Romance is in the Air; Playing the Perfect Matchmaker for 6 Draftees & Teams this Draft Season
It's draft season and romance is in the air. In light of The Bachelor finale coming up next week, I have decided to play a little matchmaker game for NFL teams and prospects this draft season. We all have our favorite draft picks, mock drafts, and player evaluations. I wanted to do something a little different with this article. I am the matchmaker for 6 players and I need to find 6 perfect teams to assign them to. All I can do is pair them up and the rest will be up to them. Can I find the match made in heaven for 6 draft prospects? Can we find New England a wide receiver over 5"4? Will the Bengals get Joe Burrow some help on the offensive line? How about the Giants and Packers adding offensive weapons? There are many questions and I hope to answer some of them here today.
Image via Noah Frick-Alofs/Daily Senior Staffer
Rose #1: New England Patriots & WR, Rashod Bateman (Minnesota)
Listen, Cam Newton was bad after the Covid spell last season; like really, really bad. However, putting the blame squarely on his shoulders is misguided. The Patriots offensive weapons consisted of Jakobi Meyers, Damiere Byrd, and N'Keal Harry. Probably one of the worst position groups in the NFL last season after Julian Edelman went down with an injury. The Patriots need a stud wideout in this draft and that has to be a high priority. I can't see them taking a QB unless they really love one. Bateman would clearly be the number one guy on this team and would fill a massive need for New England. Depending on where he falls in the draft, Bateman is absolutely a top 20 pick. With the Patriots sitting at #15 overall, I really like the position they are in. A consistent route runner and the ability to release off tight man coverage would be much needed in this Patriots offense. Combine that with a veteran tight end signing (Jared Cook or Kyle Rudolph) and possibly Edelman coming back healthy, the Patriots could look a lot different next year. Don't rule out a trade for Stefon Gilmore to Cleveland for a package of picks and TE David Njoku as well. The quarterback situation needs to get itself figured out and I believe they will look at bringing in a veteran to do so.
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Rose #2: Cincinnati Bengals & OT, Penei Sewell (Oregon)
To myself and many others, this feels like the home-run draft pick and player. Which is probably why Miami will mess things up and take him at #3. However, if the Bengals can get into position to select Sewell, they will address a massive concern at the tackle position, hopefully for many years. Sewell is listed by many as the top tackle in this year's class and the Bengals most important need is on the offensive line, considering rookie quarterback Joe Burrow was sidelined due to a torn ACL. Protecting Burrow has to be, I repeat, HAS TO BE the number one priority this offseason. If they have to trade up to number 2 overall to do it, then you do it. Now, I have no idea if the Bengals believe Sewell is the top tackle. Maybe they believe in Rashawn Slater of Northwestern is their guy. I prefer Sewell over Slater, but the margin is not far off. If Sewell is selected before Cincinnati picks at #5, they could look at other options. Sewell has some things to work on at the next level, but the special ingredient is there for a future star.
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Rose #3: New York Giants & WR, Jaylen Waddle (Alabama)
The Giants need a weapon on the offensive side of the ball. If they are truly committed to Daniel Jones, then it's time to go get him a difference maker at receiver. Jaylen Waddle is your man. Speed, versatility, and quickness are just a few characteristics to describe Waddle. The Giants could utilize him in a variety of ways, including out of the back field. They have been lacking weapons at the receiver position since the trade of Odell Beckham Jr. This would be the perfect guy to step in and help a Giants receiving core that ranked 29th in passing yards per game last season. He would complement Slayton, Shepard, and Tate provided they are all back in 2021 (Tate could re-sign on a more team-friendly deal). The main goal is getting Saquon Barkley back on the field, but adding Waddle to this offense could really spice things up for an offense who has been extremely poor for a few years now.
Image via John Mersits/CCM
Rose #4: Green Bay Packers & WR, Rondale Moore (Purdue)
Yeah, I'm getting crazy with wide receivers (and I still have one more). Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams need some damn help. It's been those two for years now without a viable number 2 man. With the departure of Aaron Jones and possibly Robert Tonyan, the time is now for the Packers to add a wideout weapon for Rodgers. Rondale Moore is one of my favorite prospects in the draft this year because he is flat out special. His career was ultimately underwhelming at Purdue, but he showed some major flashes as a Freshman. Moore in the Green and Gold is a match made in heaven. It should also provide Davante Adams some relief, even though frankly could beat quadruple coverage if he had to. Get Aaron Rodgers Rondale Moore, then draft him in your dynasty rookie drafts and watch your bank accounts soar at the end of the season. Green Bay Packers & Ronale Moore. I will speak it into existence.
Image via UNC Athletics
Rose #5: Kansas City Chiefs & WR, Dyami Brown (North Carolina)
Another wide receiver??? Are you kidding me??!!! No. I'm not kidding you. The Chiefs need to improve at this position and what better way than adding a playmaker like Brown who may be flying under the radar. Coming in at around 6 foot inches tall and 185 pounds, Brown is the perfect long-ball threat that the Chiefs need to add to complement Tyreek Hill. This could be done in the middle rounds as well so they could address the offensive line and other areas of need first. I strongly believe he has starters upside in 2021 as he develops as the season goes on. Brown has averaged over 20 yards per catch in his last two seasons in Chapel Hill. The perfect toy for Patrick Mahomes to come back with a vengeance next season.
Image via Roger Steinman, Associated Press
The Final Rose: Pittsburgh Steelers & QB, Mac Jones (Alabama)
Personally, I'm not a fan of Mac Jones, but he's been growing on me after watching film and listening to more experts. What he needs to succeed is a solid offensive line and weapons around him. Pittsburgh is trending downward in 2021, but could potentially secure a quarterback of the future with Roethlisberger on his last leg. Jones is the perfect guy to come in and sit for a year while learning the NFL game. I certainly think he is capable of starting in year one, but sitting for one year in one of the best franchise's in professional sports could really pay off in the end. Pittsburgh has to be looking at finding the future at quarterback this offseason. I think Mac Jones and the Pittsburgh Steelers are a match made in heaven. I don't know what his ceiling truly is, but if he's in the right situation, I don't see why he couldn't succeed.