NFL First Round Mock Draft 1.0
Seawanhaka Sports Editor Zack Jones mocks the first round of the NFL Draft
BY: ZACK JONES / SPORTS EDITOR
Chicago Bears First Overall- Will Anderson Jr. , Alabama, EDGE- Will Anderson Jr. is the defensive headliner of the draft and a blue chip prospect. It only makes sense for the Chicago Bears to add the prolific pass-rusher from Alabama to the depleted defense that took major hits at the deadline with players like Robert Quinn and Roquon Smith departing via trade. Ultimately, the pick should come down to Anderson Jr. or trading the first overall pick.
Houston Texans Second Overall- Bryce Young, Alabama, QB- Houston is allegedly looking at QB with the second overall pick, and it should be of no surprise that Bryce Young is the QB1 for many scouts and teams. There is the problem of size for Young should he measure in under six foot as well as his weight being low for a NFL QB. Honestly, the tape on Young could bolster to be the first QB off the board on draft day, and I personally think it will.
Arizona Cardinals Third Overall- Jalen Carter, Georgia, DL- Jalen Carter is another blue chip guy, and comes off a dominant defensive line for Georgia. Carter is a great interior guy and fills a spot that is barren on the Cardinal’s roster. Carter is a guy to build around on that defense, and is the obvious pick if he’s on the board.
Indianapolis Colts Fourth Overall- Will Levis, Kentucky, QB- The Colts need a quarterback to pair with their new offensive-minded coach, Shane Steichen, and their guy will be Will Levis. Immediately people will say, why not C.J. Stroud, I think Stroud is the safer pick, but Levis may have more upside, and the Colts can afford to cater to the pro-ready QB of Will Levis. With a healthy offensive line, one of the best rushers in the league in Johnathan Taylor, and solid receivers like Michael Pittman and speedster Parris Cambpell Jr. This pick is a toss-up between Stroud and Levis bearing no trades, and I like Levis to Indy.
Seattle Seahawks Fifth Overall- Myles Murphy, Clemson, EDGE- Seattle is a team with few glaring needs, but the defensive line was poor and will definitely need a boost this off-season. Clemson edge Myles Murphy should be number 1 on Seattle's board. He's an amazing run-stopper from the edge and has a lot of potential as a pass rusher with great athleticism and bend. Murphy should go early in the draft, depending on the combine and preference.
Detroit Lions Sixth Overall- Devon Witherspoon, Syracuse, CB- The Detroit Lions need a corner in this draft, and Devon Witherspoon is the guy. He will have an amazing combine, he already boasts a solid size, and he has the track record and tape. Witherspoon had a track record in his senior season of college allowing zero touchdowns and a very low passer rating throughout his final year at Syracuse. Witherspoon has the current hype and it could continue to elevate his stock further, he’s definitely my CB1 and should be for most teams.
Las Vegas Raiders Seventh Overall- C.J. Stroud, Ohio State, QB- The Las Vegas Raiders have exited the Derek Carr era and will begin the C.J. Stroud era. Stroud has already noted his desire to pass to Raiders star Devante Adams, and the stars may align for Vegas to get this guy. Stroud is a tall, talented quarterback and proved himself in big games like the Georgia playoff game. Quarterback should be the position for the Raiders to take depending on free agency.
Atlanta Falcons Eighth Overall- Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech, EDGE- The Atlanta Falcons have a ton of needs coming into the 2023-2024 season, and one glaring spot is defensive end, and the best available edge is Tyree Wilson. Tyree is a great edge player coming out of Texas Tech. Wilson could be one of the better athletes at the position in this draft and with athleticism being more and more important each year Wilson could be an amazing addition to any team.
Carolina Panthers Ninth Overall- Anthony Richardson, Florida, QB- The Carolina Panthers need a quarterback as they have for many years, and I think they’ll be willing to reach or even trade up to get one, but in a no trade mock best available guy is Anthony Richardson. Richardson has everything a modern quarterback needs, size, athleticism, arm strength, and composure. Unfortunately, he is still a somewhat raw prospect who struggles at times, but talent/potential wise he may have the most of any quarterback in this year's draft.
Philadelphia Eagles Tenth Overall- Christian Gonzalez, Oregon, CB- Christian Gonzalez will be a toss-up for the CB1 spot with Devon Witherspoon. Gonzalez has the size and speed combo that scouts love. His arm length is unmatched, and his talent is insane. The combine will be huge for Gonzalez, and he would be a steal at pick 10 for the Philadelphia Eagles, who were a few defensive lapses away from a Super Bowl Victory.
