Nine weeks of NFL football are in the books and the dust is beginning to settle. The NFL draft picture becomes more clear as the weeks roll by. There will be more draft content rolling out in the coming days, weeks, and months. This is my first Mock Draft as a member of the Crocker Report staff. Take this journey with me as I attempt to improve all 32 NFL teams. Be mindful teams 19-32 would make the playoffs if the season ended today. The draft order for playoff teams is determined by the results of postseason play.
1.) New York Jets: QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
There is not much that needs to be said regarding this pick, but I will give it a shot. The landscape for the New York Jets will look vastly different in 2021. A potential new head coach is all but a formality at this point, in addition to a new face of the franchise at quarterback. Out goes Sam Darnold, insert Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence has been compared to former number-one overall pick Andrew Luck as a prospect. While I do not have him in that tier, he is a fantastic and toolsy QB with three years of experience. Lawrence can make every throw in the book with great velocity. His mobility opens the playbook and creative play-calling.
2.) Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
Jake Luton and Gardner Minshew may engage in a battle for QB1 to finish this season once Minshew returns from injury. Heading into the 2021 season, they will be battling for the backup role behind a rookie QB. This offense has some young explosive playmakers as shipmates but lacks a competent helmsman. Justin Fields is one of the best quarterbacks in this class, one could argue over the past few drafts.
Since returning to the field for the Big Ten restart, Fields has been utterly dominant. Through three games he has passed for 908 yards on 83 attempts for 11 touchdowns to zero interceptions, in addition to a ridiculous 86.7 completion percentage. Fields’ arm talent is superior to Minshew and will be able to push the ball downfield more often. His athleticism makes him a mobile and creative playmaker out of the pocket to test defenses on Sundays.
3.) New York Giants: OT Penei Sewell, Oregon
Daniel Jones, the sixth overall selection in the 2019 draft, has been everything but a franchise quarterback since drafted. Jones has played in 22 games but his turnovers have been utterly back-breaking. He has recorded 36 total turnovers, 21 interceptions and 15 fumbles lost. We also cannot ignore the inconsistent play of the Giants offensive line. Jones has been sacked 66 times in 22 games.
Instead of replacing Jones this off-season, adding an elite talent to the front line seems like a better option. Penei Sewell is one of the best offensive tackle prospects in the last decade. He is a tenacious drive blocker in the run game, and he utilizes his long levers well to control his opponent during passing sets. Maturing in the technique category comes with time. Sewell will allow head coach Joe Judge to flip Andrew Thomas to right tackle and create a potential duo for years to come. If Jones cannot perform at a higher and less risky level with an improved o-line and healthy weapons, move on from him in 2022.
4.) Dallas Cowboys: CB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama
Sign Dak Prescott! OK, we can move on to the draft. Rookie cornerback Trevon Diggs has been feast-or-famine at times in 2020. He has flashed competitive toughness and short memory after giving up a big-play. Chidobe Awuzie will be an unrestricted free agent after the season. Dipping back into the Alabama pipeline is never a bad idea.
Patrick Surtain II has NFL bloodlines as his father had a successful eleven-year career. Surtain can match and mirror receivers at the line of scrimmage with patience and confidence in his technique. Proper hand placement in press coverage allows him to re-route receivers and alter timing with the quarterback. Smooth feet and hips allows him to turn and run when challenged vertically. Pairing the former college teammates would be a nice way to improve a struggling secondary.
5.) Washington Football Team: QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
Dwayne Haskins is obviously not the quarterback of the future in Washington. Ron Rivera has a young and talent-filled defense, but he needs a competent offense to support them. Alex Smith or Kyle Allen should be viewed as franchise quarterbacks. Rivera finds a young signal caller in a similar mold to his ex-MVP QB, Cam Newton. Trey Lance reminds me of a younger more polished version of Newton.
Like Newton, Lance is a physically-imposing dual-threat quarterback with a cannon connected to his shoulder. Similar to the former MVP, Lance needs some refining in terms of techniques to ensure his accuracy avoids those peaks and valleys. A backfield with Lance and Antonio Gibson has explosive potential in all aspects of the offense. Another complementary receiving option behind McLaurin remains a huge need this offseason.
