2019 NFL Draft: Winners & Losers

Every team got better after the 2019 NFL Draft—or at least, that’s what every general manager, head coach and owner believes. But what teams truly may have helped their chances on the quest for a Super Bowl?

Indianapolis Colts: A — Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN

“How about the job Chris Ballard has done as general manager of the Colts? He absolutely crushed the 2018 draft, finding stars and helping catapult Indy to a 10-6 record and a playoff berth after going 4-12 in 2017. This roster has a ton of young talent. Ballard also landed an extra second-rounder from the Jets in the Sam Darnold trade last year, and that pick ended up at the very top of Round 2 in 2019. That’s good team-building, and the Colts had some very specific needs to fill this weekend. How did Ballard do? I love this class from top to bottom.

Ballard moved out of Round 1, picking up an extra 2020 second-rounder in going from No. 26 to No. 46, which meant Indy had three second-round picks. And I really liked all four of Indy’s Day 2 picks. I was surprised that cornerback Rock Ya-Sin (No. 34) made it out of the first round, but only one corner went in the first 32 picks. He is a little raw, but I think he’ll start immediately. Wide receiver Parris Campbell (No. 59) is a burner, but he also caught 90 passes last season and improved every year. He’ll play some slot and also scorch corners out wide. Bobby Okereke (No. 89) was my fourth-ranked inside linebacker, and he could compete with Anthony Walker for that starting spot. Defensive end Ben Banogu(No. 49) is a really good fit in Matt Eberflus’ 4-3 scheme.

That’s all three needs filled on Day 2. There were also some intriguing additions on Day 3, particularly in safety Khari Willis (No. 109), who I ranked as my No. 50 overall prospect. He broke up 10 passes last season and will be an impact special-teams contributor. Safety Marvell Tell III (No. 144) is a good athlete with a 6-foot-2 frame. Javon Patterson (No. 246) made 39 college starts at guard but will likely move to center.

Ballard & Co. have done it again. This is my favorite draft class.”

Cincinnati Bengals: A- — Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN

“It’s tough to know what to think about the Bengals in 2019. While longtime coach Marvin Lewis is gone and Zac Taylor is now in charge, Mike Brown still runs things. That means the team is going to build through the draft and not worry much about free agency. In fact, Cincinnati didn’t make many notable moves, other than parting ways with Vontaze Burfict and re-signing its own guys. After a 6-10 finish last season, is this team better?

This is not a sexy class, but it’s solid throughout. Jonah Williams (No. 11) is a no-brainer immediate starter, either at guard or tackle. Germaine Pratt (No. 72) is a converted safety who will likely end up at outside linebacker in Cincy’s 4-3. The versatility makes it good value. I didn’t love Ryan Finley‘s tape as much as Todd McShay — he gave Finley a second-round grade — but Andy Daltonshouldn’t be locked in long term, so this is another option for Taylor if Dalton underwhelms. To get Finley at No. 104 is solid.

Drew Sample (No. 52) is a really good blocking tight end, but even he didn’t expect to go in the second round. That was high with more complete tight ends available. Renell Wren (No. 125) had an up-and-down career for the Sun Devils, but he impressed at the Senior Bowl and has some intriguing athletic traits. I’m intrigued by the Day 3 running backs with Trayveon Williams (No. 182) and Rodney Anderson (No. 211). Anderson is one of the most talented backs in the class, but he simply couldn’t stay on the field. Williams is going to help spell Joe Mixon in the receiving game. Jordan Brown (No. 223) is a good corner for the seventh round.

Williams and Sample are the only surefire early starters, but there’s some upside with Finley and the Day 3 running backs. This group will help Taylor navigate his first year on the job.”

Other Winners

Buffalo Bills — Conor Orr, Sports Illustrated

“Sometimes you play the board, sometimes the board plays you, and sometimes the board drops your way and you don’t have to do much of anything at all. While Ed Oliver wasn’t going to fit in every defense, he fits perfectly in Buffalo. The fact that versatile offensive lineman Cody Ford was available in the second was simply kismet. While drafting a receiver would have placed a cherry on top of the sundae, this is a draft good for both coach and quarterback.”

