Nate's NFL Mock Draft 1.0
It's finally mock draft season and I cannot be more excited! If you've been a follower of We Know Fantasy for sometime now, you know I'll pump out a few editions of my mock draft over the course of the off-season. So, we're finally here with my 1.0. My 1.0 is just that, a 1.0. Don't take too much from this. We're just getting our feet wet, addressing team needs and trying to piece some prospects with what we believe to be the right team. Heck, we don't even know if all of these players will even be in the draft for next year yet. There are few things I enjoy more than the NFL draft, especially mock drafts so enjoy and don't be afraid to have a discussion about my selections with me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook @WeKnowFantasy.
*Please note that this was written before the NFL Wildcard Games.
1. Cincinnati Bengals - Joe Burrow, QB, LSU - If I were the Bengals picking at one, I’m forgoing Joe Burrow and jumping all over Chase Young. But, we all know the value of the quarterback in today’s game. This is like taking your 2006 Chevrolet Malibu to the dealership and swapping it for an oddly similar 2007 Chevrolet Malibu. Burrow is a limited athlete, doesn’t go through a full progression and doesn’t play the safeties off with his eyes. Sure he’s accurate and has good ball placement, but when you’re not seeing the whole field and not playing the safeties off in the NFL, you’re in trouble. I’m not a Burrow fan and he’ll have to change that at the next level. Despite my beliefs, he’s the consensus first overall pick and will be given the keys to the franchise in Cincy soon. Let’s not forget to mention that he’s an Ohio kid too. That always makes for a good story.
2. Washington - Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State - The real winners of this draft is Washington at two. With the Bengals opting to go Burrows, Young falls right into their laps. Young is the best overall prospect of any position we’ve seen in a decade, if not longer. He’s a generational talent. Look at what Nick Bosa has done in his rookie season in San Francisco. Now imagine a Nick Bosa that’s twice as talented. That’s Chase Young. This man has hall-of-fame potential before even getting to the league. Like I previously said, if I were the Bengals I’m saying screw it with the quarterback because we won’t see another Chase Young in a very very very long time. Good for Washington. I also want to believe this may have something to do with Ron Rivera taking the Washington job as well.
3. Detroit Lions - Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn - The Lions somehow fell into the third overall pick on the last day of the season. They’re not complaining though. They could very well trade out of this spot with a team looking to move up for a quarterback, but without projecting trades, we’ll go with Derrick Brown here. Dominating the interior of the defensive line is crucial to Matt Patricia’s and Bob Quinn’s success. Brown is as good as it gets in terms of interior defensive line prospects. We haven’t seen one on Brown’s level in a long time.
4. New York Giants - Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia - Thomas has been a three year starter in a pro-style offense going against the best defensive talent that college football has to offer. He’s phenomenal in run blocking but could use some development in his footwork in pass protection. The Giants have their quarterback in Danny Dimes and of course have Saquan in the backfield. Now they need to protect Jones and give Saquan some room to run. Thomas will be a big upgrade for them.
5. Miami Dolphins - Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama - Remember the pre-season “Tank for Tua” talk? Well, the Dolphins did it and they didn’t even have to get the first overall pick. It helps that Tua went down with his season-ending hip injury, which has him falling a bit in drafts. The Dolphins are in no rush to get this rebuild over with, so having him sit out a year as Fitzmagic or Josh Rosen run the show for another season isn’t out of the question. I’m not a Tua guy myself but there’s been a lot of connection between Miami and Tua, even dating back to last off-season. Let’s also not forget to mention that Tua is left handed. There are very few success stories out of left handed quarterbacks.
6. Los Angeles Chargers - Isaiah Simmons, S/LB, Clemson - Every mock you look at these days have the Chargers going quarterback here. I just don’t see that yet. They’ll have the chance to go for, say a Jordan Love, Jacob Eason or even Jake Fromm in the later rounds. They’re still a competitive team despite what their record of 5-11 suggests. I know Phillip Rivers’ production has decreased drastically but he’ll be fine for another season or two. The Chargers also have former Bills’ and Browns’ starter Tyrod Taylor on the roster who can hold over the team for a year or so if needed as well. Simmons is just too good to pass up. You’re not going to be able to find this type of defensive versatility anywhere else. He can play both linebacker and safety at the NFL level. Put him next to Derwin James and you have the best safety duo in the league. Simmons can simply be described as an NFL version of a Swiss Army Knife.
