Antonio Brown, The Baltimore Ravens, and More Week 1 Reactions // Roughing the Caster Ep. 4

FTS Writers Adam Simkowitz and Dylan White return for a quick conversation about the NFL’s first week.

In this edition of Roughing the Caster, lead NFL Writers Dylan White and Adam Simkowitz give their reactions and analysis to Week 1 of the NFL season. Topics discussed include the horrible Dolphins and Steelers, and the elite Ravens and Patriots. And yeah, it’s a little late, but who really cares?

Roughing the Caster, Episode 4.

The Post-Preseason-Podcast + Week 1 Preview // Roughing the Caster Ep. 3

In this edition of FTS’s flagship podcast, lead NFL Writers Dylan White and Adam Simkowitz connect over Skype to discuss some of the preseason’s final headlines. This includes takes on Ezekiel Elliot and Jared Goff’s new contracts, Andrew Luck’s retirement, and the dumpster fire that is the Houston Texans’ front office. Download, comment, and leave a like! Thanks for listening!

Roughing the Caster, Episode 3.

2019 NFL Season Preview: AFC North Edition

As the juggernaut of the AFC, the North could send three teams to the playoffs this season.

As a part of our preparation for the upcoming NFL season, my fellow FTS Writer Adam Simkowitz and I decided to dive deep into every teams’ offseason, picking the most interesting players and storylines to follow this season. Accompanying these players and storylines are draft class summaries, teams’ strengths and weaknesses, and record predictions. We’ll release two AFC and NFC division previews per week, and we now we’ll kick off the second week with the northern divisions.

Here are the previous division previews:

AFC East Preview

NFC East Preview

NFC South Preview

AFC South Preview

Baltimore Ravens

2019 Draft Grade: A- – As a Steelers fan, it pains me to see Baltimore continuing to draft well. They drafted three playmaking athletic freaks; Miles Boykin’s (WR) athletic profile is almost identical to D.K. Metcalf’s, Justice Hill (RB) is as explosive as any RB in this class, and Marquise Brown (WR)s pretty much a more refined Desean Jackson. Their offensive is slowly morphing into a powerhouse, but it all depends on whether or not Lamar Jackson can consistently throw the ball accurately. If his ball placement improves, the Ravens will wreak havoc on NFL defenses for the next 5-8 years with these playmakers. Trace McSorely (QB) looked really good this preseason, and he’ll likely make the final roster as a third QB. Jaylon Ferguson (EDGE) wreaked havoc at Louisiana Tech, and I think the second rounder will get a chance to showcase his pass-rushing prowess this season.

Player to Watch: Earl Thomas III, Free Safety – This is kind of a weak pick. Earl Thomas is a household name, and everyone knows how dominant he can be. I’m just really interested in seeing the impact that he will have on the Ravens’ defense. Thomas III is a rare talent, and he’s one of the most valuable and impactful defensive players in the NFL at a position that isn’t traditionally viewed as valuable. He’s coming off of a broken leg, and he’ll be 30 years old this season. I think that he was by far the most important free agent signing this offseason, and I really believe he can change this Baltimore defense.

Positional Strengths: Cornerback, Safety

Positional Weaknesses: Wide Receiver

Projected Record: 9-7

Cincinatti Bengals

2019 Draft Grade: B- – Jonah Williams (OT) at #11 is my favorite pick of the draft, and it’s not close. It’s a damn shame that he’s already landed on the IR. The Bengals haven’t had the best injury luck with their recent first round picks. The second round pick of Drew Sample (TE) fills the hole left by Tyler Kroft and the oft-injured Tyler Eifert, and Germaine Pratt (LB) will add depth at inside linebacker, their weakest position. Rodney Anderson (RB) had potential to get some touches backing up Joe Mixon this year, but he went down with a torn ACL this preseason.

Player to Watch: Carl Lawson, Edge Rusher – This is a true sleeper pick. I pretty much had to choose an obscure player though, because the Bengals suck. Last year, Lawson played in seven games. He registered 25 pressures in these games while playing only 225 defensive snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. He’s an efficient pass rusher, and that was just his second season. I’m really looking for another jump to be made by Lawson this year.

Positional Strengths: Running Back, Edge Rusher

Positional Weaknesses: Offensive Line, Linebacker

Projected Record: 5-11

Cleveland Browns

2019 Draft Grade: B+ – Browns’ General Manager John Dorsey has proven again and again that he has a ridiculous eye for talent. Greedy Williams (CB) was one of my favorite picks of the draft, falling all the way to the mid-second round due to tackling concerns? Denzel Ward and Greedy will make for one of the scariest secondaries in the NFL come ~2022. I don’t love the selections of Sione Takitaki and Sheldrick Redwine, who are also two of my nominees for the best worst names of the draft. Redwine fills the Browns’ only true need at safety though, and I like his athletic profile. Mack Wilson is a young, raw inside linebacker who showed glimpses of coverage skills and natural instinct in the preseason. I absolutely believe that the Browns could turn him into an impact starter, and I bet we’ll see him this regular season.

Player to Watch: Myles Garrett, Edge Rusher – There’s currently a clear tier of transcendent defensive talents in the NFL. It consists of Aaron Donald, Khalil Mack, Von Miller, and Bobby Wagner. By the end of this season, Myles Garrett will be included in this tier. This year will be his third season in the NFL, and this offseason has seemed to be the trademarked “I’m going to morph into an absolute physical monstrosity this year” offseason, as made popular by athletes like Victor Oladipo and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Myles Garrett has a shot at having a Defensive Player of the Year season, and I’m really excited to watch him wreck offensive tackles this year.

Positional Strengths: Wide Receiver, Quarterback, Running Back, Defensive Tackle, Defensive End

Positional Weaknesses: Offensive Line, Linebacker

Projected Record: 10-6

Pittsburgh Steelers

2019 Draft Grade: A – For the seventh year in a row, the Steelers have drafted a defensive player in the first round. And in the words of fellow FTS writer Adam Simkowitz, “Their defense is still not good.” HOWEVER, I really like their draft class this year. This totally isn’t the Steeler fan in me talking, but I believe in a Devin Bush (MLB) DROY run this year. They’ve had a need for a good corner for about 25 years, so I’m guessing that third-round pick Justin Layne (CB) is the answer. Diontae Johnson (WR) is a wideout that severely underperformed in the combine, but his on-field speed is unreal. He’s undersized, he creates separation at an elite level, and he’s one of the best route-runners in this class. Overall, it was a solid draft for the Steelers. Much better than last year.

Player to Watch: Devin Bush, Linebacker – My expectations for Devin Bush are way too high this year. But they’re totally justified. The rookie from Michigan is one of the most electric linebackers I’ve ever watched in college football, and his combine numbers backed that on-field speed up. He led all Steelers in tackles in the preseason, he was literally everywhere on the field at all times. He’s an inside linebacker that can move from sideline to sideline as quickly as anyone, and he still has insane pass-rushing efficiency, which is a skill that is needed in Keith Butler’s defense. I’m expecting a defensive rookie of the year award for Bush, and I will accept nothing less.

Positional Strengths: Quarterback, Defensive End, Running Back

Positional Weaknesses: Cornerback (Just for now, don’t sleep on Cam Sutton and Mike Hilton)

Projected Record: 11-5

STORYLINES TO WATCH

The Good, the Bad, and the Bengals – The AFC North will most likely be the best division in the AFC this year, and they’re really only being challenged by the AFC West. The Steelers, Browns, and Ravens are all teams that are worth paying close attention to, they’re all capable of making deep runs in the playoffs this year. The Bengals on the other hand, are extremely bad. Just check out their linebacking corps. They literally have four linebackers on their roster. Their offensive line is a mess; they have a fourth-round rookie starting at guard, the corpse of Cordy Glenn at tackle, and their 2018 first-round pick Billy Price has been benched in favor of Trey Hopkins, a former undrafted player.

The Baltimore Ravens’ Offense – This season, the Baltimore Ravens are going to run the ball with a passion and ferocity that the NFL hasn’t seen since the 1970’s. Their new offensive coordinator is Greg Roman, who was the mastermind behind Colin Kaepernick’s record-breaking rushing performances in the early 2010’s. Lamar Jackson is one of the most exciting quarterbacks I’ve ever watched, and his running abilities are going to be absolutely unleashed this season. While the entire NFL is turning toward a pass-first, play-action heavy offensive approach, the Ravens are attempting to do the contrary.

2019 NFL Season Preview: AFC South Edition

The shocking news from Indianapolis has made the AFC South the Houston Texans’ to lose.

As a part of our preparation for the upcoming NFL season, my fellow FTS Writer Adam Simkowitz and I decided to dive deep into every teams’ offseason, picking the most interesting players and storylines to follow this season. Accompanying these players and storylines are draft class summaries, teams’ strengths and weaknesses, and record predictions. We’ll release two AFC and NFC division previews per week, and we now we’ll finish off the first week with the southern divisions.

Here are the previous division previews:

AFC East Preview

NFC East Preview

NFC South Preview

Houston Texans

2019 Draft Grade: D+ I didn’t really love what the Texans did this year. Tytus Howard felt like a total reach to me, probably as a result of the Eagles leapfrogging them to draft Andre Dillard, the superior tackle prospect. Lonnie Johnson Jr. is a somewhat understandable pick at 54, filling the absence of Kevin Johnson and the eventual departure of Jonathan Joseph. I appreciate the Texans’ effort to bolster their offensive line, but they may have gone about it in the wrong way. We’ll definitely see Tytus Howard and Max Scharping get regular-season reps this year, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up about these first-year tackles.

Player to Watch: Deshaun Watson, Quarterback – I’m going to be honest for a second. When times get tough, and my spirits are down, I try to go to my happy place. My happy place is a wonderful, make-believe land where bad things don’t happen, the clouds are made out of cotton candy, and everyone is happy. In my happy place, Deshaun Watson plays behind 5 Hall-of-Fame offensive linemen. Here are a few stats regarding Deshaun Watson’s 2018 season. In 2018, Deshaun Watson was sacked 62 times in 16 games, which averages out to be about 3.8 times per game. Despite this, he managed to account for over 4500 yards and 30 touchdowns. If Deshaun Watson has a somewhat functional offensive line, his production has no ceiling. With the addition of two Top-100 draft picks to his offensive line, I’m hoping that this year will be a little easier for Watson. The world deserves to see Deshaun Watson at his highest potential.

Positional Strengths: Quarterback, Wide Receiver, Edge Rusher

Positional Weaknesses: Running Back, Cornerback, Offensive Line

Projected Record: 10-6

Indianapolis Colts

2019 Draft Grade: B – Chris Ballard seems to have figured out the draft (For now). The Colts recognized their team needs (WR, Secondary,LB), found out where the value was for these positions (picks 30-90), and put their resources into dominating that section of the draft. Rock ya-Sin is a physical, instinctual corner with a good amount of room to grow. Ben Banogu and Bobby Okereke are both ridiculous athletic specimens in their own ridiculous ways. Parris Campbell is a modern Swiss Army Knife at WR. This class could easily become as successful as their class from last year. However, their appearances will be limited this year, as the Colts are in championship contention. As of now, Okereke and Ya-Sin are the only rookies slotted to get a good amount of playing time this season, but I bet we’ll see some of Campbell and Banogu this year.

Player to Watch: Jacoby Brissett, Quarterback – This doesn’t need much explanation. Just kidding.

Positional Strengths: Linebacker, Edge Rusher

Positional Weaknesses: Cornerback, Right Side of Offensive Line

Projected Record: 8-8

Jacksonville Jaguars

2019 Draft Grade: A- – I think the Jaguars may have the league’s most immediate impact from their draft class (Outside of the Arizona Cardinals). Josh Allen (EDGE) and Jawaan Taylor (OT) are both future starters, and Allen is a very strong candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year. He showcased his defensive versatility in the preseason, wrecking offensive tackles from the edge and being a complete playmaker in the open field. Taylor is slotted to start at right tackle, and he played very well in the preseason, which is rare for a rookie offensive lineman. Josh Oliver (TE) out of San Jose State will see some playing time, both as a blocker and as a possible mismatch in the passing game.

Player(s) to Watch: Taven Bryan, Defensive Tackle; D.J. Chark, Wide Receiver – I chose both of these players for the same reason. You could probably guess why; they’re both second-year players in which the Jaguars invested a good amount of draft capital, and neither of them have shown their worth yet. It’s not necessarily a make-it or break-it year for these sophomores, but another disappointing year from these two could spell trouble for the rest of their respective careers. From what I’ve seen this offseason, it’s more likely that D.J. Chark will be able to progress in a substantial way this season.

Positional Strengths: Defensive Line, Cornerback, Interior Offensive Line, Linebacker

Positional Weaknesses: Running Back, Tight End,Wide Receiver

Projected Record: 6-10

Tennessee Titans

2019 Draft Grade: A -This draft for Tennessee has been par for the course on their upwards trend as a franchise. They selected Jeffery Simmons (DE) in the first, who’ll likely succeed Brett Urban as a starting defensive end by the end of the season.A.J. Brown (WR) was one of my favorite receivers from the draft. He runs like a running back after the catch, and he’s able to create separation at a borderline elite level. Given their weak receiving corp, I’d imagine that he’ll get a healthy amount of playing time this season. Amani Hooker (S) and D’Andre Walker (LB) were both picks of a high value, but it’ll be a while before they see first-team reps, barring injuries to their current starters.

Player(s) to Watch: Derrick Henry, Running Back – Okay, this was a selfish and possibly a mean pick. At most sports-books, the line for the over/under for Henry’s rushing yards this season is around 1220 yards right now. Last year, Derrick Henry rushed for 1059 yards. This included a 99 yard rush against Jacksonville. If you remove that one anomaly of a play from his 2018 stats, he ran for 960 yards; while missing zero games. There is nothing, and I mean nothing that indicates that he will increase that total by about 250 yards this year. Their offensive line remains the same, except they’re losing Taylor Lewan for four games. Their quarterback is the same, and he’ll likely play more than he did last season, taking away even more from Henry’s production.

