Annually I like to release four Mock Drafts leading up to the draft. The first coming after free agency opens. There’s nothing better than a good mock draft, however, dishing them out before teams start reshaping their rosters is a bit trigger happy. I mean, who saw the Patriots making the type of splashes they’ve made so far via free agency?
So, here is the first break down of how things could shape up on April 27th in the “City of Brotherly Love” Philadelphia, PA.
1.) Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
This pick won’t change unless the Browns decide to trade the pick.
2.) San Francisco 49ers: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
The Niners have brought in some of vets, but still have a ways to go before their defense actually resembles a defense. At safety, Antoine Bethea was cut and Eric Reid has contemplated retirement due to concussions. Adams is a Day One starter and provides some security.
3.) Chicago Bears: Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama
There are considerable red flags with Allen’s shoulder. He has arthritis, but the doctor’s say it won’t be an issue until after Allen’s playing days. If the Bears feel comfortable about it, Allen could solidify the front line.
4.) Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
This is a “best available” pick. In this scenario, Jacksonville should aim for the best player available. Enter Fournette. He’s an old school back and with Tom Coughlin running the front office, it could be a perfect marriage.
5.) Tennessee Titans: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio St.
The Titans added some pieces to the secondary via free agency in Jonathan Cyprien and Logan Ryan, but more needs to done for a unit that finished 30th in the league. Hooker, is a playmaker who has incredible range.
6.) New York Jets: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio St.
Dee Milliner was the last Top-10 draft pick used to replace Darrelle Revis, hopefully, Lattimore can be more productive. He has some injury history to consider and pulling out of the Combine didn’t help quell those worries, but he has the explosiveness and ball skills to be special.
7.) Los Angeles Chargers: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
Philip River’s window isn’t getting any bigger and his best weapon, Keenan Allen, hasn’t been able to stay healthy. If the talent they have can stay healthy, the Chargers have enough to push for a wild card seed. This is security.
8.) Carolina Panthers: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
Carolina has brought in a lot of aging veterans. Drafting the versatile Thomas and allowing him to learn from Charles Johnson and Julius Peppers, will only make the pay off better down the road.
9.) Cincinnati Bengals: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
The Bengals defensive line is only getting older and thinner in regards to depth. The rush defense was lackluster, ranking 21st in the league. Barnett can set the edge and provide a little juice in the pass rush.
10.) Buffalo Bills: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Williams, is the big target Buffalo needs. They lost Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin via free agency, leaving the cupboard bare. With a passing attack that ranked 30th in the league last year, Williams would pair well with fellow ex-Clemson Tiger Sammy Watkins.
11.) New Orleans Saints: Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
New Orleans had the worst pass defense in the league last year and cornerback is their most pressing need. This pick, of course, is now up in the air with news breaking that Jones went down with an injury at his pro day. Until further details emerge on the severity of the situation, Jones is the pick here.
12.) Cleveland Browns: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
What the Browns need more than anything is stability and Howard provides that. He can block, is a match-up nightmare in the passing game, and comes from a pro style offense. Best of all, he’ll provide a security blanket for…whoever is quarterbacking the team.
13.) Arizona Cardinals: Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama
Between injury concern and his dismissal from the Combine, I believe Foster may slip. Now, the Combine issue has been addressed and seems to be more of a nonissue. None the less, the Cards get the missing link to their defense: a high-motor, thumper who will set the tone.
14.) Philadelphia Eagles: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
Philly has done well to bolster the offense and supplying weapons for Carson Wentz to utilize. Now, they need to focus on the other side of the ball. Last year’s starters are gone and the cupboard is pretty bare. Humphrey could start Day One.
15.) Indianapolis Colts: Haason Reddick, ILB, Temple
The Colts need to totally rebuild their defense. They brought in some edge rushers via free agency and should continue to address the linebacking corps. Reddick has the versatility, explosiveness, and awareness to become a Day One starter.
16.) Baltimore Ravens: John Ross, WR, Washington
With the retirement of Steve Smith, the Ravens receiving corps became alarmingly thin. Mike Wallace, looked like the Mike Wallace of old, but Breshad Perriman has failed to make an impact yet. Ross, adds a dynamic playmaker to stretch defenses.
17.) Washington Redskins: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
Team president Bruce Allen has ran the organization in the ground…again. And it was particularly embarrassing this time around. Kirk Cousins is all but gone after this season and they need someone to succeed him. The unfortunate task lands on Trubisky’s shoulders.
