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!