As we now have finally passed the Combine and now have made it to the legal tampering period of Free Agency, so now because everything hits the proverbial fan, it’s time to drop Mock 2.0. Since Mock 1.0 we’ve seen the entire QB landscape take shape with Russell Wilson being moved to Denver and Aaron Rodgers returning to the Green Bay Packers. Add to that, Tom Brady stunning everyone and returning from his vacation he called retirement to announce he will play his 23rd season in the NFL for the Buccaneers. Along with that we’ve seen big names get moved in Khalil Mack being dealt to the Chargers and Amari Cooper being moved to the Browns. That leaves the uncertainty around Deshaun Watson as the last big domino to fall in the NFL that can shift the entire NFL Draft.
But all that matters now is where do we stand now with the Draft? Let’s find out, it’s time for Mock Draft 2.0.
Mock Draft 2.0
- Jacksonville Jaguars- OT Evan Neal Alabama- While in Mock 1.0 we mocked Ole Miss OT Ikem Ekonwu to go #1 overall and while I firmly believe it’s possible, it’s possible that Trent Baalke can fool us all and go with the safer pick in Evan Neal. Neal is probably the safer prospect, but because of his athleticism, there’s some concern he’s going fit better at RT rather than LT. At the end of the day, the Jaguars need to find a way to protect their Franchise QB in Trevor Lawrence. There’s no real wrong answer between the Top 2 OTs, just pick the one that’s best for you.
2. Detroit Lions- EDGE Aidan Hutchinson Michigan- For the Lions and Dan Campbell, there really isn’t a better pick. While Thibodeaux offers the higher upside pick, the questions with his work ethic if true will without question scare off Campbell. Hutch’s work ethic and ties to the state of Michigan are going to be easy sells for the Franchise to invest the #2 pick in him. The real question becomes what will the Lions do with the #32 pick?
3. New York Giants (from Houston)- TRADE: New York Giants acquires #3 overall pick from Houston in exchange for #5 overall pick, a 2022 3rd Round pick and a 2023 2nd Round pick- OT Ikem Ekonwu NC State- The Giants are going to have to jump their in city rivals the Jets to get their Franchise LT. With #5 and #7, they have the assets along with piecing together others to move up with a motivated Houston. With the Giants running it back with Daniel Jones, they have to start protecting him. Ekonwu had a strong combine and showed why he’s deserving to be in the conversation with Evan Neal and could be better. The Giants have WR weapons to work with for Jones. They just need to protect him going forward and that’s exactly what Ekonwu does for the Giants.
4. New York Jets- OT Charles Cross Mississippi State- The Jets could go in numerous different directions at this pick. They could go best player available and add an EDGE rusher. They could pounce on the first WR in the draft. But the questions surrounding Mekhi Becton and his future leave the Jets. Cross came into the combine as the questionable LT3 in the draft. He silenced any doubters with arguably the strongest combine out of all the LTs. He looks sharp in the drills showcasing the mobility necessary to hold up at LT. After his combine performance, if the Jets don’t take him at #4, he won’t make it to #10, so maybe a reach to some, it’s a reach out of necessity while addressing other needs later.
5. Houston Texans (from New York Giants)- OT Trevor Penning Northern Iowa- For the Texans, sitting at #5 they can go in multiple directions. Kyle Hamilton or Ahmad Gardner would be a great character fits and defensive leaders, Kayvon Thibodeaux could be their next great pass rusher. But instead they go get a LT? Hear me out. Once Deshaun Watson is moved, all bets are off. The Texans could very much take Ikem Ekonwu at 3, but they could look to acquire more assets and rebuild for the future. Penning had an outstanding combine standing out as the top athletic OT in the draft. He played extremely well at a lower level at Northern Iowa and will immediately be an effective pass blocker. Question is can he handle the jump to the NFL? The bigger question is if Houston takes a LT early, is Laremy Tunsil available?
