2019 NFL Draft

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Baltimore Ravens super fan who is blind to make NFL Draft pick history

Baltimore Ravens super fan who is blind to make NFL Draft pick history

The NFL Draft is highly anticipated among hundreds of NFL hopefuls anxiously waiting to hear their names called. This year, in particular, the 2019 NFL Draft will be extra special for 13-year-old Baltimore Ravens super fan Mo Gaba. 

Gaba, who is blind, will be the first person in history to announce an NFL draft pick off of a card written in Braille. On Saturday, the 13-year-old will call out the Ravens’ fourth-round pick and No.123 overall. 

Gaba lost his sight when he was nine months old and is battling cancer for the third time. 

On Wednesday, while Gaba was calling a local radio show 98 Rock, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh dialed in on the call and surprised Gaba with an invitation to announce the pick.  

“What? Really? I’ve never done that before,” Gaba said with a big smile on his face. “I would like to do that yeah.”

Harbaugh also told the 13-year-old that the Ravens will send a car to pick him and his mother up and that they’d be sure to grant him with red-carpet treatment. 

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2019 NFL Draft: Sleepers, Redskins OL plan, Drew Lock defining 'boom or bust'

2019 NFL Draft: Sleepers, Redskins OL plan, Drew Lock defining 'boom or bust'

The 2019 NFL Draft coverage rolls on.

In addition to the updated two-round NFL mock draft, Big Board and our look at different 7-round, Redskins-only mock drafts (paths one and two are available now), we dive into some news and notes pertaining to the Redskins, the quarterback prospects, Trent Williams and the 2019 class overall.

* Florida State’s Brian Burns and Michigan’s Rashan Gary are generally lumped into the same edge rusher bucket despite a 30-pound weight disparity: Burns tips the scales around 245 pounds versus Gary’s 277. Another variance comes with production.

The 245-pound Burns, a true speed threat, finished with 10 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss in 2018. Gary, one of the top recruits in 2016, finished with 9.5 sacks – in 34 games over three seasons with the Wolverines, along with 23 tackles for loss.

Stats alone do not explain a player’s draft value, but Gary’s lack of production makes the 277-pounder one of the more polarizing prospects. His draft range projection goes from top 10 to end of the first round. ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay ranks Gary sixth overall, with Burns at 22.

The latest NBC Sports Washington 2019 NFL mock draft has the Redskins selecting Burns at 15, two slots after the Dolphins snag Gary.

The primary fear with Burns among league sources is strength. “He has speed, quickness, but big bodies will wear him down,” a league scout said. Even if Burns adds weight, he won’t have desired natural power of a player like Gary, who can move offensive lineman wherever he lines up.

“He’ll be better in the pros than college,” the scout said of Gary. That’s what teams considering a top pick on Gary are counting on. As for Burns, the Redskins defense lacked speed across the board last season and they already have a power option in Ryan Anderson."

* Earlier this week, I wrote about the idea of using the 15th overall pick to trade for Josh Rosen rather than spending the first-round pick on draft prospects Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock or Daniel Jones. Posing that concept to league sources led to opinions on the three incoming passers rated behind projected No. 1 overall selection Kyler Murray.

These comments likely won’t lead anyone to a conclusion, other than perhaps my general take that the passion largely isn’t there for this trio, at least in comparison to the four quarterbacks selected in the top 10 last season.

Lock received the most positive mentions – “I think he is the best in the draft (including Murray)” – but the doubters also existed.

“Lock makes me nervous,” said a former general manager, who mentioned recent first-round picks like Blake Bortles and Christian Ponder as comparisons. “Not great with intermediate and deep throws. Bad decisions. Everything underneath."

NFL Draft analyst Tony Pauline expressed concern. “Lock is the poster boy for boom or bust QB,” Pauline told NBC Sports Washington.

Lock posted gaudy stats -- 76 touchdown passes over the last two seasons -- but finished his career completing 56 percent of his passes.

The previous Big Board included a league source stating, “The buzz on Jones in the first and possibly fairly high is 1000 percent real.” That sense continues.

