We are quickly approaching April 29th and the NFL Draft so what better way to get ready than with a first-round mock draft. Already there have been several blockbuster moves made that have shaken up the landscape of this draft. It’s highly possible that we haven’t seen the last major trade happen yet either. The Miami Dolphins struck the biggest blow by far early on. They shuffled their number three overall pick to the San Francisco 49ers. That set off a chain reaction in which they flipped the Niners’ 12th pick into the Eagles’ sixth pick along with a fifth-rounder.
That landscape changer most assuredly signals the selection of three quarterbacks going with the first three picks in the draft. Another signal-caller could make it four in a row should the Falcons decide to lock up Matt Ryan’s successor this year. That leaves several talented players up for grabs behind that run of quarterbacks and several teams stand to benefit from it.
It’s a foregone conclusion as to who the first is, but the speculation around every pick after that is a hot debate. Will general managers address needs, or will they take the best available player? Will teams get their instant impact players, or will their first-round picks disappoint? These questions and more go into each and every pick in this mock draft.
Playing the part of an NFL general manager is not an easy task. Playing the part of 32 NFL general managers is less easy, but it is fun. So, in the spirit of mock draft season, here are my predictions for the first round of the draft. There still could be shifting of the draft climate before the end of the month of course. Even still, these picks represent the best-case scenario for both players and teams alike. Have fun with these and I look forward to seeing how many of these I can get right.
NFL Mock Draft Round 1
|If the Jaguars take anyone but Lawrence with the first pick in the draft none of us know anything about football. Jacksonville fans are hoping to find their future here. Hopefully, that future is bright.
|As their draft position dictates, the Jets need help. That help starts with a new signal caller. Wilson is highly touted as being pro ready which is exactly what he’ll need to be for New York. If his pro day performance translates to Sunday’s the Jets may be picking later in next year’s draft.
|Justin Fields||QB||Ohio State|
|Trading up as far as San Francisco did can really only mean one thing. John Lynch is looking for a young arm to help phase out the Jimmy Garoppolo era. Fields will give the Niners a versatile quarterback who can buy time with his legs. Which he’ll need unless his offensive line gets upgraded as well.|
|Trey Lance||QB||North Dakota State|
|Matt Ryan is not getting any younger. Unless he plans on pulling a Tom Brady and playing until his 60s, the long suffering Ryan will likely call it quits sooner rather than later. Lance is by all accounts the best player available here. It would be a mistake for the Falcons not to scoop up Ryan’s understudy and soon-to-be starter now.
|Sometimes you want to buy the Corvette. The responsible thing to do though, is buy the minivan. Deep down, you know you have a young kid and you need the protection a more sturdy car provides. The Bengals can afford a flashy new wide receiver, but should be thinking about protecting their young quarterback first. Adulting sucks, but this is a necessary evil.
|Miami wheeled and dealed their way to this pick and will grab the most coveted wide receiver on the board. Tua Tagovailoa now has another receiving threat at his disposal on top of Fuller and Parker. Chase and Tua also carry the possibility of a duo that have a long history of success by the end of their careers.
|The departure of Kenny Golladay left incoming quarterback Jared Goff down his most valuable weapon. What better way to cushion the blow than to pick up what could be a more than suitable replacement in the draft for free? Smith could almost certainly end up becoming the number one pass catching option by the end of the season. He could also be a name Detroit fans hear for several years.
|Last season was the first without Greg Olson, their tight end of almost ten years. Last season was not a good one for the position. Ian Thomas led the position with 31 receptions and 145 yards. He only snagged a single touchdown catch in the process. Now that the Panthers have acquired Sam Darnold, their needs shift somewhat. Here is a chance to give their new signal caller the most lethal tight end in the draft.
