1. Jacksonville Jaguars - QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
Lawrence, the No. 1 recruit nationally in 2018, embodied the hype with school records for passing yards per game (315.3) and completion percentage (69.2%) in his final year with the Tigers as an undeniable generational talent. Career 6.6 rush attempts per game should not only remove the bad taste left in mouths from his disastrous (and most recent) Sugar Bowl performance but remains the Konami Code needed to carry him as a fringe QB1 for fantasy in OC Darrell Bevell's downfield bombardment.
2. New York Jets - QB Zach Wilson, BYU
Wilson's dynamic arm and vision checks all the boxes for #TeamWatchTheTape, completing 20-of-27 attempts that traveled 30-plus yards downfield just this past year. The concern? He's far from battle-tested, facing four total defenses in the top-20 of Bill Connelly’s defensive SP+ metric the past two seasons. The 7.0 carries (and 15 rushing scores) he averaged in 30 career starts with Brigham Young will keep him afloat during his rookie contract even if the next level proves to be too much.
3. San Francisco 49ers - QB Mac Jones, Alabama
Is Jones overrated? Is he the perfect one-read quarterback under Kyle Shanahan? Is he worth two future first-round picks? What's funny is that, although everyone has an answer to those questions (just ask them), Jones' outlook is the one opinion that does.not.matter. when prognosticating the No. 3 pick. He can be good/bad and the 49ers can pick him — those outcomes aren't mutually exclusive — and the sooner we all realize that the sooner we can get back to discussing what actually matters. Those that were able to step back and see as much were treated to the best draft prop of the year (Jones U18.5 -105) early in the process.
4. Atlanta Falcons - TE Kyle Pitts, Florida
Atlanta's decision here is admittedly subject to interpretation. I read it as GM Terry Fontenot airing the team's "interests" to persuade other organizations to package a deal and leap the pack. If the Falcons stay put, adding Pitts opposite Hayden Hurst and into the slot, where he ran 21% of his routes from the past two years, should keep Matt Ryan elevated through the end of the veteran's contract in 2023. Pitts will quietly be 20 years old in Week 1.
5. Cincinnati Bengals - WR Ja'Marr Chase, LSU
Reuniting Joe Burrow, who has reportedly lobbied for Chase to Cincinnati's front office, with his former collegiate teammate would not only appease the face of the franchise but give GM Mike Brown another chance to rectify the draft capital wasted the last time he attempted to make a splash at wide receiver (John Ross) with a top-five pick. Chase sat out the entire 2020 season but, prior to that, averaged 21.2 yards per reception with 20 touchdowns and the most deep catches (24) Pro Football Focus charted in any collegiate season at 19 years old.
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6. Miami Dolphins - OT Rashawn Slater, Northwestern
The Dolphins moved back into the top-six to position themselves in a rare win-win-win scenario, either adding Chase to their 11 personnel from Week 1, utilizing both Mike Gesicki and Pitts against opposing linebackers, or protecting its franchise cornerstone with another first-round tackle. Note that all would benefit Tua Tagovailoa, who continues to be undervalued as Underdog's QB21 for Best-Ball leagues. Slater being selected as the first OL off the board (+350) is also one of my favorite props of draft weekend.
7. Detroit Lions - OT Penei Sewell, Oregon
Selecting a quarterback or receiving threat here would be the correct move, so we shouldn't count on the Lions doing that. Someone to help "bite a kneecap off" in the trenches is much more plausible. There's also a need there after the team hinted at moving Halapoulivaati Vaitai inside to guard.
8. Carolina Panthers - QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
I don't think the Panthers are necessarily in the market for a quarterback immediately, but Fields (6'3/227) checks all the boxes of a player Matt Rhule would draft if the 22-year-old were to fall. Reminder GM Scott Fitterer and Rhule prioritized athleticism among last year's class and Fields, who recorded a 99th percentile 4.51 40-time with a career 68.4% completion rate to boot, fits the bill. The more league execs openly (and incorrectly) criticize Fields' attributes, the more lucrative his O4.5 prop at plus-odds becomes.
9. Denver Broncos - QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
The charade that Drew Lock can lift (rather than drag down) arguably the league's most explosive cast of characters on offense can only last for so long. Denver and new GM George Paton will be more than happy bringing Lance along slowly before the 6'4/230-lb rookie is inevitably crowned to help move the ball over the second half of the season.
