With the Kansas City Chiefs winning Super Bowl LIV, the NFL offseason is officially upon us! And with that, Blaine is ready to drop his first NFL Mock Draft. Enjoy!
1. Cincinnati Bengals – QB Joe Burrow
This choice is pretty obvious. The Bengals and head coach Zac Taylor need a quarterback to build around. Andy Dalton’s time is up, so enter the Heisman Trophy winner who took over college football last season.
2. Washington Redskins – EDGE Chase Young
I do believe this could be a place where a team looks to trade up for a quarterback. However, with no trades in this mock draft, the Redskins and new defensive-minded head coach Ron Rivera will bring in the best defensive player in the draft.
3. Detroit Lions – CB Jeffrey Okudah
If Washington does not trade back, the team that makes a splash to get several picks could be the Detroit Lions. While there is speculation that the Lions might be in the market for a quarterback, Matthew Stafford was having a career year before his injury and the Lions are a team with pressure to win now. The Lions had the worst pass defense in the NFL last season and Okudah would be an immediate upgrade.
4. New York Giants – LB Isaiah Simmons
The Giants could certainly draft a tackle here, but I don’t believe they allow Simmons to drop below them. This is a team that lacks speed on defense, and Simmons is a step above the rest.
5. Miami Dolphins – QB Tua Tagovailoa
#TankForTua wasn’t really a tank after the Dolphins won five games, but they still get their guy. I have questions about the Alabama quarterback’s injury history and whether or not he can make it in the NFL from a physical standpoint. However, the Dolphins have a lot of assets and they start with a guy they can build around.
6. Los Angeles Chargers – QB Justin Herbert
It is unlikely that Phillip Rivers returns to the Chargers, having made a very public exit. This is a team that could certainly sign a veteran like Tom Brady or Teddy Bridgewater. However, I still think they make a move for a quarterback. While the Chargers aren’t the best organization, I do believe this would be the perfect landing spot of Herbert. The Chargers need to make a splash before they get to the new stadium in Los Angeles/Inglewood. There is no better way to do that than drafting a rookie quarterback in the top-10.
7. Carolina Panthers – IDL Javon Kinlaw
New head coach Matt Rhule knows just how important it is to win in the trenches. The Panthers gave up the fourth-most rushing yards last season but got to the quarterback the second-most. Kinlaw is a disruptive player and will be a perfect first selection in Rhule’s premiere draft.
8. Arizona Cardinals – OT Tristen Wirfs
The Cardinals have found their quarterback of the future in Kyler Murray, having just won the NFL’s Rookie of the Year. Now, they need to be able to protect him. The Cardinals gave up the fifth-most sacks last season and Wirfs is an unbelievable talent that Arizona can build around on the offensive line.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars – WR CeeDee Lamb
This is where things start to get a little bit tricky. At the end of the day, I believe the Jaguars will look to bring in flashy offensive talent for Gardner Minshew or Nick Foles or whoever is under center. DJ Chark proved that he can make plays, but Lamb is a difference-maker.
10. Cleveland Browns – OT Jedrick Willis
The Browns struggled to protect Baker Mayfield last season. They made do with Greg Robinson on the left side, but as the Rams and teams before Cleveland have found out, he is not the answer. Willis is the best tackle in this draft and someone that will help give Mayfield a chance to throw the ball to his plethora of weapons.
11. New York Jets – EDGE AJ Epenesa
The Jets are a team with talent but not good coaching. Drafting Epenesa doesn’t solve that. However, pairing Epenesa with DL Quinnen Williams will make that defense scary.
12. Las Vegas Raiders – WR Henry Ruggs III
The Raiders have always valued speed guys on the outside. Ruggs might be the fastest player in this draft. The Raiders have a good core with Josh Jacobs, Darren Waller, and Hunter Renfrow. Now they just need someone on the outside who can make plays and take the top off of defenses.
