Archive for February, 2020

Wide receiver

1. CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma

2. Jerry Jeudy, Alabama

3. Henry Ruggs, Alabama

4. K.J. Hill, The Ohio State

5. Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State

Honorable Mention(s): Jalen Reagor, Michael Pittman, Tee Higgins

I like Lamb a little more than Jeudy because he played on the outside more and dominated. Jeudy thrived primarily as a slot receiver. Both are elite prospects, I just prefer Lamb slightly. K.J. Hill performed well at the Senior Bowl and got involved in the offense even with Terry McLaurin and Johnnie Dixon hogging targets in 2018. Aiyuk is a YAC specialist who outperformed N’Keal Harry, former ASU standout/first round pick. YAC is becoming more of a focal point as teams seem to be focusing on it with the success of players like Deebo Samuel and Alvin Kamara in quick pass offenses. I’m concerned that Laviska Shenault’s not a great fit for a conventional downfield passing attack, though he looks like he could fit in a creative offense like under Kyle Shanahan or Denver with Pat Shurmur. This is a super interesting wide receiver class with guys like Van Jefferson and Antonio Gandy-Golden who could be late round gems on the right team. I definitely feel this is the “wide receiver” draft.

Tight end

1. Harrison Bryant, Florida Atlantic

2. Cole Kmet, Notre Dame

3. Devin Asiasi, UCLA

4. Adam Trautman, Dayton

5. Jared Pinkney, Vanderbilt

Honorable mention(s): Hunter Bryant, Albert Okwuegbunam

The 2020 class doesn’t feel like the strongest tight end class. I am higher on Asiasi than most because of his blocking potential. Adam Trautman and Harrison Bryant both performed well at the Senior Bowl, according to PFF. I felt Bryant’s volume of work at FAU with respected offensive mind Lane Kiffin and his Senior Bowl performance made him the “safest” prospect here. Lance Zierlein described Pinkney as an improved blocker in 2019 and as a player not afraid of contact in the middle of the field. Cole Kmet had one monster performance against a very good Georgia defense.

Running back

1. Zack Moss, Utah

2. D’Andre Swift, Georgia

3. Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin

4. J.K. Dobbins, The Ohio State

5. A.J. Dillon, Boston College

Honorable mention(s):  Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Javon Leake, Antonio Gibson

I feel D’Andre Swift had a better line in front of him blocking, why I chose to rank Moss at 1 overall here. Taylor has continued to be very consistent for Wisconsin since his freshman year. Dobbins ran for over 2,000 yards in 2019 at an impressive 6.7 yards per carry. A.J. Dillon is 6 ft 0, and plays at 250 lbs. Watching his game tape, he plays physical and can really get going, though he’s not likely to be the best back at lateral quickness. Travis Etienne would be number one here for me but he returned to school for 2020.

Offensive tackle

1. Jedrick Wills, Alabama

2. Andrew Thomas, Georgia

3. Tristan Wirfs, Iowa

4. Josh Jones, Houston

5. Trey Adams, Washington

Honorable Mention(s): Matt Peart, Calvin Throckmorton

I chose to leave Mekhi Becton (Future FreezingColdTakes) off the list. Even gigantic O-line standouts like Orlando Brown Jr. and Leonard Davis weren’t 370 lbs. I hope I’m wrong about him, he seems like a good kid. Wills played at right tackle for Bama but earned praise for keeping rushers away from Tua this season. Thomas has been a pivotal part of pass protecting for Fromm and paving the way for Swift, two NFL draftees in 2020. PFF talked about Wirfs and his impressive strength even amongst his peers, Iowa is becoming a NFL talent factory more and more each season. Trey Adams didn’t have a glamorous 2019, but he’s been a longtime left tackle for Jake Browning and in ’19, Jacob Eason. Adams has tons of starting experience against quality competition and can still gain some weight at 6’8″.

Guard/Center

1. Netane Muti, Fresno State

2. Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin

3. Damien Lewis, LSU

4. Logan Stenberg, Kentucky

5. Jonah Jackson, The Ohio State

Honorable Mention(s): Lloyd Cushenberry, Ben Bartch, Darryl Williams

Netane Muti looked a little out of place at Fresno State, more than holding his own against defenses like USC. Muti is a top 15 overall player for me in this draft, he plays with excellent leverage and looks crazy strong. Biadasz has been a steady holdover for Wisconsin and a key cog in their rushing attack, Biadasz has demonstrated top pass pro skills as well. Lewis plays well as a run blocker and needs improvement as a pass protector. Lewis helped LSU earn the prestigious Joe Moore award as the top OL in the country. Stenberg is a reliable if unsexy blocker who doesn’t get glamorous finishes, but run blocks well and keeps his QB upright and away from his assignment. Jonah Jackson stood out at the Senior Bowl and has tons of experience being a grad transfer from Rutgers to Ohio State.

