33. Arizona Cardinals – WR Marquise Brown (Oklahoma)
Christian Kirk looks like a nice find in the 2nd round of last year’s draft, but they need a long-term complement for him, with Larry Fitzgerald going into his age 36 season. Chad Williams, a 3rd round pick in 2017, has shown nothing in two seasons in the league, catching just 37% of his targets. Marquise Brown would have an immediate role in 3 wide receiver sets, even with Fitzgerald sticking around for at least one more year.
34. Indianapolis Colts – WR DK Metcalf (Mississippi)
The Colts’ offense was very impressive down the stretch, despite a clear #2 receiver. DK Metcalf gives them a higher upside option opposite TY Hilton. A big receiver, his skill set would complement the smaller, speedier Hilton well.
35. Oakland Raiders – CB Trayvon Mullen (Clemson)
This is the Raiders’ 4th pick in the top-35 and they address the defense again, hoping to jumpstart a defense that was one of the worst in the league last season. They need a long-term starter opposite Gareon Conley. Nick Nelson and Daryl Worley are options, but you need at least 3 or 4 dependable cornerbacks in today’s NFL and the Raiders are pretty thin at the position, with veterans Rashaan Melvin and Leon Hall hitting free agency.
36. Pittsburgh Steelers (TRADE) – CB DeAndre Baker (Georgia)
I wrote an article a couple weeks ago breaking down the most likely options for Antonio Brown in 2019 and settled on the 49ers as the most likely destination. What could the Steelers get in return? In that article I said I expected they’d get more than the 4th rounder the Raiders got for Randy Moss in 2007, but not much more. The 49ers could give their 3rd round pick (#67) but they’ve already given that pick to the Cardinals in their trade up to #1. Instead, they could give up their 2nd round pick (#36) for Brown and the Steelers’ 3rd round pick (#83).
The difference between #36 and #83 on the trade value chart is about the equivalent of the 53rd pick, so it’s a relatively good return for Brown, the 49ers could also send wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (owed about 13.7 million non-guaranteed over the next 3 seasons) back to the Steelers as a veteran replacement for Brown. That would prevent the Steelers from needing to use an early pick on a receiver, which would allow them to focus on other positions like cornerback.
The Steelers benched 2016 1st round pick Artie Burns and barely played him in the second half of the season, but that didn’t help their cornerback issues, as veteran journeyman Coty Sensabaugh and 2017 3rd round pick Cameron Sutton both struggled. Baker gives them an upgrade on free agent Coty Sensabaugh and insurance in case top cornerback Joe Haden leaves as a free agent next off-season.
37. New York Jets (TRADE) – RB Joshua Jacobs (Alabama)
The Jets get this pick for moving down with the Giants from 3 to 6. The Jets are expected to pursue a running back in free agency and they have the money to spend, but if they are unable to sign one they’ll have to find one in the draft. Joshua Jacobs will likely be the first running back off the board on in April and could be a first rounder if a team likes him enough. Assuming the Jets don’t sign someone like Le’Veon Bell in free agency, Jacobs would have the opportunity for a huge rookie workload for a team that is likely to get rid of veterans Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell.
38. Jacksonville Jaguars – TE Noah Fant (Iowa)
Noah Fant is one of three tight ends who could go in the first round and he makes sense for the Jaguars at the top of the second if he slips. The Jaguars had several different players make starts at tight end last season. While injuries were part of the problem, week 1 starter Austin Seferian-Jenkins was cut, leaving them without a clear #1 tight end for 2019. Fant could have a big role immediately.
39. Philadelphia Eagles (TRADE) – DT Jeffery Simmons (Mississippi State)
The Eagles pick for the first time at 39, after trading down with the Buccaneers from 25. The Eagles got a 3rd rounder in that trade down, replacing the one they lost in the Golden Tate trade, and they have an extra second rounder from a trade down last year, so they have 4 picks between 39 and the Buccaneers 3rd round pick at 70. Simmons is a very risky pick, with a history of domestic abuse and a torn ACL, but he’s a top-5 talent and the Eagles are in a position to take a risk like this. He’d fill a need at defensive tackle, though it’s unclear if he’ll be able to play at all in 2019. At a certain point, he’s worth the risk.
40. Buffalo Bills – OT David Andrews (Wisconsin)
The Bills need to put Josh Allen in a position to be successful. They need to add help at wide receiver as well, but there are better values at offensive tackle at this point in the draft. Andrews could play immediately on either the left or right side for the Bills. Dion Dawkins is a capable left tackle, but might be better off on the right side, where incumbent starter Jordan Mills is a free agent.
