Rob Grimwood’s Mock Draft 2.0

Now the madness of the free agency is mostly behind us and teams have bolstered their depth charts, we can take a more detailed and thorough look into what teams’ needs are and hopefully be a bit more accurate with predictions. With that in mind, here is my mock draft 2.0:

Pick 1: Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Burrow, QB – LSU

No change for the 1.01 pick. Burrow wanted A.J Green franchised tagged, and he got his wish. With trade chatter regarding Andy Dalton heating up too, it’s looking increasingly likely that Burrow will be the pick for Cinci


Pick 2 MOCK TRADE: Miami Dolphins via Washington – Tua Tagovailoa, QB – Alabama

Miami sends 5th overall, 26th overall and 70th overall

Previously I had Las Vegas trading up here to grab Chase Young, but I think Miami will want to move up in order to guarantee they get their guy. I stand by my opinion that Washington does not need to draft Young thanks to their existing D-Line of D’Ron Payne, Montez Sweat and Jonathan Allen. The price that is willing to be paid will prove more valuable to Washington to add better depth in more postions rather than adding to an area that does not need adding to.

Miami will get cold feet knowing that the Chargers and Jags have got trade-able assets to move here and it’s not beyond the realm for Tampa Bay, Indianapolis or New England to pull a rabbit out of the bag either… but it’s most likely Miami with their excess draft stock in the first round.


Pick 3: Detroit Lions – Chase Young, EDGE – Ohio State

Although probably hounded with offers to grab the best player in the draft, Detroit rub their hands together as they know they’ve hit the jackpot. Edge is a need, and Young is the answer for Matt Patricia to start building a better quality defense.


Pick 4: New York Giants – Mekhi Becton, OL – Louisville

Previous Pick Tristan Wirfs. OL, Iowa – however I think Gettleman prefers freak athletes, which Becton is basically the description of.

Offensive Line has been a glaring need for a few years now for the G-Men. At 6’7 and 364lbs, Becton is still one of the most athletic freaks in this class. He’ll be a game changer for Daniel Jones as they continue to want to help build around him and Saquon.


Pick 5 MOCK TRADE: Washington Redskins via Miami – Jeff Okudah, CB – Ohio State

Still available here for the Skins’ will be the best corner in the draft. They have a good defense but after passing on Young and opting for more depth picks, they replace last years’ stand out Quinton Dunbar who was the only stand out on the defensive secondary last season for them. They’ll need some quality back there


Pick 6: Los Angeles Chargers – Justin Herbert, QB – Oregon

The Chargers will be fighting an internal battle over this pick. They are still desperate for offensive line help and there are some gems in this draft class, yet their team is not a million miles away from being playoff worthy. However, to be that, they will need a replacement for Pip Rivers. Herbert ticks a lot of boxes. He was slated to go 1.01 last season before heading back to Oregon for another term and he impressed at the combine as expected. Herbert could be the answer Charger fans.


Pick 7: Carolina Panthers – Isaiah Simmons, LB – Clemson

Luke Kuechly is gone. He was one of the centrepieces of the organisation and Simmons will fit into Matt Rhules’ desire to build a formidable defense as Kuechly’s replacement. Can also play at Safety if the Panthers prioritise building their defensive secondary first. Could go Derrick Brown here as there are many different needs for Carolina.. but Simmons is a unicorn.


Pick 8: Arizona Cardinals – Tristan Wirfs, OL – Louisville

Offensive Line has been a glaring need for a few years now in Arizona. Wirfs was the stand out of the draft and cemented himself as a worthy top 10 pick. He’ll be a game changer for Kyler Murray as he searches for the next level.


Pick 9: Jacksonville Jaguars – Derrick Brown, DT – Auburn

Last year Josh Allen fell in their laps at pick 7 last year, and Brown is going to do the same this year for them. Defensive line is a need for Jacksonville and in a lesser talent-filled class, Brown would be considered a top 5 pick.


Pick 10: Cleveland Browns – Jedrick Wills, OL – Alabama

The Browns need a tackle. Their O-line has never lived up to the hype that it was supposed to be, and with the news of Greg Robinson’s arrest. they’ll need to sure the line up. Two stud O-lineman remain on the board, but I think Wills nudges it over Andrew Thomas down to a better showing in their Junior year. Jedrick Wills is an athletic tackle who has the strength to open up big running lanes which will help Nick Chubb continue on his improving production trajectory.


Pick 11: New York Jets – Andrew Thomas, OL – Georgia

The need for O-lineman in the NFL is plentiful. The Jets’ are in that conversation and will take the last remaining stud tackle in this first round. Andrew Thomas is an NFL ready tackle who will provide better protection for Sam Darnold. Good pick.


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

I originally has Vegas adopting a YOLO approach as the draft was on home soil and making a splash for Chase Young. However, with the draft now behind closed doors, and Miami likely able to offer more to go grab Tua, I think Mayock and Gruden take the best players available in their areas of need. Henderson is the second best CB in this draft and has been a weak point of the Raiders over the last couple of seasons. Bringing in Eli Apple and Jeff Heath isn’t the answer, Henderson may just be.


Pick 13: San Francisco 49ers – Jerry Jeudy, WR – Alabama

Jerry Jeudy is a stud receiver. With very few needs on their superbowl quality team, a replacement for the departed Emmanuel Sanders seems high on the priority list. He’s the most polished all-rounder and will fill that Sanders role perfectly.

A few slated Jeudy’s combine, however, his combine was still statistically better than those from DeAndre Hopkins, Michael Thomas and Davante Adams…and they turned out to be elite receivers… just sayin’


Pick 14: Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Xavier McKinney, S – Alabama

A close battle between McKinney and Delpit for the best Safety out of college this year. I’ve edged with Mckinney as he stood out in 2019 more than Delpit did. Both are first round talents, and both will be excellent in the pros. Tampa could use o-line help, but after the “elite 4” have gone in this scenario already, it’s too early to reach for the second tier of offensive lineman in my opinion. McKinney is a great pick.


Pick 15: Denver Broncos – CeeDee Lamb, WR – Oklahoma

Courtland Sutton is the up and coming receiver in Denver and it would be nice to pair him up with another stud on the opposite flank. Denver has a few other needs including o-line and cornerback, but personally I think Lamb is the best player available in those needed positions.


Pick 16: MOCK TRADE Jacksonville Jaguars via Atlanta Falcons – Jordan Love, QB – Utah State

Jags send 20th overall, 73rd overall and 118 overall to Atlanta who have a lot of holes to fill on o-line, d-line, linebacker and in the defensive secondary

Minshew mania was great while it lasted. But I think the NFL world realistically knows it probably won’t last. The Jags whiffed on Nick Foles last season and there going to want to get it right with a promising dual threat QB. He’s mouldable and the kind of character Jacksonville need leading the team as they look to re-build from the current ruins.


Pick 17: Dallas Cowboys –  K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE – LSU

I originally had Dallas down as picking up Kinlaw (DT) here, but since they gave Dontari Poe and Gerald McCoy healthy contracts, one would assume the orgnisation is happy with their veteran DT corps heading into the season.

Robert Quinn has left for Chicago meaning there is a need at EDGE for the Cowboys. Dallas will be lucky if a player of Chaisson’s talent falls to 17.. but if the draft falls this way there might be a chance. Some analysts have the former LSU stud as a top 10 pick.


Pick 18: Miami Dolphins – Austin Jackson, OL – USC

Miami have a lot of needs so your guess is as good as mine for this pick. They could get some defensive secondary help here adding the next best CB like Arnette or Diggs, even Delpit at Safety could be in play. Will they want to add a weapon here for Tua in the form of Swift at running back? I think they know that the insde o-linemen the acquired in the free agency (Karras and Flowers) are fill in pieces and they will want to invest in some proper talent on that line to protect their franchise QB aka Tua Tagovailoa.

Jackson is the best of tier 2 in this talented offensive line class. He’s agile with quick feet and a very good overall athlete. A slight reach, but an important one.


Pick 19: Las Vegas Raiders – Henry Ruggs III, WR – Alabama

Raiders take the darling of the combine here. Receiver is a big need with only Hunter Renfrow worth anything worth talking about in that receiver room. They get an explosive, dynamic speed freak that Derek Carr/Marcus Mariota can rely on to get open behind the defense.


Pick 20 MOCK TRADE:  Atlanta Falcons via Jacksonville – Javon Kinlaw, DT – South Carolina

Atlanta can’t believe their luck when they see a top 15 prospect sitting here at 20. DT is a need, Kinlaw is a top class one. No brainer.


Pick 21: Philadelphia Eagles – Kenneth Murray, LB – Oklahoma

I originally had Philly down as improving their defensive secondary, but since then they signed Darius Slay meaning more pressing needs will need addressing. One of those needs is linebacker. Their defense is getting better, but they need better quality in the linebacker room. Murray fits the bill and was very impressive as Oklahoma’s record breaker for most tackles in one game (28).


Pick 22: Minnesota Vikings – Justin Jefferson, WR – LSU

The Vikes acquired this pick through giving Buffalo Stefon Diggs. So it makes sense that they are going to replace Diggs with a solid all rounder. He did himself a big favour with a good combine and has done enough to warrant a first rounder being spent on him.


