After a week off, I am back breaking down all things NFL draft. With the Senior Bowl and Super Bowl behind us, draft season is officially underway. It time to recap the week in Mobile and discuss who helped their draft stock and who could have had a better week. Plus, a little preview of some future episode topics. Listen to the latest episode now on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. https://anchor.fm/theaftermath
That’s all she wrote! The NFL season came to a thrilling conclusion that for once didn’t involved Tom Brady. Patrick Mahomes proved he truly is the golden boy and delivered Kansas City’s first Super Bowl title in 50 years. With that, the draft order is officially set and now the offseason begins. As a Jets fan, I am used to being more excited about the offseason than the actual season because it means my team can finally start to fill the glaring holes on the roster. Browns and Buccaneers fans should know what I am talking about. With the next major event on the NFL calendar being the scouting combine in Indianapolis, every team now shifts its attention to the NFL draft.
On the heels of the Senior Bowl, which led to some major movement in my latest big board, this new mock draft should look very different than my last one. With player declarations behind us and the combine still to come, this is how I think things will go down in Vegas when draft day finally rolls around. Quick notes: no trades were allowed (but I will be rolling out some mock drafts with trades in the coming months) and the draft order is according to Tankathon with compensatory picks calculated by Over The Cap.
1. Cincinnati Bengals (2-14) – Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
This is pretty much solidified at this point. But then again, I never would have thought that Kyler Murray or Baker Mayfield would be the top pick at this point in the past two drafts. Joe Burrow has the accuracy and mobility to be a Pro Bowl quarterback.
2. Washington (3-13) – Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
Regardless of position, Chase Young is the best player in this draft. He is an elite pass rusher who excels against the run as well. He is a plug-and-play option with Hall of Fame potential.
3. Detroit Lions (3-12-1) – Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
With Detroit not able to trade down in this mock, Jeff Okudah fills a huge need and is the best player available. His closing speed is impressive and he can fit into either a man or zone scheme.
4. New York Giants (4-12) – Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson
New York desperately needs an infusion of talent on the defensive side of the football. Isaiah Simmons brings an incredible blend of versatility and playmaking. He has lined up at outside corner, slot corner, linebacker and safety for Clemson. Play him wherever you like.
5. Miami Dolphins (5-11) – Tua Tagovailoa, QB Alabama
This pick will remain Tua Taogovailoa until further notice. Miami has a veteran quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick to help the transition for Tua as he recovers from his hip injury. When healthy, his accuracy is the best in the class.
6. Los Angeles Chargers (5-11) – Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Justin Herbert answered some questions about his ability to lead at the Senior Bowl. With reports surfacing that Philip Rivers has severed ties with Los Angeles, this franchise needs to identify its quarterback of the future. Herbert has the talent to develop into just that.
7. Carolina Panthers (5-11) – Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Could Jordan Love go in the top 10? It’s not out the question, but Carolina has a trio of potential options, so adding a top-tier offensive lineman feels like a more pressing need. Andrew Thomas has impressive play strength. He has some room for development as a pass blocker.
8. Arizona Cardinals (5-10-1) – Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina
Following a dominant week at the Senior Bowl, Javon Kinlaw has himself in the top 10. He showed out as a pass rusher in Mobile and showed the potential he flashed at South Carolina. Slot him into a terrible Arizona defensive line and he should make an immediate impact.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-10) – Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Gardner Minshew is set to be the quarterback for 2020 in Jacksonville and he will need some targets to throw to. DJ Chark and Chris Conley feel like nice complementary pieces, whereas Jerry Jeudy would be a true No. 1 receiver. He is the best route runner in the class and with sneaky good athleticism.
10. Cleveland Browns (6-10) – Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
Meet the most polished pass blocker and the answer to Baker Mayfield’s prayers. Cleveland struggled to keep Baker clean this year and needs a player like Jedrick Wills to fix that. Wills should be a day one starter.
11. New York Jets (7-9) – Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
While the hype around Mekhi Becton has continued to build, Tristan Wirfs is a more polished version of him. He has the size and power to transition well to the NFL. He also fills a major need for the Jets.
12. Las Vegas Raiders (7-9) – CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Rumors are swirling that the Raiders are interesting in a certain veteran quarterback with six Super Bowl rings. Regardless of who is at quarterback, they need a top-tier receiving option. CeeDee Lamb is a menace after the catch and shows up whenever you watch Oklahoma play.
13. Indianapolis Colts (7-9) – Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
While fans are desperate for a new quarterback, I don’t see Indianapolis moving for Jordan Love. Instead, they snag a run stuffing interior lineman that fills a huge need in what has been a run-heavy division. Derrick Brown will be an upgrade on the inside.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9) – Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
Tampa Bay does not want to pay Jameis Winston this offseason. Instead, they draft Jameis Winston 2.0 in Jordan Love. He has all the arm talent in the world, but his decision making is rough. Love has loads of potential, but he could end up as a gunslinger just like Winston as well.
