17. New York Giants (from Browns in OBJ trade): A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
The second receiver from Ole Miss to be drafted, while Brown doesn’t have the hype surrounding him like Metcalf, he is the more complete receiver of the two. While Brown isn’t exceptionally great at anything, he is at least average to above average in every aspect of being a receiver. He runs solid routes, had very good hands, and he can line up almost anywhere. With OBJ in Cleveland, the Giants need a reliable, big play receiver. A.J. Brown may be that guy.
18. Minnesota Vikings: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
On paper, the Vikings looked stacked. Their offense and defense both seem legit. And yet, they didn’t even make the playoffs in a year where the Packers were sub-.500. They big issue: the offensive line. If they can get Cousins some time to throw, they could be a dark horse pick to win the division next year. Thus, taking the best offensive lineman left in the draft makes the most sense for them here.
19. Tennessee Titans: Brian Burns, OLB, Florida State
The Titans were close to back to back playoff berths last year. To try to keep up with a division that’s solid from top to bottom, they’ve made a lot of solid moves this offseason. However, they need a true pass rusher to help put them over the top, especially in a division with Andrew Luck, Deshaun Watson, and Nick Foles. Brian Burns is the best pass rusher left on the board and for a lot of the season, he was projected as a top 10 pick. After a solid combine, he’s back to being high on peoples’ big boards. He could be exactly what Mike Vrabel needs to make his team a contender.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
A lot of people expect the Steelers to take a wide receiver in this position after dealing AB. However, the Steelers have had a lot of success in the past ten years with mid to late round receiver picks (Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders, Antonio Brown, Juju Smith-Schuster, etc). The more pressing need is defensive back. Byron Murphy is a very solid option who has been commended for his instincts at the position. With a division sporting Baker Mayfield and OBJ, having a solid secondary is essential.
21. Seattle Seahawks: Garrett Bradbury, C, NC State
The Seahawks take for granted the fact that they have Russell Wilson. His mobility has caused them to essentially ignore the offensive line. That needs to change this draft. They need to protect Russell better because without him, they are a 7 win team at best. They might as well take the best lineman left on the board, which at this point is Garrett Bradbury.
22. Baltimore Ravens: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
The Ravens vowed to be a more balanced offense this year, which means Lamar Jackson will need to throw. If that’s the plan, he needs a weapon. Hollywood Brown is a dynamic receiver who can run solid routes and get open for Jackson. Also, the fact that his cousin is Antonio Brown might make playing for the Ravens all the more sweeter.
23. Houston Texans: Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
Basically everything I just wrote about the Seahawks apply here: Their line is terrible, protect the quarterback because he’s your future, draft the best available guy. For the Texans, that’s Greg Little
24. Oakland Raiders (from Bears in Khalil Mack trade): Jachai Polite, DE, Florida
Polite was a high prospect for almost the entire season. However, his personality and interviews didn’t sit well with NFL teams. As such, his draft stock has been plummeting, to the point that he may not even be a first round pick anymore. That’s why this pick makes total sense to me. Jon Gruden will try to take advantage of Polite’s fading stock and think he’s getting him for a steal at number 24. Plus a guy with serious character flaws is the staple for Oakland players.
-Stephen Brown III (@sbtrey23)