By Don Detwiler
Oh, Riders, what a journey this series of mocks have been. This time the gloves are finally coming off, and I’m able to make trades as I see fit. The free agency wave has crested; the majority of pro days are in the books. It’s just down to the special request workouts and whatever other information teams can gather. NFL teams are about to be making instant millionaires with less information and film than ever before.
The rules for this mock are as follows. This is the trades edition, and I can make all the trades I want so long as they are logical using the draft pick trade value chart provided by the good folks at Pro Football Reference. You can find the chart here https://www.pro-football-reference.com/draft/draft_trade_value.htm. The 49ers were kind enough to set the bar for what the high picks cost, but remember the price was so high because they went to #3, and they only had the #12 to give this year. That’s an enormous gap in value to bridge.
So here comes the fun before I disappear back into the north woods for another year.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson.
- The Jags will take the Clemson signal-caller, and they absolutely should. Urban Meyer came out of retirement to coach at Jacksonville because he thought Lawrence was the missing ingredient that many other big-time college coaches never had. He’s the guy, and it’s not close, even though ESPN will milk the coverage on that pick forever.
- Also Considered: None. No, really, he’s it.
2. New York Jets – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU.
- The Jets have officially moved on from Sam Darnold and cleared the way for the next rookie QB. This resets their financial timeline and gives them a chance at a fresh start for the organization. New coach, new QB, a bright new day for the J-E-T-S. Wilson has all the tools. Monster arm, excellent mobility, and solid presence. They have also provided him with the weapons to be successful early.
- Also Considered: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State. QBs that turn in a 4.44 forty time are rare. Fields was super successful at a big time program and showed huge toughness and a killer instinct against Clemson this year. There are questions about him, but there are questions about all rookies.
3. San Francisco 49ers via Miami via Houston – Trey Lance, QB, NDSU.
- The 49ers are ready to win, they just need a QB to guide the ship. The interesting thing here is they haven’t and reportedly aren’t trading Jimmy Garoppolo. To me that signals they will take a QB with outstanding traits that might need some development. Lance has all the tools and is an outstanding athlete. His ball security in college was next level and appears to process the field very well.
- Also Considered: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State. It says something about how crazy and different this draft process has been that a guy who turns in a 4.44 forty with a big-time arm and success at the highest level gets passed over by a guy who didn’t play football in 2020. Fields had a second pro-day that the 49ers and others will be attending due to schedule conflicts with the first pro day. I think that’s just due diligence by the 49ers, but you never know.
4. Denver Broncos via Atlanta – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State.
- The Broncos have seen all they needed from Drew Lock to know that he’s not the long term solution. Fields has been a high profile prospect forever and now goes to a team that knows a thing or two about mobile QBs with big arms. He’s a superb athlete, accurate passer, he’s tough as nails. Running the show in Denver with all those weapons would drive the ratings. Now let’s talk about what it’s going to take to make the move happen. Pick #4 is valued at 1800 pts, while pick #9 comes in at 1350pts. That 450pt difference equates to a high second. Let’s be clear they will get more as that number excludes bidding wars. To make it all happen, I have Denver giving up the #9, next year’s first, and a pick in the third or fourth rounds.
- Also Considered: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama. It’s a short deliberation, but Jones has shown enough to be part of the conversation. He throws with excellent anticipation and already has a relationship with Jerry Jeudy. Jones will go early, but the Broncos likely don’t make the move unless it’s for Fields.
5. Cincinnati Bengals – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU.
- Just put down the pitchforks and hear me out. What if I told you that you could have an offensive tackle who allowed only 15 pressures and earned a 78.9 pass-blocking grade as a true freshman, which jumped to 88.6 in his final year, and was played at a premier school like Alabama? Sounds good right. Well he’s already on the roster. Jonah Williams, the 2019 #11 pick. You can get a tackle at the top of round 2 this year due to a seriously deep class. What you can’t get is the most dynamic WR prospect to open up an offense with video game number potential. Chase is the real deal.
- Also Considered: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon. This young man is outstanding. Elite footwork coupled with outstanding feet and sledgehammers for hands. He’ll play a long time. Bookending a line with Sewell, and Williams/Reiff is awfully tempting.
6. Miami Dolphins via Philadelphia Eagles – DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama.
- The Dolphins are playing the draft board like a fiddle, while the Eagles are playing the slide whistle of sadness. In this case, the Fins take advantage of the QB needy and then move back up for the dynamic playmaker they need to allow Tua to grow. Adding a complete receiver and elite route runner like Smith to a deep threat like Fuller and a jump ball threat like Parker and you have one of the most complete WR units anywhere. Smith can win off the line instantly and catches everything in his area code.
- Also Considered: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida. Pitts is a matchup nightmare and makes Gesicki look like just another dude. The two of them in 12 personnel would be ludicrous to try and cover. Pitts isn’t blocking anyone, but he’ll never be asked to.
7. Washington Football Team via Detroit Lions – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama.
- The Football team knows what Fitzmagic is….he’s about good for half a season. Follow me here. Led by a monster defense with what amounts to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse on the line, they have everything to be a contender but the QB. The price will be steep, but not what the 49ers paid. Pick 7 is only worth 1500 pts compared to pick 3 which was 2200. Translation, two firsts and a throw-in gets this done. Detroit has needs, oh so many needs, and the team has already admitted to the rebuild. More picks means more help. Jones is the last of the big 5 QBs, and just because he’s the last doesn’t mean he can’t play. There is serious talent here.
- Also Considered: If Detroit keeps the pick, it’s Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama. Speed to burn and electric athlete with a 21.1 YPC as a junior. He is a threat every time he touches the ball and would give the Detroit offense the field stretching athlete it is sorely lacking.
8. Carolina Panthers – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida.
- Sprint to the podium on this one. The Panthers have their new QB in Sam Darnold; now they get him the best red-zone threat in the draft. Pitts is the archetype of the new age TE, or move TE. They are talking about the big receiver that will line up anywhere and is just too big for corners and too fast for linebackers and safeties. He is exactly what this offense needs and will get the targets Curtis Samuel vacated, just in a different way.
- Also considered: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama. He’s a better Samuel. You can get him the ball on end arounds, from the slot or on the outside, and he returns kicks—speed for days.
9. Atlanta Falcons via Denver Broncos – Penei Sewell, LT, Oregon.
- There will be plenty of people who try to kill me on this one, and maybe they are right. The masses won’t be mad because I have Sewell to the Falcons; they will be angry that I have him at pick 9. Sewell is a rare talent at tackle. He’s everything you’d want and will extend Matt Ryan’s career by erasing other team’s pass rushers.
- Also Considered: Partick Surtain II, CB, Alabama. “Atlanta’s outside corners were responsible for more 15-plus yard passing gains (50) than any other team in the NFL.” Not my words, those come to you courtesy of PFF. I still have Surtain II as the best corner in this year’s class. He is capable of playing most schemes but excels in zone techniques which Atlanta uses heavily.
10. Dallas Cowboys – Partick Surtain II, CB, Alabama.
- I’ve had this pick consistently throughout the draft process, and I’m sticking to my guns. Dallas needs a corner opposite Trevon Diggs. Why not go back to Alabama and get a guy to bookend your secondary. These two young CBs could develop into a strong tandem for years to come.
- Also Considered: Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan. Paye has a chance to be a bad, bad man in the NFL. He has excellent size at 6’3” and 270. Excellent get-off and violent hands. An every-down end would go a long way to solidifying the Dallas defense. Ya, his college production doesn’t line up with the ability, but pro coaching fixes a lot.
11. New England Patriots via New York Giants – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama.
- What makes Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith, Kendrick Bourne, and Nelson Agholor better? A receiver who scares the secondary and keeps those safeties high and out of the way of those pricey tight ends you just bought. Waddle fits like a glove and, for the Giants, it’s almost enough of a return on the swap from 11 to 15 only to see Waddle once every four years. The gap between pick #11 (1250 pts) and #15 (1050 pts) equates to a mid-third-round pick in value. Now that’s the chart and competition likely drives the cost up to either 2 thirds, one this year and one next, or a second and a later round pick. Still well worth it for both.
- Also Considered: (If the Giants stayed) Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan. The best defensive linemen this year would add excellent depth to a rotation that is already stout. Paye has the size and athleticism to help immediately and grow his technique in subpackage work while refining his craft.
12. Philadelphia Eagles via Miami Dolphins – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina.
- Well, crap, they almost had their #1 receiver, but the Patriots snaked them, so it’s on to plan B….ya, that’s what it is. Jaycee Horn is a rising player on many mock drafts. He has elite man cover skills and is always around the ball. He’s a willing tackler and a genuinely good football player. He also has NFL bloodlines and has been around the game forever.
