Monday Morning Draft – Week 8

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 Eagles blew out the Lions in embarrassing fashion. Last week, Detroit played the Rams tough on the road before Los Angeles pulled away in the fourth quarter. While the Lions are 0-8, they had some bad breaks and lost to some crazy long field goals (Baltimore, Minnesota). Detroit has 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.

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 the Lions have 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:
The Rams cruised over Houston to drop the Texans to 1-7. A few 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 NFL. With Deshaun Watson on his way out of town, finding the long-term franchise quarterback is the priority for Houston.

Miami Dolphins:
The Dolphins lost their seventh straight game, struggling mightily on offense at Buffalo. Miami has been a wreck on both sides of the ball this year. If they land the top-pick, they could consider taking a quarterback, depending on how Tua Tagovailoa plays this year. It wouldn’t be surprising if Miami puts a package of picks together to trade for Deshaun Watson.

Jacksonville Jaguars:
The Jaguars were blown out in Seattle. A few weeks ago, the Jaguars grabbed their first victory of the season as they won 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 team has been mismanaged for years, and that was given further illustration when they 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 that may not have credibility in the locker room, 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.

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 Orleans Saints: DeMarvin Leal, DT, Texas A&M
    The New Orleans defense allowed Tom Brady to throw for 375 yards and four touchdowns, but the team made enough clutch plays, like P.J. Williams game-clinching pick-six, to upset the Buccaneers in New Orleans. Over recent drafts, the Saints have invested in their edge rushers, but they could use more interior pass rush after losing Sheldon Rankins in free agency. Adding an interior rusher would make sense for New Orleans first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

    Leal has recorded 35 tackles, 5.5 sacks and two passes batted so far in 2021. He flashed for the Aggies in 2020 and 2019, but really looked like things were clicking for him at the end of the 2020 season. As a sophomore, Leal had 30 tackles, 2.5 sacks, one forced fumble, one interception and three passes defended. In 2019, he recorded 38 tackles and two sacks. The 6-foot-4, 290-pound Leal has a good skill set with upside. He plays end and tackle for the Aggies and that could continue in the NFL. Team sources say they love his ability to rush the passer and his instincts versus the run. They feel he is agile and fluid, but not powerful or sudden. There are concerns about him struggling as a run defender on the inside, but with some development, he could become more well-rounded. Leal could be a quality value for the Saints in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

    Denver Broncos: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
    The Broncos enjoyed seeing Jerry Jeudy back on the field, and they had the majority of their talented offensive weapons on the field together for the first time since the beginning of the season – minus K.J. Hamler. Still, Denver only managed 17 points, and Teddy Bridgewater’s limitations were put on display again. If the Broncos can’t land Aaron Rodgers or Deshaun Watson, they should be aggressive to get one of the top quarterbacks in the 2022 NFL Draft. Corral could be a solid value for Denver if he gets within range of its pick.

    Corral has completed 66 percent of his passes in 2021 for 2,202 yards, 15 touchdowns and two interceptions. He has 10 rushing touchdowns and 519 yards on the ground as well. Most of his production came against weak opponents. In 2020, Corral completed 71 percent of his passes for 3,337 yards, 29 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. It was a big improvement from 2019, when he completed 59 percent of his passes for 1,362 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions.

    Corral has show good development under Lane Kiffin and is starting to realize the potential that made him a top recruit. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Corral has arm talent, is a dangerous runner, shows toughness and leadership ability, and possesses upside to continue to improve.

    Pittsburgh Steelers: Rasheed Walker, OT, Penn State
    The Steelers were able to get a tough road win over the injury-depleted Browns, but once again the Pittsburgh offensive line had some struggles. Myles Garrett, Jadeveon Clowney and Malik McDowell combined to produce two sacks and five tackles for a loss. Clearly, Pittsburgh needs more offensive line talent, and that has to be a priority in the 2022 NFL Draft.

    Walker had a mixed outing against Wisconsin in the 2021 season opener, but he played better against Auburn. The 6-foot-6, 320-pounder is a large offensive tackle with further potential to improve as he gains experience. He could end up being a tough run blocker and reliable pass protector. Walker has a good skill set with size, speed and athleticism. He needs to eliminate, however, his tendency to bend at the waist and lunge after defenders. That leads to him having issues in pass protection at times, but the skill set is there for Walker to be a good pro.

