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Toby Wreathway’s 2024 NFL Mock Draft

Toby Wreathway’s 2024 NFL Mock Draft

Happy Draft SZN everybody! Mock drafts get clicks so the interwebs are saturated with them, but I do mine a bit differently. How so? Well, I actually take some time and think about it. Not like that makes it less inaccurate, unfortunately. I should have probably been doing my taxes instead. Read on for Toby Wreathway’s 2024 NFL mock draft.

First, some ground rules

  1. My rankings are hastily assembled and only feature players I’ve had “time” to watch. So, if you are wondering, “hey where the f is Sergio Beefweasel on your WR list”, well, I didn’t get a chance to watch anything on Sergio Beefweasel so he’s not on the list. I may look at him later and think he’s awesome. But that leads me to number 2. One such example is Jalen Pitre in 2022. I had never heard of him when Houston took him in the early 2nd round so there’s no way in hell he was going to be even considered in my shitty mock, but it took about 14 seconds to see that this dude was really good. I probably would have had him as a first rounder if I, uhhh, knew who the hell he was.
  2. When I say I spent some time watching a guy, I mean that I most likely spent no more than like 5 minutes. There are hundreds of these guys and this is not my job. In real life, I am the guy who watches the urinals through that little glass hole and flushes them after each use, so I simply don’t have enough time or patience to spend what would be required of each player to make a truly comprehensive mock draft.
  3. On top of that, I don’t really know what I’m doing. Like when I watch a left guard it basically boils down to “hmm do I think this guy is good or not good, he sure blocked that other guy really nice there yeah he’s good.” This ranks me a distant 32nd among NFL GMs in competence, ahead of only Trent Baalke.
  4. I don’t have the inside information that NFL teams have. For example, most people had Teven Jenkins in the first round in 2020. However, medical checks showed something with his back that scared teams off a bit and dropped him to the 2nd. The Bengals had Willie Anderson in 2021 to tell them that Jackson Carman was a good pl….ok maybe that’s not the best example. I also don’t know how these players interview or what their college coaches say about them. Supposedly Josh Allen didn’t even know how to properly take a snap when he was at Wyoming.
  5. NOBODY knows how these guys are going to turn out. NFL teams spend milllllllions of dollars on this process and even the best teams miss a lot more than they don’t miss. Every jump, be it from high school to college or college to the NFL, has a lot of variables that are tough to determine. Here were the top college recruits in the 2015 class according to SI:
    1. Byron Cowart
    2. Josh Rosen
    3. Iman Marshall
    4. Martez Ivey
    5. Derwin James
    6. Kahlil McKenzie
    7. Trenton Thompson
    8. Damien Harris
    9. Calvin Ridley
    10. Terry Godwin

I have heard of four of those guys. It’s like each level is a different planet with a different atmosphere and you can do all the testing you want; it’s still going to be difficult to determine how someone will react to it until you actually place them in that environment.

  1. An apparently still little-known secret – even in the first round, most of these guys won’t be all that good. On average, only about 38% of first rounders make even a single Pro Bowl in their careers. Yet every year you read “the Saints have a glaring hole at ILB, but with the selection of Chernobilus Poppyseed will turn the position from a weakness to a strength.” Uhhh, no it probably won’t. He’s probably not going to be all that great and even if he is it won’t be for a few years. There are very few Micah Parsonses in this world.
  2. In that vein, if you like or don’t like a guy, keep liking or don’t liking them even if I or someone else disagrees. Like I said, no one knows anything. I thought Justin Herbert and Josh Allen would suck and that Corey Coleman would be a star.
  3. This is a hybrid of what I would do and what I think will happen. It’s not exclusively one or the other. That is because this is for entertainment and not an entry into a mock draft competition, which would be a dumb thing to spend time on.
  4. Trades happen in every single first round. If you don’t have any trades in a mock draft then it is occurring in a different reality. Which is fine, I’m just saying.
  5. Everything in this mock is guaranteed to happen 100% as I predict it will.

A few other things to keep in mind is that positional value is a thing and that age matters. You may say “why draft JJ McCarthy when you can get a top left guard”, but quarterbacks are far more valuable than left guards, at least in the minds of NFL teams. Teams must pay these guys real money and good free agent QBs/OTs/Edge Rushers (when they even get to free agency) get paid more than good interior offensive linemen and good safeties. Plus, the latter often are available while the former almost never hit free agency.

Related: Why the Baltimore Orioles are baseball’s most interesting team

As for age, the thought (and I agree with it 100%) is that a 21-year-old has far more room for development than a 23-year-old. Plus, the 21-year-old was playing against kids his own age in college rather than an older player tossing around guys he has 2 or 3 years on. So, when I say things like “age appropriate,” I’m not referring to P. Diddy but rather to a draft prospect being appropriately aged for college athletics.

The Overview

So first, a brief overview of my thoughts on this year’s draft class. I think it is quite a weird class, as it seems to have a lot of “lottery ticket” types who are just insane athletes but have one or two glaring flaws. Maybe they all have players like that, but this year’s crop seems to have more. As I’m sure everyone has heard, the quarterback class is extremely deep this year, however it’s a few age-appropriate guys and then a handful of twitched-up Brandon Weedens. Wide receiver is also deep but man, outside of the top 2 or 3 guys, it’s a boatload of athletic freaks who either don’t know how to run a route or weigh 150 pounds. It’s also a GREAT year to need a tackle, as this draft has them in spades and – in my opinion, at least – without all the red flags that the 2nd and 3rd tier wideouts have.

How about on the defensive side? Unfortunately for teams lacking on that side of the ball, this draft is going to skew very heavily offensively, at least at the very top. Chances are no defensive players will be taken in the top 7 picks, and possibly even in the top 10. The latest I can find for the first defender to be taken was Jaycee Horn at 8th overall in 2021.

But if you draft a bit later and need a cornerback, you’re in luck, because 2024’s corner class is a lesser version of the offensive tackle class. Not nearly as good at the top end, but still quite deep with good/not great prospects. The edge class is not as good, but it does seem to offer decent depth.

As for the negatives, it is a terrible, TERRIBLE year to need an inside linebacker or a running back. Running backs are weird, and random ones hit all the time but my goodness the ILB group is just awful this year. Safety is mostly bereft as is interior defensive line. Tight end is meh at best (and only due to Brock Bowers), as is interior offensive line. Remember that when your team passes on a need at one of the latter spots to take someone from the good groups. Unlike last year, where I thought there was a good amount of solid depth to the 2nd and 3rd rounds, this year’s class seems quite top-heavy. Like, some of these positions fall off QUICK.

You can stand to wait on a wide receiver and maybe a corner or offensive tackle but given the positional value of those spots, if an elite prospect is available, you should just take him and figure the rest out later. And yes, each of these teams have different boards and different schemes and different views on who is elite and who is not. I’m ok with any decision that is at least defensible, like Jack Campbell in the first round last year. I didn’t love Jack Campbell’s performance at Iowa but the athletic package he offered was exceptionally rare. I am not ok with say, taking Alex Leatherwood in the first round. Who is this year’s Alex Leatherwood, in that they are a middling prospect who may get hilariously over drafted? Probably Blake Corum if he somehow sneaks into the top 50. Second guess is Demontez Walker (UNC wideout). Calling my shot!

#1: CHICAGO BEARS – Caleb Williams, QB, USC

Don’t overthink it. The Bears tried to overthink it and despite their being the Bears, they eventually came around to the only sensible decision here. No matter what you think of Justin Fields, you can’t pass up on a chance to take a prospect like Caleb Williams. Hell, I would move off most guys to take this shot – Kyler Murray (in a heartbeat), even guys like Jordan Love and Brock Purdy. Even if Williams flames out in spectacular fashion, it’s still worth the risk.

And flame out he may, given the absolute hilarious history of Chicago Bears quarterbacks. Go ahead, take a look. I’ll wait for you.

Hard to believe, right? This franchise’s best QB since Sid Luckman is….Jay Cutler? Is JAY CUTLER the Bears’ GOAT at quarterback? If you aren’t familiar with Sid Luckman, just know that his career began during the Great Depression. And unlike the depression that Bears fans have suffered over the years, that one could not be treated with Prozac.

But at least they aren’t the Panthers, who traded this pick for Bryce Young. Yeah, grit and intangibles are great, but maybe we should look at things like arm talent first? And when it comes to talent on the arm, Caleb Williams is Hugh Hefner. Williams can make any throw that you can possibly imagine, and even some that you can’t imagine. He’s arguably more impressive at this than Patrick Mahomes was in college, and he’s certainly more polished. “Breakout age” also matters, and Williams broke out from his very first game in his freshman year at Oklahoma. He’s as close to bulletproof as QB prospects typically get.

Now, there are naturally some negatives. Let’s start with the on-the-field ones. First, he’s a bit undersized compared to a prototype NFL QB body. 6’1” 210 lbs. isn’t small but it is smaller than most NFL QBs. Doesn’t seem to affect him, but it is a thing that exists. He also runs around like a lunatic every other play, which has worked for the following NFL QBs:

  • Russell Wilson

It’s not a long list. I will say though that he was much better in structure in 2022 than in 2023, a year in which USC was a borderline trash fire with two middling WRs and a defense that gave up about 50 points a week. He essentially needed to make a huge play every series to keep up. The in-structure ability is there, and he’s shown it countless times so don’t galaxy-brain this decision. Just take the best QB prospect since Andrew Luck and hope he hits.

As for the other stuff, like snubbing the Combine and wearing tiaras or whatever it is. I don’t care. If I were a borderline lock for the first pick, I wouldn’t do the Combine either. Why? What’s the point? To “compete”? Compete for what? They don’t keep score there.

Wearing lipstick? I mean, yeah, I do think it’s weird, but I’m also 40 now and so things that the kids are doing are really going to start not making sense to me. You can throw the ball just fine while wearing eyeshadow. As long as he doesn’t go full J. Edgar Hoover and take the field against the Packers in stiletto heels, it doesn’t change my opinion one iota.

