Every NFL Draft is full of steals, but of course we don’t actually know who the steals are until they’ve played about three years in the league. For now, the players we deem steals are the ones who we had better pre-draft grades on than where they were actually selected. So, this could age terribly and some of the players on the All-Steal Team could ended up nothing close to a steal or the NFL could end up wrong on some of these guys. Either way, this is this years NFL Draft All-Steal Team, feel free to yell at me.
QB- Dwayne Haskins, Washington
- Can a first-round pick really be considered a steal? They can when they’re taken nine spots after Daniel Jones. Dwayne Haskins was the clear QB2 in the 2019 NFL Draft and Washington didn’t even need to sell the farm to get him. Having Haskins fall into their lap at 15 is a steal. Washington now has their future franchise QB who is a perfect fit for what Jay Gruden and Kevin O’Connell want to do on offense. His combination of decision making, arm strength, and accuracy are ideal in Washington’s West Coast system. Haskins also gets the privilege of learning from one of the most well respected QBs in the league in Alex Smith. He’ll likely be the starting QB by Week 1.
- Pro Comparison: Matthew Stafford
- Selected: 1st-round, 15th overall
- My Ranking: 24th
RB- David Montgomery, Chicago Bears
- With the devaluation of the running back position, only three were taken before David Montgomery at the 73rd A running back in the third isn’t generally a steal, but Montgomery was a top 50 prospect and the Bears are his ideal fit. With their first pick of the draft they got a potential Pro Bowl caliber RB who can be a bell cow on the ground and help in the passing game. His violent, yet patient style is perfect in Matt Nagy’s offense. With elite contact balance, rare instincts, and trustworthy hands, it won’t be long until Montgomery and Tarik Cohen become a top RB duo in the league. Montgomery should top 1,200 total yards as a rookie and could win Offensive Rookie of the Year.
- Pro Comparison: Kareem Hunt
- Selected: 3rd-round, 73rd overall
- My Ranking: 47th
Flex- Trayveon Williams/Rodney Anderson, Cincinnati Bengals
- In today’s NFL, every backfield needs at least one RB who can play the satellite role. These are RBs who are natural pass catchers and can consistently contribute on passing downs. In the sixth-round the Bengals managed to get arguably the best third down back in the class with Trayveon Williams and one of the five most talented backs in general with Rodney Anderson, he slid due to injury concerns. Williams is the best pass protector in the class with home run hitting ability as a runner and he’s an improving pass catcher. Anderson is an explosive runner with excellent hands and the ability to lineup outside. These two give the Bengals exciting and versatile options behind Joe Mixon and Gio Bernard.
- Pro Comparison: Gio Bernard/David Johnson
- Selected: 6th-round, 182nd/6th-round, 211th overall
- My Ranking: 104th/56th
X-WR- DK Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks
- There was a point in time where many people thought DK Metcalf would be a top 10 pick. For most of us he was the clear WR1 in a deep class, but he slid all the way to the end of the second-round. The Seahawks made him the ninth WR selected and got Russell Wilson a freaky new toy. Metcalf’s a height-weight-speed monster with a knack for making circus catches look easy. He’s going to take the top off of defenses for the Seahawks offense and give them the size and speed combo they’ve never had in the Carroll era. He’s the perfect X for the Seattle offense. Don’t be surprised if Metcalf and Tyler Lockett become one of the leagues most dangerous downfield duos.
- Pro Comparison: Josh Gordon
- Selected: 2nd-round, 64th overall
- My Ranking: 9th
Z-WR- Riley Ridley, Chicago Bears
- Yes, Calvin Ridley’s brother who didn’t test well and lacked college production is a big ol’ steal for the Bears. That’s right, both the Bears first two picks were steals AND they got Khalil Mack. Ridley was the 16th WR taken in the draft despite being one of the three best route runners and consistently making plays at Georgia when they actually used him. He’s not going to wow with athleticism or size, but he knows how to work himself open and has a nasty release game to win at the line of scrimmage. Ridley is the type of WR who becomes the QBs best friend because of his trustworthy hands, precise route running, and ability to play every WR spot.