Pick 23: New England Patriots – A.J Epenesa, EDGE – Iowa

Epenesa’s draft stock has taken a hit over the last few weeks due to a poor combine, but on his day he’s an exceptional talent – and getting the best out of a player is the kind of thing Belichick specialises in. They’ll know that Epenesa can be special after an impressive 2019 season, and with DE being a need, this will be the best option for them.

The next QB’s off the board will likely be Eason and Fromm, neither of which are a day 1 pick, and neither are TB12’s replacements. The other needs at receiver can be filled in day 2/3, don’t forget they wasted a first rounder on N’Keal Harry this time last year and won’t want to repeat that considering the top 3 WR’s are already off the board.


Pick 24 MOCK TRADE: Chicago Bears via New Orleans- Grant Delpit, S – LSU

Chicago give 43rd overall, 50th overall and a 2021 2nd

Yes, Chicago are prepared to go all in and give up what little ‘good’ draft capital they have left in 2020 along with dipping into next years’ stock.

With Prince Amukamara out and HaHa Clinton-Dix not returning, Matt Nagy’s stringent defense needs it’s holes blocking up. As we headed into the 2019 season, Delpit was on a lot of ‘Top 5 prospect’ lists. Admittedly he didn’t live up to that expectation throughout the season, but he still possesses raw talent which nurtured in the right group could still wind up to be an elite level. The trade leaves Chicago with a fourth, a fifth, two sixths and two sevenths… potentially a dart throw at a sleeper tackle or receiver – but the offense rebuild will have to wait a year, Nagy needs his defense in order first!


Pick 25: Minnesota Vikings – Damon Arnette, CB – Ohio State

With the receiver need addressed, the Vikings can concentrate on another pressing need – they lost their 3 most used CB’s this off-season (Trae Waynes, Xavier Rhodes and Mackensie Alexander) and they need to replenish. Luckily for the Vikes, the defensive secondary players are falling later in the first round thanks to plenty of o-line talent and the almost league-wide need for them.

Arnette is a versatile player that can play inside at nickel or on the outside with the ability to play man or zone. He ticks a lot of boxes and will help glue the defensive secondary in Minnesota together.


Pick 26 MOCK TRADE:  Washington Redskins via Miami – Tee Higgins, WR – Clemson

Washington need depth at receiver with only ‘Scary’ Terry McLaurin breaking out to be a household name last season. They have unknown talents in Kelvin Harmon and Trey Quinn, but they need a big hitter. Tee Higgins is just that. Another all round specimen who is a danger in the redzone. Redskins need that redzone target since Jordan Reed won’t be returning.

Since (mock) trading back from 2, the Skins have picked up an elite corner and a top WR prospect and still have a extra pick at 70. I’d say that’s a win for Washington.


Pick 27: Seattle Seahawks – Isaiah Wilson, OL – Georgia

Whilst Andrew Thomas took the plaudits of being the most pro-ready tackle out of Georgia, Isaiah Wilson didn’t go un-noticed either. He impressed at the combine and is more than capable as a pass protector. Exactly what Seattle and Russell Wilson needs after being the most pressured QB in football since entering the league. A bit of a reach but he, or anyone near his skill set won’t be around come their next pick at 59.


Pick 28: Baltimore Ravens – Patrick Queen, LB – LSU

The Ravens don’t have many needs as things stand with how they move the ball. They invested in wide receivers last year and have a stout defense. However, they would benefit from having a stronger linebacking corps. Especially seeing Josh Bynes leave for Cinci. Queen is a busy-body linebacker that zips around the field and is a dangerous blitzer. He’d fit this defensive scheme well.


Pick 29: Tennessee Titans – Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE – Penn State

The Titans improved all over the field in 2019 however their pass-rush left a alot to be desired. The only player with a pressure rate above 10% was Cameron Wake who walked out of the building this off season. Vic Beasley isn’t the answer either, so they’ll grab the next best DE in this class, Gross-Matos. He’s certainly a tier below those already taken, but his pass-rush did improve throughout his college career and he looks like he could continue those year on year improvements into the pros. 20 tackles for loss in 2019 certainly helps his draft stock


Pick 30: Green Bay Packers – Jalen Reagor, WR – TCU

Geronimo Allison, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, E.Q St Brown, Jake Kumerow and Allen Lazard. All average receivers that have had their spoils but ultimately aren’t trustworthy enough for Aaron Rodgers to use reliably. The Packers could thin that group down and take a receiver that could have been projected a lot higher had he had consistent QB play throughout his college career. Rodgers could make Reagor an elite weapon and the Packers could be back to the glory days of Nelson and Cobb. Unload the deadwood McCarthy brought in and restock with talent you choose, Matt LaFleur.


Pick 31 MOCK TRADE: Baltimore Ravens via San Francisco – D’Andre Swift, RB – Georgia

Baltimore send 55th, 60th, 106th and a 2021 4th rounder.

Before the trade with Indy that saw San Fran acquire the 13th overall pick, this was their only pick until the 157th in the 5th round. By getting an elite WR at 13, this free’s them up to trade back and grab a few more picks. On the other side, Baltimore know they almost have a complete squad. They need bolstering on the o-line and another receiver wouldn’t go amiss, they still have the 92nd and 129th to find depth there though.

Imagine having a swiss army knife like Swift in that offense. He and Jackson would be a dream combo on any fantasy roster and would be a great piece of business. Very Baltimore-like.


Pick 32: Kansas City Chiefs – Jonathan Taylor, RB – Wisconsin

Oh, i’ve just got your fantasy juices flowing, haven’t I… well have another. A superstar running back is heading to a team where the coach knows how to run the ball extremely well. It’s KC’s glaring hole in their elite offense, and I think Coach Reid will be licking his chops to get a talent like Taylor on his roster.

Mock Draft 1.0 – Andy Moore

By Andy Moore (@AJMoore21)

I know why you are here, you know why you are here. let’s not beat around the bush and get straight to it. Would love to hear your opinions on Twitter!


1

Cincinnati Bengals: QB – Joe Burrow – LSU

Keep it simple, keep it safe. Bengals get their ‘face of the franchise’ and plug him in to play on day one.


2

Washington Redskins: DE – Chase Young – Ohio State

I think the Redskins will try and move down here, they don’t pick again until the 3rd round and the new coaching staff needs to build a support system around Dwayne Haskins. The Dolphins at 5 seem the most likely candidates, but I think they’ll wait and see if there is any real need to move up.

Instead, the ‘Skins take the best player in the draft and get themselves a dominating edge rusher who will immediately give the NFC East’s defensive co-ordinators a significant headache.


3

*TRADE*

Miami Dolphins: QB – Tua Tagovailoa – Alabama

The Dolphins give up pick 5, 39 & Houston’s 2021 2nd rounder, managing to keep their two other first rounders in place and get their guy.

Ever since Miami traded away Laremy Tunsil before the 2019 season started, it has looked like their sights have been firmly set on the Alabama signal caller. The surprisingly resolute nature of Brian Flores’ team at one point seemed to put that in danger, but the hip injury sustained by Tua means the Fins still have a shot at their guy.

This pick isn’t without risk, but the upside, attitude and star dust that Tua offers makes him the perfect candidate to head to South Florida. Will he wear #13?


4

New York Giants:  OT – Jedrick Wills – Alabama

Tristan Wirfs had a dominant combine, and there is certainly an argument to be made for the Giants to take him 4th overall. But, I think Wills is the slightly better prospect.

Wills is a violent Right Tackle who excels in both pass protection and the running game. He’s a day one starter, with a ridiculous frame, and his addition will immediately help Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley.


5

Detroit Lions:  CB – Jeffrey Okudah – Ohio State

I know, this isn’t offering many surprises so far, but Okudah to the Lions makes way too much sense. They’ve just traded away Darius Slay, and although Desmond Trufant has just arrived in Detroit, that isn’t going to put Matt Patricia off his guy.

Okudah brings a strong work ethic and willingness to contribute in the run game, alongside the ability to operate as a true shutdown corner.


6

LA Chargers: LB – Isaiah Simmons – Clemson

Don’t get me wrong, I think the Chargers probably go Herbert here. But, in this situation they take a gamble and take a QB slightly later in the draft.

Simmons is my favourite player in this draft, his range and versatility make him the perfect modern player and his hard hitting, explosive nature make him a turnover machine. Imagine him lined up in the same defense as Derwin James, Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram & Chris Harris. Whelp.

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7

*TRADE*

Cleveland Browns: OT – Tristan Wirfs – Iowa

Paul DePodesta and Andrew Berry make the move up to 7, leapfrogging the Cardinals, to get the 2nd best Tackle in the class. To do so they give up pick 10, 74 and a 2021 4th.

As I mentioned earlier, Wirfs had a phenomenal combine, building on three years of strong performance at Iowa. A career starter at right tackle, Wirfs could easily slide across to the all-important left side of the defense. His footwork and patience in pass protection will look to buy Baker Mayfield time in the pocket and power will look to free up Nick Chubb out of the backfield.


8

Arizona Cardinals: OT – Mekhi Becton – Louisville

The run on Offensive Linemen continues, with the Cardinals adding a man mountain in Mekhi Becton to provide much needed protection for Kyler Murray.

