Who is Houston Drafting at Number 2?

  1. Carolina Panthers - Bryce Young - QB - I can’t promise the Carolina Panthers were planning to choose Bryce Young when they traded up to number one over a month ago, but the current market tells the entire picture. It is hard to find anything better than -1200 when you start price-shopping totals in the space, which has generated a betting board that now has more questions than answers once we get past this selection.
  2. Houston Texans - Will Levis - QB - Markets have started to push this narrative of Will Levis being the second pick in the draft. I’m not saying I necessarily buy the news right now, but this outcome does a few things moving forward. We can discuss them below for the Cardinals selection.
  3. Arizona Cardinals - Tyree Wilson - DL - Beyond anything else, a possible QB/QB start is why we have seen Will Anderson balloon out to -200 (or higher) on his prop of over 3.5. I’d have to imagine this would be the best-case scenario for the Cardinals because it not only secures the man that is rumored to be their pick if they stay at three in Tyree Wilson, but it also re-opens trade negotiations to get a deal done. I’ve believed that the team wants to stay within the top seven to ensure they are virtually guaranteed one of the two CBs or Wilson, and it probably doesn’t help any other case that I am not sure what resources the Titans would even have to get to number three. The most likely scenario feels like it would have to be a 3/4 swap, where you take less value than you should on the pick and try to secure an extra third from the Colts to grab their man, but let’s keep this mock simple and say the Cardinals can’t get a deal done and go with Wilson.
  4. Indianapolis Colts - C.J. Stroud - QB - Part of me wants to believe the Colts will swing for the fences and go for the grand slam outcome of Anthony Richardson. However, the other half is more realistic and knows how much the team values QB accuracy. Stroud’s college completion percentage landed at 69.3%. Richardson only completed 53.8% of his passes in 2022, making Stroud the more realistic choice when you also consider they likely would want a QB that might be able to play on day one.
  5. Seattle Seahawks - Will Anderson - DL - Pete Carroll wants hard-working football players that love the game, and this would be the home run outcome for the Seahawks if Will Anderson could drop into their laps at the fifth selection. The interesting development that could shake things up would be if the draft started Young, some combination of Wilson and Anderson at 2/3 and one of Stroud/Levis at 4. In that circumstance, I have a weird feeling that one of two things would happen. 1. They take Richardson for themselves and have him sit behind Geno. Or 2. We would see Seattle revert to their old ways and trade down with the Eagles at 10 so they can move up and get Jalen Carter. While it sounds like a weird move for Caroll and company, Nolan Smith or Lukas Van Ness at that pick would make a lot of sense. It is something to keep in mind as this draft starts playing out.
  6. Detroit Lions - Devon Witherspoon - CB - I am not as sold as the betting market is that this pick is Devon Witherspoon over Jalen Carter. It is the most likely outcome as I type this almost a week away from the draft, but the likelihood of Carter has slowly started to creep into a more plausible territory over the past 24 hours. Markets still believe Carter will go over this selection. I see roughly -175 on the over 6.5.
  7. Las Vegas Raiders - Paris Johnson Jr. - OL - I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Raiders move up or down when push comes to shove on draft night. There is a world where they try to land C.J. Stroud at three. There is another where they may move back and attempt to acquire some assets in a deal with someone like the Eagles, but let’s have them stay at the pick and grab whoever their top offensive lineman is on their board. The pieces aren’t quite the same in the front office as we have seen in years past, but if I know anything about this team, they love drafting players from prominent programs. Ohio State beats Northwestern when comparing the two helmets for PJJ versus Peter Skoronski, although Broderick Jones is probably a name to remember.
  8. Philadelphia Eagles (Via Atlanta Falcons) - Jalen Carter - DL - Jalen Carter likely refused to take visits from teams outside the top 10 because of a promise made by the Philadelphia Eagles’ staff that the slide would end with them. If they want their man, you would assume they have to jump the Chicago Bears, who have been trying to start rumors left and right to move out of this spot from day one.
  9. Chicago Bears - Peter Skoronski - OL - The Bears have proven themselves to be pathological liars who seem to want every player in this draft. I wouldn’t take anything they have said to be worth a damn throughout the entire process, but Lukas Van Ness is the one interesting curveball that could come into play here if Carter is off the board. Born in Illinois, you could bring back a hometown kid who understands the value of being a Chicago Bears player, and it doesn’t hurt that he is dating Cole Kmet’s sister. Is that a reason to draft someone? No. But the sky’s the limit if you can figure out how to unlock his potential. All of that said, let’s go OL here instead with Skoronski because he gives extra protection to Fields and is likely the best player available.
  10. Atlanta Falcons (Via Philadelphia Eagles) - Nolan Smith - DL - Outside of the Georgia connection, I only have one additional reason why this would be Nolan Smith over Lukas Van Ness. Smith is -230 to go under pick 12.5. Van Ness is -200 to go over that slot. That is good enough for me on a team with many options in play, including Bijan Robinson and Christian Gonzalez.
  11. Tennessee Titans - Bijan Robinson - RB - Here is your first big shock of the draft! The Tennessee Titans pass on Anthony Richardson to select Texas RB Bijan Robinson. I believe the rumors from Akbar Gbajabiamila of the Titans potentially trading Henry to the Eagles might be true, and the slide of Richardson is officially in free-fall mode.
  12. Pittsburgh Steelers (Via Houston Texans) - Christian Gonzalez - CB - The way I see it is that the Texans would have three players on the board that would entice them in Myles Murphy, Lukas Van Ness and Jaxson Smith-Njigba. There is no guarantee that one would fall to them at 17, but I firmly believe the Jets are going OL, whereas the Commanders are probably going secondary. That scenario would leave one of those names to them at 17. On the flip side, the Steelers being able to go up and land one of the top two CBs from this draft at 12 would become a massive value for the acquisition cost.
