By Wide Right
The second biggest event on the NFL calendar is upon us. The NFL Draft, behind only the Superbowl, may be seen as more relevant due to the fact that it involves all 32 teams. Tens of thousands of fans will attend their favourite team’s arena simply to watch proceedings on a giant screen with their like-minded devotees to discuss who their pick should be as well as listing the many reasons the player the team ended up choosing is wrong.
Let’s start with some background for the uninitiated. How did we get here? Well, there are nearly 800 colleges and universities in America with a football program. 130 of these make up Division 1 of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Colleges recruit the best high school players from around the country with the best players looking to go to the schools with the best football programs, the best academics or a mixture of both. Of the nearly 75,000 student athletes playing college football, 255 of these will hear their names called out in the NFL Draft over the next three days. For many, it is the culmination of a lifetime of hard work and discipline.
A C-grade average across all subjects is a requirement for students to be allowed to compete and the vast majority of players enter the NFL with undergraduate qualifications. Seriously, I can hear the cynics among you chortling from my place! Ok, not all degrees require the same level of commitment but it’s a system I believe is designed to offer the students the best chance at life after the game. Despite a maximum 107,000 seat stadium (The Big House at the University of Michigan) being sold out on a weekly basis, college players do not get paid for the four or five years they are playing and many players have children of their own by the time they graduate so making it to the NFL is life-changing.
As an aside, I am a believer in increasing the AFL draft age. My preference would be to 21 but there is sense in a move to at least 20. Playing professional sports is hugely demanding and the pressure is constantly increasing as more and more money is brought into the system. Generally speaking, 18-year olds today are very different people to 18 year olds 30 years ago. I think two or three years out of the junior system, playing against men and earning a living outside of football is the best preparation a young player can have to deal with not only a professional sporting life, but more importantly the decades of life that follow. This is why I believe the American system is a good one (unlike their Justice system, their Health Care system, their Government system, no wait, sorry, I promised Scott I wouldn’t do that!)
So how does a team nail the draft? Each of the 32 NFL teams have a number of scouts and recruiters that are constantly looking at college players and even NFL players on other teams that might improve their team. In the AFL, players can be broken up into small forwards, tall forwards, small defenders, tall defenders, mids and rucks. On an NFL team, there are around 25 specialist positions that are not very interchangeable. Even players that have played mostly at left offensive tackle can struggle moving to right offensive tackle. Therefore, it is never as easy as picking the “best player on the board”.
A team will have certain needs that they need to fill. The most important of these is Quarterback. Generally, teams that are picking early are doing so because they struggled last season and they may therefore be looking for an upgrade at Quarterback. It is possibly the most analysed position in sports as teams can live or die on the performance of their signal caller. Getting the best player at the position of most need for your team is a delicate balance and we often see a high number of live trades during the draft as each club looks to get the best value for their pick.
In order to assist decision makers with this process, college players are poked, prodded and scrutinised to within an inch of their lives by team doctors, coaches and management in the lead up to the draft. For instance, depending of the severity, a criminal offence may be enough of a red flag to drop a player down several rounds in the draft or out of it entirely. Half a second in the 40 yard dash could equate to a similar fall for a wide receiver or cornerback prospect. Many of the young men selected over the weekend will become instant millionaires but their real journey is only just beginning as they adapt their bodies to a 16 game season against the very best in the world.
Having said all of that, what is your favourite team going to do on draft weekend? Let’s take a quick look at each franchise:
Team needs: DL, LB, OL, CB, TE
First Pick: Number 8 Overall
Prospect Fits: Isaiah Simmons (LB, Clemson); Tristan Wirfs (OL, Iowa); Derrick Brown (DT, Auburn)
Comments: While it’s not the highest priority for the Cardinals as their D was atrocious last season, the way I see the draft falling is that the talent at Offensive Tackle available will be too hard to pass up. I see the red birds taking Wirfs and solidifying their beef up front in order to get the best of both Kyler Murray and De’Andre Hopkins. I am a big fan of Big Ten linemen and Iowa seems to be a solid breeding ground for tackles of late.
