Getty Images

One week to go until the NFL Draft, a time when players mysteriously rise and fall up the boards after months of hype in one direction or the other, and all that buzz, hype, whatever you want to call it, can get completely blown up or materialize out of nowhere on the day of the draft. 

A lot to digest there. But what I mean is -- why, all of a sudden, is Oregon center Jackson Powers-Johnson seemingly dropping? He was the "it" interior blocker in Round 1 after the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine. Now, he's becoming less prevalent in mock drafts. And that's just one example. 

John Breech is getting a well-deserved break for the time being as we've rebranded the Pick Six newsletter through the end of April. I, CBS Sports NFL Draft analyst Chris Trapasso, will be with you every step of the way. Honored. 

Before I begin with today's newsletter, this paragraph will be your daily reminder to tell all your buddies and that one friend who's adamant your team should trade down like five times to sign up for the With the First Pick newsletter. All you have to do is click here and then share this link with them.

1. Today's NFL mock draft 🔮: Patriots pick Maye, Seahawks boost defense with Verse

Getty Images

CBS Sports college football writer Tom Fornelli stepped up in crunch time -- as he tends to do -- with another mock draft, and it's fantastic. 

1. Chicago Bears -- Caleb Williams, QB, USC
2. Washington Commanders -- Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU
3. New England Patriots -- Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina
4. Arizona Cardinals -- Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Cardinals
5. Minnesota Vikings (via mock trade with Chargers) -- J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan
9. Chicago Bears -- Rome Odunze, WR, Washington
12. Washington Commanders (via mock trade with Broncos) -- Troy Fautanu, OT, Washington
16. Seattle Seahawks -- Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State
20. Pittsburgh Steelers -- Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State
24. Dallas Cowboys -- Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma 

So many new names in new cities in this mock. Like how about Fuaga falling all the way to the Steelers? Adore it. And GM Omar Khan would probably try to set the record for fastest time calling in a pick if the Oregon State tackle was available at No. 20. 

Verse to the Seahawks isn't a pairing I've seen often, but would be perfectly sensible. Mike McDonald probably wants more electricity at his edge-rusher spot than what's currently on Seattle's roster. Oh and I won't completely spoil who Tom ultimately has the Broncos picking late in the first round -- after a trade back into it -- but you can probably guess as the smart, well-educated NFL Draft nerd you are. 

2. 'With the First Pick' podcast 🎧: Pete Prisco joins to discuss draft sleepers

This episode appeared on CBS Sports Network, so you know it's worth the listen. If you missed it live, no worries. In it, Prisco joined to further detail his Better-Than Team with Rick Spielman and Ryan Wilson. Of course, there was some disagreement, but it all led to Rick and Ryan providing their Better-Than Teams as well. Basically, if you're sick and tired of hearing about the prospects bound to go inside the top 10 or even in the entire first round altogether, this is the episode for you. Sleepers galore. 

The last segment is the best one -- the guys talk about Rick's Better-Than Teams in real life. Remember, this is the GM who selected Danielle Hunter in the third round and Stefon Diggs in the fifth round. 

3. Prospect of the day 📈: Nathan Thomas, OT, Louisiana

Getty Images

You know the drill by now -- highly touted prospect one day, deep sleeper the next, and Thomas is officially one of my draft crushes in this class. He's large, with plenty of arm length and plays like he's a club bouncer dealing with a bunch of unruly and inebriated 21-year-olds. 

While strength can be built in the NFL, the naturally strong, well-balanced blockers are ahead of the curve entering the NFL, and that's precisely what Thomas is. After a shaky 2022, he cut his allowed pressures essentially in half in 2023 (from 25 to 12), and surrendered two or fewer pressures in all but one contest. 

I love his demeanor and how the aggression is mostly very controlled. Plus he has traits galore and an NFL offensive tackle frame right now. Heck, even if he isn't the steadiest blocker on the perimeter of the blocking unit, he can easily slide inside to guard where his power-based game can be accentuated. He's not a tremendous athlete, but has enough functional movement skills to make it in the NFL. If your team needs offensive line depth -- or maybe has a sneaky desire to upgrade the starter at either left or right tackle -- this is the blocker you want them to target in the middle portions of Day 3. 

  • Notable combine results: 25-inch vertical, 8-foot-11 broad
  • Combine measurements: 6-foot-5, 332 pounds
  • Current CBS Sports prospect ranking: No. 156 

4. Veterans who could impact Round 1 👀

Staffer Jeff Kerr wrote an important piece ahead of the start of the first round on Thursday, pinpointing the veterans who very much could have an affect on what transpires in the first round. Do the Bengals draft a receiver to eventually replace Tee Higgins? Do they trade the wideout while they're on the clock? 

How about Brandon Aiyuk. Same deal with him. Jeff also features a defensive player, a quarterback, another receiver and an offensive tackle. While our brains have been inundated with information and film of collegiate prospects for the last two months, we mustn't forget about those already established NFL veterans with uncertain futures who may very well impact what happens on draft weekend. 

5. News & Notes 📝

Getty Images