We’re finally getting to that time of the season. GM’s phones are ringing, agents are doing their best Jordan Belfort impression, and news outlets are offering baseless speculation the whole way. Today, we will take part in that speculation in Mock Draft 1.0, where we definitely predict every college players landing spot perfectly:
- Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Aidan Hutchinson
If you would’ve asked me two weeks ago, I would’ve said that the Jags were going to grab one of the top offensive-line prospects, but they’ve since placed their franchise tag on LT Cam Robinson for the second-straight year. I think they will opt to shore up a shaky defensive unit with a rock-solid player like Hutchinson.
- Detroit Lions: DE Kayvon Thibodeaux
Not long ago, Thibodeaux was a top-3 prospect in nearly every mock and every big board that was made. After having an injury-riddled 2022 season, people have begun looking past the Oregon product, but in my eyes, he is still one of the best players in the class. The Lions will help replace Trey Flowers with a high-upside player like Thibodeaux.
- Houston Texans: OT Evan Neal
In this scenario, the Texans just draft the best player on the board regardless of position or need. Currently, the team has Laremy Tunsil, but there have been trade and cut rumors surrounding their LT. Drafting Neal would help out a struggling unit for the team while also giving them the flexibility to move Tunsil.
- New York Jets: S Kyle Hamilton
The Jets drafting Hamilton with the fourth pick would be the least-Jets move ever, but the new regime is looking to change the ways of the franchise. Hamilton is a complete prospect, who comes with everything you could ever want in a franchise safety. The Jets take the most guaranteed prospect in the entire draft.
- New York Giants: OT Ikem Ekwonu
For years, the Giants have found themselves needing to improve their offensive line, and in this mock, they finally do. Ekwonu is simply a dominator that will come in and change an entire unit on day one. Drafting a quarterback here will be compelling, but it’s too weak of a class to do that.
- Carolina Panthers: OL Charles Cross
The Panthers already have a solid young defense, so they will look to patch up the offensive line. It’s tough not to give them a quarterback in this mock, but the class simply isn’t good enough to justify anybody being taken top six.
- New York Giants [via CHI]: EDGE Travon Walker
After grabbing Ekwonu earlier in this mock and keeping Blake Martinez, the Giants fill another position of need with the quickly-rising prospect that is Travon Walker. While he is a bit of a project, the 6-5, 275 pound beast will provide physicality and athleticism off the edge that New York hasn’t seen in years.
- Atlanta Falcons: CB Derek Stingley Jr.
The Falcons were delighted to see the emergence of former first-round pick A.J. Terrell last season, and they double down on that by taking a hyper-athletic corner that is the definition of playmaker. Combining a true lock-down corner in Terrell with a speedy playmaker like Stingley would make for a very dangerous Falcons secondary for years to come.
- Seattle Seahawks [via DEN]: QB Malik Willis
We see the first quarterback off the board go to the Seahawks, who are in desperate need of a franchise-quarterback after trading Russell Wilson to Denver. Willis is a bit of a raw prospect, but he has just as high of a ceiling as any quarterback prospect I’ve ever seen. In Seattle’s case, sitting Willis behind somebody like Geno Smith for a year or two would be ideal.
10: New York Jets [via SEA]: CB Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner
After grabbing Hamilton earlier in this mock, the Jets choose to take lock-down corner Ahmad Gardner to create a deadly tandem in their secondary. If the Jets really could draft both of those players, it would arguably create one of the best young secondaries the league has ever seen.
11. Washington Commanders: WR Garrett Wilson
The Commanders just recently traded for Carson Wentz, and in this scenario, they immediately get him help in the receiving core. While Terry McLaurin is a good player, he just isn’t enough to keep Washington’s passing attack a threat to opposing defenses. Wilson’s mix of speed and route running would add another layer to this offense.
12. Minnesota Vikings: ED George Karlaftis
Ideally, the Vikings would grab a cornerback, but both of the best ones are already off the board, so they go with the next-best edge in Karlaftis. The Purdue product has great explosiveness and size, and he would immediately be a difference-maker on a sub-par Vikings defense.
13. Cleveland Browns: WR Chris Olave
Olave, in my eyes, is the best wide receiver in the draft, and the Browns need another safety blanket at the position. They just traded for Amari Cooper, but they are likely to trade or cut Jarvis Landry at the start of the league year. Olave could come in and fill a key gap that would take Cleveland’s offense from decent to a top-tier unit.
14. Baltimore Ravens: OT Trevor Penning
The Ravens found themselves with another position of need following the retirement of Alejandro Villanueva, and Penning would be a perfect fit in their run-first offense. A nasty, downright mean blocker, Penning would dominate in the trenches and open up gaps for Lamar Jackson and J.K. Dobbins to run through.
15. Philadelphia Eagles [via MIA]: EDGE David Ojabo
The Eagles were one of the bottom teams in the league in terms of sacks, but drafting David Ojabo would be a quick and easy way to help fix that problem. The Michigan product was one of the best players in the country this season, and he would be an instant contributor for a below-average pass rush.
16. Philadelphia Eagles [via IND]: CB Trent McDuffie
In a draft with three first-round picks, the Eagles should work to revamp an aging defense. Darius Slay proved that he still has a lot left in the tank in 2021, but they were lacking a true CB2. McDuffie would be the perfect second option in the secondary and eventually take over for an aging Slay.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: IDL Jordan Davis
Davis is one of my least favorite players in the draft, but even I can’t help but admit this pairing would be perfect. The Chargers are primed to have an elite pass rush after trading for Khalil Mack, but they have had a dismal run defense for years. Drafting Jordan Davis would be the perfect fix for that issue; he is one of the best run stuffers in the draft and won’t be expected to generate much pass-rushing pressure.