Becton weighs in at 364 pounds and has the versatility to line up at tackle or guard. His strength lies in the run the game, where a powerful drive can easily open up lanes for the RB, or say, an athletic QB. However, he’s relatively comfortable in pass protection as well, possessing aggressive hands and a firm punch off the line. There are some slight concerns about his ability to redirect to hit a moving target, meaning the Browns are happy to pay to move up and take Wirfs instead of him.


9

Jacksonville Jaguars: DT – Derrick Brown – Auburn

Those of you who listen to the Move the Sticks podcast will have heard Daniel Jeremiah raving about Derrick Brown, giving him the 2nd overall grade in his 2nd Top 50 list.

It’s easy to see why, Brown is a three year starter who earned First Team All American honours in 2019. Effective across all three downs, Brown bull rushes opponents up the field to collapse the pocket and possesses incredibly quick hands. The Jags get a steal here at 9, making the most of the early run on tackles to boost a defensive line which just lost Calais Campbell.


10

Carolina Panthers: DT – Javon Kinlaw – South Carolina

Despite paying Teddy Bridgewater, it’s not hard to imagine the Panthers going all in for Trevor Lawrence next year. In this scenario they could take one of the other highly rated tackles at 10, or trade back again with the hope in boosting their pick haul.

Instead I’ve got them taking local lad Javon Kinlaw here, First Team All-SEC honours put the icing on top of a senior season which saw Kinlaw rack up 35 tackles and 6 sacks. After losing Gerald McCoy, Kinlaw is the perfect replacement, an explosive, athletic defensive tackle that’ll be an immediate boost to Phil Snow’s defense.


11

New York Jets: OT – Andrew Thomas – Georgia

Adam Gase’s first year in New York was a flop, with the most memorable moment being Sam Darnold’s confession that he was seeing ghosts in a Monday night horror show against the Patriots.

There were clear issues on the offensive line with 33 sacks allowed, and despite adding George Fant in free agency, I think the Jets address this further in the first round. Step forward Andrew Thomas, a two year starter at left tackle who projects as an immediate starter with high upside.


12

Las Vegas Raiders: WR – CeeDee Lamb – Oklahoma

It’s a coin toss for me here, between Lamb and Jeudy. Gruden and Mayock opt for the production of Lamb over the route running prowess of Jeudy.

Over three seasons, the Sooners receiver has posted 3300 yards, 32 TDs and a 19 yard per catch average. Those are elite numbers at any level and an impressive combine only helped Lamb’s stock. Derek Carr (or Marcus Mariota) gets a clear WR and the Raiders look to make a splash in Sin City from the off.


13

San Francisco 49ers: CB – CJ Henderson – Florida

The 49ers will probably want to trade down, but will there be a buyer that gives them the round 2 and 3 capital they want? In this scenario I’ve said no and had them address an area of need in their secondary.

Richard Sherman is aging and Ahkello Witherspoon is entering the last year of his rookie year with a lot left to prove. Henderson comes in and adds a dose of speed, athleticism and a ceiling to the mix, pushing Witherspoon for his spot on day 1.

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14

*TRADE*

Philadelphia Eagles: WR – Jerry Jeudy – Alabama

A big statement move by the Eagles here. We all know that Carson Wentz ended the season throwing to Greg Ward and co, so Doug Pederson and Howie Roseman trade up to get arguably the best receiver in the class. By trading pick 21, 103 and a 2021 3rd, the Eagles move up above. the Broncos who have been heavily linked with a WR pre-draft.

Despite the fact the WR class is loaded, Jeudy adds real class to the Eagles offense. A polished route runner who creates separation effortlessly, he’ll plug in opposite Alshon Jeffrey and gives Wentz a significant upgrade.


15

Denver Broncos: WR – Henry Ruggs – Alabama

The Broncos make it two Crimson Tide receivers in a row, adding explosive deep threat Henry Ruggs III to partner Courtland Sutton in a new look offense.

Drew Lock finished the season with a bang, going 4-1 as the starter in Denver. There’s a lot of feel good factor around the team at the moment, with Sutton and 2nd year Tight End, Noah Fant, being joined by Melvin Gordon in the offseason. Ruggs offers something different to Sutton, giving Lock a deep threat target and Pat Shurmur the opportunity to stretch the field with his play calling.


16

Atlanta Falcons: S – Xavier McKinney – Alabama

Three in a row for Alabama as the Falcons get in on the party. McKinney brings a well-rounded option to the Atlanta secondary, capable of playing against the run and the pass, particularly when lining up over the slot receiver.


17

Dallas Cowboys: S – Grant Delpit – LSU

Another coin toss here, as I had to decide between the Cowboys taking Delpit and his LSU teammate Kristian Fulton. The Cowboys lost Jeff Heath in free agency, and despite adding HaHa Clinton-Dix, they’re in need of an upgrade.

Delpit surged at the end of LSU’s championship winning season, leading the SEC in interceptions, whilst making 74 tackles. He tracks the ball well in the air and displays excellent sideline to sideline ability. Some concerns over his tackling ability, but Mike Nolan is getting a player with a lot of upside here.


18

Miami Dolphins: OT – Austin Jackson – USC

The Trojans left tackle becomes the Dolphins’ replacement for Laremy Tunsil here, slotting next to Ereck Flowers in their new look offensive line.

Jackson comes from NFL stock, his father having played 5 seasons on the offensive line for the Packers. His nimble feet and athleticism will entice the Fins to take him 18th overall, but there is work to be done on hand placement. Will benefit as a day one starter, but will need time to reach full potential.


19

Las Vegas Raiders: LB – Kenneth Murray – Oklahoma

I considered throwing a curveball in here and drafting Southern Illinois Safety Jeremy Chinn as a huge upside pick here. However, Mike Mayock reigns in my inner Jon Gruden to add Oklahoma linebacker, Kenneth Murray.

A three-year starter for the Sooners, Murray is a top quality run and chase style player, he’s incredibly quick and accompanies that with a violent nature at the point of tackle.

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20

*TRADE*

New Orleans Saints: QB – Justin Herbert – Oregon

Big one. The Saints move up above the Patriots and give the Jaguars some more capital in the 2021 draft for the privilege. With New England’s QB situation uncertain at the moment, it feels like they’re enough of a threat to ensure the Saints jump above them if they decide to go after Drew Brees’ successor.

Last year saw Dwayne Haskins ‘drop’ into the teens, and it’s not inconceivable that the same happens to one of the 2020 class. Herbert is probably the most likely candidate for a slight slide here, with most mocks having him go in the top 6.

Herbert is a big arm, traditional pocket passer. A three year starter who is confident attacking downfield sounds right up Sean Payton’s street. With a year to sit behind Brees, it’s easy to see a bright future for the Oregon star if the draft falls like this.


21

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OT – Ezra Cleveland – Boise State

The Buccs moved back from 14 to pick up further draft capital and with the top 4 tackles off the board. They get next first round tackle here at 21 instead, giving Tom Brady a big upgrade over Demar Dotson.

As you’d expect, Cleveland has the most to improve of the top five tackles, with Lance Zierlein noting how much stronger he needs to get to hold up as a starter. However, there’s a clear need at the position and with Tampa in win now mode, Cleveland makes sense here. Could possibly go Josh Jones instead.


22

Minnesota Vikings: DE – AJ Epenesa – Iowa

The Vikings use the first of their two first round picks to add a defensive end that has all the traits to become a thorn in the side of NFC North Quarterbacks for years to come.

14.5 tackles for a loss and 11.5 sacks in 2019 give a flavour of the Iowa product’s production, but it’s his ability to read the game and the explosiveness he shows out of the block that make him a first round pick.


23

*TRADE*

Houston Texans: S – Antoine Winfield Jr – Minnesota

New England trade out of 23 here, opting to pick up some additional draft capital in 2021 and another pick in the top 100 of this draft.

The Texans improve their secondary with an instinctive safety in Winfield. Capable of tracking the ball through the air, and hit hard in the open field, he’ll bring a Honey Badger like attitude to a defense that missed him last season.  


24

Jacksonville Jaguars: CB – Kristian Fulton – LSU

Simple one here for the Jags, who trade down from 20 and still get a corner to replace the departed Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye.

Fulton hasn’t sold everyone, with character issues putting off a few teams. Consistency is another concern, with the occasional lapse in judgement meaning the Jags are taking a risk on the flashes of bigtime ability we’ve seen over the last two season.


25

Minnesota Vikings: WR – Denzel Mims – Baylor

Another hand in glove fit here, as the Vikings choose to replace Stefon Diggs with the big upward mover in this receiver class. Mims impressed throughout Senior Bowl week and then took the combine by storm.

Quick off the line, with a big frame and the ability to high point the ball, Mims has all the makings of the perfect target for Kirk Cousins.


26

*TRADE*

LA Chargers: QB – Jordan Love – Utah

With QBs sliding a bit here, the Chargers decide to jump over the Colts and back into the first round to take their new QB.

Lock comes as a bit of a project, with a huge arm but inconsistent decision making. Anthony Lynn and Shane Steichen will feel they’ve got a bargain on their hands at 26 though, with a few comparisons being thrown around to Pat Mahomes. I’m not so sure on that, but it’ll be fun to watch Love develop.


27

Seattle Seahawks: C – Cesar Ruiz – Michigan

Another trade candidate for the Chargers here, if the Dolphins choose to stick with 26. Pete Carroll and co have made a living trading out the back of the first round, so it feels unlikely they’ll make this pick in reality.