Denver Broncos — Conor Orr, Sports Illustrated

“We tend to over-praise when a team’s board aligns with its biggest needs, but I didn’t think there was a way John Elway could have played the first round better. Joe Flacco adores athletic tight ends who can get open in intermediate space, then he gets a quality starter in round two with Dalton Risner and Drew Lock, who has much less pressure than previous Elway draft picks.”

Kyler Murray — Conor Orr, Sports Illustrated

“There’s a good chance he knew about this, otherwise why make the leap with such assurance? Either way, Murray goes from a Double-A bus to nowhere, to assured 40-man roster, to No. 1 pick in the NFL draft. I don’t think there are many players who would continually challenge the draft industrial complex in two sports like Murray did and still come out ahead.”



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Countdown to Super Bowl 2019 Atlanta: Super Bowl XXXIII

As we embark on the Thanksgiving Day slate of games to kickoff Week 12 of the 2018 NFL season, Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta is seemingly just around the corner. And as we head back to Miami, Florida once again in 1999, the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons square off in Super Bowl XXXIII.

Back-to-Back Broncos

Nearly 75,000 fans were in attendance at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami, Florida, as the Denver Broncos, after capturing their first championship in the Super Bowl the previous year, would capture Super Bowl XXXIII, defeating the Falcons by a score of 34-19.

Broncos quarterback John Elway would walk away with Super Bowl MVP honors in 1999, throwing for 336 yards and one touchdown, as well as rushing for another. Elway would go down in history as the oldest player to date to be named Super Bowl MVP.


Gloria Estefan would be tapped to perform at Super Bowl XXXIII halftime, a performance that would be televised to over 83.7 million viewers worldwide! The cost of a 30-second commercial continued to rise, clocking in at $1.6 million, and broadcasting duties would be handled by the famed Pat Summerall and John Madden, as the Super Bowl was telecast on FOX Sports.



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Countdown to Super Bowl 2019 Atlanta: Super Bowl XXXII

Two of America’s favorite quarterbacks in NFL history, Super Bowl XXXII would feature a showdown between the Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers on the Road to 2019 Super Bowl in Atlanta.

Brett Favre vs. John Elway

Played at the historic Qualcomm Stadium in sunny San Diego, California, Super Bowl XXXII between the Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers was one for the record books. Nearly 70,000 fans piled in to catch two of America’s favorites, Broncos quarterback John Elway and Packers quarterback Brett Favre, show off in an offensive battle.

In what would turn out to be a close game between the two, the Denver Broncos would walk away Super Bowl champions, a 31-24 victory over Green Bay. Despite being 0-4 to date in Super Bowl appearances, the Broncos would finally capture that elusive Lombardi trophy. Broncos running back Terrell Davis, who would score the eventual game-winning touchdown with just 1:45 left in the game, would go on to be named Super Bowl MVP.


Over 90 million viewers tuned in to catch the Super Bowl on NBC in 1988, with this being referee Ed Hochuli’s first time officiating the big game. Jewel would sing the national anthem before Super Bowl kickoff, and the halftime show would feature popular artists such as Boyz II Men and Smokey Robinson.



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Countdown to Super Bowl 2019 Atlanta: Super Bowl XXIV

Making their second-straight appearance on the Road to the 2019 Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta, the defending Super Bowl and NFC Champions San Francisco 49ers matched up against the AFC Champion Denver Broncos and quarterback John Elway in Super Bowl XXIV.

Montana vs. Elway

Once again hosted in New Orleans, Louisiana, a popular new home for the Super Bowl, Super Bowl XXIV was played in front of nearly 73,000 people at the Louisiana Superdome. The AFC Champion Denver Broncos and NFC Champion (and defending Super Bowl champion) San Francisco 49ers would square off in what would be remembered as what can simply be described as a “beatdown.”

