With the NFL Draft over, I will now give you one pick from each team that I liked the most and why. The picks will be all over each round, so stay with me.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Carlton Davis – CB – Auburn
The Buccaneers added some good secondary prospects in the draft, but my favorite pick out of the selections, I must roll with Carlton Davis on this.
He has the size, length, and good speed to be a number one corner and he proved it at the collegiate level, but now he must to do it all over again in the NFL.
He plays at best when pressing the receiver, but he can play off coverage too.
The Bucs added Davis in the second round (63rd overall).
Davis career stats: 136 total tackles, 4 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles, 28 pass deflections.
New Orleans Saints – Marcus Davenport – DE – UTSA
People will question what they gave up to land Davenport, but I like it. This kid could end up being a stud and Cam Jordan gets a potential Pro-Bowler opposition of him on the line.
He has a big boom potential that is worth the gamble.
Davenport was picked in the first round as the 14th overall pick.
Davenport’s career stats: 185 total tackles, 37.5 tackles for a loss, 21.5 sacks.
Atlanta Falcons – Deadrin Senat – DT – USF
The Falcons add a nice piece to their interior part of their defense by drafting Senat in the third round (90th overall).
Senat is a short and stout interior defender that is active in every play. I would be nervous playing against Grady Jarrett and Senat.
Love my USF Bulls getting drafted, but not to my rivals to be honest. Will be hard to root for them on game day.
Senat’s career stats: 178 total tackles, 23.5 tackles for a loss, 7 sacks.
Carolina Panthers – D.J. Moore – WR – Maryland
My favorite receiver goes to my rival. Panthers wanted to get faster on offense and they get Cam Newton help.
Also, they finally replace Steve Smith, which they have not down since he left many years ago.
Moore needs more time to develop over Ridley, but I think Moore has a chance to have a greater impact.
Moore was the 24th overall prospect selected in the first round.
Moore’s career stats: 146 catches for 2,027 yards and 17 scores.
Chicago Bears – Anthony Miller – WR – Memphis
One of the sleepers at the wide receiver position in the draft and in the second round (51st overall) the Bears added him to the fold to pair next to Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel. Mitch Trubisky now has some toys to play with in the Windy City.
Miller’s career stats: 238 catches for 3,590 yards and 37 scores.
Minnesota Vikings – Jalyn Holmes – DE – Ohio State
With Brian Robison near the end of his career, adding Holmes to the roster is a steal and especially in the fourth round (102nd overall). Great value pick.
Holmes will provide some impact with rotating in the defensive line rotation. I think he could slide inside on passing downs to get more playing time.
This fellow Buckeye product has intriguing size and strength potential that could make him a better pro than college player.
Will be a solid NFL player.
Holmes career stats: 85 total tackles, 15 tackles for a loss, 5 sacks.
Detroit Lions – Tracy Walker – S – Louisiana-Lafayette
Walker will be Glover Quin’s replacement. Walker might get some looks at the corner position in a bump-and-run scheme, but I expect him to be the Lions future free safety.
Walker is long and slender with good straight-line speed that will help him range over the top of the defense.
He is versatile, which is a bonus in picking up Walker in the third round (82nd overall).
Walker’s career stats: 269 total tackles, 11 tackles for a loss, 8 interceptions, 19 pass deflections.
Green Bay Packers – Jaire Alexander – CB – Louisville
I love this pick. Alexander is listed as my best corner in the draft. Great coverage corner that has swag attached to him and he does not shy away from tackling.
The Packers are developing a young and talented corner group.
Alexander was the 18th overall player selected in the first round.
Alexander’s career stats: 77 total tackles, 7 interceptions, 15 pass deflections.
Dallas Cowboys – Dorance Armstrong – EDGE – Kansas
I like the Dorance Armstrong pick. He was slated to be a day two pick throughout the pre-season college football season and the first couple of weeks, but the lack of sack production hurt his draft stock and especially a poor 40-yard dash result at the combine.
Armstrong has the potential to become a great edge rusher and I think Rod Marinelli can help him develop into that great player.
Armstrong is an intriguing prospect with the build and fluid athleticism of a shooting guard.
He uses hustle, long arms, speed, and ability to bend around the edge to put pressure on the opposition.
The Cowboys used a fourth-round pick (116th overall) on this fellow Houston native.
