Kansas City Chiefs Draft Class Expectations

By Liam Lodge (@Liam66NFL)

Last week I looked at the draft of the Cincinnati Bengals, which you can find here.

To follow that I am now going all the way to the other end of the NFL spectrum and reviewing the draft class of the reigning champions, the Kansas City Chiefs.

For franchises like the Bengals who need to improve on a poor season, the object of the draft has to be finding the players that can help rebuild and recharge the team and increase the amount of positive results on the field. In the case of the Chiefs, the short-term aim is different – work towards staying ahead of the chasing competition; repeat last season’s success and defend the Super Bowl title.

This is the group that Kansas City fans hope will assist the team in remaining at the top of the NFL.


Image Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Round 1 (#32) –

Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB), LSU


At the end of the first night the Chiefs made their opening selection with one of the best picks of the entire round.

There are actually very few offensive systems where it would feel as though Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s skill-set would not be valuable, but placing him in Kansas City’s high-powered offense is a wonderful fit and his large workload throughout the last college season should mean that he will be fine learning pro schemes.

He is the kind of back that is such a fun watch and uses his short and stocky build to full effect with a strong running style, possessing great balance and side-to-side movement – many of his best highlights show him slaloming away from defenders on the move so footwork and vision are both very good. Also has good top speed once he is in open space. Edwards-Helaire is the best receiving running back in the 2020 class and LSU used him on all sorts of routes.

It is this versatility that gives him the potential to flourish early out of the Chiefs backfield, especially on short-yardage downs.


Image Credit: Michael Chang - Getty

Round 2 (#63) –

Willie Gay Jr. (LB), Mississippi State


Gay Jr. flew up big boards everywhere by acing his NFL combine performance.

The ultra-athletic linebacker is capable of getting to the football from anywhere and his powerful tackling means he can finish plays very well.

He does look raw in some mental areas of play and needs to find more consistency, but defenders with his athleticism are often preferred by teams in today’s NFL, and the Chiefs took a chance on him in round two. They will hope Gay Jr. is a fast learner – if so, he could see some playing time along the linebacker formation during his rookie year as effort and toughness are certainly not an issue.

A big plus is that he has the traits required to play in the much-coveted hybrid LB role, with the speed to hold up in coverage even against medium and long passing situations.


Image Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Round 3 (#96) –

Lucas Niang (OT), TCU


There is a bit of “boom or bust” about Niang as a prospect, with scouts and analysts rather split on his overall potential pre-draft.

Indeed, I was relatively low on him while evaluating those at the offensive tackle position, yet I would not have been surprised if a team made Niang a second-rounder. For that reason, there could be some good value here if he hits his ceiling in the NFL, it should also be noted that injury concerns would have attributed to his fall to the bottom of the third.

He looks best as a run blocker, showing good instincts, positioning and the ability to force space for his running back to work through. In the passing game, Niang gets set well and is solid enough to develop into a long-term protector for quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

The Chiefs coaching staff will surely have ideas about where they expect Niang to contribute and he will get opportunities to prove himself right across the offensive line as he has a technique suited to both tackle and guard.


Image Credit: Joe Robbins - Getty Images

Round 4 (#138) –

L’Jarius Sneed (S), Louisiana Tech


I evaluated and graded Sneed as a safety because that’s where he spent most of his final college season, but many will also have him as a cornerback.

He has a long, rangy style and looks and plays a lot taller than he actually is, with enough speed to react and get to plays quickly that come into his zone – demonstrating the sort of instincts for the ball that you want to see from your safeties.

He is like fellow defensive rookie Gay Jr. in that he will add some aggression and energy to his position group; bringing an all-effort approach to the game that should have the Chiefs’ fanbase warming to him.

Sneed was moved around a lot in the secondary, similarly to the career of Chiefs all-pro safety Tyrann Mathieu, who will no doubt be a mentor to Sneed now that they will compete on the same defense.


Image Credit: Michael Allio-USA TODAY Sports

Round 5 (#177) –

Mike Danna (DE), Michigan


Recent years have shown that it is not a bad idea to draft edge rushers from the University of Michigan. Danna was in fact only at Michigan for one season following a transfer and was used sporadically along the D line during his time there.

For a player that looks undersized and whose technique has quite a bit of room for growth, selecting Danna in the fifth round does feel like somewhat of a reach by the Chiefs. He does have good power and a quick first step; as his senior year saw him as a rotational defender you really have to trust in Danna’s strengths.

Kansas City obviously see some things they want to work with here and as they are pretty well set at defensive end, there is no huge rush in terms of developing Danna. He will be a project for a few years and it will be interesting to see if he can progress into a starting role.


Image Credit: Parker_Waters

Round 7 (#237) –

Thakarius Keyes (CB), Tulane


The Kansas City Chiefs certainly need to find more help at cornerback this off-season and at this point they traded back into the draft for one last go in round seven.

I think it was a surprise that they waited this far into the draft to select a CB, unless, as mentioned earlier, you are counting the Sneed pick as one at the position. The lack of depth remains an area to address, but taking Keyes here with their final pick is another good value move for the Chiefs.

He has plenty of upside and plays with good speed and physicality – looking comfortable at taking on receivers running a variety of routes on the outside, most effectively in close coverage. Keyes has some nice aggression to his playing style and will fight for a spot in the starting secondary from day one.

The Chiefs faithful should be optimistic about how the organisation went about this draft. In the immediate reviews and analysis, picking Edwards-Helaire became the favourite moment of the first round among many observers. He and Niang could certainly be making plays straight away on the offense as rookies.

The other selections, which all focus on the defensive side, are all developmental players with lots of potential, and Kansas City is the right team for all of them to realise that potential quickly. As these pre-season months for the Chiefs are all about ensuring they stay champions, this draft appears to have been a good way to begin that process.

Fantasy: Rookie QB Landing Spots

By Dave Moore (@davieremixed)

Now the draft’s done, we are truly into doldrums of the off-season.

We even have the worry that football won’t return on time in September but let’s shut our eyes, cover our ears and ignore all those worries and focus on your next draft.

There’s more of a buzz around this year’s quarterback class with Joe Burrow being selected #1 overall by the Bengals, another two taken in the top ten and a fourth in the first round.

Compare this to 2019 where the only real notable signal-caller selections were Kyler Murray, Daniel Jones and Dwayne Haskins.

Obviously we weren’t to know that sixth-rounder Gardner Minshew was to become a brief moustachioed sensation in Jacksonville or that Drew Lock’s promising end to the season for the Broncos – if you listen to Denver fans – would actually turn out to be the Second Coming of Our Lord and Saviour John Elway.