Team needs: DL, LB, CB, RB
First Pick: Number 16 Overall
Prospect Fits: CJ Henderson (CB, Florida); Javon Kinlaw (DL, South Carolina); Kenneth Murray (LB, Oklahoma)
Comments: It’s Defense, defense, defense for Atlanta as they simply must get better on that side of the ball. I don’t believe Henderson will be available at pick 16 so look for the Falcons to trade up to get him. If they sit pat, they should be more than happy to get a major disruptor on the defensive line in Kinlaw.
Team needs: LB, DL, OL, TE
First Pick: Number 28 Overall
Prospect Fits: Zach Baun (LB, Wisconsin); Patrick Queen (LB, Florida); Yetur Gross-Matos (DL, Penn State)
Comments: Both Baun and Queen are on the smaller side for Linebackers and it would be “A Kind Of Magic” if Queen was still around at pick 28 (see what I did there?). If Queen is indeed gone, Baltimore will still find “Somebody To Love” (again, huh? huh?) in the form of Baun or Gross-Matos. The Penn State defensive end was a beast last year and if whispers are true and Matt Judon gets traded, I suspect this will be the pick. The Ravens may also have first crack at Running Backs at this spot too.
Team needs: RB, CB, LB, OL
First Pick: Number 54 Overall
Prospect Fits: Trevon Diggs (CB, Alabama); A.J. Epenesa (DL, Iowa); Jonathon Taylor (RB, Wisconsin)
Comments: My beloved Buffalo Bills are in an awkward spot, waiting until the end of the second round to make their first pick. Patience will be key. A lot of players they love will be off the board and it would be smart to resist the urge to over-reach and trade up. I don’t know if Epenesa will still be around but he would be a good complement to the two ageing ends on Buffalo’s defensive front. The Bills sent their first round pick to the Vikings for WR Stefon Diggs so taking his little brother to slot in across from Pro-Bowler Tre’Davious White not only makes sense but would be great to watch at practice each week. Taylor is a machine at RB and would give Buffalo a stout young backfield.
Team needs: CB, DL, OL, OL
First Pick: Number 7 Overall
Prospect Fits: Derrick Brown (DL, Auburn); Isaiah Simmons (LB, Clemson); C.J. Henderson (CB, Florida)
Comments: Carolina have been decimated and will be hitting the reset button in a major way. With most starters either retired or gone to Buffalo, I expect Carolina to trade down multiple times in this draft to amass a bevy of picks in order to fill the numerous holes on their roster. If they stay at 7, I think Simmons would make a great asset, in that he has played a number of defensive positions at college level and offers a rare blend of versatility and elite output.
Team needs: CB, LB, QB, WR
First Pick: Number 43 Overall
Prospect Fits: Noah Igbinoghene (CB, Auburn); Jeremy Chinn (LB, Southern Illinois); Denzel Mims (WR, Baylor)
Comments: Another team that can have the first night of the draft off, Chicago don’t pick until 43. They will have missed the first-round run on wide receivers and corners but Igbinoghene would be a good replacement for Prince Amukamara. Chinn could be brought in as a LB/S hybrid to cover the loss of Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix. As you can tell, Chicago will be drafting for needs on defense but if they decide to look to the other side of the ball, Mims is an intriguing taller prospect at receiver.
Team needs: QB, LB, OL, WR
First Pick: Number 1 Overall
Prospect Fits: Joe Burrow (QB, LSU); Justin Herbert (QB, Oregon)
Comments: The pick will be Burrow. Cincy set themselves up at QB for the next decade and start to work on their other deficiencies.
Team needs: DL, LB, OL, WR
First Pick: Number 10 Overall
Prospect Fits: Andrew Thomas (OT, Georgia); CeeDee Lamb (WR, Oklahoma)
Comments: I think the Dawgs will look to trade this pick. If they keep it, look to them filling a need at left tackle. Thomas is a top ten player in this draft and the Browns represent the floor at which he will be picked. If the Browns choose to trade Odell Beckham Jr then Lamb might be considered as a replacement.
