05 Apr

3-round mock draft, plus a prospect of the day and more to kick off NFL Draft month

Welcome to the ceremonial kickoff of Year 2 of the With the First Pick newsletter, and we’re launching today because we know the insatiable need for NFL Draft nuggets will only intensify as the month progresses. Here, you’ll get NFL Draft news, prospect evaluations, and enough mock drafts to make your head spin … on a daily basis. As the internet’s preeminent NFL newsletter creator John Breech wrote Friday, we’re rebranding the Pick Six newsletter for the next month, starting today, continuing through the end of April, and maybe into early May. I, CBS Sports NFL Draft analyst Chris Trapasso, will be with you every step of the way.

I’ll be tracking everything that transpires in the NFL and spin everything into a draft angle. There’s always a draft angle! Trust me. At least in my head there is, and with this newsletter you’ll be getting a daily glimpse inside my draft-obsessed brain from now until the morning of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Before I begin, this paragraph will be your daily reminder to tell all your buddies and that one uncle who’s always texting you the importance of drafting mid-round offensive linemen to sign up for the With the First Pick newsletter. All you have to do is click here and then share this link with them.

Today’s NFL mock draft 🔮: Three-rounder with trades!
Top QB prospects Caleb Williams (left) and Drake Maye Getty Images
My esteemed NFL Draft analyst colleague Josh Edwards completed no easy task: a three-round mock with a few swaps included. Instead of only highlighting some fascinating Round 1 selections, I’ll dip into the imaginary Day 2 here.

  1. Chicago Bears – Caleb Williams, QB, USC
  2. Washington Commanders – Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina
  3. New England Patriots – Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU
  4. Minnesota Vikings (mock trade w/ Arizona) – J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan
  5. Cincinnati Bengals – Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State
  6. Detroit Lions – Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State
  7. Los Vegas Raiders – Bo Nix, QB, Oregon
  8. Philadelphia Eagles – Troy Franklin, WR, Oregon
  9. New York Giants — Trey Benson, RB, Florida State
  10. Pittsburgh Steelers – Kamren Kinchens, S, Miami

Of course, there’s plenty to digest here in this three-rounder, including history being made with quarterbacks off the board with the first four picks. As every day goes by, this feels more like a lock to actually happen in real life, doesn’t it?

I’d love Robinson to Detroit to give Aidan Hutchinson a legit running mate rushing around the corner — although James Houston is no slouch when healthy. Benson is my RB1, and the Giants need a back after watching Saquon Barkley sign with the rival Eagles. I seriously think Benson deserves Breece Hall-type buzz. He’s that big, fast and elusive.

And for the Steelers, an instinctive, playmaking, hard-hitting safety is essentially part of that organization’s DNA. The poor pre-draft workout sinks Kinchens’ stock, but he and Minkah Fitzpatrick would formulate a stellar pairing on the backend in Pittsburgh.

‘With the First Pick’ podcast 🎧: Three-headed mock draft
Above was a three-rounder, but here, in what is Mock Draft 12.0 for the With the First Pick crew, our resident GM Rick Spielman, Super Bowl-winning cornerback Bryant McFadden, and draft analyst Ryan Wilson ripped through a one-round mock draft, alternating selections along the way.

I won’t spoil every juicy pick, but there was a surprise edge rusher sent to the Falcons at pick No. 8. Cowboys fans, Wilson will pique your interest with a massive trade up for arguably the most uber-talented blocker in this class, an offensive tackle who’d fill the void left by Tyron Smith re-locating to New York to play for the Jets. There’s also an Aaron Rodgers to Jordan Love esque baton-passing pick for the Chiefs that would be a nightmare scenario for the rest of the league attempting to stop Kansas City from a three-peat. Listen to the entire episode right here.

Prospect of the day 📈: Javon Baker, WR, UCF
UCF WR Javon Baker Getty Images
All you’ve heard for months now is how good and how deep the 2024 wideout class is, so it’s only natural I feature one of the receivers who represents the depth that has been mentioned ad nauseam since the Senior Bowl in late January.

It was love at first sight for me with Baker on film.He’s got nifty releases to beat press at the line, deceptive route-running salesmanship, and a leaping/rebounding combination that led to the fourth-best contested-catch win rate in the class. He has it all. Well, except for speed. Baker’s slower 40-yard dash time could be the lone reason he’s still on the board well into the second round, and if he’s a third-round pick, no one should be shocked.

But this is a former Alabama pass-catcher who rocked after transferring to UCF with over 100 catches and more than 1,800 yards with 12 touchdowns in Orlando.

Notable combine results: 4.54 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 37-inch vertical, 10-foot-1 broad jump
Combine measurements: 6-foot-1 and 1/4, 202 pounds
Current CBS Sports prospect ranking: No. 46 (No. 9 WR)
Pro Day primer: Top prospects to watch 👀
Yale OL Kiran Amegadjie: Pro days are all but officially done — although we will get an individual workout from Iowa’s Cooper Dejean on April 8 — but I’m compelled to keep this section part of the Year 2 kickoff because Amegadjie could be the first non-Power 5 prospect offensive player off the board. He’s that good on film at 6-foot-5 and 325 pounds with the second-longest arms among offensive linemen in the class. The Yale Bulldog blocker is a masher in the run game with plenty of athletic gifts, although he probably kicks inside to guard in the NFL. Honestly, I got serious Trey Smith vibes evaluating him, and Smith has been a rock for the Chiefs in their back-to-back Super Bowls. He’s bound for a monstrous payday next offseason, if not before.

News & Notes 📝
Inside how NFL teams handle draft month. We’re thrilled to have Shrine Bowl director Eric Galko contributing to the site over the next month, and as someone who works closely with NFL teams, he wrote an enlightening piece detailing the finishing touches teams put on their respective draft boards starting today.
Cowboys, Ezekiel Elliott have mutual interest in a reunion. Given the enormous extension Jerry Jones gave Elliott just a few years ago, and the owner’s long standing affinity for bell cow running backs, this should come as no surprise. And if these two link up, I wonder how much it alleviates Dallas’ need at running back in the 2024 draft. Hmmm.
Pro day workout incoming for NC State basketball star DJ Burns? The 11-seed Wolfpack have made a Cinderella run to the Final Four, and at the center of it all has been the 6-foot-9, 275-pounder, who scored 29 points in the upset over Duke in the Elite Eight. And the athleticism he’s demonstrated on the court has apparently drawn legitimate NFL interest.

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