1-Man’s Opinion on Sports-Thursday. “NFL Mock Draft–The Beat Writers”
“NFL Mock Draft–The Beat Writers”
The NFL Draft starts at 5pm on Thursday.
Everyone has an opinion on the draft.
The most unique, an NFL draft featuring the beat writers who cover the 32-teams in the league, making the choice for the team they write about
Courtest of the LA Times
1. Carolina Panthers — Bryce Young (QB) | Alabama
Alabama quarterback Bryce Young celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass against Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl on Dec. 31.
(Butch Dill / Associated Press)
The thinking has been the Panthers were leaning toward C.J. Stroud, but Young has impressed Panthers decision makers with his ability to process and create special plays like Steph Curry, to whom he’s often compared. Frank Reich has a history with big quarterbacks, but Young’s talent and the way NFL passing games have evolved make him the pick. — Joe Person, the Athletic
2. Houston Texans — Will Anderson (Edge) | Alabama
Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. follows a play against Louisiana-Monroe in September.
(Vasha Hunt / Associated Press)
The Texans wanted Bryce Young but lost their chance to pick him when they beat the Colts in the final game of the season. Instead they draft the top-ranked edge rusher to fill another position of need. — Aaron Wilson, KPRC-TV
3. Arizona Cardinals — Tyree Wilson (Edge) | Texas Tech
Texas Tech linebacker Tyree Wilson plays against Texas Christian in November.
(Brandon Wade / Associated Press)
While I’m fully expecting a trade down to acquire more picks, Wilson fills a huge need as big as his 7-foot, 2-inch wingspan. — Bob McManaman, Arizona Republic
4. Indianapolis Colts — C.J. Stroud (QB) | Ohio State
Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud runs with the ball against Maryland in November.
(Nick Wass / Associated Press)
New coach Shane Steichen wants to implement a heavy passing attack that features numerous downfield attempts. Stroud’s combination of accuracy and experience suggest he can handle this role as a rookie. — Stephen Holder, ESPN
5. Seattle Seahawks — Jalen Carter (DT) | Georgia
Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter, right, tries to push his way past Kentucky tight end Josh Kattus during a game in November.
(Michael Clubb / Associated Press)
Pete Carroll said after the season that the Seahawks needed to become more dynamic up front. The team will take a gamble that Carter can live up to his full potential. — Bob Condotta, Seattle Times
6. Detroit Lions — Devon Witherspoon (CB) | Illinois
Illinois defensive back Devon Witherspoon keeps his eyes on an Indiana receiver during a game in September.
(Doug McSchooler / Associated Press)
With Anderson and Wilson off the board, the Lions can pivot from getting more help for their pass rush to adding depth at defensive back. Free agent addition Cam Sutton is the only cornerback the Lions have signed beyond 2023. — Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press
7. Las Vegas Raiders — Christian Gonzalez (CB) | Oregon
Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez checks on defensive calls during a game against Eastern Washington in September.
(Andy Nelson / Associated Press)
Don’t be surprised under this scenario if the Raiders trade down and target Joey Porter Jr. It’s been decades since the Raiders have had an impact, play-making cornerback. — Vinny Bonsignore, Las Vegas Review-Journal
8. Atlanta Falcons — Paris Johnson Jr. (OT) | Ohio State
Ohio State offensive lineman Paris Johnson Jr. plays against Michigan State in October.
(Carlos Osorio / Associated Press)
Johnson can come in and help stabilize at right tackle and then move over to the left side when Jake Matthews is done. — D. Orlando Ledbetter, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
9. Chicago Bears — Broderick Jones (OT) | Georgia
Georgia offensive lineman Broderick Jones runs a drill at the NFL scouting combine in March.
(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)
The Bears could look to trade down in this scenario. Their greatest need is an edge rusher or three-technique like Carter. But they might be able to get an offensive tackle in the teens. — Brad Biggs, Chicago Tribune
10. Philadelphia Eagles — Nolan Smith (Edge) | Georgia
Georgia linebacker Nolan Smith tries to push past a Vanderbilt offensive lineman during a game in October.
