Mock Draft, Take 2: It'll be quarterbacks galore
What if the top four picks in the NFL draft are quarterbacks? It's a near certainty the top three will be. The question becomes what do the Atlanta Falcons do at No. 4.
They restructured Matt Ryan's contract to free up cap space. In doing so, they made it more difficult to move him in the future. Cutting or trading him in 2022 comes at a cost of $40 million in cap space. Doing so in 2023 is a more manageable $15 million.
The move reflects the cap crunch more than the desire to keep Ryan long-term. Cutting or trading him in 2023, prior to his age 38 season, could be a realistic option.
It also comes down to teams never knowing when they'll have another chance at a top-five pick. Now is the time to draft a young quarterback.
Without further ado, the quarterback crazy mock draft.
1. Jacksonville: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
Don't overthink it. The Jaguars are taking Lawrence.
2. N.Y. Jets: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Trading quarterback Sam Darnold to Carolina makes this all but inevitable.
3. San Francisco: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
San Francisco wants an NFL-ready quarterback. Jones might be among the most ready to step in right now should the injury bug bite Jimmy Garoppolo yet again.
4. Atlanta: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Lance needs to develop. Ryan, should he stay healthy, can provide that. The Falcons get their QB of the future.
5. Cincinnati: Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
The Bengals addressed the tackle position in free agency, but they still don't have a long-term solution. They could go with a pass-catcher, but Sewell is hard to pass on.
6. Miami: Ja'Marr Chase, WR, LSU
If the Bengals don't take Chase or Kyle Pitts, the Dolphins will.
7. Detroit: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
The Lions could consider Pitts, too, but a receiver seems more likely. This pick could also be trade bait for that fifth overall quarterback.
8. Carolina: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
A run of QBs at the top means a top-five talent drops. Carolina needs a tight end or a tackle, and if Pitts drops to them it's a no-brainer.
9. Denver: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
While the previous assumption was Denver needed to trade up for a top-five QB, that may no longer be the case since Carolina traded for Darnold. Detroit at No. 7 remains the biggest wild card between Denver and a QB.
10. Dallas: Patrick Surtain, CB, Alabama
The first defender of the draft falls all the way to No. 10.
11. N.Y. Giants: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
Signing Kenny Golladay filled a big need. Look for the Giants to address either the offensive line or cornerback.
12. Philadelphia: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
The Eagles would be happy if any of the top three receivers drop to them.
13. L.A. Chargers: Alijah Vera-Tucker, OG, USC
The Chargers need help on the offensive line. Vera-Tucker solves one problem for them.
14. Minnesota: Kwity Paye, Edge, Michigan
The Vikings need to bolster their defense and, especially, need help at edge rusher.
15. New England: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Perhaps New England tries to trade up for a quarterback. If not, taking the No. 1 inside linebacker is a smart move.
16. Arizona: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
With Patrick Peterson and Dre Kirkpatrick gone, the Cardinals have a significant hole to fill at cornerback.
17. Las Vegas: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
The Raiders have multiple routes they could go. They can't go wrong taking a tackle, but it's also possible they could find one in later rounds.
18. Miami: Azeez Ojulari, Edge, Georgia
Predicting the order of the top edge rushers is proving more difficult than predicting the top quarterbacks.
19. Washington: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
Owusu-Koramoah could go higher. If he falls, Washington would be wise to scoop him up. Its other two needs at tackle and receiver will be available in the second round.
20. BEARS: Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
A tackle is the most likely scenario for the Bears. With several tackles already off the board, Jenkins is a solid pick.
21. Indianapolis: Jayson Oweh, Edge, Penn State
Finding a replacement for pass rusher Justin Houston is a must for the Colts. They could also go with a tackle.
22. Tennessee: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
The Titans need to find someone to pair with star receiver A.J. Brown.
23. N.Y. Jets: Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern
Given that there are several teams immediately ahead of the Jets that could select a cornerback, this scenario would make the front office happy.
24. Pittsburgh: Landon Dickerson, OG/C, Alabama
The Steelers aren't in a position to find a quarterback, so Plan B could be to shore up the offensive line.
25. Jacksonville: Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
Jacksonville filled a lot of needs in free agency, so take the best available player.
26. Cleveland: Jaelan Phillips, Edge, Miami
Phillips could go higher, but it depends if teams are scared by his injury history. The Browns need to find someone to put opposite Myles Garrett.
27. Baltimore: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
If the Ravens don't go for a receiver, Collins is solid.
28. New Orleans: Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
Back surgery has dropped Farley down many draft boards. The Saints could get a steal if he's available this late.
29. Green Bay: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
Maybe this will be the year the Packers find a receiver to help Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams. That's what everyone said last year, too.
30. Buffalo: Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami
A deep Bills team has one glaring need: edge rusher.
31. Kansas City: Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas
The Chiefs address the long-term health of their offensive line ... and the long-term health of Patrick Mahomes.
32. Tampa Bay: Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss
Moore can play the slot and could blossom into a star should Bucs receiver Chris Godwin depart after 2021.