NFL Mock Draft 3.141592653589793
OK, but seriously
I hope you enjoyed my April Fools Day Mock 2.00000000000. Back to the basics for this one as we take a more serious look at the different teams and players and where they might land. Since our last mock, some things have changed. The Dolphins, Eagles and 49ers all relocated in the draft. Some players have moved up the draft board. Kyle Pitts blew the doors off his combine performance. Landon Dickerson was doing cartwheels behind a meh showing from Mac Jones. The Falcons are looking to trade down. The Jets sold off their remaining stock in Sam Darnold like a US senator coming out of a pre-COVID briefing. Some things are still the same. The Texans are still a mess (and getting messier by the day). Quarterbacks still rule the draft. And the Dolphins are still accumulating draft picks (so far, one player, Laremy Tunsil, has lead to the Dolphins having 4 first round picks, one second, one third and a fourth). The Dolphins/Texans deal has become Herschel Walker 2.0 for the 3 readers I have that remember who that was (the bobsled guy). Let’s get back to the draft now with the picks.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence QB Clemson
The Jags have pretty much tipped their hand at this point. They are taking Lawrence. They should. He is the most complete prospect this year at QB, and possibly any position. Good for them. Now, Urban Meyer can surround the heroic, God honoring QB with… uh… whoever he wants.
NY Jets: Zach Wilson QB BYU
Wilson seems to have separated himself from the crowd at this point, with a strong pro-day and great work this whole season. The only real negative for him was strength of competition this year and the fact that the season before wasn’t nearly as good. Still, his combination of mobility, strength and accuracy is plenty good enough to go number 2 here. If only he was going to a team that wouldn’t ruin his entire future. The Jets have also tipped their hand by trading Sam Darnold to the Panthers for a bowl of peanuts and an Etch-a-Sketch in 2022.
San Francisco 49ers: Mac Jones QB Alabama
Mac Jones has been recently linked very heavily with the 49ers, and it makes sense. He makes quick reads and gets the ball out to the hot route, something that is critical in the 49ers offense. He would be a younger healthier version of the Matt Ryan, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Brian Hoyer, options that Shanahan has used in the past to success. Justin Fields seems so much like Robert Griffin III (the same Griffin that got Kyle’s father fired) with the rumors of work ethic dogging him, and Lance is definitely not ready to start right away coming out of ND State and having played 1 game in the last year. Jones would fit what the 49ers are building, keep them competitive this year and it makes sense they would trade up to here knowing he would be available.
Atlanta Falcons: Trey Lance QB North Dakota State
I don’t think the Falcons will actually pick here (and neither does anyone else at this point). There is a lot of talk of them trading down. Looking at the larger picture, this was a bad team with an incomprehensibly bad defense that had injury LUCK last year. They had some of the fewest games lost of any team and were STILL terrible. They need a LOT, and no one pick here can change that. Beyond that, they only have 5 million in cap space and will need twice that just to sign their rookies. Trading down would save money. The most likely candidates are the Broncos, or some sort of Dolphins-like 3 team deal involving teams like NE and Carolina (as an example). I think Lance will go here over Fields, but it depends what team is making the pick.
Cincinnati Bengals: Ja’Marr Chase WR LSU
The more I read about Penei Sewell and Ja’Marr Chase, the more I think the Bengals will take Chase. Chase is a special physical specimen who already has a rapport with Burrow. If anything can make Burrow forget about that promise to protect him, it is getting him the best college WR from his best season. Sewell has seen his stock drop because his arms are 3/4 of an inch too short. I wish that was a joke, but it isn’t.
Miami Dolphins: Kyle Pitts TE Florida
The Dolphins have been talking to Pitts a lot, and, while they already have a good young tight end in Mike Gesicki, I think they would take him if he fell to them. Pitts is a monster of a human being with measurables at the tight end position that no one has ever had. He also has the skill and hands to line up anywhere. He is simply the greatest athletic/skill/size combo on the outside I have seen since Calvin Johnson (their measurables are VERY similar. Pitts is a little slower and heavier). I don’t think there is a tight end in the league that would preclude a team from taking Pitts. This is basically the equivalent of releasing a kaiju on the NFL.
Detroit Lions: Devonta Smith WR Alabama
Dan Campbell promised when he was hired that he would instruct his team to consume the kneecaps of it’s opponents, and no one looks like he could use more meat in his diet than Smith. Smith’s very slight frame will hold him back from being the first WR taken, but he is still likely to be excellent in the model of other slight players like Harvin Marrison, Isaac Bruce, or Merton Hanks. Size isn’t everything on the outside, with the modern limitations on grabbing and being physical. With Kevin Durant passing, I believe the nickname Slim Reaper is still available and I hope Devonta gets it.
