NFL Mock Draft 3.0: First 9 picks offensive players amid QB frenzy

The NFL Draft is finally here. In the days leading up to the big day, speculation around the league has reached an all-time high. Whether it be seeing who the San Francisco 49ers traded up for, which prospects are going to fall, and what team will reach for a certain player, the unknowns have everyone intrigued. What team will come out of the QB-filled draft with their Mitch Trubisky while another team waits and gets there Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson? What team or teams will risk their future to trade up in the draft? We take a look at everything (including a couple of potential trades) in our final mock draft before the action unfolds tonight.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15) – QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson

Pick Previously: QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson

Trevor Lawrence has the Jaguars playbook already and, the only question would be how long ago he got it, not if he’s the pick here. Lawrence has been the first pick since he declared for the draft, and nothing has or will change. Trevor Lawrence is the franchise QB for Jacksonville moving forward.

2. New York Jets (2-14) – QB Zach Wilson, BYU

Pick Previously: QB Zach Wilson, BYU

As the draft comes closer, people start to go away from their earlier predictions due to prospect fatigue, but not with Zach Wilson and the Jets. Wilson has reached out to former Jets QBs Mark Sanchez, Chad Pennington, and Josh McCown for advice on playing QB for the Jets. Wilson didn’t do this with other teams’ former QBs, so lock this one in.

3. San Francisco 49ers (6-10: via Miami via Houston) – QB Mac Jones, Alabama

Pick Previously: QB Mac Jones, Alabama

Since Sunday, the situation surrounding the third overall pick in San Francisco has continuously changed with rumors. At first, only Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch knew the selection and, it was staying that way. Just the following day rumors; that Shanahan wants Mac Jones, but the scouting department is pushing for Trey Lance and that Justin Fields is out of consideration.

So it’s more than likely between Mac Jones and Trey Lance, as it was reported that the 49ers originally traded up intending to take Jones, but Lance has come into conversation over time. In the 49ers pre-draft press conference, Kyle Shanahan said they wanted to get a starting QB and also that they are going to take the guy that best fits them. Both those statements point towards Mac Jones being the pick for Shanahan, as Trey Lance could be more of a raw prospect than Mac Jones. I am under the belief that there is disagreement within the 49ers organization with Shanahan wanting Jones, while Lynch and the rest of the staff wants Trey Lance. It could make for an interesting season if that’s the case, but Shanahan sticks to his guns here and snags Jones off the board.

4. Atlanta Falcons (4-12) – QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State University

Pick Previously: QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State

Before the Falcons pre-draft press conference, it seemed like a done deal that Florida Tight End Kyle Pitts would be the Falcons pick at 4. However, certain things said by new General Manager Terry Fontenot and new Head Coach Arthur Smith bring that idea into question. Fontenot said that their pick heavily depends on the 49ers’ pick at 3. Why would the 49ers QB pick matter if they were going to pick TE Kyle Pitts? That makes me think that they have one of the QB prospects ahead of Pitts on their draft board. The Falcons are rumored to have done a lot of homework on Lance and if he gets to the Falcons at four, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them grab the talented signal caller.

5. Cincinnati Bengals (4-11-1) WR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU

Pick Previously: WR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU

Reuniting the LSU tandem of Joe Burrow and Chase is just too appealing to ignore, especially with Chase’s unique skill set. Adding Chase alongside second-year receiver Tee Higgins and 26-year-old Tyler Boyd for Joe Burrow to throw to will give them a much needed receiving option to compliment those two. With a deep offensive line class, the Bengals will have the ability to grab a quality-level tackle later on in the draft. Chase will hope to replace the production that early career A.J. Green was able to produce in Cincinnati.

6. Miami Dolphins (6-10: via Philadelphia) – TE Kyle Pitts, Florida

Pick Previously: OT Penei Sewell, Oregon

Drafting Kyle Pitts at 6 would be the dream scenario for the Dolphins after trading back to 12 and then back up to 6 while still getting their guy. Pitts will add another much-needed vertical threat for Tua if they are looking for him to develop into their franchise QB. If Pitts wants to become a complete tight end, he will need to develop as a blocker. However, that isn’t something that won’t stop Pitts from becoming a superstar at the next level, as he has all the traits needed, and then some, to develop into one of the best tight ends in the game.

