Movie quote of the day:
“It does not do to dwell on dreams, Harry, and forget to live.”
– Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
The NFL regular season is over and the top 20 picks are locked up for the NFL draft, in April. These 20 picks are determined by the teams that didn’t make the postseason. The final 12 spots are to be determined based on the results in the playoffs. I will come up with my first mock draft for the first 20 slots since they have been finalized. Here it is:
1. Tennessee Titans (3-13) – OT Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss
Tennessee probably had the least talented roster this season and therefore could go in a lot of different directions with this first pick. It looks like Marcus Mariota is going to be a solid option for the Titans at quarterback as long as he can stay healthy. Laremy Tunsil isn’t the top player on the draft board but he fits a need for Tennessee. The Titans need to keep Mariota upright if they’re going to be successful. I think Tunsil is the top offensive tackle on the board, and I think Tennessee will go with him.
2. Cleveland Browns (3-13) – QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Once again, Paxton Lynch isn’t the best player on this draft board but Cleveland is desperate for a quarterback. Lynch has the body of a NFL quarterback. He’s 6-foot-7 and weighs about 240 pounds. He has a big body that will be able to take hits in this league. I can’t see the Browns not drafting a quarterback at this spot.
3. San Diego Chargers (4-12) – DE Joey Bosa, Ohio State
Joey Bosa is the best player on the board in this draft. I think No. 3 is where he finally lands. San Diego has bigger needs than a pass rusher, but there’s not very many options to help fill needs at this pick. Bosa is going to be wreaking havoc in the NFL as an edge rusher. The Chargers ranked No. 23 in the NFL in sacks this season and Bosa would help a lot in that category.
4. Dallas Cowboys (4-12) – OLB Myles Jack, UCLA
Dallas’ linebacker corps isn’t great. Rolando McClain has been a help at middle linebacker. Sean Lee is an all-pro caliber outside linebacker but he can never stay healthy. I think the Cowboys need to have a backup plan to Lee; a guy that will be the future of Dallas’ defense. Myles Jack would be that kind of pick. Jack is a little small for a linebacker but he’s going to make plays at the next level.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11) – CB Jalen Ramsey, Florida State
Jacksonville really needs help in the secondary. The Jaguars are sitting at a perfect spot to take the best player to fill their top need. Jacksonville ranked No. 29 in pass defense this season. Jalen Ramsey is the top defensive back in this class and would a great pick for Jacksonville.
6. Baltimore Ravens (5-11) – CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida
Baltimore could go with a wide receiver at this pick but I think this team that needs help in the secondary. Lardarius Webb is a nice option but he’s the only playmaker for the Ravens in the secondary. Vernon Hargreaves is the best option for Baltimore with Ramsey off the board.
7. San Francisco 49ers (5-11) – QB Jared Goff, Cal
San Francisco needs a quarterback. Colin Kaepernick hasn’t panned out and I think the organization is ready to move on. Blaine Gabbert wasn’t terrible when he stepped in for Kaepernick but he’s not a starting quarterback. Jared Goff is a safe pick for the 49ers. Goff has a small body but has a cannon for an arm.
8. Miami Dolphins (6-10) – DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson
Miami could go in a lot of different directions. They have a lot of needs but I think they need to start thinking about replacing Cam Wake. Wake is about to turn 34 years old and his sack numbers really declined this year. Shaq Lawson would be a nice replacement for Wake and would strengthen the Dolphins’ defensive line.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-10) – DE DeForest Buckner, Oregon
I don’t think it’s crazy to think that Tampa Bay could go with an offensive lineman with this pick but I think the Buccaneers will go defense. Tampa Bay is pretty good in the interior defensive line with Gerald McCoy and Henry Melton. They have some great, young talent at linebacker but this team needs an edge rusher badly. DeForest Buckner is the best one on the board.
