While most teams have only played 5 games this season (some playing less), it’s becoming clearer which teams are contenders and which are pretenders. Teams such as the Seahawks, Packers, Bills, and Chiefs look dominant, while others like the Giants, Jets, and Falcons are already looking ahead to April.
This mock draft is based on projected records at the end of the season by ESPN’s Football Power Index, and picks are made assuming the front office and coaching staff will remain the same as they are at the time of this article being written. While it’s obvious this won’t be the case come April, (looking at you – Dave Gettleman and Adam Gase), it’s impossible to predict what new staff’s will look at before we know who is hired. There are no trades either as those are also impossible to predict.
New York Jets – Trevor Lawrence
The Jets are bad. If you blindly threw a dart at their depth chart, odds are you’d hit a position of need. The modern NFL is offense based, and the Jets used their first pick on upgrading the trenches by taking LT Mekhi Becton. Unfortunately, the offense still stinks and it’s impossible to tell what the issue is specifically, as it’s most likely a ton of problems. Sam Darnold is not to blame for the Jets failures, but is he good enough to pass on a generational prospect at the most important position for a team? No. Darnold has had a terrible environment around him since entering the league, and he’s flashed potential, but the potential from Lawrence outweighs the potential that Darnold will suddenly become a star. Lawrence will give the Jets a clean slate for their current rebuild.
New York Giants – Penei Sewell
Danny Dimes survives .. for now. The Giants offense was average at best with Saquon Barkley. Without him, they are abysmal. Daniel Jones has been sacked the fourth most times this season, which makes it pretty difficult to move the ball. Sewell, alongside the Giants 2019 first pick Andrew Thomas, gives the G-Men a pair of tackles that Jones and Barkley can feel safe behind. While Jones might not be the quarterback of the future, it’s tough to pass on a prospect like Sewell when it fills such a huge need for the future.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Justin Fields
Minshew Mania sadly comes to an end. While Gardner Minshew is the perfect representation of what a Jacksonville QB should look like, his play is streaky and inconsistent, and with each passing week he looks less and less like the guy. The Jaguars hope to finally have their first good QB in years with Justin Fields. He would be the highest QB taken by the Jags since Blake Bortles in 2014. Jaguars fans will be elated to be able to look forward to the Fields-Chark connection for years to come.
Atlanta Falcons – Micah Parsons
Atlanta fans might be upset that they missed out on Justin Fields for the hometown story only Hollywood could write, but this ain’t that and once they watch Parsons, they’ll feel much better. The Falcons defense has been bad for quite some time now, and Parsons would be an incredible upgrade for Atlanta. He can play in coverage alongside Deion Jones, or rush the QB alongside Takk McKinley. Either way, he’ll be a positive change for the Falcons defense.
Cincinnati Bengals – Ja’Marr Chase
Missing out on Sewell would be a tough blow to the Bengals, as Joe Burrow is on pace to be sacked SEVENTY times his rookie year. The offensive line is the biggest positional need for the Bengals, but it’s too early to reach here and there are no trades in this mock. Fortunately for Burrow, he gets his number one receiver from LSU in Ja’Marr Chase. Chase set a single season record last year for yards and touchdowns while playing with Burrow, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t continue dominating at the next level. Alongside Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins, the Bengals receiving corps becomes scary.
Denver Broncos – Caleb Farley
Bryce Callahan has been a serviceable cornerback for the Broncos. Besides that, there’s a large gap in talent for that group. Farley would immediately become the best corner on the team. Vic Fangio would love a corner that acts like glue in man coverage, as Denver bolsters it’s defense in a division full of potent offenses. The continued development of Drew Lock, Jerry Jeudy and Sutton on offense, while Bradley Chubb and Farley grow on defense, Denver’s young core looks quite promising.
Washington Football Team – Trey Lance
Whether you think Dwayne Haskins could be the guy or not, it doesn’t really matter. Riverboat Ron has made his judgement known and feels that Haskins time is up. While Lance is a risk since he did not get to play this season due to the pandemic, his 28 touchdown to 0 interception season last year was enough to impress front offices. He’s already declared for the draft, and is expected to be the third or fourth QB off the board next to Florida’s Kyle Trask. With Lance, Rivera gets a QB who can make plays with both his arm and his legs, as the WFT trio of Lance, Terry McLaurin, and Antonio Gibson has the potential to be the best in their division after Dallas.
