Monday Morning Draft – Week 15

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 Patriots and are now 1-13 on the season. However, the silver lining is Cincinnati has a firmer hold on the No. 1-overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft with the Giants getting a win over Miami. Now, the Bengals have a two-game lead on the Giants and Redskins with only two games to play. Cincinnati is in great position to land the future franchise quarterback of its choice, and many around the league already believe the Bengals will take LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with the top pick of the 2020 NFL Draft.

The Bengals have a new regime in place that will look to upgrade over Andy Dalton with the top pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. The Bengals 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 beat the Dolphins at home, and this victory makes the odds of the Giants landing the No. 1-overall pick extremely remote. It will be interesting to see how the tie-breaker shakes out between the Giants and Redskins for the No. 2-overall pick because they are currently tied at 3-11. With a top-three pick, New York could look to trade down with a quarterback-needy team to land a boatload of picks to help rebuild their roster.

If the Giants stay put, 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, so 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 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.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
The Jaguars pulled off a comeback win in Oakland despite the fact that they had their hands full with Raiders tight end Darren Waller and running back Josh Jacobs. Jacksonville has really missed Telvin Smith this season, and the games against Derrick Henry gave proof of that. This offseason, the Jaguars should really find a linebacker to help improve their rush defense and ability to defend tight ends. Simmons would be perfect fit.

In 2019, Simmons has 93 tackles with six sacks, one forced fumble, two interceptions and six passes broken up. He collected 89 tackles with six passes broken up and one interception in 2018. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Simmons is a sideline-to-sideline run defender who is fast and physical. He has good instincts and is a hard hitter. He also covers well in pass coverage while being able to contribute to the pass rush as a dangerous blitzer along with having man-coverage skills on tight ends, backs, and even some receivers. Simmons is a tough run defender who flies around the field and is a physical tackler. His best fit for the NFL would come as a Will linebacker.

Dallas Cowboys: Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR, Liberty
The Cowboys blew out the Rams despite their receivers not having a big game. Even if Amari Cooper is re-signed, Dallas could use more receiving weapons for Dak Prescott. Adding a big mismatch size receiver would be a nice addition to the Dallas offense.

This season, Gandy-Golden has 74 receptions for 1,333 yards and nine scores. 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. As a sophomore, Gandy-Golden had 71 receptions for 1,037 yards with 10 touchdowns. He played better than the numbers illustrate. Gandy-Golden could be an excellent value pick for Dallas in the first or second round.

Kansas City Chiefs: Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
The Chiefs cruised over the Broncos, with Drew Lock completing less than 50 percent of his passes and Pat Mahomes carrying the Kansas City offense. While Lock struggled, Courtland Sutton (4-79) had a good game. and the Chiefs’ defense continues to show that it needs a No. 1 corner. In the 2020 NFL Draft, Kansas City could grab a cornerback to upgrade its coverage.

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. In 2019, Adebo totaled 33 tackles with four interceptions and 10 passes broken up. 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.

Seattle Seahawks: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
The Seahawks took care of business against the Panthers on Sunday, with Russell Wilson and Chris Carson both producing a pair of touchdowns. It wasn’t a surprise that Seattle struggled to contain Christian McCaffrey on the ground and through the air, as the team’s safeties have been a weakness this season. Adding a true replacement for Earl Thomas would really help the Seattle defense in 2020.

McKinney has 85 tackles with three interceptions, two sacks, five passes defended and four forced fumbles in 2019. He broke out in 2018 as Alabama’s best defensive back, totaling 73 tackles with 10 breakups, two interceptions and one forced fumble on the season. The 6-foot-1, 197-pounder played strong safety in 2018, but he has shown the versatility to play free safety in 2019. McKinney has the speed to run with receivers and tight ends downfield with the size to handle bigger targets and tackling ability. He is a well-rounded safety who can do it all.

Arizona Cardinals: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
The Cardinals enjoyed Kenyan Drake running all over the Browns for four touchdowns to get a home win. Arizona struggled to stop the Browns’ rush attack too with Nick Chubb ran well. The Cardinals’ defense hasn’t been same since Calais Campbell left in free agency, and they are still feeling the sting of Robert Nkemdiche being a bust. If Derrick Brown gets to the Cardinals’ first-round pick, he would be a no-brainer as an instant upgrade to their defensive line.

Brown has 50 tackles with four sacks, four passes batted and two forced fumbles in 2019. He could have been a top-10 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft after totaling 48 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 10.5 tackles for a loss and one forced fumble in 2018. Teams sent consistent double teams at him, but he still managed to stuff runs and cause disruption. Brown also has the quickness to fire into the backfield and pressure the quarterback from the interior. The 6-foot-5, 316-pounder contains a ton of upside and is just scratching the surface of what he is capable of doing.

New York Giants: Chase Young, DE, Ohio State
The Giants got their third win of the season, dropping the Dolphins by 16 at home. Even though Miami has a weak offense line, the Giants edge rushers combined for one sack. Taking a pass-rusher in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft would make a lot of sense for New York, and Chase Young could form a dynamic front with Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams.

Young (6-5, 265) dominated a lot of the opponents Ohio State played this season and missed two games with a suspension. He has some size to him to go along with speed and athleticism off the edge. With his superb first-step, pass-rushing moves, agility, and ability to close, Young looks like a future Pro Bowler who annually produces double-digit sacks. Entering the college football playoff, Young has 16.5 sacks with 44 tackles, seven forced fumbles, three passes batted and a blocked kick this year. With the way that Young has dominated this season, he is the top prospect for the 2020 NFL Draft regardless of position.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
The Bucs got a win over the reeling Lions, but once again, Tampa Bay’s rushing attack really struggled. Ronald Jones (11-23) and Peyton Barber (10-17) were completely ineffective, and the Buccaneers totaled 49 yards on 29 carries as a team. It looks like Ronald Jones could go the way of other Jason Licht second-round busts like Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Ricky Aguayo and Noah Spence.

