Monday Morning Draft – Week 13

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 bye. Last week, the Giants dropped the Browns to 0-12 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 showed how terrible they are as the one of the worst teams in the NFL in the Chicago Bears cruised to a win over San Francisco. The 49ers are now 1-11. 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 isn’t going to happen. 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
  • 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.

    Baltimore Ravens: John Ross, WR, Washington
    The Ravens rolled Miami with a resounding home win, ending the Dolphins’ win streak. Joe Flacco spread the ball around to Dennis Pitta, Mike Wallace, Breshard Perriman and Steve Smith. Wallace is not signed long term, while Smith was planning on retiring after this season. Thus, Baltimore could use more receiving weapons for Flacco.

    Ross has been a very productive wideout for Washington this season with 72 receptions for 1,071 yards and 16 touchdowns. For the NFL, he will have to fit as a speedy, shifty slot receiver as he is very undersized. If Ross can add some weight, he could be a Brandin Cooks-type receiver. Otherwise, Ross might be more similar to Sterling Shepard or Tavon Austin. Ross has good hands, route-running and speed. He could be a mismatch weapon as a slot receiver. For Baltimore, Ross would be a great fit as the replacement for Smith.

    Green Bay Packers: Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee
    The lack of a rushing attack was evident in the Packers’ win over Houston as their leading rusher was Ty Montgomery, and he had only 40 yards on six carries. Christine Michael (9-19) was a non-factor, and Green Bay clearly needs a new starting running back to lead its defense.

    Kamara would be a perfect fit in the Packers’ offense. On the season, he’s averaged 5.9 yards per carry for 565 yards and nine scores while splitting carries with other backs. Kamara also has 33 receptions for 346 yards and four scores.

    Kamara is a lot like Jamaal Charles as a runner in that both are a fast slashers who are built well with some power. Additionally, Kamara is a phenomenal receiver with great hands and route-running to also be used as a slot receiver. He also is a dynamic returner on punts and kickoffs.

    Kansas City Chiefs: JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC
    The Chiefs were able to pull out a road victory thanks to Eric Berry’s interception returned for a two-point conversion in the fourth quarter. Kansas City has been missing Jeremy Maclin this year, and that was apparent against Atlanta as no wide receiver had six catches or even 60 yards receiving. This offseason, the Chiefs have to get more receiving weapons for Alex Smith.

    Smith-Schuster has 63 receptions for 781 yards and nine scores in 2016. Smith-Schuster is a possession receiver for the NFL who is a big target in the middle of the field plus is a good weapon after the catch. As a prospect, he looks extremely similar to Laquon Treadwell. Kansas City was reportedly targeting Treadwell in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Smith-Schuster should be a Z (flanker) receiver in the NFL to be a possession target who does the dirty work of the slants, digs and blocking. That would complement Maclin, who fits perfectly as an X receiver.

    Chicago Bears: DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
    With Matt Barkley at quarterback, the Bears were able to get their third win of the season over the inept 49ers. Barkley didn’t impress, but Jordan Howard did as he ran for three touchdowns against San Francisco. Chicago could move on from Jay Cutler this offseason, and it would make sense to rebuild the team around a young quarterback. Some rate North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky higher, but Kizer has a better skill set and history doesn’t speak well for Trubisky. Very few 1-year college starters have gone on to have good NFL careers. Thus, Trubisky would be a very risky pick in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

    In 2016, Kizer completed 59 percent of his passes for 2,925 yards with 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He also ran for seven touchdowns. The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder can make excellent throws from the pocket while under duress. Kizer’s completion percentage was hurt by a lot of dropped passes, and he flashed the ability to make precise throws from the pocket. Kizer needs to improve his decision-making, but he has a lot of upside and talent to develop.

    Denver Broncos: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
    The Broncos’ offense struggled against Jacksonville, but the Jaguars’ offense was even worse as Blake Bortles threw his 11th pick-six of his career to help Denver get a road win in Jacksonville. Denver needs to get more talent around Paxton Lynch for the future. Against the Jaguars, Denver had only catch for three yards out of its tight ends. Luckily for the Broncos, there is good tight end talent in the 2017 NFL Draft.

    Howard is a mismatch weapon who has been under utilized at Alabama. He has the speed and athleticism to get open against man coverage, yet the size to make catches over defensive backs. The senior not only has 37 receptions for 445 yards with two touchdowns in 2016, but also has blocked well for Alabama. He flashed big-play ability as a freshman, sophomore and junior as well. Howard would make sense as a first-round pick for Denver.

    Dallas Cowboys: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
    The Cowboys didn’t play their best game against Minnesota, but were able to get a win on Thursday night. Dez Bryant (4-84-1) played well, but Dallas didn’t have any other offensive player with 30 or more yards receiving. Terrance Williams is entering free agency, but Dallas could target an upgrade. It would make sense to take a receiver early in 2017 NFL Draft as well given all the injury issues that Bryant has dealt with in recent seasons.