- Also Considered: Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern. This guy is a personal favorite of mine. Slater has the athleticism to play any position on the line and be excellent. It might not have ideal LT length but has extremely good quickness. If the Eagles want to know what they have in Hurts, it might be a good idea to keep him upright.
13. Los Angeles Chargers – Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech.
- Protecting Justin Herbert has to be priority one for the Chargers. Hitting on Herbert last year means the clock is ticking while he is inexpensive. Darrisaw is athletic enough to win against speed rushers and has a mean streak coaches love from linemen. He can effectively get to the second level and run block, delivering an effective punch and controlling linebackers. The Chargers have already added an excellent center in Corey Linsley and Matt Feiler to play guard or RT. Time to complete the rebuild.
- Also Considered: Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern. Slater has the athleticism to play any position on the line and be excellent. He might not have ideal LT length but has extremely good quickness, and that’s why Darrisaw got the nod; he’s a true LT.
14. Minnesota Vikings – Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern.
- Dalvin Cook is going to be so happy with this pick. All three of the Vikings’ interior offensive linemen finished outside of the top 32 in blocking efficiency for their position groups last season. That’s not good enough for a team that wants to dominate the line of scrimmage and run the ball. Slater can come in and be their best interior lineman on day 1.
- Also Considered: Jaelan Phillips, DE, Miami. He’s probably the best 4-3 style end in the class and has passed his teammate Rousseau on many boards. Phillips consistently wins with speed and showed explosiveness at Miami’s pro day with a 36-inch vert and 10’6’ standing broad jump.
15. New York Giants via New England Patriots – Micah Parsons, ILB, Penn State.
- The free agency sending spree made the trade down and this pick possible. Parsons is the best inside linebacker in the draft, if not the best defensive player overall. He will fit right into the NYG’s scheme and be a terror. A tandem of Blake Martinez and Parsons would be lethal. Parsons can even move to OLB on passing downs or as an edge rusher utilizing his sub-4.4 speed.
- Also Considered: Caleb Farley, CB, VT. Last year’s secondary was ok and finished middle of the pack. Adding a big physical corner to play opposite James Bradberry would help the secondary. Farley can handle man or zone schemes and is a ball hawk with height (6’2”) and tackling ability to support the run.
16. Arizona Cardinals – Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech.
- Sprint to the podium on this one because they would be getting a premier talent at #16. With Patrick Peterson moving on to Minnesota, the defense needs a new corner to fill the void. Farley is a plug-and-play starter for the Cards. He has good size at 6’2″ and fits any scheme with the ability to play press-man or turn and run in a zone.
- Also Considered: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida. This feels a little like a luxury pick, but an electric underneath playmaker fits well with Hopkins and Kirk’s down-field acumen.
17. Las Vegas Raiders – Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC.
- The Raiders have completely shuffled their offensive line and will have only one returning starter at their previous position; fortunately, that’s at LT. The other four spots will be….interesting. Oh, and Richie Incognito is back at age 38 and coming off a lost season. Vera-Tucker can start at either RT or either guard spot on day one and be an upgrade.
- Also Considered: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, ILB, Notre Dame. He’s on the small side and might be more of a hybrid safety type at 224lbs, but he is always around the football, and he can fly. The Raider defense needs playmakers, and Owusu-Koramoah is a true three-down linebacker.
18. Miami Dolphins – Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan.
- Paye comes in and solidifies the Miami defensive front. He has the size (270 LBS.) to bump inside on passing downs to the three-technique if so desired. He has the speed to get around the end and is stout against the run. He’s the best of a shallow defensive line group.
- Also Considered: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, ILB, Notre Dame. A three-down linebacker to complement the defense at the second level would be a good addition for the Fins. Owusu-Koramoah has an outstanding range and can also help in coverage.
19. Detroit Lions via Washington Football Team – Terrace Marshall, WR, LSU.
- Marshall is the third receiver from the great trio on LSU’s national championship team and the only one to play for them this season. He is a beast, full stop. At 6’3” and able to turn in a sub-4.4 forty at his pro day (I know that’s home-field advantage), that’s serious skills. This season alone, he had 10 TDs before opting out. He is capable of being a field flipper for a team desperate for WR help.
