Monday Morning Draft – Week 2

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:

Jacksonville Jaguars:
Denver dropped the Jaguars to 0-2 after the Jaguars were embarrassed in Week 1, with the Texans blowing them out in convincing fashion. New head coach Urban Meyer and rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence have received a rude welcome to the NFL, and clearly Jacksonville is a young team with a lot of holes on the roster. The Jaguars should get better throughout the season, but they could be a top candidate for the No. 1 pick of the 2022 NFL Draft. If Jacksonville lands the top pick, it would make sense to trade down with a team that needs a quarterback and load up on picks to help the rebuilding process.

Detroit Lions:
The Lions are deep in rebuilding mode after previous general manager Bob Quinn and previous head coach Matt Patricia did a terrible job of drafting. It will take some time for Detroit to rebuild the roster new general manager Brad Holmes and new head coach Dan Campbell inherited. Hence, it could be a long year for the Lions, but Holmes is a phenomenal talent evaluator who will build a talented team.

If the Lions land the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, what they do with it will depend on how Jared Goff plays this season. If Goff plays well enough, they could maybe trade down for a big package of picks. If Goff struggles, they could replace him with the top quarterback. Detroit has two first-round picks in each of the next two drafts, so the franchise already has good resources thanks to the haul that Holmes landed for Matthew Stafford. If the Lions don’t take a quarterback, wide receiver and edge rusher could be their top considerations.

New York Jets:
The Jets lost to New England to fall to 0-2, but they’re a young team that will improve as the season progresses. They are in for some growing pains, but they should be a better team in the back half of the season. If the Jets were to land the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, they probably would look to trade down and load up on picks to help their rebuilding process.

New York Giants:
The Giants are 0-2, and it looks like it could be a long-year for them. I’m not confident though they will be bad enough to land the No. 1 pick of the 2022 NFL Draft. If they were to land the No. 1 pick, it would mean that Daniel Jones probably has not panned out and they should look to replace him with a new quarterback.

Atlanta Falcons:
The Falcons are 0-2 and in a deep rebuild after some terrible drafts by former general manager Thomas Dimitroff. It will take some good drafts and free agency signing periods to rebuild the roster. If the Falcons land the No. 1-overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, it would make sense for them to give heavy consideration to taking their replacement for aging franchise quarterback Matt Ryan.

Top General Manager Candidates:

  • Detroit Lions director of scouting development Mike Martin
  • Buffalo Bills director of college scouting Terrance Gray
  • Indianapolis Colts director of college scouting Morocco Brown
  • Buffalo Bills assistant college scouting director Lake Dawson
  • 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

  • Top Head Coach Candidates:

  • Las Vegas Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson
  • Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris
  • Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman
  • Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale
  • Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles
  • Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy
  • Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator George Godsey
  • Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph
  • Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley

  • 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.

    Cleveland Browns: Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson
    The Browns were without Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry was injured, yet they leaned on their tight ends and rushing attack to pull out a win over the Texans. Given the contract statuses of Beckham and Landry, the Browns could move on from one or both before long and be in the market for a long-term No. 1 receiver for Baker Mayfield.

    Ross has 14 receptions for 139 yards and a touchdown so far this season. He also has drawn some pass interference penalties. Ross missed the 2020 season due to a spinal condition that required surgery. The 6-foot-4, 205-pounder played well for Clemson in 2019, although the offense spread the ball around to a variety of play-makers. He totaled 66 receptions for 865 yards and eight touchdowns in 2019. Ross broke out in 2018, showing off a freakish skill set alongside size and speed. While Clemson spread the ball out as well that season, Ross made the most of his receptions, totaling 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns on 46 receptions for an average of 21.7 yards per catch.

    Ross is brimming with upside and looks like he has early-round potential, provided his spinal condition does not put him back on the sideline. Some team sources worry about Ross’ medical issues, but he could be worth the risk for Cleveland in the back half of the first round as a high-upside potential No. 1 receiver for Baker Mayfield.

    Buffalo Bills: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
    The Bills cruised over Miami, shutting out the Dolphins 35-0 in South Florida. While it was an easy victory, for the second straight week, the Buffalo passing offense had some struggles. Emmanuel Sanders (2-48) is a declining veteran, and the Bills could use a more consistent No. 2 receiver for Josh Allen.

    Olave has 16 catches for 243 yards and two touchdowns so far this season and has shown his excellent speed, route-running, and smooth athleticism week after week. Olave caught 50 passes for 729 yards and seven touchdowns in 2020. The Buckeyes had other good receiving talent with more experience during 2019, but Olave (6-0, 182) became their most dynamic receiving playmaker that season with 49 receptions for 849 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was a big-time point producer and looked like he was just getting started.

    Olave has quality height and the speed to get downfield. He could be an ideal complement to Stefon Diggs as a No .2 receiver in Buffalo’s offense.