So to the forthcoming Fantasy Drafts. Are you looking at picking a rookie QB? If so, who? Let’s find out…


Jalen Hurts – Philadelphia Eagles

2020 NFL Draft: Bold predictions for Day 2 include Jalen Hurts as ...
Jason Getz

This was, initially, a surprise pick from The Iggles as they already have a franchise Quarterback in Carson Wentz but this is a player who can’t stay healthy for a whole season and as we saw in the playoffs against Seattle, their current backup of Nate Sudfeld just won’t cut the mustard.

So this ‘Bama/Oklahoma prospect taken 53rd overall had 32 passing touchdowns to go with 20 rushing touchdowns in the 2019 season and the instant comparisons are to Taysom Hill in terms of being a ‘dual-threat’ quarterback.

Will he see many snaps under centre this season? It all depends on Wentz’s health, frankly. A torn ACL and a lower back injury curtailed his 2017 and 2018 seasons respectively before carrying the Eagles to the playoffs last year only to be knocked out of the game after nine snaps by Jadeveon Clowney.

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However, as the season goes on I’d not be surprised to see Hurts’ usage increase primarily in the backfield like the aforementioned Hill. In my opinion Hurts will be a good pickup this year for Dynasty leagues. I suspect he’ll be a starter before too long, be it with the Eagles or another team down the line.


Jordan Love – Green Bay Packers

Rumor: New York Jets taking a look at quarterback Jordan Love in ...
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

If Eagles fans were stunned by their team picking up a Quarterback rather than a receiver, then imagine how Cheeseheads felt when the Packers – with their first round pick – didn’t select a receiver to give Aaron Rodgers a target other than Davante Adams but picked his replacement instead!

Make no mistake, the clock is ticking close to midnight on Rodgers and Green Bay’s relationship and if Green Bay find themselves below .500 come December will it be time for Wisconsin to feel the Love Generation?


Tua Tagovailoa – Miami Dolphins

Dolphins' Tua Tagovailoa continues to show progress in hip rehab
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Much like the actual draft, Tua could be someone who could go anywhere in Fantasy Dynasty Drafts. Will he be the great leap forward for the Dolphins who showed signs of life in December under Brian Flores’ supreme coaching?

I’m not so sure we’ll see as much of Tua as we’d like this year, the injury record is obviously much discussed and whilst it isn’t something that concerns me as much as it does others, I do think that Ryan Fitzpatrick will be the starting QB in September.

However…Looking into the future I like what Tua will bring to the Dolphins and the increasing amount of weapons available to him – combined with his running threat – intrigues me.

I’m not saying he’s going to put up Lamar Jackson style numbers but with a lot of investment in the offensive line through the draft and also some free agent additions from the Dolphins is giving the ‘Bama alumnus the best possible chance to succeed. It may not be instantaneous but I expect Tua to be a reliable Fantasy player from 2021 onwards.


Justin Herbert – LA Chargers

2020 NFL Draft Profile: Strengths, weaknesses, best Fantasy fits ...
Mark J. Rebilas

I view Tua as having more upside than Herbert but his higher ranking here is down to being an immediate starter in LA, I don’t feasibly see Tyrod Taylor being the starter unless Herbert suffers a pre-season injury.

On the theme of injuries, this is another reason why I have Herbert above Tua. Whilst I would not be scared to draft Tua, I would err on the side of caution between Herbert and Tua in a draft this summer and pick the Oregon signal-caller.

Additionally, the fact that Herbert will be throwing to Keenan Allen, Hunter Henry and screens to Austin Ekeler means he’s going to be putting up good numbers on a weekly basis from the opening weekend.

With the Chargers sharing a division with the Chiefs, Broncos and Raiders they are going to need to score and score quickly to keep up. This should be enough for Herbert to not only be one of the better Fantasy Rookie QBs this year but I think he could be threatening the top ten of all QB scoring.


Joe Burrow – Cincinnati Bengals

Joe Burrow drafted by Cincinnati Bengals with No. 1 pick in NFL draft
Chris Graythen/Getty

The Bengals are going to be a lot better than 2019 and not just because Joe Burrow is going to be the quarterback although it certainly helps.

The LSU man is going to be throwing to AJ Green, Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, John Ross and Auden Tate. Admittedly the last two are a stretch but are promising receivers, especially if Green ends up being traded.

The consensus is that Joey Small Hands (trademark pending) will be the star of the Bengals for the next 10+ years and good for them, finally getting a quarterback that gives them hope.

On the fantasy side of things, the five receivers mentioned above are going to be a goldmine for Burrow who will no doubt find success with them. He threw for sixty touchdowns last year, an NCAA record. If he gets half of those for the Bengals in 2020 he will not only be a success in Cincinnati but also a success in fantasy.

The “Generational” RB – Are there any from the 2020 draft?

by Rob Grimwood – @FFBritBaller

First things first, the term “generational player” seems to get some people’s backs up. If you take the term at it’s literal meaning, then sure, it’s extremely rare to find one, and, almost impossible to predict one to have a hall of fame career. But, if you accept that this overused term is used to describe a player that could end up being in the top tier of elite talents for the majority of their careers, then we can explore the possibility of seeing a potential “generational” player from this years’ draft.


Over the last few decades, we’ve seen many running backs progress through the collegiate ranks and create a buzz within the NFL community when the draft rolls round. Some players have lived up to the hype, Emmitt Smith, Eric Dickerson, Barry Sanders, Adrian Peterson and Saquon Barkley to name just a few, and some have developed into upper echelon elite backs when not so hyped coming out of college – Le’veon Bell and Frank Gore come to mind. But, of course there have been those that have failed to progress to the pro-level and have proved complete busts, please stand up Trent Richardson, Ki-Jana Carter and Darren McFadden, with an honourable mention to Leonard Fournette who “some” considered a “generational” talent.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Lennox McLendon

What constitutes a “generational running back” label?

NFL analysts/journalists/reporters or whatever title you want to give someone that discusses this sport with an audience generally speak about their opinion which in most cases is backed up with some kind of statistical data. To me, that’s how a player with this label comes about. It’s a blend of stats from their collegiate careers mixed with what NFL scouts and professional analysts portray their talent level’s to be.

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For me, I think that to be considered “generational”, the player must have a productive college career. I put that number at 1,000 rushing yards season average, and in more recent times, some proven receiving ability. I know that’s not a water-tight system, but when you look at “generational talents” that have had elite-level careers, they all had this level of productiveness at the collegiate level.

