It's Draft week! Brandon Walker, Rone, myself will be hosting our annual EnEffEl Draft Show on Thursday night starting at 8pm eastern with a ton of awesome guests. We'll have wall-to-wall coverage presented by Mamita's. Be sure to tune in!
Here's where I see things shaking out as of right now:
1) Jacksonville Jaguars - EDGE Aidan Hutchinson (Michigan)
There is a lot of buzz that the Jags could be going EDGE rusher and it may not be the guy everyone thinks. I'm hearing some late buzz it could legitimately be Kayvon Thibodeaux, who is +3000 in the Barstool Sportsbook (bet very responsibly on that one). I still think Hutchinson is the guy at this point, just because you cannot whiff on the top pick and he's got the least amount of questions and concerns. Hutchinson missed some time in 2020 with an injury, but was the Heisman runner-up as a defensive player this year. He finished with 14.0 sacks in 2021 which was a Michigan record. The concerns with him are shorter than desired arms (32 1/8" inches), which are in the bottom 25% of his position. That's nitpicking, but in a draft which is considered 'weak', you'd like to have a #1 pick that checks all the boxes.
2) Detroit Lions - EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux (Oregon)
Thibodeaux's best season came as a freshman with 9.0 sacks and 14.0 TFLs. He's got an outstanding get-off, but there are concerns if his size (6'4" 254 lbs.) is maxed out and his motor. There are also rumors that he isn't fully committed to football as he does have a lot of outside interests, including founding his own cryptocurrency ($JREAMS).
3) Houston Texans - OT Ikem "Ickey" Ekwonu (NC State)
Here me out - Davis Mills actually wasn't bad. He threw 16 TDs to 10 INTs as a rookie throwing to Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola's corpse. Get this guy some weapons, but more importantly, give him some time to stand and deliver. He was a medical red flag last year for a lot of teams, so I have them investing in their O-Line to keep Mills healthy so they can really see what they have.
4) New York Jets - CB Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner (Cincinnati)
The Jets are like a mini-golf course, holes everywhere. But Cornerback may be their most glaring. Sauce Gardner has the ideal build you're looking for from the position at 6'3" 190 lbs. with long, 33 1/2" inch arms. But he's not just a create a player physically, he has production to match, having not allowed a TD in coverage his entire college career. He'll also hit ya.
5) TRADE: New Orleans Saints (via New York Giants) - QB Malik Willis (Liberty)
I do not buy for a second that the Saints traded up 3-4 weeks before the Draft looking for an Offensive Tackle and a Wide Receiver. They've met with multiple QBs expected to go in the 1st and 2nd round in the Draft during this off-season and I expect they'll favor Willis as his ceiling is likely the highest given his physical attributes. Jumping ahead of Carolina in this scenario with all the QBs on the board gives them their pick of the litter. They'll give up both #16 & #19 to move up with a Giants team that has a bunch of needs.
6) Carolina Panthers - OT Charles Cross (Mississippi State)
Matt Rhule does have the connection to Pitt QB Kenny Pickett having recruited him at Temple, but at #6 I'm saying they had eyes for Willis who is now off the board. They've got several needs and Offensive Tackle is absolutely one of them. They can't feel good about any QB taking snaps with Cam Erving at Left Tackle, so they take Cross in a bit of a surprise with Evan Neal still on the board. Cross is an excellent pass protector and plays with a nasty streak.
7) New York Giants (via Chicago Bears) - OT Evan Neal (Alabama)
The Giants are thrilled here as they're able to stockpile picks by trading down with the Saints, but also get a blue chip player at a position of need with Evan Neal. They'll pair him with Andrew Thomas to give Daniel Jones some bookend Tackles so he can stand and deliver down the field.
8) Atlanta Falcons - WR Garrett Wilson (Ohio State)
Calvin Ridley is suspended for the season and Russell Gage is now on a team with a real future in the NFC South. Even with Marcus Mariota at QB, he'll need guys to throw to and right now it's really just Kyle Pitts. Garrett Wilson can go get it despite just average height (6'0" 183 lbs.). He bolstered his stock at the Combine with a 4.38 40-yard dash and should be a top 10 pick in late April.
9) Seattle Seahawks (via Denver Broncos) - EDGE Travon Walker (Georgia)
There is some buzz that Walker could go as high as #1 overall. The NFL Draft is almost always traits over production, but his production was low (6.0 sacks last year on a LOADED defense). But physically he is a create-a-player for an EDGE guy. 6'5" 271 lbs. with 35 1/2" inch arms and ran a 4.51 40-yard dash. He can also drop in coverage, so he has all the tools. But can the Seahawks coaches maximize his potential?