#2 WASHINGTON COMMANDERS – Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina

“Here’s where the draft starts!” says every basic bitch talking head in the land. To be honest, I don’t think the draft starts here. In my opinion, I think it’s almost a lock that the Commanders take Drake Maye and I’m willing to commit seppuku if they don’t. April Fools. I’m not willing to stab myself in the chest with a sword jk lol.

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A lot of media people are hyping up Jayden Daniels to the Commanders and I just strongly disagree that Washington will go in that direction. A few reasons, even though I am not nearly the Drake Maye fan than others are:

  • Maye is age appropriate (21) and broke out in his first year as a starter as a redshirt freshman
  • Maye has prototypical size (6’5” 220 lbs.)
  • Maye has arm talent in spades and just looks like an NFL QB

Jayden Daniels is undersized, takes way too many huge hits and didn’t break out until he was a 23-year-old 5th year senior. Without a clear edge for either player, I think that heavily tilts this pick towards Drake Maye.

Maye is 21 and he’s truly the “prototype.” He’s got a big arm and he’s got some wheels to match. So why am I not absolutely sold on him?

Well, he’s got a little bit of Josh Allen disease. He’s not as all over the place as Josh Allen was but he’s quite often missing or putting his receivers out of position with his throws. He also loves to sprint out of clean pockets and often just heaves the ball into traffic. I don’t think he has Josh Allen’s arm, as 1. no one does and 2. that would be a serious crime with massive ramifications for the NFL going forward. Plus, Josh Allen is the outlier of all outliers and chasing outliers is a fantastic way to become an outlier yourself from NFL job. Maye isn’t on that level but it’s not necessarily a thing where “oh he can just get more accurate in the NFL!” Most people don’t. I can only think of three guys who really became significantly more accurate in the NFL, and they are Josh Allen, Justin Herbert and Tyrod Taylor. Most of these guys that start out as Jake Locker just stay Jake Locker. Go ahead, ask Jake Locker who he is. I’ll bet you he says he’s still Jake Locker. Secondly, damn man how did you get Jake Locker’s number that’s crazy, ask him how he’s doing.

I see a few players in Maye, and they have different outcomes in the NFL. Justin Herbert looked like a mess at times at Oregon and then immediately wasn’t a mess once he got out of that offense and went to a real one in the NFL. We knew that the scheme at Oregon was bad, but I don’t know if we knew it was as bad as it was. They basically told him not to do good things, and only when he got to the NFL did we see that he is a Fine Young Cannibal. Maye’s time at UNC was similar (minus any cannibalism). He seemingly regressed statistically in 2023, but mannnn was this team underwhelming. The offensive line was far from stout and the wide receivers were the Rolling Stones. You mean like, rock stars? No, I mean they can’t get no, da na naaa, separation. People have Tez Walker (Maye’s #1 WR last season) mocked as high as the second round and I think this is just a ludicrous projection for a guy who showed nothing special on the field. Bet he can’t even play guitar.

The other is Jameis Winston, and as much as I love Jameis Winston because he’s just so damn fun to watch, it’s just hard for a tiger to change its stripes. It’s actually likely impossible for a tiger to change its stripes because what do tigers know about weird medical procedures?  Drake Maye often plays like a juiced-up Jameis, as though he’s much more athletic but still loves to run around blindly and throw a dart right off a linebacker’s facemask. But like what was that guy doing just standing there? It’s his own fault.

That all being said, I’d argue that you don’t get many opportunities to draft guys like this as they usually go at the very top of drafts, and when you have that chance you should seize it. Carpe that diem, Washington.

#3 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS – JJ McCarthy, QB, Michigan

All right now THIS is where the draft starts™. I know Belichick isn’t there anymore so I don’t have them trading down despite a burning desire to do so, but I also can’t not have them doing something weird. And yeah, yeah you’ve got the “Patriots taking a white guy!” joke here but honestly, I’m buying the hype about teams loving McCarthy and what team would love a Michigan Man and his just-winniness more than New England?

I know McCarthy didn’t do much at Michigan, as Jim Harbaugh was committed to winning the 1962 Rose Bowl (I’m going to come back to this so keep it in mind), but it worked, and McCarthy doesn’t determine the game plan so I’m not holding it against him. Sure, he occasionally won games while throwing 8 times and he also threw a ton of short throws behind a punishing run game, but you can’t deny that he throws absolute darts. The guy has got tools, he’s a regular Bob Vila over here. JJ “The Tool Man” McCarthy (/grunts). He’s also apparently got all the intangibles that you could ask for, he’s clearly dedicated and all that jazz, and he’s also only 21. Now, I made a rule after Zach Wilson that I will never again rank a quarterback high if he looks like a literal child. McCarthy is close and is the first test of this rule but in the end, I think he looks enough like an adult to pass. He didn’t do athletic testing but clearly looks like he moves extremely well for the position, and he’s very accurate both on- and off-platform. I think he’s the most accurate QB in this class.

Alas, there are negatives here. He’s slightly undersized – not a ton, but he’s not a prototype. He is also addicted to running out of clean pockets to sprint over to the sideline and create, often cooking up a very nice but very four yards on 3rd and 3 type of throw. Or he runs. It’s not going to be that easy at the next level. But the biggest red flag to me is the conservative nature of his game. He was often so conservative that you may as well call him Joseph McCarthy. Sure, Michigan was probably telling him not to lose the game, but why? Why on Earth would even a coach like Jim Harbaugh not allow the 3rd overall pick to occasionally air it out, particularly as he has shown the ability to do so? I get that Harbaugh is also somewhat conservative but this mf-er allowed SHEA PATTERSON to throw the ball. But now McCarthy can’t? I happen to think – and this is admittedly a guess – that McCarthy also bears a lot of responsibility for this playstyle. Yeah it’s great to convert on 3rd down but in the NFL, without big plays, eventually that nickel-and-diming ceases to be effective. You can’t win every game 17-13, despite the Pittsburgh Steelers’ insistence on trying. This is what kept Alex Smith from being great – he had all the tools but never used them because he’d rather run for 4 yards and try to convert. Paxton Lynch played similarly at Memphis, which is a frightening thing to say. I realize Lynch was rumored to not give the slightest quantum damn about football but it’s still a playstyle that I don’t like. I also realize that the Patriots cannot go into a season with Bailey Zappe as their presumed starter, but if McCarthy is just another Alex Smith, this is quite an overdraft. Guess we’ll see.

The game against TCU in 2022 also scares me a bit, as it was the one time that Michigan wasn’t just dominating their opponent and McCarthy had to score some points. He made quite a few throws that seemed predetermined and dangerous, and many of his “highlight” throws seem that way as well. He’s fitting balls into microscopic windows in year where no team in America has a single good linebacker or safety and there seems to be a luck component to a lot of these. So, it’s risky, but then again everyone’s risky so I understand taking a risk on a 21 year old with great tools and hoping you can – famous last words – “coach it out of him.” But really, a gritty gamer from Michigan with great intangibles who is a winner and a great leader and all that and has an underrated arm? I can see the Patriots going for that. Can’t wait until the Pats are 4-11 and a fan pelts him with a Gillette razor during his pre-game meditations.


So that last pick throws a wrench into this thing, as the conventional wisdom right now has the Vikings trading up into the 4 spot to take McCarthy. Now, is this because the Vikings love McCarthy, or because they need a QB and people are assuming Jayden Daniels will be off the board? They absolutely cannot go into a season with Sam Darnold as their only option. Well…ok, I mean legally they can do this, but Justin Jefferson would lead a mutiny by the end of September.

There are a few teams in the early teens that absolutely need a QB, and they are Minnesota, Las Vegas, and Denver. I can see Sean Payton doing some dumb shit and deciding he can make it work with some random scrub to stick it to Russell Wilson. So, I don’t think they are a threat to move up here. The Raiders, however, seem like they might be. Is Luke Getsy so scarred from his Justin Fields experience that he absolutely refuses to work with another fast QB? Both teams have ammunition to move up but would Arizona pass on a guy who many consider to be a prospect on the level of Larry Fitzgerald?

In the end, despite their clear willingness to trade down, I think the Sand Birds stay put and take their next Larry Fitz.

#4 ARIZONA CARDINALS – Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

Marvin Harrison Jr. is not the same guy as his dad, which is a relief for the local murder police. The elder Harrison was a gazelle on the field who created more separation on his worst day than Junior did against Youngstown State. His son, however, is much bigger at 6’4” 205 lbs. and he does move a little bit like his dad. Bigger receivers are not supposed to be this fluid and while I do question why Harrison Jr. doesn’t get a ton of separation, I do think the ability is there to develop his route running into something closer to what his dad used to do. As Shakira once said, your hips don’t lie, and Harrison’s hips appear to be telling the truth on many of his routes. However, I do think he moves cleanly enough to get significantly better at this.

Harrison Jr. also has incredible body control (much like DeAndre Hopkins) and regularly makes difficult and contested catches. He’s got very strong hands, which may result in his going to New England (we all know how much that matters to Robert Kraft). Don’t overthink it here – yes, Ohio State is good, but so are a lot of these teams. Michigan is good, why isn’t JJ McCarthy being talked about as a 3rd rounder? Marvin Harrison Jr. was massively productive against actual defenses with a trash QB and while there are enough flaws that I don’t think he’s quite “generational” as a prospect, he’s really, really good and I think the Cardinals have enough draft capital to spend some of it on an elite player here rather than accumulate more.

#5 LOS ANGELES CHARGERS – Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

Did you hear Jim Harbaugh recently? He almost got arrested for indecent exposure while talking about the importance of offensive linemen and I think he’s true to his word. Harbaugh may as well be walking on the Sun with his dedication to smashmouth football. He hired Greg Roman! In 2024! With Justin Herbert! That’s basically a war crime. Remember from earlier Harbaugh’s love of being all tough and ground-and-point and all that? I don’t think he’s just going to stop being that guy.

Between that Jim’s dedication to giving 239% at all times 25 hours a day 8 days a week — as he breathes in the sweet vapors of hard work and preparation — I think he’s a man of his word and he passes on Malik Nabers to build up the trenches with this year’s top offensive tackle, Joe Alt.