The 49ers would walk away with their second-straight Super Bowl victory, a 55-10 drudging of the Denver Broncos. Quarterback for the 49ers Joe Montana would win his third Super Bowl MVP honors, becoming just the third person in NFL history to win both Super Bowl and league MVP awards in the same season.

Super Bowl XXIV was aired on the CBS network in 1990 and a 30-second commercial could cost a company around $700,000. There were a total of 73.85 million viewers tuning in to watch this game. Aaron Neville sang the National Anthem and Pete Fountain led the halftime show. Pat Summerall and John Madden were once again announcers for the Super Bowl in 1990.



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Countdown to Super Bowl 2019 Atlanta: Super Bowl XXII

Two teams looking to rebound on the Road to Super Bowl 53, the two-time AFC champion Denver Broncos made their second-straight Super Bowl appearance in 1988, squaring off against the NFC-champion Washington Redskins in Suepr Bowl XXII.

Doug Williams Shines

Played on January 31, 1988 in front of over 73,000 fans at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, California, the Washington Redskins would become the second-straight NFC champion to defeat the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl, capturing Super Bowl XXII by a score of 42-10.

This was the Redskins’ fourth Super Bowl appearances in the first 22 years. Despite entering the 1987-88 season as the Redskins backup quarterback, Doug Williams would go on to take Super Bowl MVP honors, completing 18 of his 29 attempts for a record 340 yards and four touchdowns. The Redskins scored 35 of their then-record 42 points in just the second quarter alone, an impressive feat.

The cost of a 30-second commercial in 1988 rose to $645,000 with Super Bowl XXI. The big game was broadcast to over 80 million fans around the world on ABC, with announcers Al Michaels, Frank Gifford and Dan Dierdorf on the call. Halftime included Chubby Checker and The Rockettes, which made for a very interesting show, and the National Anthem was sung by Herb Alpert.



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Countdown to Super Bowl 2019 Atlanta: Super Bowl XXI

As we prepare to embark on Week 6 in the NFL’s Road to Super Bowl 53, we’re heading back (once again) to Pasadena, California for Super Bowl XXI between the New York Giants and Denver Broncos.

Big Blue’s Big Day

Played in front of over 100,000 fans for the first time in Super Bowl history, the New York Giants would score a then-record 30 points in the second half of Super Bowl XXI, eventually leading ‘Big Blue’ to a 39-20 victory over the Denver Broncos.

Giants quarterback Phil Simms would put on one of the better Super Bowl performances for a QB to date in 1987, scrambling for three touchdowns in Super Bowl XXI, an effort that would lead the Giants to their first Super Bowl victory and MVP honors for Simms.

Super Bowl XXI was broadcast on CBS in 1987, with a total of 87.2 million fans tuning in. The cost of a 30-second commercial continued to rise, now up to $600,000, with announcers Pat Summerall and John Madden both handling broadcasting duties. The National Anthem for Super Bowl XXI was sung by Willie Davis, and the halftime show was a “Salute to Hollywood’s 100th Anniversary,” featuring the Southern California high school drill team and dancers.



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Countdown to Super Bowl 2019 Atlanta: Super Bowl XII

Two teams looking to bounce back after disappointing campaigns in 2017, the Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys had reached the pinnacle in 1978, facing off in Super Bowl XII from the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.

America’s Team Claims Their Crown

In a game played once again from New Orleans in front of early 76,000 fans, the Dallas Cowboys, dubbed “America’s Team,” would walk away victorious after a 27-10 battle with the Denver Broncos.

Putting together a complete game in Super Bowl XII, the Cowboys defense would be vital to their victory. Dallas would go on to force eight (!!) turnovers and only allowed eight pass completions for Denver throughout the entirety of the game. Cowboys wide receiver Butch Johnson would provide the highlight reel, most notably reeling in a 45-yard touchdown diving into the end zone.

Dallas’ defensive stars, linemen Randy White and Harvey Martin, would go on to be named Super Bowl co-MVPs, the first (and so far, only) time that two players would share Super Bowl MVP honors.