The recency bias on Derrick Henry’s rushing abilities is strong. It reminds me of when Jay Ajayi broke out, rushing for over 200 yards three times in 2016; then regressed in an extreme way in 2017, rushing for 20 less yards per game. I love watching Derrick Henry play, when else are we going to see a running back that is almost always the strongest player on the field? I just think that the NFL Media has hyped him up far too much, and he’s due for regression this year.

Harold Landry II, Edge Rusher – I decided to include Harold Landry in my players to watch only because I felt guilty after writing my thoughts about Derrick Henry. I’ve loved Landry since his sophomore year at Boston College, where he racked up 16 TFL and completely wrecked Florida State in primetime. He rushes the passer with a blend of power and finesse, showcasing a beautiful array of pass-rushing moves, and he has a great motor. He was a steal in the second round of the 2018 draft, and he played very efficiently in his limited reps as a rookie. Now he’s a starting edge rusher for Tennessee, and I’m really excited to see if he makes a leap in his second NFL season.

Positional Strengths: Offensive Line, Secondary

Positional Weaknesses: Wide Receiver

Projected Record: 8-8

Storylines to Watch

Marcus Mariota’s Fifth Season – This year, the former #2 overall pick is entering the fifth and final season of his rookie contract. Up to this point, his career has been painfully average in just about every way. He is 27-28 as a starter, his QBR has hovered around 55 in every season of his career, and he graded as the 18th best quarterback in the league last year, according to Pro Football Focus. It’s actually impressive that Mariota never seemed to slip into the lower tiers of NFL QBs, he’s had to deal with three different head coaches in his four years in the NFL. He’s never had an above-average supporting cast of skill-position players, and his offensive line has at times been objectively horrible. This is the most important year of Mariota’s young career, his level of play this year will likely decide his future with the Titans’ organization.

The Houston Texans’ General Manager (Or Lack Thereof) – After firing Brian Gaine, their incumbent general manager, this past June, the Texans were without a general manager heading into the 2019 season. Another interesting aspect to this situation is the fact that they fired their GM after the 2019 draft and the entirety of free agency. One would assume that a general manager is necessary for an NFL franchise, but Houston has decided to roll into the regular season using a GM-by-committee approach. So far, this has led to the Texans trading a fourth-round pick for a one-down running back. It’s rare for a team with the opportunity to contend for the AFC Championship to have such a lack of stability and leadership at the top of their front office.

2019 is Jacoby Brissett’s Year

Jacoby Brissett has the opportunity of a lifetime. Will he capitalize on it?

Perhaps the most shocking news of the NFL’s past decade surfaced yesterday when former #1 overall pick and 2018 Comeback Player of the Year Andrew Luck retired at the age of 29. It left the entire NFL in shock, including media, fans, and the players themselves.

It is absolutely horrible to see injuries causing such a talented player to leave the game in his prime. However, Andrew Luck is an extremely smart, kind, and likable person, so I expect that he’ll find happiness in his post-NFL life. Now we need to switch gears.

Jacoby Brissett, the former Patriot and North Carolina State- Wolfpack? Wolf??, is the starting quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts. To quote Darren Rovell, “I feel bad for our country. But this is tremendous content.” I think this monstrosity of a quote (formerly referring to the election of Donald Trump) relates to Brissett’s upcoming season for a number of reasons. Primarily, Brissett will face an unprecedented amount of adversity for someone who has always just been a backup quarterback. Every single throw and decision he makes this year will be put under a microscope. He’ll be looked at through the lens of ‘What Would Andrew Luck have done?’. To add to this attention, it has been an unreasonably active offseason for Brissett, as his weird quasi-philosophical tweets and preseason hype articles have already put him into the national spotlight.

Just six days ago, Bob Kravitz of The Athletic wrote an extensive piece on the relationship between Colts’ Head Coach Frank Reich and Jacoby Brissett. Given the events of the past 24 hours, the timing of that article is strange and unbelievably good. I’m not into conspiracies, but isn’t it a little weird that less than a week before an NFL team’s indisputable franchise quarterback retired, a piece is written about his backup’s ability to be a starting quarterback? There are plenty of quotes from this article that reinforce the Colts organization’s confidence in Brissett.

“The Colts have said it innumerable times: They believe Brissett is a top-20 quarterback. In other words, a quarterback capable of starting and winning.” (Bob Kravitz, The Athletic)

““Any time anybody asks me (what qualities a starting quarterback needs), I always say the same thing: mental and physical toughness,”[Frank] Reich said. “And Jacoby is a 10 out of 10 there.””(The Athletic)

I feel like including some of Jacoby Brissett’s more notable stats would serve this piece well. In his 17 career games as a starting quarterback, his record is 5-12. Quarterback wins are a bad stat to measure quarterback efficiency, but in those starts, his defense gave up an average of 22 points per game, which would’ve been good for the NFL’s 14th ranked scoring defense last season. In his defense, though, (defense, nice one) he was sacked 52 times over 15 1/2 games in his 2017 season. He led the league in times sacked that year, although he ranked 6th in Time to Throw, according to NFL’s next-gen stats. Over his career, he has posted a subpar 59% completion percentage per Pro Football Reference.

There is one last fold to Brissett’s situation that raises the stakes even higher: He will be a free agent after this season. So, in review. Brissett is now for the first time ever, the bonafide starter for an NFL franchise. I almost forgot to mention, this franchise had Super Bowl hopes heading into this season, and everyone (especially their fans) was aware of this. So in this first year of being a 16-game starter, he’s playing for his second contract, the Super Bowl, and he’s playing to get out of Andrew Luck’s shadow. I have some confidence in Brissett, he has as good of a coach/GM combo as anyone in the league (except for Tom Brady), he has quality skill-position players in T.Y. Hilton, Marlon Mack, Eric Ebron, and Parris Campbell, and he has plenty of talent himself. The spotlight will be on Jacoby Brissett this year, and I cannot wait to see what he does with it.

2019 NFL Season Preview: AFC East Edition

Is this the year that the New England Patriots finally give up the division title? No, obviously.

As a part of our preparation for the upcoming NFL season, my fellow FTS Writer Adam Simkowitz and I decided to dive deep into every teams’ offseason, picking the most interesting players and storylines to follow this season. Accompanying these players and storylines are draft class summaries, teams’ strengths and weaknesses, and record predictions. We’ll release two AFC and NFC division previews per week, and we decided to kick it off with the eastern divisions.

Buffalo Bills

2019 Draft Grade: A- – In this past draft, the Bills were lucky enough to have Ed Oliver (DT/DE) fall to them at #9. I really like Cody Ford (OT), their second-round pick, who successfully protected Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray’s respective blindsides for the past two years. I could also see Dawson Knox (TE) becoming a productive starter in the league. Between Devin Singletary (RB), Vosean Joseph (LB), and Jaquan Johnson (S), there will be at least two future starters from that group. However, that may not be the case for this season. This was a fantastic draft from the rebuilding Bills. As of right now, Ed Oliver and Cody Ford are the two from this class that are slotted to start immediately.

Player to Watch: Josh Allen, Quarterback – Okay, look. I’m not saying Josh Allen is a good quarterback. I’ll be the first to criticize him when he overthrows Cole Beasley by 10 feet on an underneath route. However, he might be the most entertaining quarterback to watch; aside from Lamar Jackson. Allen is a surprisingly fast, high-flying QB with an insanely powerful arm. Watching him play quarterback is like watching Michael Vick in Brock Osweiler’s body. I think it’ll be an interesting year for Allen; we’ll see how his style of play changes once defenses figure out his game.

Positional Strengths: Defensive Line, Secondary

Positional Weaknesses: Quarterback, Running Back

Projected Record: 6-10

Miami Dolphins

2019 Draft Grade: C+ – The Dolphins didn’t have a ton of picks this year. With their two Top-100 picks, they elected to stay in the trenches with Christian Wilkins (DT) and Michael Deiter(LG). I appreciate the Dolphins draft strategy though; linemen are the first position that you want to draft when beginning a rebuild. Wilkins and Deiter will be week one starters, but outside of that, the only production that’ll be seen from this draft class is from Andrew Van Ginkel (LB), who’ll showcase his athleticism on special teams.

Player to Watch: Charles Harris, Edge Rusher – I’m going to keep it simple here. This is a make-it or break-it season for Charles Harris. That will come as a surprise to approximately zero Dolphins fans, as they’ve had to watch their former first-round edge rusher rack up THREE total sacks in his first two seasons as a pro. However, Harris has looked relatively dominant thus far in preseason action. This is the season to prove that he belongs in the NFL. His offensive-minded head coach Adam Gase is in New York now, and he was replaced by Brian Flores, who coached linebackers in New England. Now that he has a favorable coaching staff and plenty of opportunity for this rebuilding defense, he either needs to put up or shut up this season.

Positional Strengths: Cornerback

Positional Weaknesses: Pretty much every position except for cornerback.

Projected Record: 2-14

New York Jets

2019 Draft Grade: B+ – I have mixed feelings about the Jets’ 2019 draft class. I absolutely love Quinnen Williams (DT). I think he’ll be great right off the bat; he’s one of my favorite bets for defensive rookie of the year. Outside of Williams though, I kind of hate the rest of the New York draft class. Third round picks Jachai Polite (EDGE) has had a subpar preseason so far, and Chuma Edoga (OT) understandably won’t be an immediate starter for them. I think Quinnen Williams’ success will likely overshadow the rest of the class’s shortcomings.

Player to Watch: Jamal Adams, Safety – Jamal Adams is one of the two defensive players that I expect to leap into Superstar-Dom this season. This offseason has been an onslaught of praise and good reports for Adams, from offering to switch positions to staying hours after a preseason game just to sign autographs and take pictures. He was Pro Football Focus’s 2nd highest-graded safety last year, and this year I expect him to solidify himself as one of the league’s premier safeties.

Positional Strengths: Skill Positions

Positional Weaknesses: Offensive Line

Projected Record: 8-8

New England Patriots

2019 Draft Grade: A – Although I didn’t love the selection of N’Keal Harry (WR) with the 32nd pick in this past year’s draft, I still love the Patriots draft class. Their draft class was mostly about building depth on their lines, both defensive and offensive. They had a stronghold on picks in this draft too, so it’s likely that rookies will see more action than they did last year. Last year, the Patriots ranked in the bottom two of the NFL in terms of rookie playing time. This is due both to a season-ending injury to their first-round pick, Isaiah Wynn, and Bill Belichick’s general coaching philosophy of playing mid-level veterans over rookies. According to their current unofficial depth chart, none of the current rookies surpass the third string. I would bet that Harry, JoeJuan Williams (CB/S), Chase Winovich (EDGE), and Byron Cowart (DT) will all see playing time this season. I included Winovich and Cowart because of rave reviews from training camp, and dominant performances in the preseason.

Players to Watch: The Entire Offensive Line – Okay, this probably needs an explanation. Later in this preview, I’ll talk a little bit more in-depth about Tom Brady’s situation this year. And to be honest, there aren’t that many more big personalities or entertaining players on the Patriots. Wow, I wonder why they’ve won 5 championships since 2001… So I picked their offensive line. They have the unarguably best offensive line coach in the NFL, Dante Scarnecchia, and with the addition of Isaiah Wynn, this might be the most talented group New England has had since the late 2000s. They have a group of monsters up there, and it’ll be interesting to see if the Patriots continue the ground-and-pound approach that they switched to mid-season last year. I think it could be a big year for their running game, and they’ll do a great job of protecting their 42-year-old quarterback.

Positional Strengths: Offensive Line, Quarterback, Linebacker, Secondary

Positional Weaknesses: Tight End

Projected Record: 12-4

Storylines to Watch:

Tom Brady vs. Father Time (And the Patriots?): This will be one of the leading storylines of the AFC East’s season no matter what. Personally, I hate to bet against time, because time is undefeated. But here’s an interesting fact: Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all-time, and he won a Super Bowl at age 41. So I’m betting on Tom Brady. I think he’ll be as efficient as ever, even if that means not throwing the ball down the field as often. However, it’ll be very interesting to see what happens if Brady slows down this season. A few weeks ago, the Patriots restructured Brady’s contract, giving him a ton of money this year, but giving the Patriots the ability to cut him with minimal financial repercussions after this season. Essentially, if Brady doesn’t play to a certain level this season, there’s a chance he gets cut, then retires. I don’t think it’s likely, but anything can happen.

Second Year Quarterbacks: Here is a very likely scenario:It’s Week 5, and three 2018 top-ten picks are starting quarterbacks for 75% of the AFC East. Sam Darnold and Josh Allen are clearly starters for the Jets and Bills, respectively, but Josh Rosen has to win the Dolphins’ starting job from the ageless and seemingly magical Ryan Fitzpatrick. I cannot confirm this, but that will probably be the first time that three Top-Ten QBs’ from the same draft class are starting in the same division. Twitter will be all over this, and it’ll turn into a year-long comparison of these three guys. That is all I have to say about that. Oh, and my rankings of those QBs are: 1. Sam Darnold …………………………………………………2a. Josh Rosen, 2b. Josh Allen.

