As we get ready to enter the full swing of draft season with the combine slated to start next Tuesday, here is the first in a series of mock drafts I will be doing leading up to the actual NFL draft. While I do my best to slot players based on team need and value, feel free to tell me how wrong I got your team’s pick on Twitter @Tigga11.
1. Cleveland Browns – Myles Garrett DE Texas A&M
No need for the Browns to over think things here. They earned this pick and deserve to be rewarded with the best player in the draft. Garrett has all the tools to develop into one of the league’s premier pass rushers. While Cleveland has many holes including quarterback, Garrett just makes too much sense as the top pick.
2. San Francisco 49ers – Mitch Trubisky QB North Carolina
After giving Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch long term deals, thus seemingly willing to build from the ground up, the 49ers complete the trifecta here by selecting a young Quarterback to grow with their new head coach and GM. Trubisky will need time to develop no doubt, but if the San Francisco front office is indeed willing to give this team time to grown, taking a signal caller of the future makes sense.
3. Chicago Bears – Jamal Adams S LSU
In this particular scenario the Bears could have just watched their top quarterback go off the board. With a QB of the future on the top of the team’s wish list this offseason, they could reach for someone like Deshaun Watson or Patrick Mahomes. I decided to give them one of the best players in this year’s class in Jamal Adams. The safety from LSU will fill another major area of need for the Bears and be an impact playmaker in the back half of their defense.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars – Marshon Lattimore CB Ohio St.
The Jags shouldn’t be short on options here as I expect them to address the secondary or an edge rusher with the fourth pick. Malik Hooker may be an option, but his recent labrum surgery could push him down some draft boards. In Lattimore Jacksonville would get a potential shutdown corner to pair with last year’s top pick Jalen Ramsey, forming potentially one of the league’s best duos.
5. Tennessee Titans – Malik Hooker S Ohio St.
This pick was a toss up for me between secondary help and wide receiver, as the Titans could really use both. I weighed Malik Hooker against the top two wide receivers available, Mike Williams of Clemson and Corey Davis of Western Michigan. Take the recent surgery away and I think Hooker is the better player. Given the fact he is slated to be ready for the start of training camp, I think the Titans take the secondary help here and look to receiver later in the draft.
6. New York Jets – Leonard Fournette RB LSU
The Jets could go so many routes with this pick as they have needs at quarterback, corner, safety, edge and offensive line. However a player like Fournette could be a once in a generation type player. As the Dallas Cowboys demonstrated this past season, a strong running game can be a huge crutch to a young quarterback’s development. And the Jets have a whole bunch of young quarterbacks. Selecting someone like Watson here does little to solve their current QB situation in my opinion. Also seeing their potential top 3 secondary players come off the board could influence them to take the best player available in Fournette.
7. L.A. Chargers – Jonathan Allen DL Alabama
In this particular scenario need and BPA line up nicely for the Chargers. While I am sure they would like to add help at safety, the top two options are already gone. Another area of need, offensive tackle, doesn’t seem to have the talent worthy of a top 10 selection in this class. That leaves ‘Bama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen. Allen should fit well with last year’s first round pick Joey Bosa, while also shoring up the middle of the defense.
8. Carolina Panthers – Dalvin Cook RB Florida State
For some reason I have a strong gut feeling that the Panthers will take a running back early in this draft. Jonathan Stewart is always hurt and it is time that Cam Newton had a consistent threat out of the backfield. This class has two potential stars in Fournette and Cook and I think the latter would actually fit the Panther offense better due to his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Cook’s skill set next to Newton, Greg Olsen and former teammate Kelvin Benjamin would set him up nicely as an early rookie of the year favorite.
9. Cincinnati Bengals – Reuben Foster LB Alabama
The Bengals fill their top need here with one of my favorite players in this class, Reuben Foster. Foster fits the mold of what you think a typical linebacker would be. He also seems like he would fit in with the take no crap attitude the Cincinnati defense has come to be known for. Despite this attitude the Bengals have gotten a little soft up the middle in recent years and Foster would remedy that.
