Twice, in my 32 years of existence have I ever dressed up for Halloween. Both times, I completely copied the costumes of one Jim Halpert from the greatest television show ever created, ‘The Office”. Here are those pictures from 2014 and 2015.
Fun Fact – My TDN colleague Kyle Crabbs doesn’t like The Office and thinks it’s ‘trash” so please tell him how wrong he is by tweeting at him. His name is clickable and leads to his Twitter page to make that easy for you.
There are a few other Halloween formalities I need to address. First, candy corn is disgusting and not edible. Second, Reese’s is the best candy. If you believe otherwise I could agree with you but then we’d both be wrong. Lastly, you’re a monster if you eat black licorice.
Back to football…
With the college football season approaching the quarter pole, the landscape of the 2019 NFL Draft is coming into focus. Keeping in the spirit of Halloween, there are some scary realities facing the rising class. Let’s examine.
No First-Round Worthy QB Prospects
We’ve done our best to keep you informed on the 2019 QB class here at TDN but in case you only clicked on this article to see my costumes, let me quickly catch you up.
Our staff collectively sees two prospects as potentially first-round worthy at this point: Oregon’s Justin Herbert and Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins. There is a growing sense that Herbert may opt to stay in school and some notable warts have developed in Haskins’ game that may lead the redshirt sophomore to stay at Ohio State for more seasoning before taking his game to the NFL.
The rest of the rising QB class is appropriately valued on Day 2/3. But here’s the thing about that – regardless of who does or doesn’t declare, a QB will be taken in the first round. Not since 1996 have we experienced a first round absent of a QB getting selected. If Paxton Lynch, Johnny Manziel, Tim Tebow, EJ Manuel, Brandon Weeden and Christian Ponder can be first-round picks, so can at least one of the middling prospects available in the 2019 class.
It’s scary to see teams reach for a QB out of desperation and it’s primed to happen in 2019.
No Feature Running Backs
With Oklahoma RB Rodney Anderson suffering the third significant season-ending injury of his career, the rising running back class took a significant hit. He has the skill set of a true feature back in the NFL and was my clear-cut top prospect at the position. Given his injury history, more caution is required in his evaluation.
In Damien Harris, David Montgomery, Karan Higdon and Elijah Holyfield there are some other likable backs but these runners project more favorably as complementary backs than guys who can be the focal point of an NFL rushing attack.
The 2019 RB class is sandwiched between stellar groups in 2017, 2018 and 2020. The good news is that finding RB production isn’t challenging, but for a team in search of a potent multifaceted back to invest a high pick on, the 2019 class isn’t for you.
Falcons Add Elite Talent
Despite a recent two-game winning streak, the Falcons are 3-4 in what is shaping up to be a lost season. With that said, there isn’t anything to be worried about in Atlanta. Starters Keanu Neal, Deion Jones, Andy Levitre, Ricardo Allen, Devonta Freeman and Brandon Fusco are all on injured reserve and that many injuries is just too much to overcome. When healthy, Atlanta boasts and upper-echelon roster loaded with talented players at every position.
The silver lining in Atlanta’s disappointing season is that it’s primed to draft much higher than a team of its caliber should, further bolstering an already impressive depth chart. It’s not unreasonable to think Atlanta could be picking in the top-10/15 and come away with a prospect it normally wouldn’t be able to draft. In an already highly competitive team, Atlanta has a unique opportunity to add premier talent to its already stacked roster.
Top Offensive Prospects are Nowhere to be Found
Kyle, Jon, Trevor and myself will be releasing our updated Top 100 Big Boards in the coming days and you are going to find a theme among all four sets of rankings in that we all believe this rising draft class is heavy on defensive talent and extremely light on offensive talent, particularly at the top of the draft.
For teams like the Bills, Jets and Cardinals who would love to improve its offensive line or weaponry around its young quarterbacks, this isn’t the year to do it at the top of the draft. Fear not, the draft is 7 rounds and there will be some worthy Day 2 prospects to consider but there isn’t a Julio Jones, AJ Green, Quenton Nelson or Tyron Smith to snatch up in the top-10.
Over-thinking Ed Oliver
I can already see the lazy narratives forming. “He didn’t go to a Power 5 School.” “He went to Houston because he’s a homeboy and won’t want to play in another city.” “He’s 6-foot-1, 275 pounds and lacks a true position.” “His sack total declined in his junior season and lacks a consistent pass rushing skill set.”
Don’t do it. Just don’t.
Watch the tape – Oliver is a damn stud that is primed to provide game-changing interior penetration in the NFL. He should be a top-10 draft pick without hesitation.
His blend of quickness, flexibility, strength, leverage and technique leads to consistent disruption. He’s going to be a problem in the NFL for offensive lines. If he slides, it will be a major mistake.