Maybe it’s the nearly overwhelming number of different blogs, accounts, websites, podcasts, and general media personalities dedicated to football nowadays, but the number of mock-drafts we see on a day to day basis this year is out of control. So what am I going to do? Give you another one.
The premise of this is pretty simple but I want to make sure I explain myself before getting into it, it’s February 21st as I type these words, and there has already been a bit of a consensus developing with about 1/2 of the 1st round. How many times have we seen CeeDee Lamb or Andrew Thomas to AZ, or Henry Ruggs to Denver, or Xavier McKinney/Grant Delpit to Dallas. Folks.. this is the NFL draft and madness happens every year (see Clelin Ferrell circa 2019). The point of this exercise is to look at some alternative options for each of these teams and bring some fun into the silly practice that is mock-drafting.
So again, this is in no way a prediction, or even a “what I would do” mock, this is simply “let’s look at some alternative options, and try to find a different fit from what we have seen over and over again already to this point.” *with no trades*
1) Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow QB LSU
Even in this whacky imagination land I’m trying to create here, I can’t think of any reasonable situation where Joe Burrow doesn’t get picked here, if we were to introduce trades, maaybbee we could have some fun, but if the Bengals select at #1, they take Joe Burrow, moving on.
2) Washington Redskins: Jeffrey Okudah CB Ohio State
It’s been established that Chase Young is the best player available for Washington at #2, and if I’m them I’m taking him without hesitation. But, it’s also been established that edge rusher is far from a position of need, and if you feel comfortable going into the off-season with Quinton Dunbar (who reportedly wants out) and Fabian Moreau (who gave up an 80% completion percentage playing over 50% of the snaps for Washington last year) be my guest, but I think Washington really needs to upgrade at CB. Jeff Okudah is a blue-chip cornerback prospect who will at least cross the minds of the front office in Washington.
3) Detroit Lions: Tua Tagovailoa QB Alabama
This is a rumor that has started to matriculate recently, and as a Lions fan I’m starting to take it more seriously. IF Tua were healthy, I believe there would be a serious conversation about who is the #1 pick, but given his ankle and now hip injuries, Tua has dropped down to the clear QB2. Matt Stafford is 32 years old, coming off a season-ending back injury. Now there has been a lot of talk about his contract, so let’s take a look at that. If you trade/cut him this year it makes no sense, because he has a $32 million dead cap hit, so you pay that this year no matter what. Next year that number drops to a more palatable $19 million, and in 2022 to $6 million. If you believe Tua is healthy, and you value him as a potential QB1, you can try to convince ownership to give you a couple more years with your building block QB for the future. In this situation you “red shirt” Tua for a year under Stafford and try to move on from him next year handing over the keys to Tua in 2021.
4) New York Giants: Chase Young EDGE Ohio State
Do I see a reality that Chase Young falls to #4? Not really.. but hey 2 QBs go in the first 3 picks and Washington decides to go a different direction to fill a need, I guess there’s a 1% chance, and that’s what we’re here for today. If Chase Young is miraculously there at #4 Dave Gettleman loses his mind.
5) Miami Dolphins: Justin Herbert QB Oregon
Along with recent reports that Detroit may actually draft Tua, come reports that Miami feels pretty comfortable with Justin Herbert, who they have actually been loosely linked to going back to 2019. Miami clearly has the “war chest” of assets to move up and get Tua if they want him, but let’s not forget how weak that roster is, in this situation they can get a guy they may believe in more than most folks, and use every pick that they have to build the roster with as much young talent as they can find.
6) LA Chargers: Jedrick Wills OT Alabama
Since the decision to move on from Phillip Rivers went public, this pick has become either QB or Derrick Brown, but let’s be honest that OL is still far below average and has been for quite some time. Jedrick Wills may be the best OL prospect in this draft and can help in both the pass and run game. I can definitely see a situation where LA kicks the QB can down the road to next year and rolls with Tyrod for one season and a young roster.
7) Carolina Panthers: Jordan Love QB Utah State
Carolina can go 1000 different ways with this pick, an aging roster at many positions, quite a few holes, and a new HC. I can see Carolina sticking with Cam for a year, I can see them trading him, and I can see them cutting him for the cap space. With a player like Jordan Love you can do any of those, keeping Cam to give Jordan Love a year to develop, or moving on from him and getting Love game reps right away, but I like Carolina turning the page and trying to re-establish a young roster.
8) Arizona Cardinals: Derrick Brown IDL Auburn
Yes they will probably go with a player on the offensive side of the ball under the control of Kliff Kingsbury. Yes I agree that drafting an offensive lineman (especially in this class) is probably the best move for this franchise and the development of Kyler Murray. I also see the validity in going WR, but on that front it’s a deep class and they have a lot of young players that they haven’t fully evaluated yet. When a player as talented as Derrick Brown is available at #8 you have to consider it. Corey Peters led the DL group in snaps last year, and he is decent, but Brown would bring a new level of play-making ability on the inside of the Cardinals defense.
