NFL Draft 2019: Kyler Murray or Josh Rosen, blundering Giants and electric Ravens - 14 talking points from Nashville

Arizona Cardinals took the Oklahoma quarterback first overall, while the Rams and Chiefs made big picks in preparation for the potential losses of Todd Gurley and Tyreek Hill

Jack Rathborn
Saturday 27 April 2019 18:40
The NFL Draft: Who are the top five prospects?

The 2019 NFL Draft is almost in the books after a absorbing week in Nashville.

Kyler Murray was selected first overall by the Arizona Cardinals, becoming the first man to be drafted in the first round of both the MLB and NFL Draft.

Picks were scrutinised, sparing tears, cheers, laughter and ridicule around the league.

While teams frantically traded throughout the three days to acquire the latest piece of the puzzle in pursuit of a Super Bowl championship.

With the countdown to the season opener now underway, here are 14 talking points to monitor in 2019.

What are the Giants doing?

The Giants hijacked the headlines after the first round, likely to the chagrin of Kyler Murray, who achieved the unprecedented feat of being drafted in the opening round of both the MLB and NFL draft when the Arizona Cardinals swooped in to make him first overall.

Daniel Jones, an awkward-looking quarterback, who failed to overwhelm scouts, was stunningly taken at six, leaving Giants fans dismayed at the direction of their team.

General Manager Dave Gettleman continues to veer away from conventional wisdom. Can the astounding running back Saquon Barkley cover up the cracks?

He’ll need to after the Giants swerved a higher rated QB last year and turned their nose up at one of the elite defensive prospects this year. Their incompetence continues to amuse the rest of the league, but their ineptitude will only be confirmed in wins and losses come September.

The Giants have been criticised for picking Daniel Jones

Will Jon Gruden and the Raiders shake off their joke tag?

The Raiders were mocked throughout 2018 for their blundering decisions, primarily for trading the destructive Khalil Mack to the Bears. So head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock were under intense scrutiny as their wielded this year’s haul in the draft.

Somewhat saved by the incomprehensible pick of Daniel Jones at six by the Giants, the Raiders took Clelin Ferrell two picks earlier in the first puzzling decision of the draft. The Clemson DE looks certain to positively influence the locker room in Oakland, which appeared to be a priority.

Though their second pick at 24, running back Josh Jacobs, also divided opinion, before their final first round selection in Mississippi State safety Johnathan Abram. Scepticism remains for the Raiders a year out from their big move to Las Vegas.

The Raiders unveil their first round picks

Quinnen Williams ready to spark Jets resurgence

Quinnen Williams was taken third overall by the Jets, completing his journey after being touched by tragedy as a 12-year-old when his mother Marquischa died of breast cancer aged 37.

The Alabama defensive tackle shone throughout the week in Nashville, displaying football intelligence as well as an unusually relaxed persona given the close proximity to fulfilling his dream.

Gregg Williams hopes Williams will help to spark a resurgence in New York as they aim to finally bring down the Tom Brady era and New England’s vice-like grip on the AFC East.

Can Josh Rosen seek revenge on Cardinals?

It’s hard to conceive of a bigger mess than the Cardinals clunky handling of dumping last year’s 10th overall pick Josh Rosen.

Arizona was petrified to move him before the draft for fear of Kyler Murray plumping for a career in baseball. And after failing to convince suitors to cough up close to last year’s price for Rosen, the Miami Dolphins eventually pinched the former UCLA star on the cheap leading to an outpouring of excitement once the trade was confirmed.

With just Ryan Fitzpatrick to surpass, Rosen could quickly force himself into the spotlight and a direct comparison with Murray. Fuelling a player’s desire is perhaps the most dangerous ingredient in a young player's quest to fulfil their potential and the Cardinals may live to regret their decisions this week.

Josh Rosen has been traded to Miami after just one year in Arizona

Will Kyler Murray prove to be box office?

Electric legs to match the most explosive player in the entire draft and former Oklahoma teammate Marquise Brown, according to coach Lincoln Riley, Kyler Murray might be the most exciting player in the league next season.

Cardinals coach will deploy Murray at the centre of his “Air Raid” offense and provide him with the perfect system to thrive. From fellow undersized quarterback Russell Wilson to last year’s MVP Patrick Mahomes, will the current trend in the league for the run-pass option (RPO) see a new superstar emerge on our screens this year.

Kyler Murray was the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft

Nashvillians truly love football

Nashville set out an ambitious project to host the NFL Draft, which stretched east of the Cumberland River to Nissan Stadium and back down to Broadway.

