by Rob Grimwood – @FFBritBaller
It’s only been three weeks since the curtain closed in Tampa. Only another 27 more weeks until Week 1 of the new season left to go. Welp. It’s a bloody good job we have some high octane, fever pitch excitement coming our way over the next 2 months though, isn’t it? First, the free agency will fuel our desire to be consumed by this enticing league if only for a few days, but then it’s on to draft season, other wise known as our Christmas time. Cue the excitement.
As the pro-days get under way from next week, here’s my latest mock draft before my final draft comes your way in the middle of April. Keep your eyes peeled for the F10Y NFL Draft Guide coming your way soon though, pre-orders available from March 1st!
1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence, QB – Clemson
Previous pick: Trevor Lawrence (QB) in my mock 2.0
The Jacksonville Jaguars are drafting Trevor Lawrence. Take it to the bank. Minshew Mania is a thing of the past as the Jags move on to start afresh with a shiny new franchise QB to rebuild around.
2. New York Jets – Justin Fields, QB – Ohio State
Previous pick: Penei Sewell (OT)
A lot of analysts have Zach Wilson moving above Fields but I just don’t get it personally. Fields has a had a better college career, he’s more prolific with his arm and with his legs; he’s the full package. I was hesitant to see the Jets move on from Darnold, and I still think there’s a chance the new coaching staff wants to give him a last chance, but ultimately I think they find a trade partner during the free agency period and then they get to draft and re-build around a fresh, young, talented stud.
3. *MOCK TRADE* Chicago Bears via Miami Dolphins/Houston Texans – Zach Wilson, QB – BYU
Chicago sends 20th (1st), 84th (3rd), 2022 1st, 2022 3rd and Anthony Miller (WR)
Previous pick: Justin Fields (QB), Carolina traded with Miami
You can’t ignore the hype for Wilson. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a talented dude that will fit in to the NFL just fine, I am sure… I just prefer Fields as a more polished player. Wilson had a superb 2020 with BYU and fully deserves his meteoric rise. The Bears love gambling on a QB with some question marks, although I believe Wilson is a better prospect than what Trubisky was. They can move on from the recent blunders at acquiring sub-par QB’s and they will hope Wilson can translate his great 2020 season in to the pros.
4. Atlanta Falcons – Penei Sewell, OT – Oregon
Previous pick: Zach Wilson (QB)
The Falcons would have liked for Wilson to fall here so they could get him sitting behind Matty Ice as a plug and replace when Ryan retires or moves on inevitably in the near(ish) future. They might even try and figure out a deal with Miami knowing the Dolphins phone will likely be ringing off the hook. Either way, whoever is picking at 4 will be selecting Penei Sewell. He’s pound for pound the second best player in this draft behind Lawrence and a near generational talent at tackle. Players like Sewell are rare gems that don’t come around very often.
5. Cincinnati Bengals – Kyle Pitts, TE – Florida
Previous pick: Kyle Pitts (TE)
No change for me here. Many can envisage the next best offensive lineman here which is fair, Smokin’ Joe does need better protection. But they also need a top quality target hog to go alongside Tee Higgins and a replacement for A.J Green’s receptions. I think they’d benefit more from one of the best slot receiving options in recent college history with blocking upside as a tight end in Kyle Pitts. Midway through the 2020 season Pitts was slated to go mid to late first round, but seeing just how good his receiving and contested catch ability is, it’s cemented him as a top-10 pick.
6. Philadelphia Eagles – Ja’Marr Chase, WR – LSU
Previous pick: DeVonta Smith (WR)
The glaring need for better receiving options hasn’t changed since I wrote my mock draft 1.0. One thing that has changed is my opinion of the first WR off the board. Despite DeVonta Smith having a lights out year for ‘Bama, after re-watching 2019 tape on Chase, I think he just edges it for me as a more complete receiver and a better size for the NFL.