15. Denver Broncos (7-9) – Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama
With a speedster like Henry Ruggs on the board, Denver can pair him with Courtland Sutton and give Drew Lock a great tandem at receiver. Ruggs is the fastest player in this draft, but his game is more diverse than that. He could have a Tyreek Hill-type impact on the offense.
16. Atlanta Falcons (7-9) – A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
A.J. Epenesa fits the mold of a disruptive 4-3 defensive end. Atlanta is in desperate need of pass rushing help, which Epenesa should provide plenty of. He is a steal at this spot.
17. Dallas Cowboys (8-8) – Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
Dallas seems set to franchise tag Dak Prescott, which means Amari Cooper and Byron Jones could hit free agency. With a ton of depth at receiver in this class, the Cowboys opt to bolster the secondary with the physical and aggressive Kristian Fulton.
18. Miami Dolphins via Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8) – Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
With the quarterback position set, Miami needs to protect its investment. Mekhi Becton is a bit of a project, but his potential is massive, literally. He is 6’8″ and 365 pounds. That frame is exactly what offensive line coaches want to work with.
19. Las Vegas Raiders via Chicago Bears (8-8) – Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
Las Vegas can double dip on Sooners. The defense needs more speed up the middle. Kenneth Murray fits to modern day mold at linebacker. He is quick and explosive. He reacts fast to plays in front of him and should help with the Raiders’ continuing defensive remodel.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars via Los Angeles Rams (9-7) – CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
After landing the top receiver in the class, Jacksonville turns to the other side of the ball. CJ Henderson won’t fill the void Jalen Ramsey left, but he has the size and athleticism to develop into a high-end starter.
21. Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) – Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
With Henderson and Fulton off the board, Philly bolsters its porous secondary in another way. Xavier McKinney is a heat-seeking missile who should add some much needed playmaking to the back end of the defense.
22. Buffalo Bills (10-6) – Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
Buffalo has some good depth at receiver, but needs a No. 1 option. Tee Higgins is the perfect complement to John Brown and Cole Beasley. He has excellent body control and excels on jump balls. He has to work on generating separation, but he should be an immediate boost to the red zone offense.
23. New England Patriots (12-4) – Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
Will Tom Brady be back? That question will dictate the Patriots’ offseason plans. Assuming he returns to New England, the defense needs an infusion of young talent. Yetur Gross-Matos can stand up or play with his hand in the dirt. That type of versatility is something this team will love.
24. New Orleans Saints (13-3) – Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado
Much like the Patriots, the Saints face the similar quarterback conundrum. If Drew Brees returns, New Orleans will be eager to find him another receiver to play across from Michael Thomas. Laviska Shenault’s versatile skill set would be fun to watch in Sean Payton’s offense.
25. Minnesota Vikings (10-6) – Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
Minnesota lacked consistency at the cornerback position all season long. Bryce Hall should rise up some draft boards if he can test at the combine. He has the size and technique that should turn some heads.
26. Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans (11-5) – Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama
No one had fewer sacks in 2019 than the Dolphins. Terrell Lewis bounced back well after injury kept him out for all of 2018. He will likely need to bulk up a little bit, but he should serve well as a pass rushing linebacker.
27. Seattle Seahawks (11-5) – Bradlee Anae, EDGE, Utah
The only team that finished with fewer sacks than the Seahawks last season was the Dolphins. Bradlee Anae looked like an NFL-ready pass rusher in the Senior Bowl. He showcased a full arsenal of pass rushing moves in Mobile.
28. Baltimore Ravens (14-2) – K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
Baltimore does not have a ton of needs after a fantastic regular season. Matthew Judon could be gone next season though, so finding another edge rusher has to be a priority. K’Lavon Chaisson has a good blend of power and speed. He has a long way to go as a run defender.
29. Tennessee Titans (9-7) – Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin
Tennessee made a remarkable run in the postseason, but still has some room for growth. The interior of the offensive line could use an upgrade. Tyler Biadasz is an old school road grader. He fits the type of player the Titans want in their power run scheme.
30. Green Bay Packers (13-3) – Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
There is no question Green Bay’s passing offense took a huge step back this year. Davante Adams missed some time and Green Bay desperately needs someone to play across from him. Justin Jefferson tore up opposing secondaries this year. He has the size and speed to be an effective weapon for Aaron Rodgers.
31. San Francisco 49ers (13-3) – Josh Jones, OT, Houston
San Francisco capped off a great season with a Super Bowl appearance. In order to return, the 49ers need to prep for the future. Joe Staley only has a few years left in his playing career and Josh Jones could the 49ers’ next left tackle. He is physical and powerful, but needs a bit of refining.
32. Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) – Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
The Mahomes Magic will end with a trip to Disney! Kansas City’s defense took major steps in 2019, but still needs some more playmaking. Patrick Qeuen’s speed alone should help.
33. Cincinnati Bengals (2-14) – Michael Pittman, WR, USC
With a new quarterback in the mix, he will need players to throw to. Michael Pittman is a possession receiver with great size and hands. He can quickly become a quarterback’s best friend.
34. Indianapolis Colts via Washington (7-9) – Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
Jacoby Brissett did not lock up the starting role this year. Jacob Eason is not pro ready, but he has a huge arm. He isn’t very mobile, but he would be playing behind one of the best lines in the NFL.
35. Detroit Lions (3-12-1) – Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State
They missed out on Chase Young, but Curtis Weaver is a solid edge rusher to integrate into the defense. He was extremely productive in college.
36. New York Giants (4-12) – Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame
New York should continue to retool its defense. Julian Okwara is a high-upside 4-3 defensive end who can rush the passer.
37. Los Angeles Chargers (5-11) – Austin Jackson, OT, USC
LA needs some new blood along its offensive line. Austin Jackson is big and raw, but could develop into Justin Herbert’s blindside blocker.
38. Carolina Panthers (5-11) – Neville Gallimore, DL, Oklahoma
The Panthers are in a weird state of flux and need to rebuild in the trenches. Neville Gallimore will provide a boost to a terrible Carolina run defense.
39. Miami Dolphins (5-11) – J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State
Miami had a revolving door at running back this season. J.K. Dobbins’ combination of power and speed should provide some consistency at the position.
40. Arizona Cardinals (5-10-1) – Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
After trade rumors swirled last year regarding Patrick Peterson and his contract up after 2020, Arizona can get ahead of the curve by drafting Trevon Diggs. He is a big-body corner who looks the part of a future starter.
41. Cleveland Browns (6-10) – Grant Delpit, S, LSU
Damorious Randall is set for free agency. If he doesn’t come back, Grant Delpit should be a starting option right away. He needs to clean up his technique and tackling, but he has the tools of a playmaker.
42. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-10) – Ross Blacklock, DL, TCU
Jacksonville finished in the bottom five in rushing yards allowed and yards allowed per carry. Ross Blacklock moves well and should help plug up the middle.
43. Chicago Bears via Las Vegas Raiders (7-9) – Matt Hennessy, C, Temple
While many point to Mitchell Trubisky’s struggles, Chicago fell apart trying to run the ball. Matt Hennessy is an excellent zone run blocker who should help open some holes.
44. Indianapolis Colts (7-9) – Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
Whoever is under center next year, they need someone else to throw to other than T.Y. Hilton. Brandon Aiyuk and Paris Campbell should round out a dynamic trio.
45. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9) – Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn
Tampa Bay could use a rework of the right side of the line. Prince Tega Wanogho is impressive as a pass blocker. He is battle tested as well coming from the SEC.
46. Denver Broncos (7-9) – Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
Chris Harris is not likely to return. Bryce Callahan should finally suit up, but Jeff Gladney will round out the group. He is a bit undersized, but his ball skills make up for that.
47. Atlanta Falcons (7-9) – D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
Devonta Freeman can’t stay on the field and there is not a clear successor to him. D’Andre Swift can be used in the passing game as well. Keep the Bulldog instate.
48. New York Jets (7-9) – Lloyd Cushenberry, C, LSU
Sam Darnold needs time to throw. Lloyd Cushenberry should be the next step for the Jets rebuilding their offensive line.
49. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8) – Zach Baun, LB, Wisconsin
There are needs for this Steelers team across the board. Zach Baun is not overly athletic, but he is versatile as a coverage linebacker and edge rusher.
50. Chicago Bears (8-8) – Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
For most of the year, I was unable to identify most of the players starting at tight end for the Bears. Cole Kmet should stop the carousel. He can create separation and give Trubisky another target to work with.
51. Dallas Cowboys (8-8) – Ashtyn Davis, S, California
The Cowboys can continue their secondary makeover by adding the speedy and rangy Ashtyn Davis. He is a bit raw, but he was a track athlete at Cal.
52. Los Angeles Rams (9-7) – Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan
Jared Goff struggled a lot more this season without a proven offensive line in front of him. Cesar Ruiz can step in and play any spot along the interior of the line right away.
53. Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) – Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
Give Carson Wentz a healthy receiver and see what happens. Jalen Reagor struggled with drops in 2019, but his speed makes him electric. He can play the slot right away.
54. Buffalo Bills (10-6) – Marlon Davidson, DL, Auburn
Buffalo has a lot of talent on that defense, but they can continue to build depth and build for the future. Marlon Davidson can line up all over the defensive line and should provide some power.