ALL-Division Team

QB – Tom Brady, NE

RB: Le’Veon Bell, NYJ RB: James White, NE

FB: James Devlin, NE

WR: Julian Edelman, NE WR: Robby Anderson, NYJ

TE: Chris Herndon, NYJ

OT: Laremy Tunsil, MIA OT: Marcus Cannon, NE

OG: Shaq Mason, NE OG: Joe Thuney, NE

C: David Andrews, NE

EDGE: Jerry Hughes, BUF EDGE: Leonard Williams, NYJ

DL: Ed Oliver, BUF DL: Quinnen Williams, NYJ

LB: C.J. Mosley, NYJ LB: Dont’a Hightower, NE

LB: Tremaine Edmunds, BUF LB: Kyle Van Noy, NE

CB: Stephon Gilmore, NE CB: Xaiven Howard, MIA

S: Jamal Adams, NYJ S: Devin McCourty, NE

DB: Micah Hyde, BUF DB: Tre’Davious White, BUF

K: Stephen Gostkowski, NE P: Matt Haack, MIA

Roughing the Caster Ep. 3: Fantasy Football Preview

FTS Writers Dylan White and Adam Simkowitz return to the RTC Podcast to give their favorite fantasy football takes for this upcoming season.

In this episode, FTS Lead Writers Dylan White and Adam Simkowitz return from their summer break to talk about this season of fantasy football. They discuss sleepers like Josh Gordon (pictured), and some possible fantasy letdowns, like Colts TE Eric Ebron. Guest appearances include Max White, Mr. E, and more!

Roughing the Caster: Episode 3.

Roughing the Caster Ep. 2: NBA Offseason Edition

An episode featuring FTS Sports’ three Founders: Hank Grzeszczak, Dylan White, and Adam Simkowitz.

In this episode of FTS’s official podcast, we talk about everything the NBA has to offer. In this jam-packed, hour-long podcast, we give some draft reactions, scorching hot trade takes, and free agency predictions. Give it a listen!

Roughing the Caster Episode 2.

NBA Offseason Preview: The End of an Era… and the Beginning of a New One?

As the Toronto Raptors closed out the 2019 NBA Finals, it was widely agreed upon that this has been the most entertaining Finals experience of the 21st Century. I’ve never seen an NBA Finals in which the unrelated subplots were as important (if not more important) than the actual basketball being played in late May and June.

While the Raptors clinched their first ever NBA Championship over the Golden State Warriors, the NBA Rumor Mill couldn’t have been more active. After a playoff run for the ages, speculation of Raptors star and upcoming free agent Kawhi Leonard’s future was at an all-time high, in both importance and ambiguity. The same could be said for Warriors stars and upcoming free agents Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson; until they both suffered catastrophic injuries. In news that was unrelated to the Finals, Kyrie Irving declined his player option for the 2019-2020 season with the Boston Celtics, fired his agent, then signed with a different agency. He signed with Roc Nation, whose President (Michael Yormark) is the twin brother of the Brooklyn Nets CEO (Brett Yormark).

Now, as the age of player empowerment hits its stride, what happens next?

Let’s start with a timeline.

June 20, 2019

  • NBA draft.

June 24, 2019

  • Last day for potential restricted free agents to exercise player options.
  • NBA awards are announced.

June 29, 2019

  • Last day for decisions on player, team and early termination options, unless individual contracts specify otherwise.

June 30, 2019

  • Last official day of the 2018/19 NBA league year.
  • Last day for teams to make qualifying offers to players eligible for restricted free agency.
  • Last day for players eligible for veteran extensions in 2018/19 to sign them.

July 1, 2019

  • Official start of the 2019/20 NBA league year.
  • July moratorium begins. The moratorium allows teams and players only to agree upon deals in principle, no pen-to-paper deals are allowed.
  • Free agents can begin reaching verbal agreements with teams.
  • Restricted free agents can sign an offer sheet.
  • Teams can begin signing players to rookie scale contracts, minimum salary contracts, and two-way contracts.

July 6, 2019

  • July moratorium ends (11:00am CT)
  • Teams can begin officially signing players, extending players, and completing trades.
  • The two-day period for matching an RFA offer sheet signed during the moratorium begins.

Who makes this offseason so important?

Here are some important names of this year’s offseason. These are the players that will in one way or another, change the landscape of the NBA’s next 5-7 years in this offseason. Included are their current team, their age at the beginning of next season, their stat line from this past season (PPG/RPG/APG/SPG/BPG, FG%/3FG%/FT%), their contract status, and my prediction for where they’ll land this offseason.

  • *Kevin Durant, GSW: 31, 26 PPG/6 RPG/6 APG/1 SPG/0.7 BPG, 52 FG%/35 3FG%/88.5 FT%, Unrestricted Free Agent. Prediction: New York Knicks
  • Kyrie Irving, BOS: 27, 24 PPG/5 RPG/7 APG/1.5 SPG/0.5 BPG, 49 FG%/40 3FG%/87 FT%, Unrestricted Free Agent. Prediction: Brooklyn Nets
  • **Klay Thompson, GSW, 29: 21.5 PPG/4 RPG/2 APG/1 SPG/0.6 BPG, 47 FG%/40 3FG%/82 FT%, Unrestricted Free Agent (Eligible for Super Max). Prediction: Golden State Warriors
  • Kawhi Leonard, TOR: 28, 26.6 PPG/7 RPG/3 APG/1.8 SPG/0.4 BPG, 50 FG%/37 3FG%/85 FT%, Unrestricted Free Agent. Prediction: Los Angeles Clippers or Toronto Raptors
  • Kemba Walker, CHA: 29, 25.6 PPG/4 RPG/6 APG/1.2 SPG/0.4 BPG, 43 FG%/36 3FG%/84 FT%, Unrestricted Free Agent (Eligible for Super Max). Prediction: Charlotte Hornets
  • Jimmy Butler, PHI: 30, 19 PPG/5 RPG/4 APG/1.9 SPG/0.6 BPG, 46 FG%/35 3FG%/85.5 FT%, Unrestricted Free Agent. Prediction: Philadelphia 76ers or Los Angeles Lakers
  • D’Angelo Russell, BKN: 23, 21 PPG/4 RPG/7 APG/1.2 SPG/0.2 BPG, 43 FG%/37 3FG%/78 FT%, Unrestricted Free Agent. Prediction: Utah Jazz or Indiana Pacers
  • Nikola Vucevic, ORL: 29, 20.8 PPG/12 RPG/4 APG/1 SPG/ 1 BPG, 52 FG%/36 3FG%/ 79 FT%, Unrestricted Free Agent. Prediction: Orlando Magic
  • Kristaps Porzingis, DAL: 24, 2017-18 Stats: 22.7 PPG/ 6.6 RPG/1 APG/ 0.8 SPG/ 2.4 BPG, 44 FG%/ 39.5 3FG%/ 79 FT%, Restricted Free Agent. Prediction: Dallas Mavericks

*Durant suffered a ruptured achilles in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, sidelining him for the entire 2019-20 season, therefore diminishing his value as a free agent. **Thompson suffered a torn ACL in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, likely keeping him out of the upcoming regular season.

The most important part of this list lies within the two Warriors mentioned. The injuries to Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant will keep both of them out for at least the 2019/2020 regular season. So even if Golden State somehow re-signs both of them, the Warriors won’t be nearly as strong as they’ve been. The Warriors have been a perennial powerhouse of the NBA. The collapse of a superpower seems like it should be accompanied by the passing of the proverbial powerhouse torch, but things haven’t ever worked that quickly in the NBA. After Russell’s Celtics fell, it took about a decade for Larry Bird and Magic to take over the league (Although Kareem just about completely dominated the 70’s). The transition from the 80s’ Celtics/Lakers era to the 90’s Jordan Bulls era was relatively smooth, but it was separated by a buffer called the Bad Boy Pistons. After Michael took six rings, it took a few years for the Kobe/Shaq Lakers to take hold of the league. What I’m trying to say is, don’t expect a new era of the NBA to be ushered in as quickly as the Warriors have fallen.

The Short-Term Future (1-2 Years)

If we’re looking at the next couple years of the league, we have to pay complete attention to Kawhi and Anthony Davis. If the Clippers sign Leonard, they automatically become a contender in the West. If Kawhi stays in Toronto, the West is left wide open. There will be a black hole where content used to spawn in the West naturally, and it could be filled by just about any teams or players. Here are some of the teams from the West that I think could make their case as perennial contenders next year:

  • Dallas Mavericks – It’s hard to think of a team that has a better long-term core than the Mavs. Luka Doncic just had one of the most impressive rookie seasons of the past 20 years, and he’ll only be 20 by the beginning of next year. Kristaps Porzingis has been almost forgotten about since he tore his ACL. He was a borderline All-NBA level player for the Knicks at 22 years old, but, understandably, he lost hype after his knee injury. It’s difficult for a 7’3″ man to rehab a knee injury and return to 100%. Dallas has a ton of cap space, they have over $50 Million free this offseason, but they’ll likely sign Porzingis to a deal worth over $30 Million annually. They still have enough salary cap room to sign a third all-star level player. There are rumors that they’ll offer Kemba Walker. I wouldn’t be surprised if they pursued someone like Khris Middleton, although Dallas hasn’t had a ton of recent success in the free agent market.
  • Los Angeles Lakers – This is an obvious one. Even though it’s premature to crown the Lakers as the favorites to win it all next year, they’ll dominate the NBA news cycle no matter how successful they are as a team. I think they could go one of two ways in free agency this year. They have somewhere from $23-27 million in cap space and five players on their active roster (Lebron, AD, Kuzma, Isaac Bonga, Mo Wagner). The first option is to target a ball-handling star and try to convince him to take a pay cut (i.e., Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving, D’Angelo Russell, Jimmy Butler) then use the veteran minimum to fill out a lackluster bench. The second option is to try and sign a few solid role players to round out a balanced 7-8 man rotation. They could target guys who could take $6-9 million annually, like Patrick Beverly, Danny Green, Paul Milsap, Marcus Morris, or Seth Curry. I like the latter option, but I think it’s more likely that Rob Pelinka will go with the superstar route.
  • Los Angeles Clippers – Sticking with another Los Angeles team, I think this is pretty straight forward. If the Clippers sign Kawhi, they’re the favorites to win the 2020 NBA title. It’s as simple as that. It’ll be a battle in Staples Center for control of the West, and I think that could be the most entertaining storyline of this offseason.
  • Utah Jazz – This is less of a breakout candidate because they’ve already broken out as a contender. However, they’re rumored to be targeting D’Angelo Russell in free agency. I love his fit with Utah, although they already have a slightly inefficient, volume-shooting, ball-dominant guard in Donovan Mitchell. Replacing Rubio with Russell adds an entirely new dimension to their already-solid offense, and their defense will barely take a hit.

There’s a lack of Eastern Conference teams for several reasons. Mainly, everything is pretty much set out there. If Kawhi re-signs in Toronto, they’re defending their title with a good chance to repeat. If they don’t re-sign him, they go into a rebuild. The Bucks are mostly figured out for the next few years, as are the Sixers (Barring a surprise Ben Simmons trade.)

The Long-Term Future (5-7 Years)

  • Boston Celtics – It seems like Danny Ainge’s asset-stacking strategies never really resulted in any notable success, which is bad. I like the Celtics’ long-term roster, though, which is good. Jayson Tatum had a pretty bad sophomore slump this past year, but I think he just completely over-performed in his rookie year. The Celtics are going to be relevant no matter what, but I don’t see a championship window opening for them over the next four or five years. They’re eventually going to have to pay Jaylen Brown and Tatum, and I don’t see either of them ever being the best player on a championship team, and I only see Tatum has potentially being a great number two. It’s going to be tough to build around those two.
  • New Orleans Pelicans – The Pelicans currently have a dream team. More specifically, a dream team if you’re playing Franchise Mode in NBA 2K. They have the greatest abundance of young talent that the league has seen in the past 25 years, and it’ll be exciting to see what happens with it. I love the backcourt duo of Jrue Holiday and Lonzo Ball. They’re two young, extremely intelligent, unselfish, and very defensively savvy guards, and their team-first brand of basketball will be perfect for a budding superstar like Zion Williamson. They also have what seems like every single one of the Lakers’ first-round draft picks for the next four-five years, so if Zion, Lonzo, Jrue, and Brandon Ingram blossom into a cohesive, efficient core, it won’t be hard to surround them with more talent. I don’t love Brandon Ingram’s fit in New Orleans, a pure scorer may be all he amounts to in the NBA, and I don’t know how he’ll develop as a defender due to his thin frame. It’ll be interesting to see what the Pelicans do with their fourth pick. There are reports that they’re negotiating with Washington in a deal for Bradley Beal. Sending the fourth pick, Brandon Ingram, and a future first-rounder for Beal would make sense for both teams. It would free up cap room for Washington, give them two future assets to boost their rebuild, and a potential star in Ingram. For New Orleans, it would introduce a win-now culture while developing their young players, plus it wouldn’t damage their rebuild due to all of the picks they acquired from Los Angeles. I think the Pelicans will be a League Pass must-watch for the next decade.
  • Milwaukee Bucks – I had to include them on this list. Whichever team has Giannis for the next ten years will be a force to be reckoned with. I hope that they can continue building a roster with championship potential around Giannis before his contract expires. They’ve already done a better job of this than how Cleveland and New Orleans treated Lebron and AD on their rookie contracts, respectively.
  • Philadelphia 76ers – I don’t have a great feeling about the 76ers’ future, but what do I know? I think Joel Embiid is a little too fragile, and he already moves like he’s 40. I got some real Greg Oden vibes in the playoffs this year, but he was technically nursing a back injury (and gastrointestinal issues.) Okay, now I have to go out and say it: I don’t think Ben Simmons is a Top 25 player in the NBA, and I will continue to believe this until he either develops a jumper or decides to show up in the playoffs consistently. If I were a GM trying to win a championship, I wouldn’t feel comfortable having him as my second option. I hope he improves, though. I hope he proves me wrong, and I would like to see the Sixers win a title over the next 5-7 years. If things go right for them, they could win a couple.

