The first round of the 2019 NFL Draft saw a run on defensive players, with eight of the top 12 picks in Nashville coming on that side of the ball.
After Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray was taken first overall by Arizona, the San Francisco 49ers started a run of four straight front seven players by taking Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa with the second overall pick — the highest draft slot for any Buckeye since left tackle Orlando Pace went No. 1 overall to the St. Louis Rams in 1997.
Bosa, the younger brother of Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Joey Bosa and the son of former Miami Dolphins defensive end John Bosa, missed all but three games last season with a core muscle injury, but already had exhibited the kind of playmaking that lifts players to lofty status.
“Good genes, man,” Bosa said with a laugh. “It’s a new journey. I’m so excited to finally be back on a team. I can’t wait to get to work. This is all the work I’ve put in since I was 7 years old and it’s finally here.”
The New York Jets picked Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams third overall, while the Oakland Raiders sprung a surprise by taking Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell with the first of their three first-round picks at No. 4. The Tampa Bay Buccanneers rounded out the top five by selecting LSU linebacker Devin White.
The New York Giants grabbed the second quarterback of the first round at No. 6, taking Duke’s Daniel Jones as a potential heir to Eli Manning. Jacksonville selected Kentucky defensive end Josh Allen at No. 7 before the Detroit Lions took Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson with the eighth overall choice.
Buffalo selected Houston defensive lineman Ed Oliver with the ninth overall pick before the Pittsburgh Steelers pulled off the first trade of draft night, moving up to the No. 10 spot to take Michigan linebacker Devin Bush. In exchange for giving up the tenth pick, the Broncos received the 20th and 52nd picks in this year’s draft as well as a third-round pick in the 2020 draft.
Bush’s Michigan teammate, Rashan Gary, went to the Green Bay Packers at No. 12. One pick later, the Miami Dolphins made Christian Wilkins the second defensive lineman for the national champion Clemson Tigers to come off the board. At No. 15, the Washington Redskins made Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins their next great hope under center.
The Giants grabbed the third Clemson defensive lineman of the first round by taking Dexter Lawrence with the No. 17 pick, which they acquired as part of the trade that sent star wideout Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns. The Broncos used their newly acquired No. 20 overall pick to take Noah Fant, the second Iowa tight end to be selected in the first round.
The pick of Murray means an uncertain future in the desert for Josh Rosen, whom the Cardinals drafted 10th overall out of UCLA last year in the hope that he would be the quarterback of the future. Since then, Arizona finished 3-13 in 2018, head coach Steve Wilks was fired after just one year at the helm and former Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury was hired with the goal of putting up prodigious numbers on offense.
“I feel we can be very dangerous,” Murray said of Kingsbury. “He’s one of the best in the world at calling plays. I can’t wait to get up there with him. It’s been a long time coming and I hope he feels the same.”
Murray becomes the 22nd Heisman Trophy winner to be taken with the top pick. He and his Oklahoma teammate Baker Mayfield are the first two players from the same college to be drafted first overall in back-to-back years since Ron Yary and O.J. Simpson were drafted No. 1 out of USC in 1968 and 1969, respectively. (Mayfield was selected by Cleveland with the No. 1 pick last year).
The selection of Murray also marked the first time Heisman Trophy winners were selected No. 1 overall in back-to-back years the year after capturing the award since Bo Jackson and Vinny Testaverde in 1986 and 1987.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.