Power Rankings from Tim, Lee and Rob as of Wednesday’s podcast!
Join in the conversation on our social media handle @full10yards!
Power Rankings from Tim, Lee and Rob as of Wednesday’s podcast!
Join in the conversation on our social media handle @full10yards!
Written by Andy Moore ( @AJMoore21 )
Going into last season, the end appeared to be approaching for Jameis Winston in Tampa. Suspended for three games, with growing concerns about his decision making, the former Heisman Trophy winner had a lot to prove.
What had started out with so much promise (a Pro-Bowl call up and Offensive Rookie of the Year honours in 2015) was beginning to bottom out fast. Despite the work of the Buccaneers Front Office to surround him with receiving threats, Winston found it all too easy to put the ball in the hands of the opposite defensive backs (44 times in his first three seasons).
These accuracy woes clearly left a scar on former Head Coach, Dirk Koetter, who recently remarked that he had taken Matt Ryan’s accuracy for granted during his first spell as the Falcons Offensive Coach.
It’s fair to say that this concern had a vocal section of the Buccs fan base calling for change.
Well, change has come on the west coast of Florida, Koetter and his staff were shown the door and everyone’s favourite All or Nothing star, Bruce Arians, was brought in to steer the ship. So where does that leave Jameis going into the final year of his rookie deal?
It’s clear that Winston was a huge draw for Arians, one of the very first things he said on taking this job was, ‘The whole thing is going to be built around him (Winston).’ Adding, ‘I think he can win it all, he has the intelligence, the toughness… to lead a team.’ High praise to heap on a QB before a single team training session together.
The pedigree Arians brings is undoubted, under his stewardship Carson Palmer, Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning and Ben Roethilsberger have all gone to pro-bowls, with the latter winning two super bowls in the progress. A former quarterback himself, Arians prides himself on building meaningful relationships with and bringing the best out of his signal callers, so much so that he’s literally written a book on it.
If ever we needed an example of his work we need look no further that Carson Palmer in Arizona. Prior to 2013, Palmer had largely failed to live up his status as the first overall pick, he had bounced from Cincinnati to Oakland and finally arrived in Arizona, ten years into his career, the same summer as Arians. The improvement in his game was immediately apparent, Palmer enjoyed his then best season as a pro, passing for 4274 yards and leading the Cardinals to a 10-6 record. The best was still to come, a 13-3 record in 2015 took Arizona tantalisingly close to a Super Bowl and Palmer himself to the Pro-Bowl for the first time in 9 years with 4671 yards and 35 TDs.
All this gives the inkling that Arians knows what he is doing. Indeed, he’s already put on record that he thinks Jameis simply needs to slightly adjust some of the mechanics and we’ll see a big difference in his play.
Coach and player already have a good relationship as well, in Middle School Winston attended QB camps run by Arians and his son, with the coach inspiring the ambitious youngster to set himself the goal of reaching a Super Bowl.
Perhaps most importantly, the offense that Arians runs just seems like a natural fit for Winston. Based on aggression and risk taking, the go to play in Arians’ arsenal is the downfield shot, something that the Buccs sometimes seemed nervous to call under Koetter’s stewardship. This clearly plays to Jameis’ strengths, with his arm power and ability to escape pressure in the pocket amongst the best in the league.
It’s exciting to see a coach so enthused by his own player, and it feels like the chemistry is already bubbling between Winston and Arians, if they can improve the consistency of play then surely the sky is the limit… which brings us to:
Jameis himself must know this is a make or break season. Come in red hot and ready to play and he scores himself a smoking contract extension and a year-round ticket to Disney, just up the road. However, throw a few ill placed picks in the first couple of games and the pressure to dump him at the end of the year will only ramp up.
That being said, it’s easily arguable that Winston developed significantly at the end of the 2018 campaign. After coming in for a rather dismal performance to replace interim starter, Ryan Fitzpatrick, in game four at Chicago, Winston gave a blistering 395 yard, 4 TD performance in Atlanta in week five. But it’s the last six games of the season we should really look at, in those games he only threw three interceptions, with two of those on do or die Hail Mary shots. It was a noticeable improvement, and the Bucs were unlucky to go down in a few of those games by close margins.