55. Atlanta Falcons via New England Patriots (12-4) – Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
After an impressive national semifinal game, Damon Arnette should hear his name called by the end of round two. He could develop into a player to start across from Desmond Trufant.
56. Miami Dolphins via New Orleans Saints (13-3) – Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Michigan
Donovan Peoples-Jones is almost something of a luxury pick for Miami. After addressing a number of key positions, the Dolphins add a high-upside receiver to grow with their rookie quarterback.
57. Houston Texans (11-5) – Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
With just one pick in the first 100 selections, spending that on a running back might feel odd. However, Jonathan Taylor is a powerful runner who can help Houston in the short term with Carlos Hyde set for free agency. Taylor does need to take care of the football though.
58. Minnesota Vikings (10-6) – Leki Fotu, DL, Utah
For what he lacks in stamina, Leki Fotu makes up for in explosiveness. Minnesota can add another disruptive defensive lineman to make it a clear strength.
59. Seattle Seahawks (11-5) – Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
After nabbing an edge rusher, Seattle can continue to add depth to the defense by adding a raw corner. Noah Igbinoghene has a lot of potential, but will need some work to clean up his technique.
60. Baltimore Ravens (14-2) – Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
Looking at this roster, Baltimore needs to continue to surrounding Lamar Jackson with playmakers. Denzel Mims has excellent body control and routinely finds soft spots in zone coverage.
61. Tennessee Titans (9-7) – Jonathan Greenard, EDGE, Florida
While the Titans defense was fierce this season, it still lacks edge rushers. Jonathan Greenard has the tenacity to rush the passer and handle facing the run.
62. Green Bay Packers (13-3) – Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio State
After addressing its need at receiver, Green Bay needs to find a future middle linebacker. Blake Martinez will be a free agent and Malik Harrison can take his place. He is a bit rough around the edges, but he plays downhill.
63. Kansas City Chiefs via San Francisco 49ers (12-4) – Josh Uche, EDGE, Michigan
Kansas City went after Terrell Suggs for a reason. They need to find more edge rushers. Josh Uche brings tons of the speed to the position and should help out as a rotational rusher right away.
64. Seattle Seahawks via Kansas City Chiefs (13-3) – John Simpson, G, Clemson
Seattle wants to run the football a lot and needs to beef up his offensive line. John Simpson was an All-American for a reason. He has some raw power to work with.
65. Cincinnati Bengals (2-14) – Matt Peart, OT, UConn
Cincinnati will get 2019 first round pick Jonah Williams back this year. Adding another tackle to develop could turn this line around.
66. Washington (3-13) – Trey Adams, OT, Washington
If he is able to get back to full health, he could be their future franchise tackle. However, there are so many red flags with injuries that Trey Adams will likely find his way into the third round.
67. Detroit Lions (3-12-1) – K.J. Hamler, WR, Penn State
With Kenny Golladay locked in as the top receiving option, K.J. Hamler would be a great option out of the slot.
68. New York Jets via New York Giants (4-12) – Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
There are a ton of holes on this Jets roster. Cornerback is one of the highest priorities to address. Jaylon Johnson plays like a shutdown corner, but has a long way to go in his development.
69. Carolina Panthers (5-11) – Jared Pinkney, TE, Vanderbilt
Greg Olsen will not be back as a Carolina Panther. Whoever is playing quarterback will need a target to find across the middle. Even with Ian Thomas, Jared Pinkney is a worthy add in round three.
70. Miami Dolphins (5-11) – Ben Bredeson, G, Michigan
NFL games are won in the trenches. Miami snagged Mekhi Becton in the first round, but could use some depth along the interior. Ben Bredeson could slide into either guard spot.
71. Los Angeles Chargers (5-11) – A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
Playing in a division with Patrick Mahomes means your secondary has to be ready to drop into coverage a lot. A.J. Terrell has the technique to develop into a solid No. 2 corner.
72. Arizona Cardinals (5-10-1) – Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas
Devin Duvernay seems like the type of crafty route runner with decent speed to help move this offense along. He has the makings of a great slot receiver.
73. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-10) – Troy Dye, LB, Oregon
Telvin Smith probably isn’t coming back, so adding another quick, aggressive linebacker feels like a necessary move.
74. Cleveland Browns (6-10) – Justin Madubuike, DL, Texas A&M
Cleveland needs to seek out talented players that can make a difference in the next year or two. Justin Madubuike should be a rotational option who can develop into a starter.
75. Indianapolis Colts (7-9) – Kenny Willekes, EDGE, Michigan State
Kenny Willekes might not have eye-popping measurables, but he is a high-motor difference maker. He had a very productive career at Michigan State and should fit well as a tone-setting 4-3 end.
76. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9) – Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU
Tampa Bay had absolutely no running game to lean on this season. Clyde Edwards-Helaire would provide a versatile option with good power. He lacks elite speed, but he can still pick up chunk plays.
77. Denver Broncos (7-9) – Lucas Niang, OT, TCU
Lucas Niang has some raw ability and size to work with. Denver will count on their ability to develop offensive linemen in drafting him.
78. Atlanta Falcons (7-9) – Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama
Raekwon Davis has tons of potential, but he has failed to improve in either of his past two years at Alabama. Atlanta is willing to take a chance on helping him take the next step.
79. New York Jets (7-9) – Ben Bartch, OT, St. John’s
If you watched the Jets play this season, you know that there probably is no such thing as too many picks invested on the offensive line. Ben Bartch will need some time to acclimate, but he showed at the Senior Bowl he can be brought up to speed quickly.
80. Las Vegas Raiders (7-9) – Cameron Dantzler, CB, Mississippi State
Even after hitting with Trayvon Mullen last year, Las Vegas still needs secondary help. They shipped out Gareon Conley after all. Cameron Dantzler is a bit of a project, but his physical skill is enticing.
81. Las Vegas Raiders via Chicago Bears (8-8) – Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir Rhyne
Pairing Kyle Dugger with Johnathan Abram should give Las Vegas an exciting safety combo. Dugger showed he can hang with the big boys at the Senior Bowl despite coming from a small school.
82. Dallas Cowboys (8-8) – Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton
Jason Witten played well in his return from retirement, but the fact that he was their top option makes tight end a need. Adam Trautman has the size and dependability needed to make the transition. He caught 110 passes over his past two seasons.
83. Denver Broncos via Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8) – Troy Pride, CB, Notre Dame
Denver’s wealth of picks allows them to double up at corner and find a player to develop. Troy Pride has the speed to be an elite corner, but needs some seasoning before he is ready to contribute.
84. Los Angeles Rams (9-7) – Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia
They might have needs elsewhere, but this team is going to struggle until it rebuilds the offensive line. Isaiah Wilson can slot in at right tackle or possibly kick inside to guard given his size.
85. Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) – A.J. Green, CB, Oklahoma State
Philadelphia desperately needs some swagger in its secondary. Xavier McKinney should bring that and so should A.J. Green. His long frame and physical play style make him an intriguing prospect.
86. Buffalo Bills (10-6) – Dane Jackson, CB, Pittsburgh
Buffalo does not have a whole lot of proven options at corner opposite Tre’Davious White. Dane Jackson should come in and compete for a spot. If not, he will provide some much-needed depth.
87. New England Patriots (12-4) – Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
Who is the heir apparent in New England? It might be Jared Stidham, but his brief audition this year led the Patriots to sign Cody Kessler. Jake Fromm is the type of quarterback that can succeed in this offense, bringing poise, accuracy and high football IQ to the position.
88. New Orleans Saints (13-3) – Logan Stenberg, G, Kentucky
Part of the Saints’ success in recent years has been the play of the offensive line. Adding Logan Stenberg provides a future starter, especially if Andrus Peat leaves in free agency.
89. Minnesota Vikings (10-6) – K.J. Hill, WR, Ohio State
Between Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, Minnesota has a great one-two punch. However, the depth at the receiver position is non-existent. K.J. Hill could work out of the slot right away.
90. Cleveland Browns via Houston Texans (10-6) – Robert Hunt, OL, Lousiana
After grabbing some defensive playmakers, Cleveland returns to addressing the offensive line. Robert Hunt has good power. He could potentially play at tackle, but could also end up at guard.
91. Las Vegas Raiders via Seattle Seahawks (11-5) – Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame
Even after spending a first round pick at receiver, the Raiders can afford to grab another. Plus, this is their third pick of the round. Chase Claypool is a jump ball winner who can separate downfield. He should carve a nice role in Vegas.
92. Baltimore Ravens (14-2) – Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech
In a league where mobile quarterbacks are becoming increasingly common (see: Jackson, Lamar), finding a player who can effectively spy on them is useful. Jordyn Brooks has the speed and savvy to limit scramble opportunities.
93. Tennessee Titans (9-7) – Cam Akers, RB, Florida State
Derrick Henry is a free agent. Even if the Titans bring him back, they could use a complement in the backfield. Cam Akers is elusive with plenty of pass catching experience.
94. Green Bay Packers (13-3) – Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue
Jimmy Graham is 33 and Green Bay could use a more reliable option at tight end. Brycen Hopkins is one of the best receivers in this class.
95. Denver Broncos via San Francisco 49ers (13-3) – Larrell Murchison, DL, NC State
With uncertainty about the futures of Derek Wolfe and Shelby Harris, Larrell Murchison feels like an important add. He looked sharp at the Senior Bowl and could be a solid interior option for Denver.
96. Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) – Damien Lewis, G, LSU
I had initially gone with a running back here, but Damien Williams and eventually Darwin Thompson should be able to hold down the backfield. Instead, Kansas City adds someone to block for them and keep Patrick Mahomes upright in Damien Lewis.
97. New England Patriots (12-4) – Van Jefferson, WR, Florida
It is no secret the Patriots need help at receiver. Van Jefferson showed in Mobile that he can make contested catches and create windows to throw into.
98. New York Giants (4-12) – Nick Harris, C, Washington
He struggled in Mobile, but Nick Harris has some impressive film to fall back on. The Giants should continue to invest in building an offensive line, especially after going defense with their first two picks.
99. New England Patriots (12-4) – Hunter Bryant, TE, Washington
Keep adding weapons to this offense. Hunter Bryant is a great receiving tight end. He is limited as a blocker though. I could see that being a hang up for New England, but he is the best available option here.
100. Seattle Seahawks (12-4) – James Lynch, DL, Baylor
James Lynch tore up the Big 12 this season. He is a little small for a true defensive tackle, but Seattle could find some use moving him around the line as a situational pass rusher.
101. Houston Texans (10-6) – Darrell Taylor Jr., EDGE, Tennessee
In terms of raw physical athleticism, Darrell Taylor is up near the top of the class. He gives Houston an edge rusher to develop.
102. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7) – Gabriel Davis, WR, UCF
This front office loves drafting receivers in the middle rounds and turning them into starters. Pittsburgh struggled to find a secondary option after Juju Smith-Schuster. Gabriel Davis should be able to work his way into the mix pretty quickly.
103. Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) – Evan Weaver, LB, California
With Nigel Bradham a potential salary cap casualty, adding Evan Weaver makes a ton of sense. He is a proven tackler who can contribute on special teams.
For more NFL Draft coverage, check out the Aftermath’s NFL Draft Podcast, with new episodes every Thursday.
It’s time to get this pre-draft process truly underway. The East-West Shrine Bowl is an excellent opportunity to begin scouting players more in depth. Most of these players won’t hear their name called on Day 1 or maybe even Day 2, but there are always a few players who climb up draft boards with their performances in this game and the Senior Bowl. In 2018, Chase Edmonds, Phillip Lindsay, DaeSean Hamilton and Poona Ford all featured. 2019 had Cody Barton, David Blough and Jesper Horsted. These aren’t the stars of the draft, but plenty of these guys will be Day 3 picks come April. Additionally, the talk is this year’s roster is much better than last year’s.
Looking at this group, the offensive line group is particularly impressive. There are a few players I have third and fourth round grades on at this point set to play, including Calvin Throckmorton, Jack Driscol and Darryl Williams. Here are the players worth keeping an eye on Saturday January 18, at 3 pm on NFL Network.
Jack Driscol, OT, Auburn (6’5″, 296 lbs)
Driscol started all year at right tackle for Auburn. He would probably be best suited to stay on that side or even kick inside in the NFL. He has the length, but he will likely need to bulk up a little bit once he gets drafted. His movement skills have already been on display this week at practice.
Darryl Williams, C, Mississippi State (6’3″ 310 lbs)
Another lineman who started for an SEC school in need of some gym time here with Darryl Williams. His is technically sound, but definitely needs to improve his play strength. This is really clear in the run game because he doesn’t often generate a ton of drive off the line. Buzz at practice this week is he is looking stronger already.
Charlie Heck, OT, UNC (6’8″, 315 lbs)
This is a name I have seen popping up in mock drafts more frequently. Charlie Heck undoubtedly has the size to play tackle in the pros, but he flew under the radar a bit at UNC. His hand usage is pretty good and he actually held up pretty well when he played Clemson. A good showing here could push him up a lot of boards. He has NFL pedigree as well as his dad Andy was a former first round pick.
Shyheim Carter, S, Alabama (6’0″, 191 lbs)
He is nowhere near as polished or talented as his Crimson Tide counterpart Xavier McKinney, but Shyheim Carter could be a sleeper in this draft. He moved around a lot in the Alabama defense, showing some nice versatility. He might not be an immediate starter, but he could end up being a solid depth player right away.
Michael Divinity II, LB, LSU (6’2″, 242 lbs)
No one has had a more interesting season than Michael Divinity. Between academic issues and team rules violations, Divinity missed a solid chunk of LSU’s late-season games. However, he was cleared to play in the national championship game. He has the prototypical size of an NFL linebacker. He is talented enough to play in the NFL, where academic issues won’t follow him. Any team misconduct will be something teams will address during the combine.
