Friday, February 25, 2022

2022 NFL 1rst ROUND MOCK DRAFT 2/25/22

 We have a new Superbowl Champion in the NFL & a National Champion of College football! Congratulations to the to the LA RAMS & GEORGIA BULLDAWGS and all their fans.  The first round draft order is set. The Senior bowl is done as well, and that always illuminates some prospects for us all. The combine and the Pro Days are the next big days on the draft calendar. Meanwhile,  I'm just going to keep churning through game after game of tape. As of today I have done at least 3 games on 144 players., and at least one game on 207. Not to mention I have done a lot more on some players that were on my preseason watch list but even though I still have a lot guys to watch, most of the guys I have been watching are the consensus top 100 possibilities. Then when you throw in that , even taking into account that I am grading for all schemes , I only have 20 first round grades at the moment. This looks like a draft where a lot of teams in the bottom 3rd of the first round are going to be drafting a guy with a 2nd round grade.  Picks 21 to 50 may be very close in grade. If I had a bottom 3rd 1rst rounder, and if if no one with a first round grade fell into my lap, I might want to trade back, and get more picks.  So far this looks like a good draft on defense with every position on that side of the ball having some depth to it. It's very deep & talented in edge rushers , and I just watched 4 new ones this month and loved all 4.  In fact as many as 7 edge rushers could go in the 1rst round , and possibly 12 in the top 2 rounds. Cornerback's , off the ball linebackers, and possibly even Safeties also have a chance to be a strength on defense. Plus, not only has the DT position getting better every time I watch someone new ,  this is the first time I can remember where there are 4 Nose Tackles that have a chance to go in the first 2 days of the draft .As a matter of fact the top of this draft is the opposite of last years. In 2021 the first 9 players on my board were on offense, with the 10th guy being Micah Parsons, but 2 corners were drafted before him .We can all agree that I ( and pretty much everyone else because he was drafted 12th overall) was too low on Parsons. This year I expect 7 of the top 10 to be on defense, unless  a QB or 2 are over drafted, and they probably will be. On offense this drafts definite strength is O-lineman , but this classes WR's , and more surprisingly TE's are growing on me. However, while it is a deep draft there is only one ( safety Kyle Hamilton) sure thing blue chip type player flying off the screen to me right now, and he plays a position that people don't usually want to take at the top of the draft. In fact with the exception of CB , safety, edge rusher, and center the top player at every position last year had a higher grade on my board than in the 2022 class, although CB depends on a healthy Derek Stingley. Due to the financial losses from Covid I expect another off season with a lot of veteran QB movement , and 3 or more first round QB'S again, WHETHER THEY DESERVE IT OR NOT.  Even though the college QB situation had gotten more muddied for us all early this year, because big name QB's like Spencer Rattler & Kedon Slovis faltered,  the first QB off the board is probably still up for grabs in most draft rooms right now . Personally I was previously  favoring Matt Corral , because Corral definitely looked better in the heads up match with Malik Willis, but Coreal had a lot more talent around him in that game. Willis is the most physically talented QB in this draft. Raw and unpolished like most small school QB's, but with a big arm & great speed. Think of a thicker right handed Michael Vick, and your on the right track. If I had a good veteran QB , a QB whisperer coach, and wanted to draft a guy to take over in a year or two I would take Willis in the late first. He needs good NFL coaching to learn about reading defenses, proper mechanics, and the time to digest & apply it all to improve his accuracy & decision making. If Sean Payton hadn't just quit I think the Saints would have been a prefect fit for him. I have watched a lot more tape of the top QB's in the last month, and its altered my rankings. There are 3 other QB's (  Pickett, Howell , and Ridder) that I could see challenging Corral for that mantle of first QB drafted based of what they can do for you right away.  Previously I was also thinking Sam Howell should go back to school so his supporting cast can get better , and he could revive his draft stock, but he balled out anyway.  With this uncertain QB class he still has a shot to be the first QB taken this year, which is unlikely in 2023 going against Bryce Young & others. Don't forget Kenny Pickett either, as he has better size , more starting experience than the other 2, and had the best tape this year. Although I question a guy when it takes 5 years of college to put it all together. The main reason I believe that Corral is now less likely to be the first QB taken is that he is injured,  and therefore couldn't compete in the Senior Bowl. 6 of my first 7 QB's in this draft were playing there this year, and he is the odd man out. It seems like every year at least one of the QB'S competing in mobile gets a significant bump in there draft status, and with 6 of them competing ( including Howell & Pickett) I expected that at least 2 would rise after that weeks practice. However, surprisingly no one really played well enough to really separate my rankings this year. So a lot of trades will probably happen, and now that the regular season is over I will be putting trades in my mock drafts. The losers of the Deshaun Watson derby ( out of Philly, Carolina, Miami, and Denver)  might be looking to trade up. I no longer think the top pick is traded to a QB needy team this year , because right now I wouldn't do it for any of college guys.  Also ,if the Pack doesn't bend over for Aaron Rodgers he will be on the market too, and Denver could be the most likely bet to get him. Then there are the Seahawks, Falcons, and Vikings. All of them might be moving on from their veteran QB's, but I believe that Cousins is the most likely to stay with his current team. Personally I would give up more for Russell Wilson than any of them, and the Giants & Eagles have the multiple first round picks to take a run at him.  I had intended January 9th to be the date of my first fully written up mock of the year, with trades included. However,  I got injured at the gym , and typing one handed on pain killers is a time consuming exercise. So sorry that it took so long, but I have been writing in my notepad so much that I have gone through 3 pens in the last month.  I've also added NFL player comparisons just in case you want a better idea of who your team might be getting, but I will change them if I decide on a better one. I will endeavor to show as many different scenarios as possible before the draft actually happens. Without further ado here it is. Agreeing or disagreeing is welcome, but please do it intelligently & respectfully or I just won't post it. so here it is. Enjoy.

# Is for a player for with reported character or maturity concerns .

** Is for a player with reported injury concerns .



The Urban Meyer experiment failed as most of us expected , and now the Jags have the number one pick again, but at least they don't need a QB. On the bright side it's hard to screw up the pick if your not reaching for a QB , and they have a young roster with some high end talent scattered around. Plus, a little over 58 million in cap space. It's hard to know what a new coaching staff will prioritize in the draft & free agency. They don't have any free agents that I see as key, but DJ Chark & Andrew Norwell would be my priorities if I was going to want someone back. I see the whole O-Line & the interior D-Line being priorities, but Linebacker & safety are still solid needs. Also, a # 1 WR and a safety could be added. Basically the roster needs a big upgrade in a ideal world for the Jags a QB will rise on draft boards across the country  , and the Jags will be able to trade this selection for a haul of picks. The edge is not a place they have a weakness right now. In fact the edge is a  place where they have a lot of high level young talent, as they took both Josh Allen and K'lavon Chaisson in the first round in 2109 & 2020. It's just that no QB I have watched so far makes me excited enough to trade a lot for. Maybe after I get in more games I will change my mind, but right now I don't see it. In fact the 2 QB's I have in the top 8 here are clear overdrafts on my board. Picks based on need and because QB's tend to go higher than their ranking based on the value of the position are common, but I see it as 50/50 at best that even one of those QB's works out. A OT like Neal , Ekwonu, or Cross would fill a much bigger need, and if they can trade back I expect a O-lineman to be the pick, but right now I don't see any of the O-Lineman in this draft being worth this pick either. Maybe they do it anyway, but no O-Lineman has gone number overall since Eric Fisher in 2013, and that was the worst draft class in a long time. At some point I will show those possibilities too. Like 2013 this draft does have a chance to have 3 of the first 4 picks be OT's as well, and I would be surprised if any of the big 3 OT's fell out of the top 10. If I was stuck at #1would take Thibodeauux or Hutchinson right now , because they are the 2 clear highest rated players on most boards who play a very valuable position. You can never have enough pass rushers, and the chance to rotate all 3 would keep them fresh. Plus Chaisson hasn't lived up to his talent so far, and veteran Dawuane Smoot has out played & out snapped Chaisson for much of this year. The only clear blue chipper on my board is Kyle Hamilton, but I don't see anyone taking a safety number one overall. So to me that means the top overall player on my board at the top of the draft in Aidan Hutchinson, who also misses out on blue chip status for me, but in this draft he could go at the top. Hutchinson has size , strength, athleticism , motor , football IQ,  and plays well against the run & pass ,  explosiveness , frame to get even bigger, 3-4/4-3 versatility , and can even even drop in coverage now and then.  I give Hutchinson the slight edge over Thibodeaux after watching tons of tape on both. He has more production ,is more consistent, and surprisingly looks more bendy. Plus  I believe he will do better than Thibodeaux when he kicks inside, is much better at controlling the man across from him , counters better , and his frame is a little more filled out. I suspect that their official measurements , combine & Pro day workouts, and interviews will be the deciding factor. 



