It's officially the week of Thanksgiving which means family, food and more fanbases turning their attention to the NFL Draft with the likelihood of not making the playoffs becoming a reality. On the college side, only one week in the regular season remains before Conference Championship Games and Bowl Season is upon us.
While truly predicting what will happen next April is near-impossible at this point, the film resume of the prospects is almost complete and NFL team needs are becoming clear. With that in mind, here's my latest projection as to how things could play out.
1. San Francisco 49ers
PICK: Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
In what is shaping up to be a lost season for the 49ers with franchise QB Jimmy Garoppolo suffering a season-ending knee injury in Week 3, coming away with the No. 1 overall pick and adding a piece like Bosa is a strong consolation prize.
San Francisco is in need of pass rush off the edge and Bosa is a blue chip talent that has the makings of a dynamic edge rusher in the NFL. He can be that Khalil Mack/Von Miller/Myles Garrett type of game-changing presence.
2. Arizona Cardinals
PICK: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
We've seen plenty of supremely talented defensive lineman produced at Alabama in recent years, but Williams is special. Watching him on tape this season reveals one of the most unblockable defensive lineman my eyes have ever seen. His combination of size, quickness, length, power, technique and flexibility is rare and he lives in the backfield.
The Cardinals have needs on top of needs but adding an interior presence like Williams starts building a defensive identity in the desert.
3. Oakland Raiders
PICK: Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
Averaging less than one sack per game, the Raiders' pass rush is non-existent. The duo of Bruce Irvin and Khalil Mack is history and the time has come for Oakland to build its next arsenal of pass rushers.
Enter Ferrel who has racked up 10.5 sacks for Clemson already this season after 9.5 in 2017. His length, power, hand technique and variety of moves profiles him as an impact pass rusher in the NFL.
4. New York Jets
PICK: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
In trading up for quarterback Sam Darnold in last year's draft, the Jets went all-in on the young passer in hopes of landing a franchise quarterback. Like most rookie quarterbacks, Darnold has been up and down but his flashes have been really exciting.
In order for Darnold to take the next step, improving the infrastructure around him is paramount. Williams is the best offensive lineman in the draft and his polished technique and play strength should make him an immediate starter.
5. New York Giants
PICK: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
This would be a dream scenario. While Herbert isn't perfect, he's likely the best chance of landing a true franchise passer in this year's draft. There are some rumblings that he may not declare but the likelihood of him being a top-10 draft pick is considerably high which would make staying in school a major shock.
Herbert's physical traits and flashes with ball placement are special although he needs plenty of development in terms of processing defenses and overall consistency. Given the weapons New York already has in the mix, this could be an ideal landing spot for Herbert to get acclimated.
6. Buffalo Bills
PICK: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
Yea, the Bills need to get better on offense but there isn't an offensive prospect worthy of drafting at No. 6 in this scenario and Oliver is the type of dynamic talent that Buffalo would be wise to add. His athletic ability and burst is special. His hand usage and power overwhelm opponents. His range and motor is otherworldly. His flexibility and agility don’t make sense for his size. Oliver has the upside to be the face of an NFL defense and become one of the top defensive playmakers in the NFL
A young defensive nucleus of Oliver up front, Tremaine Edmunds on the second level and Tre White in the secondary would be the envy of the league.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
PICK: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
Tampa Bay's defensive struggles continue and Thompson is the type of talent that can impact the unit in all the right ways. First off, his versatility to function at a high level in single high coverage, split zones and man coverage affords more scheme multiplicity.
The Bucs are also allergic to creating turnovers on defense and Thompson's range, ball skills and versatility on the back end would enable the Bucs to be more aggressive with its pressure packages knowing Thompson is lurking in the secondary. Thompson is the game-changing defensive back Tampa Bay is severely lacking.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars
PICK: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
From the AFC Championship game to a 3-7 record, Jacksonville finds itself trending towards a top-10 draft pick. That type of inconsistency is what you get with a ground and pound offensive philosophy with a bumbling quarterback in Blake Bortles to rely on when production is needed in the passing game.
Haskins isn't perfect, but he is young and offers and exciting arm. Misplaced in Urban Meyer's offense that typically features a dual-threat passer, Haskins has the makings of a surgeon from the pocket given some of his flashes this season at Ohio State. It's time for the Jags to identify a new course and quarterback and Haskins could breathe life into the offense.