- Pro Comparison: Robert Woods
- Selected: 4th-round, 126th overall
- My Ranking: 50th
Imagine Georgia took advantage of Riley Ridley more often. Nasty release to win outside and great job tracking and hauling in the ball for six. pic.twitter.com/FQtHyUNSrL
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) February 24, 2019
Slot- KeeSean Johnson, Arizona Cardinals
- With such a deep WR class, talent was bound to slide down the board and teams were able to get potential starters well into Day 3 of the draft. The Cardinals made KeeSean Johnson the 19th WR selected and their third of the draft. Although he’s not an athletic specimen, Johnson is far more nuanced than some of the WRs taken before him. His smoothness and footwork as a route runner make him perfect to play the slot for Kliff Kingsbury. Johnson consistently beats bigger and more athletic CBs at the LOS due to his smooth release and start-stop ability. It might take time for him to crack the rotation, but Johnson has everything you want in an inside WR.
- Pro Comparison: Stevie Johnson
- Selected: 6th-round, 174th overall
- My Ranking: 90th
TE- Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills
- In one of the best tight end classes in awhile, the Bills didn’t have to take Dawson Knox until late Day 2. Knox had college production questions, but on tape showed he was a top five TE in the class. He ended up being the eighth one selected and could be starting for the Bills by Week 1. Knox, a former QB, has the desired size for the position and a ton of athletic upside. He’s still developing and learning to play TE, but he has the traits to be an impressive pass catcher. Another positive is his willingness to block, he consistently finishes through the whistle. This is the perfect TE for Josh Allen to take seam shots with going forward.
- Pro Comparison: Greg Olsen
- Selected: 3rd-round, 96th overall
- My Ranking: 64th
Ole Miss TE Dawson Knox might not be the most technically refined blocker, but he’s all effort. Back-to-back plays he finishes the defender in the dirt. pic.twitter.com/cjKvhsdgfN
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) March 21, 2019
OT- Jawaan Taylor, Jacksonville Jaguars
- One of the more shocking slides of the 2019 NFL Draft was Florida OT Jawaan Taylor falling out of the first-round. Taylor was a consensus top 20 player on tape, but knee issues scared teams off and he fell to the Jags on Day 2. Taylor is exactly what the Jacksonville O-line needs at right tackle and should plug-and-play. His physicality and ability in the run game fits the way Doug Marrone has built this group up front. Taylor has gotten significantly better each year at Florida and could develop into a Pro Bowl talent with Jacksonville. With Nick Foles coming from a physically imposing O-line in Philly, getting Taylor up front to solidify the group will be big for building an offensive identity.
- Pro Comparison: D’Brickashaw Ferguson
- Selected: 2nd-round, 35th overall
- My Ranking: 14th
OT- Cody Ford, Buffalo Bills
- In similar fashion to Taylor, Cody Ford was a top 20 player on tape, but surprisingly fell due to the interview process. Most considered Ford to be a top four OT prospect, but he was the seventh one taken. Buffalo couldn’t be happier about the slide; they reportedly were ready to trade back into the first-round for him. Ford should provide a plug-and-play right tackle for Buffalo with his ability both in pass pro and in the run game. He’s a massive mauler and finishes every play, but possesses surprising athleticism for a man of his size. In the passing game his technique and anchor could make him Buffalo’s most trustworthy Josh Allen protector. Ford injects the attitude the Bills O-line lacked in 2018.
- Pro Comparison: Cordy Glenn
- Selected: 2nd-round, 38th overall
- My Ranking: 16th
OG- Dalton Risner, Denver Broncos
- Another potential first-round OT falling to the second-round and joining the All-Steal Team? You got that right. Dalton Risner could have gone first-round, but lacks the athleticism and length teams want in an OT and will likely be playing guard in Denver. That’s great new for the Broncos who have their OTs set and now get to insert a versatile and mean guard with Pro Bowl potential in Risner. Although a rookie, Risner will provide much needed leadership up front and the mean SOB edge this O-line desperately needs. He’s not a terrific athlete, but his technique and physicality make up for that. Risner will plug-and-play at right guard and give new OL coach Mike Munchak the perfect on-field enforcer.