7. Carolina Panthers - Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon - So much of me wanted to mock Herbert to the Chargers. He’s a West Coast kid with a big arm. Pretty much a perfect fit. But with the Chargers going a different route, this allows the Panthers to hit the reset button. Cam Newton is a shell of his old self and is in the final year of his contract. He can’t stay healthy at all and Kyle Allen has proven that he is not the answer. The Panthers will also be appointing a new head coach after parting ways with Ron Rivera. Every coach likes to get a fresh start with their hand picked guy, which could very well be Herbert.
8. Arizona Cardinals - CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma - Jerry Jeudy is the best WR prospect in this draft. He’s the best WR prospect we’ve seen in a long time actually. You may be asking yourself, why do you have Lamb projected to go before him then? Lamb and Cardinals’ quarterback Kyler Murray went to college together. Lamb was Murray’s favorite target during his Heisman year. If you’re the Cardinals and you’re able to bring in that type of connection right away, that’s always a plus. That’s something you won’t be able to teach. If it were any other team picking here, they’re taking Jeudy however.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars - Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State - The Jaguars were forced to part ways with Jalen Ramsey this season as they shipped him to the Los Angeles Rams. Now they’ll look for his replacement and Okudah can be that guy. He’s the top rated corner in this draft and rightfully so. He’s as good as they come in man coverage. You won’t find better feet coming from a corner coming out of college. He has excellent recovery speed and reads the game extremely well. Any team would be lucky to have him.
10. Cleveland Browns - Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa - The Cleveland Browns were one of the most disappointing teams in sports history this last year. They had so much hype behind them and they underperformed drastically. They had the Sophomore year of former first overall selection Baker Mayfield. They added one of the best receivers in the game in Odell Beckham Jr. The one thing they failed to do was improve their offensive line. Heck, they made it worse when they traded Kevin Zeitler to the Giants. They’ll get a new head coach and general manager but surely they have to realize they’re line is god awful. I feel like Wirfs is a little undervalued at this point. He’s what you want in an offensive tackle prospect. He played on the right side in college, which is part of his undervaluing, but he’s a plug and play from day one.
11. New York Jets - Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama - It’s about time the Jets get Sam Darnold some weapons, and what a weapon they have the chance of adding here. There’s a very good chance Jeudy will be long gone before 11, but if he’s there, the Jets better not think twice. The Jets lack offensive playmakers and Jeudy has all of the talent to be a true WR1, something Darnold has yet to have in his short NFL career. Jeudy is one of the best route runners we may ever see fresh out of college. He has some of the quickest feet you’ll ever see. We won’t see a prospect like Jeudy for a long time.
12. Las Vegas Raiders - Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina - The Raiders could go many different options here, but Kinlaw sures up their defensive line that is still lackluster to say the least They went from last in 2018 to 26th in 2019 in sacks. That’s not going to cut it. They did well last year in adding defensive end Clelin Ferrell out of Clemson but the middle of their defensive line is nearly non existent. Kinlaw would change that right away. He’s a monster of a man at 6-foot-6 and 310 pounds. He’s very quick off the snap and reads the ball well. Once he gets going, there’s no stopping him. He’s the ideal piece to add to help rebuild this defense as the team makes the move to Las Vegas.
13. Indianapolis Colts - Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson - The Colts could look to change signal callers, but there’s nothing wrong with Jacoby Brissett. Let’s not forget that TY Hilton, Eric Ebron and Marlon Mack all missed extended periods of time this season, many games without either of the three. It’s hard to succeed when your three best offensive weapons aren’t on the field. Although Brissett is serviceable, the Colts need to provide him with weapons to succeed. Higgins opposite TY Hilton would be ideal. On one side you have the 5-foot-10 speedster that is TY and on the other you’ll have the 6-foot-4 Higgins who has what seems to be an unlimited catching radius. Toss Jack Doyle into the mix there and that’s one heck of a receiving corp. I like this move a lot and I think it makes a lot of sense, that is if the Colts are committed to Brissett.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa - The Buccaneers have a lot of needs, especially on the defensive side of the football. They could use secondary help but their lack of a consistent and potent pass rush has a lot to do with the secondary’s struggles. Epenesa has the perfect build to play defensive end with his hand in the ground but has the speed and finesse to get around the corner standing up as well. He’s essentially unstoppable to block on one-on-one situations. The Bucs’ will be lucky if he’s there at 14 but if he is, this is a no brainer for the Bucs.
