Quarterback Lamar Jackson is simply the tip of the undrafted free agent iceberg for Baltimore.
The Ravens have a number of different main free agent selections looming, together with cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Kyle Fuller, edge rushers Justin Houston and Jason Pierre-Paul and newly acquired linebacker Roquan Smith, all of whom will probably be unrestricted free brokers on the finish of the season.
Nonetheless, Odafe Oweh, the Raven’s first-rounder in 2021, will doubtless change JPP, and 2022 second-round decide David Ojabo was rated as a first-rounder earlier than struggling a torn Achilles. He’s nonetheless aiming to play this season.
Due to this fact, go rusher in all probability isn’t an enormous precedence.
If Peters leaves in free company, count on CB Jalyn Armour-Davis, the workforce’s fourth-round decide this previous spring, to get the primary crack on the job. In any other case, it’s laborious to ascertain the workforce taking Cam Phillips III of Utah, who may very well be the highest-remaining CB left. That’s as a result of Phillips’ dimension (5-foot-9, 190) might restrict him to fit nook.
Additional complicating issues: Taking an inside linebacker right here may very well be a attain. Nonetheless, the workforce appears prone to lengthen Davis’ contract after buying and selling away a second- and fifth-round decide to Chicago to amass him final month.
So, may the workforce skip protection within the first spherical? And will this be the place Bijan Robinson lands ought to the proficient Texas operating again fall?
On the latter, that’s actually a risk. Though nonetheless solely 23, Baltimore RB J.Okay. Dobbins will miss all of this season after lacking all however 4 video games of final season because of accidents.
Nonetheless, the workforce hasn’t chosen a operating again within the first spherical since taking Jamal Lewis with the No. 5 general decide of the 2000 draft. Plus, assuming Jackson re-signs, the workforce will all the time rank among the many league’s finest operating groups.
Due to this fact, Baltimore may attempt to commerce this decide.
Can’t discover any affordable provides? Then USC defensive lineman Tuli Tuipulotu would presumably step proper in as one of many workforce’s beginning DEs of their 3-4 alignment, as he could also be a “tweener” in an excellent entrance however is the right dimension for an odd-front. To this point, Tuipulotu leads the convention in sacks (11.5) and tackles for loss (19.0).
Wilson is the No. 20 general prospect within the newest Fanspeak-Jake Rigdon huge board.
Texas A&M CB Jaylon Jones (No. 30) is one other risk right here and would fill in properly for Peters if the workforce doesn’t retain the veteran nook. However including one other go rusher would presumably assist the secondary, plus the workforce may all the time draft a CB on Day 2.
Right here’s the remainder of this week’s Fanspeak mock draft:
1. Houston Texans: QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
ESPN’s Matt Miller has the Texans taking Alabama’s Bryce Younger, whereas ESPN’s Jordan Reid has the workforce taking Stroud. It’s actually a coin-flip at this level. Given Younger’s dimension at a school-listed 6-foot, 195-pounds (he’ll doubtless measure smaller on the Mix), the 6-foot-3, 218-pound Stroud is likely to be the higher alternative because of Houston’s porous offensive line, which has surrendered 28 sacks, tied for eighth-most within the league.
2. Carolina Panthers: QB Bryce Younger, Alabama
If it’s not Younger, then it’ll be Stroud.
3. Chicago Bears: Edge Will Anderson, Alabama
It is a prime touchdown spot for any workforce determined to commerce up for Kentucky’s Will Levis, broadly considered the third-best sign caller on this draft.
However Chicago can’t commerce too far down and nonetheless wind up with both Anderson or Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter, as many draft analysts see these two as the perfect general prospects on this draft.
The truth is, about the one manner the workforce can land a type of two gamers can be if it swapped picks with Seattle at No. 5 – then hope the Seahawks take Levis and never Anderson or Carter.
Why threat it?