9. Cleveland Browns
PICK: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
Denzel Ward looks like a star but Cleveland desperately needs a viable cover man opposite of him. The way things have played out, Cleveland can sprint to the podium to snag the best corner in the draft.
In terms of size, length, fluidity, ball skills and versatility, Williams emphatically checks the boxes. There is another level of consistency for Williams to achieve, but his ceiling is incredibly high should everything come together.
10. Detroit Lions
PICK: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
With Ziggy Ansah playing under the franchise tag this season, his future with the team is uncertain beyond this year and he's struggled with injuries. It's time for Detroit to get serious about rebuilding its arsenal of edge rushers and Allen has immense potential.
Racking up 17.5 tackles for loss, 13 sacks and 5 forced fumbles for Kentucky this season, Allen is running circles around SEC offensive tackles. His burst and bend off the edge is special and his ceiling is incredibly high given the growth he can have in terms of developing pass rush counters.
11. Atlanta Falcons
PICK: Tyler Biadasz, iOL, Wisconsin
There are plenty of question marks when it comes to the Falcons interior offensive line and drafting Biadasz could solve a lot of them.
Just a redshirt sophomore, Biadasz is a game-changing interior blocker that comes with the coveted Wisconsin pedigree. He offers incredible play strength, mobility and football intelligence that destines him for a career littered with Pro Bowl Honors.
12. Denver Broncos
PICK: David Edwards, OT, Wisconsin
The Broncos offensive line is full of question marks and expiring contracts, meanwhile 2017 first-round pick Garrett Bolles continues to be inconsistent at left tackle.
Edwards is a road grader as a run blocker while showcasing good control, posture and balance in pass pro. A converted tight end, Edwards has considerable upside and has developed nicely at the position. He offers a high ceiling and would be a great addition to start solidifying things up front offensively for Denver.
13. Philadelphia Eagles
PICK: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
How about that Eagles pass defense? It's bad, folks and the Eagles need to renovate the cornerback position.
Murphy is a smooth cover man that plays above his weight class and offers great ball skills. He is capable of winning in off-man coverage and pattern matching to all levels of the field. He could pair with Sidney Jones to provide Philadelphia with two exciting young corners with man-to-man coverage skills.
14. Green Bay Packers
PICK: Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida
The Packers are generating sacks but lack pass rushers off the edge that are capable of consistently winning one-on-one matchups.
Polite has racked up 14.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles for Florida this year, showcasing impressive burst, hand usage and bend to beat offensive tackles. He would add a much-needed speed element to the Packers' pass rush.
15. Indianapolis Colts
PICK: Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama
After years of dreadful roster construction under Ryan Grigson, current GM Chris Ballard is rebuilding the nucleus of Indy’s roster. Meanwhile, Andrew Luck is regaining his pre-injury form and pairing him with head coach Frank Reich is proving to be a lethal combination.
With that said, Indy is still a middling defense that is giving up a lot of points that can use some help up front. Davis is long, athletic and powerful which leads to him dictating reps and owning the line of scrimmage. He knows how to use his hands to control blockers and shed blocks. He is versatile, physically gifted and the type of building block the Colts need up front.
16. Miami Dolphins
PICK: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
It's time for Miami to find a new course at quarterback and pairing Daniel Jones with Adam Gase makes sense. Gase's no nonsense approach indicates his desire for his players to buy-in and Jones' football character and intangibles are raved about by NFL scouts I've talked to.
Jones is a dual-threat passer with a sturdy frame. He's developed as a vertical passer this season while his bread and butter at Duke has been operating quick game. While this is a reach in terms of where I value Jones and the growth he'll need to become a legitimate NFL starter, Miami is in a peculiar position and taking a chance on a quarterback with upside might be a risk worth taking.
17. Oakland Raiders (via Dallas Cowboys)
PICK: Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama
The Raiders need a field general on the second level to become the leaders of its defense.
Wilson is a perfect fit for today’s game. He is an explosive linebacker with sideline-to-sideline range, strong instincts in coverage and the physicality to work into the line of scrimmage. He’s the next great Bama linebacker.