Philadelphia Eagles – Dylan Moses
Philadelphia is surprising most as they look flat so far this season. The offense and the defense are just not clicking, as both flail out week after week – leading to a 1-3-1 start. Nate Gerry is not meant to be a starting linebacker and it showed as Chase Claypool embarrassed him for his fourth touchdown of the day against the Eagles defense. Moses has been shaky this season, but he has the potential to be the hard hitting backer the Eagles have been missing.
Detroit Lions – Gregory Rousseau
The Lions defense is putrid and has been for awhile. They are tied for the second least amount of sacks in the league, which is sad because the only team behind them is the Titans who have played 2 less games. Rousseau can play alongside Trey Flowers and give the Lions the pass rush that they have been missing. If Matt Patricia survives this season, he’ll have a short leash, but Rousseau has the potential to help the Lions defense become the unit Patricia promised when he was hired.
Los Angeles Chargers – Creed Humphrey
Justin Herbert looks like the real deal – now, the Chargers need to protect him. They have one of the worst offensive lines in the league and their current center is not who you want protecting your franchise QB. Humphrey is a leader on the line, and as a former wrestler shows he can handle NFL caliber defenders. As someone who can help identity the middle linebacker as well, Humphrey provides multiple benefits for Herbert.
Miami Dolphins (via Houston) – Jaylen Waddle
While Devonta Smith is an intriguing option here for the Tua connection, Waddle adds a deep threat to an offense who already has a solid receiver in Devante Parker. A Waddle, Parker, Gesicki receiving corps would give Tua all the weapons he needs to succeed. The pieces are beginning to come together for Miami as they become more and more competitive.
Dallas Cowboys – Patrick Surtain II
The Cowboys secondary has struggled since Byron Jones left for Miami. Trevon Diggs has struggled so far this season and Dallas’ offense can only do so much. Surtain would immediately become the number one corner in Dallas, and help bring Dallas back to playoff contention. As the NFC East fills up with young receivers, Surtain can help limit their productivity as they face the Cowboys twice a year.
Minnesota Vikings – Marvin Wilson
The Vikings have a choice between cornerback or interior defensive line with this pick, and they go with the latter in Marvin Wilson. Wilson is an overwhelming force that alongside Ngakoue will give Minnesota the defensive trenches they need to make opposing offensive coordinator’s jobs difficult.
Miami Dolphins – Quincy Roche
After using their first pick to improve the offense, the Dolphins don’t have to look far for their next pick. Roche wouldn’t have to travel far from the Hurricanes to the Dolphins, and he’d give the Fins an edge rusher they desperately need. With a receiver and an edge rusher in the first round, Miami’s future looks pretty bright.
San Francisco 49ers – Tyson Campbell
Richard Sherman will be a free agent this offseason, and he isn’t getting any younger. After him the Niners corners drop off even more. Campbell can be an instant starter for San Fran helping their secondary while also being a positive contributor to their run defense. Having the number one defense is how they got to the super bowl, and if they want to return they’ll need some new pieces.
Carolina Panthers – Kyle Pitts
The Panthers didn’t pay Teddy to give up after one season. In an entire new scheme and offense he hasn’t looked great but he could be far worse. Pitts would give Bridgewater a new target that would make Carolina arguably the best receiving corps in the entire league. He’s been an incredible threat in Florida’s offense and alongside DJ Moore, Robby Anderson, and CMC, Matt Rhule and Joe Brady would have a plethora of weapons at their disposal.
Arizona Cardinals – Wyatt Davis
When you have a young franchise QB in Kyler Murray, you want to protect him. When he has to go against Nick Bosa and Aaron Donald a quarter of the schedule, you really want to protect him. Davis would become an immediate plug and play for the Cardinals offensive line. With more time in the pocket, Kyler will be able to do more damage by air and help Kliff Kingsbury get the offense he envisioned.
New England Patriots – DeVonta Smith
Another first round wide receiver for Bill Belichick. Julian Edelman will be 35 next season and N’keal Harry has been okay so far when healthy but besides him, the Patriots don’t have many weapons. Smith would give whoever the future QB is for New England another weapon, something New England has lacked for awhile now.
Chicago Bears – Kyle Trask
Mitchell Trubisky is not the answer. Nick Foles is probably not either. Trask would give Chicago the one position they’ve been missing in quarterback. Allen Robinson continues to get frustrated with the quarterbacks he’s had in the league, but Trask has the opportunity to change that, and finally bring Chicago to the next level.
