I think is the best draft since I’ve launched the site. Fitting, because the upcoming NBA Draft is also the best we’ve had since 2014.
As always, my mock draft is a combination of what I think should happen and what I think will happen, and features no trades.
No.1, Cleveland Browns: DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
In no way is there another pick you make here. Garrett is a once-in-a-generation talent as an edge rusher. He demolishes people on the offensive line. He’s not only the best player in this draft, but the best prospect coming into one since Andrew Luck in 2012.
I’ve always believed in the rebuilding process of taking the best guy available and figuring out the rest later. The Browns don’t need a quarterback right now. They’re years away from contending even with a good quarterback (Spoiler: There’s not a really good QB in this draft). Take Garrett so he can get 12+ sacks a year and give your defense a guy to build around while you wait for your quarterback. It’s the easiest decision Cleveland has ever had to make, and yet, it seems that they’re still split.
No.2, San Francisco 49ers: DL Jonathan Allen, Alabama
This is much higher than other people have him going, but I’ve been in love with Jonathan Allen all season. He’s explosive, versatile, and makes things happen.
His skill set fits in more with Chicago; a guy who you can use in multiple schemes and in different ways. But his versatility gives San Francisco exactly what they need: A plug in the middle of their defensive line. Allen’s played on the edge and inside throughout college. The 49ers are good on the end with Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner. Adding Allen to stuff the run and rush the quarterback creates a dominating defensive front.
No.3, Chicago Bears: S Jamal Adams, LSU
It’s a tough call here for Chicago between Adams and Ohio State safety Malik Hooker. Both are awesome prospects. But Chicago needs a play-maker in the secondary. Adams is fast and physical, while Hooker is more a drop back and then make-a-move type safety. Chicago needs that desperately. I see Hooker only lasting a few more spots.
No.4, Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina
Remember the rules of the mock. All the Jaguars need is a quarterback. We’ve waited on this roster for two seasons now, and they only got better this Winter, signing Calais Campbell and A.J. Bouye. Inserting Blake Bortles under center wastes their potential. I thought Jacksonville should have thrown all the money they had at Tony Romo before he retired; this team would have been a contender with him guiding the ship.
I don’t think Trubisky is great. I don’t think he’s the best quarterback in the draft. He feels extremely average. The lack of starts scares me. The inability to make big plays is worrisome. Granted, his accuracy and footwork is there. He has the basis, but how much better can he be?
I have Jacksonville taking him to 1) Get rid of Bortles and 2) Upgrade at quarterback. Trubisky isn’t great, but he’s a step up from Bortles, and that might be all this Jaguars team needs.
No.5, Tennessee Titans: DL Solomon Thomas, Stanford
The Titans should be ecstatic if Thomas falls this far. I’m even a little surprised I let him fall to No.5, but it makes all the sense in the world for both involved.
Tennessee has a hole on their line, and Thomas brings a wonderful skill set to the table. He’s super explosive, which is a trait the Titans currently lack up front. He can gets sacks and stuff the run. He’s the perfect player for the Titans, and No.5, he’s more than you could ask for.
No.6, New York Jets: QB DeShaun Watson, Clemson
The quarterbacks once again bring out my “Don’t think it should happen but it will” theory. I battled with who I wanted New York to take, and then ended up here. How?
The Jets kinda need everything but also kinda don’t. Run through their offensive weapons. Upgrades at wide receiver and running back could be nice; quarterback definitely. But at the same time, they have two viable receivers in Eric Decker and Quincy Eniwua, and the Matt Forte/Bilial Powell duo isn’t terrible.
Defensively, they could use another defensive lineman, but someone like Taco Charlton is a reach at No.6.
No matter what, I expect the Jets to do something splashy. I believe Watson is the best quarterback in the Draft. Yes, the accuracy and lack of pocket play is concerning, but the guy has a great arm and just makes plays. I don’t project him as a star, but the earning of best QB in a certain draft is enough praise.
One of the running backs could very well be in play here. I’d take Leonard Fournette, but reports the last few weeks suggest that Christian McCaffrey is flying up boards and could be the first back taken.
New York’s quarterback situation is in worse shape though, and this team is closer than people think. Take Watson and hope to build your future around him.
No.7, Los Angeles Chargers: S Malik Hooker, Ohio State
I think Adams and Malik Hooker go 3 or 7; it all depends on who Chicago likes at No.3 overall.
Hooker is a great cover safety, but isn’t a thumper tackling others. He’s extremely small for his position, which may scare some. However, I’ve heard of none of the Chargers’ current safeties, so Hooker has to be an upgrade.
No.8, Carolina Panthers: RB Leonard Fourntte, LSU
Here is a pick where I combine my two draft principles. Reports have Christian McCaffrey not getting past the Panthers here, which seems insane because he’s not the best back in the draft, and because that would mean two running backs would have to go in the top eight. I don’t see either of those happening.
