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  1. Colts' DeForest Buckner Responds to Trade Rumors The NFL offseason is chock-full of buzz and rumors. Those rumors aren't always good, though, or even accurate, for that matter. On Wednesday night, the Twitter page @nflrums tweeted a rumor about Indianapolis Colts star defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, intimating that he wants a trade out of town. "#NFLRumors #Colts DeForest Buckner wants to play for a contender and could be traded," the account said. "Buckner has a $19.7M cap savings with trade with 0 dead money." This particular Twitter account has a less-than-sterling reputation for reporting what it deems to be reality, but those who weren't already aware of that were caught off-guard by the Buckner tweet. Buckner himself took to Twitter on Thursday morning to debunk the rumor. "I need you to check your sources @nflrums," Buckner tweeted, including a GIF from the movie "Wolf of Wall Street" where Leonardo DiCaprio's character colorfully states, "I'm not leaving!" So, there you have it. While it makes financial sense for a rebuilding team like the Colts to try and move Buckner or to acquire draft assets, he doesn't want to go anywhere and the Colts don't want that either. Drafted No. 7 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers, Buckner earned a Pro Bowl (2018) and Second-Team All-Pro nod during his time in the Bay Area before being traded to the Colts in 2020 for the 13th-overall pick. He signed a lucrative four-year, $84 million contract extension at the time and since then has made another Pro Bowl (2021) and a First-Team All-Pro team (2020). Since joining the Colts, Buckner has helped turn their defensive front into one of the best against the run and provided an interior pass rush that they'd been missing for years. He's one of the team's biggest leaders and is considered a "glue guy" in the locker room. In seven seasons, Buckner has started 109-of-112 games and totaled 463 tackles (69 for loss), 53.0 sacks, 140 quarterback hits, 7 forced fumbles, 9 fumbles recovered, 20 pass breakups, 1 safety, and 1 defensive touchdown.
  2. He's very small. Just an inch taller then Aaron Donald at 6'1. He's 4 lbs lighter at 280 lbs. He ran a 4.67 at the combine.
  3. Calijah Kancey seems to be a special interior rusher and 100% fits what we want in our DTs. Hope we target the beast.
  4. Report: The #Jets have extended a multi-year deal to former #Titans center Ben Jones. Full details of the offer are unknown, but New York is attempting to lock up its center. #NFL
  5. If we're going to draft a T that's not going to start right away then it better not come with the 13th overall pick. Matthew Bergeron, Jaelyn Duncan and Anton Harrison could be day two targets if still available.
  6. Broderick Jones to me is a fringe 1st round prospects. Would be a major reach to select him top 15. Wouldn't be too happy with the selection. If we're going to target someone who may not be a day one starter then we'll be better off targeting day two guys who can sit behind Brown, Becton and Mitchell until their ready. Calijah Kancey, DT, Pitt is a guy who intrigues me. Reminds me alot of John Randle.
