Sports: Sizing up NFL Draft picks


First Round

  1. Cincinnati Bengals – QB Joe Burrow, LSU

The Bengals are drafting Burrow, last year’s most prolific college football player, to be their quarterback of the future.

  1. Washington Redskins – DE Chase Young, OSU

Young is perhaps the most talented player in the draft. He could swiftly emerge as one of the best players on Washington’s defense. 

  1. Detroit Lions – CB Jeff Okudah, OSU

Okudah will be expected to fill the void of top CB Darius Slay’s departure immediately.

  1. New York Giants – OT Andrew Thomas, UGA

New York selected Thomas to protect franchise QB Daniel Jones and give the talented Saquon Barkley a better offensive line to run behind.

  1. Miami Dolphins – QB Tua Tagovailoa, ALA

Coupled with the Dolphins’ investment in OT Austin Jackson, Tagovailoa has the advantage as a franchise quarterback for the Dolphins. However, his very troubling injury history is a major concern.

  1. Los Angeles Chargers – QB Justin Herbert, ORE 

The Chargers are making Herbert the quarterback that will represent their new direction as a franchise after losing out on Tom Brady and the departure of long-tenured QB Philip Rivers. 

  1. Carolina Panthers – DT Derrick Brown, AUB

Carolina is attempting to shore up a major weakness with this pick: a run defense that gave up 143.5 rushing yards per game last season.

  1. Arizona Cardinals – OLB Isaiah Simmons, CLEM

After building a dangerous offense, Arizona’s next step was to select Simmons—a dynamic, versatile OLB that has the potential to serve as the cornerstone of Arizona’s defense for years. 

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars – CB CJ Henderson, FLA

The Jaguars needed a top cornerback due to the trades of Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye.

  1. Cleveland Browns – OT Jedrick Wills Jr, ALA

A major issue for the Browns last year was their offensive line. Now, they intend to address by signing OT Jack Conklin and drafting Wills Jr.

  1. New York Jets – OT Mekhi Becton, LOU

Becton is one of the most physically impressive players in this draft. New York is hoping that his traits translate to the NFL, and that he shores up their weak offensive line.

  1. Las Vegas Raiders – WR Henry Ruggs III, ALA

Ruggs adds a new dimension to the Raiders offense as an explosive deep threat.

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from SF, IND) – OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa

Since newly acquired QB Tom Brady will be 43 by the time the season starts, Tampa Bay prioritized Brady’s protection by picking Wirfs. 

  1. San Francisco 49ers (from TB) – DT Javon Kinlaw, SC

San Francisco traded star DT DeForest Buckner for this pick. Kinlaw was selected to fill his shoes. 

  1. Denver Broncos – WR Jerry Jeudy, ALA

Denver is likely going to utilize Jeudy as a complementary option with emerging WR Courtland Sutton.

  1. Atlanta Falcons – CB A.J. Terrell, CLEM

The decline of CB Desmond Trufant and the persistence of high-octane offenses in the NFC South are why the Falcons selected Terrell.

  1. Dallas Cowboys – WR CeeDee Lamb, OKLA

Lamb is a high-upside third option behind Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. He will add to an already high-powered Cowboys offense.

  1. Miami Dolphins (from PIT) – OT Austin Jackson, USC

Miami drafted Jackson to improve their offensive line and protect Tua Tagovailoa, their newly drafted quarterback with injury concerns. 

  1. Las Vegas Raiders (from CHI) – CB Damon Arnette, OSU

Arnette fits the mold of a competitive, successful collegiate player that Mike Mayock has targeted during his tenure as GM. It also fills a pressing need for the Raiders: they will need quality cornerback play to slow down the high-flying AFC West.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars (from LAR) – OLB K’Lavon Chaisson, LSU

Chaisson was a versatile playmaker at LSU. The trade of Calais Campbell and the potential departure of Yannick Ngakoue necessitated the pick for Jacksonville. 

  1. Philadelphia Eagles – WR Jalen Reagor, TCU

Philadelphia had one of the worst receiving corps in the league last season due to injuries and a lack of talent. The pick of Reagor is an attempt to bolster the group. 

  1. Minnesota Vikings (from BUF) – WR Justin Jefferson, LSU

Stefon Diggs, one of the best playmakers in the league, was dealt to Buffalo in exchange for this pick and other selections. Minnesota drafted Jefferson to become a formidable threat beside Adam Theilen, similar to the dynamic between Theilen and Diggs over recent years. 

  1. Los Angeles Chargers (from NE) – LB Kenneth Murray, OKLA

The Chargers have built a good secondary and defensive line, but the linebacker position remained a weakness. Los Angeles’s selection of Murray addresses this gap in their defense. 

  1. New Orleans Saints – C/G Cesar Ruiz, MICH

New Orleans drafted Ruiz to compete for a starting spot at guard or center. Ruiz, if he starts, will either push out Larry Warford at RG or Erik McCoy at C.

