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2019 NFL mock draft 2.0

January 4, 2019

Our first crack at a mock for the 2019 NFL draft back in October admittedly was premature and highly speculative. But it also was fun.

Now with some clarity — but hardly close to what we need for the full picture — we’re back at it again. Twenty teams’ seasons are over, which has firmed up the top of the draft order for April

We also know of many underclassmen who have declared, with less than two weeks remaining before that deadline arrives.

It’s hardly concrete, but a vague picture is starting to take shape. So let’s kick around a few picks for fun, shall we?

1. Arizona Cardinals — Ohio State DE Nick Bosa

This pick feels pretty solid at this point, even with a new head coach incoming. Pairing Bosa with Chandler Jones would give the Cardinals their best pass-rush duo since … Freddie Joe Nunn and Ken Harvey? OK, at least since Jones and Markus Golden a few years ago, but Golden’s past 15 games — amid health concerns — have produced a mere 2.5 sacks, and he’s slated for free agency in March.

Bosa might only have played three games for the Buckeyes this season, but he shut it down following a core injury knowing he was pretty much guaranteed to be one of the first handful of picks in the draft. Now it looks like he’s the odds-on favorite to go first overall barring a sea change of thought. Bosa will be tasked to stalk the NFC West’s impressive young quarterbacks and revive a fallen defense.

Could the Cardinals deal down for more picks? Perhaps. But Bosa is the odds-on fave now to go first.

2. San Francisco 49ers — Kentucky LB Josh Allen

They’re set at quarterback with Jimmy Garoppolo, backed by the impressive Nick Mullens, as well as having former third-rounder C.J. Beathard in the pen. In a perfect world, they’d trade down to a QB-needy team, but that scenario just doesn’t feel likely with perhaps no prospect worth taking this high.

Over the past decade, the positions drafted in the top three selections have been: QB (13), pass rusher (six), interior defensive lineman (six), offensive tackle (four) and running back (two). That’s it. To us, based on positional value and the talent likely to be available, the selection options right now appear to be Allen or Bama’s Quinnen Williams. Sometimes that trumps need, even with the 49ers having a glut of former high picks in the trenches.

So why Allen? We think a week of the 49ers seeing him up close at the Senior Bowl could be the difference. The highly confident rusher believes he should be the first overall pick, and that type of alpha-dog attitude might be what this underachieving defense needs most.

3. New York Jets — Alabama DT Quinnen Williams

Who knows who will become head coach and what type of defense the Jets will run, but Williams is diverse enough to fit pretty much any front. They’d love an edge guy, making Allen a strong option if he’s here. But they pretty much could use any type of disruptor up front, especially with Leonard Williams heading into his fifth season perhaps needing to show just a bit more.

Muhammad Wilkerson is the only Jets player to top 10 sacks since 2005, crazy as that sounds. I expect the Jets to spend big in free agency, but these types of defensive playmakers are hard to find there. They’re easier to locate in the draft. The two Williamses could be a dynamic pair inside.

4. Oakland Raiders — Florida State LB Brian Burns

Burns’ pre-draft process will be important, as some scouts believe he played below the 240-pound mark this past season. But what the tape shows is an explosive first step, vines for arms to disrupt passing lanes and great bend around the edge. My off-the-cuff comp for him is Danielle Hunter, who has 40 sacks in his first four seasons, even if new GM Mike Mayock did, for what it’s worth, have reservations about Hunter coming out.

This admittedly feels a bit high for Burns right now to us, but he’s also the type of player we expect to rise throughout the process. After Bosa and Allen, the pass-rush talent takes a dip, so that need also should push him up in the draft. The Raiders were the worst pass-rushing team in the league most of this season.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — LSU CB Greedy Williams

One area in which they certainly must improve is adding playmaking talent to a secondary that is woefully short of that right now. After a little bit of a slow start to his redshirt sophomore season, Williams played his best ball down the stretch and matched the level of his terrific 2017 campaign. He’s more size-wise like what the Bucs sought in 2018 second-rounder Carlton Davis than former first-rounder Vernon Hargreaves, whose season was shut down because of a torn labrum in his shoulder.

Williams and Davis could make a good outside pair, and fellow second-rounder M.J. Stewart could be pegged for nickel duty. It’s time for some new faces and talent in this secondary — and some size — after the team twice passed on Derwin James a year ago. Brent Grimes turns 36 prior to training camp. He led Bucs DBs in snaps played this season, which says more about the other young players not being ready.

