Happy Holidays to all our readers here at Walk-On Redshirts. In celebration, I’m dropping a nice little gift that everyone enjoys: Mock Draft v.2!
1 – Houston Texans: Bryce Young (QB, Alabama) – The Texans have taken both the Cowboys and Chiefs to the wire in previous weeks before ultimately losing, an effort that has to be encouraging for the fan base. With the first pick, I’m giving them Bryce Young. He’s by far QB1 for me this year and the Texans need to find a franchise signal caller.
2 – Chicago Bears: Will Anderson (EDGE, Alabama) – Ideally, the Bears would trade back from this pick to acquire more draft assets from a QB needy team, but I’ll wait to add trades until after the season. Instead, the Bears add the best player in the class in pass rusher Will Anderson. The Bears defense is undergoing a youth movement after moving on from Robert Quinn earlier this season, and Anderson adds a premium talent at a premium position.
3 – Seattle Seahawks (via Denver): Jalen Carter (IDL, Georgia) – The Seahawks have struggled down the stretch, but the offseason trade to move franchise QB Russell Wilson has worked out well thus far as they’ll select #3 overall. Carter is the best player on the board and adds a versatile interior defender for a team that gave up a few hundred yards rushing to the Panthers a few weeks ago.
4 – Detroit Lions (via LA Rams): Quentin Johnston (WR, TCU) – Jared Goff has played well this season, putting into question what the Lions will do when it comes time for the Draft next year. Amon-Ra St. Brown has been a breakout star in the Lions offense, but adding another potential star receiver could make them even scarier. Johnston is my WR1 and has freakish athleticism at 6’4″, including basketball level wingspan. Pairing him with St. Brown, a smooth route runner, could make one of the best combos in the NFL.
5 – Arizona Cardinals: Myles Murphy (EDGE, Clemson) – The Cardinals have been a dumpster fire this season, and one would have to think Steve Keim and Kliff Kingsbury are beginning to skate on thin ice. Murphy gives the Cardinals a premiere young pass rush talent to help a defense that is missing consistant star play up front.
6 – Indianapolis Colts: Peter Skoronski (OT, Northwestern) – The Colts need to find a franchise QB, but I have been adamant in conversations with a Colts fan coworker that the team needs to strip the roster this offseason and look towards the 2024 class of Caleb Williams and Drake Maye (think: ‘Tank for Tua’ Dolphins). The offense has been atrocious and the offensive line has been greatly underwhelming, so adding an elite left tackle to begin the rebuild feels like the smart move and allows the Colts to get by next year by running the ball with Jonathan Taylor.
7 – Atlanta Falcons: Brian Bresee (IDL, Clemson) – Oh hey, another team with plenty of needs. The Falcons defense has been rough to watch this year, and they have a few key pieces on defense like Grady Jarrett, but Bresee is the best player on the board here and feels like a slam dunk. Bresee brings an intense motor on the line and the ability to line up in multiple roles.
8 – Carolina Panthers: C.J. Stroud (QB, Ohio State) – The Panthers have basically ignored the most important position ever since the Cam Newton era ended, constantly churning through a mud pile of Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, P.J. Walker, amongst others. It’s time to settle in and draft one this year, and Stroud is my QB2. He still has some stuff to work on, but he has tools to succeed at the next level.
9 – Philadelphia Eagles (via NO): Bijan Robinson (RB, Texas) – What do you get the team that seemingly has everything? The Eagles roster is very well rounded, as evidence of their league best record, but they’ll have questions with several running backs up for free agency. Drafting a running back this high is always questionable, but Robinson is one of the best prospects in the draft and provides the complete package at the position, which is a rarity.
10 – Las Vegas Raiders: Christian Gonzalez (CB, Oregon) – The Raiders have several needs this offseason, and one of them is finding a leader in the secondary. After multiple failed draft classes under the Mayock-Gruden regime, the Raiders need to hit on high picks fast. Gonzalez is a supreme athlete in the secondary, and his biggest weakness headed into the season was his ball skills. Well, he’s seemingly fixed that as the season progressed and is looking like a top half of draft candidate and potentially CB1.
11 – Jacksonville Jaguars: Michael Mayer (TE, Notre Dame) – Evan Engram has looked much better in Jacksonville than he did in New York, but the Jaguars should still look to sure up the position with a more well rounded player. Mayer should provide sturdy blocking ability as a rookie and is one of the best pass catching tight end prospects in recent memory.
12 – Houston Texans (via CLE): Tyree Wilson (EDGE, Texas Tech) – With the first pick, I gave the Texans its leader on the offensive side of the ball in Bryce Young. With their second pick via Cleveland, I’m giving Houston a freakish pass rusher in Tyree Wilson as the future star on the defensive side of the ball. Wilson stands 6’6″ with long arms and is explosive off the edge, and the best part is that he’s still progressing as a player.
13 – Pittsburgh Steelers: Broderick Jones (OT, Georgia) – The Steelers has several needs on the roster, but maybe none bigger than on the offensive line. Jones provides a young, moldable offensive tackle who’s traits fit the traditional Steelers offensive style.
14 – Green Bay Packers: Jordan Addison (WR, USC) – The Packers will never do this because it goes against everything they believe in, but with Addison on the board still, it just made sense. Addison is perfect for Aaron Rodgers, a route running specialist who can shake even the best college defenders regularly. Christian Watson has turned it on late this season, and this would give them a solid 1-2 punch through the air.
