2020 NFL Team-By-Team Draft Preview

We are now within a week of the NFL Draft! In my opinion, outside of the unique circumstances that have developed based on COVID-19, there is other reasons to believe that this will be one of the most intriguing drafts in recent memory. Between Tua Tagovailoa’s injury history, the deep receiver, cornerback, and offensive tackle draft classes, and the existence of extremely valuable defensive players like Jeffrey Okudah and Isaiah Simmons, there are so many storylines that we should be closely monitoring. Today, let’s preview each team’s outlook heading into the draft; we’ll assess their remaining long-term needs, name potential targets, look at what they should and should not do, while also providing a sample seven-round mock draft. We’ll go in alphabetical order by city.

*NOTE: Long-Term Needs and Targets Based On What They’ll Realistically Look To Address In The Draft. Seven-Round Mock Drafts Done Via draftnetwork.com (No Trades)

Arizona Cardinals

fulton
Photo Cred: Bleacher Nation

Recommended Strategy: Trade Down To Accumulate More Draft Capital

Top Long-Term Needs: CB, OT, S, WR, Pass Rush, IOL

Top Day 1 Targets: CB Kristian Fulton, OT Tristian Wirfs, OT Jedrick Wills Jr.

Top Day 2/3 Targets: OT Jack Driscoll, S Geno Stone, EDGE Curtis Weaver

Seven Round Mock Draft

Round 1, Pick 8: CB Kristian Fulton, LSU

Round 3, Pick 70: IDL Jordan Elliot, Missouri

Round 4, Pick 114: S Geno Stone, Iowa

Round 4, Pick 131: OT Jack Driscoll, Auburn

Round 6, Pick 202: LB Francis Bernard, Utah

Round 7, Pick 222: WR John Hightower, Boise State

Heading into the offseason, it seemed like a certainty the Cardinals would use the 8th pick on a receiver such as Jerry Jeudy or CeeDee Lamb. They still technically can, given the value of the receiver position, but with De’Andre Hopkins on board, Arizona has a deep group of playmakers. They could go address the offensive live, yet, at the same time, they ranked third-best in pass-blocking efficiency last season, per Pro Football Focus. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury is an offensive-minded head coach with the ability to elevate the talent around Kyler Murray. What he can’t do, however, is compensate for a very poor defense. Cornerback, in particular, is a glaring long-term need for the Cardinals, as Patrick Peterson will be a free agent at the end of the year, and there isn’t much depth behind him. Besides that, they could also look to strengthen the pass rush and add a playmaking safety, as nickel back Budda Baker may the only long-term piece on the defense. I’d perfectly understand if they continue to support Murray, but they seriously could have one of the worst defenses in the NFL, Without a second-round pick, that’ll be difficult, so why not trade down? The Eagles, Broncos, and Falcons are three teams looking to trade up in the draft, and Arizona would still be able to land a premier cornerback like Kristian Fulton, before adding a developmental tackle or receiver with their newly found second-round pick. Regardless, I really hope the Cardinals trade down, as they still have a lot of holes to fill, and not enough picks to do so.

Atlanta Falcons

cjhenderson
Photo Cred: Silver and Black Pride

Recommended Strategy: Bolster The Secondary Significantly

Top Long-Term Needs: CB, WR, S, IOL, LB

Top Day 1 Targets: CB CJ Henderson, CB Kristian Fulton, CB AJ Terrell

Top Day 2 Targets: WR Devin Duvernay, CB Darnay Holmes, S Kyle Dugger

Seven Round Mock Draft

Round 1, Pick 16: CB CJ Henderson, Florida

Round 2, Pick 47: CB AJ Terrell, Clemson

Round 3, Pick 78: IDL Jordan Elliot, Missouri

Round 4, Pick 119: WR Tyler Johnson, Minnesota

Round 4, Pick 143: OT Jack Driscoll, Auburn

Round 7, Pick 228: IOL Kevin Dotson, Louisiana

The Falcons have had a very puzzling offseason so far, cutting cornerback Desmond Trufant in order to pay less-valuable players in edge rusher Dante Fowler Jr. and running back Todd Gurley, while also trading a second-round pick for tight end Hayden Hurst. Sure, there’s some star talent on the roster, but they’ve essentially left the cornerback position untouched, which is a problem; none of their projected starters had a Pro Football Focus grade higher than 56.8. Given their reliance on man coverage in their defensive scheme, they need multiple starting cornerbacks, and they’ll be able to choose from the group of CJ Henderson, AJ Terrell, Kristian Fulton, Trevon Diggs, and Jaylon Johnson. Henderson may be only attainable via a trade up, but rather than do that, they should try to double-dip at the position with the remaining options, before addressing some other long-term holes. While cornerback should be their priority, they also could use a third receiver, as well as younger, better options on the interior offensive line, safety, linebacker, and interior defensive line. However, those are not first-round priorities, so, in a way, it’s almost cornerback or bust for them. Javon Kinlaw and K’Lavon Chaisson have been rumored to them as they looked to add pass rushers, but that would just compound what was an awful free agency period for the Falcons. Their ideal draft seems like such a no-brainer, though if mock drafts are true about their preferred selections, I’m very concerned about their long-term direction.

Baltimore Ravens

r m
Photo Cred: The Denver Post

Recommended Strategy: Add Playmakers For Lamar Jackson

Top Long-Term Needs: WR, Pass Rush, IOL, TE, LB/S

Top Day 1 Targets: WR Laviska Shenault Jr, EDGE AJ Epenesa, WR Tee Higgins

Top Day 2/3 Targets: S Kyle Dugger, IOL Netane Muti, WR Devin Duvernay

Seven Round Mock Draft

Round 1, Pick 28: EDGE AJ Epenesa, Iowa

Round 2, Pick 55: WR Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado

Round 2, Pick 60: S Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne

Round 3, Pick 92: CB Amik Robertson, Louisiana Tech

Round 3, Pick 106: TE Adam Trautman, Dayton

Round 4, Pick 129: IOL Ben Bredeson, Michigan

Round 4, Pick 134: WR Devin Duvernay, Texas

Round 5, Pick 157: S Geno Stone, Iowa

Round 7, Pick 225: IDL John Penisini, Utah

The Ravens are in an excellent position, as they don’t have any pressing long-term needs in any important area. However, Lamar Jackson relied too heavily on his tight ends over the middle of the field last season, and for them to make their offense more dynamic, they need to add weapons on the outside. Players such as Tee Higgins make sense, but no player is a better fit for what they want to do than Colorado’s Laviska Shenault, who’s run after catch ability would be utilized perfectly in offensive coordinator Greg Roman’s scheme. In fact, the simple thought of Shenault in Baltimore should terrify opposing teams, and the Ravens can probably either get him in the second round, whether it be with one of their current picks or if they trade down. Outside of that, they can continue to add their “position-less” defense with versatile players, though they should place a higher priority on the interior offensive line than most. Given how much they rely on their power rushing attack, the loss of guard Marshal Yanda, and luckily for them, this is a draft class that is deep on power interior blockers. Outside of reaching for a linebacker or interior offensive lineman in the first round, there aren’t many ways the Ravens can “blow” the draft. General manager Eric DeCosta has built this team perfectly, and now, it’s about making the roster even more well-rounded for the future.

Buffalo Bills

curtisweaver
Photo Cred: TribLIVE.com

Recommended Strategy: Find Replacements For Players Not In Long-Term Plans

Top Long-Term Needs: CB, Pass Rush, WR, TE, OL

Top Day 2 Targets: EDGE Curtis Weaver, CB Bryce Hall, OT Lucas Niang

Other Targets: CB Cameron Dantzler, CB Amik Robertson, IOL Netane Muti

Seven Round Mock

Round 2, Pick 54: EDGE Curtis Weaver, Boise State

Round 3, Pick 86: OT Lucas Niang, TCU

Round 4, Pick 128: LB Markus Bailey, Purdue

Round 5, Pick 167: WR Devin Duvernay, Texas

Round 6, Pick 188: WR John Hightower, Boise State

Round 6, Pick 207: CB Essang Bassey, Wake Forrest

Round 7, Pick 239: RB Reggie Corbin, Illinois

After making the smart decision to send their first-round pick, as well as some other draft capital, to the Vikings for star receiver Stefon Diggs, the Bills have a very well-rounded roster. Therefore, they should look towards the future, which means trading down to accumulate more draft capital, as well as finding potential starters for 2021. Pass rushers, offensive linemen, wide receivers, and defensive backs all stand out as areas where Buffalo can afford to get younger and deeper at, though I’d really like them to also consider adding more future draft capital. After all, Josh Allen has yet to prove himself as the long-term starting quarterback, and with some key players due for extensions soon, they’ll definitely be in a position where they’ll need extra flexibility in future drafts. They’ve done enough to compete for a division title next year, but now, it’s about keeping this roster built for success down the line.

