2020 Cardinals Draft Review: Heating Up In The Desert

After a terrible 2018 season, the Cardinals embarked on a new journey in 2019 that some would consider to be a major risk. An undersized quarterback and a new head coach that had little success at the college level left the team in uncharted waters. A 5-10-1 record may seem like a bad season, but they were better than their record indicated and have only improved this offseason with now many believing they will be one of the most improved teams this upcoming season. After a strong free agency/trade period, the draft was the cherry on top of a great few months. The Cardinals now have a direction and identity, next up is building a winning culture. 

1.8- Isaiah Simmons, LB/S Clemson

We’ve all heard about Isaiah Simmons at this point. He’s a player that is athletically off the charts for his size who is a true one of a kind type player, as he could be a high-level linebacker or safety. In addition to his freak athleticism, he has an incredibly high IQ and excels against the run and pass both. An incredibly underrated aspect of his game is his ability to use his length to his advantage. In pass defense, he uses his arms to jam up receivers and to defend passes. In the run, he engages with much bigger blockers and disengages them quickly to make the play. He covers so much ground that he may also be a spy against a quarterback, most notably Russell Wilson on the Seahawks. By himself, he eliminates the threat of a quarterback scramble. However, there are natural questions about the fit in this 3-4 defense. Personally, I don’t think Vance Joseph is an elite defensive coordinator and don’t think he’s creative enough to unlock Simmons’ potential. I could be very wrong and even if I am right, that would mean Joseph isn’t there for the long haul. What I think the Cardinals would, and should, do is become a true hybrid defense. Utilize Chandler Jones as an end with his hand in the dirt more often and try to play Simmons in a more traditional weakside linebacker. This would allow him to use his speed and quickness tracking down running backs and then when it comes down to third down, have him guard a tight end or someone out of the backfield. The NFC West has George Kittle, Tyler Higbee, and a zillion tight ends in Seattle, so when it comes to matching up against them, you’ll have the human eraser with Simmons. In this sense, Simmons becomes a safety and you could drop him in zone or creep him up in the box and man up in press coverage. Simmons was one of the most polarizing players in the draft, only because he’s nothing like we’ve seen before which is something that should excite a team. While it could take a season for Simmons to carve out his role, his upside is off the charts and I think he could be at the end of the day one of the two or three best players in this class. 

*2nd rounder for Hopkins

I won’t get too deep into this but just wanted to say… holy crap. What a trade. There’s close to no downside with this trade and if Hopkins continues to play as he has, this Cardinals offense will be one of the NFL’s best. 

3.72- Josh Jones, OT Houston

The Cardinals boasted one of the worst offensive lines a season ago, especially at tackle where they have D.J. Humphries on the left and a question mark on the right side. Kyler Murray can cover up a lot of the line’s deficiencies due to his speed, but we all know that he’s undersized and he’s not going to be able to run on every play. That makes the Josh Jones selection one of the best in the entire draft. Jones for being a fifth-year senior is still raw, his technique and footwork are a work in progress but his athleticism, length, and attitude will make him a starter immediately. In this offensive system which is predicated on speed and spreading the defense out, Jones will be able to play to his strengths and it’ll cover up his issues while he continues to progress. He would presumably become the starter at right tackle right away and then eventually progress to the left side. The Cardinals have a lot of faith in Humphries, but he’s an average tackle, and Jones has the potential to surpass his skill level. In order to get to the top of the division, you’ll have to go through the 49ers, who quite possibly have the best pass rush in the league. Keep beefing up that offensive line Arizona, this is a great first step. 

4.114- Leki Fotu, DL Utah

After a season of being one of the worst defenses across the board, changes had to be made. The first pick was Simmons, then the next two they decided to get some beef on that defensive line, and quite frankly they don’t get much beefier than Leki Fotu. At 6-5, 340 pounds, Fotu is a nose tackle but may not be implemented as a strict 0 technique (lined up over the center). He has shown in college that he has the athleticism to be effective lining up as a 1 or 2 technique (1 is between the guard and tackle and 2 is over the guard). He grew up as a rugby player and you can see it in the way he plays at times. He’s a human bowling ball, just dominating players with his strength and his explosiveness in short areas in special for someone his size. General Manager compared him to Buccaneers DL Vita Vea, which is high praise as Vea was one of the best nose tackles in the league last season. Fotu isn’t a great pass rusher and doesn’t show much technique on that end. However, when you’re bigger and stronger than everyone else, you usually never have to rely on anything else. The Cardinals did just sign nose tackle Jordan Phillips to a three-year deal, but Kliff Kingsbury did say they want to use Phillips all across the line and Vance Joseph has coached Phillips in the past and must trust his versatility across the line. With Seattle and San Francisco having two of the best rushing attacks in the league in your  division, Arizona couldn’t just sit around another season and rely solely on their offense out-scouring them. While Fotu isn’t the dynamic pass rusher so many teams covet now, he’s a space-eater who will carve out a solid role in a suddenly much deeper defensive line. 

4.131- Rashard Lawrence, DL LSU

The second big fella on the defensive line that the Cardinals picked to help their run defense was Rashard Lawrence, one of the team captains from the defending national champion LSU Tigers. Lawrence and Fotu share some similarities as good run-stuffers but go about it in much different ways. While Fotu is just a behemoth of a man and is more suited for a nose tackle role where he can use his sheer strength and athletic ability to bully you, Lawrence relies on his motor and low center of gravity to occupy blockers. He’s a tad short for a defensive lineman (6-2) but as previously mentioned, he uses that to his advantage because he’s able to keep his pad level lower and use his lower body strength to push offensive lineman back. He’s never going to fill up the box score but does the subtle things to be effective. He’s going to take on blockers and blow up blockers forcing the running back or quarterback to redirect. He’ll also never take a play off and give it everything he has on every play. Not many players can genuinely say that they give maximum effort, but Lawrence is one of them. Much like Fotu, he won’t offer you much as a pass rusher. He isn’t quick nor does he have the pass rush moves you’d like to see. Due to this, he might only become a two-down player and rotational piece across the line. He reminds me so much of former LSU Tiger, Ricky Jean-Francois. A positive member of the locker room who may never get the spotlight or attention, but plays for several years and does the dirty work that will go unnoticed in great defenses. I’d line him up as a two-gap tackle and a guy you’ll want to give twenty snaps a game too. Currently, the Cardinals don’t really have a lineman (not counting Chandler Jones) that has had a history of success in the league (Phillips has only had one big season). Because of this, the door is open for Lawrence to get playing time. And as a gambling man, I would never bet against a guy like Lawrence so I would expect him to be a fan favorite in no time. 

6.202- Evan Weaver, LB Cal

Continuing on the theme of needing to strengthen the defense, the Cardinals picked another stud run defender who faces limitations in his all-around game. Ten years ago, Weaver would have been a first-round pick. The Pac 12 Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-American is a stud against the run, accumulating over 300 tackles in his last two seasons combined. He takes great angles to take down the ball carriers and is able to read blockers as good as any college player. He’s never going to chase down a running back from behind and in many ways is the opposite in terms of athleticism to Simmons. However, he never quits on a play and if he’s not the one making the tackle, he’s going to be close to the ball. His main concern as a player is a lack of coverage ability, both in man and zone. He’s a poor athlete at the NFL level and while he’s a high IQ player, it still doesn’t make up for his slow first step and lack of top-end speed. Often he was beaten in coverage with one simple juke or cut against players who aren’t necessarily premier talents. Having a player of Simmons’s ability however, could make up for Weaver’s deficiencies as a player. Using Weaver as a 3-4 linebacker where he’s playing in tighter areas will allow him to not have to rely on his speed or quickness. Also, Simmons covers as much ground as any linebacker in the entire league possibly so that means Weaver won’t have to be used in coverage much and if he is, it’ll be more so in zone guarding a tighter area. Between Simmons, Jordan Hicks, and De’Vondre Campbell, I would not expect Weaver to see much playing time on defense in year one. Let him develop a bit in practice while he produces on special teams as a rookie. Eventually, you could see Weaver in the middle of a 4-3 defense or, probably the best case for him, add some weight, and utilize his run defending ability as a SAM linebacker. 

