The 2019 NFL Draft was full of excitement and surprises. Some players fell lower than expected. While other players were drafted higher than the experts predicted. But there were also a number of trades during the draft that led to interesting results. Let’s examine a few of them.
Pittsburgh Moves up in the First
Early in the draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers made a deal with the Denver Broncos to move up in the first round. The Steelers received a 2019 first-round pick (10th overall). And the Broncos received a 2019 first-round pick (20th overall), a 2019 second round-pick (52nd overall), and a 2020 third-round pick.
The Steelers moved up in the first round to select Devin Bush an inside linebacker out of Michigan. It cost a whole lot of draft capital to move up and select and Bush. But the Steeler organization felt that he would be the guy to fill the void left by linebacker Ryan Shazier, who suffered a career threatening spinal injury at the end of the 2017 season.
Bush who was named the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2018, is slightly undersized at the position, but he makes up for it with speed and athleticism. He is an every-down linebacker and should jump into a starting role immediately. Bush likely would not have been available at the Steelers original spot of 20. However, to justify this trade, he will have to make an instant impact akin to what Darius Leonard did with the Indianapolis Colts in 2018, earning him Defensive Rookie of the Year Honors.
The Broncos used the 20th overall pick to select Noah Fant, a tight end out of Iowa. Fant fills a void at the position for the Broncos. He is an excellent pass catcher and can create mismatches due to his speed and athleticism. However, he has shown vulnerability as a run blocker. The Broncos then opted to use the 52nd overall pick they acquired as trade fodder; we will get to that shortly.
On the surface, this trade looks like it benefitted both teams evenly. The Steelers and Broncos both came away with the second-best player at their respective positions in the first round. We will have to wait and see what type of player comes out of the 2020 pick involved in this trade. That individual will likely shift the balance of this trade. As it stands now both teams tie in this trade.
Broncos Make Moves in the Second
Drew Lock was HYPED when he found out he was going to the Broncos 🔥 pic.twitter.com/Sg9gWVbFqz— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) April 27, 2019
The Broncos would go on to use the 52nd overall pick to trade up in the second round with the Cincinnati Bengals. The Broncos received a 2019 second-round pick (42nd overall). They used that pick to select quarterback Drew Lock out of Missouri. The Bengals received a 2019 second-round pick (52nd overall), a 2019 fourth-round pick (125th overall), and a 2019 sixth-round pick (182nd overall). The Bengals turned those picks into tight end Drew Sample of Washington, defensive tackle Renell Wren of Arizona State, and running back Trayveon Williams out of Texas A&M.
Winner: Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals are the winners in this trade. They come away with three decent players who should provide depth to each of their respective positions. However, it may be a stretch to say the Bengals are the winners in this trade scenario. The Broncos may actually just be the losers.
Quarterback Joe Flacco came to Denver via trade with the Baltimore Ravens in the offseason. Lock was drafted in what looks to be an insurance policy should Flacco not perform. With Flacco being on the hot seat and considering his lack of production last season in Baltimore, Lock may be thrust into a starting role sooner than he is ready for. This could prove to be disastrous for Lock as the Broncos have shown inconsistent play from the quarterback position for the last three seasons. This led to a musical chair act with four different individuals taking the starting quarterback role in that time period. Maybe Flacco will use the arrival of Lock as extra incentive to perform. But based on what we’ve seen the Bengals have won this trade.
Miami Gets its Quarterback
The Arizona Cardinals selected quarterback Kyler Murray out of Oklahoma with the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft. After that pick, fans and experts alike knew Josh Rosen’s days in Arizona were numbered. Rosen was a first-round pick of the Cardinals in 2018 and was a top quarterback in his draft class. But the Cardinals decided to move in a different direction and figured Murray was the guy to help them do that. So, they struck up a trade with the Miami Dolphins. The Cardinals received a 2019 second-round pick (62nd overall) and a 2020 fifth-round pick. The Dolphins received Rosen.
Winner: Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins look to be the victors in this trade. They gained a quarterback which they severely needed. This coming after trading their oft-injured former starter Ryan Tannehill was traded to the Tennessee Titans. And while Rosen wasn’t the most impressive in his rookie season, that may have been due to the situation he was in rather than lack of talent. Miami should be a great new start for him.
The Cardinals took Andy Isabella a wide receiver from UMass with their 62nd overall pick. But this pick was a reach as he could possibly have been available later in the draft. And he wasn’t even the best available player at his position at the time of selection. In addition, this pick may even prove null and void as they selected wide receiver Hakeem Butler of Iowa State in the fourth round (103rd overall), a player who was a better prospect than Isabella. Anything could happen and Isabella may prove his worth, but Miami is currently in the driver’s seat with aviator sunglasses on after this trade!
The Draft and Beyond
Year after year in the NFL, some prospects exceed expectations while others fail to live up to them. Pre-draft rankings and college statistics only provide part of the puzzle. Above all, the real substance will come when players prove their worth in training camp and on the field come September. While we can only speculate on situations immediately after the draft, the 2019 NFL season will tell the real story.