It’s official. New England TE Rob Gronkowski has called it a career. His retirement may or may not come as a surprise, but one thing is certain. Gronk’s departure from the game is going to have a huge impact on the Patriots plans for the 2019 NFL Draft. Here’s how the latter half of Round 1 will shake out.
21. Seattle Seahawks: Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
A huge need for the Seahawks is to bolster the offensive line and Dillard would do just that. At 6-5 and 315 pounds, the four-year starter at Washington State is athletic and can run (4.96 40-yard dash at the combine). There are some questions about him playing in Mike Leach’s Air Raid system, but the guy can pass block.
22. Baltimore Ravens: Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State
With wide receivers Michael Crabtree and John Brown out of the picture, the Ravens need some help. The names Willie Snead IV and Jordan Lasley aren’t turning any heads.
Campbell will turn heads. Preferably, he turns cornerbacks heads in the fall with his 4.31 speed. Campbell is a gifted athlete that can cause problems for defenses a la Tyreek Hill. He’ll need some work polishing his route-running skills, but Campbell should be a Day 1 starter.
23. Houston Texans: Deandre Baker, Georgia
The Texans go to work on the secondary with Baker, the nation’s Jim Thorpe Award winner last year as the country’s best defensive back. He’s only 5-11 and 195 pounds, but Baker excels as a press corner with talent, ball skills, and a competitive fire that could make him an annual Pro Bowler.
24. Oakland Raiders: Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
Head coach Jon Gruden simply can’t wait for draft day. He’ll get a giant, speedy pass rusher in Montez Sweat with pick No. 4 and he’ll have two more picks in the final nine of the first round. Needing a run game, Gruden gets the back he covets so much – Jacobs from Alabama.
Despite a lack of carries because of the Crimson Tide’s stable of capable running backs, Jacobs played a prominent role during the 2018 season and was the MVP of the SEC title game. He scored 11 touchdowns in 15 games, he can catch, and he’s dangerous as a kick returner.
25. Philadelphia Eagles: Jaylon Ferguson, DE, Louisiana Tech
There’s no question the Eagles need help on both lines. With Ferguson still hanging around at No. 25, Eagles GM Howie Roseman pulls the trigger. At 6-5 and 275 pounds, Ferguson could still add some weight. He dominated Conference USA play and ended his career as the FBS record-holder for career sacks with 45. He’s a likely 4-3 defensive end but has played edge linebacker too. Ferguson should be an instant starter in Philly.
26. Indianapolis Colts: Jonathan Abram, S, Mississippi State
With the signing of WR Devin Funchess in free agency, the Colts can go out and address the defense in the 2019 NFL Draft. Of all the candidates, Abram is the guy that can have the most immediate impact.
At 5-11 and 205 pounds, Abram is big enough to handle bigger slot receivers and tight ends but also fast enough – 4.45 seconds in the 40-yard dash – to run with wide receivers.
27. Oakland Raiders: Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State
Chucky’s back! Remember that run game? With Jacobs in the bag at No. 24, Gruden and the Raiders add to the offensive line with Risner, a 6-5, 312-pound All-Big 12 tackle. He’ll have the strength and body control to start right away. Gruden might consider moving him inside to guard where he would likely be a future All-Pro.
28. Los Angeles Chargers: Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama
The tradition of great Alabama linebackers continues with Wilson, a solidly built traditional plugger who fits the modern-day LB who can run and chase running backs and wide receivers. The Chargers have had a recent history that features a lack of linebacker depth. Wilson should become a starter from the get-go and don’t be surprised if the Chargers chase down another LB later in the draft.
29. Kansas City Chiefs: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
The Chiefs first addressed their defense by firing coordinator Bob Sutton and hiring veteran Steve Spagnuolo. Adding Williams to the secondary should also take K.C. up a notch. Williams is the modern cornerback – long at 6-2, speedy (4.37 in the 40-yard dash), and instinctive. He will become a Day 1 starter and he has the ability to become an All-Pro caliber player.
30. Green Bay Packers: A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
After scoring Iowa TE Noah Fant earlier in Round 1, the offense gets even better with the addition of Brown, a big, fast, and physical wide receiver. At 6-0 and 226 pounds, Brown is a slot bully who will beat linebackers and outrun safeties.
He ran 4.49 at the combine and broke his own school record last year with 1,320 yards on 85 catches. Brown is so good an athlete the San Diego Padres drafted him in the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft.
31. Los Angeles Rams: Garrett Bradbury, C, N.C. State
The Rams will plug Bradbury right into their lineup either at center or guard. Bradbury (6-3, 305) went to N.C. State as a tight end and grew into an offensive lineman. He played guard up until last year and won the Rimington Trophy as the nation’s best center. Big, strong, and athletic, Bradbury will make the rich richer.
32. New England Patriots: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
With the retirement of Gronkowski, don’t be surprised if the Patriots try and move up to nab one of the Iowa tight ends (Fant or T.J. Hockenson). Sticking at 32, expect New England to take a player that can come in and contribute right away.
They will get that in Wilkins, a 6-3, 315-pound athlete masquerading as a 3-technique. Wilkins plays with great leverage and a high motor. More importantly, he graduated from Clemson in two-and-a-half years and has the kind of character that Patriots head coach Bill Belichick loves.
Article by Rick Bouch
Posted March 27th, 2019