6.222- Eno Benjamin, RB Arizona State

When you have a quarterback who can run like Kyler Murray, it doesn’t matter how much you want to pass as a play-caller, you need to get creative on run designs. Because of this, a running back has an opportunity to get a lot of yards while the defense has to respect the other threats in a spread offense. We saw Kenyan Drake’s career take off after being traded to Arizona and averaged 5.2 yards a carry, by far the best he’s done. Despite this, Drake is a free agent after the season and if he performs well again, he could be in line for a bigger contract. Thus the Cardinals will have to explore their options. Chase Edmonds has done well as a backup the past two seasons in limited snaps and the team might want to give him more carries this season to see what they have. Now, they have the local product to round out the running back room in Eno Benjamin. Benjamin for a sixth-round pick is a pretty well-rounded player. He has a lot of success in college and displayed good athleticism and versatility in Tempe. The thing that held him back in college was his lack of patience. Too often he would just run into the backs of offensive lineman rather than let the play develop. This could be a combination of a few things: lack of awareness, poor vision, bad offensive line play, or over-aggressiveness. Whatever it might be, this won’t be a huge problem in the Cardinals scheme. In a shotgun spread system, he will have fewer bodies in the box and athletic lineman in front of him creating holes. Benjamin also has some receiving ability that makes him a three-down playmaker. Drake will undoubtedly be the lead back and primary ball carrier but Benjamin has a chance to carve out a small role that could develop into a starting spot at some point in the future. 

If you liked this post make sure to subscribe below and let us know what you think. If you feel like donating and want access to some early blog releases and exclusive breakdown content or to help us keep things running, you can visit our Patreon page here. Make sure to follow us on Instagram @weekly_spiral and twitter @weeklyspiral for updates when we post and release our podcasts. You can find the Weekly Spiral podcast on Spotify or anywhere you listen.

2020 Browns Draft Review: The Joke Is Over In Cleveland

For decades the Cleveland Browns were the laughing stock of the NFL. The 2019 season was supposed to change that, with the addition of Odell Beckham, Jr. and the emergence of Baker Mayfield, they were primed for a playoff appearance. However, like so many great jokes, the set up just helped create laughs when the joke was delivered. Now, with a new GM and head coach, it seems (maybe?) the Browns finally got things figured out. After a strong free agency period, they followed up with one of the best draft classes of the year. Rather than going for the splashy names like the previous regime, they found a middle ground between the best player available and need. They face stiff competition in their division, but Cleveland may soon have a winner, which would be in part to this draft class. 

1.10 Jedrick Wills, OT Alabama

It was no secret that one of the Browns biggest weaknesses on last year’s team was the offensive line, which acted more like swiss cheese than the brick wall it’s supposed to be. So, when one of, if not the best tackle prospect who should have been a top-five pick, dropped to ten it was a sign that the football Gods were smiling on Cleveland. While Wills played on the right side in college, he will more than likely take over the spot vacated by Cheech and Chong Greg Robinson who is no longer with the team and did a poor job last season, forcing Baker to be rushed into many throws or having to take a sack. With established right tackle Jack Conklin on the team, it makes more sense to keep him comfortable there and grow with your tackle of the future on the left side. While you may think it’s an easy transition moving from the right, it’s not as seamless as one would think, particularly in footwork, and with OTA’s not happening, so Wills might show some growing pains early. However, in short order, he will rise to the ranks of best blindside protectors in the league. He’s a physical, no-nonsense tone-setter that has the athletic and technical skills you look for. No other tackle in this year’s class, or the previous year’s class for that matter, has the ability to use his hands and feet better than Wills. Whether he’s exploding off the ball or using his hands to stabilize a bull rush, there’s really nothing he can’t do. Long-term he’s going to become a tackle you can trust in one on ones, no need for a tight end to stay in or help chip. That’s the best quality a team can ask for in a tackle, and the Browns now have that again. The team has quickly turned a weakness into a strength, following the recipe that wins are built in the trenches, and protecting your most valuable asset is of the utmost importance. 

2.44 Grant Delpit, S LSU

Drafting a top-ten player in terms of talent in the second round? That’s an absolute win. I’m a huge Delpit fan and think he’s going to be an impact player for many years. Yes, he wasn’t as good this past season as he was in 2018 but he was still good enough to win the Thorpe Award, given to the nation’s best secondary player. Teams, sometimes rightfully, decide to overanalyze the faults in players rather than the things they do well. Delpit has great size and athleticism that enables him to play either safety spot in most schemes, however, the Browns are likely to play him at free safety which would better utilize his talents. He displays great range and football IQ that allows him to quickly diagnose plays and be in the right position more often than not. The safety position has been the Browns version of a revolving door the past few seasons, having no stability whatsoever. Currently, the team has Andrew Sendejo and Karl Joseph as presumed starters, but neither has shown any promise of being good NFL starters. Thus, Delpit becomes the new favorite to start. Both of the aforementioned veterans are more thumpers, while that’s Delpit’s weakness. His broken collarbone injury in 2018 had seemingly a physiological impact on his game as in 2019, he seemed to shy away from contact more and missed tackles due to poor tackling mechanics. Delpit’s strength though is his coverage ability and versatility in the back end. I would suspect that Delpit starts week one at safety and becomes a good starter immediately. When/if he can fix his tackling problems, he instantly becomes a secondary chess piece. Line him up at either spot, play center field or in the box, blitz, line him up in man against the tight ends, the possibilities are endless. 

3.88 Jordan Elliot, DL Missouri

After going with two accomplished players, Browns decided to get a lottery ticket with their third pick. Elliot has the look you want in a player, tall and muscular, but leaves a lot to be desired in terms of production. Right now he’s as raw as an uncooked steak and needs a lot of coaching up on simple things, all of which are fixable. He’ll get bullied way too often than he should be, which is more than likely because of poor functional strength. A way to improve this would be to keep your pad level lower and be stronger with your hands, both skills that could develop within a few years. The thing that Elliot does well is occupying blockers and keeping gap integrity, a vital quality that a defensive lineman needs. The Browns currently have Sheldon Richardson and Larry Ogunjobi ahead of him, letting Elliot the ability to develop this season. However, both of the previously mentioned veterans could be gone after the season. Richardson is solid, but expensive, and might not be worth keeping around at eleven million dollars a year. Ogunjobi has been good but is a free agent after the season. Personally, I think Elliot will need more than just one season to become an NFL starter as he’s a project now, but the new regime in Cleveland feels like they can sculpt him into a solid player.

