No time for discussion. Dig in!
Happy Draft Eve! We’re almost there friends! One day away from injecting pure optimism into your fanbase, unless you’re a Browns fan. I probably have another mock (or two) in me before the show begins, so let’s get right to it.
There’s a huge movement for Travon Walker going #1 to the Jags. He’s now the betting favorite to go first overall, which is wild to think of, as this has been a two man race for sometime. I think that speaks more to the fact that there is no clear cut Alpha dog, but rather a solid group of really good players that are close in range and ability. I can easily make a case for 5 people to be the first pick, which I don’t think I’ve ever been able to say before. I can’t see Malik Willis making it past Carolina…and no, I’m not buying the Baker Mayfield rumors. No team is going to trade a meaningful draft pick for him, they’ll just wait until Cleveland releases him.
One thing I am buying: the Kayvon slide. Once thought of as the top pick in the draft, teams are reportedly turned off by his personality and are questioning his commitment to the game. With a fanbase made up of mostly people from Long Island, the Jets care very little about personality. Another thing I’m buying: the Jermaine Johnson rise. Don’t be surprised if he gets drafted ahead of Kayvon.
The first half of the draft will be dominated by the line, both offensive and defensive. The second half will see a run on complimentary pieces; namely corners and receivers. There are two things I know for sure: 1. Never eat at restaurant that serves ranch with chicken wings. 2. The Green Bay Packers will select a receiver. Jameson Williams is one of the hardest people to place in the draft, based on his recent injury (same for Ojabo, too). If some team’s medical staff gives him the all clear, he could go as high as 8.
Here me out, Buffalo. I know you want a receiver or corner, but at this point Burks, Williams, Booth, and McDuffie are gone, and you don’t want to reach. Instead, what you do is re-watch the National Championship game and look for the baddest man on the field. That would be Nakobe Dean. He’s instantly Von Miller’s understudy, and the 1-2-3 punch of Von Miller, Tremaine Edmunds, and Nakobe Dean is scary. It makes all the sense in the world for Detroit to go qb at 32 (as opposed to two picks later at 34 in the second round), as they can lock in the team-controlled 5th year option.
Stay tuned tomorrow folks for my final mock, plus our Draft Day Drinking Game. Cheers!
Believe me John, it’s good to be back! I took Ginger King’s advice to avoid the pre-free-agency-mock-draft-pitfall….might have taken it a bit too far. But honestly, has there ever been a better year to follow that advice?! The coaching carrousel has always been a thing, but now we’re seeing stud QB’s, WR1’s and First-Round draft picks being dealt like chips in a cheap poker game. It’s fantastic! And the crown jewel of the NFL offseason is less than a week away. Onto my first attempt at predicting the mayhem….
Aiden Hutchinson has long been a pick to kick-off the draft. But really, do we have faith in the brain trust that handed bags to Christian Kirk and Zay Jones to make the sound, logic choice here? The Lions have a tough choice, the stud defensive linemen from Michigan, or Malik Willis, the potential franchise QB. They really should grab Willis, redshirt him behind Goff, and have him take the reins in 2023. But Hutchinson “falling” in their laps is too tempting. They grab the local kid and re-evaluate their QB-strategy.
It feels like the Jets have been hot to trot after every pass-rusher and wide-receiver this year, but naturally nobody wants to play for them. At least the kids they draft can’t spurn them. Big Blue grabs a couple of blue-chip SEC players to add actual NFL talent to their roster.
Picks 9-12 feel like too natural of a fit between player and team: the Seahawks love play-making corners dripping with measurables; the Jets land a player they probably would have draft at #4 if not for his knee injury; the team in Washington desperately need a Commander on the defensive side of the ball; the Vikings were historically bad at stopping the run last year.
The Eagles and Saints seemingly have the similar needs at WR and OL, so it’ll be interesting to see how they jockey with picks 15/16 & 18/19.
Devin Lloyd to the Patriots is my take-it-to-the bank pick this year (assuming he lasts this long); there isn’t a more Bill Belichickian player in this year’s draft than Llyod. I think 3 QB’s go in the first round, but it’s hard to slot them in. Teams will likely move around (up) the board to grab their guy. In this scenario the Steelers step put and land a guy they hope is their future (but I think they’d rather draft an offensive linemen). I’m here for the passive-aggressive middle-finger the Packers GM gives Karen Rodgers as he doesn’t draft a WR at 22.
The board doesn’t fall great for the Bills, as they’d likely prefer McDuffie or Booth, but Daxton Hill is a hell of a consolation prize and versatile enough to be utilize in various defensive packages as a rookie. There’s a Green Bay WR! The Chiefs also begin life after Tyreek; George Pickens will thrive with Andy Reid and Mahomes (and be way over-drafted in fantasy this year). The Lions close out the first round by getting their QB. I think they’d sign-up for Hutchinson and Corral/Ridder.
That’s a wrap! Head on over to nflmockdraftdatabase.com to start piecing together a mock of your own! Or don’t and just wait for my Mock 2.0 to drop!
What a difference a week makes. Some big changes in the draft board, as teams look to fill voids through free agency. There has been quite the qb carousel. Deshaun, Russ, Matty Ice, and Carson all have new homes. Tom Brady back in Tampa (for now). And poor Baker Mayfield is left sending mix tapes to NFL teams. Baker’s a DUI away from fulfilling his destiny as Johnny Manziel 2.0. Speaking of Johnny Football, he seems to be doing just fine.
Anyway, all this does is drive the market up for this years’ qb class, as 5 teams in the Top 10 could use a new signal caller, with some lurkers farther down. We use the NFL Mock Draft Database for our mock draft needs.
No change at the top. Aidan should go first overall, either to the Jags (or, if you love rumors, Detroit). If the Lions don’t trade up, I could see them taking Malik. They’re a sneaky team that needs a qb…although it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise if you watched Jared Goff at all last season. I know Carolina needs OL help…but if Rhule wants to keep his job, he needs to draft a qb. I’m hearing lots of rumors that Thibodeaux is sliding…I would not be surprised to see him fall out of the Top 10 entirely.
The floor for Sauce is the Vikings, who would be ecstatic if he were there at 12. One name moving up the boards is Jermaine Johnson. If the Texans miss out on Malik, I think they’ll think long and hard about a qb at 13. Jordan Davis makes a ton of sense for Philly…instant succession planning from Fletcher Cox, who’s entering his 10th year in the league.
The Chargers are in a prime position to draft Williams. He doesn’t need to come in right away, and can take time to fully heal from his (Top 10 stealing) injury. Late round offensive lineman are never the sexiest pick, but Penning and Linderbaum are going to makes teams happy. Green Bay has to pick a receiver, or Karen Rodgers is going straight to the manager.
The Bills respond to Miami’s acquisition of Tyreek Hill by drafting Andrew Booth. Booth is arguably the most press-ready corner in the draft, and with Booth and a healthy Tre’Davious White, Buffalo’s secondary would instantly become tops in the league, and they’ll need it, especially when Tom Brady comes back into the AFC East. Free agency is still going to affect the draft. If (read: when) Kansas City trades for James Bradberry, their need to draft secondary help evaporates. One man’s pro-day injury is another team’s treasure, as Detroit could be in a prime position to draft Ojabo, and he, coupled with Malik, could be the offensive and defensive cornerstones for the Lions to build around.
All the loyal reader
s of the Big Red Sports Machine are probably shaking their head s right now, saying, “GK, you’ve always told us to avoid the pre-free agency mock draft. I mean, you’ve left us voice messages saying it’s fictionalized, masturbatory garbage, designed only for click bait purposes, and that we’re lesser people for falling for it. Is it time for you to start putting mocks out now?” The answer, loyal reader, is yes. It’s time. America needs all the mock drafts it can get. We need to take our minds off of crippling inflation, soaring gas prices, and World War III, and oh yeah, that pandemic thing. I’m sure all that stuff will work itself out.
However, your point is well taken, and you should take this (and every other mock right now) with a HUGE grain of salt. There are some major pieces still floating around (Deshaun Watson, Amari Cooper, etc.) which will heavily impact the draft. But for now, let’s ignore the hellscape of our world and dive into this mock. We use the NFL Mock Draft Database for our mock draft needs.
This looks like a solid Top 8 for me, with each team getting need and value. With the Jags placing the franchise tag on Cam Robinson (again), that’s a clear signal they’re going defense, and Hutchinson gets the nod over Thibodeaux, based on collegiate production and scheme. At Michigan, he played in a pro-style defense. He is ready to come in and be an instant impact player. The Jags won’t screw up this pick, but will probably screw up his development, which is a very Jag thing to do (looking at you, Trevor).
Book this: Malik Willis will be a Top 10 pick. The question is where. His ceiling starts at 2, and goes no lower than 9. If (read: when) Deshaun Watson gets traded, he’s for sure in play at 3. If not, Carolina has to take him. After the Sam Darnold experience, Matt Rhule needs a QB1 to keep his job.
Giants would love it if Ekwonu is there at 4. Both of their picks should address the line. If you see a mock that has them drafting a receiver or quarterback, stop reading immediately. Daboll and co. are going to build this team the right way, and that starts with the line and outward.
Atlanta taking Wilson at 8 makes too much sense. Anyone want to bet on it?
