Takeaways from Day 1 of the 2019 NFL Draft
Thursday night in Nashville was a great time to be Kyler Murray, Daniel Jones or a defensive front seven player — especially from Clemson. And it was a tough night for Drew Lock, wide receivers, cornerbacks, and running backs.
Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury proved Thursday night that he is a man of his word by drafting Murray, the 5-foot-10 Heisman Trophy winner, with the No. 1 pick. Last fall, when Kingsbury was the coach at Texas Tech and Murray the quarterback at Oklahoma, Kingsbury said he would take Murray No. 1 if he had the chance.
The Cardinals took Murray despite using a first-round pick on Josh Rosen just one year ago, becoming the first team in NFL history to use a first rounder on a quarterback in back-to-back years. The Cardinals now will likely have to trade Rosen, with the Dolphins as a prime candidate after they passed on a quarterback.
Murray won the 2018 Heisman Trophy and is one of the most electric quarterbacks to come out in years. He previously was drafted No. 9 by the Oakland Athletics, becoming the first modern athlete to get drafted in the top 10 in two different sports.
“There’s going to be bumps in the road for Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals, but they just became must-see TV next year,” NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said.
A look at the other major story lines from Thursday’s first round:
■ Duke quarterback Daniel Jones was the biggest winner on Thursday after Murray. Projected as a mid-to-late first-round pick, Jones was surprisingly chosen at No. 6 by the Giants, who view Jones as the heir to Eli Manning, who is 38 years old and 8-23 as a starter the last two years.
Drafting Jones means keeping it in the family, of sorts. Jones, a three-year starter in college, was coached at Duke by David Cutcliffe, who was Peyton and Eli Manning’s lifelong personal coach.
Jones represents just the third time the Giants have used a first-round pick on a QB. The other two were Phil Simms and Philip Rivers, whom they dealt in a draft-night move for Manning.
■ Dwayne Haskins, who went to high school in Maryland, was the third quarterback off the board, going to the Redskins at No. 15. The Redskins were rumored to want to trade up for Haskins, but stood pat and got their big, strong-armed quarterback. Missouri’s Drew Lock, thought to be a mid-first round pick, fell out of the first round completely after the Dolphins and Broncos both notably passed.
■ Defensive front seven players dominated the top of the draft. The top 10 entailed two quarterbacks, a tight end (T.J. Hockenson to Detroit at No. 8) and seven front-seven players. After Murray, four defensive players went off the board: Nick Bosa (San Francisco), Quinnen Williams (Jets), Clelin Ferrell (Raiders), and Devin White (Buccaneers). Overall, 12 of the first 19 picks were defensive front-seven players.
■ But it was a tough year for offensive and defensive skill positions, with this year marking the latest in any draft for a running back or receiver to be drafted. Alabama running back Josh Jacobs was the first off the board, going 24th to the Raiders. Oklahoma’s Marquise Brown was the first receiver drafted, taken 25th by the Ravens. And the first cornerback wasn’t taken until Georgia’s DeAndre Baker went 30th to the Giants. This was the first year only one cornerback went in the first round since 1987.
■ The AFC East got a lot . . . bigger on Thursday, as all three of the Patriots’ rivals took a defensive tackle. The Jets took Williams at No. 3, the Bills got Ed Oliver at No. 9, and the Dolphins drafted Christian Wilkins at No. 13. Tom Brady is going to be feeling the heat right up the middle this year.
■ Thursday was a banner night for Clemson’s defensive line, with three players drafted in the top 17 picks — Ferrell was a surprise pick by the Raiders at No. 4, Wilkins, and Dexter Lawrence went 17th to the Giants.
■ Massachusetts isn’t known as a football hotbed, but the Commonwealth churned out two first-rounders in back-to-back picks, no less. Dolphins coach Brian Flores, the former Boston College and Patriots defensive coordinator, used the 13th pick on Wilkins, a Springfield native who spent his middle school and early high-school years in Framingham. Then at No. 14, the Falcons drafted Dudley native and BC guard Chris Lindstrom to help protect fellow Eagle Matt Ryan.
■ The 49ers went with the popular pick at No. 2 and took Bosa, the Ohio State defensive end who joins his brother, Joey (No. 3 in 2016), and father, John (No. 16 in 1987), as first-round picks. The Bosas joined the Mannings as the only family to have three first-round picks.
■ The first round was light on trades, with just one in the top 20 picks — the Steelers traded up to No. 10 to take linebacker Devin Bush. Division rival Cincinnati was rumored to want Bush at No. 11.
But the trades heated up after 20, with the Packers trading for the Seahawks’ 21st pick to take safety Darnell Savage, and the Eagles trading for the Ravens’ 22nd pick and offensive tackle Andre Dillard.
■ The two Iowa tight ends that every Patriots fan wanted went off the board well before the Patriots’ pick at No. 32. Matt Patricia got his Rob Gronkowski by taking Iowa’s T.J. Hockenson with the No. 8 pick, and the Broncos drafted athletic tight end Noah Fant after trading down to No. 20. This year marked the first time in the common draft era that two tight ends from the same school were taken in the first round.
Correction: Because of a reporting mistake, T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant were misidentified in a previous version of this article.