Let me welcome you all to NFL Draft week! It’s going to be a busy time for us here at the site, and the draft content has barely begun. With only three days to go until the first round of the draft, it is time to release my final mock draft of the season. There is so much buzz circulating about what will go down on Thursday night, and the buzz has ultimately fallen on the Cleveland Browns.
Everything revolves around what Cleveland will do when they send the first ticket in with the newest Brown’s name on it. If it is indeed Myles Garrett, as most of us expect, then a flurry of teams desperate to trade down begins, along with the Browns trying to find a partner to trade up and get another guy they really like in this draft: Mitchell Trubisky.
If the pick turns out to be Trubisky at number one, then a different chaos could ensue. I don’t think the Niners would hesitate knowing Garrett is still there. But after that, teams could be desperate to move up with the likes of the Jets and Bills standing in their way (I’m looking at you, Arizona).
No matter what happens, it’s going to be one heck of a night. Let’s dive in to my last mock of the season.
1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, EDGE, Texas A&M
The Browns have a franchise altering decision here at number one overall. There is a considerable divide amongst the front office on who to pick here. With enough draft capital to trade up to get the quarterback they want, it’s time to be smart at one and take the best player in this draft. Garrett has a plethora of ways to get to the quarterback and has the potential to grow into a perennial all pro.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Solomon Thomas, EDGE, Stanford
The 49ers will likely try to field calls in order to trade out of this point, but there’s no guarantee that there will be takers for the obviously large capital they would want for it. Let’s assume here the Niners don’t find a trade partner and stay here. I think Fournette and Adams would both be in play here, but they have a chance to build a young and lethal front with the addition of Solomon Thomas. Thomas off the edge with Armstead and Buckner in the middle would rebuild what the Niners had under Jim Harbaugh.
3. Chicago Bears: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
The Bears have plenty of ways to go here, but the secondary is an obvious need, with Prince Amukamara and Kyle Fuller being their best options on the outside. Quarterback is a wild card, but it seems they are ready to go with Mike Glennon. With Aaron Rodgers and Matt Stafford as constant nightmares for the Bears secondary, it’s time to upgrade. Marshon Lattimore has elite coverage and ball skills to thrive at the next level.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
The Jags have built a very good young core on the defensive side of the ball, so it might just be a luxury pick no matter where they turn there. Turning to the offensive side of the ball, the Jags need help for Blake Bortles. He regressed significantly last season, and that was partly due to an ineffective running game. It’s time to add a true playmaker at running back, and who better than a guy who some are declaring to be the next generational prospect at running back, Leonard Fournette.
5. Cleveland Browns (from Tennessee Titans): Mitchell Trubisky, QB, UNC
(Browns get: No. 5 overall. Titans get: No. 12 overall, No. 33 overall)
The Browns are too darn tempted to sit back and wait, even if that means they don’t get a quarterback in this draft. The Titans would love nothing more than to pick up a second round pick in exchange for moving back seven spots. As for the Browns, it’s the best of both worlds for the franchise. The front office gets both players they have coveted, and the city of Cleveland has plenty of hope with a stockpile of picks in the next two seasons. Trubisky’s main concern is the amount of games he started in college, but he has solid tools to be a franchise quarterback.
6. New York Jets: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
The Jets are one of the teams that will need a quarterback at some point to resurrect the franchise. I just don’t think they believe that any of the quarterbacks are worthy of a first round pick. So, the Jets turn to the defense. Calvin Pryor hasn’t worked out well, and they need help on the back end. Malik Hooker is sitting right there as a guy who has spectacular ball skills and instincts to get to the ball. I believe that he is exactly what Todd Bowles wants on the back end of his defense.
7. Los Angeles Chargers: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
The Chargers are building something really nice on the defensive side of the ball. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram are very good pass rushers. Jatavis Brown and Denzel Perryman are a nice duo on the second level. They have solid corners on the outside in Casey Hayward and Jason Verrett. Now, they could use a leader on the back end. Jamal Adams has top five player written all over him. He can come up and play in the box against the run, and can play on the back end as well as cover in the slot. Adams can step up and be a big leader on this defense for years to come.
8. Carolina Panthers: Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
The Panthers lost out on the Fournette sweepstakes, and they also lost out on both safeties and Marshon Lattimore. So, it’s time for best player available to take effect. The Panthers did lose some depth with Kony Ealy being traded away, and the best part about Allen is that he can play on the interior of the line or he can come off the edge. That versatility will come in handy for the Panthers, who could use a rusher off the edge that currently features aging vets Charles Johnson and Julius Peppers.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: Derek Barnett, EDGE, Tennessee
The Bengals have lost a ton the last two seasons in free agency. If there was a top offensive lineman in this draft worthy of a top 10 pick, this would be a perfect fit. But, there aren’t any worthy of that honor. So, let’s go get someone to help out Carlos Dunlap off the edge. The Bengals love bigger, stronger pass rushers, and a guy like Derek Barnett fits right in. He has been extremely productive with Tennessee, and has a motor that won’t quit.
