As the man who invented Plan B once said, better late than never.
And yes, this is not the timeliest mock draft you will gloss over, seeing as the draft itself begins tomorrow. However, that does not mean we can’t have some fun speculating on which teams will take which prospects; rolling the dice to play a game that has long since been deemed far from a sure thing. Because there are no such things as locks, not really at least. There are also not always clear busts. Sure, sometimes a pick won’t live up to the slot they were selected, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t have a fine career all the same.
This year is particularly tricky to predict as a number of players opted out from playing due to COVID or just the simple fact that once a prospect’s stock is sky-high, there really isn’t much sense in risking it. This is particularly true at a position like receiver where a switch in QB or coach, a strengthening of opposing defenses, or a simple tweaked ankle could mean a giant fall off on the stat sheet, and thus draft position. It isn’t worth it.
A quick aside before we begin: Two things about my strategy when I mock: 1.) I try and predict, not necessarily name my opinion of who the best pick would be. 2.) Except for one notable exception this year, I don’t bother predicting trades. I just don’t think there’s a ton of use there. But I amused myself, and hopefully you, with one this year. Let’s get to it.
1.) Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Lawrence is the most complete QB prospect I can remember since Andrew Luck, and that’s saying something. He has a big, accurate arm, can throw short and long, can run well and is far from stiff. If you had to find something to nitpick, it’s that he has always had an otherwordly supporting cast, but that isn’t his fault. He’s about as much of a sure thing as it gets.
2.) New York Jets – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
With this pick Wilson completes his meteoric post-season climb up draft boards. He is smooth as gravy out there and cool under pressure, albeit not with Lawrence’s arm. A big question mark remains around exactly who the fuck he was playing against at BYU but the Jets sound set on Wilson.
3.) San Francisco 49ers – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
The run of QB continues with the latest offering from Tuscaloosa. There doesn’t seem to be any conventional wisdom as to why Mac Jones is now being thought of as such a high pick – he isn’t elite or possibly even great in any one area. However, he commanded the Alabama offense very effectively despite his limited physical tools, although with a similarly talented cast as Lawrence. Simply put he is thought to have “it.” Plus Kyle Shanahan strikes me as a “missionary and straight to bed” kind of guy so I cant’ see him getting freaky and taking a QB out of North Dakota State here.
4.) Atlanta Falcon – Penei Sewell, Offensive Tackle, Oregon
There’s a couple of other folks I think I could slot here but the next few picks are sort of interchangeable – they’ll go somewhere in this stretch, I’m just not sure on order. In the end, I just can’t see Atlanta letting Sewell slip past them. He is a mauler of a tackle, despite coming in a bit smaller than expected at his pro day, and should be able to play LT from day one. Kyle Pitts is also a possibility here but I’m not sure Arthur Blank would stomach allowing a TE to get picked this high (which may make them a trade down candidate).
5.) Cincinatti Bengals – Ja’Marr Chase, LSU
It seems too good to be true but Joe Burrow’s team lands him his favorite target from his historic college career. Chase projects as a faster version of Anquan Boldin, and if you know much I love Q you know that is high praise.
6.) Miami Dolphins – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Miami lands the most exciting, intriguing TE prospect in a long time. A tall, long, rangy tight end that can obviously line up off the line but is a better blocker than one would expect, Pitts could break the rookie TE wall and actually contribute year 1.
7.) Detroit Lions – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
With this pick the Nittany Lions reclaim their “Linebacker U” title. This sounds high for a throwback kind of linebacker, but Parsons may end up being the best defensive player in this draft.
8.) TRADE: New England Patriots (from Carolina) – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
So here’s the trade. It is fucking impossible to predict what Coach Belichick is going to do. I mean for fuck’s sake he had his dog picking last year. But if there was a year we’d get aggressive in the draft to grab a QB, this year, with the off-season being as hyperactive as it was, would be it. Fields is a beast plain and simple, except he can also throw the ball far and accurately and other QBish things like that. My favorite QB in the draft by far.
