Texas quarterback Casey Thompson is sacked by Texas Tech defensive lineman Tyree Wilson on Sept. 25, 2021, in Austin, Texas. Syndication Austin American Statesman
John McClain: Mock draft 7.0:
John McClain does his seventh and final mock draft leading up to the first round on Thursday:
1. Panthers: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
Despite Las Vegas oddsmakers saying Will Levis is closing in on becoming the top pick, it’s Young by a landslide.
2. Texans: Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech
Nick Caserio has his choice of four quarterbacks, but DeMeco Ryans talks him into one of the two-best edge rushers.
3. Cardinals: Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama
They should trade the pick and stockpile draft choices, but if they stay in this spot, they get the highest-rated edge rushers.
4. Colts: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
It’s Levis or C.J. Stroud. Word is they like Levis better, which means they’ll probably draft Stroud.
5. Seahawks: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
Geno Smith signed a three-year contract. They can afford to give Richardson plenty of time to watch and learn.
6. Lions: Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
Carter may be the most talented player in the draft, but his off-the-field issues concern a lot of teams.
7. Raiders: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
Jimmy Garoppolo is injury prone. Brian Hoyer is a stop-gap. They never thought Stroud would fall this far.
8. Falcons: Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
Maybe the best and safest prospect in the draft. He’ll improve the running and passing game and share playing time with Tyler Allgeier.
9. Bears: Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State
The Bears need help in the trenches, and he’s supposed to be the best prospect among the offensive linemen.
10. Eagles: Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa
With free agent departures and old age, the Eagles need an infusion of youth and talent in their defensive line.
11. Titans: Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern
A tough decision between Skoronski and Broderick Jones. Skoronski can play tackle or guard, and the Titans need help both places.
12. Texans: Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee
The fifth quarterback to come off the board is 25 and won’t be ready until November, but he’ll be given time to develop.
13. Packers: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
A choice between Smith-Njigba or tight end Dalton Kincaid. They give Jordan Love the highest-rated receiver.
14. Patriots: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
Bill Belichick was interested in Bijan Robinson, but when he’s not available, he switches to Witherspoon, the top-rated player at his position.
15. Jets: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
Some scouts have him as the No. 1 tackle prospect. He should become an immediate starter and help protect Aaron Rodgers.
16. Commanders: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
Gonzalez is an elite corner prospect with good size and speed. He could be the first cornerback drafted.
17. Steelers: Noah Smith, OLB, Georgia
Smith put on a show at the combine and showed his tremendous speed and athleticism. He’s an ideal fit for Mike Tomlin’s 3-4.
18. Lions: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
After taking Jalen Carter sixth overall, the Lions pivot to the secondary and add the cornerback with the best size.
19. Buccaneers: Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee
Wright solves a huge problem. He can play either tackle spot. He should become an immediate starter.
20. Seahawks: Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi
Pete Carroll continues to improve his secondary considerably with this multitalented cornerback.
21. Chargers: Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah
To keep up with the Chiefs, the Chargers select another talented weapon for Justin Herbert.
22. Ravens: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
Flowers is undersized, but he’s got speed and quickness and can make acrobatic catches at every level of the field.
23. Vikings: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland
A gifted cover corner isn’t a position of need, but the Vikings know a defense can never have too many good ones.
24. Jaguars: Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma
They need to draft an offensive tackle to replace Jawann Taylor. He’ll be given every opportunity to start right away.
25. Giants: Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
To help Daniel Jones, the Giants give him a large, fast target who gets a lot of yards after the catch.
26. Cowboys: Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson
Rather than take tight end Michael Mayer, the Cowboys bolster Dan Quinn’s defense with one of the best edge rushers.
27. Bills: Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama
Scouts call him an Alvin Kamara clone. He’ll help the running game as well as be a reliable receiver for Josh Allen.
28. Bengals: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
Mayer is ranked first or second among tight ends, and he’ll become one of Joe Burrow’s go-to targets.
29. Saints: Jordan Addison, WR, USC
Derek Carr gets a big-play receiver who excelled at Pitt and USC in different offenses.
30. Eagles: Brian Branch, S, Alabama
Branch can play either safety spot or move down and cover slot receivers. Eventually, he’ll be a defensive captain.
31. Chiefs: Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee
Patrick Mahomes gets another target, and Hyatt can stretch the defense like no other receiver in the draft.
(John McClain writes four columns a week for GallerySports.com. 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 SportsRadio610.com