We are in the middle of a heated Final Four mock draft competition, there's only one thing to do at a time like this: Face a job well done and give the others some well-deserved praise.
As it stands, I am battling Jordan Reid while Joe Marino is going up against Kyle Crabbs in the second round of TDN’s Mock Madness. For the four of us who made it to Round 2, we were tasked with adding another round to the mock draft we submitted for the beginning of the competition.
With a handful of teams now selecting for the first time, it was a chance for us to win new fan bases over and gain their votes.
After looking at both rounds, these are my favorite hauls from their mocks.
Jordan Reid: Baltimore Ravens
- Round 1: Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
- Round 2: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
I had the Baltimore Ravens taking Clemson’s Tee Higgins at No. 28. Even though the first round is still a little too early for Higgins, he would complement Baltimore’s receiver room and the passing game in general for quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Linebacker is probably the biggest area of weakness for the Ravens. If they can secure a linebacker in Round 1 and still get Higgins, it would be a huge win. I loved that haul.
Kyle Crabbs: Los Angeles Rams
- Round 1: N/A
- Round 2: Willie Gay Jr., LB, Mississippi State
With no pick in the first round, the Los Angeles Rams needed to swing for the fences. Their needs on the offensive line are greater than the one at linebacker — although both are very pressing — and if a worth-while offensive lineman was still on the board that could be the pick here. However, by the second round, most of the high ceiling offensive linemen gone, and Kyle Crabbs had with the Rams "going for broke" with Willie Gay Jr.
Gay has had some issues that have kept him off the field, both from actions in games and off the field. When he is playing he has the potential of a very athletic linebacker. After losing linebacker Cory Littleton in free agency, Los Angeles’ linebacker room has to find p player that at least has the athleticism to play in coverage. Gay has that ability.
Joe Marino: Carolina Panthers
- Round 1: Javon Kinlaw, IDL, South Carolina
- Round 2: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
Recently on the Locked on NFL Draft podcast, myself, Benjamin Solak and The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue talked about the Carolina Panthers' roster and draft positions. Rodrigue discussed some of their big needs — linebacker, interior defensive line and in the secondary — but then hinted at the Panthers honing in on Javon Kinlaw in the first round, perhaps even at No. 7.
Kinlaw would be a great fit for Carolina, but it would likely come at the expense of a difference-making linebacker.
Well, not in Joe Marino's mock draft.
Marino worked his magic and somehow got the Panthers to take both Kinlaw and Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray. It’s the absolute dream for Carolina and fills two of its biggest needs with prospects talented enough to fill those holes and start right away.