We are one week away from the NFL Draft in Philadelphia this year! What better way to celebrate than to post my very first mock draft of this draft season? Of course, I won’t be doing a billion trades like you see around the other mainstream platforms. I will not only mention the team’s pick at their predetermined spots in the first round, but also mention if they need to trade up or down in this year’s draft.
Cleveland Browns select Myles Garrett (DE, Texas A&M) with the 1st overall pick.
The Browns are reportedly deciding between taking Myles Garrett or a quarterback #1 overall. The decision is obvious, in my eyes, and go get Garrett. With the Browns holding the 12th pick as well, the window of the quarterback still being there is open. With Garrett, that’s next to impossible. Grab the best player in this draft and cross your fingers for the 12th pick.
San Fransisco 49ers select Jamal Adams (S, LSU) with the 2nd overall pick.
This is where the draft gets interesting. The 49ers have many holes and there are many good players to help them rebuild their once-feared defense. The stock of Solomon Thomas has risen, and that is where many are seeing this going, but I feel they pick Jamal Adams from LSU to team with Eric Reid, another product from LSU.
Chicago Bears select Jonathan Allen (DT, Alabama) with the 3rd overall pick.
Allen’s stock is beginning to fall, but I feel he still comes off the board right now. Allen’s only real knock is the talent around him at Alabama, and Allen is undersized. Yet, Allen can play any position and is consistent in getting after the quarterback. This would be a good pickup for the Bears.
Jacksonville Jaguars select Leonard Fournette (RB, LSU) with the 4th overall pick.
Fournette, personally, is my least favorite running back of the Top 3, but that’s an issue I won’t dive into at this time. The Jaguars have filled out their defense enough, so they’ll begin focusing on the offense. The seemingly obvious pick is they’ll go with Fournette in hopes he can set the tone and take pressure off Bortles. If I’m Jacksonville though, I trade down, acquire more picks, and see if I can’t get Dalvin Cook instead.
Tennessee Titans select Solomon Thomas (DE, Stanford) with the 5th overall pick.
Solomon Thomas drops fifth, and I believe the Titans either trade this pick, or they’ll take Thomas themselves. Thomas sprouted up the draft boards after his bowl game against the North Carolina Tarheels, even sacking top QB prospect Mitch Trubisky. The Titans will look to improve a horrendous defense this draft, and this pick targets that weakness.
New York Jets select Marshon Lattimore (CB, Ohio State) with the 6th overall pick.
If Marshon Lattimore doesn’t go fifth to Tennessee, he only makes it one pick later before the Jets take him. The Jets released Darrelle Revis after some legal trouble, and will be searching for the next Revis. They’ll pick Lattimore with hopes he can remain healthy in his NFL career.
Los Angeles Chargers select Deshaun Watson (QB, Clemson) with the 7th overall pick.
This won’t be popular, but I believe Watson ends up being the first quarterback off the board, simply because he will have time behind Philip Rivers. In a move to Los Angeles, they will try to outdo the Rams in flashiness, which is what this pick does. This will give Watson, a promising prospect, much needed time to develop behind Rivers, whose job is stationary with the Chargers.
Carolina Panthers select Christian McCaffery (RB, Stanford) with the 8th overall pick.
I could have easily put Dalvin Cook here, though most feel they go after a defensive end. They just signed Julius Peppers, so they don’t need one right now. After Lattimore, there is not a safety on the board. While I feel they need to work on the offensive line, again, there’s nothing there. I don’t see Carolina trading back, so they get a playmaker in the backfield who can be a dangerous combo with Cam Newton.
Cincinnati Bengals select Malik Hooker (S, Ohio State) with the 9th overall pick.
Hooker, a high-impact safety, slips down the board but remains in the top ten, and remains in-state for the start of his playing career. The Bengals have talent all over the place and get a talented safety in Malik Hooker to help out Dre Kirkpatrick in the secondary. It’s a big pick, but Cincinnati still won’t be a threat until they get their coaching situation resolved.
Buffalo Bills select Mike Williams (WR, Clemson) with the 10th overall pick.
