Monday Morning Draft – Week 6

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 with a two-point loss to the Titans. Tennessee gave up late points but had a comfortable lead to drop the Browns to 0-6 on the season. The Browns are the only winless team in the NFL. Obviously, Cleveland has a huge rebuilding process, and it all starts with finding a future franchise quarterback. Perhaps the Browns won’t blow it like they did last spring when they passed on Carson Wentz, but with a baseball general manager running the Browns, you can’t have any confidence that the franchise has the people in place to get it right.

San Francisco 49ers
Buffalo rolled over San Francisco and it was the second straight game where the 49ers weren’t even competitive. The 49ers are 1-5 and look like they could be the worst team in the league as the Browns play closer games on a weekly basis. San Francisco is in for a long year with a roster that lacks talent thanks to the poor decisions made by general manager Trent Baalke. The 49ers’ Week 1 win looks more like a fluke with each passing game.

Chicago Bears
Chicago was up 13-0 entering the fourth quarter, but the Jaguars scored 17 points to beat the Bears by one point. A week ago, the Bears almost beat the Colts, but Indianapolis pulled it out in the fourth quarter. Even though Chicago has played better the past couple of weeks, there doesn’t seem to be much hope for the team to turn it around as the roster is lacking talent at a number of positions. Chicago (1-5) should remain in contention for the No. 1 pick throughout the season. 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.

Carolina Panthers
It shocks me that six weeks into the season the reigning NFC Champs are in the race for the No. 1-overall pick, but that is the reality as the Panthers were dropped to 1-5 by the Saints. Carolina has been hurt by letting Josh Norman leave as the tean’s cornerbacks have been picked on all year. The offensive tackles have been a crushing weakness as well, and it is shameful that the Panthers brought back the tandem that cost them a Super Bowl. If the Panthers end up picking high in the first round, they could target a cornerback like USC’s Adoree’ Jackson, Alabama’s Marlon Humphrey or Florida’s Jalen Tabor. Carolina also could think of an offensive tackle like Alabama’s Cam Robinson or Notre Dame’s Mike McGlinchey.

New York Jets
New York plays Arizona tonight. The Jets are 1-4 as the Steelers cruised over New York last week. Obviously, Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t the long-term starter for the Jets. Before long, they should see what they have in Christian Hackenberg or Bryce Petty to help give them some answers on whether they should target a quarterback early in the 2017 NFL Draft.

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.

Kansas City Chiefs: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
The Chiefs’ defense came alive as they held the Raiders’ potent offense to just 10 points in an impressive performance on the road. Dee Ford came up with two big sacks, and Kansas City’s secondary held up despite Marcus Peters leaving the game with an injury. The Chiefs could use more cornerback talent to go with Peters as they lost Sean Smith in the offseason and Peters can be a streaky player. Adding another steady presence in coverage would make Kansas City’s defense even better.

Kansas City may not be picking high enough to land Lattimore, but he would be a great fit in the organization’s defense. Lattimore can play man or zone coverage and has both the size to match up on big wideouts and the speed to run with them downfield. Sources with multiple teams have told that Lattimore is a top-16 talent. He has a chance to go a bit lower perhaps because this could be a loaded class of corners. Lattimore would be a great fit for the Chiefs’ first-round pick.

San Diego Chargers: Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
The Chargers held on to win over Denver, but C.J. Anderson almost started a comeback for Denver with some superb plays late. The Chargers havr missed Eric Weddle this season, and their safeties have let them down at times, including in their late loss to the Colts a few weeks ago. With young talent in the front seven and at cornerback, the safety position is an area that San Diego should look to address.

Peppers is a hybrid linebacker/safety who would fit really well in the Chargers’ defense. He would help them to defend against Kansas City’s running backs and tight end Travis Kelce. Peppers would also be an asset in containing Anderson twice per season as well. In 2016, Peppers has 38 tackles with 10 for a loss, 2.5 sacks and one forced fumble. He is a freak athlete who is great at punt returns as well. Peppers could make a lot of sense as San Diego’s first-round pick.

Miami Dolphins: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
Perhaps the most shocking win of Week 6 in the NFL was the Dolphins knocking off the Steelers. Jay Ajayi ran wild on Pittsburgh, and Big Ben missed time with an injury. The Dolphins have a tough defense, but they will need to think of some youth at defensive end. Surprisingly, Jaguars cast-off Andre Branch had 1.5 sacks on Sunday. Perhaps he will fill one spot, but given the age of Mario Williams and Cameron Wake, Miami is going to need more young talent coming off the edge.

