Monday Morning Draft – Week 6

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:

Carolina Panthers:
Carolina was dropped to 1-5 by the Rams. The Panthers are poised to have a high first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, and they need a franchise quarterback. Baker Mayfield has struggled and clearly is not the answer as their long-term starter.

Las Vegas Raiders:
Las Vegas was on a bye this week. Owner Mark Davis was a fool to not retain Rich Bisaccia, Greg Olson, and Gus Bradley after they led the team to the playoffs last season despite the Jon Gruden controversy, the Henry Ruggs tragedy, and Darren Waller’s injury. It would not be surprising if the Raiders quit on Josh McDaniels over the course of the season.

Detroit Lions:
Detroit was on a bye this week. The Lions looked vastly improved to open the season, and their offense has played well overall, but the defense has really struggled. If Detroit lands the top pick or a high first-rounder in the 2023 NFL Draft, the organization could look to upgrade over Jared Goff by taking Alabama’s Bryce Young or Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud. The Lions can hold on to Goff and let the rookie sit behind him for a year, or they can let Goff go without a salary cap penalty. The franchise could also look to trade Goff.

Houston Texans:
The Texans were on a bye. Last week, Houston got its first win of the year, thanks to the defense having its way with Trevor Lawrence. Unless Davis Mills turns things around, Houston will need a true franchise quarterback to replace Deshaun Watson. It would make sense for the Texans to target Alabama’s Bryce Young or Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Top General Manager Candidates:

  • Detroit Lions director of scouting development Mike Martin
  • Atlanta Falcons vice president of player personnel Kyle Smith
  • Indianapolis Colts chief personnel executive Morocco Brown
  • Buffalo Bills director of player personnel Terrance Gray
  • Tennessee Titans director of pro scouting Brian Gardner
  • San Francisco 49ers director of pro personnel Ran Carthon
  • Philadelphia Eagles director of scouting Brandon Hunt
  • Miami Dolphins assistant general manager Marvin Allen
  • Washington Commanders director of pro scouting Eric Stokes
  • Miami Hurricanes general manager Alonzo Highsmith

  • Top Head Coach Candidates:

  • Los Angeles Rams offensive assistant Greg Olson
  • Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris
  • Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy
  • Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn
  • Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich
  • Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph
  • Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Gus Bradley
  • Green Bay Packers special teams coordinator 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.

    Cincinnati Bengals: Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma
    The Bengals pulled out a comeback win over the Saints, with Joe Burrow putting his team on his back. Once again, however, Cincinnati had offensive line issues, allowing three sacks and collecting less than 80 yards rushing.

    Over the previous two seasons, Harrison (6-5, 309) was impressive as the left tackle for the Sooners. He has quality size with good athleticism and quickness, but lacks physicality and is a finesse blocker. Harrison broke into the starting lineup as a freshman and held down the left tackle spot as a sophomore. Thanks to his good skill set, Harrison could rise into being a sought-after early-rounder. Harrison is a skilled pass protector, and he could help improve the protection for Burrow as an early-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

    Minnesota Vikings: Jordan Addison, WR, USC
    The Vikings cruised over Miami, with their defense logging six sacks and shutting down the Miami offense. While Minnesota got enough help from the offense, the team clearly could use more receiving talent to go with Justin Jefferson. Adam Thielen is aging and declining, and Jefferson has had some quiet games this season thanks to teams sending bracket coverage his direction.

    Addison has been a plug-and-play point producer for USC In 2022, recording 39 catches for 585 yards and seven touchdowns so far. While playing for Pittsburgh in 2021, Addison benefited from quarterback Kenny Pickett having a phenomenal year to produce a massive sophomore season himself. Addison caught 100 passes in 2021 for 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns.

    The 6-foot, 175-pounder displayed the speed to get vertical and threaten defenses downfield. For the NFL, he could stand to get stronger and fill out his frame. Addison would inject playmaking ability to the Minnesota offense and could be a superb No. 2 receiver to pair with Jefferson.

    Pittsburgh Steelers: Peter Skronoski, OT, Northwestern
    The Steelers got a surprising win over Tampa Bay with a superb performance from their defense and some clutch throws from backup quarterback Mitch Trubisky making the difference. Tampa Bay’s, on the other hand, defense shut down Najee Harris (14-42), and the offensive line has been a problem for the Steelers for years. Getting some more talent up front in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft would help Kenny Pickett and Harris make big strides next season.

