For many of us that sit here locked in our homes with no sports to watch or gamble on, the NFL Draft is the light at the end of the tunnel. We’re going to have content! And stuff to talk about! The draft won’t be the same, as the planned Vegas festivities were cancelled, but in a way a fully remote draft will be even more fun. For those of us that host our fantasy drafts over the internet, this real-life draft isn’t going to be much different. Who’s going to be the guy that clicks the wrong button and drafts a kicker? Who’s going to run out their timer due a bad internet connection? I’m dying to find out.
With the draft around the corner, mock draft madness is in full effect. Personally I think regular mocks are fun to read for speculation, but at the end of the day predicting what unpredictable and oftentimes irrational actors will do can only hold my curiosity for so long. I’d rather put my GM hat on and decide the picks for myself, so that’s what I’ve decided to do here. I will be taking all team-building possibilities into account when I do this mock (not just the draft!) All trades must be agreed upon by both teams. Let’s get crazy.
1. Cincinatti Bengals – Joe Burrow / QB / LSU
I would always listen to offers, but it would take a true Godfather to move me off of Burrow. I’m talking four first round picks. The small sample size of elite play does scare me a little, but the simple fact is that last year Burrow displayed the ceiling of a Hall of Fame caliber QB. He literally had the best season in College Football history. I will take my shot on that.
2. [TRADE] Jacksonville Jaguars (from WSH) – Tua Tagovailoa / QB / Alabama
Oh baby. Here we go. The Jacksonville Jaguars trade 1.09, 1.20 and the LA Rams 2021 1st round pick to the Washington Redskins for 1.02.
From Jacksonville’s perspective: The Jags have a bounty of picks from the Jalen Ramsey trade and needed to bid big to get up high enough to take Tua. Gardner Minshew showed a little bit of promise last year as a starter, but I believe Tua is a much, much better prospect and worth selling the farm for. I believe that acquiring an elite QB is EVERYTHING for an NFL franchise. Minshew can start the season if Tua still needs time to recover from the hip injury, and if not he is a very serviceable backup, which is also valuable.
From Washington’s perspective: The Skins can go a number of different ways here. The Dolphins offered two firsts to move up from 5 to 2, and the Chargers offered #6 and a 2021 1st to move up. We could stay put and take Chase Young, but our defensive line is already pretty good, and turning down a bounty for a non-QB seems unwise. We seriously consider taking Tua here ourselves, but when the Jags come calling with their 3 first round pick bounty, we decide to give Haskins a shot and build around him. Not having a second round pick makes it more necessary to trade down and accumulate picks.
3. Detroit Lions – Chase Young / EDGE / Ohio State
This is the best case scenario for the Lions. We stay put and take Young.
4. New York Giants – Jeff Okudah / CB / Ohio State
I know that the Giants signed James Bradberry and drafted Deandre Baker last year but two corners with potential is not reason enough to pass up the best player on the board at possibly the most premium position outside of quarterback. We thought about taking one of the big offensive tackles but couldn’t pass up the only elite corner in the class. There is no way Dave Gettleman actually makes this moves in the real draft, which is how you know it’s probably the right one.
5. Miami Dolphins – Jedrick Wills / OT / Alabama
We’re not going to reach on a QB just because our guy got taken ahead of us. That’s how you set your rebuild back three years. I personally think Justin Herbert is too risky of a prospect to take this high We’re going to trust the process and continue to build the roster. We desperately need two starting tackles, and Wills is a day one starter. Let’s build that offensive line so when we do obtain our QB of the future, he has room to operate.
6. Los Angeles Chargers – Andrew Thomas / OT / Georgia
As with Miami, we tried to get up and get Tua but failed. We’re not going to reach on Herbert and pair a developmental, toolsy QB with a win-now roster. We’re going to sign Cam Newton and let he and Tyrod Taylor battle it out for the starting job (which Cam will win if he’s healthy). The Chargers have already added two offensive line starters this offseason in guard Trai Turner and right tackle Bryan Bulaga, and we shore up the gaping hole at left tackle with Thomas. The Chargers offensive line will go from the bottom to the top of the league in one offseason. If we decide to pursue our next franchise QB in 2021, that will be a huge help.
7. Carolina Panthers – Isaiah Simmons / LB / Clemson
Carolina will probably never be able to fill the hole left by Luke Keuchly’s retirement, but drafting Simmons is about the best attempt they could make. The do-it-all athletic powerhouse of a linebacker will be a perfect fit.
8. Arizona Cardinals – Tristan Wirfs / OT / Iowa
The trade that shocked a quarantined nation have the Cardinals sitting pretty here in this 8 slot, with their need for a #1 WR shored up at minimal cost. The Red Birds still could be looking at WR to fill out that air raid attack with more playmakers, but as GM I opt to shore up the right tackle spot to give Kyler Murray more protection. Wirfs is one of the most athletic offensive lineman the NFL has ever seen and offers major upside.
