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The NFL Draft is Coming Up. What Picks Should Teams Make?

Matthew Cavoli

Here are my recommendations for the picks that teams should make in the upcoming NFL Draft April 29 through May 1.

Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence (QB)

The Jaguars would be crazy to take anyone else other than Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence is the biggest draft prospect since Andrew Luck. The whole world is raving about him. No one is perfect, but Lawrence is pretty darn close. He has little to no flaws in his game and makes very few mistakes when out on the field. Lawrence is a dual threat quarterback who is an outstanding pocket passer with a great arm and insane accuracy. If I could find a weakness to him, I’d have to say it’s his previous experience with winning. In his 3 years of college, Lawrence has only lost 2 games. He is a born winner, which may be a slight disadvantage to him this upcoming season. The Jaguars are a very young team, who only had one win in the previous season. 

With Lawrence running the show, the Jaguars will hopefully be a little bit better, but are still far off from a playoff team. This lack of winning could possibly affect the way Lawrence plays. We’ve never really seen him in a losing situation before, therefore the way he plays this upcoming season should  show the type of leader/player he is. I’m very excited to see him play in a NFL game next season, he’s going to be very exciting to watch. 

Jets: Zach Wislon (QB)

Wilson had very mediocre Freshman and Sophomore seasons, but broke out in his Junior year of college. He threw for 33TD and only 3 picks. He led his BYU team to an 11-1 record and a Bowl win. Wilson is a dual threat who is also a very good passer. Although, take his stats and good play with a grain of salt, because he did not play any amazing competition in college. The one competitive game he played against Coastal Carolina, he struggled immensely. He made poor passing decisions and tried to play hero ball too much. In my opinion if the Jets select Wislon they’ll be picking another Sam Darnold. Even though Wislon and Darnold are very different, both Quarterbacks were hyped up too much pre-draft in my personal opinion. 

Also, Darnold was picked before many other great quarterbacks, which I believe will be the same situation if the Jets selected Wilson at number 2. I believe Just Fields or even Trey Lance would be a better selection for the Jets. Although, after a very good performance at pro day, it seems clear that the Jets have made up their mind on selecting Wilson. I’m not putting the bust label on him, although I can’t see Wilson having too much success with the pathetic Jets organization. 

San Francisco 49ers: Justin Fields (QB)

There has been much speculation around the 49ers picking Mac Jones at this number 3 spot. Although they’d be psycho for passing on Justin Fields. Fields is the definition of the dual threat quarterback. He has a huge arm and is great at getting out of the pocket to make a big play. Fields has insane speed, putting him at the top with Kyler Murray and Lamar Jackson. Fields ran a 4.41 40 yard dash, which is one of the fastest times of a Quarterback ever. I’m very high on Fields, he has a ton of potential, and could really be a great quarterback. His major flaw is his pocket passing. He often takes too much time to release the ball due to his poor reading of the blitz. This is his major area of improvement. Even though I really like Fields, I don’t think he’s ready to start right away. The 49ers would be smart to let him learn behind Garoppolo for maybe a half to a full season. They don’t want to rush Fields too quickly, because he has a lot to learn and has great potential to fit perfectly in Kyle Shannahans system. 

Falcons: Trey Lance (QB)

Trey Lance is one of the many wonders of the world. He has an insane upside and incredible potential. His football IQ is comparable to NFL veterans, and he can pass and run like there’s no tomorrow. Standing at 6’4 and weighing about 230, Lance is extremely athletic and has crazy strength. He can do almost everything and he does it at an elite level. The NFL should fear Trey Lance. Although, he has one major downside. This downside has absolutely nothing to do with football and his playing ability, it has to do with his age. Lance is only 20 years old and has just one college football season under his belt. He was redshirted his Freshman year and his Junior year got cancelled due to Covid. Although, the one year he played, his Sophomore year, was a great one. He threw for 28 TD and 0 picks. On top of that, Lance threw close to 3,000 yards and rushed for 1,100. This is unheard of in college football. That one amazing season is why the Falcons are going to draft him as Matt Ryan’s replacement. Although, there are still lots of unknowns with Trey Lance. Especially his ability to translate his college success to the NFL. 

Bengals: Penei Sewel (OT)

The Bengals need to protect Joe Burrow. That’s about it. Drafting Sewel should solve that problem. Sewel is one of the best offensive lineman in college football. He has crazy potential and will be an NFL starter immediately. The Bengals let Quarterback Joe Burrow get sacked 32 times this past season which was tied for 2nd most in the league. On top of that, Burrow only played 10 games this year, because he tore his ACL and MCL in a week 11 game. This injury was heavily caused by his offensive line failing to protect him. That reason right there is why Sewel is the answer. He’s the best Offemisce lineman in the draft and the Benagls desperately need a better O-line. If the Bengals draft anyone else besides him, they’ll regret it deeply. I’m pretty confident they’ll be smart enough to draft Sewel in order to protect their franchise quarterback.

