Monday Morning Draft – Week 3

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 Shizer for Kizer:

Cleveland Browns
Cleveland maintained its draft status, although it was scary when the Browns came storming back to force overtime. The Dolphins came through with enough plays to drop the Browns to 0-3 on the season. Obviously, the Browns have a huge rebuilding process, and it all starts with finding a future franchise quarterback.

Chicago Bears
The Bears were rolled on Sunday night football in Dallas, and now, Chicago is 0-3 on the season. There doesn’t seem to be much hope for the Bears to turn it around as the team is lacking talent at a number of positions. If the Bears land the No. 1-overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, it would be time to release or trade Jay Cutler while starting the rebuilding process with DeShone Kizer.

New Orleans Saints
New Orleans plays Atlanta tonight. 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 0-3, but I don’t expect them to remain in the race for the No. 1 pick. In Week 1, they played really tough football against Green Bay and were close to knocking off the Packers. On Sunday, the Jaguars would have beaten the Ravens if it weren’t for missed kicks from Jason Myers. The Jaguars are still a very young team, and I think they will win enough games this season to avoid being in contention for the No. 1 pick.

San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers are 1-2, but look like one of the worst teams in the league. 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 could fall apart this season. 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. The Titans also almost forced overtime against Oakland. Tennessee’s two first-round picks 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.

Buffalo Bills: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
The Bills were without Sammy Watkins against Arizona, but they didn’t need him as LeSean McCoy ran well and Carson Palmer threw four interceptions. Still, Buffalo needs more receiving weapons for Tyrod Taylor. Robert Woods (6-51) led the Bills through the air, and their receiving corps is very average aside from Watkins, who has a hard time staying healthy and breaking out. Buffalo would upgrade its play-making by adding Sutton.

So far this season, Sutton has caught 18 passes for 449 yards – 24.9 yard average – with four touchdowns, including impressive games against TCU and Baylor. The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder is a physical force along the sideline and a very dangerous redzone receiver. He gives his quarterbacks a big target, can leap above defenders, and is dangerous on the back-shoulder sideline throws that are very popular in the NFL. Sutton would be a nice upgrade for Buffalo.

Philadelphia Eagles: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
The Eagles have to be considered a serious playoff contender after destroying the Steelers on Sunday. Rookie quarterback Carson Wentz has been phenomenal in his first three starts to lead Philadelphia to a surprising 3-0 start to the season. What makes Wentz play even more impressive is the lack of running game that the Eagles have had. Clearly, Ryan Mathews isn’t the running back of the future and that player isn’t on Philadelphia’s roster. Adding an explosive play-maker like McCaffrey could be a great fit for Wentz.

In 2016, McCaffrey’s averaged 5.5 yards per carry for 436 yards and three touchdowns. He has 12 receptions for 119 yards and one touchdown as well. McCaffrey is an explosive running back who is a threat to rip off big runs on any carry. He also is a dangerous receiver who would help Wentz with a check-down option that can exploit soft coverage. With the Eagles likely to be picking late in the first round, with the Vikings’ first-round pick, McCaffrey could be a nice addition.

Minnesota Vikings: Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson
The Vikings were able to win on the road against Carolina as their defense led the way for them to knock off the Panthers. Stefon Diggs was held in check, while Adrian Peterson has been out with an injury. With Peterson aging and having a lot of mileage on his legs, it would make sense for Minnesota to get some young running back talent. The Vikings’ offense is not an aerial juggernaut, so they need a rushing offense.

Gallman (6-0, 210) is a physical runner with quick feet and elusiveness. The junior averaged 4.1 yards per carry this year for 256 yards with three touchdowns. In 2015, he averaged 5.4 yards per carry for 1,527 yards with 13 scores. Gallman could be a really nice value pick on Day 2 of the 2017 NFL Draft. With the Vikings not having a first-rounder, Gallman could provide a real impact as a second-day pick.

Washington Redskins: Charles Harris, DE, Missouri
Washington’s secondary has given up some plays this year, but the team could use more production from the pass rush to help the defenders on the back end. Against the Giants’ passing offense, the Redskins managed two sacks, but they need to get more out of their pass rush this season. In the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Redskins could use an edge rusher to go across from Ryan Kerrigan.

Harris had a slow start to the season before registering four sacks over the last two games. He is a fast edge rusher who gives a lot of tackles problems with his speed off the edge. Harris has functional strength and would be a great fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker. He also could remain a 4-3 defensive end. In Joe Barry’s defense, Harris could play a variety of techniques.

Seattle Seahawks: Caleb Brantley, DT, Florida
The Seahawks have missed an interior pass rush for years. They drafted a defensive tackle in the second round last year, but Jarran Reed is a run stuffer who hasn’t displayed much pass-rush potential. Seattle could use a fast interior disruptor to pair with him.

Brantley is a fast tackle who is very good at firing his gap to cause disruption in the backfield. That was on display last Saturday against Tennessee as Brantley had an excellent game, causing havoc behind the line of scrimmage. While Brantley is fast, he isn’t undersized and is able to hold his ground in run defense. Brantley would be a perfect fit in Seattle’s 4-3 defense as a three-technique.

Indianapolis Colts: Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC
The Colts were fortunate to not fall to 0-3 on the season as they pulled out a late fourth-quarter win over the Chargers. All season, Indianapolis has had problems with its secondary, and that was the case again on Sunday. Philip Rivers completed 66 percent of his passes for 330 yards. Even if Vontae Davis returns to his normal level of play, the Colts have to upgrade their cornerbacks in the offseason with players to pair with him.

Jackson had an excellent debut to the 2016 season as he shut down Alabama’s Calvin Ridley. In the following games, Jackson has been good in coverage while also providing some big plays on special teams. Jackson isn’t the biggest of corners, but he has excellent speed and athleticism. That allows him to run the route and prevent separation. Jackson would be a wise choice with the Colts’ first-round pick.

