Happy draft day! Today is the start of the NFL draft, with 32 selections on deck. But while the first round approaches, there are still many questions as to how the round will shake out, especially since every team will be drafting virtually from their own homes.
Ahead of tonight’s first round, here is how I think the first round will play out, complete with trades and all.
1. Cincinnati Bengals
Pick: QB Joe Burrow, LSU
This one should’ve be too hard. Multiple reports have already confirmed Burrow will be the pick, and he’s currently listed at -100000 to be the first selection. Take it to the bank.
2. Washington Redskins
Pick: EDGE Chase Young, Ohio State
There will surely be some teams who call Washington and ask about this pick. But unless there’s a king-size haul, Young will very likely go here. He’s currently -3000 to be the second overall pick.
3. Detroit Lions
Pick: CB Jeff Okudah, Ohio State
This pick will be the subject to lots of trade rumors, and is likely where the drama starts tonight. However, the fit between the Lions and Okudah is too perfect, and ultimately I believe they stay put. Okudah is still favored at +140 to be the third overall pick.
4. New York Giants
Pick: OT Jedrick Wills Jr.
Like with the third pick, this one will also be subjected to lots of rumors and speculation. But the Giants don’t have a history of trading down, and have a desperate need at offensive line. I think they go with a safe option in Wills who can start on day one. He’s currently favored at -120 to be the first offensive lineman off of the board.
5. Miami Dolphins
Pick: QB Justin Herbert, Oregon
After weeks of wondering what Miami will do, I think tonight they will finally get their quarterback. Herbert is a durable, steady option who they can build around with their two additional first round picks. He’s a slight underdog to get drafted under pick 5.5 at +115, and as the second quarterback taken at +125, so there is some betting value here as well.
6. Los Angeles Chargers
Pick: QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
Even though there are questions regarding his health, the Chargers won’t want to pass on the opportunity to select their franchise quarterback as they move into a brand new stadium. Tagovailoa has the upside to be the first overall pick, so I believe L.A. will be thrilled to get him without making a trade. Tua is +175 to be the third QB selected tonight.
7. Carolina Panthers
Pick: LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson
It’s a new era in Carolina, and the Panthers have a chance to get an impact player to lead their defense. While they will think hard about Derrick Brown here, Simmons is the linebacker-hybrid who can replace the retired Luke Keuchly in the heart of the defense. The Panthers will likely go with a defensive player regardless, currently favored at -400 to do so.
8. Arizona Cardinals
Pick: OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
The Cardinals will have to think long and hard about whether they want an impact defensive player or an offensive lineman. Ultimately, I think they’ll go with the latter, especially after investing in QB Kyler Murray atop the draft last year. Wirfs would be a good fit for Arizona and could start at either tackle or guard. They’re also favored to target offense with their first pick, listed at -230.
9. Atlanta Falcons (projected trade w/ JAX)
Pick: DL Derrick Brown, Auburn
Here’s our first trade of the evening. The Falcons have been long-rumored to want to trade up for either an elite cornerback or defensive lineman. I think a trade here could be possible even if Brown is off the board, but with him at nine Atlanta will give the Jaguars a great offer to move up. The Falcons are heavily favored at -600 to go defense regardless, and with Derrick Brown at +155 to go over pick 7.5, they would be getting some good value here.
10. Denver Broncos (projected trade w/ CLE)
Pick: WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
Here’s another trade, except this one has been mentioned even more often than Atlanta’s trade. The Broncos want, and need, a wide receiver, but at pick 15 may miss out on an elite option. I think Denver moves up to 10 in order to secure their top choice among the group, and in case it’s Jeudy. I think there is value in Jeudy being the first receiver taken, as he’s currently listed at +150.
11. New York Jets
Pick: OT Mekhi Becton, NYJ
The Jets are realistically facing two options. Either they give quarterback Sam Darnold some protection along the line, or they give him a receiver to throw to. Right now, I’ll say they go with the big lineman Becton, who has an unmatched combination of size and athleticism. Becton is also favored heavily at -480 to go over pick 8.5, so he should likely be there for New York.
12. Las Vegas Raiders
Pick: WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
It wouldn’t shock me at all to see the Raiders package some picks together to move into the top-10. But assuming they stay put, they should have a solid receiver ready to draft. In this case, that’s Lamb. The Raiders are also -290 to pick an offensive player first, and Lamb is -280 to go under pick 12.5
13. San Francisco 49ers
Pick: WR Henry Ruggs III, Alabama
With two first rounders followed by no picks until the fifth, expect the Niners to trade at least one of their first round picks. But I think they’ll keep 13, and with it select the best receiver available in the speedy Ruggs. He’s a very slight underdog to be taken under 13.5 at +110, but I think this is the range he would go In.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Pick: OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia
With Tom Brady under center, Tampa Bay’s main priority will be protection along the offensive line. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Bucs looked at a trade up, but if Thomas is available for them here, it should be a no-brainer. They are favored at -350 to go offense with their first pick, but Thomas is +180 to go over pick 10.5.
15. Cleveland Browns (projected trade w/ DEN)
Pick: OT Ezra Cleveland, Boise State
The Browns gave up the 10th overall pick and in this mock manage to still end up with a lineman they had very high on their board. Cleveland has been linked to Cleveland not just in name, but in many draft reports. He would also be available at 15 unless something crazy happens, giving the Browns incentive to move down. Whether they trade down or not, they’re currently favored at -400 to target offense with their first selection.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars (projected trade with ATL)
Pick: CB C.J. Henderson, Florida
The Jaguars took a risk by trading down and passing on the opportunity to draft the talented Brown. But here, they still end up with someone very high on their board in Henderson, who can aim to replace the departed Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. This also seems to be around the range Henderson would be available, as he’s favored at -520 to be taken under pick 16.5.