Shaquille Quarterman, LB, Miami (6’1″, 241 lbs)
This was not the season expected of Miami entering the year. Shaq Quarterman and the defense were solid though despite the disappointing record. He topped 100 total tackles and showed flashes of playmaking ability. Size shouldn’t be a problem, so if he can play sideline to sideline again, he should be in good shape.
Alex Highsmith, EDGE, Charlotte (6’4″, 242 lbs)
Here is the list of players with more sacks than Alex Highsmith this season: Chase Young and Gregory Rosseau, potentially the top two edge players selected in the 2020 and 2021 NFL drafts. Highsmith obviously did it against much weaker competition. He will need to get stronger to truly compete in the NFL, but he reads his keys and has a good number of pass rush moves to go to.
Tavien Feaster, RB, South Carolina (6’2″, 221 lbs)
The former Clemson running back stayed in state and moved to the SEC. He likely fits as a complementary back at the next level, but he has some receiving work under his belt as well. He could be an interesting Day 3 prospect. His size could have teams interested in using him as a short yardage option.
Malcolm Perry, WR, Navy (5’9″, 190 lbs)
Malcolm Perry bounced all over the place at Navy and finally landed at quarterback. He mostly ran the ball for the Midshipmen, but this week, he will get a chance to show off his receiver skills. He could be a late-round flyer teams hope to develop into a receiver. The athleticism is definitely there. Reports are he has looked fairly comfortable this week running his routes. I’m excited to see how he handles this new role in a game.
Calvin Throckmorton, OT, Oregon (6’5″, 309)
Calvin Throckmorton was part of one of the best offensive lines in college football this year. He played right tackle, but his size could lead him to a future at guard in the NFL. He played all over the place in 2018, starting at every position but left guard. He will find a home somewhere and his versatility could make him appealing for teams looking to fill multiple depth positions with one player.
Binjimin Victor, WR, Ohio State (6’4″, 199 lbs)
Despite not getting as much press as the receivers that came before him Terry McLaurin and Parris Campbell, Binjimin Victor seems ready to stand out. His size and speed make him intriguing. Word is that he has impressed this week in practice as well. He likely won’t go before Day 3, but he could have an early impact.
Yasir Durant, OT, Missouri (6’7″, 330 lbs)
Entering this process as a massive prospect, Yasir Durant is a wild card in this tackle class. He started the past two years for Missouri at left tackle and put together some decent tape. The hype around Missouri died down without Drew Lock, but Durant’s size should be enough to keep teams interested. Some solid work here could help him be a mid-round selection.
Levante Bellamy, RB, Western Michigan (5’9″, 190 lbs)
One of my favorite sleepers in this year’s draft, Levante Bellamy is explosive. He was a great playmaker for Western Michigan this year. He is a bit undersized, but his speed should help him turn some heads. If given the right opportunity to shine here, he could find a home in the later rounds.
Kelly Bryant, QB, Missouri (6’3″, 225 lbs)
Two years ago, he was starting in the national title game. Now Kelly Bryant is hoping he can do enough to convince an NFL team to give him a chance. His mobility has never been an issue, but his accuracy and mechanics are questionable. He is one of the biggest profile players in Florida based on name-recognition. People will be talking if he can show some improvements.
Jon Runyan Jr., OT, Michigan (6’5″, 321 lbs)
Another offensive tackle to add to the mix. Jon Runyan, son of former Washington offensive tackle Jon Runyan, has reportedly looked solid all week at practice. He is very fundamentally sound and clearly understands how to play the position. If he can show some nastiness and consistency, his physical tools should he enough to pique someone’s interest.
Diondre Overton, WR, Clemson (6’4″, 210 lbs)
A late arriver after the Clemson-LSU game, Diondre Overton made an instant impression on Wednesday with one of the catches of the week. He had to play behind some really talented receivers at Clemson. I am excited to see how he does in a more prevalent position here. He is a big body target with production in the red zone. He could fit a role right away in the NFL.
For more NFL Draft coverage, check out the Aftermath’s NFL Draft Podcast, with new episodes every Thursday.
College football season wrapped up on Monday night and now it’s time to focus on the NFL draft. I am breaking down the best and worst performances from the CFP final and discussing the latest draft prospect decisions. Plus, find out which players you should be watching during the upcoming East-West Shrine Bowl. Listen to the latest episode now on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.
Is it just me, or does it feel like conference championship games were forever ago? Bowl season was a long slog, but we made it out the other side. Our patience was rewarded with an entertaining, if not always super competitive, College Football Playoff. While some of these bowl games certainly felt pointless, it is an excellent opportunity for players to put together game tape in front of a national audience heading into the pre-draft process. Unfortunately, it also means some players will walk away with a less-than-stellar end to their season and potentially tank their draft stock. It’s hard to blame some of the top prospects for skipping these games.
