Monday Morning Draft – Week 8

Caleb Williams

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. Carolina’s selection is currently slotted for the No. 1-overall pick of the 2024 NFL Draft, and that choice is the Bears’ best hope now that they won their second game of the season. The Panthers have now come away with their first win of the season, which dealt a blow to Chicago’s chances and helped Arizona. If the Bears get the top pick, they should select USC quarterback Caleb Williams or North Carolina’s Drake Maye in the 2024 NFL Draft while trading Justin Fields to add more picks for a rebuild.

Arizona Cardinals:

The Cardinals are 1-7 after losing to the Ravens. Their hopes of landing the No. 1-overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft received a boost from the Panthers getting their first win of the season. Arizona still could get the No. 1 pick from its win-loss record, but the team’s hope to get it with the Texans’ first-round pick are looking unlikely now that Houston has won three games and looks 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
  • Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn
  • 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
  • Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Gus Bradley
  • Green Bay Packers special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia

Head Coach Hot-Seat Tracker:

  • Washington Commanders: Ron Rivera
  • Los Angeles Chargers: Brandon Staley
  • Chicago Bears: Matt Eberflus
  • New England Patriots: Bill Belichick
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Todd Bowles
  • Atlanta Falcons: Arthur Smith
  • Las Vegas Raiders: Josh McDaniels
  • New Orleans Saints: Dennis Allen

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.

Minnesota Vikings: Blake Corum, RB, Michigan

The Vikings were able to win in Green Bay even though they were without Justin Jefferson, Kirk Cousins got injured, and once again, they struggled to run the ball. Minnesota’s offense clearly is pass heavy because the ground attack is far from as potent as it was with Dalvin Cook in recent years. On Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft, the Vikings could target a running back upgrade.

So far in 2023, Corum has averaged 5.4 yards per carry for 605 yards and 13 touchdowns. He has six receptions for 43 yards as well. The 5-foot-8, 210-pounder was a tough back and point producer for the Wolverines in 2022. On the year, he averaged 5.9 yards per carry for 1,463 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also recorded five receptions for 73 yards. As a downhill runner, Corum shows good strength to break tackles alongside contact balance and an ability to pick up yards after a hit. He could be a solid second-day pick for Minnesota.

Carolina Panthers: Johnny Wilson, WR, Florida State

Carolina hit a game-winning field goal on the last play against the visiting Texans to come their first win of the season. Bryce Young played better for the Panthers, and clearly, the team still suffers from a lack of mismatch weapons. Without a first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, Carolina will have to target some weapons on Day 2.

Wilson displayed mismatch size and big-play ability in 2022, hauling in 897 yards and five touchdowns on only 43 receptions – a 20.9-yard average. The 6-foot-7, 235-pounder presents an obvious size disparity, but he runs and moves well for a receiver that big. Wilson is able to sink his weight and get in and out of breaks extremely well for his size. However, Wilson has a problem with dropped passes, and that is especially problematic for the role that big receivers are expected to play. In 2023, he has 20 receptions for 357 yards and two touchdowns. In the second round of the 2024 NFL Draft, Wilson could be a nice candidate for the Panthers.

Dallas Cowboys: Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

The Cowboys cruised over the Rams, with their defense scoring a touchdown and knocking Matthew Stafford out of the game. CeeDee Lamb (12-158-2) dominated the Rams, but the rest of the Dallas receivers were underwhelming. In the offseason, the Cowboys could acquire more receiver talent to help Lamb and provide a playmaker in case Lamb gets injured.

Nabers is a shifty receiver with excellent route-running and consistently generates separation from coverage. He has 56 catches for 981 yards and nine touchdowns so far this year. While Kayshon Boutte was supposed to be LSU’s No. 1 wide receiver in 2022, Nabers outplayed him and was a steady contributor for Jayden Daniels. Nabers caught 72 passes for 1,017 yards and three touchdowns. He has decent size at 6-foot, 195 pounds as well as quickness and athleticism. Nabers could be a good value pick for Dallas late in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Miami Dolphins: Layden Robinson, G, Texas A&M

The Dolphins dropped New England at home to improve to 6-2 on the season, and this loss is a death-blow to any hopes of the 2-6 Patriots had of rallying into playoff contention. The Miami passing attack lit up the New England defense, but the Dolphins ran for only 78 yards and averaged 3.0 yards per carry. Adding to the offensive line to help open holes and protect Tua Tagovailoa would make a lot of sense for Miami in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Team sources have been impressed with the play of Robinson this season. They say Robinson (6-4, 315) looks like a potential starting right guard in the NFL. They note that while he has some athletic limitations, he is strong and is a people mover at the point of attack. Robinson is a tough, nasty, and power right guard for the next level. He could be limited on some of the wide zone-run plays in the NFL because he lacks foot quickness and overall athletic ability. Still, he has a violent play style and demeanor. Robinson could be a second-day prospect for the 2024 NFL Draft who would be a nice value and fit for the Dolphins.