It’s only very recent that the new breed of “generational running back” ‘must’ be productive in the passing game as well as on the ground.


Previous “generational” running backs

So by using that logic, I’ve devised a list of former players since the year 2000 that have seen that level of collegiate productiveness, hyped by the media as generational talents, and drafted within the top 50 (indicating NFL scouts also believe in the talent). Productiveness is seen here by using the players’ rush yards, receiving yards and touchdowns per season averages whilst at college.

These 11 players drafted over the last 20 years have had the “generational player” tag linked with them coming out of college football. Judging by the season average stats, you get a good indication of what’s required in order to be projected a great future.


Current potential “generational” running backs

From this year’s prospects, it’s apparent to see that one player fulfills the criteria of being a “generational talent”; Jonathan Taylor. In fact, his rushing yards and TDs per season average are miles ahead of any other running back out of college in the last 20 years.

J.K Dobbins isn’t far behind statistically although he doesn’t meet my particular criteria as he was drafted outside of the top 50. Statistically though, Dobbins too could be considered a generational level player.

D’Andre Swift comes in third and not a million miles away from hitting the criteria having been the most productive in the receiving game out of these selected players.

Cam Akers needed to be more productive in the ground game, whereas ironically, the first RB off the board in this years’ draft Clyde Edwards-Helaire is someway off what I would deem as a “generational” player.

Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Predicting their futures

Of course now these players have been drafted into the NFL, lot’s of new variables come into play to determine whether or not they can translate their college production into a pro-level. What’s their new offensive line like? Are they a part of a committee? Do they have proven veterans ahead of them? Are they a part of a run-friendly scheme? Does their new Head Coach like to run the ball frequently? Are they playing in a similar scheme to what they did in college?

You’d like to think the NFL teams and their scouts have done their homework before drafting the players onto their rosters in order to get the best out of their high-capital picks, but some times that doesn’t always work out.

Let’s look at those previously mentioned players and how their NFL careers progressed (some of course are still active) and whether their “generational player” tag rang true in their pro-careers.

It’s been quite a mix bag of success. From the HOF careers of LT and Adrian Peterson to the bust and near bust careers of Ron Dayne and T-Rich.


In Conclusion

Predicting just how the careers of the Class of 2020 is almost impossible, but judging by historical data and recency bias, these prospects will unlikely be busts in their careers.

It’s hard not to love Jonathan Taylor after seeing what he’s done in his college career and ending up behind one of the best offensive lines currently in the NFL with Indianapolis.

D’Andre Swift could potentially see a path to a majority backfield after the Lions clearly signaled that Kerryon Johnson by himself is not the answer, and J.K Dobbins is in a ripe running spot with a run-first team in Baltimore. However, Dobbins may have to wait for Mark Ingram to move on before claiming the backfield for himself.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire has landed on a team coached by a run-favouring HC in Andy Reid and is the most talented RB on that roster, and despite Cam Akers running behind an ageing o-line, Todd Gurley had a very successful rookie contract for the Rams when he was healthy.


Final Opinion and Career projection

Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts – A “Generational talent” who is in the right spot to produce elite numbers over his career

J.K Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens – Borderline “Generational talent” who is on a team that could lead him to produce elite numbers over his career

D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions – Elite college talent that could be elite in the NFL if the right team is built around him and he’s used as a swiss army knife.

Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams – Elite college talent but is likely to put up average numbers unless drastic changes in the future help him progress to the next level.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs – Good college talent helped by one outstanding season. Is in the right spot to be very productive, but will likely only return good, not elite production.

Cincinnati Bengals Draft Class expectations

By Liam Lodge (@Liam66NFL)

Some NFL teams have more picks than others heading into a draft.  As the event progresses, a team can gain or lose its draft capital through trade deals.  The formula for the Cincinnati Bengals this year was simple – seven selections, one placed at the beginning of each of the seven rounds.

The Bengals war room stuck at every one of their picks during the three days; made no deals and put together a very good draft class to take into the 2020 season.  Here is what Cincinnati fans should expect from the players that make up this year’s draft class.


Round 1 (#1) – Joe Burrow (QB), LSU


With the first overall pick, the Bengals made Joe Burrow their new signal-caller.  A year ago, Burrow would have owned a mid-round grade at best from most observers, but an incredible National Championship winning season full of record-breaking numbers during his final year with LSU, propelled Burrow up to being the consensus QB1 in the draft. 

Joe Burrow drafted by Cincinnati Bengals with No. 1 pick in NFL draft
Chris Graythen /Getty

He excels in the leadership and mental aspects of the game, with an ability to read defenses quickly and react to pressure. Give Burrow time and he shows great poise and pocket movement to use just a step or two to extend a play.  He is an accurate thrower and I really like the way he leads receivers when completing a pass.  

It certainly does feel like time for a quarterback change in Cincinnati and Burrow arrives with the experience of winning plenty of big games as the head of one of the most potent offenses in college football history.  

If he continues the sort of growth seen during last season, the Bengals have a strong new leader capable of bringing success.


Round 2 (#33) – Tee Higgins (WR), Clemson


Pairing Burrow with the man who was the number one receiver at Clemson for the last couple of years is a very nice way to build the passing game in your offense. 

Higgins’ draft stock dipped during the process owing to questions about his athleticism, which actually is not that bad, and the Bengals took advantage to select him at the top of the second round.  The production that Higgins put up at Clemson was impressive, he works best lined up on the outside and likes to use his frame against close coverage – give him the chance to challenge a defense physically and he will be effective. 

The next A.J. Green? Experts compared Tee Higgins to Bengals star
Ken Ruinard / The Greenville News

This is a great landing spot for Higgins, as he will have the opportunity to be paired with Cincinnati’s all-pro wideout A.J. Green, which should help his development. 

The Bengals will enjoy having a new big WR on the team, who can potentially take over from Green as “the guy” in the future.


Round 3 (#65) – Logan Wilson (LB), Wyoming


I loved seeing Logan Wilson go at the start of round three.  One of my favourite linebackers in the entire draft, he will be a good addition to a Bengals defense in need of some help in the middle of the field. 

Player Profile: Logan Wilson, Linebacker, Wyoming – | Have an ...
Charlie Neibergall / AP

I was happy to see his high level of play over the last few seasons backed up with a great workout at the NFL combine.  Wilson is solid as an outside linebacker – a smart player who reads and reacts to what the offense shows in front of him and gets to the ball at speed. 

