6’4” – 253 lbs. – 4.71
Has been starting for the Hokies since his true freshman season, a year in which he caught ten passes. Followed that up with a 28-341-3 line as a sophomore, then went 21-240-5 as a junior with eleven carries on the ground before declaring for the draft. Most impressive aspect of his game is how many different ways he was lined up in the offense; takes snaps as an H-Back, as an inline tight end, out of the backfield as more of a fullback, and sometimes in the slot or coming in motion as the ball is snapped.
Gives good effort as a blocker, and was predominantly used in that capacity in Virginia Tech’s offense. Has impressive short-area quickness to reach second-level defenders or come in motion and deliver crack blocks on backside pursuers. Works hard to sustain through the whistle and keeps his legs churning after contact. Flashes the ability to generate push when he’s able to engage an opponent’s shoulder. However, has some technical issues which limit his effectiveness. Has a tendency to play outside of his frame, bending at the waist and lowering his head into contact. Consequently, tends to fall off of too many blocks, and can be discarded by more active defenders. Overall functional strength and grip appear average at best. When working in pass protection, is active with his feet and aggressively seeks out opponents but can set up shop too far on the outside and open himself up to inside moves/counters.
Value in the passing game is more limited, with speed and explosiveness which appear average relative to other tight end prospects; did test somewhat better than anticipated, though. Doesn’t look like much of a threat to challenge defenses down the seams or create separation against man coverage. Instead, value will be predominantly as a safety blanket underneath zone coverage, chipping defenders before making delayed releases into the flats or running banana routes out of fullback/H-Back alignments. However, does appear to offer a reasonable catch radius and some competitiveness after the catch to exact a price from tacklers.
An aggressive, high-effort blocker who lined up all over the formation for the Hokies and who offers adequate physical and athletic tools, but who is a bit of a mess from a technical perspective in the run game, and who lacks dynamism as a receiving option. Looks like more of a late-round option as a complementary tight end who might be able to work his way onto the field eventually in jumbo sets.
6’1” – 217 lbs. – 4.49
Redshirted, then recorded 43 tackles, two breakups, and four interceptions. Posted 87 tackles, six breakups, and an interception the following year. Best season was his junior campaign (76 tackles, 10 breakups, three picks, two punt return touchdowns). Was limited to seven games by a hand injury this past year, posting 31 tackles, four breakups, and two interceptions and returning two punts for touchdowns.
Despite being a bigger defensive back, doesn’t come down and play in the box very often; instead, splits his time pretty evenly between being a high safety (usually with another opposite him) and shading over the slot to play off-man against receivers. Didn’t see press-man; generally had a cushion of ten yards or so. One of the fastest and most explosive athletes at the safety position in this year’s class; has the ability to cover a lot of ground and could eventually develop into a well-rounded starter capable of getting to the sidelines in order to provide help on targets from deep zones, or of sticking with receivers and tight ends down the seams. Already looks comfortable keeping up with wideouts running crossing routes over the middle of the field, although his actual coverage isn’t the tightest. Because of how far off the ball he was usually playing, wasn’t asked to backpedal too often, tending to already have the play in front of him, something which allowed him to use his impressive athleticism to plant and drive on spots.
Still developing his instincts overall; processes the game a little bit slowly, and movements can look out of control at times, with wasted motion resulting from a lack of anticipatory skills. However, has the type of burst and recovery speed to get himself back into the play, or at least did against the Division II competition he was playing against. When in-phase, possesses solid ball skills to make interceptions, and is dangerous with the ball in his hands, either after making interceptions or when returning punts, several of which he brought back for touchdowns at the college level. Doesn’t make quite as many tackles as anticipated for a player with his type of superior athleticism. As mentioned previously, appears to react to what’s happening more than to anticipate how plays will develop, and his overall awareness when working through congestion leaves a lot to be desired; ends up getting stuck in traffic too often. Angles in pursuit can be too aggressive at times.
A difficult evaluation in that he clearly possesses pro-caliber size and speed, but whose instincts and awareness are still raw. A true boom-or-bust candidate who has high-end talent but will need to take some major steps in order to reach his potential. Looks like he might come off the board on the second day.
- Cincinnati Bengals – QB Joe Burrow, Louisiana St.
- Washington Redskins – DE Chase Young, Ohio St.
- Detroit Lions – CB Jeff Okudah, Ohio St.
- New York Giants – OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
- Miami Dolphins – OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia
- Los Angeles Chargers – QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
- Carolina Panthers – LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson
- Arizona Cardinals – OT Jedrick Wills, Alabama
- Jacksonville Jaguars – DT Derrick Brown, Auburn
- Cleveland Browns – OT Ezra Cleveland, Boise St.