Over the past three years, Barnett has been one of the most consistent pass-rushers in college football. He had double-digit sack seasons as both a freshman and a sophomore. So far this season, Barnett has been huge with splash plays against Florida, Texas A&M and Alabama. He has 32 tackles with 11.5 for a loss and six sacks on the year. Barnett would be a great fit for Miami in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

New York Giants: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Odell Beckham Jr. (8-222-2) exploded against the Ravens to lead the Giants to a close win over Baltimore. As great as Beckham was, the New York ground game was pathetic. Rashad Jennings (9-15) was the Giants’ leading rusher, and a weak rushing attack has been a problem for the team for years. This offseason, the Giants need to find a feature back to give them more offensive balance.

If the Giants end up picking in the top 20 of the 2017 NFL Draft, they could have a shot at landing Cook, and he would be a huge upgrade to their rushing offense. In 2016, Cook has averaged 5.7 yards per carry for 900 yards with seven touchdowns. He also has been dangerous as a receiver with 21 catches for 356 yards. As a runner, Cook has serious speed with balance and the strength to get yards after contact. He could be a big-time player in the Giants’ offense.

New Orleans Saints: Jalen Tabor, CB, Florida
The Saints got their second win of the season as Drew Brees won the shootout over Carolina. New Orleans almost lost as the Panthers made a 21-point comeback to tie the game, but Brees was able to engineer a field goal drive in the final seconds. Being without cornerback Delvin Breaux has hurt the Saints’ pass coverage, but they need to add more coverage talent this offseason. Tabor should be able to start for the Saints immediately.

Other than being suspended for the season opener, Tabor has been superb for the Gators and has been dominant in most games. He has four interceptions on the year and has been tremendous in coverage. The 6-foot, 199-pounder is a future No. 1 corner in the NFL and has the ability to play press-man, off-man and zone coverage. Having been a three-year starter at Florida, Tabor is NFL-ready. The Saints would have an immediate upgrade to their secondary if they drafted Tabor.

Buffalo Bills: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
Buffalo rode LeSean McCoy (19-140-3) to a dominating win over San Francisco. The Bills have won four straight since changing their offensive coordinator, with the ground game doing the heavy lifting on offense. However, the passing game continues to struggle as Buffalo was led by tight end Charles Clay (5-52) through the air. This offseason, Buffalo needs to find more receiving weapons for Tyrod Taylor as the team lacks talent at wide receiver and Sammy Watkins has had a hard time staying healthy.

Davis doesn’t get a lot of media attention, but he might be the most-polished wide receiver prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-3, 213-pounder is a superb route runner with excellent hands, size, surprising quickness, and the ability to get separation. So far this season, Davis has 44 receptions for 652 yards with 10 touchdowns. He topped 1,400 yards as both a sophomore and a junior. The senior could be an excellent addition for Buffalo on Day 2 of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
The Jaguars were able to get a comeback win in Chicago with 17 fourth-quarter points. Jacksonville did struggle to block Willie Young, who made two sacks against right tackle Jeremy Parnell. This offseason, the Jaguars are poised to move on from bust Luke Joeckel and should look to improve their offensive line. If Jacksonville can draft McGlinchey to play at left tackle, the team could move Kelvin Beachum to guard or right tackle and upgrade a few spots on the offensive line.

Sources have said that McGlinchey is a future top-20 pick and a starting left tackle in the NFL. He has the quickness, footwork, and athleticism to block speed rushers. McGlinchey also isn’t just a finesse player as he has the ability to generate movement in the ground game at the point of attack. For the NFL, McGlinchey is a balanced blocker who should be ready to play quickly as a rookie.

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.

Denver Broncos:
The Broncos are coming down to earth after losing their top two quarterbacks in the offseason. Sources told me the Broncos were done with Peyton Manning and happy he chose retirement rather than them forcing him out of Denver. They also tried hard to re-sign Brock Osweiler and were offering a big contract, but the Broncos were outbid by the Texans. Trevor Siemian has played better than many expected, but first-round pick Paxton Lynch is the future in Denver. The Broncos have the roster to win another Super Bowl quickly if one of these young quarterbacks is capable of beating elite teams in January. To help Denver get to that point, there are a few areas that the franchise could look to upgrade this offseason.

