While the first round often gets everybody’s attention, good and sometimes great players can get had at any point of the NFL Draft. The 2019 Draft will be no different and while we likely won’t find out who some of the best picks end up being, we can go back and see who got some good value throughout the draft. Here we look at the Best Picks From Each Round which could be because of value, best scheme fit or various other reasons.
Noah Fant, Pick #20: Denver Broncos
There were many different players to pick here in the first round but the Broncos taking Noah Fant was an easy decision for multiple reasons. If the Broncos would have taken Fant with the 10th pick, I don’t think anybody would have batted an eye as we had him as a top 10 prospect in this class. Fant fills a giant need for the Broncos as he gives them a quality starting tight end, but someone who can be a playmaker within their offense. But continuing to add to why this pick was so special is that when Joe Flacco has been at his best, he’s had a good tight end. Fant may never be the complete tight end like his former teammate TJ Hockenson is, but Fant has a higher ceiling when it comes to being a star in today’s NFL.
Erik McCoy, Pick #48: New Orleans Saints
When Max Unger suddenly retired it left a gaping hole for the Saints because New Orleans puts such an emphasis on strong interior play so Drew Brees can step up. What makes this pick so great is that Erik McCoy was someone that if he was taken in the first round it wouldn’t have been a surprise. New Orleans was without a first round pick but they were able to sit in the bottom of the second round and let McCoy start to slide before they moved up with the Dolphins to get their guy. McCoy may not be a flashy prospect but he is incredible consistent using his athletic ability and strength to shut down defensive tackles. Look no further than the Alabama game where he held 3rd overall pick Quinnen Williams in check.
Justin Layne, Pick #83: Pittsburgh Steelers
A strong Combine performance really helped Justin Layne and showed that the former wide receiver has the athletic traits that are needed for the position. While Layne has good height, length and short area burst he does lack good long speed which is why he likely fell to the third round. However for the Steelers to get Layne this late in the draft they have to be happy. Pittsbrugh wants to run more press man coverage and former first round pick Artie Burns has been a complete bust. Layne will compete for the starting cornerback slot opposite of Joe Haden and it could only be a matter of time before he takes over.
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Pick #105: New Orleans Saints
Reports of Gardner-Johnson not interviewing well could be the cause of him falling to early day three, but regardless the Saints have a potential gem here. Gardner-Johnson has played both a deep safety and slot cornerback position excelling in both. What also makes this pick such good value is the Saints love to play with three safeties having Marcus Williams back deep as a single high which Von Bell and the other safety underneath. Gardner-Johnson should be able to fill that third safety role that has him playing a hybrid safety/cornerback position. Not only do the Saints get a first round talent, but they get a player that fits perfectly into their scheme.
Deionte Thompson, Pick #139: Arizona Cardinals
After strong performance in the 2018 College Football Playoff and then Alabama’s opening week game against Louisville you would have thought Deionte Thompson would be going in the first round. Instead Thompson had some struggles late in the season and a wrist injury prevented him from doing workouts and taking part in the Combine which just left way too many questions for NFL teams. But there is no reason that Thompson should have lasted till the 5th round. But others mistakes are the Cardinals gains as they now get a true free safety that has elite range and ball skills. Arizona wants to pressure a lot with man coverage on the outside, so they’ll need Thompson’s coverage ability in the back end to clean up any mistakes.
Kelvin Harmon, Pick #206: Washington Redskins
Over the past two NFL Drafts we’ve seen bigger receivers who lack much change of directions skill have fallen lower than a lot of us expected. Kelvin Harmon is no exception as he is a tremendous contested catcher, but his lack of agility and speed is why he is having to make those contested catches. That being said, him lasting till the 6th round is a tremendous value for the Redskins. Even if he is just a role player he could provide Dwayne Haskins a big bodied receiver that can go up and win at the catch point and help move the chains as an intermediate threat.
Darryl Johnson Jr, Pick #225: Buffalo Bills
The seventh round is all about taking height, weight, speed prospects with big ceilings that you can hopefully hit on. That is exactly what Darryl Johnson Jr. is for the Bills. The MEAC Defensive Player of the year has the size and length that the Bills like out of their ends but also has the flexibility to bend the edge, something that the Bills lack.