Quarterback

1. Joe Burrow, LSU

2. Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama

3. Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma

4. Jake Fromm, Georgia

5. Justin Herbert, Oregon

Honorable mention(s): Jordan Love, Mason Fine, Josh Love, Khalil Tate

I will die on the “Jalen Hurts is an underrated QB prospect” hill if I have to. Wins the starting job at Alabama of all places, has GREAT stats at ‘Bama and gets benched for Tua Tagovailoa, one of the greatest college passers of all time. He even transferred to Oklahoma (the school where the last two first overall picks went to) and put on a BONKERS good season. He has always been super accurate, he avoids turnovers, he’s an elite scrambler, Hurts even has great deep ball arm strength. Joe Burrow and Tua are easily the two best QB prospects in this class, but Hurts has done just about everything a man could do to help himself. Jake Fromm beat out Jacob Eason and Justin Fields as the starter at Georgia, which no one wants to mention when talking about him as a “game manager.” I am obviously not high on Justin Herbert, but Gil Brandt really likes him, which honestly is why I put him on this list at all.

All quarterbacks are system quarterbacks

The older I get and the more football I watch, the more the Daniel Jones pick by Dave Gettleman makes sense to me. I definitely still think its a bad pick, but we’re seeing quarterbacks play so differently depending on their scheme. Absolutely no one predicted Lamar Jackson would have the year he had. And he didn’t have that year because he just became a WAY better quarterback. Greg Roman ran more plays that Jackson could handle, and the offense took off. 2019 was maybe the best offense Baltimore’s ever had.

Ryan Tannehill was a castoff from a bad Miami team. He was traded to Tennessee to be the backup for Marcus Mariota, or the next QB they draft if their started in ’20 was not on the roster. After Mariota got benched, Tannehill stepped in and played worlds better than he or Mariota ever had. What Tannehill can do as a quarterback meshes well with A.J. Brown, Corey Davis and that offense. Tannehill didn’t improve overnight, he fell into a system that badly needs what he does well.

Daniel Jones is not a great quarterback at all. But if his front office can find out what he does well, and Jones is a healthy, smart, coachable guy, that might make Jones more of an appealing prospect than a QB who may already self-identify as a big shot in the eyes of a general manager. I would still say Haskins is the better pick over Jones, but dealing with “small” things that can take an emotional toll like contract holdouts, off-field issues could occupy a lot of space in a GM’s mind. An “aww shucks” guy like Jones may give the impression that he wont carry those risks as much as a super high confidence QB like most prospects are. Again, the pick still seems wrong to me, but LESS wrong than before.

Song of the day is “See it so clear” by Keane (Acoustic).

 

Dallas – A.J. Epenesa, Iowa DE – Jerry likes to draft players high close to the line of scrimmage. Robert Quinn, defensive end who totaled 11.5 sacks for Dallas in ’19, will likely not be back as Dallas tries to find a way to pay Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, and several other free agents. Epenesa sacked the QB 11.5 times in ’19, forced 4 fumbles, and even defended three passes. Epenesa has great measurables, is a great value pick at 17, and meets an important need for Dallas.

Miami – Mekhi Becton, Louisville OT – The Dolphins offensive line is maybe the worst in football. Daniel Jeremiah has Becton as a potential top five pick. If available here, Chris Grier would have to seriously consider him as their top option.

Las Vegas – Jaylon Johnson, Utah CB – Gruden and Mayock have shown a willingness to invest in the secondary with the signing of Lamarcus Joyner and drafting Jonathan Abram and Trayvon Mullen early in the ’19 draft. The team declined the fifth year on safety Karl Joseph and is likely losing Daryl Worley at CB in free agency. Jaylon Johnson has allowed 3 touchdowns in his last two season at Utah. They could also go with a linebacker here, or OL Netane Muti as Gruden likes to establish the run.

Jacksonville – Trevon Diggs, Alabama CB – Jacksonville traded away starting cornerback Jalen Ramsey for draft picks and are likely to cut ties with starting cornerback A.J. Bouye in an attempt to pay their more ‘high priority’ players. The Jaguars have a need at cornerback. Diggs is one of the bigger corners in the game and faced plenty of NFL-caliber competition while starting for Alabama.