- Also Considered: Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU. Detroit’s secondary has invested high value picks on the outside; now it’s time to look to the middle. Moehrig can play either safety, but he is most valuable as a ball-hawking free safety. Detroit is in for a rebuild, and a strong field general in the middle will help shore things up long term.
20. Chicago Bears – Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida.
- A dynamic athlete that, along with Pitts, drove the offense this year in Florida. He can play anywhere on the offense, and he will likely fly around out of the slot while Mooney takes the top off the defense to clear things out for Toney. Robinson is a force on the other side. This gives Dalton the best chance at being successful. This pick just fits an offense that needs playmakers.
- Also Considered: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State. Huge, 6’7” and 320, athletic and mean. Chicago has questions on its offensive line, and Jenkins has the flexibility to play either tackle position.
21. Indianapolis Colts – Jaelan Phillips, DE, Miami.
- The Colts need three major positions: OT, DE, and WR. This draft is very deep at two of the three, so in this case, the Colts get their pass rush help. Phillips is a beast. He consistently wins with speed and showed explosiveness at Miami’s pro day with a 36-inch vert and 10’6’ standing broad jump. His workouts have vaulted him past his peers.
- Also Considered: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota. Bateman is an outside receiver who excels at contested catches and the possession catch game. He’s clutch. Adding him to a Colt’s receivers room with Pittman, Hilton, and Campbell adds to the varied skillsets and provides an infusion of talent.
22. Tennessee Titans – Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern.
- The Titans need to add to their secondary after the loss of Adoree Jackson to the Giants. They already helped the pass rush in free agency, so Newsome II makes a ton of sense here. Newsome II is a smooth athlete who excels in zone schemes. He’s fast and is willing to break on passes in close cover.
- Also Considered: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State. He’s a total mauler and would fit on the right side of the line from day 1 in a run-heavy system like the Titans.
23. New York Jets via Seattle Seahawks – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
- Running backs usually don’t go in round 1, but this year is different. There are only three in this draft that project as every-down backs. Harris is the best of the bunch. He is a hammer of an RB with great size, 6’2”, and 230lbs. His 26 TD’s and nearly 1500yds last season were excellent, and he showed significant growth as a runner. With no other notable running backs on the roster, this fit makes sense. Supporting the new QB is essential.
- Also Considered: Azeez Ojulari, DE/OLB, Georgia. Despite the Carl Lawson signing, the Jets still need pass rushers. Ojulari is an explosive athlete that excels at bending around the edge. He is capable of playing either end or OLB as a rush linebacker.
24. Kansas City Chiefs via Pittsburgh Steelers – Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State.
- The Chiefs cut both of their starting tackles last season, so they need to get one who can start day 1. Teven Jenkins is the last of the tackles that I feel jump right in and start immediately, so it makes sense for the Chiefs to come up and get him. The Steelers need an RB in the worst way, but they can afford to drop back a bit and get another day 2 pick in the process with Harris off the board. Pick #24 is worth 740pts, while pick 31 is worth 600pts. That gap is equivalent to a late third and a late fifth. That would entice the Steelers.
- Also Considered (if the Steelers stay): Javonte Williams, RB, UNC. The Steelers may say at 24 and take a back. I like Travis Etienne, but for the Steelers, the bigger Williams feels like, the better fit. Williams runs hard and breaks tackles with regularity. He is also a capable receiver and happens to be the youngest of the three best backs. He would make the Steelers’ running game substantially better instantly.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU.
- Jacksonville only generated eight ints from their secondary last year, and only four came from starting players. That’s just not good enough. A ball-hawking free safety like Moehrig will help improve that number. Better support through the middle will help improve the entire secondary.
- Also Considered: Azeez Ojulari, DE/OLB, Georgia. This defense needs pass rushers, and Ojulari is the best of those available in this range. He is flexible enough to be used in whichever system Jacksonville brings in with the new staff and still be effective.
26. Cleveland Browns – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, ILB, Notre Dame.
- Rangy defenders like Owousu-Koramoah are all the rage in today’s NFL. Coming in at only 226lbs caused the slide from earlier projections, but teams knew he was on the small side for middle linebackers. Where he excels is reading and chasing down plays in the open field. This is a value pick and will improve the Cleveland defense.