  7. I'm back with a third mock ahead of the 2023 NFL draft, filling needs for every first-round pick after the bulk of free agency. There are still several good free agents available, but the marquee players have been signed, and we have a great idea of positions each team could be targeting in this draft. This is one of my favorite mocks to do every year. Since my last round of predictions, a lot has happened, including the NFL combine. Check out the 10 prospects I picked as risers from the workouts in Indianapolis. There also has been a trade -- a big one. The Bears got a tremendous haul from the Panthers for the No. 1 pick, dropping down eight spots in the process. I have a lot to say about the deal below. These new predictions feature another projected trade in the top five, as we could see a few different teams trying to get in there to take a quarterback. I also have an update to my Big Board rankings, with post-combine changes at every position. Now that we have the accurate size measurements and testing numbers, we're getting into the homestretch ahead of Round 1, which begins April 27, with only pro days and in-person visits for teams ahead. OK, let's get to it. There are just 31 picks here, if you'll recall, because the Dolphins were stripped of their first-rounder. Check out the "SportsCenter Special: Mel Kiper's NFL Mock Draft 3.0" at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN2, with Todd McShay agreeing with me about why all of my picks were perfect. Here we go, starting with Carolina: 1. Carolina Panthers (via CHI) C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State Welcome to the top of the board, Carolina. The Panthers went big right before free agency, sending a bevy of picks and wide receiver DJ Moore to Chicago for the No. 1 selection. It's a lot to give up, but the trade gives the Panthers their choice of quarterbacks in this class, which they're still working through. If they hit on that passer, they could have a 15-year starter. If they miss? Well, general manager Scott Fitterer and coach Frank Reich likely won't be around to see the end of their pick's tenure. It's a monumental decision for a team that has missed on recent deals for Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold. Which way will Carolina go now? I'm leaning toward Stroud based on what I'm hearing. He's super accurate, has impressed everyone throughout the pre-draft process and is the ideal size profile of recent Frank Reich quarterbacks. He has the slight edge over Bryce Young based on fit. Carolina added veteran Andy Dalton to guide the rookie, but whoever this quarterback ends up being needs more playmakers around him. Without Moore, its No. 1 receiver now becomes Adam Thielen, who was signed to a deal this week. Laviska Shenault Jr., Terrace Marshall Jr. and running back Miles Sanders are on the roster, but this group is among the league's worst. Thanks to the Christian McCaffrey trade, the Panthers had extra selections -- they still have second- and third-rounders to add players -- but this is not likely to be a team that challenges for a playoff spot in 2023. 2. Houston Texans Bryce Young, QB, Alabama I projected a Houston trade up to No. 1 in my previous mock draft, but it seems general manager Nick Caserio and new coach DeMeco Ryans are perfectly OK with staying put and taking a passer here. And really, they could still get their top-rated guy. Throughout the NFL, there is no consensus top quarterback in this class. Some teams like Stroud, some like Young and others have Will Levis (Kentucky) or Anthony Richardson (Florida) atop their boards. This is a fascinating draft, and we're going to have to deal with subterfuge all the way up until April 27. For the Texans, who are in the early stages of a roster reset, they have to get the face of their franchise. Young can be that guy. No, he doesn't have ideal size, and at 5-foot-10, 204 pounds he's going to become the third under-6-foot signal-caller drafted in Round 1. But turn on the tape and watch him maneuver the pocket, find passing lanes and drop dimes all over the field. He's legit. Houston just traded wideout Brandin Cooks, so Young would have similar issues to Stroud in Carolina, but the Texans have another first-rounder (No. 12) to keep building up their roster. Projected trade: Indy moves up Arizona's pick at No. 3 is going to be coveted. It might now be the most important pick in the draft. That's because we know quarterbacks are going to Carolina and Houston at the top of the board, but the Cardinals aren't in the market for a passer. How far are they willing to slide down so a QB-needy team can move up? This scenario might be best for them, because they have to move down only one spot and could still get their choice of the top defenders. Go any