So, to compromise, I had Carolina go with Fournette, who on my Big Board is the best running back available. His skill set fits in a lot more with the Panthers offense; McCaffrey seems like a disaster in the making unless they’re gonna try and play fast and start calling wheel routes.
Fournette is a smasher. He can run over, mash, pound, and outrun dudes. He has it all. Putting him in Carolina’s backfield gives Jonathan Stewart less snaps (Which means reducing the odds that he gets injured) and takes some pressure of Cam Newton and his dopey group of receivers.
No.9, Cincinnati Bengals: WR Mike Williams, Clemson
I think a trade-down is a possibility here. The Bengals lack wide receiver depth. Imagine A.J. Green opposite Mike Williams with Brandon LaFell in the slot! That is a nightmare for opposing corners.
No.10, Buffalo Bills: CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State
The Bills had a reset to do on this secondary, and adding Marshon Lattimore, who’s the best cover player in this Draft, kicks it off pretty nicely. Adding him and Micah Hyde establishes competency in a position group they need it desperately in.
No.11, New Orleans Saints: CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama
This is as deep of a secondary draft as I can remember. I think Adams going No.2 will convince teams to take these guys higher than they thought they would.
Humphrey is excellent all around. He’s great in coverage, is athletic, and is probably the most underrated corner in the draft. He would replace P.J. Williams in the Saints depth chart, giving New Orleans a massive upgrade in a suddenly very competent secondary.
No.12, Cleveland Browns: DL Taco Charlton, Michigan
I think Cleveland will be disappointed that no quarterbacks will be available here. It won’t surprise me if they trade up to land Trubisky or Watson. But assuming they stay here, Taco makes a ton of sense. Adding him to Myles Garrett would be a huge haul, and would beef up their defensive line majorily. If you’re rebuilding, the one thing you want immediately is having good lines. With a great O-line and a now stacked D-line, the Browns can focus more on skill positions.
No.13, Arizona Cardinals: WR Corey Davis, Central Michigan
Some have us going quarterback, others linebacker, others wide receiver. Corey Davis makes the most sense. I expect Mike Williams to be long gone by this pick, so settling for Davis is something Arizona will do kindly. I like John Ross, but he’s a speedster slot type receiver. The Cardinals have a million of those. This could be Larry Fitzgerald’s last season. Davis is a big, physical receiver who you can throw the ball up to and he’ll go get it. He’s the perfect Fitz replacement.
No.14, Philadelphia Eagles: DL Haason Reddick, Temple
This where the ridiculous depth of this draft begins to show. Guys like Reddick, Derek Barnett and Tim Williams are all still available.
I’m not super educated on Reddick, but his presence added to Flecther Cox, Chris Long and Timmy Jernigan makes this defense very, very scary.
No.15, Indianapolis Colts: LB Reueben Foster, Alabama
I understand the diluted sample will scare teams, but it just seems unfathomable that Foster could fall any lower than this. He’s one of the best guys left at this point, and is the best value for what the Colts need.
Adding Foster gives them options in the linebacking core. There’s no stars (Maybe Foster is the one?), but there’s competency, and with the current state of this defense, that is all they can ask for.
No.16, Baltimore Ravens: WR John Ross, Washington
Three receivers in the top 16 is a lot, but with the talent in this class, it makes sense.
Ross is the last of the big three to go, not because of talent, but because of the need of teams. The Ravens can take Ross and turn him into a speedy slot threat to go along side Breshad Perriman, who’s more of a down-field receiver.
I could see Baltimore going defensive end or linebacker, but helping out Joe Flacco should be priority number one.
No.17, Washington Redskins: RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State
There are definitely other possibilities here, but as my feelings about Kirk Cousins have shifted, I think this pick makes sense.
In any other year, Dalvin Cook would be the best running back in the Draft. This class is just loaded. I think Cook is a better prospect than Ezekiel Elliot last year.
The Redskins have Rob Kelley, who’s destined to turn into Eddie Lacy, Matt Jones, who lost his job, and Chris Thompson, who’s like the weekly fantasy pickup who never does anything.
Enter Dalvin Cook, who’s just as powerful as he is fast. The dude can break off anything. He reminds me of David Johnson, while Fournette is more Zeke-ish.
Helping out Kirk Cousins should be Washington’s priority in the first round. Cook will do that immediately.
No.18, Tennessee Titans: TE OJ Howard, Alabama
If there’s a spot Tennessee is gonna trade out of, it is this one. I struggled with this pick. Tennessee needs defensive help everywhere, so Derek Barnett makes sense, but they already took Thomas at No.5. Jabril Peppers is a massive reach here, and the cornerback/safety selection has hit the lower tier.
