So this afternoon, the NFL Draft got turned UPSIDE DOWN.
And then this happened...
1) Jacksonville Jaguars - QB Trevor Lawrence (Clemson)
The Jags hired Urban Meyer with the agreement that they're taking Lawrence. The outstanding Junior out of Clemson. He's an immediate upgrade over Gardner Minshew and the Jags can begin a full rebuild around him.
2) New York Jets - QB Zach Wilson (BYU)
With the 49ers trading into #3, the #2 pick gets some extra value. It's seeming like a realistic possibility that the NFL Draft will start off with four QBs in the first four picks. Zach Wilson's Pro Day is today and he may have the highest ceiling of all the Quarterback cluster. But he's had one year of production against a fairly cupcake schedule and just a few months ago was delivering food on DoorDash to make ends meet not sure if he'd be a starter at BYU. I'm not saying he'll be Patrick Mahomes, but a lot of what he does is still that Mahomes
3) San Francisco 49ers (via Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans) - QB Justin Fields (Ohio State)
The 49ers give up a haul to get their guy. Justin Fields has such versatility and while a 40-time for a QB isn't everything, he has a lot of elite traits. His toughness is legendary after that performance in the College Football Playoffs against Clemson and he's got everything you'd want physically from the position. The only real knock on Fields is his ability to go through progressions and throw with anticipation, but in the Kyle Shanahan offense where it's a lot of playaction, it'll cut down the need for that as often.
4) Atlanta Falcons - QB Trey Lance (North Dakota State)
The Falcons have Matt Ryan, but with new HC Arthur Smith, they are going to be a run-first team. Lance is a fascinating case, because he only has one year of production. It was an awesome year, 42 Total TDs (28 passing, 14 rushing) 0 INTs. This year, their season was postponed, but they got one game in and Lance didn't look particularly good going 15/30 for 149 yards 2 TDs 1 INT vs. a 1-4 team. Lance does have a great deep ball and elite athleticism for the position, but he also played in a very run heavy offense. He only threw the ball more than 23 times twice in his career with one being his exhibition this year
5) Cincinnati Bengals - OT Penei Sewell (Oregon)
The Bengals need to beef up their group up front to protect last year's #1 pick, Joe Burrow. They signed Riley Reiff to a 1-year deal and have Jonah Williams, but Williams is probably better suited at Guard so Sewell gives them a talent infusion and some flexibility up front.
6) Miami Dolphins (via Philadelphia Eagles) - OT Rashawn Slater (Northwestern)
By moving down, the Dolphins are signaling they're sticking with Tua Time. So the #1 thing they have to do is protect him. Ja'Marr Chase and Kyle Pitts are on the board, but with Tua's injury history, they need to ensure he's got time to stand and deliver. They took Austin Jackson out of USC with one of their 1sts last year, but they can move Slater over to the right side and kick Robert Hunt inside to Guard which is his natural position.
7) Detroit Lions - WR Ja'Marr Chase (LSU)
The Lions let Kenny Golladay walk in Free Agency and are pretty baron at the position. They could certainly look to trade down if a team is looking to climb up for Chase, Pitts or another player, but the need is too great here, so they run the card up for Ja'Marr Chase.
8) Carolina Panthers - QB Mac Jones (Alabama)
The Draft is such a risk and you don't want to miss on your 1st round pick and you can't miss when picking a Quarterback. While the game has gotten faster and require more athletic QBs, familiarity can't be overrated. Jones was at the Senior Bowl and had a great week of practice (which can't be overrated, see: Daniel Jones/Giants pick) with the Panthers coaching staff before . An interesting tidbit, is that the Panthers new Owner, David Tepper was in attendance for the Senior Bowl which is not a common thing for an owner to be in attendance. But maybe if they had eyes for a certain QB it could make sense? Panthers HC Matt Rhule is a fan of Jones and has been for awhile, he tried to recruit him to Baylor when he was there. Now he has his chance to take his guy and the Panthers pull the trigger in a surprise.
9) Denver Broncos - LB Micah Parsons (Penn State)
The Broncos addressed a big need at Cornerback with the signings of Kyle Fuller and Ronald Darby. They are a potential QB trade up team, but in this scenario, they don't have a dance partner at the position. So they're sticking with Drew Lock and building up this Vic Fangio defense with Micah Parsons. They can get better at a position that Fangio teams value very highly in Linebacker and Parsons also offers some pass rush versatility.
10) Dallas Cowboys - CB Patrick Surtain II (Alabama)
The Cowboys need some help replacing Byron Jones who left via Free Agency last season. They drafted CB Trevon Diggs in the 2nd round last year, but need more help to compete on the outside. Surtain has great technique and his father, Patrick Surtain played CB at a high level in the league (3x Pro Bowls 1x 1st Team All-Pro) for 11 years with the Dolphins and Chiefs.
