Steve’s Round 1 Mock Draft 1.0

The national championship has concluded and if your NFL team has not made the playoffs then congrats, it’s DRAFT SZN! This is the debut of my very first actual mock draft. Sure I’ve gone through hundreds of mock simulations this season, but now that half the draft order is finalized, we can truly get to work. No trades in this mock, that’ll come later once we can truly get a lay of the land.

Without further ado…

*I used PFF and The Draft Network’s top team needs as well as my own knowledge to base these picks.

1.01 Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

The no brainer here. For anyone thinking that he may not go first overall, just stop, there’s no point. Then again, it’s Jacksonville, who the hell knows with them.

1.02 New York Jets – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio St.

This is up in the air for me. Personally, I think Sam Darnold has shown enough to think that he can be a starting quarterback in the NFL. The big question will be is if he is better than who is available when the Jets are picking. I think not. So my QB2 Justin Fields is the pick here and Darnold will be moved to another team.

1.03 Miami Dolphins – Penei Sewell, OT Oregon

I foresee the Dolphins trading back from this spot to a QB hungry team but I’m skipping trades for now. If the Dolphins stay put and figure they want to give Tua another year (they should) Sewell is the obvious choice to the anchor a O-Line for the future.

1.04 Atlanta Falcons – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

Supposedly, Arthur Blank may ready to move on from Matt Ryan and even Julio Jones to begin a total rebuild. If this happens the rebuild should start with BYU’s Zach Wilson. He’s got all the arm talent in the world and could be just the fresh start that Atlanta is needing.

1.05 Cincinnati Bengals – Jamar Chase, WR, LSU

Bengals will be upset they’ve missed the Sewell sweepstakes but teaming Joe Burrow up with his former LSU teammate Jamar Chase will be a great consolation. Chase is my WR2 but you can’t really go wrong with any of the top 3 WRs.

1.06 Philadelphia Eagles – Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama

Philly needs weapons, in a bad way. Devonte Smith more than fits the bill. My WR1 is the 2nd receiver taken in the class to reunite with former Bama (and Oklahoma) quarterback Jalen Hurts.

1.07 Detroit Lions – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn St.

Parsons has dominated from the linebacker position and gets to the ball with great speed. His ability to blitz from the 2nd level is impressive and has many believing he can play off the edge in stints. Detroit could use a dynamic player like this on that end of the ball.

1.08 Carolina Panthers – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota St.

The Panthers quickly found out the hard way that Teddy Bridgewater isn’t the answer at QB for their team. Trey Lance had a meteoric rise in 2019 posting insane film and numbers. 28 TDs and 0 INTs is nothing to be scoffed at regardless of what level you’re playing it. ESPECIALLY when you’re as aggressive with the ball as Lance is. He may be the most raw QB in this class but since they’ve contractually tied themselves to Bridgewater so there doesn’t have to be a rush to start him immediately. (even though they probably should)

1.09 Denver Broncos – Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan

You can never have enough pass rushers. Broncos already have Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, one of which is 32 and coming off an injury and the other who’s due for a pay day after 2022. Get young and stay productive on the defensive line and you will have very few problems.

1.10 Dallas Cowboys – Patrick Surtain, CB, Alabama

Dallas has felt the loss of Byron Jones heavily as they’ve ended up having the worst pass defenses in the league the past year. The best cornerback in this draft won’t fall out of the top 10 and slips to Dallas in my first mock, and can hopefully be a cure to their issues.

1.11 New York Giants – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

Giants spent last years pick on a LT this year they look to upgrade the weapons around Daniel Jones in what I think will be his last chance as a starter this season. Jaylen Waddle is thought of by many to be the best receiver in this class but with the rise of his teammate Devonta Smith and Jamar Chase a likely top 5 pick, Waddle slips out of the top 10 and into the Giants hands.

1.12 San Francisco 49ers – RaShawn Slater, OL, Northwestern

San Fran could use an upgrade at the line position, they traded for Trent Williams last season who has been on IR but could use some refreshing at other slots as well. Slater has played both tackle positions and is seen as a guy who could easily be worked to inside to play guard and even center. A jack of all trades if you will for the 49ers.

1.13 Los Angeles Chargers – Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech

Chargers have their quarterback in Justin Herbert and they already have weapons in place, now it’s time to protect him. They traded their LT, Russell Okung, away last year to bring in guard Trai Turner, so drafting a tackle in the first round makes sense in what appears to be a solid class.

1.14 Minnesota Vikings – Alijah Vera-Tucker, iOL, USC

Minnesota is pretty stout on offense but could really use some work upgrading their interior line. With Slater off the board they take the next best versatile linemen in Vera-Tucker. Another guy who’s played LT and is being seen as a true guard at the next level.

1.15 New England Patriots – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

Long story short. The Patriots may have the worst skill group in the league. The hope is that one of the big 3 receivers falls to them but in this mock they get arguably the best “pass catcher” in this draft anyways in TE Kyle Pitts. Belichick loves his tight ends so it’s a natural fit in that regards and if they keep QB Cam Newton, he’s had his fair share of success with a tight end as his #1 options as well.

1.16 Arizona Cardinals – Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech

Arizona’s got some questions all over the roster and how they missed the playoffs is beyond me, they’ll go BPA here with Caleb Farley who I think is a top 15 pick. Patrick Peterson may be on the wrong end of 30 and even if he isn’t getting another lockdown corner is never a bad thing!

1.17 Las Vegas Raiders – Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami

Raiders need pass rushing help. Maxx Crosby lead the team with 7 sacks which is solid but I think there is still more to be desired there. Unfortunately this isn’t a deep pass rusher class on the face but Rousseau is a raw prospect who has high potential to be a solid pass rusher.

1.18 Miami Dolphins – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

Miami elected to protect Tua with their first pick and now they’ll look to get him a weapon with their 2nd. This receiver class looks to be quite deep and Bateman is one of the best the group. Him being WR4 is pretty crazy but that’s just how good the top 3 are supposed to be.

1.19 Washington Football Team – Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama

The Football Team played themselves out of a Top 4 QB in this draft but that can be addressed in FA. If it is look for the Team to go O-Line. Again a rich tackle class this year will have plenty of QBs happy this year.

1.20 Chicago Bears – Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas

The Bears got problems. Do they keep Trubisky? Do they need more weapons? I got no clue, so we’re going O-Line. Maybe this helps Mitch if they keep him around.

1.21 Indianapolis Colts – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

Unsure what the Colts will do here with QB being a big question mark going into the offseason. I do know that they need CB help so that’s what we’ll slot them for now until they truly enter the QB sweepstakes.

1.22 Tennessee Titans – Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas

Like the Raiders the Titans need to find some more sacks. They’ll take a shot on a EDGE this draft hoping he can be that guy. Tennessee is usually strong defensively but this where they’ve been lacking for the past couple seasons.

