1) Chicago Bears - QB Caleb Williams, USC

As I’ve said all along, Fields was traded clearing the way for Caleb Williams to be a Bear.

2) Washington Commanders - QB Jayden Daniels, LSU

There’s still some debate about which QB Washington is going to take, but I can guarantee you 99% it’s going to be Jayden Daniels. You can debate the order for these guys all you want, but as far as the NFL sees it Caleb is the #1 with a bullet and Daniels is far and away #2. There’s a very large gap for most NFL teams between Daniels and Maye/McCarthy. You can write this one in ink.

3) New England Patriots - OT Joe Alt, Notre Dame

And here’s where I am once again going to deviate from the mainstream, but I firmly believe I am ahead of the game here as usual. Now I’ve talked about from the very beginning of this process that the right move for New England is to pass on the QB and start fixing their offensive line, but that’s not my argument here. No, because if that was the case you would see New England trade down with someone else trying to move up for a QB. We’ve already heard them say they are interested in doing this. 

But now I believe they aren’t going to trade. Why? Because the league is not in love with Maye and McCarthy the way the media has led everyone to believe. They like them. They do not love them, not the way they love the top 2. New England won’t trade this pick before draft day though, because they have to wait and see if by some miracle Washington passes on Daniels. They won’t and then New England will be desperate to move down but find no takers. Nobody is paying three 1st round picks plus extra for McCarthy (who is fine but doesn’t have a high ceiling) and Maye (who is a massive project…more on that later). Keep in mind these descriptions are purely from the NFL’s perspective and not necessarily my own. What I think doesn’t matter one bit. So the only choice remaining is whether the Patriots want Marvin Harrison or Joe Alt. Harrison grades higher I’m sure, but the Patriots can find good receivers later. They cannot find a plug and play 10 year offensive tackle like Joe Alt. I wouldn’t be surprised if Harrison was the pick though.

4) Arizona Cardinals - WR Marvin Harrison, Ohio St

Arizona has announced to the world loud and clear that they would like to trade down, and of course the media is lapping it up because they are convinced every team is so desperate for QB’s that they will do anything and everything to get just any old one. Except that’s not how the NFL ever works, and we see this all the time. Yeah, someone will reach for Mac Jones at 15. But they aren’t reaching for him at 3 or 4. And they aren’t going to reach for these two remaining QBs either. I will explain more about them when I get to their slots, but suffice it to say for now that the league is not over the moon about them. So the Cardinals are likely stuck at 4 and have to do the thing they have been linked to for 6 months…draft Marvin Harrison.

5) Minnesota Vikings (trade) - QB JJ McCarthy, Michigan

Finally we get to the spot that makes the most sense for a trade up. The people that speculate about QBs going 1-2-3 and even 1-2-3-4 are making the assumption that the is just so desperate they are ok with giving up whatever it takes to take any halfway decent QB, but that’s not the way the league actually operates and it should be obvious since we see this same speculation every year and it never happens. Did half the teams in the league trade up to 4 and 5 to take Fields and Mac Jones in 2021? No they did not because neither of those QBs was worth it in the NFL’s evaluation. Ditto McCarthy and Maye this year. So Minnesota trades up ahead of the Giants who would be happy to take McCarthy, and they don’t even have to give up their second 1st round pick this year.

Everyone is going to be shocked and say I’m crazy for not having Maye over McCarthy, but I’m telling you the NFL, in general, thinks Maye is a huge project coming out. I’ll talk more about him in a minute, but I think it’s incredibly likely at this point that McCarthy goes before Maye. He’s just viewed as the safer, more ready to play prospect. The NFL sees a prospect with ok size, a good enough arm, solid mobility and elite intangibles. Think Kirk Cousins that can scramble. That’s worth trading up for!

6) New York Giants - WR Malik Nabers, LSU

The Giants miss out on McCarthy and aren’t willing to commit to someone they view as a big project in Maye. They love Odunze as well, but Nabers is just too good to pass. He’s ultra explosive and in my opinion the best receiver in the draft by a good margin. They definitely need Nabers to juice up one of the worst receiving corps in the entire league.

7) Tennessee Titans - EDGE Dallas Turner, Alabama

Everyone will say I’m crazy for this, but go look at the Tennessee roster. Teams love edge rushers more than just about anything and every team wants 3-4 good ones. All they have is Arden Key and Harold Landry. No bueno. Yes, they could use a tackle and if Joe Alt was here they might take him over Turner, but it’s even easier with him already off the board. None of the other good tackles available here can play on the left side or they might be in play. Fashanu won’t go in the top 10. He’s a media creation.

