Everyone seems to have a mock draft they consider worth your click these days, so I figured with all the different folks I get to speak with through ‘Cole & Company’ and hear on The Fan’s programming that I’d join the fun and pass along my own mock draft.
I read mocks maybe once or twice a week for a month or so leading up to the draft and I’m not loyal to a particular mock’er, but I don’t take them too seriously in the first place since the draft has proven itself to be anything but an exact science with each passing year.
Obviously the prevailing curiosity among most is what happens at No. 4, picks 4-10, the top-5 quarterbacks and (of course) the Dallas Cowboys. Add to it that there’s always surprises no one can predict. Such as Mitch Trubisky going to the Bears at No. 2 in 2017 or Clelin Ferrell to the Raiders at No. 4 in 2019 and I hope you don’t take me too seriously here and can enjoy how I see things playing out tomorrow night.
With all that in mind, let’s get to it. Here’s my 1-and-only-point-O NFL Mock Draft:
1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence-QB-Clemson
Duh. Did you think I’d actually put anyone else here? He’s the reason Urban Meyer was able to convince himself into finally experimenting with the NFL. Lawrence is the highest rated QB prospect since Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning. Manning stunk for 2-1/2 seasons though… Will the leash be that long for Lawrence if necessary in the Sunshine State?
2. New York Jets – Justin Fields-QB-Ohio State
Here’s the first “shakeup” of the draft. As Dan Shonka, the OurLads.com GM/head scout, pointed out on ‘Cole & Company’ this week Jets GM Joe Douglas is close friends with NFL Network insider/draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah. Jeremiah was one of the originators of placing Wilson to the Jets at #2, so along with Mr. Shonka I’m calling BS.
3. San Francisco 49ers – Mac Jones-QB-Alabama
Jones’ comp is Matt Ryan. The last, and only, QB 49ers head coach Kyle Shannahan has gone to a Super Bowl with. The fit is too good for San Fran to make a different pick.
4. Atlanta Falcons – Kyle Pitts-TE-Florida
Falcons owner Arthur Blank balks at becoming too involved — especially as Zach Wilson slides — which leads to new coach Arthur Smith standing pat with 35-year old QB Matt Ryan — for now.
5. Cincinnati Bengals – Ja’Marr Chase-WR-LSU
The prospect of pairing Chase back with his college teammate Joe Burrow is too attractive for the Bengals to pass up on.
6. Miami Dolphins – Penei Sewell-OT-Oregon
Sewell’s projection is too high and the need is too great for Miami to pass on a cornerstone offensive lineman. Regardless of what they think of Tua.
7. New England Patriots (via Detroit Lions) – Trey Lance-QB-North Dakota State
On the heels of Bill Belichick’s most aggressive off-season of his career he stays ultra-aggressive in the draft and moves up for Lance, who has Cam Newton comparisons. Newton still starts at least 8 games while Lance gets ramped up in Josh McDaniels’ system.
8. Chicago Bears (via Carolina Panthers) – Zach Wilson-QB-BYU
This probably won’t happen, but I do believe Fields goes to New York and Wilson suffers a mini-slide of sorts due to multiple shoulder surgeries, a lackluster junior season and the level of competition he faced. I expect multiple teams would be willing and able to trade up here, but Bears GM Ryan Pace is desperate to prove he can finally find a franchise QB. So a gunslinger with swag from BYU (re: Jim McMahon) is enough to win the hearts back of disenchanted fans.
9. Denver Broncos – Micah Parsons-LB-Penn State
New Broncos GM George Paton plays it by the book and gives defensive minded head coach Vic Fangio a fruit basket named Micah Parsons.
10. Dallas Cowboys – Patrick Surtain II-CB-Alabama
Dallas desperately needs a corner and Surtain II is nearly the unanimous choice as the best one in this draft. Jerry Jones saves his typical selfishness for a later round pick.
11. New York Giants – DeVonta Smith-WR-Alabama
A lot of talk about the G-men needing an offensive lineman, but Smith still being on the board here is too good to pass up for an offense that lacks play-making on the perimeter.
12. Philadelphia Eagles – Jaycee Horn-CB-South Carolina
Nothing cute here. The need is great. Moving on…
13. Los Angeles Chargers – Christian Darrasaw-Virginia Tech-OT
The Chargers got their next franchise QB in Justin Herbert in last year’s draft so it’s too obvious not to pair that with a cornerstone offensive tackle for the next decade.
