This might not be the flashiest of drafts, but a bunch of teams can get a whole lot better at spots of need in the first round.
While there aren’t a lot of great quarterbacks — some pundits are saying none would go among the top three taken last year — there are offensive lineman and interior defenders galore this season.
Those names won’t incite riots in football towns, but they will make teams better where they need to be.
Here are five great fits in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft:
Raiders, No. 4 : Josh Allen, OLB/DE Kentucky
Allen might just be the best player in this draft. He’s got good size (6-5, 262) and even better production (31 1/2 sacks, 17 in 2019).
The Raiders are completely without pass-rushing talent (ahem…Khalil Mack) tallying just 13 sacks as a team in 2018, which was 17 less than any other roster in the NFL.
Allen both fits a need — and if he is on the board at No. 4 — he will likely be the best talent available. It’s a win-win.
Lions, No. 8: Jonah Williams, OT/OG Alabama
Matthew Stafford is the sixth-highest paid quarterback in the NFL, but he is getting protected like he is expendable (40 sacks in 2018, 47 in 2017, 37 in 2016). His contract has two more years before a potential opt-out, and the Lions better protect him if they want to keep him.
Williams would do just that, whether it’s at guard or tackle. He is physically gifted and highly productive as well, earning third-team All-American honors in 2017 and first team in 2018.
This is the man to protect Stafford.
Broncos, No. 10: Dwayne Haskins, QB Ohio State
John Elway loves his big pocket quarterbacks and Haskins is just that.
The Ohio State quarterback struggles to move a bit, especially when he gets pressured up the middle, but no QB likes pressure up the middle, so that’s not too big of a deal.
Joe Flacco has three years left on his deal through 2021, but Haskins could be great insurance if the veteran gets hurt or simply doesn’t produce. The Broncos need a quarterback of the future and Haskins would be exactly what Elway would want.
Panthers, No. 16: Brian Burns, OLB/DE Florida State
For a team with a defensive coach that really bases much of its identity off of toughness and stopping opponents’ offenses, the Panthers really struggled making opposing quarterbacks uncomfortable last season.
Carolina tallied just 35 sacks on the year, which was 27th in the NFL, and it needs some help with the pass rush off the edge. And with the move to a more hybrid system which needs some versatility, Brian Burns would give it just that.
Burns can play outside linebacker or defensive end and would give the Panthers a pass rusher they can likely rely on early.
Colts, No. 26: Marquise Brown, WR Oklahoma
This is where both a prisoner-of-the-moment situation could come into play as well as drafting for need when a team probably shouldn’t. The Colts will probably be incredibly tempted to take D.K. Metcalf in this situation but it’s just too high. He’s stiff in his route-running and isn’t the quickest guy in the world. Add that to his injury history and this is simply too soon to take him.
Brown, on the other hand, gives Andrew Luck another reliable weapon that not even he can out-throw, and in Frank Reich’s offense he would be a good fit as well. Add that to the fact he is valued in the late first round rather than the early second, and he is a perfect fit for Indy.