farther down, and they won't be so lucky. I mentioned last month the Mitch Trubisky trade from 2017, when the Bears moved from No. 3 to No. 2 in a deal with the 49ers. Chicago gave up the Nos. 3, 67 and 111 picks along with its third-rounder in the 2018 draft. That's the comp for this move, though as we saw in Carolina's trade up to No. 1, the asking price increases based on the competition. If Las Vegas or Seattle gets involved, Arizona could get much more. I also wouldn't be surprised if Arizona takes this deal down to when it's on the clock on April 27; that's when trading teams will know for sure who's still available. Indianapolis, meanwhile, has to do something to get its franchise signal-caller. There's no way general manager Chris Ballard likes all four top quarterbacks equally. The Colts might have to give up multiple picks to get their guy. 3. Indianapolis Colts (via mock trade with ARI) Will Levis, QB, Kentucky Is it possible Ballard likes either Levis or Anthony Richardson as his top passer in this class? Yes, absolutely. In that case, this could be a win-win deal for both teams. The bottom line is the Colts have a solid roster, but they're not going to win without better quarterback play. Barring a dramatic trade for Lamar Jackson -- which would cost two first-round picks -- they should move up to ensure they get Levis. Levis, a 6-foot-4 QB with a huge arm who played in a pro-style offense at Kentucky, had an inconsistent 2022 season. He didn't play with elite talent, though, and he forced too many throws at times. Indianapolis has the playmakers to help him out as a rookie. New coach Shane Steichen helped Jalen Hurts take a massive leap for the Eagles, and he should be excited to coach up another high-ceiling player. 4. Arizona Cardinals (via mock trade with IND) Will Anderson Jr., OLB, Alabama Once again, no change here from my two previous mock drafts. Anderson is the type of player new coach Jonathan Gannon can build around on defense. He's versatile, productive -- 130 pressures over the past two seasons -- and has the tools to develop into an All-Pro. The problem for Arizona is who plays next to Anderson. J.J. Watt retired, tackle Zach Allen left in free agency and the Cardinals haven't added any D-linemen over the past week. For a defense that struggled with consistency last season, there are still issues here. This trade down likely would give Arizona the Colts' second- and third-rounders (Nos. 35 and 79) at the very least, giving it a bunch of capital to make upgrades. Now, new general manager Monti Ossenfort has to use that capital wisely -- and hope quarterback Kyler Murray is ready for Week 1. 5. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN) Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida The finer details of Geno Smith's new contract show it's really only a one-year commitment; Seattle absolutely could take a quarterback here. Think of Alex Smith and Joe Flacco when the Chiefs and Ravens, respectively, drafted Patrick Mahomes (2017) and Lamar Jackson (2018) and essentially used the veterans as one-year bridges to the rookies. Then again, I thought the Seahawks might take a quarterback last year, and coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider decided against it, instead turning their picks into the NFL's best rookie class. So why Richardson? The upside is so, so high. He's a 6-foot-4, 244-pound signal-caller who can make any throw and who also ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash at the combine. If he's given time to catch up to the speed of the NFL, he could be a star. This would be a great situation for him, on an offense that has young stars. Plus, the Seahawks have another Round 1 pick at No. 20 -- if any team is in a spot to take a high-risk player, it's them. By the way, four quarterbacks going in the top five picks has never happened before. 6. Detroit Lions (via LAR) Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia Detroit added veteran corners Cameron Sutton and Emmanuel Moseley and versatile defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson in free agency, which likely signals it's going to pass on the top corners with this pick. But did you watch this defense last season? It ranked bottom of the league in most statistical categories, including yards per play allowed (6.2). The Lions have to keep trying to fix it. The easiest way to do that? Take Carter, who has had a troubled few months. Last week, he pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing for his alleged role in a Jan. 15 car wreck that killed Georgia offensive lineman Devin Willock and recruiting staffer Chandler LeCroy. He also showed up at his pro day nine pounds heavier than he was at the NFL combine, and he was unable to finish the position drills. He's no longer in the mix to be the No. 1 overall pick. Everything I've heard from people in the league, however, is he won't drop too far -- he likely still will be a top-10 selection. Carter's talent is undeniable, and I could see a team such as the Lions taking him here, filling a position of need. Detroit, which also owns the No. 18 overall selection, drafted Aidan Hutchinson at No. 2 overall last year and got 9.5 sacks out of him. Carter would be a nice complement to Hutchinson's skill set. play 1:49 What to make of Jalen Carter's struggles at Georgia's pro day Harry Lyles Jr., Mina Kimes, Israel Gutierrez and Tim Cowlishaw discuss Jalen Carter's rough pro day and whether it affects his draft stock. 