The Lions don't have any key free agents , and they also have about 24 million in cap space , but recent high ticket free agent additions Trey Flowers & Michael Brockers aren't living up their paychecks.  On offense the obvious need is at QB , but I highly doubt right now that they use the #2 overall pick for any of those guys . Jared Goff is a competent enough stopgap QB who can fill in while they build the rest of the roster up. The O-Line is a strength already except for maybe a new right guard, and that bodes well for any young QB who does end up here.  In fact ,other than the aforementioned QB , a outside #1 WR is the only clear need on offense. The defense is a different story. 2020 #4 overall pick Jeff Okudah has been hurt for most of his first 2 seasons , and while they have drafted some young talent there isn't a player on their entire defense that has to be schemed against right now. A young high end talent at edge rusher would be welcomed, although I think they join the Jags in hoping that someone who wants a QB will trade up and add to their hall of draft picks. The Lions already have a extra first rounder due to the Stafford/Goff trade , but they currently lack a 4th and 5th rounder. Because Aidan Hutchinson was born, raised , and played both high school & college ball in Michigan I think the Lions would prefer him if given the choice. In this case they are not , but Thibodeaux still might end up being a great consolation prize. The former number one overall high school recruit hasn't always consistently lived up to his top billing. Thibodeaux looks like he has just a little less size ,  athleticism , flexibility , and football IQ than Hutchinson . On the bright side he can also play well against the run & pass, shows GREAT explosiveness off the snap , has the frame to get bigger, has 3/4 /4-3 versatility, length , and can even even drop in coverage now and then. However,  he just isn't as consistent ,but he does flash dominance in spurts. His motor isn't quite as good,  and he's not as strong as Hutchinson either. It's more flashes , and he has disappeared for stretches against some OT's I thought he should dominate. Kayvon  looked occasionally stiff in those games, and he has a tendency to get locked into the fight with a blocker, and his awareness of the ball carrier dims. There are rumors that he was playing hurt , and that would explain some things, but I expected  a wider array of pass rush moves by now . I still like him a lot , but I was expecting his game to get even better in 2021, not the same or a smidge worse.  So while Hutchinson has the slight edge over Thibodeaux after watching tons of tape on both, Thibodeaux is still a potential impact player, but other than looking a little longer & quicker off the ball, Hutchinson seems a little better in most other areas. One thing that could narrow the gap is that Thibodeaux started his draft prep early when he left the team after Oregon was out of playoff contention. He might be able to add some more muscle , and shed any whispers about being a tweener , although personally I don't see a tweener. 



The Texans have no free agents that they have to bring back, and about 20 million in available cap space. The previous regime in Houston had already traded away the Texans 2021 1rst & 2nd rounders before they took over. Then Deshaun Watson started selfishly whining his way out of town despite the fact that he had just gotten a new huge contract. I wouldn't have given in to his trade demands at the time either, but I sure bet they wish they had done it right after he opened his big mouth. They would have gotten a historically huge haul of draft picks that could have jump started the rebuilding process , but now they will get less , because a bunch of women came forward to nail him for being a " alleged " sexual harassing pervert. The more shocking thing is that they paid him his full big ass salary while making him inactive all year, while he tried to weasel his way out of town. In my book the new front office also made 2 weird decisions before the Watson debacle. They signed a lot of low level replacement level free agents to above market value contracts. 2nd - they used their first draft pick ( 3rd rounder at pick # 67) on a QB with a limited college track record &, off the field & injury concerns. Usually a smart team wants to build up the talent along the roster, especially the O-Line before drafting a QB. However , this QB looks like a potential steal right now. It's still too early to make a definitive statement about him , but Davis Mills played very well for a rookie, and its compounded by the below average overall level of talent he had around him. Other than Mac Jones , who has a more limited long term ceiling, no other rookie QB played better than Mills. That's especially note worthy because there were 5 first round QB's in this draft. Not only were the 1rst , 2nd,  4th ,11th, and 15th overall picks QB's ,  but there were 2 other QB's taken right before him at # 64 & # 66. Their other 3rd rounder ( WR Nico Collins ) and 5th round TE Brevin Jordan made some plays as well. They might prefer one of the 2 DE's that went ahead of them in this scenario, but they ended up with the #3 pick instead of the #1 like most of us expected. However, if Hutchinson or Thibodeaux fall here I suspect they will take either, because the only player on their defense who looks to have a guaranteed job for 2002 right now is DE Jonathan Greenard. Other than the young guys I just wrote about , the bright spots on offense are veterans in Pro Bowl OT Laremy Tunsil , WR Brandin Cooks, and maybe the somewhat surprisingly effective Rex Burkhead. Either Tunsil or Cooks could be traded for more draft picks, and Tunsil has a very large contract coming off a down year. They should have a much larger draft pick inventory come draft day anyway, once Watson pays off his accusers and gets traded. Veteran RT Marcus Cannon could be traded as well, although he is still serviceable. Its hard to predict what this so far unpredictable new front office will do, but I guess it depends on how deep they want the rebuild to be. With a rebuilding roster ,and unpredictable front office,  I will just go with a safe BPA ( Best Player Available)  approach. Right now Ekwonu is the best run blocker and Cross is the best pass blocker among the top 3 OT's in this draft, but I think Neal has the highest floor among the 3. Plus,  I am sure he can consistently play outside on a island as a rookie in the NFL, unlike Ekwonu , and that he can move NFL players against their will in the run game unlike Cross. Evan Neal is just a massive human being with a nasty play disposition who has surprisingly agile feet and high level athleticism for a huge dude. He is a 3 year starter at 3 different positions ( LG , RT , and LT this year) at the Premier Program in all of college football . Like most really big guys he does have some balance issues. Partially that's just physics, because a whole lot of weight going in one direction creates momentum that's hard to pull back. The other part is he leans too far forward on guys too much, and he can get shucked , or fall off blocks. He can still maul in the run game though, but I was surprised that he was a even better pass protector. Anyone that big with that kind of length is just hard to get around, but other than the occasional mistake giving up the inside I see him as good future NFL outside protector on either side. I also think that if he is left at one position  (on one side of the ball)  his football IQ will jump up some points , because you do some confusion and delayed movement on some plays. There a1p edge guys that 



Once again the Jets started out a season with a lot of promise and new young talent, and once again they imploded, although injuries could definitely be a big part of the reason. So the hope for a big jump up in 2022 is a reality if they draft well , and use their 44 million in cap space wisely in the free agent market. You can do a lot of damage with the #4 and #10 overall picks.  They do have a few useful possible free agents that they might want to bring back, including starting safeties Lamarcus Joyner & Marcus Maye. Maye is younger and has a higher upside going forward, if they can resign him. His 2021 was injury laden and he didn't play very well when he was on the field,  so it's up in the air.  Veteran RT Morgan Moses is a possibility to be brought back if they don't take one of the top 3 OT's in this draft with one of their 2 first rounders. Maybe Nose Tackle Folorunso Fotokasio might be brought back too. I don't see anyone else as being key to their main offense or defense. Primary needs are at least one corner , LB , safety , OT , TE , and a edge rusher. Although another RB & WR  are lesser needs. If either Hutchinson or Thibodeaux falls here I think that one of them will be the pick, but who ever it is I expect it will be on defense where they have a lot more needs. Plus this is a deep edge class so they could easily take one with their next pick , or with one or both of their high 2nd rounders. Stingley had one of the great seasons of any college corner as a TRUE freshman , but since then he has been injured a lot and his play has suffered some. If you believe he can regain his freshman level of play he is easily worth a top 5 pick as shutdown corner. He looks to have the speed ,  length , feet, hips,  and smoothness to be that guy. Although I think he needs to get a little stronger , and be more physical to make it as a true shutdown corner in the NFL. His medicals will probably decide where he goes, but he could be a top 5 pick, or the 3rd or 4th corner taken in the first round. 

*** TRADE *** The GIANTS trade their 1rst (#5)  , the 1rst(#7) that they have from the BEARS , DANIEL JONES and a 3rd rounder in this draft to the SEAHAWKS for RUSSELL WILSON  (#10)   *** TRADE ***



If its true that the Seahawks aren't going to move on from Pete Carroll & John Schneider,  because they don't want to pay their buyouts,  then Russell Wilson should still want out. I'm the last guy to put up with spoiled and/or greedy athletes trying to force their way out of a city when they don't get their way, but I actually agree with Wilson on this one. He has a ring, actually lived up to his new contract ( unlike many other recently highly paid QB'S) when he got it, and he has been one of the 5 best QB's in the game for awhile. Plus, he is the best player on that offense, and they should let him be the offensive focus instead of trying to run the ball when they can't do it well. Not to mention no QB has been hit as many times as Russ since he came into the league, and I'm sure he is tired of running for his life right after the ball is hiked. Wilson didn't look like his usual excellent self for the first few games when he rushed back too early from a finger surgery that cost him 4 games, but in the last 3 games of the season we saw him return to form.  It's time to get a younger QB who can take the beating Wilson probably can't anymore , and one who might still be willing to drink the Pete Carroll Koolaid. In this case they will be bringing back Daniel Jones in the trade , although I don't see him as the long term answer, and doubt that they will pick up his 5th year option. I believe that they will probably select a QB on day 2 or 3 of the draft. Remember that Wilson himself was a 3rd rounder. The Seahawks have routinely bombed on their late first rounders, or traded the picks away before they new the number the selection would end up at. They traded their own first rounder in this draft to the Jets ( #10) 2 years ago for Jamal Adams, partly because they probably thought it would be another late first rounder. However, they do have a history of hitting on day 3 picks, and it's much harder to screw up a top 10 pick unless you reach for a QB, which I doubt they will do. This trade haul helps gives them a chance to rebuild, and frees Wilson to go to a team that will probably value him like he deserves. Plus they actually have 37 million in cap space to rebuild quickly, and will have more if they trade Wilson, but they will need some of that for a DK Metcalf extension soon. Hamilton is a physical marvel of nature. A tall safety with sick hops,  long speed & burst who can cover tons of ground quickly, and he also has high a football IQ. He can play anywhere but interior D-Line. Deep safety, box safety, off the ball LB, edge rusher, blitzer from anywhere , inside & out corner, and the dude is even a good gunner on punt coverage. I think he is at his best in the box near the line of scrimmage where he could be used in a variety of roles.  I also think Pete Carrol will salivate at the thought of a guy with this much length & speed playing a lot of single high safety , and draft him with that purpose primarily in mind , because the box is where Jamal Adams is at his best for the Seahawks.  He only played in 7 games this year  , but the tape was fantastic before then. 


