With the season nearing its end, I took a look at the upcoming NFL Draft and where teams might look for help. With Joe Burrow and Chase Young theoretically locked into the 1 and 2 slots, how does the draft fall following them?
1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow QB, LSU
Head coach Zac Taylor, previously a quarterback coach with the Rams, has to be drooling over the prospect of selecting Burrow with this pick. Burrow is an accurate passer who, paired with Tyler Boyd and Joe Mixon, should excite Bengals fans.
2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young DE, OSU
Barring any surprises with the number 1 pick, Young should be taken second by the Redskins as they add another front seven piece in the first round for the fourth straight year. Young joins Montez Sweat as the Redskins look to fix a unit that finished the season bottom ten in points allowed, yards allowed and rushing yards allowed.
3. Detroit Lions: Jeffrey Okudah CB, Ohio State
The Lions have a solid quarterback and two very good tackles. I could see the Lions trading out of this pick but if they stay, they address the defensive backfield, a unit that ranked near the bottom this past year. Trey Flowers was the Lions big signing last year and now they address a secondary that could lose Darrius Slay soon.
4. New York Giants: Andrew Thomas OT, Georgia
This should be a no brainer pick for Dave Gettleman. There is absolutely no reason he should mess this up. Get a lock down tackle for your franchise QB and franchise RB to play behind. Thomas is a mauler in the run game and a stud in the passing game who opened up many lanes for D’Andre Swift this past season. Thomas should protect Daniel Jones’ blindside for the foreseeable future.
5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa QB, Alabama
As long as his medicals check out, Brian Flores and the Dolphins should take their QB with this pick. Tagovailoa has been a winner at Alabama and came into this season as the projected no. 1 pick before injury and a big season by Burrow dropped him to this pick.
6. Los Angeles Chargers: Tristan Wirfs OT, Iowa
While he played RT at Iowa, he also has the grace and flexibility to swing over to the left side. Wirfs is also an extremely intelligent and tough player who should shore up an offensive line that struggled with inconsistency and injuries.
7. Carolina Panthers: Derrick Brown DT, Auburn
Brown came into the season as top a 10 pick and cemented those thoughts with another solid showing for the Tiger defense. He consistently wins any way possible. He should be a day one starter for the Panthers and a potential All Pro at the NFL level.
8. Arizona Cardinals: Jedrick Wills OT, Alabama
Last year, Kliff Kingsbury took his franchise quarterback Kyler Murray with the first overall pick before trading away Josh Rosen. This time around, he picks up Wills, an extremely technical and strong player who has drawn comparisons to Jason Peters. If he can come close to that potential, it could make the Cardinals a threat in an extremely deep NFC West.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: CeeDee Lamb WR, Oklahoma
After spending money and draft capital on the quarterback position and defensive side of the ball last year, the Jaguars take Lamb, arguably the number 1 WR in this draft class. With good size at 6’2, 190, Lamb uses his size and length to win contested catches while having good enough speed to create separation. Pairing Lamb with D.J. Chark should give Foles/Minshew a solid pairing on the outside.
10. Cleveland Browns: Grant Delpit S, LSU
Delpit is an absolute animal on the field. Comparable to former LSU DB Tyrann Mathieu, Delpit is extremely versatile, able to line up and cover man to man while having superb range to cover in zone. The only knock on Delpit is tackling as he occasionally resorts to arm tackling. If he shores that up this pick could look like a steal.
11. New York Jets: A.J. Epenesa EDGE, Iowa
The Jets need help on the defensive side. They struggled to get pressure on the quarterback this year and Epenesa fits that need perfectly. He profiles as a 4-3 DE but if he drops a few pounds, he could fit into the Jets defense as a 3-4 edge rusher. Epenesa brings much needed pressure and sure tackling to a Jets unit that desperately needs it.
12. Las Vegas Raiders: Isaiah Simmons LB, Clemson
Simmons is a defensive coordinator’s dream player. He can play safety or linebacker at a high level. With his positional versatility, it is hard to project where he might be taken but I don’t think he makes it past the Raiders if he is available at this pick.
13. Indianapolis Colts: Jerry Jeudy WR, Alabama
Many Colts fans might be clamoring for a QB here and Chris Ballard attended the last few games for Utah State’s QB Jordan Love. However, I believe pairing Jeudy with Hilton and Mack would give Brissett the weapons he needs to succeed.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Justin Herbert QB, Oregon
After Arians’ recent comments about Jameis Winston, this pick would not surprise me at all. Herbert has prototypical size at 6’6 and has all of the physical tools to become a franchise passer. If Arians can lock in Herbert’s decision making, this pick could become a steal in a couple years.
