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Green Zone League Articles

2019 GZL Draft: Winners
By Tyler Richardson
Special to gzl-football.com

Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers entered this draft with a lot of aging players in a depleted front 7, and did a great job addressing those needs with great value picks. They were able to grab the best OLB in the class in Scottie Powers at 1.13, and the best DT in Archie Waters at 1.24. LE D'Qwann Miller was another good find in the late second round, as he's a player who has the potential to be an above average starting LE in this league. OLB Cieszko was another good value pick late in the 3rd. Overall, I don't think the Steelers could have asked for a better draft as they restocked the cupboard for their front 7.

Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles have been in rebuilding mode for a while, but they went a long way in assuring they will be out of those stages with a plethora of savvy draft picks this year. GM Neal Wintermute must have done his research, because he wisely set his team up with a slew of 2nd round picks which he was able to capitalize on and bolster his offensive and defensive lines. D'Angelo Hardy, Spalding Higby, and Harry Sampson, picked, 2.2, 2.7, and 2.19, respectively, all have the potential to be above average starters at their positions. La'el Collins is another solid addition to the team, although some may argue he was not great value where he was picked. One problem the Eagles may have is retaining all of these players if developed, because all of their 2nd round picks will have contracts that expire in the same off-season.

San Fransisco 49ers: Setting aside the fact that they traded their future first round pick, the long-troubled 49ers franchise gave their fans a reason to cheer at the draft this year. Not only did they set themselves up with a ton of first and second round picks, they made very smart and sound selections throughout the draft. Hunter Hill was the last CB selected in the run on cornerbacks we saw in the Top 10, but arguably has more potential as either of the two selected right before him. While I thought the Kowalski pick was just so-so, FS Gabriel Girodiano at 27 and WR Willie Williams at 29 were both excellent value picks. The Eric Kendricks pick at 2.1 was another solid but not great pick, but HB Gillespie and QB Hundley in the mid-3rd were fantastic picks and steals at that point in the draft. The 49ers may just find themselves out from the bottom of the standings before they know it, and they better hope so after dealing their first round pick next year.

Chicago Bears: Evidently GM Bryan Laurenson wised up and decided to not stock the war room with tequila, as the Bears fared as well as anyone in this draft. They didn't made any big trades, but rather stayed put and made some great value selections. At 1.5 they grabbed a guy in Buford McKay who is as good as anyone in this draft. 1.16 pick TJ Clemmings is pretty comparable to La'el Collins (1.7), and Travon Wilkins is a HB who I thought for sure would go in the 1st round. Wilkins compares very favorably to many top 15 picks, including former top pick Carlos Hyde. The one big question mark surrounding Wilkins is how his paltry build of 6'0", 198 lbs will affect his power-running style. Regardless, the Bears had a great draft class to build on an already stacked roster.

New Orleans Saints: GM Jeff Downey turned great drafts into a powerhouse in the RZL, and he had another strong showing here, making his team stronger in the trenches. DE Zeus Bryant who he took with the 21st selection is a mammoth of a defensive end who still has speed moves to go with his size and strength. He can play in the 3-4 or 4-3 and will be a monster with the right kind of development. While centers aren't sexy picks, the Saints found a good one in the late second when the talent level was dwindling in Alex Turnbull. Finally, DT Cameron Byrne has all the tools to become a nice option starting on the defensive line, a rare find in the late 3rd of the draft.

Cornerbacks: Good/Great cornerbacks are essential to any defense, and that was proven in this draft. While this draft had a lot of talented corners, most prognosticators expected them to be spread out throughout all stages of the 1st round, as has been the case in recent drafts. Instead, five cornerbacks were selected between 1.4 and 1.11, and 13 were taken in the first three rounds.
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