Mock Draft: Patriots trade up, Vikings replace Kirk Cousins, Falcons stack offense

In NFLMocks’ most recent mock draft, the New England Patriots make a bold trade to secure Drake Maye. In addition, the Vikings replace Kirk Cousins and the Falcons find another weapon on offense.
Oct 14, 2023; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye (10)
Oct 14, 2023; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye (10) / Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports
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Raiders Begin Fixing The Run Defense, Wait On Quarterback

No. 13: Las Vegas Raiders — Jer’Zhan Newton, DL, Illinois

The Raiders would like a quarterback here, but forcing the wrong guy is a worse move than waiting. Instead, Jer’Zhan Newton is the choice. Newton is a bully from the interior, collapsing pockets on the regular and getting into the backfield as often as opposing quarterbacks. He will transform the abysmal Vegas run defense.

No. 14: Denver Broncos — Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State

Although quarterback will surely be on the radar following the Russell Wilson news, the value doesn’t make sense at this stage of the mock draft. Rather than forcing pressure on a young signal-caller, drafting Jared Verse upgrades the defense while keeping the door open on Day 2 for a quarterback.

No. 15: Minnesota Vikings — J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

The Vikings are a rare situation midway through the mock draft. The team wouldn’t be forced into playing J.J. McCarthy immediately like the Falcons or Broncos would require, so Minnesota is the optimal landing spot. Head coach Kevin O’Connell could be the final piece for McCarthy.

No. 16: Arizona Cardinals (via HOU) — Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB, Alabama

Coming away with the WR1 and the CB1 in this mock draft is complete and utter robbery. Kool-Aid McKinstry excels in press coverage but has the traits to line up in several schemes at a high level. Imagine the one-on-ones in practice vs. Harrison Jr. and McKinstry.

No. 17: Pittsburgh Steelers — Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

Something weird is going on with Diontae Johnson and the Steelers. If a replacement is needed, Rome Odunze would make sense. Odunze flexes the best body control in the class and has reliable hands with teach tape route running. He’s an instant star in the NFL.

Protect Joe Burrow Already!

No. 18: Cincinnati Bengals — Graham Barton, OL, Duke

The Bengals need help on the offensive line and it doesn’t matter where that comes from. Graham Barton is one of only a few players who can actually play all five positions on the line. For Cincinnati, this gives it a starter anywhere and a high-end replacement in the event of injury.