Monday Morning Draft – Week 16

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:
Cincinnati lost to Miami in overtime and clinched the No. 1-overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. The Bengals are in position to land their future franchise quarterback of their choice, and many around the league already believe the Bengals will take LSU quarterback Joe Burrow at No. 1.

At the top of the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Bengals could take advantage of a great class of wide receivers to land a replacement for A.J. Green. Some wideouts with first-round grades will be available at pick No. 33, and the Bengals could trade back into the first round if they want to. There also should be some good offensive tackles available, so Cincinnati could add more blocking talent to go with 2019 first-round pick Jonah Williams, who missed his rookie season with an injury. Thus, the Bengals could have the equivalent of three first-round talents being added to their offense in 2020.

Cincinnati has a new coaching staff 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.

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.

Houston Texans: Jon Greenard, DE, Florida
The Texans clinched the AFC South with their win over Tampa Bay. Jameis Winston threw four interceptions, including a pick-six to start the game, to gift a close win for Houston. Despite Winston struggling with turnovers, the Houston defense allowed Winston to throw for 335 yards, and that was without Tampa Bay’s top receivers, who are among the league leaders this season – Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Whitney Mercilus had two sacks for the Texans, but a better pass rush will be a big need for the team in the years to come. Mercilus is a free agent after this season; J.J. Watt is aging and has durability issues; and Jadeveon Clowney was traded away. Taking a pass-rusher in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft would make a lot of sense for Houston.

Greenard (6-3, 264) is a quick and twitchy edge rusher who is very smart with how he sets up offensive tackles. He has a nice repertoire of moves and some natural pass-rush ability. In 2019, Greenard has nine sacks with 50 tackles, two forced fumbles, one interception and three passes batted. He has put consistent pressure on the quarterback for the Gators. Greenard is a transfer from Louisville who missed the 2018 season with an injury. In 2017, he had seven sacks with 48 tackles and a pass broken up for the Cardinals.

Indianapolis Colts: Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR, Liberty
The Colts blew out the Panthers thanks to Nyheim Hines having a historic game as a punt returner and Carolina rookie quarterback Will Grier struggling in his first NFL start, throwing three interceptions. Indianapolis won despite struggles from Jacoby Brissett and the receivering corps. No Colt had even four receptions or 27 yards against a reeling Carolina defense. Clearly, Indianapolis needs more receiving play-makers for the 2020 season. The Colts could use a big wideout with a size mismatch to go with T.Y. Hilton and Parris Campbell.

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.

Gandy-Golden amassed 79 receptions for 1,396 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2019. 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 Colts in the first or second round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Miami Dolphins: D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
The Dolphins have struggled to run the ball all year, and that was seen on again Sunday, when the lack of rushing attack played a role in them not being able to close out a win in regulation. The Bengals made a furious fourth-quarter comeback to force overtime before Miami eventually won. Myles Gaskin was okay on Sunday, but he’s more of a backup running back in the NFL. Whoever is the next quarterback for Miami could use more running back talent to help set up better down-and-distance situations with the threat of play-action. With their second or third first-round pick, the Dolphins could get a good value in Swift.

Swift has a good build to him with 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 at this point 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.

Baltimore Ravens: Terrell Lewis, LB, Alabama
The Ravens continued their phenomenal season with a road win over Cleveland and are closing in on the No. 1 seed in the AFC with home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Browns running back Nick Chubb was held in check, plus their wideouts did not have big performances, but the Ravens also did not record a sack. Baltimore could use more young edge-rushing talent to go with Matt Judos. Lewis is an edge rusher who could be a good fit for the Ravens at the end of the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Lewis totaled 31 tackles, six sacks and two passes batted in 2019. He was a dynamic edge rusher, showing speed, power, length, and some variety in moves. 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. Scouts have told me the 6-foot-5, 247-pounder is big and quick, plus possesses surprising change-of-direction skills. They said Lewis has a great build and is dripping with upside. He would be a great scheme fit in Baltimore.

New Orleans Saints: Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
Drew Brees outgunned Ryan Tannehill to get New Orleans a win over Tennessee, but the secondary of the Saints continued to have issues, allowing three touchdowns. Tennessee’s passing attack also did not have a rushing threat with Derrick Henry out, so the Saints knew that Tannehill would have to throw, but the Titans still produced 28 points despite being one-dimensional. The Saints have tried the likes of Eli Apple and P.J. Williams, but they could use a true No. 2 corner to go with Marson Lattimore.

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 was superb for Stanford in 2019, the question for him will be if he can handle speed receivers at the next level.

New York Giants: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
The Giants may have lost their chance at landing Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young with their overtime win over the Redskins on Sunday. While Young would be a great pick, New York has a lot of other needs, so taking a No. 1 receiver or franchise left tackle are still huge additions for the franchise. Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley need more receiving and blocking talent around them, so the Giants can help their young franchise building blocks with their first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

This season, Jeudy (6-1, 192) has shown 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 for the Crimson Tide. 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 very good selection for the New York Giants.

New York Jets: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
The Jets pulled off a big upset and served as spoiler with a win over the Steelers. New York won despite Sam Darnold being held to 183 yards passing and no Jet having more than 60 yards receiving or five receptions. Clearly, the Jets have to improve their receivers for Darnold, as the lack of playmakers in their receiving corps has been a painful liability all year. With New York’s sixth win of the season, the organization probably won’t be picking high enough to land Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy, but the team could still land a good receiver to help Darnold in 2020 and beyond.

