Grading Round 1 of the 2019 NFL Draft (Picks 17-32)

Zach Singer and Noah Neri



Pick 17: New York Giants: Dexter Lawrence, DT Clemson

Dexter Lawrence is a monsterous defensive tackle who was the 3rd (3rd!) Clemson D-line player picked in the first round. He is a pocket pusher who can choke another team’s run game. However, Lawrence did not get many opportunities to rush the passer at Clemson, so his pass rush skills are a major question mark. This selection also makes zero sense for the Giants because they already have depth on the defensive line with BJ Hill and John Jenkins, who are starting-caliber players.

Grade: C


Pick 18: Minnesota Vikings: Garrett Bradbury, C N.C. State

Bradbury is exactly what the Vikings needed: a positionless offensive lineman who could work all three positions on the interior. His agility and quickness will enable him to have an immediate impact at the next level. However, Bradbury is a tad undersized, so he’s going to need to bulk up or he is going to have trouble against three technique defensive lineman. This isn’t a sexy pick by the Vikings, but it’s a good one.

Grade: B+


Pick 19: Tennessee Titans: Jeffrey Simmons, DT Mississippi State

Simmons is a top five talent in this draft but fell due to injury and off-the-field concerns. He is an elite pass rusher and a great run stopper with amazing quickness and ability to either get off the block or get into the backfield before the offensive lineman even engages him. Unfortunately, Simmons has been plagued with off-the-field issues. In 2016, a video of him abusing a woman surfaced, so he didn’t get invited to the NFL Combine. He also tore his ACL this spring, although scouts believe he can make a full recovery. He is a great player for the Titans, but the team had many more offensive needs that would be better suited with this pick.

Grade: B

Pick 20: Denver Broncos: Noah Fant, TE Iowa

The second of the Iowa TE duo of T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant goes off the board to the Broncos at pick 20. He doesn’t have the size or strength of T.J. Hockenson (see picks 1-16), but he is an elite pass catcher. Along with his great hands come his redzone presence, which allowed Iowa QB Nate Stanley to mold into a touchdown machine. Denver has been desperate in looking for a TE because (sorry, Broncos fans) Jeff Heuerman and Jake Butt aren’t the answer. Fant will need to bulk up a bit and solidify as a blocker, but he has the potential to become an elite weapon for Denver.

Grade: A-


Pick 21: Green Bay Packers: Darnell Savage, S Maryland

Darnell Savage is one aggressive football player. His hit-stick tackles and ball instincts are elite, but some teams had concerns about his small size and ability to cover larger receivers and tight ends. Although Savage was projected to be a Day 2 talent, he has elite NFL quickness and coverage knowledge, so it will be interesting to see how he fares on the Packers.

Grade: B


Pick 22: Philadelphia Eagles: Andre Dillard, OT Washington State

With Jason Peters aging rapidly at 37 years old, the Eagles needed a new developmental player to eventually replace him. Andre Dillard is a raw, athletic OT that will impress coaches on Day 1 He was a pass blocking force at Washington State and helped solidify an exceptional Cougar O-Line. The big concern on film is his raw strength and run blocking ability. He converted to quickness most of the time rather than using his power to win matchups. Dillard should be a solid run blocker in the NFL, but, due to the lack of rushing offense at Washington State, he  is a big question mark. The Eagles got a superb young player at pick 22.

Grade: B


Pick 23: Houston Texans: Tytus Howard, OT Alabama State

The Texans desperately needed offensive line help to protect franchise QB Deshaun Watson, who took a league-high 62 sacks last year. The Texans did draft offensive line help with Tytus Howard, but he likely wasn’t the best choice here. Howard has above average size and athleticism, but he is a raw prospect. He didn’t play the best competition in college, and his early draft stock was solely tied to a good Senior Bowl. Howard will likely take one or two years to develop at the time when the Texans need an instant starter.

