The NFL is the only league generating sports news currently, which makes this a perfect time to release the inaugural mock draft from The Bluebloods. The draft is currently projected to start on April 23rd in Las Vegas, NV. This mock draft comes after the NFL combine, which gives us a more complete picture of most prospects.
1. Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow, QB
Many experts seem to think the Dolphins could trade up for this pick, but I do not agree. The Bengals know that any pick other than the Ohio hero, Joe Burrow, will result in their jobs if things go south in the coming years. Burrow played at an elite level throughout the 2019 season and set multiple records in the process. The Bengals have weapons for Burrow to use (A.J. Green & Joe Mixon), which makes this pick a no-brainer.
2. Washington Redskins
Chase Young, EDGE
There were many rumors swirling around this pick and Tua Tagovailoa, but the QB room is now full after the signing of Kyle Allen. This defense is shaping up to be stacked and a powerful edge rusher such as Young could be the final piece. Ron Rivera has taken over the franchise and is one of the best defensive minds in the league, so I do not see him passing up on one of the best defensive line prospects in recent history.
3. Detroit Lions
Jeff Okudah, CB
I had Isaiah Simmons here, but the recent controversy and trade of Darius Slay has made this pick a no-brainer. This pick is the most likely to be traded, but for now we will stick with Okudah. Matt Patricia is on the hot seat and Okudah fills a huge need for the Lions. Matthew Stafford and Kerryon Johnson will be healthy next year, so defense will be the main focus for the Lions throughout this draft.
4. New York Giants
Isaiah Simmons, LB
No player dominated the combine more than Simmons this year and I expect him to be gone early in this draft. I personally believe Simmons is the best player in the NFL Draft and the Giants need talent at every position outside of QB & RB. Simmons will give the Giants a star at LB for many years to come and pairing him with DeAndre Baker and Jabrill Peppers will give the Giants three elite athletes on their young defense.
5. Miami Dolphins
Justin Herbert; QB
The Dolphins have been rumored to want Tua Tagovailoa, but I think their true target is Justin Herbert. There are reasons things leak and I think the Dolphins want to force a team to trade up for Tua. The cancellation of Tua’s workout due to the COVID-19 virus only complicates things due to the uncertainty of Tua’s health. I think the Dolphins go the safe route with Herbert, which brings consistency, experience, and confidence to the Dolphins. Also, do not forget Brian Flores comes from the Belichick coaching tree and Herbert is a pro-style QB that fits the system better than Tua.
6. L.A. Chargers
Tua Tagovailoa; QB
The Chargers have been projected to draft Herbert, but I think it is by default since the Dolphins seem to want Tua. The Chargers offense fits Tua’s style better than Herbert, which is why I like Tua to L.A. Tyrod Taylor will start for the Chargers next season, which makes Tua the perfect fit because he can sit and learn behind Taylor while also nursing his body. The Chargers need spark in their franchise and that spark is Tua Tagovailoa.
7. Carolina Panthers
Derrick Brown; DT
The Panthers need an interior defensive lineman to replace some free agency departures and Brown is their guy at #7. A trade could happen here, but I think Brown has great value at #7 and could be a 10+ year starter for any franchise in the league. The offense has talent at most positions, but the defensive front needs a lot of work. Brown is 330 lbs of pure run stoppage and look for him to make a name in Carolina.
8. Arizona Cardinals
Tristan Wirfs; OT
The Cardinals have been projected to pick a WR for just about the whole off-season, but a spectacular trade for DeAndre Hopkins has all but filled that need for this team. Kyler Murray was sacked more than any other QB last season, which makes the offensive line the biggest hole. Wirfs dominated the combine and has shown elite run blocking skills, along with his dominant pass blocking technique. The Cardinals will draft an offensive lineman here, but I think Wirfs may have the highest upside of any OT in the draft.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars
Javon Kinlaw; DT
Some people say the Senior Bowl does not matter, well let me introduce you to Javon Kinlaw. Kinlaw was a monster in practices down in Mobile, AL and now finds himself a potential Top-10 pick. The Jaguars lost both of their starting DTs this offseason, which makes this a huge need for the franchise. Derrick Brown will be off the table, but Kinlaw has a gigantic upside and the Jaguars will most likely take a chance on the big guy from Columbus, SC. The Jaguars have another 1st round pick later, so a trade is not out of the question here either.
