Opinion

What I Believe the NFL Draft had in Store for us

By Joshua Foster-Storch

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#1 Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence QB, Clemson

By far the easiest pick of the whole draft, Lawrence goes to Duval County and comes in ready to start Week 1 for the Jags

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#2 New York Jets: Zach Wilson QB, Brigham Young

After the Jets traded away Sam Darnold, the Jets have made little effort to hide what they are going to do with this pick.  Wilson has been the rumored pick for almost the entire draft process and the Jets get their QB of the future at number two.

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#3 San Francisco 49ers (via Miami Dolphins, via Houston Texans): Mac Jones QB, Alabama

As insane as it sounds, Mac Jones seems to be the next 49ers QB.  Jones, who is the least athletic quarterback among the top five projected, will be the light in Head Coach Kyle Shanahan’s eye after draft night.  Praised for his high football IQ, Jones will be the guy to distribute the ball to San Francisco’s top pass catchers.

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#4 TRADE Denver Broncos (via Atlanta Falcons): Trey Lance QB, North Dakota State

The first draft day trade of the NFL Draft continues the run on QB’s.  Denver has not been satisfied with the performance of 2019 second round pick Drew Lock and will be looking for an upgrade in Lance.  Lance has very good mobility and an absolute cannon of an arm.  He will fit nicely with Denver’s young receivers.

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#5 TRADE Dallas Cowboys (via Cincinnati Bengals): Kyle Pitts TE, Florida

The Cowboys trade up and get another incredible weapon for QB Dak Prescott.  Pitts, who many scouts have as the best player in the draft regardless of position, gives Dallas an absolute freak of nature at tight end who has measured comparably to Hall-of-Fame WR Calvin Johnson.  Pitts becomes an immediate superstar in Dallas’s stacked offense

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#6 TRADE Washington Football Team (via Miami Dolphins, via Philadelphia Eagles: Justin Fields QB, Ohio State

Washington becomes the third straight team to trade up and they take Fields at 6.  Many had Fields as the unquestioned #2 quarterback in the draft behind Lawrence prior to 2020, but accuracy issues and an inability to read a defense contributes to Fields’s slide here.  Hopefully this pick will be better than the last Ohio State QB that Washington took.

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#7 Detroit Lions: Jamarr Chase WR, LSU

The Lions have the #1 receiver in the draft fall right into their lap at #7. While Chase did opt out of the 2020 season, he was still the best receiver in college football in his sophomore season on an undefeated LSU team.  And with the Lions losing WR’s Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones this offseason, they replenish their receivers with Chase and give new QB Jared Goff a true number 1 receiver to pair alongside TE T.J. Hockenson.

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#8 Carolina Panthers: Penei Sewell OT, Oregon

What a gift for the Carolina Panthers.  Sewell has been heralded as one of the best offensive linemen to come into the draft in years and they did not have to trade up to get him.  This fills an enormous need for the Panthers and now they will have a blindside protector for QB Sam Darnold for years to come.

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#9 Atlanta Falcons (via Denver Broncos): Jaycee Horn CB, South Carolina

The Falcons traded back primarily because they need a lot of players to fill a lot of holes on their roster.  Jaycee, son of Saints WR Joe Horn, will fit in nicely into the Falcons defense. Horn stands at 6 foot 1 inch and is very fast for a corner weighing 205 lbs.  He will be able to press on receivers and play man-man coverage exceptionally well.

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#10 Cincinnati Bengals (via Dallas Cowboys): Rashawn Slater OT/G, Northwestern

Cincinnati still gets a blindside protector for QB Joe Burrow in Slater.  Slater also has the ability to kick inside and play guard as well if they want him to.  The Bengals get an absolute steal here by nabbing Slater with the last pick in the top 10.

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#11 New York Giants: Devonta Smith WR, Alabama

This would shock me, as it is actually a good first round pick by the Giants.  With the top two linemen off the board, the Giants continue to strengthen the weapons around Daniel Jones.  After signing WR Kenny Golladay to a 4-year contract in free agency, the Giants nab the Heisman winning receiver to pair with him.  Smith is an excellent route-runner and will form a nice duo with Golladay.

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#12 Philadelphia Eagles (via Miami Dolphins, via San Francisco 49ers): Patrick Surtain II CB, Alabama

The Eagles have a lot of holes to fill. But even with WR Jaylen Waddle still on the board, they go ahead and take his former Alabama teammate in Surtain II.  Another massive corner standing at 6 foot 2 inches and 210 lbs., Surtain II will be a more than welcome addition to an Eagles defense that constantly was getting burned over the top in the passing game.  They hope to amend these issues by taking Surtain II.

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#13 Los Angeles Chargers: Jaylen Waddle WR, Alabama

An absolute dream for franchise QB and Rookie of the year Justin Herbert comes true.  Waddle has blazing speed (4.28 second 40-yard dash) that Herbert will absolutely take advantage of.  Waddle will fit in perfectly alongside slot-maven WR Keenan Allen as the Chargers get their Wide Receiver 2.

