I suppose I should preface this by saying this is NOT what I think happens, I don’t do predictive mocks really because I know I will only get a few picks correct if I’m even that lucky. This is based on what I would do if I was every teams GM.
1 – CIN – Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Draft Board Ranking: #1 – Position Ranking: #1
Burrow is clearly the best QB in the draft in my opinion AND he doesn’t have injury concerns, an elite QB prospect who throws with unbelievable timing and anticipation is an easy pick here.
2 – WAS – Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
Draft Board Ranking: #3 – Position Ranking: #1
I actually have Simmons as the 2nd player on my board purely because he’s so versatile, but right now Chase Young is a better player. Young is an outstanding prospect who plays with greater explosiveness than Clowney did and more strength than Garrett. The most likely rookie All-Pro in the draft.
3 – DET – Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Draft Board Ranking: #4 – Position Ranking: #1
Again, I have Simmons higher, however I’m not wholly confident in how to use him properly. I go safe here and take Okudah. Okudah dominated the best WRs in the nation all year long, he hasn’t allowed more than 50 yards in coverage for 27 straight games. This is the same scheme that let Gilmore dominate WRs between weeks 1 and 16 last year, Okudah has that kind of upside and instantly upgrades the whole defense.
4 – JAX via NYG – Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
Draft Board Ranking: #2 – Position Ranking: #1
Here JAX trades 9, 116 and Ngakoue to NYG for 4.
The Jags are shopping Ngakoue and if we approximate that he’s a worth a 1st rounder then the Jags are trading 2 1sts and a 4th for 4, seems fair right? The Giants won’t find a pass rusher that good in the class and they can still grab an OT at 9. The Jags take the #2 player on my board, Simmons, a versatile player who can play LB in base and S in nickel, the Jags need defensive stars to get back to what they were.
5 – MIA – Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
Draft Board Ranking: #6 – Position Ranking: #1
Why isn’t this Tua? Because if I put Tua behind this OL he’s going to die. I’m a little lower on Tua than some (he is still the 13rd player on my board), however he’s still a solid QB for me, but his injury concerns are so big for me that I can’t justify taking him so high, I’m just too afraid of getting Sam Bradford. So I take an elite LT and the #1 OT on my board, Thomas is such a clean prospect with 0 holes that he’s a slam dunk pick. People prefer other OTs like Becton because they’re flashy, but I don’t want flashy at OT, I want stability.
6 – NYJ via LAC – CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Draft Board Ranking: #5 – Position Ranking: #1
Here NYJ trades 11 and 48 to LAC for 6.
Why you may ask? Well I’m afraid I’m not getting an elite offensive player at 11, if I’m the GM of every team then the Jets are not getting the level of player they desperately need at 11 and Lamb was being taken at 7 by Carolina. Lamb is the 5th player on my board, he is in my opinion an elite prospect and will be the best WR on that roster from day 1 by a mile. The Jets threw resources at their OL in Free Agency, here they ensure they get a dominant possession receiver who separates at an elite level and has a ridiculous ability to find yards after the catch.
7 – NYG via CAR – Jedrick Wills Jr, OT, Alabama
Draft Board Ranking: #8 – Position Ranking: #2
Here NYG trades 9, 99 and 110 to CAR for 7.
The Giants trade down and still get Wills? Hate me now Giants fans? The Giants give a 3rd and a 4th to leapfrog the Cardinals (and make sure nobody else moves up) to take 1 of the 2 “Elite” prospects I have left. Wills is a dominant run blocker with a lot of pass rushing upside due to his outrageous athleticism, he’s a day 1 starter at RT that the Giants desperately need.
8 – ARI – Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Draft Board Ranking: #10 – Position Ranking: #3
This was a pretty easy selection. I would like to move back and get back the 2nd round pick that was traded for Hopkins, but I’d rather get the best pass blocking OT in the draft. Wirfs can slot in at OG on day 1 (as Marcus Gilbert starts at RT) and be a great on pass plays & screens, and then when Gilbert leaves he can step in and start at RT. Wirfs isn’t just a dominant blocker, he’s also a fantastic athlete as the combine showed.
