NFL 2021 Team-By-Team Surplus Value Draft Boards

We are inching ever so closely to the NFL Draft, which means one thing: fans of every team spending countless amount of hours on various mock draft simulators mapping out every possible scenario for their team! Honestly, it’s easily one of the most exciting times of the year!

The hard part about creating mock drafts for specific teams or even providing “what each team should do” analysis is that there are so many different scenarios that could come into play. We could have said the Cowboys should be targeting x player, but when a valuable player like CeeDee Lamb was available for them, they didn’t hesitate. Meanwhile, other teams in front of them who may not have anticipated him being available, such as the Atlanta Falcons, struggled to adjust.

This makes being able to model out a custom draft board very important. Teams already do this, but it isn’t something often covered publicly. It is optimal for teams to not lock into a specific player and let every situation play out, which makes the pick much easier to make at the time- who presents the most surplus value at the time?

To create custom draft boards for each team, I will be utilizing my 2021 NFL Model projections on each draft prospect’s mean value in their second season (the rookie season is difficult to predict and not what you’re drafting for), while using Expected Draft Position from grindingthemocks.com to filter out players who either a) almost certainly will not be available or b) would be available with later selections (late-round model gems). From there, we can rank the likely players the team will be available with their selection based on surplus value. If a player is strong value at their selection, then it becomes much clearer as to who they should likely select. Furthermore, if there is a chance for them to obtain surplus value EVEN if they moved down ten slots, then it is an indication that they should trade down.

You may be wondering- what about draft needs? Well, with how volatile the draft can be, relying on the draft to fill short-term needs can be very shortsighted and limit your ability to add valuable players. The draft is already a crapshoot as is, but can you imagine how much lower your chances of obtaining a quality player if you limit yourself to one or two positions. Meanwhile, I’d always recommend trading down, but what makes this exercise powerful is we can see when the most obvious instances to do so are present from a value perspective. Trading down is always optimal, but, as they say, it takes two to tango.

With that being addressed, let’s get to the custom draft boards for each team! In addition to the draft boards, I will be providing a sample seven-round draft of what I would do in each team’s position, using PFF’s mock draft simulator, though I will be limiting the amount of times I trade down to make the simulation more realistic. With this exercise, the goal is that fans of every team can be able to plan for any potential scenario that happens come draft time.

Arizona Cardinals

  • EDP Filter: EDP of #1-#9 Filtered Out

Draft Board

Sample Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 16: IDL Christian Barmore, Alabama (Model Rank: 17)
  • Round 2, Pick 49: S Jevon Holland, Oregon (Model Rank: 24th)
  • Round 5, Pick 160: CB Olajiah Griffin, USC (Model Rank: 67th)
  • Round 7, Pick 243: TE Kylen Granson, SMU (Model Rank: 79th)
  • Round 7, Pick 247: EDGE Tarron Jackson, Coastal Carolina (Model Rank: 82th)

The Cardinals’ draft situation becomes much more complicated by cornerback Caleb Farley’s medical situation. If he doesn’t clear from a health standpoint, then their chances of finding optimal value at this pick become much less. Receiver Jaylen Waddle would be a particularly strong fit as the deep threat their offense still lacks, and he and Patrick Surtain stand out as Alabama perimeter prospects who would be their best potential options. If not, the value might come from the offensive or defensive trenches, which is unfortunate; they sorely need youth on the perimeter.

Without many draft picks, I’d heavily advise them trading down if possible, though it will be hard to do that. In this simulation, Christian Barmore’s overall quality gives him enough value as an interior defender to justify the selections and they add depth to their secondary, which is always a strong approach to take. Barmore still may be available (EDP of 29th overall) if they can trade down, with receiver Kadarius Toney, offensive tackle Samuel Cosmi, and receiver Rashod Bateman among their top options. When it comes to long-term focuses, they simply need more roster talent around quarterback Kyler Murray, especially as they start to lose the edge of him being on a rookie contract; they need to replenish their aging rosters with a heavy amount of quality players on cheap contract. However, when you only have five picks in the draft, that is difficult to do.

Atlanta Falcons

  • EDP Filter: Filtered Out EDP #1 and #2

Draft Board

Sample Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 4: TE Kyle Pitts, Florida (Model Rank: 5th)
  • Round 2, Pick 35: OT Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State (Model Rank: 18th)
  • Round 3, Pick 68: IOL Kendrick Green, Illinois (Model Rank: 33rd)
  • Round 4, Pick 108: CB Tay Gowan, UCF (Model Rank: 59th)
  • Round 5, Pick 148: WR Simi Fehoko, Stanford (Model Rank: 105th)
  • Round 5, Pick 182: EDGE Malcolm Koonce, Buffalo (Model Rank: 94th)
  • Round 5, Pick 183: IOL SaDarius Hutcherson, South Carolina (Model Rank: 81st)
  • Round 6, Pick 187: S Tariq Thompson, San Diego State (Model Rank: 185th)
  • Round 7, Pick 219: S Brady Breeze, Oregon (Model Rank: 86th)

The Falcons are in a very tricky position heading into the draft. Generally, taking a rookie quarterback makes sense, but since Matt Ryan’s contract restructure guarantees him accounting for some portion of their salary cap moving forward, is it worth taking a quarterback when the main edge of selecting one (the rookie contract) has been mitigated. If Justin Fields is still there, the answer would be yes, but if not, they shouldn’t feel obligated to force one.

That makes trading down optimal, but it takes two to tango, and if Fields goes to the 49ers, I’m not sure what the market will be for the 4th overall pick, leaving them to select a non-quarterback. This would lead them to take any of Penei Sewell, Kyle Pitts, and Jamar Chase, but the positional scarcity of Pitts’ projected value at tight end gives him the edge over Chase, while the pay off is much higher in terms of moving the needle for the future than solidifying the offensive line; this is particularly true with receiver Julio Jones past the age of 30 and Calvin Ridley due for an extension. If they trade down to, say, pick #9 with the Broncos, Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain and receiver Jaylen Waddle stand out as potential values, with trench players being optimal selections if they move down further to pick #15 (Patriots) or pick #19 (Washington).

Many may call for the Falcons to draft to improve their defense, but given the steep learning curve for rookie defenders, there’s no guarantee doing so would actually help. Thus, why not construct an elite offense? That’s another reason to take Pitts, and with how this draft played out, I felt more comfortable taking the offensive players available. Being able to add so much depth to the offensive line at a time where they don’t have much in the way of future financial resources would be appealing, and if they can trade down, they will successfully be able to add long-term depth to a top-heavy and aging roster. It’s not a great situation with the 4th overall pick, yet if they succeed in trading down, this could be a regime-defining draft potentially for new general manager Terry Fontenot and head coach Arthur Smith.

Baltimore Ravens

  • EDP Filter: Filtered Out EDPs #1-#14

Draft Board

Sample Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 20: OT Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State (Model Rank: 18th)
  • Round 2, Pick 58: CB Eric Stokes, Georgia (Model Rank: 13th)
  • Round 3, Pick 104: IOL Kendrick Green, Illinois (Model Rank: 33rd)
  • Round 4, Pick 131: EDGE Jordan Smith, UAB (Model Rank: 23rd)
  • Round 5, Pick 171: IOL Sadarius Hutcherson, South Carolina (Model Rank: 81st)
  • Round 5, Pick 184: WR Marlon Williams, UCF (Model Rank: 127th)
  • Round 6, Pick 210: IDL Mustafa Johnson, Colorado (Model Rank: 91st)

There are several intriguing routes the Ravens could take here. For starters, should cornerback Caleb Farley fall, they’re in the perfect situation to take him, and given their consistent focus on replenishing their secondary, I wouldn’t put it past them to do just that.

If not, trading down, given the potential value and fit of receiver Rondale Moore and cornerback Eric Stokes, among others, would be exceptional, though based on likely selections at pick #27, you have the love the fit of offensive tackle Teven Jenkins, who is a power blocker (they run a gap scheme) and could be the future replacement for Orlando Brown Jr. Ideally, they’d add more playmaking talent, but in the scenario presented, they still add talent at noticeable areas of long-term improvement, and, most important, get strong value. If they extend quarterback Lamar Jackson, the draft will likely be the main area to fill out their roster, and you can certainly make the case that offensive linemen matter more for them than the typical team, though that wasn’t why I picked three for them as much as it lined up in terms of potential opportunity and overall value. Hopefully, they have more luck adding a much-needed weapon for Jackson, though there aren’t many ways they will come out of this draft in poor fashion, especially given the overall prowess of their front office.