Swift has a good build to him and a surprising burst to hit the hole and accelerate downfield. He has a lot of upside and should enter the NFL without much wear-and-tear due to the Georgia backfield platoon. In 2019, Swift has averaged 6.2 yards per carry for 1,216 yards with seven touchdowns. He has 24 receptions for 216 yards and a touchdown as well.

Some team sources are high on Swift and feel he is a better prospect than Nick Chubb, Sony Michel or Josh Jacobs were. It can be hard to get carries at Georgia with the program’s stable of future NFL backs, but Swift (5-9, 215) was so talented, he forced his way onto the field. He flashed as a freshman even though Sony Michel and Nick Chubb got the majority of attempts. Swift averaged 7.6 yards per carry for 618 yards and three touchdowns that season. In 2018, it was Elijah Holyfield who split the touches with Swift. Swift took over as a starter last season and totaled 1,049 yards with an average of 6.4 yards per carry and 10 touchdowns on only 163 carries. The sophomore also contributed well as a receiver, collecting 32 receptions for 297 yards and three touchdowns.

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.

Philadelphia Eagles:
The Eagles are still in the NFC East race thanks to the division being terrible. Even if they are able to make the postseason, it does not look like their year given how their roster has been ravaged by injuries and they are playing with a lot of backups at this point. With a young franchise quarterback in Carson Wentz, there is no reason to think that Eagles can’t rebound in 2020 and be one of the top teams in the NFC. If they are able to fix some issues on both sides of the ball, it would not be surprising to see Wentz pushing Philadelphia to challenge for another Super Bowl in short order.

In my latest mock 2020 NFL Draft, I have the Eagles taking Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs, who would make complete sense. Some team scouts have told me that Diggs reminds them of Aqib Talib coming out of Kansas as Diggs is big, quick and athletic. Cornerback has been an issue for Philadelphia throughout the season, plus Ronald Darby is entering free agency. Adding more cornerback talent is a necessity this offseason. Aside from Diggs, Philadelphia could also give consideration to other prospects like Stanford’s Paulson Adebo or Florida’s C.J. Henderson. On the second day of the 2020 NFL Draft, some cornerbacks to consider include LSU’s Kristian Fulton, TCU’s Jeff Gladney and Clemson’s A.J. Terrell.

Another position the Eagles could address is wide receiver, and the 2020 NFL Draft is loaded with pass catchers. Nelson Agholor is entering free agency, while DeSean Jackson is aging. TCU speedster wide receiver Jalen Reagor would make sense as a replacement for Jackson and give Wentz a scoring threat on any touch of the ball. Other wideouts to consider late in the first round include Alabama’s Henry Ruggs, Liberty’s Antonio Gandy-Golden, Clemson’s Tee Higgins and LSU’s Justin Jefferson. On Day 2 of the 2020 NFL Draft the Eagles could opt to choose a wide receiver like USC’s Michael Pittman Jr., Ohio State’s K.J. Hill, Texas’ Collin Johnson or Minnesota’s Tyler Johnson.

The Eagles would get better value for their picks by taking a cornerback in the first round and a wide receiver on Day 2. Improving those skill positions on both side of the ball could have a huge impact for Philadelphia and get the team back in the Super Bowl mix during the eaerly 2020s.

Baltimore Ravens:
The Ravens continued their dominating football ways on a Thursday night, trouncing of the New York Jets. Baltimore is well positioned to end the regular season with home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. With their electric offense and ability to run the ball, the Ravens are going to be tough to beat for many years to come. Baltimore has been one of the best drafting teams in the NFL since Ozzie Newsome took over, and the Ravens could continue to build their defense in the 2020 NFL Draft to help them make a run at their third Lombardi Trophy, or fourth if they win their third one this season.

In my latest mock 2020 NFL Draft, I have the Ravens taking Alabama edge rusher Terrell Lewis, and he would be a great scheme fit in Baltimore. The Ravens had some young edge rushers not pan out, and could use a rusher to go across from Matt Judon. They probably won’t have Penn State’ Yetur Gross-Matos or Iowa’s A.J. Epenesa fall to their pick, but Lewis is a big, strong, and quick edge rusher who is tailor made for a 3-4 scheme. Another option to consider late in the first round could be Florida’s Jon Greenard. Taking Lewis in the first round would make a lot of sense for Baltimore.

The other area the Ravens could address in the first round would be a cornerback because Marcus Peters is entering free agency. Some late first-round options could include the likes of Alabama’s Trevon Diggs, Stanford’s Paulson Adebo or Florida’s C.J. Henderson.

Offensively, Baltimore could think of adding more receiving talent for Lamar Jackson. However after taking a wideout in the first round last year, it might make more sense to draw on the depth of a strong class of receivers with a second-day pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

On the blocking front, the Ravens could consider a guard as Marshal Yanda is aging. Georgia’s Solomon Kindley and Oregon’s Shane Lemieux have plug-and-play starting potential. Either one of them would be nice additions, and Kindley could be a road-grader for Jackson and Mark Ingram.

With Jackson at quarterback, the Ravens will be one of the most exciting teams to watch in the NFL for many years to come. Another good draft could help Baltimore to be more dangerous in the playoffs.

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