Week 16 NFL Mock Draft: Chargers, Panthers, and Patriots all select quarterbacks in round one

#17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama

Jameis Winston is a roller coaster ride of a quarterback. But at this point in the draft, the potential franchise quarterbacks are almost entirely exhausted, and Winston showed enough upside this year to earn one more chance with Bruce Arians, who has a track record of mellowing turnover-prone signal-callers over time. Arians can indirectly help Winston by improving his protection, and picking Alex Leatherwood, a functionally mobile tackle with ferocious punches and a thick frame, would do just that.

#18. Oakland Raiders: Creed Humphrey, OG, Oklahoma

The Raiders added a foundational piece to their defense with the number 13 pick in this mock draft, so it only makes sense that they pivot to the offensive side of the ball for this one. Ideally, the team would move on from Derek Carr, but at number 18, the options at quarterback are sparse. Thus, working to protect whoever ends up at quarterback is perhaps the next best thing. With Richie Incognito set to turn 37 years old in July, the Raiders would do well to look to the future on the interior. Creed Humphrey sets them up well for success – he’s a guard with good size, mobility, and a mauler’s mentality.

#19. Tennessee Titans: Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State

There’s nothing gross about athleticism on the edge, and that’s exactly what Penn State’s Yetur Gross-Matos brings. Gross-Matos is a raw player, but he offers a rare combination of length, explosiveness, and flexibility, and with the right teacher, he could be a very formidable complement to Harold Landry in Tennessee.

#20. Jacksonville Jaguars: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

Sometimes guys slip. It’s the chaotic nature of the NFL Draft that demands it, and in this mock draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars are the beneficiaries, enlisting the services of LSU cornerback Kristian Fulton. Fulton’s acquisition helps numb the loss of Jalen Ramsey, and while almost no one is as transcendent of an athlete as Ramsey, Fulton offers his own favorable profile. He’s got smooth hips and he can generate substantial momentum with his first step, and he can close gaps with ease. Fulton can help the Jaguars forget about Ramsey in a hurry.

#21. Dallas Cowboys: Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford

There’s no shortage of long, athletic cornerbacks in the 2020 NFL Draft, and although Stanford cornerback Paulson Adebo might stay in school, he has the traits to be coveted by teams that value projection over present value. Adebo’s ease of motion and acceleration is striking, and he has a considerable wingspan to pair with his movement skills. Adebo will need to rebound after a down 2019 season, but on a Cowboys team that’s developed Chidobe Awuzie and other cornerbacks, Adebo should be able to progress.

#22. Miami Dolphins: Tyler Biadasz, OL, Wisconsin

With the 2019 Rimington Trophy serving as proof of his exploits, Wisconsin interior lineman Tyler Biadasz has the amalgamation of traits that all teams look for in their blockers. Biadasz is tough, quick off the snap, and very physical in the trenches. He’s also technically proficient with his strike placement and pad level, and he’d provide the Dolphins with an immediate starter on an offensive line that needs a total revamp.

#23. Miami Dolphins: Grant Delpit, S, LSU

The draft gods smile upon the Miami Dolphins, as LSU safety Grant Delpit falls to them at number 23. Delpit was once viewed as a top ten talent, and while he still receives that kind of hype, his tackling regressed enough in 2019 to warrant a slight drop. Still, Delpit is truly a top-flight athlete who can help replace Minkah Fitzpatrick and be a dangerous wild card on defense for Brian Flores. This is a player who should go in the top fifteen but didn’t in this case.

#24. Minnesota Vikings: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

The Vikings were taken by surprise in 2019, as Xavier Rhodes experienced a stark regression. With Rhodes declining fast, and with Trae Waynes set to be a free agent, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman needs to make a familiar investment in the cornerback position. At this juncture, Alabama’s Trevon Diggs is a nice get, as he provides stellar lateral and vertical athleticism to go along with a sturdy 6-foot-0, 200-pound frame. A cornerback group with Diggs, Mike Hughes, and Mackenzie Alexander has legitimate long-term potential.

