We’ve been away a while but getting back into the swing of things with the start of the draft now under three weeks. So to kick things off here’s a mock draft which we’ll also go through and have pulled apart on our next podcast!
I’m not going to put trades in this version but I think there will be some. I’m also basing on this on what I think will happen, not what I would do!
Pick 1: Jacksonville Jaguars select Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
As locked in a pick as there ever has been. Pundits are careful to use the term ‘generational talent’ but this is probably as close as it gets and the Jags begin a new era under new head coach Urban Meyer and the best QB the draft has seen since Andrew Luck.
Pick 2: New York Jets select Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
If there was any conjecture left about whether the Jets would select a QB it ended when Darnold was traded to the Panthers. Like the Jags, the Jets start off the season with a new head coach and a new quarterback. Wilson had a fine pro day which likely solidified this pick for the Jets. Wilson is a three year starter at BYU and had a statistically good season in 2020 though there remains question marks about the quality of the opposition he played against. A big arm and the ability to throw off platform, his athletic ability sets him apart and has drawn comparisons to Mahomes though that’s an awfully big shadow to live in!
Pick 3: San Francisco 49ers select Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
The 49ers traded a lot to get this point and there’s no way it’s not a quarterback. Everything so far is pointing to Mac Jones who is as accurate a QB that there is in this years draft. As a 49ers fan I don’t love it but I’ll put my faith in Kyle Shanahan and pray that this is the right move.
Pick 4: Atlanta Falcons select Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
This is where the first trade could come with a QB needy team wanting to get Fields or Lance. Or the Falcons could sit tight and select a QB of the future. Or they could select the best athlete in the draft and an immense player for their offensive game. New coach Arthur Smith used the tight end a lot as an offensive coordinator in Tennessee but Pitts is a class above anything he had there and would be a day one impact player for the Falcons
Pick 5: Cincinatti Bengals select Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
The signing of Riley Reiff in free agency and the depth of the offensive line class this year removes the desperate need the Bengals have for help on the line. Instead they reunite Joe Burrows with his favourite college target and bring in the best wide receiver in the draft and an immediate replacement (and upgrade compared to his last two seasons) for AJ Green
Pick 6: Miami Dolphins select Jaylen Waddle WR, Alabama
Another case of reuniting a QB with a college team mate, the Dolphins take the speedy wide receiver and pair him with Tua who now has Waddle, Will Fuller and Davonte Parker to target in his second year. The Dolphins will perhaps be disappointed they can’t get Pitts or Chase but Waddle’s explosiveness will add a new dynamic to this offense.
Pick 7: Detroit Lions select Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Another point where we could see a trade but instead the Lions take the Heismann winning wide receiver and give new QB, Jared Goff, a legit target in the passing game. Smith’s build is not one of your typical wide receiver and his lack of testing through the process raises question marks. But there’s no question marks about his route running and sticky hands.
Pick 8: Carolina Panthers select Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
The Panthers select a blue chip offensive tackle to try and prevent Darnold seeing ghosts in 2021. Without all the quarterbacks and receiver talent Sewell would be a much higher pick than eight. Whilst he sat out 2020, his tape in 2019 shows what a talent he is. An athletic freak that relied on those traits in the college game will need to brush up on his technique at the next level.
Pick 9: Denver Broncos select Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Look, Fields isn’t going to drop this far. Someone will trade up to get him – possibly the Broncos themselves. Fields has all the talent and all the personality to be a top receiver at the NFL level. I personally would prefer him at the 49ers but in Denver he’ll be an immediate upgrade over Drew Lock and with the weapons available should be able to exceed expectations.
Pick 10: Dallas Cowboys select Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
The fourth Alabama player in the top ten fills a massive need for the Cowboys. They could go offensive line here instead but the cornerback class isn’t as deep and Surtain gives them a day one starter. He leans on his physicality to help him when getting attacked on vertical routes but he has the potential to be one of the better corners in the NFL.
Pick 11: New York Giants select Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
It’s been a long time since the Giants took an off the ball linebacker in the first round but Parsons is one that Gettleman will be attracted to. Parsons athletic ability means he’s a defensive weapon on three downs where he can rush the passer and be efective in coverage. In the near future he’ll be the defenive leader of this unit.
Pick 12: Philadelphia Eagles select Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
So many needs on this team make it a sensible decision to trade down and get more draft ammo to fill all those holes. Horn has recently been declared the best cornerback in the class by Richard Sherman (who knows a thing or two about the position). Eagles fans will just hope that that’s the case.
Pick 13: LA Chargers select Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
The Chargers have their QB, now protect him. Slater can play in more or less any position on the offensive line but will slot in at tackle for the Chargers for years to come, protecting Herbert’s blind side.
Pick 14: Minnesota Vikings select Jaelen Phillips, Edge, Miami
The Vikings tried and failed to supplement their pass rush last year when they traded for Yannick Ngakoue. The need hasn’t gone away and in this scenario get possibly the best pass rusher in the class. Question marks remain about his fitness after suffering numerous concussions during his time at UCLA but the talent remains.