Carolina Panthers: Jaylen Waddle WR Alabama
With the recent trade for Sam Darnold, the Panthers are now all in with him vs. the option of going with Jones, Fields, or Lance. I don’t think they will take a QB here now, even though they should. I do think they need to replace Curtis Samuel. That means a WR pick, and this is a good value here. While their defense still needs help, not having good skill players was a key problem in NY and Darnold needs some to see if his development can continue. An offensive tackle is also a real possibility.
Denver Broncos: Micah Parsons LB Penn State
I am not sure if they will stay here or move up to take a QB, but if they stay, I don’t think Justin Fields or Trey Lance is their type. I expect them to be aggressive with filling their defense out, as the offense is fully loaded everywhere but quarterback. Parsons would add a nice piece to phase in for when Von Miller is done, which is getting closer by the second. Parsons has the ability to do it all (cover, stuff the run and pass rush) so you can fit him in basically any scheme.
Dallas Cowboys: Patrick Surtain II CB Alabama
A simple enough pick for the Cowboys. They need help desperately on defense, and with Parsons off the board, it comes down to a cornerback or Owusu-Koramoah. The Cowboys are also a sneaky dark horse to trade up with the Falcons… not for a QB, but for Pitts. Still, the Cowboys have always valued strong cornerback play, going back to Deion Sanders, and I think they stay with that element of focus here with no great pass rushing specialists available.
New York Giants: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah LB/S Notre Dame
A GM like Dave Gettleman would obviously prize a bit hitter like Owusu-Koramoah over someone more unassuming. He has a history of targeting physical specimens (the wrong specimens, but still). I think Joe Judge, a student of the Patriots way, would value a special teams ace who has versatility and can anchor a run-stopping group. Owusu-Koramoah’s stock is on the rise of late, as tape of him obliterating players is making the rounds. For a GM currently stuck between a rock and a hard place, drafting someone who could literally break a rock by hitting it is a smart move.
Philadelphia Eagles: Penei Sewell OT Oregon
I think the reason the Eagles traded down was because they knew they had to address the offensive line, and there was no reason to address it at 6. If they wanted a WR, they could have gotten Chase, Smith or Pitts there. They didn’t. Last year their offensive line was an absolute disaster, and they have previously valued a good offensive line. Here they get a top 5 prospect at a great value, and I don’t think hyper-angsty Philly fans will be disappointed.
Los Angeles Chargers: Rashawn Slater OT Northwestern
The Chargers need help all along the offensive line. The son of former LA offensive line stud Reggie Slater, Slater is a great piece to help them shore things up and ensure new wonder boy Justin Herbert stays clean. I could definitely also see them going with a cornerback here, as their new defensive minded head coach saw up close and personal how good it was to have Jalen Ramsey last year.
Minnesota Vikings: Alijah Vera-Tucker OG/OT USC
The Vikings need help along the offensive line, and Vera-Tucker can help in several different spots. He is a great piece to plug and play wherever there is a hole. It isn’t the sexiest pick, but with Patrick Peterson signed to help on the defense, I think they can address o-line here before cornerback/safety.
New England Patriots: Justin Fields QB OSU
This would be a very interesting pick. Fields has been falling in mock drafts since rumors began circulating about his alleged poor work ethic. There has been a lot of back in forth about whether he loves football or not. My guess is, based on the evidence, he does. He pushed hard to get OSU back on the field last year and played through severely shattered ribs. That doesn’t necessarily mean he loves practice and film study though. Those things are pretty boring, and I am guessing a lot of 20 year-olds just want to get out there and play. That would make this combination fascinating, as Belichick is a fastidious practice enthusiast. Still, I am not sure the Pats can afford to pass on the talent here, and hopefully a player like Cam Newton (known for his work ethic) could make a difference in his development.
Arizona Cardinals: Jaycee Horn CB South Carolina
A team that values WRs will likely also value players that can stop them. I think they go here or with an edge player like Kwity Paye or Azeez Ojulari. Also, if you think they won’t do something crazy like taking Jaylen Waddle or Travis Etienne here if he is available, you are the one who is crazy.
Las Vegas Raiders: Christian Darrisaw OT Virginia Tech
I have no idea what the Raiders will do. On mock draft 1.0, I predicted Jalen Waddle. Here I will say Christian here, because after dismantling their O-line, they need to start putting pieces back into it. They are very hard to predict. It is clear from their offseason moves, however, that their offense is in flux. If they don’t go with an offensive lineman of some sort I will be a little bit surprised, but, again, the bar for my surprise on this pick is pretty high.
Miami Dolphins: Jaelen Phillips Edge Miami
A more pro-ready prospect than his teammate Gregory Rosseau, I could certainly see the Dolphins trying to improve their situation at Edge rusher. At this point, they have basically nothing signed at OLB beyond this coming season. This is definitely an area of need, even if it might not be what Dolphin fans want (RB or WR). Plus, he could keep his old locker at the Rock Hard… I mean Hard Rock.
