As with all mocks, these projections are based on what I believe the NFL teams would do in a given situation. It does not necessarily match what I would do with the same scenario.

The “What I would do” mock draft version drops two weeks before the NFL draft in April.

Late note: This mock was nearly complete on Tuesday when the Russell Wilson/Broncos trade went down. That obviously sent some significant ripple effects that delayed the release and caused some furious re-working.

  1. Jaguars: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama - It’s still entirely possible the Jaguars select either NC State’s Ikem Ekwonu or Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson here, but there’s something about seeing Neal in person that makes it very difficult to envision passing on him. A guy weighing 337 pounds isn’t supposed to look as svelte or chiseled as Neal, and his game tape largely backs it up. I don’t believe the Jaguars using the franchise tag on Cam Robinson changes the choice.

  2. Lions: Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan - The Lions are moving to more of a 4-man base defense, which suits Hutchinson as a power-to-speed DE pass rusher. His athletic testing was outstanding. Cannot rule out Travon Walker here.

  3. Texans: Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame. Hamilton has range, smarts and power--all things the Texans value tremendously. I’m still led to believe Hutchinson is their preference, but if he’s gone Houston will not just default to the next pass rusher as some expect them to do.

  4. Jets: Travon Walker, DE, Georgia. Big enough to play inside, athletic enough to play outside and with considerable developmental upside, Walker was one of the Combine’s big winners. The Jets pounce on a potential bedrock piece for Robert Saleh’s defense. If Kyle Hamilton is still around it’s an easy fit too.

  5. Giants: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State. The new Giants regime hopes to solve an old regime problem by fixing the offensive line and subsequently extracting more out of Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones. If Ekwonu and Neal are both gone--and they could be--pencil in Charles Cross here. Make sure that pencil has an eraser though…

  6. 6. Panthers: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa. The buzz on Penning is breathtaking and legitimate. NFL teams love his power, his length and his snarl. The Panthers don’t appear to be hiding their desire to overhaul the OL very well. Put those hands together and it’s a draft fit.

  7. Giants: Sauce Gardner, CB, Cincinnati. One of my bigger takeaways from my time in Indy was just how clearcut Gardner is as the top CB in the class. Might not be the biggest need for the Giants here, but hard to ignore how he can help their defense too.

  8. Falcons: Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State. Another player whose stock has soared since the playing ended, Johnson’s ability to impact plays outside of his considerable pass-rush prowess give him a leg up on Kayvon Thibodeaux here. Not difficult to see the Falcons look WR here too.

  9. Seahawks: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty. The Seahawks jumpstart the franchise rebuild with the QB who has the highest ceiling in this class. Acquiring Drew Lock gives them a bridge starter, too. Seattle certainly has the ammo to trade up as high as they feel the need to secure Willis…or whatever they might want. I had the Broncos taking Kenny Pickett here prior to the trade.

  10. Jets: Zion Johnson, G, Boston College. Is this really high for a guard? Absolutely. But the Jets know they must do better around Zach Wilson, and Johnson is widely regarded as a can’t-miss prospect that the NFL loves. If the Jets address OL with the earlier pick, the projection here shifts to Kayvon Thibodeaux.

  11. Commanders: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh. Pickett is the most NFL-ready passer in this class, and he joins a Washington football team that can compete right away with better QB play. A trade out here would not surprise me, but we’re not projecting trades this far out from the draft. Pickett’s small hands are a big deal, fair or not, and could cause Washington to opt for Matt Corral here if they force the issue at QB.

  12. Vikings: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon. A lot later than expected, but Thibodeaux has the potential to make everyone above here who passes on him pay for it. The Vikings can take that kind of risk/reward with a new regime that must improve the pass defense. Might not be the Vikings’ biggest need but sometimes teams need to hit the curveballs.

  13. Browns: George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue. The physical Karlaftis is a plug-and-play replacement for Jadaveon Clowney on the opposite side from Myles Garrett. I’ve preached WR--specifically Treylon Burks--in this spot for months but I came away from Indy believing the Browns will roll at the deeper WR position later in the draft.

  14. Ravens: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia. One of the Combine’s biggest freaks, Davis is an exceptional athlete with some exceptional tape to back it up. The Ravens are losing quite a bit off the defensive interior and the chance to get a premium replacement should entice Baltimore. Charles Cross makes a lot of sense here too.

  15. 15. Eagles: Drake London, WR, USC. The first WR off the board is the biggest of the top-rated wideouts. London has the big-man mentality as a wideout even though he measured considerably smaller than expected in Indy. He’s a natural complement to Devonta Smith in Philadelphia.

  16. Eagles: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington. The NFL likes McDuffie more than the pre-Combine buzz, that was made clear to me in Indy. The Eagles can insert him as an instant starter opposite Darius Slay with the ability to mix/match coverage. The concerns over McDuffie’s arm length are valid but overstated based on what I gathered.

  17. Chargers: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah. Lloyd instantly upgrades the between-the-tackles defense with a rangy, tough presence. His underwhelming Combine athletic performance contrasts a consistent, impact playmaker on film. This should be considered Jordan Davis’ draft floor.

  18. Saints: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State. Wilson’s smooth speed and playmaking ability have to intrigue the Saints. A lot of different ways New Orleans can go here, including Matt Corral or Kenyon Green. I know one Saints “insider” who is insistent they’ll take David Ojabo in this scenario, too. Read as: nobody knows what the Saints are going to do here at this point.