15. Denver Broncos - Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama - This one is simple. The Denver Broncos are desperate for offensive line help and Wills is the best player available in that position. His run blocking is as good as it gets. His footwork is a little less than desired but that can come with some training at the next level. Anyway you look at it, the Broncos must go offensive line here and Wills is their best option.
16. Atlanta Falcons - Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State - This may be considered a reach at this point, but when it’s all said and done, it won’t be. Weaver is as good as it gets. He’s the all-time sack leader of the Mountain West Conference in just three seasons for a reason. He has a very strong initial step and plays the run extremely well for an outside pass rusher designed to get to the quarterback. The Falcons’ defense played a lot better towards the end of the season but it still isn’t very good. They need help across the board, but pass rushing is arguably their biggest weakness. Weaver can definitely help with that.
17. Dallas Cowboys - Grant Delpit, S, LSU - Steal alert. Delpit is one of the best defensive players in the entire draft and here are the Cowboys getting him at 17 in a position of need. Delpit is both extremely athletic and active. He can cover every position from RB, WR to TE. He’s as versatile as it gets when it comes to safeties. He plays both man and zone coverages extremely well. He attacks the ball and plays downhill at all times. If you look up the term “ballhawk” in the dictionary, you’ll probably find a picture of Delpit next to it.
18. Miami Dolphins via Pittsburgh Steelers - Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State - This is the pick the Dolphins acquired from sending Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Steelers. After getting their quarterback of the future with their pick, they’ll look to address their other weaknesses with their second of three first round selections. Gross-Matos is a raw talent but the upside is there to produce a star. They could use offensive line help, but there’s time to address that in the future. As they’ll have to sit Tua, there’s time to develop Gross-Matos. His most important tool is his length, and he uses that extremely well. He has a non-stop motor, which is something that can not be taught. He’s relentless and gives nothing but his all on every play. This is the perfect pick for this young Dolphins’ team.
19. Las Vegas Raiders via Chicago Bears - Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma - The Raiders have been drafting well as of late and if they are to make this selection, they’ll continue that trend. Murray is by far the best linebacking prospect in the entire draft. He’s extremely athletic and plays sideline-to-sideline. We don’t expect much defensive talent out of the Big 12, but Murray has been playing against some of the most high-powered college offenses and putting on a clinic during the process. He also has a very patient approach and doesn’t overplay, which too can’t be taught. I’m a big Murray guy.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars via Los Angeles Rams - K'Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU - When you talk about athletic freaks, Chaisson may come up in your discussions. He’s not extremely long, but he does meet the baseline. What he lacks in the length category he makes up for in pure athleticism. LSU has also used this guy all over their defense, showing his versatility. I’ve said it before, the Jaguars love versatile defenders and Chaisson fits the bill. It’s a form of a risk but one worth taking, such as the Jaguars can do with a second first round selection.
21. Tennessee Titans - Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama - Terrell Lewis will gain much more traction as this draft process progresses, I’ll promise you that. Anyhow, Cameron Wake is 37-years-old and Terrell Lewis would operate perfectly opposite Harold Landry. The term that best describes Lewis’ play style is “violent.” He fits the part of an NFL pass rusher. He’s long, strong and plays with a high intensity and physicality. I know I have him higher than most already but watch for him to creep into the top 20 as this process continues.
22. Philadelphia Eagles - Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado - The Eagles need someone who can catch a football, plain and simple. They could opt for the likes of Henry Rugs III or Jalen Reagor but Shenault has the best hands of the bunch. He’s chiseled, thick and stout yet smooth and has a touch of finesse in everything he does. He’s a wide receiver in a runningback’s body. Much like a D.K. Metcalf, yet more skilled. His route running can be improved, but that can come with time. The Eagles are just looking for their next Alshon Jeffrey, big bodied receiver who can out muscle and box out defenders to win the ball. That is Shenault.
23. Minnesota Vikings - C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida - This Vikings’ defense is far from the one that just a few years back put fear into the eyes of opposing quarterbacks, especially their secondary. Henderson is a great addition here. He’s a lanky guy who uses his length extremely well. He is still a bit raw and gets caught out of position but his arm length allows for him to make up space quickly and play through the body of the receiver. He has the ability to play off-ball due to this. These are unique skills you won’t find anywhere else. I don’t think he’s your lockdown corner, but operating opposite Xavier Rhodes would be ideal for his style of play.
24. Buffalo Bills - Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville - At this point of the process, many are projecting the Bills to target a receiver, for they don’t have a true number one. However, they still have a below average offensive line and a young quarterback. Josh Allen won’t be able to continue what he’s done thus far with his legs forever and he is still rather inaccurate with the football. The Bills really need to shore up that line to give him more time to go through his progressions and make the right throw. Also, he needs to take less hits carrying the ball and stay in the pocket more, which would happen with a more solidified offensive line.
