With all my pre-draft work culminating in Wednesday night’s release of the Thor 500 — my 500-player Big board complete with comps and SPARQ and RAS scores for every prospect — I wasn’t able to publish my final mock of the season until Thursday afternoon. I hope you’ll forgive the tardiness.
Please check out my scouting deep-dive series for my context on each player mentioned below. But I know you’re busy today, so for the first time in my career, I’m not going to be verbose!
1. Arizona Cardinals - QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
I don’t agree with it — I’ve been pretty vocal about that throughout the process — and I think there’s a real chance that the Cardinals don’t leave tonight with Kyler. But it would be hubris to predict anything but chalk at 1.1, and slotting Kyler here also protects against a trade down with a team like the Raiders who’d be making a move up for the Sooners dual-threat quarterback.
2. San Francisco 49ers - EDGE Nick Bosa, Ohio State
This might be the only free spot on the bingo card. I’d be more surprised by the 49ers passing on Bosa at 1.2 — assuming Kyler goes 1.1 — than I would be if the Cardinals took somebody besides Kyler at the top of the board.
3. NY Jets - IDL Quinnen Williams, Alabama
The Jets badly want to trade down. I had Josh Allen here for the longest of times, and I think he’s probably the best meld of value and need — the Jets badly need an edge rusher and tried and failed to sign Anthony Barr with the idea they’d try to get some of that from him — but Quinnen steam has picked up over the past week. And it’s hard to quibble there. Williams is the best player in the class, and DC Gregg Williams needs more guys who can generate pressure quickly or his attacking Cover-2 defense is going to get lit up next fall.
4. Oakland Raiders - QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
Two contradictory rumors have flown hot and heavy the past few days: 1) The Raiders like Haskins, 2) The Raiders leaked that information to the media to incentivize a team to either trade with the Jets to allow Quinnen to fall to 1.4, or to incentivize a team to overpay them for the right to trade up. Either way, if Quinnen is off the board here, I think we’re gonna get a curveball and this would be that. I’m not necessarily saying the Raiders would make the pick — in mocks, you have to project the slot as much as the team.
5. Tampa Bay Bucs - EDGE Josh Allen, Kentucky
In previous mocks, I went chalk in giving the Bucs LSU LB Devin White. But I never thought Allen was going to get past the Jets. If he’s here, and I’m the Bucs, this choice is easy — I want Allen. Kid’s a multi-faceted monster. He can do more things than White can.
6. New York Giants - IDL Ed Oliver, Houston
The Giants desperately need a quarterback. But in a scenario where two go above them and either Oliver or Allen falls, Dave Gettleman isn’t going to be able to help himself. And here’s the thing: He’d be making the right call. Oliver is a top-3 talent in this class. You don’t pass on him for El Busto Drew Lock or a guy like Daniel Jones. Wait for your second first-rounder, and keep Kliff on the line with low-ball Rosen offers.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars - TE T.J. Hockenson, Iowa
I’ve had Hockenson mocked 1.7 to the Jaguars since my first mock of the process in early February. At the time, it was a scandalous take. Now, it’s arguably chalk. And it’s the right call. Hockenson isn’t like any tight end to enter the process in the last decade. He’s a force, an offensive weapon/chess piece more than a tight end. Slap anyone at your draft party who says you don’t take a TE in the top-10 — two logical fallacies are imbedded in that statement, the first being the implication that Hockenson is like the others and the second in the failure to understand the increasing value of TEs in the NFL.
Hockenson is the best blocking CFB tight end I’ve ever seen. The guy is a third offensive tackle who manhandles defensive ends. And he can play all over the place — inline, slot, an H-back motioning around, as a lead-blocking FB — to give you a trump-card on every play. Oh yeah! And last year he was the nation’s best receiving tight end – Hock, not ballyhooed teammate Noah Fant, was the focal point of Iowa’s passing attack from the jump on a team with an NFL-like coaching staff famous for developing tight ends.
I think he’s the best tight end prospect to enter the draft since Vernon Davis. Hockenson would be of particular appeal to the Jaguars, not only because they desperately need a tight end, but because Hockenson appeals to the base’s two biggest dreams: 1) A big receiving stud to help Nick Foles and 2) A next-level turbo-charger inline weapon for the Leonard Fournette-smash mouth wet dream. Plus, new OC John DeFilippo loves to make use of his tight ends. This is a marriage made in heaven. (Sorry, I couldn’t stay succinct with #TE1TJH — I just couldn’t).