Alt-Left Tackle is a fantastic athlete who moves like he tests. He’s super fluid for a tackle, he has great footwork, and he’s only 21. He looks like top-tier NFL offensive tackles look. He looks exactly like Joe Thomas at times. I only have one fear and it’s a massive fear – he doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of power and he got moved way too much for my liking in college. He recorded a poor vertical among all other elite testing results which seem to confirm that he needs to build more leg strength. However, players generally get much stronger in the NFL and Alt is young enough that he should be able to add more strength than a 23- or 24-year-old draftee. Aside from this he looks like a Hall of Famer. I’m not even being hyperbolic here, he’s that good at everything else. And while the Chargers desperately need receivers, they also need offensive linemen. This team starts something called a Jamaree Salyer on their offensive line.

I don’t know who would play right tackle in this scenario between Alt and Rashawn Slater, but I’m sure the Chargers can figure it out as the city burns down their stadium for not taking a receiver.

Kidding, the Chargers don’t have enough fans to burn down a cigarette.

#6 NEW YORK GIANTS – Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

What a fortunate turn of events for the Giants here as Malik Nabers falls right into their lap. Most people consider this class to have three great receivers. I however consider it to have two, as Rome Odunze for whatever reason just screams “college star only” to me. It’s aggressive and I sure wish he would pipe down.

Nabers plays more like a big Marvin Harrison Sr. than Marvin Harrison Jr. does, as he is an absolute rocket of a wideout who looks a lot like Ja’Marr Chase did at LSU. Quick sidenote: when did LSU start having literally every single great wideout on Earth? Did Odell Beckham Jr. do this? Do you have to be a Jr. or Sr. to become a good NFL receiver? If so I guess that’s a huge red flag for Malik Nabers I.

I was tempted to put Nabers ahead of Harrison for the longest time but even if I don’t, he is a fantastic prospect who runs like a deer (aside from the running on 4 legs part), and like a toddler, demands attention on every single snap to keep him out of the end zone. Yes, it was an easy situation on a loaded offense, but this is still the SEC and he was still running right past Alabama’s NFL secondary. He’s raw and needs to work quite a bit on his route tree but he certainly seems to have that ability. You can either break smoothly without losing speed or you can’t, and Nabers can. And now the Giants have a receiver that people have heard of for the first time in about a decade.

I considered mocking Jayden Daniels here (ohhhh look at me I’m Jayden Daniels /Adam Sandler voice), but the Giants seem pot-committed to sinking their ship with Daniel “Iceberg” Jones and of course, his entire salary is guaranteed in 2024. I think they should draft a QB, but I don’t think that they will.


This is tricky. I’m sure Tennessee had dreams of Joe Alt falling to them here, however the Khaki King has foiled their plans.

Would Minnesota still want to trade up for a QB? If the draft played out like this, I’m not so sure they would. They traded their second rounder to Houston along with next year’s 2nd rounder for Houston’s first round pick to give them ammunition to trade up. But for this trade? 11 to 7 to jump teams that are certainly not going to take a QB themselves, what – to beat Denver or Vegas to the punch? I don’t think they would trade two first rounders to make that move.

Looking at Denver and Vegas – I don’t think Denver would have interest in Daniels. I do believe Vegas might, but do they want to part with their 2nd rounder to do so? Probably not. And really, if Minnesota doesn’t trade into this spot, why would the Raiders? It would be much easier to move to 9. So, let’s get crazy. I’m hoping this mock draft gets me committed to a mental institution.

TENNESSEE TITANS – Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

Brock Bowers! He’s a lock to be an All-Pro, he’s generational!

Well, I don’t think so, but I’ll go along with it here.

So, what is Bowers good at? Well, he moves really well for his size, and he’d be a headache for outside linebackers and safeties to cover. He makes some ridiculous highlight reel grabs. And he’s a true YAC threat. Georgia basically used him the way Florida used Ricky Pearsall, they’d do screens and even end-arounds with Bowers. I know it was against some scrub school, but he actually took an end around like 70 yards for a TD at Georgia. That is absurd for a tight end. Can you imagine, I don’t know, Sam LaPorta taking a handoff and just housing it from midfield?

So, if Bowers has all of this going for him, plus a really pop-country ass name to boot, why wouldn’t I be confident in this?

Well, to start – this is, what, year 7 of, “omg look at this great tight end prospect he’s can’t miss!” There was OJ Howard, who missed. There was TJ Hockenson, who I guess hit but not before he was traded away to a team inside the division. Kyle Pitts hasn’t really done much. Noah Fant had some hype. Eric Ebron went 10th overall in arguably the greatest draft of all-time – he was taken before Aaron Donald! Teams might just be tired of doing this.

Sam LaPorta was a revelation. He was a 2nd rounder. Travis Kelce went 3rd round in a terrible draft class. George Kittle went in the 5th round. Mark Andrews was a 3rd rounder (and the Ravens took Hayden Hurst in the first round that season).

Tight end is such a difficult position – it requires the most overall athleticism (by Relative Athletic Score at least), it requires multiple skill sets and great awareness – it’s basically two positions in one. It is so hard to project, and many teams barely even use their tight ends. So few tight ends are true difference makers, and most of the ones that are weren’t really expected to be. So this is a huge risk. It just seems like this position requires more luck than most others when drafting, and it’s not even considered a “premium” position. Tight end is regular old 87 octane.

Particularly for a guy like Brock Bowers, who is undersized and, well, doesn’t really even play tight end. He’s very rarely lining up on the line with his hand in the ground. Instead, he’s more of a slot WR who can block. And most of these blocks are chip blocks or kick outs on corners and stuff like that. He’s not lining up and mauling a defensive end like – well, like virtually all the Iowa tight ends over the last decade. Does that have value? Of course! Should it be drafted top 10? I don’t know! It’s certainly far from a sure thing.

So yeah, Travis Kelce doesn’t block either! Do you know why these “receiving” tight ends are compared to Travis Kelce so often? Because he’s an outlier! You’re far more likely to get Eric Ebron or Evan Engram, who is ok but not worth a top 10 pick by any means.

Tennessee does need a receiver so I do think Bowers would fit well here but I am not sold on him as being some sort of game-changing player.


ATLANTA trades the 8th overall pick to LAS VEGAS for the 13th overall pick, 77th overall pick, and a 2025 5throunder

#8 LAS VEGAS RAIDERS – Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

This may be too far, though I will call my shot a bit here on Jayden Daniels falling. Vegas is close enough to get this done without giving up their 2nd round pick and they have four (!!!) 5th rounders in next year’s draft so forget what I said three minutes ago about Vegas not trading up for Daniels. And while I am a card-carrying member of the Minshew Mafia, they surely do not want to go into this season depending on Gardner Minshew if they can help it.

Gardner Minshew is a fine bridge QB; he played that role last year in Indianapolis and from all the pre-season stuff I saw he was a great teammate for Anthony Richardson. He is the type of guy who knows that role and doesn’t mind filling it, while also being capable of playing multiple games and not embarrassing your offense.

But what is a bridge QB if there is nothing on the other side? Why build a bridge to nowhere?

Jayden Daniels is either hyped up as a possible 2nd overall pick or just unfairly crushed, and there is not much in-between with him. He gets the typical scrambly black QB knocks of “oh, he can’t throw!” and “he’s just a running back,” which are absolutely absurd, and I get very tired of arguing against them year after year after year. Jayden Daniels will stay in the pocket all day if you let him. He has a better pocket presence than McCarthy (who will sprint to the sidelines at a drop of the hat) and arguably Maye and Caleb Williams. He has a good arm – it’s not elite, but he can flick darts all over the field and he can throw with touch and layer the ball to different levels, though he probably could have done more of it. Yes, he looks like he’s “pushing” the ball rather than “throwing,” but I don’t know enough to know “wtf that even means.” The ball generally gets there. So that’s good.

On top of that, Daniels is extremely fleet of foot. He didn’t do athletic testing but he looks like a legit 4.4 guy when he takes off. Let me go a bit deeper into that while we’re here.

One of the biggest reasons that it is so difficult to project players into the NFL is that you don’t know why they do what they do in college. College teams do not function as NFL minor league teams – they are trying to win, not develop pro football players. So why would LSU discourage Daniels from running when he’s getting 10 yards a pop? Why stop doing half-field reads if they are lighting teams up? While I do think part of McCarthy being conservative is inherent, why would Jim Harbaugh open it up more if it won them a title? And why would UNC do a pro-style offense with receivers who can’t get open on their own? It becomes a “this guy didn’t do this in college but could he?” type of thing. This is a huge concern for both McCarthy and Daniels. Daniels rarely threw on the run. Was it because he couldn’t or because it was so easy for him to take off for 25 yards?

Secondly, he’s small and thin and takes way too many huge hits and that probably isn’t going to be sustainable if he doesn’t tone it down. Lamar Jackson rarely takes any big, square hits. RG3 used to take them every other week. Don’t be RG3 or you’ll be on IR.

And thirdly, he’s a 5th year breakout on a stacked offense. Yes, Joe Burrow was similar, but Joe Burrow had to absolutely light it up at a historic level to get there. For most of that season, it was “Tank for Tua” and Burrow was a rising player but still a somewhat fringy first-rounder. It didn’t become “Blow for Joe” until late in the season. Daniels does have a fairly good freshman season at Arizona State going for him, and he did do it for a weird Herm Edwards team, but he also had some talent on that squad (he was throwing to Brandon Aiyuk, among others). Is this fast Joe Burrow throwing to the next two LSU freak first rounders or is this Kenny Pickett all over again? Plus, I know everyone says he’s a great leader, really humble, etc., etc. type – but the video of ASU players trashing his locker and stealing his stuff when he transferred is hard to ignore. I wouldn’t base my decision on it, but…it’s a thing. You’d prefer that a quarterback’s teammates wouldn’t want to trash his possessions.

Then again, another thing Arizona State did after Daniels left was immediately become terrible again, so there’s that.


I’m struggling a bit with this one. Yeah, Rome Odunze is right there, and the Bears need a WR! But do they truly need one here with DJ Moore already on the roster?

