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.

Race for the No. 1 Pick:

Cleveland Browns
Cleveland maintained ita draft status, although it was scary when the Browns took a 20-0 lead, but Baltimore ripped off 25 straight points to get a road win. The Browns fall to 0-2 on the season. Josh McCown was almost knocked out of the game, and it may not be long before Cody Kessler is under center. Obviously, the Browns have a huge rebuilding process, and it all starts with finding a future franchise quarterback.

Buffalo Bills
The Bills fell to 0-2 on the season and have already fired their offensive coordinator. Buffalo’s defense looked dreadful on Thursday night, and the Ryan brothers look like they are out of answers. This could be the start of a downward spiral for the Bills that could lead to some big changes this offseason.

New Orleans Saints
Surprisingly, the Saints’ defense did a nice job of keeping the Giants out of the end zone. However, New Orleans still fell to 0-2. The Saints have a lot of holes on their roster, and this could be a long season for New Orleans.

Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars are 0-2, but in Week 1, they played really tough football against Green Bay and were close to knocking off the Packers. The Jaguars are still a very young team, and I think they will win their share of games this season. I don’t think Jacksonville will remain in contention for the No. 1 pick.

San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers came back down to earth with a road loss to the Panthers. San Francisco could be in for a long year with Blaine Gabbert at quarterback. I think the team’s Week 1 win was more of a product of the Rams being bad.

Tennessee Titans
The Titans have a couple of avenues to land the No. 1-overall pick. I think the more likely scenario would be the Rams having the worst record in the league. Tennessee has Los Angeles’ first-rounder from the Jared Goff trade, and the Rams look really bad. Yes, they just beat Seattle, but Los Angeles hasn’t scored a touchdown through two games this year. The Titans are a young team that should get better as the year progresses. They played well against a good team in the Vikings before knocking off the Lions in Week 2. Tennessee’s two first-round picks also gives the organization ammo to move up.

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.

Dallas Cowboys: Dawuane Smoot, DE, Illinois
The Cowboys clearly need some defensive end help, and that was evident against the Redskins. Dallas got sacks from defensive tackles Tyron Crawford and Jack Crawford, but that was it. Obviously, the Cowboys can’t count on Randy Gregory for the long term, while Demarcus Lawrence also is a candidate to land suspensions. Adding some defensive end help is critical for Dallas in the offseason.

Smoot has 12 tackles and two for a loss, yet zero sacks, thus far in 2016, but he had eight sacks and 15 tackles for a loss as a junior. Smoot (6-3, 265) creates a lot of disruption and pressure on the quarterback. He could be a good fit for Dallas in the middle to back half of the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Marquis Haynes, OLB, Ole Miss
The Steelers are still waiting for a young edge rusher to break out, but clearly they shouldn’t hold their depth. James Harrison can’t play forever, so adding someone who can get after the quarterback is critical.

While Haynes is undersized to defend the run, he is a tremendous pass-rusher who has a real knack for getting to the quarterback. In 2016, Haynes has 15 tackles, three tackles for a loss and two sacks despite playing good offensive tackles to open the season. He recorded 10 sacks as a sophomore after notching 7.5 as a freshman. Haynes could be a nice addition for Pittsburgh on the second day of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Arizona Cardinals: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
The Cardinals were led in receiving against Tampa Bay by running back David Johnson. While Larry Fitzgerald is still playing at a high level, Michael Floyd is nearing the end of his contract, and Fitzgerald is aging. Thus, adding another young receiver with size who can line up on the outside would make sense for Arizona.

Williams has the height, length and speed to be a play-maker in the NFL. Thus far in 2016, he is up to 15 receptions for 245 yards. Williams missed the 2015 season with a neck injury, but in 2014, he caught 57 passes for 1,030 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore. Williams’ size and length makes him tough to cover even when cornerbacks prevent him from getting separation. Williams is especially dangerous on back-shoulder throws and has the ability to get vertical. Late in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, he would be a nice value for Arizona.

