New York Daily News
GET READY TO MOCK & ROLL!
Leonard’s draft breakdown: Wilson to Jets, Giants get Heisman winner
The NFL Draft is still three weeks away, but the rumor mill is buzzing about how the first round might shake out on April 29. So the Daily News will be publishing a mock draft each week leading up to the draft based on a combination of what we’re hearing and what fits we like for certain players and teams.
The idea will be to try and predict the top 32 picks in our final mock the week of the actual draft.
For now, here is our first stab on how the board will fall, complete with projected trades:
1. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: TREVOR LAWRENCE, QB, CLEMSON
Urban Meyer took this job because he was inheriting this pick and player.
2. JETS: ZACH WILSON, QB, BYU
Sam Darnold’s trade to Carolina solidifies GM Joe Douglas’ plans at two.
3. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (VIA DOLPHINS): MAC JONES, QB, ALABAMA
I don’t buy that Kyle Shanahan will retain Jimmy Garoppolo. He traded up to draft a reigning national champion that he believes can start this year.
4. TRADE: DENVER BRONCOS (FROM FALCONS): TREY LANCE, QB, NORTH DAKOTA STATE
New GM George Paton charges up the board from No. 9 for a dynamic young talent that Denver hopes can be their answer to the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes.
5. CINCINNATI BENGALS: JA’MARR CHASE, WR, LSU
QB Joe Burrow gets his wish and reunites with his explosive former Tigers wideout.
6. MIAMI DOLPHINS (VIA EAGLES): KYLE PITTS, TE, FLORIDA
GM Chris Grier traded back into the Top 10 for a playmaker like this.
7. DETROIT LIONS: PENEI SEWELL, OT, OREGON
Sewell is the best offensive lineman in this draft and will bite off knee caps if that’s what new coach Dan Campbell asks.
8. CAROLINA PANTHERS: JAYCEE HORN, CB, SOUTH CAROLINA
The trade for Sam Darnold rules out a QB. Matt Rhule gets a well-rounded stud at a premier position of need.
9. TRADE: ATLANTA FALCONS (FROM BRONCOS): PATRICK SURTAIN II, CB, ALABAMA
New GM Terry Fontenot trades back from No. 4 to acquire more assets to rebuild a barren roster. His reward is the most complete player remaining on the board.
10. DALLAS COWBOYS: RASHAWN SLATER, OT, NORTHWESTERN
Dallas gets important insurance and versatility up front to reinforce Dak Prescott’s protection.
11. GIANTS: DEVONTA SMITH, WR, ALABAMA
Dave Gettleman and Joe Judge are prepared to go LB, CB or OL, too, until the Heisman Trophy winner falls into their laps. John Mara wants to put fans back in the stands. This pick does that.
12. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (VIA DOLPHINS): MICAH PARSONS, LB, PENN STATE
Howie Roseman addresses a long-ignored position in his new defensive scheme with a sideline-to-sideline weapon who also rushes the passer.
13. L.A. CHARGERS: JAYLEN WADDLE, WR, ALABAMA
GM Tom Telesco is prepared to take a tackle, but he can’t pass on adding the electric Waddle to Justin Herbert’s arsenal.
14. TRADE: WASHINGTON (FROM
VIKINGS): JUSTIN FIELDS, QB, OHIO STATE
Fields is not Dwayne Haskins. Washington is a QB away, and it trades over the Patriots from No. 19 to land him.
15. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: ZAVEN COLLINS, LB, TULSA
Bill Belichick explores trades up and down the board, but when Collins falls in his lap, he doesn’t think twice. This physical specimen will thrive for a decade-plus at the heart of New England’s D.
16. ARIZONA CARDINALS: NAJEE HARRIS, RB, ALABAMA
Steve Keim would like to trade back, but he doesn’t trust the Dolphins at 18. He stays and gives Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray a major weapon for their thin RB depth chart.
17. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS: ALIJAH VERA-TUCKER, OL, USC
Jon Gruden’s defense needs help, too, but this versatile tackle/guard helps repair Vegas’ sudden O-line teardown.
18. MIAMI DOLPHINS: JEREMIAH OWUSU-KORAMOAH, LB, NOTRE DAME
Brian Flores gets a hard-hitting, smart and versatile backer to strengthen his defense.
19. TRADE: MINNESOTA VIKINGS (FROM WASHINGFARLEY, TON): CALEB CB, VIRGINIA TECH
GM Rick Spielman trades back from No. 14. Recent arrest of 2020 first-round CB Jeff Gladney on an assault charge leads Mike Zimmer to take a chance on Farley coming off back surgery.
20. CHICAGO BEARS: CHRISTIAN DARRISAW, OT, VIRGINIA TECH
A top player at a major position of need slips to GM Ryan Pace.
21. TRADE: PITTSBURGH STEELERS (FROM COLTS): AZEEZ OJULARI, EDGE, GEORGIA
The Steelers, Ravens and Titans all can use a pass rusher with upside like Ojulari. GM Kevin Colbert comes from No. 24 and jumps Tennessee to get him.
22. TENNESSEE TITANS: GREG NEWSOME II, CB, NORTHWESTERN
The Titans could go receiver, too, but they have a need for steady corner play after moving on from both Malcolm Butler and Adoree Jackson.
23. JETS: KWITY PAYE, EDGE, MICHIGAN
New coach Robert Saleh gets a well-rounded run stopper and pass rusher with great intangibles to bolster an imposing front.
24. TRADE: INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (FROM STEELERS): LIAM EICHENBERG, OT, NOTRE DAME
Chris Ballard needs a left tackle to protect Carson Wentz after Anthony Castonzo’s retirement. Ballard isn’t picking again until No. 54. Colts LG Quenton Nelson was a home run first-round pick out of Notre Dame in 2018. And coach Frank Reich watched the Irish pro day up close. Ballard trades back from No. 21 and takes Eichenberg.
25. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: TEVEN JENKINS, OT, OKLAHOMA STATE
Franchise-tagging Cam Robinson does not preclude Urban Meyer from adding more talent and depth to protect his No. 1 overall pick.
26. CLEVELAND BROWNS: CHRISTIAN BARMORE, DT, ALABAMA
Best player available also matches a need for Andrew Berry and Kevin Stefanski.
27. BALTIMORE RAVENS: LANDON DICKERSON, OL, ALABAMA
A center who also plays guard, Dickerson comes with injury concerns, but he would be perfect in Lamar Jackson’s run-heavy scheme.
28. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: KADARIUS TONEY, WR, FLORIDA
Sean Payton addresses his defense later. He uses his first-round pick to add another toy to his offense after losing QB Drew Brees and WR Emmanuel Sanders.
29. GREEN BAY PACKERS: TERRACE MARSHALL JR., WR, LSU
GM Brian Gutekunst placates Aaron Rodgers with a rare Packers first-round receiver pick.
30. BUFFALO BILLS: JAELAN PHILLIPS, EDGE, MIAMI
GM Brandon Beane takes a chance on one of this draft’s best talents who has rebuilt his career after temporarily retiring in 2018 due to concussions.
31. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: SAM COSMI, OT, TEXAS
Keeping Patrick Mahomes upright is the key in K.C. after the releases of bookend tackles Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz.
32. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: TRAVIS ETIENNE, RB, CLEMSON
It’s just not fair. Tom Brady adds an elusive pass-catching back to his arsenal.