I actually believe Burrow doesn’t prefer to play in Cincinnati, but I also think the media has taken that and run way too far with. He’ll be drafted by the Bengals and he’ll play for the Bengals, regardless of his preferences.
2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
I think there should be really good, healthy discussion about Washington selecting Ohio State CB Jeffrey Okudah with this pick, or even trading back a couple spots. But this mock is predictive in nature, and I don’t think Washington will move an inch from where they can select one of the two best defensive players in the class in Young.
3. *TRADE* Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
I just can’t buy the reports on Miami potentially favoring Justin Herbert over Tagovailoa. Not that they couldn’t be true, teams have done far worse, but if the concerns about his hip continue to be non-existent by the time the draft rolls around, I’m not sure how one formulates a tape-based argument for the Ducks’ signal-caller over Tagovailoa.
I’m not sure if Wirfs will ultimately be a tackle or a guard in the NFL, and Dave Gettleman might not be sure either. But he’ll definitely start at tackle in New York, where it’ll be up to new head coach Joe Judge and Co. to take an incredible set of physical and athletic tools and develop consistency Wirfs never showed until (perhaps) late in his career at Iowa.
Yes, I’m getting wild. I just think the Panthers are going to be one of the more desperate teams for a quarterback unless something changes in free agency. And they know the Chargers will be just as desperate, and after QB3 everyone else is a pretty massive reach this high in the draft. The Panthers play the aggressor and jump Los Angeles for Herbert.
6. Los Angeles Chargers: Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Missing out on their quarterback of the future comes with a pretty good consolation prize: maybe the best player in the draft in Okudah. The Buckeyes cornerback has everything you want in a star corner, and the Chargers can’t pass up this opportunity to build what would immediately be one of the best secondaries in the league. Casey Heyward, Desmond King, Derwin James, Nasir Adderley and Okudah? Behind Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram? Not bad at all.
7. *TRADE* Detroit Lions: Isaiah Simmons, Avenger, Clemson
If I’m Detroit, I’m really temped to stay at No. 5 after trading with Miami and just take Okudah. But again, this is a predictive mock, and I think if they know they can trade down a second time and still be guaranteed to come away with Simmons or Okudah, they’ll make the move. Simmons is the type of versatile, three-down, three-level impact linebacker/safety this franchise has been trying to add to its defense for years. It may just be for one more season, but Matt Patricia will have fun with the Clemson standout.
8. Arizona Cardinals: Derrick Brown, IDL, Auburn
If the draft falls this way, I believe the Cardinals will be torn between CeeDee Lamb or Derrick Brown. They could take an offensive tackle too, but after re-signing D.J. Humphries, I wonder if they feel they can get by with a lower-caliber right tackle in Kliff Kingsbury’s quick-hitting offense. Arizona is in dire need of defensive line help, and Brown is the most pro-ready interior defensive linemen in the class.
It’s a little bit of a surprise pick here, but Dave Caldwell has always placed a heavy value on the defensive line, and right now Jacksonville’s just isn’t good enough. With Marcell Dareus set to be released, Taven Bryan continuing to struggle heading into year three, and Calais Campbell turning 34 before the season begins, there are no immediate long-term answers on the Jaguars’ current roster. Kinlaw has the versatility to play up-and-down the line of scrimmage and all the physical and athletic traits to develop into a complete monster under the tutelage of Campbell and defensive coordinator Todd Wash.
Louisville OT Mekhi Becton – Photo courtesy of Louisville
I’d take Alabama right tackle Jedrick Wills, but Becton has grown on me, too. Currently, the Browns might be the top ten team that is the easiest to predict what position they’ll address with their selection (outside of Cincinnati), as the team doesn’t have a suitable answer at right or left tackle on its current roster. Like almost all offensive tackles it will take time for Becton to adapt to more true pass sets and elite rushers in the NFL, but his wingspan, massive frame, smooth feet and physical dominance on tape suggest he’s up to the task.
