F.L.G. 2023 NFL Mock Draft

Welcome to the 2023 edition of my annual Fantasy Law Guy NFL Mock Draft.

Last year’s version hit on seven team-player matches, slotted nine additional players within three picks, identified 28/32 first rounders, and mocked the correct position of the player drafted for 18/32 picks; yet, it failed to match the success of previous years. NFLMockDraftDatabase.com graded my 2022 B.E.S.T. NFL Mock Draft as the 19th most accurate mock among 1,379 expert mock drafts. 

Expectations are higher, however. 

Regardless, this marked the fourth consecutive year that my final mock draft has finished inside the Top 20 among expert mocks, per NFLMockDraftDatabase.com.

My 2022 F.L.G. NFL Mock Draft ranked 19th/1,379 experts:

My 2021 F.L.G. NFL Mock Draft ranked 2nd/1,312 experts:

My 2020 B.E.S.T. NFL Mock Draft ranked 6th/501 experts: 

My 2019 B.E.S.T. NFL Mock Draft ranked 1st/477 experts: 

(NOTE: I created FantasyLawGuy.com between 2020-21, switching over from BigEasySportsTalk.com). 

You can view my entire 8-year Mock Draft History, links to my previous mocks, as well as how those mocks compare to experts in the industry here: NFL-MOCK-DRAFT-EXPERT-ACCURACY-SCORES.  

As always, one primary objective for this exercise is to MINIMIZE THE SURPRISES on draft night for readers. In other words, the fewer times you say “wow I did not see that coming!” after reading this mock, the better I feel I did my job. 

This Mock Draft will be updated almost daily up until the draft on Thursday, April 27th! 

This method is more efficient and favorable to readers because news and information is constantly being gathered throughout the draft process, affecting predictions. Especially considering the speed at which the betting market shifts, a fluid document that updates regularly is far more actionable than posting a separate mock draft each week. 

Thorough (extremely intense) explanations for each pick will be added here leading up to the draft (see last year’s Mock Draft, for example). Until then, detailed analysis and thought processes for mocking Round 1 will be discussed in contributing mock drafts at ActionNetwork.com, as well as several Fantasy Law Guy Podcast episodes in April.

I’m on also Twitter @FantasyLawGuy and would love to hear your takes on the draft! 

(Last Updated: 4/26/2023)