3.97 Jacob Phillips, LB LSU

The Browns linebacking corp is in a bit of transition with the loss of leading tackler and middle linebacker, Joe Schobert, and don’t have a surefire replacement. Mack Wilson started and performed well for a fifth-round rookie a season ago and are scheduled to roll with Sione Takitaki, a third-round pick from a season ago, at middle linebacker but still need some depth and competition at the position. Enter former LSU tiger, Jacob Phillips. He played a bit in Patrick Queen’s shadow but was the leading tackler on the national championship team. While he does struggle in pass coverage, due to the fact he has trouble reading quarterbacks eyes and processing opponents routes, he is a great run defender. Will be aggressive as he flows to the ball and not afraid of getting physical with blockers. His role early might be at SAM, where his focus will be to engage with tight ends and tackles trying to blow up a run play, but his speed and tackling abilities show he has the chance to be a long-term solution in the middle. In a division now where you have to face Lamar Jackson twice a year, you’re going to need athletic linebackers who will move sideline to sideline. This is an upside pick, but if Phillips can speed up his mental processing and become a better overall football player, he has the chance to carve out a role on this defense. At worst, he becomes a special team standout. 

4.115 Harrison Bryant, TE Florida Atlantic 

On paper, this pick was confusing. Yes, Bryant is a very talented player worthy of a fourth-round selection but the Browns already have a great one-two punch with Austin Hooper and David Njoku. One would figure that the Browns would run more two tight end sets, which perfectly suits their style of play. In a two tight end formation, you can’t focus on the run or pass, so a creative offensive mind will be able to keep the defense on their toes. Last season, with Stefanksi calling the plays, went two tight ends with Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith, and Hooper and Njoku are a major upgrade over that duo. There are rumors that Njoku is on the trade block which inserts Bryant into this scenario. If Njoku is moved, Bryant starts to see a lot more snaps. Bryant would be utilized as a more move tight end/h-back, even lining up at fullback at times. He’s not a great blocker and would struggle against defensive linemen and possibly even stronger linebackers. I would like to see him be used frequently moving in motion and as a field stretcher in the play-action game. Hopefully, the Browns keep Njoku for one more season to see that tight end duo play together, but if not then Bryant will see a good amount of playing time. 

5.160 Nick Harris, C Washington

Versatile? Check. Athletic? Check. Smart? Check. If a player has those three qualities, more likely than not they’ll be a pro in this league for a long time. Harris checks all those boxes and while he might not necessarily see the field right off the bat, he can fill in at any spot across the interior offensive line. The Browns are pretty good in the trenches with J.C. Tretter, Wyatt Teller, and Joel Bitonio but every team is always one injury away from a completely different outlook. While Harris may never be a consistent starter, he’s never going to be a detriment to his team. He’s quite small for a lineman, maybe one of the smallest in the league at 6-1 295 pounds, but makes up for it in quickness and IQ. At Washington, he was often used as a puller or in double teams before moving to the second level to block a linebacker. In short-yardage situations and it came to power running, he would get overwhelmed with speed and length of defensive tackles. His length and lack of strength will be the thing that holds him back, but that still doesn’t mean he can’t play. He has a high IQ which is displayed in making line changes and in almost always making the right block. At the worst, the Browns have a pretty cheap, high-level depth player at a position where injuries are unfortunately very common. While the plan may not be for Harris to see a lot of playing time, I’d bet over the next four seasons he will make more than a handful of starts and do a good job at it. 

6.187 Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR Michigan

As I mentioned previously, the Browns do not have a legit third receiver at the moment. Guys like Rashard Higgins, Taywan Taylor, KhaDarel Hodge, and Damion Ratley are in the running for it, but none have proven themselves to be consistent producers. Higgins and Taylor have had flashes of being good receivers, but both probably will never strike fear in the opposing team’s eye. Peoples-Jones, on the other hand, has the chance to have a good pro career. Out of high school, he was a highly-touted prospect and then fell flat at Michigan. The offense wasn’t a pass friendly one and struggled with poor quarterback play over his three seasons. Peoples-Jones does have a lot of things you look for in a receiver: size, athleticism, route running, and an alpha male attitude. He’s going to give full effort whether he’s blocking or showing toughness with the ball in his hands. The general consensus would be his future is working in the slot where he’s going to have a free release off the line then use his athletic ability to get open. I think he will have a relatively small role in the offense as a rookie and contribute on special teams, where he has experience as a punt returner. Let him spend some time learning about how to be a receiver and slowly work his way into getting snaps. The question that will soon be answered though is whether it was Michigan that held back Peoples-Jones from reaching his potential or is it that Peoples-Jones just isn’t a good receiver. The NFL seems to think it’s the latter, I believe it’s the former and that the Browns got a steal in the sixth round. 

If you liked this post make sure to subscribe below and let us know what you think. If you feel like donating and want access to some early blog releases and exclusive breakdown content or to help us keep things running, you can visit our Patreon page here. Make sure to follow us on Instagram @weekly_spiral and twitter @weeklyspiral for updates when we post and release our podcasts. You can find the Weekly Spiral podcast on Spotify or anywhere you listen.

2020 NFL Draft Round One Winners/Losers

Nothing makes you feel better than your team knocking it out of the park with a possible cornerstone franchise player in the first round. On the flip side, nothing will make you want to throw your chair across the room that reaching for a guy that Mel Kiper has a third-round grade on. Here are who we think are the winners and losers of the 2020 first round:

WINNERS

Broncos

They were able to get Jerry Jeudy, arguably the top receiver in this class, without having to move up from 15 after weeks of rumors that they were trying to do so. Jeudy steps in and becomes the starter next to Courtland Sutton, giving Drew Lock a few weapons to play with now. Watch out AFC, the Broncos have arrived.

Browns

The Browns actually made the right pick? Is this the Twilight Zone? No it’s not and it seems that the new front office has it figure out. They knew their weakness was at the offensive line and drafted Jedrick Wills, a tackle with tons of experience against elite competition. No excuses for Baker Mayfield now.

Cowboys

How ’bout them Cowboys?!?!?! By selecting CeeDee Lamb, they now have the leagues best wide receiving group and could have the best offense too. They are set up nicely for the future and while they still have needs on the defensive side of the ball, if you’re going to score 40 points a game you might not need much defense to win games.

Vikings

After the loss of Stefon Digs, the Vikings had a massive hole at receiver. So they got the silky-smooth Justin Jefferson. Last season, one of their biggest weaknesses was corner. So, they got the Jeff Gladney, an alpha male, while also trading back a few slots. This was the perfect combination of getting the best player available while also addressing a need. Vikings look primed for another playoff appearance.

America

We finally got some sports during these terrible times. Thank you NFL for doing this event and making us forget what’s going on for a few hours.

LOSERS

Seahawks

They got Jordyn Brooks which 1) did not address a pressing need 2) puts him at the same position as their best defender, Bobby Wagner 3) they could have easily traded down and got him in the second. Knowing the Seahawks, Brooks will be a solid player but this one is a head-scratcher to me.

Eagles

Jalen Reagor isn’t a scrub, the man should become a starter sooner rather than later. They are losers in this because their rival, the Dallas Cowboys, got a stud receiver just four picks ahead of them. Eagles had the draft picks to move up ahead of the Cowboys to pick CeeDee Lamb and decided not too. Now they have to face him twice a year.

Packers

For Jordan Love’s sake, this was a great fit. For the Packer’s short-term, this was a terrible fit. They are in win-now mode and should build around Rodgers, not get his replacement. Rodgers also isn’t the ideal mentor and there will surely be conflict between Love and Rodgers. Get your popcorn ready, fireworks will be happening in Green Bay.

Raiders

The Raiders always make a head-scratching pick every season. They drafted Henry Ruggs at twelve, which to some is a slight reach due to the other receivers that were still on the board, but he should be a productive player early. However, it was their second selection of the first in Damon Arnette that’s a surprise. Arnette is a late-second at best prospect and will struggle early. Mahomes is going to continue to torch this defense.