15. Denver Broncos: Henry Ruggs III WR, Alabama
John Elway may have found his franchise passer in Drew Lock. This year, he adds Ruggs to a stable of weapons that already includes Courtland Sutton, Noah Fant and Phillip Lindsay. The Broncos need an offensive unit to keep up with the division rival Chiefs and this pick helps.
16. Atlanta Falcons: Kristian Fulton CB, LSU
The Falcons are a team that struggled against the pass this year and struggled to force turnovers through the air. Fulton will step in immediately and help to relieve those issues. Adding Fulton to a unit that will return Keanu Neal from injury is a big step forward for head coach Dan Quinn’s defense.
17. Dallas Cowboys: K’Lavon Chaisson EDGE, LSU
Demarcus Lawrence underperformed this year after getting a big contract this past offseason and that was the story of the season for the whole defensive line for the Cowboys. Because of that, the Cowboys take Chaisson, an extremely athletic edge rusher who is a beast of a football player and backs it up with his play.
18. Miami Dolphins: Yetur Gross-Matos EDGE, Penn State
The Dolphins have so many holes across the entire team and they fill one with this pick. Gross-Matos has done nothing but produce over the last two years at Penn State, accumulating 34.5 tackles for a loss and 17 sacks.
19. Las Vegas Raiders: Tee Higgins WR, Clemson
The Raiders addressed the defensive side of the ball earlier in the draft and with this pick, they give Derek Carr a big bodied target on the outside in his prove-it year before he can be cut and save the Raiders a lot of money.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevon Diggs CB, Alabama
Diggs didn’t play defense exclusively until his sophomore year at Alabama. He has struggled in off-man but overall, Diggs profiles as a starting boundary corner with comparisons to Aqib Talib. This pick gives A.J. Bouye a running mate across the field after losing Jalen Ramsey to a trade this year.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: C.J. Henderson CB, Florida
The Eagles corners struggled to stay healthy and even when they were, they still struggled against the pass. Henderson brings length and athleticism to a unit that has lacked in that unit. If he adds weight, Henderson could become a solid no. 1 corner in the league.
22. Buffalo Bills: Laviska Shenault Jr. WR, Colorado
The Bills have a very solid defense and they give Josh Allen a weapon in the 6’2 Shenault. He has a unique blend of size, speed and athleticism that allows him to blow past corners while also winning contested catches.
23. New England Patriots: Cole Kmet TE, Notre Dame
When he declared for the draft, Kmet instantly became TE1. Kmet is a good enough blocker but he is a legitimately receiving threat making him a perfect fit in the Patriots scheme.
24. New Orleans Saints: Kenneth Murray LB, Oklahoma
Murray is an extremely athletic off ball linebacker and pairing him with Demario Davis gives the Saints one of the top linebacking pairings in the NFL. He needs to improve in the run game but he will impact the defense immediately.
25. Minnesota Vikings: Javon Kinlaw IDL, South Carolina
The Vikings need help on the front seven after their performance this year and Kinlaw might be one of the better interior defensive lineman prospects in recent memory.
26. Miami Dolphins: Austin Jackson OT, USC
After taking Tagovailoa earlier in the draft, they now take a tackle to protect him for the next few years. He could slide over to RT to protect Tua’s blind side but Jackson is a very athletic tackle that uses technique more than power.
27. Seattle Seahawks: Curtis Weaver EDGE, Boise State
Last year’s first rounder L.J. Collier flopped so Pete Carroll and his staff go back to the well one more time. Weaver is a stoutly built edge rusher who does a good job against both the pass and run. He lacks bend on the outside and may fit in more as a 5-tech.
28. Baltimore Ravens: Justin Jefferson WR, LSU
The Ravens had a historic offense and they improve that unit by giving Lamar Jackson a big target to throw to. Jefferson is an explosive athlete who excels in contested catch situations.
29. Tennessee Titans: Terrell Lewis EDGE, Alabama
Lewis is lengthy and very strongly built with extreme explosiveness to get in the backfield. He fits perfectly in Mike Vrabel’s defensive scheme, adding to an already solid Titans defense.
30. Green Bay Packers: Jalen Reagor WR, TCU
Davante Adams can not do it by himself and Reager gives Aaron Rodgers a legitimate deep threat. He is one of the most explosive receivers in this class and has the speed to take the top off the defense at any given time.
31. Kansas City Chiefs: A.J. Terrell CB, Clemson
The Chiefs passing game was much improved this year but they could use another corner has they go into this offseason with only Charvarius Ward and Rashad Fenton under contract. Terrell profiles as a solid boundary corner allowing Fenton to play the slot, where he excels.
32. San Francisco 49ers: Xavier McKinney S, Alabama
Robert Saleh’s unit has been performing extremely well this year and they add another explosive athlete to that unit. McKinney compares to Minkah FItzpatrick as a do-it-all athlete that roams the field for Nick Saban.