41. Denver Broncos – OT Andre Dillard (Washington State)
Teams that take a quarterback in the first round tend to use their next pick on an offensive player. The Broncos have a huge hole at right tackle and they could easily address that need in the second round, if they can’t in free agency. Incumbent right tackle Jared Veldheer is a free agent this off-season and could retire ahead of his age 32 season.
42. Cincinnati Bengals – OT Yodny Cajuste (West Virginia)
The mini run on offensive tackle continues as the Bengals also need to address the position. Their offensive line was better in 2018 than 2017, but largely by default. New left tackle Cordy Glenn was solid when on the field, but he’s missed 19 of 48 games over the past 3 seasons. Right tackle, meanwhile, remained a serious weakness for the Bengals in 2018. Cajuste can play either side.
43. Detroit Lions – WR Deebo Samuel (South Carolina)
With Golden Tate out of town, the Lions have very little depth behind Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay at wide receiver. Deebo Samuel can immediately be their 3rd receiver and could easily develop into a long-term starter, with both Jones and Golladay set to hit free agency in two off-seasons.
44. Green Bay Packers – S Nasir Adderley (Delaware)
The Packers weirdly traded top safety HaHa Clinton-Dix to the Redskins at the trade deadline and subsequently had terrible safety play for the remainder of the season. Even if they add a free agent, they need could still draft a safety because they need to add two starting caliber safeties this off-season. Nasir Adderley is one of the top small school prospects in the draft and could sneak into the late first round.
45. Atlanta Falcons – DT Gerald Willis (Miami)
The Falcons will likely franchise tag Grady Jarrett rather than allowing him to hit the open market, but even if they bring him back they still need help at defensive tackle next to him. I expect them to address this position relatively early. Willis is a high upside day 2 prospect who gives them insurance in case Jarrett can’t be re-signed beyond 2019.
46. Detroit Lions (TRADE) – DE Joe Jackson (Miami)
With Ezekiel Ansah likely to hit the open market after an injury plagued year on the franchise tag in 2018, the Lions badly need help at defensive end. A second round pick like Joe Jackson could immediately have a big role.
47. Carolina Panthers – C Elgton Jenkins (Mississippi State)
The Panthers could double up on offensive linemen in the early rounds. Taylor Moton is locked in at right tackle after a strong year, while Trai Turner and his big contract are locked in at right guard. However, center Ryan Kalil is retiring and the Panthers have question marks at left tackle and left guard as well. They addressed left tackle in the first round and now get a plug and play starter at center. Keeping Cam Newton healthy is paramount and the Colts showed last year that a good draft of offensive linemen can turn a line around in a hurry.
48. Miami Dolphins – RB David Montgomery (Iowa State)
Going into his age 36 season, Frank Gore is unlikely to be retained by a rebuilding Dolphins team. Instead, they could look to the draft for a back to pair with Kenyan Drake. David Montgomery is likely to come off the board in round 2.
49. Cleveland Browns – WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside (Stanford)
Breshad Perriman was a surprise standout for the Browns down the stretch, but he’s a free agent this off-season and they’re pretty thin at wide receiver without him. They could add someone on day 2 to push Rashard Higgins and Antonio Callaway for playing time.
50. Minnesota Vikings – OT Bobby Evans (Oklahoma)
The Vikings used a 2nd round pick on an offensive tackle last year, taking Brian O’Neill, and he showed promise down the stretch, but the Vikings still need offensive line help. There’s talk that left tackle Riley Reiff could be moved inside to guard, where the Vikings need help at both spots. If the Vikings do that, they’ll need to find a new left tackle.
51. Tennessee Titans – S Johnathan Abram (Mississippi State)
The Titans signed Johnathan Cyprien to a 4-year, 25 million dollar deal two off-seasons ago, but he struggled mightily in 2017 and missed all of 2018 with a torn ACL. Owed 5.5 million non-guaranteed in 2019, he’s an obvious cut candidate, but they don’t have a clear replacement. Veteran Kenny Vaccaro, signed to replace Cyprien after he got hurt, was only signed for one-year and may go elsewhere in free agency. They could look to address this position in the draft.
52. Pittsburgh Steelers – G Chris Lindstrom (Boston College)
Long-time left guard Ramon Foster is going into his age 33 season and his play has slipped in recent years. With Foster hitting free agency this off-season, the Steelers may opt to get younger at the position. BJ Finney, a swing interior lineman who has shown some promise in limited action, is one option, but the Steelers could also use a relatively high draft pick on the position. Lindstrom could be a plug and play starter as a rookie.