Indianapolis Colts – Rondale Moore
The Colts receiving corps has been lackluster for a few years. They addressed it last offseason by drafting Michael Pittman but an unfortunate injury shows how little depth they have. T.Y. Hilton is on the final year of his contract and he’s getting older. Whoever the next QB in Indy is, he’ll need weapons and Moore will help provide another one.
Las Vegas Raiders – Christian Barmore
The Raiders defensive line has been lackluster. Maxx Crosby is a great edge rusher, but Clelin Ferrell has shown nothing but spurts of potential, struggling to put it all together, and free agent acquisition Maliek Collins has yet to get another going. Barmore checks off Mike Mayock’s tendency of drafting from top pedigree universities, and can provide an interior rushing force to help the Raiders run defense and pass rush.
Tennessee Titans – Rashod Bateman
Corey Davis has shown some potential finally this season, and A.J. Brown is a young stud, but Bateman would become an immediate upgrade for the Titans passing game. With Bateman, Brown, Jonnu, and Derrick Henry, the Titans will become almost impossible to game plan for.
New Orleans Saints – Paulson Adebo
The Saints window is closing quick, and the defense is falling apart once again. Janoris Jenkins is not the answer at cornerback opposite Lattimore. Adebo is a quality outside corner who can help the Saints secondary reach the level it was during the Saints past few playoff runs. After losing to the Vikings twice in the playoffs on last second touchdowns, the Saints hope adding Adebo prevents this from happening again.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Pat Freiermuth
The Bucs window is even smaller than the Saints. Bruce Arians wants to give Tom all the help he can and Gronk is clearly past his prime. The Penn State tight end is a stud who will help Tom out on third down plays and in blocking. With him added to that offense, the Bucs will be virtually impossible when it’s firing on all cylinders.
Cleveland Browns – Hamsah Nasirildeen
The Browns defense is shaky outside of Myles Garrett and Denzel Ward. Free agent Karl Joseph has not been that good, and Cleveland gets a shot at a complete upgrade at the safety position. Hamsah can roam around the field creating havoc, and will bring an intensity to the secondary level of the Browns defense that is much needed in the AFC North.
Pittsburgh Steelers – Alex Leatherwood
Whether Ben plays another year, or the Steelers look elsewhere for a new QB, Pittsburgh will need a strong offensive line to let their plethora of weapons go to work. Leatherwood is an immediate plug and play on the line and can help in the trenches battle.
Los Angeles Rams – Dillon Radunz
Jared Goff, like most quarterbacks, is at his best in a clean pocket. During the Rams superbowl run they had one of the best lines in the league as Gurley burst free for huge gains and Goff picked apart defenses under the instruction of Sean McVay. Then the Rams lost a bunch of their line and they fell apart. Radunz can help them try to recreate that incredible season where they were a few plays away from winning it all.
Buffalo Bills – Trey Smith
Josh Allen is beginning to play at an MVP caliber level. The Bills defense has taken a step back this year, but they’re still solid. The Bills offensive line has some holes in the middle though, and that’s where Trey Smith comes in. The Tennessee guard has some concerning health issues, but there’s no question about his talent, and what he can bring to that Buffalo offense.
Green Bay Packers – Jay Tufele
The Packers biggest needs would be sizable reaches here, so expect a trade down come April. For this mock though, the Packers bolster their defensive line with the USC D-Lineman. If you give Rodgers a strong defense the sky is the limit for the Packers.
Seattle Seahawks – Josh Myers
The Seahawks have finally given in and let Russ cook. Now it’s time to finally protect him. Myers can be the center of the future for Seattle, and protect Russ as he finally gets to air it out. The offensive line is something Seattle has ignored for awhile, but enough is enough.
Baltimore Ravens – Aidan Hutchinson
The Ravens could use an edge rusher, and Hutchinson provides a power rushing skillset that the Ravens lack. Jim Harbaugh will surely learn all the details of the Michigan edge rusher as all he has to do is call his brother in the north for any info he needs. The Baltimore defense is already scary, and adding Hutchinson only makes it better.
Kansas City Chiefs – Hamilcar Rashed Jr
What do the reigning super bowl champs need? Whatever they want. The Chiefs still have a top 10 offense and a top 10 defense, so this pick can be whatever they want. Besides Frank Clark, the Kansas City edge rushers are nothing special, and Rashed has the talent to develop into an impact player in both run stopping and pass rushing.