11. New York Jets: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
I think the Jets are a team to watch for a potential short trade up if they covet a specific tackle in this class, but if they stay put and the receiver group falls to the untouched, I think they’ll be ecstatic, too. Lamb is an all-around playmaker that gives Sam Darnold his first true no. 1-type weapon as the quarterback heads into his third season in the NFL.
12. Las Vegas Raiders: Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado
I know I’ll get questions as to why Shenault over Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III, and based on the tape I’ve seen there are no logical answers. I just think the NFL is going to go crazy over Shenault’s size, speed and post-catch ability and draft him over more polished and pro-ready receivers. In Oakland’s offense, he is the type of receiver they could really use in the short passing game.
13. Indianapolis Colts: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
The Colts have operated at average-to-below average in the offensive weapons department since Chris Ballard took over, and now that the lines are in promising shape, it’s time to start looking for play-makers. Jeudy is one of the best two receivers in the class and can make plays at all levels of the field. Whenever Indy finds their new quarterback, the rest of the offense will be ready.
Alabama OT Jedrick Wills – Photo: University of Alabama
This should be a dream-come-true scenario for Tampa Bay, as Wills is my favorite offensive lineman in the class by a comfortable margin. I just think that his lack of length will bump him down the board a bit for some teams, especially if some view him as a guard after the NFL Scouting Combine. I think he’s a tackle all the way, and he’ll plug-and-play for the Bucs on the right side opposite Donovan Smith.
Wills is a heart-and-soul, no-nonsense hustler on the field, who will bring a physicality and edge to the unit that the Bucs currently lack. I think his impact will be Quenton Nelson-like in the way that teammates respond and rally around his play demeanor. Depending on what other needs the Bucs have by the time the draft rolls around, I’d consider jumping up a few spots for him if he’s sliding. He’s a Top 5 player in the class for my money.
15. Denver Broncos: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
I know I had this match in my last mock, but you’re gonna be hard-pressed to talk me out of it if Ruggs is still on the board. The Broncos need a deep threat at wide receiver, and it doesn’t hurt the Ruggs also has excellent ball skills and is a strong route-runner. I love the potential marriage of he and Drew Lock’s deep ball.
I don’t read many mock drafts, but the ones I have peeked at typically gravitate this direction for Atlanta. The Falcons have been pretty easy to mock for because they don’t have a ton of needs and Thomas Dimitroff is fairly transparent about what they’re looking for. The risk in drafting Chaisson is real, but he brings a level of physicality and strength that a lot of other raw, athletic edge rushers don’t offer. I’ll bet on him despite the long odds for a player with his lack of collegiate production.
17. Dallas Cowboys: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
If the Cowboys let Byron Jones walk in free agency, I’m not sure they have any quality cornerback options on the roster. As much as safety is a need, Dallas’ need for cover men on the outside should take precedent. Henderson is an awesome athlete with all the traits to become a shutdown corner, but ball skills and tackling remain question marks.
The Dolphins are surely going to target the offensive line with their second first-round pick, as long as they don’t have to surrender it in a trade. Thomas is the best tackle left in the draft and should plug in quickly for Miami on either side as needed.
Queen may have been a late bloomer at LSU, but his college career absolutely took off this past season as he made plays all over the field for the Tigers. The Raiders have had one of the worst linebacking corps in the league for a long time, so drafting Queen is the move they need to make to finally change that.
Back-to-back LSU defenders come off the board as Jacksonville fills its’ need at free safety by selecting Delpit. There is no denying Delpit’s range and ball skills, but Jacksonville would be wise to keep him deep and hope his tackling issues and man coverage woes don’t rear their ugly head too often.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
I still like the fit of Fulton and the Eagles, with the admittance that his struggles to play the ball vertically could continue a trend of such troubling corner play in Philly. There is a lot to like about Fulton’s game in coverage, but the Combine will be a big platform for him to prove he’s got the athleticism to be in the conversation as the second cornerback off the board.