6. New York Giants — Michigan DL Rashan Gary

I’ll be completely honest: I really don’t know which way the G-Men will go here. But it’s becoming pretty obvious they’re not super keen on drafting a quarterback high this year, especially after Oregon’s Justin Herbert opted to stay in school. And what I suspect is that the Giants pretty clearly realize that the disruptive talent in the front seven is severely limited.

Gary is a polarizing prospect who won’t be placed this high in many mocks. Admittedly, it’s a risk putting him up here when some folks believe he’s more likely to go in the 20s or perhaps 30s right now, given that his production has been up and down and his best NFL position might be a bit unclear.

What I see, however, is a heavy-handed force player with versatility and terrific upside, and I believe he’s a far better fit in James Bettcher’s odd-front system than, say, Houston’s Ed Oliver would be. Gary and B.J. Hill could supply some really nice penetration in lieu of drafting an edge rusher way too high.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars — Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins

I get the feeling the Jaguars could opt to go the veteran QB route (maybe Joe Flacco?), but short of that they must find someone for down the road at what has been a trouble spot for more than a decade now. Besides, would Flacco or almost any other veteran acquisition at QB be anything more than a stopgap?

Haskins has really interesting traits and appears to be QB1 right now following a strong finish to the season, assuming he declares. A few people we trust said they still hope he’s groomed correctly and not asked to be a Day 1 savior, but Haskins has really nice upside. He reminds me a little of Mitch Trubisky but could ultimately be better than that.

8. Detroit Lions — Clemson DE Clellin Ferrell

This would be a bit of a reach in my mind, although Ferrell clearly is a terrific football player who should have a home in the NFL for the next decade. More than anything, it feels like a safe pick — high floor, and a good not elite ceiling — at a need position, which only partially fits the Lions’ draft mantra. But they certainly need an impact defender who can help a unit that felt shorthanded all season, even with the overall numbers not terrible on that side of the ball.

I considered a cornerback here, but I just couldn’t pull the trigger. As GM Bob Quinn was climbing up the ladder in the New England Patriots’ personnel department, the majority of their first-round draft picks at that time were front-seven defenders. Head coach Matt Patricia would rather have impact players up front over back-end talent, I suspect.

9. Buffalo Bills — Ole Miss WR D.K. Metcalf

Not long ago, I highly suspected that this could be a draft like 2018 or 2016 where there was no clear-cut No. 1 receiver who was a sure bet to land inside the top half of Round 1. But it would not be a stretch to see Metcalf — if he passes medical-test muster — to be the first one drafted this year, even with some other fascinating candidates.

This fits what the Bills need. With Josh Allen at quarterback, they have to have a long-armed, big target capable of adjusting out of his frame for some occasionally off-target passes. And the beauty of Metcalf’s game is that there is a clear downfield element to it with YAC potential, and he blocks his face off; those are both good fits in what’s sure to be a run-heavy offense mixed with vertical shots.

If Metcalf is cleared following a season-ending neck injury, his stock should be strong.

10. Denver Broncos — Missouri QB Drew Lock

The Broncos have sent scouting reps to four of Lock’s game this season (that we know of), and John Elway was there in person to see him finish off his regular season in style with a very effective performance in a blowout of Arkansas. Lock’s season looked pretty shaky for a while, as he adjusted to a new offensive system, and injuries to WR Emmanuel Hall and TE Albert Okwuegbunam had tangible effects.

But Lock’s strong second half, and the ability to have a showcase week at the Senior Bowl, means he absolutely will have a great opportunity to land in Round 1. You’ll see a lot of mocks from analysts who are down on him, placing him in Round 2, and that’s fine. But we suspect that when it’s all said and done, someone such as Elway will be too enamored with Lock’s elite arm talent and good athletic traits to let him slip past this range.

11. Cincinnati Bengals — LSU LB Devin White

Who knows what they’ll do? There are coaching unknowns, and it feels like this team has been stuck in neutral for a bit — and perhaps drifting backward in many ways. Do they go biggest need or best talent? In this scenario, they might be able to kill two birds with one stone.

