NFL Teams Already Regretting Their 2019 NFL Draft Picks
It's not fair to judge an NFL prospect after just one season. It is understandable, however, if teams are already second-guessing some of their 2019 draft choices.
A lot more goes into a successful draft choice than performance and talent. Players also have to fit the schemes, needs and roster-building philosophies of the teams that draft them—and, in retrospect, do so better than the players selected after them.
Here, we'll examine teams that could already regret one or more of their rookie selections, based on factors like performance, team fit, playing opportunities and surrounding draft choices.
With their 14th loss of the season, the Cincinnati Bengals secured the top pick in the 2020 draft. There's a strong chance that they use the pick on a new signal-caller. Fortunately, Cincinnati used its top two picks in this year's draft on positions that can help a young quarterback. Unfortunately, one has been hurt and one has been an afterthought.
First-round pick Jonah Williams, a tackle out of Alabama, suffered a season-ending shoulder injury before training camp.
While the Bengals shouldn't regret drafting Williams because of a fluke injury, they can regret taking second-round tight end Drew Sample. The Bengals used the 52nd overall pick on Sample, who was primarily a blocking tight end at Washington, and they've used him sparingly this season.
According to Football Outsiders, Sample saw just 111 offensive snaps heading into Week 16. He has five catches for 30 yards.
In taking Sample, the Bengals passed on offensive weapons like Miles Sanders, Mecole Hardman, Terry McLaurin and Dawson Knox.
New York Jets
To be fair, the New York Jets already fired the man responsible for making their 2019 draft picks, former general manager Mike Maccagnan. Therefore, they may not regret their draft choices quite as much as they regret not firing him sooner.
Still, the Jets do have to be disappointed with how their top two draft picks have fared in 2019.
Third overall pick Quinnen Williams has flashed some signs of greatness, but he hasn't had the instant impact many thought he would. In 12 games, the former Alabama star has just 28 tackles and 2.5 sacks.
"The goals that I wanted to achieve, I haven't achieved yet," Williams said, per Greg Joyce of the New York Post.
The reality is that a disruptive defensive tackle probably wasn't the right fit for Gregg Williams' 3-4 base defense. An edge-rusher like Kentucky's Josh Allen may have been a better choice.
The Jets did draft an edge-rusher in the third round, but he's been an even bigger disappointment. They took former Florida pass-rusher Jachai Polite with the 68th overall pick, only to release him before the start of the regular season.
The Seattle Seahawks may regret their 2019 draft choices for the simple fact that they've gotten little in return from their first two picks.
Seattle used the 29th overall pick on former TCU defensive end L.J. Collier. It then used the 47th pick on former Utah safety Marquise Blair. Through 15 games, Blair has made just three starts, while Collier has made none.
Now, fellow second-round pick DK Metcalf has proved to be a gem, and you can bet that the Seahawks are happy to have drafted him. However, Seattle could regret passing on players like offensive lineman Dalton Risner and tight end Irv Smith Jr. to secure the services of Collier and Blair.
It doesn't help matters that third-round pick Cody Barton had played just 13.7 percent of the defensive snaps entering Week 16 or that fourth-round pick Gary Jennings was waived before ever appearing in a game for Seattle.
Because of the trade for Odell Beckham Jr., the Cleveland Browns' first selection was second-round pick Greedy Williams, who has been a solid starter when healthy.
While many wonder if the Browns regret trading away the 17th pick in the draft for Beckham, they are not dangling the wide receiver.
According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, the Browns have told Beckham that they plan on keeping him around.
The Browns are more likely regretting their second and third picks in the draft—linebacker Sione Takitaki and safety Sheldrick Redwine, respectively.
Takitaki has rarely seen the field, both because of fellow rookie Mack Wilson and because defensive coordinator Steve Wilks has utilized a lot of two-linebacker fronts. Given Wilks' scheme, a defensive end like Maxx Crosby or a safety like Mike Edwards may have proved more valuable.
Redwine has also not gotten many snaps despite injuries at the position.
Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers used the 12th overall pick on former Michigan edge-rusher Rashan Gary. They came into the offseason in need of some pass-rushing help, so in some ways, the pick made sense.
In other ways, though, it didn't.
Green Bay brought in free-agent pass-rushers Za'Darius Smith and Preston Smith at the beginning of the offseason, which meant Gary would likely be a rotational piece at best. That's exactly what he's been.
The two Smiths have combined for 25.5 sacks on the season. Meanwhile, Gary came into Week 16 averaging just 15.5 snaps per game, according to Football Outsiders. That's a small role for a No. 12 pick.
Instead of grabbing a rotational pass-rusher, the Packers may have been better served getting themselves a reliable No. 2 receiver or a young pass-catching tight end. With players like Marquise Brown, A.J. Brown and Noah Fant on the board at No. 12, they could have.
Green Bay did eventually take a tight end in Round 3: Texas A&M's Jace Sternberger. He spent the first half of the season on injured reserve and has yet to make a reception.
Los Angeles Chargers
Seeing as how the Los Angeles Chargers are sitting at 5-10, there's likely quite a bit they regret. However, failing to address the offensive line when they had a chance has to be up there.
The Chargers knew that right tackle was a question mark heading into 2019, yet they waited until the third round to grab former Sioux Falls tackle Trey Pipkins.
Tackle prospects like Jawaan Taylor and Dalton Risner were on the board when the Chargers made the 28th overall selection in the draft. Rather than grabbing an offensive lineman, Los Angeles went with former Notre Dame defensive tackle Jerry Tillery.
Tillery may develop into a fine defender, but he's played a small role to this point. He played 36.9 percent of the snaps heading into Week 16, according to Football Outsiders, yet has just 16 tackles and 2.0 sacks on the season.
Meanwhile, with left tackle Russell Okung in and out of the lineup due to injuries, the offensive line has been one of L.A.'s biggest weaknesses.