The New York media has been reporting that Giants GM Dave Gettleman has fallen in love with Iowa tackle Trista Wirfs. Shortly after the Combine, I had written, “Wirfs showed enough athletic ability at the Combine for the Giants to feel comfortable moving him to the left side.” I’ll stand on that.
5. Miami Dolphins: Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia
With five picks in the first two rounds, Miami can load up in this draft. They have several options with this pick, including a quarterback, but they will most likely upgrade their offensive and defensive fronts as the rebuild continues.
Miami plays it safe, grabbing the top proven left tackle in the class. Thomas has long arms, a high football IQ, and rarely gets beat.
6. Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
Herbert had a very good Senior Bowl, followed by an excellent Combine. For those that questioned his leadership, Herbert really helped himself by returning to school and leading his team to No. 6 in the rankings. He’s got prototypical size, good pre-snap read, and has a strong arm.
7. Carolina Panthers: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
Carolina has a new head coach, Matt Rhule; and a new offensive coordinator, Joe Brady (of LSU fame). One would think that Rhule and Brady would be eager to starting adding additional weapons their offense right off the bat. However, Carolina had one of the worst run defenses in the NFL. Brown was the winner of the 2019 Lott IMPACT Trophy.
8. Arizona Cardinals: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
Arizona has needs on both lines. Protecting last year’s number one overall pick, QB Kyler Murray, would seem to be a priority in this offseason. Wills is an excellent run blocker and an improving pass protector. He should continue to improve with good coaching.
The Jags need help on the defensive side of the ball. They could go for a corner here, but linebacker is also a need for Jacksonville. Losing Telvin Smith (retirement) and Myles Jack (season-ending injury) last year really hurt this team. Simmons’ leadership and high character will be welcomed, along with his exceptional athletic ability.
Baker Mayfield, much like Kyler Murray, has found out he’s not in Oklahoma anymore. These guys are running for their lives play-after-play. Since Cleveland needs help all across the line, they’ll certainly find the best spot to plug the raw Becton into.
11. New York Jets: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
The Jets finished 26th in the league in sacks per attempt, Epenesa would be a great addition. One way to improve that number is to improve coverage down the field. Henderson had an excellent Combine and keeps moving up the boards because of his excellent playing speed.
12. Las Vegas Raiders: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Las Vegas needs a No. 1 receiver, Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy can do all the little things you want in a receiver. He seems to glide across the turf; has deceptive speed; shows excellent nuanced route running; possesses terrific hands; and remarkable body control. I like Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb, a lot, too. I just think Jeudy is more ready to step in and be a No. 1 receiver.
13. San Francisco 49ers (from Indy): Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
The Indianapolis Colts sent the No. 13 overall selection to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for defensive tackle DeForest Buckner.
I had Ruggs going to Indy with this pick prior to the trade. The question seems is it possible Ruggs could go before Lamb? 4.27 speed can do that.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: K’lavon Chaisson, OLB, LSU
Almost all other mock drafts have Tampa Bay taking an offensive tackle. However, in this draft, the top four are already off the board. That leaves Tampa in a position where they could trade down for Josh Jones.
I would be inclined to think they’d take a DE/OLB hybrid like K’lavon Chaisson. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles has his defense going in the right direction and expects a leap from year one to year two. Chaisson has a lot of upside, and could learn a lot from Shaq Barrett and JPP.
15. Denver Broncos: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Denver would be thrilled to land a potential top ten pick at fifteen. Lamb has exceptional body control, strong hands, and good long speed. Lamb also takes pride in his run blocking. Denver, much like Tampa, would like to grab a tackle here. So that’s still a possibility.
16. Atlanta Falcons: Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State
The Falcons are getting some pressure upfront with Jarrett, McKinley, and Beasley, but not enough. They finished 28th in the league in sacks. Getting some help along the defensive line should be a priority. Gross-Matos has prototypical build with long arms, quickness, and bend.
17. Dallas Cowboys: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
Dallas needs a stud upfront. We know that Kinlaw visited Dallas back at the end of February. Kinlaw is strong, athletic, and a known disruptor.
18. Miami Dolphins (from Pitt): Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Playing it safe, Miami finds their quarterback still on the board at No. 18. While Tua was cleared medically at the Scouting Combine, however, team’s would prefer their own doctor’s take a look before investing too much. I think Tua will be here at No. 18, other’s think he’ll be off the board by No. 5. We’ll see. It’ll be fun to watch!
19. Las Vegas Raiders (from Chi): Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Las Vegas GM Mike Mayock went to Alabama for his first pick and grabbed Crimson Tide WR Jerry Jeudy. With their second first round pick, the Raiders grab Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs. Diggs has a great combination of size, speed, and agility. He’s not a finished product, so he’s got the potential to get better.
Jacksonville looks to rebuild the backend of their defense. McKinney gets after the ball, either in the air or on the ground. He’s got a good football IQ and takes good angles to the ball. His coverage skills make him a full time player.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
The Eagles will look to bolster their defense. LSU has been putting quality linebackers in the NFL for a number of years now. Queen can blitz, is fluid in coverage, and has shown excellent sideline-to-sideline range. He can give the Eagles a powerful presence in the middle.
22. Minnesota Vikings (from Buf): Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU
Buffalo sent the 22nd overall pick, along with a fifth-round pick (No. 155 overall) and a sixth-round pick (No. 201 overall) in 2020, along with a 2021 fourth-round selection to Minnesota for WR Stefon Diggs.
