Garrett Ballard’s NFL Mock Draft 1.0

You’ve heard of mock draft Monday, but what about mock draft Friday? For at least my first mock draft of the year, it’ll be a mock draft Friday. The draft order is based off team’s current records, although it hasn’t been updated from the Thursday night game due to the rest not having been played. Let’s get to the picks.

1. Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

There hasn’t been one player improve as much as Joe Burrow. Last year if someone told me that Burrow would be worthy of a #1 overall pick I would’ve laughed, but it’s not so crazy now. Andy Dalton is on his way out of Cincinnati and it’s finally time they get a game changer at QB. 

2. Miami Dolphins –Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

Even though they don’t have the top pick in this instance, the Dolphins get the guy they always wanted. The Dolphins need just about every position on the field and the first one they need to secure is a QB. 

3. Washington Redskins – Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

Andrew Thomas is a top player in this class and will be a franchise offensive tackle in the NFL. There were a number of options here for the Redskins, but building from the trenches is key. Protect Dwayne Haskins so he can get the ball to the play-makers the Redskins will hopefully acquire either through free agency or later in the draft. 

4. Atlanta Falcons – Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State

The Falcons season has been a disaster, no way to sugarcoat it. With pass rushers Takkarist McKinley and Vic Beasley underwhelming and Beasley on the trading block, the Falcons need an impact rusher. Chase Young is exactly that. Young will be an instant impact for the Falcons defense and will be a centerpiece on that defense for a long time.

5. New York Jets – Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama 

Jeudy is one the of the most dynamic receivers in the country. With reports that Robbie Anderson is on the trade block again, the Jets will need to get a receiving threat for Sam Darnold. Jeudy will give the Jets a great young WR-QB pairing that should last them a long while.

6. New York Giants – Ceedee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

Back-to-back receivers to back-to-back New York teams. The Giants possibly have the worst receiving core in the league and need to fix that soon. Ceedee Lamb has been on a war path recently and has been out-playing competition week by week. Ceedee Lamb instantly becomes WR1 in that offense and will be a go-to target for Daniel Jones.

7. Los Angeles Chargers – Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

The Chargers offensive line is, well, bad. There’s not much else to say about the situation. Wirfs instantly upgrades that O-line and should be a no-brainer pick if it’s available.

8. Denver Broncos – Jeffery Okudah, CB, Ohio State

With Chris Harris seemingly out of Denver sooner rather than later, this pick makes a lot of sense. Okudah is a great cover corner who has risen his way up draft boards recently. Okudah will be the most talented corner on that team and should step into a key starting role immediately. 

9. Cleveland Browns – Grant Delpit, S, LSU

In my opinion, Delpit is one of the best players in the country. With a need at safety, the Browns will gladly pick Grant Delpit. Grant Delpit has the chance to be a star in the NFL and that’s exactly what Cleveland needs at safety.

10. Miami Dolphins (Via Pittsburgh Steelers) – A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa

First pick was an offensive play-maker, why not make the second pick a defensive play-maker. Now while the Dolphins need to address the offensive line, with the top-2 offensive linemen off the board, they can explore other options. Epenesa is a talented edge rusher who can be a cornerstone on that defense for the future. 

11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

Jameis Winston doesn’t seem to have improved at all through five years in the NFL and the Bucs can’t afford to franchise him for a bridge year. The Bucs need to address the o-line and defensive secondary desperately but if they need a quarterback, they need to address it this year. Herbert would be brought into a tough situation but head coach Bruce Arians and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich have the minds to help Herbert have a seamless transition. 

12. Detroit Lions – Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson

Isaiah Simmons has been fantastic this year and the Lions need a linebacker, a match made in heaven. Detroit has spent some premium picks on linebackers in recent years and it’s been a bit shaky. Jarrad Davis doesn’t seem to be working out and Jahlani Tavai is a rookie. Simmons is a fantastic athlete and would bring some speed to that defense.  

13. Jacksonville Jaguars – Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

Jacksonville has had a nice surprise with the emergence of D.J. Chark this year, but they need another play-maker. With Chark being a nice speed threat for that offense, Higgins can bring that possession receiver type of play to Jacksonville. While Higgins can be much more than a possession receiver, his height will allow him to win in more situations than Chark.

14. Philadelphia Eagles – Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

The Eagles secondary is not very good. It was reported that they went after Jalen Ramsey but couldn’t match the price of the Rams. Kristian Fulton is arguably the top corner in this class and will be an instant upgrade to the Eagles CB room.

15. Tennessee Titans – Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma

Hurts has been having a great year so far. Transferring from Alabama to Oklahoma was the best thing he could’ve done. The Titans are clearly moving on from Mariota after this year and Jalen Hurts could be the replacement. 

