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.

Race for the No. 1 Pick:

Cleveland Browns:
The Browns lost on the road at Detroit to fall to 0-9 on the season and regain the top slot in the 2018 NFL Draft considering the 49ers notched their first win of the season. Cleveland had some bad coaching against the Lions, plus was overmatched in a talent perspective. The Browns are last winless team in the league, and they have not significantly improved over last season despite lots of spending in free agency to go along with high draft picks. Many around the NFL, think that the Haslams are going to clean house after this season and fire the front office and coaching staff.

To add insult to injury this year, the Browns have lost to the two quarterbacks they’ve passed on and who look like budding stars. Carson Wentz won earlier in the year and then later the Browns were dominated by the Texans in Houston. Deshaun Watson killed Cleveland’s defense, teasing the organization with what could have been if it hadn’t passed on Watson twice in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Prior to the Houston game, the Browns lost some closer contests, including three winnable games against teams that have struggled or are rebuilding. The Browns don’t look as improved as the preseason hype suggested.

If the Browns end up getting the 2018 NFL Draft’s No. 1 pick, the current front office’s M.O. would be to trade down to a quarterback-needy team for a boatload of draft picks. After taking DeShone Kizer in the second round last year, Cleveland may decide to pass on taking another young quarterback. While the Browns have added a lot of young talent, those trades led to them passing on young franchise quarterbacks in Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson. This current regime also passed on Dak Prescott, while the previous regime took Johnny Manziel instead of Derek Carr.

New York Giants:
The Giants fell to 1-8 on the season as they lost to San Francisco. New York is clearly falling apart after winning 11 games and making the playoffs last year. If the Giants land the first- or second-overall pick, they will have to consider looking for their next franchise quarterback given the age and declining play of Eli Manning. Having taken Davis Webb in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft isn’t enough of a commitment of resources to pass on a quarterback in Round 1 of the 2018 NFL Draft.

San Francisco 49ers:
San Francisco won at home against the New York Giants to avoid an 0-16 season and improve to 1-9. Since the start of the season, I had predicted the 49ers wouldn’t go winless, ergo I’m not surprised they finally got a win. They’ve played a lot of teams well, including near upsets of Seattle, the Rams and Arizona.

The 49ers are still in the running for the No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, but considering how close some of their games have been, I think the 49ers could win a few more games and are likely to be picking behind the Browns and Giants.

General manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan were afforded plenty of time in the form of 6-year contracts, so ownership is expected to be patient with this regime after being on its fourth head coach in four years. The 49ers traded their high second-round pick for Jimmy Garoppolo, so he will be their quarterback of the future who they build around. Thus, Penn State running back Saquon Barkley would make the most sense for San Francisco’s first-round pick as he is the top prospect in the 2018 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.

Minnesota Vikings: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
The Vikings have an aging veteran in Terrance Newman still playing, while Trae Waynes has not turned into a consistent cover corner yet. Against Minneosta in Week 10, Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins spread the ball around while throwing for 327 yards. Tight end Vernon Davis (7-76) and wide receiver Jamison Crowder (4-76) particularly hurt the Vikings’ defense. Adding a slot corner could help them against similar weapons.

The 5-foot-10, 191-pound Ward is a good cover corner who is excellent at running the route to prevent separation. He is fast, athletic, and agile to keep wideouts from getting open. In 2017, Ward has 23 tackles with 11 passes broken up and an interception, while being the Buckeyes’ best defender in their secondary. Ward could give the Vikings a good trio with Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes – assuming Waynes pans out. Ward could make sense for the Vikings’ first-round pick considering they are on track to be picking in the 20s in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Atlanta Falcons: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
The Falcons received an insane game from defensive end Adrian Clayborn, who notched a ridiculous six sacks against the Cowboys. Obviously, Atlanta can’t count on him to produce even a third of that on a weekly basis. Improving the defensive line is a priority for the organization this offseason, especially on the inside as Dontari Poe is entering free agency after this season.

Wilkins is an excellent athlete on the inside and has the versatility to also play defensive end. The 6-foot-4, 310-pounder is quick and athletic to rush the passer from the interior. Wilkins is able to collapse the pocket, while also being a good run defender.

Wilkins has 44 tackles with seven for a loss and three sacks in 2017. He would make a lot of sense for the Falcons’ first-round pick of the 2018 NFL Draft.

San Francisco 49ers: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama
The 49ers got their first win of the season, dropping the New York Giants at home. San Francisco has played a lot of close games this year, so the team could win a few more contests in its final six outings. If the 49ers win a few more, they could miss out on Penn State running back Saquon Barkley at the top of the 2018 NFL Draft. In that case, the 49ers could address their defense. The Giants had success with tight end Evan Engram and slot receiver Sterling Shepard. A coverage free safety like Minkah Fitzpatrick would be a great asset toward defending those type of weapons. Additionally, safety Eric Reid is entering free agency after this season.