However, with Russell Wilson being sacked 48 times last year, in this scenario the Seahawks choose to upgrade their offensive line with Cesar Ruiz out of Michigan. Ruiz grew into the center role in Ann Arbor and will be a fine addition for whoever takes him at the end of the first / early second.


28

Baltimore Ravens: OLB – K’Lavon Chaisson – LSU

A dangerous Ravens defense only improves with this pick. Chaisson brings leadership on and off the field, as well as a dangerous set of athletic tools

With time to develop around the likes of Calais Campbell, Earl Thomas and Marcus Peters, Chaisson can not only become a dominant player, but the leader of the Ravens D for years to come.

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29

Tennessee Titans: OT – Josh Jones – Houston

A direct replacement for Jack Conklin, Jones is a raw prospect that needs work. With the glut of tackles going in the first round, Tennessee will probably hope that any of the above fall to them here.

If that doesn’t happen then I don’t think they sweat it too much with Jones, he has the build that you want in a tackle and four years of playing experience with Houston. The red flags for scouts seem to be focused on handwork and timing, both things which can be developed with the right coaching.


30

Green Bay Packers: WR – Justin Jefferson – LSU

After throwing to a rag tag group of receivers with Davante Adams out for a few weeks last year, it’s fair to say Aaron Rodgers would be very happy with this pick.

Jefferson is a winner, he wins contested catches, wins at the line of scrimmage and wins national championships. With Rodgers heading towards the twilight of his career it seems only right that the Packers go all in now, Jefferson is a day one asset and will upgrade the wideout position no end.


31

*TRADE*

Denver Broncos: CB – Jeff Gladney – TCU

With little draft capital outside the first round, the 49ers look all but guaranteed to trade back out of one of their top 32 picks.

I struggled to find a team that would want to trade into this spot. Eventually I settled on the Broncos, as they leap above their divisional rivals and take TCU’s Jeff Gladney.

Gladney is smaller in stature, which may mean he’s initially utilised in sub-packages at nickel cornerback. However, he strikes me as the ideal player to utilise against Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman as the Broncos play catch up to the Chiefs.


32

Kansas City Chiefs: CB – Trevon Diggs – Alabama

The last pick in the first round sees the 6th Crimson Tide prospect go off the board. Diggs possesses elite height, weight and length for a corner, mixing these attributes in with the skills he picked up as a former receiver.

The Chiefs often face themselves going against offenses in full attack mode, trying to play catch up with Mahomes and co. Diggs makes a lot of sense in that regard, upgrading the positional group and potentially making the transition to safety, should that be a more natural fit.

Tim’s NFL 2020 Mock Draft 2.0

By Tim Monk (@Tim_MonkF10Y)

The picture is now a bit clearer after teams have made some moves in Free Agency. But how does that shake up the draft board? Let’s have a look at the movers and shakers.

I have not done any trades for this one just so that you can see the effect Free Agency has had on the first round as it stands. I will do my final 3.0 mock draft with trades the week of the draft. Happy to be shouted at over on Twitter @Tim_MonkF10Y, but I’d be happier if you told me your opinions on your teams pick as a rebuttle rather than a shouting match!

Enjoy!


#1 – Joe Burrow – QB

Let’s not get too crazy right out of the gate, Joe Burrow is a 1/100 shot currently with bookmakers to go 1st overall. AJ Green will be back this year giving another reason for Burrow to not pull a fast one and try to get away.


#2 – Chase Young – DE

Again, not getting too creative here at 2 and the Redskins get a monster who’ll make his presence felt as soon as he walks through the door as the edge rusher from Ohio State lands in the Nation’s capital. Ron Rivera must weigh up whether or not he wants a stud here or pick up depth and trade back. Considering the impact Bosa had on the 49ers last year, you have to think Rivera will try to follow suit.


#3 – Jeffrey Okudah – CB

Detroit hold firm here and take Okudah. This especially makes sense now that Darius Slay has packed his bags for Philadelphia. Okudah comes in a saves the Lions some Cap space, whilst potentially not having much of a drop off in terms of production. Similar to Washington, Patricia and co. must weigh up whether they want to take a phone call from another team and try and pick up extra picks and move back a couple of spots and still have the potential to get the same guy.


#4 – Tristan Wirfs – OL

The Giants don’t trade in the draft and they stick to type here. Plenty of holes for Big Blue and whilst Okudah would have been nice for them to have fall in their laps, they take an Offensive lineman in Wirfs who had a stellar combine and gets the hype you need to go in the top 5 of drafts.

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#5 – Tua Tagaviola – QB

No trades in the top 5. Surprising? Possibly, but this draft’s dominoes fall perfectly for Miami with the Chargers not moving ahead to sniper Miami, Tua Tagaviola and the #TankforTua works out perfectly.


#6 – Justin Herbert – QB

The Chargers take their shot at QB in Oregon QB Justin Herbert. He’s raw, and a project and the Chargers certainly wont want to be starting him until the latter parts of the 2020 season at the earliest! There are scenarios where I see them trade out of this spot as they acquire their QB in free agency (maybe Cam Newton?) but we’ll leave that until we have a bit more clarity. For now, Herbert is their guy.


#7 – Isaiah Simmons – LB

Lots of holes appearing in the Panthers roster. James Bradberry has moved the New York and had Luke Kuechly retiring. They get to draft the replacement for the latter here and Simmons is a an absolute must here for the Panthers, who are clearly in rebuild mode could trade back if they find a suitor.


#8 – CeeDee Lamb – WR

Arizona’s HC Kliff Kingsbury loves 3 and 4 WR sets. Imagine Hopkins, Kirk, Fitz and Lamb on the field! Yeah, good luck defending that. Whilst defence is more of a need after signing Nuk in FA, I just want to put that Murray had a little Lamb.


#9 – Derrick Brown – DT

The Jaguars were one of the worst against the run in 2019. How to fix that? Stick in Derrick Brown. Javon Kinlaw was another option.


#10 – Mekhi Becton – OT

I will be stunned if the Browns look this gift horse in the mouth. Plenty of tackle options for the Browns in this prime spot, Becton is an absolute monster of a man. He’s a freak of nature who moves unbelievably well for a man that is 6 foot 7 and 350+ lbs. Whilst he wont be as effective as some of the other tackles from day 1, a few years down the line, he could be one of the best around. A key piece for Baker’s resurgence as he enters his 3rd year. Better yet, he only has to the take the I-71 north and it’ll lead him right there.


#11 – Jedrick Wills – OL

The most sensible option here for the Jets would be to take a offensive lineman to help protect Sam Darnold. As Jedrick Wills is still on the board and seemingly a great fit, the Jets take an offsenive lineman, to the dismay of Jets fans wanting a WR. Sam Darnold was pressured a lot last season and he needs to be able to feel comfortable with his line to eradicate poor decisions and ultimately interceptions. As the WR is ridiculously deep, look for the Jets to grab a WR in round 2 and/or maybe 3. Having Crowder, Perriman and Enunwa as your wideouts is not desireable.


#12 – Jerry Jeudy – WR

The Alabama WR heads to Sin City to be their star attraction. Jeudy is great at separation and garnering yards after the catch, something Derek Carr will love and it will give a helping hand to Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller after the Antonio Brown experiment failed catastrophically last year. Feel free to interchange this name with CeeDee Lamb as I undoubtedly will do as I get through more iterations of mock drafts.

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#13 – Andrew Thomas – OT

*TRADE: SF trades DeForest Buckner for #13*

With the 49ers not having many middle round picks, you have to feel that they either trade back here or trade their #31 overall. That being said, you could also see a scenario where they trade up with the Jets to get the WR they want. However, Joe Staley is 35 years young and a replacement wil be needed. Andrew Thomas was a 3 year starter in Georgia and can slot in whenever the time comes.


#14 – Kristian Fulton – CB

Tampa Bay and Tom Brady wouldn’t have appreciated the pick previous, especially as Bruce Arians has apparently “spent a lot of time this year on the offensive line”, therefore have to switch to plan B. With Suh back for another year and JPP tied up to a new contract, look for the back end to be addressed here with the CB from LSU.


#15 – Henry Ruggs – WR

Difficult to pinpoint exactly what Denver want to do here. It must be refreshing that the QB talk (for now) has dissipated and in this mock, they give current QB Drew lock and his main guy Courtland Sutton a huge helping hand. Lock could do with someone opposite Sutton and both could prosper. There are a few holes for Denver to fill including O-Line and CB/LB but hey, WR are more sexy to mock aren’t they!?


#16 – K’Lavon Chaisson – EDGE

The Falcons let Vic Beasley go in Free Agencty. His replacement? Enter the man with a name perfect for an edge rusher almost so perfect, it’s a shame Chase Young is in this draft class. The LSU pass rusher is an explosive guy off the edge and should slip in quite nicely here in Atlanta.


#17 – CJ Henderson – CB

Safety is a position Jason Garrett avoided like the plague. But judging by some of the deals they have made throughout the offseason, it’s likely that the’ll seek a replacement for Jones with this pick, rather than go safety. They get a bit of a steal with the 2nd best CB in the class with play making ability, something Dallas needs in its defensive ranks.


#18 – Xavier McKinney – S

This is the Minkah Fitzpatrick pick that the Steelers sent over. Teams love to draft players of the same position so that they can directly see who will win the trade. Dolphins need a lot of help on defence and this is one of the final pieces after an expensive Free Agency shopping trip.


