It is hard to talk football right now with what went on in Cincinnati Monday night. I am not sure if the game will be finished, counted as a tie, or just canceled for good. So I will go ahead with my weekly Tuesday mock. Please get better, Damar Hamlin.
|1||QB Bryce Young, Alabama – 6’0, 194 lbs||245-380, 3328 yards, 32 TD, 5 INT||The Texans are a long, long way from competing, and might prefer to build up the team before committing to a quarterback. However, other than Will Anderson Jr., there really is not a dynamic prospect worth taking here. If Bryce Young was two inches taller and 20 pounds heavier, this would be an absolute no-brainer. His slight frame is a definite worry, but he offers the best mix of arm strength, accuracy, improvisation and experience amongst any quarterback prospects. Houston fans need someone to get excited about. And Mel Kiper, that is not Will Levis. Yeesh.|
|2||EDGE Will Anderson Jr., Alabama – 6’4, 243 lbs||51 tackles, 10 sacks, 1 INT||Unlike a lot of terrible teams, the Bears at least have their quarterback in place. It is the rest of the roster that is in shambles. Will Anderson Jr. would be an easy choice here. He is the best prospect in this class. More than just a pass rusher, he is a complete defender who should excel in any scheme. The Bears traded Robert Quinn, Roquan Smith and Khalil Mack away and do not have much in the way of impact defenders.|
|3||DT Jalen Carter, Georgia – 6’3, 300 lbs||30 tackles, 3 sacks||From DEN
The Seahawks get a gift of a top five pick from the hapless Broncos. Quarterback could be in play here if they fall in love with a guy, but right now I think they tag Geno Smith and go another direction.. Jalen Carter’s numbers do not jump out at you, but it cannot be understated how much of an impact he has for the entire Georgia defense. He is the most talented interior lineman to come along since Quinnen Williams and will help improve a dreadful Seattle front four.
|4||DE Myles Murphy, Clemson – 6’5, 275 lbs||40 tackles, 6.5 sacks||The top three players in this mock are in a tier of their own. The talent level drops off a bit here. The Cardinals are a mess all over the place and the best player available is the way to go here. Myles Murphy is not the athletic freak that a Chase Young or Nick Bosa is, but he is a very reliable run defender and pass rusher with a high floor.|
|5||QB CJ Stroud, Ohio State – 6’3, 218 lbs||258-389, 3688 yards, 41 TD, 6 INT||It is absolutely laughable that Will Levis is often ranked above CJ Stroud (let along Bryce Young) amongst so called experts. Why so low on Stroud? Sure, he plays with a ton of NFL talent, but all he has done in two years as a starter is produce at an extremely high level, including carving up an all world Georgia defense. I think he will be a very solid pro. The Colts have put on a masterclass in the art of tanking, and it looks like it will pay off with a chance to draft a new quarterback.|
|6||CB Kelee Ringo, Georgia – 6’2, 210 lbs||36 tackles, 2 INT||From LAR
The Lions are on fire and have a great chance to make the playoffs. Jared Goff has been good enough that Detroit has the luxury of going all defense in this draft. Kelee Ringo has great size, is a very solid tackler and is hardly tested by opposing offenses. If Jeff Okudah can continue to develop, the secondary could be a real strength for Detroit.
|7||DE Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech – 6’6, 275 lbs||61 tackles, 7 sacks||I do not think the Falcons go quarterback here. They should be in position for Drake Maye or Caleb Williams in 2024. Fortifying a talent starved defense is more likely. Tyree Wilson has been a late bloomer who really started to produce as a redshirt junior and has carried that over as a fifth year senior. He is a good pass rusher and is also built strong enough to hold up against a run.|
|8||QB Will Levis, Kentucky – 6’3, 232 lbs||185-283, 2406 yards, 19 TD, 10 INT||I am not a Will Levis fan. He is already 23, has not shown up in big games this year and is undisciplined. But you cannot underestimate the desperation of some NFL teams, with the Raiders at the top of the list. Derek Carr, the least of the Raiders problem, has probably played his last game for the franchise. Different front office, but probably the same Raiders, who could be infatuated with Levis size and arm strength, despite a real lack of production in college.|
|9||WR Quentin Johnston, TCU – 6’4, 215 lbs||59 rec, 1066 yards, 6 TD||No team is more desperate for a quarterback than the Panthers, but I cannot see Anthony Richardson as a top ten pick. There is talent there, but he is a multi-year project. If not quarterback, adding weapons for whoever is up next would be a solid way to go. Quentin Johnston has tremendous size and skills and completely dominated Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl.|
|10||EDGE Felix Anduike-Uzomah – 6’4, 255 lbs||46 tackles, 8.5 sacks||From NO
Felix Anduike-Uzomah is a bit one dimensional right now, and might be a slight reach in the top fifteen, but he is athletic and can really get after the quarterback. The Eagles are one of the best pass rushing teams in the NFL, but several of their lineman are free agents and they like to employ a deep rotation.