Armstrong’s career stats: 142 total tackles, 34.5 tackles for a loss, 15.5 sacks.
Washington Redskins – Troy Apke – S – Penn State
The Redskins used the 109th overall pick (fourth round) in the draft to take the blazing Apke.
Apke ran a 4.34 40-yard dash at the combine that caught many eyes and especially mine.
Apke could be a player to watch in the future for the Redskins and I think right now he can be one of their better special teams’ contributors.
Apke career stats: 54 total tackles, 1 interception, 4 pass deflections.
New York Giants – Will Hernandez – OG – UTEP
The Giants are committed to Eli Manning for the next two years and they are giving him offensive firepower via the draft and free agency to bolster the offensive line and weapons (receivers and running backs) to help give him a chance to make one final run.
Hernandez is a monstrous man that will be Barkley’s favorite lineman to run behind as the UTEP product is going to maul defenders to create holes for the running backs.
He did show against some of the better draft prospects at the Senior Bowl game and practices that he can pass protect too.
Day one starter. Giants took him in the second round (34th overall pick).
Hernandez career stats: 37 games started.
Philadelphia Eagles – Avonte Maddox – CB – Pittsburgh
Maddox is a small corner that will give it his all and does not shy away from bigger receivers. Physical tackler. This kid embraces the challenge and fits the city of Philadelphia.
Will be a better nickel corner at the NFL level.
Has a knack for being around the rock.
Philly continues to add talent to their defense.
Maddox career stats: 183 total tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss, 7 sacks, 8 interceptions, 34 pass deflections.
The Pitt product was picked up in the fourth round (125th overall).
Arizona Cardinals – Christian Kirk – WR – Texas A&M
Not only did the Cardinals land their quarterback of the future, but they get him a weapon to grow with in Kirk.
Kirk was drafted in the second round (47th overall).
He is a well-built player that lacks top speed, but he is an excellent route runner that can cross you up with his footwork. Will be a nice slot receiver that could end up being a good number two receiver depending on the offensive scheme.
I do like that he adds versatility to the team by lining up as a returner.
Kirk’s career stats: 234 receptions for 2,856 yards and 26 scores.
Los Angeles Rams – Micah Kiser – ILB – Virginia
After trading Ogletree to the Giants, the Rams had a hole open in the middle of their defense.
Expect Kiser to compete with Hager for the starting linebacker job next to Mark Barron.
He used his instincts, hustle, and powerful tackling to become one of the most productive linebackers (both against the run and as a pass rusher) in college football.
Rams got a steal in the fifth round (147th overall).
Kiser career stats: 408 total tackles, 33.5 tackles for a loss, 19 sacks.
Seattle Seahawks – Will Dissly – TE – Washington
The Seahawks drafted one of the better running backs in the draft and now they took the best run blocking tight end in the draft.
The Seahawks want to reestablish themselves as a run first team, which will take stress off Russell Wilson.
Has the potential and talent to be a better receiver in the NFL.
Seahawks drafted Dissly in the fourth round (120th overall).
Dissly career stats: 25 receptions for 336 yards and 3 scores.
San Francisco 49ers – Tarvarius Moore – S – Southern Miss
John Lynch landed one of the sleepers in the draft and one that can make an impact quickly.
Moore possesses rare speed, length and explosiveness at the safety position.
Moore is a premium athlete with smooth hips and fluid feet with the ability to handle man cover matchups that others could struggle with.
Moore is the future safety in the Niners organization. Lynch does not want to rush him in, but he will be pushing Jimmie Ward and in the near time for his starting job.
Lynch took the Southern Miss target in the third round (95th overall).
Moore career stats: 104 total tackles, 5 interceptions, 12 pass deflections.
Tennessee Titans – Harold Landry – EDGE – Boston College
Landry did not go into the first round, but he was off the board early in the second round (41st overall).
Titans added a nice piece to the puzzle on the defensive side. The future is bright on the edge for the Titans with Kevin Dodd and Harold Landry in town.
I love Landry’s potential on becoming an elite pass rusher. He possesses nice burst, stride length and ability to dip and rip around the edge.
Landry’s career stats: 158 total tackles, 48 tackles for a loss, 25 sacks, 10 forced fumbles.
Jacksonville Jaguars – D.J. Chark – WR – LSU
The Jaguars get a steal with selecting Chark in the second round (61st overall). Chark was gaining interest as a late first rounder.