If Arians can tweak the issues he saw in his QB’s mechanics then the evidence suggests we could be about to see some fireworks in the NFC South.
Of course, it’s vitally important that there are no more off the field incidents as well. The suspension Winston served last year came after allegations were made that he groped an uber driver on a night out, all the more worrying after sexual assault claims followed him from FSU. Although not charged in either incident, these are both clear red flags on his record and it’s easy to see how one more incident will see the end of Tampa’s relationship with their QB1.
The work effort of any NFL player is of course vital, even more so in recent years, with every Instagram story, Twitter post or interview scrutinised with a fine-tooth comb for a speck of juicy gossip. And it appears Winston is a strong example to his teammates in that regard, with his new Head Coach praising him for being ‘first in, last out’ in recent weeks. If he keeps that attitude up it’ll clearly inspire those around him.
The Supporting Cast
On any given Sunday last year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could line up with any of Mike Evans, Desean Jackson, Chris Godwin, Adam Humphries, OJ Howard and Cameron Brate as receiving options. It’s not hard to see why people were excited about the power of that offense.
Now, a year later they’ve lost Jackson and Humphries, with Godwin really stepping into the WR2 position just as Jameis started to perform at the end of the 2018 campaign. Adding only Scott Miller in the 6th round of this year’s draft might seem like a risk, but Tampa never seem to struggle when uncovering young receiving talent.
Alongside the WRs and TEs, Winston has another potential gem in Ronald Jones to work with. It’d be easy to write Jones off already after he barely made it onto the field in 2018, but all the noise coming out of OTAs so far suggest that he’s set for a much bigger role in the offense this year. That could help Winston no end, with Koetter choosing to abandon the run game all to often last year, exposing Winston to deeper defensive sets and with them more opportunities to throw a pick.
Arians has also emphasised improvement on the other side of the ball, with former Jets Head Coach, Todd Bowles brought into to improve one of the NFL’s most haphazard defences. The recent addition of Ndamukong Suh and a stack of defensive talent, including Devin White, in the draft will undoubtedly make Bowles’ job easier. This will also help Winston, who all too often throughout his Tampa career has been forced to get involved in a shootout due to other teams racking up the score.
I’m all too aware that the above is a very positive take on Winston’s surroundings as he enters his contract year, but I think the Buccaneers staff realise that their own success is heavily intertwined with his. That’s why one of the criteria they looked for in candidates was a willingness to take Winston forward, and why General Manager, Jason Licht, chose to make the last gasp decision to rid the organisation of Koetter before Jameis entered this all important season.
If, and it’s a big if with all the talent in the NFC South, all the stars align, I’m going to stick my head out and say Jameis Winston finishes the year in the top three NFL QBs for passing yardage and TDs thrown, and he takes the Buccs to at least a 10-6 record for the first time since 2010.
Let me just get this in there straight away; there’s no way I think this happens, I’m not saying it *at all* I’m just saying, now he’s measured at 5’10 and 207 lbs, what if Kyler Murray does go off the board at number one overall… what IF the Cards did take him or traded back for a Kings-bury’s ransom?!
I’ve also included a few other juicy picks for you all. Enjoy!
Look, if we’re going to get weird, let’s get weird. The Cardinals trade Josh Rosen to the Redskins for the 15th overall pick and Kliff Kingsbury kicks his era off by selecting his quarterback.
The other big winner in the Kyler Murray trade in this scenario are the 49ers who just sit pretty at number 2 and get the perfect player to take their defense to the next level.
Two Buckeyes back to back. The Dolphins would have to pay a heck of a lot to do this but with Murray off the board they simply have to get a QB. So they mortgage their future and hand the keys to the franchise to Young Simba; Dwayne Haskins.
The Jets also win as they get the claw back some of that draft capital they spent last year moving up to take Sam Darnold.
Allen is paired with Arden Key off the edge and brings that speed. He’s raw but he has just come off a monster year in Kentucky. He’s the guy that Oakland rests their hopes on in replacing Khalil Mack.
