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NFL Mock Draft: Multiple Trades In The Top 5

About one month out from Draft Night, Cam gives his first take at an NFL Mock Draft.

STANFORD, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 10: Caleb Williams #13 of the USC Trojans reacts after he threw a touchdown pass against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half at Stanford Stadium on September 10, 2022 in Stanford, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

In a little over a month, the NFL will invade Detroit for its annual draft. Over three days from April 25-27, the fate of 32 NFL teams will be changed forever. Seven rounds and over 200 players will be chosen, and their lives will also never be the same, whether they are the first overall pick on Day One or Mr. Irrelevant as the last pick at the end of the draft on Day Three.

When the NFL draft began in 1936, it wasn’t anywhere near the spectacle that it is today. This is Mel Kiper’s 40th year with ESPN, prognosticating and ranking teams’ selections. But even in 1984, it was far from what it is now. Now, everyone does mock drafts … it has become a cottage industry.

The reality is, nobody knows anything. So why do we all pay attention to them? Because they are fun. It is fun to speculate. We all believe we could be an NFL GM and “be in the room”, making the selections. I’m here to throw my hat in the ring: Here is my first-round mock draft.

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NFL Mock Draft

1. Chicago Bears (via Panthers): QB Caleb Williams, USC

The Bears shouldn’t make this pick, in my opinion. I don’t like Williams’ makeup and see bust written all over him. But that’s sometimes the problem with having the No. 1 pick: You’re almost bullied into taking the consensus top pick. If they want to go for a QB, they should take Jayden Daniels, but they won’t. I think they should trade the pick and bolster their offense around Justin Fields, taking Marvin Harrison Jr., but they will succumb to the pressure.

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2. Washington Commanders: QB Jayden Daniels, LSU

Last year I predicted Bryce Young would be a bust. I believe he is too small and slight for the position. And although one year doesn’t paint the complete picture, my prediction that C.J. Stroud was the best option out of that QB class is looking very strong. I’m prepared to go out on a limb and say Jayden Daniels will be the top of this year’s QB class.

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3. Arizona Cardinals (via Patriots): WR Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio St.

The Cardinals have a ton of money invested in QB Kyler Murray, who has shown flashes of brilliance. They are going to bolster their offense and give him the top WR in this class, taking Harrison Jr. Moving up one spot will cost them the No. 27 pick this year at the end of the first round.

4. Los Angeles Chargers (via Patriots, via Cardinals): TE Brock Bowers, Georgia

The Chargers have coveted Bowers. They want to surround Justin Herbert with as many pieces as possible, and giving him a TE who could be the next Travis Kelce or Rob Gronkowski for a decade seems like a no-brainer. Moving up one spot cost them the No. 37 pick this year, in the second round.

5. New York Giants (via Patriots, via Chargers): QB Drake Maye, North Carolina

This is a QB league, and the Giants thought they had one in Daniel Jones, but a mediocre season before an injury last year has put question marks within the front office. They may not totally need a QB here, but the opportunity to potentially get a franchise QB here at No. 5 is worth the risk. Having Jones will allow them to have Maye waiting in the wings. Moving up one spot cost them the No. 39 pick.

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6. New England Patriots (via Giants): WR Rome Odunze, Washington

Finally, the Patriots make a selection here at No. 6 after three straight trades. After accumulating an additional first-round pick at no.27 and two early second-rounders, the Patriots take Odunze here. He is a fabulous consolation prize after Harrison, who they could have had if they stayed where they originally were at No. 3. These maneuvers get them three extra picks, giving them four total picks within the top 40. It is almost “Belichickian.”

7. Tennessee Titans: T Joe Alt, Notre Dame

Left tackles with this much size and athleticism are a hard commodity to find. Protecting your young quarterback’s blind side is paramount, and the Titans have found a good one to protect in Will Levis.

8. Atlanta Falcons: LB Dallas Turner, Alabama

The Falcons have a talented team with loads of potential. They have all the pieces on offense and just need a QB … or they did, until they signed Kirk Cousins. Now, they can opt to bolster their defense by snagging edge-rushing LB Dallas Turner.

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9. Chicago Bears: WR Malik Nabers, LSU

Last season, the draft belonged to the Detroit Lions, who snagged multiple skill players. This year, the Bears pick up the baton and run with it. In nine picks they will grab a QB/WR tandem that could cause chaos to opposing secondaries for the next decade.

10. New York Jets: T Amarius Mims, Georgia

This season, more than ever, the Jets will need to protect their QB Aaron Rodgers. Coming off of a season-ending Achilles injury, the aging QB will undoubtedly lose a step as well as some of his escapability. Mims will fit in nicely here with the 10th pick.

11. Minnesota Vikings: QB J.J. McCarthy, Michigan

This is a QB league, and the trend of searching and stretching for a QB continues. It is the single most important position in all of sports, and teams are desperate to find the “next guy.” Having a good QB on his rookie contract is an even bigger benefit. The Vikings went about as far as they could with Kirk Cousins, so saving tens of millions of dollars is a no-brainer here. And although I think this is way too high to start taking these second-tier QBs, McCarthy is the Vikings’ choice.

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12. Denver Broncos: QB Bo Nix, Oregon

Everything I just wrote about the Vikings situation applies here with the Broncos. They have taken a massive salary cap hit by releasing Russell Wilson, and are in need of a young, affordable QB. Nix will fit right into Sean Payton’s offense, with the goal of developing into another Drew Brees.

