Andrew Diaz's Mock Draft 2.0
Another shot at this.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Alabama Offensive Tackle Evan Neal: This pick is becoming a lock the closer we get to draft time because teams are starting to realize that if you want to succeed, you need to keep your quarterback upright. Neal is the best pass protector in this draft and is a mountain of a man. No brainer for the rebuilding Jaguars here at number one.
2. Detroit Lions: Michigan Edge Rusher Aidan Hutchinson: The Lions are building a tough as nails squad behind head coach Dan Campbell and headlined by Frank Ragnow and Penei Sewell, now it’s time to add a badass pass rusher and his names Aidan Hutchinson. Hutchinson posted 62 tackles and 14 sacks last season with the Wolverines and was a Heisman finalist.
Yeah, he didn’t play great vs Georgia, but players have games like that and when you’re your teams best player, offenses are going to game plan around you. Hutchinson could help the Lions turn the corner and push them to win games.
3. Houston Texans: Notre Dame Safety Kyle Hamilton: Hands down, Kyle Hamilton is the best player in this years draft. Houston is in need of rebuilding there defense and there’s no better way to start than by drafting a hard hitting, versatile, eye in the sky. Hamiltons football IQ is through the roof and can play high safety, in the nickel, or even in the box. Great pick to move Houston in the right direction.
4. New York Jets: North Carolina State Offensive Tackle Ikem Ekwonu: Do the Jets need a lot? Yes. Should protection be their top priority? Yes. Taking Ekwonu here, who is LARGE, to be on the other side of Mekhi Becton will give Zack Wilson all the time in the world to throw the ball. They have the tenth pick as well, but by that time Ekwonu would be off the board so it’s good to take him now.
5. New York Giants: Oregon Edge Rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux: Much like the Jets, the Giants have A LOT to work on and they need to start by taking one of the best defenders in this years draft. Thibodeaux is long and is great at transitioning speed to power. He showed it in 2021 when he made 49 tackles with 7 sacks. If you put him with Leonard Williams and Dexter Williams then he could really thrive.
6. Carolina Panthers: Ole Miss Quarterback Matt Corral: Barring a big trade for Kirk Cousins, Carolina will be in the market for a quarterback when the draft rolls around and Corral is the perfect fit for them. He’s great on his feet and has a big arm that pairs well with Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore, and Tommy Tremble. Ever since Newton left, quarterbacks been uncertain and Corral could be that fix needed in Charlotte.
7. New York Giants (via CHI): Mississippi State Offensive Tackle Charles Cross: Did I mention that the Giants are a train wreck? Ok yeah I covered that. They’ve brought in a premiere edge rusher in Thibodeaux and now they’re addressing their needs on the offensive line. Charles Cross is 6’5, 310 pounds and can play both tackle and guard so his versatility helps the Giants in every which way. If they can land these two players in the top ten then Giants fans should be happy.
8. Atlanta Falcons: Purdue Edge Rusher George Karlaftis: Karlaftis is the most underrated player in this years draft because every analyst is all over Hutchinson and Thibodeaux, but Karlaftis is a STUD. He tallied 36 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles on a dismal Purdue team. Atlanta recently dropped Dante Fowler and need a premiere edge rusher and Karlaftis could terrorize offensive tackles in the NFC South.
9. Denver Broncos: LSU Cornerback Derek Stingley Jr.: There is an argument to be made that Stingley is the best corner in this years draft, I’m not making that argument, but there is one. He has great hips in coverage and will thrive on the opposite side of Pat Surtain. A young corner duo in a tough receiver division is what Denver needs. I’d hate to have Denver on the schedule if I’m playing against Stingley and Surtain.
10. New York Jets (via SEA): Cincinnati Cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner: Now here’s the best corner in the draft, Sauce Gardner. Gardner has been lockdown his whole time at Cincinnati and after addressing their offensive tackle need at four, they can get a great defensive back at ten. Saleh is a defensive minded coach and getting Gardner in the hands of a coach like him would be great for both the Jets and Gardners career.
11. Washington Commanders: Pittsburgh Quarterback Kenny Pickett: Unless Washington trades for Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers, they’ll need a QB1. Picketts smart when he scrambles and has a big arm so pairing him with Scary Terry and Curtis Samuel would make the NFC East shake in their boots. Washington has missed on their last two first round quarterback picks in Haskins and RG3 so let’s hope they don’t miss again.
12. Minnesota Vikings: Iowa Center Tyler Linderbaum: While corner is a big need for my Vikings, taking Andrew Booth is a reach and Tyler Linderbaum is the best available. Garrett Bradbury and Mason Cole were terrible this season and Linderbaum is an athletic freak and one of the most talented offensive line prospects in years. If Minnesota lands the Iowa center then they’ll have the cornerstones of their offensive line in Linderbaum and O’Neill.
