Just when you thought the holidays were over, Kyle Crabbs delivered a two-round 2020 NFL Mock Draft to extend the season of giving.
Overall, I thought Crabbs’ mock was logical and presented a reasonable scenario. There were some things I really liked and others I questioned. This week’s 6-Pack digs into those matters.
I hope that this column has become a staple for you each week, but just in case you are new, 6-Pack Thursday is my weekly brain dump on six football-related things that involve the NFL, college football or NFL draft.
Let's crack this thing open.
Favorite Pick: Jerry Jeudy to the Raiders at Pick No. 12
The Oakland Raiders won’t get back the third- and fifth-round draft picks they parted with to acquire Antonio Brown but the idea of what he could mean to the Raiders’ passing game is captured in the skill set of Jerry Jeudy. He is an elite route runner and exceptional at creating separation in a similar fashion as Brown. The concepts Jon Gruden had planned for Brown can be applied to the former Alabama wide receiver.
Jeudy is a perfect complement to what the Raiders’ receiving corps already has. Tyrell Williams is a big-bodied target, Hunter Renfrow is a savvy slot guy and Jeudy is the dynamic all-around guy that can win at every level of the field. Factor in breakout star tight end Darren Waller and standout rookie running back Josh Jacobs and the weaponry Gruden has to work with is suddenly very exciting.
Jeudy takes the Raiders’ offense to the next level.
Biggest Surprise: Grant Delpit to the Broncos at Pick No. 15
Slotting safeties in mock drafts is becoming increasingly tricky, especially after the 2018 draft where Minkah Fitzpatrick fell to the 11th pick and Derwin James inexplicably dropped to No. 17. I know finding the right spot to peg Grant Delpit is challenging, but choosing the Denver Broncos as his destination is a big surprise.
Crabbs does mention the prospect of losing Justin Simmons in the analysis and certainly, this possibility only becomes a reality if that were to happen. But that I highly doubt Simmons isn't going to be back. The third-round pick has developed into one of the NFL’s best safeties and enjoyed the best season of his career in Vic Fangio’s scheme. Simmons is an All-Pro candidate with his consistency in coverage, rock-solid tackling and overall versatility. Denver should make him one of the highest-paid players at his position this offseason and cap space isn’t an issue. He’s exactly the type of player an organization should want to reward.
One year into the three-year, $33 million contract he signed last offseason, Kareem Jackson is entrenched as the starter at safety opposite Simmons and he enjoyed an outstanding first season in Denver.
Tell Me Why: D’Andre Swift to the Chiefs at Pick No. 29
I love D'Andre Swift and think he’s going to be a highly productive NFL starter. He has impeccable character and leadership qualities on top of an all-around skill set that makes him the total package. He would represent excellent value at the end of the first round.
The Kansas City Chiefs are among the best teams in the NFL, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have issues to address. The defense has improved but cornerback is certainly an area to upgrade and in this scenario, the Chiefs passed on Shaun Wade and Paulson Adebo who are perfect fits. There are also long-term concerns with the offensive line.
I’m not against the Chiefs adding to the offensive backfield, but the depth of the running back class should push that to a later portion of the Draft than the first round.
Sneaky Good Selection: Malik Harrison to the Packers at Pick No. 62
The Green Bay Packers are 13-3, are the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs and won the NFC North but they don’t have any good off-ball linebackers. Truth be told, the 2020 crop of linebackers isn’t promising but Malik Harrison is one I like, especially to the Packers late in the second round.
Harrison profiles as a starting MIKE linebacker with outstanding processing skills and physicality to play into the line of scrimmage and work downhill. He is listed at 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds and has surprisingly good range and the makeup to serve as an every-down enforcer on the second level for the Packers. He would be a big help for Green Bay's middling defense.
Best Value: KJ Hamler to the Ravens at No. 64
If the Baltimore Ravens offense wasn’t already impossible to match up with, it gets even more dangerous by adding KJ Hamler.
When examining Baltimore’s current offensive personnel, the Ravens boast an unparalleled blend of insane speed (Marquise Brown, Lamar Jackson, Miles Boykin, Justice Hill) with big, physical and athletic playmakers (Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, Mark Andrews, Hayden Hurst) that are a nightmare for opponents to handle. Defenses just don’t have the personnel to handle that level of size, speed and physicality. And now they get another 4.3 player in Hamler? Good luck.
The depth of the wide receiver class will push down some extremely talented prospects. The rich get richer in this scenario.
I Don’t Get It: Jordan Love to the Saints at Pick No. 28
I completely understand a team in need of a new direction at quarterback selecting Jordan Love in the first round. His tools suggest a very high ceiling and his game translates well to today’s NFL. And if Drew Brees retires, then I can get behind this pick. But even at age 40, Brees showed no signs of decline this season and he’s the ultimate competitor. And if Brees is back, New Orleans has to maximize its window to win with him and compete for Championships with Brees at the helm.
It would be a wonderful benefit for Love to learn from Brees, serve as his understudy and become his successor. But for a Saints team that has already mortgaged premium draft capital in recent years by trading up for Marcus Davenport, being without the contributions of a first-round pick yet again is not something I can get behind as Brees’ career winds down.
Get a player that can help this team win now and worry about life after Brees later. The dynamics of the roster, level of play from Brees and landscape of the NFC suggests the Super Bowl window is still open.
Click here to read Kyle Crabbs' 2020 NFL Mock Draft 4.0.