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Special Interest: NFL Mock Draft 1.0

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Spotlight Image - Special Interest: NFL Mock Draft 1.0

Derek Oliveros

Written by Newspaper Staff Reporter Derek Oliveros


Pick 1 – Jacksonville Jaguars – Aiden Hutchinson - EDGE

Coming off the worst record of last season, the Jaguars have a lot of holes to fill. With the first overall pick, it is going to be hard to pass on Aiden Hutchinson, the prospect with the purest talent in this draft class, and someone who is sure to revitalize the Jags pass rush. Hutchinson will be one of many additions to the Jag’s defense from this offseason, some others being Foye Oluokun, Foley Fatukasi, and Darious Williams. 

Pick 2 – Detroit Lions – Kayvon Thibodeaux - EDGE 

The Lions follow suit and take the next best prospect, who also happens to be an edge rusher. Kayvon Thibodeaux is close behind Hutchinson in talent, and the Lions should be more than happy to pick him at two and add life to their defense. Thibodeaux is a prospect that can be an instant leader, something the Lions desperately need. 

Pick 3 – Houston Texans – Evan Neal - OT 

With previous offensive tackle Tytus Howard possibly moving to the interior of the offensive line and Laremy Tunsil getting older, it would be smart for the Texans to take Evan Neal, who looks to be the best offensive tackle in a draft class with many talented tackles. He will most likely start at right tackle and then transition into a left tackle later into his career. 

Pick 4 – New York Jets – Ahmad Gardener - CB 

The New York Jets are probably disappointed that one of the top edge rushers did not fall to them at four with edge being one of the teams needs on defense, but they will be quickly reassured in picking the top cornerback of this draft class, Ahmad “Sauce” Gardener. The cornerback position has also been weak in New York for the past few years, so pairing Gardener with Bryce Hall and new free agent DJ Reed will give the Jets security at corner. 

Pick 5 – New York Giants – Ikem Ekwonu - OT 

Even with picking Andrew Thomas in 2020, the offensive line still has room for improvement. Taking Ikem Ekwonu will give them a week one starter who is flexible enough to play either right tackle or one of the guard positions. Ekwonu will add extra support for quarterback Daniel Jones, who is looking to keep his job as the Giants’ starting quarterback. 

Pick 6 – Carolina Panthers – Charles Cross - OT 

Even with Carolina still having questions about quarterback Sam Darnold and his abilities as a starter, I believe that the Panthers will look to fix a weak offensive line by selecting offensive tackle Charles Cross. Pairing Cross with Panthers right tackle Taylor Moton and having current left tackle Cameron Erving act as a mentor will set Cross up for success as a starting left tackle, and maybe aid in Sam Darnold being able to revive his career. 

Pick 7 – New York Giants – Derek Stingley Jr. - CB 

With their second first round pick, I have the Giants selecting Derek Stingley Jr., a cornerback who could end up competing with Sauce Gardener for being the best in the draft class. The Giants are in a bad cap space situation, and because of this they could move on from current starting cornerback James Bradberry. Stingley will either act as a compliment for Bradberry playing alongside him, or as a great replacement for him. 

Pick 8 – Atlanta Falcons – Jameson Williams - WR 

Another quarterback needy team that I have opting to pass on a quarterback. The Falcons’ questions at quarterback should not distract from the fact that the Falcons have minimal talent at the receiver position, so taking Jameson Williams at eight would be great for their young offense. Having Williams be the number one wide receiver along with Kyle Pitts at tight end will give new quarterback Marcus Mariota something to work with on rebuilding the Falcons offense. 

Pick 9 – Seattle Seahawks – Travon Walker – EDGE 

Another team with a not so great quarterback situation passing on the quarterbacks but having talented edge rusher Travon Walker out of the historical Georgia Bulldogs offense still available, it will be hard to pass on him. Seattle has lacked a solid edge presence for some time, and Walker’s run stopping capabilities will help the Seahawks defense bounce back from a season in which they allowed the fifth most total yards per game. 