18. Tennessee Titans
PICK: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
With Rashaan Evans and Harold Landry added last year, Tennessee began infusing its defensive front seven with young talent. Jurrell Casey isn't getting any younger while Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo are set to become free agents, making sense for a talent like Simmons to be the pick.
Simmons is an exciting interior defensive line prospect that plays with an unrelenting motor, impressive play strength, nuanced technique and the tenacity needed to beat blocks and make plays near the line of scrimmage.
19. Seattle Seahawks
PICK: Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan
Figuring out what Seattle might do on Draft Day is a near impossible task but we do know that they love versatile players with freaky athletic traits.
Gary is a versatile defensive lineman that finds success both on the edge and working on the inside. He has impressive burst, strength and tenacity to beat blocks but is still not a finished product which makes him all the more appealing given the impact he’s already making in the Big Ten.
20. Cincinnati Bengals
PICK: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
The Bengals offense has been at its best when Tyler Eifert is able to produce but he unfortunately cannot stay healthy. Providing Andy Dalton with a weapon like Fant would be a welcome addition and would present major matchup problems for opponents.
Fant is an exciting pass-catching option that has the ability to win at all three levels of the field. He's that dynamic, x-factor type weapon that every offense craves and defenses hate matching up with.
21. Baltimore Ravens
PICK: Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
Terrell Suggs and Za'Darius Smith are both free agents after the season while Tim Williams has shown little promise as a rotational rusher to this point, making pass rusher a need for the Ravens.
Burns has explosive quickness, ridiculous flexibility and a variety of pass rushing moves that would make him a welcome addition. Burns has tallied 15.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks this season for Florida State.
22. Minnesota Vikings
PICK: Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State
The Vikings offensive line continues to be a weakness and with what division rival Chicago is building on defense, getting things right up front must become a priority for Minnesota.
Risner is as consistent and technically refined as they come. He is always square, fits his hands and secures his base while executing his assignments. He offers experience, position flexibility and should immediately become a quality NFL starter.
23. Washington Redskins
PICK: Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State
The Redskins are in desperate need of an alpha receiver and that's exactly what they would get in Harmon.
Harmon brings tremendous play strength while dominating at the catch point with exceptional ball skills and suction cups for hands. He is a true route salesman that knows how to create separation with nuanced technique in his release and stems.
He would complement Jamison Crowder and Paul Richardson nicely in Washington’s offense.
24. Houston Texans
PICK: Yodny Cajuste, OT, West Virginia
In Deshaun Watson, Houston has one of the most exciting young QBs in football but he has to get better protection. His offensive line is very poor and Houston must commit to improving it in the offseason.
Cajuste checks all the boxes required in terms of traits needed to win as a pass blocker in the NFL. He’s long, athletic and fleet of foot with a strong anchor. He frames rushers well and knows how to keep them at the end of his reach. He needs some technical work but has considerable upside as a blindside protector in the NFL.
25. Carolina Panthers
PICK: Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State
It's time for Carolina to take a long look at improving its defensive end situation. Julius Peppers is still flashing but how much longer will he want to play? Wes Horton is a free agent and a replacement level player. Mario Addison continues to produce but more is needed around him.
Racking up 28 tackles for loss and 20 sacks over the last two seasons in the SEC, Sweat would bring much needed youth and skill to a premium position on Carolina's roster. Sweat illustrates good vision, length, hand usage and a variety of counters to win as a pass rusher.
26. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago Bears)
PICK: Irv Smith, TE, Alabama
Jared Cook is enjoying a standout season for the Raiders and showcased the type of impact a tight end can have with Derek Carr in Jon Gruden's offense. With that said, Cook is 31 and is set to hit the market after the season.
Smith is an exciting talent that offers dynamic upside as a receiver. He has a long, muscular frame with fluid and explosive movement skills. His ball skills, hands, route running and ability to win post-catch are really exciting.
27. Los Angeles Chargers
PICK: Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame
There are some exciting elements to the Chargers defense but the defensive tackle situation is concerning. Brandon Mebane is a replacement level player and a free agent after the season, with Corey Liuget’s contract expiring after 2019. An infusion of talent is needed at DT for LA and Tillery would be a great addition.
Tillery is blossoming into a playmaking force this season for Notre Dame and offers exciting tools to do the same in the NFL.