Buffalo Bills

  • EDP Filter: Filtered Out EDPs #1-#15

Draft Board

Sample Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 30: WR Rondale Moore, Purdue (Rank: 21st)
  • Round 2, Pick 61: CB Eric Stokes, Georgia (Rank: 13th)
  • Round 3, Pick 93: IDL Milton Williams, Louisiana Tech (Rank: 57th)
  • Round 5, Pick 161: CB Oliajah Griffin, USC (Rank: 68th)
  • Round 5, Pick 174: EDGE Malcolm Koonce, Buffalo (Rank: 94th)
  • Round 7, Pick 213: OL Cole Van Lanen, Wisconsin (Rank: 84th)
  • Round 7, Pick 236: IOL Drew Dalman, Stanford (Rank: 48th)

Man, if Caleb Farley is available for the Bills, the potential value there could be tremendous. With who realistically will be available, though, they are in prime “trade down” territory, especially as they look to accumulate roster depth with Josh Allen needing an extension soon. In my simulation, it came down to selecting Samuel Cosmi or Rondale Moore, but since Cosmi doesn’t have a clear path to playing time at tackle, which would hinder his value, Moore is the much more exciting and forward-thinking selection to add much-needed youth to their receiving corps. Plus, could you imagine how exciting that offense would be!

Buffalo has a very smart front office that will likely look to continue to accumulate depth on the perimeter, and they’re in a great position to simply do what every team should do: add as many quality players as possible. Moving forward, they should continue to reap the benefits of their excellent roster construction efforts.

Carolina Panthers

  • EDP Filter: Filtered Out EDPs #1-#4

Draft Board

Sample Draft:

  • Round 1, Pick 8: QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State (Model Rank: 7th)
  • Round 2, Pick 39: S Jevon Holland, Oregon (Model Rank: 22nd)
  • Round 3, Pick 73: IOL Quinn Meinerz, Wisconsin Whitewater (Model Rank: 50th)
  • Round 4, Pick 113: CB Thomas Graham, Oregon (Model Rank: 51st)
  • Round 5, Pick 151: WR Jaelon Darden, North Texas (Model Rank: 92nd)
  • Round 6, Pick 193: IOL Sadarius Hutcherson, South Carolina (Model Rank: 81st)
  • Round 6, Pick 222: TE Kylen Granson, SMU (Model Rank: 79th)
  • Round 6, Pick 226: CB Olaijah Griffin, USC (Model Rank: 68th)

The Panthers may have traded for quarterback Sam Darnold, but considering that he was PFF’s lowest-graded quarterback last season, they shouldn’t believe they are settled at the position. Thus, if Justin Fields or Trey Lance are within reach, they should invest in taking as many shots at the quarterback position as possible. Mac Jones is more debatable of a pick given his overall projection, yet there isn’t enough value with any other player in this class to not select Fields or Lance if they make it. Of the non-quarterbacks, it’s unlikely Kyle Pitts, Jamar Chase, or Penei Sewell are available, which would make Jaylen Waddle or Patrick Surtain their best available options. However, if they cannot select a quarterback, trading down would be in their best interest.

I’m guessing Carolina settles for an offensive tackle, but I’d advise them to not wait too long to add another receiver. You always want to take advantage of a deep position class, and the ability to work in the slot and be the #3 option behind DJ Moore and Robby Anderson would create quite the opportunity for a prospect to succeed. Obviously, they could also use more productive young players everywhere, though, so they, as much as any other team, should solely be focused on specifically adding as many valuable players as possible, rather than keying in on one prospect to fill a need. They attacked their defense in last year’s draft, but, despite that, they don’t have a lot of cornerstone pieces, and they haven’t committed to a full-on rebuild. That makes their roster construction process more complicated, though that could change would an optimal use of the 8th overall pick- a quarterback or a trade down.

Chicago Bears

  • EDP Filter: Filtered Out EDPs #1-#14

Draft Board

Sample Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 20: OT Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech (Model Rank: 12th)
  • Round 2, Pick 52: CB Eric Stokes, Georgia (Model Rank: 13th)
  • Round 3, Pick 83: OT Brady Christensen, BYU (Model Rank: 25th)
  • Round 5, Pick 164: CB Tay Gowan, UCF (Model Rank: 59th)
  • Round 6, Pick 204: WR Austin Watkins, UAB (Model Rank: 97th)
  • Round 6, Pick 208: EDGE Tarron Jackson, Coastal Carolina (Model Rank: 82nd)
  • Round 6, Pick 221: IDL Malik Herring, Georgia (Model Rank: 74th)
  • Round 6, Pick 228: CB Shemar Jean-Charles, App State (Model Rank: 102nd)

The Bears are essentially in no-man’s land after a mediocre season; they have an aging roster but not enough draft capital to make up for that. In a perfect world, they’d be able to secure a young quarterback, but, instead, they’ll likely need to stay and take the most valuable player available- there probably won’t be enough interest with the 20th overall pick to trade down. Based on the outlook of the draft, that appears likely to come with an offensive tackle, which does in fact solidify a long-term question mark for them at a position that is quite expensive. If not an offensive tackle, there should be wide receivers that are strong values in that range, and Christian Barmore also fits the ball as a quality player at an expensive position.

If I’m Chicago, I’d try to accumulate as much future draft capital as possible to position myself to have a better chance of securing a young quarterback down the line. Regardless, they aren’t in a position to make any sort of luxury, as evident for my sample draft for them: they need to target players at positions that either move the needle and/or cost a lot on the open market. They may be at the beginning of a longer rebuilding phase than many are anticipating, but with a draft as the one sampled (offensive linemen, perimeter players), they can at least start the much-needed process of becoming a younger team with a brighter future.

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Draft Board Filter: Filtered Out EDPs #1 and #2

Sample Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 5: TE Kyle Pitts, Florida (Model Rank: 5)
  • Round 2, Pick 38: IOL Wyatt Davis, Ohio State (Model Rank: 38th)
  • Round 3, Pick 69: IDL Milton Williams, Louisiana Tech (Model Rank: 57th)
  • Round 4, Pick 111: OT Brady Christensen, BYU (Model Rank: 25th)
  • Round 5, Pick 149: IOL Kendrick Green, Illinois (Model Rank: 33rd)
  • Round 6, Pick 190: WR Simi Fehoko, Stanford (Model Rank: 106th)
  • Round 6, Pick 202: RB Elijah Mitchell, Louisiana (Model Rank: 76th)
  • Round 7, Pick 235: EDGE Raymond Johnson, Georgia Southern (Model Rank: 102nd)

What will the Bengals do with the #5 overall pick? The major debate right now is whether they give Joe Burrow his top receiver from LSU in Jamar Chase or a high-regarded offensive tackle in Penei Sewell. I don’t think the wide receiver versus offensive tackle debate is thought of properly, but wide receivers provide much more Wins Above Replacement, while elite players at the position move the needle more than offensive tackle, where you merely need to avoid weak links. That said, Sewell is arguably the top offensive tackle prospect in quite some time, based on model’s projection, so they would be justified for selecting him.

If available, though, Florida’s Kyle Pitts is the perfect sweet spot between positional scarcity and moving the needle. Plus, I’m sure Burrow would appreciate the upgrade from Drew Sample to Pitts, who would solidify a young group of weapons on a rising offense and provide them with a vertical speed element they lack overall. Ideally, they’d be able to trade down with this pick, though, unlike the Falcons, they appear less likely to do so; it appears they are overvaluing the importance of a “blue-chip” prospect. I’d much rather move down later and pick, say, Jaylen Waddle or Christian Darrisaw, yet since they’ll likely stay with the #5 overall pick, I’d lean towards selecting the offensive weapon. From there, they can look to solidify depth, with offensive line, wide receiver/tight end, and simply defensive talent all being areas to address for the long term. An offense of Burrow, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, and Pitts/Chase would give the Bengals quite the offensive foundation to build upon, while a trade down could really strengthen their long-term outlook. They’re in a spot where they cannot necessarily do any wrong, but if they wanted to maximize on this opportunity, there are clear avenues to be explored.

