Re-grading the 2015 NFL Draft

I redraft pretty much every NFL draft about 5 years after they happen. In fact, I did the 2015 class two weeks ago. To me, that gives a really good window to evaluate all of the players selected. It is amazing how differently you may view a player after two years as opposed to after five years. For example, Vic Beasley looked like the best pick in the entire draft, Marcus Mariota was on his way to stardom and David Johnson was one of the best running backs in football in 2017. Now, Beasley joined the Titans on a one-year, “prove it deal,” Mariota is a backup for Derek Carr and Johnson was traded to the Texans. None have managed to live up to the early hype they built. It works the other way too. After two years, no one knew who Danielle Hunter, Frank Clark or Za’Darius Smith were. Now they are three of the best pass rushers in football.

Each draft always has a blend of superstars, a few great players who bloomed late and some who peaked early. And of course there are always a few outright busts. Now that we can see how these players turned out at the next level, I figure why not grade them all over again? This time these grades will be a lot more complete and less of flat out a guess.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)Arizona Cardinals
Grade: C+
If this group could have stayed healthy, the Cardinals might look back on it more fondly. David Johnson was the gem of this class. He was one of the top backs in the NFL for a few years, but injuries derailed his career and he was part of the package sent to Houston for DeAndre Hopkins. D.J. Humphries is still around and has locked down a starting role. Arizona just extended him on a lucrative deal. He has only managed 43 games in five year NFL career, but when healthy, he is fairly reliable. Markus Golden broke out in his second season with 12.5 sacks, but then could only stay on the field for 15 games over the next two seasons. He reached double-digit sacks again in 2019, but that was as a member of the New York Giants. Rodney Gunter is still in town, providing some depth along the defensive line. The rest of the class is no longer with the team. Shaquille Riddick never played in an NFL game. J.J. Nelson had a few solid seasons, but joined the Raiders last year. Gerald Christian caught one pass in his NFL career. Overall, production wasn’t too bad, but with only two players still on the roster, this group could have been much better.

Falcons logoAtlanta Falcons
Grade: B-
If you ignore the Falcons first two picks, this looks like a really impressive draft class. Unfortunately, Vic Beasley’s career ended up being a roller coaster ride and Jalen Collins last only two seasons in the league. Beasley led the NFL in sacks his second season in the league, but never got anywhere close to that level again. Still, he has the third-most sacks in this class. Atlanta let him walk though and now he is in Tennessee. The Falcons did find some great value in the middle rounds of the draft though. Grady Jarrett has developed into one of the best interior defensive lineman in the NFL. He has the most sacks by any defensive tackle in this class. Tevin Coleman formed a really solid duo with Devonta Freeman before following Kyle Shanahan to San Francisco. Justin Hardy still provides some receiver depth, but hasn’t produced that much with under 1,000 yards through five seasons. Jake Rodgers saw his first NFL action in 2019 as an injury fill-in for the Broncos and Akeem King is a backup in Seattle. Coleman and Jarrett were great selections, but only Jarrett and Hardy are still on the roster from this class.

Ravens logoBaltimore Ravens
Grade: C
This class really did not do well for the Ravens. Za’Darius Smith is the most notable player from this draft class, but he turned in his best season as a pro for the Packers in 2019. Darren Waller is up there as well, but after a tenure that featured a lot of suspensions in Baltimore, he blossomed as a tight end in Oakland. Breshad Perriman signed with his fourth NFL franchise and accounted for all of 576 receiving yards for Baltimore. That’s not exactly what you are looking for from a first-round selection. Maxx Williams never turned into the tight end the Ravens expected and spent last season with the Cardinals. Carl Davis is a career backup bouncing around the league. Javorius “Buck Allen was a decent complementary back, but he is now with the Giants. Tray Walker lasted one NFL season. Nick Boyle is the only player still on the roster from this class and he mostly just serves as depth. Robert Myers has still never played an NFL game. Had the Ravens managed to get the most out of this class, this would be a much better grade.

Bills logoBuffalo Bills
Grade: D+
It is much harder to put together a great draft class without a first-round pick, but not impossible. The Bills didn’t come anywhere close though. Ronald Darby has become a decent, but injury-prone starter for the Eagles. John Miller has started 28 games over the past two seasons for the Bengals. Karlos Williams and Tony Steward flamed out after just one year. Dezmin Lewis lasted two. Nick O’Leary is still in the league, but is bouncing around as a backup. When none of the players you drafted are still on your team and only two of them have had productive careers, that’s a poor job done by the front office.

Panthers logoCarolina Panthers
Grade: C+
The Panthers can feel good that they landed Shaq Thompson in this group and found two other solid players in Daryl Williams and Devin Funchess. Thompson has been a mainstay for the Carolina defense. He isn’t dominant, but he is a productive starter. Williams took a year to get up to speed and has struggled with injuries, but still contributes. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him move into more of a swing tackle backup though in the future. Funchess was reasonably successful when he could stay on the field, but the Panthers let him walk and he spent an injury-riddled season with the Colts in 2019. David Mayo ended up being a backup for four years before starting the majority of last year for the Giants. Cameron Artis-Payne put together a productive stretch before falling out of the league and landing with the XFL. This feels like a pretty average class for Carolina.

Bears logoChicago Bears
Grade: C-
This draft class will inevitably be remembered as a failure because of the team’s first round pick in Kevin White. While White was a bust, the rest of the draft was actually pretty solid. Adrian Amos turned out to be a steal in the fifth, but Chicago let him leave in free agency prior to 2019. Eddie Goldman has been productive as well. He is at least a replacement level starter along the defensive line. Hroniss Grasu is a backup in Baltimore now while Jeremy Langford and Tayo Fabuluje are both out of the league. The Bears should have held onto Amos, but his contributions prior to his departure and getting a decent player like Goldman saves this group from being a complete bust.

Bengals LogoCincinnati Bengals
Grade: D-
Absolutely brutal. That is the best way to describe this draft class. Cedric Ogbuehi lost his starting job after three years and now is on his third NFL team. Jake Fisher and Josh Shaw last played in 2018. Tyler Kroft only has 73 career receptions, which is slightly edged out by C.J. Uzomah’s 106. Neither one of those totals is great, but they are at least respectable. P.J. Dawson never made an NFL appearance. Neither did Marcus Hardison. Derron Smith lasted two seasons with the team, while Mario Alford managed one. They are both out of the NFL. When two backup tight ends is all you have to lean on, that is a bad year.

Browns logoCleveland Browns
Grade: D
Cleveland slightly edges out Cincinnati here, but no one deserves much credit here. Danny Shelton never really reached his potential, but he was at least a starter. He ended up in New England after a few seasons and just signed with the Lions. Cameron Erving was a disappoint, but he has managed 42 starts in his career. Only 17 were with the Browns though. He is actually a Super Bowl champion now. Duke Johnson was productive, but was traded to Houston last season. Nate Orchard never really caught on. Neither did Xavier Cooper or Vincent Mayle, who are both out of the league. Ibraheim Campbell is a decent backup, now with the Packers. No one else the Browns selected is still in the league. None of the 12 players Cleveland drafted is still with the team either, so I think we can say this was a terrible job by the front office.

Cowboys logoDallas Cowboys
Grade: C
The Cowboys hit on Byron Jones, but no one else in this group comes close to matching him. Randy Gregory recently filed for reinstatement to the league after an indefinite suspension last February for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. Geoff Swain turned out to be a decent backup tight end. Chaz Green made a handful of starts for Dallas, but has spent the past three seasons bouncing around the league. Damien Wilson had four solid seasons as a rotational linebacker with the Cowboys and just won a Super Bowl in the same role with the Chiefs. Ryan Russell hasn’t played since 2017 after a shoulder injury cost him the entire 2018 season with the Bucs. Mark Nzeocha is a backup on the 49ers. Laurence Gibson never appeared in a game. Overall, the class is solid, even if Jones did just sign with the Dolphins.