An incredible 200,000 lined the streets on each of the first two days of the draft, filling Broadway to provide an incredible spectacle. So incredible in fact that NFL Network anchor Rich Eisen has called for the city to be put on a rotation to ensure the event returns in the future.

Their dedication to the event saw them persevere when heavy rain threatened to drown out the first round. The largest outdoor installation in draft history, Nashville delivered, raising the bar for this iconic event moving forward.

Fans watch on Broadway in Nashville

The draft provides the rawest emotion in sport

One of the most beautiful aspects of the draft is witnessing prospects share their dreams becoming reality alongside their families.

Among many amazing tributes and videos circling on social media, new Steeler Devin Bush, who went 10th overall, was filmed as he watched his family express their joy and pride at his graduation, sparking floods of tears as the video went viral.

Fans display blind hope

The wonderful aspect of the draft is how fans convince themselves their team’s pick is guaranteed to improve them.

If a first round pick has just 53 per cent of succeeding, the drop-off as teams delve deep into the second and third rounds falls off drastically.

So it was amusing when Titans fans wildly celebrated an unglamorous pick in the form of a guard, let alone Nate Davis from lesser-watched Charlotte, a player the vast majority will have never seen play before.

Can the Patriots live without Gronk?

After grabbing a sixth Super Bowl championship, legendary tight end Rob Gronkowski walked away from the game after summoning enough energy to inspire the Patriots to victory one last time.

Nobody will back against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, yet a gaping hole has emerged in terms of targets and receptions.

An unorthodox pick for New England saw them pick a wide receiver in the form of N’Keal Harry with the last pick of the first round, and with it enormous expectations arrive as Belichick bids to extend Brady's golden era in the league.

The Patriots took the Arizona State wide receiver in the first round

Can the Chiefs survive the depressing Tyreek Hill saga?

A desperately sad story involving Tyreek Hill with a criminal case reopened concerning the abuse of his three-year-old son threatens to shake the Kansas City Chiefs to their core.

After Kareem Hunt’s dismissal for brutally assaulting a woman at a hotel, the Chiefs appear to have little choice but to treat Hill in a similar manner. An excellent running back lost in Hunt, Hill would be a heavier loss as the most explosive receiver in the entire game.

The Chiefs looked to be on the brink of a dynasty with reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes under centre, but they now appear to be unravelling.

Will Todd Gurley’s mystery injury continue to hurt the Rams?

To the dismay of Rams fans and perhaps most neutrals watching the Super Bowl, Todd Gurley, who initially threatened to wrestle his way into the MVP picture after a dominant first half to the season, appear hobbled throughout.

The highest paid running back in the league, averaging almost $15 million per season, the alarming drop-off as Gurley deals with a knee problem, which could involve arthritis, may see the Rams struggle to return to Super Bowl contention under Sean McVay.

The Rams’ concern is real too, as confirmed at the NFL Draft with the selection of Memphis running back Darrell Henderson

Todd Gurley is struggling with injury (Getty)

Social media blackout

Nick Bosa’s controversial social media activity left a cloud over his future heading into the draft.

Despite causing uproar for his online content, which included praise for President Donald Trump, who congratulated him after being drafted, it mattered little to his stock with the 49ers taking him second overall.

Bosa apologised and clarified his stance, but he was not the only one creating headlines for their social media accounts, as quarterback Will Grier went one step further to avoid any criticism, outright deleting his Twitter account. College athletes may follow this trend as they approach the draft moving forward.

Nick Bosa was criticised for his social media use

London’s team nail the draft

The Jacksonville Jaguars restocked superbly in the draft to provide some buzz for their adopted fans in London.

Ahead of their next trip to the capital, the Jags managed to luck into frightening Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen after the Giants’ bizarre pick at six.

They could not say no to Allen, but their initial target, Jawaan Taylor, a tackle from Florida, somehow fell all the way into the second round, where they gladly scooped him up.

With Nick Foles on board, the Jags look primed to bounce back next season and target the play-offs.

Speed is king in Baltimore

Marquise Brown will provide speed at Baltimore

After the thrilling first viewing of Lamar Jackson at quarterback last season, the Ravens assembled more speed in this year’s draft.

Famed for years for their nasty, aggressive defense, John Harbaugh is set to treat Baltimore fans to one of the most unique offenses in the league.

To compliment one of the fastest quarterbacks in the league in Jackson, who gladly bolted from the pocket to chew up yards 695 rushing yards and five touchdowns in just seven regular season starts, the Ravens took wide receiver Marquise Brown and running back Justice Hill.

The former is the consensus most explosive player of the draft, while the latter produced a 4.40 in the 40 yard dash. Expect this offense to sizzle next year.

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