|11||OT Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State – 6’6, 310 lbs||N/A||I am a huge Paris Johnson Jr. fan. He is a former top recruit who worked his way into the starting lineup as a sophomore, not an easy task on a team full of NFL prospects. He has anchored one of the top passing attacks in college as a junior. Team needs is the only reason he falls down this far, and the Titans should scoop him up quickly. Their offensive line is a mess.|
|12||TE Michael Mayer, Notre Dame – 6’4, 265 lbs||67 rec, 809 yards, 9 TD||From CLE
The Texans need to go best player available for every pick in this draft. Drafting tight ends in the first round is always risky, but Michael Mayer would be a great fit. He is not a supreme athlete like Kyle Pitts or TJ Hockenson, but represents solid value here. He is a reception hog who would be a great safety net for new quarterback Bryce Young.
|13||OT Peter Skoronski, Northwestern – 6’4, 315 lbs||N/A||Yes, I have seen Anthony Richardson mocked to the Jets. It is hilarious to think that the coaching staff, who could not be bothered to develop Zach Wilson, woudl want an even bigger project. Not going to happen. Expect someone like Derek Carr. Moving on from that nonsense. Northwestern had an absolutely miserable 2022 season, but that was not Peter Skoronski’s fault. He earned spectacular offensive line grades from all analysts. There are questions as to whether he is a tackle or guard long term, but either way, he is a beast, especially in the run game. The Jets need several new offensive linemen.|
|14||CB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon – 6’2, 201 lbs||51 tackles, 4 INT||Christian Gonzalez escaped college football purgatory by leaving Colorado for Oregon, and has worked himself squarely into the first round. He is a solid tackler with great size and a real knack for the ball. He would instantly be the best cornerback on the Commanders roster. The secondary has been a real sore spot.|
|15||OG O’Cyrus Torrence, Florida – 6’5, 347 lbs||N/A||Mike Tomlin catches a lot of flack, but I would love to go to war with that guy. No matter how much the Steelers struggle, they just do not have losing seasons. Offensive line is probably the biggest need on the roster. O’Cyrus Torrence is a guard only, so he will not solve the tackle issues, but he is a beast in the run game and a real plug-and-play option.|
|16||OT Broderick Jones, Georgia – 6’4, 310 lbs||N/A||Receiver is the biggest need in Green Bay, but other than Quentin Johnston, I do not like this wideout class one bit. Offensive line is another big need, and has been for years. Broderick Jones is a bit undersized, but should be a very solid right tackle.|
|17||DT Bryan Bresee, Clemson – 6’5, 305 lbs||15 tackles, 3.5 sacks||Bryan Bresee was a monster as a freshman at Clemson, but has struggled with a variety of issues his past two years, and his stock as suffered as a result. Still, there was a reason he was formerly the top overall prospect in the country, and the gamble could pay off handsomely for the Lions here.|
|18||CB Joey Porter Jr., Penn State – 6’2, 198 lbs||27 tackles||Joey Porter Jr. only has one career interception on his resume, but that does not always tell the full story. He is big, strong, tackles like a safety and is hardly tested. His size and agressive style will bring back visions of Richard Sherman and the Legion of Boom from Seattle’s past.|
|19||DT Gervon Dexter Sr., Florida – 6’6, 312 lbs||55 tackles, 2 sacks||Gervon Dexter Sr. looks the part of a stud tackle, but has struggled with consistency during his three years at Florida. Still, I love his size and ability to be a three down defensive tackle at the next level. He would be the most talented player for Jacksonville’s no-name front three.|
|20||QB Anthony Richardson, Florida – 6’4, 232 lbs||176-327, 2549 yards, 17 TD, 9 INT||Based on pure talent, Anthony Richardson may be at the top of this class. He is built like Cam Newton and is a true dual threat. He also greatly improved his accuracy and decision making as the year went on. An ultimate wild card to be sure, and a multi-year project, but some team will most likely trade up to draft him in the 20’s if he makes it past a needy team like the Buccaneers.|
