We are getting very close to the night of the NFL Draft. In 8 days we will have the final answer as to what is going on in the draft world, and how teams view the prospects that we debate constantly. But this is obviously the most comprehensive, most correctly, definitely 100% righto mock draft you will read. Go check it out and tell me how wrong I am on twitter. (FULL DISCLOSURE: the Patriots are probably getting a first round pick but we’re gonna roll with this for now)
1. Cleveland Browns – EDGE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
People seem to be very intrigued and amazed by Garrett’s skill set, or very underwhelmed. I would say he really falls somewhere in between those two on the scale. He’s not this all-time great that some are hyping him up to me, but the truth is he’s a very good pass rusher. His problems lay mainly in the run game, where he is not always able to make a big impact inside, and his lack of great production against top talents. Garrett is certainly the best edge rusher in this class, and worthy of taking with the first overall pick if the Browns are not interested in a quarterback. There has recently been some buzz around the team and Mitchell Trubisky, but if anything it’s likely a smoke screen.
2. San Francisco 49ers – QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson
The 49ers signed Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley this offseason, but it would be hard to pass up the opportunity to draft a quarterback who is the most “pro-ready” in the class. Watson is easily the most talented of this year’s crop of signal callers, and while he may not have the best potential, it is certain that he is going to be at worst an average NFL starter. Many have knocked him for his interceptions, but Mark Schofield of Inside the Pylon was able to put that to bed a while ago. I think Watson is a great quarterback that could drastically improve San Francisco’s offense, especially with new coach Kyle Shanahan.
3. Chicago Bears – QB Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina
The Bears are going to be an interesting team to watch if the top quarterback is off the board. That is obviously their greatest need, even after signing the great Mike Glennon and the ever so talented Mark Sanchez. If Watson is gone, they may consider taking a look at someone like Jonathan Allen, or they take the next quarterback in Trubisky. While some hold the fact that he was a one year starter against him, Mitchell Trubisky showed some traits that define a good NFL quarterback, and if he is able to adjust his mechanical issues, he may become a very good starter in the league. He would like be the Week 1 starter for the Bears, and could lead the team for years.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars – DL Jonathan Allen, Alabama
Someone who knows the Jaguars better than I do, Zach Goodall, wrote about the possibility of choosing Allen here. The Jaguars recently added a great component to their defensive line in Calais Campbell, but they could get even better with this addition here. Allen is a great defender, and although there are some injury concerns and positional fits for him, he would be able to find a place to work within the Jaguars’ system. A defensive line of Yannick Ngakoue, Malik Jackson, Campbell, and Allen would be a scary sight for offenses.
5. Tennessee Titans (from LAR) – CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State
The Titans are in one of the best positions in this draft; they were able to trade back for a future pick last year, which ended up as a top 5 selection, and were also on the verge of competing in the playoffs this past year. Here they can get the best cornerback in the class with Lattimore. Although he was a one year starter with an injury history at Ohio State, he showed off abilities and traits that could make him a #1 cornerback for a team. He would be an excellent pairing along with Logan Ryan in Tennessee’s secondary, along with taking over Jason McCourty’s old role and helping the team get back to the playoffs.
6. New York Jets – S Jamal Adams, LSU
I found that this piece from Justis Mosqueda was interesting in regards to positional value within the top 5 picks. While this is pick #6, the point still stands, and taking a safety might not be the best value in terms of contract here. But when there’s a talent such as Adams available, a team may not be able to pass on him, especially with a need as great as theirs. Former first round pick Calvin Pryor hasn’t exactly panned out, and Marcus Gilchrist isn’t a top-tier player. Jamal Adams has the potential to be a great safety in the NFL, and he could likely start over either of these two if given the chance by Todd Bowles. Adams is a pretty decent player in coverage, and his instincts and athletic ability allow him to be a great run defender. He would be a solid pick for a Jets team that is in need of a rebuild.
