2019 NFL draft primer: Kiper, McShay answer 30 questions
The 2019 NFL draft is closer than you think. In fact, underclassmen have already begun to announce their intentions to enter the class, and they have until Jan. 14 to make their decisions. We’re less than 150 days away from the start of Round 1 in Nashville.
What do we really know about this 2019 class, though? That’s where ESPN NFL draft experts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay come in.
Kiper and McShay kick off draft season with the biggest lingering questions on the best 2019 prospects, team fits and more:
1. Describe the 2019 quarterback class in one word.
Kiper: Can I have two words? Because I’ll say extremely intriguing. The reason? Oregon’s Justin Herbert isn’t the clear-cut No. 1 quarterback anymore. Dwayne Haskins (Ohio State) is breathing down his neck after a phenomenal stretch to end the season. There’s also Daniel Jones (Duke), who could be a mid-first-round pick. Then you have guys like Will Grier (West Virginia), Drew Lock (Missouri) and Ryan Finley (NC State) jockeying for position as potential Day 2 picks. There’s a loooooong time to go until April, though, and all three of my top-ranked QBs are underclassmen who could return to school.
2. Where would Justin Herbert have ranked in the 2018 QB class?
McShay: Fifth. He’d be behind all four who went in the top 10 in 2018 (Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen). Herbert is my top-ranked guy in this class, and he has all the tools to be a good NFL starter. But the inconsistencies on tape showed this season, and another year at Oregon would really do him well. The rumblings that he’ll return for his senior season aren’t going away.
3. Wait, where’s Kyler Murray?
Kiper: The Oklahoma quarterback still says he’s sticking with baseball over football, even as he could win the Heisman Trophy on Saturday. (Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, the quarterback he’s competing with for the award and against in the College Football Playoff, is eligible for the 2020 class.) And Murray has 4.6 million reasons to do so — that’s the signing bonus he got from the Oakland A’s, who took him No. 9 overall in the MLB draft. I have no doubt he’d get drafted if he entered the 2019 draft, though. Yes, he’s small at 5-foot-10, but he’s one of the best dual-threat college quarterbacks I’ve ever seen. The last Heisman Trophy winner to go undrafted, by the way? Oklahoma’s Jason White.
4. Five teams took QBs in Round 1 last April. Which teams at the top of the board should look at QBs in 2019?
McShay: Well, I think we all know the Giants will be looking for one as they move into the post-Eli Manning era. Denver and Jacksonville pop out to me, especially after the Jags benched Blake Bortles. I’d also keep an eye on the Dolphins, who have a tough decision to make regarding Ryan Tannehill moving forward, and the Raiders. Does Jon Gruden want to move on from Derek Carr? Oakland does have three first-round picks.