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NFL Mock Draft-Top 10 Selections

By: Dave Browne

There is no off-season in the NFL. With the conclusion of the Super Bowl, we have the combine, free agency and the draft to look forward to. The next few months are designed to give fans much needed hope for the futures of their teams.

What a mock draft looks like today will unfold a lot differently in April. With the exception of a few teams, free agency will dictate what direction a team goes in the draft. For starters, we know that the Jacksonville Jaguars will select a quarterback. Barring anything unforeseen, it should be Trevor Lawrence. From there, it is anyone’s guess as far as who goes where. Let’s take a look into what teams could do in April with their teams constructed as they are. The Jacksonville Jaguars are on the clock.

Pick #1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence, QB Clemson

No surprise here. If the Jaguars could rush to the podium now to make this selection for Trevor Lawrence, they would. We could put the Urban Meyer, Justin Fields’ connection to Ohio State to bed. It’s not happening. Urban Meyer already has received much deserved backlash for the hiring of strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle. Doyle has since re-signed. Meyer will be back in the good graces, for some, at least in the short term with the selection of Lawrence.

Pick #2. New York Jets- Zach Wilson, QB BYU

This is unofficially when the draft starts. The New York Jets need to nail this selection for the future of the franchise and for the fans’ sanctity. My thinking is that the Jets go quarterback here. Once Carson Wentz is traded, you’ll see the dominoes fall. Whomever doesn’t get Wentz may turn to Sam Darnold.

Darnold has been set up for failure since day one. The Jets have failed to put pieces together that would be conducive to any sort of on field success for Darnold. Now, to be fair Darnold has not been very good himself, nor has he been able to stay consistently healthy. But he’s been poorly coached and has had little support in terms of protection from his line or competent receivers.

Darnold’s said all the right things about the franchise, but he even knows a fresh start is what he needs to get his career on the right path.

The Jets will get a few assets for Darnold (probably a pair of 2nd’s) to help expedite the rebuild. The Jets have so many holes on their roster so the only way they could fix it is to get as many selections as possible. But trading Darnold means they will select a quarterback.

Zach Wilson put some out some amazing film this season. He brings good arm strength, athleticism and swagger that is simply too good for the Jets General Manager Mike Maccagnan to ignore. The Jets get their quarterback of the future, and address other team needs with a plethora of other draft picks that they possess.

Other viable options

  • Trade down
  • Penei Sewell, OT Oregon
  • Ja’Marr Chase, WR LSU
  • DeVonta Smith, WR Alabama

Pick #3. Miami Dolphins-DeVonta Smith, WR Alabama

The Dolphins are another intriguing team in this draft. We are hearing noise that they could be looking to upgrade at quarterback. I don’t buy it. Tua Tagovailoa will be given an opportunity to succeed as the Dolphins continue to stockpile draft picks to help support their quarterback. The Dolphins’ choices probably boil down to taking the best offensive lineman in the draft in Penei Sewell, WR Ja’Marr Chase or Heisman Trophy winner and Tagovailoa’s former Alababa teammate DeVonta Smith. Or simply trading down a few spots to a quarterback needy team which could enable the Dolphins to acquire a few more assets and still get a player that they conceivably want. Trading with Carolina makes sense for both sides.

However, in this mock we’re not doing trades. Whether they trade down or not, I think they end up with one of the best wide receivers in the draft anyway. Therefore, the Dolphins go with Devante Smith here. Sewell makes perfect sense as he would be an anchor on their line for years. However, the Dolphins lack high end playmakers on offense. Devante Parker is a nice possession receiver, but doesn’t possess the high end speed to take the tops off of defenses.

DeVonta Smith could take the top off of a defense and would give Miami a legitimate threat down the field. The goal is to build a contender with Tagovailoa on a rookie contract. Miami needs to do everything in their power to put him in a position to succeed.

Other viable options

  • Trade down
  • Ja’Marr Chase, WR LSU
  • Penei Sewell, OT Oregon

Pick #4. Atlanta Falcons- Justin Fields, QB Ohio State

This is a bit of a homecoming for the Kennesaw, Georgia native. Instead of reloading and giving it one last shot, Atlanta wisely begins to close the door on the Matt Ryan era and chooses the future. Atlanta is not in win now mode, or one or two pieces away from a championship.

