The Bengals selected North Carolina State QB Ryan Finley in the 4th round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The 6’4, 213-pounder was a 3-year starter for the Wolfpack after transferring from Boise State. He completed a strong 64.5% of his passes at N.C. State and averaged 7.7 yards per attempt. He set career highs with a 67.4% completion rate and 8.1 yards per attempt this past season and ranked 10th in this draft class in Pro Football Focus’ adjusted completion rate. Finley has some long-term starter potential but will open his career backing up Andy Dalton in Cincinnati. Dalton is signed with the Bengals through the 2020 season but has no dead money left on his contract.
The Cardinals added Iowa State WR Hakeem Butler with the 1st pick of the 4th round. Butler busted out for a big 2018 campaign, racking up 1,318 yards and 9 scores on 60 grabs. His 22.0 yards per catch led all players with 40+ receptions. And he finished 3rd in the nation with 10 catches of 40+ yards. Butler accounted for 25.3% of the Cyclones’ receptions, 42.1% of the receiving yards and 45.0% of the receiving TDs. Those marks rank 21st, 2nd and 7th among the 48 WRs at this year’s Combine. That was his only big college season, though, and it came as a 22-year-old redshirt junior. He also dropped an alarming 16.7% of his catchable targets last season, according to Pro Football Focus. There’s some bust potential here — but Butler also boasts big upside as a 6’6, 220-pounder with an 84-inch wingspan and 81st percentile athleticism. He joins a revamped Cardinals offense under HC Kliff Kingsbury and QB Kyler Murray.
The Rams spent a 2nd-round pick on S Taylor Rapp on Friday night. The former Washington Husky should get a shot at replacing S LaMarcus Joyner, who left for Oakland in free agency. Rapp started for most of his 3 years at Washington, stepping into the lineup and grabbing 4 INTs as a true freshman. He earned 1st-team all-conference honors each of the past 2 years and ranked 2nd on the team in sacks last year with 4. Rapp totaled just 74 solo tackles over the past 2 seasons, though, and might not be in a great spot for tackle collection with the Rams. He looks like a potentially decent IDP option rather than a future stud.
The Vikings added Boise State RB Alexander Mattison in the 3rd round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The 5’11, 218-pounder racked up 2,501 yards and 29 TDs on 514 carries (4.9 YPC) over the past 2 seasons. He added 55 catches for 457 yards and another score. Mattison is a powerful runner who ranked 16th in this year’s RB class in missed tackles forced per attempt, according to Pro Football Focus. He registered a solid 63rd percentile SPARQ score at the Combine. Mattison has a good shot to immediately step in as Minnesota’s #2 RB behind Dalvin Cook, who’s had trouble staying healthy.
The Panthers nabbed West Virginia QB Will Grier with the 100th pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. Grier was a 2-year starter for West Virginia after transferring from Florida. He completed 65.7% of his passes and averaged 9.4 yards per attempt in his 2 seasons in Morgantown. Grier earned Pro Football Focus’ 2nd-best passing grade in 2018 (behind Kyler Murray) and ranked 6th in this draft class in adjusted completion rate. He wasn’t a rushing threat at West Virginia but did post a 58th percentile SPARQ score at the Combine. Grier should be considered the favorite to win the backup job behind Cam Newton in 2019 and has some long-term starter potential.
The Bills added Ole Miss TE Dawson Knox in the 3rd round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Knox is all projection after totaling just 39 catches across 4 college seasons. The 6'4, 254-pounder blew up his Pro Day, though, clocking a 4.59-second 40 time and earning an 84th percentile SPARQ score. Knox joins Tyler Kroft and Jason Croom in Buffalo's TE room.
The Bengals spent a 3rd-round pick on N.C. State LB Germaine Pratt in the NFL Draft. Pratt spent just 1 year at MLB for the Wolfpack after starting out at safety, but he weighed in at 240 pounds at the Scouting Combine and delivered a 110.0 speed score. Pratt ranked 10th among Combine off-ball LBs in tackles for loss per game in 2018 (0.91) and 2nd in the group in sacks per game (0.55). Pratt should compete for the middle job in a defense that finally shed Vontaze Burfict this offseason.