There are some good highlights showing that when asked to drop into coverage, his athletic ability gets him up into passing lanes like a defensive back to break up a play or get an interception. 

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Wilson suits the classic linebacker leader role with the versatility to be tried inside the defensive formation, and if he can get to grips with pro schemes quickly, the Bengals have a guy who will see a lot of playing time during his rookie year.


Round 4 (#107) – Akeem Davis-Gaither (LB), Appalachian State


Why draft one linebacker with huge potential, when you can draft two!  Cincinnati followed the Wilson pick by selecting the up-tempo Davis-Gaither to kick off the last day. 

2020 NFL draft: Akeem Davis-Gaither scouting report
Brian Blanco /AP

He is a slim, athletic linebacker who is not going to win with strength, instead was able to make a lot of plays using great burst and body control.  Appalachian State liked to use Davis-Gaither on the outside, close to the line of scrimmage where he could blitz at speed and also disrupt the run game.  His skill-set compliments Wilson’s very well and I can see them working at each end of the LB core. 

Davis-Gaither would have been further up big boards (including mine) if he played more coverage and bulked up – the lack of weight aids his acceleration, but he will need to add more size to be effective in the NFL. 

For this reason, he will likely start on special teams, but his relentless playing style means he could turn into a real fan favourite in 2-3 years.


Round 5 (#147) – Khalid Kareem (DE), Notre Dame


Kareem is a nice addition to the Bengals’ defensive end depth chart, and the fifth round seems good value too.  The defender out of Notre Dame wins his battles in the trenches with strength above anything else; he appears difficult to move around once he is engaged. 

Bengals Select Khalid Kareem: Instant Grade and Analysis
Joe Robbins / Getty

Kareem currently projects as a better run defender, as trying to go all-power off the edge when pass rushing at the next level will result in him being nullified by the top offensive linemen he faces.  Kareem needs to add more variety to his technique when fighting through contact, if he is able to do so soon, he will see playing time in his rookie season. 

For now, he will be a backup in Cincinnati.


Round 6 (#180) – Hakeem Adeniji (OT), Kansas


Having found Joe Burrow a new target in receiver Tee Higgins, Cincinnati decided to begin adding extra protection for their new QB in the form of Adeniji in round six. 

Brian Bahr / Getty

The offensive line was a weak point for the Bengals last season and Adeniji will have the chance to compete for a place at the offensive tackle position.  There was talk pre-draft that teams may try him at guard too, so the coaches will like that versatility. 

He does look undersized to play OT, and his strength as a blocker lies in his movement, which showed up during his athletic combine, rather than power and technique. 

Adeniji needs to develop in those areas in order to be a regular NFL starter.

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Round 7 (#215) – Markus Bailey, LB, Purdue


To end their 2020 draft, the Bengals went back to building at the linebacker positions. Bailey feels like great value in the seventh, although he did fall due to injury concerns. 

2020 NFL Draft: Markus Bailey is ready to hit the ground running
Joe Robbins / Getty

When healthy, he was a playmaker at Purdue with strong tackling skills and the ability to finish very well.  He worked best against the run, so projects as a middle linebacker in the NFL that can attack plays in front of him. 

Bailey will begin life in the pros on special teams but has enough upside to work his way into the defensive lineup.  After the selections of Wilson and Davis-Gaither, picking up Bailey here mean the Bengals have a whole new set of high ceiling linebackers to play with. 

I like the possibility of seeing all three of them playing together in Cincinnati across the defense.


From top to bottom this looks like a strong draft for Cincinnati Bengals fans to get excited about.  The team addressed needs and appeared to find good value players throughout the rounds.  Burrow will be the highlight of the class – every NFL team is under pressure to find a franchise quarterback to build their future around and the Bengals may well now have that box ticked.  With the qualities these players bring, over the next few seasons this could be seen as the draft that the Bengals faithful look back on as the start of some progression for the team.

Fantasy Winners/Losers from NFL Draft

By Dave Moore (@davieremixed)

The 2020 NFL Draft was the only live sporting action in April and for those in the UK it came at a cost to a normal sleep pattern but hey, we’re not going anywhere anytime soon, right?

As teams have started to make post-draft moves to free up room on their rosters for draftees it has given us some clues toward how the forthcoming Fantasy season may play out.

Let’s take a look at those who have had been given a boost Fantasy-wise from the near-300 selections and those who might be slipping down your depth chart…


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Dak Prescott

I bet the Cowboys couldn’t believe their luck when CeeDee Lamb was still available at 17. Was a wide receiver something the Cowboys needed to go after in the first round? Of course it wasn’t. They’ve got Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup for goodness sake.

However, you look at this trio of wide outs and they are – assuming Lamb lives up the hype – in the upper echelons of a pass catching corps in the league.

This opens it up so nicely for Prescott who already put up the fourth most points in Fantasy last season with Jason Garrett as coach. Whilst Mike McCarthy may not be the saviour for Dallas I expect this Cowboys to be a side that is involved in a shootout every other week and Prescott sits right at the heart of that.

If you’re in a Dynasty league, this is to me is the situation where only a crazy offer should even tempt you into giving up Dak.


Drew Lock

Make no mistake; the Broncos are all in on Drew Lock.

Denver had the draft capital to trade up if they really wanted to and we all know what John Elway is like with QBs but here we are, foot to the floor in the Drew Lockmobile (patent pending) speeding into the 2020 season with some raw but wonderful talent.

The Broncos drafted two wide outs with their first two picks, added a center, a guard, a tight end and another wide out amongst other defensive selections.

The first of those receivers was Jerry Jeudy who, much like Lamb with the Cowboys, was something of a pleasant surprise to the Broncos when he fell was available at 15. You only had to look at the footage of Elway reclining at his home after the pick like a super-villain in a future James Bond film to know how pleased he was with this pick.

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This gives Drew Lock the following options: Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Noah Fant, Phillip Lindsay on a screen all playing behind an offensive line that has received some much needed bolstering in the offseason.

I’m not expecting Lock to catapult into a QB1 situation but if he can build on the promise of the limited amount we saw in 2019, he’s a viable QB2 and depending how deep your league is perhaps a QB1.


Austin Ekeler

After filling in for Melvin Gordon’s holdout-induced-absence so well and performing at a high level after MGIII’s return in the 2019 season it was likely Ekeler was going to be heading into the 2020 season on a high.

The Chargers drafted Justin Herbert and strengthened the offensive line in free agency (the Okung/Turner trade is still baffling me), which just makes me think Ekeler will be the key man for the Chargers this coming season.

