NEW YORK -AP-
Talk about virtual drafts, what is a mock draft, really? Make believe.
The upcoming NFL remote draft beginning Thursday night has a touch of irony to it. The producers of said mock drafts rarely are even remotely accurate.
That said, here’s one view of what might happen in the opening round. This mock draft does not include trades, of which there could be several. Sticking with the existing grid, the Colts, Steelers, Bears, Rams, Bills and Texans don’t have a selection.
Bengals can’t possibly bungle this pick, right? Last time they took franchise quarterback with top overall selection, in 2003, it worked out pretty well with Carson Palmer.
JOE BURROW, QB, LSU
Best player in this draft is Chase Young. Redskins will get lots of offers, especially from teams seeking QB. If they aren’t tempted enough, they go with chalk …
CHASE YOUNG, EDGE/LB, OHIO STATE
Lions will get even more pressure to deal this spot with two highly regarded quarterbacks available. Guess what: Matthew Stafford comes off major injury, has gotten beaten down through years, and has difficult family issues. So whether they trade it or keep it …
TUA TAGOVAILOA, QB, ALABAMA
So many needs, but hard to see Giants ignoring stud linebacker with winning credentials to build defense around.
ISAIAH SIMMONS, LB, CLEMSON
Dolphins supposedly were tanking for Tua last year, yet won enough games to fall to fifth in the order. That doesn’t mean they will ignore a passer here.
JUSTIN HERBERT, QB, OREGON
6. Los Angeles Chargers
Having missed out on top three QBs, Chargers are dumbfounded. They will attempt to trade down for more picks and still get a passer later on. If not, how about the best defensive back in this draft, even though it’s not major need?
JEFF OKUDAH, CB, OHIO STATE
New coach Matt Rhule has retooled offense in free agency, now dedicates first of many choices to defense.
DERRICK BROWN, DL, AUBURN
Just like Panthers, Cardinals must dive deep into defensive picks, but not here. They address major hole on offensive line with …
JEDRICK WILLS, OT, ALABAMA
First of two opening-round picks for rebuilding Jags, who can get desired offensive tackle later on and address D here.
JAVON KINLAW, DL, SOUTH CAROLINA
Browns would love to get left tackle here. They haven’t been secure there since Joe Thomas, the best player at the position of last decade, hung it up.
MEKHI BECTON, OT, LOUISVILLE
11. New York Jets
GM Joe Douglas has vowed to get protector and playmaker for QB Sam Darnold. Best wideout in this deep draft at that position is available, and coach Adam Gase is drooling. But the quality of blockers in second next round is too much lower to pass on …
TRISTAN WIRFS, OT, IOWA
12. Las Vegas
Raiders also will select at No. 19. Packaging their two picks to move up is not out of question, but going here will net them …
JERRY JEUDY, WR, ALABAMA
13. San Francisco (from Indianapolis)
How nice. Go to Super Bowl, then make deal for this spot to go with later pick. Niners want dynamic target for Jimmy Garoppolo to go with last year’s breakthrough rookie, Deebo Samuel.
HENRY RUGGS III, WR, ALABAMA
14. Tampa Bay
That soon-to-be 43-year-old quarterback who came in from up north will appreciate this left tackle as bodyguard.
ANDREW THOMAS, OT, GEORGIA
15 . Denver
Broncos had productive second half of 2019, believe they can push toward top of AFC West dominated by Chiefs. Dynamic playmaker helps.
CEEDEE LAMB, WR, OKLAHOMA
Pass rush has disappeared, as has most of Atlanta’s defense. Dan Quinn’s job depends on quick turnaround by that unit.
K’LAVON CHAISSON, EDGE, LSU
Cowboys also are in market for someone to get to opposing QBs, and also could use boost in secondary. Regardless, they go defense here.
C.J. HENDERSON, CB, FLORIDA
18. Miami (from Pittsburgh )
Dolphins got their passer, and with their second of trio of first-rounders, they can’t pass on protection for Herbert — from one of his college opponents no less.
AUSTIN JACKSON, OT, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
19. Las Vegas (from Chicago)
Having grabbed outside threat at receiver, it’s time for Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden to fill hole at linebacker. Some might see this as reach. We don’t.
PATRICK QUEEN, LB, LSU
20. Jacksonville (from Los Angeles Rams)
Time for that offensive tackle mentioned above for Jags.
JOSH JONES, OT, HOUSTON
Eagles showed tons of gumption winning NFC East with battered roster. They’ve made plenty of offseason changes, and find need for fast guys: cornerbacks and wideouts. Go with D-back here.
A.J. TERRELL, CB, CLEMSON
22. Minnesota (from Buffalo)
Pick acquired for WR Stefon Diggs, which could wind up in replacement for Diggs.
JUSTIN JEFFERSON, WR, LSU
23. New England
Grab QB of future here with Tom Brady off to Tampa? Patriots coach believes he could win with Ryan Leaf.
KENNETH MURRAY, LB, OKLAHOMA
24. New Orleans
Few teams have as talented a roster as Saints. So they can look ahead at their most important offensive position.
JORDAN LOVE, QB, UTAH STATE
25 . Minnesota
With Diggs replaced, time to address secondary. Another Crimson Tide standout in this spot — and Diggs’ younger brother to boot.
TREVON DIGGS, CB, ALABAMA
26. Miami (from Houston )
Dolphins’ third selection following QB Herbert and tackle Jackson. Time to grab defensive help.
YETUR GROSS-MATOS, EDGE, PENN STATE
Last decade’s best coach-GM combo was Pete Carroll and John Schneider. Their first pick of this decade is …
TEE HIGGINS, WR, CLEMSON
NFL’s top team in regular season has few weaknesses. One worth looking at is linebacker, where there’s no Ray Lewis or Terrell Suggs on board.
ZACK BAUN, LB, WISCONSIN
29 . Tennessee
After falling one win short of AFC title, Mike Vrabel bolsters defense. That could be on Titans line now without Jurrell Casey, or secondary missing Logan Ryan.
KRISTIAN FULTON, CB, LSU
30. Green Bay
Real nice value pick here for Packers’ defense.
A.J. EPENESA, EDGE, IOWA
31. San Francisco
Another chance to enhance strong roster. With Ruggs in hand, future replacement for standout LT Joe Staley might make sense but also is reach. Instead …
ROSS BLACKLOCK, DT, TCU
32. Kansas City
Super Bowl champs, after 50-year drought, know they need help in backfield behind Patrick Mahomes.