With the NFL combine now behind us, we are steamrolling ahead towards the draft. Teams are left with holes to fill and questions unanswered. The draft provides teams to answer those question, and build for the future.
1. Arizona Cardinals-Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
Kliff Kingsbury’s (presumed) offensive scheme is a perfect fit for the Heisman winner. In the past Kingsbury has made it clear that if he were and NFL team, he would take Murray #1 overall. Fast forward a few months and here we are. I believe that the first year coach will give the keys to the car to a first year Quarterback. Cardinals fans better hope that Murray can reach the pedals.
2. San Francisco 49ers- Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Joey, er, Nick Bosa is an ideal 4-3 defensive end. Much like his brother, he is what you would get if you went into the mind of a defensive coordinator to build a perfect defensive end. This is a huge pickup for the 49ers, as he is widely considered the top overall prospect.
3. New York Jets- Josh Allen, OLB, Kentucky
The Jets are a dumpster fire. Some will argue that they should take the best available player left at #3(Quinnen Williams). However, last year the Jets were abysmal at getting pressure on the quarterback. Step in Josh Allen. One of my favorite prospects in the draft, Allen is much in the mold of a Von Miller. This guy was the focal point of opponents game plans his last season at Kentucky and he still finished with 17 sacks.
4. Oakland Raiders- Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
Williams exploded onto the scene this past season and quickly became one of the most disruptul forces in the country. The Raiders simply lack talent on their defense, so by selecting Williams here at #4 it gives them an anchor in the middle to build around.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State
Who wouldn’t want a 260-lb defensive end who ran a faster 40-time than OBJ? Montez Sweat is one of the players who saw his stock rise after the combine and I believe it will only continue to rise as he has his Pro-day and private workouts for teams.
6. New York Giants- Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
Haskins was long considered to be QB1 in this draft. That was until Murray decided football was his future rather than baseball. Haskins still has good upside to him, and could very easily be taking snaps over Eli by the end of the season.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars- Jawaan Taylor, Tackle, Florida
The Jags will look down the road to Gainesville to fill an impending hole at Right Tackle. Last years starter Jeremy Parnell will be entering the last season of his contract and could be a major candidate for being cut to save some money, especially if Taylor comes in and performs during OTAs.
8. Detroit Lions- Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan
Another team that will look within state to fill a void. Gary is exactly the type of end that Matt Patricia could get behind. Gary is a physical presence that can set the edge and disrupt the passer when rushing. Gary is also another athletic freak on the d-line that this class seems to be full of.
9. Buffalo Bills- D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
I recently wrote a glowing report of Metcalf’s combine performance. I did choose to leave out some of the not so glowing attributes of this athletic specimen, like how he doesn’t bend or cut well. It’s a dirty journalistic practice, I know. So why would The Bills take him so high? Well, because it’s the Bills. That isn’t to say Metcalf can’t have success. He is a big bodied receiver who is a pure vertical threat, which is perfect for Josh Allen. Allen has a cannon of an arm with bad accuracy. Just let him chuck it down field and let D.K. go get it. Problem solved Bills fans.
10. Denver Broncos- Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
A QB even after the Flacco trade? Yup. Elway has a problem with ego so if a quarterback is going to have long term success in Denver it has to be HIS guy. The problem is he’s not very good at drafting the position he played so well. That’s precisely why he’ll take Daniel Jones over the higher upside Drew Lock. Jones is a 6’5″, under the center, drop-back, quarterback. Exactly the kind of guy Elway wants.
11. Cincinnati Bengals- Devin White, LB, LSU
Devin White is perfect LB for the new era of football. While he’s physical against the run and a punisher when he hits, he’s extremely fast and is able to run sideline to sideline. A future linebacking core of Devin White and Malik Jefferson, two guys who run sub 4.5 40-yard dashes will be perfect for combatting the new offensive explosion in football.
12. Green Bay Packers- Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
Whomever is the best pass rusher left at this point in the draft will be wearing the green and yellow of the Packers. Ferrell will be the first of the star studded Clemson defensive line to be taken, as he is the best pass rusher of the bunch.
13. Miami Dolphins- Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
Does a quarterback room of Brock Osweiler , Ryan Tannehill, Luke Falk, and Jake Ruddock not inspire confidence among fans? Well Drew Lock certainly could. Lock is much in the same mold as Mahomes. No I’m not saying he will be Mahomes, but he has a lot of similarities. A disgustingly strong armed guy from an air raid offense, Lock could benefit from a year to learn much like Mahomes did. The question is, will Dolphins fans have the patience with the aforementioned guys to let him?
14. Atlanta Falcons- Ed Oliver, D-Line, Houston
Ed Oliver is one of the more interesting prospects in this years draft. Once considered to be a sure #1 pick, his stock has dropped dramatically. What’s interesting is that it dropped because he shut himself down mid-season after some rifts with his head coach, but people were telling him to not even play the season to protect his draft stock. Oliver’s pro-comp is quite simply Aaron Donald, and again no I’m not saying he is Aaron Donald. He is a versatile lineman who doesn’t have a true home along the line. What he is though is a baller. Just get this guy on the field and he’ll make plays.
15. Washington Redskins- T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
Jordan Reed is a hell of player when he’s healthy. The problem is he’s never healthy. Vernon Davis was a hell of a player too, but that was ten years ago. Hockenson is arguably not even the best tight end from Iowa in this class, but he’s the safest. He’s a physical blocker who is a true offensive weapon.
16. Carolina Panthers- Jonah Williams, OL, Alabama
Cam Newton got hit a lot last year. Like all the time. The Panthers will likely be offensive line heavy in this draft, and Williams will be the headliner. He started all three of his years at Bama and has a lot of versatility along the line as he played both tackle spots, and is viewed as someone who cold move inside with ease.
