NFL Mock Draft: Eagles go all-in on defense in first round

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The offseason is here which means it’s time to dig into NFL Mock Drafts once again. This first-round mock features plenty of twists, turns and trades along the way. So buckle up as we prepare to predict the first round in our NFL Mock Draft 1.0.

Pick 1: Indianapolis Colts (From Bears) | QB Bryce Young, Alabama

Shane Steichen worked closely with Justin Herbert prior to his jump to Philadelphia where he helped mold a borderline-MVP campaign for Jalen Hurts. The Colts would be wise to jump up and snag the top QB prospect in the draft, ending the ridiculous game of hot potato they’ve been playing since the departure of Andrew Luck.

Pick 2: Las Vegas Raiders (From Houston) | QB C.J Stroud, Ohio State

Stranger things have happened. The Las Vegas Raiders are a team that will need to move on from Derek Carr and assertively so. The Lions could be in a spot to move up, but Jared Goff is contracted for another year. If Bryce Young is taken #1 overall, would it really pain the Raiders to sneak up and take Stroud?

Pick 3: Arizona Cardinals | EDGE Will Anderson, Alabama

The Cardinals need to reinvest in the defensive line and Anderson’s arrival will at least somewhat negate the departure of J.J Watt. They get arguably the #1 prospect in the draft thanks to the desperation from others to land a franchise QB.

Pick 4: Chicago Bears | DT Jalen Carter, Georgia

The Bears defense is a shadow of its former self and the pass-rush was invisible last year. While offensive line help has to be a focus, it makes sense to take one of the best prospects in this draft and make him a cornerstone of what has become a floundering defense for years to come.

Pick 5: Seattle Seahawks | EDGE Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech

The Seahawks will probably tag Geno Smith for a year and if they do draft a QB, expect a developmental arm while Smith bridges the gap. This top-5 pick should be spent on the defense and with the run on pass-rushers starting, taking Tyreese Wilson and his 7 sacks in 2022 should be an easy choice.

Pick 6: Detroit Lions | CB, Christian Gonzalez, Oregon

I would love him to fall for the Eagles at 10, but Detroit needs to figure out its pipeline in the secondary. Jeff Okudah has struggled and this rangy corner is a physical athlete who can contribute in run-support while having the needed hip fluidity and speed to cover big-name wideouts at the next level. Hit reset and draft another corner.

Pick 7: Houston Texans | QB, Anthony Richardson, Florida

It probably isn’t how they presumed the dominos would fall, but there is no need to get cute. I’d argue that Richardson had the bigger leap in 2022 over Levis and that may be enough to tempt the Texans into pulling the trigger over star tackle, Paris Johnson.

Pick 8: Carolina Panthers (From Atlanta) | QB, Will Levis, Kentucky

The Panthers will be left with no choice in this NFL Mock Draft but to trade up for Will Levis if it is QB they desire…which isn’t exactly a bad thing. He did struggle with accuracy and would be elite one game and fold the next, but if the Falcons want a big-arm to build around, Levis has the arm talent and tools to start a new era.

Pick 9: Atlanta Falcons | EDGE, Myles Murphy, Clemson

The Falcons need to address their defensive line and if all QB’s are off the board, there’s no harm in taking Murphy here, conceding pick 8 in the process to pick up more ammo for later on. The Clemson product is a dominant athlete who should complement Brian Burns nicely…for a year at least.

Pick 10: Philadelphia Eagles | CB, Devon Witherspoon, Illinois

Eagles fans would be screaming for Joey Porter Jr. here, but Witherspoon, for me, is by far the better corner, at least as far as 2022 tape goes. The Eagles need stability at corner, especially if Bradberry walks. Witherspoon had 14 PBU’s and 3 picks in 2022, along with a stunning 24.6 QB rating when targetted. It’s time to prep the passing of the torch.

ANN ARBOR, MI – NOVEMBER 19: Illinois Fighting Illini defensive back Devon Witherspoon (31) reacts during a college football game against the Michigan Wolverines on November 19, 2022 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire)

Pick 11: Tennessee Titans | OT, Paris Johnson, Ohio State

The best tackle in the class, Johnson falling outside of the top-10 would be a huge shock, but not inconceivable. The Titans would be wise to invest in the trenches and Johnson has the versatility to play both guard and tackle, making it a very valuable pick for a run-first offense.

Pick 12: Houston Texans | DT, Calijah Kansey, Pitt

DeMeco Ryans will want some talents to work with on defense and there may be none more brutish than Kansey, who could be a battering ram under his tutelage.

Pick 13: Washington Commanders (From New York Jets) | OT Peter Skoronski

A versatile lineman who is a little smaller than many deem to be ideal, but can still pack a punch and help finally provide some stability for this rushing game to flourish. The Commanders get lucky as Skoronski slips through the cracks due to size concerns.

Pick 14: New England Patriots | OT, Broderick Jones, Georgia

The Pats are set to lose two key linemen to free agency and in this instance, they have to strike fast with all other top tackles being snatched before they have a chance to blink. Jones is surprisingly agile, but is another smaller tackle and that may harm his stock prior to the Draft.

Pick 15: Green Bay Packers | TE, Michael Mayer, Notre Dame

The Packers haven’t had any kind of dominant tight end in years. Robert Tonyan is serviceable, but there has to be a desire to bring in someone who can bring more production to the offense on a consistent basis.