If Seattle misses out on Malik Wilson, look for them to re-start the Legion of Boom with the best corner in the draft. The Jets are in a great spot with two picks in the Top 10. They could go OL at 4, but there’s good depth at OL, so that allows them to grab Hamilton at 4 and address the line at 10. Washington’s a spot where we could see another qb come off the board, but with Carson Wentz coming back to the NFC East, Washington can address other needs. Philly gets two absolute maulers. Linderbaum is getting devalued because he plays center, but he’s the best offensive lineman in the draft.
The back end of the first round is where we can see some other qbs coming off the board. Corral to New Orleans makes a ton of sense, and I think Pittsburgh is locked in on Pickett and his freakishly small hands. Devin Lloyd, Nakobe Dean, and George Karlaftis are all Top 15 talent, but the OL depth is going to push these guys down.
Whoever draft Jameson Williams is going to get an absolute stud. He would’ve been the top WR taken if he didn’t tear his ACL in the National Championship Game (another reason turf sucks) but he should bounce back to form. It’s worth the risk for the Bills, and when paired with Diggs will give the Bills a one-two combo that harkens back to the Reed/Lofton era.
With Green Bay resigning Karen Rodgers, this pick has to be a receiver. Likewise, the Bengals have to go offensive line, and protect Joe Burrow. Jared Goff is clearly not the long term (or short term) answer in Detroit, so they would be wise to grab Ridder here.
Can’t make it to The Machine’s Draft Day Party? Well, that sucks for you. But have no fear…we got your back. “How can I make the Draft better?”, you ask yourself in amazement. By playing The Big Red Sports Machine’s Draft Day Drinking Game. It’s fun, it’s easy, guaranteed to impress the ladies, and you can play at home or at your favorite watering hole. Here are the rules:
1. Draft catchphrases. There are certain phrases you only hear during the Draft. Why? We don’t know, but we love them. For this reason alone, we give ESPN the slight lean over the NFL Network for your Draft Day coverage. That, and, Kiper. Duh, winning!
The following phrases are worth a shot of beer:
- Raw talent
- Off-the-field/Character issues
- Live arm
- High motor
- Straight line speed
- Great Value/Upside
- Dual threat
- System quarterback
- Pocket presence
- Best player available
- Intangibles or Measurables
- War Room
- New Regime
- Edge Rusher
- Gets to the Second Level
- Quick feet
- Plays in Space
- Silky hips
- Thick frame
- Plays in the box (hey oh!)
- Backside protector (hey oh!)
New for 2021:
- Generational talent
- COVID (you’re going to get drunk)
2. Videos/references. Each of these are beer-finishing worthy:
- Reference to Mel’s hair
- Video of Goodell’s basement
- Player with matching suit and mask
- First shot of Drew Rosenhaus in his newest client’s living room
- First player to cry when their name is called
- Reference to when Tom Brady was drafted (we’ll also accept Brady’s Combine picture)
- Reference to Aaron Rodgers draft day slide
- Video of Bill Tobin’s infamous “who the hell is Mel Kiper?” interview during the ’94 Draft
- And this:
3. On the Clock Chug. When your team is on the clock, you have to finish a full beer before the pick is called. Note: if your team trades down, they’re on the clock twice, meaning two full beers. Cowboy up, it’s the Draft!
Basically, if it doesn’t look like this, you’re doing it wrong.
It’s that time, folks. All of our
weekends drinking beer and watching tape hard work gets put to the test. The Draft is here [cue: music]! Cleveland, get ready to rock! Our final mock has some surprises for you. Let’s get to it.
After the Top 2, it’s anyone’s guess. If you’re a Niners fan, start drinking now. I think they’ll come to their sense and go with Lance (and if so, the Mac Jones slide begins). If I’m a Bengals fan (or Joe Burrow’s knee) I’m really hoping they come to their senses and draft Penei Sewell. That’s the smart choice…but Ja’Marr Chase may be too tempting to pass up. Plus, there is a lot of OL depth, so it’s not completely unreasonable to take the consensus #1 receiver and then shore up the line in Round 2, say someone like Teven Jenkins or Wyatt Davis. Also, I think Detroit ends up with Parsons, and they’d love to be able to trade back a few spots and get him.
Denver misses out on Trey Lance, but end up with the Surtain, rookie DPY. Jerry Jones misses out on Surtain, but Horn is not a bad consolation prize. The Giants push all their chips in on Danny Dimes. I think their first two picks will be offense, with OL in the 2nd (wait, is it a good thing to mimic the Bengals???). Philly better order a truck load of Muscle Milk and peanut butter for Devonta Smith. I’ve had Kwity Paye as the first Edge off the board in all my prior mocks, but I think Jaelan Phillips has a shot to take the prize. Another flyer up the draft boards (and on the field) is Zaven Collins. Put him on the defense with JJ Watt and Malcolm Butler, and you have speed and power at all three levels.