4. Las Vegas Raiders: DL Jalen Carter, Georgia
5. Seattle Seahawks: QB Will Levis, Kentucky
This could be the perfect of each worlds, as Seattle lands its new QB with out giving up any property. Have in mind, Geno Smith and backup Drew Lock will probably be an unrestricted free brokers on the finish of the season, and Smith might have performed his manner into an even bigger contract with one other QB-needy workforce.
As for individuals who assume Levis has performed his manner out of the primary spherical? Right here’s what The Athletic’s Dane Brugler needed to say:
It does not even matter how any of us really feel about him as a participant, there’s loads of love within the league for him. Groups who assume he’ll be the primary QB drafted. Individuals might be mad about that if they need!
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) November 19, 2022
6. Detroit Lions: CB Joey Porter, Penn State
Porter’s rating has been in all places, however he’s CB1 within the Rigdon huge board because the 6-foot-2, 195-pound junior has damaged up 9 passes and allowed simply 13 receptions for 123 yards on 28 targets, in accordance with PFF. He’s anticipated to return this season after lacking the primary two video games of his profession because of an appendicitis.
7. Houston Texans: OT Olumuyiwa Fashanu, Penn State
Like Porter, Fashanu has additionally missed the previous two video games with an undisclosed damage. It’s unknown if Fashanu plans on returning this season, and, as a redshirt sophomore and one of many youngest gamers within the draft, he may additionally return to highschool. One different concern: Whereas it is smart to pair a rookie first-round QB with a rookie first-round OT, it may spell catastrophe for Houston for years to return if one – or each – gamers don’t pan out. In any other case, the Texans would like to have bookend OTs with Laremy Tunsil manning the left facet.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers: OT Paris Johnson, Ohio State
The Pittsburgh Put up-Gazette’s Ray Fittipaldo additionally likes Johnson or Fashanu as a risk with this decide, saying, “The Steelers want to focus on offensive linemen within the early rounds of the draft to construct a robust line in entrance of Kenny Pickett. Don’t rule out the Steelers utilizing a number of picks on linemen on this draft.”
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: OT Peter Skoronski, Northwestern
This ends a brief run on OTs, as Fashanu, Johnson and Skoronski are broadly thought of the three finest within the 2023 draft. Jawaan Taylor, a 2019 second-round decide, will probably be an unrestricted free agent on the finish of the season. He’s nonetheless younger at 25, however the Jaguars need to surprise if it’s time to maneuver on from Taylor, as his highest PFF grade got here his rookie 12 months when he completed with a 63.7. His present grade is 57.0, and he’s allowed 4 sacks whereas committing 4 penalties. Translation: This can be Taylor’s final season in Jacksonville.
10. Philadelphia Eagles: CB Cam Smith, South Carolina
Ask 4 totally different analysts who the highest CB within the 2023 NFL draft is, and also you may get 4 totally different solutions. PFF lists the 6-foot, 190-pound Smith as its high CB, noting that groups are merely avoiding him this season.
11. Arizona Cardinals: CB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon
The Cardinals are a large number however can nonetheless make the playoffs and win the division. That’s as a result of Arizona has extra expertise on its roster than the workforce’s 4-7 document implies. A method or one other, although, the Cardinals might want to tackle their secondary within the offseason, as CBs Byron Murphy Jr., Trayvon Mullen and Antonio Hamilton will all be UFAs after the season and 2021 fourth-rounder Marco Wilson continues to wrestle with a PFF grade of 49.0.
12: Inexperienced Bay Packers: WR Quentin Johnston, TCU
At first look, it appears like Christian Watson, the workforce’s second-round decide this 12 months out of North Dakota State, has had a stable season to date with 18 receptions for 243 yards and 5 TDs. However, take away the Dallas recreation, and Watson’s numbers look way more pedestrian. Including Johnston, the highest receiver within the draft, can solely assist. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound true junior bought off to a gradual begin and hasn’t put up big numbers regardless of taking part in with a draftable QB, Max Duggan, however continues to be usually seen as the highest receiver within the draft.