Cleveland Browns

  • EDP Filter: Filtered out EDPs #1-#15

Draft Board

Sample Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 26: WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota (Model Rank: 24th)
  • Round 2, Pick 59: CB Eric Stokes, Georgia (Model Rank: 13th)
  • Round 3, Pick 89: EDGE Quincy Roche, Miami (Model Rank: 61st)
  • Round 3, Pick 91: TE Hunter Long, Boston College (Model Rank: 55th)
  • Round 4, Pick 110: CB Ambry Thomas, Michigan (Model Rank: 32nd)
  • Round 4, Pick 132: IDL Osa Odighizuwa, UCLA (Model Rank: 96th)
  • Round 5, Pick 169: IOL Drew Dalman, Stanford (Model Rank: 48th)
  • Round 6, Pick 211: OT Cole Van Lanen, Wisconsin (Model Rank: 84th)
  • Round 7, Pick 257: RB Pooka Williams, Kansas (Model Rank: 110th)

Few organizations are as perfectly constructed for the future as the Browns. They have a great head coach-front office pairing, finally have competent quarterback play, and have depth everywhere you want to be strong at: wide receiver, pass coverage, offensive line. Really, the only position they lack a long-term answer for is linebacker, which isn’t exactly something you have to worry about.

Cleveland’s front office clearly has an understanding that the draft is for long-term team-building, so they filled all of their holes on defense through free agency. Thus, whether it’s a cornerback, wide receiver, or an offensive lineman, they can simply take the most valuable player available, though I wouldn’t be shocked at all if they didn’t trade down. With receiver Odell Beckham Jr.’s future in question and Rashard Higgins on a one-year deal, benefitting from a potential slide from Rashod Bateman would be fantastic for them, as it not only gives them long-term options but also may help them the most next season- they don’t want to get to the midseason point and have to go through the weeds in terms of receiver depth again. With nine picks in this draft, this roster will only continue to be replenished with youth everywhere, and I expect them to continue to accumulate more assets for the future. This is the situation that all organizations should strive to be in, and a prime example of the value of stability in a front office; a lot can change in a short period of time.

Dallas Cowboys

  • EDP Filter: Filtered Out EDPs #1-#6

Draft Board

Sample Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 10: CB Patrick Surtain, Alabama (Model Rank: 9th)
  • Round 2, Pick 44: WR Rondale Moore, Purdue (Model Rank: 21st)
  • Round 3, Pick 75: OT Brady Christensen, BYU (Model Rank: 25th)
  • Round 3, Pick 98: TE Hunter Long, Boston College (Model Rank: 55th)
  • Round 4, Pick 115: CB Ambry Thomas, Michigan (Model Rank: 32nd)
  • Round 4, Pick 138: LB Garrett Wallow, TCU (Model Rank: 65th)
  • Round 5, Pick 179: EDGE Malcolm Koonce, Buffalo (Model Rank: 94th)
  • Round 6, Pick 192: OT Cole Van Lanen, Wisconsin (Model Rank: 84th)
  • Round 6, Pick 227: IDL Mustafa Johnson, Colorado (Model Rank: 91st)
  • Round7, Pick 238: S Brady Breeze, Oregon (Model Rank: 86th)

I would not be surprised at all if Jerry Jones trades a future first-round pick to select Kyle Pitts, but, ironically, Dallas should definitely be looking to trade down; perhaps a team will overvalue the importance of getting their preferred option at cornerback or offensive tackle. If stuck at #10, Alabama’s Patrick Surtain would add young talent to the secondary and represent value, though there aren’t many great fits for them. Maybe an offensive tackle? Jaylen Waddle would also be exceptional value, and he could replace Michael Gallup for the future at wide receiver.

I’m obviously biased, but a draft like this could solve a lot of Dallas’ problems. Right now, they lack enough young, cost-controlled talent in what is an older, expensive roster, which is an issue after signing quarterback Dak Prescott to a massive extension. They definitely need to be targeting premium positions throughout the draft, particularly in the secondary if the value lines up. With the strengths of this draft class, it should, and as long as they maintain responsibility, there’s a lot of work that can be done to assist in the future outlook of this organization.

Denver Broncos

EDP Filter: Filtered out EDPS #1-#4

Draft Board

Sample Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 9: QB Mac Jones, Alabama (Model Rank: 10th)
  • Round 2, Pick 40: CB Asante Samuel Jr., Florida State (Model Rank: 40th)
  • Round 3, Pick 71: IOL Quinn Meinerz, Wisconsin Whitewater (Model Rank: 50th)
  • Round 4, Pick 114: WR Tammorion Terry, Florida State (Model Rank: 29th)
  • Round 5, Pick 152: LB Garret Wallow, TCU (Model Rank: 65th)
  • Round 6, Pick 191: S Tariq Thompson, San Diego State (Model Rank: 185th)
  • Round 7, Pick 237: RB Elijah Mitchell, Louisiana (Model Rank: 76th)
  • Round 7, Pick 239: TE Kyle Granson, SMU (Model Rank: 79th)
  • Round 7, Pick 253: IDL Mustafa Johnson, Colorado (Model Rank: 91th)

The Broncos have done a fantastic job assembling their roster, but there’s one problem: they don’t have a competent option at quarterback. Drew Lock averaged 6.6 yards per pass attempt and earned a 63.5 PFF grade, which simply isn’t acceptable at the game’s most important position. With a young group of receivers and a stable offensive line, they are in a great position to support a rookie quarterback, especially since offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur has a track record of developing quarterbacks. If Mac Jones falls to them, he is a strong fit as a facilitator that can benefit from a strong supporting cast, though any of the other rookie quarterbacks would not only qualify, but likely be even better values. If they can trade up for Justin Fields, that is an avenue that must be explored.

Denver could use some youth on the offensive line, secondary, and should continue to add more offensive weapons, but there aren’t many long-term holes on this roster. Should they get the quarterback situation figured out, their long-term ceiling is exceptionally high; better quarterback play also would help the progression of their young receivers. Thus, if they have to mortgage future draft capital to secure Fields, they shouldn’t think twice. At the end of the day, the quarterback position essentially is as important as the entire rest of the roster, and unless they address it, they’ll miss their chance to capitalize on their strong recent history of drafting and player acquisition.

Detroit Lions

  • EDP Filter: Filtered Out EDPs #1 and #2

Draft Board

Sample Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 7: OT Penei Sewell, Oregon (Model Rank: 4th)
  • Round 2, Pick 41: IDL Levin Onwuzurike, Washington (Model Rank: 39th)
  • Round 3, Pick 72: CB Eric Stokes, Georgia (Model Rank: 13th)
  • Round 3, Pick 101: TE Brevin Jordan, Miami (Model Rank: 46th)
  • Round 4, Pick 114: IOL Kendrick Green, Illinois (Model Rank: 33rd)
  • Round 5, Pick 153: CB Tay Gowan, UCF (Model Rank: 59th)

The Lions, as the six-year contracts they gave out to head coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes indicate, are position themselves for a long-term rebuild. Thus, they might have as flexible of a draft approach as any team. If I were them, this would be my priority list:

  1. Justin Fields
  2. Trade Down
  3. Penei Sewell, Kyle Pitts, Jamar Chase, Trey Lance
  4. Jaylen Waddle or Patrick Surtain

Fields is a special quarterback that should go #1 in any draft, but will fall due to being in a very talented draft. If he is available for Detroit, they cannot let Jared Goff prevent them from acquiring the catalyst that could supercharge their rebuilding efforts. If he’s not available, trading down is the best approach for them, which could happen if a) a quarterback is available or b) a team falls in love with Penei Sewell, Kyle Pitts (hello Cowboys), or Jamar Chase. Those three players are all fantastic players, but future draft capital would be more valuable, though if locked into the #7 overall pick, they’d all be strong values.

Why not take a quarterback themselves? If their evaluation of Trey Lance holds up, they’d be able to not rush his development, and would have a year to shape an offense around him. However, since the chances of them having a chance to select a quarterback is quite high, I’d also understand them not wanting to force a quarterback into a tough situation. With not enough draft capital, it’d be nice to see the Lions add assets, particularly for future drafts (they have two-first round picks in the next two drafts), but, mainly, they need to not be afraid to take chances. Don’t settle for certainty with a player of a less-valuable position (Micah Parsons). Rather, take shots on players where the pay-off could be tremendous, such as quarterbacks, perimeter players, and other highly-paid positions. They are in the exact same place the Panthers were a year from now, and their goal needs to be doing whatever it takes to not end up in a spot where they begin to hurt their rebuild with moves out of desperation. This may seem simple, but plenty of new regimes have failed to recognize this, and they must make sure they do not fall down that same trap.

