All-32 NFL Mock Draft 2.0
By the time you will be reading this, it will be the month of April aka Draft Month. This is my favorite time of year. Evaluating prospects and talking about what kind of potential they have and where in the NFL they might fit best are my favorite kind of conversations. March and April are all about hope and positivity, and the eternal optimist in me thrives in this time.
We have had some fun recent developments, including two trades featuring the Miami Dolphins. The draft order has changed quite a bit since my last edition of this article, and the evaluations have as well. I’m really excited about this edition and hope you guys enjoy it. Please feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments or via social media.
Let’s get started. (I will not be doing any trades.)
Trevor Lawrence – Quarterback – Clemson
This is the rare draft where there is no debate as to who will go first overall. Urban Meyer and the Jaguars decision-makers aren’t even attending other pro days of the other quarterbacks. The pick is going to be Lawrence, who by my count is the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck and is absolutely deserving of going first overall.
New York Jets
Zach Wilson – Quarterback – BYU
This is not who I would take here, I would take Justin Fields. I think Fields is a far better prospect, but it seems like the consensus around the league is that Wilson will go number two overall to the Jets. Most NFL teams don’t care about competition level, but in Wilson’s case, I think they should. That being said, Wilson has a ton of arm talent and can make every throw in the book, and he’ll be going to a very quarterback-friendly offense which should help his development.
San Francisco 49ers
Trey Lance – Quarterback – North Dakota State
The trade between the 49ers and Dolphins has to be for a quarterback. There’s no other reason the 49ers would make this deal. The question is, which quarterback are they targeting?
To me the quarterback that makes the most sense here is Lance. Because they still have Jimmy Garoppolo who they can win with (if he’s healthy) in the short term while they groom Lance for the future. They could move off Garoppolo relatively easily in terms of dead money, so they definitely don’t have to go this route. They could take Fields, who again would be my choice here, and is without a doubt more ready for the big leagues at this moment. But right now it seems like they want to replicate the Alex Smith–Patrick Mahomes dynamic and take a swing on someone like Lance. All three quarterbacks after Lawrence and Wilson are in play, though.
Kyle Pitts – Tight End/Offensive Weapon – Florida
If I were doing trades here, I would probably have the Falcons trading back. That approach makes too much sense. They have an older roster and a brand new coaching staff. Stockpiling future assets is something they should seriously consider.
That being said, I am not doing trades in this mock draft so I have the Falcons selecting the best skill player on the board in Pitts. This approach would allow them to maximize the immediate future of Matt Ryan and their offense under new head coach Arthur Smith, a former tight end who ran 12 personnel more than anyone in the league in Tennessee. The word generational gets thrown around a lot these days, but Pitts truly is a generational pass catcher who could be a top-five tight end in the league by the time his rookie season is over.
Pairing Pitts with Calvin Ridley, and Julio Jones, would give them the most dynamic receiving trio in the league which should alleviate a lot of pressure off of Ryan as he ages. Then, when they are ready to draft a quarterback down the road, he’ll inherit a great group of pass-catchers.
Penei Sewell – Offensive Tackle – Oregon
This is another likely trade-back selection, especially if the Falcons or someone else takes a quarterback with the fourth overall pick. However, taking the best prospect in the draft should be an easy choice. If you were to go into a laboratory and build your perfect modern offensive tackle, Sewell would walk out of the machine. He is that special in my opinion, and he hasn’t even turned 21 yet.
Protecting Joe Burrow is priority number one for the Bengals this offseason, and the signing of Riley Reiff should not deter the Bengals from drafting the best player in the draft at a major position of need, especially when Jonah Williams has major injury history and can easily kick inside to guard. You just don’t find offensive linemen who bring everything to the table as Sewell does, very often.
Ja’Marr Chase – Wide Receiver – LSU
The Dolphins are in a really good spot to take one of the best skill players in the draft to help Tua Tagovailoa on his path to development. It’s possible that they could land Pitts with this selection, and if he were on the board that would be a no-brainer.
Instead, I have them pivoting to Chase in this scenario. Chase is the best wide receiver in the draft in my opinion, and although pairing Tagovailoa back up with one of his former college teammates could be tempting, neither of the Alabama wide receivers brings the kind of versatile skill set to the table that Chase does. He can beat defenses over the top and beat them over the middle and should develop into a true number one wide receiver for the Dolphins.
