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 — and with it the NFL draft re-grade series — comes to a close with the NFC West.
*All stats courtesy of pro-football-reference.com and accurate through the end of the 2019 season.
Picks: QB Kyler Murray (1st overall), DB Byron Murphy (33), WR Andy Isabella (62), DE Zach Allen (65), WR Hakeem Butler (103), DB Deionte Thompson (139), WR KeeSean Johnson (174), C Lamont Gaillard (179), OT Joshua Miles (248), DE Michael Dogbe (249), TE Caleb Wilson (254)
Best pick: Kyler Murray
You will not be shocked to find the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year was the best pick made by his team. Murray threw for 3,722 yards and 20 touchdowns while adding 544 yards and four more scores on the ground. The former Heisman Trophy winner was sacked 48 times, tied for the most in the league. Still, he led the Cardinals to five victories and put together two game-winning drives. He is not a finished product yet but the potential is there for anyone to see.
Worst pick: Hakeem Butler
Butler’s time as a Cardinal consisted of a broken hand and a season spent on injured reserve. Arizona waived him on Sept. 4, 2020, without him having ever taken the field. The Panthers signed Butler to their practice squad two weeks later. On Sept. 29, the Eagles added him to their active roster with the intention of using him as a tight end.
Murray is absolutely worth building around but is not a slam-dunk franchise cornerstone likely on his way to the Hall of Fame at this point. Murphy started all 16 contests and went through some growing pains. Quarterbacks had a 111.2 passer rating and scored nine touchdowns throwing at him. Isabella’s nine receptions for 189 yards were underwhelming as well. This becomes at least an A- if Murray turns into a bona fide star.
Los Angeles Rams
Picks: DB Taylor Rapp (61), RB Darrell Henderson (70), DB David Long (79), OT Bobby Evans (97), DT Greg Gaines (134), OG David Edwards (169), DB Nick Scott (243), LB Dakota Allen (251)
Best pick: David Edwards
Edwards appeared in all 16 contests and made 10 starts, tied with Rapp for the most in the group. He did not play an offensive snap until Week 7 when he assumed a starting role. Once he was inserted into the starting lineup, Edwards did not miss a snap for the remainder of the season.
Worst pick: David Long
Long played more special teams (139 snaps) than defense (109 snaps) in the eight games he appeared in. He posted nine tackles and defended two passes in limited action. It was a tough call between Long and fellow third-rounder Henderson.
Everyone except Allen played in at least half of the Rams’ games in 2019. Rapp was one of three rookies with 100+ tackles and picked off two passes. Henderson rushed for 147 yards on 39 carries. Evans made seven starts. Having three third round picks helps make up for not having one in the top 50, but you have to actually take advantage of them. The Rams were able to do so for the most part.
San Francisco 49ers
Picks: DE Nick Bosa (2), WR Deebo Samuel (36), WR Jalen Hurd (67), P Mitch Wishnowsky (110), LB Dre Greenlaw (148), TE Kaden Smith (176), Justin Skule (183), DB Tim Harris (198)
Best pick: Nick Bosa
The 49ers had the luxury of taking the best available player with the second overall pick and it was quite clear who that was. Bosa was as good as expected with nine sacks, 25 quarterback hits and 16 tackles for loss. He was the runaway Defensive Rookie of the Year and got an invite to the Pro Bowl for his efforts.
Worst pick: Jalen Hurd
You have to feel bad for Hurd. He had to watch his team play in the Super Bowl due to a back injury that kept him out all season. Then he tore an ACL in training camp and returned to injured reserve on Aug. 20, 2020. He will more than likely have to wait until 2021 to make his NFL debut.
Bosa, Samuel and Greenlaw all had excellent rookie campaigns. Samuel was one of four newcomers to top 800 yards receiving while Greenlaw made 11 starts and posted 92 tackles. Skule started eight times and Smith caught 31 passes. The 49ers made a very good team noticeably better with this class.
Picks: DE L.J. Collier (29), DB Marquise Blair (47), WR D.K. Matcalf (64), LB Cody Barton (88), WR Gary Jennings Jr. (120), OG Phil Haynes (124), DB Ugo Amadi (132), LB Ben Burr-Kirven (142), RB Travis Homer (204), DT Demarcus Christmas (209), WR John Ursua (236)
Best pick: D.K. Metcalf
It quickly became obvious there was more to Matcalf’s game than his jaw-dropping performance at the combine. He immediately became one of Russell Wilson’s favorite weapons, catching 58 passes for 900 yards and seven touchdowns. Metcalf’s 15 starts in 2019 were nine more than the rest of the Seahawks’ draft class had combined. It’s scary to think he might just be scratching the surface of his potential.
Worst pick: L.J. Collier
Disappointing is the only way to describe the first year of Collier’s career. He played 152 defensive snaps in 11 games, making just three tackles. He did not make a start or record a sack either. The Seahawks will hope he makes a significant leap in year two with Jadeveon Clowney now in Tennessee.
Metcalf, Barton, Amadi Burr-Kirven and Homer appeared in all 16 contests, though only Metcalf made a major impact. Blair recorded 32 tackles and forced two fumbles. Jennings and Haynes have played in one game between them. It seems like Metcalf is going to have to become a superstar for this class to end up being an above average one.
Click here to see the entire draft grades series.
Photo by All-Pro Reels / Flickr