I know I’ve said before that I’m not a big NFL fan, but I absolutely love the draft. It’s the time of year where I get to hear new faces break down the players I’ve been watching for years. You also get the chance to point and laugh at takes from people who clearly haven’t watched a down of college football.
So, like everyone who wants to write about football, I’ve taken my best shot at a mock draft. Unlike most, it’s primarily based on what I’ve seen from these prospects in college. And in the interest of simplicity, I didn’t include any trades. So take this all with a grain of salt after a billion trades inevitably happen on draft night and make this all obsolete.
- Jacksonville Jaguars- Trevor Lawrence, QB
To quote the renowned philosopher Kenny Beats: Don’t Overthink Shit
- New York Jets- Zach Wilson, QB
Most of the experts have the Jets going with Wilson over Fields, so I’m deferring to them on this one. Wilson is undoubtedly the boom or bust prospect of this class. He has the talent to be the next Mahomes, but he also only had one truly good season at BYU. He’s essentially Joe Burrow but with way more question marks, but the Jets are so desperate for any kind of relevance that it’s a risk they need to take.
- San Francisco 49ers- Justin Fields, QB
I know Mac Jones makes a lot of sense here. A pretty common comparison for him is Matt Ryan, who Kyle Shanahan turned into an MVP. But I refuse to believe that the Niners traded that much to move up to 3 for Mac Jones. There’s a good chance they could’ve gotten him with their old pick. I also think their management is smart enough to see past all the sketchy narratives that’ve popped up around Fields recently. I wouldn’t be shocked if they take Jones, but Fields has too much talent to pass up.
- Atlanta Falcons- Trey Lance, QB
If you’re looking to buy stock on the next Josh Allen, then Lance is your guy. He’s an absolute unit and a TD machine, but he’s started a grand total of 17 games. Granted, he racked up 44 TDs and 1 INT in those games, but the level of competition was miles away from what it’ll be in the NFL. There’s a good chance the Falcons trade this pick, but they need a succession plan for Matt Ryan and they likely won’t pick this high again for a while. Now is the time to build for the future.
- Cincinnati Bengals- Penei Sewell, OT
The Bengals have already seen what happens when Joe Burrow gets hurt. And after watching their future cornerstone suffer a serious injury like an ACL tear, they’re going to prioritize protecting him. Lucky for them, this year happens to have a generational talent at tackle. Not only was Sewell statistically one of the best tackles in NCAA history, but he also has minimal wear and tear due to opting out this season. As tempting as it might be to get another weapon for Burrow here, none of it will matter if they can’t keep him upright.
- Miami Dolphins- Ja’Marr Chase, WR
As tempting as it might be to reunite Tua with a former teammate, Chase is just too talented to pass up. And just like Sewell, he comes in with less mileage after having one of the best receiving seasons in recent memory.
- Detroit Lions- Jaylen Waddle, WR
It seems insane in hindsight, but Waddle was the clear #1 receiver at Alabama coming into this season. The Lions desperately need to replace Kenny Golladay for Jared Goff to even have a chance at success, and Waddle is a safer bet physically than DeVonta Smith.
- Carolina Panthers- Kyle Pitts, TE
Now that they seemingly have their QB of the future in Sam Darnold, I wouldn’t be shocked if the Panthers traded back. But if they don’t, Pitts makes a lot of sense. Pitts is the biggest physical freak of a TE I have ever seen. In fact, it’s a stretch to even call him a TE. Not only did he win the Mackey Award last year, which is given to the country’s best TE, he was the first even at his position to be a finalist for the Biletnikoff, the equivalent award for receivers. Just like Goff and the Lions, the Panthers need to put Darnold in a position to succeed. There’s no better way to do that than a six-foot-six security blanket.
- Denver Broncos- Micah Parsons, LB
I don’t think the Broncos are sold on Drew Lock, but I don’t think they’re in a hurry to replace him either. If someone like Fields or Lance drops I think the Broncos will take advantage, but they shouldn’t pass up a game-changer on defense like Parsons for a second-tier QB.
- Dallas Cowboys- Patrick Surtain II, CB
If you watched any Cowboys game last year, you know their defense stinks. With Dak coming back, Dallas has to plan on trying to hold on to leads. This means focusing on stopping the pass, so a lockdown corner like Surtain is a perfect fit.
- New York Giants- Rashawn Slater, OT
The Giants were a lot like the Cowboys last year (please don’t kill me Giants fans). If you saw a single drive, you could tell their offensive line was bad. Real bad. Daniel Jones has led the league in fumbles in both of his first two seasons for good reason. Slater is a rock-solid pass blocker whose main downside is that he’s not Penei Sewell. This pick is a no brainer.
- Philadelphia Eagles- DeVonta Smith, WR
The Eagles finally right their 2019 wrong of taking JJ Arcega-Whiteside over DK Metcalf and take the talented receiver despite there being some risk involved. Someone Smith’s size having success in the NFL would be unprecedented, but don’t count him out.
- Los Angeles Chargers- Christian Darrisaw, OT
The Chargers have finished the first step to rebuilding a team now that Herbert looks like the real deal. The next step is to protect him at all costs. Herbert took the 9th most sacks in the league last year, so the top tackle on the board should be their priority.
- Minnesota Vikings- Kwity Paye, EDGE
The Viking’s pass rush was unbelievably bad last year. Yannick Ngakoue led the team with only five sacks, and now he’s even gone. The guys that finished second and third? Also gone. The days of Jared Allen and Everson Griffen are long gone, and it’s time to rebuild that front line.