New York Jets: Olu Fashanu, OT, Penn State

The Giants gifted a game to the Jets, allowing Gang Green to improve to 4-3 on the season. Offensively, the Jets struggled, producing only 13 points. They were unable to run the ball, averaging only 2.6 yards per carry over 22 attempts. This offseason, the Jets should look to add more offensive tackle talent to help run the ball and offer better protection for Aaron Rodgers in 2024.

For the NFL, Fashanu (6-6, 321) has the size and length to make it tough for defenders to get by him. However, he is not an elite athlete on the edge with rare movement skills or quickness. He can move defenders up front in the ground game, but he is not all that nasty in his style of play. Fashanu looks like he will be a starting left tackle in the pros, but not an elite one. He is not a top-10 prospect like a Penei Sewell. Fashanu might be more similar in the NFL to an adequate starting tackle like Russell Okung over an elite tackle like Sewell, but in the middle of the first round, Fashanu could be a solid pick for the Jets.

Tennessee Titans: Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State

Will Levis had a superb opening start to his NFL career, throwing four touchdown passes and zero interceptions while leading the Titans to a home win over the Falcons. Thanks to having a quarterback capable of stretching the field, the Titans enjoyed a breakout game from DeAndre Hopkins, who caught four passes for 128 yards and three touchdowns. That also loosened up the ground game for Derrick Henry (22-101) to get rolling. Perhaps Levis will be Tennessee’s starter of the future, and if he is, it would make sense to provide him with more weaponry. Hopkins is aging, and the other receivers did next to nothing against Atlanta.

In 2023, Coleman has 38 catches for 538 yards and nine touchdowns. The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder has good size with quickness, athleticism, and excellent ball skills. In 2022 for Michigan State, he recorded 58 receptions for 798 yards and seven touchdowns while playing. Coleman opened the 2023 season, and his career as a Seminole, with a monster game of nine catches for 122 yards and three touchdowns versus LSU. Coleman also got the better of a future NFL corner in Wake Forest’s Caelen Carson in their matchup. Coleman could be a No. 1 receiver in the NFL and an excellent first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft for Tennessee.

New Orleans Saints: Ruke Orhorhoro, DT, Clemson

The Saints got a much-needed win in Indianapolis behind Derek Carr, Alvin Kamara and Rashid Shaheed making some huge plays. New Orleans’ defense allowed the Colts to put up 27 points, and Indianapolis ran for 164 yards on only 24 carries. The Saints lost some defensive tackle talent in free agency last year, and they could use some more defensive line youth to go with Bryan Bresee. New Orleans could go right back to Clemson and add more talent via the 2024 NFL Draft.

The 6-foot-4, 295-pound Orhorhoro has the ability to contribute in both phases as he is a tough run defender who shows some ability to get after the quarterback. Orhorhoro has the strength to get off blocks, plus he has the speed to make plays out of his gap. In 2023, Orhorhoro has 11 tackles, two sacks and a pass batted. He totaled 23 tackles, five passes batted and four sacks in 2022. Orhorhoro has the potential to be three-down starter in the NFL, and he would be a good addition to the Saints’ defensive line, where he would help their run defense and interior pass rush.

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.

Buffalo Bills:

Buffalo is in a Super Bowl window thanks to having one of the most talented quarterbacks in the NFL with Josh Allen playing in the prime years of his career. The Bills have some good pieces elsewhere on the roster, and their young edge rushers have developed nicely in 2023. Another good draft in 2024 could help Buffalo with taking on the other elite teams of the AFC.

