The Two-Minute Drill: Post-Super Bowl Top 10 Mock Draft
By Brendan Nordstrom
Less than two weeks ago, the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35 in the Super Bowl. That means we are in the midst of the best season of the year: mock draft season. With the Senior Bowl in the rearview mirror and the combine currently ongoing, we are just 57 days from the Draft. My first mock draft does not include trades. This is how I see the first 10 picks going:
#1 Chicago Bears – EDGE Will Anderson (Alabama)
The Bears, by either a stroke of pure luck or the Texans’ stupidity, found themselves with the top pick in the draft. The draft is very front-loaded with quarterbacks; however, Justin Fields’ development was a bright spot for Chicago this season. They are reported to be selling this pick for more capital, but if they don’t, it essentially comes down to two top defensive prospects: Will Anderson and Jalen Carter. I expect the Bears to flip-flop a lot between these two, but I like Anderson’s disruptiveness as an addition to the Bear’s front seven.
#2 Houston Texans – QB Bryce Young (Alabama)
Bryce Young easily tops this year’s class as the most game-ready signal-caller, with playmaking abilities outside the pocket and success in a top-level SEC offense. The one detractor from Young is his height, officially measuring in at 5-foot-10.5. Problems with height in the NFL are shown through quarterbacks, such as Kyler Murray, who can be elite at times but struggle at others. With the right scheming, Young will be an elite talent and perfect for the Texans moving forward.
#3 Arizona Cardinals – DT Jalen Carter (Georgia)
Speaking of Murray, he just signed a $230 million extension this past July and was involved in the head coach search. So, quarterback is completely off the table for the Cardinals. This leads to the top defensive prospect for Arizona – whichever game-wrecker the Bears don’t pick. In this case, it is Jalen Carter, a complete prospect with all the tools to anchor a defense. However, his reported involvement with a fatal car crash in Georgia in January could lower his stock.
#4 Indianapolis Colts – QB CJ Stroud (Ohio State)
The Colts have been on as bad of a quarterback carousel as we’ve seen in this league, rivaled only by Chicago and Denver. Matt Ryan clearly didn’t work out for the 4-12-1 Colts; neither did Sam Ehlinger, nor interim head coach Jeff Saturday. The season was nothing short of a trainwreck. However, CJ Stroud has the chance to right that ship. I wasn’t the highest on Stroud, but his performance in the Peach Bowl jumped him high on my board. In a situation where Stroud can work on his development, the marriage between him and the Colts is made in heaven.
#5 Seattle Seahawks – EDGE Tyree Wilson (Texas Tech)
With the top two quarterbacks and top two defensive prospects off the board, the Seahawks get their pick of the litter of defensive players. After a successful season behind Geno Smith, the Seahawks need defensive help on the line. Of the remaining defensive prospects, I’m big on Tyree Wilson. Wilson lists at 6-foot-6 and 275 pounds, utilizing that size with a powerful bull rush and disruptions in the run game. Behind a 50-pressure, eight-sack season, Wilson has the athletics to be special and is given the perfect opportunity to develop and produce in Seattle alongside Uchenna Nwosu.
#6 Detroit Lions – CB Devon Witherspoon (Illinois)
The Lions feel comfortable with quarterback Jared Goff, who had maybe the best season of his career, and had amazing production from Aidan Hutchinson and James Houston on the defensive front. With a deep class of cornerbacks, the Lions have their pick of the crop as well. While rumors have the Lions landing Jalen Ramsey from the Rams, assuming they don’t, I see them going with Witherspoon. Allowing just 22 catches all season, Witherspoon is a physical ballhawk who will certainly get an endorsement from former teammate and current Lion Kerby Joseph.
#7 Las Vegas Raiders – OT Peter Skoronski (Northwestern)
The Raiders are in an interesting position to go multiple routes with their first selection – quarterback, defense or offensive line. I see them going with the top offensive lineman in the country to build up the trenches. While Northwestern’s 1-11 season didn’t go as planned, Skoronski was a bright spot, allowing only three hurries, two pressures and one sack. He earned the Remington-Pace Offensive Linemen of the Year award and will help the Raiders with the rebuild.
#8 Atlanta Falcons – EDGE Myles Murphy (Clemson)
Many expect the Falcons to go after a quarterback, but Atlanta drafted Desmond Ridder a year ago and owner Arthur Blank seems committed to him. The Falcons just released starter Marcus Mariota, which means it’s Ridder’s show now. While I’m tempted to pick up a wide receiver to help out the new starter, I don’t see Atlanta turning away a talent like Murphy. For a team that ranked second to last in sacks, an impactful rusher is crucial to building up both sides of the ball. What Tyree Wilson has in the bull rush, Myles Murphy has with speed. Murphy has bend and the ability to blow up plays he’s not even a part of.
#9 Carolina Panthers – QB Anthony Richardson (Florida)
Anthony Richardson is my absolute favorite player in this year’s draft. Ever since I watched Florida upset No. 7 Utah in Week 1 and saw the freak athletic plays he could make (such as this jump spin for a conversion), I’ve been high on Richardson. Over the past few weeks, he has shot up draft boards and with good reason – his athleticism, raw talent, long-distance power and scramble are all top-notch. With trades, I could see him going in the top five. The problem with Richardson is that he’s not exactly NFL-ready and would need a year or two to develop. The Panthers nearly limped their way into the playoffs in a weak NFC South. They did so with Sam Darnold behind center. If they elect to re-sign Darnold, he would be the perfect bridge quarterback for Richardson to develop under while still maintaining quality play.
#10 Philadelphia Eagles – CB Christian Gonzalez (Oregon)
It’s not often you get to be in a Super Bowl and then turn around to a top-10 selection in the NFL Draft, but the Eagles get to make a great team even better. With cornerback James Bradberry a free agent and fellow CB Darius Slay aging (yet, not losing production), it could be time to invest in youth at the secondary. With the Lions getting first pick at cornerbacks, the Eagles are left with the second-best option. However, the comparison between Witherspoon and Gonzalez is going to be contentious until Draft Day. Gonzalez started at Colorado, where he didn’t shine, but transferred to Oregon where he turned elite. Gonzalez brings impressive speed, great closing and impressive reads to an Eagles squad looking to retain success.