    Playing left tackle for Northwestern, Skoronski impressed as the replacement for Rashawn Slater over the previous two seasons. “He’s athletic, moves well, and is smooth,” said an AFC Director of player personnel. “He has very short arms, like 32 inches – he plays with better length than he has – but he doesn’t have a tackle body and looks more like a guard. Some guys I have spoken with compare him to Jonah Williams and some others have said Jonah Jackson.” Some teams will project the 6-foot-4, 315-pound Skoronski to guard while others might think he can remain at tackle. Skoronski could be a left tackle for the Steelers, and if he doesn’t work out there, he could be an upgrade at guard. He would make a lot of sense for Pittsburgh’s first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

    Washington Commanders: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
    The Commanders pulled off an ugly win on Thursday night football, managing to get the better of a terrible Bears team. Washington has struggled offensively all season, and Thursday night was no different, with Carson Wentz failing to hit 100 yards passing. Trading for the struggling Wentz to be their 2022 starter seemed odd at the time, and he has been even worse than expected this season. Clearly, the Commanders needs a franchise quarterback.

    In 2022, Stroud has completed 71 percent of his passes for 1,737 yards, 24 touchdowns and three interceptions. The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder is a highly talented dual-threat quarterback who could end up as a first-round prospect – and perhaps at the top of Round 1. He won Ohio State’s starting quarterback position following Justin Fields’ departure to the NFL. In 2021, Stroud completed 72 percent of his passes for 4,435 yards, 44 touchdowns and six interceptions. He was a dominant passer, showing good accuracy and the ability to push the ball vertically. Stroud could quickly become an upgrade for the Commanders.

    Seattle Seahawks: O’Cyrus Torrence, G, Florida
    The Seahawks gutted out a win over Arizona, with the defense dominating the Arizona offensive line. The Cardinals may have entered the game against the Seahawks with one of the worst pass rushes in the NFL, but the Seattle offensive line made Arizona look like the ’85 Bears. Geno Smith and the Seahawks receivers had no time to get the passing game going due the Cardinals harassing Smith relentlessly. Clearly, Seattle needs to continue to build up its offensive line.

    Torrence has blocked well for the Gators in 2022, and he has especially been a beast in the ground game. The 6-foot-5, 335-pounder is a load who generates movement as run blocker with surprising athleticism and quickness in pass protection. Torrence was a 3-year starter at La.-Lafayette, but after the 2021, he transferred to Florida to continue his playing career under the same head coach, Billy Napier.

    Torrence looks like a plug-and-play candidate and a safe pick to be a good pro starter. With one of their second-round picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, he would be a great fit for Seattle.

    Los Angeles Rams: B.J. Ojulari, OLB, LSU
    The Rams got back on track with a win over an awful Carolina team, but Los Angeles didn’t pull away until the second half. If the Panthers had just an average offense, they could have made it a closer game. This season, the Rams have missed what Von Miller brought to them, and they could use another edge rusher. In the second round next April during the 2023 NFL Draft, adding a pass rusher would make a lot of sense.

    Thus far in 2022, Ojulari has 23 tackles, one forced fumble and 3.5 sacks. The NFL advance scouts expected Ali Gaye to be the top edge defender for LSU in 2021, but he ended up getting hurt and leaving the role to Ojulari, who put together an excellent season with seven sacks and 54 tackles. In his 2020 season, the 6-foot-3, 244-pound freshman recorded four sacks, one forced fumble and 16 tackles.

    Ojulari could be a good fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL or designated pass rusher in a 4-3. In the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft, Ojulari could be good value for the Rams.

    Buffalo Bills: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
    The Bills edged out the Chiefs for a huge road win in Kansas City. Stefon Diggs (10-148-1) had another big game, but the other Buffalo receivers did not produce all that well. Gabe Davis (3-74) is a solid pro, but the Bills could use a third receiver to team with them. Late in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, Johnston could be a great pick – if he gets there.

    Johnston flashed in 2021, catching 33 passes for 612 yards and six touchdowns. Thus far in 2022, he has 34 receptions for 500 yards and two touchdowns. Sources from around the league are high on his skill set. One area scout told “He’s 6-foot-3, 215 pounds and can win on all three levels. He puts up 20 yards per catch, runs great routes, is super smart, an alpha, and the hardest worker on the team.”

    While Johnston still has more to prove with pro evaluators, they are high on him across the board and he could end up being the top receiver prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft. Johnston, if available, could make sense for Buffalo’s first-round pick of the 2023 NFL Draft.

    Team Draft Report:

    In this section, we take a deeper look at specific teams and where they stand in regards to the 2023 NFL Draft.

    Atlanta Falcons:
    Back January of 2021, a bunch of general manager candidates interviewed for different positions around the league. learned from some of those candidates that the Atlanta Falcons were seen as the toughest rebuild job. Atlanta was dealing with years of bad drafting from Thomas Dimitroff and a serious lack of young talent on the roster. The Falcons also were in terrible salary cap shape after Dimitroff committed to a lot of bad contracts. New general manager Terry Fontenot and head coach Arthur Smith have done a nice job of drafting and getting the team to play better than their talent level, but there still remains a lot of mistakes from Dimitroff to fix.

