Todd McShay still is all in on the quarterbacks in his first post-NFL Combine mock draft. But the order shifted as did the teams projected to take them.
We write this with the caveat that everything can change. Players now will participate in on-campus pro days. There will be team visits. And scouts also are in the middle of evaluating all the details gleaned from the week-long Combine in Indianapolis.
Here’s how Todd McShay explained his thinking:
“This edition of predictions begins with a pair of trades early in Round 1, including a move for one team up to No. 1 overall. Four quarterbacks come off the board in the top nine picks; that matches what I projected in my last mock, but the order of the QBs and a few of the landing spots have changed. Who were the biggest risers from their combine performances?”
It is sort of an odd draft. Quarterbacks always are a priority at the top. But the Chicago Bears, who own the top pick, don’t appear to be in the QB market. The Bears likely will stick with Justin Fields, their first-rounder from 2021.
So what does Todd McShay think will happen at No. 1? Indianapolis trades up from their fourth spot with the Bears. McShay thinks the Colts will offer the Bears the No. 4 pick, a second-rounder, a fifth-rounder and possibly even a first-round selection from next year.
And all this will be for Alabama’s Bryce Young. The star Crimson Tide QB didn’t work out in Indy. However, he created a buzz with his measurements. Teams pondered whether he’s heavy enough to sustain blows from an NFL defense.
“Three of the top QBs worked out at the combine, but Young wasn’t one of them,” Todd McShay wrote. “No matter. He’s still not only the top quarterback on my board but also the top overall prospect. Young has elite pocket presence and poise, delivering strikes to every level of the field.”
And now we start a quarterback run. The Texans, with the second pick, nab Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud, who had a near-perfect throwing session Saturday morning in Indy. McShay wrote: “Stroud has terrific touch and can make all of the NFL-level throws, and we saw it again on Saturday when he put together an outstanding throwing session at the combine.”
Arizona, at No. 3, goes defense, picking Alabama linebacker Will Anderson. Then at No. 5, McShay anticipates that the Bears trade down again to collect some more picks.
And here comes the big shocker. The Raiders secure the fourth selection to draft Florida’s Anthony Richardson, who was the athletic star of the combine. This is such a typical Raiders kind of move. Richardson wowed with this athleticism, but he still has questions about his QB skills.
“His physical traits are exciting,” Todd McShay wrote. “And if coach Josh McDaniels can work with him on his footwork and accuracy, the sky’s the ceiling.”
The Seahawks select Texas Tech defensive end Tyree Wilson with the fifth pick. Wilson didn’t work out at the combine, so scouts will need to travel to Lubbock, Texas for Tech’s Pro Day.
At 6, the Lions opt for cornerback Christian Gonzalez. The former Oregon Duck wowed at the Combine, running a sizzling 4.38-second 40-yard dash. He also turned in a 41.5-inch vertical.
The Bears finally select and they take a home-state guy. It’s guard/tackle Peter Skoronski of Northwestern. The Falcons, at No. 8, will bring Georgia outside linebacker Nolan Smith to Atlanta.
And at No. 9, Carolina secures the fourth quarterback of the day — Kentucky’s Will Levis. The ex-Wildcat also had a fantastic throwing day at the Combine. But he still dropped behind Richardson in this Todd McShay mock.
McShay had another shocker in the top 10. He projects the Eagles, with a pick via the Saints, will select Texas Longhorn running back Bijan Robinson.
For the rest of the McShay mock, click it here.