The New York Giants, en route to consecutive Top-2 picks (read that again), have fallen upon hard times. Currently reeling coming off of a 34-13 shellacking at the hands of my Eagles (go Birds), the Giants' brass has to answer for the weekly atrocious play of QB Eli Manning, who still mans the helm of a long-sinking ship.
Accordingly, the half-joke/half-prediction was rampant on Twitter last Thursday night as Eli checked down again and again: "At least the Giants are tanking hard enough that they can select Justin Herbert next year!"
I'm sure, if he's there, they will -- it's a no-brainer. I just don't think he'll be there.
As has been well-reported among insiders, the general news coming out of Oregon is that Herbert is heavily considering returning to school. And if he does indeed elect to return for his senior year...well, what then will the Giants do with their second overall pick? Take redshirt sophomore QB Dwayne Haskins, from Ohio State? He's likely to stay as well, from what I understand.
Things are gonna get dicey.
This is what things might look like if Haskins and Herbert don't declare.
Remember: @BenjaminSolak is the spot on Twitter for all of your anger
1. Indianapolis Colts
Pick: Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
Baby Bosa remains the best player in this class, no hesitation. For a rebuilding Colts team, a BPA approach makes sense even before you consider the fact that EDGE is one of their great weaknesses. Putting Bosa across from current rookie Kemoko Turay marries Bosa's power and technique with Turay's freakish bend.
I like the Colts' investments in the trenches in two drafts under new HC Frank Reich. If he's following the Philadelphia model (go Birds), his success will be reliant on building through the lines -- which is always the place to start a rebuild, in my opinion. It's tough to execute any system, or develop any rookies, if you can't win trench play.
2. New York Giants
Pick: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
Considered by many league scouts to be the top senior quarterback, Drew Lock still has the best chance of the lackluster class to receive top marks from an NFL team. Both Lock and WVU QB Will Grier have a few throws in their toolbox that most players don't make; Lock particularly impresses when anticipating route breaks and developing windows -- that's not a skill you can teach.
His struggles against tough defenses give me a lot of pause; I don't think he's a great processor of pre-snap coverage shells; he isn't as cool under pressure as you'd like to see. There are more than a few wrinkles to iron out in Lock's game; but beggars can't be choosers, and New York needs a new signal-caller.
At least he can get the ball downfield for Odell. Sheesh.
3. Arizona Cardinals
Pick: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
Read the Indy blurb: massive rebuild, go BPA, hit on an impact player. Arizona could use help on all three levels of the defense -- I toyed with LSU CB Greedy Williams to put opposite Patrick Peterson -- and the Cardinals should consider investing early in offensive linemen to keep QB Josh Rosen upright.
But many a team will have Ed Oliver second on their board and a tier above the remaining prospects, as the class currently looks; and remember, HC Steve Wilks comes from a Panthers team that put heavy emphasis on DT talent in recent years. Oliver provides a disruptive force on a defense lacking young, cornerstone talent.
4. Oakland Raiders
Pick: Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama
I don't think we're giving enough attention to Mack Wilson as a blue-chip prospect. Sure, with these 'Bama backers, it just feels like a factory of first-rounders. But Wilson's ability in coverage, which he has demonstrated now over multiple years of tape, gives him a different feel than a Rashaan Evans or even a Reuben Foster. They were known for their thumping, their physicality, their vision -- and while Wilson has shown all of those traits across the young season, his ability to overlap zones and undercut throwing lanes really stands out.
Oakland needs help everywhere -- but Gruden's best success as a coach came with Derrick Brooks making Pro Bowl after Pro Bowl as the center of the Buccaneers' defense. If he wants another stud LB, Mack Wilson is the man to target.
5. San Francisco 49ers
Pick: Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
San Francisco's in an interesting spot here. This roster, top to bottom, is firmly better than that of a team picking fifth overall -- but unlike most teams punching below their weight, it's not because San Fran needs a QB. So here, you go straight for value -- find you a high-impact player at a high-impact position who can contribute in Year 1.
I again toyed with LSU CB Greedy Williams, but Ferrell feels right given the multi-year dearth of edge pressure for the Niners. His practiced hand usage and technical understanding of how to approach tackles puts him a notch above the powerful Round 1 EDGE class.
6. Atlanta Falcons
Pick: Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
It's so doggone hard to pick for Atlanta. This roster is so good -- stupid good -- and yet they have their pick of a top-tier litter. Confounding.
