Without insider information predictions in the NFL Draft are trivial, impossible, and all-together pointless. However, I like a good challenge and I have a lot of time on my hands. Instead of doing the traditional “predictive 1st round mock draft” I am going something a little bit different, I’m going to predict the 1st pick by each team, be it the first of multiple 1st round picks, outside the 1st round, picks made by trading up, or by trading down. Let’s go.
Tristan Wirfs, OT Iowa
There has been a lot of buzz connecting Arizona to a couple of defensive players recently (Derrick Brown, Isaiah Simmons). Both of them make a ton of sense for what they need on the defensive side, however between the hiring of Kliff Kingsbury and the selection of Kyler Murray I have a really hard time believing their first round pick won’t be on the offensive side of the ball, and after the trade for DeAndre Hopkins, offensive tackle seems really likely. Tristan Wirfs’ athleticism makes the most sense for their scheme and should be a slam-dunk pick for Arizona at #8.
Kristian Fulton, CB LSU
After the departure of Desmond Trufant, the cornerback position jumps to a clear #1 on the Falcons needs list. Lucky for them it’s a great CB class, unlucky for them it seems very likely that the top 2 (Jeff Okudah and CJ Henderson) will be off the board by the time they pick. That said Kristian Fulton is a damn good consolation prize as the #20 overall player on my board.
Kenneth Murray, LB Oklahoma
Kenneth Murray screams Baltimore mike LB. Instinctive football player who is your ideal “shoot your gun” player who reads and reacts quickly and assertively. He’s an aggressive linebacker who fills a pretty big need on the Ravens roster since the departure of CJ Mosley last off-season.
Trevon Diggs, CB Alabama
After trading for Stefon Diggs Buffalo doesn’t pick until #54, but they do have their true #1 WR, likely eliminating the need for the team for at least the first few picks. A need that still exists is at corner, and I don’t think the addition of Josh Norman eliminates it. Trevon Diggs has the athleticism, ball skills, and natural ability to step in right away, though a lot of his technique will need to be polished. He can ease in behind Tre White and Josh Norman until he’s ready to take over the CB2 spot.
Isaiah Simmons, Freak Clemson
There are honestly a ton of scenarios I can see playing out for Carolina at 7, but when push comes to shove I have a hard time seeing them pass on the talent that is Isaiah Simmons. This is truly a unique prospect that we have never seen in the NFL Draft, and with the departure of Luke Kuechly the need for a 2nd level defender is there.
Robert Hunt, IOL Louisiana-Lafayette
As I’ve mentioned on this website many times, the Chicago Bears offensive line is probably the biggest, and the 2nd biggest need on the roster. The play-makers are in place, the defense is still top 10 in the NFL, and like it or not the QB will be there for another year. Kyle Long’s retirement leaves a gaping hole at guard, one Robert Hunt’s physicality and aggressiveness can fill right away at pick #43.
Joe Burrow, QB LSU
I don’t think we need to expand on this one too much. I think there’s damn near a 0% chance they even bother taking calls to trade out of #1. Joe Burrow is as good a QB prospect as they come.
Andrew Thomas, OT Georgia
Cleveland’s need for OT is well-documented, even with Jack Conklin in town. If you’re comfortable marching Chris Hubbard out there again to protect Baker Mayfield’s blindside, be my guest. I’ll take a guy who has put out some consistently great tape at Georgia. My OT1 and #7 overall player seems likely to be available for Cleveland at #10 and they should jump at the chance if he is.
Jeff Gladney, CB TCU
Jerry Jones has put together a super talented roster, but there are still a few holes, namely across the secondary. The addition of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix patches up the safety position, but the loss of Bryon Jones opens up a big one at a boundary corner spot. Jeff Gladney is a competitive player who is capable of playing a big role in year 1, he also grew up about 2 hours from Dallas and went to school about 20 minutes away from Jerry World.
Henry Ruggs III, WR Alabama
This pick has been rumored for quite some time, and it makes way too much sense to go in another direction. Ruggs has speed for days, is a solid all-around WR, and will step in with Courtland Sutton to form a really exciting WR duo for their young QB Drew Lock.