NFL PLAYER COMP -  a righty MARK BRUNELL - retired

The first thing that needs to be said about the Panthers is that ANY QB would likely fail behind that O-line, as Taylor Mouton is the only one of them who should make a QB feel safe. So if they take a QB here their next 2 picks should be O-Lineman, and they should spend money in free agency there too. I'm sure many Panthers fans will want me to put Sam Howell here because he was born in N. Carolina , and played there in high school & College. Panthers fans need all the hope & excitement the franchise can muster after the 2021 season was a massive disappointment, and a hometown hero would give them a rallying point. It might even work out for the best , but I'm going with my board on a gamble this big.  Corrall and Howell are slotted into the 3 and 4 spots , and Malik Willis is number 2 on that list.  Malik has by far the most upside , and you could win some games with a stripped down offense modified to his ridiculous athletic talents. It worked for Carolina before with Newton, and it worked with Josh Allen in Buffalo. However,  Willis doesn't have the size to survive the pounding they did , and I think the best thing his new team can do for him is sit him behind a experienced veteran for a year of tutoring. The way same Mahomes sat behind Alex Smith and Crson Palmer sat behind John Kitna.  At the moment Pickett is the #1 QB on my board ,and if I was a head coach like Matt Rhule who had to win now, I would take the guy who I think is the most ready to play from day one. QB's are regularly over drafted, and Picketts ranking is NOT in the top 10 either, because none of these QB's have first round grades on my board. This years Senior Bowl featured Howell , Pickett , Willis and in total 5 of my top 6 draft eligible QB's.  I figured at least one of those guys, and maybe even 2 or 3 should  have risen up out of that group, but nobody really separated themselves. So far Pickett has confirmed my thought , and has looked the most consistent and NFL ready to play.  Pickett is a 5th year Senior that was only still playing in college because of the extra year players were granted once Covid hit. It was a great decision, because based on last years tape he looked like a 5th or 6th rounder to me heading into the season. This guy isn't Joe Burrow, who was a transfer student who barely had time to learn the LSU old school offense in 2018, and then took off with a full year and off season under Joe Brady's new more modern system in 2019. The 2021 season was Pickett's 4th year as the starter at Pittsburgh, and its hard to know for sure why the light suddenly came on, but 4 year starters from power 5 conferences are extremely rare. You would think it was a heaven can wait type body switch if your watching the film of the 2 seasons back to back. So I went back to 2018 and it was just like a less developed version of 2019 film to me. Maybe with a full off season and a regular season that WASN'T derailed by Covid he would have this type of season in 2020, but there is no way of knowing that for sure. Part of me wonders if he was just so much older and mature than the younger guys he was playing against , and that gave him a big edge. Like a high school Senior playing only against freshmen & sophomores on the JV team. The pass protection was much better this year for one thing , and I believe we saw a lot more NFL throws on his tape because of it, but his awareness in the pocket seemed improved too. The 2021 tape is first round though, but its really hard to nbase a grade off one year of tape unless the tape is spectacular like Burrows was.  Kenny has all the tools , but a plus arm to succeed, although the arm is solid. However, since the HOF fame is full of average arm QB's , and the first 2 on my ALL Time ( Brady & Montana)  QB's list don't have big arms, it's still eminently doable.  Also, I see Pickett having the quickest reads & accuracy of these QB's. His newly featured mobility definitely helps a lot in todays game, especially since he showed the ability to make clean throws on the move. He's a solid 6"3", but rumors about small hands persist, and it did seem to show up in the bad weather on the first day of Senior Bowl practice. Then again everybody at the Senior Bowl except Malik Willis & Sam Howell had trouble throwing the ball through the weather on that day.  Right now Pickett is my top QB in the draft , and  he has the highest floor of the draft eligible QB's in my book. In last years draft he would have been my 6th QB . Kenny would have ranked just a tad below Mac Jones , but since Jones played really well as a rookie it's actually cause for hope.

7.SEATTLE-(nyg,bears) - IKEM EKWONU - T/G - NC STATE


The Seahawks only have 4 free agents that played important roles for them last year. Safety Quandre Diggs is probably the most worthy of a decent sized extension., but I have them taking Kyle Hamilton with the other first rounder they got for Wilson. CB Sidney Jones, and OT's Duane Brown & Brandon Shell are also up. The Hawks have tried for many years to get Russell Wilson better O-Lineman, through the draft , free agency, and even trades. However, the only one who has worked out to be above average in the last 5 years is Duane Brown, and he was a former Pro Bowler over 30 when they traded for him. Brown is 36 now, past his prime, and highly paid. Odds are he will want to be paid more than he is currently worth in free agency, and the Seahawks can get a younger & cheaper high end replacement for him here.  Since Shell is also a free agent,  he's coming a off a decent season ,  is 6 years younger than Brown , and cheaper I might choose him over Brown.  I think a new LT should be a their priority.  While they have a interesting mixture of youth and vets up front they lack a stud to set the tone for the group, and this guy has the nasty run game mentality that Pete Carroll will love. I haven't seen a OT with this many highlight reel blocks since Jack Conklin back in 2016. He's a mauler in the run game, and it really surprised me with how well he held up in pass protection on the outside this season , despite bad technique & balance issues at times. The former guard kicked out to left tackle this year and flat out dominated with pancakes & de-cletes galore. Worse case scenario is that he's a high end guard, but like I said the tape is good enough outside. His arm length once he gets officially measured might determine where he ultimately plays along the line, but if its good enough he just needs better coaching to be a possible high end OT. In a draft that lacks blue chippers Ikem's high floor as a guard , and high ceiling at tackle or guard, could still see him being drafted in the top 5 , even if he ends up inside at the next level. Especially in a draft that lacks consensus blue chip prospects. He reminds me of a great  guard who I think would still be a Pro Bowl player if moved outside to tackle


NFL PLAYER COMP - a righty MICHAEL VICK - retired

Even after dumping Dante Fowlers bloated contract the Falcons are still a couple million over the salary cap. Isaiah Oliver , Cordarelle Patterson , and Hayden Hurst are the key free agents for the falcons. On offense WR is the biggest need, and on defense pretty much every position could use a high draft pick. This is the 2nd year in a row that the falcons have a top 10 pick. They passed on Justin Fields and Mac Jones last season, but this might be their last chance to get a young QB , and still get a decent pick for the aging & immobile Matt Ryan. A team that thinks that they are a QB away from contention, with a defensive minded coach ( Like Ron Rivera of Washington or Mike Tomlin of Pittsburgh) that would like a steady hand under center might give up a 2nd for Ryan , even though he is past his prime.  Both of those teams have young talented players at the skill positions as well, although the Steelers O-Line currently needs a lot of help, and might appeal to Ryan under the right circumstances. Personally I would keep Ryan for this year, and draft this guy, and then see what you could get for Ryan next year.  I think the best thing Malik's new team can do for him is sit him behind a experienced veteran for a year of tutoring,  the way Mahomes sat behind Alex Smith. Plus, Friscco just did it with Garoppolo & Trey Lance. This guy has the strongest arm, the plus speed & running ability of a NFL starting RB, but he's just raw. His inconsistency is glaring enough that he will make a throw few NFL QBs can pull off , and then make a terrible decision and throw on the same drive. He is incredibly dynamic with his legs too. Whether it's a play where he's supposed to move the pocket, a RPO , a scramble , or a designed run , he is a threat to take it to the house on every play. He played at a small school,  his mechanics needs to be overhauled,  and he needs a year long class in reading defenses. Matt Ryan is the kind of vet to help mentor him, and Head coach Arthur Smith worked wonders with re-tread  Ryan Tannehill In Tennessee.  Maybe you give him a Trey Lance package this year if Ryan's healthy ,and just let him absorb the finer aspects of being a PRO QB. If I had a veteran QB with only a year or left on his deal, and wanted to take a chance on his successor this would be my guy, because he as by far the highest ceiling of any QB in the draft. He reminds me of a QB who took the Falcons to the Superbowl, but he doesn't have that Falcons Vick upside. Nope. Willis has a higher upside than the young knucklehead version of Vick before he went to jail .I mean the Vick who grew up after going to jail, who finally learned how to read defenses from Andy Reid in Philly , who did win the Offensives Player Of The Year Award, and who just missed the MVP award. If I could have a shot at that QB under the right circumstances ( like the ones I just wrote about ) in a 22 or 23 year old body I would jump at it. He was his usual up & down inconsistent self in the Senior Bowl practices, but he did make progress and got more consistent by the day. With Pickett refusing to have his hands measured right now, and Willis showing that  progress, he could easily be the #1 QB on on a lot more boards after the week in mobile.  In the game he did most of his damage with his wheels.

