*Denotes mock trade
- Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, OLB, Texas A&M
The Browns need to draft Garrett here rather than reaching for a quarterback at number one. There are rumors that they are leaning towards drafting Mitch Trubisky here but he is too great of a risk, whereas Garrett has been widely regarded as the draft’s top prospect for a while now.
Garrett has the build, athleticism, and fundamentals to be a huge threat off the edge from day one. This is the safest and smartest pick the Browns could make tonight, however it wouldn’t be too surprising if they go out and do something dumb and regrettable, that is the franchise’s forte after all.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Assuming Myles Garrett is off the board and that the 49ers have not found a suitor to trade with Fournette is the next best option. Solomon Thomas and Jonathan Allen are both options with this pick, however it seems less likely that the 49ers would go that direction after drafting defensive ends with their first pick in the previous two seasons. Marshon Lattimore and Jamal Adams could give their secondary a big boost if the 49ers were to draft either one of them, but there is a reason that a secondary player hasn’t been drafted in the top two since 1991, they are just too risky.
With the Cowboys and Ezekiel Elliot showing off what young running back talent can do for an offense it comes with no surprise that many other teams would want to mimic that success. Fournette has everything you would want in an NFL running back and is on par talent wise with Elliot. This is a good, safe pick for the 49ers and it gives them a piece to start building their offense around.
3. Chicago Bears: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
Much like the previous two teams, the Bears can use help at just about any position. Adams plays well in both coverage and run support which helps make him more versatile at the safety position, something that a team like the Bears should covet.
The Bears will have a tough choice between Adams, Thomas, and Allen, but in the end Adams is the safest pick out of the three as he is durable and doesn’t come with character concerns.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
The Jaguars would love it if Fournette was available here, and that is still a likely play for them. However in this hypothetical scenario when he is off the board the Jaguars should feel comfortable settling with arguably the next best player available in Solomon Thomas.
Thomas has the size and athleticism to play anywhere across the defensive line. He already is built like an NFL defensive lineman, and has top end speed for a player of his size. One of the only issues surrounding Thomas is an apparent lack of effort on some plays, however no one can deny the talent he possesses.
5. Tennessee Titans: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
One of the hottest trade positions comes here, as the Titans will most likely attempt to shop this pick. However Lattimore is too good and too big of a need to pass on here. He is the best man-to-man corner in the draft and with Adams off the board this should be a no brainer for the Titans if they decide to keep the pick. Lattimore has a slight hamstring problem that he is dealing with currently but nothing too serious that would make him fall to much farther in the draft; in other words, if the Titans want him they need to take him here.
Also with Tennessee having a second pick in the first round they don’t need to get more picks, the Titans need to go with quality over quantity here.
6. *Cleveland Browns (via New York Jets): Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
If all the NFL teams were put on eharmony for draft day trades, the Jets and the Browns would be a perfect match for each other. Assuming the Browns do make the right decision and draft Garrett with the number one pick, it would be hard to see them not trying to make their way up from the 12th pick to get Trubisky. Much like the 49ers and Titans, the Jets are another team that has been talking about shopping their pick and the Browns are the perfect match.
In this trade scenario the Jets would be able to acquire more picks while still having a high pick in the first round at 12th, while the Browns would be able to move up and get Trubisky before teams like the Chargers or Bills do.
Trubisky is a complete quarterback with good accuracy, a strong arm, a solid build, and pocket mobility. He only started one season at North Carolina so he is still raw and will need time to adjust to the NFL.
If the Jets keep the pick Trubisky still would be an option here, however Malik Hooker, OJ Howard, or Jamal Adams (if available) would be a more likely scenario.
7. Los Angeles Chargers: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
Malik Hooker is one of the better ball hawking prospects at safety that the NFL has seen in years. Hooker recorded seven interceptions during his one season of starting at Ohio State, and was a crucial part to what was arguably the best secondary in college football this past season. With the Chargers suffering so many injuries to their secondary the past two seasons Hooker can come in and provide depth and produce right away.
One of the downsides of Hooker is that he is not great in run support, which paired with his inexperience could cause him to slide in the draft but he just makes too much sense here for the Chargers to take a pass.
