2019-04-27 17:47:311 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST
-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: LSU linebacker Devin White returns fumble. (Image Source: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Here’s a breakdown of picks 5-8 of the 2019 NFL Draft (Picks: 1-4):
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: ILB Devin White, LSU
The first linebacker off the board is undersized at 6’0” and 237 pounds but is an elite athlete, who is blessed with the straight-line speed of a wide receiver and the change-of-direction skills of a defensive back. Devin White is quick and explosive. Add to his physical skills, he also brings top-notch instincts to the table, which translates to the ability to cover sideline-to-sideline against the run, as well as drop back in pass coverage. Tampa needed to add a linebacker, particular one who can defend the pass. The loss of Kwon Alexander via free agency and the switch to a 3-4 defense made the position a priority. New defensive coordinator Todd Bowles places an emphasis on athleticism and cover skills in his inside linebackers.
6. New York Giants: QB Daniel Jones, Duke
This pick elicited the most boos and panic among the team’s fan base. It’s hard to imagine the Giants passed on Sam Darnold and Josh Allen last season only to use the sixth pick on Daniel Jones a year later. While Kyler Murray breaks the mold, Jones fits the prototype at 6’5” and 221 pounds. He has the frame to look over the line of scrimmage, as well as good athleticism for a man of his size. He hails from the David Cutcliffe (head coach at Duke) school so maybe the G-Men see him as the next Eli Manning (Cutcliffe was his head coach at Ole Miss). It wasn’t a surprise that he went in the first round, but many evaluators gave him a second- or even third-round grade, which is why this pick is viewed as a reach by most. There are questions about the arm strength and accuracy of Jones, who will probably sit behind Manning for at least a season.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Edge Josh Allen, Kentucky
This is an intriguing pick in that Josh Allen certainly brings value, but it’s unclear how he will fit in Jacksonville’s defense. The UK product looked like a perfect plug-and-play edge rusher for either the Jets or Raiders who both passed on the outside linebacker. They run 3-4 schemes, while the Jags use a 4-3 defense with edge defenders Yannick Ngakoue and Calais Campbell combining for three Pro Bowls in the past two seasons, although Campbell will turn 33 before the 2019 campaign gets under way. Could the Jags view Allen as an off-ball linebacker or will they try him as a hand-on-the-round end? He certainly is athletic enough with the speed, quickness, and upper body strength to possibly handle either position.
8. Detroit Lions: TE T.J. Hockenson, Iowa
Heading into the season it was Iowa’s Noah Fant who was projected as the top tight end in this class, but with a superb 2018 campaign T.J. Hockenson leaped over his teammate to become the first tight end to go inside the top nine picks since 2006 (Vernon Davis went 6th). The last tight end to go in the top 10 was Eric Ebron to the Lions in 2014 and Detroit fans hope this pick works out better. The difference between Hockenson and Ebron, is the former is also a very good blocker. Hockenson will impact the run game as a blocker and the throw game as a receiver, which is why he will create mismatches. He runs smooth routes and has great hands, with the ability to get down the field. The Hawkeye has good size and speed, very impressive explosion, as well as quick feet.
Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. You can reach him via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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