Between Mock 2.0 and now, the NFL Combine happened, as did a procession of blockbuster trades, one after the other. The entire landscape has changed. So let’s run it back. Below are three rounds of picks in tables. Below that, analysis of all 32 teams’ hauls. Let’s roll.
|1||Jacksonville Jaguars||Aidan Hutchinson||EDGE||Michigan||6063||265|
|2||Detroit Lions||Malik Willis||QB||Liberty||6000||215|
|3||Houston Texans||Evan Neal||OT||Alabama||6065||350|
|4||New York Jets||Travon Walker||EDGE||Georgia||6050||275|
|5||New York Giants||Ikem Ekwonu||OT||NC State||6040||320|
|6||Carolina Panthers||Kenny Pickett||QB||Pittsburgh||6033||220|
|7||New York Giants (from Chicago)||Kyle Hamilton||S||Notre Dame||6040||220|
|8||Atlanta Falcons||Kayvon Thibodeaux||EDGE||Oregon||6040||258|
|9||Seattle Seahawks (from Denver)||Ahmad Gardner||CB||Cincinnati||6030||200|
|10||New York Jets (from Seattle)||Garrett Wilson||WR||Ohio State||5116||192|
|11||Washington Commanders||Drake London||WR||USC||6050||210|
|12||Minnesota Vikings||Trent McDuffie||CB||Washington||5112||193|
|13||Houston Texans (from Cleveland)||Jermaine Johnson II||EDGE||Florida State||6045||262|
|14||Baltimore Ravens||Tyler Linderbaum||iOL||Iowa||6030||289|
|15||Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami)||Chris Olave||WR||Ohio State||6004||189|
|16||Philadelphia (from Indianapolis)||Jordan Davis||iDL||Georgia||6062||340|
|17||Los Angeles Chargers||Charles Cross||OT||Mississippi St.||6051||310|
|18||New Orleans Saints||Matt Corral||QB||Mississippi||6015||205|
|19||Philadelphia||Derek Stingley Jr.||CB||LSU||6010||195|
|20||Pittsburgh Steelers||Trevor Penning||OT||Northern Iowa||6073||329|
|21||New England Patriots||Devin Lloyd||LB||Utah||6030||235|
|22||Green Bay Packers (from Las Vegas)||Jameson Williams||WR||Alabama||6016||189|
|23||Arizona Cardinals||David Ojabo||EDGE||Michigan||6050||250|
|24||Dallas Cowboys||Kyler Gordon||CB||Washington||6000||190|
|25||Buffalo Bills||Devonte Wyatt||iDL||Georgia||6026||315|
|26||Tennessee Titans||George Karlaftis||EDGE||Purdue||6042||275|
|27||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Kenyon Green||iOL||Texas A&M||6040||325|
|28||Green Bay Packers||Zion Johnson||iOL||Boston College||6025||316|
|29||Kansas City (from Miami via SF)||Treylon Burks||WR||Arkansas||6030||225|
|30||Kansas City Chiefs||Boye Mafe||EDGE||Minnesota||6040||263|
|31||Cincinnati Bengals||Kaiir Elam||CB||Florida||6020||196|
|32||Detroit (from LA Rams)||Nakobe Dean||LB||Georgia||6000||225|
|34||Detroit||Jaquan Brisker||S||Penn State||6013||204|
|35||New York Jets||Bernhard Raimann||OT||Central Michigan||6060||305|
|36||New York Giants||Arnold Ebiketie||EDGE||Penn State||6031||256|
|38||New York Jets (from Carolina)||Andrew Booth Jr.||CB||Clemson||6003||200|
|39||Chicago||Jahan Dotson||WR||Penn State||5106||184|
|40||Seattle (from Denver)||Desmond Ridder||QB||Cincinnati||6026||215|
|42||Indianapolis (from Washington)||Daniel Faalele||OT||Minnesota||6082||370|
|43||Atlanta||Sam Howell||QB||North Carolina||6012||225|
|45||Baltimore||Breece Hall||RB||Iowa State||6010||220|
|47||Washington (from Indianapolis)||Jalen Pitre||S||Baylor||6002||197|
|48||Chicago (from LA Chargers)||Tyler Smith||OT||Tulsa||6046||332|
|49||New Orleans||DeMarvin Leal||iDL||Texas A&M||6040||290|
|50||Kansas City (via Miami)||Darian Kinnard||iOL||Kentucky||6053||342|
|53||Green Bay (from Las Vegas)||Christian Harris||LB||Alabama||6020||232|
