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Way-Too-Early 2025 NFL Mock Draft: James Pearce Jr. goes No. 1 to the Panthers | NFL Draft | PFF

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• The Panthers take James Pearce Jr. first: Carolina finds its Brian Burns replacement in the Tennessee edge defender.

• The Buccaneers grab Travis Hunter: The Colorado cornerback/wide receiver lands in Tampa Bay.

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This one is for the true sickos.

The 2024 NFL Draft is barely in the rearview, but here’s our way-too-early mock draft for 2025. The pick order is based on Super Bowl 59 odds.


1. Carolina Panthers: EDGE James Pearce Jr., Tennessee

After trading away Brian Burns, the Panthers find their next athletic edge rusher in Pearce. The sophomore’s 21.3% pressure rate ranked third among college football edge defenders, as did his 92.4 pass-rush grade. The scariest part is that he won almost exclusively off athleticism against SEC tackles. If Pearce develops more pass-rushing moves, watch out.


2. New England Patriots: T Will Campbell, LSU

The Patriots threw multiple darts at the 2024 offensive line class, but they currently lack a franchise left tackle. LSU’s Will Campbell appears fully capable of filling that void. He has posted an 82.2 overall grade across his first two seasons in Baton Rouge.


3. Denver Broncos: DI Mason Graham, Michigan

The Broncos need a true difference-maker on their defensive line. Denver’s edge defenders and interior defensive linemen combined for the fifth-lowest grade in the league. Enter Graham. He was one of only two interior defensive linemen in college football to finish with top-10 grades as both a pass rusher and run defender (T’Vondre Sweat was the other). He’s a nearly complete player who could rival Jalen Carter and Quinnen Williams as a prospect next April.


4. Tennessee Titans: CB Will Johnson, Michigan

Tennessee selects the top cornerback in the draft, Michigan’s Will Johnson. Johnson has been incredible in Ann Arbor, shutting down some of the best receivers in the country. He has earned a fantastic 86.3 single-coverage grade over the last two years.


5. New York Giants: QB Carson Beck, Georgia

The first quarterback comes off the board. Beck’s 91.5 grade in 2023 ranked fourth among college football quarterbacks. He plays with precise timing and accuracy and could be New York’s quarterback of the future with Daniel Jones seemingly on his last legs there.


6. Washington Commanders: T Kelvin Banks Jr., Texas

Like New England, Washington spent multiple picks in the 2024 NFL Draft in search of solutions on the offensive line. They also kick off their 2025 draft by selecting a franchise left tackle, Kelvin Banks Jr. He allowed just one sack and one quarterback hit en route to an 86.8 pass-blocking grade in 2023.


7. Arizona Cardinals: DI Deone Walker, Kentucky

Walker is a true alien. He is 6-foot-6 and 348 pounds and led all FBS interior defensive linemen in pressures (51) this past season. He is incredibly agile for a player that size and has the sheer strength to ragdoll offensive linemen. The Cardinals didn’t select a true defensive tackle in the 2024 NFL Draft despite that being one of their bigger needs, so Walker makes the most sense here.


8. Minnesota Vikings: CB Benjamin Morrison, Notre Dame

Minnesota made nice mid-round cornerback selections over the past two years. Here, they take a top-tier talent in Notre Dame’s Benjamin Morrison. He posted an 84.6 coverage grade in 2023, breaking up eight passes and intercepting three more along the way.


9. Las Vegas Raiders: QB Shedeur Sanders, Colorado

The Raiders didn’t select a quarterback in the 2024 NFL Draft despite having Gardner Minshew and Aidan O’Connell as their current starting options. Here, they go with Sanders, the current favorite (+100) at DraftKings Sportsbook to be the No. 1 overall pick. He is an advanced processor who earned the third-best clean-pocket passing grade (92.9) in college football this past season. The only two who were higher were the first two picks in 2024 — Caleb Williams and Jayden Daniels.


10. Seattle Seahawks: EDGE Nic Scourton, Texas A&M

Texas A&M’s Nic Scourton is an elite edge-rushing presence that Seattle desperately needs. He finished 2023 inside the top 10 in pass-rush grade (90.9) and pass-rush win rate (21.2%). He is a perfect complement to the Seahawks’ 2024 first-round pick, Byron Murphy II.


11. New Orleans Saints: WR Luther Burden III, Missouri

The Saints were the second-worst team in the league this past season in yards after the catch per reception (4.5 yards). Burden would help fix that immediately. His 725 yards after the catch were the third most among FBS receivers this past season. While many after-the-catch receivers get unfairly compared to Deebo Samuel, Burden may deserve it.


12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB/WR Travis Hunter, Colorado

The Buccaneers opt for the best player available in Colorado’s Travis Hunter. Hunter is a freak of nature with his ability to play at a near-elite level at wide receiver and cornerback. He earned a 78.9 receiving grade and a 74.7 coverage grade in 2023.


13. Indianapolis Colts: S Malaki Starks, Georgia

The Colts entered the 2024 NFL Draft with their biggest need being a secondary player and didn’t select a defensive back until the fifth round. Starks would be a major step in the right direction for the team. He is an outstanding run defender, tackler and coverage player who also boasts elite athleticism for the position. Starks ranked in the top 10 among Power Five safeties in both forced incompletions (tied for sixth) and run-defense grade (seventh) in 2023.


14. Pittsburgh Steelers: WR Tetairoa McMillan, Arizona

Arizona’s Tetairoa McMillan could be the best receiver in college football in 2024. He has a Mike Evans-esque frame and finished 2023 with an 89.1 receiving grade and nearly 1,400 receiving yards. McMillan paired with George Pickens and Roman Wilson would create a dynamic receiving corps in Pittsburgh.


15. Los Angeles Rams: S Kevin Winston Jr., Penn State

The Rams selected Kamren Kinchens in the third round, but they could still stand to add another safety, with Kamren Curl on just a two-year contract. Winston is as sure of a tackler as they come, as his 2% missed tackle rate ranked second among all college football safeties. He also was the only FBS safety with 85.0-plus grades in coverage and run defense.


16. Jacksonville Jaguars: CB Tacario Davis, Arizona

Davis is a ballhawk with freakish length who would create an excellent cornerback combo with Tyson Campbell. Davis earned an excellent 85.9 coverage grade in 2023, breaking up 12 passes in the process. He could be the next Tariq Woolen.


17. Cleveland Browns: LB Harold Perkins, LSU

Perkins is going to be a fascinating prospect to follow. While he has elite pass-rushing ability, he is too small to play edge defender full time (6-foot-1 and 220 pounds). As a true off-ball linebacker this past season, he struggled as a run defender but flashed in coverage (81.1 coverage grade). Perkins is more of a defensive chess piece than a pure linebacker, but he could shine in Jim Schwartz’s defense alongside Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, assuming the team retains him once his contract expires.


18. Los Angeles Chargers: TE Colston Loveland, Michigan

Loveland is TE1 in 2024 and reunites here with Jim Harbaugh in Los Angeles. Loveland finished 2023 with the 10th-best receiving grade and the fifth-most receiving yards in college football. He returns to the Wolverines as their top receiving threat and should see plenty of targets during Michigan’s quest to repeat as national champions.


19. Chicago Bears: EDGE Jack Sawyer, Ohio State

The Bears’ offense is set for the future after the team selected Caleb Williams and Rome Odunze in the top 10 of the 2024 NFL Draft. Fifth-round pick Austin Booker is an intriguing developmental edge defender, but Chicago should still look to add more talent opposite Montez Sweat. Sawyer is an extremely well-rounded player as the only FBS edge to have earned 85.0-plus grades as a pass rusher and a run defender in 2023.


20. Houston Texans: DI Kenneth Grant, Michigan

The Texans aren’t missing much on their defense, but defensive tackle stands out as a potential weakness. Michigan’s Kenneth Grant is a potential solution. He earned an 80.4 overall grade last season. He and Mason Graham could be the best interior pair in college football next season.


21. New York Jets: WR Emeka Egbuka, Ohio State

Egbuka entered 2023 as the second-best wide receiver draft prospect, behind his teammate Marvin Harrison Jr. While Harrison went wire-to-wire as WR1, Egbuka’s injuries combined with his down season forced him to return for his senior year. He’s a smooth route runner who is excellent at finding the soft spots in zone coverage. New York’s receiver room is set for 2024, but Mike Williams is on only a one-year deal.


