I’m sad, ya’ll. I was supposed to be in Vegas this week, holding a drink full of slushed liquor and watching Lil Wayne rap in cursive while half awake. Well… we’ve got bigger fish to fry as a society at the moment. That being said, the draft and the MJ doc are holding us down right now. Here’s to hoping we get Football back in the Fall.
I heard some of the teams were having technical difficulties in the NFL’s test draft today. YIKES. A bunch of very devoted executives with jobs on the line, with career-altering decisions to make under a time crunch… I’m sure they’ll be fine. I didn’t write a short and polished story for each team like I did in previous years, but my take on where players will be drafted this week with my disjointed field (quarantine) notes is below. I’ve wrecklessly predicted three trades. Come and @ me:
- Bengals – Joe Burrow QB (Ohio kid with a prolific college season. Grew up near CIN. Haven’t heard anything about him growing up a Bengals fan) Joe doesn’t wanna go, but he will. He exudes confidence that he’ll bring to Ohio. A lil too much sauce?
- ‘skins – Chase Young DE (Tempted to trade down for more picks since top 10 in sacks) a monster piece in transition to a 4-3 under Rivera and Del Rio. He’s got DPOY potential while being compared favorably to Myles Garrett and the Bosa bros. coming out. Leverage for a Ryan Kerrigan restructure? Trent Williams fetches a 2nd to address the big need at OT?
- Chargers – Tua Tagovailoa QB (Trade ⤴️DET) Brian Bulaga a right tackle. Tua a lefty QB. Glitz to win LA while Rams are down. Anthony Lynn hot seat more than Brian Flores. Joey Bosa & Melvin Ingram free agents next year. They give up at least a 2nd and possibly more to move up: Win now/soon roster. Tua is a killer who forced out the charismatic Jalen Hurts. Can’t wait for the 30 for 30 on how he avoided the Bengals.
- Giants – Jedrick Wills Jr. OT (Joe Judge goes for elite pass protection as Pats relied on protection). Judge worked under Saban. Adds malice to the mix of Saquon Barkley & Daniel Jones.
- Dolphins – Isaiah Simmons LB (Cam) Brian Flores strikes me as the kind of guy that has a belief in a reward for his hard work (of coaching not to tank) instead of engaging a bidding war with all of his collected draft picks. Simmons would provide leadership and culture with former teammate Christian Wilkins. Versatile & multiple. Flores’ calling card. Improves the pass rush, can cover TE, and provide a possible answer to the threat of the mobile QB’s in the AFC (Lamar, Mahomes, Watson, Allen, Mayfield, Burrow, Tua??). Can cover for the need at Safety for a bit as well? Alternatives at LB not as good as for the QB’s. Pats leaked that they loved Herbert… why?? Mind games to get the Dolphins to take him here instead of a blue chip player.
- Lions – Jeff Okudah CB (Trade ⤵️LAC) Lions know what they’re doing in interviewing all the QB’s. Bucky Brooks says Okudah is reminiscent of reigning DPOY, Stephon Gilmore. Matt Patricia will not be embarrassed by Slay or the bottom ranked pass D again. Okudah shuts things down. I’ve heard a nice idea floated that the Lions get a starting caliber CB in the trade with the Chargers. If they can swing that, Detroit drafts the best DT that the Panthers are hoping falls to them and leave Okudah for Carolina.
- Panthers – Derrick Brown DT (Tepper: patience) 4-3 switch under Rhule and Phil Snow. This boy is a problem in the middle.
- Cardinals – Tristan Wirfs OT (position flexibility) Cards could use T or G? Arizon’s ffensive scheme predicated on speed and athleticism. Wirfs is that. Good pass pro.
- Falcons – K’Lavon Chaisson DE (Trade ⤴️JAX) Bruce Irvin type. Quinn’s last stand? Goes out his way, with good pass rush if so. Former Seahawks D-Coordinator who takes pride and knows pressure is the key. Jump ahead of Jets, giving up a 2nd for him. Would they go up this high for Henderson??
- Browns – Andrew Thomas OT (Technical and competitive) Need more grit over flash in CLE. Either side. Elite run blocker (give Baker time and support, he will dice teams up). One more year of this team being together (Safeties, Kareem Hunt & DL FA’s). Maximize it!
