PSO: My NFL Mock Draft 2.0


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The NFL draft, or as we call it in Detroit, the Super Bowl, is on Thursday.  The Lions posses two first round picks along with Philadelphia, Green Bay, Kansas City, the New York Jets and Giants, and the Saints.  A record number of Georgia players could go in the first round, and premium tackles and edge rushers are in abundance.  Let’s see where everyone goes.

Pick 1-Jacksonville Jaguars/ Ickem Ekwonu, Tackle (North Carolina State)

Many have taken the fact that the Jags invested so much in their offensive line this past offseason to mean that taking one of the draft’s best tackles is off the table.  This could be a premature assumption, especially with center Brandon Liner’s surprise retirement.  New Jacksonville head coach Doug Pederson knows the importance of building a strong offensive line, especially when it comes to protecting a young quarterback.  The Jags should continue to patch up their offensive line and ignore a group of pass-rushers that many have become skeptical of.

Pick 2-Detroit Lions/ Aidan Hutchinson, Edge (Michigan)

In a perfect world, this pick is probably Kayvon Thibodeaux.  But with Lions head coach Dan Campbell apparently not liking the former Oregon Duck, Lions general manager Brad Holmes will likely go for the Michigan native and former (I would argue fraudulent) Heisman finalist Aidan Hutchinson.  Hutchinson is the safe pick in this draft and will likely be a solid player.  The question remains, is he worth the second overall pick?

Pick 3-Houston Texans/ Evan Neal, Tackle (Alabama)

The Texans are virtually devoid of talent after losing Deshaun Watson and Justin Reid in free agency, and left tackle Laremy Tunsil doesn’t seem long for this team.  The best tackle in the class is really a toss-up between Neal and Ekwonu, with Neal being the much more polished and bigger of the two and Ekwonu potentially having the higher upside.  Either way, it doesn’t seem likely that Houston does anything other than select one of this class’s blue-chip offensive linemen to protect whoever their quarterback of the future is.

Pick 4-New York Jets/ Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge (Oregon)

The Jets are a team with many needs, including pass rusher.  They are also desperate for a star player, and Thibodeaux can fill both of those needs.  Freaky athletic and with comps to Myles Garrett, Thibodeaux has frightened some NFL teams because they think he isn’t a football guy or that his work ethic is somehow flawed.   Regardless, the slide for the one-time consensus top pick ends at four.

Pick 5-New York Giants/ Charles Cross, Tackle (Mississippi State)

Andrew Thomas is finally starting to play well for New York, but they are still in desperate need of offensive linemen.  Cross impressed at Mississippi State and could provide an instant boost to the right side of the offensive line.  With his selection, three tackles go in the top five.

Pick 6-Carolina Panthers/ Malik Willis, Quarterback (Liberty)

There are several quarterback-needy teams in a year with a really bad quarterback, so someone is going to get desperate.  That someone is Carolina.  Willis has a high ceiling, but he also has a floor so low that he might not even be in the league in a couple of years.  He is similar to Jalen Hurts, albeit with a far superior arm.  Willis played for a small school in liberty, and up until a few months ago he wasn’t even supposed to go before the third round.  It is far more likely than not that this is a disastrous pick, but Carolina knows they’re not winning anything this year with a broken Sam Darnold or the body of what was once Cam Newton under center.

Pick 7-New York Giants/ Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner (Cincinnati)

Gardner has become one of the darlings of this draft, and for good reason.  He is tall, has long limbs, and didn’t allow a single touchdown to be scored against him in coverage during his entire collegiate career.  He is a lockdown corner through and through and could be a cornerstone for a Giants team desperate for a positive draft after an overwhelmingly negative couple of seasons.

Pick 8-Atlanta Falcons/ Travon Walker, Edge (Georgia)

There is buzz that Walker may go number one overall to Jacksonville, but this is probably just a smokescreen or an effort to try and trade down.  Instead, Walker stays in the same state as his alma-mater.  Atlanta desperately needs a pass rusher as they were one of the worst in the league at generating pressure on the quarterback.  Walker is a phenomenal athlete, but he is unpolished and didn’t produce on a stacked Georgia defense.  Taking him is kind of like taking Malik Willis.  They’re probably either going to be stars or busts without a whole lot of room in between.