Pick 16: New York Jets | LB, Drew Sanders, Arkansas

Realizing that the tackle depth is wearing thin in this NFL Mock Draft, the Jets pivot to building out the defense. Sanders is extremely versatile and is a former Bama baller. He put up 9.5 sacks last year and the Jets already have great corners and a strong DL. Time is ticking for Mosley and Alexander, so Joe Douglas jumps the gun and finds a successor here.

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Pick 17: Pittsburgh Steelers | CB Joey Porter Jr, Penn State

If the tackles are gone, then a cornerback makes sense here. Porter Jr. obviously has an affinity with the Steelers due to his Father’s time there as both a player and a coach. If they don’t go for a corner, an EDGE rusher would also make sense if the OT pool has dried up.

Pick 18: Kansas City Chiefs (From Detroit) | WR Tyler Scott, Cincinnati

The Chiefs trade up here to take a wideout before the run begins but it’s not for who you think. They’re likely going to be losing speedster Mecole Hardman and the rest of the group lacks any kind of ability to stretch the field and take the top off in the way that Tyreek Hill once did. Enter Tyler Scott and his reported 4.29 40-yard dash. His stock will likely soar once the combine rolls around and the Chiefs have never been afraid to go up and get their guy.

Pick 19: Tampa Bay Buccaneers | CB Cam Smith, South Carolina

The Bucs are going to lose some key corners to free agency this offseason. Cam Smith may fit their defense a little more than Branch, but there’s little between the two.

Pick 20: Jacksonville Jaguars (From Seahawks) | WR Quentin Johnson, TCU

The last time a TCU wideout was drafted in the first round, it didn’t exactly go too well. But this opportunity is too good to pass up for the Jags, who copy the Chiefs and jump up to secure who many deem to be the top wideout in this class before the run starts and they’re left without a running mate for Christian Kirk.

Pick 21: Forefitted by the Dolphins for being cheeky chappies…tut tut. Our NFL Mock Draft rolls on. Grab a coffee!

Pick 22: Los Angeles Chargers | CB, Brian Branch, Alabama

They could go wideout here, but they decided to pick up Brian Branch before a top corner slips down into the laps of a great team. The Chargers need an insurance policy for J.C Jackson and Branch is a great candidate.

ARLINGTON, TX – DECEMBER 31: Cincinnati Bearcats wide receiver Tyler Scott (21) gets tackled by Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Brian Branch (14) after a catch during the CFP Goodyear Cotton Bowl between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Cincinnati Bearcats on December 31, 2021 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire)

Pick 23: Baltimore Ravens | WR, Jordan Addison, USC

With the run on wideouts starting, the Ravens have no choice but to take one here. A new offensive coordinator may mean a new focus on passing the ball. Doing that would require actual receivers. Addison is the best of the remaining bunch here.

Pick 24: Minnesota Vikings | WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State

Like the last few Buckeye wideouts to come before him Smith-Njigba has star written all over him. The Vikings have the best wideout in the league, but at this point, Adam Thielen has fallen off and Osborn is too inconsistent. Going WR makes sense here and you couldn’t ask for a better pick.

Pick 25: Jacksonville Jaguars | DT Bryan Breese, Clemson

The Jags have a lot of work to do before looking ahead in this NFL Mock Draft, but bolstering their defensive front should be a priority regardless. Breese is a space-eating defensive tackle who may open things up for the other members of the defensive line and can plug the run with ease. 

Pick 26: New York Giants | WR Zay Flowers, Boston College

If Daniel Jones is given an extension, then getting him viable offensive weapons not names Richie James has to be a priority. Flowers may well soar into the top half of the NFL Mock Draft with a good combine, but the dominoes have fallen into the favor of the Giants here. 

Pick 27: Dallas Cowboys | RB, Bijan Robinson, Texas

It feels like the Cowboys may have to choose between Bijan Robinson and Ezekiel Elliott. If they’re smart, they choose the back with the higher upside and significantly cheaper contract. Robinson is the perfect replacement for Zeke and had over 1,500 rushing yards last year. 

Pick 28: Buffalo Bills | G, O’Cyrus Torrence, Florida

The Bills need to build from the ball out now. They have their QB, they have their weapons, they need a fortress up front. Torrence isn’t the sexy pick, but he’s the smart one if he falls this far in the draft as a nasty interior guard who could become a cornerstone for this young offense. 

Pick 29: Cincinnati Bengals | OT Anton Harrison, Oklahoma

The Bills picking OL may prompt Cincy to do the same. They have to get Joe Burrow some protection if they are to ever make it back to the Super Bowl. Harrison does line up on the opposite side of the field to what the team needs, but if they can convert Harrison, then it would not only save them trading up, but secure themselves a dominant talent in the process.

Pick 30: New Orleans Saints | Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee

The Saints decide to go offense here and while that could mean RB, TE, or wideout, they opt to give Chris Olave a running-mate capable of some huge plays. Hyatt has proved himself against tough competition and is one of the more pro-ready receivers in this NFL Mock Draft.

Pick 31: Philadelphia Eagles | EDGE, Isaiah Foskey, Notre Dame

Brandon Graham, despite his incredible bounce-back year, won’t be around forever. The Eagles sorely need some EDGE depth and Foskey had 10.5 sacks to his name in 2022. He’d be a great fit for this young defensive line adds an instant impact to the group.

Pick 32: Detroit Lions | EDGE, BJ Ojulari, LSU

After watching the Eagles take Foskey, the Lions take Ojulari. He’s going to be 21-years-old as a rookie and is explosive off the edge. He’s a great long-term fit for what the Lions are looking to build.

NFL Mock Draft results

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Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire