Wonder’s Top 50 for 2019 NFL Draft

Our draft analyst Wonder has reviewed and ranked the Top 50 Players in this year’s NFL Draft.

For new readers, Wonder’s track record has been strong, beating the GMs in relative player performance. Historically, he is better on the busts/underperformers than the strong performers. Nonetheless, his confidence in “football players” is a worthy endorsement when you get it.

For all of our readers, a reminder or two. The comparisons do not imply this player will BE that player, but rather who they look like and/or who they PROJECT TO if they put in the work, are drafted BY THE RIGHT TEAM, and stay relatively healthy. Some (many) players need the right coaching and/or system to flourish. As an example, a 3-4 Defense would leverage the value of a Dexter Lawrence much more than a 4-3, so that a team using a 4-3 would be wasting some of his value.

Medical is something we (and almost all draft analysts) do not know enough about. NE player Malcolm Mitchell, underdrafted (in R4), saved the Patriots in SB LI , but a zillion knee surgeries later he is out of the game. This is why they are underdrafted.  Jamel Dean this year is another case in point. He has everything. R1. But we won’t rank him due to injuries.

If you do not see a player you like on this list and/or are disappointed he is not higher, understand that this list is all about pre-draft VALUE. As an example, if God whispered in your ear the future that Tom Brady was going to win 6 rings, and transported you back to the 2000 draft, would you blow a Round 1 pick on him? NO! You’d take him in Round 4 or Round 5 because his value back then did not require you to reach any higher for his services.  Think about this when reading about S Mark Fields. To even be mentioned in the same sentence as Darrell Green is a major testament. He was second string. He’s Ranked 46th only because, like a Tom Brady, he doesn’t have the snaps for these GMs.

This is one of the strangest drafts that we are analyzing, because it is so top-heavy with DL and LBers.  CB Marginal Round 1. Rich in second and third round value. Many available. But not worth a top 25 pick.

1. DT Quinnen Williams: Stud. Naturally carries 300 lb. Hasn’t hit weight room. Super fast for a guy his size. NATURALLY STRONG. Swallows up blockers & RBs. Dominates inside of OL. Gets pass rush up the middle. Can play 1, 3 or 5 technique. Only position I don’t see is 4-3 DE. Highest floor of anyone in the draft. And still has dominating upside ceiling. Guaranteed to be a good player. Comparison: A bigger stronger faster version of Warren Sapp. 

2. DE/OLB Josh Allen: Can line up as 3-4 OLB or 4-3 DE. May be the next Derrick Thomas. Upside is off the charts. Bigger upside than Bosa. Unbelievably fast and quick. Strong for a guy that fast. Great pass rushing skills. Can bend and dip his knees and hips. Great hands. Some downside risk- does he freelance on his assignment? Must learn a better swim move because reliant on wide pass rush. Can be a beast. As a Jets fan, I want them to take Williams or Allen. I am hoping SF takes Bosa so that it’s just Williams or Allen. Comparison: Derrick Thomas and Von Miller.

3. LB Devin White. Speed, athleticism, and desire are off the charts. Will become a team leader. His only downside is I wish he was a little taller and weighed a little more. But I do not want him gaining weight and losing speed. Will learn to shed blockers and be more effective from a run stopping perspective. All over the field. Just a football player. Coverage skills will be outstanding. Will cover a Barkley out of the backfield, but not if the Giants take him! Comparison: faster version of Derrick Brooks.

4. DE Nick Bosa. Long term question about his health and speed. Clearly has experience. His biggest attribute is hands and well-designed moves to rush the passer. Have we already seen the best of Bosa in college, or is there more? I don’t know. Comparison: lesser version of Joey Bosa.

5. DE Clelin Ferrell. True beast. Looks the part. Weight, size, arms, speed, power, hands. Has experience in big games. Wouldn’t surprise me if Ferrell ended up a better pro than Bosa. I like him better than most, and if he somehow is there at 1.17, he can make your draft. Comparison: smaller lesser version of Bruce Smith.

6. DE Montez Sweat. Either you give him this ranking, or you take him off the board for medical. Heart problem. Cannot play DE, cannot seal the edge. He can rush the passer baby! Big time! NFL OLB in 3-4 is where he should go. Potentially could be a 4-3 OLB, would take a year to learn that. Faster than virtually every WR in the Draft! Needs to hit weight room, gain 20 lbs, add strength, seal edge, then he’ll be an outstanding DE. 6’6″ with long arms. Crazy athleticism. So he just needs a year to develop. Comparison: add 20 lbs and he’ll be Mario Williams.

7. QB Kyler Murray. It’s amazing what an inch, 15 lbs and Baker Mayfield’s success will do for your draft stock. Murray can only be a QB in the NFL if you run shotgun 90% of the time with a spread offense. If you are in the Northeast, what do you do with this guy in December and January? That is a problem. Murray has trouble under center because (1) he will not be able to see where people are or (2) the ball will be batted down. On 4th & 3, how does he make that quick pass? Otherwise he is #1 overall. He has everything else. Unbelievable accuracy, unbelievable arm. His anticipation is tremendous, probably his best attribute. His escapability, feet, run are great. There never has been a QB like him who can run and then flip the ball to a receiver at the last second like he can (or take off and run for 15-20 yards). Can he survive in the NFL? Yes, because he played baseball. He instinctively slides before someone kills him. Will he hold up against a blitz/sandwich? That, and the vision, are the only things that will hold him back from being the best QB prospect in years. Comparison: Cross between Russell Wilson and Michael Vick.

8. DE Rashan Gary. Physical beast. Great size. Great speed. Superb combine. Looked the part. Only question has been his overall production in college. 4-3 DE. Needs to develop more technique… the exact opposite of Nick Bosa. So more potential than Bosa. Comparison: faster Ziggy Ansah.

9. QB Dwayne Haskins. Throws the ball with only his arm. Natural passer. Throws it 40-50 yds effortlessly but with only his upper body torquing. If he learns to step into the ball with his legs, forget about it, it is off-the-charts potential. He has touch too. Doesn’t look like he’s hit the weight room like the pros. When he gets pro fitness training, runs wind sprints, lifts weights, will be hard to bring down. Has much better potential in his body than almost all other QB recruits. Listened to him speak, very smart. Diagrammed plays with Mariucci, sharp. Has command and understanding of the game. Giants need to take him if there at 1.06. Comparison- Better version of Ben Roethlisberger, none of the baggage.

10. DT Ed Oliver. The only problem.. did not meet the preseason hype. Quick burst, smaller. Speed. Is he maxed out weight-wise? If he lost 20 lbs could become a DE or like MLB 4-3 CJ Mosley. People will think I am crazy for saying that. Team needs to find a place for him. Football Player. Just too good. Runs and tackles too well. He’ll make it somewhere. Off field issues. Minor knee injury. Underperformed senior year, not crazy about that or else would rate higher. Comparison: poor man’s Aaron Donald.

11. QB Drew Lock. OMG this guy has soared in my valuation. Has impressed me more than any other QB draft prospect from a relative standpoint since the draft process began. He is cool, calculated, and confident. The best arm in the draft, a cannon. His accuracy is excellent, but his only downside is that film showed a little bit of Brett Favre in him where he forced the ball into (unrecognized?) coverage too much with too many turnovers. Can coaching correct that? Not sure. He is the one QB who will profit most from carrying the clipboard his first season. If he processes the NFL game/coverage, an unbelievably natural QB with great upside. Bad throws (congestion in coverage) give him a low floor too. Comparison: combination of Brett Favre/Matt Stafford ceiling and Jeff George floor.

12. OLB Brian Burns.  Classic 4-3 OLB. Only thing he needs is to gain 10-15 lbs of weight and get stronger and that is it. Unbelievable athleticism. Fast, can jump, quick to the ball, sideline to sideline. Winner. Great on a bad team. Not bad to end up with 10 sacks from LBer position. Does need some strength in upper body. I like him a lot, more than others. Comparison: Bud DuPree if he gains some strength.

13. NT Dexter Lawrence.  Immovable object. Will be special in the NFL. The quintessential NT. Ran a 5.00 weighing 340 lbs. Unbelievably quick for someone of that size. Great footwork and agility. Despite size, can push pocket and rush the passer up the middle.  If you run a 3-4 and have trouble stopping the run, this is your guy. Will immediately change the feel of your whole defense. No telling his potential if he hits weight room, loses 20 lbs, and gets experience with his hands. If the Giants can trade for Rosen, take White at 1.06 and Lawrence at 1.17, it will instantly change their team. Comparison: Bigger, stronger and faster than Haloti Ngata.

14. LB Devin Bush. The only reason he is not Top 10 is because he is 5’11”. If he were 6’2″ 245 lbs, he would be the 5th pick in the draft. Football player. OMG. Speed, speed, speed, desire, desire, desire. Basically the same player as Devin White but a little smaller. Only question is his size, and that is it. With the NFL playing this way with passing 2:1 vs running, put this guy at OLB and OMG. If your team has the coverage at the Line of Scrimmage, and Bush is freed up clean, he will tackle everything in sight. Comparison: Derrick Brooks.

15. TE Noah Fant. Played behind T.J Hockenson so did not get to see as much playing time. NFL body, NFL speed. Excellent athlete. Just needs NFL coaching and can be a dominant down-the-field TE. Limited blocking ability. Good feet and good hands. Can be a red zone nightmare for opponents. Belichick would make this guy All-Pro in 3 years. Comparison: a little bigger than Evan Engram, but not as polished a receiver.

16. WR Parris Campbell. So good, so fast, cuts on a dime, hands of glue. I’d take him at 1.17 if Haskins taken 1.06. (Andy’s only note here- Dread.) Good guy. Incredible feet and quickness. Not musclebound. But sleek. End arounds, bubble screens. Snatches the ball out of the air like no one I have seen. Once he gets the ball, forget it. Can put on 10-12 lbs of muscle w/o losing any speed. Insane vertical. Crazy quick. How does anyone cover this guy in the slot/option routes?! Improved every single year of college. His career is predicated on who his QB is and where he goes. Absolutely love this guy. Comparison: OBJ with less baggage.

17. DT Jeffrey Simmons. Off field trouble, the only real concern. According to some reports, seems to have matured. Was not invited to Combine. Huge upside. Tape of his play shows potential of really good player. Strong, quick feet. Attacks with explosion. If he slides, take the risk, because would be a steal. If he does not go in Round 1, they will wake up and someone will take him at 2.33 the next day.  Comparison: Bigger faster version of Justin Tuck.

18. WR D.K. Metcalf. Has everything. Size, speed, strength, NFL Body, the whole nine yards. Muscle upon muscle. Two injuries. Makes me ask what he’s ingesting. Grandfather is Terry Metcalf from STL Cardinals and Uncle is Eric Metcalf from CLE Browns. Just seems that something bad will happen with him medical-wise. Is he a natural route runner? I believe he needs less muscle to be a more fluid receiver. So boom or bust lotto ticket. Comparison: body of Terrell Owens but without receiving abilities and mental stability issues.

19. S Chauncey Gardner Johnson. One of my favorite guys in the 2019 Draft. Hasn’t played that much but has a really high ceiling. Built like a football player. Good speed and good strength, only going to get better. Very smooth for a Safety. I like him at Free Safety, but needs a little more experience. Tracks the ball, all over the field. Not afraid to hit. A slot WR coming through the middle will not like getting hit by Johnson. Comparison: less experienced version of Brian Dawkins.

20. C Garrett Bradbury. Very athletic for the position. Strong. Can gain weight and muscle without much trouble. Very experienced. Far and away the best Center in this Draft. Quality player. Held his own vs good teams, even vs Clemson. Comparison: a modern version of Joe Fields.

21. T Andre Dillard. Overdraft Offensive Tackle at your own risk. The best of a bad lot. Experienced. Good feet and quickness. I do not think any of these guys can play LT, but if any of them can, it would be Dillard, which is why he gets the slight nod over Taylor. Good athlete, can pass protect. Not a guy that will pancake you. Not a road grader. Project to ceiling as a solid starter. Comparison: a little larger version of Kelvin Beachum.

22. T Jawaan Taylor. Serious weight problems. Questionable motivation. But if he reaches potential, can be a humongous nasty road-grading RT. NFL body with 35″ arms. Only did a mediocre bench at the Combine. No Pro Day yet. Maybe Scarnechia, the right system, and the weight room can whip him into NFL readiness. Comparison: upside is Marcus Cannon.

23. DT Jerry Tillery– 295 lbs 6’6” chiseled, speed. If Dexter Lawrence not around at 2.37 and Tillery is, take him. Body of a tall RB or WR. So little body fat. Can gain about 20 lbs without losing any skill or speed. Incredible potential if he gets stronger and bulks up. Needs to develop his body and hands. Size and speed is crazy. Will not be great in Year 1 because weight not there. After that, look out. Comparison: Ed Too Tall Jones as a Tackle, and can even move Outside.

24. RB Justice Hill. The best of a mediocre RB group. The only player in this year’s draft who could actually become a scary weapon. If not for his size, would be rated much higher… with another 2″ and 15-20 lbs would be a top 10 pick… thus cannot be a bell cow. Academic All-American. Off the charts potential in catching screen passes. Because he was not used this way nearly enough at Oklahoma State, he will need to learn these skills. Comparison: a smaller, poor man’s version of Alvin Kamara.

25. RB Josh Jacobs. . Experienced. Hard working. Tough runner. Pretty good pass catcher. But not that fast, not explosive. Solid and dependable. Unclear, lack of experience in blocking/blitz pickup. Survivor, will be a football player. Unspectacular but will deliver solid starting for years. Comparison: a little bigger better version of Duke Johnson.

26. DE/OLB Jaylon Ferguson. Hybrid 4-3 DE or OLB. Needs to transition to a higher level in the pros, because played in a small school. Wasn’t at Combine, saw his Pro Day, pretty good talent. Has to be harnessed. Potential with NFL body. Strong. Hard to know if he makes the jump. Comparison: Derrick Harvey (taken 8th overall and out of football in 4 years).

27. CB Byron Murphy. Football player. Young. Decent size. Hands ok. Tracks the football. All over the field. Underrated, and will get better in the pros. Smooth transition on his hips. Good footwork makes him my #1 CB in this draft. Only thing that prevents him from being a top 25 CB is that he is 5’11”. Also not super fast. Comparison: a weaker version of Aeneas Williams.

28. CB Rock Ya-Sin. NFL Body. Ready to play Day 1. Team leader, tough as nails. Upper body strength. Played at Temple, so won’t get benefit of doubt for weaker competition in college. So lack of experience against top flight competition. High character. Not as good at press coverage as I would like. But very good player. Upside potential is there. Comparison: a CB version of Rodney Harrison.

29. LB David Long. The same as Devin Bush, almost the same exact player. Had a smaller knee injury in 2017. Arms are a little shorter than Bush. That is the only difference. So tipping balls & coverage are less optimal. A little less thick than Bush, so therefore not as strong as Bush. But he can get strength in weight room. Relentless. All 3 guys (White, Bush, and Long) are cut from the same cloth. If you miss on White early, you can get Long in Round 2 (/Round 3?) and it works. Comparison: a smaller, slightly weaker version of Derrick Brooks.

30. DT Christian Wilkins. Everything you want? Character. Class. Intelligence. Experience. Leader. Won championships. But I am not impressed by his play. A good player on a great Defense so he looks better. Not sold as a Round 1 pick. If you get him 33-40, good value. There is some bust potential here too. Soft. Doesn’t look as strong as I would like for an interior DT. If he lost weight and gained strength, he could play at 290-295 and be a 4-3 DT. Comparison: Mike Pennel.

