Cleveland Browns-Mitchell Trubisky QB North Carolina: If you’ve heard me talk about Trubisky in the past, you know that I’m really, really not a fan. He reminds me of Blaine Gabbert coming out of college, but with less starting experience. Trubisky throws most throws off his back foot and doesn’t excel under pressure. When he tries to throw down the field, he doesn’t understand how to stride into his throw (because he throws off his back foot every other time) and lets the ball sail. Reports are today that Cleveland will take Trubisky 1st overall. God help them if they do.
San Francisco 49’ers: Myles Garrett DE Texas A&M: I am not projecting trades in this mock draft but if I did, San Francisco holds the golden ticket in this scenario. They are not close to being a contender and while Garrett certainly would help them, he’s more valuable as a trade piece. I originally had them taking Jamal Adams of LSU,but if Garrett is on the board, he’s the pick. He plays a more important position, and has a higher ceiling. The questions about his work ethic/desire are still there but he’s not Mario Williams. He’s still going to be a good player.
Chicago Bears:Marshon Lattimore CB Ohio State: The Bears have such a need at corner that it will force them to pass over some more talented players ahead of Lattimore in this draft. Jamal Adams and Solomon Thomas are both outstanding prospects but luckily for the Bears, Lattimore is right behind them on that list. He’s got the length, speed and coverage ability to be a premier shutdown player in the NFL. THe good news for them is he’s still getting better too.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Loanard Fournette RB LSU: I don’t have Fournette as my best back in this draft but when you look at need vs value, Fournette is not very far behind Dalvin Cook. He also offers rare size and speed, which is what NFL teams want. I would prefer Cook to pair with T.J. Yeldon, but I think Fournette will be the pick.
Tennessee Titans:Jamal Adams S LSU: With Lattimore going to the Bears, the Titans are left with Adams, who will replace D’Norris Searcy in the secondary. Adams is one of the closest ‘lock’ players in this draft in terms of his potential, and work ethic. If Chicago passes him up, he won’t last past Tennessee who needs help in their secondary.
New York Jets:OJ Howard TE Alabama: This is more of a value pick than it is anything else. Howard is an elite talent with the ability to help in the run and passing game. Some may not think of tight end as a high priority for the Jets due to their needs elswhere *cough quarterback* but Howard is a weapon plain and simple. Line him up in the slot or on the end of the line and he will help any passer they put out there.
LA Chargers: Solomon Thomas DE Stanford: The Chargers are yet another team that really needs help in the secondary, especially at safety. However, Thomas is too talented of a player to pass up. He’s a perfect fit in the Chargers front seven opposite of Corey Liuget. This allows Joey Bosa to play outside linebacker full time and solidifies a nasty defensive line with a lot of pass rushing talent. The safety class is deep so there’s no need to force the issue here.
Carolina Panthers:Christian McCaffrey RB Stanford: Christian McCaffrey does a lot of things for the Carolina Panthers. Firstly, he adds to their running back depth out of the backfield and is a very good compliment to power runners Jonathan Stewart and Cam Newton. Secondly, he gives the Panthers an offensive player who can catch the ball outside of Greg Olson. The receiving corps in Carolina is pretty poor with Devin Funchess and Kelvin Benjamin, both big bodied guys with unreliable hands. McCaffrey can line up in the slot or out wide, it doesn’t matter. Versatile pick who will help Cam Newton immensely.
Cincinnati Bengals:Jonathan Allen DE Alabama: Need for other teams pushed Allen down this far to the Bengals, who are happy to have him. To me Allen is best suited as a 3-4 defensive end, but he’s shown the ability to rush the passer from just about any position. He can play all of those positions effectively too. The Bengals needed more pass rush to contend in the AFC North and Allen gives them that.