*** TRADE *** The BRONCOS trade their 1rst (#9)  , and 2nd rounders in this draft and Jerry Jeudy to the PACKERS for AARON RODGERS    *** TRADE ***



The Packers had the 2nd worst cap situation in the league , as they were about 54 million over before restructuring Kenny Clark & Aaron Jones. That just made them 40 million over , and isn't nearly enough to allow them to bring any of their free agents back. Trading Aaron Rodgers and letting Davante Adams leave in free agency would solve a lot of that problem, but I'm not sure if they will let Adams off the hook so easily, but they should let him go if they are getting a WR back in the trade. I already have Rodgers traded in this mock, and they are getting Jerry Jeudy back in the deal. The 1rst & 2nd rounder they received in the deal should make this a quick reload instead of a rebuild. Other free agents of note are De'vondre Campbell Robert Tonyan , Rasil Douglas, Chandon Sullivan , Kevin King , and Allen Lazard. Campbell & Douglas are coming off career years after previous journeymen careers , and both deserve a big contract. I have them taking the best  player available with the 24th pick  , and now they get a corner because even if they resign Douglas they will lose King. Plus that's before resigning  Adams , and I actually think that the Packers have screwed over Rodgers by not getting him better receivers to pair with Davante Adams, and drafting Jordan Love in the first round on a team that might have been a WR away from a Superbowl. They did it all in a great WR draft too. In fact they didn't draft any WR's AT ALL in the 2020 draft, but I'm sure  that getting a backup QB in the 1rst & a 3rd string RB in the 2nd really pissed him off. On the bright side it has inspired Rodgers to back to back regular season MVP awards , but still no Superbowl.  Now they will have to bend over for Rodgers to keep him happy, but I don't think they will be able to convince him to stay after the disappointing exit the Pack had in the playoffs. Plus he wants to be closer to the west coast, and his OC just became the head coach of the Broncos , who are one of 2 ( the Raiders are the other ) teams that he is most likely to accept a trade to. This will probably be the only time you see a back to back NFL MVP traded. Plus it will probably be the last time you see a high price paid for a 38 year old QB who should want a HUGE new contract.  " Sauce" Gardner is a almost ridiculously physical corner, and like #8 overall CB Jaycee Horn last year, I really wonder about the number of flags he will get in the NFL. Even though they are much more lenient with contact down the field in Coll├Ęge I felt he should have a blatantly obvious minimum 5 PI's per game I watched . While watching Senior bowl coverage I heard one of the announcers say that Sauce was their number one corner, and I believe it, but I still say if Stingley's medicals check out he goes first. Gardner is tall , put together like prototype dream #1 CB,  ideally suited if you want to run more press man, and he's also good in off coverage. Pairing him with  Jaire Alexander would potentially give them one of the best corner Duos in the game, and if they were able to bring back Douglas as well they could have the best CB room in the NFL.  Sauce is extremely grabby , even when he doesn't need to be, and is my 3rd ranked corner behind Stingley , and Mcduffie. However I do have a clear first round grade on him. Gardner's technique needs a overhaul, and his feet & hips are nothing special to me. However, his physicality, head games, toughness, tenacity, football IQ, and ability to attack the football get him through a lot of tricky situations. Most important are his results, and this guy has NEVER allowed a TD to a opposing receiver in over 3 years!  It's not always pretty ,but the dude shuts receivers down very well, even against Bama. It got to the point this year where they would barely throw at him. That's even more impressive, because the other corner opposite him ( Coby Bryant ) won the Thorpe Award for best DB in college football. 

10.JETS-(seattle)- CHARLES CROSS - OT - MISS. ST.


Charles Cross a redshirt sophomore entering the NFL draft after just 2 years as a starter in college, but all 20 starts were at LT in the SEC. He's also a little light on tape, and you can see him be overpowered at times. He has the high end feet , awareness,  balance , punch , and hand placement to be a blindside protector.  However, you can also see his technique is still a work in progress at times. I generally don't like OT's coming out of spread offenses, especially the Air Raid ones, because they are too used to retreating too much off the snap. In the case of Cross he doesn't always retreat enough, which is why speed can cause him some trouble. I like this guy though, especially if he goes to a team with a zone scheme heavy run blocking team, because he makes his presence known at the 2nd level, and its hard to find man/gap blocks on his film. Despite his feet getting tangled up at times, and a little bit of trouble with speed rushers , I believe in his long term potential. He already added a lot of muscle since arriving on campus , but he needs to keep hitting the weights , and get with a good NFL O-Line coach. With a years reps in a NFL offense and a wider base alone he could be a high end Pro OT. Although Cross is my 3rd ranked OT in this draft, I expect him to go in the top 10 in this draft,  because different teams have different boards. Plus he is currently the best pass blocker of the 3 so he is probably the top OT on the board for some teams.  If I were the Jets ( and they make this pick ) I would stick Cross on the blind side ,and move Mekhi Becton to RT. I want my LT to be available. Becton missed 2 games in his first year , and all but the first one this season.  Plus, unlike Cross,  Becton had 12 starts at RT in college. Also, most teams tend to primarily run to the right side, and when healthy Becton is a mauler in the run game. 



As it is almost every year the Redskins ... er I mean commanders need a QB. They have had a few good ones in the last 40 years.  Joe Theisman , Kirk Cousins , a great rookie year from RG3 before he got hurt , and a past his prime Doug Williams had a great Superbowl . However, they have ONLY had a top notch long term franchise type QB twice. Since those 2 are Sammy Baugh , who died at the age of 94 in 2008 , and Sonny Jurgensen is 87 that tells you just how long its been since they have had QB locked down. They actually have over 30 million in cap space, and only guard Brandon Scherff is a key free agent. Scherff is 30 now, and still a great player when healthy , but he has missed 8 , 5, 3, and 5 games over the last 4 seasons. If i were them I would throw my hat in the Russell Wilson or Deshaun Watson sweepstakes , but I think their owner is more worried about finding a way to keep his franchise after his sexual harassment scandal. They just gambled and lost on a first round QB a few years back, and sadly Dwayne Haskins seemed to be more interested in the nightlife than he was in the playbook. You never really know how a fresh out of college young man will react when you had him millions of guaranteed dollars , which is why I believe they should pursue Russell Wilson. He is a great QB who has had no off the field issues, and it would be downright shocking to start them up at age 33. Since this is also a underwhelming QB class I am doubting they take a QB here unless one they love surprisingly drops into the lap, but the top 2 are already off the board in this scenario. Maybe a 2nd round guy, or a trade up into the bottom of the first would be a more realistic possibility. Washington needs multiple LB's on defense, and that's after drafting Jamin Davis in the first round last year , because he had a bad rookie season.  I know that some will say that this guy can be Micah Parsons, but I don't see it , but I guess he could be lesser version. Both are large LB's for todays game, versatile, and physical. Lloyd is a good athlete  , pass rusher, and blitzer. Parsons is a great athlete  pass rusher , and blitzer. Lloyd has trouble getting ball carriers to the ground, but people generally go backwards when Parsons makes contact. The place where Lloyd has the edge is his instincts in coverage , especially against TE's. Both are still developing there football IQ's at LB , but I would say Lloyd is much farther along there, because he sees it faster than Parson most times. Lloyd needs to learn to take better angles to the ball carrier.  He stacks & sheds pretty well ,despite being too high too often, but he also runs around a lot of blocks. He also needs to either play less reps or pump his gas tank up some. You see him dragging a little at the end of the 2nd & 4th quarters at times. His tape can be inconsistent  , because sometimes  he looks great in space , and other times he's a bit herky jerky like  he's of 2 minds of what to do. In a normal draft I would expect him to go in the bottom 3rd of the first round, but he could slip into the top 10 in this one if he interviews &  works out well at the combine & Pro day. He was very productive this year, and his high upside & high floor make him the odds on favorite to be the 1rst off the ball LB off the board , but I like Nakobe Dean slightly more.



The Vikings missed their window, and then instead of going full rebuild they tried a quick reload, and it just didn't work well enough for the coach and GM to keep their jobs. Its too bad because I thought Zimmer & Speilman did a good job under the circumstances , but unfortunately the owner thought differently. Its unknown if they are going to rebuild or not right now, but with Kirk Cousins giant cap number they need to either give him a new deal , or draft his successor. 2021 3rd round QB Kellen Mond's rookie year made him look like a wasted pick so far, and I doubt they are counting on him taking over long term. They have some possible key free agents in Anthony Barr, Patrick Peterson , and Sheldon Richardson. However ,  they are all gonna be 30 plus next season and none may be brought back.  In my opinion the edge is the biggest need on defense, but this draft is so deep in edge rushers they can get a good one in the 2nd and probably even 3rd rounds. On offense right guard and center are weaknesses , but their is only one interior O-Lineman that might be available at #12 that is worth picking. They are already close to 15 million over the cap., and going with even more youth could eb th esmart long term play.  I think it highly unlikely that the Vikings will sign up for center Garrett Bradbury's 5th year option. I was a fan of the former first rounder when he was drafted, but he hasn't lived up to his draft status, and is in the bottom 3rd in the league at center. Linderbaum is the best center prospect I have seen since Nick Mangold if you are a primarily zone blocking team. He is a different type of center than Mangold though, as he is more in the Jason Kelce mode. Tyler is a very athletic guy who understands leverage , and he can make blocks on the move that few centers can, even in the NFL. He could stand to add another 10 pounds of muscle to improve his anchor, but his technique, hand placement, feet , and athleticism are all top notch for the position.  As a matter of fact , I will say if you run a zone heavy scheme Linderbaum is a once a decade center in my book. He moves like a defensive end instead of a O-Lineman, and only Kelce can do that in the NFL today. When he latches on to a guy its usually over, and his understanding of leverage is top notch. Tyler is a smart athletic technician who can make reach blocks, pull, move his man around, combo block , and destroy at the 2nd level. He is the ideal center for a stretch zone scheme. He's not the biggest guy so you can't expect him to move a 3-4 nose tackle off the ball by himself, but there aren't 5 centers in todays NFL who can do that. In pass pro he's got a great punch, can make all the calls, and has great awareness , but he can get walked back by some bigger DT's. On top of all that he has a characteristic that usually predicts great NFL players, and it simple . He got noticeably better every season. A very good 2019, followed by a great 2020, and even better 2021 makes Tyler a slam dunk in my book. 