With all the QB movement up front and the fact Oakland doubled down last year on the interior defensive line, Tampa Bay hits the jackpot. This would be like when a lottery team wins the number 1 pick in the NBA; Quinnen Williams is the best player in this draft for some. Tampa gets their replacement for Gerald McCoy and someone to pair with Vita Vea… that’s a lot of interior pass rush right there.
Jawaan Taylor is a big man, with really long arms and enough quickness to thrive in the NFL. Last year he really improved, cut weight and put some impressive performances on tape. He didn’t work out at the combine due to a hamstring injury but watch out at the pro day… Taylor is a top 10 lock.
This might be a shock pick but Garrett Bradbury is the best interior lineman in this draft and if anyone is going to sneakily move up the draft, it’s going to be him. The trade talks surrounding Leonard Fournette seem to have died down somewhat so they’ll probably be pounding the ball again in 2019. Norwell, Linder and Bradbury would form one of the best interior trios in the league.
Ziggy Ansah is gone and he needs replacing; having a top 10 pick is the ideal spot to replace a guy at a premier position, so go and do it. I’d like to see the Lions double dip on edge guys bringing one in via free agency… probably more of an old head to can mentor Burns and compliment him from the other side. A’Shawn Robinson and Snacks Harrison would complete a nice D line if they went and put that plan into action.
I said it in my previous mock, the M.O for Buffalo this off season absolutely had to be to a) protect Josh Allen and b) give him some targets to throw to. Metcalf is, in my opinion, the best target you can give someone in this draft class.
For any defense the name of the game is to get to the opposing quarterback as often as possible, first and foremost. That’s the game… yes, it helps having ball-hawking DB’s but if you stop the ball coming out in the first place because the passer is on the ground, that’s even better. Von Miller, Bradley Chubb, Ed Oliver; Your QB better be able to move.
How about this for a cat amongst the pigeons? Look, I know I’ve pretty much mocked the Bengals getting a linebacker the whole time… let’s spice it up, the draft is 7 rounds long, they can get (a poor) one later on.
Give Andy Dalton a helping hand and complete the offense. Mixon in the backfield, Tyler Boyd, A.J Green and now T.J. Hockenson. That’s going to be a problem. The game is now just about scoring… Tyler Eifert used to score an awful lot, let’s bring that back to the Queen City; a tight end being a mismatch problem.
The Iowa tight ends go back to back and Aaron Rodgers has the weapon that Jimmy Graham was supposed to be to play with Davante Adams and those young guys the drafted in the mid rounds last year. Like I said above, the game is about putting up points.
The Jets are a winner here along with the Dolphins. They slide back 10 spots and still get one of the best offensive linemen in the draft. I view Ford as a tackle but I know some may see him as a guard at the next level. Either way Sam Darnold has an athletic guy in front protecting him.
There’s no way Grady Jarrett is leaving town but they need someone to come in and play next to him. Wilkins could have come out last year but he went back to Clemson amamd improved his stock greatly. If it wasn’t for all the trading up front he could be off the board much earlier.
So as mentioned above, Josh Rosen is now the starter in D.C which gives the Cards another first rounder which is incredibly valuable given that have so many needs. Williams becomes Kyler Murray’s blind side protector for the next decade.
Cam Newton is injured far too often, Lindstrom helps there. Chris Lindstrom played at Boston College where they ran the ball more than most teams in the NCAA. Carolina also have 3 starters whose contracts are up so the need is definitely three.
Once Freddie Kitchens took a proper hold of the offense the Browns really started to feel dangerous, so in my book they’ve just got to keep adding weapons. John Dorsey started to do so when he took the decision to sign Kareem Hunt, he could continue that by adding the small but speedy Brown to Cleveland’s wide receiver corps. Brown gives Baker Mayfield a deep ball outlet and frees up space underneath for Jarvis Landry and David Njoku.
Edwards comes in as a tall and thick tackles who is agile and light on his feet and can form a nice pair of young bookends with Brian O’Neill who was drafted last year. Edwards was part of a talented line in Wisconsin, whom we actually joined as a tight end before switching to tackle. One of my favourite players in this draft.
