NFL Postseason Draft: Sauce Gardner to Baltimore? Jonathan Taylor to Dallas?


The NFL doesn’t need the help. We’re all going to watch the playoffs, and we’d do it even if we did end up with a Mason Rudolph/Mike White matchup for the game. But let me just pitch an idea to you: Kansas City Chiefs WR Ja’Marr Chase.


In baseball, the Dominican Winter League has a playoff postseason draft, where the playoff teams get to borrow players from the eliminated teams for the postseason only, after which the players go back to their original teams. Obviously that’ll never happen in the NFL (or MLB), but also obviously … man, that’d be exciting.

So, with a thousand hat tips to the great guys at @CespedesBBQ who did this for baseball last fall, today, Mike Randle and I will give each NFL playoff team (Mike NFC, me AFC) players from the non-playoff teams in a draft, with areas of need heavily influenced by DVOA. Four rounds, snake draft, best record-to-worst record (so the Ravens get a special bonus for being the best team). This is as everyone stands today, so if a player is hurt, he’s not going to get picked. 

Let’s go. See the whole draft board at the bottom, but first we’ll go pick-by-pick.

NFL Playoff Draft

Round 1

Pick 1: Baltimore Ravens — Sauce Gardner, CB, New York Jets

The Ravens don’t have a glaring weakness, but the secondary has fallen on hard times, and Sauce Gardner might be the best in the game right now. — Daniel Kelley

Pick 2: San Francisco 49ers — Bernhard Raimann, T, Indianapolis Colts

The main weakness of the 49ers is their interior offensive line, which was exposed early in the season by the Browns. The key to beating San Francisco is pressuring Purdy with just four lineman, an identical plan to defeating the Patriots during their dynasty. Bernhard Raimann is one of the best all-around offensive lineman in the NFL. — Mike Randle

Pick 3: Dallas Cowboys — Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts

It shocked me that Dallas did not add a running back in the preseason, instead choosing to give the majority of backfield touches to the diminutive Tony Pollard. Their running game has struggled all season, so let’s add one of the best rushers in the NFL in Jonathan Taylor to this explosive Cowboys offense. — Randle 

Pick 4: Detroit Lions — Trey McBride, TE, Arizona Cardinals

Sam LaPorta is unlikely to play against the Rams due to a knee injury suffered in Detroit’s season-ending win over Minnesota. Swap in athletic second-year tight end Trey McBride, who posted only five fewer receptions with an inferior Arizona offense. — Randle

Pick 5: Buffalo Bills — Maxx Crosby, EDGE, Las Vegas Raiders

Maxx Crosby Las Vegas Raiders Fantasy Football NFL Playoff Postseason Draft

There’s an argument for giving them a receiver, but add this piece to the defense and you take that much of the burden off. Maxx Crosby might have been the Defensive Player of the Year on another team in another year. — Kelley

Pick 6: Kansas City Chiefs — Ja’Marr Chase, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

When the great guys at CespedesBBQ did this for baseball, they simply gave the Rangers and the woeful Texas bullpen four relievers. They literally said they sorted the MLB leaderboard by saves and just went down the list. I’m not saying I’m doing the same with the Chiefs and receiving yards for this exercise, but … it might be close. — Kelley

Pick 7: Cleveland Browns — Justin Fields, QB, Chicago Bears

Joe Flacco‘s been a great story, but this Browns team with a better quarterback could be dynamite. — Kelley

Pick 8: Philadelphia Eagles — Pat Surtain, CB, Denver Broncos

Philadelphia’s 29th ranked defense per DVOA is very much in need of immediate help. Insert one of the best cornerbacks in the league in Denver’s Pat Surtain. — Randle

Pick 9: Miami Dolphins — Quenton Nelson, G, Indianapolis Colts

The health questions surrounding Jaylen Waddle, Raheem Mostert and half the defense did make this something to ponder, but ultimately the Dolphins have an obvious weakness at left guard, and Quenton Nelson might be the game’s best. Easy call. — Kelley

Pick 10: Houston Texans — Dexter Lawrence, DI, New York Giants

Dexter Lawrence might have been the game’s best interior defender in 2023, and this Texans team could make real use of that skill. — Kelley

Pick 11: Los Angeles Rams — Riq Woolen, CB, Seattle Seahawks

Riq Woolen had a rough start to this sophomore season but is still a good cover CB who garnered Pro-Bowl honors just one year ago. — Randle

Pick 12: Pittsburgh Steelers — Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals

Kyler Murray Arizona Cardinals Fantasy Football NFL Playoff Postseason Draft

The Steelers … with an actual quarterback? A Steelers team that is actually fun to watch? Be still my heart. — Kelley

