It's Draft Day! Arguably the best day of the year. And we've got some awesome coverage tonight, be sure to tune in to the 2nd Annual En Eff El Draft hosted by Brandon Walker, Rone, and Yours Truly.
1) Jacksonville Jaguars - QB Trevor Lawrence (Clemson)
It's not exactly a secret that the big signal caller out of Clemson will be going 1st overall tonight. In fact, Jags fans already bought up the newlyweds wedding registry.
On the field, Lawrence is the cleanest prospect to come out in quite some time. If you had to create a player at the Quarterback position in a video game, it'd likely be very close to #16. He's got the arm, the leadership, the mental makeup, the mobility, and the decision making to thrive at the next level. He does such a good job delivering the football, his legs don't get talked about enough. I mean check out him just outrunning big time DBs.
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2) New York Jets - QB Zach Wilson (BYU)
With the trade of the 2018's #3 overall pick, Sam Darnold, it all but locks the Jets into a QB at #2. The word on the street is they like Zach Wilson who is a loose thrower, but only has one year of production, which also came against sub-par competition. I'm not as high on Wilson as most. I personally think everyone is overthinking Justin Fields, but Wilson's tape is silly at times and his skill set is tailor made for what the Jets are looking to do on Offense.
3) San Francisco 49ers (via Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans) - QB Mac Jones (Alabama)
On the field, Jones has a lot of haters, but I've always said when you have haters, you have fans too. And Kyle Shanahan appears to be maybe his biggest fan. Word is the 49ers Personnel Department favors Trey Lance, but you have to draft for your system and coach, so I think they stick with Mac Jones here. Jones can processes what he sees faster than almost any QB in the Draft outside of Trevor Lawrence. So with Shanahan's simplified offense, he should have a very quick ramp.
4) Atlanta Falcons - TE Kyle Pitts (Florida)
Peter King floated this out a few weeks ago as everyone had kind of assumed the Falcons were going QB with an aging Matt Ryan. But Ryan hopes to play into his 40s so still has plenty of ball left (along with an enormous contract). Arthur Smith used to coach Tight Ends and now he'll be able to play a lot more 12 personnel with Pitts and former 1st round pick Hayden "Hunter" Hearst "Helmsley". This makes even more sense with the rumors that Julio Jones could be shipped out. On the field, Pitts is an animal. He's carved from marble with 4.45 speed and the longest wingspan for a TE or WR in the last 20 years. He can play in-line Tight End, flex out wide, or even play X Receiver and dominate.
5) Cincinnati Bengals - WR Ja'Marr Chase (LSU)
The Bengals need to beef up their group up front to protect last year's #1 pick, Joe Burrow, but they also have to make Burrow happy. Chase was Burrow's #1 WR at LSU last year when and Burrow has apparently lobbied management to take Chase at #5. We had ESPN's Matt Miller on the Going Deep podcast a few weeks ago and he pointed out that Burrow took OT Riley Reiff out to dinner during his Free Agent visit and may have had ulterior motives. With the Bengals signing Reiff to pair with OT Jonah Williams who they took in the 1st round two years ago, they now don't have an immediate need at OT, clearing the way for Chase. Oregon's OT Penei Sewell certainly is in contention and the Bengals were well represented at his Pro Day, but I have them appeasing Burrow here and taking his guy at #5
6) Miami Dolphins (via Philadelphia Eagles) - OT Penei Sewell (Oregon)
The Dolphins traded back up to #6 with the hopes of securing some help for Tua Tagovailoa. Well it may not be one of the big receiving weapons, but Sewell is the best Offensive Tackle in the Draft. They took Austin Jackson out of USC in the 1st round last year but they've also got Robert Hunt playing out of position and can move him inside to Guard after this selection. While it's not a sexy pick, with the hopes of a franchise pinned on an injury prone QB, this is the smart choice.
7) TRADE - Denver Broncos (via Detroit Lions) - QB Justin Fields (Ohio State)
Trade Details: Detroit sends the #7 overall pick to Denver for the #9 overall pick, a 2nd rounder (#40 overall), and a 2022 2nd rounder.
