Monday Morning Draft – Week 16

Houston Texans:
Houston notched its second victory of the season with a road win over the Titans. Earlier in the season, the Texans got their only win of the year when their defense had its way with Trevor Lawrence. With their Week 1 tie against the Colts, the Texans would need to win their final two games over the Jaguars and Colts to lose the No. 1 pick while one of the Bears, the Broncos the or Rams losing out. Those seem like a very remote possibilities.

Houston clearly needs 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.

Chicago Bears:
Chicago lost to the Bills, and the Bears still have a remote shot at landing the No. 1 pick of the 2023 NFL Draft. Second-year quarterback Justin Fields needs more help with receiving talent and an offensive line. Chicago also has a huge lack of talent in the defensive front seven. If the Bears land a top-2 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, they should look to trade down with a quarterback-needy team to load up on picks to add a lot of talent to the roster.

Seattle Seahawks:
The Seahawks are in the race for the No. 1 pick thanks to their selection from the Broncos. Denver is 4-11 with two games remaining. If Seattle ends up with a high first-rounder, the franchise could look to find a long-term starter at quarterback if the team doesn’t want to retain Geno Smith. If the Seahawks want to stick with Smith, they could add a difference maker for their defense or look to trade down.

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
  • San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans
  • 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.

    Baltimore Ravens: Cedric Tillman, WR, Tennessee
    The Ravens were able to beat the Falcons despite terrible production from the wide receivers. Baltimore tight end Mark Andrews (3-45) led the team through the air, while none of the organization’s wideouts had even two catches or 41 yards. Clearly, the Ravens need more receiving talent for their offense.

    In 2022, Tillman has 37 receptions for 417 yards and three touchdowns. The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder was a tough receiver in 2021 for the Volunteers, showing good size and playmaking ability. During his breakout season, Tillman caught 64 passes for 1,081 yards with 12 touchdowns. Tillman would give the Ravens a big receiver. With size mismatch and run-after-the-catch ability, Tillman would be a great fit for Baltimore. He could be a nice addition late in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

    Cincinnati Bengals: Jaelyn Duncan, OT, Maryland
    The Bengals put up a big lead and then held on to squeak out a four-point win over the Patriots. Cincinnati allowed some sacks once again, and that was an issue a week earlier in a slow first half versus Tampa Bay. Joe Burrow taking too many hits has been a problem for the past few years, and it probably cost the Bengals a Super Bowl. If they take an offensive tackle late in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, they could move Jonah Williams to guard or right tackle to upgrade their line at two spots.

    Duncan (6-5, 315) has been solid for Maryland in 2022, and he received a quality grade from NFL advance scouts coming into the year. Duncan has good quickness and athleticism to be an edge blocker at the pro level. He is a team leader and captain who possesses good size and has some strength. Duncan broke into the starting lineup as a redshirt freshman in 2019 and has been a mainstay at left tackle for the Terrapins. Duncan has a really good skill set, although he needs some more development. That’s why NFL team sources project Duncan as more of a late first-rounder. If the Bengals develop Duncan well, he could be a steal as their 2023 first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

    New Orleans Saints: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
    The New Orleans defense led the team to a surprising road win in Cleveland despite barely doing anything offensively. Deshaun Watson was shut down, and the Browns could only muster 10 points. The Saints need to find a playmaker and point producer at quarterback to build around. Richardson is raw and needs a lot of work, but he containss huge upside with a great skill set.

    Richardson has a cannon for an arm to go along with good size, speed and athleticism. While he throws a good deep ball, Richardson is horribly inaccurate in the short to intermediate part of the field. In 2022, Richardson completed only 54 percent of his passes for 2,549 yards, 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions. On the ground, he put up 629 yards and nine touchdowns. Without a first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, it will be hard for the Saints to land a quarterback upgrade, but Richardson’s huge upside could make him worth the risk in the second round.

    Buffalo Bills: O’Cyrus Torrence, G, Florida
    The Bills clinched a division title with a road win over the Bears. While Buffalo got the win, Chicago did a nice job of forcing turnovers, and Josh Allen did not have his best game. The Bills were aided by their backs producing well against the Bears defense, and Buffalo could consider adding more blocking talent to help the offense’s ground attack.

