First, some ground rules:
- I will base available players to me for drafting based upon the consensus big board, wherein I can draft anyone within 10% of that pick and beyond.
- For example, at pick 4 I can draft anyone ranked higher (4-10% of 4) which is 3.6, on the consensus big board. This means I cannot draft the top 3 players on the consensus big board (Hutch, KT, Neal).
- For pick 10, I can pick anyone from 9th on the big board and beyond, and so on.
- I will not be mocking any trades, although I would LOVE to trade down from 4 to pick up a couple more top-50 selections and/or 2023 first round picks.
Pick 4: Ahmad 'Sauce' Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
- 0 TDs allowed in his coverage for his entire career
- Career passer rating when targeted is ~7 points lower than the QB rating for spiking the ball into the dirt every play instead of targeting Sauce
- Only top CB with INTs in both MAN and ZONE coverage
- Did not allow a catch of over 17 yards into his coverage at all in 2021
Pick 10: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
The only 18 year old true freshman I've ever seen with a >30% pressure share in a power-5 conference. Only EDGE rusher I have seen with multiple >30% pressure shares before turning 21 that I've ever seen, let alone in a Power-5 conference. Explosive and a high character guy, check out his background if you haven't.
Pick 35: Lewis Cine, S, Georgia
Cine and Brisker are just great picks here for the Jets, can't go wrong with either. Cine is one of the best tackling Safeties I've seen who can also cover and play all over the field. All of that with elite athleticism and played for one the best defenses in CFB history.
Pick 38: Tyler Smith, OT, Tulsa
True junior early declare out of Tulsa, which is rare. The man has prototypical size, athleticism and elite length and hand size even to go along with several years of starting experience and high level production. He will be a very high level run blocker out the gate and has a very good chance to be even smoother in pass protection than a guy like Ikem Ekwonu. Very underrated on the consensus big board and likely isn't available here. If he is, take him.
Pick 69: David Bell, WR, Purdue
Incredible production and breakout age. He is the best WR in this draft at breaking tackles downfield and is strong at the catch point. He also has arguably the best LOS releases of any WR in this draft. While he may not be a burner in terms of combine drills, he is more than athletic enough on the football field in my opinion. Contested targets concern me some, but the dude helped bring Purdue on of their best seasons in the program's history and single-handedly beat two #3 seeds in the same season! Both Iowa and Michigan State were known for their defense and secondary play and yet David Bell shredded them. Truly dominant CFB WR who I am thrilled to take a chance on at 69 overall here.
Pick 111: Cam Jurgens, C, Nebraska
Incredible athlete and former 4/5 star TE out of HS who is only 3 years removed from a major position change which required him to add 60 pounds to his 6-3 frame in the past 3 years. He put it on well, maintaining elite athleticism. Movement skills and athleticism and speed are more important in OL than any other position in my opinion, and Jurgens has that in spades. Give him a year or so to continue to develop and refine his snapping and pass sets and he will be golden.
Pick 117: Brandon Smith, LB Penn St
I am honestly unsure here, but I passed on LB unexpectedly way too many times in this mock draft. It speaks to the depth and strength of this LB class when Brandon Smith will potentially be available outside of the top-100 picks. His usage at Penn State was non-traditional for a LB, but the dude is a former 5 star top recruit who is an insane combination of size and function athleticism. He also boasts some of the best true coverage stats of any LB in this class despite being deployed in non-traditional off-ball LB ways. I trust with coaching that he can improve his run stopping and traditional off-ball LB abilities. If he does, and he pairs that with his already solid coverage ability, then we have an all-pro LB on our hands. Insane potential that is a late 1st rounder IMO in several previous drafts just based upon potential alone.
Pick 146: Austin Allen, TE, Nebraska
Arguably had the best TE season in modern Nebraska history. Crazy tall yet with a massive catch radius - similar to what Zach Wilson had in college with Isaac Rex, who caught 12 TDs from Zach in 2020. Allen has legit route running ability, legit athleticism and rare movement skills for a man of his height. His blocking grades significantly improved in 2021 as well. A true sleeper in an incredibly deep and crowded 2021 TE class.
Pick 163: Neil Farrell Jr, DT, LSU
The best DT in terms of a combination of pass rush ability and run-stopping ability in this DT draft class other than Devonte Wyatt. Other guys like Jordan Davis and Travis Jones are significantly more attractive DT prospects thanks to their youth, size and incredible athleticism, but Farrell is getting overlooked in this class and has great production and good enough athleticism for a 1-tech or 3-tech DT in the Jets scheme. High floor player who will almost certainly contribute as a rookie - more than you can say for most draft picks outside of the top-150.