J.D. Bagley, @jdbagley5
For the guys here at Blitzalytics, it’s always draft season. As we’re now just 2 weeks from the end of the regular season, several fan bases already have their eyes set for the offseason, and more specifically the NFL Draft. Free agency is fun and all, but there’s nothing like the thought of your favorite team hitting on the NFL’s next superstar. Here’s what I think teams will do, not what I think they should do:
*Draft order is 2019 standings through Week 15*
1. Cincinnati Bengals (1-13)-
Team needs: QB, IOL, WR, OT
The pick: QB Joe Burrow, LSU
Reasoning: Write in sharpie. This is a no brainer for the Bengals who are set to move on from Andy Dalton after the season. Burrow burst onto the scene in 2019 and has been the best quarterback in college football. He checks nearly every box you want in your franchise signal caller.
2. New York Giants (3-11)-
Team needs: EDGE, LB, CB, WR
The pick: EDGE Chase Young, Ohio State
Reasoning: This selection is obvious as well. Chase Young is the best player in the draft at a position of need for the Giants. Those Super Bowl teams that were able to defeat Tom Brady were built along the defensive line. I think the Giants try to get back to that style with a generational talent available.
3. Miami Dolphins (3-11)-
Team needs: QB, EDGE, OT, CB
The pick: QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
Reasoning: This pick could change depending on the progress of Tua’s recovery throughout the spring, along with many other factors. But, I think it would be really hard for Miami to pass on a quarterback with the kind of talent that Tagovailoa has. Even if he needs some time in 2020 to get healthy and adjust to the NFL, the Dolphins plan was never to win this early in the rebuild. Miami gets their quarterback of the future.
4. Washington Redskins (3-11)-
Team needs: OT, WR, CB, LB
The pick: OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia
Reasoning: Trent Williams has made it clear he won’t play another snap for the Redskins, creating a big hole at left tackle. Insert Andrew Thomas, new blindside protector of Dwayne Haskins. Haskins isn’t mobile enough to survive with a bad offensive line and Bruce Allen has a history of drafting trench players with early picks.
5. Detroit Lions (3-10-1)-
Team needs: LB, CB, IOL, EDGE
The pick: LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson
Reasoning: The Lions defense is lacking a difference maker and Simmons can be just that. The most versatile defender in the class can line up basically anywhere on the field and make an impact. The Lions put out a statement that Matt Patricia will remain the head coach in 2020, and I can see him vouching for a guy like Simmons here.
6. Arizona Cardinals (4-9-1)-
Team needs: OT, EDGE, IDL, IOL
The pick: IDL Derrick Brown, Auburn
Reasoning: After deciding to take Kyler Murray last year over Nick Bosa and Quinnen Williams, the Cardinals need a presence on the interior of the defensive line. Derrick Brown is a massive body that can congest the run game, while also providing an inside pass rush to help out Chandler Jones.
7. New York Jets (5-9)-
Team needs: EDGE, OT, IOL, WR
The pick: OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
Reasoning: If the Jets want to figure out if Sam Darnold is the future, they need immediate help along the offensive line, as they currently rank 30th in adjusted sack %. Wirfs’ value could diminish in some eyes due to the fact he plays right tackle at Iowa, but nonetheless he’s a great prospect and should be a high pick.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-9)-
Team needs: WR, LB, TE, CB
The pick: WR Ceedee Lamb, Oklahoma
Reasoning: My top receiver in the class, Lamb is the prototypical WR 1 in the NFL. At 6’2” 190 lbs, there really isn’t anything he can’t do. Lamb has received comparisons to DeAndre Hopkins, and Jacksonville could absolutely use that type of playmaker to help whoever they decide to roll out at QB in 2020.
9. Los Angeles Chargers (5-9)-
Team needs: OT, CB, IOL, LB
The pick: QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
Reasoning: Philip Rivers’ time with the Chargers is coming to a close and drafting the next franchise quarterback is likely high on their offseason priority list. Even if Rivers is back next year on a short term deal, Herbert can sit and learn for the first half of the season or so, and the Chargers can make the move when the time is right.
