Monday Morning Draft – Week 17

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 Patriots blew out Jacksonville, but that locked the Jaguars into the first- or second-overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft. The loss was a good thing for Jacksonville because it maintained their hold of the No. 1 pick. 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 Jacksonville roster has been terribly mismanaged by the likes of Dave Caldwell and Urban Meyer over the past few years. The team 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 franchise 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 scheme fit for the next Jacksonville coaching staff.

Detroit Lions:
Detroit lost to the Seahawks to stay on the heels of the Jaguars for the No. 1-overall pick. This loss 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. 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.

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. Holmes is a phenomenal talent evaluator who will build a talented team and the Lions played really hard for Campbell in 2021. The Lions have the staff to build a winner.

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 Orleans Saints: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
    The Saints defense put together another excellent game, leading their team to a win over Carolina. They limited the Carolina receivers, shutting down D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson while also keeping Chuba Hubbard from getting in any rhythm. Once again, the New Orleans receivers struggled, and the team needs to find more wideout talent this offseason, even if Michael Thomas comes back in 2022. If the Saints use their first-round pick on a receiver, Wilson could be the best option, and he would be a great scheme fit for Sean Payton.

    Wilson continued to show his game-breaking speed and electrifying playmaking ability throughout 2021. He runs smooth routes, displaying 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 fellow Ohio State wide receiver Chris Olave for the next level.

    In 2021, Wilson totaled 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. Wilson would be a solid value if he makes it to the Saints first-round pick of the 2022 NFL Draft.

    San Francisco 49ers: Akayleb Evans, CB, Missouri
    The 49ers cruised over the Texans, with the highlight of the game for Houston being a touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks. All year, San Francisco has had issues at cornerback, so adding some young cornerback talent in the 2022 NFL Draft would make a lot of sense for the team.

    Zaven Collins wasn’t the only Tulsa defender who jumped out in 2020, as Evans had a big season for Tulsa with 29 tackles and three passes broken up while showing blanket coverage. Evans also collected eight breakups over his previous seasons. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Evans has good size, speed and athleticism. He transferred to Missouri for the 2021 season. Evans played well for the Tigers in 2021, collecting 28 tackles, an interception, two forced fumbles and six passes broken up. He would be a solid value pick for the 49ers in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

    Chicago Bears: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
    The Bears cruised over the hapless Giants without needing to get a big game out of Andy Dalton or David Montgomery. New York was inept offensively under Mike Glennon despite Saquon Barkley having a decent game. This offseason, Chicago has to get some more receiving weapons for Justin Fields, and Dotson would be a great fit for the team’s second-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

    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 totaled 91 receptions for 1,182 yards and 12 touchdowns.

    Team sources have compared 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 Bears offense with their second-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

    Arizona Cardinals: Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma
    The Cardinals ended their three-game losing streak with a huge road win over the Cowboys. Arizona almost let the win slip away in the second half, but the team was able to run out the clock thanks to Kyler Murray and some astute play calling. The Cardinals could use more interior pass-rushing talent and youth on their defensive line. They will be picking in the back half of the first round in the 2022 NFL Draft, where Winfrey could be a nice addition.

    Winfrey 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. With J.J. Watt aging and entering the last year of his contract, it would make sense to add some interior pass-rushing youth. Late in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, Winfrey could be a good value pick for the Cardinals

    Seattle Seahawks: Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington
    The Seahawks enjoyed Russell Wilson throwing four touchdown passes, D.K. Metcalf catching three of them, and Rashaad Penny running well in a high-scoring win over Detroit. While the Lions were missing some starters like quarterback Jared Goff, Amon-Ra St. Brown had another big game, going over 100 yards receiving and scoring a receiving touchdown, a rushing touchdown and a two-point conversion reception. Seattle badly needs more cornerback talent.

    Gordon recorded 45 tackles, two interceptions and seven passes broken up in 2021. The 6-foot, 195-pounder was a solid corner for the Huskies over the past few seasons. He flashed in 2019 while recording 32 tackles and four pass breakups. With his solid frame and strength, Gordon looks like an outside corner for the NFL. He has the skill set to be a good scheme fit for Seattle.

    Los Angeles Chargers: David Ojabo, DE, Michigan
    The Chargers cruised over the Broncos, shutting down the Denver offense. Los Angeles held Denver’s running back tandem in check, but did allow some big receptions to Noah Fant and Courtland Sutton. In the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, it could make sense for the Chargers to add a replacement for Melvin Ingram and an edge rusher to go across from Joey Bosa.

    With Aidan Hutchinson commanding a lot of attention, Ojabo broke 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 Bosa would give the Chargers a dangerous edge rush duo to harass quarterbacks and help close out wins.

