In another amazing NFL Draft for the SEC, a record 64 players were taken from the conference. While there were surprises and some players unfortunately fell in the draft, some of these athletes landed in awesome situations. Here are the 10 best landing spots for players from the SEC in 2019 NFL Draft. (Players are in order of their selection in the draft)
1. Josh Allen-Kentucky, Seventh Overall Pick, Jacksonville Jaguars
This was a brilliant pick by the Jaguars. While some may say that their already great defense did not need to draft more help on that side of the ball, a player of Allen’s talent is an absolute steal.
While they are 4th in the league in scoring defense, Jacksonville still needs a linebacker that can really get after the quarterback. Telvin Smith and Myles Jack are very good do-everything linebackers, but they only had 3.5 sacks in between each other last season. Putting Allen next to them in their 4-3 defense forms one of the most complete linebacker cores in football. I would not be surprised at all if he finishes with 7-10 sacks this season.
On Allen’s end, what better situation to fall into than this one? He gets to play in sunny Florida for an already defensively dominant squad with a spot carved out for him. All he has to do is run straight at the quarterback all season long while the stalwarts on that side of the ball take care of everything else. Falling to seven was a tough look for Allen, but it may have been a blessing in disguise.
— Cian (@Cianaf) April 30, 2019
2. Montez Sweat-Mississippi State, 26th Overall Pick, Washington Redskins
Very similarly to Allen, another SEC edge rusher who surprisingly fell in the draft found a team with a defensive spot already carved out for him. The Redskins play a very suitable 3-4 defense for a hybrid defensive end prospect like Sweat.
Washington actually has a pretty decent defense with studs like Ryan Kerrigan, Mason Foster, and Josh Norman. However, they are just one more great edge rusher away from being a elite unit. That’s exactly what Sweat could potentially provide.
This is a no-pressure situation for the former Bulldog. Like Allen, there is no pressure on him to be elite right off the bat. Any positive plays he gives the Redskins will be a welcome addition to a defense just a player away from being one of the best in the league. Putting his 4.4 speed on the opposite side of the field from Kerrigan should be huge trouble for opposing NFC teams.
Credit where it's due: #Redskins have put together an immensely talented defensive front seven:
LE: Matt Ioannidis
RE: Jonathan Allen
NT: Daron Payne
ROLB: Montez Sweat
LOLB: Ryan Kerrigan
ILB: Mason Foster
ILB: Reuben Foster
— Evan Silva (@evansilva) April 26, 2019
3. DeAndre Baker-Georgia, 30th Overall Pick, New York Giants
It’s no secret that I’m a very big fan of Baker’s skillset. No defensive back had more of a dominant year this past season in college football than he did. And yet, he found himself slipping all the way down to pick No. 30.
After getting rid of Landon Collins in the offseason, the Giants badly needed defensive back help for a unit that was already 23rd in passing yardage allowed per game. Baker has the talent to excel right away and the personality to handle the New York spotlight.
While the Giants are going to be a very, very bad team this year, this could actually work in Baker’s favor. Any player who has a good season on a terrible team will get more recognition than he probably deserves. That may just be Baker this season, and I expect him to be in the running for DPOY.
4. Irv Smith Jr.-Alabama, 2nd Round 50th Overall, Minnesota Vikings
This pick absolutely rocks because of its simplicity. Everyone knows that Minnesota has one of the best tight ends in the game with Kyle Rudolph. However, they do not have anyone of major significance behind him. This is especially worrying because it prevents the Vikings from ever going to a trustworthy two tight-end set.
Enter Smith Jr. His rare combination of speed and athleticism will make a dangerous on-field combo with his pro-bowl counterpart. All of the attention in this draft towards tight ends has been mainly geared towards the two great pass catchers from Iowa and rightfully so. But it’s a joke that Smith Jr. fell all the way to the 50th pick considering he is on the same level as them.
Despite the fall, it’s a perfect situation. He is on a pretty good team, has no pressure on him, and will be learning behind one of the best in the league. Give it 2-3 years and the former Alabama star will be a top-10 tight end in the league.
#Vikings GM Rick Spielman addressed why they selected TE Irv Smith Jr. and the trade rumors surrounding TE Kyle Rudolph…
"They're going to have to defend one or the other & then if you put our 2 WR's out there with them…it makes defenses try to pick their poison."
— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) May 1, 2019
5. A.J. Brown-Ole Miss, 2nd Round 51st Overall, Tennessee Titans
Filling team needs in a draft is huge for franchises. However, sometimes you just have to take the best player available. Whenever you can do both at once, you get a home-run pick. That’s exactly what happened when the Titans selected A.J. Brown in the second round.
In my opinion, I thought Brown had a great case as the best receiver in this draft and he somehow fell to the middle of the second round. I’m not sure what happened here, but the Titans really lucked up here.
