Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as “too many mock drafts”. So much so that I have decided to risk the wrath of every other NFL franchise by trying to predict the first round in its entirety. Bring it.
The NFL Draft is tonight and by 1.39 am, this mock is probably in tatters but I guess that is part of the fun? Heck, it’s difficult enough trying to project the Cardinals picks alone, never mind the rest of the first round!
But, we’re going to do it anyway…so, here goes.
1.1 – Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence, Quarterback, Clemson.
The obvious selection for a new HC, taking the highest-rated QB prospect in many years. He’s been highly-touted since his Freshman year at college, time to see if the hype is warranted.
Thanks for reading my mock draft, let me know what you think.
Oh, there are still 31 more picks to go? Guess this is where the mock falls to pieces?
1.2 – New York Jets – Zach Wilson, Quarterback, BYU.
I don’t particularly rate Wilson that highly but the NY Jets seem to be dead set on him being their selection. Personally, I’d take Justin Fields here but the fact he’s a vegan must have damaged his stock. Their loss, I guess.
1.3 – San Francisco 49ers – Mac Jones, Quarterback, Alabama.
Likewise, I’m not a Mac fan. But it seems that Kyle Shanahan is and they gave up so much to go up and get “their guy”. Again, I feel like Trey Lance would be a better option (and, to that extent, Fields) as he could sit behind Jimmy G and learn. Fortunately, he isn’t the selection and they get Jones instead.
1.4 – Atlanta Falcons – Trey Lance, Quarterback, North Dakota State
Pick 4 is another place where this mock could fall to pieces because who knows what Atlanta will do? Kyle Pitts is an interesting prospect but, as someone who harbours a slender chance that he falls to Arizona, I would much rather he isn’t the selection here. So, they get their heir-apparent to Matt Ryan – who accounts for a bazillion dollars against the cap over the next couple of years. But that gives Lance time to adapt and wait for Matty Ice to melt.
1.5 – Cincinnatti Bengals – Ja’Marr Chase, Wide Receiver, LSU
The smart choice here might be them protecting Joe Burrow with a top OT prospect like Penei Sewell…but, why not protect him as well by giving him his top target from college and hope that lightning strikes a second time? Their offence needs playmakers, Chase would be exactly that.
1.6 – Miami Dolphins – Penei Sewell, Offensive Tackle, Oregon
The Miami Dolphins lucked out when they traded away Laremy Tunsil for a shedload of Houston Texans selections, one of which ended up being the 3rd overall pick that they traded away and then back up to 6 for. With Cincinnatti opting against Sewell in the previous selection, Miami rushes to protect their own franchise QB and will hope to address WR needs later on with another selection.
1.7 – New England Patriots – Justin Fields, Quarterback, Ohio State
Bill Belichick’s Alaskan Klee Kai Nike pulls the trigger here and the Patriots trade up at the earliest opportunity to give themselves a QBotF and the Lions a multitude of picks to make amends for sending them Matt Patricia as an HC a few years back. For Fields’ sake, I hope Boston is full of good vegan grub for his consumption.
1.8 – Carolina Panthers – Kyle Pitts, Tight End, Florida
The fall of Kyle Pitts comes to a shuddering halt here as the Panthers give Sam Darnold a nice welcoming present AND creative play-caller Joe Brady yet another weapon to utilise in his scheme. From a purely selfish point of view I would have pulled the trigger here and got the Cardinals to come up for him…but, would that be realistic?
1.9 – Denver Broncos – Micah Parsons, Linebacker, Penn State
Denver missed out on Fields but, having traded for Teddy Bridgewater to add to Drew Lock, they’ve got ‘capable’ options at the position for 2021 at least. So, with this selection, they opt for a defensive standout and Parsons is the pick. Might be a bit of a knob off-field but if there is a guy that isn’t going to put up with his shit then it’s Vic Fangio.
1.10 – Dallas Cowboys – Patrick Surtain II, Cornerback, Alabama
Probably the most-mocked selection so far (behind Lawrence at 1), the Dallas Cowboys defence sucks. Especially the defensive backs. So give them the top CB available and move onto a more difficult selection at 11. Sorted.
1.11 – New York Giants – Jaylen Waddle, Wide Receiver, Alabama
NYG could go several ways with this selection. Giving Daniel Jones another weapon seems like a good option and that is what they do with the speedy Jaylen Waddle. If Jones can’t figure things out with the weapons around him then perhaps he’s not their guy.
1.12 – Philadelphia Eagles – Jaycee Horn, Cornerback, South Carolina
Philadelphia is a strange pick as well, they are a franchise that has ammo in future drafts after trading away Carson Wentz and making this Jalen Hurts’ team for 2021 at least. Could they go back-to-back WR in consecutive years? Probably, but it’s not like last year’s selection set the world alight either. In a winnable division, they could do with stopping opposing offences and Jaycee Horn feels like a good selection here.
1.13 – Los Angeles Chargers – Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
The LA Chargers seemingly have their franchise quarterback in the impressive Justin Herbert. Now they need to keep him upright which makes Rashawn Slater, the highest-rated OL in many peoples’ minds, the obvious selection here.
1.14 – Minnesota Vikings – Kwity Paye, Defensive End, Michigan
Clearly the addition of Patrick Peterson isn’t going to fix the Minnesota Vikings defensive issues alone. They lacked pass rush last year behind Danielle Hunter so chucking Kwity Paye into the equation should help to right that wrong and bring the Mike Zimmer defence back to where it should be.