8. Carolina Panthers: Christian McCaffery, RB, Stanford
About a month or two ago it would have been crazy to think of McCaffery going this high in the draft, but now there are some rumors that he could go even higher than Fournette. McCaffery was one of the most explosive and productive players in the NCAA last season. He has lightning fast speed and has good hands for catching out of the backfield.
This is the perfect prospect for the Panthers. With the departure of Ted Ginn Jr. and Jonathon Stewart’s age and durability in question, Carolina needs both a big play generator and an every down back for the future, and McCaffery can fill both those roles. Also McCaffery has no character concerns or off the field issues, something that the Panthers always look for.
With this being such a deep year for running backs don’t be surprised if the Panthers snag either a tight end or pass rusher here and wait to get a running back in the second round. OJ Howard, Jonathan Allen, and Solomon Thomas would all be in play here depending on their availability.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
This could be one of the biggest steals of the draft. Allen is arguably a top three prospect in the draft, but falls simply due to the depth of the draft class at his position. Last season he recorded 10.5 sacks and 16 tackles for loss on the best defense in the nation. On top of that he was named the defensive player of the year.
He has some lingering shoulder problems and so his durability is in question, which could cause him to slide further than this depending on how seriously teams are looking at it. Also this isn’t a glaring need here for the Bengals but Allen is just too talented to pass on at 9.
10. Buffalo Bills: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
With a pattern of little parity between prospects’ schools, the second Alabama defensive player comes off the board. Foster is without a doubt a top ten talent, however between a failed drug test and getting kicked out of the combine, there are little red flags sprouting up all over Foster.
The issue here for the Bills is that they could use a corner after the departure of Stephon Gilmore, but at this slot it would be a large reach. Foster is arguably the best player on the board and would fill a big need but a lot of teams can find it hard to draft a player like Foster.
A couple safer picks for the Bills would be Haason Riddick or OJ Howard, but it would be really hard to pass on Foster here.
11. New Orleans Saints: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
Barnett is one of the better pass rushers in this draft. In just three seasons, Barnett accumulated 52 tackles for loss and 32 sacks. But much like Jonathan Allen, he could fall on draft day due to the amount of top notch pass rushers in this draft.
For the Saints, there is a lot they could do with this pick since they possess two first round picks. Barnett would fill a glaring need well, but there are a lot of different possibilities; one of the more intriguing ones being OJ Howard to serve as a Jimmy Graham type role to Drew Brees. Linebacker is also a need and Haason Reddick would be in play with this pick as well.
12. *New York Jets (via Cleveland from Philadelphia): OJ Howard, TE, Alabama
OJ Howard is the best tight end prospect the NFL has seen since Eric Ebron. Howard possesses a massive frame and good hands. He also is a good route runner and has speed for his size and position.
The Jets desperately need help at tight end, as shown during the past two seasons where tight ends have in total averaged less than one catch per game for the Jets.
This would be a smart move by the Jets because it gives them a guy they like but would be reaching for at six, and they are able to accumulate more picks in the process. Malik Hooker may be their choice instead if he is still available here.
13. *Washington Redskins (from Arizona): Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
Another mock trade goes down in the books. Washington really likes Reddick, however without trading up it would be unlikely that they would get him due to him being a target for about seven teams ahead of them.
Reddick is a versatile linebacker who plays well in both coverage and against the run. He is extremely fast and will be able to produce right away for whoever drafts him.
If Arizona were to keep this pick, look out for Marlon Humphrey, Mike Williams, or Malik Hooker if he were to fall.
14. Philadelphia Eagles: John Ross, WR, Washington
The best fit for the Eagles at this pick would be Gareon Conley, however facing accusations of rape, he will almost certainly take a tumble on the draft board. Philadelphia needs a corner back badly, however John Ross may be the best selection for them.
Ross is one of the most explosive playmakers in the draft, and one of the fastest players of all time, setting the record for the fastest 40 yard dash at the combine. The Eagles’ need for receiver may not be as bad as their need for a corner or a pass rusher, but this draft is chock full of talented players at those positions, compared to a much weaker class of receivers.
Ross has some concerns about his durability, but he is the sort of play making guy that the Eagles love to draft.