NBA Award Predictions

Sixth Man of the Year: Lou Williams, SG, Los Angeles Clippers

Coach of the Year: Mike Malone, Denver Nuggets

Most Improved: Pascal Siakam, PF/SF, Toronto Raptors

Rookie of the Year: Luka Doncic, SF, Dallas Mavericks

Defensive Player of the Year: Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Milwaukee Bucks

Most Valuable Player: Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Milwaukee Bucks

How to Keep Track of Everything:

Keeping up with all of the happenings in the NBA’s offseason is tough. There’s smokescreens, welched deals, false reports, internet trolls, etc. If you need a way to stay connected to all of the news, I suggest following these twitter accounts. Rob Perez of the Action Network, @WorldWideWob, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, @WojESPN, Shams Charania of The Athletic, @ShamsCharania, and Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, @KevinOConnor . NBA Twitter is the best part of twitter, don’t forget that.

Roughing the Caster Episode #1: NFL Draft Recap and Reactions

It’s a little late, but here’s the inaugural episode of FTS Sports’ main podcast. In this episode, FTS writers Adam Simkowitz and Dylan White give their immediate reactions to the 2019 NFL Draft. This includes their favorite and least favorite picks from the draft, and the teams who won and lost this year’s draft. It’s only 30 minutes so it’s a quick, easy, and condensed listen!

2019 NFL Draft Grades: Full Team-by-Team Analysis – NFC Edition

In a surprising turn of events, Dave Gettleman and Dan Snyder may have been two of this year’s draft winners. The same can’t be said for the Houston Texans.

Some draft analysts argue that immediate draft reactions are useless. I disagree with that. I believe that there is value in assessing a combination of how a team filled its positional needs relative to the value of the pick that the player was selected. For example, if the Falcons had a dire need for edge-rushing talent, then selected edge rushers in the sixth and seventh rounds, they did not get enough value for a positional need. This would result in a lower grade. So obviously, these teams’ grades will lean more on how the teams drafted early.

See my AFC Draft Analysis here.

It’s clearly impossible to truly tell who the winners of the draft are the day after it ended, so I wouldn’t normally put a lot of weight into immediate analysis. But I’m right about this stuff, I swear.

Arizona Cardinals: A+

  • Round 1 (1): Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma – A+
  • Round 2 (33): Byron Murphy, CB, Washington – A+
  • Round 2 (62): Andy Isabella, WR, UMass – A
  • Round 3 (65): Zach Allen, DE, Boston College – A-
  • Round 4 (103): Hakeem Butler, WR, Arizona State – B
  • Round 5 (139): Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama – A
  • Round 6 (174): KeeSean Johnson, WR, Fresno State – A
  • Round 6 (179): Lamont Gallard, C, Georgia – A
  • Round 7 (248): Joshua Miles, OT, Morgan State – C
  • Round 7 (249): Michael Dogbe, DE, Temple – C
  • Round 7 (254): Caleb Wilson, TE, UCLA – A

The Cardinals by far had the flashiest draft this year. Almost every pick saw either huge college production or huge athletic numbers this past year. The Cardinals are a team with a lot of holes in their roster, so their clear strategy of selecting the best player available will hopefully work out for them. They drafted three extremely polarizing wide receiver prospects this year. It’s going to be interesting to see how they mesh with Kyler Murray, perhaps the most polarizing overall prospect in the draft. Not only did they find value early after selecting my CB1 in the second round, but they also found tons of value late, Lamont Gallard, Caleb Wilson, and KeeSean Johnson are three of my favorite late-round picks this year. This could be a franchise-altering draft for Arizona. The only concern is that they didn’t address their putrid offensive line until late, which could delay their rebuild.

Atlanta Falcons: C+

  • Round 1 (14): Chris Lindstrom, OG, Boston College – B+
  • Round 1 (31): Kaleb McGary, OT, Washington – B+
  • Round 4 (111): Kendall Sheffield, CB, Ohio State – C
  • Round 4 (135): John Cominsky, DE, Charleston – C
  • Round 5 (152): Qadree Ollison, RB, Pittsburgh – C-
  • Round 5 (172): Jordan Miller, CB, Washington – C
  • Round 6 (203): Marcus Green, WR, Louisiana-Monroe – C

The Falcons had one of the stranger draft classes this year. They reached for Chris Lindstrom, who was almost universally graded as a late first-early second rounder. They traded back into the first round to select Kaleb McGary, who I also thought was a bona fide second rounder. They didn’t add anyone to their pass rush until late in the fourth round, which is an area of concern for them.

Carolina Panthers: A-

  • Round 1 (16): Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State – A
  • Round 2 (37): Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss – A
  • Round 3 (100): Will Grier, QB, West Virginia – B+
  • Round 4 (115): Christian Miller, LB, Alabama – B+
  • Round 5 (154): Jordan Scarlett, RB, Florida – B
  • Round 6 (212): Dennis Daley, OT, South Carolina – C
  • Round 7 (237): Terry Godwin, WR, Georgia – C

The Panthers were the true beneficiaries of the surplus of pass-rushing talent in this year’s draft. In almost any other class, Brian Burns almost certainly would have been drafted in the Top 12. He’s an athletic unicorn with somewhat refined pass-rush moves, and he has a high motor. Greg Little is another prospect that I love. Per PFF, Little allowed 26 total pressures and three sacks in 993 pass-blocking snaps over his past two seasons. He’s been consistently productive, has no major injury concerns, and no athletic red flags. He’s perfect for a Carolina O-Line that needs work. The third-round selection of Will Grier could be hit-or-miss for Carolina. He has an incredible arm, but his feet and decision-making are iffy. He has great poise, and his issues are definitely fixable. With Cam Newton’s status up in the air for this season and no real backup, Grier is a good pick.

Chicago Bears: D+

  • Round 3 (73): David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State – B+
  • Round 4 (126): Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia – B+
  • Round 6 (205): Duke Shelley, CB, Kansas State – C
  • Round 7 (222): Kerrith Whyte Jr., RB, FAU – C
  • Round 7 (238): Stephen Denmark, CB, Valdosta State – C

The Bears had very few selections due to the Khalil Mack trade, which is a problem I’m sure they’re content with. David Montgomery is a great between-the-tackles runner (Tarik Cohen is not.), and he’ll serve as a good two-down runner for them. Riley Ridley is a pass catcher that slid in this draft, probably due to athletic limitations and average college production. I still believe he’ll be productive for the Bears, although their depth chart at receiver is a little clogged up right now.

Dallas Cowboys: C

  • Round 2 (58): Trysten Hill, DT, UCF – C
  • Round 3 (90): Connor McGovern, G, Penn State – B
  • Round 4 (128): Tony Pollard, RB, Memphis – C
  • Round 5 (158): *Michael Jackson, CB, Miami – B
  • Round 5 (165): Joe Jackson, DE, Miami – B
  • Round 6 (213): Donovan Wilson, S, Texas A&M – C
  • Round 7 (218): Mike Weber, RB, Ohio State – B
  • Round 7 (241): Jalen Jelks, DE, Oregon – B

This may be my least favorite draft class from this year. Although Trysten Hill will likely become a starter on the Dallas D-Line in a couple years, I still feel like they reached for him at 58. It does fill a positional need for them, with the bizarre, seemingly substance-influenced surprise retirement of David Irving this offseason. Connor McGovern was a solid player at Penn State, and Jason Garrett will be able to move him throughout the interior of his offensive line in the future. Past that, I don’t see a ton of impact from their late-round players, except for some potential from Michael Jackson, the defensive back from Miami.

Detroit Lions: C+

  • Round 1 (8): TJ Hockenson, TE, Iowa – A-
  • Round 2 (43): Jahlani Tavai, LB, Hawaii – D+
  • Round 3 (81): Will Harris, S, Boston College – B
  • Round 4 (117): Austin Bryant, DE, Clemson – B
  • Round 5 (146): Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State – A
  • Round 6 (184): Travis Fulgham, WR, Old Dominion – C
  • Round 6 (186): Ty Johnson, RB, Maryland – C
  • Round 7 (224): Isaac Nauta, TE, Georgia – C
  • Round 7 (229): P.J. Johnson, DT, Arizona – C

I didn’t exactly understand the game-plan with the Lions’ draft. I’m not going to argue the T.J. Hockenson pick, I think he’ll be a great pro, but they already put resources into the TE spot this offseason with the signing of Jesse James. They have needs at almost every defensive position, which I’m assuming explains the apparent overcorrection that followed Hockenson, drafting defensive players in rounds 2-5. I don’t love Jahlani Tavai, I never really saw anything that made him deserving of a second round pick, but I have no quarrels with the 3rd and 4th round picks of Harris and Bryant. A pick that I actually do like is of Amani Oruwariye in the fifth round, which I think is excellent value for a player of his caliber. I didn’t see any apparent reasons for his fall to the fifth, he put up good production in coverage and performed fine in his workouts. Overall, it was a confusing draft from the Lions.

Green Bay Packers: A-

  • Round 1 (12): Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan – B-
  • Round 1 (21): Darnell Savage Jr., S, Maryland – A
  • Round 2 (44): Elgton Jenkins, C, Mississippi State – A
  • Round 3 (75): Jace Sternberger, TE, Texas A&M – A-
  • Round 5 (150): Kingsley Keke, DT, Texas A&M – A
  • Round 6 (185): Ka’Dar Hollman, CB, Toledo – C
  • Round 6 (194): Dexter Williams, RB, Notre Dame – C
  • Round 7 (226): Ty Summers, LB, TCU – C

Despite all of the negative press surrounding the Packers’ selection of Rashan Gary, I kind of love their draft class. Even if Gary doesn’t pan out, they still may have built the most dangerous young secondary in the NFL, adding Darnell Savage Jr. to a secondary with Jaire Alexander, Adrian Amos, and Josh Jackson. Stealing Elgton Jenkins from the Saints in Round 2 was one of the more underrated moves from the draft, and adding Kingsley Keke to their already-dominant defensive line was a great move. Jace Sternberger was one of my higher-rated tight ends in this class, he has one of the more refined route trees in this year’s loaded class. Overall, the Packers added serious firepower to their defense, and they gave Aaron Rodgers another weapon at tight end.

Los Angeles Rams: A+

  • Round 2 (61): Taylor Rapp, S, Washington – A
  • Round 3 (70): Darrell Henderson, RB, Memphis – A-
  • Round 3 (79): David Long, CB, Michigan – A+
  • Round 3 (97): Bobby Evans, OT/OG, Oklahoma – A
  • Round 4 (134): Greg Gaines, DT, Washington – A
  • Round 5 (169): David Edwards, OT, Wisconsin – A-
  • Round 6 (243): Nick Scott, S, Penn State – C
  • Round 7 (251): Dakota Allen, LB, Texas Tech – C

The Rams maximized the values of their respective picks this year. They drafted secondary early, added another playmaker to their electric offense, added depth to their defensive line, and added depth and versatility to their offensive line. My philosophy for building winning football roster goes something like this: When you already have a quarterback, the next most important thing is bolstering your linemen on both sides, and being able to cover on defense. The Rams did exactly this in their draft. I love Taylor Rapp’s versatility on defense, although his strong suit is in the box. Darrell Henderson averaged an insane 8.9 YPC over his last two seasons at Memphis, his explosiveness will be properly utilized in Sean McVay’s offense. David Long is an undersized corner out of Michigan, but his production, instinct, and cover skills will make him a valuable part of the Los Angeles defense. I see him having a similar impact to what Desmond King does for the Chargers, or more realistically what Jourdan Lewis does for Dallas.

Minnesota Vikings: B-

  • Round 1 (18): Garrett Bradbury, C, NC State – A
  • Round 2 (50): Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabama – B-
  • Round 3 (102): Alexander Mattison, RB, Boise State – C
  • Round 4 (114): Dru Samia, OG, Oklahoma – C
  • Round 5 (162): Cameron Smith, LB, USC – C
  • Round 6 (190): Armon Watts, DT, Arkansas – B
  • Round 6 (191): Marcus Epps, S, Wyoming – C
  • Round 6 (193): Oli Udoh, OT, Elon – C+
  • Round 7 (217): Kris Boyd, CB, Texas – C
  • Round 7 (239): Dillon Mitchell, WR, Oregon – C
  • Round 7 (247): Olabisi Johnson, WR, Colorado State – C
  • Round 7 (250): Austin Cutting, LS, Air Force – B

It’s rare that a non-playoff team has few holes to fill come draft day. It’s not rare when a roster stages a mutiny on its offensive coordinator, and when their offensive line and defense is ravaged by injuries. The Vikings have the second worst offensive line out of any team over .500 from this past year, second to the Texans. I would’ve been happy for the Vikings if they had selected an offensive lineman with every pick in this draft. That (obviously) didn’t happen, and they rolled with Garrett Bradbury in the first round. Although interior linemen aren’t nearly as valuable as tackles, I like Bradbury as the 18th pick in the draft. Irv Smith Jr. is an understandable pick in the second round. Kirk Cousins historically works well with athletic tight ends, and he’s yet to have one in Minnesota. None of their later round picks stand out to me, but I do like Armon Watts out of Arkansas.

New Orleans Saints: C+

  • Round 2 (48): Erik McCoy, C, Texas A&M – B
  • Round 4 (105): Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida – A
  • Round 6 (177): Saquan Hampton, S, Rutgers – C
  • Round 7 (231): Alizé Mack, TE, Notre Dame – C
  • Round 7 (244): Kaen Eliss, LB, Idaho – C

With a lack of picks due to the Marcus Davenport trade, the Saints had few opportunities to address their team needs. After Max Unger’s surprise retirement, center was the highest priority for the Saints. They picked a center, Erik McCoy with their first pick, a player that I think has a bright future. The stopped the slide of Chauncey Gardner-Johnson in the fourth round, a safety with little experience and subpar instincts.