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#14 Minnesota Vikings: Kwity Paye EDGE, Michigan

After a disastrous 2020 campaign by the Vikings defense, they take Paye to help resolidify their pass rush that coincides with the return of All-Pro edge rusher Danielle Hunter.

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#15 New England Patriots: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah LB, Notre Dame

Patriots fans will definitely be screaming at their televisions if this is how the draft plays out and the Patriots cannot trade up to draft a QB.  But Owusu-Koramoah will be a good consolation as they get another field general linebacker to pair with Dont’a Hightower

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#16 Arizona Cardinals: Micah Parsons LB, Penn State

The best defender in the draft drops all the way to 16 due to some serious character issues surrounding his time at Penn State.  But the Cardinals get an incredible sideline-to-sideline defender in Parsons who has the ability to drop into coverage and rush the passer.

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#17 Las Vegas Raiders: Alijah Vera-Tucker OT/G, USC

The Raiders would be quite honestly insane to draft anyone other than an offensive linemen.  Vera-Tucker brings guard/tackle versatility and a strong pedigree from USC as he only needs to travel a few hours East of where he played at USC.

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#18 Miami Dolphins: Najee Harris RB, Alabama

One of my favorite players in the draft stays in the South to play for the Dolphins.  An otherworldly talent, Harris is a power runner with exceptional receiver skills for his size.  He will be a perfect fit alongside QB Tua Tagovailoa, his former teammate.

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#19 Miami Dolphins (via Washington Football Team): Liam Eichenberg OT, Notre Dame

Eichenberg has been a sensation and fast riser throughout the draft process.  His power and tenacity at the left tackle spot will make him the Laremy Tunsil replacement that the dolphins have desperately needed.

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#20 Chicago Bears: Jalen Mayfield OT, Michigan

The Bears take Mayfield here, a guy they have seen a lot of since they are in Big Ten territory.  Mayfield is an absolute upgrade for the Bears o-line and fills a big need.

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#21 Indianapolis Colts: Rondale Moore WR, Purdue

The Colts get an elite speed receiver to pair with WR Michael Pittman Jr and Moore gets to stay in the state he played college.

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#22 Tennessee Titans: Gregory Rousseau EDGE, Miami

A pedestrian Titans pass-rush, which finished 30th in the league in sacks, will get an immediate boost with the addition of Rousseau.  The second best edge rusher in the draft, Tennessee will be praised for this pick

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#23 New York Jets (via Seattle Seahawks): Travis Etienne RB, Clemson

The Jets first pick post Zach Wilson will be Etienne.  Etienne has elite speed and receiving ability for a running back and will be a Day 1 starter in New York.  Getting Wilson a weapon like Etienne will be great for both players and the Jets as a whole.

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#24 Pittsburgh Steelers: Caleb Farley CB, Virginia Tech

The Steelers get a steal and fill a big hole at DB with the addition of Farley.  While there are some serious injury concerns about Farley’s hip, many believe he would be the top corner in the class if not for the injury risk.  Steelers get a good one in Farley.

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#25 Jacksonville Jaguars (via Los Angeles Rams): Jayson Oweh EDGE, Penn State

The worst pass rush of 2020 gets an enormous boost with the athletic freak that is Oweh.  A teammate of Parsons at Penn State, Oweh shined in the 2020 season and ran a sub 4.4 second 40 at his pro day.  Big boost for Jacksonville.

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#26 Cleveland Browns: Asante Samuel Jr. CB, Florida State

The son of All-Pro Asante Samuel,  Junior will be an absolute Menace on the back end for Cleveland.   With the addition of John Johnson at safety,  Samuel complete Cleveland’s secondary.

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#27 Baltimore Ravens: Rashod Bateman WR, Minnesota

The Ravens finally get a true number 1 receiver in Bateman.  Bateman would have gone much higher if not for him being in an absolutely stacked receiver class.  A jump ball specialist, Bateman will be a nice fit with Lamar Jackson.

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#28 New Orleans Saints: Azeez Ojulari EDGE, Georgia

With the loss of edge rusher Trey Hendrickson in free agency, the Saints will be looking for a replacement for the speed rusher that garnered 13.5 sacks last season.  Insert Ojulari, as the Saints get the best pass rusher the SEC has to offer this season.

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#29 Green Bay Packers: Elijah Moore WR, Ole Miss

Like D.K. Metcalf and A.J. Brown before him, Moore is an athletic marvel.  Although only standing at 5 foot 10 inches, Moore has the same type of physique that made Metcalf and Brown such enticing prospects.  Bonus point for the Packers, they get to make up for their mistake last year in not getting Rodgers a receiver.

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#30 Buffalo Bills: Alex Leatherwood OT, Alabama

Big need filled on the offensive line with this selection. Leatherwood is an athlete at the tackle position who can get out in space and pancake defenders, perfect for those sweeps they love to run with Josh Allen.

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#31 Kansas City Chiefs: Teven Jenkins OT, Oklahoma State

After letting go of both of their tackles after 2020, the Chiefs work to get one of them replaced with the addition of Jenkins.

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#32 New York Jets (via Tampa Bay Buccaneers): Samuel Cosmi OT, Texas

The Jets trade into the first round again and get Zach Wilson some protection with the selection of Cosmi.

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