Off the Gridiron: ‘Difficult, reasonable, likely’ NFL draft edition

As the Class of 2024 is currently making choices about where to go to college, it reminded me of an exercise that I did with my college counselors during the beginning of my college selection process. I came into the meeting with a list of schools, and we placed them into categories “difficult,” “reasonable” and “likely.”

NFL teams also have wish lists at this time of year, so I tried to create a similar “difficult,” “reasonable” and “likely” profile for several NFL teams in interesting positions.

Jaguars: No. 9

Difficult: Isaiah Simmons

While the Jaguars have holes to fill all over their roster, adding a versatile and hyper-athletic Simmons to their defense should be their main goal. But unless the teams ahead of them are completely irrational, Simmons likely will not fall to No. 9.

Reasonable: Derrick Brown

Another Jaguars’ need is at defensive tackle after the organization traded Calais Campbell to the Ravens. Brown fills a big need and despite rumblings that he may land at No. 7 to the Panthers or No. 8 to the Cardinals, the Jaguars have a decent shot at landing the disruptive lineman.

Likely: Jerry Jeudy

Alabama star wide receiver Jerry Jeudy will likely be available for the Jaguars with their first pick. While the Jaguars already have D.J. Chark, Dede Westbrook has failed to live up to expectations and adding Jeudy to the Gardner Minshew-led offense could be something for Jaguars fans to look forward to.

Buccaneers: No. 14

Difficult: Andrew Thomas

While the Buccaneers would love to land Andrew Thomas to protect Tom Brady’s blind side, the Georgia lineman will probably not be available at this spot. The Giants, Panthers, Cardinals, Jaguars, Browns and Jets could all plausibly draft an offensive lineman, leaving the Bucs on the outside looking in.

Reasonable: Javon Kinlaw

Instead of getting their left tackle, the Buccaneers might have to settle for top-10 talent Javon Kinlaw. If the Jaguars do not select him at No. 9, the Buccaneers will likely add the South Carolina prospect to their already loaded defensive front.

Likely: K’Lavon Chaisson

Instead of reaching for an offensive tackle, the Bucs could find the best value in edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson, who will probably still be on the board. Like Kinlaw, adding Chaisson would give them an embarrassment of riches on defense.

Cowboys: No. 17

Difficult: CJ Henderson

The Cowboys have a Byron Jones-sized hole to fill at corner and Florida’s CJ Henderson could be that guy. Henderson’s athletic ability and size make him an ideal pick for the Cowboys, but he will likely be snatched up by the Falcons, who are also in desperate need of help in their secondary.  

Reasonable: K’Lavon Chaisson

After losing Robert Quinn to the Bears in free agency, the Cowboys would like to retool their pass rush and give Demarcus Lawrence some help. While there are a few teams that could take Chaisson ahead of the Cowboys, there is a decent chance he is still on the board at No. 17.

Likely: Xavier McKinney

If they miss out on Henderson and Chaisson, the Cowboys could look to Alabama safety Xavier McKinney. He can be a versatile player within the Dallas secondary and try to mitigate the losses of both Byron Jones and Jeff Heath in free agency.