Pick 13: Tampa Bay Buccaneers — DeForest Buckner, DI, Indianapolis Colts

DeForest Buckner would fortify the interior defensive front of Tampa Bay, which will be needed against an Eagles offense struggling to find consistency in the passing game. — Randle

Pick 14: Green Bay Packers — Quinnen Williams, DI, New York Jets

Green Bay’s run defense is their biggest weakness, and it gets addressed with the addition of the Jets elite defensive tackle. — Randle

Round 2

Pick 1: Green Bay Packers — Derwin James, S, Los Angeles Chargers

The Packers defense needs a ton of help, and Derwin James would be a superb addition against Dallas’ passing attack. — Randle

Pick 2: Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Jaycee Horn, CB, Carolina Panthers

We fortified the Bucs front seven with DeForest Buckner, now let’s give them an elite CB like Jaycee Horn to defend Jalen Hurts through the air. — Randle

Pick 3: Pittsburgh Steelers — Jaylon Johnson, CB, Chicago Bears

With the quarterback question answered with Kyler Murray in Round 1, now we address cornerback, pairing Joey Porter with Jaylon Johnson to form a formidable 1-2 punch. — Kelley

Pick 4: Los Angeles Rams — Evan Engram, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars

The Rams offense ranks third in offensive DVOA over the second half of the season. Adding the athletic Engram to Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua seems almost unfair. — Randle

Pick 5: Houston Texans — Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings

2023 was Nico Collins‘ coming-out party, with Week 18 the enormous cherry on top. But with Tank Dell done for the year and Noah Brown and Robert Woods some combination of inconsistent and injured, giving C.J. Stroud another weapon to work with would be huge for their playoff potential. — Kelley

Pick 6: Miami Dolphins — Trey Hendrickson, EDGE, Cincinnati Bengals

The injuries to Jaelan Phillips, Bradley Chubb and Andrew Van Ginkel have been crushing to the Dolphins’ hopes. Let’s start to put it back together with Trey Hendrickson, who finished No. 2 in the league in sacks in 2023. — Kelley

Pick 7: Philadelphia Eagles — Khalil Mack, LB, Los Angeles Chargers

Philadelphia has a ton of injuries on offense, but their defense is the biggest disappointment entering the postseason. — Randle

Pick 8: Cleveland Browns — Kolton Miller, T, Las Vegas Raiders

The Browns’ remaining tackles are something like their fifth and sixth choices on the season. Kolton Miller‘s been a bright spot for the Raiders the last few years, so let’s see if he can stop the bleeding at that position in Cleveland. — Kelley

Pick 9: Kansas City Chiefs — DJ Moore, WR, Chicago Bears

DJ Moore Chicago Bears Fantasy Football NFL Playoff Postseason Draft

Another receiver coming to the Chiefs. Justin Fields was the best quarterback DJ Moore had ever played with — give him Patrick Mahomes and he might cry. — Kelley

Pick 10: Buffalo Bills — Chris Olave, WR, New Orleans Saints

The Bills are reasonably shallow at receiver already, and that only gets worse if the already unreliable Gabe Davis can’t go in the Wild Card Round. Pair Chris Olave with Stefon Diggs and watch the fireworks. — Kelley

Pick 11: Detroit Lions — Marshon Lattimore, CB, New Orleans Saints

Detroit needs secondary help against the Rams and potentially Cowboys or 49ers. — Randle

Pick 12: Dallas Cowboys — Braden Smith, T, Indianapolis Colts

I gave Dallas an elite running back with their last pick, so now we add Braden Smith to help open running lanes while keeping Dak Prescott comfortable. — Randle

Pick 13: San Francisco 49ers — Chris Lindstrom, G, Atlanta Falcons

Teams that have success against San Francisco have been able to pressure Brock Purdy with just four lineman. Chris Lindstrom makes that much harder. — Randle

Pick 14: Baltimore Ravens — Derrick Brown, DI, Carolina Panthers

Derrick Brown was the bright spot in Carolina in 2023. Let’s put him on a strong-but-not-invincible defense in Baltimore. — Kelley

Round 3

Pick 1: Baltimore Ravens — Bijan Robinson, RB, Atlanta Falcons

Gus Edwards, Justice Hill and (somehow) Dalvin Cook are the Ravens’ backfield in the playoffs after injuries to J.K. Dobbins and Keaton Mitchell. Put Bijan Robinson there and … so very exciting. — Kelley

Pick 2: San Francisco 49ers — Christian Barmore, DI, New England Patriots

We solidified the offensive line, let’s give the 49ers DT Christian Barmore, who produced a suberb season for a woeful Patriots team. — Randle

