Monday Morning Draft – Week 2

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:

Miami Dolphins:
The Patriots destroyed the Dolphins, as expected. Miami was blown out in epic fashion by the Ravens in Week 1, falling 59-10. The Dolphins went into rebuilding mode after firing Adam Gase to start 2019. Miami accelerated that effort with a bunch of trades, including ripping off the Texans for three premium draft picks for Laremy Tunsil. With the roster lacking a lot of long-term pieces, the Dolphins will be able to draft a lot of the best players available over the next few years. Miami is the favorite to land the No. 1-overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and could decide to rebuild around Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

Cincinnati Bengals:
The Bengals were blown out by the 49ers in Week 2 and looked like the team they were expected to be this season. In Week 1, Cincinnati played really well on the road, but came up short against Seattle. The Bengals have a new regime in place and could look to upgrade over Andy Dalton if they land the top pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. The Bengals still have some good talents on their offense and their defensive line, so they may not land the No. 1-overall pick over Miami or another surprise team that collapses this season. The Bengals’ offensive line, however, has needed talent and the team already lost 2019 first-round pick Jonah Williams to a season-ending injury. Cincinnati has other weaknesses on the roster, so it could be a long year.

Carolina Panthers:
The Panthers are 0-2 thanks to Cam Newton struggling against the Seahawks and Bucs. The rest of the Carolina roster is playing really well and has a defense and offensive play-makers ready to challenge for the playoffs, but if Newton doesn’t turn things around, it will be a long season in Carolina as Newton looks like a shell of his former self. If the Panthers land a high first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, landing their quarterback of the future will be a serious consideration.

Arizona Cardinals:
Arizona lost to Baltimore but played some tough football. In Week 1, the Cardinals tied with the Lions after the Lions blew what should have been a win. Arizona is in trouble this year because some bad drafts by general manager Steve Keim have forced the team into rebuilding mode. If the Cardinals land the No. 1 pick for the second straight season, they could trade it for a package of picks to build around Kyler Murray, but the Cardinals will need a new general manager to make the picks or Keim could end up wasting them on prospects similar to Deone Bucannon or Robert Nkemdiche.

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.

San Francisco 49ers: Grant Delpit, S, LSU
The 49ers ripped up the Bengals 41-17, but they allowed Tyler Boyd and John Ross to go over 100 yards receiving. San Francisco could use more talent in the secondary at cornerback and safety as the team lacks a difference-maker in coverage.

Delpit was a very productive player for LSU last season with 74 tackles, 9.5 tackle for a loss, five sacks, nine passes batted and five interceptions. As a freshman, he totaled 60 tackles with eight passes broken up and an interception.

The 6-foot-3, 208-pounder has excellent instincts to go along with a good combination of size and speed. He covers a lot of ground in pass coverage in the middle of the field and is a tough run defender. Delpit has the skill set to play some man coverage on tight ends, play strong safety in the box, and play some free safety in the deep part of the field. Delpit has special ability for the NFL.

Baltimore Ravens: Terrell Lewis, OLB, Alabama
The Ravens enjoyed another excellent game from Lamar Jackson, who totaled almost 400 combined yards rushing and passing to out-do Cardinals rookie Kyler Murray. Baltimore’s defense allowed Murray to throw for 349 yards, with Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald each topping 100 yards. Last offseason, Terrell Suggs and ZaDarius Smith left in free agency, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Baltimore edge defenders aren’t as good as they were last season. Unless a young player steps up, the Ravens could use a young edge rusher to go with Matt Judon.

Lewis has six tackles and a sack this season. Lewis was playing well in the 2017 season opener before sustaining an injury that cost him most of the season. He totaled just 16 tackles with a sack on the year, but scouts who watched 2018 spring football were raving about him. Sources believe Lewis has a ton of potential. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL in the summer of 2018, so he missed the 2018 season. The 6-foot-5, 247-pounder is big and quick, plus possesses surprising change-of-direction skills. Lewis has a great build and is dripping with upside.

Seattle Seahawks: Cameron Dantzler, CB, Mississippi State
The Seahawks’ secondary was abused by Andy Dalton in Week 1 and almost lost to Pittsburgh backup quarterback Mason Rudolph. Seattle’s Legion of Boom secondary is over, and the replacements are not even close to being of the same caliber. Adding more defensive back talent is necessary.

Team sources have said that Dantzler was a player who jumped out at them in 2018 despite them not watching him closely as he was yet to be eligible for the NFL draft. The sophomore totaled 43 tackles with nine passes broken up and two interceptions in 2018. Thus far in 2019, Dantzler has eight tackles, an interception, a pass broken up, and a fumble recovery. The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder has good size, and the questions will be how well he runs and if he is fluid enough to maintain coverage and prevent separation.

