Monday Morning Draft – Week 10

Monday Morning Draft is back! This is a column that delves into the past weekend’s action from an NFL Draft perspective. As the season goes on, the draft picture and slotting will become more clear, but every Sunday will provide a few hints for next April.

By Charlie Campbell.
Send Charlie an e-mail here: [email protected]
Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell for updates.

Blow For Bridgewater/Lay Down for the Clown:

There will be a lot of turnover as the season progresses in the positioning of which team will land the No. 1-overall pick to have the first shot at Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater or South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. Here are the top contenders following the Week 10 action.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
The Bucs play Miami later tonight and this could be the Bucs first win of the season. Last week, Tampa Bay lost 27-24 to the Seahawks in overtime to fall to 0-8. I don’t think Mike Glennon and the terrible pass rush will be able to propel the team to a lot of wins in the second half of the year.

Glennon hasn’t been bad, but the Buccaneers could easily draft a quarterback in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Tampa Bay almost certainly will have a new regime that doesn’t have any loyalty to Glennon. Head coach Greg Schiano is 1-13 in his last 14 games and is 7-17 overall. General manager Mark Dominik is 24-48 running the team and is approaching Matt Millen territory. Either Schiano or Dominik, or both, could be fired at any time, which would be a surprise to no one.

The Bucs seem to be settled into a culture of losing as they are on track to finish in last place for the fourth time in the five years since firing Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen. A quarterback is the most likely target for Tampa Bay’s first-round pick.

Jacksonville Jaguars:
Jacksonville pulled off a 29-27 upset win at Tennessee. This win is significant in many ways. First of all, the Jaguars have avoided going 0-16, and that could be enough to give Gus Bradley and his staff another year. Secondly, Jacksonville is no longer in position to land the first-overall pick if Tampa Bay goes winless. That seems unlikely, but if the Jaguars and Bucs both finish 1-15, the strength of schedule tiebreaker will probably favor the Bucs for the first-overall pick.

Jacksonville general manager David Caldwell gave the team’s fan base reason to doubt him when he stuck with Blaine Gabbert as his quarterback, saying Gabbert needed better coaching and always thought he was a 3-year developmental project. Nobody else is shocked that Gabbert still sucks. Apparently, the analytics from Shad Khan’s son were useless. Caldwell didn’t bring in another quarterback option, and the Jaguars look destined for a miserable season. They traded away Eugene Monroe, so despite drafting Luke Joeckel, they still have a big hole at offensive tackle.

Jacksonville has to move on from Gabbert, and the organization would definitely take a quarterback if it lands the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. However with Joeckel on the blind side, general manager David Caldwell might draft another Texas A&M right tackle with a top-two pick for the second straight year. Hello, Jake Matthews!

Minnesota Vikings:
The Vikings came back to beat the Redskins by six on Thursday night football for Minnesota’s second win of the season. The Vikings season got off to an 0-3 start before beating the Steelers “at home” – in London – in Week 4. At 2-7 with weak quarterback play, Minnesota looks poised to be picking in the top 10 of the 2014 NFL Draft.

If Josh Freeman or Christian Ponder play well enough to get another shot in 2014, Minnesota could go after Jadeveon Clowney as a replacement for impending free agent Jared Allen. However right now the quarterbacks haven’t been good enough for the Vikings to pass on a potential franchise quarterback. They have to hope that the talented redshirt sophomores of Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and UCLA’s Brett Hundley enter the 2014 NFL Draft.

Atlanta Falcons:
The Falcons fell to 2-7 after getting handled in Seattle. Atlanta had a lot of change in the offseason, and the team has greatly missed John Abraham this year. The injury to Julio Jones was the final straw to send Atlanta into a rebuilding season.

In the long run, this year could be a positive for the Falcons if they land a franchise defensive player with their first-round pick. Atlanta could use a pass-rusher, and it make a lot of sense for the organization to go after Clowney or UCLA’s Anthony Barr. Either of those players would be a huge acquisition for the Falcons. They need a defensive game-changer.

Houston Texans:
After an emotional loss to the Colts last Sunday night, the Texans remained in a funk in a road loss to Arizona. If Case Keenum finishes the season on a strong note, Houston could look to get a pass-rusher. The Texans also could consider a wide receiver if a special talent is available; Andre Johnson won’t play forever.

Let’s Play Matchmaker:

This section will look at some of the top talent in college football and match those prospects up with teams that have a dire need at the position.

Philadelphia Eagles: Trent Murphy, OLB, Stanford
The Eagles improved to 5-5 with a win at Green Bay and Nick Foles continued to play well. Even though Seneca Wallace ended up injured, Philadelphia only had one sack against Green Bay. The same offensive line was dominated by the Bears six days earlier. The Eagles could use an edge rusher to get after the quarterback.

Last April, Chip Kelly took a few players from teams that beat his Oregon Ducks, one of which was former Stanford tight end Zach Ertz. Kelly could keep that trend going by selecting Murphy. Murphy is one of the nation’s leaders in sacks this year with 10. He also has 37 tackles, 14 tackles for a loss, three passes batted and a pick-six. Murphy had 10 sacks in 2012. He is a versatile defender with the ability to play defensive end as well as a standup outside linebacker. He would be a good fit in the Eagles’ 3-4 defense.

