The Student News Site of Columbia Heights High School

The Heights Herald

The Student News Site of Columbia Heights High School

The Heights Herald

The Student News Site of Columbia Heights High School

The Heights Herald

The first-ever Heights Herald NFL Mock Draft

The Sports Editor for Columbia Heights High School’s paper of record offers a skewed view on what should have gone down
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The Heights Herald’s Jalue Dorjee imagines a world where he’s the NFL’s gatekeeper.

Ah yes, it is that time of the year again — the NFL draft. Each team in the National Football League selects a prospect from college with a total of 257 players in seven rounds selected and brought aboard or sent to various teams. A series of trades consisting of draft picks, players or future prospects happen every draft. Every fan around the league hopes for their team to select a certain player. The hype for the draft builds up for months and weeks before it actually happens. This year marks the first-ever Heights Herald NFL Mock Draft. With my expertise (satire) in football knowledge, and a mind that’s better than most NFL general managers (also satire), please sit back and enjoy the venerable Heights Herald Sports Editor’s preferred draft for this year’s draft. 

  • Chicago Bears: Caleb Williams (QB, Southern California)

The Bears will fill a void in their quarterback position by drafting the generational talent Caleb Williams. Williams will be surrounded by the talented stars of D.J. Moore, Keenan Allen, Cole Kmet and D’andre Swift. Being put in such a good position will allow Williams to progress and be the most successful quarterback in Bears’ history.

  • Washington Commanders: J.J. McCarthy (QB, Michigan)

After a dinner with quarterback J.J. McCarthy, as well as witnessing his amazing performance at his Pro-day, Washington’s front office wouldn’t dare to pass him up. McCarthy who recently led the Michigan Wolverines to a National Championship is a natural-born leader, as well as a dual-threat quarterback with crazy accuracy. McCarthy will be the perfect franchise quarterback for Washington’s reboot under Coach Dan Quinn. 

  • Patriots → Vikings: Drake Maye (QB, North Carolina)

The Vikings are arguably the best situation for a young quarterback like Draye Maye. Being surrounded by the best wide receiver in the league in Justin Jefferson and many others, as well as having an offensive genius head coach, Maye will no doubt flourish in Minnesota.

  • Cardinals: Marvin Harrison Jr. (WR, Ohio State)

Head Coach Jonathan Gannon stated publicly that there is “no doubt” that Murray will be the starter heading into 2024, so it’s time for Arizona to build around him. With the recent departure of wide receiver Hollywood Brown, the Cardinals need to find a true first-choice wide receiver for Murray. Marvin Harrison, Jr. was no doubt the best receiver in college football and is the only correct option for Arizona to make.

  • Chargers → Raiders*: Jayden Daniels

Raiders will trade up to the fifth-overall pick and select quarterback Jayden Daniels. Gardener Minshew and Aiden O’Connell are not long-term quarterbacks, allowing Daniels to get the opportunity to play with wide receiver Davante Adams. Rookie head coach Antonio Pierce had recruited Daniels at Arizona State, so this pair goes way back. Daniels will be the perfect quarterback as both a pocket passer and a scrambler — his talent will definitely boost the Raiders’ rankings up the charts.

  • Giants: Malik Nabers (WR, LSU)

With almost 1600 yards with 14 touchdowns, Malik Nabers will provide the much-needed juice in the Giants’ offense. Obviously, the Giants were one of the worst teams last year and although quarterback play does not go unmentioned, they still need all the help they can get. Nabers will be an absolute stud and a total playmaker in New York.

  • Titans: Joe Alt (OT, Notre Dame)

The Titans’ offensive line ranked dead last in Pro Football Focus’s rankings last year. With the majority of their free agency signings being skill positions, Joe Alt (whose father, believe it or not, is an alum of Columbia Heights High School) would be a key stepping stone for the Titans’ offensive line. At a whopping 6 feet 7 inches and 322 pounds, Alt was the best offensive tackle in college football and only gave up four sacks in four whole years. Alt will be a key player for the Titans next year.

  • Falcons: Dallas Turner (Edge, Alabama)

Atlanta’s sack leaders Calais Campbell and Bud Dupree still sit in free agency, and even though they signed key players, they have yet to make a move for a pass rusher. That’s where Dallas Turner comes in. The most complete defensive player in the draft, Turner will flip the Falcons’ lackluster pass rush reputation and will terrorize opposing quarterbacks.

  • Bears: Rome Odunze (WR, Washington)

With two picks in the top 10, the Bears will pair first-overall pick Caleb Williams with superstar wide receiver Rome Odunze. Odunze will get the opportunity to learn from the veteran Keenan Allen, as well as pair with the stud D.J. Moore. Odunze and Williams will be a great duo for years to come.

  • Jets: Brock Bowers (TE, Georgia)

New York addressed its need for a tackle by signing Tyron Smith. The best option now would be the Georgia Bulldogs’ tight end, Brock Bowers. At 6 feet 4 inches and 240 pounds, Bowers would be a great addition to the Jets’ offense and another weapon for Aaron Rodgers to throw to.

