Attention everyone. May I please have your attention. I have a major announcement to make. The Super Bowl is finished, the NFL Scouting Combine is less than a week away, and the XFL regular season has gotten off to a fun and exciting start. With that being said, I would like to officially welcome everybody to “Draft Season”. I have always considered the start of draft season as the week of the combine because the NFL is officially done playing football and every NFL team, media scout, and Twitter personality who thinks they know football has ramped up their efforts to prepare for April. In celebration of “Draft Season”, here is another mock draft where I ruin everybody’s favorite team except my own. Please interact with me on Twitter and let me know on a scale of 1-Cleveland Browns how badly I messed up this draft.
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1.1 Cincinnati Bengals
The pick: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Unfortunately, I have to bore you with the first pick in the draft. Joe Burrow is not a boring player, but this pick has been beaten chosen so many times it feels a little repetitive. Which is why the NFL Draft community would be absolutely floored if Cincinnati messed this thing up. Take Joe Burrow. This is the way.
1.2 Washington Redskins
The pick: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
Moving on from that horrible Mandolarian reference at the end of selection one, we transition to another repetitive pick. Young is the best player in this class. Him and Montez Sweat would be a scary duo on the outside of the defensive line. Ron Rivera seems to be slowly changing the culture in Washington, and with Chase Young, this defensive line is one of the scariest in the NFL.
TRADE: DET trades picks 1.3 for MIA picks 1.5, 1.26, and 5.135
1.3 Miami Dolphins (via DET)
The pick: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Finally some excitement (kind of). Same team, same player, but different spot. With both Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia seemingly fighting to save their jobs, they need to acquire as much talent as possible. Picking up a few extra picks seems like the way to go. For Miami, because they have what seems like a million picks over the next few seasons they can afford to send a few of those to Detroit to secure their franchise QB. All signs are pointing to Tua’s medical coming back as positive as ever so Miami gets the guy they’ve been linked to all along.
1.4 New York Giants
The pick: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
Daniel Jones got murdered this season. And with Washington gearing up to have the scariest young defensive line in the entire NFL, the Giants have to protect the guy they chose to be the successor to Eli Manning. Wills has become the clear cut best offensive lineman in this class, with elite lateral movement skills and nimble feet; he can also be used to give Saquon Barkley the holes needed to use his breakaway speed downfield. This pick is a no brainer for any general manager, but especially Dave Gettleman who starts and ends his team building with gaining help on the fronts.
1.5 Detroit Lions (via MIA)
The pick: Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Yes, Detroit. You just got the same exact player you would’ve gotten at three. You’re welcome. With the release of Damon “Snacks” Harrison late last week, Detroit could be looking towards Derrick Brown with this pick, but with rumors swirling rapidly that Darius Slay is on the trading block, finding his replacement has to be a priority. Okudah is the best pure coverage corner we have seen come out of college in a long time. If Slay is moved, then Okudah is the instant CB1 for the Lions. If Slay stays, then they have a shutdown duo for the short term future. Seems like a win-win for all those involved (except opposing NFC North quarterbacks).
1.6 Los Angeles Chargers
The pick: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
I know my co-host on the Whole Nine Draft Podcast (which you should go listen to on Apple and Spotify, by the way) is not happy about this pick for his favorite team. However, this is a prediction of what I think will happen, and this is what seems to make the most sense for LA barring a signing of Teddy Bridgewater in free agency. Herbert has all the traits in the world to be a good NFL QB, and with Tyrod Taylor still in the building he can sit for a few games or even an entire season to get ready for the NFL level. It sells tickets, gives the Chargers a look to the future and from a football and business sense this pick seems easy.
1.7 Carolina Panthers
The pick: Derrick Brown, IDL, Auburn
The Panthers are the true wild card inside the top 10. They could do a multitude of different things here. Replace the newly retired Luke Kuechly, replace the always-injured Cam Newton, or even trade back and assess all those options further. But the Panthers are losing everyone on their interior front to free agency, and will not be able to retain all of them. Derrick Brown is a top four player in this class and is an instant plug and play mauler on the interior. The fit is perfect, the player is near perfect and it saves Carolina cap space to address other needs on their roster.