8. Detroit Lions - LB Devin White, LSU
White is not commonly mocked to Detroit, but that’s because almost every mock has him going to Tampa. Montez Sweat is a popular pick here, but I’m too spooked by the possibility of a mini-Mo Hurst slide because of the heart condition to slot him this high. White would be a great pick at 1.8.
9. Buffalo Bills - OT Jonah Williams, Alabama
In every mock I’ve done previously, Ed Oliver has been the pick at 1.9. But unfortunately for Buffalo, Oliver’s stock has justifiably spiked as we’ve closed in on Draft Day. TJ Hockenson is the other dream scenario, but he’s gone. I assume Jonah is No. 3 on the Bills’ realistic preference list if they stay in this slot.
10. Denver Broncos - LB Devin Bush, Michigan
This one is very chalky, but I just have to believe that the Broncos aren’t going to make the mistake of ordaining Drew Lock a top-10 pick. Maybe I'm giving them too much credit.
11. Cincinnati Bengals - OT Andre Dillard, Wazzu
I have this weird gut feel that the Bengals could be the mystery team that loves Daniel Jones in the top-15, and I thought real hard about pulling the trigger on that. But if either Jonah or Dillard are here, I don’t know how you can justify passing with the mess of an offensive line you have. I see Dillard as the Pat Mahomes of left tackle prospects — I don’t think the NFL fully realizes what this kid is.
12. Green Bay Packers - IDL Jeffery Simmons, Miss. St.
I’ve heard whispers that Green Bay loves Simmons for the past few weeks. I don’t think there’s any way that a player this talented is going to fall to 1.30 — the Packers’ pipe dream — so this is your shot if you like him. And not for nothing: Simmons was Bob McGinn’s pick for the Pack in his last mock.
13. Miami Dolphins - QB Daniel Jones, Duke
The Dolphins really want to trade down. If they do, it’ll almost assuredly be with either the Giants, or a team looking to hop the Giants to grab a QB before they can get back on the clock. To be clear: This is a projection for the slot, and not necessarily the team (but hey, Miami could really use a QB too).
14. Atlanta Falcons - IDL Christian Wilkins, Clemson
This is another pick that has remained the same throughout my mock drafts. Here’s what I wrote back in February: “With Grady Jarrett’s dueling Spiderman GIF doppelganger Ed Oliver off the board, Atlanta doesn’t even have to entertain the possibility of how viable an interior duo of Oliver and Jarrett could be. A burlier, rangier interior lineman to complement Jarrett makes more conventional sense. … Installing Wilkins next to Jarrett would make a delicious DL sandwich bookended by Takk McKinley and Vic Beasley sure to cause indigestion for NFC South offenses.
15. Washington Redskins - QB Drew Lock, Missouri
Local S Darnell Savage is the dark horse in this slot, he came in for a late visit. And while the Redskins reportedly like Haskins, and while I think Jones is a far better fit for the offense than Lock (Jones is also a better prospect imho), I think the NFL is too infatuated with Lock’s measureables to allow him to get picked in a more appropriate range. Which is to say mid-Day 2.
16. Carolina Panthers - OT Jawaan Taylor, Florida
Panthers are going OL. Cody Ford is another option, but I think you go Taylor if he falls.
17. New York Giants (CLE) - EDGE Brian Burns, FSU
How fun would it be to see Ed Oliver and Brian Burns getting after quarterbacks together for the next decade?! But like some of my previous picks, this projection as much about slot as player. If the Giants trade up to No. 13 to get a QB, the Dolphins are running to the podium at 1.17 if Burns is on the board. But Gettleman might be crazy enough to devote both of his top-17 picks to pass rushers. It would be super fun, if nothing else.
18. Minnesota Vikings - OT Cody Ford, Oklahoma
The Vikings MUST take an offensive lineman in the first round this year. I live in Minneapolis, and have heard more smoke about Ford than with the other guys. That might be a smokescreen of sorts, but in this scenario, all the other tackles are gone. It would come down to Ford, Garrett Bradbury or Chris Lindstrom.
19. Tennessee Titans - EDGE Montez Sweat, Miss. St.
The Titans need an edge rusher desperately and are guaranteed to get a solid one because of the stupid depth at the top of this EDGE class. Sweat is likely to get pushed down the board a bit. But at 1.19, you don’t overthink it. The kid is too good. And good in all phases of the game.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers - CB Greedy Williams, LSU
I’ve heard plenty of whispers that Greedy is going to plummet because of health and character concerns, while Pittsburgh is zeroing in on Rock Ya-Sin. I dunno about that. If it’s me, I’m taking the draft’s best corner unless my doctors failed him or unless he insulted my daughter during our meeting at the NFL Combine. Greed(y) is good.