- New York Jets – OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville
- Oakland Raiders – WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
- San Francisco 49ers – WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DT Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
- Denver Broncos – WR Henry Ruggs, Alabama
- Atlanta Falcons – CB C.J. Henderson, Florida
- Dallas Cowboys – DE K’Lavon Chaisson, Louisiana St.
- Miami Dolphins – QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
- Las Vegas Raiders – CB A.J. Terrell, Clemson
- Jacksonville Jaguars – CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama
- Philadelphia Eagles – WR Justin Jefferson, Louisiana St.
- Minnesota Vikings – CB Kristian Fulton, Louisiana St.
- Indianapolis Colts – QB Jordan Love, Utah St.
- New Orleans Saints – LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma
- Minnesota Vikings – WR Denzel Mims, Baylor
- Miami Dolphins – DB Xavier McKinney, Alabama
- Miami Dolphins – OT Austin Jackson, Southern California
- Baltimore Ravens – LB Patrick Queen, Louisiana St.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – OT Josh Jones, Houston
- Green Bay Packers – WR Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona St.
- San Francisco 49ers – CB Jaylon Johnson, Utah
- Kansas City Chiefs – OC Cesar Ruiz, Michigan
Below are the prospects I project as the top 100 picks in the draft, listed alphabetically by position. Note that this list does not necessarily reflect my own view of the 100 best prospects in the class. For scouting reports, click here.
- QB Joe Burrow, Louisiana St.
- QB Jacob Eason, Washington*
- QB Jake Fromm, Georgia*
- QB Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma
- QB Jordan Love, Utah St.*
- QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
- QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama*
- RB Cam Akers, Florida St.*
- RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Louisiana St.*
- RB D’Andre Swift, Georgia*
- RB J.K. Dobbins, Ohio St.*
- RB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin*
- RB Zack Moss, Utah
- WR Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona St.
- WR Bryan Edwards, South Carolina
- WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma*
- WR Chase Claypool, Notre Dame
- WR Denzel Mims, Baylor
- WR Devin Duvernay, Texas
- WR Henry Ruggs III, Alabama*
- WR Jalen Reagor, Texas Christian*
- WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama*
- WR Justin Jefferson, Louisiana St.*
- WR K.J. Hamler, Penn St.**
- WR Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado*
- WR Michael Pittman Jr., Southern California
- WR Tee Higgins, Clemson*
- WR Tyler Johnson, Minnesota
- WR Van Jefferson, Florida
- TE Adam Trautman, Dayton
- TE Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri*
- TE Cole Kmet, Notre Dame*
- TE Harrison Bryant, Florida Atlantic
- OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia*
- OT Austin Jackson, Southern California*
- OT Ezra Cleveland, Boise St.*
- OT Isaiah Wilson, Georgia**
- OT Jedrick Wills, Alabama*
- OT Josh Jones, Houston
- OT Lucas Niang, Texas Christian
- OT Matt Peart, Connecticut
- OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville*
- OT Prince Tega Wanogho, Auburn
- OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa*
- OG Jonah Jackson, Ohio St.
- OG Robert Hunt, Louisiana
- OC Cesar Ruiz, Michigan*
- OC Lloyd Cushenberry III, Louisiana St.*
- OC Matt Hennessy, Temple*
- OC Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin*
- DT Davon Hamilton, Ohio St.
- DT Derrick Brown, Auburn
- DT Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
- DT Jordan Elliott, Missouri*
- DT Justin Madubuike, Texas A&M*
- DT Leki Fotu, Utah
- DT Marlon Davidson, Auburn
- DT Neville Gallimore, Oklahoma
- DT Raekwon Davis, Alabama
- DT Ross Blacklock, Texas Christian*
- DE A.J. Epenesa, Iowa*
- DE Chase Young, Ohio St.*
- DE Curtis Weaver, Boise St.*
- DE Darrell Taylor, Tennessee
- DE Jabari Zuniga, Florida
- DE Josh Uche, Michigan
- DE Julian Okwara, Notre Dame
- DE K’Lavon Chaisson, Louisiana St.**
- DE Terrell Lewis, Alabama
- DE Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn St.*
- LB Akeem Davis-Gaither, Appalachian St.
- LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson*
- LB Jordyn Brooks, Texas Tech
- LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma*
- LB Logan Wilson, Wyoming
- LB Malik Harrison, Ohio St.
- LB Patrick Queen, Louisiana St.*
- LB Troy Dye, Oregon
- LB Zack Baun, Wisconsin
- LB Willie Gay Jr., Mississippi St.*
- CB A.J. Terrell, Clemson*
- CB Amik Robertson, Louisiana Tech*
- CB Bryce Hall, Virginia*
- CB C.J. Henderson, Florida*
- CB Cameron Dantzler, Mississippi St.*
- CB Damon Arnette, Ohio St.
- CB Jaylon Johnson, Utah*
- CB Jeff Gladney, Texas Christian
- CB Jeff Okudah, Ohio St.*
- CB Kristian Fulton, Louisiana St.