Buffalo Bills:Hasson Reddick LB Temple: The Bills are another team with more needs than picks who will want to move down out of the top ten to acquire more picks. If they do stay here, they have a couple of options. O.J. Howard is a possibility, along with Wisconsin’s Ryan Ramczyk. Budda Baker would fit new Head Coach Sean McDermott’s personality and playing style perfectly, but his size will likely limit his draft stock. With Reddick, the Bills complete their front seven with an athletic cover linebacker who can hit and run as well. Last year’s 2nd round pick Reggie Ragland still has to prove he can play in the NFL after going down with an ACL injury in training camp last year. The Bills have a need at corner as well.
New Orleans Saints:John Ross WR Washington: What? Not a corner! As glaring as the need for a premier corner is for the Saints, how many times have they passed up the opportunity to add a weapon to their offense to complement Drew Brees. Ross gives them a deep threat that they haven’t ever had. Ross is a better receiver than Brandin Cooks when he was coming out of college and is faster than any player at the combine…ever. If he’s here for the Saints, I don’t expect them to miss the chance to add him. They can address corner later with the 32nd pick.
Cleveland Browns:Reuben Foster LB Alabama: If the Bills don’t take Foster at 10 due to character concerns, I don’t see him lasting much past this. Foster reminds me of Ray Lewis and the Browns desperately need some attitude to their team. They got their offensive leader with the no. 1 overall pick, now they need a defensive leader. Say what you want about him, Foster will immediately become that on the field for the Browns.
Arizona Cardinals:Marlon Humphrey CB Alabama: So many ‘Tide players in the top 15. That’s how good that defense was last year. Humphrey is the 2nd best corner in this draft and will come off the board somewhere between 10 and 20. The Cards have a good defense and want to win now with a talented roster. Humphrey gives them a player opposite Patrick Peterson that can hold up in man coverage and is a nasty tackler.
Philadelphia Eagles:Dalvin Cook RB Florida State: I know that most prognosticators don’t think that Cook is a top 15 pick, but to me he’s the best back in this draft in terms of overall game. He has great balance, lower body strength and can run through arm tackles like a bigger back. The Eagles could also go wide receiver, or corner, but Cook gives them a blend of talent that they don’t have on their roster.
Indianapolis Colts: Derek Barnett DE Tennessee: The Colts have needed a pass rusher with quality moves for a while now. Barnett is the best technician in this draft and has amazing edge bend. He will be a steady producer for the Colts and should be a great addition to a mediocre front seven. Getting a lead isn’t an issue for the Colts, maybe now keeping it won’t be either.
Baltimore Ravens:Charles Harris DE/OLB Missouri: This is a close one. The Ravens really need a wide receiver, tackle and end but the Ravens have always been built on defense. Harris has the pass rushing skills to be a shot in the arm to a front seven that has trailed off in the last several years in terms of their nastiness and effectiveness. Harris will eventually replace Terrell Suggs as the main guy on the outside.
Washington: Takkaris McKinley DE/OLB UCLA: These two picks could be flip-flopped. I have them very close in my rankings. McKinley has more explosive twitch than any other pass rusher in this draft and could have the higher ceiling than Harris. He’s a stockier build too and might be better against the run, but McKinley is still learning the position and isn’t as good of a rusher yet. He can develop into that next to Ryan Kerrigan in the front seven for Washington.
Tennessee Titans: Mike Williams WR Clemson: The Titans need a wide receiver badly. They got their secondary player at 5, now they come back with one of the three best receivers in this draft. They still need a corner and a pass rusher, but getting weapons for Marcus Mariota should be the priority.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Malik Hooker S Ohio State: He’s still growing into the position as a redshirt sophomore, but Hooker has great ball skills and looks like a natural. With pass rushers in front of him, Hooker is free to be a ball-hawk in the secondary. I’m not sure he’s totally there in terms of reading and reacting to jump routes, but he can get there. Solid pick for the Bucs.
Denver Broncos:Ryan Ramczyk OT Wisconsin: The Broncos need offensive line help in the worst way. Ramczyk beats out Cam Robinson here because he has better feet and can play either position. Very solid player.