10. Cleveland Browns
Jedrick Wills; OT
Predicting what this franchise will do is dangerous and not recommended, but here we are. Baker Mayfield has plenty of weapons around him and the defense has been the focus of the last few drafts. The Browns have struggled to protect Mayfield at times and Willis is the safest offensive line pick in the draft. Willis was the best offensive lineman on a stacked Crimson Tide offensive line and will step into a starting role next season in Cleveland. This is an important pick if the Browns are committed to Mayfield moving forward, so building a fortress around him should be extremely important.
11. N.Y. Jets
Jerry Jeudy; WR
Some experts see the Jets getting an offensive lineman, but I think Jeudy sitting here at #11 is too much to pass up for this franchise. Sam Darnold needs a true #1 target, especially after Robby Anderson’s departure. There is value at OT later in the draft, so the Jets should take this opportunity to give Darnold his best WR since he was drafted. Jeudy will step in and start Day 1 for the Jets and will make defenses respect this team’s passing game, which should open lanes for Le’Veon Bell in the run game.
12. Las Vegas Raiders
CeeDee Lamb; WR
The Raiders almost struck gold with Jeudy, but they will take a nice consolation prize in CeeDee Lamb. The Raiders biggest need is a top target for QB Derek Carr and CeeDee Lamb has the explosive ability to take the top off most defenses. Carr thought he was going to have Antonio Brown, but Lamb should fit into the offensive scheme nicely and make a day 1 impact in Las Vegas.
13. San Francisco 49ers
CJ Henderson; CB
Wide receiver could be the pick here after free agency, but I still think the 49er’s can find value in the later rounds. I think the 49er’s try to find a future replacement for the aging Richard Sherman. The 49er’s saw first hand where the league is headed when they faced the explosive aerial attack of the Chiefs, so why not draft an elite corner that will come in and contribute immediately. The 49er’s could also trade this pick to load up on draft capital, since this team is ready for another Super Bowl run in 2020.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Andrew Thomas; OT
The Buccaneers made the biggest splash this year in free agency by signing Tom Brady. The weapons are already there and the defense has plenty of young talent, so protecting Brady is the top priority. Thomas played at an elite level throughout his time at Georgia and can play at either left or right tackle. The Bucs would love for Wirfs or Willis Jr. to drop here, but they will most likely take the top remaining OT with this pick.
15. Denver Broncos
Henry Ruggs III; WR
The Broncos seem to be committed to Drew Lock at QB, which means they need to get him some weapons. Ruggs is the most explosive WR in this draft and is an excellent WR2 next to Courtland Sutton. This offense will be loaded after the signing of Melvin Gordon in free agency, which sets up Lock to be the QB of the future in Denver. Offensive line is also an option here, but Ruggs will be too enticing to pass up and there will be OT available in the later rounds of the draft.
16. Atlanta Falcons
K’Lavon Chaisson; OLB/EDGE
Defense should be the only option for the Falcons here, especially after signing Todd Gurley in free agency. The Falcons have seemed to struggle finding a strong edge rusher and that has really held this team back in recent years. Chaisson is a risky pick due to his injury history, but has the potential to be one of the best defensive players in this draft. Chaisson has an explosive first step and has sneaky good hand techniques, which makes him perfect for this Falcons team that urgently needs help on the edge.
