Welcome to Week 1 of Draft SZN!

Now that we’ve all recovered from a rollercoaster of a Super Bowl, it’s time to turn our attention to the draft process. With the All-Star games wrapped up and the Combine impending, we thought that it was high time we gave you all a staff Mock Draft.

1.1 Chicago Bears

QB Caleb Williams (USC)

The Bears reset the cost efficiency of rookie contracts by adding Caleb Williams to the roster. A player who’s more raw than most like to say, but the potential makes him a special type of candidate to finally give fans the hope they need in the franchise turning around

~Mike Vallerie (@FF_DirtyMike)

1.2 Washington Commanders

QB Drake Maye (UNC)

New coaching staff, new offense, new QB. It’s a fresh start and a good one. Drake Maye is the most pro-ready QB in this draft showing success playing within and out of structure. He is used to elevating an offense with a poor supporting cast from UNC. He will be inheriting one of the best WR rooms in the NFL. The future hasn’t seemed brighter since Kirk Cousins was the starting QB.

~Vallerie

1.3 New England Patriots

QB Jayden Daniels (LSU)

Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

Patriots fans are hoping Maye falls to them, but Daniels gives them their QB of the future. Daniels has elite athleticism and the ability to make plays as the pocket breaks down. He’s got a cannon but sometimes struggles with accuracy to the intermediate levels. It’s a departure in style from what the Pats have had at QB and will force the offense to evolve into the new way of football.

~Dwight Peebles (@FFPeeblesChamp)

1.4 Arizona Cardinals

WR Marvin Harrison Jr. (Ohio State)

Kyler Murray, here is your new BFF. Harrison is a complete receiver who can play any WR position. He’s got great ball skills, explosion, and acceleration. Harrison gives the Cardinals the WR they need to take the offense to the next level. He’s a WR1 from Week 1 on.

~Peebles

1.5 Los Angeles Chargers

TE Brock Bowers (Georgia)

The only 2-time Mackey Award winner, Bowers is arguably the greatest collegiate TE of all time. Bowers is a dynamic weapon in the passing game and a solid run blocker to boot. New LAC HC Jim Harbaugh has a history of using athletic TEs, and Bowers will give Herbert a great weapon.

~Colin Decker (@C2CDecker)

1.6 New York Giants

WR Rome Odunze (Washington)

The Giants are in the unfortunate position of not being bad enough to get a top QB. So they may as well get an alpha WR for their current QB. Odunze will give Daniel Jones a reliable target who excels in contested catch situations and can win with physicality.

~Decker

1.7 Tennessee Titans

OT Joe Alt (Notre Dame)

Arguably the best tackle in the draft. He has great movement skills and agility, and given the Titans’ needs along the offensive line, it is a great match.

~IDP (@Justice2318)

1.8 Atlanta Falcons

EDGE Dallas Turner (Alabama)

Atlanta needs to upgrade their pass rush, and Turner, given his speed and explosiveness, should fit in nicely for the Falcons.

~IDP

1.9 Chicago Bears

WR Malik Nabers (LSU)

The ultimate jack-of-all-trades, the impressive Nabers isn’t “elite” at any single trait but covers almost all criteria at a plus level. While he’s a plus vertical weapon, he can struggle to get into routes that require him to attack a defender’s leverage if it allows the DB to make contact or reroute. The Bears come away with an immaculate start in this mock draft, pairing their shiny new QB with a WR that would’ve been WR1 in most draft classes. Nabers + DJ Moore = Profit for Caleb Williams.

~Barnabas Lee (@pkjblee)

1.10 New York Jets

OT Olumuyiwa Fashanu (Penn State)

The Jets are SPRINTING to get their card in on this one. I think it’s finally time to call it quits on the Mekhi Becton project and replace him with a much more technically refined and proven bookend that also has the physical tools, though not as physically imposing as Becton, that a team could want in their Left Tackle of the future. The team will have to either train out his high pad level or learn to work around it. Either way, maybe Aaron Rodgers won’t miss the entire season this time around.

~Lee

1.11 Minnesota Vikings

QB J.J. McCarthy (Michigan)

You’re going to have to hear me out on this one. Every year, folks fall in love with a “toolsy” QB prospect who looks good in shorts but whose tape leaves at least one burning question. JJ McCarthy has all the potential in the world with plus arm strength and good accuracy, at least as far as we can tell. The lack of volume leaves questions of whether he can do it at the next level. Even subtracting the game in which he suffered an ankle injury, McCarthy averaged 23.1 pass attempts per game in 2023, which would rank 127th in the country. I am irrationally convinced that McCarthy is a Viking. If they bring back Kirk Cousins, he lands in the perfect spot as the heir apparent, with time to develop behind a good bridge QB.