9 – CAR – CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
Draft Board Ranking: #9 – Position Ranking: #2
Trading down and still getting the player I was considering at 7? Yes please. Henderson’s tape blew me away, he’s much closer to Okudah than I expected and I understand why 40% of GMs had him as CB1. He’s excellent in man and off zone coverages, and he has unteachable athleticism. Matt Rhule loves freak athletes, and not only is this what I would do, this is who I think he selects.
10 – NE via CLE – Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
Draft Board Ranking: #11 – Position Ranking: #2
Here NE trades 23, 87, 125 and a 2021 1st for 10.
What if I told you Jordan Love was higher on my board than Tua? A healthy Tua would have been my QB2, but Tua has been consistently unhealthy and that puts him at QB3 for me. Love has unbelievable tape and outstanding physical gifts, stop telling me about his TD/INT ratio because Jacoby Brissett had a better TD/INT ratio than Deshaun Watson this year and we know which of those guys is better. Love throws with timing, anticipation, converts pressure to sacks at an elite level and has incredible arm talent. He can sit year 1 and learn from the greatest mind football has ever seen.
11 – LAC – Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Draft Board Ranking: #13 – Position Ranking: #3
Hey look! They got the same guy at 11 that some people would have them take at 6! Am I a genius? Probably not, but I bet the Chargers fan would be happy anyway. Like I said, Tua would be my QB2 if he was healthy, but I really am afraid of getting the next Sam Bradford. However while this puts me off taking him in the top 10, I’ll happily take him from 11 onwards. Tua is an incredibly accurate QB who gets the ball out quickly and rarely makes mistakes, if he’s healthy he projects as a 10 year starter for me.
12 – OAK – Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Draft Board Ranking: #7 – Position Ranking: #2
Jeudy is the last of my “elite” prospects. He’s a fluid route runner with movement skills I’ve never seen and he’s unbelievable after the catch. The Raiders had what I believe to be a very similar player in Amari Cooper and that didn’t work out. But there’s a saying I stand by in this business; Don’t let good players get in the way of drafting great players. I’m not letting Derek Carr get in the way of taking Jeudy.
13 – SF – Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
Draft Board Ranking: #15 – Position Ranking: #4
This is what 9ers fans are dreaming about right? I did consider Kinlaw here if I’m honest, the idea of flipping Buckner for another elite pass rusher and saving $18mil is nice. But Henry Ruggs in the Shanahan scheme is deadly. He’s not a deep threat, he had less than half as many deep catches as the other 3 Alabama WRs, but that’s fine because he dominates underneath. Jimmy can run a PA crosser with Ruggs and Deebo, and good luck to defenses with defending that.
14 – TB – Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Draft Board Ranking: #14 – Position Ranking: #3
Believe it or not I actually have Jefferson 1 spot above Ruggs on my board, Jefferson to me is a better player and him being a “slot guy” doesn’t mean too much to me as the majority of NFL production comes from the slot. Rookie offensive lineman rarely perform at a better than average level (though fans everywhere seem to believe otherwise) so the Bucs may be better off signing Jason Peters instead of potentially reaching for an OT. TB12 loves his slot receivers and Jefferson is the best slot receiver in the class, with 4.44 speed and catching 13 out of 14 contested catches in 2019, Jefferson is a perfect fit here.
15 – MIN via DEN – Javon Kinlaw, DT, S. Carolina
Draft Board Ranking: #12 – Position Ranking: #1
Here MIN trades 22 and 58 for 15.
I do have Kinlaw as DT1, I know only about ¼ of people agree with me but hear me out. Does Brown have a higher floor? Yes. Is Brown a better run stopper? Yes. Is Brown a better pass rusher? No. That’s it, Kinlaw is a better pass rusher and has Geno Atkins level of potential. He’s an incredibly explosive pass rusher who dominated SEC OLs despite admitting he doesn’t even know many pass rush moves. MIN has a glaring need at DT and Kinlaw fills that as a pass rusher while Michael Brockers can defend the run. Go watch Brown’s tape against Alabama, then watch Kinlaw’s, it’s night and day.
