Written by Zachary Gartin
Welp, it’s that time of the year. The mock drafts have begun, and I’ve decided to throw my hat in the ring for the first time ever. But these mock drafts are a little different, as some of these guys won’t be playing in 2020 at all. Hell, we don’t even know if the 2021 NFL Draft will be happening on time. But as long as there is a #DraftTwitter, we will all be guessing who is selected in the first round of the NFL Draft.
And that’s why I am putting my first ever Mock Draft, a true 1.0, out there. I can’t be a part of the community until I take my best guess at what happens in the next NFL draft. I did my best to take in team needs, weak positions, leaving players, and common draft strategies into my decisions. I also included pictures above some of my favorite fits and selections! The draft order was determined by betonline.ag Super Bowl odds, with a slight twist of switching the Saints and Chiefs because two AFC teams can’t be picking 32 and 31 (unless there is a trade).
I hope you guys enjoy and if you’ve got any questions or want to tell me why your team wouldn’t pick that player, you can come at me on twitter (@The_Sideline10). It’ll be a lot of fun!
32. Baltimore Ravens select Amon-Ra St. Brown
The Ravens have a really great roster at all levels of the field and both sides of the ball except for one position, and that’s wide receiver. Amon-Ra St. Brown gives them a player with a high floor who can impact the game from the slot as soon as he hits the field due to his polish and play strength. He hasn’t shown he can do it on the outside yet, which is something he will have to prove he can do to be successful long term with the Ravens. But his overall polish and ability to get open and make contested catches will be of immediate value for the Ravens.
31. New Orleans Saints select Tyson Campbell
Tyson Campbell is definitely an upside pick here. With a majority of the top corners gone, Tyson Campbell provides athleticism and upside on a deep roster with only a slight weakness at the CB2 spot and QB position. I was originally thinking QB here (Jamie Newman or Kyle Trask anybody?), but with the possibility of retaining Jameis Winston if Drew Brees retires, I felt that CB was the pick. Getting someone to grow behind Lattimore in case you don’t want to pay him a massive contract is a key to keeping this team competitive past the Drew Brees era.
30. Kansas City Chiefs select Carlos Basham Jr.
They have serious needs defensively, especially at CB and Edge. I debated Oweh simply on the upside, but Basham Jr. provides a good frame and enough polish to have some year one impact despite not being an elite athlete. Kansas City is still in win-now mode. While they have a lethal and highly-paid offense, the defense is still missing a lot of pieces. Frank Clark is struggling to provide the same type of production he used to, and a breath of fresh air in the pass rush could be a good thing for the Kansas City pass rush.
29. San Francisco 49ers select Jevon Holland
I was thinking WR here, but as it’s not the most important position for this team I went back to the defensive side of the ball and gave them safety/slot corner Jevon Holland. Holland is a talented athlete and disciplined in man and zone coverage, plus his ability against the run could help him work into playing time early. Holland is a personal favorite of mine and Robert Saleh could find a Honey Badger-esque role that would help push the 49ers defense to another level.
28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Quincy Roche
If Tom Brady (which I think he will) stays past this year, an edge should be the pick. Quincy Roche provides enough upside that he can grow into it while still having enough polish to help year one. Roche provides the athleticism, length, and youth to a pass rush that is only getting older. This could also be a tight end pick if O.J. Howard struggles and Gronk can’t return to form.
27. Dallas Cowboys select Andre Cisco
Finally, Cowboys fans get the Safety they’ve been looking for. Cisco provides a ton of upside and playmaking ability, but he can be a little too aggressive at times. His range and athleticism give him the tools to be an elite playmaker in the league. He can be the playmaker the Cowboys have been missing in their secondary for a while now.
26. New York Jets select Jaycee Horn
After going wide receiver early, the Jets switch it up and take a competitor at the other side of the ball. A very polished and talented corner, Horn brings all the tools except elite athleticism to the table. Horn will struggle to get used to the speed of the NFL, but after playing against the likes of Ja’Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith, and Tee Higgins in college, I think he can be ready.
25. Indianapolis Colts select Brock Purdy
I don’t think Phillip Rivers stays past this year, nor do I think Jacob Eason is the answer. The Colts could go Safety here and wait till next year for a QB, but if they like Brock Purdy, this is where they take him. A crafty playmaker and smart decision-maker, I think Purdy can be a better version of Gardner Minshew and make plays with the talented Colts offense.
24. Green Bay Packers select Tamorrion Terry
Hey Aaron, I know you were mad at us last year for not taking you a WR, so we got you the guy with possibly the most upside in the draft!
