For many football fans like myself, NFL Draft Day is heaven on Earth. It is pure football nirvana. Teams decide their future by taking a gamble on their next franchise quarterback. GM’s try to fill the glaring hole that can take a team from good to great. Some try to hoard draft picks due to being in rebuild mode.
Months of speculation finally comes to fruition. Who trades up? Who trades down? Who goes where? All of these questions will inevitably be answered. It is absolutely glorious.
So for all my fellow draft fans…
We only have a few more days before we wake up with that extra pep in our step anxiously awaiting to see Commissioner Roger Goodell (normally showered with boos) announce that the first team (Cinci this year) is officially on the clock. Let the madness begin!
It wouldn’t be a real sports blog if I didn’t create my own mock draft that will inevitably be heralded for the rights and criticized for the wrongs. So here is my first mock draft. For the first one, I am using the baseline of no trading. As the week pours on, I will release at least one more that includes trades.
1. Cincinnati Bengals – QB Joe Burrow, LSU
It is a lock. Joe Burrow will inevitably be the first overall pick giving the Bengals their QB for the foreseeable future.
2. Washington Redskins – DE Chase Young, Ohio State
Barring anything crazy here, Young seems like a lock for the second pick. Despite how I feel about being a potential bust, I understand drafting him. You’d be foolish to pass on him in the top 5. He is too much of an athletic freak in going after QBs and possesses great qualities such as the speed off the edge and an ability to go for the ball creating turnovers. Nearly half his sacks last season resulted in forced fumbles.
3. Detroit Lions – CB Jeffrey Okudah, Ohio State
If Chase Young somehow falls to Detroit at 3, I am sure they would love that. Assuming that is not the case, Okudah is their guy to replace Darius Slay.
4. New York Giants – OLB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson
Many mocks have the Giants grabbing an Offensive Lineman, but I can’t see them passing on Simmons. I believe he is the best player in this draft. His versatility gives them the Saquon Barkley of defense essentially.
5. Miami Dolphins – QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
The questions about Tua’s injury history seems to matter less than the questions about Herbert’s ability at the next level. With Miami holding the pick before LAC, they take Tua here. They have plenty of picks at their disposal (13) this year to build around their QB.
6. Los Angles Chargers – QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
Some think the Chargers may pass on Herbert entirely, I don’t. The Chargers addressed some needs at offensive line to protect their QB. Even if Herbert isn’t pinned to start right away, he can sit behind Tyrod Taylor for a year assuming they don’t sign another QB.
7. Carolina Panthers – DT Derrick Brown, Auburn
Assuming Simmons does not fall here, the Panthers nab Brown at 7. He is best defensive line prospect in the draft by a mile. He has as much low risk as anyone and he is as versatile as they come. He can play in a 3-4 as a nose or end as well as the DT in a traditional 4-3.
8. Arizona Cardinals – OT Jedrick Willis, Alabama
Arizona needs help on their offensive line, namely right tackle. Why not take the guy with the most experience at right tackle? Makes sense.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars – WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
The Jaguars have too much uncertainty regarding what they do in the draft. Will it be WR, OT or potentially QB? Do they believe in Gardner Minshew? This is classic Jaguars. If Jeudy is there, that should be the easy answer.
10. Cleveland Browns – OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville
The Browns need a left tackle more than possibly any other position. Baker is coming off a down year in which he and the Browns struggled in the redzone both in the run and pass. Becton is a huge prospect, both figuratively and literally. He could give them the answer to their need at offensive line.
11. New York Jets – OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
The Jets are in a prime spot to get one of the top four tackles. They should take it because of how deep the draft is at receiver.
12. Las Vegas Raiders – WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
With Jeudy off the board, the Raiders grab CeeDee Lamb who many think is the best receiver of the crop thanks to big play ability and route running ability. It would give them a nice complement to Hunter Renfrow and Tyrell Williams at receiver.
13. San Francisco 49ers – CB CJ Henderson, Florida
The 49ers need a receiver and corner badly. The two ideal fits at receiver are gone so this pick would make sense. He lengthy, fast and can play both man and zone coverage. He could bolster their secondary given the 49ers ability to get after the QB.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia
At 14, the Bucs much like the Jets are in a good spot to still grab one of the four best tackles. Whoever is leftover from the four should be a fairly easy pick. They can sure up the outside of their line here.
