Draft order is based on current betting odds from FanDuel.
1. Houston Texans – Sam Howell (QB/North Carolina)
DeShaun Watson wants out of Houston and the Texans want him to stay. With both sides digging their heels in, someone has to budge and I think it will eventually be the Texans, especially if they land the top pick in the draft and have an opportunity to hit reset. Howell has drawn comparisons to Baker Mayfield.
2. Detroit Lions – Spencer Rattler (QB/Oklahoma)
Detroit acquired Jared Goff, but there were still rumors that they would target a quarterback in the opening frame of the 2021 NFL Draft. They didn’t, but if they’re picking this high, it’s hard to imagine they don’t move on from Goff. Goff is under contract through 2024, but the team has an out after 2022.
3. New York Jets – Kayvon Thibodeaux (EDGE/Oregon)
The Jets went offense-heavy in the 2021 NFL Draft and came away with a lot of pieces, but now they need to turn their attention to the other side of the ball. Thibodeaux has played primarily as a defensive end in college but will transition to outside linebacker this year for the Ducks.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars – Justyn Ross (WR/Clemson)
D.J. Chark is in the final year of his contract leaving only Laviska Shenault as the only wide receiver of note on the roster. Jacksonville showed they weren’t afraid to dip into Trevor Lawrence’s well when they selected Travis Etienne despite not having a need for a running back, maybe they will do so again with Ross. He missed all of 2020 after getting surgery to correct a lingering stinger, so he does come with a health concern.
5. Philadelphia Eagles – Kedon Slovis (QB/USC)
Philadelphia isn’t fully committed to Jalen Hurts and if they’re drafting in the top five, chances are this is where they throw the towel in. The Eagles were reportedly trying to trade up to the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and head coach Nick Sirianni isn’t naming him the starter currently. Slovis injured his throwing shoulder on the last play of the PAC-12 Championship Game, but he is expected to make a full recovery.
6. Cincinnati Bengals – Evan Neal (OT/Alabama)
Cincinnati took Jonah Williams 11th overall in 2019, but he has only played in 10 NFL games. If he isn’t able to play a full season in 2021, it’s hard to imagine the Bengals pick up his fifth-year option. Neal is a massive (6’7″, 360) former five-star recruit.
7. Las Vegas Raiders – Kyle Hamilton (S/Notre Dame)
Jonathan Abraham has struggled in his NFL career. Unless he turns it around this season, Las Vegas won’t be picking up his fifth-year option. Hamilton was one of the best defensive players for Notre Dame last season and has been listed as the second best defensive prospect behind Thibodeaux in this class.
8. Carolina Panthers – Garrett Wilson (WR/Ohio State)
D.J. Moore’s fifth-year option was picked up and it’s assumed the two sides are working on a long-term deal, but Robby Anderson is in his contract year, which may put the Panthers in a position of being able to only pay one of them. Wilson has great body control and agility, but will need to hit the weight room at the next level.
9. New York Giants – Derek Stingley Jr. (CB/LSU)
James Bradberry was stellar last season and the addition of Adoree Jackson will be a big help for the Giants secondary, but Stingley is the best cornerback prospect since Jalen Ramsey, so it’s hard to pass on him. Stingley will be a third-generation NFL player when he is drafted.
10. Washington Football Team – Desmond Ridder (QB/Cincinnati)
Washington failed to add a quarterback in the draft, which means Ryan Fitzpatrick and Taylor Heinicke will be battling for the starting job. With Fitzpatrick now turning 39, he’s not the long-term solution and while Heinicke turned some heads in the playoffs, I don’t like his long-term outlook. Ridder is a true dual-threat quarterback, but could definitely stand to bulk up.
11. Atlanta Falcons – Zion Nelson (OT/Miami FL)
There was some buzz about the Falcons drafting Penei Sewell, but it was a bit of a head-scratcher to me since they have Jake Matthews and he has been playing well. A year later, we are much closer to Jake Matthews’ contract year (he hits free agency in 2024), so it makes a bit more sense to invest in a tackle who can stay on the right side to start of his career before going to the blind side. Don’t rule out Atlanta trading up for a signal-caller either as Atlanta rapidly approaches a rebuild.
12. New York Giants – Christian Harris (LB/Alabama)
Blake Martinez turned out to be a great signing by David Gettleman, but playing next to him this season is Reggie Ragland, whose NFL career has not gone as many expected. I know the Giants are allergic to linebackers, but Harris is one of the top talents available.
It is worth noting, however, that with two first-round selections, the Giants are definitely a team in play to trade up if Daniel Jones does not improve in 2021.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers – Charles Cross (OT/Mississippi State)
The Steelers offensive line is a huge liability entering the 2021 season, but they waited until rounds three and four to do something about it in the 2021 NFL Draft. Pittsburgh is another possible trade up candidate as Ben Roethlisberger moves closer and closer to retirement.
14. Minnesota Vikings – DeMarvin Leal (EDGE/Texas A&M)
Danielle Hunter is currently the only reliable pass rusher on the roster and he just is returning from a season-ending neck surgery. The Vikings typically have one of the stronger pass rush units in the league, so I’d expect them to try and address the position early.