I see four options: tight end, offensive line (guard), EDGE, and interior defensive line. It's too early for a tight end and too early for any guard of the class, so scratch those. I elected to go EDGE in part because the past three mocks from The Draft Network have seen Atlanta take interior defensive tackles, and also because Atlanta only has one EDGE signed beyond the 2019 season. An inevitable DT Grady Jarrett extension will give them Jarrett and rookie DT Deadrin Senat through 2021.
Burns and Takk McKinley as your primary EDGEs is a stupid combo of outside track explosiveness; Vic Beasley bolsters a quality rotation and adds better run defense, if he's retained at a reasonable value.
7. Buffalo Bills
Pick: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
Imagine having a player as talented as Quinnen Williams as a second-stringer. Imagine it. Alabama's team is silly.
This is such a good defensive tackle class, too! And yet a first-year starter is rising up the ranks to displace guys like Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence, and even teammate Raekwon Davis. That's how impactful Quinnen Williams is. If he can be on a game-to-game basis what he was against Texas A&M, get outta the building. It's over.
Buffalo and Sean McDermott need to improve their interior penetration. They snagged Stanford's Harrison Phillips in last year's class, but he's not the pass-rushing threat that you need on the inside. They'll have their pick of the litter in this class, and Williams might have a higher ceiling than the rest of 'em. His ability to navigate tight spaces with incredible upper body strength and practiced rush moves makes him a dominant player. Big get for the Bills.
8. Denver Broncos
Pick: Jarrett Stidham, QB, Auburn
If you trust John Elway to make a good QB pick, stand up.
Now that we're all seated, let me explain why the Broncos are going to take Jarrett Stidham.
Teams will continue to like Jarrett Stidham for as long as 1) he doesn't get any smaller, 2) he continues to hit on a few deep balls a game (the quality of these deep balls is irrelevant) and 3) his arm strength remains close enough to great that they can call it great. (It's not great.)
Oh, and the big one: 4) he is a choir boy off the field and in the huddle.
Denver could use help at other positions, but QB is a big'un. They will be the center of QB conversations in a year that doesn't see a ton of teams with QB needs -- and there will be a lot of pressure from the fan base, which hasn't seen good quarterbacking since 2013. So they swing for the fences here -- and I expect them to miss.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Pick: Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida
This is a coin flip: and again, Greedy Williams misses the call. Despite needing major help on the boundary, the Bucs go on the defensive line in back-to-back first rounds, adding the explosive Polite to 2017's monstrous DT Vita Vea.
Is this too early for Polite? In my book, a bit: but Polite's got some freaky bend around the edge, and with a new build, is just scratching the surface of his potential. With coaching, he'll develop better hand usage to clear the corner, and when that happens...sheesh.
Tampa didn't take a single EDGE rusher in the past two classes, but banking on 2016's second-rounder Noah Spence hasn't born any fruit; they have, on the other hand, selected four defensive backs (two corners) since taking Vernon Hargreaves a round before Spence.
It's time to invest back in the DE position.
10. Detroit Lions
Pick: Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame
There have been ten selections thus far in this draft. Seven of them play on the defensive line.
Tillery has enjoyed a rise to rival that of Quinnen Williams, as the primary defensive author of the Irish's rise to playoff competitor. His ability to drop anchor in the running game, even against double-teams, impresses -- and he's 6-foot-6. He does have the occasional leverage problem, but generally his footwork and flexibility to generate interior rush angles allows him to generate consistent, quick pressure.
Detroit does have outside rush concerns they could look to address here. But I don't think Montez Sweat is a 4-3 end; the long and powerful Tillery will add the necessary juice to the pass rush.
11. Cleveland Browns
Pick: Greedy Williams, CB, Cleveland
Man, took us a second to get to CB1. All the better news for Cleveland fans, I suppose.
The Browns showed in last year's draft that they're willing to fly in the face of orthodox NFL thinking and take the elite corner (Denzel Ward) before the blue-chip pass-rusher (Bradley Chubb). Whether or not you like the decision -- I'm fine with it -- Ward has panned out fantastically for them through six weeks of 2017.
But he needs a running mate. Cleveland would love for the corner opposite Ward to be Terrence Mitchell, but he's on IR, and the weak depth at the position is getting tested. Even then, I think Mitchell is an unreliable starter, while Greedy Williams profiles as a stellar NFL corner. His press physicality contrasts Ward's mirror quickness nicely, and his length should prove valuable on bigger receivers.
