Written by Ryan Lippert
With the 2019 NFL Draft finally behind us, it is time to look towards the actual season. This year’s rookie class has a huge amount of potential. The 2019 rookie class has a ton of talent that will make an immediate impact but some will rise above the rest. With that being said, here are the rookies that I believe will shine the most in the 2019-20 season.
Quarterback: Kyler Murray (Arizona Cardinals)
This was a very tough decision between Murray and Dwayne Haskins for me. It came down to the fact that Murray is the clear-cut Week One starter in Arizona and he has the best weapons around him. If he leads up to the hype, Murray will be the star that the Cardinals have been searching for as he is a threat on with his arm and on the ground. It also helps that will be throwing to future Hall of Fame wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, along with Christian Kirk, and rookies Andy Isabella and Hakeem Butler. He will also take some pressure off running back David Johnson who is looking to bounce back after a disappointing 2018 season.
Also Considered: Dwayne Haskins (Washington)
Running Back: Josh Jacobs (Oakland Raiders)
Jacobs is the obvious choice here as he was the best back in this class. He comes into an Oakland offense that just lost Marshawn Lynch to retirement. With that being said, Jacobs is the only starter-worthy running back on their roster. I expect him to get a huge workload as a rookie as the Raiders will try to balance out their offense as they have already acquire wide receivers like Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams in free agency. With those acquisitions and Jacobs, Derek Carr should be a very happy man.
Also Considered: David Montgomery (Chicago)
Wide Receivers: D.K. Metcalf (Seattle Seahawks), N’Keal Harry (New England Patriots)
I am a huge believer in D.K. Metcalf at the next level. He will be the steal of this draft as I thought he’d go at least in the top 15 and he fell to the end of the second round. He showed off his speed as a deep threat in college and proved it at the combine. At his size, that speed is very rare to find and I see him being the go-to guy for Russell Wilson and the deep threat receiver that Seattle’s offense needs.
Harry was the second receiver taken in this draft and is a good fit in New England. After losing Rob Gronkowski to retirement, the Patriots needed to find Tom Brady another weapon. Harry is another big wide receiver that will thrive on the outside as he has great hands and shows his athleticism when winning the jump ball battles. He will be the guy that Brady will look at in the deep passing game and in the red zone.
Also Considered: Marquise Brown (Baltimore), Deebo Samuel (San Francisco)
Tight End: T.J. Hockenson (Detroit Lions)
Coming into this draft, Hockenson was the clear cut best tight end in this class. While he is a solid route runner and pass catcher, he was also the best blocking tight end in this class. Hockenson will be a Week One starter in Detroit and will make a nice duo with Jesse James in two tight end sets. I see Hockenson being the go-to target for quarterback Matthew Stafford this season and possibly the best player on the entire Lions offense.
Also Considered: Irv Smith Jr. (Minnesota)
Offensive Tackles: Jawaan Taylor (Jacksonville Jaguars), Jonah Williams (Cincinnati Bengals)
Taylor was a huge steal in this draft for the Jaguars. He was my top offensive tackle in this class and I actually had him mocked to Jacksonville with the seventh overall pick. With that being said, they truly hit the jackpot when he was still available with their second round pick. Taylor will be a Week One starter for the Jaguars at the right tackle spot.
Jonah Williams was very close to Taylor as he was my second ranked offensive tackle in this class. After the draft, it is obvious that the Bengals are sticking with quarterback Andy Dalton. With that being said, they had to get him some better protection. Williams will be an immediate starter at tackle and could arguably be the best player on this Bengals offensive line.
Also Considered: Kaleb McGary (Atlanta), Tytus Howard (Houston)
Offensive Guards: Chris Lindstrom (Atlanta Falcons), Dalton Risner (Denver Broncos)
One need that was obvious for the Falcons was on the offensive line. Lindstrom was my second ranked interior offensive lineman in this class and will be a great fit in Atlanta. He will bring his physicality to the Falcons offense and help to open some running lanes for Devonta Freeman. He will be a Week One starter and possibly a future Pro Bowl caliber offensive guard for years to come.
Risner was listed as a possible tackle or guard coming into this year’s draft. However, it appears that the Broncos will slide him inside to guard. He will help improve this offensive line and hopefully guide running back Phillip Lindsay to another successful season. Risner should be an immediate starter at guard and it also helps that he has experience at tackle in case someone gets injured.
Also Considered: Cody Ford (Buffalo), Michael Deiter (Miami)
Center: Garrett Bradbury (Minnesota Vikings)
Garrett Bradbury was my top ranked interior offensive lineman in this class. He joins a Minnesota offense that severely needed improvement on the offensive line. Bradbury can play either guard or center but most depth chart projections that I have seen have him at center and Pat Elflein sliding to guard. Either way, Bradbury will make an immediate impact on this offensive line and hopefully help protect quarterback Kirk Cousins.