- Pro Comparison: Matt Light
- Selected: 2nd-round, 41st overall
- My Ranking: 32nd
OG- Michael Deiter, Miami Dolphins
- There’s nothing flashy about Michael Deiter. He just plays anywhere on the O-line he is needed and puts defenders in the dirt. Deiter is exactly what you would expect a Wisconsin offensive lineman to be and maybe that’s why he fell, he’s just safe. He ended up being the 14th offensive lineman taken and he might already be the Dolphins second best player up front. They have the weakest group in the league and Deiter is exactly what they need to help build a foundation. He’s a physical run blocker that does a great job working to the second level and will improve their running game a ton. Deiter will likely be their starting left guard by Week 1 and solidify the left side with Laremy Tunsil.
- Pro Comparison: Josh Sitton
- Selected: 3rd-round, 78th overall
- My Ranking: 48th
C- Lamont Gaillard, Arizona Cardinals
- With Kliff Kingsbury as their new head coach it wasn’t surprising the Cardinals used three of their first five picks on the offense. It was surprising that they didn’t use a pick on the O-line until the sixth-round, that’s when they took Lamont Gaillard. With a bottom five O-line they need a lot of help and they put it off, but Gaillard was a sneaky steal. He was the only interior offensive linemen who didn’t get dominated by Quinnen Williams in 2018. He’s a very strong run blocker who has the movement skills to consistently workup to linebackers, but his rawness in pass pro is why he went late. There’s a real chance Gaillard will see time at one of the IOL spots for the Cardinals as a rookie.
- Pro Comparison: Stefen Wisniewski
- Selected: 6th-round, 179th overall
- My Ranking: 164th
EDGE- Jachai Polite, New York Jets
- Just four months ago Jachai Polite was thick in first-round talk for the 2019 NFL Draft, then he had arguably the worst pre-draft process of all-time. He ended up sliding to the third-round where the Jets got themselves a top 20 player on tape. If Polite matures and works harder on and off the field, then this could be the biggest steal of the draft. He gives the Jets their most talented edge rusher in years with his explosive first step, bend, and violent hands. Polite has all the tools to become a double digit sack artist for this team and it shouldn’t take long before he’s their top pass rusher on the edge. The only thing that can hold Polite back from succeeding, is himself.
- Pro Comparison: Melvin Ingram
- Selected: 3rd-round, 68th overall
- My Ranking: 17th
1-Tech- Renell Wren, Cincinnati Bengals
- The 2019 NFL Draft will be known for the immense talent it produced on the interior defensive line and because of the depth it pushed a top 100 player in Renell Wren down the board. Wren was the 10th IDL selected and found a perfect home in Cincinnati. He primarily played nose tackle for Arizona State and should easily adjust to playing 1-Tech next to Geno Atkins. His length, power, and leverage will quickly make him a disruptive run defender on the inside. Joining an already deep and talented D-line is ideal for him as he develops. Although he’s raw as a pass rusher, his versatility and ability vs the run will make him a rotational player early and he’ll develop into a starter quickly.
- Pro Comparison: Akiem Hicks
- Selected: 4th-round, 125th overall
- My Ranking: 70th
3-Tech- Charles Omenihu, Houston Texans
- Charles Omenihu was a casualty of depth and being a tweener, he was in a similar situation to Wren. His slide was one of the most surprising during the draft, he was a top 50 player in the class for many. One of the issues teams had with Omenihu was, which position would he play? He spent time at EDGE, 5-Tech, 3-Tech, 1-Tech, and was at his best playing 4i-Tech for Texas. The versatility, length, explosiveness, and cement block hands shouldn’t have gotten him out of Day 2, but the Texans are happy he fell. In Houston he should find a home playing 5T in three man fronts and 3T in four man fronts. His versatility and length are perfect in Romeo Crennel’s multiple D.
