The 2019 NFL Draft boasts a handful of compelling characters. These prospects may not be controversial in the sense that they’ve committed crimes or have legal histories. Instead, the opinions on these players will be divided because of one reason or another.
Keeping that in mind, here’s a look at the most controversial prospects in this upcoming draft class.
5. Any first-round running back
Will any of this class’ running backs be worth a first-round pick? There doesn’t seem to be consensus No. 1 back. Alabama’s Josh Jacobs is a potential first-rounder. But there has been some suggestion that his former backfield mate Damien Harris is better than Jacobs. Iowa State’s David Montgomery is also in the conversation.
Even if one of the players gets a first-round grade, there’ some question as to whether a first-round running back is worthwhile.
Bill Belichick, who is seemingly ahead of every league trend, decided to draft a running back in the first round, and then asked that rookie, Sony Michel, to run for over 300 yards and six touchdowns in three playoff games this year. Michel had the only touchdown in Super Bowl LIII. Contact running backs, when they come at the right price (see: Rams running back C.J. Anderson), can be useful in a version of the NFL where teams are flooding the field with defensive backs and lighter, coverage linebackers that look suspiciously like safeties (see: Rams linebacker Mark Barron).
In 2018, Michel had the 31st highest cap hit among running backs after getting picked at No. 31 overall. Rookie running back Saquon Barkley, meanwhile, was seventh highest paid back in 2018 after going second overall. Fiscally speaking, Barkley was probably worthwhile, but few backs make a general manager look good for drafting a ball-carrier that high. A late-first round back makes sense, even if Anderson, Alvin Kamara or Marlon Mack’s deals provide more bang for the buck.
Any first round running back is sure to stir up hubbub, especially in a draft that seems to be devoid of top-end talent.