Round 1

1. CAROLINA PANTHERS - Bryce Young (QB - Alabama)
  • Short List: QB Bryce Young, QB C.J. Stroud, QB Will Levis, QB Anthony Richardson
  • Team Needs: QB, WR, DE
  • Considerations: After serving up significant draft capital and WR DJ Moore to the Chicago Bears in order to move up from Pick 9 to Pick 1, the Panthers are a near lock to select their favorite franchise quarterback. The bold move comes after years of subpar quarterback play, of which aggressive owner David Tepper has grown tired. Interestingly, odds of QB C.J. Stroud being the first overall pick increased in the betting market prior to the announcement of the trade. Once the trade was announced, a massive shift occurred, making Stroud the preliminary favorite to be the top selection. Local beat writers initially shared beliefs that Carolina is targeting either Stroud or Bryce Young. Moreover, fans connected dots that seemingly lead to Stroud. For instance, coach Frank Reich’s quote about what he looks for in a quarterback matched Stroud’s strengths. Furthermore, Reich’s history of starting QBs with “prototypical” size was at least notable, considering Young’s small stature. An emphasis on accuracy appeared to quickly rule out QBs Anthony Richardson and Will Levis. Moreover, it did not seem like Tepper is willing to be even more patient than he has on these high-ceiling prospects to develop. The Panthers basically sent their entire staff to the Pro Days of Stroud and Young, dining privately with both. Panthers offensive coordinator Josh McCown’s effusive praise for Stroud on an Underdog video was also worth considering. There, McCown called Stroud his favorite QB in the class prior to taking the Carolina job. However, the tide drastically shifted in a span of days when Chris Mortenson first reported that he heard the Panthers are taking Bryce Young, not Stroud. Schefter followed suit, as did seemingly every national and local beat writer. At first, I presumed the changing of the guard was masterfully crafted smokescreen. After all, the fact that the Houston Texans LOVED Bryce Young and considered him head-and-shoulders above all other QBs (not literally) was the NFL Draft’s worst kept secret. Therefore, in theory, Carolina could use their perceived interest in Young as leverage to force Houston to cough up a draft pick to swap picks and move up to select Young. Interestingly, shortly after the trade was announced, Schefter reported that Carolina could look to trade back to Pick 2. This was extremely odd and seemed dismissible at the time, but was it foreshadowing? I certainly found it odd that EVERY reporter, both local and national, seemingly now knew Bryce Young was the guy all of the sudden. I was suspicious; the leak seemed so large that it had to be intentional. For these reasons, I thought for several days that this was a brilliant hand of poker, with Carolina was holding the cards and wanting Houston to call its bluff. Despite the fact that Bryce Young is now a -1200 betting favorite to be the No. 1 pick, a small part of me still buys the narrative. We have seen examples of massive shifts 24 hours prior to drafts recently: the 2021 NBA Draft (Smith->Banchero), the 2019 NFL Draft (Jones->Lance), and 2018 NFL Draft (Darnold->Mayfield). Ultimately, however, it’s past time to concede and mock accordingly. 
  • TL;DR: Contrarian opinions are fun to theorize, but Bryce Young is a -1200 betting favorite for a reason.  
2. HOUSTON TEXANS - Will Anderson Jr. (DE - Alabama)
  • Short List: QB Bryce Young … DE Will Anderson Jr., DE Tyree Wilson, QB Will Levis
  • Team Needs: QB, DE, WR, C, LB
  • Considerations: Ultimately, it appears that Carolina has gone through the draft process and decided that Young is the guy, much to Houston’s dismay. The question becomes whether the Texans take a quarterback who they do not love or take the BPA (best player available). The best guesses for who Houston has atop its draft board (after Young) are DE Will Anderson Jr. or DE Tyree Wilson. Upgrading the pass rush is a major need. Defensive end, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Rasheem Green, and Mario Addison are no longer with the team. In addition, DEs Jonathan Greenard, Jerry Hughes, and Chase Winovich are free agents next offseason. The connection that GM Nick Caserio may have with Alabama coach Nick Saban is worth noting as it pertains to Anderson Jr… One argument in favor of predicting the Texans will NOT take quarterback here is rooted in the fact that new defensive-minded HC DeMeco Ryans may want a stalwart defender to build his defense around. Moreover, the Texans clearly gave Ryan a long leash, implying that he has years to rebuild the franchise from the roots. In other words, if the team does not love a quarterback, the team may be more patient than fans want or expect. The Texans pick again at Pick 12, so it’s also possible that the Texans take a defender here and a quarterback then. In fact, the team can even move up from Pick 12 to take a signal caller closer to the Top 5. The problem with this theory is twofold: first, teams do not typically “wait” on franchise quarterbacks. Secondly, evidence suggests that the Texans do not have a clear QB2, or at least whoever is QB2 is not worth selecting at Pick 2. Otherwise, the Texans would not be shopping the pick, as Lance Zierlein confirmed they are. NFL Draft analyst Zierlein is the most reliable and connected Texans source. Zierlein has also stated that the Texans may not be comfortable with C.J. Stroud, seeing as he shares the same agency as Deshaun Watson, who had a massive falling out with Houston. Further, Zierlein suggested that the Texans may be concerned with Stroud’s reportedly low S2 cognition test score. He later clarified that the Texans do not subscribe to the service, but he mocked Will Levis to the Texans in his last mock draft (at Pick 12). This is relevant not only because had the Texans passing on Stroud, but also because Zierlein was the only expert mocker who had both of the Texans picks correct last April (Stingley and K. Green). Thereafter, others have suggested that the Texans may view Levis as their QB2. Regardless of who is the QB2, the fact that Houston is trying to trade down strongly indicates that they do not love a quarterback enough to select him here. It’s foreseeable, then, Houston passes on taking a quarterback here if they cannot successfully deal the pick. If that’s the case, I would assume that the front office is relatively comfortable with being patient at the position and punting QB altogether. Now, whether ownership steps in and demands a QB with one of these picks remains to be seen…
  • TL;DR: The Texans wanted Bryce Young, but now they must pivot. The fact this pick is “for sale” does not exactly speak of confidence in whoever is their QB2, be it Will Levis or C.J. Stroud. If Houston cannot trade back, evidence suggests the team will be patient at QB, giving new, defensive-minded HC DeMeco Ryans a building block at a major position of need (DE Will Anderson Jr. or Tyree Wilson).   
3. ARIZONA CARDINALS - Paris Johnson Jr. (OT - OSU)
  • Short List: OT Paris Johnson Jr., DE Tyree Wilson, DE Will Anderson Jr., CB Christian Gonzalez, CB Devon Witherspoon
  • Team Needs: D-Line, CB, O-Line
  • Considerations: This feels like a trade-down scenario for two reasons. First, at Pick 3, the Cardinals sit in a sweet spot for QB-needy teams (re: IND, LVR, TEN) to move up. Second, Arizona has a plethora of needs and could use the extra picks in their rebuilding process. Perhaps their greatest need lies along the defensive line. The team lost its best three linemen (DE Markus Golden, DTs J.J. Watt and Zach Allen) on a defense that already struggled to pressure opposing quarterbacks. New head coach Jonathan Gannon comes from an Eagles team that prioritized a strong pass rush, which was evidenced by the fact the 2022 Eagles were the first team in NFL history to have four players with 10+ sacks. If Arizona stays at Pick 3, the team is in a prime spot to grab either DE Will Anderson Jr. or DE Tyree Wilson, two players who, according to Daniel Jeremiah, NFL teams reportedly have very closely graded on their boards… If the team successfully trades down, I foresee Arizona targeting either an offensive lineman or a cornerback. The Cardinals offensive line starters made 44/85 possible starts (32nd) last season, and lost several iOL bodies (Hudson, Price, Harlow, Pugh, Ford, and Garcia), all of whom made starts at either LG or C. Josh Jones is a FA in 2024. Furthermore, prioritizing Kyler Murray’s health (coming off the ACL) is paramount considering the three-year trend of him starting out spry and either fading or getting hurt down the stretch. Arizona has signed some reinforcements (G/C Hajalte Froholdt, T Dennis Daley) recently, but the interest in continuing to fortify the unit remains evident by its pre-draft Top 30 Visits. Interestingly, the Cardinals have met with OTs Paris Johnson Jr., Broderick Jones, and Darnell Wright, all of whom are projected to be selected between picks 9-19. Yet, the Cardinals currently possess Pick 3… Additionally, cornerback is a glaring need and has been for years. The team lost top corner Byron Murphy, and an infusion of talent is desperately is needed. Gannon’s Eagles also had two prolific CBs. Thus, a trade down scenario where the Cardinals move back a few spots to target cornerbacks Christian Gonzalez or Devon Witherspoon should not surprise. Hayden Winks prudently pointed out that Gonzalez played far more zone coverage snaps than Witherspoon last season, and the Cardinals ranked 26th in man coverage snap rate in 2022, which makes me think Arizona would prioritize Gonzalez’s skillset.
  • TL;DR: D-Line (re: DEs Will Anderson Jr. or Tyree Wilson) is unquestionably a critical need, but extra capital is too. Therefore, a trade down scenario where the Cardinals move back a few spots to target Wilson, CB Christian Gonzalez, or OT Paris Johnson Jr. could be the preferred play.  
4. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS - Will Levis (QB - Kentucky)
  • Short List: QB Will Levis, QB C.J. Stroud, QB Anthony Richardson
  • Team Needs: QB, CB, LB
