In our latest mock draft, the first quarterback doesn't go off the board until pick No. 11. Of the 10 selections that came before, seven were on the defensive side of the ball, and the other three along the offensive line, including a center.
Think about that for a moment -- a center is taken before the first quarterback hears his name called. Is that likely? Probably not; since 2010, eight centers have been taken in Round 1, none higher than 18th (Garrett Bradbury in 2019, Ryan Kelly in 2016, Maurkice Pouncey in 2010). But the bigger takeaway is one we've been talking about for weeks: This is a decidedly weak quarterback class. We haven't had Sam Howell and Spencer Rattler among the first 32 picks since early in the college football season, and it's not unreasonable to think that only one (and maybe two, at most) is worthy of a first-round grade.
And that brings us to our next point: How many teams will end up overdrafting a quarterback because demand outstrips supply? This could end up being one of the most intriguing storylines as we ramp up the predraft process.
Alright, let's get to all 32 picks.
One other thing, and this is important: the draft order below was determined using SportsLine's Super Bowl odds but in reverse order. We know folks are going to be very angry about why we have their team picking so high but it's not our fault. These are your team's current odds of winning a Lombardi Trophy.
Round 1 - Pick 1
Oregon • Soph • 6'5" / 258 lbs
Thibodeaux has battled an ankle injury this season but did log his second sack of 2021 against Cal on Friday night. His combination of power and twitchiness makes him a favorite to be the first player drafted.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Notre Dame • Jr • 6'4" / 219 lbs
Detroit's secondary has been suspect, to put it kindly, and while injuries can be blamed in part, Hamilton would immediately upgrade the unit, even one at full health. For us, he's a 6-4, 220-pound version of Ed Reed.
Round 1 - Pick 3
Michigan • Sr • 6'6" / 265 lbs
The Texans have been a top 10 unit vs. the pass, according to Football Outsiders, but have been among the worst defenses against the run. And while QB makes some sense, this QB class has a lot of questions. Instead, the team beefs up the D-line with Hutchinson, who can be just about unstoppable at times -- and he'd be the latest Wolverine edge rusher to be an early-round draft pick.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Evan Neal OL
Alabama • Jr • 6'7" / 350 lbs
This feels inevitable, even in mid-October. Neal is an athletic marvel who has excelled at several O-line positions for the Crimson Tide. The Jets have to make protecting Zach Wilson a priority because he has looked shell-shocked at times early in his NFL career.
Round 1 - Pick 5
From Miami Dolphins
Round 1 - Pick 7
Clemson • Jr • 6'0" / 200 lbs
The Eagles are on track for three (!) first-round picks, which means there's a great opportunity to address their defense. First up: cornerback. Booth has all the athleticism and tools to be special, and despite missing Friday's game against Syracuse with a hamstring injury, he has balled out early in Clemson's season.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Iowa • Jr • 6'3" / 290 lbs
Linderbaum is one of the best offensive linemen in the country, and while ninth overall might seem high for a center, Trey Hopkins has struggled this year for Cincy, and if the plan is to keep Joe Burrow upright, you can't draft guys tasked with protecting him high enough.
From Chicago Bears
Round 1 - Pick 10
Kenyon Green OL
Texas A&M • Jr • 6'4" / 325 lbs
The Giants O-line has suffered through injuries this season and Green, who played left guard last season and has played every offensive position during his career, brings both nastiness and versatility to New York.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Matt Corral QB
Ole Miss • Jr • 6'2" / 205 lbs
Ryan Fitzpatrick is hurt and Taylor Heinicke has struggled with consistency. Corral, meanwhile, has been spectacular this season for Ole Miss -- he has the tools to be a Lamar Jackson/Trey Lance/Josh Allen-type quarterback but he's still incredibly raw.
Round 1 - Pick 12
Kaiir Elam CB
Florida • Jr • 6'2" / 196 lbs
Depth is a concern on both the offensive line and in the secondary for Pittsburgh, but with three offensive linemen already off the board, the target is cornerback. Elam has the size (6-2, 190) and athleticism to be one of the best draft-eligible corners in '21.