6. Houston Texans (from Carolina)- TRADE: Houston acquires #6 overall pick, 2022 2nd Round pick, a 2023 1st and 2nd Round pick and RB Christian McCaffrey from Carolina in exchange for QB Deshaun Watson and a 2022 4th Round pick- CB Ahmad Gardner Cincinnati- After careful consideration, I firmly believe someone will be desperate enough to trade for a QB. Carolina still could contend with Tom Brady returning and will pounce on the opportunity and pay a fairly steep price knowing the uncertainty that lies with him. I believe although McCaffrey is a steep price to pay, if they can figure out the O-Line, Chuba Hubbard did well enough to be a productive back instead. Houston turns around and uses this pick to get the CB that everyone has been buzzing about throughout the process. Ahmad Gardner is so hard to not root for, a kid with with an outstanding attitude and a track record that was impeccable at Cincy. At the combine he ran better than expected and with his prototypical size, looks the part of a potential shutdown corner. Adding a player of Gardner’s character and Thibodeaux’s talent is going to allow Lovie Smith to turn around that Texans defense quickly.
7. New York Giants (from Chicago)- EDGE Travon Walker Georgia- The Giants moved up to get their Franchise LT, now they get the freakish pass rusher they’ve been lacking. I don’t know if you’ve could’ve had a better combine than Travon Walker did. Entering the Combine, he sat as a Top 20 pick and is now a Top 5 player on the board. He was clearly the leader of the Georgia defense last season and was a disrupter in the backfield. Pair him with the interior lineman that the Giants have that will be similar to what he had at Georgia, it could be an easy transition for him.
8. Atlanta Falcons- WR Chris Olave Ohio State- So from considering trading Calvin Ridley to now him being suspended for gambling on his own games. The Falcons were already in a position to move on and now will do that with this pick. Chris Olave came into the combine as the most pro ready WR in the draft and then wowed everyone with speed some people, including myself weren’t sure he had. The question has never been his tape, it’s been does he have elite speed and now we know he does. It’s not a debate who WR1 is at this point and for the Falcons you get pretty much a Calvin Ridley clone to replace him. A perfect fit in an almost devastating situation.
9. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver)- QB Malik Willis Liberty- The bombshell finally dropped with the Seahawks finally moving Russell Wilson to Denver. The Seahawks got some interesting pieces including Shelby Harris and Noah Fant, but are left with no QB to lead them. While the Seahawks desperately need a pass rusher and Thibodeaux on the board, I doubt Pete Carroll won’t pass on Malik Willis as a potential successor. Willis will provide the same mobility, if not more than Russ did and the upside to be a very good passer. Willis would walk into Seattle potentially with Noah Fant, DK Metcalf, and Tyler Lockett to throw to with a strong running game. It’s a potential recipe for success.
10. New York Jets (from Seattle)- S Kyle Hamilton Notre Dame- After taking Charles Cross at #4, the Jets have fallen into a dream scenario with two of the top players still on the board. The Jets may need a pass rusher, but they could bet on Carl Lawson returning strong from injury. Kyle Hamilton is a weapon that Robert Saleh will know how to utilize. The question with Hamilton is what position is he? Saleh has had experience utilizing players in multiple positions and plays off players strengths. A player of Hamilton’s talent and more importantly his character will help transform Saleh’s defense into one of the best in football.
11. Washington Commanders- C Tyler Linderbaum Iowa- The Commanders finally made a move for a QB and got Carson Wentz. While not the best option on the market, it’s better than what they had. That being said, they will look at either a WR or an IOL. Garrett Wilson would definitely be in play, but I can see Washington bet on Curtis Samuel to rebound from his injury. Tyler Linderbaum would fill the void at Center they have and solidifying the interior. The Commanders live and die off of a strong rushing attacking in Antonio Gibson to open up the passing game. This picks helps their offensive gameplan.
12. Minnesota Vikings- WR Garrett Wilson Ohio State- I wouldn’t be shocked if the Vikings move on from Adam Thielen’s contract to a team that needs a WR. After that, the Vikings would immediately replace him with one of the top WRs in the draft. Wilson would immediately come in and add a second home run threat opposite Justin Jefferson. Wilson had a strong combine, although my question with his hands remain after an okay Gauntlet run. His catch radius and ability to create separation will make him a threat immediately on a team that has a WR that teams have to worry about to begin with. Jefferson/Wilson could be the NFC’s JaMarr Chase/Tee Higgins.