#19 – Trevon Diggs – CB

Marcus Mariota seems to be the guy that will do battle with Derek Carr this offseason, therefore we need to look elsewhere for the Raiders. Here we go for Trevon Diggs, CB out of Alabama. Jon Gruden loves picking from the big teams and his first 3 picks in 2019 either came from Clemson or Alabama. I expect him to follow suit here with Jeudy going earlier in the round.


#20 – Jordan Love- QB

The Jags are in disarray and have pretty much tried to have a firesale. After shipping out Nick Foles, The Jags bring in Love to compete with Minshew. With the Jags clearly not in win now mode, Love can sit for a year behind Minshew as they try and sort themselves out from the big mess they find themselves in. Doug Marrone is somehow still on a leash and he can extend that by being able to play the Rookie QB card at anytime. Whilst they are happy with Minshew for the moment, the Jags know he wont be the answer.


#21 – Justin Jefferson – WR

Philadelphia showed their hand in Free Agency that they will probably take a WR with this pick after signing Darius Slay in Free Agency. With Lamb, Jeudy and Ruggs off the board (to their dismay) off the board, they pick up Jefferson.

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#22 – Javon Kinlaw – DT

*TRADE: MIN sends Stefon Diggs for #22*

The Vikings need to reload on defence. They start here by getting one of the best, if not the best interior defensive line pass rusher in the class. Can also see Minnesota go WR here, but considering the arrial of Tajae Sharpe and the tendencies to run the ball, they’ll pick a WR up in the later rounds.


#23 – Grant Delpit – S

Grant Delpit falls all the way to 23 here into the arms of a welcoming Bill Belichick. Whilst WR probably makes more sense here, Tom Brady is no longer slinging the rock. Is it possible they’ll be #TankingForTrevor?


#24 – Jeff Gladney – CB

WR is probably off the board here considering the signing of Emmanuel Sanders in Free Agency. Corner is in need of a bolster so Jeff Gladney goes to the saints here and could be a long term starter.


#25 – Kenneth Murray – LB

Murray drops to #25 in this mock the athletic LB from Oklahoma is a sideline to sideline guy and would add a lot of speed to this defence that is in refurb mode.


#26 – Cesar Ruiz – OL

The Dolphins have taken their QB, now they take the guy snapping the ball to him. Ruiz can also play at Guard which would be great versatility for the Dolphins.


#27 – Terrell Lewis – EDGE

The Seahawks may trade back here to someone who wants to come up and get their guy or a QB. That being said, Ziggy Ansah and Jadeveon Clowney headed to Free Agency this offseason and neither are back yet. This Alabama edge rusher is explosive and should help fill the gaping hole.


#28 – Patrick Queen – LB

The offence is pretty much there for the immediate future with no glaring holes. So they decide to bolster the defensive side to stop instances like the Derrick Henry train running through them like they did in the postseason. A quick-footed, speedy linebacker who can play all 3 downs is the call here.


#29 – Ross Blacklock – DL

The Titans have 1 or 2 holes to fill in the trenches on both sides of the ball with Conklin and Casey leaving Nashville. However, Blacklock is a good pickup for a Titans team as he’ll require a lot of effort to nullify from opposing O-lines due to his explosiveness and how disruptive he could be.


#30 – Laviska Shenault Jr. – WR

Aaron Rodgers’ window is not going to open for much longer. The Packers focused their efforts on the defence last offseason so this time, they give Aaron Rodgers a bit more help to try and win a 2nd ring. Do it all WR Shenault Jr will be a fun toy to play with and can stick around with Adams years after Rodgers retires. with the departure of a few pieces at LB, a replacement is possible here too.


#31 – Damon Arnette – CB

Richard Sherman getting toasted by Sammy Watkins will send alarm bells ringing and he is now 31 years old. They also need help opposite him with Witherspoon not pulling up trees, Verrett still always on the treatment table. Moseley filled in capably but the back end of the defence needs a bit of youth injected in to it. Arnette, the corner out of Ohio State is a decnet cover corner.


#32 – Noah Igbinoghene – CB

Whilst RB is a popular pick here, there is also a need at CB. With a fair amount of secondary players gone in the first round, the Chiefs make sure they don’t have scraps to pick from when their turn comes back around.


Fantasy: Dynasty Buys

By Andy Moore (@AJMoore21)

A few days ago you were treated to a fantastic Sells equivalent which you can check out here. Today we take a look at those you should be trying to acquire. Let us know your thoughts, let us know YOUR OPINION. Because that’s what it is all about! Let’s see who can get these guys the cheapest!


Image result for courtland sutton

The Denver Post, MediaNews Group.

Courtland Sutton – Denver Broncos


There’s a feel-good factor around Denver’s offense at the moment. After finishing the season 4-1 with Drew Lock under centre, John Elway has added Pat Shurmur to his coaching staff and signed Melvin Gordon, Graham Glasgow and Nick Vannett in free agency.

All this looks good for third year receiver Courtland Sutton. Coming off a 1,112 yard, 125 target, 72 reception season, the former SMU man has firmly established himself as the Broncos WR1.

The addition of Shurmur looks set to only help Sutton’s development, with his track record as an Offensive Co-ordinator unquestionably good for young QBs and the passing game. If Shurmur can recreate this in Denver, then look for more fireworks from Lock and Sutton as they look to navigate a difficult AFC West.

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In your Dynasty League, the time to buy Sutton might not be now. There are plenty of rumours linking the Broncos to a high quality deep threat receiver in the draft, with CeeDee Lamb and Henry Ruggs both regularly mocked their way. This shouldn’t harm Sutton’s production, in fact it should help minimise double coverage. Others may disagree, getting caught up with the inevitable post draft-fever, make your offer then!


Image result for miles sanders

The Associated Press

Miles Sanders – Philadelphia Eagles


Another young player that finished the season well, Miles Sanders was a game changer during the Eagles’ late drive to secure a play-off spot.

The 3rd round pick out of Penn State had an up and down start to 2019, with Jordan Howard forcing him out of the starting role for a string of games before going down injured in week 9. Sanders capitalised on this, increasing his playing time and yardage increase until he peaked against the Redskins in week 14.

Howard is now completely out of the picture, having joined the Dolphins, leaving Sanders in competition with Boston Scott as the Eagles’ presumptive week 1 starter. It’s a battle he should win, considering his potential as a dual threat back and the relative draft capital invested in both.


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Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports 

Calvin Ridley – Atlanta Falcons


You’ve all seen the stat doing the rounds at the moment, the Atlanta Falcons have a starting offense built solely from first round picks. Calvin Ridley is amongst those, with the third year receiver currently occupying the WR2 designation behind Julio Jones.

Jones is contracted through 2024 and given the huge salary the Falcons have invested in him, it doesn’t look like he’ll be going anywhere soon. So why Ridley?

It’s all about consistency. In both his years in the league so far, Ridley has locked up 92 and 93 targets respectively, catching 64 of those in 2018 and 63 in 2019, those catches have gone for 821 and 866 yards, with 10 TDs in his rookie year, compared to 7 last year.

He’s the perfect flex player for your line ups, averaging above 10 points per game and providing the perfect complement to Julio it Atlanta’s offense. With such a stacked WR class this year, chances are he’s available relatively cheap in your league, and with Julio entering a period in which some players decline, Ridley could be set to ease in the other direction.


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Joe Camporeale

TJ Hockenson – Detroit Lions


After week one of the 2019 season, Hockenson was cleared off waiver wires everywhere. The first rounder caught six passes from Matthew Stafford, going for 131 yards and a TD. Huge numbers for a rookie Tight End.

From there, things went downhill, with Hockenson only adding another 230 yards across the whole season. When you look at the cards dealt to the Iowa product, it’s not hard to see why his form trailed off, when Stafford went down injured, a combination of Jeff Driskel and David Blough stepped into uninspiringly fill the void and the Lions only managed one win after week three.

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So, why trade for him now? Everyone knows that rookie Tight Ends are to be avoided in fantasy, so that shouldn’t put you off when looking at Hockenson’s rookie production. Instead look at the upside, this year’s TE class is poor, he was a top 10 NFL pick for obvious reasons last year, and when fit, his QB is one of the most reliable in the game. Pick him up cheap where you can, and watch him develop into one of the league’s elite TE options.


Marcus Mariota – Las Vegas Raiders

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Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports 

Marcus Mariota – Las Vegas Raiders


This time last year I picked up Ryan Tannehill in 3 leagues, I didn’t get a complete bargain in all cases, but he was cheap for a QB in superflex leagues. The things I liked about Tannehill were, his work ethic, his commitment to his team, his experience as a starter and the precarious nature of the QB he was backing up.

Fast forward 12 months and the irony is there for all to see that we could say the exact same of that QB, Marcus Mariota. The new Raiders QB has always been the model of professionalism, he’s got a ton of starts (including playoff games) under his belt and he’s backing up Derek Carr, who just doesn’t seem to fit the Jon Gruden school of thought.

So, I’m picking up Mariota where I can this year, half the league had him down as QB1 in the 2015 draft class, and in places he has flashed exactly why they believed that. With a bit of encouragement and the freedom to use his legs, Mariota can certainly be a starter in the NFL, if Carr slips you can bet Mariota will be straight in. Buy low, and buy now!

