I debated in my final mock draft if I really wanted to go a bit crazy or a bit different.
Instead, figured I would avoid a sort of trade up/trade back scenario for the Cardinals (knowing Keim likes picks but also talent) and instead give my reasoning.
So here we go....
1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
“I don’t care if he [RG3] can fly, Luck is the pick”—a quote about Andrew Luck reportedly from the 2012 draft.
Trevor Lawrence is probably a skinner Luck and this might be the easiest #1 overall pick since then.
2. New York Jets – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
I would probably lean Wilson over Fields to the shock of a lot of people (Fields’ production vs. top teams is higher) but when watching Zach, there’s a poise, improvisation and even sense of “doesn’t take a bad play” that I don’t get from Fields, who often is too long with the ball and while he leaves clean pockets too much...better to protect yourself than take a bad sack.
3. San Francisco 49ers – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
I would want to put Mac Jones here (though he’s better than Tua in my opinion) but feel that everything adds up for Fields in what SF wants: a starter who’s better than Garoppolo and worth all that capital. To me, that’s Fields, and if he isn’t the selection here it might be simply due to Lance having more upside for one reason or another.
4. Atlanta Falcons – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Crazy? Maybe. But I don’t think so...this new regime might still go Pitts but if you have the chance to get a QB pick in a class like THIS I don’t think you pass on it. QB > Generational talent every time. Look at Arizona and Cincy going Kyler and Burrow over Bosa and Young.
Ryan at his age is getting up there and Lance might need a few years. I might be crazy but on draft day, we’ll see if we don’t have 4 QB’s taken...something PItts himself said he thought would happen.
5. Cincinnati Bengals – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
I would take Penei Sewell here, even while knowing that Burrow needs a good weapon. The issue is that if you have no good WR’s or only one, then it’s an issue. Boyd + Higgins + a round 2 guy gets that for you.
Still, I’m expecting Cincy to try to salvage the cheap Jonah Williams contract and wouldn’t be shocked if we see Burrow end up being a “could have been” guy if the protection doesn’t last this year.
6. Miami Dolphins – Kyle Pitts, TE, Miami
The Dolphins should consider Sewell but the word that they’d go Waddle seems...interesting. I’m going to go against common wisdom of going with a wideout and think they take Pitts and use him/Gesicki all over.
7. Detroit Lions - Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
To me, this is a simple pick. He’s a need and a physical guy that fits their new coach Dan Campbell.
I feel that the Chargers jumping up for Sewell is likely.
8. Carolina Panthers – Jaycee Horn, CB,
I’d love to go Slater here...but nah. It seems that there’s a bigger push for more defenders and after looking at the Panthers’ depth chart it seems they really miss James Bradberry.
So far, this might be a trade-up spot but with the lone QB falling being Mac Jones...I don’t think that is the case.
9. Denver Broncos – Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
Originally was looking at Chargers jumping up here or a team making a move up for Mac Jones but...I just can’t see it where Denver trades to a division rival.
So I have them staying put and going OT.
10. Dallas Cowboys – Patrick Surtain II, CB, Ohio State
I somehow think he or Horn fall to this spot, even in spite of the idea that two corners go earlier.
Don’t see Denver taking a corner over an OT.
11. New York Giants – Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan
I’ll believe that the Dave Gettleman who went out and handsomely paid Kenny Golladay and drafted Kelvin Benjamin when he was with the Panthers will take 6’0, 166 lbs DeVonta Smith when I see it over adding either an OT in Darrisaw/Slater or the best edge in this draft.
If he adds to the pass rush, it feeds into HC Joe Judge’s philosophy more than it would Jason Garrett’s by a long-shot.
Let’s not forget who’s making these decisions, people...
12. Philadelphia Eagles – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Normally I’d say “nah” to this spot or have Waddle go at Miami to 6 so Smith goes here but in this scenario, Pitts falls after a QB stampede. I think they could look at OL/Edge after they took a receiver last year but Waddle gets reunited with his former college QB and might be too good of value here.
13. Los Angeles Chargers – Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
Really feel that it’ll be OL or bust here.
14. Minnesota Vikings – Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL
Wanted to give a corner here for Zimmer. Too bad, but this pick might be etched in stone unless the Giants take him earlier.
15. New England Patriots – Zaven Collins, LB/Edge (?) Tulsa
Was considering Mac Jones buuuut...I think that if NE goes Smith here, Arizona goes with Collins barring a trade back and the Pats give up a mid-round pick for Jimmy G.
I’d rather have Collins & Jimmy G than have Mac Jones if I’m Belichick. He’ll find the best way to use him and the “small school physical defensive freak” could either be a tweener or take over for his stud ILB in a year or two in his 4-3 either way.