15. Indianapolis Colts: Charles Harris, OLB, Missouri
Right here is about the point where there is a drop off in talent available. The Colts would love to get one of the previous selections to fall to them here, particularly Reuben Foster or Derek Barnett; but with no such luck they settle in for Charles Harris.
Harris is a talented edge rusher, but still a little on the raw side and needs to bulk up more to become an elite pass rusher in the NFL.
If the Colts are looking for a pass rusher with this pick there are many to choose from, however Harris may have the highest potential out of the remaining group.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Baltimore is in somewhat of a position where they have a lot of freedom with who they can draft. There aren’t really any huge holes that need filled on the roster, but adding depth to the receiving core should be one of their priorities.
Williams is a big receiver who knows how to use his size to his advantage. He has a lot of intangibles but is still very much a raw talent. After losing Steve Smith and Kamar Aiken in the offseason the Ravens have to get talent at receiver in this draft, and Williams makes the most sense.
Takkarist McKinley is also in play here as a potential heir to Terrell Suggs and a replacement for Elvis Dumervil.
17. *Arizona Cardinals: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
This would be a reach for the Cardinals, however with teams like the Chiefs and Texans also licking their chops to draft Mahomes this would be the Cardinals only chance.
The other positions that the Cardinals are in need of are at linebacker, safety, and receiver, all of which are plentiful in later rounds compared to quarterback. With Carson Palmer just a year or two away from retirement, it makes sense for the Cardinals to start investing in their future now.
Mahomes is raw but wont need to contribute right away which will allow him to develop over time under Carson Palmer, much like Aaron Rodgers under Brett Favre.
18. Tennessee Titans: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
After the Titans went with corner earlier in this mock, they use the 18th pick in order to beef up their receiving core.
Davis doesn’t have the best hands in the draft, however he is a superb route runner and very athletic. He will be able to come in and produce right away for a team that is just terrible at receiver.
They may look to shop this pick, if they do look for a team to trade up for an offensive linemen.
19. *Seattle Seahawks: Garrett Bolles, OT, Utah
Seattle trades up here in order to draft Bolles, the offensive tackle of their choice. Seattle needs help along their line now after the loss of Russell Okung in free agency to the Chargers.
Bolles is quick on his feet and the most athletic of the top tier of offensive tackles. If the Buccaneers keep the pick then look for them to get Dalvin Cook or help in the secondary.
20. Denver Broncos: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
Ramczyk is yet another talented Wisconsin lineman. The Broncos need help along the offensive line in order to preserve their young quarterbacks in Paxton Lynch and Trevor Simien.
The guy they would probably most want would be Bolles, however with him off the board here Ramczyk is the next best player at the position, if not the best.
21. Detroit Lions: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
There is a lot the Lions could do with this pick, whether it be pass rusher, linebacker, or receiver, there are a lot of good options here for the Lions.
Taco Charlton is arguably the best pass rusher available here along with TJ Watt. Jarrad Davis at inside linebacker is another option, but in the end it comes down to personal preference for the Lions. Charlton is a powerful end that can produce anywhere along the line.
They will need to find a replacement for DeAndre Levy at some point in the draft but at this point Charlton is the best option for them.
22. Miami Dolphins: Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky
Forrest Lamp is by far the best interior lineman in the draft. The Dolphins have solidified the ends of their offensive line with Ja’Wuan James and Laremy Tunsil in the past two drafts but work is still needed to be done on the interior, especially because of Mike Pouncey’s proneness to injury.
Lamp can step in right away and assist Jay Ajayai and the Dolphins’ developing run game, as well as provide pass protection for Ryan Tannehill who has taken a fair share of hits since entering the league.
23. New York Giants: Cameron Robinson, OT, Alabama
The Giants are still looking for a long term solution at left tackle, and while it isn’t their most pressing need it is still one that should be addressed in the draft. With a pretty weak class of offensive linemen this is going to be the best opportunity they will have.
Robinson could easily be a top ten pick, however like several others in this draft character concerns come into play that could cause him to slide even further than this.
24. Oakland Raiders: Kevin King, CB, Washington
King is a lengthy, athletic corner that the Raiders would love to draft. A lot of noise was being made about the program wanting Gareon Conley, however as previously mentioned, rape accusations against him will probably cause him to slide past this point in tonight’s draft.
