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Folks, we’re roughly three weeks away from draft night and the anticipation is starting to kill me. Free agency is basically all but over and we have a very good idea of what teams want and need.
One thing I will guarantee about this year’s draft is that it won’t go how I expect it will go. There are a ton of quarterback needy teams that simply won’t take quarterbacks because the class is extremely weak. Additionally, there isn’t a clear top cut of prospects which means that there will be a ton of variance in how teams grade players.
But it’s still draft season and we’re still here to have some fun and predict a mock. I love this time of year and I hope that you do too!
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Edge Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan
This has been the pick since the very first mock and I don’t see it changing. Hutchinson is a hard worker and he instantly will make Jacksonville’s defense better at a premium position. You can write this pick in with a pen because it’s not changing.
2. Detroit Lions: Edge Travon Walker, Georgia
SURPRISE! Travon Walker has been shooting up draft boards recently and there’s even some whispers that he could end up being the number one overall pick. I would be shocked if that happened but I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s the second edge rusher off the board. The Lions are in a difficult spot because they can’t really trade back here with the quarterback market being so dry so staying and picking is likely the best move.
3. Houston Texans: OT Ikem Ekwonu, North Carolina State
The Texans need everything so take the best player available in this case. He should become a great tackle but worst case scenario he’s an excellent guard in the league.
4. New York Jets: CB Sauce Gardner, Cincinnati
Gardner is considered by many to be the best cornerback in this draft and the Jets are reportedly enamored with him. Gardner is long and rangy which is what teams desire in a cornerback nowadays. He would go a long way into improving a bad Jets defense.
5. New York Giants: OT Evan Neal, Alabama
If the draft falls like this then Joe Schoen should have his card turned in for Evan Neal instantaneously. The Giants have needed to rebuild their offensive line for years and Neal will be a cornerstone piece.
6. Carolina Panthers: Edge Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
The Panthers could be tempted to take a quarterback here with Matt Rhule’s seat hotter than Texas in the summertime but ultimately they take the best player available and roll with whatever combination of Sam Darnold/PJ Walker they can trot out each week. The quarterbacks in this class simply aren’t good enough.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers (Via New York Giants via Chicago): QB Malik Willis, Liberty
Pittsburgh Receives: 2022 Round 1 Pick 7, 2023 Round 5 Pick
New York Giants Receive: 2022 Round 1 Pick 20, 2023 Round 1 Pick, 2022 Round 2 Pick 52, 2023 Round 3 Pick
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. The Steelers reportedly love Malik Willis and they have a bridge quarterback in Trubisky to sit him behind. The Giants meanwhile are rumored to be seeking an additional 2023 first rounder that they can use to make a trade for a quarterback next offseason.
8. Atlanta Falcons: CB Derek Stingley, LSU
Derek Stingley will end up being this year’s Micah Parsons. Someone will take him before the top ten ends because his upside is just too good. The Falcons also need a quarterback but there isn’t one worth taking here.
9. Seattle Seahawks (Via Denver): T Charles Cross, Mississippi State
Speaking of teams who need a quarterback, the Seahawks don’t have a quarterback either. With that being said, there isn’t one worth taking here so they give Drew Lock some protection with Charles Cross.
10. New York Jets (Via Seattle): WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
Jets fans will be jumping for joy if they’re able to get a weapon like Wilson with the tenth overall selection.
11. Washington Commanders: S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame
Kyle Hamilton’s slide ends and he goes to a team that needs a safety. Hamilton shouldn’t be picked in the top ten because of the position that he plays.
12. New Orleans Saints (Via Minnesota Vikings): QB Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh
New Orleans Receives: 2022 Round 1 Pick 12, 2023 Round 6 Pick
Minnesota Receives: 2022 Round 1 Pick 16, 2022 Round 2 Pick 49, 2022 Round 5 Pick 161
The Saints jump the Texans who also need a quarterback and get a guy who can come in and compete with Jameis Winston, Andy Dalton, & Co. at quarterback long term.
13. Houston Texans: ILB Devin Lloyd, Utah
Teams are falling in love with rangy linebackers who can play box to box and Lloyd is just that. He could become the quarterback of their defense.
14. Baltimore Ravens: CB Trent McDuffie, Washington
The Ravens strength is in their defense and their run game and McDuffie will add a lot to their secondary which is getting a bit older each and every year.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (Via Miami): WR Jameson Williams, Alabama
The Eagles sure do love their speedy receivers. The difference is that this guy can actually play football unlike Jalen Reagor.
16. Minnesota Vikings: Edge Jermaine Johnson, Florida State
Jermaine Johnson is a bit of a polarizing prospect but you can bet your bottom dollar that he will be going in the top twenty in the draft. Teams love his traits and think he has the ability to be an every down edge player in the NFL.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: WR Drake London, USC
Drake London moves across town and stays in Los Angeles with the Chargers whose receivers aren’t getting any younger. London goes to a great situation with a top five quarterback.
18. Philadelphia Eagles (Via New Orleans): Edge George Karlaftis, Purdue
Karlaftis has small arms so he may fall this far. The Eagles could add a solid player here if he does.
19. New Orleans Saints (Via Philadelphia): WR Chris Olave, Ohio State
Michael Thomas may never be himself ever again. The Saints need to get weapons on their offense so they can return to the Saints of old and score a ton of points in the Super Dome.
20. New York Giants (Via Pittsburgh Steelers): Edge Boye Mafe, Minnesota
The Giants land an edge rusher who is speedy but also has power. He is still a bit raw and has some things to work on in his game but this is solid value for Mafe considering the position he plays and the upside he has.
21. New England Patriots: WR Treylon Burks
The Patriots have made some moves at receiver but they need a long term solution. Treylon Burks gives them one as I firmly believe he will grow into a solid number one option.
22. Green Bay Packers (Via Las Vegas): OT Bernhard Raimann, Central Michigan
The Packers add a raw prospect with upside to their offensive line.
23. Arizona Cardinals: G Zion Johnson, Boston College
When need meets value it’s a beautiful thing. The Cardinals would hit a home run if they took an important offensive lineman with this pick.
24. Dallas Cowboys: DT Jordan Davis
Jerry & Co won’t be able to resist the pure blend of size and strength.
25. Buffalo Bills: WR Jahan Dotson, Penn State
If there’s one area the Bills are a bit thin at it’s wide receiver. Dotson will add a nice element to a top heavy group.
26. Tennessee Titans: OT Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa
Penning would be a solid addition to a Titans team that likes to pound the rock.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: C Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa
Linderbaum is athletic but the issue is that he likely won’t play guard at the next level. I could see Tampa taking him here but I wouldn’t be shocked if he dropped lower.
28. Green Bay Packers: WR Christian Watson, North Dakota State
Teams are falling in love with this guy. He dominated while he was at North Dakota State and has the tools to be great at the next level.
29. Kansas City Chiefs (Via Miami via San Francisco): WR Skyy Moore, Western Michigan
The Chiefs try and replace Tyreek Hill with another Tyreek Hill prototype.
30. Kansas City Chiefs: DL Devonte Wyatt, Georgia
Georgia’s front seven last year was insane and Wyatt was a large part of that.
31. Cincinatti Bengals: G Kenyon Green, Texas A&M
Just take the best offensive lineman available.
32. Detroit Lions: ILB Nakobe Dean, Georgia
There is a lot of variance on where Dean can go because he lacks prototypical linebacker size but the guy can play. I just wouldn’t be completely shocked if he fell into the second round due to his size.