With 3 days left until the Panthers select their next cornerstone-hopeful player in the 1st round, I figured I would give the first round a go. Many teams are searching for quarterbacks and could trade up, with the other teams benefitting tremendously by the desperation. Let's see who grabs OSU's Justin Fields and/or other top names in the draft below.
Pick #1: QB Trevor Lawrence
This pick hasn't really been contested since the Jaguars were locked into the #1 pick. Trevor Lawrence is one of the most hyped QB prospects since Andrew Luck, and there will be lots of pressure on him to be the "savior" for Jacksonville. They're hoping he delivers.
Pick #2: QB Zach Wilson
While years in advance, it was always Justin Fields presumed to be the #2 pick behind his counterpart in Lawrence. However Zach Wilson had something to say about that. In 2020, Wilson burst onto the scene at BYU, throwing for 33 TD and only 3 INTs. Coach Saleh and GM Joe Douglas believe he is special, and pull the trigger to hopefully select their next franchise QB since Joe Namath. It's been a while New York, I know.
Pick #3: QB Mac Jones (from Dolphins via HOU)
It seems that the 49ers head coach and front office are at a standoff on who could be their franchise guy, replacing the oft-injured Jimmy Garoppolo who was always considered a game-manager. Shanahan seems to prefer the less-mobile, very accurate passer in Mac Jones, while John Lynch is secretly pining for the league's next dual-threat star in Lance or Fields. Ultimately, I feel Kyle Shanahan gets the final say in picking his guy.
Washington seems primed to take another leap forward in Ron Rivera's 2nd season at the helm, but a team can't win Superbowls without a star QB. Lance is a high-upside prospect who Washington is reportedly interested in. He could have Rivera and Co. salivating at the thought of adding him to an offensive core that already includes the likes of Antonio Gibson, Terry McLaurin, breakout player Logan Thomas, and the newly-signed Curtis Samuel. It's a no-brainer, except for considering the draft capital they'd be giving up. The Football Team will have to carefully weigh their options come Thursday.
Pick #5: WR Jamarr Chase
While many have Cincinnati grabbing the premier tackle in Penei Sewell (as they should), I get the feeling that Burrow is pounding the table pretty hard for his former LSU Tiger in Ja'Marr Chase. All things considered, Chase could be the next Julio Jones prospect who is an alpha receiver for QB1. Let's hope Burrow can get the ball to him before he's dragged down by division rival TJ Watt or Myles Garrett.
Pick #6: WR Jaylen Waddle (via PHI)
Flores' staff decides to give Tua a weapon in Waddle, one of the most explosive receivers in the draft when healthy (ankle injury). The Dolphins are no strangers to injuries, picking Tagovailoa following a season in which he was recovering from a severe hip injury. Selecting Waddle would reunite him with his former teammate, and add some more excitement to the Miami offense. Tua will be thrilled to have him.
Grabbing his Oregon teammate in Sewell, Justin Herbert should be happy to be behind center with Penei protecting his blindside. After all, he was formerly relying on Sam Tevi and/or Trey Pipkins, neither of which deserve to be starting at this point in their careers. Chargers prioritize protection for their young QB.
With new GM Scott Fitterer, the Panthers have become aggressive in the offseason. This would include trades regarding Sam Darnold and Teddy Bridgewater, signing Reddick, Bouye, and other solid players to find roles on the team. However, the Panthers are far from a finished product and are eager to receive more draft capital. New England is trying to enter into the next Belichickian era, trading up for a highly touted prospect in Justin Fields. This could end up in a win-win situation for both teams assuming Darnold works out in Carolina of course. Fields landing with his mentor in Cam Newton is a nice storyline if anything.
Philadelphia picks up a new weapon for QB Jalen Hurts, reuniting him with his former teammate at Alabama.
Pick #10: TE Kyle Pitts
Jerry Jones is enamored with the high ceiling and potential of another playmaker in Dallas' offense. The only question is, who is going to play cornerback for "America's Team?"
Pick #11: OT Rashawn Slater
While they may be giving Andrew Thomas another shot after improving down the stretch of his rookie season, the Giants still have holes at the tackle spot. Solder has been extremely overpaid for one good season, and Slater would be more than suitable for this spot in New York. Gettleman gets another Hog Molly!
Denver gets a good deal, able to trade back and still get their guy. Patrick Surtain has all the tools to become a top tier corner in this league. This was their one weakness other than QB but the Broncos seem content for now.
