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.

Play like Shizer for Kizer:

Cleveland Browns
Cleveland maintained its draft status with a convincing loss to the Ravens. Baltimore dropped the Browns to 0-10 on the season, and they 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
The 49ers almost blew their hopes for the No. 1-overall pick as they were tied at 20 with Arizona late in the fourth quarter, but the Cardinals prevailed. The 49ers are now 1-8 and look like they could be the worst team in the league as the Browns have played more competitive games, overall. San Francisco lacks talent thanks to the poor decisions made by general manager Trent Baalke, so going on a run to ruin the team’s draft positioning looks unlikely. As one of the examples of Baalke’s bad decisions, it is an unacceptable failure to go into a season with Blaine Gabbert as the starting quarterback. The 49ers’ Week 1 win was a fluke, and they could easily go 1-15 this season. If they land the No. 1-overall pick, getting a franchise quarterback is the priority.

Other Teams In Contention
  • Chicago Bears
  • Jacksonville Jaguars

  • 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.

    Washington Redskins: Justin Evans, S, Texas A&M
    The Redskins have had safety issues this season, and that could be seen again on Sunday as Stefon Diggs (13-164) had a big performance to lead the Vikings’ offense. Washington is fortunate that this is a strong safety draft, so the organizatoin should be able to land a good player in the first or second round. Evans would be a nice fit for Joe Barry and would bring a physical presence to the back end of the Redskins’ defense.

    Evans is a tough tackler who can be the eighth man in the box. He also is a quality zone-coverage safety who can help to defend against receivers and tight ends across the middle of the field. In 2016, Evans has 78 tackles with six passes broken up and four interceptions. Evans should be able to play quickly in the NFL and has the upside to be a versatile safety who might be able to play some free safety as well.

    Tennessee Titans: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
    The Titans put together an impressive win against Green Bay thanks to tremendous offensive performances by Marcus Mariota, Delanie Walker and DeMarco Murray. Tennessee’s defense, however, had problems, and the secondary was torched as Aaron Rodgers threw for 371 yards while Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams both had over 120 yards receiving. This offseason, the Titans need to upgrade their secondary and find a true No. 1 cornerback for their defense.

    Humphrey is one of the best cornerback prospects for the 2017 NFL Draft. He has size, quickness and athleticism. The redshirt sophomore is extremely adept at running with wideouts and preventing separation. He’s totaled 29 tackles with two tackles for a loss, two interceptions and four pass breakups so far this year. Humphrey would make a lot of sense for one of Tennessee’s first-round picks.

    Philadelphia Eagles: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
    The Eagles displayed more offensive balance in their win over the Falcons than they’ve had in most games this season. Jordan Matthews (6-73) had a solid game, but no other Philadelphia wide receiver had even 10 yards receiving. The tight ends and running backs helped pick up the slack, but Philadelphia needs to find more receiving options for Carson Wentz this offseason.

    Williams is one of the top wide receivers for the 2017 NFL Draft and is closing out his junior season extremely well. On the year, he is up to 67 receptions for 956 yards and six touchdowns. Williams has the size and speed to be a threat in all levels of the field while being a red-zone weapon. With the first-round pick that used to belong to the Vikings, Williams could make sense for Philadelphia.

    Los Angeles Rams: JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC
    The Rams got a nice game out of Kenny Britt against the Jets, but no other Rams player had even 20 yards receiving against the Jets. New York has had a weak secondary all season, so that just illustrates how Los Angeles is devoid of quality receiving targets. Eventually, Jared Goff will get a chance to start for the Rams, and they need to give him more weapons to help his chances of success.

    Smith-Schuster has 54 receptions for 724 yards and five touchdowns in 2016. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder is a reliable possession receiver who should help to move the chains in the NFL. He is a tough wideout who could operate well on slants and digs in the middle of the field. Having a player like Smith-Schuster would make those completions easier for Goff. Because of a lack of speed, Smith-Schuster could slide to the second round and be there for Los Angeles.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
    Even though Chris Conte had a pick-six on Sunday, the safety position has been a weakness for Tampa Bay throughout the 2016 season. Jordan Howard ran for 100 yards on 15 carries, and the Bears were able to score on a Hail Mary. Adding a play-maker for the middle of the field is necessary for the Buccaneers’ defense to improve next year.

