Mock drafts are like opinions and bungholes. Everybody has one and they all stink, except maybe your own.
We used to do umpteen versions of mock drafts. That was before I developed a thorough and complete hatred of them. In recent years, we’ve shifted to a one-shot mock draft, with no concern for accuracy and no pride in authorship. Especially since I have now exported the assignment to a seasoned scout who currently is not employed by any team but whose credentials would not be questioned if his name were to be mentioned.
I thought about tinkering with his selections. But then I realized that I just don’t care. If any of these picks are right (and the first two are virtually guaranteed to be), the anonymous, unattached scout with no skin in the game gets the credit. For all that are wrong, I’m sure to still get the blame.
Again, I don’t care.
So here’s our one and only mock draft, with responsibility totally abdicated to someone who knows how to put together a draft board far better than I ever will.
1. Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, quarterback, Clemson.
The odds for Lawrence to go No. 1 are currently -10000. They should be even lower. The Jaguars have done nothing to suggest that the pick will be anyone but Lawrence.
2. Jets: Zach Wilson, quarterback, BYU.
Ditto in this spot. It’s been Wilson for weeks, and the Jets have done nothing to suggest it will be anyone else. Wilson becomes their latest effort to develop a true franchise quarterback.
3. 49ers (from Houston via Miami): Justin Fields, quarterback, Ohio State.
Yeah, the 49ers reportedly have narrowed their pick to Mac Jones and Trey Lance. Until they make the pick, however, anything can happen. Maybe something surprising will occur, as the 49ers strike the balance between the need for someone who can play now against the reality that the fans will lose their minds if it’s Mac Jones.
4. Falcons: Penei Sewell, tackle, Oregon.
Momentum has built in recent days for tight end Kyle Pitts. But here’s a crazy thought — Sewell as a Quenton Nelson-type for the Falcons, moving to guard at the next level and mauling people in the running game, while keeping the middle of the line sealed up in the passing game.
5. Bengals: Kyle Pitts, tight end, Florida.
LSU receiver Ja’Marr Chase makes plenty of sense if Pitts is gone. For a team looking for weapons for quarterback Joe Burrow, Pitts instantly becomes the guy they’d once hoped Tyler Eifert consistently would be, and then some.
6. Dolphins (from Eagles): Ja'Marr Chase, receiver, LSU.
I’ve heard for weeks that the Dolphins would take Alabama receiver Jaylen Waddle over Chase, if both are available at No. 6. But since I didn’t put this list together, I’ll defer to the guy who did.
7. Lions: Micah Parsons, linebacker, Penn State.
Coach Dan Campbell wants kneecap biters. Owner’s special assistant (who has plenty of influence) Chris Spielman surely values the linebacker position. This pick fits with exactly what the Lions seem to be looking to do.
8. Panthers: Patrick Surtain II, cornerback, Alabama.
They’ll be tempted to take Mac Jones here, but they’ve made the investment in Sam Darnold. If anything, their hesitation to exercise the fifth-year option on Darnold may be aimed at trying to get a team to jump in front of them to take a quarterback — and to push a player they really want farther down the board.
9. Broncos: Alijah Vera-Tucker, guard-tackle, USC.
The Broncos need to address the quarterback position. They can do that by trading for Teddy Bridgewater. They can help whoever their quarterback will be by adding a flexible piece to the offensive line.
10. Cowboys: Rashawn Slater, tackle, Northwestern.
The once-stout offensive line has gradually been falling apart. Despite having plenty of needs on defense, they need to address beefing up the blockers before it’s too late.
11. Giants: Devonta Smith, receiver, Alabama.
Bedeviled for years by DeSean Jackson, the Giants get a DeSean of their own. The offense goes next level, and the return game becomes dangerous.