  • Considerations: Who will be the team’s franchise quarterback? The Colts have had months to decide among C.J. Stroud, Anthony Richardson and Will Levis. I could see any one being the pick. Stroud seems to fit the mold of what GM Chris Ballard wants in a quarterback, based on history and quotes he’s given to the press when asked about what he looks for at the position. On the other hand, the betting favorite for this pick is Levis, who the NFL seems to like more than the media and fans, chalking up his poor 2022 season to playing through injuries and overcoming a weak supporting cast. We also know that the Colts are one of the two AFC South teams that subscribe to the S2 cognition test results, and Levis scored highly on that test. On the other hand, the Colts may select Richardson based on new coach Shane Steichen. The former Eagles’ offensive coordinator played a role in developing Jalen Hurts as a passer, which would be the hope for Richardson, who has the potential to be a lethal, dual threat QB. Although Richardson is a massive gamble for a first-year head coach, Steichen may have a comfort level here that few other coaches would. It helps that owner Jim Irsay may also want to swing for the fences. The team has met with all three prospects multiple times.  
  • TL;DR: The Colts are highly likely to select a quarterback. Whether it’s C.J. Stroud, Anthony Richardson, or Will Levis, I will not be even slightly surprised. At this point, however, I have it as Levis > Richardson > Stroud. Admittingly, this changes daily.
5. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS - Anthony Richardson (QB - Florida)
  • Short List: DE Will Anderson Jr., DT Jalen Carter, DE Tyree Wilson, CB Devon Witherspoon, QB Anthony Richardson
  • Team Needs: D-Line, iOL, WR
  • Considerations: “There’s a difference here… But the guys up front really make a difference. [Arik] Armstead is unbelievably talented. He’s a problem every snap. [Nick] Bosa is a problem every snap; we breathe a sigh of relief when he has to take a break so we can go ahead and get after it. These guys make enough stuff happen and they demand so much focus in the game plan and the approach because they’re going to do something to you if you don’t. That’s a big difference than what we have.” This candid Pete Carrol quote following a blowout playoff loss to the 49ers speaks to the team’s desire to acquire an impact defensive lineman. Fortunately, Seattle is in a nice spot here to do just that. It’s certainly possible, if not probable, that either DE Will Anderson Jr. or DE Tyree Wilson is available for Pick 5. Wilson is a high-ceiling player who several teams have rated equally or even higher than Anderson Jr. (per Daniel Jeremiah). The Seahawks have shown some tendencies toward drafting traits over production anyway. There have been rumors about Seattle taking advantage of this early selection to take a quarterback. However, 71-year-old Pete Carroll and the Seahawks may have a stronger sense of urgency to win NOW in a weak NFC with the help from immediate contributions of two first round picks. I consider all of the selfies with this year’s quarterback class to be a smokescreen in an effort to get other teams to jump in front of them, allowing a premier defender to slide. Peter Schrager believes that Anthony Richardson is high on Seattle’s board. Even though the team made some moves along the D-Line, we should not expect Seattle to be finished addressing the unit. While I do believe the team would rather take a defensive end here, defensive tackle Jalen Carter could be in play. Despite his character concerns, some teams will see Carter as the best player in this draft class. And Carroll has not been afraid to take risks in the early rounds in the past, spending several picks on players with off-field issues. Many believe Carroll is attracted to the idea of selecting talented players who have overcome adversity. Accordingly, Peter King stated that many in NFL circles buy that Seattle is taking Carter. Perhaps the Seahawks may feel more inclined to be aggressive due to the extra first round pick (Pick 20). Finally, I have heard that Seattle loves CB Devon Witherspoon, so it should be noted that there’s an outside shot that Witherspoon is the pick. The circumstance for Witherspoon being the pick would likely be if DEs Anderson Jr. and Wilson are off the board, and Seattle does not feel comfortable with Carter here.
  • TL;DR: The Seahawks are likely to address the defensive line, selecting either DE Will Anderson Jr., DE Tyree Wilson, or DT Jalen Carter. There’s an outside shot at CB Devon Witherspoon. I’m not fully buying quarterback here, but if Seattle does go that direction, I would expect Anthony Richardson.
6. DETROIT LIONS - Devon Witherspoon (CB - Illinois)
  • Short List: DE Will Anderson Jr., CB Devon Witherspoon, DE Tyree Wilson, DT Jalen Carter, CB Christian Gonzalez, QB Anthony Richardson, QB C.J. Stroud
  • Team Needs: D-Line, CB, OG
  • Considerations: There is a strong case to be made for the Lions quietly being in the quarterback market. Jared Goff’s future with the team is uncertain after this season due to his contract, forcing the team to make a long term QB decision next offseason anyway. So, why not answer that question here while holding the sixth overall pick? After all, the Lions are trending upward, and the team is not be expected to be in such a great position to take a great quarterback prospect (this is not even the Lions original pick). Speaking of that, the Lions have another first round selection (Pick 18) to address another weakness, making Pick 6 even more of a luxury. And speaking of luxury, the quarterback would have just that by sitting and developing behind Goff for a full year with no pressure to play next season. Considering Goff’s limited ceiling and the massive advantage of having a good quarterback on a rookie contract, one can see why quarterbacks must be, at minimum, strongly considered, despite the team’s public backing of Goff. Yet, Detroit surprisingly did not use a Top 30 visit on a high-end quarterback. Is that a smokescreen or genuine disinterest in addressing the position? I’m not sure, but Anothony Richardson and C.J. Stroud are sleepers here… Despite these reasons, the Lions may be using this pick on a defender, given the struggles over the years on that side of the ball, coupled with the fact that the offense progressed significantly last season. Particularly, the expectation should be that the Lions go with a player who impacts pass defense. The defensive line is far from settled. There are several quality depth pieces at both DE and DT but not many high-end starters (if any) outside of Aidan Hutchinson, though the team is excited about young DE James Houston. It’s tough to envision the Lions passing on DE Will Anderson Jr. or Tyree Wilson if either were to fall to Pick 6. I do, however, believe the Lions would pass on DT Jalen Carter. The Lions selecting Carter at Pick 6 would be EXTREMELY out of character (pun intended) for intangibles-driven GM Holmes and football passion-driven HC Campbell. Again, I cannot emphasize enough how much of a drastic departure this would be from this regime’s team building philosophy, culture, history, etc. Whereas Carter to Detroit (6) cannot be ruled out completely, the better bets would be on Carter’s slide stopping with Seattle (5), Chicago (9), or Philadelphia (10)… The recent signings of DBs Cam Sutton, Emmanuel Mosely, and C.J. Gardner-Johnson may move the needle toward a pass rusher, but the right one has to be available. I vehemently disagree with the notion that the recent additions at defensive back precludes the Lions from selecting their favorite cornerback in the draft, either here at Pick 6 or at Pick 18. In fact, Moseley, and Gardner-Johnson are free agents next offseason. CB Devon Witherspoon is getting a lot of buzz here, and for good reason, even aside from CB being a huge need beyond 2024. Witherspoon has the passion for football that this regime covets. Somewhat undersized but extremely feisty and tough, he may remind DC Aaron Glenn of himself. Further, Hayden Winks astutely noted that Witherspoon played far more man coverage snaps than Gonzalez, and the Lions ranked 3rd in man coverage snaps last season.
  • TL;DR: A strong argument can be made for quarterback, but the expectation should be that the Lions go defense with this pick, particularly a player who impacts pass defense. My best guess at the Top 3 defenders on Lions board: Will Anderson Jr. > Tyree Wilson > Devon Witherspoon.  
7. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS - Tyree Wilson (DE - Texas Tech)
  • Short List: Trade Up: QB Will Levis … CB Devon Witherspoon, OT Paris Johnson Jr., CB Christian Gonzalez, DE Tyree Wilson, OG Peter Skoronski, QB Anthony Richardson
  • Team Needs: QB, DT, CB, O-Line
  • Considerations: Signing Jimmy Garoppolo should not prevent the Raiders from taking a quarterback at Pick 7 (or earlier); rather, the move should encourage it. Garoppolo is the perfect bridge quarterback due to his familiarity with Josh McDaniels, and also because he’ll likely only last the perfect amount of games before he inevitably gets hurt midway through the season, allowing a raw, developing rookie QB to take the reins. There seemed to be some buzz at the NFL Combine about Will Levis being a good fit for McDaniels’ offense due to his intelligence and experience with a complicated playbook and play calls (like McDaniels’ offense). McDaniels has also spoken of toughness being desired at the position. This is a strength of Levis’s. The Raiders have done due diligence on all of the top quarterback prospects though; they have met with Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Will Levis, and Anthony Richardson at least twice a piece. Thus, it’s relatively safe to assume the Raiders are at least in the market for a QB… If it does not work out, the Raiders will look to shore up an extremely leaky defense. Cornerback and defensive tackle are major concerns, but it is too early to draft the latter unless the team deems DT Jalen Carter (character red flags) worthy of this selection. I do not believe this to be the case here. Cornerbacks Christian Gonzalez and Devon Witherspoon, however, are certainly options. Las Vegas cannot reasonably be excited about its DB room. The Raiders may lean toward Witherspoon if given the choice due to his experience in man coverage. Though, it is worth noting the Raiders have not met with either CB… Finally, the right guard and right tackle spots could stand to be upgraded, but this seems rich for an offensive lineman in this class, especially considering the major problems on defense, which was the main problem area last season. Nevertheless, if pressed to predict which offensive lineman the Raiders would take here, I would go with Peter Skoronski.
  • TL;DR: Quarterback should be the focus. This is solid landing spot for C.J. Stroud, Will Levis, or Anthony Richardson. Due to familiarity with the offense and traits McDaniels wants, I would guess Levis is preferred among the trio. CBs Devon Witherspoon and Christian Gonzalez, and OG Peter Skoronski make the most sense among non-QBs. 

