The NFL season kicks off this weekend, and college football has now had one week of games under their belt. It is never too early to start talking about who the next crop of NFL talent will be, and one thing is clear. This upcoming year will be the year of the quarterback led by Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa. However, the class is much deeper than just Tua as you will see.
Note: I will be using projected records for draft order
1. Miami Dolphins – QB Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama)
Yes, the Dolphins just traded for Josh Rosen this off-season, but he is once again working with a coach who is defensive-minded, and was beat out by Ryan Fitzpatrick for the starting job, at least initially. I expect Rosen to see the field eventually, but I expect him to be traded once again this upcoming offseason. Tua is the best college football quarterback, and his game will translate well to the NFL.
2. Washington Redskins – EDGE Chase Young (Ohio State)
The Redskins don’t have a clear fit here at #2, as they already have their quarterback of the future in Dwayne Haskins. They will more than likely need a tackle, but there isn’t one worth the selection at the number two spot. Chase Young is a machine off the edge, and can play as a stand-up rusher, or put his hand in the dirt.
3. Cincinnati Bengals – QB Justin Herbert (Oregon)
The time of Andy Dalton leading the Bengals should’ve come to an end a while ago, but it hasn’t. That stops after another poor 2019 season, and the Bengals select Oregon Duck Justin Herbert. I don’t love Herbert’s game, but I am projecting what these NFL teams will do, not me. Herbert would run Zac Taylor’s offense very well, and has weapons in Joe Mixon and AJ Green to succeed early.
4. New York Giants – WR Jerry Jeudy (Alabama)
The Giants traded Odell Beckham Jr. to the Browns this off-season and didn’t select a pass catcher in this past draft. There is a reason for that, and his name is Jerry Jeudy. Jeudy may be the best wide receiver the game has seen at the college level in this decade, and that is saying something. He runs crisp routes, is agile, and can go up and get the football. A perfect weapon to pair with Saquon Barkley.
5. Arizona Cardinals – OT Tristan Wirfs (Iowa)
The Cardinal’s offense has plenty of firepower on the perimeter, but the line needs a lot of work. Wirfs is an absolute monster on the Iowa offensive line and has started under Kirk Ferentz since he arrived on campus. That is saying something considering Iowa is O-line U.
6. Tampa Bay Buccs – OT Trey Smith (Tennessee)
Much like Wirfs, Smith is an absolute anchor on the Vol’s offensive line. He has great mobility and will help anchor a Jameis Winston offense who I expect to look a lot better in this upcoming season.
7. Buffalo Bills – WR Tee Higgins (Clemson)
Josh Allen showed us in his rookie season that he has the makeup to be a solid NFL quarterback, and the team has an improved offensive line. However, the one thing they are lacking is a true playmaker, and Higgins is just that. He has great big-play ability, but can also be ‘the’ receiver for Josh Allen.
8. Detroit Lions – CB Kristian Fulton (LSU)
LSU’s secondary is once again loaded, and that starts with Kristian Fulton. He can play both man and zone coverages, a must-have in a Matt Patricia defense. The team cut Teez Tabor and doesn’t have much depth. Fulton is a good place to start.
9. Denver Broncos – OT Andrew Thomas (Georgia)
Thomas might be the most complete tackle in this draft class but doesn’t have the upside of the two drafted ahead of him. However, Thomas would be a huge upgrade over 2017 pick Garrett Boles. He does have short arms, but that shouldn’t affect his stock too much.
10. New York Jets – CB C.J Henderson (Florida)
The Jets secondary is a mess beyond Jamal Adams, and have virtually no cornerback depth. Henderson is a very physical corner, and that fits in well with Jamal Adams style of play in the back end of the defense and has the speed to stay with the quickest NFL receivers.
11. Indianapolis Colts – WR CeeDee Lamb (Oklahoma)
The Colts no longer have Andrew Luck and could easily wind up with a QB here, but I think that Brissett does enough in his first year to get another shot in 2020. Adding another weapon to pair with TY Hilton would be huge, and Lamb has the ability to hit a home run ball every single time he gets his hands on the football.
12. Tennessee Titans – QB Jake Fromm (Georgia)
The Titans have two very average QB’s in Mariota and Tannehill on the roster, but neither is the answer to the future. Fromm has started at Georgia since his true freshman campaign. Fromm doesn’t have the elite arm strength or physical tools, but he is very smart with the football and can put the ball in a breadbasket.
13. Carolina Panthers – CB Bryce Hall (Virginia)
The Panthers play in a division where having corners is a must, and right now they don’t have that. Cam Newton only has a few years left so getting the defense right is a must. Bryce Hall is extremely long and has fantastic instincts. He won’t wow you athletically, but lead college football in pass breakups last year. His game reminds me a lot of Desmond King of the Chargers.
14. San Francisco 49ers – S Grant Delpit (LSU)
Here is the second piece of that fantastic LSU secondary in Grant Delpit. Delpit is a fantastic run defender, and can do what he needs to do in coverage. He will continue the run of great LSU safetys following Jamal Adams and Eric Reid.
15. Oakland Raiders – LB Dylan Moses (Alabama)
Moses won’t be on the field this fall for the Tide, but that shouldn’t concern NFL teams. He is the best linebacker in the draft, and with Burfict on a one year deal, he would be an ideal plug-and-play candidate for Gruden.