7. Los Angeles(?) Chargers – OT Cam Robinson, Alabama
People have been looking down on this year’s offensive tackle class since the final decisions were made, but the NFL is much higher on these bookends than the public is. One of these players in Cam Robinson, who has been a great player for the Crimson Tide over the past few years. Robinson could play either side of the line, but would be best protecting Philip Rivers’ blindside as the end of his career comes. The Chargers have looked into the top quarterbacks in this class, but the chance to get a solid tackle and draft a developmental player in the later rounds is too enticing for them.
8. Carolina Panthers – RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
The Panthers have put Cam Newton into a similar situation as the Colts and Ryan Grigson had Andrew Luck in for the past few years: the team has not put strong enough talent surrounding their star quarterback to help him succeed and reach far into the playoffs. After a free agency period where they signed some backup receivers and even worse offensive tackles, they could at least look to make a change in the run game with the selection of McCaffrey. Jonathan Stewart isn’t much to believe in, and Mike Tolbert and Cameron Artis-Payne are not starting running backs. McCaffrey is an incredibly special player, and he could be a game changer for a team that could use a running game to help take some pressure off their quarterback. He also adds a new element to the passing game that they don’t necessarily have with their current stable.
9. Cincinnati Bengals – LB Reuben Foster, Alabama
The Bengals’ defense has been fading in recent years, with age and free agency departures catching up to them. The issue with Vontaze Burfict also remains. The team should look to add a new linebacker that provides the same physicality with more talent, and Foster is that guy. With news that his injury rehab is ahead of schedule, he could still be in consideration as a top-10 pick. He has great coverage, run defending, and blitzing skills, and would be a perfect fit for a team who needs to improve their defense. While some people have been worried about the whole combine incident, it is easy to brush away as it was a stressful situation that many players were unhappy with. Foster checks out and will be a great player for the Bengals.
10. Buffalo Bills – WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan
The Bills’ team is returning a combined 42 catches from the wide receiver position next year. This is a scary number to read, and shows just how much they could use offensive health. While this stat includes the oft-injured Sammy Watkins, they should expect him to be on the field more often. The fact still remains that there is a major need there, and Corey Davis could fix some of their woes. Davis has the skillset of a top-2 receiver on a team, and would be an instant starter for the Bills. Tyrod Taylor would love to have another target aside from Watkins, Lesean McCoy, and whatever a Walt Powell is.
11. New Orleans Saints – DL Malik McDowell, Michigan State
The Saints were able to pick up a second draft pick from the Patriots in the Brandin Cooks trade, so they have a bit of flexibility with what they can do with pick #11. Here they choose Malik McDowell, who is a Day 1 starter with immense talent. He is a perfect fit for the Saints’ defensive front, where he could play between Sheldon Rankins and Cameron Jordan. The team’s main issue is their defense, and getting better in the trenches would only help them. They should look to either add to the tight end or defensive back position with their second pick, if they still have it when the draft comes around.
12. Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia) – CB Gareon Conley, Ohio St.
The Browns decide to skip on drafting a quarterback here, instead bolstering a major need for the team. Jamar Taylor was a solid pickup for the team, but Joe Hayden has declined in recent years, and Cleveland could use a new cornerback in the mix. Conley is a top cornerback in this year’s class, and would be a great player to have on a defense that could be adding two great talents to it. Quarterback is an obvious need, but the team is higher on Trubisky and Watson than the other two, and both are gone. A guy that Hue Jackson coached at the Senior Bowl, either Josh Dobbs or Davis Webb, may be the target later on, while Cody Kessler can hang on to a starting job for a while.
