Ho Ho Ho!!! Merry Draft Day!!! It’s Christmas league wide and like the unprepared mess of a human that I often am on these occasions, I am bringing you all the last minute gift of my final mock draft! As usual with my last mock of draft season, this is purely about predicting the pick, not at all about what I would do.
Without Further ado… let’s get to these picks!
1) Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Not going to spend to much time on this one. Lawrence has been the presumed pick here since the day the Jaguars secured this pick. Last week new Head Coach Urban Meyer all but confirmed it. Jags land Andrew Luck 2.0. Easy Enough. Draft starts at two.
2)New York Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
This one feels like you could basically write it in pen as well. Former Franchise QB Sam Darnold has been traded to the Carolina Panthers, and my understanding is that Wilson has been the preferred choice here for some time. Fields is my QB2 but it doesn’t take long to see how a team can fall in love with a talent like Wilson. His confidence and playmaking give him a real chance of success in the tough New York media climate and on the field for a franchise that has been in real trouble.
3)San Francisco 49ers (via Miami): Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
I typed in Mac Jones in this space three times and couldn’t keep it here. Frankly, I won’t believe that a team that has leaked almost nothing over the last few seasons would certainly become a house of glass overnight. Nearly every major sports media outlet has leaked that Fields is completely out of the running for this pick. What would the team possibly gain by leaking this info? Many people that are far more connected than I, are claiming this is all but locked up. I’ll stick to my guns here. Fields will be the pick.
4) Atlanta Falcons: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
The Falcons are a candidate to trade back here, they are also a candidate to draft a QB here, but what if neither of those things happen? What if the team decides that after watching a 43 year old Tom Brady win the Super Bowl that they will build around their 35 year old quarterback instead of replace him at this pick? If aiding Matt Ryan is their goal then they should start by protecting him. Ryan has been sacked 121 times in the last three seasons. The Falcons record over that span? 18-29. Personally I would take Sewell here, but I believe that the Falcons will opt for the versatility of Slater.
5)Cincinnati Bengals: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
The Bengals could easily draft Chase or Kyle Pitts here and sleep easy. In the end, the team decides that none of its promising pass catchers can succeed if Franchise QB Joe Burrow can’t stay upright and off the trainer’s table. Enter Sewell, the athletically gifted, dominant Left Tackle that by our grading system here at USN is one of three “Generational” prospects in this class. You don’t pass on generational.
6) Los Angeles Chargers: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
“Gotta love it when a plan comes together”Dolphins General Manager Chris Grier after trading back yet again
Say wha!?!?!?!?!?!?!? I know, this seems crazy. While you pull out your tar and feathers, remember three things
- The Dolphins are interested in moving up or down from six
- The Chargers have indicated they would have interested in moving up
- The Chargers need offensive line help, but they also need tight end help for their sensational rookie QB
I believe that it’s entirely possible that this trade will be completed long before this pick is on the clock. In fact, this trade could be announced the moment that SF announces its QB pick. That’s because the Chargers would be willing to trade tangibly more than the Phins gave to move up to six, go ensure it can get one of Sewell, Slater or Pitts.
7)Detroit Lions: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
New Lions QB Jared Goff has to be breathing a major sigh of relief as the Lions were unable to grab one of the four top QB options and decide to build around the former #1 pick instead. Ja’Marr Chase represents a premium over the departed Kenny Golladay and should compliment the deep ball of Jared Goff very nicely.
8)New England Patriots(Via Carolina): Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Assuming that the Patriots don’t trade with San Francisco for Jimmy Garappolo, then the focus with this pick will be to get in front of Denver to select the last QB with a first-round grade in this draft. Carolina for its part already secured its young QB by trading for Sam Darnold of the Jets just this week. This move will allow them to build the team around him he never had in New York.
9)Denver Broncos: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
After barely missing out on Mac Jones, the team is forced to focus on the defense, and there is no better defensive player in this draft than Micah Parsons. Disclaimer: Parsons is currently off my board due to character concerns, but I believe he’s a top-five talent that someone will take a chance on very early in this draft. If the Character concerns check out he’s a steal at nine.
10)Dallas Cowboys: Patrick Surtain, CB, Alabama
This feels like one of the easiest picks to project, the Cowboys have a huge need at CB and their are two great options available, Surtain and South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn. Both are big, athletic corners with NFL fathers, and NFL Games. Surtain gets the nod here because of his relationship with the current CB1 in Dallas, Treyvon Diggs. Having played with Diggs at Alabama and having a play style that compliments Diggs makes Surtain the easy pick here.
11)Chicago Bears (Via NYG): Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
Streaks were made to be broken! When Giants GM was asked why he’s never trade back he said he “was never offered enough”. You know who might just be willing to pay enough? Bears GM Ryan Pace who has been on the clock since trading up to select Mitch Trubisky over Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes in 2017. Trotting out Andy Dalton to an 8-9 record this year likely costs Pace his job. The solution? Repeat 2017’s mistake by overpaying to trade up and select the least talented first round QB. It may not work, but it will buy the current Bears regime more time.
