It’s that time again. I know it has been awhile since my last mock draft but don’t worry! I have been keeping up with all the changes and surroundings that the NFL Draft has offered us so far. Whether it has been three of the top six running backs returning to school, or the LSU Tigers losing everybody not named Jamarr Chase from their national championship team, it has been a lot to handle and try to unpack. With that being said, let’s dive right into my latest mock draft to see what has changed.
1.1 Cincinnati Bengals
The pick: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
In my latest mock draft Tua was still healthy and Joe Burrow hadn’t broken every single record there is to break for a SEC quarterback. Burrow is special, the Bengals seem to be committed to taking him number one and they should be. Write this one is pen, and then highlight it half a dozen times. This pick isn’t changing: Joe Burrow will be a Cincinnati Bengal.
1.2 Washington Redskins
The pick: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
The Redskins are in a prime position with this pick to form one of the best defensive fronts in football, and one of the most dynamic pass rush duos in the league. Chase Young is elite at nearly everything on the football field. Pairing him with 2019 first round pick Montez Sweat, and veteran coaches Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio will be making Redskin fans scream with joy, and opposing quarterbacks scream in fear.
1.3 Detroit Lions
The pick: Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Am I boring anybody yet? Having the same top three picks as Alex did a week ago? I am sorry. What everyone is saying about this pick is true, the draft does start at pick three. Come April I do not expect it to be Detroit making this selection, but with no trades in this mock (or any mock) the Lions stand pat and take the best cover corner to come out since Jalen Ramsey. Isaiah Simmons is intriguing here but positional value of an elite young corner takes the selection here.
1.4 New York Giants
The pick: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Oh, Dave what have you done? Yeah…. you guessed it this is a Dave Gettleman pick right here. Instead of taking the swiss army knife defensive weapon Isaiah Simmons, or an elite playmaking receiver in Jerry Jeudy we all know he is going to be taking a lineman of some sorts because well… he is Dave Gettleman. Thomas is a big athletic tackle with incredible high upside in the run game with Saquon Barkley but let’s face it. He isn’t the spark the Giants need on this football team. Offensive line is a need here don’t get me wrong, but this pick is not going to make very many Giants fans happy.
1.5 Miami Dolphins
The pick: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
The Dolphins did the unthinkable! They tanked with an incredible high team morale AND land the guy they wanted all along! Although he now comes with a damaged hip the Dolphins finally got their man to be their franchise star. In all reality, the Dolphins will have to trade up with Detroit to secure they get their guy, but he is going to be worth it in the end. Although you may have to start Ryan Fitzpatrick a little bit longer, the ultimate payoff will be seeing a fully healthy Tua in a Dolphins uniform.
1.6 Los Angeles Chargers
The pick: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
I am not on the Justin Herbert hype train. I just cannot find the justification to taking him inside the top 10. The value is not there for me as an evaluator. With that being said, Philip Rivers is a pending free agent and is coming off his worst season as a professional QB. He also is 38. It is time for the Chargers to make a tough decision at QB for the first time since drafting Eli Manning. They have to find their answer. Herbert is a big armed kid with incredible athletic ability. LA won’t have to start him right away with Tyrod there and he can sit and learn to become an NFL caliber starting quarterback.
1.7 Carolina Panthers
The pick: Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
Unlike the pick previously, this selection is screaming value. A top three player falling down to seven AND fitting a position of need with key pending free agents and cut candidates on the interior defensive line in position leaves the Carolina Panthers thanking the draft gods for Derrick Brown. The Carolina Panthers got their coach in Matt Rhule (excellent hire by the way), and now get the ultimate destroyer on the interior of their defense in Derrick Brown.
1.8 Arizona Cardinals
The pick: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
I know. I know. I know. Protecting Kyler is a must. He is the future of this team, but this pick is just way too much fun to make. Reuniting Lamb with Kyler in a Kliff Kingsbury offense is a match made in heaven. Cardinals fans I hear you! I am aware that Larry Fitzgerald re-signed for another year, and I am aware that Kyler was sacked 48 times in his rookie season. But again, this pick is just way too much fun to make, and Lamb is a different kind of animal at the receiver position with his playmaking ability and catch radius.