|21||OLB Drew Sanders, Arkansas – 6’5, 232 lbs||103 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 1 INT||Drew Sanders has been one of the most productive defenders in college football, showing the promise that made him a former five star recruit for Alabama. More than just an EDGE pass rusher, he plays a complete game from the linebacker position. He is the kind of versatile chess piece that the Patriots like to have at linebacker.|
|22||WR Jordan Addison, USC – 6’0, 175 lbs||59 rec, 875 yards, 8 TD||It is no secret that the Giants passing offense is being held together by duct tape this year. This team needs several new receivers. Jordan Addison is undersized, but a true playmaker in every sense of the word. His deep threat abilities would be a nice contrast to what Burks provides.|
|23||HB Bijan Robinson, Texas – 6’0, 220 lbs||258 rushes, 1580 yards, 18 TD||Bijan Robinson is the most talented running back college football has seen since Saquon Barkley. It is hard to find a fit for running backs in mocks, however, especially one who has handled the rock 258 times already this season. Still, he has carried that often because he is damn good at it, averaging over 6 yards per carry. He is a great receiver as well, making him a true three down back. The Ravens have gone with a running back by committee for years, and it has not worked well, mostly because no one can stay healthy. A guy they can rely on could help out the offense as a whole.|
|24||DT Tuli Tuipulotu, USC – 6’4, 290 lbs||46 tackles, 13.5 sacks||The Chargers finally look playoff bound, but the defense needs reinforcements. Tuli Tuipulotu leads all of college football with 13.5 sacks. He would be an absolutely perfect fit at end in Los Angeles hybrid defense, giving the team additional pass rushing chops.|
|25||OT Jaelyn Duncan, Maryland – 6’6, 320 lbs||N/A||The La’el Collins signing has not worked out very well for the Bengals, and they could be on the lookout for a long term option at right tackle. Jaelyn Duncan is not flashy, but he is experienced and solid, and could be a plug and play type for a playoff team needing an extra boost at tackle.|
|26||WR Rashee Rice, SMU – 6’2, 203 lbs||96 rec, 1355 yards, 10 TD||Rashee Rice might have been the most productive receiver in college football. He played in a pro-style offense, has great size and enough speed to get the job done. Receiver may not be the biggest need in Minnesota right now, but I do not think Adam Thielen has much juice left, and the Vikings will not want defenses to completely focus on Justin Jefferson.|
|27||SS Brian Branch, Alabama – 6’0, 193 lbs||90 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 INT||The Cowboys defense is very good, but they could use reinforcements in the secondary. Brian Branch was a real chess piece for Nick Saban and Alabama, lining up at safety and cornerback. He has a complete game, but I like him most as a solid tackling safety.|
|28||OLB Trenton Simpson, Clemson – 6’3, 240 lbs||73 tackles, 2.5 sacks||Trenton Simpson, like the rest of the Clemson defense, took a step back without Will Venables, but he remains a top ten talent in this class who can do a little bit of everything at the linebacker position. The Broncos seemed to trade or cut every linebacker on the roster.|
|29||HB Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama – 5’11, 200 lbs||151 rushes, 926 yards, 7 TD||If there is one team picking in the 20’s that I think should go all in on running back, it is the Bills. The offense is a dynamic threat in the backfield away from being truly special. Jahmyr Gibbs is like another receiver on the field, but has the ability to run between the tackles as well.|
|30||OT Blake Freeland, BYU – 6’8, 305 lbs||N/A||Kansas City chose to completely revamp their offensive line a couple of years ago, and are trying to get by with Andrew Wylie at right tackle. Blake Freeland is a very good athlete and could be a long term option on the right side.|
|31||DE Isaiah Foskey, Notre Dame – 6’5, 265 lbs||45 tackles, 11 sacks||The Eagles double up on pass rushers here. Isaiah Foskey gets by more on effort than talent, but that effort has delivered 22 sacks the past two seasons.|