How good is Joe Burrow? So good that the world’s 100 bazillion, jillion NFL mock drafters will be collectively — but separately, of course — pumping their fists as they kick off Thursday night’s virtual festivities by going 1-for-1.
This particular NFL mock 1.0-and-done features three projected trades; 16 offensive players, led by six tackles, including four in the top 10; and 16 defensive players, led by five cornerbacks, including the start of a desperately needed reload for Zim at 25.
Five players are from Louisana State and five from Alabama, including four Crimson Tide picks in the top 13.
The Dolphins have three of the top 26 picks and a league-high 14 overall. The Chiefs and Saints are tied with a league-low five. The 49ers, Vikings, Jaguars and Raiders each have two first-round picks while the Bears, Rams, Steelers, Bills, Colts and Texans have Thursday night off but could be tempting the Seahawks, 49ers and Chiefs with offers to move into the final six picks.
And, of course, teams will grapple for quarterbacks. Three of the top six picks here are QBs. And all three projected trades are made with quarterbacks in mind as the Dolphins and Patriots land their new, young quarterbacks and the Buccaneers move up to protect a certain new, old quarterback.
JOE BURROW, QB, LSU
Let’s assume not even Cincinnati can be tempted into blowing the easiest No. 1 pick in years.
CHASE YOUNG, DE, OHIO STATE
Washington gets the next sure thing from THEE Defensive End University.
3. DOLPHINS (Projected trade with Lions)
JUSTIN HERBERT, QB, OREGON
Miami tried way too hard to tank to be outbid by the Chargers for the franchise quarterback it wants. Detroit gets the 39th and 70th picks, and maybe more, to move back two spots. The Dolphins then throw a curveball, taking Herbert instead of the huge medical risk that comes with the brittle Tua Tagovailoa.
MEKHI BECTON, T, LOUISVILLE
Yes, he had a drug test flagged at the combine. But he is also 6-7½, 365 pounds and plays left tackle with the feet of a ballerina. If he does start one of those classic draft-day freefalls, the Vikings will be crossing their fingers and toes that he lands at 23.
5. LIONS (Projected trade with Dolphins)
ISAIAH SIMMONS, LB, CLEMSON
What position do you play when you’re 6-4, 238 pounds and run a 4.39 40? All of them. Edge rusher, inside backer, safety, nickelback. He gives Matt Patricia the ultimate Patriots-style hybrid weapon.
TUA TAGOVAILOA, QB, ALABAMA
The Chargers stay put and still get their man.
JEFF OKUDAH, CB, OHIO STATE
Carolina won’t let perhaps the third-best player in the draft fall any further.
JEDRICK WILLS JR., T, ALABAMA
Arizona fills a key need by acquiring an offensive tackle.
9. BUCCANEERS (Projected trade with Jaguars)
TRISTAN WIRFS, T, IOWA
When your new QB is a 43-year-old G.O.A.T., you do whatever it takes to protect him. NOW. The Bucs will overpay a little bit by giving the Jaguars the 45th overall pick to drop five spots in the first round. Wirfs is a massive force and a gifted athlete that can play either tackle spot.
ANDREW THOMAS, T, GEORGIA
After landing prized free agent RT Jack Conklin in free agency, the perennial offseason champions add a bookend left tackle.
CEEDEE LAMB, WR, OKLAHOMA
With four tackles gobbled up in the top 10, the Jets start the run on the best receiver class in years.
JERRY JEUDY, WR, ALABAMA
Whether it’s Lamb or Jeudy here, the Raiders get the No. 1 receiver they need.
13. 49ERS (From Colts)
HENRY RUGGS III, WR, ALABAMA
They lost 33-year-old Emmanuel Sanders. But they gain a sure-handed receiver with 4.27 speed.
14. JAGUARS (Projected trade with Buccaneers)
DERRICK BROWN, DT, AUBURN
The run on tackles and receivers pushes the best defensive tackle outside the top 13. The Jaguars get top-10 caliber value after trading out of the top 10.
JUSTIN JEFFERSON, WR, LSU
Denver will be tempted to trade up with Cleveland at No. 10 to get ahead of the run on receivers. The Browns might do it because they probably can get Thomas at 15. If the Broncos stay put, they still get quite a receiver.
C.J. HENDERSON, CB, FLORIDA
Atlanta has other needs but can’t resist when the second-best corner falls this far.
K’LAVON CHAISSON, LB, LSU
Dallas gets a versatile defender and the second-best edge rusher behind Young.
18. PATRIOTS (Projected trade with Dolphins/via Steelers)
JORDAN LOVE, QB, UTAH STATE
New England isn’t going to sit by with Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer while the Bucs and Tom Brady load up for a Super Bowl in their own stadium. The Patriots will be aggressive, too. To get this prototypical, albeit polarizing, prospect, they will overpay, giving division foe Miami the 87th and 125th picks for moving down five spots. It might take even more, considering the Dolphins have spent the past 20 years being tormented by a New England quarterback.
19. RAIDERS (From Bears)
KRISTIAN FULTON, CB, LSU
Another pick from the Khalil Mack trade. The Bears had a league-low five picks last year and have only seven this year.
20. JAGUARS (From Rams)
XAVIER McKINNEY, S, ALABAMA
The best safety in the draft, although the Winfield family might disagree.
JAVON KINLAW, DT, SOUTH CAROLINA
They need a receiver, but Kinlaw at 21 is tremendous value. If Kinlaw falls one more spot, the Vikings probably take him.
22. VIKINGS (From Bills)
JOSH JONES, T, HOUSTON
A long, athletic left tackle fits the outside-zone run scheme and allows Riley Reiff to be moved to left guard, where Pat Elflein has struggled.
23. DOLPHINS (Projected trade with Patriots)
EZRA CLEVELAND, T, BOISE STATE
The move down doesn’t cost Miami the tackle it needs.
PATRICK QUEEN, LB, LSU
Value and need match up for a Saints team with only five picks.
JAYLON JOHNSON, CB, UTAH
It’s hard to imagine the Vikings making it out of the first round without taking a cornerback. Assuming Johnson had no long-term issues with his shoulder surgery in February, he’s a good fit. He’s got the instincts, toughness and necessary skill set that Mike Zimmer looks for.
26. DOLPHINS (From Texans)
A.J. EPENESA, DE-LB, IOWA
Could be a reach pick for an edge rusher in a year there aren’t many worthy of the first round.
CESAR RUIZ, C-G, MICHIGAN
Considering Seattle GM John Schneider has traded down in the first round eight years in a row, this pick probably will belong to someone else.
KENNETH MURRAY, LB, OKLAHOMA
Signing Jake Ryan won’t keep the Ravens from landing an explosive inside backer.
ROSS BLACKLOCK, DT, TCU
Might be considered a reach by some but Tennessee needs to replace the traded Jurrell Casey.
TEE HIGGINS, WR, CLEMSON
Is the guy who tied Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins for most touchdown catches in school history (27) fast enough to take the next step?
A.J. TERRELL, CB, CLEMSON
With no picks in the second, third and fourth rounds, the 49ers will almost certainly trade down.
ANTOINE WINFIELD JR., DB, MINNESOTA
With only five picks, the Chiefs also will look to trade down. But if the world champs stay put, they have a need for a versatile defensive back. Winfield is versatile. He’s got the pedigree, obviously. And the Honey Badger, Tyrann Mathieu, is on record as saying he wants to team up with the former Gopher.