18.) Tennessee Titans: David Njoku, TE, Miami
Delanie Walker has been tremendous for the Titans, but at 32 years of age it’s time to start looking for his replacement. Njoku is raw, but an athletic freak. With a year or two to develop under Walker, Njoku could develop into a Pro Bowl caliber weapon.
19.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida St.
Veteran Doug Martin has been unable to stay healthy and some off-field issues have popped up. It’s time to go in a new direction. Cook has familiarity with quarterback Jameis Winston, having played together at Florida State. Cook, also provides an upgrade in the passing game.
20.) Denver Broncos: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
While they have added some pieces in Menelik Watson and Ronald Leary, the left tackle position still needs to be addressed. Ramczyk, took a long road to get to the FBS level, but has the talent and technique to protect their young franchise quarterback Paxton Lynch.
21.) Detroit Lions: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
Charlton, has been tagged with the “inconsistent” label, but Charlton is still an ascending talent. He was moved around a lot at Michigan, which stunted his development. In the right situation, like this playing opposite Ziggy Ansah, Chlarton could take the next step.
22.) Miami Dolphins: Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky
The Dolphins have addressed some glaring needs adding Lawrence Timmons via free agency and trading for Julius Thomas and William Hayes. Laremy Tunsil will move to his natural left tackle position, but that leaves glaring needs at guard. Lamp, will start Day One.
23.) New York Giants: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
McCaffrey is the perfect fit for the Giants offensive scheme. Offensive whiz Ben McAdoo can maximize McCaffrey’s versatile skill set as a rusher, receiver, and returner. McCaffrey is a dynamic Swiss army knife that paired with Odell Bechkham Jr., Sterling Shepard, and Brandon Marshall would terrify any opposing defense.
24.) Oakland Raiders: Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
While Oakland’s offense took the next step in 2016, the defense lagged behind. Most notably in the secondary. White, is an excellent cover corner, but he may not have enough size which could force him to play the slot.
25.) Houston Texans: Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan St.
With Vince Wilfork retiring there will be some shuffling along the defensive line and some gaps will emerge. That’s where McDowell comes in. McDowell, has the ideal traits to be a five-technique in Houston’s system and in time could develop into a quality starter.
26.) Seattle Seahawks: Garrett Bolles, OT, Utah
Bolles has taken quite a long road to get to this point, but this is an ideal fit. He has the size, athleticism, and nastiness to excel in Seattle’s zone. While it may take a year or two for him to reach his potential, Bolles can be the blindside protector Russell Wilson needs.
27.) Kansas City Chiefs: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
This qualifies as a luxury pick, but a great scenario none the less. With a year or so to acclimate to the NFL game, Watson is the perfect passer for Andy Reid’s west coast, minimal mistake, super game-manager scheme.
28.) Dallas Cowboys: Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
The Cowboys took a hit in free agency, losing both Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox. That leaves a massive whole in the secondary. Peppers, can be the player to change that. He is a classic playmaker who can be deployed all over the field.
29.) Green Bay Packers: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio St.
Conley started every game his last two years in Colombus, excels in press coverage, and has experience playing the slot. What more could Green Bay ask for? He fits their scheme perfectly and will provide an instant talent boost to a lackluster position.
30.) Pittsburgh Steelers: Takkarist McKinley, OLB, UCLA
The Steelers have spent a lot of capital on their linebacking corps and have to go back to the well again. Former-first rounder Jarvis Jones couldn’t cut it and James Harrison can’t defy age forever. McKinley, would be able to grow behind Harrison and, in time, give the Steelers the pass rush they’ve sorely been missing.
31.) Atlanta Falcons: Charles Harris, DE, Missouri
The defensive end position has been dogging the Falcons for some time now. Harris could solve that. Harris, has an explosive burst and would team well with Vic Beasley to provide a constant threat to the opposing quarterback.
32.) New Orleans Saints: Pat Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
By shipping wide receiver Brandin Cooks to the Patriots, New Orleans picked up the last selection on Day One. In this scenario any need would be a reach, so in that case why not find Drew Brees’ heir? Mahomes, would be a perfect fit for Sean Payton’s shotgun friendly offense and sitting behind Brees would only benefit Mahomes, who is as raw as they come.