1.23 New York Jets – Chris Olave, WR, Ohio St.

The Jets went with Fields here with the 2nd pick, so we’re gonna be cheesy and give him his best friend on the field, Chris Olave. Jets start early with surrounding their franchise QB with weapons.

1.24 Pittsburgh Steelers – Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame

Another tackle needy team, Pittsburgh also has some questions surrounding themas it relates to their historic QB. For now we’ll assume Big Ben is staying, so Pittsburgh will look to keep him standing for one more season.

1.25 Jacksonville Jaguars – Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan

Jags got their man with Lawrence, now they have to keep him up right so he can use that golden arm of his. Look for them to dip into this tackle rich class.

1.26 Cleveland Browns – Christian Barmore, iDL, Alabama

Barmore made himself some money in the National Championship. How much money is question but for now he’ll be the first iDL taken in what seems to be an iffy class. Browns add a good player to a already strong defensive line.

1.27 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

Tampa Bay finds themselves in that weird limbo of having a old as hell QB and being stuck at the end of the rounds because he’s so good. So they’ll need to hit on a late round QB. Mac Jones has probably played his way into the first round and some even have him as a top 10 pick (Lol). Maybe he’s Brady’s successor in Tampa.

1.28 Baltimore Ravens – Terrace Marshall, WR, LSU

Somehow the Ravens need weapons. That sounds really weird because most people fear this team as is, but really it’s Lamar Jackson, Mark Andrews and that’s about it. Hollywood Brown has his flashes but he’s a true #1, he’ll need a running mate.

1.29 New Orleans Saints – Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

Saints need LB help so who better than the dude who just picked up the Bednarik and Nagurski award.

1.30 Buffalo Bills – Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia

Bills know what they’re doing, and they know they could use some cornerback help. Best available here is Stokes out of Georgia.

1.31 Green Bay Packers – Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida

Green Bay has finally done it. They’ll get Aaron Rodgers a first round receiver. Davante Adams is obviously a supreme stud but having a gadget guy like Toney who can work the slot will be wonderful for a team built like the packers.

1.32 Kansas City Chiefs – Wyatt Davis, iOL, Ohio St.

Chiefs don’t need much, but they could use a guard, Wyatt Davis seems like a guy who can slot in and start for 12 years.

Panthers Select Troy Pride Jr in 4th Round

With the 113th pick in the 4th round the Panthers selected Notre Dame cornerback, Troy Pride Jr. The cornerback position is a very noticeable hole on Carolina’s roster and the Panthers had their choice of cornerback at this pick and decided Pride was their guy.

With the addition of Pride the Panthers are putting together a very solid defensive draft that’s bringing a lot of excitement to the fans. It seems as if we finally have a blueprint for how Matt Rhule wants to build his team and that’s from the trenches up. A very 49ers esque blueprint and I’m not mad about that one bit.

At 113, Pride is a good value pick that can hopefully fill a position of need. It can be argued that having a solid selection of cornerbacks right there the Panthers could have traded back and acquired more draft capital while still getting a solid corner. Guys like Tulsa’s Reggie Robinson and Virginia’s Bryce Hall were also available.

At 6′ even 193 pounds, Pride has average size and good top end speed with a 4.4 40, and should be able to play in the slot if needed. His ball skills aren’t the greatest but not many corners have good ball skills these days so it is what it is am I right.

With Pride and Jeremy Chinn both joining the secondary, the Panthers defense just got a whole lot faster.

The Panthers have three picks remaining in this draft, I have a hunch they’ll start to go offense.

Yetur Gross-Matos, Welcome to Carolina

Last night, Carolina decided to double down on their 1st round pick of Derrick Brown to add even more power and disruption to their defensive Line, selecting edge rusher Yetur Gross-Matos from Penn State with the 38th overall pick.

As a player who many believed would sneak into the late 1st, this pick offers a lot of value with the Panthers even admitting themselves they didn’t think Matos would be there for them at that stage of the draft.

Standing at 6’5 with a 34 7/8″ arm and 82 3/8″ wingspan, he offers elite length and size that was overall lacking in what has been perceived as a pretty mediocre class of edge rushers. Pairing him with last years 16th overall pick Brian Burns now gives the team a young pass rush that has the potential to grow into something really special, and with Derrick Brown and KK Short on the inside they can start to feel really good about their defensive front – a unit that struggled last season despite misleading sack numbers.

In his final 2 years at Penn State, Yetur racked up 17 sacks as well as a mightily impressive 34.5 tackles for loss, something that bodes well to help improve Carolina’s run defense that managed to break records for being so bad last year.

Now that its in the books, it is clear to see what the Panthers plan was early in this draft. Despite the progressive thought in the NFL being drafting guys who can cover over guys that play up front – Carolina has stood by the old school mantra of building a Defensive front to back, jamming the run and getting in the face of the Quarterback.

Whilst opinions on that philosophy are mixed, it can’t be denied that the Panthers picked up two very, very good football players who will contribute big to rebuilding a defense that has undoubtedly lost its way in the last couple of years.

Going into day 3 it is clear the team will need to draft some corner help – this position being without question now the weakest on the roster.

In terms of targets for Carolina today? Keep your eye on Bryce Hall, the cornerback out of UVA who is likely the best remaining player on the board at the position and would be a great add to the team.

Panthers Move Up to take Jeremy Chinn in the second round

The Carolina Panthers made multiple picks in the 2nd round on Friday night. After trading a third and fifth-round pick to the Seattle Seahawks, the Panthers selected Southern Illinois safety/nickel Jeremy Chinn.

Chinn, who was expected to be a mid-second round pick, slid slightly and Carolina moved up to draft their guy. He is a versatile secondary piece that can hit, cover, and create turnovers.

The Panthers signed Juston Burris in free agency and is expected to start at safety for Carolina, but Chinn can play either corner spot (outside or nickel). He is going to find himself on the field a lot as a rookie.

After selecting Yetur Gross-Matos with their first pick on day two, Carolina has now added three potential defensive starters through the draft:

Derrick Brown, NT, Auburn

Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State

Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois

Chinn blew up the combine this past February. He ran a 4.45u 40-yard dash, benched 20 reps, and had a vertical of 41 inches. He is an NFL caliber athlete that has tremendous upside as a safety.

Panthers Select Auburn’s Derrick Brown with the 7th Pick

With the 7th pick in the first round, the Carolina Panthers went ahead and selected Auburn DT Derrick Brown. Brown steps into a Panthers defensive unit that ranked bottom 4th in rushing yards allowed allowed last season and dead last in rushing yards per attempt. At 6’5 326 pounds, Brown immediately fills a much needed hole and allows the Panthers front office to build their defense from the bottom up.