    Chicago Bears: Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama
    The Bears’ defense played really well against the Bengals, leading Chicago to its first win of the season. The Bears need to add more receiving weapons for Justin Fields along with more talent on their offensive line. Chicago lacks its first-round pick, but the organization could land wide receiver help in the second round and offensive line talent in the mid-rounds. The Bears must become aggressive at building up their supporting cast to help Fields pan out.

    Tolbert has 12 catches for 263 yards in 2021. According to team sources, advance scouts gave Tolbert (6-1, 194) a high preseason grade. He displayed some serious big-play ability in his previous seasons, averaging 17 yards and 19.3 yards per reception.

    Tolbert has a nice buzz and could be a riser with a 2021 strong season. It would also help him to impress at the Senior Bowl against a higher caliber of competition, but Tolbert has a good skill set. He could be a nice second-round No. 2 receiver to complement Allen Robinson.

    Denver Broncos: Daniel Faalele, RB, Minnesota
    The Broncos cruised over the Jaguars, but Jacksonville was able to dial up some pressure on Teddy Bridgewater. Over the past few years, Denver has turned to a string of journeymen to fill their right tackle position, but they could use the 2022 NFL Draft to find a long-term answer. A massive monster like Faalele would be a good fit to open holes for Javonte Williams.

    Faalele didn’t have a flawless performance against Ohio State in the 2021 season opener, but he was solid. Faalele is a massive blocker who has surprising quickness and athleticism for such a big-bodied blocker. He was very impressive for Minnesota in 2018 and 2019 before sitting out the 2020 season. It will be interesting to see how the 6-foot-8, 379-pounder performs over 2021 after his long lay-off, but he has a good skill set with a ton of upside for the NFL.

    New England Patriots: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
    While the Patriots offense did not produce well on the ground or through the air, the New England defense completely shut down the Jets offense and did the hard work for the first victory of the season. In the 2022 NFL Draft, the Patriots need to get some receiving weapons for Mac Jones. Tailback James White (6-45) was the leading receiver and New England did not have a wide out record five receptions for even 40 yards through the air. Clearly, addressing wide receiver is a massive need for the Patriots.

    Dotson provided some huge plays to lead Penn State to the road upset over Wisconsin to open 2021, but it would have been a prolific game if Dotson had a competent quarterback to work with. He was wide open for touchdowns of over 80 yards, 70 yards, and 60 yards but terrible passes by Sean Clifford blew those opportunities. Dotson’s stat line of five receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown does not tell the story of how phenomenal he was. Against Auburn it was a similar story but Dotson had a string of huge, clutch acrobatic catches on inaccurate passes. He is a fast receiver that is dangerous separation wide out with his route-running ability. In 2021 he has 20 receptions for 245 yards and three touchdowns.

    Dotson had an impressive 2020 season, hauling in 52 passes for 884 yards and eight touchdowns over nine games. The 5-foot-10, 175-pounder can provide some big plays to his offense. In 2019, he had 27 catches for 488 yards and five touchdowns.

    Los Angeles Rams: Josh Jobe, CB, Alabama
    The Rams jumped out to a lead on the Colts before Indianapolis made a comeback. Los Angeles pulled it out late, but the defense could use more cornerback help to go with Jalen Ramsey. In the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft, Jobe would be a good value as he has a good skill set but might slide to the Round 2 due to his inconsistent play.

    In 2021, Jobe has nine tackles and two passes broken up. He collected 55 tackles, two sacks, 11 passes defended and two forced fumbles in 2020. In 2019, Jobe notched 22 tackles, two passes broken up and an interception, but he looked like he was just scratching the surface of his potential.

    Jobe (6-1, 189) is a big corner who can run and is athletic. Like Patrick Surtain II, Jobe was a rare freshman defensive back to see the field under Nick Saban. He would be a quality value for the Rams in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

    Washington Redskins: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
    The Giants couldn’t run the ball against Washington on Thursday Night Football, yet the Redskins almost allowed Daniel Jones to drop them to 0-2. The Redskins have an elite defensive line and very good young talent at linebacker, but they could use more help at cornerback, as the Giants illustrated. In the early rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft, adding another corner would make a lot of sense for Washington.

    Elam has eight tackles, three passes broken up and an interception so far in 2021. He was phenomenal against Alabama, blanketing and shutting down future NFL receivers. Elam played well in 2020, recording 39 tackles, two interceptions and 11 passes broken up. The 6-foot-1, 187-pounder was fantastic as a freshman, flashing serious ball skills even though he had a part-time role.

    Elam has good height and length with enough quickness to become a potential starter. He could stand to fill out his frame, but considering he is only a true junior, he has the time to do it.

    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.