This seemingly is a perfect fit for Fields. He is still a bit raw having attempted less than 600 passes yet he is oozing with potential. Yes, there is film of him holding the ball too long, throwing a few interceptions and inaccurate with some throws. A good offensive coach could play to Fields’ strength and fix some of those issues.

He is still a great prospect despite some inconsistencies to his game. He fits the mold as a modern day quarterback who has the ability to throw in and out of the pocket and isn’t afraid to tuck it in and run if need be. He balled out against Clemson in the college football semi-final by throwing for SIX touchdown passes and 385 yards.

He could conceivably ‘redshirt’ his first year in Atlanta and learn under Ryan. Not many teams have the luxury of going from one franchise quarterback to another. The Falcons have that opportunity with a blue chip prospect like Fields.

Other viable options

  • Penei Sewell, OT Oregon

Pick #5-Cincinnati Bengals- Penei Sewell, OT Oregon

Reuniting Joe Burrow’s former LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase would be tempting in this scenario. However, Chase only catches passes. He can’t pass protect. Cincinnati’s number one priority NEEDS to be protecting Burrow at all costs.

Cincinnati will be doing cartwheels if Sewell is available with pick. He is physical, nasty and would be a pillar on the offensive line from day one. This would enable Jonah Williams to move to right tackle and give them two viable bookend tackles for years to come.

Burrow is coming off a scary ACL/MCL tear. You could bet that Cincinnati will do everything in its power to protect the teams best asset. Burrow will be thanking them that they did.

Other viable options

  • Ja’Marr Chase, WR LSU
  • Kyle Pitts, TE Florida

Pick #6. Philadelphia Eagles- Micah Parsons, LB Penn State

Philadelphia is a true wild card in this draft. The Eagles could be a sneaky team come April. They could explore a trade up to grab either Zach Wilson or Justin Fields, or trade down for a team looking to upgrade its quarterback (Carolina or San Francisco come to mind). Carson Wentz is all but gone. Jalen Hurts may or not be the teams next franchise quarterback.

One thing is for certain though. The Eagles need to upgrade their talent on both sides of the ball. Offensive line, wide receiver, and essentially their entire defense needs a makeover.

The Eagles don’t have to venture far off the beaten path to select Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons. I could hear the boos reigning down (please no batteries) on this pick. I get it. An off the ball linebacker is not a sexy pick and usually is not valued this high in a draft.

Parsons is a rare exception though. He is a freakishly good athlete. Had he not sat out for the 2020 season he would be talked about a lot more. When all is said and done he may end up being the best non quarterback in this draft.

Parsons could get to the quarterback on designed blitzes, he’s good against the run and could read what is going to happen before the play even develops. He excels in coverage with his elite speed. There really is not much that he can’t do.

The Eagles should be able to acquire a few draft picks (1st round/two 2nd round?) in an inevitable Carson Wentz trade. Those picks could be used on other positions of need like WR, OL, or CB.

Other viable options

  • Trade up/down
  • Rashawn Slater, OT Northwestern
  • Ja’Marr Chase, WR LSU
  • Kyle Pitts, TE Florida
  • Patrick Surtain, CB Alabama

Pick #7. Detroit Lions- Ja’Marr Chase, WR LSU

Lions head coach Dan Campbell may want a nasty defender to kick opposing players in the teeth or bite some kneecaps. LB Micah Parsons would fit the bill for that style but he doesn’t fall here in this mock.

The Lions’ acquisition of Jared Goff buys themselves a year or two to figure out their quarterback of the future. In the meantime, they get themselves a brand new toy on offense in Ja’Marr Chase.

Although Chase didn’t play in the 2020 season he is still one of the premier prospects in this draft. He was dominant as a sophmore on LSU’s National Championship team.

Chase will give opposing defenses nightmares with his elite route running, speed and play making ability. This pick makes too much sense for the Lions’ offense regardless of who is throwing the ball in the short or long term.

