No. 6: Arizona Cardinals (via HOU) — Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia
After sticking with Murray and drafting Verse, the Cardinals use the second of their first-round picks on a weapon for the offense. Brock Bowers is slightly undersized from a traditional sense, but that is about as far as the list of concerns goes.
Bowers fits the mold of a new-age tight end, capable of lining up in-line as a blocker or out wide as a pass catcher. He is deceptively agile after the catch and hits his top gear quickly in space. It won’t take long for Bowers to cement himself as the top option for Kyler Murray in the desert.
No. 7: Washington Commanders — J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan
Full disclosure: I have J.J. McCarthy much lower than this on my own Big Board. However, McCarthy has noticeably improved in Year 3 with Michigan and is gaining steam as a legitimate first-round prospect.
The Commanders are giving Sam Howell a shot to seize the role long-term, but coming off a four-interception performance, there is reasonable doubt about those chances. McCarthy is taller, possesses better footwork, and could be the “Justin Herbert” of the class.
Rome Odunze Takes His Talents To The Big Apple In Round 1 Of Latest NFL Mock Draft
No. 8: New York Giants — Rome Odunze, WR, Washington
Rome Odunze earned the WR2 ranking on our Summer Big Board, and nothing has changed. Odunze has 544 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns on the year and had an exciting punt return for six points this past weekend. What makes the Husky pass catcher special is his unparalleled body control, ball tracking downfield, and contested catch prowess. Brian Daboll needs a guy like that.
No. 9: New York Jets — Olu Fashanu, OT, Penn State
A top-five player in most NFL Draft classes, Olu Fashanu finds himself pushed down the board thanks to a quarterback run. The Jets waste little time turning in the card, as the 20-year-old Fashanu is ready to start from Day 1. Some would even argue he should be starting on Sundays already.
No. 10: Minnesota Vikings — Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington
Like McCarthy, I am not as high on Michael Penix Jr. as others. But his level of play in 2023 is impossible to ignore. So far, the left-handed fireballer looks like a Heisman Trophy front-runner. Age and his long injury history will be common red flags throughout the process, but only one team has to buy in.
The Minnesota Vikings did all they could with Kirk Cousins in 2022. Now, as the team sits at 0-3, a top-ten pick awaits them in April. If nothing else, the prospect of Penix sending deep passes downfield to Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison is exciting.
No. 11: Tennessee Titans — Dallas Turner, EDGE, Alabama
The Titans are a roster depleted of top-end talent. A third straight year of selecting a quarterback could be on the table, but with such a run already occurring, Tennessee pivots to a potentially elite pass rusher in Dallas Turner. While he lacks the playing strength of others in the class, few can get into the backfield as consistently and creatively as Turner.