Caputi: 2020 NFL Mock Draft (final)

It’s (virtual) Draft Day! The 2020 installment of ‘Spring Christmas’ will undoubtedly be a unique experience for all — from league executives to casual observers. Enjoy the process.

1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB. LSU

• Pedestrian junior campaign. Possibly the best individual season by a quarterback in college football history as a senior. Burrow is a risk worth taking for Cincy.

2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young, DE. Ohio State

• The draft’s premier defender, at a premium position, in a phenomenal defensive class. Don’t think too hard.

3. Detroit Lions: Jeff Okudah, CB. Ohio State

• Time’s running out on Matt Patricia. With Darius Slay gone, further reinforcement on the boundary is required.

4. New York Giants: Tristan Wirfs, OT. Iowa

• Big Blue has its pick of the talent-rich tackle class. Wirfs possesses the most upside of the bunch.

5. Miami Dolphins: Justin Herbert, QB. Oregon

• Ideal size, mobility and arm — Herbert comes without the durability concerns Tua does. Miami refused to fold in 2019 and it’ll use this opportunity to secure a quarterback.

6. Los Angeles Chargers: Tua Tagovailoa, QB. Alabama

• The Rivers Era is over and who knows if the Bolts will have an opportunity to land a passer of Tua’s caliber next year. Less pressure to rush him back if they genuinely like Tyrod Taylor as a stop-gap.

7. Carolina Panthers: Isaiah Simmons, LB. Clemson

• Kuechly’s retirement leaves a void and Simmons enters the NFL with a particularly rare skill-set.

8. Arizona Cardinals: Jedrick Wills, OT. Alabama

• After conceding 50 sacks last year, the best way to supplement the development of Offensive Rookie of the Year Kyler Murray is to provide him with edge protection.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Derrick Brown, DT. Auburn

• Run defense was abysmal last season and Brown is a legitimate three-down tackle. An injection of talent is suddenly required on D.

10. Cleveland Browns: Andrew Thomas, OT. Georgia

• If a trade for Trent Williams isn’t on the cards, Thomas represents the most pro-ready option among this year’s tackle class.

11. New York Jets: Austin Jackson, OT. USC

• Darnold’s flashed, but Gang Green must prioritize supporting him in some capacity. Jackson is an ascending prospect with terrific athleticism and left tackle attributes.

12. Las Vegas Raiders: C.J. Henderson, CB. Florida

• Long, press-man boundary corner with the ability to shade inside if required. The corner need is clear and Mayock has his pick of the litter at this spot.

13. San Francisco 49ers: Jerry Jeudy, WR. Alabama

• The NFC Champion 49ers can pick somewhat luxuriously thanks to a neatly built roster, but one item lacking in the tool kit is a receiver who can take the top off a defense.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mekhi Becton, OT. Louisville

• An imposing figure, Becton ideally slots in at right tackle — which might be Tampa Bay’s last remaining primary need on offense.

15. Denver Broncos: Ceedee Lamb, WR. Oklahoma

• Lamb suitably supplements the continued development of both Lock – by providing additional weaponry – and Courtland Sutton – by relieving added attention from the young Pro Bowler.

16. Atlanta Falcons: K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE. LSU

• End? Linebacker? Doesn’t really matter. Chaisson is disruptive and if Dimitroff tried tempting Washington for Chase Young at No. 2, pass rush is the priority.

17. Dallas Cowboys: A.J. Terrell, CB. Clemson

• Byron Jones is now in Miami and the Tigers’ long, lanky boundary cover corner plays a complete game.

18. Miami Dolphins: Joshua Jones, OT. Houston

• With or without the QB early on, there’s a need to improve edge protection. Jones is physically imposing and was brilliant in 2019.

19. Las Vegas Raiders: Henry Ruggs III, WR. Alabama

• Another player from the 2019 Natty, huh? Ruggs has tremendous speed and his downfield ability adds a new (and sorely needed) element.

20. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevon Diggs, CB. Alabama

• After dealing A.J. Bouye away and seeing a free agent deal with Darqueze Dennard collapse, cornerback must be addressed early. Ball skills + upside.

21. Philadelphia Eagles: Jalen Reagor, WR. TCU

• An electric passing game option, Reagor satisfies the need for an injection of speed at the position. I’ve been enamored with his game since 2017.

22. Minnesota Vikings: Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE. Penn State

• Danielle Hunter is a bona fide star, but help is needed in the wake of Everson Griffen’s departure. ‘YGM’ is a prototype edge in the Mike Zimmer mold.

23. New England Patriots: Javon Kinlaw, DT. South Carolina

• In what would be a fortuitous scenario, New England could benefit immediately from Kinlaw’s imposing dimensions and interior disruption ability.

24. New Orleans Saints: Patrick Queen, LB. LSU

• Signing Emmanuel Sanders left linebacker as arguably the primary need. Queen, a Louisiana native, may remind some of prime Jonathan Vilma.

25. Minnesota Vikings: Jaylon Johnson, CB. Utah

• Spielman & Co. are nearly staring over at the cornerback position and Johnson’s a terrific athlete and ultra-competitive in man.

26. Miami Dolphins: Xavier McKinney, DB. Alabama

• I’m skeptical Miami makes all three picks, but after addressing offense earlier McKinney’s versatility replenishes what was lost when Minkah Fitzpatrick was traded.

27. Seattle Seahawks: A.J. Epenesa, EDGE. Iowa

• Rest assured John Schneider will trade this pick. But in a mock scenario, Seattle’s so-far balked at Jadeveon Clowney’s asking price and edge depth is lacking. He runs a slow 40, but Epenesa is ‘game.’

28. Baltimore Ravens: Kenneth Murray, LB. Oklahoma

• Murray boasts impressive overall size and his tape is evidence that he’s a tackle factory. Besides, Baltimore never properly replaced C.J. Mosley.

29. Tennessee Titans: Jeff Gladney, CB. TCU

• Plays larger than his diminutive size would suggest and his inside-outside versatility should only further endear him to Vrabel’s Titans.

30. Green Bay Packers: Justin Jefferson, WR. LSU

• Time’s running out on Aaron Rodgers. The Pack’s receiver depth is a myriad of limited complementary options.

31. San Francisco 49ers: Cesar Ruiz, OG/C. Michigan

• Assuming John Lynch wants to make two picks, much can be done to prep for the near future. Ruiz is an ideal fit in Shanahan’s zone-blocking scheme and has experience at guard.

32. Kansas City Chiefs: Ross Blacklock, DT. TCU

• I expect a trade out here, but should the Chiefs stand pat Blacklock provides insurance for GM Brett Veach if things deteriorate with Chris Jones.

Hit me up on Twitter: @NFLDraftUpdate

Caputi: 2019 NFL Mock Draft (Final)

It’s Draft Day! In what might be the most difficult draft to mock in recent memory, here’s my first and last attempt of the season. Trades are expected to considerably impact the early portion of the first round. In 2016, there were five trades on day one. In 2017, there were six and last year there were seven. Expect movement – and for your reading pleasure, I’ve included a few in this mock.