  • Patriots** (trade from Vikings): Olu Fashanu (OT, Penn State)

Ideally, the Patriots would take a quarterback here, but since the big three (Williams, Maye, Daniels) are off the board, New England will address the need at tackle. The All-American tackle from Penn State will be the perfect replacement for the recently departed Trent Brown. At a whopping 6’6, Fashanu will be a brick wall for whoever chooses to sling the rock next year.

  • Broncos: Bo Nix (QB, Oregon)

Bo Nix finished his collegiate career with a phenomenal season racking up 4500 yards and 45 touchdowns to only three interceptions. A dark horse quarterback for most other mock drafts, the pinpoint accurate Nix will be a perfect fit for the Broncos and will develop under a coach who is known for developing quarterbacks in Sean Payton.

  • Chargers** (Trade from Vikings): Brian Thomas Jr. (WR, Louisiana State)

The Chargers traded away Keenan Allen and lost Mike Williams in free agency. In order to win, they need to surround their franchise quarterback Justin Herbert with weapons. A big body receiver like Brian Thomas Jr. would be a great way to kick that off. Thomas had almost 1200 yards with double-digit touchdowns at Louisiana State (LSU). His hard work in college will surely translate to the big leagues.

  • Saints: Tailese Fuaga (OT, Oregon State)

Concerns about Ryan Ramczyk’s knee, Trevor Penning’s character and more should linger in the minds of the Saints’ front office. That is why Fuaga should be the ideal pick for them. Fuaga is a huge man at 6 feet 6 inches and 340 pounds, with an amazing ability to mirror any move from an edge rusher, as well as impressive athleticism and pass protection that will no doubt protect Derek Carr next year.

  • Colts → Cardinals*: Byron Murphy II (DT, Texas)

In the third trade in this mock draft, the Arizona Cardinals will trade up from pick 27 to select Byron Murphy from the University of Texas. Even “lackluster” might be overexaggerating how poor Arizona’s defensive line currently is – henceforth the reason for trading up and selecting Murphy. Murphy was the mitochondria of the defense down in Texas, dominating and acting as the team’s energy source in practically every game he played. He will no doubt bring the same vitality from Texas into Arizona.

  • Seahawks: Jer’Zhan Newton (DT, Illinois)

Adding some help onto their defensive line, Seattle will take Johnny Newton from Illinois. Newton had a constant motor on during his time in Illinois and punished opposing offensive linemen. He chose not to perform at the NFL combine but comes off an impressive season. Newton will be a key player of this Seattle defense and will be one of the key players for rookie head coach Mike MacDonald’s team.

  • Jaguars: Quinyon Mitchell (CB, Toledo)

Jacksonville’s cornerback depth looks thin, but with an opportunity to grab such a powerful corner in Quinyon Mitchell, they will no doubt take him with the 17th overall pick. He’s every defensive coordinator’s dream corner – long, quick and has a great burst of speed. His ability to mirror receivers and recover if he’s beat off the line due to his speed will help the Jaguars’ secondary tremendously. 

  • Bengals → Bills*: Adonai Mitchell (WR, Texas)

Trading away Stefon Diggs for a bag of chips to the Texans might have not been the brightest of ideas that the Bills’ front office came up with. Their wide receiver depth chart right now is Curtis Samuel, Khalil Shakir and Mack Hollins. If the Bills want to make a big push in the playoffs, they really need to get Josh Allen some weapons. In this mock draft, Buffalo trades up the 18th overall pick and selects AD Mitchell; a big-body, freak-of-nature wide receiver who can beat any corner lined up in front of him. The Bills get their number one receiver in AD Mitchell.

  • Rams: Laitu Latu (Edge, California-Berkeley)

It’s no doubt that the Rams are targeting a pass-rusher in this year’s draft, and luckily for them, they don’t need to move up to grab one. With the 19th overall pick, the Rams select Latu from UCLA. Latu put up really good numbers in UCLA as well as being versatile, flexible and good with his hands, so Latu will give the Rams a great pass rush. 

  • Steelers: Jackson Powers-Johnson (Center, Oregon)

There are so many holes in this roster that this team could honestly go with any of the remaining players left in the draft, but here in this mock version, they take center Powers-Johnson from Oregon. Powers-Johnson comes off a huge season as well as winning the Rimington Award (for the nation’s best center). With center being a weak position last year, Powers-Johnson will be a great center and a key player for their offense.

  • Dolphins: Cooper DeJean (Cornerback, Iowa)

A pretty solid secondary and perfect corner that will play in the slot and outside, Dejean has the skill and speed to be a great corner for the Dolphins. A stud at the slot and the outside, the speedster who runs a 4.4 will be huge for the Miami secondary. 

  • Eagles: Graham Barton (Interior Offensive Lineman, Duke)

With the departure of future Hall of Fame center Jason Kelce, Philadelphia will need to fill the void. Although Barton played a different position at Duke, many analysts and experts say center will likely be his position in the big leagues. Barton will have big shoes to fill in order to replace Kelce, but Howie Roseman will make the right decision (in this fantasy world).