The Vikings need to get better in their run defense. While Blacklock isn’t a stout anchor, he’s a quick-footed 3-tech that knows how to get in the backfield and disrupt the action.
23. New England Patriots: Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin
On draft day, Bill Belichick rarely does what you expect him to. What we do know is that the Patriots have a history of successfully utilizing versatile linebackers in their scheme. Baun fits that mold. He can rush the passer as easily as he can smother a tight end in coverage. He looks like a potential good fit here.
24. New Orleans Saints: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
I originally had New Orleans taking a quarterback with their first round pick: Drew Brees can’t play forever. After re-assessing their roster though I realized they don’t have an legitimate deep threat receiver on the roster, so they could so with Mims or Hamler. Higgins though would be too good to pass up here.
25. Minnesota Vikings: Antoine Winfield, S, Minnesota
Could Winfield be drafted before LSU’s Grant Delpit? It only takes one team to fall in love with a player. The Golden Gopher has a knack for always being around the ball. He understands his position and is a solid wrap up tackler. Winfield’s father, Antoine Sr., played nine seasons for the Vikings.
If the Dolphins are able to get LB Isaiah Simmons; QB Tua Tagovailoa; and RB D’Andre Swift out of this draft, they would really improve their team. Even if Tua sits on the bench for a year while he learns the in’s and out’s of being an NFL quarterback, it’d still be a good haul.
I like Swift here over Taylor or Edwards-Helaire, I think he fits better with Miami’s conservative philosophy than the other two.
27. Seattle Seahawks: Austin Jackson, OT, USC
I heard Peter King say the other day that Seattle has traded their first pick eight years in a row. Sounds like there’s a trend. However, I’m not doing trades, so…
Seattle needs line help on both sides of the ball. Jackson has quick feet, good balance, and has excellent upside.
A quick, slippery, linebacker that plays fast and plays downfield. Gets good drop in coverage, closes quickly on the ball.
29. Tennessee Titans: A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa
Epenesa’s game is predicated on size and power. His stock dropped a little after a lack-luster Combine. Epenesa isn’t the flashiest, but he’s a dependable lunch bucket kind of player who is capable of putting up 10-12 sacks a year.
30. Green Bay Packers: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
The Packers took Rashan Gary and Darnell Savage in the first round in an attempt to shore up their defense. They could use someone to challenge for the corner spot opposite Jaire Alexander. In his three years on the field Fulton has shown he has enough talent to start at the next level.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
After getting beat by Kansas City’s speed, John Lynch adds an ultra-fast speedster to his defense. Igbinoghene is the son of two Olympic athletes and possesses his own sprinter’s speed.
With a lack of picks, San Francisco is expected to trade out of this spot.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
The rich get richer. Kansas City could go defense with this pick. But when you have a 4.38 speedster sitting there, why not give Mahomes just one more target?
Utah running back Zack Moss was named the PAC-12 Offensive Player of the Year. Moss led the Utes in rushing with 1,416 yards, 15 touchdowns, averaging 6.0 yards per carry. He also had 28 receptions for 388 yards and two scores through the air.
On Nov. 23, Moss broke loose for 203 yards on 26 carries versus Arizona.
Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year: ILB EVAN WEAVER, CALIFORNIA
Weaver led the nation in tackles last fall and earned consensus All-America honors as well as Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.
Weaver led the country with 181 tackles in 13 starts (that includes a whopping 103 solo efforts — 20 more than the second-place finisher in solo tackles, Colorado’s Nate Landman). Ten of those tackles were for losses, including 2.5 sacks; Weaver also broke up three passes and forced two fumbles for the Golden Bears.
Freshman Offensive Player of the Year: QB KEDON SLOVIS, USC
USC’s Kedon Slovis set quite a few records, while on his way to being named the PAC-12 Freshman of the Year. His 71.9 completion percentage is a USC single season best. It’s also the best in Pac-12 single-season history (with a minimum of 300 attempts) which was previously set by Stanford’s Andrew Luck in 2011.
Slovis also set USC’s single-season records for passing efficiency (167.6); and for most consecutive 300-yard passing games (three).
Freshman Defensive Player of the Year: DE KAYVON THIBODEAUX, OREGON
Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux earned Pac-12 Football Freshman Defensive Player of the Year honors after his dynamic first season with the Ducks. Thibodeaux broke the Oregon freshman record with 9 sacks, which was also good for second among all FBS freshmen this season.
Thibodeaux racked up an impressive 14 tackles-for-loss, the second most in the PAC-12. He showed his growth and development in the PAC-12 Football Championship Game, notching 2.5 sacks and the first ever blocked punt in PAC-12 Championship game history, as the Ducks upset Utah 37-15.
Coach of the Year: UTAH’S KYLE WHITTINGHAM
Utah’s Kyle Whittingham earned PAC-12 Coach of the Year honors after leading Utah to a sterling 11-2 season and an appearance in the Alamo Bowl. The Utes narrowly missed a berth in the College Football Playoff and spent most of the season ranked as a top-10 team.
In 2019, the Utes featured a punishing defense which finished top of the Pac-12 in points per game allowed (13.2), yards per game allowed (256.2), and yards per play allowed (4.4).
Whittingham becomes the first Utah coach to win a PAC-12 Coach of the Year award since the Utes joined the PAC-12 Conference. He had previously won Mountain West Coach of the Year when Utah went 13-0 in 2008.