Washington Football Team: Zaven Collins OLB Tulsa
Ron Rivera has always valued big linebackers who could cover like Brian Urlacher, Luke Keuchly, Thomas Davis or Lance Briggs. Collins brings fantastic size and cover skills and he feels like the perfect Ron Rivera linebacker. I think this would be a great fit for this pick. This new thing where the WFT makes smart decisions is befuddling to me.
Chicago Bears: Caleb Farley CB Virginia Tech
This would be a miracle for the Bears, a team that needs cornerback help after cutting loose Pro-Bowler Kyle Fuller to make room for recreational bowler Andy Dalton. Speaking of that, they also need quarterback help. It’s really rare that a team can create two needs with one move, but the Bears did it. They need a replacement, and one of the big three cornerbacks falling this far would meet a major need.
Indianapolis Colts: Teven Jenkins OT Oklahoma State
The retirement of their OT from last season will likely force the Colts to address that position in the draft. Just last year, we saw what having a bad offensive line did to Carson Wentz. You can’t have him on the team and skimp on the line. I would even consider trading up to get one of the big 3 if I were them. Carson Wentz has the awareness in the pocket of a dodo bird.
Tennessee Titans: Kwity Paye Edge Michigan
The combined signing of pass rushing specialists Jadeveon Clowney and Vic Beasley netted a combined 0.0 sacks last year, so I am guessing they will try to address it this offseason in the draft. If one of the three really good cornerbacks was left, I would view that as an option, but in this scenario they can pick one of a few good edge options.
New York Jets: Gregory Rosseau Edge Miami
The Jets also desperately need defensive line help. This pick hits the spot, and will give a raw piece for new defensive minded Robert Saleh to mold. He is rough around the edges but the physical talent is there. Saleh needs an injection of talent on this team pure and simple. They also aren’t going to be good next year, so there is time for him to develop.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Azeez Ojulari Edge Georgia
The final piece in a run of edge rushers, Ojulari would help replace Bud Depree opposite TJ Watt. I also expect them to look at offensive line help, if one of the better tackles remains on the board. This team is in a weird place recycling Ben Roethlisberger year after year for 1 and done playoff berths. I don’t think they are ready to tear it down yet, and he helps right away.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Christian Barmore DT Alabama
The Jaguars desperately need help on the defensive line, and I expect Urban Meyer to address it. Assuming the better edge rushers are gone, I think this is a reasonable pick. It’s like using and earring to stop a leak in a submarine, but you gotta start somewhere.
Cleveland Browns: Trevon Moerhig S TCU
The Browns desperately need help in the secondary. They did sign John Johnson which will help, but I wouldn’t stop there. With the good cornerbacks gone, safety is fine too, and Moerhig is a good piece here. Remember when the Browns were a joke? Now they don’t even have obvious needs to fill.
Baltimore Ravens: Jayson Oweh Edge Penn State
The Ravens have very little right now on the edge after letting Matt Judon go to the Patriots. Edge pressure is the key to their defense, so I see this being something they will definitely add either here or in the second round. They also have nothing at WR beyond Hollywood Brown, so I could see that too. I think THEY think they fixed it with the Sammy Watkins signing, but OGs know: that ain’t it.
New Orleans Saints: Kadarius Toney WR Florida
This pick makes a little too much sense to me. He has the talent. They have a real need at second WR. His shiftiness will help in the short spaces in perfect balance to Michael Thomas’ size. We all know how well the Saints develop WRs as well, so I think this is a perfect match.
Green Bay Packers: Greg Newsome II CB Northwestern
Why not a WR? Well they had a chance last year and passed. I don’t see why this year would be any different. They really do need a better 2nd cornerback, as their current model got absolutely obliterated by Tom Brady in the playoffs. This is a major position of need, and if the Packers think Aaron Rodgers can make any WR great, then their solution is to never draft them. I think we know what they think.
Buffalo Bills: Najee Harris RB Alabama
If you think the Bills struggles to run are the product of poor running back play, then this is the solution. I think the line isn’t getting enough of a push myself, but ultimately, they need to develop options other than having Josh Allen run to move the chains. He needs to cut back on the wear and tear and investing in another bruiser to handle that job would be wise. The Bills don’t want him moving like Ben Roethlisberger when he’s 35.
Kansas City Chiefs: Rondale Moore WR Purdue
Can you even imagine? That speed, quickness and leaping ability? You can? Is that because you have seen Tyreek Hill? Moore is perfect Tyreek Hill insurance. The Chiefs have shown over and over that they value speed. Moore is another devastating instrument of speed for the cannon attached to Patrick Mahomes.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Travis Etienne RB Clemson
The perfect 2nd-3rd down back, adding his speed and versatility to what they have would be a perfect piece for Tom Brady who is used to less useful check down pieces like James White or Leonard Fourtnette. Travis Etienne is like a Chevy Corvette to Leonard’s Fordnette Focus.