7. Las Vegas Raiders Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon So, in this scenario, the Raiders don't get any of the top four quarterbacks, forcing them to go with the best prospect available. They added the solid-but-unspectacular Jimmy Garoppolo in free agency, so it's not like they have a void under center as big as the Colts, Texans and Panthers do. They also have a veteran roster, and you could argue they should try to win now. The player who can most help them win in 2023 is Gonzalez, who ran a blazing 4.38-second 40-yard dash at the combine, backing up what I saw on his 2022 tape. At 6-foot-1, he has outstanding ball skills and elite recovery speed. This is a clear need area for Las Vegas. 8. Atlanta Falcons Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois The Falcons have been one of the biggest spenders of free agency, doling out deals to safety Jessie Bates and defensive tackle David Onyemata and re-signing offensive tackle Kaleb McGary and edge rusher Lorenzo Carter, among other moves. They also gave Chris Lindstrom a five-year extension, making him the NFL's highest-paid guard, and traded for tight end Jonnu Smith, who thrived in Tennessee under now-Atlanta coach Arthur Smith. Those moves mean this pick could come down to edge rusher or cornerback, and the Falcons will have options. I thought about Will McDonald IV (Iowa State) and Lukas Van Ness (Iowa), but Witherspoon's ability in coverage might be tough to pass up for a defense that struggled last season. Atlanta could add a great corner to put on the other side of A.J. Terrell. Witherspoon didn't work out at the combine because of a minor injury, so he's going to run in front of NFL teams April 5. That's going to be crucial so we can see if his testing numbers line up with his fantastic 2022 season, when he allowed 3.3 yards per attempt and zero touchdowns as the primary defender in coverage, according to ESPN's game charting. 9. Chicago Bears (via CAR) Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State As a reminder, here's what Chicago got from Carolina for surrendering the No. 1 pick and dropping down eight spots: Wide receiver DJ Moore Picks Nos. 9 and 61 in April's draft Carolina's first-round pick in 2024 Carolina's second-round pick in 2025 That's an incredible haul, and the 2024 pick might end up being the best of the bunch. While the Bears could be in play for a defensive lineman here -- particularly if Jalen Carter drops -- I see offensive tackle as their biggest hole after their moves in free agency. They added guard Nate Davis to start on the right side, but are they really trusting Teven Jenkins to lock in the right tackle job? They could have their choice of the class' tackles here. Johnson played both tackle spots and right guard for the Buckeyes, and he already has blocked for quarterback Justin Fields. Chicago needs to keep supporting Fields and get him a stellar lineman with this pick, and it could still address the defense with its two second-round picks (Nos. 53 and 61) and early third-rounder (No. 64). 10. Philadelphia Eagles (via NO) Peter Skoronski, OT/G, Northwestern Center Jason Kelce will be back, but the Eagles just lost right guard Isaac Seumalo in free agency. Could they take the prospect some teams consider the best guard in the class? Skoronski excelled at left tackle for the Wildcats, but his arms are slightly shorter than average for tackles (32 1/4 inches), and so he could instead move inside. Philadelphia drafted interior lineman Cam Jurgens in Round 2 last year, so he's the favorite to replace Seumalo, but taking Skoronski would ensure versatility and a competition. The Eagles haven't shied away in previous years from trying to stack strength on strength in the draft. I also thought about defensive line here, as Adetomiwa Adebawore (Northwestern) or Lukas Van Ness (Iowa) could fit next to 2022 first-rounder Jordan Davis. Fletcher Cox is back for one year, but Javon Hargrave left for a huge deal in San Francisco, so Philadelphia could address the position with its choice at No. 30 overall. 