The NFL Draft will begin on Thursday, April 29th, and will last through Saturday, April 31st. It should be a fun time of draft picks, deeply personal interviews about the most traumatic event in a person’s life, and hopefully a couple of Buffs in the later rounds. This is a two-round mock draft from a non-expert, so CU fans will have to scroll to the very bottom for Will Sherman and Mustafa Johnson.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars — Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
The Jaguars won the first game of the 2020 season, realized Gardner Minshew is much cooler than he is good, and tanked for 15 straight losses to get the first pick. Lawrence is a perfect QB prospect and he’s going to have some solid weapons in D.J. Chark, Marvin Jones and Laviska Shenault Jr.
2. New York Jets — Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
The Jets haven’t realized Justin Fields is better than Zach Wilson, but that’s okay. The BYU quarterback should be just fine — maybe he will lead them to a first round playoff loss before commanding a $30 million salary.
3. San Francisco 49ers — Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
It makes zero sense why the draftniks and experts have derided Fields for the past few months. He has a cannon for an arm, makes plays with his feet, is a tremendous leader and he’s tough as hell. Despite any weaknesses in his game, he’s going to be a winner.
4. Atlanta Falcons — Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
The bad news is that it’s really hard to draft tight ends in the first round. Of the last ten years, the best first round TEs are probably Jermaine Gresham, T.J. Hockenson and Evan Engram, so that’s fun. The good news is that Kyle Pitts might be the best TE in the NFC as a rookie. If you haven’t watched his highlights yet, please treat yourself to a player who was born to play the position.
5. Cincinnati Bengals — Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
There has been some discussion as to whether the Bengals should draft a receiver or an offensive tackle with this pick. Yes, Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase have great chemistry from college, but Burrow can’t throw the ball if he’s on the ground with a broken leg.
6. Miami Dolphins — Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
The Dolphins are doing an excellent job rebuilding the franchise and that’s before picking three times in the first 36 picks. They can go with the best available player, which works out to be an elite receiver prospect at a position of need.
7. Detroit Lions — Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
Having fired Matt Patricia and trading away Matthew Stafford, the Lions are tearing everything down to start anew. Maybe, I don’t really know, I don’t follow the Lions. But they do have Jared Goff and their best receiver is, uhh, Tyrell Williams? Anyway, Jaylen Waddle is very good, but please stop comparing him to Tyreek Hill because the Chiefs receiver is one of a kind.
8. Carolina Panthers — Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
The Panthers have the outlines of a good offense. Christian McCaffrey is a future Hall of Famer and the receiving corps is really talented with DJ Moore and Robby Anderson. It really depends on the performance Sam Darnold, who would be helped tremendously by an adequate offensive line.
9. Denver Broncos — Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Drew Lock is not very good. It’s been obvious everyone but the most ardent Broncos homers. The bright side is that this draft is loaded with talented QBs, and though Lance is certainly a project, he’s more talented than any of the previous QB who failed in Denver.
10. Dallas Cowboys — Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
In successive years, the Cowboys have let Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie leave in the free agency, the former because of the salary cap and the latter because of durability concerns. The result is an obvious need at cornerback that should be filled by the best DB in the draft.
11. New York Giants — Azeez Ojulari, Edge, Georgia
The Giants will usually (1) draft for need, (2) find a guy they could definitely draft later in the round, (3) refuse to trade down for fear of getting fleeced.
12. Philadelphia Eagles — DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
Philly has probably the least talented receiving corps in the NFL. Their biggest weaknesses are getting open and catching the ball — it’s true, I’m not even being facetious. Bringing in DeVonta Smith would help tremendously. There are concerns about his lack of strength, but there are few receivers with his combination of route-running, sure hands and overall feel for the game.
13. Los Angeles Chargers — Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
I looked up the Chargers’ depth chart, saw Trey Pipkins III starting at left tackle, and gave them the best offensive tackle on the board. Mock drafts are very easy to write.
14. Minnesota Vikings — Alijah Vera-Tucker, IOL, USC
The Vikings’ offense is loaded with talented skill players, but they really need an upgrade on the interior offensive line. Vera-Tucker has experience all over the line, but his best position is inside at guard, where he should be a day-one starter.
15. New England Patriots — Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
When choosing between a below average starting QB or a do-everything athletic freak at linebacker, Bill Belichick would rather Parsons than Mac Jones.
16. Arizona Cardinals — Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
If healthy — and that’s a big caveat here — Farley has the talent to be a superstar cornerback. The Cards will be betting on that, as they let franchise icon Patrick Peterson walk in free agency.
17. Las Vegas Raiders — Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
Barmore has all the potential to become a disruptive interior pass rusher, something the Raiders really need in the AFC West, and he might be putting all the tools together.
18. Dolphins — Jeremiah Owusu-Karamoah, LB, Notre Dame
Following in the footsteps of Belichick, Miami coach Brian Flores would love to have a hybrid linebacker who can be unleashed in any number of ways.