|Micah Parsons||LB||Penn State|
|Von Miller wants to be a Denver Bronco for the rest of his career. Thing is, that career might end after his one year option that ends after the 2021 season. John Elway went all in on the secondary during free agency, and since he wasn’t able to fix his quarterback situation in the draft this season, selecting a young student in the Miller defense school is the next best option.|
|Patrick Surtain II||CB||Alabama|
|Dallas has lost two members it’s secondary during free agency. Both Chidobe Awuzie as well as Xavier Woods are off to new teams. Given the lower cap and the less than favorable state of the cornerback free agent market, taking this pick in the draft will be a cheaper way to fill the void. Dallas is also lucky to be able to grab Surtain who is considered by many to be the best at his position in this draft. They’ll hope for him to be a chip off the block as Surtain Sr. was a three time pro bowl cornerback in the NFL.|
|Daniel Jones was the fourth most sacked quarterback in the league last season. There is very little doubt in where the Giants need to concentrate in this draft. Taking one of the top offensive linemen in this draft gives New York an opportunity to grow a youngster in front of their young signal caller. He opted out of 2020, but in his last full seasons, he allowed no sacks, one quarterback hit and only six hurries. If anyone can protect Danny Dimes, Slater can.
via MIA via SF
|The Eagles are needy all over the field. That said, if they plan on rolling with Jalen Hurts as their quarterback, they need to give him more weapons. What makes this better is that these two already have chemistry as former teammates in Alabama. Nothing like finding a security blanket for your new quarterback in the draft. Especially when it falls in your lap.|
|Christian Darrisaw||OT||Virginia Tech|
|With most of the main receiving threats already off the board, the focus of the Chargers becomes not who Justin Herbert is throwing too, but who is protecting his blind side. Not only is Darrisaw accomplished in pass protection, but he also makes an impact run blocking. He contributed to Hookies running back Khalil Herbert’s 1,182 yard, eight touchdown season. By adding Darrisaw, Los Angeles helps keep their quarterback safe while paving the way for Austin Ekeler to do his thing.|
|Jaycee Horn||CB||South Carolina|
|Minnesota is no stranger to selecting cornerbacks in the first round. Last season it actually worked out relatively well as Jeff Gladney had a decent 2020 season. Surtain should make the same type of impact giving the Vikings a formidable secondary. Between Gladney, Horn and their defensive backfield mate Harrison Smith, NFC offenses will have a much harder time moving the ball through the air against Minnesota. Even the addition of Patrick Peterson shouldn’t stop the Vikings from looking to the future.|
|New England is attempting to address most of their offensive issues via free agency this offseason. The biggest question now is just how long Cam Newton will remain Bill Belichick’s quarterback. This is a golden opportunity to grab the next Tom Brady. He’s being touted as a traditional pocket passer and is just the kind of something to fit in the Patriots, “system.”
|Caleb Farley||CB||Virginia Tech|
|Arizona lost their best defensive weapon when they let Patrick Peterson walk. The Cardinals are in a position to take a risk on Farley given his injury history and his recent back injury. The fact that a potential long term replacement for their departed All-Pro is too good of an opportunity to pass up here.|
|It’s hard to pinpoint just one area of need for the Raiders. A good place to start though is on the offensive line. Derek Carr was sacked 26 times last season, it would benefit Las Vegas to bring in another solid wall to keep that from happening as often. Vera-Tucker allowed only two hits on his quarterback in 2020 so it seems as if he is best suited for this job.
|Miami’s offense is starting to take shape so bolstering the defense to match would be a great idea. The Dolphins clearly miss the production of Kyle Van Noy. Since they failed to address this position in free agency, selecting Ojulari here should help their cause. The redshirt sophomore has 8.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for a loss in 2020. He’s just what Miami needs defensively.|
|Washington is another team with several holes to fill. In this case, the Football Team will attempt to increase the ferocity of their defense by adding Rousseau to a squad that already has studs in Chase Young and Da’Ron Payne. Given the fact that they missed out on most of the highest graded receivers and quarterbacks, stiffening up their defensive line seems like their best bet.
|Offensive rebuild is upon the Bears. With that in mind, the need for a tough defense becomes an even bigger priority. Nothing helps that more than a defensive lineman that can just as easily sack the quarterback as Khalil Mack. In the 2019 season, Paye registered 6.5 sacks for the Wolverines. He will fit nicely in Chicago and could help the Bears stay in some games this season.
|Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah||LB||Notre Dame|
|Indianapolis took care (?) of it’s quarterback situation this offseason by signing Carson Wentz. He’ll join a talented offense with a good running back and receiver situation. With that, the Colts can turn their attention to adding strength elsewhere. These later round picks are used to make good teams better and that is what Indianapolis does here with Owusu-Koramoah. He looked good at his pro day and adds depth to an already solid Colts linebacking corps.
|Greg Newsome II||CB||Northwestern|
|Malcom Butler was let go by the Titans after the 2020 season. Tennessee quickly brought in Janoris Jenkins to take his place. Despite that, there is still room in the Titans secondary for a young talented cover guy like Newsome. The price is right and given the available players around this pick, he’s the best selection for the Titans.
|The Jets can potentially find the answer to their running back carousel. Harris can be for New York what they had hoped Le’Veon Bell was supposed to be. The Alabama back ran for over 1,400 yards last season while catching 43 passes for over 420 yards. The only thing that could spoil this pick would be if the Jets offense remains inept. Hopefully having a viable running game again can help. Harris could easily overtake Tevin Coleman for the top spot on the roster by the end of camp.
|Teven Jenkins||OT||Oklahoma State|
|Big Ben is not getting any younger. Keeping him off his back is more important now than it ever has been. Adding Jenkins could be important should Alejandro Villenueva fail to return to the black and yellow. What’s more, is the run-blocking skill of Jenkins could go a long way in helping what became a sagging Steelers rushing attack of the back half of the season.
|With their second pick of the first round, the Jaguars look for what they hope will become a guy that will protect their new quarterback for years to come. While they may not immediately need Cosmi, adding depth behind Cam Robinson doesn’t hurt.
|The Browns were on the cusp of a Super Bowl appearance last season. Something that could have helped was an edge defender who could put pressure on Patrick Mahomes. Cleveland can draft such a player by selecting Phillips. Last season he totalled seven sacks with the Hurricanes as a replacement for Gregory Rousseau who opted out of the 2020 season because of Covid. Phillips has a shot at being a day one starter for the Browns.
|The drop off between Maquise Brown and the rest of the Ravens wideouts is staggering. What’s even more telling is their tight end effectively served as the number two pass catching option in 2020. Lamar Jackson needs another target and Bateman could very well be their guys. In 2019, he racked up over 1,200 yards and 11 receiving touchdowns. He is speedy as was evident from his 4.39 40 time and could offer a true deep threat for the Ravens.|
|Kwon Alexander was brought in to be a long term staple at the linebacking position. He was let go last month. With their pick in the first round, they will get to start over with Collins in the hopes that he can provide a spark for free. He could actually be a day one starter for this defense as well, which is a perfect situation for both Collins and the Saints.
|Jayson Oweh||EDGE||Penn State|
|At this point, any pick for the Packers would just be stocking their shelves. So with this pick, they add depth to an already deep position. His 4.36 40 speed alone turns heads. Given the mentorship of the All-Pros around him, he could develop into an outstanding player in his own right.|
|Buffalo fans should be proud of their team’s effort in the 2020 season. In just about every aspect of the game, they excelled. So, when the chance comes to select a defensive talent who could use a season or two learning from Micah Hyde, you take it. Moehrig is a player that needs a little seasoning, but should produce given the proper experience.|
|Nothing exposes your weaknesses like a nationally televised championship game. Patrick Mahomes was sacked three times and hit on ten occasions. The Chiefs have brought in Joe Thuney to help that, but still could use more hands on deck to shore up that hole. Leatherwood could end up competing for a starting spot before it’s all said and done.
|With most of the Super Bowl championship team returning to Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers are coming into the draft in a strong position. That said, taking Toney with their first pick gives them a way to supplement an aging Antonio Brown as well as solid depth should Evans or Godwin wind up unable to play.
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