NCAA Football: UL Monroe at Alabama
USATSI

There are reasons linking multiple prospects with a single team: positional need, decision-maker tendencies, expiring contracts, etc. It is important to provide that context, and it could vary week-to-week. In this week's thought exercise, we explore some of the decisions teams have to make on expiring contracts. 

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. Miami's selection at No. 20 overall was forfeited.

Without further ado, let's kick this off!

NFL Mock Draft
Round 1
Round 1 - Pick 1
Ohio State • Jr • 6'3" / 218 lbs
Projected Team
Houston
PROSPECT RNK
3rd
POSITION RNK
1st
Houston can ill-afford to pass on the opportunity to select a potential franchise quarterback. If the Texans hit on Stroud, it could drastically set forth their rebuild.
Round 1 - Pick 2
Alabama • Jr • 6'0" / 194 lbs
Projected Team
Washington
PROSPECT RNK
4th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Strong leadership has been lacking at times in Washington, but Young never falls short in that aspect. He does not have prototypical size for the position, but he does have an elite feel for the game. The NFL has changed and there is a place for a player like Young to succeed, even if there is an unfair burden of proof.
Round 1 - Pick 3
Kentucky • Sr • 6'3" / 232 lbs
Projected Team
Seattle
PROSPECT RNK
5th
POSITION RNK
3rd
Honestly, I understand why some have concerns about Levis' transition to the NFL. There are aspects of his game that need to improve, and he is already one of the older prospects at quarterback. In fairness to him, he is in the middle of his second season starting, and growth comes with experience. His exposure to pro-style offenses over the past two years is a feather in his cap, though.
Round 1 - Pick 4
Alabama • Jr • 6'4" / 243 lbs
Projected Team
Chicago
PROSPECT RNK
1st
POSITION RNK
1st
Chicago would probably consider a quarterback if the right one were available. As it stands, the Bears have to take the best player available, and that would appear to be the pass rusher from Alabama. He has a good frame with a quick twitch nature and strength. It is important to identify building blocks on the roster and just build from there.
Round 1 - Pick 5
Georgia • Jr • 6'3" / 300 lbs
Projected Team
Carolina
PROSPECT RNK
6th
POSITION RNK
1st
Matt Rhule's tenure began with the selection of a defensive tackle (Derrick Brown) in the first round so perhaps this a bad omen for the future Panthers head coach. However, it is a similar concept to Chicago: take the best player available and figure the rest out later. Quality defensive tackles are difficult to come by, so perhaps a team would be willing to trade up for the talented interior defender.
Round 1 - Pick 6
Ohio State • Jr • 6'6" / 310 lbs
Projected Team
Pittsburgh
PROSPECT RNK
23rd
POSITION RNK
3rd
The Ohio State program has been good to Pittsburgh with Cam Heyward and Ryan Shazier prior to his on-field accident. Johnson has experience playing guard and now tackle. The Steelers need to do everything in their power to protect Najee Harris and Kenny Pickett.
Round 1 - Pick 7
Texas A&M • Jr • 6'3" / 195 lbs
Projected Team
Detroit
PROSPECT RNK
9th
POSITION RNK
1st
Detroit could continue adding in the trenches, but it is relatively solid on both sides of the ball. Johnson is one of the best players available when that qualifier is taken out of the equation. He is a physical, versatile player who should fit in to Dan Campbell's locker room well.
Round 1 - Pick 8
Clemson • Jr • 6'5" / 275 lbs
Projected Team
Atlanta
PROSPECT RNK
2nd
POSITION RNK
2nd
Atlanta needs to find those foundational pieces. Tight end Kyle Pitts and wide receiver Drake London would seem to be two of those on the offensive side of the ball. Murphy is a special talent. His combination of size and speed would be rare had it not been for the lasting impressions made by Travon Walker and Jordan Davis just last year.
Round 1 - Pick 9
Penn State • Soph • 6'6" / 308 lbs
Projected Team
N.Y. Jets
PROSPECT RNK
POSITION RNK
Fashanu is one of the biggest risers considering I knew nothing about him roughly a month ago. He is balanced in pass protection and shows the athleticism and core strength necessary to handle some of the league's most challenging pass rushers. New York has some older offensive tackles on the roster right now, in addition to a situation with Mekhi Becton that is unsettled at best. Fashanu hopefully brings a bit of stability to that unit.