  1. San Francisco 49ers (from MIN) – WR Brandon Aiyuk, AZ St.

After losing WR Emmanuel Sanders to the Saints, San Francisco hopes that Aiyuk can unlock the team’s offensive potential, similarly to how Sanders did it last year. 

  1. Green Bay Packers (from HOU, MIA) – QB Jordan Love, Utah St.

In a somewhat controversial move, Green Bay has clearly selected Love to learn behind star QB Aaron Rodgers and play when Rodgers moves onto retirement or another team.

  1. Seattle Seahawks – LB Jordyn Brooks, TX Tech

Brooks’s most likely role in Seattle’s defense will eventually be to replace LB Bobby Wagner. 

  1. Baltimore Ravens – ILB Patrick Queen, LSU

Like Brooks in Seattle, Queen will be expected to step in and replace the role of a legend at LB. Since Ray Lewis retired, Baltimore has not had a premier player at LB. They are hoping that Queen can provide them with at least quality play. 

  1. Tennessee Titans – OT Isaiah Wilson, UGA

Following the loss of OT Jack Conklin, it is understandable that Tennessee would draft Wilson to fill his role. 

  1. Miami Dolphins (from GB) – CB Noah Igbinoghene, AUB

Igbinoghene is an interesting choice after Miami’s acquisition of CB Byron Jones to compliment CB Xavier Rhodes and the emergence of CB Nik Needham in the latter half of last season. They are trying to build an elite pass defense, which is odd considering that the AFC East does not have any good passing teams. Perhaps Miami has their sights set on taking down Kansas City. 

  1. Minnesota Vikings (from SF) – CB Jeff Gladney, TCU

Xavier Rhodes’s sharp decline led to Minnesota having an uncharacteristically bad passing defense last year. The selection of Gladney is an attempt to shore it up.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs – RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU

Edwards-Helaire is a relatively fresh RB with a versatile skill set that fits with the many dimensions of the Chiefs offense. RB Damien Williams will provide competition for Edwards-Helaire after his major impact last postseason for Kansas City.

Second Round

  1. Cincinnati Bengals – WR Tee Higgins, CLEM

Cincinnati added Higgins to give Burrow another weapon to use beyond WR Tyler Boyd and RB Joe Mixon.

  1. Indianapolis Colts (from WAS) – WR Michael Pittman Jr, USC

The Colts have picked WRs in the second round for two consecutive years. They have not drafted a TY Hilton-type player, but rather a gadget player in Parris Campbell and now a hotly contested catch ace in Pittman Jr. 

  1. Detroit Lions – RB D’Andre Swift, Georgia

RB Kerryon Johnson’s complete lack of durability might have pushed Detroit to draft Swift. If Johnson is still viewed as the number one back in Detroit, him and Swift could be one of the better RB tandems in the league. 

  1. New York Giants – S Xavier McKinney, ALA

McKinney and free agent signing James Bradberry will bolster a Giants secondary that performed poorly last season. 

  1. New England Patriots (from LAC) – S Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne

The Patriots are old at the safety position. Dugger will learn and potentially get some playing time in 2020 before eventually replacing whoever retires or departs first between safeties Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung. S Duron Harmon was also traded to Detroit. 

  1. Carolina Panthers – DE Yetur Gross-Matos, PENN

Coupled with DT Derrick Brown, Carolina is looking to add youth and talent to their defensive line. 

  1. Miami Dolphins – G Robert Hunt, LOU

Miami is investing in even more offensive line help for Tagovailoa. 

  1. Houston Texans (from ARI) – DT Ross Blacklock, TCU

Houston is wisely investing in their run defense. While Tennessee and Indianapolis are going to field fearsome rushing attacks, selecting Blacklock serves to counter that somewhat. 

  1. Indianapolis Colts (from CLE) – RB Jonathan Taylor, WIS

Taylor is an accomplished collegiate RB who angles to form a three-headed snake in Indianapolis with the power of Marlon Mack and receiving ability of Nyheim Hines. 

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars – WR Laviska Shenault Jr, COLO

The new receiving duo of Shenault and Chark has high potential considering the relatively weak secondaries in the AFC South. Jacksonville is also building around QB Gardner Minshew rather than selecting another QB. 

  1. Chicago Bears (from LAR) – TE Cole Kmet, ND

Due to the failures of tight ends Trey Burton and Adam Shaheen, Chicago has selected Kmet to play as their top TE. 

  1. Cleveland Browns (from IND) – S Grant Delpit, LSU

Delpit, a top member of the elite LSU defense last year, will get playing time at S immediately for Cleveland. 

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – S Antoine Winfield Jr, MINN

Tampa Bay is armed with a great offense, but their defense has a noticeable gap in the secondary. It’s a particularly important aspect considering that teams in the NFC South love to pass the ball. Winfield Jr will be a key player in Tampa Bay for this reason. 

  1. Denver Broncos – WR KJ Hamler, PENN

Hamler is not projected to be as complete a receiver as Courtland Sutton or Jerry Jeudy, but he could develop into a respectable third option for young QB Drew Lock. His ability to gain yardage as a runner could open up new options for Denver’s offense.

