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Folks, with the regular season being over and much of the draft position being settled, it’s time for our Mock Draft 1.0. This class of prospects is incredibly interesting as it’s got a lot of really great prospects on defense, on the offensive line, and at wide receiver but it is severely lacking in the quarterback class.
The simple fact of the matter is that all of the quarterbacks that are going to be taken this year are significantly worse than the five quarterbacks who went in the first round this year and it’s not even close. It would be wise for all of the quarterback needy teams at the top of the draft (Detroit, Houston, New York Giants, Carolina, Denver, Washington) to pass on a quarterback this year.
With that being said, at least one of those teams is going to talk themselves into one of these guys. They will talk themselves into Kenny Pickett’s ability to extend a play. They will love Matt Corral or Carson Strong’s arm. They may think that Malik Willis could be the next Lamar Jackson with his athleticism.
But front offices need to know that when you rationalize drafting any of these quarterbacks that you’re going to set your franchise back five years. You shouldn’t have to talk yourself into liking a quarterback, you should just like them.
So we did this mock draft with that in mind. Obviously it’s very early and things can change but we really can’t see teams jumping at the opportunity to take any of these quarterbacks this year at least as of now.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Edge Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
Dan: Kayvon Thibodeaux had a really bad interview this week but there’s no astigmatism about it: He’s still the best player in this draft.
- Detroit Lions: Edge Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan
Matt: People are going to talk a lot about Hutchinson’s bad game against Georgia in the college football playoffs. Don’t read into it. He played great for 13 other games. He’s one of the best EDGE prospects we’ve seen in a while.
- Houston Texans: LT Evan Neal, Alabama
Dan: The Texans are in need of virtually everything. If there was a quarterback worth taking in this class, they’d take him here. But there’s not. So they get the best left tackle in the draft.
- New York Jets: CB Derek Stingley, LSU
Matt: Robert Saleh’s defense is better with an elite corner on the outside. Stingley has had his share of injury issues but when he’s been on the field the last 3 seasons, he’s been excellent.
- New York Giants: OT Ikem Ekwonu, North Carolina State
Dan: Like the aforementioned Texans, the Giants need virtually everything so they need to start by building an offensive line that has maligned this team for a decade. Ikem Ekwonu can play both guard and tackle. They need to get another piece to pair with Andrew Thomas on this line.
- Carolina Panthers: OT Charles Cross, Mississippi State
Matt: The Carolina Panthers could go QB here. Rhule seems desperate for one. I don’t think teams are going to rush to draft any of these QBs this early. Carolina will have to settle with building around a potential future franchise QB. Charles Cross had an excellent season at Mississippi State, allowing just 16 pressures. He can step in and immediately start at LT for Carolina.
- New York Giants (via Chicago): Edge David Ojabo, Michigan
Matt: David Ojabo is EXPLOSIVE on the edge. Right now, Ojabo isn’t widely considered as a top 10 prospect in the media but I fully expect Ojabo to rise up the board as the media begins to understand where teams have these guys at. Ojabo is a former track and field star and it shows in his closing speed off the edge. Ojabo looks a lot like Brian Burns, and if NFL teams had a do over, Burns would have been a top 10 pick.
- Atlanta Falcons: S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame
Dan: The Falcons get a very good player who doesn’t play a premium position with Kyle Hamilton. The Falcons defense is atrocious and Hamilton could be a versatile piece.
- Denver Broncos: QB Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh
Dan: The Broncos haven’t had a quarterback since Peyton Manning and something tells me that their front office is going to get impatient. Pickett is the best quarterback in this class but he has a lot of flaws such as his deep accuracy and his limited arm strength. He has a game manager ceiling at best.
- New York Jets (Via Seattle): EDGE George Karlaftis, Purdue
Matt: After adding a CB earlier in the draft, the Jets dip back into defensive pool of players and grab Karlaftis. Karlaftis’s best possible spot would be landing in Saleh’s 4-3 defense where he can develop rushing across from Carl Lawson.
- Washington Football Team: IOL Tyler Linderbaum
Dan: The Commanders/Admirals get an interior offensive lineman to replace Brandon Scherff who is likely departing via free agency. Linderbaum is a very good center and is extremely athletic. He will be a great addition to any team.
- Minnesota Vikings: CB Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, Cincinnati
Matt: Minnesota has a major need at cornerback. Sauce Gardner is a lengthy corner that excels in zone coverage. He also allowed 0 touchdowns 33 college football games.
- Cleveland Browns: WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
Dan: The Browns are completely devoid of pass catching weapons as a team so keeping Garrett Wilson in state and taking him here would make sense. Wilson runs good, clean routes and can be a number one receiver in an offense.
