In 2019, much of the league spent the early portions of the offseason staring in awe at the top of the opening round of the NFL Draft, wondering how the situation would unfold for the Arizona Cardinals.
Would Kyler Murray dare abandon a lucrative MLB deal, shirking his contract and opting to head for the NFL? Even further, would the new head coach Kliff Kingsbury abandon 2018 1st-round pick Josh Rosen after only one season at the helm? While Murray would go on to seek the greener pastures of the NFL, much of the top end of the draft was spent on what some would call less “sexy” defensive prospects.
From Quinnen Williams and Nick Bosa to Ed Oliver and Devin Bush, the league opted for perceived substance over flair, with only one “surprise” quarterback taken early in Daniel Jones and no running back or wide receiver prospects until the mid-20s.
This philosophy has often been the hallmark of the NFC North, one of the league’s premier cold weather divisions. Even if we ignore Green Bay’s egregious practice of ignoring first-round skill position picks in the Aaron Rodgers era, the division as a whole has a tendency to drift in the same direction.
But did that hold true in 2019? Which picks stood out the most in the their rookie years? Let’s take a look.