By: Nathan Bloechl — firstname.lastname@example.org
(KILJ) — The NFL Draft is one of my favorite events of the entire year, and with it just over a month away, here’s version 1.0 of my attempt at the First Round, set for April 23rd.
1.) Cincinnati Bengals — Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
- At this point it’s a mortal certainty that LSU Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Joe Burrow will be the new signal-caller in Cincinnati. His meteoric rise will look to continue with second-year head coach Zac Taylor.
2.) Washington Redskins — Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State
- In my opinion, Young is the best player in the draft. Wiry and quick, Young is a little undeveloped in his pass rush. He is not built like the Bosa brothers, but will play a very good OLB in a 3-4 set as a speed rusher. Once he develops his technique he has All-Pro traits.
3.) Detroit Lions — Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
- Back-to-back Buckeyes as the Lions top need is addressed with draft’s top corner, instantly replacing the recently traded All-Pro Darius Slay.
4.) New York Giants — Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
- Wills’ stock has rose significantly since the combine and is the first offensive lineman taken here. The Giants need to do better up front as they build around third-year star Saquon Barkley and second year gunslinger Daniel Jones.
5.) Miami Dolphins — Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
- The popular pick here has been Alabama southpaw Tua Tagovailoa, but I don’t think the medicals are going to be there for him following season ending hip surgery. There’s some that believe Herbert is the superior to Tagovailoa anyway.
6.) Los Angeles Chargers — Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
- The “slide” ends here as the Chargers get their Philip Rivers replacement in Tagovailoa. With Tyrod Taylor on board, the Chargers can essentially redshirt Tagovailoa and make sure he is healthy for the 2021 season.
7.) Carolina Panthers — Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
- In my opinion the second best player in the draft Simmons is a do-it-all swiss army knife and an elite building block for rookie head coach Matt Rhule.
8.) Arizona Cardinals — Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
- With WR addressed in the acquistion of DeAndre Hopkins, the Cardinals can continue to remake their offensive line around the exciting Kyler Murray. Wirfs has the potential to be a Pro Bowl level tackle.
9.) Jacksonville Jaguars — CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
- D.J. Chark is great, but the Jaguars are limited in playmakers. Attempting to build around Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville nabs the first WR off the board here.
10.) Cleveland Browns — Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
- The Browns signed Jack Conklin, but their offensive line is still porous. Becton has elite size, skill and athletisicm. The franchise knows it has to protect Baker Mayfield better.
11.) New York Jets — Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
- With the departure of Robby Anderson, the Jets continue to stockpile weapons for Sam Darnold. Head Coach Adam Gase won’t get much more leash.
12.) Las Vegas Raiders — Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
- Mims was the combine darling after blazing a 4.39 40-yard and his effort has seen his stock skyrocket. Mims was very productive at Baylor but doesn’t have name value of Ruggs or Lamb. It would not surprise to see him have a better pro career than both of them.
13.) San Francisco 49ers — Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
- An interior disruptor, Kinlaw can step into the role DeForest Buckner had before the Niners dealt him to Indianapolis for this pick.
14.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
- Brown is so freakishly athletic and at 6’5, 326 he is more than capable of playing 3 or 5-technique in a 3-4 set. Tampa’s defense was very good last year, now it’s even better.
15.) Denver Broncos — Andrew Thomas, OL, Georgia
- Thomas is really good and the Broncos need help along the offensive line. They signed OT Ja’Wuan James to a 4-year, 52 million dollar deal last year but that was mostly funny money. James is out of guaranteed money after this season, paving way for Thomas to take over at either left or right tackle.
16.) Atlanta Falcons — Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
- The first corner is off the board as the Falcons tab Fulton as their replacement for the recently released Desmond Trufant.
17.) Dallas Cowboys — K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
- Back-to-back LSU Tigers as Chaisson — the third Tiger overall — goes to Dallas. The Cowboys lost DE Robert Quinn to the Bears. Chaisson is his replacement and is probably a better one already.
18.) Miami Dolphins — Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
- Murray is an A+ with great intangibles, giving the Dolphins a presence in the middle of the linebacker corps.
19.) Las Vegas Raiders — C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
- The second best corner in this class, Henderson will pair with Eli Apple and Trayvon Mullen to give Oakland a talented young secondary.
20.) Jacksonville Jaguars — Josh Jones, OL, Houston
- Another athletic marvel, Josh Jones will provide Jacksonville with size and muscle along their offensive line playing tackle or guard in year one.
21.) Philadelphia Eagles — Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
- The Eagles desperately need playmaking at WR and Jeudy is just that. Once considered a top-5 player in this class, Jeudy has some prospect fatigue. Still, he was college football’s best route-runner last year and will provide some needed juice for Carson Wentz and company.
22.) Minnesota Vikings — Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
- Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Makensie Alexander are all gone, meaning Minnesota is down to just Mike Hughes at corner. Gladney is a gamer, who will provide toughness — along with some expected lumps — in year one.
23.) New England Patriots — Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
- Love is a raw prospect but has all the tools IF, and a big IF, he can put it all together. With Tom Brady signing in Tampa Bay, Love is the new man in town in Boston.
24.) New Orleans Saints — Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
- With PJ Williams and Eli Apple both gone, the Saints are no really thin behind Marshon Lattimore. Igbinoghene is a late riser, but a very good talent for the Saints here.
25.) Minnesota Vikings — Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
- The fourth first round LSU Tiger, Jefferson will soak up a ton of snaps for Minnesota after the departure of the malcontent Stefon Diggs.
26.) Miami Dolphins — Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
- With Byron Jones inked, the Dolphins continue to revamp their secondary. McKinney had a poor combine but his tape is the tell-all: he can play.
27.) Seattle Seahawks — Yetur Matos, EDGE, Penn State
- The Seahawks first rounder last year did not work out, as LJ Collier missed his entire rookie season. Matos and he play the same position as John Schneider tries to fill the void that was left by the departure of Jadeveon Clowney.
28.) Baltimore Ravens — Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
- Fast, young and ferocious, Queen will provide a much needed boost to the middle of the Ravens defense.
29.) Tennessee Titans — Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
- The Titans are desperately thin in the cornerback room sans Logan Ryan and Tramaine Brock. Diggs is a feisty man corner that will fit well with the defensive culture in Tennessee.
30.) Green Bay Packers — Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin
- Baun is an elite athlete who can play both inside and outside linebacker, giving Packer defensive coordinator Mike Pettine another rugged, versatile defender.
31.) San Francisco 49ers — Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
- Aiyuk is so fast and physical and his the perfect piece alongside Deebo Samuel for imaginative Kyle Shanahan and the 49er offense. I love this fit.
32.) Kansas City Chiefs — De’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
- The first running back taken, Swift is the “missing piece” to an already deadly KC offense.