11. Tennessee Titans Tyree Wilson, DE, Texas Tech Tennessee has used free agency to bring in Andre Dillard to play left tackle and Daniel Brunskill to compete for one of the guard positions, which means offensive line is less of a need now. And with Johnson and Skoronski off the board in this scenario, the Titans don't have to force a lineman here. That's why I'm in favor of them going after a high-ceiling edge rusher. Wilson, who is recovering from a broken foot that meant he couldn't work out at the combine, has elite talent in a 6-foot-6, 271-pound frame. He had 14 sacks over the past two seasons for the Red Raiders, showing excellent burst off the line of scrimmage. For a Tennessee team that just cut Bud Dupree and ranked 27th in percentage of sacks per dropback (5.3%) last season, he'd be an ideal fit. I'm not as high on Wilson's tape as other people in the league I trust -- he's too inconsistent -- but his flashes of brilliance as a pass-rusher make him intriguing. 12. Houston Texans (via CLE) Nolan Smith, OLB, Georgia Houston had a rough time on both sides of the ball last season. It ranked 32nd in yards per play on offense (4.8) and 26th in yards per play allowed on defense (5.7). With the Texans' first pick, I projected them to take quarterback Bryce Young, so with this one I'm giving them a quarterback for their defense. People in the league rave about Smith's leadership skills, and he was outstanding at the combine. I named him as one of my risers after he ran a 4.39-second 40-yard dash at 238 pounds, and this is right in the range in which he could go. Smith, who tore his right pectoral muscle in November and missed the rest of the season, could be a foundational player for coach DeMeco Ryans, who is going to mold this defense in his own image. This pick, by the way, comes from the Deshaun Watson trade, and the Texans also own the Browns' first-rounder in 2024. 13. New York Jets Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia Will the Jets actually keep this pick? They're going to have to give up something to get quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and it might require a first-round selection. For now, they haven't addressed the tackle position this offseason, and there are questions there. Mekhi Becton will return, but he has played just one game over the past two seasons. Duane Brown will be back, but he turns 38 in August. Max Mitchell started five games at right tackle last season, but he gave up three sacks and was just OK as a run-blocker. General manager Joe Douglas should keep investing in the position. Jones started 19 games on the left side for the Bulldogs, and he didn't allow a single sack last season. He's still growing at the position, but he has major upside. He could compete with Mitchell at right tackle. Darnell Wright (Tennessee) and Anton Harrison (Oklahoma) are other tackles to watch. 14. New England Patriots Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State After adding JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mike Gesicki in free agency, the Patriots no longer have to draft a receiver here. That doesn't mean they won't, just that it's no longer a critical void. New offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien has a few playmakers to scheme open for quarterback Mac Jones, who struggled in 2022, finishing 28th in Total QBR (out of 31 qualifiers). This offense should take a step up. The biggest need now is in the secondary. Jonathan Jones was re-signed and Jack Jones had a really solid rookie season, but the Patriots have to add more corners. Porter is a 6-foot-2 press cornerback whose 4.46-second 40-yard dash at the combine was stellar for his size. He didn't allow any touchdowns in coverage last season. He's physical -- he'll tackle in the run game. I see Porter as a player who could thrive for Bill Belichick's defense. I almost scratched out my prediction for this pick and slotted in wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Ohio State), who could be a target for a team in this range. 15. Green Bay Packers Lukas Van Ness, DL, Iowa Depending on what happens with a potential Aaron Rodgers trade, this could end up being Green Bay's second pick of the top 15. That means the Packers could have two first-round choices in back-to-back years, as they got help on defense with Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt last April. And while I thought long and hard about a wide receiver or tight end here, this defense still has a ways to go. Green Bay ranked 28th in both yards per play allowed (5.8) and yards per carry allowed (5.0) last season, and it tied for 27th in sacks (34). A sophomore leap from Wyatt and Rashan Gary's return from a torn ACL in his right knee will be a boost, but a versatile player such as Van Ness would be a great addition. At 6-foot-5, 272 pounds, Van Ness has the flexibility to play tackle and end; he had 13.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks last season. Again, there's a lot up in the air about the Packers, but teams always covet edge rushers. 16. Washington Commanders Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State Before free agency, Washington had a massive hole at right tackle, but now that spot is filled by former Chiefs lineman Andrew Wylie, who signed a three-year deal last week. I'm not going to rule out the possibility of a tackle here -- left tackle Charles Leno Jr. is 31 and on a reasonable contract through 2024 -- but let's move on to another key area: cornerback. I'm a huge fan of Forbes, who is rail thin but really fast. He ran a 4.35-second 40-yard dash at the combine but weighed in at 166 pounds, making him the lightest prospect at the position. He's going to get bigger, of course, but some teams will be scared off by his size. The Commanders should capitalize; Forbes is a ball hawk who picked off 14 passes over the past three seasons -- one of those was a pick-six off Will Levis -- and could be an All-Pro player. He has gone up against some of college football's best wideouts and consistently held his own. 17. Pittsburgh Steelers Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland Cameron Sutton is out, veteran Patrick Peterson is in, but Pittsburgh's biggest need hasn't changed. It has to get younger -- and faster -- at cornerback. Banks matched Forbes' 40-yard dash time (4.35) at the combine, and he did it 31 pounds heavier (though he measured 6-foot, two inches shorter than he was listed in college). His 2022 tape is one of the best I've seen in this class in terms of man coverage. He can shut down an entire side of the field. He's a fit for Mike Tomlin's defense. 18. Detroit Lions Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame I got the Lions help along the defensive line at No. 6, and I wouldn't be surprised if they double-dipped here with another pick on defense. That unit was that bad last season. Instead, let's pivot to the other side of the ball. They traded away T.J. Hockenson last fall and used a committee approach to the tight end position, with Brock Wright, James Mitchell and Shane Zylstra each catching at least 11 passes. All three are under contract for 2023, but shouldn't Detroit try to upgrade? Mayer is the most complete tight end in this class. He's physical as a run-blocker, and he can run seam routes and get open for quarterback Jared Goff. He caught 67 passes for 809 yards and nine touchdowns last season and had 180 catches in his college career. He could be the lead guy in Detroit. 19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee Is Tampa Bay rebuilding now that Tom Brady is gone? Its moves don't suggest so, particularly in bringing back veteran linebacker Lavonte David. And with Baker Mayfield set to battle Kyle Trask for the starting quarterback job, maybe the Bucs believe they can win the NFC South again. If that's the case, they need an instant starter at right tackle. Tristan Wirfs is moving over to the left side, so there's a void. The 6-foot-5, 333-pound Wright started 42 games in college, including 27 at right tackle. This would be a move to get new offensive coordinator Dave Canales off to the best start, no matter the quarterback. If the Bucs really want to get wild, they could take running back Bijan Robinson here. I've had trouble finding the perfect landing spot for him, though I do think he'll go in Round 1. 20. Seattle Seahawks Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State This was a tough pick for me. It could be a front-seven player; Seattle ranked 27th in yards per carry allowed (4.9) last season, though it added free agent tackle Dre'Mont Jones to help. Edge rushers Will McDonald IV (Iowa State) and Myles Murphy (Clemson) could make sense. I also thought about interior offensive line, but it might be a little too high for guard O'Cyrus Torrence (Florida). So if I'm getting the Seahawks a project quarterback at No. 5, why not add a wideout who could make things easier on offense? Smith-Njigba has a chance to develop into a true No. 1 receiver. He didn't run the 40-yard dash at the combine, but he looked effortless in the pass-catching drills and led all receivers with a 6.57-second 3-cone time and a 3.93-second short shuttle. A hamstring injury limited him to just five catches last season, but he caught 95 passes for 1,606 yards in 2021. He could be a plug-and-play starter for a team that already features Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. He could alternate reps outside and in the slot. 21. Los Angeles Chargers Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah I had been targeting receivers for the Chargers, but let's give them a player who could help in both the pass and run games. Kincaid, who had 106 catches and 16 touchdowns over the past two seasons, is the best "move" tight end in this class. He's a legit playmaker in the pass game. At 6-foot-4, 246 pounds, he could do damage out of the slot or lined up next to a tackle. New offensive coordinator Kellen Moore could scheme up easy targets to Kincaid for quarterback Justin Herbert. As I've mentioned before, the Chargers' run defense still is an issue, but they could get help there on Day 2. 