Monday night was a coronation of what we have all expected since at least November. Joe Burreaux led LSU to a dominant national championship victory over a Clemson team that was simply overmatched. JaMarr Chase made a real case to be a top-5 pick in the 2021 NFL draft in the process. There have been few teams in sports in general that were ever more fun to watch offensively than LSU this year.
After watching another great game, I couldn’t wait to dive into another mock draft. A lot has changed even in the past two weeks since my last mock draft due to all the player declarations. Even beyond that, my opinion on players has changed with the chance to go back and watch more film. With college football season officially over, it is time to fully shift our attention to the NFL draft process. This current order is according to Tankathon.
1. Cincinnati Bengals (2-14) – Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Joe Burrow is far from a perfect quarterback prospect. However, he has the mobility, football IQ and arm talent to be a solid starter in the NFL and get Cincinnati back into playoff contention. Everyone once in a while, he makes a play that is flat out special.
2. Washington (3-13) – Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
I don’t care who will be running the Washington front office. Even with a decent front seven, Chase Young is definitely the best option. He has the physical tools to be a Hall of Fame pass rusher.
3. Detroit Lions (3-12-1) – Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
This is where the draft gets really interesting. Detroit could realistically trade down from this spot with a team needing a quarterback. If they don’t trade down, tabbing the best corner in this draft is a great move. Jeff Okudah would immediately start for this Lions defense.
4. New York Giants (4-12) – Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson
Dave Gettleman is known for taking offensive and defensive linemen, but he should break that trend given how talented Isaiah Simmons is. He would provide the Giants with a defensive playmaker capable of lining up all over the place. New York’s defense could use the help as well.
5. Miami Dolphins (5-11) – Tua Tagovailoa, QB Alabama
He has entered the draft, which means he must have some good news regarding his recovery. If you put the injury history aside, Tua Tagovailoa has the tape, experience and intangibles to be the first overall pick. That injury history will probably make him the second quarterback drafted, but he should stay in the top five.
6. Los Angeles Chargers (5-11) – Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
L.A. desperately needs a future quarterback, but I think the Chargers will go the veteran route at the position and bolster the offensive line instead. Andrew Thomas is a great run blocker who moves well in pass protection. He also faced top-tier competition playing for three years in the SEC.
7. Carolina Panthers (5-11) – Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Who will start at quarterback next year for Carolina? With Matt Rhule joining the Panthers, odds are he will want to find a young quarterback to work with. Justin Herbert has the physical traits, from arm strength to mobility, to be a successful starter. He needs some refining, but Rhule can help get him there.
8. Arizona Cardinals (5-10-1) – CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
I still think Jerry Jeudy is the best receiver in this class, but I know there is a connection between Kyler Murray and CeeDee Lamb. Lamb fights through contact and uses his hands well to snag the ball out of the air. His route running might need some refining coming out of Lincoln Riley’s wide open system, but he should eventually take over as the top receiver when Larry Fitzgerald wraps up his Hall of Fame career.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-10) – A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
With Yannick Ngakoue slated for free agency, Jacksonville is going to need another disruptive edge rusher. A.J. Epenesa is about as good a replacement as the Jaguars could hope for. He is a perfect fit for a 4-3 system. If he can continue to build on his second half of the 2019 season, he will be an impact player.
10. Cleveland Browns (6-10) – Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
Cleveland needs to do a much better job keeping Baker Mayfield upright. New coach Kevin Stefanski will be tasked with trying to get Mayfield back on track. That job will be much easier with a potential franchise tackle on the roster. Jedrick Wills is an elite pass blocker who should be able to anchor down the left side of the line.
11. New York Jets (7-9) – Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Tristan Wirfs could be a starting left tackle in the NFL. That is his ceiling. His floor is likely as a starting caliber guard or right tackle. Truth is, the Jets could use an upgrade at every position along the offensive line. Sam Darnold needs more protection and Wirfs should open some holes for Le’Veon Bell in the run game.
