NFL Network Draft Analyst Daniel Jeremiah answered questions for nearly two hours on Monday, previewing the NFL Scouting Combine (March 1-4 on NFL Network) during a media conference call. As you might expect, he offered insight on which prospects could be a strong fit with various NFL clubs. Here's a look at the prospect-team connections Jeremiah made during the call.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
The Patriots have drafted potential successors to Tom Brady in recent years (Jimmy Garoppolo, Jacoby Brissett) only to trade them. Could it be time to dip into the draft pool at quarterback again? If so, Jeremiah mentioned Daniel Jones of Duke as an attractive option, although he might be off the board before the Pats are on the clock at No. 32.
"He's very bright," Jeremiah said. "He's going to be able to swallow the information you're going to need to swallow in that offense in due time. He has touch and accuracy. Does not have a huge arm, but just a real smooth, rhythm quarterback, which is something they value in a big way."
In the middle rounds, DJ said N.C. State's Ryan Finley could be a fit, likening him to a poor man's Jared Goff.
"We'll see what Gronk decides to do, but if the two Iowa kids are gone -- if [Noah] Fant and [T.J.] Hockenson are gone -- I have Irv Smith right in that range from Alabama, who I think would be a great fit there," Jeremiah said. "He'd be able to kind of plug in. You can play him inline, you can move him. Just a real smooth, clean route runner who's pretty nifty after the catch and has some toughness that I know they covet there."
NEW YORK JETS
If a team picking later in the first round wants to move into the top five, the Jets could be an ideal trading partner. Jeremiah believes the Jets, with the No. 3 overall pick, could be wise to move down and get one of the draft's top offensive linemen. Their current slot is a little rich for the likes of Andre Dillard (Washington State) or Jawaan Taylor (Florida).
"Their most valuable possession is Sam Darnold, so finding some offensive linemen has got to be in the mix at some point in time," Jeremiah said. "A year after trading up for the quarterback, this might be the year to trade down to collect some picks to help the quarterback."
Consider the Lions as the ceiling for how high Mississippi State DE Montez Sweat could be selected. Jeremiah sees the pass rusher as a top-20 pick, and the conversation begins with Detroit's pick at No. 8. ... The second day of the draft could be the right time for the Lions to dip into what is considered a very strong tight end class -- perhaps with Kahale Warring of San Diego State, or Stanford's Kaden Smith.
"[Smith] probably has more contested catches than anyone in the draft," Jeremiah said. "He's not going to run away from a ton of people, but he works the seams and catches balls and absorbs contact as well as anyone you'll see."
Along with the Jets, the Ravens could also be a strong possibility to trade back in the draft. Unlike the Jets, however, Baltimore doesn't have a pick at the front end of Round 1. Instead, they are without a second-round selection entering a draft that will be deep with talent in that round (the Ravens traded their second-round selection to the Eagles when they moved up to pick Lamar Jackson last year). Moving back with the No. 22 overall selection could net the Ravens a prime talent in Round 2, plus an additional pick or two later in the draft.
"They historically have done very well in those middle rounds," Jeremiah said. "If they could pick up a second-round pick and another three or a four, they've drafted a lot of good football players in that range."
If Baltimore holds firm at No. 22, Jeremiah said, watch out for Michigan LB Devin Bush who is a Ravens-type player, particularly if the club loses former first-round pick C.J. Mosley in free agency.
With the 21st overall pick, the Seattle Seahawks sit at the intersection between the end of the range where Montez Sweat of Mississippi State could be drafted, and the beginning of the range where Florida State's Brian Burns could get the call, per Jeremiah.
"Pete Carroll is always going to be looking for long, really athletic, explosive edge guys," Jeremiah said. "Montez Sweat, if somehow he fell down to that range, would make some sense. ... Brian Burns from Florida State has got one of the top two or three get-offs [in the draft]. He can really bend at the top of his rush, I just want to see him be a little bit stronger converting speed into power."
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
The Chiefs' primary needs are on defense this offseason, but they still could be on the lookout for a running back after parting ways with Kareem Hunt last season. Which middle-round rushers could be a fit for Kansas City's backfield? Jeremiah mentioned a few -- Justice Hill (Oklahoma State), Ryquell Armstead (Temple), Jalin Moore (Appalachian State) and Elijah Holyfield (Georgia).
Penn State's Miles Sanders or Stanford's Bryce Love could be nice fits for the Bears' RB rotation, and Love, Jeremiah said, could come at a discounted draft price due to a torn ACL suffered in his final college game.
LSU LB Devin White has the ability to cover tight ends and running backs in the passing game and also has a good knack for blitzing, factors that would translate well in Vic Fangio's first defense in Denver. The Broncos hold the 10th overall pick.
The difference between Mississippi State's Montez Sweat and Clemson's Clelin Ferrell? Sweat is the better athlete, but Ferrell is more powerful and more reliable against the run. The Panthers, if they want a pass rusher at No. 16 overall, will have that to consider.
LeSean McCoy 2.0 in Philadelphia? Florida Atlantic's Devin Singletary has some McCoy in his game, per Jeremiah, and would settle nicely into the Eagles' offense. Memphis RB Darrell Henderson has big-play ability and would look good in midnight green as well -- and neither would demand a first-round selection.
OT Jawaan Taylor of Florida could look good in a Bengals uniform and has the versatility to play on the right or left side of the line.
"He can handle speed in pass protection, he can redirect easy in the run game, he has some serious torque to be able to latch on and turn and dump guys," Jeremiah said. "He is a really, really good football player who has played on the right side. Has the ability, eventually if you needed him to survive over there, on the left side."
After working extensively with Raiders GM Mike Mayock at NFL Network, Jeremiah has a strong understanding of what the former draft analyst likes in a defensive lineman. With one of two picks late in the first round (Nos. 24 and 27), TCU's L.J. Collier might fit the bill nicely.
"Knowing how much [Mayock] values strength, toughness, power, effort, those are the things Mike's talked about for as long as I've known him," Jeremiah said. "... [Collier] would be one [possibility] at the bottom of [Round 1]. (Louisiana Tech's) Jaylon Ferguson is another one with really heavy hands. To me, he is kind of a poor man's Chandler Jones."
A pass rusher is a strong possibility for the Tennessee Titans at No. 19, but so is another receiving weapon for QB Marcus Mariota. Jeremiah sees two first-round caliber receivers in the draft -- Ole Miss' D.K. Metcalf and Oklahoma's Marquise Brown -- and likes the idea of either of them in Tennessee.
"[If] you want to get explosive, those two kids with Metcalf and Marquise Brown, you pair [one of] them up with what you have in Corey Davis. Going forward, that would be a pretty good nucleus to work with," Jeremiah said.
Georgia CB Deandre Baker would look good in Atlanta, Jeremiah said, with the ability to play outside or in the nickel position.