Falcons

It was no secret that the Falcons wanted a corner and their were rumors of them trying to move into the top-ten for CJ Henderson. That didn’t happen so they drafted a borderline first-rounder at 16. Wait, what? Yes, they could have drafted down and gotten more picks while drafting AJ Terrell, or a player of similar or better quality, later in the draft. This does not help them this season, when head coach Dan Quinn is on the hot seat and in need of a playoff appearance.

If you liked this post make sure to subscribe below and let us know what you think. If you feel like donating and want access to some early blog releases and exclusive breakdown content or to help us keep things running, you can visit our Patreon page here. Make sure to follow us on Instagram @weekly_spiral and twitter @weeklyspiral for updates when we post and release our podcasts. You can find the Weekly Spiral podcast on Spotify or anywhere you listen.

Bring your Football Knowledge to the Next Level

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2020 Second Round Mock

A little second round mock to get you ready for another day of the NFL Draft! Just a reminder, I’m not intentionally trying to screw over your team. Enjoy!

33. Bengals- Josh Jones, Houston OT

34. Colts- Denzel Mims, Baylor WR

35. Lions- Marlon Davidson, Auburn DL

36. Giants- Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State EDGE

37. Patriots- AJ Epenesa, Iowa DL

38. Panthers- Kristian Fulton, LSU CB

39. Dolphins- D’Andre Swift, Georgia RB

40. Texans- Trevon Diggs, Alabama CB

41. Browns- Xavier McKinney, Alabama S

42. Jaguars- Tee Higgins, Clemson WR

43. Bears- Chase Claypool, Notre Dame WR

44. Colts- Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma QB

45. Buccaneers- Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin RB

46. Broncos- Ezra Cleveland, Boise State OT

47. Falcons- Zack Braun, Wisconsin LB

48. Jets- Robert Hunt, Lousiana OL

49. Steelers- Michael Pittman, Jr., USC WR

50. Bears- Grant Delpit, LSU S

51. Cowboys- Jaylon Johnson, Utah CB

52.Rams- Lucas Niang, TCU OT

53. Eagles- Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois S

54. Bills- JK Dobbins, Ohio State RB

55. Ravens- Julian Okwara, Notre Dame EDGE

56. Dolphins- Lloyd Cushenberry, LSU OL

57. Rams- Curtis Weaver, Boise State EDGE

58. Vikings- Ross Blacklock, TCU DL

59. Seahawks- Terrell Lewis, Alabama EDGE

60. Ravens- Jonah Jackson, Ohio State OL

61. Titans- Justin Madubuike, Texam A&M DL

62- Packers- KJ Hamler, Penn State WR

63- Chiefs- Amik Robertson, Lousiana Tech CB

64- Seahawks- Raekwon Davis, Alabama DL

If you liked this post make sure to subscribe below and let us know what you think. If you feel like donating and want access to some early blog releases and exclusive breakdown content or to help us keep things running, you can visit our Patreon page here. Make sure to follow us on Instagram @weekly_spiral and twitter @weeklyspiral for updates when we post and release our podcasts. You can find the Weekly Spiral podcast on Spotify or anywhere you listen.

Bring your Football Knowledge to the Next Level

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2020 Final Big Board

The final big board is here!!! After months of studying film, here is the top 100 players in this years draft. Whether you love it or hate it, I appreciate the support as always!

  1. Chase Young, Ohio State EDGE
  2. Joe Burrow, LSU QB
  3. Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama QB
  4. Jerry Jeudy, Alabama WR
  5. Isaiah Simmons, Clemson LB
  6. Jeff Okudah, Ohio State CB
  7. Tristian Wirfs, Iowa OT
  8. Derrick Brown, Auburn DL
  9. Jedrick Wills, Alabama OT
  10. CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma WR
  11. Mekhi Becton, Louisville OT
  12. Henry Ruggs, Alabama WR
  13. Andrew Thomas, Georgia OT
  14. K’Lauvon Chaisson, LSU EDGE
  15. Antoine Winfield, Jr., Minnesota S
  16. Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State EDGE
  17. Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina DL
  18. CJ Henderson, Florida CB
  19. Xavier McKinney, Alabama S
  20. Justin Herbert, Oregon QB
  21. Noah Igbinoghene, Auburn CB
  22. Cesar Ruiz, Michigan IOL
  23. Justin Jefferson, LSU WR
  24. AJ Epenesa, Iowa DL
  25. Grant Delpit, LSU S
  26. Jordan Love, Utah State QB
  27. KJ Hamler, Penn State WR
  28. JK Dobbins, Ohio State RB
  29. Tee Higgins, Clemson WR
  30. Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma LB
  31. D’Andre Swift, Georgia RB
  32. Patrick Queen, LSU LB
  33. Laviska Shenault, Colorado WR
  34. Bryce Hall, Virginia CB
  35. Ross Blacklock, TCU DL
  36. Kristian Fulton, LSU CB
  37. Jeff Gladney, TCU CB
  38. Denzel Mims, Baylor WR
  39. Trevon Diggs, Alabama CB
  40. Cole Kmet, Notre Dame TE
  41. Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin RB
  42. Malik Harrison, Ohio State LB
  43. Justin Madubuike, Texas A&M DL
  44. AJ Terrell, Clemson CB
  45. Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State WR
  46. Jake Fromm, Georgia QB
  47. Marlon Davidson, Auburn DL
  48. Brycen Hopkins, Purdue TE
  49. Jalen Raegor, TCU WR
  50. Raekwon Davis, Alabama DL
  51. Chase Claypool, Notre Dame WR
  52. Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois S
  53. Austin Jackson, USC OT
  54. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU RB
  55. Michael Pittman, USC WR
  56. Curtis Weaver, Boise State EDGE
  57. Damon Arnette, Ohio State CB
  58. Jacob Eason, Washington QB
  59. Josh Jones, Houston OT
  60. Jaylon Johnson, Utah CB
  61. Zack Braun, Wisconsin EDGE
  62. Adam Trautman, Dayton TE
  63. Jonah Jackson, Ohio State IOL
  64. Julian Okwara, Notre Dame EDGE
  65. Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne S
  66. Devin Asiasi, UCLA TE
  67. Davon Hamilton, Ohio State DL
  68. Lynn Bowden, Jr., Kentucky WR
  69. Neville Gallimore, Oklahoma DL
  70. Isaiah Wilson, Georgia OT
  71. Terrell Lewis, Alabama EDGE
  72. Troy Dye, Oregon LB
  73. Jordyn Brooks, Texas Tech LB
  74. Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin C
  75. Lloyd Cushenberry III, LSU IOL
  76. Matt Hennessy, Temple IOL
  77. Van Jefferson, Florida WR
  78. Robert Hunt, Louisiana IOL
  79. Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma QB
  80. Cameron Dantzler, Mississippi State CB
  81. Ben Bartch, St. John’s IOL
  82. Ezra Cleveland, Boise State OT
  83. Darrynton Evans, Appalachian State RB
  84. Thaddeus Moss, LSU TE
  85. Zack Moss, Utah RB
  86. Hakeem Adeniji, Kansas OT
  87. Prince Tega Wanogho, Auburn OT
  88. Bryan Edwards, South Carolina WR
  89. Jonathan Greenard, Florida EDGE
  90. Ashytn Davis, Cal S
  91. Donovan Peoples-Jones, Michigan WR
  92. Collin Johnson, Texas WR
  93. K’Von Wallace, Clemson S
  94. Nick Harris, Washington IOL
  95. Eno Benjamin, Arizona State RB
  96. Akeem Davis-Gaither, Appalachian State LB
  97. Darrell Taylor, Tennessee EDGE
  98. Michael Ojemudia, Iowa CB
  99. Isaiah Hodgins, Oregon State WR
  100. Jordan Elliot, Missouri DL