The cost of a 30 second television commercial during Super Bowl XII went up to $162,000, still paling in comparison to the Super Bowl LI’s rates. Pat Summerall would once again be the game announcer on CBS, hosting alongside analyst Tom Brookshier. At halftime, Super Bowl fans were treated to plenty of entertainment, including musicians Pete Fountain and Al Hirt.



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Road to Super Bowl 53: AFC West Preview

Settling in for the quiet summer before ramping up for training camp in less than a month, teams are readying to set their sights on the intense ‘Road to Super Bowl 53’ in Atlanta in 2019. Next up in our divisional previews is the always competitive and parity-driven AFC West.

Kansas City Chiefs

2017 Record: 10-6, AFC West Champions

Normally, you wouldn’t expect a team that got out to a 5-0 start on the 2017 NFL season and had an MVP-caliber quarterback at the helm to make too many changes. The 2017 AFC West champion Kansas City Chiefs, however, are an exception to that rule.

After finishing the season at 10-6, the Chiefs decided it was time to shake things up. The team shipped quarterback Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins in exchange for defensive back Kendall Fuller and a draft pick, opening the door for now-sophomore quarterback Patrick Mahomes to take the reins. And it wasn’t just the quarterbacking position that saw a dramatic makeover. The Chiefs also added two of the biggest prizes of the 2018 free agency period in wide receiver Sammy Watkins and linebacker Anthony Hitchens as well.


Los Angeles Chargers

2017 Record: 9-7

One of the more mediocre teams of the 2017 NFL season, the LA Chargers finished their first season back in the city of angels at just two games over .500, and followed it up with a relatively quiet offseason. Getting a steal in rookie safety Derwin James out of Florida State with the #17 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft was what could be considered the highlight of the transactional period. Aside from James, the team was able to help fortify their offensive line by bringing in former Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey, as well as a new target for quarterback Philip Rivers in tight end Virgil Green.


Oakland Raiders

2017 Record: 6-10

After a disappointing 6-10 campaign, just a year removed from winning the AFC West and being a top-tier team in the AFC, the Raiders decided to shake things up when it came to the coaching staff. Enter; former Raiders head coach (and Super Bowl champion) Jon Gruden.

While many thought the Raiders would have an ‘all-out’ approach to free agency and the draft thanks to the returned presence of Gruden, that wasn’t the case for the Raiders. The Raiders weren’t short on moves, but it was the lack of ‘star power’ that surprised many. The team drafted offensive lineman Kolton Miller out of UCLA with their first-round pick, and brought in solid position players such as Rashaan Melvin (DB), Doug Martin (RB), Martavis Bryant (WR), Reggie Nelson (S) and their prized pickup, Jordy Nelson (WR).


Denver Broncos

2017 Record: 5-11

An offseason of turmoil and speculation followed the Broncos after their disappointing 5-11 campaign in 2017. Following the retirement of quarterback Peyton Manning, the team has struggled to provide an offensive presence at the quarterback position… something the Broncos believe they have solved in the 2018 offseason.

The Broncos signed former Minnesota Vikings quarterback (and 2017 standout) Case Keenum to take the reins as the team’s new quarterback. Keenum helped lead the Vikings to a 13-3 record and the #2 seed in the NFC, featuring an NFC Championship loss to the eventual-Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.

Aside from Keenum, Broncos fans are feeling optimistic, as the team was also able to grab arguably the best player in the 2018 NFL Draft in edge rusher Bradley Chubb, pairing him alongside the already-daunting Von Miller.



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2018 NFL Expert Mock Draft: Picks 1-5

As teams get set for the month of April, the next step on the journey toward Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta involves invigorating the team’s rosters with an infusion of youth; the 2018 NFL Draft. We’re gathering some of the top experts from around the NFL world and taking a look at who they predict will go where, starting with picks 1-5.

