Earlier this week, I unveiled part two of my NFL mock draft, which was picks 11-20. If you missed it, you can read that here. Today, this is the conclusion of my mock draft, which are picks 21-31. It is worth noting that the Miami Dolphins were penalized first round pick this year due to violating the NFL’s rules relating to tampering. With that being said, the Los Angeles Chargers are on the clock.
21: Los Angeles Chargers- Bryan Bresee, DL, Clemson
The Los Angeles Chargers defense is well built for the most part led by star defensive pass rushers Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa to go along with cornerback JC Jackson and Asante Samuel Jr. However, they have one glaring weakness: their inability to stop the run. They gave up the most yards per carry at 5.4 and allowed 145.8 rushing yards per game, which ranked 28th out of 32 teams in the NFL. Defensive lineman Bryan Bresee from the University of Clemson is a necessary selection for Los Angeles. Bresee has many strengths including playing instinctively and he is able to withstand double teams extremely well.
22: Baltimore Ravens- Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
There’s no secret what the Baltimore Ravens’ biggest offensive weakness was during the 2022 season: their lack of productivity at the wide receiver position. They are a run-oriented offense for the most part, but the few times they would pass the ball, quarterback Lamar Jackson struggled mightily as they would rank 28th (fifth worst) in the league in passing yards per game averaging 178.8 yards. Their leading receiver from a year ago was tight end Mark Andrews who finished with 847 yards on 73 catches and five touchdowns. While Baltimore just signed free agent Odell Beckham Jr, they need more depth and Flowers can provide it. Although he is undersized at 5’9, he makes up for it with speed. Flowers ran a 4.4 40-yard dash at the combine. General manager Ozzie Newsome must recognize that the Ravens need to surround their star quarterback with more pass catchers.
23: Minnesota Vikings- Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland
The Vikings need help in their secondary, badly. They gave up the second most passing yards per game in the league, 265.6. They also lost Patrick Peterson in free agency to the Pittsburgh Steelers and he was arguably their best pass defender a year ago, tying for the team lead with five interceptions. Harrison Smith has been with Minnesota for a long time now and although he is still one of the best safeties in football, it’s hard to always depend on him for the back end of their secondary. If for no other reason, depth should be the reason the Vikings take Banks. His biggest strengths as a prospect are that he has an experience with a variety of pass coverages and has outstanding length and size as an outside corner. The one weakness he has is that he struggles to maintain his poise when his back is to the football. If he can figure out ways to avoid falling behind a play and stay in front of his receiver, he can end up being a great defensive back.
24: Jacksonville Jaguars- Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah
The Jags are an up-and-coming team. Having won a Wild Card game last year against the Chargers led by quarterback Trevor Lawrence, it’s clear they have a bright future ahead of them. They just need to make some minor adjustments. Although they have Even Engram as their main tight end, they are going to need a backup option. Kincaid caught 70 passes for 890 yards and seven touchdowns a year ago with Maryland. I think he will be a good option to fulfill their tight-end depth if that’s the route Jacksonville chooses.
25: New York Giants- John Michael Schmitz, OL, Minnesota
The Giants had a good offense last season led by their star running back Saquon Barkley. The one issue with this team on offense is lack of pass protection for their quarterback Daniel Jones. Although Jones had very few turnovers a year ago, he was sacked 49 times which was fifth most in the league. If New York is going to become a legit contender in a wide-open NFC, they have to get Jones some protection. Schmitz is a good option for New York because his biggest strength is his lateral, or side-to-side quickness when blocking. With the style of offense, the Giants run, leaning on the run game, picking an offensive lineman is the right move.
26: Dallas Cowboys- Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
With Ezekiel Elliott now a free agent, the Dallas Cowboys are in need of finding another running back to fulfill their depth. Tony Pollard will presumably be the number one guy next season, but it would be ideal for them to take Bijan Robinson, the stud running back from the University of Texas. Robinson has a lot of strengths that catch many scouts’ attention, but in particular, his ability to run low to the ground but maintain balance. In his final season at the University of Texas, Robinson excelled with 1,580 yards and 18 touchdowns. He won the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s best running back. I believe Dallas will take him late in the first round and will be a steal.
27: Buffalo Bills- Lukas Van Ness, Edge Rusher, Iowa
With the Bills losing linebacker Tremaine Edmunds in free agency to the Chicago Bears, someone will have to fill the void of edge rusher and Lukas Van Ness can do just that. Buffalo only accumulated 40 sacks last year, but they can do better than that. In 13 games last season, Van Ness had 6.5 sacks and 38 tackles. While he is a work in progress with learning how to best use his hands to shed blocks, he makes up for it by having a wide alignment to create a bull-rush type of momentum. I believe the Bills should look to draft an edge rusher in the first round and I would not be surprised if it was Van Ness.
28: Cincinnati Bengals- Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia
The Bengals had a really good season last year, more so on offense but their defense played well when called upon. They did have one major flaw, however, as they ranked 26th in most passing yards allowed per game averaging 234.5. Ringo is a big, physical cornerback from the University of Georgia who can keep receivers in front of him and doesn’t let the play break down. n his last year with Georgia, Ringo was the catalyst for their secondary as Georgia’s defense was the anchor to carry the to a second straight national championship. The Bengals have holes in their secondary with the departure of Eli Apple and former safety Jessie Bates. While Apple remains unsigned, Bates is now an Atlanta Falcon. Improving the secondary is a must for Cincinnati if they want to stay in the hunt for the AFC.
29: New Orleans Saints- Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee
With star receiver Michael Thomas pending free agency after next year and coming off an injury in 2022, New Orleans will look to add another weapon offensively. I like Jalin Hyatt to be drafted by New Orleans and add to their depth. Last season with Tennessee, Hyatt led the team with 67 catches for 1,267 yards, which was good for fifth in the nation among leading receivers. He also scored 15 touchdowns last season. His biggest strength according to draft experts is his ability to shift into second gear thanks to his speed. I expect Hyatt to be drafted late in the first round, and New Orleans is certainly in the running for him.
30: Philadelphia Eagles- Jahymr Gibbs, RB, Alabama
The Eagles biggest strength is running the football. They led the league in rushing touchdowns last year with 32, 13 of them coming from quarterback Jalen Hurts. Their leading rusher Miles Sanders ran for 1,269 yards and 11 touchdowns. Unfortunately, he was a free agent this off-season and signed with the Carolina Panthers so they will need a replacement. Gibbs’ biggest strength is his ability to create ability to open the field with his speed. In a year which he was a transfer student from Georgia Tech to Alabama, Gibbs was the number one running back as he accumulated 926 yards on 151 carries and seven touchdowns in 12 games. He also led the team with 44 catches out of the backfield. Look for Philadelphia to draft a running back in the first round.
31: Kansas City Chiefs- Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee
The defending champion Kansas City Chiefs have the final pick in the first round. I have them projecting to take an offensive lineman in the first round, although that could change by draft night. They lost Orlando Brown Jr. in free agency as he went to the Cincinnati Bengals but did sign his replacement in right tackle Jawaan Taylor but still have to re-tool the left side of their offensive line which is where Wright can come in. Wright predominately played right tackle in college but he can be utilized on the left side as either a tackle or guard. This will more than likely be a pick to fill depth on their offensive line but it certainly would not hurt.
My final thoughts are that I’m looking forward to this year’s draft and it was fun to do a mock draft of the first round. But one thing is for sure: the NFL Draft is full of surprises, so buckle up.