By: Ryan Cooley
Any mock draft before free agency is usually for entertainment purposes only. However, they give people a look at potential prospects and what teams should focus on in the offseason. This mock does not contain trades (something I expect a lot of this year). I usually wait until my last mock draft to include trades.
1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow (QB) (LSU)
Burrow said at the combine he would play for any team that drafts him. He is the best QB in the draft, and the Bengals hope he can be their franchise guy for a long time.
2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young (Edge) (Ohio State)
Chase Young is the best player in the draft, and it’s not close. Some think the Redskins will trade back, but I am not sure Rivera would consider passing up on a prospect that has HOF potential.
3. Detriot Lions: Jeff Okudah (CB) (Ohio State)
If Darrius Slay is traded this offseason, Okudah would be the perfect replacement. Many believe he can be the next shutdown CB in the NFL. However, I believe there is a good chance the Lions trade back for a team looking to draft Tua.
4. New York Giants: Andrew Thomas (OT) (Georgia)
The hype surrounding Justin Herbert is growing, and I wouldn’t be surprised if someone trades up to this spot to draft him. There is a lot of controversy in the offensive tackle rankings this year, but I think Thomas is the best of the bunch, and Daniel Jones will get much-needed protection.
5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa (QB) (Alabama)
The Dolphins will probably trade up to take Tua if they think he is their guy. If not for injuries, Tua would be in the conversation as the best QB in the draft. Miami has not had a franchise QB in a very long time, and Tua could possibly fill that hole.
6. Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert (QB) (Oregon)
With Rivers leaving the Chargers, they are in desperate need of a QB. It will be interesting to see if they fill it during free agency. Even if they do, I think Herbert could still be in play here. He is not a day one starter and could benefit a great deal sitting and learning under a veteran QB.
7. Carolina Panthers: Derrick Brown (DT) (Auburn)
The Panthers were god awful against the run last season. Brown is flying up draft boards and would help out this Panther’s defense a lot. I also wouldn’t be surprised if they move up to take a QB, depending on how they feel about Newton and what happens in free agency.
8. Arizona Cardinals: Jedrick Wills Jr. (OT) (Alabama)
The Cardinals could do a lot here. They could go WR, OT, or almost anywhere on defense. However, with Murray being small, I think they need to prioritize keeping their guy safe. Wills Jr is a very good OT, and many have him as the #1 OT in the draft. Their O-line has been a problem for a while now, and this is a good step in the right direction.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Isaiah Simmons (LB) (Clemson)
Simmons lined up anywhere and everywhere for Clemson last season and was their best defender. However, we have seen some players like him who can’t find the right position in the NFL. If they do find his right position, he could end up being one of the best players in the draft.
10. Cleveland Browns: Tristan Wirfs (OT) (Iowa)
The Browns need to revamp their O-line. They attempted to trade for Redskins’ OT Trent Willimas during the season, but Washington didn’t budge. Wirfs is my third-ranked OT and could help give Baker some much-needed protection.
11. New York Jets: Ceedee Lamb (WR) (Oklahoma)
Pro Football Focus has compared Lamb to Deandre Hopkins. At 6’2, Lamb is my #1 WR in the draft. There is not much he does not do at a high level. He may not possess elite speed, but his skill set makes up for that.
12. Las Vegas Raiders: Jerry Jeudy (WR) (Alabama)
I don’t think a team can go wrong picking Jeudy or Lamb. The Raiders need help at the WR position. Jeudy is the best route runner in this draft. Some have the Raiders taking a QB here, but I don’t think the Raiders will give up on Carr just yet.
13. Indianapolis Colts: Javon Kinlaw (DT) (South Carolina)
At 6’6 and over 300 lbs, Kinlaw is an athletic freak. The Colts need a player that can be disruptive on the defensive line. The Colts are another team that may be in play for a QB here, especially Jordan Love.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: A.J. Epenesa (EDGE) (Iowa)
The Buccaneers were great against the run last year but lacked a pass rush. Espenesa will help fill that hole. They need an upgrade in the secondary, but I believe Espensa is their best bet at 14.
15. Denver Broncos: Henry Ruggs III (WR) (Alabama)
Some have Ruggs as the #1 WR in the draft. He is the by far the fastest WR in the draft, running a 4.27 40-yard dash at the combine. Ruggs will help open up the field for Courtland Sutton while also being a home run threat.