The Mac Jones slide ends. Riverboat Ron takes another gamble. At least Mac will get to learn from Fitzpatrick (did you know he want to Harvard)? I actually can’t find fault with any of these picks. Each fill a gaping hole.
Lots of talk of Caleb Farley falling out of the first round…but I think he still goes. His floor should be the Saints. Baltimore needs to land a OL, and if Darrishaw is still there they are running to the podium. Buffalo’s offense will go high octane with Etienne in the backfield.
Follow us on Twitter as we live tweet the shit out of the Draft. Cheers!
Happy Draft Eve! The mocks will start flying, as the smokescreens start to settle, and teams set in to the war room. Let’s get right to action.
Reports are the Niners are unsure what quarterback to draft, but I’m not buying it. They made this
boneheaded, not well thought out, multi-year organizational setback franchise altering trade with one person in mind…and their institutional arrogance will keep them drafting Mac Jones. Pitts to the Falcons makes sense, especially with Julio rumors abound, but I disagree. Taking a TE at #4 is too high. Period. [sidebar: name me the top 3 tight ends in the NFL right now, and tell me where they were drafted] (spoiler alert: not in the first round). [second sidebar: name me the top 3 tight ends of all-time, and tell me where they were drafted] (spoiler alert: not in the top 10). Even with the more modern trend of tight ends as receivers, the positional value is just not there at #4.
Roid Rage is right on when he notes qb-needy teams will need to leap frog Denver, which makes the Lions at 7 (and Panthers at 8) prime candidates to trade down.
The Broncos will end up with a quarterback, and they’re hoping they can stay at 9 to get one. If Rashawn Slater’s on the board, he’s an absolute must for the Giants. Reports are that David Gettleman is in love with Devonta Smith, but 166 pounds??? He should’ve put some rocks in his shoes at his weigh in. I’ve been hearing a lot of chatter on Jaycee Horn rising up. Could be in play for any of the NFC East teams from 10-12.
Edge rushers are kind of flying under the radar, but I think they have a chance to be the most impact-ready position in the Draft. The more tape I watch of Jaelan Phillips, the more I like. The Jets may be tempted to double up on offense in the first round…but new Head Coach Robert Saleh comes from the defensive side of the ball…and needs to build a complete team.
got completely fleeced pulled off a trade with Kansas City, and is now in the market for an offensive lineman. If you’re a Chiefs fan, you got to love this trade. Sure, you don’t have a first round pick, but you now have Orlando Brown, a proven pro-bowler, who instantly steps in at Left Tackle. Plus, he’s only 24. Elsewhere, Roid Rage is close to drafting Travis Etienne to the Bills, but I’m already sold. I’m telling you. Etienne is Dalvin Cook 2.0. Book it.
A new week. A new mock. We’re under two weeks away from the show. A lot of changes to the big board, as teams are coming back from pro-day visits and starting their pre-war room negotiations. Let’s get right to the action, once again, using the NFL Mock Draft Database Simulator. Buckle up!
Again, no changes to 1-3. I’m a believer the Niners are going to draft Mac Jones. That’s the biggest gamble in the draft, especially after what San Fran gave up to move up to #3. I also think the Falcons are not going do draft a quarterback for a couple of reasons. One, they just restructured Matt Ryan’s contract last month…spreading out $21m in guaranteed money over the next 3 years. He’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Two, he’s still playing at a high level. He threw for over 4,500 yards and 26 tds last season, with a qb rating of 93.3. The Falcons would love to trade back, and target a cornerback or offensive lineman, but if not, there’s no harm in drafting Patrick Surtain II, the best corner in the draft. Elsewhere, Dan Campbell is looking to rip kneecaps off people. Micah Parsons is his guy.
Receivers and Edge rushers are going to dominate the middle half of the first round. Minnesota needs both, but they should have their pick of Edge rushers, and Kwity Paye edges out (pun intended) the rest. There would be some Belichick magic if Fields is around at 15, and I think it can happen. Fields is going to suffer (rightly or wrongly) from the stigma that OSU quarterbacks have not succeeded at the pro level. Not surprisingly, he’s gone on the offensive to explain how he’s different than his predecessors. His floor should be the Pats at 15, ironically the same spot Haskins was selected in 2019.
Rounding out the first round, I’m trying to explain to Bills Mafia that if Travis Etienne is on the board, he should be the pick. You heard it hear first: Travis Etienne is Dalvin Cook 2.0. However, the Bills need to get younger on the defensive side, as both Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison are on the wrong side of 30. Elsewhere, there are a few teams that I am locked into with their first round pick, and Kansas City is one of them. This pick has to be offensive line, particularly at tackle, as both starting tackle from last year (Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz) are gone.