Favorite Pick: Round 1, Pick 8 Overall – Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson – Could easily argue Simmons is the second-best defensive player in the draft behind Chase Young. Simmons is a guy who played basically every position but DT in college and can line up at any of those again in pro ball. He would be my favorite to be the defensive rookie of the year, and immediately improves the Cardinals defense.
Least Favorite Pick: None – Josh Jones from Houston was their only other selection in the first two days, and he could have been a first rounder but instead slips to the third round. The Cardinals draft was fantastic, and this is just another example of it.
Day Three Sleeper: Round 7, Pick 222 Overall – Eno Benjamin, RB, Arizona State – Likely fell based upon his performance at the combine, otherwise he would have been an early day three selection. He is short, but has plenty of size despite the lack of height that allows him to run between the tackles, and has solid hands making him a three-down back. Doubtful he will ever be a workhorse back, but he can be a valuable part of a quality backfield.
Undrafted Free Agent to Watch: Jake Benzinger, OT, Wake Forest – The guy I really wanted the Cardinals to take a shot on was Khalil Tate, who ultimately signed with the Philadelphia Eagles, but instead I have to settle for an offensive lineman who is a practice squad guy at best. Benzinger is a long 6’7” but weights in under 300 lbs. He needs to add some strength and improve his strength if he wants to ever suit up. That said, he is the guy in the UDFA class I “like” most with the Cardinals.
Los Angeles Rams
Favorite Pick: Round 2, Pick 57 – Van Jefferson, WR, Florida – Son of long time NFL receiver Shawn Jefferson, Van wowed scouts at the Senior Bowl with his route running, intelligence, and drive to learn more about being an NFL receiver. Based purely on what he did on the field, this is just an average selection, but I personally love the fit as he can be an elite third receiver.
Least Favorite Pick: Round 3, Pick 84 Overall – Terrell Lewis, Edge, Alabama – A long injury history leaves plenty of questions as to the future availability of Lewis, but he was productive on an elite Alabama defense. If he remains healthy, he should add productivity off the edge for the Rams, but he was much more of a round four selection for me, so it was a bit of a reach here.
Day Three Sleeper: Round 4, Pick 136 Overall – Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue – The Rams approached the draft from a best player perspective rather than a need perspective, and this is an example of it. Hopkins will see very little playing time his rookie season with Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett ahead of him, but Everett is a free agent following the season, and Hopkins gives them a ready-made replacement.
Undrafted Free Agent to Watch: Trishton Jackson, WR, Syracuse – Torsten did a deep dive into the Rams draft but did not dive into their UDFA class at all. He was excited Bryce Perkins signed with the team, but the guy I am highest on is Jackson. He gets separation better than his 4.50 40-yard dash would suggest, and he does struggle to make contested grabs, but he is very raw and has plenty of improvement in his game. He is most likely a practice squad guy who can get the call up if there are injuries to receivers on the team.
San Francisco 49ers
Favorite Pick: Round 1, Pick 14 – Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina – I had Kinlaw as a top ten selection, so slipping down to the 49ers (even after trading back) is an absolute steal for the team. The 49ers traded DeForest Buckner for this selection and get a player who can be just as good as Buckner, cost less, and added selections with the trade. Overall, as good a selection as any in the draft.
Least Favorite Pick: Round 1, Pick 25 – Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State – Tee Higgins, Michael Pittman Jr., Laviska Shenault Jr., Van Jefferson, and Denzel Mims all went later than Aiyuk and are receivers I liked more. That said, this was as deep a receiver group as any draft has ever had, so this is a quality selection to me in most seasons and he will have success in the bay, there were just others I liked more.
Day Three Sleeper: Round 5, Pick 153 Overall – Colton McKivitz, OT, West Virginia – Not a fantastic lineman, but he is a guy who can play both tackles and both guard spots, so the versatility brings a ton of value with this pick. The 49ers added Trent Williams via trade during the draft, and now add a backup lineman that can help out across the line, just strengthens a team that had a lead late in the Super Bowl.
Undrafted Free Agent to Watch: Salvon Ahmed, RB, Washington – The 49ers rode the running game to the Super Bowl a season ago behind the likes of Raheem Mostert and Matt Breida. Breida is gone but Tevin Coleman is healthy, despite that, depth at RB is always a position to keep an eye on for this club. Ahmed is a guy that will bring the most value as a pass catcher, something the 49ers could certainly use.
Favorite Pick: Round 3, Pick 69 Overall – Damien Lewis, G, LSU – Other than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, there may not be a team in the NFL that has had more trouble across the offensive line than the Seahawks. He is a bruising run blocker and stands his ground well in pass protection. He has a real shot to start at left guard right from the start. He will never be a Pro Bowler but he should be a long time starter for the Seahawks.
Least Favorite Pick: Round 1, Pick 27 Overall – Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech – A guy I did not have in my three-round mock, he goes in the first round. Granted, I would not have faulted a team if they took him on day two, but this was far too early for me. The linebacker group this season was not the best this season, but it Brooks does fit the Seahawks defense well. Basically, I don’t dislike the fit, just don’t like the cost.
Day Three Sleeper: Round 4, Pick 144 Overall – DeeJay Dallas, RB, Miami – Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, and Travis Homer was the RB depth chart before the draft, not exactly a backfield that scares you. Dallas isn’t a back that will scare you either, but he is a quality receiver and pass blocker, making him a guy Russell Wilson could come to rely on rather early on.
Undrafted Free Agent to Watch: Anthony Gordon, QB, Washington State – Quick, go look up the Seahawks QB depth chart. Spoiler alert, Gordon is the only one listed behind Russell Wilson. Even had he landed with another team, he likely would have been an UDFA to watch he might be the best QB that went undrafted (toss up for me between him and Steven Montez). Mike Leach QBs are always tough to project at the next level, and Gordon was not the decisive passer as his predecessor Gardner Minshew, but he isn’t afraid of a challenge so he will be a very interesting watch in the preseason.