It’s officially draft day! Tonight the next wave of NFL talent officially enters the league. This yearly special occasion is one of the best nights of the year. To celebrate, here is something different. A NFL draft special: combined mock draft! Yes, this is a combined mock draft of myself and Couch Guy Sports’ very own Jeff Hoak! Let’s jump into it!
1. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-14): Travon Walker DE Georgia
The overall consensus based on multiple reports is that Travon Walker is expected to be the first overall pick in this year’s class. Outside of Josh Allen, the Jaguars really have no pass rush… until now. Walker and Allen will be a younger and more explosive pass rush duo.
2. Detroit Lions (3-13-1): Aidan Hutchinson DE Michigan
Detroit gets their man with the second overall pick. Aidan Hutchinson is a dream player for Dan Campbell. Hutchinson, one of the most decorated defensive ends in college football, and one of the best to ever do it at Michigan brings his explosive pass rush ability to a team with absolutely none. Hutchinson will be in the running for defensive rookie of the year and maybe even defensive player of the year as well.
3. Houston Texans (4-13): Evan Neal OT Alabama
Houston has one less problem now that Deshaun Watson is in Cleveland. Now, they can focus on building around Davis Mills. That includes getting him the best pass protection which means selecting Evan Neal. Neal has proven that he’s more than ready to be in the NFL, he’s shown that he is ready to be a star in the league. Neal will protect Mills with ease.
4. New York Jets (4-13): Kyle Hamilton S Notre Dame
A little bit of a surprise here. The Jets need secondary help badly and cannot wait until the tenth overall pick to address it. They take the best safety in the draft to help fill the void that was left by Marcus Maye. Hamilton is an upgrade from Maye. He can tackle in the open field, he can cover the length of the field as well and of course is an all around defender. The Jets strike early gold.
5. New York Giants (4-13): Ikem Ekwonu OT N.C. State
Well, this is Daniel Jones’ last shot. Why not improve the offensive line? Ekwonu is considered the most ready prospect in the NFL draft this year. A pancake machine, Ekwonu will have his work cut out for him to protect Daniel Jones as Jones tends to wait a little long before throwing the ball. Andrew Thomas will have to teach Ekwonu how to be a top blocker quickly, but it shouldn’t be much of a problem.
6. Carolina Panthers (5-12): Kenny Pickett QB Pittsburgh
The quarterback class this year isn’t nearly as impressive to last year’s. Carolina has been trying to get out of this pick but incase it wasn’t obvious, this mock draft has no trades in it. So the Panthers take Kenny Pickett to be their future quarterback. Matt Rhule isn’t hiding his feelings for Pickett either. Rhule is a big fan of Pickett’s game so it’s not surprising the Panthers take Pickett who’s just removed from a near 50 touchdown season at Pitt.
7. New York Giants (4-13; from Chicago 6-11): Ahmad Gardner CB Cincinnati
The Giants hit a homerun. Gardner is the best cornerback in this year’s draft and is a shutdown cornerback. The last time a shutdown cornerback called Metlife Stadium was when Darrelle Revis was with the Jets. Now, Gardner, a future shutdown cornerback gets to call Metlife stadium home, except this time, it’s someone on the Giants and not the Jets.
8. Atlanta Falcons (7-10): Jameson Williams WR Alabama
Atlanta gets the best receiver in this draft class. Yes, Jameson Williams is coming off of an ACL injury. But, that doesn’t take away from his talent on the field. He exploded in his one season at Alabama and was basically the second coming of DeVonta Smith for the Crimson Tide. The Falcons have no true number one receiver. Now, they do with Jameson Williams.
9. Seattle Seahawks (7-10; from Denver 7-10): Malik Willis QB Liberty
Drew Lock. Geno Smith. Currently, that’s the starting quarterback competition. To avoid a complete rebuild. Malik Willis needs to be the selection here for Seattle. Willis is the best available quarterback, and one of the best players in this year’s draft. He can throw the deep ball and can be mobile if he has to. Why does this sound like a familiar situation Seattle was once in?
10. New York Jets (4-13; from Seattle 7-10): Derek Stingley Jr CB LSU
With Gardner off the board, the Jets take the next best cornerback in Derek Stingley Jr. Keep in mind, they’ve already taken Kyle Hamilton too. So this new look secondary for the Jets is young, fast and explosive. The field will be covered by both rookies. Stingley is coming off of a foot injury but he says it’s completely healed and he’s ready to go. He’ll have to prove it but Hamilton and Stingley in the same secondary should make Jets fans feel excited.
11. Washington Commanders (7-10): Drake London WR USC
London could possibly be the number one receiver for Carson Wentz if Terry McLaurin holds out while waiting for a new contract from Washington. London was the number one receiver at USC, so it would be nothing new to being the top target. A big body receiver, that can go out and make plays, that’s what Wentz needs.
12. Minnesota Vikings (8-9): Trent McDuffie CB Washington
This is most likely Patrick Peterson’s last year in the NFL. Or, at least with the Vikings. The Vikings can’t wait another year to address who will replace Peterson and they take McDuffie with the 12th pick. McDuffie isn’t flashy, he just makes the necessary plays and moves on to the next. McDuffie will learn from Peterson how to be a shutdown corner as Peterson once was in Arizona.
13. Houston Texans (4-13; from Cleveland 8-9): George Karlaftis DE Purdue
Houston hasn’t had a top pass rusher since J.J. Watt. Granted, Watt had some injury filled seasons during his time in Houston. But, when Watt was in his prime, he was nearly unstoppable. Karlaftis can be the next J.J. Watt as both players have a similar motor when they rush the passer. Some serious deja vu could be coming to Houston.
14. Baltimore Ravens (8-9): Jordan Davis DT Georgia
Baltimore gets a diamond of a player. Jordan Davis is going to clog up the middle of the line of scrimmage. He eats any offensive player that comes his way. He will have to be double teamed in order to be stopped. Big Jordan Davis in a Ravens uniform is terrifying for the rest of the AFC as Baltimore always has a good history with coaching young defensive talent into superstars.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (9-8; from Miami 9-8): Devin Lloyd LB Utah
The Eagles take the best available player at 15. Lloyd is talented enough to go in the top ten. This is a steal to get Lloyd at 15. It’s rare but the Eagles make a great selection with taking Lloyd ending his slide. A true on the field leader is what Philadelphia is getting.
16. New Orleans Saints (9-8; from Indianapolis 9-8 through Philadelphia 9-8) Desmond Ridder QB Cincinnati
The Saints send shockwaves through the draft at pick 16 and take Ridder. Ridder is coming off a 30 touchdown season where he also threw for 3,334 yards and eight interceptions. Yes, the Saints have Jameis Winston, but now they have someone who can learn under Winston as well (and can possibly be better too).
17. Los Angeles Chargers (9-8): Charles Cross OT Mississippi State
The Chargers celebrate that Cross falls to them at 17. At this point, Cross is the best player available and this is a win win situation. They get a the best player, and it happens to be pass protection for Justin Herbert. Cross was one of the best offensive linemen in college football a season ago with never letting any defenders getting to the quarterback.
18. Philadelphia Eagles (9-8; from New Orleans 9-8): Garrett Wilson WR Ohio State
Howie strikes again for Philadelphia. With both Wilson and Chris Olave still on the board. the Eagles elect to go for the second best receiver available instead of the first. Classic Howie. Wilson is one of the best in creating space, but, overall Chris Olave would be the better of the two receivers here. Again, classic Howie.
19. New Orleans Saints (9-8 from Philadelphia 9-8): Chris Olave WR Ohio State
With questions surrounding Michael Thomas, the Saints take Chris Olave, the better of the two Ohio State receivers. Olave’s speed and play making abilities will make Jameis Winston look like a top quarterback in the NFL. If Thomas does come back, then Winston is surrounded by play makers and the Saints offense is a legit threat to all defenses next season.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7-1): Matt Corral QB Ole Miss
The Steelers add another quarterback to deepen their starting quarterback competition. Corral will be able to compete with Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph to be the week one starter. This will be a very interesting competition to keep your eye on once training camp begins.
