Welcome to another draft season! We are finally here as many consider the start of draft season to be when official mock drafts are released.
There’s a few things we need to remember when it comes to this mock draft: 1) nobody has draft boards created for prospect in the draft yet, 2) we still have postseason all-star games, combine testing, medicals and individual workouts to get through, and 3) many teams are still very early in their evaluations.
Note: All underclassmen are noted with an asterisk.
Myles Garrett, DE/OLB, Texas A&M*
This is a simple pick. Garrett is the best player in the draft this year and the Browns have been reported to have an astronomical grade on him from their scouts. Garrett is an absolute game changer on defense and will automatically improve this terrible Cleveland Browns team.
DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame*
The 49ers desperately need a QB. Of course, they have plenty of other needs as well but they need someone who can take a game over all on their own because they won’t have any help in San Francisco. He will make some rookie mistakes and needs to learn to play under center but Kelly can help mask some of those concerns.
Jamal Adams, S, LSU*
Yet another team with many needs but the biggest of those needs is in the defensive backfield. The Bears will greatly benefit from a total package safety like Adams.
Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
I expect the Jaguars to continue their trend of drafting an explosive defensive talent early in the draft. Allen is one of my favorite players in the draft this year and he will be a huge addition to a defense that already has a lot of young talent.
Teez Tabor, CB, Florida*
The Titans are in desperate need for a CB this offseason. They are a young up-and-coming team that after a few additions this offseason will be competing to win their division. Tabor is an aggressive corner with the right size to compete against the best receivers.
Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU*
Last year we saw the Jets making changes at the running back position and this offseason they still don’t have it figured out. To be fair the entire offense regressed last year and they could draft a QB here but the difference in talent between the second best QB and best RB is miles away.
Jabrill Peppers, OLB/S, Michigan*
There will be some people unhappy with this pick. Peppers draft stock will be a highly debated topic this offseason. That doesn’t change the fact that the Chargers are in desperate need of a safety. I am a big fan of Pepper’s versatility but the Chargers need more of a straight safety. This is a riskier pick for the franchise but there is a very high ceiling.
Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama*
It’s time for the Panthers finish building their offensive line. The addition of Robinson would solidify the run game for the Panthers. Although he isn’t the best pass protector Cam is mobile enough to extend plays and the improved running game will take some of the pressure of their QB who struggles last season.
Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee*
The Bengals may be reaching for this pick but Barnett is the next best pass rusher in this draft. He has the right combination of instinct and physicality to be a huge impact on the field. This draft is full of talents pass rushers but the tackles for loss and sack leader in the SEC is not someone to pass on.
Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
The Bills cannot afford to start Jordan Mills at RT next season. This will fuel them to reach a bit for this start transfer from Wisconsin. Ramczyk has long arms and a big frame. He has also been effective as a run blocker and a pass blocker making him very valuable to a team that isn’t sure of their offensive identity.
Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina*
The Saints have some more pressing needs at QB but Drew Brees won’t be here forever and they need to start grooming his replacement. That is exactly why they are the perfect fit for Trubisky. He is an incredibly accurate QB who will need a little more time to develop. Consider this a win-win for both parties.
Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State*
The Browns could draft a QB here (their biggest need) but it would be a huge reach. There are too many talented players to pass up and the Browns finally showed a willingness to build their team before drafting a QB after last year’s draft. It is interesting to note that this is the same pick used to draft former buckeye Eli Apple last year.
Mike Williams, WR, Clemson*
Williams is a tall receiver with a great ability to create separation. The Cardinals will be rebuilding their offense very soon and should be drafting a QB in the second or third round for the future but Williams will be an important weapon for their changing offense.
Dalvin Cook, RB Florida State*
The Colts need to do something to help out Andrew Luck. Although any RB will struggle behind this offensive line improving there is still time for the Colts to seek improvements via free agency. Giving Andrew Luck an improved rushing attack will hopefully remind fans of the glory days of Peyton Manning winning his first Super Bowl ring.
John Ross, WR, Washington*
John Ross is a speedster but this year he has improved this route running ability and become a much improved WR. Carson Wentz will be thrilled to have a new weapon next season and the fans in Philadelphia should be excited to have an explosive force like Ross on their team.
Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama
Williams is disruptive enough to get into the backfield and stop plays before they have the chance to start. The problem is that he isn’t the most consistent player. He has an incredibly high ceiling but also a low floor.
Takkarist McKinley, OLB, UCLA
McKinley is a speedster who can easily come off the edge and get to the opposing QB. He has really improved as a player this last season and the Redskins hope to see that pattern continue as they hope to install him into the starting defense immediately in 2017.
Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama
This might not be a perfect fit for the Titans but I have them rebuilding their defense through the draft this year and Foster has already fallen too far. The Titans would be happy to see some improvement at their inside linebacker position and Foster is a tackling machine. This would be a monster in the middle for the Titans who will cause havoc behind the line for their opponents.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC*
Injuries make this pick a risky one for the Buccaneers but the team needs to see an improvement next year to make it over the playoffs hump. JuJu Smith has the talent and abilities to go in the first round but the combine will determine whether teams are scared of injury and his decline in production after that injury.
Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State*
McDowell is the perfect player to fit into this Broncos defense. He is an incredible athlete and will benefit from the quality of the rest of the defensive starters. Don’t let his decline in production scare you; his potential is a must-have.
Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
This is certainly a BPA pick. Davis will be a powerful weapon for the Lions to attack the opposing QBs in the division. He is constantly in the backfield and can even help in coverage, something important in the NFC North.
Charles Harris, DE, Missouri*
The Dolphins will need another edge-rusher and Harris could fill a potential hole left by Mario Williams. Harris led the SEC in tackles for loss in 2015 and could be a great compliment to the weapons Miami already has on their defense.
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford*
The biggest issue for the Giants this season was their offense. This should surprise those who expected Ben McAdoo and Eli to dominate opposing defenses. If you’ve watched Stanford you’ve witnessed the rare combination for McCaffrey’s rushing and receiving abilities. A player with this skill set will give Manning and McAdoo a new dimension to their offense in 2017.
Caleb Brantley, DT, Florida*
The Raiders have one of the best offenses in the NFL but their defense is lagging behind. The addition of Brantley will effectively plug up the run game for opposing teams and make them one dimensional against the Raiders. This will be a scary combination for the rest of the AFC West.
Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
The Texans need some help on offense. They have all the weapons they need but not the correct QB. There is not a QB worth taking at this point but drafting McGlinchey would be a great way to ensure that your future QB, or the stopgap QB, will have enough protection from edge rushers to get the ball out to his receivers. This is not a luxury the Texans are currently affording to their QB.
Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama*
Humphrey is a prototypical CB with plenty of experience. The Packers could easily draft a RB at this spot but that will depend on how they feel about Montgomery in 2017. Obviously, that is a conversation for another day and the Packers will otherwise look to Humphrey to become their shutdown corner for years to come.
Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
Thomas is an absolute stud. He can completely dominate a game and make an opposing QB’s life hell. This is certainly not a huge need for the Seahawks but the addition of Thomas will bring the LOB back into the headlines in 2017.
Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida*
It might be surprising to some to see both Tabor and Wilson go in the first round but the teammates were an exceptional combination at the corner position. The biggest advantage that Wilson has is his experience. He has 23 starts under his belt and should be a great injection of youth into the Steelers defense.
Carl Lawson, OLB, Auburn*
24 QB hurries and nine sacks in 2016. Carl Lawson is a disruptor to opposing offenses and is an especially great run stopper. Injuries may scare some teams away from Lawson but the team willing to take a chance on this player will see a huge reward.
Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan
Another pick, another corner. I am not the biggest fan of Lewis’s size but you can’t deny his skills. The best part of Lewis’s game is that teams avoid throwing the ball in his direction.
Dede Westbrook, WR, Oklahoma
Dallas has a new QB and RB and they are not getting the most out of the best WR on their roster, Dez Bryant. I am not saying that Westbrook will be replacing Bryant but I think his great speed and route running abilities will give Prescott a new target that will constantly create separation.
Jordan Willis, DE, Kansas State
As always we will joke about the Patriots trading this pick away to whoever wants to get back into the first round. This will especially be a topic of discussion with a lot of QB needy teams leading off the second round. The Patriots need to improve their defense ASAP and Willis isn’t getting the respect that he deserves. Willis will be on the field for all three downs and will be able to terrorize opposing QBs.