There will be no trades in this early NFL mock draft. I will be making selections based on what I think the team should do given the situation they are currently in.
1. Chicago Bears
– [ ] Pick: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
– [ ] Justin Fields showed great improvement despite the limited amount of talent around him. The Bears go the best player available here.
2. Houston Texans
– [ ] Pick: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
– [ ] Houston once again enters a rebuild with a new coach. Texans going best QB on the board. Houston rebuilds their offense with a potential franchise QB.
3. Arizona Cardinals
– [ ] Pick: Will Anderson Jr, OLB, Alabama
– [ ] Back-to-back Alabama picks here. Anderson is arguably the best defensive player in college football and many felt he was snubbed of a Heisman Finalist spot in 2021. A Swiss Army knife LB, Anderson will be a much-needed addition in the desert.
4. Indianapolis Colts
– [ ] Pick: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
– [ ] Colts look to finally reset after a series of failing veterans. While I’d take C.J. Stroud here, someone will probably reach on potential. Levis is a strong-armed SEC quarterback, I think the Colts and new Head Coach Shane Steichen take the bait.
5. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN)
– [ ] Pick: Tyree Wilson, Edge, Texas Tech
– [ ] Geno Smith’s unexpected breakout season buys Seattle some time at QB so they look to rebuild on defense. Wilson provides an explosive pass rush that will bolster Seattle’s defensive line.
6. Detroit Lions (via LAR)
– [ ] Pick: Myles Murphy, Edge, Clemson
– [ ] Much like Geno Smith, Jared Goff also had a sneaky good season. With the emergence of Aidan Hutchinson, the Lions smell blood and get another disruptive pass rusher to pair with the young star.
7. Las Vegas Raiders
– [ ] Pick: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
– [ ] The Derek Carr era is over. Time for the silver and black to find a new captain to right the ship. The fact that Stroud is still here is a prayer answered for Vegas fans. The Ohio State stud goes west.
8. Atlanta Falcons
– [ ] Pick: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
– [ ] Looks like Atlanta will ride with Ridder as the guy for at least one season. With young offensive weapons like Tyler Allgeier, Desmond Ridder, and Drake London, the Falcons look to bolster the defense and get a major weapon next to lockdown corner A.J. Terrell.
9. Carolina Panthers
– [ ] Pick: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
– [ ] Much like the Colts, the Panthers have had a carousel of veteran QBs that haven’t panned out. What better way to start a new rebuild than with a guy who was similar to the best QB in your history? Richardson has mocked Cam Newton so many times it’s ridiculous. Despite limited starting experience, Richardson’s potential and athleticism will be attractive many times. The NFC South is wide open, pull the trigger, Carolina.
10. Philadelphia Eagles (via NO)
– [ ] Pick: Nolan Smith, Edge, Georgia
– [ ] So close, yet so far. The Eagles’ offense was electric all season. For that reason, the Eagles look to start developing behind aging stars Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox. Nolan Smith was one of the best pieces of the best defense in the country, the back-to-back champs. You see some Haason Reddick in Smith, which is perfect for this Eagles’ defense. Reunite him with teammate Nakobe Dean and run it back.
11. Tennessee Titans
– [ ] Pick: Peter Skoronski, OL, Northwestern
No more Taylor Lewan. Get Malik Willis some help and protect him outside. Tennessee grabs the best tackle on the board.
12. Houston Texans (via CLE)
– [ ] Pick: Jordan Addison, WR, USC
– [ ] It wasn’t that long ago when Addison won the Blietenkoff Award as the best receiver in the country. Give Bryce Young a nice target right out the gate and develop this young duo.
13. New York Jets
– [ ] Pick: Paris Johnson Jr, OL, Ohio State
– [ ] The Jets were a great surprise last year. The team has bought into Robert Saleh’s philosophy and is a piece or two away from being scary. No matter who is under center, keep them upright with the extremely athletic Ohio State tackle.
14. New England Patriots
– [ ] Pick: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
– [ ] Bill Belichick is a defensive genius and would probably go defense here but there are more pressing needs. Mac Jones is probably on his final chance to be the guy on this team, see what he can do for you with a new explosive weapon. Throwing to guys like DeVante Parker, Kendrick Bourne, and Tyquan Thornton can only get you so far. We all know JSN’s potential, show him the Patriot Way and see if Jones can develop.
15. Green Bay Packers
– [ ] Pick: Brian Branch, CB, Alabama
– [ ] The Aaron Rodgers era is nearly over and it’s time to build the defense for the next heir. You can never have too many secondary pieces, grab the versatile Alabama corner and find creative ways to use him.
16. Washington Commanders
– [ ] Pick: Broderick Jones, OL, Georgia
– [ ] The current Commanders staff have committed to Sam Howell for at least one season. With Eric Bienemy running the show on offense, give Howell the best chance to succeed with some muscle up front. Even if Howell isn’t the guy, the next guy will have a nice piece on the OLine to protect him.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers
– [ ] Pick: Joey Porter Jr, CB, Penn State
– [ ] As much as Pittsburgh wants to go offensive line here, Porter Jr still being here has too much value. Pittsburgh brings him home as a legacy pick, following in the footsteps of his father.
