The first round of the 2019 NFL Draft is in the books, with fans of all teams either ecstatic, furious, befuddled, apathetic or somewhere in between. As is usually the case, the SEC dominated, with 9 players selected in total.
— Saturday Down South (@SDS) April 26, 2019
Still, this is the SEC, and there’s certainly quantity to couple with quality, and there’s plenty of talented prospects still on the board.
Here are the top 10 SEC prospects still available entering day 2 of the 2019 NFL Draft.
10. Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia
Ridley doesn’t have the speed, big play ability, explosiveness or production as his older brother Calvin (26th overall last year), but he offers high upside with his reliable hands and crisp route running ability, reminding me a bit of Jarvis Landry. He’ll be the perfect complement to a track star on the opposite side of the field at the next level.
9. Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina
When fully healthy, in-shape and motivated, there might not be a more dominant receiver in this year’s draft class. This was evident last year, when he clearly wasn’t fully recovered from the injury sustained in 2017 throughout the first 8 games, but by the end of 2018 he was on fire. Turn on the Clemson game (10 catches, 210 yards, 3 touchdowns) or the week of practices for the Senior Bowl to get an idea of what he can bring to the table.
8. Erik McCoy, OL, Texas A&M
McCoy was frequently mentioned in draft rumors as a potential late first-round pick, largely fueled by Mel Kiper and Todd McShay both consistently pegging him to the Ravens in their last few mocks. Quietly, he was very solid the last 3 years and consistently played his best games against the toughest competition, and followed everything up with a terrific Combine performance.
7. Elgton Jenkins, OL, Mississippi State
There was some chatter about Jenkins sliding into the back half of the first round, as teams love his versatility to play all three interior spots. He’s a powerful player who needs to clean up some technique but should be an immediate contributor with his ability to move bodies in the run game and protect the interior pass blocking. I think he can be a solid starter at center, but has higher upside at OG.
6. A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
I have a hunch that Brown is still around because this is a relatively deep class of receivers, and teams didn’t feel the need to reach on Round 1. Instead, they can just sit back and find quality on Day 2, which is where I thought Brown would go anyway. It’s still uncertain if he can be a true No. 1 option, but he’s a big and physical receiver who has strong hands, isn’t afraid to go across the middle and can pick up yards after the catch.
5. Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
Perhaps no corner in the entire 2019 draft class can match Williams’ upside and ceiling. Corners with his length and speed are always in high demand. However, corners in today’s game have be able to tackle, and they need to be able to play the run, two things that didn’t appear to interest Williams in college. There’s some bust potential, here, but there’s an equally great chance he develops into an elite, lockdown No. 1 corner, too.
4. Irv Smith, TE, Alabama
Very surprising that Smith is not in Foxborough, Mass., right now getting ready to sign with the New England Patriots. It was widely assumed that at least 3 tight ends would go in the first round, and considering the reigning Super Bowl champions have a desperate need for an athletic playmaking tight end to stretch the seams, it’s very surprising we go into Day 2 with Smith still on the board. As much as teams use tight ends in the modern game, however, don’t expect him to fall too far.
3. Drew Lock, QB, Mizzou
Lock is another guy I thought was a lock (excuse the half-hearted pun) to go in the first round, not only because teams are always willing to reach on quarterbacks in the draft, but because his natural ability and arm talent are arguably the best in this class. Guys with his size (6-3, 220) and athleticism (legit D-1 basketball prospect) who can make every NFL throw and from multiple platforms aren’t exactly dime-a-dozen. He has work to do in terms of mechanics (especially footwork) and making pre and post-snap reads, but his upside is undeniable. With as many teams that are in need of quarterbacks, he shouldn’t be on the board much longer.
2. D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
It’s a bit surprising Metcalf fell out of the first round given his size (6-3.5/230), speed (4.33), strength (seriously, have you seen this guy’s physique?) and leaping ability (40.5 inch vertical). He’s the ultimate deep threat who can take the top off a secondary and win one-on-one matchups and 50/50 balls. Obviously, the big concern is his lateral quickness (7.38 3 cone drill), route running and ability to stay healthy (2 of 3 college seasons ending prematurely due to injuries). Those are viable concerns, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out how to use Metcalf, and for teams that are looking for a deep threat to consume 2 DBs in coverage, here’s your man.
1. Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
This is truly surprising because many (myself included) not only thought he would go in the first round, but potentially be picked in the top 10 overall. I won’t presume to know what his medical tests look like, but one has to imagine that somehow played a role here. Whoever picks Taylor, however, is going to get a mauling RT who will contribute immediately in the ground game and a guy who has the feet and athleticism to become a premier pass protector.