10. Denver Broncos (5-9)-
Team needs: OT, CB, S, LB
The pick: CB Jeffrey Okudah, OSU
Reasoning: With Chris Harris Jr. likely to hit free agency after the season, Denver needs a new #1 on the back end to lock down opposing receivers. Okudah is the best corner in this class and can be that guy for Vic Fangio with his elite man to man coverage.
11. Carolina Panthers (5-9)-
Team needs: CB, IOL, S, QB
The pick: S Grant Delpit, LSU
Reasoning: The first to go from LSU’s talented secondary. Grant Delpit can make an immediate impact for Carolina’s defense in need of a playmaker. His tackling has been an issue this year, but Delpit has too much potential and athletic ability to fall far.
12. Atlanta Falcons (5-9)-
Team needs: EDGE, CB, LB, IOL
The pick: CB Kristian Fulton, LSU
Reasoning: The Falcons need secondary help badly and Fulton is the best remaining corner on the board. Stout in man to man coverage, he can “try” to help slow down elite in-division WR’s, Michael Thomas and Mike Evans.
13. Oakland Raiders (6-8)-
Team needs: WR, LB, CB, EDGE
The pick: WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
Reasoning: The Raiders want to run the ball first and foremost, but they have to keep pace with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City offense for the next decade. Adding a talent like Jeudy could open up the entire offense for Derek Carr.
14. Indianapolis Colts (6-8)-
Team needs: IDL, TE, RB, OT
The pick: EDGE A.J. Epenesa, Iowa
Reasoning: This is a steal. An edge rusher isn’t the Colts biggest need, but Chris Ballard sees a guy in Epenesa that’s too talented to pass up here at 15. His production dipped slightly from 2018 to 2019 with an expanded role, but his elite traits make him a 1st round lock. Not to mention Indianapolis has to contain Deshaun Watson for the next decade.
15. Cleveland Browns (6-8)-
Team needs: OT, S, IOL, LB
The pick: OT Jedrick Wills Jr., Alabama
Reasoning: Cleveland’s offensive tackles have been a liability all year long and John Dorsey jumps on the best one available. Baker Mayfield is the nucleus of the Browns franchise and protecting him will go a long way in maximizing his potential.
16. Philadelphia Eagles (7-7)-
Team needs: CB, LB, EDGE, WR
The pick: CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama
Reasoning: There are more talented players on the board here, but the Eagles are so desperate for help at corner that they take the best one available and don’t even think twice about it. Although his over-aggression can hurt him, at 6’2” Diggs can match up with big bodied NFL receivers.
17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-7)-
Team needs: OT, CB, RB, QB
The pick: OT Alex Leatherwood, Alabama
Reasoning: Demar Dotson turned 34 this year, his contract expires at the end of the season, and he’s simply not very good. It’s clear the Bucs need a tackle and Alex Leatherwood is there for the taking. I believe Tampa will resign or franchise tag Jameis Winston so I don’t have them going QB here.
18. Oakland Raiders (6-8) (via CHI)-
Team needs: WR, LB, CB, EDGE
The pick: LB Dylan Moses, Alabama
Reasoning: The Raiders snag two Alabama stars in the 1st round, one on offense and one on defense. Dylan Moses suffered a season ending knee injury before the season, but he showed enough in 2018 that he is deserving of a first round pick. Jaylon Smith and Myles Jack have proven these athletic linebackers can come back from significant injuries and still play at an elite level.
19. Tennessee Titans (8-6)-
Team needs: EDGE, IOL, IDL, TE
The pick: EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson, LSU
Reasoning: Tennessee doesn’t have many real needs on either side of the ball, but you can never go wrong in adding another pass rusher. Chaisson has all the potential in the world but is still a raw prospect after he missed nearly all of 2018 due to a torn ACL.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-9) (via LAR)-
Team needs: WR, LB, CB, TE
The pick: CB C.J. Henderson, Florida
Reasoning: The Jags will likely be looking to replace Jalen Ramsey with a more affordable contract through the draft using their two 1st round picks. Henderson has shown inconsistencies throughout his college career at Florida, but he possesses the length necessary to match up with NFL receivers. Putting on a little more weight during the offseason should be something he prioritizes.
21. Dallas Cowboys (7-7)-
Team needs: CB, S, IDL, EDGE
The pick: IDL Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
Reasoning: This would be a slam dunk pick for Dallas. Badly in need of an interior presence and pass rush, the Cowboys can plug Kinlaw in day 1 and get production. 2018 2nd round pick Trysten Hill hasn’t done much to this point and Dallas can’t afford to wait around, they are ready to win now.