It's surprising that a team with this much talent on it is 26 million under the cap. I'm sure most Browns fans would say that WR is the most obvious glaring need , and while I agree with them , the D-Line is also a big need. Although some might say QB too , but unless they don't pick up Baker's 5th year option that's a problem for next season. Jadeveon Clowney and Takk Mckinley are free agents on the outside, and Malik Jackson & McDowell are also unsinged on the inside. That's almost 2,300 snaps to replace along your defensive front. They can take a WR in the second round, and sign one of the big free agent WR's like  Allen Robinson , Chris Godwin , or Mike Williams.  Georgia has so many good players on defense, that they run pretty heavy rotation of players , especially off the edge. While that helps their longevity , it some cases it can also prevent them from getting enough playing time & experience to shine.  Jermaine transferred to Florida state this year , and he was a boss on the field for the Seminoles, despite his lack of experience. Really smart and stronger than I expected to set his the edge in the run game , and played low & strong there. Not only did he kill it at the Senior Bowl ,  I think he was the best player there in the first 2 real practices, and he looked like he had been developing his pass rush moves since the season ended. A nice big frame with long arms, but on tape he needs a wider array of pass rush moves that take advantage of his athleticism & violent hands. We are always predicting guys from a limited sample size to break out next season when they get more snaps , and are often disappointed, but Johnson exceeded any prediction out there this year. Once he gets coached up and gets the reps to keep improving his awareness I expect Pro Bowls in his future. 



The Ravens 2021 season was derailed by injuries, especially to their key players, but their vaunted corners were hit the hardest. Marcus Peters missed the whole season, Jimmy Smith missed 7 games, and Marlon Humphtrey missed 5. Plus Pro Bowl LT Ronnie Stanley missed 16 games, and Lamar Jackson missed 5 down the stretch. Their cap situation is OK, but they have some tough decisions to make on key older vets like Calais Campbell , Jimmy Smith , Brandon Williams, and Justin Houston. 3 out of the 4 played well, and if they want to compete for a ring in 2022 at least 2 or 3 need to be brought back. Or they could save their money , start a youth movement , and put some cash aside for a Jackson contract extension. On offense their biggest needs are on the O-Line, as they could use both a guard and tackle. On defense it could be anywhere.  Considering that Jimmy Smith is almost 34 and is a free agent I think corner will be a priority. I think Booth would fit in well wit this defense. He's got great feet , especially for a bigger corner, and plays well in both man & zone. Booth also has a nose for ball, the speed & explosiveness to get to it, and the hands to bring it down.  My biggest worries with him are that he's a one year starter who lacks route recognition , he needs to learn to more accurately jam the WR better at the line , and he's a wild tackler.  However, I do like his willingness in run support, but he's also a head ducker who dives and misses too many tackles. 



The Eagles is brass is publicly saying that they are sticking with Jalen Hurts at QB, and you could definitely make the case that he did enough this year to hold onto the the job. They did make the playoffs , and there were a lot of drops from his receivers this season. You can also make the case that he still lacks accuracy and quick reads as a passer. This is the first of 3 eagles 1rst rounders in the next 5 picks, and a QB they like may fall to them. They might also have the ammo to go after a Deshaun Watson or Russell Wilson, and both are definite upgrades over Hurts. Plus , Hurts is having ankle surgery this off season. If one of those picks has ended up in the top 10 I think their chances of getting either QB in a trade would be much better, but with the division rival giants having 2 in the top 10 ( 5th and 7th overall) , I doubt they are first in line in a trade for either. There have been talk about perennial Pro Bowl center Jason Kelce retiring for a coupe of years now, and he is a free agent. If he does I would consider a trade up for Kelce clone Tyler Linderbaum if I were them, because he might go in the top 10 in this draft, but is its just as possible that falls all the way to #15. In this case he didn't , but the eagles are in great shape to really restock their team. For starters they are about 21 million under the cap , and have no key free agents , but Derek Barnett is still young enough , that they might be able to talk themselves into believing that he might finally reach his potential. Travon Walker has elite potential , and enough production & versatility to this point to bet on him long term. Walker's great burst off the snap , speed, intelligence , and ideal frame frame off the edge should have teams salivating. His speed to power is ridiculous, but he needs to add more pass rush moves to reach that potential. He also spent plenty of time kicking inside, and even dropped into coverage some, but his best use is plowing forward off the edge. He's probably never gong to be a guy who can bend the corner 7 run the arc outside, but its not necessary for him to be a top flight edge guy, although he needs more than power to beat the better blockers in the NFL. He can stack blocks and set the edge in the run game, but he still needs work on shedding some of those blocks. The tape is just good, but the potential is so great that I expect him to come off the board in the top half of the first round. 



The first thing you notice about Dean is that he has a genius football IQ & great instincts. He is almost always the first guy moving in the right direction on tape. He has 2 other very talented LB's playing next to him this year that are going to be top 100 picks, and they look confused next to Dean, and when he gets to the ball carrier he is coming balls to the wall to bring the pain. Fast, quick, sideline to sideline play making machine against the run or pass. Fills like his hair is on fire, fearless, and a good tackler. Nakobe can cover in mon or zone, and blitz at a high level. Dean is shifty enough to run around a block without creating a hole in the defense too. he's undersized , but plays bigger than he is. I honestly think he could be a good box safety too. He's a leader and tone setter who is one of my favorite players to watch in the whole draft. 



The Chargers have over 57 million in cap room , and I think they should upgrade at RT in free agency , or with a trade instead of taking ( high 2nd on my board) Trevor Penning here. This team is ready to compete now, and I don't think they want to risk Justin Herberts health on a guy that might take awhile to settle in as a starter outside.  They have the money to resign WR Mike Williams too, but because he will still only be 27 when the season starts somebody may offer him far more than he is worth, and he hasn't been consistent enough to earn 20 + million a year. Maybe they will chuck the projected 18.5 million dollar franchise tag on him to see if he steps it up a little more.   He hasn't become the #1 NFL WR we all hoped for when he was drafted in the first round 5 years ago, but he is a very good #2 WR , and is coming off his best season as a Pro. Their actual # 1 WR ( Keenan  Allen) is heading his age 30 season as well, and while he has been pretty healthy for 5 years running , father time is STILL undefeated. They drafted Josh Palmer in the 3rd in 2021 , and he showed a lot of promise when he was used, If I were them I would take NT Jordan Davis to shore up their run defense, but I doubt they will. In a draft like this one I would want to make sure I get a guy with a definite first round grade, and Wilson is my highest ranked player left.  First off I want to say that I love this guys game, and that he is my number one WR right now , but his lack of size & top end speed make me think he will fall some. He's a smooth route runner , and can make things happen with the ball in his hands in open space. He's tough too, and will even break some tackles. Plus he has a different play style and profile than the rest of their top 3 WR's. If not Wilson, one of the other WR's (Drake London or Treylon Burks) might workout too. Otherwise a guard like Kenyon Green or Zion Johnson would work well to replace journeyman Oday Aboushi at RG would fit too. Last but not least , CB Trent could replace soon to be 33 year old FA Chris Harris. 



