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Situational Mock Draft
A look at what teams might do - not who they might do.
We all love mock drafts but the truth is it takes one wrong pick and the whole thing is trash. In this “mock draft” I’ll look into what the teams are thinking (based on their team needs), how the board might fall and not focus so much on the players they could draft.
Some of the picks do come with a player prediction, but also weighing what teams could do based on who is available with their pick.
This pick will come down to how the Jaguars new coaching staff feels about Jawaan Taylor and Walker Little. With Cam Robinson most likely leaving in free agency the Jaguars could have a huge need at tackle…or maybe they like Little at left tackle and Taylor at right tackle. I think one thing is very clear- the Jags are going with tackle or edge rusher (Hutchingson or Thibodeaaux) but it’s still not clear which. At the moment I’m leaning tackle to protect Trevor Lawrence.
To me this seems like a pretty predictable pick and I think it’s going to be an edge rusher. Which edge rusher will it be? I’m leaning toward Aidan Hutchinson from Michigan for a couple reasons. First, Hutchinson seems like more of a knee-biter than Thibodeaux and I'm not kidding. Questions have started about Thibodeaux and his love for the game and that won’t fly with Lions head coach Dan Campbell. If Hutchinson goes No. 1 I wouldn’t be surprised to see Detroit take a surprise pick - maybe a big safety with a lot of range and the ability to tackle…
The Texans are in a tough spot at No. 3 but it could work out for them beautifully. Houston could use an edge rusher or tackle and one of them has to be available here. Either Hutchinson and Thibodeaux go top two and Texans get Neal - or Neal goes top two and they can grab a top edge rusher.
This is the pick where opinions start to change. The Jets have needs at OL, WR, CB and EDGE with a lot of guys available at those positions. This is also where positional value comes into play. The Jets need a big time receiver but this isn’t really the spot to grab one. The same could be said with corner. I’m also reading tea leaves and thinking the Jets go OL. The Jets are openly not happy with Mekhi Becton and George Fant looks like the starting left tackle for 2022. This could be a great spot for a guy like Charles Cross or Ikem Ekwonu and GM Joe Douglas LOVES the offensive line.
The New York football Giants say they’re committed to quarterback Daniel Jones and I’m going to believe them…for now. Again, positional value comes into play. There is buzz that Keyvon Thibodeaux could fall but I can’t see him falling past the Giants here. The notable tackles (Neal, Cross, Ekwonu) are also in play to protect Daniel Jones. With three very good tackles and two good edge rushers the Giants should be able to grab one with this pick.
Did the Panthers fall in love with the quarterbacks or are they trying to fill that need in free agency? I wouldn’t be surprised to see Matt Rhule reach for a quarterback and buy himself some more time in Carolina. Malik Willis looked good at the Senior Bowl but he is still a project to say the least. The Panthers could also look at OL if one of the big tackles is available.
In a perfect world the Giants are able to grab a top pass rusher at No. 5 and a top three tackle at No. 7. But, that all depends on how the board falls. This could be a potential landing spot for the draft's top WR or even strengthening the secondary with Kyle Hamilton, Ahmad Gardner or Derek Stingley in play.
The Falcons are in a weird spot with Matt Ryan and he will most likely be their quarterback in 2022 but there are a lot of other needs in Atlanta. Last year the Falcons added tight end Kyle Pitts to their offensive weapons but they could lose veteran receiver Calvin Ridley this offseason. The Falcons could kick the tires on the receiver position and build for their next quarterback. Another route they could go is pairing another corner with AJ Terrell. Both Derrick Stingley and Ahmad Gardner would be good fits, and value, for Atlanta.
Eventually the Broncos will have to take a quarterback but all the buzz is around Aaron Rodgers coming to Denver. IF, Rodgers joins the Broncos they will most likely be trading this pick to Green Bay. But if they don’t then they could look at strengthening their defense with linebackers like Nakobe Dean or Devin Lloyd.
What the Jets do with the fourth pick will obviously change a lot about what they do at 10. I would be surprised if the jets didn’t select a playmaker here. Find another receiver for Zack Wilson, and at this point it might be WR1. This could also be another opportunity for the Jets to get a tackle or pass rusher - if they go secondary at No. 4.
I think this is the spot we see a quarterback come off the board. Kenny Pickett is the most pro-ready quarterback but that doesn’t mean as much in this draft class. Pickett looked good at Pitt and followed it up with a nice Senior Bowl. But if the Commanders miss on this pick it could be detrimental to the franchise. If the Commanders go in a different direction it could be because a top offensive tackle fell to them here. Or, we know they love defense in Washington, maybe they take a CB or safety and try to add a veteran QB.
The Vikings need every position except running back and receiver. This could be a spot for an edge rusher like David Ojabo from Michigan or Jermaine Johnson II from Florida State. Corner also has to be in play for Minnesota with guys like Andrew Booth (Clemson), Trent McDuffie (Washington) and Roger McCreary (Auburn) in play. There is also the chance that Derrick Stingley and Ahmad Gardner fall to the Vikings.
I think it’s a safe bet to say the Browns will be targeting a receiver here. The question is what’s their type? There is no consensus on WR1 but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Ohio State has two great receivers in Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson - or the big receivers Treylon Burks and Drake London could be an option. Those seem to be the top four receivers at the moment - but a lot can change before the draft.
I think this is Trevor Penning and he’s a perfect fit for Baltimore. His nasty play and run blocking ability are exactly what the Ravens will be looking for and at 14 it's great value. If the Ravens don’t go OL, they could also be in the market for some of the same receivers the Browns were targeting.