1.9 Jacksonville Jaguars
The pick: Isaiah Simmons, DEF, Clemson
I love this player. I know I have said it a million times, whether that is in my scouting report, in other mock drafts, or most notably on twitter, I love Isaiah Simmons. He can line up anywhere on defense and has the best range I have seen from a defensive player in my entire scouting career. Simmons can play anywhere from edge rusher, linebacker, slot corner or single high safety. He fits all the problems the Jags have on defense. The Jaguars lost a heartbeat in the middle when Telvin Smith decided to retire. Pairing Jack with a swiss army knife playmaker in Isaiah Simmons creates the best young linebacker duo in the league.
1.10 Cleveland Browns
The pick: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
Browns fans rejoice! My number one offensive tackle has fallen into your laps. Don’t expect it to be this way on draft day. If you want Wills then you better be prepared to trade up, but again no trades in the mock (or ANY mock) so you can celebrate. Wills is an elite pass protector with a really good range of motion in his base and his hips. Setting him up as Baker Mayfield’s blindside protector will benefit Baker and allow him to go back to be an accurate thrower of the football.
1.11 New York Jets
The pick: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Similarly, to the Cardinals, the Jets need offensive line to protect their heavily pressured young QB. Unlike the Cardinals, the Jets pull the trigger on a protector for said young QB. Darnold has to be protected or his career will be short-lived because of constant interceptions thrown while under duress. I know taking Jerry Jeudy here would be really fun and exciting for a Jets franchise looking for any sign of life, but with the last top-tier offensive lineman on the board the Jets need to capitalize here and keep Sam Darnold upright and on the field.
1.12 Oakland Raiders
The pick: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
So, the whole Antonio Brown thing really didn’t work well for Oakland. Mistakes happen! It is okay! I have got your solution. Jeudy is the most polished receiver in this class. With exceptional release off the line and beautiful route running ability with crisp footwork, Jeudy will make Derek Carr (or whoever the Raiders will have at QB) a very happy guy.
1.13 Indianapolis Colts
The pick: AJ Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
The Colts will be selecting a QB at some point in the draft. But the value is not there at 13 to be taking one. Instead they go with the best player available approach. AJ Epenesa is a top ten player in this draft but has fallen due to offensive tackles and quarterbacks being taken early. Epenesa is a big physical player that will fit any defensive scheme. The immediate need for edge rusher is not there but the value is too big to pass up here.
1.14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The pick: Grant Delpit, S, LSU
Grant Delpit did not have the best 2019-2020 campaign. Whether he was holding back to avoid injury or was simply just playing poorly. However, his tape and upside cannot be denied. Delpit has is extremely versatile on the backend being able to play single high safety, in the slot or in sub packages on pass rushing downs. Todd Bowles had a player with a similar skill set in Jamal Adams while with the Jets. I am sure he can use Delpit in a very similar fashion.
1.15 Denver Broncos
The pick: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
This has become one of my more favorite selections in mock circles. The Broncos have found their answer at QB in Drew Lock. They have dynamic pass rushers, an up and coming receiver, and a solid running game. Just like everyone else in the draft they need offensive line help, but the value is not there to take one. With Chris Harris likely out the door Denver needs to find his replacement. Insert Kristian Fulton, an athletic man to man corner fits perfectly on the backend with Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson.
1.16 Atlanta Falcons
The pick: K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
One of my biggest risers lately on my board is Chaisson. The big physical and athletic LSU pass rusher is extremely dynamic and powerful on his first step off the line. The Falcons need a pass rusher badly. That is not exactly breaking news. Vic Beasley has not been the same since his outbreak a few seasons ago and I expect them to let him go in free agency. Atlanta needs somebody to lineup on the line next to Grady Jarett. Chaisson is far from a technical master and he will need some coaching in that aspect, but his athletic prowess alone warrants a top 20 pick.
1.17 Dallas Cowboys
The pick: Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina
The Cowboys would love to see Grant Delpit fall here, but he does not make it to 17. Instead they opt for another position of need, and one of my favorite players in the draft. With two of their interior linemen pending free agents and a change in defensive scheme coming, the versatile Kinlaw can play in any scheme on the interior. His athleticism allows him to matchup and beat any lineman he is lined up against. Dallas gets a special player here.
