Because of the serious off-the-field concerns with Arden Key, there isn't a defensive end worthy of this pick. In speaking with sources, Marcus Davenport would be a reach this high. Quenton Nelson would make sense, but he's off the board. The best values could come in the secondary. Safety has been a weakness for years for Tampa Bay, and that could easily change with this pick. Fitzpatrick could form a dynamic tandem with Justin Evans. <br> <br>
Fitzpatrick totaled 60 tackles, one interception, eight passes broken up and a forced fumble in 2017. He played really well, doing everything that could be asked of a safety. Fitzpatrick is a superb center fielder, covering receivers deep downfield. He is also fast in pursuit, tackles well in space at the second level, can come down into the box, and is able to play man coverage against tight ends and slot receivers, plus help out his cornerbacks. The 6-foot-1, 203-pounder has excellent size and some natural cover skills. Sources have said that Fitzpatrick is a prototypical free safety for the NFL. They say he has good size, speed, athletic ability and high football I.Q. in a play-maker. <br> <br>
In 2016, Fitzpatrick recorded 66 tackles with seven passes broken up and six interceptions. He was dominant at times for Alabama, splitting time between corner and safety. Fitzpatrick had a superb 2015 season for the Crimson Tide. The freshman totaled 45 tackles with two sacks, 11 passes broken up and two interceptions - both returned for a touchdowns.
Sources tell me the Packers could target linebacker or wide receiver help in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Both Tremaine Edmunds and Roquan Smith are off the board, so Green Bay grabs some receiver help with Ridley. <br> <br>
Ridley reeled in 63 catches for 967 yards and five touchdowns in 2017. He totaled 82 yards on seven receptions with a touchdown against Florida State and its NFL-level secondary. The 6-foot-1, 188-pounder Ridley was capable of producing a lot more, but Alabama's ground-based offense and running quarterback limited his opportunities. If Ridley had played at a school like West Virginia, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, or pretty much any Big XII school, his production would have been off the charts. Ridley has quality height, speed and upside for the NFL. He does have a thinner frame though, and will need to add weight. <br> <br>
In 2016, Ridley made 72 catches for 769 yards with seven touchdowns. He had a tremendous freshman season for the Crimson Tide as the replacement for Amari Cooper. Ridley was very effective in that role with 89 receptions for 1,045 yards with seven touchdowns. He finished the 2015 season with impressive performances against Florida and Michigan State to help push Alabama to the National Championship.
The Redskins' top needs are defensive front-seven talent and a safety. There was a need at quarterback, but bringing in Alex Smith took that issue off the table. Here, Washington grabs an upgrade to the defensive line. Reuniting Payne and Jonathan Allen could be tremendous for the Redskins' defense. <br> <br>
Payne dominated at the point of attack in 2017, stuffing runs while showcasing his freakish speed and athleticism. On the year, he totaled 53 tackles, two half-sacks, three passes batted, an interception and a touchdown reception. I heard general managers and scouts raving about Payne all season. <br> <br>
Scouts were already raving about Payne's potential in the preseason. He was the Crimson Tide's best defensive lineman in 2017, following Jonathan Allen's moving on to the NFL. Payne (6-2, 319) is a run plugger with a lot of potential to grow. When given the opportunity to rush the passer in 2016 and 2017, Payne was impressive, and sources have said that he helped set up sacks for numerous Alabama defenders, including Jonathan Allen, Tim Williams, Ryan Anderson and Rashaan Evans, over the past two seasons.
The Steelers could use a strong safety to pair with Sean Davis. <br> <br>
In 2017, Harrison totaled 74 tackles with three interceptions, 2.5 sacks and four passes batted. He played really well as an enforcer in the middle of the field. Aside from coverage issues, Harrison had a quality 2016 season as the strong safety when he totaled 86 tackles with seven passes broken up and two interceptions. <br><br>
Harrison (6-3, 216) is a tough run defender who has the athletic skills to cover, but he has issues covering receivers in man coverage. Team sources have said an example of that is Clemson's Hunter Renfrow really abusing Harrison in the past, and that is why Minkah Fitzpatrick served as the coverage safety for the Crimson Tide. Playing zone in the middle of the field is a better fit for Harrison. Because of some coverage limitations, Harrison is a strong safety type for the NFL.
Marshawn Lynch is just a short-term addition for Oakland. Here's a long-term starter for the Raiders. <br> <br>
Scarbrough emerged as a potentially devastating workhorse running back at the end of the 2016 season. He averaged 6.5 yards per carry on the year for 812 yards with 11 touchdowns. The 6-foot-2, 228-pounder is similar to Derrick Henry with the size to run over defenders and a surprising burst to break off long runs for a big back.
I thought Stephone Anthony had major bust potential, and unfortunately for the Saints, that feeling was proven right. The Saints could use an upgrade at Will linebacker, and Evans would form a talented tandem if Alex Anzalone can finally avoid injury. Given Anzalone's fragile health, drafting a linebacker makes even more sense for New Orleans. <br> <br>
In 2017, Evans totaled 74 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss, six sacks, one forced fumble and three passes broken up. The 6-foot-3, 231-pounder possesses an impressive skill set with size and speed. The senior did well rushing off the edge for Alabama in 2017. Evans was a backup in 2014 and 2015 before rotating onto the field during the 2016 season. As a junior, he totaled 53 tackles with 4.5 tackles for a loss, four sacks, two passes broken up and one forced fumble. Some teams have medical concerns with Evans.
<i> 2017 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 8/22): Nick Chubb, RB </i>
The Panthers could use some young defensive end talent. <br> <br>
Hand (6-4, 273) has a lot of physical talent, and Alabama has been bringing him along slowly behind a lot of talented veterans. It wouldn't be surprising if Hand starts producing a lot more as a junior and senior. Hand had 16 tackles and three sacks as a backup in 2015, but was coming on late in the season.