22. Baltimore Ravens Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College Well, I had hoped to have some more clarity about quarterback Lamar Jackson's future by the time I did these predictions, but I'm just going to assume he'll be back in 2023, playing on the franchise tag. And if that's the case, can general manager Eric DeCosta get him some receiving help? A top three wideout group of Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay and James Proche isn't good enough. The dynamic Flowers is a favorite of mine in this class. While some in the NFL see him strictly as a slot receiver, he actually had five touchdowns when lined up outside last season (and seven from the slot). Though he's only 5-foot-9, he could be used everywhere. He forced 25 missed tackles last season, third most in the country for a wideout. He could thrive with Jackson in Baltimore, especially with new coordinator Todd Monken opening up the offense. 23. Minnesota Vikings Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU I'm switching gears a bit for the Vikings, as I had projected a cornerback here in my first two mock drafts. They could still go that way, as adding Byron Murphy helps fill their immediate hole. At receiver, though, with Adam Thielen gone, I love the idea of Johnston playing on the other side of Justin Jefferson, helping take defensive backs away. The 6-foot-3 Johnston will be an immediate red zone threat in the NFL, and his skills after the catch mean he will break a bunch of tackles and score long touchdowns. I know K.J. Osborn has earned a bigger role in the Minnesota offense, but there's room for Johnston too. 24. Jacksonville Jaguars Will McDonald IV, DE, Iowa State After years of spending big money in free agency, the Jaguars have largely stayed out of the fray this year -- they have stuck to re-signings so far. This young roster is going to grow and improve together, and that's a good thing for Jacksonville fans. There aren't many obvious holes on this depth chart, but the loss of Arden Key in free agency means there are edge-rushing snaps to be had. Enter McDonald, who had a really strong Senior Bowl and showed off great physical attributes at the combine. At 6-foot-4, 239 pounds, McDonald and Key are actually very similar in size, and both are best when coordinators let them get after quarterbacks. McDonald is an explosive player who had 34 sacks over four college seasons. I expect Travon Walker, the No. 1 overall pick last year, to make a second-season leap -- the Jags' defense could get much better. 25. New York Giants Jordan Addison, WR, USC Quarterback Daniel Jones is back on a four-year deal, and the Giants' front office has prioritized playmakers around him. New York has given the franchise tag to running back Saquon Barkley, re-signed wideouts Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard, traded for tight end Darren Waller and added receiver Parris Campbell on a one-year deal. That's an upgraded depth chart, which also includes promising 2022 second-rounder Wan'Dale Robinson. How about one more? Addison put up huge numbers for Pitt and USC over the past three seasons, and he could be a plug-and-play starter, getting reps in the slot and outside. This is how the Giants' passing offense can take a big step forward. 26. Dallas Cowboys Adetomiwa Adebawore, DE, Northwestern You might remember Adebawore from his performance at the NFL combine, where he ran a 4.49-second 40-yard dash at 282 pounds, putting up the fastest time of any player over 280 pounds at the combine since at least 2006, according to ESPN Stats & Information. I wrote at the time that he was going to rise, and he's likely going in Round 1 now. He wasn't super productive in college -- 9.5 sacks since 2021 -- but his talent is undeniable. Adebawore played about 75% of his snaps at defensive end, but he could move inside at the next level and work as a 3-technique tackle. For the Cowboys, we know defensive coordinator Dan Quinn values versatility, and Adebawore could get reps all over the line. DeMarcus Lawrence turns 31 this offseason, and they need to keep adding young players to their rotation. 