1.15 – Detroit Lions – Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
After trading down to 15, the Lions acquired multiple picks. They can begin to spend them with the addition of Darrisaw to their offensive line and give Jared Goff a little bit of hope that he might survive the 2021 NFL Season behind the unit.
1.16 – Arizona Cardinals – DeVonta Smith, Wide Receiver, Alabama
The mooted trade-ups didn’t happen, nor did the urge to trade down. Not when the Heisman Trophy-winning Smith falls right in the Cardinals’ laps at 16. Nobody knows what they will do with this selection IRL but if it falls as kindly as this one, Michael Bidwill shall sprint to the phone and make this selection as soon as the NFL allows them to do so. There will be more on this pick later on when I share a full, seven-round mock draft for the Arizona Cardinals where he also ended up being the selection.
1.17 – Las Vegas Raiders – Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
After trading away a large part of their interior offensive line this past off-season, the Raiders continue to bemuse those around the league by selecting a replacement to play…somewhere…on their offensive line. Shrug.
1.18 – Miami Dolphins – Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama
After fortifying their offensive line with the first of their selections in this mock, they add the top available defensive lineman with their second. Something along the lines of “football is won in the trenches” if you want a football saying to justify the selection here I guess?
1.19 – Washington FT – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
The Washington Football Team defensive line might rank as one of the scariest units in the league. Behind that, they could do with some work and a guy like JOK in the second level mopping up what little gets through the DL wouldn’t be a bad addition to Ron Rivera’s defence.
1.20 – Chicago Bears – Teven Jenkins, Offensive Tackle, Oklahoma State
The Chicago Bears could do with help everywhere, Quarterback especially when Andy Dalton is your starter? Alas, their efforts to move up were thwarted when all the top 5 guys went in 7 selections. So sorting their offensive line figures to be option 2 in the first round – who knows, maybe a Day 2 QB could prove to be the guy they need?
1.21 – Indianapolis Colts – Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami
The Indianapolis Colts defence is impressive but could do with a bigger threat off the edge. Phillips has had concussion issues in the past but, should he be cleared by medical staff, the Colts may have got themselves yet another steal in the first round of the draft.
1.22 – Tennessee Titans – Elijah Moore, Wide Receiver, Mississippi
The Tennessee Titans might have rising star AJ Brown in their receiving corps but, after losing big targets like Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith in Free Agency, they could do with some more weapons for Ryan Tannehill. Enter a fellow Ole Miss graduate in Elijah Moore, the top-rated WR option left on the board at this juncture.
1.23 – New York Jets – Travis Etienne, Running Back, Clemson
The Jets selected Zach Wilson #2 overall, now they have the task of giving their new signal-caller some weapons. Last year they employed 84-year-old Frank Gore in the backfield alongside a multitude of others, this year they get a fresh rookie in Travis Etienne to hopefully carry the load.
1.24 – Pittsburgh Steelers – Najee Harris, Running Back, Alabama
Another one of those selections that seem to be a perfect match. Losing James Conner (not Connor) to a superior franchise will hurt them no end, but drafting a guy like Najee Harris to carry the load for the next few years should be a good call.
1.25 – Jacksonville Jaguars – Caleb Farley, Cornerback, Virginia Tech
Caleb Farley is a strange prospect to place this year, especially with all the concerns over his back injuries/surgeries and the ACL tear a few years back. However, Jacksonville is rebuilding from the ground up and, if they can get a healthy Caleb Farley this late in the first round and have him as a cornerstone of their defence going forward, it seems a risk worth taking?
1.26 – Cleveland Browns – Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
Gone are the days of the Cleveland Browns being a joke franchise. This team is going places and, after improving their defence already in free agency, the rich appear to get richer as they add a CB to an already-stacked secondary.
1.27 – Baltimore Ravens – Zaven Collins, Linebacker, Tulsa
The first of their two late selections in the first round sees the Ravens add a versatile defender in the shape of Collins. Where will he play, nobody knows? Personally, I’m just hoping it’s not the Arizona Cardinals who have the headache wondering where to utilise him best.
1.28 – New Orleans Saints – Jayson Oweh, Defensive End, Penn State
The Saints have many needs but the potential value here is too much to pass on. He on the opposite side of Cameron Jordan will give offensive lines and coordinators headaches every week of the season.
1.29 – Green Bay Packers – Trevon Moehrig, Safety, TCU
Perhaps the only first-round worthy Safety in the class, the Green Bay Packers add him to their defence. A safe selection and one who will be an immediate impact player wherever he ends up.
1.30 – Buffalo Bills – Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
The Bills came agonisingly close to the Super Bowl last year, falling at the final hurdle in the AFC. Tampa Bay showed the way to get to Patrick Mahomes is constant pressure – adding a talent like Ojulari (provided he passed medical checks with the team) could be a superb addition and help them take that final step next year.
1.31 – Baltimore Ravens – Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
Having acquired this selection by trading away an offensive tackle, the smart money would be on the team replacing him with another one…and, given the success Ronnie Stanley has had at LT, why not add another Notre Dame guy at the RT spot and give Lamar Jackson even more protection?
1.32 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
When you are the reigning Super Bowl champions that are returning ALL 22 starters from their successful 2020 escapades, what can you possibly do with the 32nd overall selection in the draft? The possibilities are endless but, given he is still sat in the green room on his lonesome, Greg Rousseau is saved the embarrassment of being in there overnight by Jason Licht.
So, there we have it, a full 32 selection first-round mock draft. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.