~Lee

1.12 Denver Broncos

CB Nate Wiggins (Clemson)

Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

~IDP

1.13 Las Vegas Raiders

CB Terrion Arnold (Alabama)

Assuming McCarthy doesn’t make it to 13, I expect the Raiders will be looking for a starting outside corner to play opposite Jack Jones. Arnold is one of the top corners in the class and has the potential to be a starter on Day 1, given his speed and coverage ability on the outside.

~IDP

1.14 New Orleans Saints

EDGE Jared Verse (Florida State)

~Decker

1.15 Indianapolis Colts

RT Taliese Fuaga (Oregon State)

~Decker

1.16 Seattle Seahawks

CB Kool-Aid McKinstry (Alabama)

~Peebles

1.17 Jacksonville Jaguars

EDGE Laiatu Latu (UCLA)

The Jags get a potential steal here. I love Latu’s game, and he’s going to make an instant impact. He’s got strength, wicked handwork, and he’s got an advanced understanding of pass-rushing. Latu would be an awesome addition if Jacksonville can retain Josh Allen, but he also allows the team to move on from Allen if they can’t re-sign the UFA.

~Peebles

1.18 Cincinnati Bengals

OT Troy Fautanu (Washington)

Cincinnati decides to lean on the passing game. They have their high-pedigree QB, and now they want to protect the franchise with one of the best pass blockers in the draft.

~Vallerie

1.19 Los Angeles Rams

EDGE Chop Robinson (Penn State)

The Rams scoop up the final EDGE within the top tier. Robinson doesn’t have the stats, but he’s a high motor and explosive off the line, one of the more obvious disruptors to QBs this year.

~Vallerie

1.20 Pittsburgh Steelers

CB Quinyon Mitchell (Toledo)

Mike Tomlin took a personal trip down to Mobile, AL, for the Senior Bowl, and there was no way he wasn’t impressed with the shutdown skills Mitchell put on display.

~Vallerie

1.21 Miami Dolphins

iOL Graham Barton (Duke)

Miami addresses a top need in the draft, their offensive line have a ton of pending free agents. Graham Burton has athleticism, intelligence, and range. He can play guard or center and help Tua not use those judo moves he’s been practicing to help protect against concussions

~Vallerie

1.22 Philadelphia Eagles

S Kamren Kinchens (Miami)

The Eagles have a litany of needs and could lose a lot in free agency, but giving them a safety with Kinchen’s demeanor is perfect. He’s a versatile safety, playing high as a free safety primarily, but can also man the slot and come up in run defense. He always knows where the ball is and has range and a relentless motor. The Eagles and their rabid fans will love this pick.

~Peebles

1.23 Houston Texans

3T Jer’Zhan Newton (Illinois)

I love this fit for the Texans, and he’s one of my favorite defensive players in the draft. Newton is disruptive as an interior rusher – he’s got quick hands, he’s strong as heck, and has a relentless motor. He’s got some bend for an interior lineman and is a bit smaller, but he fits the Texans’ scheme well. Newton is stout in run defense, using leverage and discipline. This is a nice pick for a team on the rise.

~Peebles

1.24 Dallas Cowboys

OC Jackson Powers-Johnson (Oregon)

~Decker

1.25 Green Bay Packers

CB/S Cooper DeJean (Iowa)

Courtesy of USA Today Sports

~Decker

1.26 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

WR Brian Thomas Jr. (LSU)

Tampa needs to get younger at WR, and with Evans potentially leaving as an unrestricted free agent, it could be a position of immediate need. Thomas possesses great length, which will provide a great red zone target should Evans move on.

~IDP

1.27 Arizona Cardinals

OT J.C. Latham (Alabama)

~IDP

1.28 Buffalo Bills

3T Byron Murphy II (Texas)

In a shocking series of events, the top 3Tech in this draft class not only falls to 28 overall but to the perfect fit in the Buffalo Bills. Texas saw two iDLs drafted last year yet somehow retained the best out of the bunch of four in Junior Byron Murphy. An incredible mover for his 300 pounds, he also wins matchups with the leverage advantage that comes with only being 6’1″. Ten years ago, the NFL might have considered him too small to play at the 3T for a defense. In today’s game, teams are happy to get iDLs that can disrupt offenses no matter the shape or size they come. Both teammates and coaches alike are well-equipped to manage his inability to adjust when his first moves don’t succeed so that he can be more of a technician. I love this fit, no matter how unrealistic it is in value.