    The Bucs probably won’t be picking high enough to land Ohio State safety Malik Hooker in the 2017 NFL Draft. Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers is a safety to consider, but he has problems in pass coverage and Tampa Bay needs a safety who can contribute to the pass defense. Thus, Adams could make the most sense for the Bucs’ first-round pick. He has 60 tackles on the season with three passes broken and one interception. Adams would upgrade the team’s run defense and pass coverage.

    Denver Broncos: Jonnu Smith, TE, Florida International
    Julius Thomas has been a disappointment as a Jaguar, but Denver has missed the receiving element from the tight end position since his departure. A week ago, the Saints’ defense was hurt by the 49ers’ tight ends, but the Broncos’ tight ends were largely a non-factor against New Orleans. Here’s a mid-round value who could be an astute pick like Thomas was by Denver.

    Smith is a quick, athletic receiving tight end to be a potential mismatch weapon. The 6-foot-3, 232-pounder was recently in the national news after suffering a season-ending injury off the field. His pregnant girlfriend poured boiling water on him after arguing about him not spending enough time with her. The senior had 39 receptions for 441 yards with three touchdowns in his shortened season. Smith also put together quality production as a junior (36-397-4), sophomore (61-710-8) and freshman (39-388-2). Some source have Smith grading out as a third- or fourth-round pick, and he would be a good fit in Gary Kubiak’s offense.

    Baltimore Ravens: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
    The Ravens are in need of some receiving talent to help Joe Flacco. Breshad Perriman (3-64-1) had a nice performance against the Browns, but Steve Smith (5-60-1) is nearing the end of his great career, while Mike Wallace was just a short-term signing. Even if Wallace gets another contract, Baltimore could use a replacement for Smith.

    Sutton would make sense as a big receiver who can challenge teams downfield. As a sophomore, he averaged 18 yards per catch, and he is just a little bit below that rate this season. Sutton has 57 receptions for 934 yards with seven touchdowns in 2016. The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder is a physical force who beats defenders downfield. His size makes him a mismatch, especially in the red zone, and he is very adept at beating corners for contested catches. Sutton also has some deceptive quickness. He could be a great fit for Baltimore in the early rounds.

    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.

    Miami Dolphins:
    The Dolphins have been an inconsistent team over the past few years, capable of beating the best team in the NFL one week and losing to the worst team in the NFL a week later. Miami has some good talent on the roster, and the emergence of Jay Ajayi has led to the Dolphins ripping off some impressive wins in the middle of the 2016 season. With one of the worst and most incompetent owners in the NFL, it will be interesting to see if Adam Gase has enough time to build the team as he wants it. The Dolphins will also be short-handed in addressing their needs as the organization is without its third-round pick due to a trade with Minnesota.

    After this season, Gase will have to decide whether he wants to continue with Ryan Tannehill as the starting quarterback. Tannehill is proving to be a limited signal-caller from week to week, but Miami could be stuck with him. There may not be a quarterback prospect available worthy of the team’s first-round pick. The Dolphins may have to consider second-day options like Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, California’s Davis Webb, Texas Tech’s Pat Mahomes or Miami’s Brad Kaaya. Even if the Dolphins use their second-rounder on a quarterback, there is no certainty they will prove to be able to replace Tannehill. Thus, I wouldn’t be surprised if Gase sticks with Tannehill for 2017.

    The Dolphins have a few other needs on their roster they could address in the early rounds. They need a young edge rusher as Cameron Wake and Mario Williams are aging. Taking a player like Tennessee’s Derek Barnett, Alabama’s Tim Williams or Missouri’s Charles Harris would make a lot of sense for Miami’s first-round pick.

    Aside from a defensive end, the Dolphins could use a young cornerback to pair with Xavien Howard. This is a strong cornerback draft with a lot of first-round talent, so there are a number of options for Miami. Players the organization could consider include Alabama’s Marlon Humphrey, Ohio State’s Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State’s Gareon Conley, Washington’s Sidney Jones, Iowa’s Desmond King, LSU’s Tre’Davious White, Florida’s Jalen Tabor and Florida’s Quincy Wilson. Miami might be able to wait until the second round given the depth of the class.