Round 1 - Pick 10
Clemson • Soph • 6'5" / 305 lbs
Projected Team
New England
PROSPECT RNK
15th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Bill Belichick has always valued strength and versatility on defense. Bresee brings that to the table without sacrificing any of the athleticism. Earlier, I mentioned the rising need for impactful interior defenders, and the Clemson product would upgrade that side of the ball from Day 1.
Round 1 - Pick 11
Clemson • Jr • 6'3" / 240 lbs
Projected Team
Las Vegas
PROSPECT RNK
7th
POSITION RNK
1st
Las Vegas has as much talent as anyone on the edge with Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones, but it needs more consistency up the middle. Simpson is a versatile talent who can shoot gaps and drop into coverage while making plays sideline to sideline.
Round 1 - Pick 12
Georgia • Soph • 6'2" / 210 lbs
Projected Team
Arizona
PROSPECT RNK
8th
POSITION RNK
1st
Arizona has hardly invested in the cornerback position. The Cardinals have lacked a potential lockdown cornerback like Ringo. If they brought him in and he hits, then it would offer a different look to that defense than what has been seen in recent years.
Round 1 - Pick 13
TCU • Jr • 6'4" / 215 lbs
Projected Team
Jacksonville
PROSPECT RNK
46th
POSITION RNK
6th
Jacksonville could benefit from having size in the wide receiver room. The Zay Jones and Christian Kirk contracts were not insignificant investments, so having flexibility to move on from one or both over the coming years is important. Truthfully, the consistency that many have wanted to see from Johnston has simply not been there, but his potential was put on full display last weekend against Kansas, as he registered 14 receptions for 206 yards and one touchdown. Despite playing in all five games, more than half of his production came in that one game.
Round 1 - Pick 14
Ohio State • Jr • 6'1" / 200 lbs
Projected Team
Houston
PROSPECT RNK
11th
POSITION RNK
2nd
After selecting Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud at the top of the draft, Houston takes his teammate with the pick acquired in the Deshaun Watson trade. Smith-Njigba should provide Stroud with some familiarity in his new home.
Round 1 - Pick 15
Oregon • Soph • 6'2" / 201 lbs
Projected Team
N.Y. Giants
PROSPECT RNK
POSITION RNK
The Giants need to upgrade the cornerback position after moving on from James Bradberry this offseason. It is actually quite remarkable what Brian Daboll has been able to do with that roster, specifically when looking at the wide receiver and cornerback positions.
Round 1 - Pick 16
Northwestern • Jr • 6'4" / 315 lbs
Projected Team
Philadelphia
PROSPECT RNK
13th
POSITION RNK
1st
Offensive line does not seem like an immediate need for this franchise, but Skoronski is the best player on the board and general manager Howie Roseman does not take depth for granted. The Northwestern product has five-positional flexibility, and that brings immense value for a budding contender like Philadelphia. The Eagles draft critical positions before it becomes a problem.
Round 1 - Pick 17
Notre Dame • Jr • 6'4" / 265 lbs
Projected Team
Tennessee
PROSPECT RNK
12th
POSITION RNK
1st
Could Tennessee be a dark horse landing spot for a quarterback like Anthony Richardson? There is a growing belief that the team rides with Malik Willis but the presence of a third-round selection is often not a deterrent when considering the selection of a potential franchise quarterback.
Round 1 - Pick 18
LSU • Jr • 6'0" / 205 lbs
Projected Team
Indianapolis
PROSPECT RNK
10th
POSITION RNK
1st
Indianapolis has size at the wide receiver position, but the speed options have not worked out. The 2022 campaign has not exactly been a banner year for Boutte, but that could have something to do with the emotional roller coaster and instability that he has been through early in his career.
Round 1 - Pick 19
Alabama • Jr • 6'0" / 193 lbs
Projected Team
Seattle
PROSPECT RNK
37th
POSITION RNK
7th
The term five-tool player is often used for a baseball player capable of doing everything. Branch is a five-tool football player. He showcases great awareness in addition to an ability to play down in run support or back in coverage.
Round 1 - Pick 21
North Carolina • Jr • 5'10" / 175 lbs
Projected Team
Cincinnati
PROSPECT RNK
29th
POSITION RNK
3rd
Cincinnati is a notoriously cheap franchise so, while it may be able to create cash on hand for Joe Burrow, it is not unreasonable to think it explores cost-cutting measures in other places. The team would save roughly $9 million if Tyler Boyd is not on the roster next season. His play does not validate such a move, but that is the reality of the NFL.