If Dan Campbell wants a player that will send shivers down your spine, Parsons could be that guy. A hard-hitting, versatile defensive chess piece, he can be a Kyle Van Noy type of player for Detroit.
Pick #14: OT Christian Darrisaw
The Vikings decide to invest in their offensive line with Darrisaw. This is a great value pick for Minnesota, and should have their left tackle for the foreseeable future.
Panthers get a massive win with this trade back scenario, selecting their next lockdown corner after moving on from James Bradberry. This young defense is coming together in Carolina.
Pick #16: OL Alijah Vera-Tucker
Kyler Murray is a mobile quarterback but he still needs protection. Vera-Tucker is a very versatile offensive lineman who has played both tackle and guard in his career at USC. Cardinals do not pick the sexiest position but they know that it's important to build around their franchise QB.
Pick #17: LB Jeremiah Onwusu-Koramoah
The Raiders have lacked stability and skill at the linebacker position for a while now, and Owusu-Koramoah would be a cornerstone for the franchise. JOK is a chess-piece player that could be utilized in many different ways for Las Vegas.
Pick #18: DE Jaelan Phillips
Jaelan Phillips is the most polished pass rusher in the class, and Miami is lacking in that department. Phillips is a high upside player who could develop into a star on Brian Flores defense.
Atlanta hasn't had a consistent pass rusher since maybe Adrian Clayborn? Even then, the Falcons have never had a marquee name to watch off the edge that I can remember. Paye provides them with extreme athleticism that jumps off the screen. Let's hope (for the Falcons sake) he's not a repeat of Takkarist McKinley.
Pick #20: OT Teven Jenkins
Bears need a right tackle to replace Bobby Massie who departed in free agency, yet to receive a deal to return. Jenkins is a mauler, and should help out whoever is behind center for Chicago this season.
Pick #21: EDGE Azeez Ojulari
Indianapolis has maintained a good to even great defense the past few years under Matt Eberflus, but never had a premiere pass rusher, similar to the Falcons. Jabaal Sheard is gone, so is Justin Houston. Ojulari can give the Colts that juice they've been lacking in the front four.
Pick #22: CB Greg Newsome II
Titans grab a corner after losing Malcolm Butler and Adoree Jackson. Vrabel hopes to build a young duo along with 2nd round pick Kristian Fulton.
Pick #23: CB Caleb Farley
The Jets haven't had a great corner since the days of Darrelle Revis, and Farley could bring some talent to the secondary. With news of him recovering from a back injury, Jets should be thorough with his recovery process, but Farley could be a lockdown corner if fully healthy.
Pick #24: RB Najee Harris
Steelers have struggled in the running game for the past few years, with James Conner suffering multiple injury. Letting him walk this offseason paved the way for Pittsburgh to select the talented back from Alabama.
Pick #25: S Trevon Moehrig
Jags grab a free safety to man the backend of Cullen's defense. Jacksonville needs to add talent in the safety room, and Moehrig is exactly that.
Pick #26: LB/EDGE Zaven Collins
Browns lack much of a weakness on their roster but Olivier Vernon isn't getting any younger. Zaven Collins can provide a versatile pass rushing and coverage option for Cleveland. Props to Andrew Berry for constructing this roster!
Pick #27: WR Rashod Bateman
Ravens have had a hard time convincing top receivers to travel to Baltimore because of the Greg Roman offense. This forces them to focus on adding pass catchers through the draft. Rashod Bateman brings playmaking and size to the room that should hope to break the Ravens offense wide open.
Pick #28: DL Christian Barmore
Saints lost Sheldon Rankins and Malcolm Brown on the inside, so they add talent along the defensive line in an attempt to replenish their losses this offseason.
Pick #29: WR Kadarius Toney
Aaron Rodgers has never been given a receiver in the 1st round during his career with the Packers. Toney is a twitchy athlete who is a nice complement to Davante Adams.
Pick #30: EDGE Jayson Oweh
Bills need to add more athleticism to the defensive linemen room. Oweh is a bendy player who has length and, most importantly, high upside.
Pick #31: DE Gregory Rousseau
Ravens have Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe who are 34 & 31 respectively. Gregory Rousseau is young and was once considered a top edge prospect. Though experiencing a free fall, it doesn't take away from his immense promise as a player.
Pick #32: OT Samuel Cosmi
Tampa Bay returns all their starters but Donovan Smith is getting up there in age. The rich get richer. You can never have enough offensive linemen.
What do you think of this mock? Leave your comments down below.