In all seriousness, Terry provides something the Packers don’t really have at WR right now, and that’s elite athleticism. He needs to work on his polish and ball skills, but he’s a walking touchdown, and the Pack need that to keep Rodgers happy for even one more year.
23. Philadelphia Eagles select Paris Ford
I know Benjamin Solak will be happy. I almost went Jevon Holland here because the Eagles just don’t have anyone that can cover man-to-man, but I love the tenacity Ford plays with and I think he can be the first safety off the board because he is always around the ball making plays, whether in man or zone.
22. Buffalo Bills select Eric Stokes
All it came down to was who was a better player right now. Any of the edge defenders, or Eric Stokes. Other than Tredavious White, the Bills CB cupboard is pretty bare, so I grabbed them a very polished corner in Stokes. He may not have the upside that some others do, but if you are in win-now mode (the Bills should be), you take the most polished guy on the board at a position of need, which Stokes is.
21. Minnesota Vikings select Kwity Paye
I think at this point, the Vikings should consider a slight retooling, especially on defense. A guy with the upside and freakish athleticism of Kwity Paye is perfect for that. He isn’t as polished as a rusher as you would like since his arsenal of pass rush moves is very limited. But if you can run a 6.37 three-cone (WTF) and a 4.57 40-yard at 277 pounds, you will be a first-round pick.
20. New England Patriots select DeVonta Smith
Some may think QB here, but I think Cam stays past this year. The Pat’s will still have great defensive backs and growing pass rushers, and while LB’s are up there as a need, I think that Bill finally gets it right with a receiver and picks DeVonta Smith. He becomes an Instant separation creator in what is a not-great receiving core, giving Cam a weapon moving forward.
19. Pittsburgh Steelers select Alex Leatherwood
The possibility of players leaving has pushed this pick. Replacing Villanueva will be tough, but they can take a step in the right direction with Alex Leatherwood, a strong player who bullies players in the run game and is solid in pass protection. His hand placement and footwork could use some work, but upgrading on the offensive line is never a bad thing.
18. Cleveland Browns select Christian Barmore
Surprisingly, the Browns have a pretty good roster. There are needs at various spots on the defense, specifically DL (not much behind Myles Garrett) and linebacker. And while DL is a more valuable position, I think Dylan Moses is the BPA for their needs. Moses is an instinctually and athletic LB who needs to prove his health and coverage ability this year but should be good otherwise.
17. Tennessee Titans select Dylan Moses
Before I remembered that the Titans went and signed Derrick Henry to a long term deal, I almost went really spicy with this pick and grabbed Najee Harris. But since they have a long-term running back, I decided to beef up the interior of their defense with Dylan Moses. I think his instinctual play style and athleticism will play well behind that DL that is going to eat up blocks. Plus adding him next to Rashawn Evans is almost not fair.
16. Chicago Bears select Shaun Wade
Do I think the Bears will pick higher than 16? 100%. Do they have needs all over the roster? Yes, they do. So I went with BPA at a position of need. Shaun Wade has great length and athleticism that allows him to handle covering in the slot very well. He still needs to prove he can do it outside, but if he can he could still be the pick for the Bears in the 5-10 range where I actually think they will be selecting.
15. Arizona Cardinals select Creed Humphrey
You have your star QB. Now you need to protect him. That’s why I give the Cardinals the best center in the draft who could easily move to guard if needed. Creed Humphrey is an excellent pass blocker and has shown how smart he is leading that Oklahoma offensive line. He is a player who can lead that OL into the future.
14. Atlanta Falcons select Ardarius Washington
This was a tough pick. The only positions that Falcons are set at are WR and QB. But I just went with safety because they picked up a corner last season and setting up that defensive backfield could lead to future defensive success. Ardarius Washington, while undersized, gives the Falcons a playmaker who knows when to take risks and when to play it a little more safe. Washington belongs as a deep safety and brings a new dynamic along rising safety Damontae Kazee.
13. Denver Broncos select Patrick Surtain II
The Broncos have had a slew of great CBs recently. Chris Harris, Aqib Talib, and Bradley Roby were all a part of that list. A.J. Bouye is here now, but he is reaching his older years and isn’t getting any better as he ages.. It’s finally time for Denver to restock at the position. Patrick Surtain II is just the guy to do so. He is a physical press-man corner that is proficient in 3-match coverage, giving him plenty of uses at the next level.
12. Los Angeles Chargers select Samuel Cosmi
The Chargers actually have a strong roster, but they need health and people on the offensive line. Offensive line is the only position that makes sense here, and Samuel Cosmi is probably the pick here. He brings a lot of athleticism and length to the position, which gives him tremendous upside. He is raw in his technique, specifically his hand placement and tendency to lean into his blocks. But if he can figure it out, the Chargers get a really good tackle.