Chark gives the Jags offense that home run threat that it was lacking. Chark also possesses great speed and the potential of being a future number one receiver.
Solid pick by the Jags.
Chark’s career stats: 66 receptions, 1,351 receiving yards, 6 touchdowns.
Indianapolis Colts – Nyheim Hines – RB – North Carolina State
Hines was picked up in the fourth round (104th overall).
Marlon Mack and Hines will make a nice duo in the backfield.
The North Carolina State running back was an all-purpose back in college that runs hard, catches the football, and returns kicks.
He is like a poor man’s Alvin Kamara, but on the level below.
Hines career stats: 1,400 rushing yards, 13 touchdowns, 5.4 yards per carry.
Houston Texans – Jordan Akins – TE – UCF
The Texans needed a tight end and got one with Akins.
With Fiedorowicz retiring, the tight end position was an area of need on the offense and especially with the other tight ends on the roster not grasping the opportunity last year, the team had to address the position.
The UCF product Akins flashes with his speed and ability to challenge man coverage down the field. Akins saw nearly 44 percent of his catches go for 20-plus yards this past year. Also, he can take a short pass into a key first down.
Watson will love this weapon.
Akins was the 98th overall pick in the draft, which makes him a third-round pick.
Akins career stats: 81 receptions, 1,149 receiving yards, 8 scores.
Cincinnati Bengals – Malik Jefferson – OLB – Texas
With the 78th overall pick in the NFL Draft (third round), the Bengals added a much-needed piece to their linebacker corps and probably one of the better prospects on the board at the time.
Jefferson can play all three linebacker spots and brings a good instincts, speed, and tackling ability to the team.
His talent and traits will excel as a weakside linebacker.
Might be talked as one of the better picks down the road in a few years.
Jefferson’s career stats: 231 total tackles, 26 tackles for a loss, 13 sacks.
Baltimore Ravens – Lamar Jackson – QB – Louisville
This is a pick for the future. Lamar will replace Flacco in two to three years. Giving him time to learn is key. The team changes everything for Lamar to be successful in the league when he gets his name officially called as the team’s starting signal-caller. I think Lamar Jackson will be one of the quarterbacks that actually changes the position.
Jackson was pick 32nd overall in the first round.
LJ’S Career stats: 2016 Heisman Trophy winner, 9,043 passing yards and 69 touchdowns, 4,132 rushing yards and 50 touchdowns.
Pittsburgh Steelers – Jaylen Samuels – RB – North Carolina State
Mr. Versatility in college, as he lined up as a fullback, running back, and I believe tight end too. H-back will be his position in the NFL. Adding Samuels behind Bell and Connor gives and considers the Steelers to have one of the most versatile running back groups in the league.
Samuels is a weapon and a good one for Mike Tomlin’s offense. He also blocks well.
The Steelers will now look to disguise their attacks with more diversified personnel groupings that will include Samuels. This means when Samuels is on the field, you do not know what his assignment will be other than the Steelers.
Samuels best fit may be with a zone-scheme team as a RB/FB with the ability to play slot receiver and become a core special teamer. The Steelers fit that style that Samuels will need at the NFL level.
Lastly, North Carolina State used him in the kick return area last year and he recorded 9 returns for 213 yards.
The North Carolina State product was picked up in the fifth round (165th overall).
Samuels career stats: 201 receptions for 1,851 yards and 19 scores. 182 carries for 1,107 yards and 28 scores.
Cleveland Browns – Chad Thomas – DE – Miami (FL)
Thomas is one of those kids that gets the saying “he will have a better professional career than collegiate career from a production level.” I do believe so as well. The Shrine Game had a weak defensive end group this past January, but Thomas stood out.
Thomas is a good run stopper on the edge, but if the Browns can excel his development in the pass rushing department, he could be Myles Garrett partner in crime (opposite side of the defensive line) in the future.
He can play in an even or odd front due to his physical style of play and athletic traits.
Browns took Thomas in the third round (67th overall).
Thomas’ career stats: 103 total tackles, 26 tackles for a loss, 10 sacks.
Miami Dolphins – Kalen Ballage – RB – Arizona State
I really like Kalen Ballage. The Dolphins have their running back of the future now after taking him in the fourth round (131st overall). Ballage and Drake will be a nice duo for many years to come, plus adding veteran Frank Gore will help teach these running backs.