21. Seattle Seahawks - EDGE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson
Ready-made Frank Clark replacement. We’ll focus on other needs in the recently-acquired 1.29 pick. Ferrell is too good to pass on with EDGE having moved near the top of Seattle’s shopping list.
22. Baltimore Ravens - WR N'Keal Harry, Arizona State
D.K. Metcalf and Hollywood Brown are poor fits with Lamar Jackson — you need a guy with ball skills and a big catch radius who likes to freelance on scramble drills. Harry and Hakeem Butler are the best fits for Baltimore. I want to slot Butler — my WR1 — here so badly, but I guess I have to trust that the NFL is lower on him than I am.
23. Houston Texans - C Garrett Bradbury, NC State
I’ve heard from a Dillard source that the Texans desperately want to trade up to get him. Stuck in this slot with the top four OTs off the board, this OL-needy squad makes lemonade with the class’ best interior lineman. We’ll have to address tackle tomorrow.
24. Oakland Raiders (CHI) - EDGE Rashan Gary, Michigan
If Oakland doesn’t address the front seven with its first pick, I think they’ll be praying that one of the class’ top-six EDGE talents falls. I’m not a fan of Gary’s, but in this range with an EDGE need you role the dice and hope for the best.
25. Philadelphia Eagles - WR Marquise Brown, Oklahoma
This was also my pick in my February mock. At the time, I wrote: “This might not be a rational, pick. But give me this one. I want the DeSean Jackson clone in green, grey and white.” My friend Benjamin Solak, who knows that team well, tweeted Thursday that Brown is “90% the pick if he’s there.” I guess it’s become a rational idea in the past two months, so let’s keep the dream alive.
26. Indianapolis Colts - CB Rock Ya-Sin, Temple
All the smoke in the past 24 hours is that Rock Ya is going to the Steelers at 1.20. I’m electing not to follow the herd with that one, but I do buy that the NFL loves Rock. Seems like a player Ballard would get seduced by. Tough as nails and competes his tail off.
27. Oakland Raiders (DAL) - RB Joshua Jacobs, Alabama
There are so many superior prospects on the board, but it would feel hubristic to ignore all the Raiders-love-Jacobs reports from the past two months in deference to good taste.
28. LA Chargers - S Darnell Savage, Maryland
I believe Savage is going to be the first safety on the board. CB Byron Murphy would make a ton of sense too.
29. Seattle Seahawks (KC) - CB Byron Murphy, Washington
Shop local! Murphy doesn’t fit Seattle’s outside corner thresholds, but he ain’t playing outside with the Seahawks. He’s going inside to turn off the lights on slot receivers.
30. Green Bay Packers (NO) - TE Noah Fant, Iowa
A bonanza for the Packers if Fant falls here, and I think there’s a real chance he does. Fant is crazy athletic and really good in space and in the red zone. But he stinks in traffic, doesn’t make contested catches, doesn’t break tackles, drops too many balls, and is a willing but mediocre blocker who is best kept in a Joker role if you’ve got an inline guy to pair him with. But with Aaron Rogers, he’s could do some real damage downfield as a big slot.
31. LA Rams - G Chris Lindstrom, Boston College
This one makes a ton of sense. Rams need interior help and Lindstrom is the best guard in the class by margin.
32. New England Patriots - WR A.J. Brown, Ole Miss
The Patriots aggressively tried to add a top-notch receiver during the offseason and have thus far whiffed. They reportedly like Brown, and I’ll give my thumbs-up on that idea. Underrated player. Stupidly productive.
Thor’s top-12 best available:
1. Notre Dame IDL Jerry Tillery
2. Iowa State WR Hakeem Butler
3. Clemson IDL Dexter Lawrence
4. Notre Dame CB Julian Love
5. Kansas State OL Dalton Risner
6. Ohio State IDL Dre’Mont Jones
7. Mississippi WR D.K. Metcalf
8. Michigan CB David Long
9. Deleware S Nasir Adderley
10. Georgia CB Deandre Baker
11. Louisiana Tech EDGE Jaylon Ferguson
12. Iowa State RB David Montgomery