11. Jacksonville Jaguars (via L.A. Rams) select Rondale Moore
You just picked your star quarterback. What is better than picking one of the most explosive players in this draft? Moore gives you so much ability with the ball on day one that it will only make him easily deployable by the (probably new) Jaguars head coach. Moore’s play strength, explosiveness, and ability to make people miss will make Trevor Lawrence’s adjustment to the NFL that much easier. Plus, Moore Opposite of D.J. Chark is a dream come true.
10. Detroit Lions select Marvin Wilson
Man, this all really depends on who is the head coach in 2021 for the Lions. They have invested a lot of money and time into defense but will probably still struggle here. They could take an OL or EDGE but I think the upside and high floor of Marvin Wilson makes him the pick if Matt Patricia is still at the head of the operation. Wilson is a great disruptor with elite strength and can develop into a really good interior defensive lineman.
9. Miami Dolphins (via Houston) select Jaylen Waddle
I don’t think the Dolphins will be picking at this point in the draft (Deshaun Watson is too good) but if they were, Jaylen Waddle is the pick here. A receiver who is as explosive as any in the draft, Waddle Waddle gives you so much ability with the ball on day one that it will only make Tua’s job so much easier. Plus, Waddle opposite of the big receivers they already have in Devante Parker and Co. is a really interesting dynamic that could develop into something truly dangerous.
8. Las Vegas Raiders select Caleb Farley
If the Raiders are picking at 8, they obviously didn’t have a good enough season to warrant keeping Carr around anymore, so they could be prime trade-up candidates with the Bengals in this order to grab Trey Lance. But if they don’t, they could grab another corner in Caleb Farley. A long, athletic corner who excelled in his limited press snaps, Farley has the tools to be really good across from Damon Arnette.
7. New York Giants select Gregory Rousseau
The Giants have a lot of needs, but they really need pass rushers. Considering the Giants are in the midst of a rebuild and Gettleman loves his trenches, Rousseau gives them a great developmental option with tons of upside on the DL for at least 4 years. Rousseau isn’t nearly as polished as you would like from a top-10 pick, but his length and athleticism allow him to win inside and out.
6. New York Jets select Ja’Marr Chase
Sam Darnold needs help, and he finally gets in Ja’Marr Chase, a physical wide receiver who finds ways to get open through his physicality and rarely loses with the ball in the air. This pick was a no brainer despite the numerous holes in the defensive backfield. Get your young QB some help for once in terms of a WR who just knows how to win, whether it's in the route or with the ball in the air.
5. Carolina Panthers (Trey Lance)
If you’re picking this high after paying Teddy Bridgewater, get ready to have the highest-paid backup in the league.
Really, this gives Trey Lance a year (at least) to learn and mature under Joe Brady before even having to start and allows Lance to get used to the speed of the NFL compared to the FCS. The Panthers end up with a physically gifted runner and passer and maybe the successor to Cam Newton.
4. Cincinnati Bengals (Micah Parsons)
This right here is a trade back spot for the Bengals. They could get a haul from teams like New England, the New York Jets, the Oakland Raiders, the Saints, or even the Detroit Lions. But if they don’t make a trade, they have to help this defense. And they do with Micah Parsons, the arguably the best defensive player in this draft. His athleticism and instincts help separate him from any other player on the defensive side of the ball, and the crazy thing is that he can still get better.
3. Miami Dolphins select Penei Sewell
You just got your young quarterback last season after trading away your star left tackle. It’s time to find your next Left Tackle. Arguably the best player in this draft class, few have dominated the college ranks like Sewell has at Left Tackle. Strong in both the run and the pass, his athleticism and competitiveness are what make him tantalizing at the next level, and much like Micah Parsons, Sewell will only get better and better with more time to work and improve his technique.
2. Washington Football Team select Justin Fields
If they are picking here, the Redskins would not have had a good enough year to have put any faith in Dwayne Haskins moving forward. Some people may disagree with this pick, but you don’t stop picking QBs until you know you have your guy. Fields just might turn out to be that guy. A talented QB with a promising arm and great accuracy, Fields provides more upside then Haskins had coming out of college and gives Ron Rivera a new QB to build around moving forward.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars select Trevor Lawrence
If you are picking the first pick in the NFL draft, the Gardner Minshew experiment didn’t work. Or maybe it did?
Now you get the chance to get a new face of your franchise, and he’s got a cannon of a right arm and long, blonde hair. Trevor Lawrence’s athleticism, ball placement, and ability to lead all make him the best prospect for a quarterback-needy team to pick. The NFL draft hasn’t had a number one pick go from poll to poll for a while now, but Trevor Lawrence could and should do just that.