22. Miami Dolphins (3-11) (via PIT)-
Team needs: QB, EDGE, OT, CB
The pick: IOL Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin
Reasoning: Miami’s offensive line is awful and they’ll need to protect Tua coming off his hip dislocation. Taking Biadasz over an offensive tackle here is the better value with no great tackle options left.
23. Miami Dolphins (3-11) (via HOU)-
Team needs: QB, EDGE, OT, CB
The pick: WR Henry Ruggs III, Alabama
Reasoning: Ruggs III brings an element of elite speed that any offense would love to have. Pairing Tua with his college teammate could be one of the best moves this organization has made in years.
24. Minnesota Vikings (10-4)-
Team needs: CB, IOL, IDL, OT
The pick: IDL Marvin Wilson, Florida State
Reasoning: The Vikings roster is solid all around but they could use another interior defensive linemen to pair with Linval Joseph. Marvin Wilson is more of a run stuffer than a pass rusher, but has the potential to develop into a 3 down player some day.
25. Buffalo Bills (10-4)-
Team needs: EDGE, WR, IDL, CB
The pick: WR Tee Higgins, Clemson
Reasoning: Buffalo already has the speedster in John Brown and the underneath slot receiver in Cole Beasley. Adding Higgins at 6’4” would complete the trio giving them a guy who can make contested catches and contribute as a big red zone target.
26. Kansas City Chiefs (10-4)-
Team needs: CB, IOL, RB, LB
The pick: LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma
Reasoning: Murray has had a nice bounce back season after a rough 2018 at Oklahoma. The Chiefs are in need of linebacker help, and with the way the game is changing, Murray’s speed at the position can give KC a sideline to sideline playmaker.
27. New Orleans Saints (11-3)-
Team needs: LB, IOL, WR, QB
The pick: CB Shaun Wade, OSU
Reasoning: If Shaun Wade enters the draft, he could be gone by this pick. But for now, he’s available at 27 and the Saints scoop him up. Known for their fondness of Ohio State products, New Orleans gets a player in Wade who presents versatility in the defensive backfield and could one day be an elite nickel back in the NFL.
28. San Francisco 49ers (11-3)-
Team needs: CB, IOL, S, LB
The pick: S Xavier McKinney, Alabama
Reasoning: The 49ers would’ve loved for Kennth Murray to fall to them here, but instead they get a solid, all around safety with McKinney who played at a high level in the SEC. Getting a little more help in the secondary could make this defense frightening.
29. New England Patriots (11-3)-
Team needs: TE, EDGE, OT, IDL
The pick: IOL Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma
Reasoning: Tom Brady’s lack of pocket escapability is one thing, but New England’s offensive line has deteriorated over the last 2 seasons and it’s proving to be costly here down the stretch. Humphrey has immense measurables for an interior offensive lineman standing 6’5” 316lbs.
30. Green Bay Packers (11-3)-
Team needs: WR, LB, OT, IOL
The pick: WR Laviska Shenault, Colorado
Reasoning: Outside of Davante Adams, the Packers have a bunch of “guys” at receiver that don’t scare an opposing defense. Laviska Shenault would change that, giving them a strong, physical receiver that can also beat defenders with speed over the top. He can lineup anywhere for an offense and has the ability to evolve into a threat in the return game.
31. Seattle Seahawks (11-3)-
Team needs: EDGE, WR, IOL, OT
The pick: EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State
Reasoning: The Seahawks need a pass rusher opposite Jadeveon Clowney, and Ziggy Ansah has not been the answer. Gross-Matos athleticism will likely get him drafted in the 1st round, but he will have to develop better technique throughout his career in order to win one on one against NFL offensive linemen.
32. Baltimore Ravens (12-2)-
Team needs: WR, LB, EDGE, IDL
The pick: EDGE Curtis Weaver, Boise State
Reasoning: Baltimore’s only real weakness is the defensive line after they lost several key players from the front 7 this past offseason. Curtis Weaver is an aggressive pass rusher who dominated at Boise State, racking up nearly 20 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks this year. But, his lack of competition in the Mountain West could push him down some boards.