Expect an increase in the number of touches as Herbert could be eased into the starting role at LA, assuming Tyrod Taylor doesn’t explode in pre-season that is…


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Aaron Rodgers

Oof. That was a tough one for Camp Rodgers.

Hoping that your team will take a wide out from one of the deepest classes in years and instead having your replacement taken in the first round in Jordan Love and the second pick being used on a running back to complement Aaron Jones?

As many have written before me, this is the beginning of the end for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.

In short, your team are moving to a more run-heavy offense, your only viable pass catchers is still Davante Adams and your replacement is in the building – albeit not literally – ala Rodgers’ being drafted to replace Favre all those years ago.

It may be worth your while picking up Adams as your WR1 but stay away from Rodgers as your QB1.


Damien Williams

Imagine you’re Damien Williams…

You beat out Shady McCoy for the starting running back job, turn in a fantastic Super Bowl performance and your team takes running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire with their first pick?! A penny for Williams’ thoughts…

This isn’t to say that Williams is depreciating in value compared to where we were in 2019 but pre-draft I think Williams would have been quite high up people’s draft boards as a late first round/early second round RB1 but yeesh, this really knocks him down my draft board.


DeShaun Watson

This is along the lines of Aaron Rodgers situation in Green Bay.

Your team trades away one of the best wide outs in the league in exchange for a running back that may not produce more than Duke Johnson and coming out of the draft the only wide out you’ve gone out and got was late in the fifth round?

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The Texans signed Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb but neither of those two produce like a fantasy WR1 whilst their options at receiver are Kenny Stills, Keke Coutee and Will Fuller. None of those receivers came close to a 1,000 yards last year and frankly I don’t trust them as a group to stay healthy or in consistent form to help Watson out enough.

Right now I’d have it as a coin flip between taking Drew Lock ahead of DeShaun Watson in a Fantasy Draft and this is purely down to the decisions made in the front office rather than a criticism of Watson’s abilities.

Fantasy: Rookie Draft Landing Spots – Wide Receivers

The dust has settled, we’ve all got some sleep and this weekend is going to see rookie fantasy drafts kicking off across the US and Europe.

With one of the deepest WR classes in the modern history of the game, there seems to be value all over the place if your dynasty team is lacking in the pass catching department.

And here at the Full 10 Yards we’re generous people, and we want to give you every chance to grab that player who is a fixture on your roster for the next 10 years.

So, we’re going to break down the top 10 rookies that landed in good spots this year, some that were drafted in the first round, right through to some late round picks who have a chance to make an impact.


  1. Antonio Gibson – Washington Redskins

With a lot of heads being turned by Twitter darling Antonio Gandy-Golden being drafted by the Redskins in the 4th round, his new teammate Antonio Gibson is going quietly under the radar.

Gibson offered up a showcase at the combine, where he ran a 4.39 40. But those who have watched the Memphis product during his college career will have already been excited about the versatility he brings to Ron Rivera’s new look roster.

During his senior season, Gibson racked up 738yrds receiving, 369yrds rushing and 645yrds as a returner. That multi-position value is perfect for the modern game and will translate well for fantasy players who want to add a flex receiver with big upside.


  1. Quintez Cephus – Detroit Lions

The third overall pick, Jeffrey Okudah, recently named the most difficult opponent he faced in college as Wisconsin’s Quintez Cephus. Coincidently, they’re now teammates in Detroit, where Cephus sits behind Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola on the depth chart.

Naturally, that immediately limits his short-term fantasy value. However, Cephus has a lot of potential in deeper dynasty leagues. With Jones and Amendola free agents at the end of the season, there’s a chance for the Georgia native to learn from three of the most undervalued receivers at the league, polishing his footwork and several other attributes that need work.

But, with an ability to bully his opponents, win contested catches and run aggressively after the catch, the raw ingredients are already in place. Stash Cephus on that taxi squad now, and get ready to promote him when the Lions get rid of Matt Patricia and appoint an offensive mind to get the most out of Matt Stafford before it’s too late.


  1. CeeDee Lamb – Dallas Cowboys

Many expected Lamb to the be the first receiver off the board last week, as it happened he fell ever so slightly to the Cowboys.

The immediate reaction of fantasy players was one of disappointment, with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup already on the Cowboys roster, it appears that, at least for now, Lamb won’t be the automatic WR1 in Dallas.

However, that doesn’t mean you should be avoiding the former Sooners’ star, there’s a reason he came touted as the top player in a deep class. Lamb’s YAC threat, separation ability and tendency to pull off the spectacular mean that he shouldn’t be a fantasy benchwarmer for long.  And, with Jerry Jones insisting he take #88, it’s fair to say there’s a bright future in Texas for this young man.

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  1. Jalen Reagor – Philadelphia Eagles

Another first round receiver takes the number seven spot. With Carson Wentz throwing to Greg Ward and not a lot else during the Eagles’ late play-off run, it was only natural that the Eagles address the receiver position in this draft.

Step forward TCU’s Jalen Reagor. Reagor brings an array of talents to Philadelphia, acceleration, speed and versatility being the three that immediately jump to mind. He offers a different style of play to established veterans Alshon Jeffrey and Deshaun Jackson, and has every chance of quickly making a fantasy splash immediately due to the injury prone nature of the aforementioned players.

With a current ADP of around 1.12 in SF, 12 team leagues, it seems like the new Eagle is the least being overlooked by those who are looking for the flashier names of the Jeudys and Jeffersons of the world, let’s keep it that way as Reagor looks to be a bargain.


  1. Isaiah Coulter – Houston Texans

There’s already a limited buy now window on Coulter, with lockdown Twitter sharing and re-sharing the Rhode Island star’s highlight reel. It’s not hard to see why, and it’s easy to imagine that in a normal year he may have gone a lot earlier than the 26th pick of the 5th round.

As it stands, it looks like the Texans got a bargain. Coulter is a true wideout in the conventional sense of the word, he’s a prototype X receiver with the ability to get up above his opponents, he has fantastic catch radius and the speed to turn short catches into chunk plays.

If those attributes sound familiar, it’s because the Texans just flipped a player that checked all those boxes as well. Now, Coulter isn’t Hopkins, but he is a receiver with a lot of NFL potential on a team that hasn’t got a natural WR1 on their roster. Grab him whilst you can.


  1. KJ Hamler – Denver Broncos

A quick reminder that this article is looking at best fantasy fits for wideouts, so whilst it doesn’t include Jerry Jeudy, I’m not saying his new teammate is better than him.

