Well since everyone loved the last one so much, it's time to get onto mock draft 2.0, this time with less Ray Fittipaldo slander. And while it's not my preference, it seems like just about everyone favors a mock draft from a simulator, but let me preface this by saying if a player is available much later than I expect him to go, I will not be drafting him. And I will be drafting players much earlier than their ranking would suggest them going. Finally, if a player is not on the simulator, I will sub them in where I see fit.
Remaining Free Agent Acquisitions:
A starting caliber Safety (Edmunds, John Johnson, Taylor Rapp, Adrian Amos, etc.)
Round 1, pick 17: Broderick Jones, T, Georgia
This would be a dream come true for me; Jones might be my favorite tackle in the class and he falls to 17 with Joey Porter Jr. going one pick earlier. Weakest link on the team is not set for the next decade with a large, mean, super athletic man. Rarely does a tackle stand out on film like Jones does; turn on any game an you'll see bodies flying and this guy moving like a tight end in space. Tomlin and Khan were at the Georgia pro day.
Round 2, pick 32: Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson
Things really fell perfectly here; injury concerns cause other teams to pass, but I feel like both lines are set with cornerstone pieces for the foreseeable future. Last time I went to greater detail about Bresee's story and where I think he fits; long story short, he's had a rough couple of years at Clemson after being the number one overall recruit, but when he first showed up, he was the best player on the defense. Raw, but this could be Stephon Tuitt 2.0 and reports are Tomlin loves the kid. And yes, he and Khan were at the Clemson pro day, too.
Round 2, pick 49: DJ Turner, CB, Michigan
Last time I did one of these, I received plenty of criticism for the DJ Turner pick and I have to ask: did you guys actually watch this guy? Not the biggest, just a shade under 6 foot and a little light at 180 pounds, but a freakish athlete. When I watch corners, I care about how they cover. And this guy is like glue on every receiver he faces, I was amazed. He's not an ace in the run game, but still physical especially for his size; I'd be fine with him at 32. Of course Tomlin, Khan and many more are at this pro day.
Sat at pick 80 for a minute, no one seemed interesting, so I traded down to pick 100, adding pick 141 from the Raiders who have 12 picks total and plenty of maneuverability. Yes, I could've gotten more on the simulator, but that didn't sit right.
Round 3, pick 100: Luke Schoonmaker, TE, Michigan
No, I'm not a Michigan fan and yes, I do expect backup tight end to be addressed by way of Zach Gentry or a similar level player prior to the draft. Schoonmaker is just too good to pass up here; he's the ideal backup TE to have put his hand in the dirt and do the work Freiermuth still struggles with. This being such a strong TE class means this could be a half dozen names, PFF still had Tucker Kraft on the board, but I doubt that'll be the case. Zack Kuntz would be the pick if you wanted more of a receiving threat.
Round 4, pick 120: Ventrell Miller, LB, Florida
This linebacker class is a doozy. I'm pretty sure half of Steeler fans would be happy with Jack Campbell at 32 even though they thought he was a 3rd or 4th rounder before the combine. I like Simpson, Sanders, and Henley, but not where they're projected to go. Don't see it with Overshown, To'oTo'o, or Pappoe. Would consider Dorian Williams at 80 or here.
But then I watched Ventrell Miller. And I implore you to do the same. He's the opposite of everything I look for at linebacker; just under 6 foot (but with long arms), old (already 24 years old), not an elite athlete, and not going to test due to injury. But good luck watching the Florida defense without seeing 51 attacking the ball every play. He's was the heart and soul of the Florida defense, a true leader, who is a better athlete than he showed last year playing the entire season with a broken foot that he's still recovering from. In a weak LB class, this dude just pops on film.
Round 5, pick 141: Puka Nacua, WR, BYU
Ranked 217th on PFF, I add another one of my guys here. At random, I put on the Boise State-BYU game earlier this year and the 14 catch, 157 yard, 2 TD performance, including the game winner on 4th down and seconds left was one of the most amazing games I watched all year. He did deal with a few injuries, but talk about another guy who pops; inside, outside, running the ball, Nacua might be the most versatile WR in the draft. I don't usually buy into combine guys, but with WRs it's easy to see who the smooth movers are. I had a hard time telling Nacua and Jaxon Smith Njigba apart.
Round 7, pick 234: Tiawan Mullen, NCB, Indiana
First name I had to go completely off the board for. A few years back, I fell in love with an Indiana defense that has produced a half dozen pros. On that defense, Mullen stood out. I don't usually go to PFF grades to support myself, but there was a list of highest graded DBs in run support since 2019: Trent McDuffie 91.5, Jalen Pitre 92.7, and Mullen 93.3. Not to mention, he's strong in coverage, too. So what are the cons? The injury history is a lot of it, he's not really on NFL radars without a combine invite, and being 5'8 doesn't exactly help either.
Round 7, pick 241: Dillan Gibbons, G, Florida State
Back off the board to select Gibbons, the 2022 winner of the Wuerfel Trophy presented to the FBS player who best combines exemplary community service with leadership achievement on and off the field. For me, he stood out as one of the few people who could get any movement on the 450lb DT from Florida. All-ACC 1st team after transferring from Notre Dame, not sure why he has no buzz, but was not invited to the combine either. You should read more about what he's done on and off the field; he might be the most impressive person in this entire draft.