As of this point when I constructed this mock draft, free agency had come and gone, and that involved some picks being traded. Besides those already agreed upon trades, no trades will be made in this mock draft, just picks in the regular spots. So without further ado, let’s get started.
#1- Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, Quarterback, LSU- This is the worst kept secret in all of football, that is if it is supposed to even be a secret at all. The Bengals who finished a league worst 2-14 last season are in dire need of a quarterback, and who else better than the reigning Heisman Trophy winner who is also from Southeastern Ohio himself? It seems like a perfect fit and a great way to begin a rebuild.
#2- Washington Redskins: Chase Young, Defensive End, Ohio State- This pick is fishing in a barrel, it’s an obvious selection for a team that needs help everywhere. The Redskins are looking for that presence that other teams fear, and no one in college football did that better than Chase Young last year. With 16.5 sacks and 6 forced fumbles, Young will do wonders for an aging Washington defense.
#3- Detroit Lions: Jeff Okudah, Cornerback, Ohio State- With Matthew Stafford coming back and enough offensive weapons to get by, it’s time to address the 26th ranked scoring defense in the league last year, and because the Lions are making it known that they are shopping All-Pro cornerback, Darius Slay, it’s time to find his running mate, if not his replacement. Okudah is clearly the best corner in the draft, with 3 interceptions and 9 pass breakups last year. He also never didn’t a touchdown or had any penalties called on him last season, Okudah will give the Lions a stud in the secondary.
#4- New York Giants: Isaiah Simmons, Linebacker, Clemson- Simply put, the Giants need help everywhere, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The Giants were awful on defense last season, finishing 30th in scoring and 26th in yards allowed last season. In comes Isaiah Simmons, an absolute nightmare for any team that faced him, who can be the face of the Giants defense. He had over 100 tackles on a stacked Clemson defense last season where it’s a bit harder to stand out. He can also play safety if needed, making him even more lethal. Simmons’ stock has only been rising, and he finds a home in the Big Apple.
#5- Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, Quarterback, Alabama- This pick could’ve been telegraphed since last offseason when the Dolphins began their “Tank for Tua” campaign. And while people thought the Dolphins might miss out thanks to some late season wins, it seems like they might get the guy they wanted all along. Tagovailoa has had an injury-riddled career at Alabama, but his stats and talent speaks for itself, coming off of a 33-touchdown season despite playing only nine games while also being one of the most accurate passers in college football history. Plus, anything is better than another season of Ryan Fitzpatrick, so Tua is the man of the future in Miami.
#6- Los Angeles Chargers: Jordan Love, Quarterback, Utah State- Last season was disappointing, to say the least, for the Chargers as they finished 5-11. It didn’t help that Philip Rivers is now no longer with the organization, meaning the Chargers need a quarterback for the first time in a while. Some would say Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert is more pro-ready, I can’t disagree, but the NFL is a copy-cat league and the upside of Jordan Love along with his comparison to Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes will be too much to pass up. Even sitting him behind a veteran quarterback year one might be the move, but this is the pick.
#7- Carolina Panthers: Derrick Brown Jr., Defensive Tackle, Auburn- To say the Panthers were bad against the run last year would be too nice. They gave up an average of 143.5 yards per game, you’re not going to win many games that way. Derrick Brown Jr. is an absolute monster in the middle of the defense. At Auburn, against good SEC competition, he had 33 solo tackles and 4 sacks. For a rebuilding team with holes in a lot of places, this pick shores up their biggest one.
#8- Arizona Cardinals: Mekhi Becton, Offensive Tackle, Louisville- The Cardinals have found their starting quarterback of the future in Kyler Murray, and the recent trade for DeAndre Hopkins makes them an intriguing team heading into next season. However, if last year says anything about this one, Murray won’t have the time to even get him the ball. Good news for Arizona, Mekhi Becton is a ginormous human being standing 6’7, 364 lbs who will be able to protect the 5’10 Kyler Murray. He will be a big help to a team that ranked in the lower half of the league in run and pass blocking a year ago.
#9- Jacksonville Jaguars: Javon Kinlaw, Defensive Tackle, South Carolina- The Jaguars traded Calais Campbell and are eventually going to have to trade the disgruntled Yannick Ngakoue, so they need help on the D-Line. Missing out on Brown hurts, but fortunately, there are two good tackles in this draft. Kinlaw had 6 sacks rushing from the inside last year and will be able to help a unit that was bad in stopping the run last season.
#10- Cleveland Browns: Tristan Wirfs, Offensive Tackle, Iowa- The Browns struggled to keep Baker Mayfield on his feet last season, to the fault of many including himself. But whatever the case was, the tackle situation must be addressed. Wirfs lit up the combine, setting records among offensive lineman in vertical jump and broad jump, while running a 4.85 forty-yard dash at 322 pounds. And after signing Jack Conklin, the Browns will have two new tackles to give Baker what he needs most, protection. It’s time for the Browns not to be flashy or try and make a splash, this pick will do just fine.
