No. 18: Atlanta Falcons — Jer’Zhan Newton, DL, Illinois
Grady Jarrett is still a premier player in the league, but Father Time stops for no man, Jarrett included. Jer’Zhan Newton is a selection that kills two birds with one stone — so to speak. Newton is a long-term replacement for the veteran defender but has the versatility to line up WITH Jarrett in the Falcons’ three-man front.
No. 19: Cincinnati Bengals — Malik Nabers, WR, LSU
Bengals fans know that bigger needs currently exist on the roster. But what happens when Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd hit free agency next offseason? I am a fan of Charlie Jones and Andrei Iosivas; don’t get it twisted. However, relying on two unproven players to be elevated to such a prominent role is shortsighted.
Instead, pairing Malik Nabers, a fellow LSU Tiger alum, with Ja’Marr Chase would unlock another level of play from quarterback Joe Burrow. I wouldn’t argue with anyone who says offensive line or even running back is a more pressing need, but at No. 19 in this mock draft, the fit is too good to ignore.
Don’t Sleep On Ja’Tavion Sanders
No. 20: Houston Texans (via CLE) — Ja’Tavion Sanders, TE, Texas
Brock Bowers gets all the attention at tight end, but Ja’Tavion Sanders is an NFL player in his own right. In 2023, Sanders has become an even more lethal playmaker for the Longhorns. With a healthy 22.3 yards per reception average, the Texas star would give C.J. Stroud a go-to weapon in the passing game.
No. 21: Jacksonville Jaguars — Kris Jenkins, DL, Michigan
The Jaguars are not as close to being Super Bowl contenders as some might say, but the roster is full of young talent, and Kris Jenkins would only add to that. Jacksonville has a nice collection of pass rushers to pair with an ascending offense, but Jenkins could serve as the final piece to the defensive line puzzle.
No. 22: Green Bay Packers — Kingsley Suamataia, OT, BYU
The Packers simply cannot rely on their current slate of starters staying healthy for a 17-game campaign. To put Jordan Love in the best position to succeed, more stability is needed upfront. Kingsley Suamataia is a forgotten man in several mock drafts, but that will change as the 2024 NFL Draft approaches. He checks all the physical boxes; professional coaching will round out any technical deficiencies.