With the newest rumors popping up regarding the Miami Dolphins potentially showing trade-up interest in Joe Burrow, let’s assume a deal is made in this March 31st, Full 1st Round Mock Draft as we head to April.
I won’t attempt to guess the specifics, but thinking about some past NFL deals moving up a few spots, specifically just four, it could be very tolerable for Miami to explore to cost.
Tolerable for Miami, while helpful for Cincinnati who only have the standard 7 picks in the Draft. Let’s hypothetically assume that where there is smoke there is fire and the #1 is dealt for a combination of Miami 2020 and 2021 picks with a player or two sprinkled in.
Miami has brought in 10 free agents and shown no signs of wasting picks in bringing in Franchise-tagged players. This tells me that they are looking at their stockpile, and they may be able to give the Bengals some meat, without empying the pantry and going hungry. And they also got themselves the main course.
The Next six picks were pretty standard when you think about it as Washington improves their defense with Chase Yong and the same to be said in Detroit as the Lions select the draft's clear-cut best cornerback in Jeffrey Okudah. So a pair of Buckeyes go back-to-back. The Giant's find a linebacker who can very well be the franchise's next game-changer in that level of the defense for New York, in Clemson's Isaiah Simmons.
Picks #5 and #6 will be of course connected to the #1 JOe Burrow and the Miami Dolphins for decades to come. The reason the Dolphins and Bengals deal makes sense is that whatever the compensation is, Cincinnati will be able to rebuild, as Miami is simply spoiled with draft-pick riches. After the smoke cleared, Justin Herbert replaces Andy Dalton officially. The Los Angeles Chargers rejoice, as they are able to take a shot on Tua Tagovailoa, without moving a hip, er, a spot.
The top-10 finished up with clearly obvious picks as Javon Kinlaw stays in the Carolinas with the Panthers to bolster their defensive live, and Tristan Wirfs will help protect second-year quarterback Kyler Murray while he looks for DeAndre Hopkins in Arizona. Derrick Brown will give the Jaguars help on their defensive front, and you can even flip-flop these lineman with Jacksonville and Carolina.
It is worth noting, that there is an element to this draft unlike any other year in this social distancing and lack of travel thanks to Covid-19. With that said, there could be a lot in "location-based drafting" going on, as teams may find it a lot easier logistically driving a few hours within state-lines or close enough to not have to get on an airplane. As crazy as that sounds, it could be a factor, which I am weighing in here in a few situations.
The Browns need help on the line as do the New York Jets, so a 1-2 tackle punch will go off the board, and Mekhi Becton will help the Browns on the left side, while Wills can be a bruising force for New York on the right side, and perhaps an early "steal" for the Jets.
The Raiders need to sell tickets in Vegas and need a play-maker, so who better than Jerry Jeudy out of Alabama? The Niners, who moved up earlier in the month with the Colts have the 13th pick to help quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo get his team a bit more firepower vertically to add to a top-tier team running game in CeeDee Lamb of Oklahoma.
The first half of the 1st Round is shaping up, and Andrew Thomas will be Tom Brady's bodyguard in Tampa Bay, which is a very wise move to make their new Hall-of-Fame bound signal-caller happy. In Denver, John Elway knows how to make a quarterback happy, as well as wide receivers, so why not give Drew Lock some help with Henry Ruggs III from Alabama? This gives the school two wide-outs in the top-15. Next up at #16, the Falcons truly can use a lock-down corner and C.J. Henderson fits that bill perfectly as the Florida Gator will need to check those Tampa Bay targets as well as Michael Thomas and those young and improving Panther wide-outs.
Next up are the Cowboys who can use help getting to quarterback as well as the secondary, but K'Lavon Chaisson is a rusher with extreme speed and a tremendous up-side to give Texas a new sack-sheriff in the State. The LSU prospect can materialize into a double digit sack-artist right away, but even falling short at that will still give the Cowboys a formidable player to contribute right away.
To finish up the top-20, the Bengals take advantage of the Miami deal and improve their defensive line with Iowa's A.J. Epenesa, and Jon Gruden then throws a curveball and rolls his dice in his new digs. I referenced selling tickets with the Jeudy pick, and it's no certainty that Derek Carr is the man on the Strip for the near and not so distant future. Utah State's Jordan Love is already a regional star, so what better way to get season-tickets sold than a 1st round set of Aces in the Raider's pocket? The Jaguards lost Jalen Ramsey in an deal last year with the Rams, so Kristian Fulton out of LSU would make sense to help a team with plenty of needs.
The Eagles head into pick #20 and get a much needed weapon for Carson Wentz not named Ertz in Justin Jefferson. So yet another LSU Tiger gets a teleconference call as the Eagels likely Skype or Zoom to weclome him to Philly. Cornerback Jeff Gladney from TCU will help the Vikings secondary out as they have another pick a few spots later to find their replacement for Stefon Diggs.
The Patriots lost a number of defenders to free agency, and an edge pass-rusher makes sense here at #23, however with no 2nd rounder Bill Belicheck is always a threat to pick up the phone and trade back for more picks. If he stays put, and with a potential QB of Love gone, it's too early for them to take a player like Jalen Hurts or Jacob Eason, so they go with defensive end, Zack Braun out of Wisconsin. He is a very smart player, and seems like a fit on New England as it covers a need, and I can't see the Patriots going quarterback in the 1st unless Love is there.
The 5th LSU Tiger gets selected and stays local New Orleans as Patrick Queen will rock the second defensive level of the field for the Saints at linebacker. The Vikings have another 1st rounder and wide-out Denzel Mims from Baylor takes over for Diggs after the trade to Buffalo.
The Dolphins were able to retain a 1st rounder with pick 26 in this Mock, and they need a number of positions filled, mainly offensive line to help their new Franchise quarterback. That lineman could be Josh Jones from Houston. A 6'5" 310 lbs. left takle who can be coached up and potentially a near-decade long protector for Burrow.
At pick #26 Seattle, is in need of a pressence on the edge so Penn State pass-rusher, Yetur Gross-Matos is the guy here. He is long and lean at 6'5'' 264 lbs., and can get to foes in the NFC West like Garoppolo, Murray and Goff. Kenneth Murray from Oklahoma fits the Ravens like a glove at linebacker with the 28th pick, as does Neville Gallimore for Tennessee. Gallimore can be a potential anchor to the Titans defensive line as two Sooner's go back-to-back.
The Packers are now up at #30 and while they have Davante Adams already, Aaron Rodgers can use a different type of pass-catcher and Jalen Reagor is a crisp route-runner and could perform well in the slot receiver role and can play on the outside as well. Auburn cornerback Noah Igbinoghene can immediately help in San Francisco. Rounding out the 1st Round will be the Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs. They can add help defensively or even a running back but with the offense being added to rivals around them, getting a corner is also a major need as Alabama's Trevon Diggs will be the night's last selection.
With an action packed 1st round, there are plenty of quality players left in a loaded class, and the names to listen for in this Mock heading into Day 2 and Round 2 would be the running back class as I dont believe teams value the position as high these days. Safeties are also around as none went in Round 1. Offensive lineman, cornerbacks, recievers and of course Quarterbacks domninated the round, as names like Grant Delpit and Deandre Swift remain with Jacon Eason and Jalen Hurts as the quarterbacks who could be targets for teams like Indianapolis, Las Vegas, New England or Jacksonville in Round 2.
Here is the Final Board.
Follow Jason on Twitter at @OrangeAquaman