Meanwhile, John Elway made smart moves in Denver. The Jets owned Round 1 (… before rolling the dice the rest of the way). And Mike Mayock had a strong first draft for the Raiders, even with a curveball to start.
With all that said, you’d have to be a fool to draw serious conclusions the Monday after the draft. In a related story, here’s what I loved, liked and loathed about the 2019 NFL Draft, Schein Nine style:
NOTE: Click on each team name for a full class rundown.
I think Dwayne Haskins can and will be the best quarterback in the 2019 class. Washington didn’t panic or succumb to the rumor mill. Team president Bruce Allen and owner Daniel Snyder waited, witnessed foolishness and let the draft come to them, pilfering Haskins with the 15th overall pick. NFL Network’s Brian Billick — a former Super Bowl-winning head coach, lest you forget — compared Haskins to Drew Bledsoe on my SiriusXM Radio show. I love it. And I think that’s the floor, not the ceiling.
And how about Washington trading back into the first round to get stud edge rusher Montez Sweat? Seeing how Sweat’s draft stock might’ve taken a hit for a misdiagnosed heart condition, the Mississippi State product could end up being one of the draft’s best values as the 26th overall pick.
Despite a whole bunch of pre-draft chatter about the ‘Skins purportedly champing at the bit to trade up in Round 1, they stayed put and ended up getting two potential top-10 talents without a single top-10 pick. That’s good drafting, helping the Redskins in 2019 and in the long run.
I just love how Pittsburgh, fresh off of a tumultuous 2018 campaign and 2019 winter, went against its DNA to trade up for one of my favorite players in the draft, linebacker Devin Bush. This kid is the real deal — a lock to be great, at least in my book. He’s this year’s Roquan Smith. And the former Michigan star is the perfect and classic Steeler. Pittsburgh could’ve been content to stay at 20 and nab a corner. Nope. The Steelers got aggressive and scooped up a defensive heartbeat — a playmaking, game-shaping, tackling machine.
Two rounds (and 73 picks) later, Kevin Colbert found a corner with great physical tools and upside: Justin Layne, a 6-foot-2 coverman who initially played wide receiver at Michigan State. Pittsburgh also nabbed a wideout (third-rounder Diontae Johnson) and running back (fourth-rounder Benny Snell) to compete for playing time in position groups that will no longer feature Pro Bowl mainstays Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell.
I love Josh Rosen. And Miami took advantage of the unique situation in Arizona, stealing the ultra-talented and smart young quarterback for the low price of the 62nd overall pick and a 2020 fifth-rounder. Don’t let last year — when the Cardinals threw Rosen into a five-alarm fire — fool you. The 22-year-old is going to shine in this league. My high hopes for him haven’t changed one bit since he went 10th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. Rosen’s inept offensive coordinator, Mike McCoy, was canned just seven games into the QB’s rookie campaign. (McCoy inexplicably neutering RB David Johnson doesn’t get discussed enough.) Not to mention, Rosen had a lack of talent around him — particularly on the offensive line, which meant the pocket-passing quarterback rarely had a pocket to operate within.
Miami, while similarly light on talent, is overflowing with promise. Brian Flores and his coaching staff are savvy and tough-minded. It’s an environment where Rosen can thrive. And Dolphins general manager Chris Grier has a plan to keep his eye on the future. Heck, that could still include a gem QB in the 2020 class. It’s not like Rosen’s remaining contract is at all prohibitive. But Rosen is quite talented. In fact, I’d argue he would’ve been the second-best quarterback in this class. Taking a low-risk, high-reward chance on his ability was clearly with it for the Fins.
Miami could have the worst record in the league this year. But this approach surely beats the Stealers Wheel game plan of the past half-decade: Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with Ryan Tannehill. Miami’s current regime has a great vision. And I’m here for it.
It’s Howie Roseman’s world, and we’re all just living in it.
Trading up just in front of OL-starved Houston to scoop up a potential franchise left tackle in Andre Dillard at No. 22? Wow. Swiping the second-best running back in the draft, Miles Sanders, in the back half of Round 2? Wow. Pilfering a jump-ball extraordinaire, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, four picks later?
These are great prospects who further fortify one of the NFL’s best rosters. This is what Roseman and the Eagles do.
As I wrote a few weeks before the draft, Buffalo is my Cinderella team in 2019. GM Brandon Beane only cemented that notion with a fine prospect haul.
After efficiently addressing the offensive line and receiving corps during free agency, Beane could have been arrested for stealing on Thursday night, somehow landing defensive lineman Ed Oliver with the ninth overall pick. Oliver is an absolute freak, given the quickness and athleticism he brings to the table. And he played out of position — routinely lining up as a nose tackle — at Houston. Playing for Sean McDermott, Oliver will be properly deployed as a game-wrecking penetrator. Don’t be surprised when he becomes an All-Pro.
Plus, I loved Beane trading up in the second round for Cody Ford. The Oklahoma product will potentially (likely) start this year on the offensive line. This was a smart and calculated move.
Josh Allen at No. 7?! Nobody would’ve batted an eye if the windup-toy edge rusher went in the top four. He should’ve been a no-brainer pick for the Giants at No. 6. Thus, it was probably doubly sweet for former Giants coach Tom Coughlin to grab him for the Jaguars. Jacksonville’s scary defense just got scarier. What an assortment of talent.
Getting OT Jawaan Taylor in Round 2 was another coup. Throughout much of the pre-draft process, he was an attractive option in the No. 7 slot. Assuming Taylor’s health grade was indeed “passable,” as Jags GM Dave Caldwell put it, getting the Florida tackle at No. 35 is one of the very best values in this draft class.
In no universe is Daniel Jones the sixth-best player in this prospect pool. Not even close. And I tried to warn Giants fans, telling them on both SiriusXM Radio and CBS Sports Network that this was going to happen. Not at 17, but at 6. Because Jones was coached by David Cutcliffe, which makes him the fourth Manning brother. This is a bad dream for Giants fans. A true nightmare. Josh Allen was the ideal pick with how the board fell. And a major need, too, as Big Blue doesn’t have a single proven edge rusher on the roster. And Jones wasn’t even the second-best quarterback in this draft.
This all goes back to the Giants passing on Sam Darnold in the 2018 draft. One year later, they passed on Dwayne Haskins and didn’t trade for Josh Rosen. Why? How does this make sense? Well, this is the same Dave Gettleman who signed Odell Beckham Jr., gave him his signing bonus … and shipped him to Cleveland for Jabrill Peppers and two picks that turned into clogger Dexter Lawrence and small-school edge Oshane Ximines. Other than protecting Eli Manning‘s feelings, the Giants don’t appear to have a plan. Or a clue.
Yes, doing a better job of protecting Deshaun Watson is absolutely vital to this franchise’s success. But, as I touched on above, it felt like the Eagles leapfrogged Houston and took Andre Dillard right off the Texans‘ draft board. Then it appeared as if Houston panicked and totally reached for the next-best OT in their queue, Alabama State’s Tytus Howard. I’ll be open-minded to see if Howard can play, but the gut feeling is that it’s hard to rationalize taking such an unproven commodity at No. 23 overall.
And while some evaluators really liked Kentucky CB Lonnie Johnson, No. 54 was just too rich for my blood.
I actually loved Detroit’s first-round pick, TE T.J. Hockenson. And then there were a ton of talented players available when the Lions came back on the clock at No. 43. But they reached big time on linebacker Jahlani Tavai. This was a stunner nobody saw coming — and not in a good way.
Like a billboard once said in the Motor City, “Rebuilding since 1957.”
Follow Adam Schein on Twitter @AdamSchein.