    Los Angeles Rams: Jermaine Waller, CB, Virginia Tech
    The Rams fell behind Baltimore thanks to Matthew Stafford havin some early turnovers, but eventually Los Angeles was able to mount a comeback for a road win over the Ravens. The Rams had issues covering Mark Andrews, and they could use more cornerback talent to go with Jalen Ramsey. I think Los Angeles will receive a third-round compensatory pick, and if they do, Waller would be a nice fit for defensive coordinator Raheem Morris.

    Waller was a ballhawk in 2021, recording four interceptions, five passes defended and 45 tackles. This wasn’t the first season he showed serious ball skills, as he had three interceptions, 10 passes broken up and 46 tackles in 2019. The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder has a good skill set, and some team sources believe he will become a starter in the second year of his NFL career. Waller could be a nice No. 2 corner to pair with Ramsey.

    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 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 and hopefully Gruden is successful in his lawsuit against Roger Goodell and the NFL.

    After dealing with the loss of Gruden, Las Vegas lost its best wide receiver in Henry Ruggs to his infamous car accident. Shortly later, star receiving tight end Darren Waller went out for five games. It really is amazing the Raiders were able to stay in the playoff race when they lost their top two receivers and offensive playmakers along with their head coach. By beating the Colts on Sunday, the Raiders notched only their second winning season of the last 20 years. They are one win away from being in the playoffs. Interim head coach Rich Bisaccia should be a top coach of the year candidate.

    With the Raiders staying in the playoff race despite these losses, 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 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 with some better talent along the defensive line. While the Raiders are improved, they still could use more talent defensively. They 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. With 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 Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams, and he would give them the elite speed playmaker they lost with Ruggs. Las Vegas could consider other wide receivers like Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson, Kentucky’s Wan’Dale Robinson, Arkansas’ Treylon Burks and USC’s Drake London. Burks and London are big possessional receivers, so it would make sense to take a speed wideout like Wilson, Williams or Robinson to make up for the deep speed they lost when Ruggs was cut.

    The Raiders could also use help on the offensive line. In my latest mock 2022 NFL Draft, I have them adding some talent on Day 2 in Kentucky right tackle Darian Kinnard. He would be a good road grader at right tackle and allow them to keep Alex Leatherwood inside at guard. Las Vegas could have a number of good guard options to consider with plug-and-play starting potential. LSU’s Ed Ingram or LSU’s Chasen Hines would be great scheme fits.

    The Raiders have Derek Carr playing at a high level and excellent talents with Darren Waller, Josh Jacobs and Bryan Edwards. If Las Vegas can improve at wide receiver, along the offensive line, and continue to add defensive talent, they could be among the best in the AFC. It would make sense to keep continuity to maintain the positive momentum rather than change course.

    Houston Texans:
    There is no team in the NFL further away from winning a championship than the Houston Texans. They are dealing with the devastation inflicted on them by former head coach Bill O’Brien. I could write a long book on how O’Brien’s temper and ego ruined the franchise, but we all know those mistakes and don’t need to review recent history. O’Brien had one of the best scouting staffs and rosters in the NFL, but O’Brien squandered it and decimated the Texans front office and roster. New general manager Nick Cesario has a huge rebuilding project on his hands.

    The Deshaun Watson saga is the monkey on the back for the franchise too. Eventually, the Texans should get a good return in a trade for Watson. If Watson lands a large suspension from the NFL, which seems very possible, that is going to hurt the value. Regardless of what Houston gets for Watson, the top priority is finding a franchise quarterback to replace him.

    Picking behind the Jaguars and Lions, it would not be surprising if Detroit or another team trades up to take Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett ahead of Houston. The Texans could consider moving up for Pickett as well. They probably will miss out on Pickett, so they could consider other quarterbacks at the top of Round 2. Candidates there include North Carolina’s Sam Howell, Ole Miss’ Matt Corral, Nevada’s Carson Strong and Liberty’s Malik Willis. The Texans could give more time to Davis Mills and look to go for a quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft.

    In my latest mock 2022 NFL Draft, I have the Texans taking Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, who would make sense as a replacement for the edge-rushing talent they’ve lost in recent years. Houston needs a difference maker in its front seven after losing J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus and Jadeveon Clowney. Hutchinson could form a nice duo with Jon Greenard, and Hutchinson would could be the tone setter the team needs.

    Aside from Hutchinson, the Texans have other options to consider in the top 10 like Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux and Purdue’s George Karlaftis. If a good deal is offered, Houston could also trade down a little and hope to land Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson or Michigan’s David Ojabo.

    The Texans also need help at cornerback, running back and linebacker. Cesario could consider going with the best player available at a lot of picks because the Texans need help all over their roster. The quarterback decision and a game changer in the front seven, however, are the most critical needs. Houston shouldn’t have to rebuild right now, but because of the incompetence of O’Brien and Cal McNair, the team has to find replacements for three Hall of Fame talents in Deshaun Watson, J.J. Watt and DeAndre Hopkins. It will take a few years of good drafts and free agency signings to get the Texans back into playoff contention.

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