Tennessee Titans Eleventh Overall- Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State, OT- Paris Johnson Jr. has been a prominent offensive line prospect since his high school days, where his size and dominance were first put on national display. Again, he showed out at The Ohio State, where he helped to lead one of the premier offensive lines in football. Johnson Jr. has incredible size and is an excellent pass blocker which the Tennessee Titans need immensely. Johnson Jr. would be a great addition to this roster and could be the first tackle on the board.
Houston Texans Twelveth Overall- Quentin Johnson, TCU, WR- With the Houston Texans already taking a quarterback in this mock, it is only right for them to get their new quarterback a weapon, and what better weapon than TCU’s Quentin Johnson. A tall, fast receiver that has played in big games and showed out against strong talent like Michigan. Johnson has a 6’4 frame and sub 4.4 speed. For many he is the WR1 of this draft and should be a great addition to the Texans receiving corp that struggled last year.
New York Jets Thirteenth Overall- Peter Skoronski, Northwestern, OT- Peter Skoronski is an intriguing prospect, and may be one of the more NFL ready prospects. Skoronski could end up playing on the interior due to size and that flexibility makes him a great prospect as well. The New York Jets have two solid tackles with Mekhi Becton and George Fant, but with Fant’s age it makes sense to add a tackle of the future.
New England Patriots Fourteenth Overall- Joey Porter Jr., Penn State, CB- The New England Patriots have some interesting needs at somewhat deep positions like wide receiver, corner, and safety. Many see the Patriots going with wide receiver with their first round pick, but with Joey Porter Jr. on the board I expect them to add the talented corner. Porter Jr. is a top corner in this class and the ideal CB2 for many teams. Ultimately, at 14 Porter Jr. would surely be a steal for the defensive minded Patriots.
Green Bay Packers Fifteenth Overall- Michael Mayer, Notre Dame, TE- The Green Bay Packers offense looked out of balance many times last season, and the receiving corp in all played very lackluster over the length of the season. Because of this lack of performance it would really make sense to add another weapon to the offense, and there may be no better prospect than Michael Mayer. Mayer is a solid blocker and looks great in the pass game. With Robert Tonyan’s contract up it would make sense to re-up at the position and get Mayer at 15.
Washington Commanders Sixteenth Overall- Kelee Ringo, Georgia, CB- Kelee Ringo has taken somewhat of a drop in stock, but is still a top tier corner prospect. Ringo had a good year at Georgia, and is expected to have one of the better combine performances of the class in whole. The Washington Commanders need for a corner is apparent after trading away William Jackson III to the Pittsburgh Steelers last deadline. Ringo has CB1 talent and could be one of the bigger steals of the first round.
Pittsburgh Steelers Seventeenth Overall- Broderick Jones, Georgia, OT- Back to back Georgia players in the middle of the first as Pittsburgh Steelers take Broderick Jones at 17. Jones allowed 0 sacks over his final year at Georgia, and is a stunning tackle prospect. The Steelers need for a tackle is glaring at times, and after taking Kenny Pickett in the first round last year, it is only right they get him some added protection in his left tackle of the future by taking Broderick Jones at pick 17.
Detroit Lions Eighteenth Overall- Siaki Ika, Baylor, DL- The Detroit Lions defense struggled despite some bright spots like Kerby Joseph, Aiden Hutchinson, James Houston, and Jeff Okudah at times. The interior however needed help, and the run defense was very poor for the most part, ranking bottom five in most rushing defense stats last year. One of the better guys to help in both aspects is Baylor’s Siaki Ika who is a very good run stopping interior defensive lineman. The fit of Siaki Ika in this defense is almost perfect.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Nineteenth Overall- Cam Smith, South Carolina, CB- Cam Smith is one of the more aggressive natured corners coming out of this class, and that seems to be a good thing in the eyes of many scouts, Smith plays ferociously and somewhat like former South Carolina corner Jaycee Horn. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a knack for these physical undersized corners and the fit makes sense. Smith has elite upside, and could be a standout in a system like Tampa’s.
Seattle Seahawks Twentieth Overall- Emmanuel Forbes, Mississippi State, CB- In this mock the Seattle Seahawks opt to grab their corner later rather than sooner, and the guy to get is Emmanuel Forbes. Forbes was a top corner in college football last season at Mississippi State allowing one of the lowest passer ratings across the NCAA, and he is also a great fit for Seattle to pair with their stellar gem from last year's draft, Tariq Woolen. The defense obviously needs help and Forbes could be a game changer for this defense.
Los Angeles Chargers Twenty-First Overall- Jordan Addison, USC, WR- Surprise Jordan Addison falls to 21 in this mock, but it isn’t too much of a surprise considering size concerns and the depth of the draft class all around. Regardless, Addison to the Los Angeles Chargers looks to be a great fit. They have a good WR corp, which could lead them to go TE instead, but with Kennan Allen aging, and in discussion for release, it wouldn’t be a bad call to get QB Justin Herbert another go to guy.