    The biggest question on the roster is the quarterback position. Matt Ryan was on the decline, and Atlanta made a smart decision to move on from Ryan while getting a third-round pick in return for the aging veteran. Finding the future franchise quarterback is priority No. 1 for the organization. In my latest mock 2023 NFL Draft, I have the Falcons taking Arkansas’ K.J. Jefferson in the second round. It wouldn’t surprise me if Atlanta wins too many games to land Alabama’s Bryce Young or Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud. The team also might miss out on Kentucky’s Will Levis.

    In the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft, or by trading back into the lower portion of the first round, the Falcons could find a quality prospect to develop, like Jefferson, BYU’s Jaren Hall or Miami’s Kyle Van Dyke. Elsewhere on Day 2, Atlanta could consider an option like Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. Perhaps the Falcons feel like 2022 third-round pick Desmond Ridder can be their starter of the future. That would make him a huge diamond in the rough, but figuring out their long-term starter is the No. 1 priority for the 2023 offseason.

    If Atlanta has an answer in Ridder, the organization could target defensive line help in the first round. Grady Jarrett is an aging veteran at defensive tackle, and the Falcons could use more difference-making youth up front because Jarrett won’t last forever. Early in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, Atlanta could consider Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter. He is a better prospect than former teammates Jordan Davis and Devante Wyatt. Carter has immense upside to be a superb interior defensive lineman.

    If the Falcons are picking high enough, they also could consider Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson. He could be an elite quarterback quarterback hunter for Atlanta. Arnold Ebiketie was an excellent second-round pick last year, but they could use another edge rusher to go with him. Anderson or Clemson’s Myles Murphy would be a great choice for Atlanta. Aside from those two, there could be other good options like Florida State’s Jared Verse or Notre Dame’s Isaiah Foskey.

    On Day 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Falcons could go with the best-player-available approach because they could use more talent on the offensive line, at running back, and more youth at cornerback. However, the top needs of quarterback and defensive line help have to be the priorities.

    Fontenot, Vice President of player personnel Kyle Smith, and director of college scouting Anthony Robinson made some great picks in Kyle Pitts and Drake London to give their new franchise quarterback a pair of elite weapons. Now, Atlanta just needs to find that trigger man so the franchise can potentially start challenging to be one of the better teams in the NFC before long.

    Chicago Bears:
    If Justin Fields doesn’t pan out and turn into a good starting quarterback, the Ryan Pace era in Chicago will go down as a horrible missed opportunity for the franchise. Pace had one of the worst quarterback evaluations in league history, trading up to take Mitch Trubisky while passing on Pat Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. Taking Trubisky also led to the Bears passing on Lamar Jackson a year later. The Trubisky pick, among other poor decisions led to Pace getting fired and another rebuild being started for the once-proud franchise.

    However if Fields turns into one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL, Pace deserves credit for getting that right before he was let go. Regardless, new general manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus have a very difficult rebuild on their hands because Chicago has one of the worst rosters in the NFL, lacking elite talent on either side of the ball.

    Assuming Poles and Eberflus aren’t looking to replace Fields, the top priority is building around him because the Chicago offensive line and wide receivers are terrible. In my latest mock 2023 NFL Draft, I have the Bears taking USC wide receiver Jordan Addison, who would be a plug-and-play upgrade for Chicago. Fields excelled at throwing the deep ball at Ohio State, so getting him some receivers who can get open vertically would make the Chicago offense much more explosive. Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba would be a great pick if he gets to the franchise’s selection. Other wide receivers the Bears could consider in the early rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft would include TCU’s Quentin Johnston, LSU’s Kayshon Boutte and Tennessee’s Cedric Tillman.

    Chicago also needs to upgrade its blocking for Fields. In the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, a good option would be to stay local and grab Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski. He could be a long-term blind-side protector, or play right tackle or guard if his arms are too short for left tackle in the NFL. Other offensive linemen for the team to consider in the early rounds include Maryland’s Jaelyn Duncan, Miami’s Zion Nelson and Oklahoma’s Anton Harrison.

    The Bears also are lacking elite talent on the defensive side of the ball. With Robert Quinn aging after trading Khalil Mack, Chicago needs a lead-dog difference maker in the front seven. If the team is picking high enough, Alabama’s Will Anderson would be a great addition to give the defense a pass rusher capable of putting up sack totals in the mid-teens on a regular basis. Other pass rushers for Chicago to consider in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft could include Clemson’s Myles Murphy, Florida State’s Jared Verse and Notre Dame’s Isaiah Foskey.

    The Bears have to upgrade the talent base on their roster, so they should take the best player available at one of those three positions. It might make the most sense to upgrade the receivers and offensive line in the 2023 NFL Draft and then target the defense in the 2024 NFL Draft. Chicago desperately needs Fields to pan out, so giving him an awful supporting cast for the second straight season does not make sense. It will take a few years, but if Poles drafts well around Fields, the Bears could finally start to be legitimate postseason contender again.

    2024 NFL Mock Draft - April 16

    NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

    Fantasy Football Rankings - Feb. 19

    NFL Picks - Feb. 12