As I sit here writing this article while watching the college basketball conference tournament… Oh wait, they were just canceled.
Anyways, as I sit here writing this article and thinking in the back of my mind about what upsets I may have in my bracket… What? Canceled?
As I sit here writing my Mock Draft 3.0 and watching the Wisconsin Girls High School Basketball Semifinals games, I glance to my calendar that is counting down the days to the draft. It seems like yesterday I was posting my Mock Draft 1.0 and getting ready to cover the East-West Shrine Game. We are now about six weeks and a very intriguing free agency period away from showtime.
Luckily for myself and the rest of the draft community, game film isn’t at risk of being canceled. So as I sit here today, with about 300 total games watched, the grind still doesn’t stop. There are plenty of grades left to finalize and sleeper prospects to uncover. While I work on that, take a look at how I have the first two rounds playing out in this scenario. Enjoy!
1.Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow (QB – LSU)
Not much more needs to be said here. Burrow is a franchise QB. It will be up to the Bengals to build a team around him and capitalize on the chance to have a QB on a cheap contract allowing them to make a few playoff runs with the extra money if they get it right.
2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young (Edge – Ohio State)
The Redskins did meet with Tua and Burrow at the NFL Combine, but I think they will stick with Haskins at QB in the end. That decision will allow them to draft the best player in the draft in Chase Young. He will be a cornerstone on a defense that already has several intimidating presences in the front seven. I don’t think Rivera and Del Rio will be able to pass on the chance to add to what could be a surprisingly good defense in year one.
3. Detroit Lions: Jeff Okudah (CB – Ohio State)
The Lions pick is where chaos should begin. They could go so many ways; Tua, Simmons, trade down, or Okudah. In the end, if they don’t trade down, I believe they will go with the best corner I have scouted since Jalen Ramsey. If the Lions are able to keep Slay this will become an instant top seven corner combo in the NFL. It will be hard to pass on that in a division where you face Aaron Rodgers twice a year.
4. New York Giants: Jedrick Wills (OT – Alabama)
At first glance it seems the Giants could go several ways, but when it comes down to it they need to do find the best way to help protect their young quarterback and open up more lanes for Saquon Barkley. If Nate Solder is kept, Wills will be able to slide right into right tackle and put the clamps on the NFC East pass rushers for years to come. Wills is the most technically sound lineman in this draft and is ready to play day one. I am also confident that he could step in and play left tackle.
5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa (QB – Alabama)
The Dolphins actually had an impressive season. They were able to grab Tua here at five while also ending the season on a high note with wins over good teams to help build momentum as they enter the most important offseason in franchise history. Of course, Tua comes with the obvious health concerns, but besides that, he is a franchise QB that the Dolphins can “win with” early on in his career and “win because of” as he develops and gains experience.
6. Los Angeles Chargers: Mekhi Becton (OT – Louisville)
This is a bit of a surprise pick. I could see them grabbing QB Justin Herbert, but the Chargers front office has come out and said that they plan to go with Tyrod Taylor at starting QB. They also just traded their tackle for a guard leaving a large hole on the left side of the line. With that said, the Chargers fill that large hole with an even larger player in Becton. Becton comes with the most potential of all the offensive linemen. If the Chargers don’t go QB they go with the huge upside at an essential position.
7. Carolina Panthers: Derrick Brown (IDL – Auburn)
Originally, I felt the Panthers would go offensive tackle here. Then they traded for one. This is also a hard pick because I believe they are becoming the first team to enter the “Tank for Trevor” sweepstakes. With that being said I have the Panthers taking IDL Derrick Brown. Brown would be able to become a cornerstone of the front seven and allow them to create some more cap space by possibly parting with some of the more expensive IDL on the roster as they enter rebuilding mode. The coaches have been given lengthy contracts, so I am confident that they are given the ability to fully rebuild this roster. Drafting Brown will be a big part of that rebuild.
