Guys, we are just a day away from the NFL Draft, how crazy is that? It seems like so long since my last mock draft, but really it’s only been about a month. That, to me, is just crazy. By now, we should have a clearer picture of each team’s needs after free agency, and hopefully these smokescreens don’t impact my assessment too much, but at this point in the offseason, it gets really hard to determine what’s real and what isn’t.
But, let’s kick this mock draft off with two picks that I refuse to change from my last mock because I simply cannot see a possibility of them being anybody else.
NOTE: I decided to go with a trade-less mock and determined the best course of action would be to pick players based on what I think the team will do rather than what I would do.
1. Cincinnati Bengals: QB Joe Burrow (LSU)
Mock 1.0 selection: Burrow
Like I said in my previous mock draft, this feels like a no-brainer to me (and to pretty much everyone else). When I did my ranking of the top 10 quarterbacks in this class, I knew instantly that Burrow was the best of the bunch. There is so much to love about his play. I love his pocket awareness, his down-the-field accuracy, his mobility, everything. The dude is an absolute stud and the Bengals would be foolish to consider any other option. There’s not much more to say, it’s just the obvious move here. Second-year head coach Zac Taylor will get to groom his own potential franchise QB and turn around a franchise that hasn’t had a winning season since 2015.
2. Washington Redskins: EDGE Chase Young (Ohio State)
Mock 1.0 selection: Young
This is the same situation with the previous pick, it’s just a matter of picking the absolute best option available regardless of need. Chase Young is by far the most talented player in this draft class, and to me, it isn’t really all that close. He’s a dominant edge rusher with the power, speed and discipline that makes him a ready-to-go, Day 1 product. Similar to what San Francisco did last year by drafting Nick Bosa second overall, Washington will be adding a dominant playmaker to an already loaded defensive line that they’ve dedicated three of their last four first-round picks to. I can’t wait to see what Chase Young can do on this defense.
3. Detroit Lions: CB Jeff Okudah (Ohio State)
Mock 1.0 selection: Okudah
I still feel like Detroit is a likely trade-candidate with this pick to a QB-needy team, but if they stand pat, they’ll be getting what I consider a sure thing at cornerback. Okudah just looks like a shutdown corner at the next level. He demonstrated the ideal footwork, recovery speed, physicality and intelligence you want out of a cornerback, all at the highest possible stage of college football. I seriously have little to no negatives associated with Okudah; he’s a fantastic athlete with the mental makeup and leadership skills every top pick should possess.
This move fulfills a pretty big need too. Though they did sign Desmond Trufant, they are still without a No. 1 cornerback since they shipped Darius Slay off to Philadelphia. Okudah should easily slot into that role and thrive immediately from Day 1.
4. New York Giants: OT Tristan Wirfs (Iowa)
Mock 1.0 selection: Wirfs
This is where things get a little tricky.
I am fairly confident that if there are no trades within the top-3, then those will be the picks, but with this selection I’m not so sure. Isaiah Simmons is by far the best player available at this point in the draft, but I’m starting to think that if the Giants don’t trade out of this pick (which is seeming more and more like a possibility at this point) then they will fulfill the need at tackle with Wirfs.
As a rookie, Daniel Jones was sacked 38 times in just 13 games, and generally just took a beating throughout the year. If I’m a betting man, I’m thinking Dave Gettleman would prioritize protecting the franchise QB at all costs, even the cost of missing on one of the more intriguing athletes in the draft in Simmons. And though Giants fans may not like that logic, they have to at least admit that Wirfs is still a phenomenal talent that fills a pretty massive need. A six-foot-five, 320-pound behemoth with elite big-man athleticism, Wirfs looks like he’ll at least be a good-to-great right tackle early on in his career. It’s not the sexy pick, but it’s a good pick nonetheless.