7. Detroit Lions – DeVonta Smith, WR – Alabama
Previous pick: Patrick Surtain II, CB
After potentially losing Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola during the upcoming free agency, the Lions will likely need some better options and depth at receiver. Smith was the best receiver in college bar none last season and although on the light side at 175lbs, the natural talent is undeniable and will be an elite weapon for Goff to utilize at the next level.
8. Carolina Panthers – Patrick Surtain II, CB – Alabama
Previous pick: Micah Parsons (LB), Miami traded with Carolina
I’ve seen Carolina take Trey Lance here, which does make sense, but I think there are better quality players available that have a lot less risk attached. I think the Panthers like what they saw for the most part with Teddy Bridgewater in 2020 and give him another season at signal caller knowing that if it goes pear-shaped the 2022 draft will provide a replacement. Surtain is my CB1 in this class who has had an incredible college career for one of the nations leading college defenses. He’s a plug and play option for a team who needs better quality in the defensive secondary.
9. Denver Broncos – Jaycee Horn, CB – South Carolina
Previous pick: Gregory Rousseau, Edge
The Denver defensive secondary needs better quality and depth in numbers. Horn has been rising up draft boards after a scintillating 2020 for the Gamecocks and some draft experts have him as the top CB of the board. He’s certainly trending in that direction and I think he goes straight after Surtain Jr here to the Broncos.
10. Dallas Cowboys – Gregory Rousseau, Edge – Miami
Previous pick: Christian Barmore (DT)
Rousseau remains the top Edge rusher in this class after an extremely productive 2019 season. Despite him being a 2020 opt-out and not playing last season, he’s a mouldable asset on the defense – something the Cowboys desperately needs. Rousseau is raw as an Edge rusher after only playing one full season at the position, but he’s naturally gifted and has the physical tools to live up to being a top-10 pick. He’s definitely a Jerry Jones kind of pick.
11. New York Giants – Rashawn Slater, OT – Northwestern
Previous pick: Ja’Marr Chase (WR)
Another 2020 opt-out who has been climbing draft boards thanks to excellent 2019 tape is Rashawn Slater. Teams will love the fact he’s versatile and can play pretty much any position along the offensive line, and excel at it. The G-Men haven’t got the worst line, but by adding Slater they give Danny Dimes and Saquon Barkley a better chance to succeed on offense.
12. San Francisco 49ers – Caleb Farley. CB – Virginia Tech
Previous pick: Wyatt Davis, OG
Corner is arguably the biggest need for San Fran this off season. Farley is the next best available Corner and signifies a big tier drop to the next guy on the CB list in this draft; so the 49ers do what’s best for them by taking Farley here.
13. Los Angeles Chargers – Alijah Vera-Tucker, OT/OG – USC
Previous pick: Caleb Farley (CB)
Vera-Tucker has emerged as a dynamic and versatile offensive lineman worthy of a first round pick. Everyone knows the Chargers have needed a talented, well-rounded offensive lineman to plug the holes for a few years now as it’s been a glaring need in a pretty well-built roster. AVT can line up at tackle or inside at guard giving new Head Coach Brandon Staley assurances that he can protect his franchise QB Justin Herbert efficiently.
14. Minnesota Vikings – Christian Barmore, DT – Alabama
Previous pick: Alex Leatherwood (OT)
Very few players grew in 2020 as much as Barmore did in the heart of Alabama’s defensive line. He’s still a bit raw but has got all the talent, moves and natural ability to quickly become one of the better DT’s within the NFL. He’ll fit right in learning from the likes of Danielle Hunter, Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks.
15. New England Patriots, Micah Parsons, LB – Penn State
Previous pick: Dylan Moses (LB)
Parsons has top-10 talent, that’s for sure. Recent red flags regarding poor discipline and negative teammate stories will likely dent his draft stock a bit. Hence why I have him falling, and it would be further if it wasn’t for the fact this is the type of player that Bill Belichick thrives off coaching. This will be a great pick all around as Belichick will stamp out any past indiscretions Parsons may have and therefore providing a platform for Parsons to showcase his talents on the field. Yet again, the Pats draft a superstar.