18. New Orleans Saints: WR Jameson Williams
The Saints will have to be a little patient on this one, given that Williams is recovering from a torn ACL and likely won’t be ready to go when they want him to be. However, his skillset is exactly what the Saints offense is missing. Pairing an explosive downfield threat like Jameson Williams with tried-and-true possession receiver Michael Thomas would be a handful for any defense unfortunate enough to have to try to cover both of them.
19. Philadelphia Eagles: C Tyler Linderbaum
Jason Kelce did announce that he will be returning to the team for another season, but if Linderbaum falls this far, the Eagles should take him regardless. He is one of the safest players in the draft, and would be an ideal replacement for the newly-retired Brandon Brooks in a run-first Eagles offense.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: QB Kenny Pickett
This one feels like a layup. These two have been linked and thought to be a perfect pairing since the end of the college season, and I honestly agree. Pickett, while there is some concern with his hand size, would be a perfect fit for the Steelers offense and would bring a level of explosiveness to the offense that they haven’t seen since the Killer B’s split up.
21. New England Patriots: LB Devin Lloyd
The Patriots have some major holes in the defense that were exposed during the Wild Card humiliation they suffered last season. The linebacker position might be the most obvious one. They have no speed or aggressiveness at the position, but Lloyd would change that on day one in New England. He is exactly the type of player that an aging Patriots defense needs: young and explosive.
22. Los Vegas Raiders: WR Treylon Burks
Burks was one of the highest-rising prospects in the draft up until the combine, where he had what many considered as an underwhelming performance. This could help the Raiders get a potential steal in the Arkansas product, who reminds many scouts of Titans WR A.J. Brown. The Raiders desperately need to get a playmaker at the position, and Burks would instantly add another dimension to an already-solid Raiders offense.
23. Arizona Cardinals: OL Kenyon Green
The Cardinals fell apart at the end of last season, and it can’t just be attributed to one piece or player that sold the promising season for them. While they could use help on the defensive end of the ball, they opt to solidify the sub-par interior of their offensive line with a player like Green. He is an athletic, versatile player that would work wonders in protecting Kyler Murray and opening running lanes for whoever is running the ball in Arizona.
24. Dallas Cowboys: IOL Zion Johnson
The Cowboys have a pretty well filled-out roster, but the interior of the offensive lines was one of the serious issues they had. Connor Williams didn’t cut it, and he is presumably going to leave the team in free agency. Zion Johnson is a 6’3, 315 pound animal who would come in and add much-needed physicality to an aging Dallas offensive line.
25. Buffalo Bills: WR Drake London
The Bills offense is one of the best in the league, and drafting London would take them to a whole new level. They have a solid receiving core, but they are missing a true second-option to catch passes behind Stefon Diggs. Enter Drake London, who’s physicality and high catch-point would add another type of threat to an already-outstanding Buffalo offense.
26. Tennessee Titans: ED Jermaine Johnson II
Johnson is one of the highest risers in the draft, and for good reason. The Florida State product is a very raw prospect, but he has one of the highest ceilings of any edge in this class. The Titans have a decent front seven as it is, but a player like Johnson would put it over the top to create an elite young defensive line.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB Kaiir Elam
The Buccaneers have an interesting predicament this offseason, having built a win-now roster that just lost it’s starting quarterback. It’s tough to say what they will do there, but it is safe to say that they need help in the secondary. Carlton Davis was arguably their best player in coverage, and he is likely to leave in free agency. The hyper talented Kaiir Elam would be a good fit on the Bucs defense, and would help patch up one of the few holes the team has.
28. Green Bay Packers: LB Nakobe Dean
Dean is one of my favorite players in the draft, and getting him here would be a dream-come true for the Packers. They are dealing with cap space issues that will likely cause them to lose star linebacker De’Vondre Campbell in free agency, but Nakobe Dean would be a perfect replacement. While a little undersized, he makes up for that by playing sideline-to-sideline and excelling in both pass coverage and pass rush.
29. Miami Dolphins [via SF]: RB Breece Hall
The Dolphins have built a solid roster over the past few seasons, but Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed are not cutting it as the primary running backs. Breece Hall is one of the fastest rising players on big-boards, and for good reason. The Iowa State product showcased both his speed and athleticism at the NFL combine, and he is the versatile weapon that Miami is looking for.
30. Kansas City Chiefs: EDGE Drake Jackson
Perhaps becoming one of the most underrated prospects in the draft, Jackson is exactly what the Chiefs need for their defense. After trading for Melvin Ingram in the middle of last season, the Chiefs defense was taken to another level. Drafting Drake Jackson would help them to repeat that success. With Ingram gone and no other good pass rusher outside of Chris Jones, the team would be wise to draft a young stud that can put pressure on opposing quarterbacks like Jackson.
31. Cincinnati Bengals: CB Andrew Booth Jr.
While they would ideally draft an offensive lineman here, there isn’t a player on the board that would be more valuable to them than Booth. He offers strong lockdown ability that the team was lacking in last year’s CB2, Eli Apple. Andrew Booth would come in and have an immediate impact on a needy Bengals secondary.
32: Detroit Lions [via LAR]: QB Sam Howell
Nobody would disagree if I said that Jared Goff just simply isn’t cutting it. They need something to inspire hope for a dismal offense, and drafting Sam Howell would be the perfect compliment to the other young pieces in the offense. The UNC product has a similar skill set to that of Matthew Stafford, and would be allowed to learn for a year behind Goff before being expected to carry the burden for the offense.