Pick 3: Dallas Cowboys — Kendall Fuller, CB, Washington Commanders

Detroit exposed this Dallas season in the near-upset during Week 17. Kendall Fuller finished as the fifth-best overall cornerback per PFF. — Randle

Pick 4: Detroit Lions — Devon Witherspoon, CB, Seattle Seahawks

Devon Witherspoon finished the regular season as PFF’s fourth-best overall cornerback, with a top-15 rushing defense grade as well. — Randle

Pick 5: Buffalo Bills — Montez Sweat, EDGE, Chicago Bears

Montez Sweat led both the Commanders and the Bears in sacks this season because of the midseason trade. He probably wouldn’t be able to overtake Ed Oliver‘s 9.5 to lead the Bills as well in a playoff run, but he’d sure give it a shot. — Kelley

Pick 6: Kansas City Chiefs — DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Tennessee Titans

Last one, I promise. Imagine how the 2023 season might have gone if the Chiefs had signed DeAndre Hopkins when he was on the market last summer? — Kelley

Pick 7: Cleveland Browns — Davante Adams, WR, Las Vegas Raiders

Davante Adams Las Vegas Raiders Fantasy Football NFL Playoff Postseason Draft

If he’s healthy, Amari Cooper is an elite receiver, but Elijah Moore is no guarantee, and the rest of the receiver room is lacking. Let’s give new Browns quarterback Justin Fields another star weapon. — Kelley

Pick 8: Philadelphia Eagles — David Onyemata, DI, Atlanta Falcons

The Eagles run defense declined dramatically over the course of the season. David Onyemata fixes that immediately. — Randle

Pick 9: Miami Dolphins — Cole Kmet, TE, Chicago Bears

Assuming Jaylen Waddle is back healthy for Miami, there probably isn’t a wide receiver you could add to the roster who would command many targets. But the same isn’t true at tight end, where Durham Smythe is just a guy. Cole Kmet has become an upper-tier tight end, and another receiving weapon would help. — Kelley

Pick 10: Houston Texans — Darious Williams, CB, Jacksonville Jaguars

The Houston run defense is very solid (Jonathan Taylor in Week 18 notwithstanding), but the pass defense is a bit less impressive. Now that he’s back healthy, Derek Stingley is a very strong corner, but the Texans could use another one. Darious Williams allowed only a 69.6 passer rating in coverage in 2023. — Kelley

Pick 11: Los Angeles Rams — Grover Stewart, DI, Indianapolis Colts

Grover Stewart was suspended for six games for violating the league’s PED policy, but he finished the season ranked fifth in run defense per PFF. — Randle

Pick 12: Pittsburgh Steelers — Christian Darrisaw, T, Minnesota Vikings

The Steelers have a very average offensive line. It’s not going to cost the team in the postseason, but it isn’t going to be the reason Pittsburgh wins either. Christian Darrisaw has shined in Minnesota the last two years. — Kelley

Pick 13: Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Quinn Meinerz, G, Denver Broncos

Tampa Bay’s rushing offense was one of the worst in the NFL, and Quinn Meinerz grades out as one of the league’s best run-blocking guards. — Randle

Pick 14: Green Bay Packers — Josh Jacobs, RB, Las Vegas Raiders

Josh Jacobs missed the last four games of the season with an injury, but I’m guessing that had more to do with impending free agency. If the Raiders made the playoffs, Jacobs would be on the field. He is sent to Green Bay to team with Aaron Jones, replacing a limited and ineffective AJ Dillon. — Randle

Round 4

Pick 1: Green Bay Packers — Michael Carter, S, New York Jets

Green Bay is a very live underdog against Dallas but needs Michael Carter‘s cover skills to bolster their shaky secondary against CeeDee Lamb. — Randle

Pick 2: Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Russell Wilson, QB, Denver Broncos

Suppose Tampa Bay beats Philadelphia at home? Suppose Baker Mayfield gets hurt? The veteran Russell Wilson is a massive upgrade from Kyle Trask for a potential playoff run. — Randle

Pick 3: Pittsburgh Steelers — Jessie Bates, S, Atlanta Falcons

Jessie Bates didn’t fix the Falcons defense all by himself when he signed with Atlanta last offseason, but he came close. He’s one of the best handful of safeties in the game, making his first Pro Bowl in 2023. — Kelley

Pick 4: Los Angeles Rams — Younghoe Koo, K, Atlanta Falcons

Younghoe Koo Atlanta Falcons Fantasy Football NFL Playoff Postseason Draft

The Rams waived struggling kicker Lucas Havrisik after he missed two extra points in Week 17 and signed Brett Maher, who they had already waived nine games prior. Atlanta’s Younghoe Koo gives Los Angeles one of the most accurate kickers in the league. — Randle

