It seems like every year, analysts and media talk about how great the following years draft class is. Then, over the summer, some scouts sit down and break down the biggest names in college football. From there you start to form opinions about who is overrated and who is for real.
As the college season continues, players elevate and hurt their stock depending on their performance. Then finally you can sit down and fully break down the draft class after everyone has declared. You start to find out that some of the “top” players may not be as good as advertised or there’s some that have gone unnoticed and therefore are now “sleepers”.
No matter what your opinion is, there are certain narratives that begin about a player’s ability. While some are true, others can begin to be farfetched or outdated.
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Breaking Down the 2019 NFL Draft Narratives
The Endless Supply of Wide Receivers
“You get a receiver, and you get a receiver, and you get a receiver. Everyone gets a receiver!”
While every team may not need wide receiver help, there certainly are enough of them to go around in this year’s class. Perhaps the deepest position in this draft class, there’s expected to be a run on receivers in the first two rounds. And that is rightfully so.
The more prospects watched the more impressive this becomes, with the depth available in the later rounds. Do you want a big receiver who can high point balls and be a legitimate red zone threat? The 2019 wide receiver class has you covered. You want a shifty, speed guy to win vertically with? Yep, got that as well. Want a possession receiver who will move the chains consistently? Well, you get the picture.
A survey found this narrative to be…true. This wide receiver class is in fact loaded top to bottom. In fact, with there being so many receivers with different skill sets, it will make teams rank them all sorts of ways, eventually leading up to possible trade scenarios happening throughout the draft to ensure teams get their guy.
The Quarterback Scramble
I’m sorry but this year’s quarterback crop just doesn’t do it for me. Top quarterback prospects like Dwayne Haskins and Kyler Murray are receiving all of the hype but each comes with a good amount of concerns.
With Haskins, you are betting on a one-year starter who hesitates to throw the ball downfield and will deter from doing so even with guys open if given the chance. Sure, he has the size and tools you look for but isn’t a finished product and has his limitations. His overall arm talent is hit or miss. He has the ability to rocket the ball 50 yards downfield, but those balls seem to die on him as he doesn’t generate the velocity and drive needed to have success in the NFL. Overall, the most important thing to remember when scouting Haskins is that he is a one-year starter who developed as the season continued. This is part of the reason the NFL seems so high on him; he has the traits and “look” of an NFL quarterback after all. Projecting forward Haskins is a pocket passing quarterback who will fit best in an offense that calls for mostly short to intermediate passes.
With Murray, you have an untypical quarterback who is an electric athlete and has good arm talent despite his size. Being listed at 5’10” and 190 pounds could scare some teams off, and not just because of height. What pops off the tape when first watching him is just how electric of a playmaker he is. You see Murray create many plays outside of the pocket. Whether that be him running the football or him scrambling to make more space for his receivers. Right now, he seems to be more of a raw talent with elite athleticism and a good arm. He still has a way to go with his decision-making and poise under pressure. No matter how fun Murray is to watch on film, there’s no arguing that drafting him is taking on a huge risk. Plus, there is no guarantee he chooses football as he has yet to make up his mind on whether he wants to play professional football or baseball. That, of course, will be a huge headline leading up to his official decision.
The biggest difference between the two is working outside of structure and the mobility. On one side you have Haskins who prefers to stay in the pocket and isn’t much of a scrambler. On the other side, you have Murray who is plenty confrontable outside the pocket and is as mobile as you can have in a quarterback. The two possess two totally different skill sets, which will make teams who fall in love with one of them likely trade up to ensure they get their guy.
A survey found this narrative to be…false. Don’t reach on a quarterback if you have needs at other important positions on your roster.
You Want a Tight End? Here’s your Chance to Get One
Entering the season, the narrative was that the only good tight end was Iowa’s Noah Fant. That may have been true at the moment but is certainly not the case six months later. With the emergence of his teammate T.J. Hockenson, Fant might not be the only tight end in this year’s class and also may not even be the best one. As crazy as that sounds you read it right.
No, I am not crazy, hear me out.
Iowa finally let Hockenson off his leash a little more than previously before this past season. During his break out year, he showed just how good of a blocker and dynamic threat he is. Fant is still a top three tight end in this year’s class but has some competition no one really expected.
It’s not only Hockenson that had a big year though. Alabama’s Irv Smith Jr also emerged as a top guy in this class. Posting eye-popping statistics for a tight end this past year, not many tight ends can come close to reproducing what Smith did this past year. He has the speed to win vertically and is a stout blocker. Smith Jr could end up being a very versatile weapon for a team at the next level.
Outside of those three, you have the likes of Georgia’s Isaac Nauta, Texas A&M’s Jace Sternberger, and Ole Miss’s Dawson Knox who all have their own intrigue about them in the long list of draftable tight ends.
A survey found this narrative to be…false. Of course, referring to the narrative that Fant is the only good tight end in this year’s class. A look at the class shows many potential top targets teams will consider day one and two of the draft.
Pass Rush Is This Year’s Biggest Strength
Starting at the very top you have Nick Bosa, who looks to be the next can’t miss pass rusher. He’s the most polished pass rusher and has the traits to be a high-end sack guy at the next level.
Moving on from Bosa you have impressive pass rushers such as Brian Burns, Jachai Polite, Josh Allen, Montez Sweat, and Clelin Ferrell. All of these prospects could look to be first-round selections come April. With Burns, you get a super bendy pass rusher with a seemingly endless amount of pass rush moves to get to the quarterback effectively. Polite comes with a great amount of bend as well, paired with impressive explosiveness off the snap and through the arc.
As for Allen, the top five hype may be a little too much for me, but he is still a perfectly good player. He doesn’t have the best bend but is still flexible off the edge. His real strength shows in his speed. He certainly has an immensely high ceiling but may not be a top five player in the class some portray him as.
Ferrell may be perhaps the safest of the edge group but doesn’t offer the elite bend or hand usage others in the class do.
Sweat had a good Senior Bowl week putting himself back on the radar as a potential first-round pick. Currently valued as an early round two selection, Sweat showed his dominance off the edge winning with his strength. With impressive strength and wingspan, Sweat will be a name to watch as a big riser in this class.
A survey found this narrative to be…true, to a point. While the edge class may not be THE strongest it certainly has the top-end talent and depth.
If you’ve learned one thing studying this year’s draft class, it’s that opinions vary greatly. This will certainly lead to some controversy and trades as the draft inches closer and closer. What one team may like in a position group will not be the same as what another team likes. The good news is if you need a pass rusher, interior defensive lineman, or wide receiver, they come in all shapes and size this year. As for the quarterbacks and corners, well that’s a different story.