New York Giants: B (Excluding Daniel Jones: A+)

  • Round 1 (6): Daniel Jones, QB, Duke – D+
  • Round 1 (17): Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson – B
  • Round 1 (30): Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia – A
  • Round 3 (95): Oshane Ximines, EDGE, Old Dominion –A
  • Round 4 (108): Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame – A
  • Round 5 (143): Ryan Connelly, LB, Wisconsin – C
  • Round 5 (171): Darius Slayton, WR, Auburn – C
  • Round 6 (180): Corey Ballentine, CB, Washburn – A-
  • Round 7 (232): George Asafo-Adjei, OT, Kentucky – C
  • Round 7 (245): Chris Slayton, DT, Syracuse – C

I see the Giants’ draft class in two different respects. There is a clear good and a clear bad side. Here’s the good side: I think that they built an extremely strong foundation to their defense, rebuilding their aging secondary with Deandre Baker, Julian Love, and Corey Ballentine. Dexter Lawrence II is another player that I think will be a difference-maker for their defense, although I don’t really know how valuable a 340 pound, run-stuffing DT is these days. (See: Damon Harrison Trade) Oshane Ximines was one of my favorite picks in the third round, he was an extremely productive player in college, even though his competition at Old Dominion may not have been too strong. Here’s the bad: Daniel Jones. I’ve never seen a pick that was more universally hated than Daniel Jones. It seems as if every expert, analyst, and general fan of football knows that Jones was a complete reach at pick six. I agree with these sentiments. Although he has the somewhat prototypical size for an NFL quarterback, he has severe concerns with accuracy. He also has a subpar arm, there’s rarely any ‘zip’ on his passes. It seems likely that David Gettleman may have wasted the sixth overall pick. It’s not a franchise-crippling pick though, due to their success in the later rounds.

Philadelphia Eagles: A-

  • Round 1 (22): Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State – A+
  • Round 2 (53): Miles Sanders, RB, Penn State – B-
  • Round 2 (57): J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Stanford – A-
  • Round 4 (138): Shareef Miller, EDGE, Penn State – B+
  • Round 5 (167): Clayton Thorson, QB, Northwestern – C+

The Eagles had a productive draft despite their lack of picks. They traded up in the first round to take offensive tackle Andre Dillard. Jumping ahead of the offensive-line needy Houston Texans was another savvy move by GM Howie Roseman. They swapped first-rounders with the Ravens, sending them back only three spots, so the compensation that they had to give for the 22nd pick wasn’t too bad (They gave up the 127th and 197th overall picks). Andre Dillard may be the second most NFL-ready tackle prospect behind Jonah Williams, he as ideal size and experience in a pass-happy offense at Washington State. In the second round, they added more offensive weapons to compliment Carson Wentz. This was a necessary move, their running back corps has been weak for years, and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside will be a red-zone target to draw attention from Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffery. Clayton Thorson will hopefully develop into a solid backup quarterback, and Shareef Miller will eventually serve as valuable pass-rushing depth.

San Francisco 49ers: B (Excluding Nick Bosa: D+)

  • Round 1 (2): Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State – A++
  • Round 2 (36): Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina – B
  • Round 3 (67): Jalen Hurd, WR/RB, Baylor – C-
  • Round 4 (110): Mitch Wishnowsky, P, Utah – C-
  • Round 5 (148): Dre Greenlaw, LB, Arkansas – C
  • Round 6 (176): Kaden Smith, TE, Stanford – C
  • Round 6 (183): Justin Skule, OT, Vanderbilt – C
  • Round 6 (198): Tim Harris, CB, Virginia – C+

I have mixed opinions about the 49er’s draft. They were able to take Nick Bosa with the second pick, who I believe is the best player in this draft. I don’t really like the rest of their draft though. They needed offensive weapons to pair with Jimmy Garoppolo, but I think they could’ve drafted better talent than Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd. The picks make sense, Kyle Shanahan runs a west-coast scheme that will normally have Garoppolo going through his progressions quickly, throwing a good amount of shallow, quick routes. Both Deebo Samuel and Hurd are crisp route-runners, and they produced mostly from the slot in college. Jalen Hurd is 6’4”, an absurd height for a slot receiver, it’ll be interesting how he’s able to separate early given his big frame. It’ll also be interesting to see if they both remain lined up in the slot in the NFL because picking two slot receivers with your second and third round selections don’t make a ton of sense value-wise. They picked a punter in the fourth round which is strange, but if John Lynch thinks he has the 49ers’ punter for the next 10 years, it’s not a bad pick.

Seattle Seahawks: B-

  • Round 1 (29): L.J. Collier, EDGE, TCU – B
  • Round 2 (47): Marquise Blair, S, Utah – B-
  • Round 2 (64): D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss – A
  • Round 3 (88): Cody Barton, LB, Utah – C
  • Round 4 (120): Gary Jennings Jr., WR, West Virginia – B+
  • Round 4 (124): Phil Haynes, OG, Wake Forest – C
  • Round 4 (132): Ugochukwu Amadi, S, Oregon – C
  • Round 5 (142): Ben Burr-Kirven, LB, Washington – C
  • Round 6 (204): Travis Homer, RB, Miami – C
  • Round 6 (209): Demarcus Christmas, DT, Florida State – B+
  • Round 7 (236): John Ursua, WR, Hawaii – C

I would question the selections of L.J. Collier and Marquise Blair if this was any team but the Seattle Seahawks. At first glance, I saw these selections as complete reaches. I thought of Collier as a mid to late second round pick, and Blair as a third. I then watched a solid amount of film on both of them, and my opinions changed. Collier has an extremely powerful first step, which is one of the more important qualities of a college pass-rusher. He has a solid variety of pass-rushing moves, and he displays the ability to counter. Marquise Blair is a linebacker in a safety’s body. He hits with reckless abandon, and his closing speed while defending the run is impressive. I think that Pete Carroll could turn him into one of the league’s best box safeties, if not converting him into a hybrid safety/SAM linebacker. D.K. Metcalf was one of the more highly-touted prospects coming into the draft. He has insane straight-line speed, but he has concerns with change of direction and footwork. His route-running will be questionable in the NFL, but he’s been blessed with Russell Wilson, who has turned Tyler Lockett and David Moore into elite-seeming players.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: B

  • Round 1 (5): Devin White, LB, LSU – B+
  • Round 2 (39): Sean Bunting, CB, Central Michigan – B
  • Round 3 (94): Jamel Dean, CB, Auburn – B+
  • Round 3 (99): Mike Edwards, S, Kentucky – B+
  • Round 4 (107): Anthony Nelson, EDGE, Iowa – B
  • Round 5 (145): Matt Gay, K, Utah – C-
  • Round 6 (208): Scott Miller, WR, Bowling Green – C
  • Round 7 (215): Terry Beckner, DT, Mississippi State – C

Tampa Bay came into this draft with a clear strategy: building a foundation for their defense. With the loss of Kwon Alexander and Brent Grimes, their defense has been their priority for their entire offseason. They signed Shaq Barrett, made a splashy hire as Todd Bowles as their defensive coordinator, and used 6 of their 8 draft picks on their defense. Sean Bunting, Mike Edwards, and Anthony Nelson were relatively safe picks, they were productive in college and had solid workouts. Jamel Dean was one of the winners of this year’s combine, dominating almost every event. Overall, it was a productive draft for the Bucs, although their franchise turmoil will likely not end until they figure out the quarterback position, as this year is pretty much Jameis Winston’s last shot to prove himself as a franchise quarterback.

Washington Redskins: B+

  • Round 1 (15): Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State – A+
  • Round 2 (26): Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State – A
  • Round 3 (76): Terry McLaurin, WR, Ohio State – B
  • Round 4 (112): Bryce Love, RB, Stanford – C+
  • Round 5 (131): Wes Martin, OG, Indiana – C
  • Round 6 (153): Ross Pierschbacher, OG, Alabama – C
  • Round 7 (173): Cole Holcomb, LB, North Carolina – C
  • Round 6 (206): Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State – A
  • Round 6 (227): Jimmy Moreland, CB, James Madison – C
  • Round 6 (253): Jordan Brailford, DE, Oklahoma State – B+

The Redskins won this year’s award for Luckiest Team on draft night. They didn’t trade up for a quarterback (which they were rumored to do), and Dwayne Haskins fell into their lap. In my eyes, Haskins is the second most talented quarterback in this draft, behind Kyler Murray. He has an NFL-ready body, and he has the anticipation, timing, and arm talent necessary to become a franchise quarterback. They traded up for Montez Sweat and barring any career-threatening injuries, he could be one of the best picks of the draft. Sweat is undoubtedly the best athlete for his position in this class, and there are no limits on his potential in the league. It’s just a question of work ethic and motor with Sweat, both of which have never been problems for him. They added two offensive weapons to complement Haskins, but I’m not crazy about either of them. Terry McLaurin was the primary deep-pass receiver for the Buckeyes this past season and will be good with Haskins from a chemistry standpoint. I don’t love the selection of Bryce Love. Love was once a Heisman Hopeful who had his college career derailed by an ACL injury, and there have been several roadblocks on his path to recovery. I doubt that he will ever return to full strength.

2019 NFL Draft Grades: Full Team-by-Team Analysis – AFC Edition

In a surprising turn of events, Dave Gettleman and Dan Snyder may have been two of this year’s draft winners. The same can’t be said for the Houston Texans.

Some draft analysts argue that immediate draft reactions are useless. I disagree with that. I believe that there is value in assessing a combination of how a team filled its positional needs relative to the value of the pick that the player was selected. For example, if the Falcons had a dire need for edge-rushing talent, then selected edge rushers in the sixth and seventh rounds, they did not get enough value for a positional need. This would result in a lower grade. So obviously, these teams’ grades will lean more on how the teams drafted early.

It’s clearly impossible to truly tell who the winners of the draft are the day after it ended, so I wouldn’t normally put a lot of weight into immediate analysis. But I’m right about this stuff, I swear.

Baltimore Ravens: A

  • Round 1 (25): Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma – A
  • Round 3 (85): Jaylon Ferguson, EDGE, Louisiana Tech – A-
  • Round 3 (93): Miles Boykin, WR, Notre Dame – A
  • Round 4 (113): Justice Hill, RB, Oklahoma State – A-
  • Round 4 (123): Ben Powers, G, Oklahoma – C
  • Round 4 (127): Iman Marshall, CB, USC – B
  • Round 5 (160): Daylon Mack, DT, Texas A&M – C
  • Round 6 (197): Trace McSorely, QB, Penn State – D+

As a Steeler fan, it pains me to see Baltimore continuing to draft well. They drafted three playmaking athletic freaks; Miles Boykin’s athletic profile is almost identical to D.K. Metcalf’s, Justice Hill is as explosive as any RB in this class, and Marquise Brown s pretty much a more refined Desean Jackson. Their offensive is slowly morphing into a powerhouse, but it all depends on whether or not Lamar Jackson can consistently throw the ball accurately. If his ball placement improves, the Ravens will wreak havoc on NFL defenses for the next 5-8 years with these playmakers. One last thing- Jaylon Ferguson may be the most productive pass rusher in college football history, and him being on the Ravens’ defense scares me.

Buffalo Bills: A-

  • Round 1 (9): Ed Oliver, DT, Houston – A+
  • Round 2 (38): Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma – A
  • Round 3 (74): Devin Singletary, RB, FAU – B
  • Round 3 (96): Dawson Knox, TE, Ole Miss – B+
  • Round 5 (147): Vosean Joseph, LB, Florida – B
  • Round 6 (181): Jaquan Johnson, CB/S, Miami – B
  • Round 7 (225): Darryl Johnson Jr., DE, North Carolina A&T – C
  • Round 7 (228): Tommy Sweeney, TE, Boston College – C

The Bills were lucky enough to have Ed Oliver fall to them at #9. This is what made their draft, I see him being a perennial All-Pro player in the NFL, his lateral, vertical, and north-south athleticism is off the charts, and once he fills into his frame completely, he’ll be close to unstoppable. I also really like Cody Ford, who successfully protected Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray’s respective blindsides for the past two years. I see Dawson Knox becoming a productive starter in the league, and between Singletary, Jospeh, and Jaquan Johnson, there will be at least two starters from that group. this was a fantastic draft from the rebuilding Bills.

Cincinnati Bengals: B-

  • Round 1 (11): Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama – A++
  • Round 2 (52): Drew Sample, TE, Washington – C+
  • Round 3 (72): Germaine Pratt, LB, NC State – B
  • Round 4 (104): Ryan Finley, QB, NC State – B
  • Round 4 (125): Renell Wren, DT, Arizona State – C
  • Round 4 (136): Michael Jordan, G, Ohio State – C
  • Round 6 (182): Trayveon Williams, RB, Texas A&M – C
  • Round 6 (210): Deshaun Davis, LB, Auburn – C
  • Round 6 (211): Rodney Anderson, RB, Oklahoma – A
  • Round 7 (223): Jordan Brown, CB, South Dakota State – C

Jonah Williams at #11 is my favorite pick of the draft, and it’s not close. He’s about as much of a sure-thing prospect as Quenton Nelson was last year, and he plays a much more valuable position. Not only did the Bengals get insane value with Williams, it was also at a position of need. The second round pick of Drew Sample fills the hole left by Tyler Kroft and the oft-injured Tyler Eifert, and Germaine Pratt will add depth at inside linebacker, their weakest position. I also really like Rodney Anderson, a big, powerful runner with receiving skills and a solid amount of elusiveness. He has severe injury concerns though.