Other viable options

  • Caleb Farley, CB Virginia Tech
  • Kwity Paye, EDGE Michigan

Pick #8. Carolina Panthers-Trey Lance, QB North Dakota State

Lions fans will dance when they select Trey Lance. Alright, corny joke. After spending ALL of its draft capital on the defensive side of the ball in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Panthers have their eyes set on quarterback here. I would not be surprised one bit if they moved up to number two or three in the draft to select either Zach Wilson or Justin Fields.

If they stand at pat at 8, they’ll get a nice consolation prize in Trey Lance. He has all of the tools you want in a quarterback. He’s mobile, has a great arm and has the size that makes general managers salivate.

One of the knocks on Lance is that he played college football at North Dakota State where the competition is not the best. He also only has started one season collegiately (NDSU football season was postponed in 2020) and has attempted just 288 passes.

He’s a project, but offensive coordinator Joe Brady could do wonders with a talent like this. There will be no rush to play him as Teddy Bridgewater is still under contract through 2021.

Other viable options

  • Trade up (Justin Fields or Zach Wilson)
  • Kyle Pitts, TE Florida

Pick #9. Denver Broncos- Patrick Surtain, CB Alabama

Denver focused on the offensive side of the ball in the 2020 NFL Draft, so now it’s time to replenish some talent on the defensive side of the ball. While head coach and defensive guru Vic Fangio fielded a respectable defense in 2020, the aura of greatness just wasn’t there. Denver’s defense has been their identity since the 2014 season, and it’s time Denver gets back to that.

Denver could go in a variety of ways here. Do they go edge rusher with Kwity Paye in the event that Von Miller is cut? It would only benefit Bradley Chubb to have a running mate on the opposite side of the line.

Denver has ignored blue chip prospects at linebacker for some time now so Jeremiah Owusu-Koromoah has to be considered although would be considered a reach by many.

Cornerback makes too much sense for Denver. They recently cut AJ Bouye and Bryce Callahan has struggled to stay healthy.

VIrginia Tech corner Caleb Farley may possess the highest upside at corner in this draft, but the converted wide receiver is still very raw. Patrick Surtain is probably the most NFL ready. So Denver could not go wrong with either corner.

Denver decides to go with Surtain here. He is polished, physical and has the makings of being a shut down corner at the NFL level. He’d be a perfect fit in the press coverage defense that Fangio likes to run. Surtain isn’t afraid to be physical as well. If Surtain’s name sounds familiar here, it’s because his father played in the NFL for 14 years. Those aren’t bad genes to have.

Other viable options

  • Trade down (Jeremiah Owudu-Koromoah, LB Notre Dame)
  • Caleb Farley, CB Virginia Tech
  • Kwity Paye, EDGE Michigan
  • Rashawn Slater, OT Northwestern

Pick #10- Dallas Cowboys- Kwity Paye, EDGE Michigan

Last year wide receiver CeeDee Lamb unexpectedly fell into the Cowboys’ laps in the 2020 NFL Draft when they had more pressing needs on the defensive side of the ball. Does Jerry Jones and the Cowboys do the same exact thing when they see superfreak hybrid tight end/wide receiver Kyle Pitts on the board??

Conventional wisdom says fix one of the worst defenses the NFL has seen in years. Or rebuild the aging, brittle offensive line to protect quarterback Dak Prescott. BUT Jones does things his way. He loves playmakers. He also loves his players from the SEC. But Stephen Jones and the rest of the Cowboys’ brass influence, or in the case beg Jones to go defense.

Dallas’s secondary was exposed for much of the 2020 season. A big reason why they struggled in their secondary besides lacking high end talent was because of their of their inept pass rush.

Demarcus Lawrence is a solid defensive end but he can’t do it all himself. The soon to be 29 year old has only had 11.5 sacks over the last two years. One way to improve defensively is to get to the quarterback. Paye is the premier pass rusher in a draft that is lacking high end talent in that area. This would be a wise position to invest in if the Cowboys want to improve their defense.

Other viable options

  • Caleb Farley, CB Virginia Tech
  • Christian Barmore, DL Alabama
  • Rashawn Slater, OT Northwestern
  • Kyle Pitts, TE Florida

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