Team needs: CB, DL, S, WR
First Pick: Number 17 Overall
Prospect Fits: K’Lavon Chaisson (DL, LSU); C.J. Henderson (CB, Florida); Xavier McKinney (S, Alabama)
Comments: The loss of Robert Quinn in Free Agency hurts. Look for the ‘Boys to replace him with Chaisson. As long as The Big D’s doctors are comfortable with his ACL that he tore in 2018, he brings game changing athleticism to the position. Dallas may also try to plug some holes at the back end of their defense and Henderson (if still available) or McKinney would do this nicely.
Team needs: CB, LB, OL, WR
First Pick: Number 15 Overall
Prospect Fits: Henry Ruggs III (WR, Alabama); Kenneth Murray (LB, Oklahoma); Justin Jefferson (WR, LSU)
Comments: Drew Lock is desperate for some more help from his receivers and whilst it doesn’t present the most pressing need, I see the Broncos going with a wideout here. It is the deepest position in this draft but the talent around this pick will be too much for John Elway to dismiss. Ruggs and Jefferson are both capable of lining up outside or in the slot. Ruggs boasts the better speed of the two and offers more in the return game as well but Jefferson is an elite route runner who enjoys getting right up in the cornerback’s face before making his breaks. Murray would help Denver solidify the center of their defense that has been lacking in athleticism and leadership for several years.
Team needs: CB, DL, OL, RB, WR
First Pick: Number 3 Overall
Prospect Fits: Jeff Okudah (CB, Ohio State); Derrick Brown (DL, Auburn)
Comments:The closer one gets to the top of the draft, the more confidence one has in the selection. Despite the Lions being linked to Brown in recent days, the top cornerback in a strong class is very tempting, especially for a team with a glaring need at the position. The real question becomes whether Lions management have the grapes to trade down two or three spots and still get him?
Green Bay Packers
Team needs: CB, LB, OL, WR
First Pick: Number 30 Overall
Prospect Fits: Denzel Mims (WR, Baylor); Brandon Aiyuk (WR, Arizona State); Zach Baun (LB, Wisconsin)
Comments: Mims is a player that is difficult to get a read on. Despite being a genuine option in the first round, I’ve heard some say he’s a day 3 pick! Personally, I would take Aiyuk as he is more of a known quantity. He won’t able able to run an NFL route tree from day 1 as Tony Dungy didn’t ask it of him at Arizona State but the routes he does run he runs with aggression and crispness. I see him being a playmaker at the next level. The elephant in the Green Bay Draft Room is the number 37. That’s how old Aaron Rodgers will be halfway through this season. A team will always try and avoid needing to pick a QB and this might be the year they bring in their next guy for down the road. If so, this might be where Jordan Love from Utah State lands. I have every confidence that he will continue Green Bay’s tradition of great QB’s because I think the knocks on him are coachable. He throws into traffic too often and extends plays too long with his athleticism. Physically, he is off the charts and has a cannon for an arm. Sitting behind Rodgers for a year or two would allow Green Bay to teach him patience in the pocket and when to throw the ball away.
Team needs: DL, LB, WR, OL
First Pick: Number 40 Overall
Prospect Fits: De’Andre Swift (RB, Georgia); A.J. Epenesa (DL, Iowa); Justin Madabuike DT, Texas A&M)
Comments: Running Back isn’t a desperate need for Houston, particularly after losing so many pieces on defense in the last couple of years, but the cream of the ball carriers will be there for Houston at 40 and Swift would complement David Johnson nicely in the backfield. Epenesa is another player that is difficult to get a read on. He was productive at Iowa but barely showed up to the Combine. Different teams will have him at wildly different spots on their Big Boards. Madabuike is the big bodied defensive tackle that Houston needs. He may not get to the QB all that much but he is an elite run stopper which is the primary role of the interior D-Line anyway.
