The draft order is now complete with New England’s win over Atlanta. Well, almost…Philadelphia (with Minnesota’s pick) and Indianapolis still have to flip a coin to determine 14 and 15.
This version is still in the “what I think the teams might do” mode. And after talking to employees from several teams over the last couple of weeks at the Shrine Game and Senior Bowl, trust me when I tell you the teams themselves still don’t have more than a rough idea of what is going to happen.
The previous edition from November can be found here.
1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, Edge, Texas A&M. Until given concrete reason to think otherwise, this is what everyone should assume the Browns are doing with the top pick.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina. I’m a believer this pick will eventually be traded to the highest bidder, and the team in question (Bills? Jets? Cardinals?) will move up for the quarterback with the most traditional NFL skill set. Although Trubisky would be a great fit in Kyle Shanahan’s offense too.
3. Chicago Bears: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson. Chicago has the pieces in place on offense to help Watson thrive without altering his playing style, and they’re not entering the season with Matt Barkley as the No. 1 QB.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State. This is predicated on teams falling in love with the redshirt sophomore who was a surprise early entrant. He has a sky-high ceiling as a do-it-all corner with length and long speed, though some durability concerns. He and Jalen Ramsey could be outstanding as a CB tandem with enough versatility to mix and match spots.
5. Tennessee Titans (from Rams): O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama. The most complete TE prospect in years, Howard has the blocking chops to play inline but also the speed and body control to align as a wideout. The Titans need receiving weapons, no matter the nominal position.
6. New York Jets: David Njoku, TE, Miami FL. He’s going to test off the charts, and he’s shown glimpses of being a dominant receiving weapon. I’m in the camp that believes the Jets will not draft a QB in the first round, and no offensive player left has a higher potential upside than Njoku.
7. Los Angeles Chargers: Jamal Adams, S, LSU. The Chargers have lost both Eric Weddle and Marcus Gilchrist in the last two years and it shows. Adams has the movement skills of a corner, the instincts and pop of a linebacker. It’s hard to imagine him falling this far, but the draft is nothing if not unpredictable.
8. Carolina Panthers: Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama. Probably the lowest you’ll see the uber-talented Allen in a mock draft. The Panthers wouldn’t object one bit to adding his disruptive pass rushing skills and positional versatility.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State. He has already earned comparisons to Ed Reed and Sean Taylor, and while those might be hyperbolic it does tell you how highly Hooker is regarded. There is some risk with recent surgery, but the Bengals need an impact defender on the back end and Hooker can be that guy right away.
10. Buffalo Bills: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida. Buffalo could look at QB here, but they also have other needs. If Stephon Gilmore leaves in free agency, CB is foremost among them. Wilson plays similarly and can step right in opposite Ronald Darby.
11. New Orleans Saints: Tim Williams, Edge, Alabama. Most dynamic pass rusher available meets major need in New Orleans. This one shouldn’t be a hard decision for the D-needy Saints, even with Williams’ off-field flag.
12. Cleveland Browns (from PHI): Deshone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame. The Browns rolled the dice one of the top-3 QBs would fall here, and in this scenario they hit snake eyes. Kizer will need to explain why he got worse from 2015 to ’16, but the tools are still there for a franchise QB. If they somehow get a QB pre-draft without giving up this pick, expect a CB with length or Wisconsin OT Ryan Ramczyk here.
13. Arizona Cardinals: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech. This is the white flag on 2017, the signal the current Cardinals window has closed and they’re looking to open the next one. Mahomes has flashy talent and throws an outstanding deep ball, but he’s going to need a year or two to get acclimated to the NFL.
14. Philadelphia Eagles (from MIN, coin toss pending): Mike Williams, WR, Clemson. The Eagles won the toss (tails) with the Colts for the right to pick 14, and they don’t hesitate in adding Williams. He can make good catches on bad throws and creates well after the catch. I like that Williams kept improving throughout his final Tigers year.
15. Indianapolis Colts: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama. Easily the best off-ball LB prospect in this class and a ready-made leader for a young defense. Colts fans should be ecstatic if this one comes to fruition.
16. Baltimore Ravens: Solomon Thomas, Edge, Stanford. He’s not as long as most teams like and played inconsistently, but his “hot” is scorching. An elite athlete who can play end or tackle, Thomas can help reinvigorate the Baltimore defense.
17. Washington: Malik McDowell, DE, Michigan State. Another freak athlete with enigmatic playing tendencies, McDowell is a perfect fit at RDE in the Skins defense. With four of the top-5 DL pending free agents, the team desperately needs reinforcements up front.
18. Tennessee Titans: Sidney Jones, CB, Washington. The Titans need perimeter help on both sides of the ball, and Jones has the length and natural coverage feel to instantly step in and start making plays.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan. Davis will be the No. 1 wideout for a lot of teams, but his MAC pedigree and missing workout season with an ankle injury do dampen his stock. The WR-needy Bucs almost have to take him should he still be on the board.
20. Denver Broncos: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin. He should go higher, but like Corey Davis above Ramczyk is coming off surgery and will miss workout season. A one-year phenom for the Badgers, he can play either tackle spot and Denver happens to need better starters at both.
