It’s hard to believe, but the draft is in just one week. It is sure to be one giant clusterf*ck, but I am glad it is going on as scheduled. Sports fans need a distraction for a few days. Plus, as a Miami fan, this draft is critical to my teams future.
1. Cincinnati Bengals – QB Joe Burrow, LSU. No drama here. You can etch this pick in stone. The only question is, will he start right away if Andy Dalton is on the team? (Spoiler…yes.)
2. Washington Redskins – EDGE Chase Young, Ohio State. The drama will not begin with the second pick. Despite needs elsewhere, Young is the best prospect in this draft. Unless Washington is completely blown away by a trade offer, he will be the guy.
3. Detroit Lions – CB Jeffrey Okudah, Ohio State. This is a prime trade down spot for a quarterback hungry team. The Lions will definitely target a defender, with Okudah the top guy available. I think this is a bit high for him, but Detroit does not need one of the quarterbacks or offensive tackles.
4. New York Giants – OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa. Isaiah Simmons is tempting here, but New York has such a huge need along the offensive line and seem to be zeroing in on one of the top tackles. Wirfs may not have the upside of a Mekhi Becton or Andrew Thomas, but is very well coached and should be a mainstay for the next decade.
5. Miami Dolphins – QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama. There has been a lot of Justin Herbert to Miami chatter. As a Dolphins fan, that petrifies me. I would much rather risk it on Tagovailoa. This is my wishful thinking pick.
6. Los Angeles Chargers – QB Justin Herbert, Oregon. I cannot see the Chargers passing on a quarterback here. I doubt Herbert will be much more than average, but if you are picking in the top ten and you need a quarterback, you usually take a quarterback.
7. Carolina Panthers – OLB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson. Similar to Josh Allen landing in Jacksonville’s lap last year, the need for offensive talent is a gift for the Panthers. Hopefully Carolina’s coaching staff is creative enough to get the most out of the ultra-dynamic Simmons.
8. Arizona Cardinals – OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia. Thomas, Jedrick Wills or Mekhi Becton. Any of the tackles could go here. I went with Thomas because he should slide in at left tackle and become a solid starter immediately. Whoever it is, the Cardinals wisely seem to be zeroing in on offensive line help.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars – DT Derrick Brown, Auburn. The Jaguars had spent quite a few recent first round picks on the defensive line, but most of those players have not panned out. Couple that with the loss of Campbell, and the area needs help. Brown is not flashy, but he is a very solid all around tackle who should start for quite a while.
10. Cleveland Browns – OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville. The Browns desperately need offensive line help, and should be in line to take one of the consensus top four tackles. Becton is a mountain of a tackle who could have an Orlando Brown-like impact on the right side of the line.
11. New York Jets – WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama. Jeudy seems to be lost in the receiver shuffle, but I would still take him first. He’s super dependable, and plays quicker than his timed speed. New York needs help at receiver and offensive line, and should be able to fill one of those two needs here.
12. Las Vegas Raiders – WR Henry Ruggs III, Alabama. The Raiders have not been shy with their desire to add speed and talent at wideout. Ruggs can fly, and he is absolutely in the conversation with Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb.
13. San Francisco 49ers (from IND) – WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma. Make it three straight receivers. Lamb did it all at Oklahoma, and his deep threat ability will be a welcome addition ot the 49ers offense.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – OT Jedrick Wills, Alabama. With Wills still on the board, the Buccaneers will run to the podium, err…Zoom meeting microphone. Tom Brady is approximately 73 years old, which means protecting him will be paramount in Tampa.
15. Denver Broncos – CB CJ Henderson, Florida. With the receiver and offensive lineman off the board, Denver has to pivot to a different need. The team has lost Bradley Roby and Chris Harris the past two off seasons. Henderson did a good job shadowing some very talented SEC receivers and has the look of a CB1.
16. Atlanta Falcons – DT Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina. The Falcons need help all over on defense. Kinlaw is not flashy, but he is a tremendous prospect and fantastic value here.
17. Dallas Cowboys – C Cesar Ruiz, Michigan. The Cowboys love to trade down, and I think keeping the great offensive line intact will be the goal. Ruiz is a fringe day one prospect who should be a plug and play center, taking over for recently retired Travis Frederick.
18. Miami Dolphins (from PIT) – EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson, LSU. Miami is using the Patriots blueprint to model it’s roster. Chaisson seems like that pass rusher that Belichick loved to move all around the field. Miami does not have this talented of a rusher on the roster.
19. Las Vegas Raiders (from CHI) – WR Justin Jefferson, LSU. Would the Raiders be crazy to double up on receivers in round one? Well, if they are the best available prospects at the time, why not? A 2019 weakness would be a 2020 strength with Ruggs III, Jefferson and Hunter Renfrow.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (from LAR) – DE AJ Epenesa, Iowa. The Jaguars double up on defensive lineman. Another stud defensive end is likely on his way out, opening up yet another hole for a team that is in the midst of pulling a “Major League” tank job on their way to England.