The Ravens selected Notre Dame WR Miles Boykin in the 3rd round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Boykin crushed the Combine, posting a 4.42-second 40 time and 43.5-inch vertical at 6’4 and 220 pounds. It earned him a 99.9th percentile SPARQ score. Boykin’s production at Notre Dame never matched that raw ability, though. He totaled just 18 grabs across his first 3 seasons before posting a 59-872-8 line this past year. All 3 of those marks led the Irish. But Boykin’s market shares — 22.0% of the catches, 26.1% of the yards and 34.8% of the TDs — rank 33rd, 29th and 16th among the 48 WRs at the Combine. He also finished just 68th in this WR class in yards per route run, according to Pro Football Focus. Boykin’s physical profile is super intriguing and gives him big fantasy upside. But he’s a high-risk prospect who might never reach his potential. That boom/bust profile is only amplified with this landing spot alongside QB Lamar Jackson.
The Texans selected San Diego State TE Kahale Warring in the 3rd round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Warring didn’t play a lick of football until his senior year of high school in 2014. He totaled just 20 catches across his first 3 college seasons before leading a run-heavy Aztecs team with 31 catches last year. The 6'5, 252-pounder registered a strong 79th percentile SPARQ score at the Combine and is also 1 of the best blocking TEs in this class. Warring will find opportunity in Houston, where the depth chart consists of Ryan Griffin, Jordan Thomas and Jordan Akins.
The Patriots added Alabama RB Damien Harris in the 3rd round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The #1 RB in the 2015 recruiting class led talented ‘Bama backfields in rushing in each of the past 3 seasons: 1,037 yards in 2016, 1,000 in 2017 and 876 this past year. He leaves school with a strong 6.4 yards per carry (half a yard better than Josh Jacobs) and also totaled 52 catches across his 4 years on campus. Harris isn’t a flashy back, but he packs a punch at 5’10, 216 pounds and registered a solid 46th percentile SPARQ score at the Combine. The pick feels a bit redundant for the Patriots, who have Sony Michel coming off an impressive season as lead ball-carrier. But Michel has a long injury history, including a knee injury last August that cost him the season’s first 3 games.
The Patriots spent a 3rd-round pick in the NFL Draft on edge player Chase Winovich from Michigan. Winovich outproduced 1st-round teammate Rashan Gary, including 34.5 tackles for loss over the past 2 years. He then blew up the Combine with the class' 6th-best speed score, the 3rd-best 3-cone time and the top short-shuttle time. He also ranked 4th in the class among EDGE players in Pro Football Focus' pass-rush win percentage and 2nd in run-stop percentage. We'll see whether Winovich settles in as a DE or LB for New England, but there's clearly IDP upside either way.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin might be forced to retire. Baldwin missed 3 games in 2018, then underwent offseason surgeries on his groin and shoulder. Now 30, Baldwin has been in the league since 2011. Seattle added some insurance in Round 2 with the selection of Ole Miss WR D.K. Metcalf.
The Packers added Texas A&M TE Jace Sternberger in the 3rd round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Sternberger bounced from Kansas to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M before finally arriving at A&M this past year. His lone season as an Aggie was a big one. Sternberger led his team with 48 catches, 832 yards and 10 TDs, averaging a massive 17.3 yards per catch. He ranked 8th in this TE class in yards per route run and earned Pro Football Focus’ highest receiving grade among TEs in 2018. Sternberger disappointed at the Combine with a 22nd percentile SPARQ score. But the 6’4, 251-pounder looks much more athletic than that on tape. He drew a Travis Kelce comparison from the great Greg Cosell. Sternberger will open his career behind Jimmy Graham in Green Bay but could emerge as the Packers’ lead pass-catching TE as early as 2020.
The Cardinals selected DE Zach Allen to begin the 3rd round of the NFL Draft. Allen clocked an ugly 5.0-second 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine that produced a well below-average 89.9 speed score. His college production was better, including 10+ tackles for loss each of the past 3 years and 15+ each of the past 2. Allen looks like more of a "base" end with a limited sack ceiling.