From Indianapolis Colts
Round 1 - Pick 13
Purdue • Jr • 6'4" / 275 lbs
Karlaftis adds another dimension to the defensive line. Injuries and the pandemic saw him play limited snaps in '20 but Karlaftis was nearly impossible to stop in '19 when he recorded 17 TFLs and had 7.5 sacks.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Washington • Jr • 6'7" / 310 lbs
The Patriots' O-line has been inconsistent in both run and pass blocking this season, and Kirkland's athleticism makes him an interesting middle-of-the-first-round option for teams looking to improve up front.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Georgia • Sr • 6'0" / 190 lbs
Casey Hayward, the team's best corner, will be a free agent in the spring while former first-rounder Damon Arnette hasn't played up to his draft status. Kendrick was in the conversation as a first-round pick in the 2021 draft before returning to Clemson and then entering the transfer portal. He's now at Georgia and a strong season will likely make him one of the first defensive backs selected next spring.
Round 1 - Pick 16
From Seattle Seahawks
Round 1 - Pick 17
Washington • Soph • 5'11" / 195 lbs
Even though McDuffie plays cornerback, we get Tyrann Mathieu vibes when we watch him. We love him as a slot corner who serves as an enforcer in run support and locks down short and intermediate routes, something he does regularly for the Huskies.
Round 1 - Pick 18
Chris Olave WR
Ohio State • Sr • 6'1" / 188 lbs
There are several teams in the market for QBs, but the dearth of talent at the top of the board means other needs could be addressed first. That's the case here for the Broncos, where Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, Daesean Hamilton and Diontae Spencer are all in the final year of their contracts.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Texas A&M • Jr • 6'5" / 255 lbs
Wydermyer was one of Kellen Mond's favorite targets in 2020 for a reason: he's reliable and almost always open. In Minnesota, only Irv Smith Jr. is under contract after the season (and his rookie deal expires in March 2023).
Round 1 - Pick 21
Nevada • Jr • 6'4" / 215 lbs
Carson Strong is our QB1 but with one pretty big asterisk: His draft status is all going to come down to the medicals on a knee injury he suffered in high school, which is why we have Matt Corral going ahead of him in this mock draft. That said, Strong is the most consistent QB in this draft class and if healthy, he could eventually be the first passer off the board. And it stands to reason that Sean Payton would love to insert Strong into and offense that has been up and down without Drew Brees this season.
Round 1 - Pick 22
Round 1 - Pick 23
Round 1 - Pick 24
Ohio State • Jr • 6'0" / 192 lbs
The defense really has been a pleasant surprise -- in part because Dallas stocked up on that side of the ball in the '21 draft -- which is why the team targets wide receiver here (also worth noting: Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson could be free agents in the spring).
Round 1 - Pick 25
Round 1 - Pick 27
Devin Lloyd LB
Utah • Jr • 6'3" / 235 lbs
The Packers are below replacement level against both the run and pass, and could stand to upgrade the middle of the defense. Lloyd is a twitchy, sideline-to-sideline player who fits the mold of off-ball linebackers we've seen coming into the league the last 7-8 years.
Round 1 - Pick 28
From Los Angeles Rams
Round 1 - Pick 29
Justyn Ross WR
Clemson • Jr • 6'4" / 205 lbs
Ross missed the 2020 season because of a neck injury but he was on track to be a first-round pick. He's showed glimpses this season of what makes him special -- consistently winning at the top of the route, reliable hands, and his ability to high-point throws over defenders helpless to do much about it.
Round 1 - Pick 30
South Carolina • Sr • 6'4" / 260 lbs
The Chiefs' defense has been so bad that not even Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes can consistently overcome it. So, naturally, beefing up the "D" is a priority here. Enagbare is a twitched-up athlete who will only get better with more reps and added muscle.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Northwestern • Soph • 6'1" / 192 lbs
Joseph covers a lot of ground in the middle of the field and while he may not offer much in run support near the line of scrimmage, he won't need to in Tampa Bay, where the secondary (in part because of injuries) could use some playmakers.
Round 1 - Pick 32
Kentucky • Sr • 6'5" / 345 lbs
Darian Kinnard is a mauler who has been inconsistent at times this season but has all the tools to be a first-round talent. The Bills are in the enviable position of not having any glaring holes, so protecting Josh Allen seems like a reasonable fallback plan.