Denver_BroncosDenver Broncos
Grade: D-
It proved to be a tough weekend for the Broncos, whose best pick from this draft was easily the seventh rounder they spent on Trevor Siemian. The former Northwestern quarterback actually started for a year in Denver, but since has bounced around as a backup. First-round selection Shane Ray was a bust. He only last four seasons in the league. Ty Sambrailo started all of seven games for the Broncos before ending up with the Falcons. Jeff Heuerman carved out a role as a backup tight end. Max Garcia got a chance as the starting center, but lost his job in 2018. He signed with the Cardinals last year. Lorenzo Doss didn’t play in 2019. Neither did Darius Kilgo. Taurean Nixon appeared in two games in 2016, but that was all. Josh Furman, who never took an NFL snap, rounds out the class. Getting a backup tight end and a semi-decent backup quarterback from one draft is not good enough.

Lions LogoDetroit Lions
Grade: C-
Hit or miss is probably the best way to categorize Detroit’s 2015 draft. They had a diamond in the rough, finding Quandre Diggs in the seventh round. Diggs turned into a solid starter, mostly in a nickle corner or safety role. He now starts for the Seahawks. Laken Tomlinson never managed to lock down a starting role, but found success with the 49ers. He has started all but one game over the past three seasons in San Francisco. Ameer Abdullah showed flashes, but ultimately could not find consistency. He has mop up duty now for the Vikings. Alex Carter only played one game for the Lions and was out of the league after 2018. Michael Burton is still around, but he only lasted two seasons in Detroit before bouncing to Chicago. Corey Robinson never caught on and hasn’t played since 2018. Finding two solid starters in a class is pretty good. What hurts the Lions’ grade is that they both start for other teams.

Packers logoGreen Bay Packers
Grade: C-
Early on, this looked like a really good draft class. Damorious Randall was a starter and Ty Mongomery was a Swiss army knife type player on offense. Aaron Ripkowski looked like a solid fullback, earning 34 carries in 2016, which is a lot in today’s game. By 2018, all three of those players were gone. Randall was traded to Cleveland. Montgomery to Baltimore and Ripkowski was cut. Linebacker Jake Ryan also left after three years of being a rotational option. The reason all of these players seemed to leave at once was general manager Ted Thompson was fired after the 2017 season. Neither of the Packers’ sixth-round picks did much. Christian Ringo and Kennard Backman are both out of the league. There were some decent players here and maybe a few of them would still be with the team if Thompson hadn’t been fired, but when no one is left five years later, that isn’t a great look.

Texans logoHouston Texans
Grade: D+
The Texans essentially went 1 for 7 in this NFL draft. Ask a baseball fan, that’s not too good. Thankfully, the one hit they managed was a good one. Benardrick McKinney is an above average starter for the defense and still with the team today. First-round pick Kevin Johnson was underwhelming though, managing just one interception in 18 starts. He was let go after 2018. Jaelen Strong was out of football after 2017. Keith Mumphery only lasted until 2016. Reshard Cliett and Kenny Hilliard have never taken an NFL snap. Christian Covington has made it as a backup. The one player the Texans still have is a good one, but you hoped for something, really anything, out of their other six picks.

Colts logoIndianapolis Colts
Grade: D+
Only one player from this draft class is still with the Colts. Clayton Geathers has turned into a reliable backup. The reason this grade isn’t lower is that the Colts did find some other talent in this draft, they just didn’t hang on to it. Phillip Dorsett was disappointing given his draft stock, but to call him an outright bust would be harsh. He was involved in the trade that brought in Jacoby Brissett, for whatever that is worth. Henry Anderson is now a decent starter for the Jets. Denzelle Good is the only other player still in football from this group and he is a backup on the Raiders. Overall, the Colts didn’t get a whole lot of value out of this class, but something can be said for them at least trading away a few of these players for future late-round picks. Beats letting them walk in free agency.

Jaguars logoJacksonville Jaguars
Grade: C
Believe it or not, two of these players are still members of the Jaguars. That counts for something. The biggest name of this group is undoubtedly Dante Fowler Jr. He never quite lived up to his draft slot and the Jags traded him to the Rams after two and a half years. Netting a third round pick three years later is not great return on investment. A.J. Cann has worked out nicely though. He has missed just two starts in the past four seasons. Ben Koyack is the other player still with Jacksonville, provided depth at tight end. No one else from this group is still on an NFL roster. Finding two starting-caliber players and a reliable backup isn’t too bad, but it would be better if Fowler was still finding ways to contribute in Jacksonville.

Chiefs LogoKansas City Chiefs
Grade: C+
It is really hard to grade the Chiefs on this one. On one hand, they grabbed an All-Pro corner, a starting guard, a fringe starting corner, a quality third or fourth option receiver and a good No. 2 tight end. All but one of their draft picks was on an NFL roster in 2019. That is almost unheard of. The problem is that none of the play for Kansas City anymore. Marcus Peters trash talked his way to L.A. Mitch Morse has had concussion problem and now suits up for Buffalo. Steven Nelson started 15 games for Pittsburgh in 2019. Chris Conley racked 775 yards and five touchdowns for Jacksonville alongside James O’Shaughnessy, who showed flashes of solid play before getting hurt. D.J. Alexander and Ramik Wilson are both backups still in the league as well. Obviously, the Chiefs don’t really care about this as they are coming off a Super Bowl win, but had they managed to keep Peters in house or gotten better production out of Nelson, they might be back-to-back champions right now.

Raiders logoOakland Raiders
Grade: B+
Over the first few years after this draft, it looked like the Raiders had crushed it. Amari Cooper turned into a star receiver. Mario Edwards was a rotational pass rusher. Clive Walford was a solid tight end. Jon Feliciano provided depth at guard. Now none of these guys are part of the team’s move to Las Vegas. Cooper was traded to the Cowboys. Edwards never took the next step and is now on his third team in three years. Walford battled injuries after leaving the team and is now not on a roster. Feliciano left last offseason as a free agent and actually started all 16 games for the Bills. There was some talent here, but Oakland did not maximize it. Had they managed to keep things going, this might have been the first A of the class.

Chargers logoSan Diego Chargers
Grade: C+

With only five picks in this class, the Chargers have a much smaller margin for error. The messy breakup with Melvin Gordon definitely comes into play here. If he had stay in town for the price the Broncos just paid him, that would probably bump this a little higher. The rest of the class is pretty underwhelming. Denzel Perryman is a solid player, but the team seems to run out of patience with him. He has also only managed to appear in 54 out a possible 80 games in his career. Craig Mager earned some starts in his second year, but the Chargers let him walk after 2018. Same with Kyle Emanuel and Darius Philon. Having every player in the class last at least four years in the NFL is fairly impressive, but with three of them never signing a second contract, that indicates that maybe this group failed to meet expectations.

Rams logoSt. Louis Rams
Grade: A-
In their last year in St. Louis, the Rams pulled in a pretty good haul. Say what you will about Todd Gurley, he was the best non-quarterback in football for back-to-back seasons. The Rams just made a mistake with his contract. Rob Havenstein has started 68 games, all with the franchise, since he was draft. Jamon Brown spent one full season as a starter in 2017 before he was traded to the Giants midway through the 2018 season. Sean Mannion has become a journeyman backup. Andrew Donnal is still a backup in the league even though he lasted only two years with the Rams. Cody Wichmann even started most his first two seasons, but has been a backup ever since. Bryce Hager spent the past five years providing linebacker depth before Los Angeles let his contract expire. I think finding a superstar running back and a starting right tackle makes this a pretty good group. Getting reasonable contributions elsewhere makes this the first A I have handed out.

