Why do we care so much about our mock drafts?
By Saturday, nobody cares. Yet for weeks and weeks that's all we talk about. Mock this. Mock that. Mock this. Mock that.
I get it. It drives up the interest, but they are always tough to do in terms of slotting players, and this year it's even worse.
Even the top pick, as I put this mock together, is up for debate. The money is on the Jaguars taking Georgia edge rusher Travon Walker. But I still think coach Doug Pederson will prevail and get tackle Ikem Ekwonu from North Carolina State. Even with left tackle Cam Robinson signing a new deal Thursday, they need help at right tackle and guard, so Ekwonu still makes sense.
The entire offseason has been about helping quarterback Trevor Lawrence, so why not one more time? This could come down to Pederson vs. GM Trent Baalke, My money is on Pederson. I would take Alabama tackle Evan Neal, but Ekwonu is close behind.
The rest of this mock was't much easier to figure out. This isn't a great draft, which means there are so many varying opinions about the top guys at each position. That usually isn't the case, which makes it challenging for teams as well.
So after spending time agonizing over this mock, I finally just did It and tried to make it play out with football common sense as the backdrop.
In the end, the mock draft graders will probably eat this one alive — especially if the Jaguars take Walker. But who cares? The mocks are done.
At least until next year.
Round 1 - Pick 1
Ikem Ekwonu OL
NC State • Soph • 6'4" / 320 lbs
This is a hunch based on the talk that Ekwonu is the player coach Doug Pederson wants. Even with the signing of Cam Robinson to a long-term deal, this doesn't preclude a pick of Ekwonu. He could start at right tackle or left guard.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Aidan Hutchinson EDGE
Michigan • Soph • 6'6" / 265 lbs
Kayvon Thibodeaux will be in play here, but in the end I think they will take the local kid. Hutchinson will liven up a pass rush that badly needs it.
Round 1 - Pick 3
Georgia • Soph • 6'5" / 272 lbs
There is a chance they could go corner here, but in Lovie Smith's defense the pass rushers matter more. Walker is a projection of sorts since he didn't have a lot of sacks at Georgia, but he is a physical player.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Kayvon Thibodeaux EDGE
Oregon • Soph • 6'5" / 258 lbs
They have to get more production off the edge, so why not take a player who can provide it? He would fit perfectly in Robert Saleh's defense.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Mississippi State • Soph • 6'5" / 311 lbs
They have been linked to this player for a long time. With Andrew Thomas at left tackle, they can play him on the right side. That would give them a nice combo.
From Chicago Bears
Round 1 - Pick 7
Cincinnati • Soph • 6'3" / 200 lbs
In their new system under Wink Martindale, they need to be able to lock up and play man. Gardner can do that. So they pass on an edge here to take an outstanding cover corner.
Round 1 - Pick 8
LSU • Soph • 6'0" / 190 lbs
They will consider a quarterback here — probably Malik Willis — but I think they will pass in the end. The pick will be Stingley, who can step in and pair with A.J. Terrell to give them a nice duo at corner.
From Denver Broncos
Round 1 - Pick 9
Jermaine Johnson II EDGE
Florida State • Soph • 6'5" / 262 lbs
They might consider a quarterback -- Sam Howell is one I hear they like -- but in the end they pass to take a player who will help solidify the pass rush. They need help in that area and Johnson is coming off an impressive season.
From Seattle Seahawks
Round 1 - Pick 10
Ohio State • Soph • 6'0" / 192 lbs
They could go corner here, but I will give them a top receiver to help Zach Wilson. Garrett Wilson can fly and would really be a nice asset to the passing game.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Drake London WR
USC • Soph • 6'4" / 213 lbs
They could consider Kyle Hamilton here, but they need to get a big-bodied receiver to help Carson Wentz. London will be a nice red-zone threat.
Round 1 - Pick 12
Washington • Soph • 5'11" / 193 lbs
Corner should be the pick, and with the way the board has played out, McDuffie is the next one up. He will play opposite Patrick Peterson.
From Cleveland Browns
Round 1 - Pick 13
Notre Dame • Soph • 6'4" / 220 lbs
This is a bit of a fall for Hamilton, but the Texans can use a player like him in the John Lynch role that Lovie Smith had in Tampa. Hamilton can be really good near the line of scrimmage, which is a must in a division with Derrick Henry and Jonathan Taylor.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Jordan Davis DL
Georgia • Soph • 6'6" / 336 lbs
They brought back Michael Pierce, and Calais Campbell re-signed, but they need a young power player. They've always had them when they've been good on defense. Davis is that guy.
