Monday Morning Draft – Week 7

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:

Detroit Lions:
The Lions played the Rams tough on the road before Los Angeles pulled away in the fourth quarter. While Detroit is 0-7, the team had some bad breaks and lost to some crazy long field goals – Baltimore, Minnesota. The Lions have played better than the Texans and Jets, so it would not surprise me if they win a few games in the back half of the year and end up picking high, but not No. 1 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft.

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 and the Lions are playing really hard for Campbell. This year is going to be painful, but Detroit has the staff to build a winner.

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 the top considerations.

Houston Texans:
Arizona cruised over Houston. Two weeks ago, the Texans came close to the their second win of the season, but the Patriots won thanks to horrible special teams play by Houston. Clearly, the Texans are one of the worst teams in the NFL, and they are paying the price for Bill O’Brien ruining one of the most talented rosters in the league. With Deshaun Watson on his way out of town, finding their long-term franchise quarterback is the priority for the Texans.

New York Jets:
New York was blown out by the Patriots in embarrassing fashion, with the Jets not close to being competitive against a mediocre New England team. Last week, the Jets were dropped by the Falcons in the United Kingdom as Zach Wilson struggled again. It will be interesting to see if the Jets made the right decision to dump Sam Darnold and start over with Wilson. They could have had Kyle Pitts to help Darnold, but alas, general manager Joe Douglas decided to deal Darnold and take Wilson. 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.

Jacksonville Jaguars:
Jacksonville had a bye this week. A week ago, the Jaguars grabbed their first victory of the season, winning in London thanks to some late long field goals to drop Miami. New head coach Urban Meyer has received a rude welcome to the NFL, and clearly Jacksonville is a young team with a lot of holes on the roster. The organization has been mismanaged for years, and that was given further illustration when the Jacksonville only got a third-round pick for C.J. Henderson, who was the 9th-overall pick just a year ago. That is a terrible return on a top investment for the franchise, and shortly after that Meyer controversy hit. It remains to be seen if Meyer can win over a NFL locker room, but right now, it feels like the Jaguars made a mistake in hiring Meyer to lead the franchise.

Given the state of the Jacksonville roster along with a controversial coach who may not have credibility in the locker room, the Jaguars will probably be a top candidate to earn the No. 1 pick of the 2022 NFL Draft. If Jacksonville lands the top pick, it would make sense to trade down and load up on picks to help the rebuilding process around Trevor Lawrence.

Miami Dolphins:
The Dolphins lost their sixth straight gamem, failing to hold a lead and letting the Falcons win on a last-second field goal. Miami has struggled on both sides of the ball this year. If the Dolphins land the top pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, they could consider taking a quarterback depending on how Tua Tagovailoa plays this year. It wouldn’t be surprising if Miami puts together a package of picks to trade for Deshaun Watson.

Top General Manager Candidates:

  • Detroit Lions director of scouting development Mike Martin
  • Indianapolis Colts director of college scouting Morocco Brown
  • Buffalo Bills director of college scouting Terrance Gray
  • Atlanta Falcons vice president of player personnel Kyle Smith
  • 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
  • Las Vegas Raiders offensive coordinator Gus Bradley
  • Las Vegas Raiders interim head coach Rich Bisaccia
  • 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.

    New York Giants: Travon Walker, DE, Georgia
    The Giants defense limited Carolina to only a field goal, as they completely shut down the Panthers offense. Azeez Ojulari had 2.5 sacks, and Dexter Lawrence picked up a sack as well. New York could use one more defensive end to go across from Ojulari and make the team’s defense more well-rounded up front.

    Scouts are buzzing about Walker, and he is shooting up boards for the 2022 NFL Draft. The junior is off to an impressive start in 2021, including a big performance against Clemson in the season opener. Thus far, he has 19 tackles and 2.5 sacks, but he has played better than the numbers indicate. Team sources say Walker is big, athletic, and has speed. The 6-foot-5, 275-pounder has the size to set the edge and is quick off the ball. They feel he is a well-rounded defender with a lot of upside. Walker could be a superb addition to go next to Leonard Williams and across from Ojulari.

    Los Angeles Rams: James Skalski, LB, Clemson
    The Rams defense struggled with D’Andre Swift and the Lions rushing attack. With the way Detroit was running the ball on the Rams, Los Angeles was fortunate to pull out the win. The Rams could use help at inside linebacker and more talent in the middle of their defense to defend the run and pass-catching backs.

    In 2021, Skalski has 58 tackles, .5 sacks and three passes broken up. He is in better shape this year and showing more range. In the season opener against Georgia, Skalski recorded 14 tackles and really played well. The 6-foot, 246-pounder has been a solid contributor for Clemson. His best year came in 2019 when he had 90 tackles with 4.5 sacks, one forced fumble and three passes defended. Skalski could become a three-down starter in the NFL. Testing well before the 2022 NFL Draft will be important for his draft stock, but Skalski could be a nice addition for the Rams on Day 2.