The Eagles get back-to-back picks here and I don’t think quarterback is in play. Philly seems to like Hurts and wants to see what building around him looks like - at least for another year. Addressing the defense seems like the move here and the Eagles can get an edge rusher and corner with great value in this range. A sneaky good pick would be adding an offensive lineman to the mix. Jason Kelce can’t play forever and Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaum could be his replacement. Landon Dickerson and Tyler Linderbaum would make one hell of a duo on the OL. BTW, the Eagles also have pick 19.
The Chargers have to give a look at WR, RT, DL and the secondary. Finding value at this pick screams WR if Mike Williams leaves in free agency. If Williams stays, LA can look at top defensive players available. This could be a place for tier two pass rushers, Jordan Davis (run stuffer) or adding a linebacker in this range.
The Saints still don’t have a head coach so it makes this pick difficult. But, they also don’t have a quarterback or cap space. Piecing the puzzle together - they need a cheap QB and the only place to get one of those is in the draft. Could be QB2…could be QB3, but I think the Saints draft a QB in the first round. Moving down to do so is also in play.
The Eagles just came off picks 15 and 16 and now have 19. If the Eagles walk away with an edge rusher, corner and Linderbaum I would be very happy with that. Another move could be at linebacker if they don’t like the corner market in the teens.
A lot of people are putting a quarterback here but I’m leaning towards a veteran QB in Pittsburgh. Obviously, replacing Ben Roethlisberger is the primary concern for the Steelers but I’m not sure you’re doing that at pick 20. Tyler Linderbaum and Zion Johnson could be a great fit and help both Najee Harris and the passing game in Pittsburgh.
The Patriots have done a fantastic job of finding veteran receivers and have recently missed on drafting receivers. But it might be time to try again. N’Keal Harry has not lived up to his draft position so the Patriots still need to find Mac Jones and a good, young, target to build with. I could also see Belichick taking defense because, well that's what they do in New England.
The Raiders have been looking for a go-to receiver for Derek Carr for a long time and STILL need to find one. Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller have been amazing but if the offense is going to progress the Raiders need a legit target on the outside. The secondary is also a big weakness in Vegas but this is not a great spot to grab a corner. Any pick on the defensive side would be a good idea for new head coach Josh McDaniels, but you have to find value.
The Arizona offensive line did not look good, especially to end the season. The good news for Cardinal fans is this is great range for interior line. Tyler Linderbaum, Zion Johnson and Kenyon Green would all make sense and Linderbaum and Johnson could be the future at center after playing guard for a year. Receiver and pass rusher are also sneaky needs for Arizona.
The same interior offensive linemen the Cardinals are looking at will also be in play for Dallas. The Cowboys landed the rookie of the year last year when they selected Micah Parsons and Parsons was supposed to fix their problem at linebacker. But it turns out Parsons is an elite pass rusher and the Cowboys might still need a linebacker.
The Bills love pass rushers and love to add them early in the draft. In fact, they’ve selected four pass rushers in the top two rounds over the last three drafts - Ed Oliver (2019,1st), AJ Epenesa (2020, 2nd), Gregory Rousseau (2021, 1st) and Carlos Basham (2021, 2nd). So I’m not ruling out the Bills taking another pass rusher this year. Corner and interior OL are also a big need but who knows if the Bills value those positions in the first round.
The Titans have tried to address their right tackle position before but failed and the offensive line is still a need. I could also see Mike Vrabel falling in love with a nose tackle like Jordan Davis and drastically improving their run defense and pass rush right in the middle with one pick. This could be the range where we see teams start to look at corner again. Outside of Gardner and Stingley the position seems a little weak for the first round.
There aren’t many obvious needs on the Bucs roster but they have to figure out what to do at QB again. I’m not sure that any QB left on the board at 27 will be able to start in 2022 and I’m not sure any of them are a better option than Kyle Trask - yeah, I know. One thing I’m for sure on is Antonio Brown ain’t coming back and the Bucs could lose Chris Godwin this offseason. Receiver is a real possibility here - specifically Jahan Dotson from Penn State.
I’m going to assume, for now, that Rodgers is returning to Green Bay and even if he doesn’t, the Packers like Jordan Love - I feel like those are big assumptions. If Rodgers is back I could see the Packers finally giving him a receiver - hell that might be negotiated into his return - and there are a lot of good receivers in this range. There is also the possibility of adding a tight end like Trey McBride.
Miami has a lot of team needs so they can almost take the best player available here. Adding another receiver opposite Waddle could work, adding a pass rusher is always nice, linebacker could use an upgrade and offensive line is always needed. Other than quarterback and secondary every position makes sense for the Dolphins.
The Chiefs need another receiver option but I think they will buy that in free agency. Kansas City really needs to address their defense where they could be losing a couple veterans this offseason. Safety Dax Hill will most likely be the best safety on the board but it could be a little early for him. There are a few different pass rushers that could be the replacement for Frank Clark - this year or next. And finding help at corner is another need. There are a lot of options for Kansas City but the pick should be on the defensive side - where there are a lot of needs and a lot of players with great value here.
Edge: Myjai Sanders (Cincinnati), Kingsley Enagbare (South Carolina), Logan Hall (Houston)
Corner: Roger McCreary (Auburn), Kyler Gordon (Washington), Trent McDuffie (Washington)
Safety: Dax Hill (Michigan), Jaquan Brisker (Penn State)
So the Bengals did just fine by passing on OL last year and getting Ja’Marr Chase but I think they need to go OL this year. There are good options and value and the Bengals can move a lot of pieces around to make it work. I don’t even want the Bengals to look at another position if I’m a fan. Find everything else in later rounds and improve your OL here.
The Lions could be in position to take a quarterback at the end of the first round to cash in on a fifth-year option. I don’t hate that idea but I don’t love these quarterbacks. I do like giving your quarterback good receivers and that’s probably what Detroit should do. Detroit also picks again at 34 where they could get a receiver - making quarterback very much in play at 32.