10. New York Giants (6-10) – WR Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss
The Giants have a lot of needs and I think wide receiver is more of a need than people realize. Odell Beckham Jr. is a star wide receiver but they lack a No. 2 receiver. Reuben Randle is okay and Victor Cruz can’t stay healthy. I think Laquon Treadwell is a big-body outside receiver that would be a great compliment to Beckham.
11. Chicago Bears (6-10) – ILB Reggie Ragland, Alabama
Chicago’s top need is a pass rusher but it would be a reach to pick one at this spot. The Bears lacked the right personnel to fit the 3-4 defense this season. Reggie Ragland would be a great pick at inside linebacker. Ragland would help improve the run defense, and he fits the 3-4 style of play.
12. New Orleans Saints (7-9) – OLB Darron Lee, Ohio State
New Orleans could go with a cornerback here but I think they have to build the front seven. The Saints need a weak-side linebacker and Darron Lee fits in well for that position. He played a 4-3 defense in college, which is what the Saints run as well.
13. Philadelphia Eagles (7-9) – OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame
Philadelphia’s offensive didn’t give up a ton of sacks this season. In fact, Sam Bradford was only sacked 28 times, ranking No. 17 in the NFL. Bradford isn’t a great quarterback and one has to keep him upright for him to be an effective starter. Jason Peters, the current starting left tackle for the Eagles, is about to turn 34. I think Philadelphia would be smart to draft Ronnie Stanley as the future replacement to Peters.
14. Oakland Raiders (7-9) – CB Mackensie Alexander, Clemson
Oakland’s top need is cornerback. The Raiders spent a first round draft pick on D.J. Hayden in 2013 and he hasn’t panned out. I think Oakland needs to draft Mackensie Alexander with this pick and improve their secondary. With Charles Woodson retiring, this secondary lacks playmakers.
15. St. Louis Rams (7-9) – WR Corey Coleman, Baylor
This pick is kind of a reach but St. Louis needs playmkers on offense. Nick Foles is capable of being a good quarterback but needs more weapons. Tavon Austin had a decent year once the Rams decided to get him the ball. Todd Gurley is a future star at running back. Corey Coleman would be a nice addition for St. Louis. Coleman has incredible speed, can get open and will be a good deep-ball threat.
16. Detroit Lions (7-9) – DT Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
Detroit’s defense wasn’t the same this season without Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley in the interior defensive line. Haloti Ngata was never a fit for Detroit’s 4-3 defense and turns 32 this year. Robert Nkemdiche would be younger option and a nice fit in the Lions’ defensive line.
17. Atlanta Falcons (8-8) – DT A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama
Atlanta needs to get better in the front seven. I think Vic Beasley will only get better as an edge rusher. Ra’Shede Hageman’s numbers improved this season. A’Shawn Robinson will be a nice pair with Hageman in the interior defensive line. Robinson has a big body and will able to absorb blocks and stop the opponent’s run game.
18. Indianapolis Colts (8-8) – OT Taylor Decker, Ohio State
Indianapolis hasn’t addressed the offensive line enough ever since drafting Andrew Luck, in 2012. During that span, Luck has been sacked 115 times in 55 games. That’s far too much for a quarterback of Luck’s caliber. The Colts need to make it an emphasis to protect Luck. He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the game and he takes a beating every week.
19. Buffalo Bills (8-8) – OT Jack Conklin, Michigan State
Tyrod Taylor proved that he was a competent quarterback for Buffalo. Taylor was sacked 36 times, ranking No. 11 in the league. Cordy Glenn is about to be a free agent unless the Bills can re-sign him, and Cyrus Kouandjio hasn’t worked out. Buffalo needs to find a way to protect Taylor, and Jack Conklin will help with that.
20. New York Jets (10-6) – DE Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State
The Jets could probably draft quarterback here, but I don’t think they will. Ryan Fitzpatrick had a good year and I think they would be willing to go with Fitzpatrick for another year. The Jets could use a pass rusher. Calvin Pace is going to turn 36. They play in the same division as Tom Brady, and I think they need to draft a guy who can get after the passer. Emmanuel Ogbah is the best one on the board.
Thanks for reading
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