13. New Orleans Saints (from Cleveland)- TRADE: New Orleans acquires #13 overall pick from Cleveland in exchange for #18 overall, a 2022 3rd Round pick and a 2023 2nd Round pick- QB Kenny Pickett Pittsburgh- The Browns would sit here with multiple EDGE rushers and WRs to choose from. The question becomes, will they pass on a deal and sprint to get Kayvon, or bet that they’ll get an equal talent later. I think they pull trigger on the deal and move down a few spots with a QB hungry team like New Orleans. The key is Pickett is on the board and I expect the Saints to be active and willing to move up. Pickett would arrive in New Orleans with weapons to work with in Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas and consistency in leadership under Dennis Allen. The Saints would provide the strong, supportive environment he needs as he starts in the league. The question is, can he be the guy that succeeds Drew Brees?
14. Baltimore Ravens- EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux Oregon- I hate Art Modell…the board just always falls perfectly for this Franchise and they sprint to the podium to take Thibodeaux. Question is, why is Kayvon falling? It’s a mixture of questions surrounding his motor and lack of love for football. But the talent is undeniable, he’s a freak of an athlete and at Oregon was a constant menace in the backfield. He should translate well in the NFL. The Ravens pair him with Odefe Oweh and create the best young pass rushing duo in the league.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami)- CB Derek Stingley Jr. LSU- The Eagles sitting with their first of 3 1st Round picks sprint to the podium to take one of the top talents on the board. Derek Stingley has red flags in terms of medical and lack of production at LSU. It’s going to take a team that buys into the Freshman who was a lockdown corner. At his size and his athletic ability, he should be a lockdown corner in the NFL, but there are too many question marks. Philly with multiple picks and a need at CB takes the chance on Stingley. If he pans out, the Eagles will have a CB that will terrorize the NFC East.
16. Philadelphia Eagles (from Indianapolis)- EDGE Jermaine Johnson Florida State- After getting one steal in Stingley, the Eagles sprint to the podium again and steal Jermaine Johnson. Johnson has had a meteoric rise to the top of this EDGE rusher class. The only reason he slips is because other rushers are falling. Johnson dominated the Senior Bowl and was a standout at the Combine as well. Johnson has bet on himself transferring from Georgia to FSU and has performed since. Johnson is a kid you don’t bet against, the Eagles will be getting a guy who will wreck havoc in the backfield from the start.
17. Los Angeles Chargers- DT Jordan Davis Georgia- So you’re telling me the Chargers added Khalil Mack to pair with Joey Bosa and didn’t give up #17? Great work, now what do you do with it? A corner in Andrew Booth would be interesting, but after Jordan Davis’ combine, the thought of a defensive front led by Davis, Mack and Bosa is a nightmare to think about. Davis’ size and pure athleticism is going to be a problem for teams to handle and the fact he’d have teammates in Bosa and Mack to take pressure off, the Chargers might develop one of the most explosive and talented pass rushing attacks in the league that will terrorize the opposing QBs in the AFC West.
18. Cleveland Browns (from New Orleans)- EDGE George Karlaftis Purdue- After a trade down with New Orleans, the Browns sit with multiple pass rushers, Treylon Burks and Drake London on the board. The key to this pick is the thresholds the Browns hold with every selection they make. Only one player checks off the 4 thresholds is Karlaftis. Karlaftis performed throughout his entire Purdue career and is effective in both the pass rush and run defending. With the loss of Jadevion Clowney, the Browns need someone opposite Myles Garrett and Karlaftis fits the bill perfectly what they need opposite Garrett.
