Monday Morning Draft – Week 5

Josh Allen

Race for the No. 1 Pick of the 2024 NFL Draft:

Chicago Bears:

Chicago had the No. 1-overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft prior to trading down with the Panthers. As part of that trade, the Bears have Carolina’s first-rounder in the 2024 NFL Draft, so the Bears could have two avenues by which they might obtain the top pick for the second straight year. The Bears got their first win of the season to improve to 1-4, but the Panthers are off to an 0-5 start after getting rolled by the Lions. Both Chicago and Carolina look like top candidates to finish last in the league, which would give Chicago the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. If the Bears get the top pick, they should draft USC quarterback Caleb Williams or North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye and trade away Justin Fields to acquire additional picks for a rebuild.

Denver Broncos:

The Broncos lost to the Jets and still look like one of the worst teams in the NFL. Denver has a very difficult schedule in the loaded AFC, so the team could be in the hunt for the No. 1 pick of the 2024 NFL Draft. The Broncos lost a close game to the Raiders and then blew a huge lead to the Commanders before the 70-point debacle against the Dolphins. Denver could be in for a long year after losing some winnable games early on.

New England Patriots:

A week after getting humiliated by the Cowboys, the Patriots were dominated by the Saints 34-0. New England has a terrible offense thanks to awful play calling by Bill O’Brien and horrible wide receiver evaluations by Bill Belichick. If the Patriots land the top pick – or even the second pick – of the 2024 NFL Draft, they should select either Caleb Williams or Drake Maye because either of them would be an obvious upgrade over Mac Jones.

Arizona Cardinals:

Arizona is 1-4 after losing to Cincinnati. The Cardinals still could get the No. 1 pick of the 2024 NFL Draft from their win-loss record, but their hope of landing it with the Texans’ first-round pick is looking slim now that the Texans have won two games – and look likely to win more.

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
  • Philadelphia Eagles director of scouting Brandon Hunt
  • Miami Dolphins assistant general manager Marvin Allen
  • Washington director of pro scouting Eric Stokes
  • Miami Hurricanes general manager Alonzo Highsmith

Top Head Coach Candidates:

  • Super Bowl winning head coach Jon Gruden
  • Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson
  • Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn
  • Seattle Seahawks quarterbacks coach Greg Olson
  • Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris
  • Washington Commanders offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy
  • Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn
  • Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Gus Bradley
  • Green Bay Packers special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia
  • USC head coach Lincoln Riley

Head Coach Hot-Seat Tracker:

  • Los Angeles Chargers: Brandon Staley
  • Washington Commanders: Ron Rivera
  • Chicago Bears: Matt Eberflus
  • Las Vegas Raiders: Josh McDaniels
  • New England Patriots: Bill Belichick

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: Ladd McConkey, WR, Georgia

Despite going against a defense that allowed 70 points a few weeks ago, the receiving production of the Jets against Denver was unimpressive. Tight end Tyler Conklin led New York in receiving with four catches for 67 yards. The Jets need more receiving talent to help Aaron Rodgers in 2024.

McConkey (6-0, 185) is not the biggest or fastest receiver, but he is a gritty football player who came up with some clutch plays for Georgia in its back-to-back National Championship seasons. McConkey recorded 58 catches for 762 yards and seven touchdowns in 2022. That was a big improvement over 2021 (31-447-5). McConkey has played in only two games in 2023, catching five passes for 49 yards.

McConkey might fit best as a slot receiver at the next level. After addressing the offensive line in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft, McConkey could be a nice value in the third round for the Jets.

Miami Dolphins: James Williams, S, Miami

The Dolphins got back on track with a win over the Giants, but the Miami defense struggled to defend tight end Darren Waller, giving up eight receptions for 86 yards. Miami could use a safety complement for Jevon Holland, and adding a big safety who can help cover tight ends would make sense to add to the Miami defense.

In 2023, Williams has 18 tackles, an interception and two passes broken up. He recorded 59 tackles, one interception, one forced fumble and six passes broken up in 2022. The 6-foot-5, 224-pounder is a big safety with the size of a linebacker, but he moves pretty well for his size. Williams is more of a strong safety than a free safety for the NFL. He is consistent in terms of his eye discipline, technique and tackling. His instincts aren’t bad either, and he has some coverage ability alongside flashes of physicality. Williams could be a good fit for Miami in the early rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft.

New Orleans Saints: Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

The Saints dominated a terrible Patriots team, shutting them out 34-0 in their own house. Carl Granderson, Cam Jordan and the New Orleans defense dominated over the weak Mac Jones-led offense. Derek Carr managed the game well for the Saints, throwing a couple of touchdown passes. It would make sense for the Saints to give Carr more weapons in his second year in New Orleans, and taking a player like Bowers would give the organization the Darren Waller-type mismatch tight end who Carr excelled with in previous years.