53. Philadelphia Eagles – RB Damien Harris (Alabama)
Damien Harris is one of two Alabama running backs that could go high in the draft. He’d fill a big need for the Eagles, who cycled through multiple lead backs last season after Jay Ajayi got hurt. With Ajayi heading to free agency and the Eagles strapped for cap space, they’ll probably let Ajayi go and find a cheaper replacement through the draft. Harris would have the opportunity for a big rookie year role, with his only competition for carries being Wendell Smallwood, Josh Adams, and a 36-year-old Darren Sproles.
54. Houston Texans – OT Tytus Howard (Alabama State)
The Texans didn’t really address the offensive line in last year’s draft because they didn’t have a pick in the first two rounds and it wasn’t a strong offensive line class. This year’s offensive line class is stronger and they have three picks in the first two rounds, so I would expect them to use at least one on an offensive lineman. Howard could immediately compete for a starting job at either tackle spot.
55. Houston Texans – CB Julian Love (Notre Dame)
Kareem Jackson and Shareece Wright are both free agents, while the injury prone Kevin Johnson could be let go ahead of his 5th year option if he can pass a physical. That would leave the Texans with Johnathan Joseph and Aaron Colvin as their top cornerbacks, but the former is going into his age 35 season, while the latter struggled mightily last season in the first year of a 4-year, 34 million dollar deal. They need to add cornerback help at some point.
56. New England Patriots – S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (Florida)
The Patriots love using early picks on defensive backs and, with 6 picks in the first 3 rounds, I would expect them to take at least one. Both McCourtys are going into their age 32 season, with Jason hitting free agency this off-season and Devin hitting free agency next off-season. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson is a good value at this point in the draft and could be a long-term starter for them at safety.
57. Philadelphia Eagles – WR Kelvin Harmon (North Carolina State)
The Eagles traded for Golden Tate because they didn’t have anything behind Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor, but Tate is unlikely to be retained as a free agent this off-season. They could turn to the draft for a 3rd receiver. With Agholor going into the final year of his rookie deal in 2019, a draft pick like Kelvin Harmon could easily be a starter by 2020.
58. Dallas Cowboys – TE Kaden Smith (Stanford)
Even with the addition of Amari Cooper, the Cowboys need to keep adding pass catchers. They still don’t have a clear standout at tight end and Geoff Swaim, the starter last season before getting hurt, is a free agent this off-season. Kaden Smith would give them a higher upside option.
59. Indianapolis Colts – MLB Devin Bush (Michigan)
The Colts struck gold with outside linebacker Darius Leonard in the second round last year. Now they add another second round linebacker to give him a long-term running mate. Bush could be an upgrade as a rookie over Anthony Walker, the incumbent starting middle linebacker.
60. Los Angeles Chargers – OLB Terrill Hanks (New Mexico State)
The Chargers’ 7 defensive back strategy worked against the Ravens, but it was largely out of necessity, with their top-3 linebackers Denzel Perryman, Jatavis Brown, and Kyzir White out with injuries. White will be back in 2019, but the other two are free agents. They’ll probably add a linebacker at some point in the draft and Hanks can be a three down player in a 4-3. He reminds some of Darius Leonard.
61. Kansas City Chiefs – C Garrett Bradbury (North Carolina State)
If the Chiefs are unable to re-sign center Mitch Morse in free agency, they could find his replacement in the draft. Garrett Bradbury is one of a handful of centers who could come off the board on day 2.
62. New Orleans Saints – DT Isaiah Buggs (Alabama)
This is the Saints’ first selection, with their first round pick going to the Packers to complete last year’s trade up for defensive end Marcus Davenport. Even with the addition of Davenport, the Saints are pretty thin on the defensive line right now, with a couple key players set to hit free agency. Buggs gives them depth and can play both inside and outside at 6-5 285.
63. Kansas City Chiefs – RB Darrell Henderson (Memphis)
Damien Williams impressed down the stretch as a replacement for Kareem Hunt, but the Chiefs will probably still use a draft pick on a running back to pair with Williams.
64. New England Patriots – WR Terry McLaurin (Ohio State)
The Patriots haven’t had much success developing young receivers, but they may have to try again, with Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett, and Cordarrelle Patterson all set to hit free agency. They still have Julian Edelman and they could get Danny Amendola and Josh Gordon back too, but they can’t count on either of those and Edelman is going into his age 33 season, so they need to add a young receiver at some point.