    Carolina Panthers:
    The Panthers are an interesting team as they strive to become relevant in the NFC playoff picture. At 2-0, they are off to an excellent start considering they will likely be 3-0 shortly – after they play the Texans. Carolina is run by head coach Matt Rhule, and he is the final decision maker for the roster. Rhule had former general manager Marty Hurney fired, chose Scott Fitterer to be the new general manager, and decided to trade for Sam Darnold rather than drafting Justin Fields or Mac Jones. Rhule will probably survive if Darnold doesn’t pan out, but clearly the franchise has a lot riding on Rhule’s evaluation to pass on Fields and Jones for Darnold. As evidenced by Carolina’s dominant performances against the Jets and Saints, the team has a strong defense and some good weapons on offense. Thus, the Pantehrs have a lot of options for the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

    In my latest 2022 NFL Mock Draft, I have the Panthers taking Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton. He would be a great scheme fit for Carolina and allow the team to have Jeremy Chinn play Will linebacker permanently. Carolina has had issues at free safety ofr the past few seasons without a long-term answer on the roster. Hamilton’s ability to handle free or strong safety would provide the Panthers with versatility on the back end.

    Carolina is also going to need to improve its offensive line. The Panthers have gone with a patchwork approach with veteran free agents the past few years, but they need more talent up front. Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal could make sense in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, if Carolina believes he can remain at left tackle. The franchise’s one good long-term starter is right tackle Taylor Moton, so if the team drafts a tackle, they have to be able to play on the left side. Iowa’s Trevor Penning and Penn State’s Rasheed Walker are left tackles who could end up being worthy of first-round consideration.

    On Day 2 of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Panethers should look hard at the guard position, where they could use upgrades. Some good options include Texas A&M’s Kenyon Green and LSU’s Ed Ingram or Chasen Hines. The Jets hold the Panthers’ second-round pick, so if one of those three gets to the Panthers’ third-round pick, that prospect could make a lot of sense.

    The Panthers had a rebuilding process on their hands after their Super Bowl core aged out. Before being fired, Hurney drafted the team the makings of an excellent defensive line with Brian Burns, Derrick Brown and Yetur Gross-Matos. He also set the organization up with a long-term No. 1 receiver in D.J. Moore, and Dave Gettleman had drafted Carolina an elite playmaker in Christian McCaffrey. Now, Rhule has to finish off the rebuild by making the right decision at quarterback, fixing the offensive line, and adding a few more solid players on defense. It will be fascinating to see if Rhule is up to the task.

    New York Giants:
    It could be a long year for the Giants. Daniel Jones has been streaky, and the defense has had issues in pass defense over the first two games in the year. Given the players on the roster, New York may not have the potential to round into form. It would not be surprising if the Giants are back picking in the top 10 during the 2022 NFL Draft next April.

    The current state of the Giants traces back to the 2018 NFL Draft when their general manager, David Gettleman, passed on franchise quarterbacks like Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson for running back Saquon Barkley. Barkley had a tremendous rookie year before injuries derailed his career, and Barkley does not look like the same phenom talent that he did in 2018. Passing on Allen and Jackson led to the Giants taking Daniel Jones to replace Eli Manning, and that regrettable decision by Gettleman could haunt the Giants for a decade or more. Gettleman also passed on Justin Fields and Mac Jones, but the jury is still out on those evaluations. If the Giants have a high first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, they will have to consider a potential replacement for Daniel Jones, such as Ole Miss’ Matt Corral and Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler.

    The quarterback decision is as big as it gets, but beyond that, the Giants have other needs on the roster that they should look to address. After passing on Fields last April, the Giants netted the Bears’ first-round pick, so the Giants could easily have two top-20 picks next April.

    The 2022 NFL Draft looks phenomenal for edge-rushing talent, and the Giants could use an edge rusher to go across from Azeez Ojulari. High in the first round, the Giants could consider Georgia’s Adam Anderson, Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson, Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson, Purdue’s George Karlaftis and Virginia Tech’s Amaré Barno. If the Giants have a top-five pick, they could have a shot at Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux.

    Given that the Giants have a recent second-rounder in Ojulari to go along with big investments in Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence, they might prefer to strengthen other parts of the defense. The team gave consideration to Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons last April, so the decision-makers could target Parsons’ replacement, Brandon Smith, next April. He could be a nice playmaker to go with Blake Martinez.

    In my latest 2022 NFL Mock Draft, I have the Giants taking Smith and Washington State right tackle Abraham Lucas. One bright spot in the early going of 2021 has been that second-year left tackle Andrew Thomas has played well for the Giants. Right tackle, however, is need of an upgrade, as veteran Nate Solder is in rapid decline. Aside from Lucas, the Giants could consider Alabama’s Evan Neal high in the first round. Other tackle options the franchise could consider include Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning, Minnesota’s Daniel Faalele and Penn State’s Rasheed Walker.

    Another position the Giants could consider in the early rounds is tight end. Evan Engram was a pick of the prior regime, has a hard time avoiding injury, and will be a free agent after the season. With a high second-round pick, the Giants could consider the likes of Texas A&M’s Jalen Wydermyer or Iowa State’s Charlie Kolar.

    The Giants have a huge decision to make on Jones, but may not be the only one on the hot seat. New York general manager Dave Gettleman could easily be fired if the Giants don’t make the playoffs. His first-round decision in 2018 is sufficiently damning, that it looks difficult to make the argument that he should remain the general manager for a fifth season if the Giants don’t come close to the playoffs.

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