Monday Morning Draft – Week 16

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:
The Jaguars went down to the final play of the game, but the Jets forced an incompletion on a fourth-and-goal to grab a 26-21 win over Jacksonville. For the Jaguars, the loss was a good thing because it maintained their hold of the No. 1 pick of the 2022 NFL Draft. If Jacksonville holds onto to the top spot, it would make sense to trade down and add a bounty of picks to help build around Trevor Lawrence. It will be interesting to see if Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett generates that kind of trade market, but as the regular season ends, it definitely looks possible.

The Jaguars roster has been terribly mismanaged by the likes of Dave Caldwell and Urban Meyer over the past few years. Jacksonville needs a lot of talent upgrades all over the roster, so trading down makes sense. The Jaguars are aided by this being a bad quarterback draft, so a team could give up a bounty of picks to move up for Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett.

If the Jaguars are unable to trade down, they could consider an edge rusher to go with Josh Allen. K’Lavon Chaisson is nearing bust territory and has been a major disappointment. The top candidates to go No. 1 would be Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux and Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson. Between those two, there really isn’t a wrong choice, and it could depend on who is viewed as the best fit within the scheme of the next Jaguars coaching staff.

Detroit Lions:
Detroit lost to the Falcons to stay on the heels of the Jaguars for the No. 1-overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft. The Texans and Jets getting their fourth wins of the season virtually locks in the Lions and Jaguars for the top-two picks in the 2022 NFL Draft.

The Lions still might be able to land Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett as an upgrade over place-holder Jared Goff, or they could upgrade the roster elsewhere and look for a quarterback in the 2023 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. It has been a long year for the Lions, but Holmes is a phenomenal talent evaluator who will build a talented team and the Lions have been playing really hard for Campbell. This year hurts, but the Lions have the staff to build a winner.

Holmes and Campbell will have a tough decision to make regarding taking Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett to replace Goff, or look to land Goff’s replacement in the 2023 NFL Draft. Clearly, Goff is not the long-term starter. If the Lions don’t take a quarterback, edge rusher could be the top consideration, with Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux or Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson being the top candidates.

Top General Manager Candidates:

  • Detroit Lions director of scouting development Mike Martin
  • Indianapolis Colts director of college scouting Morocco Brown
  • Buffalo Bills assistant director of player personnel 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
  • Buffalo Bills general manager Joe Schoen

  • 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
  • USC 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 Jets: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
    The Jets barely beat the Jaguars, with the former’s defense forcing a fourth-and-goal stop to hold off Jacksonville from stealing a late win. New York enjoyed a good game from rookie running back Michael Carter, but the New York wide receivers really struggled, with Braxton Berrios as the team’s leading receiver with five catches for 37 yards. Denzel Mims had zero catches on two targets. While the Jets miss Corey Davis and Elijah Moore, they need more weapons for Zach Wilson.

    If the Jets chose to use one of their first-round picks on a receiver, Wilson could be the best option. Wilson has continued to show his game-breaking speed and electrifying playmaking ability this season. He runs smooth routes, showing suddenness in-and-out of his breaks to consistently generate separation. Along with being fast playmaker, Wilson has good body control to adjust to the ball and is phenomenal after the catch. A lot of scouts feel Wilson is smoother and more explosive than Chris Olave for the next level.

    In 2021, Wilson has 70 receptions for 1,058 yards and 12 touchdowns. The 6-foot, 193-pounder was a big-play weapon for Ohio State in 2020. The sophomore had 43 receptions for 687 yards and six touchdowns. After only four games, Wilson surpassed his freshman year production (30-432-5), and he seemed to become Justin Fields’ most trusted receiver during the 2020 season.

    Indianapolis Colts: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
    The Colts pulled off a tough road win in Arizona, with Carson Wentz managing the game around their tough rushing offense and defense. T.Y. Hilton caught a short touchdown, but Hilton is a declining veteran who has suffered a lot of injuries. Adding a young speed receiver to go with Michael Pittman Jr. could make sense for Indianapolis as an additional weapon to help Wentz.

    Flowers recorded 44 catches for 746 yards and five touchdowns in 2021 while playing most of the year without his starting quarterback. The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder was impressive in 2020 (56-892-9), breaking out for the Eagles. He flashed some in 2019, but was significantly improved as a sophomore.

    Flowers does not have much size, but he possesses game-breaking speed and is threat to produce a big play on any reception. His style of play is similar to Jaylen Waddle, but Flowers is not as special as Waddle physically and thus is not a high first-rounder. Flowers could be an excellent value pick for the Colts in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

    Atlanta Falcons: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
    The Falcons grabbed a four-point win over Detroit to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Kyle Pitts was phenomenal, but Atlanta needs more receiving talent to go with him. With Julio Jones traded away and Calvin Ridley being a mystery going forward, the Falcons need more receivers to help Matt Ryan and their next quarterback.

