1. New York Jets – Sam Darnold (QB/USC)
Don’t get too excited, Jets fans. You know New York will be in the running for this pick only to win a meaningless game against the Chargers in Week 16. This is the Jets we’re talking about, they can’t even tank correctly.
Anyway, say the Jets do get the first overall pic, Darnold will provide stability to a Jets quarterback situation that has been a huge mess throughout training camp. Todd Bowels is insisting it is a three-way battle, but Christian Hackenburg can’t even correctly break out of a huddle and Bryce Petty hasn’t fared much better. Josh McCown is nothing more than a stopgap.
2. San Francisco 49ers – Christian Kirk (WR/Texas A&M)
This pick ultimately lies on whether or not Kirk Cousins reunites with Kyle Shannahan, which has been a long-standing rumor. If he does not, UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen could be in play, but he has been incredibly outspoken, and after a year of headlines about Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the national anthem, San Francisco may be turned off.
Kirk would give Cousins a reliable player to throw to alongside Pierre Garcon. Kirk is a bit undersized at this juncture, but he has had an incredibly productive college career.
3. Chicago Bears – Arden Key (DE/LSU)
Since the Bears too Mitchell Trubisky second overall last April, they will target another area of need this season. Key only weighs 238 pounds, but with a 6’6″ frame, he has plenty of room to bulk up. His pass rush skills are elite, but he will need to improve as a run stuffer.
4. Los Angeles Rams – Trey Adams (OT/Washington)
Left tackle has been a position of dire need for the Rams pretty much ever since Orlando Pace left. Andrew Whitworth was signed, but he turns 36 in December, so he isn’t the long-term solution.
5. Baltimore Ravens – Saquon Barkley (RB/Penn State)
We keep hearing about Kenneth Dixon’s potential … only for him to injury his knee again. I think the patience in Baltimore will wear thin and the team will find themselves a new running back. The running back position was devalued in the draft for a bit, due much in part to the lack of high-end talent, but Barkley is well worth the price tag.
6. Los Angeles Chargers – Mike McGlinchey (OT/Notre Dame)
Russell Okung was signed this offseason, but he’s not the long-term solution at left tackle and Joseph Barksdale regressed after receiving a contract extension. It also wouldn’t be surprising to see them go for a signal caller too depending on how well the soon-to-be 36-year-old Philip Rivers plays.
7. New Orleans Saints – Sam Hubbard (DE/Ohio State)
New Orleans is perpetually in need of help along the defensive line. Hubbard generates a ton of pressure, although he doesn’t always get the sack. He will help prevent opponents from double-teaming Cameron Jordan.
8. Detroit Lions – Malik Jefferson (LB/Texas)
Detroit took Jarrad Davis to man the middle, now they can get an electrifying pass rusher on the outside. Jefferson isn’t necessarily bad against the run, but he does need to improve.
9. Washington Redskins – Josh Rosen (QB/UCLA)
This pretty much comes down to whether or not they can lock up Kirk Cousins, and right now, I am leaning towards no. Rosen lacks a cannon, but he is cool under pressure and can work through his progressions.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars – Josh Allen (QB/Wyoming)
Drafting Allen would mean that the Blake Bortles era is officially over in Jacksonville. Allen has the biggest arm in this draft class but has a tendency to turn into a gunslinger.
11. Cleveland Browns – Minkah Fitzpatrick (CB/Alabama)
Joe Haden has been awful over the past two seasons. If he continues to struggle, the Browns could actually save $10.8 million next year by releasing him, so he is a cut candidate if he continues to struggle. After playing predominantly in the slot over the last two seasons, FItzpatrick will move to the outside in 2017.
12. Miami Dolphins – Derwin James (S/Florida State)
A knee injury took away most of James’ 2016 season, but he was one of the top safeties in the nation as a freshman in 2015. Nate Allen, T.J. McDonald and Michael Thomas are all int he final year of their deals, opening the door for Miami to find a younger safety to play across Reshad Jones.
13. Minnesota Vikings – Connor Williams (OT/Texas)
Minnesota added Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers this offseason to man the bookends of the offensive line. Remmers is horrific while Reiff is a better fit for right tackle. Williams has been stout both as a run blocker and pass blocker in his college career.
14. Buffalo Bills – Lamar Jackson (QB/Louisville)
I’m really not sold on Jackson, and he wasn’t in my previous mock draft, but there’s a ton of hype generating around the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, so I can’t just ignore him. Buffalo is in a weird situation with Tyrod Taylor and it’s something to keep an eye on next offseason, especially now that Rex Ryan is gone.
