By: Peter Vandeventer
As we get closer to the draft and the craziness of free agency starts to wind down, we can start to see a more clear path for each NFL team. But a whole lot can still happen within the next month, including a possible change in the draft day.
1. Cincinnati Bengals | Joe Burrow QB
Is there really a discussion here? Burrow seems to be the guy in Cincinnati already and I’m not gonna really waste any time discussing otherwise.
2. Washington Redskins | Chase Young EDGE
There have been rumors about the Redskins possibly taking a QB here to compete with Haskins but it is smokescreen season and that’s what I’ll file that rumor under. Chase is a fantastic talent that arguably had the best season last year in college football, even with Burrow setting record books on fire.
3. Detroit Lions | Jeffrey Okudah CB
With all that’s been going on around the NFL these past few weeks, one that wasn’t surprising is Darius Slay being traded to the Eagles. Even with Trufant being signed by the Lions, they still could use extra help here. Okudah is so fluid and quick with his feet, he definitely should step up into the starting role for whatever team he lands on.
4. New York Giants | Jedrick Wills OT
The Giants can go with literally any of the top 3 tackles here and I would understand it. Each one offers unique skills that are sought after by NFL teams. But for Wills, I just felt that he is so much of a mauler (arguably the best run blocker in the class) which can work well with unleashing Saquon even more which can relieve the stress of Daniel Jones.
5. Miami Dolphins | Tua Tagovailoa QB
Tua or Justin, that’s the age-old question that will not be answered until draft night. I feel Tua is more explosive and therefore the better option for the young and hungry Dolphins team. This is a home run pick for the dolphins, as long as his physical is as good as we’ve been told.
6. LA Chargers | Justin Herbert QB
There have been reports that the Chargers are gonna let it ride in 2020 with Tyrod Taylor but I’m not as confident as most about that situation. He is just gonna hold them over until they have a high draft pick like this year again? The smart move is to take the QB of their future just as Rivers leaves.
7. Carolina Panthers | Derrick Brown IDL
Derrick Brown had a less than stellar combine, to say the least. But the film doesn’t lie and that should account for a lot. The Panthers are rebuilding right now with Newton on the outs and Bridgewater stepping in. Gone is Luke Kuechly and Greg Olsen as well. Brown can be the anchor to the new defensive line alongside Brian Burns.
8. Arizona Cardinals | Tristan Wirfs OT
Wirfs is the most athletic big man that I’ve ever seen, I just thought that I should throw that out there.
Arizona is a bit of a mystery here at #8 because we all expected for them to go receiver but...well, Bill O’Brien helped them out. So instead, it looks like they should solidify their line and none better to help that spread style then Wirfs who can do it all.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars | K’Lavon Chaisson EDGE
A bit of a surprise here but it makes sense. First, Jacksonville loves their LSU players. Secondly, the Jaguars just traded Calais Campbell along with Yannick likely gone. This points to a time of crisis management and just retooling the defense, certainly won't be the first of the draft.
10. Cleveland Browns | Mekhi Becton OT
Becton falling to #10 would be crazy, especially because it would land him in Cleveland. If the Browns can live up to their offseason hype then Becton can help solidify the left side of the offensive line and provide help for Baker and Chubb. It’s an obvious pick, even after signing Conklin to lock down the right side.
11. New York Jets | Andrew Thomas OT
Jets have a lot of needs but protecting your young QB always has to be the most important. Thomas is the last of the top-end lineman and would honestly be a top 7 pick in most other drafts if it wasn’t for this loaded draft class.
12. Las Vegas Raiders | Isaiah Simmons LB
Raiders *stealing* Simmons here would be amazing. The amount of talent in this class is a bit higher than usual which can lead to someone like Simmons who doesn’t have a specific position to fall. Simmons can step into any role the Raiders ask of him and he’ll provide energy, quickness, and toughness...now tell me that that’s not the making of a Raider.
13. San Francisco 49ers | Jerry Jeudy WR
The 49ers picking here is cheating. It isn’t fair for them to be *that* close to winning the super bowl yet they get an extra draft pick and get the best receiver in the class. But that’s how the cookie crumbles. Jeudy can fit perfectly into Shannahan’s offense and work so well schematically alongside Deebo. The stress that will be put on teams with pre-snap motions and movement will make it impossible to stop. They’ll certainly make Jimmy G look good, which he’ll need.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Javon Kinlaw IDL
Kinlaw to the Buccaneers has been mocked out so many times. And that’s rightfully so because they no longer have a need at QB and other available players don’t really fit with the Bucs first round needs. Kinlaw is so explosive and quick, will elevate the defensive play even more.
15. Denver Broncos | Henry Ruggs WR
Ruggs can really finish off the receiver room for Drew Lock and the mile-high Broncos. This isn’t a needs-based pick but rather an attempt to compete with the rest of the AFC West’s offenses. Ruggs 4.27 40 is still very insane and will keep him higher on draft boards.
16. Atlanta Falcons | CJ Henderson CB
With Trufant out of town, the Falcons need to bring in a CB1. Enter CJ Henderson. Ignoring his tackling issues, for the time being, allows for you to appreciate his great of a skillset he has. He plays the ball well and can make plays. But the tackling issues are so important in the league now. But I’m sure that’s an issue teams can overlook and teach into him
17. Dallas Cowboys | Kristan Fulton CB
WIth Henderson off the board, we are going to see a run on corners here. Corners are a premium across the NFL so if you can find one that you like then you have to get it. With Byron Jones getting his page checks from Miami now, the Cowboys are desperately in need of a corner. Fulton is one of the top corners and can step into the Cowboy secondary and play. He fits the need and plays the part. A physical corner who will excel in man defense will certainly project well.