15 – Seattle Seahawks: Isaiah Foskey (EDGE, Notre Dame) – After taking Jalen Carter early in round one, the Seahawks come back on the board and grab Isaiah Foskey from Notre Dame. Seattle loves rangy pass rushers, and Foskey provides great length off the edge and I expect his stock to rise even more once we get into the full draft process.
16 – New England Patriots: Trenton Simpson (LB, Clemson) – The Patriots have a few areas they could look to improve, but as the defense has trended towards a youth movement of solid players, I’m giving them Trenton Simpson, a smaller linebacker that can play a versatile role in the Patriots tricky defensive scheme.
17 – New York Jets: Paris Johnson Jr. (OT, Ohio State) – The Jets have made huge strides when it comes to filling out their roster with good players, and they’ve been very impressive on defense. However, they need some help on offense and it starts up front on the line. Johnson is the best lineman on the board at this point, and with no quarterback that really blows me away here, it feels like the obvious pick.
18 – Detroit Lions: Joey Porter Jr. (CB, Penn State) – The Lions went with Quentin Johnston with their first pick, and come back around to add a solid talent from Penn State in Joey Porter Jr for the back end of the defense. Jeff Okudah has looked much better this season, and may still have room to grow, but the Lions could definitely use more help in the secondary after Justin Jefferson burned them all game a few weeks ago.
19 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Will Levis (QB, Kentucky) – One of the more polarizing prospects in this years class, Levis never matched the hype level on the field at Kentucky (albeit he did put up solid numbers). His stock is largely tied into his arsenal of tools, and with him slipping to 19 here and Tom Brady set to hit free agency/retirement, the Buccaneers need to find the next signal caller for the franchise.
20 – Tennessee Titans: Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR, Ohio State) – The Titans traded A.J. Brown (a dumb move) and drafted Treylon Burks during last years draft, but they clearly need more skill help what has been an anemic offense this season. JSN matches well with Burks skill set and should help whomever is under center for the Titans almost immediately as a rookie.
21 – Washington Commanders: Cam Smith (CB, South Carolina) – Washington has been on the come up this season as they are within striking distance of a wild card berth while playing in a heavily contested division. Cam Smith is a solid corner prospect from South Carolina that gives the Commanders a premier defender on the back end of the defense.
22 – Los Angeles Chargers: Henry To’o To’o (LB, Alabama) – The Chargers have a solid overall roster that happens to get hit with more injuries than seemingly every other franchise year over year. One big need for the Chargers is on the defense finding defenders who can stop the run, which has been a persistent issue for the Chargers.
23 – New York Giants: Kelee Ringo (CB, Georgia) – Brian Daboll has done a very good job in year one with a Giants roster that is thin on high end talent. Ringo is a young corner from Georgia with very high upside, and a player that will come in handy when facing some of the star receiver talent within the NFC East.
24 – Baltimore Ravens: Devon Witherspoon (CB, Illinois) – If you watch Witherspoon this past season with Illinois, you’ll see a defender that plays exactly like you’d expect a Ravens defender to play. He’s physical and plays with a chip on his shoulder, and his ball skills are a plus asset already. Witherspoon is one of my favorite prospects in this class.
25 – Denver Broncos (via SF): Dawand Jones (OT, Ohio State) – 2022 has been a disaster for the Broncos. After trading plenty of draft capital for Russell Wilson, the Broncos season has been in free fall since the season started. Denver got a first rounder back for Bradley Chubb at the trade deadline, and they’ll use it here to add some help to a depleted offensive line that hasn’t provided Wilson with the time he needs consistently.
26 – Dallas Cowboys: Tuli Tuipulotu (IDL, USC) – Dallas doesn’t have a ton of needs across the roster, but they could sure up the interior of a defense that has stars on the edge and the secondary. Tuipulotu is a skilled defensive lineman (led the nation in sacks this year) that has plenty of room to grow in Dan Quinns defense.
27 – Cincinnati Bengals: Brian Branch (S, Alabama) – The Bengals drafted Dax Hill last offseason, but he hasn’t seen a ton of time on the field this year. Both starters Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell are scheduled to become free agents after the season, and while I expect one of them to return (likely Bell), I’ll use this as a reason to give them the top safety on the board in Branch.
28 – Kansas City Chiefs: Josh Downs (WR, North Carolina) – Patrick Mahomes is likely going to win MVP in a season that saw the Chiefs trade Tyreek Hill to Miami. That said, the Chiefs receiving core is far from sexy outside of Travis Kelce, and I think this is good value for Josh Downs, who fits the play style of the Chiefs offense masterfully.
29 – Minnesota Vikings: O’Cyrus Torrence (OG, Florida) – Torrence is the top interior offensive lineman in the draft and currently a fringe first rounder. He’s a massive force in the middle of the line and should help open more lanes for Dalvin Cook.
30 – Buffalo Bills: Antonio Johnson (S, Texas A&M) – Jordan Poyer is set to hit free agency and the backups on the roster don’t inspire long term confidence, so the Bills could look to save money by replacing him via the draft. They’ll be in prime position to add one of the top safeties whenever they pick in the back half of the draft, and Johnson is the number one guy on the board here.
31 – Philadelphia Eagles: Clark Phillips III (CB, Utah) – The Eagles are back to cap off round one, and take the best corner on the board in Utahs Clark Phillips III. James Bradberry has been great for the Eagles this season, but he’s scheduled to hit free agency and like Buffalo above, the Eagles could try to replace him with one of their two first round picks. Phillips is a little undersized, but he’s got some of the best ball skills in the class amongst cornerbacks.