(Brett Davis / Associated Press)
If this is the way it falls, I could see Howie Roseman trading out, especially if Anderson and Carter go early. If he has no choice but to pick, he’ll favor prospects on the line. — Jeff McLane, Philadelphia Inquirer
11. Tennessee Titans — Peter Skoronski (OT) | Northwestern
Northwestern offensive lineman Peter Skoronski warms up before a game against Penn State in October.
(Gail Burton / Associated Press)
The Titans are reformulating their offensive line. Longtime incumbent left tackle Taylor Lewan is gone and left guard Aaron Brewer will be better off at center. They signed former first-rounder Andre Dillard. He and Skoronski can sort out who is the guard and who is the tackle on the left side. — Paul Kuharsky, PaulKuharsky.com
12. Houston Texans — Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR) | Ohio State
Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba stiff arms Utah cornerback Kenzel Lawler during the Buckeyes’ Rose Bowl win on Jan. 1, 2022.
(John McCoy / Associated Press)
General Manager Nick Caserio likes to trade down, and the Texans already got an edge rusher, so they fill a desperate need on offense. — John McClain, GallerySports.com
13. New York Jets — Darnell Wright (OT) | Tennessee
Tennessee offensive lineman Darnell Wright plays against Ball State in September.
(John Amis / Associated Press)
The Jets believe they can solve their quarterback issues by trading for Aaron Rodgers but they need to protect him. Wright is probably more of a right tackle than a left but the Jets could use help at either tackle spot. — Brian Costello, New York Post
14. New England Patriots — Joey Porter Jr. (CB) | Penn State
Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr. gestures during a game against Minnesota in October.
(Barry Reeger / Associated Press)
It’s tempting to pick a receiver here for the Patriots, and they also need an offensive tackle for the future. But they also have a glaring need at cornerback and Porter Jr. gives them a big, physical presence on the outside that they haven’t had since Stephon Gilmore left two years ago. — Ben Volin, Boston Globe
15. Green Bay Packers — Lukas Van Ness (DE) | Iowa
Iowa’s Lukas Van Ness, right, tackles Nebraska quarterback Logan Smothers during a game in November 2021.
(Rebecca S. Gratz / Associated Press)
The Packers are getting thin at edge rusher with Rashan Gary coming back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament and Preston Smith at 30. General manager Brian Gutekunst puts a premium on premium positions. — Pete Dougherty, Green Bay Press-Gazette
16. Washington Commanders — Brian Branch (Safety) | Alabama
Alabama defensive back Brian Branch prepares for a play against Arkansas in October.
(Michael Woods / Associated Press)
Although there’s a temptation to pick up a tight end like Dalton Kincaid here, the Commanders love their versatile safeties and have a void after cutting veteran Bobby McCain earlier this offseason. Branch is hybrid safety who has loads of experience in the slot, can drop down in the box and cover. — Nicki Jhabvala, Washington Post
17. Pittsburgh Steelers — Deonte Banks (CB) | Maryland
Maryland defensive back Deonte Banks celebrates after a Michigan turnover on Sept. 24.
(Paul Sancya / Associated Press)
Even though it wouldn’t likely come to this, no matter what (trade up or back) the Steelers are definitely in the market for a cornerback. Eight of their 30 pre-draft visitors were cornerbacks, including who they’d prefer at 17, Porter. The position is light even with the addition of Patrick Peterson in free agency to pair with Levi Wallace. Historically, the Steelers have stayed away from corners in the first round with only Artie Burns being selected first over the last 25 years but it’s a new football operations in Pittsburgh and some new beliefs as well. — Mark Kaboly, the Athletic
18. Detroit Lions — Anthony Richardson (QB) | Florida
Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson looks for an open receiver against LSU in October.