9. Washington Redskins (from JAX) – Jerry Jeudy / WR / Alabama
Unfortunately the three tackles that we feel comfortable with are off the board, but have no fear. Jeudy is an elite WR prospect and the Skins’ cupboard is bare behind sophomore stud Terry McLaurin. Jeudy and McLauren will make an awesome duo and give Haskins a much-needed pair of weapons.
10. Cleveland Browns – Mekhi Becton / OT / Louisville
Cleveland addressed their right tackle spot by signing Jack Conklin this offseason, but still has a hole at left tackle. I’m not totally sold on Becton’s profile: I love his size and athleticism but his mediocre PFF pass blocking grade gives me some pause. Still, with the other three tackles off the board, no offers to trade down, and a glaring hole needed to be filled, we’ll take this monster to protect Baker’s blind side.
11. New York Jets – CeeDee Lamb / WR / Oklahoma
Could someone get Sam Darnold some weapons please? The Jets just need a playmaker downfield and Lamb fits that bill. It’s tough to evaluate your young QB when they have no one to throw to, plus Lamb’s ability as a contested catch and YAC star should contrast nicely with Breshad Perriman’s downfield threat and Jamison Crowder out of the slot. It’s not a great core, but with Lamb, it’s functional.
12. Las Vegas Raiders – CJ Henderson / CB / Florida
We considered Henry Ruggs here but we already have a deep threat in Tyrell Williams and are looking for more of an alpha-type. Missing on Lamb by a pick hurt. CB is also a major need for this team and we are ecstatic to get the second best one in the draft in Henderson
13. San Francisco 49ers – Henry Ruggs / WR / Alabama
The 49ers had the highest average speed of their skill players of any team in 2019 and they’re about to get even faster. Deebo Samuel is a young stud YAC monster that can win all over but with Marquise Goodwin and Emmanuel Sanders gone, the Niners currently have no one on the roster threatening defenses deep and opening up the middle of the field for Samuel and George Kittle. Although Jimmy G didn’t throw deep much last year, when he did he was very efficient. Adding a stud like Ruggs on the outside opens this offense up completely and gives it a dimension that makes it even more impossible to defend. All of that is not to say that Ruggs is JUST a deep threat, which seems to be a popular misconception. He can win all over.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Justin Herbert / QB / Oregon
Oooh Tom is gonna hate this move. Who cares? He already signed the contract. We’re not crazy enough to think a 43 year old QB is a long term solution, and at this point of the draft, I’m fine with taking the gamble on Herbert. Bruce Arians has done will with big, strong-armed QBs in the past, and in a year or two when Brady is done, the Bucs can make the decision on if Herbert is ready to be the franchise guy or not.
15. Denver Broncos – Patrick Queen / LB / LSU
Unfortunately for the Broncos, the top 3 WRs are already off the board. We give some thought to a corner, but eventually settle on getting the stud middle linebacker that Vic Fangio defenses crave.
16. Atlanta Falcons – Derrick Brown / DT / Auburn
Brown is top 10 on most boards, but this GM doesn’t value run-stuffing defensive tackles that highly. Still, he’s a great player, and would fit perfectly next to Grady Jarrett in this Atlanta defense that needs just about everything.
17. Dallas Cowboys – K’Lavon Chaisson / EDGE / LSU
The Cowboys struck out big on a productive yet unathletic pass rusher in Taco Charlton a couple years ago, so they go the other way with the freak athlete lacking the sack numbers in Chaisson. Dallas has needs all over the defense, and the gaping hole at defensive end left by the departure of Robert Quinn is the first to be filled.
18. Miami Dolphins – Xavier McKinney / S / Alabama
Miami cut Reshad Jones and traded away Minkah Fitzpatrick, and while it used free agency to fill a number of holes on the roster, safety remains unfilled. We know that Bill Belichick and his disciples value pass coverage in their defense above all, so filling out the secondary should be a priority. McKinney is the type of playmaker on the back end the Dolphins need.
19. Las Vegas Raiders – Denzel Mims / WR / Baylor
The Raiders don’t have a ton of glaring needs after shoring up several positions in free agency, but CB and WR are still very weak. We addressed CB at 1.12, and although the top tier of WRs are gone, we desperately need to take a shot on a potential Alpha. Mims is a late-riser in the process after dominating the Senior Bowl and Combine but checks all the boxes of what you look for in a #1 WR.
20. Washington Redskins (from JAX) – Josh Jones / OT / Houston
We used the first selection of our three-pick trade down haul from Jacksonville on a stud WR, we use our second on our left tackle of the future. We want to give Haskins all the tools he needs to succeed so we can use 2020 to fully evaluate if he’s the guy or not. If he isn’t, next year we have two (possibly high) firsts to use on another QB.
