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NFL Draft 2019: Biggest winners, losers from Round 1 full of surprises

NFL Draft 2019: Biggest winners, losers from Round 1 full of surprises

The first round of the 2019 NFL Draft has come and gone, and it didn't take long for it to create quite a stir.

Kyler Murray went No. 1 overall to the Cardinals as expected. Nick Bosa and Quinnen Williams followed to the 49ers and Jets, respectively.

And that's when things started getting a little wonky.

With all 32 first-round picks now completed, here's a look at the three biggest winners and losers from the first day of the draft:

WINNERS

Jets

The Jets reportedly had interest in trading down, but stayed at No. 3, and had arguably the best player in the entire draft fall into their laps. Quinnen Williams will be a plug-and-play staple on their defensive line, and he sure looks like a perennial All-Pro. Sometimes the best move is the one you don't make.

Washington

Speaking of benefitting from inaction, Washington got its quarterback and didn't have to give up anything for him. Washington had been rumored to be interested in trading for a QB, but with Dwayne Haskins falling to their pick at No. 15, that will no longer be happening. Haskins was widely regarded as the second-best signal caller in the draft. If he's able to wrangle the starting job, the Ohio State product could be the odds-on favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Additionally, trading into the end of the first round to select speed rusher Montez Sweat (who ran a 4.41 40-yard dash at the combine but dropped due to reported health concerns) at No. 26 was well worth the risk.

Teams that need wide receivers and defensive backs

The draft is quite deep in both positions, and considering how pass-happy the league has become, it was a bit of a surprise to see only two receivers and only three defensive backs (two of which were safeties) go in the first round. Former Ole Miss receivers A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf didn't hear their names called, nor did cornerbacks Greedy Williams, Byron Murphy, and Rock Ya-Sin.

Expect several of those names to go early in the second round on Day 2, where the 49ers or Raiders could be ready to pounce.

LOSERS

New York Giants

Last year, the Giants passed on QBs Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen and Josh Allen and drafted a running back second overall. Even with Saquon Barkley's Offensive Rookie of the Year performance, New York won only five games with eroding statue Eli Manning behind center, and that appears to be the plan yet again. Daniel Jones played under David Cutcliffe at Duke, and there's no doubt Cutcliffe's cozy relationship with the Manning family had plenty to do with the Giants selecting Jones with the No. 6 pick.

It seemed like a reach at the time, particularly with Haskins still on the board and the Giants also holding the No. 17 overall selection. Given how atrocious Manning was last season, it might not be long until Jones is thrown into the fire.

A prediction? It won't look pretty, and New York will be drafting in the top-six again a year from now.

Oakland Raiders

Mike Mayock should send Giants GM David Gettleman a gift basket. The stink of the Giants' reach for Jones drowned out the groans of Raiders fans dumbfounded by Oakland's selection of defensive end Clelin Ferrell with the No. 4 overall pick. Ferrell is a quality player and certainly a first-round talent, but top-five is quite a stretch. Mayock himself thought Ferrell would be a trade-down possibility, and yet, with superior pass rushers like Josh Allen, Ed Oliver, and Rashan Gary still on the board, the Raiders stood pat and took Ferrell. 

It's possible there were no trade offers to Oakland's liking, but their failure to find one may say more about Mayock's relative inexperience in his new position and doesn't exactly inspire a ton of confidence in an extremely important draft for him and Jon Gruden.

That said, Josh Jacobs looks like a fitting replacement for Marshawn Lynch, and Johnathan Abram sure can lay the wood.

Josh Rosen, Kyler Murray and the Cardinals 

Rosen, the same guy who has had five different offensive coordinators in four years (since his freshman year at UCLA), got one season behind the worst offensive line in football before his franchise gave up on him. Thus is life in the NFL.

After spending the No. 10 overall pick on Rosen a year ago, new Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury selected Murray No. 1 overall Thursday, and it's hard to imagine a scenario where all of this works out well for Arizona.