22. Atlanta Falcons: EDGE Abdul Carter, Penn State

Atlanta took a high-quantity approach to their defensive line in the 2024 NFL Draft. In 2025, they could add a dynamic pass rusher like Penn State’s Abdul Carter. Carter earned a 90.3 pass-rush grade as an off-ball linebacker, but he will move to the edge this season. Comparisons to Micah Parsons will be plentiful over the next year.


23. Miami Dolphins: DI Howard Cross III, Notre Dame

After losing Christian Wilkins in free agency, the Dolphins were expected to address the interior defensive line in the 2024 NFL Draft, potentially as early as the first round. Instead, Miami looked elsewhere and went the entire draft without selecting a defensive tackle. Cross is on the smaller side at 6-foot-1 and 284 pounds, and is a sixth-year senior, but he was one of the most productive interior defenders in college football this past season. His 90.8 grade in 2023 trailed only T’Vondre Sweat, Byron Murphy II and Mason Graham among FBS defensive tackles.


24. Green Bay Packers: CB Jabbar Muhammad, Oregon

Muhammad is a feisty ballhawk at cornerback who could be the right player to start opposite Jaire Alexander. He earned an 86.7 coverage grade over the last two seasons, breaking up 21 passes along the way.


25. Dallas Cowboys: QB Quinn Ewers, Texas

Dak Prescott is in the final year of his contract, and all indications are that he’ll play this season without an extension. While still relatively raw, Ewers has a high ceiling and posted an 85.6 passing grade this past season. Jerry Jones finds his quarterback of the future and keeps Ewers in the Lonestar State, where he was born and raised.


26. Philadelphia Eagles: WR Evan Stewart, Oregon

Stewart battled through injuries at Texas A&M last season, but he has a chance to have a huge season at Oregon. The former top-10 recruit earned a 73.7 receiving grade as a sophomore. He is a terrific route runner and, when healthy, has shown an ability to make tacklers miss. The Eagles take a chance on a potentially dynamic weapon to fill out their receiver room.


27. Cincinnati Bengals: RB Ollie Gordon II, Oklahoma State

Cincinnati traded away Joe Mixon, leaving Zack Moss and Chase Brown in the team’s running back room. The Bengals dip into what appears to be a loaded 2025 running back class and take the reigning Doak Walker Award winner. Gordon led the nation with 1,732 rushing yards this past season despite receiving only 19 carries in his first three games and running behind the nation’s 103rd-ranked run-blocking offensive line.


28. Buffalo Bills: CB Denzel Burke, Ohio State

Buffalo takes a swing on a cornerback with Ohio State’s Denzel Burke. He earned a career-high 81.7 coverage grade in 2023. He plays well in both man and zone coverage and adds solid talent to the Bills’ cornerback room after they spent this offseason searching for help at safety.


29. Detroit Lions: EDGE JT Tuimoloau, Ohio State

The Lions didn’t select an edge defender in the 2024 NFL Draft even though they can upgrade at the spot opposite of Aidan Hutchinson. Tuimoloau has been frustratingly inconsistent (74.5 grade in 2023) but has first-round tools and flashes dominance (see: 2022 tape against Olu Fashanu and Penn State).


30. Baltimore Ravens: WR Tre Harris, Ole Miss

Baltimore smartly added Devontez Walker in this year’s draft, but Tre Harris gives them a potentially dominant perimeter weapon. He posted the sixth-best receiving grade in college football last season and finished 10th in yards per route run. He has shown that he can be the best player on the field and would add a vertical element to Baltimore’s offense.


31. San Francisco 49ers: T Jonah Savaiinaea, Arizona

Even after selecting Dominick Puni in the third round, the 49ers should keep adding to their offensive line. Savaiinaea has work to do as a run blocker, but he has intriguing tools in pass protection. Since 2022, his 80.0 pass-blocking grade on true pass sets places in the 90th percentile among offensive tackles.


32. Kansas City Chiefs: TE Mitchell Evans, Notre Dame

The Chiefs select the heir apparent to Travis Kelce. Evans was dominant in South Bend last season before tearing his ACL, posting an 83.7 receiving grade. If he recovers well from his injury, he could compete with Colston Loveland to be the first tight end off the board.

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