Each week, NFL mock drafts will bring a fresh look to the selection process. There will be movement in the draft order as records change and new players emerge given there is more time to evaluate prospects on the current season. In today's thought exercise, I explore how blue-chip defensive talents fit into the thinking of Super Bowl longshots.
The draft order below was determined using SportsLine's Super Bowl odds, but in reverse order. These are your team's betting odds of winning a Lombardi Trophy this season.
Without further ado, let's kick this off!
Round 1 - Pick 1
C.J. Stroud QB
Ohio State • Jr • 6'3" / 218 lbs
By no means do I think Stroud has the No. 1 overall selection locked up, but I do believe he is a strong contender. Atlanta may have hope for Desmond Ridder but realistically, it is not going to see enough to warrant bypassing a quarterback at No. 1 overall.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Will Anderson Jr. EDGE
Alabama • Jr • 6'4" / 243 lbs
Yes, the Jets have Carl Lawson and Jermaine Johnson II on the roster but neither has proven to be a dominant force that would prevent the team from taking another at the position. Anderson gives them a blue-chip player at a premier position on a rookie contract.
Round 1 - Pick 3
Bryce Young QB
Alabama • Jr • 6'0" / 194 lbs
The door is certainly not closed on Davis Mills' future in Houston but it would be difficult to persuade them from using the opportunity to select a quarterback. Young is undersized but has displayed tremendous leadership for the Crimson Tide.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Will Levis QB
Kentucky • Sr • 6'3" / 232 lbs
Seahawks offensive coordinator Shane Waldron and Rams offensive coordinator Liam Coen spent three seasons on the same offensive coaching staff in Los Angeles. Coen spent a year as Kentucky's offensive coordinator. Knowing that Coen likes Levis, there is reason to believe he would have praise for the Wildcat when speaking to Waldron.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Jalen Carter DL
Georgia • Jr • 6'3" / 300 lbs
At the end of the day, Trevor Lawrence is going to serve as the barometer for whether or not this team is capable of achieving success long-term. He needs stability at this point in his career. However, the Jaguars could be onto something scary if Travon Walker and his former teammate live up to their potential along the same defensive front as Josh Allen.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Kelee Ringo CB
Georgia • Soph • 6'2" / 210 lbs
Detroit has invested heavily in its defensive line and offensive line but it is time for the commitment to match in the secondary. Ringo checks all the boxes as a height, weight, speed man coverage cornerback.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Northwestern • Jr • 6'4" / 315 lbs
Carolina may still not have a franchise quarterback on its roster but being desperate and reaching has not gotten them anymore. In this position, they need to take the best player available and that happens to be the offensive lineman from Northwestern.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Ohio State • Jr • 6'1" / 200 lbs
The Chicago wide receiver unit has been well-documented. They are not exactly chock full of talent or youth. By adding Smith-Njigba to the roster, it supports quarterback Justin Fields and removes the narrative that the franchise is not invested in his success.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Bryan Bresee DL
Clemson • Soph • 6'5" / 305 lbs
The hope is that New York has found a reliable, effective pass rusher in Kayvon Thibodeaux. If he hits and then they add an interior player with a similar ceiling, then the Giants' front line could quickly become formidable within the NFC East.
Round 1 - Pick 10
Round 1 - Pick 12
LSU • Jr • 6'0" / 205 lbs
New England has tried everything to fix its wide receiver problem: trades, free agent signings and even a first-round draft pick. Nothing has worked. There can be no fear going back to the well. Boutte could be the solution.
Round 1 - Pick 13
Texas • Jr • 6'0" / 220 lbs
Tennessee is probably not going to take a running back this high but it is clear how intertwined the run game is with the team's identity. Derrick Henry, 28, is soon to top 1,500 carries in his NFL career. If the Titans want to continue being known for the run game, they need someone that is capable of shouldering the load.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Myles Murphy EDGE
Clemson • Jr • 6'5" / 275 lbs
Arizona needs to upgrade its pass rush after losing Chandler Jones this off-season. Murphy has an uncommon combination of size and speed. The Cardinals may not be most equipped to use his skill set based on results of recent defensive draft picks but Murphy's talent is too grand to still be available.
