Which NFL veterans had a great draft weekend without doing a thing?
After examining the players who suffered collateral damage during the draft, here's a look at who should benefit from the league's latest influx of talent.
David Johnson, running back, Arizona Cardinals: Remember him? It was only two years ago that the debate about the best running back in football included Johnson possibly edging out Ezekiel Elliott, Le'Veon Bell and Todd Gurley.
One major injury and one major coaching fiasco later, Johnson is off the national radar despite enjoying an incredible offseason. The additions of quarterback Kyler Murray (via the No. 1 overall pick) in addition to rookie receivers Andy Isabella (No. 62) and Hakeem Butler (No. 103) should help new coach Kliff Kingsbury's vision come to life. Thanks to Murray's running ability and the team's sudden depth of targets, along with veteran receiver Larry Fitzgerald and second-year pro Christian Kirk, Johnson won't have to carry this offense on his own. He should see fewer defenders near the line of scrimmage and more advantageous matchups in the passing game, where he remains among the league's best. In short: It's the year for fantasy leaguers to buy (relatively) low.
General manager Howie Roseman moved up to take next year's starting left tackle, Andre Dillard (No. 22 overall), then gave coach Doug Pederson maximum flexibility by drafting running back Miles Sanders (No. 53) and wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (No. 57) in the second round. Considering the relative lack of cap space entering this offseason, the team has done an excellent job building up Wentz's weaponry, including with the return of former EagleDeSean Jackson. Philadelphia has better players as backups (like Dillard and tight end Dallas Goedert) than many teams' starters. Roseman knows that great offenses are more predictable and lasting than great defenses and continues to pour resources into Wentz's side of the ball.
Lamar Miller, running back, Houston Texans: A few of the players making this list did so because of what their teams didn't accomplish on draft weekend. Every January, Texans fans figure that this will be the offseason Miller gets replaced as the team's starter. And every offseason, the team stands by its man. Perhaps D'Onta Foreman, another year removed from surgery on his Achilles tendon, could mount a challenge, but it sure looks like Miller is set to quietly put up close to 1,000 yards yet again in 2019.
Lamar Jackson, quarterback, Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens were known for a physical, smashmouth offense. They will soon be known for speed. In rookies Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin and Justice Hill, Baltimore drafted three of the top players at their respective positions in athletic testing scores. Combine them with a quarterback possessing one of the best running skill sets to ever enter the league, and offensive coordinator Greg Roman has a lot of exciting options for how to stretch a defense. This Ravens offense is shaping up to be a big-play unit that will trade a few three-and-outs for some long touchdowns.
Derek Carr, quarterback, Oakland Raiders: The Raiders started the offseason telling anyone who would listen that Carr was their franchise quarterback, then backed it up by ignoring the position in the draft. More importantly, the Raiders spent the last four months doing everything possible to upgrade his supporting cast. The team's top skill-position players are all new additions to the team, including first-round running back Josh Jacobs. Receiver Hunter Renfrow might be a fifth-round pick, but NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah believes he could step right into a significant role catching passes between Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams.
Carr isn't the only one with a lot to prove in 2019. In Jon Gruden's first year back since the 2008 season, Oakland ranked 23rd in yards and 28th in scoring, and he has to show he can still run an efficient offense as an NFL head coach. The Raiders have done everything possible to elevate his talent. If Carr can't get it done with this crew, Gruden and GM Mike Mayock may sing a different tune at quarterback next offseason.
Dede Westbrook, wide receiver, Jacksonville Jaguars: I expected Westbrook to be displaced as Jacksonville's nominal No. 1 receiver in free agency or the draft, but it never happened. His deep speed is a nice match for the skill set of new quarterback Nick Foles, and there isn't a lot of strong competition for targets on the outside. The 2017 fourth-round pick led Jacksonville in receiving yards last season.
Matt Ryan, quarterback, Atlanta Falcons: GM Thomas Dimitroff made protecting Ryan such a priority in the draft that the 2017 MVP couldn't help but thank his boss via text. Adding two first-round offensive linemen continued an offseason plan laser focused on fixing the Falcons' problems up front (see also: free-agent acquisitions of James Carpenter and Jamon Brown).
"Make no mistake about it: We knew what we needed to do this offseason, and that was to continue to fortify that line and make sure that we were protecting Matt," Dimitroff said in the team's post-draft press conference. "And we weren't going to run into what we ran into last year."
Kirk Cousins, quarterback, Minnesota Vikings: The selection of center Garrett Bradbury with the 18th overall pick was a strong combination of desperate team need meeting talent. The Vikings also added tight end Irv Smith in the second round to give their erratic offense more dimensions. In all, Minnesota spent its first four draft picks on offense (including running back Alexander Mattison in the third round and guard Dru Samia in the fourth) in an effort to balance out the talent level on Minnesota's roster.
This is one of the best rosters overall in football if the offensive line holds up, although that's also what we were saying at this time a year ago.