9) Jacksonville Jaguars: Kristian Fulton CB LSU
This is a pick I haven’t seen once, but makes a ton of sense from a logical standpoint. After trading away Jalen Ramsey, Jacksonville left a gaping hole opposite AJ Bouye, and I can see a world where they panic and try to fill that hole as quickly as possible at #9. Sure you can argue that there will be a lot of options available for them at #20, but you can also argue that there will be a lot of WR or LB talent there as well.
10) Cleveland Browns: Mekhi Becton OT Louisville
Here’s a pick that is far from revolutionary, but similar to Joe Burrow, I can’t create any world where Cleveland drafts anything but OT at #10. The interesting thing here is that only Wills is off the board, so Cleveland has their pick of the litter, and here goes with the high ceiling of Becton, who has the size and strength to get on the field right away and not be overwhelmed by NFL rushers, but will have to really develop his technique to reach his potential.
11) New York Jets: Tristan Wirfs OL Iowa
Similar to Cleveland, it’s really hard to envision a world where only 2 offensive linemen are off the board, and the Jets go a different direction. The OL problem was cemented with Darnold’s “seeing ghosts” sound bite, but it was a problem long before then. New York needs an upgrade at just about every spot across the line, so Wirfs makes the most sense as a player who could be an All-Pro OG, or develop to be a high level OT if coached properly.
12) Las Vegas Raiders: Henry Ruggs III WR Alabama
Another pick that is far from original, but the Raiders have historically loved the athletic profile that Ruggs brings to the table, even if that means he’s the 1st wide receiver off the board. Obviously there are a lot of needs on this roster, and I even thought about going for a QB, but with the top 3 off the board, I think Derek Carr is just fine and they can stick with him through his contract and try to build the roster around him.
13) Indianapolis Colts: Jacob Eason QB Washington
Eason has become quite the polarizing prospect in this draft class. Even just 10 years ago I think he’d be a 1st round lock, 6’6, huge arm, pocket passer, check check check. He can let a ball get away from him from time to time, and has some interesting quirks to his game like his tendency to roll out left and throw across his body, but he’s a composed leader on offense who I think Indy will be very intrigued by to supplant Jacoby Brissett who, after a great start to the 2019 season, saw his play go downhill quickly in the tail-end of the season.
14) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Andrew Thomas OT Georgia
Tampa is a team the “consensus” can’t quite figure out, some days you see CB, some days S, some days OL, and sometimes even QB. Call me crazy but I do believe Jameis will be back in Tampa, even if it’s a short-term contract. Andrew Thomas gives him the chance to fulfill his potential and show that he can be Bruce Ariens’ guy.
15) Denver Broncos: Jerry Jeudy WR Alabama
WR is a very common pick in Denver, for good reason. As is CB, but with Kristian Fulton off the board I don’t think it makes sense to get one here. Jerry Jeudy is an electric WR prospect, and while I’ve seen Henry Ruggs often mocked here, I’ve also rarely seen Jerry Jeudy still available at #13. If Jeudy is available, he should be a no-brainer pick.
16) Atlanta Falcons: Isaiah Simmons LB Clemson
Obviously the crazy part here is Isaiah Simmons falling to #16, but if he does I don’t think there would be any hesitation from Atlanta to pull the trigger. Is it likely Simmons falls here? No. But we’ve seen “versatile” defensive play-makers without 1 true position fall before, and we will likely see it again. Again not a prediction, but I think there’s an outside chance the NFL doesn’t value Simmons the same way the common folk do.
17) Dallas Cowboys: CeeDee Lamb WR Oklahoma
This pick has been secondary in just about every mock I’ve seen.. which absolutely makes sense. That said I’m starting to get a sneaky suspicion that Dallas will let Amari Cooper walk in free agency, opening a big need for a WR1 to step in. Dak’s game splits with and without Amari will tell you if you resign Dak, you should throw the cash at Amari and keep him. Now, even if they make that move, this brings another bonafide play-maker and gives Dallas one of the best skill position groups in the league.
18) Miami Dolphins: K’Lavon Chaisson EDGE LSU
Again not a revolutionary pick, and I will mention that bringing in a high ceiling low floor player like K’Lavon isn’t the pick I would make as GM of Miami. That said he does bring some versatility which I like, being able to step out and cover a TE or a RB effectively, but I can definitely see Miami going for the homerun swing and taking the speed rusher in K’Lavon here.
19) Las Vegas Raiders: Javon Kinlaw IDL South Carolina
I actually considered going with 2 1st round WRs if CeeDee fell only 2 more picks, but instead the Raiders can take the best player available in Kinlaw, who I really like in a Raiders uniform to complete a young core of really good players to develop interior pressure in both the passing and running game with Mo Hurst and PJ Hall.
20) Jacksonville Jaguars: Xavier McKinney S Alabama
Jacksonville doubling up on the secondary here after drafting Kristian Fulton at #9, taking a versatile safety prospect in McKinney. A bit of a “luxury pick” for Jacksonville, but he brings a lot more upside than Jarrod Wilson, and with Ronnie Harrison and Kristian Fulton, he brings a young, exciting secondary to Jacksonville. They have continued to invest in their defense year after year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them continue to do so this year.
