I will be running through each team’s draft highighting my favorite and least favorite picks (typically from days one or two) and a day three sleeper to keep an eye on. I will also feature my favorite undrafted free agent signing for each team.
Favorite Pick: Round 3, Pick 86 Overall – Zack Moss, RB, Utah – I really liked the selection of A.J. Epenesa in round two, but I think Moss will be the one we look back on as the best pick. As much as I like Devin Singletary, a fellow third round selection just a season ago, I believe Moss will become a true committee back along with him. The combo will give the Bills a very good two-headed monster in the backfield, while I believe Epenesa will open the season as a true backup.
Least Favorite Pick: Round 4, Pick 128 Overall – Gabriel Davis, WR, UCF – Typically my least favorite will be somebody from the first three rounds, but the Bills only had two picks in those rounds and I liked them both. I don’t have a real issue with Davis, I just didn’t feel he was the top WR on the board at the time, and he certainly was not a position of need given the fact they traded for Stefon Diggs. I feel they would have been better suited going after a position of need with Troy Dye or Bryce Hall.
Day Three Sleeper: Round 5, Pick 167 Overall – Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia – Fromm is certainly not an immediate need of the Bills, but Matt Barkley got starts when Josh Allen was out a season ago and another QB to battle for the backup gig is never a bad idea. Fromm’s biggest knock is a lack of arm strength and heading to the AFC East where three of the four teams are in environments that have adverse weather is not ideal, Fromm is exactly what you want from a backup. A smart QB with a winning pedigree, a solid selection.
Undrafted Free Agent to Watch: Trey Adams, OT, Washington – One of the best offensive lineman to go undrafted, Adams has a real shot to make the Bills team. He stands 6’8” and weighs in at 318 lbs., he has to prototypical size for a tackle, although he does not use his body ideally, often playing smaller than his size. He has plenty of athleticism, so he may be best suited to play guard despite his length.
Favorite Pick: Round 1, Pick 5 Overall – Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama – The Dolphins came into the season “Tanking for Tua”, end up with a winning record over the final 9 games of the season, and still land Tua. The injuries are an obvious concern but, by all accounts, nobody throws a better ball that Tua and he does not have to start this season since they have Fitz-Magic on the roster. I loved the fact they added a trio of blockers to go ahead of him, and Raekwon Davis is a quality run stuffer, but the player this draft will be known for is Tua.
Least Favorite Pick: Round 1, Pick 30 Overall – Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn – Putting aside the fact few had Igbinoghene as the top corner on the board at the time, it was one of the few positions the Dolphins actually didn’t need help at. Xavien Howard and Byron Jones are well paid and top tier corners, while the safety position needs help as does the linebacking and receiving groups.
Day Three Sleeper: Round 5, Pick 164 Overall – Curtis Weaver, Edge, Boise State – I actually really liked the Dolphins draft as a whole, and I easily could have chosen Solomon Kindley as a bruising guard, or Malcolm Perry for the intrigue of the QB turned WR from Navy, but I wound up going Weaver here. I had Weaver as a day two selection and actually like him better than the end the Dolphins also selected ten spots ahead of him, Jason Stowbridge. Weaver got after the QB and was very productive for Boise who should be a situational pass rusher with success for the Dolphins.
Undrafted Free Agent to Watch: Kirk Merritt, WR, Arkansas State – An absolute physical freak, guy can jump out of the building and has great strength. He ran track at Oregon before transferring out to the JuCo levels and heading to Arkansas State. He is still raw but has a real shot to make the club as a special teamer who can return kicks and the speed/strength combo to be a quality gunner on kickoff and punt teams.
New England Patriots
Favorite Pick: Round 2, Pick 37 Overall – Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne – I would have loved to see the Patriots take Yetur Gross-Matos here, a player who went one spot later, but they wound up getting two quality edge rushers so that wound up working out for them. Dugger is a guy I struggled with ahead of the draft because, as a D-II player, I saw practically no tape on him. After the draft, having spoken with many about the pick, I am officially sold. He plays tough downhill like a strong safety but can go get the ball like a traditional free safety. Overall, the perfect fit for the Patriots defense.
Least Favorite Pick: Round 5, Pick 159 Overall – Justin Rohrwasser, K, Marshall – I never come away from the draft really liking what the Patriots did, and for the most part that is the case yet again. I did not get the two TEs they took at the end of Round 3 as I felt there were better available, I had a list 750 names deep with me at the draft and they Patriots managed to select someone not on that list in Cassh Malula in the sixth, but Rohrwasser was a special kind of miss. Not only was it the first kicker off the board, granted it was a need, it comes out after he has an anti-government tattoo with some, well, questionable ties.
Day Three Sleeper: Round 6, Pick 182 Overall – Mike Onwenu, G, Michigan – Standing 6’3” and weighing in at 344 lbs., there is no denying Onwenu is a massive human being. Add to that 26 reps on the bench and a knack for pancaking defenders in run blocking, the Patriots may have stolen a future league average starter in round 6.
Undrafted Free Agent to Watch: Brian Lewerke, QB, Michigan State – The Patriots surprised many by going through the entire draft without selecting a singe QB, so it is no surprise they landed on of the top undrafted guys at the position. The fact he never completed 60% of his passes and often missed hitting receivers in stride is a real concern, but there is plenty of arm strength and ability to slide around the pocket to buy time.
New York Jets
Favorite Pick: Round 2, Pick 59 Overall – Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor – Baylor got a lot of air time this season given their undefeated run before seeing Oklahoma twice, and every time you put on a Baylor ballgame, Mims was making plays. He has good size, a sub-4..40 40, and can block. In another draft he is a first-round receiver but depth at the position caused him to fall to the back end of round two in this draft.
Least Favorite Pick: Round 1, Pick 11 Overall – Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville – This is the start of what will be a trend for me, essentially marking any tackle not named Tristan Wirfs as a least favorite pick. I actually like Becton a lot and think he will be a quality player; I just don’t think he was anywhere close to the best available.
Day Three Sleeper: Round 5, Pick 158 Overall – Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia – Hall went back to Virginia for another year to try and become a first-round selection, but instead he slides to the fifth. This was undoubtedly one of the top needs for the Jets, and they get a guy who was once a no-brainer day two selection mid-way through day three, this decision was easy for me.
Undrafted Free Agent to Watch: Lamar Jackson, CB, Nebraska – Yes, there are now two Lamar Jackson’s in the NFL, although this one will never be the star the QB in Baltimore is. I was actually quite surprised Jackson did not get drafted, as there were some that saw him as a potential day two selection. He is a big corner, standing 6’2”, and may eventually have to move to safety as he is very good with the ball in the air but can be beat by quick receivers. If he moved to free safety, his size and ability to get after contestable balls could make him a multiple year contributor to the Jets secondary.