28. New England Patriots
PICK: Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State
The Patriots have Stephon Gilmore at one cornerback spot and then a bunch of question marks as to his counterpart.
Oruwariye is a physical specimen that offers length, body control, foot speed and ball skills that make him an exciting prospect. He is a versatile defender capable of thriving in multiple techniques.
29. Pittsburgh Steelers
PICK: Devin White, LB, LSU
Pittsburgh is in need of a major upgrade to the starting off-ball job next to Vince Williams and White would be a steal at this point in the first round.
White is a fast, rangy, urgent and physical linebacker that would plug in perfectly to the second level of the Steelers' defense.
30. Los Angeles Rams
PICK: Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib have expiring contracts after next season and challenging business decisions will have to be made regarding who to keep on a loaded Rams roster. With that said, investing draft picks on prospects at premium positions is a wise move to keep the talent replenished.
Hall is an exciting talent who showcases excellent ball skills, physicality and coverage instincts. A converted wide receiver, Hall is still developing as a corner but his upside is obvious.
31. Kansas City Chiefs
PICK: Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson
The Chiefs' pass defense has been suspect this season and reinforcements are needed on the back end in Kansas City.
Mullen is a sticky cover corner that showcases good flexibility. While his ball production is lacking, Mullen is rarely tested in coverage because he's always in position.
32. Green Bay Packers (via New Orleans Saints)
PICK: Chris Lindstrom, iOL, Boston College
The depth of Green Bay’s offensive line has been stressed recently and there's currently a massive need for an upgrade at right guard.
A four-year starter for the BC’s highly prolific rushing attacks, Lindstrom is a powerful people-mover with a nasty mean streak. His anchor is powerful and his experience working at tackle should lend itself favorably as an interior pass protector
33. Arizona Cardinals: Kaleb McGary, OT, Washington
34. Oakland Raiders: N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
35. San Francisco 49ers: JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Stanford
36. New York Giants: Zach Allen, DL, Boston College
37. Buffalo Bills: Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia
38. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Gerald Willis, DT, Miami
39. Jacksonville Jaguars: Kaden Smith, TE, Stanford
40. Indianapolis Colts (via New York Jets): Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame
41. Cleveland Browns: DaMarkus Lodge, WR, Ole Miss
42. Atlanta Falcons: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
43. Denver Broncos: DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia
44. Philadelphia Eagles: Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
45. Detroit Lions: Lavert Hill, CB, Michigan
46. Green Bay Packers: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
47. Miami Dolphins: Garrett Bradbury, iOL, NC State
48. Dallas Cowboys: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
There is arguably no more glaring need in the NFL than tight end for the Cowboys and Dallas is in luck because the 2019 class is loaded with talent at the position.
Hockenson brings a balanced skill set to the table. He blocks like a sixth offensive lineman but is also a viable receiving threat. He would help complete the Cowboys offensive depth chart and give Dak Prescott what he needs to succeed.
49. Tennessee Titans: Chase Winovich, EDGE, Michigan
50. Houston Texans (via Seattle Seahawks): Kris Boyd, CB, Texas
51. Cincinnati Bengals: Germaine Pratt, LB, NC State
52. Indianapolis Colts: Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina
53. Philadelphia Eagles (via Baltimore Ravens): Anthony Nelson, DE, Iowa
54. Minnesota Vikings: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
55. Washington Redskins: Michael Jackson, CB, Miami
56. Houston Texans: Ross Pierschbacher, iOL, Alabama
57. Carolina Panthers: Jake Hanson, C, Washington
58. Los Angeles Chargers: Joe Giles-Harris, LB, Duke
59. New England Patriots (via Chicago Bears): AJ Brown, WR, Ole Miss
60. New England Patriots: Juan Thornhill, S, Virginia
61. Pittsburgh Steelers: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
62. Kansas City Chiefs (via Los Angeles Rams): Oshane Ximines, EDGE, Old Dominion
63. Kansas City Chiefs: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
64. New Orleans Saints: Damien Harris, RB, Alabama
With Mark Ingram set to become a free agent after the season, making sure Alvin Kamara has a viable backfield mate is a must for the Saints to maximize Kamara.
In a lot of ways, Harris is a younger version of Ingram who provides the ability to bang between the tackles and provide the Saints with a much-needed complementary power back.