Tis’ the season where the most important sports questions are “Who is my team going to draft?” Or “Will we have a new QB?” Well that is what happens this time of year, as the NFL draft approaches. Fortunately for you, the Wisconsin Sports Heroics team has some of those answers. We conducted a first round mock draft, where trades of players and picks are allowed. So let’s get started…
1. Jacksonville- Trevor Lawrence QB (Clemson)
Let’s be honest here there is no surprise with this pick. Lawrence has been looked at as the best QB in this class for nearly 3 years. Lawrence is going to join a very talented young core for the Jaguars, under new head coach Urban Meyer. Lawrence’s success will predicate on being able to get protection up front and how fast he can pick up the speed of the game.
2. New York(Jets) -Zach Wilson QB(BYU)
This is also not a surprise as most mocks currently have Wilson to the Jets. Wilson has been the talk for the Jets since December. He possesses outstanding intangibles both physically and game IQ. He processes the game so fast which will benefit him at the next level. The knock on Wilson is he is a system QB who put in the right situation can thrive. The only question here is are the Jets that system?
3. San Francisco -Justin Fields QB(Ohio St)
49ers traded up giving up a lot of draft capital to get their guy. A lot of people had Lance or Jones here, but they go Justin Fields instead. Fields is a excellent athlete who has a strong arm. He is accurate both as a pocket passer and on the move. He has shown the ability to evade the rush with his legs. His knock on him is he sets on a receiver and is slow transitioning off which could lead to interceptions and increased sacks. However, in Shanahan’s offense look for him to be in situations where he is moved out of the pocket where he can pass or run, and has easy reads.
4. Atlanta -Kyle Pitts TE (Florida)
Atlanta can go a lot of different directions with this pick, and they can probably dictate the direction of the draft with this pick. I have them taking one of the best non-QB prospects in this draft. Pitts will give Ryan and the Falcons another weapon on offense alongside Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Todd Gurley. He also fills the void left by Austin Hooper leaving for Cleveland last year.
5. Cincinnati- Penei Sewell OT(Oregon)
Bengals have an option here as they could go weapon for last years top pick Joe Burrow. But instead they choose to help protect their franchise by taking one of the best offensive lineman prospects in years. Sewell a two-year starter at left tackle is extremely nasty and athletic tackle who will likely be a cornerstone on the line for years for the Bengals. This isn’t the flashy pick fans will want here, but it doesn’t matter the weapons Burrow has, if he gets hit like he did last year he’ll be on his back to often to matter.
6. Miami- Ja’Marr Chase WR(LSU)
Chase is the best all around receiver in this draft class. A receiving core of Devante Parker, Will Fuller V, and Ja’Marr Chase will give Tua Tagovailoa the perfect weapons. Chase can be an immediate starter in Miami and could eventually be the first option for them.
7. Detroit- Rashawn Slater OT (Northwestern)
For Detroit’s blockbuster off-season deal with the Rams for Jared Goff to be considered a success, Goff has to perform at a high level, similar to his play in the 2018 season. For this high level of play to happen, staying healthy is a must. Detroit needs to invest in offensive line help to protect their quarterback, and Rashawn Slater is a solid option for them. Slater is position flexible, something the Lions desperately need. His athleticism, quick and clean footwork, and high football IQ make him ready to start day one at any position on the line if needed. Though he opted out of the 2020 season with the Wildcats, Slater has proven himself against some of the nation’s best pass rushers during his time in the Big 10, including Chase Young.
8. Carolina- Jaylen Waddle WR(Alabama)
Carolina gives new Panther QB, Sam Darnold, an explosive weapon in Jaylen Waddle. Waddle dominated early for Alabama, before sustaining an ankle injury that cost him most of the rest of the year. However, the ankle is healthy and Waddle looked explosive at his pro day. Waddle will give the Panthers another dynamic play maker to go along with Christian McCaffery. Waddle will also add to the return game for the Panthers as well.
9. Denver- Trey Lance QB(NDSU)
The Broncos gave Drew Lock the keys to this offense last year. However he was the “key reason” they failed to gain momentum and ended with a 5-11 record. In 13 games, Lock posted a terrible completion percentage of 57.3%, threw a league high fifteen interceptions, and was sacked 19 times. Bringing in a player like Lance brings competition, and a chance for both quarterbacks to develop their game. Lance is a more polished prospect in this year’s draft, but still has some raw talent and oozes with upside. With his size, he has great mobility and tremendous accuracy as he’s able to hit the receiver in short, intermediate, and deep routes. Great decision making with a high football IQ, and thrives outside the pocket. This wide receiving core has immense speed, and having a quarterback that can thrive in play-action is a match made in heaven.
10. Dallas- Patrick Surtain II CB(Alabama)
One of the highest graded prospects at the position, Surtain played in 662 press coverage snaps over the past two seasons. Dallas has the firepower on offense with Prescott and Blake Jarwin coming back from injury, and can address it later in the draft. However, their defense was atrocious and needs a rebuild. Surtain has that ability to fit in any defensive scheme, and thrives in zone coverage. At 6’2” and 202lbs, Surtain is a lockdown corner, and is able to stay with any receiver. Surtain has excellent hip movement, by keeping them centered while watching the quarterback. He only had two missed tackles, while forcing ten incompletions in 2020. In addition, he reunites with former teammate Trevon Diggs, and locks up their secondary in a division that will gain more pass catchers. With the recent retirement of linebacker Sean Lee, the Cowboys can address the linebacker position later in the draft.
