In this first installment, the landscape of NFL prospects and team needs are starting to take shape. The idea behind each pick was to fulfill a need, while also making a smart value pick at their position in the draft order.
1. Cincinnati Bengals: QB Joe Burrow, LSU
As seen this year, Andy Dalton will likely no longer be the quarterback of the Cincinnati Bengals. Head coach Zac Taylor will look to grab the signal caller of his preference, and an accurate QB in Joe Burrow will fit what he is trying to accomplish. Start the rebuild at the most important position on the field.
2. Redskins: DE Chase Young, Ohio State
Even with Ryan Kerrigan and Montez Sweat in the fold, the Redskins need blue chip talent at a premium position. Chase Young is a generational talent with the requisite traits needed to be an All-Pro edge in his rookie year.
3. Giants: WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
With veteran options being available in the off season to upgrade the offensive line, the Giants can give Daniel Jones the receiver he has yet to have. Jeudy can be an savior to an offense that needs play makers on the perimeter.
4. Dolphins: QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
With Tua Tagovailoa’s unfortunate injury, the Dolphins will turn towards Justin Herbert. He is an athletic prospect with prototypical traits that scouts crave. He can be a catalyst for the evolution of an offense that is devoid of big play makers.
5. Jets: OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
Wirfs is a powerful prospect with the movement skills needed to reach his set points while also creating knock back on run plays.
6. Buccaneers: OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia
With their skill positions established, the need here is along the offensive front that has blatantly under performed. Thomas is a plug-and-play prospect that will open up running lanes for their talented backfield, while also helping keep Winston upright.
7. Browns: OLB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson
With no tackle having value here, a hybrid LB with length and 4.4 speed is the pick. Isaiah Simmons fits the prototype of where NFL linebackers are evolving today, as he has exceptional range and coverage ability. He is a plug and play starter for a defense that needs an upswing in speed and versatility.
8. Falcons: CB Jeff Okudah, Ohio State
As seen on film, there secondary has proven to be lackluster and devoid of play makers that have plus instincts and exceptional ball skills. Luckily, Jeff Okudah is a 6’1 press man corner with impressive transitions and elite ball skills. He will instantly upgrade a poor secondary, and give them a piece to match up with the elite receivers in the NFC South.
9. Broncos: DT Derrick Brown, Auburn
Brown coming back to school proved to be the right choice, as this year he had overpowered just about everyone in his path. He is a powerful presence at the point of attack who can occupy the two gaps that the Broncos require in a nose tackle. He will be an instant upgrade to their front seven.
10. Cardinals: WR Ceedee Lamb, Oklahoma
With no other offensive lineman being worthy of this selection, the Cardinals take a play maker with defined chemistry with their franchise quarterback. Lamb will provide a definitive target for Kyler Murray in his rookie year, and adds another weapon for a rebuilding group of receivers.
11. Lions: SS Grant Delpit, LSU
Delpit is an aggressive safety who can provide length and coverage ability in the secondary. It is understood that his tackling has taken a step back, however, he is going to the right system to help his skillet evolve. Matt Patricia will utilize him in a hybrid role to revitalize a depleted secondary that lacks play makers beyond Slay and Coleman.
12. Chargers: QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
Even with the injury, Tagovailoa is one of the most prolific passers in this draft. With Philip Rivers slowly diminishing, this is becoming a significant need for the Chargers. They would be lucky if Tagovailoa fell to this spot.
13. Jaguars: WR Henry Ruggs, Alabama
The Jaguars need speed on the perimeter. In a group of receivers that lack a top gear, Ruggs will add explosion that this team has not possessed. Give Nick Foles or Gardner Minshew a safety blanket that can take the top off of any defense.
14. Raiders: WR Tee Higgins, Clemson
The Raiders can afford to keep stacking up on prospects for Derek Carr to utilize. With someone such as Tee Higgins lined up on the outside, it will help Carr take advantage of big play opportunities.
15. Titans: QB Jordan Love, Utah State
This may be a little bit high for someone who has analytically disappointed, however, Jordan Love can be a developmental option. This gives the Titans time to see what they have in Ryan Tannehill, while also having a future option in the midst.
16. Eagles: CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama
The Eagles have long been searching for help in their secondary, and Trevon Diggs is a perfect fit. He is a lengthy and aggressive corner with functional athleticism.
17. Raiders: DT Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
With Jonathan Hankins aging, the Raiders can plug in a freak athlete in Javon Kinlaw. Putting Kinlaw in the rotation will create a disruptive front four that will open up opportunities in the back-end.