So, I went with the best player available. The Titans need a receiver, but like the secondary, we’ve entered the 2nd tier. They have Delanie Walker, who fills a nice hole, but Howard is a different specimen. This guy runs people over after the catch. He’s a massive tight end who is impossible to tackle. He’s a weapon. Marcus Mariota needs one of those.
No.19, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OT Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin
Jamies Winston was on the ground way too much last season. Tampa Bay desperately needs help at the tackle position. Ryan Ramzyck figures to be a plug-in for the Bucs. This guy has been through everything. He’s pro-ready.
No.20, Denver Broncos: OT Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky
I don’t know a lot about Lamp, but he fills a hole on the blind side for the Broncos. I considered D-line here, and also Jabril Peppers (It’s a very John Elway pick), but Lamp just makes the most sense.
No.21, Detroit Lions: LB Jabril Peppers, Michigan
It is high, I know. I’m not necessarily on the hype-train either though.
This is about need. The Lions lack someone super versatile on defense. They need a play-maker; someone to be a spark. They desperately need linebacker help. Peppers is perfect.
He’s a tough evaluation though. He can play linebacker, safety, running back, wide receiver, even a little but of corner. But he’s small for practically all of those positions. He might get the crap beat out of him. But he’s fast and sneaky, making him still prominent on the field.
He’s a risky pick, but is also a safe one. With so much talent, it’s hard to see him not being able to figure out one of those positions. The Lions need help everywhere. Why not??
No.22, Miami Dolphins: DL Takkarist McKinley, UCLA
There’s going to be a lot of good defensive players that fall, including big, burly defensive lineman that just don’t fit the needs of teams. I have McKinley going around his range, but this pick made me stop and consider the way my mock has panned out. Guys like Malik McDowell and Derek Barnett are still available. Teams are gonna get steals.
As for Miami, they could go a lot of places on defense, but McKinley’s addition would give them a terrifying defensive line.
No.23, New York Giants: DL Malik McDowell, Michigan State
The Giants could use some upgrades at linebacker and offensive line, but the premier linebackers are gone and their offensive line needs are on the interior (This is a tackle draft). Picking Malik McDowell plugs a hole in their defensive line, creating a monstrous front, and if you have a line, then you have the start of a really, really good defense.
N0.24, Oakland Raiders: DL Caleb Brantley, Florida
Here go the defensive tackles. The Raiders defense is the complete opposite of their offense: Depleted. They could go anywhere in the front seven, but taking the best player available is the way to go.
No.25, Houston Texans: OT Cam Robinson, Alabama
I’m sure Houston would love to take a quarterback, but at the same time, they only have themselves to blame for not doing what it took to get Tony Romo. I could see them trying to trade up for one of Watson or Trubisky.
Though settling, I think Cam Robinson fits here. Some may worry about his performance late in the season, but the guy was a beast for most of his career. Yes, there’s off the field issues; those are why he fell to here. Houston needs another tackle; I think you can play Robinson at right or left (They need him on the right at the moment). Once Duane Brown starts to decline, they can transition him back to left.
No.26, Seattle Seahawks: OT Garrett Boles, Utah
Regarded by some as the best offensive line prospect in the draft, Boles would be a massive upgrade on this putrid Seahawks front. This guy is a beast, and would raise the number of “Guys I’ve heard of on the Seahawks offensive line” to two.
No.27, Kansas City Chiefs: DL Derek Barnett, Tennessee
Barnett falls, but goes to a team that desperately needs him. Essentially a replacement for Dontari Poe, Barnett possesses dominant pass-rushing abilities and blows up backfields. He’s a smaller, more athletic Poe. Opposing offenses do not want to see Barnett lined up against them in addition to the athletic freaks the Chiefs already have.
No.28, Dallas Cowboys: LB T.J. Watt, Wisconsin
You know Jerry is gonna do something splashy. I contemplated JuJu Smith-Schuster here; he’d give them another weapon offensively, but I feel like Watt is more likely because 1) It is more of a need and 2) Jerry creates a Watt-on-Watt rivalry in the state of Texas! It’s the most Jerry thing ever!
No.29, Green Bay Packers: DL Tim Williams, Alabama
Most mocks have Williams falling due to off-the-field issues, but I can see the Packers taking a chance on him here. The Packers are the type of team to turn dudes around. That and their need for a dominant pass rusher make Williams worth the risk here.
Not educated enough on these guys, but here’s my picks for the final three teams, based on need.
No.30, Pittsburgh Steelers: LB Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt
No.31, Atlanta Falcons: LB Jarrad Davis, Florida
No.32, New Orleans Saints: DL Charles Harris, Missouri
A list of dudes who somehow didn’t go in my first round:
- Christian McCaffrey: I think he’s the 3rd best running back in the draft. Top ten seems insane to me.
- David Njoku
- Tre’Davious White
- Evan Engram
- Teez Tabor