Carolina Panthers

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Photo Cred: PFF.com

Recommended Strategy: Isaiah Simmons, Jeffrey Okudah, or Trade Down

Long-Term Needs: CB, OL, LB/S, TE, Pass Rush

Top Day 1 Targets: Hybrid Isaiah Simmons, CB Jeffrey Okudah, CB Kristian Fulton

Top Day 2/3 Targets: CB Jeff Gladney, S Kyle Dugger, IOL Nick Harris

Seven Round Mock Draft

Round 1, Pick 7: Playmaker Isaiah Simmons, Clemson

Round 2, Pick 38: CB AJ Terrell, Clemson

Round 3, Pick 69: IDL Jordan Elliot, Missouri

Round 4, Pick 113: WR Tyler Johnson, Minnesota

Round 5, Pick 148: S Geno Stone, Iowa

Round 5, Pick 152: TE Cheyenne O’Grady, Arkansas

Round 6, Pick 184: IOL Calvin Throckmorton, Oregon

Round 7, Pick 221: CB Kindle Vildor, Georgia Southern

All offseason, the Panthers have been a major wildcard. At first, it looked like they were intent to completely tear it down, but after signing quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and receiver Robby Anderson, as well as extending running back Christian McCaffrey, it’s clear that they’re hoping for a quick rebuild. They’ve spent a lot of resources fine-tuning the offense for new coordinator Joe Brady, but simply put, they’re lacking much impact talent defensively. As new defensive coordinator Phil Snow implements his multiple scheme, there is no better player to build the defense around than Isaiah Simmons, who is a generational type talent with his length, athleticism, and overall ability. However, if he and cornerback Jeffrey Okudah aren’t available, by no means should they stand pat with the 7th overall pick. Drafting an interior defender like Derrick Brown accomplishes nothing, and with teams like the Eagles, Broncos, and Falcons looking to trade up to get their top targets, they should take advantage of the opportunity to secure draft capital for 2021. After all, Bridgewater probably isn’t seen as the long-term answer at quarterback, so they’ll want to have the resources to potentially draft quarterback prospects Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields in next year’s draft. It’s almost impossible to imagine them being too competitive in a stacked NFC South, so rather than try to simply feel needs, the new regime must continue to build for the future.

Chicago Bears

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Photo Cred: newyorkjets.com

Recommended Strategy: Compensate For Losses During Offseason

Top Long-Term Needs: CB, S, WR, OL, TE

Top Day 2 Targets: CB Trevon Diggs, S Xavier McKinney, S Antoine Winfield Jr.

Other Targets: CB Cameron Dantzler, OT Jack Driscoll, S Geno Stone

Seven Round Mock Draft

Round 2, Pick 43: CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama

Round 2, Pick 50: WR Laviska Shenault Jr, Colorado

Round 5, Pick 163: S Geno Stone, Iowa

Round 6, Pick 196: EDGE Trevis Gipson, Tulsa

Round 6, Pick 200: IOL Calvin Throckmorton, Oregon

Round 7, Pick 226: CB Kindle Vildor, Georgia Southern

Round 7, Pick 233: TE Sean McKeon, Michigan

What direction should the Bears take? Nick Foles and Mitch Trubisky aren’t ideal options at the quarterback position, so a case can be made that they should focus on rebuilding. However, without a first-round pick this year due to Khalil Mack trade, as well as little financial flexibility, it’s clear that they’re all-in on winning this season. Well, they aren’t going to do so with their current roster, as their secondary is hurting after the losses of safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and cornerback Prince Amukamara, while the offense needs more playmakers and reassurances on the offensive line. Of those holes, cornerback, safety, and receiver need to be addressed, but with only two picks in the first four rounds, that’ll be difficult. Luckily for them, based on the way the draft is shaping up, they’ll likely be able to add a premier cornerback and safety with their two second-round picks, though a do-it-all playmaker like Laviska Shenault Jr. or KJ Hamler could be exactly what head coach Matt Nagy needs. What the Bears shouldn’t do, however, is add an interior offensive lineman with one of those two picks, as it’s a far less important area than the secondary or wide receiver. General manager Ryan Pace has put him in quite a hole with so many aggressive moves, and he made it more complicated with several puzzling moves this offseason. Now, they’ve essentially pigeonholed themselves into finding impact contributors in the draft, which they don’t have the resources to do.

Cincinnati Bengals

burrow
Photo Cred: Bleacher Report

Recommended Strategy: Build The Offense Around Joe Burrow

Top Long-Term Needs: QB, OL, WR, LB, CB

Top Day 1 Targets: QB Joe Burrow

Top Day 2/3 Targets: OT Josh Jones, WR Tee Higgins, IOL Nick Harris

Seven Round Mock Draft

Round 1, Pick 1: QB Joe Burrow, LSU

Round 2, Pick 33: WR Tee Higgins, Clemson

Round 3, Pick 65: CB Jaylon Johnson, Utah 

Round 4, Pick 107: WR Tyler Johnson, Minnesota

Round 5, Pick 147: OT Jack Driscoll, Auburn

Round 6, Pick 180: QB Nate Stanley, Iowa

Round 7, Pick 215: LB Francis Bernard, Utah

Barring them doing something unheard of, the Bengals are going to select LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, and won’t ever look back. However, simply drafting him isn’t enough; he needs to be given some chance to succeed with a far superior supporting cast. Therefore, rather than worry about the linebacker position, the Bengals need to make it a priority to add playmakers to their offense, as well as make certain that they properly protect him- their offensive line is currently a disaster, as only left tackle Jonah Williams  appears to be a starting-caliber player. If tackle Josh Jones makes it to the second round, Cincinnati should waste no time selecting him, but if not, tackles Jack Driscoll and Matthew Peart could provide value in the middle rounds; they also are in need of interior offensive lineman, though they shouldn’t reach for one too early. However, with Tyler Boyd more of a secondary option and AJ Green playing on the franchise tag, the Bengals definitely should target any receiver who is falling in the draft on day two, and may even need to consider double-dipping based on how deep this receiver class is. As you can see, that’s far too many needs to fill with just 6 picks after round one. Therefore, trading down may make sense, and no matter what, the Bengals should not trade up or take a player at a non-valuable position; their linebacker issues will have to remain in place.

Cleveland Browns

wirfs
Photo Cred: The Game Haus

Recommended Strategy: Don’t Get Too Cute Trading Back, Secure an OT

Top Long-Term Needs: OT, S, LB, CB, WR

Top Day 1 Targets: OT Tristan Wirfs, OT Andrew Thomas, OT Josh Jones

Top Day 2/3 Targets: S Grant Delpit, LB Willie Gay Jr., WR Isaiah Hodgins

Seven Round Mock Draft

Round 1, Pick 10: OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia

Round 2, Pick 41: LB Willie Gay Jr., Mississippi State

Round 3, Pick 74: IDL Jordan Elliot, Missouri

Round 3, Pick 97: WR Van Jefferson, Florida

Round 4, Pick 115: S Geno Stone, Iowa

Round 6, Pick 187: CB Lamar Jackson, Nebraska

Round 7, Pick 244: S/LB Khaleke Hudson, Michigan

The Browns’ desire for an offensive tackle is the worst-kept secret in the NFL right now, but it appears that the analytically-driven regime will try to trade back from the 10th overall pick, and look to select Boise State tackle Ezra Cleveland. I’m okay with them trading back, but if they do so, it’ll have to be a more refined player like Josh Jones; the drop-off from Cleveland to Tristan Wirfs and Andrew Thomas, who are perfect fits in head coach Kevin Stefanski’s zone-blocking scheme, is too significant to justify trading down. Still, this is a roster that could use some depth in key areas, such as in pass coverage, which is why trading down for a player like Jones is okay. However, selecting a project like Cleveland, considering their need for a starting tackle, wouldn’t make much sense, especially since their only glaring hole is linebacker- it’s okay to be thin at linebacker. Therefore, even though I’ll always advocate trading back, the Browns need to be careful and not be too cute. It’s rare to find a blue-chip offensive tackle, and passing on the opportunity given the state of their roster doesn’t make a lot of sense, in my opinion.

