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.
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Race for the No. 1 Pick:
New York Jets:
The Bills dropped New York, keeping the Jets in line to land the No. 1-overall pick. The Jets are 0-7 and have looked like the worst team in the NFL. Already, it appears the locker room is quitting on head coach Adam Gase, and that could lead to New York having an abysmal season that earns the team the No. 1-overall pick. If the Jets land the top pick, they should take Trevor Lawrence and look to trade Sam Darnold for draft picks to help build around Lawrence.
New York Giants:
New York lost to the Eagles on Thursday night, keeping the Giants as a top candidate for the No. 1-overall pick. Thanks to their win over the Redskins, the Giants are behind the Jets for the No. 1 pick, but there is still plenty of games left for that to change and the G-Men do not look capable of winning many more games this season. The Giants struggle to rush the passer, lack receiving weapons for Daniel Jones, and Saquon Barkley is out for the year. It looks like it will be a long season for the Giants. If they land the No. 1-overall pick, it would make sense to take Trevor Lawrence and trade Daniel Jones.
The Falcons cruised over the Vikings under interim head coach Raheem Morris, giving them their first win of the season. Atlanta couldn't keep things going though falling to the Lions at the end of the fourth quarter yesterday. The Falcons have lost some close games in 2021 to start the season 1-6. While the Falcons are off to a rough start, they have too much talent on offense to go 1-15. Additionally, the players love Morris and are going to play hard for him in hopes that he gets to remain the head coach.
If the Falcons do lose enough to land the No. 1-overall pick, it would make sense to take Trevor Lawrence and trade Matt Ryan, given his age. Atlanta finally fired Thomas Dimitroff and has needed a new general manager for years. Dimitroff was there a long time, and the franchise has been on the decline since the 2016 season, including having made numerous poor draft deceisions that have led to fielding a weak defense for many years.
There are some excellent general manager candidates available, including former Texans general manager Rick Smith. Smith had a 10-year stretch in which he did not have a first-round pick go bust while landing J.J. Watt, DeAndre Hopkins, Deshaun Watson, Duane Brown, Brian Cushing, Whitney Mercilus and more. Other good general manager candidates include:
Buffalo Bills director of player personnel Dan Morgan
Buffalo Bills director of college scouting Terrance Gray
Buffalo Bills assistant college scouting director Lake Dawson
Indianapolis Colts director of college scouting Morocco Brown
Las Vegas Raiders senior executive DuJuan Daniels
Tennessee Titans director of pro scouting Brian Gardner
San Francisco 49ers director of pro personnel Ran Carthon
Pittsburgh Steelers pro scouting coordinator Brandon Hunt
Miami Dolphins assistant general manager Marvin Allen
Washington director of pro scouting Eric Stokes
Seattle Seahawks executive Alonzo Highsmith
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.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
The Steelers almost blew a big lead, but they were able to hold on thanks to a missed Titans field goal to pull out the road win. A long touchdown pass to A.J. Brown in the third quarter brought Tennessee back into the game, and Ryan Tannehill almost pulled off the win by ripping the ball through the Pittsburgh secondary. Joe Haden is aging, and even before Haden is done the Steelers could consider more corner talent to go around him. Campbell could be a solid pick for the Steelers in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Campbell has played well for Georgia in 2020, and he shut down Seth Williams in the Bulldogs' win over Auburn. The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder has ability, excellent size and length. Over 2019 and 2018 , Campbell was a streaky player with some ups and downs, but showed that he has plenty of upside to develop. The junior looks more disciplined and efficient this season. Campbell would give the Steelers a big corner who could be helpful against some of the big wideouts in the AFC.
Cleveland Browns: Jevon Holland, S, Oregon
The Browns won a shootout with the Bengals thanks to the heroics of Baker Mayfield. The Cleveland defense struggled to handle Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati offense. The Browns need to upgrade the talent of their pass coverage this offsesaon, and they should also be getting Grant Delpit back from injury. Cleveland could use a coverage safety to go with Delpit.
Holland (6-1, 200) was a playmaker for the Ducks over the past two seasons, putting together fabulous ball production. As a freshman, he had 42 tackles with five interceptions and eight passes broken up. In 2019, he had 66 tackles with four interceptions and four passes batted. Holland's instincts and ball skills made him a dangerous threat to snatch interceptions and break up passes downfield. He could stand to get stronger to tackle in the NFL, but he had respectable tackle totals over his freshman and sophomore seasons.
If Holland can add weight before pre-draft workouts and maintain his speed, it could help him for the 2021 NFL Draft. He is skipping the 2020 season rather than playing for Oregon. Holland could be a good fit as a free safety in the Cleveland defense.
Buffalo Bills: Wyatt Davis, G, Ohio State
Buffalo's offense moved the ball against the Jets but was unable to produce touchdowns, getting by with six field goals. Buffalo struggled to run the ball with Devin Singletary, and Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams gave the Buffalo line some problems. A power-blocking road grader would be a nice addition to the Bills' offense and help them to create a more consistent rushing attack.
The 6-foot-4, 315-pound Davis has good size to him and was a tough run blocker for the Buckeyes in 2019. He is strong at the point of attack and is a bull in the ground game. David has some room for improvement in terms of pass protection for the NFL, but the skill set is there for him to be a good pass blocker. He is stout to anchor against bull rushes, but he needs more starting experience to refine his game. Davis could be a road-grading run blocker for the Bills and improve their ability to run the ball.
New Orleans Saints: Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
The Saints' defense came up with a few clutch stops to give their team just enough help for Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara. D.J. Moore had a big game, and New Orleans really struggled with Curtis Samuel on third downs. Janoris Jenkins is just a short-term solution at corner, and the Saints could use more defensive back talent to go with Marshon Lattimore.
Wade totaled 25 tackles with eight passes broken up, an interception and two sacks in 2019. He made some impressive plays for the Buckeyes and was a bigger presence than the numbers indicate. During the fall of 2019, I reported that team sources said they believed Wade was likely to go back to Ohio State for 2020, which is what happened.
Wade (6-1, 194) has a good skill set to develop with a ton of upside. He had a strong debut for the Buckeyes in 2018, totaling 31 tackles, three interceptions, seven passes defended and one forced fumble on the year. Even though Wade has the size to line up on the outside, Ohio State played him mostly at slot cornerback in 2018 and 2019, and he did well there while also playing some safety. With Jeff Okudah and Damon Arnette having moved on to the NFL, Wade moved to the outside in 2020, and it could help his draft grade if he plays well there, as it would demonstrate the versatility to be effective at numerous spots in coverage. With the passing attacks of the Bucs, Panthers and Falcons, improving the secondary is a necessity for New Orleans.
Green Bay Packers: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
The Packers blew out the Texans, and Houston did not start scoring until garbage time. Green Bay enjoyed a massive day from Davante Adams (13-196-2), but the team's other receivers did not even record a reception against the vulnerable Houston defense because Aaron Rodgers used his running back and tight ends.
Smith has 45 catches for 556 yards with four touchdowns this year. He put together a tremendous junior season for Alabama, recording 68 receptions for 1,256 yards with 14 touchdowns. He showed off excellent hands, route-running, and the ability to pick up yards after the catch. He had 42 catches for 693 yards and six scores in 2018. The 6-foot-1, 175-pounder is a pure football player who can overcome being smaller in frame. He would be an amazing No. 2 receiver to team with Davante Adams.
Washington Redskins: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
The Redskins cruised over the Cowboys, with Kyle Allen having no issues producing some big plays against the Dallas dense. Getting another victory, and possibly more to come, behind their talented young defense, the Redskins could easily end up missing out on Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields in the 2021 NFL Draft. Ron Rivera needs his future starting quarterback, and Lance could make sense for his first pick in Washington.
Lance's one game of the 2020 season was a mixed outing. He missed some throws and made some mistakes, but considering the rust factor, that is somewhat understandable. Lance completed 15-of-30 passes for 149 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He ran for 143 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries as well.
The 2019 season was Lance's first year of playing time, and he produced a huge year, completing 67 percent of his passes for 2,786 yards with 28 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Lance is listed at 6-foot-3, 221 pounds, and sources say he has a good skill set of physical tools. In the spring of 2020, scouts told me they needed to see more from Lance and were wary of a 1-year-wonder situation, but North Dakota State had its football season canceled, other than one game, which makes Lance a tougher and more risky evaluation for the 2021 NFL Draft.
Philadelphia Eagles: Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
The Eagles were able to prevail over the Giants thanks to some heroics on the part of Carson Wentz. Linebacker play, once again, hurt the Eagles, with Evan Engram being a problem and Daniel Jones getting off an 80-yard run before being taken down by the turf monster. This offseason, Philadelphia has to upgrade the talent in the middle of its defense and find a difference-maker at linebacker.
Moses started a little slowly, but he has been excellent over the past few weeks for Alabama. He is a heat-seeking missile in the ground game who moves very well, covering a lot of ground in pass defense. Team sources were really excited about seeing him in 2019, but a torn ACL in training camp ended his season before it started. Some sources thought that if Moses had entered the 2020 NFL Draft, he still would have been an early-rounder despite the injury. They were very impressed with his performance in 2018 when he recorded 86 tackles, 10 for a loss, 3.5 sacks, one forced fumble and one pass batted while rotating with other linebackers. Moses could be a starting Mike or Will linebacker for the Eagles.
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.
Las Vegas Raiders:
The Raiders have shown improvement under each year of Jon Gruden's coaching. Now in his third season, Las Vegas is a true playoff contender that fields a talented offense but is, like usual, dealing with an inconsistent defense. That defense is the reason the Raiders may not be ready to challenge for the Super Bowl, and the flaws of the defense are the fault of general manager Mike Mayock and owner Mark Davis.
Mayock made a huge reach on Clelin Ferrell with the fourth-overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Ferrell has only been decent, at best, thus far. He played well against the Chiefs, but still has not recorded a sack this season and is not the pass-rushing force Mayock selected him to be. It would not be surprising if Ferrell only tops out as a serviceable rotational defensive end given how he has looked thus far, and considering he was the fourth-overall pick, that is a terrible return on investment by Mayock.
Maxx Crosby is a solid NFL end, but the Raiders still need an elite pass rusher for their defense. Mark Davis low-balled Jadeveon Clowney in free agency, causing Clowney to sign with the Titans. While Clowney is not a prolific sack producer, he would be a huge upgrade for Las Vegas' defensive line. The first round of the 2021 NFL Draft may only contain two good edge rush prospects in Miami Hurricanes defensive end Gregory Rousseau and Wake Forest defensive end Carlos Basham. I think Rousseau will be long gone by the time the Raiders pick. Basham would be a great scheme fit though, and considering he is a 3-year starter and Rousseau is a 1-year wonder, Basham could be the safer pick of the two. The Raiders are probably going to be picking in the No. 16-25 range, so Basham could easily be off the board as well.
In my latest mock 2021 NFL Draft
I have the Raiders taking Alabama linebacker Dylan Moses, which would be a great move. The middle of their defense has been vulnerable for years, which is why Mayock signed Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski in free agency last spring. While the two have been upgrades, Las Vegas could use a game changer at linebacker. Penn State's Micah Parsons or Moses could really upgrade the Raiders' pass coverage in the middle of the field and their run defense. Either would be an asset in defending Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Austin Ekeler, and the Broncos' running back tandem. Parsons probably won't get to the Raiders' pick, but Moses could be in play. Some options to consider at linebacker on Day 2 of the 2021 NFL Draft would include Missouri's Nick Bolton and Florida's Ventrell Miller.
Offensively, the Raiders are set at the skill positions with an elite tight end, young receiver talent, and one of the best young running backs in the NFL. Las Vegas could consider adding more youth to the offensive line. Richie Incognito is old, and Gabe Jackson could be a cap casualty before long. If there aren't good defensive options available in the first round, the Raiders could look at an interior lineman like Ohio State's road-grading guard Wyatt Davis or Georgia's big center Trey Hill. Hill could be a nice fit to start out his career at guard and then move to center when Rodney Hudson declines or gets too expensive. However, it would be more preferable to add to the offensive line on Day 2 and the mid-rounds with the resource of the first-round pick going to the defense.