5. Miami Dolphins: QB Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama)
Mock 1.0 selection: Tagovailoa
I keep seeing speculation that Tagovailoa’s stock is dropping due to durability concerns, but honestly, I don’t buy it. Those concerns are certainly valid, but Tagovailoa’s talent outweighs those issues to me, and I think past Burrow, Tagovailoa might be the only quarterback that’s ready to go immediately. Plus, with three first rounders, Miami can afford to take the risk that comes with Tagovailoa while also addressing other needs across the board.
6. Los Angeles Chargers: QB Justin Herbert (Oregon)
Mock 1.0 selection: Herbert
I was split between Simmons and Herbert for this pick, with Simmons once again being the best player available, but I still think the Chargers go with what they consider the quarterback of the future for the organization. If you read my quarterback rankings, you’d know that I’m not a huge fan of Herbert, especially this high in the draft, but I think this is a good situation for him to be in. Anthony Lynn can rely on Tyrod Taylor to start while Herbert learns the offense, and when he’s ready, he’ll be given a good opportunity to succeed with a supporting cast including Mike Williams, Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler. That’s not a bad spot to be in for a young quarterback.
Simmons would also be a good move here because of the different ways he can be used on the defense (imagine him with Derwin James), but the Chargers will prioritize finding their next quarterback with this pick.
7. Carolina Panthers: S Isaiah Simmons (Clemson)
Mock 1.0 selection: Simmons
I didn’t necessarily intend to, but so far this mock draft is identical to my first one. I really am one predictable son of a gun. If I’m the Panthers, I’m doing backflips on Zoom while announcing this pick. Not only does Carolina need a safety after cutting Eric Reid, but they also need a proper replacement for Luke Kuechly after he retired. Either way, they’re getting an absolute stud with a pretty miraculous ability to plug-and-play at a variety of different positions. Newly-hired head coach Matt Rhule won’t have to worry about where Simmons goes right now, he just has to sit back and celebrate stealing the most versatile and one of the most dynamic players in this draft class. Carolina could also go with Derrick Brown with this pick, who would fill their need at nose tackle.
8. Arizona Cardinals: OT Jedrick Wills (Alabama)
Mock 1.0 selection: Wills
This is a tough pick to predict because I have Wills, Andrew Thomas and Mekhi Becton so close together in my draft board. I think Becton is probably the best of the three, but I could see the flagged drug test maybe worrying some teams (although it seems like he’ll be fine in the long run). Regardless, I am fairly certain Arizona goes with one of those offensive linemen with this pick, it’s just such a massive need. They did bring back Marcus Gilbert and D.J. Humphries to fill both sides at tackle, but Gilbert struggles to stay on the field (he hasn’t played a full season since 2015) so it makes sense why they’d want a little more consistency at the position.
Wills may not have ideal length or size for the position, but he more than makes up for it on the technical side. He’s a polished, highly-efficient blocker with elite quickness and strength. I think he fits what Arizona is looking for at the position as they hope to give Kyler Murray some better protection for his sophomore season.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: DT Derrick Brown (Auburn)
Mock 1.0 selection: Brown
The Jaguars’ defensive line is in a bit of a bind. Remember when their front-seven nearly led them to a Super Bowl? Feels like forever ago right? It was actually just two seasons ago. Crazy how things change so quickly. The Jaguars defense, which was 28th in the league against the run, absolutely needs an upgrade at the nose tackle position and I can’t think of a better upgrade over *checks notes…* Abry Jones than Auburn standout Derrick Brown. Losing Yannick Ngakoue on the outside will hurt, but with Josh Allen already proving to be a great pickup and the team still showing faith in former first-round pick Taven Bryan, Brown can come in and immediately help draw attention away from those guys.
Brown may be 326 pounds, but he moves so much quicker than that. He has an unbelievable first step for his size, and his ability to not just handle, but actually move double-teams is a sight to see. The Jaguars may have a lot of big need areas on both sides of the ball, but Brown is a easy pick to make because of how it fills both a need and honors the best player available code. Brown has All-Pro potential, and if I were Jacksonville, I’d be thrilled to get him.