27. Buffalo Bills Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas I keep coming back to Robinson being perfect for this Bills offense. He could be a security blanket for Josh Allen in the pass game, and he can rip off chunk plays as a ball carrier. He breaks a ton of tackles and has tremendous vision. He's the most complete back in this class. As I've written before, Robinson is a top-10 prospect on my board, but his positional value means he's going to drop into the 20s. I know Buffalo has James Cook and just added Damien Harris on a one-year deal, but Robinson is on another level. This is a team that can afford to target a luxury position in Round 1. 28. Cincinnati Bengals Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia This makes seven pass-catchers (four receivers, three tight ends) in a nine-pick span. There absolutely could be a run on them in the 20s. The tight end group as a whole is spectacular at the top, but Washington might have the highest ceiling. He wasn't used a ton in the pass game for the Bulldogs, as he had just 45 catches and three scores over three seasons. At 6-foot-7, 264 pounds, he ran a 4.64-second 40-yard dash at the combine, impressing NFL scouts, who think he could be much better at the next level. With Hayden Hurst gone in free agency, this is a clear need area for Cincinnati. play 0:15 TE Darnell Washington shows out with impressive 40 time, leaping catch Darnell Washington has himself a day at the combine with an incredible catch and a 4.65 40-yard dash. 29. New Orleans Saints (via DEN/MIA/SF) Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson New Orleans, back in Round 1 after Denver gave up this pick in the deal for coach Sean Payton, is in an interesting spot. It just added quarterback Derek Carr, and it has a talented, veteran roster -- with a few holes. It has tried to plug a few of those holes, notably by turning over the defensive tackle position, adding Khalen Saunders and Nathan Shepherd in free agency. Those two defenders have never played full-time roles, however, so the Saints should add another tackle if Bresee is available. Bresee had a fantastic workout at the combine, making my risers list. He could see the field early and often for this team. 30. Philadelphia Eagles Calijah Kancey, DT, Pitt I still see Kancey as the ideal choice here, slotting in next to 2022 first-rounder Jordan Davis for years to come and solidifying the Philadelphia defensive line. General manager Howie Roseman and the Eagles, who have two first-rounders thanks to a deal with with New Orleans last year, believe in investing heavily in the defensive line, so this is a pick to continue the trend. Kancey had an elite workout at the combine, though he's not going to be perfect for every team. At 6-foot-1, 281 pounds, he needs to go to a team that plays a 4-3 and allows him to penetrate past interior linemen and create chaos at the snap. Keep an eye on safety for this pick, as C.J. Gardner-Johnson and Marcus Epps are both gone. 31. Kansas City Chiefs Felix Anudike-Uzomah, DE, Kansas State The Chiefs let JuJu Smith-Schuster leave in free agency, and their wide receiver depth chart looks a little thin. I thought about Jalin Hyatt (Tennessee) as a new deep threat for Patrick Mahomes, but I'm going to trust in Andy Reid's ability to find contributors just about anywhere. That leads me to the edge rushers, and Anudike-Uzomah is a player I really wanted to get in these predictions somewhere. There's some buzz among NFL teams about Anudike-Uzomah after the combine. He had a great workout there, and he was super productive in college, racking up 19.5 sacks over the past two seasons. Kansas City replaced Frank Clark with Charles Omenihu, so Anudike-Uzomah likely would be a situational pass-rusher as a rookie.
  8. 13. New York Jets Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia Will the Jets actually keep this pick? They're going to have to give up something to get quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and it might require a first-round selection. For now, they haven't addressed the tackle position this offseason, and there are questions there. Mekhi Becton will return, but he has played just one game over the past two seasons. Duane Brown will be back, but he turns 38 in August. Max Mitchell started five games at right tackle last season, but he gave up three sacks and was just OK as a run-blocker. General manager Joe Douglas should keep investing in the position. Jones started 19 games on the left side for the Bulldogs, and he didn't allow a single sack last season. He's still growing at the position, but he has major upside. He could compete with Mitchell at right tackle. Darnell Wright (Tennessee) and Anton Harrison (Oklahoma) are other tackles to watch.
  9. I'd place Michael Carter (RB) out there for Punts. Bam for KR.
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