From Miami Dolphins
Round 1 - Pick 15
Alabama • Soph • 6'2" / 189 lbs
This is a bit of a risk, but the Eagles can afford it with the receivers they have. They would be getting the best receiver in the class. Were it not for his knee injury suffered in the championship game, he would be gone in the top 10.
From Philadelphia Eagles
Round 1 - Pick 16
Tyler Smith OL
Tulsa • Soph • 6'6" / 332 lbs
He is a tough, nasty player who could step in as the left tackle for the departed Terron Armstead. The Saints have a major hole there that has to be addressed. NFL people love Smith more than the draft analysts.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Northern Iowa • Soph • 6'7" / 325 lbs
The right tackle spot is a big problem for the Chargers. They need to get help there, and Penning could move from the left side to the right side for the Chargers to pair with last year's top pick, Rashawn Slater.
From New Orleans Saints
Round 1 - Pick 18
George Karlaftis EDGE
Purdue • Soph • 6'4" / 263 lbs
There is some talk that Karlaftis could fall out of the first round. I don't see it. He's too talented. The Eagles would be getting a nice addition to their front.
From Philadelphia Eagles
Round 1 - Pick 19
Chris Olave WR
Ohio State • Soph • 6'0" / 187 lbs
The Saints need more speed in their passing game, which Olave can provide. He would team up with Michael Thomas, who is a bigger receiver, to give them a nice mix at the position.
Round 1 - Pick 20
Malik Willis QB
Liberty • Soph • 6'1" / 219 lbs
The Steelers have put a lot of work in on Willis, which is why this might seem to be the pick. I am a little hesitant because they like bigger quarterbacks, but I will spot him in here.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Devin Lloyd LB
Utah • Soph • 6'3" / 235 lbs
They need speed at linebacker and Lloyd is the type of player to bring it. He can also rush at times, and we know how Bill Belichick loves versatility.
From Las Vegas Raiders
Round 1 - Pick 22
Arkansas • Soph • 6'2" / 225 lbs
Burks is a bigger receiver who can give Aaron Rodgers another target. He runs well enough that he ran away from SEC corners, so it works.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Georgia • Soph • 6'3" / 304 lbs
The interior of their defense needs help and Wyatt is a force inside. Were it not for some character issues, he might go a lot higher.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Zion Johnson OL
Boston College • Soph • 6'3" / 316 lbs
The interior of their line — aside from Zack Martin — is an issue. Johnson was a college guard, but a lot of teams view him as a center. He can really amp up their run game.
Round 1 - Pick 25
Clemson • Soph • 6'0" / 194 lbs
He has some injury concerns, but the Bills have been linked to him in league circles. They have a major need at corner, which is why this would make a ton of sense. They could also consider Kaiir Elam and Kyler Gordon.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Kenyon Green OL
Texas A&M • Soph • 6'4" / 323 lbs
They have issues at guard and also could use a right tackle. Green looks the part for both spots. If you want to run the ball with Derrick Henry, you need big bodies up front.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Kyler Gordon CB
Washington • Soph • 6'0" / 200 lbs
They have a couple corners coming up on contract years, which is why this would make sense. Gordon can play inside and outside in their defense.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Quay Walker LB
Georgia • Soph • 6'4" / 240 lbs
They have a good off-the-ball linebacker in De'Vondre Campbell, but why not add another speedy player to the mix? Walker is explosive and will help a defense that needs more speed on the second level.
From Miami Dolphins
Round 1 - Pick 29
Kaiir Elam CB
Florida • Soph • 6'1" / 191 lbs
He is a long corner who can match up in man coverage. With Charvarius Ward gone to the 49ers, they need help in the secondary with Derek Carr, Russell Wilson and Justin Herbert in the division.
From Kansas City Chiefs
Round 1 - Pick 30
David Ojabo EDGE
Michigan • Soph • 6'4" / 255 lbs
Ojabo is coming off a torn Achilles tendon suffered at his pro day. That injury will keep him out likely until midseason. But this Chiefs team is all about the playoffs. They can wait for him to get healthy.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Iowa • Soph • 6'2" / 305 lbs
This pick would totally give the line a complete makeover. They signed Ted Karras, but he can play guard, too. Linderbaum would be ideal for Joe Burrow and that line.
From Los Angeles Rams
Round 1 - Pick 32
Pittsburgh • Soph • 6'3" / 220 lbs
After passing on a quarterback earlier in the draft, they take one in this spot by landing Pickett. This would be a great pick for the Lions if it played out this way. He is NFL ready.