Let’s go back to the 2018 NFL draft. A year ago it was the year of the quarterback, with four quarterbacks going off the board in the top ten picks. There was persistent talk leading up to the draft that the New York Jets were interested in Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen. When the third pick in the draft came up, the Jets were shocked to find Sam Darnold still on the board. The Jets never expected Darnold would fall to them, and when he did the Jets did not hesitate to select Darnold with a good deal of glee. Several picks later the Buffalo Bills selected Josh Allen, and the AFC East is set up to have these two quarterbacks duel for the next decade or more if they both succeed in the NFL.
Fast forward one year. This year it’s the year of the defensive lineman. Late in the 2019 draft process, rumors surface the Jets are enamored with Ed Oliver, and that Oliver might be the pick if the Jets stay put at #3. Pick #3 comes up, the Jets stay put, and it looks like the Oliver rumors were a smokescreen. The Jets pick Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, largely considered to be the best defensive lineman, and probably the best player, in the 2019 NFL draft. Several picks later the Buffalo Bills select none other than Ed Oliver, widely considered the second best defensive lineman in the 2019 NFL draft, and considered the best by a few draftniks. For the second straight year the Bills take the guy the Jets were rumored to be interested in. Once again the two teams use their first round picks to take highly rated players at the same position. For the second year in a row the Bills take the player the Jets may have been putting out a smokescreen on. Now Williams and Oliver are set up to be forever compared by the fans of the two franchises, just like Darnold and Allen last year.
This makes for some interesting debates for years to come. Which team will wind up being perceived as taking the real deals at quarterback and defensive tackle, and which team will wind up with the pale reflection?