First-Round Pick: N/A
Best Pick: Round Three-David Montgomery-Running Back-Iowa State
After acquiring outside linebacker Khalil Mack from the Oakland Raiders last year, the Chicago Bears knew that they would go into the 2019 National Football League Draft with a depleted amount of draft picks, but that did not mean they couldn’t find quality players for their roster.
The Bears had to wait until the 73rd pick of the draft to make their first selection where they would find former Iowa State Cyclones running back David Montgomery. Coming out of Iowa State, Montgomery was an underrated ball carrier, but his best attribute is that he runs angry which is something that will make it tough for Bears head coach Matt Nagy to keep him off of the field.
The fourth round would see the Bears find another underrated player in former Georgia Bulldogs wide receiver Riley Ridley. Georgia was not known for their passing attack, but when they did throw, Ridley showed the ability to consistently burn defenders. Ridley is the younger brother of current Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley who is also a burner, but the newcomer to the NFL will quickly become a favorite target of Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
The Bears only had five picks in this year’s draft, but they were able to make the most of them as they look to repeat as champions of the NFC North.
First-Round Pick: Garrett Bradbury-Center-North Carolina State
Best Pick: Round Three-Alexander Mattison-Running Back-Boise State
After being a surprise participant in the NFC Championship Game during the 2017 National Football League season, the Minnesota Vikings spent 2018 being one of the league’s biggest disappointments. The Vikings never got on track last season with an up and down offense, while their defense was not as stingy as it was expected to be. But as hope always springs eternal, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman entered the 2019 NFL Draft to beef up the team’s roster, and he came out of the process smelling like a rose.
Through the franchise history of the Vikings, they’ve been known for their quality offensive line play, and Spielman added to the unit in the first-round of the draft when he selected former North Carolina State Wolfpack center Garrett Bradbury. Bradbury was the best center entering the draft as he was an All-American last year at N.C. State, while also winning the Rimington Award as the nation’s top center. In Bradbury, the Vikings are getting a starter from day one, and he should be an anchor on their offensive line for the next decade.
The saying around the NFL is that general managers build their reputation by what they are able to do once the glitz and glamour of the first day of the draft is over which is when Spielman really went to work. In the third round, the Vikings would select former Boise State Broncos running back Alexander Mattison. In three years at Boise, Mattison proved himself to be a very durable ball carrier as he rushed the football more than 800 times, and he now joins a Vikings offense that is looking to improve after finished 30th in the NFL in rushing last season.
Overall the Vikings made ten selections at the draft as they’ve gotten younger and more athletic in order to keep up in the NFC North.
Green Bay Packers
First-Round Picks: Rashan Gary-Defensive End-Michigan, Darnell Savage-Safety-Maryland
Best Pick: Rashan Gary
Whereas 2018 went so wrong for the Green Bay Packers, they looked at the 2019 National Football League Draft as an opportunity to right those wrongs by acquiring a new influx of talent. The Packers were tied for eighth in the NFL in sacks last year, but the talent of former Michigan Wolverines defensive end Rashan Gary were too good for them to pass on when they selected 12th in the first round. Over the last three years Gary has been one of the premier defensive linemen in the Big Ten Conference and he now brings a ton of versatility to the Packers as he can play multiple positions which includes being a defensive end or outside linebacker.
A trade with the New Orleans Saints last year meant that Green Bay would come into this year’s draft in possession of an additional first-round selection which they’d use on former Maryland Terrapins safety Darnell Savage Jr. Savage is a physical safety with solid range and he joins a Packers secondary that is in need of more play makers.
This draft would see Green Bay focus on getting tougher in the trenches as four of their eight selections were used on either the offensive or defensive lines. New Packers head coach Matt LaFluer is looking to set a tone this year, and this draft class could help him do that.
First-Round Pick: T.J. Hockenson-Tight End-Iowa
Best Pick: T.J. Hockenson
The 2018 National Football League season was a feeling out process for the Detroit Lions under first-year head coach Matt Patricia. The Lions had their fair share of ups and downs, but Patricia has been at work attempting to mold the team’s roster in his own image. Patricia would use the 2019 National Football League Draft as another opportunity to find “his guys”, but how did things work out for him and the Lions?
For the second time in the last five years the Lions decided to use a first-round pick on a tight end. And after things never panned out for Eric Ebron in Detroit at the tight end position, the Lions set their sights on former Iowa Hawkeyes tight end T.J. Hockenson.
Hockenson came into the draft as the best tight end available, while also being very decorated after collecting a litany of awards in college which included winning the Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end. The Lions have lacked an impact player at the tight end position for years, and they are hopeful that the addition of Hockenson will be able to change that.
After taking Hockenson, the Lions would spend their next four selections on defensive players which included taking former Clemson Tigers defensive end Austin Bryant in the fourth round. Bryant played on one of the most talented defensive lines in the nation last season, and he now joins a Lions team that is in need of getting quality pass rushers up front.
The Lions are still a work in progress, but Patricia is finding impact players that fit his system.