13. Indianapolis Colts – QB Jordan Love
Love becomes the fourth quarterback off of the board and while I certainly have my reservations about him, there is no doubt that the talent is apparent. Pairing Love with Frank Reich could be the perfect match. After losing Andrew Luck (without any time to prepare for life after Luck), that guy now becomes Love.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – QB Jacob Eason
While the Buccaneers certainly could bring back Jameis Winston, that is a scenario I find unlikely. Eason paired with Arians is a match made in heaven. Arians is someone that likes to air the ball deep and Eason is one of, if not the best, downfield throwers in this draft class.
15. Denver Broncos – WR Jerry Jeudy
With four quarterbacks off of the board, the Denver Broncos now have arguably the best wide receiver in the draft fall right into their laps. Pairing Jeudy with Cortland Sutton could be a deadly combination and sets quarterback Drew Lock up for success.
16. Atlanta Falcons – EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson
The Falcons are not going to bring back Vic Beasley. Chaisson makes a lot of sense as someone who can not only replace him but be an upgrade.
This is one of the more interesting selections in the first round with Mike McCarthy making his first pick as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. This is a team, however, that needs secondary help and Fulton is the best cornerback available.
The Dolphins got their quarterback, now they need to protect him. Becton is an absolute bully upfront. He fits the persona and type of player that Brian Flores wants.
The Raiders were more or less awful in the secondary last season. Henderson has a large wingspan and is a playmaker on defense that the Raiders need.
Delpit is as versatile as they get on the back end, with the ability to play both safety positions, slot corner, and blitz off of the edge. He is someone that Doug Morrone will fall in love with.
There was a point last year when the Eagles had two healthy receivers and quarterback Josh McCown was the emergency wide receiver. In the playoffs, the Eagles top receiving option was someone who was a former quarterback and had been on the practice squad to begin the year. The Eagles missed DeSean Jackson’s deep-threat ability and Higgins will fill that hole immediately.
With Tom Brady potentially out of the picture in New England, the Bills have an opportunity to take control of the AFC East. With John Brown on one side and Reagor on the other, the Bills would have the fastest wide receiver duo in the NFL.
I expect to take a lot of heat for this pick because Trautman isn’t generally seen as a first-rounder, but he is a player that I love and a player that is perfect in New England. It was obvious that the Patriots missed Rob Gronkowski last season. Trautman has the receiving ability of the modern tight end, but also has no issues blocking which the Patriots will ask him to do. I can’t think of a better fit.
Michael Thomas is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, but the Saints need someone who can compliment him downfield. Thomas’ receptions record was impressive, but Shenault is someone who can come in and take some of that pressure off.
The Vikings did a nice job of drafting Garrett Bradbury last year to improve the protection for Kirk Cousins. However, after watching how the Vikings got dominated on the line of scrimmage against the 49ers, there is still work to be done. Ruiz is a nice addition in Minnesota.
The Dolphins have their quarterback, they have their tackle, now they get someone who will help take some of the pressure off of their rookie quarterback. Swift is the best running back in this class and someone who is well worth a first-round selection.
The Seahawks will need help on the edge and Weaver is an explosive player with a good variety of pass-rush moves.
The Baltimore Ravens are young and that was obvious when two of their most flashy players on offense – Lamar Jackson and Hollywood Brown – were their best playmakers. The biggest issue for the Ravens is that they need that big-bodied receiver that they can rely on and there is nobody better than Jefferson.
Lewis looks the part of the NFL edge rusher and someone that will immediately catch the eye of head coach Mike Vrabel. A quarterback could be an option here, but I do think the Titans like Tannehill and may look to give him a full year. The Titans keep reloading their biggest strength, and that’s the defense.
The Packers have drafted receivers early in the past and it just hasn’t really worked out. They need weapons to help Aaron Rodgers as much as possible outside of DaVante Adams. Aiyuk is a big play waiting to happen and will fit right in with the Packers offense.
The 49ers don’t have a lot of glaring weaknesses. Terrell may not be the best cornerback prospect but he’s one of the most polished. He didn’t show well in the National Championship game, but that was not indicative of his skill set at all. Put him on the 49ers defense with that pass rush and he will flourish.
The Chiefs need to continue to build their secondary. Like Terrell, Arnette isn’t the best cornerback prospect, but he does bring things to the table that you have to like. He’s a good athlete, he’s physical, and he’s a confident player. That’s what you want on the outside on defense.