Dallas Cowboys

kristianfulton
Photo Cred: SB Nation

Recommended Strategy: Build Through The Perimeter Rather Than The Trenches

Top Long-Term Needs: CB, WR, S, Pass Rush, TE

Top Day 1 Targets: CB Kristian Fulton, CB AJ Terrell, CB Jeff Gladney

Top Day 2/3 Targets: EDGE Curtis Weaver, WR Devin Duvernay, S Ashtyn Davis

Seven Round Mock Draft

Round 1, Pick 17: CB Kristian Fulton, LSU

Round 2, Pick 51: EDGE Curtis Weaver, Boise State

Round 3, Pick 82: TE Adam Trautman, Dayton

Round 4, Pick 123: WR Tyler Johnson, Minnesota

Round 5, Pick 164: WR Isaiah Hodgins, Oregon State

Round 5, Pick 179: QB Nate Stanley, Iowa

Round 7, Pick 231: IOL Calvin Throckmorton, Oregon

Considering all the free agents they were set to lose, the Cowboys not only did a good job retaining star receiver Amari Cooper and franchise tagging quarterback Dak Prescott, but they also were able to address needs in free agency by signing safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and interior defender Gerald McCoy. However, they still had one major loss, as star cornerback Byron Jones signed with the Dolphins, and at the moment, no cornerback is under contract beyond 2020. As a result, not only should they add one of the premier cornerback prospects with the 17th overall pick, but they also could look to add one in the middle rounds, as they’re suddenly in need of depth at the position. Outside of that, day two is where they should fix their holes at #3 receiver (slot), edge rusher, and safety, while tight end and offensive line depth are also potential areas they could address. What they shouldn’t do, however, is draft an edge rusher or interior offensive lineman in round one, as they’ve been rumored to be interested in. They’ve already made significant investments to the pass rush and offensive line, and with more important areas (secondary, wide receiver) in need of reinforcements, there’s no reason to not heavily factor in positional value. In a way, it almost feels like cornerback or bust for them, but if they do indeed add one, they could have one of the top rosters in the NFC next season.

Denver Broncos

jeudyruggs
Photo Cred: Roll Tide Wire- USA Today

Recommended Strategy: Wide Receiver and Cornerback in Rounds One and Two

Top Long-Term Needs: WR, CB, OL, LB, Pass Rush

Top Day 1 Targets: WR Jerry Jeudy, WR Henry Ruggs III, CB Kristian Fulton

Top Day 2/3 Targets: CB Trevon Diggs, CB Cameron Dantzler, WR Devin Duvernay

Seven Round Mock Draft

Round 1, Pick 15: WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama

Round 2, Pick 46: CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama

Round 3, Pick 77: OT Lucas Niang, TCU

Round 3, Pick 83: CB Darnay Holmes, UCLA

Round 3, Pick 95: IOL Netane Muti, Fresno State

Round 4, Pick 118: LB Markus Bailey, Purdue

Round 5, Pick 178: EDGE Trevis Gipson, Tulsa

Round 6, Pick 181: IDL Robert Windsor, Penn State

Round 7, Pick 252: WR James Proche, SMU

Round 7, Pick 254: LB Khaleke Hudson, Michigan

Quietly, the Broncos actually have a lot of draft capital, with three third-round picks, and that’s after using some day-three picks to land some impact veterans on defense. Therefore, although I don’t usually endorse trading up for a non-quarterback, I may be able to understand them giving up a third-round pick to land an impact receiver, and Jerry Jeudy could be their target; they need a vertical aspect for the offense with Drew Lock under center, and Jeudy is also a much more well-rounded receiver than Henry Ruggs III.  Still, CeeDee Lamb is the best receiver in this draft class, and if they were to miss on the top three guys, they could either trade down, or look at a player like Laviska Shenault Jr. in the second round. Meanwhile, Vic Fangio’s defense is almost completely built, but there is a glaring weakness at the #2 corner spot, while AJ Bouye isn’t a long-term answer. Luckily for them, Fangio’s zone-heavy scheme allows them to covet players with skillsets that aren’t going to be valued by every team, so Trevon Diggs, Bryce Hall, Cameron Dantzler, and Jeff Gladney could all be available for them on day two. After that, they could use more depth on the offensive line, another linebacker, and younger pass rushers, but really, they should look to stock up on receivers and cornerbacks. Outside of quarterback, those are the two most important position groups, and both lack depth and youth. Hopefully, they can have the opportunity to select one of the top three receivers without trading up, and they have a chance to come away with a massive haul of young players on day two.

Detroit Lions

okudah
Photo Cred: Bleacher Report

Recommended Strategy: Try To Trade Down, Bolster The Pass Defense

Top Long-Term Needs: CB, OL, WR, Pass Rush, LB

Top Day 1 Targets: CB Jeffrey Okudah, Hybrid Isaiah Simmons

Top Day 2/3 Targets: EDGE AJ Epenesa, WR Jalen Reagor, LB Akeem Davis-Gaither

Seven Round Mock Draft

Round 1, Pick 3: CB Jeffrey Okudah, Ohio State

Round 2, Pick 35: WR Laviska Sheanult WR, Colorado

Round 3, Pick 67: OT Lucas Niang, TCU

Round 3, Pick 85: CB Darnay Holmes, UCLA

Round 4, Pick 109: S Geno Stone, Iowa

Round 5, Pick 149: WR Tyler Johnson, Minnesota

Round 5 Pick, 166: OT Jack Driscoll, Auburn

Round 6, Pick 182: EDGE Trevis Gipson, Tulsa

Round 7, Pick 235: S/LB Khaleke Hudson, Michigan

In an ideal world, the Lions will be able to use Tua Tagovailoa as leverage to trade down with the Dolphins or Chargers, but no matter what, they appear destined to come away with top cornerback prospect Jeffrey Okudah. The Ohio State product is the perfect press-man corner for head coach Matt Patricia’s man-heavy scheme, and fills a major void left behind by the trade of Darius Slay; cornerbacks are even more valuable in Patricia’s scheme. There’s a world where they could draft Isaiah Simmons and then take a cornerback in the second round, but based on the state of their roster, Okudah just appears to be the much better fit. Whether or not they’re able to add additional draft capital, however, they quietly have some long-term holes to fill on offense. Currently, no receiver is under contract for next season, and even if they extend Kenny Golladay, a deep threat like Jalen Reagor would be the perfect replacement for Marvin Jones; they also lost multiple starting offensive linemen this offseason. I could easily see the Lions winning the NFC North next season, and a strong draft would be key for that coming to fruition. Okudah has appeared to be their ideal target from the start, and no matter what, they’re in prime position to draft arguably the best cornerback prospect since Jalen Ramsey.

Green Bay Packers

jaylonjohnson
Photo Cred: Utah Athletics

Recommended Strategy: Be Flexible, Don’t Force a Pick

Top Long-Term Needs: WR, CB, LB, OL, IDL

Top Day 1 Targets: WR Laviska Shenault Jr., CB Jaylon Johnson, OT Josh Jones

Top Day 2/3 Targets: LB Willie Gay Jr., WR Van Jefferson, WR John Hightower

Seven Round Mock Draft

Round 1, Pick 30: CB Jaylon Johnson, Utah

Round 2, Pick 62: LB Willie Gay Jr., Mississipi State

Round 3, Pick 94: WR Van Jefferson, Florida

Round 4, Pick 136: OT Jack Driscoll, Auburn

Round 5, Pick 175: TE Colby Parkinson, Stanford

Round 6, Pick 192: QB Nate Stanley, Iowa

Round 6, Pick 208: WR Jauan Jennings, Tennesee

Round 6, Pick 209: CB Lavert Hill, Michigan

Round 7, Pick 236: RB Reggie Corbin, Illinois

Round 7, Pick 242: IDL Robert Windsor, Penn State

It’s obvious that the Packers need a wide receiver; their passing offense ran through Davante Adams, and when he was shut down, they had no answer. However, picking at #30 overall, they’re in a tough situation. By then, the premier receiving prospects will certainly be off the board, and rather than reach for the next tier of receivers, they could circle back to the position, either by trading down or picking one on day two. If they do trade down, Laviska Shenault Jr. would be a great target, though if they can’t, there are some other areas they could go. The first round is too rich for any linebacker in this draft class, so why not upgrade at cornerback? Kevin King hasn’t proven to be a reliable option at the #2 corner, and Green Bay’s defensive scheme puts a lot of pressure on their corners- Jaire Alexander needs help opposite him. The value of any of the cornerbacks will be tremendous at that point, whether it be TCU’s Jeff Gladney, Utah’s Jaylon Johnson, or LSU’s Kristian Fulton. They’ll still be able to add to their receiving corps with very talented players, such as Tyler Johnson, Devin Duvernay, John Hightower, or Van Jefferson, and at the same time, are one of the teams that have to take a chance on athletic linebacker Willie Gay Jr. The Packers are an interesting team. They don’t have any egregious needs outside of receiver, cornerback, and linebacker, but those two position groups are the most important, outside of the quarterback. It makes almost too much sense for them to trade down, though regardless, they need to strengthen their collection of talent on the perimeter.