18. Detroit Lions
– [ ] Pick: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
– [ ] You sent T.J. Hockenson to the Vikings and have a hole to fill on offense. Hold on to quarterback for now and add one of the nation’s best tight ends. Develop him right and you could make noise on offense next season.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
– [ ] Pick: Darnell Wright, OL, Tennessee
– [ ] Tom Brady is gone and there is a new era in Tampa Bay. I’d let Donovan Smith go and start looking at replacements. The Bucs could still be a decent offense under Kyle Trask if the line holds up. You can put Wright in Day 1 and fortify the line.
20. Seattle Seahawks
– [ ] Pick: Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee
– [ ] Hyatt was the most explosive piece of a juggernaut Tennessee offense that took college football by storm in 2022. Comeback Player of the Year Geno Smith’s unexpected great season buys Seattle some time to reset at QB. A receiving core of D.K. Metcalf, Jalin Hyatt, and Tyler Lockett will give DBs nightmares. Run it Seattle!
21. Los Angeles Chargers
– [ ] Pick: Quentin Johnson, WR, TCU
– [ ] Well, that was a lame way to end the season, huh Chargers? You need to reload your receiving corps and get Justin Herbert some help out there. Picking Johnson adds some speed and much-needed playmaking to your offense. Let him learn under Keenan Allen while he’s still there. Allen at this point is like your old iPhone XR, he still works but he’s not as fast or effective as he used to be. Probably has more games missed than touchdowns these days. TCU was runner ups for a reason, Johnson can play.
22. Baltimore Ravens
– [ ] Pick: Keion White, Edge, Georgia Tech
– [ ] Signing Jason Pierre Paul who’s on his last legs screams DLine help. White’s explosiveness and versatility makes him extremely attractive. Having him learn from veterans Calais Campbell and JPP will be great for his development. I love this pick for Baltimore. One last thing, for the love of all things good, pay Lamar Jackson!!!
23. Minnesota Vikings
– [ ] Pick: O’Cyrus Torrence, OL, Florida
– [ ] I certainly wouldn’t mind if the Vikings went defensive back here but you have to remember that Kirk Cousins will be 35 at the start of next season. Try to make the most of the offense while they’re all still together. Torrence provides some push-up front and should open plenty of holes for Dalvin Cook.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars
– [ ] Pick: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
– [ ] Jags have to go best player available here. Gonzalez looks amazing on paper with his measurables and upside. He’d be a great young piece for a young Jags defense looking to defend their AFC South crown.
25. New York Giants
– [ ] Pick: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
– [ ] Giants are in desperate need of “their guy” at receiver. If you’re thinking about paying Daniel Jones 45M a season, you better have some weapons for him. Flowers is a special player, a bit undersized, but the man is a dawg. You got rid of Kadarius Toney and by the time you finished reading this, Kenny Golladay got hurt again. Jones to Jones was built for the bright lights of NYC.
26. Dallas Cowboys
– [ ] Pick: Lukas Van Ness, Edge, Iowa
– [ ] The best player available goes to Dallas. I need to see a bit more from Van Ness personally but I don’t think this is a crazy pick by any means. Sticking the Loch Ness monster next to phenom Micah Parsons may be scary from Day 1.
27. Buffalo Bills
– [ ] Pick: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
– [ ] Come on Buffalo, you gotta pull the trigger here. Robinson is easily the best running back in the class and this is a justified pick. Let Robinson be the lead back and add another layer of talent to this stacked Bills offense.
28. Cincinnati Bengals
– [ ] Pick: Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah
– [ ] A reliable receiving option at tight end for Burrow. The idea of having to guard JaMarr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, and Dalton Kincaid will keep the AFC North up at night. This offense would be on demon time.
29. New Orleans Saints (via SF through MIA and DEN)
– [ ] Pick: Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU
– [ ] There’s always a reach, someone has to do it. I believe New Orleans can get away with reaching here. Michael Thomas isn’t who he used to be and they have turmoil at quarterback. I don’t think they have much going for them at the moment so they should be focused on just collecting talent. Before his unceremonious exit from LSU, Boutte was projected to be a top-10 pick. I still think Boutte is very talented, keep the kid home and watch him and Olave do damage.
30. Philadelphia Eagles
– [ ] Pick: Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia
– [ ] The slide finally ends here for Ringo. The Eagles secondary got torched repeatedly in the second half of Super Bowl 57. Bring in the young Ringo to learn under James Bradberry and Darius Slay. The three together could arguably be the best trio of corners in the NFL.
31. Kansas City Chiefs
– [ ] Pick: Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson
– [ ] The Super Bowl champs continue to add to the defense. Bresee’s draft stock continues to fluctuate but I love the value here. Having one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL Chris Jones to guide him, I believe Bresee can be very good. He was the number one recruit in his high school class, if anyone can bring out the best in him, it’s Andy Reid.