In 2019, Lamb has 58 receptions for 1,208 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also has a rushing touchdown. Lamb didn’t get the attention of teammate Hollywood Brown, but Lamb was very good for the Sooners in 2018. On the year, he hauled in 65 receptions for 1,158 yards with 11 touchdowns.

Team sources say that Lamb has the body and physique of a No. 1 receiver in the NFL. They say he has great hands, runs good routes, and is a polished receiver. Lamb makes some ridiculous catches that are reminiscent of DeAndre Hopkins and Odell Beckham Jr. His body control, concentration, and ability to adjust are tremendous, and they put him in position to make a lot of difficult receptions. After the catch, Lamb is very dangerous with the ball in his hands, showing elusiveness and physicality as a runner. NFL evaluators love Lamb’s run-after-the-catch skills, and some compare him to Davante Adams as a prospect entering the NFL. While he has good size, Lamb does not have mismatch speed according to team evaluators, and they’ve said he could be a 4.55 guy in the 40-yard dash. Lamb is not overly fast, but he uses polished footwork and some suddenness to create separation. His route-running generates separation and makes up for the lack of elite speed. Lamb could be a true No. 1 receiver for Sam Darnold.

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.

San Francisco 49ers:
The 49ers have been one of the most improved teams in the NFL going from the second-overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft to being one of the best teams in the NFC throughout the 2019 season. San Francisco has a great schemer at head coach with Kyle Shanahan and a lot of young talent on the roster, so the team should be a tough competitor in the NFC for many years to come.

In my latest mock 2020 NFL Draft, I have the 49ers taking Stanford cornerback Paulson Adebo, and he would make sense as Richard Sherman is aging while not being the player he used to be. Thus, a long-term No. 1 corner is a need for San Francisco. In the short term, the 49ers could use an improved trio with Sherman and Akhello Witherspoon.

Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs is another corner to consider with Adebo. Some team scouts have told me Diggs reminds them of Aqib Talib coming out of Kansas as Diggs is big, quick, and athletic. However, Diggs may not get to to the 49ers’ pick. Aside from Diggs and Adebo, Florida’s C.J. Henderson could be another candidate to consider in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. If the 49ers move back, some cornerbacks to consider include LSU’s Kristian Fulton, TCU’s Jeff Gladney and Clemson’s A.J. Terrell.

Another position the 49ers could address is safety, as Jimmie Ward is entering free agency and Jaquiski Tartt will be in the last year of his contract in 2020. Alabama’s Xavier McKinney would be an excellent pick because he is versatile safety who could replace either of the veterans. San Francisco also could consider Lenoir-Rhyne’s Kyle Dugger, California’s Ashtyn Davis, and Georgia’s J.R. Reed. Any of those three could be better suited as picks on Day 2 during the 2020 NFL Draft.

San Francisco also could go the direction of adding some interior offensive line talent. A center like Wisconsin’s Tyler Biadasz or Oklahoma’s Creed Humphrey could be first-round considerations. The 49ers also could think of a guard upgrade with either Solomon Kindley of Georgia or Shane Lemieux of Oregon.

While the 49ers are firmly in the Super Bowl mix this year, they have done that despite general manager John Lynch blowing first-round picks on Solomon Thomas and Reuben Foster. San Francisco needs to hit on its 2020 early picks to help the team get over the hump in the austere NFC.

New England Patriots:
The Patriots will be in win-now mode until Tom Brady ends his Hall of Fame career, so they will continue their draft philosophy of looking for instant contributors. Picking late in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, New England has a number of directions it could go on either side of the ball.

In my latest mock 2020 NFL Draft, I have the Patriots taking Alabama safety Xavier McKinney, who would make sense given the age of their safeties. McKinney is a great scheme fit as well given his ability to play some man coverage, deep free safety, strong safety, and contribute as a good run defender. There is no doubt that McKinney would be a good value for New England, but he may not get to the team’s first-round pick. Other safeties the Patriots could consider in the early rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft include Lenoir-Rhyne’s Kyle Dugger, California’s Ashtyn Davis and Georgia’s J.R. Reed. All three of them could be better suited as picks on Day 2 during the 2020 NFL Draft.

The Patriots also have been in need of an interior disruptive defender, and they could have some good options available to them in the first round. South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw would be a great fit for their pick, because he is a big and versatile defensive lineman who could fit a 4-3 or 3-4 and has run-stuffing and pass-rushing ability. However, Kinlaw could easily be gone when the Patriots pick. Another tackle to consider would be Texas A&M’s Justin Madubuike. The 6-foot-3, 304-pounder is twitchy interior lineman who is very disruptive at the point of attack, and he has 5.5 sacks in 2019. Madubuike could make sense as a late first-rounder if he interviews well to counteract some makeup concerns over football character and work ethic. Alabama’s Raekwon Davis is another candidate to consider, but he is more of a run stuffer and may not be a contributor in the sub package in the NFL.

Offensively, it never is a bad idea to help Brady by improving his protection. On the blocking front, the Patriots could consider a guard or tackle late in the first round because Isaiah Wynn could play either position. Georgia’s Solomon Kindley and Oregon’s Shane Lemieux have plug-and-play starting potential at guard. Offensive tackles like Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs, Washington’s Trey Adams, Alabama’s Jedrick Wills, Alabama’s Alex Leatherwood and Georgia’s Isaiah Wilson are all first-round candidates.

Without a second-round pick, the Patriots will be limited in their ability to move up, but they don’t need to in order to land a player who could contribute quickly. The 2020 NFL Draft’s strong class of offensive line talent to go with those defensive prospects should still land New England an instant contributor who could help the franchise take home another Lombardi Trophy with Brady.

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