- Jets – Mekhi Becton OT (When your leader and QB is seeing these: 👻 that’s a problem) Huge upside and a bully mentality “love intimidating guys”. Allows them to get saved by the Bell. Lamb?? Draft WR depth. Becton, McGovern, Van Roten and Fant would provide a new core. Let Becton go and get Darnold’s man card back.
- Raiders – Jerry Jeudy WR (Neck & neck tie goes to the speedy SEC route runner). The dominant WR1 who attacks downfield that they thought they had in AB. Let’s them give Carr one last true chance to shine. Can picture Jon Gruden saying his name gleefully. He may pack up and go directly to bed after this pick. Follow this up with Jalen Hurts later and Gruden will have the offense he always dreamed of.
- 49ers – CeeDee Lamb WR (Playmaker. Questions about the system won’t matter since Kyle Shanahan has a system) This would be a catch and run offense with Deebo Samuel. Gave up depth on D by trading DeForest Buckner to boost offense. Kyle ain’t satisfied.
- Dolphins – Justin Herbert QB (Trade ⤴️ TB) Dolphins trade up ahead of DEN, JAX & DAL. Can you imagine?? Him and Simmons!! Mobile, reads the field. They don’t panic, and maybe get Jalen Hurts or Cam if it doesn’t work out. Still have Rosen for last chance. Much cheaper to move up here, giving up a 3rd and maybe late rounder.
- Broncos – Henry Ruggs III WR (Trade up with CLE for a top-2 WR?) Jets may be trying to smoke screen and bait them to come up. Defense should be improved with health and the addition of Jurrell (ayyy) Casey. You’ve got to find out immediately if big-armed Lock is the guy. Give him every chance. This carousel of pain has gone on too long. Can take top off defense and open things up for everyone. Unlike Will Fuller, he doesn’t drop very often. Sutton is the muscle, Ruggs makes this offense vertical. Will consider J.J., but he’s more unique than Jefferson.
- Jaguars – C.J. Henderson CB (Trade ⤵️ATL) Andrew Thomas would’ve been nice… Tanking/rebuilding and want to acquire multiple assets? Get a 2nd moving down, and another 1st for Yannick. Trading Fournette too? Is this all ammo for Trevor Lawrence next year? D.J. Hayden to shine again in the slot as they rebuild their defense.
- Cowboys – Justin Jefferson WR (Lost a chain-moving TE) Reliable compliment to Amari and can throw blocks for Zeke. Jarvis Landry-style impact. The ghost of Aldon Smith let’s them try to maximize their offense.
- Buccaneers – Josh Jones OT (Trade ⤵️MIA) Run blocker who is raw and needs dev. in pass pro. Compete with Joe Haeg (who can also play OG) at RT and can learn to be a LT to take over for Donovan Smith down the line. Trade up with Jags for one of the top 4? The Bucs are all in on harnessing the championship drive of Tom Brady. Pass rush help later – Idk if you can trust JPP and Shaq to replicate last year. Get more pressure to make the young secondary’s job easier… Could easily be Kinlaw??
- Raiders – Trevon Diggs CB (Nevin Lawson great in the slot). Eli Apple didn’t work out. Swagger and confidence as Stefon’s brother helps him make an impression and get taken in the 1st… that and his upside learning the position as a former wide receiver.
- Jaguars – Yetur Gross-Matos DE (Get an OT later to let Cam Robinson slide To OG). Get ready for the “Replace Yannick with Yetur” T-shirts. This dude has a powerful and positive mental makeup.
- Eagles – Patrick Queen LB (Mims or Higgins? Get a WR later) Got big play Slay (w/ a chip) & add a heat-seeker of a leader in the midway to revitalize Jim Schwartz’s once proud defense. Consider Murray, but Queen is more of a MLB which fits this team. He has room to grow and learn as a 1-yr starter at LSU. Surprised he lasted this long.
- Vikings – Javon Kinlaw DT (Higgins?) Not sure if he lasts, but if he does, MIN races to get a steal and re-up on the pass rush after losing a lot this offseason (Linval Joseph & Everson Griffen). Medical flags on his knees for risk of arthritis scare me, but his talent is undeniable. They can shift to power football, utilize their two very good TE’s and get wideout later. Prime candidate to trade for Trent.