8) Atlanta Falcons - QB Drake Maye, North Carolina

I know everyone is going to say Maye will never fall to 8, but I’m here to tell you I am almost absolutely sure he will. The NFL sees a huge project with Maye. He has major mechanical issues he has to fix. He cannot play year 1 which is why there’s no way the Patriots are taking him, and most other teams won’t either. The Vikings would rather have McCarthy because while he doesn’t have Maye’s ceiling, he is a much safer bet to at least be decent. Maye has a huge bust factor written all over him. Think of him like Josh Allen coming out. Did anyone take Allen at 2 or 3? No, Buffalo waited to take him at 7 and he was more prepared to play than Maye is. The only hitch I have in this is I can see a world where the Rams sniff this out and are prepared to leapfrog Atlanta at 7 for Maye. They can stick him behind Stafford for two years while McVay develops him. The only two spots I see that work for Maye are Atlanta and the Rams because he can sit behind an established veteran until 2026 when their contracts are up. 

9) Pittsburgh Steelers (trade) - WR Rome Odunze, Washington

Chicago brought in Keenan Allen so receiver isn’t such a desperate need for them. They also need more draft picks after sending so many away. The Steelers however, really need a receiver after trading away Diontae Johnson. Odunze’s game is very similar to Drake London, a player Arthur Smith loved. Odunze is a perfect fit for what this offense wants to do. They have been aggressive trading up in the past and here they have the perfect partner in the team they have traded twice with in the past year, once for Fields and once sending Chase Claypool.

10) Philadelphia Eagles (trade) - WR Xavier Worthy, Texas

Our third straight trade and yet another one I know I will get heat for, but hear me out. First, you better believe Worthy is going much higher than the media thinks. Don’t believe the nonsense about him lasting to the end of the round. His absolute floor is 15 to the Colts. We’ve seen this multiple times in the past. Guys that run in the low 4.2s go high. John Ross and Henry Ruggs being the top examples. 

What about the Eagles trading up? They already have DeVonta Smith and AJ Brown! Well yes, but Smith is about to get paid and Brown already has a large contract that will be up in two years. They might not be able to afford him at that point. The Eagles have a ton of picks in this draft and can toss some to the Jets who are looking to get some more. They add some desperately needed speed to their offense and dare defenses to double anyone. Who do you guard if Hurts, Brown, Smith, Worthy, Barkley, and Goedert are on the field? That’s a nuclear offense and exactly the type of move Howie would make and receive huge praise for.

11) Los Angeles Chargers (trade) - OT JC Latham, Alabama

The Chargers trade down and pick the offensive tackle Harbaugh desperately wants. He wants to protect Herbert and run the ball. I previously had them going WR even before they traded Allen, but it’s obvious they don’t care about their receivers that much. They can take one later, but Harbaugh is going to run the ball and nothing is going to get in his way.

12) Denver Broncos - DT Byron Murphy, Texas

Sean Payton wants JJ McCarthy, but it’s unlikely he has enough resources to go get him. They just don’t have enough picks if they want to keep building up this weak roster. I’ll bet he uses a future pick to trade back into the early 2nd round to take Nix. He might trade down here to get more picks, but Payton doesn’t seem the type to pass up a “blue chip” player. Their run defense is quite bad and Murphy is considered the top defensive tackle in this class. He profiles closely to Sheldon Rankins who Payton took while he was in New Orleans.

13) Las Vegas Raiders - CB Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo

Fans want a QB and I imagine they’ll get one at some point, but it’s very unlikely they get one in the 1st round. They have too many other holes to deal with and can roll with Aidan O’Connell and Gardner Minshew for a year. 

I’m surprised so many in the media don’t realize how badly Vegas wants a cornerback. It has to be at the top of their list. They need a starter across from Nate Hobbs. Terrion Arnold was a common pick here before the draft, but I said all along I expect Quinyon Mitchell will go higher than Arnold because he’s a much faster player. The combine justified that view. 

14) New Orleans Saints - OT Taliese Fuaga, Oregon St

The Saints have sold out the last couple of years thinking they were just a player or two away from a Superbowl and it’s gotten them absolutely nowhere. They again have cap issues, very few draft picks from moving up in previous years, and to top it all off they now have the oldest team in the league and several holes opening up all at once. This situation is looking uglier by the day. 