White is a fast, instinctive playmaker who could be LB1 with good testing, and the Bengals need to realize what division they’re in. Even if Le’Veon Bell moves on, the Steelers have shown the ability to plug in versatile RB playmakers; the Ravens are constructing a fascinating ground-based offense; and the Browns have Nick Chubb. Cincy will need a linebacker to help combat those offenses.

12. Green Bay Packers — Alabama OT Jonah Williams

The right side of the offensive line needs fixing, and Williams could be a really nice addition to solve that need and to give the team a measure of insurance in case all-important left tackle David Bakhtiari goes down again. Bryan Bulaga turns 30 this spring, is entering the final year of his deal and has missed multiple games in three of the past four seasons. Backup tackle Jason Spriggs has been a bust. The Packers still must find ways to maximize Aaron Rodgers in his twilight years, and good blocking, you know, helps.

Williams is no mauler, per se, but he’s an outstanding technician with great hands who comes from a program that has produced nine offensive linemen drafted — five in Rounds 1 and 2 combined — since 2013. He started as a true freshman at Bama, which tells you something; this is a program that has five-star prospects buried on the depth chart. And a crazy stat: Dating back to Williams’ junior year in high school, his teams have gone a combined 71-3 with three championships.

An edge rusher is a possibility, but don’t forget that they have another pick at the end of this round. There’s no pass rusher who just screams value here to us right now, although that certainly could change over the next four-plus months.

13. Miami Dolphins — Oklahoma OT Cody Ford

Ford is perhaps the most talented member of the Sooners’ offensive line, which just received the Joe Moore Award for the best front five in college football. Get a load of Ford, who is, well ... a load. But he moves exceptionally well, too. He’d be an ideal bookend at right tackle opposite Laremy Tunsil if Ford opts to declare early.

The Dolphins were effective running the ball to the left this season but far less so to the right. Ja’Wuan James has improved, but he’s a free agent. If he stays, Ford also could make a powerful guard (that position also is also a need for Miami) as well. In fact, some scouts like him better there than at tackle.

14. Atlanta Falcons — Houston DL Ed Oliver

The fall ends for Oliver, although I suspect this would not be viewed as any kind of seismic shock in some front offices. Let’s get this much straight: As gifted as Oliver is, comparing him to Aaron Donald is just unfair. They’re different players, even if they each were nicked too much for being undersized coming into the NFL. That will be a knock on Oliver, and he’ll have to explain to folks around the league the slightly bizarre relationship with head coach Major Applewhite, but we suspect that will be much ado about nothing as Applewhite has been pretty well chewed up by a lot of people close to that program.

Oliver is a great gap shooter with borderline elite athletic traits, and though there’s a fear that pairing him with similarly skilled (and sized) Grady Jarrett could make Atlanta’s defense a bit vulnerable to power-running teams, that concern feels nitpicky to us. Put these two athletic horses up front on a defense built around speed — and attack.

15. Washington — Alabama S Deionte Thompson

This would be unfolding similarly to how Malik Hooker fell into the Colts’ laps two years ago. Thompson is a redshirt sophomore with sky-high potential, even though he might be a player who needs some development in the NFL before he reaches it.

The situation at safety isn’t great, and yes, I am aware it’s far worse — zero healthy players — at quarterback. But something tells me they’ll go the veteran route (Ryan Tannehill?) to replace Alex Smith and Colt McCoy, neither of whom are assured to be ready for OTAs. I could see Washington drafting one, but something tells me it could be later on.

16. Carolina Panthers — Ole Miss OT Greg Little

It was clear early this season that the Panthers had an O-line problem, and there really wasn’t much they could do about it. In fact, I think they need to upgrade at three spots along the line this offseason, which doesn’t just make the position a need but a gaping hole.

Little is, well, quite big. At 6-6 and 325 pounds, he’s flashed the ability to steamroll defenders in the run game and — one scout who has charted the school tells us — has made improvements in his pass sets and technique. I have not taken an extended look at Little yet this season, so I’m going on others’ word at this point, but there’s reason to believe that he could be a nice piece for a team that needs instant contributors up front in the worst way.

A modest request: Let’s not ruin Cam Newton, shall we?

17. Cleveland Browns — Washington CB Byron Murphy

Murphy said he was given a second-round grade by the underclassman advisory committee, which is interesting to note, but they always seem to err a bit on the side of conservatism when it comes to redshirt sophomores unless they are just top-10 locks. If Murphy comes out, he has a great chance to go in Round 1 with some good testing, even if a few teams feel he’s a bit too small for their prototype at the position.

