Welcome back to my Week 3 Mock! I am starting to see a lot of “expert mocks” going absolutely crazy with moving down quarterbacks following some less than perfect starts. I understand they do it for clicks, but this is a quarterback league. I could see as many as five or six guys going all throughout the first round. Do not over-exaggerate over a game or two, but we all know how sports media operates these days.
1. Atlanta Falcons (0-2)
Pick: QB Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma – 6’1, 205 lbs
2021 Stats: 74-99, 761 yards, 7 TD, 2 INT
No change here. The Falcons have put off a rebuild for a few years now and the team has finally bottomed out. Atlanta needs to reset by trading Matt Ryan for a first round pick or two. Spencer Rattler is undoubtedly worth the first overall selection to me. He plays with an aggressive streak, knows how to lead a team and can really fire the ball. He will never have Tom Brady accuracy and ball protection, but I like him as a Baker Mayfield type. You can win with Rattler.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2)
Pick: DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon – 6’5, 255 lbs
2021 Stats: 2 tackles, 1 sack
It seems like we may not see much of Kayvon Thibodeaux this season. I am not sure he will go the Nick Bosa route, but he will surely take his sweet time recovering from his injury. His absence will not effect his draft stock at all. Other than quarterbacks, pass rushers often go the highest. Thibodeaux is in that Chase Young/Bosa range as a sure-fire top five pick, even if he does not take another snap this season.
3. Detroit Lions (0-2)
Pick: FS Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame – 6’4, 220 lbs
2021 Stats: 21 tackles, 3 INT
Jared Goff is not the long-term answer in Detroit, but I think the front office rides with him for a year or two while they build up the rest of the roster. Kyle Hamilton is the best prospect available here. Safeties never go in the top five, but we said the same thing about tight ends until one was good enough. Hamilton is absolutely that good. A tackling machine, a strong run stopper with great hands in the passing game, there is very little he cannot do. An All-Pro waiting to happen.
4. New York Jets (0-2)
Pick: CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU – 6’1, 195 lbs
2021 Stats: 27 tackles
Derek Stingley Jr. has not had an interception since his freshman season, but do not let that deter you. Teams smartly do not throw his way. Stingley Jr. has prototypical CB1 size and skills. You would like to see him clean up his mistakes a bit, but the whole LSU team has been a mess these past two seasons. Draft him in the top five with confidence. Especially if you are a New York team that has next to nothing in the secondary.
5. Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) (from IND)
Pick: QB Matt Corral, Ole Miss – 6’0, 200 lbs
2021 Stats: 43-65, 997 yards, 9 TD, 0 INT
The Eagles have three first round picks in this draft, so if they do not believe Jalen Hurts is the answer (I have my doubts) they should pounce at his replacement right away. Matt Corral is still a project, but you cannot deny he has been perhaps the most impressive quarterback in college football. I like him better than Zach Wilson as a prospect and could definitely see him enter the first overall pick conversation, if he has not already.
6. New York Giants (0-2)
Pick: OT Evan Neal, Alabama – 6’7, 360 lbs
2021 Stats: N/A
I would love to see the Giants upgrade from Daniel Jones, but this is a front office that is perfectly fine with being perfectly average. They are not even that, of course, but they will not be that forward thinking. Giants fans will hate another offensive lineman, but Evan Neal is the best prospect available here. I think Andrew Thomas is decent, but he is not a franchise left tackle. Evan Neal, with his unbelievable size/skill combination, could be.
7. Minnesota Vikings (0-2)
Pick: DE DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M – 6’4, 290 lbs
2021 Stats: 13 tackles, 2.5 sacks
The Vikings could very easily be 2-0 right now, but here they sit with another hill to climb. The defense has been just okay; the defensive line less so. DeMarvin Leal is a freak of nature who can play any position on the line, and really get after the quarterback. Even at 6’4, 290, he moves like a guy 30 pounds lighter. He would provide much needed help for superstar Danielle Hunter.
8. Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) (from MIA)
Pick: DE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan – 6’6, 265 lbs
2021 Stats: 10 tackles, 3.5 sacks
Aidan Hutchinson could have been a second round pick before his serious injury. Little did everyone know he would come back in better shape, faster and hungrier. He has been an absolute menace as a pass rusher and has real top ten momentum. Pass rush is a sneaky need in Philadelphia, with long time end Brandon Graham suffering a serious injury and Derek Barnett just being okay.
9. Tennessee Titans (1-1)
Pick: OG Kenyon Green, Texas A&M – 6’4, 325 lbs
2021 Stats: N/A
The Titans will, of course, win the worst division in football, but that does not mean the offensive line does not need help. Kenyon Green is my top ranked interior lineman prospect since Quenton Nelson. He would be a perfect fit in front of Derrick Henry, and could even kick to right tackle if needed.