    Torrence blocked well for the Gators in 2022 and especially was 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 could be a solid second-round pick for Buffalo that would be an asset to blast open holes for the ground game while providing interior protection for Josh Allen.

    Carolina Panthers: Jordan Addison, WR, USC
    The Carolina offense dominated on the ground, leading the team to a home win that keeps some playoff hopes alive. While D.J. Moore had a nice game, the other Panthers receivers did not produce much, and Sam Darnold did not put up a big day against a secondary that has had some struggles in 2022. Beyond figuring out the quarterback position, the Panthers need to add more playmakers to go with Moore.

    Addison was a plug-and-play point producer for USC in 2022, recording 59 catches for 875 yards and eight touchdowns even though he missed some time with injuries. 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, Addison could stand to get stronger and fill out his frame. He could be an ideal slot receiver to go between D.J. Moore and Terrace Marshall. Addison would be nice value for Carolina’s second-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

    Houston Texans: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
    The Texans got their second win of the season by taking advantage of Tennessee backup quarterback Malik Willis. Houston did not have a big game in terms of offense, but the team did enough with its defense to hold the Titans to 14 points. This offseason, the Texans need to find their long-term quarterback, and they also need to get him some receivers. Taking Smith-Njigba or Quentin Johnston with their second first-round pick during the 2022 NFL Draft would make a lot of sense for the Texans.

    Smith-Njigba recorded five catches for 43 yards in 2022. He left the season opener against Notre Dame early due to injury and barely played over the rest of the season. Smith-Njigba had a fantastic 2021 season despite being the third receiver behind Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson. In 2021, Smith-Njigba caught 94 passes for 1,606 yards and nine touchdowns, including putting together an amazing Rose Bowl performance to lead the comeback win over Utah. The 6-foot, 197-pounder has serious speed, athleticism, and playmaking ability to go along with decent size. Team sources love Smith-Njigba’s shifty route running and big play ability. He could be a good value for Houston with the pick the franchise received from the Browns.

    Jacksonville Jaguars: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
    Unlike the week before, the Jaguars did not get three touchdown passes to Zay Jones in Week 16, but they still cruised over the Zach Wilson-led Jets to get a big road win. Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence has made huge strides this season and is looking like the quarterback he was drafted to be. To help Lawrence to continue to develop, the Jaguars could use a true No. 1 wide receiver. Christian Kirk is good in the slot, while Jones and Marvin Jones are solid pros, but none of them is a true No. 1. The Jaguars could fix that in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft this coming April.

    So far in 2022, Johnston has 49 receptions for 764 yards and five touchdowns. He flashed in 2021, catching 33 passes for 612 yards and six touchdowns. Sources from around the NFL are high on his skill set. “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,” an area scout told He has the skill set of No.1 wideout with mismatch potential. Johnston would be a plug-and-play upgrade for Jacksonville and an use of a excellent first-round pick.

    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.

    Kansas City Chiefs:
    The Chiefs are one of the top contenders to win the Super Bowl this season, and they should be in the running for another Lombardi Trophy for many years to come. The team has an elite quarterback in Pat Mahomes, a Hall of Fame coach in Andy Reid, and other good talent on the roster. Kansas City can use the drafts to come to continue to build toward another championship.

    In my latest mock 2023 NFL Draft, I have the Chiefs taking Florida State defensive end Jared Verse. He would make sense in terms of adding more pass-rush talent to help the Chiefs close out games. Prior to the trade deadline, Kansas City inquired into trading for Panthers star edge rusher Brian Burns, so clearly the franchise want to improve the pass rush. Carlos Dunlap is a stop-gap veteran, and the Chiefs might look to dump Frank Clark before too long. Verse is raw, but he has a lot of upside alongside speed and athleticism. He could be a great fit to go across from George Karlaftis. Beyond Verse, Kansas City could hope to land one of the other first-round edge rushers, such as Notre Dame’s Isaiah Foskey, Texas Tech’s Tyree Wilson or USC’s Tuli Tuipulotu.