13. Arizona Cardinals – TE OJ Howard, Alabama
The Cardinals are another team that should be considering drafting a quarterback, but here they decide to upgrade a spot on their offense to try to make the best of Carson Palmer’s twilight years. OJ Howard is supposedly a generational player for some, but I believe he’s just a really good tight end. He’s more than capable of being a great blocker, and when he was given the chance to catch passes he shined. Howard is a decent route runner, although it could use some refinement, and he needs to make sure he’s not reaching on all of his blocks. He will be a major upgrade over Jermaine Gresham, who is a number two or three tight end at best on a good roster. The team could also look to find a defensive lineman, but there isn’t much to look at around here.
14. Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota) – RB Leonard Fournette, LSU
The Eagles found who may be their next quarterback in Carson Wentz, but he can only improve if the team improves the talent around him. They can do that with the selection of Leonard Fournette, who is a major upgrade over an older Ryan Mathews and not-a-starter Darren Sproles. He is a good runner who has a beautiful blend of power and speed, and is a better pass protector than some may expect. The Eagles have made some decent moves with the signings of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, they could add another great offensive talent for four years with Fournette. He may not exactly be deserving of a top-10 pick, but he is a very good player that could be a great player behind a strong offensive line like Philadelphia’s.
15. Indianapolis Colts – DB Obi Melifonwu, Connecticut
The Colts finally rid themselves of a hopeless GM, and new arrival Chris Ballard has been making plenty of smart moves, especially focusing on defense in free agency. They make another smart move here with the selection of another athletic freak from UConn, just like Dallas’ choice of Byron Jones in 2015. Obi Melifonwu was largely unknown until the Senior Bowl and Combine, but he exploded onto the scene and is deserving of a top pick in this year’s draft. While it is debated whether or not he should be a cornerback or safety, it is obvious that he will be a great defensive back in the league, and here he could be a starter almost instantly when he joins the Colts in a quest to get Andrew Luck to the playoffs.
16. Baltimore Ravens – WR John Ross III, Washington
The Ravens are another team to watch because they have a plethora of different ways they could attack the draft. They have needs on the offensive line, linebacker, defensive back, and wide receiver spots, and possibly the running back position too depending on how they value Terrance West. Here they are able to upgrade their receiving spot with the selection of Ross, who now holds the 40 yard dash record. While his speed is good, he is also a great separator early on in his routes, and would be able to use this combination to work wonders along with vertical quarterback Joe Flacco. His knees are worrisome, with two different ACL injuries, but he could be worth the selection here at #16.
17. Washington Redskins – QB DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame
The Redskins’ front office is an absolute dumpster fire and I feel bad for anyone on the team or anyone drafted by them. That being said, the team is likely to move on from Kirk Cousins after this season if they can’t come to terms on a long-term agreement, so it would be smart to find you quarterback of the future here. While they could use some help in the secondary, or maybe find a great running back, the best move here is to select Kizer, who was a great player or the Fighting Irish. Some of his issues stem from a lack of confidence from his former coach, but that should not affect him if there is a team that is willing to put their full confidence in him at any point. Kizer has some of the best potential out of all the quarterbacks in this class, but he may need to wait his turn here.
18. Tennessee Titans – WR Mike Williams, Clemson
The Titans are back for their second pick in the draft, and here they get a great primary target for Marcus Mariota. The team was able to do decently well with their receiving core that was headlined by Rishard Matthews and 2016 fifth-rounder Tajae Sharpe, but the addition of Williams would push this team right over the edge. He is a great boundary receiver and was Deshaun Watson’s favorite target. Putting Williams and Lattimore on this team makes them immediate contenders in the future.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – S Malik Hooker, Ohio State
The Buccaneers are in a similar spot as the Titans, but without the luxury of two first round picks. Here they can ugprade a spot that remains a major need after free agency with the choice of Malik Hooker. Hooker was an amazing safety for the Buckeyes in 2016, showing off incredible range and ball skills. While his tackling may be shaky, his coverage ability may keep him from having to make tackles on his own assignments. This selection would greatly benefit the Bucs as they push to get some of their star players in the playoffs for the first time in their careers.
