In our NFL pass happy league teams are always looking for new prospects that can help slow down these high powered offenses. The 2019 NFL Draft Best Defensive Draft Classes takes a look at the teams that were able to improve their offenses the most.
2019 NFL Draft Best Defensive Draft Classes
Los Angeles Chargers
DT Jerry Tillery
S Nasir Adderley
LB Drue Tranquill
OLB Emeke Egbule
DT Cortez Broughton
The Chargers defense really took a step forward in year two under defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, but they still have several holes that needed to be filled. The biggest need was the interior of their defense that lacked any sort of a pass rush. Tillery should fill in instantly at tackle not only giving them someone who can get into the backfield but also as stout run defender.
And while Tillery is a huge addition, the best addition may have been Adderley as the Chargers new free safety. Derwin James was nothing but great as a rookie lining up as the strong safety but the Chargers needed someone who could be their version of Earl Thomas. Now Adderley will never be the talent that Thomas was, but Adderley has good range and his coverage skills will be a great compliment to James.
On day three the Chargers added some prospects who really fit well in their scheme and could be good depth players. Tranquill is a former safety who thrived this past year being one of Notre Dame’s best playmakers. Egbule played a pass rushing linebacker in Houston’s 3-4 defense but will be moved to the Chargers strongside linebacker which lines up on the line of scrimmage over the tight end in a similar position to a 3-4 outside linebacker. Whereas Broughton is a penetrating defensive tackle.
DE Clelin Ferrell
S Johnathan Abram
CB Trayvon Mullen
DE Maxx Crosby
CB Isaiah Johnson
DE Quinton Bell
Oakland got a lot of attention with their three first round picks but when you look at their classes in total they made out pretty good filling a lot of holes on their defense. Ferrell is the headline here as they took him fourth overall and much higher than most thought he would go. While that may be true, the Raiders wanted a more traditional 4-3 defensive end and outside of Montez Sweat (heart issues) and Rashan Gary (lack of production), Ferrell was the clear best fit.
The secondary was a big focus for the Raiders and they got at least two starters and one upside pick. Oakland used one of their three first round picks on safety Johnathan Abram who provides a physical presence to the safety position. Whether it’s as a dime linebacker or as a strong safety. While Abram is not great in coverage in Paul Guenther’s defense he’ll be either asked to play in Cover 2 or underneath covering up some of his differences. At cornerback the Raiders wanted to get bigger and they got that in Mullen and Johnson who are both over 6’2, long and have experience in press man coverage.
A real sleeper here could be Maxx Crosby at defensive end. Crosby has size and length to go with short area burst. Crosby will work behind Arden Key but has some starting potential.
LB Devin Bush
CB Justin Layne
OLB Sutton Smith
DE Isaiah Buggs
LB Ulysees Gilbert
In a very productive draft the Steelers were able to fill many needs but it was their defense that got most of the attention. It started with a big trade in the first round that saw them move up ten spots to secure Devin Bush. Bush fills the spot that Ryan Shazier once had. Bush is an athletic linebacker who can run from sideline to sideline, drop into coverage and filling holes.
Pittsburgh wants to play more press man coverage and Layne gives them length and size at the position as they look to upgrade over Artie Burns who they took in the first round a couple of years back. Layne should be able to work his way into the starting lineup in due time playing opposite of Joe Haden.
On day three the Steelers were able to add their players that should be able to develop into key backups. Sutton Smith doesn’t have great size but is an accomplished pass rusher using explosive quickness. Isaiah Buggs can provide some much needed depth at defensive end behind Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt. While Ulysees Gilbert has great speed which is what the Steelers want.