Team needs: QB, TE, WR
First Pick: Number 34 Overall
Prospect Fits: Tee Higgins (WR, Clemson); Jordan Love (QB, Utah State); Brandon Aiyuk (WR, Arizona State)
Comments: Philip Rivers is 38 and on a 1 year deal. Do the Colts bring in his replacement (Love?) or get him a weapon to maximise his unquestioned abilities this season? While the WR class is deep in this draft, the Colts are picking in an awkward spot to catch the run on receivers expected to take place through the middle of the first round. Having said that, Higgins and Aiyuk represent two playmakers that might have easily been first round picks in years past. If the Colts look to the future, Love would have to come into consideration. As with Green Bay, he would have an elite veteran to learn behind before being asked to command the huddle.
Team needs: CB, DL, LB, RB
First Pick: Number 9 Overall
Prospect Fits: Makhi Becton (OL, Louisville); Jeff Okudah (CB, Ohio State); Derrick Brown (DL, Auburn)
Comments: The Jags have lost a lot of key personnel recently and are beginning what looks like a very tricky rebuild. They could go in any number of directions with this pick and I believe their selection will largely be determined by what happens in front of them. I think they would be stoked if Okudah fell to them as he will fill a real need for their defense, as would Derrick Brown along the D-Line. Protecting a young QB is paramount, which is why the big cats might crane their necks and look up to the 6″7’ 350 pounder in Becton. This guy moves incredibly well for a skyscraper and would allow Cam Robinson to slip inside to Guard and thus improve two spots with one hit.
Kansas City Chiefs
Team needs: CB, LB, RB, OL
First Pick: Number 32 Overall
Prospect Fits: A.J. Terrell (CB, Clemson); Ross Blacklock (DL, TCU); Cesar Ruiz (OL, Michigan)
Comments: The reigning Superbowl champs will round out the first night of the draft with pick 32. Cornerback is a serious need for the Chiefs and was so prior to them losing Kendall Fuller to the Redskins. Terrell was well-coached at Clemson and knows what it takes to succeed. A reasonable tall CB prospect with good speed and above average ball awareness, he would make an excellent complement to Bashaud Breeland on the other side. Andy Reid is my kind of coach. He loves to reinforce the trenches and there should be ample opportunity for him to do just that with his first pick, whichever side of the ball he feels is a priority. Blacklock would be an instant upgrade on the defensive front, whereas Ruiz would be a plug and play on the interior of the O-Line from day 1.
Las Vegas Raiders
Team needs: CB, DL, LB, WR
First Pick: Number 12 Overall
Prospect Fits: CeeDee Lamb (WR, Clemson); C.J. Henderson (CB, Florida); Isaiah Simmons (LB, Clemson)
Comments: If Henderson is still available at this point, I honestly believe Mike Mayock will be running to the phone to make the pick. The Raiders are in desperate need of someone to man the corners of their new home in Sin City and Henderson would be a no-brainer. Similarly with Simmons, I don’t think he falls this far but would be a huge steal at 12 in a position of need. I think this is the area in the first round of the draft where teams will want to be getting their receivers and CeeDee Lamb seems to have been created in a lab for the sole purpose of playing football in Las Vegas. It’s just simply a great fit.
Los Angeles Chargers
Team needs: QB, LB, OL, RB
First Pick: Number 6 Overall
Prospect Fits: Justin Herbert (QB, Oregon); Isaiah Simmons (LB, Clemson); Jedrick Wills (OL, Alabama)
Comments: The Chargers have to go QB, don’t they? Surely? Maybe? Who knows? My guess is that they will trade up (I’m looking at you here, Detroit!) and take Herbert. Tua may be in the conversation, particularly if his hip gets the medical all clear, but I think Herbert is their target, keeping him on the West Coast. Simmons would fill a hole at Linebacker and Wills would certainly start day 1 along the O-Line but when you are picking in the top 10, the plan is to draft players that will help you to NOT pick in the top 10 in the future. I think Herbert will be the next QB for the Bolts.