By far the Saints biggest needs are on the offensive and defensive lines. They are going to have to bring in multiple players on both sides. Offensive line arguably has more questions because Trevor Penning has struggled to develop and Ryan Ramczyk has injury issues that might force him to retire early, although he looks ok for this year. New Orleans can take Fuaga now and plug him in at guard then move him to tackle when Ramczyk is done.

15) Indianapolis Colts - WR Brian Thomas, LSU

Previously I thought a big, athletic corner was a great option here, but Indy’s defensive back room is already very young. I think they’ll target a vet to help out there instead. The team has also been shouting from the mountaintops that they want to get more explosive on offense. A 6’3” receiver with 4.3 speed and ridiculous hops should qualify as explosive. If Xavier Worthy is still on the board I expect he’ll be the pick. Steichen wants this offense to go vertical and either of these receivers will help him do it.

16) Seattle Seahawks - TE Brock Bowers, Georgia

This one may feel weird to a lot of people, but it makes sense if you think in NFL terms. Do they have a huge hole at guard? Yes. Does that mean they have to take a guard here? Absolutely not. You can easily fill guard later in the draft with a solid starter and even pick up someone off the street this summer. That’s what the Rams did last year and they went from arguably the worst interior line to the best basically overnight. Seattle is set on the defensive line. There’s no linebacker or safety worth taking here. The top 5 receivers are off the board. They possibly could have moved up for Maye, but they don’t have many picks to do it. That just leaves Bowers who is likely to still be available because he’s undersized and the NFL rarely takes TE’s high in the draft. In addition, the new OC comes from Washington where they ran a high percentage of 2 TE looks on offense. Bowers can pair with Noah Fant to give them some excellent matchups.

17) Jacksonville Jaguars - CB Nate Wiggins, Clemson

The Jaguars have screamed from the rooftops that they want to get bigger and more physical on defense, particularly at cornerback which is why I’ve had Terrion Arnold here for a while. Wiggins is thin and not the greatest tackler, so I naturally just plugged in the guy that sounds like he would fit that description in Arnold. But the more I thought about it, the more I think it will be Wiggins after all. First of all, he’s considered the best pure man coverage corner in the draft and fits the scheme similarly to Tyson Campbell. Second, he actually allows much fewer yards after the catch than Arnold shockingly. And thirdly, I’ll sound like a broken record, but Wiggins is much, much faster than Arnold and that absolutely matters to NFL people, especially if the grades on two players are close. They will typically go with the fast guy. I think in this case they choose Wiggins over Arnold.

18) Cincinnati Bengals - OG/C Graham Barton, Duke

I am not at all confident in this, but call it a gut feeling. I know the Bengals would greatly prefer to draft a defensive tackle or an offensive tackle here, but I just don’t think there will be a player graded highly enough for them to take at 18. It’s possible they reach on those positions or my projections are off for sure. But I suspect Barton will go much higher than the media thinks. He’s big, athletic, polished, smart, tough, and can play every position on the line. Guys like that get drafted very highly. They can plug him in at any spot on the interior line and get an instant upgrade. It might not be ideal, but it’s a solid pick.

19) Los Angeles Rams - EDGE Laiatu Latu, UCLA

If the Rams can’t or don’t jump for Maye then Latu is an excellent consolation prize as the best pass rusher in the draft sitting there for them at 19. It’s possible he goes a bit earlier, but teams tend to think he’s not fast enough to be an elite edge rusher. There are a few exceptions though so it’s possible he goes a few picks earlier. But here the Rams snatch him up and add another great piece to their young defense. This helps take the sting out of Aaron Donald’s retirement.

20) Chicago Bears (trade) - EDGE Jared Verse, Florida St

The Bears trade down for some much needed draft picks and still get their guy at 20. Keenan Allen filled their receiver need, and now Verse can team up with Montez Sweat to rush the passer. A lot of people think Verse is a top 10 pick, but that is highly unlikely. He’s a pure power rusher and quite stiff. Guys like that get drafted around the 20-25 range.