Two teams have been going all in for the last 4 years. The Rams and the Saints. The Rams pulled it off , and since they got the ring it was worth it. The Saints didn't , and now that bill has come due.  The Saints have 2 key free agents in OT Terron Armstead & Safety Marcus Williams, and that's without even addressing  the QB situation , where Jameis Winston & Trevor Siemian are unsigned as well. Maybe they finally give Tayson Hill a chance to be the every down guy, but he hasn't shown the consistency  as a passer, or the ability to stay healthy just yet.  If they change the offense to fit his running ability even more I figure he would just get hurt more often, so if they fall in love with a QB here that could be the pick. Armstead missed 11 games last year so maybe they don't pay what he could get on the open market.. I doubt one of the top 3 OT's ( Neal, Ekwonu , or Cross) falls to them ,  but maybe they draft another OT like a Trevor Penning here. I'm going to guess that they can't resign Armstead. Unlwess he would rather stay in New Orleans instead of trying for the biggest deal he can get., and a new deal could drastically reduce his salary in year one of the cap.  When healthy ( missed 11 games last year alone ) Andrus Peat has been pretty bad for 4 years in a row., and is no longer worth his hefty salary. The Saints can save over 7 million by cutting him, and start taking their long overdue cap hits to reset their entire salary cap , because they are a ridiculous 76 million over it right now. Resigning Williams make smore sense because of his youth, but there are going to have to be a lot of sacrifices made to field a competitive team in 2022, even if they have a great defense again. So I will go with Penning. There is a large gap between those top 3 tackles and Penning or any other OT on my board right now, but he looks like the safest bet of the 2nd tier OT's to start as a rookie. When you watch a small school player , and you hear that big media scouts expect him to be drafted high, he should be dominating his competition on film. Penning did. Even if I didn't know his name , number, or even the team that he was on I would have been able to pick him out from every other O-Lineman in the game. He looked like a a big brother playing against his little brothers friends. At the Senior Bowl I was really looking forward to seeing how he handled the better competition. I came away with 2 clear things . He needs better coaching, especially with playing lower, because he can get pushed back quickly by a bull rush in pass pro. Penning gets the job done pretty well in the run game anyway. 2 - He's nasty with a bury them until the whistle mentality if he's winning , no matter what play it is. I would bet on him being a good long term starter in the Pros, especially in a man/gap scheme , which isn't the Saints main type of run blocking , but who knows what the new coaching staff will choosy to run. 



Mcduffie is the most polished corner in this draft. He is only about average size for the position , but he is versatile enough to play well in man or zone. If you watch the 2021 tape no other corner sticks with and mirrors his man as well as Mcduffie. Washington has put a lot of good corners into the NFL over the last few years , and he has the highest floor of them all. Great feet , attacks the ball , fluid hips , ball skills, and a straight man against the run. I think he would be best in a primarily cover 2 scheme, but he is scheme diverse and fierce, and can play the slot or outside. On top of that he can return some kicks & punts. Teams avoided throwing at him , and I would like to see what he does more against big WR's , but he is my number 2 overall corner. 



Goodbye Big Ben! Even though you were a shell of your former awesome self at the end, you are a HOFer , and you were once a stud. I thank you for the memories, and hope you enjoy your long earned rest in retirement. The Steelers still have a potential playoff team with just some basic competent QB play, because they made it this year, and that's all Ben had left at the end. Plus that young O-Line should be better in the 2nd season together, but that's if they can keep them together.  On the bright side the Steelers are now out of salary cap hell, and actually are about 30 million under the cap before free agency starts. Center JC Hassenauer & RG Trai Turner are both free agents. They are both relatively young, and solid starter at this point in their careers , although Turner used to be a lot better. The only other free agent that I would try to bring back is Joe Haden, but he is near the end, so it would need to be a team friendly deal.  We all know that Pittsburgh wants a QB, but it's debatable that they will draft one in the first round. Or maybe if they do draft one in the 1rst ,do they trade up, or even trade down. Do they give Mason Rudolph a shot?  He was almost decent back in his rookie year, but he could only pull off a tie against Detroit in his one start this season, and that's not a ringing endorsement. I think they would love Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett to fall here, but I think they will have to trade up to get him, and I'm not sure a team with this many needs wants to pay that price. Corral is my number 3 QB in this draft right now. He's a duel threat and he did it n the SEC for 3 years, although he only had 4 starts in 2019, but he has been the man the last 2 years. He is great at RPO's and is a threat a runner or passer there. His key improvement this year was on turnovers, and that combined with accurate passing led Ole Miss to a #8 overall regular season ranking,  and he even played in his Bowl game. Sadly he was hurt and carted off early with a ankle injury, but it shouldn't hurt his draft stock long term. If anything playing in the game speaks well of him. He was coached by former NFL head coach Lane Kiffin so he should have no problem learning the NFL game , and that safe short passing system is similar to what the Steelers ran last year. He's listed at 6'1" , 205 but looks a little smaller so that's a concern for the Pro game. This year he lost a lot of talent around him, and while his TD numbers suffered as a passer his picks went way down, and he ran and scored a lot more with his feet. Matt has a quick release with solid mechanics , and looks like a composed leader on the field. Solid arm, but nothing special. I think he would go in the 2nd round of last years draft, but will get pushed up into the first this season. 



The Pats are about 7 million under the cap , but they have some key free agents to re-sign. First off when you have a 26 year old Pro Bowl #1 CB ( JC Jackson) coming off a career year, you should try to re-sign him   or at the very least create the cap space to throw the franchise tag on him. Then you have ALL Time patriot and future HOFer Devin McCourty. Does he retire, because if he wants to keep playing he's still very good even at 35 , and he deserves to be paid like it. .Big OT Trent Brown has also always played well in a Patriots uniform,, but they already  let him leave once as a free agent .  Then you have Jakobi Myers , and he's only 25 and coming off a season where he led your team in catches. The Patriots almost never take who the consensus see them selecting, but I think if Jordan Davis makes it to them its hard for me to see them passing on him. If there is one coach in the NFL who knows how to get the most out of a giant Nose Tackle it's Belichick. Davis is a legit humongous human being who has far quicker than anyone that big has a right to be, and he's not fat either , but I think his gas tank would be better if he dropped 15-20 pounds to improve his gas tank. He has a anchor like a pillar of stone, and is the proverbial immoveable object in the middle of the defense. He is the king of 2 gapping Nose tackle, and in a draft that might shockingly have 4 nose tackles drafted in the top 100 he's the one with the highest upside. Even when he plays too high he just , adjust  , re-anchors, sits down and holds his ground. Many will see him as only a down run stuffer, and watching the tape does give that impression , , but I don't blame him for it. Georgia has the biggest rotation on defense of any big program , and they have so much talent on that side of the ball that they can afford to sub him blue chippers on a regular basis. So no, he is not a great pass rusher right now, but he didn't really get the chance to show it much either , and he has a lot more range than I expected. I never saw a game where he even played half the snaps , and he was almost always subbed out on obvious passing situations.  With his size , strength , and heavy hands , all you need him to do is just keep collapsing the pocket. Davis could be that rare 3 down nose tackle in the NFL, and with so many smaller zone centers in the NFL he is a mismatch that requires a double team. 



The Raiders only key free agents are past their prime , but CB Casey Hayward  & LB KJ Wright are still good players that might be brought back They have close to 20 million in cap space so us doable. Raiders owners have always loved speed , regardless of which owner was in charge. . Al Davis, Mark Davis, it doesn't matter. Either guy wants that deep threat. Last year when Henry Ruggs wasn't on the field pulling safeties into the deep 3rd with him the offense really suffered , although Darren Waller being gone didn't help either. They brought Desean Jackson to try to fill that role, but he looked done most of the time that he was on the field.  If there is even a smidgen of justice left in the world Ruggs is going to jail, and that means the Raiders need to reload on deep threats. Williams was a Ohio St, WR that couldn't get on the field, and that just shows you how great their WR corps are, and then he transferred to Alabama. In fact before this season he was most known for being a bad ass gunner on the punt team. I am not just talking about guaranteed 1rst rounder Garret Wilson or possible 1rst rounder Chris Olave either. Those 2 guys opted out the bowl game and Jaxon Smith Njigba &  Marvin Harrison JR, were so great it really didn't matter. TE Jermey Ruckert looks like a good receiver whenever they threw him the ball, but it was rare because of their WR talent. Bama is the preeminent program in all of college football , and its a place where 5 star players often ride the bench for a year or 2 , and William's transferred there and became a starter. That in and of itself is a remarkable feat, as Alabama is another place that routinely puts NFL WR's in the first round. Williams had moved up to 3rd in my WR rankings before his sad injury in the National championship game, but if he had run as fast as he looks on tape ( high 4.2's to low 4.3's ) he might have been the first WR off the board. That means he theoretically could have went in the top 10. Williams racked up 79 catches , 1572 yards , and 15 TD's in the SEC in his first shot as a starter. That's awesome, and you rarely see some average 20 yards per catch anymore if you have that many catches. The problem is the timing of his ACL tear. January 10th means he may not be ready for the regular seasons start, and since he is missing his chance to blow everyone away in workouts that hurts too. Not to mention that  So I think that means only 3 types of teams will take him in the first. 1- Rebuilding teams who can wait till he perfectly healthy. 2- Teams that are a probable lock for the playoffs , but need one more offensive weapon to get over the hum and win it all. 3 - A team that is enamored with speed at all cost, like the Raiders. Williams isn't just a fast guy who can take it to the house on any play either. He's quick & explosive off the line, but still need some work out of his breaks., and its laughable if you are dumb enough to play off coverage against him.  Other than injury, and lack of experience my biggest worry with him are drops & size. He is not a natural hands catcher, but he also isn't the second coming of Darrius Heyward-Bey.  Williams is tall enough, but looks pretty lean as well. Jameson also returned 2 kickoffs for TD's this year, and if his hands ever get better I would love to see him returning punts. 