Houston Texans

gladney
Photo Cred: Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Recommended Strategy: Worry About The Passing Game, Add Depth (Trade Down)

Top Long-Term Needs: CB, WR, Pass Rush, LB/S, OL

Top Day 2 Targets: CB Jeff Gladney, S Xavier McKinney, CB Jaylon Johnson

Other Targets: WR Tyler Johnson, WR Michael Pittman Jr., EDGE Curtis Weaver

Seven Round Mock Draft

Round 2, Pick 40: CB AJ Terrell, Clemson

Round 3, Pick 90: LB Troy Dye, Oregon

Round 4, Pick 111: WR Tyler Johnson, Minnesota

Round 5, Pick 171: OT Jack Driscoll, Auburn

Round 7, Pick 240: IDL John Penisini, Utah

Round 7, Pick 248: IDL Robert Windsor, Penn State

Round 7, Pick 250: QB Mason Fine, North Texas

Not only are the Texans without a first-round pick for the next two seasons due to the Laremy Tunsil trade, but they also gave up a second-round pick for receiver Brandin Cooks, and have way too many holes on their roster thanks to the “efforts” of head coach/general manager Bill O’Brien. Not only do they need a sure-handed receiver in the intermediate passing game for Deshaun Watson after trading DeAndre Hopkins, but they did nothing to address their pass coverage, which ranked fifth-worst in the NFL last season, per Pro Football Focus. It would be a massive mistake to not use the 40th overall selection on a cornerback, given the strength of this year’s class; there’s a chance they’ll be able to land a first-round prospect like Jeff Gladney or Jaylon Johnson. However, given their lack of picks, they certainly should consider trading down, as they have plenty of other alarming holes at less-valuable areas. They don’t specifically need a safety or linebacker, but their coverage over the middle of the field is lacking, so either adding a more athletic linebacker or a versatile safety like Xavier McKinney could be in their plans. Plus, their pass rush only got worse after nose tackle DJ Reader signed with the Bengals, and although it should take a back seat to their pass coverage, JJ Watt is the only reliable pass rusher they have. Do I expect O’Brien to actually prioritize the passing game? If I had to guess, I’d predict that he used the 40th overall selection on a running back or interior defender. In other words, it’s a shame that Watson’s talent is going to be wasted due to such poor decision making.

Indianapolis Colts

teehiggins
Photo Cred: Sports Illustrated

Recommended Strategy: Take Advantage of Deep WR and CB Classes

Top Long-Term Needs: WR, CB, QB, OL, Pass Rush

Top Day 2 Targets: WR Tee Higgins, CB Trevon Diggs, CB Kristian Fulton

Other Targets: CB Bryce Hall, CB Cameron Dantzler, WR Tyler Johnson

Seven Round Mock Draft

Round 2, Pick 34: WR Tee Higgins, Clemson

Round 2, Pick 44: CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama

Round 3, Pick 75: S Ashytyn Davis, California

Round 4, Pick 122: OT Jack Driscoll, Auburn

Round 5, Pick 160: TE Cheyenne O’Grady, Arkansas

Round 6, Pick 193: WR John Hightower, Boise State

Round 6, Pick 197: IOL Calvin Throckmorton, Oregon

After trading the 13th overall pick the 49ers for interior defender DeForest Buckner, the Colts are no longer in the market for the top three receivers in this draft class, but at least still can come away with a first-round caliber player with the 34th overall pick. They’re missing a true outside receiver and a deep threat, and Clemson’s Tee Higgins would mesh perfectly with Phillip Rivers. Meanwhile, you’d also assume that they would look to improve their cornerback situation, as even if they believe Rock Ya-Sin is a long-term answer, there is still a glaring hole at cornerback; exchanging Pierre Desir was a massive downgrade, in my mind. Luckily for them, their zone-heavy scheme means that they can better fit less athletically-gifted cornerbacks, so they’ll be able to grab a cornerback on day two; Trevon Diggs, Bryce Hall, and Cameron Dantzler are all tremendous fits. Outside of that, Indianapolis has a very well-rounded roster, but looking towards 2021, selecting a developmental quarterback like Georgia’s Jake Fromm, as well as adding some youth to their offensive line, wouldn’t hurt. Regardless, despite the Buckner trade, general manager Chris Ballard has built this roster tremendously, and I’m confident he’ll continue to do so via the draft.

Jacksonville Jaguars

andrewthomas
Photo Cred: Cleveland.com

Recommended Strategy: Build Towards 2021, Focus on The Offense

Top Long-Term Needs: WR, CB, OT, S, IOL

Top Day 1 Targets: OT Andrew Thomas, WR CeeDee Lamb, CB Kristian Fulton

Top Day 2/3 Targets: WR Tee Higgins, CB Trevon Diggs, S Kyle Dugger

Seven Round Mock Draft

Round 1, Pick 9: OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia

Round 1, Pick 20: CB Kristian Fulton, LSU

Round 2, Pick 42: WR Tee Higgins, Clemson

Round 3, Pick 73: S Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne

Round 4, Pick 116: WR Tyler Johnson, Minnestoa

Round 4, Pick 137: TE Cheyenne O’Grady, Arkansas

Round 4, Pick 140: OT Jack Driscoll, Auburn

Round 5, Pick 165: CB Lamar Jackson, Nebraska

Round 5, Pick 170: EDGE Trevis Gipson, Tulsa

Round 6, Pick 189: S/CB Shyheim Carter, Alabama

Round 6, Pick 206: RB Darius Anderson, TCU

Round 7, Pick 223: IOL Calvin Throckmorton, Oregon

The Jaguars have off-loaded a lot of impact talent over the past year, and because of that, they have plenty of picks to restock their roster for their future. However, no matter what they do in the draft, they’re most likely going to rank near the bottom of the league; they’ll have a legitimate chance to land either Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields in next year’s draft. Therefore, they should continue to position themselves for 2021, trading down to secure more draft capital for that draft. However, with the picks they do have, they should focus on developing the surrounding cast for whoever the new quarterback is. They’re lacking impact talent at receiver, while they also badly need a new left tackle replacement for Cam Robinson, and restocking in those areas should be the priority early in the draft. Even if Gardner Minshew isn’t the long-term answer, it wouldn’t hurt for Jacksonville to at least give him a chance to succeed, and at the very worse increase his value as a trade asset. Without a competitive roster for 2020, there isn’t any reason to take a defensive player early, unless the value is tremendous at a position like cornerback, and it’s paramount they know that their future quarterback will have talent around him. So, rather than taking Derrick Brown or Javon Kinlaw, it’s all about 2021; if they can’t trade down, I love Andrew Thomas’ fit in Jacksonville, while Tee Higgins is a potential second-round steal.

Kansas City Chiefs

NFL: Combine
Photo Cred: A to Z Sports Nashville

Recommended Strategy: Take Advantage of Deep WR and CB Class- Trade Down

Top Long-Term Needs: CB, WR, LB/S, OL, Pass Rush

Top Day 1 Targets: CB Jeff Gladney, CB Kristian Fulton, CB Trevon Diggs

Top Day 2/3 Targets: WR Laviska Shenault, WR KJ Hamler, LB Willie Gay Jr.

Seven Round Mock Draft

Round 1, Pick 32: CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama

Round 2, Pick 63: WR Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado

Round 3, Pick 96: LB Akeem Davis-Gaither, Appalachian State

Round 4, Pick 138: OT Jack Driscoll, Auburn

Round 5, Pick 177: CB Essang Bassey, Wake Forest

The Chiefs may be the defending champions, but they also still have some pressure to add talent in the draft- they have no salary cap space, and that’ll only become more of a roster-building problem when they give Patrick Mahomes the massive extension he rightfully deserves. With how deep of a corner class this is, they’ll likely be able to land a starting-caliber player at the position whether they trade down or not, but besides that, why not continue to add to their strength? Sammy Watkins is on the final year of his contract, and rather than resting on their laurels, it’d be logical for the Chiefs to add another playmaker to the offense- Laviska Shenault Jr., KJ Hamler, Jalen Reagor, Brandon Aiyuk, Devin Duvernay, and John Hightower are all natural fits. After that, Kansas City could finally add a cover player over the middle of the field, and add offensive line depth, but really, this draft should be about getting more draft capital and strengthening their talent on the perimeter. Plenty of draft analysts will support them adding an edge rusher or linebacker early, but what’s the point in that? This is a team that values eliteness over completeness, and for that reason, they must make it a priority to add players at the two most valuable positions, outside of quarterback.