Jeffrey Okudah, CB Ohio State
Whether this is at #3 (the more likely situation, with Tua’s health uncertainty in this post-COVID-19 draft) or at #5, Jeff Okudah to Detroit seems like a near lock as the draft nears. Between losing Darius Slay, and gaining Desmond Trufant, it’s been an interesting off-season for the position room, but Okudah and Trufant could be an exciting duo for the next couple years as Okudah plays himself into the CB1 role.
Green Bay Packers
Denzel Mims, WR Baylor
I think this is the first big example of where what I would do, and what I believe the team will do are quite different. I love Denzel Mims, and the value matches up as my #30 overall player at the #30 pick. I would like to get a different WR type in the room, but the Packers sure have their type, and Mims’ height/athleticism fit that type pretty clearly. Mims is the 2nd best WR on the roster right away and gives Rodgers another weapon as they chase another championship in his era of Packer football.
Josh Uche, Edge/LB Michigan
Houston has found themselves with a ton of needs, partly because of Bill O’Brien the GM. They also are in a tough draft situation, with #40 and #90 being their first picks in the draft. There is a clear need at edge rusher opposite Whitney Mercilus who turns 30 before the season starts, and Uche has the bend to get after the QB at a high level. He also has the versatility to play off-ball linebacker next to McKinney and Cunningham.
Jordan Love, QB Utah State
It’s not Chris Ballard’s MO to move up in the draft, but I just get a feeling this is a move their going to make this year. After signing Phil Rivers they made it clear that Jacoby Brissett isn’t their guy, and we all know Phil has 2 years tops. Jordan Love needs some work, but he’s an exceptional talent the Colts can sit for a year and be their franchise guy moving forward. I think Indy moves into the 1st round to get their guy.
CJ Henderson, CB Florida
CJ Henderson has been soaring draft boards recently. He’s an outstanding press-man corner who fills a gigantic need at #9 for Jacksonville following the departures of both Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye. There are probably a few other players on their board at #9, but I have a hard time believing anyone is higher than Henderson.
Kansas City Chiefs
Clyde Edward-Helaire, RB LSU
I am starting to get the impression that CEH will be the first RB off the board, and I don’t think that’s a mistake. His dual-threat ability, his contact balance, his ability to run inside and outside, they all scream pro-bowl. Many have argued in today’s NFL the value of the RB has decreased, and I think that’s a bit misleading. The value of a veteran running back has decreased, but a rookie contract RB who is young and can take starter touches for 4-5 years is still very valuable (see Todd Gurley). CEH makes this offense damn near unstoppable when healthy, and keeps KC in the drivers seat in the NFL.
Las Vegas Raiders
Jerry Jeudy, WR Alabama
The Raiders should be willing to step into Vegas with Derek Carr at QB, a guy who isn’t going to set the world on fire with talent, but he’s definitely not losing you games on a young, developing roster. Tyrell Williams, Zay Jones, Nelson Agholor, Hunter Renfrow… it’s not a terrible group, but it’s far from exciting. Jerry Jeudy can step in for 50+ catches as a rookie with his separation ability and technique beyond his years.
Los Angeles Chargers
Mekhi Becton, OT Louisville
For me this pick comes down to OT or QB. I think they are set with Tyrod for a year to see what he can do with a talented roster, and I don’t believe they’re going into this draft targeting a QB at 6. It comes down to who which of the OTs will be available and who fits what the Chargers want to do offensively. I think Becton’s power profile would fit into their system very well and he can develop into a star player in LA.
Los Angeles Rams
Jonah Jackson, IOL Ohio State
The Rams 1st selection is at #52 as we stand today, and although not having a 1st round pick is never fun, they do have 2 2nd and 2 3rd round picks so it’s not all bad in LA. The problem is that this team, who was in the Super Bowl putting up record offensive numbers just two years ago, now has a tough roster and has to compete with arguably the best division in football. I’m looking to upgrade this offensive line, which battled injuries all year and resulted in a down year for Jared Goff. Jonah Jackson should step into Sean McVae’s offensive scheme perfectly, as an athletic interior lineman who can move bodies and is pretty polished in pass pro. The only question for me is will he still be available at 52?