Dolphins logoMiami Dolphins
Grade: B-
This is a really tricky group to grade. DeVante Parker finally seems to have figured it out, but it took him five years to be productive. The Dolphins traded Jordan Phillips to the Bills after four underwhelming seasons. He posted 9.5 sacks in 2019 and landed himself a nice deal with the Cardinals. Jamil Douglas has made a handful of starts in his career, now suiting up for the Titans. Bobby McCain has turned into a solid defensive back playing most in sub packages. Jay Ajayi got off to a great start, but after a trade to the Eagles killed his momentum, he is now not on an NFL roster. Tony Lippett started out at Michigan State as a defensive back before the Spartans switched him to receiver for his final three seasons. The Dolphins moved him back to defensive back and he had four interceptions in 2016. That proved to just be a flash in the pan though. He has only played in three NFL games since then after tearing his Achilles before the 2017 season. Miami got a solid amount of production of this draft class, but it has been far too uneven to consider it a big success.

Vikings logoMinnesota Vikings
Grade: A+
No one had a better 2015 draft than the Vikings. They landed Eric Kendricks, Danielle Hunter and Stefon Diggs. Trae Waynes ended up being decent too even if he didn’t live up to his draft slot. Those first three formed a really solid core that has been essentially to the Vikings recent success. Kendricks was named 1st-team All-Pro in 2019. Hunter is a two-time Pro Bowler. Diggs has the most catches of any player in this draft and is one of the best route runners in the NFL. Obviously, Minnesota had a falling out with Diggs, which led to his trade to Buffalo. Netting a first round pick makes that a bit easier to swallow though and Diggs’ contributions over the past five years have been good enough that the grade should not change. The Vikings knocked this out of the park.

Patriots LogoNew England Patriots
Grade: B+
Like they do seemingly every year, the Patriots found a few gems late in this draft class. Trey Flowers produced 21 sacks over the course of his final three seasons with the team before landing a mega deal with the Lions. Shaq Mason is still around and has been a quality starting guard his whole career. Even Malcom Brown turned out to be a decent player, but he never quite reached the lofty expectations that come with being a first round pick. He is now with the Saints. Jordan Richards is a solid backup. Geneo Grissom never really caught on. Tre’ Jackson started nine games as a rookie, but then missed the whole 2016 seasons due to injury. The Pats cut him and he never landed anywhere else. This group was far from dominant. Only Mason and long snapper Joe Corona are still with the team. Still, New England found some excellent value in the later rounds and got enough production to win another Super Bowl in 2016.

Saints logoNew Orleans Saints
Grade: C
This wasn’t a great draft for the Saints, but they did get a few contributors out of it. Andrus Peat has been pretty reliable and just signed a long-term extension. P.J. Williams is out of a contract, but he has 23 games for New Orleans, including 15 over the past two seasons. Tyeler Davidson even had four solid years with the team, but left for the Falcons in free agency last offseason. On the flip side, the Saints got essentially nothing out of Stephone Anthony, but he did return last year after two seasons with the Dolphins. Hau’oli Kikaha was a bust. Garrett Grayson never developed either. It was an uneven return on investment for the Saints leaving them with an average grade.

Giants LogoNew York Giants
Grade: D
It was a rough draft for the Giants. They reached a bit to get Ereck Flowers, who never made it as a tackle. Weirdly enough, he did just sign a fairly large deal to play guard for the Dolphins. New York landed a really solid player in Landon Collins, but didn’t want to pay him, so they inexplicably lifted the franchise tag they used on him to let him walk to division rival Washington. The only thing that saves this from being an even lower grade is Bobby Hart. He was shaky in New York, but he has started every game of the past two seasons for the Bengals. He is far from a star, but finding an average offensive lineman in the seventh round is really good value. Overall, this class was a pretty big dud for the Giants, which probably had something to do with Jerry Reese being fired after 2017.

Jets logoNew York Jets
Grade: D+
The Jets earn a higher grade than the Giants! Barely. This was not a good draft for the Big Apple. New York landed what they thought was a superstar in the making in Leonard Williams, but he never reached those expectations. He actually got traded to the aforementioned Giants last season. Still, he was a solid player, just not worthy of a top-10 pick. The rest of the class was a joke. Devin Smith was a total bust, mostly because he couldn’t stay healthy. Lorenzo Maulden had a few seasons of decent pass-rush production. Bryce Petty was nothing more than a struggling backup quarterback. Deon Simon managed to feature for one season and Jarvis Harrison never made an NFL appearance. Williams did not net much return on the investment, but at least the Jets traded him for a third-round pick rather than let him leave for a team in the division for free.

Eagles LogoPhiladelphia Eagles
Grade: D+
Eagles fans have a history of being harsh, sometimes unfairly. Nelson “how is he back on the roster” Agholor never figured out how to catch the ball. Eric Rowe was traded to the Patriots after one season. Jordan Hicks spent four injury-riddled seasons in Philadelphia before having a breakout season with Arizona in 2019. No one else from this draft class played more than two seasons of football. Rowe and Hicks turned out to be solid players. Hicks might honestly be one of the best players from this class if he can stay healthy. Had they spent their best years with the Eagles, this grade could have been a lot higher. Agholor had his moments, but overall, this class was disappointing to say the least.

Pittsburgh_Steelers logoPittsburgh Steelers
Grade:
C
Pittsburgh found a good player early, and struggled after that. Bud Dupree has been as advertised as an edge rusher, even if he is not always one of the league’s elite. Jesse James was a decent find, operating mostly as a second-option tight end. Senquez Golden never played an NFL game as a second-round pick. Sammie Coates was gone by 2017. Doran Grant eventually ended up in the XFL. Anthony Chickillo was solid as a sixth-round pick. He spent five seasons as a backup and special teams contributor before getting cut this offseason. Dupree makes this group passable, but clear misses in the second and third round tank this draft grade.

49ers LogoSan Francisco 49ers
Grade: B+
This is actually a really impressive collection for the 49ers. Arik Armstead finally broke out in his fifth season. He had been solid previously, but he played at a Pro Bowl level in 2019. Jaquiski Tartt has, when healthy, has been the preferred starter at safety. Eli Harold was a decent rotational player for three years. Blake Bell has bounced around, but is still finding ways to stay on the field. Mike Davis had a good 2018 season with Seattle, but that was his only notable year. Bradley Pinion was the punter for four seasons before spending last year with Tampa Bay. The 49ers unearthed a gem as well in Trent Brown, but never got to see him realize his potential. He started all 16 games for San Francisco in 2016, but got injured in 2017, resulting in a trade to New England. He had an incredible year there and leveraged into a monster deal with the Raiders. This ended up being a quality draft for the 49ers, but it doesn’t quite reach the A level. Armstead took a while to catch on while Brown had his best seasons with other teams. Still, this is impressive haul.

Seahawks logoSeattle Seahawks
Grade: A
Seattle didn’t have a first-round pick in 2015, which makes this class even more impressive. They landed Frank Clark in the second and Tyler Lockett in the third. Clark is one of the best pass rushers from this draft and currently in the league. While he is no longer with the team, Seattle got a first, second and third-round pick swap for him. Quite the return on investment. Lockett is coming off his best season in the pros and has blossomed into Russell Wilson’s favorite weapon. The Seahawks added Mark Glowinski, who is now a starter for the Colts, in the fourth round as well. That’s three really solid players. If Lockett wasn’t the only player still with the team, this would be an A+, but when you consider the impact this group has had in the league and how much value it has generated for the Seahawks, the front office deserves a pat on the back.

Buccaneers logoTampa Bay Buccaneers
Grade: B
So Jameis Winston was probably the wrong choice at first overall. He wasn’t a total bust either though. Tampa just could never seem to get him to take the next step. The rest of this draft was pretty impressive though. Donovan Smith and Ali Marpet are both starting offensive linemen for the Buccaneers. Both have been pretty reliable. Smith has started 79 out of 80 potential games and Marpet 72 of 80. Kwon Alexander struggled to stay healthy, but still turned out to be a really good linebacker. He started eight games for the 49ers this season before suffering another injury. Getting three quality starters and a slightly inconsistent starting quarterback is a nice group. If Winston had worked out, this would have been an easy A.

