With the Combine underway in Indianapolis, it's time I release my first mock draft of the season! I'll be honest, besides the first few picks, and arguably only the first pick, this draft can go in any direction. QBs could go as early as top 5, or they could all fall out of the first round. With no clear cut need for each team, it is gonna be tough trying to get this right; let's take a crack at it! (I will be putting my ranking for each player next to their draft spot with the abbreviation JBB - Jordan's Big Board)
Photo: Julia Schachinger/Daily
#1 Jacksonville Jaguars - Aidan Hutchison, Edge, Michigan (#1 JBB)
Aidan Hutchison is the most NFL ready edge prospect since Jadeveon Clowney. His combination of speed off the edge and power to run through offensive linemen is rare and makes him the most attractive prospect in this draft. The Jaguars have a lot of needs, but pairing him up with edge rusher Josh Allen would greatly help alleviate some pressure off of their secondary
Pro Comparison - Maxx Crosby
#2 Detroit Lions - Kyle Hamilton, Safety, Notre Dame (#2 JBB)
Between his incredible pass defending range and his fearless run defense, Hamilton is the best safety prospect we've seen in a long time. He can play as a free safety or strong safety, which isn't easy to find in NFL level talent. He's fast, aggressive, and the perfect defensive back for the future of NFL defenses.
Pro Comparison - A Bigger Tyrann Mathieu
#3 Houston Texans - Derek Stingley, Cornerback, LSU (#3 JBB)
Even though he had a down year before his injury, Stingley is by far the best corner in the draft. Between his speed, advanced ball skills, and instinctual play, he can immediately become CB1 for any team that needs help at the position. His aggressiveness may be viewed as a negative, but his quickness in transition from jamming to trailing will help him transition to the next level.
Pro Comparison - Jalen Ramsey
#4 New York Jets - Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon (#5 JBB)
Kayvon has the highest ceiling amongst all edge defenders, and that's saying something considering how highly he is ranked. He has immense strength that helps him bowl over offensive tackles and allows him to be a great run defender. If he can add more pass rush moves and learn to have a second counter move, he can be a deadly asset to any defense.
Pro Comparison - Khalil Mack
#5 New York Giants - Evan Neal, Offensive Lineman, Alabama
The Giants get much needed offensive line help from the best lineman in the draft. In three seasons, Neal played three different spots on the offensive line, showing his versatility and skill for his massive 6'7, 350 pound frame. Although he spent his final season at left tackle, the Giants will most likely play him at right tackle as he had a successful campaign there the year before. Outside of his experience, he has advance technique against long arms and countermoves from pass rushes, which you don't see a lot in college linemen. He's a next level run blocker and does a great job reading double moves and stunts.
Pro Comparison - Trent Williams
Photo: Alika Jenner/Getty Images
#6 Carolina Panthers - Ikem Ekwonu, Offensive Tackle, NC State (#13 JBB)
Although he doesn't have the same skill set as Evan Neal, he makes up for it in violence and a knack for punishing opposing defenders. He has fast lateral movement on reach blocks and screens, making him a viable left tackle who can make great strides in the league. He will use his shoulder in blocks from time to time, but he is still just as violent as when he uses his hands.
Pro Comparion - Tyron Smith
#7 New York Giants (via Bears) - Tyler Linderbaum, Center, Iowa
Linderbaum is the perfect interior lineman for zone or power running schemes. He can pull and accelerate quickly to the second level, or he can move massive defensive tackles in space and create gaps for running backs. He also is a sound pass protector, and is especially strong when it comes to mirroring the man in front of him. His football IQ is next level, which makes him the perfect fit for a Giants offense loaded with skill players.
Player Comparison - Jason Kelce
#8 Atlanta Falcons - George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue (#7 JBB)
The Falcons ranked dead last in sacks with 18 this past season, and get much needed pass rush help from Karlaftis. He's not only a good pass rusher, but he's an even better run defender, which would greatly help the Falcons who finished 6th worst in the league, allowing almost 132 rush yards per game. He doesn't have the same skillset as Hutchison and Thibodeaux, but he is arguably stronger and more athletic, making him an intriguing option at defensive end.
Pro Comparison - Trey Hendrickson
#9 Denver Broncos - Devin Lloyd, Linebacker, Utah (#11 JBB)
I thought Nakobe Dean was the best linebacker in the draft, until I really paid attention to Devin Lloyd's play style. He is a great pass rusher and blitzer, who can play off the edge or off the ball, while also having the skills to drop back and be an effective pass defender. He holds his own in gaps against great run blockers, and uses his hands very well in run defense. He also has fast acceleration, making him a great option to pair opposite Bradley Chubb. He fills two needs for the Broncos at linebacker and edge rusher, but will probably play more snaps at the former.