18. Colts: DE AJ Epenesa, Iowa
The Colts admire versatility in their defensive front, and in the past, they have utilized interior rushers with length and power. Epenesa provides versatility and can successfully convert speed to power. He adds another chess piece to Matt Eberlus’ exceptional defense.
19. Panthers: DT Raekwon Davis, Alabama
Gerald Mccoy is now 33 years of age, and Carolina will likely re-sign James Bradberry in the off season. Therefore, the front office may focus on a defensive lineman who can make an instant impact in an aging rotation.
20. Jaguars: CB Kristian Fulton, LSU
With the departure of Jalen Ramsey, the Jaguars could use a cheap upgrade in this area. Kristian Fulton is a fluid, match man corner who will allow the Jaguars to be aggressive in the front seven and harass opposing Quarterback’s due to upgrades in the back end inspiring confidence in that schematic decision.
21. Cowboys: DE Yetur Gross Matos, Penn State
With no outstanding options at the cornerback position, the Cowboys will then look towards a fluid edge prospect with significant tools. Michael Bennett is not guaranteed to re-sign, and the edge position is one you should consider stockpiling.
22. Dolphins: DE Klavon Chiasson, LSU
As one of my favorite players in this draft, Klavon Chiasson will be a prized addition to Brian Flores’ defense. This is an important draft for the Dolphins rebuild, and loading up with top level talent at priority positions is the right move.
23. Chiefs: RB Deandre Swift, Georgia
With the running back being somewhat of a need on Kansas City’s roster, the Chiefs get an elusive prospect in DeAndre Swift who can add a new layer to the offense. He is the top running back in this draft class, and should be considered a steal.
24. Vikings: OT Jedrick Wills, Alabama
With minimal holes on this roster, it is a necessity to bolster this offensive line with Jedrick Wills. Riley Reiff is getting older, and makes a considerable salary. Wills can come in as a cheap option and hold down the left side for years to come. Wills is one of my favorite lineman prospects in this draft, as his refined footwork and impressive power makes him a plug and play starter for just about any roster.
25. Dolphins: OT Alex Leatherwood, Alabama
This will mark a run on Alabama offensive tackles, as the Dolphins look to protect their franchise quarterback. Before, and especially after the Laremy Tunsil trade, this position has been the firm weak point of a depleted roster. Leatherwood is raw, however he possesses jarring physical traits and upside as a book end tackle for years to come. Give the QB assets in the trenches.
26. Bills: WR Laviska Shenault, Colorado
Although the Bills have vastly improved, they are in need more offensive talent to complement Josh Allen and John Brown. Shenault can be utilized in a variety of ways, and his explosiveness makes him a downfield threat that will improve the dimensions of the Bills offense.
27. Packers: LB Dylan Moses, Alabama
Based on talent, Dylan Moses should be going earlier than this point. However, his injury will hurt his draft stock in most cases. He contains exceptional range, athleticism, and coverage ability. With top 10 talent, he provides a significant upgrade over BJ Goodson.
28. Seahawks: OC Tyler Biadascz, Wisconsin
With injuries riddling Justin Britt’s season, it is necessary to bolster that spot with a starter level prospect such as Tyler Biadscz. He is a mobile center prospect who is capable of creating gaps at the point of attack. He fits a variety of schemes, and will consistently showcase enough to be used in guard spots as well if needed.
29. Ravens: DE Julian Okwara, Notre Dame
Even though this might be a bit of a reach, Matthew Judon is an upcoming free agent; making the Ravens thin in this area. Okwara is well-versed in setting a hard edge and getting after the passer. He has an intriguing physical makeup, and will entice Baltimore with his upside.
30. Saints: OC Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma
With Andrés Peat becoming a free agent and likely commanding a hefty payday, Creed Humphrey could be the one that can convert to the guard spot comfortably. He is exceptionally talented, and has had a storied collegiate career.
31. Patriots. QB Jacob Eason, Washington
It is finally that time: The Patriots take a developmental signal caller with one of the highest ceilings in this draft. With his limitless physical traits, Eason developing behind Tom Brady will be most beneficial for the future of New England.
32. 49ers: OT Austin Jackson, USC
While having bolstered their front four this past offseason, the 49ers should add more to their offensive front. Jackson holds significant upside. As Joe Staley gets older, and San Francisco could use someone to play under his tutelage.