First things first, was this the right pick? Picking a run stuffing specialist in the top 10 isn’t a very “progressive” move by any means, as you can find capable run stuffers later in the draft or through free agency if you have a solid enough scouting department. In terms of true top 10 value, this probably wasn’t the pick Carolina should have made, but it is likely the safest. Which of course has a lot of fans upset. Especially with Clemson linebacker…. safety? EDGE rusher?? We’ll just call him an athlete, Isaiah Simmons, being available at the time of the selection.

This blurb from ESPN’s David Newton didn’t help the pick either.

He was… too good for us? I’m hoping they didn’t actually say this and this is just Newton once again saying nonsensical things, but lets move on and see what Brown brings to the table.

Brown doesn’t have the flashiest stats. As noted, he’s a run stuffer so his main objective is to clog the lanes and allow his linebackers to flow freely to make tackles or allow his EDGE rushers to get to the QB. Hockey assist kind of player really. Every team needs these kind of guys.

Last night, it was reported that a big reason the Panthers went with Brown is because Joe Brady stated that he was the hardest player to scheme against during his time at LSU. So let’s look at some footage from the LSU Auburn game from last year.

Here Brown pushes up the middle and gets the focus of three LSU linemen forcing Joe Burrow to bail on the pocket and almost take a sack.

Brown absolutely bulldozes right through OG Damien Lewis who (will likely be drafted this year) and pushes him straight into Burrow for the sack. Plays like this where he can just over power his opponent due to his size is what separates him from other DTs.

Another great push here from Brown to get pressure on Burrow and force him out of the pocket. Lloyd Cushenberry (arguably the best iOL in this years class) does a great job of staying low and keeping Brown from getting the sack. In a perfect world on the Panthers this pressure from Brown forces the QB to run straight into Brian Burns for the sack. Hockey assist.

This is his bread and butter right here. He’s immediately in the backfield to stop this play from going anywhere. We’ll hopefully be seeing a lot of this.

Another great push that should have resulted in a sack had the left end got any sort of pressure at all. Unfortunately Burrow does a good job of escaping and getting the first.

Great swim move here to get right around Lewis with ease and gets to the QB. Burrow gets the ball out quick for the short completion.

Not a lot of people are getting around all that mass.

Impressive rush here just based on the fact that this man is GASSED. He noticeably wears down after facing constant triple and double teams. Is still able to to get to the QB, unfortunately, the Heisman trophy winner makes the play.

Good push here up the middle allows his linebacker to make a great play on the ball carrier. Kuechly would have loved a guy like this 😦

All game LSU has made Brown their number priority on the defensive line, here he takes the attention of two linemen allowing his linebacker to get a clean stick on the RB.

It’s clear to see why a team would like Brown. Just about any time LSU ran directly at him, it resulted in very little gain, if any. When he has energy he gets a great push to apply pressure on the QB during passing plays. Like I said, he’s facing doubles and triples literally game, so theres times at the end of drives where he looks absolutely worn out. At his size that’s not surprising.

Hopefully NFL rotations will help with that and he’ll be able to stay fresh when needed. Also playing next to a guy like Kawaan Short should help when it comes to doubles and triples and short should benefit greatly from playing next to a guy like Brown. Think of the Star Lotuleiei years, but like, x5.

Anyways, there’s no need to dwell on this pick, I’m speaking to myself as well. Was it the best pick in terms of value at #7? No, probably not. Did we get a good player? Yes, I’m pretty certain.

Going into the second round those of us at The QG have our eyes on Kristian Fulton and Trevon Diggs at the CB position among others.

Who should the Carolina Panthers pick at number 7?

The Carolina Panthers are a bad football team.

This was true when the team slumped to an 0-8 finish in the 2nd half of last season, became worse when the best player on the defense retired, then was compounded with the unceremonious and disrespectful release of the greatest Quarterback in franchise history.

Indications that this team lacks serious talent are all over – a personal favourite being that Colin Jones was granted a release by the team during the heat of free agency. With all due respect, if Colin Jones feels like he’s above your football team, it might be worth asking if the guy who put it together really does have a steady hand on the tiller the way many in the organisation would want you to think.

Thankfully, the Panthers are well positioned at number 7 overall to get an elite level player to start their team turnaround, these are the 3 options I think the team should be highly considering – should they be there on the board

3. Isaiah Simmons – Linebacker/Safety/Just Put Him on Defense – Clemson

For a team with holes at basically every area of the defense, drafting a guy who can play a role at almost every single position seems like a smart option.

Widely seen as the best athlete in this draft – his combination of speed, size and explosiveness paired with impeccable table is so impressive that it would be a waste to peg him down to one position. That’s why it is so important for Simmons to go to the right spot, combining him with a smart DC to fully maximise his potential.

It remains to be seen whether Phil Snow is that guy, but should he be, Thursday could see the start of a very happy marriage between the Snowman and the new face of his Defense.

A fitting player to come in and pick up where Luke Kuechly left off.

2. Jeff Okudah – Cornerback – Ohio State

Of these 3 players, Okudah is the least likely to be on the board when the Panthers pick at number 7. In a deep class of corners, he has set himself apart as the consensus number 1 (save for the CJ Henderson truthers) and to many others is the number 2 overall prospect behind his teammate Chase Young.

It’s no secret that playing corner in the NFC South is a tough gig, but it’s Panthers DB’s who have it toughest of all. A combination of great offensive minds like Payton and Arians, top level wide receivers and Quarterback’s with stacked resume’s mean there are no easy assignments when it comes to divisional matchups.

The loss of James Bradberry this off season was a big one for Carolina. The team already needed more help in the secondary and the development of 2018 2nd round pick Donte Jackson seems to have been stunted, making corner a high priority need in this draft.

Should Okudah be there at 7, it would be the perfect pairing of need and best player available.

1. Tua Tagovailoa – Quarterback – Alabama

This one is the dream, the real kick starter. The one which will give life back to a fan base that has felt pretty disillusioned for about six months now. The funny part? He may be the player you can most realistically envision being there for us at 7. Talk continues to gather that his medical concerns are seriously putting teams off selecting him high in the draft, with Justin Herbert playing the defacto role of tall, white quarterback rising up draft boards – his 39 wonderlic score won’t do any harm for him either in terms of attracting teams without a clue what they’re doing.

The idea of Tua becoming a Carolina Panther after the last decade of incredibly questionable football decisions and awful mismanagement of a generational quarterback talent does make you wonder what sort of karma has been built up to make this team get so lucky twice. And while many fans feel like we may get even luckier next year in the form of a top 2 pick to take either Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields, my well guided pessimism makes me believe our team can do just enough to keep us out of the stakes for either of those franchise altering talents.

Unfortunately, there’s every chance Carolina passes on Tua should he be there. It’s been reported that at least 2 teams have flunked his medical, with the Panthers being circulated as potentially one of them.