|54||New England||Daxton Hill||S||Michigan||6002||192|
|55||Arizona||Kenneth Walker III||RB||Michigan State||5091||210|
|57||Buffalo||Calvin Austin III||WR||Memphis||5085||162|
|58||Atlanta (from Tennessee)||Damone Clark||LB||LSU||6024||245|
|59||Green Bay||Trey McBride||TE||Colorado St.||6036||260|
|60||Tampa Bay||Isaiah Spiller||RB||Texas A&M||6010||215|
|61||San Francisco||Tariq Woolen||CB||UTSA||6035||205|
|62||Kansas City||Perrion Winfrey||iDL||Oklahoma||6032||292|
|64||Denver (from LA Rams)||Chad Muma||LB||Wyoming||6022||242|
|65||Jacksonville||Skyy Moore||WR||W. Michigan||5091||195|
|67||New York Giants||David Bell||WR||Purdue||6020||205|
|68||Houston||Martin Emerson||CB||Mississippi St.||6020||200|
|69||New York Jets||Phidarian Mathis||iDL||Alabama||6040||312|
|70||Jacksonville (from Carolina)||Abraham Lucas||OT||Washington St.||6072||319|
|71||Chicago||Kingsley Enagbare||EDGE||S. Carolina||6025||265|
|72||Seattle||Nicholas Petit-Frere||OT||Ohio State||6053||315|
|73||Indianapolis (from Washington)||Carson Strong||QB||Nevada||6034||215|
|76||Baltimore||Zyon McCollum||CB||Sam Houston St.||6004||190|
|78||Cleveland||John Metchie III||WR||Alabama||5116||195|
|79||Los Angeles Chargers||Cade Otton||TE||Washington||6046||250|
|80||Houston (from New Orleans)||Verone McKinley III||S||Oregon||5110||196|
|81||New York Giants (from Miami)||Joshua Williams||CB||Fayetteville St.||6025||197|
|82||Indianapolis||Jalen Tolbert||WR||S. Alabama||6030||195|
|85||New England||Sean Rhyan||OT||UCLA||6050||320|
|86||Las Vegas||Luke Goedeke||OT||Central Michigan||6050||310|
|91||Tampa Bay||Alec Pierce||WR||Cincinnati||6031||213|
|92||Green Bay||Myjai Sanders||EDGE||Cincinnati||6050||255|
|93||San Francisco||Cameron Thomas||EDGE||San Diego St.||6050||282|
|94||Kansas City||Bryan Cook||S||Cincinnati||6007||210|
|95||Cincinnati||Brandon Smith||LB||Penn State||6030||241|
|96||Denver (from Los Angeles Rams)||Drake Jackson||EDGE||USC||6040||250|
|97||Detroit (comp pick)||Justyn Ross||WR||Clemson||6032||205|
|98||New Orleans (comp pick)||Tyquan Thornton||WR||Baylor||6021||180|
|99||Cleveland (comp pick)||Channing Tindall||LB||Georgia||6020||230|
|100||Baltimore (comp pick)||Josh Paschal||EDGE||Kentucky||6024||278|
|101||New Orleans (comp pick)||Max Mitchell||OT||UL-Lafayette||6055||299|
|102||Miami (from SF; comp pick)||Brian Asamoah||LB||Oklahoma||6000||230|
|103||Kansas City (comp pick)||Troy Andersen||LB||Montana State||6037||235|
|104||Los Angeles Rams (comp pick)||Amare Barno||EDGE||Virgina Tech||6052||245|
|105||San Francisco (comp pick)||Justin Shaffer||iOL||Georgia||6035||330|
*Projected compensation picks
(1.1) EDGE Aidan Hutchinson (Michigan)
(2.33) S Lewis Cine (Georgia)
(3.65) WR Skyy Moore (Western Michigan)
(3.70) OT Abraham Lucas (Washington State)
In Mock 2.0, before the NFL Combine, I had Alabama OT Evan Neal in the 1.1 slot. At least four big things have changed since then. 1.) Jacksonville franchised LT Cam Robinson 2.) and signed OG Brandon Scherff, 3.) while EDGE Aidan Hutchinson posted a complete size-adjusted 98th-percentile RAS athletic composite and 4.) OT Evan Neal sat out NFL Combine athletic testing. Hutchinson’s athletic profile erases all doubts. At this point, he has made it extremely difficult to pass on him at the top of the board. What question can you possibly have? Historical season, historical athletic profile, immortal motor. The culture-changer Jacksonville needs exiting the Urban Meyer circus.
