17. Jacksonville Jaguars: Byron Murphy, DL, Texas
The Jacksonville Jaguars were one of the NFL's most disappointing teams in 2023, especially considering the fact that they got off to an 8-3 start. To miss the playoffs after that kind of start to the season requires a collapse of epic proportions.
And heads rolled because of it. Head coach Doug Pederson fired defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell and brought in Ryan Nielsen, formerly of Arthur Smith's staff in Atlanta. I think the Jaguars will place a huge emphasis on the trenches this offseason on both sides of the ball, and Murphy will bring his disruptive presence to Nielsen's unit. He was a monstrous pass rusher for Texas on the interior, creating a pressure on nearly 20 percent of his snaps.
18. Cincinnati Bengals: JC Latham, OT, Alabama
Ultimately, the Cincinnati Bengals are a super popular destination for receivers in 2024 NFL mock draft scenarios, but I don't see them letting Tee Higgins just walk out the door this offseason. Time will tell.
Jonah Williams, on the other hand, could be walking out the door in free agency. In that case, how about we replace him with another former Alabama offensive tackle? JC Latham could be the strongest player on the offensive line in this draft class and will help the Bengals shore up a problem area.
19. Los Angeles Rams: Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa
The Los Angeles Rams went almost an entire offseason without making a free agent pickup in 2023. It was so out of character for Les Snead given his "F*** Them Picks" mentality of the past.
There should be a return to some normalcy for the Rams in 2024 in terms of Snead's aggressiveness, especially with Matthew Stafford not getting any younger and this Rams team really showing something in 2023. I love the idea of Cooper DeJean and his versatility being added to this defensive backfield. He's one of the best playmakers on that side of the ball coming out in 2024 and can play all over the formation as well as give you an ace on special teams.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington
I don't know where the Steelers are at with Kenny Pickett as the potential QB of the future, but I would be willing to guess that this team is just about fed up with the way this position has held the team back in recent years.
The Steelers need to keep throwing darts, and Michael Penix Jr. is a risk/reward type of prospect who could give Pittsburgh a major boost. Penix has a history of injuries that could push him way down teams' boards, but I don't know if the Steelers can risk some team taking him early in round two or trading up at the back end of round one, and missing out on the chance to draft him.