If the Cardinals keep Rosen, the dynamic in that quarterback room will be interesting, to say the least. If the Cardinals trade Rosen, they'll likely get pennies on the dollar in return. Nearly every team that entered the draft with a lingering quarterback need (New York, Washington) drafted one, and the one that didn't (Miami) doesn't seem like a fit to offer the kind of return Arizona is holding out for.

If the Cardinals were so sure about Murray being their quarterback of the future, they would have been much better off dealing Rosen before the market dried up.

NFL Draft 2020: Justin Jefferson, Jalen Reagor meet 49ers at combine

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USATSI

NFL Draft 2020: Justin Jefferson, Jalen Reagor meet 49ers at combine

Despite only possessing one pick before the fifth round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the 49ers still are doing their due diligence at the NFL Scouting Combine this week in Indianapolis.

San Francisco has met with a pair of wide receivers this week in LSU product Justin Jefferson and former TCU speedster Jalen Reagor.

Jefferson, who was part of LSU’s national championship-winning squad in 2019, said his meeting with the 49ers was informal, while Reagor mentioned that the team highlighted his versatility when discussing his potential fit within the offense.

Coming off a trip to the Super Bowl, the Niners aren’t faced with a lot of glaring needs along the roster, but wide receiver certainly ranks high among the few holes general manager John Lynch must address this offseason.

The 49ers didn’t have a wide receiver eclipse the 1,000-yard mark last season, with All-Pro tight end George Kittle barely surpassing it (1,053).

Jefferson caught an NCAA Division I-best 111 passes for the Tigers in 2019 and closed out his final collegiate season with 1,540 yards. In the latest NBC Sports Bay Area mock draft, Jefferson wasn't available when the Niners were on the clock at No. 31.

[RELATED: 49ers have solid running backs, but group lacks something]

Reagor’s broad skillset likely would mesh well with the 49ers’ motion-heavy offense, as Reagor made big plays for the Horned Frogs in the running, receiving, and return game during his three seasons in Fort Worth.

This will be Lynch and Shanahan’s first opportunity to draft outside of the top five in the first round, as they hope to build on a breakout 2019 season.

49ers hoping receiver Jalen Hurd will be cleared for offseason program

49ers hoping receiver Jalen Hurd will be cleared for offseason program

INDIANAPOLIS -- Even before the 49ers have the opportunity to select a wide receiver in the draft, the club expects to add the services of a young pass-catcher.

Jalen Hurd, a third-round draft pick from a year ago, appears to be on schedule to receive clearance to rejoin the 49ers when the offseason program begins in April. Hurd spent his rookie season on injured reserve due to a stress fracture in his lower back.

“For it to completely heal, it happens on different timelines,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said. “We found that his has been stubborn. We think he’s been nearing towards a much better place where he’ll be cleared for all activities.

“(We) don’t want to officially give that word, but there have been some recent scans and things that give us a lot of hope that that’ll be the case, come April 1, he’ll be a full-go.”

Hurd was not around the team too much during his rookie season. He did not travel to Miami for Super Bowl LIV due to concerns about aggravating his back condition.

“I think there’s a little anxiety on his part that the long plane rides had set him off before and he worked so hard to try to get right, and kind of didn’t want that to enter the equation,” Lynch said.

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In order for Hurd's back to heal, the 49ers and Hurd felt it was best to keep him off his feet.  

“With his back stuff, he didn’t want to travel, didn’t want to be in the meetings and everything," head coach Kyle Shanahan said. "There wasn’t much to do. He had a stress fracture and it’s taking a long time to heal, so we wanted him to be as immobile as possible.”

Hurd (6-foot-4, 227 pounds) caught 69 passes for 946 yards and four touchdowns in his senior season at Baylor in 2018. He played his first three college seasons at Tennessee, where he rushed for 2,635 yards and 20 touchdowns as a running back.

Hurd appeared in the 49ers’ preseason opener last summer and caught two touchdown passes against the Dallas Cowboys before experiencing the back condition that sidelined him for the rest of the season.