20. Denver Broncos – OT Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin
The Broncos were surprisingly decent, but there are very clear needs within their team. TJ Ward is aging quickly, they need new inside linebackers and defensive linemen, and Demarcus Ware just retired, leaving only Shane Ray behind him. The other major problem is their offensive line, especially their tackles, which were horrendous. Russell Okung and Donald Stevenson were pretty bad, but here they can add a player that might be the best tackle in the class. Ryan Ramczyk was a great player for the Badgers, and might be the next great tackle to come from that Wisconsin pipeline. He would be a great addition to a team that is in dire need of new bookends for their line.
21. Detroit Lions – LB Haason Reddick, Temple
The Lions’ group of linebackers was among the worst in the league last year. They were headlined by DeAndre Levy, who was released, Kyle Van Noy, a mid-season trade, and Tahir Whitehead, the sole leftover. They also signed Paul Worrilow this offseason, but he is on the downside of his career and does not offer much aside from his average run defense. Enter Haason Reddick, a former edge rusher who projects to be a good linebacker prospect in a 4-3 scheme. He first played the position at the Senior Bowl, where he showed decent hip fluidity and coverage skills, and his remaining prowess against the run and pass still remain. Detroit should be ecstatic to happen upon Reddick at this point in the draft, as many teams love him.
22. Miami Dolphins – LB Jarrad Davis, Florida
There has been some buzz around the Internet’s media saying that there could be some surprise first round picks, and Jarrad Davis’s name showed up on a short list. While he was injured in his last season as a Gator, the linebacker was able to impress greatly at his Pro Day last month, and he has some decent abilities that could warrant a look at the end of the first round. The Dolphins are bringing back Kiko Alonso as one of their only productive linebackers, and the addition of Davis, who showed he can bring some physical play to the run and provide average coverage ability, would be very helpful for a team that is looking to stay in the playoff race after a successful 2016.
23. New York Giants – OT Garett Bolles, Utah
The Giants might just ignore the fact that their offensive line, especially Ereck Flowers, caused their offense the most strife and just choose to make another move, but I think that they may understand what they have done wrong and work to rectify it. It’s also a possibility that Garett Bolles isn’t even on the board at pick 23, but for here we’ll allow it. Bolles is a great tackle and played exceptionally well for the Utes. While he’s going to be 25 going into this year, he is already a plug-and-play guy for a team that has struggled on the outside of their line. A running back could also be the choice here, but the team might stick with who they have, or find a free agent available like LeGarrette Blount to lead the team.
24. Las Vegas(boo) Raiders – CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama
The Raiders went far last year, with a great offense that could keep up with any teams that could blow by their bad defense. The team should look to fix these issues early on in the draft. Sean Smith was a disappointment for the team, and David Amerson is looking at a year in which he needs to bounce back early on. The Raiders found a great safety in round one last year in Karl Joseph, and here they can look to the former Crimson Tide defensive back in Humphrey to help ease their woes in the secondary. Humphrey has great athletic ability and tackling skills, and while he isn’t the best cover man, he’s a very capable player. If the team decides that they want to fix their interior defensive line early, that could be another option, but it should be unlikely.
25. Houston Texans – QB Patrick Mahomes II, Texas Tech
The Texans probably could have beat the Patriots in last year’s Divisional Round if they had a quarterback other than Brock Osweiler at the helm. Now that he is gone, the team can look to fix one of their few needs early on. While they could add an offensive tackle or another defensive back, their best option is to find a new signal caller that Bill O’Brien could work with. Patrick Mahomes has some of the best upside out of any of the quarterbacks in this draft, and while many think he is reckless with his decision making, he was one of the most impressive passers last year. He is decently athletic and has some of the best arm talent in recent memory. If given the time he needs to prepare himself for the pros, he could be a great choice for the team that selects him. In Houston, they can afford to let Tom Savage play for a few games if Mahomes needs more time, and if not, they can get a great offense going early on.
