During the days leading up to the NFL Draft, the simple day-to-day requirements of existing become irrelevant. It becomes impossible to sleep. It becomes impossible to do homework. It becomes impossible to pay attention and love your friends and family.
Those who qualify themselves as elite level football fans understand the side effects that come with the best non-performance day of the year. I haven’t eaten a meal for almost three days. This morning, I got out of bed for the first time in six. While us football guys have been staying woke for the previous couple of months, the grind of following NFL insiders and updated mock drafts becomes a full-time job in the fortnight leading up to the event. If it weren’t for my girlfriend bringing me bedside meals, giving me routine sponge baths, and a top-notch Wi-Fi signal, I don’t think I could have reached the level of draft preparation that I’ve acquired.
To be honest, this is the first time that I’ve taken a look at this blog since early February. Multiple excuses have continued to deflect me away from this position. Earlier this year, I set a goal to make a post every 1-2 weeks. I was able to stay on task for two posts, but it’s a lot easier to be optimistic while you’re outside the eye of the storm — school essays and presentations, pre-senior-itis, commissioning a (fantasy) football league of 14 fully-rostered teams, challenging the top 5% of the world in Madden, rewatching Game of Thrones, and sheer laziness.
Despite not updating this blog, I’ve done my best to combat my inner-struggles that were previously listed. I’ve grasped the fact that my two biggest dreams in life are unachievable — appearing on a national sports medium of any kind and/or gaining clearance to the NFL Draft’s backstage green room. This, of course, is because I chose to become a teacher, rather than studying journalism at Northwestern like the majority of ESPN’s population. Without the journalism pedigree of a Mike Greenberg, I have no chance at getting into the green room — too slow of feet and tight hips. That said, I still haven’t met a human being who can jam me at the line of scrimmage. So, I guess that door hasn’t closed since I’m an unsigned 23-year-old wide receiver with full eligibility.
We all have dreams in life and that was one of mine — playing in the National Football League. As we grow older in our communities, we understand at a pretty young age of what’s attainable and what isn’t. Obviously, I came to grips early that I had to pick a new career. And I’m very happy with the path I’m on. But what I love about the NFL Draft is that I’d be willing to bet every single kid who is picked this weekend has been told before that they couldn’t make it here. Watching the joy on each face the moment they get the phone call is an awesome one. The backstories. The crying mothers. The tiny houses that are filled with 30 family members. It’s truly life changing.
Regardless of the career that a prospect is going to have, it doesn’t matter. In that moment, when a player is drafted, it’s the best news that family has ever received. Life changing.
Moving on to the prediction part of this post — I’ve done all but check each player’s credit score — only because I had to pay a fee. Here are 50 predictions for this year’s draft, draft prospects, and the prospect’s future.
1. Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State is the best quarterback in this draft class.
Many NFL careers are dependent on situation and opportunity. In the right situation, I see Haskins becoming the best quarterback in his class. His limitations that have became known are exaggerated. He’s simply the best passer and strongest candidate in this draft.
2. Dwayne Haskins will be drafted by a dump of an organization.
See what I did there? Hedged my prediction. In all seriousness, I’m praying the Giants don’t end up taking him.
3. The Raiders aren’t drafting a quarterback (at least in the first round)
4. Four out of the first five picks will be on the defensive side of the ball.
5. Mike Zimmer will be executed if he takes a player who isn’t an offensive lineman in the first round.
The only exception here would be if T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa was available because he’s an elite ground mauler and electric in the pass game — two birds with one stone. That said, Minnesota fans should brace themselves for the obvious pass on Kirk Cousins insurance for a safety or interior defensive lineman.
6. Colts continue to nail the draft and get a monster defensive line prospect.
Jeffery Simmons, DL, Mississippi State or Dexter Lawrence, DL, Clemson feel right in this spot.
If the Colts can mimic what they’ve been doing as of late, the Indianapolis scouting team should have a collection of statues raised outside of Lucas Oil Stadium. That, or else maybe drop another sweet banner.
7. Montez Sweat, Edge, Mississippi State drops until a team trades up for him
For me, Sweat is in the same tier of edge rushers as Nick Bosa and Josh Allen, but medical concerns have him dropping out of his original projection.