1.18 Miami Dolphins (PIT)
The pick: Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
With their second first round pick Miami opts to take a player at the most important position on the defensive side of the ball. Now with the ongoing investigation at Penn State that Gross-Matos is allegedly involved in, his stock could fall depending on the outcome, but for now let’s look at the positives. Gross-Matos has huge upside as a pass rusher and utilizes his freak size and athletic ability to make big time plays. Miami needs edge rusher help, and they get a key contributor here from Penn State.
1.19 Oakland Raiders (CHI)
The pick: CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
The Raiders have added a lot of talent in the past few drafts. After adding Jeudy at pick 12 there were a few different options to choose from for Las Vegas. The secondary has some young pieces in Jonathan Abram and Trayvon Mullen, but still lack a player that can be a legitimate lockdown number one corner. Do I think Henderson is that? No. But he definitely is intriguing. With his athletic ability, coverage technique and blazing speed he is someone to keep an eye on. If he gets proper coaching on how to tackle and wrap up correctly, he can be a very complete coverage corner.
1.20 Jacksonville Jaguars (LAR)
The pick: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
Talk about dynamic playmakers for Jacksonville. Getting the rangy athletic Isaiah Simmons and now the fastest receiver in the class. Ruggs has legit 4.2 speed and will be a fun addition to an offense that finally got Leonard Fournette rolling and found a reliable receiver in DJ Chark. Giving Gardner Minshew or Nick Foles (whoever they want to start) another weapon to get involved in the offense.
1.21 Philadelphia Eagles
The pick: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Continuing the long-anticipated run at receiver (don’t worry there’s more) the Eagles select Justin Jefferson whose stock has risen a ton thanks to showing out against Oklahoma. It is no secret the Eagles had severe struggles at the wide receiver position this season, both with health and a severe case of the drops. With Nelson Agholor expected to walk in free agency and Alshon Jeffrey failing to provide a full season of good health, they need to bring in a reliable pass catcher. Insert Justin Jefferson and Wentz now has a true playmaker on the outside.
1.22 Buffalo Bills
The pick: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
I am definitely not a Buffalo Bills fan. Nor am I a Josh Allen fan but getting him a big physical receiver to add across from the speed they have in John Brown. Higgins is a big physical receiver with incredible grip strength. He isn’t going to blow anyone away with elite route running or athleticism, but he is a threat after the catch if he gets into space. The 6’4 receiver comes in with probably the most question marks among the top tier receiver but the fit here is just way too obvious to not make this selection.
1.23 New England Patriots
The pick: Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama
The Patriots are always hard to predict when it comes to drafting. I really want to mock Cole Kmet or Brycen Hopkins here because of the gaping hole at the tight end position. I just don’t see Bill Belichick taking a tight end in round one. EDGE rusher is another need for the Pats and Lewis is the best one available on my board. He has a nasty streak to his attack, often times beating linemen with inside maneuver and techniques. He also is someone I feel can be utilized in multiple schemes and formations. Belichick will find ways to position Lewis on his defensive front.
1.24 New Orleans Saints
The pick: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
The Saints need to keep adding playmakers to this team. With Brees aging their Super Bowl window could be closing (although Teddy Bridgewater is a pretty good replacement). Insert athletic monster Kenneth Murray. Murray is a patient and rangy playmaker on the second level of the defense. He was the heartbeat of the Oklahoma defense; when he was off the field the team looked lost. Combining Murray’s instincts and athleticism with a veteran in DeMario Davis coming off of his best season, the Saints linebacking core can be scary.
1.25 Minnesota Vikings
The pick: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
As a Vikings fan: I hate this pick. I think Diggs is raw technique wise and has a lot of improvements that need to be made in his coverage ability. I like Gladney and Jaylon Johnson more here. BUT I think Rick Spielman will see the name Diggs and want to pair him with his older brother in Minneapolis. Diggs is extremely athletic playmaker that lacks true coverage fundamentals. However, if anyone can give Diggs the tutelage needed to become a physical, technical corner, it is Mike Zimmer. So, although I don’t like it, this pick makes a lot of sense.