18. Miami Dolphins | Josh Jones OT
Miami spending another first-round pick on the offense is important. Operation protects Tua is full go. Josh Jones is in a bit of his own tier tackle wise, and could likely be the only tackle available mid to late 1st that isn’t considered a reach.
19. Oakland Raiders | Jeff Gladney CB
Jeff Gladney is a perfect fit for Oakland. I love his play and he tested well too. He will upgrade the Raider secondary and can help be a leader of the defense. High character players seem to be the new Raiders calling card and you get it here with Jeff. A bit of a shocker at #19 but that isn’t the first shock that Mayock has pulled on us all.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars | Noah Igbinoghene CB
Jacksonville is still in the process of trying to soothe the mess that they made this offseason. The Jaguars went from two great corners to none, so surely a corner is in their cards, right? Noah is a bit of a late bloomer and has been shooting up draft boards, interesting to see where teams see him though.
21. Philadelphia Eagles | CeeDee Lamb WR
Give Wentz some actual targets! The Eagles made the best of the situation but that won’t be enough next season. Lamb can quickly become Wentz’s best friend and take carry a high volume of targets along the way. This, of course, is what they need right now, someone who will catch the ball...anyone. Lamb is a steal this late in the first round and will completely turn that offense around.
22. Minnesota Vikings | Justin Jefferson WR
Minnesota traded Diggs away to the Bills and that left a bit of a whole a receiver outside of Thielen. Going with Jefferson here allows for another good receiver on a cheaper contract. Jefferson can fill Diggs whole nicely, not completely. Burrow had a great season with Jefferson and I think the Vikings hope that he can become Cousins’ best-friend too.
23. New England Patriots | Jordan Love QB
Without pulling any trades, it’s hard to see Jordan Love fitting into any of the teams after the Chargers. Thankfully there will be trades draft night and the Patriots don’t get Love after losing Brady. There shouldn’t be a reason for Love to actually fall out of the top 15 and it’s possible that the 49ers pick is the place to go for anyone who wants to pry Jordan Love out of the Patriot’s grasp.
24. New Orleans Saints | Patrick Queen LB
Saints are Bucs are competing for the division and the Saints have made several moves defensively to keep up the insane offense of the Bucs. Another move is to tighten up the LB room. Enter Patrick Queen. Queen is instinctive and a blast to watch. Good in pass coverage is important in the division and can rush the passer when needed.
25. Minnesota Vikings | A.J. Epenesa EDGE
Everson Griffen’s tenure as a Viking is sadly over...but enough about the past. A.J. had a bit of an underwhelming combine performance but not many expected him to test great. But that still means he likely falls a little. Luckily for the Vikings, they can fill their hole at pass rusher with Mr. Epenesa. He’ll get after the QB with great power and strong hands. And standing at 6’6” makes it extremely hard for opposing lineman to contain him. He’s a good replacement for the departed Griffen.
26. Miami Dolphins | Cesar Ruiz IOL
Ruiz is the best interior lineman in the draft and can play all three positions but he’s best at center. Ruiz can be an impact starter for the Dolphins team that will do everything you ask him. He can pull if you want and he has the versatility like I just mentioned. Operation protect Tua is going good so far, and especially when you add the other additions they’ve made.
27. Seattle Seahawks | Yetur Goss-Matos EDGE
Jadeveon Clowney has yet to sign with anyone but even if he goes back to Seattle, you still have to expect them to go pass rush. Seattle had a poor year rushing the passer and the more bodies now, the marrier. Yetur has the length and size for Seattle that they love. And pairing him with the other pieces already in place can help him grow into a pretty good defensive end.
28. Baltimore Ravens | Denzel Mims WR
Last year, Lamar Jackson was missing a big body target that will go up and make any catch...Well, I think Denzel Mims is the perfect target for just that. This will open the offense of the Ravens even more (if possible) and can elevate Lamar’s play (if possible) and build off of their ‘19 season (yes, it’s possible).
29. Tennessee Titans | Zack Baun EDGE
Clowney could either go to Seattle or Tennessee, but as of now, I think both teams need to take a look at a pass rusher. Baun can fit well into the Titan defensive front and can hunt the passer which will be needed with the loss of Casey and Wake. There aren’t a whole lot of wholes on this Titans defense but you can ALWAYS have more pass rush.
30. Green Bay Packers | Ross Blacklock IDL
Packers can go with a lot of different players here but I went with one of the best available. Blacklock is so well rounded with his ability to rush the passer and stop the run. Taking Blacklock can sure up the whole they have and build one of the best defensive lines in the NFL. That sounds like something that I’d get behind.
31. San Francisco 49ers | Xavier McKinney SAF
McKinney fits well with the 49ers and can compete (and take) a starting safety position for the defending NFC Champs. Great skillset player who will make plays for an already ferocious defense..watch out NFL.
32. Kansas City Chiefs | Jaylon Johnson CB
Jaylon Johnson isn’t covered by many so it might be a put of a surprise but the Utah Ute constantly played high-quality football for the Utes and was left on an island of his own most of the time. Going CB for the Chiefs would upgrade the defense. Not much they can do offensively but defensively, they can go several places. After losing Kendall Fuller, the hole left at corner is the most glaring. With Johnson, however, they are getting one of the better cover corners in the league.
Still, a lot to be had free agency wise but I think a lot of teams have begun to close in on their favorite options in the draft, but this will be a fun last month before the draft.