13. Detroit Lions: DL Bryan Bresee, Clemson
Private tragedy, a kidney an infection and a return from final season’s torn ACL in his left knee can all assist clarify Bresee’s common statistics this season (12 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss in seven video games). Nonetheless, if he can clear medicals on the Mix and past, then count on Bresee to land someplace within the top-20 of the draft.
14. Indianapolis Colts: Edge Tyree Wilson
Indianapolis would doubtless need to commerce up if it desires a shot at one of many top-3 QBs; falling in need of that, don’t assume the Colts will add an offensive sort out within the first spherical, both.
Sort out Braden Smith is among the many league’s most-penalized gamers with 7, however he’s in any other case performed nicely with a PFF grade of 70.6. He signed a four-year, $72.4 million contract extension final 12 months, so he’s not going wherever.
Then there’s Bernhard Raimann, the workforce’s second of three third-round picks from this previous spring’s draft. After a tough begin, Raimann has performed nicely in current weeks whereas beginning at left sort out. He has a PFF grade of 61.5 – spectacular for a rookie, particularly a Day 2 first-year participant.
As an alternative, guard is the more than likely place alongside the Colts OL that will probably be upgraded, as RG Matt Pryor will probably be an unrestricted free agent on the finish of the season. Nonetheless, there’s not a guard worthy of going this excessive within the draft.
Search for Indianapolis to show its consideration to protection, the place go rusher Yannick Ngakoue is about to hitch Pryor as an UFA whereas the cornerback place may use an injection of youth and expertise. The very best rated defensive gamers remaining within the Rigdon huge board would each match: Georgia CB Kelee Ringo (No. 12) and Texas Tech edge Tyree Wilson (No. 13). However the workforce can survive simply wonderful with one other season of the ageless Stephon Gilmore and Kenny Moore II at CB, so the decide goes to the go rusher Wilson. A 6-fooot-6, 275-pound senior, Wilson has 27.5 tackles for loss and 14 sacks the previous two seasons.
One factor to watch: Wilson suffered a fracture in his foot Nov. 12 in opposition to Kansas that may require surgical procedure. He’s out for the remainder of the season and has already declared for the draft.
15. Atlanta Falcons: CB Kelee Ringo, Georgia
The workforce wants upgrades at sort out and cornerback; nevertheless, if Atlanta take the best-remaining CB, then it could have to contemplate different choices at proper sort out as the highest remaining OTs may very well be off the board by the center of the second spherical.
Nonetheless, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound redshirt sophomore matches the invoice of what Atlanta desires out of its first-rounders: He’s extremely athletic. Between Ringo and 2020 first-rounder A.J. Terrell, the Falcons would doubtlessly have some of the proficient, younger CB duos within the league.
As for questions on how excessive Ringo may go, The Athletic’s Dane Brugler lists the redshirt sophomore as the highest CB within the draft.
16. LA Chargers: OT Broderick Jones, Georgia
Los Angeles has quietly put collectively one of many higher OLs within the league – they usually’ve completed so by ignoring what standard knowledge says about undersized offensive tackles. Each Rashawn Slater (out for the 12 months) and sixth-round rookie Jamaree Salyer have been stated to be higher guard prospects on the subsequent degree as a result of they didn’t match the best measurements for the place – though each excelled at sort out in school.
Now add Jones to the combo. Additionally an undersized sort out prospect at 6-foot-4, 310-pounds, Jones may slide to left guard rather than present starter Matt Feiler, with Salyer transferring to proper sort out as soon as Slater returns.
17. Washington Commanders: S Brian Department, Alabama
Sure, it’s one other workforce badly in want of an improve at QB and subsequently one other candidate to maneuver up within the draft. In any other case, Department may not be essentially the most thrilling prospect, however he’s a protected decide at a place of want. Plus, the Commanders haven’t been shy lately about drafting Alabama gamers.