31. G Cody Ford. Oklahoma had a very good OL. He will not make it at Tackle. Slow and not that athletic. He has size and experience, keeping Murray clean. Good pass blocking skills. His upside will be tied to him getting in better shape. Gotta hit the weight room, lose weight and gain muscle. Everyone loves his athleticism but I do not. These guys wait a lifetime to make money at the Combine, and he does 19 bench presses? Noah Fant did 20 and he’s a 240 lb TE! Buyer Beware. Who is going to win the Battle of the Bulge when he is in the trenches vs Dexter Lawrence, who benched 36 reps?! Good luck blocking him. Comparison: better version of Andre Smith.

32. S Juan Thornhill. Strong Safety, put on 10-15 lbs. Best all around athlete, maybe in the entire draft. Insane vertical. great speed. Huge jump. Basketball player in High School. Smooth, can do a lot of things on the field. Press Corner. Huge wingspan. Great leaping ability to deflect balls. Needs a year to find his place on your team. Comparison: a better faster healthier version of Marcus Maye.

33. RB David Montgomery. Played all 4 years at Iowa State. Good solid football player. Good size, good vision. Tough, fights. Good blocker. Not explosive speed guy. Will be in the NFL for years to come. Only thing that worries me is that he ran the ball too much in college, so wear and tear is accumulative. Good character guy. Round 2 is where he belongs. Comparison: Poor man’s Doug Martin with better character.

34. S Johnathan Abram. Biggest hitting Safety, plays bigger than his size. Good athlete. Not super fluid. Can play nickel LBer which is more in vogue. Football player. Great in the locker room. Leader on the field. Comparison: faster smaller version of Landon Collins.

35. RB Damien Harris. Another Alabama RB who split duties and we have no idea how to judge him. Good size and speed. We just have not seen enough snaps. Was it just a dominating OL? Is it more like Ingram or more like Richardson? Should be a good solid pro but harder to evaluate ceiling. Comparison: poor man’s Mark Ingram.

36. OLB Chase Winovich. Runs all over the freaking field. Madman. Really good quickness. 110% motor. Best as 4-3 weakside OLB because not strong enough as a 3-4 OLB or 4-3 DE. Tackling machine. Won’t impress you on surface but at the end of the day he racks up all the tackles by getting to the ball. Comparison: tall Zach Thomas.

37. WR N’Keal Harry. Excellent NFL body. Long arms. Big hands. Strong, not super fast but fast enough. Not explosive, but his short game 10-20 yards where he can use his big body and big hands is going to be invaluable to a team. Can block. Will be a good NFL WR. Tom Brady would kill for this guy.  Comparison: Anquan Bolden.

38. TE Irv Smith. Typical Alabama TE. Doesn’t get much action, but a good football player. I see it all the time, the pros use them more and their value rises. Upside. Can get stronger, gain weight. More quickness than direct speed. Very good over the short middle. Will be difficult for a LBer to handle him. Good YAC after he gets the ball. OK blocker. Comparison: poor man’s OJ Howard.

39. G Jonah Williams. Played Tackle, will not hold up there, lacks strength and speed to play LT. Lacks experience inside. Has tons of experience in big games. Knows football. Really smart football player. Survivor. Should be able to play as a decent pro for a number of years, but will not be great. He’d be a lot better in the Denver-old-zone-blocking scheme, than the Ravens/Cowboys drive-your-guy-off-the-line scheme. Comparison: Clint Boling.

40. WR A.J. Brown. Great athlete. NFL body. Only 6’0″ tall, the only reason he does not get a higher grade. Long arms. Unbelievably productive. Just. Gets. It. Done. Uses his hands well, great hand eye coordination via Baseball. Not a blazer. Will be a good football player in the NFL. Comparison: A taller Steve Smith.

41. S Darnell Savage. Too small for NFL standards. I would convert him to play slot corner in a nickel. Blazing speed, great hips, great instincts. Loves to play football. Figure out how to use him. Get him on the field! Long arms for his size. This is a guy who can match up well vs Edelman, a Patriot killer. Comparison: bigger better version of Buster Skrine.