17. Dallas Cowboys
Grant Delpit; S
The Cowboys need back-end help and Delpit was a potential top-5 pick before his senior season. Delpit struggled at times, but has the highest upside of any defensive player in this draft. Delpit reminds me of Derwin James, who also dropped in the draft, but was a Pro-Bowler in his rookie season. The Cowboys would find their safety of the future and would vastly improve their defense here, which only helps them make that Super Bowl run most experts have been predicting.
18. Miami Dolphins
Mekhi Becton; OT
The Dolphins have three first round picks, but they also have a lot of holes to fill. Offensive tackle is high on that list and Becton is a top-10 talent sitting at #18, so the Dolphins will not pass. The Dolphins benefitted when Laremy Tunsil fell to them in the draft in 2016 and the same thing will happen this year. After using the #5 pick on Herbert; the Dolphins will learn from past mistakes and get him some protection. Becton is 6’7, 364 lbs and is an elite talent that will start immediately for this franchise.
19. Las Vegas Raiders
Kenneth Murray; LB
The Raiders addressed the glaring need of WR with their first pick and I expect them to fill a hole on the other side of the ball here. Jon Gruden won his only Super Bowl with an elite defense in Tampa Bay and I expect him to try and build another elite one in Las Vegas. Murray is an ulta-athletic LB that will be a multi-year starter in the NFL. The Raiders hit on all their 1st round picks last year and I expect Gruden to target players that fit his culture and Murray is the perfect LB to wear the silver & black.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars
Noah Igbinoghene; CB
Defense is the biggest need for the Jags and the defensive line was addressed with the #9 pick. Jacksonville traded Jalen Ramsey last season and has a glaring hole in the secondary, but Igbinoghene will be sitting here waiting for them. Igbinoghene was the #1 corner on an elite defense in Auburn for two years and could step in to improve a weak secondary in Jacksonville. Igbinoghene was a multi-sport athlete at Auburn and will most likely step into a return specialist role, which only adds to the value here.
21. Philadelphia Eagles
Justin Jefferson; WR
I originally had CB here, but Darius Slay fell into the Eagles lap due to Matt Patricia being ridiculous. Everybody heard the cries from Philly fans that Carson Wentz had no help. The Eagles are going WR here and it is not even a debate, but which WR will they draft? I think the lead WR for the most potent offense in recent history is a great pick and Jefferson will be a WR1 for years to come. Jefferson has sure-fire hands and has the consistency that Wentz has been missing since he arrived in Philly.
22. Minnesota Vikings
Tee Higgins; WR
The Vikings are also in the market for a WR, especially after trading Stefon Diggs to Buffalo. Adam Thielen is a crafty, reliable WR1 but Higgins is a long, rangy outside threat. Higgins will bring a unique skill set to Minnesota and will be the perfect compliment to Thielen. The Vikings have been prepping for a Super Bowl run for multiple years, but finding a strong WR2 is the first step in making another run this upcoming season.
23. New England Patriots
Zach Baun; LB
Many experts are projecting a QB here, but Belichick will not reach for players and I do not think Jordan Love fits the New England system. I see the Patriots taking a chance on a mid-round prospect (Jake Fromm & Jacob Eason), but there are other holes on this team. The Patriots lost Kyle Van Noy to the Dolphins, which leaves a giant hole at LB going into next season. Braun is a scrappy, disciplined tackling machine and fits the Belichick system perfectly. Braun may not be on a lot of teams boards, but this kid is everything Belichick looks for in defensive players.
24. New Orleans Saints
Patrick Queen; LB
The Saints have very few holes and are primed to make another run at the Super Bowl, but the defense could use a few more pieces. The Saints do not have a star LB that can change the game and why not stay in the state and draft a national champion out of Louisiana? Queen will be an immediate contributor in The Big Easy and can only improve an already great defense. Queen will have plenty of help around him, which will allow him time to develop, but should be able to be a major player late in the season.
