Monday Morning Draft – Week 14

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 almost beat the Packers at home to claim their first win of the season, but Green Bay came storming back to get an overtime victory. After falling to 0-13 on the season, Cleveland is assured of a top-three pick, and soon the team could clinch the No. 1 selection in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Cleveland has had some bad coaching this season, plus has been overmatched from a talent perspective on a weekly basis. The Browns are the last winless team in the NFL, and they have not significantly improved over last season despite lots of spending in free agency to go along with high draft picks. That lack of talent and passing on franchise quarterbacks ended up costing Sashi Brown his job after a stretch of 1-27 running the Browns.

As stated by owner Jimmy Haslam, finding a franchise quarterback is the No. 1 priority for new general manager John Dorsey. With the first pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Dorsey will have his choice among candidates of Josh Rosen, Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson; most likely Sam Darnold goes back to USC. At this point, Rosen would be the favorite to be that pick.

To add insult to injury this year, the Browns have lost to the two quarterbacks they’ve passed on recently and who look like budding stars. Carson Wentz won over them 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 him twice in the 2017 NFL Draft. The Browns don’t look as improved as the preseason hype suggested.

New York Giants:
With the 49ers winning at Houston, they have been eliminated for the No. 1 overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. At this point the first selection can only be held by the Giants or Browns. New York was dropped to 2-11 on the season after losing to the Cowboys. The Giants won in overtime against the Chiefs last month, and that win will make it tough for New York to land the No. 1-overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft as they need the Browns to win at least two of their last three games.

The Giants already fired general manager Jerry Reese and head coach Ben McAdoo to start the rebuilding process. In the 2018 NFL Draft, the organization will have to consider looking for its 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. Additionally, the new front office and coaching staff have no attachment to the Webb selection.

Check out’s Hot Press article on who are some good general manager candidates for the New York Giants. Included is a survey of staffers from around the league.

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.

Chicago Bears: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
Chicago put up a surprising point total with a 27-point win over the Bengals. The Bears have struggled offensively this year, but against the Bengals, they exploded for 33 points. Kendall Wright had 10 receptions for 107 yards, and they rolled up 21 points in the second half. This game gave the Bears a glimpse of what they could be if Mitch Trubisky lives up to the potential that drove the Bears to trade up for him in the 2017 NFL Draft. He was 25-of-32 for 271 yards in this contest, and that set up Jordan Howard to rip off 147 yards on 23 carries. Getting Trubisky more passing weapons has to be Chicago’s priority for the offseason.

In 2017, Sutton has 62 catches for 1,017 yards with 12 touchdowns. The giant receiver is a size mismatch who is very adept at getting downfield and making receptions over defensive backs. He has been an impressive wideout over the past three seasons. Sutton has 31 career touchdown catches since the beginning of his breakout 2015 season. A big receiver like Sutton would give Trubisky a mismatch weapon to attack defenses with for many years to come.

Detroit Lions: Kerryon Johnson, RB, Auburn
The Lions were able to get a road win even though they were completely unable to run the ball. Detroit had only 53 yards on 18 carries against a Tampa Bay team playing without its best front seven defender in Gerald McCoy. Over the past few years, the Lions have been too reliant on Matthew Stafford to move the ball. Detroit has to get more balance on offense with a player who is capable of running the ball.

The 6-foot, 212-pound Johnson carried Auburn to wins over Alabama and Georgia to put his draft stock on the map late in the 2017 season. Versus both defenses loaded with NFL talent, Johnson showed real quickness with good cutting ability, vision, and decisive downhill running. He also played banged up, illustrating his toughness to withstand a heavy work load and some hard hits. In 2017, Johnson is averaging 5.0 yards per carry for 1,320 yards with 17 touchdowns. He also has 23 receptions for 188 yards and two scores. Johnson ran for 895 yards and 11 scores in 2016.

Carolina Panthers: Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame
The Panthers got a much-needed win over the Vikings as Jonathan Stewart ran for three touchdowns and 103 yards on only 16 carries. Carolina had to lean on its running game due to struggles with the passing offense. The Panthers’ leading receivers were Devin Funchess (3-59-1) and Damiere Byrd (5-37). Clearly, the team needs more receiving weapons for Cam Newton after trading away Kelvin Benjamin.

St. Brown has 31 receptions for 468 yards and four touchdowns in 2017. His production and opportunities are getting killed by the lack of passing talent with Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush. St. Brown also sees lots of double teams. The 6-foot-4, 205-pounder had a quality 2016 season with 58 receptions for 961 yards and nine touchdowns with DeShone Kizer at quarterback. Scouts who did advance work on the 2018 class told me they were really intrigued with St. Brown. They say he is a super-polished route runner with tremendous speed, athletic ability, body control, and hands. They still think that St. Brown could be a first-rounder even though he won’t have significant production this season thanks to Wimbush playing quarterback. Other scouts aren’t as high on St. Brown and grade him on Day 2 of the 2018 NFL Draft. He could be a good value for the Panthers late in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Buffalo Bills: Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
Both the Bills and Colts struggled to pass the ball in a huge snow storm in Buffalo, but all season, the Bills have been dealing with a lack of receiving weapons. They traded for Kelvin Benjamin, but they could use more mismatch targets to help their offense. With Benjamin and Zay Jones, the Buffalo has receivers with size, so adding more speed would make sense.