(1.2) QB Malik Willis (Liberty)
(1.32) LB Nakobe Dean (Georgia)
(2.34) S Jaquan Brisker (Penn State)
(3.66) CB Roger McCreary (Auburn)
(3.97)* WR Justyn Ross (Clemson)
The Lions wanted to coach Malik Willis at the Senior Bowl. They got their wish, and had a hard time not gushing over their star pupil as he dominated in Mobile. Lions QB coach Mark Brunell, who got an up-close look all week, seemed to insinuate he believed Willis could reach the Pro Bowl within three years. I happen to agree. If you have that conviction at the quarterback position, you have to pull the trigger here. Willis’ ceiling demands it. If he hits it, he’s the right-handed Michael Vick, with a similar build, easy 70-plus yard throwing power with plus-plus velocity, high 4.3s speed (confirmed at Auburn), and Jalen Hurts-esque running power. Detroit is a good fit for Willis. They have a veteran starter next year, so they can redshirt him for a season. With the Lions’ next-three picks, we fix a catastrophically bad defensive back-six. Then with the last pick of Day 2, let’s roll the dice on Justyn Ross. There’s a very real chance that Ross flames out – he hasn’t been what he showed pre-injury as a freshman. Then again, Clemson’s quarterback play last year was brutal, and Mike Williams provides an example from Ross’ same school of a comparable receiver who came back from a similar injury to thrive in the NFL. The Lions have a promising young slot in Amon-Ra St. Brown and can afford to be patient with Ross in hopes he develops into a legitimate starting outside weapon for Willis as he once was for Trevor Lawrence.
(1.3) OT Evan Neal (Alabama)
(1.13) EDGE Jermaine Johnson II (Florida State)
(2.37) WR Christian Watson (NDSU)
(3.68) CB Martin Emerson (Mississippi State)
(3.80) S Verone McKinley III (Oregon)
So much has cleared up on Houston’s end since we did Mock 2.0 – namely, Deshaun Watson’s trade to Cleveland. In the trade, the Texans shipped Watson and a 2024 R6 to the Browns for R1 picks in 2022 (1.13), 2023, and 2024, a 2023 R3, and 2022 and 2024 R4 picks. Since Houston needs long-term help everywhere, the good news is that they aren’t penned in anywhere and can go the BPA route. Protecting the pocket-passing Davis Mills is the only way Houston is going to figure out if he’s ultimately the answer. In this way, I love the fit of Neal if he’s available. Pairing Neal with Laremy Tunsil would give Houston one of the best tackle duos in the league. It would also, if Neal shows enough rookie promise, give Houston the flexibility to shop Tunsil next offseason. If you’re able to move Tunsil for a king’s ransom, the ridiculously-athletic Neal can be shifted to left tackle. Johnson would be an awesome value buy at the 1.13 slot you acquired in the Watson deal. And speaking of Watson’s… I’m no longer sure if NDSU’s Christian Watson will be available on Day 2, but if he is, what a weapon the speedster would be for Mills! Watson’s dynamism in the end-around game and Deebo-lite utility out of the backfield would also help out Houston’s lowly running game, squeezing extra value out of him. Whereas Watson’s college teammate Trey Lance didn’t see the field much as a rookie, I would expect Watson to be a darkhorse Rookie of the Year contender if he landed in Houston due to projected Year 1 touches. Emerson locked himself into Day 2 with a complete 84th-percentile RAS athletic composite, including better-than-expected agility showings for a longer corner.
(1.4) EDGE Travon Walker (Georgia)
(1.10) WR Garrett Wilson (Ohio State)
(2.35) OT Bernhard Raimann (Central Michigan)
(2.38) CB Andrew Booth Jr. (Clemson)
(3.69) iDL Phidarian Mathis (Alabama)
Walker flew into the draft process a little under the radar because Georgia’s defensive front has been so stacked the past few years that he had to play out of position sometimes and couldn’t be on the field as much as he would have been on most other P5 programs. But he locked himself into the top-10 with his athletic testing and very well may be headed for the top-5. Walker’s 4.51 forty was third-best in the EDGE class. Check out his closest athletic comps in the RAS system: Myles Garrett, Jevon Kearse, Ezekiel Ansah, Shawne Merriman. What?! After that, at 1.10, the Jets appear primed to break the seal on the class’ receivers – do they prefer one of the Ohio State kids, or Drake London? I’m siding with Wilson for now.
