The trade deadline passed last week, and a few trades affect the draft landscape. The Jaguars traded Jalen Ramsey to the Rams for their first-round pick and other compensation. Several teams made smaller trades to help their roster, such as WR Mohammed Sanu to the Patriots, DL Leonard Williams to the Giants, WR Emmanuel Sanders to the 49ers, and CB Marcus Peters to the Ravens, to name just a few.
As always, my mock drafts are based off of what I would do, not what I predict teams will do. Also, this mock draft does not include the results in the draft order from last night’s Thursday Night Football game between the Raiders and Chargers.
Starting next week, I will be releasing my first article in a series of fixing each and every NFL team. These articles will include everything from possible head coach changes, free agency, and a full 7 round draft strategy.
1) Cincinnati Bengals - Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
The Bengals moved on from Andy Dalton, and I don’t think 4th round pick Ryan Finley is the answer. It would be a shock if the Bengals parted from first-year Head Coach Zac Taylor, so pairing his offensive mind with Tua’s ability is a perfect fit.
2) Washington Redskins - Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
Young is my top player in this class and the best edge rusher I’ve ever seen. He single-handedly can change games with his dominant abilities. This is an easy choice for the Redskins.
3) New York Jets - Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
The Jets desperately need offensive line help and I believe Thomas is a franchise left tackle. The Jets need to help QB Sam Darnold as much as possible and giving him time in the pocket is necessary.
4) Miami Dolphins - Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
The Tank-for-Tua plan is not looking great for the Dolphins after they got their first win of the season on Sunday and they have an easy schedule the rest of the way. But Burrow is not a bad consolation prize at all.
5) Atlanta Falcons - Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
The Falcons are the biggest disappointment this season and secondary play is a big reason why. The Falcons don’t have much in their secondary, their best player is the injury-plagued Keanu Neal. Okudah will instantly upgrade this defense and team.
6) New York Giants - Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Ship Odell Beckham Jr. out, draft the player whose comp is OBJ. Jeudy is my second-best player in this draft and the Giants benefit from QB and other needs to steal him at 6.
7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
Fromm has moved down past Tagovailoa and Burrow for me, but he’s still a franchise QB. It’s time to move on from Jameis Winston, and Head Coach Bruce Arians should love Fromm’s game with his intelligence and limited mistakes.
8) Cleveland Browns - Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
The Browns have an excellent team on paper, but their poor play on the field is largely due to bad offensive line play. Longtime offensive tackle, and future Hall of Famer Joe Thomas, retired at a bad time for the Browns just as they were getting really good. Wirfs is an instant upgrade at either tackle position.
9) Denver Broncos - CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
The offensive line is a huge need for the Broncos, but there isn’t one I value at this spot with Thomas and Wirfs off the board. The Broncos traded their top WR in Emmanuel Sanders right before the trade deadline, so they have a huge hole to fill. Lamb will be a great weapon for whomever is throwing the ball for the Broncos next season.
10) Oakland Raiders (via CHI) - Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
I mocked Simmons to the Raiders in my previous mock draft, and I’m doing it again here. He is a perfect fit for this team that has a gap in the middle of their defense. Simmons is an ideal linebacker in this day and age of the NFL.
11) Arizona Cardinals - Trey Adams, OT, Washington
The Cardinals are yet another team that has a lot of good pieces, but they’re limited by their offensive line. Adams was projected as a first-round pick last year but missed most of last season due to an injury and decided to return for his senior season. He’s picked right back up where he was pre-injury and is perfect for the Cardinals here.
12) Detroit Lions - Grant Delpit, S, LSU
Delpit is still ranked inside my top 5, but safeties just aren’t drafted that highly. In terms of talent, this is a steal for the Lions. This defense lacks playmakers and difference makers, exactly what Delpit excels at.
13) Tennessee Titans - Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
The Titans are in the exact same position as the Bucs, having taken Marcus Mariota at number two in the draft right after the Bucs selected Winston. Mariota has already been replaced this year by Ryan Tannehill, but he isn’t the answer either. They can keep Tannehill next season and allow Herbert to learn under him.
14) Los Angeles Chargers - C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
The Chargers just can’t seem to stay healthy and their secondary is the biggest victim of that. They need more pieces on the back end and Henderson will complement their corners and young safeties, especially in a division that has Patrick Mahomes.
15) Jacksonville Jaguars - Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
Gardner Minshew was a revelation for this team after experiencing years of bad play at QB and then landing a Super Bowl MVP QB in Nick Foles, before losing him in the first game to an injury. Foles is back now and the starter again, but whomever is throwing the ball in the future needs more than just D.J. Chark on the receiving end.