- CB Noah Igbinoghene, Auburn*
- CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama
- DB Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota*
- DB Ashtyn Davis, California
- DB Geno Stone, Iowa*
- DB Grant Delpit, Louisiana St.*
- DB Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois*
- DB Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne
- DB Terrell Burgess, Utah
- DB Xavier McKinney, Alabama*
My latest mock draft. Click on a player’s name to read their scouting report.
- Cincinnati Bengals – QB Joe Burrow, Louisiana St.
- Washington Redskins – DE Chase Young, Ohio St.*
- Detroit Lions – CB Jeff Okudah, Ohio St.*
- New York Giants – LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson*
- Miami Dolphins – QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama*
- Los Angeles Chargers – QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
- Carolina Panthers – DL Derrick Brown, Auburn*
- Arizona Cardinals – OT Jedrick Wills Jr., Alabama*
- Jacksonville Jaguars – OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville*
- Cleveland Browns – OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia*
- New York Jets – OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa*
- Las Vegas Raiders – WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma*
- San Francisco 49ers (from Colts) – WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama*
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DL Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
- Denver Broncos – CB C.J. Henderson, Florida*
- Atlanta Falcons – DE K’Lavon Chaisson, Louisiana St.**
- Dallas Cowboys – CB Kristian Fulton, Louisiana St.
- Miami Dolphins (from Steelers) – DB Xavier McKinney, Alabama*
- Las Vegas Raiders (from Bears) – CB A.J. Terrell, Clemson*
- Jacksonville Jaguars (from Rams) – DB Grant Delpit, Louisiana St.*
- Philadelphia Eagles – WR Henry Ruggs III, Alabama*
- Minnesota Vikings (from Bills) – CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama
- New England Patriots – DE A.J. Epenesa, Iowa*
- New Orleans Saints – QB Jordan Love, Utah St.*
- Minnesota Vikings – WR Tee Higgins, Clemson*
- Miami Dolphins (from Texans) – DE Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn St.*
- Seattle Seahawks – OT Josh Jones, Houston
- Baltimore Ravens – WR Justin Jefferson, Louisiana St.*
- Tennessee Titans – DL Ross Blacklock, Texas Christian*
- Green Bay Packers – WR Denzel Mims, Baylor
- San Francisco 49ers – CB Jeff Gladney, Texas Christian
- Kansas City Chiefs – LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma*
The Cardinals have spent considerable assets to surround Kyler Murray with talent for this upcoming season, trading for DeAndre Hopkins and re-signing Kenyan Drake. They will need to replace Larry Fitzgerald eventually, and Christian Kirk hasn’t been quite what they were hoping for, but it’s possible the likes of Andy Isabella and KeeSean Johnson are projected as replacements for them. Maxx Williams is a great blocker at tight end, but just an adequate receiver. The main priority is going to be improving their offensive line. Because they can’t prioritize everything, they’re probably most likely to be confident in the ability of D.J. Humphries and Justin Pugh to rebound on the left side, and spent a 2018 third-rounder on Mason Cole to play center. The other positions look really weak, with J.R. Sweezy and Justin Murray penciled in as starters on the right side.
Arizona decided to sign Jordan Phillips to play the nose, so although he’s coming off a poor season he should be considered the starter there. Corey Peters is a rotational run-stuffer next to him, and they don’t have much else on the line. They used a third-round pick last year on Zach Allen but he struggled. Chandler Jones is one of the best edge rushers in the league, but they don’t have much else at linebacker; they signed De’Vondre Campbell to start on the inside, and their other two starters may be Devon Kennard outside and Jordan Hicks inside. Both of those guys are closer to journeymen tan cornerstones. To make matters more concerning, Patrick Peterson had a surprisingly poor season, and rookie second-round pick Byron Murphy was regularly torched. In the backfield, Budda Baker is a good run defender and Jalen Thompson is a pretty good coverage safety, but neither is particularly well-rounded.
Top Needs: OL, DL, OLB, ILB, CB, DB
Expiring Contracts: OG J.R. Sweezy, DL Corey Peters, CB Patrick Peterson, DB Budda Baker
LOS ANGELES RAMS:
After losing Todd Gurley, the Rams lack talent at running back, but they have some other pieces for Jared Goff. That would change a little bit if the team was able to unload Brandin Cooks’ contract after a down 2019 season, but that looks unlikely, so Cooks will probably be back with the Rams next year. Things look shaky on the offensive line. The ageless Andrew Whitworth continues to play well at left tackle but is entering uncharted territory age-wise, while Rob Havenstein and rookie third-rounder Bobby Evans struggled at right tackle opposite him. Four guards played over 350 snaps last year, none of them good, and Brian Allen really struggled at center too.