(1.5) OT Ikem Ekwonu (NC State)
(1.7) S Kyle Hamilton (Notre Dame)
(2.36) EDGE Arnold Ebiketie (Penn State)
(3.67) WR David Bell (Purdue)
(3.81) CB Joshua Williams (Fayetteville State)
New York’s abysmal interior offensive line ranked dead-last in PFF’s pass-blocking metrics last season. Many teams might draft Ekwonu as a tackle, but if he falls to the Giants, he’d likely start his career inside. It seems like however the board falls, the Giants are going to get a steal at 1.7 at a position of need. In my previous mock, that was Kayvon Thibodeaux. And in this exercise, he’s still on the board. But so is Kyle Hamilton, who is a top-3 safety prospect of the past 20 years. So the Giants opt for him instead in a close call. Because of that, EDGE is still a need on Day 2, and the Giants shoot for upside with Penn State’s octopus-long Ebiketie. In my previous mock, in that slot, I had the Giants taking Ebiketie’s college teammate Jahan Dotson to help out the receiver room. This time around, that need is deferred until Round 3, where the Giants stop the fall of fellow Big 10 receiver David Bell, who drops one full round from last time following poor athletic testing. Because of Bell’s productivity, however, I still think he lands on Day 2, and he’d be a good fit as a money-in-the-bank, chain-moving possession guy in this offense.
(1.6) QB Kenny Pickett (Pittsburgh)
The Panthers are backed into a corner right now. The big quarterback dominoes are off the board – Carson Wentz, Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson and Matt Ryan have been traded and Kirk Cousins has signed an extension. Carolina still has a need, and the Panthers are pick-poor. They do have this sixth-pick… but this is a down quarterback class. What to do? If the Panthers don’t consummate a trade for Baker Mayfield (don’t expect it: in an award-winning turn of phrase, PFN’s Aaron Wilson reported earlier this week that Carolina and Mayfield have “mutual disinterest”) or Jimmy Garoppolo prior to the draft, I think drafting Kenny Pickett at 1.6 is the most realistic option. It’s not the pick I would make. Pickett’s ceiling is capped around Andy Dalton’s career, for better or worse. Pickett was once committed to play for Matt Rhule at Temple and has been heavily linked to Carolina throughout the process, even before Rhule was attached to Pickett’s hip at Pitt’s pro day earlier this week. I have to think that three-quarters or more of evaluators, given truth serum, would take Malik Willis over Pickett – Rhule may be a notable exception, due to his history with Pickett, the way he prefers to play offensive football, and the fact that he must at least finish around .500 next season or be fired. And as I’m sure you’ve heard by now, Panthers owner David Tepper is not only Pittsburgh bred, and not only a Pitt alumnus, but a “Proud Pitt Man.”
Today’s Honorary Captain: David Tepper— Pat Narduzzi (@CoachDuzzPittFB) December 1, 2018
- 1978 Pitt Graduate
- Owner of the Carolina Panthers
- Proud Pitt Man
(1.8) EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux (Oregon)
(2.43) QB Sam Howell (North Carolina)
(2.58) LB Damone Clark (LSU)
(3.74) RB Jerome Ford (Cincinnati)
We return to the curious saga of Kayvon Thibodeaux, once the presumed No. 1 overall pick, now likely to fall outside of the top-5. Thibodeaux is being affected by the confluence of two things, both outside of his control (one of which may be complete malarky): 1. Rumors of his “lack of fire”, 2. The ascendance of Travon Walker, who has in essence stolen Thibodeaux’s spot in the pecking order. Let me say this about the Thibodeaux anonymous quotes: I’ve yet to speak to anyone in Thibodeaux’s circle, or anyone that’s covered Thibodeaux, or anyone that’s interviewed him, that has a negative thing to say about Thibodeaux’s personality. Period. I’ll alert you immediately if that happens. It hasn’t yet. Either way, because of the stacked nature of this edge class, premium edge rushers were always going to be available at a discount, for one reason or another – Thibs may be the first, and his discount may be for the most specious reason, but he won’t be the last this year. In this class, we’ll see edge rushers going in Round 3 that would in a typical year go in Round 2.
(1.9) CB Ahmad Gardner (Cincinnati)
(2.40) QB Desmond Ridder (Cincinnati)
(2.41) EDGE Logan Hall (Houston)
(3.72) OT Nicholas Petit-Frere (Ohio State)
Sauce Gardner and Desmond Ridder remain teammates out west as a new era begins under Pete Carroll, with Gardner playing the role of Richard Sherman, and Ridder perhaps getting to serve an apprentice year under Drew Lock before attempting to fill Russell Wilson’s enormous shoes. I’m not a believer in Ridder as a difference-maker but I wouldn’t argue with him in this slot. I expect him to have a Marcus Mariota-like career. Mariota is considered a bust because of where he was picked – if he’d gone 40th overall, he’d be seen as a decent pick. Seattle also has holes along the trenches and uses the post-Bearcats picks on addressing those, starting with the toolsy Hall, also making the AAC-to-NFL leap.
