The All-Surprise First-Round NFL Draft

It’s Draft Day and Chris Berman is the spirit animal of every football fan from Akron, OH to Zachary, LA. I’m watching “Draft Day” and despite the fact that a scenario like Kevin Costner’s fictional experience could never happen, what if it could? With that in mind, I decided to do an All-Surprise first-round mock. It won’t happen, but it sure would be fun if it did.

  1. Panthers – Everybody believes the pick here is Bryce Young, but that’s been nothing more than a smokescreen. Carolina goes EDGE instead and throws the entire draft into disarray. Devontae Mack, no matter what. The Pick: Will Anderson Jr.
  2. Texans Vikings – Houston really wants Young but instead trades this pick to the Vikings. Minnesota sends the No. 24 pick, their third-round pick, and a first in 2024 to the Texans. The Pick: Young
  3. Cardinals Broncos– Another trade! Quarterbacks are throwing the draft into chaos, but Arizona really wanted Anderson. They trade the pick to the Broncos, who give Arizona every selection they have this year, plus a first-rounder in 2024 for the next John Elway. The Cardinals get Nos. 67, 68, 108, 139, and 195. The Pick: Will Levis
  4. Colts – No one told Indianapolis that this is an all-surprise draft. Unfortunately, nobody told them about the poor test scores of their first-round choice, either. The Pick: C.J. Stroud
  5. Seahawks – No surprise here. Pete Carroll loves misfits and miscreants. Even a made-up draft can’t change that. The Pick: Jalen Carter
  6. Lions – Detroit wanted Anderson or Carter and neither is available. Trading down is an option but nobody really wants to pay for this pick. Additionally, the Lions have the No. 18 pick in a draft where there is little premium after the top 20 picks. The first offensive lineman goes off the board here. The Pick: Paris Johnson Jr. 
  7. Raiders – Every draft has at least one huge reach in the first round, and this one is no exception. Las Vegas needs a quarterback but shocks the TV analysts when Roger Goodell announces their selection. The Pick: Hendon Hooker – I mean, a player named “Hooker” in Vegas? Think of the tourism/marketing possibilities.
  8. Falcons – The Falcons always take the best player available and this time they get to fill a need by doing so. The most athletic QB in the entire draft is the low-hanging fruit. The Pick: Anthony Anderson
  9. Bears – Chicago has its own board, drafts by positional value, and assistant GM Ian Cunningham said that none of their top nine choices has a first-round grade. He also said the Bears will draft the best player available, regardless of position. The best player available here does not have a first-round grade? I don’t know what they’re smoking in their draft room, but I want some. The Pick: Bijan Robinson
  10. Eagles Chiefs– Philadelphia wanted to select Robinson but decides instead to throw down the gauntlet. They trade this pick to Kansas City and dare the Chiefs to beat them in a Super Bowl rematch. Philadelphia gets Nos. 32 and 63, and a first-round pick in 2024. The hometown crowd goes nuts with this selection. The Pick: Jaxon Smith-Njigba
  11. Titans – The folks in Tennessee are wondering why none of the heralded tackles except Johnson have been selected. They need a lot of help and ask Goodell if they can make two selections here “for the good of the game.” The commissioner denies the Titans, and they flip a coin to decide their choice. The Pick: Peter Skoronski
  12. Texans Bears – Everybody expects the Bears to eventually trade down, while Houston shocks the studio analysts with their utter refusal to stay in one spot. The Texans trade this pick to Chicago for the No. 53 this year and the No. 1 pick in 2024 that the Bears acquired in the D.J. Moore trade. The Pick: Darnell Wright
  13. Packers Jets – Green Bay feels bad that they fleeced the Jets in the Aaron Rodgers trade, so this is a straight one-for-one giveback, even though Green Bay desperately needs a left tackle. The Packers slide to No. 15, and New York is on the clock. Rodgers wants a playmaking wide receiver but will settle for another Darkness Retreat instead. The Pick: Broderick Jones
  14. Patriots – The cameras continue to focus on Tyree Wilson and his unexpected first-round slide. In the meantime, Bill Parcells is seen repeatedly muttering “crazy is as crazy does” with each pick previous to New England’s selection. The Pick: Wilson
  15. Jets Packers – Green Bay goes receiver here, declares him the team’s new WR1, and Christian Watson goes off to sulk with Rodgers in that 48-hour Darkness Retreat in upstate New York. The Pick: Zay Flowers
  16. Commanders – Washington is shocked that a defensive back has yet to be taken, but even with an easy layup, still finds a way to set their franchise back another five years. The Pick: Jake Haener
  17. Steelers Lions – Pittsburgh is still on the phone trying to trade with Chicago for the No. 9 pick, even though it is no longer available, before realizing their 10-minute window elapsed, giving the Lions No. 17 by default. The Pick: Devon Witherspoon
  18. Lions Steelers Buccaneers – Utter chaos and a lot of finger-pointing rules Pittsburgh’s draft room. They miss their 10-minute window again and now Tampa Bay is on the clock. The Pick: Michael Mayer
  19. Buccaneers Steelers Chargers – Pittsburgh still isn’t ready to make a selection, so they trade down and give No. 19 to the Chargers. The Pick: Jahmyr Gibbs
  20. Seahawks – Carroll is on the phone with the Washington State Prison looking to find a roommate for Carter, when he reverses course and takes the best player available. The Pick: Bryan Bresee
  21. Dolphins – Miami actually selects a player, but Goodell tells them they can’t participate because they didn’t play nicely last year. The extra time needed to sort out the entire mess benefits the Steelers, who pick next.