Pick 5: Houston Texans — Breece Hall, RB, New York Jets

Devin Singletary had a very impressive debut year in Houston, overtaking 2022 darling Dameon Pierce for the lead role. He also averaged 4.2 yards per carry (2.8 after contact) compared to Breece Hall‘s 4.5 (3.4 after contact). And that’s before considering the receiving game, where Hall was maybe the best receiving back in the game, while Pierce and Singletary were … very not. — Kelley

Pick 6: Miami Dolphins — Josh Allen, EDGE, Jacksonville Jaguars

We already added Trey Hendrickson to the Dolphins’ edge defense, but there are two edges, so Josh Allen gets to make the playoffs. Remember, there can only be one good Josh Allen at a time, so maybe it will be this one’s turn to thrive. — Kelley

Pick 7: Philadelphia Eagles — Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

Similar to Jacobs, I suspect Keenan Allen would have been playing down the stretch if the Chargers had had a playoff berth on the line. Given the Eagles’ injuries concerns with A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, the All-Pro Allen provides unmatched consistency. — Randle

Pick 8: Cleveland Browns — Rashawn Slater, T, Los Angeles Chargers

Kolton Miller already joined our Browns squad, and sure, he and Rashawn Slater are both left tackles, but I’m just going for sheer skill here, and we’ll let Kevin Stefanski solve a good problem to have. — Kelley

Pick 9: Kansas City Chiefs — Samson Ebukam, EDGE, Indianapolis Colts

Three receivers are probably enough. The Chiefs now roll into the playoffs with, in some order, Ja’Marr Chase, DJ Moore, DeAndre Hopkins and Rashee Rice, and they can let the rest of their existing roster have a nice vacation. The team doesn’t have massive needs otherwise, but let’s give them an impressive edge defender in Samson Ebukam to round things out. — Kelley

Pick 10: Buffalo Bills — Budda Baker, S, Arizona Cardinals

Like the Dolphins, the Bills have been so banged up along the defense. Budda Baker is one of the best tacklers in the game still, and the Bills have a need there, even if they still have good safeties overall. — Kelley

Pick 11: Detroit Lions — Jabrill Peppers, S, New England Patriots

Jabrill Peppers is an explosive safety with elite speed who can also produce on special teams if WR/PR Kalif Raymond cannot play against the Rams. — Randle

Pick 12: Dallas Cowboys — Marcedes Lewis, TE, Chicago Bears

This brilliant tweet by our own EIC Daniel Kelley explains everything. Run blocking and leadership. — Randle

Pick 13: San Francisco 49ers — Demario Davis, LB, New Orleans Saints

New Orleans sends Demario Davis to San Francisco, giving the 49ers their final piece for a Super Bowl championship. — Randle

Pick 14: Baltimore Ravens — Xavier McKinney, S, New York Giants

In an ideal world, I’d probably have given the Ravens another star receiver (Michael Pittman? Garrett Wilson?). But Lamar Jackson has done more than enough with the receivers he’s had in place and never really seems that interested in having a single dominant target, so why not bolster a defense that has been battling injuries down the stretch? — Kelley

NFL Playoff Draft: Full Draft Board

Team Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4
Baltimore Ravens Sauce Gardner Derrick Brown Bijan Robinson Xavier McKinney
San Francisco 49ers Bernhard Raimann Chris Lindstrom Christian Barmore Demario Davis
Dallas Cowboys Jonathan Taylor Braden Smith Kendall Fuller Marcedes Lewis
Detroit Lions Trey McBride Marshon Lattimore Riq Woolen Jabrill Peppers
Buffalo Bills Maxx Crosby Chris Olave Montez Sweat Budda Baker
Kansas Chiefs Ja’Marr Chase DJ Moore DeAndre Hopkins Samson Ebukam
Cleveland Browns Justin Fields Kolton Miller Davante Adams Rashawn Slater
Philadelphia Eagles Pat Surtain Khalil Mack David Onyemata Keenan Allen
Miami Dolphins Quenton Nelson Trey Hendrickson Cole Kmet Josh Allen
Houston Texans Dexter Lawrence Justin Jefferson Darious Williams Breece Hall
Los Angeles Rams Devon Witherspoon Evan Engram Grover Stewart Younghoe Koo
Pittsburgh Steelers Kyler Murray Jaylon Johnson Christian Darrisaw Jessie Bates
Tampa Bay Buccaneers DeForest Buckner Jaycee Horn Quinn Meinerz Russell Wilson
Green Bay Packers Quinnen Williams Derwin James Josh Jacobs Michael Carter
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