To be mocked relentlessly, here’s my NFL Draft first-round predictions
After exactly 12 minutes of intense study in preparation for this weekend’s NFL Draft, here’s my first-round predictions to be mocked relentlessly. I’ve only done this one other time and it was a complete failure. I expect nothing more this time around, especially since I’m not brave enough to account for trades.
–– Sports Editor Matt Frey
1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Hometown boy from Ohio, Heisman Trophy winner, national champion, team in need of a new quarterback. Can’t screw this one up.
2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young, DE, Ohio State Many say Young is the best overall talent in the draft. Redskins agree.
3. Detroit Lions: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State Lions think Matthew Stafford bounces back after injury-riddled 2019, so they take Okudah to help replace the traded Darius Slay.
4. New York Giants: Tristan Warfs, T, Iowa This is where trade talks could really heat up as teams look for their quarterback. Giants look to protect their own first-round quarterback from last year.
5. Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama Flip a coin between Tua or Justin Herbert. Dolphins decide they need to silence some of the buzz coming from the other side of the state in Tampa and they can make sure Tua heals while learning for a bit behind Ryan Fitzpatrick.
6. Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon Would love Tua if he falls to them, but Chargers are happy with the Rose Bowl hero from Oregon to eventually bypass Tyrod Tay- lor.
7. Carolina Panthers: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
What a nice gift to have Luke Kuechly’s replacement fall right into Carolina’s lap.
8. Arizona Cardinals: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
Cardinals have a tough call between taking an offensive or defensive tackle, but go with Brown, who looks like a safe, surefire pick.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Mehki Becton, T, Louisville They wanted Simmons or Brown and got neither. So Jacksonville goes for a cornerstone left tackle in Becton.
10. Cleveland Browns: Ceedee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma Browns can go any direction they want and settle on adding to their wide receiver depth, just on the off chance Odell Beckham might misbehave at some point.
11. New York Jets: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama In desperate need of playmakers to help young quarterback Sam Darnold, Jets nab draft’s second-highest rated receiver.
12. Oakland Raiders: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama The first run on receivers continues as Raiders are another team in need of outside playmakers.
13. San Francisco 49ers: Jedrick Wills, T, Alabama Make it third Alabama pick in a row as 49ers use pick obtained in an earlier trade with the Colts to add to their stable of tough guys with Wills, who falls a little farther than expected.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Andrew Thomas, T, Georgia Buccaneers could look to defense with this pick, but they take a guy who was a day-one starter the moment he arrived at Georgia.
15. Denver Broncos: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU Broncos traded away Emmanuel Sanders last fall and get an upgrade for young quarterback Drew Lock to throw to.
16. Atlanta Falcons: CJ Henderson, CB, Florida Falcons need help anywhere they can get in on defense. This is a start.
17. Dallas Cowboys: K’Lavon Chaisson, Edge, LSU This is a Dallas type of pick, stirring up images of D’Marcus Ware.
18. Miami Dolphins: Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin The stunner of the first round. Miami breaks the recent NFL trend and goes with a running back early.
19. Las Vegas Raiders: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU National champs continue to make noise in first-round as Raiders hope they finally found their cheaper version of Khalil Mack.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars: Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina Needing to rebuild defensive line, Jaguars are fortunate to see Kinlaw drop to them with their second pick of the first round.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma Eagles could go WR here as well, but they’re happy to get a linebacker who looks like a surefire pro.
22. Minnesota Vikings: Michael Pittman, WR, USC Secondary is a big need, but so is receiver and the Vikings go that way with their first of two picks in the first round.
23. New England Patriots: AJ Espenesa, DE, Iowa Suddenly, the dynasty is falling apart and the Patriots have plenty of needs.
24. New Orleans Saints: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State A team with no glaring needs, the Saints can look to the future and nab the heir apparent to Drew Brees. Can they then trade Taysom Hill back to the Packers?
25. Minnesota Vikings: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU Another Bayou Bengal goes in the first round.
26. Miami Dolphins: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama Having helped the offense with its first two picks, Miami goes defense with third pick.
27. Seattle Seahawks: D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia Hoping not to have to call on Marshawn Lynch again, Seattle thinks it has a true number- one running back with this pick.
28. Baltimore Ravens: Zack Baun, OLB, Wisconsin Lots of other mocks have Baun going here, so if we’re wrong, we can all be wrong together.
29. Tennessee Titans: Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU Titans shore up the defensive line, which lost five-time Pro Bowler Jurrell Casey in trade with Denver.
30. Green Bay Packers: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State I think this pick will be between Aiyuk and Houston tackle Joshua Jones. Coin flipped in the Gutekunst basement and Aiyuk won.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama The 49ers are in a position to do whatever they want with this pick.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: Yetur Grossmatos, Edge, Penn State Thank God, this if finally over. If I get six to eight picks right, I’ll be ecstatic.