Titans logoTennessee Titans
Grade: F
It is hard to do much worse than the Titans did in the draft. Marcus Mariota was not the franchise quarterback they hoped for. He lost his job in 2019 and is now a backup to Derek Carr on the Raiders. Dorial Green-Beckham was a huge disappointment. Angelo Blackman is the only player other than Mariota still active, but he plays for the the divisional rival Texans now. Jeremiah Poutasi, Jalston Fowler, David Cobb, Deiontrez Mount, Andy Gallik and Tre McBride are all out of the league. Most of them didn’t make it past 2016. It is honestly hard to do much worse than that. This whole draft class was a bust.

Washington made up logoWashington
Grade: B+
This might not have been perfect, but on the whole this ended up being a pretty good group. Brandon Scherff is a quality starter set to play this season on the franchise tag. Preston Smith has the fourth-most sacks in this class, but his best season yet came with the Packers after he left in free agency. Jameison Crowder has become a solid slot receiver, but he also left last offseason. Washington also landed a reliable center in the seventh round, but gave up on him after a year. After two years in Cleveland, he joined Kansas City. He started all 16 games for the Super Bowl champs this past season. Finding four starting-caliber players is impressive. Only holding onto one of them is what prevents this from being a better grade.

Biggest reaches of the 2020 NFL Draft: Four first-round pick make the list

Our draft week coverage continues, but now it is time to dish out some hate for some of the teams that got a little over aggressive in their draft strategy. After reviewing the best value picks of this draft, I figured the next step would be to look at the biggest reaches. There are a number of teams that showed up on both lists. Now I understand that my rankings are specific to me. I am using them primarily as a reference point for where I had them. I tried to focus more on other players that were still available and the level of need the team had at that position. These are the players that I thought came off the board too early in the 2020 draft.

Falcons logo

A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson – Atlanta Falcons
Draft position: 16th overall (1st round)
My ranking: 63rd overall (2nd-round grade)
Atlanta desperately needed corner help, but they got a little too desperate here. There were reports the Falcons wanted to move up the 2nd pick to grab Chase Young or into the top 10 to draft CJ Henderson. Once they couldn’t trade up, it felt like they settled for A.J. Terrell. There were definitely better corners available, but Atlanta should have tried to trade back or taken the best player available and address corner in round two. K’Lavon Chaisson was still available at a major position of need for this team. Keep in mind the following corners were still on the board for the Falcons second-round pick: Jaylon Johnson, Trevon Diggs and Krisitan Fulton. I had them all ranked higher than Terrell to begin with and in the second round, they were much more valuable additions.

Raiders logo

Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State – Las Vegas Raiders
Draft position: 19th overall (1st round)
My ranking: 72nd overall (3rd-round grade)
Welcome to the reach of the first round and maybe the entire draft. Damon Arnette seems to have the makings of a solid second option in the secondary. He has some physical limitations though and was the third-best corner on Ohio State this year. There is no question the Raiders need help at the position, but this was way too early for Arnette to come off the board. All those same corners I just mentioned above for Terrell were available and I had higher draft grades on all of them as well. Arnette was 11th ranked corner, but he was the fourth one off the board. The Raiders definitely should have traded back. It is easier said than done, but without a second round pick, this felt like the perfect opportunity to do so.

Seahawks logo

Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech – Seattle Seahawks
Draft position: 27th overall (1st overall)
My rankings: 74th overall (3rd-round grade)
This was surprising at face value, but when you factor in how the Seahawks tend to draft, this is par for the course. Spoiler alert: Seattle shows up on here twice, which probably means this list is going to look really silly in about three years. Few franchises have as much success identifying and developing talent as the Seahawks. However, for every Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman or Bobby Wagner this team seems to find, it hard to ignore mistakes like Rashaad Penny, Malik McDowell and potentially L.J. Collier if he doesn’t take a big step in his second year. I liked Brooks as a prospect, but I didn’t think he was good enough to go in the first round. He is rangy and explosive, but definitely pretty raw. He has very limited experience in coverage. Most of his snaps on passing downs are spent spying on the quarterback. If he can become more comfortable dropping back, he will justify this draft slot, but that is a really big if.

Titans logo

Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia – Tennessee Titans
Draft position: 29th overall (1st round)
My ranking: 96th overall (3rd-round grade)
I actually really like this fit a lot, I just thought it was very early to see Isaiah Wilson come off the board. He has tons of potential given his size, but I think he would have really benefited from another year at Georgia. He just isn’t very technically sound yet as a prospect. He will likely be in contention to start at right tackle with the departure of Jack Conklin. Wilson will grow into the role eventually, I just think he has a decent amount of work to do. Given the coronavirus-impacted offseason, that could be a problem. If Tennessee is comfortable letting him learn on the job, that’s fine, but it could hurt them in the short term.

Dolphins logo

Robert Hunt, OL, Louisiana – Miami Dolphins
Draft position: 39th overall (2nd round)
My ranking: 79th overall (3rd-round grade)
This was not as significant of an overdraft as some of these others on this list, but still a surprise nonetheless. Robert Hunt is a really powerful blocker who can knock opponents back in the run game and punish them if they misstep as a pass rusher. However, he is not exactly pro ready and has lapses in his footwork and hand placement. I would consider him to be something of a project with decent upside as an interior lineman. My bigger issue with the selection was the list of interior linemen still on the board. I had Matt Hennessy, Tyler Biadasz, Lloyd Cushenberry and John Simpson all ranked ahead of Hunt. Simpson in particular feels like a more polished prospect that brings a lot of the same attributes to the table. Perhaps Miami liked how Hunt could fit in their scheme, but I still think there were some better options available.

Packers logo

A.J. Dillon, RB, Boston College – Green Bay Packers
Draft position: 62nd overall (2nd round)
My ranking: 149th overall (5th-round grade)
I really did not see this pick coming. People have been slamming the Packers for not taking a receiver in this draft (I have been one of them), and this selection in particular made that even harder to swallow. When you already have Aaron Jones and Jamal Williams on your roster, finding a goal line back shouldn’t be super high on the priority list. Had the Packers made this selection in the fourth round, I would be all in favor, but this was simply too early for a player that had almost 850 career collegiate carries. At best, A.J. Dillon is a short-yardage specialist for this team. He has taken small steps as a receiver, but not to the point where you expect him to be a factor in the passing game. Even if you want to argue that Green Bay has enough developing options at receiver, this should have been a linebacker to help bolster the team’s poor run defense.

Washington made up logo

Antonio Gibson, RB/WR, Memphis – Washington
Draft position: 66th overall (3rd round)
My ranking: 161st overall (5th-round grade)
In terms of difference between draft slot and overall ranking, this was my biggest reach of the draft. Antonio Gibson certainly brings a unique skill set to the table. However, this feels like the type of selection a team looking to add a unique playmaker to an already established offense makes. Washington’s offense is anything but established. He could be an impact player in the next few years, but I think this team had much bigger holes to fill and honestly much better playmakers available. If you wanted that do-it-all weapon to install in your offense, Lynn Bowden Jr. was still on the board.

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Damien Lewis, OL, LSU – Seattle Seahawks
Draft position: 69th overall (3rd round)
My ranking: 136th overall (4th-round grade)
Another new Seahawk makes the list. I appreciate the effort the front office made here to protect Russell Wilson, but this was a miss. Damien Lewis should help the Seattle run game as they continue to pound the rock, but he is limited in space and has some very uneven film as a pass blocker. Go watch how often Joe Burrow was running for his life in the College Football Playoff. I don’t think Lewis has a tremendously high ceiling to chase either. This feels like Seattle trying to force a need. On top of all of that, I had Ben Bredeson, Jonah Jackson, Logan Stenberg, and Solomon Kindley all ranked ahead of Lewis. That doesn’t even include Matt Hennessy, Lloyd Cushenberry or Tyler Biadasz, all of whom played center in college. Quick reminder, the Seahawks just released long-time center Justin Britt.