Enjoy the process!

1. Arizona Cardinals: Nick Bosa, DE. Ohio State

• At no point throughout the process have I logically felt the Cardinals were serious about Kyler Murray. Talent is required across the board and this woeful defense benefits from a plug and play edge with an All-Pro ceiling.

2. New York Giants: Kyler Murray, QB. Oklahoma (TRADE w/SF)

• Let’s assume the trade up includes both No 6. and 17. Big Blue has kept it close to the vest but must leverage this opportunity to reignite a dispirited fan base in the wake of the Odell Beckham trade.

3. New York Jets: Josh Allen, EDGE. Kentucky

• Premium pick, premium value position. Gang Green lacks a legitimate cornerstone piece to work with off the edge and Allen reminds me of peak Justin Houston in 2014 (his 22.0 sack season).

4. Oakland Raiders: Ed Oliver, DT. Houston

• In 2010, Jon Gruden participated in drafting Gerald McCoy, a 3-tech profile who some viewed as being the more natural interior pass rusher compared to Suh. Oliver can bench press interior lineman and plays with speed + leverage.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Quinnen Williams, DT. Alabama

• What would’ve been an ideal spot for a trade down becomes an opportunity. Williams offers positional flexibility for Bowles hybrid setup and tremendous upside. Never look a gift horse in the mouth.

6. San Francisco 49ers: Jonah Williams, OL. Alabama

• Following a trade down, the 49ers go to the well for another long-term piece along the offensive line. They could use immediate improvement at guard and 2018 first round pick Mike McGlinchey is presently the only tackle signed through 2020.

7. Cincinnati Bengals: Dwayne Haskins, QB. Ohio State (TRADE w/JAX)

• Simba 7 remains in-state and becomes a Bengal. A fresh, young, offensive-minded Zac Taylor begins his head coaching tenure with the Big Ten’s single-season total yard and touchdown record holder. Cincy can preemptively part with Andy Dalton at no cap penalty in 2020.

8. Atlanta Falcons: Rashan Gary, DL. Michigan (TRADE w/DET)

• The always-aggressive Thomas Dimitroff has made at least one trade in every draft since becoming GM in 2008. There’s a buzz about Atlanta and Detroit making a deal. Movement skills are valued by Atlanta along the line and Grady Jarrett is a UFA in 2020.

9. Buffalo Bills: T.J. Hockenson, TE. Iowa

• After spending money on depth at receiver, it’s apparent the Bills brass wants to supply anointed franchise quarterback Josh Allen with as many options as possible as he develops. There remains a hole at tight end and Hockenson is the most complete player at his position in the class.

10. Denver Broncos: Devin White, LB. LSU

• If this isn’t a quarterback (and I’m about 50/50 on the matter here), White is the obvious and fortunate selection. Denver has a pair of stout run defenders in Jewell and Davis, but White totally revolutionizes the interior of Denver’s linebacking core.

11. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jawaan Taylor, OT. Florida (TRADE w/CIN)

• After moving down to acquire a pick or two, this is improved value for possibly the best long-term tackle in the draft. The talented in-state product helps Nick Foles in the short-term and perhaps whoever the starter is on the end of his bridge deal.

12. Green Bay Packers: Devin Bush, LB. Michigan

• It’s a new era under second-year GM Brian Gutekunst, who’s breaking some of the organizational molds created by Ted Thompson. With a pair of first round picks, the Pack are well-positioned to address the seemingly perennial need at linebacker with a unique talent in Bush.

13. Houston Texans: Andre Dillard, OT. Washington State (TRADE w/MIA)

• Houston, initially placed at No. 21 overall, are also armed with back-to-back second round picks (No. 54 and 55) – they must leverage their assets to bolster pass pro. Dillard is the most natural left tackle in the class and compares favorably to Duane Brown.

14. Detroit Lions: Brian Burns, EDGE. Florida State (TRADE w/DET)

• A fortuitous conclusion following a trade down, as Detroit is still able to inject twitch and athleticism off the edge to complement the signing of Trey Flowers. Lions get faster on defense.

15. Washington Redskins: Drew Lock, QB. Missouri

• It’s tough to predict how the ‘Skins will approach the quarterback position on draft day, but should this scenario materialize without a trade up it’d alleviate some of the organizational misfortune of Alex Smith’s injury. Prototypical, tools-based passer for Jay Gruden to polish.

16. Carolina Panthers: Noah Fant, TE. Iowa

• When healthy, Greg Olsen is still a threat but Fant is a unique weapon who can be aligned as a traditional tight end, as a big slot or even as a boundary mismatch a la Devin Funchess. Also a red-zone terror.

17. San Francisco 49ers: Marquise Brown, WR. Oklahoma (TRADE w/NYG)

• With the second of two first round picks (courtesy a mocked trade down with the Giants), San Francisco adds an electric vertical passing game weapon. Brown is ultra-productive and hurts defenses in space. He missed the combine due to a Lisfranc injury, but is expected to be ready for camp.

18. Minnesota Vikings: Cody Ford, OG. Oklahoma

• Plainly put, Minnesota desperately needs to reinforce the offensive line and protect the Kirk Cousins investment. If they’re as intent on running the ball as Mike Zimmer wants, Ford is the ideal profile and they’ve had success with Sooners. Played right tackle in 2018, but he can be an elite guard.

19. Tennessee Titans: Garrett Bradbury, OG/C. NC State

• Interior offensive line was a legitimate sore spot in 2018 and while Rodger Saffold was added, more is required. Bradbury is a one-stop addition that will immediately elevate either the right guard or (his natural) center position. A former tight end, he has the athleticism to accommodate the mobile Mariota.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Greedy Williams, CB. LSU

• Perhaps the leader of a markedly imperfect but talented cornerback class, Greedy is the prototypical long, athletic boundary profile. I don’t rule out a handful of the remaining front-seven pieces still on the board either.

21. Seattle Seahawks: Clelin Ferrell, DE. Clemson

• Frank Clark out, Clelin Ferrell in. An economically savvy transaction for Seattle, also adding a polished plug and play edge with a three-down skill-set.

22. Baltimore Ravens: Elgton Jenkins, OG/C. Mississippi State

• Three-position interior power blocker with prototypical size. The ideal addition to accommodate the down-hill, man-to-man based approach that appeals to new offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

23. Miami Dolphins: Jeffery Simmons, DT. Mississippi State

• In this scenario, understand two things: 1. The ‘Phins have conceded this isn’t their year to address quarterback early, 2. They’re all-in on a rebuild year in 2019. Simmons is a top 10 talent and could be an All-Pro if given time to recover from a torn ACL suffered in February. No edge value remains, so they stash a gem.

24. Oakland Raiders: DeAndre Baker, CB. Georgia

• Perhaps he’s a nickel at the next level, but he provides sticky coverage and plays a physical game with experience on the boundary. Nevin Lawson was brought in for depth, but this represents a large improvement.