16 – ATL – Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
Draft Board Ranking: #16 – Position Ranking: #2
Okay I guess now I have to defend this pick. Firstly Brown is 16th on my board because he’s a DT and ultimately that’s not a super valuable position anymore. However, I’m not sure ANY player in the draft is more pro ready than Brown. Brown has an incredibly high floor as a run stopper and he can push the pocket as a pass rusher, he just doesn’t quite have the upside that Kinlaw does due to lack of explosiveness. But he’s smart, strong, a hard worker and he demands attention. If I had to bet on any player becoming a 10+ year starter in the draft, it would be Brown.
17 – DAL – Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
Draft Board Ranking: #17 – Position Ranking: #2
Well this works out well. Dallas has a glaring need at CB after Byron Jones left, but they also have multiple CBs who are set to hit FA in 2021. Fulton is an elite press corner with great ball skills who can play in man or zone. Not just that but when in coverage against Jeudy, Ruggs and Higgins he gave up just 3 catches on 11 targets. That’s called dominance.
18 – MIA – Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
Draft Board Ranking: #24 – Position Ranking: #5
Miami lucks into Becton at 18! Yes yes Herbert is on the board, but I am lower on him and I’m not quite comfortable taking him (or Fromm who I have higher) yet. The idea of getting Thomas and Becton in the same draft has to be tantalising for Miami fans surely. You solidify your OL for a decade and when you do decide to put a QB in there he’s going to have a lot of time to pass. I have Josh Jones 1 spot higher on my board, but I take Becton for the ceiling.
19 – OAK – Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
Draft Board Ranking: #18 – Position Ranking: #4
The last of my 1st round graded CBs. Oakland has 2 glaring needs at CB and WR and they’re able to fill both comfortably here. Gladney is probably the best athlete at the CB position in the entire draft, he’s incredibly fast and agile whilst showing off a ridiculous ability to get high to break up passes on tape. He’s ideal in either man or off-zone coverage but can press if needed, he’s a great fit with what Mayock and Gruden are building.
20 – JAX – A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
Draft Board Ranking: #21 – Position Ranking: #2
I believe this is a perfect fit. Epenesa is basically a mini Calais Campbell, a hybrid EDGE/DT who plays at EDGE on base plays and at DT in nickel sets. He’s a powerful pass rusher who defends the run too, he’s not flashy like Chaisson but he can be a very effective Trey Flowers type player for this team and a solid foundational piece to pair with Simmons.
21 – PHI – Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
Draft Board Ranking: #19 – Position Ranking: #2
Philly fans know they need linebackers, not just receivers and corners. Outside of Simmons, Queen is easily the best coverage linebacker in this draft. He’s not going to defend the run as well as some, but that’s why PHI invests in their DL. Queen will have the freedom to roam and he has the athleticism and instincts to cover TEs and HBs.
22 – DEN – AJ Terrell, CB, Clemson
Draft Board Ranking: #29 – Position Ranking: #5
Denver’s biggest needs are WR and CB, Michael Pittman Jr is 28th on my board and Terrell is 29th, so to me it was just about fit. Terrell fits the Fangio mold, a fast fluid corner who can tackle as well as he can cover. 1 bad game against the best WR in the nation shouldn’t be crushing this man’s stock, Terrell is a great prospect who can develop in Denver.
23 – CLE – Josh Jones, OT, Houston
Draft Board Ranking: #23 – Position Ranking: #4
So CLE moves back, collects a 2021 1st, and gets a starter at LT? Awesome! I think Jones is actually more pro-ready than Becton or Wirfs, he just has a lower upside. But he can slot in here right away as the Browns push for the playoffs.