19. Washington Football Team — Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
I’m sorry Buffs fans, but Steven Montez is not the long-term answer at QB.
20. Chicago Bears — Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
Having four seasons starting experience at left tackle and both guard spots, Jenkins can fill in wherever there’s a fire in the trash heap that is the Bears offensive line.
21. Indianapolis Colts — Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington
The Colts could upgrade the talent on offense, or keep on loading up the defensive side of the football. Here, they choose the latter, going with the stocky Onwuzurike to give them an even better interior pass rush.
22. Tennessee Titans — Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
There was no real reason for Horn to slide all this way, but it works out because he would be an absolute stud in the Titans secondary. They already have a pair of physical corners in Janoris Jenkins and Kristian Fulton — Horn is bigger, stronger and younger than both.
23. Jets — Jaelan Phillips, Edge, Miami
The former #1 recruit out of high school flamed out at UCLA because of a litany of injuries, but figured it out this past season at Miami. If he can stay healthy, he has a ton of potential as a versatile pass rusher. The Jets will probably screw him up though.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers — Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
The first running back off the board, Najee Harris has a combination of power running and receiving ability that should shine in the Steelers’ offense. They just need to figure out their offensive line, which they could address later on in the draft.
25. Jaguars — Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
The Jags have the privilege of taking the best player on the board, regardless of position, because they have so many holes. Collins could cause some havoc for them, as he’s equally adept at getting into the backfield as he is at dropping back into coverage.
26. Cleveland Browns — Kwity Paye, Edge, Michigan
Kwity Paye is a project pick, an athletic freak who could be really good opposite Myles Garrett down the road. For now, he would also provide more depth on the defensive line, something the Browns need in the short term.
27. Baltimore Ravens — Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
I’ll be honest, I withheld Bateman from other teams because I want him to end up in Baltimore. They badly need a primary option at receiver, particularly in the intermediate area of the field. Bateman knows how to find open space, has terrific hands and is a physical runner after the catch.
28. New Orleans Saints — Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss
Michael Thomas’s extended absence showed that New Orleans has zero depth at receiver. Now in Year One A.D.B. (after Drew Brees), they could use a receiver with Moore’s quickness and hands.
29. Green Bay Packers — Landon Dickerson, IOL, Alabama
After wasting their first and second round picks on Jordan Love and A.J. Dillon, the Packers will be pressured into actually helping out reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers. Here, Dickerson needs some polish, but he offers immediate help as a mauler.
30. Buffalo Bills — Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
The Bills had an elite offense in 2020 despite a mediocre rushing attack. Drafting Etienne would be an immediate upgrade over Devin Singletary and Zack Moss, as he offers big play ability and is an emerging threat in the passing game.
31. Baltimore Ravens — Joe Tryon, Edge, Washington
After choosing a receiver earlier, the Ravens could go for depth and upside on either the offensive or defensive line. Tryon is a great athlete with the perfect frame to play on the edge in a 3-4 defense. He has a really competitive personality, which the Ravens always covet.
32. Tampa Bay Buccanneers — Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
When you win the Super Bowl, you can treat yourself with a luxury pick. The Bucs already have a great receiving corps with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Scotty Miller, but what they don’t have is a Kadarius Toney.
33. Jaguars — Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama
34. Jets — Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern
35. Falcons — Jayson Oweh, Edge, Penn State
36. Dolphins — Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina
37. Eagles — Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State
38. Bengals — Terrace Marshall, WR, LSU
39. Panthers — Kelvin Joseph, CB, Kentucky
40. Broncos — Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
41. Lions — Liam Eichenburg, OT, Notre Dame
42. Giants — Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
43. 49ers — Elijah Molden, CB, Washington
44. Cowboys — Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
45. Jaguars — Richie Grant, FS, UCF
46. Patriots — Amari Rodgers, WR, Clemson
47. Chargers — Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia
48. Raiders — Brady Christensen, OT, BYU
49. Cardinals — Wyatt Davis, IOL, Ohio State
50. Dolphins — Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami
51. Washington — Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
52. Bears — Dyami Brown, WR, North Carolina
53. Titans — Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
54. Colts — Carlos Basham Jr., Edge, Wake Forest
55. Steelers — Creed Humphrey, IOL, Oklahoma
56. Seahawks — Payton Turner, Edge, Houston
57. Rams — Quinn Meinerz, IOL, Wisconsin-Whitewater
58. Chiefs — Jabril Cox, LB, LSU
59. Browns — Aaron Robinson, CB, UCF
60. Saints — Ronnie Perkins, Edge, Oklahoma
61. Bills — Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse
62. Packers — Milton Williams, DL, Louisiana Tech
63. Chiefs — Trevon Moehrig, FS, TCU
64. Buccaneers — Joseph Ossai, Edge, Texas
155. 49ers — William Sherman, Colorado
232. Titans — Mustafa Johnson, Colorado