To put a cherry on top of the craziest NFL offseason of all time, the NFL draft is looming in the very near future. In just a couple of nights, the trajectory for many organizations and players will be changed forever. With all this in mind, we think there is no better time to release our third and final edition of our NFL mock drafts than right now:
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Aidan Hutchinson
I’ve heard all the hype of other players like Travon Walker or Evan Neal being taken here, but I think that when it’s all said and done, the team will just take the safe route with Hutchinson. That by no means is a bad idea. Hutchinson is a high-upside, low-risk player that will immediately bring a new level of intensity to a sub-par Jaguars front seven.
2. Detroit Lions: DE Kayvon Thibodeaux
Thibodeaux used to be a consensus top-3 pick in this year’s draft, but for some reason, it seems like everybody is forgetting about him. He has perhaps the highest ceiling in the entire draft, and when push comes to shove and the team actually has to decide who to take here, I think they will opt to take one of the handful of players with Hall of Fame potential in Thibodeaux.
3. Houston Texans: OT Evan Neal
The Texans need to improve at just about every position, so they can’t really go wrong with whoever they pick here. Their plan seems to be to build around Davis Mills, so they will choose to pick one of the safest prospects in all of the the draft in Evan Neal. The anomalous lineman can play multiple spots on the line, and bringing him in would allow them to get an accurate gauge on how good Mills can be with proper protection.
4. New York Jets: S Kyle Hamilton
Hamilton has seen a fall in a lot of mock drafts because of the positional value of a safety, but his talent can’t be denied. The Notre Dame standout has always been one of the best players in the draft, and teams recognize that. The Jets will decide to go for the best player left on the board, and he will become a cornerstone piece of their secondary for years to come.
5. New York Giants: OT Ikem Ekwonu
In a situation that works out great for the Giants, Ekwonu falls right into their laps at five. They’ve been needing to upgrade their offensive line for many years, and the NC State standout has the versatility to play almost any spot on the line. A pairing of him and Andrew Thomas would create a deadly young duo of offensive tackles.
6. New York Giants (via CAR): CB Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner
NYG receives: No. 6 overall
CAR receives: No. 7 overall, 2023 3rd round pick
The Giants grab another elite prospect in the top ten, trading up to secure the top cornerback prospect in Sauce Gardner. Some may consider this pick a reach, but given the lack of depth the Giants have in the secondary amplified by the fact that James Bradberry will likely be traded, it is a reach worth taking for New York.
7. Carolina Panthers [via NYG]: OL Charles Cross
The Panthers make some very grown-up decisions in this draft, trading back for some extra picks and working to rebuild the offensive line. Cross is a versatile, proven player who will help their offensive line issues on day one. The team has been needing to get some young talent on the line for multiple years, and Cross is the perfect start to the revamping of their trenches.
8. Atlanta Falcons: CB Derek Stingley Jr.
The Falcons have many needs that they need to address, but in this scenario, the team takes one of the best prospects left on the board and works to solidify the secondary by taking Derek Stingley. While he does have some concern about his work ethic and health, his ceiling is among the best in this class and he would instantly create one of the best young cornerback tandems with A.J. Terrell.
9. Seattle Seahawks [via DEN]: QB Malik Willis
We see the first quarterback off the board go to the Seattle Seahawks, who are in desperate need of a franchise-quarterback after trading Russell Wilson to Denver. Drew Lock simply won’t be able to cut it for this team, and while Willis is a bit of a raw prospect, 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 before playing him would be ideal.
10. New York Jets: ED Travon Walker
I’m just not as bought into the hype for Walker as everyone else seems to be. He has been one of the hottest risers in the class, often finding himself in the discussion for the #1 pick, but I think that it would be a mistake to take him that high. He does have an elite athletic profile and a high ceiling, but his college production wasn’t anything to write home about. Averaging only one sack every three games in college doesn’t warrant a top-five pick to me.
