The week has finally arrived.
My Twitter feed is filled with quick takes from Kiper, McShay, Jeremiah, and Miller.
My workday mornings are filled with talking heads arguing who the 3rd best QB is.
I’ve watched Elway to Marino (Top 5 30 for 30) 3 times this past weekend alone.
Yes folks. It’s Draft Week!
Here at Thoughts From The Bench, I am known to be somewhat of an aloof when it comes to anything for the site. Usually it’s either a punishment from a bet or a requirement for a fantasy football season. However, this is no ordinary circumstance. The greatest 3 days in my professional sports fandom is THIS weekend. A time where EVERY NFL fan has a vested interest with thoughts of grandeur, hope, and sugar plums? (Idk what Jerry had in that glass FWIW) But i’d be remiss if I didnt do my own due diligence and provide you all with my attempt at a mock draft.
Parameters for this mock will not be me attempting to try and figure out who each GM will be targeting no no no. This mock will based around who I think SHOULD be the pick for each team in the 1st round. With that said, let’s give this practice a go shall we?
- Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
- This is the easiest decision in the history of easiest decisions. Trying to go into explanation isn’t worth my time. Moving on!
2. New York Jets – Zach WIlson, QB, BYU
- I give the utmost credit to Wilson for playing his way into this position. His mobility, arm strength, and creativity have scouts thinking Mahomes 2.0. Now they JUST need to protect him…..
3. San Francisco 49ers – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
- Lance might end up being the best QB in this class when all is said and done, but he’s NOWHERE near ready to play. This is a perfect situation for him to sit behind Jimmy G and then take over with a well balanced offense to guide for 10 years.
4. Atlanta Falcons – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
- Pitts is the greatest TE prospect I have ever seen. He is also the best athlete in the class. However, do not be surprised if he struggles his rookie year. First year TEs never do well.
5. Cincinnati Bengals – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
- Does nobody else remember Joe Burrow’s knee bending the wrong way last year? Look I know it’s tempting to take an elite WR, but this is a deep class. Take the franchise LT and build up your weapons in rounds 2 and 3. Burrow’s scar is reason enough.
6. Miami Dolphins – DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
- The connection that won a national title as freshmen, Tua is reunited with the reigning Heisman winner. DeVonta will get knocks for his height and weight but he is the smoothest route runner we’ve seen in awhile and is exactly what the Dolphins need for the passing game.
7. Detroit Lions – JaMarr Chase, WR, LSU
- MY 2ND FAVORITE TEAM! Yeah I know it’s weird but they’re my guys. And quite honestly, the best receiver in this class falls into their laps. Perfect replacement for Golladay and a much needed weapon for the overpaid Goff.
8. Carolina Panthers – Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
- Matt Rhule has this team on the rise and their FO used the entire 2020 draft to bring in defensive talent. Now is time to address the offense. Slater is a mauler that can potentially start at Guard and kick over to Tackle when ready. He’d be the perfect protector for Darnold.
9. Denver Broncos – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
- The Drew Lock Experiment has come with very mixed results in the Mile High. While Elway did a great job supplying a vast amount of weapons, George Paton needs to give this team the right leader. I have NO clue why NFL circles seem to hate on Fields but Denver would do back-flips if Fields falls to them.
10. Dallas Cowboys – Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
- Sorry Jerry. I know you’re tempted to trade up for a new toy OR perhaps maybe even take Waddle here. But Stephen will guide his father in the right direction and give this secondary a college running mate for Trevon Diggs.
11. New York Giants – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
- I know the Giants receiver corps is better than what they’ve shown, however this is a GREAT value pick that Gettlemen shouldn’t pass up. Waddle is a burner who if he didn’t injure his ankle, we might not be discussing Smith as the Heisman winner. Waddle has elite speed that will be a game changing weapon for Big Blue.
12. Philadelphia Eagles – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
- The Eagles are set up for a long term rebuild after the multiple trades they’ve made recently. They can go in a number of directions with this pick, and while he’s been falling in alot of projections lately, Micah Parsons is dream scenario athlete that a number of clubs would love to build the middle of their defense around. I don’t know if he has the same type of a Luke Kuechly intelligence at MLB, but his athleticism should be enough to take a chance.
13. Los Angeles Chargers – Alijah Vera-Tucker, OG, USC
- Justin Herbert showed he is ready to take that next step and the Chargers could be a playoff team with the injured Derwin James returning to their defense. The Chargers should invest in protecting their QB with a guy that can either be a really good tackle or an All-Pro guard.
14. Minnesota Vikings – Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
- The Vikings took a step backwards last year but I’d argue they we’re playing a good number of younger guys that started to turn the corner last year. They can definitely play their way into a wild card berth and adding some more protection for my twin doesn’t hurt either.
15. New England Patriots – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
- This is the most Peanut Butter and Jelly type of pick in the NFL Draft. This is where almost everyone thinks Mac Jones should go and I am also one of them. Odds are Jones is going to get over-drafted like every QB does but in my mock, he falls exactly where he should. Can he be the new Brady? That’s a whole other article that I’m not going to be typing up.
16. Arizona Cardinals – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
- You have to love when the board comes to you. The redbirds find the perfect replacement for Patrick Peterson and comes to an emerging secondary core with Budda Baker and Byron Murphy. Horn’s got elite speed to match up against the great WR groups in the NFC West and an NFL pedigree that’s prepared him for this life.