Instead of including a highlight or two for every prospect, I’d thought I’d share some of the best game tape I saw in some of this years prospects. Don’t watch highlight compilation to judge a prospect, find a way to watch an entire game!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDEilANMT-E

49ers Seven-Round Mock Draft

As a lifelong 49ers, I had to do a full seven-round mock for the team. I used the Pro Football Network Mock Draft Simulator (which is fantastic by the way) to make this as realistic as possible. BANG BANG NINER GANG! #Questforsix

Round 1, pick 13- Henry Ruggs, WR Alabama

The 49ers desperately need another receiver to complement Deebo Samuel and Ruggs is the perfect fit for Shanahan’s offense. He’ll step in right away and become what Marquise Goodwin was to the offense in 2017 when he became Jimmy Garoppolo’s favorite target. Ruggs has blazing 4.2 speed but isn’t just a deep threat as he only had one drop this past season and is as sure-handed as it gets. He’ll become a RAC star, which is tailor-made for the 49ers offense that wants to get the ball to its playmakers in open space. Jerry Jeudy would also be a great fit here, but I fully expect him to be gone at 13. CeeDee Lamb might be ranked higher on most boards, but I just see Shanahan falling in love with a player like Ruggs who will give a new wrinkle to the offense. 

Round 1, pick 31- Trade to the Jets for pick 48 and 68

Trade Alert! The 49ers move out of this pick and get a second and third-rounder from the Jets who will look to grab an offensive tackle at the end of the first round. The 49ers also throw in their last pick (245 overall) in the trade.

Round 2, pick 48- Raekwon Davis, DT Alabama

As the 49ers lose a mammoth defensive tackle in DeForest Buckner, they gain a new one in Raekwon Davis. Davis is a versatile player who can line up at a few spots in the defense but his primary position will be playing the three-technique, which is where Buckner played. His best season came as a sophomore and had a lot of first-round hype, but failed to put up equivalent stats the past two seasons. He’s a good athlete for his size and his best quality is occupying blocks which will help free up the other studs on their defense. He might not be an immediate starter, as the team can roll with Solomon Thomas at first and give him his final chance to produce. If that experiment fails again, Davis will be ready to contribute 20-25 snaps a game and provide value in the run and pass rush. It was a close call between Davis, Justin Madubuike, and Ross Blacklock (who all would play the same role in this defense) but there are reports that the 49ers have shown strong interest in Davis which might mean nothing, but I’m willing to bet in a strange draft like this that it means a lot.

Round 3, pick 68-Bryce Hall, CB Virginia

To me, this would be a match made in heaven. Hall is a high-character, high-IQ, natural leader that will be able to take over the reins for Sherman once he moves on and will push for playing time right away with Emmanuel Moseley and Ahkello Witherspoon. Would have been a late first-round pick most likely a season ago, he decided to stay for his senior year and missed most of the season due to an ankle injury. He has good size and strength and excelled in cover three, which just happens to be what the 49ers run a lot. He’ll struggle initially in man due to lack of speed and agility, but with the right coaching will be able to develop into an all-around solid corner. He reminds me so much of Richard Sherman, without the alpha-male swagger but is a leader of men that teammates will love and respect. I personally think he’s good enough to start right away, but even if he doesn’t he will be a starter in year two. 

Round 4, pick 145 (from Eagles for Brieda)- Hakeem Adeniji, OL Kansas

Trade Alert! The 49ers trade Matt Breida to the Philadelphia Eagles for a fourth-round pick (145). The running back room is getting pretty crowded and Breida is the second most expensive one now who doesn’t have the versatility to match his payday. Also, he’s a free agent after the season and looks pretty unlikely that he will resign. Time to get some value for him.

Adeniji is a good athlete but needs to get stronger to play at the next level. Played left tackle all four years at Kansas, but might be asked to play guard which offers him positional versatility that Shanahan covets in all his players. Due to his athleticism and IQ, he would fit best in a zone-blocking scheme where he can pull and get out in space. While he’s not ready at all to play right now, but essentially use a redshirt year for him to get stronger and refine some technique and he could be a starter at tackle or guard in a few years. 

Round 5, pick 156- Nick Harris, C Washington

With a serious injury to Weston Richburg and releasing Mike Person, the 49ers depth at center and guard is suspect to say the least. Harris is undersized but is an athletic center prospect who fits best in an outside zone scheme. He will get beat against the bull rush, but when he’s able to pull or get to the second level he becomes a human wrecking ball. Richburg could be ready week one but has had relatively serious injuries the past three seasons and can’t count on him long-term. Harris will be able to step in at a moment’s notice at center, but can also fill in at guard. With Ben Garland being a replacement-level player, it would be wise to look at the long-term for interior linemen possibilities. 

Round 5, pick 176- Antoine Brooks Jr, S Maryland

Brooks Jr. has a lot of qualities in common with current safety Jaquaski Tartt, who’s a free agent after the season. Both are strong tacklers who have no problem laying the wood and both are also good at defending in shallow areas where tight ends tend to operate. However, Brooks Jr. struggles in deep coverage due to his lack of speed. I’m not overly worried about that as the 49ers usually run a cover 3 and have a free safety play deep center field. Brooks Jr. needs to continue to develop a better feel in the passing game, but is the aggressive tackler needed for a strong safety. He’s an immediate upgrade over Marcel Harris who can’t defend a rolling chair in coverage, so it would be wise to look at the future of strong safety if they’re unable to lock up Tartt long-term. 

Round 6, pick 210- Jared Pinkney, TE Vanderbilt

All offseason the 49ers have been attached to different free-agent tight ends. From Austin Hooper to Jordan Reed, the team is in the market for a player who can give Kittle a rest more often. Ross Dwelly is a nice player but after losing Levine Toiolo to the Giants and the only other tight end on the roster is Daniel Helm. Pinkney has the tools to be a good player, but had a poor season and combine that plummeted his stock. He has good hands and is a solid blocker, but lacks the speed or quickness to beat coverage in man. However, in year one he can be utilized as a blocker and eventually develop into a solid #2 tight end. At the point in the draft, it’s worth taking a risk on a player who will provide value early in his career. 

Round 7, pick 217- Stanford Samuels III, CB Florida State

The 49ers need to build corner depth with Sherman, Williams, and Witherspoon all being unrestricted free agents after the season. It’s unlikely that the team brings all of them back and there’s not much proven depth behind them at the moment. Samuels III is an athletic specimen who needs time to develop the technique needed to play in the league. Stash him on the practice squad for a year and then give him a chance to compete for a role in the future. 

If you liked this post make sure to subscribe here and let us know what you think. Make sure to follow us on Instagram @weekly_spiral and twitter @weeklyspiral for updates when we post and release our podcasts. You can find the Weekly Spiral podcast on Spotify or anywhere you listen. If you feel like donating to help us keep things running, you can visit our Patreon page here.

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2020 NFL Draft Gambling Guide

The draft is one of the few events that degenerate gamblers like myself are going to be able to bet on in the month of April, which makes it that much more exciting. All lines were provided by Bovada on 4/12/20. Please gamble responsibly.

O/U 5.5 receivers in the first round- under (+190)

Because of it being such a deep wide receiver class, teams might look into grabbing a receiver in the second or third round and get close to equal value to a first-round receiver. There are four locks: Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, Henry Ruggs, and Justin Jefferson. After that, it’s a crapshoot and at +180 the odds are too good to pass up. 