Due to the high-powered offenses like the Chiefs and Bengals, Buffalo needs to be able to score points. Stefon Diggs turns 30 in a few weeks, and it would make sense for the team to add a potential No. 1 receiver to pair with Diggs in the short-term. That wideout could then take over as the team’s No. 1 in a few years. In my latest mock 2024 NFL Draft, I have the Bills taking LSU wide receiver Malik Nabers, and he would make sense as he would offer them a playmaking wide out to pair with Stefon Diggs. Gabriel Davis is nearing the end of his contract, and after giving Diggs a huge pay day, Buffalo might not be able to retain Davis. Some other receivers for the organization to consider late in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft would include South Carolina’s Xavier Legette and Texas’ Xavier Worthy.

Also on the Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft, the Bills could consider help at linebacker given that Tremaine Edmunds was not re-signed. Matt Milano will be coming off a serious injury as well, so adding more linebacker talent would be sensible. On the second day of the 2024 NFL Draft, the Bills could find a replacement for Edmunds. Some quality options include Notre Dame’s Marist Liufau, North Carolina’s Cedric Gray, Oklahoma’s Danny Stutsman, Georgia’s Jamon Dumas-Johnson, Ohio State’s Tommy Eichenberg, and Clemson’s Barrett Carter.

Elsewhere on the defense, Buffalo could consider adding cornerback talent. Tre White will be coming off an injury, and eventually the Bills may want to get younger and cheaper. Late in the first round and on the second day of the 2024 NFL Draft, there could be some good cornerback options for Buffalo. It could make sense for the Bills to target a receiver in Round 1, a corner in Round 2 and a linebacker in Round 3.

The Bills have years of a Super Bowl window with Allen. Now, Brandon Beane needs to make the right draft picks and free agent additions to help put Buffalo over the top and bring a Super Bowl Championship to a deserving fanbase.

Houston Texans:

Despite a loss to the Panthers on Sunday, the Texans are definitely an improved team in their first year under head coach DeMeco Ryans. C.J. Stroud has played well as a rookie, and Houston is a team that should continue to improve as its young roster gains experience. While the Texans look like they are finally headed in the right direction after the disastrous years under Bill O’Brien, there still are a lot of areas to address on the roster to get the team into position to challenge the elite of the AFC.

In my latest mock 2024 NFL Draft, I have the Texans taking South Carolina wide receiver Xavier Legette. He would give them a potential No. 1 receiver to go with Nico Collins and Tank Dell. Collins is a good outside starter, while Dell is a dangerous slot receiver, but to help Stroud continue to develop, the Texans could use one more No. 1 receiver. They could consider Legette or other options like Florida State’s Keon Coleman, Ohio State’s Emeka Egbuka, LSU’s Malik Nabers and Texas’ Xavier Worthy. Houston will probably end up winning way too many games to have a shot at Marvin Harrison Jr., but one of the receivers above would offer intriguing upgrade.

The Texans also needs help on defense. They could use more cornerback talent to go with Derek Stingley Jr., as they have lot of journeymen but could use more long-term starters. Houston also could consider cornerback prospects like Georgia’s Kamari Lassiter, Clemson’s Nate Wiggins and South Carolina’s Marcellas Dial on the first day of the 2024 NFL Draft. The Texans also could draw on a deep cornerback class and look to add one on Day 2. Some options for Houston to consider on the second day of the 2024 NFL Draft include Alabama’s Terrion Arnold, Alabama’s Kool-Aid McKinstry, Wake Forest’s Caelen Carson, Rutgers’ Max Melton, Penn State’s Kalen King and Utah’s Zemaiah Vaughn.

The Texans also need some help with a long-term starter at linebacker next to the underrated Blake Cashman. Denzel Perryman is not a long-term starter, and Houston could use a middle linebacker who is a difference-maker. Some quality options for the Texans to consider in the early rounds include Notre Dame’s Marist Liufau, North Carolina’s Cedric Gray, Oklahoma’s Danny Stutsman, Georgia’s Jamon Dumas-Johnson, Ohio State’s Tommy Eichenberg, and Clemson’s Barrett Carter.

Houston also could consider defensive line talent where the team has some solid players but lacks difference-makers. The Texans believe Will Anderson Jr. will emerge to be one, and even if he does, they will need more to go with him, so if a good defensive lineman is available, they will have to give that prospect serious consideration.

There is no doubt that the Texans are headed in the right direction. With the way Deshaun Watson is playing, or rather not playing, for Cleveland, it looks like Houston dodged a bullet with him and he has not been worth the massive contract he’s been paid. If the Texans draft well, they could return to being a legit playoff contender on an annual basis with a capable quarterback in Stroud.