It’s been a few months since my last mock draft but to be honest, it’s my birthday this week and I wanted to celebrate with a mock draft, so it’s my turn again. The order I’m using is from Tankathon after the Seahawks/Rams game. The picks in this mock are what I think teams realistically should do given how the picks before them play out, there will be no trades in this mock draft. As always, thank you for reading and all feedback is welcome @WNS_Brandon.
1.1 Cincinnati Bengals
The pick: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
This is one of the easiest picks in the draft. The Bengals are a franchise that’s been plagued by mediocrity since before I was born. Grabbing one of the best players in the draft at the most important position in football is the best way to turn it around. Zac Taylor gets his man to help turn this franchise around.
1.2 New York Giants
The pick: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
The Giants have holes all over their roster but by grabbing the best player in the draft, they immediately help out every level of the defense. Markus Golden has had himself a solid season to this point but there’s no question that the Giants need to get better up front. Young would instantly be the best player on this defense.
1.3 Washington Redskins
The pick: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Washington has the young QB in Dwayne Haskins, if they choose to stay committed to him. Haskins could use help all over the offense but there isn’t an offensive lineman that I’d take at 3. Jerry Jeudy is an instant contributor that would give Washington one of the top young receiving duos in the NFL.
1.4 Miami Dolphins
The pick: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Despite his recent hip injury, due to modern science, Tua is expected to make a full recovery. As long as Miami is okay with his medicals and doesn’t find any major red flags, we could be seeing Tua as the new QB in aqua and orange. This team has been competitive with Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB, imagine what this team could be capable of with Tua and the other incoming rookies.
1.5 Detroit Lions
The pick: Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Whether or not Darius Slay is a Detroit Lion next season (as some rumors have swirled), Okudah would help this team a ton. Either he’s the guy set up to replace Slay or he gets to line up opposite Slay and the Lions dare opposing quarterbacks to test this duo. I know corner might not be the most pressing need for Detroit but being able to pair Slay with Okudah should be enticing enough for the Lions to take him here.
1.6 Arizona Cardinals
The pick: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Arizona has flashed the potential to do some special things on offense, but they lack in some key areas. The most important area on offense that the Cards need help is on the offensive line, but that’s where Andrew Thomas steps in as an immediate starter to help add some consistency to this line. You drafted Kyler Murray first overall last season, get him someone to keep him healthy and clean.
1.7 Jacksonville Jaguars
The pick: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
I’ll be honest, I’ve had my doubts about CeeDee Lamb throughout the season, but he’s just played too well for too long for me to continue to doubt him. Lamb has sure hands, he’s a clean route runner, and he’s one of the best “run after the catch” receivers you’ll see in college football today. Lamb could step in as an immediate contributor to give whoever the Jags QB is next season some consistency opposite DJ Chark. He also wore eye tape and wrote “Nobody safe” on it for the Big XII Championship game this past weekend and if that doesn’t help his stock then I don’t know what does.
1.8 Atlanta Falcons
The pick: AJ Epenesa, DL/EDGE, Iowa
Before the year, I said that A.J. Epenesa was the top edge in the 2020 Draft class. While that didn’t exactly prove to be correct, Epenesa is still a tremendous talent and someone that could fit in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme. Epenesa doesn’t offer as much pass-rush ability as Chase Young, but I’d argue he’s better against the run than Young is.
1.9 New York Jets
The pick: Tristan Wirfs, OL, Iowa
I wish that I could use this pick to draft the Jets a new head coach, but I’m going for the next best thing. Sam Darnold has shown flashes to be a franchise QB and we know Le’Veon Bell is capable of being a top running back, but both of those things can’t happen behind this offensive line. I’d recommend using multiple picks to address the line, but Tristan Wirfs is the ideal starting point for Gang Green.
1.10 Los Angeles Chargers
The pick: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Let me preface this by saying that this is the #1 pick where it’s really not the pick that I would make, but it’s the one thinks the team would. I’d rather draft for need elsewhere, like offensive line or cornerback. However, I think the Chargers would much rather draft the guy that they think could be their franchise quarterback and address other needs later. Herbert still has plenty of upside and arm talent, I just worry about inconsistency with him.