21. Detroit Lions: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple. His stellar Senior Bowl week opened eyes that the undersized Owls edge can do any number of LB skills. An elite athlete who never stops attacking, he’d fit nicely in a Lions defense desperate for speed and playmakers.
22. Miami Dolphins: Taco Charlton, Edge, Michigan. Charlton has a full arsenal of pass rush moves and the ability to play on either end. Miami’s need for edge talent is perhaps the most glaring deficiency of any team picking in the 20s.
23. New York Giants: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford. Surprise! The first RB off the board comes in the 20s and it’s not Fournette or Cook. McCaffrey’s outstanding ability to play outside the tackles and in the passing game gives him the leg up, and he’s also the cleanest in terms of health. You’d better believe that matters.
24. Oakland Raiders: Teez Tabor, CB, Florida. A swaggy playmaker who thrives at controlling the stem release, Tabor is smart and hyper-aggressive in coverage. He has some off-field flags and won’t blaze in his 40 time, which helps explain why he falls to the CB-needy Raiders.
25. Houston Texans: Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan. With the top-4 QBs all gone, the Texans address the need to get more athletic in the middle of the field on defense. Peppers is a natural fit as a base strong safety who slides up to nickel/coverage LB, a role the Texans desperately need filled.
26. Seattle Seahawks: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah. A JUCO transfer who played just one year for the Utes and will be 25 as a rookie, Bolles is a big-time boom/bust prospect. He’s got outstanding footwork and body control. Seattle is noted for trying unconventional means at OL and Bolles could reward them handsomely.
27. Kansas City Chiefs: Carlos Watkins, DT, Clemson. A hefty interior presence who can shed blocks and make plays, Watkins would fill the role vacated should Dontari Poe exit in free agency.
28. Dallas Cowboys: Derek Barnett, Edge, Tennessee. The Cowboys' No. 1 need is pass rush, and that’s what Barnett does best. He flattens around the edge far better than any other edge available here.
29. Green Bay Packers: TreDavious White, CB, LSU. Long, speedy and instinctive, White would instantly upgrade a rapidly deteriorating Packers secondary. He could test well enough to be gone several spots higher.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers: Takk McKinley, Edge, UCLA. With Jarvis Jones departing in free agency and James Harrison about to collect Social Security, it makes sense for Pittsburgh to restock the pass rush. McKinley can be stiff at times but is also able to win with both power and quickness.
31. Atlanta Falcons: Obi Melifonwu, S, Connecticut. Current starter Ricardo Allen is not a bad player by any means, but the Senior Bowl star has some 6” and 35 pounds on him. With no depth at the position, taking a chance here on the hard-hitting Melifonwu makes sense. He has more natural coverage instincts and quicker recognition skills than Keanu Neal.
32. New England Patriots: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama. A pedigreed corner who makes plays and also doubles as an elite special teams contributor, Humphrey makes a lot of sense in New England. He’s an outstanding athlete with a knack for big plays, even though he’ll give some up too.
33. Cleveland Browns: Fabian Moreau, CB, UCLA
34. San Francisco 49ers: John Ross, WR, Washington
35. Chicago Bears: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
36. Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
37. Los Angeles Rams: Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson
38. New York Jets: Zach Cunningham, OLB, Vanderbilt
39. Los Angeles Chargers: Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington
40. Carolina Panthers: Forrest Lamp, OL, Western Kentucky
41. Cincinnati Bengals: Charles Harris, Edge, Missouri
42. Buffalo Bills: Juju Smith-Schuster, WR, USC
43. New Orleans Saints: Raekwon McMillan, LB, Ohio State
44. Philadelphia Eagles: T.J. Watt, OLB, Wisconsin
45. Arizona Cardinals: Elijah Qualls, DT, Washington
46. Indianapolis Colts: Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee
47. Minnesota Vikings: Dan Feeney, G, Indiana
48. Baltimore Ravens: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
49. Washington: Budda Baker, S, Washington
50. Cleveland Browns (from TEN): Pat Elflein, G/C, Ohio State
51. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Marcus Williams, S, Utah
52. Denver Broncos: Justin Evans, S, Texas A&M
53. Detroit Lions: Isaiah Ford, WR, Virginia Tech
54. Miami Dolphins: Tarell Basham, Edge, Ohio
55. New York Giants: Bucky Hodges, WR/TE, Virginia Tech
56. Oakland Raiders: Kareem Hunt, RB, Toledo
57. Houston Texans: Nathan Peterman, QB, Pittsburgh
58. Seattle Seahawks: Tanoh Kpassagnon, Edge, Villanova
59. Kansas City Chiefs: Anthony Walker, LB, Northwestern
60. Dallas Cowboys: Ahkello Witherspoon, CB, Colorado
61. Green Bay Packers: Jordan Leggett, TE, Clemson
62. Pittsburgh Steelers: Kevin King, CB, Washington
63. Atlanta Falcons: Tony Garcia, OT, Troy
64. New England Patriots: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
10 players who could easily be listed above, in no order:
Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
Caleb Brantley, DT, Florida
Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami FL
Taylor Moton, OL, Western Michigan
Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan
Zay Jones, WR, East Carolina
Amara Darboh, WR, Michigan
Ethan Pocic, C/G, LSU
Derek Rivers, Edge, Youngstown State
Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss