Written By: John Stocco
Whether you’re reading a mock draft or making your own, you’re trying to find out which pick makes the most sense for a team, combining best player available and the biggest need for that team. Every team will have needs and every team will have their favorite prospects. Some of these picks can be made in the first round or made in the fifth. Let’s take a deeper look at all 32 teams and how they can make their perfect pick, where they meet the best player available who fills their biggest need.
1, Arizona Cardinals: Dalton Risner: OL, Kansas State, 2nd round.
The Player: Dalton Risner out of Kansas State has the athleticism and strength to move around on the line. He’ll need to get faster to handle the edge on the next level, but he shows that he can handle the workload in the middle of the line of scrimmage. He might not have the Quenton Nelson effect, but it’s a start in the right direction.
The Fit: In the first round, the Cardinals are either getting the quarterback they believe in or the best edge rusher in the draft; regardless, they must do what it takes to protect their quarterback and revitalize David Johnson and the running game.
2, San Francisco 49ers: Nick Bosa: Edge, Ohio State, 1st round.
The Player: He’s a franchise edge rusher. High football IQ, able to eat up offensive lineman, and he’s a guy that is always putting pressure on the quarterback. The best player in the draft will be there for the taking for San Francisco.
The Fit: If you’re the 49ers, you have to be thrilled with this. They trade for Dee Ford and get an absolute stud in Nick Bosa. They have two major edge rushing threats that can put their defense over the hump into top-10 discussions. Jared Goff, Russell Wilson, and Kyler Murray hate this pick.
3, New York Jets: Connor McGovern: OG, Penn State, 3rd round.
(Previous Pick: Quinnen Williams, DT).
The Player: Experience in both guard and center and reliable in the run blocking game. He’s got size, power, and uses these traits to drive opponents out of the play.
The Fit: The Jets need to beef up the offensive line. With Sam Darnold and Le’Veon Bell, it’s all set on offense with the exception of the boys up front. The Jets should seriously think about trading back to accumulate more picks just so they don’t miss out on any offensive linemen that will be there in the second round.
4, Oakland Raiders: Rock Ya-Sin: CB, Temple, 1st round.
(Previous Picks: Josh Allen, Edge. Josh Jacobs, RB).
The Player: One of the strongest corners in the draft. Elite strength who can jam receivers in press man coverage, he shows up in support against the run, and his hands are dependable.
The Fit: The Raiders have three picks. Allen is predictable and he’ll be an incredible football player, Jacobs is a reach, but getting a physical corner that doesn’t back down like Rock Ya-Sin is perfect for Oakland.
5, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Devin White: LB, LSU, 1st round.
The Player: A linebacker that’s a powerful hitter and can outrun any running back. He can cover the entire field with his quick twitch trigger and has a burst that will blow up the line of scrimmage.
The Fit: The Buccaneers have a ton of holes on their roster, so one player isn’t going to fix it. White will certainly help. He will not only be the best player available, but he’s a franchise linebacker. He’s Tampa’s defensive anchor for the next decade, and that’s something you can never pass up on.
6, New York Giants: Jonathan Abram: S, Mississippi State, 2nd round.
(Previous Picks: Daniel Jones, QB. Rashan Gary, Edge).
The Player: Plays like a hybrid linebacker. He’s a leader on and off the field. You watch Abram play and he has a dog mentality. He wants to hit you hard and leave you lying in the dirt.
The Fit: New York needs all sorts of help on defense. They let Landon Collins walk to Washington, and now they have an opportunity to draft a player that has a similar skill set to Collins.
7, Jacksonville Jaguars: N’Keal Harry: WR, Arizona State, 2nd round.
(Previous Pick: Jawaan Taylor, OT).
The Player: Harry is big and knows how to use his body. He’s strong enough to catch in traffic on short routes and long enough to win the jump ball battle deep down the field. He will be a quarterback’s dream down in the red zone at the next level.
The Fit: The Jaguars are kicking themselves for letting Allen Robinson walk. Now that they spent big money on Nick Foles, they have to get a big target that can be what Alshon Jeffery was for Foles in Philly.
8, Detroit Lions: TJ Hockenson: TE, Iowa, 1st round.
The Player: Hockenson is not only a great receiver, his blocking is criminally underrated. He’s athletic, strong hands, has a second gear that creates separation, and he’s continuing to grow. No matter the position, you cannot pass on an elite prospect.
The Fit: The Lions can go either way here. They can either stack up on defense or add an elite target for Stafford. In a division where physicality on defense is brought every week, you need to match it on offense. Picture this: Stafford, Golladay, Kerryon Johnson, and TJ Hockenson. That’s a nice package on offense.
9, Buffalo Bills: Marquise Brown: WR, Oklahoma, 2nd round.
(Previous Pick: Ed Oliver, DT).
The Player: Every NFL team should be looking to add a player like Marquise Brown. The size shouldn’t be the issue. Here’s a player who’s twitchy, possessing elite speed, athleticism, and acceleration.
The Fit: Josh Allen is a gunslinger, and Buffalo needs more guys with plus ball skills who can burst through secondaries and make the long running catch. All of a sudden, Buffalo not only has one of the most athletic teams, they have one of the most exciting teams.
10, Denver Broncos: Terrill Hanks: LB, New Mexico State, 3rd round.
(Previous Picks: Drew Lock, QB. Irv Smith Jr, TE).
The Player: Hanks dominated lower level competition at New Mexico State. He’s a tackling machine who plays with an aggressive demeanor. He’s not the best athlete but has the recognition to be an every down linebacker.
The Fit: Vic Fangio is now the head coach, so you better believe they’re taking a linebacker in one of these rounds. They get their quarterback, they add another target, and now a linebacker who Fangio will groom.
11, Cincinnati Bengals: Devin Bush: LB, Michigan, 1st round.
The Player: Explosive burst that creates chaos at the line of scrimmage, elite speed to cover the entire field, and has the body control to show patience and wait for the play to develop.
The Fit: Lamar Jackson, Kareem Hunt, Nick Chubb, Mark Ingram, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Odell Beckham Jr. No, that’s not my fantasy team- those are the playmakers that are now in the AFC North. The Bengals need to bring aggression and speed back to their defense. Bush checks the boxes for both of those traits.
12, Green Bay Packers: DK Metcalf: WR, Ole Miss, 1st round.
The Player: Big, tall, strong, quick, and a potential WR1 in the NFL. Metcalf is a unique talent. He’s the size of a tight end but moves like a slot receiver. Reliable hands and he’s a receiver that doesn’t need to create separation to make the catch.
The Fit: The Packers are in trouble. Not many people want to believe it, but their defense is nothing special, and Aaron Rodgers is showing signs of mortality for the first time in his career. Davante Adams isn’t enough and Jimmy Graham continues to be the most underwhelming football player of all time. They need to give Rodgers all the targets they can get.
13, Miami Dolphins: Brian Burns: Edge, Florida State, 1st round.
The Player: Elite athleticism with an excellent bend. He can slide underneath offensive tackles and can also drop back in coverage where he shows plus ball skills.
The Fit: If a quarterback falls to the Dolphins they shouldn’t go after one. At least not in the first round. Build the team first and then go after a quarterback. Brian Flores is a defensive mind coming from New England. First pick: get a player you can build your entire defense around.
14, Atlanta Falcons: Julian Love: CB, Notre Dame, 2nd round.
(Previous Pick: Montez Sweat, Edge).
The Player: Great instincts and someone who responds well. He’s smooth in transition and good at mirroring routes. Love is a player you can depend on in man or zone coverage.
The Fit: The Falcons need a lot of help on defense, but I believe their biggest need is in their secondary. In their division alone, the Saints, Panthers, and Bucs are all teams that love to air it out, and they’re salivating when they play the Falcons. That can change this year.
15, Washington Redskins: Dwayne Haskins: QB, Ohio State, 1st round.
The Player: Excellent field vision and his throwing motion is effortless as the ball explodes out of his hands. He’s comfortable in the pocket and doesn’t get rattled when he faces pressure. He brings a calmness to the game during clutch moments and shows he can handle big pressure moments at the next level.
The Fit: Washington is looking for a quarterback. They’re in the mix for Josh Rosen, but when the best pocket passer in the draft falls to 15, you have to take him. Keenum is a solid backup; as a starter, he’s a one hit wonder and Washington has to look towards the future. Haskins is the future.
16, Carolina Panthers: Andre Dillard: OT, Washington State, 1st round.
The Player: Excellent power in his core and moves with quick feet. He’s smooth in transition and makes changing direction look effortless.
The Fit: The Panthers are in a perfect spot to get whatever they need. They could go edge rusher, but protecting Cam Newton has to be the number one priority in this organization. He’s taken way too much abuse in his career, and Dillard comes in with the perfect opportunity to be a franchise left tackle.
17, Cleveland Browns: Nasir Adderley: S, Delaware, 2nd round.
The Player: Adderley is an explosive athlete with some twitch. His back pedaling and change of direction is smooth, he’s an above average blitzer, and he’s always trying to make a play on the ball, whether it’s creating fumbles or winning the jump ball for the interception.
The Fit: Jabrill Peppers was in the OBJ trade and nobody is crying about that, but there is a gap in the Browns secondary. With Adderley dropping to the mid-second round in my projections, this is the perfect opportunity for the Browns to draft a day one starter on day two.
18, Minnesota Vikings: Justice Hill: RB, Oklahoma State, 3rd round.
(Previous Pick: Jonah Williams, OL. Jaylen Ferguson, Edge).
The Player: Hill is a dynamic player in space. He plays with intensity, can put defenders on skates with sudden cuts, and he makes plays in space. He can contribute in both the receiving game as well as a return man on special teams.
The Fit: Injuries have been a concern for Dalvin Cook since his days at Florida State. The Vikings lost Jerick McKinnon last offseason, they lost Latavius Murray this offseason, and Justice Hill fills that void. Hill is the insurance policy in the running game and another weapon for Kirk Cousins in the passing game.
19, Tennessee Titans: Jace Sternberger: TE, Texas A&M, 3rd round.
(Previous Picks: Christian Wilkins, DT. Kelvin Harmon, WR).
The Player: If it wasn’t because of tight ends like Hockenson, Fant, and Irv Smith Jr., Sternberger would be a top-50 pick. He does everything like a big receiver: dependable hands in traffic, a crisp route runner, and he maintains his speed through all three levels.
The Fit: Tennessee didn’t get much production from their offense last year. Derrick Henry and their entire receiving core was disappointing last season. Also, Delanie Walker is getting older and he suffered a season ending leg injury last year. They address a need by getting a late round steal in Sternberger.
20, Pittsburgh Steelers: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson: S, Florida, 1st round.
The Player: Gardner-Johnson’s versatility makes him have one of the highest ceilings in this class. He can defend the slot with plus speed, above average burst to shut down the running game, and excellent ball skills when playing high safety.
The Fit: The Steelers need a presence in the middle of the field. They miss out on the top tier linebackers, so they go to the next best thing and draft a safety who is versatile, can make a play on the ball, and will challenge receivers like Odell Beckham Jr. and AJ Green.
21, Seattle Seahawks: Garrett Bradbury, C, NC State, 1st round.
The Player: Bradbury is everything you want in an offensive lineman. He’s an athletic big man that can move well on the line of scrimmage and up to second level.
The Fit: I’m writing this on April 15th at 8:58pm, so I have no idea how this will look by the time you read this with all the crazy Russell Wilson rumors going around. Wilson is still Seattle’s QB, they need to develop a running game, and there’s no better pick than picking a franchise center.
22, Baltimore Ravens: AJ Brown: WR, Ole Miss, 1st round.
The Player: Looked at as a big slot guy, I see more from Brown. I see a player that can succeed anywhere he’s placed. Plus skills as a route runner, plus speed, quick to his destination, and has the strength to outmatch corners at the next level on the inside and outside.
The Fit: The Ravens need targets, and it’s something they’ve tried to address since losing Steve Smith. This time around, they have a young quarterback who will need to rely heavily on his receivers. They have two nice tight ends but need a receiver who’s a playmaker and who can make plays for himself after the catch.
23, Houston Texans: Cody Ford: OL, Oklahoma, 1st round.
The Player: Massive size mixed with quick hand and feet movements. He played guard and tackle at Oklahoma, but at the next level I believe he’s a better fit at guard with his ability to get to the second level quickly. He bulldozes defensive lineman and shows good pad level when doing it.
The Fit: The Texans must do everything they can to protect Deshaun Watson.
24, Chicago Bears: Miles Sanders: RB, Penn State, 3rd round.
The Player: He beats with you his agility and quickness on the outside and he isn’t afraid to pound you right up the middle. He’s a shifty running back who makes tacklers miss from the backfield and in open space. He’s a dangerous runner in space and is just as comfortable without.
The Fit: Step one was trading Jordan Howard, step two is finding a running back the franchise can depend on for the next five years. If you follow me at all, you’re probably sick of hearing me talk about Miles Sanders. Even my mom and my little brother who’s maybe watched a total of one minute of football in the last year are sick of it. And my dad thinks I’m talking about the next Barry Sanders. Maybe I’m an idiot for that, but Miles Sanders is the best running back in this draft and the Bears must get him.
25, Philadelphia Eagles: Greedy Williams: CB, LSU, 1st round.
The Player: Plenty of length, plenty of agility, and plenty of speed. He causes fits for wide receivers with his ability to cause disruption at all times.
The Fit: The Eagles suffered the injury bug last year in their secondary. With a breakout season from Avonte Maddox, they use their first pick to select arguably the best cornerback in this class at 25. You can’t get any luckier than that.
26, Indianapolis Colts: Jeffery Simmons: DT, Mississippi State, 1st round.
The Player: Fast and power. That’s what you get with Simmons. Gets a great jump off the line of scrimmage, a powerful punch that knocks lineman off balance, and his
fluidity helps him get under lineman to help collapse the pocket and stop the run.
The Fit: The Colts walked into last year’s draft with more holes than swiss cheese and they killed it. A healthy Andrew Luck and a great draft class, and they’re back in the playoffs. At 26, they get a top three interior defensive lineman. He’ll miss the year because of a torn ACL, but if Simmons was healthy, he’d undoubtedly be a top-10 pick.
27, Dallas Cowboys: Juan Thornhill: S, Virginia, 2nd round.
The Player: Thornhill has great instincts. He has great awareness in space and does a good job of dissecting the quarterback's eyes to know where the ball is going.
The Fit: The Cowboys couldn’t go after Earl Thomas because of the big money contract they gave to Demarcus Lawrence and the ones they’re preparing to give Dak, Zeke, and Amari Cooper. Their needs must be filled through the draft, and safety is one of them.
28, Los Angeles Chargers: Dexter Lawrence: DT, Clemson, 2nd round.
(Previously: Traded for Josh Rosen).
The Player: A player with a massive frame and rare athletic ability to go along with that frame. He clogs up holes and stuffs the run at the line of scrimmage. His power and movement off the line of scrimmage makes it extremely hard to double team him.
The Fit: The Chargers get their quarterback of the future by trading their first pick, now they finally add a physical presence in the middle of the field. Joey Bosa on one end, Ingram on the other, and Lawrence right in the middle, that’s dangerous.
29, Kansas City Chiefs: Darnell Savage: S, Maryland, 2nd round.
(Previous Picks: Clellin Ferrell, Edge. Parris Campbell, WR).
The Player: Savage always plays with a sense of urgency, compensating for his smaller stature. He’s fluid in space, has excellent recovery speed, and he’s got a nose for the football. He’s always looking for the ball and ready to take them back for 6.
The Fit: For a team that was a touchdown away from the Super Bowl, the Chiefs are kind of depleted. They lose Kareem Hunt and Dee Ford in free agency, Tyreek Hill might get suspended or might be looking for a new team in the near future, and they have the worst secondary in football. The Chiefs have two second round picks and they have to nail them.
30, New Orleans Saints: Josh Oliver: TE, San Jose State, 2nd round.
The Player: Has the size of a tight end and the athleticism of a wide receiver. Big target who can line up in the slot and can be a mismatch against corners. He works all three levels and is able to maintain top speed while tracking down deep balls.
The Fit: This is a team that’s ready to win a Super Bowl. They have a top-10 defense, one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, a top-5 receiver, and a top-5 running back. Saints have a void at tight end, and with the limited amount of draft capital, they must go for the perfect fit, even if it’s a reach.
31, Los Angeles Rams: Khalen Saunders: DT, Western Illinois, 3rd round.
(Previous Pick: Erik McCoy, C).
The Player: Plus athleticism for a big body. He plays with a high motor and he brings a different energy to the defense. He has strong active hands as he’s always fighting for leverage and finding ways to slip off blockers.
The Fit: The Rams lost Suh and they need to replace him with another big man that can move quickly off the line of scrimmage and be a force against the run.
32, New England Patriots: Jarrett Stidham: QB, Auburn, 2nd round.
(Previous Pick: Noah Fant, TE).
The Player: If you watched any Auburn games, you know that team was a mess. He was in the wrong system, the O-line was a mess, and he had zero receivers to work with. Stidham showed great patience and good recognition for what the defense is showing him. His throwing motion is smooth and he can put the ball through tight windows. All that’s left to gain is consistency. Behind the greatest coach of all time and the greatest quarterback of all time, he can learn the system and work on this.
The Fit: The Patriots get their man to replace the great Rob Gronkowski in the first, and in the second they get their man to try and carry on the Patriots legacy after Brady retires. I’m not going to be that guy who predicts the end of Brady, but he’s 43 years old. The Patriots have to look towards the future, and one of the best quarterbacks in the draft falls to them in the second.