With the 2019 NFL Draft concluding on Saturday, we decided to take a quick look at how the three state NFL teams fared for the positive and for the negative.
We fully understand that you won’t have final results on this for at least this season and maybe, two or three seasons on who did well or who did not do well?
Still, here we go with what we liked and didn’t like briefly.
Big thumbs up for taking LSU linebacker Devin White, who clearly gets put in as a starter at a need inside linebacker position. White will compliment Lavonte David in the new Todd Bowles 3 – 4 scheme, and no one can question Tampa Bay grabbing the best linebacker in the draft when they did.
Thumbs down? You have your choice for GM Jason Licht. As we wrote earlier on Saturday, Licht once again repeatedly drafted players in the defensive backfield early. This is been a recurring theme over the last four years of him doing the selecting for Tampa Bay. By using three more premium picks in the second and the third round on the secondary, the Bucs disregarded any other positions, including offensive line or defensive tackle which appear to be needs.
However, that thumbs down is rivaled by Tampa Bay once again choosing a kicker in the selection process. When the Bucs picked Utah’s Matt Gay in the fifth round, he admitted that even he was surprised that he was being drafted that highly.
And, this comes on the heels of a horrible mess created, when Licht picked Roberto Aguayo in the second round of the 2016 draft only to have him fail miserably and be gone after just one season full season.
Gay will be under tremendous scrutiny come from the beginning of training camp and into preseason, etc. because the Bucs repeated a previous nightmare scenario.
Two separate thumbs-up go for the opening round draft selection of Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins. New coach Brian Flores wants to stress defense and the Dolphins had to get better with the losses they’ve suffered on their defensive line. Wilkins will help with that.
The second part of that thumbs up is GM Chris Grier exercising his leverage and getting quarterback Josh Rosen at a serious discount to come to South Florida and likely become the Dolphins QB of the future. Miami only had to part with a late second-round pick and a 2020 fifth-round pick to get it done.
Thumbs down to the Dolphins for not addressing offensive tackle until the 6th round when they grabbed Isaiah Prince of Ohio State. Miami is in desperate need to fill right tackle and compliment Laremy Tunsil on the other side. And. it’s questionable at best, as to whether Prince can become that guy.
Thumbs up for each of their first two picks. The 7th overall being spent on the SEC top pass-rusher Josh Allen (above) of Kentucky will only bolster Jacksonville’s tough defense. The Jaguars brass of Tom Coughlin and Dave Caldwell, then boldly traded up on Friday night into the third spot of the second round to get Florida right tackle Jawaan Taylor. As we mentioned above, Miami could have had that same opportunity to do something similar, but they were busy working on the Rosen trade with their second round pick.
The two minor thumbs down were taking obscure tight end Josh Oliver of San Jose State in the third round. Then, going with another small school safety in Quincy Williams from FCS Murray State late in the third round. Jacksonville could have probably done better with a more noteworthy name/school with either of those picks.
We’ll also give one more minor thumbs up to the Jags for drafting Temple power running back Ryquell Armstead at the top of the fifth round Saturday afternoon. He will join the stable of veterans trying to backup star running back Leonard Fournette, and it looks like a good value where they got him.
Again, draft grades at the end of the weekend are a dime a dozen, but clearly there were some good things and some minor bad things that all three of the state’s NFL teams did.
Dolphins and Jaguars may be very interested in deep WR class
It’s never too soon to start talking about possible premium draft picks coming in April for the NFL’s 2020 draft. And, for the Dolphins and the Jaguars they may both very well be interested in what appears to be the deepest position this season.
NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah has been touting the 20/20 receiving draft class for several weeks now. And, that included his appearance on the NFL Total Access show Thursday night:
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) February 14, 2020
“I started scouting with the Baltimore Ravens in 2003. This is bar none, the deepest, best wide receiver class that I’ve seen, since I began scouting.”
To be more specific, Jeremiah has laid out the six receivers that he has right now in his top 25 of overall players The 2020 draft to be held in Las Vegas at the end of April. Those include: Oklahoma Speedster CeeDee Lamb, Alabama stud Jerry Jeudy, maybe the fastest player in the entire draft tide receiver Henry Ruggs III, National Champion LSU lanky speedster Justin Jefferson, Arizona State physical, big receiver Brandon Aiyuk and Colorado junior eligible Laviska Shenault.
As Jeremiah makes clear, not all of these receivers may end up going in the first round and there are several other names besides on his list that are probably NFL caliber who will still be around in the third round or later and yet make an impact on Sundays.
And that brings us to both the Dolphins and the Jaguars who are likely in need, especially early I’ll try to get one of these Playmakers.
In 2019, the Dolphins saw DeVante Parker develop into the possible number one yearly receiver that they believed he would become when they took him in the first round in 2015. Miami also has high hopes for un-drafted big receiver Preston Williams who was showing promise until suffering a torn ACL in midseason last year. However, other than that, Miami doesn’t have much else to hang their hat on.
As for Jacksonville, clearly in 2019 former second round pick D.J. Chark demonstrated that he has potential to be a number one receiver year in and year out. He showed an early connection with backup rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew, and Chark finished the season with 1,008 yards on 73 catches and 8 scores. Jacksonville also got good output from another guy with speed in Chris Conley.
But, from there the talent level drops off in North Florida.
So while there are plenty of factors and variables, like which receivers are when you are coming up for selection, there will apparently be no shortage of players to choose from that can make an impact on night three or even day three of the NFL Draft.
Prominent state names among NFL Combine invitees
A sign that the NFL Draft process is well underway is when the NFL publicizes their official list of players who will be attending the 2020 Scouting Combine at the end of the month.
— NFL (@NFL) February 7, 2020
Some of the most notable names include Heisman Trophy and National Championship winning LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, along with other potential number 1 draft picks at that position, Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama and Justin Herbert of Oregon. There was one state invitee at the QB position and that’s James Morgan, the FIU quarterback.
The running back position has Heisman finalist Jonathan Edwards and also, has several familiar names to state fans led by FSU leading rusher, Cam Akers.
Akers (photo above), who declared early for the 2020 draft giving up his final season of eligibility, is joined by Miami running back and receiving specialist DeeJay Dallas. Also invited was Florida under-sized power back LaMical Perine.
The wide receiver position is particularly deep with invitees by the NFL, and that includes the Gators trio of Tyrie Cleveland, Van Jefferson and Freddie Swain. Also, invited is outstanding UCF wide out Gabe Davis, who gave up his final year of eligibility in Orlando and will be at the combine.
Arguably the best tight end in the draft is Harrison Bryant of Florida Atlantic who led the position nationally in catches and yardage. Bryant could be a first round pick in late April. Also on the Combine list is USF tight end, Mitchell Wilcox.
On the defensive side of the ball is the leading pass-rushing sack artist from college football in 2019 in Chase Young of Ohio State. Miami’s Jonathan Garvin was another defensive lineman added to the mix. Next, Hurricanes linebackers Shaq Quarterman and teammate Michael Pinckney were among the linebacker invitees from Friday.
At defensive back, UCF’s Neville Clark is joined by Florida’s C.J. Henderson, FAU’s James Pierre and Florida State’s Stanford Samuels.
The combine is a five-day process allowing interviews for players with the 32 teams and then, individual position group workouts and 40 yard dash times that will take place at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium.
The NFL Network still holds the exclusive rights to televise the workouts, which has now expanded to over 50 hours of coverage for that week