It’s NFL mock draft season!
Whether you’re following along on Twitter or just checking out your favorite sites for information, mocks are all over the place and in your face whether you like it or not. Most of these mocks, of course, are rooted in team needs as it pertains to real football. But we in the fantasy world are mostly looking at the offensive side of the pigskin.
In an effort to help you, the fantasy fanatic, learn which teams need what positions, I’ve put together a one-round NFL mock draft that only includes offensive players. That includes linemen, because our fantasy heroes need the big uglies to protect and open holes for those guys to throw and run the ball (and score fantasy points).
Keep in mind, some of the players aren’t considered Day 1 picks by scouts, because I’ve excluded the defensive players (sorry, IDP fans). But this exercise will give you a look into what an offensive, fantasy-based first round might look like in April.
1. Carolina Panthers (via Chicago) – C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State: Carolina will be selecting their franchise quarterback, whether it’s Stroud or Bryce Young. Whoever it is will be the projected starter in Week 1 ahead of Andy Dalton and a late-round No. 2 fantasy quarterback. Neither player will have a ton of talent around them, though.
2. Houston Texans – Bryce Young, QB, Alabama: This pick will either be Young or Stroud depending on Carolina’s pick, but it will be a quarterback. Whoever it is, he’ll be in the mix to start in Week 1 for a Texans team that will have a very new look next season. Young would be worth a late-round look as a No. 2 quarterback.
3. Arizona Cardinals – Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State: The Cardinals are going to take a defender (likely Alabama’s Will Anderson Jr.) in real football, but in fantasy I’ll give them a receiver in Smith-Njigba. With DeAndre Hopkins mentioned in trade rumors, Arizona could use a new wideout to pair with Marquise Brown.
4. Indianapolis Colts – Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida: Richardson was an NFL Combine star and has moved into the top five in many mock drafts. Few teams need a quarterback worse than the Colts, so I have them taking Richardson. A very mobile signal-caller, he could be a deep fantasy sleeper in some fantasy leagues.
5. Seattle Seahawks (via Denver) – Will Levis, QB, Kentucky: The Seahawks signed Geno Smith to a three-year contract, but he’s entering his age-33 season and isn’t a long-term option. Enter the 6’4”, 229-pound Levis, who could sit behind Smith for a year and take over as the team’s starting quarterback in 2024.
6. Detroit Lions (via L.A. Rams) – Quentin Johnston, WR, Texas Christian: The Lions need a tight end, but I’ll cover that with their second pick in the draft. Imagine having Amon-Ra St. Brown, Jameson Williams and Johnston as your top three wide receivers! The Lions offense would be bananas both in real and fantasy football.
7. Las Vegas Raiders – Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern: The Raiders could go a few ways here, from quarterback to wideout to tight end, but the top four QBs are off the board, the team signed Jakobi Meyers and the tight end class is pretty deep. So, let’s take an offensive lineman to help protect veteran Jimmy Garoppolo.
8. Atlanta Falcons – Jordan Addison, WR, USC: The Falcons drafted a USC wide receiver in Drake London last year, and they’ll do it again with the selection of Addison. The team did sign Mack Hollins, but they still have an obvious lack of depth at the position on the roster. Addison would be worth a late-round look in re-drafts.
9. Chicago Bears – Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State: The Bears have been busy this offseason, adding the likes of D.J. Moore, D’Onta Foreman and Robert Tonyan to Justin Fields’s arsenal. So, let’s give him a high-end tackle to help protect him. The team also added Nate Davis, so the line should be much improved.
10. Philadelphia Eagles (via New Orleans) – Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas: I can’t begin to tell you how much I hate this move as a Dallas Cowboys fan, but this is a great fantasy fit. Robinson would pass Rashaad Penny on the depth chart in the blink of an eye and have immediate No. 1 fantasy running back value as a rookie.
11. Tennessee Titans – Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee: The Titans need a lot of help all over the offense, but wide receiver is the biggest concern. Hyatt, who went to Tennessee, would stay “home” and become the team’s No. 2 wideout behind Treylon Burks. I could also see the Titans taking an offensive lineman at this spot.
12. Houston Texans (via Cleveland) – Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College: The Texans have added Robert Woods, Noah Brown and Dalton Schultz, but this team needs much more in terms of offensive weapons to help their projected new rookie quarterback. Flowers isn’t a big wideout, but he can catch everything in sight.
13. New York Jets – Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia: The Jets are in good shape at the offensive skill positions, but their offensive line can use some depth. Mekhi Becton hasn’t been all that durable, and Alijah Vera-Tucker missed all but seven games last season. Jones could come right in and make a real impact in New York.
14. New England Patriots – Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina: The Patriots did add JuJu Smith-Schuster as a free agent, but their offense still lacks for playmakers in the passing game for quarterback Mac Jones. Downs could be their top slot receiver, as Smith-Schuster can play both on the inside and outside.
15. Green Bay Packers – Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame: The Packers lost Robert Tonyan (Bears) as a free agent, so Mayer would be a nice option for Jordan Love. He’s rated as the most complete tight end in the class and could have late-round value as a No. 2 fantasy option. Mayer had 70 catches and 809 yards in 2022.