11) New York Giants - EDGE Gregory Rousseau (Miami)
The Giants addressed their Wide Receiver needs in Free Agency with Kenny Golladay, so that eliminates the need to draft one at #11. An area they do still need a ton of help is at EDGE rusher, and Gregory Rousseau was an opt out this year, but with 15.5 sacks in 2019, he didn't have much more to prove this year anyway. He represents an immediate upgrade for Big Blue, who is starting to look formidable in a wide open NFC East.
12) Philadelphia Eagles (via Miami Dolphins via San Francisco 49ers) - TE Kyle Pitts (Florida)
The Eagles move down and get their guy. Philadelphia's new QB Coach Brian Johnson was Florida's OC while Pitts was there. They are full go with Jalen Hurts and now get to play a lot of 12 personnel with Pitts and TE Dallas Goedert. This bold strategy pays off early for the Birds.
13) LA Chargers - OT/OG Alija Vera-Tucker (USC)
The Chargers need to protect QB Justin Herbert at all costs and Vera-Tucker got a tough measurement this week with shorter arms than really needed for Tackle. The Chargers are clearly beefing up the OL with the Corey Linsley signing and they continue their makeover with Vera-Tucker.
14) Minnesota Vikings - S Trevon Moehring-Woodard (TCU)
The Vikings have Harrison Smith, but lost a good safety in Ant Harris in free agency. Moehring-Woodard could step in and fill the role next to Smith and help lead this young secondary that drafted two CBs early last year in Jeff Gladney and Cam Dantzler. They also need help at EDGE, but this may be a little early for that next wave of rushers and GM Rick Spielman was spotted at TCU's Pro Day recently.
15) New England Patriots - LB Zaven Collins (Tulsa)
Dont'a Hightower is back after opting out for the 2020 season, but he's getting older and they could pair him with Collins who is a freakshow athlete. He has speed you don't see for a guy his size and I'm sure Bill Belichick could find some creative ways to use a guy that can do things like this:
16) Arizona Cardinals - CB Caleb Farley (Virginia Tech)
Sometimes injuries work in a team's favor. The Cardinals catch some luck with Farley being available at #16. He falls a bit because of his back surgery which is supposedly minimally invasive and he should be ready for off-season activities. Farley was the first big, notable opt out for 2020. He's a really interesting prospect that came to Virginia Tech as a Wide Receiver. But at 6'2" 207 lbs. he offers plus size at the Cornerback position. He plays with with good aggression and can tackle too.
17) Las Vegas Raiders - LB/S Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (Notre Dame)
Raiders GM Mike Mayock loves drafting from top schools and is very close to the Notre Dame program. Owusu-Koramoah is a ferocious tackler who loves ball, so will get along just fine with Jon Gruden. The only real question with him is weight. He's listed at 215 lbs., but there was rumors he was even lower than that. He may need to transition to Safety because of his size, but with the new NFL, he may just be able to utilize his speed to cover more ground at LB.
18) Miami Dolphins - WR DeVonta Smith (Alabama)
The rumors of Tua and DeVonta Smith talking about teaming up comes true as the Dolphins select the skinny WR at #18. Smith declined to do any on-field drills at Alabama's Pro Day but said he weighs 170 lbs., which must be a little disappointing for a guy that had time to puff up and was listed at a still light 175 lbs. during the season. Regardless of weight, this kid can play and should immediately upgrade the Dolphins Receiving corps. Fins GM Chris Grier hits a homerun with this Draft nabbing Rashawn Slater, DeVonta Smith, and future picks.
19) Washington Football Team - WR Jaylen Waddle (Alabama)
He's not Tyreek Hill, but he's got similar juice. He also has the ability to make contested catches which is a rarity for Receivers his size. I wouldn't be surprised if he goes before Smith, but in this scenario, Waddle goes to Washington where he'll stretch the field opposite Terry McLaurin.
20) TRADE - New York Jets (via Chicago Bears) - RB Travis Etienne (Clemson)
Trade Details - Chicago sends #20 to the New York Jets for Sam Darnold and the 34th pick in the Draft.
The Jets go take a Runningback to take some pressure off of Zach Wilson. Etienne is a three down back who has natural hands and breakaway speed. He isn't as consistent in Pass Pro, but has shown a willingness to stick his head in there.