24 – NO – Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
Draft Board Ranking: #27 – Position Ranking: #3
In my opinion Murray is the better player overall out of him and Queen. I think his run defense, athleticism and coverage is more well rounded in total than Queen, but I have Queen higher on my board for his coverage ability. I do believe Murray has Jaylon Smith levels of upside though and can develop into a dominant linebacker here in NO learning from a similar player in Demario Davis.
25 – MIN – Darrell Taylor, EDGE, Tennessee
Draft Board Ranking: #22 – Position Ranking: #3
Would you believe me if I told you Taylor was a better pass rusher than Chaisson against the exact same competition? Maybe not. But go and watch his tape and tell me I’m wrong. He’s powerful, long, bendy and already has counter moves to his game. He was the only EDGE in the nation to have multiple pressures in every game this year and his tape against Georgia in both 2018 and 2019 is dominant. MIN has a big time hole at EDGE and Ifeadi Odenigbo is not the partner that Danielle Hunter deserves.
26 – MIA – Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Draft Board Ranking: #40 – Position Ranking: #5
I do have a higher grade on Fromm than Herbert but Herbert is a much better fit here in Miami and he does have more upside even if his floor is lower. Miami secures their LT, RT and QBs for the next decade, Herbert can sit here as the OL develops around him. When given time Herbert can make any throw you want, he only struggles under pressure.
27 – SEA – Isaiah Wilson, IOL, Georgia
Draft Board Ranking: #30 – Position Ranking: #1
This is a perfect fit. Wilson may have played at OT in college but I think he’s a much better fit at OG. Seattle has needs at RT and on their IOL, you can start Wilson at RT and when you bring in a replacement he can move inside to OG. Wilson is a good strong pass protector and a dominant run blocker, he just doesn’t have the mobility to play at OT.
28 – BAL – K’lavon Chaisson, EDGE, Georgia
Draft Board Ranking: #25 – Position Ranking: #4
Well isn’t this a stroke of luck? The Ravens sit tight and the bendiest EDGE in the class falls right to them. I can’t think of a better place for Chaisson to than Baltimore, he has a very high ceiling and Baltimore does an amazing job at developing pass rushers. Baltimore fills a need and gets a potential star.
29 – CIN via TEN – Cesar Ruiz, IOL, Michigan
Draft Board Ranking: #32 – Position Ranking: #3
Here the Bengals trade 33 and 107 for 29.
As the Titans there was nobody I desperately wanted, but as the Bengals I wanted a good starting Center and I know the Chiefs would be interested at 32. Ruiz is my #1 Center, he’s fluid and athletic, and he’s just as good as a pass blocker as a run blocker. Protecting Joe Burrow is my #1 priority.
30 – GB – Noah Igbinoghone, CB, Auburn
Draft Board Ranking: #35 – Position Ranking: #6
GB has huge holes at CB2 and WR2, so this was ultimately just a choice of which position I wanted. I think I’m much more likely to get a starting WR in round 2 than a starter at CB. Igbinoghone has only been playing the position for 2 years and sometimes that shows, but he’s; physical, fast and a damn good press coverage player. He should fit in well in GB.
31 – IND via SF – Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
Draft Board Ranking: #34 – Position Ranking: #4
Here Indy moves 44 and 75 to SF for 31.
The 9ers don’t pick next until 156 so they basically have to move down, the Colts move up into Round 1 to get a QB with a 5th year option and they get to hold onto 34. Fromm is a very solid QB prospect, he may not have the excitement of a Herbert but he’s smart, accurate, gets the ball out fast and doesn’t turn it over. He can sit and learn behind Rivers and start in a year with a great coaching staff and an elite OL.
32 – KC – Jordan Elliott, DT, Missouri
Draft Board Ranking: #26 – Position Ranking: #3
Okay so you may think this isn’t an immediate need, and it’s not. But I fully expect Chris Jones to not be on the team by the time Week 1 rolls around. If that’s the case then KC is going to need a dominant interior pass rusher and Elliot can be that. Over the last 2 years he has the highest pressure rate in the SEC, that’s above Kinlaw or Brown. Elliott is explosive and refined and has the upside to become the dominant DT this team needs.