KJ Hamler is set to become the AFC West’s latest explosive slot receiver, along with Tyreek Hill and Henry Ruggs, he’s the definition of the NFL’s new need for speed. A natural field stretcher with the speed to separate from his corner, Hamler is also set to benefit from the talent of those around him as he lines up next to Courtland Sutton and fellow rookie Jeudy.

With the two bigger names drawing the opposition’s A & B corners, it feels inevitable that Pat Schurmur will scheme Hamler open time and again, allowing Drew Lock to let rip and showcase his big arm talent. If that isn’t attractive to you as a fantasy owner, then Hamler’s early landing spot as an early 3rd rounder in rookie fantasy drafts should be.


  1. Tyler Johnson – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Is there any doubt that Tampa’s offense is loaded ahead of the 2020 season? Fantasy legends Mike Evans and Chris Godwin have been joined by the best QB to ever play the game and one of the targets that allowed him to achieve that status.

If there is one question left after one of the most exciting off-season’s in team history, and I’m not sure there is, it is who takes over from Breshad Perriman as WR3.

Vying for that spot, is 5th round pick, Tyler Johnson, who comes off the back of a 1318yrd, 13td season for the Minnesota Gophers. In my eyes, Johnson isn’t competing for the traditional slot role that is associated with the third receiver on the roster, Chris Godwin was electrifying in that role last year. Instead, Johnson is competing for the position opposite Mike Evans, as a traditional touchline receiver who can beat opponents with his route running ability and strength.

Good news fantasy fans, he can do both. Add to that the likelihood that he’s going to be working against lesser coverage AND Tom Brady is throwing him the ball, and you’ve got a potential steal on your hands.


  1. Justin Jefferson – Minnesota Vikings

Stefon Diggs was targeted 94 times as a Minnesota Viking last season, now he’s freezing in the tundra of Buffalo. The man who the Vikings drafted as Diggs’ successor comes with Championship pedigree, and four touchdowns against the Sooners’ in the playoff semi-final last year.

A pure route runner, with great hands and a ridiculous catch radius, Jefferson is one of the best players in this draft. And, in Minnesota he’s a fantasy addition made in heaven. With no real threat added since their playoff defeat (unless you’re a Tajae Sharpe fan), the LSU standout seems likely to slot right into the target share left by Diggs. And, with Adam Thielan not getting any younger, it feels like he won’t have long to take over as the unquestioned WR1.

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  1. Bryan Edwards – Las Vegas Raiders

I know, I know, Henry Ruggs was the first receiver drafted in the class, but is he honestly what you’d consider a WR1? For me he’s not. But I tell you who does fit the bill, South Carolina standout, Bryan Edwards.

I’ve been raving about Edwards for a few months now, not least because of his 2018 tape against Alabama, where he was arguably the best receiver on a field that contained Ruggs, Jeudy and more of the Alabama production line. A tough, resilient player, Edwards finds space easily with his natural route running ability, before adding significant yards after the catch with his fast acceleration and strong frame.

For fantasy players, it might seem a weird decision to have a 3rd round pick this high, but when his competition for the X-receiver role is Tyrell Williams, it’s not hard to envisage Edwards moving swiftly to WR1/2 on this Raiders team. Grab him in the middle of the 2nd round now, before his value creeps even further up the board.


  1. Denzel Mims – New York Jets

I can almost see the disgust on your face as you’ve spent a few mins scrolling through this to see a New York Jets receiver sat here smiling at you. Well, turn that frown upside down, as Denzel is set to make a splash in the Big Apple.

The Jets had a very good draft, bolstering their offensive line and adding a projected first round talent in Mims in the middle of the 2nd.

You don’t see players of Mims’ build running a 4.38 40 very often, and you see a player with that speed throwing up Randy Moss style catches in the end zone every week even less. Mims is an exciting prospect with all the tools to make it as a team’s lead pass catcher in the NFL, but that’s not what makes him the number one on this list.

He’s number one because of his landing sport, the New York Jets. Not many teams have less talent at wide receiver than the Jets this year, sure Jamison Crowder and Brashad Perriman are ok, but they’re not the sort of players that are going to help Sam Darnold showcase his potential as a QB1 in the league. Mims is that type of player. Go get him now and more importantly, feel good about getting yourself a future stud.

NFL Draft Winners and Losers

By Kieran Patterson

Don’t forget to go and find out about some other winners and losers from the fallout of the NFL draft with Sean’s articles posted recently. Do I agree with his selections? Let’s find out:


Winners


Cincinnati Bengals

With almost every single pick in this entire draft being perfect besides a couple on the back end it’s hard to argue against Cincinnati having probably the strongest draft class this year.

Adding superstar LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with the first overall pick and giving him Tee Higgins with the first pick on day two was just fantastic. AJ Green’s future past 2020 (or maybe even before?) is uncertain so grabbing Higgins ensures that their new shiny toy has a bit of time to perfect his craft before the armbands are taken off.

Later in day two they added stud linebacker Logan Wilson, a player who I’d spoke very highly about in the weeks leading up to the draft. Going into day 3 the Bengals then picked up Linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither, Edge Rusher Khalid Kareem, Offensive Lineman Hakeem Adeniji and Linebacker Markus Bailey.

These are some fantastic picks which give the Bengals a ton of young talent going into the 2020 season.

Miami Dolphins

Coming out of this draft the Miami Dolphins are a scary looking team. Not only did they add a ton of free agent weapons they went crazy in the draft and picked up a ton of talent (honestly, it could’ve been harder to do bad considering they had three first round picks).

They started with a marquee name and picked up though in Alabama Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, grabbed Austin Jackson at tackle to protect him and Noah Igbinoghene to pair with Byron Jones at cornerback.

Going into day two and three they managed to pick up Robert Hunt and Solomon Kindley, even more protection for Tua. Meanwhile adding Raekwon Davis, Brandon Jones, Jason Strowbridge and Curtis Weaver to augment the defense. They added the LSU long snapper Blake Ferguson and Navy wide out Malcom Perry to finish up their draft.

Yes, there were a lot of darts to throw at the board for Brian Flores and company, but the Dolphins managed to hit the bullseye on multiple occasions rather than the floor.

This Miami team is going to be a real problem for the rest of the AFC this year.

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Losers


Green Bay Packers

This might be one of the most inept drafts I’ve ever seen from a team. They entered a draft rich in wide receiver talent and didn’t draft one.

They could’ve really used some help for Aaron Rodgers but decided to use their first round pick on a below average quarterback with below average stats to sit behind a guy who probably has 3-4 years left at the helm. I can see why Packers fans are calling for blood.