Las Vegas Raiders

NCAA Football: Big 12 Championship-Baylor vs Oklahoma
Photo Cred: Raiders Wire-USAToday.com

Recommended Strategy: Add Talent on The Perimeter

Top Long-Term Needs: WR, CB, OL, Pass Rush, S

Top Day 1 Targets: WR CeeDee Lamb, WR Jerry Jeudy, CB Kristian Fulton

Top Day 2/3 Targets: CB Cameron Dantzler, IOL Netane Muti, CB Darnay Holmes

Seven Round Mock Draft

Round 1, Pick 12: WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma

Round 1, Pick 19: CB Kristian Fulton, LSU

Round 3, Pick 80: CB Cameron Dantzler, Mississippi State

Round 3, Pick 81: IOL Netane Muti, Fresno State

Round 3, Pick 91: LB Troy Dye, Oregon

Round 4, Pick 121: WR Tyler Johnson, Minnesota

Round 5, Pick 159: OT Jack Driscoll, Auburn

Last offseason, the Raiders had a chance to come away with a major draft haul, but instead, used their three first-round picks on a run-stopping edge rusher, a. running back, and a box safety. With an extra first-round pick and third-round pick, this is their last chance to justify the Khalil Mack trade, though they also don’t have a second-round pick. Looking at the state of their roster, their top two needs are a true #1 receiver and multiple cornerbacks. Luckily for them, that perfectly matched up with this year’s draft, Most likely, Las Vegas should be able to draft either CeeDee Lamb or Jerry Jeudy, though Lamb is a better fit for them as a true outside receiver with incredible ball skills. Meanwhile, pick #19, whether they use it to trade down or pick there, is an opportunity for them to secure a new top cornerback; could you imagine if they are able to get Lamb and Kristian Fulton, two top-ten players on my draft board? Sure, the Raiders could look to add youth to their offensive line and extra defensive reinforcements later in the draft, but undoubtedly, wide receiver and cornerback are the priorities. There’s no reason to dabble with a quarterback or front-seven defender; they have major needs at very important positions, and ignoring them would be a massive mistake- rather than trying to replace Derek Carr, why not give him a chance to succeed.

Los Angeles Chargers

tuat
Photo Cred: Sports Illustrated

Recommended Strategy: Plan A- Tua Plan B- Trade Down or OT/WR

Top Long-Term Needs: QB, OT, CB, WR, IOL

Top Day 1 Targets: QB Tua Tagovailoa, OT Andrew Thomas, OT Jedrick Wills Jr.

Top Day 2/3 Targets: QB Jake Fromm, OT Josh Jones, CB Bryce Hall

Seven Round Mock Draft

Round 1, Pick 6: OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia

Round 2, Pick 37: CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama

Round 3, Pick 71: QB Jake Fromm, Georgia

Round 4, Pick 112: WR Tyler Johnson, Minnesota

Round 5, Pick 151: WR Devin Duvernay, Texas

Round 6, Pick 186: CB Lamar Jackson, Nebraska

Round 7, Pick 220: IOL Kevin Dotson, Louisiana

With the Dolphins picking ahead of them, it’s impossible to know how the draft will turn out for Chargers. If they have to chance to trade up for, or simply select Tua Tagovailoa, I don’t know how they could pass on the opportunity- he’s clearly the second-best quarterback in this draft class, and it’s unlikely Los Angeles will be picking in the top-ten again next year. However, if Tagovailoa is off the board, their strategy should definitely change. In order to better position themselves to potentially move up for a quarterback next offseason, Los Angeles could use the #6 pick as trade bait, deepen their roster, and find a competent middle-round quarterback; Jordan Love, if he slips to the second round, or Jake Fromm in the third round, are potential bargains. Whenever they do pick, however, the Chargers need to be committed to improving their offensive line, receiving corps, and cornerback group. Going into next season with either Sam Tevi or Trey Pipkins as their starting tackle would be a massive mistake, so whether it’s Andrew Thomas at pick #6, or Josh Jones later on, adding a tackle is their main priority. Besides that, they have a lot of players needing extensions, including with their receivers and cornerbacks. Not only do they need a slot receiver and a #2 cornerback in the short term, but selecting players at those positions would allow them to think one step ahead, which could matter even more if they aren’t able to draft Tagovailoa. No matter what, however, the answer is not Oregon’s Justin Herbert, whose inaccuracy, indecisiveness, and lack of pocket presence are among the reasons why he’s clearly not a blue-chip quarterback prospect. It should be Tagovailoa or bust with pick #6, and if not, they can continue to strengthen a very well-rounded roster with much-needed cost-controlled talent.

Los Angeles Rams

driscoll
Photo Cred: Cleveland.com

Recommended Strategy: Take Advantage of Deep Zone-Blocking OL Class

Top-Long Term Needs: OL, WR, LB, CB, Pass Rush

Top Day 2 Targets: LB Willie Gay Jr., IOL Nick Harris, WR Laviska Shenault Jr.

Other Targets: OT Jack Driscoll, IOL Matt Hennessy, LB Troy Dye

Seven Round Mock Draft

Round 2, Pick 52: LB Willie Gay Jr., Mississippi State

Round 2, Pick 57: WR Laviska Shenault, Colorado

Round 3, Pick 84: IOL Nick Harris, Washington

Round 3, Pick 104: IOL Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin

Round 4, Pick 126: OT Jack Driscoll, Auburn

Round 6, Pick 199: CB Essang Bassey, Wake Forrest

Round 7, Pick 234: QB Mason Fine, North Texas

At this time a year ago, the Rams were coming off back-to-back playoff appearances, and looked poised to continue to be a juggernaut. However, the consequences of their short-term-oriented decisions have come back to bite them in a hurry, as they not only could they have the worst roster in the NFC West, but they have no financial flexibility and are without a first-round pick for the next two seasons due to the Jalen Ramsey trade. Undoubtedly, their most pressing short-term and long-term need is with the offensive line, as they have gaping holes at all three interior spots, right tackle Rob Havenstein is coming off of his worst career season, and left tackle Andrew Whitworth is 38-years-old. Luckily for them, this is an offensive line class that is deep on athletic plug-and-play starters for a zone-blocking offense, so Los Angeles may be able to get away with no selecting an offensive lineman with either of their two second-round picks; Nick Harris, Jack Driscoll, Tyler Biadasz, Matt Peart, and Matt Hennessy are all potential mid-round options. Therefore, they can potentially attack two other major problems with their roster, which is their lack of a competent starting linebacker and some certainty at receiver beyond 2020. In a perfect world, a player like Willie Gay Jr. or Troy Dye could step in and immediately replace Cory Littleton’s coverage abilities, while they can land an impact receiver like Laviska Shenault, Michael Pittman, or Tee Higgins in the second round. At the end of the day, however, those are luxuries compared to the offensive line. The Rams clearly won’t have the assets to address their offensive line anytime soon, so finding cheap starters in the draft is paramount. This is a front office that has prided themselves at acquiring star talent, but now, it’s time for them to recognize their previous mistakes- they need to deepen their roster tremendously.

Miami Dolphins

tuatag
Photo Cred: Bleacher Report

Recommended Strategy: Take Tua, Solidify The OL, WR Corps, and Secondary

Long-Term Needs: QB, OL, WR, S, LB

Top Day 1 Targets: QB Tua Tagovailoa, OT Josh Jones, WR Laviska Shenault 

Top Day 2/3 Targets: WR Tyler Johnson, OT Jack Driscoll, S Terrell Burgess

Seven Round Mock Draft

Round 1, Pick 5: QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama

Round 1, Pick 18: OT Josh Jones, Houston

Round 1, Pick 26: CB AJ Terrell, Clemson

Round 2, Pick 39: WR Laviska Shenault. Colorado

Round 2, Pick 56: S Xavier McKinney, Alabama

Round 3, Pick 70: OT Matthew Peart, Uconn

Round 4, Pick 131: WR Tyler Johnson, Minnesota

Round 5, Pick 153: OT Jack Driscoll, Auburn

Round 5, Pick 154: LB Markus Bailey, Purdue

Round 5, Pick 173: TE Harrison Bryant, FAU

Round 6, Pick 185: IOL Calvin Throckmorton, Oregon

Round 7, Pick 227: CB Lavert Hill, Michigan

Round 7, Pick 246: IOL Kevin Dotson, Louisiana

Round 7, Pick 251: EDGE Carter Coughlin, Minnesota

Last offseason, the Dolphins tore their roster down, and come into this draft with 14 picks as a result, as well as lots of draft capital for next year’s draft. Now is their time to gain the benefits of their teardown, and at the moment, it looks like they’ll have the chance to draft Tua Tagovailoa without trading up for him. That would be a massive gain for them, but if they were to select Justin Herbert instead, they’d completely jeopardize the success of their rebuild. They should take Tagovailoa and not look back, but if there seriously is something they are worried about with the medicals, they shouldn’t draft a quarterback; they should trade down and strengthen the roster, which is still weak. After all, they have easily the worst tackle duo in the NFL right now, and with three first-round picks, they must add at least one first-round caliber player- Josh Jones is an obvious fit. Plus, they’re really lacking any receivers who can separate effectively, so whether it’s with a playmaker like Laviska Shenault, Jalen Reagor, or Denzel Mims early on, or with a mid-round sleeper like Tyler Johnson, Devin Duvernay, or John Hightower, they need to add more depth to the receiver position. Finally, the Dolphins can look to address their defense. The corner duo of Byron Jones and Xavien Howard is very enticing, but they still have holes at safety and linebacker, while they also could use a new slot corner. All said, there are a lot of massive long-term holes on this roster. Rather than taking Herbert, or using substantial draft capital on a pass rusher, running back, or interior offensive lineman, they need to do everything they can to add as many impactful contributors at valuable positions as possible. They have a chance to drastically improve their future outlook, but also are in danger of blowing their teardown; it’s safe to say that they face the most pressure of any team heading into the draft.

