A lot has changed in the six weeks since I last posted a mock draft. Between NFL teams rising to the occasion, some falling to the doldrums of the league and the obvious player movement, there’s bound to be some new player-team combos. The picks are based off a combination of where players are on my big board, as well as team needs and tendencies. The order is according to Tankathon upon the completion of the Sunday Night Football game between the Bills and Steelers. Feel free to give feedback to me on Twitter @MikeSpencerWNS.
1.1 Cincinnati Bengals
The pick: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
We’ll start with an obvious one. The Bengals haven’t had a reliable QB since Carson Palmer was still wearing the stripes. Andy Dalton isn’t much more than a bridge quarterback and the Ryan Finley Experiment failed spectacularly. Burrow is not only the best QB in the class, but being Ohio born and raised is sure to make fans happy as well.
1.2 New York Giants
The pick: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
I’m not buying the TMZ reports that Chase Young is considering staying in school for his senior year as it provides no benefit to him and would put him at risk of injury. This is merely Young putting the draft on the backburner while he focuses on dominating the College Football Playoff. Chase Young has been an utterly dominant force. How else do you explain 16.5 sacks while missing two games due to suspension. The Giants under what should be an entirely new regime this offseason can bring in Young who I feel has the upside of Julius Peppers.
1.3 Miami Dolphins
The pick: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
It remains to be seen what the timetable for Tua is and whether he’ll come back the same superstar that he was before the injury, however, as almost everyone knows, the Dolphins have been committed to tanking for Tua for well over a year now. Tua now falls in their laps without the Dolphins needing to trade up.
1.4 Washington Redskins
The pick: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Not much to say about this one here. There is about as much chance of Trent Williams playing another down in a Washington uniform as there is for me- a 23-year-old Canadian- winning the democratic nomination for the 2020 election. Thomas is OT1 on my board and while WR and CB are needs for the Redskins, those can be potentially looked at in free agency. Good offensive tackles don’t hit the open market, hence this selection.
1.5 Detroit Lions
The pick: Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Remember when the Lions were 3-1-1? That seems like forever ago. Now losers of 6 straight and with rumors surrounding Matt Patricia’s future as well as potentially the front office, the Lions are left to try to build something Patricia failed in doing- a competent defense. It turns out that trading Quandre Diggs set off the domino effect of failure they’ve been under. Adding Jeff Okudah can allow the Lions to have a piece in place if they decide to trade Darius Slay in the offseason and attempt the much needed full rebuild.
1.6 Arizona Cardinals
The pick: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
In all honesty, if the board fell this way, I could see Arizona trading back from here to address the tackle need as the value seems to be slightly off. Wills is a first-round talent but drafting him at 6 is the way here because the Cardinals desperately need offensive line help in order to keep Kyler Murray from being broken in half.
1.7 New York Jets
The pick: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Back to back Crimson Tide players here. Jeudy has been electric since day one he stepped foot in Tuscaloosa. The Jets desperately need a WR, regardless of whether Robbie Anderson stays or not. Jeudy has Odell Beckham upside, and at pick #7, that’s an absolute steal.
1.8 Jacksonville Jaguars
The pick: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
The Jags have done ok all things considered, given that their best QB is a late round pick and their #1 receiver is DJ Chark. They address the latter with this pick as they get Lamb who has been compared by many to DeAndre Hopkins.
1.9 Los Angeles Chargers
The pick: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
I personally wouldn’t do this but given the lengthy history of Philip Rivers reportedly refusing to mentor a young QB, the Chargers may need to ignore his wishes. I don’t think Rivers is going to be back next year, but never say never. If that’s the case than Rivers can have one more year and Herbert can get a year to learn on the bench from the offensive staff as he picks up the speed of the game in practice.
1.10 Denver Broncos
The pick: Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Shocker, the Broncos OL is still a hole. Garett Bolles was a bad pick, and Ja’Waun James has barely played this year. Tristan Wirfs, while being a right tackle in college has the ability to switch to the left at the next level. He has some Jawaan Taylor to his game, but he has a much higher ceiling than Taylor. The Broncos may be able to find their blindside protector for Drew Lock for years to come.
1.11 Carolina Panthers
The pick: CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
James Bradberry is likely gone in the offseason and the Panthers are going to need to look at a suitable replacement. Don’t scout the helmet with Henderson, he’s not like Gator DB busts of years past. He’s the real deal.
1.12 Atlanta Falcons
The pick: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
There was no way I was going to pass up the perfect fit between the Falcons and Simmons. The team traded Duke Riley earlier this year, and De’Vondre Campbell has been serviceable, but for a team that has had the philosophy of using multiple sideline-to-sideline linebackers in the second level of the defense sees the former DB Simmons here and is left salivating at the ways he can be used.
1.13 Oakland Raiders
The pick: Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
Look back at the picks made by Mike Mayock last year. What they all had in common was that they had a ton of playing experience at the collegiate level, they were locker room leaders, and they were instant impact players. Derrick Brown ticks all of those boxes and becomes an incredible value at this selection
1.14 Cleveland Browns
The pick: Austin Jackson, OT, USC
I wish I could draft the Browns a coach that could actually utilize the roster they have and get them into the playoffs but filling a hole on their dreadful offensive line should do the trick. I am a huge fan of Austin Jackson. He’s got great athleticism and great pass blocking form. A great pre-draft season could even push him into the top 10. He’s far from a complete player, but he’s better than so many of the project offensive lineman we’ve seen go in round 1 in past years.
1.15 Indianapolis Colts
The pick: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
He’s not a first round QB, but the NFL is going to take Jordan Love there anyways. Colts fans have been clamoring for the end of Brissett’s time as a starter. He hasn’t played well since his MCL sprain and the Colts are firmly in the race for a QB.