With their remaining selections they picked up AJ Dillon a semi decent running back from Boston college, Cincinnati Bearcats tight end Josiah Deguara. Defensive picks were just as much of a mess picking up Kamal Martin, Vernon Scott and Johnathan Garvin, All very average players. They also added Jon Runyan and Simon Stepaniak to their offensive line but I don’t see either of these guys making a start.

Sorry cheeseheads, it’s going to be a tough season in Wisconsin.

New England Patriots

The Patriots really surprised me by trading out of the first round considering the talent available and the holes we needed filled, regardless on day two we starting making our picks and it wasn’t pretty. With the ESPN coverage indicating it was Bill’s dog Nike making the picks, they really did woof this draft!

How Bill Belichick's dog Nike became an internet sensation at the ...
CBSSports.com

The first selection the Patriots made was Kyle Dugger a safety from a DII school who while impressive would’ve been available much later one. Josh Uche and Anfernee Jennings went next with Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene being two tight ends we picked up in the same round. Next off the board was a kicker in Justin Rohrwasser, a man with seriously questionable right wing tattoos and average at best stats.

In the final two rounds, the Patriots picked up Micheal Onwenu, Justin Herron and Dustin Woodard too add to the trenches while defensively we picked up team mate of Logan Wilson, Cassah Maluia. Now we know the Patriots love to pick players who can do one thing extremely well but given the amount of talent available when Bill had to call in his picks, this was extremely poor drafting.

Let’s hope we can have our returning veterans really help elevate these guys come season time.

I will be making another part to this article if you guys enjoyed it! Please let me know your winners and losers from the NFL Draft and more importantly, if you disagree with mine!

Remember to follow me on Instagram @DustCoveredCleats and on twitter @DCCYTFootball

Five teams that nailed the 2020 NFL Draft

By Sean Tyler @seantyleruk

From the record-breaking television ratings to the lack of technical issues, the NFL’s first virtual draft was an undoubted success (unless you’re a Green Bay fan). Like a bizarre episode of Through The Keyhole, we also saw inside the homes of the star players, and the makeshift war rooms of the general managers and coaches: Kliff Kingsbury’s huge villa, Dave Gettleman’s basement and Mike Vrabel’s total madhouse. As I alluded to earlier this week, some teams left us with more questions than answers but here’s a quick round-up on who ‘won’ the 2020 NFL draft.


BALTIMORE RAVENS


Most analysts concur that Ravens General Manager Eric DeCosta and Head Coach John Harbaugh knocked this draft out of the ballpark, with A and A+ grades being handed out like candy. They made their 10 picks count with good value on both sides of the ball and didn’t seem to reach. Instead, they waited for the likes of LSU linebacker Patrick Queen (#28) to fall into their laps, as well as Ohio State running back JK Dobbins and speedster WR Devin Duvernay on Day 2.

Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Queen should make an impact in the heart of the defence with his sideline-to-sideline speed, especially after Patrick Onwuasor and Josh Bynes left in free agency. Texas A&M’s Justin Madubuike also had many a pundit purring, with the defensive tackle getting snaffled at pick #71 despite being widely predicted to go in the 30s.

Alongside Mark Ingram, Dobbins should give yet more oomph to their league-leading rushing offense, while linebacker Malik Harrison and guard Ben Bredeson add depth across the board. Baltimore also picked up a couple of late steals, with receiver James Proche, who logged almost 4,000 receiving yards and 39 receiving touchdowns over four seasons at SMU, and Iowa safety Geno Stone, rated by both Move the Sticks’ Daniel Jeremiah and PFF’s Mike Renner as the best value pick of the final round.

Baltimore were exceptional last season and didn’t have many needs. But even so, they improved even more over the weekend, staying neck and neck with the Chiefs as the team to beat in the AFC Conference.

In short: they smashed it.


DALLAS COWBOYS


When drafting, the big question that faces every team now and again is whether you go for the best player available or fill your biggest need. The Cowboys entered the 2020 draft with the league’s top offense and obvious needs in defence, yet opted to spend their first-round pick on Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb. Bullseye.

Alonzo Adams/AP

Lounging around on his quarter-of-a-billion-dollar super-yacht, team owner/president Jerry Jones must have been laughing into his champagne cocktail when he picked Lamb at #17. Arguably the best receiver in this loaded class, there was no way he should have been the third off the board. With the ‘Boys having signed Amari Cooper to a $100 million extension, Lamb probably wasn’t on the radar but taking him was a no-brainer: Christmas came early in Texas. Preventing their receiver-needy rivals in Philadelphia from securing his run-after-catch abilities was just the icing on the cake.

Only then did Dallas move on to address their two main areas of need, cornerback and defensive tackle, and they did so with great value picks. Stefon’s lil’ brother Trevon Diggs, mocked by many to go (to Dallas, as it happens) on Day 1, landed in the second round to help fill the void left by CB Byron Jones. Oklahoma’s huge defensive lineman Neville Gallimore also came a day later than many expected. Steals? All three picks border on daylight robbery.

Rewriting the draft textbook, the Cowboys also picked up Utah edge rusher Bradlee Anae with pick #179 (90 picks later than predicted by Mel Kiper of EPSN). I saw a comparison with Maxx Crosby recently, which means he should be a viable replacement for the departed Robert Quinn. They also snatched up another corner in Reggie Robinson, adding depth in a weak spot, and Wisconsin’s Tyler Biadasz, arguably this year’s top center. If he can stay healthy, he could step straight in for the retired Travis Frederick.

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After a disappointing campaign in which they didn’t seem to want to win the NFC East, despite the stuttering Eagles handing them chance after chance, Dallas are shaping up nicely to boss the division in 2020. Jones can now start to focus on getting Dak Prescott’s deal inked. With a mouth-watering trio of targets at his disposal – Lamb, Cooper and Michael Gallup – it’s time to keep the franchise QB (and his bank manager) happy.


MINNESOTA VIKINGS


Vikes GM Rick Spielman is probably still resting up after selecting a massive 15 players in the 2020 NFL Draft, the biggest haul since the seven-round format was introduced in 1994.

He did a great job addressing the team’s needs, particularly in the first three rounds. To replace wide receiver Stefon Diggs, he used the 22nd pick to take LSU’s Justin Jefferson. Jefferson can play out wide or in the slot, and should give Kirk Cousins a tasty option alongside Adam Thielen, if his 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns last year are anything to go by.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

They then moved down a few spots, giving #25 to the 49ers in return for the 31st and two later selections, but still found another would-be star in TCU corner Jeff Gladney. Minnesota then double-dipped to take Cameron Dantzler (#89) to boost a depleted cornerback room missing Xavier Rhodes, Mackensie Alexander and Trae Waynes, while Ezra Cleveland should add useful depth at left tackle.