21) Philadelphia Eagles: Cam Dantzler CB Mississippi State
While the Eagles have been commonly mocked a CB, the Eagles have two clear needs on their roster. CB and WR. Going away from either of these positions in round 1 would be simply irresponsible. The interesting piece here I think is the player. Cam Dantzler’s Draft buzz continues to grow, and if he puts in a good combine I wouldn’t be surprised whatsoever to see him in the 1st round of mock drafts sooner than later.
22) Buffalo Bills: Josh Uche EDGE Michigan
With Epenesa on the board this would be a really interesting pick, but again it’s the NFL Draft anyone who pretends they know what will happen is lying to you. I really like what Uche brings to the table as a fast, powerful player who brings some versatility to the Buffalo defense, able to play the edge and off ball depending on the down and distance. I like the attitude Uche would bring to the Buffalo defense and think this could be an interesting fit, as they continue building a young core with the likes of Tre White, Ed Oliver, and Tremaine Edmunds.
23) New England Patriots: Jake Fromm QB Georgia
I’m aware I’m not necessarily the first person to make this connection, but come on. Fromm is a smart, proven winner, who from a mental perspective could step into Belichick and McDaniels’ system and perform at a high level. Jake Fromm is one of the most polarizing players in this draft, but I do think there’s a good chance we look back 5 years from now and wondered why we overlooked him so severely. He may not be a bonafide top 10 player, but he is a guy who I’m very confident will be in the NFL in some capacity for the next 10-15 years.
24) New Orleans Saints: Cesar Ruiz IOL Michigan
Andrus Peat is a free agent, Larry Warford is a free agent after next season, and after drafting Eric McCoy last season, I would love to see them bring in another intelligent player next to him on the interior to both load up for a championship while the window is still open, and develop the offensive line for whoever steps into life after Drew Brees.
25) Minnesota Vikings: Justin Jefferson WR LSU
I’m actually surprised we haven’t seen Minnesota going WR more often. It makes sense to wait in a loaded class, but with their complete lack of an effective 3rd WR and the added wrinkle of Stefan Diggs possibly wanting out, it makes sense for Minnesota to address this right away with a versatile WR in Jefferson who has the skill set and some excellent tape playing out of the slot, as well as the frame to play the boundary.
26) Miami Dolphins: Jeff Gladney CB TCU
I’ll say it over and over, Miami simply needs to take the best players, ideally at valuable positions, in this draft, QB, Edge, CB. Gladney would be an awesome fit for the rebuilding Dolphins.
27) Seattle Seahawks: Julian Okwara EDGE Norte Dame
We all know Seattle loves athletic players, and Okwara fits that mold and then some. He’s a super explosive Edge that they would love in the Pacific Northwest, whether they decide to bring back Clowney or not. After surprising everybody and drafting LJ Collier last year (who played just 152 snaps all year), Seattle goes back to the drawing board and decides they need to double up on the position in 2020.
28) Baltimore Ravens: KJ Hamler WR Penn State
This is a pick I like so much you might see me make it again, it’s one of those “it’s so crazy it might actually work” picks that are fun to make in mock draft season. Hamler brings next level agility and foot speed, with long speed to boot (just pop in Penn State against Ohio State for verification). Hamler, Hollywood, Boykin, this gives Lamar Jackson and Baltimore damn near KC level speed on offense and opens up some interesting play-calling possibilities.
29) Tennessee Titans: Jalen Hurts QB Oklahoma
Yep I did it. In this scenario, Ryan Tannehill asks for $30 mil, and Tennessee decides they’d rather not spend that kind of money on a player they asked to throw the ball 60 times in 3 playoff games. After looking at the veteran QB market in free agency, they decide to roll the dice in the draft and go with Jalen Hurts, and after resigning Derrick Henry and Jack Conklin, bring a power zone-read scheme that, as teams change their defensive personnel to match-up with high flying passing offenses, would be a nightmare for defensive coordinators around the league.
30) Green Bay Packers: Josh Jones OT Houston
Bryan Bulaga is a free agent and I’m not sure what they will do there as we stand today, but if they let him go they’re going to need an upgrade right away. Josh Jones is developed enough in his pass sets to step in right away and not be overwhelmed if necessarily, and playing/learning with Bakhtiari (who is a free agent after next season) is a big leg up on most young tackles.
31) San Francisco 49ers: Netani Muti IOL Fresno State
I’ll start by saying that I truly believe that if Netani Muti we’re healthy, he would be a 1st round pick no questions asked. His tape is incredible, but after an extensive injury history teams are going to be really worried about his evaluation. OL play is really important to Kyle Shanahan’s offense, and after succeeding with a couple journeyman guards, I think there could be some chance they decide to address the secondary in free agency and roll the dice on a potential All-Pro level mauler if he can stay on the field.
32) Kansas City Chiefs: Zack Baun EDGE Wisconsin
Baun is an edge player who has shown the versatility on tape to play off-ball as well depending on the situation. With a team structured like KC, with their entire cap dedicated to the offense, versatile defenders who can play in different spots like Baun, and to a different degree, Honey Badger, is super important. I think Baun would be an awesome fit for the Chiefs.