17. Dallas Cowboys
Pick: EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson, LSU
The Cowboys could go a number of different directions here. They have needs at center and in the secondary, and perhaps even at receiver. But a raw yet talented pass-rusher like Chaisson might be too much to pass up for them here, adding him to a line they just lost Robert Quinnin free agency. Chaisson is listed at -150 to be taken after pick 16.5.
18. Miami Dolphins (from PIT)
Pick: C Cesar Ruiz, Michigan
The Dolphins had the worst offensive line in football last season, and after selecting their franchise quarterback earlier will aim to fix that line with the draft’s top center. Ruiz’s draft stock has been soaring lately, and now the general feeling is that he will be a first round selection. In fact, his odds of being a first round pick are now at -350.
19. Las Vegas Raiders (from CHI)
Pick: CB A.J. Terrell, Clemson
With their second first round selection, I think the Raiders will aim to address cornerback after going with a wide receiver at number 12. There’s many of them to choose from, but I think Terrell makes the most sense. At -450, he’s also widely-expected to be a first round pick.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (from LAR
Pick: DL Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
After passing on Brown and drafting Henderson earlier, the Jaguars would be thrilled to end up with Kinlaw here. A few injury concerns have moved him down some teams’ draft boards, but he has top-10 talent. He is currently -190 to be taken over pick 13.5, but there are usually one or two guys who experience draft day falls. Kinlaw may be one of those guys this year.
21. Philadelphia Eagles
Pick: WR Justin Jefferson, LSU
Based on the way the draft shapes up, I could see the Eagles moving up for a wide receiver. Fortunately for them, this scenario has Jefferson available at 21st overall. Jefferson’s draft pick projection is in this range, currently listed at -270 to be picked under slot 21.5.
22. Minnesota Vikings (from BUF)
Pick: CB Jaylon Johnson, Utah
With their first of two picks, I have the Vikings addressing cornerback after their top three corners departed this offseason. Johnson seems to be the one likeliest to be selected here, as he projected as a solid contributor from the get-go. He’s projected at close to 50/50 as to whether he’ll be a first round pick or not, listed as a slight -115 underdog to be taken Thursday night.
23. New England Patriots
Pick: LB Zack Baun, Wisconsin
With Brady gone, many believe the Patriots will target quarterback early in the draft. But it just doesn’t feel like it’s in Bill Belichick’s DNA to want to draft a first round QB, so I have them going with Baun from Wisconsin instead. It may be a little bit of a surprise, but Baun an New England have been linked together a few times. Currently, the Pats are favored at -155 to go with defense on their first pick.
24. New Orleans Saints
Pick: LB Patrick Queen, LSU
The LSU product stays close to home, as the Saints and Queen seem like a natural fit together. They’re expecting to target defense with their first pick, currently listed at -165. Queen is also -180 to be selected under pick 24.5.
25. Minnesota Vikings
Pick: OT Austin Jackson, USC
With their second pick of the round, Minnesota is targeting Jackson. With a few areas of need, the Vikings are in position to get arguably the best tackle of area to improve the offensive line in front of Kirk Cousins. There’s a chance he goes earlier, however, as he’s a pretty solid bet at -260 to go in the first round.
26. Detroit Lions (projected trade w/ MIA)
Pick: DT Ross Blacklock, TCU
In this mock, the Lions were able to acquire Miami’s third pick of the first round from the Herbert trade from earlier. And they’ll be happy they did so, as now they can get a defensive lineman in Blacklock to give them another talented played to start on defense along with Okudah. Blacklock is on the fringe of being a first round pick according to oddsmakers, listed at -110 to be picked tonight.
27. Jacksonville Jaguars (projected trade with SEA)
Pick: QB Jordan Love, Utah State
The Jaguars cap off their night by trading back into the first round to select a quarterback. Love gives Jacksonville a QB with a big arm who may be a franchise signal-caller in the future. The Seahawks, meanwhile, acquire some assets in yet another trade-down out of the first. Love is currently -300 to be taken over pick 19.5, so perhaps oddsmakers believe the Jags are a team that makes sense for him.
28. Baltimore Ravens
Pick: LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma
Baltimore is a team that may flirt with trading down, but Murray is a prospect that they will not want to pass up on. With the linebacker currently projected around pick 21.5, and a slight favorite at -130 to be over that number, the Ravens could look to add him to what is already a very good defense.
29. Tennessee Titans
Pick: EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State
There is a lot of speculation that the Titans could go offensive line here, especially after losing Jack Conklin in free agency. However, I don’t think they expected Gross-Matos to be here, making him tie pick. The edge rusher is favored at -180 to be taken under pick 27.5, but it’s still not crazy to see him available at 29.
30. Green Bay Packers
Pick: WR Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State
After a number of picks following Jefferson, Green Bay gets the fifth receiver of the first round in Aiyuk. The Sun Devil has become a more and more likely first round option over the last week or so, and now has odds at -145 to be a first round pick. The Packers are widely expected to want a receiver, so the fit is there too.
31. Los Angeles Chargers (projected trade with SF)
Pick: OT Josh Jones, Houston
After nabbing their quarterback earlier, the Chargers move into the first round to secure a new starting tackle. Jones, who is likely the best tackle available to this point, would likely not be there for L.A. in the second round, as he is a slight favorite at -155 to be taken over pick 31.5. Meanwhile, the Niners find a trade partner for their second first round selection and earn a couple mid-round picks.
32. Kansas City Chiefs
Pick: CB Kristian Fulton, LSU
To wrap up the first, the Chiefs address their secondary with the talented Fulton. They would like if he is available, as current projections have him at -180 to be over pick 24.5. Of course, the defending champs are a logical candidate to trade down as well.