A total of 11 picks on Day 3 brought several more decent pick-ups, including James Lynch, a defensive tackle from Baylor, Oregon LB Troy Dye and defensive end Kenny Willekes.  

Boom. Job done.


CINCINNATI BENGALS


Who knows if any trade offers were received and rejected but with the first pick in the draft, the Bengals held fast to secure their quarterback of the future and their franchise poster boy.

Joe Burrow was the obvious choice, having just completed the best college football season by anyone, ever. He starts from the get-go as the incumbent QB, Andy Dalton, was finally released (while I was writing this article) after a lack of trade interest. If Burrow’s success at LSU is any guide, the 2019 Heisman winner could eventually end Cincy’s three-decade playoff win drought and have the Who Dey Nation eating out of his hands. I bet they’re already planning a statue outside Paul Brown Stadium.

Associated Press

After last season’s struggles, just picking the Ohio native makes Cincinnati a winner in this draft. Admittedly, he can’t reverse their fortunes alone, so it’s just as well de facto GM Duke Tobin and HC Zac Taylor kept their foot on the gas. Mirroring the 2011 draft when they picked AJ Green and Andy Dalton in the first two rounds, they paired Burrow with WR Tee Higgins with the first pick of Day 2. The 6’4” jump-ball specialist notched 1,100 yards and 13 touchdowns in his final season at Clemson, and has been compared to Green, his new teammate (and favourite player). Higgins may even replace the franchise-tagged wideout in time.

With the only slight gripe being a (misguided) belief that their O-line didn’t need help, three of their five remaining selections were used to beef up their underperforming linebacker corps. Cincinnati opened Round 3 with Logan Wilson, who excels in pass coverage, while Akeem Davis-Gaither is a one-man highlight reel who might see some special teams action early doors. The Bengals chose a third linebacker in Purdue’s Markus Bailey with their final pick. Touted to break the Top 100 before suffering a season-ending ACL injury last season, Bailey may yet prove to be a real find, if he can stay healthy.


TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS


Let’s face it. Before Cincinnati was even on the clock, Tampa had probably won the offseason, having replaced turnover merchant Jameis Winston with GOAT Tom Brady, and then enticed TE Rob Gronkowski out of retirement for one last hurrah alongside his ol’ pal. But the Buccs complemented their trade prowess with a strong draft, focusing on giving their new (but old) QB some much-needed O-line help and more offensive weapons.

In Round 1, Tampa traded up one place to #13, coughing up their 14th and 117th picks to the 49ers, to ensure Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs, arguably the draft’s top tackle, was theirs. He wasn’t expected to drop that far after storming the Combine, so I bet the Buccaneers did some last-minute big-board shuffling.

Getty Images

In the third round, they turned to skill positions, collaring Vanderbilt running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn (#76) to beef up their backfield before diving into the deep wide receiver class to come up with Tyler Johnson (#161). Johnson’s Minnesota teammate, safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (#45), is a versatile ball hawk could yet turn out to be one of the best snares over the three days. For added spice, his dad was a Pro-Bowl defensive back who intercepted Brady in 2001 when playing for the Bills.

If Bruce Arians deploys the battle-weary Gronk sparingly, alongside his other tight ends OJ Howard and Cameron Brate, the Buccaneers could be a team to watch next season.


HONOURABLE MENTIONS


INDIANAPOLIS COLTS GM Chris Ballard filled a lot of needs, even without a first-round pick (traded for 49ers DT DeForest Buckner, which won’t do them any harm). Second-rounder Michael Pittman Jr. from USC could become a top receiver, while explosive RB Jonathan Taylor – averaging 2,000 yards a year over three years – is a hot prospect, despite some concern about the tread left on his tyres after his heavy workload in Wisconsin. A day later than many predicted, the 6’6” Washington quarterback Jacob Eason got picked up in Day 3. The big-armed gunslinger won’t play next year but, under HC Frank Reich, he’ll be groomed to take over from Philip Rivers in due course.


The MIAMI DOLPHINS had 14 darts – including three first-rounders – and most hit the target (though they did use one on a long snapper). Despite some pre-draft smoke and mirrors, GM Chris Grier and HC Brian Flores selected Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa first. Who knows if his injury woes are behind him but the Dolphins had to take the risk on the most naturally talented QB out there. His hip injury was bad luck but it made him available at #5, an equivalent slice of good fortune after Miami didn’t quite #TankForTua. Tua will line up behind a shiny new offensive line including another Round 1 pick, tackle Austin Jackson, and while cornerback Noah Igbinoghene was one of Day 1’s biggest reaches, they got better value in later rounds with DE Jason Strowbridge and edge rusher Curtis Weaver. Outside the draft bubble, acquiring Kyle Van Noy, Shaq Lawson, Byron Jones and Matt Breida only increases the sense that Miami will be much, much better next year.

Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY

Earlier this month, I suggested going best defensive player available for a few rounds might be a wise tactic for the CAROLINA PANTHERS. Well, whaddya know? Despite having a new offensively minded Head Coach in Matt Rhule, GM Marty Hurney used all seven of his picks on defence, including a big ol’ run stuffer in Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown (#7) and athletic Penn State DE Yetur Gross-Matos (#38). Later on, they traded up to the last pick in Round 2 to get safety Jeremy Chinn, while cornerback Troy Pride Jr. was also good value in the fourth. The moves they made in free agency – replacing Cam Newton with Teddy Bridgewater and adding Jets receiver Robbie Anderson – should also reinvigorate the team’s offence, making the Panthers a contender again.


I also liked the high-risk, high-reward approach of the ARIZONA CARDINALS. Picking at #8, GM Steve Keim somehow ignored the team’s needs at offensive tackle and went for Clemson linebacker/safety hybrid Isiah Simmons. It might have been a risk (especially having shipped out their second-round pick in the DeAndre Hopkins trade) but 63 picks later, the ace in the pack came up when they snaffled Houston left tackle Josh Jones. After standing out at the Senior Bowl, there was some Day 1 hype about him but he fell… and fell… and fell. Apparently, Kliff Kingsbury even called Jones’ college coaches to ask if there was something he ought to know about. Some steals feel like pick-pocketing but getting Jones in Round 3 was a ram-raid.