Miami Dolphins: Ja’Marr Chase (WR)

Ja’Marr Chase may just be the most talented wide receiver in this loaded wide receiver draft class. Chase has the size, athleticism, and most importantly, the speed to be a top tear receiver in the NFL. Chase’s career at LSU is one to remember. He had a good freshman season, showing lots of promise. Although, his sophomore year performance is why people speak so  highly of him. Chase had an insane 1,780 yards with 20 TD that season, and had 221 yards in the National championship victory against Clemson. Chase’s sophomore year performance is one to be remembered. Pairing Chase with standout wide receivers, Will Fuller and Devonta Parker should make the Miami Dolphins receiving core one of the best in the league. The one downside I have on Chase is Justin Jefferson. Jefferson, the Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowl wide receiver, played alongside Chase at LSU in 2019. Jefferson was the number one wide receiver, getting most of the double teams that year. This led to Chase having many 1 on 1 situations, in which he would burn the defender with his speed. This past year, with Jefferson in the NFL, and Chase being the number one receiver on his team, we expected to see Chase in his new role. Although Chase opted out of the season because of Covid, us fans have some questions on Chase’s ability to perform in a number one wide receiver role. Even with this speculation around Chase’s ability, I still strongly believe he’ll perform extremely well in the NFL and eventually become a Pro Bowl talent. 

Detroit Lions: Devonta Smith (WR)

Devonta Smith may have just had one of the best college seasons for a wide receiver ever. 

He put up a ridiculous 1,856 yards, 23 TD, won the Heisiman, and brought home the national championship. Also with his 1,856 yards, he ranks 6th all time for receiving yards in a college football season. Looking at the numbers Smith put up is almost like looking at a stats sheet from Madden. This kid is unreal. With the departure of Kenny Golladay, the Lions are in dire need of a wide receiver and Devonta Smith is definitely the answer. He has insane speed, terrific route running, and top notch hands. On top of that he’s a natural born winner, winning 2 national championships and the Heisman in his 4 year career at Alabama. The one downside about Smith is his size, he weighs 175 pounds. To put that into perspective, former Patriots wide receiver Julien Edelamn weighs about 20 more pounds than that. There is some concern about Smith’s strength and how he’ll match up against bigger NFL players. Although, what we do know is that Smith managed to win the Heieman as a small/skinny wide receiver. He may need a lot of work on his physical strength, although his mental strength and hard work mentality is all there. That is why I believe Smith is going to be great. The Lions do not want to pass on him.

Trade: Arizona Cardinals: Kyle Pitts (TE)

From Carolina Panthers

The Panthers recently acquired Sam Darnold, therefore they are no longer in need of a QB. Since that spot is now filled, I believe they’ll trade down in the draft and select whoever is best available at that time. That is where the Arizonia Cardinals come into play. The Cardinals are a very promising team, although they have a huge need in the Tight end position. Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, should be available at this number 8 spot, making it a perfect opportunity for the Cardinals to trade up.

This trade is a win-win situation; The Cardinals get the player they need and the Panthers get more draft picks to fill in the rest of their roster. Kyle Pitts would fit perfectly with the Cardinals, he is the best tight end in this draft, and plays like a big receiver. Putting him alongside DeAndre Hopkins and Kyler Murray would make a lethal offense. Pitts stands at 6’6 weighing 240. He runs elite routes, has great speed, and makes big plays. Pitts is a do it all TE. Drafting him is like drafting a TE and a wide receiver all in one. The only negative about Pitts is his blocking, although that is something I can see him improving on once he gets some experience in the league. Watch out for the Cardinals and Kyle Pitts.

Denver Broncos: Mac Jones (QB)

The Denver Broncos have been drafting/signing new Quarterbacks every year in order to find the next Patyon Manning. Between Brock Osweiler, Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, Case Keenum, Joe Flacco, and Drew Lock etc. none of them panned out to be a good fit . Drew Lock showed some promise at the end of the 2019-20 season, although he was very bad this past year. The Broncos have a young/explosive offense, with players like Jerry Judy, KJ Hamler, Tim Patrick, and Noah Fant. All they need now is a good Quarterback to get the ball to those players. That’s why the Broncos will draft Mac Jones at this selection. Denver is very QB hungry and will fall right into the Mac Jones trap. Mac Jones shined at Alabama his senior year winning the national championship. Although most of his success was due to the weapons and coaching around him. In the Alabama system any QB who has the slightest of talent will shine. Jones will not be able to adapt to the NFL. He will face tougher opponents, more complex play schemes, and he’ll no longer have the luxury of relying on a wide open wide receiver Devotna Smith every play. Jones does not have a great arm and panics in the pocket. The one upside he does have is his above average football IQ and his accurate ball placement. Even though he looked like a star in college, I strongly believe the bad will outweigh the good as he adjusts to the pro’s. Unfortunately Denver is going to waste another draft pick on a no-good QB.

Dallas Cowboys: Patrick Surtain II (CB)

There is only one player the Cowboys should take here and that’s Patrick Surtain II. If Jerry Jones selects anyone else it will be a major loss for the team. Surtain would fit perfectly in the Cowboys system. Dallas had an atrocious defense last year, with one of the worst secondaries in the league. Adding Surtain will immediately make their defense better. A secondary of Diggs and Surtain would be very nice. Surtain is the best cornerback in this draft, he is a lockdown defender and his talents should translate  nicely to the NFL. His Dad was an All pro bowl cornerback in 2002 and I can see Surtain doing the same. This is a no brainer pick for the Cowboys and they better not mess this up. 