Los Angeles Rams
Team needs: DL, OL, CB, WR
First Pick: Number 52 Overall
Prospect Fits: Cameron Dantzler (CB, Mississippi State); Ross Blacklock (DL, TCU); Jalen Raegor (WR, TCU)
Comments: I like Blacklock for this pick because the Rams never really replaced Ndamakong Suh with anything special (in much the same way they didn’t replace their logo with anything special – it’s actually pretty horrible). I would rate Blacklock a steal at this point but concerns over his durability could easily force him down this far. Like Suh, Blacklock is ferocious off the line and is a genuine pocket crusher. If the Rams look further downfield to the secondary, then Dantzler is an underrated CB that could provide instant value. Despite sounding like a dragon, Raegor is more of a jack-of-all-trades receiver. Offensive Co-Ordinators love his skill set and have a lot of fun designing plays around them.
Team needs: QB, LB, OL, RB
First Pick: Number 5 Overall
Prospect Fits: Justin Herbert (QB, Oregon); Tua Tagovailoa (QB, Alabama); Tristan Wirfs (OL, Iowa)
Comments: When you are picking at 5 and need a QB, you pick a QB. Simple? I’ve heard recent reports that Offensive Tackle may be in play for this pick and as a Bills fan (taking on Miami twice per year), I certainly hope they make that mistake. Whispers are that Miami are fawning over both QB’s behind Burrow so they can sit back here at 5 and let, say, the Chargers jump up and get their guy. In that scenario, I think the Chargers get Herbert and the ‘Fins take Tua; a great decision maker who can use his eyes to confuse safeties. Although he played mostly from the shotgun in college, his preference is to remain in the pocket rather than run, although he has the agility to do so should he need to.
Team needs: CB, WR, DL, OL
First Pick: Number 22 Overall
Prospect Fits: Jaylon Johnson (CB, Utah); K’Lavon Chaisson (DL, LSU); Jaelen Raegor (WR, TCU)
Comments:The Vikings need help at corner in the worst possible way, having lost several in the cull that allowed them to retain Kirk Cousins at QB. The Vikings are reportedly in love for Henderson, but that would require a significant trade up. Jaylon Johnson is a tough player with great hands and would be an instant upgrade to the Viking secondary. Pick 22 is a bit of a wasteland for tackles so the Vikings may look to the other side of the ball and if Chaisson is available he would be hard to pass up, particularly after losing Everson Griffen. Raegor is another prospect that could hear his name called out on Friday, Saturday or Sunday but there is no doubting his versatility in the passing attack.
New England Patriots
Team needs: QB, TE, WR, DL
First Pick: Number 23 Overall
Prospect Fits: Cole Kmet (TE, Notre Dame); Jordan Love (QB, Utah State); Adam Trautman (TE, Dayton)
Comments: Even though it is pick 23, I am calling this one: Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame. No other team has a glaring need for a tight end and the Patriots get first crack. I think Kmet beats out Trautman narrowly, simply on strength of opposition. The jump from Dayton to New England is a steep one. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Bill Belichick move out of this spot, because that is what he does. He may move up for one of the 3 top QBs (there is something of a need there now) or he may move down to accumulate second round picks. If the Patriots stay at 23, however, Kmet makes more sense in that spot than any other pick on the Board.
New Orleans Saints
Team needs: LB, QB, CB, OL
First Pick: Number 24 Overall
Prospect Fits: Kenneth Murray (LB, Oklahoma); Jaelen Raegor (WR, TCU); Ross Blacklock (DL, TCU)
Comments: Linebacker is probably the only area one could argue the Saints need reinforcement. Kiko Alonso (an absolute star during his brief run in Buffalo) has now had three ACL tears. Whilst Murray is not an ideal fit to replace Alonso at Inside Linebacker, the super-athletic Murray would offer the Saints a sideline-to-sideline presence with Demario Davis on the other side. Raegor and Blacklock would be seen as future starters to replace ageing players on this very strong list. The Saints could look for a successor to Drew Brees, who is probably into his last season, but the Saints are in win-now mode and should bring in players that will help them reach the top this season and give Brees a memorable send off in Nyawlins.