Nobody doubts that there is risk tied to drafting Tua, but to get the guy deemed the consensus Number 1 Pick this time last year before the Burrow Boom, and to get him at number 7 overall? Well worth the risk. Players with a legit chance to be an elite Quarterback’s are very rare, so many teams settle for mediocrity and can waste years upon years as a result through the fear of where leaving the comfortable middle ground might leave them.

Team owner David Tepper prides himself on being a guy who likes to take ‘calculated risks’ – On Thursday night, There’s a good chance he’ll have a big one in front of him in the form of a potential new franchise Quarterback.

Mock Draft 2.0

Mock Draft Season is upon us. The Senior Bowl has come and gone with many players experiencing either a rise or drop in their stock. Without further ado, here is the mock.


Miami receives: 1.03

Detroit receives: 1.05, 1.18, 2.56


Arizona receives: 1.12, 3.80

Las Vegas receives: 1.08


NY Jets receive: 1.16, 3.78

Atlanta receives: 1.11


Denver receives: 1.20, 3.73

Jacksonville receives: 1.15


Indianapolis receives: 1.28

Seattle receives: 2.34, 4.119


1.01 Bengals – Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

This pick should not need any explanation. The Bengals take the best quarterback in the draft. One can only hope he is surrounded by the talent necessary to succeed at the next level. Tyler Boyd and Joe Mixon are a solid start.

1.02 Redskins – Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State

Ron Rivera gets his hand on another elite defensive cornerstone. Absolutely no way he trades out of this pick. Young is electric and should be a force for years.

LSU v Alabama

1.03 Dolphins (from DET) – Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

Look, I know it’s an expensive move. However, I do believe this is the package necessary to sway Detroit from offers from the Panthers, Chargers, and possibly the Colts and Raiders. Tua finds his home that is clearly invested in his health.

1.04 Giants – Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama

Jedrick Wills is OT1 in this class. The Giants (still) need offensive line help. Wills can play on either side and could very well be an elite player in doing such.

1.05 Lions (from MIA) – Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn

Daniel Jerimiah has Brown second on his big board and typically his board reflects that of most NFL franchises. The Lions need another player on the interior of their defensive line to complement Trey Flowers. Brown is an excellent player.

1.06 Chargers – Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

Phillip Rivers is gone. If the Chargers cannot land a player like Tom Brady (which, let’s face it, they won’t), they need a quarterback. Herbert is extremely accurate and will hopefully grow mentally in the NFL.


1.07 Panthers – Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State

The Panthers might not re-sign CB1 James Bradberry, but even if they do bring him back, Okudah solidifies an extremely shaky secondary. Ross Cockrell is a pending free agent and Donte Jackson simply did not become what was asked from him this past season. Okudah has a chance to be special.

1.08 Raiders (via ARZ) – Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson

Simmons is a special talent and the Raiders move up to snag their guy. He’s too much of a perfect fit for them to sit and wait for the board to fall their way. The Raiders move one of their three second-round picks to certify Simmons becomes their player.

1.09 Jaguars – Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

Jacksonville needs to give Minshew a WR1. Dede Westbrook and DJ Chark are excellent complementary players, but Jeudy is a surefire first-receiver in an offense that could become electric next season.

1.10 Browns – Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville

So Becton being OT2 now is a thing I did not expect. Anyways, OL talent falls in the draft, and the Browns finally give Baker Mayfield more than a half-second the throw.

1.11 Falcons (from NYJ) – AJ Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa

Like the Raiders, the Falcons have many day two picks. They sacrifice one to get an additional edge rusher in AJ Epenesa, arguably the second-best defensive end prospect in this draft.

1.12 Cardinals (from LV) – CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

The Cardinals have Christian Kirk, Larry Fitzgerald, and Andy Isabella. All of those players are best utilized in the slot. But to make this offense even more #fun, I want Kingsbury to get a vertical playmaker. Lamb is exactly that. Also, the rumors say the F.O. loves him.

1.13 Colts – Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

The Colts get their quarterback. Love might not be a start-right-away type guy, but he has the traits and physical ability to become a special player if he can cut out the mistakes he made at Utah State in 2019.

1.14 Bucs – Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina

Jacob Eason is a Bruce Arians quarterback. However, I also believe that this team is interested in Phillip Rivers, and if true, the Bucs should be gunning for win-now players.

1.15 Jaguars (from DEN) – Tristan Wirfs, OL, Iowa

The Jaguars move up from their second pick to bolster their offensive line. Wirfs can play either guard or tackle and is an excellent run blocker. They get a good value in the middle of the first.

1.16 Jets (from ATL) – Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

The Jets move down and get Andrew Thomas. The fact that the Jets are able to move down and grab an additional third-round pick along with securing a franchise left tackle is a spectacular move by Joe Douglas.

1.17 Cowboys – Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

Byron Jones may be a casualty of this free agency for Dallas. Fulton is CB2 on my board and could be an immediate starter.

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff National Championship-Clemson vs Louisiana State

1.18 Lions (from MIA) – Patrick Queen, LB, LSU

With their first pick, the Lions helped their defensive line. With this one, they select a great coverage linebacker in Patrick Queen. I usually am not a huge advocate of selecting linebackers in the first round, but I really do like the trio of Simmons/Queen/Murray

1.19 Raiders – Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama

The Raiders get their dream duo of Simmons and Ruggs. Ruggs could end up being the first receiver taken. He’s the fastest player in the draft and with his lack of injury history, I believe he could be at the top of many teams’ boards.

1.20 Broncos (from JAX) – CJ Henderson, CB, Florida

The Broncos grab Henderson after getting another third-round pick. Henderson is a tall corner that was great in coverage for Florida this year. He’s a starter from day one.

1.21 Eagles – Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

With the way that the board falls, the Eagles take the best value at one of their needs. Murray is the last of the top tier linebackers and he should be a DROY candidate from his first snap. 

1.22 Bills – K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU

Amazingly, Chaisson is still available. There is not really a stand-out edge rusher in a great pass-rushing Bills defense. Chaisson is a well-rounded edge player that has high character and will compliment Ed Oliver very well.

1.23 Patriots – Marlon Davidson, EDGE, Auburn

A senior bowl riser, Davidson made himself money in the one day of practice he attended in Mobile. He beat everyone in front of him, along with having a stellar season at Auburn. The Patriots get him in the back half of the first.


1.24 Saints – KJ Hamler, WR, Penn State

The Saints need a different receiver to put across from Michael Thomas. They could take a quarterback here, but if Brees is gone, I could see them sticking with either Bridgewater or Hill (as Payton has said). Hamler is speedy and can be used in a variety of ways.

1.25 Vikings – AJ Terrell, CB, Clemson

The Vikings need secondary help. Although it isn’t a great value, Terrell was shutdown for Clemson the majority of this year.