21) Indianapolis Colts - EDGE Jaelen Phillips (Miami)
Phillips has a checkered past having given up football briefly after several concussions at UCLA. But after transferring to Miami, he dominated this year and is all-in on the game. The Colts need a replacement at Left Tackle after Anthony Costanzo's surprising retirement, but they're also without a big time presence on the EDGE, so Phillips is the pick here
22) Tennessee Titans - CB Kelvin Joseph (Kentucky)
The Bud Dupree signing likely takes them out of the EDGE rusher pick and the surprising release of CB Adoree Jackson, who was a 1st rounder in 2017 has put them firmly in the CB discussion as far as team needs. They took Kristian Fulton on Day 2 last year and have some vets who have been cycling through teams in Janoris Jenkins and Kevin Johnson. Joseph was a transfer from DBU (LSU) and had a somewhat messy exit from the Tigers after being suspended from their Bowl game as a freshman. Joseph is a tall CB with some bite and can excel in both press and off coverage and could get some action immediately for the Titans.
23) TRADE Cleveland (via New York Jets via Seattle Seahawks) - EDGE Kwity Paye (Michigan)
Trade Details: New York Jets send Cleveland #23 overall. Cleveland sends the New York Jets #26 overall and a 4th rounder (#110 overall)
Kwity Paye didn't run in the 4.4s today as some had hoped, but he still dominated his Pro Day.
He was used all over at Michigan, and not to his advantage. It's tough when you see an EDGE guy lining up at 0 technique over the ball. But Paye is a classic example of a guy people expect to be a better pro than college player and the Browns pair another freak with Myles Garrett.
24) Pittsburgh Steelers - CB Jaycee Horn (South Carolina)
The Steelers just released a productive Cornerback in Steven Nelson and Pittsburgh needs to get younger and more talented across the board with Joe Haden, who was drafted in 2010 being their top CB at the moment. Jaycee Horn got measured this week with 33" arms! He's a feisty CB out of South Carolina with great bloodlines. His dad was Saints WR Joe Horn.
25) Jacksonville Jagurs (via Los Angeles Rams) - LB Nick Bolton (Missouri)
This trade was part of the Jalen Ramsey deal and the Jags re-tool at the Linebacker position with Nick Bolton out of Missouri. He's a another new age LB that can play sideline-to-sideline and paired with Myles Jack, will eat up a ton of grass behind their Defensive Line.
26) TRADE - New York Jets (via Cleveland Browns) - CB Greg Newsome II (Northwestern)
The Jets had a nice late round find with CB Bryce Hall last year and now they pair him with Newsome who has some intriguing traits to complete a wild first round for Gang Green.
27) Baltimore Ravens - OT Teven Jenkins (Oklahoma State)
Orlando Brown Jr. has asked for a trade since the team won't move him to Left Tackle. We'll see if that gets done before Draft day, but they'll have a hole on the right side once he is dealt. Teven Jenkins played on the right side at OK State and has a nasty streak that GM Eric DeCosta will love in his new RT.
28) New Orleans Saints - LB Jamin Davis (Kentucky)
Davis is a see-ball-get-ball Linebacker that would be an immediate upgrade next to Demario Davis. The team is looking to fill that slot after releasing a high priced veteran in Kwon Alexander who was a mid-season acquisition.
29) Green Bay Packers - OT Jaylen Mayfield (Michigan)
The Packers need a guy to protect Aaron Rodgers whose not a dirthhe. LT David Bakhtiari got injured on New Year's Eve and may not be available for the season. That is a big problem as Billy Turner is not the answer. Mayfield played Right Tackle at Michigan and can likely slot in to start on the Right Side Day 1 and be an upgrade so the Packers can focus on helping out the left side.
30) Buffalo Bills - EDGE Carlos "Boogie" Basham Jr. (Wake Forest)
Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison are both nice players, but they're both 10+ year vets, so Buffalo could use a youth infusion on the EDGE. Boogie Basham is an exciting young rusher who has can win with power and has a nice inside counter. He would be an ideal fit for Buffalo near the end of the 1st round.
31) Kansas City Chiefs - OT Christian Darrisaw (Virginia Tech)
Another top team has holes along the Offensive Line. Kansas City released both their starting Tackles Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz who were dealing with injuries. They've done a good job on the interior of the OL so far in Free Agency with Joe Thuney and Kyle Long, but they still need to upgrade both Offensive Tackle spots. Darrisaw, who played on the left side at Virginia Tech is an easy pick here.
32) Tampa Bay Buccaneers) - DT Davyion Nixon (Iowa)
The Bucs go to the well for the third year in a row taking an Iowa player in the trenches (2019: Anthony Nelson, 2020: Tristan Wirfs). The defending champs re-signed Ndamukong Suh to a 1-year deal, but need to lay a foundation for after this year. Nixon is a freakshow athlete that can generate some pressure and hold up against the run.