I purposely don't do mock drafts very far in advance of the NFL Draft because they're useless. Unfortunately, even the one I did just about a week ago is a little out of date as well. Since then some exciting story-lines have unfolded to watch for tonight.
- The Dolphins have tried multiple times to trade up to #1 for Burrow and have been denied
-The Lions have been trying all day to pull off a pre-draft trade down from #3
-The Falcons seem hell-bent on getting into the top 10 picks from 16
-Will anyone trade into the top 10 in an effort to get a jump on the inevitable WR run?
-Where will Herbert and Tua go? Is it possible they slide? Could Jordan Love be taken ahead of one of them?
Underneath is my final Draft Day Mock Draft. Like I said, I don't like doing more than one of these. But if we're trying to predict the future, the most current information is always valuable.
1) Cincinnati Bengals: QB Joe Burrow, LSU
Easiest pick in the draft, and the Bengals have likely known who they're taking for awhile now. The hometown kid will be heralded before he even takes a snap for the Bengals. The Dolphins have tried multiple times to nab this pick and Cincy hasn't budged.
2) Washington Redskins: EDGE Chase Young, OSU
With a new regime taking over and the organization hitting the reset button in a sense, Washington at least has to consider trading down here. But there are certain positions, edge rusher being one of them, that are too important to pass up if you get a chance to take a premier player.
3) Los Angeles Chargers (Projected trade via Lions): QB Tua Tagovailoa, ALA
I've heard multiple teams drafting in the top-10 have failed Tua's physical, and the durability is obviously the biggest concern here. But at the end of the day I still think the Lions want to move down from here and whoever makes the trade into this spot is taking a QB.
4) New York Giants: OT Jedrick Wills, ALA
The Giants could go a number of different ways with the lack of talent on the roster, and trying to get inside GM Dave Gettleman's head isn't easy for me. But I think they go OL here to protect their new franchise QB Daniel Jones and try to give Saquon Barkley some holes to run through. Wills played strictly right tackle at Alabama, but that shouldn't be a problem as the Giants have Solder on the left side. He could slide right into the other bookend and make an impact from day one.
5) Miami Dolphins: QB Justin Herbert, ORE
Apparently the Dolphins front office is split between Tua and Herbert. That means they aren't likely to trade up for one. Where it could get interesting is if the Lions can't find a dance partner and just have to pick at 3, who would Miami take if given a choice between the two?
6) Detroit Lions (Projected trade via Chargers): LB Isaiah Simmons, CLEM
The consensus target for Detroit has been Jeff Okudah, but now that they've dumped Slay, I don't see how drafting Okudah makes them any better than they were in 2019 - and this is a regime that needs to win right now. The Lions luck out in this scenario and get a chance to take the ultimate defensive chess piece in Simmons. He can take away pass catchers between the numbers, and play the sub linebacker down in the box.
7) Carolina Panthers: CB Jeff Okudah, OSU
The Panthers are another team that could go in a number of directions, but all of them include defense. Here they get the draft's best corner, and my personal #1 prospect in the NFL Draft. He'll play great across from Donte Jackson, and be an upgrade from the guy they just let walk in free agency (James Bradberry). Okudah displays perfect technique and unual polish for a college prospect.
8) Arizona Cardinals: OT Mekhi Becton, UL
The Cardinals no longer need a wide out after they stole DeAndre Hopkins from the Texans. But they need to protect their new mobile franchise QB. They can get a mountain for a left tackle in Becton who stands 6'7 and weighs 368 lbs. He's also an athletic freak at that size, running a whopping 5.1 at the combine back in February. People just didn't get around him at Louisville, and he'd be a solid bodyguard for Kyler Murray's blind side.
9) Atlanta Falcons (Projected trade with Jaguars): DI Derrick Brown, AUB
I can't figure out why the Falcons want to trade up so badly, but it feels like they will. They can pair Brown, a player I think will slide a little further than most think - with Grady Jarrett and have a brick wall up the middle. Other targets for Atlanta in a trade up scenario would be Henderson, Chaisson, or maybe even higher with Okudah or Simmons.