The interior of the defensive line got a big boost when Michael Brockers’ deal with Baltimore fell through and he returned to Los Angeles to join Aaron Donald, and although A’Shawn Robinson played poorly in 2019, the fact that they just signed him in free agency suggests he’s going to be their starting nose tackle next year. Only one of the four linebacker spots is settled – Leonard Floyd will be one of the team’s starters, either inside or off the edge. However, some of their off-ball candidates defended the run well over limited snaps and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and Samson Ebukam are serviceable on the other side, so they could opt to hope some of those players continue developing. The Rams were able to find some hidden gems at cornerback opposite Jalen Ramsey, and after drafting Taylor Rapp in the second round last year to play strong safety, they should be okay there too. However, the free safety position is still wide open after losing Eric Weddle to retirement.
Top Needs: RB, OL, LB, FS
Expiring Contracts: RB Malcolm Brown, WR Cooper Kupp, LB Samson Ebukam, CB Jalen Ramsey, CB Troy Hill
SAN FRANCISCO 49ers:
With the 49ers committing to Jimmy Garoppolo, it’s hard to imagine them making many changes at the skill positions on offense. If anything, they may want to look into a wide receiver to complement Deebo Samuel, as the likes of Kendrick Bourne and Dante Pettis seem more like third or fourth receivers. They shouldn’t need to make too many changes to the offensive line, either. They have at least three pieces in tackles Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey and left guard Laken Tomlinson, although center Weston Richburg got hurt last year and the other starting role will go to either Ben Garland or Tom Compton, neither of whom is an ideal starter.
Solomon Thomas hasn’t developed into the type of player the 49ers were hoping for, but they have three very good starters on the line in Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, and Dee Ford; what they’re missing is a replacement for DeForest Buckner on the inside. Their three starting linebackers – Fred Warner, Dre Greenlaw, and Kwon Alexander – are all good in coverage, but struggled against the run. Richard Sherman has reestablished himself as one of the league’s top cornerbacks, and they have a slot solution in K’Waun Williams, but neither Emmanuel Moseley or Akhello Witherspoon is an ideal starter on the other side. Jimmy Ward is a solid starter at free safety, but Jaquiski Tartt is a fringe starter at strong safety.
Top Needs: WR, RG, NT, LB, CB, SS
Expiring Contracts: TE George Kittle, DL Solomon Thomas, CB Ahkello Witherspoon, CB K’Waun Williams, CB Richard Sherman, DB Jaquiski Tartt
Seattle heads into the draft with the same type of situation they’ve had for what seems like forever: a franchise quarterback in Russell Wilson, solid weapons around him, and a flimsy offensive line. It’s doubtful they’d use a high pick on a running back or wide receiver, and they have some depth at tight end behind Greg Olsen. Only left tackle Duane Brown is a solid starter on the line; no one else is serviceable, the projected starters from left guard to right tackle being Ethan Pocic, B.J. Finney, D.J. Fluker, and Cedric Ogbuehi. Typically the Seahawks don’t invest first-rounders in linemen but they should really consider directing a substantial portion of their draft capital at protecting Russell Wilson.
Poona Ford and Jarran Reed weren’t great last year, but are pretty solid run defenders. The Seahawks invested heavily at defensive end but didn’t get what they were hoping for from 2019 first-rounder L.J. Collier and 2018 third-rounder Rasheem Green. If Jadeveon Clowney doesn’t re-sign with Seattle, they’ll need to start one of those guys opposite “Leo” Bruce Irvin. Bobby Wagner is a reliable middle linebacker, but K.J. Wright dropped off next to him last year, and Shaquem Griffin was just adequate as the Sam, while 2019 third-rounder Cody Barton didn’t show enough to inspire confidence in his ability to assume a starting role. A third corner is a major need, but with Shaquill Griffin and the recently-acquired Quinton Dunbar, their top two looks set. Quandre Diggs may be able to take over for Tedric Thompson at free safety, but they still need to complement him with someone else, perhaps 2019 second-rounder Marquise Blair, who looked good in limited snaps.
Top Needs: OL, DL, LB, CB
Expiring Contracts: RB Chris Carson, OG D.J. Fluker, OG Ethan Pocic, DT Poona Ford, LB K.J. Wright, CB Shaquill Griffin, DB Bradley McDougald, DB Tedric Thompson
Financially and otherwise, the Falcons have signaled their commitment to their skill position starters. Free-agent acquisition Todd Gurley and trade acquisition Hayden Hurst will take over as the team’s starting running back and tight end, respectively, joining Matt Ryan and receivers Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, although there isn’t a quality slot receiver in place. The Falcons really overdrafted Kaleb McGary to play right tackle last year, but given that he was a first-round pick, they should be set at four out of five offensive line positions, the exception being left guard, where James Carpenter is coming off of an injury-shortened 2019 campaign and is more of a journeyman to begin with.