10. Buffalo Bills – Corey Davis WR Western Michigan
The Bills should have a couple of options here, and a lot of what they do I think depends on how the Tyrod Taylor situation pans out. If they do resolve the quarterback position before the draft, giving that signal caller another weapon here alongside Sammy Watkins seems plausible. That debate would most likely come down to Davis vs. Mike Williams. I went with the bigger body here in Davis as he adds more of a red zone threat.
11. New Orleans Saints – Marlon Humphrey CB Alabama
The Saints need help on all levels of their defense starting with cornerback. Humphrey is an aggressive corner, willing tackler as well as a good cover guy. I have seem some teams and draft scouts say that he may best be served as a safety in the NFL though. This type of position flex could be exactly what the Saints covet, especially if they move on from veteran Jairus Byrd.
12. Cleveland Browns – Deshaun Watson QB Clemson
After hopefully selecting their quarterback hunter of the next 10 years with the #1 overall pick, the Browns look to get a QB of their own here. Watson has proven himself to be a winner and play his best in the biggest games. His potential new coach Hue Jackson has proven to be a good mentor of young quarterbacks. The match could be one made in heaven for a franchise that so desperately needs to hit on a pick at the game’s most vital position.
13. Arizona Cardinals – Caleb Brantley DL Florida
The Cardinals could stand to lose massive defensive lineman Calais Campbell to free agency as the team has already said retaining Chandler Jones is a top priority. If Campbell walks, Brantley could fill the void. When healthy he has the ability to wreak havoc on an offense from the inside out.
14. Indianapolis Colts – Solomon Thomas DE/OLB Stanford
The Colts have done a poor job of surrounding Andrew Luck with much of anything in recent years. But I guess that is why their GM just got fired. With holes along the offensive line, at running back and all over the defense, Indy should be able to select the most impactful player on their board. With both top running backs gone, the Colts select Thomas who can be a versatile game changer all along the line or even possibly at outside linebacker in a 3-4.
15. Philadelphia Eagles – Mike Williams WR Clemson
The Eagles will surely try and revamp the weapons for their young franchise quarterback Carson Wentz this offseason. Mike Williams would provide just that. Arguably the best wide out in this year’s class, Williams rebounded nicely in 2016 after a scary neck injury cut his previous season short. Back to full health, he would be the perfect number one receiver for Wentz to grow with.
16. Baltimore Ravens – Adoree Jackson CB USC
I think the opinion among NFL teams is probably split about Jackson’s worth at the next level, but there is not denying his raw talent. Adoree is an explosive playmaker on special teams and even found some success on the offensive side of the ball while in college. There is still debate as to his ability to become a pure cover corner in the NFL. However, with his playmaking ability and rare athleticism I think some team will take a chance on him in the first round.
Predictions:: Way too early 2017 NFL predictions
17. Washington Redskins – Malik McDowell DL Michigan State
Washington will most likely look to sure up their defense early on in the 2017 draft. McDowell is an interesting case as some feel like he has the talent to be a top half of the first round pick. While others point out effort and character concerns that could push him out of the first round all together. Dan Snyder doesn’t seem the type to shy away from a gamble.
18. Tennessee Titans – Zach Cunningham LB Vanderbilt
The Titans addressed their need in the secondary with the fifth overall pick, and while I’m sure they hoped one of the top two wide receivers would be here at 18, that is not the case. Instead they continue to solidify the defense and take the in state product Cunningham to fill another need at linebacker.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Ryan Ramczyk OT Wisconsin
The Bucs surprised some people in 2016, fighting for a playoff spot late into the season. A majority of that run was inspired by the defense, so obviously a lot of Tampa’s needs this offseason are on the offensive side of the ball. They begin with protecting franchise QB Jameis Winston. Wisconsin has been know as an offensive lineman factory recently and Ramczyk should prove to be the next product.
20. Denver Broncos – Cam Robinson OT Alabama
Two teams needing offensive line help back to back could start a mini run of picks at the position. Denver takes a big tackle here from a big time program to fill their top offseason need. Also a consideration could be tight end O.J. Howard.
21. Detroit Lions – Taco Charlton DE Michigan
The Lions could look to add secondary help with this pick, however in this scenario I have them taking the in state product pass rusher in Charlton. The Lions have needs on all three levels of the defense so taking the best player on their board should fill a need regardless. Charlton would pair with Ezekiel Ansah to form a pair of young pass rushers.