8. ATLANTA FALCONS - Bijan Robinson (RB - Texas)

  • Short List: DE Tyree Wilson, CB Devon Witherspoon, RB Bijan Robinson, CB Christian Gonzalez, DE Nolan Smith, DE Lukas Van Ness, DE Myles Murphy
  • Team Needs: QB, DE, CB, WR
  • Considerations: The current regime seems to be valuing safety (floor) and character from its high-end draft picks and appears in no rush to grab its franchise quarterback until the rest of the team is built well enough around them. Accordingly, I do not foresee Atlanta making an aggressive play for a quarterback (yet). If one falls here, it could be a different story (Stroud?); however, this front office seems methodical and patient. Perhaps the team wants to give Desmond Ridder a shot so that they can evaluate him… In any case, the Falcons have spent some money in free agency to fill some of the roster’s many holes. The two largest gaps that remain are unquestionably at pass rusher and wide receiver. Nothing behind Drake London and newly acquired Mack Hollins, but considering that this receiver class is weak, and also accounting the fact that Atlanta spent its last two Top 10 selections on pass catchers, the team should not be expected to address WR here. In fact, it’s a decent argument that Atlanta will not spend this pick on offense at all… For the second straight year, the Falcons finished last or near last in almost every statistic that measures the ability to pressure, hit, or sack opposing quarterbacks. Nolan Smith is high-character, local product who can hold his own in run defense, which are three things that the Falcons like and look for. On the other hand, GM Terry Fontenot comes from New Orleans, where the Saints placed emphasis on size and length for defensive linemen. This would seemingly make Lukas Van Ness a better fit from this perspective. No matter how one slices it, both have to be considered strong options for this pick, all things considered… Atlanta has reportedly done extensive homework on this corner class, and it could be another situation where the team selects a DE in Round 2, which was their approach last year. Hayden Winks sharply pointed out that Gonzalez played far more zone coverage snaps than Witherspoon last season, and the Falcons ranked 27th in man coverage snap rate; thus, it can be inferred that Falcons may prefer Gonzalez if even the choice. I do not believe that the recent addition of Jeffery Okudah precludes the selection of a CB at Pick 8. Okudah and Casey Hayward Jr. are free agents in 2024… RB Bijan Robinson is a wildcard here. In his annual conference call with the media, Daniel Jeremiah mentioned that most teams consider Robinson an elite prospect, and he alluded to Robinson potentially going in the Top 10. Positional value was put aside when this regime had no issues with taking a tight end with the 4th overall pick two years ago (the highest one has ever been selected). Moreover, coach Arthur Smith comes from Tennessee, where he designed the offense around Derrick Henry. Tyler Allgeier played well down the stretch last season, but it’s doubtful Atlanta sees Allgeier as a legitimate reason to pass on a generational talent. That being said, it would make sense for the Falcons to trade down into the teens, as they should still be able to secure Robinson, a cornerback, or a pass rusher.
  • TL;DR: Assuming C.J. Stroud is off the board, the best bet here is defensive end, where I would guess Nolan Smith is valued slightly ahead of Lukas Van Ness. Cornerbacks Christian Gonzalez and Devon Witherspoon are still viable options, and I believe the Falcons have Gonzalez higher on their board. RB Bijan Robinson is a wildcard and should be considered a legitimate possibility.
9. CHICAGO BEARS - Peter Skoronski (OT - Northwestern)
  • Short List: DT Jalen Carter, OT Paris Johnson Jr., DE Tyree Wilson, OG Peter Skoronski, OT Darnell Wright, OT Broderick Jones, DE Lukas Van Ness, CB Christian Gonzalez
  • Team Needs: D-Line, OT, CB
  • Considerations: The Bears moved back to Pick 9 and added WR DJ Moore. Thus, it seems unlikely now that Chicago will take a WR, considering the recent investments in DJ Moore, Darnell Mooney, and Chase Claypool (oops). The defensive line is a major area of concern, particularly defense tackle with Justin Jones’s contract expiring next offseason and only Andrew Billings worthy of noting on the depth chart beyond next season. DT Jalen Carter was allegedly guaranteed by a team in the Top 10 that he would be their pick if available. I believe Chicago could be that team. The Bears probably have had dialogue with Carter’s agent even dating back to when they had the first pick. It’s quite possible that Carter was going to the No. 1 selection before he was arrested and the Bears subsequently traded away the first pick. Now, the Bears could end up taking Carter at Pick 9. Chicago spent a lot of money to patch many holes on the roster, but again, DT remains unfilled… Defensive end is less pressing after the additions of DeMarcus Walker and Rasheem Green, but Green is on a one-year deal. A pass rusher like Lukas Van Ness makes a ton of sense in Chicago. Van Ness is actually dating the sister of current Bears TE Cole Kmet. He’s also from Barrington, Illinois (Chicago area) … Cornerbacks Devon Witherspoon and Christian Gonzalez should be in play, despite drafting Kyler Gordon in Rd. 2 last year, as both Jaylon Johnson and Kindle Vildor are free agents in 2024… Offensive line is also a consideration, even though the Bears return all 5 starters and brought in guard Nate Davis. A lot of the team’s struggles on the O-Line were due to injuries (the starting unit made 63/85 possible starts) and Fields’s propensity to hold on to the ball too long. However, an offensive tackle could provide aid and solidify the unit. Thus, Peter Skoronski, Paris Johnson Jr., Broderick Jones, and Darnell Wright are absolutely options here to play right tackle. Perhaps the team could even trade back into the teens and still grab one. It’s worth mentioning that Paris Johnson Jr. went to OSU, and QB Justin Fields has apparently vouched for him. I’m ranking Skoronski last of the four because the Bears seem to prioritize arm length at the position
  • TL;DR: It would be tough to pass on DT Jalen Carter here. An offensive tackle (Paris Johnson Jr., Broderick Jones, Peter Skoronski, or Darnell Wright) could solidify the unit. This pick falls squarely within range of cornerbacks Devon Witherspoon and Christian Gonzalez, as well as pass rushers Lukas Van Ness and Nolan Smith.  
  • Short List: DT Jalen Carter, OT Paris Johnson Jr., CB Devon Witherspoon, OG Peter Skoronski, DE Nolan Smith, DE Lukas Van Ness, CB Christian Gonzalez
  • Team Needs: DT, iOL, CB, LB
  • Considerations: The Eagles have major needs at defensive tackle (losing Javon Hargrave, Linval Joseph, and N’damukong Suh, with stellar DT Fletcher Cox a free agent in 2024) and linebacker (with both starters White and Edwards having departed). In any case, the value is not there at DT or LB unless the team wishes to take DT Jalen Carter despite his major character-related red flags. Yet, a strong argument can be made for Carter here, even beyond the “Top 10 assurance” that his agent has received. First, the Eagles could consider this pick more as a luxury seeing as they pick at 31 as well, so in theory they could be more likely to take a risk for a potential All-Pro. Secondly, Carter could grow into an NFL player under the tutelage of veterans like DT Fletcher Cox and DE Brandon Graham before taking over as “the guy” next season. Furthermore, DT Jordan Davis was Carter’s teammate at UGA and serves as a mentor to him. Third, even putting aside the need at DT as shown above, the Eagles have historically prioritized building through the trenches anyway. For these reasons, I do consider the Eagles a team that is likely to end any Carter slide. Defensive end is less of a concern, but Brandon Graham may be in his final season. Derek Barnett is coming off a torn ACL and could be released. A raw but athletic prospect like Lukas Van Ness or Nolan Smith could be properly refined under current starters before getting significant snaps next season… Cornerbacks Devon Witherspoon and Christian Gonzalez should be strongly in play, even after the team re-signed CBs Darius Slay and James Bradberry and signed Greedy Williams. Slay and Williams are essentially on one-year deals… As stated, Philadelphia has historically prioritized the trenches early in drafts. RG Isaac Seumalo is a free agent, and this is probably going to be center Jason Kelce’s last season (though C Cam Jurgens is penciled in to be his successor). Moreover, the Eagles cannot realistically expect their starters to make 95/100 possible starts (3rd). This is all worth mentioning because Pick 10 is looking like a nice spot to select one of the top-rated offensive linemen. The Eagles could have their pick of the litter, whether it’s Paris Johnson Jr., Peter Skoronski, or Broderick Jones. Both Skoronski and Johnson Jr. could start at guard immediately and have the versatility to shift to right tackle if needed (we have seen how different the Eagles’ offense looks when Lane Johnson is out). The Athletic featured a staggering stat stating that since 2016, the Eagles are 61-29-1 with Johnson in the lineup and 10-22 without him… Lastly, it is worth noting that the Eagles spent a Top 30 visit with RB Bijan Robinson. Perhaps the extra first round pick could afford them to opportunity for a luxury position/player of sorts. Rashaad Penny’s injury history is not exactly promising, but I think it’s more likely that the Eagles address RB in later rounds.
  • TL;DR: This appears to be a sweet spot to retool the offensive or defensive line for a team that historically values the trenches. Moreover, current starters afford the ability to be patient as a raw but athletic prospect develops, so DT Jalen Carter, DEs Lukas Van Ness and Nolan Smith make a ton of sense. OLs Paris Johnson Jr. and Peter Skoronski could be plug-and-play starters. 


