(Photo by Patrick Gorski/USA TODAY Sports)
My last mock was attempting to make a realistic prediction of how the draft may play out. This time around, I made the picks that I would have made if I were the GM of every team. This roughly reflects my player rankings, how I value different positions, and how I view the needs for each team.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
Trevor Lawrence has to be the pick for the Jaguars here. He’s a perfect fit for the offense they want to run and he’s the best quarterback in this class. This is a no-brainer selection. The rebuild for the Jaguars should revolve around Trevor Lawrence and his strengths.
- New York Jets: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
Everyone has a strong opinion on who should be QB2 in this class but I feel it mostly comes down to preference. In this instance, I prefer Justin Fields for the Jets because he should be able to execute Matt LaFleur’s offense very efficiently. He can step in right away and give the Jets a fresh start.
- Carolina Panthers: QB Zach Wilson, BYU
*The Miami Dolphins trade 1.3 to the Carolina Panthers for 1.8, 3.73, 2022 1st, and 2022 3rd*
The Panthers pay a significant price to move up and grab their guy. Matt Rhule and Joe Brady will likely want to run a wide-open offense and Zach Wilson should be comfortable running those concepts. He also provides some of the play-making ability teams are chasing after seeing what Patrick Mahomes has done.
- Atlanta Falcons: QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
You won’t find a better fit for Arthur Smith’s offense than Trey Lance. He has plenty of experience under center, turning his back to the defense on play-action, etc. The chance to sit and develop for a year under Matt Ryan is also an ideal scenario for everyone involved.
- Cincinnati Bengals: OT Penei Sewell, Oregon
This is another no-brainer selection. The Bengals luck out with the QBs all going before their pick and get to address a major need with a great player. They need to seriously invest into their offensive line if they want to give Joe Burrow a chance to succeed. Penei Sewell immediately steps in at left tackle and Jonah Williams moves over to right tackle.
- Philadelphia Eagles: TE Kyle Pitts, Florida
The Eagles need to build up talent and Kyle Pitts is about as talented as they come. Some may question the positional value, but that doesn’t really matter considering that he can easily play like a wide receiver whenever they don’t want to run 12 personnel. Adding Pitts to an offense with Jalen Hurts, Dallas Goedert, Jalen Reagor, and Miles Sanders will create a lot of headaches for opposing coaches.
- Detroit Lions: OT Rashawn Slater, Northwestern
The offensive line is one of the strong points for the Detroit Lions but the right side of their line likely won’t be with the team after this season. The Lions are building for the future so they can afford to ignore needs and go with the best talent. Rashawn Slater is arguably the best player available according to my rankings and can give the Lions a great group of young offensive line to build with.
- Miami Dolphins: WR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU
The Dolphins still land one of their top targets after moving back. One of the top offensive lineman would’ve been in consideration here, but with Sewell and Slater off the board they go wide receiver instead. Ja’Marr Chase is the best wide receiver in this class in my opinion and will give the Dolphins a player who can win down the field, win in contested situations, and get tough yards after the catch.
- Los Angeles Chargers: OT Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech
*The Denver Broncos trade 1.9 to the Los Angeles Chargers for 1.13, 3.78, and 5.160*
The Chargers move up to secure the last remaining high-level left tackle prospect. The Chargers need to build around Justin Herbert and the offensive line is currently a weak spot. Christian Darrisaw is a high-potential prospect who made significant strides this past season and should be a great left tackle for many years.
- Dallas Cowboys: EDGE Kwity Paye, Michigan
Cornerback is a position the Cowboys need to address but the potential value of Kwity Paye is too much to pass up. Paye is a freak athlete who developed into one of the best run-defending defensive ends in college football. He still has some development needed as a pass rusher but was productive when healthy and should benefit greatly from learning under Demarcus Lawrence.
- New York Giants: LB Micah Parsons, Penn State
Wide receiver is certainly in consideration for the Giants at this pick, but they instead take one of the top defensive prospects in this class. Micah Parsons is an elite athlete that should be able to do a number of different things in the box. Parsons has off-field concerns that could drop him much further than this but, until more details are made public, Parsons still goes near the top 10.
- San Francisco 49ers: CB Patrick Surtain, Alabama
The 49ers should be trying to add a quarterback but don’t have the chance with all of the top options going earlier in the draft. For now, they stick with Jimmy Garoppolo and instead fill a major need at cornerback by taking the best player at the position this year in Patrick Surtain. Surtain is already a highly-skilled player and I think he has more athleticism than people give him credit for.