With Oakland’s secondary still not healed fully from the loss of Charles Woodson two seasons ago, King and last year’s first round pick Karl Joseph could be the start of a youthful and talented secondary.
25. Houston Texans: DeShaun Watson, QB, Clemson
The Texans are quarterback desperate and Watson is as good as a quarterback that they are going to find in this draft.
Watson was the leader of an extremely good Clemson team. He has good arm strength and accuracy ranging deep down the field. He is mobile and works well in the pocket. He can occasionally force some throws and get himself into trouble with interceptions but he definitely got better as the season went on.
Regardless Watson should be the future for the Texans’ offense that was able to produce last season without talent at quarterback, it will be scary to see what they can do if they decide to go with Watson.
26. *Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Tampa Bay is one team that likes Dalvin Cook, yet are smart enough to know that they are able to trade back to acquire him.
Cook has great field vision, combined with good speed and strength, he is a difficult back to bring down. Some off the field concerns have made him slip a bit, but at this point reward out weighs the risk.
27. Kansas City Chiefs: Jarrad Davis, ILB, Florida
In an ideal world Patrick Mahomes II would fall right into the laps of the Chiefs at this spot, but this isn’t an ideal world so wake up and get used to it already!
Jarrad Davis is another talented line backer in this draft, joining Reddick and Foster as potential day one starters. Davis is an uber athletic linebacker who keeps getting better with time.
With former All-Pro linebacker Derrick Johnson coming off a season ending injury last season and nearing the end of his career, the Chiefs need a replacement for the heart of their defense.
28. Dallas Cowboys: TJ Watt, DE/OLB, Wisconsin
There is possibly a question going through your head right now, and the answer to that question would be yes, this is indeed JJ Watt’s brother. He may not be as built or NFL ready as his big brother was leaving Wisconsin, but he can certainly be a pass rushing threat, most notably from the linebacker position.
With the Cowboys’ offense being as good as it was last year, it is nearly impossible to see them drafting another offensive player when there is such a need for talent on the defensive side of the ball. It would be a reach for any secondary players at this spot and so a pass rusher like Watt, McKinley, or Charlton are the choices here depending on who is available.
Charlton would be the best scheme fit out of the three players, however with him off the board here Watt is by no means a bad option.
29. Green Bay Packers: Takkarist McKinley, OLB, UCLA
The Packers’ top choice here would probably be hometown favorite TJ Watt, however with Watt unavailable Green Bay is able to draft the next edge rusher in a draft that is stacked full of them.
Takk McKinley was a dominant edge rusher in college with a great work ethic and high endurance for his position. He will provide pass rushing depth right away for the Packers and should develop into an every down player after not too long.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: David Njoku, TE, Miami
The Steelers still haven’t found a replacement tight end for the beloved Heath Miller, but Njoku could change that.
Njoku is the next tight end in a long line of talented tight ends to come from Miami (Greg Olsen, Vernon Davis, and Jimmy Graham just to name a few), and he could be on par with those guys. Njoku is a hyper-athletic tight end that works best after the catch. He is a total size mismatch for corners, and is speedy enough to beat line backers on routes.
Pittsburgh would be smart to add him to Ben Roethlisberger’s arsenal of offensive weapons.
31. Atlanta Falcons: Tyus Bowser, OLB, Houston
For a draft full of prospects with cool names, Tyus Bowser may just be the coolest. He is still developing but has a very high ceiling. He can play well in both run support and coverage, however needs to improve upon his play recognition and become a little more polished as a tackler.
32. New Orleans Saints: Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss
With the Saints going with a defensive playmaker early in the first round, it makes sense for them to snag an offensive weapon later.
Brandin Cooks was traded for this pick in the offseason and while the Saints signed Ted Ginn Jr. to replace him there is still a significant gap talent wise between the two. Engram is a wide receiver with the size and strength of a tight end. remind you of anyone? No? How about Drew Brees’ favorite target for several seasons in Jimmy Graham.
He needs to become a more aggressive blocker if he wants to succeed at tight end, but in the end he is a playmaker the Saints would love to have to aid Brees.