Perhaps the only thing more impressive about the NFL draft than the amount of time it takes to complete all seven rounds is the amount of grades produced in the aftermath of each selection. The draft’s winners and losers are decided before any pick plays a down of professional football.
For all the immediate evaluation that is done, it is impossible to fairly assess a draft class without data and the gift of time. Starting with 2010, 110 Sports is going back and grading every NFL draft of the past decade on a team-by-team basis.
These grades are based first and foremost on production. Other factors were taken into consideration, but the primary goal is figuring out how successful teams were at identifying talent.
The 2019 NFL Draft re-grade starts with the AFC East.
*All stats courtesy of pro-football-reference.com and accurate through the end of the 2019 season.
Picks: DT Ed Oliver (9th overall), OT/OG Cody Ford (38), RB Devin Singletary (74), TE Dawson Knox (96), LB Vosean Joseph (147), DB Jaquan Johnson (181), DE Darryl Johnson (225), TE Tommy Sweeney (228)
Best pick: Cody Ford
Ford made 15 starts in his debut season, four more than any other member of the Bills’ draft class. He is also one of three players (the others being Oliver and Darryl Johnson) to appear in every game. Ford was on the field for 739 offensive snaps and even recovered two fumbles to avoid his team turning the ball over.
Worst pick: Vosean Joseph
Everyone made at least six appearances last season except for Joseph, who was placed on injured reserve on Aug. 31, 2019, and never saw the field. Buffalo released him on Sept. 4, 2020.
Oliver showed real promise with five sacks and 43 tackles, earning a spot on the All-Rookie team. Singletary averaged 64.6 rushing yards in the games he played in. His 775 rushing yards ranked fourth among rookies. Both Johnsons had more appearances than Singletary and Knox was second in the group with 11 starts. Early returns suggest the Bills had a really strong draft from top to bottom.
Picks: DE Christian Wilkins (13), OG Michael Deiter (78), LB Andrew Van Ginkel (151), OT Isaiah Prince (202), FB Chandler Cox (233), RB Myles Gaskin (234)
Best pick: Michael Deiter
Deiter proved to be a valuable contributor from the get-go. He played in all 16 contests and started 15 of them. The former Wisconsin Badger was on the field for a total of 1,057 snaps, 995 of which came on offense. Deiter’s 15 starts in 2019 led the group.
Worst pick: Andrew Van Ginkel
A college teammate of Detier’s at Wisconsin, Van Ginkel began the season on injured reserve and was not activated until Week 12. He played in the final six games of the season, starting once. Van Ginkel finished the year with 15 tackles and one sack. He was in an unfortunate spot considering neither guy Miami took ahead of him missed a game.
Wilkins and Deiter are going to determine the success of this draft class. They both made an impact right away, with Wilkins contributing two sacks and 56 tackles. Prince was waived on Dec. 5, 2019, and claimed by the Bengals. Cox joined Wilkins and Dieter as the only three guys to play in more than seven contests. Gaskin rushed for 133 yards on 36 carries.
New England Patriots
Picks: WR N’Keal Harry (32), DB Joejuan Williams (45), DE Chase Winovich (77), RB Damien Harris (87), OT Yodny Cajuste (101), OG Hjalte Froholdt (118), QB Jarrett Stidham (133), DT Byron Cowart (159), P Jake Bailey (163), DB Ken Webster (252)
Best pick: Chase Winovich
Winovich only played 29% of New England’s defensive snaps last season but still managed to produce 5.5 sacks — the sixth-highest total of any rookie — and 26 tackles. He also saw significant time on special teams and was the only player aside from Bailey to appear in all 16 contests. Winovich was far and away the most impactful player for New England in year one.
Worst pick: Yodny Cajuste
It’s been a less than ideal start to life as a professional for Cajuste. He had surgery on his quadriceps in April 2019, causing him to miss the entire 2019 season. Cajuste entered 2020 hoping to fill in for Marcus Cannon — who opted out — at right tackle but started the season on injured reserve again. He has yet to play in an NFL game.
Injuries limited Harry to seven games and he posted 12 receptions for 105 yards. While it’s still extremely early in his career, he hasn’t looked the part of a reliable receiver so far. Webster was waived by the Patriots but went on to make five starts for the Dolphins. Harry and Webster were the only players New England selected that started a game last season.
New York Jets
Picks: DT Quinnen Williams (3), LB Jachai Polite (68), OT Chuma Edoga (92), TE Trevon Wesco (121), LB Blake Cashman (157), DB Blessuan Austin (196)
Best pick: Blessaun Austin
Austin injured his knee in Rutgers’ 2018 season opener and still wasn’t healthy by the beginning of his NFL career. He was activated from the reserve/non-football injury list on Nov. 7, 2019, and started six of the team’s final eight games. In seven appearances, Austin compiled 25 tackles and forced a fumble.
Worst pick: Jachai Polite
It is a rare occurrence that a third round pick fails to make the team out of training camp. Polite joined the Seahawks’ practice squad after getting waived by the Jets during final roster cuts. He lasted less than a month in Seattle and was let go again. The Rams signed Polite to their practice squad on Sept. 25, 2019. He spent the rest of the season with Los Angeles and made the active roster out of training camp in 2020.
Williams recorded 28 tackles, six quarterback hits, four tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks in 13 games as a rookie. Edoga made eight starts before a knee injury ended his season prematurely. Wesco saw action in all 16 contests and caught two passes for 47 yards. Cashman got five starts and recorded 40 tackles. Similar to the situation in Miami, the trajectory of Williams’ career will be the defining characteristic of the 2019 draft for the Jets.
Click here to see the entire draft grades series.
Photo by TigerNet.com / Flickr