The Titans are currently in the business of getting younger in the front seven, they made a nice start to this last year by drafting Rashaan Evans and Harold Landry. Landry and Polite coming off the edges is pure speed, probably too much speed for a lot of tackles to handle… you know what I said earlier ok about the game being about getting to the QB.
Greedy is exactly the kind of long and athletic corner the Steelers love to draft in the first round. They’ve reached for guys of this mould early in the past… obviously they’re not great at getting the picks right hence why they keep having to make them but I think Greedy is a good player who could solve this problem for Pittsburgh.
The Seahawks are always the team most likely to spring a surprise in the first round. Ferguson lead the NCAA in sacks so has plenty of production under his belt but obviously at a lower level of competition… but that didn’t stop the Saints trading a first rounder for Marcus Davenport last year. If Ferguson can figure out how to do it again at much better competition he’ll go a long way to replacing Frank Clark in Seattle.
Harlem Butler killed the combine are forced his way into the first round. Conveniently for Baltimore, they need a no bodied, wide receiver with speed and a gigantic catch radius. I present them, Hakeem Butler.
I avoided drafting a linebacker to Cincinnati earlier to mix it up to the Texans getting an offensive lineman is even more important… no one wants DeShaun Watson to die. Dillard is one of the best pass protectors in this class, so he fits the bill there.
The Raiders continue to upgrade their defense with their second pick of the first round. Gareon Conley now has another corner to partner up with in Murphy. I feel like it would be beneficial if the Raiders got a loaded defense with Kansas City and L.A. both possessing potent offences in the AFC West. They have their QB and a serviceable offensive line so they can skip those positions here. As for the rest of the offense, there’s plenty of wide receiver talent and the sweet spot for running backs is going to be in rounds two through four. They don’t have to wait too long to address offense whether that be at pick 27 or early in the second round either.
Philly has just had a few wideouts leave town this off season and behind Alshon Jeffery, they do not have a great deal of depth or even another solid starter so play on the other side.
Much like the Ravens earlier on, they have the good fortune that this draft class is choc full of wide receiver talent at the top and they’re doubly fortunate that they have a good roster with few holes so they have the luxury of being able to choose good players. I present them, Kelvin Harmon.
Long really helped his stock last weekend in Indy, so maybe he could use that good memory to continue to play well at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Colts need some help at corner too so one of the combine’s biggest winners plays the correct position for them to make this selection.
This is an identity pick as well as filling the need at free safety. Josh Allen, Byron Murphy and Thompson could become cornerstones of the Raiders defense for years to come and would have a bond, both between each other and in the minds of fans, since they were all drafted in the same round.
L.A. want to learn from their loss to the Patriots in the playoffs and draft a linebacker who can both tackle and drop into coverage, GM Tom Telesco said the Chargers are prioritising the position in the off season. Wilson can do those things really well and the thought of Wilson and Kyzir White, along with the return of Adrian Phillips back can form a tough tackling trio that can all all cover.
Kansas will eventually have to move on from Eric Berry. In the meantime, Adderley can play alongside Berry and learn from him. Adderley can play both safety spots, so he has that flexibility that all defensive coordinators crave.
Packers fill their need at edge by taking Ferrell. Two big ticks in those boxes for the first round. Ferrell can rush the passer but is also a good edge setter and run defender so he adds that discipline that other edge defenders lack.
The Rams won’t mind having Bush’s fiery temperament on their squad and they need to freshen up their linebacking room a little bit; they have star power at the defensive line and in the secondary, now they’ll hope Bush brings some more to the front 7.
I said this in my last mock about the Eagles and that they won’t care that Simmons is injured to start off with, nor will the Pats. Simmons will be healthy eventually and he’ll fit what New England wants really nicely.
So the NFL season is sadly over ladies and gents but one of the only positives of that, and there are only a few is that it’s officially draft season! Although, to me, I’m not sure draft season ever stops…
Anyway, the order is now set until the inevitable trades rain down upon us all and make everyone go bananas… so I thought we better get a mock in before it all kicks off.
As it’s my first postseason mock, I’m still not allowing myself to include trades but this will be the last time… in mock 4.0, the shackles will well and truly off. I’ve already been thinking of some scenarios for you all but in the meantime, enjoy!