Ballage has a nice blend of speed and power. He is an athletic kid that will be a player to watch this year (track his progression). He can make plays as a kick returner too.
I would try him at the wildcat formation, as he can also throw the football. He has completed three passes out of four attempts for 30 yards and one score.
Also, I would like to see this Sun Devil be the Dolphins goal line back.
The Dolphins will need to find a way to put the ball in his arms.
Ballage career stats: 1,984 rushing yards, 27 rushing touchdowns, 82 receptions, 684 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns, 48 kick returns for 1,059 yards and one 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
New England Patriots – Duke Dawson – CB – Florida
Dawson might be a stud nickel corner at the next level and average on the outside, but he is one of the most physical corners in the draft and especially for a small corner. He knows the nickel position like no other, as he was playing that position throughout most of his collegiate career. Solid tackler with great hand-eye coordination when the ball is in the air.
Dawson was selected in the second round (56th overall).
Dawson’s career stats: 81 total tackles, 17 pass deflections, 6 interceptions
Buffalo Bills – Tremaine Edmunds – ILB – Virginia Tech
Day one starter on a team needing an alpha dog at the linebacker position. This kid does it all. Good speed sideline-to-sideline to chase down ball carriers (tackling machine) and is a good at blitzing from up the middle, plus he will give Head Coach Sean McDermott that Luke Kuechly that he is missing from his Carolina days.
Edmunds was drafted 16th overall in the first round.
Edmunds carrier Stats: 213 total tackles, 33 tackles for a loss, 10 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 1 interception
New York Jets – Nathan Shepherd – DT – Fort Hays State
I love how the Jets landed this freakish and hidden talent in the third round (72nd overall). Shepherd is a division two prospect that has a chance to make an impact this year by competing with Mike Pennel and Xavier Cooper for the starting job. Leonard Williams and Shepherd on the same defensive line could make some noise for years to come.
Shepherd 2017 Stats: MIAA Defensive Player of the Year. He compiled just 38 stops in 2017, but 12.5 of those went for losses, including four sacks.
Los Angeles Chargers – Justin Jackson – RB – Northwestern
Chargers landed Melvin Gordon’s backup here. Double J is a nice change of pace back that fits what the Chargers do. Jackson can catch the football out of the backfield like Gordon and sneak through the holes and cracks when carrying the rock through the line. Fun watching him bounce to the outside. A steal in the seventh round (251).
Note: In 2017, Jackson put up stellar numbers (1,311 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns) behind a bad offensive line.
Jackson’s career stats: 5,440 rushing yards, 41 rushing touchdowns, 122 receptions, 858 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown
Kansas City Chiefs – Armani Watts – S – Texas A&M
Watts will be one of the steals of the draft. The Chiefs landed the Aggie in fourth round (124th overall). He is a smooth and athletic dude that brings good instincts and ball skills. Watt will most likely end up starting next to Eric Berry this year.
Note: Watts was a four-year starter at Texas A&M.
Watts career stats: 324 tackles, 24 tackles for a loss, 10 interceptions.
Oakland Raiders – Maurice Hurst – DT – Michigan
Jon Gruden lands himself a nice piece here in the fifth round (140th overall). Hurst was a potential late first-round pick or a day two pick, but that did not happen after the NFL medical staff at the combine found he had a heart condition. He has been cleared to resume football activities. Overall, Hurst gives the Raiders a deadly pass rushing option. I love how quick he gets off the snap and is always in the opposition’s backfield. Look out for this Raiders defensive line.
Hurst career stats: 130 tackles, 32 tackles for a loss, 13.5 sacks
Denver Broncos – Josey Jewell – ILB – Iowa
The Broncos added Jewell to the fold in the fourth round (106th overall). Jewell played four seasons at Iowa.
In those 4 years, he put up some impressive numbers by recording a whopping 433 tackles, 28 tackles for a loss, 10 sacks, 6 interceptions, 1 defensive touchdown, 26 pass deflections, 2 fumble recoveries and 3 forced fumbles. Honestly, he is more than just a tackling machine.
Got to love his instincts and production on the gridiron. Jewell is excellent depth behind Brandon Marshall and Todd Davis in case an injury occurs.