Sweet Spots For Every Position In 2019 NFL Draft

Photo: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Draft represents hope. It represents the fact that, even though your team was terrible the year before and likely won't be that much better the following year, you can have hope that that won't be the case -- there are always a few that make a quick turn around.

A cool part about the draft is that, where the system of it and how it is preformed stays the same, for the most part, each class brings in a different group of players, with no two classes exactly the same.

Some years your team might really need an edge rusher at the top of the draft, but that might not be the case with the current draft class. Other times, your needs may line up with a draft class perfectly. Each year is interesting because, as you watch the college football season unfold, you can start to line up where good value might be for certain positions.

When it comes to the 2019 NFL Draft, here at the beginning of February, we are starting to get a pretty good look at where some "sweet spots" might be to select position groups in this class. This means rounds where you can ideally find the best value for a talented player at the best price. That doesn't always mean the first round. For example, some classes might not be top heavy in terms of elite talent, but they might be deep in good to above average talent. That would mean their sweet spot is somewhere later in the draft. On the other hand, if a position group has a handful of great players at the top, but not a lot of depth with talent, you better get one quick.

These are some projected "sweet spots" for each position in the 2019 NFL Draft.


Sweet Spot: First Round

I'll start by saying I don't think this quarterback class is very good, but with that said, if you need one and you don't take a chance on one in the first round, those guys in the later rounds likely won't be worth it at all.

If you need a quarterback immediately for next year, you better hope you get your hands on Dwayne Haskins, Kyler Murray or Drew Lock, all of which will be gone after the first round. After that, you'd be really rolling the dice with guys like Daniel Jones, Brett Rypien and Will Grier to start early on in their careers.

The first round may be the "sweet spot" just for where the talent is, but it's not a great class anywhere top to bottom.

Running Back

Sweet Spot: Late Second/Early Third Round

I am not a big fan of using a first round pick on any running back -- I even had my value doubts on Saquon Barkley last year, though to make things clear the talent was certainly warranted as a Top 10 player -- so for that, there's no way I could say round one is a sweet spot.

Alabama's Josh Jacobs could find his way into the first round, but I think your resources could be better used in the Top 32 because of who you might be able to find right outside of the Top 50 at running back. Backs like Darrell Henderson, Miles Sanders and Rodney Anderson could all be available around this marker, and you could even throw in guys like Damien Harris, Elijah Holyfield and Devin Singletary in the third round.

To me, that makes that picks 60-80 range a true sweet spot for value.

Wide Receiver

Sweet Spot: Second Round/Third Round

This one is sort of tricky, because I think this wide receiver class is good enough to find value at just about any round, but anywhere on Day 2 is where you're going to find a wide receiver that can really help your team without having to spend too high of a premium pick in the first round.

Guys like Hakeem Butler, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, and A.J. Brown can be had in round two, while players like Antoine Wesley, KeeSean Johnson and DaMarkus Lodge could be found in the third round. Each of those players give a team a unique skillset. Just because they're not as polished all around as some of the wide receivers who are going to go round one doesn't mean that can't still be effective, even in Year 1.

Tight End

Sweet Spot: Second Round

This tight end class is good, and I mean good. There might be eight tight ends drafted from this class that will play significant roles in their first season.

Guys like Noah Fant, T.J. Hockenson and likely Irv Smith will be first round picks, but that's where the second round studs can come in. Players like Kaden Smith, Isaac Nauta, Jace Sternberger and Dawson Knox are going to go down as second round picks that took an offense and put them over the top. You just watch.

Offensive Tackle

Sweet Spot: First Round

There are actually a handful of guys in this offensive tackle class who have emerged -- well, really we've just looked at their tape now, it's not like they've played any more games since the end of the season -- that are shaping this offensive tackle class up pretty nicely. But, it is still top-heavy.