Jets logoJabari Zuniga, EDGE, Florida – New York Jets
Draft position: 79th overall (3rd round)
My ranking: 153rd overall (5th-round grade)
I’ve hated on some other teams’ draft picks. Now I get to question my favorite team for one of its selections. Jabari Zuniga has the potential to be a solid pass rusher, provided he can stay on the field. He works hard to generate pressure and displays good play strength. Unfortunately, he is not the most athletic player of all time, which I think caps his upside. He also missed a good chunk of his final season at Florida due to an ankle injury. With Curtis Weaver, Bradlee Anae, Kenny Willekes, Terrell Lewis, Jonathan Greenard, Alex Highsmith, Khalid Kareem, Alton Robinson and Nick Coe all still on the board, I just don’t love this pick at this spot. Maybe it is recency bias (or anti-recency bias, if that’s a thing) after watching former Gators pass rusher Jachai Polite fail to make it out of training camp, but I think Zuniga is going to max out as a situational pass rusher.

Best value picks from the 2020 NFL draft

The 2020 NFL draft is officially in the rear view mirror. It is hard to believe that the first round was already a week ago. That is partially because I almost never what day of the week it is now since social distancing measures have gone into place. While the first rounders gets the majority of the headlines, there were a lot of teams that found incredible value in the later rounds of the draft. Here are my favorite players that last way longer than they should have.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)Josh Jones, OT, Houston – Arizona Cardinals
Draft position: No. 72 (3rd round)
My ranking: No. 21 (1st-round grade)
I don’t think I am the only one who was shocked Josh Jones slid all the way to the third round. I wrote about it as one of the biggest surprises of the first round, and then as one of the biggest surprises of Day 2. He is powerful and athletic. There are certainly areas for improvement when it comes to his base strength. He uses his hands well though, seeks out contact and finishes blocks at the second level. I think he has a real chance to start this season for Arizona.

Saints logoZack Baun, LB, Wisconsin – New Orleans Saints
Draft position: No. 74 (3rd round)
My ranking: No. 29 (1st round grade)
The reason Zack Baun dropped into the third round primarily has to do with his lack of experience as an off-ball linebacker. He showed he could transition to that role at the Senior Bowl. I really like his versatility. He is very comfortable rushing the passer, something he did with regularity at Wisconsin, and is a solid open-field tackler. I think he is also a great fit for this Saints defense. I think he should be in line for a lot of playing time.

Cowboys logoTyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin – Dallas Cowboys
Draft position: No. 146 (4th round)
My ranking: No. 52 (2nd-round grade)
I know I was a bit higher than the consensus on Tyler Biadasz, but there is no way he should have fallen to the end of the fourth round. Biadasz dealt with some injuries in 2019, but he is rock solid in pass protection and works very well as a head-on run blocker. He might struggle if asked to pull and block in space, but overall, I think he also has room for growth from a technical standpoint. He will be in consideration for the starting center role following Travis Frederick’s retirement.

Jets logoBryce Hall, CB, Virginia – New York Jets
Draft position: No. 158 (5th round)
My ranking: No. 24 (1st-round grade)
As a Jets fan, I was thrilled with this pick. Bryce Hall has the size and technique to excel in the NFL. He does not have elite speed, but he knows how to press his opponent to the sideline and tracks the ball very well in the air. Apparently, teams are still worried about the ankle injury that cut his 2019 season short. Once he is healthy, I think we will see him return to his 2018 form, where he led the country in pass breakups. He will likely top out as a serviceable No. 1 corner or a great No. 2 option.

Dolphins logoCurtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State – Miami Dolphins
Draft position: No. 164 (5th round)
My ranking: No. 55 (2nd-round grade)
There are few players in this year’s draft who had the level of production in college that Curtis Weaver had. He had 34 sacks and 43.5 tackles for loss during his three years at Boise State. He has the size to be a rotational pass rusher right away either as a 4-3 defense end or a 3-4 outside linebacker. I think he will fit really well with Miami, who needs a young edge rusher to develop. He does not have the explosive first step that makes you think he will turn into a game-wrecker, but his pass-rush moves and technique could see him develop into an eight-to-ten sack per year guy.

Cowboys logoBradlee Anae, EDGE, Utah – Dallas Cowboys
Draft position: No. 179 (5th round)
My ranking: No. 59 (2nd-round grade)
I still can’t wrap my head around this one. Bradlee Anae dominated the Senior Bowl and is at the very least a pro-ready rotational pass rusher. He does not have the desired bend some teams are looking for in edge players, but he brings plenty of experience and some very polished pass rush moves. For a team that really needed to find some help getting pressure on the quarterback, this is an absolute steal in the fifth round.

Browns logoDonovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Michigan – Cleveland Browns
Draft position: No. 187 (6th round)
My ranking: No. 65 (2nd-round grade)
Donovan Peoples-Jones is definitely a project, but coming from a big program with poor quarterback play, I will be curious to see how he translates. He has all the physical traits you look for. He has long arms and tore up the combine when it came to testing. He ran a 4.48 40, which is really solid given his size (6’2″, 212 pounds). Peoples-Jones posted a combine-bests in the vertical jump (44.5 inches) and broad jump (139 inches). I get that combine stars don’t always translate and there are questions about his agility. However, I think spending a sixth-round pick on a player with that much athleticism is definitely worth it.

Eagles LogoPrince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn – Philadelphia Eagles
Draft position: No. 210 (6th round)
My ranking: No. 66 (2nd-round grade)
A medical red flag on his knee caused Prince Tega Wanogho to plummet. I can understand teams being wary to spend a high draft pick on a player with an injury history. That being said, I think by the 210th pick in the draft, finding a player who, when healthy, is probably worth spending an early third-round selection on is worth the risk. If Tega Wanogho can get on the field, he is a developmental tackle that moves well and has a lot of experience at left tackle in the SEC. In the short term, he can provide some depth for a team that saw veteran stalwart Jason Peters end his 11-season tenure with the franchise.

Chargers logoK.J. Hill, WR, Ohio State – Los Angeles Chargers
Draft position: No. 220 (7th round)
My ranking: No. 93 (3rd-round grade)
There were several players that should have gone in the third round that fell into the seventh. However, K.J. Hill is the most understandable of the group to drop. He did not test well at the combine and this was an incredibly deep receiver class. However, if you go back and watch his film at Ohio State and the Senior Bowl, you will see a crafty slot receiver with more than enough speed to make it at the next level. He definitely has his physical limitations, but I could see Hill developing into a Danny Amendola-type receiver in the right offense. I think the Chargers would be thrilled to get that out of a seventh-round pick.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)Eno Benjamin, RB, Arizona State – Arizona Cardinals
Draft position: No. 222 (7th round)
My ranking: No. 91 (3rd-round grade)
I was a bit more surprised to Eno Benjamin slide this far. He did have a lot of touches in college, and his sophomore season was more impressive than his junior one, but the talent is still there. He caught 77 passes over the past two years, so he is definitely comfortable as a receiver. Benjamin has the makings of a great rotational back. Someone you can rely on to touch the ball 10-15 times a game and be productive with those touches. I think he will be a great fit in Arizona.

Vikings logoKenny Willekes, EDGE, Michigan State – Minnesota Vikings
Draft position: No. 225 (7th round)
My ranking: No. 87 (3rd-round grade)
How does a redshirt junior return to school and put up the same number of tackles and register more sacks and drop in the NFL draft? Beats me. Perhaps teams were not as high on Willekes because of his age. There also seems to be a misconception that he is not very athletic. Watch this video and tell me you still think that. I don’t expect Willekes to set the world on fire in the NFL, but he deserved to be drafted much higher than this. Minnesota found themselves someone who will likely compete for Everson Griffin’s spot at defensive end as a rookie.

Bills logoDane Jackson, CB, Pittsburgh – Buffalo Bills
Draft position: No. 239 (7th round)
My ranking: No. 148 (4th-round grade)
He was definitely a bit of a sleeper, but Dane Jackson was one of my favorite late-round grabs. He was the last player I gave a fourth-round grade to, so I wouldn’t have been surprised to see him slip into the fifth or even sixth round. The Bills getting him in the seventh makes this great value. Jackson looked really solid at the Senior Bowl. I was impressed with how he competed against the top receivers in this class. He was a three-year starter at Pittsburgh. He tackles well and is aggressive in closing to break up passes. I think he has a good shot to carve out a role on this Buffalo defense.