42. TE T.J. Hockenson. Some people have him evaluated as 5th overall in the 2019 Draft. No Freaking way. I just don’t see it. Most well rounded TE in the draft, but not crazy about his athleticism. Only 17 reps on the bench press? I am worried about him dominating at College level but peaking out too early. He should be able to block better than he blocks. He will be a solid pro but I do not see the star upside. Comparison: Reminds me more of Jack Doyle than Jason Witten.

43. CB Andraez Williams. Blazing speed. But needs to add significant strength. Needs to improve change of direction and hip movement. I am not drafting him in Round 1. He is only 185 lbs, can easily gain 15-20 lbs. Good long arms and big hands. I am not taking a CB in Round 1 who can’t start right away. A lot of upside potential. Comparison: Antonio Cromartie if gains weight, keeps speed and learns to control body.

44. CB Joejuan Williams. Different kind of CB. Big, strong, not really fast, if he gets his hands on you in the first 5 yards, you’re dead. He’ll throw off the timing via press coverage. Paired with a Safety over the top is the best situation for him. Could play a Tampa2. Value in the right system. Helps against the big WR like Julio Jones or Michael Thomas.  Comparison: Poor man’s Richard Sherman.

45. G Chris Lindstrom. These linemen from BC, Iowa and Wisconsin can make their way in the pros if they have requisite ability. He can give you versatility and back up at Center too. Athletic. Can get bigger and stronger. Does not have a tire around his gut. Comparison: Brian Winters.

46. CB Mark Fields. Hardly played football. Weird. 2nd string on Clemson. When he played he was tremendous. Prototypical NFL CB. Speed to burn. 4.37. Strong. Good hips, smooth transition. Needs a chance. He can be had in the 3rd round, and a steal from a value standpoint. NFL teams will pass on him in R1-R2 but that is a mistake. Deep value, could get selected as late as R4-R5. Off the charts potential. An inexperienced cheaper version of … Comparison: Darrell Green.

47. CB Deandre Baker. Everybody has him as a top rated CB except me. Experience, big game. I do not like his hip fluidity. Requisite speed. Can play press and coverage? Without the fluidity, his upside is limited so instead of R1 value he becomes R2 value. Comparison: a weaker version of Malcolm Butler.

48. WR Deebo Samuel. Quick, fast, stocky for a guy that athletic, so carries his weight well. If he had 3 more inches he’d be a R1 pick. Good hands. Competitive. Good start and stop, good runner with ball in his hands. Hasn’t played or developed enough in running the route tree. Doesn’t seem to be able to use speed on the field. Will play faster in the pros if he can get better with the route tree. Comparison: poor man’s Sterling Sharpe.

49. S Taylor Rapp. Strong Safety. Did not run 40 at Combine. Looks like he can gain more weight. Good ball skills. Plays smart, plays tough. Durable despite the fact that he hits. Covers TEs. Comparison: Patrick Chung.

50. QB Daniel Jones. Experienced QB. Played 3 years. Hard to evaluate as Duke and his receivers were not particularly gifted. May become the quintessential game manager due to average arm strength. Knows how to play football with good pocket presence. Not particularly strong, was smart enough to not do the bench press at the Combine. Upside is a good pro QB if in the right system.. Patriots? Comparison: slightly smaller but better version of Mike Glennon.

Honorable Mention: CB Julian Love, C Erik McCoy, LB Mack Wilson

Volatile Sleeper: QB Tyree Jackson. Huge. Athletic. Fast. Big hands, big arms. Cannon arm. Monster hands great for a QB. Potential is unlimited if he lands with the right team and right QB guru. Would take him at San Diego or New England at end of Round 3/compensatory pick. Sits on bench for 2-3 years. Could be best QB in the draft, but lacks coaching and experience, so cannot waste big resources on him too early. Needs to be taught how to become more accurate.

7 thoughts on “Wonder’s Top 50 for 2019 NFL Draft

  1. Enjoy and appreciate your observations. Generally agree with drafting philosophy. Would only note that you put too much emphasis on bench press results. Have seen too many draft prospects that did poorly in this evaluation phase, yet turned out to be excellent players…and I am not including quarterbacks in this commentary.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s