tell who is right. Still, it’s clear as day to everybody but the front office that it was a reach that high to take the Duke signal-caller and things are made worse by the fact that Sam Darnold is playing across town and Dwayne Haskins will be in the division. At least there were some late-round selections that did make up for all that in Love, a terrific slot corner who should have gone earlier, and edge rusher Oshane Ximines.
New York Jets
Best pick: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama (Round 1, third overall)
Worst pick: Chuma Edoga, OT, USC (Round 3, 92nd overall)
Gang Green is rightfully excited over the prospect of Williams becoming a defensive cornerstone for years to come and for the front office not trading down (despite their best efforts). Adding Jachai Polite to the mix in the third round has great potential too but the rest of their Day 3 picks left more to be desired. Edoga reunites with Sam Darnold but will need to get much better to justify the third-round pick spent on the tackle.
Best pick: Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama (Round 1, 24th overall)
Worst pick: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson (Round 1, fourth overall)
The first draft with Mike Mayock making picks instead of analyzing them turned out to be pretty solid for the Raiders. While it’s hard not to think that he and Jon Gruden only scouted the national title game with all those Clemson/Alabama players, there are some pretty good later-round values that can help contribute right away in Oakland (looking at you Hunter Renfrow). Jacobs was the top back on everybody’s board and fills a big need on offense but the team’s top first-rounder is the one everybody is talking about. Ferrell is a great player and has a chance to be a quality starter for years to come and make a few Pro Bowls while doing so. He’s not a top-four pick in this draft however and a huge blunder by the team not trading down to get him as a result.
Best pick: Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State (Round 1, 22nd overall)
Worst pick: Clayton Thorson, QB, Northwestern (Round 5, 167th overall)
With just five picks in the draft, the Eagles had to be choosey but they did land some great pieces for 2019 and the foreseeable future. Trading up to get Dillard was one of the biggest steals of the draft and provides the franchise with a perfect Jason Peters heir down the road. It’s a bit interesting the team used their final selection on Thorson though, who does project as a quality backup to Carson Wentz but has dealt with his own injury issues.
Best pick: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan (Round 1, 10th overall)
Worst pick: Zach Gentry, TE, Michigan (Round 5, 141st overall)
The Michigan Men are on two sides of the coin with the Steelers draft, which otherwise had a lot to like in picks like Isaiah Buggs and all-purpose pass rusher Sutton Smith in the sixth round. You have to commend the front office for going up to get Bush though, as he fills a missing role that has been vacant on defense ever since Ryan Shazier suffered that tragic back injury. Benny Snell is a picture-perfect Steelers back and corner Justin Layne fits well in the team’s scheme. While Gentry is nominally the replacement for the departed Jesse James, he’s not the athlete at tight end and quite a reach in the fifth round.
San Francisco 49ers
Best pick: Kaden Smith, TE, Stanford (Round 6, 176th overall)
Worst pick: Dre Greenlaw, LB, Arkansas (Round 5, 148th overall)
The 49ers benefit from the Cardinals going with Kyler Murray and fortify that defensive front even more with the addition of Nick Bosa. Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd are two fun fits that you know Kyle Shanahan will have plays for and we’ll be the first to actually give the front office a pass for drafting a punter in the fourth round given how good Mitch Wishnowsky is. The one reach we saw in San Francisco was with Greenlaw though, especially given his injury history and likely special teams focus.
Best pick: Marquise Blair, S, Utah (Round 2, 47th overall)
Worst pick: Cody Barton, LB, Utah (Round 3, 88th overall)
Despite starting the draft off with limited ammo, the Seahawks dealt their way to a pretty ridiculous draft full of athletes with tremendous upside. A lot was made about D.K. Metcalf falling to them in the second round and he’s a nice weapon for Russell Wilson to have with Doug Baldwin’s status TBD. The later rounds are where the team really did work though, landing a stud in Ben Burr-Kirven from up the road, a solid slot guy in John Ursua and a big body in Demarcus Christmas who could be better at the next level with more consistency. The team did reach for Barton in the third round though but Seahawks fans have to be pleasantly surprised by this haul.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Best pick: Devin White, LB, LSU (Round 1, fifth overall)
Worst pick: Matt Gay, K, Utah (Round 5, 145th overall)
It’s a little hard to believe that GM Jason Licht was allowed to draft another kicker in the middle rounds, even as good as Gay is that’s a stretch and there were potentially even better options available. Either way, the franchise at least landed a top-tier talent to QB their defense in White, who has a chance to be even better than Kwon Alexander was in Todd Bowles’ system.
Best pick: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State (Round 1, 19th overall)
Worst pick: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State (Round 1, 19th overall)
The draft may have been held in Nashville but the home team didn’t really get their home fans all that fired up with their picks. Nate Davis should be a nice boost on the interior line and A.J. Brown has a chance to be a contributor right away. Still, this was supposed to be a draft class all about going in to help Marcus Mariota but it really doesn’t do that. The Simmons selections is a great example as he’s a terrific value as a top-10 talent at No. 19… but a pick made for 2020 at the earliest. He could form a dynamite tandem with Jurrell Casey but there’s a bit of a short-term pain to get there.
Best pick: Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State (Round 6, 206th overall)
Worst pick: Bryce Love, RB, Stanford (Round 4, 112th overall)
The draft started out with rumors that sent Washington fans worrying but by Saturday evening in D.C., most supporters of the team had to be thrilled at one of the best drafts in ages for the franchise. The front office didn’t panic and package a bunch of picks to move up and smartly stayed put to land Haskins and then caught a falling Montez Sweat later on. Harmon is somebody who should have gone a lot earlier that the team got as a sixth-round steal while Ross Pierschbacher has a chance to play along the interior line for some time. Spending a fourth-rounder on Love was questionable, however, given that he’s mostly a 2020 project and carries significant injury risk. If healthy, we won’t be talking about the pick but until then, not quite the value it should be.
— Written by Bryan Fischer, an award-winning college football columnist and member of the Athlon Contributor Network. You can follow him from coast-to-coast on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at @BryanDFischer.
(Top photo courtesy of @Steelers)