Predictive Mock – Picks 1-16
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence
I think in a normal year, Justin Fields would be worth consideration next to Lawrence here. But the league is strangely intent on devaluing Fields. So Lawrence is the obvious choice here.
2. New York Jets: Brigham Young QB Zach Wilson
Ditto the last blurb, but replace “Trevor Lawrence” with “Zach Wilson”. Having said that, I do like Zach Wilson. He has the off-script traits to produce early.
3. San Francisco 49ers: Alabama QB Mac Jones
I want to be wrong, but I really think the 49ers take Mac Jones. Don’t get it twisted: I think Jones can be a good NFL quarterback. But Trey Lance and Justin Fields can be great NFL quarterbacks.
4. Miami Dolphins (via ATL): Florida TE Kyle Pitts
This would be a weird move, especially after the Dolphins pulled off some nifty maneuvering to get to No. 6. But reports are saying the Dolphins LOVE Kyle Pitts, and if both Fields and Lance slip, the Falcons might trade back, knowing they can get one of the two.
5. Cincinnati Bengals: LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase
The prospect of protecting Joe Burrow has a lot of appeal. But in the end, I think the Bengals’ desire to replace A.J. Green, combined with Chase’s pre-existing chemistry with Burrow, will be too powerful.
6. Atlanta Falcons (via MIA): North Dakota State QB Trey Lance
The Falcons have a lot of flexibility, but it’s tough to pass up the chance to add a franchise quarterback, even with Matt Ryan still in tow. Lance is an excellent fit for Arthur Smith’s scheme, and reports say some teams view him as the smartest QB in the draft (I don’t disagree).
7. Denver Broncos (via DET): Ohio State QB Justin Fields
I know most reports say the Broncos won’t pick a QB unless one falls to them at No. 9. But I can’t fathom how they’d be so lazy to not just trade up two spots for the second best QB in the draft. Their No. 9 pick will carry the most weight in trade offers. Make the move and get the guy.
And before you say anything, Teddy Bridgewater doesn’t change anything for Denver.
8. Carolina Panthers: Oregon OT Penei Sewell
If Penei Sewell doesn’t drop this far, maybe the Panthers go somewhere else with their pick. But since Sewell is here, the choice will be easy for them. They need to protect Sam Darnold if they want to have a chance at restarting his career. Sewell helps tremendously with that.
9. Detroit Lions (via DEN): Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle
The new preference in the Lions’ receiving core appears to be speed, and no first-round receiver provides more speed and dynamic ability than Jaylen Waddle. In a trade-back, this is tremendous value.
10. Dallas Cowboys: Alabama CB Patrick Surtain II
I would prefer Jaycee Horn here, if I were making the pick. But Patrick Surtain II is still a very good CB prospect, and in the end, I think his slightly less volatile play style might win over the Cowboys’ brass.
11. New York Giants: Oklahoma C Creed Humphrey
Honestly, I’m sticking with the same pick I made in my last mock draft here. I know it’s a surprising one, but the Giants aren’t scared of surprising people. They picked Andrew Thomas far earlier than expected last year, and Humphrey actually deserves to go this high.
12. Philadelphia Eagles: Michigan EDGE Kwity Paye
Yeah, I’m scratching my head a bit, too. The Eagles have far more pressing needs at wide receiver and cornerback (and quarterback, but that’s beside the point). However, reports are saying that the Eagles like Paye a lot, and view him as a similar prospect to Brandon Graham.
13. Los Angeles Chargers: Northwestern OT Rashawn Slater
Maybe DeVonta Smith gets some consideration here, but the Chargers need to protect Justin Herbert, first and foremost. It was between Christian Darrisaw and Rashawn Slater, but Slater has a higher floor out of the gate and has more positional versatility.
14. Minnesota Vikings: Virginia Tech OT Christian Darrisaw
Darrisaw is a top-notch tackle talent, and recently, it was revealed that he played the 2020 season with a groin injury. Considering that he basically dominated in 2020, that just makes him more impressive. I’m not sure he makes it to the Washington Football Team.
15. New England Patriots: Tulsa LB Zaven Collins
The Patriots have other bigger needs, but Zaven Collins just feels like a player they’d really like. He’s athletic, huge, smart, and versatile, and he can be a nice chess piece on the second level. Plus, the Cardinals like him a lot as well, so New England might want first dibs.
16. Arizona Cardinals: South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn
In the end, it works out for the Cardinals. They miss out on their guy Collins, but they get the better defensive prospect in Jaycee Horn. I think Horn should be a top-ten pick, but it seems like he might slide a bit simply due to the board’s fluctuations.