The Bills added Florida Atlantic RB Devin Singletary in the 3rd round. The 5’8, 203-pounder disappointed with an ugly 8th percentile SPARQ score at the Combine. But he was a tackle-breaking machine at Florida Atlantic, ranking 3rd in this draft class in Pro Football Focus’ 2018 Elusive Rating. Singletary checks the production box, too, racking up 4,287 yards and 66 TDs on 6.0 yards per carry over the past 3 years. He added another 397 yards on 51 catches. There’s plenty of long-term opportunity for Singletary in a Buffalo backfield with old guys LeSean McCoy and Frank Gore, plus free-agent addition T.J. Yeldon.
The Bears added Iowa State RB David Montgomery in the 3rd round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Montgomery is coming off 3 productive seasons for the Cyclones. He led the squad with 563 rushing yards as a true freshman and then broke out for 1,146 yards and 11 TDs in 2017. Montgomery bested those numbers this past season, racking up 1,216 yards and 13 scores. His career 4.7 yards per carry looks disappointing, but he played behind some bad offensive lines. Montgomery is a tackle-breaking machine on tape and ranked 4th in this RB class in Pro Football Focus’ 2018 Elusive Rating. He’s also adept in the passing game, totaling 71 catches over 3 college seasons and faring well in pass protection. Montgomery tested as a 36th percentile athlete at the Combine and won’t be a big-play back as a pro. But he has the size (5’10, 222 lbs.) and skill set to make it as a lead back. He joins free-agent addition Mike Davis and change-of-back guy Tarik Cohen in Chicago’s backfield. Montgomery has a shot to lead the way in touches this season.
The Rams selected Memphis RB Darrell Henderson in the 3rd round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Henderson posted eye-popping numbers for the Tigers. He took 130 carries for 1,154 yards (8.9 YPC) and 9 TDs as a sophomore in 2017. Then he posted a matching 8.9 yards per carry last year, this time racking up 1,909 yards and 22 scores on 214 totes. The big-play machine busted off 27 runs of 20+ yards and 12 of 40+ in 2018 alone. He ranked 2nd in this RB class in Pro Football Focus’ Elusive Rating. Henderson also proved capable in the passing game, totaling 63 catches for 758 yards (12.0 YPC) and 8 TDs across 3 college seasons. He disappointed with a 4.53-second 40 time at the Combine (he plays much faster) but still came away with a 67th percentile SPARQ score. This is obviously a rough landing spot for Henderson — at least in the short term. But the pick might hint at some real concern about Todd Gurley’s knee.
The Jaguars added San Jose State TE Josh Oliver in the 3rd round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He led the Spartans with 56 catches this past season, racking up 709 yards and 4 TDs. But he ranked just 18th in this year’s TE class in yards per route run, according to Pro Football Focus. The 6’5, 249-pounder registered a 45th percentile SPARQ score at the Combine. A catch-first TE, Oliver boasts intriguing fantasy upside and could make an immediate impact amid a weak Jags TE group.
The Jets selected Florida DE Jachai Polite in the 2nd round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Polite racked up 19.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and 4 pass deflections in 2018. But Polite then endured a disappointing Scouting Combine. He came away with a below-average 94.0 speed score at 258 pounds. The Jets' switch to Gregg Williams at DC this season could find Polite in a DE spot in a 4-3 front, which would help his IDP outlook. Williams, however, reportedly plans to play a 3-4 base. Carrying a LB designation would obviously ding Polite's IDP value.
The 49ers selected Baylor WR Jalen Hurd with the 67th overall pick. Hurd started his career as a RB at Tennessee before transferring to the Big 12. He made an immediate impact, catching 68 balls for 946 yards and 4 TDs. Hurd missed one game with a knee injury that required a procedure in December, but there’s been no indication it’s serious. While the 23-year-old is undoubtably raw, he’s an enticing project at 6’5, 226 pounds.
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