1. Cardinals – Nick Bosa, Edge, Ohio State
He’s back at the number 1 spot for me. I still believe Nick Bosa is the best player in this draft class and he’s one of only a handful of true blue chip players available this year as unfortunately I feel it is a little bit of a down year.
One thing Arizona needs is just players who are good, as they’re short on those in that category; if end up staying at number 1, they take they best available.
2. 49ers – Josh Allen, Edge, Kentucky
Josh Allen isn’t the second best player in the draft but unfortunately they don’t need an interior defensive lineman, which could rule out Quinnen Williams. If Bosa is off the board on draft night, I wouldn’t rule out the 9ers trading down if they find a partner who loves Quinnen or a QB.
As for Allen, well, I’m a big fan of production. I’m not someone who bases it all on numbers by any stretch but Allen has shown he knows how to get to the quarterback on a consistent basis, in the best conference in college football. This means there’s plenty of tools to work with when he gets in to the pros.
3.Jets – Quinnen Williams, IDL, Alabama
The Jets swap on Williams for another here as Quinnen comes on as Leonard leaves town. Leonard Williams was another high draft pick but he’s never reached the heights he was supposed to and could end up as a cap casualty.
Adam Gase has appointed Greg Williams as his DC in New York so we know one thing for sure, he’ll be bringing a lot of pressure packages and will need a bunch of guys who can move the pocket, especially given that as well as Leonard Williams’ potential departure, there’s a few guys who are set to hit free agency up front for New York.
4. Raiders – Clellin Ferrell, Edge, Clemson
A big jump for Ferrell here as I now have him going in the top 5 as the run on D line to open up the draft continues. So why the sharp rise?
Well, Gruden obviously needs to replace Khalil Mack, so he needs an edge defender; Ferrell is an edge. Check that one off.
Gruden will also want to insert some back bone into his team and stop the run. Ferrell isn’t as good as pass rusher as say, Brian Burns or Jachai Polite but he’s a much better run defender than other of those guys. Check number two.
Oakland could double down on edge guys depending on how they view Arden Key, just as they doubled down with PJ Hall and Mo Hurst last year.
5. Buccaneers – Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
Has anyone told you that the strength of this draft lies in the trenches? Well the first offensive guy is out but it’s tackle Jonah Williams, not a flashy skill player.
Williams is a tackle, I’ll make that clear, I don’t care what anyone says about him potentially being a guard.
Jameis Winston just found a new best friend… maybe one that’ll save his career in Tampa Bay.
6. Giants – Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma
Speaking of new best friends, well since the Giants are sticking with Eli, they better find some more guys up front who can keep him upright and open up some holes for phenom running back, Saquon Barkley.
Ford has just spent the past year on the right side of Oklahoma’s line which is where I see him slotting in the NFL. I really like his foot quickness and ability to beat pass rushers to their mark.
7. Jaguars – Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
Here we go again… I have to keep mocking Haskins to the Jags because even though I’m not even super high on Haskins, he’s still the best QB in this class.
Blake Bortles is just too dysfunctional and holds this talented Jags defense back… there’s a few other things that do but that’s another article altogether.
Haskins is accurate at short to intermediate distance and will require a patient approach when game planning for him and defending against him. The Jags would have to run an offense which kills you with one thousand paper cuts as opposed to a knife through the heart.
8. Lions – Brian Burns, Edge, Florida State
I do question how much Matt Patricia cares about pass rushers but Ziggy Ansah is probably leaving Detroit and does need replacing. Any time you lose a player at one of football’s main positions, you need to spend prime capital when replacing them.
9. Bills – David Edwards, OT, Wisconsin
I’m a big fan of Wisconsin’s offensive line, as I’ve said multiple times, I feel that they were the most talented line in college football last season. Unfortunately Tyler Biadasz opted to stay in school otherwise I think we could have seen four of the five starters go in the top 100 of this draft; (tackle, David Edwards, center Tyler Biadasz and guards, Michael Dieter and Beau Benzschawel).
