Every NFL team has now played eight games and the team needs are becoming clear. The college football season is 10 weeks old and we are getting an understanding of what these prospects are. For some NFL fan bases, the playoffs seem out of the picture and its time to start focusing on how your favorite team can improve via the NFL Draft.
If you want to get a head start on learning about the players who will be selected next spring, I invite you to listen to the Locked on NFL Draft Podcast where Kyle Crabbs and I co-host a daily podcast on the NFL Draft.
1. Browns: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson – An exciting play maker with his share of big moments on the biggest stages, Watson represents a chance for the Browns to find their long-term answer at quarterback. It would seem Hue Jackson is the ideal coach to maximize Watson’s strengths and coach up his weaknesses.
2. 49ers: Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina – Trubisky checks all the boxes and represents a skill set that would mesh beautifully with Chip Kelly. Trubisky’s draft stock trajectory is trending up as much as anyone in the nation and it would not shock me to see him selected this high next April.
3. Jaguars: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M – The Jaguars are the beneficiaries of QB-needy teams picking ahead of them and the best player in the draft falls to them at 3. Garrett is a freak athlete with terrific length, power and pass rushing upside.
4. Bears: Jon Allen, DL, Alabama – Allen has tremendous upside against the run and as a pass rusher with excellent power, quickness and technique. Able to play any position along the defensive line, Allen adds versatility and high-level play making potential
5. Jets: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU – Fournette has the upside to be the focal point of a NFL offense and with the Jets woes at QB, Fournette would be an ideal piece on offense to build around.
6. Titans: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson – The Titans need more play makers and weapons on offense for Marcus Mariota and Williams is a big-bodied, athletic pass-catcher who would be a terrific piece to improve the supporting cast around Mariota.
7. Panthers: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida – The Panthers are having a difficult time matching up on the outside with top receivers, especially in a division that features Julio Jones and Mike Evans. Wilson is a logical choice given his frame, length and coverage skills.
8. Buccaneers: Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan – Peppers is a chess piece that can lineup in a variety of places and help your team. His ability to process and react with great athleticism make him an ideal option to improve the back end of the Tampa Bay defense.
9. Cardinals: Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State – Rudolph’s ability to push the ball vertically with success makes him a perfect match for Bruce Arians’ offensive scheme. Rudolph has an ideal frame and pocket skills to pair with his big arm.
10. Bengals: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama – I love this fit. Foster profiles as the face of a NFL defense and represents speed and range on the second level that the Bengals have been needing for years. He still has that physical, aggressive dimension that fits the Bengals mold but adds a level of athleticism that is desperately needed.
11. Titans: Sidney Jones, CB, Washington – The Titans pass defense has been below-average this year and can use a boost on the outside. Enter Sidney Jones who is athletic with tremendous ball skills while possessing the man coverage skills to project as a #1 corner in the NFL.
12. Colts: Malik McDowell, DL, Michigan State – McDowell is long, powerful and athletic with the versatility to lineup at any position on the defensive line. The Colts d-line can use a player with his frame, flexibility and physical upside and would represent good value at 12.
13. Bills: Jamal Adams, S, LSU – Adams is a physical, aggressive safety who thrives closing in on the football while also possessing excellent coverage skills. He has an ideal frame to match his physical play style and is a good athlete. Aaron Williams has had back-to-back season-ending injuries to the head/neck area and his playing career is in question making safety a significant need for the Bills.
14. Chargers: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State – Hooker is an excellent athlete with great range and burst to the football. He is aggressive attacking downhill and in the boundary. His skill set lends itself to more multiplicity on a defense that has its share of versatile defenders.
15. Ravens: Carl Lawson, EDGE, Auburn – Lawson has tremendous pass rushing upside and would compliment Matt Judon well as Baltimore re-tools its pass rush arsenal and prepares for eventual life after Terrell Suggs.
