It’s crunch time ladies and gentlemen. We are now within a month of this year’s NFL Draft which will commence Thursday April 29th – May 1st.
The draft will kick off Thursday in Cleveland, Ohio and will be aired on ESPN and the ESPN App.
Below you will find my first attempt at a Mock Draft this season, post the Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles trade.
The information below is what I believe will happen as opposed to what I think each teach should do. I’m also fully aware that there will be a few more trades prior to April, so obviously this is very fluid. Hence the 1.0.
So take a look at my first installment of my NFL Mock Draft Series, Hope you Enjoy:
1. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15) : QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
In the worst kept secret of the draft, the Jaguars select Trevor Lawrence from Clemson. He comes into the NFL as the highest graded quarterback prospect since 2012, when Stanford’s Andrew Luck broke onto the scene for the Indianapolis Colts. Lawrence brings prototypical size at 6’6″ 220, and has produced three straight seasons of PFF grades over 90.0. The Urban-Lawrence era begins in DUUUUVAL.
2. New York Jets (2-14): QB Zach Wilson, BYU
Despite what the New York Jets are telling the media, there is no way that they move ahead with Sam Darnold as their franchise quarterback. Especially sitting in the number two pole position. Wise NFL teams either trade the #2 pick for a bevy of franchise altering picks, or take a franchise changing quarterback. I think the Jets will do the latter. At worst, Darnold will be an expensive back-up in East Rutherford, but he’ll likely be traded.
3. San Francisco 49ers (from MIA via 4-12 Hou): QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
As we have seen in his time in Washington, Kyle Shanahan is not scared to roll the dice and to attack success. He is also highly confident in his coaching abilities. In stops in Houston, Washington, and Atlanta, the offensive coordinator has spearheaded some of the league’s best attacks. He also pioneered the read-option movement to the NFL when Robert Griffin III was selected in his time as OC in Washington. I foresee Shanahan selecting Fields and “meeting him where he is at”. Meaning, he will tailor the offense to his development as a passer and provide a steady mentor for the Buckeye.
4. **TRADE** Denver Broncos (from 4-12 ATL): QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
You know who was “the biggest winner” of the 49ers trading to three? The Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons live in an NFL Economy where demand exceeds supply, and several QB-hungry teams are dying to lock in their signal caller. Atlanta will take full advantage of this and find an attractive trade package with the Denver Broncos.
The Broncos have habitually held quarterbacks with “big arms” in high regard, and they see the value in Lance. They would also like to add a QB to their already potent young offensive core, which includes Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, Noah Fant and Tim Patrick.
5. Cincinnati Bengals (4-11-1): WR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU
The Bengals will use this draft to insulate Joe Burrow with talent, but not in the way you may think. Instead of investing in left tackle and selecting Penei Sewell, the team decides to add Ja’Marr Chase and reunite the two LSU tigers from Baton Rouge.
The last time we saw Chase play he was WR1 in one of the most prolific passing offenses in NCAA history. You know who was his quarterback? You guessed it. Burrow.
Chase will add an interesting wrinkle to an already talented Bengals offense, and he will elevate Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd and Joe Mixon.
6. Miami Dolphins (from 4-11-1 PHI): TE Kyle Pitts, Florida
The Dolphins are sitting pretty in this selection, and they have the choice of two premier choices in front of them. They can select Penei Sewell from Oregon, arguable the best tackle in the draft. Or, they can select Kyle Pitts, one of the more exciting tight end prospects in years.
In this draft I tip the cap to Pitts to give Tua Tagovailoa an explosive weapon in the middle of the field. Sewell would have been the choice, however Miami invested in USC’s Austin Jackson last season with pick 18.
7. Detroit Lions (5-11): WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
When your starting Wide Receivers are Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman, you have to do something to improve. Although, I don’t like the value of Waddle at seven.
I was tempted to give them Sewell, but the Lions selected Taylor Decker in the first round of the 2016 draft, and he has been more than serviceable. According to PFF, he scored an 85.8 pass blocking grade in 2020.
If the Goff experiment has any way of succeeding, he is going to need some weapons.
8. Carolina Panthers (5-11): LT Penei Sewell, Oregon
The biggest loser of the 49ers-Dolphins trade were the Carolina Panthers, who desperately would like to improve their QB situation. Not only did they miss out on one of their QB prospects, but they are also boxed out from trading to four due to the Falcons being in their division. A great consolation prize is the LT1, a building block for the future. It will also solidify the blindside for whomever is under center in 2022.
9. Atlanta Falcons ( from 5-11 DEN): EDGE Kwity Paye, Michigan
The 6’4″, 272 rusher is arguably the best all around EDGE rusher in class, and the Falcons are happy to welcome him to the team. The Ann Arbor star is known for great short area quickness and a bulky frame to boot. He is a well-rounded talent that improved every year in college.
10. Dallas Cowboys (6-10): CB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama
The Cowboys defense was essentially a sieve last season, ending the year with a -78 point differential and 34 passing touchdowns given up. Jerry’s team needs an influx in talent in the defensive backfield, and Surtain is arguably the best corner out.