    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 would-be 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. He made string of acrobatic leaping grabs to help beat Auburn as well. In 2021, Dotson has 91 receptions for 1,182 yards and 12 touchdowns.

    Team sources say they compare Dotson to Elijah Moore as a late first-round or second-round talent. “I see Jahan similar to Elijah Moore,” said an AFC director of college scouting. “He’s not quite as short-area explosive or as long-speed fast as Jaylen Waddle, but Jahan is a good player.” Dotson would be a great addition to the Falcons offense with one of their second-round picks.

    Cincinnati Bengals: Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma
    The Bengals put a strangle-hold on the AFC North by drubbing the Ravens in Cincinnati. Joe Burrow was phenomenal, throwing for 525 yards and four touchdowns to light up the formerly excellent Ravens defense. Baltimore was playing without Lamar Jackson and backup Tyler Huntley, so veteran journeyman Josh Johnson got the start for Baltimore. Despite Johnson’s limited time with the Ravens, having played with the Jets earlier this year, he still threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns. Trey Hendrickson logged a sack, but the Bengals could use more pass-rush talent up front.

    Winfrey has recorded 23 tackles and 5.5 sacks in 2021 yet still has a ton of upside to break out. Winfrey (6-3, 298) has quality size to go along with speed and athleticism to rush on the inside. Cincinnati has Hendrickson and other young end talent, but could use a tackle to replace Geno Atkins. Winfrey would be a great addition to go in-between Hendrickson and D.J. Reader. Late in the first round, Winfrey could be a good value pick for the Bengals.

    Green Bay Packers: Drake London, WR, USC
    The Packers held onto a two-point win over Cleveland, and it it weren’t for a flurry of Baker Mayfield interceptions, Green Bay probably would not have prevailed. Davante Adams (10-114-2) played well, but the ground game was smothered by a quality Browns defense, and none of the other Packers receivers were able to record three catches or 50 yards through the air. This offseason, Green Bay has to get more receiving weapons, and that will be critical as the franchise turns the starting job over to Jordan Love.

    The 6-foot-5, 210-pound London has mismatch size and is a dangerous 50-50 receiver with his ability to win contested catches. After the catch, London is a threat to pick up yardage because he is a physical runner who is tough for defensive backs to get to the ground. With his skill set, London is an asset in the red zone and an emergency receiver to pass to when everyone is covered. He caught 88 passes for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns over his eight-game 2021 before a fractured ankle ended his year. London lacks speed so separating from cornerbacks is going to be an issue, but in the NFL, he could be a Kenny Golladay-type weapon. Late in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, London could be a solid value for Green Bay.

    Philadelphia Eagles: David Ojabo, DE, Michigan
    The Eagles cruised over the pathetic Giants, shutting down the New York offense. Saquon Barkley was held to a pathetic 2.1 yards per carry, while the Giants barely went over 100 yards passing despite attempting 44 passes. Philadelphia notched two sacks, and adding more edge-rush talent in the offseason would make sense. Derek Barnett is entering free agency, while Brandon Graham is aging. The Eagles could use one of their three first-round picks on an edge rusher to go opposite Josh Sweat.

    Thanks to Aidan Hutchinson commanding a lot of attention, Ojabo has broken out in 2021, recording 35 tackles, 11 sacks, five forced fumbles and three passes defended. The 6-foot-5, 250-pounder is fast off the edge with the ability to bend underneath offensive tackles. Ojabo could stand to get better as a run defender for the NFL. He is a versatile edge defender who could fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker, but also could stay in a 4-3 defense. Ojabo and Sweat would give the Eagles a dangerous edge-rushing duo to harass quarterbacks and help close out wins.

    Tennessee Titans: Darian Kinnard, OT, Kentucky
    This season, the Titans have seen Ryan Tannehill take a beating. He has been among the league leaders in sacks and hits this year, and that continued in Tennessee’s win over the 49ers, in which Tannehill was sacked four times. The Titans are paying the price for losing Jack Conklin in free agency and then drafting first-round bust Isaiah Wilson. Adding a right tackle in the 2022 NFL Draft could help them at two spots because that would allow them to move Dillon Radunz to guard.

    The 6-foot-5, 340-pound Kinnard is a strong blocker with surprising quickness and athleticism. In 2021, Kinnard looks like he has trimmed weight and is moving better in space. Kinnard was an excellent contributor for the Wildcats in 2020. He is a massive beast at the point of attack who is a tough run blocker and plays with a mean streak. Kinnard was a tough run blocker in 2019, helping Lynn Bowden to a lot of success when running behind Kinnard and the right side of the offensive line. For the NFL, Kinnard’s best fit might come as a right tackle in a power-man scheme. He would be an excellent first-round pick for Tennessee and could help establish the rushing offense with better holes for Derrick Henry and better protection for Tannehill.

