LEWIS VENES: MOCK DRAFT 1.0
By Lewis Venes
The NFL Draft is less than two weeks away. Teams will be readying their draft boards in anticipation of what will be one of the most unusual Annual Selection Meetings in history. Today I unveil my Mock Draft 1.0 – a 1st round mock, with trades and analysis of each pick. Hit me up on Twitter @Lvenes1 with your feedback!
1. CINCINNATI BENGALS
Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
The star of the 2019 college football season, Burrow set multiple records in Baton Rouge last year. The Bengals are all in for a new QB1, and with Tua’s injury worries there is no debate in selecting the Heisman winner and National Champion.
2. MIAMI DOLPHINS
Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
TRADE! MIAMI GIVES UP #26, #39, #70, #141 AND A 2021 2ND ROUND PICK TO MOVE UP FROM #5 TO #2 WITH THE WASHINGTON REDSKINS.
The Dolphins have been all in on Tua for eighteen months, and mortgage the house to move up for him here. Miami have the draft ammo to outgun the Chargers in the battle to trade up, and the price is right for the Redskins. Tagovailoa was the undisputed best quarterback in this class twelve months ago and despite his injury he’s the guy Chris Grier and Brian Flores want as their franchise QB.
3. DETROIT LIONS
Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
Mocked aplenty to the Redskins at 2, Young has to wait one pick longer to come off the board here. He’s a talent too good to pass up for The Lions, who have a need at edge opposite Trey Flowers. They’ll be delighted if the board falls this way and they get arguably the best player in this entire draft.
4. NEW YORK GIANTS
Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
The Giants are in desperate need to improve their o-line and help Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones, and Tristan Wirfs does that. 6’5”, 320lbs and runs the 40 yard dash in under 5 seconds, Wirfs’ outstanding combine performance boosted his draft stock. His upside is in outer space somewhere and despite playing mostly at right tackle for Iowa will be a mainstay of this offensive line for a decade.
5. WASHINGTON REDSKINS
Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
*Acquired from The Dolphins in their trade up to #2 (Tua Tagovailoa)
After opting to trade back and lose out on Chase Young, the Redskins have multiple directions they could go. But after just missing out on Amari Cooper in free agency it shows that Washington are on the lookout for an elite receiver. How about the best route runner in this year’s stacked wideout class? With the haul acquired from The Dolphins they can address other areas of need later in the draft.
6. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
The Charger’s most pressing need in this draft is at quarterback, but it’s very much a possibility that Tom Telesco doesn’t regard Justin Herbert as a top ten prospect. Instead he opts to take one of the elite tackles available – Andrew Thomas is a reliable pass protector and a solid run blocker who can fill the hole left at left tackle that Russell Okung’s trade to the Panthers left.
Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
TRADE! DENVER GIVE UP #46, #77 AND A 2021 4TH ROUND PICK TO TRADE UP FROM #15 TO #7 WITH THE CAROLINA PANTHERS
Despite trading for AJ Bouye John Elway and the Broncos will still be on the lookout for help in the secondary following Chris Harris’ defection to The Chargers. With their extra draft capital they get aggressive here, trading up to grab Jeff Okudah. The Ohio State corner is never caught out of position and tracks the ball in the air as well as any player in this draft. In a class of his own he’s worth the move up for and Denver can look for a receiver later in the draft.
8. ARIZONA CARDINALS
Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
After securing left tackle DJ Humphries to a three-year deal, Kliff Kingsbury would love to add an elite tackle on the opposite side to complete this o-line and help protect Kyler Murray. Kingsbury and Keim may certainly have been interested in CeeDee Lamb at this juncture, but the addition of DeAndre Hopkins means they can focus elsewhere. Jedrick Wills is a day one starter.
9. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
With Joe Schobert coming in from Cleveland the Jaguars definitely strengthened the depth chart at linebacker, but that won’t preclude them from taking Simmons here. The Clemson standout is no ordinary LB and comes into this draft as the most versatile player, starring for the Tigers as a safety, backer, edge rusher and corner last year.
10. CLEVELAND BROWNS
Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
Considering his phenomenal combine and meteoric rise on draft boards throughout this offseason some may be surprised to see Becton as the fourth tackle selected. The Browns won’t care – this is a match made in heaven. Fast on his feet and an absolute beast in size and stature, he will be just what Kevin Stefanski is looking for. Pairing him with the recently acquired Jack Conklin, Cleveland now have one of the best tackle tandems int he NFL.
11. NEW YORK JETS
Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama
Despite adding bodies to the o-line in free agency The Jets will still want to give Sam Darnold more protection, but with Henry Ruggs falling to 11 they opt to give him an elite weapon instead. They get the fastest man in the draft who will be able to take the top off defenses and offer the vertical threat Gang Green lost with the departure of Robby Anderson.
12. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
The Raiders have been looking for a star receiver since the ill-advised trade for Antonio Brown. With undoubted catching ability and devastating with the ball in hand, Lamb is my WR1 in this draft class. He’s exactly the type of star talent Gruden and Mayock covet as they head to their new home in Las Vegas.
13. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Derrick Brown, IDL, Auburn
Straight off the back of a Super Bowl defeat, and trading away DeForest Buckner to the Colts, The 49ers will not look past a day 1 starter at defensive tackle if there is one available. Derrick Brown fits the bill, an absolute wrecking ball on the interior. John Lynch addresses the need at receiver later in the draft.
14. BALTIMORE RAVENS
Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
TRADE! BALTIMORE GIVE UP #55 AND A 2021 3RD ROUND PICK TO MOVE UP FROM 28 TO 14 WITH THE TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
A stacked roster allows the Ravens to pinpoint precise positions of need and trade up to go and get them. Linebacker Patrick Queen was an integral part of LSU’s title-winning defense last year, amassing 85 tackles with 12 for a loss – production Baltimore will covet. For the Buccaneers, they’re only too happy to trade down after missing out on the four elite tackles in this draft class.
15. CAROLINA PANTHERS
Javon Kinlaw, IDL, South Carolina
*Acquired from The Broncos in their trade up to #7 (Jeffrey Okudah)
Picking up an array of picks from Denver after trading down and still able to get Carolina native Javon Kinlaw at 15, the Panthers are delighted with how this draft has developed. With retirements and free agency losses this defense needs a lot of help, and Kinlaw is a day one starter on the interior of that line.
16. ATLANTA FALCONS
Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
After cutting Desmond Trufant The Falcons need a starting cornerback, and with Fulton still on the board this is a no brainer. There are injury and suspension concerns surrounding the LSU standout, but the former 5 star high school recruit showed his worth as a key piece of this National Championship winning unit. Questions of his speed were answered with a 4.46 second 40 yard time at the Combine. Atlanta gets a much needed boost on defense.
17. DALLAS COWBOYS
CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
The inevitable loss of Byron Jones makes this secondary an area of need for Jerry Jones and the Cowboys. After switching from running back at high school, Henderson has had a standout career in Gainesville, blossoming into a shutdown corner. He possesses the length and technique to make life difficult for the best receivers at the next level.
18. MIAMI DOLPHINS
Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
Crimson Tide safety Xavier McKinney is arguably the best at his position in the NFL draft. With a good football brain, explosive tackling and athleticism as good as most in the draft he is a day 1 starter that has the positional flexibility to remain on the field at all times. The defensive back has potential to be a star for the Dolphins, who are looking to replace the traded Minkah Fitzpatrick.
19. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
The Raiders get their receiver early, and now attack their other position of need. The brother of Bills’ WR Stefon, Trevon Diggs played every position imaginable for Alabama before settling as a corner the last two years. Injury has curtailed him somewhat, but with three picks, 37 tackles, 8 passes defended and two fumble recoveries he provides the playmaking ability that this defense needs.
20. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Grant Delpit, S, LSU
Grant Delpit was a two-time consensus All-American pick and won the Jim Thorpe award as the best defensive back last year – as a junior. The former Tiger has received criticism for his wayward tackling, but he’s versatile, hits hard and has tremendous upside. The Jaguars will be salivating at adding his range and aggression to the back end of their defense.
21. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
As productive as they come, Justin Jefferson equalled an NCAA record last year with 111 receptions, going for over 1,500 yards and averaging a whopping 13.9 yards per reception. He’s a versatile receiver who catches everything thrown his way and answered deep speed questions with a 4.43 40 yard dash at the combine. Desperate to give Carson Wentz more weapons, the Eagles will be delighted JJ falls to them here.
22. MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
With Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes gone, it’s imperative the Vikings find a replacement at cornerback in this draft. Mke Zimmer covets tackling and physicality and Jeff Gladney provides both – he’s a constant pest in man coverage and his feisty nature will fit in well on this defense. Despite a torn meniscus Gladney still shone at the combine, showing his athleticism and gutsy nature.
23. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
After a rather brutal tumble down the draft board, Justin Herbert finds an excellent landing spot in New England. With a live arm and some under-appreciated athleticism, the former Oregon Duck may need some development before he is ready to step on the field. Who better to help coach him Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels? After losing Tom Brady The Patriots finally answer who the future is under center.
24. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
New Orleans have as solid a roster as any in the NFL. The one area they may wish to focus on is linebacker, and with Murray falling to them here it’s a perfect fit. The former Sooner’s speed and instincts gives the middle of this defense a huge boost, and allows the Saints to go ‘best player available’ the rest of the draft.
25. MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
The trade of Stefon Diggs to Buffalo has left a huge hole at receiver, and Rick Spielman will be desperate to find a replacement. Step forward Tee Higgins – a receiver who can play inside or outside and offer a mismatch against smaller corners. At 6’4” and 210lbs he’s able to outmuscle opponents and high point the football. A different kind of pass catcher to Diggs, but one with a bit of development could be every bit as effective.
26. WASHINGTON REDSKINS
K'Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
*Acquired from The Dolphins in their trade up to #2 (Tua Tagovailoa)
The remarkable fall of K’Lavon Chaisson abruptly ends with The Redskins’ second selection, who can’t believe their luck – despite forgoing Chase Young they manage to get a premium edge rusher later in the draft. Chaisson is like a human torpedo heading into offensive backfields, and showcased his talents as LSU marched to the title with three sacks in his last three games.
27. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
If Seattle resist the urge to trade down for more picks an edge rusher or some o-line help to protect Russell Wilson is necessary here. Gross-Matos is a monster defensive end with impressive athleticism, who can be an early starter as a situational pass rusher. As his skillset and power progresses YGM will become a more dependable, three-down player for the Seahawks.
28. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Austin Jackson, OT, USC
*Acquired from The Ravens in their trade up to #14 (Patrick Queen)
Mission: Protect TB12. The Buccaneers traded down for two reasons – the top four ‘elite’ tackle prospects were gone, and they knew they could get either Austin Jackson or Josh Jones with Baltimore’s pick at 28. Jackson had a solid combine and showed his fast feet and outstanding agility. Although being a raw talent, with work on his technique he will shore up this Tampa o-line and help protect the GOAT.
29. TENNESSEE TITANS
AJ Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
The Titans have a need at edge, and despite the acquisition of Vic Beasley will still make it a focus in this draft. Epenesa is a completely different animal to Beasley – more of an edge setter on the line who can operate in an odd or even front. The combine perhaps lowered AJ’s draft stock as his athletic testing was underwhelming, dropping him to a borderline 1st or 2nd round prospect. But the second half of last year shows what he could do and Mike Vrabel will love coaching this guy.
30. GREEN BAY PACKERS
Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado
No question the Packers are looking to give Aaron Rodgers more weapons in this draft. Ball in hand, Laviska Shenault is more like a running back, and actually was used out of the backfield at times in Colorado. His vision and ability to line up all over the field make him a unique option for an offense and would form an intriguing partnership with Davante Adams up in Green Bay.
31. CAROLINA PANTHERS
Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
TRADE! CAROLINA GIVES UP #113 and #148 TO MOVE UP FROM #38 TO #31 WITH THE SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
The Panthers don’t like how this draft falls to them. So they trade back earlier adding valuable picks, then package some back up for the 49ers to move in to the back end of the first round here. Defense is still the priority, and new head coach Matt Rhule will absolutely love the physicality and versatility that Damon Arnette offers. An expert in crowding out receivers at the catch point, Arnette will be a useful tool in the pass-heavy AFC South.
32. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
D'Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
Swift by name, swift by nature – D’Andre Swift is a balanced running back who can do it all out of the backfield. With 4.4 second speed he likes to compare himself to Alvin Kamara and Christian McCaffrey, and his tape backs up the claim. The Chiefs have a few needs on defense but may not be able to resist adding Swift to complement Damien Williams and completing this offense. God help the rest of the AFC.