Detroit Lions: Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR, Liberty
The Lions got lucky to come away with a three-point win against the Chargers, who gave the game away. Austin Ekeler fumbled on the goal line, Los Angeles missed two easy field goals, and Philip Rivers threw an insane interception at the end of the fourth quarter when his team was already in position for a field goal. Despite getting a lot of breaks, the Lions had only 13 points against a Chargers secondary that was playing without Derwin James. Detroit has a group of No. 2 and 3 receivers, but lacks a true No. 1 difference-maker for Matthew Stafford. Here’s a sleeper receiver with special ability.

After three games this season, Gandy-Golden has 20 receptions for 363 yards and two scores. As a sophomore, he had 71 receptions for 1,037 yards with 10 touchdowns, playing better than the numbers illustrate.

Gandy-Golden is a very impressive natural hands catcher with excellent size who is dangerous after the catch and has enough quickness to get downfield. The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder is a size mismatch and has some physicality to him. He is calm with defenders closing in on him and does a superb job of playing the ball.

Indianapolis Colts: Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado
The Colts got a tough road win at Tennessee as Jacoby Brissett was efficient and their defense stepped up to hold the Titans to 17 points. Brissett threw three touchdown passes, but didn’t have 150 yards passing and he did not have a single receiver total 45 yards or five receptions. Indianapolis could use a receiver with some size to go with T.Y. Hilton and Parris Campbell.

In 2019, Shenault has 16 receptions for 203 yards and two touchdowns. He was one of the top wide receivers in 2018, totaling 86 receptions for 1,011 yards with six touchdowns. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder is the No. 1 receiver for Steven Montez and has made the Buffaloes quarterback look good at times. He is a dangerous run-after-the-catch receiver who is a physical runner and has quickness in the open field. Shenault is a very tough receiver, illustrating that by being the short-yardage back for the Buffaloes, notching five rushing touchdowns in 2018.

Houston Texans: Solomon Kindley, G, Georgia
The Texans got lucky they didn’t blow what should have been an easy win as Gardner Minshew tied the game in the final minute, but Leonard Fournette failed to convert the two-point conversion, allowing the Texans to escape with the 13-12 victory. Once again, Houston’s offensive line struggled to protect Deshaun Watson, who took another beating by the Jaguars. Bill O’Brien has failed repeatedly at fielding a competent offensive line despite free agent dollars, trades, and early-round picks. The Texans may have to keep devoting picks to the line until they get it right.

Team sources are raving about Kindley (6-4, 335), and he could end up being a special guard prospect. Kindley is a big blocker with a thick build, but area scouts are raving about the way Kindley can move and feel his movement skills alone could him a starter in the NFL. On top of Kindley being an easy mover in a big body, he has nastiness to him and really gets after defensive players. Kindley helped pave the way for D’Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield as Georgia’s starting left guard in 2018. He broke into the starting lineup as a redshirt freshman in 2017 and blocked well to help Georgia reach the National Championship. Kindley has the talent around him and behind him to be a riser throughout the 2019 season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Walker Little, OT, Stanford
Thanks to Cam Newton’s terrible accuracy, the Bucs were able to get a win on Thursday night football. The Panthers’ defense did a nice job of containing Tampa Bay’s offense, and pass protection has been a problem for the Buccaneers as expected. Carolina rookie Brian Burns had an excellent game and is going to be a problem for years to come. Tampa Bay’s Donovan Smith is a bad left tackle, but inexplicably was re-signed to a big-money extension, and Demar Dotson is aging. The Bucs could use more tackle help. If they draft a tackle like Little, they could move Smith to the right side and have an upgrade at left tackle.

Little was impressive as a freshman starter at left tackle for Stanford. The 6-foot-7, 304-pounder did an effective job in run blocking and helped Bryce Love to a huge season. Little was solid as a sophomore, protecting K.J. Costello and opening holes in the ground game. Little has has good length, strength and recoverability. With some nastiness and physicality, he is a plus run blocker for a left tackle and will punish pass-rushers as well.

Team Draft Report:

In this section, we take a deeper look at specific teams and where they stand in regards to the 2020 NFL Draft.

Buffalo Bills:
While going under the radar, the Bills’ front office has done a tremendous job of revamping their roster over the past couple of years. General manager Brandon Beane, director of player personnel Dan Morgan band director of college scouting Terrance Gray have produced some excellent drafts that have built the Bills a core group of talented young players on both sides of the ball. Offensively, Buffalos has good returns on quarterback Josh Allen, running back Devin Singletary, and tackle Dion Dawkins. Defensively, the organization nailed picks on linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and defensive tackle Ed Oliver to go with inheriting a good corner in Tre’Davious White. If that front office group continues to draft the way it has the past few seasons, Buffalo will be a serious playoff contender for many years to come.