The Bills are in that weird, stagnant position of being cellar dwellers thanks to division rival New England Patriots. They have zero hope in winning the division this year, but they get Tyrod Taylor a second weapon from Clemson, pairing Sammy Watkins and Mike Williams together. Williams is a talented receiver with a high ceiling, and reminds me a lot of Dez Bryant, but don’t expect this to turn Buffalo around.
New Orleans Saints select Gareon Conley (CB, Ohio State) with the 11th overall pick.
Conley is someone who has gotten more attention as the process rolls on. He’s not as valued as Buckeye teammates Lattimore or Hooker, but many believe Conley can hang at the NFL level. He’ll have that chance in New Orleans, who take a chance on him and give up hope of getting a veteran corner like Malcolm Butler or Richard Sherman.
Cleveland Browns select Mitch Trubisky (QB, North Carolina) with the 12th overall pick.
While I would draft Dalvin Cook in this situation, the Browns apparently like Trubisky, and that should tell you the future Trubisky has. If Trubisky is still on the board, I believe Cleveland goes ahead and pulls the trigger on a quarterback in this long-lived experiment to get that position correct.
Arizona Cardinals select John Ross (WR, Washington) with the 13th overall pick.
The man who broke CJ2K’s 40-yard dash time turned a lot of heads, and I believe he comes off the board the first night. The Cardinals draft Ross here and gets a speedster, while the Cardinals put off drafting Carson Palmer’s successor — for at least one more night.
Philadelphia Eagles select Reuben Foster (LB, Alabama) with the 14th overall pick.
Foster isn’t expected to fall this far down, but if he does, I don’t believe he falls much further. With Conley going earlier in this mock, the pick here is to improve the linebacking core for the Eagles, that has been getting by for a few years. Foster brings a lot of athleticism to this Eagles defense and would be a huge grab, as the Eagles focus on secondary in a later round.
Indianapolis Colts select Derek Barnett (DE, Tennessee) with the 15th overall pick.
The Colts improve their pass-rushing with the selection of Barnett. Barnett will rush from the outside and be a huge addition to the soft Indianapolis defense. It won’t fix the entire problem, but it will be a step in the right direction.
Baltimore Ravens select David Njoku (TE, Miami FL) with the 16th overall pick.
Many believe OJ Howard is the best tight end this draft, and that might be the case and Howard may be the first tight end off the board. I believe that Njoku has a high ceiling and the Ravens might go with this pick instead of Howard. The U has a history of producing good tight ends and the Ravens will take a chance here.
Washington Redskins select Taco Charlton (DE, Michigan) with the 17th overall pick.
Washington drafts a defensive lineman to help get to quarterbacks like Dak Prescott and Eli Manning. Charlton isn’t a finished product, and as a matter of fact, didn’t have much production in college. Charlton is a freakish athlete and showed improvement through minimal playing time.
Tennessee Titans select OJ Howard (TE, Alabama) with the 18th overall pick.
Tennessee needs to work on their defense, but they go offense with this pick taking OJ Howard from Alabama. If he’s still on the board, the Titans likely take him. If not, I feel Tennessee ends up grabbing a wide receiver. Tennessee surrounds Marcus Mariota with some weapon to throw to, while they had their defensive pick at the beginning of the round.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Jabrill Peppers (S, Michigan) with the 19th overall pick.
Peppers has the potential to make an impact on day one wherever he goes to, and if he lands in Tampa Bay, could propel the Buccaneers to the playoffs. Peppers is a playmaker and while he isn’t perfect, he gives a defensive coordinator options as to where he plays him. Peppers could be a hybrid player, playing both linebacker and safety in a game, as the coordinator tricks offenses with a multi-talented player.
Denver Broncos select Garrett Bolles (OT, Utah) with the 20th overall pick.
Denver has made a priority of improving their offensive line this offseason with the signing of Ronald Leary from Dallas. Denver continues to make strides to give their quarterback time in the pocket, and to improve their running game, with the selection of Bolles.
Detroit Lions select Haason Reddick (LB, Temple) with the 21st overall pick.
DeAndre Levy is no longer in Detroit and so Reddick is the pick at 21. Reddick is explosive and quick, and is a factor in the backfield with 21.5 tackles for loss as an Owl in 2016. Detroit would get a player with a high ceiling with this pick, one I’d say is low on many’s radar.
Miami Dolphins select Forrest Lamp (G, Western Kentucky) with the 22nd overall pick.