8. Arizona Cardinals: CeeDee Lamb (WR – Oklahoma)
This almost seems like a lock at this point. Lamb is one of the best receivers and overall players in this draft. If this were any other team I could see Jeudy or Lamb being a tough choice, but being that Murray already played with Lamb in college it makes it an easy choice. The only other move I could see happening is they select an OT, but since they resigned Humphries they could hold off on that until early round two.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Isaiah Simmons (LB – Clemson)
At this point in the draft process, it appears that the likelihood of Simmons being available here is becoming greater and greater. If he does fall to the Jags at nine, they physically won’t be able to get the card turned in fast enough. Simmons is the ultimate chess piece for a defense that has been losing key pieces at an alarming rate in the last couple of years. He would be able to play slot corner, edge rusher, linebacker, and safety when needed. The more creative you can be with him the better.
10. Cleveland Browns: Tristan Wirfs (OT – Iowa)
Cleveland is in a prime position to attack their largest weakness on the team. Football is won and lost in the trenches. The Browns had all the pieces outside the trenches, but because they couldn’t own the line of scrimmage they couldn’t consistently control games. Wirfs instantly improves the offensive line of the Browns. He is ultra-athletic for the position and can play either tackle spot or guard in a pinch. Wirfs is the perfect linemen for the physical ground game of the Browns led by running back Nick Chubb. Wirfs is the best run blocker of the linemen. He is able to get a ton of movement and finishes his blocks through the echo of the whistle. He will bring the mentality that the Browns need upfront.
11. New York Jets: Andrew Thomas (OT – Georgia)
The Jets hit the jackpot in this mock draft with the selection of their new left tackle, or guard worst-case scenario, to help protect Sam Darnold and improve the efficiency of Le’Veon Bell. Similar to the Browns, the Jets are constantly held back by the performance of their offensive line. Thomas brings a similar nasty streak with him, like Tristan Wirfs. He will improve the offensive line play as a whole; not just at one spot.
12. Las Vegas Raiders: Jerry Jeudy (WR – Alabama)
Goldmine! The Raiders get the opportunity to select WR1, Jerry Jeudy at 12th overall. Coming into the draft I expect them to be targeting Alabama teammate Henry Ruggs with this pick, but when one of the best route runners and separation creators are still available you jump at the chance to pick them. Jeudy instantly becomes the best receiver on the team and allows Tyrell Williams to have even better matchups next season.
13. Indianapolis Colts: Henry Ruggs III (WR – Alabama)
The Colts get exactly what the offense needs, besides a QB, with the selection of Henry Ruggs III, a receiver to demand any coverage besides T.Y. Hilton. Ruggs is the ultimate deep threat, but he is more than that. He also is a very good route runner with huge, strong hands to make the difficult catch. Not to mention that he can score any time he touches the ball. This is a huge get for the Colts.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Justin Herbert (QB – Oregon)
Tampa Bay has stated that they intend to pursue Tom Brady in free agency, but in the end, I see Brady returning to the Patriots for one last run. That leaves the Bucs in need of another option at QB. Herbert would be a nice steal at 14th. He also has the traits that Arians seems to like in his QBs. He has a strong arm, can be a bit of a gunslinger at times, and has the accuracy at every level of the field.
15. Denver Broncos: C.J. Henderson (CB – Florida)
The Broncos recently traded for CB A.J. Bouye from the Jaguars, but that isn’t enough for a secondary that, at times last year, was dissected. So, they add the very aggressive corner out of Florida, C.J. Henderson. Henderson has the speed, length, and aggressive ball skills to be a lockdown corner in the NFL. I look for him to break the mold of past Florida corners that have been drafted early.
16. Atlanta Falcons: K’Lavon Chaisson (Edge – LSU)
From day one, Chaisson would be the most talented Edge defender on the team. I don’t want to call him an edge rusher because he has the talent to be way more than a pass rusher. The amount of rushing that occurs in the SEC has helped shape him into an impactful edge setter. Chaisson also is still pretty inexperienced because of injuries, so he has a ton of upside to his game. He could be what the Falcons have been looking for for years at the edge position.
17. Dallas Cowboys: Javon Kinlaw (IDL – South Carolina)
The Dallas Cowboys use the 17th pick to provide an instant impact to their defensive line unit. Kinlaw is a top-ten talent in my eyes. He causes disruption and chaos with his impressive strength and burst off the line of scrimmage. Pair that with his heavy hands and you have a player who will be able to draw a ton of attention from Demarcus Lawrence resulting in a much more consistent pass rush from the Cowboys.