Minnesota Vikings

fulton
Photo Cred: Sporting News

Recommended Strategy: Build Through The Perimeter, Rather Than The Trenches

Top Long-Term Needs: CB, WR, OL, Pass Rush, S

Top Day 1 Targets: CB Kristian Fulton, WR Justin Jefferson, CB Jeff Gladney

Top Day 2/3 Targets: CB Cameron Dantzler, IDL Jordan Elliot, WR Tyler Johnson

Seven Round Mock Draft

Round 1, Pick 22: WR Justin Jefferson, LSU

Round 1, Pick 25: CB Jaylon Johnson, Utah

Round 2, Pick 58: EDGE Curtis Weaver, Boise State

Round 3, Pick 89: CB Darnay Holmes, UCLA

Round 3, Pick 105: WR Van Jefferson, Florida

Round 4, Pick 132: OT Jack Driscoll, Auburn

Round 5, Pick 155: S Geno Stone, Iowa

Round 6, Pick 201: CB Dane Jackson, Pittsburgh

Round 6, Pick 205: OT/IOL Jared Hilbers, Washington

Round 7, Pick 219: QB Mason Fine, North Texas

Round 7, Pick 249: TE Sean McKeon, Michigan

Round 7, Pick 253: IDL Robert Windsor, Penn State

The Vikings are definitely rebooting after trading star receiver Stefon Diggs to the Bills, but, in my opinion, they’ve only put themselves in a bigger hole this offseason; they suddenly have a glaring need at receiver, don’t have much future financial flexibility, and have a very flawed roster. Alarmingly, they’re very thin at receiver and cornerback, and as a result, that’s where they draft should be dedicated to improving. This is a very deep receiver and cornerback class, and if they can get a combination of Justin Jefferson, Tee Higgins, Kristian Fulton, Jeff Gladney, or Jaylon Johnson with their top two picks, they’d be off to a good start with their draft. Heck, even before worrying about their pass rush, offensive line, or middle of the field pass coverage, they may even want to double-dip at both receiver and cornerback- that’s how weak they are at both spots. Right now, I’m not sure the Vikings have what it takes to compete next season, and I’m extremely skeptical about their future. A strong draft will do a lot to change that, however, and it all starts on the perimeter, rather than in the trenches.

New England Patriots

joshjones
Photo Cred: The Game Haus

Recommended Strategy: Gear Up For The 2021 Draft

Top Long-Term Needs: QB, Playmakers, LB/S, OL, Pass Rush

Top Day 1 Targets: OT Josh Jones, WR Laviska Shenault, CB AJ Terrell

Top Day 2/3 Targets: S Terrell Burgess, WR Tyler Johnson, QB Jake Fromm

Seven Round Mock Draft

Round 1, Pick 23: OT Josh Jones, Houston

Round 3, Pick 87: S Terrell Burgess, Utah

Round 3, Pick 98: QB Jake Fromm, Georgia

Round 3, Pick 100: IDL Jordan Elliot, Missouri

Round 4, Pick 125: WR Tyler Johnson, Minnesota

Round 5, Pick 172: TE Colby Parkinson, Stanford

Round 6, Pick 195: WR John Hightower, Boise State

Round 6, Pick 204: IOL Calvin Throckmorton, Oregon

Round 6, Pick 212: CB Lavert Hill, Michigan

Round 6, Pick 213: EDGE Carter Coughlin, Minnesota

Round 7, Pick 230: IDL Robert Winsdor, Penn State

Round 7, Pick 241: S Khaleke Hudson, Michigan

The Patriots have slowly seen the talent on their roster deteriorate in recent years, and with Tom Brady signing with the Bucs, it’s time for them to take a step back and get younger. Therefore, no position is off limits when it to addressing in the draft, and they should be focused on building towards 2021. That, in my opinion, means trading out of the first round, as they’ll need as much future draft capital as possible to position themselves for Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields in next year’s draft. After that, though, it’s about adding players at valuable positions, barring quarterback most likely. Their overall roster is aging, so even if they don’t add starters for next season, they need to find their long-term replacements. If they’re stuck at pick #23, I’d recommended selecting Houston tackle Josh Jones, though I’d love to see what they could with a playmaker like Laviska Shenault, or another impact cornerback for their man-heavy scheme. For the most part, though, I think that they should take as many shots as possible at finding value in the middle rounds; adding youth to the secondary, drafting a developmental quarterback, and giving their quarterback some playmakers to utilize. They do have a lot of picks, especially in the later rounds, but I’d be shocked if they don’t trade down multiple times. It’s in Bill Belichick’s DNA, and unless Tua Tagovailoa starts to fall drastically, he probably will be committed to doing what it takes to find his future quarterback and bringing in some young talent to their receiving corps, offensive line, and secondary.

New Orleans Saints

jordanlove
Photo Cred: Bleacher Report

Recommended Strategy: Think About The Future

Top Long-Term Needs: QB, WR, CB, LB, OL

Top Day 1 Targets: QB Jordan Love, CB Kristian Fulton, WR Laviska Shenault

Top Day 2/3 Targets: LB Willie Gay Jr., WR Tyler Johnson, QB Jake Fromm

Seven Round Mock Draft

Round 1, Pick 24: QB Jordan Love, Utah State

Round 3, Pick 88: CB Darnay Holmes, UCLA

Round 4, Pick 130: WR Tyler Johnson, Minnesota

Round 5, Pick 169: TE Cheyenne O’Grady, Arkansas

Round 6, Pick 203: IOL Kevin Dotson, Louisiana

Right now, the Saints have one of the most well-rounded rosters in the NFL, and have done everything they can to be one of the top teams in football next season. Therefore, rather than continuing to kick the can down the road, it’s time for them to start thinking about the future. Due to Drew Brees’ eventual dead cap hit when he retired, most likely after this season, they need to find cost-controlled talent at cheap positions, especially since some of their top players are due for an extension soon. Utah State’s Jordan Love isn’t for everyone, but given how complete New Orleans’ roster is, he’s the perfect gamble at the quarterback positions; he has some flaws, but if he can be coached up by offensive guru Sean Payton, the Saints may have stumbled into their future quarterback on a rookie contract. If they don’t go for Love, however, then they should undoubtedly trade out of the 24th overall selections considering they have just five picks in the draft. They’re easily the best fit for do-it-all playmaker Laviska Shenault, while they also should take advantage of the deep cornerback class. For the most part, New Orleans has been linked to a linebacker in mock drafts. Sure, that’s probably their greatest immediate short-term need, outside of a #3 receiver, but what good does that do for their future? Smart organizations draft for the future, and there are so many other more pressing question marks than linebacker; drafting one would be another example of them making an ill-fated short-term-oriented decision. They need to add young, cheap talent at more valuable, expensive positions, and if they don’t, I’m worried about what the future could hold for them in 2021 and beyond.