This season, Fitzpatrick has 44 tackles, one interception, six passes broken up and a forced who. He is dynamic defender who has great instincts and is extremely smart. Not only is Fitzpatrick a talented free safety that is excellent as the deep center fielder, he can play man coverage on tight ends and slot receivers as a nickel corner. He also is a capable run defender who can be the eighth man in the box and tackle. If the 49ers win a few more games, Fitzpatrick could make a lot of sense with their first-round pick.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Justin Reid, S, Stanford
The Steelers gave up a long touchdown pass to Donte Moncrief, and that was a key play in Indianapolis almost pulling off an upset over Pittsburgh. Over the past few years, the Steelers have worked to rebuild their defensive front seven and secondary. One position that still could use an injection of young talent is safety. A do-it-all safety like Reid would be a nice fit in the Steelers’ scheme.

The 6-foot-1, 204-pound Reid has played really well in 2017 and has impressed NFL scouts. Sources who are tough graders said they thought Reid had first-round potential for the 2018 NFL Draft. They say that Reid doesn’t have Earl Thomas-like range as a free safety or Kam Chancellor-like size as a strong safety, but he does everything well. Reid is a good free or strong safety with the ability to run and tackle. They say that he is a polished, clean, good all-around safety similar to HaHa Clinton-Dix coming out of Alabama.

In 2017, Reid has 66 tackles with three passes broken up and five interceptions. He totaled 57 tackles with seven breakups as a sophomore. Reid is the younger brother of 49ers safety Eric Reid, a first-round pick out of LSU in 2013. Justin Reid would be a great fit for Pittsburgh’s first-round pick.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
The Bucs won at home against the Jets in a game that resembled Tampa Bay football under Tony Dungy. The Bucs had a field goal offense, and a defense that limited the opposition to only 10 points. Tampa Bay was without Jameis Winston and Mike Evans, but the offensive line was still incapable of controlling the point of attack as Doug Martin had only 51 yards on 20 carries while Ryan Fitzpatrick was consistently pressured out of the pocket. This offseason, the Buccaneers could stand to improve their talent on the offensive and defensive lines.

This is not a strong offensive tackle draft, but McGlinchey would be an upgrade for Tampa Bay. He is a steady pass protector who has decent athleticism, technique, and an ability to sustain blocks on the edge. McGlinchey has been very good as a run blocker this year as Notre Dame has had a superb ground attack that rolls over teams on a weekly basis. Many left tackles are finesse athletes on the edge, but McGlinchey is a rare left tackle who can move defenders as a run blocker. Taking McGlinchey in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft could make sense for the Bucs depending on where they end up picking. If they are picking in the teens, McGlinchey could be a good option for them.

Green Bay Packers: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
The Packers were able to care of business over the Bears with Brett Hundley at quarterback. Davante Adams (5-90-1) had a good game, while Randall Cobb (3-52) and Jordy Nelson (3-20) were limited by the Bears. With Adams entering free agency, Nelson aging, and Cobb not as explosive as he used to be, Green Bay could use more receiving talent for Aaron Rodgers. Here’s a big receiver with No. 1 potential.

At 6-foot-4, 216 pounds, Sutton is a huge receiver who is a dangerous red-zone target. He has leaping ability, hands, and body control to really hurt defenses on the sideline. Thus far in 2017, Sutton has 48 catches for 752 yards with nine touchdowns. The Packers would definitely improve their weapons if they were able to land Sutton in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Seattle Seahawks: Tarvarus McFadden, CB, Florida State
The Seahawks were dealt a serious blow on Thursday night when Richard Sherman ruptured his Achilles, as he will be out for the remainder of the season. This injury also contributes to questions regarding Sherman’s future in Seattle. Last offseason, the Seahawks tried to trade Sherman, but were unable to find a team willing to deal for the veteran. Sherman has a big salary and is a declining player. While he still is good, he isn’t the shutdown corner he was a few years ago, and that was illustrated in the Houston game as the Texans had their way with Sherman for multiple touchdowns. Even if the cap-strapped Seahawks keep Sherman next year, they could draft his eventual replacement to develop that player for a year or two while rotating into the game.

McFadden is a big, physical press-man corner who would fit Seattle perfectly. The 6-foot-2, 198-pounder has struggled in 2017, but team sources say that is in part due to the Florida State coaching staff having McFadden play too much off-man coverage. McFadden had eight interceptions last year and showed some ball skills. He has a good skill set, and with pro coaching used in the right scheme, he has the skill set to be a good NFL starter. McFadden could make sense for Seattle in the early rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Team Draft Report:

In this section, we take a deeper look at specific teams and where they stand in regards to the 2018 NFL Draft.