New England Patriots: Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson
The Patriots’ defense almost blew a big lead to the Dolphins as Ryan Tannehill almost threw for 400 yards. Jarvis Landry (10-137) and DeVante Parker (8-106) both went over 100 yards against New England. While the Patriots took Cyrus Jones on Day 2 last April, he is more of a slot corner for the NFL. They also could use another corner as Logan Ryan is entering free agency after this season.

Tankersley (6-1, 195) would be a nice fit in New England. He has a nice combination of size and coverage skills. As a sophomore in 2015, Tankersley showed impressive ball skills with five interceptions and nine passes broken up. He has yet to be tested this year, but he has eight tackles and four passes broken up from going against some weak opponents. If the Patriots could land Tankersley late in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, that would be a good value for them.

Carolina Panthers: Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia
The Panthers were led on the ground by Fozzy Whittaker against San Francisco, and he was surprisingly effective, but to help Cam Newton in the long run, Carolina could use a feature back. The franchise probably won’t be picking high enough to land Dalvin Cook, and certainly won’t get a shot at Leonard Fournette, but the 2017 NFL Draft could be very strong at running back, so the Panthers might get a great value late in the first round. That would be the case if they took Chubb.

In 2016, Chubb has averaged 5.8 yards per carry for 302 yards with three touchdowns. He is a human bowling ball who rolls over tacklers with a surprising burst and speed. Chubb isn’t all the way back from his knee injury in 2015, but that could make him a better value to teams picking late in the first round. Chubb (5-10, 220) should get back to that level and could be a dominant running back in the NFL.

Tennessee Titans: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
The Titans had a surprising road win at Detroit, and Tennessee has played very good defensively to start the season. What the Titans could use is more receiving weapons for Marcus Mariota. They didn’t have a single receiver top 40 yards on Sunday, and that was against a Lions secondary that allowed a lot of yards to wideouts in Week 1. Clearly, Tennessee needs to provide more help for Mariota to move the ball with receiving play-makers.

A big receiver like Sutton would be a great fit across from Tajae Sharpe. So far this season, Sutton has caught 13 passes for 336 yards with four touchdowns. The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder has size to him and showed big-play ability by averaging 17.6 yards per catch as a redshirt sophomore. Sutton has enough speed to get vertical with a lot of strength to win contested catches. Landing him in the 2017 NFL Draft would be a nice addition for Tennessee.

New York Jets: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
The Jets clearly need help at cornerback. Darrelle Revis is now getting picked on each game and really has never been as good as he was before his knee injury. Dee Milliner was a bust, and Antonio Cromartie was let go last offseason. New York needs some long-term starters at the position for Todd Bowles’ defense.

Sources told during fall training camp that Lattimore was a first-round talent for the NFL. Lattimore has shown that he is a special player with three interceptions already in 2016. He also has eight tackles and one pass broken up. The 6-foot-1, 192-pounder has size, speed, athleticism, and ball skills. Lattimore would fit well in New York.

Team Draft Report:

In this section, we take a deeper look at specific teams and where they stand in regards to the 2017 NFL Draft.

San Diego Chargers:
After having a crushing collapse in Week 1, the Chargers rebounded in Week 2 against the Jaguars. With Philip Rivers being 34 years old, San Diego has a closing Super Bowl window with an elite quarterback who is capable of beating anyone. The Chargers have to add a few more additions to make a move in the AFC West.

The Chargers let Eric Weddle leave in free agency and have been vulnerable to tight ends this season. Travis Kelce hurt them in Week 1, and Julius Thomas had success on Sunday. Adding some safety upgrades would make a lot of sense. This could be a strong safety draft. Some first-round options for San Diego include LSU’s Jamal Adams, Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers and Florida’s Marcus Maye. If San Diego waits until Day 2, some candidates to consider would be Alabama’s Eddie Jackson, Virginia’s Quin Blanding and Kansas’ Fish Smithson.