New York Giants

NCAA Football: ACC Championship-Clemson vs Pittsburgh
Photo Cred: Panthers Wire

Recommended Strategy: Isaiah Simmons or Trade Down; Add Athleticism

Top Long-Term Needs: OL, CB, LB/S, Pass Rush, WR

Top Day 1 Targets: Hybrid Isaiah Simmons, OT Jedrick Wills Jr., CB Jeffrey Okudah

Top Day 2/3 Targets: EDGE Curtis Weaver, LB Willie Gay Jr., OT Jack Driscoll

Seven Round Mock Draft

Round 1, Pick 4: Playmaker Isaiah Simmons, Clemson

Round 2, Pick 36: EDGE Curtis Weaver, Boise State

Round 3, Pick 99: OT Jack Driscoll, Auburn

Round 4, Pick 110: WR Tyler Johnson, Minnesota

Round 5, Pick 150: TE Cheynne O’Grady, Arkansas

Round 6, Pick 183: QB Mason Fine, North Texas

Round 7, Pick 218: CB Lavert Hill, Michigan

Round 7, Pick 238: IDL Robert Winsdor, Penn State

Round 7, Pick 247: EDGE Carter Couglin, Minnesota

Round 7, Pick 255: CB Kindle Vildor, Georgia Southern

Despite using most of their available cap space, I’m not sure the Giants actually got better  this offseason; they overpaid for mediocre players in cornerback James Bradbury, linebacker Blake Martinez, and interior defender Leonard Williams. Therefore, they should honestly be looking to get better at every valuable position, but most of all, simply need to be more athletic. That’s especially true with their defense, as if they’re going to run the Belichick-style multiple scheme, they need to be more versatile and athletic. What better player to help them that defensive playmaker Isaiah Simmons? There’s nothing that the Clemson product can’t do, and for a team with so many holes defensively, he’s the type of do-it-all player that can change their defense. Not taking him just because they’re uncomfortable with his versatility would be a massive example of incompetence. If it’s not Simmons, then they have to trade down, given all the needs of their roster. The difference between the top tackle in this year’s draft and whomever they can select at the back-end of the top ten is very slim, though I do recommend they add at least one young offensive tackle. Meanwhile, the priority should be on their pass coverage when fixing the defense, but the pass rush is also a weakness they could look to address, while they could use another true outside receiver. To sum it up, there isn’t any reason for the Giants to be committed at any position, even after their free agency signings. I don’t see them competing in 2020, but if they can deepen their roster, perhaps their future won’t look as bleak as it currently does- it’s time for them to revolutionize their approach and target players at valuable positions.

New York Jets

wills
Photo Cred: Dawgs By Nature

Recommended Strategy: Give Sam Darnold a Chance To Succeed

Top Long-Term Needs: OT, WR, CB, Pass Rush, IOL

Top Day 1 Targets: OT Jedrick Wills Jr., OT Andrew Thomas, WR Jerry Jeudy

Top Day 2/3 Targets: WR Tee Higgins, WR Tyler Johnson, OT Jack Driscoll

Seven Round Mock Draft

Round 1, Pick 11: OT Jedrick Wills Jr., Alabama

Round 2, Pick 48: WR Tee Higgins, Clemson

Round 3, Pick 68: S Ashtyn Davis, California

Round 3, Pick 79: TE Adam Trautman, Dayton

Round 4, Pick 120: WR Tyler Johnson, Minnesota

Round 5, Pick 158: OT Jack Driscoll, Auburn

Round 6, Pick 191: EDGE Trevis Gipson, Tulsa

Round 6, Pick 211: IOL Kevin Dotson, Louisiana

Joe Douglas inherited one of the worst rosters in the NFL when he took over as the Jets’ general manager, and although I appreciated his approach this free agency (adding depth rather than star talent), it’s still a very talent-deficient roster. With the current offensive line and receiving corps, Sam Darnold easily has one of the worst surrounding casts in the NFL, so improving in those reasons will undoubtedly be their focus. Based on the way the draft is going to play out, it makes the most sense for them to attack the offensive tackle position in the first round; wide receiver is a more valuable position than offensive tackle, but they’re weak at both tackle spots, which is a recipe for disaster. Luckily for them, they should be able to get a first-round caliber receiver in the second round, so in the first two rounds, they’ll take a major step forward to filling out their roster. Nevertheless, they need more than one offensive tackle and wide receiver, and that’s before even accounting for their weaknesses with their pass defense. Rumor has it that Douglas wants to trade out of the 11th overall spot to secure more draft capital. That makes almost too much sense with how thin their roster is, but no matter what, it’s time for Darnold to finally be given some sort of chance to succeed.

Philadelphia Eagles

laviskashenault
Photo Cred: ESPN

Recommended Strategy: Don’t Pigeon-Hole Yourself Into a WR, Be Flexible

Top Long-Term Needs: WR, CB, S, LB, IOL

Top Day 1 Targets: CB Kristian Fulton, CB Jeff Gladney, WR Justin Jefferson

Top Day 2/3 Targets: WR Laviska Shenault, S Geno Stone, LB Willie Gay Jr.

Seven Round Mock Draft

Round 1, Pick 21: CB Kristian Fulton, LSU

Round 2, Pick 53: LB Willie Gay Jr., Mississippi State

Round 3, Pick 103: WR Tyler Johnson, Minnesota

Round 4, Pick 127: S Geno Stone, Iowa

Round 4, Pick 145: WR Devin Duvernay, Texas

Round 4, Pick 146: OT Jack Driscoll, Auburn

Round 5, Pick 168: LB David Woodward, Utah State

Round 6, Pick 190: WR James Proche, SMU

Eagles fans have been calling for a wide receiver ever since the team dealt with substantial injuries at the position last season, and with Alshon Jeffrey and DeSean Jackson in their 30s, it’s probably their most pressing long-term need. However, it’s far from their only problem, as between the cornerback, safety, and linebacker positions, their pass coverage needs reinforcements at every level. As a result, they’re a classic candidate to trade down; the top three receivers will be gone, so why not position themselves to add a talent receiver AND a new #2 corner? I’ve loved the fit with Laviska Shenault for some time now, and also think that a cornerback Kristian Fulton would do wonders for their pass defense. Yet, they may be able to land both players, and that’s before taking advantage of some potential steals at linebacker and safety. Sure, they could trade up for a dominant player like Oklahoma receiver CeeDee Lamb, but that would be a mistake. Not only is trading up for a non-quarterback always a bad idea in terms of value, but wide receiver is far from their only important long-term hole, so actually, they’d be better fit to trade down. It’s not what the fans want, but it is the smarter plan.

Pittsburgh Steelers

NCAA Football: Florida at Georgia
Photo Cred: UGA Wire

Recommended Strategy: Draft Players at Valuable Positions

Top Long-Term Needs: QB, CB, S, OL, WR

Top Day 2 Targets: QB Jake Fromm, S Antoine Winfield Jr., S Xavier McKinney

Other Targets: CB Bryce Hall, OT Jack Driscoll, WR Tee Higgins

Seven Round Mock Draft

Round 2, Pick 49: QB Jake Fromm, Georgia

Round 3, Pick 102: CB Bryce Hall, Virginia

Round 4, Pick 124: OT Jack Driscoll, Auburn

Round 4, Pick 135: S Geno Stone, Iowa

Round 6, Pick 198: WR John Hightower, Boise State

Round 7, Pick 232: IOL Calvin Throckmorton, Oregon

This may seem rather obvious, but given the completeness of their roster, the Steelers should focus on stockpiling talent at valuable positions for the future. They have don’t have much draft capital, but they still have enough to improve their future outlook. With their second-round pick, the value is very strong at safety, whether it’s Xavier McKinney, Antoine Winfield Jr., or Kyle Dugger, they could be in the market for a replacement for Terrell Edmunds. Yet, in my opinion, their #1 target in this draft has to be Georgia’s Jake Fromm. He’s not a world-beater, but he is a very reliable player who won’t make any mistakes, and for a team in need of a backup quarterback and a future starter, getting him on the second day of the draft would be tremendous value. Mostly, though, Pittsburgh should just be focused on improving their passing offense and pass coverage. Rather than draft a running back or interior defensive lineman, they should invest in areas that matter much more. They haven’t positioned themselves great for the future, but if their draft turned out like what I have for them in their seven-round mock draft, I’d be much more optimistic.

San Francisco 49ers

ruggsjeudy
Photo Cred: Touchdown Alabama

Recommended Strategy: Trade Down At Some Point; Add WRs and CBs

Top Long-Term Needs: WR, CB, OL, S, Front Seven Depth

Top Day 1 Targets: WR Jerry Jeudy, WR Henry Ruggs III, CB Kristian Fulton

Top Day 2/3 Targets: WR Tyler Johnson, CB Bryce Hall, OT Jack Driscoll

Seven Round Mock Draft

Round 1, Pick 13: WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama

Round 1, Pick 31: CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama

Round 5, Pick 156: WR Tyler Johnson, Minnesota

Round 5, Pick 176: QB Nate Stanley, Iowa

Round 6, Pick 210: TE Sean McKeon, Michigan

Round 7, Pick 217: IDL Robert Winsdor, Penn State

Round 7, Pick 245: RB Reggie Corbin, Illinois

After the making the brilliant decision to trade interior defender DeForest Buckner for the 13th overall pick in the draft, the 49ers are in an excellent position to add much-needed cheap reinforcements to their roster. In an ideal world, the 13th overall pick will be able to select one of the top three receivers – CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, or Henry Ruggs III – but what do they do if they’re all off the board? If that’s the case, then I’d expect San Francisco to trade down from both of their first-round picks, as they don’t have a pick between rounds 2 and 4. Whenever they do pick, however, wide receiver and cornerback will be their priorities. The acquisition of Emmanuel Sanders really changed that offense last season, but with him heading to New Orleans, they desperately need an impact receiver opposite Deebo Samuel. Also, although their secondary was fabulous last season, Richard Sherman is on the last year of his contract, while relying on Emmanuel Moseley and Ahkello Witherspoon would be illogical. Once they upgrade their talent on the perimeter, San Francisco can add youth to their offensive line, a new versatile safety, and maybe some depth at both tight end and in the front seven of the defense. However, it’s clear what their priorities should be, and although many are fixated with their pass rush and rushing attack, their key to their success is in much more important areas.