11. Washington Commanders: WR Garrett Wilson
The Commanders recently traded for Carson Wentz, and in this scenario, they go out to get him more help in the receiving core. While Terry McLaurin is a good player, there have been trade rumors surrounding him and he himself just isn’t enough to keep Washington’s passing attack as a consistent threat to opposing defenses. Wilson’s mix of speed and route running would add another dimension to the passing game that opponents would have to respect.
12. Minnesota Vikings: CB Trent McDuffie
McDuffie is a very safe prospect in this year’s draft, and he will be a day one contributor wherever he ends up going. That works out great for the Vikings, who have been very thin at the cornerback position for the past few seasons. He won’t be a game-changing type of player, but he will bring consistency and coverage that Minnesota’s defense has been lacking.
13. Houston Texans [via CLE]: DE Jermaine Johnson II
The Texans are building through the trenches in this scenario, having picked up Evan Neal just ten picks before Johnson here. The Florida State product has great explosiveness and pass-rushing moves, and he would instantly become one of the best players in their front seven.
14. Los Angeles Chargers [via BAL]: WR Jameson Williams
LAC receives: No. 14 overall
BAL receives: No. 17 overall, No. 79 overall
The Chargers should be doing whatever it takes to grab Williams in this draft, and in this scenario, they trade up to secure him. They already have a possession receiver in Keenan Allen, a jump-ball receiver in Mike Williams, and now, they’ll get a speedy down-field threat in Williams. Justin Herbert would be set up to have a monster season if the team can make this happen for him.
15. Philadelphia Eagles [via MIA]: WR Drake London
While it’s not ideal for Philadelphia to have had to take three wide receivers in the first-round of three straight drafts, that is what it has come to. Devonta Smith actually had a very solid rookie year for the Eagles last season, but they were missing aggressiveness at the position. London would fix that instantly, bringing his high-catch point and hulking build with him and helping transform the Eagles’ receiving core.
16. New Orleans Saints [via PHI]: DE George Karlaftis
The Saints’ defense is rapidly aging, and the team will have to start bringing in some young talent to replace these veteran guys. Karlaftis would be a great start to that, bringing exceptional physicality and a high ceiling to an already-solid defensive line that would put them amongst some of the best in the league.
17. Baltimore Ravens [via LAC]: OT Trevor Penning
The Ravens build their offense around the running game, and a gritty blocker like Trevor Penning would help with that tremendously. He is one of the most physical blockers in the draft, and while he is a bit of a project, it shouldn’t be long before he is clearing open running lanes for Lamar Jackson and J.K. Dobbins.
18. Philadelphia Eagles [via NO]: LB Devin Lloyd
Philadelphia is usually a team that prides themselves on their defense, but the past couple of seasons, it has perhaps been a little underwhelming. The team will opt to take who I think is the best linebacker in the draft in Devin Lloyd, who’s versatility would add tremendously to the defense. He would be the sideline-to-sideline, explosive linebacker that they’ve been missing over the past few seasons.
19. Green Bay Packers [via NO]: WR Chris Olave
GB receives: No. 19 overall, No. 120 overall
NO receives: No. 22 overall, No. 59 overall
The Packers have been in desperate need of a wide receiver since trading away Davante Adams and they get some of the help they need in this scenario. They have to trade up to get him, but Olave is one of the most complete receiver prospects in the draft and has real potential to be the cream of the crop in a few season’s time.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: QB Sam Howell
While it’s tough to not ink in Pickett to the Steelers here, I just think Howell is the better fit for what the team is looking for. The UNC product brings everything to the table that the team was missing with Big Ben the past couple of seasons, including a cannon for an arm and solid mobility. He is arguably the most pro-ready quarterback in the class, and while the team did bring in Mitch Trubisky to compete for the job, Howell would ultimately be the better franchise quarterback for them, even if he has to wait out Trubisky’s contract.
21. New England Patriots: LB Nakobe Dean
The Patriots defense was really good overall last year, but one glaring hole was exposed towards the end of the season: the linebacker position. They lacked any kind of speed or athleticism there, and the group they had couldn’t go sideline-to-sideline or cover a tight end. Enter Nakobe Dean. His versatility as a pass rusher and stellar coverage paired with the usual linebacker abilities would help elevate New England’s defense to a whole new level. While his size is a little bit of a concern for him, he makes up for it with his explosiveness and versatility.