I say: Who cares about all of that? I have yet to dive head first into draft mode, but I suspect Murphy will end up in my top 10 prospects overall when it’s all said and done. He really has a chance to be special. I am going to tell you right now: Murphy might not be all the way there yet, but in a few years he could be a poor man’s Darrelle Revis.

That’s, of course, a relatively huge projection for him, but given that Murphy is just turning 21 in January and already has shown CB1 ability, the sky appears to be the limit. Pairing Murphy with Denzel Ward would give the Browns two exceptional man corners to run an aggressive scheme no matter who the coaches are.

18. Minnesota Vikings — Kansas State OT Dalton Risner

The Vikings need offensive linemen, plural, in the worst way. Risner has played tackle and center in college, and guard might be his best home. At this point, Minnesota just needs to find a capable starting five, but Risner is good enough to crack that lineup from Jump Street.

He’s a little older of a prospect (he will be 24 as a rookie), but who cares? If you have all this offensive talent and can’t make it work because of poor blocking, there’s no need to nitpick these sorts of things. Just take good players, of which Risner is one.

19. Pittsburgh Steelers — Penn State CB Amani Oruwariye

The Steelers have drafted multiple defensive backs each of the past four years, and yet … here we are. They still need playmakers on the back end, and that’s what Oruwariye would bring. He’ll need to improve his tackling but already is a better ballhawk than Artie Burns, who has been a flat-out bust.

One of these years, the Steelers will not need to draft a bunch of DBs. We’ll let you know when that is when it happens.

20. Tennessee Titans — Oklahoma WR Marquise Brown

Corey Davis serves his role relatively well, but this Titans offense is too limited. Want to give Marcus Mariota — who could be playing next season on his fifth-year option to prove he’s worthy of a long-term deal — some more help downfield? Brown would be exactly that, as he’s an absolute blur. This would be similar to the Will Fuller pick by the Texans a few years back, although Tennessee clearly hopes Brown is not perpetually on IR.

Although Brown was nearly invisible in the Sooners’ loss to Bama on Saturday, catching zero passes and dropping a ball in the red zone while playing through an injury, we don’t think one poor showing kills his appeal. His speed is a legitimate, blue-chip trait that will get him picked high. And remember, Washington’s John Ross was fairly well shut down by Bama two years ago in the CFP semifinal (his college finale), but he still ended a top-10 selection.

ORDER SUBJECT TO CHANGE, 21-32

21. Philadelphia Eagles — West Virginia OT Yodny Cajuste

If you tell me the Eagles badly need a cornerback, I absolutely will nod in agreement. I am just not sure there’s one worth taking here. The league generally isn’t as high on Georgia CB Deandre Baker as some draft media are, although Baker still will have a chance to prove his Round 1 status. That won’t happen at the Senior Bowl, though, we’re told, as Baker will soon make it known publicly that he’s passing on that game.

Instead we go for some OL help. The Eagles are more set on the interior than they are outside, where Jason Peters might be coming up on the end and Halapoulivaati Vaitai just isn’t built to block speed rushers. Cajuste has a chance to raise his stock at the Senior Bowl and be part of this first-round run on tackles. He’s a bit stiff at times but also is as strong as an ox and has shown good athletic burst on tape and in the Mountaineers’ offseason testing.

22. Indianapolis Colts — Mississippi State DT Jeffery Simmons

Simmons will need to pass character muster after a video surfaced of him hitting a woman a few years ago. Sources say he’s been a model citizen since then, but each NFL team will want to scrutinize him individually.

Talent-wise, Simmons is worthy of going higher, but he’d be a perfect fit as a gap penetrator in this emerging Colts defense. He’s a TFL machine (27.5 in his past 25 games) who could really flourish in coordinator Matt Eberflus’ upfield, one-gap system … that is, if Eberflus doesn’t get a head-coaching job.

23. Seattle Seahawks — Florida DE Jachai Polite

Explosive rusher who fits the mold the Seahawks like. Frank Clark is a free agent-to-be, although you’d expect the team to make an effort to keep him. Even still, it wouldn’t be a shock to see them add some rush talent, and Polite is a gifted player who has appeared even higher in some other folks’ early mocks. There are some gaps in Polite’s production, and he still has yet to declare, but we think he comes out and goes Round 1.