New York Giants
Team needs: OL, WR, DL, LB
First Pick: Number 4 Overall
Prospect Fits: Isaiah Simmons (LB, Clemson); Tristan Wirfs, (OL, Iowa); Andrew Thomas (OL, Georgia)
Comments:As mentioned earlier, protecting a young QB is paramount and Dave Gettleman is known to favour drafting in the big uglies up front nice and early. I am fairly confident that this pick will either be a Tackle or a trade down. Simmons’ versatility on the defensive side would be the only nagging question mark in Gettleman’s mind. Wirfs and Thomas are very similar tackles. Both are stout at the point of contact and both are excellent run blockers. Of the four tackles at the top of the draft, I think the G-Men will look to run blocking as the key metric, given the presence of former Penn State standout Saquon Barkley at Running Back. If I had to choose, I’d lean towards Wirfs simply because I believe in Big 10 linemen.
New York Jets
Team needs: WR, DL, CB, OL
First Pick: Number 11 Overall
Prospect Fits: C.J. Henderson (CB, Florida); Mekhi Becton (OL, Louisville); CeeDee Lamb (WR, Oklahoma)
Comments: Where do we start? The Jets would love a lot more picks early on to address their issues as there are quite a few of them. Henderson would be a home run for the Jets and give them a presence in the secondary that they have lacked since Darrelle Revis was in town. Becton would certainly help Sam Darnold in his development by literally giving him a wall to throw over. The Jets may also want to look to who it is that Darnold is throwing the ball to. Lamb would become a fan favourite in New Jersey (yes, that is where the Jets and the Giants both play! Don’t get me started!).
Team needs: OL, WR, LB, CB
First Pick: Number 21 Overall
Prospect Fits: Justin Jefferson (WR, LSU); Kenneth Murray (LB, Oklahoma); A.J. Terrell (CB, Clemson)
Comments:The Eagles will probably look for an upgrade along their O-Line, after losing two valuable starters at the tackle position. This is an awkward spot to be wanting a tackle, however, and the Eagles may be forced to make a serious move if they hope to get one of the top 4 tackles in the draft class. They may look to add speed on the outside with Justin Jefferson who is a Bulldog around the ball. If he is in range, he will fight tooth and nail to bring the ball down. Defensive concerns may be addressed also with Murray at Linebacker or Terrell at corner. Most pundits seem to think that receiver is the most likely pick if they remain at 21.
Team needs: OL, DL, RB, CB
First Pick: Number 49 Overall
Prospect Fits: Lloyd Cushenberry (OL, LSU); Cam Akers (RB, Florida State); Yetur Gross-Matos (DL, Penn State)
Comments: The Steelers will likely be spectators through most of the first half of the draft, with only one selection (#49) being in the top 100 picks. They will really want to hit on this pick then. I think Cushenberry would be a great selection for the interior of the Steelers O-Line. Bringing in former Nittany Lion Stefan Wisniewski at Guard was a smart move but bringing in talent behind him might prove to be even more valuable. Akers is a beast at Running Back and would give the Steelers options at that position. Gross-Matos is another former Nittany Lion who comes in hard off the edge and would help to shore up one side of the defensive front. He would be a steal at this point in the draft.
San Fransisco 49ers
Team needs: WR, OL, DL, CB
First Pick: Number 13 Overall
Prospect Fits: Justin Jefferson (WR, LSU); Jerry Jeudy (WR, Alabama); Javon Kinlaw (DL, South Carolina)
Comments:The 49ers would love to replace Emmanuel Sanders who has headed to the Saints. Jefferson, Jeudy and Ruggs would all make sense here. If the run on receivers starts early, however, then Kinlaw would give the 9ers an instant upgrade along the defensive front. Even with the elite receivers still on the Board, I can see San Fransisco moving down from this spot, as they have no picks between Rounds 2-4. There will still be playmakers available later in the first round or even at the top of the second round, depending how far the team is prepared to go to stockpile picks.