14. Minnesota Vikings – Jamin Davis-LB-Kentucky
I’ve seen plenty of prognosticators who like Davis better than Penn State’s Micah Parsons, so Vikings fans shouldn’t be too upset that a defense that struggled last year gets a boost from arguably the best linebacker in the draft.
15. Detroit Lions (via New England Patriots) – Rashawn Slater-Northwestern-OT
Detroit could’ve talked themselves into this pick at No.8, so new coach Dan Campbell and GM Brad Holmes look like polished vets by collecting more picks to move back after the Zach Wilson mini-slide.
16. Arizona Cardinals – Zaven Collins-LB-Tulsa
A non-Power 5 stud goes just west to Arizona where Kliff Kingsbury makes a wise decision to upgrade the defense.
17. Las Vegas Raiders – Jaylen Waddle-WR-Alabama
With Derek Carr’s hourglass running out of sand with the Raiders the franchise adds a play-maker to see if they can maximize his potential before having to make a long-term decision on the Xth-year QB.
18. Miami Dolphins – Asante Samuel Jr.-CB-Florida State
Miami addresses a need in the secondary with a local product with great blood lines.
19. Washington Football Team – Teven Jenkins-OL-Oklahoma State
Unable to move up for a QB, head coach Ron Rivera plays it by the book and upgrades his team in the trenches with a nasty blocker from the Big 12.
20. Carolina Panthers (via Chicago Bears) – Alijah Vera-Tucker-OT-USC
Carolina moves back, collects picks (2021 No. #20, 2022 R1 & 2023 R3 from Chicago) and gets a top-tier offensive lineman they would have been comfortable drafting at No. 8.
21. Indianapolis Colts – Kwity Paye-EDGE-Michigan
Colts GM Chris Ballard has a solid track record and his defense was solid, but lacked a punch last season. Paye at 21 is good value.
22. Tennessee Titans – Azeez Ojulari-EDGE-Georgia
Check the numbers, Tennessee’s pass rush was a bigger issue than Ryan Tannehill’s play last season.
23. New York Jets – Elijah Moore-WR-Ole Miss
Joe Douglas goes all-in offensively, reaching for Moore after surprising (most) everyone with Fields at No. 2.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Najee Harris-RB-Alabama
Running back value continues to diminish, but Harris is a stud and the Steelers are a black hole at the position.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars – Rashod Bateman-WR-Minnesota
Urban Meyer can’t help but pair an elite Big 10 wide receiver with his new franchise QB Trevor Lawrence.
26. Cleveland Browns – Trevon Moehrig-S-TCU
Cleveland needs secondary help and Moehrig is the highest-rated safety in the draft.
27. Baltimore Ravens – Jaelan Phillips-EDGE-Miami
If it wasn’t for this dudes concussion issues he may have been the first pass-rusher off the board. Don’t see him falling out of the 1st round, so why not Baltimore?
28. New Orleans Saints – Rondale Moore-WR-Purdue
Emmanuel Sanders never quite brought the punch from the perimeter Sean Payton thought he had left in him, so he uses No. 28 to grab one of the best play-makers to ever come out of West Lafayette.
29. Green Bay Packers – Caleb Farley-CB-Virginia
It’ll almost be comical at this point, but with most top-shelf play-makers off the board the Packers choose to bolster their defense instead of give All-Pro QB Aaron Rodgers a new weapon he needs.
30. Buffalo Bills – Travis Etienne-RB-Clemson
The Bills need play-makers and defensive line help. With top-shelf d-line prospects few and far between, they grab one of the most dynamic players in this draft for Josh Allen and the offense.
31. Baltimore Ravens – Christian Barmore-DL-Alabama
Ravens fill a need and begin the run on defensive linemen that begins in earnest in the 2nd round.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Landon Dickerson-OL-Alabama
A versatile offensive lineman that helps keep Tom Brady’s middle finger in the face of Father Time? Of course. Plus, head coach Bruce Arians is too good to not find skill position talent in later rounds.
Programming note: During Thursday night’s Cubs game (5:45 start time) NFL Draft 1st round updates will air during commercials breaks courtesy Westwood One Sports.