O/U total SEC players in round one (15.5)- under (-130) 

While former SEC players will hear their name early and often in the first round, I don’t see it getting to sixteen. Players like LSU’s Grant Delpit and Alabama’s Xavier McKinney’s stock has been dropping the past few weeks and now they look more likely to be drafted in the second. Based on my calculations, the SEC will come in at fifteen, right below for the under to hit.

O/U OL in the first round (6.5)- over (-115)

There’s a lot of good offensive linemen in this year’s draft and in a league where protecting the quarterback is at a premium, the demand for the big fellas will be high. We’ll see four prospects in the top half (Wirfs, Wills, Becton, and Thomas) and likely see center Cesar Ruiz drafted by 25. Then, in the group of Austin Jackson, Ezra Cleveland, Josh Jones, Isaiah Wilson, I’m fairly confident at least two of them will sneak into the end of the first round. Because of that, fairly confident in seven in total. 

Round Jalen Hurts gets drafted- 2nd (+140)

Just last week we were looking at +185 odds on this, so this means that the money is heading this direction. In an uncertain quarterback class after Burrow, Hurts is a proven winner that fits the mold of an athletic quarterback which seems to be working in the NFL. A team will have to gamble, but one that is willing to be creative and bold, like the Saints, will take a chance at the end of the second round. 

First OL taken- Tristan Wirfs (-130)
This is another one that has the public money heading its way. Wirfs is the most versatile and dynamic offensive lineman in the draft and fits any system. He could go as high as four to the Giants and don’t see him dropping past seven to the Jaguars. In a weird draft that prohibited teams from working out prospects, go with the one that showed out at the combine. 

First receiver taken- Jerry Jeudy (-105)

One of the “big three” receivers in this class along with CeeDee Lamb and Henry Ruggs, Jeudy’s all-around game makes him the safest pick of the three. He can fit any scheme and is ready to play a big role immediately. The Jaguars, Jets, Raiders, 49ers, and Broncos all need receivers and we might even see a team move up for one and I’m willing to bet it’ll be for Jeudy. 

Order of thirst three picks (exact)- Burrow, Young, Tua (+180)

With all the rumors about the Dolphins cooling off of Tua, the odds on this one are dropping fast. To me, that just means better value on this pick. Burrow and Young will go one and two, that is a certainty but the options of going third will be Okudah or Tua if a team moves up. I’m still banking on the Dolphins being aggressive and moving up to three for their franchise quarterback. 

O/U Derrick Brown draft position (8.5)- under (-125)

Once again, public money is all over this. Just a week ago it was at +130, but the rumors of the Cardinals at eight being enamored with Brown makes this much more likely that the under will hit. The Jaguars at seven could even be interested in Brown, so I’m really liking these odds. 

O/U Andrew Thomas draft position (10.5)- over (-140)

I don’t see more than three offensive linemen going in the top ten and right now I have Thomas as the fourth rated lineman in this draft. I think at this point he’s likely to be going fourteen to the Buccaneers and that’s his peak in my opinion. 

O/U Kenneth Murray draft position (21.5)- over (-140)

There’s a wildcard here that the Raiders at nineteen could pick Murray, but I think he’s a target starting at the mid twenties which means this bet is a smart one. The linebacker position in the draft isn’t as valued as it once was due to the pass-first nature of the league to the point there’s only one or two drafted in the first per year. Murray is a hell of a player, but the positional value pushes him down in the draft. 

Weekly Spiral’s Mock Draft

In case you didn’t listen to our podcast this past week, here are the results of our dueling mock draft. With just a week and a half away from the draft, it’s becoming clearer as to what teams are focusing on and who they might target.

Link to the episode:

  1. Bengals- Joe Burrow, QB LSU

Slam dunk pick here as the Bengals get their new face of the franchise

  1. Redskins- Chase Young, EDGE Ohio State

Another easy pick here as the Redskins can draft the best prospect in this class

  1. Lions- Jeff Okudah, CB Ohio State

Okudah is a lockdown corner who will be one of the best in the league sooner rather than later

  1. Giants- Tristan Wirfs, OT Iowa

The Giants continue to build around Saquon by getting an athletic lineman who can step in and contribute at a high level immediately

  1. Dolphins- Tua Tagovailoa, QB Alabama

#Tank4Tua was the slogan all year and it works out in this scenario

  1. Chargers- Justin Herbert, QB Oregon

A bit of a wildcard, Herbert has a high ceiling that the Chargers are willing to take a chance on

  1. Panthers- Derrick Brown, DL Auburn

Panthers get a DT to continue to strengthen their defensive line during this rebuild

  1. Cardinals- Mekhi Becton, OT Louisville

In order to protect Kyler Murray, Cardinals need to start protecting him

  1. Jaguars- Isaiah Simmons, LB/S Clemson

Jaguars need to build back up a defense that not too long ago was the best in the league and Simmons is a rare talent

  1. Browns- Jedrick Wills, OT Alabama

Wills is a rock-steady tackle that can play on the left or right side which is exactly what the Browns need

  1. Jets- Jerry Jeudy, WR Alabama

Darnold desperately needs receivers and Jeudy is the crown jewel of a deep receiver class

  1. Raiders- Henry Ruggs, WR Alabama

Nobody values speed more than the Raiders and nobody in this class is faster than Ruggs. This makes too much sense. 

  1. 49ers (via Colts)- CeeDee Lamb, WR Oklahoma

Lamb is a complete receiver that Shanahan would covet in his system

  1. Buccaneers- Andrew Thomas, OT Georgia

As the Bucs look to quickly build a title contender, getting Thomas will go a long ways to protecting Brady

  1. Broncos- CJ Henderson, CB Florida

Broncos need a receiver but get a corner that Fagio can build his secondary around after trading Chris Harris, Jr

  1. Falcons- Javon Kinlaw, DL South Carolina

A Kinlaw-Jarrett-Fowler Jr. defensive line? More like Sacklanta, am I right?

  1. Cowboys- K’ Lauvon Chaisson, EDGE LSU

Cowboys need another bookend pass rusher that they can consistently rely on and Chaisson is that guy

  1. Dolphins (via Steelers)- Josh Jones, OT Houston

Bit of a reach here but the Dolphins need offensive line help in a major way

  1. Raiders (via Bears)- Kenneth Murray, LB Oklahoma

Murray will be a tackling machine at the next level and can become a key piece in the middle of the Raider defense

  1. Jaguars (via Rams)- Kristian Fulton, CB LSU

After losing Jalen Ramsey, Fulton brings back that attitude in the secondary

  1. Eagles- Justin Jefferson, WR LSU

The Eagles receiver production last year can be classified at best as poor and adding a player of Jefferson’s caliber changes that

  1. Vikings (via Bills)- Tee Higgins, WR Clemson

As one receiver exits, another enters in Minnesota

  1. Patriots- Jordan Love, QB Utah State

Do the Patriots believe in Stidham? We’ll find out with this pick

  1. Saints- Laviska Shenault, WR Colorado

Sean Payton loves versatile players and Shenault can utilize in a few ways

  1. Vikings- Yetur Gross- Matos, EDGE Penn State

After losing Everson Griffen, Vikings need a pass rush

  1. Dolphins (via Texans)- Antoine Winfield, Jr., S Minnesota

As Brian Flores continues to build his defense, he finds his ball hawk safety

  1. Seahawks- AJ Epenesa, DL Iowa

Once a highly-touted prospect, Epenesa fits perfectly along the Seahawks line

  1. Ravens- Patrick Queen, LB LSU

Ravens have one weakness, middle linebacker. Queen solves that

  1. Titans- Austin Jackson, OT USC

After losing Jack Conklin, Jackson can take over the reins at right tackle before moving to the left side

  1. Packers- KJ Hamler, WR Penn State

The reincarnation of Randall Cobb will make Rodgers a happy customer

  1. 49ers- Trevon Diggs, CB Alabama

A developmental corner that can spend a season learning from Richard Sherman before stepping in to start in two years

  1. Chiefs- Jeff Gladney, CB TCU

Gladney is a versatile corner that the Chiefs will need to step in and play right away

If you liked this post make sure to subscribe here and let us know what you think. Make sure to follow us on Instagram @weekly_spiral and twitter @weeklyspiral for updates when we post and release our podcasts. You can find the Weekly Spiral podcast on Spotify or anywhere you listen. If you feel like donating to help us keep things running, you can visit our Patreon page here.