10) TRADE: San Francisco 49ers (via New York Jets via Seattle Seahawks) - WR Treylon Burks (Arkansas)
Deebo Samuel is on his way to the Big Apple in this deal. The 49ers trade Samuel to the Jets for the 10th overall pick and some filler later in the Draft. With this pick, John Lynch and the 49ers draft his replacement, which is a familiar strategy they used when they traded DeForest Buckner for a pick that they used for a younger, cheaper replacement in Javon Kinlaw. Burks is a do-it-all offensive weapon like Samuel who can catch it, run it, and even throw it on occassion.
11) Washington Commanders - S Kyle Hamilton (Notre Dame)
Hamilton has one of the widest ranges you'll see for a blue chip prospect. He could go as high as #2 to Detroit, but he could also very well fall out of the top 10 merely due to the perceived positional value (or lack thereof) of the Safety position. The Commanders are parting ways with S/LB Landon Collins, so a move to a younger prospect with similar scheme versatility makes sense at #11.
12) Minnesota Vikings - CB Derek Stingley Jr. (LSU)
Another LSU legend, Patrick Peterson is a starting CB for the Vikings. He was drafted in 2011, so that's not a long-term strategy. Stingley was incredible as a freshman in 2019, but has fallen off since then. He suffered a foot injury in August which limited him in 2021 before he shut it down. If he can stay on the field, he'll be a steal at #12.
13) TRADE: Pittsburgh Steelers (via Houston Texans via Cleveland Browns) - QB Kenny Pickett (Pitt)
With GM Kevin Colbert stepping down after the Draft, the rumor is they are trying to nail down a QB to groom for the future. The word on the street is that they love Malik Willis, but I don't see him falling out of the top 10, so in this scenario I have them taking the guy who called Heinz Field home at Pitt, Kenny Pickett. Pickett may be the most pro ready of the crop this year which would help maximize this defense's window to win.
14) Baltimore Ravens - DT Jordan Davis (Georgia)
The Ravens have thrived historically with big Defensive Tackles that eat up blockers; see: Tony Siragusa, Sam Adams, Haloti Ngata, Brandon Williams. Davis would absolutely fit that bill. The 6'6" 341 lbs. is a freakshow athlete who ran a blistering 4.78 40-yard dash at the Combine. He'll let the rest of the defense eat and help bolster their run defense.
15) Philadelphia Eagles (via Miami Dolphins) - EDGE Jermaine Johnson II (Florida State)
The Eagles signed Hassan Reddick in free agency, but Brandon Graham is going into Year 12 on the other side. Josh Sweat showed some promise off the EDGE, but not enough to bypass Jermaine Johnson here. He is just an ass-kicker. A transfer from Georgia who won the ACC Defensive Player of the Year and dominated the Senior Bowl week.
16) TRADE: New York Giants (via New Orleans Saints via Philadelphia Eagles via Indianapolis Colts) - LB Devin Lloyd (Utah)
The Giants need a bunch of upgrades and Lloyd is my #4 overall player. He just makes plays. Whether it be tipping a pass, getting an interception, making a TFL, or just shooting a gap, I think Lloyd will be a star at the next level. His 40-time was disappointing at 4.66, so it's hard to put him in the Devin White mold, but his instincts are top notch which helps alleviate any concerns I have.
17) Los Angeles Chargers - CB Trent McDuffie (Washington)
The Chargers needed some help in the secondary and signed JC Jackson, but they're in win-now mode and have had success with smaller DBs (Casey Hayward, Desmond King II, Chris Harris Jr.). McDuffie has some concerns about his size. Not only that he's 5'11" 193 lbs., but he's got 29 3/4" inch arms which likely limit him to the slot. But he's got tremendous feet and instincts which have him as a pretty safe 1st rounder.
18) Philadelphia Eagles (via New Orleans Saints) - WR Drake London (USC)
The Eagles have had mixed success taking Receivers early in the Draft the past few years with the likes of J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Jalen Reagor, and finally DeVonta Smith. Smith is the only one to really get excited about, but they would do well pairing him with a big, physical target like Drake London out of USC. At 6'4" 219 lbs., London is physical in every aspect of his route running and giving Jalen Hurts a bigger target would be a savvy move. Look at this freakshow athlete the Eagles could just line up outside.
19) TRADE: New York Giants (via New Orleans Saints via Philadelphia Eagles) - EDGE George Karlaftis (Purdue)
If the Giants walk away from Thursday night with Evan Neal, Devin Lloyd, and George Karlaftis, that would be three tremendous building blocks for the future. Karlaftis isn't as twitched up as Travon Walker of Kayvon Thibodeux, but he plays with big time shock in his hands and reminds me of a Cam Jordan/Ryan Kerrigan type who can with with technique and power. He's also got a heck of a German suplex.