Check back in Friday for the biggest reaches of the 2020 draft.

Best 2020 Undrafted Free Agent Landing Spots

255 players were drafted into the NFL over the weekend. The draft process hardly ends there though. Dozens of players immediately sign with teams as undrafted free agents. While most fail to make a meaningful impact, there have been plenty that have gone on to be great players. Tony Romo, Priest Holmes, John Randle, Kurt Warner, Warren Moon, Wes Welker, Antonio Gates and many more went on to have great, and in some cases, Hall of Fame careers.

More recently, Austin Ekeler, Phillip Lindsay, Charvarius Ward, Corey Littleton, Taysom Hill and Matt Breida all never had their name called during the draft, but went on to carve out roles in the league. Lindsay reached the Pro Bowl as a rookie. Ward just won a Super Bowl with the Chiefs. Every year, there is someone that slipped through the cracks and goes on to wow the league. Here are some of the players best positioned to achieve that kind of success from this year’s crop of undrafted free agents.

Washington made up logoThaddeus Moss, TE, LSU – Washington
Randy Moss’ son does not possess the same type of athletic ability as his father, but Thad Moss has the makings of a solid possession receiver. He caught 47 passes from Joe Burrow this season en route to a national title and showed his ability to make plays on the biggest stage with two touchdowns in the championship game against Clemson. He lacks elite speed, but he definitely has the chops to help out in the passing game. Given that Washington seems set to enter the season with Jeremy Sprinkle as their starting tight end, there is potential that Moss could earn playing time as early as this year.

Jets logoJavelin Guidry, CB, Utah – New York Jets
The Jets did take a corner in this draft in Bryce Hall, and I love that pick. However, there isn’t a ton of depth in this group that mostly just features Colts castoffs. Guidry is a track star who ran a 4.29 40 at the combine. Reminder that Henry Ruggs ran a 4.27. I’m surprised that no one decided to take a flier on him. He is a bit undersized at 5’9″, but he has a good shot to make the roster and compete for maybe a role as their dime corner or a special teams role.

Seahawks logoAaron Fuller, WR, Rhode Island – Seattle Seahawks
One of my favorite sleepers in this draft, I think Fuller could be the latest unheralded prospect to find success in Seattle. He has really impressive body control and there are some already comparing him to Doug Baldwin. There are definitely some things he will have to overcome from a traits perspective. He has smaller than average hands and slightly shorter arms. I think he could have some issues catching the ball away from his body at the next level, but he did it really well in college. If he can adjust to the game speed, I think he has a chance to make the roster and eventually become a contributor.

Browns logoA.J. Green, CB, Oklahoma State – Cleveland Browns
Picture this. The Browns are facing the Bengals. Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams are both out due to injury (something that happened a few times in 2019) and Cleveland needs someone to cover Cincinnati’s top receiving threat. And that is how we get our first A.J. Green vs. A.J. Green matchup. Fun scenario’s aside, the former Oklahoma State corner is big and physical. He didn’t always win his matchup at the Senior Bowl, but he did not back down from anyone. Green regularly battled with the best receivers in this class during that practice week and I liked what I saw. He is definitely a little underdeveloped from a technique standpoint, but I think his physical traits are good enough for him to make the roster and provide some important depth at the position.

Cowboys logoFrancis Bernard, LB, Utah – Dallas Cowboys
I like my Utah defensive players. Bernard has impressive lateral quickness and is very comfortable in coverage. He is also really good at shedding blocks and has the ability to contribute as a situational blitzer. His biggest knocks are his size and his tackling, the latter being something he will need to improve upon if he wants to make the roster. He should provide some really good depth though and might even be able to work his way into the lineup for some sub-packages in obvious passing situations. Given the injuries Dallas has had at the position in recent years, Bernard could end up being valuable.

Lions LogoHunter Bryant, TE, Washington – Detroit Lions
One year after drafting T.J. Hockenson in the first round and signing Jesse James in free agency, the Lions are set at the position for the time being. I still really like the move to grab a high-upside player like Bryant. He had 852 yards receiving this year at Washington and was a finalist for the Mackey Award. He is definitely a flex option rather than an inline blocker, but he gives the team some flexibility going forward. James’ contract has an out after this season if Detroit decides they want to save some money.

Packers logoStanford Samuels, CB, Florida State – Green Bay Packers
Not seeing Samuels drafted was a big surprise. I thought he would come off the board some time in round five. He doesn’t possess blazing speed, but he has good size at 6’1″ and looked very comfortable in coverage at Florida State. He was an All-ACC honorable mention his final year in school and had six interceptions over the past two seasons. I think he has a good shot to make the roster as a developmental corner.

Colts logoRodrigo Blakenship, K, Georgia – Indianapolis Colts
Yeah we can put kickers on here! One year after watching Father Time finally catch up with Adam Vinatieri, the Colts will be auditioning new kickers. Blakenship is something of a folk hero after his career at Georgia. He never missed an extra point in college and made 80 of 97 career field goal attempts during his four years as the starter. He has a powerful leg which will translate well to the next level. If he can find a way to get back to the level he was at during his sophomore year when he made 87 percent of his kicks, the Colts will have found themselves a great kicker.

Jaguars logoJames Robinson, RB, Illinois State – Jacksonville Jaguars
With rumors that Leonard Fournette is unsettled in Jacksonville and no clear succession plan in place, I think Robinson has a good chance to make the roster. He was one of the best backs in all of FCS last year. He is north-south runner who can catch the ball out of the backfield and pass block as well. Robinson tore up the East-West Shrine Bowl during the pre-draft process. Don’t be surprised if he is getting some touches this season if Fournette ends up elsewhere.

Eagles LogoAdrian Killins, RB, UCF – Philadelphia Eagles
Another East-West Bowl participant, I think Killins fits well in what the Eagles like to do offensively. He has a very slight build, but he has good vision and the speed to bounce any play to the outside and pick up extra yardage. I can see Philly using him as a third-down back similar to what they used to do with Darren Sproles. Killins needs to improve his hands if he really wants to lock down that role, but he has the agility and instincts to thrive in it if he does.

Way-Too-Early 2021 NFL Mock Draft: Five QBs go in Round 1

Welcome to the class of 2021! Yes it is definitely really early for me to be starting work on this, but this is usually just a fun way to introduce some of the best prospects heading into the upcoming college football season. The current draft order is based on Super Bowl odds from Caesar’s Sportsbook. If you don’t like where your team is picking, you can take it up with them.

This looks like it has the makings to be a special class with some great quarterbacks and another group of talented wide receivers. Let’s get started!

Jaguars logo

1. Jacksonville Jaguars (250-1) – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
If Jacksonville is picking here next year, it’s probably because the Gardner Minshew sequel was not as good as the original. Trevor Lawrence is the clear top prospect heading into the 2021 season. He struggled in the national championship game, but that should not overshadow two years of relative dominance while leading a team to back-to-back title games, winning one of them. He could be a franchise-altering player for the Jaguars.

Washington made up logo

2. Washington (150-1) – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Much like Jacksonville, if Washington ends up picking in the top two, I don’t see Dwayne Haskins’ job being safe. He wasn’t drafted by this current regime and if you can upgrade at quarterback, you have to. Fields is a dynamic athlete with a strong arm and lots of impressive film. He will compete with Lawrence for the top spot in this draft class. He would give Ron Rivera a franchise quarterback to go with the star pass rusher he just drafted. The Columbus to D.C. pipeline is taking shape.

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3. Carolina Panthers (125-1) – Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
I have to admit I am surprised to see the Panthers picking in the top three, but Vegas knows best. This would give Carolina a chance to continue building a stout defense by adding the best pass rusher in this draft. Rousseau recorded the second most sacks in the country in 2019, trailing only Chase Young. That was his first year of college ball as well after redshirting his first season. Another dominant season would lock him into the top five.