Offensively, the Broncos are strong at the skill positions. They have talent and depth at wide receiver and running back to help Lynch or Siemian with play-makers. Denver could use a tight end upgrade as the team really hasn’t found a true replacement for Julius Thomas. The Broncos could use a true receiving tight end for their young quarterback, and this is a great draft for tight end talent. Alabama’s O.J. Howard, Ole Miss’ Evan Engram and Michigan’s Jake Butt would all be good weapons. Sources have told me that Gary Kubiak and his staff weren’t fans of Jordan Reed coming out of Florida, so that hurts Engram’s chances of Denver drafting him. Still, Howard and Butt would be excellent weapons in Kubiak’s offense.

Defensively, Denver has one of the best units in the NFL. The Broncos did listen to trade offers on Aqib Talib during the last draft, and he is rather high priced plus has off-the-field issues. Talib is playing extremely well, so if the Broncos decide to get younger and cheaper, they will need to use a premium resource to fill Talib’s void. Since all good defenses need at least three good corners, beyond Chris Harris and Bradley Roby, a third corner in the first round would be necessary if Denver decides to move on from Talib. Some options for the Broncos would include LSU’s Tre’Davious White and Clemson’s Cordrea Tankersley. Both of them have cover skills and could be available in the back half of the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

The Broncos also could think about a young pass-rusher as DeMarcus Ware (34) is aging. If they wanted to target that need on the second day of the 2017 NFL Draft, some good players to consider would be Louisville’s Devonte Fields, Ole Miss’ Marquis Haynes, and maybe even Auburn’s Carl Lawson, depending on where he grades out.

Depending on how the season shakes out, some inside linebacker talent could be necessary as the Broncos could miss Danny Trevathan over the course of the year. Other minor needs include offensive line depth and competition.

The Broncos have a defense that is ready to win another Super Bowl, and they are hoping that one of their young quarterbacks can quickly get to the point of producing wins in the playoffs. Adding more talent to the roster next offseason should definitely have Denver in Super Bowl contention come 2017.

Chicago Bears:
The Bears are in firm contention for the No. 1-overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Chicago has needs throughout the roster, and it will take a few years of good drafts and free agency signings to put the Bears in contention with the Packers and Vikings atop the NFC North. Chicago general manager Ryan Pace has a big rebuilding project on his hands.

The first big decision will be regarding the quarterback position. If the Bears land the No. 1-overall pick, they should look to trade Jay Cutler and take Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer. That would be the ideal situation for Chicago. However, the Browns, Saints, Chargers, or another bad team might land that pick instead. Then, the Bears will have to decide if players like Clemson’s Deshaun Watson or Miami’s Brad Kaaya are worthy of being taken high in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

The Bears have many other directions they could go in the first round if a quarterback isn’t worthy of their pick. They need a left tackle, and Alabama’s Cam Robinson could be a nice upgrade for them. He would help their eventual quarterback and also would be an asset for opening holes in the ground game for Jordan Howard and Jeremy Langford.

On the second day of the 2017 NFL Draft, Chicago could use more help at tight end. Zach Miller is a solid player, but he is 32 years old and the Bears could use more receiving weapons for their trigger man. Alabama’s O.J. Howard, Ole Miss’ Evan Engram and Michigan’s Jake Butt would all be good targets for Chicago’s second-round pick.

Defensively, Pace has put a lot of resources into the franchise’s front seven. However, if Texas A&M edge rusher Myles Garrett is available, he could be too good to pass up on as Garrett is the top talent in the 2017 NFL Draft. He could form a lethal tandem with Leonard Floyd. That being said, Chicago does have big needs in the secondary. The Bears need a No. 1 corner and could consider upgrades at safety as well. If Chicago wins a few more games and is picking in the top 10, the organization could target a cornerback like USC’s Adoree’ Jackson, Alabama’s Marlon Humphrey or Florida’s Jalen Tabor. If the Bears wanted to go with a safety, Ohio State’s Malik Hooker is a top-10 talent who could be a difference-maker on the back end.

There are a lot of directions that Chicago could go in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. The biggest decision to make will be the quarterback position, and the time could be right to trade Jay Cutler. He has been under-appreciated in Chicago, but given his age and the rebuilding project that the Bears are in the middle of, it looks like the right time to move on. This is going to be a critical offseason for Pace and Chicago.

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