In 2023, Bowers has 37 receptions for 545 yards and four touchdowns. He was a freshman sensation for the Bulldogs in 2021 and was a huge receiving weapon in helping them win their first National Championship since 1980. Immediately, Bowers (6-4, 230) was a mismatch threat with excellent speed, athleticism, and run-after-the-catch ability. In 2021, Bowers recorded 56 receptions for 882 yards and 13 touchdowns. He totaled 63 receptions in 2022 for 942 yards and seven touchdowns. The Bulldogs have had other good young talent at tight end and wide receiver, so Bowers doesn’t see everything funneled his way, as they spread the ball around, but Bowers is definitely special prospect for the NFL. He would be an excellent first-round pick for New Orleans.

Indianapolis Colts: Kalen King, CB, Penn State

Zack Moss had a monster game to lead the Colts to a huge win over the Titans in Indianapolis. While the defense made some clutch stops, the Colts really struggled with DeAndre Hopkins, letting him explode for Titans and haul in eight catches for 140 yards. After trading Stephon Gilmore, the Colts could use a No. 1 outside corner to help match up with receiving talents like Hopkins.

While Joey Porter Jr. received all of the attention in 2022, King was Penn State’s best cornerback and made more big plays for the program. King totaled 30 tackles, three interceptions, 21 passes defended and one forced fumble on the year. At 5-foot-11, 191 pounds, King has adequate size, but he is a silky-smooth cover corner who can run the route and prevent separation. King has outstanding instincts, route recognition, awareness, and ball skills. That leads to make making superb plays routinely. King is a “dog” who is a tough, physical and willing hitter. He may not have elite speed, but his fabulous instincts make him a step faster. King has No. 1 corner potential for the NFL. So far in 2023, he has 11 tackles and a pass broken up. King could make a lot of sense for the Colts in the first round next April.

Atlanta Falcons: Chop Robinson, DE, Penn State

Desmond Ridder led Atlanta to fourth-quarter comeback win, throwing for over 300 yards and contributing with his legs. Beating the Texans could be a nice boost in confidence for Ridder, but one disappointing factor was the Atlanta defense allowing a late touchdown pass to C.J. Stroud that almost let the Texans escape with a win. The Falcons failed to sacks Stroud, and they Falcons clearly could use more long-term edge-rush talents to help them close out wins.

Robinson (6-3, 250) plays defensive end for Penn State, but for the NFL, he may have to move to outside linebacker given his size. If Robinson is any smaller than his listed numbers, he definitely will be too small to play end on an every-down basis. In 2023, Robinson has seven tackles, one sack, a forced fumble, and a pass batted. He recorded 5.5 sacks, 10 tackles for a loss, two passes batted, one forced fumble and 26 tackle in 2022. Playing for Maryland in 2021, he had 19 tackles and two sacks.

Robinson is lightning fast off the edge and a dangerous quarterback hunter. He would make a lot of sense for the Falcons in the first or second round of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

Once again, the Steelers offense had an ugly performance while their defense carried them to a win over the Ravens. Pittsburgh can not run the ball and is not getting Kenny Pickett into any kind of groove as a passer. To help both phases of the offense, the Steelers could target their offensive line again in the first round and then shuffle players around at the two tackle positions and guard to field an improved unit in 2024.

Alt (6-7, 317) broke into Notre Dame’s starting lineup at left tackle as a freshman in 2021 and has started 28 straight contests on the blind side. He started out his career playing some tight end for Notre Dame before settling in at left tackle. Alt is big with long arms, has good strength in the upper body, uses his hands well, and has good technique. Alt has been consistent and productive. However, he has issues with his anchor because he is stiff and doesn’t bend well. That lack of bend is a challenging issue given how tall Alt is. That being said, Alt would be a safe pick with plug-and-play potential for the Steelers in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Chicago Bears: Laiatu Latu, DE, UCLA

The Bears dominated the Commanders in the first half on Thursday night, rolling up a 27-3 lead by halftime. Chicago enjoyed a breakout game from D.J. Moore, who scorched the Washington defense for 230 receiving yards and three touchdowns. While Moore and Justin Fields played well, the Chicago defense almost allowed the Commander to get back in the game during the second half. Chicago’s pass rush came alive and had its first good game of the season, but clearly the team needs more long-term edge-rush difference-makers.

Latu has 16 tackles, five sacks, one interception and two forced fumbles in 2023. After recording 10.5 sacks and three forced fumbles in 2022, Latu is proving to be a dangerous quarterback hunter. The 6-foot-5, 265-pounder is quick off the edge alongside athleticism and a strong build. With Washington, Latu had injury issues that cost him the 2020 and 2021 seasons. A serious neck injury caused former Huskies coach Jimmy Lake to say that Latu’s career was over, but he transferred to UCLA after Lake and his staff were let go. Latu then received medical clearance from UCLA before resuming his career. Latu would make a lot of sense for one of Chicago’s first-round picks in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Team Draft Report:

In this section, we take a deeper look at specific teams and where they stand in regards to the 2024 NFL Draft.