1.26 Dolphins – Austin Jackson, OT, Southern California

The Dolphins need to protect their franchise quarterback. Austin Jackson is the best OT available and has the potential to anchor the offensive line.

1.27 Colts (from SEA) – Ross Blacklock, DL, TCU

The Colts move up to grab an interior lineman. Blacklock was a disruptive 1T at TCU that can heavily affect the interior pocket. Love/Blacklock is a fun duo.

1.28 Ravens – Zack Baun, EDGE, Wisconsin

The Ravens may end up losing Matt Judon in free agency. In doing so, they will have a major hole to fill. Baun did it all for Wisconsin and could end up going in the first round for his efforts.

1.29 Titans – Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State

I love Harold Landry. I think he could be an elite player soon. However, Gross-Matos has a Brian Burns-type mold that is becoming increasingly common in the NFL today. The Titans, anchored by Jeffrey Simmons and Jurrell Casey, would make an elite defensive line nearly unstoppable.


1.30 Packers – Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU

Jalen Reagor is my WR3. The Packers, getting him opposite of Devante Adams, would diversify their receiving core in a great way. Reagor has route running upside, contested catch ability, and obviously speed.

1.31 Chiefs – Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

The Chiefs need to select the best corner available. Diggs is excellent and should be able to match up with any outside receiver. He has so, so much upside.

1.32 49ers – Grant Delpit, S, LSU

The 49ers could move back here. But. They could also take the best player that falls to them. In this case, it’s Grant Delpit. 

2.33 Bengals – Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

2.34 Seahawks (from IND) – Netane Muti, iOL, Fresno

I love Netane Muti. I don’t know what the Seahawks are going to do. Nobody does. But Muti makes a ton of sense.

2.35 Lions – Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama

2.36 Giants – Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

2.37 Chargers – Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn

2.38 Panthers – Jacob Eason, QB, Washington

There isn’t any way Eason slips out of the top-40. He could go to New Orleans, New England, or even the Colts if they don’t take a quarterback in the first. He’s a physically gifted player that falls.

2.39 Dolphins – Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame

2.40 Cardinals – Josh Jones, OT, Houston

2.41 Browns – Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama

I just want to say that I LOVE the Becton/McKinney stack. 

2.42 Jaguars – Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU

2.43 Bears – Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame

The Bears should say goodbye to Trubisky, but Ryan Pace is going down with the ship. It’s a shame that the Bears are wasting a talented defense.

2.44 Colts – Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado

2.45 Bucs – Nick Harris, iOL, Washington

2.46 Broncos – Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State

2.47 Falcons – Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia

2.48 Jets – Bradlee Anae, EDGE, Utah

Andrew Thomas/Bradlee Anae is a huge win for the Jets after moving back in the first.

2.49 Steelers – Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue

2.50 Bears – Tyler Biadasz, iOL, Wisconsin

2.51 Cowboys – Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama

2.52 Rams – Jonathan Greenard, EDGE, Florida

The Rams get a solid edge. I would love to see Greenard next to Donald and Brockers.

2.53 Eagles – Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Michigan

2.54 Bills – Gabriel Davis, WR, UCF

2.55 Falcons – D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia

The Falcons love to take a RB every year. In this case, they take the best available — Swift — who surprisingly fell all the way to the latter half of the first round. I know the Falcons have a ton of needs. But Freeman is aging poorly and Swift is an elite talent.

2.56 Lions (from MIA) – Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah

2.57 Texans – JK Dobbins, RB, Ohio State

2.58 Vikings – Neville Gallimore, DL, Oklahoma

Gallimore falls and the Vikings take advantage.

2.59 Seahawks – Curtis Weaver, EDGE, Boise State

2.60 Ravens – Michael Pittman, WR, Southern California

2.61 Titans – Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia

2.62 Packers – Troy Dye, LB, Oregon

2.63 Chiefs – Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin

2.64 Seahawks – Ashtyn Davis, S, California

Mock Draft 1.0 (Trades)

It’s officially mock draft season. In an offseason full of angst and anticipation, it’s exciting to predict where certain prospects will go in the draft. Let’s get into it.


Miami receives: 1.03, 2021 fifth-round selection

Detroit receives: 1.05, 1.18


Carolina receives: 1.13

Indianapolis receives: Cam Newton, 4.103



1. Bengals – Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

The Bengals have a new franchise quarterback. They need to do all they can to put protection and talent around Joe Burrow, who had one of the most electric seasons in college football. Put this selection in ink.

2. Redskins – Chase Young, EDGE, Ohio State

It is impossible to see Ron Rivera trading away an incredible edge talent like Chase Young. He’s a franchise cornerstone and as close to a can’t miss-talent as you can get. With 16.5 sacks in 13 games, Young is ready to play at the next level.

3. Dolphins – Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

*The Miami Dolphins traded the 18th overall selection to obtain this pick along with a future fifth-round pick. The full trade can be seen at the top of the page*

The Dolphins were always the team with Tua Tagovailoa. Despite his injuries, Tua likely has the best deep ball placement in this draft class. He is a great talent, and if not for his injuries, might be the first quarterback taken (at least, there would be more of a debate). 

4. Giants – Isaiah Simmons, Hybrid, Clemson

My only concern about Simmons is that whatever team he lands on might use him incorrectly. Dave Gettleman drafted Shaq Thompson back in 2015, and he gets a similar-ish player here with a top-5 pick. Isaiah Simmons is an impact player. He is all over the field constantly and is elite at just about every spot he was played in college. Don’t get it mixed up — his versatility is an absolute positive.

5. Lions – Jeff Okudah, Corner, Ohio State

*The Lions traded the third overall selection to move back and acquire the fifth and eighteenth selections. The full trade is at the top of this page*

Okudah is a shutdown corner and one of the best secondary prospects since Jalen Ramsey. The Lions are able to move back and get another staple for their defense. While it would have been nice to improve upon the defensive line, you simply cannot pass up on a CB1 like Okudah with the fifth pick.

6. Chargers – Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

Phillip Rivers looks to be done in Los Angeles. If that’s the case, I expect the Chargers to either select an offensive lineman or quarterback with this pick. Herbert is accurate and, if he can improve upon his mental processing, could end up being a franchise quarterback. 

7. Panthers – Jordan Love, QB, Utah State

If the Panthers do, indeed, end up trading Cam Newton (like I have them projected to in this mock draft), then you can bet on them selecting a quarterback with one of their first two selections. Love is an incredibly talented quarterback that needs to improve on the mental side of the ball. He can make all of the throws and has the talent to be an NFL quarterback, it’s just whether a team is willing to afford him that time.

8. Cardinals – CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

The Cardinals need to add more weapons and protection around Kyler Murray. With this pick, they add one of his former college teammates. Lamb’s RAC ability is special for a player of his size. Both he and Jeudy are special WR prospects and I anticipate the first team to select a receiver will pick from those two based on fit.