(John Raoux / Associated Press)
This wasn’t the plan heading in, but … well, sometimes the universe does you a favor. The Lions are due for a few of ‘em. Richardson could settle in behind Jared Goff for a year or two, and he’d give this emerging offense a fun, dynamic weapon for short-yardage packages. Landing a potential franchise quarterback without having to trade up is a gift. — Chris Burke, the Athletic
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Hendon Hooker (QB) | Tennessee
Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker passes against Tennessee Martin in September.
(Wade Payne / Associated Press)
The Buccaneers’ biggest need is at offensive tackle, but the top four are gone. An edge rusher would also be a huge need. But the Bucs take what would otherwise be a top 4-5 quarterback in the draft if not for his ACL injury. The Bucs don’t know what they have in Kyle Trask, but he likely will be the No. 2 behind Baker Mayfield, who is on a one-year make-it contract and will become a free agent. This is Mayfield’s fourth team since July. Hooker had a big, accurate arm and threw 57 touchdowns with only five interceptions the last two seasons. He gets a redshirt season. The Bucs will win too many games to be in range of a top quarterback in 2024, so they get their quarterback of the future now and someone who would’ve been a top 5-10 pick without his injury. He’s already 25, but Tom Brady was 45. Who are we kidding? — Rick Stroud, Tampa Bay Times
20. Seattle Seahawks — Myles Murphy (Edge) | Clemson
Clemson defensive end Myles Murphy plays against South Carolina in November.
(Jacob Kupferman / Associated Press)
The Seahawks are so dedicated to remaking their defensive front, both their first-round picks are defensive linemen. Murphy is 6-5. He had 18½ sacks in just three college seasons. Pairing him on the edge opposite Uchenna Nwosu at this premium position, for four years on a rookie contract is, a cheaper and longer-term solution than buying it in NFL free agency. — Gregg Bell, the News Tribune
21. Los Angeles Chargers — Dalton Kincaid (TE) | Utah
Utah tight end Dalton Kincaid warms up before a game against Oregon State in October.
(Rick Bowmer / Associated Press)
The Chargers can’t have enough offensive playmakers in their attempt to outscore Kansas City and end the Chiefs’ reign in the AFC West. Kincaid gives them a threat to exploit the seams in new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore’s scheme. — Jeff Miller, Los Angeles Times
22. Baltimore Ravens — Zay Flowers (WR) | Boston College
Boston College wide receiver Zay Flowers breaks a tackle during a game against Wake Forest in October.
(Chuck Burton / Associated Press)
Ideally, the Ravens would take a cornerback, but the top four guys are gone. Eric DeCosta has made upgrading the receiving corps a primary focus this offseason, and the addition of Flowers, Odell Beckham Jr. and Nelson Agholor would give the Ravens a formidable group. — Jeff Zrebiec, the Athletic
23. Minnesota Vikings — Quentin Johnston (WR) | TCU
Texas Christian wide receiver Quentin Johnston carries the ball on a touchdown run against Kansas State in October.
(Richard W. Rodriguez / Associated Press)
The Vikings could go a number of directions here; Pitt defensive tackle Calijah Kancey is also a strong possibility. But they’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to make teams pay for focusing on Justin Jefferson. Johnston’s size and speed would provide an immediate answer to that question, while giving the Vikings insurance at the position with K.J. Osborn set to hit free agency after this year. The Jefferson/Johnston combo would also make life easier for a young passer, whenever the Vikings acquire one to succeed Kirk Cousins. — Ben Goessling, Minneapolis Star Tribune
24. Jacksonville Jaguars — Michael Mayer (TE) |Notre Dame
Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer plays against Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1, 2022.
(Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)
Tough call for general manager Trent Baalke as need is greater at cornerback and edge rusher, but the value of Mayer as possibly the best tight end prospect in draft is too enticing over the likes of BJ Ojulari, Emmanuel Forbes and Kelee Ringo. With Evan Engram and team still negotiating long-term extension, Mayer is a valuable insurance policy. — Gene Frenette, Florida Times-Union
25. New York Giants — Emmanuel Forbes (CB) | Mississippi State
Mississippi State cornerback Emmanuel Forbes returns the ball against Texas A&M on Oct. 1.