6.) Los Angeles Chargers: CB Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech
Justin Herbert has been a walking homerun as the Chargers’ front office knocked this pick out of the park. They are two years from having three of their tops cornerbacks walking into free agency. Caleb Farley is one of the best man-to-man CBs in the nation. Farley is a smooth and fluid move with great feet to mirror receivers. It is rare to find a cornerback with his height possess the oily hips to turn and run with receivers. In terms of press strikes, Farley is an on-target shooter that remains square for proper leverage. Offensively, the Chargers are in a great place, but ensuring the defense does not slip away is pivotal for their present and future.
7.) Miami Dolphins(from the Texans): LB Micah Parsons, Penn State
The Miami Dolphins are 5-3; what a year 2020 has become! Tua Tagovailoa is 2-0 as a starter after back-to-back victories. The defense has been playing at a high level with five turnovers forced during this two-game win streak. The missing component from head coach Brian Flores’s defense is an athletic and physical play-maker in the middle of the defense. Micah Parsons will remind Flores of another über-versatile athlete from his Patriot days in Jamie Collins. He can be deployed traditionally in between the hashes, blitzing the A-gap, and on the edge rushing the passer. Parsons is a former defensive end, and his explosive physicality would add more swag to this Dolphins defense.
8.) Cincinnati Bengals: DE Gregory Rousseau, Miami
Offensive line is a priority, but with Sewell off the board I did not see value in anyone in the top ten. The Bengals could potentially trade back for a team hoping to snag a young quarterback and stockpile picks. In my first mock, I will stick to a traditional draft selection. The Bengals traded veteran pass rusher Carlos Dunlap to the Seattle Seahawks after their relationship turned sour over playing time.
Carl Lawson is the top pass rushing threat on defense, but he needs a quality running mate on the DL. Gregory Rousseau is an incredible athlete with long levers to control his opponents. Rousseau is versatile in terms of alignment, he can line on the edge as a traditional DE or inside as a 3-tech on passing downs. The Bengals can deploy a lineup of Hubbard, Rousseau, Atkins, and Lawson on passing downs. The d-line combinations Rousseau provides are endless with a creative defensive coordinator.
9.) Atlanta Falcons: DE Kwity Paye, Michigan
After a Twitter rant negatively directed towards the Falcons brass, former first-round DE Takk Mckinley was released. The Falcons have used numerous draft capital and free agent signing to generate an edge pass rush, and those attempts have failed. What is one more try, right? Kwity Paye is a better and more well-rounded prospect than McKinley or Vic Beasley were coming out. Paye has a physical mature frame to play with his hands in the dirt and athletic enough to rush from a two-point stance.
A quick first step paired with the punch of a heavy weight boxer can give offensive tackles headaches for four quarters. He is growing in terms of his pass rushing arsenal, but has flashed counters after the tackles initial set. His frame and strength can be utilized inside on passing downs as well. He is a versatile playmaker with game-wrecking potential.
10.) Carolina Panthers: QB Zach Wilson, BYU
SPLASH! The first real shocking selection in the mock lands in Charlotte, North Carolina. Teddy Bridgewater signed a three-year, $63 million contract that included $33 million in guarantees. Bridgewater has played well for majority of this season, but his inconsistency in taking advantage of his explosive playmakers is troubling,(6.7 air yards per attempt). Head coach Matt Rhule and company can move on from Bridgewater after the 2021 season.
The new kid on the block is BYU’s star quarterback Zach Wilson. He has an impressive highlight reel of passes with uncanny ball placement, arm angles, and platforms. A good athlete with the ability to escape danger and elude defenders out of the pocket. Wilson can sit behind Bridgewater for a portion of the season until Rhule believes he is ready to grab the bull by the horns. Unlike most rookie quarterbacks, Wilson would walk into a ready-made offense with McCaffrey, Moore, Anderson, and Samuel at his disposal.