Surtain will now join his Alabama running mate Trevon Diggs as boundary corners, and will create a formidable duo in “Big D”. A stark improvement from the incumbent CB2, CJ Goodwin.
11. New York Giants (6-10): EDGE Jayson Oweh, Penn State
The Giants may be a dark horse team in the NFL next season, as they will look to improve on what they built last year. They added Kenny Golladay to a fairly talented receiving corps in Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard; and Saquon Barkley is poised to return too.
I’d expect New York to add to their pass rush, as this is their biggest deficit in a talented young defense that includes: James Bradberry, Adoree Jackson, Leonard Williams and Jabrill Peppers.
Oweh is an EDGE with a 4.3 40-time, and can play both ends with ease.
12. Philadelphia Eagles (from MIA via 6-10 SF): WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama
There’s something to be said about adding a Heisman Trophy Winner with the 12th selection. The Eagles add the 8th overall prospect from PFF’s Big Board, and will add a spark of talent to a Jalen Hurts led offense.
Although many will criticize Smith’s 175 pound frame, his production (117 Catches, 1856 yards and 23 Touchdowns in 2020) is undeniable.
13. Los Angeles Chargers (7-9): OT Rashawn Slater, Northwestern
Justin Herbert showed out last season. It’s now time to protect your investment. The 6’3, 314 pound tackle allowed only five pressures in 2019 (he opted out in 2020).
Although many claim that Slater doesn’t have the length to remain at Left Tackle, he’s athletic enough to move up and down the line if need be.
14. Minnesota Vikings (7-9): S Trevon Moehrig, TCU
The Vikings need help on the interior offensive line, safety and EDGE. Moehrig is the best marriage of value and talent at this selection. The 6-foot-2, 202 pound safety has the prototype size to play either safety position in the NFL. He also has no problem laying the wood.
Moehrig led all safeties in pass breakups in each of the past two seasons. He had 12 pass break-ups in 2019 and eight in 2020. He would provide tremendous value and would form a nice pairing with strong safety Harrison Smith.
15. New England Patriots (7-9): QB Mac Jones, Alabama
I’m torn here. On one hand, Bill Belichick earned his stripes by being one of the smartest defensive minds in football. He loves players like Teddy Bruschi, Willie McGinest, and even Lawerence Taylor. So the need for linebacker is real in New England.
But I also know that Belichick values a quarterback, either as a starter or as a trade commodity in the future. I see Belichick falling in love with Mac Jones’ leadership and savvy. He also will like his mental capacity of diagnosing defenses and quick decisions. Jones goes to NE here. But I’m not happy about it. I got a strong feeling “Jimmy GQ” will be donning the red, white and blue come fall.
16. Arizona Cardinals (8-8): CB Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech
With the release of Patrick Peterson, Arizona needs a true CB1 to fill the void and combat the gunslingers of the NFC West. Farley is a great value pick at 16. The converted wide receiver stands at 6-foot-2 and 207 pounds, and posted a 90.7 PFF coverage grade in 2019.
He’s a stud, and he’ll even have some time to transition to the position with Dre Kirkpatrick and Malcolm Butler now in AZ.
17. Las Vegas Raiders (8-8): LB Micah Parsons, Penn State
Character issues. Las Vegas. What could go wrong? The Raiders will have no problem rolling the dice (pun intended) on Parsons, arguably the best defensive prospect in the draft.
The standout star sat-out in 2020, but his sub-4.4 40 yard dash opened enough eyes to put him back in the first round.
18. Miami Dolphins (10-6): WR Rondale Moore, Purdue
This may be somewhat of a reach, but I love the fit. The Dolphins aren’t messing around and if they truly want to beat the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC, they’re going to have to outscore them. This goes for the Buffalo Bills too.
Can you imagine an offense of Will Fuller, Kyle Pitts, Preston Williams, Devante Parker and Rondale Moore? Goodness gracious.
19. Washington Football Team (7-9): LT Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech
Coach Ron Rivera has the intention of building something sustainable, and he is somewhat old school in nature. I believe he will continue to build up the trenches, and try to match his formidable defensive line, with an up-and-coming offensive one.
Although a boundary receiver such as Rashod Bateman is appealing, I believe there is more value with an OT at this time. You can always snag a WR on day two.
Darrisaw is a road-grader and posted the second best PFF score in college football last season with a 95.6 grade. He is equally as impressive in run-blocking as he is in passing. At worst he projects as RT, but with good coaching he should be able to find a fit at LT. The added bonus is he played ball in Blacksburg, and the team has a propensity to draft local.
20. Chicago Bears (8-8): WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota
I actually feel bad for the Bears. They had high hopes for Russell Wilson this offseason, but whiffed and had to settle on Andy Dalton. Not only that, their premier wide receiver, Allen Robinson, doesn’t even want to play there and is held by the franchise tag.
Enter Rashod Bateman. The Bears will need to form a contingency plan when Robinson inevitably leaves in 2022. Bateman is a fine boundary receiver, and will provide a big target for whomever is under center in 2022.