10. Cleveland Browns: OT Andrew Thomas (Georgia)
Mock 1.0 selection: Thomas
Despite signing Jack Conklin early in free agency, the Browns still need to find themselves a staple at left tackle. Enter Andrew Thomas, who is considered the safest tackle prospect by most draft pundits. I would argue that title could also be given to Wills, but I can still see it. Thomas is a really solid prospect with experience on both the right and the left side against some very serious SEC competition. The three-year starter is not the most athletic tackle of the bunch nor is he the biggest, but he is maybe the most well-coached and disciplined among them. He might not have the ceiling of someone like Wirfs, but I think Thomas should absolutely be at least a solid left tackle for a long time. I think Cleveland will find that to be enough.
There’s also the possibility Cleveland goes for someone like Trent Williams in a trade, but I think they’d rather hold onto their draft assets and go with the younger option in Thomas. Honestly, that’s not a bad move.
11. New York Jets: OT Mekhi Becton (Louisville)
Mock 1.0 selection: WR CeeDee Lamb (Oklahoma)
Finally, after 10 picks, I have changed course on my mock draft. That’s pretty crazy considering how long it’s been, and really New York could still go with Lamb or any other star wide receiver here, but the more I think about it, the more I feel like they absolutely need tackle help. There are plenty of fantastic wide receiver options in this draft, but there aren’t that many fantastic tackle prospects beyond the first four. I think the Jets know this, and will want to address this need first.
It’s a hard pick to make because the Jets definitely need help at wide receiver after letting Robby Anderson walk in free agency (Jamison Crowder and Breshad Perriman are there two main options at the moment), and their cornerback room is an absolute mess after cutting both of their Week 1 starters from last year. I still just feel like Becton is the smart choice here though.
The six-foot-seven, 364-pound tackle is an absolute brick wall, but what stands out about him is how surprisingly nimble he is. He moves really well for his size, and has the skillset to play on either side as a tackle. The Jets signed George Fant this offseason, who is capable of playing on both sides as well, so this move gives them a little wiggle room to figure out where each player fits. Again, it’s not the sexy choice considering all the amazing offensive weapons available, but it’s the smart choice and one I’m sure Sam Darnold will not be too displeased about.
12. Las Vegas Raiders: WR CeeDee Lamb (Oklahoma)
Mock 1.0 selection: WR Jerry Jeudy (Alabama)
I had the Raiders going wide receiver before free agency and I’m sticking with that here. They did pick up Nelson Agholor, but that doesn’t really solve their problems. Sure, he makes for a fine complimentary piece alongside Tyrell Williams and Hunter Renfrow, but this team needs a legit, go-to guy that they were banking on Antonio Brown becoming. Lamb has that kind of potential and then some. I absolutely love Lamb’s tape (and so does my good pal Stephen). CeeDee Lamb possesses everything you could want in a No. 1 receiving option: an elite size/speed combination, fluid route-running, a fantastic catch radius and the physicality to attack defenders that stand in his way. It’s certainly close, but Lamb is the best wide receiver in this class in my opinion and I think the Raiders would absolutely love to make him the center of the the franchise’s new beginning in Las Vegas.
13. San Francisco 49ers: WR Jerry Jeudy (Alabama)
Mock 1.0 selection (Colts): DT Javon Kinlaw (South Carolina)
This pick looks a lot different from what it initially was a month ago. While I initially had the Colts going with the boom-or-bust prospect Javon Kinlaw to fix the problems on their defensive line, they decided to do that by trading the pick to San Francisco for DeForest Buckner. That’s a fantastic move in my opinion, it fills the exact need they were looking to address while also getting a 26-year-old player coming off a career season.
