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THE 2019 NFL DRAFT By Mark Hollis

Last month the City of Nashville, Tennessee, hosted the 84th Annual National Football League Draft. The event was held over a three-day period from April 25th thru the 27th. There was a lot of speculation as to what collegiate player would be drafted first when the teams began to make their selections. High on the list was quarterback Kyler Murray from the University of Oklahoma who had won the Heisman Trophy in 2018 and was the projected first pick. Ohio State’s Nick Bosa, an edge rusher, who is the younger brother of NFL standout Joey Bosa, was also in the same conversation as a possible first selection. Adding to the drama of the draft was what skill positions would go higher than others—would quarterbacks and running backs take a back seat to edge rushers or would teams be inclined to draft wide receivers over defensive backs? The Las Vegas betting game was on high alert. As the suspense continued, it became quite apparent that no one, including media announcers and NFL pundits, had a clue.

Another factor of the draft being weighed was if the Arizona Cardinals, who had the first pick would in fact draft Kyler Murray and then trade their current starting quarterback and last year first round pick Josh Rosen or keep them both. As the evening progressed there appeared to be a lot of backroom scrambling by the Cardinal organization who were struggling with the issue surrounding Rosen. When it came time to announce Arizona’s selection by the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Cardinal fans could be seen standing anxiously in their red jerseys and face paint focusing on every word being spoken by him. When Kyler Murray’s name was announced as the first pick, the place erupted with cheers and high fives. On camera Murray was seen hurrying to the podium, emotional but relieved that his name was the first to be called. On a sidebar, Murray had been referred to as being too short for an NFL quarterback at 5’/10”. That concern didn’t pan out as Russell Wilson, the superstar signal caller for the Seattle Seahawks, is also is the same height.

Nick Bosa was the second name announced. There were some questions regarding his health because, in September of 2018, he experienced a core muscle tear that forced him to forego his entire senior year at Ohio State. He elected to rehabilitate the injury and prepare for the NFL Combine. In addition, he’s a staunch conservative and a Trump supporter that had tweeted his displeasure with the protest displayed by Colin Kapernick, also a former San Francisco 49er and who is extremely popular in the community. Bosa has also made comments on social media that can easily be construed as being racist and homophobic. The follow-up of Bosa’s selection by the 49ers will be interesting as San Francisco is one of the more diversely populated cities in the United States.

The skill position selections were predominantly defense in the early rounds with edge rushers, tackles and defensive backs being in high demand. The Arizona Cardinals traded Josh Rosen to the Miami Dolphins for a late round draft pick. Personally, I think the Dolphins got the better of the deal. He is headed to a team with a much better surrounding cast than what he had in Arizona.

All in all, it was a fun draft to watch. These young men coming straight out of college will become instant gazillionaire’s for playing a game many of us embraced as kids. The task now is can they earn it.