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Best/Worst Case Scenario for Draft Prospects

Where a prospect is drafted can make or break a career. Some talented players fall victim to poor scheme fit that derails their career before it even gets started. Here are a few best/worst case scenario for some top prospects:

Joe Burrow, QB LSU

Best: Miami Dolphins

Rumor has it that the Dolphins view Burrow as their top quarterback and trying to find a way to move up and get the LSU product. Burrow would have the chance to learn from a veteran quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick and would be with a rebuilding team that will allow him to be patient in his development. With several high picks this year and next year’s draft, Burrow could be surrounded by a lot of young talent on both sides of the ball. Also, Brian Flores seems to be a promising head coach in a division with no clear-cut favorite anymore. 

Worst: Cincinnati Bengals

Yes, the most likely scenario for Burrow is absolutely the worst-case scenario for him. It makes for a good story that the Ohio native is returning home to try and lead a struggling franchise to the top. But, in reality, that’s where the positivity ends. The Bengals might be the NFL’s least talented team, especially on the offensive line, and historically are unwilling to spend money in free agency. Add in the fact that you’re playing in the AFC North which is stacked now and the first few seasons will be tough for Burrow and the Bengals. 

Tua Tagovailoa, QB Alabama

Best: Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers are a franchise in need of an identity (and fans) and need a quarterback after longtime face of the franchise Phillip Rivers joined the Colts. Also, the Chargers have one of the more talented rosters in the league and aren’t too far off from being a playoff team. Tua would have plenty of targets and a strong running game to help him and the AFC West lacks an elite defense. A team trying to establish itself in a big market and a new stadium needs a player of Tua’s caliber and Tua would fit best with a team as talented as the Chargers. 

Worst: Cincinnati Bengals

I swear, I’m not picking on the Bengals on purpose. They’re just a poorly run franchise and would destroy a quarterback’s chance to thrive. Most of the reasons I listed why it’s a bad fit for Burrow applies for Tua as well, but another reason would be Tua’s lack of arm strength. Playing in a cold weathered city like Cincinnati and with the lack of supporting cast around him, Tua would struggle with the Bengals.

AJ Epenesa, DL Iowa

Best: Seattle Seahawks

Once a top-ten pick, Epenesa just hopes to go in the first round now and the best way to show his value is by playing in a defense that will allow him to line up at multiple spots across the line. The Seahawks run a hybrid 4-3 scheme that would ideally line up Epenesa as a big end in a base formation and then inside on passing downs, almost how Michael Bennett lined up for them during the legion of boom era. Also, being drafted at the end of the first round might help Epenesa as the more talent that surrounds him, the less double teams he’ll face.

Worst: New York Giants

While the Giants won’t draft him at four, there’s a good chance that they’ll target an edge rusher at the top of the second. While Epenesa would immediately be one of the best defensive linemen for the team, he’s not what they need. They need a speed edge rusher crashing in off the edge, which is not what Epenesa is best at. He will line up on the edge, he will do his best pass rushing off of stunts and playing inside. Giants already have Leonard Williams who they just franchise tagged that already does that for them. 

Laviska Shenault, WR Colorado

Best: Chicago Bears

As the weeks go by, the more it looks like Shenault is going to drop out of the first round. However, this might just work out best for him as the best fit is the Bears who own the 43rd and 50th pick and need a receiver. Whoever is the quarterback for them this year needs a target besides Alson Jeffrey and a versatile one like Shenault can go a long way. He’ll line up best in the slot but if you utilize him like how the 49ers do with Deebo Samuel, you might see some similar results. A creative play-caller like Matt Nagy can make a player like Shenault a star. 

Worst: Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins need another receiver, no doubt about that but they would do best with a speed threat that can attack you on short routes and also take the top off of the defense. Shenault is not a deep threat, he’s used best when the ball is in his hands early on slants and screens. There’s just not a fit there in my eyes as Dolphins should target a player like KJ Hamler in the second, a speed demon who can open things up for Devante Parker. 

Justin Herbert, QB Oregon

Best: Los Angeles Chargers

Many of the reasons that the Chargers are a great fit for Tua make it also a great fit for Herbert. Good roster, good coaching, and the chance to be a star in a big market. However, there’s another reason why Herbert would fit best with the Dolphins and that’s Tyrod Taylor. While no one will ever mistake Taylor as a franchise quarterback, he’s a solid option to start for a season. Because of this, Herbert does not need to be rushed into the starting lineup and can spend time developing the mental aspect of the game while having a veteran ahead of him teaching him the ropes. 

Worst: Miami Dolphins

While they are a team on the rise, they are more inclined to draft a quarterback and have them play early. Herbert needs at least a season to sit and learn and Dolphins would be pressured to play him early. They do have Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen, but both of those guys are so streaky and are always a quarter away from being benched. The Dolphins also have a poor offensive line which means that whoever is behind center will have to diagnose the defense much quicker and at this point, Herbert needs to refine the mental aspect of his game. 

Jordan Love, QB Utah State

Best: Green Bay Packers 

This might seem like an unlikely landing spot for Love, but listening to Colin Cowherd’s show the past few weeks, he brings up a lot of strong points as to why the Packers might draft a quarterback early. Rodgers isn’t getting any younger and showed some regression for the first time this past season. He has also has missed multiple games in his career to injury and a smart organization like the Packers always think ahead. Sit Love for two seasons, at which Rodgers will be 38, then give him the keys to the franchise. LaFleur is a young, bright offensive mind who can tutor Love and turn him into a star. 

Worst: Las Vegas Raiders

Gruden loooooooooooves a quarterback like Love. Athletically he can do it all and is the closest thing to Mahomes in this class. That being said, he needs time to develop and a creative offensive scheme. Gruden likes to run the ball and use that to take deep shots on play-action which should help a strong-armed quarterback like Love, right? People said the same thing about Jamarcus Russell and we know how that turned out. Early in his career, Love will need schemes that rely on getting receivers open with space to run. I don’t think the Raiders will do that for him. With Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota both on the team with uncertainty, I could see Gruden rushing a new face at quarterback to play to usher in a new era of football in Las Vegas. 

Henry Ruggs, WR Alabama

Best: Denver Broncos

The Broncos have a good running game, good possession receiving targets and a promising young quarterback with a strong arm. The missing piece? A speedy deep threat. There’s no better speed demon in the draft that Ruggs, who I project with being a DeSean Jackson type player. Also, Drew Lock has a strong arm and in a division that lacks top cornerbacks for the most part, he can let it rip and target a guy like Ruggs down the field for a splash play. Broncos also need offensive line help, but if Ruggs is on the board there’s no way they can pass on him. 