Sweat will drop until his value is undeniable and a team chases. Honestly, there’s no chance he passes Mike Zimmer at 18, so that’s either where he is getting drafted or else a team is going to trade up for him. Someone like Cleveland could try to make another splash.
8. Seattle double dips offensive lineman with two of first three picks
Picking 21st and 29th in the first round, Seattle doesn’t pick again until late into the second night of the draft. They want to run the ball and currently have one of the worst offensive lines in football. It makes sense to improve and protect the huge investment they just made in Russell Wilson.
9. Cincinnati Drafts Quarterback that is worse than Andy Dalton
What Cincinnati should do is trade AJ Green for future assets, improve each side of the line, look to plug current holes, and snag a quarterback next year.
What Cincinnati will do — draft either Daniel Jones of Duke or Drew Lock of Missouri.
10. Few receivers are taken in Round 1
The receivers are all over the place in this class. Simply depends on who you ask. For me, I like the value of a Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State or a Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina on Day 2 more than filling that position with a first round pick.
11. Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State is the most talented receiver in the draft
A.J. Brown of Ole Miss, Deebo Samuel of South Carolina, N’Keal Harry of Arizona State, and Andy Isabella of Massachusetts are my favorite prospects outside of Butler.
12. Both Iowa TE’s will be gone before pick 20.
I’d rather have T.J. Hockenson or Noah Fant before any receiver in the draft. Both have unique skillsets that are separate from the other, but can immediately help NFL offenses.
13. Patriots will end up with Hockenson, Fant, or Irv Smith Jr.
Sometimes you just gotta speak it into existence.
14. Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama is the first or second pick
I wanted to say first, but I don’t want to commit to that when there has been so much talk about Murray going one. Impossible to predict who would want to trade up for that pick as well. However, I do think that Williams is the best player in this draft. I would draft him if I were Arizona.
15. Devin Bush, LB, Michigan falls to Green Bay
16. Bills trade down and protect Josh Allen
17. Broncos stalk up on weapons after helping defense
An underrated tight end that I really like would be Texas A&M’s Jace Sternberger. He’s super smooth, runs routes like a receiver. I think he could be a future star in regards to catching passes.
18. D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss will dissapoint
If there is a player scripted to bust easier than Metcalf, I have yet to see film of him. He’s an absolute tank, but moves with the quickness of Tom Brady, literally. Check the combine numbers.
I think he could have an interesting career if he were to move to tight end, but I don’t like him getting separation at the professional level.
19. Patriots use draft capital and trade for a big name
They have 12 picks this year. It’s possible they reload their team with young talent and trade some of these for future picks (most likely), but I feel that they’re about to snag an unknown target. Maybe a Gerald McCoy.
1 (32), 2 (24), 2 (32), 3 (9), 3 (33), 3 (37), 4 (32), 6 (32), 7 (25), 7 (29), 7 (32), 7 (38)
20. No running back will be taken in the first round
21. Matt Patricia attacks his front seven
After signing Trey Flowers, Patricia will look to make another splash on defense. It’s possible he trades down to do so, but maybe he rolls the dice early on Devin Bush, LB, Michigan or Montez Sweat, Edge, Mississippi State.
22. Brian Flores makes a strong defensive pick
After leaving New England and getting the keys to the Dolphins, the defensive minded coach can take an edge rusher or interior defensive lineman to begin his reign of 6 win seasons.
23. One of either Patricia or Flores is trading down
In honor of Belichick, one of his former staff members will trade down in typical New England fashion. That said, both are actually in good spots to do so.
24. Tampa Bay takes Josh Allen, Edge, Kentucky
Outside of a quarterback, an edge rusher is the most important position in football. Tampa is going to gamble on Jameis Winston in a contract year, so this is the way to go. Allen is my third ranked prospect overall. Will be fun to see who they can draft at quarterback in this spot a year from now.
25. Pittsburgh will take a wide receiver in the first round
26. Gardner Minshew, QB, Washington State is a top three quarterback in this class
27. Jaylon Ferguson, Edge, Louisiana Tech is the best player you haven’t heard of
28. Easton Stick, QB, North Dakota State will make NFL roster, QB or not
As someone who rewrote the NDSU passing records, it isn’t even his best ability on the field. The athleticism and rushing ability of Stick is video game-esque. Gut feeling is that he makes an NFL roster as an athlete and converts to a new position, i.e. Julian Edelman.