18. Miami Dolphins: Kristian Fulton (CB – LSU)
The Dolphins started their draft with their new franchise QB. Now they look for an impact on the defensive side. Last year, the Dolphins were forced to start multiple undrafted players in the defensive backfield. That can’t happen again this year. Fulton would be a great addition. He plays with a very sound technique, yet he is also able to maintain a high level of aggressiveness. It should lead to plenty of defensive playmaking opportunities.
19. Las Vegas Raiders: Kenneth Murray (LB – Oklahoma)
Mayock continues collecting high character and high impact winners with the selection of Kenneth Murray. Last year, they added strong presences on the DL with Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell as well as in the secondary with Jonathan Abrams. Murray will bring an intimidating presence, great leadership, and run-stuffing ability to a young defense. Murray will QB the defense for years to come.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jeff Gladney (CB – TCU)
I can’t think of a team that has lost more in the secondary over the last year than the Jaguars. They need to offset that through offseason additions and do that with Jeff Gladney at cornerback. Gladney is a bit undersized, but his agility and athleticism paired with his Jaire Alexander type aggressiveness has made him at worst a very good slot corner and at best a lockdown starting outside corner.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Patrick Queen (LB – LSU)
The Eagles miss out on one of the top three receivers, so instead, they turn to their defensive needs and add linebacker Patrick Queen. Queen is the best cover LB in the class. He brings very good recognition skills along with great athleticism so he can cover tight ends and running backs in man coverage with ease.
22. Buffalo Bills: A.J. Epenesa (DL/Edge – Iowa)
The only way I don’t see the Bills going receiver here is if Epenesa slips to them. Epenesa is the perfect fit for the team. He can play edge or defensive line. He also has the mentality that fits the Bills’ organization perfectly it seems. Nothing flashy, but he is extremely hard working and technically sound. That is exactly what you have to be when you aren’t an elite athlete. The Bills defense is full of overlooked impact players. Epenesa will fit right in.
23. New England Patriots: Justin Jefferson (WR – LSU)
I had to force myself not to go Eason or Love here. I strongly believe that Brady returns and the Patriots attempt another run at a Super Bowl. That won’t happen if their major draft capital isn’t spent on the immediate improvement to the team. Jefferson is the perfect Patriot prospect. Say that three times fast. He proved to be athletic at the Combine, but he doesn’t rely on that to win. Jefferson is a super smart and savvy route runner who can line up inside or outside. Harry hasn’t worked out so far after going round one last year, so the Patriots need to improve their targets for Brady.
24. New Orleans Saints: Jalen Reagor (WR – TCU)
The Saints finally look to provide more talent to the receiving targets. Thomas was all-time amazing last season, but if they want to make a serious push for a Super Bowl they need more threats. Reagor is just that. A threat to score any time with the ball in his hands. He is also really good at creating separation with his sharp route running, which will be a major plus for a QB in his early 40s with an arm that isn’t able to drive balls like he could 10 years ago.
25. Minnesota Vikings: Trevon Diggs (CB – Alabama)
The Vikings just cut former All-Pro cornerback, Xavier Rhodes. Filling that void through current players on the roster and the draft will be a major task for the Vikings due to their lack of cap space. The way I have them addressing the need is with the selection of Trevon Diggs. Diggs is a long, well built, and raw corner out of Alabama. Diggs has only played corner after making the switch from receiver a couple of years ago. The sky is the limit with him as he is just learning the nuances of the position. He also might have a guy on the inside pushing for him in his brother, Stefon Diggs.
26. Miami Dolphins: Josh Jones (OT – Houston)
The Dolphins jump back to the offensive side of the ball and add protection for their new QB. Josh Jones is the best pure pass protector in my rankings. Jones plays with very sound technique and good mobility and flexibility for the position. I also think he can play either side, which will be a big decision since Tua is left-handed and Jones has played mostly left tackle, but that won’t be Tua’s blindside.
27. Seattle Seahawks: Yetur Gross-Matos (Edge – Penn State)
When the Seahawks traded for Clowney it was agreed upon that they would not franchise tag him after the season. That means that Clowney is most likely out in Seattle. With Clowney out, in steps Yetur Gross-Matos. Gross-Matos is a raw athlete with great length to come off the edge. With his strength and length combination and continued coaching and development, he should become close to an instant impact starter.