Offensively, the Bills added some good free agent wide receivers for Allen, but they could consider drafting a potential No. 1 wideout in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Buffalo won’t be picking high enough to land Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy, but there could be other good options on the opening night of the draft. Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb, TCU’s Jalen Reagor and Colorado’s Laviska Shenault are good options to consider. Reagor would be a smaller speed option, but Lamb or Shenault might be a better fit considering Buffalo has a good speed receiver in John Brown. In my latest mock 2020 NFL Draft, I have the Bills taking Shenault, and he would be a great fit for the fighting mentality Buffalo has established under Sean McDermott.

Defensively, Buffalo has a strong roster without a lot of needs. A team can never have enough pass-rushers, and Jerry Hughes is on the wrong side of 30. The Bills won’t be picking high enough to land Ohio State’s Chase Young, but later in the first round, there could be some very good edge rushers to consider like Penn State’s Yetur Gross-Matos, Iowa’s A.J. Epenesa, Notre Dame’s Khalid Kareem, Alabama’s Terrell Lewis, or Auburn’s Nick Coe.

The Bills’ strong roster moves have given them the luxury of also considering the best player available regardless of position, and that will make the roster even more talented with better depth. If Josh Allen is able to develop, Buffalo could end up being dangerous team that consistently challenges for playoff runs.

Carolina Panthers:
The old mantra in the NFL is the quarterback gets too much credit when a team wins and too much blame when a team loses, but that is not the case with the Panthers’ 0-2 start to the season. The defense has played well, Christian McCaffrey has been superb, and the special teams have made some good plays. But the Panthers are 0-2, and Cam Newton is the primary reason, looking like a shell of his former self.

Newton was rusty in Week 1 when Carolina fell by three to the Rams, and he struggled mightily on Thursday night, firing inaccurate passes all over the field to let the Panthers lose to Tampa Bay in a game they should have won. Newton has been an amazing quarterback over the past decade, but something is very off with him. His accuracy has been terrible, and he is not the running threat he used to be. Perhaps his foot/ankle injury is really bothering him, but he is not moving like he used to or showing the dual-threat ability that made him so tough to defend. The Panthers have lost the last eight games that Newton has started and could move on from him after this season. Newton has only one more year left on his contract, for $21 million in 2020. If the Panthers cut him next spring, they could save $19 million. Thus, the next 14 games are crunch time for Newton in his NFL career and it also is decision-making time for the organization’s front office.

The good news for the Panthers’ fan base is general manager Marty Hurney has done a great job of drafting over the past two years. In 2018, Hurney landed wide receiver D.J. Moore, cornerback Donte Jackson, and edge rusher Marquis Haynes. Moore is on his way to being a good pro receiver; Jackson has played very well and has Pro Bowl potential; and Haynes is starting to come on as a rotational edge defender and pass-rusher. This year’s first-round pick, Brian Burns, was superb on Thursday night and could end up being a top candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year. Second-round pick Greg Little also did well in the preseason and could be the Panthers’ starting left tackle now that he’s returning to the lineup after a concussion. Hurney drafted the core of Carolina’s 2015 Super Bowl team with Newton, Luke Kuechly, Josh Norman and others. If given time, Hurney will continue to build the Carolina roster into a talented contender.

In my latest mock 2020 NFL Draft, I have the Panthers taking Utah cornerback Jaylon Johnson, and adding cornerback talent could be a necessity for them. Veteran James Bradberry is entering free agency, and while he’s a solid pro, some team might overpay for him if Carolina doesn’t re-sign him. If Bradberry leaves, then cornerback will be a huge need. Even if Bradberry is brought back, the Panthers could use a third corner to go with him and Jackson. If Carolina is picking in the back half of the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, Florida’s C.J. Henderson or Mississippi State’s Cameron Dantzler could be options. If the Panthers have a high first-round pick, Stanford’s Paulson Adebo, Alabama’s Trevon Diggs and Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah could be options.

The big question will be at quarterback. If Carolina ends up picking high, they will have to consider the likes of Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa or Oregon’s Justin Herbert. In the middle of or later in the first round, Georgia’s Jake Fromm could be a candidate to consider. Other quarterback prospects who might end up as second-day candidates include Colorado’s Steven Montez, Stanford’s K.J. Costello and LSU’s Joe Burrow. Each of those three also has the potential to rise during this season and in the months leading up to the 2020 NFL Draft.

Other positions Carolina could address in the early rounds are depth on the edge because Mario Addison and Bruce Irvin are entering free agency. The Panthers also could consider the defensive line, as Gerald McCoy is entering free agency, or safety, as Tre Boston is also scheduled to hit the open market.

This could be a very frustrating season for the Panthers because they have a playoff-caliber defense and offensive play-makers, but the decline of Cam Newton could squander those strengths while leading the team to targeting a new franchise quarterback. The next 14 games will have a huge impact on the future of the franchise.

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