  22. Chargers Steelers – After two wasted slots and a half hour of nonsense and shenanigans, Pittsburgh finally chooses a player. The Pick: Joey Porter Jr., though the Steelers believe they have selected his father, who used to be the team’s linebackers coach.
  23. Ravens – The cameras continue to pan the draftees expected to go in the first round when Ray Lewis shoves Goodell out of the way and announces Baltimore’s selection. The Pick: Nolan Smith
  24. Vikings Texans Bears – Houston still feels that a last-second win on the final game of the season did not help Chicago enough in their rebuild efforts. Additionally, the Texans are completely averse to making a first-round selection this year, so they send it to the Bears for “future considerations.” Somewhere, Lovie Smith is smiling. The Pick: Lukas Van Ness
  25. Jaguars – The Steelers representatives thought the NFL was well into Round Two when security tries to stop Jack Lambert from approaching the podium with the next pick. Lambert takes out three guards but succumbs to a fourth, who is actually Dick Butkus in disguise. The Jaguars remain on the clock. The Pick: Deonte Banks
  26. Giants – There is no fun surrounding this franchise, and no surprises. The Giants are simply the NFL’s Artificial Intelligence engine. The Pick: Myles Murphy
  27. Cowboys – At this point, Jerry Jones is pissed off and demands the league to do a re-draft because he believes there is a conspiracy among NFL front offices to take every player he wanted. With all the drama of a final-round fantasy draft, Jones turns in cards for 12 previously selected players before he strikes gold with the 13th. The Pick: Calijah Kancey
  28. Bills Steelers – Buffalo asks to cede from the draft because they have no needs, but Goodell tells them that the best front offices are seen and not heard. The Bills reluctantly agree to play nicely, and then make a trade with the Steelers for their 2024 first-round pick, a bottle of Coke, and a Mean Joe Greene home jersey. The Steelers subsequently turn in their draft card with no time remaining on the clock. The Pick: Dalton Kincaid
  29. Bengals – It seems like Cincinnati always needs offensive linemen and this year is no exception. In fact, the Bengals actually believe they can win with an offense that consists of nine tackles, a center, and Joe Burrow. The Pick: Anton Harrison
  30. Saints – Few know that there is an NFL rule that states that the Saints have to pick at the end of the first round no matter how good or bad they were the previous season. That means, of course, picking just ahead of the Super Bowl entrants every year. Unfortunately, all of the Saints scouts have only been educated to accurately grade wide receivers and running backs. The Pick: Jordan Addison
  31. Eagles – Philadelphia doesn’t look at their picks as the final two selections of the first round. In an attempt to boost morale and season ticket sales, Philly markets these picks as the “top two of the second round” to the (by this point) heavily inebriated fanbase. Of course, the picks are sponsored by Dunkin’. The Pick: Keion White
  32. Chiefs Eagles – The Eagles are so good that their second of two first-round picks will not be good enough to make the team. Philadelphia petitions the NFL to label this selection “Mr. Irrelevant” but is denied. The Pick: Cedric Tillman
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