The 2019 NFL Draft is in the books, so it’s time for a fresh set of power rankings. Let’s get right to it.
1. New England Patriots
With a class led by wide receiver N’Keal Harry, cornerback Joejuan Williams, defensive end Chase Winovich, running back Damien Harris, and offensive tackle Yodny Cajuste all in the top 101 picks, the Patriots might have had the best draft of any team in football. For 2019, Harry will likely be the key player, as New England is thin at receiver as things stand—though a trade for another receiver (perhaps someone like Nelson Agholor) could happen between now and September. Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham was also a high-upside addition at quarterback, as he has the size, arm talent, and above average athleticism to develop into a solid starter while sitting behind Tom Brady.
2. Los Angeles Rams
Les Snead and the Rams did a nice job of navigating the draft board, allowing them to get players that dropped (like Washington safety Taylor Rapp and Michigan cornerback David Long), as well as trade up for a guy like Memphis running back Darrell Henderson, who will likely make a Year 1 impact and provides a different style than Todd Gurley and backup Malcolm Brown. The Rams didn’t target defensive line high in the draft, but they have back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald, likely ensuring the position doesn’t become a weakness without Nndamukong Suh.
3. Los Angeles Chargers
The other Los Angeles team was basically the opposite of the Rams, as the Chargers just remained in their draft slots and made picks to improve an already-stacked roster. Notre Dame defensive end Jerry Tillery will help provide more pressure up the middle to compliment Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram on the outside, and Delaware safety Nasir Adderley strengthens a secondary that’s one of the best in the league.
4. Indianapolis Colts
One of the best trades of the draft was the Colts acquiring the No. 34 pick and a 2020 second-round pick in exchange for the No. 26 pick. Indy was still able to get Temple cornerback Rock Ya-Sin, who could have easily been the selection at No. 26, and the 2020 second-rounder gives them the ability to either make a similar move or move up for a prospect they love in next year’s draft. Defense was the focus for GM Chris Ballard, and the guys he got should fit right in for a unit that plays extremely hard; but the Colts also added Ohio State wide receiver Parris Campbell to perfectly compliment T.Y. Hilton and Devin Funchess on offense.
5. Kansas City Chiefs
The Tyreek Hill situation is obviously concerning from a real-life perspective, and it’s crazy someone could act so foolishly in general, let alone with an $100-million contract on deck. They did have the draft going on, but the fact that the Chiefs did not yet cut Hill might indicate they are willing to see if they can slip him onto the Commissioner’s Exempt List and hope the situation dies down later this year or next because of how good of a player he is. We’ll see. Kansas City did trade up for Georgia wide receiver Mecole Hardman, who flies, with their first selection, so maybe they are ready to part ways with Hill. The Chiefs traded their first-round pick and a second-round pick to the Seahawks for defensive end Frank Clark, who has some character concerns himself but should help give the pass rush a spark.
6. New Orleans Saints
Last year, the Saints gave up a first-round pick from this year to trade up for defensive end Marcus Davenport, and this year, they did the same thing in the second round by trading a 2020 second-rounder to the Dolphins to move up for Texas A&M center Erik McCoy. New Orleans is getting very aggressive as they attempt to get back to the Big Game and win it, but it’s obviously critical they hit on their early draft picks with less opportunities to get them right.
7. Philadelphia Eagles
If Washington State left tackle Andre Dillard can successfully transition from the Air Raid to the NFL—and it’ll help that he’s expected to start his career behind Jason Peters—the Eagles might be my favorite draft class of any team, at least for the first couple of rounds. Penn State’s Miles Sanders (selected No. 53 overall) can be a three-down back, and Stanford’s J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (selected No. 57 overall) is an exceptional jump-ball winner. The additions will help franchise quarterback Carson Wentz have success in 2019 and beyond. However, I still don’t get signing DeSean Jackson to a long-term deal, and I think it’d be a terrible idea to trade Super Bowl hero Nelson Agholor.
8. Chicago Bears
The Bears didn’t have a first- or second-round pick because of the Khalil Mack trade, but they made their selections count when they got on the clock, with a couple of potential steals from their first two picks. Iowa State running back David Montgomery (No. 73 overall) is a three-down player that can carry the load—he’s drawn comparisons to Kareem Hunt, a player Matt Nagy coached as the offensive coordinator in Kansas City. And Georgia wide receiver Riley Ridley (No. 126 overall) arguably could have been a second-round pick—Ridley, along with Anthony Miller being healthier after dealing with a shoulder injury during his rookie season, will help Mitchell Trubisky take another step forward in 2019.