Since Gruden came back to the Raiders, they have taken good players on offense who Gruden has wanted and had a plan for. That group has included Kolton Miller, Josh Jacobs and Henry Ruggs. The defensive picks under Mayock have not been as good, and Mayock made huge reaches on Ferrell and Damon Arnette. For Las Vegas to get over the hump and become a Super Bowl contender again, Mayock needs to do a much better job of drafting for the defense.
New York Giants:
There was a lot of optimism that the Giants could make a big jump into playoff contention this season with quarterback Daniel Jones entering his second season, having a healthy Saquon Barkley, and a new coaching staff under Joe Judge. All of that optimism quickly vanished though, as Barkley went out of the season in Week 2, Jones has been inconsistent, and the new coaching staff has been overmatched. New York has a lot of needs and holes on the roster to fix before the team can become a true competitor in the NFC. Fortunately for the Giants, the NFC East is terrible, so they could contend for the division title as soon as next season if they have a good 2021 offseason.
In my latest mock 2021 NFL Draft
, I have the Giants taking LSU wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, which is a borderline no-brainer. Chase is game changer and a future No. 1 receiver for the NFL. He has excellent speed to stretch defenses vertically, is sure-handed, runs routes well, is able to win contested catches, and is a red-zone weapon. He would be a dream pick for the Giants, as they have not found an adequate replacement for Odell Beckham Jr. New York's scouting staff did a phenomenal job picking out Darius Slayton, but general manager Dave Gettleman was foolish to think that Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate would be good enough as starting receivers. Some scouts think that Chase is a better version of Amari Cooper and worthy of being a top-five pick next April in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Heading into Week 7, the Giants on track to hold the third-overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, so that could put them in position to trade down with a team that is looking to move up for a quarterback. If the Giants do trade down, they would probably miss out on Chase. Thus, they could consider Alabama's Jaylen Waddle or Alabama's Devonta Smith. Waddle is home run hitter with elite speed who could be a Tyreek Hill-type wide-out as a pro - and may be available lower due to his season-ending injury. Smith is a polished receiver who does everything well but is just thin. Waddle has top-20 ability, while Smith is more of a mid- to late first-round talent. Which receiver the Giants could land would depend on how far they move down if they want to deal. However with the second pick in 2018 and fourth pick in 2020, league sources said Gettleman was asking for a ton of picks and much more than anybody was willing to pay to do a trade.
It could make sense for New York to double up at wideout beacuse there could be a lot of good players available early in the second round. Ohio State's Chris Olave, LSU's Terrace Marshall Jr., Florida's Kadarius Toney, Florida State' Tamorrion Terry, Houston's Marques Stevenson and Minnesota's Rashad Bateman could all be worthy of going high in Round 2 of the 2021 NFL Draft. Last year, the Giants used their first- and a third-round picks on offensive tackles, so Gettleman is not opposed to doubling up at a position not need.
Defensively, the Giants need more talent at edge rusher and cornerback. If they go for an edge rusher in the first round, their options could be Miami's Gregory Rousseau and Wake Forest's Carlos Basham. Of those two, Rousseau could be a better fit as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. Cornerback options could include Alabama's Patrick Surtain II and Ohio State's Shaun Wade. Surtain and Wade may not prove to be worthy of top-10 picks, and after what New York paid James Bradberry, it could make more sense to use that high first-round pick resource on an edge rusher or a No. 1 receiver for Jones.
Unless he gets fired after this season, this will be the fourth draft for Gettleman, and he must get some difference makers for New York. The Giants have really missed Odell Beckham Jr and are hurting the development of Daniel Jones with his current group of wideouts. Gettleman has been known to boast of his ability to evaluate talent and contribute to Super Bowl teams. It clearly has become put up or shut time for Gettleman.
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