26. Seattle Seahawks – OL Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky
This is probably a very common pick for most people, and it makes the most sense in the eyes of the team and its fans. The Seahawks’ offensive line was terrible last year, and it may have gotten even worse after the team recently allowed tackle Garry Gilliam to walk, and signed Luke Joeckel, a former bust at left tackle. Offensive line coach Tom Cable isn’t exactly a cultivator of talent, so it’s great that he is given one of the best interior offensive linemen in the draft this year in Forrest Lamp. A former left tackle for the Hilltoppers, it is expected that Lamp will move inside in the pros, although he is one of the best in this class. Lamp is a very good linemen that will improve a team that needs to add to Russell Wilson’s group of protectors, who have not been great in recent times.
27. Kansas City Chiefs – RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State
The Chiefs probably think they are in a good position to compete since they hosted a playoff game last season. The real problem is that they have not done much to improve this offseason, and allowed one of their best defensive players in Dontari Poe to leave. The team is also going to be without Jamaal Charles, who is aging and has already gone through two knee surgeries. The other remaining issue is that Alex Smith is not exactly a great starting quarterback, and the team could do much better if they trade up to find a top-4 guy. They stand pat and make do here, choosing to take the Seminole’s career leading rusher in Dalvin Cook. While he tested very poorly at the NFL Combine, Cook’s tape is hard to argue against, and he is a very talented runner that seems to be a boom or bust prospect. While there are some concerns about his off-field character, it doesn’t seem to be a problem to Kansas City after they brought Tyreek Hill onto their team last year.
28. Dallas Cowboys – CB Quincy Wilson, Florida
The Cowboys are in a very good place right now, finding their quarterback and running back of the future in last year’s draft, as well as having a star receiver and great offensive line around him. The problems they must address lie on the defensive side of the ball, especially in the secondary. Dallas lost Mo Claiborne and Barry Church, and while they did bring in Nolan Carroll and trust in Anthony Brown to grow, there is still a need remaining. Here they select Quincy Wilson, another defensive Gator that was a great asset for the team in his time there. He and Jalen Tabor teamed up to be a fantastic cornerback pairing in 2016, and Wilson tested better of the two after some scary numbers from Tabor. Wilson shows traits that could make him a very good or great corner in the NFL, and the Cowboys should not pass up on this opportunity, unless they deem another edge rusher worthy of this selection. Another choice could be Charles Harris from Missouri, or any other EDGE left.
29. Green Bay Packers – CB TreDavious White, LSU
To bring back Mosqueda’s work, he ran the numbers of all of the recent Packers’ draft picks’ athletic profiles, and he found which guys may fit this year here. One of the names that sticks out and is left on the board is TreDavious White out of LSU. He was somewhat forgotten when guys like Lattimore, Conley, and Wilson blew up this season, but White has constantly been a great defensive piece for the Tigers. He was a team leader last season, donning the iconic #18 jersey in Death Valley, and he shows great traits that could make him a premier corner in the league with time. The Packers have a legitimate need for cornerbacks, especially after the last postseason’s showing. Here they can find a new team leader and a great defensive player in White. They may look into other linebackers or defensive linemen, but this seems like the best option available for them now.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers – EDGE Carl Lawson, Auburn
The Steelers’ offense will perennially be great, but they need serious work on their defense. They found two young rookies for their secondary in Sean Davis and Artie Burns, but they should not stop there. Here they can add an edge rusher in Lawson that would make the team drastically better. After Jarvis Jones left, their sole good edge player is James Harrison, who had 5 sacks in 2016 and is nearing 40 years of age. Lawson has been a great player for Auburn in recent years, collecting 10.5 sacks in the past two seasons, one of which he was partially injured in. The team should be paying strong attention to the EDGE position in the draft, and here they can get one of the best remaining ones in Lawson. Other options include Charles Harris, Jordan Willis, and Derek Rivers.