Philadelphia – Grant Delpit, LSU Safety – Delpit is maybe the best safety in this draft class. The Eagles need serious help at wide receiver and defensive back. Delpit would be a value pick at 21 who the Eagles desperately need. The Eagles could also draft yet another wide receiver, Tee Higgins or Michael Pittman.

Buffalo – Tee Higgins, Clemson WR – The Bills don’t often target wide receivers early. Josh Allen has no recognizable names in the huddle to throw to. Higgins made the most of his involvement at Clemson. He moves quickly and has a giant wingspan. Talent evaluators have been high on K’Lavon Chaisson, and Buffalo’s edge rushers are getting up there in edge, so Chaisson may go here as well.

New England – Jalen Reagor, TCU WR – The Patriots usually draft a defensive back or a linebacker in the first round. They have NO receivers or tight ends on the roster. Reagor is diverse getting involved in special teams, the quick pass, and the deep ball, which Belichick will like. Reagor can move like a legitimate deep threat as well.

New Orleans – Laviska Shenault, Colorado WR – Michael Thomas is the only receiving threat on this roster. Shenault specializes in gadget, quick pass plays the Saints have been running with Brees at 40+ years old.

Minnesota – C.J. Henderson, Florida CB – The Vikings really struggle to put competitive cornerbacks on the field. While Henderson is not the mouthy, trash talking stereotype of a cornerback like Richard Sherman or Cortland Finnegan, Henderson had an impressive 2018 season and shows a willingness to get involved with stopping the run.

Miami – Xavier McKinney, Alabama Safety – Flores is a defensive coach and will push Chris Grier to draft defensive talent. McKinney is a versatile defender, recording two sacks against LSU’s Joe Burrow. Flores had high level secondary play with the McCourty brothers and Stephon Gilmore. McKinney brings versatility and top coverage ability to Miami to help replace the departed Minkah Fitzpatrick. 

Seattle – Cameron Dantzler, Mississippi State CB – Seattle’s back four (or five) really needs help. Dantzler’s taller and VERY physical which reminds me of Richard Sherman’s and Brandon Browner’s play style in the early days of the Legion of Boom. 

Baltimore – Troy Dye, Oregon LB – Dye stops the run consistently and covers well. The Ravens will have a substantial need at linebacker, and are unlikely to be able to retain all of their free agents in the front seven set to leave in the off-season. Dye could afford to gain some weight, but demonstrates correct instincts and has proven to be a play-maker at Oregon. 

Tennessee – Bryce Hall, Virginia CB – The Titans are losing two cornerbacks in free agency, Logan Ryan and Tramaine Brock. Hall’s been a high performing cornerback for some time, his draft stock’s fallen due to an injury-shortened 2019. GM Jon Robinson shown a willingness to draft injured players with the Jeffery Simmons selection. Hall’s a technician at corner who can start right away if needs be. 

Green Bay – Brandon Aiyuk, ASU WR – The Packers are all around a relatively well stocked team. They have Davante Adams and a bunch of number 3/4s at wide receiver. Aiyuk is a YAC specialist, and while no one in Green Bay wants to admit it, Rodgers is entering THAT stage of his career. 

San Francisco – Ashtyn Davis, Cal Safety – San Francisco’s secondary got exposed by lesser athletes like Sammy Watkins. They also may not be able to retain Jimmie Ward who could go get paid a high dollar contract in free agency after a career year. Davis is not a sexy defensive back in terms of turnovers or big hits, but he covers well and moves quickly across the field when he needs to. Davis walked on to the Cal track team and competed well in the Hurdles.

Kansas City – Jordan Elliott, Missouri – The Chiefs may not be able to afford Chris Jones if he wants to sign a record breaking contract somewhere else. Elliott is a favorite of the PFF crowd and a local kid as well. Lance Zierlein, NFL.com writer compared Elliott to Kawann Short (one of the league’s better DT’s) and praised Elliott’s handwork as a defensive tackle.

 

Cincinnati – Joe Burrow. Until we hear differently about Cincy’s interest in Tua, Burrow is the man here.

Washington – Chase Young. Young is the best player in the draft. I could also see the Chargers or Dolphins trading up here for Tua.

