NFL teams are in the same boat as players and fans during the time between free agency and the draft.
These teams have their draft boards set some time after the NFL Scouting Combine and do a bit of adjusting based on what previously unknown situations might come up.
Even then, we’ve seen teams overthink the entire process. Last year, it could have very well been the New York Giants selecting running back Saquon Barkley No. 2 overall.
Sure Barkley ended up being NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. But where are the Giants one year later? Glad you asked. Without a quarterback.
Back in 2017, it was the San Francisco 49ers trading down from No. 2 overall to the third pick in order to select former Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas. Almost two years later, and he’s been a complete non-factor.
Now, with just over a month remaining until the 2019 NFL Draft, it’s time to put your minds at ease. Let’s stop overthinking and check in what the top-10 teams should do when the annual event comes calling.
Arizona Cardinals: Kliff knows best, Cheers!
- If the first-year head coach is not sold on Josh Rosen, general manager Steve Keim and Co. should not force the quarterback on him.
- Arizona is obviously interested in reigning Heisman winner Kyler Murray at No. 1 overall. It doesn’t take training at Langley to realize this.
- Go Murray with the first pick and trade Rosen for what could be a nice little haul for the rebuilding team.
San Francisco 49ers: Time to get edgy.
- San Francisco entered the offseason with an obvious pass-rush need after struggling out on the edge ever since Aldon Smith’s demise.
- GM John Lynch seemed to address it with the acquisition of Pro Bowler Dee Ford in a trade with Kansas City earlier this month.
- While Ford is a nice piece, this team could use another stud pass-rush threat. Lynch should run up to the podium within two minutes of Arizona selecting Kyler Murray to pick up one Mr. Nick Bosa. Period!
New York Jets: Trade down, Mr. Maccagnan.
- After moving up in the draft for Sam Darnold last year, it seems like the rebuilding Jets are now looking to collect more picks.
- It’s certainly a good idea from the team’s perspective. New York has a ton of needs, including the offensive line. Moving down would help expedite the rebuild.
- If Kyler Murray goes No. 1 overall and Nick Bosa finds himself in San Francisco, a quarterback-needy team might very well give up the farm to move up for Dwayne Haskins — similar to what we saw with the Jets last year.
Oakland Raiders: Don’t let shiny things distract you.
- Having added wide receivers Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams to the mix during free agency, Oakland’s primary focus with pick No. 4 has to be on defense.
- Let’s assume it’s the two quarterbacks and Bosa going in the top three. This would set Jon Gruden and Co. up extremely well with the fourth pick.
- Gruden could go edge with Kentucky’s Josh Allen or add an elite defensive tackle in the form of Quinnen Williams from Alabama. Neither would be the “wrong selection.”
- But instead of going for another shiny toy on offense, the Raiders need to build their defense from the ground up. Someone in the front seven makes the most sense.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: It’s the defense, dummy!
- Much like the Raiders, it’s time for Tampa Bay to build its defensive core with young talent. This is a unit that allowed the second-most points in the NFL last season.
- Offensive-minded head coach Bruce Arians might want to flirt with adding another talented skill-position player for Jameis Winston.
- However, the Buccaneers have done that in the past. Arians is looking to rebuild Winston’s career. That’s fine. But he already has weapons.
- On defense, the Buccaneers have issues along the line, at linebacker and in the secondary. One of these areas must be addressed.
New York Giants: Close the book on Eli.
- The book of Eli has already flopped as bad as Denzel Washington’s supposed blockbuster hit. It’s not going to get any better with a sequel.
- Trading Odell Beckham Jr. to the Browns magnifies this even further. When OBJ was sidelined over the past two seasons, Manning was among the worst quarterbacks in the NFL.
- This leads us to our overriding point. Even if it takes the first-round pick acquired from Cleveland for Beckham, the Giants must move up for Dwayne Haskins.
- The other options within the first round (Daniel Jones and Drew Lock) are a clear tier behind Haskins. Get that franchise quarterback to team up with Saquon Barkley and don’t look back. Period.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Big Nick needs packages to deliver.
- Having committed up to $102 million over the next four seasons to Nick Foles, it’s now time that Jacksonville gives him something more to work with on offense.
- Soon-to-be second-year receiver DJ Chark might be a step in the right direction. If he can overcome injury and immaturity issues, Leonard Fournette is the answer at running back.
- Even then, another wide receiver needs to be in the cards for front office head Tom Coughlin and Co.
- It’s in this that we recommend that Jacksonville adds the big-bodied D.K. Metcalf from Ole Miss with pick No. 7. If the team can find a way to pick him up while trading down, that would be even better.
Detroit Lions: Buld the D in D-Town.
- Matt Patricia. Whether we agree with the hiring in hindsight doesn’t really matter. The former Patriots defensive coordinator specializes on that side of the ball.
- It’s now time for the Lions to add even more talent to this unit after signing stud defensive end Trey Flowers from New England in free agency.
- Even with Flowers aboard, pass rush could be a target. That’s where Montez Sweat (Mississippi State) and Brian Burns (Florida State) come to mind.
- Instead, we’re looking at former LSU standout Devin White as the obvious pick here. He’d be a stud inside linebacker — filling out Detroit’s front seven in the process.
Buffalo Bills: Go hog wild for Mr. Allen.
- Whether we agreed with the decision to draft Josh Allen last year is now irrelevant. Buffalo has made its bed. The team now needs to make sure said bed is as comfy as possibile.
- That means adding a youngster to the Bills’ aging crop of skill-position players. After all, the likes of LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore, John Brown and Cole Beasley won’t be in Buffalo when Allen hits his prime.
- It could come in the form of ultra-athletic former Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson. His ability to stretch the field for the strong-armed Allen would be huge.
- If not, Buffalo could look to D.K. Metcalf, A.J. Brown or another receiver in a potential trade-down scenario. Either way, it’s time to get Allen a young weapon. Period.
Denver Broncos: Steer this stallion in the right direction.
- One of the most overrated general managers in sports, John Elway has continually bumbled the quarterback position. The latest example of this is trading for a washed-up Joe Flacco.
- We’d like to see Denver go quarterback at No. 10. The team is also said to be interested in Missouri’s Drew Lock. He does fit Elway’s standard prototypical quarterback type.
- Short of trading up for Haskins (Kyler Murray isn’t happening), Lock would be the reasonable selection here. At the very least, he could learn behind Flacco for a year or two.