Grade: C-


Pick 24: Oakland Raiders: Josh Jacobs, RB Alabama

The Josh Jacobs train has arrived in Oakland, but is the hype too much? With Marshawn Lynch’s retirement, the Raiders backfield was left hollow  so choosing a RB makes sense. Jacobs has all the traits NFL teams desire in a franchise running back. He has nice size, elite quickness, and outstanding cuts. He will be an effective starter for Oakland and a player the team will love. However, Jacobs was never a workhorse at Alabama. His counterpart, Damien Harris took the majority of the carries. So Jacobs is a complete projection.

Grade: B


Pick 25: Baltimore Ravens: Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, WR Oklahoma

Marquise Brown is a prospect who actually lived and played here in Santa Clarita before his transfer to Oklahoma. Considered by some as the best wide receiver in this year’s draft, Brown is extremely fast and has elite burst and acceleration. However, Brown is small and can struggle in contested ball situations.

Grade: A


Pick 26: Washington Redskins: Montez Sweat, OLB Mississippi State

Montez Sweat is an elite talent who broke out at Mississippi State this season. Sweat was a sack machine and was all over the backfield. He has an astronomical size and speed combo as proven by his 4.41 40 yard dash time. So what could possibly be the reason he fell to 26? Montez Sweat has a heart condition and will have to play with a ventilator on the sidelines. That’s a risk not many teams have the guts to take. His on-field play is too great for that to affect him in the NFL.

Grade: A


Pick 27: Oakland Raiders: Johnathan Abram, S Mississippi State

Johnathan Abram can step in and make an impact from Day 1 for the Raiders. He has the ideal body type and size to cover larger receivers. He is very tough and has good strength in coverage. Abram will struggle in man coverage and is not extremely athletic, but he has a chance to step into a starting role immediately.

Grade: B-


Pick 28: Los Angeles Chargers: Jerry Tillery, DT Notre Dame

Jerry Tillery is, by no means, a terrible pick. At Notre Dame, he showed his elite potential as a disruptive force on the defensive line. Tillery has great hands allowing him to get underneath guards’ shoulders. He also comes with a great repertoire of moves to get to the quarterback. But Tillery was very inconsistent at Notre Dame. At times he got sloppy and lacked the run stopping ability to perform at the next level. Tillery is a pure pass rusher, but he’s not fast enough to play DE in the NFL and not big enough to play DT. He should find his way on the field on the 3rd down. This is a mediocre pick by the Chargers.

Grade: C+


Pick 29: Seattle Seahawks: LJ Collier, DE TCU

The Seahawks picked Collier in order to fill the gap left by Frank Clark, who they recently traded to the Chiefs. Collier has a competitive mindset and a great body type to attack blockers, but he doesn’t have the talent a team is usually looking for in the first round. This is a classic Seattle pick: reaching for a player to fill a need.

Grade: C


Pick 30: New York Giants: Deandre Baker, CB Georgia

At one point, Deandre Baker was considered an elite prospect and surefire top ten pick. Then the hype just fizzled down. With defensive backs like Byron Murphy, Sean Bunting and Amani Oruwariye rising after elite combine performances, Baker almost got lost in the shuffle. However, the Giants swooped him up at the end of the 1st round. Baker’s size and length will be a problem in the NFL, but he has elite ball skills. The Giants made an above average pick here.

Grade: B-


Pick 31: Atlanta Falcons: Kaleb McGary, OT Washington

McGary stands tall at 6’7” and plays aggressively, unloading his huge frame onto rushers. However, he is very raw and does not yet possess the lateral quickness needed to block elite pass rushers. If the Falcons give McGary a year or so to develop, he could turn out as a nice starter, but, as of now, he will be a weak point on their line.

Grade: C-


Pick 32: New England Patriots: N’Keal Harry, WR Arizona State

N’Keal Harry was a very decisive prospect, yet his size and hands pop out as an elite talent. He also comes with great body control for his frame. Harry is a raw talent, too, so so he has  room to grow and develop. But Harry does have some overall speed concerns and could potentially struggle against speed-first CBs. Overall, going into the New England system should catapult Harry to success.This is a perfect pick for the Patriots.

Grade: A