The speedy Kirk has mismatch speed and could be a deep weapon who challenges defenses downfield. In 2017, quarterback play has been a problem for the Aggies, yet Kirk has 58 catches for 730 yards and seven touchdowns while seeing a lot of double coverage his direction. He also played well in 2016 despite inconsistent quarterback play from the Aggies. He had 83 receptions for 928 yards with nine touchdowns while splitting targets with wideouts like Josh Reynolds and Ricky Seals-Jones. In 2015, Kirk caught 80 passes for 1,009 yards with seven touchdowns. Multiple scouting sources have compared Kirk to Sterling Shepard and Jarvis Landry. Kirk would be a nice fit in the slot for the Bills with Benjamin and Jones on the outside.

San Francisco 49ers: Damien Harris, RB, Alabama
The 49ers enjoyed their third win of the season, with Jimmy Garoppolo getting his first start for San Francisco. Garoppolo threw for over 300 yards and spread the ball around to a few receivers. However depending on how things go in the final three games of the season, this win, combined with one more, could end up costing San Francisco a shot at Penn State running back Saquon Barkley. He would be a perfect weapon for Kyle Shanahan’s offense, and the 49ers may not be able to get him. Instead, they could draw on a strong running back class and get one on the second day of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Harris has run really well for the Crimson Tide in 2017, averaging 8.2 yards per carry for 906 yards with 11 touchdowns, plus has eight receptions for 66 yards. In speaking with scouts, they like Harris and think he has turned himself into a well-rounded player through hard work and dedication. Some sources have compared Harris to Doug Martin as an NFL comparison. Harris (5-11, 214) has good quickness, power, vision, balance and the ability to hurt defenses with power or speed. He also has shown some ability in the passing game. With Alabama’s running back rotation, Harris also enters the NFL without much wear-and-tear from college. He could be a nice pick for the 49ers on the second day of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Kansas City Chiefs: Donte Jackson, CB, LSU
Kansas City was able to end its rough streak with a win over rival Oakland. The Chiefs did so with Marcus Peters suspended, but pass coverage has been a problem for them this season. That led them to signing the declining Darrelle Revis during the year, and clearly, they could use more cornerback talent to go across from Peters. Jackson is a super fast cover corner who could give Kansas City a talented starting tandem.

Jackson has 46 tackles with 10 passes broken up and an interception this season. He is a bit of a love-hate prospect as some scouts say they see him as a first-rounder and others think he belongs on Day 2 because a lack of playing discipline and size. All the scouts, however, say Jackson is extremely fast, so he will be a good matchup corner to line up against speed receivers. The 5-foot-11, 175-pounder is athletic to run the route and prevent separation, but he is a gambler and could stand to play with more discipline for the pros.

Atlanta Falcons: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
The Falcons allowed a big game to Michael Thomas on Thursday night, and their cornerback play hasn’t been as strong this year. Atlanta cut 2015 second-round pick Jalen Collins and could use more corner talent to rotate into the game. Desmond Trufant, Brian Poole and Robert Alford are quality players, but it wouldn’t hurt to add a big corner considering both Poole and Alford are short. A big corner would help Atlanta to defend receivers like Thomas who have mismatch size.

There is some media buzz about Oliver being a first-rounder, but his play doesn’t warrant that high of a grade. Oliver (6-1, 190) has size, length, and movement skills, but he hasn’t played up to his skill set yet. He needs a lot of work to play off-man coverage for the NFL. In 2017, Oliver totaled 13 passes broken up, two interceptions and 25 tackles.

The Falcons would be the perfect developmental situation for Oliver as he could rotate into the game in matchups that suit him while playing with the team’s veterans. Oliver would replace the size that Atlanta lost with Collins being let go. Taking Oliver in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft could make sense for the Falcons.

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.

Washington Redskins:
The Redskins have been an underrated team in the NFL this year. Prior to Sunday’s loss to the Chargers, they have played a lot of close games and have been a tough opponent for some good teams. Washington has some good talent on the roster, so the team isn’t far away from being back in the playoffs. The Redskins have an excellent talent evaluator in Doug Williams leading their scouting staff with good coaching and smart salary cap management. In time, they will build a winner.

