After much anticipation, the NFL Draft is finally here! All of the scouting, workouts, and mock drafts have lead to this moment. Each franchise is hoping to get that player that will either turn the tide or lead them to the promised land.
In this segment, I will be grading each pick based on aspects such as potential, positional need, projected value, and of course my humble opinion. Let’s dive right into it! Cincinnati Bengals, you are now on the clock.
1) Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
With the decline of Andy Dalton, selecting Burrow as the number one overall pick is a no-brainer. After transferring from Ohio State Joe Burrow had a sub par season in 2018, then he exploded onto the scene in 2019, leading the FBS in passing yards and touchdowns.
The Heisman Trophy winner may have only one full year of starting QB experience, but he already possesses an elite football IQ. His ability to go through progressions and make intelligent decisions from the pocket is second to none. Burrow also has incredible accuracy from all levels and can fit the ball into tight windows.
Joe Burrow has all the tools to become one of the elite quarterbacks in the league. It’s hard to imagine that the Bengals miss with this pick.
2) Washington Redskins: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
If you’re looking for the player with the best talent and athleticism in the draft, look no further. Chase Young is quite the specimen and was a dominant force on that Buckeye front line.
Young is an elite level pass rusher as well as a stout defender against the run. His speed-to-power is comparable to Jadeveon Clowney. Although he consistently beats the blockers with power, he does have a variety of pass rush moves that put him head and shoulders above the rest at his position. The prospect of Montez Sweat and Chase Young on the edge is enough to frighten any quarterback.
3) Detroit Lions: Jeff Okudah, DB, Ohio State
Back to back Buckeyes are now off the board. Okudah is widely considered the most complete corner in the draft. With the recent departure of Darius Slay, the Lions addressed a quintessential need in their secondary.
Okudah exudes a ton of confidence, which is an important quality to have in a corner. He also happens to back it up. His 6-foot-1, 205lb. frame is about as perfect as it gets when it comes to the ideal build of a secondary player.
Scouts have noted that he could improve in the run defense, although I personally think he does a fine job in that aspect of his game. At any rate, Okudah was an obvious choice for the Lions and it wasn’t even close.
4) New York Giants: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
A consensus All-American, Andrew Thomas started 41 games for Georgia at both right and left tackle. His very long arms, coupled with his athleticism, afford him the flexibility to play both sides of the line. The fact he started all four years make him a very consistent player.
His footwork and recoverability leave something to be desired and can cause him to struggle against above average pass rushers, but aside from that, Thomas is a solid kid and you know what you are getting with him.
5) Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
With the Dolphins having three-first round picks, it was only a matter of time that they would have their next quarterback. They wasted no time there. There’s no question that the catalog of injuries Tua sustained last year are a legit concern despite him being medically cleared. Another concern is his less than average height, although we’ve seen smaller players like Russel Wilson and Kyler Murray succeed in the league.
Tua is a solid dual-threat quarterback who can beat you with his legs. Even though he doesn’t wow you with his arm strength, he is considered among most to be the best deep-ball passer in this draft. Perhaps we are underestimating his arm. Tua will be the first left-handed passer in the league since Kellen Moore’s short career.
6) Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
The third quarterback is off the board. With the recent departure of Phillip Rivers, it makes a lot of sense for the Chargers to address this pick rather now than later.
Herbert is 6-foot-6, a prototypical build for a QB in a pro system. He might have the best arm out of all the top quarterbacks. Herbert can also work outside of the pocket and make difficult throws. Although you only see flashes of his ability to run, he does have the potential to be a dual threat.
A major concern would be the fact he didn’t play in many big games at Oregon, and didn’t rise to the occasion in the small amount of games that were against tougher competition. This makes me wonder about of lack of consistency despite the fact he started all four years at Oregon. Nevertheless, the Chargers needed a QB and they’ve got their man.
7) Carolina Panthers: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
The new head coach Matt Rhule, had a lot of choices as to where to go with his vision of the team. Defensive tackle Derrick Brown is versatile and can play anywhere on the line. He requires constant attention with double teams that can free up other rushers. Brown returned for his Senior year to improve his skills. A key aspect of his that I like is his ability to push the pocket and consistently disrupt the line of scrimmage.
If there is any negatives to take note of, it would be a need to improve his pass rushing. There are also moments where he seems to go dormant on tape. That has been said a lot about defensive lineman, and I would take that with a grain of salt.
8) Arizona Cardinals: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
Isaiah Simmons is like a Swiss army knife. He can play slot, spy, outside linebacker, edge; you name it, he’s played it. The Olathe, Kansas product is a complete defensive prospect.
His draft stock skyrocketed with an insane 4.39 40-yard dash time despite weighing 238 lbs. That elite speed and athleticism allows him to match up with wide receivers in the slot, as well as tight ends and even running backs. I think Simmons is a player that can fit well into any defensive scheme and has a chance to be a perennial pro bowler for years to come.
