The New England Patriots trade up to 8 and draft Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner
The Falcons are in no place to compete and should trade back and scoop up another early day-two pick. The Patriots lost their two starting corners, Stephon Gilmore and J.C. Jackson, from last year and are desperate at the position. There will be a corner for them at pick 21, probably Kaiir Elam, Kyler Gordon, or Roger McCreary, but if they want to make a huge impact they should trade up. The Patriots rely on their press man corners to go one-on-one with receivers and shut them down as they send their linebackers on blitzes . To jump from twenty-one to eight would take a first-round pick swap along with picks 54 and 85, but I think that is well worth it for Sauce.
Hot Meter: 5/10
The New York Giants select Malik Willis at 5
The Giants replaced their old regime, firing both Dave Gettleman and Joe Judge. Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll come in respectively to replace them. Both coming from the Bills, they know what happens when you have an athletic quarterback with a strong arm. Josh Allen has a more rocked up build than Malik Willis, but you can see the similarities. They have no ties to Daniel Jones and probably do not want to pick up his 5th year option after this year. They will be too good to take Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud next year, so won’t have not enough ammo to trade up for either of those two. Willis could even sit behind Jones until he is ready to play.
Hot Meter: 7/10
Nakobe Dean and/or Devin Lloyd fall out of the first round
I firmly believe that Dean and Lloyd are both first-round picks based on talent. They both are elite run defenders and have shown enough in pass coverage to be selected in the first round. Dean has elite sideline to sideline speed and Lloyd is Darius Leonard lite with excellent leadership and a knack for the football. That said, they both have their weak points. Dean is severely undersized at linebacker and could be bullied in the run game without the Georgia defensive line comprised of all first-rounders there to support him. He can get exposed by larger tight ends just based on his size alone. Lloyd is a linebacker who misses too many tackles. A 12% missed tackle rate is concerning for your MIKE linebacker. Lloyd is good at everything but his length and speed don’t stand out on film. His ceiling might not be worth a first-round pick.
Hot Meter: 3/10
The New York Giants trade picks 5 and 7 along with Matt Peart for Kyler Murray
Kyler Murray is clearly unhappy with the Cardinals and how they are constructing their roster along with his contract situation. It might be in the Cardinals best interest to reset on the offensive side of the ball. Hopkins and the offensive line are getting older and Murray has shown he is injury-prone. The defense has a lot of good pieces (Simmons, Collins, Wilson, Baker), but they too have an aging line. The Cardinals could then trade for Gardner Minshew to be the starter for 2022 and select Malik Willis who can develop for a year, working on his pocket presence and adjusting to NFL-level competition. With the 7th pick, the Cardinals should then draft Jameson Williams who will have to rehab for the first half of the season, but they will not be competing anyways. Tough to imagine a rebuild for the Cardinals, but they obviously have issues with their quarterback
On the Giants side, Schoen and Dabol get their quarterback with weapons, Golladay, Toney (for now), Shepherd, and Barkley, all at his disposal. They will have to pay him immediately, but Murray has shown that he can be a top-10 quarterback when healthy and Daboll will be able to get the most out of him just like he got the most out of Josh Allen. The Giants will need to focus financial and draft resources on the offensive line in the future to make sure Murray is well protected.
Hot Meter: 9/10
Jameson Williams is the first receiver taken off the board
Without his injury, I feel pretty strongly that Jameson Williams would be the first receiver off of the board. The league clearly values speed, for example, Ruggs being taken ahead of Jeudy and Lamb. Williams is also such a smooth mover in and out of his deep routes and takes the top off of all the defenses he faced. As it pertains more realistically, Williams will not fall past the Texans at 13. I would be surprised if he gets past the Commanders at 11. In this day and age, players are coming back faster and better from their ACL injuries and Williams should be ready to go by mid-season at the latest. The Jets at 10 are definitely a team that could be patient with his rehab as they already have enough receivers for their jumbo sets.
Hot Meter: 2/10