Welcome to the April 5 edition of the With the First Pick newsletter. I wrote the date today because April 5 may not mean anything to a lot of people, but here it means we're exactly three weeks away from NFL Draft eve! That's just how my brain works this time of year. You too? Good. You'll love it here.
If you missed last week's launch, we're rebranding the Pick Six newsletter through the end of April, and I, CBS Sports NFL Draft analyst Chris Trapasso, will be with you every step of the way. This daily newsletter's sole purpose is to track everything transpiring in the NFL and spin it into a draft angle. I'm telling you -- this is the place to get the latest on everything draft related.
Before I begin, here's your daily reminder to tell all your buddies and that one uncle who's always texting you mock draft links to sign up for the With the First Pick newsletter. Just click here and then share this link with them.
Today's NFL mock draft 🔮: Let's get Bijan Robinson to Detroit
We all realize how more than just serviceable running backs can be found later in the draft. We also realize how stunning Robinson is as a football player. The latter universally accepted fact is the reason why the former Texas ball carrier will be picked in the first round, and Lions!, I found the perfect fit -- the
Imagine Robinson toting the rock behind Penei Sewell, Frank Ragnow, and the rest of Detroit's punishing offensive front, in the Jamaal Williams role. Stupendous. And likely very valuable to millions of fantasy teams in 2023 and beyond.
Here are some other notable selections from my mock, which features quarterbacks with the first four picks.
1. Carolina Panthers - Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
2. Houston Texans - C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
3. Tennessee Titans (trade with Cardinals) - Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
4. Indianapolis Colts - Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
10. Philadelphia Eagles - Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee
22. Baltimore Ravens - Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia
Best landing spots for Mac Jones 👀:
Yesterday, we learned Bill Belichick Washington Commanders:this offseason. So with that news, CBS Sports staffer Cody Benjamin pointed the five best landing spots for the young passer. Here's what Cody wrote about one of the options, the
"Despite annual laments from coach Ron Rivera about their failure to identify a sustainable signal-caller, Washington has settled for middling 2023 options up to this point, betting on 2022 rookie Sam Howell to beat out journeyman No. 2 Jacoby Brissett. Picking 16th overall in the draft, they'd likely need a big jump to land an elite prospect under center. Jones would at least give them added competition, and he'd also be under team control for at least three more seasons."
Checkto discover the other teams that make the most sense if Jones is moved.
Prospect of the day 📈: Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee
Hooker is all the rage in mock drafts of late. Out of seemingly nowhere, the Tennessee star has become a staple in first rounds across the Internet, so it's only right he's featured today. A former four-star recruit who began his collegiate career at Virginia Tech, Hooker transferred to the Tennessee program and shined in his two years as a starter, completing over 68% of his passes with 58 touchdowns to a mere five interceptions.
Those stats were a bit inflated by the Air Raid offense he operated and a ridiculously deep pool of receivers and offensive line talent. He's a quality albeit unspectacular athlete with a good, not amazing arm and can win from inside and outside the pocket. There's no doubting Hooker's productivity. However, there are concerns about his age -- he turned 25 in January -- and the fact he tore his ACL late in the 2022 season. Read his entire, football-dorky scouting report here.
- Notable combine results: N/A
- Combine measurements: 6-foot-3 1/8", 217 pounds
- Current CBS Sports prospect ranking: No. 56
Steelers seven-round mock draft
You better believe we're in the throws of seven-round mock season, and our resident Steelers expert Bryan Deardo did a seven-round mock-draft simulation, acting as Pittsburgh's GM Omar Khan and writing about his selections. Here are some of Bryan's thoughts on Alabama safety Brian Branch, whom he selected at No. 32 overall, the first pick in this year's second round:
"Versatility is one of Branch's main calling cards, which happens to be one of the things the Steelers are coveting when it comes to their defensive backfield. Pittsburgh recently signed eight-time Pro Bowler Patrick Peterson with the thought that he may make the switch to free safety while allowing Minkah Fitzpatrick to move to strong safety. This would create a void at cornerback that Branch, a safety by trade, could fill if he is able to make the switch."
You can read.
News & Notes 📝
- Austin Ekeler describes worst-case scenario. The Chargers superstar runner, who's asked to be traded and wants a new deal, in a recent radio interview: "the worst-case scenario right now ... I'll come back and I'll have to play for the Chargers for a year and bet on myself and then be a free agent next year." The Chargers picked Isaiah Spiller in last year's draft but could they be in the RB market early in this year's draft?
- Serious accusations against Cardinals owner. Former team VP Terry McDonough against Cardinals owner Michael Bidwell, accusing him of cheating, discrimination and harassment. Bad news for the team at the start of a rebuild with a new GM and head coach.
- John Elway no longer part of Broncos front office. The Hall of Fame QB and former decision-maker had his consultant contract run out and by new Broncos ownership.