(1.11) WR Drake London (USC)
(2.47) S Jalen Pitre (Baylor)
Opposite sorts of prospect profiles on the opposite side of the ball, but if Washington comes out of the first two rounds with these guys, Commanders fans aren’t going to mind the dichotomy. London has the best ball skills of any receiver the past several classes. Don’t think of him as a receiver. Think of him as a Dennis Rodman downfield rebounder of the ball. No cornerback can be expected to compete with London for balls one-on-one 50-plus yards downfield. London is 6’4, but with a 6'6 wingspan. London reportedly recorded a 32-inch vertical in spring 2019 at USC that would have matched what Chris Olave posted at the NFL Combine. Given three years of strength work and isolated training for the event, it’s likely London would have tacked on a few inches, finishing somewhere between Treylon Burks’ 33-inch showing and the 36-inch finishes of Jahan Dotson and Garrett Wilson. Dotson and Wilson are both under six-feet. Not only can London get higher than you, and not only does he have the catch radius of an Indian god, but he rarely drops anything he touches – his 19-of-28 conversion rate in contested situations last year was fabulous, particularly considering the aDOT involved. Pitre, on the other hand, is an undersized do-it-all defensive pit bull. He’s one of my favorite players in the draft, the next-generation Honey Badger. Line him up anywhere. You can’t keep him away from the ball. He’ll chase down ball-carriers opposite side of the field from the slot. He gets his mitts on so many balls in coverage. Just a nuisance.
(1.12) CB Trent McDuffie (Washington)
(2.46) EDGE Nik Bonitto (Oklahoma)
(3.77) iOL Ed Ingram (LSU)
Ed Donatell’s 3-4 defense doesn’t require cornerbacks over 6-feet tall who run in the 4.3s. Donatell gives his players realistic assignments and asks simply that they complete them. McDuffie is a really good. Pac-12 teams hated throwing at McDuffie Island – they avoided it best they could. On 36 targets last year, McDuffie gave up only 16 catches for 111 yards and zero TD. McDuffie lacks length, and he’s not the surest tackler, but you won’t find a surer man coverage corner, and that’s going to appeal to Donatell when he looks over the wasteland of a CB depth chart he’s inherited. Bonitto may not be as pressing of a need following the Zadarius Smith signing, but the Vikings still badly need depth and a future plan along the edge, and in that way, the investment still makes sense. He’s for sure a scheme fit. So is Ingram on the other side of the ball, an athletic guard who’ll find and hit the outside shoulder of his man in the zone-blocking run game.
(1.14) iOL Tyler Linderbaum (Iowa)
(2.45) RB Breece Hall (Iowa State)
(3.76) CB Zyon McCollum (Sam Houston State)
(3.100)* EDGE Josh Paschal (Kentucky)
This would be a keep-chopping wood draft for the Ravens. The first two picks would make the NFL’s scariest rushing attack all the more scary. Baltimore’s interior offensive line needs addressing. Bradley Bozeman left for the Carolina Panthers via free agency. Linderbaum, seen as a prototype zone center, is coming off the most dominant center season in PFF-graded history. Now, it’s true that Baltimore’s scheme isn’t zone-blocking dominant. But Baltimore is a unique team in that it’s run-dominant, scramble-heavy, and multiple in its use of blocking schemes. Linderbaum absolutely is a fit for this. He just had the best run-blocking season ever for a PFF-graded center. Consider what his down-to-down dominance in that area adds for a Lamar Jackson offense. Breece Hall would be an outstanding fit alongside Lamar Jackson, an every-down hammer with pass-catching chops who is also a strong blocker. And with the two third-round picks, the Ravens infuse length and athleticism into their defense with a pair of projectable pieces.
(1.15) WR Chris Olave (Ohio State)
(1.16) iDL Jordan Davis (Georgia)
(1.19) CB Derek Stingley Jr. (LSU)
(2.51) LB Leo Chenal (Wisconsin)
(3.83) iOL Dylan Parham (Memphis)
With four top-51 picks, Philadelphia’s draft is a choose-your-own adventure book. I think at least two of those first-round picks will ultimately be earmarked towards defense. And if one of them isn’t towards a linebacker, I think you can expect a linebacker in the second round. In this scenario, Philly gets two guarantees in Olave and Davis, rolls the dice on Stingley, and then gets some good fortune with Chenal falling to them.
