The mock draft TDN’s Trevor Sikkema delivered was incredibly logical and I have very few gripes about it.
But there were some surprises and interesting details to highlight, in addition to one pick I didn’t understand. This week’s 6-pack digs into those matters.
I hope that this column has become a staple for you each week, but in case you are new, 6-Pack Thursday is my weekly brain dump on six football-related things that involve the NFL, college football or NFL draft.
Let's crack this thing open.
Favorite Pick: Andrew Thomas to the Buccaneers at No. 14
Offensive tackle is an obvious need for Tampa Bay and I absolutely love the Buccaneers landing Andrew Thomas without having to move up the board to secure him. With all the hype around Tristan Wirfs' historical NFL Scouting Combine performance, Mekhi Becton’s rare mobility for his size and Jedrick Wills’ dominant season at Alabama, Thomas is a forgotten man that is a top-10 value in most drafts.
Blessed with over 36-inch arms and a frame measuring 6-foot-5-inches and 315 pounds, Thomas was a three-year starter at Georgia. He had an outstanding combine performance and profiles as a plug-and-play offensive tackle in the NFL.
Biggest Surprise: Tua Tagovailoa to the Colts at No. 13
The rumblings about Tua Tagovailoa’s draft stock have been wild. He went from the potential first-overall pick to a player multiple teams would mortgage their future and trade with the Detroit Lions to move up to No. 3. Now there’s a belief that Justin Herbert and/or Jordan Love could get selected ahead of him. With so many possibilities, deciphering the truth is challenging but it appears we should be ready for anything.
If Tagovailoa tumbles down the board, it would be to the delight of the Indianapolis Colts at No. 13. In my view, that should be his absolute floor on draft day. Previously, it was inconceivable that Tagovailoa would get beyond the Miami Dolphins at No. 5, so much so that anywhere else feels like a major surprise.
Tell Me Why: Kenneth Murray Before Patrick Queen to the Raiders at No. 19
I am very much in favor of the Las Vegas Raiders investing one of their first-round picks on a linebacker, but given the choice between Kenneth Murray and Patrick Queen, I have a hard time settling on Murray as the better choice.
First things first, I like Murray and view him as a viable first-round selection but Queen is a better prospect. Murray has the size advantage, and they have similar athletic profiles but Queen is a superior processor both in the run game and in coverage drops. They both play with a hot motor with a high degree of physicality. If all things are equal, except Murray is larger and Queen has a superior football IQ, Queen has to be the pick in this scenario.
Sneaky Good Selection: Xavier McKinney to the Dolphins at No. 31
Four (4!) first-round picks for the Dolphins?!?! Some wheeling and dealing courtesy of a TDN’s Premium Membership has opened up a new world of possibilities.
I love the pairing of Xavier McKinney with Brian Flores and the Miami coaching staff. McKinney is coming off a dominant season where Alabama deployed him in deep zones, man coverage and playing close to the line of scrimmage — and he thrived. If Flores wants to replicate the match-up-specific utilization of defensive backs like he did in New England, adding McKinney allows for that to happen.
Best Value: Jonathan Taylor to the Titans at No. 29
I like Jonathan Taylor but I wouldn’t draft him in the first round and I’m not convinced he’s the best running back in the class. With that said, this is the best value in the first round and it comes down to money. If Taylor is the pick, then it means the Tennessee Titans did not extend Derrick Henry.
According to Over the Cap, the No. 29 pick is likely to get a deal in the range of $12.4 million across four years. Spotrac projects Henry’s market value to be four years and $55.3 million. If Tennessee were to apply the franchise tag to Henry, the cost is $12.4 million for one season.
Committing that type of money to a running back in today’s NFL is foolish and Henry’s punishing style of running makes it all the more concerning.
Exchanging Taylor for Henry allows the Titans to maintain the identity of their offense with a stylistically similar back that is younger and far less expensive. That’s value.
I Don’t Get It: Noah Igbinoghene over A.J. Terrell to the Chiefs at No. 32
I had a difficult time coming up with my selection for this category. Sikkema delivered a logical and well thought out scenario that didn’t leave much in the way of projections I can’t comprehend. And if you’ve read my mock draft critiques in the past, you know that I don’t have any problem calling out my coworkers for something that doesn’t make sense to me.
If I must take exception with one pick, it’s the Kansas City Chiefs opting for Noah Igbinoghene over A.J. Terrell. I agree with the idea of Kansas City taking a cornerback and especially one that thrives in man coverage as Sikkema detailed. Both have high ceilings but Terrell is a cleaner projection to the next level.
I like Igbinoghene, but he’s still new to playing cornerback and still finding his way in terms of processing and ball skills. Meanwhile, Terrell is experienced as a three-year contributor and two-year starter for Clemson’s championship-caliber defense. The Chiefs are in a Super Bowl window so choosing a project over a ready-to-contribute option confuses me.