Green Bay Packers

  • EDP Filter: Filtered out EDPs #1-#15

Draft Board

Sample Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 29: OT Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State (Model Rank: 18th)
  • Round 2, Pick 62: S Jevon Holland, Oregon (Model Rank: 22nd)
  • Round 3, Pick 92: IDL Milton Williams, Louisiana Tech (Model Rank: 57th)
  • Round 4, Pick 135: WR Jaelon Darden, North Texas (Model Rank: 92nd)
  • Round 4, Pick 142: LB Garret Wallow, TCU (Model Rank: 65th)
  • Round 5, Pick 173: IOL Drew Dalman, Stanford (Model Rank: 33rd)
  • Round 5, Pick 178: CB Oliajaih Griffin, USC (Model Rank: 68th)
  • Round 6, Pick 214: CB Zech McPhearson, Texas Tech (Model Rank: 69th)
  • Round 6, Pick 220: TE Matt Bushman, TCU (Model Rank: 129th)
  • Round 7, Pick 256: S Chris Brown, Texas (178th)

Trust me, it pained me to not draft a wide receiver for the Packers. The amount of young playmakers they have is essentially zero outside of Davante Adams, and without more depth at wide receiver, they risk falling into the same problem again for the future that they had this year: wide receiver, as all positions are, is a weak-link unit. Hence, why Rashod Bateman, Ka’Darius Toney, or Rondale Moore would all be optimal selections. In this scenario, Teven Jenkins presented slightly greater value, but with long-term holes at wide receiver, cornerback, and offensive tackle, their areas to address are all premium positions in terms of compensation and line up well with the strengths of this draft class.

Really, it should be a standard draft for Green Bay. As long as they don’t burn selections on a running back and fullback again, then they should do better this time around! They are definitely an aging roster that could use a replenishment of young talent, so it is quite optimal that they have slightly more draft capital than expected and this is an overall strong class at important areas. There are certainly opportunities for them to cement their window even after Aaron Rodgers is no longer the quarterback, and that needs to be the focus: trading up or making short-term oriented decisions would be suboptimal and is exactly how to dig themselves into a greater hole.

Houston Texans

Sample Draft

  • Round 3, Pick 67: CB Paulson Adebo, Stanford (Model Rank: 16th)
  • Round 4, Pick 109: EDGE Jordan Smith, UAB (Model Rank: 23rd)
  • Round 5 Pick, 147: OT Brady Christensen, BYU (Model Rank: 25th)
  • Round 5, Pick 158: CB Tay Gowan, UCF (Model Rank: 59th)
  • Round 6, Pick 195: TE Kyle Granson, SMU (Model Rank: 79th)
  • Round 6, Pick 203: EDGE Tarron Jackson, Coastal Carolina (Model Rank: 82nd)
  • Round 6, Pick 212: CB Zech McPhearson, Texas Tech (Model Rank: 69th)
  • Round 7, Pick 233: IDL Malik Herring, Georgia (Model Rank: 73rd)

The Texans don’t have a pick until the third round due to some very suboptimal decisions (the Dolphins certainly aren’t complaining), and, thus, the idea of a customized draft board is flawed; there is no real way of knowing who will be available with the 67th overall pick. Really, they just simply need to add talent anywhere. Especially with the Deshaun Watson situation, I’m not sure I have ever seen a team in a worse spot, and they certainly are a premier contender for the top pick in next year’s draft. That would honestly be what’s best for the organization, though it’s a shame based on where they were just a few years ago.

Indianapolis Colts

  • EDP Filter: Filtered out EDPs #1-#11

Draft Board

Sample Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 21: IDL Christian Barmore, Alabama (Model Rank: 17th)
  • Round 2, Pick 54: WR Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State (Model Rank: 36th)
  • Round 4, Pick 127: CB Ambry Thomas, Michigan (Model Rank: 32nd)
  • Round 5, Pick 165: IOL Sadarius Hutcherson, South Carolina (Model Rank: 81st)
  • Round 6, Pick 206: CB Shemar Jean-Charles, App State (Model Rank: 101st)
  • Round 7, Pick 248: EDGE Taylor Riggins, Buffalo (Model Rank: 121st)

“Wait, the Colts need an offensive tackle!” The draft is not for filling immediate needs. In fact, with offensive linemen generally taking until their third year to reach their peak, wouldn’t the idea of relying on a rookie player to protect Carson Wentz be suboptimal. If the value lines up, Indianapolis certainly can take an offensive tackle, yet rather than force a pick on one, they could just as easily go to free agency and sign a veteran, whether it be Russell Okung or Alejandro Villanueva.

After trading for Wentz, the Colts will likely not have their first-round pick next season, are without a third-round pick this year, and their roster is nearing the point where it’ll get expensive. Thus, I would expect them to do everything in their power to trade back. If so, offensive tackle Samuel Cosmi, receivers Ka’Darius Toney and Rondale Moore, as well as cornerback Eric Stokes, would be some strong values. They definitely could use more talent on the perimeter moving forward with no true young building blocks on either side of the ball there, which makes the way this draft will likely turn out a benefit for them. Trading down to secure more capital and take multiple shots on receivers or defensive backs to assist them in future roster construction would appear to be optimal, and if they can’t, they simply need to make sure they aren’t trying to fill holes as much as continue to strengthen their roster. It’s what they’ve done throughout general manager Chris Ballard’s tenure there, and it’s something I expect them to continue to do.

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • EDP Filter (Pick #25): Filtered Out EDPs

Draft Board (Pick #25)

Sample Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 1: QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson (Model Rank: 2nd)
  • Round 1, Pick 25: OT Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State (Model Rank: 18th)
  • Round 2, Pick 33: WR KaDarius Toney, Florida (Model Rank: 19th)
  • Round 2, Pick 45: S Jevon Holland, Oregon (Model Rank: 22nd)
  • Round 3, Pick 65: IOL Trey Smith, Tennessee (Model Rank: 27th)
  • Round 4, Pick 106: TE Brevin Jordan, Miami (Model Rank: 46th)
  • Round 4, Pick 130: EDGE Jordan Smith, UAB (Model Rank: 23rd)
  • Round 5, Pick 145: LB Garret Wallow, TCU (Model Rank: 65th)
  • Round 5, Pick 170: CB Zech McPhearson, Texas Tech (Model Rank: 69th)
  • Round 7, Pick 249: S Darrik Forrest, Cincinnati (Model Rank: 64th)

My model says that Justin Fields is the slightly better prospect, but we know that the Jaguars are going to select Trevor Lawrence, who is well worth the #1 overall pick in the draft; he has been an excellent performer at Clemson since his rookie season and can be a franchise-changing selection for an organization who has had zero quarterback stability.

With that in mind, we can look towards more towards Jacksonville’s strategy for the rest of the draft, which should be simple: just take the most valuable player available. This is a thin roster with so many areas of the roster to address as they search for more building blocks, and, luckily for them, their picks should allow them to land a falling offensive tackle and/or a wide receiver, which would be a fine way to support Lawrence. Meanwhile, with this class having depth in terms of playmakers and defensive backs, replenishing their roster there with their abundance of picks should be in order. With so many picks, they may be attempted to trade up or use a pick on a running back or non-premium position. Rather, they need to capitalize on this opportunity; take as many shots on players where they pay off could be massive based on positional value. The edges gained by getting a productive edge rusher or offensive lineman in the middle rounds is tremendous given how expensive those positions are, and, in terms of moving the needle, utilizing those picks to add as much depth in the secondary, as well as tight end and receiver, should be in order. This is an organization that could be running the AFC South in short time if they play their cards correctly. Will they? That remains to be seen.

Kansas City Chiefs

  • EDP Filter: Filtered out EDPs #1-#15

Draft Board

Sample Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 31: WR Rondale Moore, Purdue (Model Rank: 21st)
  • Round 2, Pick 63: S Richie Grant, UCF (Model Rank: 52nd)
  • Round 3, Pick 94: OT Brady Christensen, BYU (Model Rank: 25th)
  • Round 4, Pick 136: CB Tay Gowan, UCF (Model Rank: 59th)
  • Round 4, Pick 144: IOL Drew Dalman, Stanford (Model Rank: 48th)
  • Round 5, Pick 175: S Shawn Davis, Florida (Model Rank: 87th)
  • Round 5, Pick 181: EDGE Malcolm Koonce, Buffalo (Model Rank: 94th)
  • Round 6, Pick 207: TE Kylen Granson, SMU (Model Rank: 79th)

Similarly to the Colts, the Chiefs have been given an offensive tackle with their first-round pick in essentially every mock draft. However, once again, let us remember the general learning curve for a rookie offensive tackle; one that is selected, especially at the end of the first round, is far from a lock to contribute as a rookie. Consequently, with the long-term need for more offensive weapons, someone like Purdue’s Rondale Moore would be an optimal fit. Their demise in the Super Bowl demonstrated the need for secondary weapons as much as anything else, and Moore’s strengths after the catch and overall big-play ability would be utilized perfectly in Kansas City.