The Bears play in the arctic, they love to froth at the mouth about how great their defense was in 1985, and they are led by a defensive coach who builds a lot of his system around interior defensive linemen. This makes it quite surprising that they passed on Jalen Carter last year, but it was still defensible given they needed OL help and there were legit questions surrounding Carter. This year, however, I bet Eberflus wants to add some bears to the Bears.

Unfortunately, this is not a great IDL class – or at least not expected to be one, obviously some of these guys may become stars but they aren’t top-tier elite prospects right now. And after this pick, the Bears don’t select again until round 3, and they only have one 4th rounder on top of that. Ideally, they may want to move down a bit and add some draft capital in the process.

So who wants this pick? Who needs a QB and may have a reason to make a slight jump? Maybe…Denver?  Yeah let’s do that, that sounds fun.


CHICAGO trades the 9th overall pick to DENVER for the 12th overall pick, 121st overall pick and 147th overall pick

#9 DENVER BRONCOS – Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington

Yeah, yeah, I know, this is stupid and so am I for mocking it. Why wouldn’t the Bears just take Odunze???

Well, for one, I’m not the biggest Odunze fan. Sure, he has the measurables, he’s a legit deep threat and he was massively productive in college. But something about him just gives me a feeling that he’s a college star and not an NFL star. I don’t know if it’s that the production is being mostly a deep threat against single coverage in the PAC-10. I also think he slows down into his breaks, which could be a big problem against NFL corners. I also see him getting jammed up at the line and I would expect more YAC given the explosiveness profile.

And then, the “I’m going to stay here until I break 6.6 in the cone drill” thing. Trying to get the “man ,this guy is such a competitor” stories. Just kinda cringey and reminded me of Blaine Gabbert barely making it through the “I will beat whatever team passes on me every year” line in one of those Gruden QB Camp episodes back in the day. This wasn’t nearly as cringey as Gabbert, but man was I out on Blaine Gabbert after that.

And really, one of the major mistakes people seem to make in their mocks is that they aren’t dumb enough. Every year we’re all like “no way Leviticus Thickwood makes it to the 2nd!” and he goes undrafted, and teams are drafting Payton Turners and AJ Jenkinses and Darrius Heyward-Beys. Or trading up one spot to ensure that they get Mitch freaking Trubisky. So, make sure you add enough irrational insanity to your mocks.

So why Penix? Not going to make any jokes about his name as they have literally all been made 400 times. Well, for one, he kind of reminds me of Drew Brees. He will sit in the pocket until the absolute last second and throw while absorbing a hit. No matter how great people say his arm is, to me it looks kind of weak by NFL standards and the out-breaking throws really seem to float. And while he is prone to wildness and just plain missed quite a few huge plays, it’s probably difficult to be pinpoint accurate when you’re just airing it out downfield all game under duress. About the pocket thing, there is a newfangled stat called “pressure-to-sack %” which is just the percentage of pressured drop backs that turn into sacks. There seems to be a threshold here above which very, very few college QBs succeed in the NFL, and it’s 20%. The only ones that bucked this trend were Lamar Jackson, who was barely above 20% at Louisville and that was only due to one bad year, and Joe Burrow, who agrees with his team that sacks are cool. Jayden Daniels is at 24%, which is a major concern for him and it would be even higher if you only looked at Power 5 opponents. All the discourse about the Redskins not protecting Sam Howell? Man, Sam Howell was taking sacks on 25% of pressured drop backs at UNC. Sam Howell just takes sacks, and nothing will ever stop that. So what is Penix’s mark?

6.9%. This is an absurdly low number, the lowest of like 115 or so NCAA QBs that have data for this since the stat was “invented.” Sean Payton damn near immediately soured on the Russell Wilson experience and specifically said “we could have taken fewer sacks” as a parting shot at Mr. Unlimited. Well, Penix is guns a-blazin’, runs a system well and avoids sacks better than just about anybody. Perhaps one of the reasons for his wildness is that he is making throws on plays where most quarterbacks would be taking a sack. I know this is really, really high for Penix to rise but it just seems like such a great fit.

Why is it really high? Well, he’s 24 and played 6 seasons in college due to multiple serious injuries, so maybe he shouldn’t be absorbing all those hits as he throws. His windup is a bit weird and he doesn’t use the middle of the field as often as you’d hope; a lot of Washington’s offense was throw the ball deep down the sidelines to one of three WRs who will literally all be drafted this year, possibly by the end of Day 2. Long story short, he’s an outlier. Most of the Bailey Zappe types just become, well, Bailey Zappe. Oh, and he didn’t exactly light it up in the championship game against Michigan.

Still, this is a guy who is not just a product of his team like you could argue Jayden Daniels might be. Penix came out of nowhere (alright, alright) from the start of his freshman season at Indiana, where he diced up Ohio State throwing to NPCs such as Ty Fryfogle, who is a real person. He was a revelation before the injuries hit, and – while they are definitely concerning – just because he got hurt before doesn’t automatically mean he’ll continue routinely suffering major injuries in the pros. Oh, he also supposedly ran a 4.47 at his Pro Day but the video is hella suspect and this speed doesn’t show up anywhere on his tape. I’m just pretending that didn’t happen because it probably didn’t.

And I mean, he’s got all that “great team leader!” stuff that coaches froth at the mouth over. I think the “drawing play designs on his mirrors and not cleaning them off” stuff makes him a regular Captain Cringe, but man, I bet some of these coaches absolutely love it.

#10 NEW YORK JETS – Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

When in Rome, I guess.

All this insanity is New York’s gain, as a player that GM Aaron Rodgers likely expected to be gone by this pick falls right into his lap. Along with Garrett Wilson, Odunze will be a wonderful decoy while Rodgers continues to only throw the ball to his friends.

I’ve already covered Odunze, so no need to spend any more time on him here. Two Huskies go back-to-back, which is probably not a phrase that you should search for on the internet.

#11 MINNESOTA VIKINGS – Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State

Who is going to be the new man on the Minnesota Vikings? I’m sure that if the board plays out like this they would love to trade down but I just don’t see anyone trading up for Bo Nix. They need interior D-Line but this doesn’t seem like a great year for that. They also need someone to replace Danielle Hunter and…yeah, let’s do that. Let’s give them CHOP.

Chop Robinson, who got his nickname by karate chopping a man to death, is one of my favorite players in this draft. That may not actually be true about his nickname, but that’s my best assumption. This guy has some of best pure pass rush ability I’ve ever seen. He’s an athletic freak with explosiveness that jumps off the screen. He creates havoc on every play, leading teams to constantly give him extra blocking attention. He’s disruptive as hell and plays with his hair on fire every snap. Not literally, of course, that would be dangerous and likely draw penalties.

The negative? Well, what with this ability and constantly winning one-on-one battles, how was the production so low? One of the best college pass rushers I’ve seen had…4 sacks last season? Yep, four. Four sacks! Some guys have gotten that many in one half.

To me, while there are clear negatives for Chop, such as being a bit underweight and occasionally being pushed around and having short arms and thus struggling to get off blocks, I think most of it is just circumstance. He killed Michigan. Just absolutely killed them, and his stat line was: 0 tackles and 0 sacks. Just a complete donut. Yep, Michigan was so afraid of him that they threw the ball 8 times in that game, and they were all screens and quick throws. Penn State simply could not score (a common theme against good teams for them), so why give their defense a chance to create points? Robinson was just whipping them all game and had nothing to show for it. His propensity to shoot gaps and leave rushing lanes didn’t help but he was still dominating. He absolutely obliterated Iowa, but Iowa can’t even run offense, so they just dumped off screens all game. I think his ability will translate better to a league where all the teams can actually throw the ball forward. He also has that Micah Parsons-type ability to rush from all angles,

The biggest negative – at least as far as I’m concerned – is that he fails the Robocop Test.

The Robocop Test?

Yes, the Robocop Test. Most of the great pass rushers tend to look like Robocop in college. Just absolute bad asses. Visors, cage facemasks, being absolutely jacked – you know, all that Robocop stuff. Let’s look at some previous Robocops:

  • Nolan Smith (slim Robocop, and one of the few Robocops that I didn’t like as a prospect)
  • Kayvon Thibodeaux (no other player has ever looked more like Robocop, IMO) – jury still out
  • Nick Bosa
  • Myles Garrett
  • Danielle Hunter
  • Khalil Mack
  • Montez Sweat
  • Josh Allen (Kentucky edge version – didn’t love this Robocop either)
  • Tyron Smith (sometimes the only way to stop a Robocop is with another Robocop)

You could argue that previous Bengals draft steal Carl Lawson had a good amount of Robocoppery as well. I’m sure there are some failed Robocops but so far it seems to be the best predictor of NFL success as far as I’m concerned. I guess Shawn Oakman was a failed Robocop but there was a lot of off-field stuff going on there. Bonus points if they have a visor and facemask cage; Thibodeaux’s equipment choices were what really put his Robocop level over the top.

Chop Robinson has zero Robocop in him. Just negative swag. It’s not an automatic X – guys like TJ Watt and Justin Houston were not Robocops – but long sleeves? Regular facemask? No socks??? Come on man, look good play good. Particularly for an edge rusher.

It’s a clear red flag but I’m choosing to ignore it because he does actual football stuff really well.

#12 CHICAGO BEARS – Byron Murphy, DT, Texas

This is the first player I just don’t get. Sure, I don’t love Odunze but I get it and I see how I could be wrong. But every year there are consensus top players who to me just do not impress one bit. Guys like Jeff Okudah, CJ Henderson and Eric Ebron. Vic Beasley (somehow had that one random All-Pro year). Groupthink is a helluva drug.

I am certainly leaving out players I hated who became stars – Justin Herbert, both Josh Allens and Will Anderson jump to the forefront here – but in general, I do think groupthink infects the NFL scouting complex to a higher degree than most fields. Yes, NFL teams spend thousands of hours and millions of dollars doing this so they definitely know more than laypeople on Twitter claiming they should be an NFL GM because they knew Joe Burrow would be good – but I think there’s a ton of players for whom they all just go in presuming that “yeah this guy is a great prospect.” It infects hella-deep in the “internet scouts” community that puts out all the mock drafts.

