Before I get started with some potential fits for teams in the NFL Playoffs, a couple criteria: If I’m going to suggest a player that could fit on the Ravens, they’ll have to realistically be there at (likely) towards the end of the first round. Chase Young isn’t going to Baltimore as the franchise picks near the end of the round due to the NFL Playoffs. Let’s get started with the AFC.
The Titans have a couple places they could go. With Derrick Henry becoming a free agent after this season, picking a running back is a possible but unlikely move in my mind. I think they’ll go defense. If A.J. Epenesa from Iowa is there when the Titans go, he’s a great fit to take over for an ailing veteran in Cameron Wake. If Epenesa isn’t the guy, it could be Yetur Gross-Matos. That dude is a freak and gets off the ball with crazy speed. He sets the edge well and has consistently produced at Penn State throughout his career. Jabari Zuniga from Florida is a guy to consider there, and could be a value pick as the Titans have a later pick in the round due to the NFL Playoffs.
The defense up in Buffalo is legit. They allow the third-fewest yards per game at under 300 and around 16 points per game which puts them in second for points allowed.
So, the offensive side of the ball is where Buffalo is likely to look in the first round. They could go receiver, a position where they currently have solid options but not a lot of size, but I’m not sure that’s what they’ll do. The receiver group this year is exceptionally deep, which can work in one of two ways. Either they can go receiver because there’s bound to be a solid option in the 20s, or they can wait and go receiver because there’s still bound to be an okay option in the second round. I’m thinking they’ll wait on receiver and think offensive line.
Their best offensive lineman this year was probably Dion Dawkins at left tackle (who’s also only in his third year), so it won’t be there. So who will be available in the 20s?
If by some miracle one of Tristan Wirfs, Jedrick Wills Jr., or Andrew Thomas is available when the Bills are picking, that’s where I think they’ll go. And it’s possible that one of those is available. If they’re not, Tyler Biadasz is a guy that should be there. He’s a Center from Wisconsin that that can get to the second level quickly and knows where to help when needed. I like his fit in Buffalo, especially for a team picking late in the round due to the NFL Playoffs.
The Texans may also look at potentially drafting an offensive lineman this year. They took Tytus Howard last year at the tackle spot and he’s been alright this year. Everyone knows that Deshaun Watson is the torch-bearer of that franchise right now. And they need to protect him. The Texans traded for LT Laremy Tunsil this season, so they are without a first round draft pick. The Texans could also look at going cornerback in the second or third rounds. Bryce Hall from Virginia and Kristian Fulton from LSU are both great options, if available. I’d lean Fulton, but both are solid corners.
New England Patriots
I’ll come out and say it right now, if Tua is somehow available when the Patriots pick, don’t be surprised if they take him. I don’t think he will be, but if he is, don’t be surprised. That’s all I’m saying. I think offensive tackle is likely where New England will look early on in this draft, despite picking near the end of the first round due to the NFL Playoffs. Wirfs or Wills can work there. Picking a running back allows them to avoid spending big money on one, which is an idea they most definitely like. There’s talk of them going defensive tackle, but with their defense already playing so well this year, I think they should look to see if someone on the offensive side of the ball isn’t a better fit.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs will likely go cornerback in this draft. Bashaud Breeland hasn’t been great this year, and there’s almost no chance I’m picking on the offensive side of the ball if I’m the Chiefs. I’ve already spoken a bit about some potential corners in this draft, but just as a reminder: Kristian Fulton, Bryce Hall, and Damon Arnette from Ohio State are all solid options. Arnette is a guy I personally like a lot. He had a nice forced fumble against Michigan State this year.
The Ravens, as we know, have been historically good this year. Where could they possibly need an upgrade? The add that would make other AFC teams sick would be an elite pass-rusher. A Nick Bosa-like talent of course won’t be attainable at their position in the draft order, but they can still get a solid piece. I already spoke about Yetur Gross-Matos and A.J. Epenesa. Those guys work for in Baltimore. I think Jabari Zuniga could be really interesting in a Ravens uniform as well. If Baltimore is getting good, consistent pressure on the quarterback on third downs, look out.
With Xavier Rhodes turning in a pedestrian season at best, most have talked about the Vikings picking a corner this year. And it’s warranted. However, Pat Elflein has turned in a pretty pedestrian season at left guard as well, and I think that’s a point of concern for Minnesota as well. Biadasz could be their guy. Ben Bredeson is a guard from Michigan I like a lot. Great size and motor makes for an attractive option for the Vikings.
They should pick a running back. I love Marshawn, but that’s not really a great option. Now Travis Homer did play pretty well in their game against the Niners, but he may not be able to fulfill that role on a regular basis. I like Jonathan Taylor a lot, but D’Andre Swift is the best back in the class. If he’s available, they should take him to help Russell Wilson.
The Eagles may look at wide receiver this year. And there’s no better option in the middle of the first round than CeeDee Lamb. Some people aren’t as high on him as I am, but the dude is a freak. And he’s proven he can play with some of the best secondaries college football has to offer. He made some superstar plays against LSU this year despite the thumping the Sooners received, and he consistently destroys Big 12 corners. Whoever gets him this year will be incredibly happy they did.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints will most likely look at taking an Edge rusher with their first pick. We’ve already discussed the options. Epenesa, Gross-Matos, and Zuniga. Another name I’ll add is Terrell Lewis from Alabama. The dude is almost like a hybrid linebacker-rusher and has scary speed for his size. He could become an asset for the Saints defensive plans moving forward.
Green Bay Packers
Receiver. Receiver, receiver, receiver. I’ll stress what I said about the Eagles a couple lines up. CeeDee Lamb will be a steal for whoever takes him in this draft. The Packers could do it and be very happy they did. They could take an Alabama receiver like Henry Ruggs III or Smith too. But Lamb is the guy in my mind.
San Francisco 49ers
I like the niners taking a running back, but I think they could go with a guy in the secondary like Kristian Fulton as well. Sure, J.K. Dobbins would be a great add for them. But they’ve had some struggles in the secondary recently, and adding a safety like Ashtyn Davis from Cal or a corner like Fulton or Jeff Gladney from TCU could bolster their defense moving foward.