New York Giants: Rashawn Slater (OT)

The Giants had one of the worst offensive lines in the 2020-21 season. Selecting OT Andrew Thomas 4th overall last year, seems to be one the biggest draft mistakes of 2020. There were so many good offensive lineman in the 2020 draft and Andrew Thomas was not one of them. He proved to be a liability on one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. Selecting Rashwan Slater at this spot will significantly help the Giants improve their offensive line, which will lead to the whole team improving. With Slater on the field, Danile Jones will have more time in the pocket to make the pass and Saquoun Barkely will have much more room to run. This could potentially make the Giants a playoff contender next year. Slater has incredible blocking skills and athleticism. He could definitely work on his strength, although that will come with time. He is NFL ready and I could see him staring for the Giants week one. Salter is not a player the Giants should pass on. 

Philadelphia Eagles: Jaycee Horn (CB)

This is an interesting pick here for the Eagles, I question why they traded down in the draft, although they may have their eye on one singular player. This is a tough selection to predict here because the Eagles have so many needs. I could see them going with wide receiver Jaylen Waddle,linebacker Micah Parsons, or even offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw. The Eagles have no identity right now, they’re a young team but still have many overpaid veterans on their roster. They have lots of holes in their roster and need a lot of luck this year at the draft. Although, the player I believe they are selecting 12th overall is cornerback Jaycee Horn. The Eagles secondary is a mess. Darius Slay looks old, washed up, and can no longer cover the number one receiver. That is why selecting a cornerback is their biggest need to start the rebuilding process. Horn is a big and physical receiver that can cover players like DK Metcalf. He is the type of player you want on your team and no one wants to be guarded by him. He’s the toughest guy out on the field and will never get beat in man to man coverage. He’ll definitely have to work on his zone defense and midfield tackling, although he’ll be able to improve on that in a year or two of being in the league. He may just be another Jalen Ramsey type of player. Opposing teams should be scared.

LA Chargers: Christian Darrisaw (OT)

I’m debating between OT Christian Darrisaw and CB Caleb Farley. The Chargers Offensive line was one of the worst in 2020. Justin Herbert had very little protection and got sacked 32 times last year. Although, the Chargers secondary was also bad last year. Chris Harris Jr had one of the worst seasons of his career and Casey Hayward was just released. Which leaves two huge holes in this team’s roster. Although, I believe the bigger need is the offensive line. Justin Herbet is an insane talent, he had the best rookie Quarterback season ever. If Heartbeat was that good last year, imagine what he can do with a good offensive line. That’s why I predict the Chargers selecting Christian Darrisaw at the number 13th spot. Darrisaw is insanely athletic and above average at blocking for the run/pass. He is the type of player that will not get penalized although will rely on pure athleticism a bit too much at times. This is something that must be worked on or NFL defenders will eat him alive. Darrisaw may need some time to develop, although will definitely be a star one day.  

Minnesota Vikings: Gregory Rousseau (DE)

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, said the Vikings defense last year was the worst he had ever coached. That should be an obvious give away that the Vikings will be selecting a defensive player at this number fourteen spot. Enter Gregory Rousseau, a 6’7 and 265lb defensive end. Rousseau is a beast and is probably one of the best defensive players in this draft. His sophomore year he recorded 15.5 sacks which was second to Chase Young. Rousseau opted out his junior year so he only played one full year of college football, therefore there’s a small sample size of him. This plummeted his draft stock. Although, let’s not forget what Rousseau did his sophomore year. He showed off his explosive pass rush and crazy speed, which made him one of the best players in the country. The Vikings would be crazy not to pick him, but he may need some time to develop and work on his ability to stop the run. But in a few seasons he could be fighting for defensive player of the year. 

New England Patriots: Jaylen Waddle (WR)

The New England Patriots had lots of holes to fill after their embarrassing 2020 season. Although after Bill Belicheck went to town in free agency, the Patriots look pretty good for next season. With their fifteenth overall pick, I can see the Patriots either trading up to get Justin Fields, trading down  to get draft capital, or keeping the pick and selecting wide receiver Jaylen Waddle. The Patriots added many new pass catchers to their roaster this offseason, although they are still looking for that true number one receiver. Jaylen Waddle could be just that. Waddle has top tier speed, comparable to Tyreek Hill. Waddle can run routes, run the slant, and catch the deep ball exceptionally well. He has a lot of upsides, although it may take some time for him to come in as his own. Waddle never had the number one receiver role. He played behind Jerry Judy, Henry Ruggs, and Deventa Smith, and then broke his ankle his final year at Alabama. There’s not many flaws to Waddle’s game, besides  that we don’t know how he’ll do against the other teams best defender. Waddle could be great or be added to the list of another failed wide receiver the Patriots drafted. Hopefully he turns out great because with his speed and ability to run the route, Belicheck could work wonders with him. Also, look out for the Patriots selecting Kellen Mond in one of the late rounds of the draft.