Monday Morning Draft – Week 2

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.

Play like a Carcass For Marcus:

Oakland Raiders:
The Raiders were spanked by the Texans, and Oakland clearly couldn’t match up with Houston. The Raiders should improve during the season as Derek Carr gains experience, but they have a ridiculously hard schedule and are in a division that featured three playoff teams last year. Oakland should be in the hunt for the No. 1 pick of the 2015 NFL Draft all season. If Oakland lands it, a new regime is likely, and that staff will have no ties to Carr. Thus, a new quarterback is more likely.

Jacksonville Jaguars:
The Jaguars were blown out by the Redskins 41-10. It was an ugly, lop-sided butt kicking for Jacksonville. One would have thought that the Jaguars would be improved this year, but they have holes throughout the roster. Chad Henne is a waste of time, but with Jacksonville’s garbage offensive line, why risk ruining Blake Bortles? With the improvement of the Texans and Titans, the Jaguars’ schedule looks harder than first imagined. It looks like Jacksonville is destined for another top-10 pick.

If the Jaguars land the first pick, they would probably look to get an RG3-like trade package in a move down with hopes of landing a boat load of pics to build up the roster around Bortles.

New York Giants:
The Giants were dropped to 0-2 against the Cardinals. The New York football Giants looks like they could be in for a long year. Eli Manning and the formerly great Giants defense look like a shell of what they used to be. New York could be in store for a long year. If the Giants land the No. 1 pick, they will have to decide whether to take a quarterback or stick with Manning. It probably would make the most sense to trade Manning and draft a quarterback to start the rebuilding project.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
The Bucs are 0-2 after losing both games at home – and to backup quarterbacks. That is a recipe for another long year in Tampa Bay. Head coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht were given a huge hole to dig out of by former general manager Mark Dominik and head coach Greg Schiano. The Buccaneers just don’t have the talent on their roster to matchup with the other teams in their division. In the long run, Tampa Bay could be better off tanking this year to get an elite quarterback who is capable of competing head to head with Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Cam Newton. Landing Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston would be huge for Tampa Bay.

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.

Baltimore Ravens: Ty Montgomery, WR, Stanford
The Ravens figure to be picking in the middle to the back half of the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Baltimore could use a No. 1 receiver for Joe Flacco. Torrey Smith is a quality wideout who would be best as a No. 2. Steve Smith is old, but still led the Ravens in receiving against the Steelers with six receptions for 71 yards. Adding a feature receiver makes sense.

Montgomery has started the 2014 season strongly. He has 22 receptions for 246 yards and two touchdowns through two games. The senior has been an excellent receiver and a dangerous returner on special teams. Montgomery has good size and the speed to stretch the field vertically. He would be a big upgrade for the Baltimore offense.

Arizona Cardinals: La’el Collins, OT, LSU
The Cardinals got a nice road win against the New York Giants with a backup quarterback starting for Arizona. Over the past few years, the new Cardinals’ regime has worked to improve a weak offensive line. While the unit is improved, there is still room for improvement; the Giants collected four sacks. Arizona has to keep its quarterback upright to use the team’s receiving weapons.

Collins is a road-grading tackle for the Tigers, but some have suggested that he translates better to guard in the NFL. Collins is a tough blocker who opens holes in the ground game. Last year, he was an excellent pass-protector for Zach Mettenberger. Collins looks like a versatile lineman who could upgrade the Arizona line at guard or tackle.

Washington Redskins: Landon Collins, S, Alabama
The Redskins allowed a 63-yard touchdown pass to Marcedes Lewis, and it has been clear that the safety position is a weakness for Washington. Philip Thomas didn’t work out, and Ryan Clark isn’t a long-term solution. The Redskins could use a long-term fix, plus Collins could play quickly.

Collins was an immediate standout as a sophomore after replacing an injured Vinnie Sunseri last year. The 6-foot, 222-pounder is a physical defender who doesn’t hesitate to punish receivers. Collins has the speed and instincts to play free safety. He also has the strength and physicality to play in the tackle box. In 2014, the junior has 27 tackles for Alabama. Collins could be an instant starter for Washington.

New England Patriots: Rory Anderson, TE, South Carolina
The Patriots have Ron Gronkowski healthy, but he hasn’t been the dynamic play-maker that he was. New England could use a receiving tight end to fill the role that Aaron Hernandez thrived in. Perhaps Tim Wright will grow into that role over time, but if he doesn’t, New England should add a tight end weapon this offseason. Anderson could be a mid-round pick who thrives in that role.

Anderson is a fast and explosive receiving tight end who poses mismatch problems. He put that on display against Georgia – although South Carolina doesn’t throw him the ball enough. He had five receptions for 67 yards with a touchdown last Saturday. Anderson could end up being a much better pro than college player if he lands with the right team.

Cleveland Browns: Cody Prewitt, S, Ole Miss
The Browns had no answer for Jimmy Graham on Sunday and were fortunate that the Saints basically went half the game without using him. Cleveland was putting Joe Haden on Graham, and while Haden didn’t allow separation, the size advantage was too much. Cleveland had to use Haden because its safeties and linebackers had no chance of covering Graham. Drafting a safety who can defend tight ends makes sense for Cleveland.

The 6-foot-2, 217-pound Prewitt has good size to defend tight ends with the speed to run with them. Prewitt also is a physical defender who is capable of dishing out huge hits to separate the ball from the receiver. He has 14 tackles with an interception this season. Last year, he snagged six picks for Ole Miss. Prewitt could make sense for one of the Browns’ first-round picks or their second-rounder.