    Another need for the Dolphins is linebacker help. They could consider players like Vanderbilt’s Zach Cunningham or Alabama’s Reuben Foster in Round 1. In the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft, players like Florida’s Jarrad Davis, Ohio State’s Raekwon McMillan or LSU’s Kendell Beckwith could all be worth Miami’s second-round pick.

    Another strength of the 2017 NFL Draft is the tight end position. Injuries have derailed Jordan Cameron, and Miami could use another option. In the fourth round, the Dolphins may have a shot at a receiving weapon like South Alabama’s Gerald Everett or Florida International’s Jonnu Smith. Perhaps a good tight end like Clemson’s Jordan Leggett, Virginia Tech’s Bucky Hodges, or Arkansas’s Jeremy Sprinkle will slide to Round 4.

    While the Dolphins could be up and down this year, I think they have a good coaching staff with Gase and defensive coordinator Vance Joseph. Miami could become a real playoff contender, but the organization needs to figure out if Tannehill is the long-term answer.

    Buffalo Bills:
    This was supposed to be the year that the Bills broke through and finally ended their drought of missing the postseason. The year got off to a slow start by losing two games, but then Buffalo put together a streak of four straight wins. The team has fallen back down to Earth since then and is struggling to remain in the wild-card race. While this year may not be their year, I do think the Bills are headed in the right direction and have a quality roster that could get them into the playoffs once they fix a few issues.

    The No. 1 need on Buffalo’s roster could be wide receiver help. The Bills have been without Sammy Watkins this season, and his absence has been painful as they haven’t had other receiving talent threaten defenses. Buffalo not only needs better receivers around Watkins, but also needs players capable of leading the offense if Watkins continues to suffer injuries.

    Unfortunately for the Bills, there may not be a receiver worthy of a top-20 pick in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Perhaps Buffalo could move down and select a player like Clemson’s Mike Williams, USC’s JuJu Smith-Schuster or SMU’s Courtland Sutton. Any of those three would bring size to Buffalo’s receiving corps. Other second-day options to consider would include Western Michigan’s Corey Davis, LSU’s Travin Dural, LSU’s Malachi Dupre, Florida State’s Travis Rudolph, Virginia Tech’s Isaiah Ford and Eastern Washington’s Cooper Kupp.

    Offensively, the Bills have another need at right tackle. Cyrus Kouandjio hasn’t panned out after being a second-round pick to book end with Cordy Glenn. This isn’t a strong tackle draft. In the first round, Buffalo could consider Notre Dame’s Mike McGlinchey or Alabama’s Cam Robinson, but they could both be gone by the time the franchise picks. On the second day of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Bills could land a candidate like Temple’s Dion Dawkins, UCLA’s Conor McDermott, Arkansas’ Dan Skipper or USC’s Chad Wheeler.

    The safety position looks extremely strong in the 2017 NFL Draft, and that happens to be a need for the Bills. Aaron Williams’ return is uncertain, and Buffalo could use a difference-maker on the backend of their defense. In the top-20 picks of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Bills could have a shot at Ohio State’s Malik Hooker, LSU’s Jamal Adams or Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers. Hooker is the best of the bunch and may not get out of the top 10. Adams and Peppers could make sense for Buffalo. On Day 2, the Bills could address the position as there will be good safeties – both free (FS) and strong (SS) – available on Friday night. Florida’s Marcus Maye (FS), Texas A&M’s Justin Evans (SS), Texas A&M’s Armani Watts (FS), Kansas’ Fish Smithson (SS/FS), BYU’s Kai Nacua (SS) and Alabama’s Eddie Jackson (FS) are likely the most notable.

    Buffalo still has good talent on defense, and Tyrod Taylor has solidified the team’s quarterback position. I also think the Bills will be better next year because they had an excellent 2016 NFL Draft, but injuries robbed Reggie Ragland of his rookie year and almost half the season from Shaq Lawson. Third-round pick Adolphus Washington has played well this year and looks like he could develop into a really good player. Adding some receiver talent with upgrades at right tackle and safety could put the Bills over the top next season.

    Fantasy Football Rankings - May 23

    2025 NFL Mock Draft - May 21

    NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

    NFL Picks - Feb. 12