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:

Cincinnati Bengals:
The Bengals lost to the Browns and are now 1-12 on the season. However, the silver lining is Cincinnati has a firm hold on the No. 1-overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Now, the organization has a one-game lead on the Giants with only three games to play. The Bengals are in great position to land the future franchise quarterback of their choice.

The Bengals have a new regime in place will look to upgrade over Andy Dalton with the top pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. They still have some good talents on their offense and their defensive line, so they could turn things around quickly if their new quarterback hits the ground running.

New York Giants:
New York plays in Philadelphia tonight. After wins by the Redskins and Dolphins in Week 13, the Giants are the only really threat to get the No. 1 pick over Cincinnati. With a top-two pick, New York could look to trade down with a quarterback-needy team to land a boatload of picks to help rebuild the roster.

If the Giants stay picking at No. 1 or 2, they have a few directions they could go. They need an edge rusher, so Ohio State’s Chase Young would be an easy pick. They also need a No. 1 receiver for Daniel Jones, so they could consider Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy. The Giants also could use a left tackle upgrade, and Georgia’s Andrew Thomas would make sense to help protect their investments in Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley. However, there could be good offensive tackles and wide receivers at the top of the second round, so it would make more sense for the Giants to take Chase Young if they don’t trade down.

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: Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
The 49ers won a shootout with New Orleans, but one area San Francisco could stand to improve for next year is more talent in the secondary. Richard Sherman is aging and declining, so adding a No. 1 corner of the future is a necessity for the 49ers.

Adebo recorded 33 tackles with four interceptions and 10 passes broken up in 2019. Against Northwestern in the 2019 season opener, he picked up where he left off in 2018, recording five tackles with two passes batted and an interception. However, he head an ugly game against Central Florida, getting roasted on some double moves. Adebo is an aggressive corner and will have to learn to play with more discipline. In 2018, he recorded 64 tackles with 20 passes broken up and four interceptions.

Adebo (6-1, 190) is a big corner who has cover skills and a tremendous ability to play the ball. He also has good instincts and technique. While Adebo has been superb for Stanford this season, the question for him will be if he can handle speed receivers at the next level.

Cleveland Browns: Grant Delpit, S, LSU
The Browns enjoyed a pick-six from Denzel Ward to help them to a win over Cincinnati, but the Cleveland defense had some problems with the Bengals’ play-makers. Joe Mixon ran for 146 yards, while Tyler Boyd and Tyler Eifert had some success through the air. Damarious Randall is entering free agency after this season, while Jabrill Peppers was traded away. A safety like LSU’s Grant Delpit would make a lot of sense to help in run defense and cover in the middle of the field.

Delpit has 56 tackles, two interceptions and six passes broken up this season. In 2018, he was a very productive player for LSU with 74 tackles, 9.5 tackle for a loss, five sacks, nine passes batted and five interceptions. As a freshman, Delpit 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.

Minnesota Vikings: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
The Vikings cruised over the injury-ravaged Lions, getting a much-needed win to maintain their playoff positioning. Even though the Lions have lost a lot of key players, they were able to limit Dalvin Cook to 62 yards on 18 carries. This offseason, it would make sense for the Vikings to continue to build up their offensive line with blocking talent to open holes for Cook and protect Kirk Cousins.

The 6-foot-5, 320-pound Wills has been the starting right tackle for Alabama over the past two seasons and has been a steady performer for the Crimson Tide. He has the strength to open holes in the ground game and the quickness and athleticism to block on the edge. Wills looks like a quick starter at right tackle in the NFL.

New York Jets: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
The Jets pulled off a one-point win over the Dolphins at home. New York has been a rollercoaster this season, going through some upsets and ugly losses, but the season was also hurt significantly by Sam Darnold’s illness. Robby Anderson (7-116) had a decent game, but no other Jet had even four catches or 40 yards receiving. Clearly, the Jets need more play-makers for Darnold.