Miami Dolphins: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
It took overtime, but Miami avoided an 0-3 start to the season with an overtime win over the hapless Browns. The Dolphins allowed Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor (8-144) to have a big game, and Miami’s cornerbacks have been a weakness this season. Last April, the Dolphins drafted Xavien Howard in the second round, but they could use another corner to pair with him.

In the 2016 season opener, Humphrey had an excellent game against USC as he shut down wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who was held to one catch for nine yards. Humphrey (6-1, 198) had a rough game against Ole Miss, but he was in good position and didn’t allow separation on receivers; they just made receptions over him. Humphrey has totaled 10 tackles with one tackle for a loss, one interception and three pass breakups so far this year. He is a good cover corner who could be a great value for Miami’s first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft as sources from multiple teams have told that Humphrey is a high first-round talent.

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.

Los Angeles Rams:
The Rams are 2-1 to start the 2016 season, and they look like they are on their way to their typical seven- or eight-win season. The offense was pathetic in the first two games of the year, but rebounded to a degree against Tampa Bay. The Rams look like a team that will be up-and-down from week to week because of their inconsistent offense.

Earlier this year, Los Angeles thought it was one quarterback away from being a playoff contender and mortgaged the future to trade up for the No. 1-overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft in order to take Jared Goff. Goff was terrible in the preseason and has illustrated why many teams around the league didn’t think he was a top quarterback prospect. Considering general manager Les Snead and head coach Jeff Fisher have made some bad quarterback evaluations since taking over the Rams, there are plenty of reasons for skepticism about Goff. Snead and Fisher passed on the likes of Russell Wilson, Derek Carr, Ryan Tannehill and Teddy Bridgewater.

One of the problems for the Rams is a lack of talent for the quarterback to work with. Running back Todd Gurley is great, but Los Angeles lacks a No. 1 receiver. Kenny Britt is just average, Brian Quick is a bust, and Tavon Austin isn’t a true No. 1 receiver. Early in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Rams could land a good target for Goff. LSU has two receivers to consider in Travin Dural and Malachi Dupre. SMU’s Courtland Sutton and Clemson’s Mike Williams would be great picks if either were to slip out of the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. USC’s JuJu Smith-Schuster and Western Michigan’s Corey Davis are others weapons to consider.

The Rams could use offensive line help, but this isn’t a good draft for linemen, so free agency would be a better route to address Todd Gurley’s blocking. Defensively, Los Angeles could use some safety help, and this is a good draft for safeties. Some candidates for Los Angeles on the second day include Alabama’s Eddie Jackson and Texas A&M’s Armani Watts. Maybe Florida’s Marcus Maye or Texas A&M’s Justin Evans if one of them slips out of the first round.

There has been talk that Snead and Fisher are going to get contract extensions, but that would be rewarding mediocrity by Los Angeles. They’ve blown picks on the likes of Quick and Isaiah Pead, while Greg Robinson and Tavon Austin are underachievers as top-10 picks. The Rams passed on DeAndre Hopkins to take Austin. They also passed Taylor Lewan, who has been a better left tackle than Robinson. Thus, Snead doesn’t have a good track record in evaluation.

The jury is out on Goff, but the early returns are disappointing. The Rams look like they need a number of upgrades to compete with the elite of the NFC West, and it is very questionable that they have the decision-makers in place to rebuild their team.

Oakland Raiders:
Entering the season, there was a lot of preseason hype about the Raiders being poised for a breakout season. With a lot of young talent, Oakland is clearly headed in the right direction, but the tean looks like it is still a little bit away from being ready to compete with the elite of the AFC. The Raiders have a lot of offensive talent, but they need more help defensively and are missing a couple of pieces on offense.

The key piece that the Raiders need for the future of their offense is a feature running back. Having a tough runner would take advantage of a talented offensive line and make the job easier for quarterback Derek Carr and wide receiver Amari Cooper. In the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Oakland probably won’t be picking high enough to land either Leonard Fournette or Dalvin Cook. One option to consider would be Georgia’s Nick Chubb. He could be undervalued coming off a knee injury. Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey doesn’t have the size to be a bell-cow back, but he could be a good fit as a receiving weapon for Carr if Oakland does take McCaffrey in the first round.

The other need on the offensive side of the ball is a left tackle of the future. Donald Penn turns 34 after this season. Unfortunately, this doesn’t look like a strong offensive tackle draft and the Raiders are likely to miss out on the first-rounders. That being said, a good potential understudy for Penn that the team might be able to land in the second round is Bucknell’s Julie’n Davenport. wrote about Davenport back in August and how sources thought he would be a top-20 pick if he played at a major program.

Defensively, the biggest area to address is the middle of the defense. Oakland could use an upgrade at middle linebacker as DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry ran well over the Raiders’ defense on Sunday. Florida linebacker Jarrad Davis looks more like an outside linebacker in the NFL, and there isn’t a middle linebacker who looks worthy of a first-round pick. On the second day of the 2017 NFL Draft, some candidates who would fit well with the Raiders include Vanderbilt’s Zach Cunningham, Ohio State’s Raekwon McMillan, Alabama’s Reuben Foster and Northwestern’s Anthony Walker.

Oakland has a few other positions that could use more competition. Adding a an interior pass-rusher would make sense. The Raiders need free-agent addition Sean Smith to turn it around, or they could be in the market for a cornerback.

The Raiders have added so many new players over the past couple of offseasons in free agency and the draft, the team needs time to develop and jell. It wouldn’t surprise me if Oakland improves as the year progresses so that the organization is in the thick of the playoff race come December. With a few more additions, the Raiders could be ready to be a dangerous threat in January.

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