Ho ho ho! It’s that wonderful time of year when we give gifts to those we love and those we mildly tolerate. I am going to play the role of Santa this year and hand out some NFL Draft gifts to each NFC team after giving them to AFC teams a few days ago.
Now, the players each team is getting aren’t necessarily a first round pick or maybe not even addressing a need, but players that would fit the mentality and approach of a team, coaching staff, and/or city. After all, some gifts are luxuries while some fill a need.
Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
Hamilton will be well out of the Cowboys wheelhouse when draft day roles around, but I am giving gifts and will place the best Safety in the class in a fun defense that can utilize his talents. Hamilton has insane range and closing speed to make big plays, as he showed this season. Add in his size and athletic ability, and he can do it all. With a get off like Blitzen, Hamilton would turn the Cowboys unit into one of the best in the league.
New York Giants
Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
John Mara may end up on the Naughty List if he truly brings back Joe Judge and Daniel Jones for another year. But, whoever the head coach and QB are, they will need offensive lineman to help protect and run that offense. Enter small schooler Trevor Penning.
Penning is massive with quick feet for a top notch kick slide and great upper-body strength. He is a bully and the Giants could use a bully upfront.
Drake London, WR, Southern Cal
Devonta Smith was a good pick. Jalen Reagor was not. The Eagles continue looking for playmakers for their team and a big contested catch target would add a ton to this offense. Is taking ANOTHER WR worth a first round pick? I’m not sure, but I’ll grant the gift of Mr. Drake London to Philly.
London was on pace for one of the best college WR seasons ever before fracturing his ankle. His massive mitts and leaping ability would add a new dynamic for Jalen Hurts and the Eagles offense.
Washington Football Team
Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
The Washington roster is just so good on paper. Good young O-line, top WR in Terry McLaurin and a top RB in Antonio Gibson. The defense is strong upfront. But that QB, oh that QB position. So why not gift Riverboat Ron his next Cam Newton in Malik Willis?
Willis has some amazing tape. Athletic with a big arm and body to run through defenders. He also has some horrible tape. Holding the ball too long and looking uncomfortable under pressure making mistakes. With good coaching and tweaking his weaknesses, Willis could be an unstoppable weapon.
Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama
Allen Robinson was a flop this year and will likely be gone. Darnell Mooney provides a deep threat for Justin Fields, but he needs a reliable big target.
Enter Jalen Tolbert. Though South Alabama isn’t an NFL Draft talent hub, Tolbert has the size to be a primary target for the Bears. He has good hands and isn’t afraid to get physical down the field to gain positioning. He could step in as a WR1 for the team and help that offense.
Chad Muma, LB, Wyoming
The Lions identity as a physical team that never gives up is becoming established. One player came to mind to fit that well and it is Muma. He is a physical downhill tackler with excellent instincts similar to former teammate Logan Wilson.
Though he isn’t the best coverage LB, there is room for improvement. Muma’s high motor will be perfect for this squad.
Green Bay Packers
Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State
The Packers offense will likely look very different next year. No Davante Adams? Maybe no Aaron Rodgers? Whether that happens or not, the one area where the offense can be helped is at the TE position.
An amazing pass catcher like McBride would do wonders for the red zone and bail out options for Rodgers or Love. He has great body control and can pull in passes from all over his radius. What a gift!
Kyu Blu Kelly, CB, Stanford
The Vikings pass defense still hasn’t improved much. Sure, they need more pass rush, but how about another physical press man corner? That is where Blu Kelly comes in! He has good hands at he line of scrimmage and has had an excellent season. He would be a worthwhile add for the Vikings.
Josh Paschal, EDGE, Kentucky
It feels like the Falcons have needed a pass rusher for years and years. Though there are plenty of other needs on the team currently, a tenacious rusher with strength who can set the edge would do the trick for the perfect gift. Paschal would fit right in with an underrated Falcons defense.
Paschal has been a solid pass rusher in the SEC this season with 5.5 sacks, but even better, he plays the outside run extremely well. He has great instincts and has improved every year, perfect against the likes of Alvin Kamara and Christian McCaffrey in the division.
Matt Corral, QB, Mississippi
After blowing a ton of picks trading for Sam Darnold, I’ve decided to just gift the Panthers their QB of the future so they will stop messing around. Corral is slight in stature, but he has a lightning quick release and excellent zip on the football. For weapons like DJ Moore and Terrace Marshall, this would be a dream.
Corral can run around a bit too and take off as needed. The athleticism should keep defenses on their heels a little more and open up the offense. It would be an excellent band aid on an offense with talented skill positions.
New Orleans Saints
Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
Sean Payton has to be pulling his hair out with the QB play for the Saints this season. Don’t worry, I’m here with the perfect gift of Pickett under the tree. Put Pickett, a QB who throws lasers on the move, in a Payton offense and it will be a match made in heaven.
Pickett had a long career at Pitt but took a HUGE leap this season leading them to an ACC title. He has that short range accuracy Payton likes in his offense while still giving splash plays when extending the play. Pickett is a cerebral QB who would fit right in.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn
The Bucs secondary was injury riddled and a big downfall of the defense. A rock solid man cover corner would help patch things up and add depth to the secondary. McCreary is a forgotten man in this draft, but he showed up consistently in big games as a sticky, physical corner.
Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
I love the Kingsbury passing offense with Kyler Murray. It is fun to watch. So, let me gift them the best pass blocking OT in this draft who is used to a ton of passes in the Mike Leach system. Cross would be such a fun fit who can give Murray the extra time needed against great pass rush.
Los Angeles Rams
Travis Jones, DL, UConn
Aaron Donald is a gem and can never be replaced, but another big bodied mover in the middle for the Rams would add some ability against the run. Jones played for a UConn team that could barely sniff a win this year, but he is a gamechanger in the middle.
San Francisco 49ers
Riley Moss, CB, Iowa
More playmakers for the 49ers defense could add a lot to this team. Once Trey Lance is at the helm, more positions are better. One of the best interception corners in the draft is Moss, who had 4 interruptions in Iowa’s first 6 games this year.
Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota
With Rashaad Penny’s emergence, I want the Seahawks to finally get a hulking offensive lineman to start clearing paths. Faalele is a near 400 pound mammoth on the offensive line (who actually scored a TD in Minnesota’s Bowl Game). Can you imagine him in this Seahawks offense?
Follow Shane for more @ShanePHallam and see his work here for more gifts!