12. Las Vegas Raiders (7-9) – Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Oakland Las Vegas is in desperate need of a No. 1 receiver and Jerry Jeudy might just fall into their lap. If Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb or Henry Ruggs is here, I fully expect the Raiders to tab a receiver. Especially with another first round to work with, this feels like an easy decision.
13. Indianapolis Colts (7-9) – Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama
There are already rumors swirling about the Colts trading down, but it would be hard to pass up a player with Henry Ruggs’ speed. He was the most dynamic playmaker in college football this season and is more than just a straight-line runner.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9) – Grant Delpit, S, LSU
Tampa Bay could be interested in a quarterback, but that secondary needs loads of help. Grant Delpit would give Todd Bowles the type of player he had in Jamal Adams when he coached in New York.
15. Denver Broncos (7-9) – Tyler Biadasz, OL, Wisconsin
While receiver is certainly an option here, Denver looks to continue to build its offensive line in front of Drew Lock. Tyler Biadasz is the best interior lineman in this class. He could slot in at guard or center from day one.
16. Atlanta Falcons (7-9) – Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
With no good edge rushers available, Atlanta finds a run stuffing option with pass rushing potential. In watching Derrick Brown’s film, I think he has a bit of ways to go as a pass rusher still. It’s hard to justify drafting an interior defensive linemen who doesn’t generate a ton of pressure in the top 10. At 16, his potential and talent make him a great value.
17. Dallas Cowboys (8-8) – Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina
Unlike Derrick Brown, Javon Kinlaw has put together some solid tape as a pass rusher. He is not as physically dominant, but should help the Cowboys defensive line right away. He would be a menace playing alongside DeMarcus Lawrence.
18. Miami Dolphins via Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8) – Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
Miami tabs its franchise quarterback with the fifth pick, but the Dolphins still need more people for him to throw to. Even after locking up DeVante Parker, Tee Higgins would be a great fit to run alongside him. They have slightly similar play styles, but would offer Tua a pair of great downfield targets.
19. Las Vegas Raiders via Chicago Bears (8-8) – Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
Las Vegas needs help along the middle of its defense and the best solution for that at this spot is grabbing a speedy linebacker. Kenneth Murray is a decisive playmaker who would immediately give the Raiders someone to cover tight ends and running backs while making plays in the backfield.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars via Los Angeles Rams (9-7) – Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
Jacksonville continues to reshape its defense by grabbing the best corner left on the board. Kristian Fulton is a physical presence who has the chops to turn into a starting-caliber corner. LSU sends a few great defensive backs to the NFL every year, so you can trust his pedigree.
21. Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) – Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Philadelphia will get healthier at receiver and can afford to wait until the second round to draft one. Instead, the Eagles grab a big-bodied corner who projects as a future starter. Trevon Diggs has the athleticism and size to help what has been a terrible Philly secondary.
22. Buffalo Bills (10-6) – Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
John Brown and Cole Beasley have performed admirably this season, but Buffalo needs to find a player who can be a number one receiver. Justin Jefferson benefited from playing with Joe Burrow in a pass-happy offense, but he has the size, speed and ball skills to become the Bills’ top option within a year or two.
23. New England Patriots (12-4) – Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
New England bowed out of the postseason after managing a meager 13 points against Tennessee. All season long, the Patriots have needed a tight end to help stretch the field and open up the offense. Cole Kmet should be able to do that from his first day with the team.
24. New Orleans Saints (13-3) – Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado
It was another heartbreaker for the Saints, but rather than look to rebuild, I think New Orleans will continue to get the most out of Drew Brees’ final few seasons. Adding another receiver to play across from Michael Thomas has to be high on the to-do list. Laviska Shenault Jr. is a proven playmaker with a skill set I believe Sean Payton can maximize.
25. Minnesota Vikings (10-6) – Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
Bryce Hall was one of the best corners in the country before going down with an ankle injury. He is big enough with good enough ball skills to aid a depleted Vikings’ secondary early on. I believe he has the potential to become Minnesota’s top corner down the line.