7. Los Angeles Chargers (7-9; via Proposed Trade with Detroit*) – OT Penei Sewell, Oregon

Pick Previously: Detroit – TE Kyle Pitts, Florida

Proposed Trade: Detroit receives: 2021 1st (15), 2022 1st, 2021 3rd (77), 2021 6th (198) Los Angeles Chargers receive: 2021 1st (7) and 2021 5th (153)

With Penei Sewell falling, the Chargers won’t be able to resist themselves from trading up to reunite the top tackle in the draft with his old teammate Justin Hebert. Sewell is easily one of the highest upside prospects in this draft, and will help shore up the Chargers porous o-line. Sewell is still raw in some areas, but it won’t be anything that will hurt him significantly, and he should slide right into the starting lineup come next season.

8. Carolina Panthers (5-11) QB Justin Fields, Ohio State

Pick Previously: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State

Many think since the Panthers traded for Sam Darnold a few weeks ago that they are no longer in the market to draft a QB at 8. That is not the case and, if a QB they like falls to them at 8, I expect them to take that QB if they don’t trade back. Fields would provide Darnold with competition and an alternative route at QB if Darnold doesn’t pan out.

9. Denver Broncos (5-11) – OT Rashawn Slater, Northwestern

Pick Previously: LB Micah Parsons, Penn State

With trade for Teddy Bridgewater just one day before the draft, it seems that the Broncos saw the draft playing out as it has in this mock draft thus far. No 1st round worthy QBs seem likely to fall to them at 9, and so with a high-level prospect on the board in Rashawn Slater, it would be foolish to pass on him here. Slater offers versatility to play both tackle and guard at the next level, which will help the Broncos heading toward the future under new General Manager George Paton.

10. Dallas Cowboys (6-10) – CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina

Pick Previously: CB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama

It has been rumored that the Cowboys are split between the top 2 cornerbacks in the draft, Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain II. Jaycee Horn has been a recent riser in the many draft rooms due to his athletic ability and upside at the position. Cowboys Head Coach Mike McCarthy has a connection to Horn’s father, Joe Horn, who he coached in New Orleans, and Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn has a connection to Horn’s college Head Coach Will Muschamp which could play a role in the selection of Horn here.

11. New York Giants (6-10) – EDGE Kwity Paye, Michigan

Pick Previously: EDGE Kwity Paye, Michigan

Paye in an absolute freak of nature, and arguably one of the most athletic prospects in this year’s draft. Paye is a prospect that I see being a better pro than he was in college, which is saying a lot as he wasn’t a pushover in college by any means. Even at 6’2, 261 lbs, Paye displays that he can move as well as some linebackers and that he is as versatile as any player in this draft with the ability to play inside, outside, and drop back into coverage if needed.

12. Philadelphia Eagles (4-11-1; via Miami, via San Francisco) – CB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama

Pick Previously: WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama

The Eagles have been heavily rumored to be looking to trade up in the draft to take a cornerback ahead of their division rival, the Dallas Cowboys. In this situation, they can get one of the top two cornerbacks in the draft with Patrick Surtain II out of Alabama. Surtain II is an amazing corner with the size, strength, and speed needed to be an elite corner in the NFL, and he ends up falling to the Eagles at 12 here.

13. Detroit Lions (5-11: via Proposed Trade with Chargers*) – LB Micah Parsons, Penn State

Pick Previously: Chargers – OT Rashawn Slater, Northwestern

Proposed Trade: Detroit receives: 2021 1st (15), 2022 1st, 2021 3rd (77), 2021 6th (198) Los Angeles Chargers receive: 2021 1st (7) and 2021 5th (153)

The Lions can trade back and get the player they were possibly going to be taking with their original pick at 7, which sounds like a massive win to me for the Lions. Parsons will be a versatile chess piece for a rebuilding Lions team that is looking to be tough, grinding out every play under new Head Coach Dan Campbell. Parsons will give them that type of player at the linebacker positions and, he can rush the passer as a bonus.

14. Minnesota Vikings (7-9) – OG/OT Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC

Pick Previously: OT Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech

The Vikings need help along their offensive line to further their success as an offense. Alijah Vera-Tucker will provide that and more for the Vikings as he has position versatility, playing both guard and tackle at a high level during his time at USC. So whether the Vikings feel he will help them more inside or outside, Vera-Tucker will be able to help them regardless where he lines up, unlike some of the other offensive line prospects in this draft.