25. Philadelphia Eagles: Josh Jacobs, RB. Alabama

• The roster is well-built, so aside from acquiring a succession plan for Jason Peters or preemptive receiver depth, this stands as a big talent upgrade in the backfield. Philly fields a stable of decent ‘backs, but few of which would start elsewhere and Jordan Howard is a UFA in 2020.

26. Indianapolis Colts: Christian Wilkins, DT. Clemson

• If there’s one thing Chris Ballard has proven in his time relatively short time in Indy, it’s a willingness to build in the trenches. This is true of the organization he came from in KC – and what a bargain Wilkins would be at this point.

27. Oakland Raiders: Chris Lindstrom, OG. Boston College

• Rookie GM Mike Mayock puts his stamp on the first round by selecting a fellow Eagle alum. Too easy, right? Emotional attachment aside, trading Kelechi Osemele to the Jets has left behind a need at guard. Gruden has a first round O-line track record as well.

28. Los Angeles Chargers: Kaleb McGary, OT. Washington

• Telesco needs a trench upgrade, be it on offense or defense. A big, projectable blocker with power and length, Kaleb McGary steps into the right tackle spot immediately. He also projects quite well inside if required. A pick for the O-line is a pick for Rivers.

29. Denver Broncos: Daniel Jones, QB. Duke (TRADE w/SEA)

• After acquiring a cornerstone piece earlier in Devin White, Elway finds an opportunity to slide back into the late portion of round one to select his next quarterback – all the while securing the coveted fifth-year option contract. Seattle, after landing a Frank Clark replacement, trades out (but take a safety if they stay).

30. Green Bay Packers: Dalton Risner, OL. Kansas State

• The Pack could stand to upgrade and add depth in multiple areas along the offensive line. Risner is athletic and proportioned well enough to fill a need at 3-4 positions, be it immediately at guard or long-term at tackle.

31. Los Angeles Rams: Dexter Lawrence, NT. Clemson

• Imposing with brute strength, Lawrence profiles to be an outstanding fit as a central anchor in Wade Phillips’ base 3-4. Packing 340 nimble pounds of bulk, he should help keep Aaron Donald clean.

32. New England Patriots: Irv Smith Jr., TE. Alabama

• Austin Seferian-Jenkins has some untapped veteran upside, but more is required in the wake of Gronk’s retirement. Irv Smith Jr. is a field-stretcher who can accumulate after the catch. New England has succeeded with multiple tight end options in a variety of profiles.

Hit me up on Twitter: @NFLDraftUpdate

2019 NFL Draft Preview – Defensive Line

Saddle up, because this year’s group of draft-eligible defensive tackles has the pure talent to be one of the more legendary positional classes in recent memory. Featuring three or four players with legitimate early round ability, the class is led by Houston product Ed Oliver – who already announced he will enter the 2019 NFL Draft after this season. The positional grouping’s top talents primarily occupy the interior/defensive tackle space for their respective teams, but all have the skill-set to provide versatile coverage as base 3-4 five-techniques. This a particularly outstanding group, especially because the modern NFL seeks diversity in matchup profiles along the defensive front in all setups.

1. Ed Oliver, Houston (6’3″ 290lbs.)
• A truly special talent. We haven’t seen a defensive tackle prospect of Oliver’s caliber since Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy entered the league in 2010 – and the former five-star recruit compares favorably to the latter. In two seasons, Oliver has amassed a colossal line of 139 tackles, 39.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. As an ideal 3-technique profile, most-suitable for a 4-3 base, Oliver possesses a mouthwatering blend of explosion and power, largely attributable to his tremendous understanding of leverage. His performances only improved despite commanding more attention in 2017. It’d take a catastrophic collapse to knock him off his perch as the top eligible interior defender.

2. Raekwon Davis, Alabama (6’7″ 306lbs.)
• The Tide’s mammoth lineman is as physically imposing as he is athletic. After spending a Freshman season buried on the depth chart, Davis exploded onto the scene as a Sophomore in 2017. That season he accumulated 69 tackles, 10.0 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks, and added an interception for good measure. He possesses the tantalizing physical skill-set to project as an interior 4-3 defender, but also as a 5-technique in a base 3-4, both of which would maximize his freakish dimension and length. While he enters his Junior campaign as something of a one-year wonder, Davis is firmly on the radar and his size + speed ratio combined with his production are impossible to dismiss.

3. Rashan Gary, Michigan (6’5″ 281lbs.)
• Remember, the modern NFL is about creating mismatches along the defensive line through diversity in speed and length. The in-out defender is ‘in’ at the moment, and Gary will stand as one of the more versatile front seven defenders available when he jumps to the pros. Gary is a power-player with explosion and length, who has had pro caliber coaching over the past two seasons. An all-encompassing talent, he’s one complete season away from entrenching himself as a first-round selection (if he isn’t already).

4. Christian Wilkins, Clemson (6’4″ 300lbs.)
• It caught many by surprise when Wilkins elected to return for his Senior campaign this offseason in search of another national title. He’s a bigger, beefier 3-technique with a skill-set that could appeal to teams seeking a 5-technique as well. A fixture on Clemson’s historically talented defensive line, Wilkins’ ability to disrupt and pocket-push has markedly improved with every passing season. Coming out, some will inevitably ask the unfair, but necessary question: How much of any Clemson defender’s success boils down to an elite supporting cast?

5. Derrick Brown, Auburn (6’5″ 325lbs.)
• One of the most influential pieces of Auburn’s sharp defense in 2017, particularly in the front seven. Brown possesses a huge frame, but exhibits ‘plus’ movements skills and range, as well as deceptive athleticism. On numerous occasions, he was able to collapse a pocket, but also absorb double-team attention and create space for teammates. If he can replicate or improve upon his Sophomore campaign he could easily slide up this ranking. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s an honor roll student with an academic pedigree.

Honorable Mention: Olive Sagapolu, Wisconsin (6’2″ 346lbs.)
• The role of the out-and-out, two-down nose tackle has largely been diminished at the pro level and it’s translated to the college game as well, but players like Olive Sagapolu will always have a place. His role within the Badgers’ defensive front is the primary space-eater and thus his statistical production is quite limited. Sagapolu still notched three sacks as a Junior last year in his only full season of game experience. Former Washington Husky nose tackle Danny Shelton did not produce quality numbers until his Senior campaign in 2014, subsequently being selected in the first-round. While I’m not suggesting this situation will play out as such, be prepared to hear more about the Badgers’ backflipping nose tackle in 2018.

This is the first defensive positional group of NFP’s 2019 NFL draft preview. Here are the standouts on offense: QB, RBWRTEOTG/C

2019 NFL Draft Preview – RBs

Fresh off a loaded 2018 running back class, this year doesn’t boast as much top end talent or depth but still holds an assortment of interesting prospects. The group is defined by electrifying Stanford standout Bryce Love, who I graded just behind the comparably elite Saquon Barkley. Past Love, we see a stable of well-built backs with a combination of size + speed, peppered with a collection of quality scat-back profiles who could be effective third-down contributors. Not unlike this year’s quarterback class, the college season will reveal a lot about what order the runners will come off the board next spring.