9. Atlanta Falcons
I do not like drafting solely based on need, but the Falcons filled their biggest holes by adding Boston College guard Chris Lindstrom (No. 14 overall) and Washington right tackle Kaleb McGary (No. 31 overall) to immediately man the right side of their offensive line—and maybe the team had Lindstrom and McGary ranked near the top of their board. Atlanta now has five former first-round picks starting up front, which will make things a lot easier on Matt Ryan and the run game.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers
Michigan linebacker Devin Bush might not be a perfect prospect with no holes in his game like some people believe, but this is a perfect match for both him and the Steelers. Bush fits Pittsburgh’s defense like a glove, which is why Pittsburgh traded up ten spots to get him—their front seven is clearly one of the NFL’s best. Toledo wide receiver Diontae Johnson was a bit of a surprise selection with the second pick of the third-round, but the Steelers have shown they know what they’re doing when it comes to receivers. And Michigan State cornerback Justin Layne with the No. 83 pick was an absolute steal given his upside.
11. Seattle Seahawks
West Virginia wide receiver Gary Jennings Jr. was probably a steal for the Seahawks at No. 120 overall, but he was the second receiver selected by the team, as Ole Miss’ D.K. Metcalf—the guy that blew up the combine and legitimately looks like a superhero (he looks like a cartoon Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent here)—was selected by Seattle with the final pick of the second round. The Seahawks’ draft started with TCU defensive end L.J. Collier and Utah safety Marquise Blair after GM John Scheider did some navigating on the board to pick up a bunch of extra picks.
12. Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys are happy with Amari Cooper acting as their first-round pick from this year’s draft, and they got a guy they wanted in UCF defensive tackle Trysten Hill with their first pick of the draft at No. 58 overall. Hill and Penn State guard Connor McGovern will help the Cowboys get better in the interior on both sides of the ball, which is where they want to win games. Two Miami players (corner Michael Jackson and defensive end Joe Jackson) were potential values in the fifth round.
13. Cleveland Browns
The next ten teams in the power rankings can be in almost any order, but I’ll keep the Browns up pretty high at No. 13 for now. Greedy Williams was seen as a potential top-ten pick early in the draft process, and Cleveland was able to get him at No. 46 overall to begin a draft class that includes a couple of linebackers (BYU’s Sione Takitaki and Alabama’s Mack Wilson) and Miami safety Sheldrick Redwine. Forming team chemistry throughout the offseason and leading up to the regular season will be key for a team with a bunch of personalities.
14. Tennessee Titans
Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons is one of the wild-cards of this year’s draft, and we might not see him on the field at all in 2019 as he recovers from a torn ACL suffered in training. But the addition of Ole Miss wide receiver A.J. Brown—a pro-ready receiver that can play inside or outside—at No. 51 overall is one of my favorite picks in the draft. Tennessee then added Charlotte guard Nate Davis to help bolster the offensive line; and both Iowa safety Amani Hooker (No. 116 overall) and Georgia outside linebacker D’Andre Walker (No. 168 overall) could have been selected much higher than they were.
15. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars probably didn’t envision a scenario where Kentucky edge player Josh Allen would make it to the No. 7 pick, but they weren’t going to pass up arguably the best player in the draft when he fell into their lap, even if he might be overkill on a talented defense. Mock drafts are obviously way off, but many of them had the Jags taking Florida offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor at No. 7 overall, and they were able to get him early in the second round. After adding Nick Foles in free agency, Tom Coughlin and company must be very optimistic about this season.
16. Minnesota Vikings
Offensive line was the obvious need for the Vikings, and they started their draft by addressing it with the selection of NC State center Garrett Bradbury with their first-round pick. Second-round Alabama tight end Irv Smith Jr. gives Kirk Cousins another target and a potential replacement if Kyle Rudolph is traded or walks in free agency next offseason—and Smith Jr. seems confident after taking the number 84 for his jersey (Randy Moss’ number). Minnesota is a talented team that could easily be higher than this.
17. Houston Texans
The Texans were rumored to want left tackle Andre Dillard, but they were leaped by the Eagles, who traded up and took Dillard one spot ahead of them. Houston then took Alabama State product Tytus Howard to be Deshaun Watson’s bodyguard at left tackle, and they selected Northern Illinois tackle Max Scharping in the second round to further solidify the offensive line. It’s good that the Texans clearly know offensive line is an area of weakness, but hopefully they didn’t reach to address it. I like Kentucky cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr., who was also selected in the second round the pick before Scharping.