    New England Patriots: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
    Mac Jones and the Patriots completely destroyed the Jets, blowing them out in embarrassing fashion. Jones played well, while the Patriots had four rushing touchdowns and a dominant defense. However, tailback Brandon Bolden was New England’s leading receiver, and the team clearly needs more receiving talent for Jones for the years to come. In the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Patriots could target a possessional receiver who is also a fabulous red-zone weapon and an asset on jump balls.

    Burks has 42 receptions for 717 yards and seven touchdowns so far this season. In 2020, he made 51 receptions for 820 yards and seven touchdowns. Burks is a big possessional receiver for the next level. The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder is tough, physical, and dangerous after the catch. Burks is a phenomenal jump-ball receiver who uses his height, strength and frame to get good position, shows an innate ability to high point the ball, and has strong hands, which all helps him make acrobatic leaping grabs. If Burks runs fast times in workouts before the 2022 NFL Draft, that would really help him. He would be a nice first-round pick for New England.

    Cincinnati Bengals: Josh Jobe, CB, Alabama
    The Bengals made a statement by putting an absolute beatdown on the Ravens in Baltimore. Ja’Marr Chase torched the Baltimore secondary, and Baltimore’s offense could not keep up with Cincinnati’s scoring attack. The Ravens receivers did have some chunk gains, and adding more cornerback talent this offseason would help the Bengals defense.

    Thus far in 2021, Jobe has notched 18 tackles, two passes broken up and one interception. He collected 55 tackles, two sacks, 11 passes defended and two forced fumbles in 2020. Like Patrick Surtain II, Jobe was a rare freshman defensive back to see the field under Nick Saban and recorded 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. Scouts say Jobe has everything you want physically, but they don’t like his inconsistency in coverage. Jobe could be a good corner for Cincinnati to work with later in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

    Atlanta Falcons: Aidan Hutchinson, WR, Michigan
    The Falcons dropped Miami on a last-second field goal after rookie tight end Kyle Pitts absolutely destroyed the Dolphins defense. While Atlanta enjoyed a monster performance from the rookie, Tua Tagovailoa threw for four touchdowns and was able to move the ball. The Falcons had one sack from Deion Jones, but they could use more pass rush from their defensive line.

    Hutchinson (6-3, 261) has quality size for the next level, is a good athlete, has quickness, and displays a pretty good get-off. He plays hard and gives relentless effort as a pass rusher. With his speed, athleticism, and hand usage, Hutchinson is a hard-charging, dangerous pass rusher who harasses the quarterback. In 2021, Hutchinson has 27 tackles with five sacks and a forced fumble – one was mistakenly given to a teammate.

    In the ground game, Hutchinson is sufficient. He wants to win with suddenness and athletic ability to knife through with moving and slanting. As a run defender, he can find the ball and use his quickness and athletic ability to make plays. He does not, however, seem to want plays to be run right at him, and sources feel his run defense is alarming when teams go straight at him. He could be a base end in a 4-3 or a 3-4 edge rusher.

    Tennessee Titans: George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue
    After beating the Bills on Monday night, the Titans notched a surprisingly dominant win over the Chiefs, dropping Kansas City 27-3. Tennessee holding Pat Mahomes and the Kansas City offense to a field goal was shocking. The Titans ramped up the pressure on Mahomes and kept him from getting in any rhythm. It showed what Mike Vrabel’s defense can do when his team gets the pass rush going. Harold Landry is entering free agency, and after paying Bud Dupree, the Titans may not sign another veteran.

    Karlaftis has 19 tackles, two sacks, two passes broken up and two forced fumbles in 2021. He recorded four tackles and two sacks in 2020 while missing time with a leg injury and COVID-19. Karlaftis broke out for the Boilermakers in 2019, totaling 54 tackles and 7.5 sacks. The 6-foot-4, 265-pound Karlaftis has the upside to get better. He is a quality athlete with a closing burst, excellent hands, and has a non-stop motor. The relentless Karlaftis is a dangerous pass rusher who could stand to improve his run defense for the NFL.

    Cleveland Browns: Damone Clark, LB, LSU
    Despite a plethora of injuries, the Browns were able to get victory over the Broncos to improve to 4-3 on the season. Cleveland did a nice job of stopping the run, but Denver tailbacks Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams each caught a touchdown on Thursday Night Football. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah has flashed some this year, but Cleveland could use more linebacker talent to go with him. Malcolm Smith is not a long-term starter, and perhaps on Day 2 of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Browns could land another second-day value.

    Clark is having a superb season, leading the nation in tackles and flying all over the field for the Tigers. In 2021, Clark has 80 tackles, a forced fumble, an interception and a pass defended. The 6-foot-3, 245-pounder has good speed, athleticism and instincts. He could be a nice addition to the Browns defense and help solidify the middle of their stop unit. Clark and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah could form a nice duo with Clark in the middle and Owusu-Koramoah at Will – weakside – linebacker.

    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.