Also Considered: Elgton Jenkins (Green Bay)
Defensive Ends: Clelin Ferrell (Oakland Raiders), Nick Bosa (San Francisco 49ers)
Although I believe Ferrell was draft too high at fourth overall, he is still a very talented defensive end. Ferrell was the leader of an extremely impressive defensive line at Clemson. He will bring much needed improvement off the edge, especially as a pass rusher, to this Raiders defense. He will be an immediate starter at end and will play a huge role as a rookie.
Bosa was my top overall player in this year’s draft class. The 49ers should feel extremely lucky that he fell to second overall. Much like his brother Joey, Nick Bosa is a force off the edge as a pass rusher. If he can stay healthy, he will be a Pro Bowl caliber player and the best player on this San Francisco defense.
Also Considered: Brian Burns (Carolina), L.J. Collier (Seattle)
Defensive Tackles: Quinnen Williams (New York Jets), Ed Oliver (Buffalo Bills)
Although he was third on my board, Quinnen Williams was the top player on a lot of draft boards. There were a lot of people expecting the Jets to draft an edge rusher at third overall but you can’t go wrong with the amount of talent Williams will bring to this defense. I see Williams being an immediate starter on this defense as he can stop the run and pose as a threat as a pass rusher. He is another defensive line prospect in this class that I see being a future Pro Bowl caliber player
Oliver was right behind Williams as my second best defensive tackle in this class. He was a beast at Houston as he showed ability against the run and as a pass rusher. His unique athleticism and speed at his position will help him become a star in the league. Oliver will be the Day One starter in Buffalo and will add a much needed spark to their defensive front.
Also Considered: Christian Wilkins (Miami), Jerry Tillery (Los Angeles Chargers)
Outside Linebackers: Josh Allen (Jacksonville Jaguars), Montez Sweat (Washington Redskins)
Josh Allen was my second best overall player in this year’s draft class. I also see him as the player with the most potential. The Jaguars got a huge steal when he dropped to the seventh overall selection. Allen will be a force off the edge as a pass rusher but can also play man coverage against tight ends. I see him being a stud at the next level for several years.
Sweat was one of the question marks in this year’s draft class. He sky rocketed up draft boards after the combine and was looked at as a potential top ten pick. Unfortunately, it was discovered that he has a serious heart condition, which caused him to fall. If he can stay healthy, Sweat will find his way into the starting lineup as a rookie and become a huge steal for the Redskins.
Also Considered: Christian Miller (Carolina), Jachai Polite (New York Jets)
Inside Linebackers: Devin White (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Devin Bush Jr. (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Devin White was my top available linebacker and a top five overall prospect in this year’s draft class. With the departure of Kwon Alexander, the Buccaneers needed an inside linebacker and White will be a perfect fit. He will be the face of this defense for many years to come and will be a Pro Bowl linebacker if he leads up to his potential.
Bush was a name that started rising up boards late in the pre-draft process. As a lifelong Steelers fan, I was very pleased when they traded up to the tenth pick to draft him. He is the athletic inside linebacker that the Steelers have been searching for since they lost Ryan Shazier to a very tragic injury. Bush will be a Week One starter and will be an immediate leader on this improving Pittsburgh defense.
Also Considered: Mack Wilson (Cleveland), Jahlani Tavai (Detroit)
Cornerbacks: Greedy Williams (Cleveland Browns), Rock Ya-Sin (Indianapolis Colts)
Greedy Williams was another player in this year’s draft that took an unexpected drop. Many experts had him as the top corner in this class but he fell all the way to the second round. Williams is a long, athletic corner that should thrive at the next level, especially if he becomes a better tackler. The young duo of him and Denzel Ward should be very successful for many years to come.
Rock Ya-Sin is a small school prospect out of Temple that was talked about a lot leading up to the draft. There were many mock drafts that had him going in the first round but I believe that he landed in the right spot in the early second round. I see him being a very good fit at the nickel for the Colts as he is good in man coverage but is also a solid tackler. I see him starting at the nickel as a rookie and possibly moving to one of the outside corner spots if they need him to.
Also Considered: Joejuan Williams (New England), Deandre Baker (New York Giants)
Safeties: Nasir Adderely (Los Angeles Chargers), Johnathan Abram (Oakland Raiders)
Even though he came out of an FCS school (Delaware), I had Adderely listed as my top safety in this year’s draft. With that being said, I was very surprised when he dropped to the bottom of the second round. Adderley is an athletic safety that has a great ability to break on the ball. I see him being a Week One starter and the combination of him and Derwin James being extremely impressive for many years to come.
Abram was a safety that was high on a lot of draft boards so it wasn’t a surprise that he was the second safety to come off the board. Abram will be a good fit in Oakland as he is a hard-hitting safety that will come down and support against the run. He may not be an immediate starter with both Karl Joseph and Lamarcus Joyner on the roster but he will definitely be a rotational player and could eventually find a starting role if he lives up to his potential.
Also Considered: Darnell Savage (Green Bay), Juan Thornhill (Kansas City)