1.8 Arizona Cardinals
The pick: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
The Cardinals are a team that on paper are really exciting. Young athletic QB, a young savvy and innovative head coach, along with one of the league’s best pass rushers and cover corners. For Arizona it is all about adding talent. With the re-signing of DJ Humphries it is possible that Arizona looks to add offensive line help a little bit later in the draft. With a young and athletic QB on the roster in Kyler Murray, he needs some dynamic playmakers surrounding him on the outside. There is no better fit for Kyler than his former college teammate CeeDee Lamb, who can immediately can take over as the top target when Larry Fitzgerald hangs it up. No brainer pick, at least from where I stand.
1.9 Jacksonville Jaguars
The pick: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
The Jaguars missed Telvin Smith. That is clear as day. With his commitment to coming back to football in doubt, the Jaguars need to add a difference maker on the defensive side of the ball. Insert the most versatile playmaker in this entire draft class. Simmons can play linebacker, safety, or nickel corner. It doesn’t really matter, he will make a difference anywhere he plays. Simmons could play safety in the NFL and fix the safety need for the Jags, or play next to Myles Jack and create one of the best linebacking duos in the entire NFL.
1.10 Cleveland Browns
The pick: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
I haven’t jumped on the Mekhi Becton train just yet. I still have Thomas and Wirfs as my next tackles after Wills. Becton to me is someone that has tremendous upside, but is raw on the technical side of things. If one team were to take him above Thomas or Wirfs, though, it would be Cleveland. Knowing their draft style, looking for upside and hitting home runs on every pick (hasn’t exactly worked out), Becton seems like the fit for the Browns in the first round.
1.11 New York Jets
The pick: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
The Jets have to be a pretty happy team right now with how the board has fallen. A top tier offensive lineman and the best offensive playmaker are both still on the board. So now the Jets have a decision to make. While Jerry Jeudy is an elite prospect, Wirfs has to be the pick here. Offensive line is not as deep as this receiver class and is also a more immediate need. Darnold needs to be protected if the Jets have any change of wanting to make a push towards winning and making the playoffs.
1.12 Las Vegas Raiders
The pick: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
So the whole Antonio Brown thing didn’t exactly work out the way Oakland (now Las Vegas) wanted it to. Let’s get Derek Carr, or Derek Carr’s replacement, a legitimate number one receiver. Jeudy is the best route runner to enter the NFL Draft in years, and is a top six player in this class, but will fall due to positional value and the depth that is at receiver. There is no doubt about it: Jeudy is exactly what this Raiders offense needs.
1.13 Indianapolis Colts
The pick: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
First and foremost, I am not exactly chairman of the Jordan Love fan club. I think he is incredibly raw, struggles with processing and is wildly inconsistent. So of course someone is going to take him inside the top 15. His upside is tremendous, and the Colts have a playoff caliber roster if they get consistent QB play. Love can sit behind Brissett for the remainder of the contract and then come in as the starter in 2021. Not my ideal selection for Indianapolis, but unless they sign a guy in free agency, it is looking like the most realistic option.
1.14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The pick: Javon Kinlaw, IDL, South Carolina
Kinlaw has proven he is a top 10 player in this draft class, especially after the Senior Bowl, but he has the ceiling to be the best defensive player in this entire class. The Bucs are presumably bringing back Jameis Winston for another year or two, so although taking a QB at 14 is not out of the picture, Kinlaw’s value here is incredible at a position of need and is ultimately too good to pass up. I still envision the Buccaneers will take a swing at a quarterback fairly early, but where and who remains the question.
1.15 Denver Broncos
The pick: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
The Denver offense needs a few more pieces for Drew Lock to succeed. One of those is another receiver opposite of an emerging star in Courtland Sutton. Ruggs is the perfect compliment to Sutton. A player that can vertically stretch the field with his speed, and route running ability can be the big play receiver for Drew Lock and his big arm, while Sutton can be the big bodied red zone receiver. With Sutton, Ruggs and a hopefully fully developed Noah Fant at tight end, Denver has some cornerstone weapons for Lock for the foreseeable future.
1.16 Atlanta Falcons
The pick: K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
Chaisson is a top ten player in this class. I know at least one of my colleagues at Whole Nine agrees with me. Atlanta seems to be moving away from Vic Beasley after some up and down seasons. Insert Chaisson to be his replacement, and you now have a player with one of the highest upsides in the entire class. Technique wise, yes he is raw, but ability to win reps and athleticism are things he does not lack. I have grown on this player every single time I have watched him; he is a name to keep an eye on.