16. Oakland Raiders – Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State

The Raiders have been a bit better than expected this year, and their first round pick from last year, Clelin Ferrell, has been struggling. Gross-Matos is a high upside edge rusher who, with the right coaching, he could be great for the Raiders.

17. Arizona Cardinals – Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama 

The Cardinals got their guy last year, Kyler Murray. In order to fully help him adjust they drafted many play-makers last year. The one thing they still need to do to help their quarterback is bolster their offensive line. Leatherwood is a talented tackle for the Crimson Tide and he can also possibly kick inside to guard at the next level and still play at a high level. 

18. Oakland Raiders (Via Chicago Bears) – Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

Having recently traded Gareon Conley, the Raiders DB room is looking a bit depleted. Trevon Diggs can help that. Diggs is currently having a good year for the crimson tide and his talent projects well to the next level. The Raiders are in need of a good corner and Diggs can patch that need. 

19. Jacksonville Jaguars (Via Los Angeles Rams) – Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford

Trading Jalen Ramsey was a huge move. The Jags now have a need at CB because of it. Adebo has great talent and will be a good player in the NFL. While he probably won’t step into the CB1 spot immediately, he’s a great CB2 and can step into that CB1 position if needed. 

20. Carolina Panthers – Tyler Biadasz, IOL, Wisconsin 

The Panthers offensive line needs some help and with the top few offensive linemen off the board, they draft Tyler Biadasz. Tyler Biadasz is the best interior offensive lineman in the class and will instantly upgrade the Panthers struggling offensive line.

21. Dallas Cowboys – Derrick Brown, IDL, Auburn

Somehow, Derrick Brown lasted to pick 21 and the Cowboys couldn’t be happier. Brown is a rare mix of size and speed and this pick should be a no brainer.

22. Miami Dolphins (Via Houston Texans) – Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

Henry Ruggs is the fastest player in this draft and will be a play-maker at the next level. If this pick is available for Miami, they should run to the podium. Pairing Ruggs with his college quarterback in the NFL could prove useful for adjusting Tua to the NFL quicker. 

23. Indianapolis Colts – Javon Kinlaw, IDL, South Carolina

Javon Kinlaw is one of the most physically imposing players in this class, he’s an absolute monster. Kinlaw has the best burst of all interior defensive linemen in this class and is a constant disruption on the defensive line. The Colts have had a great year and adding a player like Kinlaw would be a huge boost for that defensive line. 

24. Seattle Seahawks – K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU

Chaisson is a high upside player that can have productive NFL career given he can improve. A physically gifted player, Chaisson is an athletic player who has the tools to be a great player at the next level. Pairing him with Jadeveon Clowney could be a great move for Seattle.

25. Baltimore Ravens – Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado

Pairing Shenault with Hollywood Brown should be a dream come true for Baltimore. With Lamar’s improvements as a passer, getting him as many weapons as possible should be top priority. 

26. Minnesota Vikings- Raekwon Davis, IDL, Alabama 

Raekwon Davis is a powerful person. He has the strength to bench press any offensive lineman away from him and can work into the backfield. Getting that push from the interior defensive line can improve that front immensely. 

27. Buffalo Bills – D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia

The Bills are a good football team and the on thing they are truly missing is offensive weaponry. The receivers left on the board would be a bit of a reach so they go with a running back in this case. Swift is one of the top running backs in the country and can run the ball, and catch the ball. Swift will let Josh Allen have a great running back behind him to let him check down to in situations. 

28. Green Bay Packers – Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin

Keeping Taylor in Wisconsin, the Packers get a running back to carry they load of that backfield. Taylor is possibly the best pure running back in this class and has really shown it this year. The Packers are able to get another offensive play-maker and solidify the backfield in Green Bay.

29. Kansas City Chiefs – Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama

One of the most physically gifted players in the country. Moses has been under the media spotlight since high school. A potential top-15 pick coming into the year, Moses unfortunately tore his ACL. A team that needs defensive help, this is a good scenario for the Chiefs. Landing one of the most talented players in this class without having to trade up is what the Chiefs need.

30. New Orleans Saints – Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State

The Saints need to find some other offensive talent to pair with Michael Thomas. Sure, Thomas is a top receiver in the NFL but he can only carry that WR room for so long. Wallace is a fantastic receiver that can open up the pass game for that New Orleans offense. 

31. San Francisco 49ers – A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson

The Niners defense has been incredible but the weakest part of it is their cornerback room. With an aging Richard Sherman, the 49’ers are going to need to find another corner, and A.J. Terrell can be that guy.

32. New England Patriots – Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue

The Patriots lost Gronk to retirement and their tight ends have been sub par. It’s been reported they’ve inquired about O.J. Howard but were denied. Because of this, you have to think they take a tight end. Hopkins is a great tight end that is criminally underused at Purdue. Get him in the Belichick system and let him flourish.



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