Pro Comparison - Micah Parsons
#10 New York Jets (via Seahawks) - Jameson Williams,
Wide Receiver, Alabama (#16 JBB)
Although Jameson isn't my top ranked receiver, I believe his game breaking speed and route running is enough for the Jets to take him here. He's coming off an ACL tear, but that shouldn't impact his play that much. He's the fastest receiver in the draft, and standing at 6'2, he can get up for jump balls when needed. He won't be available for the first 3-6 games, but will make an immediate impact once he comes back.
Pro Comparison - Robby Anderson
#11 Los Angeles Chargers (via Commanders) - Treylon Burks,
Wide Receiver, Arkansas (#8 JBB)
Trade alert!! The Chargers trade up to get one of the most explosive prospect in the entire draft. Treylon has massive size at 6'3, 220 pounds, and he can fly down the field. Once he gets in the open field, he's hard to bring down and knows how to get the ball moving upfield off screens, jet motions, and short passes. If he can improve his route running, he can be one of the most dangerous receivers in the league; kinda like another big receiver who slipped because "he couldn't run routes well".
Pro Comparison - DK Metcalf
Photo: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
#12 Pittsburgh Steelers (via Vikings) - Malik Willis, Quarterback, Liberty (#21 JBB)
Trade alert!! With the Commanders moving back in the draft, the Steelers take this chance to move up and snag dual threat QB Malik Willis. He has natural arm strength that allows the ball to fly out of his hand on a rope to receivers, and that's with subpar footwork. He also has great speed and elusiveness that makes any offensive coordinator's playbook expand. He does a great job working through his route progression and keeping his eyes down field. Malik is the best QB in the draft, but it's a tight race between the other prospects.
Pro Comparison - Deshaun Watson
#13 Cleveland Browns - Garrett Wilson, Wide Receiver, Ohio State (#14 JBB)
With the midseason departure of OBJ and the probable trade/release of Jarvis Landry, the Browns find themselves needing a new WR1. Look no further than Garrett Wilson, one of the best route runners in the draft. He does a great job setting up defenders with double moves, as well as playing through defenders when attacking the football. His shiftiness will help him scoot by defenders on short routes, and will help him make guys miss in open space.
Pro Comparison - Stefon Diggs
#14 Baltimore Ravens - Kenyon Green, Guard, Texas A&M (#18 JBB)
With major needs on the offensive line, the Ravens snag a solid interior lineman in Kenyon Green. He's very good at staying square with defenders on run and pass blocks, and he is aggressive when fighting for inside hand control. He's the perfect lineman to fit the Ravens dangerous rushing attack, and he has enough pass blocking skill to give Lamar much needed interior protection.
Pro Comparison - Joel Bitonio
#15 Philadelphia Eagles (via Dolphins) - Nakobe Dean, Linebacker (#15 JBB)
Most of the Eagles need are on the defensive side, and they use the first of their three first round picks on top level linebacker Nakobe Dean. The only reason he isn't the top linebacker for me is due to his lack of pass rushing versatility. Other than that, he is an incredibly fast player, who can blitz the QB and drop into coverage. His range is underrated for his position, and his speed is going to be his main attribute to add to this defense. He does stand pretty tall when filling gaps and blitzing, but that's an easy fix.
Pro Comparison - Deion Jones
#16 Philadelphia Eagles (via Colts) - Ahmad Gardner, Cornerback, Cincinnati (#17 JBB)
The Eagles double down on defense with back to back picks and take Sauce Gardner. He is the most technically sound corner in the draft. He can play great defense against any route, and does especially well keeping inside leverage and trailing receivers on crossing routes. He has incredible vision when reading passing attacks, and he always finds himself near the football. He'll be elite in man coverage, after playing 110 man coverage snaps this season without allowing a single touchdown.
Pro Comparison: Trevon Diggs
Photo: Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire
#17 Washington Commanders (via Chargers) - Matt Corral, Quarterback, Ole Miss (#26 JBB)
After moving down in the draft, the Commanders still fill a need by taking Matt Corral, arguably the safest QB pick in the draft. He has steady feet in the pocket and doesn't panic under pressure. He can fit the ball through tight windows with his fast ball speed, and he can run the ball when needed. He keeps his eyes downfield when scrambling, and will always look to throw the ball until the last moment. His arm strength isn't as big as some of the other prospects, but he could excel in an RPO offense to make up for it.