10. Buffalo Bills: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Could the Bills take Watson here? Absolutely. But, I think they still believe in Tyrod Taylor, and that if this team can put it all together, Taylor will thrive. So, with some serious offensive weapons on the board, the Bills decide to give Taylor some help and pair up two Clemson wide receivers. Mike Williams is a pretty solid complement to Sammy Watkins in that while Watkins has the speed to win outside, Williams brings a big time red zone threat who is a better route runner than advertised.
11. New Orleans Saints: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
There are plenty of options for the Saints, a team who has struggled on defense for some time. With the top three edge rushers off the board, the Saints turn to the cornerback position, where they continue to look for a number one guy. Gareon Conley could be the guy that they have been searching for. Conley often gets lost in the mix when Marshon Lattimore and Malik Hooker are mentioned, but he is an impressive corner with very good ball skills and the ability to play in the slot.
12. Tennessee Titans (from Browns): OJ Howard, TE, Alabama
The Titans pick up a pick in round two, and that will help towards building their team into a contender. As for this pick, the Titans pull the trigger on one of the best players available. OJ Howard fits perfectly with what the Titans want to do on offense: run the ball effectively and open up the field with the play action. Howard is a very good blocker, and he can stretch the field and be a very dangerous threat in the passing game. Plus, Delanie Walker isn’t getting younger.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
The Cardinals are not a playoff team right now. There are major weaknesses on both sides of the ball, and their offense is getting weaker with their once promising group of receivers weakening. Even with holes on both sides, Bruce Arians and company are too tempted with seeing their quarterback of the future on the board. Patrick Mahomes has the strong arm to thrive in the vertical offense the Cardinals run. With Arians’ help, Mahomes could develop into a franchise quarterback.
14. Philadelphia Eagles: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
Yes, the Eagles need help at corner. But, with how much depth this draft has at that position, the Eagles instead decide to bring balance to the offense. Christian McCaffrey can be a true difference maker and matchup nightmare in Philly. He can run between the tackles and line up in the slot as a receiver. Second year pro Carson Wentz would love some help as he continues to develop.
15. Indianapolis Colts: Haason Reddick, LB/EDGE, Temple
The Colts could pick any spot on their defense to address and it would be a good pick. They could really use a playmaker who can step in and become a leader on that defense. Haason Reddick can be that guy. Reddick’s versatility is what makes him special. He played on the edge last season at Temple, but at the Senior Bowl, he dominated in off ball linebacker drills. The Colts can use him as a two down off ball guy who can come down and rush the passer on third down.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
Marlon Humphrey is going a lot higher than people think he is. You just don’t get big, physical, and fast corners very often. The Ravens have strong ties to Alabama prospects in recent drafts, so why not here? Humphrey can come in and learn how to refine his game when the ball is in the air and become a dominant force in press coverage.
17. Washington Redskins: Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
The Redskins are a serious wild card in this draft. Everyone thought they’d go defensive line last year, and they surprised with a receiver. With no top tier defensive linemen outside of Jonathan Allen, the Redskins elect to grab a guy who can lock down the second level. Jarrad Davis isn’t as far behind Reuben Foster as some may think. He can come downhill in the run game and he can stay on the field on third down in coverage.
18. Tennessee Titans: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
After addressing the offense with their first pick, the Titans now turn to the defensive side of the ball. With not too many corners off the board, and with their secondary lacking playmakers, the Titans jump at the chance to grab a top five corner in the draft. Quincy Wilson has exceptional ball skills and instincts to thrive at the next level. He will be an important cog in the Titans defense.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: David Njoku, TE, Miami
This pairing has been very common over the past couple months. The Buccaneers are a team where it is hard to find a real draft need. Offensive line is a possibility, but this year’s class really isn’t worth a first round pick. The defense is solid in Tampa, so why not grab another weapon for Jameis Winston. David Njoku has serious potential with all of his physical abilities. He is more built for a receiving tight end role, but that doesn’t mean he won’t put in the effort to block. With all that raw potential, and a tag team buddy in Cameron Brate, Njoku could really thrive in Tampa.
20. Denver Broncos: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
It’s no secret that the Broncos need help on the offensive line. They gained rhythm on offense when they could run the ball effectively, and the success of the running game wasn’t where they wanted it to be last season. They need someone who can be effective in the run game as well as protecting Siemian/Lynch. Garett Bolles has the mean streak you want to see in an offensive lineman, and he can make a difference for that sputtering line.
21. Detroit Lions: Takkarist McKinley, EDGE, UCLA
The Lions need to work on getting off the field on third downs, and that starts with finding someone besides Ziggy Ansah who can pressure the quarterback. Takkarist McKinley would be a nice fit for Detroit. Yes, McKinley is still a little raw and needs to refine some of his technique while setting an edge, but there is plenty to like. McKinley has an extremely high motor and has so many effort plays where he won’t give up. Plus, he has great speed and quickness. The Lions land a potential star.