This season, Jeudy (6-1, 192) has showed he is a phenomenal route-runner who consistently generates separation for his quarterback. With his superb feet, athleticism and suddenness, cornerbacks have a very difficult time running with Jeudy. The attention that Jeudy has drawn has opened things up for the other Alabama receivers to produce well. In 2019, Jeudy has 66 receptions for 933 yards and nine touchdowns. Landing him in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft would be a superb selection for New York.

Atlanta Falcons: Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State
The Falcons took care of business against the Panthers on Sunday, with Matt Ryan and the Atlanta offense putting up 40 points. When they had a big lead, the Falcons put some pressure on Kyle Allen via some blitzing that overwhelmed the Carolina offensive line. In the offseason, the Falcons could let Vic Beasley leave in free agency, and they could use an end like Gross-Matos, who would provide more size and physicality at the point of attack along with pass-rush ability.

Gross-Matos has 39 tackles with 8.5 sacks in 2019. He enjoyed a breakout sophomore season in 2018, recording 54 tackles for a loss, 20 for a loss, eight sacks and two forced fumbles. The 6-foot-5, 265-pounder has a lot of upside to improve as he gains more experience. He has strength and physicality with the quickness to get upfield. Gross-Matos is a good run defender and emerging pass-rusher with speed off the edge. He is a good athlete, and with some development, he could become a force.

Denver Broncos: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
The Broncos pulled off a shocking upset on the road at Houston, blowing out the Texans. Rookie quarterback Drew Lock ripped the Texans’ defense, spreading the ball around and throwing for three touchdowns with 309 yards. The Texans scored some points in garbage time, and DeAndre Hopkins had seven catches for 120 yards and a touchdown. Since trading Aqib Talib, the Broncos have needed a No. 1 corner for the outside, and if they don’t take a quarterback, landing Okudah in the first round would be a dream pick for them.

Okudah has a great skill set with upside to develop. The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder is big, athletic, agile and can run. He is superb at blanketing receivers and preventing separation. Okudah has all the physical skills NFL teams hope to find in a No. 1 cornerback, and he is putting it all together with a dominant junior season. Okudah has 30 tackles with seven passes broken up and three interceptions in 2019. Okudah saw some brief action as a freshman, recording 17 tackles and a breakup before playing more as a sophomore. In 2018, he totaled 32 tackles with eight breakups.

Chicago Bears: Solomon Kindley, G, Georgia
The Bears got a win over the reeling Cowboys, but Chicago continued to have issues in the run game. A week earlier against the Giants, rookie tailback David Montgomery had only 22 yards on 13 carries with Tarik Cohen having 25 yards on six carries. Versus Dallas, the Bears ran the ball better with Montgomery (20-86), but their offensive line needs to get bigger and add more size at the point of attack. Kindley could be a plug-and-play starter with one of their second-round picks.

Kindley is having an excellent 2019 season and has a lot of buzz in the scouting community. Team sources rave 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 talent around him and behind him to be a riser throughout the 2020 NFL Draft process. In the second round, Kindley would be a great value for Chicago.

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.

New Orleans Saints:
The Saints will remain in win-now mode with Drew Brees turning 41 after the 2019 season, and once again, they will be looking for some plug-and-play starters from the NFL draft. The Saints don’t have a second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, so that makes nailing their first-round pick critical to help make them more capable at getting back to the Super Bowl.

In my latest mock 2020 NFL Draft, I have the Saints taking TCU wide receiver Jalen Reagor, and it would make sense for the team to give Brees more weapons as he ages. I was very high on Michael Thomas entering the 2016 NFL Draft and had him and Will Fuller as the top wideouts for that draft class. Thomas has been phenomenal and is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. Head coach Sean Payton has expressed frustration at times at the other receivers on his roster, and New Orleans could use a more dependable No. 2 wide receiver. Late in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Saints could land a good value as this draft class looks very strong at the position.