1. Bryce Love, Stanford (5’10” 196lbs.)
• Springy pin-ball with track speed. Love’s junior campaign was eerily reminiscent of Chris Johnson’s 2k season in 2009, littered with long touchdown runs and dizzying elusiveness. He continued the Stanford tradition of finishing second in the Heisman voting but is an early favorite for the award this season. Had he entered the 2018 NFL Draft, Bryce Love could easily have been a top 25 selection.

2. Damien Harris, Alabama (5’11” 221lbs.)
• An explosive, efficient runner who’s amassed a staggering 2,037 yards over the past two seasons in just 281 carries (7.2yards per carry). Rough and tumble style that doesn’t wane over four quarters, he’s also deceptively good in the passing game.

3. Benny Snell Jr., Kentucky (5’11” 223lbs.)
•  Snell was a surprise Sophomore who improved as the 2017 season went on, despite defenses keying in on him as Kentucky’s best offensive threat. He boasts an ideal blend of size, speed and vision;and is adept in short-yardage situations. Receiving skills are totally untested entering 2018.

4.L.J. Scott, Michigan State (6’1″ 226lbs.)
• All-around back with a complete game who should translate quite comfortably to the NFL in 2019. Like fellow Sparty alum Le’Veon Bell, many believe L.J. Scott could benefit from trimming down slightly. Though he’s yet to have a 1,000-yard rushing season, Scott profiles as the draft’s premier three-down bell-cow.

5. Rodney Anderson, Oklahoma (6’1″ 219lbs.)
• Two serious injuries (broken leg, 2015 / neck, 2016) derailed two seasons of his collegiate career, but if not for those concerns Rodney Anderson is comfortably a top three runner in this class entering 2018. Anderson bounced back with a tremendous RS-Sophomore campaign with an angry, downhill style. Also doubles as a terrific receiver.

Honorable Mention: Devin Singletary, Florida Atlantic (5’9″ 200lbs.)
• Thickly built despite his diminutive frame, Singletary was one of college football’s most productive players over the past two seasons, particularly in 2017 – rushing for 32 touchdowns. If he can become a little more efficient with his carries in 2018 he’ll be well-prepared for the pro level, as there’s little left to prove for him in Boca Raton.

This is the final offensive position of our look at the 2019 NFL draft. The other positions can be found here: QB, WR, TE, OT, G/C

2019 NFL Draft Preview – TEs

For a position where age often wins out, this year is a uniquely youthful group of underclassmen with lots of pass-catching potential. This projection hinges on how many will actually enter the 2019 draft. Some of the top talents will break in new quarterbacks while others must continue growing physically. UCLA’s Caleb Wilson and Iowa’s Noah Fant are vying for the preseason crown, but I’m eager to see if a dark horse emerges as the top talent. Wilson is the classic every-down workhorse, while Fant is the explosive playmaker.
1. Caleb Wilson, UCLA (6’4″ 235lbs.)
• Many will remember Wilson as the centerpiece of the Bruins historic comeback against Texas A&M, but the former USC walk-on was more than a one-game wonder in 2017. Wilson was on a torrid pace with 490 yards and one touchdown on 39 receptions in just five games before his season was cut short due to a foot injury.

© Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

2. Noah Fant, Iowa (6’5″ 232lbs.)
• Little separates Fant from Wilson, and it may come down to preference – so understand this is a 1a, 1b ranking. As Fant continues adding to his frame his appeal will only increase. The 2017 Big Ten touchdown leader (11) regardless of position can score in and out of the red zone and possesses mouthwatering athleticism.
3. Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri (6’5″ 260lbs.)
• An exciting passing-game threat, particularly in the red zone, he caught 11 touchdowns as a redshirt-Freshman last season. I suspect if he produces comparable numbers in 2018 then Okwuegbunam could leave school early with his graduating quarterback Drew Lock. Physically speaking, he’s already mature and ready for the pro level.
© Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

4. Tommy Sweeney, Boston College (6’5″ 255lbs.)
• Lacks the speed and athleticism to punish defenses, but there’s probably not a safer, more complete player available at the position. Sweeney blocks in-line competently, will move chains as a receiver, and has some yard-after-catch ability. I’ve noticed he has a good feel for soft zones in the passing game.
5. Kaden Smith, Stanford (6’5″ 259lbs.)
• The latest creation from a developing tight end factory at Stanford, Kaden Smith is a physically impressive athlete with desired length and movement skills to impose as a receiver. Another year of sustained production could convince Smith to make the pro leap.
Honorable Mention: Tyler Petite, USC (6’4″ 250lbs.)
• It’s apparent that Petite has plenty of untapped ability as a pass-catcher, as he generated a lot of positive momentum in that regard with Sam Darnold under center in 2017. Petite’s got an otherwise all-around game and if he can maintain his annual growth in production he’ll enter the NFL as a polished option for any team.

2019 NFL Draft Preview – G/C

Going into this collegiate season, it’s wise to remember that when evaluating draft-eligible offensive linemen – particularly along the interior – how they physically project to translate to the pro game. Size and length are crucial so some of the better collegiate blockers may not make for the best pro prospects. That said, this class of interior linemen is full of experience and grit. The 2018 class seemed to possess more plug and play talent atop the board, but the polish of many 2019 blockers should produce a handful of early contributors.
1. Hjalte Froholdt, Arkansas (6’5″ 315lbs.)
• The Denmark native transitioned from defensive tackle to left guard as a Sophomore in 2016 where he’s since made 25 starts. His combination of desirable size and length are supplemented by his mean streak and brute strength. Froholdt has immersed himself in the guard position rather quickly and considerably cut down penalties in 2017, committing only two. He’s primed for a big year and subsequent first-round consideration.

2. Beau Benzschawel, Wisconsin (6’6″ 317lbs.)
• The epitome of a Badger lineman, Benzschawel is tough, polished, highly experienced and physically mature. Moved from right tackle to right guard as a redshirt-freshman and has started there ever since. Possessing the ideal length, he also played through injuries and remained a reliable cog at Wisconsin. After receiving a “return to school grade” he opted against entering the 2018 draft, which was the right decision – he has a chance to be a top 60 pick in 2019.
3. Connor McGovern, Penn State (6’5″ 320lbs.)
• Not to be confused with the Denver Broncos guard of exactly the same name. McGovern is a physically mature true Junior with advanced abilities. As a Freshman in 2016, he took hold of the right guard job early on, making nine starts, prior to becoming Penn State’s full-time starter at center as a Sophomore. His bigger, longer frame aligns with the modern profile of NFL centers and accruing one more strong season would leave him with little left to prove at the college level.