16. Dolphins: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt – Cunningham is having a terrific season for the Commodores and is dominating as a run defender, dropping in coverage and attacking the passer. He is an outstanding tackler who has sideline-to-sideline range and Miami can use a play-maker on the second level.
17. Browns: Derek Barnett, EDGE, Tennessee – Barnett is too good to pass up if he is available at pick 17. I can see the Browns using him similar to the way Buffalo is using Shaq Lawson. Barnett is a good pass rusher who can run the arc, flatten and finish while also demonstrating the physicality and hand technique to play the run.
18. Saints: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State – Cook will provide everything the Saints hoped they were getting when they signed CJ Spiller. Cook is a terrific runner and receiver that can win with athletic ability and physicality when needed.
19. Packers: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford – The Packers need a reliable running back and McCaffrey’s skills as a runner and receiver can be maximized playing with Aaron Rodgers in Mike McCarthy’s system. Even if Eddie Lacy is healthy and in shape, McCaffrey is the ideal compliment.
20. Steelers: Dawaune Smoot, EDGE, Illinois – Smoot has a pass rush approach that translates wonderfully to the next level with his quick first step, bend, burst and hand technique. With question marks surrounding the Steelers pass rush, Smoot would be a welcome addition.
21. Lions: Teez Tabor, CB, Florida – I’ve been on the “Lions need a corner train” for a while now and Tabor is great value at 21. Possessing terrific feet and ball skills, Tabor thrives in man-to-man situations where he can also play physical and attack. The Lions can use a player like that.
22. Redskins: Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia – Matt Jones is not the answer at running back for Washington and Chubb is a physical, bell-cow back with good athletic ability that can wear out defenses.
23. Eagles: Desmond King, CB, Iowa – King is an outstanding corner who excels in zone coverage with terrific route anticipation and technique but can also win in man-to-man situations. He is an excellent D-gap defender and offers upside as a punt returner. The Eagles need some youth on the outside and King is a steal at 23.
24. Giants: Jake Butt, TE, Michigan – Its been a while since the Giants have had an exciting option at tight end and Butt is a terrific prospect. Capable of winning inline, the slot, outside and out of the backfield, Butt would add an additional layer to the New York offense.
25. Texans: Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida – Davis would provide the Texans defense range that it desperately needs at the second level. The heart and soul of a terrific Gator unit, Davis is physical, aggressive and its time to start thinking about life without Brian Cushing for the Texans.
26. Broncos: OJ Howard, TE, Alabama – The idea of Howard in Gary Kubiak’s offense is exciting. Howard is a terrific inline blocker and has a high-ceiling as a receiver despite being under-utilized in college. Denver is the ideal team to maximize his talents.
27. Falcons: John Ross, WR, Washington – If this happens, good luck NFL secondaries. Ross’ speed, route-running and ball skills make him a difficult cover since few people can even matchup athletically with him. Playing with Julio Jones, you can’t double everybody so they can take turns feasting on opponents.
28. Seahawks: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin – The Seattle offensive line is a complete disaster. Adding Ramczyk would be a nice building block and a start to having competent talent on the unit. A good athlete, Ramczyk has played well this season and has good length.
29. Chiefs: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State – Kansas City needs a true #2 corner to play along Marcus Peters. Conley has the size, athletic profile and coverage skills to perfectly form an impressive tandem.
30. Raiders: Raekwon McMillan, LB, Ohio State – McMillan is having a down season by his standards but still has quite a bit of NFL upside. McMillan is a physical and imposing presence in the middle which is just what Oakland needs.
31. Cowboys: Takkarist McKinley, EDGE, UCLA – McKinley is making big time plays behind the line of scrimmage (9 sacks, 16 TFL, 3 FF in 8 games) and dominating off the edge. This is the type of player the Cowboys need on defense and McKinley has a high ceiling.
32. Patriots: Ryan Anderson, EDGE, Alabama – Anderson fits perfectly with New England with his ability to play the run and get after the passer with technique, athletic ability and power.