Cleveland Browns: B+

  • Round 2 (46): Greedy Williams, CB, LSU – A
  • Round 3 (80): Sione Takitaki, LB, BYU – B
  • Round 4 (119): Sheldrick Redwine, S, Miami – B+
  • Round 5 (155): Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama – B
  • Round 5 (170): Austin Seibert, K, Oklahoma – B+
  • Round 6 (189): Drew Forbes, OT, Southeast Missouri State – B
  • Round 7 (221): Donnie Lewis Jr., CB, Tulane – C

It’s very possible that Greedy Williams and Austin Seibert end up being the only starters from the Cleveland draft class. However, Greedy Williams will be a very good starter for the Browns. It’s widely believed that Williams slid in this draft due to concerns with tackling. My response to that is the same of John Dorsey’s: “Cornerbacks are paid to cover.” Williams was the best man corner from this draft, and his long arms and good range will directly translate to the league. Denzel Ward and Greedy will make for one of the scariest secondaries in the NFL come 2022. I don’t love the selections of Sione Takitaki and Sheldrick Redwine, who are also two of my nominees for the best worst names of the draft. Redwine fills the Browns’ only true need at safety though, and I like his athletic profile. Mack Wilson is a young, raw inside linebacker with a lot of room to grow. I absolutely believe that the Browns could turn him into an impact starter. Do I think they will, though? Probably not.

Denver Broncos: A-

  • Round 1 (20): Noah Fant, TE, Iowa – B+
  • Round 2 (41): Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State – A
  • Round 2 (42): Drew Lock, QB, Missouri – A-
  • Round 3 (71): Dre’Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State – A
  • Round 5 (156): Justin Hollins, LB, Oregon – C
  • Round 6 (187): Juwann Winfree, WR, Colorado – C

The Broncos did about as much as they could’ve with the lack of picks that they had this year. They masterfully traded back from the 10th spot, acquiring the picks necessary to trade up for Drew Lock while simultaneously being able to fill a need, drafting Noah Fant, adding a playmaker that they desperately needed. With the departure of Demaryius Thomas and the tragic achilles injury to Emmanuel Sanders, there are almost zero dynamic pass-catchers on the roster, Courtland Sutton has yet to prove himself. Dalton Risner is one of the most versatile linemen in this draft class, playing highly-graded seasons at center, right tackle, and left tackle at Kansa State. He will likely become the center for the Broncos, but if needed, he can shift around the line. I didn’t love Drew Lock coming into this year’s draft, but he’s well worth the position at which the Broncos were able to select him. The biggest issue with his QB play is his inconsistent footwork, but being around two longtime NFL quarterbacks in Joe Flacco and John Elway will absolutely help him. Dre’Mont Jones was one of my favorite mid-round picks in this draft. On film, he’s an extremely slippery defensive tackle, moving laterally as if he were a linebacker. His workout numbers don’t match that, which caused him to slip in the draft. The Broncos have been thin at DT ever since the departure of Malik Jackson, Dre’Mont Jones will be a good piece for them.

Houston Texans: D+

  • Round 1 (23): Tytus Howard, OT, Alabama State – C+
  • Round 2 (54): Lonnie Johnson Jr., CB, Kentucky – B-
  • Round 2 (55): Max Scharping, OT, Northern Illinois – B
  • Round 3 (86): Kahale Warring, TE, San Diego State – C
  • Round 5 (161): Charles Omenihu, DE, Texas – C
  • Round 6 (195): Xaiver Crawford, CB, Central Michigan – C
  • Round 7 (220): Cullen Gillaspia, RB, Texas A&M – C

Personally, I really didn’t love what the Texans did this year. Not one of their picks was on my pre-draft Top 60 board, and they made 3 picks in the top 60. Tytus Howard felt like a total reach to me, probably as a result of the Eagles leapfrogging them to draft Andre Dillard, the far superior tackle prospect. Lonnie Johnson Jr. is a somewhat understandable pick at 54, filling the absence of Kevin Johnson and the eventual departure of Jonathan Joseph. I appreciate the Texans’ effort to bolster their offensive line, but they may have gone about it in the wrong way.

Indianapolis Colts: B+

  • Round 2 (34): Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple – B+
  • Round 2 (49): Ben Banogu, LB, TCU – A
  • Round 2 (59): Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State – A
  • Round 3 (89): Bobby Okereke, LB, Stanford – A
  • Round 4 (109): Khari Willis, S, Michigan State – B
  • Round 5 (144): Marvell Tell III, S, USC – C+
  • Round 5 (164): E.J. Speed, LB, Tarleton State – C
  • Round 6 (199): Gerri Green, DE, Mississippi State – C
  • Round 7 (240): Jackson Barton, OT, Utah – C
  • Round 7 (246): Javon Patterson, C, Ole Miss – C

Chris Ballard seems to have temporarily figured out the draft. The Colts figured out their team needs (WR, Secondary,LB), found out where the value was for these positions (picks 30-90), and put their resources into dominating that section of the draft. Rock ya-Sin is a physical, instinctual corner with a good amount of room to grow. Ben Banogu and Bobby Okereke are both ridiculous athletic specimens in pretty much opposite ways. Parris Campbell is a modern Swiss Army Knife at WR. This class could easily become as successful as their class from last year.

Jacksonville Jaguars: B-

  • Round 1 (7): Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky – A
  • Round 2 (35): Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida – N/A (Injury Questions)
  • Round 3 (69): Josh Oliver, TE, San Jose State – C
  • Round 3 (98): Quincy Williams, LB, Murray State – C
  • Round 5 (140): Ryquell Armstead, RB, Temple – C
  • Round 6 (178): Gardner Minshew, QB, Washington State – C
  • Round 7 (235): Dontavius Russell, DT, Auburn – C

It’s going to be interesting to see where the Jaguars utilize Josh Allen in their front seven. His blend of size, strength, speed, and instincts already make him one of the versatile linebackers in the NFL. I hope that they use Allen in a way that’s similar to Chandler Jones in Arizona; majorily as a pass-rusher. I gave Jawaan Taylor a N/A grade, he has concerns with a degenerative knee problem. The Jaguars have no problem with taking risks on talent with injury history, though (Myles Jack). If Taylor remains healthy, he’s pretty much the perfect tackle for Jacksonville. He’s powerful and quick as a run blocker, and he’s had plenty of experience as a pass blocker too. Aside from those prospects, I don’t see much else impact from their class. Josh Oliver is a big, fast tight end that is mostly seen as a project, but he does have a relatively high ceiling.

Kansas City Chiefs: B-

  • Round 2 (56): Mecole Hardman, WR, Georgia – C+
  • Round 2 (63): Juan Thornhill, CB/S, Virginia – A-
  • Round 3 (84): Khalen Saunders, DT, Western Illinois – A
  • Round 6 (201): Rashad Fenton, CB, South Carolina – C
  • Round 6 (214): Darwin Thompson, RB, Utah State – A-
  • Round 7 (216): Nick Allegretti, G, Illinois – C

The fact that Kansas City used their first pick of this years’ draft to select a small, fast, receiver highlights a more significant issue that arose this weekend. With the possible absence of Tyreke Hill for the entire 2019 season and perhaps longer, the Chiefs are thin outside the hashmarks. Before the draft, they had by far the weakest cornerback room out of any playoff team from 2018. They didn’t exactly address cornerback, either. They took Juan Thornhill in Round 2, an athletic freak that I love as a prospect. He has an athletic profile that strongly resembles Donte Whitner’s, so I don’t really know if they’ll be able to relocate him to cornerback. Khalen Saunders is possibly my favorite pick from the third round, he’s undersized but incredibly explosive, I think he can be a disruptor on the interior of Kansas City’s line. Overall, they didn’t really fill their most significant needs, but they drafted a solid amount of talent.

Los Angeles Chargers: B+

  • Round 1 (28): Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame – A
  • Round 2 (60): Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware – A
  • Round 3 (91): Trey Pipkins, OT, Sioux Falls – D
  • Round 4 (130): Drue Tranquil, LB, Notre Dame – C
  • Round 5 (166): Easton Stick, QB, North Dakota State – C
  • Round 6 (200): Emeke Egbule, LB, Houston – C
  • Round 7 (242): Cortez Broughton, DT, Cincinnati – C

For the second year in a row, the Chargers knocked it out of the park in the first round. Jerry Tillery was an extremely efficient pass-rusher at Notre Dame this past year, and he may be an immediate starter for their lackluster interior defensive line. Nasir Adderley was a best-player-available pick for Los Angeles in the second. He showed out at the Senior Bowl, and performed well in his workouts. I see them as two impact starters by the end of this season, but I don’t see much else in the rest of their draft. Trey Pipkins is pretty much the definition of a project prospect at a position that takes some time to develop. Drue Tranquil is an athletic inside linebacker, he’ll provide depth for them behind Jatavis Brown and Denzel Perryman.

Miami Dolphins: C+

  • Round 1 (13): Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson – B+
  • Round 3 (78): Michael Deiter, G, Wisconsin – B+
  • Round 5 (151): Andrew Van Ginkel, LB, Wisconsin – A-
  • Round 6 (202): Isaiah Prince, OT, Ohio State – C
  • Round 7 (233): Chandler Cox, RB, Auburn – D
  • Round 7 (234): Myles Gaskin, RB, Washington – D

The Dolphins did’t have a super flashy draft this year. With their two Top-100 picks, they elected to stay in the trenches with Wilkins and Deiter. I appreciate the Dolphins draft strategy though, linemen are the first position that you want to draft when beginning a rebuild. I like the selection of Andrew Van Ginkel, a raw, rangy inside linebackers with similarities to fellow late-round pick Fred Warner. I don’t like their late-round running back picks, they have their running back depth chart pretty much set with Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage.

New England Patriots: A

  • Round 1 (32): N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State – C
  • Round 2 (45): Joejuan Williams, CB/S, Vanderbilt – A
  • Round 3 (77): Chase Winovich, EDGE, Michigan – A
  • Round 3 (87): Damien Harris, RB, Alabama – B
  • Round 3 (101): Yodny Cajuste, OT, West Virginia – A
  • Round 4 (118): Hijalte Froholdt, OG, Arkansas – A
  • Round 4 (133): Jarrett Stidham, QB, Auburn – B
  • Round 5 (159): Byron Cowart, DT, Maryland – C
  • Round 5 (163): Jake Bailey, P, Stanford –B
  • Round 7 (252): Ken Webster, CB, Ole Miss – C+

This draft would have been an A++ if it weren’t for the N’Keal Harry pick at the end of the first round. Harry is a fine prospect, he reminds me of Dez Bryant in good and bad ways. He has ideal size for a WR at 6’2″ 228 lbs, and his workout numbers are outstanding, but he struggled to create separation in college, and he definitely will struggle in the NFL. The Patriots had a need at safety before the draft due to injuries to Patrick Chung, and it seems that they selected the oversized, fast Joejuan Williams to develop as a safety. Getting Chase Winovich at 77 is a classic perfect Patriots pick. He’s a high-motor, high-production, high-athleticism player. The only reason for him to slide to the third round is the fact that he’s 24 years old, but that’s a bad excuse not to take a player like him. Yodny Cajuste and Hijalte Froholdt are both players that don’t seem like great picks right now, but after four years of coaching from Dante Scarneccia, they’ll probably be the league’s highest-paid players at their respective positions. (Sarcasm?) Jarret Stidham is a fundamentally sound QB that throws the ball inconsistently, it’ll be interesting to see if Tom Brady mentors him similarly to Jimmy Garoppolo.

New York Jets: B+

  • Round 1 (3): Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama – A
  • Round 3 (68): Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida – B+
  • Round 3 (92): Chuma Edoga, OT, USC – B
  • Round 5 (157): Blake Cashman, LB, Minnesota – B
  • Round 6 (196): Blessuan Austin, CB, Rutgers – C

The Jets had a relatively successful draft given their lack of picks. There were several reports that Quinnen Williams was the #1 player on multiple teams’ draft boards. There was even a report that Jachai Polite was the #2 pass-rusher on the Jet’s board despite his lackluster workout showings. Blake Cashman was another player that was hurt by combine his performance and measurements. It was clear that the Jets’ strategy in this draft was chasing college production. Chuma Edoga was a player the received a ton of draft hype before this college football season due to his athleticism and success protecting Sam Darnold. His play declined this year, but getting him in the late third round way a steal for the Jets. The Jets had an extremely successful offseason. They fixed their most glaring issues as well as they could have, addressing their lack of playmaking in free agency with Le’Veon Bell, and stocking up on pass rushers in the draft. Their interior offensive line is still relatively weak, but it’s not a crippling issue.

Oakland Raiders: A-

  • Round 1 (4): Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson – B+
  • Round 1 (24): Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama – C+
  • Round 1 (27): Jonathan Abram, S, Mississippi State – A
  • Round 2 (40): Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson – B+
  • Round 4 (106): Maxx Crosby, EDGE, Eastern Michigan – B
  • Round 4 (129): Isaiah Johnson, CB, Houston – C
  • Round 4 (137): Foster Moreau, TE, LSU – A
  • Round 5 (149): Hunter Renfrow, WR, Clemson – C
  • Round 7 (230): Quinton Bell, DE, Prairie View A&M – C

The quality of the Raiders’ draft class may be the the most universally disagreed upon by draft analysts. Drafting a running back in the first round is pretty much criminal these days, and experts are arguing whether or not Jonathan Abram is just a box safety. Personally, I liked the Raiders’ draft. It could have been better, but it’s not going to set them back as a franchise. Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden were clear in their attempt to create a winning culture in Oakland, they drafted four players who played in this years’ CFB Championship. I love the selection of Foster Moreau late in the fourth, he has exceptional athleticism, he was a captain and leader of the LSU team for the past few years, and he fits into most blocking schemes. The Raiders had a clear plan for this year’s draft, and that’s about all you can ask for given the chaos that preceded their draft.