Pick 9-Seattle Seahawks/ Derek Stingley Jr., Cornerback (Louisiana State)

Look for Seattle to be active around the quarterbacks in this draft, and if Willis is here they probably take him.  But in this case he’s not and another boom or bust prospect in Stingley goes off the board.  Stingley was phenomenal his freshman year, but he has hardly played over the last few seasons and some are concerned about his work ethic and attitude.  But Seattle has limited options here, as their two big positions of need (quarterback and offensive lineman) have already been picked clean of top prospects.

Pick 10-New York Jets/ Garrett Wilson, Wide Receiver (Ohio State)

As previously mentioned, the Jets have been very active in attempting to acquire a star, especially at the receiver position.  They were in the mix for Tyreek Hill, D.K. Metcalf, and are currently attempting to woo Deebo Samuel.  But no one wants to go there, because they are the Jets.  So they force one to join the team and draft the best receiver available in Garrett Wilson.  Wilson has good speed, size, and is a fantastic route runner.  At worst, he should be a solid option for second year quarterback Zach Wilson.

Pick 11-Washington Commanders/ Devin Lloyd, Linebacker (Utah)

Washington needs to regroup after their normally vaulted defense disappointed last year, so they go out and get someone described as a “field general” to help fix it.  Most have Lloyd as the number one middle linebacker in this year’s class, something that Washington needs.  Eleven is a bit high for a middle linebacker, but if Lloyd is as good as advertised it shouldn’t matter.

Pick 12-Minnesota Vikings/ George Karlaftis, Edge (Purdue)

Karlaftis is an old school defensive end.  Big, powerful, but not super athletic.  He disappeared a little at the end of the season, which hurt his draft stock a little.  But the fact remains that he was generally very good at Purdue and Minnesota needs to revitalize their defense.  A tag team of Danielle Hunter and Karlaftis should be an imposing threat at both ends of the offensive line for years to come.

Pick 13-Houston Texans/ Kyle Hamilton, Safety (Notre Dame)

Once considered a consensus top five pick, Hamilton’s stock fell dramatically after a late season injury, a slow forty yard dash at the combine, and the realization that taking a safety in the top ten probably isn’t advisable.  But Houston needs talent at all positions, and Hamilton is a blue-chip prospect.  They can’t afford to pass on him and hope that he becomes the defensive anchor that some believe he can be.

Pick 14-Baltimore Ravens/ Jermaine Johnson II, Edge (Florida State)

Johnson’s draft stock is a roller coaster.  Some think he’ll go in the top ten, some think he’ll go late in the round.  But the Ravens need a successor to Calais Campbell, who isn’t getting any younger.  There are some holes in Johnson’s game, but studying and playing alongside Campbell should radically improve his on-field talents and further bolster a good Baltimore defense.

Pick 15-Philadelphia Eagles/ Jordan Davis, Defensive Tackle (Georgia)

There are plenty of sources saying that Philadelphia almost certainly won’t stay at 15 and 18, but I don’t do mock trades because there’s no way to tell if it’s accurate or not.  That being said, Jordan Davis dons the midnight green.  The Eagles released and then re-signed star defensive tackle Fletcher Cox this offseason, a clear sign that his time in Philadelphia is probably coming to an end next year or even by the midseason point.  Davis is a potential generational talent and was the best player on a historically good Georgia defense.  He is incredibly big, fast not only for his position but in general, and one of the best run stoppers we’ve seen in a long time.  Any team that drafts him will be getting their money’s worth.

Pick 16-New Orleans Saints/ Jameson Williams, Wide Receiver (Alabama)

Can anyone confirm Michael Thomas is still alive?  Anyone?  The man got paid tens of millions of dollars and then got injured for two years.  Regardless, the Saints have a noticeable lack of receivers on their roster and Williams is the real deal.  Despite his injury, he’s a speed demon and a good athlete.  Depending on who you ask, he may not actually miss as much time as previously thought while he rehabilitates from an ACL tear.

Pick 17-Los Angeles Chargers/ Bernhard Raimann, Tackle (Central Michigan)

The Chargers made splash move after splash move this offseason.  They should be a really, really good team, and they can address a major need here by taking the best tackle left in Bernhard Raimann.

Pick 18-Philadelphia Eagles/ Trent McDuffie, Cornerback (Washington)

McDuffie is a solid player in both build and ability.  Philadelphia has a lock down corner in Darius Slay, but he is aging and they have been searching for CB2 for several years now with little to no success.