    Denver Broncos:
    After the Broncos lost to a Raiders team embroiled in controversy in Denver on Week 6, my good friend and Broncos expert Cecil Lammey said that the franchise needed a new head coach, new offensive coordinator, and a new starting quarterback. It really is tough to argue against that because Teddy Bridgewater is just backup caliber and the team seems stuck in mediocrity under head coach Vic Fangio. Denver made a mistake in passing on Justin Fields in the 2021 NFL Draft, and the organization was foolish to bank on trading for Aaron Rodgers. Perhaps the Broncos will land Rodgers or Deshaun Watson, but either will cost a fortune, while Fields was there for just one pick.

    If the Broncos don’t land Rodgers or Watson, they could look to the 2022 NFL Draft for a quarterback. Ole Miss’ Matt Corral and Liberty’s Malik Willis could be first-round options, but neither one is as good of a prospect as Fields was. On Day 2, Denver could consider the likes of Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett, North Carolina’s Sam Howell or Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder. Veterans Rodgers and Watson would be better options.

    If the Broncos miss out on those veteran quarterbacks and there isn’t an option available in the draft, they have other needs to address. In my latest mock 2022 NFL Draft, I have them taking Penn State left tackle Rasheed Walker to fill the hole that has been right tackle for the past few years. Aside from Walker, there could be other quality early-round options like Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning, Washington State’s Abraham Lucas, Minnesota’s Daniel Faalele and Kentucky’s Darian Kinnard. Denver probably won’t be picking high enough to land Alabama’s Evan Neal.

    Aside from offensive line help, Denver could consider some help on defense. Von Miller is aging, and some believe that he could leave the team in the not too distant future. Adding a young edge rusher to go with Bradley Chubb could be a necessity if Miller is done in Denver. Some first-round options to consider include Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson, Georgia’s Travon Walker and Purdue’s George Karlaftis. This is a deep draft for edge rushers, so Denver could land a good complement on the second day from candidates like Oklahoma’s Nic Bonitto, Iowa State’s Will McDonald IV and Florida’s Brenton Cox Jr.

    More cornerback talent could be a consideration on Day 2 of the 2022 NFL Draft as well. Kyle Fuller is not a long-term starter, and Denver could use a young corner to team up with Patrick Surtain II. Some second-day cornerbacks who could be good additions for the Broncos include Florida’s Kaiir Elam, Virginia Tech’s Jermaine Waller, Tennessee’s Alontae Taylor, Auburn’s Roger McCreary and Missouri’s Akayleb Evans.

    While all of these needs are important to address, the quarterback position is what looms large for Denver. Until the Broncos find a true franchise quarterback, they could be stuck as a mediocre team.

    Las Vegas Raiders:
    The Raiders were a team headed in the right direction and looking like they could be a serious playoff contender this season before the NFL league office put on display their corruption with Jon Gruden’s firing. Las Vegas has a good coaching staff and some solid leaders with the likes of Derek Carr, but losing Gruden puts the franchise in uncharted territory. Gruden had nothing to do with the Washington Redskins sexual harassment investigation, so for the league to force him out of his job is a terrible injustice inflicted on the Raiders franchise. Mark Davis should be beyond livid with the NFL league office.

    If the Raiders keep playing well and get into the playoffs, it would make sense for them to keep the staff in place. They could elevate offensive coordinator Greg Olson, defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, or special teams coordinator and interim head coach Rich Bisaccia to be the permanent head coach. Las Vegas has looked like a team building and heading in the right direction, so it doesn’t make sense to kill that momentum with a regime change.

    The Las Vegas defense is much better this year under Bradley and thanks to having some better talent along the defensive line. While the Raiders are improved, they still could use more talent defensively. The Raiders could also consider a defensive end if they don’t plan to extend Yannick Ngakoue or Maxx Crosby. Both of them, however, will probably get extensions with Las Vegas. That being the case, it would make sense to continued to bolster the interior of the defensive line. In my latest mock 2022 NFL Draft, I have the Raiders taking Texas A&M defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal, who would be a good fit for them. He or Florida’s Zachary Carter could be a heavy end on run downs and move inside in the pass rush. That would give Las Vegas some solid interior rush to go with Darius Philon and Solomon Thomas.

    Linebacker is another position where Las Vegas could use a first- or seond-round pick during the 2022 NFL Draft. The franchise is paying the price for general manger Mike Mayock taking Clelin Ferrell instead of Devin White. Denzel Perryman has been excellent this season, but he may not be a long-term starter. Penn State’s Brandon Smith, LSU’s Damone Clark, Texas’ Demarvion Overshown or Auburn’s Zakoby McClain could fill that need.

    Offensively, the Raiders could use help on the inside of the offensive line. In my latest mock 2022 NFL Draft, I have the Raiders adding some guard talent on Day 2. They could have a number of good options to consider with plug-and-play starting potential. Either LSU’s Ed Ingram or Chasen Hines would be great scheme fits. Other guard options to consider would be Texas A&M’s Kenyon Green and Boston College’s Zion Johnson.

    The Raiders have an offense built to be dangerous for many years to come with Carr playing at a high level and excellent receiving talents with Darren Waller, Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards. If Las Vegas can improve along the offensive and defensive front seven, the team could be among the best in the AFC.

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