- Pro Comparison: DeForest Buckner
- Selected: 5th-round, 161st overall
- My Ranking: 30th
EDGE- Chase Winovich, New England Patriots
- Watch the tape and look at the numbers and you’ll be asking yourself how did Chase Winovich go 65 picks after Michigan teammate Rashan Gary? Winovich was the heart and soul of the Wolverines and he’ll make the perfect Patriots player. Wino was the 11th EDGE selected and it won’t be long until he’s in the D-line rotation in New England. He’s got an explosive first step, a hot motor, and strong hand usage that will translate into pass rush ability in the NFL. The Patriots will want him to add some weight and strength to defend the run better, but for now he has a chance to find a role on passing downs with few proven pass rushers on the roster.
- Pro Comparison: Chris Long
- Selected: 3rd-round, 77th overall
- My Ranking: 40th
WLB- Drue Tranquill, Los Angeles Chargers
- It was one of the worst LB classes in recent memory which caused the board to fall a little funny at times. One of the more intriguing LBs was Drue Tranquill, but injury history hurt his stock somewhat. The former safety and Notre Dame captain will at minimum provide the Chargers with an ace special teams player. With questions throughout the Chargers LB unit there’s a chance Tranquill could play some major snaps. He brings a thumping style to the field and coverage skills from his days as a safety. Tranquill can be an energizer bunny whether it’s on specials or playing LB. If he can stay healthy then Tranquill could start down the road with his athleticism, aggressiveness, and motor.
- Pro Comparison: Alex Anzalone
- Selected: 4th-round, 130th overall
- My Ranking: 76th
I would bang the table for Notre Dame LB Drue Tranquill. Reminds me of Saints LB Alex Anzalone with the athleticism, physicality, and injury history. pic.twitter.com/hnXtys1L1N
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) April 12, 2019
MLB- Blake Cashman, New York Jets
- As previously stated, the LB board fell funny at times and that led to Blake Cashman sliding way too far down. He was a late riser with some injury concerns, but after an impressive NFL Combine many thought he was a Day 2 lock. The Jets weren’t an ideal spot in terms of playing time with CJ Mosley and Avery Williamson entrenched as starters, but Cashman could compete to play some SLB as well as being the top backup and leader on special teams. Cashman brings sideline-to-sideline explosion, physical tackling, and impressive instincts to the field. When the Jets go with three off-ball LBs, there’s a good chance Cashman is one of them. He’ll make his presents known whether it’s on D, specials, or in the locker room.
- Pro Comparison: Sean Lee
- Selected: 5th-round, 157th overall
- My Ranking: 45th
SLB- Christian Miller, Carolina Panthers
- If not for a dense injury history, Christian Miller would have been a Day 2 lock. He played a hybrid outside LB role at Alabama that asked him to rush the passer and drop into coverage. Thanks to that versatility he’s a great fit as a SLB in the NFL. Carolina has Luke Kuechly and Shaq Thompson as clear starters at LB, but the versatile Miller could compliment them perfectly as the Sam with his pass rush ability. Miller is a smooth athlete with violent hands, excellent bend, and get off as a pass rusher. Using him as a hybrid is the Panthers best way to turn him into a productive player in their system. Let him rush the passer on passing downs and play Sam on run downs.
- Pro Comparison: TJ Watt
- Selected: 4th-round, 115th overall
- My Ranking: 49th
CB- Amani Oruwariye, Detroit Lions
- Ultimately there wasn’t a clear-cut CB1 in the 2019 NFL Draft, but a very deep and group with tons of Day 2 potential. One of those guys slid all the way to the fifth-round and the Lions benefitted. Amani Oruwariye is the classic overdrafted CB for his twitchiness and length, except he was way underdrafted. Oruwariye was the 16th CB taken despite being a consensus top eight guy in the group. With a massive hole opposite Darius Slay, there’s a chance Oruwariye plays major snaps as a rookie. He’s at his best near the LOS pressing smaller WRs and has the athleticism to keep up downfield. If he can improve his instincts, tackling, and fluidity then he’ll be a starter sooner rather than later.