17. Las Vegas Raiders – Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern
- The last few years have seen a recurring theme with the 1st round picks for the Raiders: reaching. The other recurring theme has been character. Thankfully, this is a great year where a top talent comes in that also has the character to fit. Newsome is the corner prospect that does everything well but doesn’t have that true “elite” trait. He’s still a GREAT player and goes to a team that could desperately use more secondary help.
18. Miami Dolphins – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
- Chris Grier completes the Bama Trifecta for his offense and adds Harris to be the lead back. The Dolphins offense will immediately become must see and quite frankly will do wonders for Tua’s ability to grow into a confident passer.
19. Washington Football Team – Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
- You can never go wrong with building a football team through the trenches. Jenkins has been described as a “bad mother f**ker” and something tells me a former 85 Bear would dig that.
20. Chicago Bears – Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
- I am fully expecting this to be the final pick in the Chicago Bear careers of Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy. Why not go out with a bang and get a weapon for Andy Dalton? Toney is a part of the new age of WRs with speed that will gives defenses headaches.
21. Indianapolis Colts – Azeez Ojulari, OLB, Georgia
- This is one of the weakest defensive line classes I have ever seen. Having said that, the right teams will be able to take advantage of the pool and fill some much needed holes. The Colts are ready to compete for an AFC title this year with players at almost every level. Adding some extra pass rush help will go along way to keeping their current line fresh and Ojulari has been rising lately.
22. Tennessee Titans – Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
- Farley is a top 10 talent that falls due to concerns about his back injury history. The Titans were in a similar situation taking a chance on Jeffrey Simmons and they’re looking like winners because of it. The Titans take another chance on a player that if healthy will be an instant upgrade for their secondary.
23. New York Jets – Jaelan Phillips, OLB, Miami
- The Jets need talent basically EVERYWHERE but there a 3 standards I constantly preach when building a team: 1) Franchise QB (Wilson) 2) Protect your Franchise QB (Bechton) and 3) Attack the Opposing Team’s QB (Phillips)
24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
- I know what you’re thinking: ANOTHER Linebacker? Yes. Hear me out. Last year’s Steelers defense started to unravel the moment the middle linebacker depth started to get tested. Bush tore his ACL, Williams was banged up, Spillane got hurt, and soon we we’re left with Marcus Allen roaming the middle. We are long past the thought of Ryan Shazier roaming the middle with Bush, so imagine pairing another elite level athlete in the middle with Bush who’s specialty is, get this, dropping into coverage! Mind blown right?
25. Jacksonville Jaguars – Gregory Rousseau, OLB, Miami
- I cannot bet against Drew Rosenhaus guaranteeing that Rousseau will be a 1st round pick. I’d like Jacksonville to address the O-Line but the depth is there in Day 2 for them to take care of that. Rousseau has Top 10 talent but sat out this year and didn’t necessarily wow people with his workout numbers. Jacksonville strikes me as the type of team that would take advantage of a stumble and try to find the talent that’s there.
26. Cleveland Browns – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
- My favorite player in this class ends up somewhere I really don’t want him to be. JOK is essentially what Isiah Simmons was supposed to be except with 2 major differences: 1) He doesn’t have the same elite athleticism as Simmons and 2) He understands HOW to play the position of a hybrid ILB/Box safety. Going to a defense on the rise in the Browns is a great spot where his skills will be utilized perfectly.
27. Baltimore Ravens – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
- Lamar Jackson is finally going to get a weapon and it’s a good one. Bateman has the size and speed to be a great deep threat for an offense that needs a potential difference maker. He’s not a burner, however being physical at the catch is still a trait that can be utilized in the right offense. His skillset should mesh well with the Ravens passing attack.
28. New Orleans Saints – Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State
- Another CB with NFL bloodlines goes to a team that is in a transition period. Defensively, Lattimore is still a top CB but last year wasn’t one of his better years. Adding a running mate in Samuel should help take pressure off of Lattimore. Samuel doesn’t have the ideal size, but the intangibles to play corner in today’s NFL are there.
29. Green Bay Packers – Landon Dickerson, C, Alabama
- Am I the only person who knows that the Packers lost Corey Linsley in free agency? Like I understand the desire to give Aaron Rodgers the #2 WR he deserves, but some to snap him the ball and read defenses to shift line protections are KINDA important for an offense. Dickerson would be higher if his injury history didn’t exist. He falls to a great situation and also will be there when Jordan Love eventually takes over.
30. Buffalo Bills – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
- I am not that crazy about the backfield of Singletary and Moss. The Bills cannot live and die by the arm of Josh Allen throwing only to Stefon Diggs. Don’t get me wrong, they’re elite, but mixing up the playbook is probably something Brian Daboll would like to do. Etienne has everything you want for a 3-down back and honestly could be in a great opportunity to win OROY.
31. Baltimore Ravens – Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
- Cosmi received alot of early hype coming into this college year and while he’s talented, he’s not close to a franchise LT. However, going to Baltimore would be a great scenario with Ronnie Stanley already implanted as the starter there. Cosmi can very easily transition to RT where most scouts believe is his perfect fit.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Terrace Marshall, WR, LSU
- What do you give the man who has everything? More weapons! Giving Tom Brady a 6’2 WR that ran in the 4.3s to an offense with 2 good RBs, 2-3 good WRs, and 2 good TEs is just silly. Then again aren’t most mock drafts silly when we look back on them?
Have a great draft weekend!