11. New York(Giants)- Christian Darrisaw OT(Virginia Tech)
12. Philadelphia- Davonta Smith WR(Alabama)
13. Los Angles(Chargers)-Caleb Farley CB(Virginia Tech)
14. Minnesota- Kwity Paye Edge(Michigan)
15. New England-Mac Jones QB(Alabama)
16. Arizona- Micah Parsons LB(Penn St)
17. Las Vegas- Jaycee Horn CB(South Carolina)
18. Miami – Jaelen Phillips Edge(Miami)
19. Washington- Alijah Vera-Tucker OG(USC)
Vera Tucker was the best available G and Washington needs guard help. If a QB falls he they took take him, or maybe one of the Alabama WRs if they fall this far. Assuming they don’t Washington goes best available for one of their roster holes.
20. Chicago- Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah LB(Notre Dame)
The Chicago Bears are only as good as their defense. Adding a linebacker like Owusu-Koramoah gets them back on the right track. The NFC North teams aren’t afraid of Chicago anymore. Their defense is good, but not great. They have an aging quarterback and Allen Robinson for maybe one more year. They need plenty of offensive weapons and depth, but you can’t do that until the identity of your team is back. A linebacker can tackle, sack, force fumbles and get you picks is a solid pick every single time. Unless Chicago trades up, the Notre Dame defender is a perfect pick.
21. Indianapolis- Azeez Ojulari Edge(Georgia)
The Second-team All-SEC edge rusher was selected by the Colts because they desperately need a better pass rush. Azeez Ojulari, with DeForest Buckner in the middle, should bring a boost to that front four.
22. Tennessee- Quinn Meinerz OC(Wisconsin-Whitewater)
Tennessee needs help along the offensive line and particularly at guard or center. And I love Meinerz. Meinerz is a dominant physical player with a nasty streak. The only issue here is he was a DIII player, can he make the jump to the talent of the NFL? I think so and if he played at a DI school he likely would be a top 25 pick for sure with his athletic ability.
23. New York(Jets) Christian Barmore DT(Alabama)
Explosive three-technique tackle who possess a lot of athleticism. He keeps pad level low and is agile and flexible both in the run and pass game. Barmore has grown tremendously the last two seasons and has a lot of potential. For the Jets it is simply taking the best available here to help them rebuild.
24. Pittsburgh- Najee Harris RB(Alabama)
Harris an outstanding three down back is a much improved receiver with his hands and possess the ability to run any route. Harris will be able to withstand the beating inside the tackles, and has the quickness to run outside the tackles. His ability to be a game changer will help an aging Big Ben in Pittsburgh to take some pressure off, something the Steelers haven’t had since Bell.
25. Cincinnati- Greg Newsome II CB(Northwestern)
Trade- Cincinnati gives pick 38 and 149 this year and a 1st next year to Jacksonville for pick 25 and a 6th next year.
Cincinnati then takes the tough, strong, and crafty corner out of Northwestern. Newsome a guy who can play physical and cover the TE position as well as out wide is another piece to making the Bengals a competitive football team. The Bengals knew teams like Green Bay, Baltimore, and Cleveland likely wouldn’t let Newsome fall to the second round and had to jump back up to get him.
26. Cleveland- Jamin Davis LB(Kentucky)
The Brown’s offense is basically set. Besides some offensive line depth, this team will compete. Taking the next step on defense is what Cleveland needs. Davis’s draft stock keeps rising, and if he drops to No. 26, picking Davis should be a lock. Did you see his pro day 40 yard dash and verticals? This is a dude who can create some serious problems for the offense. When Cleveland selects Davis, Packers fans are going to mad.
27. Baltimore- Rashod Bateman WR(Minnesota)
Baltimore sorely needs weapons for Lamar Jackson, and Bateman would do wonders for them. He was phenomenal at Minnesota and would be able to develop under two very solid receivers in Marquise Brown and Sammy Watkins. This would help fill a huge hole for Baltimore, which has plagued them the last few years.
28. New Orleans- Terrace Marshall Jr. WR(LSU)
A guy who is physical and willing to make the tough catches. He reminds me of a Tyler Lockett type WR, Marshall will be a great safety blanket guy for the new starter in New Orleans. No matter if Hill or Winston start, New Orleans needs to find more weapons on the outside after a season where the struggled in that area.
29. Green Bay- Kelvin Joseph CB(Kentucky)
Kelvin Joseph is a long outside cornerback who should have the opportunity to develop into a starter, with Kevin King being re-signed to only a one year deal this past offseason. If a guy like Greg Newsome falls or one of GB top WRs are still there, the Packers could also go that route.
30. Buffalo- Jayson Oweh Edge(Penn St)
Oweh is a dominant force on the defensive side. Standing at 6’ 5” 257 pounds there are no concerns about his size. In a rather weak EDGE class, Oweh is one of the best there is. His explosiveness and technique give him all the tools to find success at the NFL level. With Oweh on the defensive line, AFC teams will have a lot to worry about while marching up with the Bills.
31. Baltimore- Gregory Rousseau Edge(Miami)
Another need for Baltimore is EDGE, and I have them going with the one from Miami. Rosseau racked up 15.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss in 2019 as a sophomore. He opted out of the 2020 season and has since slid down the board. He has a ton of potential and would be very a nice selection for the Ravens, who need help at EDGE.
32. Tampa Bay- Ifeatu Melifonwu CB(Syracuse)
Tampa simply doesn’t have a lot of holes on its roster. As all 22 of their starters will be back with the team this season. A young QB is likely one area they look at at some point in the draft. But not with this pick as if that defense needs to get better, they bring in the ultra-talented CB out of Syracuse. Melifonwu isn’t a need now but in a year or two he will be and right now he has great players to learn from.
Teams with no first round picks
Seattle, Houston, LA Rams and Kansas City
A very interesting first round as Alabama players dominate the board along with a lot of offensive players early in the round followed by defensive players the second half.
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