28. Baltimore Ravens: Ross Blacklock (IDL – TCU)
In the 2020 Divisional Playoffs, the Ravens were gashed by Derrick Henry on a consistent basis. The best linebacker options are gone, so they look to the defensive line class to add help. The team just tagged Matt Judon, which is great, but they need more help. They address that by adding Ross Blacklock. Blacklock is a twitched up lineman who will be able to cause disruption against the rush and passing attacks of opponents with his ability to shoot gaps into the backfield as well as his ability to collapse the pocket.
29. Tennessee Titans: Jonathan Taylor (RB – Wisconsin)
Did your eyebrows raise a little too at the thought of this pairing, fantasy players? The Titans already released Dion Lewis and Derrick Henry is a free agent. I think it would be in their best interest to add a younger and cheaper option who has the traits to do what Henry did and maybe be even more dynamic as I think Taylor is a better natural receiver than Henry.
30. Green Bay Packers: Denzel Mims (WR – Baylor)
Looking at the board, this is the best player available that also fits. Mims is a field-stretching outside receiver who thrives in making jump ball catches and distorting his body to make impressive catches. Rodgers and the Packers are in win-now mode and they need to improve Rodgers’ targets. Mims fills that need.
31. San Francisco 49ers: A.J. Terrell (CB – Clemson)
The 49ers don’t have a ton of needs entering this offseason. One spot where they do need to infuse some young talent is the defensive backfield. Terrell fits perfectly. He is similar to Sherman in that he has great length for the position and his mirror ability in man coverage is impressive. Those traits paired with his short-area agility gives him a great opportunity at becoming a very good perimeter corner.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: Antoine Winfield Jr. (S – Minnesota)
What is better than one Honey Badger? How about two Honey Badgers? Antoine Winfield Jr. brings elite safety traits to the table. He is a heat-seeking missile when he comes up to make a tackle. He can play at all three levels successfully. He can play single-high safety or cover the slot man to man. If it wasn’t for the size and injury concerns Winfield Jr. would be a top 20 pick.
33. Cincinnati Bengals: Tee Higgins (WR – Clemson)
34. Indianapolis Colts: Jordan Love (QB – Utah State)
35. Detroit Lions: Xavier McKinney (S – Alabama)
36. New York Giants: Grant Delpit (S – LSU)
37. Los Angeles Chargers: D’Andre Swift (RB – Georgia)
38. Carolina Panthers: Noah Igbinoghene (CB – Auburn)
39. Miami Dolphins: Cam Akers (RB – Florida State)
40. Arizona Cardinals: Lucas Niang (OT – TCU)
41. Cleveland Browns: Cesar Ruiz (IOL – Michigan)
42. Jacksonville Jaguars: Laviska Shenault (WR – Colorado)
43. Chicago Bears: Terrell Lewis (Edge – Alabama)
44. Indianapolis Colts: Neville Gallimore (IDL – Oklahoma)
45. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Austin Jackson (OT – USC)
46. Denver Broncos: KJ Hamler (WR- Penn State)
47. Atlanta Falcons: J.K. Dobbins (RB – Ohio State)
48. New York Jets: Lloyd Cushenberry III (IOL – LSU)
49. Pittsburgh Steelers: Cole Kmet (TE – Notre Dame)
50. Chicago Bears: Jacob Eason (QB – Washington)
51. Dallas Cowboys: Ashtyn Davis (S – California)
52. Los Angeles Rams: Zack Baun (Edge – Wisconsin)
53. Philadelphia Eagles: Brandon Aiyuk (WR – Arizona State)
54. Buffalo Bills: Donovan Peoples-Jones (WR – Michigan)
55. Atlanta Falcons: Jaylon Johnson (CB – Utah)
56. Miami Dolphins: Matt Hennessy (IOL – Temple)
57. Houston Texans: Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB – LSU)
58. Minnesota Vikings: Jonah Jackson (IOL – Ohio State)
59. Seattle Seahawks: Justin Madubuike (IDL – Texas A&M)
60. Baltimore Ravens: Josh Uche (Edge – Michigan)
61. Tennessee Titans: Curtis Weaver (Edge – Boise State)
62. Green Bay Packers: Adam Trautman (TE – Dayton)
63. Kansas City Chiefs: Damon Arnette (CB – Ohio State)
64. Seattle Seahawks: Jeremy Chinn (S – Southern Illinois)