- Pro Comparison: Chris McAlister
- Selected: 5th-round, 146th overall
- My Ranking: 53rd
NB- Byron Murphy, Arizona Cardinals
- Is it sort of cheating to put Byron Murphy as the nickel here? Yes, because he shouldn’t be pigeonholed as a nickel and he’s likely to be starting at corner, especially with the Patrick Peterson suspension. There wasn’t a consensus CB1, but Murphy was the closest thing to that and was worth a first-round pick. He’s got elite instincts, rare fluidity, clean technique and impressive ball skills. There’s few things to knock about Murphy other than a lack of size. For the Cardinals he’ll be starting with Robert Alford and will likely be a starter his entire rookie season, whether it’s at corner or nickel when Peterson returns. Murphy isn’t the height-weight-speed CB the NFL covets, but he’s got an incredibly high floor with everything you could want from a technique standpoint.
- Pro Comparison: Chris Harris Jr.
- Selected: 2nd-round, 33rd overall
- My Ranking: 10th
FS- Nasir Adderley, Los Angeles Chargers
- There were a couple safeties in the S1 conversation and Nasir Adderley was almost always considered top two at the position, but then he was the fourth one taken. Every football fan should be scared that Adderley is now on the Chargers. He’s the perfect fit for the single-high role in Gus Bradley’s D. What’s even scarier is the idea of Derwin James, Adrian Phillips, and Adderley as a safety trio. Adderley has rare range and ball skills which make him perfect as a single-high, the role Earl Thomas played for Bradley in Seattle. Adderley isn’t just a cover guy, he’s a physical and willing tackler vs the run. There are few holes in his game and he’s with the perfect team/coach to reach his Pro Bowl potential.
- Pro Comparison: Eric Weddle
- Selected: 2nd-round, 60th overall
- My Ranking: 27th
SS- Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, New Orleans Saints
- This is sort of cheating too because Chauncey Gardner-Johnson is at his best playing nickel. Luckily, his versatility in the secondary allows him to play anywhere and strong safety is where this team needs him. CGJ had the talent to go first-round, but struggling through the interview process combined with up and down effort early in his career at Florida caused his slide. The Saints are getting a DB who can play nickel or either safety spot for them. With his instincts, explosiveness, and ball skills, he’s a massive addition to this secondary. The Saints like to use three safeties so he’ll be playing a lot if he doesn’t win the nickel job outright. Either way, CGJ is going to be a starter in New Orleans for years.
- Pro Comparison: Malcolm Jenkins
- Selected: 4th-round, 105th overall
- My Ranking: 29th
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson lines up at nickel, drops deep middle zone, baits Shea Patterson into throwing the post behind him, easily flips back for the INT. CGJ might be the best safety in the 2019 #NFLDraft… pic.twitter.com/g54mpbzrhQ
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) February 15, 2019
CB- Tim Harris, San Francisco 49ers
- The NFL loves length and athleticism at CB and Tim Harris clearly possesses both, but a troubling injury history scared teams off. The 49ers made him the 23rd CB selected in the draft and the injuries are well worth the risk that late. Harris fits what 49ers DC Robert Saleh wants at CB and he gets to learn from Richard Sherman, it’s an ideal situation. With an essentially open competition at outside CB opposite Sherman, Harris has a chance to impress. With the length and athleticism, he brings big time ball skills and impressive press-man ability. He’s raw, but all of the tools are there for Harris to thrive in the 49ers system. In two or three years it wouldn’t be surprising to see him as a full-time starter.
- Pro Comparison: Ike Taylor
- Selected: 6th-round, 198th overall
- My Ranking: 85th
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