1.26 Miami Dolphins (HOU)
The pick: JK Dobbins, RB, Ohio State
Yes, the Dolphins need offensive line help. But the value just is not there for me at the offensive tackle position. So, let’s get Tua some help in the backfield. After trading Kenyan Drake, the Miami run game failed to exhibit any signs of life. Kalen Ballage is not the answer long term. Bring in the dynamic Buckeye back Dobbins who has incredible ball-carrier vision, and acceleration downfield. Although I think Swift is the more polished back (see the “Who’s Your Guy” article me and Devin Jackson collaborated on for a full analysis), but I see Dobbins as the more obvious fit here in Miami.
1.27 Seattle Seahawks
The pick: Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame
The Seahawks have an obsession of taking players at the end of round 1 that do not necessarily return round 1 value. They drafted LJ Collier last season and barely ever played the guy; they took Rashaad Penny but then gave the starting running back job to Chris Carson (although rightfully so). Their first-round picks have not returned first round value the past few seasons. Let’s try and change that with this pick. Although Okwara is not a first-round talent on my board, I feel he could produce enough to return round 1 value in the future. He is a long and flexible pass rusher that has all the tools to succeed at the next level. I do have concerns with his run defense and his overall play strength, but the talent and tools are there for him to succeed.
1.28 Baltimore Ravens
The pick: Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama
Another instance of knowing a team’s draft tendencies as opposed to following my board. The Baltimore Ravens have a history of taking Alabama defensive players. And yes, I am aware that they had a front office change, but this fit is just weirdly appealing to me. Davis is more of a round 2-3 talent for me on my board, but you cannot deny the amount of power and strength he possesses on the interior. Once he is set in his base stance with the leverage he obtains, he is hard to stop. The production was not there from year to year, but the upside is.
1.29 Tennessee Titans
The pick: Nick Harris, IOL, Washington
The Tennessee Titans have some big decisions to make this offseason. QB Ryan Tannehill proved he can be this team’s starter at least in the short-term, and Derrick Henry was a top three running back in the league this year. The problem is both of them are free agents. I expect both to be retained so now Tennessee needs to find ways to benefit them both. Harris is an athletic lineman with quick and agile footwork that allow him to keep the defender in front. He does not have ideal size and tends to be over-aggressive at point of attack that causes him to be a liability if he is put out of position early by finesse pass rushers. But he does have the traits to succeed at the next level.
1.30 Green Bay Packers
The pick: Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado
How many years have we been saying to get Aaron Rodgers some more weapons offensively? It has been too long. He cannot succeed throwing to guys like Geronimo Allisson and Allen Lazard as his second option. Insert Shenault, a big play threat every time he touches the ball. He can be utilized in a variety of ways including screens, reverse run plays and in the downfield passing attack. I think Matt LaFleur would have a lot of fun scheming this dynamic receiver open in his offense.
1.31 Kansas City Chiefs
The pick: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
I absolutely love this pick for Kansas City. Gladney is one of my personal favorite players in this draft, and Kansas City has a need at corner. Gladney showcases very good speed in coverage and has flexible hip fluidity that allows for a change of direction with ease. His production has also increased over the last few seasons as he has developed a bigger nose for the football. The Chiefs seem to have found a keeper in Charvarius Ward but bringing in Gladney will add a young tandem at corner that will be fun to watch develop over the next few years.
1.32 San Francisco 49ers
The pick: Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah
Finally! I finally have found a way to put this guy in my mocks! Jaylon Johnson is a personal favorite of mine to watch. I know the 49ers’ secondary has been excellent this year, but they do lack a true cornerback two opposite of Richard Sherman (who is up there in age). Ahkello Witherspoon has shown flashes, but also has disappointed in some moments. Jaylon Johnson is a long physical corner that is super aggressive in coverage. Has shown ability to be a ball hawk in the secondary. Can tend to be too grabby at times, but I love that in a corner personally. The Niners got themselves an incredible player here at 32.