With the playoff race underway—and accordingly, the race for a top-10 pick also underway—mock draft season is in full swing for most of the league. Those sleigh bells you hear a-ringin’? They aren’t for Christmas; they’re for Draft Season.
Here at The Draft Network, you can read a new mock draft every Monday and see my review of each mock afterward, with second and third round updates coming later in the week. If you want to do your own mock draft for your favorite team, open our Mock Draft Machine and take control of the reins yourself!
I sat down with Brentley Weissman’s Mock Draft 3.1 and highlighted the five best fits from the second round that he released earlier this week.
Carolina Panthers: Georgia CB Tyson Campbell (Pick No. 38)
I’ve lauded the Panthers’ defensive coordinator, Phil Snow, for some time now. I like the way they’re peppering the field with athletes and using college ideas to encourage the run, adjust to pre-snap motion, and generate blitz opportunities. Few teams have played more zone coverage this year, which is partially Snow’s system, and partially a referendum on the cornerback talent in Carolina.
Tyson Campbell is as talented as it gets. A lauded recruit who has put together some of the pieces this year, Campbell projects nicely to a Cover 3 role—the Panthers’ primary defensive shell—for his athleticism and length to shine. Campbell must improve his comfort playing with his back to the ball and adjusting to the football, and may give up big plays early, but has a high ceiling that a young defense like Carolina should be willing to nurture.
San Francisco 49ers: Washington CB Elijah Molden (Pick No. 47)
It’s no secret that San Francisco’s cornerback room is in a tenuous spot: they’re looking at contract years in 2020 for Richard Sherman, Jason Verrett, Ahkello Witherspoon, and exclusive rights free agent Emmanuel Moseley. They need help on the outside badly. Even if they return all of those players, insurance from further injury and shaky play is needed.
Molden is a good fit for them in many ways—inside/out versatility, toughness and attitude, zone awareness—though he doesn’t tip the scales with the height and length they’ve typically prioritized at the position. If they’re willing to escape their prototype, he’s ideal—but we know front offices can be stingy. Hopefully Jason Verrett’s success has convinced them to think outside the box.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Alabama RB Najee Harris (Pick No. 53)
The issue in Tampa Bay’s backfield is hands: none of their running backs catch the football naturally nor do much with it when they have it. This is a tricky problem to solve, in that Ronald Jones is likely to remain their primary ball-carrier as veterans Leonard Fournette and LeSean McCoy exit next season.
They could go for a solution in free agency, but with the mercurial Jones on a contract year in 2021, getting his replacement in Najee Harris solves a couple of problems for the Buccaneers. It gives them a sure-handed running back—even though he may not look like a scatback at 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds, Harris is a wonderfully reliable pass-catcher who has been successful in a full route tree for Alabama. It also gives them a replacement bell-cow for Jones if they elect not to bring him back in free agency.
Seattle Seahawks: Wake Forest EDGE Carlos Basham Jr. (Pick No. 58)
The Seahawks like big EDGEs, and while they’re getting more out of L.J. Collier and Rasheem Green this season than they have in years past, it still isn’t enough. Without the first-round pick to go after a truly elite EDGE prospect, they can sit and wait on Basham, who won’t fit every system or every athletic threshold to be on the board for all 32 teams.
But Basham is just a doggone good football player, and there are no two ways about that. He’s effective with his hands, quicker than he looks, and effective on twists as both a crasher and a looper. While he may peak as an 8.0 sack/year player, he’s going to make your entire pass rush better, and stay on the field for all three downs in Year 1. You could do far worse with your first selection in the late 50s.
Kansas City Chiefs: Florida WR Kadarius Toney (Pick No. 62)
Why not? The Chiefs were drafting at a similar position (57) when they took speedy Georgia wide receiver Mecole Hardman despite the fact that many didn’t consider wide receiver a need on their roster—now, when it’s even a bigger need, why wouldn’t they continue leaning into their competitive advantage?
As there are questions with Toney’s deep ball tracking, it would be nice for him to land with the Chiefs, with whom he doesn’t have to fill a field-stretching role. Toney would largely operate as an underneath target and schemed-touch player, being used on backfield motions and eye candy much as Hardman is now, as Hardman fleshes out in a more established role in the Chiefs’ wide receiver room.
And it’d be as fun as you can imagine.