10. New York Giants (0-2) (from CHI)
Pick: CB Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson – 6’0, 200 lbs
2021 Stats: 10 tackles
You cannot blame the Clemson defense for the team’s slow start. They have given up one touchdown in three games. Andrew Booth Jr., in particular, has completely shut down every one he has lined up across. The secondary is the weak link for a decent Giants defense, and Booth Jr. has CB1 potential.
11. Green Bay Packers (1-1)
Pick: WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State – 6’0, 188 lbs
2021 Stats: 19 rec, 267 yards, 3 TD
Nothing like playing the Detroit Lions to calm the sharks for at least one week. Still, this will most likely be Jordan Love’s team next year, so adding some actual skill position players would be a good thing to do. Ohio State receivers Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave are the two best receivers in this class; pick which one you prefer. I like both, but rank Wilson higher.
12. Baltimore Ravens (1-1)
Pick: OT Jaxson Kirkland, Washington – 6’7, 310 lbs
2021 Stats: N/A
Jaxson Kirkland has worked very hard to tone his body, tighten up his game and work himself into a legitimate first round prospect. Ronnie Stanley is a mainstay at left tackle, but the rest of the line really needs some help. Kirkland could be an All-Pro right tackle.
13. Washington Football Team (1-1)
Pick: QB Sam Howell, North Carolina – 6’1, 220 lbs
2021 Stats: 52-82, 867 yards, 9 TD, 4 INT
Washington has to draft a quarterback. I know they feel burned by Dwayne Haskins Jr., but that position is really holding back what could be a very strong team. Sam Howell has rebounded nicely from a terrible showing against Virginia Tech, especially with his 5 TD performance against Virginia. Scouts want to see perfection from quarterbacks playing in a pro-style offense, so Howell has to continue to dominate to move back up the board.
14. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1)
Pick: CB Kaiir Elam, Florida – 6’2, 196 lbs
2021 Stats: 8 tackles, 1 INT
A quarterback would not be the worst selection here, but teams simply do not draft first round quarterbacks to sit behind long time veterans anymore. They want the guy to play right away. So I think Pittsburgh will go a different way as long as Ben Roethlisberger wants to play. Pittsburgh has quite a few holes, especially in the secondary. Kaiir Elam struggled a bit against Alabama, but who hasn’t? I like his size and skills and think he could be Florida’s next good NFL cornerback.
15. Cincinnati Bengals (1-1)
Pick: OG Ikem Ekwonu, NC State – 6’4, 320 lbs
2021 Stats; N/A
I know it is cliche to mock an offensive lineman to the Bengals, but they need to do everything in their power to keep franchise QB Joe Burrow upright. Ikem Ekwonu has flawlessly transitioned to tackle for the Wolfpack this year, further enhancing his value in the eyes of NFL scouts. He is every bit the prospect that mid teens picks Alijah Vera-Tucker and Rashawn Slater were last year.
16. Los Angeles Chargers (1-1)
Pick: OT Nicholas Petit-Frere, Ohio State – 6’5, 315 lbs
2021 Stats: N/A
The Chargers wisely drafted an offensive lineman in the first round of the 2021 draft, and unless one of the three top cornerbacks fall, I think they should dip back into that well once again in 2022. Nicholas Petit-Frere is still a project, but I believe he is the most talented draft-eligible lineman on the Ohio State roster and a first round pick if he decides to declare in 2022.
17. Dallas Cowboys (0-1)
Pick: CB Ahmad Gardner, Cincinnati – 6’3, 200 lbs
2021 Stats: 4 tackles, 1 INT
I am not often a fan of teams reaching for need in the first round, but if Dallas drafted 6 or 7 defensive backs in this draft, I would not hold that against them. This may be a bit high for Ahmad Gardner, but he has a ton of experience, great size and has completely shut down one half of the field on defense for the best Non-Power Five team in the country.
18. New York Jets (0-2) (from SEA)
Pick: WR Chris Olave, Ohio State – 6’1, 189 lbs
2021 Stats: 16 rec, 243 yards, 2 TD
This would be a dream scenario for the Jets. New York absolutely has to add some real talent to the offense if it wants Zach Wilson to succeed. Chris Olave has speed to burn and would be the best skill position prospect the Jets have drafted in years.
19. Kansas City Chiefs (1-1)
Pick: WR Drake London, USC – 6’5, 210 lbs
2021 Stats: 29 rec, 375 yards, 3 TD
The Chiefs need more offensive line help, but no one available here will be able to help right away. Drake London is definitely a luxury pick, but imagine a 6’5 target opposite All-World receivers Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. That would be absolutely unfair. London has been an un-coverable target machine for the Trojans.
20. Cleveland Browns (1-1)
Pick: DE Zach Harrison, Ohio State – 6’6, 268 lbs
2021 Stats: 7 tackles, 1 sack
The Browns a very veteran laden defense, and could afford to take a risk on someone with the talent of Zach Harrison. Harrison is a former top recruit who has been brought along slowly at Ohio State. He has an elite pass rushing frame and a developing game. Right now, Harrison is still a project, but it would not surprise me if he works his way into the top ten.