18. NY Jets: OT Dawand Jones, Ohio State
There’s already requires New York to bench QB Zach Wilson, the No. 2 decide within the 2021 draft out of BYU. However taking one right here – or transferring up within the draft to take one of many high three QBs – is extraordinarily dangerous. Like a few of the different groups above them, the Jets can be higher off ready till Day 2 to draft a QB, particularly if a few of the underclassmen declare (like Stanford’s Tanner McKee, the No. 41 prospect, or Florida’s Anthony Richardson, the No. 65 prospect). Even that appears unlikely, although, particularly if Wilson returns subsequent season.
As an alternative, search for the Jets so as to add items to its offensive line as accidents proceed to pile up this season. Think about the workforce’s brutal loss to New England for example, as New York began its third-string proper guard and fifth-string proper sort out. Say Max Mitchell, the workforce’s fourth-round rookie out of Louisiana, returns and performs nicely at RT. And say 2020 first-round OT Mekhi Becton lastly performs a full, injury-free 12 months. By nonetheless including items to the offensive line (together with the inside), the workforce doubtless gained’t be on this place subsequent season. In different phrases, it’s a great drawback to have.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: WR Jordan Addison, USC
With the ageless Julio Jones set to turn out to be an UFA on the finish of the season, Addison would give the Buccaneers a potent WR trio for QB Tom Brady, though his dimension (6-foot, 175-pounds) in all probability limits him to fit receiver.
20. Denver Broncos: OT Darnell Wright, Tennessee
How did it go so incorrect this season? Begin with accidents, as Denver leads the league with essentially the most gamers on injured reserve (15). The OL is a large number. The operating recreation is a shell of itself. And QB Russell Wilson needs to be the most important disappointment to date after the workforce traded so many property to amass him this previous offseason.
All that explains why it doesn’t make sense to take one of many high RBs at this level within the draft – how good can he be with a suspect OL?
As an alternative, Wright turns into the primary huge “shock” on this draft. Up till not too long ago, he battled Maryland’s Jaelyn Duncan (No. 40) and Syracuse’s Matthew Bergeron (No. 45) as the highest “Tier 2” OTs who have been all fringe first-rounders, however Duncan and Bergeron not too long ago had eyebrow-raising tough outings in opposition to high go rushers (Bergeron struggled in opposition to Notre Dame’s Isaiah Foskey, whereas Ohio State’s Zach Harrison gave Duncan matches). The 6-foot-6, 335-pound senior Wright, in the meantime, has put collectively some of the stable seasons of any SEC sort out, as he’s performed in 779 snaps with out giving up a sack and has performed eight video games with out giving up a strain. Though Wright is likely to be a little bit of a attain right here, he doubtless gained’t be accessible very lengthy within the second spherical.
21. Seattle Seahawks: LB Drew Sanders, Arkansas
Seattle has spent appreciable sources on the linebacker place lately. Outdoors LBs Darrell Taylor was a 2020 second spherical decide and has 3 sacks this season; the opposite beginning OLB, Uchenna Nwosu, signed a two-year, $19 million contract within the offseason and leads the workforce with 7 sacks. And key backup Boye Mafe, a second-round decide this previous spring, has 2 sacks.
Inside, 2020 first-rounder Jordyn Brooks leads the workforce – by a big margin – with 106 tackles, good for second within the league. However Cody Barton, the workforce’s different beginning inside linebacker, will probably be an UFA on the finish of the season. Barton is second on the workforce with 71 tackles.
Sanders, in the meantime, can play a little bit of a Micah Parsons-role for the Seahawks, because the 6-foot-5, 230-pound junior has 8.5 sacks and 12. 5 tackles for loss in his first season since transferring from Alabama, the place Sanders was buried on the depth chart. His 96 tackles lead the workforce and ranks within the high 40 nationally.