16. Atlanta Falcons: Kristian Fulton (CB) (LSU)
The Falcons have needs across the board on the defensive side. Their biggest need is a pass rusher, but I am not sure if there is any left that is worthy of the 16th overall pick. Many have Fulton as the second-best CB in the draft.
17. Dallas Cowboys: Xavier McKinney (CB) (Alabama)
McKinney is the best safety in this draft, and the Cowboys need to improve their secondary. He may not be an athletic freak, but he is a ballplayer. He is also very effective on blitzes.
18. Miami Dolphins: Mekhi Becton (OT) (Louisville)
After selecting Tua, the Dolphins need to find him some protection, and the 6’7 370 lbs monster is a steal at the 18th pick. He needs to drop some weight and polish his form, but he has a lot of potential.
19. Las Vegas Raiders: Zack Baun (LB) (Wisconsin)
If the Raiders go WR with their first pick, I expect them to go defense with their second. They have a big need at LB, and Baun can hopefully fill that hole.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jordan Love (QB) (Utah)
I wouldn’t be surprised if Love ends up being taken much higher than 20. He has the physical tools to be successful, but his inconsistency and decision making needs to be improved. Nick Foles did not work out as they had hoped, and I don’t see Minshew as their long term answer. Love can sit his rookie year while Foles and Minshew battle it out.
21. Philidelphia Eagles: Laviska Shenault Jr. (WR) (Colorado)
The Eagles may have the biggest need for a WR in the league. Shenault is an interesting prospect. He can line up almost anywhere and is a flat out playmaker. I believe giving Wentz a weapon like him, would help a lot.
22. Buffalo Bills: Tee Higgins (WR) (Clemson)
With Cole Beasly and John Brown, the Bills need a big WR that can catch contested passes. At 6’4 and 215 lbs, Higgins can do just that and will be another weapon Allen can throw deep to.
23. New England Patriots: Jake Fromm (QB) (Georgia)
I am not sure where Fromm will land come draft day, but I think he would be an excellent fit in New England. He’s accurate and has a high football IQ. He may not have the best physical tools, but not every successful QB does. I believe if Brady comes back and he sits under him for two years, Fromm has a chance to be a solid NFL starter.
24. New Orleans Saints: Justin Jefferson (WR) (LSU)
The Saints need another WR opposite Thomas, and Jefferson could be a good fit. I wasn’t sure if Jefferson could be a first-round pick, but after his combine, his stock shot up.
25. Minnesota Vikings: C.J. Henderson (CB) (Flordia)
The Vikings need to improve their secondary. Xavier Rhoades was one of the worst CB’s in the league last year. Henderson is one of the best man-to-man CBs in this year’s draft.
26. Miami Dolphins: Jonah Jackson (OG) (Ohio State)
Many have the Dolphins selecting an RB with this pick, but I believe bolstering up the O-line is the best move here. They can take a RB with one of their two picks in the second round. Jackson is my #1 interior offensive linemen.
27. Seattle Seahawks: Netane Muti (OG) (Fresno State)
The Seahawks need to find a way to keep Wilson protected, and Muti can help. He is one of those linemen that has no problem running a defender into the turf. He put up 44 reps on the bench press at the combine.
28. Baltimore Ravens: Curtis Weaver (Edge) (Boise State)
The Ravens need a pass rusher, and Weaver at 28 holds pretty good value. He is an explosive and powerful rusher and could have an immediate impact on the Ravens defense.
29. Tennessee Titans: Julian Okwara (Edge) (Notre Dame)
The Titans are another team that needs to get better at rushing the passer this offseason. Okwara is an explosive pass rusher but will need to improve on his tackling. He missed 17 tackles on 64 attempts, according to Pro Football Focus.
30. Green Bay Packers: Chase Claypool (WR) (Notre Dame)
Just like Justin Jefferson, Claypool significantly improved his draft stock at the combine. He ran a 4.42 forty and put up 19 reps on the bench press. He is a big WR standing at 6’5 and 230 lbs. The Packers need to give Rodgers another weapon outside of Davante Adams.
31. San Fransisco 49ers: Tyler Biadasz (Center) (Wisconsin)
The 49ers were probably the most complete team last season. One area they could improve on is their interior O-line. Biadasz is my #1 center in this draft. He could come in and help make their run game even better.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: JK Dobbins (RB) (Ohio State)
This may be a surprise pick here, but the Chiefs could use an upgrade at the RB position. Williams is an okay back, but Dobbins would be a huge improvement. He has the best vision of any RB in this draft, and he would take a lot of pressure off Mahomes and the passing game.