Philadelphia Eagles:

Despite losing both of their coordinators and having a tough schedule, the Eagles have picked up where they left off in 2022 and are among the elite teams in the NFL. Philadelphia, San Francisco and Detroit look like the elite teams in the NFC and seem destined for some slugfest games in the playoffs. With Jalen Hurts in the prime of his career, the Eagles are in a Super Bowl window that could see them win another Lombardi trophy in the next few seasons. While the Eagles have a talented roster, they do have a few positions that could use an injection of young talent.

In my latest mock 2024 NFL Draft, I have the Eagles taking Georgia cornerback Kamari Lassiter, which would make a lot sense. Philadelphia loves Bulldogs, and Lassiter is a big cornerback with speed, athleticism, and coverage ability. He could be a very good understudy for Darius Slay and James Bradberry. After some development, Lassiter could take over as Philadelphia’s No. 1 corner. Other corner options the Eagles could consider in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft include Clemson’s Nate Wiggins, South Carolina’s Marcellas Dial and Wake Forest’s Caelen Carson. There also could be some good values at corner on Day 2 thanks to a deep class of quality talent at the position.

Philadelphia also could consider help at offensive tackle as Lane Johnson is aging. High in the first round, the top tackles could be Georgia’s Amarius Mims and BYU’s Kingsley Suamataia. In the middle of the first round, the Eagles could consider trading up for players like Penn State’s Olu Fashanu, Notre Dame’s Joe Alt, Oklahoma’s Tyler Guyton and Alabama’s J.C. Latham. Late in the first round, Philadelphia could consider a tackle/guard type in Duke’s Graham Barton. Given the amount of good offensive tackles, one of those mid-first-round talents might slip to the Eagles late in the first round. That could be a really good value pick for Philadelphia.

This is also a good draft for safety talent, and a safety could be a nice addition to the Philadelphia defense. The Eagles have some journeymen veterans at the position and could find a long-term starter in the early rounds. Some options to consider include Minnesota’s Tyler Nubin, Miami’s Kamren Kinchens or James Williams and USC’s Calen Bullock.

The Eagles have two second-round picks, so a good plan could be targeting an offensive tackle in the first round and then using their second-rounders on defensive back talent. Another good draft could help put Philadelphia over the top in its quest for another Super Bowl Championship.

Washington Commanders:

The Commanders were embarrassed on Thursday Night Football, with D.J. Moore and Justin Fields dominating their defense. While Washington had an ugly loss coming off almost beating Philadelphia the previous Sunday, a bright spot this season has been the play of quarterback Sam Howell. While Howell has not been elite, he has played well for a first-year starter and has shown the ability to lead his team back with gritty play. In the 2024 NFL Draft, Washington needs to find more talent to help Howell.

The top priority for Washington has to be adding talent to the offensive line. The Commanders have used some second-day picks and free agency dollars to try and fix the unit, but as the Bears illustrated on Thursday night, the blocking is a huge weakness. Chicago has a terrible defensive line, but it destroyed the Washington line. Fortunately for the Commanders, the 2024 NFL Draft should feature a superb class of offensive tackle talent, so they should have some good options. High in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft, the top offensive tackles could be Georgia’s Amarius Mims and BYU’s Kingsley Suamataia. In the middle of the first round, they could consider players like Penn State’s Olu Fashanu, Notre Dame’s Joe Alt, Oklahoma’s Tyler Guyton and Alabama’s J.C. Latham. Late in the first round, Washington could consider a tackle/guard type in Duke’s Graham Barton. In my latest mock 2024 NFL Draft I have the Commanders taking Fashanu to give them a solid and safe pick to be a quality left tackle starter.

There will also be some really excellent tackle values on Day 2. In the second round, there could be good options like Illinois’ Julian Pearl, Pittsburgh’s Matt Goncalves and Houston’s Patrick Paul. They have starting potential, and Washington might want to think of doubling up with offensive tackles because one could kick inside to guard.

In my latest mock 2024 NFL Draft, I have the Commanders taking Texas tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders in the second round, as that is another route they could go to help Howell. Washington has some young talent at receiver and running back, but the team could use a young tight end. Logan Thomas is a good player, but he has dealt with injuries. The Commanders could select a tight end like Sanders on Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft to keep giving Howell weapons.

It will be interesting to see if Washington re-signs edge rushers Chase Young and Montez Sweat. The organization invested huge money into its defensive tackles, so if the team gets one of its ends back, the defense still has good talent in prime years. Hopefully, the new ownership ditches the stupid team name and picks something cool, but the most important priority in the 2024 NFL Draft is adding some offensive line talent to help Howell in his second year as a starter.