So yeah, Byron Murphy. Top DT, great athlete, everybody raves about him. Look at the jump he gets at the snap! Wow! Yeah, and then he gets blocked.

I tried to find tape of this guy doing anything impactful, but I could not find it. He does draw some double teams, which is certainly a good thing, but even when he gets a great jump and beats a block, he just gets blocked again. I read that he was used out of position and maybe so, but I remember watching Rashaan Gary and thinking that he was used out of position and lo and behold, he was. I don’t see that with Murphy. I see the Seinfeld of defensive tackles, just spending entire games doing nothing.

So, uhh yeah, that’s what the Bears are going to do.

#13 ATLANTA FALCONS – Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama

Oh look, another guy where I just don’t see it.

Yeah, he’s athletic. He occasionally shows a good burst. But there is more to edging than bursting all over your man. (Don’t Google search for any of that either).

For Turner, it’s speed rush first and if that doesn’t work, he’ll try to bull rush the OL and then when that doesn’t work – and it usually doesn’t – that’s pretty much it. Turner was productive but it’s much harder to just win with speed in the NFL than it is at Alabama. Particularly when you don’t have to play against, well, Alabama. On top of that, there are a ton of snaps where the speed and the burst just don’t show up.

There’s enough there that I can see it working out if he develops – and he is quite young and won’t turn 22 until February of next year – but I’d bet against it, and I think he’ll be quite over drafted. He does have some juice and he does show an ability to do coverage drops and run with tight ends/RBs, so he’s scheme versatile at the least. I guess I don’t absolutely hate him as a prospect but I’m clearly not high. Then again, I had similar thoughts on Will Anderson, and he was a star from Day 1 in the league. Again, I’m just some guy watching five minutes at a time on YouTube.

He also fails the Robocop test though it is tough to look like Robocop at a college as steeped in tradition as Alabama (and Penn State, for that matter).

#14 NEW ORLEANS – Olu Fashanu, OT, Penn State

I tried to find a reasonable trade down for New Orleans but nothing really stood out and, let’s be honest, the Saints are more likely to trade three future first rounders to move up to pick 8 than they are to trade back even one spot. Fortunately, their biggest need is this draft’s greatest strength, and the run on tackles has not yet begun.

I am not as down on Olu Fashanu as I am on Murphy or Turner, but I’m also not nearly as high as the draftniks. Yes, he’s got the frame you see in many elite tackles. He’s a tremendous athlete. But he’s a ball of clay, drafted to replace their previous ball of clay in WWE-wannabe Trevor Penning, who has been borderline unplayable to this point in his career. NFL coaches always think they can be the guys to mold this clay into an All-Pro, but balls of clay don’t usually become All-Pros. They become players in the Arena League.

Fashanu is inherently good enough that he should stay in the NFL at least – he has movement ability that you can’t teach, and he somehow didn’t give up a single sack in his college career. Not giving up a sack was baffling to me, as he’s very nearly giving up a sack on every other dropback before Drew Allar hurriedly throws an awkward slant at a covered receiver. He basically blocks like one of those cartoon characters on skates carrying a food tray and almost falling the entire time. He also gets moved a bit and I didn’t see the strength that I expected. Either way, the Saints will be happy to take this clay, mold it, and then shove Fashanu into a hot kiln at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit until he hardens into a fine sculpture. You’ll know if this happens because it will be all over the news for weeks.

#15 INDIANAPOLIS COLTS – Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

Indianapolis desperately needs a corner, and much like the Saints, they are in luck because this is a deep corner class. I don’t have any going off the board until now but even if Mitchell is gone here in the actual draft, the Colts are likely taking a corner.

I like Terrion Arnold more than Mitchell, so why not mock Arnold to the Colts?

Well, for some reason Gus Bradley is the Colts’ DC, and Quinyon Mitchell is a particularly good fit for his Cover 3 scheme. He’s got an elite athletic profile, so he can run. He’s tall and fast. Gus Bradley LOVES tall and fast. Mitchell also has good technique and understands the position. Great!

As for negatives, the main one I have is that he allows WRs to get into his body too quickly when playing press and probably, as a result, was giving up huge cushions regularly at Toledo against whatever schools Toledo plays. Oh no, right? Nope! That’s music to Gus Bradley’s ears, as Gus Bradley doesn’t want to press. Why make life harder on the receivers? Just drop into your deep thirds and break on the ball. And that’s what Mitchell does best.

Now, despite his clear ability to do so, it wasn’t often converted into turnovers. Mitchell had six career college INTs, which is fine, until you consider that four of them came in one game against long-time college powerhouse Northern Illinois. Don’t split Illinois into sections because Mitchell will just put that northern section on lock. Don’t nothing happen in northern Illinois without Quinyon Mitchell’s approval, son!

Despite my concerns with Mitchell’s development being limited a bit at Toledo, he still has the profile of a CB1 and he’d be a fine pick here. I just don’t know if I see an All-Pro trajectory.


SEATTLE trades picks 16 and 81 to BUFFALO for picks 28, 60 (2nd round) and 133 (4th round)

Seattle loves trading down almost as much as they love making baffling first round picks. Sure, they didn’t do it last year for once and they also have a new coaching staff, but leopards can’t manipulate their fur. Plus, their biggest need is IOL and this seems early for that, as tempted as I am to give them Troy Fautanu.

#16 BUFFALO BILLS – Brian Thomas Jr., LSU, WR

I saw this trade idea somewhere and really liked it, so let’s manifest it into reality. It’s my mock, I can make the Bills take a kicker if I feel like it, ok?

Buffalo clearly has a desperate need for a wide receiver that they can play immediately, and they may not want to wait around until pick 28 to do it. This would be quite an expensive jump to move up to 16 but this is a team right in the middle (well, some would argue end) of a Super Bowl window and they might get a bit desperate.

Enter another product from the LSU alien WR factory in Brian Thomas Jr.

While I would be scared to have to throw somebody as raw as Thomas onto the field right from Day 1, he has all the talent to get by while the clay-molders in Buffalo teach him how to, like, run routes. Thomas is an absolute gazelle out there – he should probably be forced to glue horns to his helmet. Malik Nabers got most of the hype, but Thomas was insanely productive in his own right, pulling in 68 receptions and turning 17 of them into TDs. TDs are good! Plus, Buffalo has a QB who can get him the ball, as you’d likely have to run a 3.9 forty to outrun Josh Allen’s Vortex football arm.

Thomas is raw and didn’t wow me as much as I thought he would with contested catches, but I think he can at least find some space downfield for Fort Allen to fire the cannon as Buffalo figures out their WR corps.


Trent Baalke is still the GM of the Jaguars due to what I imagine must be his possession of some of the most incriminating blackmail on Earth, and Trent Baalke is certainly not a perfect stranger to taking big, fast edge rushers who don’t actually edge rush all that well. Jared Verse fits this mold perfectly.

Verse is in fact quite large, and it shows when he’s pushing OL wherever he wants to push them. He is long, strong, and down to get the friction on against offensive linemen. He also has good rush moves and hand technique to go along with hitting every athletic measurable you want from a first round edge.

So what’s not to like? To me, despite the measurables, he just looks sluggish off the snap. That is what we in the biz refer to as “not good.” He can test well all he wants; it just does not seem to show up to me when I watched him.

He just blended with all the other defenders on the field for Florida State. May as well call him Jared Chorus, amirite? LOL KILLIN’ IT

#18 CINCINNATI BENGALS – Troy Fautanu, OT, Washington

It seems like offensive line has been a glaring weak spot for the Bengals ever since the John Quincy Adams administration, so it always seems prudent to mock a lineman to them. Particularly in a year which has so many good tackle prospects and so few Jackson Carmans.

For me, Fautanu is the OT2 this year. That differs from consensus; I typically see him around #4/#5 or so. I just happen to disagree. Every time you watch this guy he’s just dominating whoever is in front of him. I am not a trained OL scout, but I do think that’s a good characteristic. If you are dominating pass rushers so hard that they need a safe word, it’s probably a good thing.

Fautanu is an elite athlete for the position with good feet who gets to his spot quickly and anchors really well. He is lightning quick for his size, and he just looks like he’ll be an All-Pro. So why would he drop all the way to 18?

Well, he’s older – he’ll turn 24 during the upcoming season – and that matters quite a bit for OL. Was he throwing people around because he has 3 years of strength on them? He’s also got a bit of a guard-type profile and a lot of people seem to think he will be a guard at the next level. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if Seattle kept him in the area and took him at 16, though I do think it would be hard to convince a guy to stay at guard long-term over tackle due to the pay differences between the two spots. The Bengals have an easier sell, as they could probably put him at guard for a year and then transition him to tackle in 2025 if they think he can do it.


 Oh wow, the Rams? With a first round pick? What has this world come to?

As I’m sure you’ve heard, the Rams haven’t had a first round pick since 2016, when they took Jared Goff number one overall and then paid another team to take him off their hands.

Aaron Donald retired and though he wasn’t an edge rusher, he was responsible for virtually all the pressure they’ve created over the last decade, so I expect this pick to be an edge rusher barring an early run on the position ahead of them.

I have Latu as #2 edge in this class behind Robinson. Some people have him out of the top 3. Others have him at #1. He’s a very unique player. Great testing results, though they don’t really jump out on the screen. Of note are the poor jump/explosion metrics, and he struggles with power rushes accordingly. He was quite productive at UCLA, though a lot of that production seems to come against lesser OL. Of course, it works that way for pretty much everybody – that’s what make good offensive linemen, you know, good offensive linemen.

But man, Latu makes it all work. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an edge win this consistently. He’s quick off the snap, has great bend and flexibility, good hands, good technique, and he’s basically winning every other rep. That’s wild – most rushers, even the good ones, do absolutely nothing on a majority of snaps. I mean, 15+ sacks in the NFL puts you in the Hall of Fame and teams pass 600+ times per season, so that’s not exactly a high percentage outcome. Latu has short arms but plays like Dhalsim. He doesn’t have a ton of rush power, but he sets a mean edge against the run. He’s a ball of contradictions but I love him as a prospect, as I just cannot ignore a guy who, much like Fautanu, just regularly beats the shit out of whoever is attempting to block him.

