At one point during the draft process, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. had both Cole Kmet and Chase Claypool as first round picks. With the draft just over a week away, both are now in the middle of round two for the long-time draft analyst.
Kiper has Kmet coming off the board with the No. 43 overall pick, with the Chicago Bears bringing the Illinois native back home to play professional football.
“I'm not sold on Jimmy Graham making an impact this season, and neither Trey Burton nor Adam Shaheen has worked out in Chicago. Kmet is the best tight end in an unspectacular class, but the talent is there for him to be a good blocker and receiver. This pick comes from the Raiders in the Khalil Mack trade, and the Bears still have their own at No. 50.”
Five spots later he has the New York Jets taking Claypool with the 48th overall pick, giving franchise quarterback Sam Darnold a big and talented target.
“Robby Anderson is gone, and Breshad Perriman and Jamison Crowder sit atop the Jets' wide receiver depth chart. Let's give Sam Darnold more weapons so Adam Gase can fully evaluate the third-year quarterback. The 6-foot-4, 238-pound Claypool lit up the combine with a 4.42 40 and 40.5-inch vertical, and he has a high ceiling if he can get in the right situation. He'd get early reps in New York.
Six spots later, Kiper has the Buffalo Bills taking defensive end Julian Okwara with the 54th overall pick.
“Okwara, who broke his leg in November and didn't work out at the combine, has some versatility as a defensive end in a 4-3 defense or an outside linebacker in a 3-4. He'd be an end in Buffalo. The Bills added veteran Mario Addison to take over for Shaq Lawson, who left in free agency, but there are plenty of reps in the rotation for Okwara.”
All three fits would make a lot of sense for the former Irish players. While all three have been projected first round picks at one point, falling into the second round to the right fit gives them the best opportunity for long-term success on and off the field.
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