I’m not the biggest Gross-Matos fan, but with his length, perceived athleticism and pedigree, I’m guessing the NFL will be. Buffalo needs pass rush help in a class that doesn’t offer a ton of it. I know fans want a wide receiver early, but there will be a lot more depth there than at edge defender, and Buffalo already has two good ones on its roster to work with in Cole Beasley and John Brown. With four of their top pass-catching options off the board already, they can afford to wait for the value to come back around.
Like Gross-Matos, I wouldn’t take Epenesa in Round 1, but I know I’m in the minority there. The dude has some hands on him for sure, and I think New England will value his gap-holding ways in the run game as well as his versatility to kick inside and rush as a three-technique defensive tackle in sub-packages.
24. New Orleans Saints: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
I still think Gladney’s teammate, Jalen Reagor, makes a ton of sense in New Orleans as well, but the bigger hole for the Saints is at cornerback opposite Marshon Lattimore. Gladney is a feisty man cover corner who has lightning quick feet and plays the ball well, but he did get bodied up by bigger receivers on tape, so his Combine weigh-in will be one to check. This draft has plenty of talented receivers and the Saints can grab a good one in the later rounds.
Houston OT Josh Jones – Photo courtesy of Univ. of Houston
I didn’t want to go too crazy with trades outside of the top ten, but Minnesota is a team that might be desperate enough for offensive tackle help that they jump up from No. 25 to get their guy. Jones has experience in a zone-blocking scheme, and while his footwork needs to develop, his tape is a shutdown festival of pass protection beauty. The jump in competition will probably still take a year or two to adjust to, as it does to some degree for most offensive tackles.
26. *TRADE* Detroit Lions: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Diggs is a scheme-diverse cover corner with length and flashes of ball skills that get you excited about his future. Unfortunately, he’s also a little bit stiff and has some seriously troubling bouts as a tackler on tape. I’m not sure I quite know what Matt Patricia’s cornerback prototype is just yet, but I’d be shocked if the Lions didn’t go corner here after drafting Simmons in the Top 10.
27. Seattle Seahawks: Joshua Uche, EDGE, Michigan
Uche is very much still developing as an edge pass rusher, but Seattle is usually pretty comfortable with that as long as guys are impressive athletes and play with their hair on fire. Uche’s versatility doesn’t hurt either, as he rushed over guards and centers a good bit this past season, while also carrying vertical patterns as an off-ball coverage linebacker.
28. Baltimore Ravens: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
Marquise Brown, Jalen Reagor, Mark Andrews and Lamar Jackson. Funnnn! As I said in my last mock, I’m not convinced Baltimore values the receiver position in its offense high enough to use another first-rounder on one, but the board hasn’t fallen great for them and they really don’t have a ton of needs. They can afford the luxury, plus Reagor will be more than just a receiver in that offense.
This one is all about upside, as Igbinoghene is supposed to test well and his flashes on tape are exciting. The Titans could lose Logan Ryan in free agency, and soon-to-be 31 year-old Malcolm Butler was only healthy for about half the season last year. Igbinoghene gets a year to develop before he’s thrown into the fire.
30. Green Bay Packers: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
The Packers just have to change their fortunes at linebacker, and Murray has all the physical and athletic traits to be that guy someday. When Murray reads it right, he is so much fun to watch because of his range and nasty edge as a tackler. Unfortunately his mental processing and block shedding are still very much underdevelopment.
Davis is the best free safety in the class, with the range to cover a ton of ground while patrolling the middle of the field. His tape is already excellent, showing ball skills, athleticism and physicality, and his Combine performance should get his stock moving toward the first round. The 49ers could have a big need at free safety if Jimmie Ward departs, so the fit here may be perfect.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
I know character concerns could knock Arnette down the draft, but I wanna give a nod to a guy that improved a ton on the field this past season and will almost certainly be a top 32 player in the class for me. Arnette is a sticky man cover corner with good ball skills and physicality. I love his edgy demeanor and ferocious run support, but Arnette needs to not only crush the workouts at the Combine but also the interviews.
Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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