24. Baltimore Ravens — Arizona State WR N’Keal Harry

Right now, there’s a glut of similarly sized and skilled receivers in this class; one or two will leak into this range of the draft, and a few will get pushed down into Day 2. This pick came down to Harry vs. NC State’s Kelvin Harmon, who might be a better blocker but isn’t quite as explosive as the Sun Devils star.

Harry is pretty linear, though, and might not be instant coffee in the league, but he can be brought along gradually as Michael Crabtree’s replacement in an offense that still figures to be ground-heavy as they continue to reshape things with QB Lamar Jackson. Give him a big, vertical receiver to complement the run game, though, and watch this offense take off.

25. Raiders (via Dallas Cowboys) — Georgia CB Deandre Baker

If Bama LB Mack Wilson comes out, he could be a terrific selection here — or, frankly, he could be long gone. But there seems to be some momentum for Wilson returning to school next season. So with that seeming to be the case, and with receivers available well into Round 2, we’re going with Baker, even though I would not be shocked if he ends up going lower. Pair him with Gareon Conley, and the Raiders’ secondary won’t look nearly as helpless.

Again, though, Baker right now is believed to be considering skipping the Senior Bowl. Might that hurt his chances to land with the Raiders, whose coaching and scouting staffs will be working with one of the rosters in Mobile? That’s hard to say, but it might prevent Baker from having a first-hand showing for the team in a few weeks.

26. Houston Texans — Wisconsin OT David Edwards

A converted tight end (and a former high-school QB), Edwards is the latest in an impressive lineage of Badgers offensive linemen, many of whom become good pros. Right now, he’s a better run blocker than pass protector, but that’s OK … and I still think he’d be a big upgrade over what they currently have on the outside now. The group has improved marginally but remains one of the weaker OT situations in the NFL.

27. Raiders (via Chicago Bears) — Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray

Look, I have no idea what’s going to happen over these next four months with the quarterbacks. Is Murray going to test the draft waters? Stick with baseball? Try to do both? Or is there even real NFL love for the kid who stands 5-foot-9 and who has been compared to Rickey Henderson in the other sport.

Following a rough start in the semifinal loss to Bama, Twitter was on fire with Murray/baseball tweets, but I am not so sure one game will change his perspective completely about what he ultimately wants to do. Against a defense loaded with NFL-caliber talent, Murray finished the game with 308 yards passing and two touchdowns and another 109 yards rushing. He gave them a chance to hang in the game, which most QBs can’t do vs. that defense.

Wouldn’t it be something if the Raiders — who currently are slated to play outside Oakland next season — were to poach their former stadium roommates, MLB’s Athletics, of their first-round pick last year? That might be the Raiders’ final bird flip as they head out of town.

I honestly have no clue if Jon Gruden likes the kid. He said he liked Wilson and Deshaun Watson, the mashup comp I can best fade with Murray right now, but then again Gruden liked everyone to a certain degree on TV. Mike Mayock talked up both players as well, but the hilarious — and potentially ironic — part is that Mayock may or may not have once taken a live-air shot at Wilson’s baseball dreams. ( You decide.)

All I know is if there ever was a team that could turn a lot of the negativity on its head with one fascinating selection to cap off a massive Round 1, it’s this one. If Mark Davis takes anything from his father’s legacy from here on out as owner, it should be that the Raiders are always in it. They’re always poised for something big up their sleeves.

That hasn’t been the case of late. Other teams have stolen that mantle from the franchise long ago, and the trades of Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper were the polar opposite of what Al Davis might consider doing. So having done that, one way to steal back some thunder — along with two very solid picks above — is knock it out of the park on the final pick of Round 1. Leave them buzzing for sure. Teddy Bridgewater and Lamar Jackson both were fascinating final picks in Round 1 the past few years, but Murray going here would be bigger, I think.

Kyler Murray. Las Vegas in 2020. Can’t you just picture it?

28. Los Angeles Chargers — Auburn DT Derrick Brown

I’m admittedly a little surprised Brown hasn’t gotten more love during the early draft process, as disruptive athletes his size are hard to find. Maybe Brown climbs as things go on here, but for now the Chargers fill a need with a physical specimen who would fit well in Gus Bradley’s one-gap scheme, either as a nose or a shade player.