13. Las Vegas Raiders: G/T JC Latham, Alabama

The Raiders need to be more durable on the offensive line, and Latham fits the bill perfectly. Last season was an epic fail with Jimmy Garoppolo at QB, which ultimately cost HC Josh McDaniels his job. Taking a tough offensive lineman makes sense to protect whoever they roll out under center this year.

14. New Orleans Saints: DE Laiatu Latu, UCLA

Big, strong, and athletic are three words often used to describe Latu. The Saints’ defense is average, and they need to bolster their edge defense.

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15. Indianapolis Colts: CB Terrion Arnold, Alabama

The Colts find themselves in a division with Trevor Lawrence in Jacksonville and CJ Stroud in Houston. They need help in the secondary, and Arnold is the perfect CB to snag to be that lockdown corner.

16. Seattle Seahawks: DT Kris Jenkins, Michigan

Seattle has been known for their stout defense since the days of the Legion of Boom. Grabbing Jenkins here will give them that next generational defensive weapon. Jenkins will help in both the run and pass defense.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars: DT Byron Murphy, Texas

In some mocks, Murphy has been in the top 10. But teams often rely on old truisms and prejudices, which will affect Murphy, as he has everything except for size. At 6’1″ and 305 lbs, Murphy is passed over by a few teams and taken here at No. 17.

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18. Cincinnati Bengals: T Olumuyiwa Fashanu, Penn State

Penn State has always been known for its line play on both sides of the ball. The Bengals still need help on their O-line, and Fashanu will fit in perfectly. They desperately need to protect Joe Burrow.

19. Los Angeles Rams: CB Kamari Lassiter, Georgia

The Rams were already struggling to defend opposing WRs before the departure of Jalen Ramsey. Lassiter will help greatly.

20. Philadelphia Eagles (via Steelers):  C Jackson Powers-Johnson, Oregon

The Eagles move up two spots to snag Jason Kelce’s replacement, Powers-Johnson from Oregon. The converted defensive lineman did well to protect QB Bo Nix this past season.

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21. Miami Dolphins: G/T Jordan Morgan, Arizona

The Dolphins’ offense relies so much on timing, and that starts with protection for QB Tua Tagovailoa. They have so many weapons in their skill positions that taking an O-lineman here makes all the sense in the world.

22. Pittsburgh Steelers (via Eagles): WR Xavier Legette, South Carolina

The Steelers pick here after moving down two spots from No. 20. The Steelers have a way of snagging effective and productive WRs, and they now need to replace Diontae Johnson. They use this pick to grab speedy and huge Legette, who resembles a young DK Metcalf on the field.

23. Houston Texans: G/T Troy Fautanu, Washington

If it weren’t for Detroit’s fabulous draft last season, the Texans would have had the best draft in 2023. They found the right QB as well as a supporting young cast of skill players around him. This season, they use their first pick to snag Fautanu.

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24. Dallas Cowboys: WR Brian Thomas Jr. LSU

Owner Jerry Jones is at it again, taking an offensive weapon to help Dak Prescott. At 6’4″, with his athleticism, Thomas could become a special receiver for the Cowboys. With defenses paying so much attention to CeeDee Lamb, he could be productive as soon as he steps on a field.

25. Green Bay Packers: S/CB Cooper DeJean, Iowa

The Packers need to bolster their secondary, having to play the high-flying Lions twice a year. DeSean will pair nicely with Jaire Alexander.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DT Michael Hall Jr., Ohio St

The Buccaneers have locked up Baker Mayfield and re-signed WR Mike Evans. They look to their defense with this pick and take D-lineman Hall. He has a nonstop engine and is incredibly fast to the ball.

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27. New England Patriots (from Arizona): T Tyler Guyton, Oklahoma

After trading QB Mac Jones for a sixth-round pick and re-signing TE Hunter Henry, many assumed the Pats would take a QB here … or actually with their first pick. This pick was the product of sliding down out of No. 3. They got their WR with that first pick and are taking an O-lineman here. With no team needing a QB between here and their next pick at No. 34, they feel secure to get their QB with their next pick: Michael Penix Jr., to be reunited with college teammate Odunze.

28. Buffalo Bills: WR Xavier Worthy, Texas

As talented and dynamic as Josh Allen is, and as impressive as their offense often looks, they need more help. Worthy is that help. He’s tall and fast and has a great ability to separate.

29. Detroit Lions: CB Nate Wiggins, Clemson

The Lions and the Packers are thinking along the same lines. The Packers take a defensive back to hold off Detroit’s air attack, and the Lions take Wiggans here to defend against Jordan Love and his air attack. With so much focus on their offense last season, taking Wiggins to support the secondary makes a ton of sense.

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30. Baltimore Ravens: T Taliese Fuaga, Oregon St.

As electric as QB Lamar Jackson is, he hasn’t been able to get over the hump in the playoffs. Their defense is and has been staunch for the better part of two decades, so the Ravens will look to further bolster their O-line to keep Jackson upright and safe. This is their blueprint with Jackson, for better or worse.

31. San Fransisco 49ers: CB Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama

If the 49ers had a better secondary, they might have hoisted the Lombardi Trophy last season. Between that and taking the best player available, McKinstry is the obvious choice here on both counts. He has the instincts and mechanics to resemble Richard Sherman.

32. Kansas City Chiefs: WR Keon Coleman, Florida State

Andy Reid does it again. The Chiefs have a knack for getting speedy and skilled offensive weapons at the end of the first round. Coleman is a beast and will be yet another productive WR for the Chiefs. He is a monster at 6’4″ who is a fantastic route runner and has great hands.

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