Green Bay Packers: Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa
The Packers are going to have make some decisions about their tackle position after this season regarding the futures of Derek Sherrod and Bryan Bulaga. Both former first-round picks have had a hard time staying healthy in their careers, and Green Bay could use more consistent edge protection for Aaron Rodgers.

Scherff would be a nice fit in Green Bay as the physical blocker could open a lot of holes for Eddie Lacy. The 6-foot-5, 315-pound Scherff is a weight-room standout who carries that strength over to the football field. Scherff has also showed his toughness this season. He hurt his knee in Week 2, had surgery two days later, was back at practice and didn’t miss a start; he was expected to miss a few games. Scherff could be a more reliable blocker for the Packers and would make sense if he is there for their first-round pick.

Dallas Cowboys: Erik Kendricks, OLB, UCLA
The Cowboys’ weak defense could use an improved linebacker position, and Kendricks would be perfect fit for the Will (weakside) linebacker in Rod Marinelli’s version of the Tampa 2 defense. That problem area was exposed by Delanie Walker on Sunday as he hauled in 10 receptions for 142 yards, including a 61-yard touchdown. A linebacker like Kendricks who is good in pass coverage and can help defend tight ends makes a lot of sense for Dallas.

Through three games this season, Kendricks has 37 tackles with a forced fumble and a pick-six. Hw is a fast linebacker with sideline-to-sideline speed. The redshirt senior is a great fit for the current pass happy NFL as he has three-down ability to cover a lot of ground. Dallas would land an upgrade with Kendricks with its first- or second-round pick.

Team Draft Report:

In this section, we take a deeper look at specific teams and where they stand in regards to the 2015 NFL Draft.

San Diego Chargers:
The Chargers have definitely proven one thing: On any given Sunday, they are capable of beating any team in the NFL. They showed that last year beating Denver, and followed that up this year by knocking off the defending Super Bowl champions. San Diego has a lot of talent, but could use a few more pieces to get more consistent.

San Diego has an excellent quarterback in Philip Rivers, and giving him more receivers to work with makes sense. The Chargers have a talented young wide out in Keenan Allen, but they could use another target to feature on the other side, especially with tight end Antonio Gates aging. San Diego probably won’t be picking high enough to land the elite receivers like Amari Cooper or even Ty Montgomery, but second-day targets like Arizona State’s Jaelen Strong, Louisville’s DeVante Parker or USC’s Nelson Agholar could make sense with the organization’s second-round pick.

The Chargers also could use a more consistent running game. Ryan Mathews has had injury issues and hasn’t been all that impressive to start 2014. A nice fit could be South Carolina’s Mike Davis or Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon. Either would give Mike McCoy a physical downhill runner for his offense. San Diego also could consider some offensive-line help like a left tackle to go with D.J. Fluker.

Defensively, the Chargers could use more cornerback help to go with Justin Gilbert. If they drafted a safety, they could move Marcus Gilchrist back to corner, but they would probably be better off adding some natural corners with size. Adding some pass-rushing depth would make sense as well. It would also provide options in case Melvin Ingram or Jeremiah Attaochu don’t work out.

San Diego has a window to make a Super Bowl run with a quarterback who is capable of taking the team there. If the organization can add a few more good free agents and an impact draft class, the Chargers have the potential to make a run in January. However with the way they dispatched Seattle on Sunday, who knows when it could happen.

Houston Texans:
The Texans are close to being really good, but they’re missing one key piece that is extremely difficult to find: a franchise quarterback. With Houston’s good defense and coaching staff, the team might win enough games to be picking in the No. 10-20 range of the 2015 NFL Draft, and that could easily be not high enough to land one of the top quarterback prospects.

With Bill O’Brien’s offense, the top quarterback prospect who would fit his scheme is Florida State’s Jameis Winston. However, Winston will probably be long gone and the Texans won’t have a shot at him. Plus, Houston has gotten strict about character, so Winston may not pass that test. After Winston, Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook would be a good fit as the strong-armed pocket passer model O’Brien likes. If Cook, Winston and Marcus Mariota all enter the 2015 NFL Draft, Houston could have a shot at landing Cook in the teens or via a trade up.

If the Texans don’t land a quarterback in the first round, they might be able to get a good one on the second day of the 2015 NFL Draft. Multiple teams have told that they like Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion. He is a tall, strong-armed pocket passer. Another sleeper signal-caller for Houston to consider is Colorado State quarterback Garrett Grayson.

Elsewhere on offense, the Texans are going to need a future No. 1 receiver to replace veteran Andre Johnson. Johnson won’t play forever, and DeAndre Hopkins is a No. 2 receiver at best. If Houston doesn’t get a quarterback in the first round, a receiver like Alabama’s Amari Cooper or Stanford’s Ty Mongtomery would make a lot of sense.

Texans running back Arian Foster looks better this year than he did in 2013, but Foster’s decline will happen soon. If Georgia’s Todd Gurley is the best player available, he could make sense for Houston as a Plan C behind quarterback or wide receiver.

Even though the Texans have a talented young defense, they do have spots that could use help. If Kareem Jackson isn’t re-signed, the team is going to need a starting cornerback. The Texans also could use some depth at corner with Jonathan Joseph aging. Houston needs an inside linebacker to pair with Brian Cushing and provide play-making if Cushing gets injured again. A player like Miami’s Denzel Perryman could be a dream come true in the second round if he makes it there, but that could be a stretch. The Texans could also use a safety to pair with D.J. Swearinger, and safety looks strong in the 2015 NFL Draft.

The Texans have the makings of an elite defense with the best defensive player in the NFL in J.J. Watt. Jadeveon Clowney will become a great player if he can stay healthy. Swearinger looks like he could become an tough safety.

If Houston can land a franchise quarterback, the team could become an annual Super Bowl contender for a decade.

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