    Offensively, the Chiefs could use more running back help. Clyde Edwards-Helaire has not settled the position, and the team could use more stability in the backfield. Late in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, Kansas City could land a great fit for Andy Reid’s offense with Alabama’s Jahmyr Gibbs. Gibbs is an electric receiver and a fast runner who could be a tremendous weapon for Mahomes. If Gibbs does not get to their first-round pick, the Chiefs could land another capable upgrade later. There should be good options on the second day of the 2023 NFL Draft, including UCLA’s Zach Charbonnet, Ole Miss’ Zach Evans, Georgia’s Kenny McIntosh, Texas A&Ms’s Devon Achane and Kansas State’s Deuce Vaughn.

    On Day 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Chiefs also could consider adding some depth at cornerback and on the offensive line. It also wouldn’t hurt to take advantage of the 2023 NFL Draft’s quality tight end class to find a good backup for Travis Kelce. A great fit could be either Iowa’s Sam LaPorta or South Dakota State’s Tucker Kraft. One of them would give Kansas City a receiving threat at the position even if Kelce gets injured.

    The Chiefs are in a great position to also go the route of taking the best player available in the 2023 NFL Draft, with the exception of taking a quarterback. That will help strengthen the overall talent on the roster and make Kansas City more likely to land an elite prospect. Whether it is this year or next year, or the year after, Kansas City could easily win the Super Bowl, and another good draft could help make that happen for the Chiefs.

    New York Jets:
    If the Jets had competent and stable quarterback play, they would be headed to the playoffs in their second year under head coach Robert Saleh. However, the incompetence of second-year signal caller Zach Wilson has allowed some winnable games to slip away from New York, and that will probably lead to the team missing the postseason yet again. The roster has young talent on both sides of the ball ready to win now if the team had an effective trigger man. The franchise is seemingly cursed at the quarterback position, but perhaps the organization can get things right over the offseason.

    The Jets won’t be picking high enough in the 2023 NFL Draft to land Alabama’s Bryce Young or Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud. The interception issues of Kentucky’s Will Levis will probably cause the Jets to avoid him because he is similar to what they have in Wilson. The lack of accuracy and problems completing passes would make Florida’s Anthony Richardson a very risky pick for New York. Hence, the Jets might be better off going the veteran route to find competition or a replacement for Wilson. They could target a veteran like Tom Brady in free agency. They also could offer a first- or second-round pick to Detroit for Jared Goff, or they could even try to swing a mega trade for Lamar Jackson. However, those possibilities are just pie in the sky at this point. The Ravens might not be willing to deal Jackson, ditto for the Lions and Goff, and Brady could decide to stay in Tampa Bay or might select a different team. If the Jets were to land a quarterback like Brady, they could target other roster help in the 2023 NFL Draft.

    In my latest mock 2023 NFL Draft, I have the Jets taking Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba to continue to build up the big-play weapons for the scoring attack. Denzel Mims is a bust and wants to be traded. Elijah Moore has also requested a trade and is purely a slot receiver. Hence, the Jets could target a speedy playmaker like Smith-Njigba to go with Garrett Wilson. Reuniting those Buckeyes would make it very difficult to defend against a Jets offense using those speed receivers on the outside and a tough running back in Breece Hall to take advantage of safeties playing deep. The Jets also could consider TCU’s Quentin Johnston or USC’s Jordan Addison in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

    Aside from wide receiver, New York could use some linebacker help in the long term. Late in the first round, the Jets could consider players like Alabama’s Henry To’oTo’o or Iowa’s Jack Campbell. Either one would be a great fit for Saleh’s defense. Landing one of them would allow the Jets to move on from C.J. Mosley and get younger, cheaper, and have a player with more long-term upside.

    The Jets could also use more depth on the offensive line and secondary, which they could find on Day 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft. It wouldn’t hurt to add a mid-round running back to back up Hall, who will be coming off an injury.

    It will be a fascinating offseason in terms of seeing what the Jets do at the quarterback position. Perhaps they will allow Wilson and Mike White to compete for the starting job next year, but if the organization goes that route, the team could easily have the same results a year from now and miss the playoffs again. The Jets have a roster ready to win, so now is the time for general manager Joe Douglas to make a bold move to fix the quarterback position. Douglas is responsible for blowing the second-overall pick in 2021 on Wilson, so he has to fix that mistake immediately to make the Jets a true contender in the AFC.

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