New York Giants: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
The Giants won their third straight game, but once again had issues protecting Eli Manning. New York is trying to salvage its season, but for the Giants to be back in championship contention, they need to improve their blocking for Eli Manning.

If New York could land Matthews in the first round next May, that would set off a few dominoes to improve the team’s line at other positions. William Beatty could move to right tackle and Justin Pugh could slide inside to guard. Considering the age of New York’s interior linemen, the Giants could use some youth on the inside.

As a senior, Matthews has been a superb blind-side protector for Johnny Manziel. The previous three seasons, Matthews was excellent at right tackle to help Manziel to a Heisman Trophy, and allow Ryan Tannehill to develop into a top-10 quarterback. The 6-foot-5, 305-pound Matthews is a natural football player who is ready to step in and play in the NFL. If the Giants keep on winning, they’ll be very fortunate to land Matthews in the first round.

Baltimore Ravens: Travis Swanson, C, Arkansas
The Ravens’ run blocking has been a weakness all year. Ray Rice hasn’t run well, but the line has been terrible at giving him holes to run through. He is always being instantly faced with defenders or getting initial contact at the line of scrimmage. One could make the argument that Baltimore’s loss of Matt Birk has been as or more painful than losing Ray Lewis or Ed Reed. Upgrading the team’s center could make a big difference.

The 6-foot-5, 318-pound Swanson has good size for the position with surprising mobility. He is a tough run-blocker who can move defensive linemen at the line of scrimmage and fire out to get hits on linebackers. Swanson is in the running to be the first center selected in the 2014 NFL Draft and has been invited to the Senior Bowl. He could be a high-impact second-round pick for Baltimore.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona
The Jaguars got their first win of the season despite not having an offensive skill-position player total 50 yards as runner or receiver. Jacksonville is likely to lose Maurice Jones-Drew in the offseason as he hits free agency. Whoever is the new quarterback for the Jaguars, he is going to need a running back who can make some plays for them and give them manageable third downs.

The 5-foot-10, 196-pound Carey is a good runner with speed and toughness. He also has receiving ability. In 2013, Carey has averaged 5.7 yards per carry for 1,221 yards with 11 touchdowns. He also has 19 receptions for 133 yards. Carey broke out in 2012 with 1,929 yards rushing (6.4 average) and 23 touchdowns. The sophomore had 36 receptions for 303 yards and a score. Jacksonville could target Carey at the top of the second round.

Denver Broncos: James Hurst, OT, North Carolina
The Broncos’ offensive line has been ravaged by injuries this year. On Sunday, San Diego had sacks at the expense of Denver’s left and right tackle. Obviously, the team will get Ryan Clady back, but adding another tackle option makes sense considering how dependent the Broncos are on Peyton Manning staying healthy.

Hurst (6-7, 305) isn’t the strongest or the best athlete, but he is a solid pass-protector. Hurst showed that early in the season against Jadeveon Clowney, but has been a reliable protector for his quarterback for years. Hurst does a good job on speed-rushers and has the size to handle strong ends. Denver could hope to land Hurst in the second round.

Detroit Lions: Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, LSU
Aside from Calvin Johnson, the other Lions wide receivers managed only three receptions for 33 yards against the Bears. Detroit is too reliant on Megatron and needs to find some wide receiver complements this offseason. With Johnson’s flexibility to make plays in all levels of the defense, the Lions could go with the best wide out available regardless of style as a possession or speed receiver.

Beckham has been an impact play-maker for LSU this year. He has been a dangerous weapon as a deep receiver and the ability to score on special teams. The junior has 51 receptions for 1,051 yards and eight touchdowns. Beckham showed his speed is legitimate with his kick returns against Alabama’s special teams and the pressure he put on the Crimson Tide’s secondary. The 6-foot, 187-pounder would make it hard on defenses to deploy their safeties against Detroit with Johnson and Reggie Bush needing attention.

Washington Redskins: Shayne Skov, ILB, Stanford
The Redskins could use a linebacker in the middle of their defense who can help shut down the run, defend tight ends and contribute to the pass rush. Skov could do all of that and would be a perfect fit in the middle of Washington’s 3-4 defense. The Redskins have to replace London Fletcherm and Skov would bring a real presence to the middle of their defense.

Skov looks like he is back to his old self in 2013. He has 72 tackles with nine tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, three passes batted and two forced fumbles. Skov wasn’t as fast last year as he was in 2010 and 2011 before suffering a season-ending knee injury. If the Redskins took Skov in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, that pick would make a lot of sense. They may have a shot at getting him in the third round depending on how he and others test before the 2014 NFL Draft.

Team Draft Report:

In this section, we take a deeper look at specific teams and where they stand in regards to the 2014 NFL Draft.