With bowl season done though, it is time to review the big risers and fallers from the past month. Before you get on me about players like Jerry Jeudy or Joe Burrow, they obviously played great games. However, their draft stock is pretty well cemented. There really isn’t a whole lot higher they could possibly climb. Let’s take a look at some players whose bowl performances made a real difference in their draft stock.
A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
A.J. Epenesa capped off a huge second half to the season with a dominant showing in the Holiday Bowl. Going up against a likely top-50 pick in Austin Jackson, Epenesa consistently got pressure, often times in different ways. He showed a wide array of pass rush moves and good burst off the edge. I think he should find himself in the top 10 come draft day, but there is a lot to happen between now and then. He will definitely be in the draft after declaring on Tuesday.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU
Man this kid can run. I’ve been saying he reminds me of Maurice Jones-Drew. Some of that is size profile, but Clyde Edwards-Helaire also brings that same kind of elusiveness mixed with power. He definitely lacks breakaway speed, but he could he effective in the right offense. With Chuba Hubbard and Najee Harris returning to school, he is now up to RB5 and I thinking solidly into the Day 2 conversation. I’m worried his stock will dip if he doesn’t run super well at the combine, but he should develop into a starter in the NFL.
Bradlee Anae, EDGE, Utah
I have loved what I have seen from Bradlee Anae over the past few months. He has incredible burst and timing off the edge and actually does a decent job setting the edge against the run. He still has a long way to go in terms of disengaging bigger blockers and varying up his pass rush moves. From a physical traits stand point, he has what teams want. That was on display against Texas, even if it doesn’t show in the box score. He finished with half a sack, but had a bigger presence than that.
Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame
Chase Claypool balled out against Iowa State in the Camping World Bowl. He showed a good ability to go up and make plays in traffic. His body control was impressive. His size is great too and you can’t coach that. Claypool sits behind a long list of guys right now on my big board because of how stacked this draft class is at the receiver, but his tape left a very positive impression heading into the Senior Bowl.
Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota
I was resistant to putting Tyler Johnson here because I have heard so many mixed reviews, but wow he balled out against Auburn. I went back to rewatch the tape of Marlon Davidson and Johnson stood out every time. He showcased great athleticism and an impressive ability to adjust to the ball in the air on a few spectacular catches. I know there are scouts who are knocking him down because he didn’t get a Senior Bowl invite, but he looked the part of an NFL receiver in the Outback Bowl.
Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma
That was a really tough way for Jalen Hurts’ college career to end. Hurts simply looked inaccurate against LSU in the CFP semifinal. He showed out as a runner, but he is built more like Tim Tebow than Lamar Jackson. The truth is, Hurts reminds me of Tebow, but with slightly better mechanics. He lacks great arm strength, often times having to float balls over the middle, rather than hitting receivers on a line. We will see Hurts as part of a loaded quarterback group at the Senior Bowl though, so maybe he can start to rehab his value.
A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
You had to know this was coming. His last game was brutal. A.J. Terrell got smoked by JaMarr Chase. Chase has made a lot of defenders look foolish this year, but Terrell looked was completely overmatched. He showed he does not have the top line speed to run with top-end receivers or the physicality to make up for that. This might force him to go back to school for another year; he is just a junior. If he does come out, I expect him to be a fringe second round player at this point.
Austin Jackson, OT, USC
The reason why Austin Jackson is on this list is because A.J. Epenesa is one of the risers. Jackson got a big test facing the Iowa edge rusher. I actually pegged him as one of the players who could help his draft stock the most given the opportunity. I think to say he failed is extreme, but he also didn’t pass with flying colors either. There were moments where he flashed franchise tackle potential. I think it is going to take some good coaching and a bit more seasoning for him to get up to NFL speed for him to reach his ceiling. Jackson might still find his way into the first round, but should not be thought of as a day-one starter.
Marlon Davidson, EDGE, Auburn
Auburn got pushed around a bit in the Outback Bowl by Minnesota. Marlon Davidson was no exception. He was undisciplined against the run a lot in that game. He didn’t make much of a mark as a pass rusher either. Auburn likes to kick him inside next to Derrick Brown. I see him as more of a 3-4 or 4-3 end, but he will need to improve his gap discipline and work on reading his keys before he can make an impact at the next level.
Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama
The athleticism is there. The frame is there. The production and presence are not. Raekwon Davis flashed some moments of creating good leverage, but he spent much of the game simply locked up and ineffective. He looks like a project player who has the physical tools to develop into something special. The problem is, he has looked like that for two years, failing to take the next step. Alabama’s Citrus Bowl win over Michigan was just the latest example.
For more NFL Draft coverage, check out the Aftermath’s NFL Draft Podcast, with new episodes every Thursday.