21. Philadelphia Eagles – Justin Jefferson / WR / LSU
It’s no secret that the Eagles lacked reliable weapons down the stretch last year, mostly due to injury, but also age and ineffectiveness. Jefferson is a highly productive (111 catches and 18 TDs in 2019) and athletic prospect that comes into this offense as a big slot with the speed to beat defenses deep if need be.
22. Minnesota Vikings – Javon Kinlaw / DT / South Carolina
I know Vikings fans want a WR here but with five gone already, the board isn’t shaking out that way. The Vikings did themselves no favors this offseason by coming into the draft with massive holes at numerous positions. Since we do have so many holes, we might as well take the best player available that fills one. The loss of Linval Joseph leaves a major void up the middle, and Kinlaw is an ass-kicker up front. We will have to address WR at some time but this class is deep and we have a lot of picks. Even if we did take a WR here, they would not be a true replacement for a superstar like Stefon Diggs.
23. New England Patriots – Yetur Gross-Matos / EDGE / Penn State
We would love to get either a QB or WR here but the board doesn’t shake out quite right for us. Instead of spending a first on a raw prospect like Jordan Love, I’d rather give Jameis Winston or Andy Dalton a spin for a year and try the QB market in 2021. Instead we opt to replenish some of the pass rush juice we lost in free agency with Gross-Matos.
24. New Orleans Saints – Kenneth Murray / LB / Oklahoma
The Saints biggest need of a WR opposite Michael Thomas was temporarily filled by the signing of Emmanuel Sanders, and while some youth is still needed, that can be addressed in later rounds. Instead we opt to inject some speed into the middle of this defense and send Kiko Alonso to the bench.
25. Minnesota Vikings – Kristian Fulton / CB / LSU
Minnesota gets a steal here in Fulton, and he should slot in as a starter right away.
26. Miami Dolphins – Cesar Ruiz / OL / Michigan
Most mocks have Miami taking a running back in the first round, and while I am not totally against taking a back in the first (and I love Jonathan Taylor), this is not the time in our rebuild to use prime picks on a rapidly diminishing asset. We’re still a couple years away from competing and we don’t even have our QB yet. Instead, we opt to continue to build the offensive line and select guard Cesar Ruiz out of Michigan. We signed G Ereck Flowers as a free agent and drafted OT Jedrick Wills with our first pick, but the rest of the line remains up in the air.
27. Seattle Seahawks – Trevon Diggs / CB / Alabama
I’m sure that the real-life Seahawks will take some edge rusher most of us have never heard of before here, but I’m choosing to give them a corner to shore up that secondary.
28. Baltimore Ravens – Zack Baun / OLB / Wisconsin
Baltimore decided to franchise pass rusher Matt Judon but don’t seem to be making any effort to keep him long term. Regardless, the team still has needs at the linebacker position and in the pass rush department, and Baun can provide value at both. We have ammo in the second and third rounds to go after a #2 WR and a Marshall Yanda replacement at guard.
29. Tennessee Titans – A.J. Epenesa / DL / Iowa
The Titans strangely traded Jurell Casey to the Broncos this offseason, so even though they drafted Jeffery Simmons in the first round last year, they’re still in need of help up front. Epenesa tested very poorly at the combine so we don’t like him as a pure edge rusher (which is why he wasn’t taken higher), but I think he provides a high floor and versatility as a 3-4 end.
30. Green Bay Packers – Jalen Reagor / WR / TCU
Green Bay did a great job of shoring up needs throughout the offseason with cheap options so their hand wouldn’t be forced with this pick. They can basically go any way they want. Personally I think they desperately need explosiveness and playmaking ability opposite Davante Adams and that is what Reagor would provide. I envision him as a souped-up version of Randall Cobb in this offense.
31. [Trade] Miami Dolphins (from SF) – Jalen Hurts / QB / Oklahoma
The 49ers trade pick 31 to the Dolphins for Pick 39 and a 4th round selection. The 49ers do not have another selection until the sixth round and need to trade down and accumulate dart throws.The Dolphins have a bounty of picks, and only so many rookies can make the team. They choose to trade up into the end of the first round because if this QB selection works out, they will then have a fifth year option on his contract.
I am really intrigued by Hurts as a prospect. He obviously has his flaws, but is extremely athletic and has succeeded wherever he’s been. The NFL is quickly becoming a league where athleticism at the QB position is almost a requirement. Lincoln Riley saw something in him, and that guy knows how to evaluate quarterbacks. I would take him, let him sit, and see if he progresses. If he hits, you’ve got your guy, if he doesn’t, you’re not out much.
32. Kansas City Chiefs – Jeff Gladney / CB / TCU
What to get for the guy that has everything? The Super Bowl Champs look poised to run the league for a while, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have some holes. We’ll give them a feisty corner to improve that pass defense.