Folks, with the college football season winding down, I figured it would be a great opportunity to do my first mock draft of the season. At this juncture of the draft process, boards are bound to change significantly. This first mock draft is just to help fans get an idea of who is out there and where the positions of strength are in the draft.
This year’s class is strong at quarterback, edge rusher, and cornerback. It is a weaker wide receiver class than previous years.
For this mock draft, I will not be doing any trades. It’s way too early in the process to project which teams may or may not be moving up in the draft. With that being said, let’s get into the picks!
1. Houston Texans: QB Bryce Young, Alabama
For where the Texans are in their rebuilding process, taking the safest quarterback prospect in the draft makes the most sense. There’s also a scenario where they take Will Anderson here and wait until their second first round pick (from Cleveland) to take a quarterback.
2. Carolina Panthers: QB CJ Stroud, Ohio State
The Panthers will likely have a new head coach next season but it’s no secret that ownership is going to mandate that they get out of quarterback purgatory.
3. Chicago Bears: Edge Will Anderson, Alabama
This would be the dream scenario for Chicago. Will Anderson is the best prospect in this draft and he has generational potential as an edge rusher.
4. Las Vegas Raiders: DL Jalen Carter, Georgia
The Raiders can get out of Derek Carr’s contract here if they want but something tells me that the organization is going to want to add to their defense.
5. Seattle Seahawks (Via Denver): Edge Myles Murphy, Clemson
The Seahawks get “this year’s Travon Walker” to add some pass rushing talent to their defense.
6. Detroit Lions (Via LA Rams): QB Will Levis, Kentucky
It’s only fitting that the Lions take their quarterback of the future with one of the picks they acquired in the Matthew Stafford deal.
7. Houston Texans (Via Cleveland): WR Quentin Johnston, TCU
Johnston is an absolute freak of nature. He’s big, fast, and elusive. He would be an insane weapon to team up with Bryce Young.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers: T Peter Skoronski
This guy just sounds like a Yinzer. He’s also the best tackle in this draft by a mile.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: DL Bryan Breese
The Jaguars add to a talented front seven with Bryan Breese, who is going to be a beast.
10. Philadelphia Eagles (via New Orleans): CB Kalee Ringo, Georgia
Darius Slay and James Bradberry aren’t getting any younger. The Eagles can reload at cornerback with this pick.
11. Green Bay Packers: WR Jordan Addison, USC
If the board falls like this and the Packers don’t take Addison or Jaxon Smith-Ngigba then Aaron Rodgers may retire.
12. Arizona Cardinals: CB Joey Porter Jr., Penn State
Yes, he’s the son of longtime NFL Linebacker Joey Porter. He’s also an insanely good cornerback who hasn’t allowed a touchdown all season.
13. Detroit Lions: Edge Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech
A big, physical edge rusher, the Lions get a true “knee-cap biter” with their second pick of the first round.
14. Indianapolis Colts: QB Tanner Mckee, Stanford
The Colts are not going to go into another season without taking a quarterback early. They can’t keep repeating the same cycle over and over again. Mckee is a work in progress but he’s got some really nice tools as a passer.
15. Atlanta Falcons: Edge Jared Verse, Florida State
For the second straight year, Florida State has a fast riser at edge rusher. We will see if Verse goes higher than Jermaine Johnson did last year.
16. Los Angeles Chargers: WR Jaxon Smith-Ngigba, Ohio State
Keenan Allen and Mike Williams aren’t getting any younger. The Chargers need to make sure they don’t waste Justin Herbert’s prime more than they already have.
17. Washington Commanders: Edge Nolan Smith, Georgia
The Washington DC NFL Franchise could be under new ownership and they add to their talented young edge rushing core. Chase Young’s health also remains a big question mark.
18. New York Jets: TE Michael Mayer, Notre Dame
The Jets are in an interesting spot because they are a team that has a ton of talent but Zach Wilson has been downright awful. So here they add a weapon for Wilson or whoever the new quarterback may be.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: QB Hendon Hooker, Tennessee
Unless Tom Brady plays another season, which at this point isn’t looking likely, the Buccaneers will be in the quarterback market.
20. Denver Broncos (via Miami via San Francisco): CB Cam Smith, South Carolina
The Broncos add to their strengths here and take a talented cornerback.
21. Seattle Seahawks: LB Cedric Gray, UNC
This is the part of the draft where the Seahawks reach for a player at an irrelevant position two rounds too early.
22. New England Patriots: WR Kayshon Boutte, LSU
The Patriots have to get better at wideout. Boutte is a talented prospect who’s had an up and down season.
23. Cincinnati Bengals: Edge BJ Ojulari, LSU
The Bengals get stronger in the trenches by adding BJ Ojulari, the brother of Azeez Ojulari.
24. Buffalo Bills: T Paris Johnson, Ohio State
The Bills add a strong tackle to their offensive line.
25. Baltimore Ravens: RB Bijan Robinson, Texas
The JK Dobbins experiment hasn’t worked out. The Ravens need a consistent running back with how often they run the football.
26. Tennessee titans: WR Josh Downs, UNC
The Titans add a speedster to a really depleted receiving group.
27. Dallas Cowboys: CB Jaylon Jones, Texas A&M
The Cowboys add to a talented defense.
28. New York Giants: QB Anthony Richardson, Florida
Look, many Giants fans are going to HATE this pick. I’m not sure I’d be particularly thrilled if the team took Anthony Richardson. He’s a pure tools projection here but his arm is strong, he can run, and he does have an insane ceiling. The issue is that some of the tape is really bad. With that being said, it’s obvious that Daniel Jones isn’t a Super Bowl winning quarterback and the Giants can’t stunt their rebuild for a guy who will keep the team in purgatory.
29. Miami Dolphins (Forfeited)
30. Minnesota Vikings: CB Brian Branch, Alabama
The Vikings add the Alabama cornerback.
31. Kansas City Chiefs: WR Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee
Hyatt would be an incredibly fun piece to see play with Patrick Mahomes.
32. Philadelphia Eagles: Edge Andre Carter, Army
The Eagles were trying to trade for an edge rusher at the deadline but instead they’ll have to wait until the draft to get their guy.
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