#11- New York Jets: Jedrick Wills, Offensive Tackle, Alabama- The run on tackles continues with the Alabama product to the Jets. The Jets need a lot of a lot. Sure they need offensive weapons, but they have aging tackles on both sides and it’s time for them to get younger in order to best protect Sam Darnold. Wills played right tackle at Alabama, but unlike most right tackles, he was protecting the quarterback’s blind side because there was a lefty quarterback at Alabama. He was rarely called for any penalties and was great against SEC pass rushers, it’s not what Jets fans will want, but what the team really needs.
#12- Las Vegas Raiders: Jerry Jeudy, Wide Receiver, Alabama- Jerry Jeudy is really good, like incredibly good. He is one of the greatest receivers to ever come out of Alabama and that’s saying something when receivers like Julio Jones and Amari Cooper went there as well. Known for his precise route-running, Jeudy caught 24 touchdowns over the last two seasons at Alabama and still got a ton of targets with a stacked wide receiver room. The Raiders can make up for the mistake of trading Amari Cooper and get the next receiving star in the league.
#13- San Francisco 49ers (Via IND): CeeDee Lamb, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma- The 49ers lacked receiving threats last season, and it hurt them when it mattered most. Rookie Deebo Samuel came on strong late and the addition of Emmanuel Sanders didn’t hurt, but you can never have too many weapons on offense. Bring in CeeDee Lamb, who just had a career high 1,327 receiving yards last year along with 14 touchdowns at Oklahoma, and Jimmy Garoppolo gets the deep threat he so desperately needs.
#14- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Justin Herbert, Quarterback, Oregon- Tom Brady has officially committed to playing for the Buccaneers, so what? Now is the perfect time to draft the quarterback of the future in Tampa, and with Herbert still on the board, it’s the perfect fit. The senior product from Oregon threw for over 3,000 yards and 32 touchdowns last season and probably needs a little time before he is ready. So why not sit him behind the greatest quarterback in NFL history? This makes too much sense.
#15- Denver Broncos- Andrew Thomas, Offensive Tackle, Georgia- With the run on tackles earlier, the Broncos, who desperately need one, might not get the one they want. However, getting Thomas wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize. A very powerful lineman who works well against the run and the pass, was a part of a unit that struggled to protect Jake Fromm late in the season. But that shouldn’t be a big deal that much when considering Thomas, who is one of the top tackles in the draft and a no-brainer for the Broncos here.
#16- Atlanta Falcons: A.J. Epenesa, Defensive End, Iowa- The Falcons let Vic Beasley Jr. walk in the offseason to the dismay of many. If the draft falls the right way for them, they might be able to find his replacement for a lot cheaper than he would’ve been. Epenesa was still talked about in a conference with Chase Young in it, showing his skill level as an edge rusher with 11.5 sacks last season. He will help improve one of the worst pass rushing teams in the league last season and save them some money in the process.
#17- Dallas Cowboys: CJ Henderson, Cornerback, Florida- Losing Byron Jones hurt the Cowboys, who finished tied for last in the league with 7 interceptions last season. With a strong front seven, the Cowboys need to replace the now highest-paid cornerback in the NFL, and Henderson fits the mold. With 11 pass breakups and a handful of solo tackles a year ago, Henderson gives the Cowboys a force in the back end of the defense who can lock up top receivers.
#18- Miami Dolphins (Via PIT): Xavier McKinney, Safety, Alabama- With their quarterback of the future secured in Tua Tagovailoa, the Dolphins have many options with their second first round pick. How about replacing Minka Fitzpatrick, who was traded away last season for this exact pick. McKinney was third-team All-American and first team all SEC last year, leading the Tide’s defense with 95 tackles from the safety position. He has been said to be great in pass coverage and could use a little help tackling in the open field, but for the Dolphins, he gives them an enforcer they need with a steadily improving secondary.
#19- Las Vegas Raiders (Via CHI): Kenneth Murray, Linebacker, Oklahoma- With their second first round pick, I see the Raiders filling another hole, this time on defense. Murray was the Sooners’ leading tackler last season and is known for his ability to fly across the field from sideline to sideline. The Raiders have been lacking a presence in the middle of their defense since they traded Khalil Mack, and Murray can fill that void and give the Raiders a successful first round.
#20- Jacksonville Jaguars (Via LAR): Kristian Fulton, Cornerback, LSU- Trading away Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye probably wasn’t the smartest move by the Jags, but fortunately they have two first round picks. So why not take the best cornerback on the board at this point in Fulton, who had 14 pass breakups a year ago, to shore up a secondary that only had 10 interceptions as a team last season but was still top half of the league in passing defense.