Pittsburgh Steelers: A-

  • Round 1 (10): Devin Bush, ILB, Michigan – A
  • Round 3 (66): Diontae Johnson, WR, Toledo – A-
  • Round 3 (83): Justin Layne, CB, Michigan State – A
  • Round 4 (122): Benny Snell Jr., RB, Kentucky – B-
  • Round 5 (141): Zach Gentry, TE, Michigan –C+
  • Round 6 (175): Sutton Smith, DE, Northern Illinois – C
  • Round 6 (192): Isaiah Buggs, DT, Alabama – C
  • Round 6 (207): Ulysses Gilbert III, LB, Akron – C
  • Round 7 (219): Derwin Gray, OT, Maryland – C

For the seventh year in a row, the Steelers have drafted a defensive player in the first round. And in the words of fellow FTS writer Adam Simkowitz, “Their defense is still not good.” I think Devin Bush will be an immediate impact player for the Steelers, I can see him finding his place in the front seven by week ten. I like the mid-round picks for Pittsburgh too. They’ve had a need for a good corner for about 25 years, so I’m guessing that Justin Layne is the answer. Diontae Johnson is a wideout that severely underperformed in the combine, but his on-field speed is unreal. He’s undersized, he creates separation at an elite level, and he’s one of the best route-runners in this class. Sound familiar? As for the rest of their draft, they seem to have picked some depth for James Conner, even though Jaylen Samuels performed at a high level as a rookie. This enables them to properly utilize Jaylen Samuels’ true versatility. Zach Gentry should end up serving as a replacement for Jesse James, who they lost to Detroit in free agency. Overall, it was a solid draft for the Steelers. Much better than last year.

Tennessee Titans: A-

  • Round 1 (19): Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State – A-
  • Round 2 (51): A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss – A
  • Round 3 (82): Nate Davis, OG, Charlotte – C
  • Round 4 (116): Amani Hooker, S, Iowa – A
  • Round 4 (121): Trevon Wesco, TE, West Virginia – B+
  • Round 5 (168): D’Andre Walker, OLB, Georgia – A
  • Round 6 (188): David Long Jr., LB, West Virginia – A

This draft for Tennessee has been par for the course on their upwards trend as a franchise. They’ve built an extremely deep roster, due to their ability to hit on a high percentage of late-round picks. Amani Hooker and D’Andre Walker were both picks of a high value, as they both produced at an elite level at their respective Power-5 schools. Amani Hooker has tackling concerns, but he’ll be able to cover well in the NFL. As for their early round picks, they selected Jeffery Simmons in the first, who’ll likely succeed Jurrell Casey as their cornerstone interior defender. He has character concerns stemming from an incident from high school, as everyone saw on national TV on Thursday, but he’s remained clean throughout college. He also tore his ACL, but it wasn’t a severe tear. It’s likely that he’ll return to full strength and go back to the extremely powerful, disruptive defender that he was at Mississippi State. A.J. Brown was my favorite receiver from the draft. He runs like a running back after the catch, and he’s able to create separation at a borderline elite level. He struggles with breaking the press, so he’ll produce the most from the slot in the league. The middle of the field will be open for him, as Delanie Walker is being phased out of the offense, and former first-rounder Corey Davis mostly works outside the hash marks. Of course all of their superb years of drafting will become obsolete if Marcus Mariota continues to be plagued by injury, never reaching his full potential.

2019 NFL Draft Official Preview: Big Board, Draft Night Predictions, and more.

With the draft just days away, I had to get a few things off my chest. Featuring a finalized 60-prospect Big Board, and some prospects that I love and don’t love.

Left to Right: Kyler Murray (OU), Drew Lock (MIZZOU), Daniel Jones(DUKE), Dwayne Haskins (OSU)

The draft is only a few days away, and honestly, I couldn’t be more excited. There’s a good amount of ambiguity surrounding the first overall pick, which has been and will be extremely entertaining to monitor. It could be argued that some of the most aggressive front offices have the most amount of draft capital – the Giants and Raiders both have multiple first-rounders, and I predict they’ll make some noise come draft night. So without further ado, I’d like to give some more organized thoughts about this year’s draft.

  • It’s an excellent year for rebuilding teams, and it’s an especially good year to have a surplus of picks, the prospect pool is extremely strong in the second-third round range and it’s top heavy too. The talent in this draft is a little more concentrated in places like offensive line, defensive line, and the secondary; positions that are becoming a premium in this era of football. In terms of the strongest and weakest position groups, skill position players are scarce this year, the running backs and wide receivers have no clear top-tier players. Don’t be surprised to see teams reach for players at these positions, similar to how players like Corey Davis, John Ross, and Zay Jones were over-drafted in 2017.
  • If I were to rank the position groups in this year’s draft class, it would have to look like this:
  1. Interior Defensive Line – There will be value in every round for this position, and players like Quinnen Williams and Ed Oliver could be transcendent.
  2. EDGE Defenders – Perhaps the most well-rounded of the positions, and the athletic prowess of this group is unprecedented. There are some hidden gems in the later rounds.
  3. Wide Receiver – The amount of talent in this position group is highly disputed this year, but I believe there could be six future pro bowlers in this WR class.
  4. Offensive Tackles – An abnormal amount of talent for a position that is difficult to project.
  5. Safety – There are so many safety prospects in this draft that I love. Very balanced class.
  6. Cornerback – A ton of talent in the first two rounds.
  7. Tight End – It’s T.J. Hockenson then everyone else, but there’s a surprising amount of depth.
  8. Interior Offensive Line – A balanced position group without a clear #1.
  9. Quarterback – It’s Kyler, then everyone else.
  10. Linebacker – Extremely top heavy.
  11. Running Back – Lacking all-round talent.
  12. Special Teams (Obviously)
  • Based off of team needs, here are the teams that benefit from the distribution of talent this year:
  • CAR, OAK, CHI, GB, IND, MIN, ATL, JAC, DEN, LAC, CLE
  • These are mostly teams with deficiencies in their secondary and at wide receiver. All of these franchises will likely be comfortable with picking for specific needs on Thursday, don’t expect any crazy moves from any of these teams. (Except for the Raiders)
  • And on the opposite side, the teams that do not benefit from this:
  • PHI, NYG, NO, CIN, MIA, BAL
  • These are mostly teams that need quarterbacks for the future (NYG/NO/CIN/MIA), or have a serious lack of talent at running back (MIA/PHI), interior O-Line (NYG/NO/BAL), or linebacker (CIN/BAL/PHI). Converse to what I said about the beneficiaries of this draft class, these teams may be more adept to trading up to fill the holes in their respective rosters. Also with teams like Baltimore, don’t be surprised if they trade out of the first round to build draft capital for a future class that may suit them better.

Big Board ft. Pro Comparisons (Top 60 Prospects):

  • Tier One: Potentially Transcendent Prospects. Ceiling: Multiple All-Pro selections or better. Ranks 1-10.
  • Tier Two: Elite Prospects. Ceiling: A few All-Pro Selections. Ranks 11-21.
  • Tier Three: Day One Starters. Ceiling: Perennial Pro Bowlers. Ranks 22-44
  • Tier Four: Future Starters. Ceiling: Impact Starter, one or two Pro Bowls. Ranks 45-60.
  1. EDGE/Ohio State – Nick Bosa, 22. Player Comp: Joey Bosa
  2. QB/Oklahoma – Kyler Murray, 22. Player Comp: Russell Wilson
  3. DT/Alabama – Quinnen Williams, 21. Player Comp: Ndamukong Suh
  4. DL/Houston – Ed Oliver, 22. Player Comp: Geno Atkins
  5. OT/OG/Alabama – Jonah Williams, 22. Player Comp: Joe Staley
  6. TE/Iowa – TJ Hockenson, 21. Player Comp: Tyler Eifert/George Kittle
  7. EDGE/Kentucky – Josh Allen, 22. Player Comp: Chandler Jones
  8. ILB/LSU – Devin White, 21. Player Comp: Deion Jones/Jaraad Davis
  9. CB/Washington – Byron Murphy, 21. Player Comp: Ronde Barber/Desmond King
  10. OT/Washington State – Andre Dillard, 22. Player Comp: Jake Matthews
  11. DT/Mississippi State – Jeffery Simmons, 21. Player Comp: Chris Jones
  12. RB/Alabama – Josh Jacobs, 21. Player Comp: Kareem Hunt
  13. EDGE/FSU – Brian Burns, 21.. Player Comp: Leonard Floyd
  14. LB/Michigan – Devin Bush, 20. Player Comp: Fast Vince Williams
  15. QB/Ohio State – Dwayne Haskins, 21. Player Comp: Nick Foles/Jameis Winston
  16. DE/DT/Notre Dame – Jerry Tillery, 22. Player Comp: Kenny Clark
  17. OG/C/NC State – Garrett Bradbury, 22-23. Player Comp: Travis Frederick
  18. WR/Oklahoma – Marquise Brown, 21. Player Comp: Desean Jackson
  19. WR/Ole Miss – AJ Brown, 21. Player Comp: Juju Smith-Schuster
  20. EDGE/Missouri – Montez Sweat, 22. Player Comp: Danielle Hunter
  21. OT/OG/Kansas State – Dalton Risner, 23. Player Comp: Brandon Scheriff
  22. CB/Georgia – Deandre Baker, 21. Player Comp: A.J. Boyue
  23. WR/Ole Miss – D.K. Metcalf, 21. Player Comp: Poor Man’s Terrell Owens
  24. CB/LSU – Greedy Williams, 21. Player Comp: Joe Haden
  25. DT/Clemson – Christian Wilkins, 23. Player Comp: Grady Jarrett
  26. DT/Clemson – Dexter Lawrence, 21. Player Comp: Akiem Hicks
  27. CB/Michigan – David Long, 21. Player Comp: Chris Harris Jr.
  28. WR/Stanford – J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, 22. Player Comp: Eric Decker
  29. EDGE/Michigan – Chase Winovich, 23. Player Comp: Ryan Kerrigan
  30. S/Alabama – Deionte Thompson, 22. Player Comp: Marcus Williams
  31. EDGE/Clemson – Clelin Ferrell, 21. Player Comp: Everson Griffen
  32. S/Delaware – Nasir Adderley, 21. Player Comp: Adrian Amos
  33. OT/Florida – Jawaan Taylor, 21. Player Comp: Morgan Moses
  34. TE/Iowa – Noah Fant, 21. Player Comp: O.J. Howard
  35. OT/Ole Miss – Greg Little, 21. Player Comp: Duane Brown
  36. RB/Iowa State – David Montgomery, 21. Player Comp: Devonta Freeman
  37. OG/Boston College – Chris Lindstrom, 22, Player Comp: Andrew Norwell
  38. WR/Ole Miss – D.K. Metcalf, 21. Player Comp: Poor Man’s Terrell Owens
  39. S/Maryland – Darnell Savage Jr., 22. Player Comp: Donte Whitner
  40. OG/OT/Oklahoma – Cody Ford, 22. Player Comp: La’el Collins
  41. S/Virginia – Juan Thornhill, 22. Player Comp: Damontae Kazee
  42. WR/Massachusetts – Andy Isabella, 22. Player Comp: T.Y. Hilton
  43. QB/Missouri – Drew Lock, 22. Player Comp: Jay Cutler
  44. OG/C/Mississippi State – Elgton Jenkins, 23. Player Comp: Weston Richburg
  45. QB/West Virginia – Will Grier, 24. Player Comp: Andy Dalton with a Stronger Arm
  46. S/Mississippi State – Jonathan Abram, 22. Player Comp: Keanu Neal
  47. CB/Vanderbilt – JoeJuan Williams, 21. Player Comp: Ahkello Witherspoon/Richard Sherman
  48. CB/Michigan State – Justin Layne, 21. Player Comp: Kendall Fuller
  49. WR/Arizona State – N’Keal Harry, 21. Player Comp: Demaryius Thomas
  50. S/Washington – Taylor Rapp, 21. Player Comp: Jordan Poyer
  51. EDGE/Louisiana Tech – Jaylon Ferguson, 23. Player Comp: Michael Johnson
  52. WR/Ohio State – Parris Campbell, 21. Player Comp: Percy Harvin
  53. S/Florida – Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, 21. Player Comp: Lamarcus Joyner
  54. QB/Duke – Daniel Jones, 21. Player Comp: Josh Allen with a weaker arm.
  55. EDGE/Michigan – Rashan Gary, 21. Player Comp: Vernon Gholston/Bradley Chubb
  56. WR/South Carolina – Deebo Samuel, 23. Player Comp: Randall Cobb
  57. LB/Notre Dame – Te’Von Coney, 21. Player Comp: Wesley Woodyard
  58. CB/Central Michigan – Sean Bunting, 22. Player Comp: Robert Alford
  59. DE/Boston College – Zach Allen, 22. Player Comp: Aaron Smith
  60. CB/Notre Dame – Julian Love, 21. Player Comp: Malcolm Butler

Sleepers/Late Round Value:

  • LB/West Virginia – David Long Jr. – Versatility at inside linebacker is a trait that’s becoming more valuable by the year. David Long Jr. is a bit undersized, but his range and run-stopping productivity make up for it. He runs and hits with reckless abandon, and he was able able to shoot through Big 12 offensive lines and and be a game wrecker in the running game. He lacks instincts and experience in pass coverage, which is a pretty significant red flag, which will end up causing him to slide to the middle rounds. Projection: Late Third Round
  • DT/Western Illinois – Khalen Saunders – Saunders was one of the several winners of this year’s Senior Bowl, showcasing his athleticism both on and off the field. He’s undersized, but he’s able to generate enough power and disruption to overcome his size. Projection: Mid Fourth Round
  • OG/Wisconsin – Beau Benzschawel – Benzschawel was a one-year-wonder of sorts in his senior year at Wisconsin. He was extremely productive, but showed signs of inconsistency. According to Pro Football Focus, he was efficient in both run and pass blocking. He ranked in the Top 10 in both inside and outside pressures allowed per snap among all draft-eligible offensive guards. I can see him becoming a perennial starter in the NFL, as long as he’s developed in the right scheme. Projection: Third Round
  • TE/LSU – Foster Moreau – Moreau is one of my favorite late-round prospects in this draft. He’s one of the most gifted athletes among the tight ends in this class and he has an extremely high motor. He has the athleticism and effort, he was graded well during his career at LSU, but he just didn’t have the production to back it up. Production doesn’t always translate to NFL success and vice versa. Projection: Early Third Round
  • WR/Notre Dame – Miles Boykin – He’s a projected third or late-second round pick. His athleticism is off the charts- his broad jump ranked second among WRs, his vertical jump and 3 cone time ranked first, and his twenty and sixty yard shuttles ranked in the Top 5. There are no major red flags on or off the field. He’s a little stiff for his position, and his route tree needs improvement, but his ability to create separation and athleticism will compensate for that. Projection: Late Second Round/Early Third
  • WR/Missouri – Emmanuel Hall – He’s similar to Miles Boykin in an athletic sense, they tied for the furthest broad jump at this year’s combine. He’s much less laterally explosive, which limits his potential route running-wise. He stands at 6’2″, which is about the perfect height for the modern wide receiver. He most likely will never be the WR1 for a team, but he can make an impact as a solid WR2/WR3, and his ceiling is probably becoming one of the league’s premier deep threats. Projection: Mid Fourth Round

2019 NFL Mock Draft 1.0: Round 1

With the NFL Draft beginning in just about a week, it seems like as good of a time as any to release my first official mock draft. After gathering information from all across Draft Twitter, scouting reports, player film, and the league’s rumor mill, this is as good of an explanation as I can give as to what should happen in this year’s draft. Obviously this won’t be accurate at all (no mock drafts are accurate), but based off of team needs and prospect buzz, these are my predictions.

