Yes, it’s yet ANOTHER mock draft. But out of all of the mock drafts you have surely read between now and the last several months, this one will be the most accurate to what happens on Thursday. Or at least, that’s the hope. Here is how we think the top 10 picks will shake down at the NFL Draft Thursday night in Cleveland.
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1. Jacksonville Jaguars – QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
There are sure to be plenty of surprises on Thursday. This pick will not be one of them. Trevor Lawrence will be picked by the Jaguars, ushering a new era along with Urban Meyer in central Florida.
2. New York Jets – QB Zach Wilson, BYU
While not AS sure of a thing as Lawrence being selected first, it seems like a near-lock that Wilson will go second to the Jets. Another team with a new coach, New York is hoping that they can get Wilson to hit his ceiling in the Big Apple to prevent yet another quarterback search three years from now.
3. San Francisco 49ers – QB Mac Jones, Alabama
This is where the draft begins. After making the trade involving future first round picks to move up to number three, the 49ers are set on taking a quarterback. The question is, however, which one?
Justin Fields has seemingly been ruled out according to the latest reports, so it comes down to Jones or Trey Lance. While it may be hard to believe, Jones is the increasingly likely pick for the Niners. With a coach like Kyle Shanahan, he just needs a signal-caller to do the little things correctly and follow his plays to a tee, which is Jones in a nutshell.
4. Atlanta Falcons – TE Kyle Pitts, Florida
The Falcons will continue to field offers for the fourth pick. But they can also explore the possibility of a QB depending on how many years they feel Matt Ryan has left. Or, they can stand and take the top non-QB available.
If you ask the experts, the universal answer is Pitts. A freak of a prospect, Pitts would be a huge weapon for Atlanta, giving them a spectacular group of receivers that Ryan can use to make one last run.
5. Cincinnati Bengals – WR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU
For weeks now, it seems like the Bengals were stuck between Chase and Oregon’s Penei Sewell, the top o-lineman in the draft. However, as the draft inches closer, it appears Cincy is leaning firmly in the direction of the wideout.
Chase is the top receiver in a loaded draft class and would once again be catching passes from Burrow, his old teammate in Baton Rouge. While the need for pass protection is great, I don’t think the Bengals will say no to getting a dynamic number one receiver for their franchise quarterback.
6. Miami Dolphins – WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
Over in South Beach, the Dolphins have a glaring need for pass-catchers. After trading out of the third spot before trading back up to pick six, they have a chance to land either Alabama receiver, reuniting them with young QB Tua Tagovailoa.
Ultimately, I think Miami has more interest in Waddle. He is an all-around weapon who just makes big plays happen. I wouldn’t rule out Devonta Smith by any means, but it seems Waddle would be the preference for the Fins.
7. Los Angeles Chargers (trade with Lions) – OT Penei Sewell, Oregon
Our first trade has appeared, and it isn’t for a quarterback. Rather, it’s the Chargers moving up from pick 13 all the way to seven to select Sewell, the consensus top o-lineman in the draft.
With both the Bengals and Dolphins passing on Sewell and teams like the Panthers and Broncos coming up, the Chargers will make an aggressive move to land Sewell while the Lions accumulate some much-needed picks for their incoming rebuild. The Oregon left tackle should be a nice present for last year’s Rookie of the Year, Justin Herbert.
8. Carolina Panthers – CB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama
This might be one of the more surprising picks of the first round, since many have assumed the Panthers would lean toward the offensive side of the ball. But with Sam Darnold under center and Sewell off the board, Carolina will “settle” for the best player available in Surtain.
Surtain is the draft’s top corner; a guy would be an easy day one starter for Carolina. While the idea of a trade-down will be talked out up until the pick, don’t be surprised if they end up staying right where they are and getting a good player as a result.
9. Denver Broncos – LB Micah Parsons, Penn State
This was considered a landing spot for one of the two quarterbacks left on the board. However, with Wednesday’s acquisition of Teddy Bridgewater, the likelihood of Denver going QB, at least in the first round, decreased significantly.
That being said, Parsons is a guy Denver could see taking over for Von Miller as the future Hall of Famer gets older. With a defensive head coach in Vic Fangio, defense remains the identity for the Broncos, making sense for Parsons to be their high-upside pick at number nine.
10. Dallas Cowboys – CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
Count the Cowboys as a team who is disappointed Surtain is off the board. However, Big D is still addressing their biggest need at the corner with a solid prospect in Horn.
Horn has the tough, physical style that a weak Dallas defense needs after last year’s atrocious results. Although the idea of trading up for Pitts will be tempting, or even selecting Northwestern OT Rashawn Slater (which has gained some recent traction), the Boys get their biggest need filled with their first pick.