Unfortunately, also like Fautanu, he is a senior citizen by draft standards and will turn 24 during right before the end of the upcoming season. He also sustained what was thought to be a career-ending neck injury in 2022, so he’s undoubtedly going to be off of some teams’ boards. Maybe even off the Rams’ board. I, however, am not a doctor, nor am I a Los Angeles Rams general manager, so I can only assume that he’s going to be fine and that’s what I’m doing.

#20 PITTSBURGH STEELERS – Jackson Powers-Johnson, C, Oregon

This fit is commonly mocked, as just about everybody has the Steelers drafting a JPJ for the 2nd straight year. As much as I tried to figure a way to put Terrion Arnold or Cooper DeJean in this spot, I just couldn’t do it. They have no center, they have a proud franchise history of having a center, and the last time they drafted one they took Maurkice Pouncey even higher than this. So yeah, it’s early for a center but…I mean, is it? Do you think the Steelers wished they took Creed Humphrey instead of Najee Harris, let alone Pat Freiermuth? I bet they do. Still cannot believe they passed on the best center prospect I’ve ever seen, and twice! Two times they were like nah dog we’re cool, just going to upgrade running back and tight end, and then I guess we’ll draft a guy in the 3rd round who was a guard at Illinois and let him do the snappin’. Yeah that worked well.

Jackson Powers-Johnson has everything you look for in a center, he’s got…two arms, he has two legs, he can snap the ball, and then he can block people after he snaps it. I don’t know man; I’m not going to lie and pretend I know the slightest thing about scouting centers. It’s a cerebral position and I’ve never met these guys so I have no idea who is good enough at Rubix cubes to figure out protection calls.

#21 MIAMI DOLPHINS – Graham Barton, OT/OG, Duke

I liked Barton before he did his Pro Day. Now that he has a 9.99 RAS on top of the tape, I think he’s going to go higher than people think. Even this may be too low.

Miami has 45-year-old Terron Armstead and a bunch of guys, so they could use help at just about any position. Barton has good tape at tackle, but he does have shorter arms and may profile more as a guard in the NFL. Miami could use either. If he can’t play tackle, kick him in to guard. If he can’t play guard, I guess try him out at center. If he can’t do that, trade him to Saskatchewan. Standard procedure.

Aside from the short arms, Barton has pretty much everything you want. He moves extremely well, has good feet, and has the strength to hold blocks. He reminds me quite a bit of Peter Skoronski, who went 11th overall in 2023. Again, it’s a really, really good year to need offensive line help in the draft. Probably also a good year for punters but I didn’t get that deep into my scouting, unfortunately.

#22 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES – Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

The run on edge rushers and offensive linemen is a boon to the trash birds, as Terrion Arnold drops into the roaring twenties.

I have Arnold as CB1 in this class. He’s an incredibly feisty and physical corner who is aggressive in run support and will come downhill and make tackles. He can also cover receivers like white on rice, green on peas or blue da-bi-di da-bi-da on weird Euro trance singers. This guy is very sticky in coverage. He also creates big plays and had five picks last season. Can Nick Siriani turn him into a bust? “Hey, Arnold! Are you a DOG???”.

Negatives for Arnold? He’s a good but not elite athlete (by NFL standards, obviously – by, like, local kickball league standards he’s a legendarily good athlete), he’s a bit undersized and he struggles a bit with the small, quick WR archetype. Look for Philadelphia to match him up exclusively against Ladd McConkey.

#23 MINNESOTA VIKINGS – Bo Nix, QB, Oregon

Do they do it? I think they do it.

I mean, come on. The Vikings cannot go into a season with Sam Darnold as their only QB. Are we still doing this with Darnold? Oh, just get him into the right situation! What, the CFL?

I also don’t think any team should “wait until next year” on QB if they can help it. Next year’s class looks abysmal – I can ignore the noise around Shedeur Sanders but I cannot ignore that most of that that offense is screens and then going downfield once they are down by 28. I cannot ignore that Carson Beck doesn’t seem to be very good. And I absolutely cannot ignore that most of these lists have Quinn Ewers on them. Quinn Ewers! Adonai Mitchell may have a legit civil case against Ewers for lost production. So just draft a guy now.

Bo Nix is a bit of an afterthought for many people this year but I’m not comparing him to the other available QBs. I’m just looking at him in a vacuum and he seems like a decent enough prospect to justify this. Yes, he’s another late breakout and doesn’t have an injury excuse like Penix does. He’s a 24-year-old who was terrible for three years at Auburn until he transferred to a place where nobody plays defense. Yes, he’s in a video game offense that doesn’t really require much creating on his part. His mechanics crumble sometimes when you get him on the move. Occasionally he pre-determines a throw pre-snap and will throw it right off a defender’s face, and I don’t always love the ball placement on in-breaking routes.

But he still seems to have good arm strength, he’s a good athlete, he does usually make the correct decision and throw quickly with anticipation, and he runs the hell out of that system. He’s a jack of all trades type, and just physically at least looks a lot like Will Levis. Will Levis may or may not work out but he’s shown promise to this point and that’s really all you can hope for when you draft a QB outside of the top few picks.

 #24 DALLAS COWBOYS – Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

Looks like we’ll have another video of a sexy young prospect falling right into Jerry Jones’s lap.

Dallas would be in a great spot here if all these tackles are still available at their pick, and while I’m probably not slotting them early enough, I do think there’s a pretty good chance that one of the top guys does fall here. In this case, the largest man on the face of the Earth is available and maybe reminds some old scout somewhere of Larry Allen.

Mims is an absolute house. He’s a condo. This is a legitimate condo building with arms and legs and all the required permits and he just erases people off the field. You cannot go through him. You cannot go around him. You cannot distract him with a ham like those dungeon monsters in Legend of Zelda.

Not only has Mims shown no inclination to being distracted by ham, he also has an elite athletic profile. 6’8”, 340, and a great athlete. What’s not to love? Well, his feet are slower than the other tackles in this class, which is to be expected. This guy is a throwback right tackle and I love him for it. I don’t know if he’d fit the Cowboys blocking scheme or not, but I don’t care either way.

#25 GREEN BAY PACKERS – J.C. Latham, OT, Alabama

Another team that needs OL, and another top OL that is available. Guys like Latham are usually gone by pick 15 at the latest, but this is probably the best tackle class I’ve ever seen. I think Latham is OT3 this year behind Alt and Fautanu, so this would be an absolute steal for Green Bay. Cash in that Packers stock because it’s…well, it’s still a worthless grift but you know what I mean.

Much like Amarius Mims, Juicy Cat Latham spends most of his game days tossing opponents around like children so much that the FBI may soon raid his house. He’s another huge 340 lb. OT who moves well and does not give an inch to pass rushers. He doesn’t have athletic metrics to confirm this but he just looks like he’d be a 9.0+ RAS guy.

Quick sidenote on that, I know people are always like “who cares about the left tackles’ 40 time, when are they going to run 40 yards??” but this stuff does appear to matter. Most of the NFL’s top OTs had elite testing metrics. Yes, I know, it sounds crazy but it generally helps to be an elite athlete when you are in a professional sports league. Let’s take a look at last year’s All-Pro OTs and their Relative Athletic Scores:

Trent Williams – 9.64

Penei Sewell – 8.99

Tyron Smith – 9.66

Lane Johnson – 9.96

It’s not a sure sign of success, as most first round tackles meet this criterion, even the busts, but it should probably be seen as a prerequisite. So yeah, you’d prefer to see it but it’s not a deal-breaker.

Anyway, as expected and as with Mims, Latham is a bit clunky in his drops given his size but he’s still effective and he’s still an offensive tackle who does not allow defensive players to move, which is good! I hope he bought a nice coat.

#26 TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS – Jonah Ellss, EDGE, Utah

Looking at my picks, it seems that I have been nowhere near weird enough to approximate the actual NFL draft. Every year people are like “there’s no way that would happen you idiot!” and then Detroit picks Jahmyr Gibbs 12th or the Steelers spend a first round pick on Terrell Edmunds when Lamar Jackson was just sitting there. WHAT WERE YOU DOING STEELERS!

Tampa’s biggest need is edge rusher and I’ve already sent the top ones to other teams that didn’t play at an elite level of meh last season. Should I take Best Player Available somewhere else? (Yes). Would Tampa go BPA in the actual draft? (Probably). Do I care? (No). I’m going to use the team that drafted Joe Tryon-Shoyinka in the first round to hit my weirdness target and give them one of my favorite players in this draft.

Elliss is quite undersized for an NFL edge rusher but man does this guy stand out on tape. He is lightning quick off the ball and has great finesse/spin moves to go with it. He has good hands and multiple ways to beat OTs if that doesn’t work. He can also bend and turn a corner, unlike Rashee Rice.

Outside of his size, Elliss has everything you want in a pass rusher. I wouldn’t be surprised if he made a surprise appearance at the back end of the first round.


ARIZONA trades picks 27 and 90 to DETROIT for picks 29 and 73

Is this too much to give up for Detroit? Probably, as I’m pretty sure the Cardinals would happily move down two spots in the first to move up 17 spots in the third. This doesn’t seem like a Brad Holmes-type of move.

However, the Lions are built on a punishing OL and I’m as sure as I’ve ever been on anything that they will prioritize ensuring that going forward. Like, I’m more sure that the Lions will focus on their offensive line than I am that the Sun rises in the east. They are likely going to be losing some guys after this season to free agency, so if the board falls like this…

#27 DETROIT LIONS – Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State

I know the Lions need a corner but I also know there are still some pretty good (and very Dan Campbell-y) corners that will likely be available in the next round. Would they be able to resist jumping Seattle and taking another Polynesian OT from a college in Oregon?

