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Four Favorite NFL Draft Round One Fits 1.0

Understanding publicly perceived NFL Draft capital will change throughout the pre-draft process (Combine, Pro Days, etc.), these four player-team fits will remain some of my favorites going into Free Agency.

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TE Brock Bowers - Los Angeles Chargers #5 (Or Trade Back)

The GOAT college football tight end looks to become just the second TE selected in the top five of the NFL Draft since 1972 (Kyle Pitts). 

A 41.5-inch vertical and a 4.48 40-yard dash show Bowers matches up athletically with the “Elite of the Elite” prospects at the position. Statistically, it is not a conversation. Here’s an average year for Bowers at Georgia, including the games he missed this year with tightrope surgery: 58 catches, 846 yards, 9 TDs. He’s "a receiving entity." Many point to LSU’s Malik Nabers & Washington’s Rome Odunze as Los Angeles’s prime target in Round 1. I’d applaud both. Bowers is the move though. 

Take away positional “value” and Bowers would be #2 on my board. Funny enough, why do we generally devalue the Tight End? In terms of Wins Above Replacement of Top 10 position players, tight end ranks 4th most valuable. If any coach in the National Football League deserves to have an elite tight end, it is Jim Harbaugh.

In the last decade, Michigan was 2nd nationally in tight end targets, second only to Tight End U Iowa. Of that Tight End room that Harbaugh is inheriting, Gerald Everett is coming off an average at best (not really) year, is nearly 30, and is headed for Free Agency. Beyond him, the cupboard is starving for a grocery run. Harbaugh ran 12 personnel (1 running back, 2 tight ends) 3rd most in the country. Harbaugh permanently ranked in the top seven in the country in TE usage. Do you think he’s about to roll up with Gerald Everett and Donald Parham Jr. for half of his play calls? 

Dominating difference in Bowers and 2nd place in the last decade - 

  • 352 yards. 

  • 3 touchdowns. 

  • 223 yards after contact!

  • 8 missed tackles. 

It’s not even close. 

OT Joe Alt - Tennessee Titans #7

First, slobber over the chance for Joe Alt to work with legendary, newly hired offensive line coach, Bill Callahan. What a lucky add-on to the Brian Callahan era that Daddy is possibly the top O-Line coach of the past 30 years and has CFB & NFL Head Coaching experience. 

I’m not clever with this pairing, everyone has it: Matt Miller, Mel Kiper Jr., Daniel Jeremiah, Dane Brugler, Lance Zierlein. That’s because it’s perfect. 

Why not Olu Fashanu here? Alt breaks away from Fashanu with more “ready now” run-blocking ability, punch with his hands, and play strength. His Dad being an All-Pro Tackle doesn’t hurt either. Besides MHJ, Alt is “most likely to be a HOF” in this class’s Yearbook Superlatives. 

Beyond Peter Skoronski, this line can be upgraded everywhere. Nicholas Petit-Frere and Andre Dillard need to be a case of “one is fine, two aren't.” Keep Petit-Frere, and thank Dillard for his service. 

By going Tackle, Tennessee signs up for a receiver need at #38 (Yes, I know Free Agency and $74 Million in cap space will answer questions, dork, speaking assumptively obviously). Imagine a few names that could be there: AD Mitchell, Ladd McConkey, Keon Coleman, Xavier Legette, Xavier Worthy, Roman Wilson, etc. Get the point? 

OT Taliese Fuaga To New Orleans Saints #14

Should Fuaga kick inside to Guard and Could Fuaga kick inside to Guard are two very different things. He could be an All-Pro run mauler. With nearly 33.5-inch arms, a 6’6, 332-pound frame, and a cold-blooded killer, Fuaga should start at right tackle and test his versatility. That versatility is priceless to New Orleans.

The Saints swung and missed on Trevor Penning. Flipping over to Ryan Ramczyk, some insurance is needed in response to his season-ending knee injury, and no more than you’ve seen from Penning. Speaking of injuries, Derek Carr is this guy from SpongeBob, who broke his ribs, sprained his throwing shoulder, and endured two concussions this year. The Saints have nearly gone all in on Carr. Part of going all in on your quarterback is providing him protection across the board consistently, not mangling him. 

It’d be one thing if the running game was good, but it wasn’t. It was poorer than the Saints’ salary cap (they’ll clear it like every year). 31st in rushing average and barely eclipsing 100 rushing yards a game is also not going all in for your quarterback. Add Andrus Peat’s pending free agency to make offensive tackle arguably New Orleans’ biggest team need. 

CB Quinyon Mitchell - Philadelphia Eagles #22

The Eagles haven’t drafted a cornerback in the 1st Round since taking Lito Sheppard (1x 1st Team All-Pro in Philly) 26th out of Florida. Baker Mayfield plucked the Eagles for 337 passing yards and 3 touchdowns while sending them home on their home turf. James Bradberry, Darius Slay, and Kevin Byard appear to be well past their primes on the tape and the stat sheet, allowing next-to-worst passing yards per game in the NFL. Unacceptable from the Eagles. So make changes and get younger.

With the addition of veteran defensive play caller Vic Fangio, he will ask a lot of his perimeter corners and need island man coverage ability from physical high-speed athletes.

Meet Quinyon Mitchell. Mitchell stole the show in Mobile as the best defender on the field. He’s a perfect fit for Fangio in wanting a big, physical corner with exceptional man-to-man ability and no fear of press coverage. Mitchell has the feet to handle releases and the ball skills to sit on an island and leave with ball production. His 15 passes deflected per year average at Toledo is filthy.

I’m not convinced the Eagles at 22 isn’t his floor at this point, with the Colts at 15 feeling like a ceiling.

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