Anyway, why am I picking Edwards in the top 10? He’s strong, powerful and at 6’7 and 319 lbs, he’s massive. However, he has great body control and moves really nicely for a man of his size. Lastly, he’s got that nasty streak that I really need to see in a lineman; he’ll really suit Buffalo in that sense.
10. Broncos – Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
This I just going to happen. John Elway is not going to be able to resist another swing at a big, strong armed QB and the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced.
Elway has been pretty open about his misses and doesn’t seem deterred by them AT. ALL.
Lock had a great senior bowl week and was clearly the best quarterback on display. However, that doesn’t make him good. So as much as this isn’t a pick I would make or like if I was a Denver fan, it is one I can see a mile off.
11. Bengals – Devin White, LB, LSU
I’m going to pick a linebacker for the Bengals until it happens. End of story. The Bengals have a good team but suffered horrendous injury luck through the season but even when they’re healthy then seriously lack a top linebacker.
White is one of 3 linebackers worthy of being drafted in this class and I almost not joking. This linebacker class is horrendous, if you’re a team that needs a linebacker and you need them to be good straight away, then you’re drafting one of; Devin White, Mack Wilson or Devin Bush. If you don’t get one of them, sign a free agent and try again next year.
12. Packers – Jachai Polite, Edge, Florida
As much as Cincinnati need a linebacker, the Packers need a fresh influx of pass rushers and an injection of speed. Kyler Fackrell’s 10.5 sack season was a welcome boon for Green Bay but considering he’s only got 5.5 sacks outside of last season’s body of work, they have to hedge their bets… and hey, if Fackrell is awesome and Nick Perry returns with all guns blazing then great but you can never have enough pass rushers.
Polite is a pure speed and bend guy who is just plain quicker than the guy across from him most of the time. Still needs to develop as a run defender but that’s cool… use him situationally if you have to at first but just wind him up and watch him fly.
13. Dolphins – Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
This pick actually pains me a little, I’m not going to lie. I am not sold on Murray as a prospect, I’m not sold on his potential to be successful at his height and weight in the NFL and I am certainly not sold on his PR campaign at the moment. He doesn’t sound committed to football and often talks about his options being open, even citing his father as a reference and talking about him having to make a decision when faced with a similar dilemma. If I’m a GM and I need a QB, am I using my first round pick on a guy with this many red flags? Hell. No.
However, the Dolphins are desperate. They need to ditch Ryan Tannehill, they need to get the future QB in the building. The Jets have got theirs, ditto the Bills and Brady is going to play into his 60’s. They’re in danger of being left behind in their division. As they say, desperate times call for desperate measures.
(Just prior to publishing, Murray announced he is committed to the NFL)
14. Falcons – Ed Oliver, IDL, Houston
The Ed Oliver to middle linebacker talk is just silly. Let’s get that out of the way now.
Oliver is going to play on the defensive line and he’s going to play it well. Yes he’s small, no he’s probably not the next Aaron Donald but he probably is going to be a really good player in the National Football League. The Falcons can put him next to Grady Jarrett and ask them both to move the pocket and at times when the line needs some added girth, they can rotate in Deadrin Senat. Easy.
15. Redskins – D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
Obviously the Redskins need to address the fact that they have no QB for the 2019 season as they have already announced that Alex Smith is going to be out after his horrific leg break… But unfortunately, 15th overall isn’t the right spot in which to do that from. I am very low on this QB class and even if I was allowing myself to trade in this mock, is it worth paying the price it would take to go from 15 to 5 for one of these guys? Nope.
Washington would be better served putting things in place for whoever comes in as a free agent and for whoever they draft in 2020 when there are some prospects who are actually good.
Step one of said plan is to get some guys in the building who can score some points and accumulate some yardage. D.K Metcalf can do those things and can be your WR1 for a long time… Size, speed, ridiculous catches made easy; these are what the ex-Ole Miss receiver bring to the table. One comparison I have seen made that I kind of like is Metcalf and Josh Gordon without the other stuff. Nice.
16. Panthers – Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
There are rumours swirling that the NFL isn’t as high on Thompson as a lot of people would expect, so this is potentially a little too high for him to go but Carolina desperately needs a safety. How many years have we said that for by the way?