Just as was the case with Penei Sewell, the draft community (pop. Everybody on Twitter) is much higher on Fuaga than I am. Right from the word go, Sewell was pretty much everything he was billed to be and he’s already an All-Pro. Fuaga will probably be similar. He will also probably be long-gone by this point, as he’s generally considered to be a top-3 OT in a historic OT class. Plus, I’m sure he can play guard for a year if necessary, because how hard can it be? Hey Taliese, just move over one spot. Yeah then block that other guy. Lolz this is so easy!

(Offensive Line Guys™ fuming and planning to meet me in Temecula to settle this)

I’m joking, I know it’s not that easy, and I’m admittedly a complete amateur when it comes to OL, particularly interior OL. And it will probably show again with Fuaga, as I just do not see it with him either.

Now, as with Sewell, with “not see it” I don’t mean “this guy sucks.” I mean I don’t see like a lock to become an All-Pro. Sewell already proved me wrong but I’m not going to change everything based on one single example, like Josh Allen. Nope, it takes two single examples before I revamp my entire process, like Josh Allen and Justin Herbert. Fuaga can make history!

Fuaga is an elite athlete, he’s age appropriate, he’s strong as an ox and does not get moved much. So, uh, isn’t that like, awesome? That’s what you want, no? Well, he does get one of my favorite OL comps, which is “a drunk moose”. I believe I’ve recently given this comp to Evan Neal, Teven Jenkins and Alex Leatherwood, so jury is still out. I probably gave it (or at least something similar) to Ronnie Stanley and he became an All-Pro so that’s a point in Fuaga’s favor. In space, he just kind of moves like a drunk moose. I think he might struggle with speed rushers and like Sewell, it seems like he just kind of punches at nothing and is unsure of his technique.

Remember, though, that I know absolutely nothing about OL, so Fuaga should probably go first overall this year.

#28 SEATTLE SEAHAWKS – Zach Frazier, IOL, West Virginia

The Seahawks thing seems to be making unexpected picks at the back end of the first round. Rashaad Penny, LJ Collier, Jordyn Brooks….it’s just what they do. Now, how much of that was John Schneider and how much was Pete Carroll?

This is not to say Zach Frazier is a bad player. He seems like a good player. He’s strong af and his 30 bench reps show as much. He will throw guys entirely out of the club. However, while he does move well, he’s often not quick enough to get to his spot and can be late to react when zone blocking and it gets him beat at times. I think Sedrick Van Pran is a similar player but jusssst a little bit better, however the consensus 2nd IOL is Frazier and I think that would give him the edge to be the semi-annual baffling Seahawks mid-20s draft pick. They desperately need interior offensive linemen and, hey, here’s an interior offensive linemen.

Given how this turned out, I mean – Seattle is certainly running this exercise as well and doing so better than I am – I think they would just stay put at 16 and draft Fautanu or whoever else is available there rather than play with fire and trade into the back of the first round. But I’ve already made their bed so I will now watch them sleep in it until the police ask me to stop. I’m sorry, Sting!

#29 ARIZONA CARDINALS – Jer’Zhan “Johnny” Newton, DL, Illinois

Arizona can afford to trade back all they want as they need to upgrade (checks notes) just about every single position on their roster. I bet they even have a bad longsnapper.

I’m sure Longsnapper Twitter would roast me for this as the Cardinals probably have a guy who snaps, crackles and pops. Sorry! I’ll do my research™ next time.

I’m torn on Johnny Newton, as he is generally awesome on tape. He’s got great hands and rush moves, he can push OL back into the Gilded Age when he gets leverage, and he’s tenacious and finishes plays. This is a 4-year starter who was productive at Illinois and somehow is still only 21 years old. And he’s got a great motor, often showing up at the end of long runs making chasedown tackles.

But – and this is a large but that not even Sir Mix-a-Lot would like – he just doesn’t seem to have NFL athleticism. There’s virtually no burst to speak of off the snap on most plays. This is the only red flag I have with this guy, but this flag is so red that there might be a bull chasing it. Is he Jarvis Jones?

Occasionally he does have the odd play where he gets a great jump off the snap, but since it happens so infrequently, I’m guessing it’s just due to snap count anticipation, which is not a sustainable thing. Still, Newton has first round ability on tape and I’m going to lean on that over my guesses on his athletic abilities.

#30 BALTIMORE RAVENS – Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma

The Ravens need both offensive line and corner help. In my opinion, however, Tyler Guyton is a better prospect than Kool-Aid McKinstry, and Cooper DeJean seems to be more of a safety/slot corner than a true outside corner. The Ravens do smart things, and I believe this to be a smart thing.

In a normal year, Guyton is probably going in the early 20s but this is not a normal year. This is the year of the dragon! I bet Sisqo is pumped about that.

Guyton also checks all the athletic boxes; he has elite size (6’7” 320) and moves very fluidly for someone so large. I could have written that just about verbatim in 1996 about Jonathan Ogden. Now, I’m not saying that Tyler Guyton is Jonathan Ogden – Guyton needs some work on his technique and he’s not as strong as Ogden and can be moved off his base – but anyone physically similarity to Jonathan Ogden is probably going to intrigue teams, particularly a team like the Ravens. Guyton is the prototype. He’s the Vitruvian Blocker.

#31 SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS – Jordan Morgan, OT, Arizona

Yes, another OT. That makes about 40 offensive tackles that I am expecting to be first round picks this year.

San Francisco has long had a meh offensive line outside of Trent Williams, who has obscured this fact with his awesomeness. But he’s going to be 36 prior to the start of the 2024 season. So the Niners really need to start adding to this unit.

Given the importance of the tackle position to NFL teams, it is quite difficult to add elite talent in the draft when you are usually picking in the 30s. So this is probably a good year to grab a guy who is falling due to the sheer number of top tackles in this class.

To me, Jordan Morgan is another OT with first round talent, and I have him as OT8. He’s got the athletic profile, he’s an extremely smart player with high awareness (or at least it seems that he is, I don’t personally know him), and he has a good punch and great technique. Aside from Joe Alt, he may be the most technically sound tackle in this entire class. The other guys are simply better (IMO). That doesn’t mean that Morgan isn’t deserving of this pick.

Morgan could have a stronger base and he also has short arms for a tackle, which may bump him to guard in the NFL. Of course, the Niners desperately need guards as well, so that wouldn’t be the end of the world. Of course, if you ask Kyle Shanahan, the world could end any day now. So maybe this is the end of the world. It’s been a good run, y’all.

#32 KANSAS CITY CHIEFS – Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas

Kansas City taking a wide receiver is possibly the easiest mock pick of the entire draft. This team watched Mecole Hardman attempt to lose games for them on purpose and they still had to put him on the field to catch the winning TD in the Super Bowl. All the hopes of Kadarius Toney doing anything productive have faded. They Y’s in Skyy Moore stand for “why is this guy on the field.” I know everybody says it’s easy for Patrick Mahomes because he has Travis Kelce-Swift, but I for one don’t think relying entirely on a 35-year-old tight end is a prudent way forward. Enter Adonai Mitchell.

Mitchell would not be available here in a normal draft year; however, with all the QBs, OTs and other WRs pushing players down, here he is.

Mitchell may be the most polarizing player in this entire draft. He has an all-time elite athletic profile – he’s big and extremely explosive. He’s also very fluid, which is not usually the case for WRs this big – he moves like a smaller receiver and creates massive separation with fluid routes. He seems to understand the science of route-running and he’s often making corners look silly.

A cornerback attempting to cover Adonai Mitchell

Mitchell has the pure ability to be the best WR to come out of this draft. He’s that rare. He also has great hands, as he only dropped a single pass at Texas. One! That’s not a lot! So why is he available?

Something is just off with Mitchell. He gets absurdly low yards after the catch, much of which can be blamed on deep targets and the atrocities committed by Quinn Ewers but I don’t think all of it can be blamed on that. I also noted that I “question the focus at times,” and then it comes out that there are huge effort concerns with Mitchell. KC needs another headcase receiver about as much as Patrick Mahomes needs another family member making headlines.

But in the end, it doesn’t even matter. Mitchell is the physical prototype and he has the ability to do everything that elite wide receivers do, including making cryptic tweets and demanding a trade every time he gets fewer than 15 targets in a game.


If you are wondering why I didn’t put Surprisious Hogwash in my first round mock, see below. If he’s not listed below, that means I didn’t watch him. Sorry but I have things to do.


Spencer Rattler: Absolutely not. I’ve heard actual like fringe first round talk about Rattler and it blows my mind. Great, he takes his drops properly and looks like he knows what to do. The ball flies out of his arm. Awesome! Unfortunately it often flies right into a DB’s hands. He is wayyy too slow through progressions, his mechanics fall apart under pressure, and he’s another older rookie. We don’t need to do this, although I will say there is enough Jalen Hurts here that I’m ok with it on day 3.

Joe Milton: Remember when teams couldn’t stop trying to convert basketball players into tight ends? I think that finally ended when the Jets signed Matthew Dellavedova to be an H-back. Well, Joe Milton is like trying to convert a javelin thrower into a QB. Yes, this is world champion specimen of a javelin thrower, but he still just throws things far. Milton’s arm is perhaps the best football arm on Earth but he was a 6th year quasi-breakout who did nothing for 5 years before. He barely goes through progressions and the accuracy often just falls apart. Late round lottery ticket.

Sam Hartman: The lottery ticket I referred to above for Joe Milton? Sam Hartman should be at a gas station selling it. Sam Hartman is the human ‘Tab’ key, as he was my cue to move on to another position.

Michael Pratt: I think he’s better than Hartman but needed to slot Hartman above for the lottery joke. Pratt is a decent athlete with a live arm who won for 4 years at a college that doesn’t win a lot. He also locks onto his first read for like three minutes, wouldn’t recognize pressure if it shit in his closet, and loves to run around aimlessly. Zach Wilson vibes.


There are a few intriguing RBs, but I didn’t watch too much as none of them are likely to go in the first round and I don’t think TV tape of RBs tells you a ton.

Jaylen Wright: Absolutely explosive as all hell, a 4.4 guy who is also quick and agile. He moves like a smaller RB but he’s not super small by RB standards. This guy average over 7 yards per attempt and I like him a lot. However, I do question the vision and also wonder why Tennessee didn’t give him a ton of work. Then again, they did the same with Alvin Kamara so it’s not a deal-breaker. I like this guy and he’d be the first RB I’d take off the board.