22. New Orleans Saints [via GB]: QB Kenny Pickett
The Saints aren’t a team that likes to settle for mediocrity, so they will likely want to move off Jameis Winston as soon as the opportunity presents itself. It works out great for them in this scenario. They trade back for a couple of picks and land their quarterback of the future, who can learn behind a proven veteran for a season or two.
23. Arizona Cardinals: C Tyler Linderbaum
Linderbaum is one of the most pro-ready prospects in the entire draft, and that works out great for the Cardinals, who need contributors on the offensive line. They still have Rodney Hudson under contract for another season, but they are looking to move off of him. Linderbaum can play anywhere on the interior and is one of the safest picks in the entire draft.
24. Dallas Cowboys: OL Zion Johnson
The Cowboys’ offensive line is slowly deteriorating, with their aging stars battling injuries and having little contributions from the younger players on the roster. Zion Johnson wouldn’t be able to fix all of those issues upon his arrival, but he can certainly help to shore-up a shaky position for the team. He has the versatility to play at any spot on the line that they need him, and he would be a good replacement for Connor Williams, who left the team in free agency.
25. Buffalo Bills: RB Breece Hall
While some may want Buffalo to go in a different direction, it is undeniable that drafting arguably the top back in the class would add another dimension to this Bills team. I mean, they are one of the most unstoppable offenses in the NFL without being a consistent running attack. Bringing in Breece Hall to be the workhorse back while sprinkling in Devin Singletary in passing and third-down scenarios would create perhaps the league’s most deadly offense.
26. Tennessee Titans: WR Treylon Burks
The Titans took a chance on trading for Robert Woods this offseason, but they will need more help than that if they want to become a real passing threat. Mike Vrable would love a player like Burks on the offense, who has enough speed and versatility to run plays out of the backfield and be used on jet sweeps. Burks would help Tennessee’s offense to be more than a one-dimensional threat, and his presence would help open up more running lanes for Derrick Henry.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OL Kenyon Green
While the Bucs’ have mostly had a nice offseason so far, they have gotten substantially worse on the interior of the offensive line. With Alex Cappa leaving for Cincinnati and Ali Marpet retiring, Tampa Bay is running very thin there and will need some immediate help. Kenyon Green should be able to help fix that issue. He is a safe prospect that has the versatility to play anywhere on the line, and that’s exactly what this Bucs’ team needs.
28. Green Bay Packers: CB Kaiir Elam
The Packers are running a little thin at cornerback, with there being no reliable options beyond Jaire Alexander on the current roster. Elam would fill the cornerback two role nicely, adding reliable coverage and good length to a thin Packers’ secondary. The Florida prospect is one of the most realistic and helpful options for the team in the late first round.
29. Kansas City Chiefs [via MIA]: DL Jordan Davis
The Chiefs have more glaring needs on the roster than the interior defensive line, but they will take who they think is the best player on the board in Davis. He is elite in run support, and he will help to solidify a position that has been rather shaky for the past couple of seasons.
30. Kansas City Chiefs: WR George Pickens
Following the Tyreek Hill trade, the Chiefs have been left with a hole at the wide receiver position, but they will take Pickens here to help offset that loss. George Pickens didn’t play a lot in college, but he displayed elite talent when he was able to take the field. He is a true boom-or-bust prospect for this year’s draft.
31. Cincinnati Bengals: CB Andrew Booth Jr.
After massively improving their weakest position in free agency, the Bengals don’t find themselves with many glaring holes. Adding a cornerback like Booth would help them to patch up a shaky secondary, and the Clemson product has the potential to develop into one of the best cornerbacks in this entire class.
32. Detroit Lions [via LAR]: QB Desmond Ridder
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 Desmond Ridder would be the perfect addition to go with the other young pieces in the offense. He is considered one of the smartest and most physically-gifted quarterbacks in this class, and he would be set up for success if he could sit for a year before being thrown into the fire.