The biggest question for the franchise in the 2018 offseason is the quarterback position. Washington has offered Kirk Cousins some huge contracts, but it appears that Cousins doesn’t want to sign long term with the Redskins. They probably won’t be picking high enough in the 2018 NFL Draft to land Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold or maybe even Josh Allen. Washington will then have to decide if Lamar Jackson or Baker Mayfield is worthy of its first-round pick. Jackson may not make that far either, and he could be too similar to Robert Griffin for Washington to pull the trigger on him.

If the Redskins are picking too low for a first-round quarterback, they could consider signing a veteran free agent like Alex Smith and then selecting a signal-caller on Day 2. On the second day of the 2018 NFL Draft, they could consider prospects like Missouri’s Drew Lock, Northwestern’s Clayton Thorson and Washington State’s Luke Falk. Lock and Thorson may decide to go back to school though.

In my latest mock 2018 NFL Draft, I have the the Redskins addressing their defense early and grabbing Falk on Day 2. If they follow that route, they could help their defensive front seven. A nose tackle like Washington’s Vita Vea or Alabama’s Da’Ron Payne could be a good fit to bolster the middle of the Redskins’ defense. Having Vea or Payne next to Jonathan Allen could make Washington very difficult to block at the point of attack for many years to come.

If Washington wanted to address the edge, some options to consider would include Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell, Clemson’s Austin Bryant, Kansas’ Dorance Armstrong and Kentucky’s Josh Allen.

On the second day of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Redskins also could consider some help at the skill positions. Terrelle Pryor hasn’t made a big impact this season and could be allowed to leave. Some wide receivers who could be good fits for Washington include Notre Dame’s Equanimeous St. Brown, Ohio State’s Parris Campbell and Clemson’s Deon Cain. The Redskins also could think of drawing on a strong running back class to add a tailback to go with Samaje Perine. A great fit for Jay Gruden’s offense with a running and receiving back would be N.C. State’s Jaylen Samuels. He could be a Brian Westbrook-type weapon in the Washington offense.

The Redskins have some strengths on their roster to build around including an offensive line with talent, some receiving weapons, and talented young defenders on their defense. With time to build the roster, Doug Williams will have Washington back in the postseason.

New Orleans Saints:
The Saints have been one of the best teams in the NFC this season once again, thanks to a high-scoring offense and an improved defense. Even if they fall short in the playoffs this year, the Saints clearly is a team that is building in the right direction to be a Super Bowl contender in 2018. Adding a few more pieces to the defense could put New Orleans over the top.

In my latest mock 2018 NFL Draft, I have the Saints taking Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith in the first round. It makes a ton of sense for New Orleans to address the front seven and improve the linebacking corps. Entering their Thursday night game, the Saints were being led by safety Vonn Bell in tackles, and that does not lead to good down-and-distance situations. Smith could be a huge presence as a Lavonte David-type Will linebacker. Having Smith, A.J. Klein and Alex Anzalone would give New Orleans a nice trio.

The Saints also could target the inside of their defensive line. Nick Fairley unfortunately may never play again, so they could opt to take a tackle to pair with Sheldon Rankins. Some first-round options for the Saints could include Washington nose tackle Vita Vea, Alabama nose tackle Da’Ron Payne and Florida defensive tackle Taven Bryan. All three could form excellent tandems with Rankins.

Another option for New Orleans to consider would be a pass-rusher to go across from Cam Jordan. I think Trey Hendrickson will be a good player for the Saints, but all teams need at least three edge rushers to rotate and protect the pass rush from a season-ending injury to one of those players. The Saints hoped Hau’oli Kikaha would be that kind of rusher, but he has yet to break out and lost a season to injury. In the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, some players for the Saints to consider would include Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell, Boston College defensive end Harold Landry and Clemson defensive end Austin Bryant. If they wait until the second day of the 2018 NFL Draft, some options could include Wake Forest’s Duke Ejiofor, Missouri’s Marcell Harris, UTSA’s Marcus Davenport and Miami’s Chad Thomas.

Offensively, the Saints could consider a quarterback given the age of Drew Brees. However, Brees doesn’t sound like he is planning on retiring anytime soon, and given how close the New Orleans is to being among the elite of the NFC, it could make more sense to use the first-round pick on a player who will help the team and continue to go with Brees. Late in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the quarterbacks who the Saints might consider could include Louisville’s Lamar Jackson and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield. If they hold off until the second day of the 2018 NFL Draft, some options to consider would be Missouri’s Drew Lock, Northwestern’s Clayton Thorson and Washington State’s Luke Falk. Lock and Thorson may decide to go back to school though.

The Saints will be an interesting team to watch in the 2018 NFL Draft as they could be in the market for a quarterback or might go all out to try to win next year. New Orleans has drafted well in recent years, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the Saints get one more Super Bowl ring for their future Hall of Fame quarterback.

Fantasy Football Rankings - May 23

2025 NFL Mock Draft - May 21

NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

NFL Picks - Feb. 12