16. Arizona Cardinals – Najee Harris, RB – Alabama
Previous pick: Najee Harris (RB)
It was a brutal end of the season for the Cards this year and one of the reasons behind that is the inability to run the ball effectively. Their rush game without Kyler Murray’s rushing stats would have them 30th in the league. There are holes on the defensive side of the ball at edge and corner, but those positions don’t offer the same talent quality at this point in the draft. Pound for pound Harris is a top-5 talent and by taking him, the Cards will have all their offensive weapons locked up for the foreseeable future. Murray, Harris, DHop and Kirk. Formidable.
17. Las Vegas Raiders – Wyatt Davis, OG – Ohio State
Previous pick: Creed Humphrey (C)
There’s a reason why Justin Fields is an early 1st round pick and it’s because Wyatt Davis was leading the line that protected him. I know there are other needs in Vegas particularly on the defensive line and in the defensive secondary, but their o-line desperately needs bolstering too. Whoever starts at QB in 2021 needs more help from their o-line and Davis provides just that.
18. Miami Dolphins – Jaylen Waddle, WR – Alabama
Previous pick: Jaylen Waddle (WR)
I’ve had Waddle nailed on for this pick ever since my mock 1.0 back in November. I believe Waddle will still be on the board considering his draft stock didn’t move much after his season ending injury in week 5 against Tennessee, despite possessing a top-10 talent level. Waddle is one of the best receivers out of college in recent times and would have likely been higher than 18th had he avoided injury. It’s also a nice reunion and a bit of familiarity for Tua.
19. Washington Football Team – Trey Lance, QB – North Dakota State
Previous pick: Trey Lance (QB)
Another player that hasn’t moved since my November predictions is Trey Lance. If you don’t know already, I’m not a big fan of Lance being a first round pick. I’m not disputing he’s got talent, but as a quarterback – the most important position on the field – and not playing at the FBS level at college is a massive red flag to me. It’s a gamble and Washington love to pick questionable QB’s in the first round of the draft… see the careers of Dwayne Haskins, Robert Griffin, Jason Campbell and Patrick Ramsey for proof… all first round QBs that have not lived up to their draft price.
20. *MOCK TRADE* Miami Dolphins via Chicago Bears – Zaven Collins, LB – Tulsa
Miami receives 20th (1st), 84th (3rd), 2022 1st, 2022 3rd and Anthony Miller for the 3rd overall pick
Previous pick before mock trade: Kyle Trask (QB)
After Miami receive a decent haul for the 3rd overall and re-uniting Tua with Waddle earlier in the draft, the Dolphins switch focus to continuing on improving the defense. Linebacker is the next big need and Zaven Collins adds a nice blend of size, power and tackling abilty as an outside guy.
21. Indianapolis Colts – Christian Darrisaw, OT – Virginia Tech
Previous pick: Christian Darrisaw (OT)
There are a few needs in Indy, most notably at receiver and corner. But with the retirement of left tackle Anthony Castonzo earlier this off-season, the already stout Colts o-line loses a valuable piece which GM Chris Ballard will want replaced immediately. There will be decent cornerback options in the second round and the wide receiver class rivals that of 2014; so talent will be aplenty later in the draft to address the other needs.
22. Tennessee Titans – Rashod Bateman, WR – Minnesota
Previous pick: Patrick Jones II (Edge)
The Titans need more receivers, and that’s even before potentially losing Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith to the free agency next month. Bateman is a superstar in the making who is a great route runner and possession receiver, a perfect compliment for AJ Brown.
