We are two days away from the NFL Draft and I'd expect them to last longer than the previous two months. We have reached the peak "everyone is going higher AND lower than you think" stage of the NFL Draft season and its dizzying.
Like a player properly brainwashed by Bill Belichick or some other head coach, let's just worry about what we can control. Let's take it one day at a time, one pick at a time.
And most of all, let's add to the craziness with a mock draft of our own.
I've long felt that this draft process has overvalued pass catchers and under valued pass protectors, pass rushers and pass defenders. Sure, throwing the ball is a huge part of the current NFL but so is defending the pass and protecting your QB. I consistently see mock drafts propping up wide receivers and downplaying cornerbacks, edge rushers and offensive lineman. Part of that is just a product of the talent available and part of that is everyone has apparently lost their mind.
- My mock draft will take us right to the Cardinals pick at #16. I will happily tell you that there is exactly 0 inside information baked into my mock draft and that I've popped in 0 tapes to break down or watched any All 22 film. This is how I see the NFL Draft unfolding based on common sense and a basic understanding of how the NFL operates.
Jacksonville Jaguars - Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
- The only minor debate about Lawrence is whether not having a chip on your shoulder is a problem. As we all know, there is only one way to be motivated in life and that is to walk around telling the whole world about the gigantic chip on your shoulder. Any claim to the contrary is an immediate sign of failure. You have been warned, Jacksonville.
- New York Jets - Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
- I'm shocked Wilson has received the Trevor Lawrence treatment, meaning there has been almost zero discussion about whether the Jets should take Wilson. Wilson's arm talent is well documented but it takes more than making some wild throws to be compared to Patrick Mahomes, as Wilson has. Mahomes grew up with a professional athlete for a dad, made a seamless transition to the NFL with one of the most stable, proven coaches in the league and was able to sit for an entire season learning from a universally respected veteran QB in Alex Smith. Wilson is about to go from a season where he lost his toughest game against Coastal Carolina to carrying the baggage of one of the most snake bitten NFL franchises in one of the toughest divisions in football with a limited supporting cast where he'll be thrown to the wolves immediately. Good luck!
- San Francisco 49ers - Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
- Whoever the 49ers pick is being set up to fail. The way people talk about Kyle Shanahan (one winning season as a head coach) and the next 49ers QB, it's as if winning the Super Bowl is just a matter of showing up. Mac Jones, if he's the pick, will only be viewed as a successful pick if he wins a Super Bowl in his first five years on the job. Otherwise, why not stick with Jimmy G and a more cost effective second QB as an insurance policy?
- Atlanta Falcons - Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
- The ultimate holy grail in the NFL is sustained QB success. Imagine transitioning from Matt Ryan to Trey Lance in the next two years. The Falcons could be staring at over two decades of quarterback stability. That's hard to pass up even if the fantasy football numbers of Kyle Pitts could be incredible with Arthur Smith installed as the new head coach.
- Cincinnati Bengals - Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
- I refuse to live in a world where the Bengals would rather draft a third WR rather than a franchise LT. I know the Bengals have tried and failed at drafting OL in the past but if the Bengals quit everything they've failed at, they'd cease to exist. Just take the offensive lineman, Cincy.
- Miami Dolphins - Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
- I'm not ruling out a cornerback or Micah Parsons here because both seem to fit exactly what Brian Flores is hoping to build in Miami but even in my own mock draft, I don't have the balls to disavow all draft groupthink. So, I have Flores and Co taking a TE in the top 6 even though recent NFL history tells us drafting a TE or WR for that matter in the Top 6 is not a good idea.
- Detroit Lions - Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
- The Lions cannot start the Dan Campbell Era by taking a WR. Yes, its a need but I don't see Ja'Marr Chase gnawing anyone's leg off. The Lions need help everywhere. Building some semblance of an offensive line is the first step towards Detroit not Detroit-ing all over itself for the billionth year in a row.
- Carolina Panthers - Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
- I have Parson being picked in the exact same spot as Isaiah Simmons was a year ago. The Panthers passed on Simmons for Derrick Brown last year and this year add a player with a more defined role behind Brown. There will be temptation to take a pass catcher and an offensive lineman makes a lot of sense for Sam Darnold, but Matt Rhule takes the heavily scrutinized Parsons instead.
- Denver Broncos - Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
- It would be hilarious and fitting if the Broncos find their first homegrown quarterback since John Elway in the first draft John Elway is not officially running in a decade.
- Dallas Cowboys - Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
- Every year there is a pick that makes so much sense that it just happens. Not even Jerry Jones can screw up this pick for a Cowboys team that could be a corner away from making a Super Bowl run in the next two years. I also think Dallas looks long and hard at a long term replacement at C, which could be Rashawn Slater.
- New York Giants - Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern
- We did not talk nearly enough about Dave Gettleman's sweater at his pre-draft press conference. It legitimately looked like a sweater that was purchased in 1987. Thats the sweater of a man that is going to pick an offensive lineman in the first round for the second year in a row.
- Philadelphia Eagles - Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU
- The Eagles have been linked to a WR here and they end up landing Chase. Its entirely possible Chase is the beneficiary of a hopelessly broken Bengals franchise at #5 overall but I also think there's a chance he slides solely because of positional value and the depth of talent at the position. The Eagles get a chance to right a wrong from last year's draft when they passed on Justin Jefferson.
- Los Angeles Chargers - Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
- We all agree Justin Herbert is worth protecting, right? So instead of another receiver, how about the Chargers upgrade from Trey Pipkins as Herbert's blind side protector? Makes sense so it probably won't happen.
- Minnesota Vikings - Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
- Mike Zimmer loves cornerbacks. Its that simple.
- New England Patriots - Christian Barmore, DL, Alabama
- What would be the most boring pick you could think of? A under-hyped but still consensus best player available at a position of need like Barmore. Belichick has heard the criticisms of his draft classes all offseason and he's here to remind you he's at his most dangerous when he's at his most boring.
- Arizona Cardinals - Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama
- If you mock it, he will come.