15. New England Patriots (7-9) – WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama

Pick Previously: WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama

The last time the Patriots took a QB within the first two rounds of the draft was when they drafted Jimmy Garoppolo out of Eastern Illinois. Belichick reportedly never wanted to trade Garoppolo when he did and wanted to have him be his franchise QB moving forward. With the recent news that the 49ers are actively shopping Garappolo, why wouldn’t Belichick use this as an opportunity to bring him back in the fold? The Patriots have taken a long look at Waddle, including requesting additional information on him recently, he gets snagged at 15 as the Patriots continue to work on their QB situation. Waddle has been compared to the likes of Tyreek Hill due to his abilities as an explosive playmaker, and the Patriots can use all the playmaking they can get, making Waddle a logical pick.

16. Arizona Cardinals (8-8) – WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama

Pick Previously: CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina

The Cardinals have been open about wanting to provide Kyler Murray with as many offensive weapons as they possibly can, and DeVonta Smith dropping to them here at 16 allows them to do just that. There has been some concern with Smith due to his size, but that shouldn’t be an issue to the Cardinals after they drafted Kyler Murray, an undersized QB first just a few years ago.

17. Las Vegas Raiders (8-8) – OT Tevin Jenkins, Oklahoma State

Pick Previously: S Trevon Moehrig, TCU

There have been a few names swirling around the Raiders before this year’s draft. LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah from Notre Dame, OT Tevin Jenkins out of Oklahoma State, and S Trevon Moehrig out of TCU are consistently the three mentioned. Since Gruden returned, not many have been able to call his shot, as he often has come out of nowhere with his draft picks. This offseason, the Raiders have overhauled their offensive line and they continue to do here so by drafting Tevin Jenkins. Jenkins can play either tackle or guard and, with the Raiders having a hole at Right Tackle, Jenkins will be able to come in and make an impact right away.

18. Miami Dolphins (10-6) – LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame

Pick Previously: RB Najee Harris, Alabama

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah fits the hybrid linebacker-safety mold that the NFL has started to transition towards in recent years. JOK is also someone that Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores will love having on his defense as a do-it-all playmaker from sideline to sideline. After adding arguably the most dangerous playmaker in the draft with their first pick, they add an equally dangerous playmaker on the other side of the ball here at 18.

19. Washington Football Team (7-9) – OT Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech

Pick Previously: OG/OT Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC

After trading away franchise Left Tackle Trent Williams last offseason, the Football Team has had a hole at that position ever since. Darrisaw will be able to come right in and fill that hole for them from Day 1. Getting whoever ends up being Washington’s QB some added protection is easily this team’s biggest need, and they find a solution with Darrisaw falling to them at 19.

20. Chicago Bears (8-8) – CB Greg Newsome II, Northwestern

Pick Previously: WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota

Despite rumors that the Bears were looking to trade up into the top 10 to get one of the top QBs in this year’s draft, I don’t see them able to get it done. After having to release CB Kyle Fuller this offseason the Bears created an additional hole for themselves and will look to fill it with the nearby cornerback Greg Newsome II from Northwestern. Newsome II, if healthy and able to slightly bulk up, can be a productive corner at the next level due to his athletic abilities and production.

21. New Orleans Saints (12-4; via Proposed Trade with Colts* ) – CB Caleb Farley

Pick Previously: Colts – OT Samuel Cosmi, Texas

Proposed Trade: Saints receive: 2021 1st (21) Colts receive: 2021 1st (28), 2021 3rd (98) and 2021 (105)

The Saints have been rumored to be aggressively looking to trade up in the draft for a cornerback and while it would be only 7 spots, the Saints trade up to jump the Titans and select the Virginia Tech cornerback. Farley has some injury concerns with two back surgeries already in his football career and a number of other injuries, but the Saints are still interested, and make a trade up for him. Farley can be an elite cornerback, if he can stay healthy and while that may be a major concern for some teams, the Saints are desperate enough for a CB that they make the jump.

22. Tennessee Titans (11-5) – EDGE Jaelan Phillips, Miami

Pick Previously: CB Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech

Jaelan Phillips was once seen as the next generational pass-rusher when entering UCLA as a freshman. However, a forced medical retirement due to concussions at UCLA, followed by a transfer to Miami, uprooted those plans. Phillips has some of the highest upside in this draft and, if he can stay healthy, he will be a problem for offensive lines across the league.