11.) Detroit Lions: WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
The Detroit Lions are at risk of losing Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay to free agency after the season. If they were to retain at least one of these talented pass catchers, a void would remain unfilled. Jaylen Waddle can step in and contribute right away. He runs great routes by manipulating leverage before exploding past them. He can line up in the slot and work as the point of the offense. Matthew Stafford can benefit from the type of speed and big-play potential Waddle brings.
12.) Minnesota Vikings: OG Wyatt Davis, Ohio State
Minnesota is currently out of range for a top-of-the-line quarterback prospect due to their two-game win streak. Left guard Dakota Dozier is an impending free agent and the Vikings are strapped for cap space. Drafting his replacement is a cost-efficient approach for the present and future. Wyatt Davis is an athletic, agile, and powerful IOL. His lateral fluidity allows him to fit into Gary Kubiak’s zone blocking scheme. Dalvin Cook is leading the NFL in rushing with 858 yards, and Davis would only help the effectiveness on the ground. This offense will continue to run through Cook until they upgrade the quarterback position.
13.) New England Patriots: WR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU
Bill Belichick attempts to nab a star receiver with a first-round pick. Despite the quarterback, this offense lacks explosive vertical threats on the perimeter. This offense is similar to the Sixers in the NBA, they have a point guard to distribute but lack three-point shooters. Chase opted out of the 2020 college season before it began. He would add a potential number one option for the Patriots for years to come. His innate ability to track the ball in flight is missing from this Patriots’ offense. Chase has natural ball skills and work ethic to become a great receiver. Belichick loves the first one in and the last one out type of players.
14.) Denver Broncos: CB Shaun Wade, Ohio State
The Broncos are retooling their secondary to match their talented (when healthy) pass rush. Rookie cornerback Michael Ojemudia was a nice way to start this process. Shaun Wade is another long-framed cornerback with tremendous speed. He is learning how to play on the boundary after spending his early seasons in the slot. Wade possesses the physical and athletic traits to develop into an impressive corner. The Buckeye corner can flip his hips to turn and run on vertical routes. Factoring the return of Von Miller with a healthy Bradley Chubb, only increases the confidence in their secondary.
15.) San Francisco 49ers: CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
I am more than certain that Eric Crocker would love this selection, with them being out of the sweepstakes for Zach Wilson (for now). Jaycee Horn has a long and broad frame that shows up against bigger and more physical receivers. He plays with aggression and is willing to be a force player in the run game. He excels when allowed to be physical in press coverage. Horn has a high football IQ; he knows when to play through the receiver’s hands for pass breakups. He has an NFL bloodline from his father, four-time Pro Bowl receiver Joe Horn.
16.) Chicago Bears: IOL Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma
Outside of quarterback, the Bears’ offensive line must be fixed. Creed Humphrey played center for Lincoln Riley’s offense, but has the traits to be an quality guard in the NFL. Humphrey has a strong center of gravity and his base allows him to anchor on his reps. Upper-body strength and wrestling background help him turn and torque his body when engaged. Worst case scenario, the Bears move Cody Whitehair to guard and Humphrey remains at his natural position. Regardless, improving the interior offensive line is important if they desire to establish a consistent rushing attack next season.
17.) Cleveland Browns: LB Dylan Moses, Alabama
The Browns are 5-3 and fighting for a playoff spot. One of the biggest weaknesses on this Browns roster is the linebacker corps. It lacks athletic playmakers outside of Mack Wilson, who has battled injuries this season. Dylan Moses is an athletic and sturdy linebacker prospect. Moses has natural sideline-to-sideline range to run down perimeter play calls. He plays with a physicality that fits the brand of AFC North football. Moses would immediately inject the needed speed and hard-hitting style to the Dawg Pound.
18.) Indianapolis Colts: QB Mac Jones, Alabama
Another shocking selection. Phillip Rivers’s time with the Colts and in the league should be coming to an end. His arm has lost an incredible amount of strength and his decision-making does not help matters at all. Mac Jones is possibly the highest riser in this year’s draft. He has been one of the best deep-ball throwers in the nation. Jones has been an efficient passer with a 16:2 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He is not overly mobile by any means, but his feet are constantly navigating the pocket. Jones plays with confidence and great poise, he trusts his play-makers to do their jobs. In the Colts’ dome, Jones could be airing it out for the next decade.