If the top six goes as most people expect with three QBs and three non-QBs going, the #7 pick would have a big "For Sale" sign on it and could get a ransom. Teams like New England and maybe even Washington or Chicago grow more and more in play with each non-QB pick, but the word is that Denver has eyes for Fields and this isn't a big jump. Even though they just acquired Teddy Bridgewater, that only gives me more reason to think they're moving up. After all, it's lying season. Inside the white lines, Fields is an outstanding playmaker with poise to hang in the pocket and deliver big time throws. He also has the athleticism to get outside and be a very real threat with his legs. He's my QB2.
8) Carolina Panthers - QB Trey Lance (North Dakota State)
Surprise snitches! A shocker here as they just traded for QB Sam Darnold, but hear me out. Lance is a very raw player and likely will need at least a year to get acclimated to the NFL game. The Panthers have yet to pick up Sam Darnold's 5th year option despite reports earlier they would. Assuming they do pick it up, Darnold has a 2-year audition while Lance gets up to speed. In Matt Rhule's offense, Lance is a perfect fit with his mobility and big arm. The Panthers also have a new owner in David Tepper who is insistent they throw as many resources at possible at the QB position to get it right. That doesn't sound like the plan of a team who is ok trading a 3rd round pick for a QB we're not sure is good yet.
9) TRADE - Detroit Lions (via Denver Broncos) - LB Micah Parsons (Penn State)
Parsons is exactly the type of guy I imagine Dan Campbell talking about when he says he wants someone who will bite someone's kneecap off. He's a dog on the field and has been one since he was a freshman in high school posting 18.5 sacks on varsity. He does have some character issues with some maturity things that have followed him from high school to college, but if a team is comfortable with Parsons the person, he's a transcendent talent on the football field.
10) Dallas Cowboys - CB Jaycee Horn (South Carolina)
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. Patrick Surtain II is most people's top CB after the news around Caleb Farley's back surgery came out. Jaycee Horn is a riser in some Draft rooms and clocked in with arms longer than USC OT/OG Alijah Vera-Tucker. Also, hard to deny destiny.
11) New York Giants - EDGE Kwity Paye (Michigan)
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 Paye has a good mix of motor, measurables, and upside. He has scheme versatility and able to play as part of a 4-3 or 3-4 and will upgrade their ability to get after the Quarterback immediately.
12) Philadelphia Eagles (via Miami Dolphins via San Francisco 49ers) - CB Patrick Surtain II (Alabama)
His Dad was a Pro Bowl CB for the 3x Pro Bowl CB in his day for the Dolphins so Surtain has grown up around the game. He's also learned from Nick Saban and can really lock up on the outside. The Eagles need another CB to pair with Darius Slay, so let's give them PS2 here.
13) LA Chargers - OT Rashawn Slater (Northwestern)
Slater is a polarizing player. Some very respected analysts have him as OT1, but I've talked to teams that are much lower on him. D.J. is close with the Chargers, so maybe they share a similar school of thought and I have GM Tom Tolesco taking Slater here at #13. They've done the hard part and found their Franchise QB, now they've got to protect him. Slater made a name for himself by winning his matchup vs. Chase Young in 2019 and the Chargers hope he can carry that over after opting out of the 2020 season.
14) Minnesota Vikings - OT/OG Alijah Vera-Tucker (USC)
The Vikings have done a pretty good job remaking their Offensive Line over the past few years, but they've still got a pretty glaring need at Left Guard. Tucker's arms measured shorter than you'd like at 32 1/8", which likely limits him to Guard at the next level. But lucky for the Vikings, that's just where they'd slot him. The Vikings were at his Pro Day recently and this move makes a ton of sense if he's still there at #14. One of the safer players in the Draft with his versatility.