22. Miami Dolphins: Forrest Lamp, OL, Western Kentucky
The Dolphins really found themselves down the stretch last season, which resulted in a playoff berth. Running the ball effectively was a key to Adam Gase’s offense being successful, and they will want to continue that. With Branden Albert gone, it’s likely that Laremy Tunsil moves to left tackle. Enter Forrest Lamp, who has Pro Bowl potential no matter where you put him on the line. Lamp can play either tackle or guard, and that gives the Dolphins options when it comes to the offensive line.
23. New York Giants: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
The Giants will be bringing back an elite defense in 2017. What they won’t be bringing back is a top flight offense. Adding Brandon Marshall was good for the Giants, but now they need to make sure their quarterback can stay upright. Ryan Ramczyk has Pro Bowl potential at the tackles spot, and his technician-like abilities will translate to the NFL.
24. Oakland Raiders: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
The fall ends here. Reuben Foster is too darn good to fall out of the first round, and it’s doubtful that a Super Bowl contender who needs help at linebacker will pass on him. Foster is exactly what the Raiders need on defense. He can be a big time leader and playmaker, and can anchor a defense that gave up over six yards per play.
25. Houston Texans: DeShaun Watson, QB, Clemson
The Texans cannot afford to enter 2017 without someone who they believe can lead this franchise deeper into the playoffs. With DeShaun Watson still on the board, the Texans select a quarterback who is no stranger to playoff runs. He has the leadership and gamer qualities you covet in a quarterback. Watson may not have the best arm, but with the talent around him, he doesn’t need to do it all right away.
26. Seattle Seahawks: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
There isn’t much intrigue to this pick. Seattle’s offensive line has struggled recently. They need to address the position if they want to run the ball effectively and keep Russell Wilson upright. Cam Robinson could come in and play a big role in their revival. Robinson is a body mover who can be very effective in the run game, while also having the strength to stave off edge rushers.
27. Kansas City Chiefs: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
With three quarterbacks off the board, it’s hard to see the Chiefs reaching for one that shouldn’t be drafted in the first round. So, they look elsewhere. With Derrick Johnson’s career winding down, it’s time to find a viable replacement. Zach Cunningham has improved significantly in his time at Vanderbilt, and can come in right away and be a tackling machine. He has the quickness and instincts to become a centerpiece on that defense.
28. Dallas Cowboys: Taco Charlton, EDGE, Michigan
The Cowboys desperately need defensive help. With two corners from last season gone, and no guarantees with the pass rush, the Cowboys elect to go with a big, strong edge rusher who can help rejuvenate this group. Taco Charlton has the power and quickness to win on the outside, and the strength to stack up blockers when defending the run. His physical traits show that he has the potential to succeed in the NFL.
29. Green Bay Packers: Charles Harris, EDGE, Missouri
Yes, Packer fans, one at a time. The need for more corners is apparent. There isn’t much depth at that spot right now, but with young guys developing, the Packers elect to wait till later to draft a corner. Even though Nick Perry re-signed with the Packers, they still need help off the edge. Charles Harris could come in and shine from day one. His spin move is second to none in this class, and he has quickness and power to consistently win against tackles. This move could also allow Clay Matthews to move around the Packers defense.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
The Steelers see too much value here to let Corey Davis slip any further. His stock is slipping only because he hasn’t been talked about. That is ludicrous. With Martavis Bryant’s future still uncertain, and not much progress being made by Sammie Coates, Corey Davis would fit right in here. Antonio Brown needs someone to complement his game, and Davis’ route running ability and the danger after the catch make him the pick here.
31. Atlanta Falcons: Adoree Jackson, CB, USC
It’s quite clear that Atlanta needs to find help for Vic Beasley, who can’t do it all himself off the edge, but with all the top guys gone, it’s time to be patient there. Instead, the Falcons look to a secondary that was more vulnerable without Desmond Trufant in the lineup. Adoree Jackson has the makings to play corner on the outside. He has good speed and quickness to keep up, and can also make his presence known in the return game.
32. New Orleans Saints (from Patriots): John Ross, WR, Washington
The Saints are also looking for a pass rusher, but they find themselves in the same spot as Atlanta. So, with Cooks departing for New England, why not grab his replacement right here? John Ross is more than just a burner. He can run very good routes and would be very tough to cover wherever you line him up. Drew Brees and Sean Payton would love another chess piece on the offensive side of the ball.
What do you think about this draft? Agree on your team’s pick? Disagree? Put your thoughts in the comments or reply on Twitter.
Jake Schyvinck covers the NFL and NFL Draft for The Sports Guys. For more draft content, follow him on Twitter @JSchyvinck13.