21. Houston Texans (1-1)
Pick: QB Malik Willis, Liberty – 6’1, 215 lbs
2021 Stats: 49-69, 613 yards, 7 TD, 0 INT
Once the dust settles, and Houston ends up in the top five where they belong, I think they will pass on a quarterback and build some of the roster first. But if the season ended after week two, Malik Willis would be a steal here. The only thing holding Willis back right now is his level of competition. Looking at his tape, he has executed the passing game to near perfection, and has been a handful to take down when he runs the ball.
22. New Orleans Saints (1-1)
Pick: QB Carson Strong, Nevada – 6’4, 215 lbs
2021 Stats: 83-122, 955 yards, 7 TD, 2 INT
During the first two weeks of the Saints season, we have seen the best and worst of Jameis Winston. I seriously doubt he is the long term answer in New Orleans, so this would be a good opportunity to draft a potential long term replacement. Will there really be five quarterbacks taken in the first round? Well, there was in 2021. Teams need quarterbacks. Carson Strong has had a good start to his junior season at Nevada, and has the size and arm strength to be a solid starter in the NFL. The quarterback class is all over the place. Any of the five I have mocked could be the first or fifth taken.
23. Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)
Pick: MLB Christian Harris, Alabama – 6’2, 232 lbs
2021 Stats: 19 tackles, 1 sack
The Eagles do not historically draft linebackers in the first round, but with a trio of picks and a very talented player available here, they take the plunge. Christian Harris is comparable to former Alabama first round pick Rashaan Evans, and can play any linebacker position in Philadelphia’s 4-3 defense.
24. Miami Dolphins (1-1) (from SF)
Pick: OLB Drake Jackson, USC – 6’4, 255 lbs
2021 Stats: 10 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT
Drake Jackson has been passed by on the draft board by guys who are better pass rushers, but that is not his fault. USC has developed him as more of a true stand-up linebacker.He would be a good fit with a team like Miami that likes to employ different looks on defense.
25. New England Patriots (1-1)
Pick: DE George Karlaftis, Purdue – 6’4, 275 lbs
2021 Stats: 7 tackles, 0.5 sacks
George Karlaftis is a terrifying pass rusher, but the production has tailed off since his amazing freshman season. Still, he would be the most talented defensive lineman on the Patriots roster if drafted here. New England does not have a guy who can relentlessly get after the quarterback.
26. Buffalo Bills (1-1)
Pick: TE Jalen Wydermyer, Texas A&M – 6’5, 255 lbs
2021 Stats: 12 rec, 141 yards
Tight end is the clear weak spot on the Buffalo offensive depth chart, and Jalen Wydermyer is the lone first round talent in this class. He has great size, good hands and is a pretty strong blocker.
27. Detroit Lions (0-2) (from LAR)
Pick: WR John Metchie III, Alabama – 6’0, 195 lbs
2021 Stats: 17 rec, 195 yards, 1 TD
John Metchie III is the latest in a very long line of elite Alabama wide receiver prospects. He is not quite the athletic freak of someone like Jaylen Waddle, but he is a supreme route runner and quite tough. He should instantly vault to the top of a pathetic Detroit Lions wide receiver depth chart.
28. Carolina Panthers (2-0)
Pick: C Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa – 6’3, 290 lbs
2021 Stats: N/A
The Panthers will probably not be picking this high, but the late 20’s is usually a good spot to land a plug and play interior lineman, and Tyler Linderbaum is the top center in this class. Carolina’s interior line needs help, and Linderbaum would be an instant starter.
29. Las Vegas Raiders (2-0)
Pick: OT Sean Rhyan, UCLA – 6’5, 320 lbs
2021 Stats: N/A
The surprising Raiders are still in the process of revamping their offensive line. Sean Rhyan is a bulldozer up front and could kick in to guard and become a Pro-Bowler.
30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0)
Pick: DE Kingsley Enagbare, South Carolina – 6’4, 265 lbs
2021 Stats: 8 tackles, 2.5 sacks
The Buccaneers have a ton of upcoming free agents on both sides of the ball, so they should just draft the best available talent here. The Gamecocks always stink, but are usually good for a first rounder or two every year. Kingsley Enagbare is a strong pass rusher who could play linebacker if need be.
31. Denver Broncos (1-0)
Pick: OT Rasheed Walker, Penn State
2021 Stats: N/A
Garrett Bolles has gone from terrible to good for the Broncos, but the other offensive tackle spot could use an upgrade. Rasheed Walker needs experience, but he has top ten talent and could be a very solid addition.
32. Arizona Cardinals (2-0)
Pick: OLB Adam Anderson, Georgia – 6’5, 230 lbs
2021 Stats: 12 tackles, 3 sacks
Chandler Jones had a week one for the ages, but the Cardinals are still on the lookout for other guys who can get to the quarterback. Adam Anderson needs to pack on some pounds, but his speed has been impossible for blockers to handle.