Pro Comparison - Gardner Minshew
#18 New Orleans Saints - Kenny Pickett, Quarterback, Pittsburgh (#30 JBB)
With QBs starting to fly off the board, the Saints take their future QB in Kenny Pickett. He possesses great athleticism paired with impressive arm strength. He'll put the ball only where his receiver can get it, and has the prowess to make throws from difficult angles. He will throw it to the first guy he sees open, which is a good thing, but he may miss a second target who could be open downfield. He also takes deeper steps into the pocket than he needs to, but his arm strength makes up for it.
Pro Comparison - Derek Carr
#19 Philadelphia Eagles - George Pickens, Wide Receiver, Georgia (#10 JBB)
With their final first round pick, the Eagles take a chance on George Pickens. His tall frame and elite route running makes him a great option for any offense looking to add a freak-like receiver. If not for his injury this season, I believe he would be a top ten pick. Setting him up opposite DeVonta Smith will make defenses heads spin, as both have big play ability and can get open in space. Lastly, Pickens catch radius can rival that of Calvin Johnson's, making him a dangerous redzone threat.
Pro Comparison - Julio Jones
#20 Minnesota Vikings (via Steelers) - Roger McCreary, Cornerback, Auburn (#12 JBB)
With needs all over their defense, the Vikings take cornerback Roger McCreary. Being the most physical corner in the draft, he can fight through screens and short rub routes to make a play on the ball. He also has great awareness of his hands and playing through the ball on jump passes and when trailing receivers. He has solid route anticipation and is arguably the most NFL ready corner in the draft, he just doesn't posses the elite level athleticism, even though he is still fast and agile, as some other corners.
Pro Comparison - Jaire Alexander
#21 New England Patriots - Chris Olave, Wide Receiver, Ohio State (#28 JBB)
Despite the surprising play of Kendrick Bourne, the Patriots need to find their WR1. They look no further than Chris Olave, who gives Mac Jones a true deep threat and a solid route runner. His key skill is "stepping on the defenders toes" when he gets to the top of his routes, which allows him to create separation when paired with his twitch-like explosiveness. He also waits until the last moment to show his hands when catching the ball, making it much tougher for defenders to swat the ball out of his hands.
Pro Comparison - Calvin Ridley
#22 Las Vegas Raiders - Zion Johnson, Guard, Boston College
With needs along the interior offensive line, the Raiders take Zion Johnson, one of the best run blockers in the draft. He is best when asked to move guys out of a gap, and is strong when it comes to peeling off from one block to the next. He is aggressive with his hands and will punish people in the trenches. He does progress to next level blocks without making sure his double team is sealed off, but this can be fixed at the next level.
Pro Comparison - Laken Tomlinson
#23 Arizona Cardinals - David Ojabo, Edge, Michigan (#9 JBB)
With Chandler Jones most likely leaving the Cardinals, Ojabo looks to be the perfect replacement for him. He has the perfect mix of physicality when playing the run and finesse when rushing the passer. His best move is euro stepping pass protectors due to his explosive pass rush and leverage when ripping through blocks. He has an array of pass rush moves, and tends to pile up strip sack after strip sack, but doesn't use a secondary move often. If he can learn to have a second move ready on each pass rush, he can be the best pass rusher to come out of this class.
Pro Comparison - Chandler Jones
#24 Dallas Cowboys - Jordan Davis, Interior Defender, Georgia
The mammoth 6'6, 340 pound defensive tackle Jordan Davis fills a major need on the Cowboys defense. He is an incredible run defender who brings not only great strength and size, but sneaky speed to power through blockers and wrap up ball carriers in the backfield. He is the best hand fighter in the draft, but can't stay on the field for consecutive series at a time. Most NFL teams rotate at least six defensive linemen in a game, so he may benefit from rotating often.
Pro Comparison - Vita Vea
Photo: Steven Limentani/Getty Images
#25 Buffalo Bills - Trent McDuffie, Cornerback, Washington
The Bills look to add to their already impressive defense by snagging Trent McDuffie. He is a great tackler in space, and does a good job tracking down receivers outside of his zone. He brings blazing speed to the position, as well as a great sense of when to play more aggressive and more passive against certain types of receivers. His football IQ shines when reading the QBs eyes in zone coverage and dissecting passing concepts midplay.