  13. New York Jets - Broderick Jones - OL - This is the draft board where Robert Salah probably starts yanking the hair from the head of others inside the facility. The consensus route is to go with Broderick Jones, but Darnell Wright or even Anton Harrison could be options on the shortlist. I can say with certainty that a non-OL would shock me.
  14. Seattle Seahawks (Via New England Patriots) - Anthony Richardson - QB - In a different world, I wouldn’t have put it past the Seahawks to select Anthony Richardson at five, so this slide opened up a window for them to grab their QB of the future. Sitting behind Geno Smith for a year or two would provide the perfect teacher he could have asked for to grow as a QB in this league.
  15. Green Bay Packers - Myles Murphy - DL - Selecting Jaxson Smith-Njigba is the greatest FU to Aaron Rodgers before you ship his ass off to the Jets within the span of 10 minutes. Still, though, I lean toward grabbing a player like Murphy or Van Ness, who both fit the prototypical expectation we would see this team draft historically. Murphy has been demolished during this draft process, but I still believe he goes higher than expected. Texans, Packers or Lions would be my ultimate guess.
  16. Washington Commanders - Deonte Banks - CB - It feels 50/50 to me if the Commanders would go Banks or Porter in this spot. I will go with the athletic profile of Banks that oozes upside.
  17. Houston Texans (Via Pittsburgh Steelers) - Jaxson Smith-Njigba - I wouldn’t promise this doesn’t ultimately become Lukas Van Ness, but you must give Will Levis a fighting shot if the opportunity presents itself in this trade-back scenario.
  18. Detroit Lions - Lukas Van Ness - DL - Devon Witherspoon at six and Lukas Van Ness at 18 would be quite the hall for Dan Campbell to continue building this defense. 
  19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Darnell Wright - OL - Mock draft aside, if you made me guess who the most likely name would be for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers here at 19, I would say Anton Harrison. With a different board, I would go with that selection, but the slide of Darnell Wright has to stop somewhere. Maybe we see that in a potential Bears/Steelers trade from 9/17 over how I did it, where the Bears would have grabbed Wright at 17, but somewhere around this range should be the floor.
  20. New England Patriots (Via Seattle Seahawks) - Anton Harrison - OL - A trade back makes a lot of sense for the Patriots when you realize Darnell Wright, Anton Harrison, Joey Porter Jr. and Emmanual Forbes will go around this section. For what it is worth, a cornerback is the betting favorite.
  21. Los Angeles Chargers - Michael Mayer - TE - Michael Mayer is more of a complete tight end than what we see from Dalton Kincaid, and that combination of pass-catching and blocking will fit in nicely with the Chargers. Addison would be the betting favorite if the board played out this way, but the general consensus of this class for WR does leave a ton to be desired.
  22. Baltimore Ravens - Joey Porter Jr. - CB - I find the humor in mocking Joey Porter’s kid to the Ravens. There is a strong chance he might go before this pick, but the Ravens are among the most likely teams in this draft to go CB. One of the names between Deonte Banks, Joey Porter Jr, Emmanuel Forbes or Cameron Smith should be the choice.
  23. Minnesota Vikings - Jordan Addison - WR - The Vikings desperately need help at the CB position. Any of the names that have gone (including Cam Smith/Emmanual Forbes) are in play, but I have a feeling they would find Addison too enticing to pass on at 23.
  24. Jacksonville Jaguars - O’Cyrus Torrence - OL - The Jaguars need to make up some ground on the offensive line after ranking as one of the worst short-yardage teams in the NFL last season.
  25. New York Giants - Emmanuel Forbes - CB - At no point during this process have I wanted to mock a wide receiver to the Giants. Is Zay Flowers possible? Maybe? But the pick feels like Wan’dale Robinson 2.0. If Jordan Addison makes it here, he is much friendlier of a WR choice if going that route.
  26. Dallas Cowboys - Will McDonald IV - DL - The tight end position has become too obvious of a selection in every mock for the Cowboys. I might give a different answer if Michael Mayer were here, but DL is much more in play than the public consensus realizes. Jake Ferguson is intriguing as a name they already have in-house, and this class is extremely deep to start grabbing the second option on your board at a typically under-drafted position.
  27. Buffalo Bills - Calijah Kancey - DL - The Bills haven’t invested in the DT position since Ed Oliver in 2019. With nobody being under contract in 2024, it might be time to finance that position in the draft. Maybe Bryan Breese is worth a look? But I will go with Calijah Kancey, who is built much like Oliver.
  28. Cincinnati Bengals - Dalton Kincaid - TE - As I said regarding the Cowboys, TE isn’t a shoo-in pick. If Kincaid is gone before here, I think we see them go elsewhere, but this is the perfect player-team combination that would give Joe Burrow another high-end target that would be a pass-catching machine in that offense.
  29. New Orleans Saints - Bryan Breese - DL - Everyone is mocking this exact pick, which I hate, but the nature of the thought-process behind it makes too much sense to ignore. 
  30. Philadelphia Eagles - Brian Branch - S - Jalen Carter + Brian Branch would be the ultimate haul for Howie Roseman in adding to the Eagles’ chances to make the Super Bowl. 
  31. Kansas City Chiefs - Quentin Johnston - WR - Zay Flowers or Quentin Johnston? I have convinced myself one of the two will drop out of the first round, so it just comes down to what do the Chiefs prefer? I’ll say size wins out for a team with a lot of the Flowers build already.