12. Houston Texans
Pick: David Edwards, OT, Wisconsin
Offensive line play is scarce in today's NFL, but if you can't win in the trenches, then you can't go deep into the playoffs; pass rushes are just too good. Houston had loftier expectations than a 3-3 start -- though winning their last three has added some life. That said, Houston didn't really react to sending OT Duane Brown away to Seattle -- their depth players Julie'n Davenport and Kendall Lamm have stepped into starting roles, and the pass protection has suffered.
Enter David Edwards, a player I think is quietly a better pro prospect than Alabama's Jonah Williams, who I also like a fair bit. Edwards is going to receive Lane Johnson comparisons for his athleticism at his size, as well as his quarterbacking background. He isn't the technician Lane was, but if you can work him up there, he profiles as an elite NFL talent.
13. Dallas Cowboys
Pick: DK Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
Easiest selection thus far: huge need meets elite talent. Now, there is a good chance that an entirely different head coach is offering his thoughts come Draft time, and the future of Dak Prescott should be considered decidedly uncertain through that transitional time. But I suppose, for a new staff coming into the building, you don't want to evaluate your young quarterback without sufficient weaponry around him.
Enter Metcalf, a true WR1 -- Dallas hasn't had one of those in a while. His strength on the boundary invites trust throws, and he doesn't need huge windows to be successful -- both of those factors have been issues for the Dallas offense thus far this season.
14. New York Jets
Pick: Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
Montez Sweat has become one of those 'just can't argue with it' players for me. Yeah, his frame is a bit odd, and I'm not sure if he's a better stand-up or hand-down rusher. Yeah, he's not as bendy on the outside as you'd like to see for a Top-15 selection.
But man, you just can't argue with that level of dominance.
Sweat has put up insane production across the first half of the season, and there are no signs of slowing down. For New York, Sweat can line up at a variety of spots along the outside of the line and offer some good spot drops into coverage. He's a more natural pass-rusher than any of their current outside 'backers.
15. Jacksonville Jaguars
Pick: Will Grier, QB, West Virginia
Look, I'd love for Jacksonville to keep Blake Bortles. I think Blake is hysterical. He's great content, week in and week out. That sound bite of him telling off Jets safety Marcus Maye (I think?) about intentional grounding was hilarious.
But the overwhelming surge of fan demand to improve on Blake is a ticking bomb, and if Jacksonville continues to wilt against weak defenses like Kansas City and Dallas...
Will Grier ain't perfect by any stretch of the imagination -- and you could even make a case that, with rookie pains considered, he isn't a notable improvement over Bortles. But I have to imagine that locker room has a nagging worm of doubt: that they'll never win with Blake. Just a change of face at the QB position could be enough to instill the roster with hope.
I think Grier's live arm will allow OC Nathaniel Hackett to open up the offense a little bit more, but the heavy reliance on intermediate crossers does lend itself well to Grier's ability to drop throws in buckets between the levels of the defense. A WR corps that includes 2017 selection D.J. Chark and 2016 selection DeDe Westbrook also lends itself to deep shots, and Grier is a successful passer under those conditions.
16. Philadelphia Eagles
Pick: Gerald Willis III, DT, Miami
Been a whole six picks since a defensive lineman came off the board. Too long a stretch, in my eyes.
Both Jeffery Simmons and Willis are available for Philadelphia among the interior penetrators -- I think Jim Schwartz will find Willis' frame and play style a bit more reminiscent of Timmy Jerningan. Jernigan suffered a back injury in the early 2018 offseason, and Philadelphia and Jernigan agreed to a restructured contract that released all of Jernigan's guaranteed money -- that's a clear sign that Jernigan's path to 100% is a long and narrow one.
Philadelphia's trotting out stop-gap veteran Haloti Ngata and 2016 UDFA Destiny Vaeao in Jernigan's place, while also getting quality reps out of tweener DT/DE Michael Bennett. But with Chris Long and Brandon Graham both uncertain to return in 2019, Bennett will be needed more on the outside. Enter Willis, who's resurrected an unsteady career in Miami with violent hands, a quick first step, and a developing arsenal of pass-rush moves. His penetration opposite elite DT Fletcher Cox will flummox offensive lines for years to come.