DeVonta Smith – Wide Receiver – Alabama
The Lions have needs all over the board, and in this scenario could take one of the remaining quarterbacks but they know that this is a long-term rebuild and need a true number one receiver.
Smith gives them that and gives Jared Goff their version of Robert Woods as a player who will always get open and make plays after the catch. With former Chargers receiver Tyrell Williams, and former Jets receiver Breshad Perriman carrying out the roles of field stretchers, that makes Smith the more logical choice since he will fill more of the separator role which is a need for them.
I also wouldn’t be surprised if they took the first defensive player off the board either.
Rashawn Slater – Offensive Tackle/Guard – Northwestern
This pick was going to be a quarterback, and then the Panthers went and traded for Sam Darnold – which likely means they figured they would not be able to trade up for a quarterback. There have been debates all day today as to where Matt Rhule and company should pivot with their first-round pick.
For my money, I would be shocked if they don’t take an offensive tackle. The left tackle position, in particular, has been a problem for them ever since Jordan Gross retired. They drafted Greg Little in the second round two years ago, but he’s been injured a lot and couldn’t beat out former Charger Trent Scott for playing time after Russell Okung. Slater would be a massive upgrade for them and offers them flexibility in case Little does actually develop into a noteworthy tackle prospect.
Justin Fields – Quarterback – Ohio State
This is my personal nightmare scenario for this upcoming draft because I LOVE Fields as a prospect and I also believe the quarterback position is truly the only thing holding the Broncos back from being legitimate contenders in the NFL.
Their offensive supporting cast is supremely talented and they consistently have one of the best defenses in the league, and just added Kyle Fuller and Ronald Darby to upgrade the cornerback position. Landing Fields, which I think they could absolutely do if they wanted to trade up for him, would be an absolute home run.
Fields should be the second quarterback taken and it’s honestly blasphemous that he won’t be.
Patrick Surtain II – Corner – Alabama
The Cowboys are one of the hardest teams to predict at their current draft slot. Would anyone really be surprised if they drafted one of the top skill players on the board?
If we’re talking about the team’s actual roster needs, this pick has to be on defense. They’ll be switching back to the Seattle Cover Three scheme and need better corners. But they also need better pass rushers, and linebackers too. Essentially, they should simply take whomever they believe to be the best defensive player on the board. Caleb Farley probably would have been my choice here two weeks ago but he should fall down towards the second round with the latest developments surrounding his health. Instead, I have the Cowboys moving onto Surtain II, who is a very versatile and well-rounded cover corner with NFL bloodlines – which is a theme in this draft.
New York Giants
Jaelan Phillips – Edge – Miami
The Giants are another tough team to peg because they also have needs all across the board. I still think they need help at wide receiver, even after signing Kenny Golladay. But Dave Gettleman typically focuses his first-round picks on players who can help his team become more physical. Slater is also in play here, but more as someone who could step in immediately and fill the void left by Kevin Zeitler at guard.
Ultimately I think this is where we see the first edge rusher come off the board, in this case, Phillips. The Giants do run a 3-4 scheme so the fit could be a little awkward, but I do believe he is the most NFL-ready pass rusher in this class and that absolutely fills a need for the Giants.
Jaylen Waddle – Wide Receiver – Alabama
The Eagles trading back from six to twelve makes sense in the long-term because it gives them flexibility for next year. If Jalen Hurts proves to be a franchise quarterback, they will have three first-round picks to build around him in 2022. If he doesn’t, they’ll have all the draft capital in the world to trade up to get a quarterback if they need to.
In the short term, the trade is a little puzzling because they likely would have had their pick of explosive skill players and that is absolutely a need. Perhaps they are trading back to help rebuild the defense, but with Waddle still, on the board, I would think he would have to be the pick. The Eagles have been trying to replace DeSean Jackson for years and they would finally do that with this pick.
Los Angeles Chargers
Christian Darrisaw – Offensive Tackle – Virginia Tech
The Panthers trading for Darnold changes things for the Chargers, and it did for this particular mock draft. Before that trade I had the Chargers selecting Slater with this pick. Now, I have them pivoting to Darrisaw. You can read my whole profile on Darrisaw here.