Defensively, the line looks to be in pretty good shape, with Dante Fowler and Takkarist McKinley on the edges, one of the top interior linemen in the league in Grady Jarrett, and free-agent signing Allen Bailey, who is coming off of a down season but got a two-year deal. They need to add more pieces to linebacker next to Deion Jones, but often only use two linebackers, so they might just add one guy and call it a day. The secondary is in need of improvement. None of the players on roster at cornerback played well in 2019, although they might want to give Isaiah Oliver another shot on one side; the other starting candidates are Jordan Miller, Blidi Wreh-Wilson, and Kendall Sheffield. The safety position is concerning too – Keanu Neal was really struggling before landing on IR, and the team’s other two starters, Damontae Kazee and Ricardo Allen, both played poorly.
Top Needs: LG, DE, LB, CB, DB
Expiring Contracts: OC Alex Mack, DE Takkarist McKinley, DB Damontae Kazee, DB Keanu Neal
Having signed Teddy Bridgewater, the Panthers should be pretty confident in having surrounded him with quality weapons. Christian McCaffrey is one of the best backs in the league, and Robby Anderson joins D.J. Moore to form a solid receiver corps, if one somewhat bizarrely suited to Bridgewater’s highly risk-averse approach at quarterback. They could really use a tight end for him to throw to, as Ian Thomas hasn’t really proven himself as a solid receiver or blocker so far. Russell Okung and Taylor Moton will start at the tackle spots, but they don’t have a single high-end starter on the interior of their offensive line, so beefing up the guard and center positions should be a priority.
The defense is really thin. With Kawann Short coming back from an injury-shortened season, they have at least one solid defensive lineman, but the team’s odd front lacks a proven nose tackle, and another five-technique opposite Short. Brian Burns will be one of the team’s starting edge rushers, but no one at the position is proven and they could use someone to complement him. Having lost Luke Kuechly, only Shaq Thompson is a real piece at linebacker, although they have signed Tahir Whitehead to a one-year deal to play next to him. Donte Jackson has been a disappointment so far at cornerback, but they don’t have anyone else so he might need to start in 2020. They have a great free safety in Tre Boston, and a low-end starter in Juston Burris next to him.
Top Needs: TE, OG, OC, DL, LB, CB
New Orleans Saints:
Having successfully brought Drew Brees and Taysom Hill back, the Saints may choose not to bring in a quarterback, if they think Hill is a potential successor. The skill positions look good, with Alvin Kamara at running back, Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders at wide receiver, and Jared Cook at tight end. The offense line is solid as well, with the exception of 2015 first-rounder Andrus Peat, who really struggled in both the pass and run game last year as the team’s starting left guard.
The team’s depth chart looks fairly deep on the interior of the defensive line, but no one player is a real star; they’ve invested most heavily in Sheldon Rankins (first round, 2016) and Malcom Brown. Fortunately, they have two very high-end starters on the ends in Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport. Two of the linebackers look worth going into 2020 with, those being Demario Davis on the weakside and Kiko Alonso in the middle, although Alex Anzalone hasn’t been great at the Sam spot. The Saints are well-stocked in the defensive backfield, with Janoris Jenkins and Marshon Lattimore as the starting corners and Marcus Williams, Malcolm Jenkins, and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson as the top three safeties.
Top Needs: QB, LG, DT, SLB
Expiring Contracts: RB Alvin Kamara, TE Jared Cook, OT Ryan Ramczyk, OG Larry Warford, DT Sheldon Rankins, LB Alex Anzalone, LB Kiko Alonso, LB Demario Davis, CB Marshon Lattimore, DB Marcus Williams
Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
Clearly, Tom Brady is going to have some weapons at his disposal in 2020; with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin at receiver and O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate at tight end, it’s easy to imagine him bouncing back after injuries, retirements, and off-field issues destroyed his supporting cast in New England last year. However, the Bucs could still use competition for Ronald Jones in the backfield, and a slot receiver to give Brady the Troy Brown/Wes Welker/Julian Edelman type guy he’s relied heavily on over the course of his career. The offensive line has three pieces as well; what it’s missing is a right guard (Alex Cappa is the projected starter) and right tackle, where it looks like Joe Haeg may try to replace Demar Dotson.
The Buccaneers will continue living la Vita Vea in the middle of their odd fronts, with Ndamukong Suh returning to play end opposite William Gholston, who was serviceable last year. Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul form an explosive duo on the edge, and although Devin White struggled as a rookie, they should be set at inside linebacker with him and Lavonte David in place. The Bucs have used three second-round picks and one third-round pick at cornerback over the past two years, so they’ll probably let those guys compete and see who can start, with Carlton Davis being one obvious choice. Justin Evans ended up on IR last year, and they could use a strong safety to play with him.