16. Washington Commanders – Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee: Washington is in need of offensive line help, as inexperienced QB Sam Howell is the favorite to start at this point. I could also see the Commanders going with a good tight end, which would also benefit Howell, but I’ll go with Wright to improve their line.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers – O’Cyrus Torrence, IOL, Florida: The Steelers have a number of good, young players at the offensive skill positions, but their line has needed some improvement. Enter Torrence, who can help protest Kenny Pickett and open holes for third year running back Najee Harris. This would be a terrific fit.
18. Detroit Lions – Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah: The Lions traded T.J. Hockenson last season, leaving a hole at tight end. Detroit is no stranger to drafting tight ends in the first round, so adding Kincaid would be a shock to no one. The best pass catcher at the position in this class, he would have late-round value as a No. 2 tight end.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama: Gibbs is a versatile back and second only to Robinson among rookie running backs in the eyes of most scouts and analysts. He would fit in with Rachaad White to create a good, young backfield where Gibbs could make some noise as a pass catcher in PPR formats.
20. Seattle Seahawks – Joe Tippman, IOL, Wisconsin: Seattle’s offensive line was ranked as one of the worst in the league by PFF after 2022, and adding some help to the interior makes sense. Seattle already updated the center position with the addition of Evan Brown, and getting Tippman would add increased protection.
Miami Dolphins (forfeited)
21. Los Angeles Chargers – Zach Charbonnet, RB. UCLA: There have been a lot of rumors about the Chargers trading Austin Ekeler, which would create an obvious hole in the team’s backfield. Charbonnet would stay in Los Angeles and become the projected No. 1 runner in an explosive offense if Ekeler were in fact dealt soon.
22. Baltimore Ravens – Rashee Rice, WR, SMU: Let me know if you’ve heard this before … the Ravens need wide receivers. Right now, their top three at the position are Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay and the newly added Nelson Agholor. They’ll be able to pick from a good group of players, but I have Rice ranked highest here.
23. Minnesota Vikings – Marvin Mims, WR, Oklahoma: The Vikings let go of Adam Thielen and could use some depth at wide receiver, so this decision isn’t difficult. Mims isn’t a big player at 5’11” and just 184 pounds, but he averaged 19.5 yards per catch at Oklahoma and could be used out of the slot in Minnesota’s offense.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars – Cody Mauch, OT, North Dakota State: The Jaguars offense is pretty much set with the addition of Calvin Ridley, not to mention keeping Evan Engram on the franchise tag. What it could use is some help on the line of scrimmage to protect Trevor Lawrence. Mauch could be used to fill that void.
25. New York Giants – Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU: The Giants corps of wideouts has added some pieces like Parris Campbell and Jamison Crowder, but it still lacks youth and upside beyond Wan’Dale Robinson. Boutte didn’t have a great 2022 and had a bad NFL Combine performance, but you can’t overlook LSU receivers.
26. Dallas Cowboys – Tyjae Spears, RB, Tulane: In my personal fantasy world as a Cowboys fan, the team moves up to draft Robinson or he slips down them in the first round. Unlikely scenarios, I know. But Ronald Jones isn’t going to cut it behind Tony Pollard, and Spears is a rising prospect who could push for first-year touches.
27. Buffalo Bills – Steve Avila, IOL, Texas Christian: I might have gone with a running back, but the Bills signed Damien Harris to share the workload with James Cook and Nyheim Hines. The audible goes to the offensive line, where Buffalo was ranked 23rd at the end of last season per PFF. Avila will help the interior of the line.
28. Cincinnati Bengals – Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia: The Bengals have “lost” C.J. Uzomah and Hayden Hurst to free agency in consecutive seasons, so grabbing a young tight end with upside is a solid move. Washington is a beast at 6’7” and 264 pounds and could become a nice red-zone target for Joe Burrow.
29. New Orleans Saints (via San Francisco) – Luke Musgrave, TE, Oregon State: The Saints will have Michael Thomas back (for how long, who knows) and added Jamaal Williams as a free agent. So, why not add another weapon for your new quarterback, Derek Carr? Musgrave is a big target with good hands who could be a bargain. He’ll have to avoid the nagging injuries that have plagued him, though.
30. Philadelphia Eagles – Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma: The Eagles don’t have a lot of needs on offense, and adding any other pass catchers here isn’t what I’d like to see for A.J. Brown and Devonta Smith. As a result, I’ll go with Harrison to add to what is already one of the league’s best offensive lines. The rich just get richer.
31. Kansas City Chiefs – Cedric Tillman, WR, Tennessee: The Chiefs have lost JuJu Smith-Schuster (Patriots) and Mecole Hardman (Jets) to free agency, so the team desperately needs to add wide receivers in the draft. Tillman, who comes in at 6’3” and 215 pounds, is the best receiver left on my board at this point.
Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on Sports Illustrated and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Click here to read all his articles here on SI Fantasy. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram for your late-breaking fantasy news and the best analysis in the business to help you win a fantasy championship!