10. Dallas Cowboys - CB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama
Surtain reuniting with his former Crimson Tide teammate Trevon Diggs makes all the sense in the world after Dallas' secondary laid down for the most passing touchdowns (34), highest passer rating (100.4), and the most points per game (29.5) ever permitted during the franchise's illustrious 60-year history. Surtain hasn't allowed more than 65 receiving yards in a single game since 2018.
11. New York Giants - OT Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech
With Kenny Golladay signed long-term, GM Dave Gettleman will presumably turn his attention to keeping Daniel Jones upright in what could be the former's last hurrah with New York's front office. The Giants have clear needs at guard, center, and tackle after releasing 31-year-old Kevin Zeitler and forcing Nate Solder to take a pay cut just to keep another warm body available in the trenches. A good night's sleep for Gettleman includes dreaming about Darrisaw's beefy 6'5/314 'hog molly' frame laced in royal blue and white.
12. Philadelphia Eagles - WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
Philadelphia reportedly traded down from No. 6 because GM Howie Roseman assumed Chase wouldn't be available, which suggests the team will be prioritizing a wide receiver with its first pick. Although Waddle's production in his final year (8/134/2, 5/142/1, 6/120, 6/161/1) was basically a one month sample, the 22-year-old's career 19.3 yards per punt return qualifies him as a versatile weapon that likely leaped off the tape to owner Jeff Lurie, a known draftnik.
13. Los Angeles Chargers - iOL Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC
The Chargers have emphasized protecting Justin Herbert at all costs, and Vera-Tucker proved to be interchangeable as USC's left guard in 2018, being awarded OL of the Year over eventual first-round OT Austin Jackson, and at left tackle as last year's Morris Trophy winner (top Pac-12 offensive lineman), as voted on by the conference's defensive linemen. A starting unit with OT Trey Pipkins, C Corey Linsley, OG Matt Feiler, RT Bryan Bulaga, and Vera-Tucker would not only heighten Herbert's outlook, but Austin Ekeler's, too.
14. Minnesota Vikings - EDGE Kwity Paye, Michigan
Minnesota most recently created the league's fourth-lowest pressure rate (19.6%) while unsurprisingly finishing among the bottom-five in sacks (23). A viable EDGE rusher opposite Danielle Hunter, who missed the entire 2020 season with a neck injury, is of utmost importance.
15. New England Patriots - LB Micah Parsons, Penn State
There is no better match for Parsons as long as the Patriots stay put; played snaps inside the box (590), at slot corner (72), with his hand in the ground (59), and along the boundary as a hybrid corner/safety (9) in 2019, his final year of tape before opting out.
16. Arizona Cardinals - CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
DC Vance Joseph's Cover 1, blitz-heavy scheme remains dependent on corners being comfortable on an island. Horn (6'1/205) gained and flourished with that experience at Florida, often following the opponent’s top receiver across the formation. He assuredly won't be the Cardinals' only addition in the secondary after Patrick Peterson departed for Minnesota.
17. Las Vegas Raiders - LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame
Five of Las Vegas' eight free agent additions were inked on the defensive side of the ball (and rightfully so). Owusu-Koramoah, who primarily lined up against receivers from the slot at Notre Dame, provides immediate help as a Swiss Army knife in DC Gus Bradley's Cover 3 scheme.
18. Miami Dolphins - WR Devonta Smith, Alabama
Brian Flores and Miami's front office have made a living taking advantage of the league's mistakes, and Smith's worrisome size (6'0/170) presents another opportunity to do so. Dolphins also have a need there if Chase and Pitts fly off the board before the team's first crack at No. 6. There's obvious value in Smith's current O11.5 (-105) draft prop.
19. Washington Football Team - OT Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State
Washington returns its entire offensive line for 2021 but 30-year-old LT Cornelius Lucas is an expendable piece playing on the final year of his deal. Jenkins also has experience at both left (483 snaps) and right tackle (1,844) with Oklahoma State, permitting two sacks across 1,207 pass-blocking snaps the past three years (and none in the last two).
20. Chicago Bears - OT Samuel Cosmi, Texas
Three of Chicago's five starting o-linemen — LT Charles Leno, RG Germain Ifedi, LG James Daniels — are entering the final year of their contracts. Cosmi (6'7/314) soaked up 2,624 snaps as a tried-and-true hoss in three seasons with the Longhorns, logging 21 games at left tackle and 14 games at right.