16) Miami Dolphins (via PIT) - Walker Little, OT, Stanford
The Dolphins are back up and after snagging their QB of the future, they get a guy who can protect him for the next decade. Little suffered a season-ending injury this year, but he should be good to go for the Combine and the Draft.
17) Oakland Raiders – A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
Also up for their second pick, the Raiders still have a gap on the edge of their defense after trading away Khalil Mack. They drafted edge rusher Clellin Ferrell at number 4 overall last year and have gotten good production out of late-round pick Max Crosby, but Epenesa is too good to pass on this late in the draft.
18) Philadelphia Eagles - Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
The Eagles have the worst pass defense in the NFL, so a CB here is almost a necessity. Luckily, this isn’t a reach for Fulton. LSU continues to stake their claim for DBU as Fulton is sure to be a first-round pick.
19) Jacksonville Jaguars (via LAR) – Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
The Jalen Ramsey episode ended in Jacksonville just before the trade deadline and now the Jags need help at cornerback to mitigate that loss. Diggs is the best player in the Alabama secondary, which is of course saying something.
20) Indianapolis Colts - Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
TY Hilton goes out with an injury, the Colts’ offense struggles. Jacoby Brissett has been a revelation for the Colts after Andrew Luck’s surprise retirement right before the season kicked off. Ruggs might be the fastest player in this draft class, a great compliment for any offense to have.
21) Dallas Cowboys - Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
This is simply a case of a player sliding too far in the draft where the Cowboys have to take him here. Brown is a game-changer in the middle of a defensive line, and it will be incredible for him to play in front of Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith.
22) Carolina Panthers – A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson
The Panthers have a big decision to make in QB Cam Newton after this season, but Kyle Allen is keeping this ship afloat. The Panthers might have the best front 7 in the NFL, but their secondary lacks talent.
23) Minnesota Vikings - K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
While the Vikings don’t have many needs besides offensive line, this is a best player available pick. It would be a scary front if the Vikings can line up Chaisson next to Danielle Hunter, Everson Griffin, and Linval Joseph with Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks behind them.
24) Kansas City Chiefs - Tyler Biadasz, OL, Wisconsin
The Chiefs look like they need help at cornerback, but they’re actually top 10 in the league at defending the pass. The real issue is present on their offensive line. Biadasz is the best interior offensive lineman in this draft class and could be Patrick Mahomes’ center for the next decade.
25) Miami Dolphins (via HOU) - D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
The final first-round pick for the Dolphins goes to the best running back in the class in Swift. He will be able to alleviate pressure off of rookie QB Burrow and he fills a hole after the Dolphins traded away their starting RB in Kenyan Drake at the trade deadline.
26) Buffalo Bills - Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado
The Bills are one of the most improved teams in the NFL this season largely due to their shutdown defense. The receiver position is still a concern without top-tier talent or much depth. Shenault is a gadget that can line up all over the offense and help the still young QB Josh Allen.
27) Baltimore Ravens - Kenneth Murray Jr., LB, Oklahoma
After CJ Mosley left for the Jets in free agency, the Ravens have a hole in the middle of their defense that needs to be filled. Murray has been a revelation for a typically porous Oklahoma defense. Murray’s athleticism has become the new prototype in the NFL for middle linebackers.
28) Seattle Seahawks - Kenny Willekes, EDGE, Michigan State
The Seahawks could end up having a huge problem at edge following this season if they don’t resign Jadeveon Clowney or Ezekiel Ansah. Either way, this Seahawks defense needs an injection of talent and Willekes is a best player available situation.
29) Green Bay Packers - Jared Pinkney, TE, Vanderbilt
There are not too many receiving options on this roster, at least not household names that can survive season after season of essentially band aid lineups. There isn’t a receiver that I like here and with Jimmy Graham getting older, Pinkney is my top tight end in this class.
30) New Orleans Saints - Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
Dylan Moses suffered an injury before this season even began, but he should be fully healthy for pre-draft activities and rookie minicamp. Pre-injury, Moses was my top ranked middle linebacker in this class and could’ve possibly been a top-10 pick. If he returns to that form, the Saints are getting an absolute steal to control the middle of their defense.
31) New England Patriots - Hunter Bryant, TE, Washington
The Patriots are missing something on offense, and it’s in the form of Rob Gronkowski. While they have talent on the outside, they’re missing a big body streaming down the middle of the field. Bryant is similar to Evan Engram, and could be used in the passing game even more than Gronk was in his prime.
32) San Francisco 49ers - Ashtyn Davis, S, Cal
I could’ve just as easily taken Alabama safety Xavier McKinney here, but Davis gets the college hometown discount. The 49ers have made a miraculous turnaround from last season after ending up with the second overall pick and now still being undefeated after 8 games this season. They can still use help in their secondary, particularly at the safety position.
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