Monday Morning Draft – Week 17

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 Dolphins in overtime in Week 16, clinching the No. 1-overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Thus, it didn’t matter in terms of draft positioning that Cincinnati beat Cleveland to close out the season. The Bengals are in position to land the future franchise quarterback of their choice, and many around the league already believe the Bengals will take LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with the opening selection of the 2020 NFL Draft.

At the top of the second round, the Bengals could take advantage of the 2020 NFL Draft’s great class of wide receivers to land a replacement for A.J. Green. Some wideouts with first-round grades will be available at the 33rd pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, and the Bengals could trade back into the first round if they so desired. 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. Therefore, 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.

Tennessee Titans: Jon Greenard, DE, Florida
The Titans clinched the final wild-card spot in the AFC with a win at Houston, but A.J. McCarron had some success moving the ball on Tennessee, keeping the Texans in the game despite going with backups versus the Titans’ starters. Tennessee could target a pass-rusher to go with Harold Landry because Cameron Wake is not a long-term player at this point of his career. If the Titans draft a rusher like Greenard in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, that would allow them to add to their offensive line in Round 1.

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 entering the bowl game, 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.

New York Jets: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
The Jets grabbed their seventh win of the season as Buffalo rested its starters for the majority of their meaningless Week 17 contest. Clearly, the Jets need to get more receiving weapons for Sam Danrold over the offseason. Jamison Crowder (8-66-1) was the Jets’ leading receiver, and on a weekly basis, this year the production from the team’s receivers was pathetic. The Jets should take advantage of the 2020 NFL Draft’s great class of wideouts and grab multiple playmakers for Darnold.

In 2019, Lamb notched 62 receptions for 1,327 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 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.

Kansas City Chiefs: Terrell Lewis, LB, Alabama
The Chiefs got a sack from Terrell Suggs and also saw pass-rush production out of Chris Jones and Frank Clark in their Week 17 win over the Chargers. This offseason, Kansas City should find another edge rusher as Suggs is not a long-term player and the team could use another pass-rusher coming from the other side of Clark. Late in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Chiefs could consider finding a partner for Clark.

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 Kansas City.

Green Bay Packers: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
The Packers were able to get a comeback win over the Lions, but Detroit almost kept Green Bay from getting a first-round bye next week. This season, the Packers have used a number of different receivers, with Davante Adams firmly entrenched as their No. 1 receiver. During the 2020 NFL Draft, Green Bay could take advantage of the strong class of receivers and land a true No. 2 to go with Adams.

Higgins has 56 catches for 1,115 yards with 13 touchdowns in 2019. As a sophomore, he totaled 936 yards on 59 receptions with 12 touchdowns. Higgins (6-4, 200) is a big receiver who presents a size-mismatch issue for defenses. He is dangerous red-zone threat given his length and leaping ability. He is a volleyball player-style receiver who is not a tough wideout to work between the numbers. Assuming his combine time is solid, Higgins runs well enough to get late first-round consideration and should go in the top 20 of the second round if he isn’t a first-round pick. Higgins could be a safe selection for Green Bay in Round 1 during the 2020 NFL Draft.

Miami Dolphins: Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
The Dolphins struggled to run the ball throughout 2019, and that was seen again in Week 17, when they didn’t have a single player run for 22 yards – the running backs totaled just 37 yards on 16 carries. 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 feature back in Taylor.

Taylor has averaged 6.4 yards per carry in 2019 for 1,909 yards with 21 touchdowns. He has 24 receptions for 209 yards and five touchdowns as well. As a sophomore, Taylor averaged 7.1 yards per carry for 2,194 yards with 16 touchdowns. He had eight receptions for 60 yards as well. Taylor broke out in 2017, averaging 6.6 yards per carry for 1,977 yards with 13 touchdowns.

Taylor (5-11, 219) has a nice combination of size, quickness, and natural running skills. He is power runner to go through contact with good balance and a burst to the second level. In the open field, he is tough to get down given his tremendous stiff arm. The junior also has shown some receiving skills despite limited opportunities.

Atlanta Falcons: D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
The Falcons got an overtime win to top Tampa Bay in Week 17, and it could have had their final game with Devonta Freeman as their feature back. He could be a cap casualty and has not been the same running back over the past few years that he was during their Super Bowl season three years ago. Atlanta could look in state to take Swift in the first round and have a feature back for many years to come.

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.