19.) Philadelphia Eagles: OG Trey Smith, Tennessee
The Eagles are atop of the NFC East with their offense being held together by string after a rash of injuries for a consecutive year. Missing multiple starters on the offensive line suggests proper depth and youth is needed. Trey Smith is an enormous human being, with ridiculous power. Smith has good feet and lateral movement. Smith is a ferocious puller in the run game; out in space he seeks to deliver punishment. Giving Carson Wentz an o-line that he can trust to protect him is urgent.
20.) Arizona Cardinals: CB Eric Stokes, Georgia
The Cardinals are currently in position for their first playoff berth since 2015. Kliff Kingsbury’s offense has made tremendous strides from his first season as an NFL head coach. The Cardinals defense has played better than expected after losing All-Pro pass rusher Chandler Jones. Patrick Peterson is headed toward free agency and the Cardinals need a contingency plan.
Eric Stokes is an incredible athlete with tremendous long speed. He has clean feet on his backpedal, in addition to smooth hips to turn and run. His recovery speed grants him the ability to play aggressive in press coverage.
21.) Miami Dolphins: WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama
Reunited and it feels so good! That is what Tua Tagovailoa should be singing after this select is made. The connection of DeVonta Smith and Tagovailoa has been special since their walk off reception in the 2018 National Championship game. Smith is smooth as silk. He is a great salesman in terms of route running, creating natural separation on a regular basis. Smith’s play speed will surprise defenders once he stacks them vertically and pulls away after the catch. Early on, he could assume the slot role in this offense, but has experience as the X,Y, and Z receiver. Smith, Williams, Parker, and Gesicki gives Tagovailoa a talented group of pass catcher to work with.
22.) Jacksonville Jaguars (from the Rams): TE Kyle Pitts, Florida
After securing Justin Fields earlier in the first-round, securing the wall in front of him is next on the list. Tyler Eifert won’t be turning back the hands of time prior to his injury years ago. Kyle Pitts would be the cherry on top of the Jaguars offense. Pitts is the epitome of mismatch. He can align himself inline, detached, in the slot, and out wide. Pitts is a tough cover for cornerbacks in addition to linebackers and safeties. He would demand attention between the hashes and Fields would have ample weapons to pick apart defenses with.
23.) Las Vegas Raiders: DT Jay Tufele, USC
The Raiders are trending in the right direction after consecutive successful drafts. Offensively, Derek Carr is not tasked with shouldering the load, he simply has to play complementary football to a solid defense and run game. The interior defensive line lacks promising talent. Jay Tufele plays both 1-shade and 3-tech for the Trojans defense. A surprising athlete at 315 pounds, Tufele plays with good quickness off the ball and power. He does a great job using heavy hands at the point of attack to disorient his opponent. Not only can he anchor in the run game, but he pushes the pocket well as an interior rusher. Tufele has flashed streaks of dominance when his pad level is good.
24.) Tennessee Titans: DE Quincy Roche, Miami
Head coach Mike Vrabel is still searching for a consistent edge rush to assist a secondary that is allowing the fifth most passing yards per game. Quincy Roche is an explosive rusher off the edge. His incredible lengthy levers works well to extend into the frame of the offensive tackle during pass sets. In addition, this allows him to keep his pads clean from the hands of the OT. He runs the arc around tackles well, which sets up his inside counters. Under Vrabel’s tutelage, Roche could spell positive results for this Titans defense.
25.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DT Jordan Davis, Georgia
With the impending free agency of Ndamukong Suh, finding an adequate and cheaper replacement is necessary. Jordan Davis is a mountain of a man at 6-foot-6, 330 pounds. A man of his stature should not be as athletic as Davis is. He is fluid and agile when tasked to move laterally. A great candidate for a 2-gapping role. His ability to stack blockers and disengage to find the football is a defensive line coach’s dream. Not an explosive or twitchy player off the snap, but paired with Vita Vea, he would not have to be. These two physically imposing young men would provide the Buccaneers with a fearsome tandem on the interior especially against opposing rushing attacks.