Reagor would be a great fit for the Saints, as he would give them a speed receiver capable of scoring anytime he catches the ball. He could really take advantage of defenses rolling their coverage to Thomas. Other wideouts to consider include Liberty’s Antonio Gandy-Golden or LSU’s Justin Jefferson. Both of them would give New Orleans a big wideout who presents a size mismatch.

The other area the Saints could address in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft would be a cornerback to go across from Marshon Lattimore. They could find an upgrade over P.J. Williams, and drafting a corner in the first round might give them a corner who has the potential to be a No. 1 cornerback if Lattimore gets injured. Some late first-round options could include the likes of Alabama’s Trevon Diggs, Stanford’s Paulson Adebo or Florida’s C.J. Henderson.

The Saints have a shot at coming out of the super-tough NFC with the ability to beat the likes of the 49ers, Packers, Seahawks and Vikings in the postseason. However, New Orleans also could follow what has happened the past two years and fall in the postseason. Adding another play-maker at receiver or a cornerback could help New Orleans to be more dangerous in the postseason a year from now.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
The Buccaneers have shown some improvement in 2019 under new head coach Bruce Arians, but they will continue their streak of missing the playoffs. The last time the Bucs were in the postseason was 2007 with Jon Gruden at head coach. They have longest streak in the NFC of missing the postseason, and that is a reflection of the Glazers doing a terrible job as owners with repeated failures of their general manager hires. The Buccaneers used to have a season-ticket waiting list over 100,000, but now Raymond James Stadium is usually half empty and the general feeling toward the Bucs in Tampa Bay is indifference. Even though general manager Jason Licht has blown a lot of early-round picks, the Glazers gave Licht an extension, so they will have to hope he gets it right in his seventh draft for Tampa Bay.

All indications are that Jameis Winston will be brought back to be the starting quarterback for Tampa Bay in 2020. The best season for Winston was when the Bucs had a good rushing attack led by Doug Martin and did not have to live on Winston avoiding mistakes. In order to get more consistent at helping Winston to avoid mistakes, the Bucs could stand to improve their offensive line so he sees less pressure and their rushing attack has more success, which should leave them in better down-and-distance situations. In my latest mock 2020 NFL Draft, I have the Buccaneers taking Iowa right tackle Tristan Wirfs, and he would make a lot of sense considering the age of right tackle Demar Dotson. There could be other good first-round options at tackle for Tampa Bay, including USC’s Austin Jackson, Alabama’s Jedrick Wills and Washington’s Trey Adams.

Another position Tampa Bay could consider in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft is safety. Justin Evans has flashed at times, but he has been very prone to injury during his pro career. Tampa Bay has fielded a weak pass defense, but has used a ton of picks on cornerbacks in recent years. Adding more talent at safety could help the Bucs’ coverage and improve their ability to defend the talented receivers of the NFC South. In the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, LSU’s Grant Delpit could be a great addition because he is a do-it-all safety with big-play ability. Alabama’s Xavier McKinney would be another versatile safety to consider, and on the second day of the 2020 NFL Draft. Lenoir-Rhyne’s Kyle Dugger could be a good pick for Tampa Bay.

A pass-rusher could be a consideration if Shaq Barrett is not re-signed or franchised, but many believe Tampa Bay will find a way to have Barrett re-signed for 2020. If the Bucs lose Barrett, some early-round options to consider would include Penn State’ Yetur Gross-Matos, Iowa’s A.J. Epenesa, Alabama’s Terrell Lewis and Florida’s Jon Greenard.

The Buccaneers are a team on a cliff. If the 2020 season doesn’t go well, it could be the end for general manager Jason Licht and Jameis Winston as the starting quarterback. You can’t rule out Bruce Arians getting the axe either, as the Glazers fired Greg Schiano and Lovie Smith after just two seasons, while Dirk Koetter and Raheem Morris each had only three years. Thus, 2020 is a critical draft for the organization’s leadership for keeping their jobs and helping the team to have a shot at breaking the longest playoff drought in the NFC.

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