22. New England Patriots: TE Michael Mayer, Notre Dame
Hunter Henry has had a disappointing season to date, so the highest tight finish would make sense right here, as it might assist enhance what has turn out to be an anemic offense. A receiver is feasible right here, too, particularly with Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba nonetheless accessible, however he’s been harm many of the season and doesn’t have perfect measurables; therefore, why the decide goes to Mayer.
23. Cincinnati Bengals: TE Darnell Washington, Georgia
Does QB Joe Burrow maintain onto the ball too lengthy? Or is the Cincinnati rebuilt OL in charge? It wouldn’t matter with Washington, as he’s a quickly ascending, 6-foot-8, 270-pound prospect who’s exceptionally gifted athletically and possibly the perfect blocking TE within the draft. Having Washington on the sector is like having a sixth offensive lineman.
24. Buffalo Payments: LB Trenton Simpson, Clemson
Final week’s Fanspeak mock draft had Buffalo taking LB Sanders of Arkansas; this week, it’s Clemson’s Simpson. In fact, this adjustments if the Payments convey again UFA Tremaine Edmunds.
25. Baltimore Ravens: DL Tuli Tuipulotu, USC
USC defensive lineman Tuli Tuipulotu as soon as once more brutalising offensive linemen throughout the nation 💥
– 3 tackles
– 2.5 tackles for loss
– 2.5 sacks
Solely the third #FightOn participant since 2010 with a ten sack season 🔥
— Oliver Hodgkinson (@ojhodgkinson) November 12, 2022
26. Tennessee Titans: WR Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee
Absolutely the workforce gained’t take a receiver within the first spherical two years in a row, proper? A have a look at the workforce’s receiving stats says in any other case.
Rookie Treylon Burks, who has missed 4 video games with a toe damage, is third on the workforce with 264 yards receiving. That’s simply 21 yards behind Nick Westbrook-Ikhine’s 285 yards receiving, whereas Robert Woods leads the workforce with 335 yards, tying him for the 77th-most within the league. Collectively, the three mix for 884 yards receiving; Jaylen Waddle, the 2021 first-round decide for Miami, presently ranks fifth within the league with 878 yards receiving.
27. Dallas Cowboys: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State
How shortly issues change in Dallas.
For a lot of the season, the thought was that this might doubtless be the final 12 months Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard would play in Dallas. Elliott’s play had declined lately, making him a possible cap casualty, whereas Pollard hardly ever obtained as many touches as Elliott and was about to turn out to be an UFA.
There’s media hypothesis that Elliott may doubtlessly lengthen his contract in an effort to decrease the greenback quantity per 12 months, as he’s stays a gentle, albeit unspectacular, presence on offense. After which there’s Pollard, who’s having a profession season and is among the many finest RBs within the league. He presently ranks eleventh within the league in dashing (701 yards), whereas his 5.9 yards per carry common ranks him second amongst RBs with at the very least 100 carries.
And Pollard excelled whereas Elliott missed time with damage. To this point, the 2019 fourth-rounder from Memphis has a acquire of 40 yards or extra in 5 of 10 video games this season, and he has three TD catches of 30 yards or extra, finest amongst all RBs.
So this in all probability isn’t the touchdown spot for Robinson, both, if Dallas re-signs Pollard and brings again Elliott.
Dallas, although, may use one other receiver, and this is likely to be the right touchdown spot for the falling JSN. Smith-Njigba has fallen down some draft boards after lacking many of the season whereas nursing a lingering hamstring damage. He additionally doesn’t have elite measurables at 6-foot, 197 kilos, neither is he anticipated to run a blazing 40 time.
What Smith-Njigba excels at – and why he stays a first-round risk – is his particular capability to achieve yards after the catch. His sophomore numbers have been eye-popping – 95 receptions, 1,606 yards, 9 TDs receiving – however they weren’t as spectacular as this quantity: 790. That was his yards-after-catch, the third-most in huge Ten historical past amongst vast receivers.
