This article is part of our NFL Draft series.
The NFL Draft is one week from Thursday, and this will be my second to last guess on the result of the first round.
There are two projected trades:
-ATL trades No. 16, No. 78, and 2021 second-round pick to CAR for No. 7
-IND trades No. 34 and No. 44 to NE for No. 23 and No. 87
1. Cincinnati – Joe Burrow, QB, LSU (6-3, 221)
Perhaps the Dolphins offer the bounty necessary to pry this pick away from the Bengals. I wouldn't if I were them, and the Bengals have reason to be stingy.
2. Washington – Chase Young, DE, Ohio State (6-5, 264)
Washington has plenty of needs and few picks, but Young is the rare sort of talent who could convince them to ignore trade offers for this selection.
3. Detroit – Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State (6-1, 205)
It seems like the Lions really want to trade down, which is odd given the unique opportunity provided to them by Okudah. These guys are good at screwing up – maybe they should just accept the layup pick instead of trying to get cute.
4. Giants – Isaiah Simmons, OLB, Clemson (6-4, 238)
Nickel cornerbacks were shunned in free agency, even with the NFL shifting to a three-wide consensus. Unless a rover trend is on the horizon, that doesn't make much sense to me. If there is a rover trend on the horizon, Simmons is the prototype.
5. Miami – Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon (6-6, 236)
It's typical and understandable to express ridicule for any team that might take Herbert over Tua Tagovailoa, but Herbert has a lot going for him and no concerning surgeries against him. The Miami Herald's Armando Salguero has reported for months that the Dolphins have a lot of Herbert advocates in the building, so either he's getting worked or there's something to his sources.
6. Chargers - Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama (6-0, 217)
Tagovailoa is a compelling prospect in a lot of ways, but also one with many objective risks. If the hip doesn't scare you enough, consider how much better Herbert's stats might look if he had Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, Jaylen Waddle, and DeVonta Smith to throw to instead of Dillon Mitchell, Johnny Johnson, and Jaylon Redd.
7. Atlanta (from CAR) – C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida (6-1, 204)
Either the Falcons have an infiltration problem or they're taking the NFL press for a ride by deliberately leaking false intentions to trade up for Henderson. Given how badly the team is managed, I'd bet on the former. If they want Henderson, they probably need to trade to this pick to be safe.
8. Arizona – Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa (6-5, 320)
Wirfs could and probably should go higher than this, but if Atlanta wants Henderson and if the quarterbacks still go as expected, it's hard to see the tackle run occurring earlier than this. Arizona would be happy to have pretty much any of them.
9. Jacksonville - Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn (6-5, 326)
You could argue that Jacksonville would be better off with an offensive tackle at this selection, but most of the reporting implies it would be an upset if they passed on Brown.
10. Cleveland – Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia (6-5, 315)
Assuming the Odell Beckham trade rumors are false (you better hope so, Browns fans!), then an offensive tackle pick here is the obvious answer.
11. Jets – Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama (6-0, 193)
12. Las Vegas – CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma (6-2, 198)
If the Raiders plan to take a quarterback with their other first-round selection, then they should probably take a top receiver with this one.
13. San Francisco (from IND) - Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina (6-5, 324)
If you subtract DeForest Buckner from your defense then you better have an aggressive replacement plan.
14. Tampa Bay – Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville (6-7, 364)
I'm still suspicious of Becton due to his outrageously high weight, but he's definitely a mean player with remarkable athleticism. For Tampa Bay he might fit better than Jedrick Wills, who is more of a finesse player than the mauler the Buccaneers might covet at right tackle.
15. Denver – Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama (5-11, 188)
Even if he's just a decoy, Ruggs' speed would pose a valuable deterrent against double teaming Courtland Sutton.
16. Carolina (from ATL) - K'lavon Chaisson, DE/OLB, LSU (6-3, 254)
I don't really see it with Chaisson, but he is very young and it seems likely that he'll go off the board in this range.
17. Dallas – Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU (6-0, 197)
As long as Jerry Jones doesn't have a weird aversion to LSU corners after Morris Claiborne, it might be difficult to pass on Fulton here.
18. Miami (from PIT) – Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama (6-4, 312)
This is much lower than where Wills is generally projected, but I don't see how these offensive tackles are all supposed to fit in the top 12 if C.J. Henderson and the defensive tackles are also in there. Anyway, Wills would be an easy call for the Dolphins at this point, but I also suspect he's the best bet to fall among the top tackles given his uncommonly small frame.
19. Las Vegas (from CHI) – Jordan Love, QB, Utah State (6-4, 224)
This isn't really a compelling match for the Raiders – it's just one of those now or never kind of things. They're basically at the point where they need to take a quarterback for the sake of taking a quarterback. Unless they have Bill O'Brien's phone number...
20. Jacksonville (from LAR) – Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State (6-5, 266)
Gross-Matos is more interesting to me than Chaisson, but he might go second between the two due to less perceived scheme versatility.
21. Philadelphia – Patrick Queen, LB, LSU (6-0, 229)
Smart analysts I trust say Queen is the better linebacker between himself and Oklahoma's Kenneth Murray, and I fully defer to them. Philadelphia is light at the position and short on needs otherwise.
22. Minnesota Vikings (from BUF) – Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah (6-0, 193)
The Vikings need a lot of help at cornerback and a little help at wide receiver. They could also use a defensive tackle or defensive end, but the first two positions seem more likely to provide valid first-round options.
23. Indianapolis (from NE) – Jalen Hurts, QB, Alabama (6-1, 223)
Maybe Hurts doesn't go this early, but whoever takes him might want to trade into the first round so they can secure the fifth-year option.
24. New Orleans – Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State (6-0, 205)
As much as I don't really understand the Aiyuk hype, plugged-in NFL media are all but declaring him a first-round pick in recent days.
25. Minnesota - Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU (5-11, 206)
There's a non-zero chance the Vikings select two corners in the first round, but Reagor is my favorite receiver on the board.
26. Miami (from HOU) - Justin Madubuike, DT, Texas A&M (6-3, 293)
Madubuike might have been received as the next Ty Warren if it were 10 years ago, and Miami's ostensibly Belichickian defense could use a player like him.
27. Seattle - Austin Jackson, OT, USC (6-5, 322)
Last year's L.J. Collier pick aside, the Seahawks tend to prefer SPARQ standouts. Even at a dense build, they don't come much more athletic than Jackson.
28. Baltimore – Cesar Ruiz, C/G, Michigan (6-3, 307)
Reagor would be the perfect pick here for Baltimore, but an interior offensive lineman like Ruiz would be just as welcome.
29. Tennessee – Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU (5-10, 191)
The Titans seemingly need to add at least one solid corner prospect in this draft, and the first round would be a good time to do it. Whether they prefer someone like Gladney or Auburn's Noah Igbinoghene might depend on whether they want polish (Gladney) or long-term potential (Igbinoghene).
30. Green Bay – Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU (6-1, 203)
It doesn't seem like Allen Lazard is best suited to the slot, yet at the moment he's probably at the top of Green Bay's depth chart at the position. Jefferson would be an overall upgrade and also one specifically suited to the slot.
31. San Francisco – Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State (6-6, 311)
Joe Staley will turn 36 in August. Cleveland probably compares best to Kyle Long in terms of traits, but in zone-emphasis blocking schemes he should be able to pass at tackle.
32. Kansas City – Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin (5-10, 226)
If a delayed season occurs in colder weather, a team with the Chiefs' scoring standards would be glad to have an unstoppable ground force to lean on.