1. Cleveland Browns – Myles Garrett (DE/Texas A&M)
Cleveland has been busy this offseason and armed with two first round picks, they can definitely afford to roll the dice on getting a quarterback later in the draft, because Brock Osweiler wasn’t brought in to be their signal caller.
Garrett would add an immediate spark to a defense that mustered just 26 sacks last season, the second-worst in football.
2. San Francisco 49ers – Solomon Thomas (DE/Stanford)
San Francisco brought in Brian Hoyer to be a stop-gap at quarterback, so I don’t think they are going to go with a signal caller at No. 2. Instead, the 49ers are in dire need of an edge rusher. Ahmad Brooks just turned 33 and has been terrible over the last three seasons while Aaron Lynch is in his contract year. With San Francisco transitioning to a 4-3 base defense this year, both Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner will slide inside.
Jonathan Allen could be an option here as well, but concerns over his shoulder may cause the 49ers to go elsewhere.
3. Chicago Bears – Jonathan Allen (DE/DT/Alabama)
Chicago signed Mike Glennon to be their new signal caller, so they are another team who will not be taking a quarterback in the first round. They need help at all levels of their defense, so they will likely target the best defender available. Allen would be an immediate upgrade over Mitch Unrein.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars – Leonard Fournette (RB/LSU)
Jacksonville has become one of the harder teams to predict after adding Calais Campbell, A.J. Bouye and Barry Church in free agency. There aren’t many options for them that fills a need and is worthy of drafting in this spot, and before you say quarterback, Blake Bortles is getting one more year to prove himself. Keep an eye on the Jaguars as they may trade down.
If they do stand pat, I think they go with Fournette, who is not only one of the top players available, but he would be an upgrade over the committee of T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory. Plus, he is one of the most marketable guys in this draft class.
5. Tennessee Titans – Marshon Lattimore (CB/Ohio State)
Tennessee signed Logan Ryan and Jonathan Cyprien in free agency, but Jason McCourty is still a starting cornerback. That needs to change.
Lattimore is an athletic cornerback who has drawn comparison’s to Vontae Davis. His lack of experience (he was a one-year starter at Ohio State) may lead to him not being a Day One starter in Tennessee, but he will be the long-term solution at the position.
6. New York Jets – Mitchell Trubisky (QB/North Carolina)
In case you haven’t heard, Trubisky is going by Mitchell now. While the 49ers and Bears were able to find a new signal callers, the Jets have failed to do so in free agency, which may lead to them resorting to the draft instead, especially with Fournette gone now.
While not an ideal size, Turbisky was measured at 6’2″ at the combine, which will put an end to the rumors that he is a “small” quarterback.
7. Los Angeles Chargers – Jamal Adams (SS/LSU)
The Chargers lost Eric Weddle in a messy divorce last year and replaced him with Dwight Lowery, who played well last year, but is nothing more than a stop-gap. I have mocked Hooker here in the past and it should be noted that the Chargers brass like him, but with Hooker sidelined with a pair of surgeries, Adams has emerged as the top safety in the market. Getting an extended look at the LSU product may sway Los Angeles’ decision on draft day.
8. Carolina Panthers – Marlon Humphrey (CB/Alabama)
Carolina’s secondary struggled in 2016, highlighted by a 300-yard torching by Julio Jones, so it will definitely be a focus in April. James Bradberry has a solid rookie season, but would benefit from another quality cornerback lining up across from him.
9. Cincinnati Bengals – Derek Barnett (DE/Tennessee)
For years, Cincinnati has struggled at defensive end. Michael Johnson has been one of the worst defensive ends in football now for three season and is living off of the reputation that he was once a good player. Barnett could also play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.
10. Buffalo Bills – Mike Williams (WR/Clemson)
I am tempted to go with Reuben Foster here, especially with the potential loss of Zach Brown, but I am not sure if Buffalo will want essentially two rookies starting in the heart of their defense, not to mention the fact that Foster was sent home during the combine.
Instead, Buffalo may look to add another weapon across from Sammy Watkins, especially now that Robert Woods has left the team. Williams is a big body who should excel in the red zone at the next level.
11. New Orleans Saints – Malik Hooker (S/Ohio State)
The Saints finally parted ways with the disappointing Jarius Byrd, but he was far from the only problem on the porous defense in New Orleans. Hooker would reunite with former Ohio State teammate Vonn Bell, who was drafted by the Saints last year.
12. Cleveland Browns – DeShaun Watson (QB/Clemson)
Due to the fact that this is an underwhelming draft at quarterback, the Browns were able to ignore their need for a signal caller with the top overall pick and instead can take one here.
Watson is a hard guy to project with some people seeing him as a top 10 pick and others seeing him not going in Day One. Quarterbacks, however, always get drafted ahead of their true value since the position is so important. Watson’s character is something you want out of your franchise quarterback, he is a natural leader, a winner and has the arm strength to make all of the throws in the NFL, but he struggled with accuracy and has a tendency to throw interceptions. Overall, I think his upside an winning pedigree is too big for the Browns to ignore as the team has been starving for a winner ever since returning to the NFL in 1999.
13. Arizona Cardinals – O.J. Howard (TE/Alabama)
Wide receiver is an option here as well, but Mike Williams is gone and John Ross doesn’t fit the Cardinals needs at wideout. Instead, they can replace Jermaine Gresham, who completely bottomed out last season.
14. Philadelphia Eagles – John Ross (WR/Washington)
Philadelphia has big-bodied receivers in Alshon Jeffery, Jordan Matthews and Dorial Green-Beckham, so Ross would make a complimentary fit as the smaller, speedy wideout. Ross’ stock is on the rise after breaking Chris Johnson’s record 40-yard dash.
15. Indianapolis Colts – Reuben Foster (ILB/Alabama)
I have had Dalvin Cook linked to the Colts for a while now, but after his poor combine, I can’t see them going with him. Instead, they could opt for another talented player whose stock took a hit because of the combine. Indianapolis has Antonio Morrison and Edwin Jackson penciled in as their starting inside linebackers, but both struggled tremendously last season.
16. Baltimore Ravens – Tim Williams (DE/OLB/Alabama)
With both Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs getting older, the Ravens need to find a younger player who can get to the quarterback. For the time being, Williams will serve as a rotational piece, but long-term he will be replacing one of them.
17. Washington Redskins – Quincy Wilson (CB/Florida)
I wouldn’t rule out DeShone Kizer here as a surprise pick as it appears that Kirk Cousins is unhappy in Washington, but I want to see what unfolds in the next month. Washington is in a bad place after firing their general manager, so it’s going to be tough to project who they like draft-wise, but cornerback is definitely still a need with Bashaud Breeland still in the starting lineup.
18. Tennessee Titans – Corey Davis (WR/Western Michigan)
There has been some buzz lately that the Titans could target O.J. Howard, but he’s already off the board in this mock draft. Instead, they could focus on wide receiver. Tajae Sharpe struggled in his rookie season after a stellar pre-season. Tennessee failed to land any receiver in free agency (the were basically never in the Alshon Jeffery sweepstakes). Getting weapons for Mariota will likely become a focus in the draft.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Cam Robinson (OT/Alabama)
Donovan Smith has been horrifically overmatched in his pro career. I can’t imagine that the Buccaneers continue to let him protect Jameis Winston’s blind side.
Both free agency an this draft class is weak at the tackle position, but Robinson still serves as an upgrade over Smith. His athleticism is similar to Ereck Flowers. but he is nowhere near as raw of a prospect.
20. Denver Broncos – Malik McDowell (DE/DT/Michigan State)
Denver lost Malik Jackson to free agency last year and replaced him with Jared Crick, who has been very underwhelming in his career. McDowell is a bit of a raw prospect, but his athleticism is similar to Ezekiel Ansah.
21. Detroit Lions – Zach Cunningham (LB/Vanderbilt)
Tahir Whitehead’s production fell off of a cliff last year and he is in the final year of his deal. Detroit could look to replace him instead of extending him.
22. Miami Dolphins – Taco Charlton (DE/Michigan)
Miami released Mario Williams this offseason and have Andre Branch penciled in as his replacement. Given that Branch as struggled in his pro career, I can’t see the Dolphins being satisfied with Branch being the full-time starter.
23. New York Giants – Garrett Bolles (OT/Utah)
Last year, General Manager Jerry Reese was adamant about keeping Ereck Flowers at left tackle. Flowers returned the vote of confidence by being one of the worst tackles in football. Flowers, simply put, is not cut out to be a left tackle at the NFL level. Much like Flowers, Bolles has great athleticism for a tackle, but his skills are better equipped to handle speed rushers at the next level.
24. Oakland Raiders – Dalvin Cook (RB/Florida State)
Oakland just lost Latavius Murray to free agency, so running back has become a need. Cook will likely fall following a poor showing at the combine, but he was great when he was on the field last season.
25. Houston Texans – Pat Mahomes (QB/Texas Tech)
Houston was so desperate to rid themselves of Brock Osweiler and his horrible contract that they paid Cleveland a second round draft pick to take him off of their hands. The end game is Tony Romo, but if they don’t acquire the Cowboys signal caller, Houston may be forced to look to the draft for a new quarterback.
I think DeShone Kizer is the better overall prospect, but Mahomes is a better fit for Bill O’Brien’s offense.
26. Seattle Seahawks – Roderick Johnson (OT/Florida State)
I think this is too early for Johnson, but Seattle may be forced to reach (unless they trade down) due to the fact that their offensive line is so bad. George Fant and Gary Gilliam may be the worst starting tackles in football.
27. Kansas City Chiefs – Charles Harris (DE/OLB/Missouri)
Dee Ford is in his contract year and Tamba Hali will tun 34 this season. The Chiefs will need to find someone who can fill Hali’s shoes as a pass rusher across from Justin Houston.
28. Dallas Cowboys – Adoree’ Jackson (CB/USC)
Dallas just lost both Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne in free agency, so cornerback has become an area of need in Dallas. Jackson can also return kicks and punts.
29. Green Bay Packers – Tre’Davious White (CB/LSU)
The Packers secondary played extremely poor last year, with Quinten Rollins going through a sophomore slump after a solid rookie year.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers – Jabrill Peppers (SS/Michigan)
Peppers is insisting that he should be considered as an outside linebacker as well, and worked with other linebackers at the combine, but I can’t see a team utilizing a 205-pound player at that position. Peppers is a hard hitter who can line up in the box and stuff the run.
31. Atlanta Falcons – Haason Reddick (LB/Temple)
Reddick had a monster combine, which has solidified his draft stock as a first round selection and Atlanta is a team in need of help at linebacker, where De’Vondre Campbell struggled last season as the Will. I am concerned about Reddick’s conditioning, however, as he played in less than 70 percent of the defensive snaps in Temple.
32. New Orleans Saints – DeShone Kizer (QB/Notre Dame)
This may come as a surprise to some, but it shouldn’t be. Drew Brees just turned 38, so the Saints will need to prepare for when he finally decides to retire. This also give Kizer the opportunity to learn from one of the league’s best quarterbacks for a year or two before taking over.