21. Philadelphia Eagles – S Grant Delpit, LSU. Delpit has the talent of a top ten pick, but mental issues dogged him at times at LSU. He is good value here for a Eagles team that must replace Malcolm Jenkins.
22. Minnesota Vikings (from BUF) – CB Kristian Fulton, LSU. Mike Zimmer loves to draft cornerbacks early, and the Vikings have little to speak of at the position. Fulton is an analytic dream who should be at least an average starter from day one.
23. New England Patriots – QB Jordan Love, Utah State. Like Josh Allen and Drew Lock, Love is this year’s talented lump of clay that must be molded into a viable NFL starter. Some team will trade up and take him around this spot. As for New England? Is Belichick really comfortable with Jarret Stidham as the long term answer?
24. New Orleans Saints – MLB Patrick Queen, LSU. The Saints have a very deep and complete roster, but the team always seems to need a bit more defensive firepower. Patrick Queen became a Louisiana legend during LSU’s championship run and would be a fan favorite in Gold and Black.
25. Minnesota Vikings – OG Ezra Cleveland, Boise State. Cleveland is a fringe first round prospect, but offensive lineman are often drafted a bit higher than expected. The Vikings offensive line is not as historically bad as 2018, but still needs a major talent injection.
26. Miami Dolphins (from HOU) – OT Josh Jones, Houston. Austin Jackson is another option, but he is the definition of a project, and Miami needs help right now. Jones is a solid option to hold down one of the tackle spots and not be a complete liability.
27. Seattle Seahawks – CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama. Mocking the Seahawks is always difficult. Seattle seems to completely ignore conventional wisdom, instead throwing away first round picks on guys like Rashaad Penny and LJ Collier. So, best defensive player available here.
28. Baltimore Ravens – S Xavier McKinney, Alabama. The Ravens roster is about as playoff ready as you can find int he NFL. The team can afford to draft someone like McKinney, who could back up at safety, cornerback and even some linebacker.
29. Tennessee Titans – OT Austin Jackson, USC. Dennis Kelly is a decent short term solution, but Jackson has the ability to keep the offensive line moving following the loss of Jack Conklin. Eventually, that is. There is a lot of work to be done here, but a solid gamble late in the first.
30. Green Bay Packers – WR Tee Higgins, Clemson. Guys like Higgins who fall out of the first round usually end up as steals (Alshon Jeffery, Keenan Allen). The Packers have been trotting out mediocre talent across from Devante Adams for years. They need more pass catchers.
31. San Francisco 49ers – S Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois. With no additional picks until the fifth round, this is an easy trade back spot for San Francisco. Since I do not predict trades, Jeremy Chinn would be a creative pick. He has the look of a poor man’s Isaiah Simmons as an uber-athlete who can line up all over the field.
32. Kansas City Chiefs – HB De’Andre Swift, Georgia. Damien Williams does just fine at running back, but I have to think the Chiefs would want to add an additional piece, as offense is the money ticket. Swift does what his name suggests, and would make the rich richer.
33. Cincinnati Bengals – DE Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State
34. Indianapolis Colts (from WAS) – CB AJ Terrell, Clemson
35. Detroit Lions – DT Neville Gallimore, Oklahoma
36. New York Giants – CB Jaylon Johnson, Utah
37. Los Angeles Chargers – OT Isaiah Wilson, Georgia
38. Carolina Panthers – S Ashtyn Davis, California
39. Miami Dolphins – HB JK Dobbins, Ohio State
40. Houston Texans (from ARI) – DT Ross Blacklock, TCU
41. Cleveland Browns – MLB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma
42. Jacksonville Jaguars – CB Jeff Gladney, TCU
43. Chicago Bears (from LV) – OT Robert Hunt, Louisiana-Lafayette
44. Indianapolis Colts – WR Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado
45. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – HB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
46. Denver Broncos – WR Jalen Reagor, TCU
47. Atlanta Falcons – HB Cam Akers, Florida State
48. New York Jets – OLB Zack Baun, Wisconsin
49. Pittsburgh Steelers – WR Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State
50. Chicago Bears – WR Denzel Mims, Baylor
51. Dallas Cowboys – EDGE Curtis Weaver, Boise State
52. Los Angeles Rams – OT Lucas Niang, TCU
53. Philadelphia Eagles – WR Michael Pittman Jr., USC
54. Buffalo Bills – EDGE Terrell Lewis, Alabama
55. Baltimore Ravens (from NE) – C Lloyd Cushenberry, LSU
56. Miami Dolphins (from NO) – C Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin
57. Los Angeles Rams (from HOU) – EDGE Julian Okwara, Notre Dame
58. Minnesota Vikings – WR Chase Claypool, Notre Dame
59. Seattle Seahawks – DT Jordan Elliott, Missouri
60. Baltimore Ravens – MLB Jordyn Brooks, Texas Tech
61. Tennessee Titans – DT Raekwon Davis, Alabama
62. Green Bay Packers – CB Cameron Dantzler, Mississippi State
63. Kansas City Chiefs (from SF) – CB Noah Igbinohene, Auburn
64. Seattle Seahawks (from KC) – OT Hakeem Adeniji, Kansas