The NFL Draft has kinda snuck up on me, like everything does these days. I’m not sure if I’ll do another one. We’ll see.
This draft features two franchise quarterbacks, a lot of line-talent, and some very good wide receivers. However, those wide outs will go fast. Two running backs will go in the first round, quite late, as running backs’ value in the league has dropped. Also, as you can see, I suck at writing intros. Always have, always will.
What’s below features no trades.
No.1, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: QB Jamies Winston, Florida State
This is so obvious that teams and the media is making up trades for Marcus Mariota. OK, maybe it’s not that obvious, but I think this is a done deal.
Tampa Bay is a mess at quarterback. Mike Glennon, unfortunately, has fell off a cliff and doesn’t look like anywhere close to a franchise QB. Josh McCown made it a year here, before getting hurt and playing awful football. It’s kinda a disaster.
Jamies Winston comes in and gives these fans something to get excited about. While the rest of the roster needs work, Winston is a great start.
I love Winston’s game. He’s somewhere in between Colin Kaepernick and Ben Rothlisberger. Both have big arms, which Winston does. Winston is very athletic like Kaepernick. He can use his feet to make a good play. Standing at 6’4, 230 pounds, he can shed tackles, like Rothlisberger.
Now, the off-the-field side of this is always a question, and it’s something I don’t like addressing. Tampa Bay has to do as much inside work as possible before drafting him. Though his record isn’t exactly clean, you have to trust that when Winston comes into the NFL, he’ll behave properly.
No.2, Tennessee Titans: QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon
I don’t see Marcus Mariota falling. Tennessee is another disaster of a franchise, and if it wasn’t for Charlie Whitehurst last year, this team would have No.1 overall. The Titans can’t pass this opportunity up. While I like Winston much more, Mariota has the potential. He’s super athletic, more than Winston, and gains substantial yards with his legs. That adds a whole new dimension.
Like the Bucs, Mariota gives Titans fans something to cheer about. Again, the rest of the roster needs work. That’s where Mariota and his coaches have to be patient. You can’t official judge a guy until he has weapons to work with.
Tennessee doesn’t have that yet. That is why you draft Mariota. You draft him for the long haul.
No.3, Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Leonard Williams, USC
Ranked the No.1 overall prospect in the draft, Williams is a terror. There are two reasons why he won’t go No.1.
- Tennessee and Tampa Bay need QBs
- After Jadeveon Clowney being an early bust, I don’t know if GMs will take a risk on a defensive end at No.1 or No.2 in the draft.
Jacksonville has a QB, and is in the re-bulding process. This team in his best player mode, and with Williams still there, there is no way they pass. The Jaguars need an outside rusher, as most of their defensive lineman are old and washed up. Williams would come in and be a sack master, and in a division with weak QBs, he’d be a terror on Sundays.
No.4, Oakland Raiders: WR Kevin White, West Virginia
Some might wonder why Amari Cooper isn’t being taken here. Look, the Raiders are in best player mode. They have a QB in Derek Carr. Kevin White is a speedster wide receiver. They guy can fly, and can run any route. Adding White would give Carr a great guy to throw to.
Cooper is coming up, very soon. He’s more of a down field threat, who can go up and grab any ball.
No.5, Washington Redskins: OLB Dante Fowler Jr., Florida
Washington lacks good linebackers. This team is desperate for a good defensive player. Fowler is projected higher than this, which shows how hot of a commodity he is. Fowler is a great cover linebacker, and waits for the running back to come to him. He’s not great at rushing the passer yet, which is something he can work on. It’s a skill that the Redskins would want him to improve on.
No.6, New York Jets: WR Amari Cooper, Alabama
While they don’t have a QB yet, adding Cooper would give them a big time downfield threat. Cooper will go up and grab any ball. He’s extremely similar to Andre Johnson. New York could use him as a big part of their future offense, when they find the right guy to command it.
No.7, Chicago Bears: OLB Vic Beasley, Clemson
I love this pick. Chicago’s defense was miserable last year, and they’ve never been able to replace Brian Urlancher since he retired. Beasley, is well, a beast! The guy has been building up his stock for years. The Redskins could be an interesting option with Beasley, as he can rush the passer extremely well. This draft is filled with great defensive players, so anyone really knows where these guys will end up. Lots of teams could use them though.
No.8, Atlanta Falcons: DE Shane Ray, Missouri
Atlanta is another team that’s kinda a disaster, though they have a really good QB. With a new coach, defensive mastermind Dan Quinn, this is a perfect fit. Shane Ray comes off the edge so fast, and is a sack master. Playing at Missouri boosts his stock maybe a little too high, since that’s been a great defense over the years. Still, the Falcons could use someone like this.
No.9, New York Giants: OLB Randy Gregory, Nebraska
I never had Randy Gregory any higher than this. Though he’ll probably fall below this spot due to a failed drug test, which turned up pot use. Though that’s not as big of a problem as PEDs are, it’ll cost him a couple spots.