Detroit Lions: Corey Davis WR Western Michigan: A limited offseason didn’t help his draft stock and there are questions about his long speed, but Davis brings a big body with great feet to the Lions, who could use an upgrade in the passing game. Defensive end is another big need, but that will have to wait until later. Davis is a top 15 talent who falls to 21.
Miami Dolphins: Taco Charlton DE Michigan: Charlton is talented to pass up. He’s got the length that teams want at defensive end is a good pass rusher, as well as run defender. There are questions about his desire and productivity, similar to Myles Garrett, but size and skill win out.
New York Giants: Garrett Boles OT Utah: Nasty, physical and great feet, Boles is only getting better as an offensive tackle. Give him six more months in an NFL training program and he’ll be much better against the run. His desire and nastiness will make up for any deficiencies in strength. Great tackle prospect with a high ceiling at left tackle.
Oakland (for now) Raiders: Jarrad Davis LB Florida: The Raiders need to add to their front seven and improve their rushing defense, but there isn’t a defensive tackle that fits the bill at 24. Davis is a great linebacker with instincts and tenacity. He would be a great compliment to Kahlil Mack at outside linebacker.
Houston Texans: DeShaun Watson QB Clemson: This is still a bit high for the Clemsons signal caller in my opinion. Watson has issues with his footwork and throwing base, but he’s a great leader and shows the competitive desire to get better. Tom Savage can keep his seat warm while Bill O’Brien fixes what he can with Watson’s mechanics.
Seattle Seahawks:Cam Robinson OT Alabama: The Seahawks like big, lumbering tackles and Cam Robinson is that, but with a bit better feet. He slots in nicely as a right tackle to start with and may possibly be able to move over to left in the future. He doesn’t have the feet that the other two tackles ahead of him do, but he plays both with great effort and control. He’ll be a huge addition to Seattle who needs help on the o-line.
Kansas City Chiefs: T.J. Watt OLB Wisconsin: Watt is an unfinished product who has been injured for all but one year of college. He’s got the bloodlines and the upside to make him an intriguing pick. Not my favorite in the first round but the Chiefs are desperate for sacks and the pass rushing pool is drying up.
Dallas Cowboys: Tre’Davious White CB LSU: He’s not the biggest corner in the world but he’s arguably the best cover player in this draft. He’s got the feet to run with anyone and plays the ball very well to get PBU’s.
Green Bay Packers: Adoree Jackson CB USC: The Packers don’t mind if their corners are on the smaller side and Jackson has the multi-dimensional ability to be an impact player immediately. I think he’s still a bit overrated as a cover corner, but he has shown that he can go get the ball, even if he gets burned by bigger receivers.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Zach Cunningham LB Vanderbilt: The Steelers need an outside linebacker in the worst way. However, they also lost Lawrence Timmons in free agency and have a hole at inside linebacker as well. I’m not sure that this is a high priority for the Steelers but at this point Cunningham is the best player left on the board. He gives Pittsburgh two inside linebackers that are incredibly fast and physical. Cunningham has the size to get a bit bigger, but even if he doesn’t he’s covered up by a beefy front line that can let him run.
Atlanta Falcons:Budda Baker S Washington: Baker is an absolute demon in the secondary. He may not be the biggest player but he’s an enforcer who has the same mentality that Dan Quinn has infused into his team. Injuries are a concern but size shouldn’t be, given that he’ll be lining up next to Keanu Neal. A one-two punch like that, along with Baker’s ability to cover the slot, will make the Falcons dangerous if they can ever find a pass rush.
New Orleans Saints:Quincy Wilson CB Florida: Wilson is a borderline first round pick and I’m not in love with it, but the Saints really need a corner after passing on several with their first round pick. Wilson is a good man cover corner who can disrupt receivers at the line of scrimmage and has good burst to the ball. His issue is long speed, but in the NFL South, there are more bigger, physical receivers than there are speed demons. Wilson is a good potential foil to Mike Williams in Tampa and Kelvin Benjamin in Carolina. It’s still going to be a track meet, but with Wilson, the Saints have a guy who could slow down race.