The 49ers, who are fresh off a Super Bowl loss to the Chiefs, will be looking for playmakers on the offensive side of the ball with this pick, and Jeudy currently represents the best value at No. 13. It’s essentially a coin-flip between Jeudy and Lamb for the top wide receiver prospect in this draft, and while I like Lamb better, that is by no means a knock of what Jeudy can do. Jeudy is perhaps the most polished player at the position, with silky smooth route-running ability and a high-end top-gear that allows him to win with both his speed and his sharp routes. The 49ers are already a contender, but a talent like Jeudy can put this offense over the top.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DT Javon Kinlaw (South Carolina)
Mock 1.0 selection: OT Mekhi Becton (Louisville)
I’m sure the Buccaneers desperately want to go with an offensive lineman with this pick, but the value isn’t really there for Josh Jones and of course four top tackles already came and went before this pick. I think they’re a very real candidate to go for Trent Williams, so picking the best player available at this point in the draft makes sense.
But wow, this team is incredibly different from what is was a month ago. For starters, there was certainly no indication that they’d be getting both Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, but it looks like some teams have all the luck. Bruce Arians is in a dream situation with his offense, but I still think they could use a player like Kinlaw to shore up the interior defensive line. They did resign Ndamukong Suh on a one-year deal, but something tells me they’ll be looking for someone to eventually replace him and serve as a potential long-time pairing with Vita Vea. Kinlaw fits the description, although he’s far from a sure thing due to some durability concerns. If you take those concerns away though, you’ve got yourself one heck of an athlete. It may not always show up on the tape, but Kinlaw at his best is an absolute monster. Is he raw? Absolutely, but for a team like Tampa Bay, they can afford to take a chance at No. 14 and see if he lives up to the sky-high potential he showed in his senior year.
15. Denver Broncos: WR Henry Ruggs III (Alabama)
Mock 1.0 selection: CB Jeff Gladney (TCU)
The Broncos are in pretty much the same situation that they were before free agency. As expected, Chris Harris left and Justin Simmons’ contract situation is still up in the air, leaving the team in a bit of a bind with their secondary. They did bring in A.J. Bouye for a fourth-round pick which is a move I like, and they are actively negotiating with Simmons as of one day ago, so my thinking at this point is they look to the second round for help at those positions while going for the best player available to help their young franchise quarterback in Drew Lock.
Besides Cortland Sutton and Noah Fant, the Broncos don’t have much in terms of weapons in the passing game. Enter Henry Ruggs III, a dynamic, DeSean Jackson-esque playmaker with absurd straight-line speed (he ran a jaw-dropping 4.27 40-time) that defenses will have to respect every single time he touches the field. Like with Jackson, just him being on the field changes how a defense operates, which bodes well for Fant and Sutton. I was a huge fan of Lock in last year’s draft, and I thought he had the best arm in that class, so I can’t wait to see what he does with a talent like Ruggs.
16. Atlanta Falcons: CB C.J. Henderson (Florida)
Mock 1.0 selection: EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson (LSU)
According to Ian Rapoport, the Falcons are one of the teams trying to trade up into the top-3 in order to secure a cornerback like Okudah. Is it likely? Maybe, I mean the Lions are dangling that pick out to the highest bidder, but even if they don’t, there’s plenty of cornerback options available in the middle of the draft. In this case, it’s Henderson, who has generally considered to be No. 2 behind Okudah in most rankings.
Henderson is a very solid option here for the Falcons, who desperately need help in the secondary after being 22nd in yards allowed through the air last season. Henderson should be able to step in immediately and provide a spark to that group thanks to freakish tracking speed, good mirror-and-match footwork and solid play strength. The Falcons definitely seem set on improving the secondary, so they’ll be a team worth keeping an eye on this year as a potential mover on the draft board.
17. Dallas Cowboys: S Xavier McKinney (Alabama)
Mock 1.0 selection: S Grant Delpit (LSU)
I could also see this pick being one of the available cornerbacks like Trevon Diggs, Jaylon Johnson or Kristian Fulton, but I think McKinney offers the most versatility than the rest of those guys. Dallas’ two presumed starting safeties in HaHa Clinton-Dix and Xavier Woods are set to be free agents next year, so this move acts as a bit of insurance in case one or both of them leaves. Luckily, McKinney is pretty similar a prospect to what Clinton-Dix was when he was at Alabama.