  19. Eagles: David Ojabo, EDGE, Michigan. Ojabo needs a lot of technical work, but the athletic tools he showed in Indy--and in Ann Arbor--make him a worthy project for a “bonus” pick for the Eagles. I do not buy the alleged interest in a QB here, though I reserve the right to be wrong on that front.

  20. Steelers: Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State. Lower than I expected to slot Cross when I sat down to create this mock, who could very easily go to the Giants in the top 7. But the board fell weirdly and the Steelers take advantage. I know one team’s scouting evaluation (before coaching intervention) has Cross as OT1 in this very good class. If either Malik Willis or Kenny Pickett are still on the board, they figure to take precedence--especially Willis.

  21. Patriots: Daxton Hill, S, Michigan. Hill’s amazing Combine is getting overlooked. You can bet Bill Belichick noted a field-smart safety with his coverage ability and supreme athletic potential. Patriots fans should be hopeful a big-play wideout is in the mix, though in this draft class that can wait a round or two.

  22. Raiders: Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia. What Bulldog linemates Jordan Davis and Travon Walker did in workouts sort of buries Wyatt’s own impressive turn in Indy. There might not be a returning playoff team with a more obvious need than Las Vegas and defensive line--even greater than the Bengals and OL help. Seriously, look at their returning depth chart. Hard to ignore such an obvious fit.

  23. Cardinals: Derek Stingley Jr, CB, LSU. Yes this is a precipitous drop from pre-Combine mocks. But there were two buzzwords that dominated the conversation about Stingley even leading into Indianapolis: Lisfranc and complacent. Neither is good. He’s still a first-rounder on the considerable skill he showed in 2019 and the Cardinals can sorely use that Stingley or even something close to it.

  24. Cowboys: Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa. This was a very buzzy connection amongst the Dallas media in Indy, though a divisive one as well. Linderbaum has very real size limitations but also exceptional technique and results, an the Cowboys have an acknowledged deperate need at the pivot position. Treylon Burks would be a popular pick here too.

  25. Bills: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas. Burks didn’t have a great Combine, but what he does on film sure looks like it would blend superbly with Josh Allen and this Bills offense. I had Andrew Booth slotted here but erased it out. Twice.

  26. Titans: Boye Mafe, EDGE, Minnesota. I’m going against the consensus who project OL here in part because I think Tyler Linderbaum is gone. The Titans are also losing Harold Landry and sorely need to reinvigorate the pass rush. Mafe’s exceptional Senior Bowl and Combine elevate him into the picture here and he’s a great scheme fit for a rush OLB.

  27. Buccaneers: Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M. Green can play either center or guard, or really tackle too. The only problem for the Buccaneers is that he can only play one of them at a time. No-brainer pick the way this projection fell to Tampa Bay.

  28. Packers: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State. A lot of different ways the Packers can go here and make their fans happy. Making Aaron Rodgers happy by giving him a great route-runner with sticky hands like Olave offers is probably the most prudent way to go. It’s hard to ignore the inordinate attention they paid to Travis Jones in Mobile, however…

  29. Dolphins: Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan. League feedback on Raimann is all over the place. The Austrian is a 25-year-old converted TE who didn’t face a single NFL rusher in the MAC, but his movement skills and toughness--both physical and mental--are top-notch. He’s an instant starter in Miami.

  30. Chiefs: Lewis Cine, S, Georgia. Drafting more for immediate need than best value here would send Cine, another freakshly athletic member of the Georgia defense, to Kansas City. Can easily see them taking Andrew Booth here too.

  31. Bengals: Tyler Smith, OL, Tulsa. A player I still have yet to even begin to evaluate, the buzz on Smith even before his Combine workout is too high to ignore. Northern Kentucky might riot if the Bengals don’t take OL help here.

  32. Lions: George Pickens, WR, Georgia. Could be Jameson Williams, could be Jaquan Brisker, could even be Matt Corral. But Pickens so perfectly fits what new Lions OC Ben Johnson described as his ideal wideout during a Combine media breakout session that he gets the nod here.

Second Round

  1. Jaguars: Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson
  2. Lions: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
  3. Jets: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
  4. Giants: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
  5. Texans: Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State
  6. Jets: Kenneth Walker, RB, Michigan State
  7. Bears: Travis Jones, DT, UConn
  8. Seahawks: Chad Muma, LB, Wyoming
  9. Seahawks: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
  10. Commanders: Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State
  11. Falcons: Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma
  12. Browns: Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan
  13. Ravens: Tariq Woolen, CB, UTSA
  14. Vikings: Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn
  15. Colts: Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
  16. Chargers: Sean Rhyan, OL, UCLA
  17. Saints: Jalen Pitre, DB, Baylor
  18. Dolphins: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
  19. Eagles: Christian Harris, LB, Alabama
  20. Steelers: Troy Andersen, LB, Montana State
  21. Raiders: Calvin Austin, WR, Memphis
  22. Patriots: Cameron Thomas, EDGE, San Diego State
  23. Cardinals: DeMarvin Leal, DT, Texas A&M
  24. Cowboys: Sam Willliams, EDGE, OIe Miss
  25. Bills: Logan Hall, EDGE, Houston
  26. Falcons: David Bell, WR, Purdue
  27. Packers: Leo Chenal, LB, Wisconsin
  28. Buccaneers: Jelani Woods, TE, Virginia
  29. 49ers: Myjai Sanders, EDGE, Cincinnati
  30. Chiefs: Dane Belton, S, Iowa
  31. Bengals: Cole Strange, OL, Chattanooga
  32. Broncos: Damone Clark, LB, LSU