Tua Tagovailoa, QB Alabama
Whether this is at #3 or #5, the closer we get to the draft the more it feels like Miami will wind up with Tua. I don’t buy the smoke that they have Justin Herbert ranked as closely on their board as is said, and I think a lot of that smoke is being put out by Miami to drive the trade price down with Detroit. The health is a big time issue, but they’ve had a relationship with this guy for over a year now, and have absolutely done their homework on the guy pre-COVID19 lockdown.
Justin Jefferson, WR LSU
The Vikings select at #22 and #25 in the first round following the trade of Stefon Diggs. They also have 2 3rd round picks if they want to package some picks together and move up in the 1st round. Whether it’s at 22 or earlier, I get the impression that Justin Jefferson will be in Minnesota with his inside-outside versatility, contested catch ability, and route running savvy.
New England Patriots
Xavier McKinney, S Alabama
Xavier McKinney’s back-end versatility is Bill Belichick’s wet dream. I’m starting to get the impressing that he’s keen on giving Jarrett Stidham a year to prove himself as the future of this franchise. My best guess is New England moving their way down the draft board and landing McKinney in the late 1st or early 2nd round of this draft.
New Orleans Saints
Patrick Queen, LB LSU
Patrick Queen is a real difference maker on the 2nd level, something New Orleans is really missing on this defense looking to make one last championship push with Drew Brees. Emmanuel Sanders patches up the WR core opposite Mike Thomas, and Queen gives them another play-maker on the defensive side of the ball.
New York Giants
Jedrick Wills, OT Alabama
If the NYG take any position other than offensive tackle I would be really concerned about the future of Daniel Jones, Saquan Barkley and this offense. Isaiah Simmons is very intriguing here, but getting a people-mover with serious pass blocking chops should be the pick.
New York Jets
CeeDee Lamb, WR Oklahoma
CeeDee Lamb has a handful of landing spots in the top half of the first round, but the Jets are seeming more and more likely to be the one. While I think their offensive line needs serious help, I believe their more comfortable taking one of the 2nd tier players in round 2 and getting the blue-chip talent at #11 with the top 4 OTs off the board.
Jalen Reagor, WR TCU
This is a dream come true for Philly if Reagor falls into their lap at #21. A field stretcher with serious contested catch ability down the field is exactly what Carson Wentz and this offense needs to become real contenders.
Raekwon Davis, IDL Alabama
Cameron Heyward is reaching the twilight of his career, and next to Stephon Tuitt the defensive line needs revamping. Raekwon Davis might wind up being gone by their pick at 49, but if he’s available they’ll run up to the virtual podium.
San Francisco 49ers
Javon Kinlaw, IDL South Carolina
If it’s me I’m taking one of the top WRs available and giving Kyle Shanahan all the weapons he needs to bring this offense back to the super bowl. However I believe they are going to look to fill DeForest Buckner’s spot immediately with a top 10 talent in the class. I’m starting to believe he might be gone by 13, but he would keep the 49ers atop the NFL on the defensive line.
Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE Penn State
Find me a more Seattle Seahawkian player in this draft than Gross-Matos.. I dare you. Gross-Matos checks every size/athleticism box they have in Seattle, and also fills a position of need with or without Clowney on the roster in 2020.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Josh Jones, OT Houston
I’m very confident Tampa Bay will go OL with their first pick, the question for me comes down to which one. If they stay out at 14 there’s a good chance the consensus top 4 are all gone. I can see them moving up to secure their guy, but Josh Jones is far from a consolation prize, and is polished in pass-pro to protect Tom Brady from day 1.
Neville Gallimore, IDL Oklahoma
Jeffery Simmons is promising, but other than him the cupboard is bare on the Titans interior following the Jurrell Casey deal. Neville Gallimore is one of my favorite players in this draft and I would love his penetration and disruption abilities in Nashville.
Chase Young, EDGE Ohio State
The Tua buzz has come and gone for Washington, we’ve come to a point where I have a really hard time seeing them taking anybody other than Young, who has clear All-Pro potential early in his career.