13. Cleveland Browns: Ohio State Wide Receiver Garrett Wilson: Losing Odell sucks, but the potential of losing Jarvis Landry sucks even more. The Browns were down last year and Baker Mayfield did not look like “the guy”, but with a receiver like Garrett Wilson coupled with Jarvis Landry and Austin Hooper then Mayfield could return to his 2020 season form.
Wilson has great hands and is quick off the ball. This addition will take eyes off just Landry and make for everyone to get open.
14. Baltimore Ravens: Georgia Edge Rusher Travon Walker: Baltimore lost Matt Judon in free agency last season and Pernell McPhee, Calais Campbell, and Derek Wolfe are all getting older so there pass rush will continue to take a hit. In 2020, Baltimore tallied 39 team sacks and in 2021 that dropped to 34. Walker made 37 tackles in 2021 with Georgia along with 6 sacks.
His style of play would work with Baltimore because he can play three tech, five tech, and even a wide seven a lot like Arik Armstead. Super versatile and a great pickup at 14.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (via MIA): Clemson Cornerback Andrew Booth Jr.: The Eagles have a good corner number one in Darius Slay, but he’s getting older and Avonte Maddox isn’t really the guy you want following a top receiver around. Booth is the third best corner in a STACKED draft class as he totaled 37 tackles, 5 pass breakups, and 3 interceptions for Clemson.
Philly plays against teams with good receiving duos in Dallas with Lamb and Cooper and Washington with Scary Terry and Samuel. A good two cornerbacks is needed if the Eagles want to take over the division.
16. Philadelphia Eagles (via IND): Michigan Edge Rusher David Ojabo: And the Eagles are back on the clock and taking another defender. It’s almost the same scenario as the pick prior; Brandon Graham is getting older and Derek Barnett isn’t the best option as a teams primary pass rusher. David Ojabo is a big bodied player at 6’6, 250 pounds and will be used on pass rushing downs to get the Philadelphia offense back on the field. He’s got good quickness and bend that has the tools to succeed in the league.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Northern Iowa Offensive Tackle Trevor Penning: Penning is mean, nasty, and plays through the echo of the whistle. Los Angeles built up a good offensive line last season with older player, but Bryan Bulaga is on his last leg and Penning could replace him at right tackle. The young duo of Penning and Slater could keep Herbert upright against players like Maxx Crosby, Frank Clark, and Bradley Chubb. Penning’s mean play is fun to watch and would add edge to the Chargers offense.
18. New Orleans Saints: Arkansas Wide Receiver Treylon Burks: Michael Thomas has been hit or miss the past few years and Emmanuel Sanders is old so rebuilding the receiving core in Nola is key. Treylon Burks was electric on a really good Arkansas team this year as he caught 66 balls going for 1,104 yards and 11 touchdowns. He’s a deep threat that can take the top off any defensive backs and kill you underneath. This is a great pick for whoever is throwing the ball in the Big Easy next season.
19. Philadelphia Eagles: Texas A&M Guard Kenyon Green: Isaac Seumalo isn’t very good and Brandon Brooks is getting up in age so adding a lean, mean, mauler in the trenches is vital to protect Jalen Hurts who has an inclination to scramble. Green is extremely versatile as he’s started games at both guard positions and left tackle. He only allowed three pressures all season in a very good SEC that had tremendous defensive linemen.
Green is probably the second best interior player in the draft and would be a massive lifeline to the Eagles offensive unit.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Liberty Quarterback Malik Willis: Pittsburgh may want to ride the Haskins train, or they may want to win games. If they choose to win games then they’ll draft the dynamic scrambler Malik Willis. Willis with a young receiving core including Claypool, Johnson, and Washington could be a threat to the AFC North. His rushing ability along with pushing the ball down the field makes for a future Pro Bowl player.
21. New England Patriots: Georgia Linebacker Nakobe Dean: I was at the Bills vs Patriots playoff game in Buffalo, and the position that Josh Allen exposed the most was the New England linebacking core. Hightower is too old and Harvey Langi and Brandon King kind of stink. Dean is a true linebacker number one and will rejuvenate the Patriots aging front seven with his elite speed and energy.
22. Las Vegas Raiders: Georgia Defensive Tackle Jordan Davis: Vegas has tremendous edge rushers in Yannick Ngakoue and Maxx Crosby, but they’d benefit greatly from the addition of a larger than life defensive tackle. Davis is quick, nimble, and eats up double teams like Akiem Hicks. Davis tallied 32 tackles and 2 sacks for Georgia and was the reason players like Nakobe Dean and Travon Walker could thrive.