(1.17) OT Charles Cross (Mississippi State)
(3.79) TE Cade Otton (Washington)
The Chargers traded for Khalil Mack and signed J.C. Jackson to address needs at edge and cornerback. With these two picks, they’d take care of their next two-biggest holes – another starter for the offensive line, and a starting-caliber tight end. It wouldn’t be the sexiest class, but it would evaporate the Bolts’ roster holes to just about zero.
(1.18) QB Matt Corral (Mississippi)
(2.49) iDL DeMarvin Leal (Texas A&M)
(3.98)* WR Tyquan Thornton (Baylor)
(3.101)* OT Max Mitchell (UL-Lafayette)
New Orleans’ rabid pursuit of Deshaun Watson tells you everything you need to know about their opinion of Jameis Winston’s utility as a long-term starting option. We know they’re still open for business at that position. In my opinion, Corral is the last quarterback on the board with top-10 starting upside if everything clicks, and that’s something that figures to appeal to New Orleans. If the Saints opt for a quarterback early, they’ll be plugging holes with the rest of their picks. Leal is a long, bendy, projectable interior player, Thornton is a freaky-fast pop-the-top NFL WR2, and Max Mitchell is a local product who could develop into an NFL starting right tackle.
(1.20) OT Trevor Penning (Northern Iowa)
(2.52) WR George Pickens (Georgia)
(3.84) CB Alontae Taylor (Tennessee)
Trevor Penning has become the flavor of the week in the NFL Draft community, and many are now mocking him in the top-10. I just can’t get there, and I have to assume that cooler heads will ultimately prevail. He has a sexy combination of glass-chewing nastiness and tap-dancing athleticism – I get it. But he was also a penalty machine at the FCS level who is going to be a project in pass-pro from a technical standpoint. But for Pittsburgh, at this slot, he’d make a lot of sense. Pickens would be an awesome complement across from Chase Claypool with Diontae Johnson working in the slot. Pickens is one of the WR class’s most fearsome blockers, and he’s a stud downfield who must be accounted for on go-routes.
(1.21) LB Devin Lloyd (Utah)
(2.54) S Daxton Hill (Michigan)
(3.85) OT Sean Rhyan (UCLA)
Lloyd would continue the Patriots’ long line of fabulous linebackers. Hill is a chess piece of a defensive back that brings flamethrower speed deployed deep or out of the slot. Rhyan will appeal to the Patriots way of thinking as an athletic tackle with electric hands who needs either a move inside or a few technical tweaks to level-up his game.
(1.22) WR Jameson Williams (Alabama)
(1.28) iOL Zion Johnson (Boston College)
(2.53) LB Christian Harris (Alabama)
(2.59) TE Trey McBride (Colorado State)
(3.92) EDGE Myjai Sanders (Cincinnati)
The Packers haven’t drafted a wide receiver in the first round in 20 years – there’s no time like the present following the Davante Adams trade. Jameson Williams feels like the perfect fit. He’s both a YAC monster and a guy capable of winning consistently downfield, a talent who will play up working with Aaron Rodgers. And the Packers can afford to be patient with him on the front end if needed. The Packers do Rodgers another solid by grabbing McBride, the class’s most-skilled receiving tight end. Along with bringing in a personal bodyguard in Zion Johnson, one of the hardest-working prospects in this class, perhaps we can assuage Rodgers’ feelings about the trade of his good friend and favorite toy.
(1.23) EDGE David Ojabo (Michigan)
(2.55) RB Kenneth Walker III (Michigan State)
(3.87) S Nick Cross (Maryland)
Just how far is David Ojabo going to fall? I had him as a top-10 pick prior to the NFL Combine – and then he went out and ran a 4.55 40-yard dash with a 35-inch vertical. Ojabo’s torn Achilles is expected to cost him six months, which means he won’t be able to return to training until mid-September. You can forget about him being on the field Week 1, and there’s a chance he doesn’t play in 2022. A team like Arizona may be interested on a discount – assuming Ojabo’s medicals come back favorably. Ojabo would be an investment in the future. Kenneth Walker would be a move to help this year’s team. Following Isaiah Spiller’s poor testing, I would put Walker’s odds of being one of the top-two RBs off the board at 75% or higher.
(1.24) CB Kyler Gordon (Washington)
(2.56) WR Wan’Dale Robinson (Kentucky)
(3.88) iOL Jamaree Salyer (Georgia)
This wouldn’t be the sexiest draft – but I like all three of these guys. Gordon doesn’t get the shine of other prospects at his position because he played on the west coast, on an underachieving team, across from another Round 1 prospect… but he’s legit. The Huskies stunk the past few years, but you couldn’t throw on them. Meanwhile, I’m a big Wan’Dale Robinson guy. He destroyed my Iowa Hawkeyes the past two years, first at Nebraska in 2020 (9-75-0) then Kentucky last year (10-170-0). Kentucky doesn’t beat Iowa in the bowl game without him in January. Rock-solid target-hound who keeps the chains moving.
