Once upon a time, we had umpteen annual mock drafts. We’ve evolved away from that in recent years.
Yes, they are tools to frame the discussions. But they’re horribly inaccurate, most are premature, and some actually influence players with remaining eligibility to make bad decisions about coming out of school when they should stay put.
The conversation can be framed without creating the false impression that the people who have made the mock drafts have any clue whatsoever about what’s going to happen.
Then again, no one ever knows. Last week, the Seahawks acknowledged that their one and only attempt at a mock draft was a “disaster.”
They’re all potentially disasters. Whoever gets the most picks right was lucky, especially this year.
So here’s our one and only mock draft. I have no pride of authorship because I didn’t do it. I’ve got someone I trust who isn’t currently working for any team who puts it together. It’s ultimately as good a collection of guesses as anyone’s.
As always, I don’t care if any of the picks are right. As always, I don’t care if you call it the “worst mock draft ever.” (As always, one or more of my past mock drafts will be happy to lose that crown.)
As always, I’ve thought about tinkering with my outsourced source’s selections. But then I reminded myself once again that I just don’t care. If any of these picks are right, I don’t want the credit. For all that are wrong, I’ll gladly take the blame.
So, once again, here goes nothing. Literally. With 31 picks, because the Dolphins lost theirs for tampering with Tom Brady and Sean Payton last season, and a bonus at the bottom for No. 32.
1. Panthers (from Bears): Bryce Young, quarterback, Alabama.
2. Texans: Will Anderson, Jr., edge, Alabama.
3. Cardinals: Jalen Carter, defensive tackle, Georgia.
4. Colts: Will Levis, quarterback, Kentucky.
5. Seahawks (from Broncos): Anthony Richardson, quarterback, Florida.
6. Lions (from Rams): Devon Witherspoon, cornerback, Illinois.
7. Raiders: Christian Gonzalez, cornerback, Oregon.
8. Falcons: C.J. Stroud, quarterback, Ohio State.
9. Bears (from Panthers): Peter Skoronski, tackle, Northwestern.
10. Eagles (from Saints): Paris Johnson Jr., tackle, Ohio State.
11. Titans: Hendon Hooker, quarterback, Tennessee.
12. Texans (from Browns): Jaxon Smith-Njigba, receiver, Ohio State.
13. Packers (from Jets): Zay Flowers, receiver, Boston College.
14. Patriots: Nolan Smith, outside linebacker, Georgia.
15. Jets (from Packers): Tyree Wilson, edge, Texas Tech.
16. Commanders: Anton Harrison, tackle, Oklahoma.
17. Steelers: Brian Branch, Alabama, defensive back.
18. Lions: Deonte Banks, cornerback, Maryland.
19. Buccaneers: Bijan Robinson, running back, Texas.
20. Seahawks: Myles Murphy, edge, Clemson.
21. Chargers: Michael Mayer, tight end, Notre Dame.
22. Ravens: Lukas Van Ness, defensive line, Iowa.
23. Vikings: Jordan Addison, receiver, USC.
24. Jaguars: Emmanuel Forbes, cornerback, Mississippi State.
25. Giants: Isaiah Foskey, edge, Notre Dame.
26. Cowboys: Dalton Kincaid, tight end, Utah.
27. Bills: Quentin Johnston, receiver, TCU.
28. Bengals: Bryan Bresee, defensive tackle, Clemson.
29. Saints (from 49ers through the Dolphins and Saints): Darnell Wright, tackle, Tennessee.
30. Eagles: Calijah Kancey, defensive tackle, Pitt.
31. Chiefs: Will McDonald, edge, Iowa State.
(The 32nd pick will be the Steelers taking Penn State cornerback Joey Porter, Jr.)