  1. ARI: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma – The media’s confidence in Arizona selecting Murray with the first pick is decreasing. The trade buzz around Josh Rosen is slowly dying, and I highly doubt that Arizona would draft Kyler with Rosen still on the roster. Kyler is one of the better QB prospects of this decade despite his height concerns, and I think that he’ll go first overall to whichever team ends up with this pick.
  2. SF: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama – San Francisco has a ton of money and talent tied up at EDGE so it would make sense for them to take Williams with this pick. SF just put money into Dee Ford, which is probably why they’ll go with Williams, who’ll still be a game wrecker. He dominated thoroughly at Alabama, pretty much destroying the interior of every offensive line he faced this past season. He has good hands, a high motor, and fantastic size, all which will translate to the NFL.
  3. NYJ: Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State – Is pretty much a photocopy of his brother Joey, except with much more refined pass rushing moves for his age. He’s also slightly more athletic than his brother. Getting Bosa at #3 will give the Jets the dominant pass rusher that they’ve been searching for since John Abraham left.
  4. OAK: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky – There’s no replacing a player of Khalil Mack’s caliber, but Josh Allen would be a great consolation. He’s extremely versatile, he can work as a pass rusher or as a coverage linebacker. His strong suit is by far as an edge rusher, both as a 3-4 linebacker and a 4-3 defensive end. This versatility makes him an excellent pick for Oakland.
  5. TB: Devin White, ILB, LSU – He has excellent range, although I think he’s being hyped up too much. I don’t see what makes him so much better than Deion Jones, a similarly quick ILB from LSU, who was taken in the second round in 2016. I still think he’ll be a good player, and he’s going to be picked high due to the lack of depth at ILB in this class.
  6. NYG: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State – I really have no idea what the Giants are going to do here. Dave Gettleman seems to still have attachment issues with Eli Manning, but I have a feeling that it’s just a smoke screen. Dwayne Haskins was a one-year starter for Ohio State, setting Big Ten records in passing yard and passing touchdowns. He has an NFL build, although he’s terribly slow and a bit unathletic.
  7. JAX: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama – Jonah Williams is being supremely underrated. He’s not a guard, he’s not an RT. He is a franchise LT, and he has done nothing to disprove this in his two extremely productive seasons at Alabama. The Jaguars are a team with a ton of holes on offense, so you can never go wrong with the best available player.
  8. DET: Ed Oliver, DE/DT, Houston – The Lions will be lucky if Oliver slides this far, but I think it’ll happen. He’ll replace Ziggy Ansah with ease. He has as high of potential as anyone in the draft. Crazy Stat: He had a faster 20-yard shuttle than Saquon Barkley and Christian McCaffrey. At 280 pounds. Also, his 3 Cone Shuttle time would’ve placed him in the Top 5 of this class’s WRs. He’s undersized at around 6’1″, but just like Geno Atkins and Aaron Donald, his lateral speed will make up for his lack of size.
  9. BUF: Montez Sweat, EDGE, Missouri – The Bills need offensive weapons, but I don’t think any of this year’s receivers are worthy of a Top 10 pick. Montez Sweat would be a nice addition to their already solid pass rush. I predict a trade back for the Bills, but if not, Sweat has about as much potential as any edge rusher we’ve seen.
  10. DEN: Devin Bush Jr., LB, Michigan – This is a perfect fit for a team with a glaring need at ILB. Coverage linebackers are at an all-time premium in the NFL, and Bush can cover the field as well as any LB with his sub 4.5 40 speed. He’s also the most talented pass-rushing inside linebacker in this draft. Bush is a little undersized at 5’11”, but he plays much bigger than what he’s listed at.
  11. CIN: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington – Murphy has incredible ball skills and good measurables, and is more disciplined than Greedy, who I think is the second-best CB. He’s a good fit for Cincinnati, but he’d be a good fit anywhere, he’s explosive and has the best instincts out of any cornerback in this draft. Him and William Jackson III would make for one of the best young secondaries in the NFL.
  12. GB: TJ Hockenson, TE, Iowa – Outside of the top three picks, I don’t think you can get any safer than Hockenson in this draft class. Luckily for the Packers, they need a TE. Hockenson is a great receiver, great blocker, and he’s been through the same coaching as All-Pro TE George Kittle at Iowa.
  13. MIA: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri – Personally, I don’t love Drew Lock as a prospect. However, the QB room in Miami is looking extremely dire, featuring Ryan Fitzpatrick and Luke Falk as QB1 and QB2, respectively. It sounds like a crime, putting a rookie QB into a system with a new (defensive) head coach, but the Cardinals did it last year. If there’s any organization dysfunctional enough to make the same mistake this year, it’s the Miami Dolphins. Lock has an NFL-level arm, and the production in college to back it up. He has accuracy concerns though.
  14. ATL: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida – Although the Falcons tried to upgrade their talent at tackle with their signing of Ty Sambrailo, they don’t have much of a future at RT. I If Hockenson slips, I could see them going with a TE here. They need an upgrade at CB and EDGE too, so their pick is a toss-up. I could also see them taking Rashan Gary or Brian Burns here too.
  15. WSH: Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan – If I had to pick one first-round-projected prospect that I trust the least, it would be Rashan Gary. He’s an athletic marvel, but there are serious concerns with his pass-rushing inconsistency and his unreliable work ethic. It works out, though, because the organization that I trust the least is the Washington Redskins, who could pick Gary to replace an aging Ryan Kerrigan.
  16. CAR: Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson – This is one of my favorite potential picks of the first round. Ferrell is being overlooked when it comes to this class of edge rushers. He set the edge for Clemson’s 3-4 just as well as anyone in CFB, and I think his talents will translate directly to what the Panthers run in Carolina. 19.5 TFL and 13 sacks on that stacked Clemson line are insane, and he has the pro-level measurables to back everything up.
  17. NYG: DK Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss Player Comparison: With this pick, I think the Giants will try to make a splash. There isn’t a more splash-inducing pick than DK Metcalf. After trading Odell Beckham Jr., the Giants have no deep threats at wide receiver. And when you’re a team that’s (not admittedly) rebuilding, you’re more adept at taking risks in the draft, which is precisely what Metcalf is; a risk. College production isn’t always an indicator of NFL success (George Kittle), and Metcalf may be one of the most physically talented receivers the NFL’s ever seen.
  18. MIN: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson – The Vikings need to address two significant sections of their roster in this draft: Their defensive line, and their offensive line. In my opinion, the class of offensive linemen is slightly deeper than the defensive line class this year, so in round one, I have them choosing a defensive tackle that will eventually take Linval Joseph’s place. Wilkins eats space like no other DT in this class and has the agility and lateral speed to become a run-stuffing stalwart in the NFL.
  19. TEN: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa – Titans GM Jon Robinson has sneakily built one of the deepest and balanced rosters in the NFL; there are just about zero red flags when it comes to their needs in this year’s draft. However, after Delanie Walker’s gruesome ankle injury this past season, it is time for the Titans to find their future at Tight End. Noah Fant would be a great fit on just about any team, and I think he’ll come in and make an immediate impact for the Titans. He was highly graded in his junior season at Iowa, and he had WR-like numbers at the combine. He needs to add muscle and weight to his frame to adjust to the physicality of the NFL, but I think he’s still a solid prospect.
  20. PIT: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU – Williams is a sticky, agile man-to-man cover corner, with great instincts and natural talent while playing the ball in the air. He’s long and athletic, he’ll be able to run with almost anyone and challenge almost anyone physically. He doesn’t love to defend the run, but the Steelers have been drafting a ton of non-tackling defensive backs lately with players like Artie Burns and Senquez Golson.
  21. SEA: Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State – This past season, Seattle solidified its identity as a run-first team; ignoring the emergence of the high-powered, pass-first offense that is dominating the new NFL. Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has dedicated his life to perfecting the art of the power run scheme, and for that to rise to its full potential, the Seahawks need to add more talent to its offensive line. They already have Duane Brown at LT, but he’s aging, and they Dillard can still fill in at RT.
  22. BLT: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma – Despite his below-average stature and concerning weight, Marquise Brown has maintained a first-round status throughout combine season. He’s the most talented route-runner in this class, and he has Desean Jackson-esque burners. He’s pretty much a souped-up version of John Brown, a player that the Ravens lost this offseason.
  23. HOU: Dalton Risner, OT/OG, Kansas State – Dalton Risner is one of the more underrated players of this draft class. I’ve seen several experts that are projecting him as a guard in the league, but after four extremely productive seasons at tackle for Kansas State, I see no physical or football-related reasons for him converting to guard. Houston’s offensive line is unarguably the worst in the NFL, and their number-one priority for this draft HAS to be to protect Deshaun Watson more, who is the future of their franchise. I can see Risner as a franchise LT, which would be insane value at 23.
  24. OAK: Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State – Oakland is (in)famous for taking freakish athletes with their high picks. Obi Melifonwu, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Darren McFadden; players along those lines. Brian Burns fits right in with those guys. He ran a 4.5 40 and broad jumped about eleven feet at around 250 pounds at the NFL Combine. Those types of numbers are unheard of (unless we’re talking about Montez Sweat). Brian Burns is a high-ceiling, productive edge rusher that could somewhat fill the shoes of players like Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin, two pass rushers that the Raiders have gotten rid of lately.
  25. PHI: Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama – According to Pro Football Focus, there are five college running backs in the past 6 years with running and receiving grades above an 85: Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara, Saquon Barkley, Joe Mixon, and Josh Jacobs. All four of these players have translated exceptionally well to the pros, and I have no doubts that Jacobs will be elite. It works out well, as the Eagles probably have the most significant need for a running back, and although I disagree with drafting running backs early, they have very few holes on their roster outside of running back.
  26. IND: Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame Jerry Tillery is one of the more underrated prospects in this class. He’s an incredibly disruptive pass rusher, possibly as effective as any interior pass rusher in this class. (Except for Quinnen Williams) He’s a little inconsistent in run defense, which is the cause for his lack of hype. In the right scheme, he could become one of the league’s premier pass rushers. The Colts are a franchise with a ton of momentum, and hitting on a player like Tillery could push Indianapolis into the upper echelon of AFC teams.
  27. OAK: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama – The Raiders knock out another team need with this pick. Thompson is a player with limited range athletically, but his instincts and playmaking are what propels him into the first round. After whiffing on Obi Melifonwu and reaching for Karl Joseph, the Raiders hopefully can counter their tendencies of falling for uber-athletic players, and instead, take a much safer prospect in Deionte Thompson.
  28. LAC: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State – The Chargers have just about an equal need for depth at interior defensive line and offensive line, so with the 28th pick, I have them taking the best available player of the two positions. Although he recently suffered a torn ACL, Jeffery Simmons was an absolutely dominant player at Mississippi State, comparable to what Fletcher Cox did during his time there. He was a monster in the run and pass game, and the Chargers will be lucky if he slides due to his injury.
  29. KC: Taylor Rapp, S, Washington – This pick fills one of many holes on the Kansas City defense. Come to think about it, the only position that isn’t a need on their defense is in their interior defensive line. That is a problem. If I were the Chiefs, I wouldn’t select a single offensive player in this draft. Taylor Rapp played well at Washington, and he’ll be a fine pro.
  30. GB: A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss – A.J. Brown could go anywhere from the 15th overall pick to the 45th overall pick in this draft. Personally, I think he has a ton of talent and a ton of charisma. Brown can be an elite receiver out of the slot or outside of the numbers. He’s a crisp route runner, and he has a strong build with good height. There aren’t many concerns with his hands, about zero total red flags. He’d work beautifully with Aaron Rodgers, who’s desperate for a middle-of-the-field receiver.
  31. LAR: Garrett Bradbury, OG/C, NC State -Garrett Bradbury is an excellent fit for the Rams, an organization with a quickly aging offensive line and a Super Bowl window that’s wide open. He plays as hard as any O-Lineman in this class, and he does it efficiently.
  32. NE: Jonathan Abram, S, Mississippi State – The Patriots’ most glaring need is at playmaking positions like wide receiver and tight end. Given Bill Belichick’s inability to draft wide receivers, I believe that the Patriots will avoid that position in the first round, especially given the depth at WR. Instead, the Patriots improve the depth of their secondary, the unit that can be most credited for winning their past Super Bowl. Abram is an active, instinctual, hard-hitting safety that can properly replace Patrick Chung, who is getting older and has been riddled with injuries lately.