20) TRADE: Houston Texans (via Pittsburgh Steelers) - WR Jameson Williams (Alabama)
The Texans continue to invest in Davis Mills by giving him a WR to throw to. Brandin Cooks has been solid, but is injury prone. Williams is another speedster who can take the top off of a defense and open things up underneath for other guys. The only problem is you'll have to wait a bit as he tore his ACL in the National Championship game, but is supposedly ahead of schedule for a return early in the season.
21) New England Patriots - LB Quay Walker (Georgia)
This may come as a surprise as Nakobe Dean was the star amongst the Georgia LBs. But again, the Draft is traits over production and Walker is dripping with traits at 6'3 1/2" 241 lbs. running a 4.52 40-yard dash. He is an outstanding athlete with ideal size for the position, but he is raw as he was just a one-year starter. The Patriots take him in the back half of the 1st here and look to develop him to reach his full potential.
22) Green Bay Packers (via Las Vegas Raiders) - WR Chris Olave (Ohio State)
The Packers need to replace Davante Adams and that will be no easy task even after the selection fo Chris Olave here. Olave is a smooth route runner who burned up the Combine in what turned out to be a 4.39 official 40-yard dash. He can play inside or out and give Aaron Rodgers a legitimate pass catcher.
23) Arizona Cardinals - WR Jahan Dotson (Penn State)
Dotson is actually my pick for the best WR in the Draft. He does it all despite his smaller size of 5'10.5" 178 lbs. For a guy that size, you can't really tell on 50/50 balls as he is outstanding at timing his leaps and naturally catching the football. He'll be an outstanding compliment to DeAndre Hopkins in the desert.
24) Dallas Cowboys - OT Trevor Penning (Northern Iowa)
Tyron Smith hasn't played a full season since 2015 and missed six games last season. La'el Collins also walked in Free Agency, so they got with a project in Penning here. Penning is a nasty sumbitch and will bring a feisty demeanor to the Cowboys Offensive Line.
25) Buffalo Bills - CB Andrew Booth Jr. (Clemson)
As evident by how their season ended in Kansas City, the Bills just need to get stops. Hopefully Tre' White makes a full comeback, but they take Booth here who is both a good cover guy and will come up and hit you in the mouth.
26) Tennessee Titans - DT Travis Jones (UConn)
The Titans take a guy who isn't injured in the 1st round! Jones is a good candidate to go in the late 1st with his combination of size and strength. He really hold the point of attack well and could free up Jeffery Simmons a bit more.
27) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - CB Kaiir Elam (Florida)
The Bucs could go with Devonte Wyatt here as they have a hole at DT with Ndamukong Suh yet to be re-signed, but they are always looking ahead and at Cornerback, they've re-signed Carlton Davis, but both Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean who both play significant snaps will be free agents after the season. The Bucs also struggle if either of them miss time. Elam is a physical press-man Corner who fits what Todd Bowles is looking to do.
28) Green Bay Packers - DT Devonte Wyatt (Georgia)
The Packers could benefit by bolstering their Defensive Line and Wyatt would be a great fit next to Kenny Clark. He is stout against the run and can also provide some rush from the interior.
29) Kansas City Chiefs (via Miami Dolphins via San Francisco 49ers) - WR Skyy Moore (Western Michigan)
It's going to be impossible to replace everything Tyreek Hill brought, but the Chiefs try here with Skyy Moore who is similar stature to Hill and also plays with a ton of juice. Chiefs GM Brett Veach brings in some of the cavalry after that major deal.
30) Kansas City Chiefs - EDGE Boye Mafe (Minnesota)
Playing in the AFC West, you've got to heat up the Quarterbacks. Frank Clark had a big down year last season and Chris Jones plays inside. Mafe had a big off-season circuit and has worked himself into back end of the 1st round discussion.
31) Cincinnati Bengals - C Tyler Linderbaum (Iowa)
The Bengals need to shore up protection for Joe Burrow. It was evident as their season ended on a hurry from right up the middle. Ted Karras can play Center, but is a better fit at Guard where Jackson Carman did not impress last year. Linderbaum has outstanding movement skills and can really upgrade their Offensive Line.
32) Detroit Lions (via Los Angeles Rams) - WR Christian Watson (North Dakota State)
Amon-Ra St. Brown was a great find late in the Draft, but he's likely limited to be in the slot. Watson is a huge WR at 6'4" 208 lbs. and ran a ridiculous 4.36 40-yard dash, he could give Jared Goff a giant target on the outside.