    In 2016, Sutton played really well despite extra coverage sent his direction. He totaled 76 receptions for 1,246 yards with 10 touchdowns. In 2015, Sutton averaged 17.6 yards per catch for 862 yards with 49 receptions and nine touchdowns. The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder is a big receiver who has the quickness to get downfield and excellent size to make receptions over defenders. He could be a dynamic weapon in the Dallas offense.

    Cincinnati Bengals: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
    The Bengals were supposed to have a good offensive line this year, but the blocking had been a real weakness in Cincinnati. Andrew Whitworth is aging and nearing the end of his great career, while center Russell Bodine has been a liability. The Bengals have benched the disappointing Cedric Ogbuehi as well. Taking a young left tackle in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft would make sense for Cincinnati.

    Robinson benefits from a weak class of offensive tackles. He has some kinks to work out in pass protection, but he has the athleticism and feet to be a starting left tackle while also being a plus run blocker. Robinson doesn’t blast guys off the line of scrimmage, but he controls his defenders to turn them away and latches on to them well. Consistently, he helps open holes in the ground game. Robinson looks like a lock as a top-20 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

    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.

    Washington Redskins:
    The Redskins are a team that a lot of people have consistently slept on the past two seasons, but for the second straight year, Washington looks poised to be playing in January. Redskins president Bruce Allen deserves a lot of credit for the drafting of Kirk Cousins in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft as the accurate Cousins has proven to be a franchise quarterback to build around. With some more good drafts, Washington could be poised to make a run in January.

    The Redskins have a few routes to consider in the early rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft as they could use some youth on their defensive line, an upgrade at safety, and a feature running back for their offense. This is a talented and deep class of safeties and halfbacks, so the Redskins could land nice values at those positions.

    If the organization targets defensive line help in Round 1, there are a few good options to consider. Those players include Michigan’s Chris Wormley, Florida’s Caleb Brantley, Illinois’ Carroll Phillips and Illinois’ Dawuane Smoot. All of them would be nice upgrades for Washington.

    To improve the team’s safety play, there are a number of good options to consider. Washington probably won’t be picking high enough to land Ohio State’s Malik Hooker, Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers or LSU’s Jamal Adams. Some good second-day candidates from both the free (FS) and strong (SS) roles include Florida’s Marcus Maye (SS/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).

    The Redskins have done a nice job of getting some contributions out of Rob Kelley this season, but adding a feature back for Jay Gruden’s offense would make sense. Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey, Tennessee’s Alvin Kamara, Texas’ D’onta Foreman and Georgia’s Nick Chubb are all worthy candidates to consider in the first couple of rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft.

    Washington is building a tough team that should have them as a playoff contender for many years to come thanks to Cousins and young talent on the offensive line. Adding a few more pieces could make the Redskins one of the top Super Bowl contenders in the NFC.

    Philadelphia Eagles:
    Prior to the loss to the Bengals, there had to be some optimism for the Eagles’ future even though the team is in last place in the best division in football. Philadelphia has a young franchise quarterback with Carson Wentz, and the team’s defense has been much improved over a year ago. Still, the Eagles need to do some work on their roster in order to match up better against the other teams in the NFC East.

    The prime goal for Philadelphia this offseason is to get more weapons for Wentz. The Eagles need a rushing attack with a feature back who could be a difference-maker. Fortunately for them, this is a loaded class of running backs. While the Eagles won’t be picking high enough for Leonard Fournette, they could have a shot at Florida State’s Dalvin Cook. Even if the organization doesn’t land Cook, there will be other excellent backs to consider in the early rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft, including Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey, Tennessee’s Alvin Kamara, Texas’ D’onta Foreman and Georgia’s Nick Chubb. Taking a running back in the first round could be the best route to go.

    Philadelphia also needs wide receivers for Wentz, but there aren’t a lot of good first-round receivers this year. The Eagles might consider Clemson’s Mike Williams, but he doesn’t bring them anything different from Jordan Matthews. On the second day of the 2017 NFL Draft, they could land a good value like Eastern Washington’s Cooper Kupp, Western Michigan’s Corey Davis or West Virginia’s Shelton Gibson. Any of that trio could form a nice tandem with Matthews.

    Another route the Eagles could consider in Round 1 of the 2017 NFL Draft would be to upgrade their cornerbacks. The Eagles have some talent on the defensive line and improved their safeties, but cornerback remains a weakness. In the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Philadelphia could consider players like Alabama’s Marlon Humphrey, Florida’s Quincy Wilson, Florida’s Jalen Tabor, Ohio State’s Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State’s Gareon Conley od Iowa’s Desmond King. If the team takes a cornerback in the first round, there is always the option of considering a running back on Day 2.

    Offensively, the Eagles could also consider some offensive line help to improve the protection for Wentz. A good fit could come in the form of Temple tackle/guard Dion Dawkins. He would give them a versatile blocker to help them up front.

    While Philadelphia make in the playoffs this season, the team still has reason for optimism thanks to Wentz and the improvement in the coaching staff. Building talent around Wentz is now the focus to get the Eagles back in postseason contention.

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