15. Arizona Cardinals – Calvin Ridley (WR/Alabama)
Larry Fitzgerald is still their best receiver, but he’s long in the tooth. Ridley won’t make you miss, but he can blow past you and runs crisp routes.
16. Indianapolis Colts – Derrius Guice (RB/LSU)
Frank Gore is 34 and in the final year of his contract. Adding more weapons on offense for Andrew Luck is always a need.
17. Denver Broncos – Da’Ron Payne (DT/Alabama)
The Broncos need an upgrade over Jared Crick, who has been terrible as an NFL player. Payne has the tools to be an effective interior pass rusher, but hasn’t been able to put it all together on the field.
18. Cincinnati Bengals – Mitch Hyatt (OT/Clemson)
The Bengals have used a lot of resources on offensive tackles in recent years, but none of them have panned out so far and the pressure will be placed on them to produce in 2017 with Andrew Whitworth gone. If they fail, the Bengals will go back to the drawing board.
19. Philadelphia Eagles – Adonis Alexander (CB/Virginia Tech)
The Eagles did a great job adding weapons for Carson Wentz on offense, but they secondary is still abysmal. It’s hard to see them as a playoff team when it’s so easy to throw against them. Alexander has the ideal size of an NFL cornerback and is stout against the run.
20. Atlanta Falcons – Vita Vea (DT/Washington)
The Falcons signed Dontari Poe, but he only agreed to a one-year deal, meaning he Falcons may need a new defensive tackle next offseason. Vea is powerful, he can chuck opposing blockers easily at times and generates a ton of pressure against the quarterback, though he doesn’t close out the plays with a sack.
21. Cleveland Browns – Cameron Smith (LB/USC)
Smith is tough against the run and can cover well. Linebacker is a weak spot on defense for a suddenly improved Cleveland Browns squad.
22. Buffalo Bills – James Washington (WR/Oklahoma State)
Buffalo declined the fifth-year option on Sammy Watkins, making wide receiver a pressing need in the offseason because the next best wideout on this roster is rookie Zay Jones.
23. Dallas Cowboys – Tarvarus McFadden (CB/Florida State)
Dallas lost a ton of starters in the secondary last spring and didn’t do much to replace them. That may come back to sting them in 2017. McFadden covers well and forces incompletions, but he will be a liability against the run.
24. New York Giants – Orlando Brown (OT/Oklahoma)
At some point, New York is going to need to realize that Ereck Flowers is horrendous. Brown has been dominant as both a pass and run blocker, but he gets flagged for a lot of penalties, something that needs to be cut down.
25. Carolina Panthers – Harold Landry (DE/OLB/Boston College)
Charles Johnson will be in his contract year in 2018 while Julius Peppers is 37. Landry has a dominant all-around game, but a lot of his productivity came against right tackles.
26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Quenton Nelson (G/Notre Dame)
A left tackle would be ideal, but left guard is also due for an upgrade. Nelson can pass block and run block well, but needs to improve when he is pulled and can get called for the occasional penalty.
27. Pittsburgh Steelers – Bradley Chubb (DE/North Carolina State)
Chubb has been a tremendous pass rusher and will serve as an upgrade over Tyson Alualu, who was signed this offseason. He does need to improve as a tackler, however.
28. Tennessee Titans – Jaire Alexander (CB/Louisville)
Tennessee shored up their secondary this offseason, adding Logan Ryan in free agency and drafting Adoree’ Jackson, but they aren’t quite finished yet. Alexander can play inside or outside, but struggles against bigger receivers.
29. Oakland Raiders – Tyquan Lewis (DE/Ohio State)
Oakland is still starting Jihad Ward at defensive end, despite being one of the worst in the league at the position last year. Another edge rusher is needed aside from Khalil Mack.
30. Seattle Seahawks – Tariq Cole (OT/Rutgers)
Russell Wilson will still be running for his life with George Fant lining up at left tackle. Cole isn’t elite as a run or pass blocker, but he grades out very well.
31. New England Patriots – Quin Blanding (S/Virginia)
Patrick Chung had a rough 2016 and if he doesn’t bounce back, Bill Belichick will cut him loose. Blanding won’t lay the hammer, but when he wraps you up, you rarely break free.
32. Green Bay Packers – Quenton Meeks (CB/Stanford)
The Packers have a rough secondary that’s in dire need of an upgrade. Meeks is solid on coverage, but needs to improve against the run.