22. Miami Dolphins – Derek Barnett DE Tennessee
There have been reports that the Dolphins are going to target pass rush help this offseason. Cutting the disappointing Mario Williams solidifies that prediction. Barnett would present tremendous value at this spot in the first round and may indeed be off the board in the top 15. The Dolphins should run their card to the podium in this scenario.
23. New York Giants – O.J. Howard TE Alabama
The Giants have not invested much in the tight end position in recent years, but that could all change in 2017. This class possess a couple of top tier tight ends one of which being O.J. Howard. Howard was limited a bit in Alabama’s offense, but has all the tools to develop into a top tight end at the next level.
24. Oakland Raiders – Teez Tabor CB Florida
Oakland fills arguably their biggest need in cornerback with this pick. While Tabor is not my favorite corner prospect in this year’s class, he has playmaking ability. Teez is a gambler and a risk to get beat deep on double moves, but all things he can improve upon at the next level.
25. Houston Texans – Jabrill Peppers ATH Michigan
I’m still not quite sure anyone knows where to slot Peppers, partly due to the fact we aren’t sure what position he will ultimately play. I gave Peppers to the Texans here with the thought process of with their pass rush, he could play a safety/linebacker combo position and roam the middle of the field making plays. Essentially he wouldn’t be stuck covering deep too often here. I think we will have a better idea of where Peppers may land after his combine workouts.
26. Seattle Seahawks – Forrest Lamp G Western Kentucky
The Seahawks could stand to upgrade multiple spots across the offensive line. In a year that early on seems light on top tier offensive line talent, Forrest Lamp is the best of the interior bunch. Seattle needs to address the line in some way shape or form if Russell Wilson is going to stay healthy in 2017 after a banged up 2016.
27. Kansas City Chiefs – Sidney Jones CB Washington
K.C. has one the game’s best young corners in Marcus Peters, then not much else behind him. The Chiefs look to duplicate their past success by selecting another top corner from the University of Washington, Sidney Jones. Some rate Jones as the top corner in this year’s extremely deep class.
28. Dallas Cowboys – Takkarist McKinley DE UCLA
Dallas has tried unsuccessfully the past few years to find that pass rusher they haven’t had since Demarcus Ware was in his prime. Whether it be Greg Hardy or Randy Gregory or Demarcus Lawrence, none have panned out like the team had envisioned. Until now. I am a big McKinley fan and ultimately believe he will be selected before Dallas is on the clock. However if he is there, the Joneses should sprint to get that card in.
29. Green Bay Packers – Quincy Wilson CB Florida
The Packers could very well look to grab a running back here, especially if they don’t resign Eddie Lacey. While I debated slotting someone like Alvin Kamara or Christian McCaffrey here, Wilson might just provide too much value. With Matt Ryan and company having their way through the air still fresh in Green Bay’s mind, they grab a potential #1 corner here to sure up the pass defense.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers – Charles Harris DE/OLB Missouri
Edge rusher is one of the Steelers biggest needs this offseason. James Harrison can only continue to defy father time for so long. Harris is the type of freak athlete that paired with youngster Bud Dupree could set Pittsburgh up to apply waves of pressure off the edge as they like to do for years to come.
31. Atlanta Falcons – Tim Williams – EDGE Alabama
The Falcons enter the offseason with some needs across the defensive line. Vic Beasley is a promising young pass rusher but they could use more. Tim Williams is arguably the best pure rusher off the edge in this year’s class, however he has multiple character concerns. Some reports have even suggested of Randy Gregory type issues. The talent is there though, and if everything checks out off the field, he should be a first round pick.
32. New England Patriots – Christian McCaffrey RB New England
Ok, I admit this is a bit of a lazy pick here. But I mean come on does this kid not scream Patriot? Before the Super Bowl I would buy the Pats taking a RB here a spec more, not to say they still won’t, just not as sold as I was before. But none of us know what New England will do, even less than any other NFL team. Other possible options include tight end David Njoku if they fail to bring back Martellus Bennett or secondary help if they see Logan Ryan leave.