I am not as high as others on social media are when it comes to my evaluation for Darrisaw. However, I do view him as a safer bet for the Chargers over the other players I have graded higher than him. I’m fairly certain that the Chargers would view Vera-Tucker as a guard, and therefore would take him out of the running for them with this pick. Jenkins has logged six starts at left tackle, and I do believe he could be that in the NFL, but he mostly played right tackle in college. I don’t view the switch from right tackle to left tackle as monumental as the general public does, especially after watching Sam Tevi make the change and improve. Cosmi is the other player I have graded over Darrisaw, but I do recognize that he’s a fairly risky evaluation.
If you read my profile on Darrisaw you know that I still have a first-round grade on him and think he would be worth the selection with the 13th overall pick, I just want to see more out of him. I want to see him be able to bring the heat on every snap, and not just the ones where he’s going up against a strong edge rusher or when he gets to play out on the perimeter. I want to see him be more urgent out of his stance as a pass blocker and show off his athletic traits more frequently.
Everyone talks about his performance against Quincy Roche as being his standout performance, to me that says more about Roche’s inability to beat someone who is just as athletic as him. Had Darrisaw went up more often against Phillips, I might feel differently but Miami refused to give us that matchup.
Ultimately, I view Darrisaw as a safe bet for the Chargers. If he refines some technique I believe he will be a very solid player who will occasionally challenge for some Pro Bowl berths. And that’s great for the Chargers because they haven’t had anyone consistently do that since Marcus McNeill was around.
Kwity Paye – Edge – Michigan
The Vikings and Chargers have had their share of struggles concerning the offensive line over the last few years. Both are pegged as teams likely to be looking for upgrades on the unit, and this seems like a prime landing spot for USC offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker.
However, The Vikings are led by a defensive-minded coach. They have gone all-in on fixing their defense after Mike Zimmer called their 2020 unit the worst he’s ever had, so I expect that trend to continue in the first round of the Draft later this month.
They tried to replace Everson Griffen with Yannick Ngakoue but that experiment failed miserably, add in the rumors that Danielle Hunter is unhappy with his contract, and I would expect this pick to be an edge rusher. Paye is an explosive athlete and a plus-run defender for his size. He’s not the longest player in the world, but his quickness and tenacity should allow him to be a positive edge rusher in the NFL.
New England Patriots
Zaven Collins – Linebacker – Tulsa
Similar to the Vikings, the Patriots have been very aggressive in free agency. The additions on offense should pay dividends in the short term, especially if Cam Newton is able to stay healthy. Their defense will always play at a high level as long as Bill Belichick is around. Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy will return on defense after Hightower opted out of the 2020 season, and Van Noy signed with the Dolphins. Hightower will return for the 2021 season, and Van Noy is back after surprisingly being cut by Miami.
The Patriots love being proactive with their older defensive players and always prefer to have the replacements on the roster developing. This is where Collins comes in. He is a do-it-all linebacker who can patrol the middle of the field, and fill in for Hightower. He’s also able to rush the passer from time to time as well, so he could fill in for Van Noy. Either way, drafting Collins serves as the best player available and gives them some much-needed youth and athleticism on defense.
Jaycee Horn – Corner – South Carolina
Horn is a physical, and aggressive cornerback who possesses the ideal athleticism and mentality to be a premier defensive playmaker in this league. There are definitely some things he needs to clean up, which a high-level defensive coach like Vance Joseph will be able to coach out of him. But you can’t teach elite athleticism and confidence, and that’s what teams are getting in Horn.
For the Cardinals, this is a great fit because they replace Patrick Peterson with a premier talent, and the addition of Malcolm Butler gives them the flexibility to ease Horn into the lineup as they did with Isaiah Simmons last year.
Las Vegas Raiders
Teven Jenkins – Offensive Tackle – Oklahoma State
There is not a more powerful offensive lineman in this class than Jenkins. Watching him block on the outside is like what would happen if you put Quenton Nelson on the outside. It is truly mesmerizing to watch him bury opposing edge rushers into the dirt for 60 minutes.
Jenkins should be getting more buzz for the Chargers at 13, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he were the pick, to be honest. I think he can absolutely play left tackle and start from day one.
For the Raiders, he would replace Trent Brown at right tackle and bring an element of tenacity that they always seem to prefer.