23. New York Jets (2-14; via Seattle) – RB Travis Etienne, Clemson

Pick Previously: LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame

It has been rumored that the Jets are interested in Clemson running back Travis Etienne for their new offensive running scheme, led by new Offensive Coordinator Mike LaFleur. Etienne is a home-run hitter in the open field with the ability to catch the ball better than your average running back prospect, and he may be the answer to the Jets multi year issues at running back.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) – RB Najee Harris, Alabama

Pick Previously: LB Zaven Collins, Tulsa

Najee Harris to the Steelers has been the worst kept secret of this year’s draft season and, it isn’t close. The Steelers run game was one of the worst in the league last year and, they need a dynamic running back to come in and change that. Harris is a running-back with a unique skill set at his size with good hands and leaping ability.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15; via LA Rams) – EDGE Jayson Oweh, Penn State

Pick Previously: OT Tevin Jenkins, Oklahoma State

Urban Meyer has been clear in saying that the defensive line has to be figured out first and how important it is to having defensive success. Meyer also talks about speed and how important that is to success. The prospect that perfectly fits that mold is Penn State’s Jayson Oweh and Meyer even recruited Oweh out of high school at Ohio State. Oweh can come in and team up with Josh Allen to form a fearsome duo on the Jags d-line.

26. Cleveland Browns (11-5) – LB Zaven Collins, Tulsa

Pick Previously: CB Greg Newsome II, TCU

The Browns linebacking core isn’t a strength of there’s currently. However, by drafting Zaven Collins, they can further improve their defense that they worked on during free agency. Collins can be a defensive playmaker for the Browns, which would complete their defense if he can fully develop into the linebacker he has the potential to be.

27. Baltimore Ravens (11-5) – WR Terrace Marshall Jr., LSU

Pick Previously: EDGE Azeez Ojulari, Georgia

The Ravens have been rumored to be very interested in LSU wide receiver prospect Terrace Marshall Jr., and for good reason, as the Ravens had one of the worst wide receiver groups in the league last season. Marshall Jr. has the size and speed to line up outside, which would be a huge help for QB Lamar Jackson, who struggled to find open receivers at times last season.

28. Indianapolis Colts (11-5; via Proposed Trade with Saints*) – OT Dillon Radunz, North Dakota State University

Pick Previously: Saints – CB Eric Stokes, Georgia

Proposed Trade: Saints receive: 2021 1st (21) Colts receive: 2021 1st (28), 2021 3rd (98) and 2021 (105)

The Colts are able to trade down here with the Saints and still get a replacement at Left Tackle for Anthony Catanzaro, who retired earlier this offseason. Radunz offers versatility along the offensive line as some teams believe he would be able to play all 5 positions if need be, which is something that Colts GM Chris Ballard will value here.

29. Green Bay Packers (13-3) – WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota

Pick Previously: WR Elijah Moore, Ole Miss

Rashod Bateman falling to the Packers here would be a dream come true scenario for them. Bateman would be the tall, jump ball receiver opposite of Davante Adams that they are currently lacking in their offense. Bateman offers versatility as well being able to line up anywhere along the offense. Bateman could be a reliable target for Aaron Rodgers going forward if picked here.

30. Buffalo Bills (13-3) – EDGE Azeez Ojulari, Georgia

Pick Previously: EDGE Jayson Oweh, Penn State

If it were not for the medical red flags some would argue that Ojulari could be a top 15 pick in this year’s draft. Ojualri’s knee injuries could be a concern for many teams but, if he’s on the board here, and can stay healthy, general manager Brandon Beane will look like a genius once again by strengthening up the Bills defense.

31. Baltimore Ravens (11-5; via Kansas City) – DL Christian Barmore, Alabama

Pick Previously: Chiefs – OT Liam Eichenberg, Notre Dame

There are character concerns here with Barmore regarding his willingness to take criticism and coaching, which has led him to reportedly fall down some team’s boards. Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban has come out and dispelled these rumors, but will that fix the defensive lineman’s draft stock? The Ravens can take advantage of his low draft stock, and allow him to develop under Calais Campbell.

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) – WR Elijah Moore, Ole Miss

Pick Previously: DL Christian Barmore, Alabama

This is a luxury pick here for Tampa Bay, as one of the best route runners in the draft falls to them here at 32. Surrounded by such a talented group of receivers in Tampa Bay will allow Moore to develop even more than he would elsewhere. While he may struggle to find playing time on a roster that already boasts Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Antonio Brown, Moore will have ample time to develop, which may ultimately be a better thing for the young wideout down the line.

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Published by Bret Nascimento

My name is Bret Nascimento and I am a junior at Nichols College, where I study Sports Management. After I graduate, I plan on pursuing my master's degree at Nichols in Business Administration. My plan is to be working within an NFL team's player personnel area in the future, potentially even as general manager. I have a passion to learn and discussing sports and always have. I am a Pittsburgh Steelers fan along with a Celtics fan but follow all sports thoroughly.

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