The first round of the NFL will be held on Thursday, April 23rd.
Pick 1- Cincinnati Bengals- Joe Burrow- QB
Lets not overthink this one too much, folks. Burrow is the best QB in the class this year all things considered. Cincy needs a QB and it just so happens that the guy who had the best individual season in NCAA history is available.
Pick 2- Washington Redskins- Chase Young- EDGE
Ron Rivera wants to 1) give Haskins a test run because it buys him another year in the event that Haskins is a bust and 2) as a defensive minded coach, drafting the best overall prospect who happens to be a defender is too sweet for the new DC Coach to pass up.
Pick 3- Miami Dolphins (Trade w/ Detroit)- Tua Tagovailoa- QB
Rather than gambling that other QB needy teams jump into this spot, the Dolphins make their move and get their quarterback of the future. They send Detroit the 5th and 26th (from Houston) overall picks along with a Day 2 and Day 3 pick. If they truly believe that Tua can be “that guy”, this is a win-win trade for both sides.
Pick 4- New York Giants- Isaiah Simmons- LB
Many other pundits believe that the Giants are going to go offensive line here, but I see Simmons as the guy who garners a lot of hype leading up to April 23rd. He covers the field like a safety and can bang at the line like a traditional linebacker. The Giants do need help everywhere and a prospect as versatile as Simmons could fill a lot of gaps.
Pick 5- Detroit Lions (Trade w/ Miami)- Jeff Okudah- CB
The Lions gain extra draft capital and still get their man. Judging by all their offseason moves, they are locked in on Okudah. He won’t be Darius Slay right out of the gate but he has all the tools to become a CB1 on any team in the league.
Pick 6- Los Angles Chargers- Justin Herbert- QB
A Chargers insider has indicated to me that they are locking in on the Oregon QB. While he’s not Tua; 32 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, and almost 3,500 yards in his senior season is nothing to be upset about. He is the heir apparent to the Rivers throne but L.A. will be content with sitting him and letting Tyrod “The Toolman” Taylor take the reins for a year.
Pick 7- Carolina Panthers- Tristan Wirfs- OL
You can never have too many good offensive lineman and Wirfs is the first off the board. Carolina will have their pick between him, Wills, and Becton. I feel they take an OL and, personally, I think Wirfs is the best of those three but any of them is an instant plug-and-play starter.
Pick 8- Arizona Cardinals- Mekhi Becton- OL
The Cardinals continue to invest on offense after their steal of a trade for DeAndre Hopkins. Becton, like I said in the pick above, is one of three top offensive lineman in this draft. Not as sexy as the Hopkins trade, but it makes everything better on offense. You would have to imagine that Cardinal fans from Phoenix to Chicago and everywhere in-between will have dreams of an explosive offense.
Pick 9- Jacksonville Jaguars- Derrick Brown- DL
After dealing Calais Campbell to the Ravens, the Jags need to fill in that defensive line. While there were questions about Brown’s athleticism after the combine, the tape speaks for itself. He was a beast at Auburn and can potentially turn the Jags back into “Sacks-onville”
Pick 10- Cleveland Browns- Jedrick Wills Jr- OL
Cleveland was 22nd in both offensive and defensive efficiency last year but their major investments are on the offensive side of the ball so they are going to take the third offensive lineman in the last four picks. This is a make or break year for Baker Mayfield, if he can’t get it done with all those skill players and an improved offensive line, it may be time for another rebuild.
Pick 11- New York Jets- Jerry Jeudy- WR
Adam Gase, supposed quarterback whisperer, gets the best available weapon for young QB Sam Darnold. I absolutely love Jeudy as a prospect and think he could be the biggest “star” of this entire draft. I feel like this is a steal for the Jets.
Pick 12- Las Vegas Raiders- Javon Kinlaw- DL
The Raiders were dead last in the NFL in defensive efficiency. Kinlaw is the best defender available. The 6’5”, 320 lbs Gamecock is a physical specimen and shined in the Senior Bowl 1-on-1 drills. He has the potential to be an absolute game changer.
Pick 13- San Francisco 49ers (from Indianapolis)- CeeDee Lamb- WR
As one of many teams with multiple first round picks, the 49ers splurge on Lamb. Obviously, the 49ers don’t have many holes to fill coming off of a Super Bowl run and retaining all but a couple pieces. CeeDee was unstoppable as the main target at Clemson, there’s no reason he can’t make an immediate impact on a team that already has a budding star in Deebo Samuel.
Pick 14- Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Andrew Thomas- OL
Tampa invests in its line to protect new free agent acquisition Tom Brady (formerly of New England). Thomas is a big body (6’5, 320 lbs) and acted that way at Georgia. He mauled people then and, while he won’t necessarily be able to do the same in the NFL, he should still be a brick wall on the line.
Pick 15- Denver Broncos- Henry Ruggs III- WR
It appears that the Denver Broncos are going to make Drew Locke the quarterback of the future. They give him the 3rd best receiver in this draft. Ruggs has the speed to take underneath routes a long way and take the top off of a defense.
Pick 16- Atlanta Falcons- Patrick Queen- LB
A prototypical linebacker for today’s NFL. His speed allows him to cover linebackers and his strength allows him to engage at the line of scrimmage. Should be a day one starter and an excellent pick for the Falcons halfway through the first round.