Worst: New York Jets

Adam Gase’s offense is more predicated on intermediate routes, which is not Ruggs’ strength. He’ll work best on go routes and quick screens that will use his speed best. Also, while I’m a huge fan of Sam Darnold’s game, at this point he doesn’t throw the best deep ball. The Jets would be best to target CeeDee Lamb or Jerry Jeudy at 11 as both of those receivers are tailored for this offense. 

Justin Jefferson, WR LSU

Best: New Orleans Saints

While the Saints signed Emmanuel Sanders in free agency, they still need to desperately find another pass-catching target to take advantage of their current super bowl window. Jefferson, who went to school not too far away from the Superdome, has good size and quickness that can allow him to attack on slants and dig routes while also being able to attack down the field on deep routes. Another key aspect of his game are his strong hands, something that is imperative in an offense that has no problem spreading things out. Since he is shooting up draft boards, I’m not sure he will last long enough for the Saints to sit back and wait so they might need to be aggressive to get a player who compares favorably to their current star receiver, Michael Thomas. 

Worst: Denver Broncos

I fully expect there to be a run on receivers with all three of the top receivers (Jeudy, Lamb, and Ruggs) to be gone by 13, which leaves the Broncos at 15 in a tough situation. They really need a receiver but could probably get a pretty good one in the second round. However, if they stay put, they could target a player like Jefferson. This wouldn’t be wise as he’s mainly a possession receiver, something that they already have with Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant. Not so much that Jefferson won’t be a successful pro, but rather this would limit his potential surrounded by players with the same skillset. 

JK Dobbins, RB Ohio State

Best: Miami Dolphins

While there is much dispute over who’s the top running back in this class, I think Dobbins will be the most productive early and possibly have the best career. The Dolphins current depth chart has Jordan Howard at the top, who at this point is considered a below-average starter, and then not much behind that. They could use a game-changer like Dobbins who has exceptional vision and at any point can break out a big play. Also, the Dolphins new offensive coordinator in Chan Gailey, one of the innovators of the spread offense in the NFL. Dobbins comes from a spread scheme in college and was at his best running out of the shotgun in a 5-6 man box where all he has to do is make one guy miss. Whoever is taking the snaps for the Dolphins next year will welcome a rusher of Dobbins talent. 

Worst: Washington Redskins

Redskins are a mess and are a team that has several experienced running backs yet none that you can count on. With new coach Ron Rivera who historically likes to run the ball, you can bet that they will target a running back early but Dobbins isn’t the fit for them. They’ll want to run a more physical and traditional offense which makes a player like Jonathan Taylor a better option. Also, Dobbins in college seemed to be a rhythm runner which means the more touches he got, the more productive he became. With a crowded running back room, Dobbins might be a guy next year limited to ten touches a game only. 

Kenneth Murray, LB Oklahoma

Best: Kansas City Chiefs

Chiefs need to draft defense, that much is tough to dispute. Their defensive line seems to be in great shape, but have massive holes at linebacker and cornerback. While they can’t go wrong with either, drafting Kenneth Murray would make the most sense. Murray is an aggressive sideline to sideline linebacker and would be able to track down ball carriers in a division that has some promising running backs. Murray fits best in a 4-3 scheme, which is something the Chiefs run and can help in the passing game guarding tight ends which would allow Tyrann Mathieu to help more in the slot. 

Worst: Detroit Lions

The Lions need help on defense and Matt Patricia is a defensive coach so this would make sense in the early second round. However, I don’t think Patricia will be patient as he’s on the hot seat and will want a more refined player. Murray is a player who plays very aggressively, which means he’s prone to mistakes and missing tackles. The Lions have a few veteran linebackers (Jarrad Davis, Jamie Collins, and Reggie Ragland) which means Murray might not see the field too much. A player like him will do best playing early and learning every game on how to improve. Won’t be a bust here, just will be limited by scheme and coaching.

2020 NFL Draft Superlatives

Best all-around- Chase Young, DE Ohio State

As stated in our big board, Chase Young is by far the best prospect in this draft. Burrow and Tua might be the biggest and most talked-about names, but no doubt in my mind that Young is the number one overall talent. Immediate Pro Bowl level player and with the Bengals more than likely picking Burrow first overall, the Redskins can’t afford to pass on this demon pass rusher. 

Best Couple (QB/WR)- Tua Tagovailoa, QB Alabama and Tee Higgins, WR Clemson (Dolphins)

Some clarity here: this best couple is for prospects who will be possibly and realistically be teammates at the professional level. As the Dolphins have three first-round picks and figure to be aggressive to get Tua early, I can’t think of a better fit for the young quarterback than Clemson WR Tee Higgins at 18 or 26. The Dolphins have been aggressive in free agency on the defensive side of the ball, but still needs to retool that offense. You go get your franchise quarterback and then assist him with a big-bodied receiver. While Clemson and Alabama are rivals, powering these two together would be so beneficial for their respective futures. 

Most Athletic- Henry Ruggs, WR Alabama

If this video doesn’t do it for you, maybe the 4.2 40 yard dash will. The craziest part about that is that he felt like he should have done better. Ruggs is such a special athlete and probably one that could excel in several sports. Needs more polish as a player to avoid being a one-trick pony as a deep threat, but at worst he’s a DeSean Jackson-type playmaker that just about any team would love to have. In a crowded class of wide receivers, none may have the upside that Ruggs possesses. I envision him being drafted between 12-25, with the Broncos, Eagles and Vikings being ideal landing spots.

Most likely to succeed- Jeff Okudah, CB Ohio State

I find it really tough for Okudah to be a bust, barring injury. He can play in any scheme and as a cornerback, doesn’t necessarily need others around him to play at a high level (but it would help). Just about every other prospect, besides Young, needs some sort of refinement or improvement in their game but Okudah is ready to go right now. Could see him being a top cornerback for the next decade or so and is one of the safest prospects to come through in a long time. A probable top-five pick and I don’t see a scenario where he drops past the Cardinals at eight, with the Lions at three being the ceiling. 

Most likely to survive a zombie apocalypse- Mehki Becton, OT Louisville

Becton reminds me of a player you create yourself in Madden. As a mountain of a man and an athletic specimen, there’s no other person (besides Chuck Norris) I’d rather fight beside me in a zombie apocalypse. You could just send him out in the wild and he would destroy the enemy and bring peace and prosperity to the world. As a prospect, he’s a surefire top ten pick with teams like the Jaguars, Cardinals, and Panthers looking for line help.

Most divisive prospect- Justin Herbert, QB Oregon

Is Herbert going to be one of the cool jocks or the dropout? Honestly to me, it’s 50/50. He’s still more than likely going to be a top ten pick with the Chargers at six seeming probable, many are unsure if he is cut out to be the face of a franchise. He had a strong yet underwhelming career at Oregon and never seemed to live up to his potential. With the right offensive mind, he could flourish, but if he’s asked to carry a team early, the results won’t be pretty. 

Most popular- Joe Burrow, QB LSU

Burrow is a cult hero in Baton Rouge now. The transfer quarterback whose underdog story is something straight from a movie. He’s almost a lock to go number one overall and just about every franchise would welcome a player, and more importantly a man like Burrow. Congrats Cincy, you found your franchise quarterback. Now, don’t screw it up.

Most likely to end up on Sportscenter’s top 10- Jerry Jeudy, WR Alabama

I compared Jeudy to Odell Beckham Jr. which should say everything about what I think of him. Might not be the biggest or fastest guy, but makes all the jaw-dropping plays that will make him one of the best receivers in the league. Great with the ball in his hands and has the strong hands required to make the flashy catch. He’ll get drafted between seven and fifteen and would be a perfect fit for the Raiders or 49ers.