Jonathon Brooks: Good size and moves well – one-cut runner who explodes through holes and can drag tacklers with him. However, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of wiggle here and he doesn’t make too many defenders miss, particularly behind the LOS. Saw too much running directly into the line for my liking. Still like him though.

Trey Benson: Legit breakaway speed (4.39 40 time to prove it) and and effective receiver out of the backfield. This is a true big play threat every time he touches the ball. That is, at least, until anybody from the defense touches him. I said the same about Breece Hall and I was wrong (or at least didn’t consider, what if nobody ever touches him), but there are far too many 2 yard runs here for me to get all that excited about Benson.

Audric Estime: OMG, it’s Jerome Bettis all over again. I love this guy but I don’t think he’ll be picked above day 3 – he just doesn’t have the athletic metrics that you generally see in the NFL. Not too many lead backs running 4.7 40s, but he does look much faster on the field. He’s just fun.

Blake Corum: I absolutely do not see it with Corum. He timed pretty well, he handled a huge workload, and he has a little wiggle in the hold (guh). Great. He’s also easy to tackle and doesn’t seem to really do anything all that well. Even at Michigan the advanced numbers are huge red flags that this guy isn’t anything special. Will likely be wayyy overdrafted.


Ja’Tavian Sanders: Productive early on at Texas, checks most athletic boxes and sometimes displays a serviceable ability to be an inline blocker. He’s still a bit undersized and often a much, much less than serviceable blocker so he’s not going round 1.

Theo Johnson: All-time elite timed athletic marks, good for him. I also think you could make him into a legit blocker. What he isn’t, is a guy who actually looks like an all-time elite athlete on the field, and he seems to have no idea what he’s ever doing. I’m done watching tight ends.


Xavier Legette: I love Legette – another big, explosive athletic WR who moves well in and out of breaks and has good hands in traffic. He’s routinely just dusting people on the field. He is, however, an older player and 5th year breakout who did absolutely nothing for the first four years. There are some circumstances here that contribute to that and he’s overcome adversity but I’d be surprised if he went in the first.

Keon Coleman: More of a name than a superstar, as he was always making highlight reel catches on Sportscenter top plays and a lot of people probably just saw that. On the negative, he’s a terrible route runner and doesn’t have great speed to suggest that he’s anything more than flashy N’Keal Harry. He is only 21 and plays faster in game than he timed, but I wouldn’t take him in the first. I do think he can become a good NFL WR however there’s risk here.

Troy Franklin: This one is tough. He looks eerily like Mike Wallace when he runs, and just turns on the burners to get behind the defense. However, I also see a lot of the Mecole Hardman types, just running fast in a spread offense and catching TDs against single coverage. At least he shows an ability to run routes and get YAC; there’s a chance he sneaks into the first round.

Ladd McConkey: Ladd McConkey is absurdly quick into his breaks and it allows him to create a lot of separation from DBs. That is good! He’s also very small, not a great YAC guy and not much of a deep threat despite his timed speed. Best case is he’s like a turbo model of Hines Ward. Which is great! I just don’t bet on “best case” scenarios.

Ricky Pearsall: Truly elite athlete who makes a ton of big plays and highlight reel catches. Also a 5th year senior who breaks on his routes like a high school sophomore. The athletic profile is intriguing here.

Xavier Worthy: Mr. 4.21! Why all the way down here? Because despite the jets, he was still a tiny gadget receiver catching bubble screens at Texas. Maybe you can turn him into a legit deep threat, but I just didn’t see much evidence of it.

Malachi Corley: Deebo Samuel-type, but he did it against directional schools and looks kinda slow for an NFL wideout.


Kingsley Sumataia: The only OT I watched that I didn’t think was good. He’s an elite athlete and he’s young, but he’s also a complete project that has no idea what he’s doing. Some team will take that on day 2.


Sedrick Van Pran: Perfectly fine center who snaps the ball. Cool. Almost made him a surprise first rounder.


Kool-Aid McKinstry: I went into this thinking I’d slot McKinstry in somewhere in the first round but I just ran out of spots. He’s feisty like Terrion Arnold, has good size and sticks to WRs in coverage but he’s not quite the athlete Arnold is and he doesn’t have the same nose for the ball.

Mike Sainristil: Arguably my favorite player in this entire draft. Love this guy. He’s a good athlete who stands way out on tape, gets picks and turns them into big plays, and plays like he’s 6’2” 250 lbs. Unfortunately, he’s about half that size and is probably a nickel corner in the NFL rather than a true outside corner. Even so, I would love to have him on my roster. He is a bit older, but working in his favor is that he was a receiver his first few years at Michigan, so there’s probably more development ahead than you’d expect.

Cooper DeJean: Another surprise exclusion who will likely go first round in the actual draft. DeJean is a ridiculous athlete with an all-time high school dunk reel. He has good size for a DB and can also return punts for you. He also has a nose for the ball and recorded 8 INTs in his Iowa career. Last year I watched Jack Campbell and kept wondering, who the hell is this free safety? Turns out it was DeJean. Unfortunately, I just don’t love his coverage ability on the outside – I question the change of direction speed and think he’s far more effective in zone coverage. That being said I would love him as a safety and almost mocked him to the Steelers at 1.20 to do just that.

Ennis Rakestraw: Yet another tenacious, physical corner who will throw his body around in run support. Rakestraw shows quick feet on tape along with good change of direction abilities. Where he didn’t show this was in his athletic testing, and I think that will hurt a bit. He also doesn’t finish plays well, turning many possible interceptions into pass breakups.

TJ Tampa: Man, I loved TJ Tampa before he ran a 4.6, and previously considered him as a possible surprise first rounder. I still like him because he’s a big beast of a corner who is hyper physical and brings the hammer down on ball-carriers. He also has a good feel for zone coverage. Which is good, because he apparently would struggle to run with Joe Alt.

Nate Wiggins: This one I do not get at all. Yes, he’s fast and run legit sub 4.3 at the Combine. He has quick feet and can close. He’s also a stringbean of a corner who can’t tackle well, can’t press, has bad technique and doesn’t play like a 4.2 guy on the field. Not a fan.


Darius Robinson: Finally, an edge rusher with some Robocop! Maybe that’s enough to get him into the first round. Robinson is a strong rusher with good hands and rush moves who can win either way. He’s absolutely massive (6’5” 285 lbs) and has Dhalsim arms. He is the Vitruvian Pass Rusher. Unfortunately, he’s not an elite athlete at the edge and doesn’t have a ton of explosiveness like first round picks typically do. Then again, he was a DT for his first three years at Missouri. I do like this guy a lot and he’s another one of my favorites this year.

Marshawn Kneeland: Virtually the same profile as Robinson: a DT who converted to a massive edge rusher for his final college season and can both power through people or swim around them. Working in his favor is that his athleticism (timed, at least) translates to elite, even as an edge rusher. Plus, he seems to be a very heady player who often gets to the ball because he knows exactly where the play is going. I fear that he might be too much of a tweener and a bit too slow to play Edge/OLB, but he’s still another one of my favorites this year that could be a surprise first rounder.

Adisa Isaac: Fits the physical and athletic profile and shows some good closing speed. Also shows an ability to play as an off-ball linebacker. However, I don’t see much bend off the edge and he doesn’t seem to use his arms very well. I also think he’s late to react and thus doesn’t play to his timed speed. Also light for an edge. Maybe a late day 2 guy.

Chris Braswell: Nope, just don’t see it.


Braden Fiske: I actually have Fiske as my DT1 this year, as he’s got an elite-elite athletic profile along with good hands and strength to move blockers. He demands extra attention and plays to the whistle every play. A lot to like here. However, he’s also 24 and a tad light for a DT in the NFL – was he moving these guys because he was 4 years older than they were? I also fear much of his production comes against subpar competition – half of his sacks last year came in one game against Louisville (though he looked damn impressive in that game) but good OLs usually shut him down.

Ruke Orhorhoro: Has the top end athleticism and absurd splash plays of a first round DT. Outside of that though he does not have the anything of a first round pick.

Kris Jenkins: Good athlete who does nothing but get blocked. Why is this guy rated so high?


Payton Wilson: Ridiculous athlete and it stands out when you watch him. The high-end plays are exceptional, and he moves very well directionally. Also a high-effort player and last year’s Butkus Award winner as the nation’s top LB. However, he’s extremely light for an ILB, gets pushed around at will and needs to go around blockers to get by them. That leads to a lot of guessing. He’s also suffered three major injuries in college, two knee injuries and one shoulder, which doesn’t seem ideal for an ILB. He’s still ILB1 in the worst ILB class of all-time.

Edufan Ulofoshio: I don’t think this dude is anything special but how he’s getting slotted as a late day 3 pick behind all these other guys is baffling to me. He’s a great athlete who plays downhill and attacks and has a decent feel for coverage drops as well. He’s also able to stack and shed blocks on occasion. He’s just undersized and not a great finisher.

Edgerrin Cooper: Elite athlete who plays like a missile and looks to destroy people. He also seems adept at diagnosing play designs. However, he’s also light and gets pushed around. Way too often he’s off-balance and it causes him to miss tackles. He also doesn’t look all that comfortable in zone drops.

Jeremiah Trotter Jr: Absolutely not.

Junior Colson: Absolutely not (remix). May be the single most Just-a-Guy prospect of all-time.


Kamren Kinchens: Looks good on tape, looks bad on a stopwatch. I still like him; he had 11 INTs between 2022 and 2023 and he looks plenty fast on tape. Also an aggressive and willing tackler who looks like a first-round type of safety on tape. It’s just hard to miss such awful athletic testing (2.07 RAS) and I don’t think any team is going to take him in round 1.

Tyler Nubin: Similar to Kinchens, 13 career INTs at Minnesota who will come down in run support and gives you something as a blitzer as well. Working against him is his size (just under 200 lbs) and, again, athletic testing (3.63 RAS).

Omg I’m finally done, praise the Lord.

Okay same time same place next year!

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