I put Gregory here because this is a great fit. He can come off the edge, but will most likely stay back since the Giants have a very good defensive line. He sees the field very well, and is a good cover linebacker, who’ll match up with most tight ends in the league. Though it probably won’t happen, this would be a great fit.
No.10, St. Louis Rams: OG Brandon Scherff, Iowa
The Rams don’t need anyone on the defensive end, which limits their options here. Though, with a hole at the guard spot, St. Louis could use this pick on Scherff, who is a big burly guy who specializes in run blocking. With new QBs coming into the Rams system, a good offensive line would be helpful to adjusting.
No.11, Minnesota Vikings: CB Trae Waynes, Michigan State
This is super high compared to others, but the Vikings can’t pass this up. Signing Terence Newman was smart, but Minnesota needs some youth back there. Waynes was part of an excellent secondary with the Spartans. He’s a smart player who can cover anyone. Mike Zimmer is a great defensive coach. He’ll push to make this one happen.
No.12, Cleveland Browns: NT Danny Shelton, Washington
The Browns currently have three nose tackles on their roster that I have never heard of. Not even once. So this better happen. Danny Shelton is a force in the middle of the line. He can get past anyone. He’s not a sack master, but will get high amounts of tackles.
No.13, New Orleans Saints: DT Arik Armstead, Oregon
This draft is rich with line-talent on both sides of the ball. Armstead dominated offensive lines at Oregon. He’s a hassle to deal with. The Saints were miserable on defense last year. Any upgrade they would take. If Trae Waynes is still around at this spot, I could see the Saints taking him instead, however, this is the best option available.
No.14, Miami Dolphins: OT Andres Peat, Stanford
Peat is a big, scary looking dude. This guy is a bear. He mauls people on the line. While him watching at Stanford over the past four years, he seems like a lineman that would adjust nicely. Stanford ran an offense that’s similar to an NFL one, with the same schemes and plays. The Dolphins offensive line was not great last year. Drafting Peat would give Ryan Tannehill some more protection.
No.15, San Francisco 49ers: WR Devante Parker, Louisville
The Dolphins and 49ers might flip selections here. Parker would make sense for Miami. However, San Francisco has always lacked someone like Parker since putting Colin Kaepernick in the starting role. Parker is a super speedy receiver, and has great hands. While the 49ers still need a downhill threat, Parker can come in and grab multiple balls a game. This should happen, but don’t be surprised if he’s gone at No.14.
No.16, Houston Texans: OT T.J. Clemmings, Pittsburgh
Though they play different positions, the release of Chris Meyers leaves a huge hole in this offensive line. While Clemmings is tackle, he can still solidify the outer edge. Another large man, Clemmings does actually have very good footwork for a guy his size, and for tackles, that’s important.
No.17, San Diego Chargers: SS Landon Collins, Alabama
Locking up Brandon Flowers was a great thing for this Chargers secondary. San Diego has had major issues back there for awhile now. Adding Landon Collins would not only improve the secondary, but give it young talent. Collins was part of the masterful Alabama defense that dominated everyone. While he might be a little raw, San Diego can develop him and have him become an important part of that secondary.
No.18, Kansas City Chiefs: CB Jalen Collins, LSU
The secondary players are starting to fly off the board. Kansas City has a great front seven, but after trading Brandon Flowers, the secondary has been ok. With Eric Berry going through lymphoma treatment, the Chiefs should take Jalen Collins with this pick. LSU is another school that has produced great secondary players. He doesn’t have much experience, which is a concern, but could easily be developed into a quality corner. His potential is too high for the Chiefs to not take the risk.
No.19, Cleveland Browns: DT Malcom Brown, Texas
I know that I have them taking a defensive lineman at No.12, but this team needs big boys up front. Again, there is no one I’ve heard of on their defensive line. They have to use this draft on defense, at least in the first round. Brown and Shelton are very similar. They aren’t sack masters, but will cause problems and make tackles.
No.20, Philadelphia Eagles: OT D.J. Humphries, Florida
This pick will probably confuse you. While the Eagles’ offensive line looks good on paper, injuries always plague this group. Plus, there’s been rumors about Evan Mathis’ name on the trade market. While he’s a guard, Humphries could at least give this group more depth in that scenario. Humphries is very athletic and is a tough kid. Again, this is not a popular pick. Most think they’ll go secondary here, but their main targets will already be gone.
No.21, Cincinnati Bengals: OT La’el Collins, LSU
Humphries could also end up here. Many have La’el Collins going higher than this, but I believe Andreas Peat and T.J. Clemmings have a higher upside. Really, the Bengals should take any offensive lineman they can. This is not a good offensive line, and never really has been. While they have experience, their performance is slowly decreasing, and adding some youth should improve the line as whole. The Bengals are gonna have to take some kind of O-lineman here.