- Denver Broncos: EDGE Gregory Rousseau, Miami
Cornerback is a significant position of need for the Broncos but they just miss out on the top corner in the class. They could reach for a lesser player at the position, but that wouldn’t be wise. Instead, I have them taking Gregory Rousseau, an inside/outside defensive lineman that has a world of potential. He’s still a raw prospect, but should find an immediate role in the Broncos defense.
- Las Vegas Raiders: LB Zaven Collins, Tulsa
*The Minnesota Vikings trade 1.14 to the Las Vegas Raiders for 1.17, 4.122, and 2022 4th*
The Raiders need to invest in their defense with pretty heavy needs in multiple spots and get an immediate contributor here with Zaven Collins. Collins can play all over but will mostly function as an off-ball linebacker in this defense. Eventually, as the Raiders add more pieces to their defense, Collins will be moved around to allow him to make more impactful plays.
- New England Patriots: WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota
The Patriots need to build up some kind of supporting cast after what they put Cam Newton through last year. Rashod Bateman can step in and provide a reliable target at all areas of the field. Bateman generally isn’t considered a flashy prospect, but I have him as the 2nd best wide receiver in the draft and believe he can be a top-tier player at the position and give Cam Newton a legitimate target to throw to this year.
- Indianapolis Colts: WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama
*The Arizona Cardinals trade 1.16 to the Indianapolis Colts for 1.21, 4.128, and 2022 3rd*
Carson Wentz is the new quarterback for the Colts and the Colts need to give him a good supporting cast, especially with T.Y. Hilton on his way out. DeVonta Smith will fit nicely on the outside opposite of Michael Pitman while Parris Campbell handles slot duties. Smith is a good fit on the Colts because he can try to become the primary receiver while occupying the “Z” WR spot in the offense. Pittman should be able to handle the “X” WR duties in the offense.
- New York Jets: WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
*The Minnesota Vikings trade 1.17 to the New York Jets for 1.23 and 3.87*
The Jets trade up to grab an explosive weapon for new quarterback Justin Fields. Jaylen Waddle compliments the receivers the Jets already have and will fit well in Mike LaFleur’s offense. Waddle is an explosive threat out of the slot who can line up on the outside in certain situations. For my money, Waddle was the best Alabama wide receiver last but he is mostly limited to the slot so he falls to this point in the draft.
- Miami Dolphins: IOL Landon Dickerson, Alabama
The Dolphins are often connected to offensive tackle prospects but their interior offensive line is where they have a greater need. Robert Hunt was solid as a rookie right tackle and they just traded for Isaiah Wilson who could become a good right tackle for them if he gets his head right. Landon Dickerson is one of my personal favorites in this class. Dickerson has played all over the offensive line, plays in a way that gets into the head of opposing defensive lineman, and he has managed to come back stronger from multiple serious injuries.
- Washington Football Team: LB Nick Bolton, Missouri
The Washington Football Team should really address the offensive side of the ball but it’s far too tempting to take Nick Bolton and let him run free behind this defensive front. Bolton is very similar to Devin Bush but doesn’t require a top 10 pick to acquire. He fits the mold of modern linebackers with the ability to run stride-for-stride with running backs and many wide receivers while still being well-equipped to play in the box.
- Chicago Bears: IOL Wyatt Davis, Ohio State
The Bears are heavily rumored in the trade market for quarterbacks but, until a trade materializes, I will be projecting them to make this pick. Regardless of what they do at quarterback, they need to improve their offensive line. They could go with a tackle but instead solidify their interior by taking Wyatt Davis. Davis is one of the better players in the class but falls to this point because he’s likely limited to playing guard in the NFL.
- Arizona Cardinals: DL Jay Tufele, USC
The Cardinals have Chandler Jones, just added JJ Watt, and should re-sign Haason Reddick. Jay Tufele completes their defensive front while his versatility to play anywhere on the defensive interior will allow for guys like Jordan Phillips and Zach Allen to play according to their strengths and will allow them to find weekly mismatches for JJ Watt to exploit. I have Tufele higher than most. He’s an explosive player who can destroy blocks in the run game, apply pressure as a pass rusher, and can do it from multiple spots inside.