15) New England Patriots - WR DeVonta Smith
The Heisman Trophy winner is still on the board at #15! Well he ain't making it to #16. A terrific player that lacks the ideal measurables for the position, Smith just makes plays. He's got long arms and big hands to help offset his less than desirable size. He's a silky smooth operator and line up outside or inside. He'll give the Patriots offense a much needed shot in the arm.
16) Arizona Cardinals - WR Jaylen Waddle (Alabama)
The Cardinals have a bunch of needs, especially at Cornerback. Will they roll the dice on Caleb Farley who after opting out of the 2020 season just underwent back surgery and was just caught COVID? Certainly a possibility, but with the Cards trying to go all-in, a field stretcher like Jaylen Waddle would certainly open up the offense. He's short in stature, but not short on big plays down the field with four catches of 75 yards or more.
17) Las Vegas Raiders - LB Jamin Davis (Kentucky)
Davis only has one year of production, but that year was pretty darn good. He averaged over 10 tackles per game and has the type of sideline-to-sideline range that Defensive Coordinators covet. The Raiders have been struggling at Linebacker ever since parting ways with my guy Will Compton. They're missing this type of production.
18) Miami Dolphins - EDGE Jaelen Phillips (Miami)
Phillips is a bit of an enigma. He was the #1 recruit at his position coming out of High School, but he chose to stay home at attend UCLA where his father and grandfather taught music. He suffered a few injuries including three concussions and medically retired from the game to pursue a music career. After deciding he missed the game he entered the transfer portal and sat out a year after transferring to Miami. 2020 was his first action and he looked awesome. So what have you done for me lately? A lot and that's why I have him staying in South Florida. But he does come with a ton of red flags. But if he's right from the neck up, he's go perennial Pro Bowl potential.
19) Washington Football Team - OT Christian Darrisaw (Virginia Tech)
The Football Team would love to move up for a QB, but they're pretty far away and it'd likely be too costly of a move. So with Ryan Fitzpatrick taking snaps this year, they'll need to beef up their protection. Darrisaw is a natural Left Tackle that can move people in the run game and has the potential to be a great blindside protector. He'll need to clean up some fundamentals, but going against Chase Young every day in practice the games will seem easy.
20) Chicago Bears - LB Zaven Collins (Tulsa)
This was kind of a tough one for me to peg. So I went with historical franchise tendencies. With guys like Butkus and Urlacher roaming the middle to create the Monsters of the Midway, why not stick them with a 6'5" 270 lbs. LB who can run to get back to that old Bears style of football. Pair him with Roquan Smith and now we've got something to work with.
21) Indianapolis Colts - EDGE Azeez Ojulari (Georgia)
Ojulari came on strong this season for the Bulldogs leading the SEC in sacks, TFLs, and forced fumbles. The Colts have a need at Left Tackle after Anthony Costanzo's retirement, but they opt to upgrade their pass rush in this scenario. Ojulari is great at timing his get-off and will remind Colts fans of Robert Mathis.
22) Tennessee Titans - CB Caleb Farley (Virginia Tech)
This is a big time need meets opportunity. Farley was most people's CB1 until word broke that he was undergoing off-season back surgery. He was recently cleared for camp but just got COVID as well, so he just doesn't have very good injury luck. A former Wide Receiver and Quarterback with great instincts and ball skills, Farley could supplant the recently departed Adoree Jackson and give the Titans a real playmaker in their back half. And the Titans under GM Jon Robinson have showed willingness to take the best player available even if they will miss some time due to injury (see: Jeffrey Simmons).
23) New York Jets (via Seattle Seahawks) - OT Teven Jenkins (Oklahoma State)
With Zach Wilson scrambling around in the backfield, the Jets will need to ensure they are doing everything they can to keep him upright. GM Joe Douglas is a big believer in the trenches and while a flashy skill position player like Clemson's RB Travis Etienne would be in play here, you need some big hogs up front to move some guys first and Jenkins fits that bill. A nasty player on the Right Side of Oklahoma State's line, he's just the type of lineman Douglas likes. He'll fit in nicely opposite Mekhi Becton in green.