29. Close to ten offensive lineman are drafted in the first round
30. 49ers get Nick Bosa, Edge, Ohio State and patience
The 49ers are one of the more balanced teams on each side of the ball in the NFL. After grabbing Bosa, they will trade back from a coveted 2nd round pick and grab a receiver they like. They have the pieces to make a jump similar to what Chicago did in 2019.
31. Raiders go defense, defense, defense
With three first round picks, it’s tough to say what the Raiders will do. They traded away their franchise star last season in Khalil Mack, but could use the extra assets to spread over their defense.
I’d like to see them go Edge/DL, Edge/DL, CB
32. Jets push OL towards Day 2
A season after drafting Darnold and a couple of months after acquiring Bell, it makes sense to go offensive line, here. However, if I was in charge, I’d take the best defensive player available to add to an improving defensive identity.
Thinking Brian Burns, Edge, Florida State; Montez Sweat, Edge, Mississippi State; or Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson
33. Titans surprise, take quarterback on Day 2
How disappointing has Mariota and Winston been?
Could see Will Grier of West Virginia here, if available in the second. Tyree Jackson of Buffalo is an underrated prospect that I’d like to see a team gamble on in the late second or third round.
34. Rams take the best available OL/DL in first and second round
35. Ed Oliver, DT, Houston falls to Jacksonville at seven
36. Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma is the first receiver taken off the board
Brown could be a big time player — all 5’9″ 166 LBS of him. As I mentioned earlier, situation and opportunity is everything. It feels like Baltimore is going to draft him and we’ll look up in a few years and ask what happened to him. (Hoping Pittsburgh or anyone else snags him.)
37. Greedy Williams, CB, LSU goes LATE first to the Rrrrraiders
Greedy — arguably the best cornerback in the draft — has some personality issues. Ironic, huh? Gruden will give the call to Greedy because he needs help in the secondary and because he just loves that name, man.
38. Amani Hooker, S, Iowa is Pro-Bowl Caliber
Hooker isn’t projected to go until the third-fourth round, but he is an absolute baller. Hybrid safety, Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year who does a little bit of everything.
He would be a nice fit in either Chicago or Kansas City as both need safety help.
39. Jon and Jay Gruden make at least one trade with each other
40. Atlanta helps their front seven, primarily drafts defense
41. Panthers draft OL, donate Cam’s body to science
Likely Jawaan Taylor of Florida here. He’s my favorite tackle prospect in the draft.
42. Hunter Renfrow, WR, Clemson is a top 5 Receiver
This may be my boldest prediction, but when the chips are on the table, who is better than Renfrow? 17 catches, 180 yards, and 4 touchdowns in two NCAA Championship games vs. Alabama.
When it’s all said and done, he will be a very productive player out of this class. There can only be a few!
43. John Elway has a brain aneurysm deciding whether or not he should draft Daniel Jones 10th overall (he shouldn’t)
44. Texans trade Jadeveon Clowney, get into the top 12, draft OL
45. Josh Rosen is NOT traded
I don’t think Arizona is taking a quarterback with the first pick. And if I’m wrong, why trade Rosen? You just drafted him last season and had a poor roster around him.
Bring both quarterbacks into camp, see what you like, and offer the other up for 2020 picks.
46. Seattle trades Doug Baldwin for spare change
47. Cleveland trades back into the first round
If there is one thing that GM John Dorsey enjoys, it’s certainly making big splash decisions.
Fans deserve Cleveland trading back into the first round just so we can see that dumb face chomping gum like a mad man. Dorsey is taking his victory lap a little early, in my opinion.
48. Eagles make two first round picks
The Eagles seem impatient. Regardless of what they do, they need to make sure they take an offensive lineman.
49. Darrell Henderson, RB, Memphis is worth the high level comparisons
50. Phil Haynes, G, Wake Forest is a must draft sleeper
For teams looking to draft a steal, this is it. Waynes is a great athlete and simply mauls defensive lineman. He’s explosive, intelligent, and of awesome value.