No.22, Pittsburgh Steelers: CB Kevin Johnson, Central Florida
I already loved Kevin Johnson just because of his name (K.J.!!!!!!) But man, is this guy talented. He is a true shutdown corner. While he’s not big or physical, he can stay with anyone. Pittsburgh’s secondary wasn’t great last year, and with Ryan Clark and now Troy Polamalu gone, they need help, badly.
No.23, Detroit Lions: DT Eddie Goldman, Florida State
Goldman would come in and essentially be the long term replacement for Ndamukong Suh. While the Lions traded for Haloti Ngata, Goldman would be a rotation guy who would eventually become a starter. Suh is such a loss that Goldman might see more playing time than expected. Goldman is not a sack master, and really just takes up space and causes chaos. He’d be a nice compliment to Ngata while also being part of future plans.
No.24, Arizona Cardinals: OLB Bud Dupree, Kentucky
With Daryl Washington’s future not in balance, this would be a smart pick by the Cardinals. Dupree is a fast linebacker who’ll make any tackle in front of him. He’s a great cover linebacker too, something the Cardinals have struggled to find. Dupree isn’t a great pass-rusher, but that’s not what the Cardinals are looking for. That defensive line is good enough.
No.25, Carolina Panthers: OT Ereck Flowers, Miami
I made fun of how bad the Panthers offensive line was all year, and trust me, it was never good. Drafting Ereck Flowers would solve these problems. Guys retired on the Panthers last year, and adding Flowers would give this group some youth. He has issues that can fixed, but this might be more of project than an instant starter, and I’m not sure that’s what the Panthers want. However, the best guys are starting to fly off the board. If he’s here, take him.
No.26, Baltimore Ravens: NT Jordan Phillips, Oklahoma
After trading Haloti Ngata (as mentioned above), this pick makes total sense. Jordan Phillips is big boy who takes up a ton of space. He’s also great at shedding blocks, which allows him to stuff running backs. He’s not a sack-master, but would be a great fit in this defense.
No.27, Dallas Cowboys: RB Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
So, the Cowboys thought they were getting Adrian Peterson since October. That didn’t happen, and probably won’t happen. Then they lose DeMarco Murray because they low-balled him on an offer. You don’t do that to big-time free agents. They’ll say “screw you” and leave, and that’s what happened.
One more thing, do the Cowboys really think Darren McFadden will help them? He’ll be in a boot by Week 3!!
With all of this, it forces Dallas to take a running back, and Melvin Gordon is the best running back in this draft. The guy is unbelievable. He puts up incredible stats, and has a great combo of power running and leaving guys in the dust. He’s like super fast Marshawn Lynch.
I’m not talking about how he fits. If he’s drafted by the Cowboys, he’ll be starting Week 1. No question.
No.28, Denver Broncos: DT Michael Bennett, Ohio State
The Broncos defense was very good last year, don’t get me wrong. However, they relied on their back seven, not their front. And now Terrence Knighton is a Redskin. Denver has no one on the defensive line, besides Sylvester Williams, who’s ok. Drafting Michael Bennet would give them a huge boost up front. He has great quickness, and could get past anyone. This guy had a great career at Ohio State. He knows football. This should happen, and I’m not sure what else the Broncos would do here.
No.29, Indianapolis Colts: OLB Eli Harold, Virginia
While the Colts’ linebacking core is pretty stacked, this would still be a good pick. Eli Harold has the ability to move and play on the line, where the Colts do need help. Indianapolis relied on their secondary last season. With drafting Harold, they would have better talent up front.
No.30, Green Bay Packers: DT Carl Davis, Iowa
Even though the Packers resigned B.J. Ragi, this would be a pick that the Packers could work with. Ragi is on a one year deal, so giving Carl Davis time to develop more would be helpful. Whether he replaces Ragi or not is another question. He’s kinda a project, but has a celling to high to pass on. He takes up space, and has great run defense skills. He is not a pass rusher, and that’s one thing the Packers could work on with Davis.
No.31, New Orleans Saints: CB Ronald Darley, Florida State
The secondary was one of the biggest problems for the Saints last year. Adding Ronald Darley would give them a boost of talent and add youth to the group. Darley is a great cover corner who is very speedy. He’s not big, so tackling bigger receivers might be a problem. Though, the Saints desperately need some help back there. This pick needs to be made.
No.32, New England Patriots: RB Todd Gurley, Georgia
The Patriots lost Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley in free agency. And Bill Belichick doesn’t seem to like Jonas Gray. This forces New England to use this pick on a running back.
Yeah, Gurley is coming off the NCAA violations and a torn ACL, but the Patriots need someone at running back, and why not start young? Most see Gurley as a second round pick because of the injury. The violations should not cause Gurley to fall. This guy is a power house. He is simply incredible. We’ve all seen him play.
This pick needs to happen. The Patriots aren’t huge on taking starry names, but the potential is too high on Gurley.
This mock draft was done with help from NFL.com’s Predict the Pick.