18. Oakland Raiders
There’s always a major shock near the top of the draft, and the Raiders pulled it off this year by drafting Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell fourth overall. Josh Allen was still on the board, but the Raiders feel Ferrell is a perfect fit as a consistent player that can get after the quarterback and control blockers in the run game—despite being a surprise pick at No. 4, Ferrell should be one of the safest picks of the draft. Mike Mayock continued his first draft as GM by selecting Alabama running back Josh Jacobs and Mississippi State safety Jonathan Abram with his two other first-rounders. Those are the three foundation pieces from this year’s draft the Raiders will be counting on to make a huge impact on the franchise, but I like the rest of their draft from top to bottom, too—including Clemson cornerback Trayvon Mullen (No. 40 overall) and Clemson wide receiver Hunter Renfrow (No. 149 overall). Despite what you might see on social media, the Raiders are in great hands.
19. Buffalo Bills
Sean McDermott and his coaching staff should get the most out of talented defensive lineman Ed Oliver (No. 9 overall), making me feel better about the selection of a guy that was previously considered a no-doubt top-five prospect but slipped due to a few concerns. Their second-round pick, Oklahoma’s Cody Ford, further strengthens an offensive line the Bills added several players to this offseason, which is good to see for franchise quarterback Josh Allen. Miami safety Jaquan Johnson somehow lasted until the sixth-round, and he should be an impact player on special teams at the very least.
20. Baltimore Ravens
Both power and speed come to mind when you think of the Ravens as they are being constructed, and the combination could be electric for their revamped offense under new offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown has elite speed that’ll make it more difficult for defenders to stack the box, and he should mesh well with Lamar Jackson’s ability to throw the deep ball—it looks like Baltimore is playing to Jackson’s current strength as a passer (the deep ball), also adding size-speed Notre Dame receiver Miles Boykin in the third round. Finally selected in the sixth round, Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley is in a good spot to become an excellent backup quarterback and potential starter in Baltimore, as the Ravens are a team that’ll probably use him in certain spots similar to the way Taysom Hill is being used in New Orleans.
21. San Francisco 49ers
It sounds like defensive end Nick Bosa was as easy of a pick as possible for GM John Lynch, and the former Ohio State star helps give the Niners an extremely-potent front four that also includes Dee Ford, DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, and Solomon Thomas (all former first-round picks). San Francisco then added to an area that’s been a weakness the last few years, adding South Carolina wide receiver Deebo Samuel and Baylor receiver Jalen Hurd with their second- and third-round picks. Samuel is a tough, balanced receiver that can become an immediate No. 1 or No. 2 wide receiver for Jimmy Garoppolo while complimenting All-Pro tight end George Kittle; and Hurd is a former five-star running back that stands at six-foot-five and has immense upside as a pick the coaching staff wanted because they see him as a chess piece to use on offense.
22. Green Bay Packers
Thanks to a nifty trade with the Saints from last year’s draft that netted them a couple of first-round picks for 2019, the Packers were able to add Michigan defensive end Rashan Gary (No. 12 overall) and Maryland safety Darnell Savage Jr. (No. 21 overall) high in the draft. Gary is an upside pick after limited production for the Wolverines, but Savage should have a definite immediate impact on the backend of a defense that already added former Bears safety Adrian Amos in free agency.
23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Even with Josh Allen available at the fifth pick in the draft, the Buccaneers appeared locked in on LSU linebacker Devin White from the start. White is a very athletic do-it-all inside linebacker that’ll be a great fit in Todd Bowles’ defense. After the White pick, Tampa Bay selected two corners (Central Michigan’s Sean Bunting and Auburn’s Jamel Dean) with top-100 picks for the second consecutive season, so they’re clearly trying to ensure the secondary is a position of strength in a pass-heavy league and in a division that includes Drew Brees and Matt Ryan.
24. Washington Redskins
The draft probably couldn’t have gone much better for the Redskins, as they were rumored to want Ohio State Dwayne Haskins, with a trade-up into the top five being plotted (if you believe the draft rumors); but Haskins fell all the way to pick No. 15, so Washington didn’t need to give up any extra draft capital to get him. Then the Redskins were aggressive in leapfrogging Jay Gruden’s brother Jon and Oakland to select Mississippi State defensive end Montez Sweat, who has as much upside as any player in this year’s class. I also love the Bryce Love pick, as the former Stanford star can be a dynamic NFL running back if he can stay healthy. The quarterback position—will it be Haskins, Case Keenum, or Colt McCoy?—and the wide receiver position are the biggest question marks for the Redskins, but they might be the most underrated team in the league right now.
25. Denver Broncos
Drew Lock landed in a good situation with John Elway and the Broncos, as he won’t need to play right away (or even for a few years) with Joe Flacco at quarterback, and it won’t be a huge deal that’ll set the franchise back if he doesn’t pan out as the team’s future quarterback. Denver was able to get a first-, second-, and third-round pick in return for the tenth overall selection, and they still grabbed Iowa tight end Noah Fant, who could have been selected at No. 10 and not many people would’ve blinked. Kansas State offensive tackle Dalton Risner will help solidify the offensive line, and Vic Fangio was probably happy the team added Ohio State defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones with the No. 71 pick in the draft. The Broncos have a strong enough roster to compete in 2019 in my opinion.