Pick 17- Dallas Cowboys- CJ Henderson- CB
The Cowboys brought back basically everyone on offense so their focus here should be on the other side of the ball. Henderson should be able to start in man coverage packages on day one but there is still a little left to be desired in the tackling department.
Pick 18- Miami Dolphins (from Pittsburgh)- Grant Delpit- S
Winner of the Jim Thorpe award for the best collegiate safety, Delpit is South Beach bound. Miami already got their quarterback of the future and they dip back into the SEC for their quarterback of the defense. Delpit hits hard and should be a fine starting safety for years to come.
Pick 19- Las Vegas Raiders (from Chicago)- Justin Jefferson- WR
The Raiders love first round wide receivers and it actually fits this time. They have a nice slot in Hunter Renfrow and now need the receiver and can go up and get the ball. Jefferson is exactly that. He was the big play maker at LSU and Vegas Raiders are gambling that he can be the same guy for them.
Pick 20- Jacksonville Jaguars (from LA Rams)- Trevon Diggs- CB
Diggs is physical and plays the same way. This can leave him burnt at the line sometimes but with the right coaching, he should be able to adjust to the NFL just fine. If he has trouble in the secondary, at the very least he should be an elite special teams player.
Pick 21- Philadelphia Eagles- D’Andre Swift- RB
The Eagles dont really have a running back on the roster that they can trust. Enter Swift. An extremely consistent runner who is coming from Georgia, which has slowly become Running Back U. What he had shown in college, his pedigree, and the current situation in Philly should make Swift the starter the moment he’s drafted.
Pick 22- Minnesota Vikings (from Buffalo)- Jordan Love- QB
The Vikings were looking to wait a little bit to draft Kirk Cousins successor, but with the Patriots right behind them, they jump on Jordan Love. Love has all the physical tools to become a franchise quarterback. Learning from Cousins for a year or two should benefit both Love and the Vikings.
Pick 23- New England Patriots- K’Lavon Chaisson- DL
It would surprise me if the Pats trade back here, but as of now I feel they try to stock back up on defenders after losing many pieces on defense this offseason. Chaisson has the potential to be a beast once he finishes filling out. Any player going to New England should have Pro Bowl potential.
Pick 24- New Orleans Saints- Kristian Fulton- CB
Fulton could be the biggest risk we see here in the first round. He has great size for a CB at 6’0 and 200 lbs, but lacks a little bit of speed. He definitely benefited from playing on an all-time great LSU defense but there is enough there to vault him into the first round.
Pick 25- Seattle Seahawks (Trade w/ Minnesota)- AJ Epenesa- DL
The Seahawks know that the Lions are looking for more defensive line help so they jump two spots and grab the edge rusher from Iowa. He can fit any defensive scheme because of his motor, but his fine skill will need to be tuned up if Seattle wants him to become a force on the edge.
Pick 26- Detroit Lions (Trade w/ Miami from Houston)- Tee Higgins- WR
Seeing the best defensive line prospect taken just ahead of them, Detroit looks for receiver help. This is a little bit of a luxury pick but the Lions don’t have a wide out signed past this season. At 6’4, Higgins and Golladay will cause matchup nightmares for defensive coordinators.
Pick 27- Minnesota Vikings (Trade w/ Seattle)- Denzel Mims- WR
No ones stock shot up more at the combine than Mims when he ran a scorching 4.38 40. After dealing Diggs to the Bills, the Vikings are thrilled to pick up Mims in this spot. Some have questioned his love of the game, but at the 27th pick, the Vikings are more than willing to take the risk on the 6’3 speedster.
Pick 28- Baltimore Ravens- Kenneth Murray- LB
At 6’3 240lbs and with good speed, John Harbaugh should be able to find a way to use Murray in his defense. Murray is a play maker and has a real nose for the football. He can be a bit aggressive but thats easily correctable.
Pick 29- Tennessee Titans- Austin Jackson- OL
After losing starting guard Jack Conklin, the Titans will need to fill that hole so they can keep their ground game as punishing as it was last year. He has the size (6’5, 320) to be an elite guard but is still raw in his technique. It doesn’t matter to Tennessee though, Jackson has too much upside for him to slide past them.
Pick 30- Green Bay Packers- J.K. Dobbins- RB
Aaron Rodgers isn’t getting any younger and offensive minded Matt LaFleur wants to get him all the help he can get. Dobbins might just be the best running back in the draft with his speed, size, and pass catching ability. He torched the Big Ten at Ohio State for the last few seasons and will look to continue his success in the Midwest.
Pick 31- San Francisco 49ers- Xavier McKinney- S
The knock on McKinney is that he doesn’t exceed in anything, but does everything at an acceptable. With a 49ers team coming off of a Super Bowl run where they leaned on their defense, they make a bit of a luxury pick. McKinney will boost the 49ers other play makers by being so rock solid.
Pick 32- Kansas City Chiefs- Jeff Gladney- CB
The last thing the Chiefs need is help on offense. Thats why Gladney is the pick here. I’ve seen other mocks that have him going as high as the 12th pick. He is a little small for a corner but has all the athletic tools and right mindset to be a fine starting corner in the NFL.