17. Cleveland Browns- A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
Can you believe the Browns are picking all the way down here at 17? The Browns will likely look the make Baker a little more “dangerous” by giving him a new weapon to throw to. Brown was the best of the receivers at Ole Miss, and he is also a freaky specimen. At 6′ 226lbs with a 4.49-forty time he’s a matchup nightmare.
18. Minnesota Vikings- Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma
Ford will likely come in right away and start somewhere on the right side of the offensive line. His size and physicality allows him to play either guard or tackle. He’s a true hog-mollie that comes on the field with a nasty attitude.
19. Tennessee Titans- Greg Little, OL, Ole Miss
Personally I am not very high on Little. While he posses all the tools to be great I haven’t seen the will to be great from Little. he came to Ole Miss the #1 recruit in the country and was a day 1 starter. Then you just never really heard his name. He was quietly holding his spot at LT. Which is good I guess, he’s not getting called out all the time for giving up sacks, but you’re supposed to know the LT. He’s the cornerstone of the offensive line. The Titans need to do a better job at protecting the banged up Mariota, and Little will likely get the chance to do just that.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers-Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
Will this be the year where the Steelers are finally sick of getting torched on the outside all the time? If it is, and it should be, then Greedy Williams is the best corner in the draft to help them out. It’s a down year for the position overall, but Williams is a true #1 corner.
21. Seattle Seahawks- Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
The Jimmy Graham experiment failed. Pretty miserably at that. Ed Dickson was serviceable for Seattle last year but going forward are he and Nick Vannett enough to give Russell Wilson the safety valve he needs in the redzone and while scrambling around? No probably not. Noah Fant is the higher upside tight end coming out of Iowa I alluded to. Fant is a freak. He’s a wide receiver in tight ends body. As a player he’s, and don’t freak out, Aaron Hernandez. Now I can neither confirm nor deny the Fant is murdering thug, but as far as I know there aren’t any character issues with him. There rarely are with players coming out of Iowa.
22. Baltimore Ravens- Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
I see the Ravens offense as the triple option, but from shotgun. With the release of Alex Collins, there’s a void at running back. Jacobs is probably the most complete back in the draft, and he has an incredible story. It’s worth a google. He’s a hard worker as he proved by working his way up the depth chart at Bama, and won’t be scared of the competition in the running back room of Baltimore, frankly there was more talent he beat out in Alabama.
23. Houston Texans- Andre Dillard, OL, Washington State
Watson needs to be kept upright. He’s already had a few lower body injuries in his career, and is having to run around too much to last long in the league. Dillard is a proven commodity is pass protection thank to playing for Mike Leech at Wazzu. With that however, comes with concerns in his run blocking ability. It’s a chance I’m sure the Texans are willing to take to protect their star QB.
24. Oakland Raiders(via CHI)- Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama
It may not be the Mack that the remaining Raiders fans want to have, but Mack Wilson is a good take to fill the linebacking core. A thumper in the middle, Mack also has the ability to get out and cover tight ends and running backs, to an extent.
25. Philadelphia Eagles- Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
Hollywood Brown is an electrifying receiver he may have not handle being hit well at the NFL level due to his size and stature. But you’d have to catch him first. The Eagles need a receiver to step up for Wentz, who too heavily relies on his tight ends. Brown would give Wentz a deep threat to show off that arm strength.
26. Indianapolis Colts-Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
Wilkins is a high production, high character player that any franchise would love to have. Even at 310lbs he has a special ability to bend and move. Wilkins will give the Colts an interior pass rusher, allowing the Colts to go spend their some of their money elsewhere.
27. Oakland Raiders(via Dal)- Taylor Rapp, S, Washington
Rapp is the top safety in the draft and the Raiders are in dire need of help at the position. He has the ability to move all over the field and gives Gruden a lot of versatility. The Washington product has great instincts, tremendous athletic ability, and hits hard.
28. LA Chargers- Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
The third player of the vaunted Clemson line drafted, Lawrence is a presence in the middle. Like a really, really big presence. At 340lbs he’s able to fill the gaps and hold up against the run. He is also able to rush the pass with his deceptive athleticism. Putting him in the middle to eat double teams will allow Bosa and Ingram to pin their ears back and get after the quarterback, while also letting Derwin James to get down hill against the run.
29. Kansas City Chiefs- Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
The Jim Thorpe winner come sin and fills a huge need for the Chiefs. As much as Mahomes threw the ball all over the field versus everyone else, everyone threw the ball all over the Chiefs defense too. Baker can come in and at least hold his own on one side of the field.
30. Green Bay Packers(Via NO)- Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State
Finally Aaron Rodgers gets a weapon in the first round. Harmon is a big bodied wide receiver who will be perfect for catching all those jump-ball Hail Mary’s in the end zone from Rodgers.
31. LA Rams – Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
This pick would’ve been a safety just a few days ago, but the Rams went out and signed Eric Weddle. They still have some glaring holes in the secondary. Marcus Peters is a riverboat gambler at cornerback, not exactly something you want. Aquib Talib is like 100 years old in corner years, so you have to question how much longer he has left. Murphy can come in and give the Rams a consistent presence on the outside who plays smart, but with great talent and athleticism.
32. New England Patriots- Will Grier, QB, West Virginia
The heir apparent to the Goat, Grier has loads of qualities that the Hooded One looks for in his lead man. Grier is a heady player who is a student of the game. He can talk your ear off about route trees and defensive coverages. While he doesn’t have the strongest down field arm, he has zip on the ball to the outsides, and is a technician when it comes to timing.
Did your team get the player they need? Did your rival get a future star? Only time will tell.