~Lee

1.29 Detroit Lions

WR Keon Coleman (Florida State)

~Lee

1.30 Baltimore Ravens

OL Jordan Morgan (Arizona)

Morgan is one of my favorite prospects in this class. With ideal dimensions, good movement skills, and an adequate anchor, it’s not difficult to imagine Morgan immediately contributing to practically any team. Some teams, however, will write him off due to injury red flags, as the Arizona LT has yet to play a full season of football after high school. Whether it’s replacing Ronnie Stanley or finally shoring up the interior, the Ravens will welcome Morgan’s skillset in whatever role they see as the best fit.

~Lee

1.31 San Francisco 49ers

OT Amarius Mims (Georgia)

The 49ers need talent upgrades along the offensive line, right tackle McKivitz gave up 59 pressures last season tied for most among tackles in 2023. Mims, given his excellent size and strength, could provide an upgrade at right tackle and perhaps move to left tackle when Trent Williams retires.

~IDP

1.32 Kansas City Chiefs

WR Xavier Worthy (Texas)

Courtesy of University of Texas Athletics

~IDP

2.33 Carolina Panthers

WR Troy Franklin (Oregon)

CAR desperately needs to get franchise QB Bryce Young some help at WR. Adam Theilen is a solid but aging vet, and Jonathan Mingo showed some promise at the end of the year. But their second leading WR, DJ Chark, is gone, and CAR needs someone to stretch the field. Franklin can step in immediately on the outside as a field stretcher with the potential to develop into a very solid WR2 for an NFL team.

~Decker

2.34 New England Patriots

OT Tyler Guyton (Oklahoma)

~Decker

2.35 Arizona Cardinals

DT Leonard Taylor III (Miami)

The Cardinals get a good piece for their defensive line, as Taylor is versatile, quick, and can rush the passer from the interior. He’s tough against the run and has various pass-rushing moves, but occasionally plays with his pad level too high and has not produced much at the college level.

~Peebles

2.36 Washington Commanders

CB Kamari Lassiter (Georgia)

~Peebles

2.37 Los Angeles Chargers

CB Ennis Rakestraw Jr. (Missouri)

Courtesy of University of Missouri Athletics

~Vallerie

2.38 Tennessee Titans

S Tyler Nubin (Minnesota)

Tennessee Titans ranked 25th in pass yards allowed per attempt and last in interception rate; Nubin is here to change that. He can be a ball hawk in the secondary with five INTs in the 2023 season, four of which came against Power 5 competition.

~Vallerie

2.39 New York Giants

DT Braden Fiske (Florida State)

The Giants decided to grab the best player available despite iDL not being a pressing need. The idea of potentially having the strongest interior defensive duo in the NFL is extremely appealing, and they can’t let Fiske drop any further.

~Vallerie

2.40 Washington Commanders

EDGE Bralen Trice (Washington)

~Vallerie

2.41 Green Bay Packers

OT Kingsley Suamataia (BYU)

~Peebles

2.42 Minnesota Vikings

LB Edgerrin Cooper (Texas A&M)

A massive riser this season has been former Aggie LB Cooper. He’s got great size at 6’3″ and 230 pounds, gets downhill quick, and has an explosion to make knee-buckling tackles. Cooper has range and upside to project as a coverage linebacker. He’s going to bring some needed thunder to the Viking’s LB corps.

~Peebles

2.43 Atlanta Falcons

WR Roman Wilson (Michigan)

The Falcons‘ biggest need is at QB. And with Penix Jr. still available in this mock, it’s entirely possible they draft him here if they don’t address the need in FA. But they also need speed at WR, so defenses can’t key on London and Pitts. Wilson should provide the speed and bring some inside/outside versatility that ATL needs.

~Decker

2.44 Las Vegas Raiders

QB Michael Penix Jr. (Washington)

Aidan O’Connell performed admirably last year as a fourth-round rookie. But LV needs a long term answer at the position. Penix has generated some first-round hype throughout the season and may not be available here. But a lackluster Senior Bowl and lengthy medical history may push him down draft boards. Penix is a classic pocket passer and just needs to distribute the ball to weapons like Davante Adams, Jakob Meyers, and Hunter Renfrow, as he did with Odunze, Polk, and McMillan at UW.

~Decker

2.45 New Orleans Saints

DT T’Vondre Sweat (Texas)

I believe the Saints will be looking to the trenches (OL or DL) with this pick. Sweat, the 2023 Outland Trophy Winner for the best interior defensive lineman in college football, certainly fits the bill. His size and strength to help collapse the pocket or stuff the run would certainly help the Saints’ defense.