15. Denver Broncos – WR Justin Jefferson, LSU
They need another receiver to play alongside Courtland Sutton, Jefferson could be that guy with his ability to create separation out of the slot and haul in the targets. That would give young second year QB Drew Lock another nice possession target to throw to.
16. Atlanta Falcons – DT Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
There are reports the Falcons may trade up to grab Kinlaw. But based on the teams above him, they may not need to. I have Kinlaw falling in their lap.
17. Dallas Cowboys – S Xavier McKinney, Alabama
He is the top safety of the draft who is as versatile as they come. The Cowboys could use a stud safety as they near the decision on whether or not Xavier Woods option will be picked up. With much of the NFL using three safeties often, he could be just that for them in the short term.
18. Miami Dolphins – C Cesar Ruiz, Michigan
Protect your Quarterback. Should the Dolphins get their guy at QB, I see them using at least one of the other firsts on an offensive lineman. Ruiz can move around anywhere on the interior part of the line which gives them flexibility to fill.
19. Las Vegas Raiders – CB AJ Terrell, Clemson
The Mike Mayock/Jon Gruden love affair with Clemson continues as they draft another Clemson corner to start on defense.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars – CB Kristian Fulton, LSU
The Jags can virtually go about 80 directions here given the gaping holes left on the roster in multiple places. Ultimately, I think they’re going corner no matter here.
21 – Philadelphia Eagles – WR Henry Ruggs III, Alabama
They need receivers bad. In this case, I have Ruggs falling so this pick makes all the sense in the world. He is an absolute burner to pair along with the big arm of Carson Wentz.
22. Minnesota Vikings – CB Jeff Gladney, TCU
The Vikings need help at corner and receiver. With two firsts, I think it is a matter of who is available depending on which route they go first. Gladney is the best corner available who’s last name isn’t Diggs.
23. New England Patriots – DE AJ Epenesa, Iowa
For all intents and purposes, he seems to be the the obvious pick for the Patriots. He is under the radar and doesn’t jump out at you. That means Bill Belichick milks him into a stud. For no other reason than that, it fits.
24. New Orleans Saints – OLB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma
The big hole I was screaming about prior to free agency was a number two receiver. They got that with Emmanuel Sanders leaving the floodgates of possibility wide open. They could still grab a receiver here. If Murray is on the board, he seems like a great compliment opposite of Demario Davis.
25. Minnesota Vikings – WR Tee Higgins, Clemson
Now here comes the receiver since I have them grabbing a corner at 22. Higgins is long and lengthy. He is a good possession receiver to pair along with Thielen.
26. Miami Dolphins – S Grant Delpit, LSU
Free Safety is one of the biggest needs for Miami and they could easily grab one in the late first. With Delpit available, it would be a gift if he falls into their lap here.
27. Seattle Seahawks – OLB K’Lavon Chaisson, LSU
They need significant help rushing the passer. Even with Clowney last year, the Seahawks sucked getting to QBs. Despite that, they still finished 11-5. Chaisson is the second best edge rusher behind Chase Young who is long gone by now.
28. Baltimore Ravens – OLB Patrick Queen, LSU
Earlier today, the Ravens added LB Jake Ryan to their roster pending a physical. I still see them trying to sure up their thin linebacking core.
29. Tennessee Titans – CB Jaylon Johnson, Utah
There are two big needs to fill for the Titans, Corner and Defensive Line. Corner seems to be the higher priority. He could fill the major hole at nickel for the Titans. Johnson does have some uncertainty with a recent surgery for a torn labrum. He is physical and a quality tackler making him an ideal nickel prospect from day 1.
30. Green Bay Packers – OT Austin Jackson, USC
Green Bay has 10 picks, but seven of them are day 3. So the early picks count. They lost Bryan Bulaga so I believe protecting Aaron Rodgers should be a big priority.
31. San Francisco 49ers – WR Michael Pittman Jr. USC
They need a receiver. Pittman will give them a big and much needed possession guy on the outside. He has great hands, but his biggest downfall is getting downfield. That shouldn’t be a problem with Deebo Samuel on the roster.
32. Kansas City Chiefs – RB D’Andre Swift, Georgia
He feels like the perfect Andy Reid runner. With all of the top corners gone, Swift could be an immediate starter and impact player on an already explosive offense. Worrying about Kelce, Hill and Hardman is already problem. Then, defenses needing to worry about a great receiving back, good luck.