Draft Status of 2019 Super Bowl Starters

By Chris Malumphy

The Los Angeles Rams will likely start seven 1st round draft picks on defense and three on offense in Super Bowl LIII. The New England Patriots will counter with four 1st round draft picks on defense and two or three on offense depending on whether you consider both Philip Dorset and Cordarrelle Patterson likely to start.

All three members of the Rams' defensive line were selected with picks in the top half of the 1st round: Ndamukong Suh (2010, 2nd pick), Aaron Donald (2014, 13th) and Micheal Brockers (2012, 14th). Two of the Rams linebackers were selected within the top seven picks in the draft: Dante Fowler (2015, 3rd) and Mark Barron (2012, 7th). Both Rams' cornerbacks were selected just after the middle of the 1st round: Marcus Peters (2015, 18th) and Aqib Talib (2008, 20th). Five of the seven Rams' 1st rounders starting on defense were originally drafted by other teams: Suh, Fowler, Barron, Peters and Talib. On offense, the Rams' three 1st rounders all play skill positions: quarterback Jared Goff (2016, 1st), running back Todd Gurley (2015, 10th) and wide receiver Brandin Cooks (Saints, 2014, 20th).

As perennial contenders, the Patriots typically have low draft picks, which is reflected in their starting lineup. On defense, the team has a defensive lineman (Malcolm Brown, 2015, 32nd), a linebacker (Dont'a Hightower, 2012, 25th) and a safety (Devin McCourty, 2010, 27th) selected with the 25th pick or later in the 1st round. The Patriots will also start cornerback Stephon Gilmore, selected with the 10th pick in the 2012 draft by the Buffalo Bills. On offense, the only 1st round pick drafted originally by the Patriots is rookie running back Sony Michel (2018, 31st). Wide receivers Philip Dorset (Colts, 2015, 29th) and Cordarrelle Patterson (Vikings, 2012, 29th) were selected in the first round by other teams and were actually only the 4rd and 5th most productive wideouts on the Patriots in 2018 behind Julian Edelman, the now inactive Josh Gordon and Chris Hogan.

Naturally, 1st round draft picks aren't the only players on the field, and they are not always the best, even on their own teams at the same position as the Patriots' wide receivers reflect. But 1st round choices are players generally considered to have superior athletic ability at the time of the draft. Whether they've harnessed that supposed advantage on the professional playing field is another matter. The Rams went all in on filling their 2018 season starting lineup with high round picks which also includes four 2nd rounders on offense, two obtained from other teams, and another on defense. The Patriots are relying to a greater extent on players selected later in draft. With perhaps the best coach of all time in Bill Belichick going against Sean McVay, the rising coaching star in the NFL, Super Bowl LIII will be a match of contrasting team building styles.

Draft Status of Super Bowl Starters
Rams Offense
QBJared Goff2016Rams111QBCalifornia
RBTodd Gurley2015Rams11010RBGeorgia
RBC.J. Anderson2013    RBCalifornia
WRBrandin Cooks2014Saints12020WROregon State
WRRobert Woods2013Bills2941WRUSC
WRJosh Reynolds2017Rams410117WRTexas A&M
TETyler Higbee2016Rams412110TEWestern Kentucky
LTAndrew Whitworth2006Bengals22355 TLouisiana State
LGRodger Saffold2010Rams2133 TIndiana
CJohn Sullivan2008Vikings621187 CNotre Dame
RGAustin Blythe2016Colts727248 CIowa
RTRob Havenstein2015Rams22557 TWisconsin
Rams Defense
LEMichael Brockers2012Rams11414DTLouisiana State
NTNdamukong Suh2010Lions122DTNebraska
REAaron Donald2014Rams11313DTPittsburgh
OLBSamson Ebukam2017Rams419125LBEastern Washington
ILBMark Barron2012Buccaneers177DBAlabama
ILBCory Littleton2016    LBWashington
OLBDante Fowler2015Jaguars133LBFlorida
CBMarcus Peters2015Chiefs11818DBWashington
CBAqib Talib2008Buccaneers12020DBKansas
FSLamarcus Joyner2014Rams2941DBFlorida State
SSJohn Johnson III2017Rams32791DBBoston College
Rams Special Teams
KGreg Zuerlein2012Rams61171 KMissouri Western
PJohnny Hekker2012     POregon State
KRJoJo Natson2017    WRAkron
PRJoJo Natson2017    WRAkron
LSJake McQuaide2011     GOhio State
HJohnny Hekker2012     POregon State
STMicah Kiser2018Rams510147LBVirginia
Patriots Offense
QBTom Brady2000Patriots633199QBMichigan
RBSony Michel2018Patriots13131RBGeorgia
RBJames White2014Patriots430130RBWisconsin
RBRex Burkhead2013Bengals622190RBNebraska
WRJulian Edelman2009Patriots723232WRKent State
WRChris Hogan2011    WRMonmouth
WRPhillip Dorsett2015Colts12929WRMiami (FL)
WRCordarrelle Patterson2013Vikings12929WRTennessee
TERob Gronkowski2010Patriots21042TEArizona
LTTrent Brown201549ers727244 GFlorida
LGJoe Thuney2016Patriots31578 GNorth Carolina State
CDavid Andrews2015    CGeorgia
RGShaquille Mason2015Patriots432131CGeorgia Tech
RTMarcus Cannon2011Patriots57138 TTexas Christian
Patriots Defense
LETrey Flowers2015Patriots42101DEArkansas
DTLawrence Guy2011Packers730233DTArizona State
DTMalcom Brown2015Patriots13232DTTexas
REDeatrich Wise Jr.2015Patriots425131DEArkansas
OLBKyle Van Noy2014Lions2840LBBrigham Young
MLBElandon Roberts2016Patriots639214LBHouston
OLBDont'a Hightower2012Patriots12525LBAlabama
CBJason McCourty2009Titans630203DBRutgers
CBStephon Gilmore2012Bills11010DBSouth Carolina
FSDevin McCourty2010Patriots12727DBRutgers
SSPatrick Chung2009Patriots2234DBOregon
Patriots Special Teams
KStephen Gostkowski2006Patriots421118 KMemphis
PRyan Allen2013     PLouisiana Tech
KRCordarrelle Patterson2013Vikings12929WRTennessee
WRJulian Edelman2009Patriots723232WRKent State
LSJoe Cardona2015Patriots530166 CNavy
HRyan Allen2013     PLouisiana Tech
STMatt Slater2008Patriots518153WRUCLA