The draft is tomorrow, and all we know is that we do not know much. Here’s my latest stab at the first round.
1. Cincinnati Bengals – QB Joe Burrow, LSU. No mystery here. Moving on to number two.
2. Washington Redskins – EDGE Chase Young, Ohio State. The Redskins will exhaust trade possibilities, but they would have to be overwhelmed to pass up on the best talent in this draft. Cannot see a team like Miami giving up all their picks for someone like Tua Tagovialoa.
3. Detroit Lions – DT Derrick Brown, Auburn. A logical trade down spot for a QB hungry team, but I do not project trades. The Lions could go with Brown, Okudah or Simmons here. Brown is quietly a stud, and defense starts in the middle.
4. New York Giants – OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia. The Giants are zeroing in on offensive line, and I still think Thomas is the best of the bunch. He has Trent Williams potential and will fill a long time need spot.
5. Miami Dolphins – QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama. As a Dolphins fan, I am dreading taking another Oregon quarterback. I’ll believe the owner who basically said Tua or other position. With three picks, this is a good spot to gamble on the upside.
6. Los Angeles Chargers – QB Justin Herbert, Oregon. I am not a huge Herbert fan, but if you are in the top ten and need a quarterback, you take the quarterback.
7. Carolina Panthers – CB Jeffrey Okudah, Ohio State. The Panthers are an early favorite for the Trevor Lawrence bowl, so they can sit back and take the top talent here. I like Okudah, but top three for a non-Jalen Ramsey talent seemed a bit too rich for me. Great fit and spot here, though.
8. Arizona Cardinals – OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa. You cannot go wrong with Iowa lineman. They are just solid (forget Robert Gallery). It goes without saying that giving a young running quarterback blocking help is always paramount.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars – CB CJ Henderson, Florida. Okudah and Henderson might be the only two CB1’s in this class, meaning if the Jaguars want to replace one of two starters they will have to pounce here. Perhaps Jacksonville will not care about positional needs and take Isaiah Simmons, as they are clearly trying to “Major League” this thing with Minshew Mania, a lot of losses and eventual move to England.
10. Cleveland Browns – OT Jedrick Wills, Alabama. Maybe the Browns do not want to ignore offensive tackle again? Whether it’s Trent Williams or a rookie, expect the position to be addressed here.
11. New York Jets – OLB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson. Perhaps the most talented athlete in this class, Simmons slips a bit because coaches are not creative and want to pigeonhole him into one role. Despite where he lines up, he will provide the Jets with some much needed defensive explosiveness.
12. Las Vegas Raiders – WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma. This is the perfect spot to go after one of the top receivers. The Raiders offense spent the entire year paying for the Antonio Brown mistake.
13. San Francisco 49ers (from IND) – WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama. Jeudy reminds me of the LSU version of Odell Beckham, but not quite as fast. The 49ers will be getting a super reliable pair of hands that can only help the embattled Jimmy G.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DT Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina. While not the biggest need, Kinlaw is the best available prospect here and can help out right away. With Suh, Via and Kinlaw, this will be a tough defense to run on.
15. Denver Broncos – WR Henry Ruggs III, Alabama. The Broncos have Courtlans Sutton and not much else, Ruggs would give the rocket armed Drew Lock a reliable down field threat.
16. Atlanta Falcons – CB AJ Terrell, Clemson. News has the Falcons wanting to trade up for a cornerback. If the top two are gone, Terrell seems to be the next best, as his stock has been pointing up recently.
17. Dallas Cowboys – EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson, LSU. When has Dalls NOT needed pass rushing help. Chaisson profiles similar to Robert Quinn, who had a nice bounce year with Dallas in 2019.
18. Miami Dolphins (from PIT) – OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville. I would be happy if Miami drafted at least five offensive lineman this weekend. Becton is a massive right tackle only prospect who would be a good fit with a left-handed quarterback.
19. Las Vegas Raiders (from CHI) – DE AJ Epenesa, Iowa. Las Vegas drafted a great building block at defensive end in 2019, but it was not the guy drafted in the top five. Epenesa seems like a classic Raider. He will put pressure on Clelin Ferrell and can chip in all along the front four.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (from LAR) – EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State. Jacksonville traded one defensive end and should have already traded the other. Where will the pass rush come from? The drop off after YGM is steep.
21. Philadelphia Eagles – WR Justin Jefferson, LSU. This is the most popular mock pick in the 20s, and for good reason. This receiver group is abysmal. Throw Carson Wentz a bone and give him a young reliable pair of hands.
22. Minnesota Vikings (from BUF) – CB Kristian Fulton, LSU. I think Fulton is more of an early day two picks, but the Vikings have to address the position early, and I am not cute enough to have them select Trevon Diggs with the pick they traded his brother for.
23. New England Patriots – QB Jordan Love, Utah State. The ultimate wild card after the top three quarterbacks are taken. Some team will probably trade up for Love before this pick. One thing is for certain, I am fairly sure that Jarrett Stidham is not the long term answer in Boston.
24. New Orleans Saints – WR Denzel Mims, Baylor. The Saints are giving it one more go with Drew Brees, so giving him another big, athletic target to go with Michael Thomas makes a lot of sense here.
25. Minnesota Vikings – OT Austin Jackson, USC. The offensive line was better in 2019, but still not great. Jackson is a big time project but could become a standout tackle or guard.
26. Miami Dolphins (from HOU) – C Cesar Ruiz, Michigan. Ruiz is in a league of his own at the center position, and those guys are usually plucked around this spot in the draft. If Miami can get a running back early in round two, this draft would be a coup offensively.
27. Seattle Seahawks – DT Ross Blacklock, TCU. No one flubs the first round like Seattle, so guessing a logical pick here is a waste of time. Blacklock fills the need of a pass rushing tackle.
28. Baltimore Ravens – MLB Patrick Queen, LSU. Drafting SEC inside linebackers has traditionally worked out well for the Ravens. Queen is a playmaker; the only thing he lacks is experience.
29. Tennessee Titans – CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama. There are a glut of second tier cornerbacks for the Titans to choose from here, with Diggs leading the way.
30. Green Bay Packers – OT Ezra Cleveland, Boise State. This receiver group is deep enough that the Packers should find a starter in round two. Offensive line is a sneaky need. Cleveland is the type of tackle the Packers like and could be a long term answer on the right side.
31. San Francisco 49ers – S Xavier McKinney, Alabama. McKinney is a bit of a poor man’s Isaiah Simmons in that he can do a little bit of everything.
32. Kansas City Chiefs – CB Jaylon Johnson, Utah. A big high for Johnson, but the cornerback talent may dry up a bit by the end of the second round.