21) Green Bay Packers (trade) - OT Troy Fautanu, Washington

The Dolphins seem to be drooling after the edge rushers, but I’m not sure any of the top 3 will get to them. They are a prime candidate to trade down if they miss out, and here I have the Packers jumping the Jets for the last very solid tackle. I know the media loves Fashanu and thinks he’s a franchise left tackle, but I’m not convinced the league agrees. They see a moderately athletic tackle that’s not very physical or strong and has insanely small hands for his size. Mims and Guyton are both still on the board, but both of them are very unpolished and have issues with not being aggressive enough. I think all three go lower than expected. Fautanu may be a tiny bit shorter than ideal, but he is very athletic and highly aggressive. I could see the Packers choosing to make a slight move up to secure him over the others. They have the extra capital to burn. I could also see them going up for Cooper DeJean. He would make a fantastic safety for their new two high defense. Edgerrin Cooper is a possible option as well.

22) New York Jets (trade) - OT Olumuyiwa Fashanu, Penn St

The Jets trade down and still take a guy many people were mocking to them at 10 early in the spring. I’ve already covered my thoughts on Fashanu so I won’t rehash it too much here. The league widely views him as soft and not very athletic. I think he goes in the range that Christian Darrisaw did for similar reasons. He can back up Tyron Smith and Morgan Moses for a year while he works on getting stronger.

23) Minnesota Vikings - CB Cooper DeJean, Iowa

 The Vikings got their quarterback without giving up the 23rd pick and they can now spend it on another premium position they have struggled to draft and develop lately, cornerback. Finding a team fit for DeJean is not the easiest thing. I love him and believe most people are overthinking this, but many believe he doesn’t have enough “juice” to be an outside corner, particularly in man coverage situations and is a better fit for zone defense and playing as a safety or big nickel. I remember the same criticism of Jalen Ramsey but regardless. The teams that are likely to want DeJean are heavy zone coverage teams and teams that like moving versatile players around. Brian Flores is both of those things. Terrion Arnold is definitely an option here too.  

24) Dallas Cowboys - EDGE Darius Robinson, Missouri

Finding the right fit for Dallas has been challenging for a while. I get why everyone wants to jam an offensive lineman in here, and while that’s obviously a very real option, I’m not sure the right lineman will be available to them. They seem to be perfectly fine with the group they already have and can look for upgrades on the interior later in the draft. Tyler Smith can just stay at tackle. So when I started thinking about alternatives I looked at the defense, and I think many people have overlooked the transition from Dan Quinn to Mike Zimmer as far as personnel goes. Quinn wanted sleek, fast athletes to attack up field like the 2010 Seahawks. Zimmer wants big bodies up front to clog rushing lanes. I don’t believe he’s going to have Micah Parsons at edge rusher nearly as often. He’s going to have him patrolling the middle and threatening to blitz up over the center along with Eric Kendricks. That opens up a big hole and edge rusher, and I believe he intends to fill it with a very big body…Darius Robinson. Think back to Zimmer’s days in Cincy. He drafted Michael Johnson, Carlos Dunlap, and Margus Hunt…all huge defensive ends that were a little stiff but very strong and could set the edge and control the pocket. That’s Robinson to a T. The fit is impeccable. You just have to quit hyper-focusing on the offensive line to see it.

25) Miami Dolphins (trade) - CB Terrion Arnold, Alabama

The Dolphins missed out on their desired edge rusher but were able to drop back and grab some much needed later picks. What do they do after trading back? They could go a lot of directions, but Arnold is a wonderful fit after they lost Xavien Howard. Yes, they signed Kendall Fuller, but he’s a rental and veteran depth piece. Cam Smith is still developing. They need a strong presence across from Jalen Ramsey, and Arnold is the perfect, polished, ready to go corner for new DC Anthony Weaver and his imported Ravens defense. 

26) San Francisco 49ers (trade) - WR Xavier Legette, South Carolina

This one will send some people for a loop as well I’m sure. A wide receiver to the Niners? They already have Deebo and Aiyuk! Yes, but for how long? They can’t keep paying everyone, and since Aiyuk is about to get a huge stack of cash thrown at him, the team has to be looking for a Deebo replacement ASAP. Many people think that guy this year is Malachi Corley, but I think the closest match is Legette, or at least I think NFL people will think he’s the closest match. At 6’1” 220 lbs he’s a smidge bigger than Deebo, but he’s just as fast, if not faster, and has that same physical style of catch and run play that Shanahan wants from this spot. The 49ers trade up in front of the Bills to make sure they get their guy.