21. Indianapolis Colts (11-5): T Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC
Carson Wentz is shell-shocked from his experience in Philadelphia. The QB was sacked over 50 times in the 2020 season and is looking for stability. With center Ryan Kelly and guard Quenton Nelson in house, the Colts add Tucker to solidify one of the better offensive lines in the league.
22. Tennessee Titans (11-5): CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
The value of Horn here is too good pass up. Horn is an absolute dog who does not back down from a challenge, and has the mentality of a true CB1. And at 6-foot-1, 205 he has ample size. Tennessee is hurting at the CB position with Janoris Jenkins, and seventh round pick Chris Jackson pegged as CBs 1 and 2.
23. New York Jets (2-14; from 12-4 SEA): WR Elijah Moore, New York Jets
With Zach Wilson in the fold, the Jets want to add firepower and give the QB a fighting chance of succeeding. New York adds one of the most prolific slot wide receivers to the mix, and will Jets some explosive capability with his 4.3 speed.
Moore’s game compliments FA addition Corey Davis well. But now the question in, “What do they do with Jamison Crowder?”
24. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4): T Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State
The Steelers have a lot of firepower with their receiving corps, and their defense made strides last season. Some of their areas of weakness include RB, CB and OL. I think Pittsburgh adds a tackle here to protect Big Ben and give him the time to look down field. Pittsburgh was one of the most pass-happy programs in the league last season.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15; from 10-6 LAR): DL Christian Barmore, Alabama
With Jacksonville investing in Lawrence with the top overall pick, the Jaguars elect to focus on the defensive side with their second selection. Urban Meyer selects the best interior defensive lineman in class, at pick 25. Rounding out a strong haul for AFC South team.
26. Cleveland Browns (11-5): EDGE Jaelen Phillips, Miami
The Browns are looking to add to their pass-rush and compliment Myles Garrett on the other side. Phillips provides high upside as 6’5″, 265 pound edge rusher with speed. Coming off of his 2019 season, Phillips was considered a top-15 talent, but concussions have cost the rusher some time on the field. If he can remain healthy, the former Hurricane can make a difference.
27. Baltimore Ravens (11-5): WR Kadarius Toney, Florida
At one point, the Ravens couldn’t even pay for a Wide Receiver to join their team. Literally. Good thing the draft comes into play and Baltimore can address their needs. Toney offers a firecracker to the Baltimore offense and can be used in a variety of waves. Screen-game, quick slants, even in the return game.
Toney will be lethal in an RPO offense spearheaded by Lamar Jackson.
28. New Orleans Saints (12-4): LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame
The Saints have shown over the years that they can use players creatively and maximize the strengths of their selections. Enter “JOK” into the NOLA defensive front seven. Although many claim that the former golden-domer is too small to play the LB position, I disagree. I feel like if he is used in a primarily zone scheme, he could thrive as a backer who drops into coverage. He can also flex out into the slot and cover in-line receivers.
JOK would thrive in Louisiana because he wouldn’t have to be the primary backer. Demario Davis is the alpha in NOLA and JOK could feed off that. And New Orleans has been lacking at the position since they let Kwon Alexander leave at the trade deadline.
29. Green Bay Packers (13-3): WR Terrance Marshall, LSU
Aaron Rodgers wanted an additional wide receiver LAST YEAR, and the Pack decided to draft his successor instead. How did Rodgers respond? By one his best statistical seasons of his career and as league MVP.
As a token of respect, and honestly as a great scheme fit, Green Bay selects Marshall who has an excellent catch radius and great size. His big body is an excellent match for Rodgers and his 50/50 balls.
30. Buffalo Bills (13-3): CB Asante Samuel Jr., Florida State
Buffalo proved to be pretty potent on the offensive side of the ball in 2020. They now look to improve on the defensive side and add a compliment to standout corner Tre’Davious White. With the departure of Josh Norman, the team is now at a deficit at CB2 and Samuel has the pedigree and skillset to jump in.
31. Kansas City Chiefs (14-2): T Samuel Cosmi, Texas
The Chiefs raised some eyebrows this offseason as they released both of their offensive tackles. This was especially concerning considering how much stress Patrick Mahomes was under at the Super Bowl. Kansas city takes its first step in solving this issue by adding Cosmi, a three year starter at left tackle who never graded below a 79.7 in PFF. In fact, he’s played over 2,500 snaps at the position over the last three years.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5): S Ar’Darius Washington, TCU
There’s a saying in pro sports, “offense is for show, defense is for the dough” and Tampa Bay illustrated that in February’s Super Bowl match-up. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers provided fits for the Chiefs and limited what Mahomes could do down the field. This was due to a successful pass-rush, but also stout coverage downfield.
Washington provides a versatile chess-piece at safety, to the tune of the Honey Badger, and would provide an excellent compliment to strong safety standout Antoine Winfield Jr.
The duo was form a dynamic combination for years to come, and uplift a defense for the foreseeable future.
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