1.11 Denver Broncos
The pick: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
Contrary to every other mock draft you’ve ever seen anywhere, the Broncos don’t really need a linebacker. Their offensive line has been a big question however, particularly from the tackle spots. With a young QB in Drew Lock and two young RBs in Lindsay and Freeman, I’d think that solidifying this offensive line has to be a top priority for Denver.
1.12 Carolina Panthers
The pick: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
I know that Panthers fans might be looking for offensive line help here but there’s just none I’m comfortable seeing go here. Instead, the Panthers grab a corner who seems like he’d mesh will with Donte Jackson, especially if the team decides to let James Bradberry walk in free agency. If not, then Carolina secures their top three corner spots for the coming years.
1.13 Philadelphia Eagles
The pick: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
If you’ve watched any Eagles games this season, you know that their secondary, whether healthy or banged up, has left a lot to be desired. Drafting Trevon Diggs here won’t fix all of their issues but it’s definitely a good start to find an immediate starter on the boundary.
1.14 Oakland Raiders
The pick: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
This pick is an absolute steal here for the Raiders. Simmons has been the best linebacker in college football this season and he offers a ton of upside at the next level. Paul Guenther would be able to do a lot more defensively if he had a piece like Simmons that he could move all over the defense with a ton of different responsibilities.
1.15 Indianapolis Colts
The pick: Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
Another defensive player that shouldn’t have fallen but did because of how stacked this draft is right where teams desperately need help. Derrick Brown would be able to step in and help make a good Colts defense even better. This Colts team has some needs on the offensive side but of the players available, I don’t really like the fit or the value is a question for me.
1.16 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The pick: Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
It seems like every year we’re mocking cornerbacks to the Bucs in the first round. If this is the year where they finally decide to draft a corner to help build this secondary, Paulson Adebo is the best available CB at this spot. Todd Bowles should be able to find creative ways to get him involved and he’s got the ability to make plenty of plays on the ball for Tampa Bay.
1.17 Cleveland Browns
The pick: Austin Jackson, OT, USC
Another team that I wish I could draft a new head coach for, another team that instead I have to draft an offensive lineman for. (Funny enough that both of those tackles I chose are playing each other in the Holiday Bowl.) Austin Jackson would instantly be the best tackle on the roster. The most underwhelming team in football finally addresses their most glaring need.
1.18 Oakland Raiders (CHI)
The pick: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
After drafting Isaiah Simmons with their first pick, the Raiders draft another speed demon. This time, it’s a receiver out of Alabama (the last one worked out for them so well) in Henry Ruggs III. Ruggs III has seen a meteoric rise in his draft stock this season and for good reason, he’ll instantly be one of the fastest players in the NFL and he’ll add all new wrinkles to this offense. You know Jon Gruden will find creative ways to get the ball in Ruggs III hands.
1.19 Tennessee Titans
The pick: Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
I was looking at the offensive line but I’m not a huge fan of taking any of those available right now. Outside of having an awesome background story and name, Yetur Gross-Matos has been one of the most consistent forces off the edge this season in college football. YGM would be able to line up opposite Harold Landry and wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks. Drafting Gross-Matos would give the Titans one of the youngest front sevens in football.
1.20 Jacksonville Jaguars (LAR)
The pick: Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
Although he’s missed the entire season due to a torn ACL, Dylan Moses is expected to make a full recovery and be back for the regular season next year. Losing Telvin Smith due to personal reasons right before the season really hurt this defense, if Smith doesn’t come back next year, Moses could fill his role alongside Myles Jack.
1.21 Dallas Cowboys
The pick: Grant Delpit, S, LSU
The slide ends here. Cowboys fans have been begging for a safety for what feels like half a decade now, here you go. Grant Delpit has his moments of dominance but for the most part this season, he’s looked like he’s moving at 80%, even when he’s healthy. His unwillingness to tackle has raised some questions about his motor and actual tackling ability. Although it could very well be just that he’s trying to keep himself healthy, the question remains of whether or not he’s willing to get gritty or if he’s just going to shy away from physicality.