23. Arizona Cardinals: Washington Cornerback Trent McDuffie: This years draft class is loaded at the cornerback position and Trent McDuffie is a very good player. He made 35 tackles with 6 pass breakups in 2021 for UW and wasn’t targeted very much because of how good he plays in man. The NFC West is a war zone trying to guard D.K. Metcalf and Cooper Kupp so bringing McDuffie in to rotate with Byron Murphy and Marco Wilson is huge.
24. Dallas Cowboys: Georgia Defensive Tackle Devonte Wyatt: Much like Vegas, Dallas has good edge rushers in Randy Gregory, Micah Parsons, and Demarcus Lawrence, but lack in pressure up the middle. The Cowboys four rotating defensive tackles last season tallied 4.5 sacks while Devonte Wyatt tallied 2.5 sacks on a stacked Georgia defensive line. Wyatt will elevate the play of others around him and could be the key piece in elevating the Cowboys defense.
25. Buffalo Bills: USC Wide Receiver Drake London: Cole Beasley digressed last season and Gabe Davis turned into a solid player. While it may seem like receiver is the last thing they need, Drake London at this pick is unreal value. He reeled in 88 balls, 1,084, and 7 touchdowns for the Trojans last year and would be an awesome number two pass catcher for the Bills.
A Diggs, Davis, and London trio with a huge arm like Josh Allen throwing the ball will be a scary sight for every team in the league. This pick elevates not just Buffalos offense, but their whole team.
26. Tennessee Titans: Utah Linebacker Devin Lloyd: The Titans are on the lower side of the cap and both Jayon Brown and Rashaan Evans are set to hit the market. If both walk then they’ll have a crater in the center of their defense that Will Compton can’t fill. Taking Devin Lloyd here works to help fill there shoes, but it won’t be the quick fix.
In 2021, Lloyd tallied 111 tackles with 6 pass breakups, 8 sacks, and 4 interceptions. He has a nose for the ball and is effective on all three downs.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Alabama Wide Receiver Jameson Williams: Gronk, Howard, and Godwin are set to become free agents, and with Tampa Bays limited cap space, they have other positions to address like resigning Ryan Jensen, Playoff Lenny, and JPP. Williams tore his ACL late in the college season and his recovery could lead right into the NFL season.
Williams would be a good deep ball threat on the opposite side of Mike Evans and could even work in the slot with Scotty Miller. Whoever is throwing the ball for the Buccaneers next season gets a gem of a pass catcher in Williams.
28. Green Bay Packers: Florida State Edge Rusher Jermaine Johnson: Edge is always a good position to have depth at and while Green Bay could use offensive line help or a receiver, Jermaine Johnson at 28 is an awesome value pick. He was a spark plug for the Seminoles in 2021 when he made 70 tackles with 12 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. It’d be a great learning experience to have him behind Preston and Zadarius Smith for a season and develop as a pass rusher
29. Miami Dolphins (via SF): Ohio State Wide Receiver Chris Olave: Mike McDaniel is an offensive minded coach that turned Deebo Samuel into the leagues most dynamic player, so he’ll want to take a player that he can use on his side of the ball. Chris Olave has big play potential as he reeled in 65 balls with 13 touchdowns for 936 yards this past season. The OSU alum will be a great companion piece for Jaylen Waddle and DeVante Parker. This could be a new three headed monster for Tua to get the ball to.
30. Kansas City Chiefs: Penn State Wide Receiver Jahan Dotson: Jahan Dotson is the most underrated pass catcher in this years draft as he made 91 grabs in a Penn State uniform last season going for 1,182 yards and 12 touchdowns. KC already has a plethora of weapons, but it doesn’t hurt to have more. They figured out their offensive line issues and worked on their front seven so it’s time to give Mahomes another deep ball threat.
31. Cincinnati Bengals: Boston College Guard Zion Johnson: The Bengals three biggest needs are offensive line, offensive line, and offensive line. Having a pick this late in the draft is tough because a lot of the top offensive lineman will be off the board, but Zion Johnson out of BC is a great value pick. He was an All American this season and would fill a massive void on the Bengals interior. He’s a mauler in the trenches and has finesse when it comes to pass protection.
32. Detroit Lions (via LAR): North Carolina Quarterback Sam Howell: The Lions landed their big time pass rusher at second overall, now it’s time to take their QB of the future with Sam Howell. Look, we all know that Jared Goff isn’t going to cut the mustard much longer with Detroit and Howell could turn the tides for the Lions.
Last season, Howell showed off through the air and on his feet. He passed for 3,056 yards and 24 touchdowns while simultaneously rushing for 828 yards and 11 touchdowns. I think this is a steal getting Howell at 32 and Hutchinson at 2.