Alijah Vera-Tucker – Offensive Tackle/Guard – USC
If you follow me you know by now how highly I think of Vera-Tucker. I truly believe he is the third-best offensive lineman in the class and will be an All-Pro level player. The problem for Vera-Tucker is that several teams will have him listed as a guard due to his short arms, even though players like Joe Thomas and Jake Long have proven that you can play offensive tackle at an elite level with sub-33 inch arms. I would love for him to be the selection for the Chargers at 13, however, I do believe they would essentially view him as Forrest Lamp 2.0 and play him at guard. Which likely takes him out of the running at 13.
For the Dolphins this gives them incredible flexibility on the offensive line since Vera-Tucker or Robert Hunt can each play right tackle or guard. This would allow them the opportunity to simply get the five best players out there and figure out the positions later.
Washington Football Team
Mac Jones – Quarterback – Alabama
The way the hype train for Jones has taken off is honestly quite perplexing. The NFL has gradually moved away from the prototypical “pocket passer” over the last few years, in favor of quarterbacks with more athleticism and better arm talent. That is not Jones. He’s an average athlete with an average arm, so the chance that he might even be selected with the third overall pick is insane to me.
Washington is in quarterback purgatory at the moment, due to their division title season in 2020 they are too far down to be able to trade up for one of the premier quarterbacks in the draft, so this is the best-case scenario for them. While I don’t think he’s in the same league as the other four players in this class, I do think he would represent a long-term upgrade for a team like Washington. Jones being able to sit for a year behind a player like Ryan Fitzpatrick would be a good situation for him.
This selection probably isn’t super realistic, but I can’t get behind Jones going any higher than this, especially since the Panthers won’t be selecting a quarterback anymore.
Greg Newsome – Corner – Northwestern
The Bears are in a near-identical situation as Washington. They need to win now, and they also need to find their quarterback of the future. Those two things generally don’t go together. They tried to go all-in on Russell Wilson but ended up signing Andy Dalton instead.
The Bears could certainly go wide receiver with this pick due to Allen Robinson’s cloudy long-term future, but they also need to replace Kyle Fuller after surprisingly cutting him. Pairing Newsome with Jaylon Johnson (my guy) would give them two young, and tenacious cornerbacks in order to keep up defensively with the lethal pass catchers that the Packers and Vikings have within the division.
Caleb Farley – Corner – Virginia Tech
If there is one organization that can afford to gamble on the rapidly falling Farley, it is the Colts. Their defensive stability is one of the best in the league, and they have not shied away from taking on risky players (see Carson Wentz). Farley would be a perfect fit in their Tampa Two scheme, which would allow him to use his high-level athleticism to the best of his abilities.
The Colts signed Sam Tevi to compete for their left tackle opening, so they could certainly look to take one of the remaining tackles here, but I have to think Farley’s upside would be too much to pass up on in this scenario. If not for the recent back surgery, he likely would have been the first cornerback off the board. The Colts are the perfect fit for him organizationally.
Azeez Ojulari – Edge – Georgia
The Titans have been aggressive in free agency over the last few years to fix their defensive woes. They swung big in 2020 and signed Jadeveon Clowney and Vic Beasley, and both signings failed miserably. Although Clowney was good when he was on the field, he just wasn’t on the field as frequently as they would have liked.
The time to focus on the position in the draft is long overdue. They have other needs at wide receiver and offensive tackle, but taking a player like Ojulari should be too much to pass on. He is my number one ranked edge rusher and is just twenty years old at the moment. He’s a freaky athlete and is surprisingly effective against the run as well.
New York Jets
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah – Linebacker/Safety – Notre Dame
The Jets will be running the famed Seattle cover three scheme that has taken over the league recently, and they’ll need to rebuild that unit. I would argue that their need for defensive playmakers exceeds all other needs, including quarterback. Outside of Quinnen Williams and Marcus Maye, the Jets are void of any other playmakers.
They will need to add an edge rusher, so having Phillips, Paye, and Ojulari come off the board hurts them at this point. They could go corner, but this feels a little too early for the second group of corners. Instead, they take an elite defensive prospect in Owusu-Koramoah. He can be Robert Saleh’s version of Fred Warner, or even potentially make the switch to strong safety. I think his best role in the NFL is as a linebacker/safety hybrid, and the Jets should be able to allow him to do that – think of him as a juiced-up version of former Chargers safety Adrian Phillips.
