Nolan Smith is a bit of a hybrid player. Los Angeles has never shied away from taking the best available player on their board and this seems like a fit that is almost destined to happen. With an aging Khalil Mack on one side and an injury-prone Joey Bosa on the other, having Smith in the fold would provide both an insurance policy and an option as a strong-side linebacker.
Smith is a rare blend of athleticism and power, despite his smaller frame. For the Chargers, having a guy that can play all over the place and bring energy to the defense is crucial. At 21 overall, Smith is a gamble, but one that could pay off in a huge way for a defense that is tasked with Patrick Mahomes twice a year.
The Ravens have had an offseason of weird twists and turns. Lamar Jackson looks like he is stuck in Baltimore, despite requesting a trade. Odell Beckham Jr. was signed for more money than anyone should have given him. In all of the drama that has unfolded, many have missed that they have either lost or have not yet re-signed a number of impact players from a season ago. Defensive star Calais Campbell is now a Falcon and former Chief Marcus Peters remains unsigned. With an aging and incomplete defense, the drafting of Lukas Van Ness would make a ton of sense.
Van Ness is not as refined as some of the other EDGE options in this class. His pad level and footwork need some work, but his natural ability is top-notch. He is both flexible and powerful, which makes him a natural threat as a pass-rusher. For a team with a number of veterans like the Ravens, Van Ness could show tremendous growth and learn the defense quickly.
The Vikings have seemingly been bad in coverage forever. With an electric offense that features Justin Jefferson, they truly only need to be functional on defense to increase their win total and ability to win in big games. With some talented players in the front seven, they could use a cornerback that plays well in press-man coverage. Cam Smith would fit like a glove in their system.
Smith is able to turn and run with great fluid hips and has the length and speed to make plays on the ball, even when he gets beat. The Vikings could use a real shut-down cornerback, especially with the departure of Patrick Peterson, who came up big on a number of occasions last season. Cam Smith’s upside is as high as anyone’s in this deep cornerback class.
Jacksonville, like Detroit, seems like a team that is close to being a contender. Last season, the Jaguars made huge steps and went toe to toe with the Chiefs in the playoffs for a good portion of the game. Unfortunately for them, Patrick Mahomes came through and carved them up even on a bad ankle. Last season, the Jags were 28th in passing yards allowed. Their biggest issue was a lack of pressure up front. Bryan Bresee could be an important piece in fixing that problem.
To be frank, Bresee is not an all-star pass rusher, but he is a consistent problem for interior offensive linemen. With tremendous power in his hands and a good anchor, he is simply difficult to move off of his spot. With a little NFL experience and coaching, he projects to be a dominant interior defender that could be a perennial pro bowler. Jacksonville is a few pieces away, Bresee would fill one of those voids.
The Giants have been one of the main topics of discussion from NFL analysts this offseason. After signing Daniel Jones to an enormous contract that no one is sure that he deserves, they traded away a 3rd round pick to add Darren Waller to their arsenal of weapons. Even after that move, their receiving corps leaves a lot to be desired. At pick 25, Jordan Addison would be a measured risk that could benefit their passing attack in a big way.
Addison is a smaller player. In fact, in today’s NFL, you are not finding many receivers that weigh 173 pounds. To be completely honest, that could be enough of a red flag for some general managers to either move him way down on their board or for some, take him off their board entirely. With all of that in mind, Addison is an incredible route runner. While he might have to be confined to the slot or play off of the line, Addison is a very capable receiver. In New York, he would immediately become receiver number one, despite his shortcomings.