With the rest of their selections, Kansas City should look to attack the draft with playmakers, defensive backs, and highly-paid positions. Essentially, what every team should be doing. There are a lot of mid-round athletic offensive lineman that they can look to develop for seasons down the road, and the same is true for defensive backs. Someone like Richie Grant would allow them to play more dime packages, for instance, while they can continue to strike goal with lengthier cornerbacks, as they did with L’Jarius Snead last year. Long story short, this draft is a great overall fit for their style of play and specific long-term question marks, and they should be able to continue to replenish their roster.

Las Vegas Raiders

  • EDP Filter: Filtered out EDPs #1-#9

Draft Board

Sample Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 17: OT Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech (Model Rank: 12th)
  • Round 2, Pick 48: CB Eric Stokes, Georgia (Model Rank: 13th)
  • Round 3, Pick 79: IDL Milton Williams, Louisiana Tech (Model Rank: 57th)
  • Round 3, Pick 80: WR Nico Collins, Michigan (Model Rank: 31st)
  • Round 4, Pick 121: IOL Drake Jackson, Kentucky (Model Rank: 71st)
  • Round 5, Pick 162: OT Robert Hainsey, Notre Dame (Model Rank: 131st)
  • Round 5, Pick 167: CB Olaijah Griffin, USC (Model Rank: 68th)
  • Round 6, Pick 200: S Darrik Forrest, Cincinnati (Model Rank: 64th)

Quietly, the Raiders have one of the worst rosters in the league overall, with no true building blocks at wide receiver and defensive back, and without much talent at other areas as well. That’s not the way to win with a mid-tier quarterback in Derek Carr, especially with about 3/5 of the offensive line currently fitting the bill as liabilities. That is not an enviable position to be in.

Attacking the depth of this class in terms of offensive linemen, receivers, and defensive backs would be optimal, but simply put, Las Vegas just needs more talent. They have consistently reached for players, based on consensus boards, and, as expected, that has not panned out. This time around, rather than overthinking it, they might want to trust their ability to identify talent better than everyone else a little less. Sometimes, humility is the best way to move on and learn from your previous mistakes, and if they are going to turn things around, a changed approach is needed.

Los Angeles Chargers

  • EDP Filter: Filtered out EDPs #1-#7

Draft Board

Sample Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 13: OT Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech (Model Rank: 12th)
  • Round 2, Pick 47: IOL Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma (Model Rank: 41st)
  • Round 3, Pick 77: IDL Milton Williams, Louisiana Tech (Model Rank: 57th)
  • Round 3, Pick 97: WR D’Wayne Eskridge, Western Michigan (Model Rank: 53rd)
  • Round 4, Pick 118: CB Thomas Graham, Oregon (Model Rank: 52nd)
  • Round 5, Pick 159: WR Jaelon Darden, North Texas (Model Rank: 92nd)
  • Round 6, Pick 185: S Shawn Davis, Florida (Model Rank: 88th)
  • Round 6, Pick 198: EDGE Tarron Jackson, Coastal Carolina (Model Rank: 82nd)
  • Round 7, Pick 241: RB Trey Ragas, Louisiana (Model Rank: 133rd)

Whereas the Colts and Chargers may not be able to secure the offensive tackle that many desire for them, this should not be an issue for the Chargers; the value lines up well with them selecting offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw, or another productive player at the position. They just need to make sure to a) not trade up for one or b) lock into one if that means passing on a prospect with superior future value, such as receiver Jaylen Waddle. The whole point of acquiring an offensive tackle is to protect Justin Herbert, but giving him a true separator out of the slot like Waddle, as opposed to Jalen Guyton, would surely help.

There is enough depth at offensive line, receiver, defensive back, and pass rushers for the Chargers to be as flexible as possible when it comes to replenishing their roster. Could you imagine pairing Darrisaw and Humphrey to secure an offensive line without any weak links potentially? With there being so many slot receivers in this draft as well, I’d be shocked if the team doesn’t bring someone in, and they quietly could use a lot of talent and depth in the secondary for Brandon Staley’s defense. With Staley at the helm and Herbert overachieving expectations as a rookie and being incredibly cheap, the time is now for the Chargers to start to make a push. They were very productive in free agency, and now is the time for them to solidify their future roster around Herbert. I hope they can somehow land Waddle, but regardless, they appear to be in perfect position with the 13th overall pick to draft a valuable prospect.

Los Angeles Rams

Sample Draft

  • Round 2, Pick 57: WR Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State (Model Rank: 36th)
  • Round 3, Pick 88: IOL Kendrick Green, Illinois (Model Rank: 33rd)
  • Round 3, Pick 103: OT Brady Christensen, BYU (Model Rank: 25th)
  • Round 4, Pick 141: CB Tay Gowan, UCF (Model Rank: 59th)
  • Round 6, Pick 209: IDL Malik Herring, Georgia (Model Rank: 74th)
  • Round 7, Pick 252: IOL Jimmy Morrissey, Pittsburgh (Model Rank: 147th)

The Rams now will not have a first-round pick for seven straight seasons, which is truly remarkable. Without much in the way of future financial flexibility and an older roster, it’s going to be important for them to maximize on the small amount of draft capital they have. That should mean more shots thrown in the secondary and on the offensive line, and I’d like to see them add another wide receiver with how strong this draft class is there. For now, they have a strong roster and will be a playoff contender, but for them to not be constrained to a condensed window, there is more pressure on them to hit on their mid-round picks more than other organizations.

Miami Dolphins

  • EDP Filter: Filtered Out EDPs #1 and #2 (Pick #6), #1-#9 (Pick #18)

Draft Board (Pick #6)

Draft Board (Pick #18)

Sample Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 6: TE Kyle Pitts, Florida (Model Rank: 5th)
  • Round 1, Pick 18: OT Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State (Model Rank: 18th)
  • Round 2, Pick 36: WR Rondale Moore, Purdue (Model Rank: 21st)
  • Round 2, Pick 50: S Jevon Holland, Oregon (Model Rank: 22nd)
  • Round 3, Pick 81: IOL Kendrick Green, Illinois (Model Rank: 33rd)
  • Round 5, Pick 156: IOL Drew Dalman, Stanford (Model Rank; 48th)
  • Round 7, Pick 231: RB Elijah Mitchell, Louisiana (Model Rank: 76th)
  • Round 7, Pick 258: IDL Malik Herring, Georgia (Model Rank: 74th)

Want to know how to execute a rebuild? Follow the Dolphins’ lead. They weren’t shy trading away as many assets as possible, and it’s given them an abundance of draft capital to build a deep, young roster. They’ve already trade down from the third overall pick, and although I wish they would not have traded back up to the sixth overall pick, they still were able to net a future first-round pick. Hopefully, they can get a desperate team to move up for a quarterback or Kyle Pitts/Penei Sewell to add more draft capital while not moving down as far; the Broncos and Cowboys come to mind.

If Miami is stuck with the 6th overall pick, they simply can sit back and whoever remains between Penei Sewell, Kyle Pitts, and Jamar Chase. That’s probably the order in which I’d prioritize them, though the idea of giving Tua Tagovailoa Pitts or Chase certainly would allow them to figure out what they have at the quarterback position without any excuses being present. With an abundance of other picks as well, they should be able to solidify their offensive line and add a playmaker, particularly a shifty receiver in the slot, while their secondary could go one last-needed overhaul. In other words, it’s likely they come out of this draft with a potentially franchise-defining class, as long as they aren’t investing early picks on defensive front seven players or a running back. That is truly remarkable considering where they were just a few years ago.