#21- Philadelphia Eagles: Justin Jefferson, Wide Receiver, LSU- Late last season, Carson Wentz was throwing to college quarterbacks because he had to. Simply put, the wide receiver room in Philly is unreliable, and Jefferson is as reliable as receivers can be. He spent most of his time lined up in the slot at LSU, but that he was surrounded by other great receivers in college as well and he can line up as an outside threat. Most will remember him for his 227 yard, 4-touchdown performance in the College Football Playoff Semifinal, and his big play ability is what the Eagles are lacking. Carson Wentz says thank you.
#22- Minnesota Vikings (Via BUF): Trevon Diggs, Cornerback, Alabama- The Vikings recently released All-Pro corner Xavier Rhodes, so this pick makes sense, continuing the run on cornerbacks. This pick would be ironic considering the Vikings only have this pick due to trading his older brother Stefon Diggs. Known as reliable in press-coverage gathering 3 interceptions and 8 pass breakups last year while also possessing the ball skills and aggressiveness of a free safety, the Vikings can fill the hole they just recently opened and prepare for another playoff run.
#23- New England Patriots: K’Lavon Chaisson, Outside Linebacker LSU- I know, I know Tom Brady is no longer in town, and the Patriots need a quarterback, but they won’t take one here. Instead, the Patriots will look to replace Kyle Van Noy, who left for Miami in free agency. Chaisson had 34 solo tackles and 6.5 sacks for the Tigers last year, while being known for being agile and a great leader. If he doesn’t fit the Patriot Way, I don’t know who does.
#24- New Orleans Saints: Patrick Queen, Linebacker, LSU- Tigers keep flying off the board as now Queen goes to New Orleans to shore up the weakest part of the Saints defense. His ability to recognize plays is one of the best in the entire draft, and along with his excellent open field tackling ability, he fills a need for the Saints to maybe finally get to another Super Bowl.
#25- Minnesota Vikings: Tee Higgins, Wide Receiver, Clemson- Stefon Diggs is gone and it would make sense to save a little money and replace him. Tee Higgins could possibly be the best receiver in the draft, and they could snag him at 25. The leading receiver with 1,167 yards last year on a stacked Clemson team, he will provide Kirk Cousins with a threat anywhere on the field.
#26- Miami Dolphins (Via HOU): Josh Jones, Offensive Tackle, Houston- Miami will finish their first round by getting some protection for their new quarterback, and they should be thrilled if Josh Jones is still here. Jones tends to win one-on-ones and is good in run and pass blocking. He might need to tweak some of his technique to compensate for NFL talent at edge rusher, but this would be a steal and make the Dolphins a happy team after day one.
#27- Seattle Seahawks: Yetur Gross-Matos, Defensive End, Penn State- There aren’t many holes on the defensive side of the ball for the Seahawks, but you can never have too many pass rushers. Out of Penn State, Gross-Matos has a lot of length which makes it easier for him to get outside the tackles and get to the quarterback. I think Jadeveon Clowney has found his new running mate.
#28- Baltimore Ravens: Malik Harrison, Linebacker, Ohio State- The Ravens have lost so many linebackers over the last few years and it’s become a weak point on their defense. Harrison can play either inside or outside linebacker and had a great year for the Buckeyes. He’s smart, quick, very physical when tackling and can also rush from the outside. This is the combo linebacker the Ravens are looking for.
#29- Tennessee Titans: Ross Blacklock, Defensive Tackle, TCU- With 25 solo tackles and 3.5 rushing from the middle last season for TCU, Blacklock can provide depth to a Tennessee defensive line that lacks it. While other needs might be in order, there comes a time where reaching for value isn’t the right moveand adding depth is okay. Tennessee shows that here.
#30- Green Bay Packers: Henry Ruggs III, Wide Receiver Alabama- Aaron Rodgers needs more targets, plain and simple. Ruggs just ran a sub 4.3 forty yard dash and is a burner that will give any corner problems. Even with a crowded wide receiver room at Alabama, Ruggs was a favorite target, mainly due to his speed, and there’s no reason to believe that wouldn’t change in Green Bay.
#31- San Francisco 49ers: A.J. Terrell, Cornerback, Clemson- If one thing was evident in the Super Bowl, the 49ers lack speed in the secondary. Terrell ran a 4.42 forty and had two interceptions at Clemson last season. For a team that basically has everything, this shores up their biggest weakness.
#32- Kansas City Chiefs: D’Andre Swift, Running Back, Georgia- Could the Chiefs get any faster? Well they would with Swift. To say Georgia has a great history with running backs would be an understatement and the Chiefs are in a position where they don’t need much, so why not dabble in that history? Swift is a dual threat out of the backfield and would give the Chiefs yet another deadly weapon in the underneath passing game. He’s very shifty and would make perfect sense for the Chiefs here, that is if he is still on the board.