Top Needs: RB, RG, RT, DL, DB
Expiring Contracts: WR Chris Godwin, TE O.J. Howard, LB Lavonte David, DB Justin Evans
Mitchell Trubisky regressed last year, so the Bears traded for Nick Foles to push him. David Montgomery will shoulder the workload on the ground, with Tarik Cohen rotating in for passing downs. The Bears have a number-one receiver in Allen Robinson, but behind him they’re thin. Anthony Miller is probably worth trying to develop further, but unless they’re expecting Riley Ridley to break out after a very limited 2019 season, they should probably try to upgrade at the other boundary spot, as Javon Wims and Cordarrelle Patterson are not starting material. Trey Burton played very poorly at tight end last year before landing on injured reserve, so Chicago also brought in JImmy Graham to compete with him; Graham struggled in 2019 as well. The offensive line is a disaster. Only left guard James Daniels was even serviceable last year, so although they brought in Germain Ifedi to compete for a starting role, they still have low-end starters at the other positions, from left tackle (Charles Leno) to center (Cody Whitehair) to right guard (ifedi) to right tackle (Bobby Massie).
Eddie Goldman is a solid nose tackle, but the team doesn’t have much else on the defensive line. Akiem Hicks played well as defensive tackle on the team’s three-man lines, but was limited to less than 200 snaps last year, while no other players in the mix have proven themselves starting-caliber. Things look good at linebacker, where Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn are the team’s primary and secondary rushers, and they have Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith on the inside; it’s worth mentioning that Smith really struggled last year, but they should be willing to give him a chance to rebound. They could really use help at cornerback, where Kyle Fuller played poorly; they signed Artie Burns to play opposite him, but Burns wasn’t good in 2019 either. Eddie Jackson is just serviceable as a safety, and the team will be hoping Deon Bush can start opposite him, although he’s played less than sixty snaps on defense last year.
Top Needs: WR, OL, DL, CB, DB
Expiring Contracts: QB Mitchell Trubisky, RB Tarik Cohen, WR Allen Robinson, WR Cordarrelle Patterson
The Lions are pretty loaded at the skill positions on offense – they have a franchise quarterback in Matthew Stafford, a promising if injury-prone running back in Kerryon Johnson, three solid receivers in Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr., and Danny Amendola, and a 2019 first-round pick in T.J. Hockenson at tight end. They have two good tackles, one of them just signed for $50 million, and a solid center as well. In other words, it would be surprising for them to use a high pick on offense unless they select a guard to replace one of their two low-end starters, unless they see Halapoulivaati Vaitai as a guard, in which case they could use a right tackle.
Defensively, things look messier. They signed a nose tackle in Danny Shelton, and have a primary pass-rusher in Trey Flowers, but the rest of their options struggled, so they should try to improve on the likes of Romeo Okwara at defensive end, or Nick Williams/John Atkins at defensive tackle. They signed Jamie Collins and Reggie Ragland to join Jahlani Tavai at linebacker, so they may be comfortable with those, even if Jarrad Davis and Christian Jones were terrible in starting roles last year. They signed Desmond Trufant to replace Darius Slay at cornerback, but need Justin Coleman to rebound after a poor 2019. It’s possible they could try using Amani Oruwariye opposite Trufant, with Coleman playing in the slot. Duron Harmon and Tracy Walker form a solid safety duo, with Jayron Kearse looking like a potential replacement for Tavon Wilson as the third safety.
Top Needs: OG, DT, DE, CB
Expiring Contracts: WR Kenny Golladay, WR Marvin Jones, OT Taylor Decker, DE Romeo Okwara, LB Jarrad Davis
GREEN BAY PACKERS:
Offensively, the Packers have few needs; most pressing is for a wide receiver to complement Davante Adams, although they did sign Devin Funchess to a cheap one-year deal, and he’s probably better than the other players they have on roster (to be fair, Allen Lazard flashed as well.) Marcedes Lewis somehow resurrected his career at tight end, and they used a third-round pick on Jace Sternberger last year to groom behind him, although he struggled. The left side of their line – David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins, and Corey Linsley – worked well, and they signed Ricky Wagner to play right tackle. The main liability is thus Billy Turner, the team’s right guard.
Only one of the three defensive line positions can be said to be filled – that’s nose tackle, where they play Kenny Clark. Other than that, Dean Lowry and Tyler Lancaster are more like depth options than starting-caliber defensive linemen. Green Bay invested heavily on the edge last year, with Za’Darius Smith working out well. Preston Smith was a little bit uneven, and Rashan Gary struggled over limited snaps, but that position grouping looks set to continue for at least one more year. They just signed Christian Kirksey to play next to Oren Burks – neither played too well, but presumably that’s what they want for 2020. At cornerback, they have a top option in Jaire Alexander, and are probably hoping either Kevin King or Josh Jackson can hold down the other spot. They will probably also stay put at safety, where Adrian Amons and Darnell Savage were big investments last year.