Pick 15: New England Patriots select Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
For Lance (or any QB in the first round) to end up with the Patriots will require them to trade up but as there’s no trades he falls. I could see the Pats selecting Lance whatever, whilst he only has a years experience, what he showed in 2019 will appeal. He can sit for a year behind Cam Newton and be ready to go in 2022.
Pick 16: Arizona Cardinals select Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Had Farley played last year and followed up his impressive 2019 season with another good season and had there not been a couple of question marks over his health following an operation in the past few weeks, Farley could have been the top corner. The Cardinals have a hole to fill here following the departure of Patrick Peterson and Farley is a like for like replacement.
Pick 17: Las Vegas Raiders select Trevon Moehrig, Safety, TCU
Likely to be the only safety worthy of a round one pick, Moehrig would provide good cover in the middle of the field in what was a leaky Raiders defense. His ability to not only disrupt the play but also get the ball back for his team is a huge benefit for this Raiders team that still lacks in the turnover department
Pick 18: Miami Dolphins select Jeremiah Owuso-Koramoah, LB, Penn State
A hybrid linebacker with the best coverage skills of this linebacker class could easily slot in at safety. Owuso-Koramoah will be a defensive swiss army penknife for Brian Flores.
Pick 19: Washington Football Team select Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
Should QBs start dropping a bit closer to them they may consider a move to get one to sit behind Fitzpatrick for a year but I don’t see it happen. Instead they shore up the offensive line and take a mauler in Teven Jenkins who could move inside to replace Brandon Scherff after next year.
Pick 20: Chicago Bears select Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
With Andy Dalton leading the franchise (stiffled laughs), the Bears need to get him more weapons. Toney is this years version of Brandon Aiyuk in terms of his ability to generate yards after the catch. Get the ball to him early and watch him fly.
Pick 21: Indianapolis Colts select Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia State
The retirement of Anthony Castonzo make this a big need for the Colts, especially with the invesment they’ve made in Wentz at QB. Darrisaw lacks the dyanmism of some of the other tackles in this class but he could be a rock solid starter for the Colts at left tackle for years to come.
Pick 22: Tennessee Titans select Rahod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
AJ Brown needs a running mate with Corey Davis’ departure and Bateman makes a good replacement. A smooth route runner who is fearless over the middle, Bateman could be a reliable target for Tannehill. The additon of Bud Duprees in free agency negates the need for edge help here though could be an option if they want depth.
Pick 23: New York Jets select Azeez Ojurali, Edge, Georgia
Robert Salah had the benefit of multiple first round picks on the defensive line to work with in San Francisco and now he an addition to the Jets defensive line. Ojurali has an immense first step and explosiveness which will see him pressure opposing QBs in a bid to deliver the ball back.
Pick 24: Pittsburgh Steelers select Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT, USC
For a team that went 11-0 at the start of last year, this is a roster that sneakily has a few holes to fill going in to 2021. The biggest need though will be on the O-Line with some key departures to replace and a dire need to keep an aging immobile QB up right.
Pick 25: Jacksonville Jaguars select Joseph Ossai, Edge, Texas
The rebuild continues but this time on the other side of the ball with a pass rusher and run stuffer in Joseph Ossai. His pro day workout was impresive and opposite Josh Allen, the Jags will have two young impressive edge rushers.
Pick 26: Cleveland Browns select Kwity Paye, Edge, Michigan
The Browns are in an odd position – for them anyway. They don’t have many big needs and can simply take the best player available. Adding depth to the defensive line and giving a rush partner opposite Garrett won’t hurt. Paye plays with power rather than technique but he can learn that and could become an effective runniung partner for the Garrett.
Pick 27: Baltimore Ravens select Jayson Oweh, Edge, Penn State
The run on edge rushers continues! Losing Judon and Ngakoue seriously hurts the Ravens ability to get to opposing QBs. Oweh’s freak pro day (6-5, 257 pounds, he blazed a 4.36 40-yard dash)makes him an attrative prospect to build around.
Pick 28: New Orleans Saints select Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
It’ll be nigh on impossible for the Saints to move up the board to get a quarterback so that need will have to wait until later in the draft or next year. Instead they shore up their secondary with some impending free agents next year and a severly limited amount of cap space.
Pick 29: Green Bay Packers select Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
The run defence in Green Bay is still an issue. Without a top DT in the class, the Packers pick up the next best thing which is a linebacker who can make bone shuddering tackles on ball carriers.
Pick 30: Buffalo Bills, Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Sure they could fill a few needs or strengthen the offensive line but how much better would this offense be with a legit threat from running back. Harris has the physical traits and personality to excel in this team.
Pick 31: Kansas City Chiefs select Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
The Chiefs O-line was bullied in the Super Bowl and they’ve since let their starting tackles go so it goes without saying that reinforcements are needed to protect their $500m QB. Cosmi has good ability in the run game and his atheltic ability could work well when Mahomes moves out of the pocket.
Pick 32: Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami
The Bucs are bringing back all 22 of the starters from the Super Bowl so can add depth on their pass rush here and bring in a player who they can give time to develop. Rousseau can play on the edge but with a few more pounds added could move inside.