AFC scout: “Go with Jones if there.”

Former GM: “Daniel Jones over Lock. Can trust him more. He’s ready.”

League source: “Jones is mentally strong and very talented. He’s the safer pick. I also love his physical tools. … Would love to see Jones play instinctive. … Jones has the build you want and is more athletic than Rosen. Gotta be able to move in this league.”

As for Haskins, Pauline, the main voice with DraftAnalyst.com, said he would lean toward the Ohio State standout. Others even in praise used the term “risky” when describing the strong-armed but slow-moving passer.

Analyst: “Haskins is the best on the list, but all are risky at 15.”

* Everyone likes sleepers. Here are some prospects projected outside the first two rounds league sources have positively mentioned in recent days. They are listed in order of likely selection: Kahale Warring, TE, San Diego State, Emanuel Hall, WR, Missouri, Foster Moreau, TE, LSU, Jahlani Tavai, ILB, Hawaii, Isaiah Johnson, CB, Houston, Drew Sample, TE, Washington, KeeSean Johnson, WR, Fresno State, Malik Gant, S, Marshall, Evan Worthington, S, Colorado, Byron Cowart, DL, Maryland, Darrin Hall, RB, Pittsburgh, Tyree Brady, WR, Marshall, Keenan Brown, TE, Texas State.

* Back to the passers, West Virginia’ Will Grier is often cited as the fifth QB in this class, but that’s not exactly written in stone. Some public big board’s drop the gunslinger into the 3-4 round draft range. Whenever Grier goes, the three most likely destinations, according to a league source, are the Giants, Panthers and Redskins. Washington picks one spot ahead of Carolina in the second round.

* Maryland safety Darnell Savage is making moves up draft boards. Last week a league source offered a 25-45 draft range projection for the cover safety. NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah told reporters on a conference call Thursday he could see Savage going off the board in the first.

* Are the Redskins likely to go with an offensive lineman in the first? It’s certainly possible considering the left guard concerns and talent available. NBC Sports Washington reported Boston College guard Chris Lindstrom visited the Redskins Park last week. Oklahoma’s Cody Ford and Alabama’s Jonah Williams are projected to go in the middle of the first round.

Beyond the immediate guard issue consider the following, especially with players in mind like Ford and Williams who played tackle in college.

Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams will turn 32 ahead of the 2020 season. His salary for the final year of his contract is $14.65 million, but only $1.9 million is guaranteed.

The belief is the organization wants the fourth overall pick in 2010 to retire a Redskin. The reality is Williams, who remains one of the best tackles in football, hasn’t played a full season since 2013. Right tackle Morgan Moses also battled injuries and is coming off an uneven 2018 season.

The Redskins did spend a third-round selection on Geron Christian last season, but also lost Ty Nsekhe in free agency. Just file this away, for now, depending on what Washington does at OL in the early rounds.

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Redskins will host Kyler Murray even though he very well could be the first overall pick

Redskins will host Kyler Murray even though he very well could be the first overall pick

As the draft continues to creep up, now just two weeks away, the Redskins continue to bring in multiple quarterbacks for pre-draft visits. Northwestern's Clayton Thorson visited on Wednesday, and Duke's Daniel Jones is set to visit Thursday.

But the quarterback coming to visit Washington next week may be the most important one of them all.

That's when former University of Oklahoma quarterback and 2018 Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray is scheduled to come to Washington.

In his lone season as a starter for the Sooners, Murray threw for 4,361 yards and 42 touchdowns while leading Oklahoma to a College Football Playoff berth. He additionally ran for over 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground.

Murray is truly a threat both with his arm and his legs, which is why many NFL teams are intrigued by the 5-10 signal caller.

Even if the Redskins fall in love with Murray during the visit, they will most likely have a difficult time being able to select him. Washington will likely have to trade up in the draft in order to take Murray.

Many mock drafts, including NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig's, have the Arizona Cardinals selecting Murray with the No. 1 overall pick. 

The Redskins are doing their due diligence on all of the top quarterback prospects, which is smart considering there are several ways the draft could shake out.

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