The (Tight) End of the World as we know it?

By James Fotheringham (@NFLHypeTrain)

As the Hype Train Driver, I’m used to changing scenery. Looking out of the window, everything can look different from season to season. The NFL, and certainly fantasy football, are no different.

The Tight end position has been a bone of contention for many fantasy players over the years. The low number of fantasy relevant tight ends and the premium to get good ones has led to a variety of suggestions and solutions. Some leagues turned the TE position into a Flex spot including Tight end, others make it 1.5x points and some have scrapped the position altogether.

Going into last season, most people seemed to suggest that beyond Kelce, Ertz and Kittle, there’s very little out there. Through the season the likes of Austin Hooper, Darren Waller and Mark Andrews took flight and added their names to the “Relevant” list. Even the tandem at the Rams of Higbee and Everett became fantasy pickups. It leaves the fantasy world in an interesting position.


Current Situation


The free agency period has been hectic despite the Coronavirus pandemic.

As I currently see it, this is the situation at Tight End for each team:

The headlines this off-season have been made by Austin Hooper (going to the Browns), Hayden Hurst (filling the void in Atlanta), Greg Olsen (adding to the long list in Seattle), Jimmy Graham (being given yet another overpaid contract, this time from the Bears) and Eric Ebron (joining Vance McDonald in Pittsburgh).

With very few good quality tight ends left on the market, it appear a lot of teams are going to be relying on 2nd year tight ends stepping up or maybe even rookies. I’ll leave it to the podcast and twitter feeds to talk about those impacts on the NFL, but in terms of fantasy, Hurst has value, Hooper has some value but it’s more stunted than if he had stayed in Atlanta. Ebron will be a red-zone target so he has to score a TD to be relevant week to week. Jimmy Graham won’t see any kind of uptick while Greg Olsen may be a dark horse option if he can stay healthy. As the off-season rumbles on I’m sure it will be touched on more, but that’s my initial thoughts.


The 2020 Draft


There are a few interesting landing spots. The Patriots, Cardinals, Redskins, Panthers, Packers and Jaguars could be in the hunt for a new Tight End after some other possible spots were filled in free agency. There’s time yet for some trades, but many teams are going to be looking to develop the talent they have or target one in the draft. With 6 strong landing spots we could well see 1 or 2 rookie tight ends make it into starting line-ups.

There’s not as many standout options as in previous years but Cole Kmet (Notre Dame), Brycen Hopkins (Purdue) and Jared Pinkney (Vanderbilt) are the 3 gathering the most interest. There’s not likely to be a 1st season breakout this season. Rookie Tight ends usually require a full season before becoming fantasy relevant and a feature of the offence but there have been times where this has been overruled. 


The 2020 Season


AP Photo/Damian Strohmeyer

After years of Gronk… Kelce… Then the rest; there’s now more than just 2 or 3 tiers of Tight End and no real dominant Tight End causing early round headaches in fantasy drafts. The lack of an outright #1 reduces the value and with so many options, 2020 might see tight ends fall down the order and, in some leagues, they may become a streaming position similar to QB’s and Defence/Special Teams.

Kelce, Waller, Andrews and Kittle are the guys who are going to give you a solid score every week and are a key piece of their offences. These will be most likely be the first 4 Tight Ends off the board and the value will probably be in drafting the 4th one so that you have the best RB and WR options possible, whilst still being able to trust your TE.

The next level contains tight ends where you’ll want to play them in plus matchups, and they will probably provide a good return more often then they will fail. The issue is consistency and knowing that any week there is a reasonable chance they won’t be much help. Tandems like Ertz and Goedert may find themselves here. Injury risks like Engram and Olsen may also feature here. Similarly, second season breakout candidates like Fant and Gesicki should be in this wide tier. (I’ll dive a bit more into this shortly).

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The third tier includes those who are a gamble and the risk of them not performing is built into their ADP, and those who will be consistent but not in a very effective way. Rudolph and Smith in Minnesota are a duo that may stunt each other’s fantasy relevance, but Kirk Cousins doesn’t help either. Jimmy Graham may end up here depending on the TE and QB battles in Chicago. The rookie tight ends may also end up in this tier.

The final tier is for the players who will remain on the waiver wire unless their matchup is particular tempting (e.g. Playing Arizona last season). The likes of Eifert, I.Thomas and Burton come to mind. The Tennessee situation is difficult to determine as Walker is injury prone and Jonnu Smith doesn’t seem quite ready to be the #1 so the tandem with him and Firkser may make them. The off season could change some of these scenarios, but it will take a few weeks of the season before it becomes a bit clearer.


Examining Tier 2


The success of schemes where Tight Ends are RedZone threats, check down options or planned in as pass catcher have led to an increase in targets. The fact George Kittle, and Travis Kelce ended up as the highest scoring Non-QB fantasy players (from the season) in the Superbowl shows the importance of the position in the modern NFL. The days of it being a baron landscape have been overblown in my opinion. This all bodes well for the new generation with the likes of Waller, Andrews and Goedert coming through.

The increase in the “Tier 2” Tight ends and the chances that one will crack tier 1 make the fantasy draft much more interesting. I’ve listed 20 players who could be in Tier 2. These wont all be tier 2 as fantasy season rolls around but there’s arguments for each of them. I’ve split them into categories.

Established Options: Doyle, Cook, Engram, Olsen, Henry, Fells.

Two TE Sets: Olsen/Dissly, Ertz/Goedert, Higbee/Everett, Howard/Brate, McDonald/Ebron, Njoku/Hooper.

Potential breakouts: Fant, Hockensen, Gesicki, Herndon, Knox, J.Thomas.


Established Options


Be it because of injury, QB play or competition these guys won’t be able to crack the upper echelons but are usually going to be playable.

Cook had a decent year with Drew Brees last season while Greg Olsen has moved to the TE haven in Seattle. Both he and Evan Engram are injury risks and if they are missing more often then you can play them, you’re better looking elsewhere.

Jack Doyle is perhaps the least spectacular on the list but is the most consistent and may actually be a sleeper pick now with Eric Ebron out of the way and Philip Rivers slinging the ball for one year in Indy. The recently franchise tagged Hunter Henry will be reliant on what the Chargers do at QB, while Darren Fells will need to prove that his form last season can be made consistent, though did sign a new deal this offseason. Jordan Thomas behind him may also steal some targets so buyer beware.


Two TE Sets


A big threat to the relevance of the TE position in fantasy is the two tight end systems. When one goes down the remaining player isn’t guaranteed to take off (but sometimes they do). It’s often a case that when both options are playing, one will take off each week, but it never stays consistent who it is.

Take Higbee and Everett for the LA Rams. After both toiled early on in the season, Everett broke out, only to then go down injured and leave Higbee to pick up the slack. It’s a combo where one or the other can work but together they ruin each-others value. Everett started getting the targets over Higbee and that got the ball rolling. They ended up with similar stat-lines, but I’d be wary of drafting either of them in 2020 as you’re going to have to hope you pick the one that takes off first.  

I’ve mentioned Olsen already but when you look at Seattle, they could play 4TE and only 2WR looking at their depth charts. Olsen, Dissly, Hollister and Dickson could all be playable if they are in that weeks set. Will Dissly (when he’s fit) has been superb but you’re just waiting for something to break. He’s probably worth a roster spot while he’s active unless Olsen hogs all the targets.

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Howard and Brate are going to have Tom Brady this year which leaves them as total wildcards so it’s obvious that some people will take the gamble in drafts. McDonald and Ebron at the Steelers are probably going to flip-flop in terms of being relevant but across a season they should be usable. I nearly put Njoku and Hooper into tier 3 but Baker can’t be that bad again can he? If Njoku gets trades he gets a boost and Hooper likewise become more trustworthy. Again, both will be a gamble but if anything gives them an uptick in opportunities, their draft stock will rise with it.

The big one currently is in Philly as the Ertz/Goedert combination is proving to be great news for the Eagles but bad news for fantasy. Ertz is still tabbed as a top 4 TE and with good reason. He is still a beast, a great catcher and can dominate a game. The problem is, Goedert is very much going to same way but has a few less years wear on the tyres. Using both is allowing them to stay healthier and give Wentz options. With their lack of true WR options I think you’ll find both can be top 12 options this season but calling which games will be Ertz dominated and which Goedert dominated may be the difference between a win and a loss.


Breakouts


Most rookie Tight Ends don’t hit in their first year but start really coming on in their second. There’s going to be some differing levels of improvement thanks to their respective teams’ philosophies and personnel but if it’s late in your fantasy draft and you fancy a gamble, hopefully one of these will be kicking around.

Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Noah Fant is one of my major hopes for this season. Drew Lock has improved the QB situation in Denver and with Sutton breaking out, Fant found himself becoming relevant late in the season. He was well hyped last season after the draft, and this is probably the year he really gets going. Mike Gesicki falls into the same boat here. His main issue is being in Miami and not being certain what he’s working with. The advantage he has is that the offence is sort of being built around him as he’s one of the few decent, young offensive pieces they have.