  • Patriots** (trade with Vikings): Jared Verse (Edge, Florida State)

“Games are won in the trenches” is a common saying in the football world. Instead of New England drafting their franchise quarterback, they’ll wait another year and instead load up in the draft with both offensive and defensive linemen. With already drafting arguably the best offensive lineman earlier at 11, the Patriots will draft the fast and strong edge rusher Verse from Florida State. Verse can be seen as a “one trick pony,” but his bull rush and speed would be a deadly force for the New England defensive line. 

  • Cowboys: JC Latham (Tackle, Alabama) 

This upcoming season will be a vital year for Mike McCarthy. Unfortunately, they have made about 0 moves in free agency and ended up losing their star veteran offensive tackle. One of the giants in this draft, Latham has a 6 feet 6 inches frame and weighs almost 360 pounds — no doubt he will be a great replacement for Tyron Smith. The Crimson Tide is known for producing great offensive linemen in the NFL, so this should be a no-brainer.

  • Packers: Tyler Nubin (Safety, Minnesota)

One of the hottest teams in the league, the Packers are a young team led by a young coach – and besides Xavier McKinney, the safety room seems thin. Nubin will be the perfect fit for the cheeseheads and will pair nicely with McKinney. Jaire Alexander, Eric Stokes, Xavier McKinney and now Tyler Nubin. The future of Green Bay’s secondary seems absolutely set.

  • Buccaneers → 49ers*: Troy Fautanu (Tackle, Washington)

The superteam of the San Francisco 49ers are absolutely set…besides the tackle position. Fautanu is no doubt one of the best tackles in this draft, and many experts label him as a cut copy of Joe Alt — besides the fact that he’s shorter. Fautanu had a great career at Washington, but unfortunately, he falls, well, short because of his height. His fast, versatile speed with great hands and great pass protection will be the perfect reason why the 49ers should trade up to draft him, though.

  • Colts** (trade from Cardinals): Terrion Arnold (Cornerback, Alabama)

With needed support for their cornerback room, the Colts can draft arguably the best corner in the draft even after trading down. Arnold has great speed along with amazing technique as well as being an absolute freak of an athlete overall. The Colts will benefit greatly with him in the secondary.

  • Bengals** (Trade from Bills)→ Chiefs: Xavier Worthy (WR, Texas)

Cincinnati already traded down once, but here they go again. Kansas City trades up to pick 28 and selects an absolute speedster in Worthy, who ran the fastest 40-yard dash in combine history at a 4.21, but along with speed, his route running ability as well as being a deep threat will provide Mahomes the much-needed talent three-peat. 

  • Lions: Kool-Aid McKinstry (Corner, Alabama)

Even with the all-around impressive team, the secondary was a huge issue for the Detroit Lions last year. Giving up deep balls and making coverage issues were very common for them last year. Luckily,  McKinstry falls right into their lap and with the 29th pick, the Lions go corner. Not only does he have a cool first name (birth name “Ga’Quincy”), he’s fast, athletic and a very polished corner – with superb coaching by Nick Saban – McKinstry will go on to be a great player for years to come in the Motor City. 

  • Ravens: Amarius Mims (Tackle, Georgia)

This is the perfect fit for Baltimore. No need to trade up or down, and the Ravens clearly have a need for a tackle, so they should select the biggest offensive lineman on the board: Mims. A 6 feet 7 inches and 340 pound left tackle from Georgia, he’ll be paired up with Ravens offensive coordinator Todd Monken who was also offensive coordinator at Georgia during his time. No need for an explanation — Mims is a super-talented and huge player who shouldn’t be moving at the rate he moves for how big he is. Here’s another weapon for Lamar Jackson and the perfect blocker for the Ravens offense.

  • Buccaneers** (trade with 49ers): Chop Robinson (Edge, Penn State)

Since Turner, Latu and Verse were already off the board, the Bucs didn’t need to force Robinson at pick 26. In this mock draft, the Bucs trade down with the 49ers, get some sort of draft compensation and draft the same player they would have at 26. With rare explosiveness, Robinson will provide the Bucs with a great pass rush for many years.

  • Bengals (trade with Bills and Chiefs): Tyler Guyton (Tackle, Oklahoma)

Having signed Trent Brown this offseason, Joe Burrow’s two tackles are both of if not the biggest men in the NFL. At 6 feet 7 inches, Orlando Brown, as well as Trent Brown at 6 feet 8 inches, will watch over Burrow and be his personalized bodyguards. But as good as Brown is, he’s already 31 years old. In this draft, the Bengals take a long-term tackle in Guyton. At 6 feet 7 inches and 350 pounds, along with pure athleticism and not having let up a single sack in 350 snaps, Guyton is one of the more underrated tackles in the draft class, but he’ll be a perfect fit for the Bengals.

There are clearly huge playmakers and many studs in this draft class. With each selection, each franchise will select a franchise or depth player in this alternate universe. With talent all across the board across various positions, the NFL draft sets an exciting stage for fans, experts, front offices and the players themselves to sit back and watch to see what their team ultimately does.

The real NFL draft has concluded already, but hey, a guy can dream.

Trade Key:

*after a trade up
**after a trade down

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