27) Arizona Cardinals - LB Edgerrin Cooper, Texas A&M

You won’t see anyone but me mocking an inside linebacker to the Cardinals in the late 1st round, but there is logic to it. First, teams do not just draft for their biggest “need” as the public sees it. Just because you have a perceived hole that does not mean you have to fill it with your earliest picks. The draft is about collecting talent, the best players you can, and figuring out how they fit later. Usually it boils down to something like “best player available at a position of need.” So do the Cardinals need linebackers? Actually, yes, they do. Both starting inside linebackers Kyzir White and Krys Barnes are on the last year of their contracts, and quite frankly neither one is a particularly impactful player. They can be upgraded easily. Here’s an upgrade as far as the NFL is concerned (I don’t like Cooper personally but I’m not making these decisions). 

28) Buffalo Bills - DT Johnny Newton, Illinois

I do think Buffalo will be very interested in Xavier Legette here to the point that they might even trade up for him. But since I have the 49ers jumping them, we’ll fill this spot with another position they are looking heavily at…defensive tackle. Since the team was forced to cut so many players because of contract issues, they don’t even have enough bodies at defensive tackle to field a proper team. They absolutely have to get more players, and while you could conceivably do that later on, there just so happens to be a very solid player available here late in the 1st. Many people have mocked Newton higher than this (and he could very well go later depending on his interviews), but this feels like a perfect match of player and team. Newton is an aggressive player and can have some issues with run defense, so he can come in early to provide some pass rush in Buffalo while working on his strength and perhaps take over for Ed Oliver in a few years, or just team up with him.

29) Detroit Lions - EDGE Chop Robinson, Penn St

Well I mocked a big run stuffing defensive tackle here last time because it was obvious the team wanted that, but they filled that hole in free agency by signing DJ Reader. So what else could they be looking for? Pretty much whatever they want honestly. The team is a legit Super Bowl contender so they can go shopping for luxury toys now, and that’s exactly what I have them doing here. Robinson is a darling of every amateur film watcher that only looks at athletic traits and ignores the whole of a player’s game and context. Yes he has a very quick get-off, but so what if he’s opening gaping holes behind him to run through? Also, despite his crazy athleticism, he just doesn’t have much production. It’s insane to me that across from him on the exact same defensive line you have the very athletic Adisa Isaac, who is bigger, more well-rounded, and much more productive than Robinson, but he’ll go several picks later. Insanity. But the NFL views Robinson as a high-end project they hope to mold into an elite pass rusher in a few years. He’ll go to a playoff team that doesn’t need him to play immediately. Perfect fit as a designated pass rusher with the Lions.

30) Baltimore Ravens - OT Amarius Mims, Georgia

The Ravens are going to take the best player on their board if they don’t just trade down. Who knows what that could be. They need offensive line, edge rushers, and receivers the most. Tackle is ideal if they can get it, and it just so happens I have one available. Many people believe Mims will go much higher, perhaps to Baltimore’s rivals the Bengals or Steelers, but I think he’s going to drop quite a bit further. He has an ideal body, true, but he’s also not very physical, hasn’t played much, and has some injury concerns. He’s much more boom or bust than many are willing to admit. I’m not saying he’ll end up the same way as Isaiah Wilson, but he reminds me of the same category of player, a big, athletic offensive lineman with some question marks. Those guys go at the bottom of the first round as the safer options are running out.

31) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (trade) - OC Jackson Powers-Johnson, Oregon

As usual, the media is much higher on the player than NFL teams are, but he’s still likely to go in the first round. For a center he’s solid but not the most athletic guy, especially in space. He needs to be in a man or gap blocking scheme to work, and since most teams run zone more than anything these days, he’s not the ideal fit for many places. He’s exactly what Tampa wants however. They desperately want to improve the run game, and center is the best spot to do that. Losing Ryan Jensen was a massive blow to this line. JPJ is the perfect player to replace him.

32) Kansas City Chiefs (trade) - OT Tyler Guyton, Oklahoma

The Chiefs could do a number of things with this pick, much like the Lions. Corner is a sneaky option, receiver is still in play, anywhere on the defensive line makes sense, but if Guyton gets to them, and I think he might because he’s still quite raw, I can see KC snatching him up and stashing him for a year. This is why high upside, raw players go late in the first round…because good teams don’t need them to play immediately. They can stick them on the bench and develop them slowly. The Chiefs can get by with Wanya Morris and Jawaan Taylor for now and even bring in another vet later on.