It will be interesting to see how the Chargers use Joey Bosa once he gets on the field, but they have some young edge-rushing talent with Melvin Ingram and Jeremiah Attaochu to go with Bosa. What the team could use is more length and edge setters on the defensive line. San Diego could use more five-technique talent to eat up blockers and free up those rushers. A great fit on the second day of the 2017 NFL Draft could be Michigan’s Chris Wormley or Villanova’s Tanoh Kpassagnon. Either one would give the roster some length and weight at defensive end.

Offensively, the Chargers could use a few additions. The most pressing need could be a left tackle. San Diego has banked on King Dunlap rebounding this season, but in the long term, a franchise left tackle would make sense. I’ve had them taking Alabama’s Cam Robinson in my mock draft, and if they can’t get him, a good option would be Notre Dame’s Mike McGlinchey. Another player to consider is a sleeper prospect who reported about in August. That player is a first- or second-round talent according to sources, and that is Bucknell’s Julie’n Davenport. All three are worthy candidates for the Chargers to consider.

Other depth additions to consider would be receiver help as Keenan Allen will be coming off a torn ACL. Taking a second-day wideout like Western Michigan’s Corey Davis, LSU’s Travin Dural and LSU’s Malachi Dupre would be good fits.

San Diego general manager Tom Telesco has to make some bold and inspired moves in order for the Chargers to take advantage of having an elite quarterback before Rivers’ time in the NFL is done.

Cleveland Browns:
The Browns are undergoing a massive rebuilding project, and nobody around the NFL is surprised that the team is struggling. While interviewing baseball executive Paul DePodesta, he warned Cleveland ownership that the Browns could get worse before they get better. That looks like it is definitely the case. The Browns are a young team that should improve as they gain experience, but they have a huge gap in talent compared to playoff teams, so it will almost definitely take multiple years of good drafting and free agent signings before the Browns are competitive. That is if wise picks are made. One thing in the Browns’ favor, they have a plethora of picks to increase their chances of getting some right.

I thought the Browns made a bad decision to essentially trade Carson Wentz to the Eagles. I honestly thought the North Dakota State product could be the answer to the Browns’ quarterback quandary. We’ll see if I’m right, or if the Browns are, but Cleveland still needs a franchise quarterback. The Browns should target Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Kizer has size, accuracy, mobility, and pocket-passing skills. He looks like the best quarterback prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft. If they miss out on Kizer, other candidates to consider would be Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, Miami’s Brad Kaaya or Ole Miss’ Chad Kelly. Kelly would be more in play for Cleveland’s second-round pick. Watson hasn’t played all that great in 2016, so his stock could slide. The organization really needs a few quarterbacks to prove to be top-10 candidates in case they aren’t picking first and are unable to trade up.

After quarterback, the biggest need for the Browns could be an edge rusher. Paul Kruger was let go, while busted pick Barkevious Mingo was traded away. There are some edge rushers who Cleveland should consider like Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett, Tennessee’s Derek Barnett and Missouri’s Charles Harris are all candidates for one of the Browns’ first-round picks. Garrett won’t get out of the top-five – absent a major injury or off-the-field issue. Garrett is a favorite to go No. 1 overall depending on what happens with the quarterback prospects.

The Browns have a lot of other needs on their roster. They could use a right tackle after losing Mitchell Schwartz in free agency. Baltimore illustrated that on Sunday. Given the age of Joe Thomas, landing a tackle who could eventually play left tackle would be ideal. Some candidates to consider early in the second round are UCLA’s Conor McDermott, Bucknell’s Julie’n Davenport and Florida State’s Roderick Johnson.

There are a number of other positions to address. Cleveland also has needs at cornerback because Justin Gilbert went bust. The Browns need a partner for Joe Haden, and the 2017 NFL Draft could be very strong at corner. If Josh Gordon can’t avoid suspension, then Cleveland will need another receiver to pair with Corey Coleman.

The Browns are in such a rough state from a talent perspective, they could go with the best talent available at just about any position throughout the 2017 NFL Draft and just try to improve their talent base overall. Cleveland has a long rebuilding process ahead.

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