Liam Eichenberg – Offensive Tackle – Notre Dame
Somewhere, Tom Telesco is smiling at the selection of back-to-back Golden Domers. This pick could change in the next few weeks, the Steelers are reportedly still trying to bring back veteran Alejandro Villanueva. If they are able to do that, then obviously there is no need to take a player like Eichenberg. Until that happens, however, left tackle is their primary need.
Eichenberg’s arms are a tad on the short side, but he is a bonafide tackle prospect due to his technical ability as a blocker. I think he can overcome that struggle and be a solid tackle in the NFL, which is what the Steelers need.
If they are able to bring Villanueva back, I think this is the start of where we could see a running back selected. The Steelers love running the football, which would make Najee Harris or Javonte Williams the classic Steelers pick.
Rashod Bateman – Wide Receiver – Minnesota
The Jaguars have their deep threat in DJ Chark, they have their slot receiver/gadget player in Laviska Shenault, now they need someone who can come in and create easy throws for Lawrence. Bateman is arguably the best route runner in the class and is an underrated athlete.
This selection would give them a very young and talented trio of weapons for their franchise quarterback, and when you add in James Robinson at running back the future of the Jaguars offensive appears very bright on paper.
Jayson Oweh – Edge – Penn State
The Cleveland Browns are in a similar position as the Steelers with their primary need, except it’s at edge rusher instead of an offensive tackle. Olivier Vernon was a very solid complimentary pass rusher opposite Myles Garrett. If they are able to bring him back, then they can shift to taking another playmaker or continue building up the offensive line. Until that happens, the pick should be an edge rusher.
Oweh is very low on my personal board, but he is an athletic freak and has an immensely high ceiling. They can afford to take on a long-term project because they have Garrett to constantly take pressure away from him.
Elijah Moore – Wide Receiver – Ole Miss
The signing of Sammy Watkins should not deter the Ravens from giving Lamar Jackson some help. They are in dire need of someone who can separate at a high level and create easy throwing windows for Jackson over the middle. At this point, that player is Moore. He is one of my favorite players in the entire draft class and should be a wonderful addition to the Ravens.
New Orleans Saints
Eric Stokes – Cornerback – Georgia
Marshon Lattimore’s recent arrest has clouded his short-term future with the Saints, and when you add in the release of Janoris Jenkins, cornerback becomes a primary need for a team headed for a transition period. They could target a pass rusher here, but Stokes is a no-brainer at this point in the draft.
Green Bay Packers
Terrace Marshall Jr. – Wide Receiver – LSU
The Packers foolishly passed on giving Aaron Rodgers a new toy in last year’s draft. History should not repeat itself this year. Marshall would provide them with the perfect number two alongside Davante Adams. He served as a field stretcher in 2019 for the Tigers and as the number one target this past year. He brings a diverse package to the table that teams should covet.
Christian Barmore – Defensive Tackle – Alabama
The Bills are one of the few teams that can truly afford the luxury of taking the best player on the board, and they do that here with Barmore. His 2020 effort was a little inconsistent but he was arguably the most dominant defensive player in the country from November and on. Adding this kind of interior pass rusher should pay dividends for the Bills defense.
Kansas City Chiefs
Samuel Cosmi – Offensive Tackle – Texas
Analysts seem to have soured on Cosmi over the last few months, but his athletic testing RAS score is the second-highest in the class and because of that he should still be a first-round pick. I am much higher on him than most, and would even be willing to take a chance on him at 13 overall, however, the offensive tackle class is very crowded so a slide seems likely. The Chiefs reap the rewards of that slide in this scenario.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Landon Dickerson – Interior Offensive Lineman – Alabama
The Buccaneers have managed to “run it back” and bring back all of their starters from last year’s Super Bowl team. The one thing teams led by Tom Brady will always need is strong players up the middle of their offensive line. If not for the injury questions, Dickerson might be looked at as a top 15 pick in this year’s class. He’s got everything you could possibly want in an interior offensive lineman and pairing him with Ryan Jensen would give them the nastiest interior duo of any team in the league. He also has the positional versatility to play all five positions in the NFL – he played tackle for Florida State early on in his career.
Let me know what you think in the comments below or on Twitter, @LAFBNetwork!