McKinney is a more versatile prospect though, with the ability to play deep in center field or even in the slot as a cornerback. There’s a lot you can do with McKinney and even if he doesn’t start this year, there’s no doubt in my mind he’ll find a way to be on the field in some way, shape or form.
18. Miami Dolphins: OT Josh Jones (Houston)
Mock 1.0 selection: RB Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin)
In my last mock draft, I had Miami taking Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor here and then taking Josh Jones at No. 26. I decided to flip that logic and have Miami prioritize the line first since they signed running back Jordan Howard to a two-year deal. I still think Miami goes with a running back at No. 26 though.
Since we last saw the Dolphins, they have gone on a wild spending spree, throwing copious amounts of money at top free agent targets like Byron Jones, Shaq Lawson, Ereck Flowers and Kyle Van Noy. While they did get a few offensive players like Flowers and Howard, they prioritized the defensive side of the ball much more which leads me to believe that every single one of these first-round picks will be dedicated to the offense. It’s not a bad move to give your new franchise QB something to work with.
While Jones’ value doesn’t necessarily line up that well with this pick, it’s still a smart decision to get a solid option at tackle before they’re gone. Jones is a pretty raw prospect, but he’s got the ideal length and athleticism to mold him into a long-term starter. Plus, he’s probably better than what Miami already has, so this seems like a pretty wise choice.
19. Las Vegas Raiders: CB Kristian Fulton (LSU)
Mock 1.0 selection: CB CJ Henderson (Florida)
As you could see from last year’s draft, the Raiders are a tricky bunch to try and figure out. Did anyone really expect them to draft Clelin Ferrell at No. 4 last year? Hell no! And while I assume Lamb will be just too good to pass up at No. 12, I’m not sure where the Raiders want to go with this pick. Cornerback makes the most sense, so I’m going with that, but I feel very little confidence in what I think Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock will do.
If they do decide to go Fulton, they’ll be getting a player considered “scheme-transcendent” though he’d be best used in the press like he was at LSU. Though not the strongest player nor the best tackler at the position, Fulton’s an absolute ballhawk with good instincts and Grade-A anticipation. Fulton would provide a solid compliment opposite cornerback Trayvon Mullen in Las Vegas’ secondary.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars: RB Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin)
Mock 1.0 selection: LB Kenneth Murray (Oklahoma)
I initially had Jacksonville doubling down on defense with Kenneth Murray here, but with this mock draft, I’m going to try and make a little extra prediction that this pick sort of relies on.
There have been rumors recently that the Jaguars are fielding offers for running back Leonard Fournette, apparently for more than a month actually, and I believe that they will pull the trigger on that trade. Fournette had a solid season last year, but it seems like this team is clearing house completely after shipping off Nick Foles, Calais Campbell and A.J. Bouye. To me, this does not look like a team in “win-now” mode, but rather “Tank for Trevor” mode. They can probably get a nice haul for Fournette and with this pick find his replacement with the uber-productive Wisconsin-standout Jonathan Taylor.
I had Taylor as my top running back in this class in my rankings just a week ago, and I think he’d fit well here in Jacksonville. He’s a physical runner with surprisingly great breakaway speed and phenomenal vision that you just can’t teach. He is a really fun player to watch and one that I think will have a very solid NFL career.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: WR Justin Jefferson (LSU)
Mock 1.0 selection: WR Henry Ruggs III (Alabama)
Obvioiusly, Ruggs III is no longer in the picture at this point in the draft, but the Eagles still very much need help at the position after last year’s mess. Is Alshon Jeffrey a potential draft-day trade chip? Maybe, but regardless of if he is or isn’t, this team could use another weapon for Carson Wentz. If we’re considering Justin Jefferson to be the consolation prize to Ruggs III then I think that’s a pretty nice situation to be in if I’m the Eagles.
He may not be the same vertical threat that Ruggs III is, but Jefferson in his own right is a fantastic playmaker who plays with a unique kind of swagger and style that’s unique in this draft class. I love how tough Jefferson is on contested catches and his agile, energetic running style makes him a threat for the big play every time he touches the ball. He’ll fit right in next to DeSean Jackson on this offense.