9. Jaguars – Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

Jeudy is a polished route-runner with the speed and separation ability to become an elite WR1 at the next level. The Jaguars need more weapons, so I would be surprised if they passed on Jeudy here.

10. Browns – Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama

The Browns get lucky as all three top-tier OTs fall to them at ten. Jedrick Wills is the best of the bunch, and could likely play at either tackle slot at a very high level. The number one priority of the Browns should be to get Baker Mayfield protection.

11. Jets – Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia

Look, I know Joe Douglas has never taken an offensive player (other than Darnold) in the first round. But Thomas is a franchise left tackle and the Jets need all the offensive line help they can get. 

12. Raiders – Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn

While the defensive line may not be a major need, the Raiders are able to snag a top defensive talent that falls to them in Derrick Brown. Mayock took Ferrell, Abram, and Jacobs last year, and will look to continue off of what looks to be a solid young core of players.

13. Panthers – Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina

*The Carolina Panthers traded QB Cam Newton to the Colts along with a mid-round pick in order to obtain this selection. The full trade is at the top of the page*

The Colts trade out of the first round to get an elite quarterback (when healthy) that could possibly put them over the top. Newton, with an offensive line and weapons like the Colts could afford him, could easily get back into pro bowl form. To get him for a mid-first round pick would be a win. 

The Panthers get the defensive line help that they desperately need in Kinlaw, a 6-5 315 pound monster. He is another body in the middle to help with one of the worst run defenses in history last year. Next to Kawann Short and Brian Burns, he should be able to flourish.

14. Buccaneers – Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa

The Buccaneers need offensive line help. Tristan Wirfs is a versatile lineman that can become a franchise tackle. I honestly have no clue what the Buccaneers are going to do about their quarterback situation (rumors have pointed towards Phillip Rivers [????]), but I believe Wirfs would greatly improve this line in both the passing and running game.

15. Broncos – Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

The Broncos could use this pick in many different ways. I think they pass on the receivers left on the board and opt for someone in round two to improve a once-elite secondary. Fulton was a great corner at LSU that could have been a first-round pick last year but instead opted to stay for his senior season. Fulton helps a Broncos secondary that needs it.

16. Falcons – AJ Epenesa, DL/EDGE, Iowa

Remember when Vic Beasley led the NFL in sacks back in 2016? Well, now he sucks. The Falcons need another edge rusher, and Epenesa could end up going in the top-10. He’s an easy selection for a struggling Falcons defensive line.

17. Cowboys – Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama

The Cowboys could go with either McKinney or Delpit here, but that part does not matter as much as getting Jeff Heath away from the starting lineup. The Cowboys need a safety, and McKinney is the best in this class in my opinion.

18. Lions – Patrick Queen, LB, LSU

*The Lions acquired this pick as part of the Tua Tagovailoa trade. The full trade can be seen at the top of the page*

Patrick Queen shined in the CFB National Championship game. He’s quick for a linebacker and was all over the field the entire year for LSU. The Lions need a lot of defense in this draft. Okudah/Queen is an excellent combination.

19.Raiders – Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama

The Raiders need more weapons, and Henry Ruggs is one of the fastest players in college football. It’s hard to see him falling beyond this spot given that most receivers with his combination of speed/lack of injury history always go top-15. In a stacked receiver class, he falls to 19.

20. Jaguars – Kenneth Murray, LB, Jaguars

The Jaguars picked Jerry Jeudy with their first pick, and now it’s time to help the defense. Murray was LB1 before Queen declared. He’s a great linebacker talent that deserves to go in the first round, and he finds a home here.

21. Eagles – Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

The Eagles need help outside the numbers, and Diggs is a tall corner that has the traits to become a CB1. If the Eagles address wide receiver in free agency (I’m looking at you, Robby Anderson), then they should absolutely get some youth at corner.

22. Bills – K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU

I very desperately want Henry Ruggs with Josh Allen, but he simply is not available here. Chaisson is a nice consolation prize, though. He’s an edge that has a lot of bend, speed, and creativity. The Bills had a great pass rush this past year without a truly elite edge rusher. They might find one here in Chaisson.

23. Patriots – Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame

The Patriots had 56-year old Ben Watson catching passes this past season. Cole Kmet is a great all-around talent that would give (likely) Tom Brady another threat over the middle that he was missing this past year.

24. Saints – Tyler Biadasz, iOL, Wisconsin

The Saints will need a new left guard after Andreas Peat is a pending free agent. Instead of paying him, they pick Biadasz, the top interior lineman in this class. 

25. Vikings – Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU

The Vikings really need secondary help. Xavier Rhodes looked incredibly slow this season. They need to add more youth to defense that has very little weaknesses. Gladney helps with that.

26. Dolphins – Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville

It’s a bold move using one of the picks you got for Laremy Tunsil on another offensive tackle, but Becton is a really solid player that has the power and frame to succeed at the next level.

27. Seahawks – Netane Muti, iOL, Fresno State

Yes, I know this is a reach. But, it’s also the Seahawks. The same Seahawks that took Rashaad Penny in the first round of 2018. The same Seahawks that took LJ Collier in the first round of 2019. Muti is an intriguing player at left guard that I would bet on being successful at the next level.

28. Ravens – Terrell Lewis, EDGE, Alabama

Admittedly, I’m not as high on Lewis as others are. I think the Ravens could add another playmaker like Tee Higgins or Jalen Reagor here, but Lewis would help a pass rush that already has a lot of interior pressure.

29. Titans – Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE, Penn State

The Titans picked Harold Landry in the second round of 2018, but they do need more pass rush. As good as Landry is, Gross-Matos would help a defensive line that consists of Jeffrey Simmons and Jurrell Casey.

30. Packers – Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU

Reagor is a very talented receiver in a loaded class. He’s got speed, separation, and contested catch-ability. He could go very well next to another playmaker like Devante Adams, and would give Aaron Rodgers another non-practice-squad receiver to throw to.

31. Chiefs – CJ Henderson, CB, Florida

The Chiefs need another corner. Kendall Fuller is really good, but they have to add more around him in the secondary. Thornhill and Mathieu are a great pair in the back, but Henderson would give Kansas City another option at corner — and a good one too.

32. 49ers – Grant Delpit, S, LSU

The 49ers adding Delpit to an already loaded defense would just be incredibly fun. John Lynch picks a safety here that struggled this past year but can become truly elite at his position if he performs up to post-2018 expectations.

Carolina Panthers Dream Offseason

The Carolina Panthers are in a strange position this offseason.

With uncertainty at the quarterback position (at least from management, it seems), one of the worst run defenses in recent memory, and a roster full of aging talent, there was not much hope as the Panthers lost eight games in a row to end the season. 

In being an extremely unpredictable offseason, I am going to create what my dream offseason would look like for the Carolina Panthers.