(Vasha Hunt / Associated Press)
A playmaker who set the FBS record for pick-sixes is just the kind of talent the Giants need to balance Adoree’ Jackson on the other side of the defense. No one had fewer interceptions last year than the Giants. With the blitz-heavy packages they run, Forbes should get plenty of chances to rectify that. — Tom Rock, Newsday
26. Dallas Cowboys — Bijan Robinson (RB) | Texas
Texas running back Bijan Robinson scores on a touchdown run against Texas-San Antonio in September.
(Eric Gay / Associated Press)
A top-five talent falls into the Cowboys’ lap at 26. He’s not just a running back, he is a difference-making weapon and perfect tandem for Tony Pollard in place of the departed Ezekiel Elliott. — Clarence Hill, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
27. Buffalo Bills — Jordan Addison (WR) | USC
USC wide receiver Jordan Addison warms up before a win over Fresno State at the Coliseum in September.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
Scoring 10 points in a home playoff loss to the Bengals has shaped the Bills’ No. 1 priority this offseason — get more weapons for quarterback Josh Allen. Addison gives them a player with the versatility to play in the slot or outside, and should be a top-three receiver as a rookie. —Jay Skurski, Buffalo News
28. Cincinnati Bengals — Bryan Bresee (DT) | Clemson
Clemson defensive tackle Bryan Bresee warms up before a game against Wake Forest in September.
(Chuck Burton / Associated Press)
The Bengals are looking for more disruption in the pass rush and Bresee delivers it as a one-two punch with B.J. Hill. Hard to pass on Calijah Kancey and even harder to pick a defensive lineman in the first round for the first time since 2001, but Bresee’s upside is worth it. — Paul Dehner, the Athletic
29. New Orleans Saints — Adetomiwa Adebawore (DT) | Northwestern
Northwestern defensive lineman Adetomiwa Adebawore runs a drill at the NFL scouting combine in March.
(Michael Conroy / Associated Press)
The Saints are desperate for juice along their defensive interior and Adebawore has the freaky athleticism to be a playmaker inside. He’s a bit of reach at this point, but this selection is based on traits and potential. — Jeff Duncan, Times-Picayune/NOLA.com
30. Philadelphia Eagles — Calijah Kancey (DT) | Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh defensive lineman Calijah Kancey tries to break through the Miami offensive line during a game in October 2021.
(Keith Srakocic / Associated Press)
In this scenario, the Eagles would take two undersized pass rushers in the first round. But a team that led the NFL in sacks last season will always invest their pass rush, and Kancey is one of the best interior rushers in the draft. His quickness is rare for the position (4.67-second 40-yard dash) and the Eagles could envision pairing Kancey with 2022 first-round pick Jordan Davis to give them a foundation in the middle of their defense. The 336-pound Davis likes to say about double teams, “two on me, somebody’s free.” Kancey could thrive in those situations. — Zach Berman, the Athletic
31. Kansas City Chiefs — Anton Harrison (OT) | Oklahoma
Oklahoma offensive lineman Anton Harrison participates in a drill during the Sooners’ pro day on March 30.
(Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press)
The Chiefs are in a great spot to take the best receiver, offensive tackle or defensive lineman that falls to them, and in this scenario, they’d be plenty happy taking Harrison with the first round’s final pick. Kansas City let both of its tackles walk this offseason, while also signing Jacksonville’s Jawaan Taylor to a lucrative free-agent deal to take over on the left side. Harrison would be a natural fit to play Day 1 at right tackle, and getting a high-upside player at that position on a rookie deal is the type of high-surplus-value move that has helped the Chiefs remain atop the AFC — even as quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ contract rightfully takes up a large portion of the team’s salary-cap space. — Jesse Newell, Kansas City Star