Here is our third mock draft. It’s the first since the first round of free agency has changed the equation for several teams.
With Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy being drafted by the Jets with the 11th pick in the first round, the Raiders select Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb with the 12th pick and stick with LSU linebacker Patrick Queen with the 19th pick.
While there are several trade possibilities mentioned, we kept each team selecting in their current spot for the purposes of this exercise. That will change as the April 23-25 draft draws closer.
This is our best current guess at each selection, with a notation in parentheses of where that player was slotted in our second mock draft.
1. Cincinnati Bengals — Joe Burrow, QB, LSU (1)
He’s been in the top spot since the beginning of this process and that doesn’t change here. There is speculation, however, about the Dolphins trying to move up to this spot.
2. Washington Redskins — Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama (2)
Tagovailoa’s team continues to insist health won’t be a concern. If teams don’t question his health, he should go very high. The strange pre-draft process where teams are limited in their ability to have their medical staff conduct physicals could be a factor. But the Redskins may find his upside too good to pass up, even after taking a quarterback in the first round last season.
3. Detroit Lions — Chase Young, Edge, Ohio State (3)
Young well might be the best player in the draft. The Lions could get an absolute steal should each of the first two picks be used on quarterbacks. It’s doubtful the Lions would pass on the opportunity to draft Young, though their phone will be ringing off the hook with trade offers if the draft plays out like this.
4. New York Giants — Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson (4)
This is another spot that will be a prime candidate for a trade. Teams could look to jump ahead of Miami to take Oregon’s Justin Herbert if the other two quarterbacks are off the board. The Giants could trade down and pick up a much-needed offensive tackle and additional assets. But Simmons would be a plug-and-play option to serve as the foundation of a rebuilding defense.
5 — Miami Dolphins — Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon (5)
If the Dolphins stay here and two quarterbacks already are off the board. they will have an easy decision. But they have so much capital in the first three rounds, they may look to trade up to have their pick of the top three signal-callers. Herbert may be the most NFL-ready of the group.
6. Los Angeles Chargers — Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville (8)
The Chargers want to take a quarterback, but they are in a fascinating position of also believing they have a window to win now. If one of the top three quarterbacks are there, they will probably grab one. They may even try to jump ahead of the Dolphins. There is no indication they are infatuated with Utah State’s Jordan Love, generally considered the fourth-best QB prospect. So in this scenario they may go ahead and fill the biggest hole they have and hope Becton’s insane measurables translate to on the field.
7. Carolina Panthers — Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn (7)
The Panthers will almost certainly look to address their defense. Brown is a foundational piece on the interior of the defensive line. This pick makes a ton of sense in terms of both need and value.
8. Arizona Cardinals — Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa (10)
The Cardinals addressed their need for an impact wide receiver by trading for star DeAndre Hopkins. Now they can focus on shoring up a subpar offensive line. Wirfs is perhaps the best athlete among the offensive line prospects and has the ability to play tackle or guard in the NFL.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars — Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State (6)
Okudah is far better than the ninth-best player in this draft. But the Jaguars are beneficiaries of the quarterback derby at the top. It’s almost inconceivable that the Jaguars would be able to pass on such an elite talent should he be available, especially a few months after trading away star Jalen Ramsey at the same position.
10. Cleveland Browns — Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama (11)
The Browns have heavily invested in skill players on offense, but that hasn’t produced the desired results. A flawed offensive line is a major reason the plan went sideways.
11. New York Jets — Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama (12)
The Jets have two glaring holes on offense. This decision comes down to taking the fourth-best offensive tackle in the draft or having their pick of all the elite wide receivers to replace the departed Robby Anderson. There are a variety of opinions on which wideout is the best of the bunch. Jeudy is starting to build a bit of a momentum, though.
12. Las Vegas Raiders — CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma (15)
After adding Nelson Agholor, the Raiders are still in the market for a true No. 1 wideout. Enter Lamb. It would be ideal if none of the elite tier of receivers are gone, but Lamb is more than just a consolation prize.
13. San Francisco 49ers — Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama (20)
The run on wide receivers continues as the last of the truly elite group comes off the board. The 49ers added this pick by trading away defensive lineman DeForest Buckner two weeks ago and are expected to try to add a complementary weapon to breakout star Deebo Samuel.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia (14)
Tampa Bay left no doubt it was going all-in on this season when it made the splashiest move of the free-agency period by signing Tom Brady. Thomas not only fills an immediate need, but serves to help protect the Buccaneers’ newest asset.
15. Denver Broncos — Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina (9)
The Broncos will be enamored by Kinlaw’s ability to be a disruptive force on the interior of the defensive line, a trait the unit could sure use. His slip here is much more about teams in front filling needs than anything Kinlaw has done in the pre-draft process.
16. Atlanta Falcons — C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida (16).
The Falcons could use a corner. Henderson’s impressive combine appears to have solidified his spot as the second-best player at the position in this draft. He is a good fit for Raheem Morris’ defense.
17. Dallas Cowboys — K’Lavon Chaisson, Edge, LSU (18)
The Cowboys needed a safety and got good value in veteran Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. That left edge rusher as a glaring need until they took a gamble on Aldon Smith. The acquisition of Smith may keep them from taking Chaisson. But Dallas can’t be overly confident that Smith will snap right into form after so long away from the league. Cornerback would be the logical pivot, though it might be tough to pass on Chaisson, whose presence is impossible to miss on film. He may have been the best player on an incredibly talented defense, and his offseason work is doing nothing to hurt him.