Top Needs: WR, OG, DL, CB
Expiring Contracts: RB Aaron Jones, RB Jamaal Williams, OT David Bakhtiari, OC Corey Linsley, DT Kenny Clark, CB Kevin King
The Vikings should be pretty confident about their offensive skill positions. Kirk Cousins is their franchise quarterback, and they have a strong running back in Dalvin Cook and a top receiver in Adam Thielen. They lost Stefon Diggs and only replaced him with Tajae Sharpe, a pretty solid receiver but nothing near Diggs as a playmaker. They’re invested in Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith at tight end, and that looks like a pretty solid duo. The line is another story, however; while tackles Riley Reiff and Brian O’Neill are both capable, the interior really struggled to protect Cousins last year. The weakest link is right guard Dru Samia; 2019 first-rounder Garrett Bradbury will get another starting opportunity, but Pat Elflein could be replaced at left guard.
The defensive line looks pretty good, with a stout nose tackle in Michael Pierce and a primary pass-rusher in Danielle Hunter. They haven’t re-signed Everson Griffen, but that may be because they saw enough from Ifeadi Odenigbo’s 400+ snaps that they are confident in his ability to replace Griffen. However, they really need a defensive tackle to play net to Pierce; that looks like a major need. Eric Kendricks played well at middle linebacker, but Anthony Barr fell off last year and they don’t have a weakside linebacker, either. Despite having traditionally invested a lot in cornerback, with Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, and Mackensie Alexander leaving, they really only have Mike Hughes, and he hasn’t proven himself a reliable starter yet. Fortunately, Minnesota has one of the best safety duos in the league, so they can ignore that position.
Top Needs: WR, OG, DT, DE, OLB, CB
Expiring Contracts: RB Dalvin Cook, OG Pat Elflein
The Cowboys have a lot of young talent at the skill positions, with franchise cornerstones at quarterback (Dak Prescott), running back (Ezekiel Elliott) and wide receiver (Amani Cooper). Michael Gallup played well at receiver last year too, and the team spent a third-round pick on him in 2018. although they don’t have a lot of depth at the position. 2018 fourth-rounder Dalton Schultz is a good blocker at the tight end position, but last year’s starter, Blake Jarwin, is nothing special, so a great receiver or more well-rounded player at the position would be nice. The Cowboys have at least three pieces along the offensive line (Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and La’el Collins), although 2018 second-rounder Connor Wiliams struggled at left guard last year, while at center they just lost Travis Frederick to retirement and have only journeyman Joe Looney and 2019 third-rounder Connor McGovern as candidates to man the pivot; McGovern didn’t play last year after landing on injured reserve.
The Cowboys signed both of Carolina’s defensive tackles last year, those being Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe; with 2019 second-rounder Trysten Hill, they should be okay there, even though Tyrone Crawford fell off last year. They have one of the top defensive ends in the league in Demarcus Lawrence, but not much opposite him; Dorance Armstrong didn’t play well, and Joe Jackson played under a hundred snaps, while Michael Bennett hasn’t re-signed yet. None of Dallas’ highly-regarded linebackers graded out very highly last year, those being Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith, and Leighton Vander-Esch, although it’s conceivable they could be confident in those players rebounding. Among the team’s clearest needs is for a top-end cornerback; Chidobe Awuzie is a pretty good starter on one side and Jourdan Lewis is decent in the slot, but Anthony Brown struggled in limited snaps and shouldn’t be considered a suitable replacement for Byron Jones as a boundary starter. They should be okay at safety after signing Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix to pair with Xavier Woods.
Top Needs: TE, OC, DE, LB, CB
Expiring Contracts: QB Dak Prescott, CB Chidobe Awuzie, CB Jourdan Lewis, DB Xavier Woods
NEW YORK GIANTS:
Daniel Jones decent rookie season, and the team has surrounded him with some pretty good pieces. Saquon Barkley is the running back of the future, and while the Giants lack a true number-one receiver, they have three solid targets in Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, and Darius Slayton. Evan Engram ended last year on injured reserve but they should be comfortable with him at tight end if healthy. Figuring out how to improve the offensive line will be a priority, as Jones was hit and fumbled too often last year. Nate Solder was a disappointment on the blindside last year, although they have a lot invested in him; ditto for left guard Will Hernandez, a 2018 second-round pick. There’s essentially nothing at center, and right tackle Cameron Fleming is a journeyman/reserve type; only right guard Kevin Zeitler is a great option. They’re probably most likely to look at a center or right tackle given what they have spent acquiring the other members of the line.