Minnesota Vikings

  • EDP Filter: Filtered out EDPs #1-#7

Draft Board

Sample Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 14: OT Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech (Model Rank: 12th)
  • Round 3, Pick 78: CB Thomas Graham, Oregon (Model Rank: 52nd)
  • Round 3, Pick 90: WR Nico Collins, Michigan (Model Rank: 31st)
  • Round 4, Pick 119: CB Ambry Thomas, Michigan (Model Rank: 32nd)
  • Round 4, Pick 125: LB Garret Wallow, TCU (Model Rank: 65th)
  • Round 4, Pick 134: IOL Drew Dalman, Stanford (Model Rank; 48th)
  • Round 4, Pick 143: TE Tommy Tremble, Notre Dame (Model Rank: 104th)
  • Round 5, Pick 157: EDGE Malcolm Koonce, Buffalo (Model Rank: 94th)
  • Round 5, Pick 168: S Darrik Forrest, Cincinnati (Model Rank: 64th)
  • Round 6, Pick 199: IDL Mustafa Johnson, Colorado (Model Rank: 91st)
  • Round 7, Pick 223: EDGE William Bradley-King, Baylor (Model Rank: 135th)

To be honest, I did not realize how depleted the Vikings are when it comes to overall roster talent. Their secondary is in poor shape, they could use more playmaker depth, and they have very little on both lines. That is far from ideal, and is the cost of paying Kirk Cousins roughly $35 million per year.

They don’t have a second-round pick, but Minnesota has done a nice job overall accumulating a lot of draft capital. With the 14th overall pick, I’d love to see them potentially draft a wide receiver and operate within 11-personnel sets, though most likely, they’ll be looking at an offensive tackle, cornerback, or interior defender Christian Barmore. All would be fine selections, and they simply need as many building blocks as possible. Thus, they need to ambush the middle rounds of this draft with as many selections on perimeter players as possible. Not only are they not a deep roster, but their top players are mainly aging veterans, which is far from ideal. Most of their fans will want them to draft a guard and fill immediate holes, but if they do that, their roster could be in even worse shape in a year or two. Maintaining a long-term viewpoint, as they did last offseason for the most part, will be critical.

New England Patriots

  • EDP Filter: Filtered out EDPs #1-#7

Draft Board

Sample Draft

  • TRADE: Pick #15, 122, 188, and Future 1st-Round Pick For Pick #7
  • Round 1, Pick 7 (via DET): QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State (Model Rank: 7th)
  • Round 2, Pick 46: S Jevon Holland, Oregon (Model Rank: 22nd)
  • Round 3, Pick 96: OT Brady Christensen, BYU (Model Rank: 21st)
  • Round 4, Pick 120: EDGE Jordan Smith, UAB (Model Rank: 23rd)
  • Round 4, Pick 139: WR Jaelon Darden, North Texas (Model Rank: 91st)
  • Round 5, Pick 177: CB Olaijah Griffin, USC (Model Rank: 68th)
  • Round 6, Pick 197: CB Zech McPhearson, Texas Tech (Model Rank: 69th)
  • Round 7, Pick 242: RB Pooka Williams, Kansas (Model Rank: 110th)

This is the only team I actually executed a first-round trade for, as it makes too much sense. New England almost has too much draft capital at their hands, and if they can avoid giving up a future first-round pick, they should definitely try to do so. Regardless, if Justin Fields is indeed the third overall pick, they’ll need to make sure they can secure Trey Lance, who has a much better projection that Mac Jones.

The Patriots have some aging players, but they also don’t have a lot of opportunity for rookies overall. Thus, it makes more sense for them to trade up and gain security at the game’s most important position than others. In fact, the offensive shift from Cam Newton to Trey Lance wouldn’t be extreme, and there isn’t any reason to think Lance couldn’t push for a starting spot right away, despite what common narratives would believe you to believe. Beyond that, youth at wide receiver and in the secondary will be priorities, though, overall, they can continue to do what they’ve always done: securing more draft capital later on (particularly useful if they trade up for a QB) and adding undervalued depth. They tend to do better than other teams later on in the draft because they do a great job putting players in a position to succeed, and by taking shots on prospects who have limitations that have caused them to fall too much, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them strike gold. However, it all comes down ultimately to what they do at the quarterback spot, which is a storyline I cannot wait to be answered. Should they stay at pick #15, receiver Jaylen Waddle, offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw, and cornerback Caleb Farley (if medicals check out) stand out as the best values.

New Orleans Saints

  • EDP Filter: Filtered out EDPs #1-#15

Draft Board

Sample Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 28: WR Kadarius Toney, Florida (Model Rank: 19th)
  • Round 2, Pick 60: CB Eric Stokes, Georgia (Model Rank: 13th)
  • Round 3, Pick 98: IOL Kendrick Green, Illinois (Model Rank: 33rd)
  • Round 3, Pick 105: CB Ambry Thomas, Michigan (Model Rank: 32nd)
  • Round 4, Pick 133: LB Garret Wallow, TCU (Model Rank: 65th)
  • Round 6, Pick 218: S Darrik Forrest, Cincinnati (Model Rank: 64th)
  • Round 6, Pick 229: EDGE Tarron Jackson, Coastal Carolina (Model Rank: 82nd)
  • Round 7, Pick 255: TE Matt Bushman, BYU (Model Rank: 129th)

The Saints have no cap space, an aging roster than has been thinned out by roster cuts, and very few building blocks overall. Add in that they’re stuck with the 28th overall pick in this draft, and they are in a tough predicament.

In this sample draft, I was conflicted between selecting a playmaking weapon for Sean Payton or a well-projected cornerback in Eric Stokes, so I was very happy to be able to select both of them! The perimeter will be a focus for the Saints considering that their #2 wide receiver in Tre’Quan Smith and #2 cornerback is Patrick Robinson, especially since they still have enough young talent in the trenches. If the value is there, they could certainly add an offensive linemen to create flexibility to potentially trade one of their elite tackles, and the same goes on the defensive line, but adding some team speed both at wide receiver and in the secondary should be a specific focus for them. Lucky for them, this draft tailors specifically to those areas, so they’ll have to make sure to capitalize.

New York Giants

  • EDP Filter: Filtered Out EDPs #1-#6

Draft Board

Sample Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 11: WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama (Model Rank: 11th)
  • Round 2, Pick 42: IOL Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma (Model Rank: 41st)
  • Round 3, Pick 76: CB Thomas Graham Oregon (Model Rank: 52nd)
  • Round 4, Pick 116: EDGE Jordan Smith, UAB (Model Rank: 23rd)
  • Round 6, Pick 196: OT Cole Van Lanen, Wisconsin (Model Rank: 84th)
  • Round 6, Pick 201: RB Elijah Mitchell, Louisiana (Model Rank: 76th)

The Giants are entering a make-or-break period for general manager Dave Gettleman, as evidenced by their aggressive offseason. In comes wide receiver Kenny Golladay and cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, while interior defender Leonard Williams is back on a $20 million per year contract. I appreciate them addressing needs via free agency, but if quarterback Daniel Jones cannot lead them to the next level, they are going to be a tough position financially. Thus, having a successful draft is important.

The perfect way for that to happen (outside of trading down, as always) may be having Jaylen Waddle fall to them. Golladay provides them with a contested-catch deep threat, Darius Slayton works a vertical route tree, while Sterling Shepard in an intermediate slot weapon. However, you need more than that to really put Jones in the best position possible, and adding a dynamic player in Waddle would assist. Also, he’s likely to be the most valuable prospect available. Outside of that, New York could still use further depth in the secondary, on the offensive line, and rushing the passer. They actually have a pretty deep roster, though it all comes down to Jones, and for that reason, Waddle would be the optimal target with the 11th overall pick.

New York Jets

EDP Filter (Pick #23): Filtered Out EDPs #1-#15

Draft Board (Pick #23)

Sample Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 2: QB Zach Wilson, BYU (Model Rank: 2nd)
  • Round 1, Pick 23: OT Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State (Model Rank: 18th)
  • Round 2, Pick 34: WR Rondale Moore, Purdue (Model Rank: 21st)
  • Round 3, Pick 66: IOL Quinn Meinerz, Wisconsin Whitewater (Model Rank: 50th)
  • Round 3, Pick 86: TE Brevin Jordan, Miami (Model Rank: 46th)
  • Round 4, Pick 107: EDGE Jordan Smith, UAB (Model Rank: 23rd)
  • Round 5, Pick 146: CB Tay Gowan, UCF (Model Rank: 59th)
  • Round 5, Pick 154: CB Olaijah Griffin, USC (Model Rank: 69th)
  • Round 6, Pick 186: RB Elijah Mitchell, Louisiana (Model Rank: 76th)

I fully believe the Jets should select Justin Fields over Zach Wilson, a sentiment that is starting to grow. However, if appears they are locked into Wilson, who is a very quality prospect and someone they should be excited about anchoring their rebuild, even if they are potentially passing on a superior option.

