Monday Morning Draft – Divisional

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
Congratulations to the Cleveland Browns for securing the No. 1-overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. The Browns went to overtime, but lost to the Steelers to finish 1-15 on the season, narrowly edging out the San Francisco 49ers for the first pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

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. After all, the organization and coaching staff preferred blooming bust Jared Goff to the impressive Wentz.

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.

Seattle Seahawks: Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson
The Seahawks’ pass coverage isn’t the same as it was a few years ago when they won the Super Bowl. Obviously, the injury to Earl Thomas was impossible to overcome given that Thomas is one of the best, it not the best, safety in the NFL. Still, the cornerbacks around Richard Sherman aren’t as good as they were a few years ago. Matt Ryan and the Falcons picked apart Seattle, and the Seahawks could use another big press-man corner to pair with Sherman.

The Seahawks could target Tankersley on the second day of the 2017 NFL Draft. That would allow them to target some offensive line help earlier. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Tankersley is a big press-man corner who can battle big receivers. Some NFL scouts really like Tankersley, but others are down on him. While Tankersley is a love-hate prospect to a degree, he finished his senior year with strong performances. Tankersley totaled 47 tackles, four interceptions and 10 passes broken up in 2016. As a junior, he notched five interceptions, nine passes broken up and 48 tackles. Seattle could target Tankersley in the second or third round of the 2017 NFL Draft, and he could quickly compete for the Seahawks.

Houston Texans: Pat Mahomes II, QB, Texas Tech
The Texans lost to New England as Brock Osweiler threw three interceptions. There were two dropped perfectly thrown touchdown passes from Osweiler as well, but his limitations still were painfully obvious in Houston’s loss to the Patriots. Throughout the 2016 season Osweiler struggled with accuracy and interceptions. Houston could be limited in signing a free agent quarterback this offseason, so taking one in the 2017 NFL Draft would make sense. The team isn’t picking high enough to land Mitch Trubisky or DeShone Kizer, thus the real options come down to Deshaun Watson and Pat Mahomes. Watson has challenges in passing accurately and also threw too many interceptions this season, so he could present the same problems to the Texans’ offense as Osweiler. Mahomes could be the better option to select.

Mahomes has a cannon for an arm plus has mobility. When a play breaks down, he is tremendous at improvising to make a big play for his offense. Mahomes has an ability to make progressions through his reads and can display accuracy. The junior completed 66 percent of his passes in 2016 for 5,052 yards with 41 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also rushed for 12 touchdowns.

There are growth issues that Mahomes will need to develop, however. He is going to need to learn how to work under center, call plays in a huddle, and develop his footwork to make drops from being under center. When taking the Penn State and Houston Texans head coaching jobs, Bill O’Brien was billed as a quarterback whisperer. After striking out on Osweiler, perhaps O’Brien could turn a raw talent like Mahomes into a good pro signal-caller.

Dallas Cowboys: Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC
The Cowboys allowed Aaron Rodgers to throw for 355 yards as their secondary really struggled to cover the Green Bay receivers. That was even without the injured Jordy Nelson, but too often, Rodgers was finding wide receivers running free. This is an excellent cornerback class, so Dallas should be able to land a good one in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Jackson would be a perfect fit as a cover corner to run with receivers. He put together an electric 2016 season for USC with 55 tackles with 11 passes broken up and five interceptions. He also returned two kickoffs and two punts for touchdowns in 2016 along with a snagging a touchdown reception on offense. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound is a fast cover corner who is very good at running the route and keeping receivers from getting separation. The speedy Jackson could be a nice fit for Dallas in the early rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Kansas City Chiefs: Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee
In speaking with sources, there were are a few running backs who they feel are Jamaal Charles-type backs in the 2017 NFL Draft, and Kamara is one of them. While Charles is a great weapon, he has been hurt for the better part of the last two seasons. Spencer Ware put together an excellent start to the 2016 season, but he still finished the year with less than 1,000 yards on the ground. Additionally, the Chiefs’ ground game was ineffective in their loss to the Steelers. Kansas City definitely could use more talent for the years to come. Kamara would provide a running upgrade and a receiving weapon for Alex Smith.

Some sources say they wouldn’t be surprised if Kamara ends up getting Thursday night consideration in the middle to back half of the first round because he is such a versatile, explosive play-maker. The 5-foot-10, 215-pounder has a strong build with impressive speed. He is a dynamic receiver out of the backfield who also gives defenses a lot of problems running routes from the slot. Kamara has soft hands and is a superb route-runner. He also is a dangerous weapon on special teams with returning kicks. In 2016, Kamara averaged 5.8 yards per carry for 596 yards and nine scores while working in a running back rotation. He also caught 40 passes for 392 yards and four scores. On the second day of the 2017 NFL Draft, Kamara could be a steal just like Charles was in the 2008 NFL Draft.

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