Chandler Jones is coming off his worst full season ever in my opinion, but he still gets to the QB & knocks the ball loose enough to get paid like the stud he used to be by somebody. After Jones missed 11 games in 2020 , and now after his play took a downturn in 2021 I think he might chase the money elsewhere. The Cards only have about 5 million in cap space next year , and they might be working on new deal for Kyler Murray this off season .but I expect this pick to be a D-Lineman , WR ,  or a corner. In this case they take a interior guy because no interior D-Lineman , except JJ Watt played well this year for Zona.  Plus Watt will be 33 this season, is on the downside of his career, and is coming off  another injury affected season, where he only played in 7 games during the regular season.  Since Kyler Murray's play really suffered without D-Hop last season, and he made a good connection with  TE ( i.e. - bigger receiver) Zach Ertz  after he was traded to the cards. How about a giant slot receiver who has the makings of a TD machine near the goal line. While London lined up inside and out , I think he did his best work in the slot and in the end zone. So I like him as primarily a power slot, which is a good thing because the NFL was dominated by a power slot this year in Cooper Kupp. Like Kupp London is a good route runner & blocker. Drake also has the hands, toughness, and body control to make the difficult contested catches that few excel at. I am not saying he is Kupp, because he doesn't have his quickness & is leaner , but London has a ridiculously wide catch radius that few can match. Before the ankle injury that ended Drakes season in the 8th game of the season he already had 88 catches , 1084 yards , and 7 TD's. That's ridiculous production for 8 games, and he didn't even finish the 8th game. The former USC Basketball player attacks the ball like he's getting a rebound, and his play with through the roof in 2021 after he gave up basketball , its fair to speculate that his best football still might be ahead of him.  He gets just enough separation at the top of his route that he probably needs the kind of QB that is willing to throw into tight windows. I don't know if he will be healed enough to run at the combine, and that could work to his advantage , because speed was his biggest question mark , but there aren't many 6"5." 215 pound receivers in the  history of the NFL. So I still think he goes somewhere in the 1rst round , and that he would be the ideal fit for this QB. 



The Cowboys have a lot of free agents that they would like back, and they are currently about 21 million dollars over the cap before they even try to resign any of them. They are my little brothers favorite team I watch them with him , and this roster is too talented for a first round exit. Some of them should obviously be let go like the disappointing Keanu Neal & Leighton Vander Esch. Connor Williams just has too many penalties, but if he ever gets over that he could be a very good starter, or maybe not because he gets beat a lot when he doesn't hold. While I commend Jerry for his loyalty, and willingness to pay his own guys first, I don't think they should pay top dollar for Randy Gregory. It's a great story that he seems to have finally gotten his life on track , and more power to him , but he has been historically unreliable. If he was dependable it wouldn't have taken him 6 years to reach free agency, instead of 4. He could be a double digit sack guy next year, or he could miss the season due to his dependency issues , or injuries.  Plus not only is he penalty prone, he doesn't even realize that he lines up offsides on a regular basis. If the refs called it every time , and then he tried to pay attention to it he would probably still have at least 25 off sides this season, and he only played in 12 games.  Dalton Schultz has developed into a plus starting TE in the last years, and he deserves a  8-10 million contract that I doubt Dallas can afford.  If Dallas does trade Amari Cooper, which would be a GIANT mistake in my eyes, they will need another smooth route runner to replace him. I don't think even Jerry Jones is that crazy, but with the Cowboys cap crunch it is a possibility , because Jerry is still pissed that the unvaccinnated Cooper missed 2 games when he got Covid. . They are already likely to lose at least one of Michael Gallup or Cedrick Wilson, or even both. Neither is near the caliber of Cooper, but if they traded him they could resign both, and probably still save some money.  When Demarcus Lawrence finally got healthy he looked like the same complete strongside end he has always been, and I think cutting him to resign Gregory would be a huge mistake. Resigning Jayron Kearse would be my priority if I were them. He made a lot of plays and gave this defense some fierceness too it. The Cowboys do have some solid in house options to replace Williams at left guard. Connor Mcgovern had some starts this year when the Williams penalty train got too frustrating, but his best start was on the right said when Zack Martin missed week one. So they could play Mcgovern at LG, or flip over the future HOFer in Martin to the left side, move Mcgovern to the right. Zack will be great wherever they play him. Either guard spot ,and he could have made a Pro Bowl or 3 outside at tackle if he played there full time. He looked great when he kicked out to RT last season, but asking a HOF guard to switch sides could be tricky. Plus the package with the 300+ pound Mcgovern at FB is effective and a blast to watch. Then there is Swing tackle Terrance Steele . He started 13 games this year thanks to a suspension for La'el Collins & injuries to Collins & Tyron Smith, but he isn't near as good as either starter right now. They could try him at LG, or they could be dumb and move Collins back to LG and put Steele at RT full time. Collins is at his best at RT , and Steele isn't as good a some Cowboys fans were making him out to be at either tackle spot.  I have a better solution. Too often Williams or Mcgovern were the weak link along the O-Line. Even center Tyler Biadiasz was outplaying them by the final 3rd of the season, and there should be no way Tyler Linderbaum falls this far , because this isn't a Cowboy fans fantasy draft.  If division rival Philly keeps all 3 of their first rounders, and Linderbaum falls to them they would have to take him with one of those picks.  Instead of the LG getting pushed backward and blowing up the run play before it can begin, or just outright whiffing on him, they need a guy who can push their man away from the line of scrimmage.  Or one who can avoid getting bull rushed into the QB , or again outright whiffing on their man, or even missing a stunt. I saw all these things happen too frequently by whoever is at left guard. What they need is a guy who can anchor and control the dude across from him against his will. I think Zion Johnson is that guy.  I started watching his 2021 tape 3 weeks ago, and I came away seriously impressed. Zion played 2 seasons at Davidson before transferring to BC in 2019 where he made 7 starts at LG.  His 2020 tape at LT  looked 3rd round to me, but enough good stuff was there to think he was a potential plus player if he moved back inside. They moved him back to guard for all but the Virginia Tech game in 2021 , and he looked great in that game, but guard is where he the NFL. I still figured that he would probably come off the board on day 2 ,because there aren't a lot of guards drafted in the first round in the NFL, but I would take him here. Inside his technique and nasty demeanor really shine, and he is guy that quickly gets after his man. Plus he consistently plays low , stays with his man , and finishes to the whistle. He has a stout anchor in pass pro , good hand use & awareness , and he is always looking to help out and hit someone when uncovered. In the run game he will be at his best in a zone heavy scheme like the one Dallas runs. He is good working double teams and getting after somebody at the second level. He does well enough on reach blocks that I might want to try him at center, but that would take awhile to get down, as it was shown at the Senior Bowl. Although it would be a great thing for his teams versatility long term if he could just fill in at the pivot in a pinch, and he has already shown that he can play outside if needed in the short term. Zion is definitely smart enough to handle center , with great awareness, and he rarely deserves a penalty on tape. I have a first round grade on him. He doesn't have the upside of some other guard prospects like Kenyon Green, but I think he is little bit better of a player right now. Zion has the high floor of a plug & play starting guard in the NFL, and Dallas really needs that right now. His only weakness is the occasional tendency to duck his head on contact.



The Bills are danger of getting the next year steam label if they don't get over the hump soon. Back to basic AFC east titles are cool , but after losing in the AFC Championship after the 2020 season , they lost a in the divisional round this year. They are only a couple million over the cap, and have no free agents they absolutely have to bring back , although Jerry Hughes is still a good pass rusher. Although Hughes will be 34 this year, and he is more of a situational pass rusher at this point. Their biggest weakness is the O-line. Other than LT Dion Dawkins they could al be upgraded. Green started games at every O-line position  but center last season. Its really nice to have a guy that can fill in on 4 out of 5 spots , which allows them a much better chance of getting their best 5 O-Lineman on the field in almost any situation. Green is a powerful blocker with the feet to possibly stick outside , but he is too grabby & lacks the stunt/twist awareness to be a OT in the NFL right now. Guard is where he fits best long term in my opinion , and that's where his best tape is , and LG is where he played most in 2021.  He can maul in the run game , and is scheme versatile. However,  he does fall off blocks more than he should , and is hit & miss at the 2nd level. In pass pro he has a good anchor and a nasty punch. He is one of the guys I have a first round grade on already , but his upside could mean greatness, and I wouldn't be surprised if he we went in the top 15. 



The Titans had the #1 seed in the playoffs and got promptly got knocked out the first chance that they had, but at least it was against the eventual Super Bowl participant Bengals. To top that off the are about 7 million over the cap before free agency even starts, and they really need to resign edge rusher Harold Landry and his 12 sacks. Center Ben Jones i, RT Dan Quisenberry had a good year too,  and  kicker Randy Bullock is valuable too. So they are probably going to have to restructure some of their big contracts to fit everyone in. WR, CB , and off the ball LB loo like their biggest needs if they can bring back their key free agents. Julio Jones got hurt again after they gave up a 2nd rounder for him , and has the kind of contract they can't cut. #1 WR AJ Brown is injury prone too. When both were hurt no one stepped up much, and they could use another big that fits their power running game. Burks is a  big , physical WR with great running ability after the catch , some experience as a wildcat QB, or you can just hand it to him and watch him go. Plus , he can block, and would give them the heaviest receiving trio in the game. Burks reportedly played as high as 240 last year , and even if he leans out he will be at least in the 220's. Add him to the 226 of Brown , the 220 of Julio , and you have the kind of physical giant run after the catch trio any other team would be envious of. Add to that they all can be handed the ball, and expected to punk DB'S on contested catches, and blocking down the field. It's a recipe for wearing down a defense , and a lot of big plays , especially in the 2nd half. As of right now Burks best role is as a power slot as a WR, but he has the size & demeanor of a prototypical X with more reps & NFL coaching, especially as a route runner. His hands are inconsistent too ,  because he can go up and make a great catch, and then drop some easy ones. Basically all his issues are fixable if he listens to his catches.