1.22 Miami Dolphins (PIT)
The pick: K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
Back to back Bayou Bengals. The Dolphins pick up the explosive edge rusher from LSU in K’Lavon Chaisson. He’s more athletic freak than polished pass-rusher right now but Chaisson has shown the ability to erupt when he’s really needed to. With some more coaching up, Chaisson could be a stud. He also doesn’t have any character red flags, as evident by him being gifted LSU’s prestigious #18 jersey.
1.23 Miami Dolphins (HOU)
The pick: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
Three straight LSU Tiger defenders. Kristian Fulton has impressed throughout this whole season and although he’s not the top corner on his team right now, he’s still one of the top cornerbacks in the draft. Fulton should be able to line up on the opposite side of the field as Xavien Howard and this weak secondary becomes a lot stronger.
1.24 Minnesota Vikings
The pick: Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina
With some potential upcoming free agents/cap casualties, along with a general lack of consistent production from the defensive tackle spots, Javon Kinlaw stops his fall. Kinlaw has picked up a ton of steam lately has an athletic freak that has the potential to dominate at the line of scrimmage, with an already solid defense around him, Kinlaw can step in without a ton of pressure as he develops.
1.25 Buffalo Bills
The pick: Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado
From watching Bills games this season, you can tell that although they added a lot of weapons, they didn’t add a lot of talented weapons. Josh Allen is still looking for his #1 receiver and Shenault just might be that. At his absolute worst, Shenault looks like the kind of guy that you just find a way to get him involved and get the ball in his hands. He’s got the potential to be a game-breaking kind of playmaker.
1.26 Kansas City Chiefs
The pick: Tyler Biadasz, IOL, Wisconsin
For all of the flack that their defense gets, the interior of the Chiefs offensive line has played some very disappointing football this year. Patrick Mahomes has been dinged up a few times this season and without solidifying this offensive line, you’re throwing your franchise QB into a situation where he’s more likely to get injured. Protect the best player on your team and help make this phenomenal offense even better.
1.27 Green Bay Packers
The pick: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
This is someone that I’m perfectly willing to call “my guy.” Jalen Ragor is someone that’s been unable to consistently produce due to the lack of quarterback productivity and scheme at TCU, but he’s got tons of potential. He’s an athletic freak in every sense of the word that although he has “drop issues” (he just tries to make plays before securing the catch, it’s fixable). Reagor in this offense could blow the top off the defense and open up things underneath and in the run game.
1.28 Seattle Seahawks
The pick: Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama
Lewis is one of those guys that his biggest question mark is whether or not he’ll be able to stay on the field. The Seahawks have shown though that they’re willing to take a chance on those kinds of guys though and Lewis should be able to thrive in this aggressive Seattle defense.
1.29 New England Patriots
The pick: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
I know that this one might seem like it’s a little out of left field but if there’s one team I’d think is comfortable making the unusual pick, it’s New England. I also think Kenneth Murray would be a phenomenal fit in this Patriots defense given how creative Bill Belichick is with his linebackers. Murray would offer a level of athleticism that no other linebacker outside of Isaiah Simmons could offer.
1.30 New Orleans Saints
The pick: Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama
The Saints biggest need is their lack of legitimate playmakers at the wide receiver position outside of Michael Thomas, here’s how they solve that. One of the more recent risers in the receiving group, Smith has established himself especially during the second half of the season. Alabama staffers were hoping that they’d be able to hold onto Smith for one more year but given his tape and production from this past year, I think he’s gone.
1.31 Baltimore Ravens
The pick: Troy Dye, LB, Oregon
One of my favorite prospects in this class, Troy Dye seems like a guy that’s a little unconventional for the Ravens, but they clearly have no problem deviating from the norm. Dye is built for today’s NFL of spreading things out and trying to throw the ball a ton, he’d be a huge addition to a defense that’s looking to make multiple Super Bowl runs in the coming years.
1.32 San Francisco 49ers
The pick: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
Thanks to Matt Barr (@MattBarr_) for helping me here. I couldn’t decide between a few players, so he helped me figure this one out. McKinney has been climbing boards fast and some people have even begun to list him as their first safety on the board. I’m not going to go that far but he’s definitely got the potential to at the very least be a contributor early on before taking on a full-time role. His versatility is one of his greatest traits and with how good this entire defense is, he should be able to have a blast out there on the back end.