24) Pittsburgh Steelers - RB Najee Harris (Alabama)
This pick feels so convenient I'm not confident it'll hit. Offensive line could certainly be addressed here, but Harris does offer great value for a major position of need. The James Conner/Benny Snell/Anthony McFarland Jr. combo underwhelmed last year and with Big Ben coming back this season, they'll need to take the pressure off him. Harris would certainly be a runningback you're confident in doing so as he's drawn Matt Forte comparisons.
25) Jacksonville Jaguars (via Los Angeles Rams) - EDGE Jayson Oweh (Penn State)
New Jags HC Urban Meyer also recruited Oweh out of high school and even though the Jags have invested 1st rounders in EDGE players the last two drafts with Josh Allen and K'Lavon Chaisson, you can never have too many pass rushers. Jayson Oweh is gaining a lot of 1st round buzz despite putting up as many sacks as Brandon Walker last year (that's a big donut folks). But he's got the height/weight/speed measurables coaches crave with 6'5" 257 lbs. and running a 4.36 40-yard dash.
26) Cleveland Browns - LB/S Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (Notre Dame)
The Joker is a tough one to peg, because much like Isaiah Simmons last year, it's undetermined what position he'll play at the NFL level. You're going to need a creative Defensive Coordinator to maximize his talents, but he's got a lot of them. Wu weighed in at 221 lbs. at his Pro Day, but was much lighter during the season playing in the low 200s. That may relegate him to Safety if that's the case. But wherever he plays, he's instinctive, he can cover, and he can tackle. He would be my dream pick at #32 to my Bucs.
27) Baltimore Ravens - EDGE Joe Tryon (Washington)
The Ravens lost both their EDGE players in Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue in Free Agency and need to replenish that position badly. Tryon opted out of the 2020 season but has the ideal size, speed, and tenacity to fill the role in Baltimore right away.
28) New Orleans Saints - WR Elijah Moore (Ole Miss)
The Saints have a glaring need at Cornerback, but they've yet to establish a reliable #2 WR next to Michael Thomas. Moore is lightning in a bottle out of Ole Miss. He led the FBS in catches and yards this past season and with his speed, could open things up (especially on double moves) for a Saints team that will still put up points with either Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill under center.
29) Green Bay Packers - C/OG Landon Dickerson (Alabama)
The Packers lost 1st Team All-Pro Center Corey Linsley in Free Agency and can't be giving up pressure up the middle on Aaron Rodgers. Dickerson has the versatility to play all along the line (played all five positions in his collegiate career). He's coming off an injury which is why he'll be available, because without it he's a sure-fire mid-1st rounder.
30) Buffalo Bills - RB Travis Etienne (Clemson)
The Bills have Devin Singletary and Zach Moss, but both have holes in their game. Singletary has been benched a few times for fumbles and the Bills offense is ready to take flight now. A complete back like Etienne who has great instincts, hands, and contact balance will upgrade their attack.
31) Baltimore Ravens (via Kansas City Chiefs) - WR Terrace Marshall Jr. (LSU)
The Ravens need some bigger guys on the outside and Hollywood Brown just ain't it. Marshall would be a great compliment and could help Lamar Jackson's development. He's got good bloodlines too. His Great Uncle, Joe Delaney was the 1981 Rookie of the Year for the Kansas City Chiefs at Runningback.
32) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - EDGE Carlos "Boogie" Basham (Wake Forest)
This is a tempting spot to put Miami EDGE Gregory Rousseau as he's got a lot of the traits you'd want. But his Pro Day didn't go as planned after he puffed up and became a bit too stiff. Boogie Basham is a good mix of size and athleticism on the outside. He's an older prospect at 23.5, but he also put up 23 straight games with a TFL. He won't need to come in right away and start, but he'll be a nice developmental piece here for the Bucs. Another name to keep an eye on here: USC DT Jay Tufele or Washington DT Levi Onwuzurike.
Be sure to check out all the action as it unfolds LIVE with the En Eff El Draft Show TONIGHT beginning at 8pm. See you there!