Minnesota Vikings:
Before the season, I had the Vikings taking a step back in 2013. I, like many, felt that Minnesota would fall short of making it to the postseason for the second straight year. The reason for the pessimism was disbelief in quarterback Christian Ponder. Entering the 2014 offseason, the quarterback position is the biggest problem on the Vikings’ roster.

Ponder hasn’t lived up to his first-round status this season, and the team signed Josh Freeman to try to fix the quarterback situation. Freeman has been dealing with lots of off-the-field issues, and he didn’t look good in his start with the Vikings or in his three starts for Tampa Bay. Both Ponder and Freeman can flash, but neither is consistent enough. It doesn’t look like Freeman or Ponder is the long-term starter for Minnesota.

Vikings general manager Rick Spielman will have to do a better job of evaluating quarterbacks after missing on Ponder. Spielman probably won’t get a shot at Teddy Bridgewater with Jacksonville and/or Tampa Bay likely to pick ahead of Minnesota. There is a huge crowd of signal-callers to evaluate with the group potentially consisting of Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, UCLA’s Brett Hundley, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Clemson’s Tajh Boyd and Fresno State’s Derek Carr. Spielman is going to have figure which players to target and make a move for them in the first or second round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Defensively, Minnesota has had a history of some great defensive linemen. If the Vikings can’t get a quarterback with their first-round pick, they could keep their defensive line tradition going by selecting South Carolina superstar Jadeveon Clowney. He could form a dynamite tandem with 2013 first-round defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd. Jared Allen is a free agent after the season and will probably will sign with a perceived Super Bowl contender. Clowney would be a great replacement for Allen, but if Minnesota takes a quarterback first, the organization could target a defensive end like North Carolina’s Kareem Martin at the top of Round 2.

Elsewhere, the Vikings could consider a safety to pair with Harrison Smith. They also might look to address linebacker and cornerback depending on how they feel about some of their young players. Minnesota could also use some help on the offensive line. The team could use a road-grader at guard to help open up holes for Adrian Peterson.

The Vikings have some talent on their team, but until they get a quarterback who can go head-to-head with Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler, they’re going to have a hard time winning the NFC North. The clock is ticking to take advantage of Adrian Peterson in his prime.

San Diego Chargers:
The Chargers’ new coaching staff led by head coach Mike McCoy, offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and defensive coordinator John Pagano have done a great job this year. San Diego doesn’t have a great talent base – there are flaws on both sides of the ball – yet the Chargers challenging for a wild card and the majority of their losses have been close games, including yesterday to Denver (28-20). San Diego appears to have a nice foundation to challenge in the AFC West with this coaching staff and Philip Rivers at quarterback.

First-year general manager Tom Telesco had a nice draft in his first at bat last April. Right tackle D.J. Fluker has been very good in the early going of his rookie season and could easily emerge as one of the best right tackles in the NFL over the next couple of seasons. In the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Telesco took Manti Te’o, who has potential if he can stay healthy. Third-rounder Keenan Allen has been superb and looks like he will top 1,000 yards as a rookie. Despite a good draft, Telesco has plenty of positions to strengthen in the offseason.

Defensively, the Chargers could use a pass-rusher. Dwight Freeney is just a temporary fill-in. Larry English is playing better but not elitely, while Melvin Ingram lost his second season to a torn ACL. San Diego also let veteran Shaun Philips go to Denver. The Chargers need an edge-rusher to set the tone for their defense, and they should have a lot of good options in the first round next May. BYU’s Kyle Van Noy, Buffalo’s Khalil Mack, Clemson’s Vic Beasley and Stanford’s Trent Murphy would all be good pass-rushers to take with San Diego’s first pick.

Elsewhere on defense, the Chargers need to improve their secondary. The team has Eric Weddle and not much else. Adding some cornerbacks and a safety on the second day of the 2014 NFL Draft makes sense. A good fit in Round 2 could be Virginia Tech’s Kyle Fuller. North Carolina’s Tre Boston has the ability to play safety and some corner. He could be a nice complement to Weddle. There should be some defensive back depth on the second day of the draft for Telesco to draw upon.

Offensively, the biggest long-term need for San Diego is left tackle. King Dunlap has played better than expected in 2013, but the Chargers need a franchise left tackle to protect Rivers. Left tackle is definitely in play for San Diego’s first-round pick. Tennessee’s Antonio Richardson and Alabama’s Cyrus Koundjio are potential targets. The Chargers could also consider some help on the inside.

It wouldn’t hurt San Diego to add another young receiver to pair with Keenan Allen. Malcolm Floyd has dealt with injuries and hasn’t been an adequate replacement for Vincent Jackson. The team could also use a running back. Ryan Mathews can’t stay healthy, so a mid-round back could be a good value selection.

If the Chargers can add another good draft with some free agent signings, the team could be challenging the Chiefs and Broncos for the AFC West crown sooner most think. At least with Telesco, McCoy and Rivers, San Diego appears to have a winning combination to lead the franchise going forward.

Fantasy Football Rankings - May 23

2025 NFL Mock Draft - May 21

NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

NFL Picks - Feb. 12