21. Indianapolis Colts - CB Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech
Colts will be in the market for a left tackle following Anthony Castonzo's retirement, but help in its secondary is an acceptable fallback. Farley would arguably be slotted alongside Surtain and Horn among this class if it weren't for the “uncertain health conditions” related to COVID-19 he cited before opting out last year.
22. Tennessee Titans - CB Greg Newsome, Northwestern
Titans shouldn't immediately overlook another pass rusher here, but a(ny) cornerback fits after the team allowed Adoree' Jackson, Malcolm Butler, and Desmond King to walk. Newsome's (6'0/192) 4.38 40-time at the very least adds speed along the sidelines to prevent this secondary from being consistently burned over the top.
23. New York Jets - EDGE Jaelan Phillips, Miami
Phillips (6'5/260), who notched a ridiculous eight sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss in just 10 games last year, would be the perfect complement to Carl Lawson and Quinnen Williams around the edge (and in front of C.J. Mosley).
24. Pittsburgh Steelers - iOL Landon Dickerson, Alabama
An all-too-obvious match after C Maurkice Pouncey hung up his cleats. Dickerson (6'6/326) lined up at every offensive-line position at one point or another between Florida State and Alabama and would be ranked higher had he not torn his ACL in the SEC Championship Game. The only other centers on Pittsburgh's roster are 30-year-old B.J. Finney and former UDFA J.C. Hassenauer. This pick is also when any 'Total Running Backs Drafted in the 1st Round' tickets can either be cashed or burned.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars - S Trevon Moehrig, TCU
The 2020 Jim Thorpe Award winner as the nation’s top defensive back, Moehrig led all safeties in pass breakups (20) the past two seasons, per PFF. Is also capable of playing nickel between C.J. Henderson and Shaquil Griffin from Week 1.
26. Cleveland Browns - LB Zaven Collins, Tulsa
DC Joe Woods' ideal defense features three corners and three safeties, which logically undervalues off-ball linebackers to the front office. It's still unlikely Cleveland enters the regular season with only Anthony Walker, signed to a one-year, $3.5 million contract in free agency, atop a gaggle of unproven backers behind him. Browns +400 to draft a cornerback with its first pick (DraftKings Sportsbook) is intriguing in the event one of the elite names fall.
27. Baltimore Ravens - EDGE Gregory Rousseau, Miami
An edge rusher is Baltimore's first, second, and third priority after losing 12 combined sacks between Yannick Ngakoue, Matt Judon, and Jihad Ward. Rousseau seized 16 sacks as a redshirt freshman in 2019 before opting out of the 2020 season.
28. New Orleans Saints - WR Kadarius Toney, Florida
The Saints have an abundance of holes to fill after restructuring every other contract and releasing a handful of impactful veterans to squeeze under the $182.5 million cap threshold. Toney would step right into Emmanuel Sanders' previous role since the former played 71% of his collegiate snaps from the slot, totaling the nation's sixth-most yards (784) and receptions (55) from that alignment last year. Slight concern here since Toney only played wide receiver for two years at Florida.
29. Green Bay Packers - WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota
Packers don't have a single receiver behind Davante Adams under contract beyond the 2021 season, TE Robert Tonyan included. Bateman led the country in Yards Per Route Run from the boundary as a sophomore but was concertedly moved into the slot for a career-high 61% of his snaps in 2020 to be schemed more targets — proof he can do both.
30. Buffalo Bills - CB Asante Samuel Jr., Florida State
Buffalo still lacks a confident option to drape No. 2 receivers behind All-World stud Tre'Davious White. PFF charted Samuel Jr. with three picks and five pass breakups on only 32 targets defensed last year.
31. Kansas City Chiefs - OT Dillon Radunz, North Dakota State
Look for Kansas City to continue rebuilding its trenches through the draft despite signing iOL Joe Thuney to a lucrative five-year, $80 million contract. Per PFF, Radunz only allowed 24 career pressures across 715 pass-blocking snaps after tearing his ACL early into the 2017 season.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - DT Christian Barmore, Alabama
Any name the Bucs submit is a commodity since all 22 starters from last year's Super Bowl return for another run. Barmore, who led Alabama in sacks (8) ahead of winning National Championship Defensive MVP honors, would learn from Ndamukong Suh's tutelage before being unleashed next to DT Vita Vea on the interior for years to come.