Guys like Jonah Williams, Cody Ford, Jawaan Taylor and even Greg Little and Yodny Cajuste could make it five offensive tackles in the first round. But if you miss on those, it gets tricky. I think Dalton Risner can play right tackle, but he really might be better at guard, even if so. David Edwards, Kaleb McGary and Andre Dillard give you some risk/reward potential on Day 2, but I don't love the idea of those guys starting early.

So, to me, if you need an offensive tackle, that sweet spot for value on a pick would still be at the top.

Interior Offensive Line

Sweet Spot: Third Round

This interior offensive line class could go one of two ways. Either everyone remains calm and picks these interior offensive players at their appropriate spots and in the correct spot relative to positional value, or the first one goes off the board and everyone panics and overdrafts.

As long as the latter doesn't happen, you'll be able to find a suitable interior offensive player in the third round, which would also be correct positional value. Guys like Ben Powers, Elgton Jenkins and maybe even Erik McCoy could be had in the third round (more likely in the second). Getting those guys there for an iOL needy team could be the difference between a "good" and a "great" draft class.

Interior Defensive Line

Sweet Spot: Third Round

I'm getting a little crazy with this one, and the explanation of this sweet spot requires some background information.

This interior defensive line class is very good all around. At the top you have guys like Quinnen Williams, Ed Oliver, Jeffery Simmons and Christian Wilkins. These guys will surely be first round picks that you'll need to spend a premium on -- that could be well worth it.

But when I look at the potential third round players I see guys like Daniel Wise, Daylon Mack, Khalen Saunders, Renell Wren and Kevin Wilkins. I'm not saying that picking the guys at the top won't be worth it. But I am saying that this class is so good and so deep that you can not spend a premium pick on an interior defensive lineman early and still get a great one in the middle or near the end of Day 2.

Edge Defender

Sweet Spot: First Round

Pick any of the first round guys and your money will be well worth it.

Nick Bosa, Clelin Ferrell, Jachai Polite, Josh Allen, Brian Burns; if you can end up with any of those guys on your team, you won't regret the premium pick spent on them.

I don't see any player in the later rounds that could give you the potential production those guys can, and for that, the sweet spot has to stay in round one.


Sweet Spot: One of the Top 3 Players

The sweet spot for the linebacker class is you ending up with either Devin White, Mack Wilson or Devin Bush. If you need a linebacker Year 1 and you miss out on one of those three, you're likely straight out of luck.

White will likely have to come at the cost of a Top 15 or maybe even Top 10 pick, as he is the most talented. Mack Wilson can probably be had in the back half of the first round. And Devin Bush is likely an early Day 2 player.

If you can get one of them, you'll be OK. But after that, any of the rest of the linebackers in this class will need some time to produce the way you might need them to.


Sweet Spot: Second Round

For the first round cornerbacks, Greedy Williams is good, but I have my reservations. I like Byron Murphy a lot, but he's just one player. Deandre Baker is likely going in the first round, but how much better is he than the early Day 2 guys?

That's where the second round sweet spot comes in. A first for Amani Oruwaiye might be a bit rich, but a second round pick makes sense. You can also get guys like Lonnie Johnson, Julian Love, Trayvon Mullen here. Heck, in the third round you can likely get Rock Ya-Sin, Montre Hartage and Jimmy Moreland. I like the third round value even more than the first round value.


Sweet Spot: First Round

If you don't get one of Nasir Adderley, Deionte Thompson or Chancey Gardner-Johnson, you're taking a safety that will have some holes in their game, one way or the other.

I don't think any of those guys go Top 15 or anything, but I could see all three going in the back half of the first round. If you need a plug-and-play safety from this class, it's looking like it has to be one of those guys

If it's not that much of a priority for you, you're likely waiting until Day 3 to take a flyer on a guy.

Written By:

Trevor Sikkema

Senior NFL Draft Analyst

Senior NFL Draft Analyst for The Draft Network. Co-Host of the Locked On NFL Draft Podcast.