John McClain: Mock draft 4.0: Texans use first-round picks on QB Bryce Young, WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba

Sat., Jan. 1, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba (11) races to the end zone for a touchdown during the second quarter of the 108th Rose Bowl Game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Utah Utes at the Rose Bowl. Rose Bowl Game Ohio State Buckeyes Against Utah Utes

John McClain: Mock draft 4.0: Texans use first-round picks on QB Bryce Young, WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba

John McClain does his fourth of seven mock drafts leading up to the first round on April 27:

1.  Panthers: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

It’s not a coincidence the Panthers traded up right after Stroud’s outstanding performance at the combine.

2.  Texans: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

DeMeco Ryans gets the quarterback he wants, and Young will be a day-one starter.

3.  Cardinals: Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama

If the Cardinals don’t trade this pick to a team that needs a quarterback, Anderson will be a cornerstone of their defense.

4.  Colts: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

New coach Shane Steichen gets a raw prospect he can develop. Athletically, Richardson is more gifted than any player at his position.

5.  Seahawks: Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech

Pete Carroll passes up Jalen Carter for Wilson, a dependable pass rusher the Seahawks can plug in and let play.

6.  Lions: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia

Dan Campbell bolsters a defense with the troubled tackle who might be the best prospect in the draft.

7.  Raiders: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

After signing Jimmy Garoppolo and Brian Hoyer, both former Patriots, Josh McDaniels goes for defense over a quarterback.

8.  Falcons: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

The Falcons say Desmond Ridder is their starter, but Levis is too talented for Arthur Smith to pass up.

9.  Bears: Paris Johnson, OT, Ohio State

Matt Eberflus needs help in his offensive and defensive lines and makes a decision to start with an offensive tackle.

10. Eagles: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

The Longhorn is one of the best and safest prospects available. He’ll replace leading rusher Miles Sanders.

11. Titans: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia

Mike Vrabel needs a wide receiver desperately, but he goes for a left tackle to replace Taylor Lewan.

12. Texans: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

Nick Caserio gives DeMeco Ryans a big-play wide receiver to help Bryce Young’s transition into the NFL.

13. Jets: Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern

Aaron Rodgers is on his way to New Jersey, and the Jets provide him with an offensive lineman who’ll help protect him.

14. Patriots: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

Bill Belichick has a lot of needs on both sides of the ball, but he thought Gonzalez would have been long gone before this pick.

15. Packers: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

A tight end who can make catches all over the field can be a quarterback’s best friend. Jordan Love needs lots of friends.

16. Commanders: Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee

Ron Rivera considers drafting quarterback Hendon Hooker but decides on a dependable offensive tackle to bolster his line.

17. Steelers: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

Porter is such a natural pick for the Steelers that Mike Tomlin can’t pass him up. He’ll be an immediate contributor.

18. Lions: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland

Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn gets another prospect on his side of the ball to improve the area where the team needs it the most.

19. Buccaneers: Dewand Jones, OT, Ohio State

Tom Brady’s retirement and salary cap losses have hurt the Bucs, and the Jones pick fills a glaring need.

20. Seahawks: Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee

Geno Smith is coming off his best season, but he’s 32 in October, and Pete Carroll can give Hooker time to watch and learn.

21. Chargers: Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah

Justin Herbert should get a new contract, and the Chargers make him happy with a talented tight end prospect.

22. Ravens: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU

Just in case Lamar Jackson returns to the Ravens, John Harbaugh rewards him with a big, fast receiver who can catch all over the field.

23. Vikings: Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Pittsburgh

The Vikings believe they need to improve their defense if they’re going to successfully defend their NFC North title.

24. Jaguars: Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma

In his second season, Doug Pederson needs an offensive tackle who can pay immediate dividends protecting Trevor Lawrence.

   25. Giants: Jordan Addison, WR, USC

After making the playoffs and signing Daniel Jones to a new contract, Brian Daboll gives him a reliable threat at wide receiver.

   26. Cowboys: Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa

Mike McCarthy has needs at other positions, but he knows a defense can’t have too many pass rushers who can pressure the quarterback.

   27. Bills: Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa

Campbell is an active linebacker who was a tackling machine in college and should fill the same role for the Bills.

   28. Bengals: Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson

The Bengals need an offensive tackle and a tight end, but they’re surprised Murphy is still on the board.

   29. Saints: Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia

With his defensive background, Dennis Allen knows a team never has enough edge rushers to apply pressure on the quarterback.

   30. Eagles: Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh

Age and free agent losses make this a smart pick. Kancey is drawing unfair comparisons to Aaron Donald.

   31. Chiefs: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College

Andy Reid gives Patrick Mahomes another talented deep threat who can be a nightmare for defensive backs.

(John McClain writes four columns a week for He can be heard Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday on Sports Radio 610 and Thursday on Texans Radio. He does three weekly Houtopia podcasts for 610. He also can be read three times a week on

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