It’s here! It’s draft day. I hope you all are normal people and got sleep, because I didn’t. This will obviously be my last mock for this draft class. In my first mock, I went with the picks that I would make. In my 2nd, I got in the mind of a pre-draft Joe Douglas and made his picks. For this final mock, I will put my Nostradamus hat on and try and predict what will happen. The first 2 drafts didn’t have any trades, but this one will. Like every year, I will also be making my picks before JD does and will be comparing how I did compared to him after the draft.
Round 1 (Pick 2)
QB, Zach Wilson, BYU
Well this pick isn’t changing much. My guy is Justin Fields, but I would be more than happy to walk away with Zach at pick 2. The upside difference between them is marginal. I’ll even admit that Wilson fits one need a little bit more than Fields. Playing in the weather of the North East, a QB that can throw with a lot of velocity will have a bit of an advantage. Fields has the most accurate and beautiful rainbow deep passes in the class. In weather the Fields would face here, those rainbows are more susceptible to being manipulated by wind. Wilson’s line drives can pierce right through the elements. All signs point to Zach being our guy, and I don’t see JD picking anyone else.
TRADE: There are some teams who are very hungry for a center, including the Steelers who pick after us. The Packers might want to trade up for Creed. In return, we get their 1st round pick (Pick 29) and their 2nd round pick (Pick 62).
Round 1 (Pick 29)
OT/OG, Alex Leatherwood, Alabama
Now that we have our potential franchise QB locked up, we need to protect him. The interior of our line is abysmal. We need to get better and quick. This means we need some plug and play guys. First up we have Alex Leatherwood from Bama. Leatherwood and his tree trunk arms can be very versatile. We can kick him inside, or eventually replace Fant with him. For now, I would be more than happy with him at guard. His movement skills are enough to that he wouldn’t be an anchor on our offense.
Round 2 (Pick 34)
CB, Ifeatu Melifonwu, Syracuse
On defense our most neglected position is CB. I suspect that we bring someone in after the draft, but we need long-term answers. Melifonwu probably has the most upside and is the most scheme diverse. He has the size, physicality and range to flourish on the back end of our defense.
Round 2 (Pick 62)
IOL, Kendrick Green, Illinois
Taking Leatherwood will be a great help to this OL unit, but we can’t stop there. We still need one more talented linemen to compete for the LG spot. Enter Kendrick Green. His name has been catching fire lately, so don’t expect him to hang around too long. David wrote about him recently. We need linemen who are athletic and strong. Green fits the bill to a T. On top of that, he has that bully mentality that will fit right in with our offense. Give me a team of bullies. I would have him compete right away with GVR for a starting spot.
Round 3 (Pick 66)
EDGE, Payton Turner, Houston
EDGE isn’t the biggest need on defense, but we can still stand to improve. Except for Lawson and JFM on sub packages, we don’t have another world beater at EDGE. The front 4 might be crowded, but we could use another stud. Turner is a monster. For his size, he shouldn’t move the way he does. His explosion and edging ability is something to behold. Put him on the other of Lawson and let them eat.
Round 3 (Pick 86)
LB, Chazz Surratt, UNC
Besides CB, LBer is our most needed position. Over the years Saleh has molded many LBer prospects into top tier, NFL stars. Give him a mold of clay and let him make a masterpiece. Surratt doesn’t have a lot of experience at LBer but he has all the raw ability to be great at it. He is that lump of clay I mentioned. I can see him being the next LBer star to flourish under Saleh.
Round 4 (Pick 107)
WR, Tutu Atwell, Louisville
The name of the game is speed and we need to start playing. If you look at our skill positions there is a glaring need. We don’t have anyone that can blow the top off of a defense. Atwell is a HR threat anytime he touches the ball. He might not have the size, but if you can’t touch him, does it matter that much. Crowder is just about the same size. Speaking of Crowder... Him and Cole could be gone next year. It’s time to start grooming a replacement.
Round 5 (Pick 146)
RB, Kylin Hill, Mississippi State
I personally love Ty Johnson for our offense, and think he would flourish in a bigger role. I don’t think we should leave it to chance though. We should improve the position and we have a great opportunity to do that with Kylin Hill. Hill is a duel threat as a runner and a receiver. His cutback vision and burst through running lanes makes him a great fit for us.
Round 5 (Pick 154)
TE/FB, Briley Moore, Kansas State
I don’t really like Wesco as a FB. Even though he improved a little last year, I can see him being replaced by a versatile guy like Moore. Moore can play FB, sniffer, inline, in the slot, wherever. He also has that bully mentality that we should all get used to.
TRADE: It was only a matter of time before JD used his surplus of picks to trade up. He found a partner with the Arizona Cardinals. We get their 5th rounder (Pick 161) in return for both of our 6th round picks.
Round 5 (Pick 161)
K, Jose Borregales, Miami
It would be nice to nail down our special teams. We don’t have much in terms of a kicker. Borregales had a very successful and consistent 2020 with the Miami Hurricanes. Many probably thought we would trade up, but I doubt many thought we would trade up for a kicker. Little by little this team becomes more compete.