- New England Patriots- Mac Jones, QB
Before the 49ers traded up, this pick was basically set in stone. Even though they brought Cam back for one more year, the Patriots can’t take a step back towards contention without a QB of the future. It makes too much sense that Belichick would take the guy that’s super smart and a proven winner.
- Arizona Cardinals- Jaycee Horn, CB
Not to brag, but I’ve been saying Horn will be a future NFL star since his freshman season. And after his national player of the week performance against Auburn and insane pro day numbers, the rest of the country is finally catching on. He is the ultimate “watch the film” prospect. His stats are nonexistent, but that’s because opposing QBs avoided him like the plague. The Cardinals need a replacement for Patrick Peterson, and Horn is the best on the board.
- Las Vegas Raiders- Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB
The Raiders had one of the worst defenses in the league last year, finishing in the bottom three in points and rushing TDs allowed. Owusu-Koramoah was the leader of a defense that carried Notre Dame to the playoffs, and certainly has the speed necessary to play LB in the current day NFL.
- Miami Dolphins- Azeez Ojulari, EDGE
Since it’s now looking like this pick won’t be traded in a package for Deshaun Watson, the Dolphins can use this as a bit of a luxury pick. Ojulari is a pure speed rusher, which is something you can never have enough of.
- Washington Football Team- Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT
Odds are, 7 wins won’t be enough to win the division again next year, so the Football Team needs to address their problems up front. They’re taking their turn in the Ryan Fitzpatrick lottery, so they might as well keep him upright.
- Chicago Bears- Rashod Bateman, WR
Here’s another team that made a head-scratching move at QB this offseason and needs to provide him with weapons. This will probably be Allen Robinson’s last year in Chicago, so Bateman is a great replacement option who can easily be a number 1 guy going forward.
- Indianapolis Colts- Greg Newsome II, CB
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Colts made a head-scratching move at QB this offseason. Bringing in Carson Wentz is about as big of a gamble as buying a Top Shot pack, but they at least have weapons ready for him. The defense was solid last year, but they can get even better bringing in Newsome, who came out of nowhere last year and was a key part of a dominant Northwestern defense.
- Tennessee Titans- Caleb Farley, CB
The Titans have demonstrated in the past that they’re willing to take on a lot of risk for talent, and that’s what they’re doing here. Farley is probably the most talented corner in this class, but his history of knee and back injuries is a massive red flag. The Titans will hope that they’ve found another Jeffrey Simmons.
- New York Jets- Jaelan Phillips, EDGE
The Jets have needs everywhere. They already took a home run swing with Wilson, so they might as well take another with Phillips. He’s probably the most talented pass rusher in this class, but also has one of the worst injury histories I’ve ever seen. He straight up retired three years ago because of concussions. But when you’re as desperate for talent as the Jets are, you can’t pass up the chance at a future star like Phillips.
- Pittsburgh Steelers- Teven Jenkins, OT
Despite being an absolute unit of a QB, Big Ben’s bones are made of glass. Now that they’ve made it clear they’re riding with Ben one more year, they have to do everything they can to keep him healthy. Jenkins was the nastiest lineman in the entire nation last year, and the Steelers would be lucky to nab him this late.
- Jacksonville Jaguars- Terrance Marshall, WR
When you draft a generational talent at QB, you have to keep him happy. Bringing in a receiver who was a part of the best offense in college football history to pair with DJ Chark is a great way to do that.
- Cleveland Browns- Christian Baramore, DL
Baramore is way too talented to drop this far, but he’s a victim of the needs of other teams. The Browns take advantage of his slide to form one of the most terrifying defensive fronts in the league.
- Baltimore Ravens- Jayson Oweh, EDGE
The Ravens are one of those teams that has a seemingly endless supply of quality defensive ends, and Oweh will keep that trend going. They add a freak athlete to bolster a pass rush that they’re hoping will protect the leads built by their high-octane offense.
- New Orleans Saints- Zaven Collins, LB
To me, Collins is the most interesting prospect in the draft. He was a jack of all trades that didn’t dominate at any one thing. Most of you probably didn’t watch any Tulsa games last year, but if you did, you would’ve seen Collins stand out on every play. He looked like a star all year, but only time will tell if those skills translate to such a higher level of competition.
- Green Bay Packers- Rondale Moore, WR
This one might be wishful thinking, but the Packers are in an awkward spot. They don’t have any glaring needs, but they could use help at a lot of different positions. All of the impact corners are off the board, and a center like Landon Dickerson should still be available much later in the draft. And although the team’s need at receiver has been greatly over-exaggerated, adding another playmaker wouldn’t hurt. They have the luxury of being able to take a risk on a guy like Moore, who lit up the Big 10 and has all the makings of a future star but has struggled to stay on the field. Who am I kidding though? The Packers will trade down and take another random running back they don’t need in the second round.
- Buffalo Bills- Nick Bolton, LB
The Bills don’t actually need much, but adding an ultra-productive defender like Bolton can help them slow down Kansas City in their inevitable AFC Championship matchup.
- Kansas City Chiefs- Walker Little, OT
Not that much to explain here. Patrick Mahomes had the greatest performance I have ever seen from a QB ruined because he spent most of the Super Bowl running for his life. Even Superman needs help sometimes.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Gregory Rousseau, EDGE
I hope with every fiber of my being that this doesn’t happen. The idea of the defensive line that singlehandedly knocked out my Packers adding another star is horrifying. Now excuse me while I go cry a little.