  • Short List: Trade Up: QBC.J. Stroud, QB Anthony Richardson, QB Will Levis … OT Paris Johnson Jr., OG Peter Skoronski, OT Broderick Jones, WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR Zay Flowers
  • Team Needs: WR, O-Line, QB, CB, LB
  • Considerations: Interestingly, the Titans could be a sleeper team to make an aggressive trade up for a quarterback. It may not be a coincidence that the team has reportedly been listening to offers about RB Derrick Henry and DT Jeffery Simmons, who could be parts of a package deal. The Titans were also rumored to one of the team’s looking to trade up with Chicago when the Bears had the first pick! Perhaps they loved Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud, and now this is moot. However, the team could pull the trigger if Stroud, Anthony Richardson or Will Levis slide. It is worth noting that Tennessee was one of three teams to meet with Levis privately the night before his Pro Day. Regardless, this appears to be Ryan Tannehill’s final season in Tennessee, and it was evident how far away the team believes Malik Willis is from starting (re: Josh Dobbs)… Assuming the team stays put, addressing the offensive line appears likely by far. The Titans starting offensive linemen made only 57/85 possible starts (27th), and the unit lost starters LT Taylor Lewan, RG Nate Davis, and C Ben Jones in free agency. Is the team really expecting Andre Dillard, Dillon Radunz, and Daniel Brunskill to replace them? All of Peter Skoronski, Paris Johnson Jr., Broderick Jones, and Darnell Wright should be seen is strong possibilities. I would favor Skoronski and Johnson Jr… Additionally, Tennessee’s pass defense has been a liability (unlike its dominant run defense), in part due to cornerback play; Caleb Farley is not reliable, Terrance Mitchell is a free agent, and Kristian Fulton is entering the final year of his contract. Sean Murphy-Bunting was signed, but he is on a 1-year deal. It doesn’t help that a few reserve safeties are free agents too. There were pass rush issues last season, but the Titans may believe that signing Arden Key and Harold Landry’s return from injury may help. Finally, it’s too early to address Tennessee’s other big needs at WR and LB.
  • TL;DR: The offensive line must be upgraded with either Peter Skoronski or Paris Johnson Jr. as strong possibilities. That’s IF the Titans do not move up for a quarterback of the future: C.J. Stroud, Anthony Richardson, or Will Levis. 
12. HOUSTON TEXANS - Christian Gonzalez (CB - Oregon)
  • Short List: Trade Up: QB Will Levis, QB C.J. Stroud … DE Lukas Van Ness, DE Nolan Smith, WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, QB Peter Skoronski, RB Bijan Robinson, QB Hendon Hooker
  • Team Needs: QB, DE, WR, C, LB
  • Considerations: Obviously, if Houston bypasses quarterback at Pick 2, quarterbacks Will Levis, C.J. Stroud, or Anthony Richardson must be in play. It’s more likely than not that Houston would move up to draft one they like. Houston is a full rebuild and arguably afford to punt the position until next year, though this seems unlikely. Based on everything I’m hearing from reliable Texans source Lance Zierlein, I’m guessing the Texans rank the three quarterbacks as followed: Levis > Stroud > Richardson… Working under the assumption that a quarterback is selected with Houston’s first pick (Pick 2), Houston pretty much has a blank canvas to work with here and can take somewhat of a BPA approach. On offense, the Texans addressed the O-Line by reaching for OG Kenyon Green near this spot last April and re-signing LT Laremy Tunsil, but because this looks like a nice spot for O-Line, it is worth mentioning that RT Tytus Howard is entering the final year of his contract. It does not help that RG Shaq Mason and C Scott Quessenberry are too. Consequently, if a top OL prospect falls, it’s possible Houston doubles down on O-Line in back-to-back years in order to protect its new QB investment… Another thing that could help a Young quarterback is a wide receiver, but the team may not be thrilled with this year’s receiver class, especially at Pick 12. WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba could be in play, but he does not really profile as a Top 12 wide receiver. Moreover, it seems likely that new defensive-minded HC DeMeco Ryans will want a defender with one of the Texans first rounders. Though, it is conceivable that the Texans select a defender with their pick prior to this, and that point is rendered moot… On defense, all positions are open for business. However, we can likely eliminate LB, S, and DT at Pick 12 for various reasons. Consequently, we are left with pass rushers or cornerbacks. Yes, the Texans drafted Stingley with the third pick in last year’s draft. Nevertheless, CBs Steven Nelson, Desmond King, and Tavierre Thomas are free agents in 2024. At defensive end, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Rasheem Green, and Mario Addison are no longer with the team. In addition, Jonathan Greenard, Jerry Hughes, and Chase Winovich are free agents next offseason. This leaves a wide array of options at either position, whether its Christian Gonzalez or Devon Witherspoon at CB, or Lukas Van Ness or Nolan Smith as pass rushers. GM Caserio comes from New England, so I would bet he has Witherspoon rated higher than Gonzalez. For the same reasons, I believe the Texans prefer Van Ness over Smith.
  • TL;DR: The complete lack of certainty in the future for Houston’s pass rush should draw the new defensive-minded HC DeMeco Ryans toward fixing this (assuming they do not take a pass rusher before this pick). Houston is a team that can afford to be patient while a raw player like Lukas Van Ness or Nolan Smith develops. If their first pick is spent on a pass rusher, quarterback (Will Levis, C.J. Stroud) enters the fray, in which case Houston may have to move up. WR JSN could be the pick in the circumstance where Houston punts on QB this season.
13. GREEN BAY PACKERS - Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR - OSU)
  • Short List: CB Christian Gonzalez, WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, OT Paris Johnson Jr., DE Lukas Van Ness, DE Myles Murphy, OT Broderick Jones, OT Darnell Wright, TE Dalton Kincaid, TE Michael Mayer, Jalin Hyatt
  • Team Needs: TE, S, WR, DE 
  • ConsiderationsThis is an extremely strong tight end class, which is ideal for a team losing its two starters, Robert Tonyan and Marcedes Lewis. Even Green Bay’s third TE, Josiah Deguara, is a free agent next offseason. The cupboard is bare, making Dalton Kincaid and Michael Mayer possibilities. The preference depends on how much the Packers prioritize athleticism and receiving ability or traditional in-line blocking. Prioritizing traits, the Packers are a “RAS” team that tends to draft players who hit certain athletic and testing thresholds. Perhaps enhancing the need for receiving prowess is the lack of wide receivers behind Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs now that Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb are gone. One of several counter arguments for drafting a TE as high as Pick 13 is the fact that WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba fits the athletic thresholds that Green Bay tends to follow and would be a seemingly perfect complement to WR Christian Watson. Accordingly, I consider JSN a strong possibility here if he’s available… It’s difficult to call offensive tackle a major need seeing as the team returns 5/5 starters along the O-Line and solid OT depth. That said, this pick falls squarely in range for a favorable RAS OT trio that includes Paris Johnson Jr., Darnell Wright, and Broderick Jones. All should at least be considered as potential picks… Losing defensive veterans like DT Jarran Reed, DT Dean Lowry, and S Adrian Amos is tough on a defense, but the Packers likely planned for this seeing as they drafted DT Devonte Wyatt with the second of their two first round picks last April. Both of those first rounders last year were spent on defense, which makes me lean offense with this pick, regardless of whether Aaron Rodgers or Jordan Love is the quarterback… The Packers may have to stick true to the board, however, which may yield a defender as the BPA. In that circumstance, I would be remiss not to mention the need at safety following Amos’s departure and due to the fact that Darnell Savage, whose play has declined, is entering the final year of his contract. Though, the class’s top safety, Brian Branch, does not meet the athletic thresholds that the Packers tend to prioritize, but cornerbacks Christian Gonzalez, Deonte Banks, and Joey Porter Jr. certainly do… Another defensive option is taking an athletic pass rusher who checks all the Packers’ measurables boxes, such as Lukas Van Ness or Myles Murphy, seeing as Rashan Gary is coming off a torn ACL and is entering a contract year, while Preston Smith had a down year in 2022.
  • TL;DR: The cupboard is barren at TE, but is Pick 13 too early to address the position? I believe Green Bay would prefer WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba or an offensive tackle (Johnson Jr., Wright, Jones) on offense. Defensively, we should view a couple of athletic pass rushers (Myles Murphy and Lukas Van Ness) and a trio of cornerbacks (Gonzalez, Banks, and Porter Jr.) as potential fits. 
14. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS - Zay Flowers (WR - Boston College)
  • Short List: Trade Up: QB Will Levis … CB Devon Witherspoon, CB Christian Gonzalez, OG Peter Skoronski, WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, OT Broderick Jones, WR Zay Flowers
  • Team Needs: WR, CB, OT, TE
  • Considerations: Wide receiver has to be considered the team’s weakest position. Jakobi Meyers and Nelson Agholor have departed. Kendrick Bourne and DeVante Parker are set to be free agents next offseason, as are TEs Hunter Henry and Mike Gesicki, leaving only JuJu Smith-Schuster and Tyquan Thornton as pass catchers signed through 2024. It’s no surprise that the Pats have spent several resources evaluating the top WRs in this draft class thoroughly; specifically, the team has visited with Jaxon Smith-Njigba and has also used Top 30 visits on Jordan Addison and Zay Flowers. I believe the Patriots would rank those receivers as followed: JSN > Flowers > Addison, with a tier break between Flowers and Addison. It is worth mentioning that the Patriots have not prioritized the WR position high in the draft, and Bill Belichick does not have a successful history when he does… For this reason, drafting an offensive tackle may be wiser and certainly more “on-brand” for Belichick. RT Isaiah Wynn is a free agent. LT Trent Brown is a free agent in 2024. LG Michael Onwenu is too. It’s unclear whether Calvin Anderson, Riley Reiff, or Conor McDermott are viewed as long-term starters, though one may start at RT this season. Accordingly, I consider all four top O-Line prospects – Paris Johnson Jr., Darnell Wright, Broderick Jones, Peter Skoronski – as potential selections. If I had to narrow the foursome, I would assume that Belichick loves the latter two the most… On defense, the Patriots had little trouble pressuring opposing quarterbacks last season, but the secondary was not as strong. None of the team’s corners are studs, and the team must replace the enormous shoes of S Devin McCourty, who retired. S Kyle Duggar is a free agent in 2024, as well. All of this makes a bump-and-run cornerback like Joey Porter Jr. even more valuable. I would bet Belichick CB Devon Witherspoon is extremely high on the Pats’ board for several reasons, so it’s fair to consider this Witherspoon’s floor. The connection between Nick Saban and Bill Belichick is also worth noting, as Belichick could value the versatility of Alabama safety Brian Branch. As we have witnessed, Belichick is not afraid to reach for the right fit.
