After the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft was dominated by linemen and linebackers, the second and third rounds saw teams turn more attention to the pass-catchers and defenders that are so crucial in the passing game.
The first two picks of the second round were cornerbacks, kicking off a day in which 16 defensive backs, 11 wide receivers and six tight ends came off the board.
The Arizona Cardinals, who started things on Thursday by choosing Heisman-winning quarterback Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall pick, were again on the clock at the beginning of the second round on Friday. The Cards used that 33rd overall pick on University of Washington cornerback Byron Murphy.
Depending on who you ask, Murphy is the best cornerback prospect in this draft class. He was voted All-America First Team by a few national outlets, as well as All-Pac-12 First Team. He was MVP of the Pac-12 championship game, when he had two interceptions and took one of them back for a touchdown in the Huskies’ win over Utah.
Murphy left UW to go pro after his redshirt sophomore season. He recorded 58 tackles, four interceptions and one forced fumble in 2018.
At the NFL scouting combine, Murphy measured 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.55 seconds and posted a 36.5-inch vertical leap. He’s not super-fast, but he’s athletic and skilled in coverage. The Cardinals have been searching for an adequate corner to play the on the opposite side of All-Pro CB Patrick Peterson, and may have finally found their man in Murphy.
The second pick of the second round was Temple cornerback Rock Ya-Sin, who went to the Indianapolis Colts.
A former state champion wrestler in high school, the scouting report on Ya-Sin predictably reads that he is tough and physical and likes to hit. He is listed at 6-feet, 192 pounds, and ran a 4.51 in the 40, with a 39.5-inch vertical and 18 bench-press reps of 225 pounds. Ya-Sin played one year for the Owls after transferring from Presbyterian, an FCS-level school.
The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots used a second-rounder on a corner, taking Vanderbilt’s Joejuan Williams with the 45th pick. That was five slots after the Oakland Raiders chose Trayvon Mullen, who played corner for college football’s FBS national champion Clemson Tigers. Mullen was voted Defensive MVP of Clemson’s title win over Alabama; he had an interception, a sack and a forced fumble in that game.
After six cornerbacks were taken in the second round, the first safety to come off the board on Day 2 was Utah’s Marquise Blair, who went to the Seattle Seahawks.
Blair is known as a violent hitter who is sometimes too aggressive, bordering on reckless. Any defensive back who lands in Seattle for the next few years will be compared to a member of the famous “Legion of Boom” secondary that helped the Seahawks win a Super Bowl title in 2015. Blair will probably be judged against the memory of big-hitting former All-Pro strong safety Kam Chancellor.
The second safety chosen in the second round was Delaware’s Nasir Adderley. He is related to Herb Adderley, the Hall of Fame cornerback who won three Super Bowls and five NFL championships playing with the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys in the ’60s and ’70s. Herb Adderley is a first cousin of Nasir Adderley’s grandfather.
The complete list of defensive backs who were picked on Day 2 of the draft:
33. Arizona Cardinals — Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
34. Indianapolis Colts — Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple
39. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Sean Bunting, CB, Central Michigan
40. Oakland Raiders — Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson
45. New England Patriots — Joejuan Williams, CB, Vanderbilt
46. Cleveland Browns — Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
47. Seattle Seahawks — Marquise Blair, S, Utah
48. Houston Texans — Lonnie Johnson Jr., CB, Kentucky
60. Los Angeles Chargers — Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware
61. Los Angeles Rams — Taylor Rapp, S, Washington
63. Kansas City Chiefs — Juan Thornhill, S, Virginia
79. Los Angeles Rams — David Long, CB, Michigan
81. Detroit Lions — Will Harris, S, Boston College
83. Pittsburgh Steelers — Justin Layne, CB, Michigan State
94. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Jamel Dean, CB, Auburn
99. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Mike Edwards, S, Kentucky
The fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds of the draft will be on Saturday.