16. Seattle Seahawks – CB Essang Bassey (Wake Forest)
Just a few years ago the Seahawks had a nickname for their secondary, but those days have come and gone. The corner back room is lacking depth. Much like Bryce Hall, Essang is a long, twitchy corner with a nose for the football. If it turns out that Clowny isn’t resigned, the Seahawks will take an edge rusher.
17. Baltimore Ravens – EDGE A.J Epenesa (Iowa)
The Ravens need to do some work to the outside of their defensive line, and A.J Epenesa is a perfect pick for this. Epenesa may be the best pass rusher in this draft class but has struggled against the run which caused him to not be listed as a starter at Iowa in his first two years. However, this year he will be on the field almost every single play and has a huge chance to improve his draft stock.
18. Miami Dolphins (from HOU) – RB D’Andre Swift (Georgia)
The Dolphins acquired this pick when they traded OL Tunsil, and have already selected Tua with the #1 pick. However, everyone knows a quarterback can’t do it alone. So what better to do than pair two of the best players in college football together?
19. Jacksonville Jags – LB Isaiah Simmons (Clemson)
Simmons is a former safety turned linebacker, and you can tell that when you watch him play. He plays with the speed of a safety, but has the nose for the football like a linebacker. Pair him with the rest of a young, talented defense and they may have the best defensive unit in all of the NFL for the next few years.
20. Atlanta Falcons – EDGE Yutur Gross-Matos (Penn State)
Former first round pick Vic Beasley is likely headed to free agency after this year, so the Falcons have a clear cut need at the edge position. Penn State’s Yutur Gross-Matos is a perfect fit in Atlanta.
21. Green Bay Packers – WR Henry Ruggs III (Alabama)
The days of Aaron Rogers career are quickly coming to an end, so the Packers need to capitalize on the best quarterback in the game while they can. Ruggs is overshadowed by Jeudy in Bama’s offense, but he has a legit shot at becoming the next Tyreek Hill in the NFL.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers – CB Trevon Diggs (Alabama)
The Steelers took Devin Bush in 2019, and now have to find someone to pair with Justin Layne in their secondary. Diggs is one of the fastest players in college football, and can play press coverage, but also has the speed to recover if he gets burnt. This secondary could be very similar to the Packers with the selection of Trevon Diggs.
23. Minnesota Vikings – OT Walker Little (Stanford)
The Vikings had one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL last year, and it won’t be a whole lot better this year. Walker Little is a fantastic pass blocker but leaves some room to be desired in the run game. However, if he can anchor Kirk Cousins blindside the Vikings will be happy.
24. Los Angeles Chargers – QB Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma)
Many have speculated that the Chargers would take the heir apparent to Rivers the past few drafts, but they haven’t. They have no choice in this upcoming draft. This is an ideal spot for both Hurts and the Chargers, as he will have a huge year at OU, but needs a year or two to sit and improve his game before being thrown into the first at the NFL.
25. Dallas Cowboys – S J.R Reed (Georgia)
The Cowboys aren’t going to be able to pay everyone as free agency approaches in 2020, and will be forced to make decisions. J.R Reed can ease some of these choices they are forced to make, as he is one of the best playmakers in the game.
26. Cleveland Browns – OT Calvin Throckmorton (Oregon)
Throckmorton is the complete opposite of Little who was taken by the Vikings a few picks ago, and will slide in at right tackle for Cleveland. He is an absolute mauler upfront with a lot of nastiness in his game. This will help clear lanes for Kareem Hunt and will do enough to give Baker more time to find his targets downfield.
27. Philadelphia Eagles – EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson (LSU)
Chaisson has great athleticism coming off the edge, but won’t be a huge help in the run game. However, that is fine for Philly. Chaisson missed his 2018 season but is back in full force for the 2019 campaign. He has a real chance to up his draft stock if he shows he can be a help against the run.
28. New Orleans Saints – QB Jacob Eason (Washington)
Eason will be a quarterback that is projected all of the board, but he flashed in week 1. He has a very similar play style to current QB Drew Brees in the fact that he is strong-armed, physical, and will not be afraid to sling the ball around the field.
29. Los Angeles Rams – C Tyler Biadasz (Wisconsin)
The Rams run a zone-run scheme, which is a huge question mark here for Tyler as it will push his athleticism to the max. However, he is a very polished pass blocker for the center position and fills a hole that the Rams currently have.
30. New England Patriots – TE Albert Okwuegbunam (Missouri)
We all know how important the tight end position is in the New England offense, and Albert would fit the system perfectly. Much like last year first-rounder Noah Fant, Albert is amazing in space and the best pass catcher at the position in college football.
31. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago) – DL Raekwon Davis (Alabama)
This isn’t a huge position of need for the Raiders, but at pick 31 my thought is that Mayock should go best player available, and that is Davis out of Alabama. He can play nose guard in the 3-4, or a defensive tackle spot in a 4-3. He is a hard nose player that Jon Gruden would love.
32. Kansas City Chiefs – CB A.J Terrell (Clemson)
The Chiefs have the best offensive weapons in the league, paired with a fantastic offensive line. They have decent safeties, and Kendall Fuller is a capable corner. However, on the other side, they have a band-aid in Morriss Claiborne. Terrell can fill this need for the Chiefs.