10) Cleveland Browns: OT Andrew Thomas, UGA
Safe to say Greg Robinson won't be playing tackle for the Browns this fall after his recent arrest in which he was caught with 157 lbs of marijuana. They signed Jack Conklin to play right tackle in free agency but they still need another and could double dip and Thomas would be a great fit.
11) New York Jets: WR CeeDee Lamb, OU
The Jets have to be excited if they get their choice at WR. Pegging who Gase and Douglas like it harder. Joe Douglas likes toughness, so I think he'll like Lamb - who is tenacious at the catch point and after he has the ball in his hands.
12) Las Vegas Raiders: WR Jerry Jeudy, ALA
If I were the Raiders I'd strongly consider going a different route here, but Gruden loves wide outs, and he still gets a chance to take the best one coming out in my opinion. Jeudy runs crisp routes and is quickly becoming underrated as draft night approaches.
13) San Francisco 49ers (via Colts): CB C.J. Henderson, UF
Everybody wants to see them take Ruggs, myself included. But I don't think they will. People tied into the bay think defense is the course at this pick, and I agree with the sentiment. Henderson is head and shoulder above the rest as the second-best corner, and he'd help an already stacked defense instantly.
14) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OT Tristan Wirfs, IOWA
The priority for Tampa here has to be protecting their newly acquired FA quarterback Tom Brady, who's in his forties. Wirfs could slip a little bit due to some questions about whether he'll be a tackle or a guard in the long-run, but that versatility is perfect for the Bucs. He can initially slide in at guard, where I think he has all-pro potential, while also being a long-term solution at tackle as players move on. I think Wirfs could be the best lineman in the whole draft, and Tampa would have to pull the trigger here if given the chance.
15) Denver Broncos: DI Javon Kinlaw, SC
The Broncos need a wide out, but that can wait. They already have two valuable pass catchers in Sutton and Fant at TE anyways. Kinlaw helps them inside and combined with Von Miller and Bradley Chubb off the edge, Denver would have one of the better defensive lines in the AFC.
16) Jacksonville Jaguars (Projected trade with Falcons): EDGE K'Lavon Chaisson, LSU
The Jags seemingly want to trade back, and if they're able to do so and still acquire Chaisson they'd be thrilled. Their defense is terrible, particularly up front, and Chaisson is the second-best pass rusher in the class.
17) Dallas Cowboys: WR Henry Ruggs, III
This is such a Cowboys pick. It has Jerry Jones written all over it. They lost Randall Cobb in free agency and while they held on to Amari Cooper, he needs a robin. Dak would have a weapon underneath on crossers as well as deep down the field while Amari could work the intermediate area.
18) Pittsburgh Steelers (Projected trade with Dolphins via Steelers): QB Jordan Love, USU
It's time for the Dolphins to be nice and give the Steelers their pick back. It's becoming increasingly clear Love isn't just going in the first round, he will probably go top-20. The Steelers get in front of a couple teams that could be interested and pull the trigger on the heir to Big Ben.
19) Las Vegas Raiders (via Bears): LB Patrick Queen, LSU
I don't think the Raiders go wide out/corner anymore. Not if Queen's out there. He'll be great in black and silver and give them a sideline to sideline play maker in the middle of the defense.
20) New Orleans Saints (Projected trade with Jaguars (via Rams): WR Jalen Reagor, TCU
Reagor is a good player, but I wasn't sold on a team taking him in the first last week. Now I'm convinced he doesn't make it out of Thursday. The rumors are palpable. The Saints are one of the best rosters in football and therefore don't need a lot of picks. They'll likely trade tonight, and it'll be for a play maker. Reagor turns the Saints offense into a true three wide out attack with Thomas, Sanders, and himself.
