It's Friday, and you know what that means: Would You Rather. And you know what that means? Fan participation.
For this week's Would You Rather, I solicited some examples of different Mock Draft Machines that I've seen on Twitter — I like to call them "If The Board Fells." Essentially, this is a screengrab of the top options on the Predictive Big Board remaining on any given pick, when a particular team is on the clock.
I got several responses to a tweet and a few in the TDN Premium Slack as well, which you get access to with a TDN Premium subscription. If you want to find those and give your own takes, you can check it on my timeline here.
I grabbed a couple to debate internally and come to a consensus on.
Teams at the bottom of the first round are always cool to consider and tough to figure out, so it's good that we have an opportunity to dive a bit deeper into the Baltimore Ravens here, who have some good options.
Ideally, the Ravens get a swing at a three-down linebacker. Patrick Onwuasor is likely to hit free agency after disappointing 2019 season and eventually losing his starting job to street free agents in Josh Bynes and L.J. Fort. Now, the Ravens extended Fort, and rightfully so — he played some good ball. But they have to expect regression back to the mean on Fort, and likely want a surer bet with a high draft pick at the position. With LSU’s Patrick Queen and Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray both on the board, they're in a great spot.
On the EDGE, where Matt Judon is likely going to vacate a starting role, Wisconsin's Zack Baun could have been a creative solution to both the pass-rush and linebacker problem; he was poached one pick earlier. Penn State’s Yetur Gross-Matos, who fits their mold of a large, long, heavy-handed outside rusher, left the board a few picks earlier. Some will like Terrell Lewis here, who has the Alabama pedigree that the Ravens have historically valued. I don't like Lewis that high, however, so I'm still leaning.
Neville Gallimore was recommended to fill the gap left by Michael Pierce, but the Ravens seem to prefer monstrous two-gap pluggers who can free up their second-level defenders to run, chase and blitz. That simply isn't Gallimore's game. He's a lighter player now, who wins with penetration quickness and hand usage. He wouldn't hold up in that role.
We can look BPA for a moment, but the Ravens are not going to aggressively attack the running back position — it makes zero sense given their roster-building philosophies — and they have great safety depth right now.
This comes down to Queen and Murray. Both are from pedigree programs with highly likable traits and have shown significant improvement across the course of their respective careers. This is not going to be a gimme pick for any team. For the Ravens specifically, I think they'll value a couple of things in Murray that pushes him over Queen. First, his blitzing ability: Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale blitzes more than any coordinator in the league, and Murray is a high-caliber blitzer with college experience as a pass rusher from multiple alignments. Second, the range: Both Murray and Queen tested with similar speed in Indianapolis, but Murray did so at a 10-pound disadvantage and truly has a steamroll-like ability on the hoof.
Give me Murray at No. 28 for Baltimore.
It’s an ugly spot for the Denver Broncos. The top of the draft was wide receiver and offensive tackle heavy. Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb went at No. 8 to the Arizona Cardinals, Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III and Jerry Jeudy go Nos. 12 and 13 to the Las Vegas Raiders and Indianapolis Colts, respectively. Meanwhile, the tackle class fell as such: Alabama’s Jedrick Wills was the fourth-overall pick for the New York Giants, Iowa's Tristan Wirfs left at No. 10 with the Cleveland Browns and Louisville's Mekhi Becton went one selection later to the New York Jets at No. 11.
The best remaining offensive tackle is Andrew Thomas out of Georgia, and the best remaining receiver is, well, up for debate. The Broncos' need at cornerback isn't nearly as strong as it once was with the recent A.J. Bouye acquisition from the tanking Jacksonville Jaguars. While No. 15 is decent value for someone like Florida's C.J. Henderson and quality value for LSU's Kristian Fulton, I just don't think the need is that dire.
We can look to attack a different direction here. Linebacker and interior defensive line both need some attention in Denver, but again the board didn't fall great for that, as Javon Kinlaw left just a pick before, and this is too early for either Queen or Murray. It's not sexy, but to me, it looks like Thomas is the best option we've got on the table — and Thomas is a top-10 player on my board. His film is an absolute treat. Just because he's the fourth OT off the board doesn't mean he'll end up the fourth-best, and the Broncos can't turn their nose up at a potential franchise tackle when they've been yearning for one since the Garett Bolles pick.
I'll take Thomas at No. 15 for the Broncos.
See, now this is deep cuts and I love it. We're assuming Jadeveon Clowney (or an equivalent rusher) is back in Seattle, and we've already got some depth help in the Gross-Matos pick. Now, it's on to filling out the remaining gaps in the roster.
We know that nickel was a big concern for the Seahawks across the course of the 2019 season. They drafted defensive back Ugo Amadi out of Oregon to try and fill the role, but he never got starting snaps, even after they cut Jamar Taylor midseason. Amadi played fine in subpackage reps, but if they didn't trust him then, they could bring competition in for him now. But the solution isn't there on the board. If they want to go big nickel, with a third safety, they could: Southern Illinois’ Jeremy Chinn and Lenoir-Rhyne’s Kyle Dugger have enough athletic ability to cover big slots and flex tight ends, but the Seahawks cornerback are already huge. They need quickness; this isn't the spot for that.
As such, I turn my eyes to the trenches. Georgia’s Isaiah Wilson screams a Seattle pick: humongous, people mover in the running game, not ready to start right now, but will inevitably be shoved into a role for which he is unprepared. At 6-foot-7-inches, however, Wilson cannot be reasonably expected to compete at guard, where Seattle may need help as well. He only makes sense as a selection if Germain Ifedi walks in free agency, which isn't a given but is likely. If we do want to bring in guard competition for Ethan Pocic and Jamarco Jones, Louisiana-Lafayette’s Robert Hunt is an option.
The other clear option here is at wide receiver. The Seahawks were slinging the rock to David Moore and Malik Turner for a good part of the season, and while the top talent is there (Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf), the depth is not. At this stage, TCU's Jalen Reagor and Penn State's K.J. Hamler are both wildly attractive options, and fit what the Seahawks need at the position: a slot receiver who can win on short-breaking routes. Reagor is especially attractive because I think he's a better deep option than Hamler, and the Seahawks always work their receivers on deep play-action shots.
Tight end a sneaky need, but not sneaky enough for me to go there this early. Let's call it Wilson at No. 59 (I'm worried about both Tennessee and Green Bay taking him away) and I can take the best of Reagor, Hamler or Brandon Aiyuk at No. 64 if some receivers go between now and then.
Ideally, it's Reagor.