9.) Denver Broncos – Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
Denver has a litany of needs, including and notably and quite possibly QB. But Drew Lock cleaned it up at the end of last year so I could see them giving him some more time. They address another need here in cornerback. Surtain II is big for the position so, coupled with his occasionally getting beat deep, he may eventually be moved into more of a safety role. Either way the Broncos start shoring up their secondary.
10.) Dallas Cowboys – Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
Jerry Jones is another mad man who is kind of hard to predict but conventional wisdom, which again, he most likely does not possess, would have him trying to keep Dak Prescott somewhat intact. Slater is the #2 to Sewell in many scout’s eyes and notably kept Chase Young at bay when they played each other in college.
11.) New York Giants – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Daniel Jones gets a receiver who is equal parts explosive and physical. An excellent add to the Giant’s offense.
12.) Philadelphia Eagles – Devonta Smith, WR Alabama
Smith is an interesting prospect, and one I’m not as down on as some. Sure he’s a slight, deep threat only kind of guy, but so is Desean Jackson and he’s had a good career. Smith can do also do a little more than go routes as well, so he’s not just John Ross III 2.0. Overall a great get for Philly.
13.) San Diego Chargers – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
Am I the only one that feels like the Chargers have needed a CB every year for the past two decades? Between bad drafts and the inability to retain talent they always need a CB it seems. Anyway, Horn and Surtain II, Surtain II and Horn. Both are big, physical CBs who are a bit interchangeable. The Chargers will be lucky to have Joe Horn’s kid.
14.) Minnesota Vikings – Jaelan Phillips, DE/OB, Miami
I am tempted as hell to put Trey Lance here as Kirk Cousins just aint it, but he has two years and like, $80m left on his albatross of a contract so I can’t see the Vikings just “figuring things out later”. They need some pass rush help and Phillips is just that.
15.) TRADE: Carolina Panthers (New England) – Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
The other side of the deal with the Patriots. Since the Panthers are going to try and give it a go with ol’ make out disease Sam Darnold, they’re going to need to protect him. Darrisaw is a very athletic, technical tackle who can watch Darnold’s blindside for as long as he is the starter.
16.) Arizona Cardinals – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame
JOK, as he is called, is the latest Money Back to come out of the college ranks. He is at his best in coverage and strafing the field looking to make a play on any kind of ball carrier, all the while lining up in the second level between 215-225 pounds.
17.) Las Vegas Raiders – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State,
This will probably go down as the hottest take I’ll have. I can see Gruden and Mark Davis getting enamored with Lance. I also think they kind of hate Derek Carr. It makes sense. So they take the athletic, playmaking QB from the small school.
18.) Miami Dolphins – Kwite Paye, DE Michigan
Miami has two first round picks this year. Not sure why. Probably got Goodell a good deal on some outrageously good blow. Anyway Paye has the kind of measurables that only come around once in awhile combined with the production to back it up (12.5 sacks in his last full season, 2019).
19.) Washington Football Team – Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
Getting kind of fucking annoying they won’t just pick a team name but whatever. Collins is a throwback elephant back where he doesn’t just have all that size to rush the passer, he’s a traditional LB who just happens to be gigantic. He’s often compared to Brian Urlacher from yesteryear. For a more recent comparison, think of him as a souped up Jamie Collins/Kyle Van Noy.
20.) Chicago Bears – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
The Bears sound like they’re set to roll with Andy Dalton. Rashod Bateman is a physical, slick WR who could become a great target for Dalton. I could be convinced to slot a tackle here as well.
21.) Indianapolis Colts – Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
Dillon Randunz might steal this spot from Jenkins and Alijah Vera Tucker simply because he is more of a pure OT while Jenkins and Tucker may move inside. That said I think the Colts will give Jenkins a shot at the outside spot and worse comes to worse have a pair of maulers inside with him and Q Nelson.