19. Philadelphia Eagles- WR Treylon Burks Arkansas- The Eagles according to recent rumors had a deal in place for Calvin Ridley before news on him broke. The Eagles don’t have a true #1 WR and need one desperately. Burks gives them a big physical playmaker they’ve lacked for years. While his combine and Pro Day athletic scores left a lot to be desired, his game tape shows those numbers don’t matter. For a team that needs to get Jalen Hurts weapons to throw to, this is a move that immensely helps Philly in its attempt to return to the playoffs next year.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers- QB Desmond Ridder Cincinnati- The Steelers have finally entered the unknown with the retirement of Ben Roethelisberger with no replacement set. They have failed on landing a big name QB so far and it’s questionable if they’d settle on a mediocre veteran to fill the void. After a strong combine blowing everyone away with his athleticism, there’s a chance his stock could catapult him into the 1st Round. Ridder has the athletic ability to make plays with his feet, but his accuracy raises concerns into could it translate in the NFL. While it worked out with Josh Allen, Ridder needs time. In Pittsburgh, he’d have stable coaching, weapons to work with and time to develop. If it’s gonna work anywhere, it’s Pittsburgh.
21. New England Patriots- CB Andrew Booth Jr. Clemson- With JC Jackson leaving New England, the Patriots will be looking for a replacement in this draft and Booth is a near perfect fit for the Patriots. An outstanding leader for Clemson, who was an All-Academic player, Booth was a standout in press coverage and is strong in zone. He fits exactly what Bill Belichick looks for in his Corners. You talk about player/team fits, Booth is one of the best fits with the Patriots that you’re going to find.
22. Las Vegas Raiders- C Zion Johnson Boston College- A pick that doesn’t change from Mock 1.0. Johnson has validated his stock and the need for a center for the Raiders is still there. This pick makes way too much sense for me to explain much further.
23. Arizona Cardinals- EDGE David Ojabo Michigan- The Cardinals now stand to lose Chandler Jones and will look to replace him in the draft. At this point, the Cardinals would be doing cartwheels if Ojabo falls here. Ojabo would fit in perfectly rushing off the EDGE opposite JJ Watt. Ojabo’s explosiveness and pass rushing ability are some of the best in the class, but he struggles in the run game. The Cardinals will probably look past it as they will need to replace the production in the pass rush left by Jones. Either way, this is a steal of a pick.
24. Dallas Cowboys- WR Jameson Williams Alabama- With Amari Cooper now dealt, the Cowboys will potentially be looking for a partner opposite Ceedee Lamb. While they could resign Michael Gallup, the wiser move may be bringing back Cedrick Wilson and betting on Williams to be fully healthy and an explosive weapon that will leave defenses guessing how to cover Dallas. Williams has been said to recovering from his Torn ACL faster than expected and will return to full strength when he does. Some say if had run a 40 this year, he might’ve challenged the 4.22 record of John Ross. Williams should at least translate as a deep threat in the NFL, with the upside if he can add a bit more to his route tree the ability to be a WR1.
25. Buffalo Bills- DT Devonte Wyatt Georgia- The Bills have a ton of talent and are close to returning to the Super Bowl for the first time since the Jim Kelly era. The Bills do have Ed Oliver and while they could go EDGE here, the possibility of adding Wyatt next to Oliver would create headaches. Wyatt ran a 4.77 40, but didn’t do much more at the Combine, waiting until his Pro Day. He’s going to be a pass rush force in the interior although I question how strong he’s going to be against the run. He’s at least solid against the run, but in the AFC East, it won’t matter too much. The Bills would solidify themselves an uber athletic interior that will be hard to block.
26. Tennessee Titans- WR Jahan Dotson Penn State- The Titans sit at this pick looking at the LBs that they need, but also with a couple WRs. The question is do the Titans want the big physical WR in Drake London or the smooth route running, explosive WR in Jahan Dotson. Dotson would be a perfect compliment to AJ Brown. While he didn’t have a strong combine, I trust what I see on tape. Dotson plays faster on tape and knows how to get open and make the big play. Ryan Tannehill will need weapons to throw outside of Brown. Dotson gives him someone just as dangerous and able to step in and contribute right away.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- IOL Kenyon Green Texas A&M- So Tom Brady has returned while Ali Marpet retired. I think they’d look to replace Marpet with the talented Green who slipped to their pick. While he didn’t perform well at the combine, leaving questions on his strength only lifting 225 lbs 20 times at the Combine, he’s still a talented interior lineman. He’s strong in the running game and can be an anchor on the O-Line. He struggles in pass protection, but there’s upside in his game still. He can quickly fill in for Marpet and help the Bucs right away.
