If you could make the top ten draft picks for each team—-who would you choose and why?
Here are the matches I would make:
- CIN: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU. Everything about this pick fits for the Bengals. They need a new face for the program and in Burrow, 2nd year head coach Zac Taylor gets one of the most accurate and surreptitiously mobile QBs of this generation. This is a homecoming of sorts for Burrow, as he returns to Ohio, this time as a pro.
- WAS: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama. The Redskins find themselves in a very similar situation as the Cardinals last year. They have a new head coach in Ron Rivera who already has been reluctant to tab last year’s 1st round pick Dwayne Haskins as his starting QB. Rivera has brought in his QB coach in Carolina, Scott Turner, to be his new OC—-and thus the discussions will begin and end at the QB position. Certainly, it would be hard for a defensive minded head coach to pass up on DE Chase Young, but the Cardinals had that similar dilemma with Nick Bosa. At the end of the day, getting the QB position right, especially in a new head coach’s first year is of paramount importance. Rivera would be smart to learn from the Cardinals’ mistake of playing it coy with Josh Rosen and should put Haskins on the trade block as soon as they can.
- DET: Chase Young, DE, Ohio St. Matt Patricia needs to win this season and adding the stud edge rusher of this draft aids and abets his cause. In a way, Patricia can thank the Redskins not only for passing on Young, but for taking the pressure off of not having to ponder taking Tua in favor of trading Matthew Stafford or releasing him after this season when the team has a good out option on Stafford’s enormous contract.
- NYG: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama. New head coach Joe Judge was the Patriots’ WR coach this past season and no one knows better than he, Josh McDaniels and Tom Brady how frustrating it is to have WRs who have difficultly gaining separation. Jeudy is such a naturally gifted separator and skilled playmaker, his addition for Judge, Daniel Jones and the Giants will energize the organization and elate the fans.
- MIA: Isaiah Simmons, S, Clemson. The Dolphins’ new OC Chan Gailey, who had a top 10 offense in 2015 as OC of the Jets with, you guessed it, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, was hired to win in the short term with Fitzpatrick, not to groom a new QB. Meanwhile, Brian Flores needs to turn the Dolphins’ defense into a team strength. Having traded away Minkah Fitzpatrick last year, Flores seizes this opportunity to add a uniquely versatile defensive playmaker in Isaiah Simmons.
- LAC: Andrew Thomas, T, Georgia. The Chargers are going to make a major push to head into their new stadium with Tom Brady as their QB. They will offer Brady a 3 year contract at $28M a year because they see a 2-3 year Super Bowl window. The Chargers have a very talented roster—-particularly on the defensive side of the ball. What they need most is to upgrade their offensive line. Thomas can be their starting LT from day one.
- CAR: Cee Dee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma. New head coach Matt Rhule is going to try to get QB Cam Newton back on track. Rhule loves to surround his QB with big-time playmakers and he got an inside view of the pressure that Cee Dee Lamb can put on a defense when Lamb torched his Bears’ defense in the Big 12 Championship game to the tune of 8 catches for 173 yards (21.6 ave.).
- ARI: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio St. While Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray would have liked to have seen Cee Dee Lamb on the board at #8, the Cardinals get the benefit of drafting Jeff Okudah, a top 3-5 player, in this spot. This is a timely pick for the Cardinals who, by now have most likely released CB Robert Alford (saving $4.5M on the cap with a dead cap figure of $3M). Even if the Cardinals go ahead and sign a UFA CB, adding Jeff Okudah gives them the freedom to trade Patrick Peterson or let him go in free agency in 2021.
The Cardinals would also be very interested in Auburn DT Derrick Brown here—-but they will have a higher grade on Okudah and the Cardinals will have already made a a splash signing at DT/34DE in free agency by inking Javon Hargrave to a 4 year $56M contract.
Note: This pick is also assuming that the Cardinals will have re-signed or franchise tagged LT D.J. Humphries, otherwise this pick would be Tristan Wirfs or Jedrick Wills, by sheer necessity.
In addition, if the Dolphins take Okudah at #5, then S Isaiah Simmons would be in play here for the Cardinals.
9. JAX: Christian Fulton, CB, LSU. The Jags need a sticky CB to take the place of Jalen Ramsey and Christian Fulton fits the bill.
10. CLE: Tristan Wirfs, T, Iowa. The Browns are going to focus on rebuilding the offensive line. Adding Tristan Wirfs here is a big step forward.
Of course, what happens in free agency and in trades will have a major effect on the first 10 picks—-but—these are the picks I would make for each team and the reasons why.
What picks would you make for each team?