22.) Tennessee Titans – Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
The Titans add some secondary help here with the last of the three big CBs slated to go in RD1. Farley needs to improve his tackling for the NFL but otherwise should prove to be an excellent CB,
23.) New York Jets – Jayson Oweh, DE/OLB, Penn State
The Jets also have two first rounders this years for reasons we won’t (see: don’t know) discuss. They now have their QB and actually already have half decent weapons around him. So here I have them taking someone to put the pressure on the opposing signal caller. Oweh punctuated his huge improvement in 2019 with an absolutely freaky pro day. I personally like Carlos Basham Jr. from Wake Forest more, but Oweh is the sexy pick here.
24.) Pittsburgh Steelers – Alijah Vera Tucker, Blocking On Offense, USC
Alijah Vera Tucker’s arrival in Pittsburgh to aid a dumpster fire of an o-line will be reminiscent of when a new player walks into the locker room/clubhouse of a minor league or semi-pro team in a movie for the first time. He’ll try and be upbeat and joyful and ask where his locker is and what he can do and he’ll be told quite frankly wherever the fuck he can help would be mighty fine.
24.) Jacksonville Jaguars – Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State
This is the THIRD team with two first round picks. I don’t know what kinda scam Goodell is running here but I don’t like it. Not one bit. Anyway the Jags got their QB1 and now they have someone to protect his flowing locks. Radunz punctuated a great career with an outstanding performance at the Senior Bowl. He makes up for being on the lighter side with above-average athleticism and long arms.
25.) Cleveland Browns – Christian Barmore
The Browns need interior Dline help and the one player that both fits the bill and is worthy of a first round pick falls into their lap. Even if he never fully develops his pass rush chops, Barmore will be a load in the middle to build some edge rushing around.
26.) Baltimore Ravens – Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss
This is a really tough one to guess. In the end Baltimore indeed needs WR help. While Kadarius Toney has been climbing boards and could end up going high with the hopes he becomes a sweet gadget player, Moore is about as good of a slot receiver as you’ll find coming out of college.
27.) New Orleans Saints – Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami
New Orleans could use some rush help. For some reason Rousseau is one of those guys that just wreaks of “bust”. It’s always hard to pinpoint why. I hope he proves me wrong though as he’s been productive as hell in college.
28.) Green Bay Packers – Quinn Meinerz, G, Wisconsin-Whitewater
Quinn Humphrey has been climbing boards so this could be him as well. It also could be another lineman altogether. But for me Meinerz is the pick here to give Green Bay some Oline help, DON’TYAKNOW.
29.) Buffalo Bills – Carlos Basham Jr, DE, Wake Forest
The Bills are picking 29th here. Wild, right? They will almost certainly regress, as they always do after a decent year, so it would almost be advisable for them to pick not for what they need FOR this year, but for what might implode DURING the season to come. But to the pick, Basham Jr. is a big DE who one could see kicking inside on passing downs a la a Trey Flowers type. He isn’t as physical, as of now, as his size suggests but neither was Dont’a Hightower coming out.
30.) Baltimore Ravens – Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
If you’ve seen The Wire you know that Baltimore is one of the corrupt places on earth. Therefore it should be no surprise that it too has been given a second 1st round pick by Herr Goodell. Moehrig is a ballhawk of a safety if there ever was one and should terrify QBs trying to find holes in the back end of the Ravens’ D.
31.) Kansas City Chiefs – Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
Bolton is a throwback, old school MLB who also might as well have a “beware of dog” sign around his neck for receivers coming over the middle. KC doesn’t need much, especially with all the calls they get, but Bolton will make a good D better.
32.) Tampa Buccaneers – Landon Dickerson, G/C, Alabama
Dickerson has a skeeeetchy injury history but if he can get past the hump there, he is an all-everything center who has played every other o-line position to boot.
So there we are folks. As I type this outro up the Panthers have traded Teddy B so now might be in the market for a QB but fuck it. The ships have been scuttled. We’re onto Cincinnati . It’s going to be an interesting draft considering how little we saw some of these players actually play but the bottom line is they will, for the most part, be on the field for our squads next year. Let’s see how it shakes out.