~IDP

2.46 Indianapolis Colts

WR Adonai Mitchell (Texas)

~IDP

2.47 New York Giants

OC Zach Frazier (West Virginia)

Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

~Lee

2.48 Jacksonville Jaguars

5T Darius Robinson (Missouri)

Robinson made some noise in Mobile at the Senior Bowl as one of the best DL prospects in attendance among the likes of Byron Murphy II and Ruke Orhorhoro. Big, strong, and mean, Robinson displays all the traits you want from an NFL-caliber DL who figures to contribute right away. There were some concerns about shimmy, as he tends to be over reliant on his wrecking ball-like disruption ability by running through blockers. Whether or not the Jaguars manage to hold on to Josh Allen, Robinson can be a run-defending End or allow the pass rushers to isolate against OTs.

~Lee

2.49 Cincinnati Bengals

CB Kalen King (Penn State)

If you exclude Penn State’s game against Ohio State, King probably had one of the best seasons by any DB in the B1G. At this point in the evaluation cycle, this may be a bit high for King. However, the Bengals’ young DB core needs just one or two pieces to round out one of the best young units in the league. King’s best attributes are his physicality and aggression, both traits that the Bengals will highly value. If he can just avoid matchups with bigger aerial specialists, King can develop into a high-end coverage piece. Luckily, the AFC North doesn’t suffer from a glut of aerial weapons.

~Lee

2.50 Philadelphia Eagles

iOL Cooper Beebe (Kansas State)

~IDP

2.51 Pittsburgh Steelers

S Jaden Hicks (Washington State)

The Steelers should focus on secondary in the draft, and Hicks brings some versatility at the safety position that will improve their depth. He is good against the run with a physical style of play that could be of benefit to the Steelers, given the weakness in their LB group.

~IDP

2.52 Los Angeles Rams

S Javon Bullard (Georgia)

~Decker

2.53 Philadelphia Eagles

LB Jeremiah Trotter Jr. (Clemson)

This pick just makes too much sense in this range. Trotter Jr, the son of Eagles legend LB Jeremiah Trotter Sr, doesn’t have the same run-stuffing tenacity his dad did, and that’s probably the weakest area of his game. But he’s a rangy LB who can cover and rush the passer well. And the Eagles’ DL is stout enough that they should help eat OL blocks and allow Trotter Jr. to read and react in the run game.

~Decker

2.54 Cleveland Browns

OT Patrick Paul (Houston)

~Peebles

2.55 Miami Dolphins

CB T.J. Tampa (Iowa State)

Courtesy of Iowa State Athletics

~Peebles

2.56 Dallas Cowboys

DT Kris Jenkins (Michigan)

The Cowboys may lose two DTs to free agency, and last year’s rookie, Mazi Smith, needs to improve. Dallas has a lot of unproven and undersized/tweeners currently on the roster. Jenkins helps create competition, and build depth that the team is lacking.

~Vallerie

2.57 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

TE Ja’Tavion Sanders (Texas)

Athletic freak Sanders won’t be found in mocks this late once the combine has concluded. The clear safety blanket option for Texas QB Quinn Ewers finds himself in Tampa, where there are plenty of open roles in an offense that will be deep in contract negotiations by mid-March.

~Vallerie

2.58 Green Bay Packers

S Sione Vaki (Utah)

Vaki might be looked at as a reach, but he offers a coaching staff versatility. He has collegiate success playing RB/WR/S. His primary role in the NFL will be safety, but a creative playcaller will want as many tricks in his bag as possible.

~Vallerie

2.59 Houston Texans

EDGE Jonah Elliss (Utah)

~Vallerie

2.60 Buffalo Bills

WR Ladd McConkey (Georgia)

The Bills NEED another receiving option, and McConkey is a perfect fit. He’s got acceleration, runs routes with precision, and creates separation. Plus, he’s got great hands. The Bills can throw McConkey in the slot, and he’s going to be the WR2 very early in his career. This is one of the best fits of all the picks in the first two rounds.

~Peebles

2.61 Detroit Lions

CB Max Melton (Rutgers)

~Peebles

2.62 Baltimore Ravens

EDGE Chris Braswell (Alabama)

Courtesy of 247Sports

~Decker

2.63 San Francisco 49ers

OC Sedrick Van Pran (Georgia)

~Decker

2.64 Kansas City Chiefs

EDGE Marshawn Kneeland (Western Michigan)

I think WR is the top priority for the Chiefs in this draft, but I think the pass rush is likely the next one. Kneeland does have some concerns, given the competition he played against in College (MAC), but he certainly has potential. It seems he had a good week at the Senior Bowl to help boost his stock. He could possibly play inside and outside for the Chiefs and give them some flexibility along the defensive line.

~IDP

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