12. Eagles (from 49ers via Dolphins): Jaylen Waddle, receiver, Alabama.
Many think they’ll go for cornerback Jaycee Horn. To get the most out of quarterback Jalen Hurts, they need to give him weapons. And, yes, given the presence of 2020 first-rounder Jalen Reagor, the Eagles would have a three-Ja(y)len attack.
13. Chargers: Jaycee Horn, cornerback, South Carolina.
The Chargers have a solid front seven but need help on the back end, although it would be tempting to take an offensive lineman here, in order to better protect the franchise quarterback.
14. Vikings: Christian Darrisaw, tackle, Virginia Tech.
Edge rusher is a pressing need, but too much is invested in the offense to not address the needs on the offensive line, especially with Riley Reiff gone.
15. Patriots: Mac Jones, quarterback, Alabama.
Bill Belichick is trying to win now. Jones could help New England win more later.
16. Cardinals: Kwity Paye, edge, Michigan.
I’ve heard they’ll take Zaven Collins in this spot if Waddle, Horn, and Surtain are gone. But I’ve decided not to deviate from the formulation created by someone other than me.
17. Raiders: Jaelen Phillips, edge, Miami.
The defense needs help. Jon Gruden could be tempted to take a look at rookie quarterback Trey Lance, but Gruden strongly prefers veterans.
18. Dolphins: Azeez Ojulari, edge, Georgia.
Gregory Rousseau also is a possibility here. Regardless, the Dolphins address an area of defensive need.
19. Washington: Greg Newsome II, cornerback, Northwestern.
Even with William Jackson III added in free agency, more corners would be useful for an improving defense that is on the verge of becoming one of the best in the league.
20. Bears: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, linebacker, Notre Dame.
The Bears pride themselves on great linebacker play. Owusu-Koramoah would eventually succeed Danny Trevathan in the starting lineup.
21. Colts: Trevon Moehrig, safety, TCU.
A solid defense gets another piece in an area of moderate need.
22. Titans: Kadarius Toney, receiver, Florida.
With Corey Davis gone after only four years, the Titans replace him with another target to complement A.J. Brown.
23. Jets (from Seahawks): Asante Samuel, Jr., cornerback, Florida State.
The Jets address an area of pressing need with the son of a former Patriot.
24. Steelers: Trey Lance, quarterback, North Dakota State.
The Steelers are all in on trying to win in 2021, but will they be able to say no to a guy who could take the baton from Ben Roethlisberger? I’ve heard they’ll take Alabama running back Najee Harris or Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins in this spot. But if Lance slides, Art Rooney will have to decide whether to give his third coach since 1969 the team’s fourth first-round quarterback since 1970.
25. Jaguars (from Rams): Tyson Campbell, cornerback, Georgia.
Urban Meyer addresses an area that had been an area of extreme strength a couple of years ago.
26. Browns: Terrace Marshall, Jr., receiver, LSU.
Another LSU receiver joins a team that has two of them, in Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry. Beckham could be entering his last year with the team; if healthy and effective, don’t be shocked if he’s traded before the deadline.
27. Ravens: Alex Leatherwood, tackle, Alabama.
With Orlando Brown gone, Leatherwood fills the need created by the trade.
28. Saints: Carlos Basham, Jr., edge, Wake Forest.
The Saints address a need created by the free-agent departure of Trey Hendrickson.
29. Packers: Jamin Davis, linebacker, Kentucky.
A center is also possible here. (Hopefully, they’ll draft at least one receiver this year.)
30. Bills: Najee Harris, running back, Alabama.
If the Steelers take Harris, Clemson running back Travis Etienne could be the pick.
31. Ravens (from Chiefs): Gregory Rousseau, edge, Miami.
Calais Campbell loves Rousseau. They’ll potentially be teammates.
32. Buccaneers: Zaven Collins, linebacker, Tulsa.
I personally think he’ll be gone by this spot. If Bucs get him, they could try to make him an edge rusher and/or let him become the heir to Lavonte David. His size and skills and versatility would potentially make the Bucs defense dominant.