  1. Atlanta Falcons – DT Marlon Davidson, AUB

In addition to needing defensive tackle, Atlanta also plays in a division where the quarterbacks are immobile (Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Teddy Bridgewater). Putting internal pressure on those players limits their ability to move around in the pocket more so than pressure from a defensive end.

  1. Seattle Seahawks (from NYJ) – DE Darrell Taylor, TENN

In games played without Jadeveon Clowney in 2019, Seattle struggled to pressure the quarterback. If Clowney returns, him and Taylor could combine to form one of the best DE duos in the NFL. If not, Seattle hopes that Taylor can at least fill Clowney’s role as the top pass rusher on the team. 

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers – WR Chase Claypool, ND

Claypool projects to be the third option behind Juju Smith-Schuster and James Washington in Pittsburgh. Similar to Washington, Claypool is adept at making contested catches.

  1. Chicago Bears – CB Jaylon Johnson, Utah

Overall, Chicago’s defense declined after a ridiculous year in 2018. Defense is going to  continue to be their identity regardless of who their quarterback is between Trubisky and Foles. 

  1. Dallas Cowboys – CB Trevon Diggs, ALA

Losing CB Byron Jones to Miami was a necessary evil that enabled Dallas to keep the trifecta of Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Amari Cooper together. Trevon Diggs, Stefon’s brother, will immediately serve as a key cog in the Cowboys’ secondary. 

  1. Los Angeles Rams – RB Cam Akers, FSU

With Todd Gurley’s departure, it appeared as though 2019 draftee RB Darrell Henderson was going to be the clear top back on the Rams. Akers has been drafted to compete with Henderson. There is potential for him to start, but Los Angeles hopes he will be a quality complementary back at the very least.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles – QB Jalen Hurts, OKLA

More than anyone, Philadelphia recognizes the importance of having a good backup quarterback. But knowing that Carson Wentz has been so frequently injured, does Philadelphia really envision Hurts as just a backup? He was a high-profile collegiate quarterback that the Eagles selected in the second round. That is not the typical profile of an NFL backup QB. It is a very intriguing situation, especially considering how well Wentz has played when he is healthy.

  1. Buffalo Bills – DE AJ Epenesa, Iowa

Epenesa is going to rotate in for Trent Murphy, Jerry Hughes, and Mario Addison in 2020. Beyond that, he could grow into a foundational defensive end for Buffalo. 

  1. Baltimore Ravens (from NE, ATL) – RB JK Dobbins, OSU

For now, Dobbins will be penciled in at second on the RB depth chart behind the aging   Mark Ingram as his eventual replacement in the position of lead back in Baltimore’s run-heavy offense. Edwards and Hill are the Ravens’ backs that are more suited to complementary roles. 

  1. Miami Dolphins (from NO) – DT Raekwon Davis, ALA

Davis along with last year’s first rounder DT Christian Wilkins could form an intimidating duo at the DT position for Miami. The Dolphins are quietly building a good defense with their moves over the past couple seasons. It does not hurt that the other teams in the AFC East are better at running the ball than passing it. 

  1. Los Angeles Rams – WR Van Jefferson, FLA

Jefferson will likely fill the role that Brandin Cooks left behind when he was traded to Houston: a deep threat with good route-running to complement Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods.

  1. Minnesota Vikings – OT Ezra Cleveland, Boise State

QB Kirk Cousins does not do well under any type of pressure. He needs adequate protection to succeed and Minnesota’s selection of Cleveland is a step in the right direction to accomplish this goal.

  1. New York Jets (from SEA) – WR Denzel Mims, Baylor

New York selected Mims to address the complete lack of weapons at receiver that franchise QB Sam Darnold will be returning to for a full season in 2020. 

  1. New England Patriots (from BAL) – OLB Josh Uche, MICH

New England traded up to grab Uche, a versatile OLB that can fill a need at pass rusher. Like Chicago, New England’s identity will be dictated by the defensive side of the ball, seeing as their offensive roster is less than ideal. 

  1. Tennessee Titans – CB Kristian Fulton, LSU

Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan, Tennessee’s top two cornerbacks last year, were atrocious. It especially showed against Kansas City in the AFC Championship Game when their lead (and their secondary) was torched by Mahomes. The pick of Fulton ideally helps to remedy the most glaring weakness of the Titans to some degree.

  1. Green Bay Packers – RB AJ Dillon, BOS

Dillon is a bruising runner that complements the versatile play styles of current Packers RBs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (from SF) – ILB Willie Gay Jr, Miss State

Off-field issues for Gay Jr. pushed him down to the second round, but he is more talented than this draft spot. If he can keep it together in the NFL, his upside is high. 

  1. Carolina Panthers (from SEA, KC) – S Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois

Carolina is clearly the worst team in the NFC South. When your opponents are the Saints, Falcons and Buccaneers, one way to fight back to draft defensive talent, particularly in the secondary. The Panthers lost CB James Bradberry to New York, so the selection of Chinn is an attempt to make up some ground.

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