4. Ross Pierschbacher, Alabama (6’4″ 303lbs.)
• Perhaps the most experienced and distinguished blocker in this entire class, Pierschbacher – a redshirt-Senior – has 43 career starts under his belt (42 at left guard, one at right guard). Bama has many moving pieces along it’s offensive line, but he will be shifting to center for the 2018 season, further adding to his pro appeal.
5. Elgton Jenkins, Mississippi State (6’4″ 313lbs.)
• A well-built, industrious interior blocker with excellent mobility and prototype dimension. Jenkins comes from an offensive tackle background, but his genuine ability was unlocked when kicked inside. At center, he’ll be a key figure in new head coach Joe Moorehead’s multi-tempo spread employing modern RPO looks. He’s featured on the 2018 Rimington Trophy watch list.
Honorable Mention: Dalton Risner, Kansas State (6’5″ 300lbs.)
• Keeping with the theme of experience, Risner – a redshirt-Senior – has started 38 games in his Wildcat career (13 at center, 25 at right tackle). A team captain who moved to right tackle after a Freshman season at center that landed him on the 2016 Rimington Trophy watch list, his best fit at the pro level will come on the interior. Intangibles are off the chart and teams will like his attitude. The only remaining question for Risner is whether or not he can return to full effectiveness after surgically repairing his left shoulder prior to the 2017 Cactus Bowl.
Here are the rest of our positional breakdowns looking way forward to next April and the 2019 Draft: QB, WR, TE, OT.

2019 NFL Draft Preview – WRs

The 2019 receiving class is a mix of size, length and speed, yet most (but not all) are plagued by issues, whether it’s inconsistent quarterback play or injury. Despite those drawbacks, all have remained productive. My (very fictional) crystal ball tells me that at the end of the 2018 collegiate season we’ll be more excited about this year’s crop than last years.
1. A.J. Brown, Ole Miss (6’1″ 225lbs.)
• Though catching passes from multiple quarterbacks in 2017, Brown remained highly productive. Despite lacking in top-end speed, Brown possesses dangerous ability after the catch, running with reckless abandon. His pro comparison is a rich man’s 2010-2011 Hakeem Nicks.
2. N’Keal Henry, Arizona State (6’4″ 216lbs.)
• Long, big-bodied volume catcher with a wide catch radius, Henry does quite well in most 50-50 situations, imposing size on smaller defenders. A former blue-chip recruit, Henry has acrobatic athleticism and makes play-saving adjustments on film. The question he will have to answer is can he separate against speed consistently in 2018?

© Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

3. Deebo Samuel, South Carolina (6’0″ 210lbs.)
• Your quintessential Swiss Army knife. Before suffering a broken leg injury that ended his season in SC’s third game, Deebo accumulated four offensive touchdowns (three receiving, one rushing) and returned both of his two kick return attempts for scores. He could be a special playmaker, but needs to stay healthy.
4. David Sills V, West Virginia (6’4 203lbs.)
• A former quarterback prodigy who committed to USC at the tender age of 13, Sills ultimately wound up in Morgantown and, after a transition year in JUCO, he went on to lead the NCAA in receiving touchdowns (18, tied with Anthony Miller). Though quite raw, if Sills continues to develop and proves he can run a greater variety of routes he will shine at the pro level. He’s already a lethal red zone threat.
© Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

5. Stanley Morgan Jr., Nebraska (6’1″ 195lbs.)
• The focal point of Nebraska’s passing offense in 2017, Morgan’s blend of physicality and inside-outside versatility will assure him of even more responsibility this season. Due for a production bump in Scott Frost’s newly implemented offense, Morgan could become a household name.
Honorable Mention: Marquise Brown, Oklahoma (5’11” 162lbs.)
• This underclassman is one of college football’s fastest offensive players. While size and bulk are concerning, the success of diminutive profiles like Tyreek Hill and Antonio Brown have broken barriers for receivers like Marquise Brown. Lincoln Riley’s offense should give him a good place to showcase his skills.
This is our way-too-early position by position look at the 2019 NFL draft. The previous parts in the series were Quarterbacks and Offensive Tackles.

2019 NFL Draft Preview – Tackles

This year’s crop of offensive tackles stands to produce a couple more high-level draft talents than in 2018. Prior to tearing his ACL, Washington’s Trey Adams was pegged to be the first edge blocker selected but opted to return to school. He’s followed by an impressive pair of SEC underclassmen in Alabama’s Jonah Williams and Mississippi’s Greg Little – both of whom are primed for the national spotlight. All told, there is a considerably higher amount of blockers with long-term left tackle potential in the 2019 class.
1. Trey Adams, Washington (6’8″ 327lbs.)
• Adams enters this collegiate season as the most polished and distinguished blocker and would likely have been a first round pick in 2018 despite a torn ACL. Possessing a mammoth frame with the desired length for the edge, if he proves he can overcome his injury it’ll be difficult to dethrone him as the top tackle available.

© Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

2. Jonah Williams, Alabama (6’5″ 301lbs.)
• A gifted, physical blocker equally skilled in the pass and run games, Williams took hold of Bama’s left tackle as a Sophomore (after starting on the right as a Freshman) and became a pillar for the Tide’s offense. He’s technically advanced and often initiates at the point of attack first.
3. Greg Little, Ole Miss (6’6″ 325lbs.)
• Despite his tremendous size, Little is a fine technician with excellent footwork. Terrific at carrying his weight, he gets to the second level quite comfortably in the ground game. Though he could be more physical while engaged with defenders, the dimensions and exciting upside will generate a strong buzz throughout the season.
4. Andre Dillard, Washington State (6’5″ 306lbs.)
• A ‘plus’ athlete at left tackle with excellent mobility and lateral movement skills. Dillard’s skill set caters to many modern NFL spread offenses and his profile will be of great value to teams who like to pass. Shades of Duane Brown out of Virginia Tech in 2008, though probably with more polish.

5. Michael Deiter, Wisconsin (6’6″ 328lbs.)
• Uniquely experienced, Deiter has started full seasons at center, guard and tackle. His reps as an interior blocker proved useful as an edge blocker last season and it looks like he could remain there at the next level. He even scored a touchdown against Illinois last season. He enters his Senior campaign with a whopping 41 starts under his belt. The next prototypically polished Badger lineman.
Honorable Mention: Calvin Anderson, Texas (6’5″ 300lbs.)
• Keep an eye on Anderson. Texas landed him as a coveted graduate transfer from Rice despite interest from the likes of Michigan, Auburn and Oklahoma among others. A highly intelligent individual on and off the field, Anderson grades out as an excellent pass blocker and is fully expected to fill the void left by outgoing Connor Williams on the blindside. He’s positioned himself well to skyrocket up many draft boards this fall.
This is part two of our positional look at the 2019 NFL Draft. Part one was quarterbacks which can be found here.

2019 NFL Draft Preview – QB

Despite the weight of a uniquely never-ending draft grind, there’s something poetic about the start of a new collegiate cycle that attracts a total spectrum of fans, from the educated onlookers to the full-blown draft degenerates (such as myself).
As such, we proceed with a detailed evaluation of my introductory positional rankings – coming out one group at a time, beginning with quarterbacks.
So, to (inaccurately) quote the great Matthew McConaughey: “I’ll write, I’ll write, I’ll write.”
 