    San Francisco 49ers: Josh Jobe, CB, Alabama
    The 49ers won in Chicago, and veteran Josh Norman stepped up with a productive day for San Francisco. He led the team with seven tackles and also had an interception with a 33-yard return. Norman is not a long-term starter at this stage of his career, and the 49ers could target cornerback help on Day 2 of the 2022 NFL Draft.

    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. Thus, Jobe could be a good value for San Francisco in the second round pf the 2022 NFL Draft.

    Philadelphia Eagles: Aidan Hutchinson, WR, Michigan
    The Eagles blew out the Lions in Detroit with a 38-point victory for their largest road win since 1981. Philadelphia ran for over 200 yards, Jalen Hurts only attempted 14 passes, and the defense notched six sacks of Jared Goff. The Eagles pass rush was led by Josh Sweat, and ramping up the rush protected the Eagles back seven. With Derek Barnett entering free agency and Brandon Graham aging, Philadelphia could use another rusher to go with Sweat.

    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 30 tackles, six 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. Hutchinson could be a great fit for the Eagles in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

    Carolina Panthers: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
    The Panthers squeezed out a six-point win in Atlanta, and Carolina’s offensive line played better while taking on a weaker opponent. The Panthers showed improvement in protection preventing any sacks, but they struggled in the ground game, where Chuba Hubbard recorded only 82 yards on 24 carries. In the 2022 NFL Draft, the Panthers need to devote more resources to improving their blocking front.

    The 6-foot-5, 310-pound Cross looks like a future starting left tackle in the NFL and has impressed team evaluators this season. Cross has excellent feet, athleticism, and quickness to play on the edge. For the next level, sources say that Cross needs to get stronger and bigger for taking on pro linemen, but that is not abnormal. They feel after a little developmental time, Cross could be a good pro left tackle.

    Green Bay Packers: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
    The Packers were without star wide receiver Davante Adams, but their receivers managed to contribute enough to help Green Bay escape Arizona with a victory. Being without Adams could be a preview of things to come because he could leave in free agency over the offseason. Even if Adams re-signs, the Packers could use more receiving weapons for Jordan Love, such as more dangerous No. 2 and 3 receivers. Obviously, Randall Cobb is not a long-term contributor, and the Packers must build up their receiving corps for Love.

    Burks has 42 receptions for 717 yards and seven touchdowns in 2021. 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 while showing an innate ability to high point the ball and strong hands to 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 Green Bay in the 2022 NFL Draft.

    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.

    Miami Dolphins:
    The Miami Dolphins figure to be a fascinating team to watch in the 2022 offseason. Two years ago, Miami was among the worst teams in the NFL. After using a plethora of draft picks acquired from trading away Laremy Tunsil and Minkah Fitzpatrick, it looked the Dolphins were one of the top young teams in the NFL when they almost made the playoffs in 2020. Miami, however, has struggled mightily in 2021, and that has both general manager Chris Grier and head coach Brian Flores on the hot seat.

    Team sources have said that owner Stephen Ross liked the improvement he saw in 2020 and the attitude that the team plays with under Flores, but Ross was frustrated with the decisions made at quarterback. Miami gave Ryan Tannehill away, and he has made the Titans a Super Bowl contender in the AFC by ripping off a number of playoff wins for them. Grier and Flores also passed on Chargers star quarterback Justin Herbert, and have mixed results from Dolphins 2020 pick Tua Tagovailoa. Hence, it would not be surprising if Miami is the team that pulls the trigger and trades for Deshaun Watson. The Dolphins have three first-round picks over the next two drafts and other players they could add to the deal to land Watson. If it weren’t for the legal issues with Watson, the deal would probably have already been done because Watson has notified Houston that he would not exercise his no-trade clause to block a deal to Miami. Around the league, the belief is that the Dolphins are Watson’s preferred destination.

