It’s draft week! This week dreams become true as the next wave of talent is set to enter the NFL. With that being said, who’s going where? That question and more are answered in this NFL Mock Draft 3.0 Part 1!
1. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-14): Travon Walker DE Georgia
Travon Walker’s draft stock has been skyrocketing. It has been rumored that Jacksonville is zeroing in on Walker to be the first overall selection on Thursday night. Walker gives Jacksonville a pass rush they haven’t had since their miracle season “Sacksonville” season.
2. Detroit Lions (3-13-1): Aidan Hutchinson DE Michigan
He’s staying in Michigan! The state not the school. Aidan Hutchinson, one of the most dominant pass rushers college football will ever see goes to Detroit where a big time star is needed. Hutchinson will feed on quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Justin Fields and Kirk Cousins twice a season. Just like what Travon Walker will do for Jacksonville, Hutchinson gives Detroit an elite pass rush.
3. Houston Texans (4-13): Evan Neal OT Alabama
Davis Mills will be getting top protection from Evan Neal. Neal is the best offensive lineman in this draft and the most NFL ready. This is the first of two first round picks for Houston and they start off with a bang with taking the best available player at three.
4. New York Jets (4-13): Kayvon Thibodeaux DE Oregon
The Jets continue to build their defensive line at four. A tackling machine that constantly will be double teamed in the NFL goes to a team that’s in a rebuild. However, having Thibodeaux and Quinnen Williams on the same defensive line could cause issues for opposing teams. A possible threatening pass rush could be brewing.
5. New York Giants (4-13): Ikem Ekwonu OT N.C. State
Ekwonu is similar to Evan Neal. Just like Neal, Ekwonu is NFL ready. As Daniel Jones gets one last chance to prove to the Giants that he can be the future quarterback he also gets protection that is much needed. Ekwonu never lets defenders get by him.
6. Carolina Panthers (5-12): Malik Willis QB Liberty
The best quarterback in the draft goes to a team having an identity crisis. Sam Darnold is not the answer in Carolina. Malik Willis is the future of the Panthers. Willis joins a young offense that still has the same play style like most college teams. Willis gives something that the Panthers desperately need, leadership.
7. New York Giants (4-13; from Chicago 6-11): Kyle Hamilton S Notre Dame
The Giants could be round one winners with making improvements to two positions. Kyle Hamilton is a leader on the field and in the locker room. Hamilton will make his presence be known quickly. He isn’t the flashiest player, but he makes key plays and stops when needed the most.
8. Atlanta Falcons (7-10): Jameson Williams WR Alabama
Jameson Williams’ draft stock is rising. Despite his injury, teams trust that he will be able to make an immediate impact on the field. Williams was essentially a nobody until last season when he transferred from Ohio State to Alabama. Now, he goes to the Falcons where he will be the number one receiver, replacing Calvin Ridley.
9. Seattle Seahawks (7-10; from Denver 7-10): Kenny Pickett QB Pittsburgh
With Russell Wilson now in Denver, Seattle is in need of a franchise quarterback. Yes, they currently have Drew Lock and Geno Smith but those options are not great. Kenny Pickett is great. Pickett came close to tossing 50 touchdowns a season ago while being one of the best quarterbacks in the country. To avoid a complete rebuild, the Seahawks need to take Pickett here.
10. New York Jets (4-13; from Seattle 7-10): Ahmad Gardner CB Cincinnati
The Jets get saucy with this pick. Gardner improves the Jets secondary and for the first time since Darrelle Revis, they have the possibility in having a shut down cornerback for years to come. From Revis Island to just Sauce. The Jets strike gold at pick ten.
11. Washington Commanders (7-10): Drake London WR USC
Drake London comes to Washington at the perfect time. Terry McLaurin wants a new contract. Curtis Samuel is a ghost. London will be a top target for Carson Wentz, especially if McLaurin holds out.
12. Minnesota Vikings (8-9): Trent McDuffie CB Washington
The Vikings could do a few things at pick 12. Ultimately though, cornerback is the best because after this season they most likely will lose Patrick Peterson to possible retirement. McDuffie will learn how to be a shutdown cornerback from Peterson and will be a future leader of the secondary. This flashy cornerback will be a matchup headache for wide receivers.
13. Houston Texans (4-13; from Cleveland 8-9): Devin Lloyd LB Utah
The Texans strike gold. Lloyd has the potential to go in the top ten but instead slips to 13. Lloyd is a tackling machine and an all around playmaker. Houston walks away from round one with the best offensive lineman and linebacker in the draft.
14. Baltimore Ravens (8-9): Jordan Davis DT Georgia
The Ravens get the biggest man in this year’s draft. Davis is going to wreak havoc on the AFC North quarterbacks. Not only that, but he will clog up the middle of the line as he is 6’6, 340 pounds. Davis is an absolute gem of a defensive tackle.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (9-8; from Miami 9-8): Derek Stingley Jr. CB LSU
Last year the Eagles were able to find an offensive weapon in DeVonta Smith. This year they find a defensive weapon in Derek Stingley Jr. Yes, Stingley Jr. is coming off a season ending injury. Yes, his numbers declined since his freshman year. But, that doesn’t mean he isn’t a first round pick. The Eagles are looking for someone who can take on someone like CeeDee Lamb on a weekly basis. Stingley Jr. will be able to take on all the top receivers he faces.
16. New Orleans Saints (9-8; from Indianapolis 9-8 through Philadelphia 9-8): Chris Olave WR Ohio State
With question marks surrounding Michael Thomas the Saints go out and get the next best wide receiver in the draft, Chris Olave. Olave was a matchup nightmare the past two seasons and was dominant for Ohio State. He brings his speed and playmaking abilities to New Orleans. A possible deadly duo in the passing game of Jameis Winston and Chris Olave could form rather quickly.
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-Matt Burnett (@mattthew_jordan on Twitter)