Step One: Picking A Head Coach

There are really only three main coaches that I am considering for this: Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

Lincoln Riley is not included on the assumption that he will not leave the Oklahoma Sooners.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Arizona Cardinals

But as the general manager of the Carolina Panthers, I am going to pick Eric Bieniemy of the proven Andy Reid coaching tree. In his first year as the Chiefs offensive coordinator in 2018, his Patrick Mahomes-led offense led the NFL in both yards and points scored. This year, his offense is fifth in passing yards per game and sixth in total offensive yards gained.

The offensive coordinator hired during this dream offseason is Joe Brady, the current mastermind behind Joe Burrow’s magical Heisman season. Brady was an assistant on the New Orleans Saints.

I know that Joe Brady is almost certainly going to be apart of Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s future head coaching staff, but this is a dream off-season, damn it.

On the defensive side of the ball, Jack Del Rio is going to come from the television booth. Del Rio has been a defensive coordinator for four whole seasons and had a top-5 defense essentially every single one of them. 

Del Rio was the defensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers in 2002 when he led them to become the second-best defense in the NFL. This isn’t a sexy pick by any means, but Del Rio is, by all means, a significantly better DC than head coach (especially for the Raiders).

Let’s get to the internal moves.


I am going to be using the Fanspeak “Manage The Cap” Free Agency simulator to determine my free agency signings. I can cut, re-sign, and possibly franchise tag players. There are no limitations as to who I can cut. Anyone is on the table.


Dontari Poe

Poe simply has not lived up to his contract and entering a year where he is due upwards of $10 million, this is the only correct move. After this, though, the interior defensive line spot will have to be addressed with only Kawann Short under contract. 

Poe was injured for a large portion of this past season, but even so, the Panthers tied the record for most touchdown runs given up in a given season. That is not a good statistic. 

Savings: $10 million

Greg Olsen

Sure, this says “CUTS”, but I’m 90% sure Greg Olsen is retiring after this season anyway. The nine-year Panther legend has been incredibly reliable throughout his career but recently has not been able to match his once-elite production. 

Olsen retiring saves the Panthers a decent amount of money, and even if he were to keep playing, I’m not sure Carolina would bring him back for another year.

Savings: $8 million

Jarius Wright

Wright had five drops this past season while yielding less than 300 total receiving yards. Wright caught less than two passes per game and scored zero touchdowns. He is not worth his 2020 cap figure in any way whatsoever. Jarius Wright is, at worst, an easy cut and should not be a Panther next year.

Savings: $3 million

Mike Davis

It’s puzzling why the Panthers even claimed Mike Davis in the first place. He played little to no snaps behind Christian McCaffrey and Reggie Bonnafon and his cap number just is not reasonable given he is a third-string running back.

Mike Davis showed some skills during his short stint in Chicago but he is another easy cut along with Jarius Wright.

Savings: $3 million

Total Amount Saved Against the Cap: Roughly $24 million


James Bradberry:

Bradberry apparently wants to be paid as if he is a top-5 corner in the NFL and as much as I want to believe that statement, he simply is not. The Panthers would likely have to give him over $14 million per year in order for him to stay. I only had about $60 million to use after cuts for this simulation. Giving ¼ of the available cap room to a corner that is not an elite player just is not understandable.

James Bradberry walks.

Mario Addison:

Initially, I was hesitant to re-sign Mario Addison. But he is Carolina’s most consistent edge rusher and, at worst, will provide mentorship to Brian Burns. Addison turns 33 in September but might retire following this coming year, so if anything, he will be back on a short-term deal.

New Contract: Two years, $15 million (about 7.5 guaranteed)

Gerald McCoy:

As much as I would love to have Gerald McCoy back on the Panthers, there are other options available in free agency that I prefer. McCoy is aging and a spectacular personality off of the field. I just do not believe bringing him back would benefit the long-term goals of this defense.

Gerald McCoy walks.

Vernon Butler:

Butler sealed his fate after he punched the wrong person after getting blocked 15 yards downfield by a Colts offensive lineman. Following an ejection, he gave the middle finger to a Colts crowd while trailing by over 20 points. After a somewhat positive season, I am still happy to let Butler walk and count towards the compensation pick formula.

Daryl Williams:


Chris Hogan:

Hogan really did not have any major impact on the Panthers season this year, mainly because he was on IR for half of it. He is a solid depth receiver and could provide hands for another team. I don’t see the point in re-signing Hogan.

Ross Cockrell:

Cockrell was a great depth corner for the Panthers and even outplayed 2018 second-round draft pick Donte Jackson in the final quarter of the season. Cockrell was well worth his contract and should be back in the black-and-blue next year, for the right price.

New Contract: Two years, $10 million (about 4.5 guaranteed)

Greg Van Roten:

GVR was actually not as horrible as many people anticipated this past season. He was fine but was hurt towards the end of the season. I offered Van Roten a contract on Fanspeak’s simulator but he sadly declined it (was around the two years/$3.5M range). I was not going any higher than that.

Others that walked:

Bruce Irvin

Kyle Love

Javien Elliott

Tre Boston


(roughly $60 million available to use on free agents after cuts)


Signing number one: DJ Reader, interior defensive line, Four years, $50 million (roughly 35 guaranteed)

DJ Reader is a 25-year old 330-pound behemoth of a nose-tackle. The Panthers HAVE to fix their run defense and signing Greensboro-born DJ Reader would be a huge step in accomplishing that. 

Reader was graded an 86.7 this past year by PFF and had nearly 40 solo tackles. He is an absolute monster anchoring a defense and would be spectacular next to Kawann Short. He is the biggest (literally and figuratively) signing in this simulation.

Signing number two: Joe Thuney, offensive guard, Four years, $30 million (roughly 23 guaranteed)

The Panthers need to get better in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Thuney is a solid offensive guard and only allowed one sack this past year according to PFF. 

He would presumably go on the left side of the offensive line opposite of Trai Turner. Thuney is absolutely an upgrade over Daryl Williams, who gave up the most sacks of any guard in the NFL and definitely above the tier of guard that Van Roten finds himself as well.

Signing number three: Jason Peters, offensive tackle, One year, $9M (roughly 7.5 guaranteed)

Jason Peters is going to be 38 years old this coming season. That also means he could be either a stop-gap at left-tackle or someone that could help Greg Little and Dennis Daley learn the position better themselves.

Peters has been a solid contributor for the Eagles for like, ever, and might even retire after this year. But in this simulation, he’s coming to Carolina for a final season.

Signing number four: Karl Joseph, safety, Three years, $15 million (roughly 10 guaranteed)

After letting Tre Boston walk, there simply are not enough draft picks to solve the problem that is the Carolina Panthers secondary. Eric Reid is probably the only solid starter in the back four as it stands, even with Donte Jackson.