QUARTERBACK
Overview:
Five teams selected a first-round passer in the 2018 class and my suspicion is that it was a partial indictment of the potential 2019 crop. Presently, we’re faced with a quarterback class asking numerous questions of evaluators – who only seem to agree about being unable to distinguish who will emerge on top.
Simply put, there are a handful of quarterbacks with the potential to rise above the class, but most require a step-forward season in 2019 in order for that to happen. This year’s preseason quarterback evaluation requires more projection than most years I’ve studied the NFL Draft, which personally elicits equal levels of excitement and indignation.
1. Jarrett Stidham, Auburn (6’3″ 215lbs.)
• Will be hit with the ‘system’ tag, but he completes a high degree of attempts and rapidly immersed himself in Gus Malzahn’s intricate passing offense. I don’t see a quarterback with better ‘feel’ for his position in this class right now.
2. Justin Herbert, Oregon (6’6″ 225lbs.)
• Possesses all of the tantalizing physical traits evaluators want in a franchise passer: size, arm and athleticism. Also boasts a smooth delivery and statistical accuracy. If he takes the next step this season it’ll be tough to value another passer more.
3. Will Grier, West Virginia (6’2″ 214lbs.)
• The ex-Florida Gator was highly prolific throughout his first season in Morgantown, forming a good connection with stud receiver David Sills. Everything’s on a rope; makes NFL-esque window throws, but needs to learn that not every pass needs to be a bullet.
4. Drew Lock, Missouri (6’4″ 225lbs.)
• Ticks all of the prototype passer boxes, possessing ideal size, arm talent and an ever-present inclination to push the ball downfield. Must overcome issues relating to accuracy (both in-game and statistical), but did suffer from receiver drops last year.
5. Brian Lewerke, Michigan State (6’3″ 215lbs.)
• Underclassmen who must drastically improve accuracy, but showed plenty of promise in his ten-win Sophomore campaign. Moves through reads in rapid-fire. Will take a hit to deliver an accurate pass. Nice pocket footwork, but liable to hurt a defense with them too.
Honorable Mention: Ryan Finley, North Carolina State (6’4″ 210lbs.)
• Boise State transfer with prolific aerial numbers. Major positive is his compact, lightning-quick release and decisive style – always aware of quick-read options and fall-back outlets. Has many physical tools at his disposal. Downfield ball placement is inconsistent.
 
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2018 Two-Round NFL Mock Draft (2.0)

• Mock Draft 1.0, released on February 19, 2018, can be viewed here.
(Round 1)
1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB. USC
Analysis: Simply couldn’t protect the ball in 2017, but see the 2016 Rose Bowl vs. Penn State for a glimpse into how special he can be. Projectable prototype quarterback for Dorsey & Co. to move forward with.
2. New York Giants: Josh Rosen, QB. UCLA
Analysis: Best to find your man a year early than a year late, and the G-Men aren’t likely to have a better opportunity of acquiring Eli’s successor. Rosen is the most pro-ready quarterback available.
3. New York Jets (f/IND): Josh Allen, QB. Wyoming
Analysis: Though any team drafting Allen is taking a tremendous risk, he suits the conventional mold of quarterbacks GM Mike Maccagnan has preferred in his time with Gang Green. Jets are all-in.
4. Cleveland Browns (f/HOU): Quenton Nelson, OG. Notre Dame
Analysis: In 2013, John Dorsey made the shrewd, unsexy decision to oversee the selection of Eric Fisher at No. 1 overall and has always valued linemen with premium picks. This gives Cleveland the flexibility to kick Joel Bitonio back to his college position at left tackle.
5. Denver Broncos: Saquon Barkley, RB. Penn State
Analysis: Despite the tremendous depth at the position in this class, the Broncos find themselves fortunate that the potential best player available falls to them. Denver is sorely lacking in explosion at the position and Barkley pairs with Keenum for a backfield overhaul.

Chris Ballard's Colts, with four picks in the first two rounds, are well-positioned to win the 2018 NFL Draft.
Chris Ballard’s Colts, with four picks in the first two rounds and no quarterback need, are well-positioned to win the 2018 NFL Draft.

6. Indianapolis Colts (f/NYJ): Bradley Chubb, DE. NC State
Analysis: How smart does Chris Ballard look if this materializes? The Colts collectively accumulated 25.0 sacks in 2017 – good for second-worst in the NFL. Chubb is the defined No. 1 edge player in the class and has amassed 44 TFL and 20.0 sacks over the past to seasons.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB. Alabama
Analysis: Having already made a concerted effort to reinforce the league’s worst pass rush with the acquisitions of Vinny Curry and Jason Pierre-Paul, Tampa would be fortuitous to land the draft’s top defensive back. Whether it’s at corner or safety, he starts immediately.
8. Chicago Bears: Tremaine Edmunds, LB. Virginia Tech
Analysis: A rare breed of physical specimen, the 19-year-old could either project as an interior player or on the edge as a stand-up pass rusher.
9. San Francisco 49ers: Derwin James, S. Florida State
Analysis: Few first-round prospects have ascended throughout the process quite like James has. 49ers GM John Lynch – a former safety himself – knows the value of the position better than most.
10. Oakland Raiders: Vita Vea, DT. Washington
Analysis: Despite the signings of cornerback Rashaan Melvin and linebacker Tahir Whitehead more is needed at each position – however, there’s presently no greater need than along the interior defensive line (as evidenced by Oakland’s flirtation with Ndamukong Suh). Vea is a good-bodied power nose in the Haloti Ngata mold who can take attention off Khalil Mack.
11. Miami Dolphins: Denzel Ward, CB. Ohio State
Analysis: The Phins’ pass defense placed right on the Mendoza line in 2017 and, despite Xavien Howard showing strong signs of encouragement, more is needed –  a particularly prudent option with Vea off the board. Ward is a productive and complete cornerback.
12. Buffalo Bills (f/CIN): Baker Mayfield, QB. Oklahoma
Analysis: After sliding up nine picks, this selection will be for a quarterback one way or another and it’s quite possible the Bills continue moving up the board from here. The signing of A.J. McCarron no longer necessitates the need to find an immediate starter, but if he falters than there may not be a more polished player at the position from this class than Mayfield.
13. Washington Redskins: Roquan Smith, LB. Georgia
Analysis: Best-player-available. Zach Brown is quality and was re-signed, as was Mason Foster – but the latter is declining and easily upgradeable. Roquan Smith is a rangy athlete capable of playing in a wide variety of base fronts.
14. Green Bay Packers: Mike Hughes, CB. Central Florida
Analysis: In 2016, Green Bay began overhauling its secondary by adding length and speed, but the process is far from complete – particularly on the boundaries. New defensive coordinator Mike Pettine deploys a more aggressive press-man approach, which Hughes suits quite nicely. He’s scratching the surface of his potential.
15. Arizona Cardinals: Connor Williams, OT. Texas
Analysis: There are few teams in the current NFL landscape who struggle to protect the quarterback more than Arizona (who ranked tied for 30th in sacks allowed in 2017). Williams is right tackle or guard versatile with NFL-ready run blocking skills. In a no-trade scenario, with no quarterback available suited to play-caller Mike McCoy’s offense, the Cards address issues elsewhere.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Mike McGlinchey, OT. Notre Dame
Analysis: Offensive line has been an area of strength for Baltimore for multiple years, but a continued infusion of talent would be an all-encompassing benefit. McGlinchey book-ended Ronnie Stanley once before at Notre Dame in 2015 and would allow the Ravens to utilize Alex Lewis as a swingman.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Da’Ron Payne, DT. Alabama
Analysis: Starting nose tackle Brandon Mebane is regressing with age and entering the final year of his contract. As well, defensive end Corey Liuget was suspended four games to start the 2018 season due to a PED violation. Da’Ron Payne’s is an ideal solution to both concerns.
18. Seattle Seahawks: Marcus Davenport, DE. Texas-San Antonio
Analysis: The Seahawks totalled 39.0 sacks in 2017 – 8.5 of which were traded to Philly with Michael Bennett. Between various pass-rushing reclamation projects and the likely release of Cliff Avril, Seattle could opt for upside and plug-in the explosive Davenport.
19. Dallas Cowboys: Leighton Vander Esch, LB. Boise State
Analysis: Sean Lee is turning 32, has never played 16 games in a season and the Cowboys defense is consistently weakened without him. Vander Esch is an impressive athlete with low mileage, coming off an elite year of all-around production.
20. Detroit Lions: Sam Hubbard, DE. Ohio State
Analysis: Pass-rushing woes in 2017 necessitated a move for a now-38-year-old Dwight Freeney, and despite Ziggy Ansah’s pricey Franchise Tag the need for an upgrade on the edge is sorely required. Hubbard is a productive, athletic end with deceptive ability in space.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (f/BUF): Isaiah Wynn, OG. Georgia
Analysis: The trade down to this selection, which also added Cordy Glenn, allows for better value at guard. New offensive line coach Frank Pollack saw first-hand how smooth a transition Zack Martin made from college tackle to pro guard – Wynn’s physical composition is similar.
22. Buffalo Bills (f/KC): Jaire Alexander, CB. Louisville
Analysis: While it’s very likely this pick is used in part as a trade-up chip for the Bills to land their passer in the top ten, if they keep it they land one of round one’s biggest bargains. Alexander may be the draft’s best player at his position and for durability and height/length reasons, he slips. Think Josh Verrett 2.0, and a fantastic complement to Tre’Davious White.
Sean McVay and Co. have quickly transformed the Rams into NFC contenders, but require pass rush help.
Sean McVay and Co. have quickly transformed the Rams into NFC contenders, but require pass rush help.