16. Arizona Cardinals — DeVonta Smith, WR
I could see Smith going at 11, 12, 13 or 15 but feel that two things will help him fall here:
- 4 QB’s in the top 4 picks pushes Pitts down to Miami and thus pushes all the skill players down.
- The fact that betting on an outlier from this size when really....none of the above teams after Miami need a WR2 badly besides the Eagles (Pats paid for two already)...and they could still look at corner/OL/Edge as well and add a receiver later.
Arizona is in sore need of an addition here and at the cornerback spot but if I’m betting on Farley or Newsome here, well....I’d almost rather have Zaven Collins on a 5 year deal hoping that I can figured out his strengths over a guy who simply can’t stay on the field.
We’ve had essentially two scenarios for AZ at 16 between Collins and Smith.
If both are gone, I’d expect that Arizona finds SOME way to move back.
17. Las Vegas Raiders – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
The Raiders could use a WILL and Parsons fits the “Gruden takes a talented but questionable off-field” model easily
18. Miami Dolphins – Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss
Originally had Kwity Paye here, instead I’ll pull a bit of a surprise and see them pivot. Given the fact that a lot of their pass catchers are leaving as free agents after the season this pick might make more sense than you think as adding a weapon now and to take over for Will Fuller (especially when he gets hurt in Week 3).
19. Washington Football Team – Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
Need a mauling tackle? Jenkins is your guy. Rivera will love him and while the WFT didn’t land a quarterback, they are smart enough to not bite on Mac Jones here rather than wait and pounce when they get a chance.
20. Chicago Bears – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
The Bears, however, are not quite as smart and while their front office is relieved that they got a quarterback, their fans are wondering why they suddenly have two Andy Dalton’s on their depth chart.
21. TRADE: New Orleans Saints – Caleb Farley, CB, Virgina Tech
I’d rather feel that Farley could fall and be had later, but with Tennessee needing a cornerback the Saints make a move up for a position they baadly need. Given their personnel issues the past few years it wouldn’t shock me if they make a move like this only for it to either hit in a massive way or...bust out as they overvalued a trade up yet again.
22. TRADE: Green Bay Packers – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
Bateman is reportedly the guy here (though I could see Elijah Moore maybe as the real dude they want) and he would be a stud with Rodgers. Inside and out, not a 6’2, 220 but still might fall positively on the Marquis Lee/Stefon Diggs spectrum for his size and skills.
23. New York Jets – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
Guessing that the Bills want to move up to jump the Jets here but to no avail with a division rival. Jets could use a OT too but here they actually get a solid weapon for their quarterback as far as taking pressure off him in the pass and run game.
I’m not the dude who would recommend this method but I could see it for Zach Wilson.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Tempted to have Harris go before Etienne just to see if the Steelers just skip their pick or if they’d just go Javante for the heck of it. Get an OL instead, guys. Please.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars – S Trevon Moehrig, TCU
I was looking at Barmore here but think I’ll add Moehrig for the value and fact that I can’t see a corner going this high versus the top safety heading to Jacksonville.
Urban wants speed so Toney would be another option but gonna think they just take a round 2 receiver now with the top RB’s off the board
26. Cleveland Browns – Jaelen Phillips, DE, Miami
Really felt hard about Jamin Davis but Phillips’ upside across from Garrett was too good to pass up if he hits and I like him better than the receivers at this point.
27. Baltimore Ravens - Jayson Oweh, Edge, Penn State
I’ve had this pick written in for a while since while I don’t love this edge class, his upside despite the production (and a second round pick) clicks too much.
28. Indianapolis Colts (Trade) — CB Greg Newsome II, Northwestern
Makes too much sense for Indy to add another cornerback, especially as they have a history of drafting guys with injury concerns over the past decade.
29. Tennessee Titans (Trade) – Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
Titans trade back and land a weapon to make life easier on Ryan Tannehill with a YAC master in Toney that can break tackles and free up A.J. Brown to take the top off of defenses.
30. Buffalo Bills – Joe Tyron, Edge, Washington
Bills would have loved Etienne but they make up for it with an edge rusher who’s likely going in round 1.
31. Baltimore Ravens - Walker Little, OT, Stanford
The Ravens stay content to add to the lines with an OT who fits their profiles well on the other side of Ronnie Stanley.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
Ugh, of course Todd Bowles lands another top prospect here who will be able to play in his hybrid defense and dominate for the long haul. They made it work in the past with safeties and while an edge is possible here, i don’t think they pass on this value.