The Dolphins could go a lot of directions here, but considering Ryan Tannehill hasn’t panned out because of defensive pressure, I’d say they use their second consecutive first-round pick on an offensive lineman, like they did last year with Laremy Tunsil. If Miami doesn’t invest in protecting Tannehill, I could see Adoree’ Jackson or Kevin King off the board here to aid the secondary.
New York Giants select Zach Cunningham (LB, Vanderbilt) with the 23rd overall pick.
Cunningham, I believe, is the perfect piece to the Giants defense. The Giants have put money into improving both sides of the ball in hopes of giving Eli Manning one more ring. The Giants haven’t invested much in the linebacking core and Cunningham is perfect for their 4-3 system to get athleticism at the second level and a play-making linebacker.
Oakland Raiders select Malik McDowell (DE, Michigan State) with the 24th overall pick.
McDowell could play 3-4 or 4-3, having the versatility of playing either as a defensive tackle or end in the Raiders system. McDowell would be a good fit in Oakland on the opposing side of Khalil Mack and has the potential to be a dominant duo. Some question McDowell’s work ethic, but at the 24th pick, it’s worth the risk.
Houston Texans select Patrick Mahomes (QB, Texas Tech) with the 25th overall pick.
USA Today’s Tom Pelissero reports Bill O’Brien loves Mahomes, and I would agree he does. Houston desperately needs a new signal caller, especially after Brock Osweiler’s departure. This team is in “contend now” mode and need a quarterback. Mahomes is the only option, really, at 25.
Seattle Seahawks select Cam Robinson (OT, Alabama) with the 26th overall pick.
Seattle needs to protect franchise quarterback Russell Wilson. Ever since the Seahawks lost Okung and Unger, they have struggled to give Wilson time and the running game has suffered because of the offensive line woes. Cam Robinson is one step closer to fixing the issue in Seattle.
Kansas City Chiefs select Dalvin Cook (RB, Florida State) with the 27th overall pick.
People will disagree Cook goes this low, and I agree, but I feel a team will trade up for him earlier. Doing my mock with no trades, Cook goes 27th to Kansas City. If the Chiefs can trade up for Cook, that will give them an instant upgrade at the running back position that is mediocre with West and Ware now.
Dallas Cowboys select Takkarist McKinley (DE, UCLA) with the 28th overall pick.
The Cowboys need secondary, but they also need pass rushing help, so this pick suffices. McKinley showed improvement each year in college, going from 3.5 sacks in his sophomore year, to 4.5 sacks, to 10 sacks as a senior. He’d probably be more beneficial as a 3-4 outside linebacker, but Marinelli can work on that.
Green Bay Packers select TJ Watt (OLB, Wisconsin) with the 29th overall pick.
This is just a perfect match. TJ Watt, younger brother to JJ Watt, goes to the college of Wisconsin and gets drafted by the in-state Packers, who just so happen to need a pass rusher after the departure of Julius Peppers. It’s perfect, right? Don’t expect TJ to be as great, but he could be productive at this level.
Pittsburgh Steelers select Obi Melifonwu (S, Connecticut) with the 30th overall pick.
The Steelers take Obi with this pick, I think, and help out their secondary. I expect Pittsburgh to take best player available, which might even be Tre’Davious White from LSU, I have no inside access to the Steelers’ draft board. I just write mock drafts for free and am not afraid to be wrong.
Atlanta Falcons select Tim Williams (DE, Alabama) with the 31st overall pick.
Atlanta has Cam Newton, Drew Brees, and the emerging Jameis Winston to deal with. Atlanta needs a more consistent pass rush if they hope to remain on top of the division. Tim Williams likes to get after the quarterback and is highly valued by Mike Mayock. He’s had off-the-field issues with drug tests and misdemeanors, so that is why he’s slipped. Atlanta would need to consider that before drafting Williams.
New Orleans Saints select Tre’Davious White (CB, LSU) with the 32nd overall pick.
The Saints got Gareon Conley earlier in this mock, but they would be fine drafting a second cornerback. Allow Conley and White to grow together into the NFL and build a bond off the field. White is also a talented cornerback and should fit nicely in New Orleans if surrounded with other younger talent.
That is my mock draft! I’m excited for next Thursday night!