26.) New York Jets (from the Seahawks): WR Terrace Marshall Jr., LSU
Trevor Lawrence is accustomed to being a bigger-framed receiver during his stint at Clemson. Following this model would benefit Trevor and this Jets offense going forward. Terrace Marshall is a beautiful blend of size, strength, and speed. Competitive toughness is on display as he is unfazed with physical contact. He uses a variety of releases to free himself into his routes against press, and adjusts to the ball in flight with innate body control. Marshall plays with a “this ball is mine” mindset in contested catch situations. Lawrence would have a good blend of veteran and young receiving options heading into 2021. The Jets’ future could be much brighter if this transpired.
27.) Baltimore Ravens: DE Jayson Oweh, Penn St.
The Ravens understand they need an edge presence to reduce their blitz percentages if they desire to defeat the likes of Patrick Mahomes in the playoffs. They traded for Yannick Ngakoue from the Vikings before the deadline in attempt to address this issue. This is a good start, but why stop there?
Jayson Oweh is rumored to run a 4.33 in the 40-yard dash. He is a supreme athlete with incredible twitch off the edge. Aligning him across from Yannick (if he returns) would finally give the Ravens defense two athletically-gifted edge rushers. They can begin dropping more bodies into coverage instead of relying on the blitz.
28.) Buffalo Bills: OLB Azeez Ojulari, Georgia
The Bills are 7-2 and atop the AFC East standings. The offense and defense has traded low moments during their two losses. Defensively, this unit has not performed at the same level as 2019. Their pass rush has been solid through nine games, but they lack youth and explosion. Ojulari is a scheme versatile rusher with the ability to play hand in the dirt or in a sprinter stance. He has an explosive lower body with a low center of gravity. As he develop the ability to set a strong edge against the run, he can play as a designated pass rusher (DPR).
29.) Green Bay Packers: WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota
The quest to improve Aaron Rodgers’ supporting cast continues into April, unless a trade or free agent signing occurs. In this scenario, no moves have been made. Insert Rashod Bateman into this offense, grab some popcorn, sit back, and watch the fireworks. Bateman is blend of Keenan Allen and Allen Robinson (no pressure right?). He runs fantastic routes paired with NFL level releases against press. Bateman plays at his pace and will not be sped up by his opponent. Whether in the slot or on the boundary, he is a weapon that demands attention. Paired with a top-three receiver in DaVante Adams, he would face single coverage as he develops with AR-12.
30.) Kansas City Chiefs: WR Rondale Moore, Purdue
The rich get richer, am I right? Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson will be free agents after the season. Andy Reid is destined to surround Patrick Mahomes with as much possible. Rondale Moore is one of the most explosive receivers in college football. Align him anywhere and allow him to make magic. Moore runs precise routes to generate separation from man coverage. He is a RAC dynamo who can turn a 5-yard slant into an 80-yard score. This is not fair, but it is a true possibility.
31.) New Orleans Saints: S Paris Ford, Pittsburgh
Marcus Williams’ contract is due to expire and Malcolm Jenkins is getting long in the tooth. Paris Ford is a tough and physical defender. He relishes opportunities to lay lumber to a ball carrier. Ford adds a passionate and nasty tone to this defense. Has the athletic gifts to play the single-high deep safety role. Great speed and range to cover ground from the high safety position. The Saints defense could pair him with Williams for a young athletic safety tandem for years to come.
32.) Pittsburgh Steelers: OT Alex Leatherwood, Alabama
Alejandro Villanueva’s future in Pittsburgh is uncertain as he enters free agency. Alex Leatherwood is a strong and aggressive tackle, with experience at guard. During passing sets, his hands are in position to shoot. Fluid and agile, Leatherwood reaches the second level nicely. He gallops off the ball on screen plays, and finds his target to spring the ball carrier free. Pittsburgh’s offensive coordinator Matt Canada is utilizing modern day concepts with motions, quick passes, etc. Leatherwood would fit into the Steelers’ spatial offense.