26. Detroit Lions
The Lions went with Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson with the eighth overall pick in the draft, giving them a tough, physical presence at tight end—though expectations are high for Hockenson as a receiver after he was selected that high. Then Matt Patricia’s squad went with four consecutive defensive players, starting with Hawaii linebacker Jahlni Tavai (No. 43 overall) and ending with Penn State cornerback Amani Oruwariye (No. 146 overall). Oruwariye has strong coverage skills and might’ve been a first- or second-round pick if he was a better tackler, so getting him in the fifth round is nice value for Detroit.
27. Carolina Panthers
Obviously, the draft just happened and things will be determined in the coming years, but the first two picks of the Panthers rival any team in the league based on value. Florida State’s Brian Burns is an athletic and versatile defensive end that happened to fill a need and was probably right at the top of Carolina’s board at No. 16. And Ole Miss offensive tackle Greg Little, who was taken No. 37 overall, could have easily been the first tackle selected in the draft. I was a little surprised the Panthers took West Virginia quarterback Will Grier in the third round, especially after Kyle Allen showed some things in limited action in 2018; but it’s smart to make sure you have a deep quarterback group, especially with a capable running quarterback like Cam Newton.
28. New York Jets
The Jets and GM Mike Maccagnan have benefited from just simply taking the best player available with their early first-round selections, and Alabama defensive end Quinnen Williams should be a safe pick that also has monstrous upside. The Sam Darnold trade from last year didn’t give the Jets a swing in the second round, so hopefully they hit on third-round tackle Chuma Edoga, who reunites with his former quarterback at USC. I’m just not sure about how the Jets have been built aside from the high first-round picks, especially with Le’Veon Bell not showing up for voluntary workouts to start his Jets career—I know they are voluntary, but ideally you’d have a star player that you just gave a huge contract to ready to get to work with his new teammates.
29. New York Giants
The Giants might have jumped at least a few spots if they took Josh Allen over Daniel Jones at sixth overall, but that’s not an indictment on Jones—it’s just that ideally, Jones won’t hit the field in 2019 while Allen should be a high-impact player as a rookie. I really like Jones as a prospect, and sitting behind Eli Manning for a year or two is a perfect situation for the franchise. Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence at No. 17 overall could have arguably been the pick at No. 6, so those upset with the Giants taking Jones so high can pretend the picks were flipped. And the Raiders weren’t the only team with three first-round picks, as the Giants traded back into the first to select Georgia cornerback Deandre Baker, who has the ability to be a shutdown corner in the NFL after he did it for the Bulldogs.
30. Cincinnati Bengals
Alabama offensive tackle Jonah Williams solidifies the offensive line for the Bengals, which will make things easier for first-year head coach Zac Taylor as he installs his offense for a team that has plenty of talent at the skill positions. NC State linebacker Germaine Pratt was taken with the No. 72 pick, and he’s one of my favorite prospects in the draft as a guy that flies around the field—I could see a huge impact from Pratt as a rookie. Pratt’s college teammate, quarterback Ryan Finley, will be joining him in Cincinnati, as the Bengals traded up in the fourth round to ensure they grabbed the pocket passer; Finley probably would’ve gone higher if a number of teams weren’t already set at quarterback or already selected one earlier in the draft.
31. Arizona Cardinals
I think the Cardinals should have drafted Kyler Murray first overall because he’s perfect for Kliff Kingsbury’s offense, especially because he can run around and escape pressure with the number of times Arizona is going to throw the ball. The rest of their picks look good right now, too. Washington cornerback Bryon Murphy (No. 33 overall) is a solid corner that can tackle well, Massachusetts receiver Andy Isabella (No. 62 overall) is an explosive player despite being undersized, I thought Iowa State wide receiver Hakeem Butler (No. 103 overall) was arguably the best at his position in this year’s draft, and Alabama safety Deionte Thompson (No. 139 overall) would’ve went higher if he wasn’t undersized. Clearly, the Cardinals are going to throw the ball around a lot under Kingsbury, but I’m concerned about the defense.
32. Miami Dolphins
I previously suggested the Dolphins should have tried to give up a third- or fourth-round pick for Josh Rosen, especially after the Cardinals had no leverage in the situation; so a second-round pick was a rich price to pay for a quarterback with questionable character concerns and had the team that just drafted him tenth overall last year give up on him after one season. But at least Miami traded back and picked up a 2020 second-round pick in the process, which will give them some ammo for a potential trade up for a quarterback next year if Rosen doesn’t work out this season. I like the Dolphins’ selection of Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins at the No. 13 pick, and he should be a building block for Brian Flores on defense.