(1.25) iDL Devonte Wyatt (Georgia)
(2.57) WR Calvin Austin III (Memphis)
(3.89) CB Akayleb Evans (Missouri)
Devonte Wyatt seems destined to be under-drafted because he’ll get hopped by teammate Jordan Davis and teams will devour EDGE rushers early and often. This could present an awesome opportunity for a team like the Bills to plug a hole in the starting lineup with a guy that is arguably a top-15 talent in other years. Calvin Austin I think has locked himself into the second round based on testing – his athletic profile is basically identical to Tyreek Hill’s. He’s a better prospect than Tutu Atwell, who went in Round 2 to the Los Angeles Rams last year. Speed kills, and Austin has it in spades. I also think Evans may have punched a Day 2 ticket after running a 4.46 at 6’2 with a 93rd-percentile broad jump.
(1.26) EDGE George Karlaftis (Purdue)
(3.90) LB Quay Walker (Georgia)
Some teams enter Draft Weekend looking to drastically change their fortunes. Others enter Draft Weekend looking to keep the status quo – fix the shingles, touch up the paint, and keep the train rolling. The Titans are decidedly in the latter camp. Karlaftis is a big, stout end who sets a hard edge in run defense and provides a relentless brand of pass-rushing. Walker is another athletic freak from Georgia’s pipeline that posted a 9.6 RAS sized-adjusted athletic composite on a full complement of tests.
(1.27) iOL Kenyon Green (Texas A&M)
(2.60) RB Isaiah Spiller (Texas A&M)
(3.91) WR Alec Pierce (Cincinnati)
Lots can change in a month, amirite? Last time I published a mock, as I was leaving for the NFL Combine, Tampa Bay’s projected starting quarterback was Kyle Trask and the organization had no clear direction for 2022 – they were an impossible mock proposition. Now? Tom Brady is back and the picture has cleared up, another championship run is on deck, which means all Day 1 and 2 picks will be devoted to immediate help. So Tampa Bay does the Jimbo shuffle with its first-two picks. Green is just such a rock-solid pick, he’ll start immediately and you won’t have to think about the position again for the duration of his rookie deal. Spiller’s stock has fallen a bit due to his athletic testing, but he’s still a multi-faceted back with immediate-starter chops. And then Pierce figures to appeal to Tampa as a juiced-up deep-ball maven.
(1.29) WR Treylon Burks (Arkansas)
(1.30) EDGE Boye Mafe (Minnesota)
(2.50) iOL Darian Kinnard (Kentucky)
(2.62) iDL Perrion Winfrey (Oklahoma)
(3.94) S Bryan Cook (Cincinnati)
(3.103)* LB Troy Andersen (Montana State)
Kansas City’s bombshell trade of Tyreek Hill brought a 2022 R1 (No. 29), a 2022 R2 (No. 50) a 2022 R4, plus R4 and R6 picks in the 2023 draft. Despite signing deep-threat WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling on Thursday, you can expect the Chiefs to use a premium pick next month on a receiver. I’m giving them Burks, who has fallen after subpar athletic testing. With the next pick, Mafe, who has skyrocketed during the process after an enormous docket of testing. The next two picks, Kansas City goes to work on infrastructure. With the comp pick, Andersen fits the Willie Gay/La’Jarius Sneed decision-making paradigm of betting on athletic traits.
(1.31) CB Kaiir Elam (Florida)
(2.63 iOL Cole Strange (Chattanooga)
(3.95) LB Brandon Smith (Penn State)
Speaking of traits, this group of Cincy’s has them in spades. Elam is just so long, and he’s learned to use that length as a weapon – he uses his arms like prods off the line, and to poke the ball away on approach. I’m not sure why he doesn’t get more love. Strange is extremely projectable because of his movement skills. And Smith… I don’t know what to do with him, but he’s a freight train that moves like a Ferrari, and defensive coaches around the league believe they have the secret key to unlocking the monster player within him. He’s not a Day 2 player today, but players with his athletic talent don’t fall out of it.