12)Philadelphia Eagles: Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama
This pick likely comes down to the two Alabama WRs, Smith and teammate Jaylen Waddle. Waddle is far more dynamic but has a skillset that overlaps with 2020 first-round pick Jalen Reagor. What the Eagles don’t have is a high-volume technician that can win at every level of the field with route running. Smith is the pick here.
13)Miami Dolphins(via LAC): Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
The Dolphins need more explosive plays on offense. Pop Quiz: Who’s the most explosive player in the draft?….That also Already has a rapport with the teams starting QB
14)Minnesota Vikings: Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami
Oooo… I see the Tar and Feathers are making another appearance… Let me explain:
2019 Vikings: 48 Total team sacks, 10-6 record, playoff appearance
2020 Vikings: 23 Total team sacks, 7-9 record
Rousseau: 15.5 sacks in his last full season and the physical profile to repeat that production no matter what your favorite mainstream draft analyst says about him.
15)Carolina Panthers: Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
The Panthers already have their franchise Quarterback, top-end Running back, solid Wide Receiver core, and a stud at Right Tackle, now they get my 2nd highest-rated Left Tackle at pick with 15. Cosmi has all the makings of a pro bowl caliber blindside protector.
16)Arizona Cardinals: Jaycee Horn, CB, Virginia Tech
The Cardinal replace an ultra-athletic corner in Patrick Peterson with the similarly athletic Horn. Easy choice and a steal to boot.
17)Las Vegas Raiders: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
The Raiders have placed Derek Carr in a prove it year, while simultaneously trading away key components of his offensive Line. Rebuilding it is likely going to be the focus of the draft.
18)Miami Dolphins: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT, USC
The Dolphins got Tua an explosive play maker at 13, now they add protection that can play inside or outside. Great Draft for Tua.
19)Washington Football Team: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame
After missing out on the five first round QB’s in this draft the team opts to keep adding to it’s elite defensive unit with Owusu-Karomoah.
20)New York Giants: Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
The Giants claim every single year to be rebuilding it’s offensive line, it’s time they finally do it. They owe it to Daniel Jones and/or the QB they select next season if he struggles.
21)Indianapolis Colts: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
Carson Wentz is joining a team that has a top end rushing attack but could really use another weapon on the outside. Luckily a potential pro bowl talent like Bateman is still available at this game.
22)Tennessee Titans: Kwity Paye, Edge, Michigan
This pick comes down to Paye or LSU WR Terrace Marshall but the Titans ultimately value the depth of this WR class and opt to select the athletic freak Paye and look to receiver at my next pick.
23)New York Jets: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
After selecting the leader of their offense in Zach WIlson, the Jets add Farley to lead their defense into the Robert Saleh era. Here’s the question. Is he healthy? Either way I’m not sure the Jets can pass up a top 10 talent at 23.
24)Pittsburg Steelers: Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
The Steelers run game helped turn an 11-0 start into a collapse for the ages. The team needs to add a true lead back and none embody what the Steelers have always looked for more than Harris.
25)Jacksonville Jaguars: Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
Barmore would make a lot of sense as a top 10 pick, but the Jaguars land a steal here at 26 to start addressing the front 7 of a team that has needs ALL over the field.
26)Cleveland Browns: Jaelan Phillips, Edge, Miami
Cleveland feels like a loaded, complete team. Especially after signing pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney. Still, the team could use more pass rush help, and the best available is easily Phillips.
27)Baltimore Ravens: Terrace Marshall, WR, LSU
If the Ravens want to help Lamar Jackson, they need to add some bigger bodies on the outside, and get him a true X Wide Receiver. There aren’t many of those in this draft, but Marshall has the makings of a good one.
28)New Orleans Saints: Asante Samuel Jr, CB, Florida State
New Orleans desperately needs more playmakers on defense to go with Marshon Lattimore. Samuel is undersized, but he’s DEFINITELY a playmaker.
29)Green Bay Packers: Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State
Last year the Packers traded up to draft a QB instead of getting Aaron Rodgers a pass catcher to pair with Davonte Adams. Fans erupted. Time to make up for that. The Packers get really lucky here to land Wallace, who not for an ACL injury would be my WR2 in this class. Wallace is going make a lot of plays with Adams getting all the attention.
30)Buffalo Bills: Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina
Buffalo needs a run game. They have a couple of solid backs including Zack Moss, but no one on the level of the top three runners in this class. I originally mocked Clemson star Travis Etienne at this pick and while he’s the better player, I don’t think he’s the better fit. Williams can run inside, outside, and catch well.
31) Baltimore Ravens(Via KC): Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State
I have to celebrate this pick a bit, this is the first time in my draft career that a trade happened I didn’t have to change the player I had mocked here. The Ravens need a Right Tackle, Radunz was the pick to KC, who also had a need here prior to the trade. I love the Draft.
32)Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
This was the hardest pick to project, what do you get the guy (or the team) that literally has everything? I could see a desperate team that missed out on a QB in the first round, trading up for a second tier QB here.