by Garrison Williams
The NFL draft seems to go the same way every year. Everyone has their predictions about which college stars are going to be drafted first. However, most don’t even consider how these players will actually benefit the lineup. Sure, Baker Mayfield seemed to work out perfectly for Cleveland. However, this year’s draft prospect rankings don’t fall nicely with what would be best for the team. Here is the top four first round picks.
- Arizona Cardinals
Should – If Arizona could solidify a defense, or even give Sam Bradford someone to throw the ball to, they would be back into relevance. This works out nicely because there are too many teams out there who are looking for an elite pass rusher like Nick Bosa. They should draft him number one. At the very least, I can name several teams who would be willing to trade some pretty pennies for him. If they aren’t going for Bosa, the next best option is D.K. Metcalf. He’s fast enough to let Bradford air out the ball. With everything Arizona needs anyways, it would just be best to start with number one.
Will – Unfortunately Arizona is going to take the Heisman Winner. But who can blame them? Kyler Murray’s statistics speak for themselves here. Kliff Kingsbury was brought on to be an offensive genius so solidifying their franchise quarterback will be at the top of his list of things to do, despite how unnecessary that seems. Keep an eye on them though: he might be the solution to their receiving core problems. The Cardinals have met with Murray this week, and I suspect they are talking numbers.
- San Francisco 49ers
Should – At the end of last season, drafting Nick Bosa would’ve been a no-brainer pick for this team, and rightfully so. However, Dee Ford is going to fill a hole in the pass rush game that will justify drafting another speedy wide out. Sadly, there just aren’t many options. D.K. Metcalf feels like the most effective move, but I’m positive Kyle Shanahan has his own ideas.
Will – Nick Bosa. What is the worst case scenario here? Filling up on pass rush and solidifying a strong defense? The 49ers have made strides in free agency, most of whom are defensive players. Also in that list, running back Tevin Coleman. Once Garoppolo is back, the only thing San Francisco runs the risk of doing is just losing pass efficiency. In the current league, as coveted as Nick Bosa is, it would be appalling to not see him go this pick.
- New York Jets
Should – The Jets need many things. As do most top four drafting teams. However, props to them for scratching running back off of this list. The best thing the Jets could do at this point is take whoever is highest. With San Francisco taking number one Bosa second, the Jets could go a long way in stacking up a defensive line with number two Quinnen Williams. Again, putting pressure on a quarterback with this team is going to throw people off. He’d be a key element in putting Sam Darnold and Le’Veon Bell back on the field. Williams could be the start to a defensive line with some serious depth.
Will – They need an edge rusher bad enough to pray Bosa makes it to the third pick. However, when he doesn’t, taking Josh Allen is not the worst thing in the world. In an edge-heavy draft (needs and options), Allen will be valuable and will provide the quarterback pressure everyone expects this team to bring next season. Regardless of what they do, they can’t go wrong. They have some significant work to do before making it out of the bottom rankings.
- Oakland Raiders
Should – The need for edge rushers in this draft is clear. Especially in these top four. However, Oakland can breathe a sigh of relief because they have three first round picks. They, unlike the three teams mentioned before, don’t need a receiver. They wisely took care of that in a seemingly one-sided deal with the Steelers for Antonio Brown. So they should take what they need. Montez Sweat would be the edge the Raiders need for the type of defense they are building. I would mark Devin White as a maybe, if they hadn’t picked up Vontaze Burfict.
Will – Speaking of putting pressure on quarterbacks and being consistent with the defense they’re trying to make, who better than a defensive tackle? It spreads out your defensive consistency. The Raiders have got to have a strong defensive line this season. No way around it. They know this and will draft defensive tackle Rashan Gary out of Michigan. If all else fails they know they still plenty of first round picks and plenty of edge rushers available in the draft.