17. Seattle Seahawks
Pick: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
The Seahawks have never been a team to shy from defensive linemen with baggage -- especially when those linemen are elite penetrators like Jeffery Simmons. Simmons is so effective when working to half-man relationships with his opponents, and his bevy of tools -- power, hand usage, quickness -- to finish the job really impress.
Simmons will go through the wringer in the Draft process. A video of him repeatedly punching a woman who had been in a fight with his sister will give NFL teams serious character concerns. But he has Top-10 talent, and NFL teams and agents alike are growing more deft when handling these situations. It's a situation to follow, but right now, I expect him to make the early first round.
I'm not sure what exactly Seattle's long-term plans are in the secondary (re-sign Earl!), so I'm leaving that untouched -- and hey! The last time they went DB in Round 1 was in 2010. Wonder who that could have been...
18. Green Bay Packers
Pick: Deionte Thompson, SAF, Alabama
Coming into the season, nobody had jack on Deionte Thompson. Yes, he's an Alabama product -- but we didn't know he was about to take over college football as the best centerfielder in the game.
So Thompson is a riser -- but if we get this far in the Draft before he gets selected, I think we'll end up calling this a value pick come April. Thompson's that good.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was supposed to be the Alabama free safety to put some teeth in the Packer defense -- but that never came to pass. His poor tackling and lack of physicality across the middle does little to discourage deep throws and intermediate crossers. That problem shouldn't repeat itself with Thompson, who isn't afraid to lay the wood, and has the range to make more plays on the football.
19. Pittsburgh Steelers
Pick: Devin White, LB, LSU
I had my concerns with White coming in to the season, and those concerns haven't necessarily gone away. White too frequently gets beaten to the spot by offensive linemen climbing to the second level -- not because he lacks the ability, but because he lacks the processing to see it develop. He's over-aggressive and unaware of his fit in the defensive structure.
But he has clearly improved off of his 2017 tape, and that's an encouraging sight. I think of Virginia Tech LB Tremaine Edmunds: each successive game tape of 2018 was better and better in terms of mental processing, and his stock skyrocketed accordingly. I'd love to see something similar for White.
Pittsburgh's in desperate need of improved linebacking play -- they needed it even when Ryan Shazier was healthy and able. White gives them that range they've been lacking since Shazier's injury, and his physical brand of football is reminiscent of the Pittsburgh spirit.
20. Miami Dolphins
Pick: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
Did Miami hope a quarterback fell to them at 20? Would they be willing to eek in front of Jacksonville or Denver to go snag one? We won't even know if these questions are valid until much further down the road, but they're interesting to think about now.
Hey! Maybe Brock Osweiler is the future. Looked good against the Bears.
Regardless of who's under center for the Dolphins, I put them in a similar boat as the Vikings: in need of offensive line help at both guard and tackle. Incumbent RT Ja'Wuan James likely wouldn't win a camp battle with the rock-steady Williams, given his historically inconsistent play. But even if James is servicable at tackle, some teams like Williams as a guard prospect -- and Williams would likely be a step up over LG Ted Larsen or RG Jesse Davis.
Williams has great athleticism and a nasty demeanor in the running game -- it would sure be fun to see him beside LT Laremy Tunsil, who's panning out nicely in the young 2018 season. I think tackle is his NFL future, but wherever he goes, I expect him to be successful.
21. Tennessee Titans
Pick: Tyler Biadasz, OC, Wisconsin
Both the interior offensive line class and the offensive tackle class have some good thickness to them. While Biadasz will be the pick here, other prospects such as Boston College's Chris Lindstrom and NC State's Garrett Bradbury could have been the call here.
I think Biadasz is the steadiest pass-protector of the three, and he also should have guard versatility, which makes him a good fit for Tennessee. He's a brutal force with his hands, but his flexibility to recruit his lower half when generating displacement power or dropping anchor strikes me as an elite trait.
Tennessee could go to upgrade any of their front three: Ben Jones, Quinton Spain, or Josh Kline. Spain might be my first target -- I think he's the worst athlete of the three. Regardless, you can mix and match as you please here. LaFleur needs an offensive line that can execute wide zone, and the Biadasz pick gets that ball rolling.
22. Minnesota Vikings
Pick: Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State
It's like I said in the Dolphins blurb only two picks up: these OTs who may be better OGs at the NFL level have a good deal of value to teams in need of line help everywhere.