Tennessee ranked 29th in total passing yardage per game, and that wasn’t because Marcus Mariota is a bad quarterback. Besides Corey Davis, the receiving core was very disappointing last season. Brown is an instant upgrade to the unit, and I would not be surprised to see him overtake Tajae Sharpe as the secondary receiver for this franchise by the end of the year.
— Titans Film Room (@titansfilmroom) May 1, 2019
6. D.K. Metcalf-Ole Miss, 2nd Round 64th Overall, Seattle Seahawks
I have been on record saying that D.K. Metcalf might be a huge bust in the NFL. He has amazing size and speed, but he is coming off an injury and is bad route runner. Pretty much the only thing I see translating to the next level is his ability to run straight down the field and make athletic catches.
Well, if there is a team that utilizes this type of play more then the Seahawks do, I would like to see it. Russell Wilson may just be the best deep-ball thrower in the entire league as he is able to put insane arch on deep passes down the middle of the field.
Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett both had above average seasons last year benefiting off of Wilson’s playing style, and I think Metcalf will as well. It’s also important to note that Baldwin’s career may actually be over due to an unfortunate injury. Metcalf has a lot to improve upon, but being the potential No. 2 receiver with Wilson at quarterback is an awesome position for him to be in.
Seattle grabs DK Metcalf with the last pick of the 2nd round ? pic.twitter.com/GtxNv5xuhA
— ESPN (@espn) April 27, 2019
7. Jace Sternberger-Texas A&M, 3rd Round 75th Overall, Green Bay Packers
Here is another very smart tight end pick for a team that needs better offensive skill players. It was an incredibly rough season last year for Aaron Rodgers and company as the Packers missed the playoffs. While Davante Adams recorded 1,300 yards, no other receiver on the team had more than 636 receiving yards (Jimmy Graham).
Yes, Graham is still on the team, but he has taken several steps back in his career. He is not the player he once was which will give Sternberger valuable playing time this season. The Texas A&M star is an awesome RedZone target as he caught 10 TD’s last season. Just imagine what he can accomplish with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback.
This is another situation where a very talented player will be learning behind an all-pro and catching passes from a star quarterback with little pressure on him. Sternberger is one lucky guy.
— Jace Sternberger (@_Jstern) April 27, 2019
8. Benny Snell Jr.-Kentucky, 4th Round 122nd Overall, Pittsburgh Steelers
This guy has been underappreciated by so many (including me) for so long. He was easily one of the best running backs in college football this season, and Snell Jr. was easily the best back in the history of Kentucky football.
Yes, he ran a 4.66 40-yard dash at the combine which is, of course, not great to say the least. However, falling to the fourth round is a bit disrespectful. The awesome news is that he fell to a pretty great situation at Pittsburgh where his talents have the best chance to succeed.
What’s impressed me the most about Snell Jr. is his ability to be patient and let holes open up for him to then use his great strength and quickness to barrel over defenders. That’s exactly how Le’veon Bell and James Connor have played the position at Pittsburgh over the last few seasons. The offensive line is used to blocking for these types of backs, and Snell Jr. is bound to get valuable reps as the probable second-string back in this high-octane offense.
— Blitzburgh (@SteelBlitzburgh) April 27, 2019
9. Jarrett Stidham-Auburn, 4th Round 133rd Overall, New England Patriots
Let’s be honest: You all knew this pick was making this list. Before the draft, the Patriots backup quarterback behind legend Tom Brady was…. *checks notes*…..Brian Hoyer.
Stidham was a terrible fit in Auburn’s offense which also could never adequately block for him anyways. At Baylor as a freshman quarterback is where Stidham truly showcased his talent. I’m actually quite high on this guy, and I think the Patriots got an absolute steal here.
I think it’s a stretch to say that Brady will still be around three years from now which means Stidham has at least two full seasons to learn behind the greatest quarterback and coach in NFL history without any pressure to rush his development. Situations don’t get any better than this for a quarterback. Keep Stidham’s name in mind, folks. He will have his day sooner than you think.
— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) April 28, 2019
10. Trayveon Williams-Texas A&M, 6th Round 182nd Overall, Cincinnati Bengals
Finally, we have Trayveon Williams who fell all the way to the 6th round of the draft. Like with Snell Jr., I think this fall was completely unwarranted. Williams was easily the second best running back in the SEC this year and for whatever reason he was overlooked.
He will most likely have to compete with Rodney Anderson for the right to be the third string running back once the season starts. However, Williams could easily beat out second string back Giovanni Bernard for his spot. Bernard’s time in the league seems to have went and gone already due to his long injury history.
Trayveon Williams cold af pic.twitter.com/mOPlmVLXvj
— Sant (@Worldsfinest26) September 18, 2016
With his elite speed and quickness, he is a great offset to starter Joe Mixon’s physical play. I would not be surprised that when we look back on this draft, we will be utterly surprised at how far Williams fell. This guy plays hard 100% of the time, and Bengals fans are going to love his effort.