Baltimore Ravens Twenty-Second Overall- Zay Flowers, Boston College, WR- Zay Flowers is the kind of guy this Baltimore Ravens offense needs. He is a YAC (Yards After Catch) guy, and has some of the best route running of this class. The concerns surrounding Flowers are already being diminished after he added weight before the combine. Zay Flowers could be the addition that helps this offense feel multidimensional again.
Minnesota Vikings Twenty-Third Overall- Clark Phillips III, Utah, CB- Clark Phillips III had an excellent year at Utah and looks like a great instant starter type of guy. With the Minnesota Vikings already having former second round pick Andrew Booth Jr and an aging Patrick Peterson, Phillips III would slot in well as the next guy up. Filling whatever spot needed whether it's at slot or outside.
Jacksonville Jaguars Twenty-Fourth Overall- Dawand Jones, Ohio State, OT- Dawand Jones is an amazing prospect, insane size and solid speed and footwork to match it. He has some of the best arm length ever recorded for the position, and is a guy who should jump up draft boards. The Jacksonville Jaguars offensive line looked shaky at times, and with Cam Robinson expected to lock down the left side it would make sense for the team to add Jones to the right side. Many people like the Jaguars to take WR, but this is somewhat doubtful with the return of Calvin Ridley, and the breakout of Zay Jones and Christian Kirk. It is very fitting that the Jaguars help Trevor Lawrence out elsewhere and take Dawand Jones.
New York Giants Twenty-Fifth Overall- Jaxson Smith-Njigba, Ohio State, WR- The New York Giants needs are very apparent with the wide receiver and linebacker spots both performing poorly last season. Jaxson Smith-Njiba, JSN, is one of the more technical receivers in the class and would’ve probably been taken higher a year ago. Another product of the Brian Hartline system should go in the first round regardless of the lack of play due to a lingering hamstring injury. He fills a necessary hole at wide receiver and gives Daniel Jones some help to make another playoff run this year.
Dallas Cowboys Twenty-Sixth Overall- Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee, WR- Jalin Hyatt is the notorious speedster of this class and could be a great addition to any team. He looks great as a big play explosive guy, and the Dallas Cowboys could definitely use a guy like that. Last year that guy for Dallas was Tony Pollard, but after an injury and contract expiration it would not come as a surprise if Pollard doesn’t return to the team next year, so the Cowboys replace one big play machine with another big play machine by adding Hyatt
Buffalo Bills Twenty-Seventh Overall- Bijan Robinson, Texas, RB- Bijan is a bluechip running back and should be the next great young running back. He looks great in both run and pass and was a game changer for Texas last year. The Buffalo Bills needs are somewhat shallow, and the best available player is Bijan Robinson. The Bills running back room performed below expectations last year, so it makes sense to add the best running back from college football.
Cincinnati Bengals Twenty-Eighth Overall- Anton Harrison, Oklahoma, OT- The Cincinnati Bengals have some noticeable needs mostly involving the secondary, the offensive line, and the tight end spot. With Anton Harrison still on the board it wouldn’t be surprising if the Bengals grab him. Harrison was one of the better pass blocking tackles in the draft, and would be a great addition to help protect Joe Burrow.
New Orleans Saints Twenty-Ninth Overall- Bryan Breese, Clemson, DL- Bryan Breese is a high upside guy, but doesn’t look NFL ready at times. With New Orleans needing help on the interior line Bresee is the best available guy. At Clemson, Bresee faced injuries holding him back from being a top end guy, but many scouts will understand the upside.
Philadelphia Eagles Thirtieth Overall- Brian Branch, Alabama, S- The Philadelphia Eagles have some needs, and one is safety. Due to safety being a need and Brian Branch being a high end talent, it would make sense to take Brian Branch at 30. Branch can play most spots like slot or out high, and Branch looks great in the run game, which Philadelphia could use. The fit and the talent falling to 30 makes Branch make sense if on the board.
Kansas City Chiefs Thirty-First Overall- Darnell Wright, Tennessee, OT- With tackles flying off the board in the first round it would make sense to get one while it's still possible, and the Kansas City Chiefs do just that. Darnell Wright had a very good Senior Bowl performance, gaining praise from former GMs, and is projected to be a riser for the draft. Wright is also a solid talent and according to some, it would be great to pair him with former teammate and Chief starting guard, Trey Smith.
Pittsburgh Steelers Thirty-Second Overall- Trenton Simpson, Clemson, LB- Multiple teams need linebacker, and the Steelers are one of them. They are also the first team to select a linebacker with Trenton Simpson. Simpson was a sideline to sideline guy at Clemson, and can line up almost anywhere. He has great size at 6’3, and with a good combine will only be more valuable to teams. The Steelers could use a linebacker and Trenton Simpson is a great fit to fall to them at 32.