9) Jacksonville Jaguars: C.J. Henderson, DB, Florida
Although he had an ankle injury early in this season, Henderson recovered well and finished among the top corners in FBS with 11 pass breakups. He’s consistent in both press and zone coverage. His recovery speed allows him to play excellent press coverage.
Henderson possesses elite speed and size that scouts look for in a DB. One major con is his tackling ability. Without A.J Bouye, Henderson will look to fill in what’s missing in the Jaguar defense.
10) Cleveland Browns: Jedrick Wills Jr., OL, Alabama
Jedrick Wills might be the most NFL ready lineman in the draft. He’s an elite run blocker with impressive athleticism despite his size. Even though he’s a great run blocker, I believe the Browns selected him to protect Mayfield.
He may not be as great in pass protection, but his god given talent and high motor will make it easy to mold him into a strong all around lineman as they look to continue evaluating what they have with Baker Mayfield.
11) New York Jets: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
Becton is a massive human being that has incredible athleticism for his size. Not only did he play football, he also played basketball. He ran a 5.1 40 time weighing a whopping 364 lbs. He has quick feet and powers to the second level with ease.
He’s a great fit for the Jets who can put him at left tackle to protect Sam Darnold. Even though he didn’t compete against elite pass rushers at Louisville, I still think Becton could be the best tackle in the draft.
12) Las Vegas Raiders: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
It wouldn’t be the Raiders if they didn’t draft someone with insane speed. Al Davis would be proud. Ruggs is a complete receiver who can run short, intermediate, and deep routes consistently. One crazy stat is that he had only one dropped pass in 2019.
His yards after catch are what you are looking for in a pick like Ruggs. The Raiders are likely looking for their very own version of Tyreek Hill with this pick. Although he has struggled against man press coverage, he may still fit in well as a catch and run guy in the slot. He might also be a special teams threat.
13) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
With the recent addition of Tom Brady, the Bucs decided to trade up and get their man to protect him. Wirfs played both left and right tackle at Iowa, although he’d likely play exclusively on the right side.
He has rare athletic ability at his size. His wrestling background shows, as he man handles defensive lineman and the line of scrimmage. Wirfs has been known to struggle with his balance when facing speed rushers, which has caused many to believe he would play better at guard.
14) San Francisco 49ers: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
This pick comes as a surprise to me, as I thought a wide receiver was a clear choice for the Niners. Nevertheless, San Francisco loves their defensive lineman in the first round.
Kinlaw is a heck of a player that has been compared to Richard Seymour. He has the ability to play anywhere on the defensive front. He racked up 5 sacks in his first 6 games last season.
Kinlaw has long arms that can help him overpower blockers and collapse the pocket. This is a solid pick that gives them a cheaper and younger option to replace DeForest Buckner.
15) Denver Broncos: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
One of the best route runners seen according to Mel Kiper, Jeudy is yet another receiver heading to the AFC West. He has unassuming speed that gives him an advantage in deep routes. Couple that with how tough he is to bring down, and he’s the complete package.
He didn’t face a lot of press coverage at Alabama, and his production dropped from 2018. However, that shouldn’t have deterred anybody from taking such a solid receiver to line up opposite Courtland Sutton.
It seems that the AFC West is looking for offensive firepower to keep up with the lethal Chiefs offense.
16) Atlanta Falcons: A.J. Terrell, DB, Clemson
A.J. Terrell burst onto the scene in the 2018 National Championship. Terrell is a long athletic defensive back at 6-foot-1, 195 lbs. He ran a 4.42 40 time that shows he has good recovery speed. Excelling at press coverage, Terrell is solid at route recognition but does struggle in zone schemes and the run game.
17) Dallas Cowboys: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
It came as a surprise to see Lamb fall this far into the first round. In my opinion, he is pound for pound the toughest wide receiver in this draft class. He routinely breaks off big plays, making him a YAC machine.
Lamb also has the ability to make acrobatic and contested catches as a redzone threat. He may not have speed that wows anyone, but his tape speaks for itself. Lamb is an absolute playmaker that Jerry Jones couldn’t possibly pass up on.
18) Miami Dolphins: Austin Jackson, OT, USC
The Dolphins have gone out and got protection for Tua. Austin Jackson is a perfect sized offensive tackle with quick feet and long arms that help him recover against speed rushers.
I think that he may have been picked a little too high for his value. He is a bit of a raw talent that needs to be shaped into the Dolphins scheme. Although he may not be a solid starter right away, Jackson is a well-rounded choice for Miami.
19) Las Vegas Raiders: Damon Arnette, DB, Ohio State
Arnette is graded as a second round talent among many pundits, but the need for corner has sort of forced the hand of the Raiders here.
Arnette is very physical with his hands in press coverage who uses his technical ability much like his teammate Okudah. He does have very solid ball hawking ability, but can be a little too handsy at some instances. He perhaps lived in the shadow of Okudah, but should turn out to be a very serviceable corner in Las Vegas.