From there, it’s all about supporting Wilson with as much offensive talent as possible. No, this does not come with a running back. Rather, how about more offensive linemen? How about another receiver, particularly one (Rondale Moore) who can replace Jamison Crowder as the future slot receiver. How about a tight end in the middle rounds as well? Obviously, they also need to add more young talent on defensive, particularly with their very weak cornerback group, but it’s all going to come down to quarterback play and building a juggernaut offense, which is what this draft needs to be around. That’s why you hire a defensive head coach in Robert Saleh, after all; he shouldn’t need heavy investments in personnel to succeed. This is going to be a franchise-defining haul for the duo of Saleh and general manager Joe Douglas. Hopefully, for their sakes, that’s in a positive way.

Philadelphia Eagles

  • EDP Filter: Filtered out EDPs #1-#7

Draft Board

Sample Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 12: OT Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech (Model Rank: 12th)
  • Round 2, Pick 37: CB Eric Stokes, Georgia (Model Rank: 13th)
  • Round 3, Pick 70: IDL Milton Williams, Louisiana Tech (Model Rank: 57th)
  • Round 3, Pick 84: WR Marquez Stevenson, Houston (Model Rank: 43rd)
  • Round 4, Pick 123: CB Ambry Thomas, Michigan (Model Rank: 32nd)
  • Round 5, Pick 150: IOL Drew Dalman, Stanford (Model Rank: 48th)
  • Round 6, Pick 189: TE Kylen Granson, SMU (Model Rank: 79th)
  • Round 6, Pick 224: CB Zech McPhearson, Texas Tech (Model Rank: 69th)
  • Round 6, Pick 225: S Darrick Forrest, Cincinnati (Model Rank: 64th)
  • Round 6, Pick 234: EDGE Tarron Jackson, Coastal Carolina (Model Rank: 82nd)
  • Round 7, Pick 240: CB Shemar Jean-Charles, App State (Model Rank: 101st)

The Eagles have an aging roster, and thus could address their roster anywhere. At the same time, though those veterans are holding up roster spots and opportunities for rookies to come in and develop, which is an interesting predicament.

If a wide receiver or cornerback is the right value, then they are in a great spot. If not, though, they’ll need to determine who the best player is left on the board and find a way to insert them into their future plans. In this scenario, that was Christian Darrisaw, and the hope is between he and Andre Dillard, one can cement themselves as a future starting offensive tackle. This could also play at interior defender with Christian Barmore, and they’re certainly a team that should take a deep look into Caleb Farley’s medicals. Luckily for them, though, I believe a quality wide receiver would be available for them.

If I’m Philadelphia, I’m taking as many chances as possible on perimeter players. They lack any certainty at wide receiver and their secondary is an absolute mess, which should prompt them to add as many talented players there as possible. Looking down the road, their offensive line and defensive line is also aging, so finding potential replacements there could be useful, especially in the middle rounds. With three-first round picks next year, the Eagles are in a great spot to go through a quick rebuild, whether it’s with Jalen Hurts or a future first-round pick at quarterback. This draft will create the beginning foundation of that process, and by trading down from pick #6 to where they are now, accumulating a future first-round pick, they’re already off to a great sport. I’m excited to see how they attack a draft given their unique situation.

Pittsburgh Steelers

EDP Filter: Filtered out EDPs #1-#15

Draft Board

Sample Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 24: OT Samuel Cosmi, Texas (Model Rank: 20th)
  • Round 2, Pick 58: CB Paulson Adebo (Model Rank: 16th)
  • Round 3, Pick 87: TE Brevin Jordan, Miami (Model Rank: 46th)
  • Round 4, Pick 128: EDGE Jordan Smith, UAB (Model Rank: 23rd)
  • Round 4, Pick 140: IOL Drew Dalman, Stanford (Model Rank: 48th)
  • Round 6, Pick 216: RB Elijah Mitchell, Louisiana (Model Rank: 76th)
  • Round 7, Pick 245: CB Shemar Jean-Charles, App State (Model Rank: 102nd)
  • Round 7, Pick 254: S Brady Breeze, Oregon (Model Rank: 86th)

By restructuring Ben Roethlisberger’s contract and re-signing receiver Juju Smith-Schuster, the Steelers are attempting to make one last push at a Super Bowl run by “bringing the band back together”. The problem with this approach is that their roster is in poor shape, and by kicking the proverbial can down the road further, they’re essentially sacrificing their future outlook for a pipe dream.

This is one of the older teams in football, and, thus, they have clear long-term deficiencies: defensive back, offensive line, quarterback. They won’t be able to solve the quarterback problem in this draft, though they should entertain trade-up scenarios if Justin Fields or Trey Lance falls. With the way this draft is likely to play out, offensive tackle would appear to be their best best from a value perspective. Teven Jenkins and Samuel Cosmi stand out as the most likely options with the 24th overall pick, and both would certainly be improvements for the future over Chukwuma Okorafor and Zach Banner. They’re less in a position to gamble on Caleb Farley’s medicals given their desperate need for cheap contributors, though there is a chance where he’s just so much better than everyone else left on the board.

Many want the Steelers to fix their running game by drafting a running back. However, this does not solve any issue. One, running backs are rather replaceable and have very little impact on winning games, especially since offensive line and box counts play a greater role in rushing success. Plus, this certainly would put them into an even greater long-term bind, especially if they are bypassing prospects at more valuable positions. Remember, the league doesn’t do a great job of identifying running backs, so should they select one at a more optimal spot, there isn’t much reason to believe they can’t out play a first-round running back. That certainly has been a common theme of recent drafts. Rather, Pittsburgh should look to come of this draft with multiple offensive linemen and defensive backs, as well as an additional playmaker. In this sample draft, for instance, they’d add a long-term offensive tackle, a quality outside cornerback prospect, a potential future starter at center, a replacement for Eric Ebron next year at tight end, depth in the slot and safety, an edge rusher to compete with Alex Highsmith, AND still land a running back who can be productive. In other words, they’d be acquiring a lot of depth to significantly boost their roster for the future, and that has to be the goal of this draft. Trading down is something that should be seriously contemplated.

San Francisco 49ers

Draft Board

  1. Justin Fields

Sample Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 3: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State (Model Rank: 1st)
  • Round 2, Pick 42: CB Eric Stokes, Goergia (Model Rank: 13th)
  • Round 3, Pick 102: OT Brady Christensen, BYU (Model Rank: 25th)
  • Round 4, Pick 117: WR Tammorion Terry, Florida State (Model Rank: 29th)
  • Round 5, Pick 155: CB Tay Gowan, UCF (Model Rank: 59th)
  • Round 5, Pick 172: IOL Drew Dalman, Stanford (Model Rank: 48th)
  • Round 5, Pick 180: EDGE Malcolm Koonce, Buffalo (Model Rank: 94th)
  • Round 6, Pick 194: TE Kylen Granson, SMU (Model Rank: 77th)
  • Round 7, Pick 230: IDL Malik Herring, Georgia (Model Rank: 74th)

The draft board says it all: there is no viable debate between who the 49ers should select if Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson are the top two picks in the draft. Justin Fields is a freakishly athletic quarterback with unprecedented accuracy, arm strength, pocket awareness, and elite production in college. You simply do not pass on that for a quarterback who played one year at an FCS school (Trey Lance) or an inmobile quarterback whose only year of production came playing with elite talent and when offense was at an all-time high (Mac Jones), particularly after trading two future first-round picks to move up to the third overall slot.

Overall, San Francisco has a pretty strong roster: tons of playmakers, talent on both lines, and excellent middle-of-the-field coverage. There’s still a lot to work when it comes to their future outlook in the secondary, however, so utilizing multiple picks to add depth there will be critical. Furthermore, more youth on the offensive line wouldn’t hurt, nor would adding another receiver and/or tight end; they need a third receiver when they have to go to 11 personnel sets, while a younger, better tight end opposite of George Kittle would be useful in 12 personnel sets. This team is in a great spot if they draft Fields, with the chance to even make a Super Bowl run right away and the opportunity to build a juggernaut while he’s on a rookie contract. Now, they simply need to not overthink it.