Pick 10 – TRADE – New York Jets Receive: Pick 16, Pick 19 

 – New Orleans Saints Receive: Pick 10, Pick 38, Pick 146 

             – New Orleans Saints – Malik Willis – QB

With all the previous teams passing on quarterbacks, this prompted the Saints to make a move. They recently acquired the sixteenth and nineteenth from the Eagles, and they will pair these picks together in a trade to the New York Jets that includes the tenth overall pick. With the tenth overall pick, the Saints will get their quarterback of the future in Malik Willis. The Saints currently have Jameis Winston as their starting quarterback, and he could still be the starter for the beginning of the 2022 season but having Willis to develop will be a move that will set up the Saints for success in the future. 

Pick 11 – Washington Commanders – Garret Wilson – WR 

The Commanders are currently in a situation with their star receiver, Terry McLaurin, where he is not attending training camp in hopes for a new deal. Selecting Garret Wilson will, in the worst-case scenario, be the replacement for McLaurin if extension talks break down. If the team can resign McLaurin, then they will have a lethal wide receiver duo with him and Garret Wilson. 

Pick 12 – Minnesota Vikings – Kyle Hamilton – S 

The defensive side of the ball tends to be the issue that holds back the Vikings, and they have done a respectable job this offseason in improving their defense so far, signing Za’Darius Smith being the most notable move. Even with this move, there is still room for improvement in the safety position, and Kyle Hamilton looks to be one of the most interesting prospects in recent drafts. The most athletic defensive back in the draft, Hamilton will play alongside and be able to learn from one of the league's best players, Harrison Smith, in hopes that he will one day be able to lead the Vikings defense. 

Pick 13 – Houston Texans – Jermaine Johnson – EDGE 

Houston’s defense lacks the star power that most NFL defenses have, and Jermaine Johnson could be the star. An edge rusher who is being overshadowed by the other great edge rushers that occupy this draft class, Johnson could help the Texans avoid being a bottom five team in sacks. 

Pick 14 – Baltimore Ravens – Jordan Davis – IDL 

Baltimore is known for having a consistently great defense and adding former Bulldog Jordan Davis would continue this trend. Davis impressed at the NFL Combine, running a 4.78 40-yard dash, which is impressive for a six-foot-six 341-pound defensive lineman. His athleticism will be sure to improve an already great Baltimore defense. 

Pick 15 – Philadelphia Eagles – Drake London – WR 

Wide receiver had been an issue for the Eagles for years now, and previous attempts at finding the next star Eagles receiver, JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Jalen Reagor, have all proven to be duds. The Eagles do not mess up this time, taking Drake London, who looks to be the NFL’s next flashy receiver. 

Pick 16 – TRADE – New York Jets – George Karlaftis – EDGE 

The Jets get their edge rusher. Having lacked a legit edge presence since John Abraham in 2005, the Jets would be more than ecstatic to take Karlaftis in the first pick they received in the trade down with the Saints. Karlaftis alongside Carl Lawson returning from injury will be a significant improvement from the edge rushing unit from any of the Jets teams from the past decade. 

Pick 17 – Las Angeles Chargers – Devonte Wyatt – IDL 

The Chargers have done more than enough this offseason in making additions to their defense, but the one position that seems to have been left out was interior defensive line. Devonte Wyatt will be placed in a great situation in the star filled, high-power LA defense. 

Pick 18 – Philadelphia Eagles – Trent McDuffie – CB 

Another position that the Eagles have been looking to improve for some time now, Trent McDuffie should provide a great complement and future replacement for Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay. 

Pick 19 – TRADE – New York Jets – Chris Olave – WR 

With the second pick acquired in the trade with the Saints, the Jets address the wide receiver position. Wide receiver is yet another position that the Jets have lacked in, and they want young quarterback Zach Wilson to succeed, so drafting another talented target for him to throw in Chris Olave will take the Jets one step closer to being competitive in the AFC. 

Pick 20 – Pittsburg Steelers – Desmond Ridder – QB 

It is hard to move on from a quarterback such as Ben Roethlisberger, but the Steelers must do so. Desmond Ridder could be the next up for the Steelers starting quarterback, or at least provide some more options alongside new signing Mitchell Trubisky. Ridder will showcase mobility that has not been seen in previous Steelers offenses and flourish with the young talent in Pittsburg, such as Najee Harris and Dionte Johnson. 