The Goat has retired , and even though a dude as cool as Brady has his haters ( jealousy) I am going to miss him. He was the ultimate gamer , winner, has the ultimate scoreboard ( 7 RINGS ! ) , and the routinely took less money to give him the best of chance of winning. " And now his watch is ended. We will never see his like again."  Replacing Brady is a impossibility, and trotting out Blaine Gabbert or 2021 second rounder Kyle Trask at QB will only be a disappointment, but this team is still potentially good enough to compete for a playoff spot if they bring back their key free agents.  WR Chis Godwin, CB Carlton Davis, RB Leonard Fournette , center Ryan Jensen , Gronk, and according to Bruce Arians .... Blain Gabbert?  It kind of hurt me to add Gabbert  to the group , but who knows maybe 3 years playing behind Brady has taught him some stuff. Its theoretically possible ,right?  That's a lot when you only have about 7 million in cap room. Or they could let all the older guys go and try to rebuild. Draft a big armed QB pocket who fits this down the field offense like Carson Strong in the 2nd, and see how it goes.  As of now all sings point to trying to make the playoffs again. I doubt Suh will be brought back in any case, and they could slide Vita Vea over to the nose tackle spot, and take this guy to play the 3 technique. Since Wyatt is my number one inside pass rusher of all the guys who actually play inside every down, I am taking him here if I'm the Bucs. He plays a lot of 5 technique too, and has some gap responsibilities that effect his pass rush, but he has a explosive first step off the snap, and when they finally turn him loose he's usually in the backfield disrupting the offense. Run or pass he plays low and strong. Wyatt also rare feet & agility for a 300+ pounder, and covers a lot of ground around the line of scrimmage. If you run a 4-3 I see him as a good three technique with the strength & leverage to also takes some snaps at the nose when needed. He's a different kind of freak of nature than his teammate Jordan Davis , and his explosiveness & versatility could even see him drafted ahead of Davis.



The Pack could go a lot of different places here. LB, OT , safety, DT , TE, or my choice in WR. If they take their cap hits this year, cut all the big contract underperforming veterans ( R. Cobb & Z. Smith) , and let all their free agents but Devondre Campbell go they will only have 2 potential stating WR's. One of them is Jerry Jeudy from the trade I listed earlier. The other is last years 3rd rounder Amari Rodgers, who mostly just contributed on special teams as a rookie. Olave is a very crafty route runner,  has the speed to be a deep threat, and has knack for finding holes in zone coverage. Great hands too, but is a contested catch guy. He can play the Z or the slot. Like Garrett Wilson he is lean with average height. Olave also has a variety of releases of the line of scrimmage, but big press corners can give him some trouble, and he's not much of threat to break tackles or help as a blocker. He has a high floor , and should be off the board in the first 40 picks, but if he runs in the 4.3s I expect him to come off the board in the first round. 

29.MIAMI -(49ers)-   TYLER SMITH - T/G - TULSA


Miami traded away their first rounder last year, but still have the 49ers first. So basically they just dropped 14 spots in the round. The Fins have a new head coach, and who know how that's going to go. What I do know is that they lead the league in cap space with over 61 million, and that they need to invest a lot of it in the O-line , but they do have one key free agent in Emmanuel Ogbah. In addition to a OT, G, and center the Fins have other needs. A nose tackle , edge rusher, TE , multiple LB's, maybe another outside WR , and a safety could all be a need. If I were them I would take safety Dax Hill , or the O-Lineman they prefer. Since they need to know if Tua is their guy, and giving him a good O-Line is the best way to do that I am going with the O-Lineman. I know that most will expect Bernhard Raimann here , but I prefer Smith because he is just so strong & violent as a blocker. His technique  , especially in pass pro needs a complete overhaul, but he still gets the job done most of the time. His biggest problem is hand usage. He doesn't just get his hands outside & get grabby, he actually bear hugs at times. However, Tyler has the feet , quickness, p\and agility to play outside in the long term. If you watch his tape against Ohio ST. from far away he looks great , but up close you see a guy who could have gotten 10 holding calls. He's a mauling people mover in the run game, and even if you had to play him at guard as a rookie while he gets coached up , I expect he would regularly be moving the line of scrimmage when they run the rock. He's young, wide, strong, nasty, and looks to have the right length to stay outside long term. Its a shame he wasn't old enough to play at the Senior Bowl, but when he played bigger schools he was still tossing dudes around , and I believe he would have done the same in mobile. He could have really used the higher level of coaching though , and I hope his agent has him working with a O-Line guru as I type this, because Tyler has a huge ceiling once he is coached up. 



Despite falling short in the AFC championship game the Chiefs are still the favorite to win the Superbowl next season.  KC invested big in the O-Line in 2021 and it payed off last season , but they need to resign Orlando Brown JR. to keep it going. They payed for him in draft picks, and he will have many suitors if he hits free agency. KC is about 11.5 million under the cap, and they can easily create more cap space to slap the franchise tag on just by cutting underperforming edge rusher Frank Clark. Other key free agents are the honey badger , CB Charvarius Ward , and possibly edge Melvin Ingram.  WR is a big need too, but I am all out of 1rst round receivers in this mock. I really like George Karlaftis , and I think he shouldn't fall this far, but I think he might after so many others out test him at the combine. Karlaftis a great bull rusher off the edge with a lot of violent shock in his hands when he makes initial contact, but I think he could be even better as a fulltime 3 technique because he lacks the burst & bend to run the arc outside regularly. At the very least he could be a run down edge who kicks inside in passing situations. They could kick Chris Jones over to the nose in those situations , and really get in the opposing QB's face. He also needs to work on his stack & shed with blockers, but he still makes play the occasional splash play against the run. There are rumors that he has short arms for his height, which another reason I believe he profiles better inside. He gets enough pressure to be dangerous, is disruptive in the back field, and I have  first round grade on him. Nobody with a first round grade should fall this far in this draft. His high octane motor , ability to counter quickly , and versatility are his best selling points. Anytime a offense has to game plan against you , and that happened a lot this year, you make everyone around you better. Karlaftis would be a asset for any team. 



The Bengals Have a few starters entering free  agency, but only one that is crucial to their future, and that's safety Jessie Bates. He's only going to be 25 , and even though this wasn't his best season ; he was one of the best in the league in 2020. Its very possible that he is just hitting his stride  and is about to become a perennial ALL-PRO ,so he he should command top dollar. Paying top dollar is not a Bengals forte, so we have to wait and see what happens. Since the Bengals have close to 49 million in available cap space , and they just entered a championship window they should be able to bring back anybody they want. Additionally they even have the cap space to sign a big ticket free agent too.  This is both a good free agent class & draft at the safety position so Daxton Hill could be a possibility here if they don't pay Bates. LG Quinton Spain might be a priority too.  I'm going to go another way here. Joe Burrow was the most sacked QB in the NFL this season, and a lot of it came between the center and the right side of the O-Line. Since average RT Rilely Reiff got hurt  , and Isaiah Prince filled in , it was a little worse. Plus Reiff is 33 and was only on a one year deal to begin with.  Raimann is from Austria , but he has surprisingly been playing football since he was 14. He was a TE his first 2 years at C. Michigan , but has been a OT the last 2 seasons. Due to Covid that's only 18 starts on the blindside. That combined with his small school opposition makes him , and the fact that he will be a 25 year old rookie, make him a mid 2nd rounder to me. Raimann was up & down at the Senior Bowl, but held his own enough for some teams to bet on his potential. Like most former TE's he is athletic &  more of a finesse player.  I see him as a zone scheme only guy right now in the Pros. His ability to get to the 2nd level and make something good happen is impressive. Combine that with his tape in the screen game , and I see  why he might come off the board in the first. He's still a little stiff & unsure with his technique right now , but better coaching and more reps can fix that. Personally I think he might be a zone guard , at least until that technique improves, and he needs to gets stronger. Another reason I believe that he might be a guard is that  he only 33 inch arms , and some teams won't see him outside ever.  In my opinion your technique needs to be fantastic to be good outside with only 33 inch long arms. I'm talking like a future HOFer Joe Thomas or 2021 1rst rounder Rashawn Slater, and I highly doubt Raimanns technique ever reaches that level. In pass pro Bernard's best work outside is done against speed, but a good bull rush can put him on skates, and the punch is still too soft. Part of the reason I put him here is because he reminds me of a former Bengal. 



I'm guessing that that the big question with the Lions 2nd 1rst rounder is do they trade up , especially if they decide to take a QB. Ojabo has only been playing football for 5 years, but he is extremely talented , and you can see the progress in his tape as the season went along. He came out of nowhere this season to make himself a potential 1rst round pick , and I can honestly say I had never even heard of him until this year . He's twitchy , bendy , fluid , has good feet , and is explosive. Despite his relative newness as a pass rusher he already has multiple moves , and can counter.  His play against the run leaves you wanting more, but again he improved some as the year went along. He may test really well at the combine , and fly up draft boards, but for now I have a 2nd on him based on his inexperience & inability to be a every down player early in his NFL career.