TJ Hockensen may need a few things to go his way to truly break out. The Lions have never historically been a good place for Tight Ends but considering the capital they spent on him, they are going to have to find ways of getting him the ball. Matt Stafford isn’t a bad QB, he just needs to be 100% healthy mentally and physically (which he hasn’t been for a few years now). Dawson Knox is also a rookie who may need some team improvement to see relevance, however the Bills keep progressing and is Josh Allen can start finding Knox like he did towards the end of last season, then who knows what they may create.

Jordan Thomas is a long shot who could be a serious sleeper. If Darren Fells doesn’t come back and the Texans rest their hopes on Thomas, he will get the targets from Deshaun Watson and when you consider how good fells was for fantasy last season, that could be a decent position to have.

The final name to throw in here is Chris Herndon. He’s threatened to break out before but suspensions, injuries and QB changes have stopped that from happening. With a new season can come new hope, however he is last on my list at this level.


The Outlook


The Tight End landscape is now probably as wide spread as it has been for a long time. The calls for the position to be scrapped were a little pre-mature and now that younger guys are breaking through, and taking less time to become relevant, the turnover is only going to get better. The success of the Chiefs and 49ers this season with Kelce and Kittle as prime targets does bode well for teams trying to find their TE equivalent so it’s possible more teams may look this way.

The good news for fantasy is that it’s not as much of a headache as it used to be. The need to weight up when to take a relevant tight end was tough. You could guarantee a good one but which RB/WR would you miss out on? But if you waited too long and had to settle for what was left, was your RB/WR worth it? Now there’s enough late options to know it’s fine to delay. Where the likes of Waller and Andrews fall may be critical to how the fantasy draft season goes. It’s just nice to be able to say that fantasy Tight ends are becoming an interesting thing once more.  

Re-Drafting The 2019 NFL Fantasy Draft

By Dave Moore (@davieremixed)

So, the dust has settled from your league’s Fantasy Championship game.

You’re left with a bitter taste in your mouth after you took Alvin Kamara #1 overall and then wasted your second pick on Devonta Freeman.

But what if we could turn back time (without the bad hair, for all you Cher fans out there…) and redraft the 2019 Fantasy Season?


How It All Played Out


So your top five picks would’ve been something along the lines of:

  1. Saquon Barkley
  2. Christian McCaffrey
  3. Ezekiel Elliott
  4. Alvin Kamara
  5. Le’Veon Bell

Maybe swap Bell out for DeAndre Hopkins and the top four – as far as I was concerned – were interchangeable. If you got Pick 1/2/3/4 then you were taking one of those players, even if Zeke was holding out.

So how did those five + Nuk fare?

Christian McCaffrey blew everyone away as he was the only reliably functioning part of the Carolina offense for the entire season. A whopping 471.20 points left him miles ahead of the closest challenge from the list above…

Zeke Elliott: Scoring single digits just once this season he was a bright spot in a pretty woeful Dallas season as he racked up 311.70 points.

DeAndre Hopkins was impressive as always with 268.54 points despite sitting out the final game of the season against the Titans.

Alvin Kamara was nowhere near as explosive as we would have hoped for this year, hampered by injury all season he went 12 (TWELVE) weeks without a touchdown but snagging a brace of touchdowns in each of his last two games bumped him to a modest-by-his-standards 248.52 points.

Much like his NFC compatriot, Saquon Barkley struggled with injury this year and missed three and a half games. Also much like Kamara, some late season antics (94.90 points across the final three games) landed him 244.10 points overall.

Finally we come to the man who held out. The man who fled Pittsburgh. The man who landed a deal with the New York Jets to make him the second highest paid running back in the league.

I feel sorry if you took him in the first round. 215 points returned for a man touted to be an RB1. Breaking 20 points three times and just once after September. What a rough year.

BUT.

Let’s turn the clock back to those fateful late August/early September evenings. We’re armed with our Sports Almanac, what does this first round in a 10-team standard scoring league look like?

The 2019 Fantasy Football Re-Draft

With the first overall pick…Christian McCaffrey – Running Back – Carolina Panthers

For reasons above this is a complete no brainer. The man was the highest scoring player in the league by a country mile. Even in blowout defeats he still managed to rack up plenty of yards or nab a couple of scores. The guy was a monster in both the run and pass game (although those passes were essentially screens in the flat but a catch is a catch!).

Run CMC is going to be a first overall pick for a couple of years to come at least.


With the second overall pick…Lamar Jackson – Quarterback – Baltimore Ravens

Congratulations to those who had the wherewithal to draft Jackson early because frankly, I thought the Chargers had figured him out in the 2018 Playoffs by loading the box and sending as many people at him as possible.

What Baltimore did to allow Jackson to flourish was snag Mark Ingram from the Saints and draft Hollywood Brown. This opened the game up for Jackson’s wheels in a way we haven’t seen since Michael Vick.

A fine reference indeed as Jackson broke Vick’s single-season rushing record by a Quarterback and then some. He passed for over 3,000 yards and 36 touchdowns, rushed for over 1,200 and 7 scores. By the time we’d reached the end of the season he had amassed 415.68 points. Bravo, Lamar. Bravo.


With the third overall pick…Michael Thomas – Wide Receiver – New Orleans Saints

Not the Saints player we’d have expected to be drafted in the first round but with a dearth of wide-out options a combination of Drew Brees, Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill found Thomas on alarming regularity. So much so that he broke Marvin Harrison’s single season reception record by racking up 149 catches for 1,725 yards but surprisingly only 9 touchdowns.

374.60 points in total, which eclipsed the total from any other wide-out by nearly 100 points.

Peculiar to be drafting just one running back from the first three picks but remember, we’ve got the Sports Almanac here so the usual rules don’t apply.

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On we go and with the fourth overall pick Dak Prescott – Quarterback – Dallas Cowboys

Hang on, another quarterback? Get out of here.

I’m afraid so. Much like Thomas, we weren’t expecting to be picking this particular Dallas player fourth overall but Dak was the length of the field away from hitting 5,000 passing yards in addition to 30 TD passes and another three with his legs.

He struggled in some games (on the road in New Orleans and in Philly) but more than made up for it with blockbuster performances against the Giants, the Redskins and the Lions. Kudos to you, Dakota, 337.78 points overall.


With the fifth overall pick… Russell Wilson – Quarterback – Seattle Seahawks

You talk about players having to carry a team (Run CMC, Dak to name but two in this list so far) and then there is Russell Wilson.

DangeRuss’ options? An injured Tyler Lockett, David Moore (although he’s my namesake he’s not ‘the guy’), an exciting but raw DK Metcalf and having his Tight Ends and Running Backs ending the season banged up or on IR.

The guy still threw for over 4,000 yards and 31 scores as he managed to extend play after play after play after play ad nauseum. He did blow hot and cold on a game-to-game basis in 2019 and suffered down the stretch, failing to score over 20 points after a 39.22 performance against Tampa in Week 9 until scraping it in the final game of the season against the 49ers which took him to 328.60 points.

So of the first five picks, three are QBs who are resetting what we traditionally looked for in a man under centre.


Which leads us nicely to the sixth overall pick… DeShaun Watson – Quarterback – Houston Texans

DSW was quietly spectacular with the true blockbuster moment coming in Week 5 as his Texans team demolished the Falcons 53-32. Watson scored 41.74 points in that game alone but his season was dealt some serious damage in Week 11 on a trip to Baltimore as we saw the ugly side of Houston.

169 passing yards. 1 INT. 1 fumble lost. No scores. 3.96 fantasy points. Ouch.

Like a lot of his fellow starters, Watson sat out the final game of the season against the Titans which also damaged his total but still enough for a cool 320.98 points. Had he not suffered so greatly against Baltimore and/or started in Week 17 he’d be jumping ahead of Wilson and Prescott for sure.

I’m getting fed up of these Quarterbacks being drafted. Running Backs, where are you?

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With the seventh overall pick…Aaron Jones – Running Back – Green Bay Packers

That’s better. Jones topped 1,000 yards and had just as many scores (19) as Run CMC.

When he was hot, he was scorching. He scored 53 points against the Vikings across two games, bagged a hat-trick against the Panthers in Week 10 and had over 200 total yards in a 41.60 game against the Chiefs.

His true diamond game though, was the four-score (and seven years ago) game against the Cowboys in Week 5 as he hit 49.20 points. The man would win fantasy matchups on his own.

He would also cost you. He had games with 4.90, 3.90 and 3.80 points but such streakiness was emblematic of the Packers season, despite their reaching the NFC Championship Game.

He was still good for 314.80 points and such a year has definitely moved him much higher up draft boards for 2020.


With the eighth overall pick… Ezekiel Elliott – Running Backs – Dallas Cowboys

The fact we have two Cowboys players on here lays bare how badly their offensive superstars were let down this year.

Zeke didn’t really have the blockbuster games of Run CMC or Aaron Jones but he didn’t have the troughs of Jones either. He scored single digits just once this year and was just so consistent for the Cowboys and anyone’s fantasy team.

He got at least one touchdown on ten games this year and the games he didn’t score in he had sufficient yardage to carry him into double figures. Just stunning reliability from a man who had been holding out all summer but thankfully didn’t go the way of Melvin Gordon or Lev Bell.

An impressive 311.70 points for Zeke and I expect this to increase next season as the Cowboys are going to be better coached under Mike McCarthy (see: the cowardice of the game against the Patriots).