Plus, Smith-Njigba is a house city hero after starring at Rockwall Excessive Faculty, about 25 miles west of Dallas.
28. NY Giants: WR Rashee Rice, SMU
The Giants are going to go along with the gamers they’re snug with – no matter draft standing or wage. That’s why 2021 first-round WR Kadarius Toney is now taking part in for Kansas Metropolis and 2021 free agent signing Kenny Golladay is barely taking part in. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound senior Rice leads the nation with 1,208 yards receiving on a career-high 83 receptions and career-high-tying 9 TDs (and counting).
29. Minnesota Vikings: Edge Zach Harrison, Ohio State
It looks like the 6-foot-8, 280-pound Harrison is lastly placing all of it collectively, as he manhandled Maryland’s Jaelyn Duncan final week with 2 sacks, giving him 3 for the season. All of his 5.5 TFLs have come the previous 5 video games, too. Utah’s Phillips is one other risk right here as Minnesota wants to consider changing the ageless Patrick Peterson, however, once more, Phillips is seen as extra of a slot CB.
30. Kansas Metropolis Chiefs: OT Jaelyn Duncan, Maryland
Each of Kansas Metropolis’s OTs will probably be a free agent on the finish of the season, so addressing the place early within the draft appears logical. The issue, although, is that the entire Tier 1 offensive tackles have already come off the board – and even two of the Tier 2 tackles have already been drafted on this mock (Wright and Jones).
Nonetheless, even when Kansas Metropolis re-signs LT Orlando Brown Jr., the Chiefs can not ignore this place; therefore, the explanation behind reaching for the 6-foot-6, 320-pound Duncan. With that stated, final weekend’s recreation in opposition to Ohio State’s Harrison was an outlier and never essentially an indication of issues to return for Duncan, who has began 40 video games for the Terrapins.
He’s athletic and comparatively robust however doesn’t have elite size, plus his fingers and toes are a work-in-progress. Thus, Duncan is presently seen by some evaluators as extra of a Spherical 2 or 3 prospect. Nonetheless, if Kansas Metropolis doesn’t bounce on a sort out now, then it could be too late to discover a potential rookie starter, because the next-highest rated sort out, Syracuse’s Matthew Bergeron, is probably going gone by the point Kansas Metropolis is again on the clock in Spherical 2.
31. Philadelphia Eagles: RB Bijan Robinson, Texas
It looks like each time Dallas “zigs,” Philadelphia “zags.” As Dallas was constructing one of many league’s finest offensive traces and high floor recreation, Philadelphia countered by including sources to its line of defense. Now the roles have reversed and Philadelphia’s line and floor recreation are thought of among the many league’s finest. Dallas, in the meantime, has constructed NFL’s most potent go rush on protection.
How do you counter a fearsome go rush? With a stable dashing assault.
So this may very well be the place Robinson’s fall ends. His ability set has been in comparison with Marshall Faulk, in accordance with a scout by way of Walter Soccer, and he’s usually seen as the perfect RB prospect in a number of years. Plus, Miles Sanders, ninth within the league with 757 yards dashing, will probably be an unrestricted free agent on the finish of the season for Philadelphia.
Counter that, Dallas.
New Orleans Saints, second spherical: QB Anthony Richardson, Florida
Los Angeles Rams, second spherical: OT Blake Freeland, BYU
Cleveland Browns, second spherical: C Luke Wypler, Ohio State
Miami Dolphins, second spherical: Edge Keion White, Georgia Tech
* Draft order courtesy of Tankathon.
** Miami misplaced its first-round decide because of tampering costs.
Jake Rigdon (@jrigdon73) covers the NFL draft for Fanspeak.com. He additionally covers the NFL draft from a Dallas Cowboys perspective on this subReddit. And his huge board is up to date at the very least as soon as per week through the season and main as much as the draft.