Pick 21 – New England Patriots – Andrew Booth Jr. - CB 

In just two seasons, New England has had to deal with star cornerbacks Stephon Gillmore and JC Jackson leaving the team, and New England must find their new standout corner, and Andrew Booth Jr. might be that guy. He excels in both man and zone coverage and is not afraid to make a tackle. 

Pick 22 – Green Bay Packers – Treylon Burks - WR 

The Packers will select Davante Adam’s replacement with the same pick that they received in the trade that sent him away. Treylon Burks has been undervalued following his underwhelming Combine performance, but he can prove the doubters wrong with new quarterback Aaron Rodgers. 

Pick 23 – Arizona Cardinals – Devin Lloyd – LB 

Although they took a linebacker in the first round of last year’s draft, Arizona will do so again with the top linebacker having fallen to them at pick 23. Still looking to round out their defense, Lloyd will be the perfect outside linebacker to be added to their young linebacker group. 

Pick 24 – Dallas Cowboys – Daxton Hill – S 

Following a lackluster free agency by the Cowboys, they must look to add talent to the safety position through the draft, and Daxton Hill could be the next prominent player in Dallas defense. Having success drafting defensive players, the most recent example being Micah Parsons in the first-round last year, there is no reason to stop now. 

Pick 25 – Buffalo Bills – Tyler Lindenbaum –IOL 

There is no denying the power of the Bills’ offense, and one of the main factors of this is the team’s focus on bolstering their offensive line. Buffalo will do this once again in taking top interior offensive linemen Tyler Lindenbaum in hopes of bringing their rushing offense closer to the same level of their passing offense. 

Pick 26 – Tennessee Titans – Trevor Penning – OT 

It does not appear that the Titans have any immediate problems if they are able to give A.J. Brown a new contract, so I have them taking Trevor Penning, an offensive tackle who may not start immediately, but will provide a security blanket for the aging Taylor Lewan. Penning seems like the perfect developmental prospect for the Titans offense, succeeding in a run heavy offense. 

Pick 27 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Zion Johnson – IOL 

There are very little improvements that the Bucs need to make, but with guard Ali Marpet leaving during free agency, Zion Johnson should be able to fill the hole left in his absence and give Tom Brady even more support. 

Pick 28 – Green Bay Packers – David Ojabo – EDGE 

David Ojabo will be the replacement for Za’Darius Smith, who was the Packers go-to edge rusher before he left to the Vikings this offseason. Ojabo should slot in nicely into the starting lineup of the dominant Green Bay defense and play an important role in it. 

Pick 29 – Kansas City Chiefs – Jahan Dotson – WR 

The Chiefs recently traded away star wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who was a major part of bringing success to Kansas City. The Chiefs find who they hope can be his replacement in using the first of their back-to-back picks to select Jahan Dotson, an athletic wide receiver who could develop into a starting receiver for the Chiefs. 

Pick 30 – Kansas City Chiefs – Nakobe Dean – LB 

In their second pick, I have the Chiefs going with linebacker Nakobe Dean. Like the Cardinals, the Chiefs go two years strait of selecting a linebacker in the first round in hopes of solidifying their linebacker core. The Chiefs have lacked a leader in their linebacker corps, and Dean could be the player to step up and take control of the Kansas City Defence. 

Pick 31 – Cincinatti Bengals – Kaiir Elam – CB 

After current Bengals’ corner Eli Apple’s poor performances, the Bengals should be looking for his replacement. Many of the top corners are already gone, but thankfully this draft class is full of promising cornerbacks. They will select Kaiir Elam, who will likely start as a backup for the beginning of the season and eventually mold into a starting cornerback. 

Pick 32 – Detroit Lions – Kenny Pickett – QB 

Although it is hard to move on from current Lions quarterback Jared Goff because of his huge contract, it would be hard for the Lions to pass on his future replacement in Kenny Pickett. Pickett fell this far based on different concerns regarding his ability to be a starter in the league, but after being mentored for a year under Goff, he will be able to familiarize himself with the Lions schemes before he is forced into the starting role. 


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Headline image created by Derek Oliveros using Canva