Anyone who has followed me or read me at Pro Football Weekly or the old National Football Post knows that I am not a fan of Mock Drafts. Why? Because they are fantasy football and having been in the evaluation business as long as I have, I would rather deal with reality.
That said, I know that you guys… the fans, love them, and that is why I am doing this exercise.
There are some rules in my Mock; the main rule is that there will be no trades. I will comment if I think a team is capable of moving up or down but trying to put together a hypothetical is not for me.
This time of the year brings out more lies and nonsense than actual truth, so I just try and piece together what actually could be true.
1 – Carolina – QB - Bryce Young – Alabama – This one was easy. If the Panthers go with anyone other than Young, it will be a huge surprise as almost everyone connected with the League feels this is a done deal.
2 – Houston – Edge - Tyree Wilson – Texas Tech – Yes, I know this one is from left field, but recently there has been a lot of talk of Wilson to the Texans. If you recall, Nick Casario went with LSU corner Derek Stingley last year, which was a surprise. Houston had hoped for Young, and from what I’ve been told for weeks, they do not want CJ Stroud. There is a good chance that the Texans could trade down.
3 – Arizona – Edge - Will Anderson Jr. – Alabama – Arizona is another team that could trade down for a team that wants a QB, but they feel lucky that Anderson is still on the Board and jump at it.
4 – Indianapolis – QB - Will Levis – Kentucky - The Colts may very well try and move up, but the way the draft is falling, they don’t have to. I originally was going to put Stroud here, but in recent days, all things point to Levis.
5 – Seattle – CB – Christian Gonzalez – Oregon – Seattle could go a variety of ways, such as quarterback or defensive tackle Jalen Carter, but the secondary still needs work. Pairing Gonzales with last year’s top rookie Tariq Woolen gives the Seahawks a very strong corner room.
6 – Detroit – DT - Jalen Carter – Georgia – I have a friend that told me last week there was no way Detroit was taking Carter, but that was before Carter made a visit to Detroit last Monday. That visit could have sealed the deal.
7 – Las Vegas – QB - C.J. Stroud – Ohio State - Yes, the Raiders signed Jimmy Garoppolo, but he’s 32 and always finds a way to get injured. It’s time for the Raiders to draft and develop a quarterback of their own, and Stroud could be the one
8 – Atlanta – CB – Devon Witherspoon – Illinois -Word is the Falcons want to trade down, and with most thinking the Bears will take an Olineman this would be a good place to move up and get one. If they stay, Witherspoon makes sense, as he can play inside or outside and is a top cover guy.
9 – Chicago Bears – OT – Broderick Jones – Georgia – If the Draft falls this way, the Bears may try and trade down as all of the OLinemen are still available. Their next pick isn’t until 53, and it would be nice to add a pick to get higher in the second round. If they stay at nine, the pick will be Jones or OSU’s Paris Johnson. I like Jones a bit better.
10 – Philadelphia – OL – Peter Skoronski – Northwestern. – I know a lot of people have the Eagles taking a running back here, but I think it’s too early. They lost guard Isaac Seumalo during free agency, and Skoronski replaces him.
11 – Tennessee – QB – Anthony Richardson – Florida – The Titans could go OLine here, but Richardson is a gift they are sure to unwrap.
12 – Houston – QB - Hendon Hooker – Tennessee – The Texans need to draft a QB, they just didn’t want to take one at #2. Hooker could fit what they want very well.
13 – New York Jets – OT – Paris Johnson Jr. – Ohio State – Depending on what happens with the Aaron Rodgers trade, the Jets could very well move down here, especially if they have to give up one or both of their second-round picks for Rodgers. If they stay, Johnson will be the man.
14 – New England – WR – Jaxon Smith-Njigba – Ohio State – The Pats need to upgrade their wide receiver corps, and JSN is the best WR in this class.
15 – Green Bay – TE – Dalton Kincaid – Utah – The Pack lost move tight end Robert Tonyan to the Bears in free agency, and Marcedes Lewis is getting ready to collect social security he’s so old. This is a must-upgrade position for Green Bay.
16 – Washington – CB – Joey Porter Jr. – Penn State – Washington could go in several different ways with this pick, but Porter is a big, physical corner type than Ron Rivera loves.
17 – Pittsburgh – OT – Darnell Wright – Tennessee – There have been rumors for weeks that the Steelers would like to move up to get one of the top left tackles. If that doesn’t happen, this is the way Pittsburgh could go.
18 – Detroit – WR – Jordan Addison – USC – Many have the Lions going with a running back here, but they just lost WR Jameson Williams for six games due to a suspension. Addison steps in to replace Williams.
19 – Tampa Bay - OT Anton Harrison – Oklahoma – I’ve been hearing for about a week that the Bucs really like Harrison. We’ll see if that was a rumor or fact.
20 – Seattle - Nolan Smith – Edge – Georgia – The Seahawks were tempted to go with an edge at #5 but went corner instead. They get their edge here.
21 – L.A. Chargers – Michael Mayer – TE – Notre Dame – Going into the 2022 season, Mayer was the #1 Tight End, but he got surpassed by Kincaid because of Kincaid’s athleticism. Here the Chargers hit a home run with a Gronk-like TE.
22 – Baltimore – Deonte Banks – CB – Maryland – Banks had a great year for Maryland in ’22, and he tested as one of the top corners in the Draft and will fit in nicely with the local Baltimore Ravens. An alternative could be WR with this pick.
23 – Minnesota – Zay Flowers – WR – Boston College - The Vikes let Adam Thielen walk during free agency. Flowers gives them the best slot receiver in the Draft and an excellent complement to Justin Jefferson.
24 – Jacksonville – Emmanuel Forbes – CB – Mississippi State – A best player available pick here and good corners are hard to come by.
25 – N.Y. Giants – Lukas Van Ness – DE – Iowa – Van Ness is raw but has unlimited upside. He can also grow into a 5-Tech for NY and give them an inside pass rush presence.
26 – Dallas - RB – Bijan Robinson – Texas – Cowboys get lucky here and immediately just at the chance to draft Robinson.
27 – Buffalo – RB – Jahmyr Gibbs – Alabama – The Bills are a prime trade down candidate. Their biggest need is ILB, and this is too early in the Draft to select one.
28 – Cincinnati – TE – Darnell Washington – Georgia – Two or three years down the road, Washington will be the best TE from this class, and he gives the Bengals another offensive weapon.
29 – New Orleans – DT – Bryan Bresee – Clemson – Bresee had a number of obstacles to overcome this past year, and he’s probably a better man for it. This could be a steal pick for the Saints.
30 – Philadelphia – Edge – Felix Anudike-Uzomah – Kansas State – This is one of my favorite players in the Draft. He’s a ferocious pass rusher and will become a dominant one in the NFL.
31 – Kansas City – Quentin Johnson – WR – TCU – Having lost JuJu Smith in free agency, Johnson is an ideal replacement.