18. Miami Dolphins — Josh Jones, OT, Houston (30)
Miami has invested heavily in free agency and has a whole slew of picks to work with in the draft. If they are going to take a prized quarterback prospect and the best running back prospect available (stay tuned), they also need to find a way to protect those assets. Jones followed up a spectacular Senior Bowl week with a solid combine.
19. Las Vegas Raiders — Patrick Queen, LB, LSU (19)
Alabama safety Xavier McKinney is the best player available at this spot and may well have been the pick before the team came to terms on Thursday with safety Damarious Randall. A deal with cornerback Eli Apple fell through the same day, but Alabame cornerback Trevon Diggs might be a stretch at this spot. The Raiders could trade down and still get him, or even take a shot on QB Jordan Love or an edge rusher here. Queen is the play though. The Raiders could still use an influx of talent at linebacker despite investing in the position in free agency. Queen is the best player at the position in the draft.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars — Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU (21)
The Jaguars are in desperate need of offensive weapons to pair with wide receiver D.J. Chark. They should be thrilled if Jefferson is available here. After posting impressive numbers in college, he backed it up with a 4.43 40-yard dash at the combine and sprinted right into the first round.
21. Philadelphia Eagles — Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson (22)
Another run on receivers has begun here in the first round. The Eagles’ receiving corps is a combination of aging and beat up, so they may trade up to get their choice of the elite group in the top half of the first round. Higgins is a nice fallback option, though Arizona State’s Brandon Aiyuk, TCU’s Jalen Reagor and combine-star Denzel Mims of Baylor are also possibilities. A long shot would be one of the top two linebackers, LSU’s Patrick Queen or Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray.
22. Minnesota Vikings — Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State (NR)
The Vikings could be left in an awkward position. There is a strong argument that Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs should be the pick here. He’s a talented cornerback and fills a big need for Minnesota. The problem: He’s the younger brother of Stefon Diggs, who the Vikings traded away to acquire this pick. It’s difficult to imagine Minnesota making that selection.
23. New England Patriots — Jordan Love, QB, Utah State (13)
It may have slipped under the radar, but the Patriots need to find a starting quarterback for the first time in 20 years. Love is the enigma of this year’s quarterback class. His upside has drawn Patrick Mahomes comparisons, though Love wasn’t able to replicate his 2018 performance on the field in 2019. That’s a huge part of why he could go anywhere from No. 6 to out of the first round.
24. New Orleans Saints — Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma (24)
Murray fills a pressing need for the Saints as a plug-and-play linebacker who can contribute right away for a team with a window that may be starting to close. He’s a good leader who’s always around the ball and lives in the backfield.
25. Minnesota Vikings — Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU (32)
The Vikings need a cornerback and aren’t likely to take Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs. Enter Fulton, yet another player off the national championship team in Baton Rouge. He has slipped down the boards a bit in the pre-draft process, but has a skill set that translates well to the NFL.
26. Miami Dolphins — Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama (17).
Georgia’s D’Andre Swift would be appealing to the Dolphins here, but they have plenty of picks in the second and third rounds with few teams expected to target running back early. Instead, Miami opts to grab the best safety in the draft and one of the most versatile defensive players available. McKinney lined up at safety, linebacker and corner in college and should play the same type of role Minkah Fitzpatrick once did for the Dolphins.
27. Seattle Seahawks — Yetur Gross-Matos, Edge, Penn State (27)
Seattle will be looking to find a playmaker along the defensive front after finishing next-to-last in the league in sacks. There’s no question Gross-Matos can help while also providing the ability to play on early downs.
28. Baltimore Ravens — Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan (31)
It’s widely expected that the Ravens would grab either Queen or Murray here, but they are both off the board. That may leave them in a position to trade down in search of help at linebacker or looking to fill a different need. Marshal Yanda’s retirement leaves the Ravens in search of interior offensive line help Ruiz is the only player with anywhere near a first-round grade. He can play guard or center and could help keep the Baltimore running game churning.
29. Tennessee Titans — Austin Jackson, OT, USC (NR)
Tennessee’s most glaring need is at right tackle where it lost All-Pro Jack Conklin. While there is a deep pool of candidates at the position in the draft, several already are off the board. Jackson is a steady performer with good athleticism who projects as more of a right tackle than left.
30. Green Bay Packers — Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia (NR)
The Packers have a big need after losing an elite performer in offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga. There are several options here. The Packers could trade down and still find a potential starter, but Wilson has a high ceiling. He is massive and explosive, providing several eye-popping moments on film. He is still young and raw, so consistency could be an issue.
31. San Francisco 49ers — Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU (25)
The 49ers addressed a glaring hole on their roster by picking up a wide receiver earlier in the first round with the pick they acquired in the Buckner deal. Now they can take care of the hole created by Buckner’s departure. Blacklock had the look of a potential top-10 pick before an Achilles injury cost him his sophomore season. He returned last season and looked fine before answering a whole lot of questions with a spectacular combine.
32. Kansas City Chiefs — Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama (29)
Minnesota’s loss is Kansas City’s gain. Diggs, a converted receiver with prototypical size, showed enough in one full season at cornerback to show he should be a first-round pick. That also has scouts dreaming of how good he can be when he gains experience at the position.