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#25. Buffalo Bills: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU

Josh Allen’s development as a quarterback in 2019 has been a pleasant surprise, but the job isn’t done yet. The Bills can do even more to add to Allen’s supporting cast and prepare him for success on Sundays in 2020. Giving Allen a legitimate run-after-catch threat in the receiving core can be especially helpful, and that’s something TCU wide receiver Jalen Reagor can accomplish. Reagor accelerates with incredible quickness, and he has the elusiveness of a running back after the catch, making the most of every opportunity. Allen doesn’t have a receiver like Reagor yet, and getting that receiver could unlock the next step in his progression.

#26. Kansas City Chiefs: Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma, LB

The Kansas City Chiefs are a relatively complete team, but they can still do more to improve the viability of their defensive unit. Starting linebackers Darron Lee and Reggie Ragland are both slated to enter free agency, so to fill that gap, Kenneth Murray is readily available. Murray, one of 2019’s breakout players, has impressive physicality and range at the linebacker position, and he always gives one-hundred percent effort on every play. He can help elevate a Chiefs defense that’s struggled to attain consistency in recent years.

#27. Green Bay Packers: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

Clemson’s Tee Higgins might not deserve a meteoric rise up draft boards just yet, but after his performance in the ACC Championship game, he has to be on teams’ radar as a potential first-round prospect. Higgins is particularly raw as a route runner, and his long speed has been questioned in the past, but he’s a contested-catch monster with incredible contortion ability and focus at the catch point. His catch radius is one of the league’s largest, and he’d be a very dangerous big-play threat with Aaron Rodgers throwing him the football.

#28. San Francisco 49ers: D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia

Drafting a running back in the first round is a luxury only a select few teams can afford to entertain. In 2020, the San Francisco 49ers will be one of those teams. There may be other needs that arise shortly down the road, such as cornerback and offensive line, but the 49ers are in the middle of their contention window, and by adding a relentlessly dynamic threat like D’Andre Swift, their already dangerous offense becomes that much more lethal.

#29. New England Patriots: Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma

It’s bold, I know. But Tom Brady hasn’t been the same this year. The Patriots are still winning, but this is the most beatable they’ve looked in a long time. Age is starting to win the endless battle with Brady, and Bill Belichick, ever the planner, has to recognize that. Jalen Hurts, meanwhile, is both a dynamic athlete and a dynamic leader, and while he still has lots of development to undergo as a passer, Belichick has seen what versatility can do firsthand from the Ravens. He can bring Hurts along in the twilight years of the Brady era, and start to mold his offense through a modern lens.

#30. New Orleans Saints: K.J. Hamler, WR, Penn State

The New Orleans Saints offense is hot right now, and they need to be thinking of ways to prolong the unit’s efficiency. Ted Ginn Jr., the team’s deep threat, is likely nearing retirement, and the Saints need to get another speedy receiver in the building to help open up the offense for other players and keep defenses on their toes. Penn State’s K.J. Hamler is that receiver – he’s small in stature, but he gears up with incredible quickness, and his speed is a game-breaking asset that very few have.

#31. Seattle Seahawks: Austin Jackson, OT, USC

Austin Jackson has been a steady riser throughout the 2019 season, and recently, there’s been talk of him potentially sneaking into the back of the first round. Crazier things have happened, especially at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks, who picked Rashaad Penny and L.J. Collier in back-to-back first-rounds. Jackson is far less of a head-scratcher than those selections – he has all the athletic traits that point to massive growth potential, and in tandem with Duane Brown, he could give the offense increased functionality.

#32. Baltimore Ravens: Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State

Our own Nick Farabaugh had the Ravens pick Curtis Weaver in his last mock draft, and I’m in agreement here. There are very few holes on the Ravens team overall, so the albeit manageable void at edge rusher stands out. Even if the team re-signs Matt Judon, they need a pass rusher to provide pressure on the other side. With his size, burst, and motor, Weaver projects well in the NFL, and especially on a team that has a solid supporting cast around him.

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