Team needs: DL, OL, RB, S
First Pick: Number 27 Overall
Prospect Fits: Yetur Gross-Matos (DL, Penn State); Trevon Diggs (CB, Alabama); Austin Jackson (OL, USC)
Comments: Trying to figure out what the Seahawks will do is pretty easy. They will trade down. Why? Because they always do. They love to pick up draft picks in the second and third rounds. If they were to stay at 27, they would do worse than taking a close look at Gross-Matos. The ‘Hawks D just couldn’t get to the passer last season and this is a hole that needs addressing. They may roll the dice in the hope of picking him up in the second round and this is Seattle, so let’s just assume that is what will happen. Trevon Diggs would be another intriguing consideration to help bolster a secondary that has fallen from grace since the “Legion of Boom” days. Again, Seattle are more likely to take a chance on getting him in the second round.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Team needs: OL, RB, DL, QB
First Pick: Number 14 Overall
Prospect Fits: Jerry Jeudy (WR, Alabama); Makhi Becton (OL, Louisville); Derrick Brown (DT, Auburn)
Comments: It’s a nervous position to be in the Melbourne Cup as you make the turn. With half the field in front of you and half the field behind you, destiny is not always in your own hands as moves are being made all around you. Such is life for the Buccaneers picking at 14. They would love to pick up one of the 4 tackles that are top 15 picks but I fear such is their value that they will be gone by the time Tampa is on the clock. They may then turn to the WR position in an effort to just straight out embarrass the rest of the competition. Tampa Bay may be challenging their southern neighbours Miami for the title of “America’s Nursing Home” or “God’s Waiting Room” by bringing in a 43 year old QB and a Tight End that retired from football last year because his body wasn’t up to it. The existing talent at the receiver position is elite, however, and adding a playmaker like Jeudy would send Defensive Co-Ordinators in the NFC South digging deep into their playbooks.
Team needs: LB, RB, OL, CB
First Pick: Number 29 Overall
Prospect Fits: Kristian Fulton (CB, LSU); Isaiah Wilson (OL, Georgia); A.J. Terrell (CB, Clemson)
Comments: The Titans boast the best Running Back in the game in Derrick Henry but he was franchise-tagged this season which is always a concern for General Managers looking to secure a player’s services long-term. A replacement may be needed and 29 would be a good spot to land one of the better backs in this draft. I feel they will look to their defense instead, particularly the secondary where they need help. Fulton or Terrell offer immediate upgrades at cornerback. Of the two, Terrell probably has the better hands downfield whereas Fulton is a heavy hitter in run support.
Team needs: OL, WR, DL, CB
First Pick: Number 2 Overall
Prospect Fits: Chase Young (DL, Ohio State)
Comments: There is really only one prospect we need to discuss at this pick. If Washington stay at this spot (it’s a big IF) then Young is the pick. You don’t easily walk away from drafting the best player in the draft who excels at a position of need. Whilst it may not appear like an immediate need for the Redskins, Ryan Kerrigan is on the final year of his contract and is 32 so adding an elite pass rusher on a rookie deal makes sense in so many ways. Don’t even think about this pick, Washington, go get your guy.
So that’s a look at what is on the cards for those who are stuck at home and choose to enjoy the (muted) spectacle of a virtual NFL Draft. It really is a great event for those of us who follow the game closely and I hope this piece has intrigued you enough to join the party. Let us know in the comments who you think your team should select or for those that are new to the NFL, let us help you find the perfect team for you. I could have made this story 10 times as long but it’s getting close to bedtime. I would usually spend 4 or 5 hours making up my own Big Board of the 300 top players in the draft but with Buffalo not having a first round pick, the desire has waned. Plus I spent all day on this! If you have any questions about the NFL, the Draft or College Football, ask away in the comments and if we can’t answer them, we’ll make up something that sounds convincing.
Happy Draft Weekend!!