28. Green Bay Packers- EDGE Boye Mafe Minnesota- Packers fans can rejoice knowing that Aaron Rodgers will finish his career in a Packer uniform. Now they have to rebuild a defense that is losing multiple pieces as a result of the cap. Za’Darius Smith is one that is a major loss and while Rashaun Gary finally showed his potential, they will need another pass rusher. Boye Mafe has flown up the draft boards as my Day 3 sleeper to now borderline 1st Round pick after an outstanding Combine. Mafe just wrecks havoc in the backfield and would’ve been a bigger name if he wasn’t at Minnesota. He will fit in the Packers defense extremely well and has played in the conditions before, he will thrive with the Packers.
29. Miami Dolphins (from San Francisco)- WR Drake London USC- The Dolphins now under the direction of Mike McDaniel look to implement the Shanahan system in Miami. It looks like the Dolphins struck gold in Jaylen Waddle and McDaniel will probably use him like Deebo Samuel in San Fran. What the Dolphins lack is a second receiving option outside of Mike Gesicki. Drake London fits the system as a big, physical receiver who has a strong route running tree and will be able to do everything the Dolphins need. London decided to wait until his Pro Day to run his drills so depending on how he does, he could still rise up the board. But for Miami, if he slips here, they’ll be happy to take him.
30. Kansas City Chiefs- WR Christian Watson North Dakota State- I can’t think of a more perfect player/team fit. While this is potentially a reach for Watson here, he couldn’t go to a better spot. Watson stands at 6’4’’ 208lbs. and runs a lightning fast 4.36 40 time. The Chiefs needs to find a guy to go opposite Tyreek Hill, with multiple WRs hitting FA. The Chiefs have never been scared as well to bet on WRs with top end speed to work out. While Watson has a limited route tree, the upside and ability with his speed to fit in immediately with Pat Mahomes, this is a dream fit that the Chiefs will take the chance on to create a nightmare receiving core for the AFC West to deal with.
31. Houston Texans (from Cincinnati)- TRADE: Houston acquires #31 overall pick, a 2023 1st Round pick and 2023 3rd Round pick from Cincinnati in exchange for OT Laremy Tunsil- EDGE Arnold Ebiketie Penn State- After selecting Trevor Penning and Ahmad Gardner to start, they trade their Franchise LT to Cincy for assets. The Texans would use this pick to address the pass rush and grab one of the more intriguing prospects at the EDGE position in Ebiketie. He had a strong combine showcasing explosiveness in the drills and in his vertical and broad jump. While his bench press leaves questions about his strength, his production at Penn State as a pass rusher makes him a talent worth taking a chance on at this point. If he performs well at his Pro Day, he could climb even higher because of his athleticism and upside.
32. Detroit Lions (from LA Rams)- S Daxton Hill Michigan- Why not take two Wolverines if you’re the Lions? Aidan Hutchinson may have been the leader of the defense, but it was Daxton Hill’s versatility and talent that solidified the back end of the Defense. Hill may be a Free Safety, but he can play Nickel and Corner as well. He’s a versatile defender who had an outstanding combine running a 4.38 40, which could make things think he’s a CB at his size. For the Lions, a versatile defensive weapon like this will come in handy as they continue to build up the defense.
I still expect movement in future Mocks because of players opting out of certain drills at the Combine this past year. Drake London could change everything with a strong performance at his Pro Day in terms of the WR rankings. Add to that the Free Agency moves that can affect teams needs going forward in the draft. Plus any QB trade like Jimmy Garapollo, Deshaun Watson or any other wild cards who could get dealt that could change where the QBs could go in this draft and potentially change the entire landscape of the draft. We’ve only just begun as Draft Season is starting to heat up.