23. Los Angeles Rams: Harold Landry, OLB. Boston College
Analysis: The roster needed to contend in the NFC is taking shape, but Wade Phillips still lacks a reliable edge rushing option. Landry’s stellar Combine performance solidified the belief in his ability to be a space-playing 3-4 linebacker. The most polished player available in the position the Rams require most.
24. Carolina Panthers: Joshua Jackson, CB. Iowa
Analysis: GM Marty Hurney indicated a willingness to address the positional need by attempting to sign Bashaud Breeland (who failed his physical) and the corner market is relatively scarce. Rather than opting for a committee approach on the opposite boundary to James Bradberry, the high-potential Joshua Jackson is a seamless schematic fit for a primarily zone base secondary that finished middle of the pack in coverage last year.
25. Tennessee Titans: Josh Sweat, OLB. Florida State
Analysis: Gifted athlete with desirable speed, size and length. It was apparent at the Combine that his ideal fit comes as a base 3-4 edge, and despite past injury concerns he’s proven to be an accomplished pass disruptor. There is some ‘boom or bust’ factor to Sweat’s evaluation, but if he puts it together at the next level he could be a gem.
26. Atlanta Falcons: Taven Bryan, DT. Florida
Analysis: With a relatively complete roster it’s quite possible that Thomas Dimitroff looks to be aggressive and move up to secure Atlanta’s target. If not, Taven Bryan is a fantastic option. Possessing a bullish lower-body build with an active motor, the Casper, Montana-native provides an excellent solution to the vacancy left by Dontari Poe.
27. New Orleans Saints: Calvin Ridley, WR. New Orleans
Analysis: When you’re picking at the bottom of round one and the top available player at a position of need falls to you, it’s fate. Though this is more based on circumstance, New Orleans’ offense would benefit tremendously from adding a passing game workhorse to aid Drew Brees while the window of contention remains open. Ridley possesses some similarities to Reggie Wayne in 2001.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Lorenzo Carter, LB. Georgia
Analysis: One pick that touches upon a couple needs. Jon Bostic only begins to answer how Pittsburgh will replace Ryan Shazier in 2018 and the team requires more production from former first-rounder Bud Dupree, having yet to active his fifth-year option. Carter is a long, rangy uber-athlete who can be molded into either role moving forward.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Christian Kirk, WR. Texas A&M
Analysis: A rapid turnaround, aided by relatively wise spending in free agency, has the Jags sitting pretty on draft night. Though linebacker is arguably the team’s most glaring hole following Paul Posluszny’s retirement, it’d be a minor surprise to see Kirk available. The organization stood behind Blake Bortles this offseason and, as such, add another dynamic weapon to aid in his continued development.
30. Minnesota Vikings: Will Hernandez, OG. UTEP
Analysis: After hammering top roster needs at quarterback and defensive tackle in free agency the Vikings are free to address the interior offensive line. Rookie center Pat Elflein is a stud, but both guard spots are easily upgradeable, and a phone-booth mauler like Hernandez would bring a welcomed mean streak to an O-line that was ill-equipped against a formidable pass rush in the NFC title game.
31. New England Patriots: Kolton Miller, OT. UCLA
Analysis: After Nate Solder joined the Giants for historic money it’d be fitting if a player of a near-identical physical profile slots in as his replacement. One of the 2018 Combine’s true workout warriors, the mammoth blind-side Bruin blocker is raw but offers a boatload of athleticism for the position. Besides, edge blocking as a rookie isn’t such a herculean task when it’s for Tom Brady’s lightning-quick internal clock.
32. Philadelphia Eagles: Dallas Goedert, TE. South Dakota State
Analysis: For a team with few – if any – immediate holes, there is an opportunity for reinforcement behind Zach Ertz. After losing a quality ‘move’ tight end in Trey Burton to free agency, Goedert can effectively replicate the physical attributes lost in the passing game. More of a linear athlete in the Travis Kelce mold, this adds another dynamic dimension to an Eagles offense patiently awaiting the return of Carson Wentz.
(Round 2)
33. Cleveland Browns: Isaiah Oliver, CB. Colorado
Analysis: Size, length, ball skills. Tremendous potential at the top of round two, and can also help as a returner. Offers a new matchup dimension on Cleveland’s boundary.
34. New York Giants: Billy Price, OG/C. Ohio State
Analysis: Big Blue invested heavily at left tackle with Nate Solder and double-down with the nasty (guard-capable) Billy Price, a fellow Buckeye product equally polished as Shurmur’s rookie center (Pat Elflein) in Minnesota last season.
35. Cleveland Browns (f/HOU): Justin Reid, S. Stanford
Analysis: Versatile, “student of game” type who can cover multiple positions in the secondary behind Damarious Randall, who enters a contract year.
36. Indianapolis Colts: Derrius Guice, RB. LSU
Analysis: The feature ‘back Indy’s been seeking since the Edgerrin James/Joseph Addai days; whether it’s Luck or Brissett under center, Guice is capable of carrying the load offensively.
37. Indianapolis Colts (f/NYJ): James Daniels, OG/C. Iowa
Buccaneers GM Jason Licht has quickly addressed pass rushing needs through free agency and the trade market, allowing for increased draft flexibility.
Buccaneers GM Jason Licht has quickly addressed pass rushing needs through the free agent and trade markets, allowing for increased draft flexibility.

Analysis: Reich touted the interior O-line depth of this class and the Colts are pleased to find a first-round talent, in the Pouncey twins’ mold, capable of playing three positions atop round two.
38. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Sony Michel, RB. Georgia
Analysis: Perpetual home run threat capable of stabilizing a backfield in need of a workhorse. Sony finally becomes an outright bell-cow.
39. Chicago Bears: Desmond Harrison, OT. West Georgia
Analysis: An ideal schematic fit for Nagy/Helfrich; high-potential long-term left tackle option who could physically follow in the Tyron Smith development path when he fills out his athletic frame.
40. Denver Broncos: Braden Smith, OG. Auburn
Analysis: Guard will be a point of emphasis early on and Smith is a big, powerful people-pusher with a ready-made NFL frame.
41. Oakland Raiders: Rashaan Evans, LB. Alabama
Analysis: Modern prototype linebacker with range and explosion; doubles as a sub-package pass rusher.
42. Miami Dolphins: Lamar Jackson, QB. Louisville
Analysis: Though maybe not a round one quarterback team after converting $16.7M into guaranteed money on Tannehill’s deal, this would be an ideal situation for player and team; electrifying playmaker.
43. New England Patriots (f/SF): Mike Gesicki, TE. Penn State
Analysis: Gronk is pondering retirement and Dwayne Allen was a non-factor in the passing game last season. Gesicki is a more athletic Jeremy Shockey and red-zone demon.
44. Washington Redskins: Harrison Phillips, DT. Stanford
Analysis: Brute power and a hulking physical build, Phillips provides an instant upgrade at nose tackle as Washington continues to beef up through the defensive middle.
45. Green Bay Packers: Arden Key, OLB. LSU
Analysis: Ideal dimensions and profile as a base 3-4 edge rusher with considerable upside. If they’re drafting the 2016 version, then it’s a tremendous bargain at this point.
46. Cincinnati Bengals: Hayden Hurst, TE. South Carolina
Analysis: Eifert’s proved unreliable and, at worst, this provides a well-rounded contingency plan at a position lacking depth.
47. Arizona Cardinals: Mason Rudolph, QB. Oklahoma State
Analysis: Despite lacking an A+ arm, Rudolph is a formidable downfield passer with terrific accuracy; Cards finally secure what could be their long-term answer under center.
48. Los Angeles Chargers: Ronnie Harrison, S. Alabama
Analysis: Unbelievable value in a position of need; heavy, downhill box safety with ‘plus’ coverage skills for the position. Charger fans screaming ‘Roll Tide’ in this scenario.
49. Indianapolis Colts (f/NYJ): Courtland Sutton, WR. Southern Methodist
Analysis: Lacking explosion, but a big-bodied possession target who adds a much-needed dimension to Indy’s stable of receivers.
50. Dallas Cowboys: Orlando Brown, OT. Oklahoma
Analysis: A lot of value at this point; an immediate right tackle option who allows La’El Collins to kick back to guard where he was stellar in 2016.
51. Detroit Lions: Ronald Jones III, RB. USC
Analysis: Delivers the ‘big play’ element sorely lacking in the Lions stagnant backfield; Jamaal Charles 2.0?
52. Baltimore Ravens: Kerryon Johnson, RB. Auburn
Analysis: Alex Collins was reliable, but there is tremendous value here in Johnson – an explosive, efficient, productive runner – who adds more excitement and depth to Baltimore’s backfield.
53. Buffalo Bills: Anthony Miller, WR. Memphis
Analysis: Benjamin enters a contract year and Zay Jones’ situation is up in the air. Miller is a production machine with numerous similarities to Antonio Brown out of CMU in 2010.
54. Kansas City Chiefs: Kyzir White, S. West Virginia
Analysis: Ron Parker is gone and depth beyond Eric Berry is severely lacking. White favorably complements the aforementioned Berry and ideally profiles as a hybrid big-slot/tight end coverage option.
55. Carolina Panthers: Martinas Rankin, OL. Mississippi State
Analysis: A savvy selection that would provide deep coverage along the O-line; immediate help at guard and a strong center candidate once Ryan Kalil retires.
56. Buffalo Bills (f/LAR): Malik Jefferson, LB. Texas
Analysis: Rangy H/W/S prototype with superior coverage skills and an attack-minded approach to the position.
57. Tennessee Titans: Frank Ragnow, OG/C. Arkansas
Analysis: Deeply experienced leader with the ability to cover all three interior positions; lunchpail blocker with deceptive athleticism.
58. Atlanta Falcons: Rasheem Green, DE. USC
Analysis: Versatile, hybrid lineman with enough bulk for a sub-package interior rusher, but enough agility and quickness to disrupt from the edge as well.
59. San Francisco 49ers (f/NO): Austin Corbett, OG. Nevada
Analysis: The organization has heavily prioritized building an O-line in the Lynch era; the fleet-footed college tackle is a perfect fit for Shanahan’s outside zone and appears to be a carbon copy of fellow Nevada alum Joel Bitonio.
60. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jessie Bates, S. Wake Forest
Analysis: Self-motivator just scratching the surface of his potential; highly productive tackler with natural, center-field coverage awareness.
The always-enigmatic Patriots hold three of the first 63 selections and are liable to go in a number of directions.
The always-enigmatic Patriots hold three of the first 63 selections and are liable to go in a number of directions.

61. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jerome Baker, LB. Ohio State
Analysis: Springy defender, covers ground seamlessly with blistering play-speed; capable of matching nearly any caliber of athlete in coverage. Kindly suits the Jags’ defensive profile.
62. Minnesota Vikings: Kemoko Turay, DE/OLB. Rutgers
Analysis: In Mike Zimmer’s desired H/W/S mold; a limitless athlete whose role can be shaped in a number of ways, similarly to Anthony Barr.
63. New England Patriots: Mike White, QB. Western Kentucky
Analysis: Prototype pocket-passer with a firehose arm; New England uses young quarterbacks as currency and can restock the cupboard.
64. Cleveland Browns (f/PHI): Nick Chubb, RB. Georgia
Analysis: Prodigious, productive Dawg rusher who likely would’ve gone higher had he not suffered a significant knee injury in 2015.
 
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