26. Miami Dolphins via Houston Texans (11-5) – Austin Jackson, OT, USC
Given Miami’s overall lack of talent on the roster, the Dolphins are probably still a year away from really competing in the AFC East. That gives them time to develop a player like Austin Jackson. The USC left tackle is a bit raw, but has shown flashes of franchise tackle potential. With a bit of patience, he might just become the Dolphins’ long-term starter.
27. Seattle Seahawks (11-5) – Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State
Jadeveon Clowney and Ezekiel Ansah are free agents this offseason. That means it’s time for Seattle to address its pass rush. Yetur Gross-Matos is a high-motor player with plenty of pass rushing moves to go to. He is close to be a finished product, but could use a bit more polish before being a double-digit sack option at the next level.
28. Baltimore Ravens (14-2) – Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama
After a shocking exit from the playoffs, Baltimore has very few holes to fill. Matt Judon is a pending free agent and regardless, the Ravens could afford to add another pass rusher. Terrell Lewis impressed in his return from injury this season and should contribute right away.
29. Tennessee Titans (9-7) – Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State
Somehow, Tennessee is still alive after knocking off New England and Baltimore. The Titans did beat the Chiefs earlier this year, so anything is possible, but looking to their future, the Titans should continue to stock up on pass rushers. Curtis Weaver was dominant in his three years at Boise State and should translate well to the NFL.
30. Green Bay Packers (13-3) – Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
Green Bay is lacking a player who can take the top off the defense and can be electric in the open field. Jalen Reagor should do exactly that and give Aaron Rodgers a speedy target. Reagor brings a blend of athleticism and aggression that make him a fun addition to this offense.
31. Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) – CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
Kansas City’s defense is improved from what we were accustomed to, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t use a bit more young talent. CJ Henderson has a bunch of physical traits teams look for in a corner. He needs to work on his press technique and improve his tackling, but his speed and hand usage make him a player worth taking here to develop.
32. San Francisco 49ers (13-3) – Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
If the NFL valued the safety position more, Xavier McKinney would probably go in the top 20. As it stands, he would slot in very nicely for a San Francisco 49ers team in need of an upgrade at the position. His physicality and experience make a great option to start right away.
33. Cincinnati Bengals – Michael Pittman, WR, USC
34. Indianapolis Colts via Washington – Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
35. Detroit Lions – K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
36. New York Giants – Josh Jones, OT, Houston
37. Los Angeles Chargers – Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
38. Carolina Panthers – Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
39. Miami Dolphins – Ashtyn Davis, S, California
40. Arizona Cardinals – Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame
41. Cleveland Browns – Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio State
42. Jacksonville Jaguars – Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Michigan
43. Chicago Bears via Las Vegas Raiders – Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn
44. Indianapolis Colts – Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
45. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Trey Adams, OT, Washington
46. Denver Broncos – Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
47. Atlanta Falcons – D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
48. New York Jets – Bradlee Anae, EDGE, Utah
49. Pittsburgh Steelers – Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue
50. Chicago Bears – Hunter Bryant, TE, Washington
51. Dallas Cowboys – Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
52. Los Angeles Rams – John Simpson, G, Clemson
53. Philadelphia Eagles – KJ Hamler, WR, Penn State
54. Buffalo Bills – Zach Baun, EDGE, Wisconsin
55. Atlanta Falcons via New England Patriots – Jonathan Greenard, EDGE, Florida
56. Miami Dolphins via New Orleans Saints – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
57. Houston Texans – Justin Mandubuike, DL, Texas A&M
58. Minnesota Vikings – Gabriel Davis, WR, UCF
59. Seattle Seahawks – Cameron Dantzler, CB, Mississippi State
60. Baltimore Ravens – Bryan Edwards, WR, South Carolina
61. Tennessee Titans – Matt Hennessey, OL, Temple
62. Green Bay Packers – Jared Pickney, TE, Vanderbilt
63. Kansas City Chiefs – Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
64. Seattle Seahawks via San Francisco 49ers – Lucas Niang, OT, TCU
For more NFL Draft coverage, check out the Aftermath’s NFL Draft Podcast, with new episodes every Thursday.