Karl Joseph is another promising player that could have his best days ahead of him. Signing him for about $5M a year could look really good in a few years.


WR Justin Hardy: Two years, $4M (2M guaranteed)

CB Cre’Von Leblanc: Two years, $4M (2M guaranteed)

TE Logan Thomas: One year, $1.5M (1M guaranteed)

EDGE Kamalei Correa: Two years, $8M (4M guaranteed)

DL Tyeler Davison: Three years, $13.5M (8M guaranteed)

WR Laquon Treadwell: Two years, $6M (2M guaranteed)

CB Trumaine Brock: One year, $3.5M (3M guaranteed)

DL Austin Johnson: Two years, $7M (4M guaranteed)




*I used The Draft Network’s Mock Draft Machine to simulate what I would do for the Panthers on draft night*


First Round: Derrick Brown, Defensive Line, Auburn

Okay, look: I know that there is a lot of money poured into the defensive line as it is right now. But, Derrick Brown is an incredible player and could truly help the Panthers front-3 become elite once again. It would be extremely difficult to run the ball against a defensive line that contains Kawann Short, DJ Reader, and Derrick Brown. That is truly needed after the Panthers had one of the worst run-defenses in NFL history.

Other players considered/available: Tristan Wirfs, Isaiah Simmons, CeeDee Lamb, Grant Delpit

Second Round: Paulsen Adebo, Corner, Stanford

The Panthers really need another corner, even with investments in Ross Cockrell, Cre’Von Leblanc, and Trumaine Brock. Adebo is a tall, physical outside corner that gives the Panthers another option in coverage.

Third Round: Justin Jefferson, Wide Receiver, LSU

Justin Jefferson might fall in a loaded wide-receiver class. Standing at 6-foot-3 at almost 200 pounds, he has the height to become an X-receiver. Jefferson has over 1400 yards and 18 touchdowns as one of Joe Burrow’s top targets. He’s a threat outside and could have his stock rise, depending on how he tests at the combine.

Round Four: Najee Harris, Running Back, Alabama

Najee Harris is a powerful runner. He weighs nearly 230 pounds and could be the perfect compliment for Christian McCaffrey. Harris is just pure power and could be used in short situations. A backfield that has Harris, McCaffrey, and Cam Newton would just be so, so fun.

The rest: Jake Hanson (iOL, Oregon, R5), Terence Steele (OL, Texas Tech, R6), and Eric Stokes (CB, Georgia, R7) all provide depth for their positions and, in all likelihood, will not play much.


Screenshot 2019-12-30 at 8.56.44 PM


The quarterback position will be one to watch for the Panthers. I did not address it, because frankly, it does not need to be addressed. Cam Newton is a stellar quarterback and should absolutely be given a chance to thrive when fully healthy.

In this simulation, I invested over $100 million and three draft picks on the offensive and defensive line. The Panthers desperately need to get better up front (both protecting Cam Newton and stopping the run) and this is my way of doing that. The defense HAS to be better if Carolina would like to make a playoff run, and it all starts upfront.

The firepower of an offense led by Cam Newton with surrounding pieces like DJ Moore, Curtis Samuel, Justin Jefferson, and Christian McCaffrey is exciting — especially if a head coaching candidate such as Eric Bieniemy comes to the Panthers.

This simulation is a bit unrealistic, I know. But that’s the fun in it.

Grading the Panthers Draft

The NFL Draft has concluded, and the Panthers had some mixed results. After securing a top edge-rusher, the Panthers had a strange second day of the draft but finished out strong with late day three selections.

First Round (16th overall pick) – Brian Burns, Edge Rusher, Florida State

I did not believe that Brian Burns was going to be available at 16. He was my third overall prospect in this class. Getting a premier player at the edge rusher position provides incredible value. He’s a speed-based pass rusher and is creative in getting to the quarterback. He can play either defensive end or outside linebacker in the new hybrid scheme Carolina will be using. With only one starting caliber edge player (Mario Addison), adding Burns is huge.

Grade: A+

Second Round (37th overall pick) – Greg Little, Offensive Tackle, Mississippi

While I don’t mind the pick, the trade up from 47 was atrocious. Giving up a third-round pick to move up ten spots in the second round is poor asset management by Marty Hurney and co. That said, Little is a decent addition to the offensive line that could end up starting at left tackle this year. After signing Matt Paradis and retaining Daryl Williams (at least this year), the Panthers offensive line doesn’t look horrible for once.

Pick Grade: B
Trade Grade: D-

Third Round (100th overall pick) – Will Grier, Quarterback, West Virginia

The Panthers needed to come out of Day Two of the draft with at least three starting caliber players. Will Grier simply isn’t. The Panthers have far too many needs to spend a high-quality pick on a luxury. It isn’t good value in the third round, either. While Grier has a smooth throwing motion and can create plays outside of the pocket, he doesn’t quite put enough ‘zip’ on his throws and has questionable decision-making. I had Grier graded as a fifth-round quarterback prospect.

Grade: F

Fourth Round (115th overall pick) – Christian Miller, Edge Rusher, Alabama

A safety would have been nice with this pick, but after New Orleans traded up in the fourth round for Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, the options were limited. Christian Miller was a first-round talent on my personal big board. Getting him in the fourth round was incredible value. I believe he will be a starter by the end of the season. Though he has some injury concerns, Alabama has proven to churn out elite defensive prospects time and time again, I don’t think Miller is an exception.

Grade: A+

Fifth Round (154th overall pick) – Jordan Scarlett, Half Back, Florida

While many fans don’t like the value, per se, Scarlett is the ideal back-up to Christian McCaffrey. He’s fast and strong, put simply. I personally had Scarlett graded as a sixth-round HB, but Carolina needed a second RB, and I can respect taking Scarlett here.

Grade: B-

Sixth Round (212th overall pick) – Dennis Daley, Offensive Tackle, South Carolina

The Panthers needed tackle depth with the assumption either Daryl Williams or Taylor Moton kicks inside to left guard. Dennis Daley is exactly that. He could have gone as early as the fourth round, but Daley is a solid pick that could likely be a swing tackle in his first year for Carolina. After trading back from the 187th overall pick, this was a great value.

Trade Grade: B+
Pick Grade: B

Seventh Round (237th overall pick) – Terry Godwin, Wide Receiver, Georgia

Terry Godwin is a fun player. In the seventh round, you want players that can contribute in multiple ways, and I think Godwin can do that for you. As an undersized receiver, his ball skills are nothing short of impressive and he can effectively create separation.

Grade: B+


The Panthers secured two of my top edge players and solidified the tackle spot on the offensive line. While I despise the Grier pick and believe Carolina will regret not picking a safety on day two, the Panthers got better up front on both sides of the ball. At the very least this was an average draft class and fans should be able to live with that.

Grade: B-