22. Minnesota Vikings: CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama
Mock 1.0 selection (Bills): LB Patrick Queen (LSU)
The Vikings did what they had to do by trading disgruntled star wide receiver Stefon Diggs, and while it leaves them needing another wide receiver, I think they’ll prioritize the position that took the biggest hit this offseason: cornerback. And what better way to address that concern than by drafting the brother of the player you just traded for that exact same pick. Will it be awkward? Maybe, but does it sound like the kind of absolute wackiness that generally ensues during draft day? Absolutely.
Drama aside, Diggs is great value at No. 22. The Vikings let former first-round picks Xavier Rhodes, Mackensie Alexander and Trae Waynes all walk during the offseason which leaves just Mike Hughes as the lone starter on the team. Diggs, a former wide receiver, may still be learning the position on the job, but you can’t teach the kind of speed and athleticism that he has. Diggs’ high-ceiling should be enough for the Vikings to want to take a flyer on him at this point in the first round.
23. New England Patriots: LB Patrick Queen, LSU
Mock 1.0 selection: DE A.J. Epenesa (Iowa)
I still like my previous pick of A.J Epenesa for New England, but Patrick Queen is just too good to pass up at this point and it gives them a really solid player to plug in alongside Dont’a Hightower.
Queen is a phenomenal athlete that flashed star potential at LSU. His ability to quickly read, diagnose and react is really special, and he’s got the ideal speed to be a strong sideline-to-sideline playmaker. It helps that he’s also got the speed and coverage ability to handle athletic tight ends and running backs. This is the exact thing New England needs to start its new era of football.
24. New Orleans Saints: LB K’Lavon Chaisson (LSU)
Mock 1.0 selection: WR Justin Jefferson (LSU)
By signing Emmanuel Sanders, the Saints effectively ended any chance of them getting a receiver in the first round. I can see them going for one later though. With this pick, I went with the Chaisson, who has shot up draft boards, but surprisingly falls all the way down to No. 24. Chaisson obviously has elite-level potential thanks to an ideal size/speed combination to be an outside linebacker, but the production just wasn’t there which leads me to believe that he’s still a guy you’re banking on developing. The ceiling is there, but the fit is crucial, and I think this is a pretty good fit.
The Saints targeted both Cory Littleton and Jamie Collins in free agency, but came away empty-handed. Chaisson fits the mold of what they were looking for, but at a significantly cheaper price. There’s a good chance Chaisson doesn’t start immediately, but he should see some playing time early due to Kiko Alonso and Alex Anzalone returning from season-ending injuries. It’s also worth mentioning that both of those guys, along with Demario Davis, are all entering contract years. It might be wise for New Orleans to start thinking ahead with this pick.
25. Minnesota Vikings: WR Denzel Mims (Baylor)
Mock 1.0 selection: S Xavier McKinney (Alabama)
Minnesota has a ton of options to chose from at this position, and while Mims might not be the best available on some boards, I think he fits with Minnesota better than Higgins, Reagor or Aiyuk. If anything, Mims falls in line with the Stefon Diggs’ of the world. He’s got good size, incredible speed and an absurd catch radius that he showcased on a weekly basis. Mims replaces Diggs really well and gives Kirk Cousins another solid target that’s a threat to score in every situation. Mims might not be as high on most draft analysts’ boards, but I think teams value him much, much higher.
26. Miami Dolphins: RB D’Andre Swift (Georgia)
Mock 1.0 selection: OT Josh Jones (Houston)
Miami gets its running back to complete the offensive triumvirate (I used this exact term last time because I love it so much) and effectively bring forward a team that is officially out of the tanking phase. Swift is an electric outside runner with the burners to get to the edge and blow by defenders. I want to see him improve as a receiver in the backfield as well as a blocker, but I think the potential is there. This is a good fit overall, Swift doesn’t have to carry the load by himself thanks to the signing of Jordan Howard, and the team has a new and improved offensive line that should give him plenty to work with early in his career.
27. Seattle Seahawks: EDGE Zach Baun (Wisconsin)
Mock 1.0 selection: Baun
Who knows what’s going to happen with Jadeveon Clowney at this point. As of right now, I’d expect him to return to Seattle, but regardless, an edge rusher is still of the utmost importance for a defense that managed just 28 sacks all of last season; that was the second lowest in the league. Seattle can go with either Baun or Yetur Gross-Matos here, but I like Baun’s fit in Seattle better. Sure he only has one year of quality tape to showcase his production, but it is one great year of tape. Baun was awesome last season, racking up 12.5 sacks and displaying an impressive first-step off the line. If Seattle can bring Clowney back as well, that makes for one helluva pairing to go into the season with.
28. Baltimore Ravens: EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos (Penn State)
Mock 1.0 selection: Gross-Matos
I’m sticking with my original pick here as well. As good as Matthew Judon is, there’s no guarantee he’ll be back after this season, and the Ravens are in a position where they have no real pressing needs that have to be addressed at this point. They can afford to go for a guy like Yetur Gross-Matos, who, like I mentioned in my first mock, reminds me a lot of Montez Sweat. He isn’t quite fully-developed just yet, but he’s got ideal length and college production to warrant a first round pick.
29. Tennessee Titans: CB A.J. Terrell (Clemson)
Mock 1.0 selection: CB Jaylon Johnson (Utah)
Cornerback continues to be an area of need for the Titans with Logan Ryan still on the market so replacing him with an NFL-ready corner like Terrell makes a great deal of sense. Though he doesn’t possess a very high ceiling, he should come in and immediately contribute at a pretty high level thanks to good length, recovery speed and of course, NFL discipline instilled while at Clemson. He’ll fit in just fine in Mike Vrabel’s defense.
30. Green Bay Packers: WR Brandon Aiyuk (Arizona State)
Mock 1.0 selection: WR Tee Higgins (Clemson)
This has been a popular spot for quarterback Jordan Love recently, but I still don’t think the Packers are quite ready to invest in Aaron Rodgers’ successor. Instead, they’re going to give Rodgers a new weapon.
I initially had Tee Higgins going at this spot, but the more I look at the Packers’ current receiving situation, the more I think that they’ll go for someone like Reagor or Aiyuk. Higgins is the most complete talent of the tree, but the Packers lack a true playmaker in the slot. They’ll be getting Equanimeous St. Brown back from injury, and they also brought in Devin Funchess. That’s a lot of size and not a ton of speed. Aiyuk can come in and fill the role Randall Cobb once flourished in and provide Rodgers with a quick, dynamic receiver that specializes in generating yards after the catch.
31. San Francisco 49ers: DT Ross Blacklock (TCU)
Mock 1.0 selection: WR Brandon Aiyuk (Arizona State)
After trading Buckner to get their new go-to wide receiver in Jerry Jeudy, I think the 49ers look for another disruptive force on the interior line by going with TCU-standout Ross Blacklock. There is a lot to love about Blacklock’s game, specifically his burst off the line and relentless pass-rushing style. He has a lot to work on in terms of technique and sometimes the effort doesn’t always show through, but on a line like San Francisco’s he should figure it out just fine. The 49ers continue to prioritize the trenches and keep the best part of their team stacked with first-round talent.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: LB Kenneth Murray (Oklahoma)
Mock 1.0 selection: CB Trevon Diggs (Alabama)
This is a massive steal for Kansas City, who really don’t need an inside linebacker desperately, but are getting an incredible talent that is probably worth a much higher pick had the run of tackles not have dominated the early parts of the draft. Ultimately, guys just fall when they shouldn’t and in this case, Murray falls to the reigning Super Bowl champs. Murray is a prospect with a mind-blowing highlight reel that shows a linebacker with 4.5-speed that can burst through gaps and consistently make textbook wrap-up tackles. He can tend to overshoot on plays too often and watching more than just the highlights shows a guy that can use a little more work, but he has a fantastic ceiling and should push for playing time immediately.