Seattle Seahawks

Sample Draft

  • Round 2, Pick 56: CB Paulson Adebo, Stanford (Model Rank: 16th)
  • Round 4, Pick 129: CB Ambry Thomas, Michigan (Model Rank: 32nd)
  • Round 7 Pick 250: OT Cole Van Lanen, Wisconsin (Model Rank: 84th)

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a team only have three picks in the draft. Honestly, it’s truly remarkable. Given the Seahawks’ history, they surely trade down and double the amount of picks they have, but it’s fun to look at for now!

One look at Seattle’s roster should do two things. For starters, it truly is extraordinary how much power the quarterback and receiving corps has above everything else. Also, this roster is not in good shape! In all likelihood, in 2022, they’ll need four starters on the offensive line, an entire new cornerback corps, another wide receiver, and depth practically everywhere. Yikes! With the way the draft sorts out, my model has predicted multiple gems at the cornerback position, which makes sense; they are generally mid-round starters found at such volatile position. Thus, it’d be optimal for Seattle to look into attacking their cornerback deficiencies with quantity, and that becomes a lot easier to do if they can obtain more picks. Then, they can also add a third receiver and offensive line depth, because outside of Russell Wilson, Tyler Lockett, and DK Metcalf, it’s very hard to find reasons for optimism. Without a first-round pick for the next two years, there is no guarantee that any extra reasons are found any time soon.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • EDP Filter: Filtered out EDPs #1-#15

Sample Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 32: WR Rondale Moore, Purdue (Model Rank: 21st)
  • Round 2, Pick 64: CB Paulson Adebo, Stanford (Model Rank: 16th)
  • Round 3, Pick 95: IOL Kendrick Green, Illinois (Model Rank: 33rd)
  • Round 4, Pick 137: LB Garret Wallow, TCU (Model Rank: 65th)
  • Round 5, Pick 176: EDGE Malcolm Koonce, Buffalo (Model Rank: 94th)
  • Round 6, Pick 217: QB Sam Ehlinger, Texas (Model Rank: 77th)
  • Round 7, Pick 251: CB Shemar-Jean Charles, App State (Model Rank: 102nd)
  • Round 7, Pick 259: S Brady Breeze, Oregon (Model Rank: 86th)

We’ve gone over a lot of poorly-constructed rosters with noticeable holes for the future. On the opposite end of the spectrum would be the Bucs, who have as complete of a roster as possible.

Thus, Tampa Bay can focus on accumulating depth at valuable spots and making sure holes don’t open up. That could be an offensive tackle or cornerback, but what about Rondale Moore? It’s unclear if Antonio Brown will be back, and one way their season could spiral is if their receiving corps deals with injuries again. Scotty Miller is a quality player, but he’s best served as a #4 receiver deep threat, and Moore projects to be an upgrade and a valuable player. Furthermore, getting better when it comes to defending the slot, more players on the offensive line and secondary, and perhaps an edge rusher (if the value lines up) should be considered. Really, though, this is just the icing on the cake for the Bucs. If I were them, I’d look to trade down and accumulate capital for the future. There aren’t a lot of opportunities for rookies to contribute, and, at some point, they’ll need to replace Tom Brady and some of their other veteran players. It truly is an enviable position to be in.

Tennessee Titans

  • EDP Filter: Filtered out EDPs #1-#15

Draft Board

Sample Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 22: OT Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State (Model Rank: 18th)
  • Round 2, Pick 53: WR Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State (Model Rank: 36th)
  • Round 3, Pick 85: TE Hunter Long, Boston College (Model Rank: 55th)
  • Round 3, Pick 100: WR Dwayne Eskridge, Western Michigan (Model Rank: 53rd)
  • Round 4, Pick 126: IOL Kendrick Green, Illinois (Model Rank: 33rd)
  • Round 5, Pick 166: CB Tay Gowan, UCF (Model Rank: 59th)
  • Round 6, Pick 205: S Darrik Forrest, Cincinnati (Model Rank: 64th)
  • Round 6, Pick 215: RB Elijah Mitchell, Louisiana (Model Rank: 76th)
  • Round 7, Pick 232: TE Kylen Granson, SMU (Model Rank: 79th)

Quietly, the Titans are in a very poor spot in terms of the talent of their roster. This offseason, they’ve lost receiver Corey Davis, tight end Jonnu Smith, and cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, have a clear hole at offensive tackle, not much depth in the secondary, and now will also be without offensive coordinator Arthur Smith. That’s a tough pill to swallow.

As I did in my draft simulation for them, Tennessee should seriously consider going all-in on their offense in this draft. Ryan Tannehill has been in an excellent situation to succeed, and the last thing you want is for that to start to dwindle, and the strengths of this class would make it optimal to invest heavily on their offense. Remember, they had one of the worst defenses in the NFL last year and still won their division. Teven Jenkins makes a lot of sense from a value and fit standpoint, though Ka’Darius Toney’s ability after the catch would be quite intriguing as well.

Beyond that, the best way for the Titans to replenish their offense would be to a) find an outside receiver to replace Davis and b) a shifty receiver in the slot. Hence, me pairing deep threat Tylan Wallace with Dwayne Eskridge, though there are an overall abundance of options for them. Furthermore, their tight end room is also lacking in talent, so a mid-round flyer on Brevin Jordan or Hunter Long would also be smart. More offensive line depth is also in order, and when addressing their defensive deficiencies, continuing to add quantity in the secondary is important. It’s going to take a lot for them to continue to churn through and be productive, but it all comes down to Tannehill. Thus, making sure they do everything in their power to help him succeed is paramount, making this a pivotal draft for them.

Washington Football Team

  • EDP Filter: Filtered out EDPs #1-#11

Draft Board

Sample Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 19: OT Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State (Model Rank: 18th)
  • Round 2, Pick 51: S Jevon Holland, Oregon (Model Rank: 22nd)
  • Round 3, Pick 74: CB Paulson Adebo, Stanford (Model Rank: 16th)
  • Round 3, Pick 82: TE Brevin Jordan, Miami (Model Rank: 46th)
  • Round 4, Pick 124: LB Garret Wallow, TCU (Model Rank: 65th)
  • Round 5, Pick 163: WR Jaelon Darden, North Texas (Model Rank: 92nd)
  • Round 7, Pick 244: EDGE Raymond Johnson, Georgia Southern (Model Rank: 102nd)
  • Round 7, Pick 246: S Aashari Crosswell, Arizona State (Model Rank: 136th)

The Washington Football Team has done a sound job constructing their roster, and all that really is left for them is to secure a franchise quarterback. However, I’m not sure they’ll be able to trade up enough, though given the trajectory of this team and the unlikelihood that they have a high pick in the future, I would certainly look into trading up if Trey Lance falls far enough for him attainable. Having Ryan Fitzpatrick is quite the bridge, and gives them some flexibility here.

As mentioned, Washington can be very flexible with the draft, and I’d highly recommend trading down to accumulate more picks to make a play for a quarterback in the future. If stuck at pick #19, they’re likely looking at an offensive tackle and wide receiver, both fine values, but my dream pick for them would be Caleb Farley. They’re in the perfect spot to take a risk on his medical concerns, and the potential benefits of adding a productive young cornerback would be well worth the risk given their situation.

Overall, I’d say playmakers, depth on the offensive line, and additional reinforcements in the secondary, especially defending the slot, would be focused for Washington, and a mid-round linebacker wouldn’t hurt as well. It’s astonishing how quickly their situation has changed, and the more I think about it, the more I’d consider moving up for Lance (assuming Fields goes to the 49ers); they can handle being without a first-round pick next year, especially since the quarterback would be on a rookie deal.

With that being said, all 32 teams have been fixed! In all seriousness, with the draft being very unpredictable, teams need to control what they can- overall strategy. Attacking positions of value, trading down when possible, and understanding overall value and not being overconfident in your evaluation are all clears way to do that. I did my best to try to not pick the same players on the sample drafts, but considering that my evaluations are being drawn from my predictive model, that is difficult to do when I’m trying to add as much talent for each team as possible. Rather, focus on the overall strategy and how the picks are used from an organizational standpoint. This was a very fun experiment to conduct, and it’ll be exciting to compare this to what teams actually do in the draft. Did the 49ers seriously trade multiple first-round picks to draft Mac Jones? Will the Steelers or another team fall into the first-round running back trap? How many picks do the Seahawks ultimately end up with? Where do these model sleepers end up? All fo this will be answered in short time, and draft day can’t get here soon enough!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s