25. Miami Dolphins va. Houston Texans - Tyler Biadasz, OG, Wisconsin - Come draft day, it’ll be hard to believe that the draft’s best inside line prospect makes it all the way to pick 25. If he’s there, the Dolphins would be elated. They got their quarterback of the future in this draft and got what could be a steal in a raw pass rusher. Now, they get the first piece in putting together their offensive line. With Tua being left handed, it’s even more important that the Dolphins find the right pieces in constructing their line, and that would start with Biadasz.
26. Seattle Seahawks - Austin Jackson, OT, USC - Different year, same thing. It seems like this cycle never ends. Surprise, the Seahawks are in need of offensive line help. Starting right tackle Germain Ifedi’s contract is up this year, which may leave an immediate hole the Seahawks would look to fill. Even if Ifedi were to stay, PFF.com ranked the Seahawks’ offensive line 27th in the league following the regular season. They need to keep their $140 million man, Russell Wilson, upright.
27. New England Patriots - Jordan Love, QB, Utah State - As a Boise State fan, I’ve got to see Jordan Love operate more than most college football fans. I’m also one to believe that last year fourth round selection Jarrett Stindham is not the answer in New England. Now, they could very well go elsewhere with this selection, but getting the Tom Brady replacement now makes a lot of sense. It is obvious that age has finally caught up to the once-ageless man. He massively regressed this season and reports suggest that this may even be his last season with the team. I’m not buying that at all. I think they could get their replacement here in Love, who I love (sorry for that.) You want to know why I’m so interested in Jordan Love? Because he reminds me so much of Patrick Mahomes. Dude has a rocket for an arm, is an electrifying athlete and performs the impossible. Not to mention their both from mid-level schools. Love could very well end up being the best quarterback out of this draft and I only hope he rises boards because I hope the Patriots don’t go from Brady to Love.
28. New Orleans Saints - Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama - This isn’t going to be fair. The Saints just need to keep adding weapons and offensive firepower around Drew Brees until it’s too late. Michael Thomas is the best receiver in football, but opposite him, is essentially a void. Why not add a guy with legitimate 4.3 speed? Imagine having to worry about the guy with the best hands in the game coming across the middle as a guy with world class speed going down the sidelines with Drew Brees throwing the football. That’s a nightmare.
29. Kansas City Chiefs - D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia - The once unstoppable Kansas City Chiefs’ offense regressed this year quite a bit. I believe a lot of that had to do with Kareem Hunt no longer on the roster. The Chiefs lacked a consistent running game all season. Last year when they were putting up jaw-dropping numbers and blowing teams out of the water, a major part of that was with the offense going through Hunt. Whether it be him actually carrying the ball or catching it out of the backfield or being involved in play action. Swift is the cream of the crop when it comes to this year’s running backs. He’s a very good pass catching back and would plug perfectly into this team and fill that Kareem Hunt void ideally.
30. Green Bay Packers - Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU - Reagor is not talked about enough. The Packers really need to get Aaron Rodgers some new toys. Geronimo Allison and Marquez Valdes-Scantling just aren’t cutting it. Like Ruggs, Reagor has 4.3 speed and does it all. He’s great with the ball in his hands anywhere on the field. May it be on screens, over the middle, end-arounds, deep passes, anything. He’s a play maker and something that would be rather dangerous if given to Aaron Rodgers. It’s amazing what Rodgers has been able to do with what he has. They need to give him something to work with, and giving him a player such as Reagor to play opposite Devante Adams to stretch the field would be a game changer.
31. San Francisco 49ers - Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama - The 49ers are one of the most complete rosters in the NFL and they don’t have many needs. One position they may need is if they choose to move on from Jimmie Ward in the off-season. If Ward is to leave, McKinney would be a perfect replacement. If Ward is to stay, the 49ers could always use secondary depth as they have shown this season they are suspect against the pass, especially in the second half of the season.
32. Baltimore Ravens - A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson - Marcus Peters and Jimmy Smith are both pending free agents. I find it hard to believe that the Ravens will lose both, but it's not impossible that they lose one. Terrell is a natural athlete who can play both man and zone coverages well. The way he plays the position almost seems seamless at times. However, he overplays the ball at times and reads it out of the hand of the quarterback inconsistently. If he can improve in that category, this would be considered a steal.