31. Atlanta Falcons – EDGE Jordan Willis, Kansas State
The Falcons were almost able to seal a victory in Super Bowl LI, and they may have if their secondary was healthy. While they will have Desmond Trufant back and locked up in the long term, they should address their defensive line. They signed Dontari Poe from the Chiefs to play in the interior, and Grady Jarrett showed great promise in the Super Bowl to play the 3-technique in their 4-3 front. The last need is one that could push their defense over the edge in 2017, with the selection of former Wildcat Jordan Willis. The team mainly needs a player across from Vic Beasley that is better than Brooks Reed, and that very well could be Willis. When watching him play at Kansas State, he didn’t flash great bend, but he was still able to rush the passer well, and he tested very well for his position at this year’s Combine. It has also been said that the Falcons love him, and will likely choose between him and Derek Rivers when pick 31 rolls around. This is almost a lock to happen next week.
32. New Orleans Saints (from New England) – TE David Njoku, Miami
The Saints made a savvy deal with the Patriots to ship Brandin Cooks out for pick 32, and here they can replace an offensive stud with a player at a bigger position of need with David Njoku. While he doesn’t offer the same Day 1 talent that OJ Howard does, Njoku is an athletic freak that was one of Brad Kaaya’s favorite targets as a member of the Hurricanes. He still needs work as a blocker, but he is one of the better receiving talents at the tight end position this year. This would be a very smart pick if the big tight end is still available at the end of the first round, although the team may still consider drafting another defensive player.
Teams without a first round pick
37. Los Angeles Rams – OT Taylor Moton, Western Michigan
The Rams are a mess, and their huge dumping of draft capital to move up and take a bad quarterback first overall last year will likely haunt them for some time. If the team wants to try to make the best of a bad situation, they should look to build the offensive line around Jared Goff and Todd Gurley, who struggled last year. Greg Robinson might as well officially be a bust, and Rob Havenstein might be salvageable on the right side. Here they can select Taylor Moton from Western Michigan, who may eventually be able to play either side of the line in the future, and would be an immediate upgrade over whoever the team has currently. Moton may need time, but it’s a sure thing that he will be able to play well in the NFL for a while.
48. Minnesota Vikings – WR Zay Jones, East Carolina
The Vikings gave up their first round pick to get a viable quarterback in Sam Bradford after Teddy Bridgewater’s horrific injury, but they are in a better place than Los Angeles is. The team stalled at the end of the regular season, where if their offensive line wasn’t hit with a myriad of injuries they likely could have been a wild card choice. They were able to help themselves a little bit by signing Riley Reiff, but they should consider drafting another linemen early. Here they look at another position of need and fix it with the selection of Zay Jones, who caught a preposterous amount of footballs in the past two years (256, to be exact). Jones is a very good route runner who can compete for the ball when needed to, and he tested well for being an above average-sized receiver. Bradford/Bridgewater would likely enjoy another target that isn’t Adam Thielen, who was great but may not exactly be a premier receiver for the league.
72. New England Patriots – CB Jourdan Lewis, Michigan
The Patriots just won their fifth Super Bowl, and they added an immense amount of talent to make their team even better in the coming season. While they have drastically improved again, there are still some small areas of need to address in the draft. It is likely they get pick 32 back from the Saints in a trade for Malcolm Butler, but this pick will not change because of that. The team needs a new slot cornerback after the departure of Logan Ryan and Butler, who could both play inside and out. Jourdan Lewis was a very good player for the Wolverines, and if his apparent domestic violence charge (which he pleaded not guilty to) is cleared up, the team would likely be interested. He was in for a visit at Patriot Place this past week, and has the talent to be a top-50 player in this year’s class if not for his size and off-field risk. The Patriots are poised to return to the Super Bowl again this season, and adding new players will definitely help them even more. Other options here are EDGE Trey Hendrickson, LB Alex Anzalone, and DL Ryan Glasgow.