The first overall pick in the NFL Draft is a valuable asset for any franchise. The first pick is often a cornerstone player who will bear the burden of rejuvenating a team. However, it comes at the cost of either bold trading or an awful season.
The 2018 Arizona Cardinals floundered en route to a 3-13 season, securing themselves Kyler Murray. They promptly jettisoned last year’s first-round quarterback Josh Rosen to Miami. With Kliff Kingsbury at the helm, there is hope that they can establish an electrifying offense. With Murray off the board, the New York Giants opted for Duke quarterback Daniel Jones, to much scrutiny from fans and media. It goes to show how dropping a few spots in the draft can affect a franchise’s future.
After an offseason to rebuild through the draft and free agency, 2019 approaches with a lot of questions for struggling teams. Which rookies will succeed? Which will struggle? How will their newly-signed veterans perform? Will they miss players they lost in free agency? However, these all lead up to the same challenge: improving upon their previous season. Some teams will get better. Others will get worse.
Today’s Question of the Day:
Which team will finish last in 2019?
In my opinion, the bottom three teams in the league are the Oakland Raiders, Miami Dolphins, and New York Giants.
Oakland struggled immensely in their first year under Jon Gruden, and their upcoming campaign doesn’t look much more promising. Derek Carr had another roller coaster season, but the acquisition of Antonio Brown should help alleviate their receiving woes. Josh Jacobs was drafted in the first round of a weak running back class and a lot of pressure will be put on him to perform. Elsewhere on defense, the Raiders had one of the worst units in the league last season, and 2019 is a similar story.
The Miami Dolphins are hoping to turn their fortunes around with help from Josh Rosen. Despite the rough rookie season with Arizona, Rosen showed flashes of talent despite minimal help around him. I expect Murray to experience similar issues this season. However, Rosen’s situation in Miami isn’t much brighter. Kenyan Drake is a step down from David Johnson, and they lack a true number one receiver. On defense, long-time star Cameron Wake left for Tennessee, so corner Xavien Howard will have to establish himself as their leader.
However, my pick for the worst team in 2019 will be the New York Giants. They go into the season with a quarterback controversy, which is never a recipe for success. As well, neither quarterback has much fanfare surrounding them. Eli Manning is washed up and far from his prime, while Daniel Jones was widely considered a reach and not ready to start this season. Additionally, the Giants traded away star receiver Odell Beckham Jr., which will be a significant blow to their offense. A lot will fall on the shoulders of Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram, and newly-signed Golden Tate. Their offensive line remains a question mark too.
They lost a lot of stars on defense too. Damon Harrison was traded mid-season to Detroit, Olivier Vernon was traded to Cleveland, and Landon Collins departed for Washington. Although they acquired Jabrill Peppers in their trade with Cleveland, it is hard to replace one of the best safeties in the league. The Giants spent seven draft picks on defense, illustrating how much of a weakness it is.
Their schedule isn’t promising either. They have four games versus division rivals Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. They also are scheduled to face the NFC North, a division with a lot of talented teams. Although they face some weaker teams in the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, and Arizona Cardinals, I give them the edge over the Giants due to how poor their quarterbacking situation is. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Giants bottom out in 2019.