#1: Cleveland Browns

CBS Sports: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming | Bleacher Report: Sam Darnold, QB, USC | NFL.com: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Although a quarterback feels like the consensus #1 pick here, NFL.com’s Charles Davis feels differently. “In the Browns’ history, when they have been really good, they have been powered by runners: Marion Motley, Jim Brown, Ernie Davis (would have been a huge star if not for his passing at the age of 23), Leroy Kelly, Kevin Mack, Earnest Byner. Add the do-it-all dynamo from Penn State to the pantheon.” – Charles Davis, NFL.com


#2: New York Giants

CBS Sports: Sam Darnold, QB, USC | Bleacher Report: Bradley Chubb, EDGE, NC State | NFL.com: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

There are a lot of directions, including trading down, that the New York Giants could go with the #2 overall pick, but Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller thinks they go defense. “Chubb is an ideal weak-side linebacker fit in the Giants’ new 3-4 scheme. Pairing him with Olivier Vernon would give new head coach Pat Shurmur a stud defensive duo. That might also help give quarterback Eli Manning a little bigger window to win a third ring before retiring.” – Matt Miller, Bleacher Report


#3: New York Jets (from IND)

CBS Sports: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA | Bleacher Report: Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming | NFL.com: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

The one area where all experts seem to agree in this draft is at the #3 pick, where the New York Jets are expected to take a quarterback. “The trade-up for the Jets was all about getting into position for a quarterback, and if they can find a franchise signal-caller here, it’s well worth the overpay to move up a couple spots. Walter Football’s Charlie Campbell compares Rosen to Jay Cutler, a quarterback with which new Jets offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates has plenty of experience. Rosen could be the best fit for the Jets moving forward.” – R.J. White, CBS Sports


#4: Cleveland Browns

CBS Sports (traded to Buffalo Bills): Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma | Bleacher Report: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State | NFL.com: Sam Darnold, QB, USC

After taking a risk on a running back and waiting it out, NFL.com’s Charles Davis thinks Browns still get their man at #4. “The man that many have written in as the top selection for the Browns still lands in Cleveland. Of course, he will be strongly considered for each of the top three picks, but Browns owner Jimmy Haslam (who sat in the rain to watch Darnold’s pro day at USC on Wednesday) gets a new face of the franchise in an unexpected way.” – Charles Davis, NFL.com


#5: Denver Broncos

CBS Sports: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State | Bleacher Report: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma | NFL.com: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama

Finally, controversial quarterback Baker Mayfield out of Oklahoma finds a home at #5. “Mayfield is a fiery prospect with an exciting track record on the field but a personality off it that might rub teams the wrong way. Broncos president John Elway probably cares more about getting back to his winning ways. Mayfield can help him get there.” – Matt Miller, Bleacher Report

To see full mock drafts:

For Matt Miller and Bleacher Report’s full 2018 NFL Mock Draft, click here.

For Charles Davis and NFL.com’s full 2018 Mock Draft, click here.

For R.J. White and CBS Sports’ full 2018 NFL Mock Draft, click here.



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2018 Super Bowl Countdown: Super Bowl XLVIII

The matchup for Super Bowl 52 is SET! And as the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots get set to head for Minneapolis for Super Bowl LII, we’re looking back at Super Bowl XLVIII between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks.

February 2, 2014

In the first of quarterback Peyton Manning’s two Super Bowl visits post-Indianapolis Colts, the Denver Broncos took on the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Despite being an outdoor Super Bowl in a cold-weather city, there were nearly 83,000 fans in attendance for the big game!

Seahawks linebacker Malcom Smith would break the streak of quarterback MVP’s, earning Super Bowl XLVIII honors with a strong performance. Smith finished the game with nine tackles, a recovered fumble and an interception returned 69 yards for a touchdown.

Super Bowl XLVIII went down in the record books as the largest-watched event in the history of television, broadcast on FOX to over 167 million viewers. Announcers Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver and Erin Andrews would handle broadcasting duties, and the cost of a 30-second spot would jump to $4 million. Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers would be cast for Super Bowl halftime duties in 2014.



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