21. New England Patriots (10-7): Nakobe Dean LB Georgia
This is a Bill Belichick-like player. Dean was a leader of the Georgia defense and is quick and can stretch the field while defending. The Patriots have been trying to get younger at linebacker and they get one of the best linebackers in the country at 21. Bill Belichick is smiling at this pick.
22. Green Bay Packers (13-4; from Vegas 10-7): Treylon Burks WR Arkansas
The Packers actually draft a wide receiver in the first round. They have to in order to replace Devante Adams. Burks had an off day at the office at the combine, but his on field talent is still good enough for Green Bay to take him at 22. Burks is the new number one receiver in Green Bay which should somewhat put a smile on Aaron Rodgers’ face.
23. Arizona Cardinals (11-6): Tyler Linderbaum C Iowa
Arizona is in the market for a new center and for someone who can block well to keep Kyler Murray upright in the pocket. Linderbaum is the best center in this draft and one of the best pass blocker’s in the draft. This is a steal at 23 for Arizona. It might not be the most flashiest pick, but it’s most necessary.
24. Dallas Cowboys (12-5): Kenyon Green OL Texas A&M
Kenyon Green is a blocking machine. He also is a crown jewel of a pick for Dallas as he can play just about anywhere on the offensive line which is something Dallas needs.
25. Buffalo Bills (11-6): Jermaine Johnson DE Florida State
The Bills get the steal of the first round. Johnson is currently projected to be a middle of the first round pick. Instead, he slips all the way to Buffalo and Bills do the right thing and take the best player available. Mac Jones, Tua and Zach Wilson will get a chance to meet Johnson quickly as he always finds his way to the quarterback.
26. Tennessee Titans (12-5): Trevor Penning OT Northern Iowa
Ryan Tannehill isn’t getting any younger. The Titans get him some much needed protection. Trevor Penning is a wall. It’s tough to get around him and he moves quick on the line to stop defenders. Plus, he can open up holes for Derrick Henry to run through on the offensive line. Penning might be one of the most underrated players in the first round.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4): Zion Johnson OT Boston College
Tom Brady retired. Then he unretired. Ali Marpet retired and stayed retired. So now, the Bucs will have to move one of their tackles over to the guard position and insert Zion Johnson to the tackle position that opened up. It was another quiet season for Boston College, but Zion was one of the best parts of the season. He created openings for the running back and gave his quarterback time to throw. This is a match made in heaven.
28. Green Bay Packers (13-4): Tyler Smith OT Tulsa
The Packers address another offensive need. Protecting Aaron Rodgers. Tyler Smith is projected to go late first round early second round. Smith isn’t the flashiest at being an offensive tackle, he just does his job one play at a time which is key for Green Bay to succeed in their first year without the Rodgers to Adams connection.
29. Kansas City Chiefs (12-5; from Miami 9-8 through San Francisco 10-7): Jahan Dotson WR Penn State
Kansas City gets better with this pick. Dotson will be a problem for opposing defenses especially with Patrick Mahomes being his quarterback. Dotson was one of the best Big Ten receivers and now goes to arguably one of the best teams in football if not the best.
30. Kansas City Chiefs (12-5): Daxton Hill S Michigan
The Chiefs are missing Tyrann Mathieu from their defense. Hill is his replacement. Dare we say… a younger and better version of Mathieu too? Last season he had 69 total tackles with 4.5 of them being for a loss with half a sack and two interceptions. He also had eight passes defended and one fumble recovery. He makes himself known from the first play to the last play on the field.
31. Cincinnati Bengals (10-7): Bernhard Raimann OT Central Michigan
This is a simple pick. Protect Joe Burrow. In the offseason, the Bengals rebuilt their offensive line and they will continue to do that in the draft. Raimann is the best available offensive tackle at 31.
32. Detroit Lions (3-13-1; from Los Angeles 12-5): Lewis Cine S Georgia
To end this NFL draft special: combined mock draft, the Lions improve their secondary with taking Lewis Cine from Georgia. The Lions improve their defense overall, leaving Dan Campbell a happy camper as he gets a safety who can hit and intercept the quarterback which is exactly what Detroit needs.
Headline picture from: nfl.com
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-Matt Burnett (@mattthew_jordan on Twitter)