- Patriots – Kenneth Murray LB (A banger who makes plays) trade back? Pats waiting for Andy Dalton if CIN can get Borrow on board with the future. Speed on the outside to replace Kyle Van Noy and compliment D’onta Hightower in the middle. Return of the boogeymen?
- Saints – Brandon Aiyuk WR (McKinney for S insurance and slot play?) Quick-pass, open field YAC playmaker who could work underneath Emmanuel Sanders & Micheal Thomas. Utilize the Brees engine while you can.
- Vikings – A.J. Terrell (Consider Epenesa, but keep the number saved for Griffen) Zimmer keeps corners on deck from CIN to MIN and will have Terrell, Kristian Fulton, and Jaylon Johnson to consider here. Go with the strong and fast option who can play press.
- Dolphins – Austin Jackson OT (slide Davis to G) A whole lot of character and potential. They also consider Xavier McKinney to top off the defense.
- Seahawks – Terrell Lewis DE (Blacklock?) Epenesa? Lacks the explosion the Hawks look for. Lewis has that. He feels overlooked… what Hawks LOVE. Can play LEO and let Bruce Irvin rotate in and also play at linebacker. In the end, will most likely trade down to add more competition in the trenches, likely taking OT and DT with what is already two 2nds. Colts trade up for Tee Higgins or Jordan Love? If we can get a top 10 pass rush (Everson Griffen or Jadeveon Clowney + a high drafted DE, Irvin, L.J. Collier, Rasheem Green, Shaqueem Griffin, and Benson Mayowa) and stay healthy, we’re going to the Bowl. You heard it here first.
- Ravens – Tee Higgins WR (Trade up for MLB to replace C.J. Mosley?) Give Lamar a weapon who can line up anywhere, but will play in the outside. More prototypical WR1 than Hollywood Brown? Championship aspirations, so need more than 1 downfield weapon. A.J. Green smoothness. Take RB later.
- Titans – Ross Blacklock DT (Jaylon Johnson??) Don’t mess with ANYTHING on offense so you can recapture that magic. Replaces Jurrell (ayyy!!) Casey, and this is where Jadeveon Clowney ends up. Menacing front 7 with tons of potential with Jeffrey Simmons and a solid LB crew. Get CB next.
- Packers – A.J. Epenesa DE (Utilize his strength, should play DE instead of OLB) The Pack stop the slide of one of the more productive defensive players in CFB last year. Although Laviska Shenault (a Deebo Samuel type) or Jalen Reagor (slot maven) would be excellent weapons for LaFleur to get creative with, they may be able to wait on, or trade up for either/both in the second round. If they can make a plan to grab a WR in this deep class to become less reliant on Devante Adams, then I think Epenesa fills a more dire need after seeing Raheem Mostert explode all over the Packers defense in the NFC Championship game. I won’t be surprised if either WR is the selection here, but if they can get both, they are in striking distance of the ‘ship.
- 49ers – Cesar Ruiz C/G (Best interior lineman in the draft) The prime trade back candidate. No 2nd, 3rd, or 4th. Resigning of Jimmie Ward made it a possibility that no safeties are drafted in the 1st this year. This could be where some team takes a wild chance on Jordan Love by trading up.
- Chiefs – Jaylon Johnson CB (D’Andre Swift?) Kansas City doesn’t want teams to be picking on their corner to stay in the game. Get a physical guy. Mahomes’ firepower + a good secondary controlling the sky would be amazing to behold. Have to grab a bell cow RB like D’Andre Swift at some point to carry the offense in case Mahomes can’t go. That’s one of the items on a very short list of things that could stand in the way of the dawn of a new dynasty in K.C.
Players that could also go in the 1st round:
Noah Igbinoghene CB, DE Zack Baun LB/DE, Laviska Shenault Jr. WR, Jeff Gladney CB, Kristian Fulton CB, Ezra Cleveland OL, Xavier McKinney S, Grant Delpit S, Cole Kmet TE, Jordan Love QB, J.K. Dobbins RB, D’Andre Swift RB, Jonathan Taylor RB, Neville Gallimore DL, Jalen Reagor WR, Denzel Mims WR
Team needs that don’t have a 1st round pick:
Rams – OT, CB, LB
Bears – WR, OL, S?
Texans – LB, S, C/G?
Steelers – OT, WR, CB
Colts – WR, TE, Backup QB
Bills – OG, DE, Pass Catcher?