- Baltimore Ravens: OG Kenyon Green, Texas A&M
Matt: There are a lot of different things the Ravens could do with this pick at 14. After some injury woes to the offensive line and a Lamar injury ruined the Ravens season, I think Baltimore will grab one of the best linemen in Kenyon Green. Green can immediately step in and start inside to shore up the line for Lamar.
- Philadelphia Eagles (Via Miami): WR Jameson Williams, Alabama
Dan: Yes, Jameson Williams tore his ACL but the Eagles need to get more weapons at wide receiver. Devonta Smith is going to be a star, using one of their three first round picks to ensure that Quez Watkins isn’t your second leading wide receiver next year is a solid idea.
- Philadelphia Eagles (Via Indianapolis):. CB Andrew Booth, Clemson
Matt: The first of 3 picks for the Philadelphia Eagles and Howie Roseman grabs the best CB available. Booth is a rangey corner that can play in any defensive scheme.
- Los Angeles Chargers: DL DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M
Dan: Normally I wouldn’t mock an interior defensive lineman this high but the Chargers run defense is atrocious. Leal can also rush the passer a bit and move some people. Brandon Staley will be able to use him in a variety of ways.
- New Orleans Saints: WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas
Matt: Burks is a big bodied wide receiver that flashes a lot of the same skillset that Michael Thomas has offered the Saints for years. He’s has potential WR 1 upside as a big threat on the outside.
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- Philadelphia Eagles: ILB Devin Lloyd, Utah
Dan: The Eagles could use a box to box defender on their roster. Their defense is aging and a young, dynamic linebacker could inject some life into it.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: OT Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa
Matt: It’s no secret that the Steelers need a QB with Big Ben retiring (they actually needed a QB this year too) but the line is also a mess. Trevor Penning is a massive offensive line with experience at both tackle and guard. He can step in immediately and start for a bad Steelers line.
- New England Patriots: WR Chris Olave, Ohio State
Dan: The Patriots have a lot of good weapons at wide receiver but they don’t have a top dog at receiver. Olave is more of a speedster but he fits the mold of the type of receiver that Belichick is going for these days. He could come in right away and be the best receiver on that roster.
- Las Vegas Raiders: ILB Nakobe Dean, Georgia
Dan: Our guide to mocking the Raiders is “pick the best player available from the National Championship winning team” and in this mock it happened to be Dean.
- Arizona Cardinals: CB Roger McCreary, Auburn
Matt: McCreary plays feisty on the outside and is a good run defender as well. The Cardinals need a CB across from Murphy. McCreary is a GREAT man coverage corner, especially when he’s playing in press coverage.
- Dallas Cowboys: Edge Kingsley Enagbare, South Carolina
Matt: Enagbare is a hybrid edge defender but he’s still very raw. Dallas has a good enough defensive front to take a year to develop Enagbare for a season and let him fully grow to his full potential.
- Cincinnati Bengals: Edge Jermaine Johnson, FSU
Dan: Something tells me that Johnson is going to shoot up draft boards before April but this is an appropriate mock spot for him now. People are going to fall in love with his athleticism and he will certainly be a first round pick.
- Miami Dolphins (via SF): OL Darian Kinnard, Kentucky
Matt: The Miami Dolphins are going to take the best offensive lineman available. Why? Because they have to if they wanna save Tua’s career. Kinnard is a powerful lineman that likely pushes into guard at the next level.
- Buffalo Bills: CB Trent McDuffie, Washington
Matt: McDuffie is a very solid CB prospect that can play both inside and outside. The knock on McDuffie is going to be his length/size. Some teams will push McDuffie on the inside in certain packages, the Bills can be one of those teams.
- Detroit Lions (via Los Angeles Rams): WR Drake London, USC
Dan: The Lions seem to have a really great player in Amon-Ra St. Brown and London would compliment him greatly. He is a big receiver who can run fast. Remember the last time the Lions had one of those?
- Kansas City Chiefs: Edge Drake Jackson, USC
Dan: If there’s a weakness on the Chiefs then it’s their defense but even that has caught fire over the second half of the season. Jackson is going to be a good player in this league and this pick simply boils down to value.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: WR George Pickens, Georgia
Matt: George Pickens was the best receiver in college football coming into the 2021 season before tearing his ACL last March. The Buccaneers have an Antonio Brown sized hole in their offense and Pickens can immediately step in and help fill that.
- Tennessee Titans: DL Jordan Davis, Georgia
Dan: Jordan Davis would be a nice piece to pair next to Jeffrey Simmons and at this juncture of the draft it’s not the end of the world if you take a run stuffing interior defensive lineman.
- Green Bay Packers: Edge Travon Walker, Georgia
Matt: Travon Walker is 6’5, 275 pounds and plays edge just as well as anyone in this class. He’s a freak athlete that can play all along the defensive front.