23. New York Jets via Seattle Seahawks – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB – Notre Dame
Previous pick: Travis Etienne (RB)
Pick a position on the Jets and it’ll need improving. None more so than at linebacker where 4 starters from 2020 are due to hit free agency. J.O-K is a versatile linebacker that can play multiple areas on defense and could even be moved to Safety if needs be in the NFL. I think Owusu-Koramoah is a bit of a reach here, but is probably the best swiss-army knife left in the draft and will tick boxes for the Jets scouts.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Creed Humphrey, C – Oklahoma
Previous pick: Samuel Cosmi (OT)
Maurkice Pouncey has just announced his retirement so why not grab an immediate plug and play Center here. Humphrey is the best Center in the class and is also one of the best players available in a position of need for the Steelers.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars via L.A Rams – Azeez Ojulari, Edge – Georgia
Previous pick: Rashawn Slater (OT)
Ojulari is a dynamic and lightning fast speed rusher out of Georgia who will help the Jags try to rebuild their defense which has all but crumbled since 2017. With Ojulari and Josh Allen on the edges, Taven Bryan in the middle with Myles Jack and Joe Schobert behind, all of a sudden this Jags defense is starting to look more like the formidable one from yesteryear.
26. Cleveland Browns – Kwity Paye, Edge – Michigan
Previous pick: Kwity Paye (Edge)
The Browns roster is pretty stacked on both sides of the ball and really started to get rolling in 2020. But other than Myles Garrett, there is a lack of talent off the edge, so Paye here makes sense. The Michigan product is a very athletic, powerful edge rusher that fits in to Joe Woods’ defensive scheme nicely. Paired with Garrett, this would be a scary and productive duo off the edge for the Browns.
27. Baltimore Ravens – Patrick Jones II, Edge – Pitt
Previous pick: Rashod Bateman (WR)
Jones is an excellent hand in the dirt speed rusher that will thrive in a Harbaugh/Martindale ran defense. The Ravens aren’t far off being a step closer to the Superbowl, addressing their Edge need here and exploring a deeper receiver talent pool in day 2 makes sense.
28. New Orleans – Rondale Moore, WR – Purdue
Previous pick: Jaycee Horn (CB)
I’m assuming that it will be Jameis throwing the rock for the Saints in 2021. If that is the case then he’s going to need more weapons. The last time we saw Winston in a full time capacity it was to the tune of 5,000+ yards in the 2019 regular season. Michael Thomas will be hyper-targeted I’m sure, but the Saints will require another elite weapon to play the other side. Rondale Moore is a fantastic slot receiver that will use his speed to burn inside corners and safetys over the middle of the field. MT as the possession guy, Rondale as the speed/YAC guy. Perfect combo.
29. Green Bay Packers – Alex Leatherwood, OT/OG – Alabama
Previous pick: Terrace Marshall (WR)
Depth on the offensive line is one area the Packers could bolster alongside the need for wide receiver or on the defensive front 7. Leatherwood is another elite level prospect out of the Crimson Tide and will fit in anywhere on the line as a plug and play prospect.
30. Buffalo Bills – Travis Etienne, RB – Clemson
Previous pick: Jalen Mayfield (OT)
Despite drafting two RB’s fairly high in the last two drafts, their inability to run the ball in the playoffs this year really cost them an opportunity of going to a Superbowl. There are other needs, but Etienne is a home-run pick that will offer so much more in the ground game and another option for Josh Allen to utilise out of the backfield.
32. Kansas City Chiefs – Nick Bolton, LB – Missouri
Previous pick: Deonte Brown (OG)
Back-to-back Superbowl finalists don’t tend to have many needs. They might want to bolster their offensive line options considering that was one of the biggest reasons why they failed to win in Superbowl LV, but there are also other positional groups that need better depth. Bolton will provide that as a hard hitting tackler in the linebacking corps.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Dylan Moses, LB – Alabama
Previous pick: Quincey Roche (Edge)
This time last year had Moses entered the 2020 draft he would have likely gone top-10. However, he decided to play another season in college for Alabama to solidify his draft stock. Unfortunately though, Moses really struggled to overcome the season ending ACL tear he suffered in 2019 and only managed to put up standard numbers statistically. Despite the average 2020 campaign, knowing that he could be an all-pro talent if he manages to fully recover, it might be worth the Bucs throwing the dart at Moses and potentially having a fifth-year option in their back pocket, but ultimately we’ll have to wait to see what they do with upcoming free agents at linebacker Shaq Barrett and Lavonte David.