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4. Miami Dolphins (100-1) – J’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
The Dolphins have their franchise quarterback. Now it is time to get an elite weapon for him to work with in the passing game. DeVante Parker seems to be making strides, but J’Marr Chase was the best college receiver in America as a sophomore. It will be interesting to see how Chase does with a quarterback other than Joe Burrow. His talent alone should stand out though. Even when his number inevitably dip, he will be worthy of a top-five selection.

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5. Cincinnati Bengals (100-1) – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
There was some buzz around the Bengals looking to find an offensive tackle in the 2020 draft. With Jonah Williams set to make his debut, it probably won’t be a huge need, but if you can protect your young quarterback, that seems like a worthwhile investment. Sewell would have been the top tackle selected this year if he had been eligible. He spent the past two seasons protecting Justin Herbert’s blindside very effectively. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of him going even earlier than this next April.

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6. New York Jets (100-1) – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Jets fans are excited about landing Denzel Mims in the second round of the 2020 draft. If he has a stellar rookie season, perhaps this won’t be a big need for the team, but the receivers room is still lacking talent in New York. Jaylen Waddle is an electric burner at Alabama and would be an impact player for Sam Darnold. He is dangerous in the open field and projects better to the NFL than his teammate DeVonta Smith given his size. Still, you should expect it to be another year where two Alabama receivers go in the first round.

Lions Logo

7. Detroit Lions (60-1) – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Give Bob Quinn some credit. He put together a solid draft class for the Lions. Detroit added some potential difference makers on defense through both the draft and free agency, but still needs a long-term solution at linebacker. Parsons and Alabama’s Dylan Moses will be vying for the top spot in these positional rankings, but I will give the edge to the Penn State star. He is a sure tackler that comes without Moses’ injury history. That Lions defense would have two really great building blocks in Parsons and Jeff Okudah.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)

8. Arizona Cardinals (60-1) – Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson
No question about it, this is not the biggest need for the Cardinals. They traded for former Clemson star DeAndre Hopkins and have some developing options in Christian Kirk and Andy Isabella. Larry Fitzgerald is going to retire eventually (right?) and at that point, I think Kliff Kingsberry will be looking to find another top flight receiver to pair with Hopkins. Ross made waves as a freshman for making some spectacular catches in Clemson’s rout of Alabama in the National Championship game. He plays in one of the most loaded receiving groups in the country as well. Based on his talent, this would be great value for Arizona.

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9. Atlanta Falcons (60-1) – Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
It was maybe the worst-kept secret around this draft that the Falcons wanted help at corner. They might have reached a bit on A.J. Terrell in the first round. Even if he turns out to be a solid starter, the team could definitely use more help at the position. Patrick Surtain II’s name is familiar because his father was a three-time Pro Bowler with the Dolphins during the early 2000s. The younger Surtain is the latest Alabama corner to catch scouts’ attention. He has the prototypical size and speed to excel in the NFL and faces top competition regularly for the Tide.

Dolphins logo

10. Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans (55-1) – Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
Miami loaded up on offensive line help and grabbed a high-upside corner after selecting Tua Tagovailoa in the 2020 draft. Now it is time to add more talent to the front seven. As I mentioned earlier, Moses has some injury questions he will have to answer after missing the entire 2019 season with at torn ACL. However, if you go back to his sophomore year, you will see a leader on the Alabama defense capable of making plays at the line and holding his own in coverage. The Dolphins loaded up on ex-Patriots linebackers in free agency, but they could use a young prospect to rebuild that position group around.

Giants Logo

11. New York Giants (50-1) – Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
The Giants will be disappointed to see both Parsons and Moses off the board already. They could use some help at linebacker. However, this is shaping up to be another great receiving class and New York should take advantage. While Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton are both productive receivers, this group seems to lack a go-to playmaker. Moore tore up the Big Ten as a freshman in 2018. He seemed set to do it again in 2019 before injuries derailed his season. He is definitely a bit undersized at just 5’9″, but he is a game-changing player. That is something the Giants need to find for Daniel Jones to reach his full potential.

Bears logo

12. Chicago Bears (50-1) – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Given his struggles in his third season, the Bears seem reluctant to commit to Mitch Trubisky. They traded for Nick Foles to provide some immediate competition, but it feels like the Bears are ready to find a new prospect to develop. Lance comes from the same school that produced Carson Wentz and he dominated the FCS last year. He became the first freshman to win the Walter Payton Award and he also won the Jerry Rice Award. He throws a really nice deep ball and has good zip on his throws. He is also incredibly mobile. Lance definitely needs to work on his pocket presence and footwork, but from an arm talent perspective, it’s all there.

Denver_Broncos

13. Denver Broncos (50-1) – Walker Little, OT, Stanford
Garrett Bolles has really struggled in Denver. He picks up way too many penalties for the Broncos to feel comfortable paying him when his contract is up. After neglecting the position all together in the 2020 draft, this should be a priority. Little had a strong 2018 season but missed almost the entire 2019 season with a knee injury. With him returning to school for his senior year, he will get the chance to remind everyone why there was buzz about him being a first round pick before he got hurt. He moves well and plays with enough power to anchor down the left side of the line. He would be an upgrade for John Elway and company.

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14. Los Angeles Chargers (45-1) – Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
L.A. tabbed Justin Herbert as it’s quarterback of the future. Now it needs to invest in protecting him. They traded away Russell Okung and did not grab a tackle in the 2020 draft, so this feels like the biggest need remaining for the team. Alex Leatherwood was Alabama’s starting left tackle in 2019, but wasn’t protecting Tua Tagovailoa’s blindside because he was a lefty. He played at guard prior to last season, so another year at tackle will be really good for him. By the end of next year’s draft, he could be a plug-and-play option for the Chargers.

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15. Cleveland Browns (35-1) – Xavier Thomas, DL, Clemson
Cleveland put together a strong draft class ready to contribute right away while also building some depth for the future. Without a ton of obvious needs, the Browns can opt for the best player available, which at this point would be Xavier Thomas. Thomas is the latest Clemson defensive lineman capable of being a difference maker at the next level. He is a bit of a tweener, lacking elite speed but also not being big enough to kick inside at 6’2″, 265 pounds. He is really solid against the run though and has shown flashes of being able to generate pressure as a pass rusher. Thomas likely projects best as a 4-3 defensive end and could take over for the aging Olivier Vernon.

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16. Las Vegas Raiders (30-1) – Israel Mukuamu, CB, South Carolina
I really liked what the Raiders did in the later rounds of the draft. Unfortunately, I think they reached big time at a position of need with Damon Arnette. In the end, it does not feel like Las Vegas solved it’s lockdown corner problem. Israel Mukuamu reminds me a bit of Noah Iginoghene given his size and speed. Put on his tape against Georgia and you will see the potential for him to become a ballhawking corner capable of shutting down one half of the field. He is massive at 6’4″ and possesses good speed given that size. If he puts together a strong season, he could be the first corner off the board given his intangibles.

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17. Jacksonville Jaguars via Los Angeles Rams (30-1) – Marvin Wilson, DL, Florida State
The direction of the Jaguars as a franchise would take a major U-turn with the addition of Trevor Lawrence. They have a few intriguing pieces to work with, but why stop adding to this defense? Wilson is a local kid who generated some first round buzz before deciding to return to school. He had 8.5 tackles for loss and five sacks during his junior campaign. He also only appeared in nine games after a hand injury cut his season short. If he can stay healthy through all 12 games this year, he should put up even better numbers and be in a position to be vying for the top interior lineman off the board.