Pick 19-New Orleans Saints/ Lewis Cine, Safety (Georgia)

The Saints have a big need at safety with the departure of Marcus Williams and the retirement of Malcom Jenkins, a need that Cine can fill.  Cine is a hard-hitting, heat seeking missile who should provide a boost to a Saints team who’s window of contention could be closing rapidly.

Pick 20-Pittsburgh Steeler/ Tyler Linderbaum, Center (Iowa)

The only major complaints people seem to have against Linderbaum is that he is too short to play anything but center and he has short arms.  That will likely regulate him to a late first round selection, which is where he goes.  The Steelers have a need for the future to fill as former center Maurkice Pouncey retired this offseason, and Linederbaum should fill that role nicely.

Pick 21-New England Patriots/ Nakobe Dean, Linebacker (Georgia)

The fourth member of Georgia’s defense to go in the first round, Dean is one of the most underrated prospects in the entire draft.  He plays like a wrecking ball, has sideline to sideline play speed, and can fall into coverage.  Rumblings of a potential knee injury have hurt his stock, but Bill Belichick should be more than happy to grab the ultra talented Dean.

Pick 22-Green Bay Packers/ Drake London, Wide Receiver (University of Southern California)

This is fairly easy.  London is a top three receiver in this year’s class, and Green Bay is in desperate need of a receiver.  London is tight end-sized but far faster.  He is a premier sideline threat and someone that Aaron Rodgers should be able to rely on.

Pick 23-Arizona Cardinals/ Devonte Wyatt, Defensive Tackle (Georgia)

In the immortal words of DJ Khaled, another one.  Another one.  Another one.  Five defensive Georgia Bulldogs go in the first round.  The Cardinals need help on defense, especially the interior, something that Wyatt should be able to help alleviate.  Wyatt is remarkably old for a rookie at 24, but the Cardinals are in win-now mode, so it shouldn’t hurt them too much.

Pick 24-Dallas Cowboys/ Trevor Penning, Tackle (Northern Iowa)

The Cowboys lost La’el Collins in free agency, so they go with the best tackle available in order to try and patch an offensive line that is quickly falling apart.

Pick 25-Buffalo Bills/ Treylon Burks, Wide Receiver (Arkansas)

Buffalo is in need of a number two receiver to play alongside Steffon Diggs, and Burks could be a heck of a number two.  He has been compared to Deebo Samuel in his playstyle and just looks like a star when he plays.

Pick 26-Tennessee Titans/ David Ojabo, Edge (Michigan)

Ojabo tore his achilles in pre-draft workouts, but it isn’t expected to affect his rookie year too much other than potentially dropping out of the first round in real life.  But Tennessee needs an edge rusher, so they take the best of what’s left in the hyper-athletic Ojabo.

Pick 27-Tampa Bay Buccaneers/ Zion Johnson, Guard (Boston College)

Only the second non-tackle offensive lineman to go off the board, Johnson joins a Buccaneers team that should still be ready to compete.  They lost Alex Cappa in free agency, but Johnson should be able to fill the void he leads behind.

Pick 28-Green Bay Packers/ Tyler Smith, Tackle (Tulsa)

Already armed with their primary need at receiver, the Packers now need to address the offensive line, which they do with Smith.  They are currently without a right tackle of the future, and hopefully for them, Smith could be that guy.

Pick 29-Kansas City Chiefs/ Andrew Booth Jr., Cornerback (Clemson)

The Chiefs have been searching for a lockdown corner for sometime, hopefully Booth can finally be that guy for them.

Pick 30-Kansas City Chiefs/ George Pickens, Wide Receiver (Georgia)

Kansas City is reportedly interested in wide receivers after trading away Tyreek Hill, and Pickens has the talent to be a successful NFL wide receiver.  But he’s also spent the majority of the last couple of seasons hurt.  Thankfully, he won’t be expected to step in any way immediately with the arrival of Juju Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdez-Scantly.

Pick 31- Cincinnati Bengals/ Kenyon Green, Guard (Texas A&M)

The Bengals have spent the offseason taking one of the NFL’s worst offensive lines and transforming it into one of the best, and they put the finishing touch on it here by selecting a talented big man in Green.

Pick 32-Detroit Lions/ Chris Olave, Wide Receiver (Ohio State)

The Lions need receivers and have made it clear that they intend to take the slow route and build through the draft.  They take Olave, a speed demon, to pair with Amon-Ra St. Brown and add one more piece to a Lions offense that is beginning to take shape.