Actually, the more I write about this pick, the more I am thinking this is going to look pretty low when the draft arrives. I expect Brown to be pretty coveted.

29. New England Patriots — Boston College DE Zach Allen

Bill Belichick doesn’t seem to go for the speed-rush types up high in the draft as much lately, but Allen fits the mold of the power rusher who can set a hard edge in the run game. They’ll have to concern themselves at the position with Trey Flowers up for free agency and Derek Rivers having yet to develop fully. Allen’s hustle and versatility are exactly the traits the Patriots typically seek with high-floor first-round picks.

30. Los Angeles Rams — Mississippi State DE-LB Montez Sweat

The Rams must continue adding edge players who can complement Aaron Donald. Sweat is a high-effort rusher who can win off the snap and had great production against top-tier talent in the SEC. Can he play on his feet though? That’s the biggest question, and Wade Phillips likes players who can do multiple things. We also have to consider a trade down here; even with some compensatory picks coming their way, the Rams wouldn’t select again until about the 100 range overall.

31. Kansas City Chiefs — Clemson S Isaiah Simmons

Forget them taking a running back here; it’s just not going to happen. Andy Reid doesn’t value that position this high in the draft, never has, and Damien Williams has been really good in Kareem Hunt’s old spot. The Chiefs can add a little RB help farther down.

They need defensive help in the worst way, really at all three levels, and the 6-2, 230-pound Simmons can in theory help on two of them. He’s a safety. He’s a linebacker. He plays nickel. And as he showed in the national semifinal win over Notre Dame, he’s a dude. All the stuff Derwin James is doing for the Chargers, Simmons has done for the Tigers this season. Plus, there’s a chance Eric Berry is never the same player, so this pick could help alleviate that concern.

Simmons also is only a third-year sophomore, so he has a decision to make on coming out. But a little birdy told me it feels like that’s the way the wind is blowing, so we’re mocking him to the Chiefs. For what it’s worth, Simmons grew up in the K.C. suburb of Olathe, Kan.

32. Packers (via New Orleans Saints) — Old Dominion DE-LB Oshane Ximines

This year’s Marcus Davenport? Maybe. And wouldn’t it be fascinating that the pick acquired in the Davenport trade ends up becoming this selection.

Ximines — whom our Greg Gabriel broke down back in October — is a fascinating prospect who went completely under the radar coming out of high school but has blossomed as a pass-rush talent. I can’t wait to see him at the Senior Bowl, which will be a good test for him with a nice crop of offensive tackles to battle against.

The Packers have a lot of sacks this season, but a lot of them were scheme-driven. They could use a young rusher to pair with Kyler Fackrell for the next few years, and Ximines can develop at a reasonable pace.

TEAMS WITHOUT FIRST-ROUND PICKS

57. Cowboys — Ole Miss TE Dawson Knox

He’s a converted QB who is still learning the nuances of the position, namely blocking, but Knox is a specimen of an athlete who has terrific upside. With his size and ability to high-point the ball, Knox would be a red-zone upgrade over what the Cowboys currently have. Don’t forget they were leapfrogged by the Eagles for Dallas Goedert in this same range a year ago.

(For those wondering, I would project Iowa TE Noah Fant to go off the board at the top of Round 2, as well as his teammate, T.J. Hockenson, should he declare, too. There could be a run on a good group of tight ends this year in this range.)

64. Saints — Stanford TE Kaden Smith

Ben Watson says he’ll retire, and though Josh Hill and the sparsely used Dan Arnold are back, we think they can add more here. Smith is extremely well put together at 6-5 and 253 pounds, and yet he moves exceptionally well for his size. Watch how Smith adjusts to balls in the air, and you easily can picture him developing into a Zach Ertz-like player in a few years in Sean Payton’s offense. Smith just declared for the draft, and we think he’s a solid Day 2 choice.

91. Bears — South Carolina CB Rashad Fenton

You can talk needs all you want at this stage, but Bears GM Ryan Pace will be looking for a quality depth player here — the best of what’s available at a number of positions. Fenton might be pegged for nickel duty in the league given his lack of size, but he’s a confident and experienced player who also could step in on special teams right away.

Nickel CB Bryce Callahan is a free agent-to-be who might be tough to keep, so this technically could qualify as a need come April.

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