Pro Comparison - Denzel Ward
#26 Seattle Seahawks (via Titans) - Andrew Booth Jr, Cornerback, Clemson (#25 JBB)
Trade alert!! The Titans trade out of the first round as their needs can be found later in the draft, allowing the Seahawks to get back into the first round to draft savvy zone corner Andrew Booth. He's the best run defending cornerback in the draft, who brings incredible acceleration after identifying the play and getting to his spot. He does seem to struggle in coverage from time to time, and his aggressiveness might be better suited if he splits time between corner and box safety.
Pro Comparison - CJ Gardner-Johnson
#27 Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Desmond Ridder, Quarterback, Cincinnati (#23 JBB)
The Bucs find their future QB1 in Desmond Ridder. Ridder is best when throwing deep and on jump balls, which will be greatly appreciated by Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. He also brings great speed when running the ball, which will help expand Bruce Arian's risk it to get the biscuit mindset. He will underthrow open receivers from time to time, but I believe it's to compensate his massive arm talent in order to not overthrow open targets. He also is the best tight window passer in the draft, giving him an edge among other QBs who constantly find open targets to hit.
Pro Comparison - Justin Herbert
#28 Green Bay Packers - Drake London, Wide Receiver, USC
Finally, the Packers give Rodgers - or whoever their QB is - offensive help. London brings a unique skillset with his size, as he has a solid understanding of positioning his body on jump balls, while bringing subtle elusiveness in his route running and in the open field. He has nasty double moves that help him get open on deep passes, and he can make tough catches in traffic. He was mainly used for deep shots and jump balls, so I'm not sure how effective he'll be on short routes; being in the same receiver room as Davante Adams should help with this small issue.
Pro Comparison - Tee Higgins
#29 Miami Dolphins (via 49ers) - Charles Cross, Offensive Tackle, Texas A&M (#22 JBB)
Cross is an interesting prospect. He brings a solid sense of leverage when it comes to run and pass blocking, and has the athleticism to get outside on screens and reach blocks. He also can bully defenders when he can get both hands on them, while also having the awareness to be more passive on stunts due to his depth in pass sets. He can use his long arms to keep defenders at bay, but he does overextend on double moves from time to time as a result. He also struggles to keep his feet under him when run blocking, so he may have trouble at first at the next level. If he can fix his technique, he may become the most sound blocker in this draft.
Pro Comparison - Terron Armstead
#30 Kansas City Chiefs - Jermaine Johnson, Edge, Florida State
Kansas City needs pass rush help bad, and the best option at this point in the draft is Jermaine Johnson. Jermaine has a powerful opper body and knows how to create leverage on bull rushes. He swats offensive linemen off of him with relative ease, and has great lean on rip moves. Besides being late off the snap occasionally, he can work through multiple lockers and always finds himself near the QB.
Pro Comparison - Frank Clark
#31 Cincinnati Bengals - Bernhard Raimann, Offensive Tackle, Central Michigan (#36 JBB)
The Bengals are maybe two or three linemen away from winning the Super Bowl. With solid cap space, they'll find at least one good one in free agency. They take a shot on Bernhard Raimann towards the end of the first round, a 6'7, 305 pound athletic tackle who can play on either side of the line. I believe he is a better right tackle, and he can move edge rushes in run blocking and can take on elite level pass rushers. He also is sound when it comes to doing his job, rather than looking to demolish someone on every play. If he can keep his feet under him, rather than worrying about beating pass rushers to the spot, he can be a great addition to the Bengals offense.
Pro Comparison - Brian O'Neill
#32 Detroit Lions (via Rams) - Sam Howell, Quarterback,
North Carolina (#31 JBB)
The Lions find Jared Goff's replacement in Sam Howell. With his impressive arm strength and solid speed when running the ball, Howell is a underrated dual threat option entering the NFL. He stays poised under pressure and can read through his entire progression when he has a clean pocket. He is also hard to sack and tackle in the open field, but will immediately pull his eyes down once he decides to scramble. He also has issues using his lower body effectively when throwing the ball. If he can get his upper and lower body in sync, he can throw an even faster and deeper ball, giving him the biggest arm in the draft.
Pro Comparison - Baker Mayfield
Photo: ACC Media
Some names to look out for in the second and third rounds are Carson Strong, Jeremy Ruckert, Travon Walker, and Kaiir Elam. All four are solid players, but may get overshadowed due to the depth of talent at their position. I also expect players like Daxton Hill and DeMarvin Leal to slip lower than anticipated, but are still viable options for any team looking to add defensive depth. This draft is one of the most unpredictable in recent memory, so my mock draft may drastically change the second and third time around.