I like Thompson, he’s a safety 1 in the class. I think he’s a physical tone setter on defense who dictates to the offenses as opposed to the other way around. He didn’t have the best of ends to the season with Alabama and was playing much better at the start of the year, so consistency is a potential issue but it’s not enough to scare me off personally.
17. Browns – Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
The Browns kind of hit the jackpot here if it pans out this way in late April. Pairing Murphy with last year’s first round corner, Denzel Ward gives Cleveland a couple of fiery and competitive perimeter defenders who have excellent ball skills.
That, along with the pass rush abilities of Myles Garrett and co up front are the cornerstones of a very good defense for years to come on the shores of Lake Erie.
18. Vikings – Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State
This year’s tackle class is really fun to me. It kind of makes up for the lack of quality in last years class and in the same breath, last year’s quality at guard is let down by a down year on the interior this year.
However, one man who can be a plug and play starter at any position on the line is Kansas State’s Dalton Risner. Risner has started at least 10 games at center, guard and tackle throughout his 4 year college career. Risner is a day 1 starter wherever you want him to start and due to extensive experience, you can move him around, even as a rookie.
19. Titans – Christian Wilkins, IDL, Clemson
The Titans needs an interior presence to take over from Bennie Logan in the short term and maybe Jurrell Casey in the long term and also give some interior pressure to go along with Harold Landry on the outside.
Now I’m not advocating for Wilkins at the nose but he could slot in Logan’s spot easily, giving the Titans a solid run plugger and a guy with some pocket moving ability.
Wilkins maybe could have been a first rounder last year but went back to school and won the national championship and saw his stock rise tremendously. I personally, wish more kids would take such a decision and make themselves more NFL ready rather than chasing the cash. This could end up end Wilkins’ floor rather than his ceiling.
20. Steelers – Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
Big, long press corners, just what the Steelers like but is Williams the athlete that Pittsburgh usually draft? This is the question I am asking myself here. Williams will need to run some good times in the agilities and the 40 yard dash come combine time to cement his place in round 1. However if he doesn’t I can see him sliding out of round 1 altogether and the Steelers overdrafting someone like Lonnie Johnson, or Kendall Sheffield. They have this tendency with athletic DB’s; see Burns, Artie or Edmunds, Terrell.
21.Seahawks – Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware
Seattle aren’t afraid to think outside of the box in round 1 or draft from small schools, case in point their selection of Rashaad Penny last year.
Seattle also needs to continue their defensive revamp and that’s where I see a spot for Adderley. Adderley projects as a deep safety with the versatility to play in the box of over the slot when covering tight ends or bigger slot receivers. This is the sort of thing that all DC’s are looking for in their DB’s nowadays.
22. Ravens – N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
I really like N’Keal Harry. He’s not super athletic but he is a fantastic playmaker who showed a great YAC-ability with the Sun Devils; Harry can take a simple pass like a wide receiver screen and take it the distance at any moment.
The reason I like the fit in Baltimore is actually just that too. The Ravens will fully install their Lamar Jackson offense from this off season and they will be best served by giving Lamar some easy, relatively short completions throughout the offense in order to maximise his strengths and guard against his shortcomings. Harry’s ability of jet or fly sweeps also means he could be incorporated into the offense which will be run heavy from a wide range of looks and utilise a wide range of methods.
23. Texans – Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
Much like the Bengals draft policy in round 1 should be linebacker no matter what, the Texans should be thinking offensive line, no matter what.
DeShaun Watson took a beating last year and his coaches have to do a better job of protecting him to ensure their and his success.
Jawaan Taylor has been a riser up the draft boards in recent times as he put in some really good performances in the SEC against some of the top competition of college football last year.
24. Raiders (Via Bears) – Kelvin Harmon, WR, N.C. State
Wide receivers under contract in Oakland next season; Jordy Nelson, Seth Roberts, Marcell Ateman and Keon Hatcher. None of whom are good.
Harmon gives the Raiders a WR1 for years to come having logged two season with at least 1,000 yards receiving for the Wolfpack. Harmon also has a good amount of experience having played in 10 games as a freshman. Experience is another one of those things that really means something to me when I look at players for the NFL.