1.17 Dallas Cowboys
The pick: CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
The Cowboys seemingly can’t pay everyone, not with the cap structure and the amount of players that are slated to be free agents. Byron Jones seems like the odd man out, so why not find his replacement? I think Kristian Fulton is a better pure cover corner, with higher tackling upside. But I think Dallas will fall in love with Henderson’s athletic ability and length and be the fit here for the Cowboys. Safety is also a need here, but I like the fit with Henderson. If he can become a more physical and complete tackler than he is in good shape to become a shutdown corner.
1.18 Miami Dolphins (via PIT)
The pick: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
How this man made it to 18 is shocking. The NFL doesn’t seem to value Thomas as highly as media evaluators, and now Miami gets their starting left tackle for the future. Thomas has the most experience being a left tackle out of any other tackles in this class. He is a dominant blocker with the ability to move, and there is a reason he was the consensus top tackle by most people entering the season. The Dolphins find their replacement for Laremy Tunsil here.
1.19 Las Vegas Raiders (via CHI)
The Pick: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
I changed it up last time with this pick, going with a secondary piece. I did not love that pick, so I am going back to one of the most natural and perfect fits there is in the first round. Kenneth Murray to Vegas. Rangy, instinctive linebacker in the middle of the field is exactly what this Raiders defense needs.
1.20 Jacksonville Jaguars (via LAR)
The pick: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
Everyone keeps getting lower and lower on Fulton. It could be the injury concerns, but I don’t get it. He is easily the second best cover corner in this class and is a great replacement for Jalen Ramsey in Jacksonville. Incredible in man coverage, and although some have questions about his tackling, I really like his aggressiveness in coverage in his willingness to attack the football. The Jags need a replacement for Ramsey and someone to play opposite of Bouye. Fulton is that guy.
1.21 Philadelphia Eagles
The pick: Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado
I have said it before and I will say it again, Greg Ward cannot be the Eagles number one receiver going into next year. With Nelson Agholor likely moving on in free agency, and the possibility of Alshon Jeffrey being traded or released, the Eagles receiving corps is running extremely thin. Carson Wentz needs a dynamic playmaker to have in his arsenal of offensive weapons. There is no better dynamic playmaker at this position than Laviska Shenault. He can be used in so many ways, just get him the ball and let him get into space.
1.22 Buffalo Bills
The pick: AJ Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
I know I have been hammering the table for the Bills to take a big bodied target for Josh Allen. But the value is far too much to pass up on here with Epenesa all the way at 22. Once considered a lock for a top five selection, the lack of production the first half of the year has pushed Epenesa all the way down the board. I believe he can play inside and outside, and the Bills keep adding talent on the defensive line. With the depth in this receiving class, the Bills can add a playmaker in the later rounds. Best player available with this value is too hard to pass up on.
1.23 New England Patriots
The pick: Josh Jones, OT, Houston
I hate mocking the Patriots. There I said it. I just never truly know where to go with them. With Tom Brady on the fence about returning (I think he comes back but for the sake of argument just hear me out), a QB could be in play here, but I think the Patriots keep building up the roster to try and convince Tom to come back. That starts with adding weapons, and adding more protection for him up front. Josh Jones is a name that is climbing boards lately after an impressive Senior Bowl, and I think the Patriots could use him to be a rotational player until he steps into start when he is ready.
1.24 New Orleans Saints
The pick: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Out of all the Saints picks I have made, this is the one I absolutely love. Drew Brees is coming back for at least one more year, so it is time to load up the offense to make a run. It’s no secret that Michael Thomas is the best receiver in football (if you don’t think that please open your eyes), but the rest of the Saints weapons are significant question marks along the outside. Jefferson is coming off the hottest four games to end the season out of anyone in the draft (except Joe Burrow). Pairing Jefferson with Michael Thomas is a deadly combination that I know a colleague of mine is all for.
1.25 Minnesota Vikings
The pick: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
I will not back down the Vikings taking a corner in round one, and I also won’t back down on my love for Jeff Gladney. This guy is a first round player. Period. I know the Vikings are linked to Trevon Diggs because of his brother, but I can’t confidently and willingly give them Diggs two mocks in a row. As a Vikings fan I deserve nice things and Jeff Gladney is a top three corner on my board, and he fits the mold of stereotypical Vikings corners, without the raw technique.
1.26 Detroit Lions (via MIA via HOU)
The pick: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
Detroit traded Quandre Diggs last season to Seattle, and he made an immediate impact on their defense. I think it is safe to say that Detroit regrets trading their best safety. No problem, thanks to Miami wanting Tua they can now replace Diggs with an incredibly versatile playmaker. McKinney and Okudah are great building blocks on the back end for a Detroit team in a great division filled with elite receivers.