21) Philadelphia Eagles: LB Kenneth Murray, OU
The Eagles haven't taken a first round linebacker in a long time, but I think that changes. They need a wide receiver, but the depth of the class allows them to fill other needs first. Murray is a captain on defense that can wear the green dot and lead. He isn't the best against coverage, but profiles great physically.
22) Minnesota Vikings (via Bills): EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos, PSU
After the trade of Stefon Diggs, a popular mock has been WR for Minny. I'll be blunt - I highly doubt Zimmer and Spielman take a wide out in the first. They need to start replacing key cogs defensively, and after likely losing Everson Griffen, they'll need a pass rushing presence opposite Danielle Hunter. Gross-Matos provides them a long pass rusher with a lot of upside and versatility, even if he isn't the most polished.
23) New England Patriots: EDGE A.J. Epenesa, IOWA
Enough is enough. Bill Belichick will end the slide of Epenesa, who is a talented 4-3 defensive end. It's easy to see Bill falling in love with a player like Epenesa and a little known fact - Belichick and Iowa HC Kirk Ferentz have the same agent and are good buddies.
24) Jacksonville Jaguars (Projected trade via Saints): OT Josh Jones, HOU
The Jags in this scenario trade down with both of their first rounders, accumulating picks along the way and still picking up valuable starters. Josh Jones is a really good football player and the Jags come away from the first round with more picks and still get two starters at valuable positions. This would be a great start for the new regime.
25) Minnesota Vikings: CB A.J. Terrell, CLEM
Zimmer loves long corners and Terrell represents just that. He struggled under the bright lights at times, but he has a lot of upside given his physical acumen. The Minnesota fan base might lose it if they don't pick up a wide receiver, but I truly believe the Minny front office will choose defense with both selections.
26) Miami Dolphins (via Texans): WR Brandon Aiyuk, ASU
Miami needs starters, however they can get them. Aiyuk has exceptional short area quickness and is a home run threat when he gets the ball in his hands. He'd compliment DeVante Parker well and give presumably a new franchise QB a nice security outlet and some easy completions underneath.
27) Tampa Bay Bucaneers (Projected trade via Seahawks): RB Deandre Swift, UGA
The Seahawks almost always move around in the draft, and this would be a perfect time for the Bucs to swoop in and turn a good first round into a great one. They may have to move up even further than 27 to secure Swift, but he'd give Tom Brady a pass catching threat out of the backfield. They are lacking significantly in the RB department and Swift is a complete back that would instantly solve that.
28) Baltimore Ravens: LB Zack Baun, WISC
Baun just tested positive for a diluted sample, but I don't think it'll impact his draft status all that much, as he'll no longer receive a strike from the league under the new rules. Baun would be such a good fit with the Ravens, it almost feels like it won't actually happen. It's too good to be true. His aggressive play and versatility would play from day one with their culture, and he has the ability to play both off the ball and down on the edge on passing downs. He isn't the best in coverage, but if you're rushing him - it doesn't matter. He gives the Ravens the off-ball linebacker they need as well as a pass rushing presence opposite Matthew Judon, all in one player! It's a perfect marriage.
29) Tennessee Titans: OT Isaiah Wilson, UGA
The Titans could use some help along their defensive front, but they also need a tackle after Jack Conklin left them in free agency. I think they'll consider Ross Blacklock here from TCU, but with his injury concern and the lack of tackles left at this point in the draft - Tennessee could get aggressive. Wilson played right tackle at Georgia and would slide right into Conklin's spot.
30) Miami Dolphins (Projected trade via Packers): OT Austin Jackson, USC
The Dolphins traded out of the first with their second pick to allow the Steelers to trade up to get their QB. Now they trade back up to complete a clean sweep at QB/WR/OT. Jackson is only 20 years old with plenty of upside. Moving from one coast to another, he'd give Miami a franchise tackle to go alongside their franchise QB.