Detroit – Tua Tagovailoa. You don’t get to draft top three very often. Unless you’re the Browns. Stafford was shut down last season about week 9 for a back injury he suffered several weeks earlier. While Stafford is playing well, he’s 32, injury prone, and has an out in his contract after 2020. Stafford could start in ’20, and sign with a contender for ’21 and beyond. (This is not a popular pick. Most mocks have Okudah or Brown going here.)

NY Giants – Isaiah Simmons. Dave Gettleman looks like an idiot sometimes. He still understands the value of drafting the best player available. Simmons has amazing versatility as a linebacker/safety/hybrid/manbearpig. I wanted to pick a Tackle here, but this draft has lots of tackles, and few players like Simmons show up in any draft never mind in any one draft.

Miami – Justin Herbert. While I personally am not sold on Herbert, I believe Chris Grier could like him. Herbert has a lot of likeable qualities from the perspective of a GM. I believe the Dolphins will have to trade up to get Tua. Herbert fits the prototypical QB mold, 6 ft 6, strong arm, athletic. Herbert even played well in the Senior bowl.

LA Chargers – Jordan Love. The Chargers drafted gunslingers in Brees and Rivers. While the GMs who selected those players are no longer with the organization, the leadership may look to go that direction after seeing high level quarterback play from Brees and Rivers for so long. Love is a California kid (grew up 2 hours from LA.) who will have play-makers (Keenan Allen and Mike Williams) to catch the ball as soon as he’s ready. The Chargers (or any team that drafts Love) might try and extract Matt Wells from Texas Tech or a ‘passing game coordinator’ to get the 2018 version of Love instead of the Draft Bust version of Love.

Carolina – Jeffrey Okudah. I don’t actually believe Okudah becomes available here, but if he is somehow, Tepper would be a big dumb idiot to not take him. Okudah is a STUD corner in a time cornerbacks are more important than ever.

Arizona – Jerry Jeudy. The Cardinals could go with Jedrick Wills or Andrew Thomas here. Jeudy is an elite route-runner and can maybe, actually, finally take over for Fitzgerald whenever he does retire. Kliff will want elite receivers to bring his air raid vision to life.

Jacksonville – Derrick Brown. Brown would’ve been a first rounder in 2018, but he returned to school to finish his senior year.  Brown is a force against the run and as a pass rusher. This is a ‘best player available’ pick here, Jacksonville can line him up next to Marcell Dareus and Josh Allen/Yannick Ngakoue. The Jaguars need corner help and could also take an offensive tackle.

Cleveland – Jedrick Wills. The Browns desperately need tackle help. Baker’s old teammate, CeeDee Lamb is going to be a tough prospect to turn down here. They can’t just keep adding skill weapons with no line to block for their quarterback though, especially after a nightmare that the 2019 season was. Wills blew up in 2019, and can start his natural position of right tackle or move to left immediately. The Browns need help in both spots.

NY Jets – Andrew Thomas. The Jets need help at wide receiver. They also have one of the worst offensive lines in football. Thomas has been a top pass/run blocker in college for 2 years. Jets GM Joe Douglas came from Philadelphia, which was known for dominant play around the line of scrimmage. I think they will prioritize offensive line here.

Las Vegas – CeeDee Lamb. I doubt Lamb is available here. Lamb brings badly needed skill at the Raiders weakest position group. Lamb can play outside and brings a missing dimension to the Raiders offense.

Indianapolis – Henry Ruggs III. The Colts need a Quarterback. And some help on defense. And receivers. Ruggs is a FAST receiver and will give the Colts QB1 a second option (besides T.Y. Hilton) to throw to. Jacob Eason is a possibility here, if Reich doesn’t mind a statue at QB.

Tampa Bay – Javon Kinlaw. Kinlaw had a strong senior bowl performance and a strong 2019 in general. Kinlaw is maybe the best player available at this slot. The Bucs could also go with Kristian Fulton or Jacob Eason here.

Denver – Kristian Fulton. The Broncos will almost certainly be without top DB Chris Harris for 2020. Fangio will want a corner to potentially keep up with Tyreek Hill and other WR1s. Fulton’s allowed a completion percentage of 40 percent since 2018.

Atlanta – Tristan Wirfs. The Falcons have long struggled at offensive line play. Wirfs is an ELITE guard prospect at Iowa with crazy strength and conditioning. Atlanta drafted McGary and Lindstrom in 2019 on OL, but still need help blocking for Ryan and their ground game. Wirfs is a highly respected athlete and may be too enticing to pass up at 16 if he falls to Atlanta.