15. Arizona Cardinals – Kaiir Elam (CB/Florida)
The secondary is an issue in the desert as Malcolm Butler is the only reliable cornerback on this roster — and he only signed a one-year deal. Elam’s father and uncle, Abram and Matt, were safeties in the NFL.
16. Tennessee Titans – Drake Jackson (EDGE/USC)
Despite the pass rush being one of the biggest areas of need for the Titans, they weren’t able to add an edge rusher until the fourth round. Hopefully, Tennessee will be able to address this position much early in the draft next year.
17. New England Patriots – Chris Olave (WR/Ohio State)
New England brought in their new signal caller with Mac Jones, now they need to start building weaons around him as the Patriots have struggled to bring in any significant talent to the position in recent draft classes. Olave likely would have been a first rounder in the 2021 NFL Draft, but he ultimately decided to stay in Columbus.
18. Los Angeles Chargers – Zach Harrison (EDGE/Ohio State)
Joey Bosa has been one of the best pass rushers in the league, but the Chargers let Melvin Ingram walk in free agency and have not replaced him. Adding a second pass rusher will help prevent opposing offenses from double-teaming Bosa.
19. Philadelphia Eagles – Sevyn Banks (CB/Ohio State)
An area of perpetual need in Philadelphia, Banks would line up across from Darius Slay, unless the Eagles wind up releasing him next spring.
20. Dallas Cowboys – Perrion Winfrey (DT/Oklahoma)
Dallas went very defense-heavy in the 2021 NFL Draft, but I don’t think that means they are going to shift focus next year. Winfrey is playing nose tackle for Oklahoma, but will likely slide to the three-technique in the NFL.
21. New Orleans Saints – Josh Jobe (CB/Alabama)
New Orleans was reportedly going to try and trade up to draft Caleb Farley in the 2021 NFL Draft. Secondary is a weak point right now, especially after Marshon Lattimore suffered a down year.
22. Indianapolis Colts – George Pickens (WR/Georgia)
T.Y. Hilton and Zach Pascal are both in the final year of their deal while Parris Campbell enters his walk year in 2022, leaving Michael Pittman as the only reliable receiver on the roster. Pickens’ stock will be one to watch as he tore his ACL in late March.
23. Denver Broncos – Ventrell Miller (LB/Florida)
Josey Jewell enters his contract year while Alexander Johnson took a step back from a strong rookie campaign. Of course, they could be another team whot rades up if Teddy Bridgewater/Drew Lock don’t pan out.
24. New York Jets – Bubba Bolden (S/Miami FL)
The Jets were focused on rebuilding the offense in the 2021 NFL Draft, now they should pivot their attention to defense. Marcus Maye was franchsi tagged, but there hasn’t been any progress towards a long-term deal so far. LaMarcus Joyner is also entering free agency in 2022.
25. Green Bay Packers – John Metchie III (WR/Alabama)
I know, I know, I do this every year. Green Bay hasn’t selected an offensive skill position player outside of quarterback since 2002 (Javon Walker), and yet I continue to mock one to them (like the Eagles and a cornerback). But Davante Adams is in his contract year and currently lining up across from him is Devin Funchess. Green Bay will have to address the position at some point in the draft.
26. Cleveland Browns – Jalen Wydermyer (TE/Texas A&M)
After a career year in his contract season, the Browns broke the bank to lure Austin Hooper away from Atlanta, but he regressed in his first year with the Browns. If he has another down year, the Browns could look for a replacement. David Njoku is also entering free agency after the 2021 season.
27. Miami Dolphins – George Karlaftis (EDGE/Purdue)
A certain someone reading this mock won’t be happy as he wanted the Giants to land the new Greek Freak (move over, Giannis). Miami is armed with picks and continue to take the best player available, adding a much-needed pass rusher.
28. Baltimore Ravens – Aidan Hutchinson (EDGE/Michigan)
Baltimore added Odafe Oweh in the 2021 NFL Draft, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the double-dipped at pass rusher in back-to-back years, especially with the departures of Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue. Hutchinson is a high effort player, but the bean-counting stats aren’t exactly showing up for him.
29. Detroit Lions – Cade Mays (G/Tennessee)
Penei Sewell was a huge get for the Lions and Frank Ragnow is a solid center, but the guard position is in need of an upgrade. Mays is a former five-star prospect who spent two years in Georgia before transferring to Tennessee in a truly bizarre story that includes his father losing his finger.
30. Buffalo Bills – Rasheed Walker (OT/Penn State)
Buffalo already has one of the league’s bet pair of starting tackles in Dion Dawkins and Daryl Williams, but Williams is at the tail end of his contract, so Buffalo could seek to find someone to serve as an understudy for a season before taking over.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Breece Hall (RB/Iowa State)
Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette are on expiring deals, so Tampa Bay could look to go younger at running back int he draft.
32. Kansas City Chiefs – Merlin Robertson (EDGE/Arizona State)
The Chiefs were so focused on rebuilding the offensive line this offseason that they never had the opportunity to add to the pass rush.