- The 2019 NFL draft kicked off with the first round on Thursday night.
- While it’s too soon to judge any team’s overall draft, some clear trends emerged after the first night.
- Below we’ve rounded up our winners and losers of the first round of the 2019 NFL draft.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The first round of the 2019 NFL draft is in the books.
After 32 picks, teams across the league have begun building out their rosters with new talent, with some organisations faring better than others.
While it’s too early to know just how every team’s selections will play out, a few clear winners and losers have already emerged after Thursday night’s first round.
There’s still plenty of picks to go, but these are the winners and losers of the draft after the first round.
Winner: Kyler Murray
Kyler Murray is undoubtedly one of the biggest winners of the first day of the NFL draft.
Despite his small stature compared to quarterbacks historically taken in the first round, and a flurry of late rumours that Arizona might balk at the last minute, Murray was selected by the Cardinals with the first overall pick to become the face of the franchise moving forward. New head coach Kliff Kingsbury thinks he has the player he needs to build a competitive offence around; now they have to get to work.
Loser: Josh Rosen
We all knew it was likely coming, but the Cardinals’ selection of Kyler Murray made it official – Josh Rosen is almost certainly on his way out of Arizona.
It’s a disappointing exit for the young prospect, and Rosen could still develop into a great player. But for now, the Cardinals have decided to take the team in a different direction.
Winner: Clemson Tigers
Three members of the Clemson Tigers’ dominant defensive line – Clelin Ferrell, Christian Wilkins, and Dexter Lawrence – were selected in the first 17 picks of the first round of the draft.
Any college players on the rise at Clemson are surely thrilled with their future prospects after such an amazing Thursday night for the university.
Loser: New York Giants
The Giants drafted Duke quarterback Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick on Thursday night. The move was immediately criticised by fans, talking heads, and analysts alike, with almost everyone in agreement that New York reached for their pick.
Compounding the frustration of fans was Kentucky’s elite edge rusher Josh Allen was unexpectedly available at their pick. He was projected as the third or fourth player on many draft boards.
Allen could have made an immediate impact defensively for a team that has already said it was looking to win now and was sticking with Eli Manning as its quarterback for the 2019 season. Instead, they reached for a quarterback that could have been around for its second pick of the first round.
Winner: Jacksonville Jaguars
The ultimate beneficiaries of the Giants’ decision to reach for Jones with the sixth pick were the Jacksonville Jaguars, who were able to scoop up Josh Allen with the seventh pick of the night without hesitation.
The best teams are able to let the draft come to them, and the Jaguars made the right move as the board played out.
Winner: Washington Redskins
Another team that did a great job of letting the draft come to them was the Washington Redskins.
Washington didn’t panic when Jones came off the board early to the Giants. While some teams in need of a quarterback might have attempted to trade up in the draft, the Redskins stood pat at No. 15, and their top guy, Dwayne Haskins, was still on the board.
Later in the draft, Washington got aggressive at the perfect moment, trading their second-round picks from this draft and the 2020 draft in exchange for the Indianapolis Colts’ 26th pick, which the team used to select Mississippi State edge rusher Montez Sweat.
Sweat has exceptionally high upside, with teams likely passing on him due to concerns about a heart condition that came up at the combine, but some reports from draft day claimed it was a misdiagnosis. Regardless, Washington got themselves two high values in the first round, one by waiting, and one by jumping into action at the right time.
Winner: Seattle Seahawks
Seattle was another team that mindfully waited for the draft to play out and took the position most beneficial to them.
The Seahawks traded back twice in the first round, first with the Packers, then with the Giants, turning the four picks into a whopping nine selections. Further, they still held on to a late first round pick, which Seattle used to select TCU defensive end L.J. Collier.
Collier was apparently high on the Seahawks’ board entering the night, but the biggest benefit the team has is those extra selections. With Russell Wilson getting a record contract at quarterback, young, affordable players are essential to the Seahawks plan to build around him. The two moves back the team made will go a long way in rebuilding their depth.
Loser: Oakland Raiders
Jon Gruden and the Oakland Raiders entered the first round of the 2019 NFL draft ready to make a bang, with three picks and plenty of holes to fill. Instead, Raider Nation left with something of a whimper.
Dealing away Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper, Gruden had three first-round selections. At No. 4, the Raiders picked Clelin Ferrell – a solid player but rated lower than Josh Allen on many boards. The with their two choices in the 20s, the Raiders nabbed running back Josh Jacobs and safety Jonathan Abram. Both are one of the best players at their position in the draft, and both fill a need for the Raiders, but neither are the type of billboard-topping, jersey-selling superstars many expected.
The Raiders didn’t have an awful first round, it was just fine, but just fine was somewhat below expectations after all Oakland did to put itself in the position.
Winner: Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons took offensive linemen Chris Lindstrom out of Boston College and Kaleb McGary out of Washington. While beefing up the offensive line isn’t the most exciting way to spend two first-round draft picks, they immediately boost a weak point that was key to derailing the Falcons season in 2018.
After the Falcons’ Thursday night selections, no man in Atlanta is happier than Matt Ryan.
Loser: Running backs and wide receivers
This year was a rough one for standout running backs and wide receivers hoping to get selected in the first round. All told, just one running back (Josh Jacobs) and two wide receivers (Marquise Brown and N’Keal Harry) were taken on Thursday night, and none were in the first 23 picks.
With plenty of talent still available, there’s a good chance a run of receivers are taken through rounds two and three on Friday night, but the first round was undoubtedly disappointing for skill position players.
Winner: Iowa tight ends
Iowa tight ends were flying off the board.
T.J. Hockenson was taken eighth overall by the Detroit Lions – the highest a tight end has been selected since Vernon Davis in 2006. Then, 12 picks later, Hockenson’s teammate Noah Fant was taken by the Denver Broncos with the 20th pick of the first round.
Skill position players may have had a tough Thursday night, but for the Iowa Hawkeyes, the night was proof that no school in the country produces better tight ends.
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