The first round of the NFL Draft was filled with many twists and turns that left some excellent players still on the board as the second round kicked off. Here are the best picks from Day 2.
12. Byron Murphy, CB, Arizona Cardinals – 33rd overall
From a pure on-field value standpoint, this is a fantastic pick. Murphy is an elite zone corner who will make a great complement to Patrick Peterson (if he remains with the team). The issue is that Arizona ignored its biggest need, which is every single position on the offensive line.
Both Jawaan Taylor and Cody Ford would have been massive upgrades, and Ford even had the added benefit of playing with first overall pick Kyler Murray in college. Murray’s slight frame could lead to injury issues, and even though the O-line was the biggest reason why Josh Rosen struggled so much in his rookie season, the Cardinals haven’t addressed it.
11. Jawaan Taylor, OT, Jacksonville Jaguars – 35th overall
Taylor would have been a very good pick for the Jaguars… at seventh overall. Instead, they were able to snatch up a sliding Josh Allen and add a starting right tackle.
Taylor’s massive drop was reportedly to due injury concerns, specifically with his knee and back. These concerns were at least serious enough to drop him all the way to the second round, so there is some worry there. But if Taylor ends up being fully healthy, the Jags will have a high-level starter at right tackle for the next decade.
10. Cody Ford, G, Buffalo Bills – 38th overall
Unlike the Cardinals, the Bills are doing everything they possibly can to protect their young quarterback. They signed six offensive lineman in free agency and they were able to steal a starting guard with their second pick of the NFL Draft. Ford played right tackle in college, but he is a better fit inside at the next level. Josh Allen should have much more time to operate this season, and his long-term durability is obviously a priority for Buffalo.
9. Greedy Williams, CB, Cleveland Browns – 46th overall
The best coverage cornerback in the class was the seventh selected. Williams has perfect size and speed for the position, but scouts questioned his lack of effort in run support and aversion to physicality. The Browns are no stranger to taking risks on players, and if Williams is able to reach his potential, Cleveland may very well have the best cornerback duo in the entire league, and both he and 2018 fourth overall pick Denzel Ward are only 21 years old.
8. A.J. Brown, WR, Tennessee Titans – 51st overall
Marcus Mariota has lacked receiving weapons for basically his entire career, but as he heads into the final year of his contract, he won’t have any more excuses for subpar play. Tennessee already had 2017 fifth overall pick Corey Davis, and they signed Adam Humphries in free agency.
But, the most impactful addition may very well be Brown, who can play both inside and out, has excellent hands, runs great routes, and is instantly one of the best in the NFL running after the catch. Brown should never have lasted as long as he did, and the Titans got a major steal.
7. Nasir Adderly, S, Los Angeles Chargers – 60th overall
The Chargers already added to their defense when defensive tackle Jerry Tillery fell into their laps in the first round, but they only improved that unit with the selection of Adderly. Derwin James was a ridiculous steal in the 2018 NFL Draft, and Los Angeles has found the perfect pairing for him in the secondary.
Adderly can tackle and play the run well, but he really excels in deep coverage, playing the centerfielder role. This will allow James to play around the line of scrimmage more, where he is a truly elite player. It’s entirely possible the Chargers will boast the league’s best defense in 2019, and the addition of Adderly will be a huge reason why.
6. Juan Thornhill, S, Kansas City Chiefs – 62nd overall
The offseason has not been kind to the Chiefs. They had to part ways with four of their five best defenders in Dee Ford, Justin Houston, Eric Berry, and Steven Nelson, they traded a boatload for defensive end Frank Clark and then paid him even more, and star receiver Tyreek Hill should never play in the NFL again. And to make matters worse, superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes was announced as the cover athlete for Madden 20.
But, Kansas City finally received some good news at the end of the second round, where Thornhill was available. This defense, which was the worst in the NFL a season ago, could very well be even worse in 2019, but that won’t be because of Thornhill. The safety is an incredibly versatile player, adept against both the run and the pass.
He has elite explosiveness and a unique perspective on the position as he is a former cornerback. Thornhill won’t save the unit from being a dumpster fire as a whole, but he could very well end up being KC’s third-best defender as a rookie.
5. D.K. Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks – 64th overall
Metcalf was projected by many to be one of the first 20 selections, but instead fell all the way to the final pick of the second round. During the NFL Draft, news broke that Doug Baldwin may never play another down to the cumulative effect of all the injuries he has suffered during his career. Whether Baldwin plays again or not, Metcalf is a major steal.
His best traits are his size and speed, and he excels as a deep threat. Coincidentally, Seahawks signal-caller Russell Wilson is one of the best deep ball passers in the entire NFL. While Metcalf’s draft position was nothing close to what was expected, he really couldn’t ask for a better team fit.
4. Jachai Polite, EDGE, New York Jets – 68th overall
The Jets were without a second-round pick as a result of the Sam Darnold trade last year, but they still managed to exit Day 2 having drafted arguably two top-10 talents in Quinnen Williams and Polite.
Perhaps the best pass rusher in the draft after Nick Bosa, Polite’s tape is fantastic, showing a combination of unmatched explosiveness, great bend around the edge, and a good variety of pass rush moves and counters. He showed up to the NFL Combine overweight and completely bombed his athletic testing. He also came off poorly in interviews, and his stock plummeted from top-15 pick all the way to the third round.
If Gregg Williams can whip Polite into shape, New York could have a very scary defense this season.
3. Chase Winovich, EDGE, New England Patriots – 77th overall
This is a Bill Belichick pick through and through. Winovich lacks ideal size and athleticism, but he is a high effort player who plays the game with a passion and physicality matched by few. He did end up testing better than expected at the Combine, and many feel that he will end up having a more productive NFL career than his Michigan teammate Rashan Gary, who went 12th overall to the Green Bay Packers.
If any team can put Winovich in the best position to maximize his strengths and minimize his weaknesses, it’s the Patriots.
2. Justin Layne, CB, Pittsburgh Steelers – 83rd overall
Layne stands 6-foot-2 with 33″ arms. He isn’t as fast, fluid, or athletic as Greedy Williams, but he is physical player who has a great feel for routes considering he began his career as a wide receiver.
The Steelers have had a tendency to overdraft athletic projects at defensive back over the past few years, but Layne falling to them in the third is exactly what they needed. They should feel disrespected by the preference the Browns and Ravens are getting in the division, and reloading their defense with Devin Bush and Layne sends a message that they are still here and won’t give up the division easily.
1. Josh Rosen, QB, Miami Dolphins – 62nd overall
Miami swung a deal that netted them Rosen and a fifth-round selection in exchange for the 62nd pick. Rosen should be the starter this season and prove why he was a top quarterback prospect in 2018.
If he proves himself to be the Dolphins’ QB of the future, then they will have gotten an absolute steal. If he struggles, no matter, the team should be in a good spot to take the top QB in next year’s class. This is a brilliant trade by Miami; not so much for Arizona.