Round 1 - Pick 22
Florida • Soph • 6'4" / 232 lbs
Projected Team
Detroit
PROSPECT RNK
POSITION RNK
The expectations cast upon Richardson to open the year were unfair. Despite his immense talent, he is still a young player learning to play the position at this level. A wide array of outcomes have been played out on the field this year, but there is reason to believe he will continue to show growth. If he did not have top-10 assurance, would he go back to school in hopes of becoming the No. 1 overall selection the following year?
Round 1 - Pick 23
Oregon • Soph • 6'2" / 253 lbs
Projected Team
Minnesota
PROSPECT RNK
17th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Minnesota just needs to get younger at the linebacker position. Jordan Hicks turns 32 years old on Friday (Happy birthday, Jordan!) and Eric Kendricks will be 31 in February. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah may not value the position at this spot, but it is a need on the roster.
Round 1 - Pick 24
Georgia • Soph • 6'4" / 310 lbs
Projected Team
L.A. Chargers
PROSPECT RNK
POSITION RNK
Jones is a massive human being who should provide some stability on the right side of that Los Angeles offensive line. The Chargers have made sound decisions investing in critical positions like edge rusher, offensive line and cornerback. There is no reason to think that changes.
Round 1 - Pick 25
Ohio State • Sr • 6'4" / 255 lbs
Projected Team
Dallas
PROSPECT RNK
POSITION RNK
Dallas could allow the salary cap to reset a bit over the next few years by moving on from tight end Dalton Schultz and running back Ezekiel Elliott. Applying a second franchise tag or re-signing Schultz may be cost-prohibitive because of expectations based on what they paid him this season. Stover has been a welcomed surprise with his play for the Buckeyes.
Round 1 - Pick 26
Texas • Jr • 6'0" / 220 lbs
Projected Team
Miami
PROSPECT RNK
16th
POSITION RNK
1st
Robinson is a balanced running back who can upgrade the roster with his running style, pass-catching capabilities and pass protection. The roster is flush with offensive skill talent, and a talent like Robinson will only add more strain on the opposing defense.
Round 1 - Pick 27
USC • Jr • 6'0" / 175 lbs
Projected Team
Green Bay
PROSPECT RNK
38th
POSITION RNK
4th
I spent all offseason warning Green Bay about the dangers of assuming Aaron Rodgers was going to be able to cover up all of the inexperience and potentially lack of talent at the wide receiver. To an extent, fans are seeing that play out on the field. Davante Adams and Rodgers spent years working on chemistry and perfecting that back shoulder throw. It could not be replicated by rookies in short order.
Round 1 - Pick 28
Maryland • Sr • 6'6" / 320 lbs
Projected Team
Baltimore
PROSPECT RNK
POSITION RNK
Without over-analyzing the future of Ronnie Stanley, it is reasonable to think Baltimore could be looking for a sustainable right tackle option. The Ravens need not look further than up the street to the local Terrapins and the athletic left tackle.
Round 1 - Pick 29
Kansas State • Jr • 6'4" / 255 lbs
Projected Team
Tampa Bay
PROSPECT RNK
21st
POSITION RNK
3rd
The idea is that Anudike-Uzomah gives the franchise depth in the present and an eventual compliment to Joe Tryon-Shoyinka. Tampa Bay went all in on the current vision of the roster, but it is time to start thinking about long-term replacements.
Round 1 - Pick 30
BYU • Jr • 6'8" / 305 lbs
Projected Team
Kansas City
PROSPECT RNK
36th
POSITION RNK
4th
Kansas City needs a right tackle, and it is not irresponsible to question whether or not it may need a new left tackle next season as well. Orlando Brown Jr. and the team were clearly not close on a long-term contract extension. Unless his play drastically improves, it is hard to fathom the team being more comfortable meeting his demands a year later.
Round 1 - Pick 31
Alabama • Jr • 5'11" / 200 lbs
Projected Team
Philadelphia
PROSPECT RNK
39th
POSITION RNK
2nd
Truthfully, I am not sure that this is a move general manager Howie Roseman makes, but I love the player. Imagine Gibbs in an offense that gets defenses moving sideline to sideline. He is a nightmare matchup for opposing defenses because of how proficient he is as a pass-catcher. Miles Sanders is in the last year of his rookie deal and could be looking for a big pay day.
Round 1- Pick 32
Florida • Jr • 6'5" / 347 lbs
Projected Team
Buffalo
PROSPECT RNK
POSITION RNK
Buffalo looks for long-term stability along the offensive line with the selection of Torrence, who has fared well being re-united with position coach Rob Sale in Gainesville.