    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.

    San Francisco 49ers:
    San Francisco mortgaged the future in trading up to take quarterback Trey Lance. Without first-round picks in the 2022 and 2023 NFL Drafts, the 49ers will need to hit on some second-day picks to help bolster the roster around Lance. Thus, the pressure will be on for general manager John Lynch to work some miracles after the first round. Fortunately, San Francisco has a strong roster, so adding a few pieces and bolstering depth is all that the franchise really needs.

    In my latest mock 2022 NFL Draft, I have the 49ers taking Missouri cornerback Akayleb Evans, who could be a great fit on Day 2. Evans has quality size, speed, and cover skills to be a good fit in DeMeco Ryans’ defense. The 2022 NFL Draft could have good cornerback depth in the second round, so aside from Evans, San Francisco could have some good options to consider like Alabama’s Jalyn Armour-Davis, Virginia Tech’s Jermaine Waller, Florida’s Kaiir Elam, Washington’s Kyler Gordon and Clemson’s Andrew Booth.

    Offensively, the 49ers could use more youth and depth on the offensive line. Trent Williams is playing well still, but he is aging. Mike McGlinchey has also come off injuries, and it wouldn’t hurt to add some talent for the inside of the offensive line. Some offensive tackles for the 49ers to consider could include Central Michigan’s Bernhard Raimann, Kentucky’s Darian Kinnard, and Minnesota’s Daniel Faalele. San Francisco could start out at guard before moving to tackle when Williams retires. Other guard options to consider in the second round would be LSU guards Chasen Hines and Ed Ingram. Either one could form a tough tandem with 2021 second-round pick Aaron Banks.

    San Franciso has a strong roster without a lot of needs, so the team was in good position to give up the draft capital it took to make a big jump in the first round to land Lance. If Lance turns into the quarterback who Kyle Shanahan drafted him to be, the cost will have been worth it because Lance has the skill set to be elite. If Lance pans out, the 49ers could be back to winning Lombardi Trophies because their roster is ready to win now.

    Los Angeles Rams:
    The Rams are a veteran team having gone all-in to win right now. Hence, looking at 2022 NFL Draft prospects does not offer much insight into the future for Los Angeles. The franchise traded away its first-round pick for Matthew Stafford and two second-day picks for Von Miller. Essentially, the Rams will be sitting out the 2022 NFL Draft. Less than 50 percent of second-round picks stick in the NFL, and the odds of making it as a pro fall dramatically from there in each round. Still, the Rams are likely to be awarded a third-round compensatory pick for their free agency losses of John Johnson and Troy Hill. In the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Rams might be able to land a solid depth player or just maybe a future starter.

    Over recent years, the Rams have been one of the best teams at landing good talent on Day 2 and in the mid-rounds. The astute scouting and eye for talent by Brad Holmes led to a lot of steals for Los Angeles. That skill, however, is what led to Holmes landing the general manger position in Detroit, so Rams general manager Les Snead now faces the challenge of drafting without Holmes’ advice in 2022.

    One position that could have some nice depth and present some good values on the second day of the 2022 NFL Draft would be cornerback. Los Angeles could use more cornerback to go with Jalen Ramsey, and some nice prospects could slide to the third round. Penn State’s Tariq Castro-Fields was a projected first-round pick because of his good skill set, but he has fallen after a disappointing 2021 season. Texas A&M cornerback Myles Jones is big corner with cover skills who missed almost all of 2021 with injury. Tennessee’s Alontae Taylor is a physical, tough corner who has speed concerns that should keep him from the first few rounds. Auburn’s Roger McCreary is another talented cover corner who could slide because of being a little short. Anyone of those corners could be good additions for the Rams as a third-round pick.

    On offense, the Rams could consider offensive line help. Andrew Whitworth has been an ageless wonder, but adding more young blocking talent and depth is always a good idea with an aging quarterback carrying your team. Wake Forest tackle/center Zach Tom would be a nice pick in the third round. He could be versatile blocker to help back up a few spots and has the upside to grow into being a starter. Other tackles like Minnesota’s Daniel Faalele, Penn State’s Rasheed Walker or Washington State’s Abraham Lucas would be good candidates to consider if they were to slide.

    Due to the trades for Stafford and Miller, the Rams are in win-now mode for the 2021 season, hoping to copy Tampa Bay in winning the Super Bowl in their home stadium. If the Rams get a Lombardi trophy, those trades will be worth it, but if they don’t win big, the trades have potential to be very painful for a lack of young roster talent in the years to come. The pressure is on Snead, head coach Sean McVay, and Stafford to deliver a championship to Los Angeles.

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