TRADE: SEA trades pick 1.27 for TB picks 2.45, 2021 3rd, and 2021 6th
1.27 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (via SEA)
The pick: Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
Seattle trades down. Again. Shocker. They build up more draft capital, as they usually do, and move out of round one. Remember when I said Tampa Bay might be looking for a QB later in the draft? This is what I was alluding to. Jacob Eason seems like the perfect fit for a Bruce Arians offense, and he can sit a year behind Jameis Winston or whoever is the QB in 2020 until he is ready. Tampa trades up to get the fifth year option on hopefully their new franchise QB that has an electric arm.
1.28 Baltimore Ravens
The pick: Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama
Another Ravens pick and another Alabama player. It is almost a meme at this point, but this pick actually makes a ton of sense. With Matthew Judon being a tag and trade candidate this year, the Ravens need a new presence off the edge and Terrell Lewis is not getting the love he deserves in this draft class. He has great burst off the line and incredible length for the position. He screams Baltimore Raven, so he is going to be one in this mock.
TRADE: TEN trades pick 1.29 for IND picks 2.34, 6.191, and 2021 5th
1.29 Indianapolis Colts (via TEN)
The pick: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
In my final trade of the first round, I have Indianapolis trading up for a target for their new QB Jordan Love. While this receiver class is insanely deep and the Colts pick next at 34, in this situation they’re fearful the Packers will take their target. Therefore, Indianapolis uses a few of their plentiful draft picks to trade up with Tennessee, a team that needs more capital, and grabs the best big physical receiver in the class. Higgins opposite of T.Y Hilton is the perfect skillset to give this offense.
1.30 Green Bay Packers
The pick: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
A sneaky need for the Packers is an inside linebacker. Blake Martinez is likely departing for a big payday in free agency, and with no true standout receivers left on the board the Packers opt to go Patrick Queen. Another smart and instinctive playmaker with incredible athleticism and range is perfect to compliment the already nasty pass rush of the Smiths (Preston and Za’Darius). The Packers defense has already made massive strides this past season, adding another playmaking piece will make Green Bay the most complete team in the NFC North. As a Vikings fan that is painfully hard to admit.
1.31 San Francisco 49ers
The pick: Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
The 49ers are in a great position to take the best player available. With Richard Sherman getting up there in age, and the roster as a whole one of the most complete in the NFL, this pick is all about planning for the future. Johnson is a really good technical cover corner that has a lot of physicality. Love the player. Love the fit.
1.32 Kansas City Chiefs
The pick: Lloyd Cushenberry III, IOL, LSU
Protect Patrick Mahomes and you’ll win more Super Bowls. That’s it.
2.33 CIN – Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
2.34 TEN (via IND via WAS) – Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
2.35 DET – Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State
2.36 NYG – Cameron Dantzler, CB, Mississippi State
2.37 LAC – Austin Jackson, OT, USC
2.38 CAR – Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
2.39 MIA – D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
2.40 ARI – Cesar Ruiz, IOL, Michigan
2.41 CLE – Grant Delpit, S, LSU
2.42 JAX – Ross Blacklock, IDL, TCU
2.43 CHI – Lucas Niang, OT, TCU
2.44 IND – Neville Gallimore, IDL, Oklahoma
2.45 SEA (via TB) – Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame
2.46 DEN – Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
2.47 ATL – JK Dobbins, RB, Ohio State
2.48 NYJ – Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
2.49 PIT – Josh Uche, EDGE, Michigan
2.50 CHI – Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue
2.51 DAL – Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota
2.52 LAR – Netane Muti, IOL, Fresno State
2.53 PHI – AJ Terrell, CB, Clemson
2.54 BUF – Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
2.55 ATL (via NE) – Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
2.56 MIA (via NO) – Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne
2.57 HOU – Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU
2.58 MIN – Justin Madubuike, IDL, Texas A&M
2.59 SEA – KJ Hamler, WR, Penn State
TRADE: BAL trades pick 2.60 for CAR picks 3.69 and 2021 4th
2.60 CAR (via BAL) – Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
2.61 TEN – Matt Hennessy, IOL, Temple
2.62 GB – Van Jefferson, WR, Florida
2.63 KC (via SF) – Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin
2.64 SEA (via KC) – Matt Peart, OT, UConn