  • TL;DR: It’s difficult to ignore the talent deficiencies at wide receiver, putting Jaxon Smith-Njigba and even Zay Flowers firmly on the radar. Offensive tackle and cornerback are the other weak spots. At OT, I’m guessing Belichick likes Peter Skoronski and Broderick Jones. At CB, Witherspoon is Belichick’s favorite, but Gonzalez is more likely to make it to this pick.
15. NEW YORK JETS - Nolan Smith (DE - UGA)
  • Short List: OG Peter Skoronski, OT Broderick Jones, DE Nolan Smith, WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, OT Darnell Wright, DE Lukas Van Ness, DT Calijah Kancey
  • Team NeedsOT, D-Line
  • Considerations: The Jets’ starting offensive line made only 60/85 possible starts (26th) last season, a metric that doesn’t even include Mekhi Becton as a starter. Becton sadly would be risky to rely on. He was one of several tackles that finished last season on injured reserve. Moreover, starting C Connor McGovern and RT George Fant are free agents this offseason, while LT Duane Brown is a free agent next offseason. Luckily, Pick 13 may be a nice spot to take one of the top four offensive line prospects (Peter Skoronski, Paris Johnson Jr., Broderick Jones, and Darnell Wright). The question, of course, becomes “which one?” Based on GM Joe Douglas’s first round history, it appears that he is a “RAS” believer or at least requires high end athleticism. In addition, a tendency toward drafting team captains early has been demonstrated by Jets beat writer Michael Nania. Considering Skoronski is the only team captain of the bunch, and the other three tackles are supreme athletes with great measurables, these two possible clues are not exactly helpful here. Nevertheless, I believe the Jets would prefer team-captain Skoronski (to play RT) and the athletic but raw Broderick Jones if given the choice. Jones could play RT if needed this year and/or develop under the tutelage of LT Duane Brown before taking over at LT next season… The Jets have a few other needs, particularly DT alongside stud Quinnen Williams, whose contract expires next offseason. DE Carl Lawson’s future with the team is also uncertain. HC Robert Saleh’s affinity for a strong defensive line rotation keeps the entire D-Line in play if the team has confidence in some combination of Mekhi Becton and Max Mitchell to man the right tackle spot. NFL Draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah, who is plugged in with GM Douglas, used the same logic when he somewhat surprisingly mocked Nolan Smith here.
  • TL;DR: Look for the best available offensive lineman here (think Peter Skoronski or Broderick Jones), though we cannot be quick to rule out defensive line (think Nolan Smith). 
16. WASHINGTON COMMANDERS - Darnell Wright (OT - Tennessee)
  • Short List: CB Christian Gonzalez, RB Bijan Robinson, OT Darnell Wright, CB Deonte Banks, OT Broderick Jones, CB Emmanuel Forbes, TE Dalton Kincaid, S Brian Branch, 
  • Team Needs: QB, CB, OT, TE
  • Considerations: Washington’s defense held its own despite missing Chase Young for most of the year. Cornerback was probably the most imperfect spot defensively, and it would not be surprising to see the Commanders tackle that by selecting Joey Porter Jr. or Deonte Banks. Banks is a local product, and the team has met with Porter Jr. twice. However, I must admit that I believe the team will want to go offense with this pick if the board allows, not only because that’s where the problems lay last season but also due to the hiring of OC Eric Bieniemy. Bieniemy already brought in one of his former players, RT Andrew Wylie, to upgrade the offensive line. This O-Line lacks stars, but it does possess depth. The Commanders spent a Top 30 visit on Darnell Wright. Clearly, O-Line is largely in play in the early rounds… I also propose Washington as a dark horse for offensive weapon like RB Bijan Robinson for several reasons: we have an established history of GM Martin Mayhew drafting RBs relatively high; we know HC Ron Rivera is old school with running backs; we know the Commanders need an identity for new OC Bieniemy’s offense, and that identity is clearly not going to be their quarterback for now; and, we know Rivera has soured on Antonio Gibson, whose contract expires next offseason). If Robinson is not available, perhaps TE Dalton Kincaid, who Bieniemy could see as his up-and-coming Travis Kelce, could be a target in a possible trade down scenario. Finally, clearly the team needs a quarterback. However, it looks like the plan is to roll with Jacoby Brissett and Sam Howell this season before settling on a future plan next offseason.
  • TL;DR: I believe Plan A is Bijan Robinson, while Plan B is a cornerback like Deonte Banks, or an offensive tackle like Darnell Wright or Broderick Jones. Plan C could be trading down with Dalton Kincaid, Emmanuel Forbes and Brian Branch in mind. 
17. PITTSBURGH STEELERS - Broderick Jones (OT - UGA)
  • Short List: Trade Up: OT Paris Johnson Jr. … OG Peter Skoronski, OT Broderick Jones, CB Deonte Banks, CB Joey Porter Jr. OT Darnell Wright, Nolan Smith, DE Lukas Van Ness, OT Anton Harrison, CB Emmanuel Forbes, DE Myles Murphy
  • Team Needs: OT, CB, DE
  • Considerations: The Steelers recently added veteran CB Patrick Peterson to replace Cam Sutton. Long term solutions are still needed at corner, making Joey Porter Jr. an especially attractive option if available. Given the family ties to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ organization (Porter Jr.’s father was a renowned Steeler), I have a hard time believing Pittsburgh passes on him, knowing full well he may end up in Baltimore’s lap at Pick 22. The Steelers have a significant need at CB. Plus, newly acquired CB Pat Peterson would be the ideal mentor for Porter Jr. to mirror his game after. Pittsburgh has met with quite a few defensive back prospects who could go around this pick, which is especially important because of Pittsburgh’s tendency to have met privately with its eventually first round pick. Here, the Steelers have met with CB Deonte Banks, Joey Porter Jr., and Emmanuel Forbes twice a piece… The Steelers have also met with several offensive linemen to the point where I strongly believe that Pittsburgh is focusing heavily on cornerback and offensive tackle for its first two picks (it’s worth noting that the Steelers hold Pick 32 as well). The team has been very active in free agency, fixing up the interior offensive line. However, either offensive tackle spot could be upgraded too. The offense was abysmal last season, and the team will want to do whatever it takes to put QB Kenny Pickett in a position to succeed. Again, the Steelers have already visited with several O-Line prospects, such as OT Paris Johnson Jr., OG Peter Skoronski OT Broderick Jones, OT Anton Harrison, OT Dawand Jones, C John Michael Schmitz, and OG O’Cyrus Torrence… Upgrading the pass rush also seems necessary, as the Steelers’ defensive strategy last season seemed revolve around T.J. Watt, evidenced by the tragic demise of the defense when Watt missed games last season. Some Watt injury insurance could be worth purchasing, making Lukas Van Ness, Myles Murphy, Nolan Smith options.
  • TL;DR: Offensive tackle and cornerback seem like the best bets here, with defensive end coming in third. 
18. DETROIT LIONS - Lukas Van Ness (DE - Iowa)
  • Short List: DE Lukas Van Ness, CB Deonte Banks, RB Bijan Robinson, CB Emmanuel Forbes, DE Myles Murphy, DT Calijah Kancey, OG O’Cyrus Torrence, OG Steve Avila 
  • Team Needs: D-Line, CB, OG, TE
  • Considerations: See Pick 6 above for further details on the Lions’ considerations. 
  • TL;DR: If Detroit takes a cornerback at Pick 6, I’m guessing this pick will be either a pass rusher or an offensive guard. If Detroit does not take a cornerback at Pick 6, I’m guessing this pick will be CB Deonte Banks. 
19. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS - Anton Harrison (OT - Oklahoma)
  • Short List: OG Peter Skoronski, OT Darnell Wright, OT Broderick Jones, DE Nolan Smith, DE Lukas Van Ness, OT Anton Harrison, S Brian Branch, QB Hendon Hooker
  • Team Needs: QB, O-Line, CB, S, LB
  • Considerations: Tampa Bay had major issues along the O-Line last season, which was predictable considering the turnover in the unit before the season even began. Injuries did not help; the team’s starting five linemen to begin the season made only 55/90 possible starts (30th). Now, the unit traded away RG Shaq Mason, and LT Donovan Smith is a free agent. All of this puts Tampa Bay in the market for an offensive tackle. I’m not even sure the Bucs have a true left tackle on their roster right now. For these reasons, an offensive tackle like Paris Johnson Jr., Peter Skoronski, Darnell Wright, and Broderick Jones should be favorites for this pick… The Buccaneers have done a good job of filling in some of the gaps along a defensive line that had numerous free agents this offseason, but they would be hard-pressed to pass on a pass rusher like Nolan Smith and Lukas Van Ness, especially considering Barrett’s health. Yet, the secondary badly needs bodies because the contracts of CBs Sean Murphy-Bunting and Dee Delaney and safeties Mike Edwards, Logan Ryan, and Keanu Neal all expired. As a result, there is not much behind Jamel Dean and Carlton Davis at CB. At safety, S Ryan Neal was added, but he’s only on a one-year deal, and S Antonie Winfield Jr. is also free agent in 2024. Additionally, the Bucs were *this close* to drafting S Lewis Cine in Round 1 last year (they were on the phone with him and told him he was going to be the pick before they traded it away, and yes, I’m still bitter for having mocked Cine to the Bucs in Round 1 last April). Regardless, the future of the defensive back room is uncertain, and the fact that the Bucs were clearly considering taking a defensive back in the first round last year may be indicative of taking one here… Of course, we cannot simply ignore the roster’s greatest deficiency: quarterback. We should not rule out a maneuver to grab a falling Will Levis. Even Hendon Hooker could be an option, but probably in Round 2.
  • TL;DR: Major holes exist along the offensive line and throughout the secondary. The left tackle vacancy should supersede the lack of certainty in the defensive back room beyond 2024. Consequently, the Bucs should be hoping that one of Paris Johnson Jr., Peter Skoronski, Darnell Wright, or Broderick Jones falls to this pick.   

20. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS - Myles Murphy (DE - Clemson)

  • Short List: DE Nolan Smith, QB Anthony Richardson, WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, CB Deonte Banks, DE Myles Murphy, WR Jordan Addison, WR Zay Flowers, C John Michael-Schmitz
  • Team Needs: D-Line, iOL, WR
  • Considerations: See Pick 5 above for further details on the Seahawks’ considerations. For this pick, I’m working under the assumption that the Seahawks draft a defensive lineman with their first selection in Round 1. From what I understand, the only non-defensive lineman who the Seahawks would take at Pick 6 is CB Devon Witherspoon, who they apparently love. The fact that the team is even considering a cornerback that high may speak to its desire to add to the position. Thus, I’m not ruling out Deonte Banks or Joey Porter Jr. here. Both players fit the mold of a traditional Seattle corner due to their length, athleticism, and physicality… Offensively, there is a need at wide receiver behind D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. With those two on the outside, Jaxon Smith-Njigba is an excellent fit here in the slot, forming a prolific trio. A strong case can be made for Jordan Addison here due to Pete Carroll’s connections to USC. Moreover, I loved the argument that Josh Norris made in his first mock draft, connecting dots between the fact that the Seahawks have not signed anyone to fill the shoes of Marquise Goodwin, who had a major role for this team as WR3 last season (400+ snaps in 13 games), and noting that Flowers fits the mold of some receivers that the Seahawks have drafted in the past. For these reasons, I also see Flowers as a legitimate possibility here, though Pick 20 may be his ceiling. Any of JSN, Flowers, and Addison make perfect sense here.
  • TL;DR: Assuming the Seahawks draft a defensive lineman at Pick 5, the team should be targeting a slot wide receiver like JSN, Addison, or Flowers. Even though corner is not a pressing need, I also think the Seahawks would have a tough time passing on CB Deonte Banks. I’m sure the team loves DE Myles Murphy too. 
21. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS - Dalton Kincaid (TE - Utah)
  • Short List: RB Bijan Robinson, WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, TE Dalton Kincaid, TE Michael Mayer, WR Jordan Addison, WR Zay Flowers, WR Quentin Johnston, DE Myles Murphy
  • Team Needs: DT, LG, CB, WR, RB
  • Considerations: There are a number of different directions the Chargers could go here. On offense, this could be Bijan Robinson’s floor due to the team’s recent negotiations with Austin Ekeler supposedly falling through. The Chargers also had quite a few injuries to wide receivers last season, which was one aspect that held Justin Herbert back. The Chargers would probably prefer Jaxon Smith-Njigba, but there are coaching staff ties to WR Jordan Addison. Specifically, the Chargers’ WR coach, Chris Beatty, recruited and coached Addison at Pittsburgh before Addison transferred to USC after Beatty left. Further, Hayden Winks also noted that Addison actually de-committed from Maryland to follow Beatty to Pitt. These are the type of connections that sometimes move the needle. Zay Flowers is another great option here. The TE Gerald Everett is entering the final year of his contract as well, opening the door for a TE like Michael Mayer or Dalton Kincaid. Finally, the left guard spot is open after Matt Feiler departed in free agency. Though it is worth noting that the Chargers’ run blocking was weak by many metrics, it is hard to imagine the team takes an offensive lineman in Round 1 for the third consecutive year. Thus, I do not see O-Line as probable, despite the uncertainty at LG… Defensively, the team has not prioritized its run defense in years, so a defensive tackle could help in run support. My hesitation here, however, is that I’m not sure the Chargers won’t try to address this in later rounds.  There are also some secondary concerns after S Nasir Adderley retired, CB J.C. Jackson got benched for poor play, and because CB Michael Davis is a free agent in 2024. Consequently, this is another team that may be in on Deonte Banks or Joey Porter Jr.
  • TL;DR: Defensive line and secondary concerns exist, though a sprinkle of youth in the pass catching department (WRs Addison & Flowers, or TEs Kincaid & Mayer) could be the preferred route in Round 1.
22. BALTIMORE RAVENS - Deonte Banks (CB - Maryland)
  • Short List: QB, Anthony Richardson, DE Nolan Smith, CB Deonte Banks, WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, CB Emmanuel Forbes, WR Zay Flowers, CB Joey Porter Jr., WR Quentin Johnston, DE Myles Murphy, QB Hendon Hooker
  • Team Needs: CB, WR, DE, OG
  • Considerations: Three positions that Baltimore should be targeting with this pick are cornerbacks, wide receivers, and pass rushers. Offensive guard is a need too with Powers departing in free agency and Kevin Zeitler being a free agent in 2024. However, this position is more likely to be addressed later in the draft… The primary focus should be at corner. There is nothing reliable behind Marlon Humphrey now. And Baltimore has an extensive history of prioritizing the cornerback position. Yet, the team has not selected a corner in Rounds 1-2 since taking Humphrey. Evidence supporting the interest in upgrading the CB position is demonstrated by the fact that Ravens were extremely close to signing CB Darius Slay before the Eagles re-signed him. The Ravens have a type: they prefer long, quick and physical cornerbacks who press receivers (although DC Macdonald incorporated zone coverage more often last season). Nevertheless, the Ravens would love to get their claws on Joey Porter Jr. or Deonte Banks. Perhaps Emmanuel Forbes becomes an option if those two are taken. It’s possible that the recent additions at WR (Odell Beckham and Nelson Agholor) will encourage drafting a defender here, but it’s not a strong argument considering both are on one-year deals. Moreover, Devin Duvernay and James Proche are also free agents in 2024. Rashod Bateman has battled injuries throughout his career thus far. OC Todd Monken was hired to open up the offense and improve the pass game. Quentin Johnston, Jordan Addison, or Zay Flowers could help… At edge, Justin Houston and Jason Pierre-Paul are free agents who remain unsigned, leaving little behind Tyus Bowser and Odafe Oweh.
  • TL;DR: The three positions that Baltimore should be targeting with this pick are cornerbacks, wide receivers, and pass rushers, in that order. Baltimore would love it if CB Deonte Banks made it to this pick, but Forbes or Porter Jr. may suffice. WR Zay Flowers is an option here as well. 
23. MINNESOTA VIKINGS - Joey Porter Jr. (CB - Penn. St.)
  • Short List: QB Anthony Richardson, CB Deonte Banks, WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR Zay Flowers, CB Joey Porter Jr., CB Emmanuel Forbes, WR Jordan Addison, WR Quentin Johnston, QB Hendon Hooker
  • Team Needs: WR, CB, DE
  • Considerations: With Adam Thielen released, the lack of wide receiver depth behind Justin Jefferson is glaring. Making matters worse is the fact K.J. Osborn is a free agent in 2024. The Vikings could prioritize outside receivers like Quentin Johnston or Zay Flowers, considering Jefferson’s prowess in the slot… If the Vikings cannot find a wide receiver they love in Round 1, the team should look to take a cornerback, a position that has been depleted following the losses of Chandon Sullivan, Patrick Peterson, and Cam Dantzler within the last year. The team signed Byron Murphy, but the jury is still out on CB Andrew Booth and S Lewis Cine, each of whom only appeared in two games. Perhaps the recent investments at DB in last year’s draft will encourage a wide receiver in Round 1… Minnesota is not set up for success at DE after this season seeing as Danielle Hunter, Marcus Davenport, and D.J. Wonnum all are free agents in 2024. This is worth noting in the unlikely event that a pass rusher like Lukas Van Ness, Nolan Smith, or Myles Murphy slides… Finally, it must be mentioned that Kirk Cousins is entering the last year of his contract, theoretically making Minnesota a dark horse for an early round quarterback. However, contrary to popular belief, I don’t see Will Levis or Hendon Hooker as fits here for a variety of reasons.
  • TL;DR: The Vikings are sitting in a position where there should be several viable options at their most pressing needs: wide receiver (Flowers, Addison, Johnston), and cornerback (Banks, Porter Jr., Forbes).
24. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS - Brian Branch (S - Alabama)
  • Short List: DE Nolan Smith, DE Lukas Van Ness, DE Myles Murphy, CB Deonte Banks, S Brian Branch, OG O’Cyrus Torrence, OT Anton Harrison
  • Team Needs: CB, O-Line, DE
  • Considerations: Offensively, RT Jawaan Taylor departed, which may move Walker Little to a starting position, but left guard and center could use upgrades. It’s also possible that Walker plays guard, which suggests a tackle could be in play. In any case, the starting offensive line needs an upgrade or two… I think tight end could be in play because this pick should fall within range for Michael Mayer and Dalton Kincaid. Moreover, HC Doug Pederson has an extended history of prioritizing the position. TE Evan Engram is only signed through this season… Although the Jaguars selected Travon Walker first overall in last year’s draft, there are reasons to add to the defensive line again. DEs Dawuane Smoot and Arden Key are free agents, while Josh Allen and K’Lavon Chaisson are entering the final year of their contracts. Further, ESPN’s Jordan Reid reported that the Jaguars have done extensive homework on defensive line prospects, noting that 16 of 30 private visits have been with D-linemen. GM Trent Baalke seems to favor D-Line prospects with high-end athletic traits. Accordinly, I believe the team would love for DE Myles Murphy to slide here. In fact, I see this pick as Murphy’s floor. Murphy has been training in Jacksonville, and the Jaguars have met private with him. On the other hand, there should be several athletic, appealing DTs on the board if Murphy is not available… Reinforcements are also needed at cornerback behind starters Darious Williams and Tyson Campbell, and the Jaguars could benefit from bringing in a versatile defensive back like S Brian Branch. I do not foresee CBs Joey Porter Jr. or Deonte Banks lasting until this pick.
  • TL;DR: This should be the floor for DE Myles Murphy, who I believe the Jags covet. Otherwise, we are looking at OT, TE (Kincaid or Mayer), and DB (Branch), assuming Banks are not available. I’ve also heard Jacksonville likes OG O’Cyrus Torrence, DT Bryan Bresee and S Brian Branch.
25. NEW YORK GIANTS - Quentin Johnston (WR - TCU)
  • Short List: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, CB Deonte Banks, WR Zay Flowers, WR Jordan Addison, CB Emmanuel Forbes, S Brian Branch, CB Joey Porter Jr., DE Will McDonald, DT Bryan Bresee, WR Quentin Johnston, C John Michael-Schmitz, WR Jalin Hyatt
  • Team Needs: WR, CB, iOL, S, DE
  • Considerations: The Giants re-signed Darius Slayton and added Parris Campbell to the receiver room devoid of playmakers. The team also added receiving TE Darren Waller. Getting back Sterling Shepard and Wan’Dale Robinson will help the Giants in the slot, though they are slated to start the season on the PUP List. Despite all of this, New York should still be in the market to add receivers. Qunetin Johnston and Zay Flowers lined up outside far more often than Jordan Addison and Jalin Hyatt, per Anthony Amico (@amicsta), so they should be prioritized. It is not expected that Jaxon Smith-Njigba makes it to this pick, though he was seen sporting a Giants hat following his private visit there… Center and left guard can be improved. Particularly, the Giants have no true centers on the roster, and Daniel Jones was seen taking snaps from LG Ben Bredeson. Consequently, it’s no surprise that Tony Pauline reported that the Giants’ interest in center John Michael-Schmitz is legitimate… Defensively, cornerback is certainly a concern. Last year, many draft pundits pointed to the importance of quality CB play in DC Martindale’s defense. The Giants were unable to draft Sauce Gardner, lost Fabian Moreau in free agency, and may also lose Adoree Jackson, Nick McCloud and Darnay Holmes in free agency next offseason. In short, CB is a massive concern. And the problems may be further exasterbated by issues at safety. The Giants lost S Julian Love in free agency, and both starters Xavier McKinney and Bobby McCain have expiring contracts next offseason. Overall, the Giants’ entire defensive backfield is a mess after this season. Accordingly, a CB like Emmanuel Forbes or a S like Brian Branch must be in play.  
  • TL;DR: Wide receiver (Flowers) and defensive back (Forbes, Porter Jr., Branch) are the best bets. New York should prioritize DB if possible. DE Will McDonald and C John Michael-Schmitz are dark horses here.
26. DALLAS COWBOYS - Michael Mayer (TE - Notre Dame)