- Also Considered: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa. Collins is a fast LB that is good in coverage and has the flexibility to move to the outside as a rusher. Teams like his coverage ability (4 ints. Last season) and his flexibility.
27. Baltimore Ravens – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota.
- It’s almost like free-agent wide receivers (not named Sammy Watkins) don’t want Baltimore’s money. Maybe it’s because they know the Ravens don’t throw the ball. Bateman has the hands and skills to take advantage of those vacated zones Hollywood Brown’s speed creates. He’s more than just a possession receiver; he’s also a red-zone weapon and an excellent blocker. Plus, if they draft him, he has to go there.
- Also Considered: Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami. Rousseau was dynamic in 2019 and skipped last year. His tape is excellent and shows a player who can bend the edge and has several NFL-level pass rush moves. He would be a solid value at this point in the draft.
28. New Orleans Saints – Jamin Dixon, ILB, Kentucky.
- Dixon is a raw but extremely athletic linebacker who profiles as a dominant middle linebacker in either 3-4 or 4-3 schemes. His 96 tackles led Kentucky, and he showed good vision as a bitzer and solid range in coverage. He is only a one-year starter, but it was a really good year.
- Also Considered: Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama: Barmore is massive at 310lbs. But he is still raw. With NFL coaching, they should be able to harness his talent and make him a dominant inside player. He’ll be a great three-technique in time.
29. Green Bay Packers – Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss.
- It’s so past time to get a second receiver in Green Bay it’s not funny. Moore is fast and explosive after the catch. He predominantly works out of the slot, but that’s fine as he would be an instant upgrade over anyone they currently have there. The nearly 1200 yards he amassed in eight games last year illustrates how dynamic he can be.
- Also Considered: Wyatt Davis, G, Ohio State. Losing an outstanding center hurts, but replacing him with a total mauler with athleticism softens the blow. Davis is the best pure guard in the class and a monster of a human. He’ll instantly be Jones and Dillon’s best new friend.
30. Buffalo Bills – Azeez Ojulari, DE/OLB, Georgia.
- Adding to the pass rush in today’s NFL is always good business. The Bills have very few holes as a team, so adding to the line or the pass rush adds fuel to their fire. 8.5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles show just how disruptive Ojulari can be.
- Also Considered: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson. The Buffalo backs are fine but only fine. Etienne has a chance to be elite. He is dynamic in space and would add an element to the passing and rushing offense that they haven’t had in a long time.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers via Kansas City Chiefs – Javonte Williams, RB, UNC.
- The Steelers move down and still get their man in Williams. He instantly makes the running game in Steel Town better. Big enough to run through tackles and athletic enough to be dynamic in space, he is capable of 20+ touches a game.
- Also Considered: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson. Matt Canada is the new OC in Pittsburgh, and his system involves more motion and outside runs and screens. In short, that’s Etienne’s game. Pittsburgh needs an RB desperately, and either of these guys would be game-changers.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama.
- Tampa seems to be trying to get the band back together for another run. Adding Barmore to Vita Vea would be a matchup nightmare. With Suh nearing the end of a dominant career, Barmore would be a great rotational piece to start and learn from two of the best.
- Also Considered: Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan. Mayfield reminds me of John Runyan with LT athleticism. He finishes blocks and punishes defenders. Mayfield will also be a 20-year-old draftee, so there is more development to his game. He could be the RT in Tampa for a long time.
Ok, Riders, I hope you’ve enjoyed this series. The next one will be the real deal when we see if I actually got any of these right.
Just a few notes about this year’s draft class: The offensive tackles are very deep. Players who project to be future starters run through the third to the fourth-round area. Inside linebacker is also very deep, as are the receivers. I also like the corner group. There will be contributors taken into the fifth there.
It’s a down year for pass rushers and defensive tackles. There may only be 2 or 3 defensive end types in round 1, and there might not be around one defensive tackle. It’s also a bad year to be looking for starting-caliber running backs as there are only 3, though role players and depth guys are available throughout.
Finally, the QB class is really interesting. There are five surefire first-rounders. Heck, it’s even possible they go 1-5, though I think 1-4 is far more likely. After the first, there are three really interesting names: Kellen Mond, Kyle Trask, and Davis Mills. They could all go in the second.
If nothing else, it’s going to be fun! The real show starts Thursday, April 29th at 8 PM (ET).
Don Detwiler – Social Media Sasquatch
Ride or Dynasty