25. Minnesota Vikings
Trevon Diggs; CB
The Vikings had a mass exodus of defensive talent, so defensive end and cornerback are the main options here. I think Diggs would be the obvious replacement for Xavier Rhodes, which is why I think this is the direction the Vikings go. When you play in a division with Aaron Rodgers you better have the secondary to slow him down. Diggs has elite speed and is physical enough to hang with most receivers in the league.
26. Miami Dolphins
Xavier McKinney; S
Running back is a real option here, but that position is loaded so why not wait until later rounds and snag a prospect to sit behind Jordan Howard. The Dolphins traded Minkah Fitzpatrick (I am still upset about this, but that is another story for another day) last season and need a replacement. McKinney is another elite Alabama safety that will step right in and fill the void that Fitzpatrick left in Miami. McKinney will fit right into the system and culture that Brian Flores is creating in South Beach. The Dolphins are trending in the right direction and seem to be making the correct moves for the first time in a long time.
27. Seattle Seahawks
Antoine Winfield Jr.; S
Offensive tackle could be an option here, but I think most of the tackles would be a reach. The Seahawks are far removed from their “Legion of Boom” days and Pete Carroll knows he needs a strong defense to compete in the NFC West. Winfield Jr. is the most versatile secondary prospect in this draft and can play just about everywhere in the backend. He is physical and has excellent ball skills, which Seattle lost when Earl Thomas left Seattle. Winfield fits the new mold of safeties in the NFL and could be the most underrated player in this draft.
28. Baltimore Ravens
Terrell Lewis; LB
The Ravens have been known to trust the Nick Saban player tree and I think the trend continues here. Linebacker is a huge need in Baltimore, so why not replace C.J. Mosley with another Alabama star. Lewis has had injury problems, but taking a chance at #28 on an elite prospect is not a bad idea; especially since this team is loaded at most positions. Lewis fills a need and will not be pressured to start immediately, which should only help his development and health.
29. Tennessee Titans
Yetur Gross-Matos; EDGE
Offensive tackle could be an option here, but I do not see a OT that is worth a 1st round pick, but there is an edge rusher that is worth taking here. That player is Gross-Matos and should make this Tennessee defensive front scary for opposing teams moving forward. Combining Gross-Matos and Vic Beasley will give Tennessee an elite combination to rush the passer and defend the run. The Titans are coming off a great season and Mike Vrabel is building something special in Nashville.
30. Green Bay Packers
Denzel Mims; WR
Listen, if you do not know what the Packers are going to do with this pick then you must not watch enough football. Aaron Rodgers is not getting any younger and the clock is ticking on the Packers’ Super Bowl window. Rodgers needs another target outside of Davante Adams and Mims is the perfect player to lineup opposite of Adams. Mims is tall (6’3) and has the speed (4.38) to burn defenses deep, which perfectly compliments Adams’ skillset as a WR. The Packers are going to make a strong run for another title in the next 3-4 years, so loading up on weapons will be the top priority.
31. San Francisco 49ers
A.J. Epenesa; EDGE
The 49ers addressed their biggest need of CB with their 1st pick, so defense line is their next biggest need. The loss of DeForest Buckner, combined with the countless busts that have been through San Francisco, this franchise needs another edge rusher. Dee Ford has one side locked down, but Epenesa would be the perfect compliment across the line. Ford is a true pass rusher, but Epenesa shines against the run which gives the 49ers flexibility to switch around their line throughout the game. This pick will give the 49ers the best defensive line in the league and make them a favorite to go back to the Super Bowl.
32. Kansas City Chiefs
J.K. Dobbins; RB
The Chiefs are still loaded, but their needs according to most are interior offensive lineman and cornerback. I do not love the value for either position here, but there are some options that may be worth reaching for (Cesar Ruiz & Kristian Fulton). I think the Chiefs realize their run game was inconsistent at best last season, even though Damien Williams stepped up big in the playoffs. Dobbins will be sitting here and could immediately bring a dynamic playmaker to add to this potent offense. Dobbins will benefit from defenses worrying about Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill, which should allow him to explode onto the scene next season.