- Tennessee Titans: OT Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State
The Titans are in need of a right tackle again after trading Isaiah Wilson, who was an utter failure of a draft pick last year. Teven Jenkins is a better version of Isaiah Wilson and perfectly fits the demeanor that Mike Vrabel is looking for. Jenkins in an ass-kicker and will block to the echo of the whistle while playing within the rules. He shouldn’t be overlooked for his pass protection either.
- Minnesota Vikings: OT James Hudson, Cincinnati
James Hudson may be a bit of a surprise pick at this point in the draft, but he absolutely has the talent to justify it. Hudson is a perfect fit for the Vikings offense and fills the void created by the release of left tackle Riley Reiff. Hudson was a highly regarded defensive line recruit who made the switch to offensive line while at Michigan and immediately became a starter after he had to sit out a year at Cincinnati due to transfer rules. Hudson is a risky pick, but should see a quick development curve as he gets more experience under his belt.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: EDGE Jaelan Phillips, Miami
If the Steelers don’t re-sign Bud Dupree then they should draft his replacement and Jaelan Phillips has to be at the top of their wishlist. Phillips was the top recruit coming out of high school and has taken a strange path to the NFL since then. He still has a ton of potential though and proved this past season that he can be a productive pass rusher.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: CB Ifeatu Melifonwu, Syracuse
The Jaguars fill a need with Ifeatu Melifonwu. Melifonwu is a high-level athlete just like his brother but, unlike his brother, has a true position where he can settle into. With his size and length, he will certainly be an outside corner, but has the quickness and willingness in the run game to potentially become a corner that moves around the formation and follows matchups.
- Cleveland Browns: EDGE Joseph Ossai, Texas
Getting another pass rusher to play opposite of Myles Garrett needs to be a priority for the Browns. Joseph Ossai wasn’t originally *quite* this high for me, but after his athletic testing I had to bump him up a tier. He’s a solid player who can play with his hand in the dirt or standing up and should be a good replacement for Olivier Vernon.
- Baltimore Ravens: EDGE Joe Tryon, Washington
With multiple edge defenders hitting free agency, the Ravens will need to do a lot of work at the position. Even if they sign or re-sign two players at the position, it will still be a need. Joe Tryon is a powerful and explosive pass rusher who should fit very well in Don Martindale’s defense. He can win some individual pass rush situations but he should also help his teammates a lot in stunts and blitz packages.
- New Orleans Saints: CB Eric Stokes, Georgia
Eric Stokes surprised some people with his 40 yard dash time, but it shouldn’t have been a surprise. Stokes showed great speed on the field during his time in college and was an elite track performer in high school. Stokes will immediately fill one of the outside starting positions for the Saints, filling out a secondary that already has Marcus Lattimore, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Marcus Lattimore, and Malcolm Jenkins.
- Green Bay Packers: WR Rondale Moore, Purdue
After ignoring the wide receiver position for what feels like an eternity, the Packers finally address it here with a 1st round pick. Rondale Moore was an immediately dominant player in college but has struggled to stay on the field since. He fits well into the Packers offense where he can play in the slot and have some touches manufactured for him. Moore has the potential to be a potent weapon but only if he manages to stay healthy.
- Buffalo Bills: CB Tyson Campbell, Georgia
The Bills don’t have many needs so they could go with a luxury pick. But, instead of chasing a luxury addition, it would be smarter to take a risk on a higher value addition, so they take a risk here on Tyson Campbell. Campbell is another Georgia cornerback with elite speed who has a ton of potential. He is a little raw but has all the physical tools to develop into a great cornerback who matches up against the other teams top weapon.
- New England Patriots: QB Mac Jones, Alabama
*The Kansas City Chiefs trade 1.31 and 4.145 to the New England Patriots for 2.46, 6.195, and 2022 2nd*
The Patriots re-signed Cam Newton but he likely isn’t the long-term answer for the Patriots. They trade up here to take Mac Jones who was very efficient in college but also had the benefit of throwing to great wide receivers, so it’s hard to know who exactly is responsible for that production. Jones will compete for the starting job but likely lose that battle and instead spend a year learning the offense from the bench.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DL Jaylen Twyman, Pittsburgh
Every defense works better when it can get a four-man rush and finding a replacement for Ndamukong Suh will be a big task for the Buccaneers. Jaylen Twyman is an undersized defensive tackle and sat out this past season but showcased a lot of explosiveness in his sophomore year. He should be a good pass rusher in the NFL, especially if he develops good moves to compliment his arm over, which is his go to move.