Chicago Bears: Solomon Kindley, G, Georgia
Chicago beat the Vikings in Week 17, but the Vikings didn’t play their starters because their playoff status was locked in. That gave the Bears a game in which they could run the ball, and improving their ability to produce yards on the ground has to be a point of emphasis in the offseason. Chicago should use one of its second-round picks on a road grader to help improve the team’s smaller and finesse offensive line.

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. He would be a great value for Chicago in Round 2.

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.

Washington Redskins:
As I wrote in Week 1, “The Redskins may not win a lot of games in 2019, but they are a franchise headed in the right direction. They’ve had some phenomenal drafts under Bruce Allen, Doug Williams and Kyle Smith, so the smart move for the franchise would be to continue to let Allen and Williams build up talent on their roster. Landing quarterback Dwayne Haskins and edge rusher Montez Sweat in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft was masterful, and it will take some time for their young players to develop.” Washington owner Dan Snyder apparently does not value the good drafts over the past few years as it sounds like the Redskins are going to make changes in the front office today.

Washington has secured the No. 2 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and there are a number of directions the team could go with that pick. The Redskins could look to trade down with a quarterback-needy team to add more picks to their roster, but they may not need to do that as veteran offensive tackle Trent Williams is expected to be traded this offseason. The Redskins could get a similar package to what the Texans received for Duane Brown with a third-round pick and a second-round pick. If Washington does a deal like that, it could stay at No. 2 overall and take the best prospect in the 2020 NFL Draft, Ohio State defensive end Chase Young. In my latest mock 2020 NFL Draft, I have the Redskins taking Young, and he could form a legendary defensive line with Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne and Montez Sweat. Even though Washington has bigger needs, Young is too good to pass up, as he could end up being one of the best edge rushers in the NFL during his career. Thus, the organization would be wise to take the best player available regardless of need.

If the Redskins move down, they could consider a No. 1 receiver for Haskins, with good candidates like Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy, Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb, or Colorado’s Laviska Shenault. They also could consider a replacement for Williams with good choices like Georgia’s Andrew Thomas and Louisville’s Mekhi Becton.

Even if the Redskins move Allen out of heading their football operations, they would be wise to keep Williams and Smith running their drafts. If they continue to draft as they have the past three years with a good coaching staff coming in, these young players will develop and eventually lead a turnaround in Washington.

Cincinnati Bengals:
Entering the 2019 season, I thought it could be a long-year in Cincinnati, and I had the Bengals picking second-overall behind Miami, but the Bengals ended up as the worst team in the NFL this year despite playing some tough games against good teams in the early going of the year. The Bengals went into rebuilding mode as they had a talented roster that aged out. Thus, they enter the 2020 NFL Draft with a lot of needs to fill, and right now, it sounds like them taking LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with the No. 1-overall pick is a foregone conclusion.

After taking Burrow with the first pick, the Bengals should give him some help with more wide receiver or offensive line talent. Cincinnati’s 2019 first-round pick Jonah Williams went out for the year before it even started, but the team planned on him being its franchise left tackle. The Bengals could still use more offensively line talent as their blocking was terrible in 2019. In my latest mock 2020 NFL Draft, I have the Bengals going with Georgia right tackle Isaiah Wilson to form a bookend with Williams. Wilson has first-round ability, but while raw, he could, with time, develop into an excellent pro edge protector. Cincinnati could consider adding an offensive tackle like Houston’s Josh Jones or Auburn’s Prince Tega Wanogho. The team could also target guard help with Georgia’s Solomon Kindley or Oregon’s Shane Lemieux. Any of those players would be nice additions to the Bengals’ line.

Another route Cincinnati could go would be to take a wide receiver in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. A.J. Green could leave the Bengals in free agency, as the veteran might want to sign with a Super Bowl contender to close out his career rather than sign up for a rebuilding process. If Green leaves, they will need a wide receiver to go with Tyler Boyd. The 2020 NFL Draft could be very strong at receiver and have some first-round talents slip to Friday night. LSU’s Justin Jefferson, TCU’s Jalen Reagor, Clemson’s Tee Higgins, Central Florida’s Gabriel Davis, and Florida State’s Tamorrion Terry could go in the Round 1 or fall down to Round 2. Any of those wideouts would be nice choices and could end up being steals at the top of the second round.

While 2019 was a rough season for the Bengals, if they end up landing a legit franchise quarterback in Burrow, the 2020 NFL Draft could end up being the turning point in the long run.

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