20) Jacksonville Jaguars: K’Lavon Chaisson, LB, LSU
Chaisson can be versatile in any scheme, whether it be 3-4 or 4-3. He has elite pass rushing ability and played against the best competition in the SEC and still produced at a very high level.
An ACL injury made him miss the 2018 season, but all signs point to K’Lavon being a pivotal part of a young Jacksonville front. Great value for the 20th pick in my opinion.
21) Philadelphia Eagles: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
Reagor has shot up the draft boards over the last month, being a favorite late first rounder to multiple fan bases. The Eagles absolutely needed a wide receiver who has strong hands and can make contested catches. His speed is a lot better than what’s shown in the combine.
His jaw dropping 42-inch vertical showcases some of his innate athletic ability. He perhaps could’ve gone higher had it not been for an inexperienced QB under center at TCU. Reagor is exactly what Philly needs.
22) Minnesota Vikings: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Jefferson was a late bloomer but made up for it with his incredible work ethic. Jefferson is a bonafide slot receiver who is as reliable as it gets. He rarely faced press coverage, however, which could be a concern. It will be interesting to see how the Vikings utilize Jefferson when Thielen already works out of the slot.
23) Los Angeles Chargers: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
The Chargers traded up into the first round to grab a third down linebacker in Kenneth Murray. The Oklahoma product is easily one of the best players on the field and absolutely rakes in the tackles.
He leaves something to be desired in the pass defending department. However, there’s no questioning his motor or his ability to get to the ball. The Chargers got great value in this pick.
24) New Orleans Saints: Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan
Ruiz started 31 games at Michigan. A run game specialist by trade, Ruiz has quick feet and is a solid anchor in the center of that offensive line. His power isn’t always consistent, and he can get out leveraged against tougher competition. This concerns me in the event he gets absolutely bull rushed.
25) San Francisco 49ers: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
Aiyuk has an insane wingspan of 81 inches at only 6 feet tall. This allows him to absolutely dominate in one on one coverage. He’s an explosive player that can make an impact in the return game as well as take any pass to the house.
The only drawback is that he needs to refine his route running ability aside from his double move. Nevertheless, he is a raw talent that the Niners needed with the departure of Emmanuel Sanders.
26) Green Bay Packers: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
This is an incredibly surprising pick to me. Although interesting, because Aaron Rodgers is the same age as Brett Favre was when they selected Rodgers.
Love can make a lot of plays with his feet, something that’s becoming more common in today’s game. He has excellent touch on deep passes, and is accurate on almost every throw on the field.
He is a bit undisciplined and can force throws too much which leads to turnovers. Love also didn’t put up a very memorable 2019 season. However, the athleticism is there.
27) Seattle Seahawks: Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech
Brooks was widely considered a second round pick. However, with quarterbacks like Kyler Murray in the division, the Seahawks believe that Brooks will fit into their defensive scheme. His straight line speed and quick change in direction sets him apart.
His game is raw overall, and he was used mostly as a spy due to his lack of coverage. However, that shouldn’t hurt him too much with how Pete Carroll will use him. Interesting selection regardless.
28) Baltimore Ravens: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
Queen is a linebacker who can diagnose plays in a hurry. He has a special ability to snuff out screens and play in drop coverage. Queen also has a high motor. Although he only has a year of above average production, his football IQ makes him a highly sought after prospect.
29) Tennessee Titans: Isaiah Wilson, OL, Georgia
Wilson is 6-foot-6, 350 lbs., and he was only a sophomore. He possesses pure strength that translates in the run game, which is perfect for the Titans game plan.
I think the Titans took him a bit too early. He perhaps could’ve stayed another year to develop more skill, but he looks to be a strong anchor on a physical Titans offensive line.
30) Miami Dolphins: Noah Igbinoghene, DB, Auburn
The athletic genes are all there for Noah. His parents are both former Olympians. Coming from a track background himself, he has great recovery speed. He is also incredibly physical in his coverage of routes.
Some concerns regarding Igbinoghene are that he has only played corner for two seasons, so the instincts aren’t fully there.
31) Minnesota Vikings: Jeff Gladney, DB, TCU
Gladney plays a lot bigger despite his relatively smaller frame. He is also a willing participant in the run game and knows how to be physical. His size could be an issue if he plays on the outside against larger redzone targets.
32) Kansas City Chiefs: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU
Say what you want about taking a running back in the first round, but Clyde is a perfect fit for Reid’s offense. His excellent lateral cutting coupled with good lower balance makes him a solid runner out of the shotgun. He also is a good receiver out of the backfield. Reid likes multi-dimensional running backs and he couldn’t have nabbed a better one for his scheme.
He can sometimes tend to bounce outside when it isn’t necessary and he doesn’t have breakaway speed, but he is a solid three-down back at pick 32.