  • Short List: Trade Up: RB Bijan Robinson … TE Michael Mayer, TE Dalton Kincaid, CB Emmanuel Forbes, , WR Zay Flowers, WR Jordan Addison, RB Jahymr Gibbs, WR Quentin Johnston, DE Will McDonald,  DT Mazi Smith, OG Steve Aliva, LB Drew Sanders, WR Jalin Hyatt
  • Team Needs: TE, DT, CB, LG
  • Considerations: The trade for Brandin Cooks seemingly erases the immediate need for a wide receiver, but a solid tight end to replace Dalton Schultz could help the pass catchers. Both Michael Mayer and Dalton Kincaid make sense from a need and projected range standpoint, though Dallas has not used a Top 30 Visit on either TE. This is notable because Dallas historically meets with its first round picks. Yet, Dane Brugler does not believe Mayer gets passed Dallas. Interestingly, despite the addition of Cooks, Dallas have used Top 30 Visits on WRs Quentin Johnston, Zay Flowers and Jalin Hyatt (multiple times). The team could not have been thrilled that T.Y. Hilton was playing significant snaps down the stretch. Moreover, Mike McCarthy has spoken praise for his defense recently. McCarthy also mentioned that he wants to get back to running the ball more often. For these reasons, I’m inclined to believe this pick will be on the offensive side of the ball. It should surprise no one if the Cowboys double down on offensive linemen in back-to-back years, as RTs Terence Steele and Tyron Smith are free agents in 2024, and RG Zack Martin turns 33 this season… If the team chooses to add to the defense, then DT or CB are probably the best spots to address. I could see the team being interested in Calijah Kancey or Mazi Smith, though the team has not met with either player yet. It is worth noting that Dallas has met with CB Emmanuel Forbes twice, including a private visit. Cowboys CBs Trevon Diggs, Stephon Gilmore, and Jourdan Lewis are free agents in 2024.
  • TL;DR: Despite losing TE Schultz and adding WR Cooks, the Cowboys have spent time with wide receivers (Flowers, Johnston, Addison, Hyatt) instead of tight ends Michael Mayer and Dalton Kincaid. Defensively, CB Emmanuel Forbes provides some clarity to future, as Cowboys CBs Diggs, Gilmore, and Lewis have expiring contracts in 2024. DT could use an upgrade.
27. BUFFALO BILLS - Jordan Addison (WR - USC)
  • Short List: Trade Up: RB Bijan Robinson … WR Jordan Addison, WR Zay Flowers, LB Jack Campbell, RB Jahmyr Gibbs, DT Bryan Bresee, DT Mazi Smith, OG O’Cyrus Torrence, WR Jalin Hyatt
  • Team Needs: DT, WR, LB
  • Considerations: Although the offense struggled after Josh Allen’s midseason injury, smart money should be on the Bills taking a defender with this pick based on the unit’s fall off. Particularly, the front-seven needs some patch work. All four defensive tackles that receive significant snaps – Ed Oliver, Jordan Phillips, Tim Settle and DaQuan Jones – are free agents in 2024, leaving the DT position barren after this season… LB Tremaine Edmunds departed to Chicago, and the Bills have been linked to LB Jack Campbell because of ties relating to training with Luke Kuechly. Campbell also best fits the athletic profile of linebackers Buffalo has recently drafted… Offensively, WR Gabriel Davis failed to make the leap that some expected last season, and his contract expires next offseason. Therefore, the Bills could be open to drafting a wide receiver here. Buffalo has depth pieces, but it’s probably best that Khalil Shakir, Deonte Harty, and Trent Sherfield are seen as role players. If something were to happen to Stefon Diggs, this pass catching corp. would be in trouble. The Bills have also been linked to DeAndre Hopkins, signaling an upgrade is desired. In addition, the Bills have been doing homework on first round WRs; the team has visited with Zay Flowers and Jordan Addison on two separate occasions. The Bills have also met with Hyatt privately. Receiving TE Darnell Washington is a sleeper here too; the Bills have met with him twice. Perhaps TE is the direction if WR DeAndre Hopkins plans to sign here. 
  • TL;DR: Defensive tackle or linebacker (re: Campbell) makes sense. Buffalo has shown clear interest in adding to its receiver arsenal (re: Flowers, Addison, Hyatt) as well.
28. CINCINNATI BENGALS - Emmanuel Forbes (CB - Miss. St.)
  • Short List: OT Darnell Wright, TE Michael Mayer, TE Dalton Kincaid, CB Emmanuel Forbes, DT Calijah Kancey, DT Bryan Bresee, OT Anton Harrison, RB Jahmyr Gibbs
  • Team Needs: TE, S, CB, RB, DT 
  • Considerations: Tight end will be popularly mocked here, not just because Hayden Hurst departed in free agency, but also because Mitchell Wilcox is a free agent too, and Devin Asiasi is a free agent in 2024. The team recently added Irv Smith on a 1-year deal, but bodies are needed at the position for this year and especially beyond. Luckily, this is an outstanding tight end class, with potentially two tight ends projected to go between picks 21-31: Dalton Kincaid and Michael Mayer … The Bengals’ secondary needs aid as well. It does not look as though the team is bringing back CB Eli Apple. Chodibe Awuzie is a free agent in 2024. Meanwhile, at safety, the Bengals lost starters Vonn Bell and Jessie Bates II in free agency. The Bengals foresaw this and drafted S Dax Hill in Round 1 last year, but Hill has not proved worthy of starting just yet, and there’s little behind him. The board may line up better for a cornerback, however. Emmanuel Forbes is a name that comes to mind as a fit … Cincinnati continues to work on its offensive line, most recently paying big money to OT Orlando Brown to play left tackle. Unfortunately, OT Jonah Williams has requested a trade as a result. Further, RT La’el Collins may or may not be on the team by the time the draft ends. Consequently, right tackle may well be unmanned. Darnell Wright, Anton Harrison, or Dawand Jones could solidify the unit… Cincinnati could also look toward the future bring in a defensive tackle, seeing as stud DT D.J. Reader and Josh Tupou have expiring contracts next offseason. This is notable because there could be several DT options selected near this pick, including Calijah Kancey and  Bryan Bresee… Finally, it must be noted that Joe Mixon’s legal issues jeopardize his spot on the team.
  • TL;DR: The board projects to set up well for Cincinnati finding a player who plays a position of need, whether that’s tight end (Mayer/Kincaid), cornerback (Forbes), right tackle (Harrison), or defensive tackle (Kancey/Bresee).   
29. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS - Bryan Bresee (DT - Clemson)
  • Short List: DE Myles Murphy, TE Michael Mayer, TE Dalton Kincaid, DT Bryan Bresee, DE Will McDonald, DT Calijah Kancey, DE Keion White, DE Felix Anudike-Uzomah, DT Mazi Smith, DT Adetomiwa Adebawore
  • Team Needs: DT, DE, OG
  • Considerations: Going into this offseason, the Saints had only one defensive lineman who played 100+ snaps last season signed through 2024: DE Payton Turner. That’s because DE Marcus Davenport, DE Tanoh Kpassagnon, DT David Onyemata, DT Shy Tuttle, and DT Kentavius Street all departed in free agency. Moreover, DE Cam Jordan, DE Carl Granderson, and DT Malcolm Roach are free agents next offseason. The Saints added DTs Nathan Shepherd and Khalen Saunders recently, but this is not enough. Reinforcements are needed. Prospects like Bryan Bresee, Calijah Kancey, Keion White, Mazi Smith, and Adetomiwa Adebawore could fill the need. Kancey will presumably be popularly mocked here, though it is worth noting that Kancey’s arm length would not meet historic trends. Essentially, the Saints have prioritized size and length along the D-Line. Accordingly, I believe the Saints will be higher on Adetomiwa Adebawore than most teams. Although DT is a bigger need on paper, it would not be surprising to see the Saints draft a defensive end here considering the aforementioned expiring contracts of DEs Jordan and Granderson. From what I understand, the Saints would love Myles Murphy to fall, but that seems unlikely. Saints beat writer Nick Underhill does a great job tracking athletic thresholds of Saints draft picks, and DE Keion White fits the criteria for what the Saints look for in terms of length and athleticism along the D-Line. At 285 pounds, White is also big enough to play DT as needed. Further, I do not think the Saints will care about White’s biggest drawback, his age (24), compared to other teams. For these reasons, I believe the Saints have White graded higher than other defensive linemen who are much more frequently mocked to the Saints. For instance,  DE Will McDonald could go in this range and will be commonly mocked here, but size concerns are prevalent with him as well. DE Felix Anudike-Uzomah also fits the body type the Saints prefer…  Arguments can be made for selecting an offensive guard because LG Andrus Peat is consistently inadequate and RG Cesar Ruiz has one year remaining on his contract… A similar case can be made for wide receiver due to the uncertainty of Michael Thomas. Thomas was still not 100% healthy as of March 28, 2023… Finally, there is buzz about QB Hendon Hooker sneaking into Round 1. The Saints did meet privately with Hooker. However, I consider this match highly unlikely, at least in Round 1, due several concerns. First, Hooker is already 25 years old. Second, there are medical concerns. He’s coming off a torn ACL, and had some sort of heart issue two years ago, an issue he blamed on medication. Third, Hooker played in a “friendly” offensive system in college. In sum, Hooker does not fit the profile of a first round pick. In addition, the Saints’ signing of Derek Carr, among other things, speaks to a win-now approach. Thus, spending a first round pick on a developmental QB would be an extremely inconsistent allocation of resources for a coach who is arguably on the hot seat if he misses the postseason again.
  • TL;DR: The Saints should be expected to take a defensive lineman in Round 1. I believe the team will be higher on DT Adetomia Adebawore and DE Keion White than most teams. DT Calijah Kancey and DE Will McDonald could be difference makers, though they would be departures from historical trends.
30. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES - Jahmyr Gibbs (RB - Alabama)
  • Short List: DE Will McDonald Jr. OT Anton Harrison, RB Jahmyr Gibbs, DT Calijah Kancey, DE Keion White, DT Bryan Bresee, DT Mazi Smith, DT Adetomiwa Adebawore, OG Steve Avila
  • Team Needs: DT, iOL, CB, LB
  • Considerations: See Pick 10 above for details on the Eagles’ considerations.
  • TL;DR: The Eagles elect to shore up the trenches.
31. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS - Will McDonald (DE - Iowa St.)
  • Short List: OT Darnell Wright, WR Zay Flowers, OT Anton Harrison, DE Will McDonald, WR Quentin Johnston, DT Calijah Kancey, DE Keion White, RB Jahymr Gibbs, DT Adetomiwa Adebawore, DE Felix Anudike-Uzomah
  • Team Needs: OT, WR, S, DT
  • Considerations: The Chiefs believe that they have found their solution at left tackle to replace Orlando Brown Jr. in Jawaan Taylor. However, the vacancy at right tackle still remains, not to mention the fact that Taylor was a right tackle in Jacksonville. In any case, there is a vacancy bookending Taylor. Thus, OTs Dawand Jones or Anton Harrison are strong possibilities here… If the Chiefs have high expectations for WRs Skyler Moore and Kadarius Toney, they certainly did not show it last year. Mahomes can clearly excel without great wide receivers, but more capable bodies are needed, as JuJu Smith-Schuster, Justin Watson, and Mecole Hardman all departed in free agency. Richie James Jr. was signed to a one-year deal. The team will study WRs Quentin Johnston, Jordan Addison, Zay Flowers, and Jalin Hyatt for this pick. GM Veach has demonstrated his preference for YAC ability among his WRs, making Johnston particularly appealing here. Drafting TE Dalton Kincaid could be a forward-thinking pick that both adds a weapon for Mahomes and provides an heir apparent of sorts for Travis Kelce, who turns 34 this season… The defensive line could be beefed up considering that stud DT Chris Jones and DE Michael Danna have expiring contracts next offseason. Contrary to popular practice of mocking DE Will McDonald here, DC Spagnuolo historically prefers size along the D-Line, while GM Veach prefers younger prospects. McDonald is ~235 pounds and will be a 24-year-old rookie. It’s possible, but not probable. I consider the aforementioned OTs, safety Brian Branch, and even FAU more likely picks here.
  • TL;DR: I would be somewhat surprised if the Chiefs did not target a wide receiver (Flowers, Johnston) or offensive tackle (Harrison) with this pick. My money would be on the latter. Pass rusher is also in play (White, McDonald, FAU)

10 Additional Possible First Round Selections:
  1. Hendon Hooker (QB – Tennessee)
  2. Quentin Johnston (WR – TCU)
  3. Steve Avila (OG – TCU)
  4. Mazi Smith (DT – Michigan)
  5. Keion White (DE – Georgia Tech)
  6. Adetomiwa Adebawore (DT – Northwestern) 
  7. John Michael-Schmitz (C – Minnesota)
  8.  Matt Bergeron (OT – Syracuse)
  9. Jalin Hyatt (WR – Tennessee)
  10. Jack Campbell (LB – Iowa)
                                                                                        – Nick Guarisco (@FantasyLawGuy)

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