With all forms of professional sports canceled, fans cling on to the NFL draft, which is confirmed to stream online with all participants staying remote throughout the process. Over the past few weeks, we have predicted the first 21 picks of the first round. This week we will conclude the first round with our prediction for the final 11 picks.
With the 22nd pick in the draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars will need to address their defense, which is a shell of the unit it was back in 2018 when they carried Blake Bortles to the AFC Championship game. After trading star cornerback Jalen Ramsey to the Los Angeles Rams and cornerback A.J Buoye to the Denver Broncos, the team will look to start over at the position with a young stud in TCU cornerback Jeff Gladney. Gladney’s speed was on display at the combine and his one-on-one shutdown ability gives him the upside of being a top-tier corner.
With the 23rd pick in the draft, the New England Patriots will select linebacker from the University of Oklahoma Kenneth Murray. The Patriots historically have invested in stellar linebackers, but their retention hasn’t been fantastic, as with the loss of Kyle Van Noy they are in need of someone to assist Dont’a Hightower in patrolling the second level of the defense. Murray’s build, quickness and instinctual play make him a perfect pick in reloading the Patriot’s defense.
Though the New Orlean Saints hold the 24th pick in the draft, the Baltimore Ravens will make a bold move and trade up with the Saints for this pick, swapping first-rounders and giving them one of their extra third-round picks. The Ravens, seeing LSU linebacker Patrick Queen sitting on the board and the Seahawks looking for a young stud linebacker as well, make this move to repair the hole left in the second level of their front seven after C.J Mosely left in the 2018 offseason.
With the 25th pick in the draft, the Minnesota Vikings will select LSU Tigers edge rusher, K’Lavon Chaisson. Chaisson was a huge part of LSU’s historic defense that led them to a championship this past year, exhibiting excellent off the ball quickness and strong hand fighting against big offensive linemen. The Vikings have lost a lot of defensive talent, but replacing the production of Everson Griffen is the first step in repairing their defense in the spot they’re currently in.
With the 26th pick in the draft, the Detroit Lions will make a semi-shocking move and select Utah State quarterback Jordan Love. Love has been streaky throughout his last two seasons, but the lack of talent surrounding him at Utah was limiting his natural talent. At the combine, his throwing motion was the most natural and the smoothest of all the passers in the eyes of many scouts, but his lack of detailed success scared off some scouts. In Detroit, Matthew Stafford continues to hold one of the most expensive contracts in the league, and with the lack of success the Lions have had with him they most likely won’t resign him. Drafting Love would give him a couple of years to develop behind Stafford before taking the starting job. Love has every throw in his pocket but lacks the decision making that he could develop as a backup.
With the 27th pick in the draft, the Seattle Seahawks will grab talented linebacker Zack Braun out of Wisconsin. With free-agent linebacker Jadeveon Clowney’s decision still up in the air, Seattle will probably prepare for his departure and build for the future. Baun has impressive speed and elusiveness, as he managed to have 12.5 sacks last season, making him a good potential replacement for Clowney.
With the 28th pick in the draft, after trading down with the Baltimore Ravens, the New Orleans Saints will select LSU Tigers cornerback Kristian Fulton. Fulton displayed smart instincts in LSU’s zone scheme and matched up well in man coverage when asked to, so he looks to fit in alongside Marshon Lattimore to shore up the Saints’ defense.
With the 29th pick in the draft, the Tennessee Titans will need to repair the gap left on the right side of their offensive line following the departure of Jack Conklin in free agency. With that being said, they have the perfect prospect available in Georgia offensive lineman Isaiah Wilson. The Titans managed to run their way to the AFC championship and another stellar offensive lineman could help them continue this strategy. Georgia historically produces NFL ready linemen and Wilson fits the bill to start day one.
With the 30th pick in the draft, the Green Bay Packers will be looking to give Aaron Rodgers an immediate impact receiver to pair up with Davante Adams, and they’ll take Colorado wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. Shenault is quick off the line of scrimmage and is the physical type receiver the Packers could use in their offense alongside Adams.
With the 31st pick in the draft, the 49ers will replace DeForest Buckner, who they traded to the Colts for the 13th pick, by taking Penn State edge rusher Yetur Gross-Matos. Forgoing his senior season, Gross-Matos is lacking the statistics of most pass rushers, but his tape is excellent. Gross-Matos is a quarterback hunter that the 49ers could use opposite Nick Bosa to terrorize quarterbacks for years to come. Although he never hit his full potential, he has a high ceiling that Kyle Shanahan could pull out of him.
With the 32nd and final pick of the first round of the draft, the Kansas City Chiefs will look to bolster their defense with edge rusher Boise State Curtis Weaver. The Chiefs’ deep roster gives them a range of players they could take with this pick but taking a defensive lineman to bolster their front will help them maintain their championship roster for years to come. Weaver could be the 6-8 sack player to help complete the defensive line.
As the draft continues to inch closer, anticipation grows. With one of the deepest receivers and cornerback classes in the last decade, fans countdown to when their team takes the stage and grabs new talent.