With the ninth overall pick… Austin Ekeler – Running Back – Los Angeles Chargers

This is a surprising one seeing as Melvin Gordon’s return would have surely indicated a drop-off for Ekeler but whilst it is true his point-age did decline after a strong first month (39.40, 23.30, 15.10 and 29.20 points) that is just as attributable to the Chargers falling off a cliff and just being horrible for the majority of the year.

For a running back in that team to get a total of 309.00 points across a season is superb and he’s been rewarded with a new four-year deal. Good for you, Austin. Go get paid!

If the Chargers draft a QB to be their starter for 2020 then I’d expect Ekeler to maintain this sort of scoring. Keep him in mind for a late first round/early second next season.

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With the tenth overall pick and the final pick of the first round… Jameis Winston – Quarterback – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I kid you not. #30For30’s Jameis Winston.

The man is the NFL equivalent of Arsenal’s David Luiz. He is absolute box office material and I love watching the guy play purely for entertainment value.

He threw for over 5,000 yards and 33 touchdowns but had 30 (THIRTY) INTs. Seeing him throw that 30th INT (a pick six to end a dismal Bucs season in a 28-22 overtime defeat to the Falcons).

The true epitome of Winston’s season was the London game against Carolina where he threw five INTs, one touchdown but still had 400 passing yards!

He ended with 305.36 points overall and was the tenth and final person who scored over 300 points across the season.

I am not expecting Jameis to be a starter next year but I really, really hope he is because at times his connectivity with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin was brilliant. He could be a sleeper later in your 2020 draft but purely for entertainment value he is the tenth overall pick of the Re-Drafted 2019 NFL Fantasy Draft.

Legal Tampering Period – The Losers

By Adam Walford (@touchdowntips)

Following on from Rob Grimwood’s fantastic post on the winners yesterday I’ve been tasked, quite suitably, with the pessimism, the misery, the teams who did sweet FA, or in the case of the Texans. Worse.


Texans get their pants pulled down by the Cardinals.


In one of the weirder trades of recent times the Arizona Cardinals acquired one of the best three receivers in the game for essentially a bag of chips, and not a nice bag of chips, those “baked” one’s by walkers. It’s another moves by GM/Head coach/Supreme Leader Bill O’Brien which has stymied the masses. Oh, and they then went and signed Randall Cobb on a 3 year deal to try and placate the masses. Weird.

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Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Additionally they took on the FULL CONTRACT for David Johnson, the full $10.2m contract, for a back who has struggled with injury and form since breaking onto the scene a few years ago. That’s a lot of cash for a running back especially when you’ve got one of the better pass catching backs in the league on your roster already in the shape of Duke Johnson. For the record, I like DJ and I hope he can get back to form, but it’s still a lot of cash to spend on an RB.


David Njoku has some competition, and apparently he welcomes it.


After being drafted at 29 in the 2017 draft there were high hopes for the super-athletic tight end in Cleveland, but a series of niggling injuries and being unable to get together a decent run of games has hit his stock and led his team to bring in Austin Hooper on a big money deal from the Falcons. Neither of them are really blocking TEs, so it’s direct competition, and in those cases the more expensive man usually get the bulk of it all.

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Bengals fall even further behind in the North.


It’d be remiss of me to dampen the spirits of my team and their fans even more. After being quoted by reporters as “being active in free agency” they once again sat and watched as players who’d have improved their roster immediately were picked up for decent deals, the likes of Jack Conklin to the Browns on a 3 year, 42m deal. Nick Kwiatowski to the Raiders for 13m a year both positions of need for the Bengals, and both strengthen AFC teams.

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Ravens have also made moves over the last week which further strengthen them, bringing in Calais Campbell and Michael Brockers to add even more to their defensive line, then getting a pick back for Hayden Hurst. They’re taking full advantage of having a rookie QB on a cheap deal.

And the Steelers will be welcoming back the 400lb man at QB which might make them better at that position for next year.


Josh Allen is digging it, but I’m not too sure.


The Bills paid a whole hell of a lot to Stefon Diggs, a 1st, 4th, 5th and 6th for Diggs and a 7th round pick… It’s a lot more than I thought the Vikings would get for someone who so clearly wanted out and bitched and cried about it publicly.

The Vikings get a ton of picks and him off their payroll. Diggs gets to join a team with an inaccurate QB and probably get further frustrated further down the road. Pairing the best route runner in the league with the least accurate QB is an interesting one, hopefully for them it’s a little chicken and egg and it bring Allen up.

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Bruce Kluckhohn/AP

However, I do get the trade, there’s blood in the water with the Pats possibly losing Brady and their offensive issues on the whole. So while it’s a big payout it could work out well for them.


They gave Jimmy Graham HOW MUCH?!


Why on earth would anyone be money on Jimmy Graham? I wasn’t sure he’d get picked up at all, let alone on a 2 year, $16m deal. But Matt Nagy and the Bears seem determined to keep on paying up at tight end. One of the more perplexing moves done yesterday.

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Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

They’re also still without a functional quarterback and supposedly interested in Andy Dalton and Nick Foles. The Bengals apparently want a 3rd for Dalton, the Jags reportedly want to keep Foles (They take a big dead cap hit if he leaves so may as well keep him) Both are upgrades on Trubisky, but still. It’s not an enviable situation.

Legal Tampering Period – The Winners

by Rob Grimwood – @FFBritBaller

Thank God for Legal Tampering Day. How nice is it to get away from the insufferable drone of that dreaded plague and remember for once that sport still rules supreme. Certainly a few teams in the NFL seemed to be fed up with the same old news story anyway, as we saw some blockbuster trades and some important free agency agreements made.

Let’s take a look at the winners

1. Arizona pulls Houston’s pants downCardinals trade David Johnson, a 2020 2nd and 2021 4th: Receive DeAndre Hopkins and a 2020 4th.

Holy smokes, who saw this one coming? Arguably the best receiver in the league moves out to the desert to join the rising star and last years’ first overall pick Kyler Murray, as well as teaming up with future first ballot hall of famer Larry Fitzgerald and his young protege’s in Christian Kirk, Andy Isabella and Hakeem Butler.

This move is monstrous in more ways than one for Arizona. Not only has Kyler got a deep, super talented plethora of receiving talent to throw to, the team can now focus on building that o-line and protecting Murray in this deep offensive lineman draft, and all of a sudden, with the right pieces – Arizona are challengers for the NFC West.

As for Houston… here’s a life lesson kids – if you ever own an NFL team, employ a general manager. First Clowney got shown no respect, now their best player is also out of the door. What are they thinking? For a team close to being considered a deep playoff contender, they certainly won’t get there by trading away all of of their best players… especially for peanuts!

An honourable mention for winners of today’s antics has to go to the defensive secondaries in Indianapolis, Tennessee and Jacksonville though. No more will they have to worry about being torn apart twice a year by a Nuke.

2. Indy finally get a DT – Indy trade away their 1.13 pick to San Francisco for pro bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner and then give him a $21m extension

A glaring need for Indianapolis for the last couple of season has been in the middle of the defensive line. They prioritised offensive line 2 off-seasons ago when Quenton Nelson and Braden Smith were drafted in the first two rounds to help protect the Quarterback, and 2019 saw the defensive secondary get a boost along with a pair of linebackers. Offensive skill position players is also a need this off season, but defensive line was arguably the priority.

The Colts have a tonne of cap to use up so bringing in a 25 year old 2 x pro-bowler and former 7th overall pick and giving him an extension immediately seems a masterstroke from Ballard and Reich at this point in time. Costing Indy their 13th overall pick from the upcoming draft would indicate the Colts are close to wrapping up Pip Rivers for the 2020 campaign and either looking for the long term solution at QB in day 2 of the draft, or waiting for 2021.

3. Cleveland reinvigorates it’s O-Line – Sought after Offensive Tackle Jack Conklin, formerly of the Titans, signs for the Browns on a $42m deal with $30m of it guaranteed.

They are trying, bless them. The Mayfield experiment was successful in 2018. Not so much in 2019 even though they brought in the infamous OBJ to pair with Jarvis Landry out wide. The downfall was mainly because Baker had no time in the pocket.

Since Joe Thomas retired and Greg Robinson never lived up to the hype, Conklin becomes an important cog in that line protecting Mayfield which could prove to be the difference between under performers and playoff hunters.

4. Hayden Hurst evolves from a Raven to a Falcon – Atlanta replace newly departed Austin Hooper with former first round pick in 2018.

It can’t have been easy for Hurst who was drafted to be a main target for the future of the Ravens signal caller Lamar Jackson, but instead getting outshone by a player drafted later in the same draft as you, Mark Andrews.

Hurst racked up just 512 yards and 3 TD’s in his time in Baltimore, but now he gets to spread his wings like a Falcon where he should be the only pass catching tight end in town. Matty Ice has a history of getting the best out of his tight ends too, so expect Hurst to level up in 2020.

5. Dolphins defense rebuild starts – Miami add CB Byron Jones and EDGE Shaq Lawson as the roster reconstruction officially gets underway.

The Dolphins started the day as the team with the most cap to spend and they didn’t disappoint. They dropped $10m a year on both O-Lineman Ereck Flowers and former Bills edge rusher Lawson whereas the highest rated corner in the free agency pool, Byron Jones, became the most expensive with a rumoured $18mil a year deal.

It’s a good start for a team that is in desperate need for talented stars.