New York Jets:
Entering the 2017 season, the Jets were projected to be one of the worst teams in the NFL. Some in the media suggested that New York was tanking the season in order to get a high draft pick to land a potential franchise quarterback. However, the Jets have been better than anyone expected and have won their share of games while playing good teams very tough, despite a very young team. After losing to Tampa Bay, the Jets improved their draft position, although they didn’t play well on the road. General manager Mike Maccagnan has a good eye for talent and will build New York up if he’s given time. This offseason will be an important one to getting the Jets back into playoff form.

Sources with the Jets told me last January that Christian Hackenberg developed well behind the scenes during his rookie year. Hackenberg had a lot of issues to address after two rough years to end his collegiate career. This preseason, Hackenberg didn’t show enough to get the starting quarterback job, and Josh McCown has played better than expected for New York. In the 2018 NFL Draft, the Jets will definitely be looking for a long-terms starter at quarterback. In my latest mock 2018 NFL Draft, I have the Jets taking Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen. If they are picking high enough, they also could target UCLA’s Josh Rosen, USC’s Sam Darnold or Louisville’s Lamar Jackson. With an extra second-round pick, New York has the ammo to move up for a quarterback if necessary.

There are other needs for the Jets on that side of the ball, including running back. Matt Forte is a veteran nearing the end of a good career, and adding a talented feature back will help the team’s new quarterback. Some candidates to consider include Alabama’s Damien Harris, Oregon’s Royce Freeman, Georgia’s Sony Michel and Michigan State’s L.J. Scott. If Georgia’s Nick Chubb or Stanford’s Bryce Love slip to the Jets’ second-round pick, either would be a great addition as well.

Defensively, the Jets could use more edge-rushing and cornerback talent. Morris Claiborne has played well this year but is entering free agency. Even if he is retained, they could use more cornerback help. In my latest mock, I have New York taking Iowa’s Joshua Jackson in the third round. Other good Day 2 corners to consider include Maryland’s J.C. Jackson, Florida’s Duke Dawson, LSU’s Kevin Toliver or Alabama’s Anthony Averett. Some second-day edge rushers to consider would include Wake Forest’s Duke Ejiofor, Florida State’s Josh Sweat, Missouri’s Marcell Frazier or Ole Miss’ Marquis Haynes. With two second-round picks and one in the third round, New York could add a running back, edge rusher and cornerback.

The Jets are being built well by Maccagnan. He has hit on the majority of his early-round selections while not having a first-round bust. If New York’s ownership is patient to give him time to build up the team, Maccagnan will turn the Jets into a winner. This upcoming draft could lay a foundational cornerstone for years to come.

Detroit Lions:
The Lions had a hot start to the 2017 season before a slump and now seem to be straightening out. With Aaron Rodgers’ season-ending injury and the quarterback situation in Minnesota, the Lions are in competitive position in the NFC North because they currently have the best starting quarterback. Detroit could get back to the postseason this year, but the organization could use more talent on both sides of the ball to make the team a true Super Bowl contender.

On defense, the main issues for Detroit to address is the front seven. The Lions will probably retain Ziggy Ansah with either a long-term contract or a franchise tag, and they need more talent around him. They could use another edge rusher on the other side and an interior pass-rusher. Looking at Clemson could provide an answer. From the Tigers, defensive tackle Christian Wilkins is an interior rusher, defensive end Clelin Ferrell is a fast edge rusher who hunts quarterbacks, and defensive end Austin Bryant is a solid player who cleans up a lot of disruption from his teammates. Any of those three would make sense for Detroit’s first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Detroit also could use more talent at linebacker to go around Jarrad Davis. Some good candidates to consider on the second day of the 2018 NFL Draft include Texas’ Malik Jefferson, Vanderbilt’s Oren Burks or South Carolina State’s Darius Leonard.

Offensively, the Lions have a few needs to help Stafford. They could use a No. 1 wide receiver for Matthew Stafford. If they are picking in the middle or back half of the first round, some players to consider would include Florida State’s Auden Tate or SMU’s Courtland Sutton. Both are big receivers wjp would give Detroit a size mismatch. However, the defensive front seven is a bigger need and is stronger with draft talent than wideout is.

The Lions haven’t fielded a consistent rushing attack for years and need more offensive balance. They entered Sunday with the 29th-ranked rushing offense, having Ameer Abdullah and Theo Reddick averaging less than four yards per carry. Both are smaller receiving backs for the NFL, and the Lions could use a physical runner with some size. Some Day 2 candidates for the 2018 NFL Draft who run with some power include Alabama’s Damien Harris, Oregon’s Royce Freeman, Georgia’s Sony Michel and Michigan State’s L.J. Scott.

Stafford is a good enough quarterback to win, but some staffers at other NFL teams feel that Stafford is a signal-caller who can get a team to the playoffs but isn’t a killer to push the team over the top. He hasn’t shown that killer instinct like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan, Cam Newton or Ben Roethlisberger to put the team on his back to elevate them to wins in January. Thus, the Lions have to build up a great team around him with a nasty defense and an offense capable of running the ball. Those are the points of emphasis for Detroit in the coming offseason.

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