1.16 Philadelphia Eagles
The pick: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
As an Eagles fan, I can assure you that I want nothing more than the Eagles to draft exclusively the WR and CB positions for the entire draft as both positions are thinner than the twine holding the players together. Ruggs is a speed demon, much like the Eagles were promised to still get out of DeSean Jackson who hasn’t been healthy enough to do much of anything this year.
1.17 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The pick: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
Surprise, Surprise. The Bucs still need corner help. This has been a glaring issue for the Bucs for Jason Licht’s entire tenure as the GM. Fulton has been phenomenal for LSU this year, and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles should be able to use him to the fullest.
1.18 Oakland Raiders (CHI)
The pick: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
Let’s get the Raiders another big bodied receiving threat, and it certainly helps that Higgins comes from one of Mayock’s favorite schools in terms of talent production- Clemson.
1.19 Tennessee Titans
The pick: AJ Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
Epenesa’s fall finally comes to an end after waiting nearly two thirds of the first round to complete. After a rough start to the year, he picked his game up when the games started getting more meaningful. He decimated the Minnesota offensive line and was a large reason for the Hawkeyes’ win. Epenesa would be a great piece to put opposite of Harold Landry for the Titans pass rush.
1.20 Jacksonville Jaguars (LAR)
The pick: Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
YGM reminds me of a taller Yannick Ngakoue coming out of Maryland, which is fitting because it’s looking like Ngakoue is going to cash out in free agency from a team outside of Duval county. The stats may not necessarily be there with Gross-Matos but he’s a constant force in applying pressure.
1.21 Dallas Cowboys
The pick: Grant Delpit, S, LSU
There was a time where Delpit was seen as a top 5 lock for the draft. Then the season started, and he’s played largely down. Still the number 1 at a weak position, the Cowboys can’t afford to pass him up as their secondary has been woeful this year, and the safety position has been a weak spot for several years.
1.22 Miami Dolphins (PIT)
The pick: Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
Kalen Ballage may be the worst starting running back in the NFL and the Dolphins deserve better. D’Andre Swift was also in consideration but an every down, workhorse back is what the Dolphins need, and Taylor fits the bill.
1.23 Miami Dolphins (HOU)
The pick: Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
Wade can fill some of what Minkah Fitzpatrick did for the ‘Phins defense before they traded him to boost their tank. Wade has moved all around the Buckeye defense and can bring that to Miami secondary.
1.24 Minnesota Vikings
The pick: Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina
In 6 weeks, my opinion has not changed. Zimmer is going to get “girlfriend eyes” for Kinlaw’s insane ceiling. He was unstoppable this season and has risen into my top 10 players. If he dominates the Senior Bowl like I expect him to, he won’t be around for the Vikings to take.
1.25 Buffalo Bills
The pick: Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado
What the Bills need is another weapon for Josh Allen that will help him in his development. Bleacher Report’s Connor Rogers has compared Shenault to a bigger Randall Cobb and that seems like a perfect fit in this Bills offense.
1.26 Kansas City Chiefs
The pick: Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
What the Chiefs currently have is a linebacking corps made up of cast offs from other teams- Damien Wilson and Anthony Hitchens (Dallas), Darron Lee (NYJ), and Reggie Ragland (BUF). The Chiefs need to be able to bring in a reliable backer and mold him the way they need. Moses if healthy is easily a top 15 player in this year’s class, and I think he goes first round regardless.
1.27 New Orleans Saints
The pick: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
The Saints have a receiving corps led by one dominant player- Michael Thomas- and nothing else. Reagor is a younger, better version of Ted Ginn Jr. Regardless of who ends up under center long term for the boys from the Bayou, they’ll be set long term.
1.28 San Francisco 49ers
The pick: Tyler Biadasz, IOL, Wisconsin
What to give a team that seemingly has everything. The one weakness I could find in the 49ers was their play in the middle of the offensive line. Biadasz can start day 1 at any position on the interior and be an upgrade wherever he plays.
1.29 New England Patriots
The pick: Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue
Meet TE1 in this year’s class. He also happens to be the perfect fit for the Patriots as he as equally proficient in blocking and catching. Hopkins saw his role increase this year after Rondale Moore went down with injury. This is not to say he can fill the shoes of Gronk, but he can fill some of the void that was left in New England’s offense when he retired.
1.30 Green Bay Packers
The pick: Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC
Much like the Saints, the Packers wideout group is led by Devante Adams and not a whole lot else. This is the perfect class for the Pack to load up at the position. Michael Pittman Jr obviously has NFL bloodlines and if you watched the Utah game this year, you can see how truly dominant he can be. He has strong hands and with a strong pre-draft process can secure a first-round selection.
1.31 Seattle Seahawks
The pick: K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
The Seahawks have been known to take project players early in recent years, this is no different. Chaisson has all the traits and tools to be elite but has yet to put it all together consistently. Health has also been a question mark that may cause Chaisson to fall to the end of the first as opposed to where many have mocked him in the top half of the round.
1.32 Baltimore Ravens
The pick: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
The rich get richer. The Ravens have had a phenomenal season despite not having great play from the linebackers like we’ve been accustomed to from them for the better part of 20 years. Kenneth Murray is a missile in the second level. He can fly sideline to sideline, is adequate in coverage and if he gets his hands on you, your only choice is to go to the ground. Ozzie Newsome used to have the mentality of guys who just “play like a Raven”, Kenneth Murray is that, and Eric DeCosta is bound to agree if Murray were to still be sitting in the green room at pick 32.