The Giants have an odd defensive front with a lot of talent on the defensive line – Leonard Williams was acquired last year and joins Dexter Lawrence, Dalvin Tomlinson, and B.J. Hill as stout run-stuffers. They didn’t get what they wanted from Kyler Fackrell or rookie Oshane Ximines on the edge last year, so they will probably be looking for a primary pass-rusher to play opposite Lorenzo Carter, who graded out better against the run and in coverage. David Mayo is a stout run-stuffer at inside linebacker, but neither Ryan Connelly nor Blake Martinez played at a starting-caliber level. The Giants invested heavily in James Bradberry and DeAndre Baker at cornerback, and although both were shredded last year, that’s likely to be their starting set in 2020 as well. Julian Love converted from cornerback and did a good job at safety last year, and Jabrill Peppers was a pretty good coverage safety too.
Top Needs: WR, OT, OC, DE/OLB, ILB, CB
Expiring Contracts: TE Evan Engram, DT Dalvin Tomlinson, DB Jabrill Peppers
Carson Wentz is the team’s quarterback of the future, but they don’t have a ton around him. Miles Sanders leaves something to be desired as a primary running back, while the team’s receivers didn’t play as expected last year; Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson both got hurt, and second-round rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside really struggled to play through injury, although Greg Ward was a pleasant surprise. They have two very capable tight ends, so that’s their strongest position. The offensive line played well, and it’s unlikely they’re planning to make any changes along it, aside from possibly letting Jason Peters walk in free agency so 2019 first-round pick Andre Dillard can take over on the blindside. Left guard Isaac Seumalo isn’t great, but it’s not imperative to replace him, either.
The Eagles usually have a deep defensive line rotation, and their top two tackles are very good as well – Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave. Vinny Curry hasn’t been re-signed yet, so while they have a good pass-rusher in Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett is the likely starter opposite him and didn’t play very well last year. It’s possible they could want to see what they have in Josh Sweat or Shareef MIller before drafting another player, or maybe they’d rather invest big resources there. Things are uglier at linebacker, where T.J. Edwards and Duke Riley flashed in very limited snaps but need to step into starting roles next to Nathan Gerry, who didn’t play well. The team acquired Darius Slay to start at one of their cornerback positions, but their other investments there are not working out so far – the likes of Avonte Maddox, Rasul Douglas, Jalen Mills, and Sidney Jones were all roasted in 2019. It’s possible they may try Mills at safety, but a better complement for serviceable free safety Rodney McLeod is needed.
Top Needs: WR, DE, LB, CB, DB
Expiring Contracts: WR Alshon Jeffery, DE Derek Barnett, LB Duke Riley, LB Nate Gerry, CB Rasul Douglas, CB Sidney Jones
The Redskins acquired Kyle Allen to push Dwayne Haskins this year, and it’s possible Alex Smith may recover enough to get into the mix at quarterback as well. Derrius Guice ended up on injured reserve last year but between him, Adrian Peterson, and Bryce Love, they may feel comfortable that someone will run the ball well for them in 2020. Terry McLaurin has been a big hit at receiver, and Kelvin Harmon flashed opposite him, although they may be interested in adding competition for the starting role beyond Cody Latimer, who’s Harmon’s primary competition so far. Tight end looks like a big need unless they think recent acquisition Richard Rodgers is a true number-one option. Cornelius Lucas played well last year and is penciled in at left tackle, while center Chase Roullier and right guard Brandon Scherff are other likely starters. They could potentially try to improve on either left guard Wes Schweitzer or right tackle Morgan Moses, though; their internal competition is currently being provided by Wes Martin/Ross Pierschbacher and Geron Christian, respectively.
The defensive line is somewhat unproven but they have a quality nose tackle in Da’Ron Payne; Matt Ioannidis graded out well as a pass-rusher, but 2017 first-runder Jonathan Allen struggled opposite him, as did backup nose Tim Settle. Ryan Kerrigan is a stalwart rusher off the edge, although they invested heavily in Montez Sweat opposite him and didn’t get much. Ryan Anderson is also in the mix there. Shaun Dion Hamilton is a coverage specialist at inside linebacker, and they also brought in the aging Thomas Davis Jr., who will join Jon Bostic and Cole Holcomb in competition there; it seems that Reuben Foster is on roster as well, but his off-field issues and struggles in 2018 may not make him a serious competitor for a starting role just yet. All three of the team’s top cornerbacks – Fabian Moreau, Jimmy Moreland, and the recently-signed Ronald Darby – played very poorly last year. It looks like the team may have been using Kendall Fuller at safety last year; he played well opposite Landon Collins in that capacity, but if they wanted they could see if someone like Sean Davis or Troy Apke could man the free safety spot. It’s worth mentioning, though, that Davis graded out very poorly in 2019.
Top Needs: WR, OL, DL, LB, CB, FS
Expiring Contracts: RB Adrian Peterson, TE Jeremy Sprinkle, OT Trent Williams, OC Chase Roullier, DE Jonathan Allen, LB Ryan Anderson, LB Ryan Kerrigan, LB Reuben Foster, CB Fabian Moreau, CB Ronald Darby