Titans logo

18. Tennessee Titans (30-1) – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Full disclosure, I spent a good deal of 2019 mocking running backs to the Titans as well. I know this seems ludicrous given the presence of Derrick Henry, but remember that he is playing on the franchise tag for 2020. Without a deal in place for him to stay in Tennessee, it would not shock me to see the team opt for a young option to anchor their backfield. Replacing one former Alabama back with another seems like a good idea. Harris has not had heavy usage for the Tide given the depth of options they have at the position, but he is easily the most effective and versatile. He caught 27 passes and seven touchdowns in 2019. He has the potential to be a three-down back that would fit well into the Titans’ run-first scheme.

Vikings logo

19. Minnesota Vikings (28-1) – Jay Tufele, DL, USC
Minnesota had one of the best drafts of any team in the league, finding great value and getting some help at much needed positions. That does not leave a ton of weak spots on this roster that I can identify at the moment, so let’s say the Vikings look to upgrade their defensive line. Jay Tufele is built in a similar mold to Derrick Brown. He is big at 305 pounds, but moves well and is capable of generating some pressure. He has 10 tackles for loss through his first two seasons with USC and could be in line for a big year.

Pittsburgh_Steelers logo

20. Pittsburgh Steelers (28-1) – Jamie Newman, QB, Wake Forest
It is time for the Steelers to start creating a succession plan to Ben Roethlisberger. Newman played really well in his first full season as a starter at Wake Forest. He has desirable size and arm strength to play the position. He will get a chance to really elevate his status playing in the SEC as a transfer. Having Newman here is mostly assuming that he will take the next step in his development while playing at a big name school to raise his profile. I think his arm talent is enough for Pittsburgh to be interested.

Patriots Logo

21. New England Patriots (25-1) – Chase Garbers, QB, California
If it turns out the Patriots do in fact need to draft a quarterback in the first round next season, I have a feeling they will be drafting much earlier than this. I might be a bit higher than most on Garbers, but from what I have seen, I think he can be an NFL quarterback. He uses his legs well both to extend plays and pick up extra yardage when the play breaks down. He doesn’t have the strongest arm in the world, but he throws a decent deep ball and has really good touch on sideline throws. Cal was ranked and undefeated before Garbers went down with an injury last year. In fact, the Golden Bears were actually undefeated in games Garbers started and finished last season. Given his play style, injuries could be a major issue for him. If he can stay healthy and put together another good season, I think he will earn this first round hype.

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22. Indianapolis Colts (25-1) – Quincy Roche, EDGE, Miami
You might not be too familiar with Quincy Roche, especially when you see Miami next to his name. He is a transfer from Temple, where he dominated the AAC. He finished fifth in the nation last year in sacks. Coming into a Miami defense that might already boast the best returning pass rusher in the country, Roche could be in for a monster season. The Colts will eventually have to replace Justin Houston and this might be the best chance they get to do that.

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23. Buffalo Bills (25-1) – Creed Humphrey, OL, Oklahoma
Buffalo seems poised to take over in the AFC East with Tom Brady now in Tampa. To do so, they will need to continue building in the trenches. They landed A.J. Epenesa in the second round of the 2020 draft. Finding someone to bolster the interior of their offensive line is the next step. Humphrey is about as solid as they come for interior offensive linemen. He was voted second-team All-American in 2019 and did not allow a sack while starting every game for the Sooners. Given Mitch Morse’s injury history, this is a smart pick. Worst case scenario, the Bills can start Humphrey off at guard.

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24. Philadelphia Eagles (20-1) – Andre Cisco, S, Syracuse
It was an interesting draft for the Eagles, who waited a long time to address their secondary. While I really like their pick of Tanner Muse, I think they need another safety to pair with him. Cisco reminds me a bit of a bigger Antoine Winfield Jr. He is a ballhawking safety with a staggering 12 interceptions over the past two seasons. He has a nose for the football as one of Syracuse’s leading tacklers, despite only featuring in nine games last season. He would be a welcome addition to this Eagles secondary.

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25. Green Bay Packers (16-1) – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
I still don’t understand how the Packers completely ignored their need for receivers. They have a bunch of bodies, but not too many reliable targets capable of making plays. Bateman is an all-around playmaker. He is capable of making post up plays in the red zone and high-pointing the ball down the sideline. Bateman has really impressive run after the catch ability as well. He isn’t an elite route runner, but he understands how to get separation. Even if he can’t, he is more than capable of dunk on smaller corners. I think this would be the type of target Aaron Rodgers can get the most out of.

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26. Seattle Seahawks (15-1) – Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
With Jeff Okudah and Damon Arnette moving on to the NFL, it will now be Shaun Wade’s job to lead the Ohio State backfield. He could have potentially come out this season and gone in the first two rounds. A return to school with a chance to be the top dog for a program that regularly churns out NFL caliber defensive backs will probably be a great move. The Seahawks do not have much proven depth at corner and might honestly be looking for a starter across from Shaquill Griffin by this time next year. Wade has the size to work in that Seattle system.

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27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (14-1) – Wyatt Davis, G, Ohio State
It has been a really long time since we have seen the Buccaneers picking this late in the first round. While Tristan Wirfs seems set to start at right tackle this season with the potential to move to the left side later in his career, Tampa Bay could use some help on the interior of this line. For Tom Brady, and honestly for whoever comes after him, protection is essential. Davis is an athletic road grader who is more than comfortable blocking out in space as well. He would provide a huge boost for this run game and help give Brady all the time he needs to pick defenses apart.

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28. New Orleans Saints (14-1) – Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
The Saints have been rotating through former Giants corners trying to find someone to start across from Marshon Lattimore. With only four selections in the 2020 draft, there was no chance to find a young corner to develop either. New Orleans needs an infusion of young talent at the position. Paulson Adebo is a big, physical corner that most teams in the Pac-12 don’t even bother throwing at any more. Part of that is because they are afraid of Adebo and the other part is because the rest of Stanford’s secondary was brutal in 2019. Had it not been for an injury, I think Adebo would have come out this year and likely gone in the second round. He would give the Saints a much more reliable number two corner.

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29. Dallas Cowboys (13-1) – Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami
Dallas crushed the 2020 draft, probably producing the best class on paper in the league. This team is set up well to compete into the future, but there are still some areas for improvement. Blake Jarwin is a solid tight end, but far from an elite option. Brevin Jordan is an athletic player who can make plays in space. He isn’t used too much as a blocker, but regularly chips pass rushers. When he is used as a blocker, it is usually just for him to eventually release out into the flat on a delayed route. I think he would give the Cowboys a playmaker across the middle of the field.

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30. Baltimore Ravens (8-1) – DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Baltimore is another team that pulled in a strong draft class. They landed some great pass catchers this year, but I think the team will have a tough time passing up on another speedy playmaker. DeVonta Smith would help with that. He is small, but incredible fast. It’s not his height (6’1″) that worries about his ability to translate, it’s his frame. He only weighs 175 pounds. I wonder if he would be able to withstand the punishment handed out by some of the harder hitting defensive backs in the league. If he can add about 10 pounds while not sacrificing too much speed, I think Smith will find himself going in the top 20 come next April.

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31. San Francisco 49ers (8-1) – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
After making a Super Bowl run, the 49ers seemed primed for another deep postseason push. With some new additions to the receiving corps and Deforest Buckner’s replacement already on board, San Francisco can afford to target a game-breaking running back. Etienne has incredible speed and elusiveness. He has shown some signs of development as a receiver. If he can do that more in 2019, he will have a shot to be the first running back selected. He would pair really nicely with Raheem Mostert and after trading away Matt Breida, I think the Niners will be interesting in adding to their backfield.

Chiefs Logo32. Kansas City Chiefs (4-1) – Trey Smith, OL, Tennessee
The reigning champs seem poised to defend their title. Brett Veach added a new running back to the mix and found some much-needed help for the secondary. While the Chiefs have some depth at the tackle spots, they could use some new talent on the interior of their offensive line. They have to protect the quarterback they are going to pay after all. Trey Smith has battled through blood clots in his lungs. When he is on the field, he is an All-American caliber guard. He was actually ESPN’s top-rated recruit back in 2017. If he can stay on the field this season, he has a chance to go even earlier than this in the draft.