Seattle Seahawks

amikrobertson
Photo Cred: Louisiana Tech

Recommended Strategy: Add Depth To Roster, Learn From Past Mistakes

Top Long-Term Needs: OL, CB, Pass Rush, WR, LB

Top Day 1 Targets: OT Josh Jones, CB Jaylon Johnson, CB Trevon Diggs

Top Day 2/3 Targets: CB Amik Robertson, EDGE Curtis Weaver, CB Bryce Hall

Seven Round Mock Draft

Round 1, Pick 27: OT Josh Jones, Houston

Round 2, Pick 59: EDGE Curtis Weaver, Boise State

Round 2, Pick 64: CB Bryce Hall, Virginia

Round 3, Pick 101: CB Amik Robertson, Louisiana Tech

Round 4, Pick 133: OT Jack Driscoll, Auburn

Round 4, Pick 144: WR Tyler Johnson, Minnesota

Round 6, Pick 214: IOL Kevin Dotson, Louisiana

There may be no stranger team in football than the Seahawks, who have star talent with quarterback Russell Wilson, linebacker Bobby Wagner, and a talented receiving duo and cornerback duo, but have massive holes everywhere else; there isn’t a single position outside of quarterback that isn’t a long-term need. Easily the best first-round fit for them is Houston tackle Josh Jones, as he’s the only first-round caliber offensive tackle that could left on the board. Most likely, however, they’ll trade down to accumulate more draft assets, which would be the right decision. With the picks they do make, though, they need to debunk a recent draft trend of theirs, and not reach for players- they’ve gotten very little from their last few first-round picks, all of whom were considered surprise picks at the time. Improving the offensive line would be the main focus, though defensively, Seattle needs more depth at cornerback, as well as actually capable pass rushers. For me, a very underrated need is at their nickel corner spot, as they played way too much base defense, and were exposed in the playoffs by the Packers as a result. I absolutely love the idea of Louisiana Tech’s Amik Robertson, a very instinctual corner, in this defensive scheme. Yet, no matter who they draft, it’s time fo time to finally fill out their roster. It’s very thin with a lot of gaping holes currently, and they’ll need that to change for them to continue to compete in an ultra-competitive NFC.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

andrewthomasuga
Photo Cred: Georgia Bulldogs

Recommended Strategy: Try To Get an OT; Trade Down if Top 3 Aren’t There

Top Long-Term Needs: OT, S, WR, CB, Pass Rush

Top Day 1 Targets: OT Andrew Thomas, OT Jedrick Wills, OT Josh Jones

Top Day 2/3 Targets: S Grant Delpit, WR Tyler Johnson, OT Jack Driscoll

Seven Round Mock Draft

Round 1, Pick 14: OT Jedrick Wills Jr., Alabama

Round 2, Pick 45: S Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota

Round 3, Pick 76: IDL Jordan Elliot, Missouri

Round 4, Pick 117: WR Tyler Johnson, Minnesota

Round 4, Pick 139: S Geno Stone, Iowa

Round 5, Pick 161: OT Jack Driscoll, Auburn

Round 6, Pick 194: CB Lavert Hill, Michigan

The Buccaneers shouldn’t trade up to secure a starting tackle to protect Tom Brady, but they desperately need one of the top three tackles- Jedrick Wills Jr., Andrew Thomas, or Tristan Wirfs – to fall to them with the 14th overall selection. If not, they definitely should  trade down, as Josh Jones could still be available for them, and would be an instant starter at either tackle spot. Therefore, Tampa Bay can also be better positioned to fill some of their other holes, which include a playmaking safety, a third receiver, and cornerback depth. In fact, it may actually be in their best interest to even consider a receiver at pick #14 if any of the big three are available. The Bucs are super close to being one of the premier contenders in the NFC. With another tackle, receiver, and safety, that could very well be the case; these are also long-term needs as well, and are valuable positions- it’s the best of all worlds!

Tennessee Titans

ajterrell
Photo Cred: Cincy Jungle

Recommended Strategy: Be Flexible, Don’t Be Afraid To Get Better Anywhere

Top Long-Term Needs: CB, OL, Pass Rush, S/LB, WR

Top Day 1 Targets: CB AJ Terrell, CB Jaylon Johnson, CB Jeff Gladney

Top Day 2/3 Targets: S Kyle Dugger, IDL Jordan Elliot, WR Tyler Johnson

Seven Round Mock Draft

Round 1, Pick 29: CB AJ Terrell, Clemson

Round 2, Pick 61: S Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne

Round 3, Pick 93: WR Tyler Johnson, Minnesota

Round 5, Pick 174: QB Nate Stanley, Iowa

Round 7, Pick 224: CB Lavert Hill, Michigan

Round 7, Pick 237: RB Reggie Corbin, Illinois

Round 7, Pick 243: IDL Josiah Coatney, Ole Miss

For a team that went just 9-7 a year ago, the Titans have a very complete roster- they don’t have any clear holes. Now, they also don’t have many major strengths, which is a problem, but they’re certainly in a nice position to either trade down or take the most valuable player available in the first round. Luckily for them, they’re in the perfect spot to land an impact cornerback with the 29th overall pick, and could have their pick of AJ Terrell, Kristian Fulton, Jeff Gladney, and Jaylon Johnson. Besides that, their aging offensive line, pass rush, receiving corps, and pass defense over the middle of the field could all use depth, but cornerback is their most significant hole. I’m worried about the sustainability of their late-season success from a year ago, but if they double-dip at the cornerback position, while deepening their roster in other key areas, it’d do a lot to help reduce my concerns.

Washington Redskins

chaseyoungnope
Photo Cred: NBC Sports

Recommended Strategy: Don’t Take Chase Young; Target More Valuable Players

Top Long-Term Needs: WR, CB, OL, TE, LB

Top Day 1 Targets: WR CeeDee Lamb, CB Jeffrey Okudah, Hybrid Isaiah Simmons

Top Day 2/3 Targets: WR Tyler Johnson, CB Cameron Dantzler, WR John Hightower

Seven Round Mock Draft

Round 1, Pick 2: CB Jeffrey Okudah, Ohio State

Round 3, Pick 66: WR Van Jefferson, Florida

Round 4, Pick 108: WR Tyler Johnson, Minnesota

Round 5, Pick 173: TE Cheyenne O’Grady, Arkansas

Round 6, Pick 181: CB Lamar Jackson, Nebraska

Round 7, Pick 216: G Kevin Dotson, Louisiana

Round 7, Pick 229: G Calvin Throckmorton, Oregon

With the second overall pick, the Redskins are going to select the most talented player in this year’s draft in Chase Young. To his credit, the Ohio State product likely will be an All-Pro in short time, but the goal of the draft isn’t to find All-Pros- it’s to draft players who will help you win games. Young is great, but not only is there a limit on how valuable edge rushers can be, but if he’s not a generational player right away, he won’t live up to the #2 overall selection. Therefore, they should be on their phones trying to trade down, and if not, should take a more valuable defensive player- cornerback Jeffrey Okudah and playmaker Isaiah Simmons simply will impact the game more than Young will. After all, their pass rush is not the issue anyways. Rather, they have fundamental holes at receiver, offensive tackle, and cornerback, and you simply aren’t going to win anytime soon with that being the case. Young will excite the fans, but if the Redskins take him, they’ll be selecting in the top-five again. Their quarterback, Dwayne Haskins, is in a position to fail, and while Young is accumulating double-digit sacks, they’ll be struggling to score 20 points or stop opposing passing attacks. Smart organizations are the ones that realize that one non-quarterback doesn’t move the needle, especially when they don’t play on the perimeter. Young isn’t a franchise changer, and if Washington understands positional value, they’d be best-suited to address more important positions.

One thought on “2020 NFL Team-By-Team Draft Preview

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