    If the teams can’t come to an agreement, Miami will have to stick with Tagovailoa and hope he becomes the quarterback he was drafted to be. The Dolphins’ defense has been a big disappointment in 2021, and they need more talent in their defensive front seven. In my latest mock 2022 NFL Draft, I have the Dolphins taking Florida State edge rusher Jermaine Johnson to go with Jaelan Phillips as their defensive end tandem for years to come. Miami also could consider other dynamic pass rushers high in the first round, like Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux, Georgia’s Adam Anderson, Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson or Purdue’s George Karlaftis. Emmanuel Ogbah is hitting free agency, and the Dolphins need more difference makers on defense.

    Miami could use help at linebacker as well, as Josh Allen just illustrated, but there does not look to be a quality value worthy of taking high in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. In the second round, there could be some quality options for the Dolphins, including LSU’s Damone Clark, Texas’ Demarvion Overshown, Alabama’s Christian Harris and Clemson’s James Skalski.

    Miami could also consider adding some talent at safety to go with Jevon Holland, and a more steady presence in the backfield. In the second round, the Dolphins could target a feature back like Alabama’s Brian Robinson, Texas A&M’s Isaiah Spiller or Georgia’s Zamir White.

    With Miami’s disappointing start to the 2021 season, it looks like Grier and Flores are at a crossroads. Stephen Ross is not a patient owner, so Grier and Flores best hope to keep their jobs might be to bite the bullet and trade for Watson with the hopes that landing one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL will lead the Dolphins back into playoff contention and beyond.

    Arizona Cardinals:
    The Cardinals were in position to stay undefeated and beat Green Bay on Thursday night football, but a missed signal by wide receiver A.J. Green led to a game-saving interception by Green Bay’s Rasul Douglas. Even though the Cardinals lost their first game of the season, they are clearly one of the best teams in the NFC and remain a top contender to reach the Super Bowl. Arizona has a veteran roster with a young franchise quarterback in Kyler Murray, but the team have some significant needs to address in the 2022 NFL Draft.

    A bigger loss than the game last Thursday night was defensive end J.J. Watt going out for the season with a shoulder injury. Watt was not putting up huge numbers for the Cardinals like during his prime years in Houston, but Watt was still a disruptive presence and a tough defender at the point of attack. Watt was signed to a 2-year contract, and Arizona could use more defensive line talent on the roster. Chandler Jones is also entering free agency after this season. Even if he’s re-signed, the Cardinals could use more young edge-rush talent to go with Jones and Watt before eventually replacing the aging veterans.

    The 2022 NFL Draft looks strong for edge-rushing talent, so Arizona could have some nice options to consider in the first round. Georgia’s Travon Walker and Florida’s Zachary Carter would give the Cardinals some big edge rushers for their scheme. If they wanted a five-technique defensive end to go with and eventually replace Watt, a good fit could be Houston’s Logan Hall. He is a five-technique with size, athleticism, speed, and rare pass-rush ability for the position.

    Offensively, the Cardinals could use help at tight end and on the inside of the offensive line. In my latest mock 2022 NFL Draft, I have Arizona taking Texas A&M tight end Jalen Wydermyer. Zach Ertz is not a long-term starter and is entering free agency after this season. Wydermyer would be a great scheme fit for Kliff Kingsbury. Wydermyer is an excellent route-runner with size, quickness and athleticism. Landing the No. 1 tight end in the 2022 NFL Draft late in the first round could be a good value pick for Arizona. A.J. Green is also not a long-term starter and Wydermyer would give them a red zone and third down size mismatch option.

    There could have a number of good options for Arizona to consider in Round 2 who have plug-and-play starting potential. LSU’s Ed Ingram and Chasen Hines would be great scheme fits and second-round players to target. Texas A&M’s Kenyon Green could be a first-round pick, but Arizona might need to use that pick for a higher impact position and address the offensive line on Day 2 of the 2022 NFL Draft.

    Arizona could also consider adding more cornerback talent to go with Byron Murphy or three-down running back, but those needs do not seem as pressing as the defensive or offensive line, or a playmaking tight end. Entering this season, general manager Steve Keim and head coach Kliff Kingsbury were both on the hot seat, but the team’s excellent start should propel them to the playoffs and buy them another season. Drafting well next year is critical for Arizona to get over the hump. Keim has to hit on picks to support Kyler Murray and must resist his urge to go for freak athletes who aren’t great fits for the NFL, like previous picks Haason Reddick, Robert Nkemdiche, Josh Rosen, Deone Bucannon and Jonathan Cooper.

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