Jacksonville Jaguars: How will CJ Henderson’s lack of run defense translate, and can it be fixed? Can they take full advantage of K’Lavon Chaisson’s talents to get a superstar pass-rusher?
CJ Henderson was arguably better than Jeffrey Okudah as a pure cover corner, as Henderson was silky smooth in his mirror ability and transitions in coverage. However, Henderson’s physicality and tackling left a lot on the bone in college, and many actually docked Henderson’s grade out of the top-20 (or even first-round) because of this. How can they fix that to turn Henderson into the high-level starter that he can become?
K’Lavon Chaisson was an incredible athlete who was overthought throughout the draft process by many. He’s not quite as raw as a pass-rusher as many analysts tend to claim. Chaisson was a plus run-defender with impressive physical gifts. As a prospect, his pass-rush plan had to improve to become a full-time impact defender. Chaisson will be paired with last year’s first-round pick Josh Allen, who was much the same way coming out of college. The continued development of these two can go a long way in restoring the Jaguars’ defense.
Tennessee Titans: Can the Titans fix Isaiah Wilson’s ability in pass protection?
This was my personal least favorite first-round pick among the AFC, due to Wilson having a lot of issues in pass protection. He’s a powerful mauler in the run game, which is probably why Tennessee took him so high in the first round. Wilson has footwork and mobility issues against speed rushers on the outside, which led to him getting beat against faster pass-rushers in college.
This issue will show up against NFL talent, especially in a division that features Allen, Chaisson, Yannick Ngakoue, JJ Watt, Whitney Mercilus, Justin Houston, Kemoko Turay, and Ben Banogu. Jack Conklin was much the same way coming out of college. The team had to deploy an extra TE or use the RB to “chip” towards Conklin’s side as a rookie. How quickly Tennessee can improve Wilson’s pass protection will be a major question mark, especially with the way the offseason is in flux.
Denver Broncos: Did they target the correct position at 15?
Jerry Jeudy is a talented player. He deserves every accolade and hype piece because he is truly a talented player. The debate regarding the selection of Jeudy is more about best-player-available versus need. In many cases, drafting the BPA is the smart choice…but not when your need is a premium position, such as with the Denver Broncos and left tackle.
The team passed on a couple of top left tackle options including Houston’s Josh Jones, USC’s Austin Jackson, and Boise State’s Ezra Cleveland. The team recently declined Garret Bolles’ fifth-year option, and likely pigeon-holed themselves into that need for next year. They’ve also kept an inferior player at left tackle to protect their young signal-caller in Drew Lock. With all of the receiving talent in the 2020 NFL Draft, will the Broncos regret not investing in their tackle spot in the first-round?
Kansas City Chiefs: How do the Chiefs adjust their offense to make Clyde Edwards-Helaire worth the first-round pick?
The Kansas City Chiefs fielded the best offense in the NFL last year and have an incredible amount of talent returning to the team for next year. Despite having virtually every piece of their Super Bowl-winning offense returning, the Chiefs decided to invest in the offense again by selecting LSU RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire at 32nd overall.
Edwards-Helaire is a fantastic player in his own right – the question lies in his usage. Chiefs’ RBs last season saw a combined 100 targets, which now likely go towards Edwards-Helaire. The Chiefs’ passing offense only had three players eclipse 60+ targets last season – Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins, and Tyreek Hill. How do they adjust their offense to take advantage of Edwards-Helaire’s ability as a receiver while also giving the appropriate dues to other players on their roster? If they figure that out, the Chiefs’ offense becomes closer to the Greatest Show on Turf. If not, the Chiefs spent the 32nd overall pick on a player they can’t use to the best of his ability.
Las Vegas Raiders: How effectively can they utilize Henry Ruggs’ speed? How quickly can Damon Arnette be developed into a CB1?
Henry Ruggs was the fastest player in the 2020 NFL Draft. Ruggs is a true mismatch weapon that alters the defense just by being on the field. Whether Ruggs is stretching the defense vertically or taking a screen/slant route to the end zone, his speed is truly elite. The question comes with his fit with the quarterbacks on the Raiders’ roster. Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota aren’t the quarterbacks that will take advantage of Ruggs’s speed downfield. How much of an impact will Ruggs be as a rookie with the checkdown-heavy quarterbacks in Carr and Mariota?
Damon Arnette was considered by many to be a reach at 19th overall. Arnette has average size (6-0, 195 pounds) and very short arms: 30-inches (7th percentile). The big red flag was his slow 40 time: 4.56 (24th percentile). Arnette is a very high-floor prospect who fits the Raiders defensive scheme well, but a top-20 pick should turn into the team’s CB1. Arnette’s physical profile doesn’t suggest the athletic upside to be that kind of player, but Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden both believe he can be. In a division that features Courtland Sutton, Tyreek Hill, Keenan Allen, Jerry Jeudy, Mike Williams, and Sammy Watkins, Arnette will have to be that CB1 quickly.
Los Angeles Chargers: How quickly can the Chargers develop Justin Herbert to be NFL-ready? How do the Chargers use Kenneth Murray to maximize his strengths?
Justin Herbert is a physically talented player. If a quarterback coach could build a quarterback in a lab, that quarterback would resemble Herbert. He can make any throw all over the field, can throw on the run, and can create on his own. But Herbert has a long way to go in developing his mental acuity as a quarterback. He’s got to get better at throwing with timing and being quicker through his progressions. Herbert needs seasoning before he is ready to go out and be an NFL starter. With the shortened offseason and lack of practice reps to build chemistry with players and the coaching staff, Herbert’s transition into the NFL will start off slow. He’ll be expected to contribute pretty quickly if Tyrod Taylor cannot turn the Chargers around. How quickly can the coaching staff turn Herbert into a franchise quarterback? Can they?
The Chargers field one of the best defenses in the NFL. That’s why it came to the surprise of many that they traded up to draft Oklahoma linebacker, Kenneth Murray. Murray fits what the Chargers needed – an enforcer at the second level. They desperately needed that presence to take their defense to the next step. Where does Murray play? He was at his best at MIKE linebacker at Oklahoma, but rookie Drue Tranquill enjoyed a breakout season at MIKE last year. If they move Murray to the WILL linebacker spot to take over Thomas Davis’s role from last year, they risk exposing Murray’s lapses in coverage downfield. The Chargers obviously have a plan for Murray, or else they wouldn’t have traded up for him. Time will tell if that was the right call to move up for him.
AJ Schulte is an NFL Draft Analyst for PFN. You can follow him on Twitter @AJDraftScout.