From New Orleans Saints
Round 1 - Pick 16
Cam Smith CB
South Carolina • Jr • 6'0" / 188 lbs
Cornerback and linebacker are going to be popular positions of need for the Eagles. However, it would be naïve to overlook potential interest in the offensive and defensive lines. General manager Howie Roseman has always valued depth and having a contingency plan on the roster.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Ohio State • Jr • 6'6" / 310 lbs
Las Vegas has a few dominant edge rushers and a strong group of skill talent. They need to improve up the middle on defense and along the offensive line. Johnson addresses one of those shortcomings.
Round 1 - Pick 19
USC • Jr • 6'0" / 175 lbs
Addison has certainly made a splash in his young career with the Trojans. Injuries and a lack of development have limited what the team is able to accomplish through the air. They need someone to become a No. 1 type wide receiver. Some think Michael Pittman -- another USC product -- will reach that point but that remains to be seen.
From Cleveland Browns
Round 1 - Pick 20
From San Francisco 49ers
Round 1 - Pick 21
Noah Sewell LB
Oregon • Soph • 6'2" / 253 lbs
Mike McDaniel was accustomed to seeing Fred Warner on the other side of the ball in practice. It is not unreasonable to think he may want a player capable of impacting the game in a variety of ways at the position.
Round 1 - Pick 22
Felix Anudike-Uzomah EDGE
Kansas State • Jr • 6'4" / 255 lbs
Cincinnati struck gold with the signing of Trey Hendrickson but there is room for growth opposite him. Anudike-Uzomah is the type of hard worker that will fit right into the culture the Bengals have built on that side of the ball.
Round 1 - Pick 23
Josh Downs WR
North Carolina • Jr • 5'10" / 175 lbs
Justin Jefferson has established himself as potentially the best wide receiver in the NFL. Adam Thielen is realistically not going to play for the Vikings under the current structure of his contract beyond the 2023 season. Downs gives Jefferson a long-term running mate while potentially easing into the role as a rookie.
From Denver Broncos
Round 1 - Pick 24
Notre Dame • Jr • 6'4" / 265 lbs
Seattle has D.K. Metcalf and now Mayer to prop up its pass-catching unit in the future. Both of are big, physical options for new quarterback Will Levis. Mayer is not the most athletically dynamic but he is consistent and productive.
Round 1 - Pick 25
TCU • Jr • 6'4" / 215 lbs
I will have to mix up this selection for Baltimore in the coming weeks but it is easy to envision the match between team and player. Johnston gives that team size it desperately needs on the boundary. The TCU product's range will benefit Lamar Jackson.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Jahmyr Gibbs RB
Alabama • Jr • 5'11" / 200 lbs
Do I think Philadelphia would take a running back in the first round? No, but the conversation is as much about getting the right players into the first round as it is to the correct teams. Gibbs is explosive as a runner and impactful as a pass catcher.
Round 1 - Pick 27
Maryland • Jr • 6'0" / 190 lbs
Green Bay can continue yelling into the abyss that they will not draft a wide receiver in the first round but early season disappointment may have them re-considering such a stance. Christian Watson dropped a walk-in touchdown in the opener.
From Los Angeles Rams
Round 1 - Pick 28
Florida • Soph • 6'4" / 232 lbs
A week ago, Detroit was trending towards having to select Richardson with the first of two first-round picks if they wanted any shot at him. Early season projections are very fluid and that is the reason for the week-to-week discrepancy of Richardson's placement. More and more will be known of him with each start.
Round 1 - Pick 29
BYU • Jr • 6'8" / 305 lbs
First, it was Rashawn Slater. Then, it was Zion Johnson. Now? Freeland. Los Angeles is committed to building an impenetrable wall around Justin Herbert. Having three young offensive linemen that they can trust allows the Chargers to be more flexible with the other offensive line spots.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Round 1 - Pick 31
Eli Ricks CB
Alabama • Jr • 6'2" / 190 lbs
The future of Tampa Bay is uncertain considering Tom Brady's future. For that reason, it is difficult planning for the Buccaneers. As teams around the league look to build depth at cornerback, the team can not go wrong with Eli Ricks in this position.
Round 1 - Pick 32
Alabama • Sr • 6'1" / 206 lbs
Jordan Poyer is in the final year of his current deal while Micah Hyde has one year remaining. As the Bills continue building around Josh Allen and finding opportunities to create salary cap space, moving on from one or both of the starting safeties would be one way of accomplishing some of that relief.