25. Eagles – Charles Omenihu, IDL, Texas
Some have Omenihu playing inside, some have him coming off the edge. I don’t think it matters and nor do I feel the Eagles will.
Philly love these versatile linemen who they can roll into their rotation with the other 46 guys they seemingly have on the defensive line.
There are a couple of expiring contracts in that area for the Eagles so a bigger role for guys like Josh Sweat and some new blood like Omenihu wouldn’t go amiss.
26. Colts – Jeffrey Simmons, IDL, Mississippi State
So the Colts killed the draft last year and get this year off to a flying start with the pick of Jeffrey Simmons too.
Simmons hasn’t got a combine invite due to a violent incident in his past, both of which will hurt his stock and may even take him off the board of some teams completely.
However, you’ll find it hard to find a bad word said or written about his character ever since that event, so that means someone is going to get a bargain.
27. Raiders (Via Cowboys) – Rashan Gary, IDL, Michigan
I love the idea of the Raiders doubling down on the D line in the first. Yes, they have holes all over the roster but the draft is 7 rounds long, there’s plenty of time to fill those needs without reaching.
Gary gives the Raiders a big upside player with versatility to mix with Ferrell and the 3 guys they drafted there last year. Some may think this is an excessive use of picks in one area of a team but to me, football games are won in the trenches and by defenses who put pressure and hits on quarterbacks. Sign me up for all of those defensive line guys who get to the passer.
Remember that the Raiders will also pick again in just a few picks time at the start of the second round too…
28. Chargers – Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama
So it looks like Denzel Perryman could be playing on another team next year. Unfortunately for him, he just can’t seem to get through a full season without ending up in the treatment table. So if I’m the Chargers, I’m probably not bringing him back unless it’s on a pretty dirt cheap deal.
Even then, Perryman is a thumper in the run game but a liability in coverage. We all know that as offenses evolve, there are less and less linebackers on the field and none leave the field quicker than those who can’t cover. The Chargers epitomised this in the playoffs where they often had 6 or 7 defensive backs on the field…
The problem was they then got ran all over by the Patriots. Enter Wilson who is a modern day linebacker who whilst undersized, can tackle and cover from sideline to sideline.
29. Chiefs – Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S/CB, Florida
The Chiefs secondary is bad. They need new corners and a new safety not named Eric Berry. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson can play safety and can play some corner too so I feel like he’s a great place to start the revamp of the defensive backfield.
CGJ had a big uptick in production and actually learnt how to tackle this past year at Florida so his stock has risen dramatically.
30. Packers (Via Saints) – Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
Jimmy Graham may be sticking round but he’s nowhere near the Jimmy Graham of old. It’s time to pass the torch and there’s no better year for a tight end needy team to strike than in the 2019 draft… it’s the best tight end class for many a year.
Fant and Iowa team mate TJ Hockenson head up the class as the top 2 on offer this year, so why Fant over Hockenson here for Green Bay?
Well, Fant is more of a pure receiver than Hockenson, Green Bay doesn’t really ask it’s tight ends to stay in and block very often at all so they’ll opt to go with Fant to give Aaron Rodgers a big target over the middle to compliment Davante Adams and the young wide receivers they drafted last year.
31. Rams – Chris Lindstrom, IOL, Boston College
One of the big reasons the Rams lost the Superbowl (sorry, too soon?) is because New England ran all over their offensive line and Jared Goff couldn’t get into rhythm as he was on the run so much.
So whilst the L.A. offensive line was good throughout the season, it may be time for some fresh blood there, so I’m giving them the best guard in the class.
Lindstrom could take over from free agent to be Rodger Saffold or Austin Blythe on either side of John Sullivan.
32. Patriots – TJ Hockenson, TE, Iowa
Hockenson to New England would almost be unfair. He’s a great receiver and he can bury guys in the run game too; so just as Gronk either retires or plays in what could be his final season, the Patriots get the new version of Gronk again for another decade… and Hockenson isn’t half bionic like Gronkowski is now.
Josh McDaniels could bring back those lethal two tight end sets that the Patriots used to use with Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, should Gronk put off his retirement.