Risner's NFL weakness is his athleticism -- some teams may be timid when leaving him out on the edge against explosive rushers. That said, I simply think that NFL-caliber tackles are so rare, and thereby so valuable, that taking a successful college OT and immediately kicking him in to guard could prove a disservice to your team. Connor Williams, last year's OT out of Texas, was a similar evaluation for me in that regard.
So, when Risner lands in Minnesota, the Vikings will have the opportunity to improve at every line spot: Risner might be a better pro than both of their tackles and either of their guards. With Brian O'Neill selected in the second round in last year's class, the first look for Risner would likely be at left guard, as O'Neill displaces RT Rashod Hill. His angry run blocking would add wonders to John DeFilippo's zone-heavy attack.
23. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago Bears)
Pick: Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State
What in blazes is Oakland even doing in the secondary? Sitting 2017 first-rounder Gareon Conley in favor of street free agent Daryl Worley? I haven't the faintest.
So I'll re-invest in the position -- though, who knows what Gruden will do. Tricky spot, between Oruwariye and Washington's Byron Murphy III, who we'll see quite shortly here. At the end of the day, I think Oruwariye offers a more promising physical profile to account for the versatility needed in defensive coordinator Paul Guenther's scheme.
Corners do a lot for Guenther, but they absolutely have to play up into the line of scrimmage. Oruwariye is a natural fit there, with length arms and good explosiveness out of his turn-and-run to stick with vertical stems. His footwork needs cleaning up, as does his play when his back is to the ball, but by Jove, he's a better player than Daryl Worley.
24. Cincinnati Bengals
Pick: Kaden Smith, TE, Stanford
Yeah, it could have been Iowa TE Noah Fant here -- but I didn't want to do that, so I didn't. Both are awesome. Move on.
What it comes down to is this: you want to be able to play your early TE draft pick with incumbent TE Tyler Eifert, if Eifert comes back from his most recent injury at 100%. The reality is that Eifert can't be trusted to play 16 games, however -- so you need him to also fill Eifert's shoes. I think I edge Smith because of his proven ability to line up in the slot, which he does to a greater degree than Fant.
Smith has an unteachable acrobatic ability to adjust to the ball mid-air, which means he always open. He makes the dumbest catches I've ever seen a 250-pounder make. That's great to have in a safety blanket, which QB Andy Dalton will need more and more as he gets older and older.
Let's just keep flooding the Cincinnati offense with weapons until it can't help itself but be good.
25. Washington Redskins
Pick: Byron Murphy III, CB, Washington
After Josh Norman was benched in the second half of the MNF game against New Orleans, I got to thinkin': who does Washington really have at corner?
Bashaud Breeland is now with Green Bay; Kendall Fuller was sent to Kansas City. 2017 rookie Fabian Moreau and WR-convert Quinton Dunbar round out the depth chart, along with supplemental addition Adonis Alexander. But you're probably looking for an impact starter even if the soon-to-be-31 Josh Norman has a few solid seasons left in him.
I love -- love -- Murphy's fit here. His instincts and playmaking aggressiveness translate perfectly to the Cover 3 "squat" technique Washington will play with their corners. It gives him free range to roam the sideline and lets him stick with his eyes in the backfield. Stellar fit.
26. Carolina Panthers
Pick: Zach Allen, EDGE, Boston College
I don't necessarily see it, but I've heard explicitly that Zach Allen is a heavy favorite in NFL circles to leave the board in Round 1. And I think he's a fine player -- I just don't think he's got the Round 1 juice.
Carolina is still running Julius Peppers off the edge, which speaks to Peppers' incredible longevity in a punishing league. But even ignoring the need to draft his successor, they aren't getting enough from Wes Horton and Mario Addison to ignore the pass-rushing position. I think they'll like Allen because his size and power allows him to kick inside on long and late downs, and because his production across the past couple BC seasons has been stellar.
The last three EDGEs Carolina has drafted -- Frank Alexander, Kony Ealy, and Daeshon Hall -- are all off the roster. It would be inexcusable for them to leave another class without a young, promising bright spot at defensive end.
27. Los Angeles Chargers
Pick: Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan
The question: is the 6-foot-4, 280 pound Gary an EDGE or a DT? Does his inability to generate a consistent pass-rush angle on the outside destine him for interior play? Will added mass rob him of his initial quickness?
The answer: play him in a multiple front and you don't really have to worry about it.
Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley became a hot head-coaching candidate because of his work with the Seattle defense in the early 2010s. Of the Monte Kiffin tree, Bradley's success at the NFL level stemmed from his incorporation of 2-gapping DL techniques on an even front (4-man) defensive line. I like projecting Gary here accordingly: Gary has the power and quickness to win a lot of two-gapping reps as a 3-technique or wider, but he still offers rush upside from those interior alignments.
Gary, Bosa, Ingram. That's fearsome, man.
28. Baltimore Ravens
Pick: Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State
I think Kelvin Harmon is just sweet, man. I was so pleasantly surprised by his tape.
He's smart at all three levels of the field. An industrious route-runner who knows how to snap into his breaks to create a quick, clean window for his quarterback to hit; a detailed and explosive intermediate receiver who can generate separation with eye manipulation and quickness; a stellar deep threat who tracks well, locates quickly, and has the physicality to win in contested situations. He reminds me of Alshon Jeffery -- he's just the total package.
Do I need to explain why Baltimore needs a receiver? Looking forward, you have to be excited about a passer with as live of an arm as QB Lamar Jackson working with Harmon, given his natural separation instincts. Harmon is also a bit of an accuracy corrector, which will be good for Lamar's growing pains.
29. New England Patriots
Pick: Raekwon Davis, iDL, Alabama
Looks like I gave New England the best value pick of the draft. Whoops.
In reality, Davis' stock has fallen a touch in 2018, because his pass-rush upside still doesn't seem to have panned out. I think teams will be skittish on him for two reasons: firstly, he's more of a run-defender than a pass-rusher; more of a two-gapper than a penetrator. Secondly, I don't think he's an amazing athlete.
Then again, Washington drafted the poorer version of Davis in Da'Ron Payne at 13 overall last season, so what do I know?
At this point in the draft, Davis is the clear value pick for defensive line play, which the Patriots simply need to improve. He does offer pass-rush upside at his size and length (6-foot-7), but it's his disciplined play and sound defensive understanding that should make him attractive in the New England system.
30. Green Bay Packers (via New Orleans Saints)
Pick: Chris Lindstrom, iOL, Boston College
Starting Lane Taylor and Justin McCray as your guards is already bad -- when you have an aging, fragile Aaron Rodgers back there, things get even uglier.
Lindstrom is an absolutely load in the trenches. He fires low off the ball at the snap and brings his hips with him when run blocking, which leads to some impressive displacement reps. His understanding of leverage as a 6-foot-4 interior player speaks to how well and diligently he executes.
He can be heavy-footed as a pass protector, as many of these mauling guards can be -- but it's very difficult to shock him off his anchor, and he has great length for the position to recover when he gets a little heavy. I think he's a Day 1 starter for an offensive line that needs new blood.
31. Kansas City Chiefs
Pick: Kris Boyd, CB, Texas
The only position I'm positive the Chiefs won't try to upgrade on defense is the position Chris Jones is playing. Everything else is up for grabs. I have no idea what they're trying to do with 2017's second-rounder Tanoh Kpassagnon or 2018's second-rounder Breeland Speaks. Is Dee Ford good now? What will Eric Berry be when he returns to health?
I'm going to start at outside corner. I know I have a quality inside starter in Kendall Fuller, and I want to make his life easier by getting him as many inside looks as possible -- same goes for other starting CB Steven Nelson, who's better in the slot. Enter Boyd, built for the outside with good thickness and acceptable length. He wins with physicality within the contact window, good ball skills with his back to the football, and surprising quickness to handle multi-break routes.
If he learns to control his aggressiveness and risk-taking -- and turns a few more PBUs into INTs -- he profiles as an impact starter in the NFL.
32. Los Angeles Rams
Pick: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
"New Allen," as he's been dubbed in The Draft Network offices, really improved off of his 2017 tape. Is it enough to break the first round in 2018? Some pundits seem to think so. I'm not there yet with Allen -- he feels far more like a late Day 2 player to me -- but teams will reach for that physical profile and developmental projection from the past season.
Tough to blame them, too: Allen has really improved his footwork and hip leverage as a pass-rusher, which means he's turning far more reps from 'beyond the pocket' to 'in the quarterback's grill.' His statistical output is appropriately improving, but I'm far more interested in what he'll look like once someone teaches him what to do with those big, long arms of his.
Los Angeles may not have time to wait for Allen to develop -- if they don't make it far into the postseason, it will likely be due in part to insufficient EDGE rush. But at this stage of the draft, he's the best remaining option.