(2.39) WR Jahan Dotson (Penn State)
(2.48) OT Tyler Smith (Tulsa)
(3.71) EDGE Kingsley Enagbare (South Carolina)
Justin Fields needs another weapon across from Darnell Mooney – Dotson would give him a legitimate one. Dotson is arguably underrated. He’s certainly a better prospect than K.J. Hamler, and Hamler seemed to have more excitement around him at this point during his process. Expect the chatter to pick up. It already has for Tyler Smith. And just having been around him in Indianapolis, I can tell you – man is he well-built. I was chatting with Chris Simms during a break in the prospect podium time, and I asked him, “Who of all of these guys has surprised you in a good way when interviewing them?” He said: “Tyler Smith – that guy’s an NFL player, man.” There’s just something about Smith. Even for a young prospect, he was a nuclear reactor of power on the field. And he’s got a presence about him in person. Would be a strong pick for a Chicago team that needs to maximize every single pick it makes.
(2.64) LB Chad Muma (Wyoming)
(3.75) CB Coby Bryant (Cincinnati)
(3.96) EDGE Drake Jackson (USC)
Denver’s sitting pretty after trading for Russell Wilson. The signings of EDGE Randy Gregory and DT D.J. Jones plugged two additional holes, clarifying things further. The back-half of the defense will get attention with the draft picks remaining, I believe, and I think the Broncos will also take advantage of the class’ depth at edge rusher by tabbing Gregory’s potential successor (and a rotational piece in the meantime).
(2.44) iDL Travis Jones (UConn)
(3.78) WR John Metchie III (Alabama)
(3.99)* LB Channing Tindall (Georgia)
The Browns still have a need along the defensive interior, and they still need to find another starting receiver for Deshaun Watson. Because even though Cleveland acquired Amari Cooper, the losses of Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry thinned out the depth chart considerably at the position. Travis Jones is arguably a back-half of the first-round talent and would be a coup at 2.44. Metchie I think is going to fall a bit further than some think because he doesn’t have any standout traits – but he’s a solid station-to-station slot who will appeal to the Browns as a replacement for Landry. Tindall would be a good value buy at this price.
(2.42) OT Daniel Faalele (Minnesota)
(3.73) QB Carson Strong (Nevada)
(3.82) WR Jalen Tolbert (South Alabama)
The Colts didn’t bring back LT Eric Fisher and have a clear need at tackle. I’m not sure that Daniel Faalele will ever play left tackle in the NFL, but I’m also not sure that he’s being properly valued right now either – the guy is a historical genetic mutant who came to the sport late in life. He’s still developing, and he’s already an insane north-south load in the run game. He’d be the best value in this slot, and Indy could figure it out from there. Carson Strong fits what the team looks for in quarterbacks. He has a shot to develop into a starter down the road – certainly has the arm for it.
(2.61) CB Tariq Woolen (UTSA)
(3.93) EDGE Cameron Thomas (San Diego State)
(3.105)* iOL Justin Shaffer (Georgia)
The 49ers aren’t picking in Round 1 because of the Trey Lance trade. Woolen ran a ridiculous 4.26 at 6’4, but his agility drills fell in the 36th and 41st percentiles, respectively. Cam Thomas may never be a standout pass-rusher, but he’s going to set a hard-edge and bring his lunch pail on every down.
(3.86) OT Luke Goedeke (Central Michigan)
The Raiders are low on draft equity after trading for former Packers WR Davante Adams. With Adams in the building, Maxx Crosby extended, and Chandler Jones extended, receiver and edge rusher are not as big of needs as they were a month ago. Offensive line could use some help. And with this pick, the overlooked Goedeke makes a lot of sense. Bernard Raimann gets all the love when people are talking about CMU tackles, but Goedeke, a converted tight end, is an athletic, projectable prospect in his own right. Goedeke lacks length – so a move inside could be coming if he fails at right tackle – but not heart or pop.
(3.102)* LB Brian Asamoah (Oklahoma)
Miami shot its wad of picks for Tyreek Hill. The Dolphins plugged their running back hole with the signings of Raheem Mostert and Chase Edmonds, and greatly mitigated their offensive line need with the acquisition of Connor Williams. Miami began work on their defense by acquiring Emmanuel Ogbah and Elandon Roberts, but there is more work to be done. Linebacker remains a need, and a good one should fall due to the depreciation of value at the position. Asamoah is strong value at 3.102 any way you cut it.
(3.104)* EDGE Amare Barno (Virginia Tech)
We can reasonably agree that edge rusher is the Rams’ biggest need following Von Miller’s departure. And with all the sure-thing edge rushers already off the board, why wouldn’t the YOLO Rams opt for a shoot-the-moon option like Barno, a long-levered speed rusher who ran a 4.36 forty with a 37-inch vertical at 6’5/246. He’s raw as heck, but he’ll be a strong special teams player while the Rams figure the rest out.